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Sonnet

Louise Labé, translated from the Italian by Richard Sieburth

Nor Ulysses, nor any craftier man,
At the sight of your O so godly face,
So full of honor & respect & grace,
Could have predicted what a wreck I am.

Love, your eyes drove through me like a blade,
Piercing my startled heart in one fell deed,
And there you settle down, there you feed,
But you alone can heal the wound you made.

How cruel a thing is fate, how inhumane!
Here I am, recovering from a scorpion’s bite,
Asking its venom to make me well again.

Love, rid me of everything I sorely dread,
But don’t erase that ache I so desire:
Without this lack, I might as well be dead.

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