Lies chained to his lone rock by the sea-shore?
So be it: we can bear.—But thus all they20
Whose Intellect is an o'ermastering Power
Which still recoils from its encumbering clay
Or lightens it to spirit, whatsoe'er
The form which their creations may essay,
Are bards; the kindled Marble's bust may wear
More poesy upon its speaking brow
Than aught less than the Homeric page may bear;
One noble stroke with a whole life may glow,
Or deify the canvass till it shine
With beauty so surpassing all below,30
That they who kneel to Idols so divine
Break no commandment, for high Heaven is there
Transfused, transfigurated: and the line
Of Poesy, which peoples but the air
With Thought and Beings of our thought reflected,
Can do no more: then let the artist share
The palm, he shares the peril, and dejected
Faints o'er the labour unapproved—Alas!
Despair and Genius are too oft connected.
Within the ages which before me pass40
Art shall resume and equal even the sway
Which with Apelles and old Phidias
She held in Hellas' unforgotten day.
Ye shall be taught by Ruin to revive
The Grecian forms at least from their decay,
And Roman souls at last again shall live
In Roman works wrought by Italian hands,
And temples, loftier than the old temples, give
New wonders to the World; and while still stands
The austere Pantheon, into heaven shall soar50
- ["Transfigurate," whence "transfiguration," is derived from the Latin transfiguro, found in Suetonius and Quintilian. Byron may have thought to anglicize the Italian transfigurarsi.]
- The Cupola of St Peter's.
[Michel Angelo, then in his seventy-second year, received the appointment of architect of St. Peter's from Pope Paul III. He began the dome on a different plan from that of the first architect, Bramante, "declaring that he would raise the Pantheon in the air." The drum of the dome was constructed in his life-time, but for more than twenty-four years after his death (1563), the cupola remained untouched, and