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'Tis the same to me. This wretched mountebank, whom flatterers Call the Divine, as if to make the word Unpleasant in the mouths of those who
speak it And in the ears of those who hear it, sends
Was changed by Clement Seventh from a
Republic Into a Dukedom, I no longer wish To be a Florentine. That dream is ended. The Grand Duke Cosimo now reigns supreme; All liberty is dead. Ah, woe is me! I hoped to see my country rise to heights Of happiness and freedom yet unreached By other nations, but the climbing wave Pauses, lets go its hold, and slides again Back to the common level, with a hoarse Death-rattle in its throat. I am too old To hope for better days. I will stay here And die in Rome. The very weeds, that
grow Among the broken fragments of her ruins,
A letter written for the public eye,
MICHAEL ANGELO. Well, now he writes to me that, as a Christian, He is ashamed of the unbounded freedom With which I represent it.
He says I show mankind that I am wanting
I perceive The malice of this creature. He would
Concerning heaven and hell and paradise,
Vanity. He is a clever writer, and he likes To draw his pen, and flourish it in the face Of every honest man, as swordsmen do Their rapiers on occasion, but to show How skilfully they do it. Had you followed The advice he gave, or
even thanked him for it. You would have seen another style of fence. 'Tis but his wounded vanity, and the wish To see his name in print. So give it not A moment's thought; it will soon be forgot
He is at home there, and he ought to
know What men avert their eyes from in such
places; From the Last Judgment chiefly, I imagine.
And what answer Shall I take back to Grand Duke Cosimo ? He does not ask your labor or your service; Only your presence in the city of Florence, With such advice upon his work in hand As he may ask, and you may choose to give.
But divine Providence will never leave
You have my answer. Nothing he can offer Shall tempt me to leave Rome. My work
is here, And only here, the building of St. Peter's. What other things I hitherto have done Have fallen from me, are no longer mine ; I have passed on beyond them, and have left
them As milestones on the way. What lies before
me, That is still mine, and while it is unfinished No one shall draw me from it, or persuade
Many statues Will there be room for in my work. Their
station Already is assigned them in my mind. But things move slowly. There are hin
drances, Want of material, want of means, delays And interruptions, endless interference Of Cardinal Commissioners, and disputes And jealousies of artists, that annoy me. But I will persevere until the work Is wholly finished, or till I sink down Surprised by death, that unexpected guest, Who waits for no man's leisure, but steps in, Unasked and unannounced, to put a stop To all our occupations and designs. And then perhaps I may go back to Flor
ence ; This is my answer to Duke Cosimo.
And will you paint no more?
'Tis well. Sculpture is more divine, and more like Na
I remember. With it he sent me something of his mak
ing, A Mercury, with long body and short legs, As if by any possibility A messenger of the gods could have short legs. It was no more like Mercury than you are, But rather like those little plaster figures That peddlers hawk about the villages As images of saints. But luckily For Topolino, there are many people Who see no difference between what is best And what is only good, or not even good; So that poor artists stand in their esteem On the same level with the best, or higher.
Never! Bitter is servitude at best. Already So many years hast thou been serving me; But rather as a friend than as a servant. We have grown old together. Dost thou
think So meanly of this Michael Angelo As to imagine he would let thee serve, When he is free from service? Take this
purse, Two thousand crowns in gold.
Two thousand crowns !
Thou shalt not
Ay, it will make thee rich.
die A beggar in a hospital.
How Eccellenza laughed !
My Providence !
MICHAEL ANGELO. Not a word more. Go now to bed, old man. Thou hast served Michael Angelo. Remem
ber, Henceforward thou shalt serve no other mas
THE OAKS OF MONTE LUCA.
Which with my foot I spurn, may be an oak
children, Shall be but dust and mould, and nothing
more. Through openings in the trees I see below
me The valley of Clitumnus, with its farms And snow-white oxen grazing in the shade Of the tall poplars on the river's brink. O Nature, gentle mother, tender nurse ! I, who have never loved thee as I ought, But wasted all my years immured in cities, And breathed the stifling atmosphere of
streets, Now come to thee for refuge. Here is peace. Yonder I see the little hermitages Dotting the mountain side with points of
light, And here St. Julian's convent, like a nest Of curlews, clinging to some windy cliff. Beyond the broad, illimitable plain Down sinks the sun, red as Apollo's quoit, That, by the envious Zephyr blown aside,
MICHAEL ANGELO, alone in the woods.
How still it is among these ancient oaks!