Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/38
THE LIFE OF MICHAEL ANGELO
he revolted and spoke up proudly, but he always gave way. Up to the day of his death he disputed, without strength for struggling. Clement VII., who—contrary to current opinion—was, of all the Popes, the one who showed most kindness towards him, knew his weakness and pitied him.
In love he was wanting in all sense of dignity. He humiliated himself in the presence of rogues such as Febo di Poggio. He treated an amiable but mediocre person like Tommaso de’ Cavalieri as a “powerful genius.”
Love, at any rate, makes these weaknesses touching. But they are nothing less than sadly painful—one dare not say shameful—when they are inspired by fear. He was seized, from time to time, with sudden terrors, and would then, tracked by fear, flee from one end of Italy to the other. In 1494, terrified by a vision, he fled from Florence. He fled again in 1529 when Florence, with the defence of which he was charged, was besieged. He went as far as Venice and was on the point of escaping to France. Later he became ashamed of this mistake and