Francisco Goya, portrait painter of Royals, the great, the good, and the evil felt guilty because he was spared from the savage brutality of the French invaders which he saw all around him and did not protest or fight against it. The atrocities he witnessed affected him deeply and drove him from rage to depression and madness. This poem is written in ottava rima verse from Goya’s point of view.
God forgive me, I have sinned so badly.
Spared atrocities wreaked upon my folk
by barbarous invaders who sadly,
savagely, slaughtered those under their yoke.
Tortured, raped and mutilated madly,
murdered monks and every Commandment broke.
While I stood by keeping a silent tongue
as brave protesting ones from throats were wrung.
protected me from harm
My portraits of the great, good and evil
in great demand for me a lucky charm
Safe, aloof above the great upheaval,
I lost my mind, others their head or arm
chopped off in the butchery primeval.
Going ever so silently insane,
awful images formed inside my brain.
Some, I witnessed
myself around Madrid
and sketched before engraving them on plates.
But some images came to mind unbid
of a nature a disturbed brain creates
as into a deep depression I slid
filled with rage no laughter or love abates,
plumbing the depths of sick depravity
unable to fathom its gravity.