Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TERZA RIMA, by THEOPHILE GAUTIER



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

TERZA RIMA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: From sixtus' fane, when michael angelo
Last Line: Blindness sublime! Inestimable fault!
Alternate Author Name(s): Theo, Le Bon
Subject(s): Art & Artists; Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564); Sistine Chapel


FROM Sixtus' fane, when Michael Angelo,
His work completed, radiant and sublime,
The scaffold left and sought the streets below.

Nor eyes nor arms would lower for a time,
His feet knew not to walk upon the ground,
Unused to earth--so long in heavenly clime.

Upwards he gazed while three long moons went round;
So should an Angel look, who might adore
The dread triangle mystery profound.

And Brother Poets, while their spirits soar,
Meet in the world's rude ways continual shocks,
Walking in dreams while they the heavens explore.

Yet Angels o'er them wave their golden locks,
And print a kiss upon their thoughtful head,
Whence to their brains a swarm poetic flocks.

They speeding on with chance-directed tread,
Oft 'neath the wheels by bustling crowds are thrown,
Oft fall in pits by musings blind misled.

But nought they heed of crowd or dust or stone;
They seek by day the dreams they had by night,
And by their flushing cheeks their quest is shown.

They reck not earthly cares or strife or spite,
Finished their 'Sixtine Chapel' god-like shrine,
From their dark cave they come suffused with light.

Some strange reflection from their work divine
Clings to them, and illumes them with a ray;
The skies they gazed on in their eyes still shine,

And many a time shall follow night and day
Ere they to earth their looks again depress,
Ere on the ground their feet can firmly stay.

Our palaces to them seem nothingness;
Their spirit seeks the vault their hands have wrought,
We but their bodies, not their souls, possess.

Our day to them appears with darkness fraught,
Their gaze is towards the fresco's azure cast,
The picture lately quitted fills their thought.

Like Buonarotti, more than mortal vast,
They nought can see but the stupendous vault
Where late their days, thoughts, strength, and hopes were past.

Blindness sublime! inestimable fault!





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