[Ladies, who of my lord would fain be told]

By Gaspara Stampa 1523–1554 Gaspara Stampa

Translated By Lorna De Lucchi

Ladies, who of my lord would fain be told,
Picture a gentle knight, full sweet to see,
Though young in years, in wisdom passing old,
Model of glory and of valiancy;
Fair-haired, bright colour glowing in his face,
Tall and well-set, broad-shouldered, finally,
In all his parts a paragon of grace
Except in loving wantonly, ah me!
   Who'd know myself, picture a woman wrought
In passion and in presence after pain's
And death's own bitter images, a port
Of safety where untroubled rest remains;
One who with neither tears, nor sighs, nor zest
Wakes pity in her cruel lover's breast.

Source: An Anthology of Italian Poems ()

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Poet Gaspara Stampa 1523–1554


SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance


Gaspara Stampa was a 16th-century poet, musician, and singer born in Padua, Italy. Following her father’s death in the 1530s, she and her mother moved to Venice. There, her family home became an epicenter of Venetian cultural society. She was highly admired for her lyrical verses, which often elicited comparisons to Sappho. Despite her premature death at the age of 31, Stampa produced more than 300 poems, most of which were . . .

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SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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