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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Sonnet CXXIX

As silver moons change always in their shape,
so too my thoughts are changing constantly.

As tides shift all about and dance all day,
so too my thoughts lack steadfast constancy.

As trees, moved by the wind, so swiftly sway,
so too my thoughts return and quickly flee.

Each day brings joy and lovely happiness,
perhaps another rains eternally.
Still others bring revengeful, angry bliss
while many more are peaceful, calm, serene.

And though my thoughts are fickle and at best
return to thus revisit me,
poor Time and Math and Science must confess
they lack the freedom of a drifting dream.


  1. Inspired by the text of:

    "Splenda l'alba in oriente, HWV 166"
    an Italian cantata by Georg Friedrich Händel (text author unknown), as follows:

    Splenda l'alba in oriente,
    cada il sole in occidente,
    virtù sempre esalterò.

    Sia la lingua più canora,
    sia la cetra più sonora,
    oltre il ciel, oltre le stelle,
    le sue belle
    alte glorie innalzerò.

    Tu, armonica Cecilia,
    che rapisti col canto,
    che incantasti col suono,
    fa pur che sia concesso
    a questo stuol de' tuoi seguaci egregi
    imitarne i tuoi pregi,
    perché un nobil natale
    si rende oscur senza virtute uguale.

    La virtute è un vero nume
    del mortal nel basso mondo.

    Chi si scosta dal suo lume
    va dell'ombre nel profondo.

    Translation (by Anthony Hicks):


    Whether the dawn shines in the east,
    or the sun sinks in the west,
    I shall always extol virtue.

    Let my voice be more melodious,
    let my lyre be more harmonious,
    beyond heaven and beyond the stars
    I shall exalt
    her high and beautiful glories.

    You, harmonious Cecilia,
    who ravished with your singing,
    who enchanted with your playing,
    let it be granted to this gathering
    of your worthy followers
    that they may imitate your merits,
    for a noble birth becomes obscure
    without virtue to match.

    Virtue is a true god
    of mortals in this world below.

    Whoever turns away from her light
    wanders in deepest shadows.

  2. This is an inverted Petrarchan sonnet by the way: it opens with the six lines instead of the eight. The first six are broken into three groups of two and the last eight are broken into two groups of four.


A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.

I say it just
Begins to live
That day.

- Emily Dickinson

Thanks, Wordle!