Study Guide

Italia Mia Stanza 8 (Congedo or Envoi)

By Petrarch

Stanza 8 (Congedo or Envoi)

Lines 113-118

My song, I bid that you
express your sentiments with courtesy,
for you must go among a haughty people
whose wills are still so full
of that ancient, most vicious of all habits,
always truth's enemy.

  • Petrarch ends his canzoni with a congedo ("farewell") or envoi, in which he addresses his little song and gives it final instructions. 
  • In this case, he's telling his song to behave itself in a "courtly" or sophisticated way when it reaches the intended audience, so that they will get the full meaning of his message.
  • He takes one last stab at the nobility by mentioning "ancient" and vicious habits—he means in-fighting among princely families—that keep them from seeing how their actions affect the country.

Lines 119-122

But you must try your fortune
among the valiant few who love the good;
tell them: "Who will protect me?
I go my way beseeching: Peace, peace, peace."

  • This is an interesting route for Petrarch to take. Basically, he's telling his poem to act like a damsel in distress for those who would be likely to listen (i.e., the good guys). Apparently, everybody knows that knights in shining armor love to protect a lady. 
  • That's especially the case when said lady has a message of peace. This is Petrarch's last bit of cleverness in the poem. By emphasizing that his message is one of peace, he situates the tongue-lashing delivered in the poem as necessary to a better world. Way to save your neck, P.

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