Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 3/Sonnet from Petrarch (The birds' sad song, the young leaves' rustling play)

Translation of Sonnet 238 by Petrarch, written about 1351.


Se lamentar angelli o verdi fronde.

The birds’ sad song, the young leaves’ rustling play,
In the soft summer air, the hoarser sounds
Of lucid waters as they rush away
Between their verdant flower-enameled bounds,
Where, lost in Love’s sweet phantasies, I lie;
All these—the murmur of bird, leaf, and stream,
Are filled with her. To my fond ear and eye
Her voice, her living form, still present seem;
And to my passionate sorrow she replies
In pitying accents from the far-off shore—
“Why dost thou shed such tears from those sad eyes?
Untimely wasting! Weep for me no more.
I died to live; and when life seemed to close,
The dawn of God’s eternal day arose.”