One of Michelangelo’s Poems

'On the Brink of Death'

Michelangelo’s tomb in the Basilica of Santa Croce, in Florence, Italy. (Rico Heil)

On the Brink of Death

Now hath my life across a stormy sea Like a frail bark reached that wide port where all Are bidden, ere the final reckoning fall Of good and evil for eternity. Now know I well how that fond phantasy Which made my soul the worshipper and thrall Of earthly art, is vain; how criminal Is that which all men seek unwillingly. Those amorous thoughts which were so lightly dressed, What are they when the double death is nigh? The one I know for sure, the other dread. Painting nor sculpture now can lull to rest My soul that turns to His great love on high, Whose arms to clasp us on the cross were spread.

(Translated into English in 1878 by John Addington Symonds.)

Paintings, sculptures, and architecture may first come to mind when we think of