Monday, November 14, 2016


Put Aside Disdain and Hate

Petrarch, Canzoniere 128, lines 97-112 (tr. James Wyatt Cook):
My lords, regard the way time flies and how,
Just so, life swiftly flees,
And ever at our backs, death follows on.
Now you are here, but of that parting think:        100
For naked and alone
Must be the soul that treads that doubtful path.
In passing through this vale,
Consent to put aside disdain and hate—
Those gales contrary to a life serene—        105
The time you use to grieve
Those others, spend on some more fitting work
Of hand or else of wit:
Some commendation fine,
Some edifying study undertake:        110
Thus, down here one rejoices
And finds the road to heaven open wide.

Signor', mirate come 'l tempo vola,
et sí come la vita
fugge, et la morte n'è sovra le spalle.
Voi siete or qui; pensate a la partita:        100
ché l'alma ignuda et sola
conven ch'arrive a quel dubbioso calle.
Al passar questa valle
piacciavi porre giú l'odio et lo sdegno,
vénti contrari a la vita serena;        105
et quel che 'n altrui pena
tempo si spende, in qualche acto piú degno
o di mano o d'ingegno,
in qualche bella lode,
in qualche honesto studio si converta:        110
cosí qua giú si gode,
et la strada del ciel si trova aperta.
The same, tr. Robert M. Durling:
Lords: see how time flies and how life flees, and how Death is at our backs. You are here now; think of your departure, for the soul must go naked and alone to that perilous path. As you pass through this valley, let it please you to conquer hatred and anger, winds contrary to a tranquil life; and that time which you now spend in giving others pain, let it be converted to some more worthy action of hand or intellect, to some lovely praise, some virtuous study: thus down here one may be happy and find open the road to Heaven.

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