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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.


From the Italian. The Nature of Love

By Guido Guinizelli

To noble heart Love doth for shelter fly,

As seeks the bird the forest’s leafy shade;

Love was not felt till noble heart beat high,

Nor before love the noble heart was made.

Soon as the sun’s broad flame

Was formed, so soon the clear light filled the air;

Yet was not till he came:

So love springs up in noble breasts, and there

Has its appointed space,

As heat in the bright flames finds its allotted place.

Kindles in noble heart the fire of love,

As hidden virtue in the precious stone:

This virtue comes not from the stars above,

Till round it the ennobling sun has shone;

But when his powerful blaze

Has drawn forth what was vile, the stars impart

Strange virtue in their rays;

And thus when Nature doth create the heart

Noble and pure and high,

Like virtue from the star, love comes from woman’s eye.