Beauty beloved, who hast my heart inspired,
Seen from afar, or with thy face concealed,
Save, when in visions of the night revealed,
Or seen in daydreams bright,
When all the fields are filled with light,
And Nature’s smile is sweet,
Say, hast thou blessed
Some golden age of innocence,
And floatest, now, a shadow, o’er the earth?
Or hath Fate’s envious doom
Reserved thee for some happier day to come?
To see thee e’er alive,
No hope remains to me;
Unless perchance, when from this body free,
My wandering spirit, lone,
O’er some new path, to some new world hath flown.
E’en here, at first, I, at the dawn
Of this, my day, so dreary and forlorn,
Sought thee, to guide me on my weary way:
But none on earth resembles thee. E’en if
One were in looks and acts and words thy peer,
Though like thee, she less lovely would appear.
Amidst the deepest grief
That fate hath e’er to human lot assigned,
Could one but love thee on this earth,
Alive, and such as my thought painteth thee,
He would be happy in his misery:
And I most clearly see, how, still,
As in my earliest days,
Thy love would make me cling to virtue’s ways.
Unto my grief heaven hath no comfort brought;
And yet with thee, this mortal life would seem
Like that in heaven, of which we fondly dream.
Along the valleys where is heard
The song of the laborious husbandman,
And where I sit and moan
O’er youth’s illusions gone;
Along the hills, where I recall with tears,
The vanished joys and hopes of earlier years,
At thought of thee, my heart revives again.
O could I still thy image dear retain,
In this dark age, and in this baleful air!
To loss of thee, O let me be resigned,
And in thy image still some comfort find!
If thou art one of those
Ideas eternal, which the Eternal Mind
Refused in earthly form to clothe,
Nor would subject unto the pain and strife
Of this, our frail and dreary life;
Or if thou hast a mansion fair,
Amid the boundless realms of space,
That lighted is by a more genial sun,
And breathest there a more benignant air;
From here, where brief and wretched are our days,
Receive thy humble lover’s hymn of praise!
……….from Collected Poems, Giacomo Leopardi