Madrigal by Chiara Matraini

When first encountering this beautiful sight,
my lord, I am engulfed by an icy flame
that little by little burns and destroys me from within.
Yet so sweet is that fire
that my heart rejoices even as my soul shatters,
and if the one gives it place
the other truly detests the sound.
So I do not understand if I live or die,
while I go on offending myself with pleasure.

From: Matraini, Chiara and Maclachlan, Elaine (ed. and transl.), Selected Poetry and Prose : A Bilingual Edition, 2014, University of Chicago Press: Chicago and London, p. 49.

Date: 1555 (original in Italian); 2008 (translation in English)

By: Chiara Matraini (1515-1604)

Translated by: Elaine Maclachlan (19??- )

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