Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/234
THE LIFE OF MICHAEL ANGELO
My face is a scarecrow… There is a ceaseless buzzing in my ears—in one a spider spins its web, in the other a cricket chirps all night. … My catarrh, which causes a rattle in my throat, will not allow me to sleep. … This is the end to which art, which promised me glory, has brought me. Poor, overwhelmed old man, you are destroyed, unless death comes quickly to your aid. … Fatigue has quartered, torn and broken me, and the hostelry which awaits me—is Death. …”
“My dear Messer Giorgio,” he wrote to Vasari in June 1555, “you will recognise from my handwriting that I have reached the twenty-fourth hour. …”
Vasari, who came to see him in the spring of 1560, found him extremely weak. He hardly ever went out, and slept very little. Everything led people to presume that he had not long to live. In becoming weaker he became more tender and easily gave way to tears.
“I have been to see my great Michael Angelo,” wrote Vasari. “He did not expect my visit, and showed as much emotion as a father would have done on finding a lost son. He threw his arms around my neck and weeping with pleasure (‘lacrymando per dolcezza’) kissed me a thousand times.”
He had lost nothing, however, as regards lucidity of mind and energy. On the occasion of the visit related by Vasari he conversed at length with him on various
- A free translation (see Appendix, xxvii) (“Poems, lxxxi).
- Letter to Vasari (June 22, 1555). “I am not only old,” he had already written to Varchi, in 1549, “but I count among the dead” (“Non solo son vecchio, ma quasi nel numero de’ morti”).
- Letter from Vasari to Cosimo de’ Medici (April 8, 1560).