Brilliant and Lovely Eyes by Veronica Gambara

Brilliant and lovely eyes
How can it be that in one single instant
You give birth to so many varied moods?

Happy and sad, exalted, humble, proud—
You shine forth in a flash, in which, with hope
And fear you fill me full,
And many other sweet effects—bitter and wild—
All come together in a heart on fire
With you, when you desire.

Now that you are both life and death to me,
O joyful eyes, O blessed eyes and dear,
Be evermore serene, happy and clear.

From: Stortoni, Laura Anna and Lillie, Mary Prentice (eds. and transls.), Women Poets of the Italian Renaissance: Courtly Ladies and Courtesans, 1997, Italica Press: New York, p. 33.

Date: c1530 (original in Italian); 1997 (translation in English)

By: Veronica Gambara (1485-1550)

Translated by: Laura Anna Stortoni (1942- ) and Mary Prentice Lillie Barrows (1906-1998)

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