La forza d'un bel viso a che mi sprona?
C'altro non è c'al mondo mi diletti:
ascender vivo fra gli spirti eletti
per grazia tal, c'ogni altra par men buona.
Se ben col fattor l'opra suo consuona,
che colpa vuol giustizia ch'io n'aspetti,
s'i' amo, anz'ardo, e per divin concetti
onoro e stimo ogni gentil persona?
We're currently lucky enough in this town to have the chance to see Michelangelo's drawings in the Michelangelo Drawings: Closer to the Master exhibition at the British Museum, to see what else the sculptor of David and the painter of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling was capable of doing. But while mere mortals may aspire to a fraction of the Master's talents and can only hope to make a convincing dunghill out of plasticine or draw a smiley face without creating a new kind of facial deformity, Michelangelo was also a poet. And quite a good one too. Which doesn't make the average aspirant artist / writer / whatever jealous or feel inadequate at all. No, of course not.
From 29th May, Michelangelo's poem beginning La forza d'un bel viso a che mi sprona? will be on display on Tube trains as part of Poems on the Underground. New sets of poems appear on average three times a year and Michelangelo's poem is part of a new series that will also include Song: On May Morning by John Milton, Sonnet from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (you know the one... "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...") and Silver by Walter de la Mare.
If you're very keen and have become a Michelangelo Maniac, special edition Poems on the Underground posters of Michelangelo's poem will be available to buy at a lecture by poet James Fenton entitled Michelangelo, Poet at the British Museum on 25 May.
For tickets and information on the James Fenton Michelangelo, Poet lecture, go to the British Museum lectures website here. For more tickets and information on the Michelangelo Drawings: Closer to the Master go to the British Museum exhibitions website here.