Sonnet XVII. He Compares Himself to a Moth by Francesco Petrarca

Creatures there are in life of such keen sight
That no defence they need from noonday sun,
And others dazzled by excess of light
Who issue not abroad till day is done,
And, with weak fondness, some because ’tis bright,
Who in the death-flame for enjoyment run,
Thus proving theirs a different virtue quite—
Alas! of this last kind myself am one;
For, of this fair the splendour to regard,
I am but weak and ill—against late hours
And darkness gath’ring round—myself to ward.
Wherefore, with tearful eyes of failing powers,
My destiny condemns me still to turn
Where following faster I but fiercer burn.

From: Petrarch, The Sonnets, Triumphs, and Other Poems of Petrarch, 1879, George Bell and Sons: London, p. 16.

Date: 1336-1338 (original in Italian); 1854 (translation in English)

By: Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374)

Translated by: Robert Guthrie MacGregor (1805-1869)


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