The graceful acts that she
shows forth to all
Rival in calls to love that love must hear;
Fair in all like her, fairest she’ll appear
Who is most like her. We, content to call
Her face a Miracle, have Faith made sure:
For that, He made her ever to endure.
Her aspect shows delights
Seen in her eyes and in her smiling face;
Love brought them there as to his dwelling-place.
They dazzle reason, as the Sun the eyes;
And since I cannot fix on them my gaze
Words must suffice that little speak their praise.
Rain from her beauty little
flames of fire,
Made living with a spirit to create
Good thoughts, and crush the vices that innate
Make others vile. Fair one, who may desire
Escape from blame as one not calm or meek,
From her, who is God’s thought, thy teaching seek.
My Song, it seems you speak
this to oppose
The saying of a sister Song of mine:
This lowly Lady whom you call divine,
Your sister called disdainful and morose.
Though Heaven, you know, is ever bright and pure,
Eyes may have cause to find a star obscure.
So when your sister called
this Lady proud
She judged not truly, by what seemed; but fear
Possessed her soul; and still, when I come near
Her glance, there’s dread. Be such excuse allowed,
My Song, and when thou canst, approach her, say;
My Lady, take all homage I can pay.
In the preceding treatise is described how my second Love took its rise from the compassionate countenance of a Lady; which Love, finding my Soul inclined to its ardour, after the manner of fire, was kindled from a slight spark into a great flame; so that not only during my waking hours, but during sleep, its light threw many a vision into my mind. And how great the desire which Love excited to behold this Lady, it would be impossible either to tell or to make understood. And not only of her was I thus desirous, but of all those persons who had any nearness to her, either as acquaintances or as relations. Oh! how many were the nights, when the eyes of other persons were closed in sleep, that mine, wide open, gazed fixedly upon the tabernacle of my Love.
And as the rapidly increasing fire must of necessity be seen, it being impossible for fire to remain hidden, the desire seized me to speak of the Love that I could no longer restrain within me. And although I could receive but little help from my own counsel, yet, inasmuch as, either from the will of Love or from my own promptness, I drew nigh to it many times, I deliberated, and I saw that, in speaking of Love, there could be no more beautiful nor more profitable speech than that which commends the beloved person.