Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AN EPISODE, by JOHN ADDINGTON SYMONDS

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AN EPISODE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Vasari tells that luca signorelli
Last Line: Firm and dry-ey'd before the lordly canvas.
Subject(s): Italy; Vasari, Giorgio (1511-1574); Italians

VASARI tells that Luca Signorelli,
The morning star of Michael Angelo,
Had but one son, a youth of seventeen summers,
Who died. That day the master at his easel
Wielded the liberal brush wherewith he painted
At Orvieto, on the Duomo's walls,
Stern forms of Death and Heaven and Hell and Judgment.
Then came they to him, and cried: "Thy son is dead,
Slain in a duel; but the bloom of life
Yet lingers round red lips and downy cheek."
Luca spoke not, but listen'd. Next they bore
His dead son to the silent painting-room,
And left on tiptoe son and sire alone.
Still Luca spoke and groan'd not; but he rais'd
The wonderful dead youth, and smooth'd his hair,
Wash'd his red wounds, and laid him on a bed,
Naked and beautiful, where rosy curtains
Shed a soft glimmer of uncertain splendor
Life-like upon the marble limbs below.
Then Luca seiz'd his palette: hour by hour
Silence was in the room; none durst approach:
Morn wore to noon, and noon to eve, when shyly
A little maid peep'd in, and saw the painter
Painting his dead son with unerring hand-stroke,
Firm and dry-ey'd before the lordly canvas.

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