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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
To the Princesses of Ferrara
By Torquato Tasso (1544–1595)
 
For their Intercession with the Duke

O figlie di Renanta

Translation of Jeremiah Holmes Wiffen

DAUGHTERS of lorn Renée, give ear! to you
  I talk, in whom birth, beauty, sense refined,
Virtue, gentility, and glory true
  Are in such perfect harmony combined;
To you my sorrows I unfold,—a scroll        5
  Of bitterness,—my wrongs, my griefs, my fears,
Part of my tale;—I cannot tell the whole,
          But by rebellious tears!
I will recall you to yourselves, renew
  Memory of me, your courtesies, your smile        10
Of gracious kindness, and (vowed all to you)
          My past delightful years:
  What then I was, what am: what, woe the while!
I am reduced to beg; from whence; what star
Guided me hither; who with bolt and bar        15
Confines; and who, when I for freedom grieved,
Promised me hope, yet still that hope deceived!
 
These I call back to you, O slips divine
  Of glorious demigods and kings! and if
  My words are weak and few, the tears which grief        20
Wrings out are eloquent enough: I pine
For my loved lutes, lyres, laurels; for the shine
  Of suns; for my dear studies, sports, my late
So elegant delights,—mirth, music, wine;
  Piazzas, palaces, where late I sate,        25
Now the loved servant, now the social friend,—
For health destroyed, for freedom at an end,
  The gloom—the solitude—th’ eternal grate—
And for the laws the Charities provide,
Oh, agony! to me denied! denied!        30
 
From my sweet brotherhood of men, alas,
Who shuts me out!
 
 
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