I have sung women in three cities but it is all one

Because Cino’s sonnet put me in mind of it, here is Ezra Pound’s Browning-esque Cino:

Italian Campagna 1309, the open road

Bah! I have sung women in three cities,
But it is all the same;
And I will sing of the sun.

Lips, words, and you snare them,
Dreams, words, and they are as jewels,
Strange spells of old deity,
Ravens, nights, allurement:
And they are not;
Having become the souls of song.

Eyes, dreams, lips, and the night goes.
Being upon the road once more,
They are not.
Forgetful in their towers of our tuneing
Once for Wind-runeing
They dream us-toward and
Sighing, say, “Would Cino,
Passionate Cino, of the wrinkling eyes,
Gay Cino, of quick laughter,
Cino, of the dare, the jibe,
Frail Cino, strongest of his tribe
That tramp old ways beneath the sun-light,
Would Cino of the Luth were here!”

Once, twice, a year—
Vaguely thus word they:
“Cino?” “Oh, eh, Cino Polnesi
The singer is’t you mean?”
“Ah yes, passed once our way,
A saucy fellow, but …
(Oh they are all one these vagabonds),
Peste! ’tis his own songs?
Or some other’s that he sings?
But you, My Lord, how with your city?”

But you “My Lord,” God’s pity!
And all I knew were out, My Lord, you
Were Lack-land Cino, e’en as I am,
O Sinistro.

I have sung women in three cities.
But it is all one.
I will sing of the sun.
… eh? … they mostly had grey eyes,
But it is all one, I will sing of the sun.

“’Polio Phoibee, old tin pan, you
Glory to Zeus’ aegis-day,
Shield o’ steel-blue, th’ heaven o’er us
Hath for boss thy lustre gay!

’Polio Phoibee, to our way-fare
Make thy laugh our wander-lied;
Bid thy ‘fulgence bear away care.
Cloud and rain-tears pass they fleet!

Seeking e’er the new-laid rast-way

To the gardens of the sun …”
I have sung women in three cities
But it is all one.

I will sing of the white birds
In the blue waters of heaven,
The clouds that are spray to its sea.

For it is always one and the same beauty that binds and trammels me

A very Proustian sentiment in a sonnet of Cino da Pistoia‘s – explaining his apparent inconstancy. Rime CXV in the Barbi edition with the Boyde and Foster translation:

Dante, ever since harsh exile made me a wanderer from my birthplace and put a distance between me and the most exquisite beauty that ever the infinite Beauty fashioned, I have gone grieving about the world, a poor wretch disdained by death; but when I’ve found near me any beauty like to that one, I’ve said it was this one that wounded my heart. Nor – though I expect no help – have I ever left those first pitiless arms from which a well-grounded despair releases me: for it is always one and the same beauty that binds and trammels me; and this perforce delights me in whatever is like it in beauty in many different women.

Poi ch’i’ fu’, Dante, dal mio natal sito
fatto per greve essilio pellegrino
e lontanato dal piacer più fino
che mai formasse il Piacer infinito,

io son piangendo per lo mondo gito
sdegnato del morir come meschino,
e s’ho trovato a lui simil vicino,
dett’ho che questi m’ha lo cor ferito.

Né da le prime braccia dispietate,
onde ’l fermato disperar m’assolve,
son mosso perch’aiuto non aspetti;

ch’un piacer sempre me lega ed involve,
il qual conven che a simil di beltate
in molte donne sparte mi diletti.