Home  »  library  »  poem  »  Michelangelo

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


By José-Maria de Heredia (1842–1905)

Translation of Maurice Francis Egan

YES, he was darkly haunted, we may say,

When in the Sixtine, far from festal Rome,

Alone he painted wall or floating dome

With sibyls, prophets, and the Judgment Day.

He heard within him, weeping hard alway,

The Titan he would chain ’bove eagles’ home,—

Love, country, glory and defeat,—like foam

In face of conquering death; his marble—falsest clay!

As well those heavy giants languid with strength,

Those slaves imprisoned in a stone vein’s length,

As if he twisted them in their strange birth,

And in the marble cold had thrust his soul,

Making a fearful shiver through it roll,—

The anger of a god down-borne by earth.