Guido Cavalcanti

(1254-1300 / Italy)

As I’ve no hope of returning ever

As I’ve no hope of returning ever,
Little ballad, lightly, softly,
Go yourself, to Tuscany,
Go straight to my lady,
Who of her great courtesy
Will show you highest honour.

You will bring her news of sighs,
Filled with pain, and great with fear:
But take care to meet no eyes
Hostile to a gentle nature:
My disadvantage then for sure
You’d work, like one opposed,
And be by her reproved,
And so prove pain for me:
So that after my death there’d be,
Weeping and fresh dolour.

Little ballad, you know that death
Grips me so that life deserts me,
Know how my heart with every breath
Beats hard, as the spirits speak inside me.
So much of my Being’s now undone,
I can scarcely suffer longer:
So if you would serve me further,
Take my soul along with you,
Fervently I beg of you,
As it leaps from out my heart, here.

O, little ballad, now I yield
This trembling soul to your friendship,
In its sorrow, take it with you,
To the sweet one to whom I send it.
Oh, little ballad, sighing say
To her, when you’re presented:
‘Your servant comes
To be with you,
He leaves one,
Who was Love’s servant’

You, little weak and fearful voice
Issuing from the sad heart weeping,
Go with my soul, and this little song,
And tell her of my mind that’s ruined.
You’ll find a tender woman there,
Of an intellect so sweet,
That it will be delight complete
For you to leave her never.
And then, my soul, adore her,
Worthy as she is, for ever.

Submitted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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