Have long been dead who think themselves alive,
Because not buried. Well, what matters it,
Since now that greater light, that was my sun,
Is set, and all is darkness, all is darkness!
Death’s lightnings strike to right and left of me,
And, like a ruined wall, the world around me
Crumbles away, and I am left alone.
I have no friends, and want none. My own thoughts
Are now my sole companions,—thoughts of her,
That like a benediction from the skies
Come to me in my solitude and soothe me.
When men are old, the incessant thought of Death
Follows them like their shadow; sits with them
At every meal; sleeps with them when they sleep;
And when they wake already is awake,
And standing by their bedside. Then, what folly
It is in us to make an enemy
Of this importunate follower, not a friend!
To me a friend, and not an enemy,
Has he become since all my friends are dead.
VIGNA DI PAPA GIULIO
POPE JULIUS III. seated by the Fountain of Acqua Vergine, surrounded by Cardinals.
Tell me, why is it ye are discontent,
You, Cardinals Salviati and Marcello,
With Michael Angelo? What has he done,
Or left undone, that ye are set against him?
When one Pope dies, another is soon made;
And I can make a dozen Cardinals,
But cannot make one Michael Angelo.
Your Holiness, we are not set against him;
We but deplore his incapacity.
He is too old.
You, Cardinal Salviati,
Are an old man. Are you incapable?
’T is the old ox that draws the straightest furrow.
Your Holiness remembers he was charged
With the repairs upon St. Mary’s bridge;
Made cofferdams, and heaped up load on load
Of timber and travertine; and yet for years
The bridge remained unfinished, till we gave it
To Baccio Bigio.
Always Baccio Bigio!
Is there no other architect on earth?
Was it not he that sometime had in charge
The harbor of Ancona.
Ay, the same.
Then let me tell you that your Baccio Bigio
Did greater damage in a single day
To that fair harbor than the sea had done
Or would do in ten years. And him you think
To put in place of Michael Angelo,
In building the Basilica of St. Peter!
The ass that thinks himself a stag discovers
His error when he comes to leap the ditch.
He does not build; he but demolishes
The labors of Bramante and San Gallo.
Only to build more grandly.
But time passes:
Year after year goes by, and yet the work
Is not completed. Michael Angelo
Is a great sculptor, but no architect.
His plans are faulty.