Life is most dear and after life it seems to me Cara la vita et doppo lei me pare
Life is most dear and after life it seems
to me ...
Cara la vita et doppo lei me pare


1525, June. After VC sent her letter to Pescara urging him to make up the quarrel with Giovanni Guevara, Count of Potenza she sent him a cenzone based on Petrarch's Sonnet, today numbered 262 (Durling, p. 425) whose context Castriota is very unclear about: it would appear from what he writes that one, she may have been still urging Pescara to act virtuously towards Potenza (to behave otherwise is so low; Pescara will foul up his bright light by "una materia si scabrosa"); or two, she may have been now also thinking about the suspicion Pescara is now bringing on himself by at least seeming to be tempted by Morone (Castriota alludes to Morone in the vaguest of terms); or even three, she is already clearing up his reputation which is beginning to be clouded over by the world's suspicions (this seems to make least sense of the presumed sonnet-cenzone when we read Petrarch's original.

Petrarch's sonnet is as follows (in Durling's translation): Cara la vita, et dopo lei me pare": One person is speaking to another:

'Life is most dear, it seems to me, and after that, true virtue in a beautiful woman.' 'You reverse the order! There never were, mother, things lovely or dear without virtue,

'and whoever lets herself be deprived of honor is no longer a lady and no longer alive; and if she appears the same to sight, her life is much more harsh and cruel than death, and more bitter with sorrow.

'Nor did I ever marvel at Lucretia, except that she needed the steel to die and that her sorrow alone did not suffice;

Let all philosophers of all times come and speak about this: all their ways will be low, and her alone we shall see mount up in flight!


Sixth fragment of poetry, a lost cenzone, cited by CCastriota, FMTordi, p. 506; also cited by Visconti, "Discorso Preliminare", p. XXXIV (who as in the case of the fourth fragment, places this poem with the missing letter of July 1525, and sees it as yet another instance of Vittoria pleading with Pescara not to be tempted by Morone; this is again the conventionally-acceptable and admirable moral context everyone likes to place VC in). See also MRoscoe, p. 336 who follows Visconti's interpretation


If VC follows same procedure she did in her later cenzone ("Occhi miei, oscurato, il nostro sole"), upon Petrarch's sonnet today number 275 (Durling. p. 455), she repeated the same ideas and several of the same phrases of the above poem. It is clear she is severely rebuking Pescara either for his treacherous behavior in the matter of his female relative or in the matter of Morone.

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