Second Reading. To Vittoria Colonna. The Model And The Statue.

A poem by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni

Se ben concetto.


When that which is divine in us doth try
To shape a face, both brain and hand unite
To give, from a mere model frail and slight,
Life to the stone by Art's free energy.
Thus too before the painter dares to ply
Paint-brush or canvas, he is wont to write
Sketches on scraps of paper, and invite
Wise minds to judge his figured history.
So, born a model rude and mean to be
Of my poor self, I gain a nobler birth,
Lady, from you, you fountain of all worth!
Each overplus and each deficiency
You will make good. What penance then is due
For my fierce heat, chastened and taught by you?

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