Baldassare Castiglione [Sonnet on the death of Raphael]
Translated by Peter Liebregts
Quod lacerum corpus medica sanaverit arte,
Hippolytum Stygiis et revocarit aquis,
Ad Stygias ipse est raptus Epidaurius undas;
Sic precium vitae mors fuit artifici.
Tu quoque dum toto laniatam corpore Romam
Componis miro, Raphael, ingenio,
Atque urbis lacerum ferro, igni, annisque cadaver
Ad vitam, antiquum jam revocasque decus,
Movisti Superum invidiam, indignataque mors est
Te dudum extinctis reddere posse animam,
Et quod longa dies paulatim aboleverat, hoc te
Mortali spreta lege parare iterum.
Sic, miser, heu, prima cadis intercepte juventa,
Deberi et morti nostraque nosque mones.
Because he healed the broken body with his medical art,
And recalled Hippolytus from the waters of the Styx,
The Epidaurian himself was dragged to the Stygian waves;
Thus the price of life was death of its master.
You too, Raphael, having restored the mangled body
Of Rome with your miraculous skill,
And having recalled to life and ancient glory
The body of our city maimed by sword, fire, and years,
Have moved the Gods to jealousy, and death is indignant
That you have returned to life what had long been extinct,
And that you once again renewed, thereby disdaining the law of death,
what a long period had slowly taken away.
Thus, alas, unfortunate one, you lie taken away in the flowering of youth,
And warn us that we owe all that we have to death.
De Morte Raphaelis Pictoris
(transcription of part of the poem)
translated by Ezra Pound, 1912
Unto our city Rome, sore wounded
by the sword and flame and flow of years,
Thou did'st bring back that rare, lost beauty
That was hers of old. Did'st scorn
The laws that bind us lesser mortals
And dared'st lead back a soul unto its earthly dwelling,
And the spirit unto our poor dead city;
Wherefore were the very high gods angry
With thee, O Raphael, and took thee from us
While thy years were yet as flowers.
‘The Epidaurian’ is Aesculapius, god of medicine, who was taken into Hades for his invention of healing. (PL)
Castiglione, Baldassare. [Sonnet]. In Lives of the Most Eminent Painters Sculptors & Architects, by Giorgio Vasari. Trans. Gaston Du C. de Vere. 10 vols. London: Philip Lee Warner, 1912. 4: 250. Archive.org. Internet Archive, n.d. Web. 18 Feb 2016.
Castiglione, Baldassare. [Sonnet.] Translated by Peter Liebregts. The Cantos Project, 2016.
Castiglione, Baladassare. "De Morte Raphaelis Pictoris." Translated by Ezra Pound. Spirit of Romance. . New York: New Directions, 2005. 226.