I wish to live a nun's life, free from guile
I wish to live a nun's life, free from guile,
in quiet refuge from the world of lies,
since what is mad and false and vile
has pressed around me, always on the rise.
I will not live unworthily by choice:
the sense and courtesy which I respect
are vanishing. There's nothing I rejoice
to see or honor. Men I must reject,
who seem to flaunt what makes them so debased.
I will disdain them, if I may stay chaste
and if to God I may devote my life.
But father wants my nunhood sacrificed
I don't know who has asked for me as wife.
He'd give me to some friend of his, not Christ.
~ From the Italian of La Compiuta Donzella (Florentine, 13th century). This translation copyright © 1999, 2001 by Leonard Cottrell.