Beloved Artist Michelangelo
Beloved artist of so long ago,
Your footsteps are still followed,
In time honored halls so hallowed,
Your greatness within hearts will always glow.
Beauty expressed from deep within your soul
Lingers still along your Tuscany road,
Is still remembered , still loved and still told,
Beloved artist, Michelangelo.
Master of paintings and sculptures so true
To life, one gazes in wonder when near it,
Sonnets so beautiful they stir the soul.
The Pieta, the only work signed by you,
All your beautiful works lift my spirit,
Beloved artist Michelangelo.
In his 1904 edition of THE SONNETS OF MICHAEL ANGELO BUONARROTI , John Addington Symonds translates Michelangelo’s sonnets to English. Symonds took the liberty to change Michelangelo’s name to Old English spelling, which is Michael Angelo. He knew the change of spelling was done at the risk of offending scholars, yet he chose to do it anyway. I know not how scholars of his time reacted to his choice, but I believe many would have been offended. Being a great admirer of Michelangelo and his works, I am not offended by his action, but I do prefer the original spelling to keep the integrity and honor of the artist’s name. However, be it the original Italian spelling or
Old English it in no way affects the works of Michelangelo or the man himself, and Symonds did the world a great favor by being the first to translate the great poet’s sonnets into English.
I have read most of Michelangelo’s sonnets and truly enjoy them. ‘On Dante Alighieri’, written in 1545, is one of my favorite.
On Dante Alighieri
by Michelangelo Buonarroti
From heaven his spirit came, and robed in clay
The realms of justice and of mercy trod,
Then rose a living man to gaze on God,
That he might make the truth as clear as day.
For that pure star that brightened with his ray
The undeserving nest where I was born,
The whole wide world would be a prise to scorn;
None but his Maker can due guerdon pay.
I speak of Dante, whose high work remains
Unknown, unhonoured by that thankless brood,
Who only to just men deny their wage.
Were I but he ! Born for like lingering pains,
Against his exile coupled with his good
I’d gladly change the world’s best heritage !
No tongue can tell of him what should be told,
For on blind eyes his splendour shines too strong;
T’were easier to blame those who wrought him wrong,
Than sound his least praise with a mouth of gold.
He to explore the place of pain was bold,
Then soared to God, to teach our souls by song;
The gates heaven oped to bear his feet along,
Against his just desire his country rolled.
Thankless I call her, and to her own pain
The nurse of fell mischance; for sign take this,
That ever to the best she deals more scorn;
Though ne’er was fortune more unjust than his,
His equal or his better ne’er was born.
– From THE SONNETS OF MICHAEL ANGELO BUONARROTI
by John Addington Symonds
© 2017 Phyllis Doyle Burns
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