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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

ence

me

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,
And with such subtle and infernal malice,
I wonder at his wickedness. 'Tis he
Is the express great devil, and not you.
Some years ago he told me how to paint
The scenes of the Last Judgment.

BENVENUTO.

I remember.

MICHAEL ANGELO. Well, now he writes to me that, as a Christian, He is ashamed of the unbounded freedom With which I represent it.

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He says I show mankind that I am wanting
In piety and religion, in proportion
As I profess perfection in my art.
Profess perfection ? Why, 't is only men
Like Bugiardini who are satisfied
With what they do. ' I never am content,
But always see the labors of my hand
Fall short of my conception.

BENVENUTO.

I perceive The malice of this creature. He would

Concerning heaven and hell and paradise,
In that same letter, known to all the world,
Nature would not be forced, as she is now,
To feel ashamed that she invested me
With such great talent; that I stand myself
A very idol in the world of art.
He taunts me also with the Mausoleum
Of Julius, still unfinished, for the reason
That men persuaded the inane old man
It was of evil augury to build
His tomb while he was living; and he speaks
Of heaps of gold this Pope bequeathed to me,
And calls it robbery ; – that is what he says.
What prompted such a letter ?

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BENVENUTO.

BENVENUTO,

Incredible audacity!

MICHAEL ANGELO.

The heathen
Veiled their Diana with some drapery,
And when they represented Venus naked
They made her by her modest attitude,
Appcar half clothed. But I, who am a Chris-

tian,
Do so subordinate belief to art
That I have made the very violation
Of modesty in martyrs and in virgins
A spectacle at which all men would gaze
With half-averted eyes even in a brothel.

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

ten.

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BENVENUTO.

BENVENUTO.

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.

MICHAEL ANGELO.

But divine Providence will never leave

MICHAEL ANGELO.

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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

me,
By promises of ease, or wealth, or honor,
Till I behold the finished dome uprise
Complete, as now I see it in my thought.

BENVENUTO.

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?

MICHAEL ANGELO.

No more.

BENVENUTO.

'Tis well. Sculpture is more divine, and more like Na

ture,

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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.

URBINO.

Two thousand crowns !

MICIIAEL ANGELO.

Thou shalt not

URBINO.

Ay, it will make thee rich.

die A beggar in a hospital.

How Eccellenza laughed !

MICHAEL ANGELO.

URBINO.

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URBINO.

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

ter.

VII.

THE OAKS OF MONTE LUCA.

Which with my foot I spurn, may be an oak
Hereafter, feeding with its bitter mast
The fierce wild boar, and tossing in its arms
The cradled nests of birds, when all the men
That now inhabit this vast universe,
They and their children, and their children's

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.

MICHAEL ANGELO.

How still it is among these ancient oaks!
Surges and undulations of the air
Uplift the leafy boughs, and let them fall
With scarce a sound. Such sylvan quietudes
Become old age. These huge centennial oaks,
That may have heard in infancy the trum-

pets
Of Barbarossa's cavalry, deride
Man's brief existence, that with all his strength
He cannot stretch beyond the hundredth year.
This little acorn, turbaned like the Turk,

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