Sacred virgin, your beautiful body O gran misterio e sol per fede inteso!
Sacred virgin, your beautiful body
became God's humble low temple, and strong
and good, you came down to us from heaven,
a miracle we can't understand, just

His strong presence gave your humility
a radiance he so longed to preserve,
without touching or marring your temple
he retreated into and came forth from

He grew in you, like the morning dew found
on white fleece, like the water we find on
parched earth, replenished for us only by

He did this, this the sign, our assurance,
of this unearthly beauty let us sing
with you today, of God never enough

Oh, gran misterio, e sol per fede inteso!
Fatto è 'l bel corpo tuo tempio di Dio,
Vergine santa, e 'n quello, umile e pio,
è per propria virtù dal Ciel disceso!

Fu de l'umiltà tua sì forte acceso,
e tanto di salvarne ebbe desio
ch'in te si chiuse, e di te fuori uscio
non tocco il virginal chiostro od offeso!

Creossi in te, come nel bianco bello
la celeste rugiada, arida essendo
la terra ed egli sol d'acqua ripieno!

Questo l'effetto fu, fu il segno quello;
però teco cantiamo oggi dicendo:
"Gloria al Signor, non ami lodato a pieno!"


Rizzardi 33:47; Chiapetti 29:48; 1995 Bullock 55:155-56. Previous translations: Poss 63, Jerrold 144-145. Relevant; letters reprinted Rizzardi XIII, 126-7; Chiapetti XIII, 106-8 and Bembo, 1552/64, pp 31recto - 31 verson and Chiappetti XIV, 330-31. For Key see A Note on the Italian texts


Bullock suggests that it was this sonnet and not "Vinca gli sdegni e l'odio vostro antico" (Conquer your scorn and your long-held hatred," which Gambara sent to Bembo and he mentions in his September 16, 1539 letter. See 1995 Bullock pp. 155-6n.
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