Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/237

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169
DEATH

so that nothing, in the disorder, should be carried off. They took very good care, of course, not to let Michael Angelo know anything of this.[1]


These precautions were not useless. The hour had come.

Michael Angelo's last letter is dated December 28, 1563. For a year past he had written hardly a line himself; he dictated and signed. Daniello da Volterra looked after his correspondence.

He still worked. On February 12, 1564, he spent the whole day on his feet, working at his "Pietà."[2] On the 14th he was seized with fever. Tiberio Calcagni, informed of what had happened, hastened to his house, but found that he was out. Notwithstanding the rain he had gone for a walk in the Campagna. When he returned Calcagni told him that he had been unreasonable in going out in such weather.


"What matter?" replied Michael Angelo. "I am ill and nowhere can I find repose."


The unsteadiness of his speech, the look in his eyes, and the colour of his face made Calcagni very anxious. "The end may not come immediately," he wrote at once to Leonardo, "but I fear it is not far off."[3]

The same day Michael Angelo begged Daniello da Volterra to come and remain with him. Daniello sent for the doctor, Federigo Donati, and, on the 15th, at Michael Angelo's request, wrote to Leonardo to say that he could

  1. Vasari.
  2. The unfinished "Pietà" of the Rondanini Palace (Letter from Daniello da Volterra to Leonardo, June 11, 1564).
  3. Letter from Tiberio Calcagni to Leonardo, February 14, 1564.