As one sits in front of Leonardo’s great picture of the Last Supper, one may see inscribed upon the walls the motto, ‘Comedite Amici His Contenti Simus.’
Ay, we may feed, and therewith be content,
Seeing for those who gaze on yonder square
The painter Leonardo gives the fare;
For though he failed him of his full intent,
And the false oil with truest colour blent
Has left Christ a phantom in the air
Of the blue twilight, still the face is there,
We know the Man Divine, Da Vinci meant.
They scarce can speak; they mutter, ‘Is it I?’
Save Judas, he can boldly ask the Lord,
For he has heard what Peter whispered John.
James draws his breath for horror, says no word,
But one majestic Face looks sadly on,
Less sorrowful for death than treachery.
(Sonnets in Switzerland and Italy, p. 76)