Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.

Rhone, the River

To the Rhone

By Francesco Petrarca (1304–1374)

Translated by Susan Wallaston

O RAPID flood! which from thy mountain bed

Gnawest thy shores, whence (in my tongue) thy name;

Thou art my partner, night and day the same,

Where I by love, thou art by nature led:

Precede me now; no weariness doth shed

Its spell o’er thee, no sleep thy course can tame;

Yet ere the ocean waves thy tribute claim,

Pause, where the herb and air seem brighter fed.

There beams our sun of life, whose genial ray

With brighter verdure thy left shore adorns;

Perchance (vain hope!) e’en now my stay she mourns.

Kiss then her foot, her lovely hand, and may

Thy kiss to her in place of language speak,

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.