And since the intention of this Song is directed to a remedy so requisite, it was not well to speak under any figure of speech; but it was needful to prepare this medicine speedily, that speedy might be the restoration to health, which, being so corrupted, hastened to a hideous death. It will not, then, be requisite in the exposition of this Song to unveil any allegory, but simply to discuss its meaning according to the letter. By my Lady I always mean her who is spoken of in the preceding Song, that is to say, that Light of supreme virtue, Philosophy, whose rays cause the flowers of true Nobility to blossom forth in mankind and to bear fruit in the sons of men; concerning which true Nobility the proposed Song fully intends to treat.
In the beginning of the explanation now undertaken, in order to render the meaning of the proposed Song more clear and distinct, it is requisite to divide that first part into two parts, for in the first part one speaks in the manner of a Proem or Preface; in the second, the subject under discussion is continued; and the second part begins in the commencement of the stanza, where it says:
One raised to Empire held,
As far as he could see,
Descent of wealth, and generous ways,
To make Nobility.
The first part, again, can be comprehended in three divisions or members. In the first it states why I depart from my usual mode of speech; in the second, I say of what it is my intention to discourse; in the third, I call upon that Helper who most can aid me to establish Truth. The second member, clause, or division begins: “And since time suits me now.” The third begins: “First calling on that Lord.” I say then that I was compelled to abandon the soft rhymes of Love which I was accustomed to search for in my thoughts, and I assign the reason or cause; wherefore I say that it is not because I have given up all intention of making rhymes of Love, but because new aspects have appeared in my Lady which have deprived me of material for present speech of Love. Where it is to be known that it does not here say that the gestures of this Lady are disdainful and angry according to appearance only, as may be seen in the tenth chapter of the preceding treatise; for at another time I say that the appearance is contrary to the Truth; and how this can be, how one self-same thing can be sweet and appear bitter, or rather be clear and appear obscure, may there be seen clearly enough.
Afterwards when I say, “And since time suits,” I say, even as has been said, what that is whereof I intend to discourse. And that which it says in the words “time suits” is not here to be passed over with a dry foot, because there is a most powerful reason for my action; but it is to be seen how reasonably time must wait on all our acts, and especially on speech.