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The scholar Robert Durling suggests the following as common themes and motifs of Petrarchan verse. You’ll recognize some of them as the basis for our modern language of love: “love at first sight, obsessive yearning and lovesickness, frustration, love as parallel to feudal service; the lady as ideally beautiful, ideally virtuous, miraculous, beloved in Heaven, and destined to early death, love as virtue, love as idolatry, love as sensuality; the god of love with his arrows, fires, whips, chain; war within the self—hope fear, joy, sorrow. Conceits, wit, urbane cleverness; wooing, exhortation, outcry; praise, blame; self-examination, self-accusation, self-defense; repentance and the farewell to love.”Here’s Durling’s translation (in prose) of Petrarch’s famous first vision of his “Laura.” Note not only the allegorical way he understands passion (“Desire” . . . “Love” . . . “Pleasure,” etc.), but also the specificity with which he communicates his obsession in the final sentence:Petrarch’s “Rime” #210Desire spurs me, Love guides and escorts me, Pleasure draws me, Habit carries me away; Hope entices and encourages me and reaches out his right hand to my weary heart, and my wretched heart grasps it and does not see how blind and treacherous this guide of ours is; the senses govern and reason is dead; and one yearning desire is born after another. Virtue, honor, beauty, gentle bearing, sweet words brought us to the lovely branches, that my heart my be sweetly enlimed. One thousand three hundred twenty-seven, exactly