have." Then came others who said: "Look at him! He is so changed, he doesn't seem to be the same person." 7 And so, as the ladies passed, I heard their words about her and about me, as I have just related. After reflecting awhile, I decided, since I had such an excellent theme, to write a poem in which I would include everything I had heard these ladies say. And since I would have been glad to question them, if I had not thought it would be indiscreet, I presented my theme as if I had asked them questions and they had answered me. 8 I composed two sonnets: in the first I ask those questions which I had wanted to ask; in the other I give the ladies' answer, using what I had heard them say and presenting it as if they had said it in reply to me. The first sonnet begins: O you who bear, and the other: Are you the one. 9 O you who bear a look of resignation, moving with eyes downcast to show your grief, where are you coming from? Your coloring appears to be the hue of grief itself. 4 Is it our gracious lady you have seen bathing with tears Love's image in her face? O ladies, tell me what my heart tells me: I see her grace in every step you take. 8 10 And if you come from so profound a grief, may it please you to stay with me awhile 11
and tell me truly, what you know of her. I see your eyes, I see how they have wept, and how you come retreating all undone; 14 my heart is touched and shaken at the sight. 11 This sonnet divides into two parts. In the first I address these ladies and ask them if they come from my lady, telling them that I believe they do, since they come back as if made more gracious; in the second I ask them to talk to me about her. The second part begins: And if you come. 12 Here follows the other sonnet, composed in the way explained previously: 13 Are you the one that often spoke to us about our lady, and to us alone? 32 14 Your tone of voice, indeed, resembles his, but in your face we find another look. Why do you weep so bitterly? Pity would melt the heart of anyone who sees you. 36 Have you seen her weep, too, and now cannot conceal from us the sorrow in your heart? 39 15 Leave grief to us; the path of tears is ours (to try to comfort us would be a sin), we are the ones who heard her sobbing words. 42 Her face proclaims the agony she feels; if anyone had dared look into her eyes, he would have died, drowned in his tears of grief. 17 This sonnet has four parts according to the four responses of the ladies for whom I speak, and since they are made evident enough in the sonnet, I do not bother to explain the meaning of the parts: I merely indicate where they occur. The second begins: Why do you weep, the third: Leave grief to us, the fourth: Her face proclaims. xxiii 1 A few days after this it happened that my body was afflicted by a painful disease which made me suffer intense anguish continuously for nine days; I became so weak that I was forced to lie in bed like a person paralyzed.
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