For once the ungenerous Gods have been Ben si può dir che a voi largo e cortese
The ungenerous Gods are for once generous
and courteous. To you, lady, they have,
the bright Aretino loves you. He will
provide you with the defenses that you need

against fierce time's bitter decays; against
the world's bitter biting sarcasms;
he will shelter you from her deep wounds
the knife-like damage one bears.

Certainly you have more reason than all
other women to walk with pride, since the man
whom all honor and fear honors you.

I tell you many will say, thinking thus :
this Venus of the third sphere, Sirena
belongs with both Beatrice and Laura

Ben si può dir che a voi largo e cortese,
bella donna, sia stato il Cielo avaro
de le sue grazie poiché 'l spirto chiaro
per voi de l'Arretino arse e si accese;

queste saran gli schermi e le diffese
che vi toranno al morso empio ed amaro
del fiero tempo, e questo fia 'l riparo
contra le gravi sue pungenti offese.

Certo giusta cagion de gire altera
più ch'altra savete, poiché sol vi onora
quello che tutto il mondo onora e teme;

quanti diranno, ragionando ancora,
"Sol con Beatrice fia e con Laura insieme,
Sirena eterna ne la terza spera."


Rizzardi 40:54; Chiapetti 36:56; 1995 Bullock 50:114. For Key see A Note on the Italian texts


For full information on the woman, variants, commentary and paraphrase see 1995 Bullock pp. 114-6n. The woman is Angela di Tornibeni di Padova, wife of Gian Antonio Sirena, and was passionately loved by Aretino who had asked various poets to write poems in her honor. Gambara sent Aretino this sonnet in a letter dated August 26, 1536 (see Rizzardi CXIV, pp. 282-4; Chiappetti CXVII:272-5; Finzi p. 44n53).The phrase "il cielo avaro" which Colonna uses so often is common in Gambara. In line 14 Veronica puns on the woman's name; the third sphere of the same line was said to belong to Venus.
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