The painters had made it seem
as though Beauty was soft,
So, I suffered a modern affliction--
Passed to me (father to son to father and so on)--
That caused me to look at such jaundiced images
As if they were not really upside down.
And, like my father, I quickly mistook fear for awe
In that presence the first time I met it.
So, casting about (my own little net)I reached (as perhaps our Geoffrey had reached)
For such a tale as would tell me my place
And found (what my father had overlooked)
Vogli, Breatrice, volgi gli occhi santi
That I too was caught in l'antica rete:
As in her eyes, Beauty is hard
(image: Dante's Dream at the Death of Beatrice by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1871) English Pre-Raphaelite, oil on canvas, Walker Gallery, Liverpool)