MEMORIALS OF A TOUR IN ITALY
AT FLORENCE--FROM MICHAEL ANGELO
However at first these two sonnets from Michael Angelo may seem
in their spirit somewhat inconsistent with each other, I have not
scrupled to place them side by side as characteristic of their
great author, and others with whom he lived. I feel nevertheless a
wish to know at what periods of his life they were respectively
composed. The latter, as it expresses, was written in his advanced
years when it was natural that the Platonism that pervades the one
should give way to the Christian feeling that inspired the other:
between both there is more than poetic affinity.
RAPT above earth by power of one fair face,
Hers in whose sway alone my heart delights,
I mingle with the blest on those pure heights
Where Man, yet mortal, rarely finds a place.
With Him who made the Work that Work accords
So well, that by its help and through his grace
I raise my thoughts, inform my deeds and words,
Clasping her beauty in my soul's embrace.
Thus, if from two fair eyes mine cannot turn,
I feel how in their presence doth abide
Light which to God is both the way and guide;
And, kindling at their lustre, if I burn,
My noble fire emits the joyful ray
That through the realms of glory shines for aye.