Canzone: On the Death of Beatrice Portinari

Albeit my prayers have not so long delay'd,
But craved for thee, ere this, that Pity and Love
Which only bring our heavy life some rest;
Yet is not now the time so much o'erstay'd
But that these words of mine which tow'rds thee move
Must find thee still with spirit dispossess'd,
And say to thee: " In Heaven she now is bless'd,
Even as the blessed name men called her by;"
While thou dost ever cry,
" Alas! the blessing of mine eyes is flown!"
Behold, these words set down
Are needed still, for still thou sorrowest.
Then hearken; I would yield advisedly
Some comfort: Stay these sighs; give ear to me.

We know for certain that in this blind world
Each man's subsistence is of grief and pain,
Still trailed by fortune through all bitterness.
Blessed the soul which, when its flesh is furl'd
Within a shroud, rejoicing doth attain
To Heaven itself, made free of earthly stress.
Then wherefore sighs thy heart in abjectness,
Which for her triumph should exult aloud?
For He the Lord our God
Hath called her, hearkening what her Angel said,
To have Heaven perfected.
Each saint for a new thing beholds her face,
And she the face of our Redemption sees,
Conversing with immortal substances.

Why now do pangs of torment clutch thy heart
Which with thy love should make thee overjoy'd,
As him whose intellect hath passed the skies?
Behold, the spirits of thy life depart
Daily to Heaven with her, they so are buoy'd
With their desire, and Love so bids them rise.
O God! and thou, a man whom God made wise,
To nurse a charge of care, and love the same!
I bid thee in His Name
From sin of sighing grief to hold thy breath,
Nor let thy heart to death,
Nor harbour death's resemblance in thine eyes.
God hath her with Himself eternally,
Yet she inhabits every hour with thee.

Be comforted, Love cries, be comforted!
Devotion pleads, Peace, for the love of God!
O yield thyself to prayers so full of grace;
And make thee naked now of this dull weed
Which 'neath thy foot were better to be trod;
For man through grief despairs and ends his days.
How ever shouldst thou see the lovely face
If any desperate death should once be thine?
From justice so condign
Withdraw thyself even now; that in the end
Thy heart may not offend
Against thy soul, which in the holy place,
In Heaven, still hopes to see her and to be
Within her arms. Let this hope comfort thee.

Look thou into the pleasure wherein dwells
Thy lovely lady who is in Heaven crown'd,
Who is herself thy hope in Heaven, the while
To make thy memory hallowed she avails;
Being a soul within the deep Heaven bound,
A face on thy heart painted, to beguile
Thy heart of grief which else should turn it vile.
Even as she seemed a wonder here below,
On high she seemeth so, —
Yea, better known, is there more wondrous yet.
And even as she was met
First by the angels with sweet song and smile,
Thy spirit bears her back upon the wing,
Which often in those ways is journeying.

Of thee she entertains the blessed throngs,
And says to them: " While yet my body thrave
On earth, I gat much honour which he gave,
Commending me in his commended songs."
Also she asks alway of God our Lord
To give thee peace according to His word.
Author of original: 
Cino da Pistoia
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