Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/137

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first—the eternal day—near to the throne of God. There I hope and believe I shall see you once more, if, by the grace of God, my mind snatches my frozen heart from the terrestrial mud, and if, like every virtue, perfect love increases in heaven between father and son."[1]

Nothing, then, retained him any longer upon earth: neither art, nor ambition, nor tenderness, nor hope of any kind. He was sixty years of age and his life seemed to be over. He was alone. He had lost all faith in his works. He yearned after death; his passionate desire was at last to escape from "the change of being and desire," from "the violence of the hours," from the tyranny "of necessity and chance."

"Alas! alas! I am betrayed by my days which have fled . . . Too long have I waited . . . Time has passed and here I find myself in years. I neither can prepare nor repent now that Death treads upon my steps . . . I weep in vain, for he who loses time can know no greater loss. . . .

"Alas! alas! in retrospect I find not a single day that I can call my own. Fallacious hopes and vain desires (I recognise it now) have kept me weeping, loving, burning and sighing (for not a mortal affection has been unknown to me) far from Truth. . . .

"Alas! alas! I go, but do not well know where. Fear is upon me . . . And if I am not deceived (O God, grant that I am!) I see, O Lord, the eternal punishment for the evil which I have done in knowing prosperity. Hope alone is mine ! . . ."[2]

  1. "Poems," lviii. (See Appendix, ix.)
  2. "Poems," xlix. {See Appendix, x.)