You should have made
A pilgrimage unto the poet’s tomb,
And laid a wreath upon it, for the words
He spake of you.
And of yourself no less,
And of our master, Michael Angelo.
Have you forgotten that he calls you
Michael, less man than angel, and divine?
You are ungrateful.
A mere play on words.
That adjective he wanted for a rhyme,
To match with Gian Bellino and Urbino.
Bernardo Tasso is no longer there,
Nor the gay troubadour of Gascony,
Clement Marot, surnamed by flatterers
The Prince of Poets and the Poet of Princes,
Who, being looked upon with much disfavor
By the Duke Ercole, has fled to Venice.
There let him stay with Pietro Aretino,
The Scourge of Princes, also called Divine.
The title is so common in our mouths,
That even the Pifferari of Abruzzi,
Who play their bag-pipes in the streets of Rome
At the Epiphany, will bear it soon,
And will deserve it better than some poets.
What bee hath stung you?
One that makes no honey;
One that comes buzzing in through every window,
And stabs men with his sting. A bitter thought
Passed through my mind, but it is gone again;
I spake too hastily.
I pray you, show me
What you have done.
Not yet; it is not finished.
A room in MICHAEL ANGELO’S house.
Fled to Viterbo, the old Papal city
Where once an Emperor, humbled in his pride,
Held the Pope’s stirrup, as his Holiness
Alighted from his mule! A fugitive
From Cardinal Caraffa’s hate, who hurls
His thunders at the house of the Colonna,
With endless bitterness!—Among the nuns
In Santa Catarina’s convent hidden,
Herself in soul a nun! And now she chides me
For my too frequent letters, that disturb
Her meditations, and that hinder me
And keep me from my work; now graciously
She thanks me for the crucifix I sent her,
And says that she will keep it: with one hand
Inflicts a wound, and with the other heals it.
“Profoundly I believed that God would grant
A supernatural faith to paint this Christ;
I wished for that which I now see fulfilled
So marvellously, exceeding all my wishes.
Nor more could be desired, or even so much.
And greatly I rejoice that you have made
The angel on the right so beautiful;
For the Archangel Michael will place you,
You, Michael Angelo, on that new day
Upon the Lord’s right hand! And waiting that,
How can I better serve you than to pray
To this sweet Christ for you, and to beseech you
To hold me altogether yours in all things.”