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Torquato Tasso – Rhyme 268

Gregorio Lazzarini, Rinaldo and Armida, c. 1690

As if it were Proteus or a magician,
beauty shifts its shape and changes image:
comes forth now white, now black,
in two beautiful eyes, now gentle, now savage; 
now in sweet sapphires hues
 it goes on soft and pleasant tours with Love,
now with pearls, now purple,
now in the roses, now in the violets
of a face it shows itself
 looks like a star now, now the moon, the sun now;
by rare chance, sometimes,
it turns up as Silence on a dark night.

(Transl. by M. Pastore Passaro)

Come sia Proteo o mago
il bello si trasforma e cangia imago;
or si fa bianco or nero
in duo begli occhi, or mansueto or fero;
or in vaghi zaffiri
fa con Amor soavi e lieti giri;
or s’imperla or s’inostra,
or ne le rose ed or ne le vïole
d’un bel viso ei si mostra:
ora stella somiglia, or luna, or sole:
talor per gran ventura
egli par il Silenzio a notte oscura.