Study Guide

Chiare Fresche et Dolci Acque Summary

By Francesco Petrarca, or Petrarch

Chiare Fresche et Dolci Acque Summary

A heart-sick Petrarch revisits a spot by the river where his beloved Laura once lounged, looking fetching among the flowers that fall from the trees. His memories give him pleasure, but they also highlight the fact that he can never have her—and it throws him into despair. Petrarch finds relief in imagining an early death, which will help him out in two ways: 1) He won't have to suffer lovesickness anymore, and 2) Laura might finally realize her feelings for him, and cry over his loss.

But memory intrudes and he's back on the grassy riverside, hopelessly remembering Laura's divine beauty. In the end, Petrarch is a mess. He can't find comfort in anything but revisiting the places where she's been and reliving old encounters.