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.

Nothing lasts,

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)