Some light-hearted levity is required…

at least now and then, when in Rome….

I love Mark Twain and I need him today; in Innocents Abroad he wrote:

In this connection I wish to say one word about Michelangelo Buonarroti. I used to worship the mighty genius of Michelangelo–that man who was great in poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture–great in everything he undertook….

In Genoa, he designed everything;

in Milan he or his pupils designed everything;

he designed the Lake of Como;

in Padua, Verona, Venice, Bologna, who did we ever hear of, from guides, but Michael Angelo?

In Florence, he painted everything, designed everything, nearly, and what he did not design he used to sit on a favorite stone and look at, and they showed us the stone.

In Pisa he designed everything but the old shot-tower, and they would have attributed that to him if it had not been so awfully out of the perpendicular.

He designed the piers of Leghorn and the custom house regulations of Civita Vecchia.

But, here [Rome]–here it is frightful.

He designed St. Peter’s;

he designed the Pope;

he designed the Pantheon,

the uniform of the Pope’s soldiers,

the Tiber,

the Vatican,

the Colosseum,

the Capitol,

the Tarpeian Rock,

the Barberini Palace,

St. John Lateran,

the Campagna,

the Appian Way,

the Seven Hills,

the Baths of Caracalla,

the Claudian Aqueduct,

the Cloaca Maxima–

[Michelangelo] the eternal bore designed the Eternal City, and unless all men and books do lie, he painted everything in it!

I never felt so fervently thankful, so soothed, so tranquil, so filled with a blessed peace, as I did yesterday when I learned that Michelangelo was dead.

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