Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BALLATA: IN EXILE AT SARZANA, by GUIDO CAVALCANTI

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

BALLATA: IN EXILE AT SARZANA, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: Because I think not ever to return
Last Line: Still in her purity.
Subject(s): Absence; Separation; Isolation

Because I think not ever to return,
Ballad, to Tuscany, --
Go therefore thou for me
Straight to my lady's face,
Who, of her noble grace,
Shall show thee courtesy.
Thou seekest her in charge of many sighs,
Full of much grief and of exceeding fear.
But have good heed thou come not to the eyes
Of such as are sworn foes to gentle cheer:
For, certes, if this thing should chance, -- from her
Thou then couldst only look
For scorn, and such rebuke
As needs must bring me pain; --
Yea, after death again
Tears and fresh agony.
Surely thou knowest, Ballad, how that Death
Assails me, till my life is almost sped:
Thou knowest how my heart still travaileth
Through the sore pangs which in my soul are bred: --
My body being now so nearly dead,
It cannot suffer more.
Then, going, I implore
That this my soul thou take
(Nay, do so for my sake,)
When my heart sets it free.
Ah! Ballad, unto thy dear offices
I do commend my soul, thus trembling;
That thou mayst lead it, for pure piteousness,
Even to that lady's presence whom I sing.
Ah! Ballad, say thou to her, sorrowing,
Whereso thou meet her then: --
"This thy poor handmaiden
Is come, nor will be gone,
Being parted now from one
Who served Love painfully.'
Thou also, thou bewildered voice and weak,
That goest forth in tears from my grieved heart,
Shalt, with my soul and with this ballad, speak
Of my dead mind, when thou dost hence depart,
Unto that lady (piteous as thou art!)
Who is so calm and bright,
It shall be deep delight
To feel her presence there.
And thou, Soul, worship her
Still in her purity.

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