became covered with shame, and all who saw her fell into tears. But let not Death to-day boast of having extinguished this sun of suns, as it has done to others! For Love has conquered, and has made her live again on earth and in the heavens, among the saints. Iniquitous and criminal Death thought to stifle the echo of her virtues and tarnish the beauty of her soul. Her writings have done the contrary; they illuminate her with more life than she possessed in her lifetime; and through death she has conquered Heaven, which she had not yet.”
It was during this grave and serene friendship that
- ↑ See Appendix, xix (“Poems,” c).
On the back of the manuscript of this sonnet is the pen-and-ink drawing of a woman with wasted breasts which is alleged to be a portrait of Vittoria.
- ↑ Michael Angelo’s friendship for Vittoria Colonna did not exclude other passions. That friendship was not sufficient to satisfy his soul. Great care has been taken not to say so, through a ridiculous desire to “idealise” the artist. As though a Michael Angelo had need of being “idealised”! During the period of his friendship with Vittoria, between 1535 and 1546, Michael Angelo loved a “beautiful and cruel” woman—“donna aspra e bella” (cix, 89), “lucente e fera stella, iniqua e fella, dolce pieta con dispietato core” (cix, 9), “cruda e fera stella” (cix, 14), “bellezza e gratia equalmente infinita” (cix, 3); “my lady enemy,” as he also calls her, “la donna mia nemica” (cix, 54). He loved her passionately, humiliated himself in her presence, and would almost have sacrificed his eternal salvation for her sake: “Godo gl’inganni d’una donna bella …” (cix, 90); “porgo umilmente al’ aspro giogo il collo …” (cix, 54); “dolce mi saria l’inferno teco …” (cix, 55). He was tortured by this love. She amused herself with him:
“Questa mie donna è si pronta e ardita.
C’allor che la m’ancide, ogni mie bene
Cogli ochi mi promecte e parte tiene
Il crudel ferro dentro a la ferita …”
She excited his jealousy, and coquetted with others. He ended