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


II. Unacknowledged and Uncollected Translations. A Florentine Song

IF I am fair’t is for myself alone,

I do not wish to have a sweetheart near me,

Nor would I call another’s heart my own,

Nor have a gallant lover to revere me.

For surely I will plight my faith to none,

Though many an amorous cit would jump to hear me

For I have heard that lovers prove deceivers,

When once they find that maidens are believers.

Yet should I find one that in truth could please me,

One whom I thought my charms had power to move,

Why then, I do confess, the whim might seize me,

To taste for once the porringer of love.

Alas! there is one pair of eyes that tease me;

And then that mouth!—he seems a star above,

He is so good, so gentle, and so kind,

And so unlike the sullen, clownish hind.

What love may be, indeed I cannot tell,

Nor if I e’er have known his cunning arts;

But true it is, there’s one I like so well,

That when he looks at me my bosom starts.

And, if we meet, my heart begins to swell;

And the green fields around, when he departs,

Seem like a nest from which the bird has flown;

Can this be love?—say—ye who love have known.