MICHAEL ANGELO and URBINO.URBINO, thou and I are both old men.
MICHAEL ANGELO, pausing in his work.
|My strength begins to fail me.|
|That is impossible. Do I not see you|
|Attack the marble blocks with the same fury|
|As twenty years ago?|
MICHAEL ANGELO. T is an old habit.
|I must have learned it early from my nurse|
|At Setignano, the stone-masons wife;|
|For the first sounds I heard were of the chisel|
|Chipping away the stone.|
URBINO. At every stroke
|You strike fire with your chisel.|
MICHAEL ANGELO. Aye, because
|The marble is too hard.|
URBINO. It is a block
|That Topolino sent you from Carrara.|
|He is a judge of marble.|
MICHAEL ANGELO. I remember.
|With it he sent me something of his making,|
|A Mercury, with long body and short legs,|| 15|
|As if by any possibility|
|A messenger of the gods could have short legs.|
|It was no more like Mercury than you are,|
|But rather like those little plaster figures|
|That peddlers hawk about the villages|| 20|
|As images of saints. But luckily|
|For Topolino, there are many people|
|Who see no difference between what is best|
|And what is only good, or not even good;|
|So that poor artists stand in their esteem|| 25|
|On the same level with the best, or higher.|
URBINO.How Eccellenza laughed!
MICHAEL ANGELO. Poor Topolino!
|All men are not born artists, nor will labor|
|Eer make them artists.|
URBINO. No, no more
|Than Emperors, or Popes, or Cardinals.|| 30|
|One must be chosen for it. I have been|
|Your color-grinder six and twenty years,|
|And am not yet an artist.|
MICHAEL ANGELO. Some have eyes
|That see not; but in every block of marble|
|I see a statue,see it as distinctly|| 35|
|As if it stood before me shaped and perfect|
|In attitude and action. I have only|
|To hew away the stone walls that imprison|
|The lovely apparition, and reveal it|
|To other eyes as mine already see it.|| 40|
|But I grow old and weak. What wilt thou do|
|When I am dead, Urbino?|
|I must then serve another master.|
MICHAEL ANGELO. Never!
|Bitter is servitude at best. Already|
|So many years hast thou been serving me;|| 45|
|But rather as a friend than as a servant.|
|We have grown old together. Dost thou think|
|So meanly of this Michael Angelo|
|As to imagine he would let thee serve,|
|When he is free from service? Take this purse,|| 50|
|Two thousand crowns in gold.|
URBINO. Two thousand crowns!
MICHAEL ANGELO.Ay, it will make thee rich. Thou shalt not die
|A beggar in a hospital.|
URBINO. Oh, Master!
MICHAEL ANGELO.I cannot have them with me on the journey
|That I am undertaking. The last garment|| 55|
|That men will make for me will have no pockets.|
URBINO, kissing the hand of MICHAEL ANGELO.My generous master!
MICHAEL ANGELO. Hush!
URBINO. My Providence!
MICHAEL ANGELO.Not a word more. Go now to bed, old man.
|Thou hast served Michael Angelo. Remember,|
|Henceforward thou shalt serve no other master.|| 60|