Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/216

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looking at him and his picture several times, rose and said: 'It seems to me that the eye is as I have drawn it, and nature shows it thus.' 'Well, then,' responded Michael Angelo laughing, 'it is a fault of nature. Continue and don't spare the colour.' "[1]

So much indulgence, which Michael Angelo was not accustomed to show to other men, but which he lavished on these insignificant beings, does not imply less of that bantering humour which makes merry over human stupidities[2] than of affectionate pity for these poor wretches who imagined themselves to be great artists, and who, perhaps, inspired meditation on his own folly—composite of a good deal of melancholic and farcical irony.

  1. Vasari.
  2. Like almost all melancholy-souled men, Michael Angelo's humour was sometimes comic. He wrote burlesque poems after the manner of Berni. But his buffoonery was ever rugged and bordered on tragedy. For instance, see his mournful caricature of the infirmities of old age ("Poems," lxxxi), and his parody of a love poem (the same, xxxvii).