Xlvi. _love's flame doth feed on age._

Michelangelo Buonarroti

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Se da' prim' anni.

If some mild heat of love in youth confessed
Burns a fresh heart with swift consuming fire,
What will the force be of a flame more dire
Shut up within an old man's cindery breast?
If the mere lapse of lengthening years hath pressed
So sorely that life, strength, and vigour tire,
How shall he fare who must ere long expire,
When to old age is added love's unrest?
Weak as myself, he will be whirled away
Like dust by winds kind in their cruelty,
Robbing the loathly worm of its last prey.
A little flame consumed and fed on me
In my green age: now that the wood is dry,
What hope against this fire more fierce have I?

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