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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII. 1876–79.


To Scipio Gonzaga

By Torquato Tasso (1544–1595)

Translated by Richard Henry Wilde

SURE Pity, Scipio, on earth has fled

From royal breasts to seek abode in heaven;

For if she were not banished, scorned, or dead,

Would not some ear to my complaints be given?

Is noble faith at pleasure to be riven,

Though freely pledged that I had naught to dread,

And I by endless outrage to be driven

To worse than death,—the deathlike life I ’ve led?

For this is of the quick a grave; and here

Am I, a living, breathing corpse interred,

To go not forth, till prisoned in my bier;

O earth! O heaven! if love and truth are heard,

Or honor, fame, and virtue worth a tear,

Let not my prayers be fruitless or deferred!