Michelangelo's Sonnet LXV

Monday, January 19, 2015

Did you know that Michelangelo, the famous sculptor and painter, was also a poet? Last year I came across this sonnet, "Sonnet LXV"  — rendered in a masterful free translation by 19th century pastor Robert Chapman  which Michelangelo wrote near the end of his life. I have loved it ever since.


My life, a voyage o'er a tempestuous sea
In a frail bark, draws near the common end
Of all men. I, as others, must descend
Into the grave. What profit now to me
Pencil or chisel? Where the gain to be
In highest art a monarch? Can I bend
God's sin-avenging justice to befriend
My helpless soul that would of guilt be free?
Nor saints nor angels can my ransom give
From the two deaths that are before mine eyes –
The first at hand: the twain my righteous doom –
But on the cross, the sinner to receive
God's Son spread out His hands. He hears my cries;
To Him I look and triumph o'er the tomb.

_______
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