Poet: Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi (Metastasio)
Dates: 3 January 1698 – 12 April 1782
Title of Poem: Sonnet XVII
On thy grey bark, in witness of my flame,
I carve Miranda’s cypher–Beauteous tree!
Graced with the lovely letters of her name,
Henceforth be sacred to my love and me!
Though the tall elm, the oak, and darker pine,
With broader arms, may noon’s fierce ardours break,
To shelter me, and her I love, be thine;
And thine to see her smile and hear her speak.
No bird, ill-omen’d, round thy graceful head
Shall clamour harsh, or wave his heavy wing,
But fern and flowers arise beneath thy shade.
Where the wild bees their lullabies shall sing.
And in thy boughs the murmuring Ring-dove rest;
And there the Nightingale shall build her nest.
Brief Biography: Metastasio was considered one of the most important writers of opera seria libretti. As a child Metastasio enterntained viewers with impromptu performances of verse on any given subject attracting the attention of Giovanni Vincenzo Gravina who took the boy on as his protégé. Metastasio’s work is emotional, lyrical and romantic; his use of language is limpid and pure giving a powerful musical effect.