Two Sonnets from Petrarch
By Richard Garnett
WHERE’ER I shift my weary eyes, to know
If ancient charm by new may be dispelled,
They see but her whom whilom they beheld,
And urge rekindling fires to deeper glow.
Conjunction of sweet ruth and lovely woe
Enthrals the gentle heart ; nor thus compelled
The eye alone, but ear is captive held,
Haunted by thrilling speech and sighings low.
And Love and Truth affirm with me that sight
So exquisite as mine was seen of none
By splendour of the day or starry light ;
Nor plaint so musical e’er broke upon
The ear of man ; or shower of drops so bright
From eyes so fair e’er sparkled to the sun.
II—She should have Died Hereafter !
LOVE had at length a tranquil port displayed
To travailed soul, long vexed by toil and teen,
In calm maturity, where naked seen
Is Vice, and Virtue in fair garb arrayed.
Bare to her eyes my heart should now be laid,
Disquieted no more their peace serene—
O Death, what harvest of long years hath been
Ruin by thee in one brief moment made !
The hour when unreproved I might invoke
Her chaste ear’s favour, and disburden there
My breast of fond and ancient thought, drew nigh
And she, perchance, considering as I spoke,
Each bloomless face and either’s silvered hair,
Some blessed word had uttered with a sigh.
Garnett, Richard. “Two Sonnets from Petrarch.” The Yellow Book, vol. 9, April 1896, pp. 167-168. Yellow Book Digital Edition, edited by Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2010-2014. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2020. https://1890s.ca/YBV9_garnett_two_sonnets/