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■NRLF 




SELECTED POEMS 



FROM 



MICHELANGELO BUONARROTI 



So stood this Angel o 
Four hundred years ago; 

So grandly still he stands 
Mid lesser worlds of Art, 
Colossal and apart, 
Like Memnon breathing songs across the desert sands. 

C. P. C RANCH. 



SELECTED POEMS 



FROM 



Michelangelo Buonarroti 

WLxt\) <£ran*latt<m* 
FROM VARIOUS SOURCES 

*'Ei dice cose, voi dite parole" 

EDITED BY 

EDNAH D. CHENEY 

AUTHOR OF "GLEANINGS IN THE FIELDS OF ART" 



+***< :>. ::' 



• • •••»•->•»,• 



BOSTON 
LEE AND SHEPARD, PUBLISHERS 



Copyright, 1885, 
By Ednah D. Cheney. 



Max 



TO 



SETH W. CHENEY, 



WHO FIRST MADE ME KNOW AND LOVE THE POEMS OF MICHELANGELO 
AS THE EXPRESSION OF HIS OWN THOUGHT, 

THIS WORK, 

THE FRUIT OF THE SEED WHICH HE SOWED, 



fs focbertntlg IBtfjicatett. 

E. D. C. 



255105 



PKEFACE. 



I HAVE long wished to introduce the poems of 
Michelangelo to the public, especially to young 
readers who, possessing a slight knowledge of Italian, 
would shrink from the difficulties of the text without 
assistance. For this reason I give the Italian according 
to the best authority, with an English translation, which 
will be interesting in itself, and also afford the young 
student the needed help in catching the thought of the 
original, which cannot always be obtained by a literal 
rendering of the text. The first reading is always given, 
unless otherwise indicated. I have used Guasti's valuable 
edition as my authority for the Italian. 

As the difficulty of translation is great, I have not so 
much attempted to make new versions as to gather from 
every quarter those which would give the reader the best 
idea of the original. I have drawn less freely from Mr. 
Symonds's book than from others, not from any want of 
appreciation of his valuable work, but because it is still 
in the market, and I hope my readers will be led to study 
it themselves. My own translations are given either 
because no adequate one could be found, or because, 
being my own, they were dear to me, and represented my 
thought of the poem more nearly than those even of 
greater literary merit. I have never altered a word of a 
translation as published by its author, believing this to 
be simple justice, but have indicated in the notes those 



viii PREFACE. 

passages in which I think he has not given the true 
meanings, — generally in consequence of having only an 
imperfect copy of the original. 

When I first contemplated this work, I thought that 
the poems differed so greatly in merit that I could easily 
select a few and leave the rest ; but a closer study has 
revealed so much meaning in all, that I can assure the 
Italian scholar he will still find much wealth of thought 
and beauty in those which I have not here given. 

My valued friends Mr. John S. Dwight, Mrs. Julia 
Ward Howe, Mr. F. B. Sanborn, and Miss Eva Channing 
have kindly consented to enrich my book with new trans- 
lations. I feel deeply grateful to them for thus allowing 
me to entwine their rare flowers in my garland, and I ex- 
pect the gratitude of my readers for calling forth these 
precious additions to our English translations. 

I will say nothing of the difficulty of this task except 
to quote the words of Wordsworth, whose sonnets have 
become treasures of English literature. 

" I mentioned Michelangelo's poetry," says Mr. Words- 
worth in one of his letters, " to you- some time ago ; it is the 
most difficult to construe I ever met with, but just what you 
would expect from such a man, showing abundantly how con- 
versant his soul was with great things. I can translate, and 
have translated, two books of Ariosto, at the rate nearly of one 
hundred lines a day; but so much meaning has been put by 
Michelangelo into so little room, and that meaning sometimes 
so excellent in itself, that I found the difficulty of translating 
him insurmountable. I attempted at least fifteen of the sonnets, 
but could not anywhere succeed. I have sent you the only one 
I was able to finish ; it is far from being the best or most char- 
acteristic, but the others were too much for me." 

Forest Hill Street, E. D. C. 

December, IS84. 



CONTENTS. 



Introduction __.•■. A x "i 

Epigrams 2 

Thirteen Epitaphs for Cecchino Bracci. Translated by E. D. C. 6 



JHalmgals. 

III. 1 Translated by Southey 12 

IV " " Harford 14 

V. TO VlTTORIA COLONNA* • " '* HaRFORD 16 

VI. On the Death of Vittoria Colonna. 

Translated by Taylor 18 

VII. . . ... . . . . . . . " , . " E. D. C 20 

VIII. ........... " M Harford 22 

XII. . , <, . " " E. C. . 24 

XV. .... . " , " Taylor 26 

XVIII. . . . . « « Taylor 28 

XXII " " E, D. C 30 

XXIII " " E, C. 32 

XXIV " " Taylor 34 

XXV. " " Harford 36 

XXXIX " " Harford 38 

XLIV. <* « E. C. . 40 

LIII . " " Harford 42 

1 These numbers correspond to those in Guasti's edition. 



CONTENTS. 



JfiatrrtgalS (Continued). 

LXXVIII Translated by Taylor . 

LXXIX « u Harford 

LXXXII " " J. W. H. 

LXXXIII " " E.D. C. 

XCIII " " E.C. . 



page 
44 
46 

48 
50 
52 



Sonnets* 



XII. 
XIII. 
XIV. 

xv. 

XVII. 

xx. 

XXI. 
XXIII. 
XXIV. 

xxv. 

XXVIII. 

XXX. 

XXXIL 

XXXVIII. 

XL. 

XLIII. 



I. To Dante 

II. To Dante 

IV 

V. To Giovanni da Pistoja. 
the Sistine Chapel, 
to vlttoria colonna. 
to vlttoria colonna. 

To VlTTORIA COLONNA. 



Translated 


by 


E. D. C. 


54 


u 


tt 


E. D. C 


56 


it 


tt 


Symonds 


58 


On the 


Painting op 




Translated 


by 


Symonds 


60 




tt 


Symonds 


62 




tt 


E. D. C. 


64 




tt 


Symonds 


66 




tt 


Harford 


68 




tt 


Taylor . 


70 




tt 


Symonds 


72 


" 


i< 


Symonds 


74 


«• 


tt 


E. C. . 


76 


tt 


tt 


Taylor . 


78 


a 


it 


Taylor . 


80 




tt 


Harford 


82 




tt 


Taylor . 


84 


tt 


tt 


E. D. C. 


86 




tt 


Symonds 


88 


U 


tt 


Taylor . 


90 


tt 


tt 


F. B. S. . 


92 



CONTENTS. 



XI 



JSOtttUtg (Continued). 

XLIV Translated by F. B. S. 

L. 

LI. 

LIL 
LIII. 
L1V. 

LV. 
LVI. 
LIX. 

LX. 
LXII. 



LXV. 

LXVII. 

LXX. 

LXXII. 

LXXIII. 

LXXV. 

LXXVII. 

LXXXI. 

LXXXIX. 



" " Symonds . 

" " Taylor . . 

" Wordsworth 

" « E. D. C. . 

" " Harford . 

" " Symonds . 

" " Symonds . 

" ■* Harford . 

" u Wordsworth 

On the Death of Yittoria Colonna. 

Translated by E. C. . . 



To Giorgio Vasari. 



" Hazlitt . . 

" Harford . . 

" Harford . . 

" E. D. C. . . 

" Wordsworth 

" J. S. D. . . , 

" Harford . , 

u Wordsworth 

(Imperfect.) 

lt Wordsworth 

(Imperfect.) 



PAGE 

94 



98 
100 
102 
104 
106 
108 
110 
112 

114 
116 
118 
120 
122 
124 
126 
128 
130 

132 



Canzonet III. (Verse 1.) Translated by Harford .... 134 
Stanza II. To his Lady. (Verse 1.) Translated by E. C. . 136 
Triplets on the Death of his Father. Translated by E.D.C. 138 



Notes 1*9 

Appendix 159 



INTRODUCTION. 



Michelangelo Buonarroti. Born March 6, 1474 ; died 
February 18, 1564. 

TO the triple crown of Sculptor, Painter, and Architect, 
to which Michelangelo's claim is undisputed, must be 
added that of Poet, which has been accorded to him by 
the finest critics of his own time and of ours ; yet to many 
readers of scholarship and taste his poems are still almost 
unknown. This neglect is partly due to the intrinsic 
difficulty in the poems themselves, which usually treat of 
lofty themes in condensed language, and partly to the 
fact that not until twenty-one years ago, were his works 
properly edited and published in Italy. \ These poems]" 
contain such wealth of thought and feeling, touching 
upon the deepest questions of philosophy and the tender- 
est experiences of the human heart, that he who once 
tastes of their sweetness will never cease to thirst for this 
fountain of refreshment and strength. The epitaphs on * 
Cecchino Bracci Fiorentino, for instance, may, on the first 
reading, seem quaint and formal, reiterating trite thoughts 
of death and immortality ; but a fuller acquaintance with 
them recognizes the expression of every form and though^ 
of grief, and they lie in the memory as a treasure-house 
of sympathetic utterance which matches the changing 
phases of one's own experience. 



xiv INTRODUCTION. 

Condivi, Michelangelo's personal friend, says : " He de- 
voted himself to poetry rather for his own delight than 
because he made a profession of it, always depreciating 
himself and accusing his ignorance." 

His poems were scribbled upon the backs of old letters, 
drawings, or other chance papers ; sometimes copied and 
/sent to his friends, but as often left unfinished and un- 
known. , Yet the corrections and various readings of many 
of the sonnets show that he did give them much thought, 
and was careful in his choice of words and form. Although 
jvrged by his friends, he never consented to make any 
collection of his poems during his lifetime ; yet in such 
esteem were they held that Varchi delivered a full 
commentary on the sonnet beginning "Non ha l'ottimo 
artista alcun concetto," before the Florentine Academy; 
analyzing it line by line, and bestowing upon it unbounded 
praise. |But even more precious is the brief eulogium of 
Berni, "Others say words, but he speaks things,'^ — which 
must have pleased him far more than the lavish adulation 
of the sycophant Aretino, who "wished to place every 
word of Michelangelo in an urn of emerald." /Nor was 
popular recognition wholly wanting. Three, at least, of 
his madrigals were set to music by distinguished compos- 1 
ers, and were favorites with the people, who had only 
lately found good melody married to anything but the 
hymns of the Church. But through all the sixteenth 
century only a few of his sonnets and madrigals were 
to be found. These were in a collection of verses in the 
Life of Michelangelo by Vasari, and in Varchi' s lectures. 
Mario Giudicci gave two fine lectures upon the first edition 
of his works. 

During the latter part of the eighteenth century the 
French taste then prevalent led the hearts of Italians 



INTRODUCTION. xv 

somewhat away from Dante and Michelangelo, and the 
poems of the latter did not escape abarp criticism. 

- Four years after Michelangelo's de$th, a son was born to 
his favorite nephew, Lionardo, and named for his great 
ancestor. Although this child became a well-known 
writer, the world honors him most for his devotion to the 
memory of the great artist. He built a noble gallery, 
which he adorned with collections of his uncle's works, 
and pictures of the scenes of his life. He also recognized^ 
the value of the poems, and for the first time collected 
the scattered leaves and carefully revised and edited 
them. 

But, unfortunately, his care was not satisfied with as- 
certaining what Michelangelo really wrote, and giving it 
to the public; but he thought his duty required him to 
make his poems acceptable to a newer and more enlight- 
ened age. He therefore reduced the poems to the level of 
his own taste ; filling up gaps in the verses, adding others, 
softening harsh expressions, and omitting many strong 
peculiarities. He seems to have feared their free expres- 
sion in religion ; and, as Guasti says, " he kept an eye on 
the fiscal auditor and the theologian of Santa Croce." This 
work, published in 1623, was the basis of all the editions 
and translations for more than two hundred years. Yet 
even in this garbled form the poems attracted the atten- 
tion and won the hearts of scholars and lovers of poetry, 
so that several editions were published in Italy, and 
translations made in Latin, German, French, and English. 
In 1858 the Counsellor Cosimo Buonarroti, with patriotic 
generosity, gave to the city of Florence all the treasures 
received from his great ancestor, including many of the 
original manuscripts of the poems. Signor Guasti, having 
access to these remains, and also to other manuscripts 



xvi INTRODUCTION. 

preserved in the Vatican, has prepared and published an 
edition of the poems which for clear arrangement of the 
text and for thoroughness and beauty of execution is 
eminently satisfactory. He has given every aid needed 
by a foreigner moderately acquainted with the Italian 
language to read intelligently these masterpieces of 
thought; while he has carefully preserved all the various 
readings of the originals, giving first the one to which 
he himself assigns the preference as probably the final 
form satisfactory to the poet himself. 

The English translators, Wordsworth, Taylor, and Har- 
ford, did not have the inestimable benefit of his work, and 
yet they have enriched our language with noble versions 
of some of the poems. Since Guasti's work was com- 
pleted, Mr. John Addington Symonds has published a full 
set of translations of the sonnets. His work is of the 
greatest value to English students. He is as faithful to 
the text as the exigencies of translation will permit, and 
has given the historical sonnets with great spirit and en- 
ergy. His versions differ in merit, it may be, from the 
greater obscurity of the original, or from less sympathy on 
his part with the thought of the poem ; and a harsh ex- 
pression sometimes destroys the harmony of the poetic 
diction. It is often difficult to render a terse Italian ex- 
pression into English without using a homely word which 
approaches to coarseness. 
/'The modern reader misses in these poems the constant 

I reference to Nature's outward works which forms so large 
a part of the poetry of our own timeY Michelangelo 
seldom alludes to special appearances in Nature, and then 

^only slightly, to illustrate an abstract thought; yet those 
argue superficially who believe him to have been insen- 
sible to natural beauty. The sonnets on Night show his 



INTRODUCTION. xvii 

feeling for one of the most mysterious and exciting phases 
of Nature, and the thirty-eighth sonnet refers to the com- 
mon beauties of fount and rill and wave with freshness n£ 
tender feeling. We cannot accept the judgment of even so 
accomplished a critic "as Pater, that "the world of natural 
things has almost no existence for him." He wrote a 
long pastoral poem in which he celebrates the peace and 
happiness of a shepherd's life. It begins simply, and even 
playfully; but as he proceeds he quits this unfamiliar 
style for metaphysical speculation, and for a weird and 
powerful allegory, difficult to interpret. This poem re- 
calls the style of Poliziano, as his madrigals and sonnets 
remind one sometimes of Petrarch, but more often of 
Dante. 1 

The facts of Michelangelo's life may be so easily learned 
from the many biographies, that it is not necessary to 
repeat them here, except as they are alluded to in the 
poems. Few of his early writings remain, and it is not! 
easy to assign the date of all his love poems. Probably 
many are lost ; most of those which we possess were writ! 
ten after his sixtieth year, and given to various friends. 
Among these were Sebastian del Piombo, the well-known 
artist; Luigi del Kiccio, of whom Michelangelo said that 
he had the spirit of poesy ; Donato Giannotti, 2 whose 
criticisms he valued greatly ; and Tommaso dei Cavalieri, 
a young man of talent and beauty. His friends were very 1 / 
anxious to obtain these gems of poetry, and often sent 
him some little present of fruit or game, which he play- 
fully acknowledges in a note appended to a sonnet or 
madrigal. The greater part of his poems are referred by 
Pater to the period between 1542 and 1547, — the latter 
being the year of Vittoria Colonna's death, — or from his 

1 See Appendix, p. 161 (4). 2 Ibid. p. 160 (2). 



xviii INTRODUCTION. 

J sixty-eighth to his seventy-third year. We have, however, the 
sonnet to Giorgio Vasari, dated 1554, and the lines to Car- 
dinal Beccadelli, 1556, when he was eighty-two years old. 

{i . The personal relation of greatest importance in this 
connection is with his beautiful and truly noble friend 
[Vittoria Colonna. 1 It is probable that Michelangelo 
jfirst met this congenial spirit in 1536 or 1538. She was 
already a widow, whose poetic muse was employed in a 
constant tribute of love and grief to the memory of her 
husband. She was the idol of her own sex in Italy, who 
adored her as a saint and sought her counsels in doubt 
and distress. She was indeed admired by men of all 
classes ; but she preserved the purity and modesty of her 
spirit, and was only prevented by the commands of the 
Pope from seeking the retirement of a cloister. The high 
themes of Patriotism, Philosophy, Art, and Keligion en- 
gaged her thoughts, as they did those of Michelangelo; 
and on them they exchanged letters and poems, and he 
dedicated to her some of his noblest works in sculpture. 
He lived to mourn over her grave, and henceforth to find 
life robbed of its sweetest joy. The burden of old age 
and approaching death, with a deep sense of his own im- 
perfections, lay heavy upon his heart, and found expres- 
sion in those sonnets so full of deep struggle and suffering. 
Fully to understand them requires an intimate knowledge 
of the heart of man, as well as of the circumstances of the 
age and country which surrounded him. 

It is common to speak of this relation as one of love, 
and expressions in the sonnets referring to his passion are 
taken literally. V But to understand his words, we must 
remember the Platonic philosophy which filled his mind 
and gave color to all his thoughts. This high and dignified 

1 See Appendix, p. 159 (1). 



INTRODUCTION. x i x 

friendship was undoubtedly made sweet and tender by[ 
the delicate reverence which every true man feels for 
woman; but it wasj: ree_ f rom the folly of passion, which 
would have been alike unbecoming his high tone of 
thought and her unswerving devotion to her husband's 
memory. Such seems to have been the opinion of his 
contemporaries, who say " he was enamoured of the divine 
spirit of Vittoria Colonna." 

In the early part of their acquaintance, he wrote to 
Tommaso dei Cavalieri some poems which are supposed 
to have covert reference to Vittoria. It is possible that he 
may thus have spoken to this friend before he dared to 
address her personally ; but the whole tone of their inter- 
course is frank, friendly, and thoughtful. Patriotism, Love, 
Art, and Eeligion are the themes of his verse, and in all of 
them he struggled with passionate longings and bitter re- 
grets. The city of his birth was degraded and enslaved ; 
and in the visible Church, which he never forsook, he had 
been obliged to recognize the foe of his country. We know 
nothing of the outward history of his love ; but that he 
had felt the shock and recoil of passion, and that he had 
hungered and thirsted for affection, is but too evident. 
And yet there is no personal allusion or recognition of a 
want of the natural domestic ties dear to the heart : all is 
veiled in dim, solemn imagery which hides even while it 
reveals. 1 

Michelangelo's philosophy, based upon Platonism, is J 
pure idealism. Human life, all mortal forms, are but the ' 
outward expression of spiritual life. He never rests in 
the outward and material, but sees it only as now conceal- 1 
ing, now revealing, the inward idea, — 

" The more the marble wastes, the more the statue grows." 
1 See Appendix, p. 162 (5). 



xx INTRODUCTION. 

■ Death is a constant theme ; but it is never a final end — 
always a step to higher life. He feels deep grief when 
it bears away his beloved ones, but he recognizes it as a 

I sure friend which is to end all sorrows : " It could defend 
ojie from all other miseries, even those of love." This 
philosophy 1 was blended with his religious ideas, and the 
influences of the newly revived love of antiquity and of 
Christian teachings are both apparent in his poems. It 
is therefore possible to draw very varying inferences 
from his expressions in regard to his religious convictions. 
The more definite allusions to Christian theology in his 
later poems may be attributed to the influence of his 
friends Vittoria Colonna and the Cardinal Beccadelli; 
while the boldness and freedom of his thought in the 
poem on the death of his father recalls his early admira- 
tion for the prophet Savonarola. 

That Michelangelo was truly an idealist in Art is evi- 
dent : it is not the outward form, but the inward image, 
that he is ever seeking. The Beautiful is always an image 
of the Divine, and the only reason for loving it in outward 
form is that it brings us near to the eternal fountain of 
Love. So closely were Keligion, Art, and Love blended in 
his thought that it is sometimes impossible to tell to 
which he refers in his poems. The remorse which often 
oppresses him for the false love which has deluded him is 
that keen sense of unworthiness which haunts every sen- 
sitive soul worshipping the ideal, and by no means implies 
any moral fault in his life. His contemporaries, especially 
Condivi, bear emphatic testimony to the temperance and 
purity of his thought, speech, and life. His love of poetry 

1 John Edward Taylor has given a full analysis of Michelangelo's phi- 
losophy in his admirable book "Michelangelo considered as a Philosophic 
Foet." 



INTRODUCTION. xxi 

was fostered, if not awakened, by his early residence in 
Bologna with Aldovrandi, who delighted in his Tuscan 
accent, and often engaged him to read to him from 
Petrarch, Dante, and Boccaccio. How highly he rever- 
enced the great poet of his country is shown by his noble 
sonnets to Dante, and by his illustrating the Divina 
Commedia with designs which — alas for us ! — are for- 
ever lost. 

But no biography gives us so intimate an acquaintance 
with the heart and life of this man as the poems, which 
were the delight, solace, and relief of his lonely days. The 
many different readings show that they were dear to him ; 
and we can often trace his efforts to give the exact shade 
of thought which he longed to express. They prove how 
utterly superficial is the judgment which denies to him 
tenderness and piety, and the most intense longing for the 
love and communion of his fellow-beings; yet too often j 
solitude and loneliness were his lot, — how keenly felt, is 
shown in these poetic revelations. 

Life was very serious to him ; and in an age so luxurious 
and frivolous, solitude seemed the only fitting companion- 
ship. And yet Donato Giannotti, who knew him well, 
makes him say, in his Dialogues : " Know that I am the 
man the most inclined to love persons that ever was bornl 
in any time. Whenever I see any one who has any virtuej / 
or shows any quickness of mind, or can do or say anything 
more fittingly than others, I am constrained to fall in love 
with him ; and I give myself up as a prey to him, so that 
I am no more my own, but all his." 1 Does not this exA 
plain many passages in his poems where he complains or 
the empire of love over him ? His sympathies were sq 
profound and intense that he felt obliged to hold himself 

1 See Appendix, p. 160 (2). 



xxii INTRODUCTION. 

[aloof from men, lest his own power of free creation should 
'be lost. 

Greatness and goodness are nearly allied ; the more 
closely we study the life of this artist, whose colossal in- 
tellect and stern will give him rank among the very 
highest names in history, the more do we find the purity 
and truth of his moral nature and the depth of his affec- 
tions ; and we learn anew the great truth that intellectual 
development alone may make monsters, but only when 
heart and head work together can we have a true artist. 



ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS OF MICHELANGELO'S 
POEMS. 

Life of Michelangelo. By Riccardo Duppa. First edition, London, 
1806 ; second, London, 1807; third, London, 1816. 

Michelangelo considered as a Philosophic Poet. With translations. 
By John Edward Taylor. London, 1840 ; second edition, Lon- 
don, 1852. 

The Life of M. A. Buonarroti, with translations of many of his poems 
and letters. Also memoirs of Savonarola, Raphael, and Vittoria 
Colonna. By John S. Harford. London, 1857. 

The Sonnets of Michelangelo Buonarroti and Tommaso Campanella. 
By John Addington Symonds. London, 1878. 



SELECTED POEMS. 



EPIGRAMMI. 



I. 
SOPEA LA NOTTE DEL BUONAREOTO. / 



DI GIOVANNI STROZZI. 



La NOTTE, che tu vedi in s% dolci atti 
Dormir, fu da un Angdo scolpita 
In questo sasso, e per die dor me ha vita : 
Destala, se not credi, e parleratti. 



RISPOSTA DEL BUONARROTO. 



Caro m' e '1 sonno, e piu 1' esser di sasso, 
Mentre che '1 danno e la vergogna dura : 
Non veder, non sentir, m' e gran ventura ; 
Per6 non mi destar, deh ! parla basso. 



EPIGRAMS. 



I. 
ON THE STATUE OF NIGHT. 

BY GIOVANNI STROZZI. 

Night ! ivhom you see in soft repose 
An angel sculptured, yet life glows 
Where sleep exists : speak thou ; for she, 
Spite of thy doubts, will answer thee. 



Harford. 



REPLY OF BUONARROTO. 

'T is sweet to sleep, still more of stone to be, 
While sin and shame and injury remain : 
To see not, hear not, is my greatest gain ; 
So pray speak low, and do not waken me. 

E. C. 



EPIGRAMMI. 



IV. 

Chi non vuol delle foglie, 
Non ci venga di maggio. 



V. / 



I 



Amore e un concetto di bellezza 
Immaginata, cui sta dentro al core, 
Arnica di virtu te e gentilezza. 



EPIGRAMS. 



IV. 



(On the front of a gate. ) 



Who not leaves would bear away, 
Must not come to us in May. 



V. 



Love is a conceit of Beauty : 
He who bears it in his heart 
Is the gentle friend of Duty. 

E. D. C. 



EPITAFFI 

PER 

CECCHINO BEACCI FIOEENTINO, 

MORTO IN ROMA NEL DICIASSETTESIMO ANNO, L' VIII GENNAIO 
MDXLIIII. 

MANDATI A LUIGI DEL RICCIO. 
II. 

Deh serbi, s' e di me pietate alcuna, 
Che qui son ehiuso e dal mondo disciolto, 
Le lacrime a bagniarsi il petto e 1 volto 
Per chi resta suggetto alia fortuna. 

IV. 

Non volse morte non ancider senza 
L' arme degli anni e de' superchi giorni 
La belta che qui giace, accio c' or torni 
Al ciel con la non persa sua presenza. 

VII. 

Qui son sepulto, e poco innanzi nato 
Ero : e son quello al qual f u presta e cruda 
La morte si, che Talma di me nuda 
S' accorge a pena aver cangiato stato. 



SELECTIONS FROM FORTY-EIGHT 
EPITAPHS 

FOR 

CECCHINO BRACCI FIORENTINO, 

WHO DIED IN ROME IN HIS SEVENTEENTH YEAR, JAN. 8, 1544. 

II. 

Ah ! keep your tears, if pity fills your eyes 
For me, who here released from earth have place ; 
Keep them to bathe the weary breast and face 
Of him who subject low to earthly fortune lies. 

IV. 

Death wisned to strike, without the heavier blow 
Of weary years or overweight of days, 
The beauty that lies here, that seen in heavenly rays 
.We still his earthly countenance might know. 

VII. 

Here am I buried, — I who, born but late, 
Stern death hath smitten with so quick a blow, 
That scarcely doth my unclothed spirit know 
That it hath changed its early heavenly state. 



EPITAFFI. 



IX. 



L' alma di dentro di fuor non vedea, 
Come noi, il volto chiuso in questo avello : 
Che se nel ciel non e albergo si bello, 
Trarnela morte gia ma' non potea. 

XII. 

Qui son morto creduto ; e per conforto 
Del mondo vissi, e con mille alme in seno 
Di veri amanti ; adunche, a venir meno, 
Per tormen' una sola non son morto. 

XIV. 

Qui vuol mie sorte c' anzi tempo i' dorma : 
Ne son gia morto : e ben c' albergo cangi, 
Eesto in te vivo, c' or mi vedi e piangi ; 
Se T an nell' altro amante si trasforma. 

XV. 

Se qui cent' anni t' ban tolto due ore, 
Un lustro e f orza clie 1' eterno inganni ! — 
. No, che 'n un giorno e vissuto cent' anni 
Colui che 'n quello il tutto inipara, e muore. 

XVI. 

Gran ventura qui morto esser mi veggio : 
Tal dota ebbi dal cielo anzi che veglio ; 
Che, non possendo al mondo darmi meglio, 
Ogni altro che la morte era '1 mie peggio. 



EPITAPHS. 



IX. 



The soul while in the body could not see, 
Like us, the form enshrouded in this tomb ; 
But if Heaven granteth not as fair a room, 
Death had not gained the power to set it free. 

XII. 

They do believe me dead, — I who still shed 
Delight on all the world, living in thousand souls 
In breasts of lovers true. No death controls, 
Taking one soul alone. I am not dead. 

XIV. 

Here fate has willed me ere my time to sleep : 
I am not dead, though changed my dwelling be ; 
While thou dost look and weep, I rest alone in thee, 
Since lovers each the other's image keep. 

XV. 

If years to kill, the power in moments lies, 
A lustre might eternal life betray ! 
Ah ! no ; he lives a hundred years in single day, 
Who in that time learns everything, and dies. 

XVI. 

To lie here dead, I deem a blest estate ; 

Such grace from Heaven I have, to grow not old : 

The best of earthly gifts to me all told, 

Aught else than death would give me harder fate. 



10 EPITAFFI. 



XVIII. 



Se fussin, perch' i' viva un' altra volta, 
Gli altru' piaiiti a quest' ossa came e sangue ; 
Sarie spietato per pieta chi langue, 
Per rilegar lor V alma in ciel disciolta. 

XX. 

S' t fu' gia vivo, tu sol, pietra, il sai, 
Che qui mi serri : e s' alcun mi ricorda, 
Gli par sogniar : si morte e presta e' ngorda, 
Che quel ch' e stato, non par f usse mai. 

XXIII. 

De' Bracci naqqui ; e dopo '1 primo pianto, 
Picciol tempo il sol vider gli occhi miei. 
Qui son per sempre ; ne per men vorrei, 
S' i' resto vivo in quel che m' amo tanto. 

XXXV. 

A la terra la terra, e V alma al cielo 
Qui reso ha morte. A chi morto ancor m' ama 
Ha dato in guardia mie bellezza e fama, 
Ch' eterni in pietra il mie terrestre velo. 

XLIII. 

F fu' Cecchin mortale, e or son divo : 
Poco ebbi '1 mondo, e per sempre il ciel godo. 
Di si bel cambio e di morte mi lodo, 
Che molti morti, e me par tori vivo. 



EPITAPHS. 11 

XVIII. 

If so it were, that life might be regained, 
Tears clothe these bones with living flesh and blood, 
Ah ! cruel would he be, who deemed it for my good 
To bind again my soul, in Heaven unchained. 



XX. 



' 



That I once lived, thou stone alone dost ween, 
Who loek'st me here : if one remembers me, 
He seems to dream ; death grasps so greedily, 
That what has passed seems never to have been. 

XXIII. 

A Bracci I was born, and after birth below 
But little time mine eyes might see the sun. 
Here am I now forever. Life is won, 
If I remain alive in him who loved me so. 

XXXV. 

Death has given earth to earth, to Heaven my soul. 
To him who loves me yet in death the same, 
Is given to guard my beauty and my fame ; 
This stone forever keeps my earthly whole. 

XLIII. 

I WAS Cecchino, now Divine I live : 
Short time the world I had, but Heaven now is mine. 
For such a fair exchange, to Death I praise assign, 
Who many dead, but me brought forth alive. 

E. D. C 



MADRIGALI. 



III. 



A LUIGI DEL EICCIO. 

Non sempre al mondo e si pregiato e caro 

Quel che molti contenta, 

Che non sie 'lcun che senta, 

Quel ch' e lor dolce, spesse volte amaro. 
II buon gusto e si raro, 

Ch' a forza al vulgo cede, 

Allor che dentro di se stesso gode. 

Ond' io, perdendo, imparo 

Quel che di fuor non vede 

Chi T alma attrista e' suo' sospir non ode. 
. II mondo e cieco, e di suo' gradi o lode 

Piu giova a chi piu scarso esser ne suole : 

Come sferza che 'nsegnia, e parte duole. 



MADRIGALS. 



III. 

TO LUIGI DEL EICCIO. 

Ill hath he chosen his part who seeks to please 
The worthless world, — ill hath he chosen his part, 
For often must he wear the look of ease 

When grief is in his heart ; 
And often in his hours of happier feeling 
With sorrow must his countenance be hung, 
And ever his own better thoughts concealing, 
Must he in stupid Grandeur's praise be loud, 
And to the errors of the ignorant crowd 

Assent with lying tongue. 
Thus much would I conceal that none should know 
What secret cause I have for silent woe; 
And, taught by many a melancholy proof 
That those whom Fortune favors it pollutes, 
I, from the blind and faithless world aloof, 
Nor fear its envy, nor desire its praise, 
But choose my path through solitary ways. 

SOUTHET. 



14 MADRIGALL 

IV. 

(SEC0NDA LEZIONE.) 

Perch' e troppo molesta, 
Ancor che dolce sia, 
Quella merce che 1' alma legar suole ; 
Mie liberta di questa 
Vostr' alta cortesia, 

Piu che d' un furto, si lamenta e duole. 
E com' occhio nel sole 
Disgrega suo virtu, ch' esser dovrebbe 
Di maggior luce, s' a veder ne sprona ; 
Cosi 1 desir non vuole 
Zoppa la grazia in me, che da vo' crebbe. 
Che '1 poco al troppo spesso s' abandona, 
Ne questo a quel perdona : 
C amor vuol sol gli amici (onde son rari) 
Di fortuna e virtu simili e pari. . 



MADRIGALS. 15 

IV. 

(second reading.) 

Lady, I trust it is not pride, 

But obligations so allied 

To favor that I seem to see 

In your exalted courtesy 

Infringement on my liberty. 

Oh ! rather injure me, than bind 

Such fetters on my free-born mind : 

Since the sun's radiance on the eye 

Shining in unblenched majesty, 

Should heighten, not o'erwhelm, the sight, 

But dazzles by excess of light, 

On me thus acts your presence bright ; 

It charms, and yet its potent ray 

Unnerves my reason's wonted sway : 

Small virtue, when its path is crost 

By higher far, absorbed, is lost : 

They who too much bestow confound ; 

With such there is no common ground ; 

Therefore (though rarely to be found) 

Love wills that friends should equal be 

In virtue and in quality. 

Harford. 



16 MADRIGALI. 



V. 
A VITTOEIA COLONNA, 

MARCHESANA DI PESCARA. 

Ora in sul destro, ora in sul manco piede 
Variando, cerco della mia salute : 
Fra '1 vizio e la virtute 
II cor confuso mi travaglia e stanca ; 
Come chi 1 ciel non vede, 
Che per ogni sentier si perde, e manca. 
Porgo la carta bianca 
A' vostri sacri inchiostri, 
Ch' amor mi sganni, e pieta 1 ver ne scriva 
Che T alma da se franca 
Non pieghi a gli error nostri 
Mio breve resto, e che men cieco viva. 
Chieggio a voi, alta e diva 
Donna, saper se 'n ciel men grado tiene 
1/ umil peccato che '1 superchio bene. 



MADRIGALS. J 7 



V. 
TO YITTOEIA COLONNA, 

MARCHIONESS OF PESCARA. 

Midst endless doubts, shifting from right to left, 

How my salvation to secure I seek, 

And still 'twixt vice and virtue balancing, 

My heart confused weighs down and wearies me, — 

As one who, having lost the light of Heaven, 

Bewildered strays, whatever path he takes ; 

I, Lady, to your sacred penmanship 

Present the blank page of my troubled mind, 

That you, in dissipation of my doubts, 

May on it write how my benighted soul 

Of its desired end may not so fail 

As to incur at length a fatal fall : 

Be you the writer who have taught me how 

To tread by fairest paths the way to Heaven. 

Harford. 



18 MADBIGALI. 

VI. 

IN MORTE DI VITTORIA COLONNA. 

[1547.] 

Per non s' avere a ripigliar da tanti 
Quell' insieme belta, che piu non era, 
In donna alta e sincera 
Prestata fu sott' un candido velo : 
Ch' a risquoter da quanti 
Al mondo son, mal si rimborsa il cielo. 
Ora in un breve anelo, 
Anzi in un punto, Dio 
Dal mondo poco accorto 
Se T ha ripresa, e tolta agli occhi nostri. 
Ne metter puo in oblio, 
Benche 1 corpo sia morto, 
I suo' dolci leggiadri e sacri inchiostri. 
Crudel pieta, qui mostri, 
Se quanto a questa, il ciel prestava a i brutti, 
S' or per morte il rivuol, morremo or tutti. 



MADRIGALS. 



VI. 

ON THE DEATH OF VITTOEIA COLONNA. 

[1547.] 

Pure and unsullied beauty Heaven lent 

Unto one noble, lofty fair alone, 

Beneath a spotless veil, that when through death 

Keclaimed, it should not have to leave so many. 

If Heaven indeed had shared it among all 

That mortal are, it scarce could have withdrawn 

It back, and re-enriched its treasury. 

Heaven has reta'en it from this mortal goddess 

(To call her so), and borne it from our eyes ; 

Yet the sweet, beautiful, and holy verse 

Cannot so soon into oblivion pass, 

Although the mortal be removed by death. 

But Pity, merciless, appears to us 

To show that if to each one Heaven had given 

The beauty of this fair one to partake, 

We should be all obliged to suffer death, 

That Heaven might repossess it of its own. 

Taylor. 



20 MADRIGALI. 



VII. 



Per fido esemplo alia mia vocazione 
Nel parto mi fu data la bellezza, 
Che d' ambo 1' arti m' e lucerna e specchio. 
S' altro si pensa, e falsa opinione. 
Questo sol T occhio porta a quella altezza 
Ch' a pingere e scolpir qui m' apparecchio. 

S' e giudizii temerari e sciocchi 
Al senso tiran la belta, che muove 
E porta al cielo ogni intelletto sano ; 
Dal mortale al divin non vanno gli occhi 
Infermi, e fermi sempre pur la dove 
Ascender senza grazia e pensier vano. 



MADRIGALS. 21 



VII. 

To bind me faithful to my calling high, 
By birth was given me beauty's light, 
Lantern and mirror of two noble arts ; 
And other faith is but a falsity. 
This bears the soul alone to its proud height ; 
To paint, to sculpture, this all strength imparts. 
And other judgments foolish are and blind, 
Which draw from sense the beauty that can move, 
And bear to heaven each heart with wisdom sane. 
No road divine our eyes infirm may find ; 
The mortal may not from that world remove 
Whence without grace to hope to rise is vain. 

E. D. C. 



22 MADRIGALI. 



VIII. 

Gli occhi miei vaghi delle cose belle, 
E 1' alma insieme della sua salute, 
Non hanno altra virtute 
Ch' ascenda al ciel, che mirar tutte quelle. 
Dalle piu alte stelle 
Discende uno splendore, 
Che 1 desir tira a quelle ; 
E qui si chiama amore. 
Ne altro ha gentil core, 
Che T innamori e arda, e che '1 consigli, 
Ch' un volto che ne gli occhi lor somigli. 



MADRIGALS. 23 



Gift) 



My eyes, which love to gaze on beauteous things, 
Act on my soul, which pants for heavenly light, 
Until I almost seem endued with wings, 
'Neath Beauty's smile, for a supernal flight. 
From loftiest stars shoots down a radiance all their own, 

Drawing the soul above ; 

And such we say is Love. 

For nought can so control, 

Charm, penetrate the soul, 
Or counsel it in monitory guise, 
As a sweet face set off by starlit eyes. 

Harford. 



24 MADRIGALL 



XII. 

Si come per levar, donna, si pone 
In pietra alpestra e dura 
Una viva figura, 

Che la piii crescie u' piii la pietra scema ; 
Tal alcun' opre buone, 
Per 1' alma che pur trema, 
Cela il superchio della propria came 
Co 1' inculta sua cruda e dura scorza. 
Tu pur dalle mie streme 
Parti puo' sol levarne ; 
Ch' in me non e di me voler ne forza. 



MADRIGALS. 25 



XII. 



As, Lady, when we hew away 

The rugged outer stone, 

A living form is shown, 
Which, as the marble wastes, grows more defined; 
So does our fleshly hull of clay, 
That harsh and rude and savage rind, 
Conceal the impulses of right 
Of the weak soul, which trembles still. 

Thou only canst unbind 

This veil which hides my inner light ; 

For I alone have neither strength nor will. 

E. C. 



26 MADRIGALI. 



XV. 

Beati, voi che su nel ciel godete 

Le lacrime che '1 mondo non ristora, 

Favvi amor guerra ancora, 

pur per morte liberi ne siete ? 
La nostra eterna quiete, 

Fuor d' ogni tempo, e priva 

D' invidia amando, e d' angosciosi pianti. 
Dunche a mal pro ch' i' viva 

Convien, come vedete, 

Per amare e servire in dolor tanti. 

Se '1 cielo e degli amanti 

Amico, e '1 mondo ingrato 

Amando, a che son nato ? 

A viver molto ? E questo mi spaventa : 

Che 1 poco e troppo a chi ben serve e stenta. 



MADRIGALS. 27 



XV. 



Oh ! blessed ye who find in Heaven the joy, 
The recompense of tears, earth cannot yield ! 
Tell me, has Love still power over you, 
Or are ye freed by death from his constraint ? 
Th' eternal rest to which we shall return 
When time has ceased to be, is a pure love, 
Deprived of envy, loosed from sorrowing. 
Then is my greatest burden still to live, 
If whilst I love such sorrows must be mine. 
If Heaven 's indeed the friend of those who love, 
The world their cruel and ungrateful foe, 
Oh ! wherefore was I born with such a love ? 
To live long years ? 'T is this appalleth me : 
Few are too long for him who serveth well. 

Taylor. 



28 MADRIGALI. 



XVIII. 

S' egli e che 1 buon desio 
Porti dal mondo a Dio 
Alcuna cosa bella, 
Sol la mie donna e quella, 
A chi ha gli occhi fatti com' ho io. 
Ogni altra cosa oblio, 
E sol di tant' ho cura. 
Non e gran maraviglia, 
S' io 1' amo e bramo e chiamo a tutte 1' ore : 
N' e proprio valor mio, 
Se 1' alma per natura 
S' appoggia a chi somiglia 
Ne gli occhi gli occhi, ond' ella scende fore; 
Se sente il primo Amore 
Come suo fin, per quel qua questa onora : 
Ch' amar die '1 servo ch' el signore adora. 



MADRIGALS. 29 



XVIII.l 

v 

If it be true that any beauteous thing 
Raises the pure and just desire of man 
From earth to God, the eternal fount of all, 
Such I believe my love ; for as in her 
So fair, in whom I all besides forget, 
I view the gentle work of her Creator, 
I have no care for any other thing 
Whilst thus I love. Nor is it marvellous, 
Since the effect is not of my own power, 
If the soul doth by nature, tempted forth, 

Enamoured through the eyes, 
Repose upon the eyes, which it resembleth, 
And through them riseth to the primal love, 
As to its end, and honors in admiring ; 
For who adores the Maker needs must love his work. 

Taylor. 



30 MADRIGALL 



XXII. 

Da maggior luce e da piu chiara stella 

La notte il ciel le sue da lunge accende : 

Te sol, presso a te, rende 

Ogni or piu. bella ogni cosa men bella. 
Qual cor piu questa o quella 

A pieta muove e sprona, 

C ogni or ch' i' ardo, almen non s' aggiacc' egli ? 

Chi, senza aver, ti dona 

Vaga e gentil persona 

E 1 volto e gli occhi e' biondi e be' capegli ; 

Dunche contra te quegli 

Ben fuggi, e me con essi ; 

Se '1 bello infra' non begli 

Belta cresce a se stessi. 

Donna, ma stu rendessi 

Quel che t' ha dato il ciel, c' a noi Y ha tolto, 

Sarie piu '1 nostro, e men bello il tuo volto. 



MADRIGALS. 3J 



By greater light and clearer star 
Night's heaven is lighted from afar ; 
But things less fair, when near to thee, 
Make thee more fair than thou wouldst be. 
Oh, tell me, lady, which of these 

To pity moves and spurs, 
That when I burn, you may not freeze ? 
Who thus gains beauty more than hers — 

A fair and lovely form, 
A face and eyes and flowing hair, — 
Would only her own charms deform 

By shunning one less fair ; 
For beauty but more lovely grows 

Where others beauty lack. 
lady, if what Heaven bestows 

To us thou render back, 
What Heaven from us has ta'en and given to thee, 
Fairer our face, and thine less fair would be. 

E. D. C. 



32 MADRIGALL 



XXIII. 

Deh ! dimmi, amor, se 1' alma di costei 
Fosse pietosa com' ha bell' il volto, 
S' alcun saria si stolto 
Ch' a se non si togliessi e dessi a lei ? 
Et io clie piu potrei 
Servirla, amarla, se mi foss' arnica ; 
Che, sendomi nemica, 
L' amo piu ch' allor far non doverrei ? 



MADRIGALS. 33 



XXIII. 

If pity filled her soul, Cupid, say, 

As much as beauty glorifies her face, , 

Could any man be so bereft of grace 

As not to yield himself to her dear sway ? 

And e'en if she were friendly, tell me, how 

Could I her truer slave and lover be, 

Since, notwithstanding her hostility, 

Far more than then I ought, I love her now ? 

E. C. 



34 MADRIGALL 



XXIV. 

Com' aro dunque ardire 

Senza vo'i ma\ mio ben, tenermi 'n vita, 
S' io non posso al partir chiedervi aita ? 
Que' singulti, e que' pianti, e que' sospiri 
Che '1 miser core voi accompagnorno, 
Madonna, duramen te dimostrorno 
La mia propinqua morte e' miei martiri. 
Ma se ver e che per assenzia mai 
Mia fedel servitu vadia in obblio, 
II cor lasso con voi, che non e mio. 



MADRIGALS. 35 



XXIV. 

How shall I e'er have power, 
Taken from you, to keep myself in life, 
Unable if at parting to invoke 

Your aid ? These plaints, these sorrowings, these sighs, 
With which my grieving heart still follows you, 
With cruel indication, lady, show 
My near approaching death, my sufferings. 
But lest by absence you forgetful prove 
How I have served you with all faithfulness, 
As a remembrance of my long-borne woes, 
I leave to you my heart, which is not mine. 

Taylor. 



36 MADRIGALI. 




XXV. 

Come pu6 esser ch' io non sia piii mio ? 
dio, o dio, o dio ! 
Chi mi tolse a me stesso, 
Ch' a me fusse piii presso, 
piu di me, che mi possa esser io ? 
dio, o dio, o dio ! 
Come mi passa '1 core 
Chi non par che mi tocchi ! 
Che cosa e questa, amore, 
Ch' al core entra per gli occhi ; 
E s' avvien che trabocchi 
Per poco spazio, dentro par che cresca? 



MADRIGALS. 37 



) 



XXV, 



How is it that I seem no longer mine ? 

Some power there seems to be, 
Which moulds my will by means I can't divine ; 

My heart what flutterings move, 

Touched in some viewless guise; — 

What is this thing called Love, 

Which, entering by the eyes, 

Pervades the inmost soul, 

Where, spurning all control, 

It claims resistless sway, 
While countless outward acts its inward power display ? 

Harford. 



38 MADRIGALL 



XXXIX. 

Questa mia donna e si pronta et ardita, 

Ch' all' or che la m' uccide, ogni mio bene 

Con gli occhi mi promette, e parte tiene 

II crudel ferro dentro alia ferita. 
E cosi morte e vita, 

Contrarie, insieme in un picciol momento 

Dentro all' anima sento : 

Ma la grazia el tormento 

Minacci' a rnorte per piu lunga prova , 
' Ch' assai pin nuoce il mal, che '1 ben non giova. 



MADRIGALS. 39 



XXXIX. 

Ev'n when she slays me, my loved Fair 

Delights to act a double part ; 
Her eyes speak promise, whilst her air 

And mien strike daggers through my heart. 
Thus death and life, 
In dubious strife 
And Joy and Pain, 
Within me reign : 
Soon will the conflict close, and Death's cold sway 
Quench in the shades of night Joy's flattering ray. 

Harford. 



40 MADRIGALI. 



XLIV. 

Occhi mie', siete certi 

Che 1 tempo passa, e 1' ora s' avicina 

C alle lacrime triste il passo serra. 
Pieta vi tenga aperti, 

Mentre la mie divina 

Donna si degnia d' abitare in terra. 

Se grazia il ciel diserra, 

Com' a' beati suole ; 

Questo mie vivo sole 

Se lassii torna, e partesi da noi, 

Che cosa arete qua da veder poi ? 



MADRIGALS. 41 



1 

XLIV. * 

Mine eyes, be certain quite 
That time is passing, and the hour draws nigh 
Which checks the course of every tear and sigh. 
May pity keep your sight, 
The while my fair divinity 
Doth deign to walk the earth's broad face. 
If Heaven is unbarred through grace, 
As for the blest is often done ; 
If this my living sun, 
Eeturning upward, shall depart from me, — 
What will ye then, eyes, have left to see ? 

e. a 



42 MADRIGALL 



LIIL 

Chi e quel che per forza a te mi mena, 
Ohime ohime ohime ! 
Legato e stretto, e son libero e sciolto ? 
Se tu 'ncateni altrui senza catena, 
E senza mani o braccia m' hai raccolto, 
Chi mi difendera dal tuo bel volto ? 



MADRIGALS. 43 



LIIL 

What is the power which, though I 'm free, 
Draws me, in fetters bound, to thee, 
Sweet source of all my joy and pain ? 
If to enchain without a chain, 
If round my yielding heart to twine 
Soft bands invisible, be thine, 
What shall defend me from the grace, 
The winning beauties of the face ? 
[ What from the living splendor of thine eyes, 
When Love embattled points his arrowy sorceries ?] 

Harford. 



LjJ^ 



44 MADRIGALI. 



LXXVIII. 

Condotto da molt' anni all' ultim' ore, 

Tardi conosco, o mondo, i tuo' diletti : 
/ La pace, che non hai, altrui prometti, 

E quel riposo c' anzi al nascer muore. 
La vergognia e '1 timore 

De gli anni, c' or prescrive 

II ciel, non mi rinuova 

Che '1 vecchio e dolce errore ; 

Nel qual chi troppo vive 

L' anim' ancide, e nulla al corpo giova. 

II dico, e so per pruova 

Di me ; che 'n ciel quel solo ha miglior sorte, 

Ch' ebbe al suo parto piu presso la morte. 



MADRIGALS. 45 



LXXVIII. 

Conducted by long years to the last hours, 
Too late, world, I learn thy emptiness ; 
Proffering to man the quiet thou hast not, 
And that repose which dieth in its birth. 
But not on that account reproach nor grief 
For all my fugitive and ill-spent years 
Eenews desires and thoughts within my heart ; 
For he who in sweet error groweth old, 
Whilst he appears to quicken his desire, 
Doth kill the soul, — the body profits not. 
At length I see, by sad experience, 
That he enjoys a better, surer lot 
Who at his birth is nearest unto death. 

Taylor. 



46 MADRIGALI. 



LXXIX. 

Mentre che 1 mie passato m' e presente, 

Si come ogni or mi viene, 

O mondo falso, allor conosco bene 

L' errore, e 1 danno dell' umana gente. 
Quel cor, c alfin consente 

A tuo' lusingi e a tuo' van diletti, 

Procaccia all' alma dolorosi guai : 

Ben lo sa chi lo sente ; 

Come spesso prometti 

Altrui la pace e '1 ben die tu non hai, 

Ne debbi aver gia mai. 

Dunche ha men grazia chi phi qua soggiorna; 

Che chi men vive, piu lieve al ciel torna. 



MADRIGALS. 47 



LXXIX. 

When thoughts of days long past upon me steal, 
In vain I shun them ; all their forms arise : 
Then, fallacious world, I deeply feel 
How steeped in error man besotted lies. 

The heart which yields its faith to thee, 

Charmed by thy magic sorcery, 

And thoughtless thrids the giddy round 

Of vain delights within thee found, 

By the sad issue learns to know 

That Pleasure is the nurse of Woe. 

He who is wise, at length will cease 

To trust thy promises of peace ; 

Convinced thou never canst bestow 

The good it is not thine to know. 
The troubles I have proved, the griefs which dim my eyes, 
Have sprung from yielding faith to thy vain fallacies. 

Harford. 



48 MADRIGALI. 



LXXXII. 

Donn', a me vecchio e grave, 
Ov' io torno e rientro 
Si come a peso il centro, 
Che fuor di quel riposo alcun non ave, 
II ciel porgie le chiave. 
Amor le volgie e gira, 
E apre a' iusti il petto di costei : 
Le voglie inique e prave 
Mi vieta, e la mi tira, 
Gia stanco e vil, fra' rari e semidei. 
Grazie vengon da lei 
Strane e dolce e d' un certo valore, 
Che per se vive chiunche per le' muore. 



MADRIGALS. 49 



LXXXIJ) 

Lady, to me infirm and old, 

Where I return and enter, 

As to the weight, the centre 
Which, thence removed, no stable rest can hold, 

Kind Heaven the keys doth proffer, 

Which Love should fit and turn, 

And thus to me doth offer 
That inner joy for which pure spirits yearn. 

Each sinful wish forbidding, 

He draws me, with sweet leading, 
Weary and low, to comrades half divine j 

While every grace of thine 
Is strange and sweet, and of undoubted worth. 
Who dies for thee has to new living birth. 

J. W. H. 



50 MADBIGALL 



LXXXIII. 

Or d' un fier diaccio or d' un ardente foco, 
Or d' anni o guai or di vergogna armato, 
L' avvenir nel passato 
Specchio, con trista e dolorosa speme ; 
E 1 ben, per durar poco, 
Sento non men che 1 mal m' affligge e preme. 
Alia buona alia ria fortuna insieme, 
Di me gia stanche, ognor chieggio perdono : 
E veggio ben, che della vita sono 
Ventura e grazia 1' ore breve e corte, 
Se la miseria medica la morte. 



MADRIGALS. 51 



LXXXIII. 

Now in a frost, now in a burning flame, 
Weighted with many years of woe and shame, 
The future in the past I see, 
Yet with no hope that comforts me, 
Since welfare, by its term so brief, 
Loads and oppresses me like grief. 
Alike in good or evil fate, 
My weary self asks pardon late ; 
And I see well that life's short hours 
Are blessings from the gracious powers, 
If death can medicine my woful state. 

E. D. C. 



52 MADRIGALL 



XCIII. 

Amor, se tu se' dio, 

Non puo' cio che tu vuoi ? 

Deh fa' per me, se puoi, 

Quel ch' io farei per te, s' amor fuss' io ! 
Sconviensi al gran desio 

D' alta belta la speme, 

Viepiu T effetto, a chi e presso al morire. 

Pon nel tuo grado il mio : 

Dolce gli fie chi '1 preme ? 

Che grazia per poc' or, doppia '1 martire. 

Ben ti voglio ancor dire : 

Che sarie morte, s' a' miseri e dura, 

A chi muor giunto all' alta sua ventura ? 



MADRIGALS. 53 



XCIH. 

If thou 'rt a god, Love, 
Is not thy power free ? 
Ah ! do for me, if thou canst, Love, 
What if I were Love, I 'd do for thee ! 
'T is only with ill grace 
One woos a beauty rare, 
When weighed with years, and on the eve of dying. 
A moment take my place : 
Is that which burdens, fair ? 
A transient grace is torment doubly trying. 

And this, too, mid our sighing : 
What would death be, which e'en the wretched shun, 
To him who dies when highest bliss is won ? 

E. C. 



SONETTI. 



I 
PEE DANTE ALIGHIERI. 

[1545.] 

Dal ciel discese, e col mortal suo, poi 
Che vis to ebbe Y inferno giusto e '1 pio, 
Ritorno vivo a contemplare Dio, 
Per dar di tutto il vero lume a noi : 

Lucente stella, che co' raggi suoi 

Fe chiaro, a torto, el nido ove naqqu' io ; 
Ne sare' '1 premio tutto 1 mondo rio : 
Tu sol, che la creasti, esser quel puoi. 

Di Dante dico, che mal conosciute 
Fur 1' opre suo da quel popolo ingrato, 
Che solo a' iusti manca di salute. 

Fuss' io pur lui ! c' a tal fortuna nato, 
Per 1' aspro esilio suo, con la virtute, 
Dare' del mondo il piu felice stato. 



SONNETS. 



TO DANTE. 

[1545.] 

Fkom Heaven he came, a mortal then ; 

And Hell's just path and Mercy's highway trod, 

Living, returned to look upon his God, 
And give his holy light to us again : 
A shining star, that with its brilliant rays 

Illumed in evil times the nest where I was born. 

As guerdon fit for him, this wicked earth I scorn 
God, his creator, him alone repays. 
1 speak of Dante ; for, alas ! ill known 

His labors are, by that foul mob ingrate, 
Whose honors fail but to the just alone. 

Would I were he ! for, born to such a fate, 
His bitter exile, and his courage shown, 

I would not change for Earth's most happy state. 

E. D. C. 



56 SONETTL 



II. 
PER IL MEDESIMO. 

Quante dime si de' non si puo dire, 

Che troppo agli orbi il suo splendor s' accese 
Biasmar si puo piu '1 popol che 1' offese, 
C ' al suo men pregio ogni maggior salire. 

Questo discese a' merti del fallire, 
Per 1' util nostro, e poi a Dio ascese : 

, E le porte che 1 ciel non gli contese, 
La patria chiuse al suo giusto desire. 

Ingrata, dico, e della suo fortuna 

A suo danno nutrice ; ond' e ben segnio, 
C ' a' piu perfetti abonda di piu guai. 

Fra mille altre ragion sol ha quest' una: 
Se par non ebbe il suo esilio indegnio, 
Simil uom ne maggior non naqque mai. 



SONNETS. 57 



II. 
TO DANTE. 

What should be said of him, I may not speak ; 

His splendor overwhelms my blinded sight. 

To censure those who wronged him is my right, 
Since for his least worth my language is too weak. 
He bended low where God doth punish sin, 

To teach us ; then to God did he ascend. 

'Gainst him the gates of heaven would not defend ; 
Yet his false country would not welcome him. 
Ungrateful country ! of thy children's fate, 

Nurse to thine harm, bear witness this, — 

To thy most perfect, comes thy greatest shame. 
So, from a thousand proofs, this one I state, — 

No equal exile hath there been to his : 

No greater man than he on earth e'er came. 

E. D. C. 



58 SONETTI. 



IV. 



Qua si fa elmi di calici e spade, 

E 1 sangue di Cristo si vend' a giumelle, 
E croce e spine son lance e rotelle ; 
E pur da Cristo pazienzia cade ! 

Ma non c' arivi piu 'n queste contrade, 
Che n' andre' '1 sangue suo 'nsin alle stelle, 
Poscia che a Eoma gli vendon la pelle ; 
E eci d' ogni ben chiuso le strade. 

S' i' ebbi ma' voglia a posseder tesauro, 
Per cio clie qua opra da me e partita, 
Pu6 quel nel manto che Medusa in Mauro. 

Ma se alto in cielo e poverta gradita, 
Qual fia di nostro stato il gran restauro, 
S' un altro segno amorza 1' altra vita ? 



SONNETS. 59 



IV. 



Here helms and swords are made of chalices : 
The blood of Christ is sold so much the quart : 
His cross and thorns are spears and shields ; and short 

Must be the time e'er even his patience cease. 

Nay, let him come no more to raise the fees 
Of this foul sacrilege beyond report ! 
For Rome still flays and sells him at the court, 

Where paths are closed to virtue's fair increase. 

Now were fit time for me to scrape a treasure ! 
Seeing that work and gain are gone ; while he 
Who wears the robe, is my Medusa still. 

God welcomes poverty perchance with pleasure : 
But of that better life what hope have we, 

When the blessed banner leads to nought but ill ? 

Symonds. 



60 SONETTI. 



A GIOVANNI DA PISTOIA, 

QUANDO L' ADTORE DIPIGNEVA LA VOLTA DELLA SISTINA. 
[1509.] 

I* ho gia fatto un gozzo in questo stento, 

Come fa 1* acqua a* gatti in Lombardia, 

ver d' altro paese che si sia, 

Ch' a forza 1 ventre appicca sotto 1 mento. 
La barba al cielo, e la memoria sento 

In sullo scrignio, e '1 petto fo d' arpia ; 

E 1 pennel sopra '1 viso tuttavia 

Mel fa, gocciando, un ricco pavimento. 
E lombi entrati mi son nella peccia, 

E fo del cul per contrapeso groppa, 

E' passi senza gli occhi muovo invano. 
Dinanzi mi s' allunga la corteccia, 

E per piegarsi adietro si ragroppa, 

E tendomi com' arco soriano. 

Per6 fallace e strano 

Surgie il iudizio che la mente porta ; 

Che mal si tra' per cerbottana torta. 

La mia pittura morta 

Difendi orma', Giovanni, e 1 mio onore, 

Non sen do in loco bon, ne io pit tore. 



SONNETS. 61 

V. 

TO GIOVANNI DA PISTOJA, 

WHILE THE AUTHOR WAS PAINTING THE SISTINE CHAPEL. 
[1509.] 

I 've grown a goitre by dwelling in this den — 
As cats from stagnant streams in Lombardy, 
Or in what other land they hap to be — 
Which drives the belly close beneath the chin : 
My beard turns up to heaven ; my nape falls in, 
Fixed on my spine : my breast-bone visibly 
Grows like a harp : a rich embroidery 
Bedews my face from brush-drops thick and thin. 
My loins into my paunch like levers grind : 
My buttock like a crupper bears my weight ; 
My feet unguided wander to and fro ; 
In front my skin grows loose and long ; behind, 
By bending it becomes more taut and strait ; 
Crosswise I strain me like a Syrian bow : 
Whence false and quaint, I know, 
Must be the fruit of squinting brain and eye ; 
For ill can aim the gun that bends awry. 

Come then, Giovanni, try 
To succour my dead pictures and my fame ; 
Since foul I fare and painting is my shame. 

Symonds. 



62 SONETTI. 



XII. 
A VITTOEIA COLONNA. 

Felice spirto, che con zelo ardente, 

Vecchio alia morte, in vita il mio cor tieni, 
E fra mill' altri tuo' diletfci e beni 
Me sol saluti fra piu nobil gente ; 

Come mi fusti agli occhi, or alia mente, 
Per T altru' fiate, a consolar mi vieni : 
Onde la speme il duol par che raffreni, 
Che non men che 1 disio 1' anima sente. 

Dunche trovando in te chi-per me parla, 
Grazia. di te per me fra tante cure, 
Tal grazia ne ringrazia chi ti scrive. 

Che sconcia e grand' usur saria a farla, 
Donandoti turpissime pitture 
Per riaver persone belle e vive. 



SONNETS. t)3 



XII. 
TO VITTOBIA COLONNA. 

Blest spirit, who with loving tenderness 
Quickenest my heart so old and near to die, 
Who mid thy joys on me dost bend an eye 

Though many nobler men around thee press ! 

As thou wert erewhile wont my sight to bless, 
So to console my mind thou now dost fly ; 
Hope therefore stills the pangs of memory, 

Which coupled with desire my soul distress. 

So finding in thee grace to plead for me — 
Thy thoughts for me sunk in so sad a case — 

He who now writes, returns thee thanks for these. 

Lo, it were foul and monstrous usury 

To send thee ugliest paintings in the place 
Of thy fair spirit's living phantasies. 

Symonds. 



64 SONETTI. 



XIII. 
A VITTORIA COLONNA. 

Per esser manco almen, signiora, indegnio 
Dell' immensa vostr' alta cortesia, 
Prima, all' incontro a quella, usar la mia 
Con tutto il cor volse 1 mie basso ingegnio. 

Ma visto poi c' ascendere a quel segnio 
Propio valor non e c' apra la via, 
Perdon domanda la mie colpa ria, 
E del fallir piu saggio ognior divegnio. 

E veggio ben com' erra, s' alcun crede 
La grazia, che da voi divina piove, 
Pareggi 1' opra mia caduca e frale. 

L' ingegnio e 1' arte e la memoria cede : 
C un don celeste mai con mille pruove 
Pagar puo sol del suo chi e mortale. 



SONNETS. 65 



XIII. 
TO VITTOEIA COLONNA. 

Oh, noble lady, but more true to be 

To the high gift of your great courtesy, 

I gladly would increasing merit find 

In the poor efforts of my lowly mind ! 

But when unto this lofty height I climb, 

The strength and worth to reach it are not mine. 

My wicked boldness asks for saving grace, 

That wisdom may some good from failure trace. 

He errs, if any lets that foolish thought prevail 
That to the grace divine, flowing from you to me, 
My frail and dying work can ever equal be : 

My mind and art and memory all would fail. 
How can a mortal, with a thousand efforts, pay 
Celestial gifts, in his poor feeble way ? 

E. D. C 



6Q SONETTI. 



XIV. 
A VITTORIA COLONNA. 

[1550.] 

Da che concetto ha 1' arte intera e diva 
La forma e gli atti d' alcun, poi di quello 
D' urnil materia un semplice modello 
E 1 primo parto che da quel deriva. 

Ma nel secondo poi di pietra viva 

S' adempion le promesse del martello; 

E si rinasce tal concetto e bello, 

Che ma' non e chi suo eterno prescriva. 

Simil, di me model, nacqu' io da prima ; 
Di me model, per cosa piu perfetta 
Da voi rinascer poi, donna alta e degna. 

Se '1 poco accresce, 1 mio superchio lima 
Vostra pieta ; qual penitenzia aspetta 
Mio fiero ardor, se mi gastiga e insegna ? 



SONNETS. 67 



XIV. 
TO VITTOEIA COLONNA. 

[1550.] 

When divine Art conceives a form and face, 
She bids the craftsman for his first essay 
To shape a simple model in mere clay : 

This is the earliest birth of Art's embrace. 

From the live marble in the second place 
His mallet brings into the light of day 
A thing so beautiful that who can say 

When time shall conquer that immortal grace ? 

Thus my own model I was born to be — 
The model of that nobler self, whereto 
Schooled by your pity, lady, I shall grow. 

Each overplus and each deficiency 

You will make good. What penance then is due 
For my fierce heat, chastened and taught by you ? 

Symonds. 



6$ SONETTI. 



XV. 

Non ha 1' ottimo artista alcun concetto, 
Ch' un marmo solo in se nou circonscriva 
Col suo soverchio ; e solo a quello arriva 
La man che ubbidisce all' intelletto. 

II mal ch' io fuggo, e '1 ben ch' io mi prometto, 
In te, donna leggiadra, altera e diva, 
Tal si nasconde ; e perch' io piu non viva, 
Contraria ho Y arte al disiato effetto. 

Amor dunque non ha^ ne tua beltate, 
durezza, o fortuna, o gran disdegno, 
Del mio mal colpa, o mio destino o sorte ; 

Se dentro del tuo cor morte e pietate 

Porti in un tempo, e che 1 mio basso ingegno 
Non sappia, ardendo, trarne altro che morte. 



SONNETS. 69 



xv. : 



Whate'er conception a great artist fires, 
Its answering semblance latent lies within 
A block of marble ; but the hand alone, 
Swayed by the intellect, can give it form. 
Lady illustrious, graceful, and divine, 
The Good I 'd seek for, and the 111 I 'd shun, 
Thus latent are in thee ; but I, death-struck, 
Fail in my efforts to attain that Good. 
Nor love, then, nor thy beauty are the cause, 
Nor adverse fortune, nor thy cold disdain, 
Of the sad destiny 'neath which I pine. 
If death and pity each within thy heart 
Together dwell, how weak my power, which fails, 
Though ardent, to extract thence aught but death. 

Harford. 

1 See Appendix, p. 162 (6). 



70 SONETT1. 



XVII. 

Com' esser, donna, pu6 quel ch' alcun vede 
Per lunga sperienza, che piu dura 
L' immagin viva in pietra alpestra e dura, 
Che 1 suo fattor, che gli anni in cener riede ? 

La causa all' effetto inclina e cede, 
Onde dall' arte e vinta la natura. 
Io 1 so, che '1 provo in la bella scultura ; 
Ch' all' opra il tempo e morte non tien fede. 

Dunque posso ambo noi dar lunga vita 
In qual sie modo, o di colore o sasso, 
Di noi sembrando 1' uno e 1' altro volto : 

Si che mill' anni dopo la partita 

Quanto e voi bella fusti, e quant' io lasso 
Si veggia, e com' amarvi io non fui stolto. 



SONNETS. 71 



XVII. 

How, lady, can it be — which yet is shown 

By long experience — that the imaged' form 

Lives in the mountain stone, and long survives 

Its maker, whom the dart of Death soon strikes ? 

The frailer cause doth yield to the effect, 

And nature is in this by art surpassed. 

I know it well, whom Sculpture so befriends, 

Whilst evermore Time breaketh faith with me. 

Perchance to both of us I may impart 

A lasting life in colors or in stone, 

By copying the mind and face of each ; 

So that for ages after my decease 

The world may see how beautiful thou wert, — 

How much I loved thee, nor in loving erred. 

Taylor. 



72 SONETTI. 



XX. 

Quanto si gode, lieta e ben con testa 

Di nor, sopra' crin d' or d' una, grillanda ; 
Che 1' altro inanzi 1' uno all' altro manda, 
Come ch' il primo sia a baciar la testa ! 

Contenta e tutto il giorno quella vesta 
Che serra '1 petto, e poi par che si spanda ; 
E quel c' oro filato si domanda 
Le guanci' e '1 collo di toccar non resta. 

Ma piu lieto quel nastro par che goda, 
Dorato in punta, con si fatte tempre, 
Che preme e tocca il petto ch' egli allaccia. 

E la schietta cintura che s' annoda 

Mi par dir seco : qui vo' stringier sempre ! 
Or che farebbon dunche le mie braccia ? 



SONNETS. 73 



What joy hath yon glad wreath of flowers that is 
Around her golden hair so deftly twined, 
Each blossom pressing forward from behind, 

As though to be the first her brows to kiss ! 

The livelong day her dress hath perfect bliss, 
That now reveals her breast, now seems to bind : 
And that fair woven net of gold refined 

Eests on her cheek and throat in happiness ! 

Yet still more blissful seems to me the band 
Gilt at the tips, so sweetly doth it ring 
And clasp the bosom that it serves to lace : 

Yea, and the belt, to such as understand, 

Bound round her waist, saith : here I 'd ever cling. 
What would my arms do in that girdle's place ? 

Symonds. 



74 J SONETTI. 






XXI. 

D' altrui pietoso e sol di se spietato 
Nascie un vil bruto, clie con dolce doglia 
L' altrui man veste, e la suo scorza spoglia, 
E sol per morte si pu6 dir ben nato. 

Cosi volesse al mie signior mie fato 
Vestir suo viva di mie morta spoglia ; 
Che, come serpe al sasso si discoglia, 
Pur per morte potria cangiar mie stato. 

fussi sol la mie 1' irsuta pelle 

Che, del suo pel contesta, fa tal gonna 
Che con ventura stringe si bel seno, 

Che 1 giorno pur m' aresti ; o le pianelle 
Fuss' io, che basa a quel fanno e colonna, 
C al piover t' are' pure addosso almeno. 



SONNETS. 75 



£^ZL 



Kind to the world, but to itself unkind, 

A worm is born that dying noiselessly 

Despoils itself to clothe fair limbs, and be 
In its true worth by death alone divined. 
Oh, would that I might die, for her to find 

Eaiment in my outworn mortality ! 

That, changing like the snake, I might be free 
To cast the slough wherein I dwell confined ! 
Nay, were it mine, that shaggy fleece that stays, 

Woven and wrought into a vestment fair, 
Around her beauteous bosom in such bliss ! 

All through the day she 'd clasp me ! Would I were 
The shoes that bear her burden ! When the ways 
Were wet with rain, her feet I then should kiss ! 

Symonds. 



76 SONETTI. 



XXIII. 

Ben possou gli occhi mia presso e lontano 
Veder dove apparisce il tuo bel volto ; 
Ma dove lor, a' pie, donna, e ben tolto 
Portar le braccia e 1' una e 1' altra mano. 

L' anima, 1' intelletto intero e sano 

Per gli occhi ascende piu libero e sciolto 
All' alta tuo belta ; ma 1' ardor molto 
Non da tal privilegio al corpo umano 

Grave e mortal ; si che mal segue poi 
Senz' ale ancor d' un' angioletta il volo, 
E 1 veder sol pur se ne gloria e loda. 

Deh ! se tu puoi nel ciel quanto tra noi, 
Fa' del mio corpo tutto un occhio solo ; 
Ne fia poi parte in me che non ti goda. 



SONNETS. 77 



XXTTH 

My eyes may wander, whether far or near, 
Wherever shows itself thy face so fair ; 
But yet my feet, Lady, may not dare 

To bring my arms within this vision's sphere. 

The soul, the intellect, intact and clear 

Ascendeth through the eyes with freedom, where 
Thy beauty reigns ; yet all our longing ne'er 

Can serve to make the human body freer : 

This heavy mortal frame doth strive but ill, 
Wingless, with angel's lofty flight to vie, 
And all its boast and pleasure are to see. 

Ah ! if in heaven, as here, thou hast thy will, 
Make thou my body all one single eye, 
That I may have no part but joys in thee. 

E. C. 



78 SONETTI. 



XXIV. 

Spirto ben nato, in cui si specchia e vede 
Nelle tuo belle membra oneste e care 
Quante natura e '1 ciel tra no' pu6 fare, 

! Quand' a null' altra suo bell' opra cede : 

Spirto leggiadro, in cui si spera e crede 
Dentro, come di fuor nel viso appare, 
Amor, pieta, merce ; cose si rare, 
Che ma' f urn' in belta con tanta fede : 

1/ amor mi prende, e la belta mi lega ; 
La pieta, la merce con dolci sguardi 
Ferma speranz' al cor par che ne doni. 

Qual uso o qual governo al mondo niega, 
Qual crudelta per tempo, o qual piu tardi, 
C a si bel viso morte non perdoni ? 



SONNETS. 79 



XXIV. 

Thou high-born spirit, on whose countenance, 

Pure and beloved, is seen reflected all 

That Heaven and Nature can on earth achieve, 

Surpassing all their beauteous works with one ; 

Fair spirit, within whom we hope to find, 

As in thine outward countenance appears, 

Love, piety, and mercy, — things so rare 

As with such faith were ne'er in beauty found, — 

Love seizes me, and beauty chains my soul. 

The pitying love of thy blest countenance 

Gives to my heart, it seems, firm confidence. 

Thou faithless world, thou sad deceitful life, 

What law, what envious decree, denies 

That Death should spare a work so beautiful ? 

Taylor. 



£0 SONETTI. 



XXV. 

Dimmi di grazia, amor, se gli occhi mei 
Veggono '1 ver della belta ch' aspiro, 
s' io 1' ho dentro allor che, dov' io miro, 
Veggio piu bello el viso di costei. 

Tu '1 de' saper, po' che tu vien con lei 
A torm' ogni mie pace, ond' io m' adiro ; 
Ne vorre' manco un minimo sospiro, 
Ne men ardente foco chiederei 

La belta che tu vedi e ben da quella ; 
Ma crescie poi ch' a miglior loco sale, 
Se per gli occhi mortali all' alma corre. 

Quivi si fa divina, onesta e bella, 
Com' a se simil vuol cosa immortale : 
Questa, e non quella, a gli occhi tuo' precorre. 



SONNETS. 81 



Poet. 

Tell me, Love, I pray thee, do mine eyes 
Behold that Beauty's truth which I admire, 
Or lives it in my heart, — for wheresoe'er 
I turn, more fair her countenance appears ? 
Thou well must know, for thou dost come with her, 
To take from me my peace, whence I complain ; 
And yet I would not wish one brief sigh less, 
Nor that the flame within me were less strong. 

Love. 

The Beauty thou regardest is from her, 
But grows as to a better place it riseth, 
If through the mortal eyes it finds the soul. 
There it becomes ennobled, fair, divine ; 
For immortal thing assimilates the pure : 
This one, and not the other, meets thine eye. 

Taylor. 



I 



82 SONETTI. 



XXVIII. 

La vita del mie amor non e '1 cor mio, 

Ch' amor, di quel ch' io t' amo, e senza core ; 
Dov' e cosa mortal piena d' errore, 
Esser non pu6 gia ma', ne pensier rio. 

Amor nel dipartir 1' alma da Dio 

Me fe' san occhio, e te luc' e splendore ; 
Ne puo non rivederlo in quel che muore 
Di te, per nostro mal, mie gran disio. 

Come dal foco el caldo esser diviso 

Non pu6, dal bell' etterno ogni mie stima, 
Ch' esalta, ond' ella vien, chi piu 1 somiglia. 

Tu c' hai negli occhi tutto '1 paradiso, 
Per ritornar la dov' i' t' ama' prima, 
Ricorro ardendo sott' alle tuo ciglia. 



SONNETS. 83 



XXVIIT. 

The life spring of my love is not my heart ; 

I love thee with a love devoid of heart, 

There tending where nor human passion, fraught 

With error, nor a guilty thought is found. 

Love, when our souls proceeded forth from God, 

My vision clear, and Thee all splendor made ; 

And still I seem its traces to behold, 

E'en in thy frame which sin has mortal made. 

As heat from fire is not divisible, 

Thus with the Eternal blends the Beautiful, 

And I their emanations ever hail. 

Beholding in thine eyes bright Paradise, 

Ever beneath their radiance I would dwell, 

And thus return where first I loved thee so. 

Harforb. 



84 SONETTI. 



J 
XXX. 

Veggio co' bei vostrd occhi un dolce lume, 
Che co' miei ciechi gia veder non posso ; 
Porto co' vostri piedi un pondo a dosso, 
Che de' mie' zoppi non e gia costume ; 

Volo con le vostr' ale senza piuine ; 

Col vostr' ingegno al ciel sempre son mosso ; 
Dal vostr' arbitrio son pallido e rosso ; 
Freddo al sol, caldo alle piu fredde brume. 

Nel voler vostro e sol la voglia mia, 
I mie' pensier nel vostro cor si fanno, 
Nel vostro fiato son le mia parole. 

Come lima da se sol par ch' io sia ; 

Che gli occhi nostri in ciel veder non sanno 
Se non quel tanto che n' accende il sole. 



SONNETS. 85 



XXX. 

Through your clear eyes I view a beauteous light, 

That my dark sight would ever seek in vain ; 

With your firm steps a burden I support, 

Which my weak power was never used to bear. 

I soar aloft, unplumed, upon your wings, 

By your intelligence to heaven am raised ; 

Your smile or frown maketh me pale or red, 

Cold in the sun, warm 'mid severest chills. 

In your will is mine own will ever fixed ; 

My thoughts find birth and growth within your heart ; 

My words are from your spirit only drawn ; 

And like the moon, alone in heaven, I seem, 

That to our eyes were indiscernible, 

Save by that light which from the sun proceeds. 

Taylor. 



86 SONETTL 



XXXII. 

S' UN casto amor, s' una pieta superna, 
S' una fortuna infra dua amanti equale, 
S' un' aspra sorte all' un dell' altro cale, 
S' un spirto, s' un voler duo cor governa ; 

S' un' anima in duo corpi e fatta eterna, 
Ambo levando al cielo e con pari ale ; 
S' amor d' un colpo e d' un dorato strale 
Le viscier di duo petti arda e discierna ; 

S' amar Y un 1' altro, e nessun se medesmo, 
D' un gusto e d' un diletto, a tal mercede, 
C a un fin voglia 1' uno e 1' altro porre 

Se mille e mille non sarien centesmo 
A tal nodo d' amore, a tanta fede ; 
E sol 1' isdegnio il puo rompere e sciorre ? 



SONNETS. 87 



If a chaste love, a piety supernal, 
A fortune to two lovers equal still 
That grief to one doth bring the other ill, 
One spirit binding both with bond fraternal; 

If one soul in two frames becomes eternal, 
To heaven rising both with equal wing ; 
If love, with one gold arrow from its string, 
Within both hearts kindles a flame internal ; 

If each the other loves, and loves himself no more, 
And love all joy but its own love resigns ; 
And the same end, the will of both must choose ; 

And thousand proofs like these, and yet a thousand more, 
Are scarce a tithe such faith, such love designs, — 
Can wrath itself such loving bondage loose ? 

E. D. C. 



88 SONETTI. 



XXXVIII. 

Rendete a gli occhi miei, o fonte o fiume, 
L' onde della non vostra e salda vena, 
Che piu v' innalza, e cresce, e con piu lena 
Che non e 1 vostro natural costume. 

E tu, folt' air, che 1 celeste lume 

Tempri a' tristi occhi, de' sospir miei piena, 
Eendigli al cor mio lasso, e rasserena 
Tua scura faccia al mio visivo acume. 

Renda la terra i passi a le mie piante, 
Ch' ancor 1' erba germogli che gli e tolta ; 
E '1 suono Ecco, gia sorda a' miei lamenti ; 

Gli sguardi a gli occhi mie', tue luci sante ; 
Ch' io possa altra bellezza un' altra volta 
Amar, po' che di me non ti contenti. 



SONNETS. 89 



XXXVIII. 

Give back unto mine eyes, ye fount and rill, 

Those streams, not yours, that are so full and strong, 
That swell your springs and roll your waves along 
With force unwonted in your native hill ! 

And thou, dense air, weighed with my sighs so chill, 
That hidest heaven's own light thick mists among, 
Give back those sighs to my sad heart, nor wrong 
My visual ray with thy dark face of ill ! 

Let earth give back the footprints that I wore, 
That the bare grass I spoiled may sprout again ; 
And Echo, now grown deaf, my cries return ! 

Loved eyes, unto mine eyes those looks restore, 
And let me woo another not in vain, 
Since how to please thee I shall never learn ! 

Symonds 



90 SONETTI. 



XL. 



Non so se s' e la desiata luce 

Del suo primo fattor, che Y alma sente ; 
se dalla memoria della gente 
Alcun' altra belta nel cor traluce ; 

se fama o se sognio alcun prodduce 
Agli occhi manifesto, al cor presente ; 
Pi se lasciando un non so che cocente, 
Ch' S forse or quel ch' a pianger mi conduce ; 

Quel ch' i' sento e ch' i' cerco : e chi mi guidi 
Meco non e ; ne so ben veder dove 
Trovar mel possa, e par c' altri mel mostri. 

Questo, signior, m' avvien, po' ch' i' vi vidi ; 
C un dolce amaro, un si e no mi muove : 
Certo saranno stati gli occhi vostri. 



SONNETS. 91 



XL. 



I KNOW not if it be the imaged light 

Of its first Maker which the soul doth feel, 

Or if, derived from memory or the mind, 

Some other beauty shine into the heart ; 

Or if the ardent ray of its first state 

Doth still resplendent beam within the mind, 

Leaving I know not what unrestful pain, 

Which is perchance the cause that makes me weep. 

That which I see and feel is not with me : 

I have no guide, nor know I where to look 

To find one ; yet it seems as if revealed. 

Thus, lady, have I been since I beheld you ; 

Moved by a Yes and No, — sweet bitterness ! 

It surely was the effect your eyes produced. 

Taylor. 



92 SONETTL 



XLIII. 

Perch£ Febo non tore' e non distende 
D' intorn' a questo globo fredd' e niolle 
Le braccia sua lucenti, el vulgo voile 
Notte chiamar quel sol che non comprende. 

E tant' e debol, che s' alcun accende 
Un picciol torchio, in quella parte tolle 
La vita dalla nott' ; e tant' e folle, 
Che 1' esca col fucil la squarcia e fende. 

E se gli e pur che qualche cosa sia, 
Cert' e figlia del sol e della terra ; 
Che 1' un tien 1' ombra, e 1' altro sol la cria. 

Ma sia che vuol, che pur chi la loda erra ; 
Vedova, sour', in tanta gelosia, 
Ch' una lucciola sol gli puo far guerra. 



SONNETS. 93 



XLIII. 

Because Hyperion, journeying toward his hall, 

Turns on the tearful Earth no more his face, 

Denying this sad mother his embrace, 

Why should we " night " yon doubtful daylight call ? 

'T is daylight sick, you say, — so weak withal, 

One little candle can its life efface ; 

Nay, this brief spark can thrust it out of place, 

Darting from flint, on tinder frail to fall. 

Well, name her what you will ; to me 't is clear 

Night is Earth's daughter, fathered by the Sun. 

Be it so ; but never call her fair nor dear : 

A black-robed widow she, — even such an one, 

So jealous, and so full of idle fear, 

That from the firefly's brisk assault she 11 run. 

E. B. S. 



94 SONETTI. 



XLIV. 

nott', o dolce tempo benche nero, 

(Con pace ogn' opra sempr' al fin assalta) 
Ben ved' e ben intende chi t' esalta ; 
E chi t' onor', ha 1' intellett' intero. 

Tu mozzi e tronchi ogni stanco pensiero ; 
Che T umid' ombra ogni quiet' appalta : 
E dall' infima parte alia piu alta 
In sogno spesso porti ov' ire spero. 

ombra del morir, per cui si ferma 
Ogni miseria 1' alma al cor nemica, 
Ultimo delli afflitti e buon rimedio ; 

Tu rendi sana nostra earn' inferma, 
Easciug' i pianti, e posi ogni fatica, 
E furi a chi ben vive ogn' ir e tedio. 



SONNETS. 95 



XLIV. 

Night ! season fair, though black thou be, 
All strife in thee doth find its peaceful end ; 
Clear eyes, pure hearts, take thee to be their friend, 
And wholesome are his thoughts who honors thee. 
Thou lopp'st away all weary cares from me ; 
While dewy shades unbroken quiet lend, 
In dreams thou leadest me where I would wend, 
And high exalt'st me, from low passion free. 
Image of death ! on thee the deathless soul 
Stays every sorrow fatal to life's peace. 
Irksome no more the good man's moments flow : 
His flesh and sense infirm thou makest whole, 
His tears thou driest, his weary labors cease, — 
Latest and best release from haunting woe. 

P. B. S. 



96 SONETTI. 



S' i' avessi creduto al primo sguardo 
Di quest' alma fenice al caldo sole 
Kinnovarmi per foco, come suole 
Nell' ultima vecchiezza, ond' io tutt' ardo; 

Qual piu veloce cervio o lince o pardo 
Segue 1 suo bene e f uggie quel che dole, 
Agli atti, al riso, all' oneste parole 
Sarie cors' anzi, ond' or son presto e tardo. 

Ma perche piu dolermi, po' ch' 1 veggio 
Negli occhi di quest' angel lieto e solo 
Mie pace, mie riposo e mie salute ? 

Forse che prima sarie stato il peggio 
Vederlo udirlo, s' or di pari a volo 
Seco m' impenna a seguir suo virtute. 



SONNETS. 97 



Had I but earlier known that from the eyes 
Of that bright soul that fires me like the sun, 
I might have drawn new strength my race to rui^ 
Burning as burns the phoenix ere it dies ; 

Even as the stag, or lynx, or leopard flies 
To seek his pleasure and his pain to shun, 
Each word, each smile of her would I have won, 
Flying where now sad age all flight denies. 

Yet why complain ? For even now I find 
In that glad angel's face, so full of rest, 
Health and content, heart's ease and peace of mind. 

Perchance I might have been less simply blest 
Finding her sooner ; if 't is age alone 
That lets me soar with her to seek God's throne. 

Symonds. 



98 SONETTI. 



LI. 



Tornami al tempo allor che lenta e sciolta 
Al cieco ardor m' era la briglia e '1 freno ; 
Kendimi 1 volto angelico sereno, 
Onde fu seco ogni virtu sepolta ; 

E' passi spessi e con fatica molta, 
\ Che son si lenti a chi e d' anni pieno ; 
Tornami 1' acqua e 1 foco in mezzo il seno, 
Se vuo' di me saziarti un' altra volta. 

E s' egli e pur, amor, che tu sol viva 
De' dolci amari pianti de' mortali, 
D' un vecchio stanco oma' puo' goder poco ; 

Che 1' alma, quasi giunta all' altra riva, 
Fa scudo a tuo' con piu pietosi strali : 
E d' un legni' arso fa vil pruova il foco. 



SONNETS. 99 



^S 



& 



Keturn me to the time when loose the curb, 
And my blind ardor's rein was unrestrained ; 
Restore the face, angelic and serene, 
Which took from Nature all she had of charm ; 
Restore the steps, wasted with toil and pain, 
That are so slow to one now full of years ; 
Bring back the tears, the fire within my breast, 
If thou wouldst see me glow and weep again. 
Yet if 't is true, Love, that thou dost live 
Alone upon our sweet and bitter tears, 
What canst thou hope from an old dying man ? 
Now that my soul has almost reached the shore, 
'T is time to prove the darts of other love, 
And become food of a more worthy fire. 

Taylor. 



100 SONETTI. 



LII. 



Non vider gli occhi miei cosa mortale 
Allor che ne' bei vostri intera pace 
Trovai ; ma dentro, ov' ogni mal displace, 
Chi d' amor 1' alma a se simil m' assale. 

E se creata a Dio non fusse eguale, 

Altro che 1 bel di fuor, ch' agli occhi piace, 
Piu non vorria ; ma perch' e si fallace, 
Trascende nella forma universale. 

Io dico, ch' a chi vive quel che muore 
Quetar non puo disir ; n& par s' aspetti 
L' eterno al tempo, ove altri cangia il pelo. 

Voglia sfrenata el senso e, non amore, 
Che T alma uccide ; e '1 nostro fa perfetti 
Gli amici qui, ma piu per morte in cielo. 



SONNETS. 101 



LIL 



No mortal object did these eyes behold 

When first they met the placid light of thine, 

And my soul felt her destiny divine, 

And hope of endless peace in me grew bold : 

Heaven-born, the soul a heavenward course must hold. 

Beyond the visible world she soars to seek 

(For what delights the sense is false and weak) 

Ideal Form, the universal mould. 

The wise man, I affirm, can find no rest 

In that which perishes ; nor will he lend 

His heart to aught which doth on time depend. 

'T is sense, unbridled will, and not true love, 

That kills the soul ; love betters what is best, 

Even here below, but more in heaven above. 

Wordsworth. 



102 80NJSTTI. 



LIII. 

Non e sempre di colpa aspra e mortale 
D' una immensa bellezza un fero ardore, 
Se poi si lascia liquefatto il core, 
Che 'n breve il penetri un divino strale. 

Amore isveglia e desta e impenna 1' ale, 
Ne 1' alto vol prescrive al van furore ; 
Qual primo grado, ch' al suo creatore, 
Di quel non sazia, 1' alma ascende e sale. 

L' amor di quel ch' io parlo in alto aspira; 
Donna, e dissimil troppo ; e mal conviensi 
Arder di quella al cor saggio e virile. 

L' un tira al cielo, e 1' altro in terra tira ; 
Nell' alma 1' un, 1' altro abita ne' sensi, 
E 1' arco tira a cose basse e vile. 



SONNETS. 103 



LIIL 

It is not always vain and empty sin 

To love a glorious beauty with great love, 
If thus diviner arrows from above 

May penetrate the softened heart within. 

Love wakes and moves and plumes the wing 
For highest flight ; and oft its burning ray, 
As a first step, shall on its upward way 

The aspiring soul to its Creator bring. 

That love whereof I speak aspires on high : 
Lady, 't is most unlike ; for suits but ill 

An earth-born flame the wise and manly heart. 

One draws to heaven, but one on earth would lie ; 
One doth the soul, one but the senses, fill, 



Bending its bow to base and villain Art. 



E. D. C. 



104 SONETTL 



LIV. 

Veggio nel tuo bel viso, signior mio, 

Quel che narrar mal puossi in questa vita 
L' anima, della came ancor vestita, 
Con esso e gia piu volte asciesa a Dio. 

E se 1 vulgo malvagio isciocco e rio 

Di quel che sente, altrui segnia e addita ; 
Non e 1' intensa voglia men gradita, 
L' amor, la fede e 1' onesto desio. 

A quel pietoso fonte, onde sian tutti, 
S' assembra ogni belta che qua si vede, 
Piu c' altra cosa, alle persone accorte ; 

Ne altro saggio abbian ne altri frutti 

Del cielo in terra : es'f v' amo con fede, 
Trascendo a Dio, e fo dolce la morte. 



SONNETS. 105 



LIV. 

Bead by my thoughts, thy features seem to shine 

With that which human words can ill explain, 

A soul still compassed with its earthly chain, 

But beauteous bright and fired with Love divine ; 

And if the base and envious world malign 

And point with scorn at those who think like thee, 

Unchanging still with firm fidelity, 

My heart, my faith, my preference, are thine. 

Deep in that source whence our existence flows 

Beauty's transcendent forms are all combined 

Beyond aught other attributes of mind. 

No trace of heaven on earth we elsewhere meet ; 

And he who faithful love on thee bestows 

Aspires to God, and thinks of death as sweet. 

Harford. 



106 SONBTTL 



LV. 

Tu sa' ch' i' so, signior mie, che tu sai 
Ch' i' venni per goderti piu da presso ; 
E sai ch' i' so, che tu sa' ch' i' son desso. 
A che piu indugio a salutarci omai ? 

Se vera e la speranza che mi dai, 

Se vero e '1 buon desio che in' e concesso, 
Rompasi il mur frail' uno e V altra messo 
Che doppia forza hann' i celati guai. 

S' i' amo sol di te, signior mie caro, 
Quel che di te piu ami, non ti sdegni ; 
Che 1' un dell' altro spirto s' innamora. 

Quel che nel tuo bel volto bramo e 'mparo, 
E mal compres' e dagli umani ingegni, 
Chi '1 vuol veder, convien che prima mora. 



SONNETS. 107 



LV. 



Thou knowest, love, I know that thou dost know 
That I am here more near to thee to be, 
And knowest that I know thou knowest me : 
What means it then that we are sundered so ? 

If they are true, these hopes that from thee flow, 
If it is real, this sweet expectancy, 
Break down the wall that stands 'twixt me and thee ; 
For pain in prison pent hath double woe. 

Because in thee I love, my loved lord, 

What thou best lovest, be not therefore stern : 
Souls burn for souls, spirits to spirits cry ! 

I seek the splendor in thy fair face stored ; 
Yet living man that beauty scarce can learn, 
And he who fain would find it, first must die. 

Symonds. 



108 SONETTI. 



LVI. 

Per ritornar la donde venne fora, 

L' immortal forma al tuo career terreno 
Venne com' angel di pieta si pieno 

' Che sana ogn' intelletto, e 1 mondo onora. 

Questo sol m' arde, e questo m' innamora ; 
Non pur di fora il tuo volto sereno : 
Ch' amor non gia di cosa che vien meno 
Tien ferma speme, in cu' virtu dimora. 

Ne altro avvien di cose altere e nuove 
In cui si preme la natura ; e 1 cielo 
E ch' a lor parto largo s' apparecchia. 

Ne Dio, suo grazia, mi si mostra altrove, 
Piu che 'n alcun leggiadro e mortal velo ; 
E quel sol amo, perche 'n quel si specchia. 



SONNETS. 109 



LVI. 

As one who will reseek her home of light, 

Thy form immortal to this prison-house 

Descended, like an angel piteous, 

To heal all hearts and make the whole world bright. 
'T is this that thralls my soul in love's delight, 

Not thy clear face of beauty glorious ; 

For he who harbors virtue still will choose 
I To love what neither years nor death can blight. 
So fares it ever with things high and rare 

Wrought in the sweat of nature ; heaven above 

Showers on their birth the blessings of her prime : 
Nor hath God deigned to show himself elsewhere 

More clearly than in human forms sublime ; 

Which, since they image him, alone I love. 

Symonds. 



HO SONETTI. 



LIX. 

Non piu che '1 foco il fabbro il ferro istende 
Al concetto suo caro e bel lavoro ; 
Ne senza foco alcuno artista 1' oro 
Al sommo grado suo raffina e rende : 

Ne 1' unica fenice se riprende, 

Se non prim' arsa. Ond' io, s' ardendo moro, 

Spero piu chiar resurger tra coloro 

Che morte accrescie, e 1 tempo non offende. 

Del foco di cli' i' parlo ho gran ventura 
C ancor per rinnovarmi abb' in me loco, 
Sendo gia quasi infra '1 numer de' morti. 

O ver s* al cielo asciende per natura 

Al suo elemento, e ch' io converso in foco 
Sie, come fie che seco non mi porti ? 



SONNETS. HI 



LIX. 

By fire the artist moulds the ductile steel 
Into the beauteous forms his thought defines ; 
And fire expels the alloys, which else conceal 
The gold's pure lustre, and its mass refines. 
Nor can the Phoenix, matchless bird, resume 
Its plumes except it burn. Be it my doom 
Thus into death to burn, since Heaven assigns 
Triumph o'er death to such in realms of light. 

death how sweet ! conflagration bright ! 
If thus resolved to ashes, upward springs 
The soul, no more a mortal home to claim ; 
Or rather, if transmuted into flame, 

Which has by Nature's law a heavenward aim, 

1 'm wafted thither on immortal wings. 

Harford. 



112 SONETTI. 



LX. 

Ben puo talor col mio ardente desio 
Salir la speme, e non esser fallace ; 
Che s' ogni nostro affetto al ciel displace, 
A che fin fatto avrebbe il mondo Dio ? 

Qual piu giusta cagion dell' amarti io 
E, che dar gloria a quell' eterna pace 
Onde pende il divin che di te piace, 
E ch' ogni cor gentil fa casto e pio ? 

Fallace speme ha sol 1' amor, che muore 
Con la belta ch' ogni momento scema, 
Ond' e suggetta al variar d' un bel viso. 

Dolce e ben quella in un pudico core 

Che per cangiar di scorza o d' ora estrema 
Non manca, e qui caparra il paradiso. 



SONNETS. 113 



LX. 



Yes ! hope may with my strong desire keep pace, 

And I be undeluded, unbetrayed ; 

For if of our affections none find grace 

In sight of Heaven, then wherefore hath God made 

The world which we inhabit ? Better plea 

Love cannot have, than that in loving thee 

Glory to that eternal Peace is paid, 

Who such divinity to thee imparts 

As hallows and makes pure all gentle hearts. 

His hope is treacherous only whose love dies 

With beauty, which is varying every hour ; 

But in chaste hearts, uninfluenced by the power 

Of outward change, there blooms a deathless flower, 

That breathes on earth the air of paradise. 

Wordsworth. 



114 SONETTL 



LXIL 
IN MOKTE DI VITTOKIA COLONNA. 

Quand' el ministro de' sospir me' tanti 
Al mondo, agli occhi mei, a se si tolse ; 
Natura, che fra noi degnar lo volse, 
Resto in vergognia, e chi lo vide in pianti. 

Ma non come degli altri oggi si vanti 

Del sol del sol, ch' allor ci spense e tolse, 
Morte, c' amor ne vinse, e farlo il tolse 
In terra vivo e 'n ciel fra gli altri santi. 

Cosi credette morte iniqua e rea 
Finir il suon delle virtute sparte, 
E 1' alma che men bella esser potea. 

Contrari effetti alluminan le carte 
Di vita piu che 'n vita non solea, 
E morto ha 1 ciel, c' allor non avea parte. 



SONNETS. 115 



LXIL 
ON THE DEATH OF VITTORIA COLONNA. 

When she who was the cause of all my sighs 
Departed from the world, herself, and me, 
Nature, who fain had made us worthy her, 
Rested ashamed, and who had seen her wept. 
But let not boastful Death, who quenched the light 
Of this our sun of suns, be all too vain ; 
Since love hath conquered him, and let her live, 
Both here on earth and 'mong the saints above. 
It seemed a cruel and unrighteous thing 
For Death to make her scattered virtues dumb, 
And bear her soul where it might show less fair. 
But (contradiction strange !) her writings now 
Make her more living than she was in life ; 
And heaven receives her dead, where she had else no part 

E. C. 



116 SONETTL 



LXV. 
A GIOKGIO VASAKI. 

[1554.] 

Giunto e gia '1 corso della vita mia, 
Con tempestoso mar per fragil barca, 
Al comun porto, ov' a render si varca 
Conto e ragion d' ogn' opra trista e pia. 

Onde 1' affettuosa fantasia, 

Che T arte mi fece idol' e monarca, 
Conosco or ben quant' era d' error carca, 
E quel ch' a mal suo grado ogn' uom desia. 

Gli amorosi pensier, gia vani e lieti, 

Che fieno or, s' a duo morte m' avvicino ? 
D' una so 1 certo, e 1' altra mi minaccia. 

Ne pinger ne scolpir fia piu che quieti 
L' anima volta a quell' Amor divino 
Ch' aperse, a prender noi, in croce le braccia 



SONNETS. 117 



LXV. 
TO GIOEGIO VASAKI. 

[1554.] 

Well-nigh the voyage now is overpast, 

And my frail bark, through troubled seas and rude, 

Draws near that common haven where at last 

Of every action, be it evil or good, 

Must due account be rendered. Well I know 

How vain will then appear that favored art, 

Sol^idol long, and monarch of my heart ; 

For all is vain that man desires below. 

And now remorseful thoughts the past upbraid, 

And fear of twofold death my soul alarms, — 

That which must come, and that beyond the grave. 

Picture and sculpture lose their feeble charms, 

And to that Love divine I turn for aid 

Who from the cross extends his arms to save. 

Hazlitt. 



118 SONETTI. 



LXVIL 

Non e pm bassa o vil cosa terrena 

Che quel che, senza te, mi sen to e sono ; 
Ond' all' alto desir chiede perdono 
La debile mie propia e stanca lena. 

Deh porgi, Signor mio, quella catena 
Che seco annoda ogni celeste dono ; 
La fede dico, a che mi stringo e sprono ; 
Ne, mie colpa, n' ho grazia intiera e piena. 

Tanto mi fie maggior quant' e piu raro 
II don de' doni ; e maggior fia, se senza, 
Pace e contento il mondo in se non have. 

Po' che non fusti del tuo sangue avaro, 
Che sara di tal don la tua clemenza, 
Se 1 ciel non s' apre a noi con altra chiave ? 



SONNETS. H9 



LXVIL 

No earthly object is more base and vile 

Than I, without Thee, miserable am. 

My spirit now, midst errors multiform, 

Weak, wearied, and infirm, pardon implores. 

O Lord most high ! extend to me that chain 

Which with itself links every gift divine : 

Chiefest to faith I bid my soul aspire, 

Flying from sense, whose path conducts to death. 

The rarer be this gift of gifts, the more 

May it to me abound ; and still the more, 

Since the world yields not true content and peace. 

By faith alone the fount of bitter tears 

Can spring within my heart, made penitent : 

No other key unlocks the gate of heaven. 

Harford. 



120 SONETTI. 



LXX. 

Carico d' anni e di peccati pieno, 
E col tristo uso radicato e forte, 
Vicin mi veggio a 1' una e 1' altra morte, 
E parte 1 cor nutrisco di veleno. 

Ne propie forze ho, c' al bisogno sieno 
Per cangiar vita, amor, costume o sorte, 
Senza le tuo divine e chiare scorte, 
Piu che da noi, per noi qui guida e freno. 

Non basta, Signor mio, che tu m' invogli 
Di ritornar la dove 1' alma sia, 
Non come prima di nulla, creata. 

Anzi che del mortal la privi e spogli, 
Prego m' ammezzi 1' alta e erta via, 
E fie piu chiara e certa la tornata. 



SONNETS. 121 



LXX. 

Borne down by weight of years, and full of sin, 
And in bad habits rooted and confirmed, 
To one and t' other death I 'm drawing near, 
And still on poison partly feed myself ; 
Nor have I, prompt for use, the needful power 
My life, love, manners, and my lot to change 
Without thy aid enlightening and divine, 
To my fallacious course a guide and curb. 
O Lord ! but thou must do for me far more 
Than to invite my soul there to return, 
Where out of nothing it was formed by thee. 
Before this mortal frame thou layest low, 
So by repentance smooth for me the way, 
That this return to thee be sure and blest. 

Harford. 



122 SONETTL 



LXXII. 

Deh fammiti vedere in ogni loco ! 
Se da mortal bellezza arder mi sento, 
A presso al tuo mi sara foco ispento, 
E io nel tuo saro, com' ero, in foco. 

Signor mie caro, i' te sol chiamo e 'nvoco 
Contra 1' inutil mie cieco tormento : 
Tu sol puo' rinnovarmi fuora e drento 
Le voglie, e 1 senno, e '1 valor lento e poco. 

Tu desti al tempo ancor quest' alma diva, 
E 'n questa spoglia ancor fragiT e stanca 
L' incarcerasti, e con fiero destino. 

Che poss' io altro, che cosi non viva ? 
Ogni ben senza te, Signor, mi manca. 

[ II cangiar sorte e sol poter divino. 



SONNETS. 123 



LXXIL 

Oh, make me see thee, Lord, in every place ! 
If burns my heart, to mortal beauty bent, 
Near thine will be that earthly ardor spent, 

And I aflame again with heavenly grace. 

Oh, my dear Lord, thee I evoke and call 
Against my blind and unavailing pain 
Without, within. Thou canst renew again 

My will, my sense, my strength so prone to fall ! 

Thou gavest once to time this spirit divine, 
Clothed in this frail and heavy dress ; 
Imprisoned here, and subject unto law, 

What can I do to change this state of mine ? 
Nought without thee avails my heart to bless : 
A power divine alone for me new lot can draw. 

E. D. C. 



124 SONETTI. 



LXXIII. 

Scarco d' un' importuna e grave salma, 
Signor mio caro, e dal mondo disciolto, 
Qual fragil legno, a te stanco mi volto 
Dall' orribil procella in dolce calma. 

Le spine, e' chiodi, e Y un' e 1' altra palma 
Col tuo benigno umil pietoso volto 
Prometton grazia di pentirsi molto, 
E speme di salute alia trist' alma. 

Non mirin con giustizia i tuoi santi occhi 
II mio passato, e '1 gastigato orecchio 
Non tenda a quello il tuo braccio severo. 

Tuo sangue sol mie colpe lavi e tocclii, 
E piu abbondi, quant' io son piu vecchio, 
Di pront' aita e di perdon' intero. 



SONNETS. 125 



LXXIII. 

Eternal Lord ! eased of a cumbrous load, 
And loosened from the world, I turn to thee ; 
Shun, like a shattered bark, the storm, and flee 
To thy protection for a safe abode. 
The crown of thorns, hands pierced upon the tree, 
The meek, benign, and lacerated face, 
To a sincere repentance promised grace, 
To the sad soul give hope of pardon free. 
With justice mark not thou, Light divine, 
My fault, nor hear it with thy sacred ear ; 
Neither put forth that way thy arm severe ; 
Wash with thy blood my sins ; thereto incline 
More readily the more my years require 
Help, and forgiveness speedy and entire. 

Wordsworth. 



126 SONETTI. 



LXXV. 

Yorrei voler, Signior, quel ch' io non voglio : 
Tra 1 foco e 1 cor di iaccia un vel s' asconde, 
Che 1 foco ammorza ; onde non corrisponde 
La penna all' opre, e fa bugiardo 1 foglio. 

I' t' amo con la lingua, e poi mi doglio ; 

Ch' amor non giungie al cor, ne so ben onde 
Apra T uscio alia grazia, die s' infonde 
Nel cor, che scacci ogni spietato orgoglio. 

Squarcia '1 vel tu, Signior, rompi quel muro 
Che con la suo durezza ne ritarda 
II sol della tuo luce al mondo spenta. 

Manda 1 preditto lume a noi venturo 
Alia tuo bella sposa, accio ch' io arda 
E te senz' alcun dubbio il cor sol senta. 



BONNETS. 127 



LXXV. 

Fain would I will, Lord, what I 'm not willing! 
'Twixt fire and heart a veil of ice is hidden, 
Damping the fire ; agreement thus forbidden 

Between my pen and works makes false each leaf. 
I love thee with the tongue, then count it grief 
That love not reaches to the heart ; since so is hid 
The door to grace, whereby the heart were rid 
Of impious pride its inmost temple filling. 
Eend thou the veil, Lord, break down this wall, 
Which by its hardness keeps retarding so 
Thy holy sunshine, in the world gone out. 
Oh, send the light, so long foretold for all, 
To thy fair bride, that so my soul may glow, 
And feel thee inwardly, and never doubt ! 

J. S. D. 



128 SONETTI. 



LXXVII. 

Mentre m' attrista e duol, parte m' e caro 
II pensier del passato, s' al cor riede 
Mie miserie e peccati, e ragion chiede 
Del tempo perso, onde non e riparo. 

Caro m' e sol, perch' anzi morte imparo 
Quant' ogni uman diletto ha corta fede ; 
Tristo m' e, ch' a trovar grazia e mercede 
Nell' ultim' ora e pur dubbioso e raro. 

Che, benche alle proruesse tue s' attenda, 
Creder, Signore, e troppo grande ardire 
Ch' ogni gran tardita pieta perdoni. 

Ma pur par dal tuo sangue si comprenda 
Quanto infinite fu '1 tuo gran martire, 
Senza misura sien tuo' cari doni. 



SONNETS. 129 



LXXVIL 

Much it afflicts, and yet it soothes my mind 
To dwell upon each thought of Time gone hy, 
Which memory recalls ; though reason mourns 
Th' irreparable ill of wasted hours. 
It soothes me, when the thought of death suggests 
How brief, how transient, is each human joy ; 
It grieves me since I scarcely dare to hope 
Pardon and grace, thus late, for all my sins. 
Despite thy promises, Lord, 't would seem 
Too much to hope that even love like thine 
Can overlook my countless wanderings ; 
And yet thy blood helps us to comprehend 
That if thy pangs for us were measureless, 
No less beyond all measure is thy grace. 

Harford. 



130 SONETTI. 



LXXXI. 

(Imperfetto.) 

La f orza d' un bel viso a che mi sprona ? 
(Ch* altro non e ch' al mondo mi diletti) 
Ascender vivo fra gli spirti eletti, 
Per grazia tal, ch' ogn' altra par men buona. 

Se ben col suo fattor V opra consuona, 
Che colpa vuol giustizia ch' io n' aspetti, 
S' amo, anzi ardo ? e per divin concetti, 
Onoro e stimo ogni gentil persona ? 



SONNETS. 131 



LXXXI. 

(Imperfect.) 

Eapt above earth by power of one fair face, 
Hers in whose sway alone my heart delights, 
I mingle with the blest on those pure heights 
Where man, yet mortal, rarely finds a place. 
With Him who made the work that work accords 
So well, that by its help and through his grace 
I raise my thoughts, inform my deeds and words, 
Clasping her beauty in my soul's embrace. 
[Thus, if from two fair eyes mine cannot turn, 
I feel how in their presence doth abide 
Light which to God is both the way and guide ; 
And, kindling at their lustre, if I burn, 
My noble fire emits the joyful ray 
That through the realms of glory shines for aye.] 

Wordsworth. 



132 SONETTI. 



LXXXIX. 

(Imperfetto.) 

Ben sarien dolce le preghiere mie, 
Se virtu mi prestassi da pregarte : 
Nel mio fragil terren non e gia parte 
Da frutto buon, che da se nato sie. 

Tu sol se' seme d' opre caste e pie, 
Che la germoglian dove ne fa' parte : 
Nessun proprio valor puo seguitarte, 
Se no gli mostri le tue sante vie. 



SONNETS. 133 



LXXXIX. 

(Imperfect.) 

The prayers I make will then be sweet indeed, 
If Thou the spirit give by which I pray : 
My unassisted heart is barren clay, 
That of its native self can nothing feed. 
Of good and pious works thou art the seed, 
That quickens only where thou sayest it may ; 
Unless thou show to us thine own true way, 
No man can find it : Father ! thou must lead. 
[Bo thou, then, hreathe those thoughts into my mind 
By which such virtue may in me be bred, 
That in thy holy footsteps I may tread ; 
The fetters of my tongue do thou unbind, 
lliat I may have the povjer to sing of thee, 
And sound thy praises everlastingly.'] 

Wordsworth. 



CANZONI. 



III. 



Ohime, ohime ! ch' io son tradito 

Da' giorni miei fugaci, e dallo specchio 
Che '1 ver dice a ciascun che fiso '1 guarda, 
Cosi n' avvien chi troppo al fin ritarda ; 
Com' ho fatt' io, che 1 tempo m' e fuggito ; 
Si trova come me 'n un giorno vecchio. 
Ne mi posso pentir, ne m' apparecchio, 
Ne mi consiglio, con la morte appresso. 
Nemico di me stesso, 
Inutilmente i pianti e' sospir verso : 
Che none danno pari al tempo perso. 



CANZONETS. 



III. 



Ah, woe is me ! Alas ! when I revolve 
My years gone by, wearied, I find not one 
Wherein to call a single day my own. 
Fallacious hopes, desires as vain, and thoughts 
Of love compounded and of lover's woes 
(No mortal joy has novelty for me), 
Make up the sum ; I know, I feel, 't is so. 
Thus have I ever strayed from Truth and Good : 
Where'er I go, shifting from right to left, 
Denser the shades, less bright the sun appears, 
And I, infirm and worn, am nigh to fall. 

Harford. 



STANZE. 



II. 
ALLA SUA DONNA 

1. 

Io crederrei, se tu fussi di sasso, 
Amarti con tal fede, ch' i' potrei 
Farti meco venir piu che di passo ; 
Se fussi morto, parlar ti farei ; 
Se fussi in ciel, ti tirerei a basso 
Co' pianti co' sospir co' priegi miei : 
Sendo vivo e di came, e qui tra noi, 
Chi t' ama e serve che de' creder poi ? 



STANZAS. 



II. 
TO HIS LADY. 



Methinks, though thou wert stone, the charm I 'd know 
(So strong and faithful is my love for thee) 
To lead thee with me wheresoe'er I go ; 
If thou wert dead, I 'd make thee speak to me ; 
Wert thou in heaven, I 'd draw thee down below 
With sighs, and prayers, and tears of agony : 
But since as living flesh thou here dost dwell, 
What hopes may not be his who loves thee well ? 

E. C. 



CAPITOLI. 



III. 



IN MORTE DI LODOVICO BUONARROTI SUO 
PADRE, 

ESSENDO GIA MORTO BUONARROTO SUO FRATELLO. 
(Imperfetto. ) 

Ancor che 1 cor gia mi premesse tanto, 
Per mie scampo credendo il gran dolore 
N' uscissi con le lacrime e col pianto ; 

Fortuna al fonte di cotale umore 

Le radice e le vene ingrassa e 'mprngua 
Per morte, e non per pena o duol minore, 

Col tuo partire ; onde convien destingua 
Dal figlio prima e tu morto dipoi, 
Del quale or parlo, pianto, penna e lingua. 

L' un m' era irate,, e tu ..-padre, di uoi ; 
L' amore a quello, a te '1 debito strignie : 
Non so qual pena piu m' afligga o noi. 



TRIPLETS. 



III. 



ON THE DEATH OF HIS FATHEK, LODOYICO 
BUONAEEOTI, 

WHICH FOLLOWED SOON ON THAT OF HIS BROTHER [l534 OR 1536]. 
(Imperfect.) 

Deep grief such woe unto my heart did give, 

I thought it wept the bitter pain away, 

And tears and moans would let my spirit live. 

But fate renews the fount of grief to-day, 
And feeds each hidden root and secret vein 
By death that doth still harder burden lay. 

I of thy parting speak ; and yet again 

For him, of thee who later left me here, 

My tongue and pen shall speak the separate pain. 

He was my brother, thou our father dear ; 

Love clung to him and duty bound to thee, 

' Nor can I tell which loss I hold most near. 



140 CAPITOLI. 

La memoria '1 fratel pur mi dipignie, 
E te sculpiscie vivo in mezzo '1 core, 
E piu ch' allor pieta 1 volto mi tignie. 

Pur mi quieta, che 1 debito c' allore 
Pago '1 mie frate acerbo, e tu maturo : 
| Che manco duole altrui chi vecchio muore. 

Tanto all' increscitor men aspro e duro 
Esser die 1 caso, quant' e piu necesse ; 
La dove '1 ver dal senso e piu sicuro. 

Ma chi e quel che morto non piangiesse 
Suo caro padre, c' ha veder non mai 
Quel che vedea infinite volte o spesse ? 

Nostri intensi dolori e nostri guai 
Son come piu e men ciascun gli sente. 
Quant' in me posson, tu Signior tel sai. 

E se ben Y alma alia ragion consente, 
Tien tanto in collo, che vie piu abbondo 
Po' doppo quella in esser piu dolente. 

E se '1 pensier, nel quale i' mi profondo, 
Non fussi che '1 ben morto in ciel si ridi 
Del timor del morire in questo mondo ; 



TRIPLETS. 141 

Painted like life my brother stands to me ; 

Thou art a sculptured image in my heart, 

And most for thee my cheek is tinged with piety. 



Thus am I soothed ; death early claimed the part 
My brother owed, but in full ripeness thou. 
He grieves us less who doth in age depart. 

Less hard and sharp it is to death to bow 
As growing age longs for its needful sleep, 
Where true life is, safe from the senses now. 

Ah ! who is he who sadly would not weep 

To see the father dead he held so dear, 

He ever, living still, in frequent sight did keep ? 

Our griefs and woes to each alone are clear, 
As more or less he feels their fatal power ; 
Thou knowest, Lord ! to me the loss how near. 

Though reason holds my soul some calmer hour, 
'T is by such hard constraint I bind my grief ; 
The lifted clouds again more darkly lower. 

And but this thought can give my heart relief, 
That he died well, and, resting, smiles in heaven 
On death that brought in life a pain so brief. 



142 GAPITOLI. 

Cresciere' 1 duol : ma' dolorosi stridi 
Temprati son d' una credenza ferma, 
Che '1 ben vissuto, a morte me' s' annidL 

Nostro intelletto dalla carne inferma 
ii tanto oppresso, che '1 morir piu spiace 
Quanto piu 1 falso persuaso afferma. 

Novanta volte el sol suo chiara face 
Prim' ha nell' ociean bagniata e molle, 
Che tu sie giunto alia divina pace. 

Or che nostra miseria el ciel ti tolle, 
Increscati di me che morto vivo, 
Come tuo mezzo qui nascier mi voile. 

Tu se' del morir morto e fatto divo, 
Ne tern' or piu cangiar vita ne voglia ; 
Che quasi senza invidia non lo scrivo. 

Fortuna e 1 tempo dentro a vostra soglia 
Non tenta trapassar, per cui s' adduce 
Fra no' dubbia letizia e cierta doglia. 

Nube non e che scuri vostra luce, 
L' ore distinte a voi non fanno forza, 
Caso o necessita non vi conduce. 



TRIPLETS. 143 

For deeper grief would grow and crush me even, 
Did not firm faith convince my inmost mind, 
Living well here, he nests himself in Heaven. 

So closely doth the flesh the spirit bind, 
That death the weary heart can most oppress 
When erring sense forbids the truth to find. 

Full ninety times in ocean's deep recess 
Of cooling shade, the sun its torch had laid, 
Ere peace Divine thy weary heart did bless. 

Oh, pity me who now art left here dead ! 

thou through whom Heaven willed me to be born, 
Since Heaven at last thy suffering life has stayed ! 

Divine thou art ! Death of death's power is shorn, 
Nor fearest thou life's changes ever more ; 

1 write almost with envy, here forlorn. 



Fortune and Time, which bring us grief so sure 
With joy uncertain, claim no more their right ; 
Their fickle changes enter not your door. 



There is no cloud to dim your shining light, 
No chance nor need to bind your onward way. 
No time to urge you with its rapid flight. 



144 CAPITOLL 

Vostro splendor per notte non s' ammorza, 
Ne crescie ma' per giorno, benche chiaro, 
Sie quand' el sol fra no' il caldo rinforza. 

Nel tuo morire el mie morire imparo, 
Padre mie caro, e nel pensier ti veggio 
Dove '1 mondo passar ne fa di raro. 

Non e, com' alcun crede, morte il peggio 
A chi 1' ultimo di trasciende al primo, 
Per grazia, eterno appresso al divin seggio ; 

Dove, Die grazia, ti prossummo e stimo, 
E spero di veder, se '1 freddo core 
Mie ragion traggie dal terrestre limo. 

E se tra 1 padre e '1 figlio ottimo am ore 
Crescie nel ciel, cresciendo ogni virtute, 



TRIPLETS. 145 

Your splendor changes not by night nor day, — 
Though dark the one, the other heavenly clear, — 
Nor when the sun sends down its warmer ray. 

By thine own death, father ever dear, 
I learn to die, and see thee in my thought, 
Where the world rarely lets us linger near. 

Think not, like some, death only evil wrought 
To one whom Grace to God's own seat has led, 
And from the last day to the first has brought ; 

Where, thanks to God, thou art, my soul has said, 
And hopes to meet thee if my own cold heart 
By reason rises from its earthly bed. 

And if 'twixt son and father Love's best art 
Grows yet in heaven, as every virtue grows — 

E. D. C. 



10 



NOTES. 



NOTES. 



The Statue of Night. — About the year 1521 Michel- 
angelo was engaged on the sculptures of the Medicean 
Chapel. This labor lasted for many years, which were times 
of great political trouble in his beloved city. This cause 
filled his mind with profound melancholy, which he has 
expressed in the beautiful Statue of Night. One morning 
the verses in the text were found attached to this statue. 
Vasari says their authorship was unknown, but it was after- 
wards learned that they were written by Giovanni da Carlo 
Strozzi. Michelangelo's answer shows how deeply they 
touched him. 

Epigram IV. — " Eemembering that May, which is so 
beautiful a month, gives us no fruits, he seems desirous of 
admonishing us to seek in life something more substantial 
than pleasures." — Guasti. 

Epigram V. — Guasti refers this to Dante's sonnet 
"Amore e cor gentil son una cosa." The readers of the 
" Dial " will be reminded of Mrs. Hooper's beautiful lines : — 

" I slept, and dreamed that life was Beauty ; 
I woke, and found that life was Duty." 

Epitaphs. — We know little else of the young man 
whose premature death inspired these beautiful poems of 
grief, which express rather the varied emotions which his 
own sorrows had called up in the poet's heart than those 
peculiar to an individual loss. He evidently designed a 



150 NOTES. 

monument for the wonderful youth, but I cannot learn that 
it was ever executed. These epitaphs were sent to Luigi 
del Riccio, and are often accompanied by a brief explana- 
tory note, sometimes intimating that the poems are in re- 
turn for gifts. Once he writes : " I did not wish to send it 
to you, because' it is a very stupid thing; but the trouts and 
truffle would compel Heaven itself. I commend myself to 
you." And again : " If you do not wish these, do not send 
me anything more." And again : " These are for the trout; 
but if they do not please you, do not pickle any more with- 
out pepper." 

MADRIGALS. 

Madrigal III. — This madrigal was much changed by 
the nephew, and Southey's rendering is hardly more than a 
paraphrase of the latter's version. A translation of Guasti's 
prose version is here subjoined : — 

" That which contents the multitude is not always so highly valued 
and precious in the world that there may not be some one who frequently 
finds that bitter which to many is sweet. Good taste — that is, right feel- 
ing — is so rare that at times one is compelled to pander to the desires of 
the crowd, while within he is pleased with himself alone. And even I, 
while yielding to the desires of the multitude, constantly learn to know 
better the inner idea of the beautiful, unseen by that crowd without, 
which saddens my soul and does not hear its groans. The world is blind, 
and aids most with its honors and praises him toward whom it is most 
chary of them ; like a whip which, in admonishing, makes us smart." 

Madrigal IV. — This translation of Harford's is not 
literal ; but it so well preserves the spirit of the original, 
and is so old a favorite, that I cannot attempt to make a 
better one. 

Madrigal V. — The last six lines of this madrigal were 
so much changed by the nephew as to destroy the force of 
the thought. A literal translation of Guasti would be, — 

" That love may undeceive me, and piety the truth may write, 
That the soul freed from itself 



NOTES. 151 

May not turn to its old errors 

During the rest of life, and may live less blind, 

I ask of you, high and divine lady, 

To know if in heaven has less esteem 

The humble sinner than the proud well-doer. 

Madrigal VI. — This translation is neither literal nor 
very poetic ; but the poem is so interesting for its reference 
to Vittoria Colonna that it must not be omitted. 

Madrigal VII. — This madrigal gives his whole phi- 
losophy of Art and Beauty. The impulse is always from 
above, not from earth. 

Madrigal VIII. — The last line is not true to either 
version ; but in so playful an effusion some license may be 
pardoned to the translator. 

Madrigal XII. — This very beautiful madrigal is diffi- 
cult to translate. I have never forgotten a striking version 
of the fourth line which I once heard from Dr. Bartol, — 

" The more the marble wastes, the more the statue grows." 

Madrigal XV. — Taylor has not given the force of the 
last word " stenta," " suffers." 

Madrigal XVIII. — The rhythm of this madrigal is 
spoiled by the nephew, who has lengthened the lines. A 
truer translation is desirable, but it is too important to be 
omitted. 

Madrigal XXII. —This madrigal is somewhat obscure, 
as even Guasti acknowledges ; but it is characteristic, and 
the rather free measure gives its spirit. The "face and 
eyes and flowing hair " possibly apply to the same person 
referred to in Sonnet XX. 

Madrigal XXV. — The nephew in his version omitted 
the exclamation " dio ! " and changed the last three lines. 
A literal rendering of the true reading would be : — 

What thing is this, love, 
"Which enters into the heart by the eyes ; 
►-, And if by chance it overflows 

For a little while, appears to increase within ? 



152 NOTES. 

Madrigal XXXIX. — The nephew's version is slightly 
altered, but not so much so as to change the sense ; and Har- 
ford's last line is not literally true. The original reads, — 

" Evil injures much more than good aids." 

Madrigal LIII. — The last two lines are entirely an 
addition of the nephew's. 

Madrigal LXXVIII. — This translation is attributed to 
Southey by Harford. 

It is perhaps needless to say that I do not in any case 
indorse the doctrine of a poem by selecting it for publica- 
tion. I should seriously differ from the great poet in con- 
sidering human life an evil, and death blessed as an escape 
from it, if I regarded these words as the final conclusions 
of his intellect formulated into doctrine. I look upon them 
as expressions of a feeling which comes to most men when 
the burdens of life weigh heavily, and the imagination helps 
in bearing them by picturing the joys of release. " Whom 
the gods love, die young " is a phrase which often comes to 
our lips, yet which we do not seriously believe. But if we 
picture the lonely artist, as Mr. Cranch has done in his 
beautiful ode, 1 — 

44 Whether in lonely nights 
With Poesy's delights 

He cheered his solitude, 
In sculptured sonnets wrought 
His firm and graceful thought, 
Like marble altars in some dark and mystic wood," — 

and also remember the prevailing sentiments of the age, 
the glowing and terrible prophecies of Savonarola, which 
so impressed his mind, and the misery of his country, we 
cannot wonder that — 

44 In all his music the pathetic minor 
Our ears doth cross." 

1 Ode read at the New England Women's Club on the celebration of 
Michelangelo's four-hundredth birthday. 



NOTES. 153 

When Dr. T. W. Parsons kindly set himself to the task 
of translating one of these poems, he felt so entirely out 
of sympathy with this pessimistic view of human life, that 
instead of translating any of the poems literally, he has sent 
me this admirable sonnet, which gives the answering chord 
and completes the harmony of thought. I am sure that 
Michelangelo also rejoiced in victory after struggle, and 
well-earned rest from toil. 



SONNET 

SUGGESTED BY A THOUGHT OF M. ANGELO. 

" Che 'n ciel quel solo ha miglior sorte 
Ch' ebbe al suo parto piu presso la morte." 

The days draw near to face thy final hour ! 
My Bible tells me so — my friends repeat — 
And every morn my mirror says the same. 

When old ambition tempts, I feel that power 
Has parted from me. Love hath no more heat 
And the weak lyric shows the wasted flame ; 

Yet will I not, with Buonarroti, say 
That they have better fortune who die young ; 
For souls that perish, having had no past, 

Have no remembrance. Being but a day, 
Life bears no record to be said or sung, 
And baby-limbo is their lot at last : 

But when hereafter we tired pilgrims meet, 
Memory shall make for us an everlasting dower. 

T. W. Parsons. 
Beacon Hill Place, October, 1884. 

Madrigal LXXIX. — As usual, the nephew has altered 
and weakened this madrigal, especially the last line, which 
should read : — 

" Therefore he has least fortune who dwells here longest, 
For lie who lives least most easily turns to Heaven." 



154 NOTES. 

Madrigal LXXXII. — The first part of this poem is a 
little obscure. Mrs. Howe's version of the third line is 
perfectly true to the original, although it seems to make the 
centre draw to the weight instead of the reverse. That 
Michelangelo wrote this line advisedly, is shown by a 
second reading, which only substitutes " e " for " si," with- 
out changing the sense. The nephew deliberately altered it 
to read, " Si come peso al centro," and Guasti translates it 
into prose, " As the centre draws to itself the weight ; " but 
the poet appears to have had a less obvious figure in his 
mind, possibly the scientific truth of the mutual effect of 
centre and weight upon each other. 

Madrigal XCIII. — In the second reading the seventh 
line is, — 

"Negli ultimi aniii, al tempo di partire." 



SONNETS. 

Sonnet IV. — This and the preceding sonnet, not here 
given, refer to the time of Giulio II., for whom Michelan- 
gelo decorated the Sistine Chapel. The date is probably 
1506. The hostility of this Pope to Florence, where he was 
cordially hated, accounts for the feeling expressed in these 
sonnets. A brief resume of his life and character may be 
found in Harford's Life, vol. i. p. 241. 

Sonnet V. — The great work of the painting of the 
Sistine Chapel was accomplished by Michelangelo in about 
twenty months ; but as he was obliged to work in a most 
constrained position, constantly looking upward, he suffered 
severely in his health for two years. His eyes had become 
so strained that he could not read a letter or look at a draw- 
ing except by holding it above his head. 

Sonnet XIII. — The following is appended to this son- 
net in Guasti's edition : — 



NOTES. 155 

" Volevo, signiora, prima che io pigliassi le cose die vostra signoria m' 
a piu volte volute dare, per riceverle manco indegniamente che io potevo, 
far qualche cosa a Quella, di mia rnano. Di poi, riconosciuto e visto che 
la gratia d' Iddio non si puo comperare, e che' 1 tenerla a disagio e pechato 
grandissimo, dico mie colpa, e volontieri decte cose accecto ; e quando 
1' aro, non per avele in casa, ma per essere io in casa loro mi parra essere 
im paradiso : di che ne restero piu obrigato, se piu pos-so essere di quel 
ch' io sono, a vostra signoria. L' aportatore di questa sara Urbino, che 
sta meco ; al quale vostra signoria potra dire quando vuole ch' i' venga a 
vedere la testa c' a promesso mostranii. E a quella mi rachomando. Ser- 
vidore di vostra signoria Michelagniolo Buonarroti." 

• Sonnet XV. — This fine sonnet was almost unchanged 
by the nephew, and the translation is therefore Harford's 
best. See Appendix. 

Sonnet XX. — See note to Madrigal XXII. 

Sonnet XXV. — In the second line " aspiro " in Guasti's 
reading is changed to " miro " by the nephew. 

Sonnet XXXII. — In the fourth line I confess that " fra- 
ternal " can only represent the original thought in a very 
circuitous way ; but I am so anxious to preserve the move- 
ment of the Italian given -by these double endings that I 
have decided to let it stand. It is a very noble poem. If 
any one wishes another, not to say a better version, he can 
consult Symonds. 

Sonnets XLIIL, XLIV. — See remarks on these poems 
in the Introduction. 

Sonnet LI. — The nephew has changed the last lines, 
which should read: — 

fl For the soul which has almost arrived at the other shore protects 
itself from thy arrows with more piteous darts ; for fire makes a poor proof 
of wood already burned." 

Sonnet LVI. — Although the nephew made some verbal 
changes in this difficult sonnet, Mr. Harford has given the 
thought very finely ; but I prefer Symonds' rendering. 

Sonnet LIX. — Under this sonnet was written the 
following : ~ 



156 NOTES. 

" Per carnovale par lecito far qualche pazzia a chi non va in maschera." 
"Questo non e fuoco da carnovale, pero vel mando di quaresima ; e a 
voi mi rachomando. Vostro Michelagniolo." 

Sonnet LXV. — Michelangelo's friendship for the painter 
and writer Vasaivis well known. ;; This note accompanies 
the sonnet: — 

" Messer Giorgio, amico caro, voi direte ben ch' io sie vecchio e pazzo a 
voler far sonetti ; ma perche molti dicono ch' io son rimbambito, ho vo- 
luto far T uficio mio. Sc. a di 19 di Settembre, 1554. Vostro Michel- 
agniolo Buonarroti in Roma." 

Sonnet LXXIII. — " Lacerated " is not a pleasant word, 
but it is a literal translation from the nephew. 

Sonnets LXXXI., LXXXIX. — Only the first eight 
lines of these two sonnets are by Michelangelo, the nephew 
having completed the sonnet according to his pleasure. Oh 
that Wordsworth had possessed Guasti's edition ! 

Canzonet. — This is the middle stanza of a canzone in 
three verses. The nephew changed the sense of the last 
two lines, which should read : — 

" For the brief time has become less, 
Nor should I be weary [of loving] if it were prolonged." 

Stanza. — This pretty verse is the first one of an unfin- 
ished poem to his lady. 

Triplets. — The thought is so condensed in this poem 
that it is almost impossible to crowd it into English metre. 
No poem lets us more fully into the writer's inmost soul. 
— Grimm has a German translation of it in his Life of 
Michelangelo. 



APPENDIX. 



APPENDIX. 



1. The life of Vittoria Colonna was eventful and inter- 
esting, and an acquaintance with it helps to explain the 
relation between her and the great artist. Beautiful and 
accomplished, she was also conversant with political life 
and the great interests of her times, and was yet enthusi- 
astically religious. Early betrothed to the Marquis of Pes- 
cara, he became the idol of her imagination and heart. 
Their union lasted eighteen years, although during much 
of the time they were separated by his absence on military 
service. His death, in 1525, left the world desolate to her, 
and she devoted the remaining years of her life mainly to 
preserving his memory in the beautiful sonnets addressed 
to him. I add a translation of one of these, to enable my 
readers to become better acquainted with the friend so dear 
to Michelangelo. She died on the 15th of February, 1547, 
and her last earthly look rested upon the face of her great 
friend. We cannot better express this relation than in the 
very words of Vittoria Colonna in a letter to Michelangelo, 
dated July 20, 1546, — 

" Stabile amicizia et legata in cristiano nodo, securissima affezione." 

Her early home was in the beautiful island of Ischia, so 
Lately devastated by earthquakes. She left no children, 
and her adopted son died before her. 



160 APPENDIX. 

VITTORIA COLONNA TO HER HUSBAND, 

MARQUIS DE PESCARA. 

SONNET XLI. 

" Parrai che '1 sol non porga il lume usato." 

Methinks the sun sheds not its wonted light 

To us on earth ; nor sister moon on high, 

Planet, nor wandering star now greets my eye, 
Shedding fair beams to beautify the night. 
I see no heart with courage for its shield. 

Bright glory 's vanished, and true honor fled, 

And every noble virtue with him dead. 
There lives no leaf on tree, or flower in field. 
Dark is the air, turbid the water's hue ; 

Fire does not warm, nor cool the freshening wind : 
All things have lost their dear familiar way 

Since my fair sun no more on earth I find. 
All Nature's holy order goes astray, 

Or grief conceals the true one from my mind. 

E. D. C. 

2. Donato Giannotti was a man of the highest character, 
who had borne a noble part in the Florentine struggle for 
freedom. In his Dialogues, first published in Florence in 
1859, an imaginary conversation with Michelangelo is given, 
which is of great interest. 1 

3. Guasti tells us that a writer in the " Bibliotheque Uni- 
verselle de Geneve " asserts that Louisa de' Medici was the 
early love of Michelangelo, and that to her are addressed his 
amorous complaints. She was a daughter of Lorenzo il Mag- 
nifico, and was betrothed to one of the sons of Pierfranco de' 
Medici, but died unmarried in 1494, in her seventeenth year. 
The French writer tries to explain the madrigals as refer- 
ring to this affection and to the painful separation of the 
lovers by difference of rank, etc. A few phrases of descrip- 

1 See Guasti's Discorso, p. 26 ; Gotti's Life of Michelangelo, vol. i. p. 249. 



APPENDIX. 161 

tion, as "her blond hair," are supposed to apply to her. 
Guasti rightly treats this as pure romance, for which there 
is no historic foundation. 1 

4. Stanzas in Praise of Rustic Life. 

(Imperfect.) 

This unfinished poem has never been fully translated, 
and it offers great difficulties even to Italians. It contains 
many noble verses, and is worthy of study. I have trans- 
lated the first stanza rather freely thus : — 

" New pleasure, and the best delight, 
To see the wild goats on the rock 
Climbing, to feed, from height to height ; 
To hear the herdsman call his flock, 
Venting in song his feelings bright, 
While his fair maid with scornful air 
Attends the pigs, her pride and care." 

In William Hazlitt's edition of Duppa's " Life of Michel- 
angelo," we find a translation of eight stanzas describing 
the peace and contentment of the shepherd's lot. I give 
the last one, although it does not fully represent the force 
of the original, which is somewhat lost by alterations of 
the nephew. 

"If the cow calved, and if the yearling grew, 

Enough for all his wishes fortune yields. 
He honors God, and fears and loves him too ; 

His prayers are for his flocks and herds and fields : 
The doubt, the How, the Why, that fearful crew, 

Disturb not him whom his low station shields ; 
And, favored for his simple truth by Heaven, 
The little that he humbly asks is given." 

One is reminded by these stanzas of Burns's "Cotter's 
Saturday Night," although the poems differ as much in gen- 
eral character as the age and circumstances of the writers. 

1 Discorso, p. 17. 
11 



162 APPENDIX. 

The closing verse completes the picture of the strange 
allegorical figures introduced. I translate from Guasti's 
prose explanation : — 

"Seven of their sons go through the world to make war, and to spread 
snares only for the good ; and each of them has a thousand limbs. They 
open and shut hell to chase there the many mortals of whom they make a 
prey, since with their many limbs they close the way, as ivy makes a wall 
'twixt rock and rock." 

5. Tomrnaso dei Cavalieri was the best beloved of all the 
young people who visited Michelangelo's house, and helped 
to cheer his advancing age. He was young, rich, of noble 
birth and great beauty. For him were made the beauti- 
iul drawings of Cleopatra and of Ganymede ; and Michel- 
angelo painted his portrait, life-size. He was also a friend 
of Vittoria Colonna. 

6. Sonnet XV. — This remarkable sonnet has been more 
often translated than any other. I have given Harford's 
admirable version in the text ; but I cannot resist quoting 
the bold, clear translation of our own Emerson, which does 
equal justice to it. 

Never did sculptor's dream unfold 

A form which marble doth not hold 

In its white block ; yet it therein shall find 

Only the hand secure and bold 

Which still obeys the mind. 

So hide in thee, thou heavenly dame, 

The ill I shun, the good I claim ; 

I, alas ! not well alive, 

Miss the aim whereto T strive. 

Not love, nor beauty's pride, 

Nor fortune, nor thy coldness can I chide, 

If whilst within thy heart abide 

Both death and pity, my unequal skill 

Fails of the life, but draws the death and ill. 

I hoped to find some translations by Dr. T. W. Parsons, 
who has shown such masterly skill and thorough knowl- 
edge in his work on Dante; but these four lines are all that 



APPENDIX. 163 

he has given us. They are the opening lines of a poem 
addressed to a lady who sent him Michelangelo's sonnets. 
They are as perfect a translation as we can imagine of this 
beautiful stanza. 

" No master artist e'er imagines aught 

That Jies not hid, awaiting mortal gaze, 

In the rough marble, if but fully wrought 

By one whose hand his intellect obeys." 

I cannot deny myself the pleasure of referring also to 
the beautiful poem of Dr. Parsons for the celebration of 
Michelangelo's birthday by the New England Women's 
Club at Boston, in which he hails " the four-souled man." 




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