Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/224

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THE LIFE OF MICHAEL ANGELO

country life, which he contrasted with city vanities. This was his last poetical work and it contains all the freshness of youth.[1]

But in nature, as in art and as in love, it was God for whom he was seeking, and to whom he daily drew nearer. He had always been a believer. Though he was not to be easily deceived either by priests or monks or devotees of either sex, and though, should an opportunity offer, he treated them without tenderness,[2] there was

  1. I refer to the unfinished poem of one hundred and fifteen lines beginning with the words:

    Nuovo piacere e di magiore stima
    Veder l'ardite capre sopr' un sasso
    Montar, pasciendo or questa or quella cima . . .

    "It is a fresh and ever relished pleasure to see the daring goats climb upon a rocky hill, browzing first on one and then upon another peak . . ."
       I here follow the opinion of Frey, who dates the poem October to December 1556. Thode attributes it to Michael Angelo's youth, but does not give, it seems to me, a sufficiently good reason for so doing.

  2. In 1548, when dissuading his nephew Leonardo from making a pilgrimage to Loreto, he advised him rather to spend his money in charity. "For if you give money to the priests, God knows what they will do with it!" (April 7, 1548).
       Sebastiano del Piombo having to paint a monk at San Pietro in Montorio, Michael Angelo thought that this monk would spoil everything. "The monks having caused the perdition of the world, which is so large, it would not be astonishing if they ruined a little chapel."
       At the time when Michael Angelo was seeking a wife for his nephew, a devout lady came to see him, and, after preaching him a sermon and exhorting him to piety, offered him for Leonardo a pious girl, who possessed good principles. "I told her in reply," wrote Michael Angelo, "that she would do much better to occupy herself with spinning and weaving than in fussing around people in this way and bargaining with holy things" ("Letters," July 19, 1549).
       He wrote fierce Savonarola-like poems against those guilty