Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/123

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77
DESPAIR

returned before October 7. On this date the fugitives were declared to be rebels and their property was confiscated. However, Michael Angelo's name did not yet appear on the list. The Seigniory granted him a further delay, and the Florentine Ambassador in Ferrara, Galeotto Giugni, informed the Republic that Michael Angelo had heard of the decree too late, and that he was ready to return if they would pardon him. The Seigniory promised, and by the hand of the marble-cutter Bastiano di Francesco sent a safe conduct to Venice. Bastiano at the same time handed Michael Angelo ten letters from friends, all of whom implored him to return.[1] One of them was an appeal, full of love for the fatherland, from the generous Battista della Palla.


"All your friends, without distinction of opinion, without hesitating and with a single voice," he wrote, "exhort you to return, in order to preserve your life, your country, your friends, your property and your honour, as well as to enjoy the new times which you so ardently desired."


He believed that the golden age had returned for Florence, and doubted not that the good cause had triumphed. But the unfortunate man, after the return of the Medici, was to be one of the first victims of the reaction.

His words caused Michael Angelo to make up his mind. The sculptor returned, but slowly; for Battista della Palla, who had gone to Lucca to meet him, waited many days for him and at last began to despair of ever seeing him.[2] At last, on November 20, Michael Angelo re-entered

  1. October 22, 1529.
  2. He wrote him fresh letters, imploring him to return.