Page:The Yellow Book - 01.djvu/255

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The Love-Story of Luigi Tansillo


Now that my wings are spread to my desiré,
The more vast height withdraws the dwindling land,
Wider to wind these pinions I expand,
And earth disdain, and higher mount and higher
Nor of the fate of Icarus inquire,
Or cautious droop, or sway to either hand;
Dead I shall fall, full well I understand;
But who lives gloriously as I expire?
Yet hear I my own heart that pleading cries,
Stay, madman! Whither art thou bound? Descend!
Ruin is ready Rashness to chastise.
But I, Fear not, though this indeed the end;
Cleave we the clouds, and praise our destinies,
If noble fall on noble flight attend.

The above sonnet, one of the finest in Italian literature, is already known to many English readers in another translation by the late Mr. J. Addington Symonds, which originally appeared in the Cornhill Magazine, and is prefixed to his translation of the sonnets of Michael Angelo and Campanella (London, 1878), under the title of "The Philosopher's Flight." In his preface Mr. Symonds says: "The sonnet prefixed as a proem