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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Irreparable Loss

By Michaelangelo (1475–1564)

After the Death of Vittoria Colonna

Translation of John Addington Symonds

WHEN my rude hammer to the stubborn stone

Gives human shape, now that, now this, at will,

Following his hand who wields and guides it still,

It moves upon another’s feet alone:

But that which dwells in heaven, the world doth fill

With beauty by pure motions of its own;

And since tools fashion tools which else were none,

Its life makes all that lives with living skill.

Now, for that every stroke excels the more

The higher at the forge it doth ascend,

Her soul that fashioned mine hath sought the skies:

Wherefore unfinished I must meet my end,

If God, the great artificer, denies

That aid which was unique on earth before.