A couple of poems by Vittoria Colonna (1490 – 1547), translated from the original Italian.


Whene’er I look at my so great an error,

confused, to God the Father I can’t raise

the unworthy face, but to You who for us died

upon the wood, I turn a faithful heart.

Your pain and love are today my shield

against a wrath that’s ancient and yet new.

You are my only true and precious pledge,

turning to hope and joy anguish and dread.

As Your breath left you, You prayed for us: “O Father,

let those who believe join me in my kingdom.”

And now my soul at rest knows no more fear.

Now by Your mercy I believe, and know

Your burning Passion which razed all my guilt

forever, as it consumed You on the cross.


The white, sweet swan

dies singing, while I weeping

come to the end of life.

How strange and different our fate:

his death is without comfort,

mine full of blessing.

O sweet and gentle death,

to me more pleasant

than any joyous life!

O death which fills me

with great desire and mirth,

for, as the Phoenix,

I die but find new birth!