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Two Sonnets from Petrarch

By Richard Garnett

            I—Laura Weeping

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.


                        168 Sonnets from Petrarch

    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.

MLA citation:

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.