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Masaccio: In the Brancacci Chapel 29/03/2011

Posted by florencecapital in Uncategorized.
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James Russell Lowell (obit 1891) – 1869 in Under the Willow and Other Poems

He came to Florence long ago,

And painted here these walls, that shone

For Eaphael and for Angelo,

With secrets deeper than his own,

Then shrank into the dark again.

And died, we know not how nor when.

The shadows deepened, and I turned

Half sadly from the fresco grand;

And is this, mused I, all ye earned.

High-vaulted brain and cunning hand,

That ye to greater men could teach

The skill yourself could never reach

And who were they, I mused, that wrought

Through pathless wilds, with labor long,

The highways of our daily thought?

Who reared those towers of earliest song

That lift us from the throng to peace

Remote in sunny silences?

Out clanged the Ave Mary bells.

And to my heart this message came:

Each clamorous throat among them tells

What strong-souled martyrs died in flame

To make it possible that thou

Shouldst here with brother-singers bow.

Thoughts that great hearts once broke for, we

Breathe cheaply in the common air;

The dust we trample heedlessly

Throbbed once in saints and heroes rare,

Who perished, opening for their race

New pathways to the commonplace.

Henceforth, when rings the health to those

Who live in story and in song,

nameless dead, that now repose

Safe in Oblivion’s chambers strong.

One cup of recognition true

Shall silently be drained to you!

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