Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Waddington, ed. > The Sonnets of Europe
Samuel Waddington, comp.  The Sonnets of Europe.  1888.
Love’s Bondman
By Fra Guittone d’Arezzo (c. 1235–1294)
Translated by Henry Francis Cary

GREAT 1 joy it were to me to join the throng
  That thy celestial throne, O Lord, surround,
  Where perfect peace and pardon shall be found,
  Peace for good doings, pardon for the wrong;
Great joy to hear the vault of heaven prolong        5
  That everlasting trumpet’s mighty sound,
  That shall to each award their final bound,
  Wailing to these, to those the blissful song.
All this, dear Lord, were welcome to my soul,
  For on his brow then every one shall bear        10
  Inscribed, what late was hidden in the heart;
And round my forehead wreath’d a lettered scroll
  Shall in this tenor my sad fate declare:
  “Love’s bondman, I from him might never part.”
Note 1. Fra Guittone D’Arezzo, who flourished about 1250 A.D., belonged to the religious and military order of Cavalieri di Santa Maria; and Rossetti, in his Dante and his Circle, observes that Guittone seems to have enjoyed a greater literary reputation than almost any writer of his day. He also points out that the sonnet by Guittone to “The Virgin” is somewhat remarkable from Petrarch’s having transplanted its last line into his Trionfi d’ Amore. Guittone wrote more than two hundred sonnets; and although Lodovico Vernaccia and Piero delle Vigne preceded him in the composition of this form of verse, yet the number of sonnets they have left us is so small, as compared with those by Guittone, that we are justified in considering him the first principal writer of the “Sonnet.” [back]

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