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Benvenuto Cellini (1500–1571). Autobiography.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.


AT this time the Duke went to make his triumphal entry into Siena, and Ammanato had gone there some months earlier to construct the arches. A bastard of his, who stayed behind in the Loggia, removed the cloths with which I kept my model of Neptune covered until it should be finished. As soon as I knew this, I complained to Signor Don Francesco, the Duke’s son, who was kindly disposed toward me, and told him how they had disclosed my still imperfect statue; had it been finished, I should not have given the fact a thought. The Prince replied with a threatening toss of his head: “Benvenuto, do not mind your statue having been uncovered, because these men are only working against themselves; yet if you want me to have it covered up, I will do so at once.” He added many other words in my honour before a crowd of gentlemen who were there. I then begged his Excellency to give me the necessary means for finishing it, saying that I meant to make a present of it together with the little model to his Highness. He replied that he gladly accepted both gifts, and that he would have all the conveniences I asked for put at my disposal. Thus, then, I fed upon this trifling mark of favour, which, in fact, proved the salvation of my life; for having been overwhelmed by so many evils and such great annoyances all at one fell swoop, I felt my forces failing; but this little gleam of encouragement inspired me with some hope of living.