Poem of the Day 19

If I could be certain of your love,
from what your words and face display,
which often conceal a changing mind;
if external signs revealed what the mind
conceals within, so that a person
were not so often entrapped by deceit,
I would cast aside this fear, for which,
however I tried to protect myself,
I would be mocked as simple and unwise;
“to the same place one can take many roads,”

From Veronica Franco’s poems in terza rima. Read the rest here.

Poem of the Day 18

Take , King, sum of virtue and perfection,

what my hand reaches out to give you:

this carved and colored countenance,

in which my living, real self is represented.

And if such a lowly and imperfect image

is not what your blessed gaze expects,

Consider my motive rather than the result.

A small spark can still kindle a great flame.

And because your undying, celestial valor,

tested by a thousand trials in war and peace,

filled my soul with noble wonder,

So the desire felt in a woman’s heart

to raise you above heaven, beyond this world,

see, expressed and proved, in this likeness of me.

–Veronica Franco, Sonnet 2 on Henri III

Poem of the Day 17

As from heaven down to a humble roof

Beneficent Jove descents to us here below,

and to avoid blinding mortal eyes

with such a noble sight, takes human shape:

so to my poor dwelling came Henri

without royal show, which blinds and dazzles–

Henri, whom fate chose for such an empire

that one world alone cannot contain it.

Even so disguised, into my heart

he shone such a ray of his divine virtue

that my innate strength completely failed me.

So, assured of the depth of my affection,

he took away my image, in enamel and paint,

away with him in gracious, open spirit.

–Veronica Franco, Sonnet 1 on Henri III