Michelangelo - Sonnet XV - The marble not yet carved can hold the form
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Michelangelo – Sonnets [translated by Elizabeth Jennings]
The marble not yet carved can hold the form
Of every thought the greatest artist has,
and no conception ever, comes to pass
Unless the hand obeys the intellect.
The evil that I fly from, all the harm,
The good as well, are buried and intact
In you, proud Lady. To my life’s sad loss
My art's opposed to the desired effect.
Thus love, and your own, beauty and the weight
Of things, are not to blame for my own plight.
Fate, scorn or chance can never be accused
Because both death and pity are enclosed
Within your heart, and I-have only breath
And power to draw from you not life but death.
Michelangelo – Sonnets [translated by Addington Symonds]
The best of artists hath no thought to show
Which the rough stone in its superfluous shell
Doth not include; to break the marble spell
Is all the hand that serves the brain can do.
The ill I shun, the good I seek, even so
In thee, fair lady, proud, ineffable,
lies hidden; but the art I wield so well
Works adverse to my wish, and lays me low
Therefore not love, nor thy transcendent face.
Nor cruelty, nor fortune or disdain
Cause my mischance, nor fate, nor destiny
Since in thy heart thou carriest death and grace
Enclosed together, and my worthless brain
Can draw forth only death to feed on me