Boccaccio: Of his last sight of Fiammetta

ROUND her red garland and her golden hair
I saw a fire about Fiammetta’s head;
Thence to a little cloud I watch’d it fade,
Than silver or than gold more brightly fair;

And like a pearl that a gold ring doth bear,
Even so an angel sat therein, who sped
Alone and glorious throughout heaven, array’d
In sapphires and in gold that lit the air.

Then I rejoiced as hoping happy things,
Who rather should have then discern’d how God
Had haste to make my lady all his own,

Even as it came to pass. And with these stings
Of sorrow, and with life’s most weary load
I dwell, who fain would be where she is gone.


Translation by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, first published 1861.

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