by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475 - 1564)
Translation © by Carl Johengen

Sonetto XVI
Language: Italian (Italiano) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE SPA
Sì come nella penna e nell'inchiostro
È l'alto e 'l basso e 'l mediocre stile,
E ne' marmi l'immagin ricca e vile,
Secondo che 'l sa trar l'ingegno nostro;
Così, signor mie car, nel petto vostro,
Quante l'orgoglio, è forse ogni atto umile:
Ma io sol quel c'a me proprio è e simile
Ne traggo, come fuor nel viso mostro.
Chi semina sospir, lacrime e doglie,
(L'umor dal ciel terreste, schietto e solo,
A vari semi vario si converte),
Però pianto e dolor ne miete e coglie;
Chi mira alta beltà con sì gran duolo,
Dubbie speranze, e pene acerbe e certe.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Carl Johengen) , title 1: "Sonnet XVI", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (John Addington Symonds) , title 1: "Love and art", from The Sonnets of Michael Angelo Buonarroti and Tommaso Campanella now for the first time translated into rhymed English, published 1878
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Juan Henríquez Concepción) , title unknown, copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Sonnet XVI", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:41
Line count: 14
Word count: 102

Sonnet XVI
Language: English  after the Italian (Italiano) 
Just as in pen and ink
there is a high, low, and medium style,
and in marble are images rich and vile,
according to the art with which we fashion it,
so, my dear lord, in your heart,
along with pride, are perhaps some humble thoughts:
but I draw thence only what is proper for myself
in accordance with what my features show.
Who sows sighs, tears and lamentations
  (dew from heaven on earth, pure and simple,
converts itself differently to varied seeds)
will reap and gather tears and sorrow;
he who gazes upon exalted beauty with such pain
will have doubtful hopes and bitter, certain sorrows.


  • Translation from Italian (Italiano) to English copyright © by Carl Johengen, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

Based on


Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:41
Line count: 14
Word count: 107