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Nor think how great would be the loss to
man If it had not been done. As in a building Stone rests on stone, and wanting the foun
And from the garden side the wind and rain Poured in upon us, and half quenched our
fires. I was beside myself with desperation. A shudder came upon me, then a fever ; I thought that I was dying, and was forced To leave the work-shop, and to throw myself Upon my bed, as one who has no hope. And as I lay there, a deformed old man Appeared before me, and with dismal voice, Like one who doth exhort a criminal Led forth to death, exclaimed, “ Poor Benve
nuto, Thy work is spoiled! There is no remedy ! ” Then, with a cry so loud it might have
reached The heaven of fire, I bounded to my feet, And rushed back to my workmen. They all
stood Bewildered and desponding ; and I looked Into the furnace, and beheld the mass Half molten only, and in my despair I fed the fire with oak, whose terrible heat Soon made the sluggish metal shine and
sparkle. Then followed a bright flash, and an explo
sion, As if a thunderbolt had fallen among us. The covering of the furnace had been rent Asunder, and the bronze was flowing over; So that I straightway opened all the sluices To fill the mould. The metal ran like lava, Sluggish and heavy; and I sent my workmen To ransack the whole house, and bring to
gether My pewter plates and pans, two hundred of
them, And cast them one by one into the furnace To liquefy the mass, and in a moment The mould was filled! I fell upon my knees And thanked the Lord ; and then we ate and
drank And went to bed, all hearty and contented. It was two hours before the break of day. My fever was quite gone.
Even Bandinello, Who never yet spake well of anything, Speaks well of this; and yet he told the
Duke That, though I cast small figures well enough, I never could cast this.
But you have done it, And proved Ser Bandinello a false prophet. That is the wisest way.
And ah, that casting ! What a wild scene it was, as late at night, A night of wind and rain, we heaped the fur
nace With pine of Serristori, till the flames Caught in the rafters over us, and threatened To send the burning roof upon our heads;
A strange adventure, That could have happened to no man alive But you, my Benvenuto.