From The Works of Aretino, Translated into English from the original Italian, with a critical and biographical essay by Samuel Putnam, Illustrations by The Marquis de Bayros in Two Volumes; Pascal Covici: Chicago; 1926; Volume II., pp. 269-278.
In Questa Chiara Sacrosanta Notte
On that clear, calm and more than holy night,
Followed by Friday, Venus’ own day,
On which all faithful, pious creatures pray,
With3 broken tears, Nature, for boon or blight,
Brought spirit and my members to the light,
From the dark maternal grotto where they lay;
And the fates that watched were good to me, I’ll say,
Since I’ve willed to endure them, bad or bright.
As Jesus suffered for the good of men,
So I, on coming from my mother’s womb,
Being liberated from my prison pen,
Came forth into the world, wailing His doom.
Christ died for me upon the cross again,
And I was born in Christ as from a tomb.272
Mentre Voi Titian, Voi Sansovino
While you, my Titian, Sansovino, you
On canvas and in marble immortalize
An art resplendent as the splendid skies,
The goal of pilgrim spirits, I, with true
And heart-felt zeal, reverently pursue
The task of one who upon paper tries
To paint and carve Lucretia’s grace and size,
The native and divine gifts are her due.
And yet, I know my style’s not able quite
To capture form and color that lie within,
As yours gives color, form to the things of sight;
But if, from my own ink, I could but win
Your mind and valor, then, indeed, I might
Erect a shrine for the world to worship in.273
Togli il Lauro Per Te Cesare e Omero
Caesar and Homer, I have stolen your bays!
Though not a poet or an emperor;
My style has been my star, in a manner, for
I speak the truth, don’t deal in lying praise.
I am Aretino, censor of the ways
Of the lofty world, prophet-ambassador
Of truth and smiling virtue — if you’d hear more,
Here’s Titian’s masterpiece; you’ve but to gaze.
And if you find the face he’s made strikes fear,
Then close your eyes, and they’ll not be offended;
For though I’m but in paint, I see and hear.
My worship, Lord Gonzaga, is extended
To Signor Giovanni, whom I hold dear,
The three of us being by our merits blended.274
L’Eterno Sonno in un Bel Marmo Puro
Sleep, Ariosto! in a fine marble pure
The eternal sleep, and may your great name wake
At burst of day in that fair clime and take
Its ease there as you watch, glad and secure.
But for the gifts of the sky, he would assure
Us, he does not care; he stands with wonder-ache
Beneath the stars, when a sad and solemn quake
Of sound assails him with its tender lure.
As Phoebus’ sisters, in their sorrow, add
Words to their tears: “O blessed spirit bright.
With a brightness sun at midday never had,
We bring you our widowed wonder; you see us clad
In robes of grief, while flowers shed their light
Above your tomb, and song is bowed and sad.”275
Sett’ Anni Traditori Ho Via Gettati
Seven traitor years I now have thrown away,
With Leo four, and three more with my sire,
Pope Clement; I have won the people’s ire,
More through their own sins than through my own; my pay
Has not been two whole ducats; one might say,
Gian Manente’s the better; if you but fire
Your mind with filthy things, look in the mire,
Then you have every hope of the papal bay.
And if there were no other wounds to feel,
Warding the honor of some patron friend,
Five or six times a day I’d take the steel;
For benefits, offices and pensions tend
But to make the holy fathers a pleasant meal
Of bastard scoundrels — two mouthfuls — that’s their end.
While the good, faithful servitors who bend
Their energies to serve are left to die
Of hunger, for their sin against the Most High.