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CELLINI Benvenuto


To His Mistress

Now will I make my Perseus — first of wax —

Slim, naked, young, exulting. In his left

He shall hold high thy vipered head fresh cleft,

Whence clotted blood shall pour, as, 'neath the axe,

That girl's last week. His foot upon thy back's

Convulsive writhes shall rest; while, in his right,

He'll hold a short fantastic falchion tight.

Thy neck shall pour, just like the head it lacks.

Then to his heels and helmet I will tie

Wings that o'er wondrous fairy lands have flown;

And he shall breathe such triumphs as did I

When my good harqebuss hurled Bourbon down

Rome's wall; or when I wiped my dagger dry

In my first brawl, and thrilled from toe to crown.

Translation by Eugene Lee-Hamilton