The Final Judgment of Michelangelo

A Sonnet by Michelangelo

The course of my life has already reached,                                                                                          Across a stormy sea in a fragile ship,                                                                                                    The common port, where we must give                                                                                                An account of our every evil act or good deed

The impassioned fantasy, which made                                                                                                Art an idol and idol over me,                                                                                                                  Was, I now realize, full of error,                                                                                                         Like all else that men desire against their will.


What will become of my amorous thoughts, once so vain and gay,                                              Now that I draw near to my double death?                                                                                        Of one death I am certain, and the other threatens me.

There is no painting nor sculpture now which quiets                                                                  The soul turned toward that divine love                                                                                          Which on the cross opened to take us in Its arms.

Source: The Italian Renaissance Reader, Eds. Conaway Bondella & Mark Musa (New York 1987), p. 379.

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