Israel left Egypt, stop the waves in stone,
Or hues of Hell be by his pencil poured
Over the damned before the Judgement-throne,
Such as I saw them, such as all shall see,
Or fanes be built of grandeur yet unknown—
The Stream of his great thoughts shall spring from me
The Ghibelline, who traversed the three realms
Which form the Empire of Eternity.
Amidst the clash of swords, and clang of helms,70
The age which I anticipate, no less
Shall be the Age of Beauty, and while whelms
Calamity the nations with distress,
The Genius of my Country shall arise,
A Cedar towering o'er the Wilderness,
Lovely in all its branches to all eyes,
—— from whose word Israel took God, pronounce the law in stone.
Israel left Egypt, cleave the sea in stone.
—[MS. Alternative readings.]
- The Last Judgment, in the Sistine Chapel.
["It is obvious, throughout his [Michel Angelo's] works, that the poetical mind of the latter [Dante] influenced his feelings. The Demons in the Last Judgment ... may find a prototype in La Divina Commedia. The figures rising from the grave mark his study of L'Inferno, e Il Purgatorio; and the subject of the Brazen Serpent, in the Sistine Chapel, must remind every reader of Canto XXV. dell' Inferno."—Life of Michael Angelo, by R. Duppa, 1856, p. 120.]
- I have read somewhere (if I do not err, for I cannot recollect where,) that Dante was so great a favourite of Michael Angelo's, that he had designed the whole of the Divina Commedia: but that the volume containing these studies was lost by sea.
[Michel Angelo's copy of Dante, says Duppa (ibid., and note 1), "was a large folio, with Landino's commentary; and upon the broad margin of the leaves he designed with a pen and ink, all the interesting subjects. This book was possessed by Antonio Montanti, a sculptor and architect in Florence, who, being appointed architect to St Peter's, removed to Rome, and shipped his ... effects at Leghorn for Cività Vecchia, among which was this edition of Dante. In the voyage the vessel foundered at sea, and it was unfortunately lost in the wreck."]
Such once he looked, when Ocean's sounding wave
Suspended hung, and such amidst the storm,
When o'er his foes the refluent waters roared.
An idol calf his followers did engrave:
But had they raised this awe-commanding form,
Then had they with less guilt their work adored."