Love, Hope, Desire, and Fear
Published by Dr. Garnett, "Relics of Shelley", 1862. 'A very free translation of Brunetto Latini's "Tesoretto", lines 81-154.'—A.C. Bradley.
And many there were hurt by that strong boy, His name, they said, was Pleasure, And near him stood, glorious beyond measure Four Ladies who possess all empery In earth and air and sea, Nothing that lives from their award is free. Their names will I declare to thee, Love, Hope, Desire, and Fear, And they the regents are Of the four elements that frame the heart, And each diversely exercised her art By force or circumstance or sleight To prove her dreadful might Upon that poor domain. Desire presented her [false] glass, and then The spirit dwelling there Was spellbound to embrace what seemed so fair Within that magic mirror, And dazed by that bright error, It would have scorned the [shafts] of the avenger And death, and penitence, and danger, Had not then silent Fear Touched with her palsying spear, So that as if a frozen torrent The blood was curdled in its current; It dared not speak, even in look or motion, But chained within itself its proud devotion. Between Desire and Fear thou wert A wretched thing, poor heart! Sad was his life who bore thee in his breast, Wild bird for that weak nest. Till Love even from fierce Desire it bought, And from the very wound of tender thought Drew solace, and the pity of sweet eyes Gave strength to bear those gentle agonies, Surmount the loss, the terror, and the sorrow. Then Hope approached, she who can borrow For poor to-day, from rich tomorrow, And Fear withdrew, as night when day Descends upon the orient ray, And after long and vain endurance The poor heart woke to her assurance. —At one birth these four were born With the world's forgotten morn, And from Pleasure still they hold All it circles, as of old. When, as summer lures the swallow, Pleasure lures the heart to follow— O weak heart of little wit! The fair hand that wounded it, Seeking, like a panting hare, Refuge in the lynx's lair, Love, Desire, Hope, and Fear, Ever will be near.