On Good Friday 1327 the poet Petrarch first saw and fell in love with a young woman he called Laura. Written over a period of more than forty years, the poems of the Canzoniere are an intense and passionate discourse on his unrequited love. The 'lovely hand, gripping my heart so tight' provokes moods that range from melancholy, resignation and remorse to jubilant hope and spiritual exaltation.
Petrarch has been described as the father of Renaissance humanism and is the undisputed founder of the sonnet sequence. The massive range of his works in Latin made him famous in his lifetime, but it is the Canzoniere, in the vernacular Italian, that provided a rhetoric of introspection for later Renaissance sonneteers such as Edmund Spencer and Philip Sidney. This bilingual edition is a selection of sixty poems and remains faithful to Petrarchan structure and technique, with a lyrical and moving English translation.