|O notte, o dolce tempo
O notte, o dolce tempo, benché nero,
con pace ogn’opra sempre’al fin assalta;
ben vede e ben intende chi t’esalta
e chi t’onor ha l’intelletto intero.
Tu mozzi e tronchi ogni stanco pensiero;
ché l’umid’ombra ogni quiet’appalta,
e dall’infima parte alla più alta
in sogno spesso porti, ov’ire spero.
O ombra del morir, per cui si ferma
ogni miseria, a l’alma, al cor nemica,
ultimo delli afflitti e buon rimedio;
tu rendi sana nostra carn’inferma
rasciughi i pianti e posi ogni fatica,
e furi a chi ben vive ogn’ira e tedio.
|Oh night, oh sweet time
Oh night, oh time sweet, though dark,
peacefully each labor, at last, will embrace;
farseeing are those who honour you, judicious
and of refined intellect those who exalt.
You shatter and break each tired thought;
as vaporous shade the quiet soothes,
the highest tops and infamous depths
in dreams you then conduct, whereto I would part.
Oh shadow of death, for which all anguish
will cease, to the soul, to the heart foe,
conclusion to suffering and ready comfort;
you make salubrious our ailing flesh
you dry the tears and placate woe,
ending for the virtuous tedium and anger.
Translation ©Matilda Colarossi
Michelangelo composed his first verses in the early 16th century. His poems were, for the most part, a private exercise, an escape. He preferred the sonnet and the madrigal to other forms. The poem “Oh night, oh sweet time, though dark” was written while painting The last judgement (1535-1541): praise to the night, which, like death, is, in a religious sense, not an end but a new beginning.
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