Michelangelo - Sonnet LVIII - When to my inward eyes, both weak and strong
Type of Spiritual Experience
Portrait of Andrea Quaratesi’, c.1532
A description of the experience
Michelangelo – Sonnets [translated by Elizabeth Jennings]
When to my inward eyes, both weak and strong,
The idol of my heart appears, I know
That always in between us death will go;
It frightens me while driving me along.
Yet, strangely, such an outrage gives me hope
And I take courage from so rare a fate.
Indomitable love moves in great state
And thus he puts his strong defences up:
Dying, he says, can never happen twice,
Nor is one born again. If a man dies
By fire when he already is aflame
With burning love, then death can do no harm.
Such love's the magnet of all burning hearts
Which, purged, returns to God from whom it starts.