Love, that speaks to me within my mind
With fervent passion of my lady,
Awakens often thoughts of her such that
My intellect is led astray by them.
His speech is filled with sounds so sweet
That then my soul, which hears and feels him, says:
“Alas, I lack the power to speak
Of what I hear about my lady!”
And surely I must leave aside, if I
Should wish to treat of what I hear of her,
That which my intellect does not conceive,
As well as much of what it understands,
Because I know not how I should express it.
And so if fault is found to mar my verse
Which undertakes the praise of her,
Cast blame on my weak intellect
And on our speech, which lacks the power
To say in words the things that Love relates.
The Sun that circles all the world
Sees nothing so gentle as at that time
When it shines upon the place where dwells
The lady of whom Love makes me speak.
Every Intelligence admires her from above,
And those down here who are in love
Still find her in their thoughts
When Love makes felt the peace he brings.
Her being so pleases God who gave it to her
That he endlessly instills in her his power
Beyond the point of nature’s measure.
Her pure soul,
Which takes from him this bliss,
Reveals him then in what she brings with her:
For among her beauties such things are seen
That the eyes of those on whom she shines
Send messengers to the heart, full of desire,
Which unite with air and turn to sighs.
Into her descends celestial power
As it does into an angel that sees him;
And if some gentle lady disbelieves this,
Let her walk with her and mark her gestures.
Here where she speaks a spirit
Comes down from heaven to testify
That this high worth which she possesses
Transcends whatever is allotted to us.
The graceful gestures that she displays
Contend with each other in calling on Love
In terms of speech that make him listen.
Of her it can be said:
Gentle is in woman what is found in her,
What most resembles her is beauty.
And we may say her countenance helps us
Regard as true what seems a miracle,
By which our faith is fortified:
For this she was ordained by eternity.
In her countenance appear such things
As manifest a part of the joy of Paradise.
I mean in her eyes and in her sweet smile,
For here Love draws them, as to himself.
They overwhelm our intellect,
As a ray of sunlight does weak vision;
And since I cannot fix my sight upon them,
I am content to say but little of them.
Her beauty rains down little flames of fire,
Enkindled by a gentle spirit,
Who is the creator of all good thoughts;
And like a lightning bolt they shatter
The inborn vices that make man vile.
And so let every woman who hears her beauty
Slighted for not seeming serene and humble
Gaze on her, the model of humility.
This is she who humbles every haughty person,
Conceived by him who set the heavens in motion.
My song, it seems you speak contrary to
Words spoken by a sister whom you have;
For this lady, whom you claim to be so humble,
She calls proud and disdainful.
You know the sky is always bright and clear,
and of itself is never clouded.
And yet our eyes, for many reasons,
Sometimes say a star is dim.
Likewise when she calls her proud,
She views her not according to the truth
But only as she seems to her.
For my soul was full of fear,
And still is, so much that everything I see
Seems proud, when she casts her gaze on me.
So excuse yourself, should the need arise;
And when you can, present yourself to her
And say: “My Lady, if it is your wish,
I will speak of you in every place.”