|Dante Gabriel Rosetti: The Day Dream, 1880.|
Back in the 1300's, before card stores and chocolate manufacturers all conspired to commercialize the true spirit of love, passion, and romance, Francesco Petrarca literally wrote the book on infatuation. The collection of Italian verses, Rime in vita e morta di Madonna Laura (after 1327), translated into English as Petrarch's Sonnets, were inspired by Petrarch's unrequited passion for Laura (probably Laure de Noves), a young woman Petrarca first saw in church.
Head-over-heels in love with Laura, Petrarca wrote 365 sonnets, one passionate poem a day dedicated to his true love. Considered the first modern poet because of his interest in individuality, the Italian poet perfected the sonnet during the 14th century. The sonnet, a lyric poem of 14 lines with a formal rhyme scheme, expresses different aspects of a thought, mood, or feeling.
|When Love within her lovely face appears|
now and again among the other ladies,
as much as each is less lovely than she
the more my wish I love within me grows.
I bless the place, the time and hour of the day
that my eyes aimed their sights at such a height,
and say: 'My soul, you must be very grateful
that you were found worthy of such great honour
From her to you comes loving thought that leads,
as long as you pursue, to highest good,
esteeming little what all men desire;
there comes from her all joyous honesty
that leads you by the straight path up to Heaven-
already I fly high upon my hope.'
Quando fra l'altre donne ad ora ad ora
Amor vien nel bel viso di costei,
quanto ciascuna è men bella di lei
tanto cresce 'l desio che m'innamora.
I' benedico il loco e 'l tempo et l'ora
che sí alto miraron gli occhi mei,
et dico: Anima, assai ringratiar dêi
che fosti a tanto honor degnata allora.
Da lei ti vèn l'amoroso pensero,
che mentre 'l segui al sommo ben t'invia,
pocho prezando quel ch'ogni huom desia;
da lei vien l'animosa leggiadria
ch'al ciel ti scorge per destro sentero,
sí ch'i' vo già de la speranza altero.
Francesco Petrarca, 1304-1374.