Page:The Life of Benvenuto Cellini Vol 2.djvu/411

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LIFE OF BENVENUTO CELLINI

clay, exactly of the same size as the marble has to be. In this way you will be able to judge far better who deserves the commission; and I may observe that if your Excellency does not give it to the sculptor who deserves it, this will not wrong the man so much, but will reflect great discredit upon yourself, since the loss and shame will fall on you. On the other hand, if you award it to the one who has deserved it, you will acquire great glory in the first place, and will employ your treasure well, while artists will believe that you appreciate and understand their business/' No sooner had I finished speaking than the Duke shrugged his shoulders, and began to move away. While they were taking leave, the ambassador of Lucca said to the Duke: "Prince, this Benvenuto of yours is a terrible man!"[1] The Duke responded:

"He is much more terrible than you imagine, and well were it for him if he were a little less terrible; then he would possess at the present moment many things which he has not got." These precise words were reported to me by the envoy, by way of chiding and advising me to change my conduct. I told him that I had the greatest wish to oblige my lord as his affectionate and faithful servant, but that I did not understand the arts of flattery. Several months after this date, Bandinello died; and it was thought that, in addition to his intemperate habits of life, the mortification of having probably to lose the marble contributed to his decline.

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  1. See Introduction, ch. iv.,for the meaning of the word terribile.