You and I cannot know by argument
why God placed you on the ark, and made you
the father of a better people: these
are among the mysteries of things hid
even from God's spies. Well, He looked on you,
and spoke and acted towards you as the one
good and just man on earth, the kind of gift
that stirs and inflames the world's hate, envy,
and love. And when they loathed and then scorned you,
God's angry waters drowned them, washed it all
away, and left you in peace lovingly.
Inside the fury of the storm, the waves
were kind to you, sheltered, no, embraced you,
your good works had given God that much joy.
|An image of the Italian text from Visconti's 1840 edition|
From V XCVII:257. See also B S1:112:141; MSs Ve2, L, V2; Valgrisi 113 Translation: Bainton 206. A second in a series of three sonnets to Noah. Reference: Genesis 5-10. A plethora of illustrations, paintings, legends, and dramatic scenes and stories had grown up around Noah. Michelangelo included depictions of Noah's sacrifice, drunkenness after the Flood and unhappy contemporaries on the Sistine ceiling; Giovanni Bellini and Benozzo Gozzoli depicted the scene realistically. Key