Sonnet 78 To Laura in Life
Counsel to Abandon Earthly Pleasure

Friend, as we both in confidence complain
To see our ill-placed hopes return in vain,
Let that chief good which must for ever please
Exalt our thought and fix our happiness.
This world as some gay flowery field is spread,
Which hides a serpent in its painted bed,
And most it wounds when most it charms our eyes,
At once the tempter and the paradise.
And would you, then, sweet peace of mind restore,
And in fair calm expect your parting hour?-
Leave the mad train, and court the happy few.
Well may it be replied, "O friend, you show
Others the path, from which so often you
Have strayed, and now stray farther than before."

Francesco Petrarca
Translated by Basil Kennet


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