Francesco Petrarch


Biography of Francesco Petrarch

Francesco Petrarcha was born in Arezzo of a family exiled from Florence in 1301. His father was a notary. He studied at Montpellier University and at law school, and became chaplain to Cardinal Colonna. He travelled in France, Flanders and Germany. He met his idealized woman, Laura, in 1327. She died of the Black Death in 1348. His series of love sonnets and other poems strongly influenced subsequent European poetry, for example Wyatt and Sidney in England. He settled at Vaucluse near Avignon, but, after the plague of 1362, moved to Padua and then Arqua, in the Euganean Hills, where he died, in July 1374, on or near his birthday, at the age of seventy.

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Canzone XVI

O my own Italy! though words are vain
The mortal wounds to close,
Unnumber'd, that thy beauteous bosom stain,
Yet may it soothe my pain
To sigh forth Tyber's woes,
And Arno's wrongs, as on Po's sadden'd shore
Sorrowing I wander, and my numbers pour.

Ruler of heaven! By the all-pitying love

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