Sunday, March 20, 2016

Strive Not the Less

Sonnet VII
by Petrarch
translated by Charles Tomlinson

Intemperance, Ease, and Pleasure's beds of down
So rule the world, that every virtue's dead;
And Nature's course is so by Fashion led,
That her wise teaching men now scarcely own;

And every light benign of Heaven is gone,
By which life's path, in honour, we may tread;
So that men gaze in wonder when 'tis said
There are who feed the stream of Helicon.

Thus speak the crowd, all basely bent on gain,
"Who now the laurel crown or myrtle prize?
Philosophy both poor and naked goes."

Who court the Muse have few to sympathise.
But, gentle Friend, strive not the less to obtain,
The wreath that such high work as thine bestows.

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