Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/187
Signior mie caro, i' te sol chiamo e 'nvoco
His desire, after the death of Vittoria, would have been to return to Florence, "to lay his weary bones at rest by the side of his father." But after having served the Popes all his life he wished to devote his last years to the service of God. Perhaps he had been urged towards this by his friend and was carrying out one of her last wishes. On January 1, 1547, one month before the death of Vittoria Colonna, Michael Angelo had, in fact, been appointed, by a brief of Paul III., prefect and architect of St. Peter's, with full powers to erect the building. It was not without difficulty that he could be got to accept the post; and it was not the earnest entreaties of the Pope which made him decide to take upon his septuagenarian shoulders the heaviest load which he had yet borne. He saw in it a duty—a mission from God.
"Many think—and I myself think—that I have been placed in this post by God," he wrote. "Old though I