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


To the Duke Alphonso, Asking to Be Liberated

By Torquato Tasso (1544–1595)

Translated by Richard Henry Wilde

A NEW Ixion upon fortune’s wheel,

Whether I sink profound, or rise sublime,

One never-ceasing martyrdom I feel,

The same in woe, though changing all the time.

I wept above, where sunbeams sport and climb

The vines, and through their foliage sighs the breeze,

I burned and froze, languished, and prayed in rhyme.

Nor could your ire, nor my own grief appease.

Now in my prison, deep and dim, have grown

My torments greater still and keener far,

As if all sharpened on the dungeon-stone:

Magnanimous Alphonso! burst the bar,

Changing my fate, and not my cell alone,

And let my fortune wheel me where you are!