Friday, December 5, 2008

"Truly I can do no sin..."

"I rejoice that each day to increase my fire you cunningly devise some fresh incitement, such as that which encircled your glowing brow today. If you do such things because, feeling some little warmth yourself, you wish to see another burn, I shall not deny that for each spark of yours untold Etnas are raging in my breast. And if you do so because it is natural for you to relish another's suffering, who in all justice could blame me if he but knew the reasons for my ardour? Truly I can do no sin if I put my faith in such a gospel and in so many miracles. Let Love wreak just revenge for me, if upon your brow you are not the same as in your heart."

Pietro Bembo, July 1503, from The Prettiest Love Letters in the World: Letters between Lucrezia Borgia and Pietro Bembo 1503 to 1519, trans. by Hugh Shankland, David R. Godine, Pub., 1987.

Portrait of a Woman (possibly Lucrezia Borgia), Bartolomeo Veneziano (1470-1531). Image from Wikimedia Commons.

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