Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE ARCIERI OF MICHELANGELO, by WILLIAM ROSE BENET



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THE ARCIERI OF MICHELANGELO, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Ye with your phantom bows, and sinews straining
Last Line: Transfixed, ye strain, and still no arrow flies!
Subject(s): Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564)


Ye with your phantom bows, and sinews straining
Toward Life's mute priestess hid behind her shield,
Base loves have puffed the fire wherethrough ye wield
Beauty to loose the shafts that should be raining
Thick on her targe, and to a furious feigning
Is the proud passion of your blood congealed.
Like frustrate flames ye poise, and hold the field
Through love's long sleep, of life no conquest gaining.

There, in your rearward, Age contorted tries
At last to bend true beauty to his power,
Lacking the arrows of his youth's bright dower
Who might have loosed them on an high emprise.
Here, by base uses of your noblest hour
Transfixed, ye strain, and still no arrow flies!





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