Study Guide

Italia Mia Stanza 6

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Stanza 6

Lines 81-86

"Is this not the first soil my body touched?
Is this not my own nest
in which I found myself so sweetly nourished?
Is this not my own country I have trust in,
kind mother, merciful,
who serves to shelter both of my dear parents?"

  • Stanza 6 features another use of erotema (see 57-62), this time to drive home the point that Italians have the right to complain to the ruling class. 
  • And why? Because they are Italians. He presses this right by using anaphora, emphasizing ethnic identity and pedigree. 
  • The structure of this stanza is also interesting because it is spoken—but by whom? It could be Petrarch, but it's more likely a general outburst from the average Italian, since they are the ones suffering. 
  • There's also the question of who is being addressed. The nobility? His readers? Posterity?
  • Check to all of the above.
  • Some of these rhetorical lines are kind of heavy and not-so-rhetorical. Check out line 84.
  • Well, is this his country?
  • The answer is in line 86: since it's the homeland of the parents, the speaker clearly gets to claim citizenship-kinship with the land.

Lines 87-96

In God's name may your mind
for once be moved by this, and look with pity
upon the tears of all your grieving people
who, after God, look only
to you for hope. If only your would show
some sign of piety,
then virtue against rage
will take up arms, and battle will be short,
for all that ancient valor
in the Italian heart is not yet dead.

  • Petrarch is really working himself up here, using deesis—his "For God's sake!" moment.
  • He implies that the nobles have heard these arguments before, but haven't really been paying attention. 
  • And then, another risky move: Petrarch calls them impious—as in, they have no regard for God or man. That's cold.
  • Once again, he's recommending a kind of mental battle (remember back in lines 71-73?) to the nobility. Let's call it Virtue vs. Desire ("rage" has the implication of anger, but it also has the meaning of lust or excess).
  • Virtue can win out if they remember where they came from. Petrarch is referring back to the noble figures of the Roman Republic, when virtues like civic responsibility and self-denial were all the fashion.

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