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Michaelangelo Buonarroti

The Complete Poems of Michelangelo
translated by John Frederick Nims
©1998 by The University of Chicago


Michelangelo Buonarroti
1475 – 1564


36. My lover stole my heart, just over there

– so gently! – and stole much more, my life as well.

And there, all promise, first his fine eyes fell

on me, and there his turnabout meant no.

He manacled me there; there let me go;

There I bemoaned my luck; with anguished eye

watched, from this very rock, his last goodbye

as he took myself from me, bound who knows where.
72. If, through our eyes, the heart’s seen in the face,

more evidence who needs, clearly to show

the fire within? Let that do, my lord, that glow

as warrant to make bold to ask your favor.

Perhaps your soul, loyal, less like to waver

than I imagine, assays my honest flame

and, pitying, finds it true – no cause for blame.

“Ask and it shall be given,” in that case.

O day of bliss, if such can be assured!

Let the clock-hands end their circling; in accord

sun cease his ancient roundabout endeavor,

so I might have, certain-sure, – though not procured

by my own worth – my long desired sweet lord,

in my unworthy but eager arms, forever.
83. What in your handsome face I see, my lord,

I’m hard put to find words for, here below.

Often it lofts my soul to God, although

wearing, that soul, the body like a shroud.

And if the stupid, balefully staring crowd

mocks others for feelings after its own fashion,

no matter. I’m no less thankful for a passion

pulsing with love – faith, honor in accord.

There’s a Fountain of Mercy brought our souls to being

which all Earth’s beauty must in part resemble

(lesser things, less) for an eye alert to truth.

No other hint of heaven’s here for our seeing,

hence, he that a love for you sets all a-tremble

already hovers in heaven, transcending death.

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