"Monna Innominata" Sonnets i-iii by Christina Rossetti


        'Lo dì che han detto a' dolci amici addio.' — Dante
      'Amor, con quanto sforzo oggi mi vinci!' — Petrarca

Come back to me, who wait and watch for you:—
    Or come not yet, for it is over then,
    And long it is before you come again,
So far between my pleasures are and few.
While, when you come not, what I do I do
    Thinking 'Now when he comes,' my sweetest 'when?:'
    For one man is my world of all the men
This wide world holds; O love, my world is you.
Howbeit, to meet you grows almost a pang
    Because the pang of parting comes so soon;
    My hope hangs waning, waxing like a moon
      Between the heavenly days on which we meet:
Ah me, but where are now the songs I sang
      When life was sweet because you called them sweet?


        'Era già l'oa che volge il desio.' — Dante
      'Ricorro al tempo ch'io vi vidi prima.' — Petrarca

I wish I could remember, that first day,
    First hour, first moment of your meeting me,
    If bright or dim the season, it might be
Summer or Winter for aught that I can say;
So unrecorded did it slip away,
    So blind was I to see and to foresee,
    So dull to mark the budding of my tree
That would not blossom yet for many a May.
If only I could recollect it, such
    A day of days! I let it come and go
    As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow;
It seemed to me so little, meant so much;
If only now I could recall that touch,
      First touch of hand in hand—Did one but know!


        'O ombre vane, fuor che ne l'aspetto!' — Dante
      'Immaginata guida la conduce.' — Petrarca

I dream of you to wake: would that I might
    Dream of you and not wake but slumber on;
    Nor find with dreams the dear companion gone,
As Summer ended Summer birds take flight.
In happy dreams I hold you full in sight,
    I blush again who waking look so wan;
    Brighter than sunniest day that ever shone,
In happy dreams your smile makes day of night.
Thus only in a dream we are at one,
        The faith that maketh rich who take or give;
    If thus to sleep is sweeter than to wake,
        To die were surely sweeter than to live,
Though there be nothing new beneath the sun.

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