Three from Walsh & Shuster I
Three sonnets by Michelangelo Buonarroti.
The prayers I make will then be sweet indeed,
If Thou the Spirit give by which I pray;
My unassisted heart is barren clay,
Which of its native self can nothing feed;
Of good and pious works Thou art the seed
Which quickens where Thou sayst it may;
Unless Thou show us then Thine own true way,
No man can find it! Father, Thou must lead!
Do Thou, then, breathe those thoughts into my mind
By which such virtue may in me be bred
That in Thy holy footsteps I may tread;
The fetters of my tongue do Thou unbind,
That I may have the power to sing of Thee
And sound Thy praises everlastingly.
(tr. William Wordsworth)
The Defence of Night
O night, O sweet thou sombre span of time!
All things find rest upon their journey's endó
Whoso hath praised thee well doth apprehend;
And whoso honors thee, hath wisdom's prime.
Our cares thou canst to quietude sublime;
For dews and darkness are of peace the friend;
Often by thee in dreams upborne, I wend
From earth to heaven, where yet I hope to climb.
Thou shade of death, through whom the soul at length
Shuns pain and sadness hostile to the heart,
Whom mourners find their last and sure relief!
Thou dost restore our suffering flesh to strength,
Driest our tears, assuagest every smart,
Purging the spirits of the pure from grief.
(tr. John Addington Symonds)
On the Crucifix
The course of my long life hath reached at last
In fragile bark o'er a tempestuous sea,
The common harbor where must rendered be
Account of all the actions of the past.
The impassioned phantasy, that, vague and vast,
Made art an idol and a king to me,
Was an illusion, and but vanity
Were the desires that lured me and harassed.
The dreams of love, that were so sweet of yore,
What are they now, when two deaths may be mine,
One sure, and one forecasting its alarms?
Painting and sculpture satisfy no more
The soul now turning to the Love Divine,
That oped, to embrace us, on the Cross its arms.
(tr. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
The Catholic Anthology: The World's Great Catholic Poetry (revised edition, 1940), ed. Thomas Walsh and George N. Shuster, pp. 136f.
Lane Core Jr. CIW P Sun. 03/27/05 07:34:38 AM
Categorized as Literary & Sunday Poetry Series.