Petrarch On the Restoration of the Divinely Ordained Authority of the Holy Roman Emperor

Charlemagne's scion, whose head is adorned
with the royal crown of his ancestor,
has taken up arms to bring Babylon down
and all that take their name from her.

and the Vicar of Christ returns to the nest
with the mantle and the burdensome keys,
and if no further accident deters him,
he'll reach Bologna, and then noble Rome.

That mild and gentle lamb of yours
destroys the fierce wolves: and so may it be
with all who shatter lawful alliances.

Console her then, you whom she waits for,
and Rome who still complains of her spouse,
and take up the sword now for Christ.

"Bears, wolves, lions, eagles and serpents
commit atrocities against a great
marble column, and harm themselves by it.
Because this gentle lady grieves at it,
she calls to you that you may root out
those evil plants that will never flower.
For more than a thousand years now
she has lacked those gracious spirits
who had placed her where she was.
Ah, you new people, proud by any measure,
lacking in reverence for such and so great a mother!
You, be husband and father:
all help is looked for from your hands,
for the Holy Father attends to other things.

It rarely happens that injurious fortune
is not opposed to the highest enterprises,
when hostile fate is in tune with ill.
But now clearing the path you take,
she makes me pardon many other offences,
being out of sorts with herself:
so that in all the history of the world
the way was never so open to a mortal man
to achieve, as you can, immortal fame,
by helping a nobler monarchy, if I
am not mistaken, rise to its feet.
What glory will be yours, to hear:
'Others helped her when she was young and strong:
this one saved her from death in her old age.'

On the Tarpeian Rock, my song, you'll see
a knight, whom all Italy honours,
thinking of others more than of himself.
Say to him: 'One who has not seen you close to,
and only loves you from your human fame,
tells you that all of Rome
with eyes wet and bathed with sorrow,
begs mercy of you from all her seven hills.'


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