Dante Alighieri

(1265 - 1321 / Florence / Italy)

Love and the Gentle Heart


Love and the gentle heart are one thing,
just as the poet says in his verse,
each from the other one as well divorced
as reason from the mind’s reasoning.

Nature craves love, and then creates love king,
and makes the heart a palace where he’ll stay,
perhaps a shorter or a longer day,
breathing quietly, gently slumbering.

Then beauty in a virtuous woman’s face
makes the eyes yearn, and strikes the heart,
so that the eyes’ desire’s reborn again,
and often, rooting there with longing, stays,

Till love, at last, out of its dreaming starts.
Woman’s moved likewise by a virtuous man.

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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  • John McPartlan (6/10/2004 9:32:00 PM)

    Dante's depiction of love as slumbering is something we can all associate with. The searing thrill of love often burns like a fire and settles into a warm glow, slumbering, happily. True, desire can be rekindled by a beautiful face. That is something we can easily associate with. But it is often in the sudden realisation that the face of your loved one has been obscured to you by the hurly burly of life. A flame flickers and the firelight casts her in a light you have not seen for years. And passion rekindles the fire of love. (Report) Reply

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