The Nolan's Supper
Inspired on the life and work of Giordano Bruno
To the Malcontent
If by cynical tooth you are pierced,
Curse yourself, O barbarous dog;
Who vainly flaunt at me your cudgel and sword,
Beware, lest you incense me. Because you wrongly attack me to my face,
I slash your hide and rip you up;
And if, perchance, my body falls to earth
Your infamy shall be inscribed in marble.
Go not naked to steal honey from the bee;
Nor bite what might be stone or bread;
Nor go unshod when sowing thorns.
Do not despise, O fly, the spider's web;
O mouse, pursue not frogs;
Flee foxes, O spawn of fowl.
And believe in the Gospel
Which fervently admonishes that
Those who sow the seeds of error
Reap from this, our field, Remorse.
Translated by Edward A. Gosselin and Lawrence S. Lerner
(University of Toronto Press, reprint ed. 1995)
(Diagram in Giordano Bruno, De triplici minimo et mensura (1591), book 5.)
Sonnet in Praise of the Ass
Oh holy asininity, holy ignorance,
Holy foolishness, and pious devotion,
Which alone can make souls so good
That human genius and study cannot advance it;
One does not reach by wearisome vigilance
Of art (of whatever kind), or invention,
Nor by the contemplation of philosophers
To the heavens where you build your home.
What's the point, oh curious ones, to study,
To wish to know what nature does,
If the stars are but earth, fire, and sea?
Holy asininity does not care for that,
But wants to remain, hands joined, and on bended knees,
Waiting for its reward from God.
Except the fruit of eternal rest,
Which God grants after the funeral.
Translated by Sidney L.Sondergard and Madison U. Sowell (Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2002)