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21 июля 2009 | Автор: Admin | Рубрика: English литература » Художественная литература на английском языке | Комментариев: 0
"Fifteen Sonnets of Petrarch", selected and translated by Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Designed by Bruce Rogers
Houghton, Mifflin&Co, Riverside Press, Cambridge | 1903 | ISBN: n/a | 46 pages | PDF | 5 Mb
A collection of Petrarch’s sonnets translated by Thomas Wentworth Higginson. This is a ed.&cleared facsimile from the original book. Italian and English on opposite pages. "Four hundred and thirty copies" only.
"Time is the chariot of all ages to carry men away, and beauty cannot bribe this charioteer." Thus wrote Petrarch in his Latin essays; but his love had wealth that proved resistless, and for Laura the chariot stayed.
Petrarch wrote more than 300 Italian sonnets to Laura, as well as other short lyrics and one long poem. Those included in his Canzoniere are divided into Rime in vita Laura (263 poems) and Rime in morte Laura (103 poems). The poems treat a variety of moods and subjects but particularly his intense psychological reactions to his beloved. Many of his similes, such as burning like fire and freezing like ice, beautifully stated in sonnet 134 beginning “I find no peace, and all my war is done,” were to be frequently repeated by the sonneteers of Elizabethan England and later became poetic clichs. Some of the poems express the very simple, human wish to be with her and to be treated kindly. After Laura's death Petrarch's poems continued on the same themes, expressing his sorrow and describing her return to him in dreams.
Earlier Italian poets had written splendid sonnets expressing their love for a particular woman, but it was Petrarch's poems that gave rise to a whole generation of translators and imitators in Europe and particularly in England, where his example inspired the great love-sonnet cycles of Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Michael Drayton, and William Shakespeare.
In the closing sonnets Petrarch withdraws from the world, and they seem like voices from a cloister, growing more and more solemn till the door is closed. This is one of the last (Dicemi spesso).
How true is its concluding line ! Who can wonder that women prize beauty, and are intoxicated by their own fascinations, when these fragile gifts are yet strong enough to outlast all the memories of statesmanship and war?
Next to the immortality of genius is that which genius may confer upon the object of its love. Laura, while she lived, was simply one of a hundred or a thousand beautiful and gracious Italian women; she bad her loves and aversions, joys and griefs; she cared dutifully for her household, and embroidered the veil which Petrarch loved; her memory appeared as fleeting and unsubstantial as that of woven tissue.
After five centuries we find that no armor of that iron age was so enduring.
The kings whom she honored, the popes whom she revered are dust, and their memory is dust, but literature is still fragrant with her name. An impression which has endured so long is ineffaceable; it is an earthly immortality.