Excerpts from:

Poliziano's Stanze per la giostra di Giuliano de' Medici


Quickly, Cupid, hidden in those beautiful eyes,
adjusts the notch of his arrow to his bowstring,
then he draws back with his powerful arm so
that the two ends of his bow meet; his left
hand is touched by the point of fiery gold, his
right breast by the string: the arrow does not be-
gin to hiss through the air before Julio has felt
it inside his heart.

Ah, what a change came over him! Ah, how the
fire rushed all through the young man's marrow!
What a trembling shook the heart within his
breast! He was soaked with an icy sweat; made
avid for her sweet face, not once can he remove
his eyes from hers; utterly captured by their
charming splendor, the wretch does not per-
ceive that therein is Love.

He does not perceive that Love therein is armed
solely to disturb his long peace; he does not per-
ceive the knot by which he is already tied, he
does not recognize his still secret wounds: he is
lime-snared entirely by pleasure and desire, and
thus the hunter is taken in the net. He inwardly
praises her arms, her face, and her hair, and in
her he discerns something divine.

She is fair-skinned, unblemished white, and
white is her garment, though ornamented with
roses, flowers, and grass; the ringlets of her gold-
en hair descend on a forehead humbly proud.
The whole forest smiles about her, and, as it
may, lightens her cares; in her movement she is
regally mild, her glance alone could quiet a tem-

From her eyes there flashes a honeyed calm in
which Cupid hides his torch; wherever she turns
those amorous eyes, the air about her becomes
serene. Her face, sweetly painted with privet and
roses, is filled with heavenly joy; every breeze is
hushed before her divine speech, and every little
bird sings out in its own language.

Beside her goes humble, gentle Chastity, who
turns the key to every locked heart; with her
goes Nobility with kindly appearance and imi-
tates her sweet graceful step. No base soul can
regard her face without first representing of its
faults; Love captures, wounds, and kills all those
hearts with whom she sweetly speaks or sweetly

She would resemble Thalia if she took lyre in
hand, Minerva, if she held a spear; if she had a
bow in hand and quiver at her side, you would
swear she was chaste Diana. Anger, grieving,
withdraws from before her countenance, Pride
avails little in her presence; every sweet virtue is
in her company, Beauty and Grace point her out.

She was seated upon the grass, and, lighthearted,
had woven a garland out of as many flowers as
nature ever created, the flowers with which her
garment was decorated. As first she noticed the
youth, she somewhat timidly raised her head;
then having gathered up the hem of her skirt
with her white hand, she rose to her feet, her lap
filled with flowers.