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Sandro Botticelli 

For Theo and Anastase Crassas


There is beauty in the beauty, a tenderness in the tenderness,
the transparent caress of his soul marks these painted faces,
which exist in an unsullied time that has ennobled the ages
and has made less painful the stab of mortality.


And that melancholy, that mystical trembling
of airy strokes sailing into silence!
There is the splendour in the splendour, a clarity, an elegance
in these people newly dazzled by the delirium of myth!


How all is perfectly and preciously refined :
the immemorial Madonnas, Venus, St Augustine,
the Angels in ethereal robes and the Serene Infants,


the timeless Primavera, the miraculous rivers!
I love you, O azure soul, O truthful star,
heavenly Adolescent, friend to those with tragic lives!


Translated from the French by Norton Hodges