Cellini, Benvenuto – Sees a huge beam of fire, which sparkled and gave out extraordinary lustre
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini [translated by John Addington Symonds]
WE mounted, and rode rapidly toward Rome; and when we had reached a certain gently rising ground-night had already fallen-looking in the direction of Florence, both with one breath exclaimed in the utmost astonishment: “O God of heaven! what is that great thing one sees there over Florence?” It resembled a huge beam of fire, which sparkled and gave out extraordinary lustre.
I said to Felice: “Assuredly we shall hear to-morrow that something of vast importance has happened in Florence.” As we rode into Rome, the darkness was extreme; and when we came near the Banchi and our own house, my little horse was going in an amble at a furious speed.
Now that day they had thrown a heap of plaster and broken tiles in the middle of the road, which neither my horse nor myself perceived. In his fiery pace the beast ran up it; but on coming down upon the other side he turned a complete somersault. He had his head between his legs, and it was only through the power of God himself that I escaped unhurt. The noise we made brought the neighbours out with lights; but I had already jumped to my feet; and so, without remounting, I ran home, laughing to have come unhurt out of an accident enough to break my neck.
On entering the house, I found some friends of mine there, to whom, while we were supping together, I related the adventures of the day’s chase and the diabolical apparition of the fiery beam which we had seen.
They exclaimed: “What shall we hear to-morrow which this portent has announced?” I answered: “Some revolution must certainly have occurred in Florence.” So we supped agreeably; and late the next day there came the news to Rome of Duke Alessandro’s death.
Alessandro was murdered by his cousin Lorenzino at Florence on the 5th of January 1537