Because I have No Hope
illustrator Florence Manlik
Because I have no hope of ever going back,
little song, to Tuscany
go, lightly and softly,
straight and unto my lady,
who with her courtesy,
will honor you greatly,
You’ll bring her grievous news
of my great fear and sighs,
but see that you’re unseen
by low ignoble eyes,
for, through my dismal fate,
you’d be put aside,
causing me great grief,
and when I’ve died
more tears and yet more pain.
You can sense, little song, my life
is being driven out by death;
you sense my heart is beating hard
and all my thoughts are disgraced.
My body so destroyed is
that further pain I cannot bear.
If you would truly serve me well
accept my soul, when it leaves my heart,
and take it with you—this I pray—
when you too go away.
O my song, to your kind care
this trembling soul I now entrust.
Take it, in its sad state, with you
to the wonderous lady I send you to.
O tell her with your fervent sights,
when you have come before her eyes,
“This your servant,
departed from the one
who was to love a servant true,
has come to you to stay”
You, voice downcast and faint
that issues from this grievous heart,
go with my soul and this small song,
telling of my ended life.
In that lady you will find
such pleasure in her sweet mind,
and delight, and so remain
with her forever more.
You too, my soul, adore her
for her goodness, always.
translated by Ron Padgett