Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/34
THE LIFE OF MICHAEL ANGELO
Vittoria Colonna. Everywhere around was the blackness of night, traversed by the glowing meteors of his thought: his desire and delirious dreams. Never did Beethoven know such a night as that. The reason is that this night was in Michael Angelo's very heart. Beethoven—naturally gay and inspiring after joy—was sad through the fault of the world. Michael Angelo's sadness, which provoked fear in men and made all instinctively flee, was part and parcel of his being.
But this was nothing. The ill consisted not in being alone but in being alone with himself, in being unable to live with himself, in not being master of himself, in disowning, combating and destroying himself. His genius was coupled with a soul which betrayed it. People sometimes speak of the fatality which relentlessly followed in his footsteps and prevented him carrying out any of his great projects. This fatality was himself. The secret of his misfortunes, that which explains the whole tragedy of his life (and this is what people have least seen or least dared to see), was his lack of will-power and weakness of character.
He was irresolute in art, in politics, in all his actions and in all his thoughts. Between two works, two projects, or two lines of conduct he was never able to choose. The history of the monument to Julius II., the façade of San Lorenzo, and the tombs of the Medici is proof of this. He began and began again, but never reached the end. He had barely made his choice than he began to doubt about it. At the end of his life he completed nothing: everything disgusted him. It has been alleged that his tasks were imposed upon him, and the responsibility of this perpetual wavering between one project and another has been laid on the shoulders of his masters. People forget that his masters had no means