Laura at home, a cruel girl who would not give me satisfaction, though I offered her everything I had – everything my family had gathered over the generations. She took the gifts, but laughed in my face when I tried to claim something back from her. She let me kiss her hand; then slapped me across the face with it … and laughed. She was always laughing, that one.

“I tried to write her verses, for I had heard that women admire a clever man, but my efforts had no merit even in my own eyes. So I asked the schoolmaster for help, and he told me a poem I could use. I remember it still, I think. Ah yes:

Questa fenice, ch’al bel sol s’accende

What could that be? Something like:

Questing phoenix, who braves solar ascent

And then:

E a dramma a dramma consumando vassi
from drama to drama consuming vastly

No, not that. That’s not what it means. I’m joking. It sounds a bit like that, though. One could go on:

Mentre, di splendor cinta, ardendo stassi,
Men trade your splendour for ardent ecstasy
Contrario fio al suo pianeta rende;
Contrary faith back to your planet render

Perchè quel che da lei al ciel ascende,
Tepido fumo ed atra nebbia fassi,
Onde i raggi a’ nostri occhi occolti lassi
E quello avvele, per cui arde e splende.

“What can I say for that? Perché sounds a little like “perky,” I suppose – only it means “because.” Some stuff about how the smoke of its burning

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