Satirical poems of Walter of Chatillon

translated by Robert Levine

(c. 1134 - 1200?) Best know for his epic, the Alexandreis, Walter of Chatillon also composed lyrical, moral, and satirical poems (see the editions by K. Strecker, Berlin 1925, and Heidelberg 1929). The ones translated below were composed in four-line stanzas; the first three lines of each stanza are in rhythmic verse and the fourth is usually a line of classic, quantitative verse, taken from Horace, Juvenal, Ovid, or another standard author in the medieval curriculum.



1. Tanto viro locuturi
studeamus esse puri,
set et loqui sobrie,
carum care venerari,
et ut simus caro cari,
careamus carie.

We who are about to speak to such a man are eager to be pure, but to speak wisely, to show the dear one dear respect, to be dear to the dear one, we must be without fault.


2. Decet enim, et hoc unum
est inprimis oportunum,
ut me ipsum iudicem;
homo vetus exuatur,
homo novus induatur
ante tantum iudicem. 

For it is proper, and the correct way to begin, to
judge myself; let the old man be stripped away, and the new
man be put on in front of such a judge.


3. Commendarem mundi mores,
set virtutis amatores
paucos esse doleo;

quod si pravos reprehendam
et eis non condescendam,
bella michi video.


I might praise the ways of the world, but I grieve that the lovers of virtue are few; if I blame evildoers and do not bow before them, I see that I shall have trouble.


4. Set, o iudex equitatis,
propagator veritatis,
lenis aura seculi,
esto michi in asilum,
te rectore sumpsi stilum,
te duce signa tuli.

But O judge of justice, spreader of the truth, gentle breeze of the world, be as a refuge for me, and under your guidance I shall take up the pen, and led by you I
shall bear the banners.




But who I am who dare to speak in
the presence of such a man? Who am I to risk his life by
publically attacking the wicked, a voice crying in the
wilderness, "take the right path?" What is that desert but
the world, a world that is unclean, because it rejects


Walter Of Chatillon #2 Propter Sion non tacebo, translated by

Laurie Glenn 



] . Propter Sion non tacebo,                    

set ruinas Rome flebo,

quousque iustitia

rursus nobis oriatur

et ut lampas accendatur

iustus in ecclesia.


2. Sedet vilis et in luto

princeps, facta sub tributo;

quod solebam dicere,

Romam esse derelictam,

desolatam et afflictam,

expertus sum opere.


3. Vidi, vidi caput mundi,

instar maris et profundi

vorax guttur Siculi;

ibi mundi bitalassus,

ibi sorbet aurum Crassus

et argentum seculi.


5. Sirtes insunt huic profundo

et Sirenes toti mundo

minantes naufragium ;

os humanum foris patet,

in occulto cordis

latet informe demonium.


6. Habes iuxta rationem

bitalassum per Franconem,

quod ne credas frivolum:

ibi duplex mare fervet,

a quo non est qui reservet

sibi valens obolum.



7. Ibi venti colliduntur,

ibi panni submerguntur,

bissus, ostrum, purpure;

ibi mundus sepelitur,

immo totus deglutitur

in Franconis gutture.


8. Franco nulli miseretur,

nullum sexum reveretur,

nulli parcit sanguini;

omnes  dona ferunt,

illuc enim ascenderunt

tribus, tribus domini.


9. Canes Scille possunt dici

veritatis inimici,

advocati curie,

qui latrando falsa fingunt,

mergunt simul et confringunt

carinam pecunie.


10. Iste probat se legistam,

ille vero decretistam

inducens Geiasium;

ad probandum questionem

hic intendit actionem

regundorum finium.


l0a Verba loquor nota uobis.

set ignota prorsus nobis.

non est nostri studii

Neque michi scire datur.

cur prescriptum rescindatur.

iure postliminii.


11. Nunc rem sermo prosequatur:

hic Caribdis debachatur,

id est cancellaria ;

ibi nemo gratus gratis

neque datur absque datis

Gratiani gratia.


12. Plumbum, quod hic informatur,

super aurum dominatur

et massam argenteam;

equitatis fantasia

sedet teste Zacharia

super bullam plumbeam.



12a Ibi magnes tenax auri.

quidam color nigri mauri

corpus licet paruulum

Fortis tamen est in bello

qui cum penna cum cultello

depredatur loculum.



For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, but will cry over the ruins of Rome,

until justice arises for us again and righteousness is rekindled as a torch in the Church.[1]


Degraded in the mud sits the princely city, now become a forced laborer[2];

since I used to say that Rome was Forsaken, Desolate[3] and Afflicted, I was well-versed in the matter.


I have seen it, I have seen the head of the world, like the sea and the deep, the ravenous throat of Siculus;

there the World's two seas meet[4],  there Crassus swallows the gold and silver of the age.


There devouring Scylla barks with Caribdis[5], who holds more gold than ships;

there's a collision of galleys, a clash of pirates, that is, of cardinals.


There underwater lie the shallows of Syrtis[6], and the Sirens threaten the whole world with shipwreck;

outside they have a human face, but within the dark of their hearts lies the hideous look of demons.


You have nearby a place where seas meet around Franco, which you shouldn't treat lightly;

there the double sea churns, from which no one is able to preserve a penny.


There the winds collide, goods are sunk, fabrics of rare purple and violet;

there the world is buried, almost entirely swallowed down the throat of Franco.


Franco pities no one, honors no sex, spares no blood;

everyone brings him gifts, since the tribes ascend there, the tribes of the lord[7].


The enemies of Truth could be called Scylla's dogs, the lawyers of the courts,

who create falsehoods barking, and at the same time sink and smash the hulls of money.


That man recommends himself as a doctor of the law, the other as a teacher of canon law brings Gelasius[8] to trial;

he pushes a suit to decide the matter of boundary disputes.


Now his speech gets to the point: here Caribdis rages, that is the Chancery;

there no one is welcome for nothing, nor is anything given without gifts, for the sake of Gratianus[9].


Lead, which is molded here, dominates gold and blocks of silver;

the vision of equity, by Zachariah's prophecy, rests on a leaden weight.[10]


Who are the Syrtes' shallows or the Sirens? They who heap up Byzantine coins with sweet and mild words;

they offer hope of gentleness, but they flatten frugal purses with a storm.


With a sweet song they flatter like the Sirens and say some nice things at first:

"Brother, I know you well, and ask nothing of you, because you're from France.


"Your land has reaped well, and kindly receives us in the people's port.

You belong to our, to our--to whom? you are the chosen sons of that Holy See.


"We unbind ourselves from sins and once freed, find ourselves seats in Heaven.

We have the laws of Peter  to bind every king in iron chains."


Thus speak the cardinals, thus the holy cardinals are accustomed to entice at first.

So they sow the serpent's poison, and at the end of the reading reap one's purse with a scythe.


Cardinals, as I have said before, sell the inheritance under the new law of the Crucified;

Peter without, Nero within, the wolves are within, while the sheep of the flock are outside.


Such men steer Peter's ship, and wield his key, which has the power of binding,[11]

These men teach us, though themselves untaught, they teach us and darkest night reveals knowledge.


In a galley sits a man, the harsh pestilence of the world, swallowing camels[12]

sweeping away the canopy, like a lion[13] he devours everything, ripping and roaring.


This is the prince of the pirates, called Pilatus, throned on lies;

a great monster with a fat belly and clean skin, not redeemed by virtue from vices.


The goddess of the sea for him is not Thetis, Achilles' mother, of whom we often read,

instead it is the mother of sterlings, the holy sister of wallets, whom we call Purse.


When she is pregnant, she feasts with the pirates and finds friends;

but if Purse starts to get thin, the winds surge, the waves grow, and the ship perishes.


Then jagged rocks dash the boat, until everyone has lost both their coins and their clothes;

Earlier the traveler went along carefree, but even a magician is stripped by thieves.


Who are the jagged rocks? doorkeepers, often more savage than tigers and beasts,

by whom rich men loaded down with bronze pass;  later they are thrown from the doors, poor and needy.


But to tell the truth, there are two ports there, as many as two islands,

to which the remains of a broken ship might be steered and repaired.


For Peter of Pavia who was elected at Meaux is rightly called a port,

since when the waves draw the sea up high he alone calms the sea and one may flee to him.


There is also a bigger port there, fertile ground, a flowering garden, the balm of compassion:

my famous Alexander, mine, I say, the sort of man to whom God grants the chamber of heaven.


He nourishes scholars, all bent by evils, and would straighten them if he could;

he would be a true worshipper of God, as long as, having been brought to Elisha, he paid off Gehazi.[14]


But so that I won't have a shipwreck back in that sea, I should bring an end to my words,

since, in order  to travel safe, and for fear of sinking, I have placed a guard on my mouth.






Poem 4

Stulti cum prudentibus currunt ad coronam,

Juvenalis autumnant sumere personam;

set cum bene noverim Pallada patronam,

semper ego auditor tantum, nunquamne reponam?

Both the wise men and the fool race for the crown, believing that they can play the part of Juvenal, but shall I, whose patron is Pallas, always listen and never reply?


Quando cibus deficit animabus brutis,

mugiendo postulant cibum sue salutis;

set est michi resonans vocibus argutis

fistula disparibus septem compacta cicutis. 8

When brute beasts lack food, they ask for food by making noise, hoping to be saved; but I make music on the reed composed of seven pipes of different lengths with its bright voices. (Vergil Ecl 2.36)


Festis bacularibus interesse minimus

volo, quia nequeo magnus, maior, maximus;

derogare vitiis omnibus est animus,

et nos ergo manum ferule subduximus.

I have no wish to concern myself with festive sceptres, because I am unable to become big, bigger, biggest; I intend to attack all vices, and submit the hand to the rod. (Juvenal 1.15)


Cum videam reprobos opibus affluere,

dominari vitia, virtutes succumbere,

vilipendi feminas, viros autem nubere,

difficile nobis est satiram non scribere. 16

When I see criminals flourishing with wealth, vices winning out and virtues losing, women despised and men marrying men, it is difficult not to write satire. (Juv 1.20)


Spargat ergo primitus sua Clio jacula

in illos, quos operit pastoralis infula;

nam ab illis omnibus, quid irem per singula? --

defluit in subditos vitiorum macula.

Let Clio then fire the darts against those who are covered by the shepherd's fillet, for from them -- why must I give all the details? -- the filthy vices flow down to those under them.


Ecce sponsi comites vendunt sponse dotes,

furantur in cacabo carnem sacerdotes.

Si spectes medullitus, si rem bene notes,

Christum vendunt hodie novi Scariotes. 24

Lo the companions of the bridegroom sell the dowry of the bride, and the priests steal the meat in the pot. If you look deeply, if you pay close attention, the new Iscariots sell Christ daily.


Jam prorsus obsolvit usus largiendi

prebendas, altaria, que non solent vendi;

versa est in habitum, cupido tenendi;

tempore crevit amor, qui nunc est summus, habendi.

Now the practice of bribery is destroying churches and church revenues, which in the past were not for sale; the desire for property has made this now habitual; love of owning, which is now at its height, has grown with time. (Fasti 1.195)


Studet presul pretiis et archilevita,

vivens solitarius cenat heremita.

Morerentur utinam hi, qui vivunt ita!

Felices obeunt, quorum sine crimine vita. 32

The bishop and the archdeacon are eager for rewards, while the eremite dines alone. May they die who live in such manner! The blessed resist, whose lives are without spot.


Vis decanus fieri, presul, patriarcha?

Auri multa tibi sit vel argenti marca.

Tantum habet fidei teste manu parca,

quantum quisque sua nummorum servat in arca.

Do you wish to become a deacon, priest, or patriarch? May you have much gold or many silver marks, since each man's faith is measured by how many coins each keeps in his coffers. (Juvenal 3.143)


In quo mundi climate, sub quo celi signo

est abbas vel pontifex pectore benigno,

dignus Christi nuptiis, dignus vite ligno?

Rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cigno! 40

In what climate of the world, under what celestial sign is there an abbot or archbishop with a gentle soul, worthy to be married to Christ, worthy of the staff of life? A rare bird, like a black swan on earth! (Juvenal 6.165)


Ut Judeis odio sunt carnes suille,

sic in his extincte sunt virtutum scintille:

hic vacat libidini, gule servit ille.

Credite me vobis folium recitare Sibille.

As pig flesh is hateful to the Jews, so are the sparks of virtue extinguished among these men; one man spends his time in lust, another in gluttony. Believe me, I am reciting to you the Sybiline text. (Juvenal 8.126)


Omnes avaritia mentibus imbutis

in nummo constituunt spem sue salutis;

nolunt dici prodigi rebus dissolutis;

fallit enim vitium specie virtutis. 48

All those whose minds are stained with avarice place hope for their salvation in money; they do not wish to be called prodigal by wasting their resources. (Horace Sat 1.2.4) Wearing the shape of virtue, vice is deceptive.


A prelatis defluunt vitiorum rivi,

et tantum pauperibus irascuntur divi;

impletur versiculus illius lascivi:

quidquid delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi.

Rivers of vices flow from the priests, and the Gods are angry only at poor men; the playful verse is fulfilled, "whatever their kings do, the Greeks suffer for it." (Horace Ep.1.2.14)


Vos ergo cum talia, presules, agatis,

de future gaudio vite desperatis

illudque Lucanicum mente pertractatis:

Tolle moras, semper nocuit differre paratis. 56

Therefore you priests, when you do these things, you despair of the joy of the future life, and you should think about this line of Lucan: "Procrastination is always dangerous once a man is ready to act." (Lucan i.281 and 6.14.4)


Parochiam contrahit lege matrimonii

sacerdos a presule, set nummi sunt medii,

nam si nummus deficit et tumor marsupii,

dabit ei pontifex libellum repudii.

The priest takes the parish, by the law of marriage, from the bishop, but money is the intermediary, for if money and a swelling purse are lacking, the archbishop will issue a bill of divorce.


Set neque presbiteros decet excusari,

quos cum suis ovibus constat inquinari,

unde quosdam contigit vel ementulari

vel perimi, quotiens voluit fortuna iocari.64

Nor should the priests who are known to have befouled both themselves and their flocks be spared, but they should be castrated or destroyed, whenever Fortune wishes to dispose of them. (Juvenal 3.40)


Mundus nummo deditus sequitur hunc morem,

ut tanto quis iudicet quemque digniorem,

illum quanto noverit esse ditiorem:

O nummi, nummi, vobis hunc prestat honorem.

Devoted to money, the world follows this custom: the more a man is known to be wealthy, the more he is judged worthy. O money, money, it is to thee he pays this honor. (Juvenal 5.136)




Quanto plura possidet, quanto plus ditescit,

tanto magis locuples, sitit et ardescit;

nam sicut ydropicus, qui semper arescit,

crescit amor nummi, quantum ipsa pecunia crescit.72

The more he has, the wealthier he grows, the more he thirsts and burns for opulence. Like an hydroptic, who is always thirsty, the love of money grows as the amount of money possessed grows.


Nullis avaritia rebus erubescit,

ex hac vis libidinis derivata crescit,

nam cum semel opibus dives intumescit,

inguinis et capitis que sunt discrimina nescit.

Avarice blushes at nothing, but, derived from it, the power of lust grows, for the rich man swells together with his wealth, and cannot tell his loins from his head.


Florebant antiquitus artium doctores,

nunc acquirunt redditus auri possessores,

quia, sicut exprimunt versibus auctores,

in pretio pretium nunc est, dat census honores. 80

Doctors of the arts flourished in ancient times, but now possessors of gold acquire revenue because, as the ancients have put it in verse, "now the prize is in money, and property gives honors." (Fasti 1.217)


Nescit mundus compati, nescit condolere

mendicanti Palladi, que solet vigere,

nam si nummo careas, foras expellere,

ipse licet venias musis comitatus, Homere.

The world does not know how to pity or to console one who begs for Pallas, who should thrive, for, if you have no money, you will be thrown out, even if you, Homer, arrived, accompanied by the Muses. (Walt 8.16.3)


Axis magisterii fractus est et temo,

audiri si cupiam, auditores emo;

hoc est, unde conqueror, hoc est, unde gemmo:

scire volunt omnes, mercedem solvere nemo. 88

The tutor's axle and pole are broken, and if I wish to be heard, I buy listeners; this is what I am complaining about, this is what I groan about: "everyone wants to know, but no one wants to pay the price." (Juvenal 7.157)


Senes avaritie sunt imbuti felle,

odor lucri pueris dulcior est melle;

nolle pudicitiam, nummos autem velle,

hoc omnes discunt ante alpha et beta puelle.

Old men are soaked in the poison of avarice, and for boys the smell of money is sweeter than honey; "before they learn their alphabet, all girls learn" to despise modesty and to prefer money.


Si recte de vitio vitium derives,

si de gestis consulas Athenarum cives,

inter actus seculi pravos et declives

intolerabilius nichil est quam femina dives. 96

If you correctly derive "defect" from "vice" (de vitio vitium), if you consult the Athenians for examples, among the depraved and disgraceful events in this world, "nothing is more intolerable than a rich woman." (Juvenal 6.460)


Hoc idcirco dixerim, ne quis sine macula

feminas existimet, quarum lingue iacula,

fascinantes oculi, digita novacula.

Set a diverticulo repetatur fabula.

For this reason I should speak, lest any think that spotless women exist, whose tongues are spears, whose eyes are magical charms, whose fingers are knives. But, after this detour, let us take up the tale again. (Juvenal 15.724)


Filii nobilium dum sunt iuniores,

mittuntur in Franciam fieri doctores,

quos prece vel precio domant corruptores;

sic pretextatos referunt Artaxata mores.104

When they are young, the sons of aristocrats are sent to France, to become doctors; there, by prayer or by reward, there are enslaved by corruptors, and they bring back to Armenia Roman behavior. (Juvenal 2.170)


Mores habet barbaris, Latinus et Grecus,

sic sacerdos ut plebs est, cecum ducit cecus,

se mares effeminant et equa fit equus,

expectes ab homine hoc usque ad pecus.

Barbarians, Romans and Greeks behaved this way -- you might think that the end has come -- the people imitate the behavior of the priests, the blind lead the blind, men become women, stallions become mares, and women have been thrust out, far from the sacred threshhold (Juvenal 1.14)


Et quia non metuunt anime discrimen,

principes in habitum verterunt hoc crimen,

virum viro turpiter iungit novus hymen,

exagitata procul non intrat femina limen.112

And because they do not fear the threat to their souls, princes turn this criminal act into habitual behavior. The latest fashion joins one man foully to another in marriage, and women, driven off, may not enter the home.



Unum est pre ceteris, quod cuncti mirantur,

quod vix hi, qui largi sunt, vel numquam ditantur;

si forte divitie largis sociantur,

non bene conveniunt nec in una sede morantur.

One thing is more remarkable than all the other: those who are generous are scarcely ever rich; if by chance riches and generosity come together, they don't get along well together, nor do they remain in the same place. (Ovid, Met. 2.846 and Walt 6.13.4)


Esto fur vel proditor, Verres sive Graccus,

deus reputaberis ut Thebarum Baccus;

esto Cato moribus, scientia Flaccus:

duceris planta velud ictus ab Hercule Cacus.120

Whether you are a thief or a traitor, a Verres or a Gracchus, you will be considered a God, like Theban Bacchus; if you are a Cato in behavior, a Horace in wisdom, you will be dragged by the heels, as Cacus was by Hercules.


Poem 5

Multiformis hominum fraus et iniustitia,

letalis ambitio, furtum, lenocinia

cogunt, ut sic ordiar conversus ad vitia:

quis furor, o cives, que tanta licentia!

The diverse kinds of human fraud, injustice, deadly ambition, theft, flattery, compel me, a monk, to address the vices: what madness, o citizens, what license! (Lucan 1.8)


Luxus, avaritia, gloria macelli,

infamis concubitus patrantris ocelli,

quicquid agunt homines animo rebelli,

gaudia, discursus nostri farrago libelli. 8

Pomp, avarice, the glory of the meat-market, the infamous intercourse of the lascivious eye (Persius 1.18), whatever pleasures men with rebellious souls pursue make up the mixture which is our book. (Juvenal 1.85)


Tot sordes luxurie, mundi tot tumultus

tot inmutant species, tot assumunt cultus,

ut iam dicat aliquis animo consultus:

'quo teneam nodo mutantem Prothea vultus?'

So many foul extravagances, so much disturbance in the world, so many changes of shapes, so many styles, that one might safely say, "in what noose may I hold the changing, Protean shape?" (Horace, Ep.1.1.90)



Cum mundum intuear sordis fluxu mersum

et nature penitus ordinem perversum

et hunc a principibus in vulgus dispersum:

si natura negat, facit indignatio versum. 16

When I see the world submerged in a foul flux, and the natural order profoundly perverted, and I see this condition spread from the leaders to the people, then even if I had no natural ability, anger alone would produce my verse.



In primis pontifices et prelatos noto,

nam iste grex hominum canone remoto

totus est in poculis, totus lucri voto

estuat et vite disconvenit ordine toto.

First I shall describe the bishops and prelates, for this flock of men, having put aside the law, have devoted themselves entirely to drink and money, and lead entirely disorderly lives (Horace Ep 1.1.99).


Heu quam nugatorii presules moderni'

dici debent potius pretores Averni

vel spretores melius iudicis eterni.

potores bibuli media de nocte Falerni. 24

Alas what triflers our modern bishops are! They should rather be called magistrates of hell, or, better still, scorners of eternal judgement, drunk on Phalernian wine in the middle of the night. (Ep 1.18.91)


Dic papa, dic pontifex, spes sponsi, sponse dos,

cur mores redarguis et sermones fedos,

cum sis peior pessimis, hedus inter hedos,

inter Socraticos notissima fossa cinedos!

Tell me, Pope, bishop, hope of the bridgegroom, dowry of the bride, why do you attack foul behavior and speech, when you are worse than the worst, a goat among the goats, the best known vagina among the Socratic sodomites? (Juvenal 2.10)


Roma datis opibus in tumorem crescit

et, quo plus infuderis, magis intumescit;

nam sicut Oracii versus innotescit,

sincerum nisi vas, quodcumque infundis, acescit. 32

Laden with gifts, the Roman tumor swells, and the more is poured into you, the more it swells; as the Horatian verses indicate, "unless the cup is pure, whatever is poured into it becomes sour." (Epist 1.2.54)


Roma solvit nuptias contra nutum dei,

pervertit iudicium, fovet partem rei.

pretiosa quelibet famulantur ei,

Inida mittit ebur, molles sua thura Sabei.

Rome dissolves marriages against God's assent, perverts justice, takes the side of the guilty, every extravagance is served up to you, India sends ivory, and the soft Sabei send their incense(Georg.1.57).


Roma metit omnia quadam falce manuum,

accipit ab omnibus, nulli reddit mutuum;

de te, Roma, sonuit illud non ambiguum;

alterius siccas pocula, nemo tuum. 40

Rome reaps everything with the scythe of its hands, takes from everyone and gives nothing in exchange; this line, Rome, clearly applies to you: "You drink the goblets of others dry, but no one does the same for yours." (Anth Lat)



Eligendi praesulis quotiens fit mentio,

in primis requiritur, cum quanto marsupio

interesse poterit Romano concilio,

et ita de moribus ultima fit questio.

When it comes to choosing bishops, the first requirement stipulated by the Roman council is a sizeable purse, while the last question asked is about the man's moral behavior.



Proh si scires, quanta sit vanitas claustralium,

quam duri, quam dispares vite precedentium!

Ex ipsis coniceres finem rerum omnium,

quoniam iam caritas refrigescit plurium. 48

Oh, if you only knew the vanity of monks, and how harshly different were the lives of those who preceded them! From watching today's monks you would infer that the end of all things has come, since the love of many has grown cold (Mathew 24.12).



Cenobita quilibet vivit dissolutus,

effrons, nec iam loquitur signo vel per nutus;

nam in claustris, ubi grex solet esse mutus,

vivitur ex rapto, non hospes ab hospite tutus.

Monks now live a dissolute life, shameless, nor do they now speak only by sign or gesture; in the cloisters, where the flock used to be silent, each lives by plundering, and no guest is safe from another guest (Met 1.144, part of the description of the age of bronze)



Iam plus equo satagit Martha sive Lia,

minus equo nititur Rachel et Maria;

nulla partem eligit meliorem, quia

ieiune deficiunt pariter in via. 56

Now what Martha or Leah do is more valued, while what Rachel and Maria do is valued less. Neither choosesthe better part, because the hungry faint in the way.(Matthew 15.32)



Quis nunc imitator est illius Johannis,

cuis erat tegimen cameli pro pannis,

epulum silvestre mel, potus purus amnis?

Laudamus veteres, set nostris utimur annis.

Who now models himself upon that John whose raiment was of camel's hair, whose meat was wild honey, and whose drink was river water? (Matthew 3.4) Let us praise the ancients, but make use of our years. (Fasti 1.225)



Clerus, qui sors Domini vocati deberet,

hic est, cui precipue sordis fex adheret;

vox ergo prophetica locum nunc haberet;

omnne caput languidum et omne cor meret. 64

The cleric, who should be called the Lord's child, instead is the one to whom the dregs of filth cling; here is the place for the prophetic utterance, "the whole head is sick and the whole heart faint (Isaiah 1.5)."



Qui sunt, qui ecclesiam vendunt et mercantur?

Qui sunt fornicarii, qui sunt, qui mechantur,

qui naturam transvolant et abhominantur?

Qui sunt hi? Clerici, -- ne longe exempla petantur.

Who are these who are buying and selling the church? Who are the fornicators, who are they who commit adultery, who abominably fly beyond nature? Who are they? Clerics, one need not look very far for examples. (Lucan 1.94)



Clamabat decalogus, ne quis peieraret,

ne quis adulterium furtumve patraret,

set Naso prevalet, a quo dictum claret:

Jupiter esse pium statuit, quodcumque iuvaret. 72

The ten commandments declared that one should not bear false witness, nor commit adultery, nor steal, but Naso was correct, when he explained, "For Jove has allowed as lawful whatever breeds delight." (Heroides 4.133)



Quid mirum, si tendimus homines ad imum?

Humus humum sapere debet, limus limum.

imitemur igitur hec dicentem mimum:

O cives, cives, querenda pecunia primum.

. How then can it be surprising if we men tend towards the depths (Horace AP 378)? Earth must touch earth, clay must touch clay. Let us therefore imitate the poet, who said this: "O citizens, citizens, money must be sought first." (Horace Ep.1.1.53)



Si vis esse mundo te gratum et benignum

et ferre pre aliis triumphale signum,

si vis esse locuples, opus fac malignum,

aude aliquid brevibus Giaris et carcere dignum. 80

If you wish to be comfortable and happy in the world, to triumph over others, if you wish tobe wealthy, do something terrible, do something worth being imprisoned for on Giaris. (Juvenal 1.73)



Set ne vos detineam per ambages multas,

fere mentes omnium vitio sepultas

demolitur, allicit, reddit inconsultas

ambitus et luxus et opum metuenda faculatas.

But, lest I detain you with my circumlocutions, ambition and pomp and the frightening power of wealth (Lucan 4.817) destroy men's minds, enticing them and making them behave stupidly.



Ab istis excipitur solus hic Fulmarus,

larga manu fulgurat, genere preclarus;

solus inter avidos vivit non avarus,

inde manu fulgens vel avari fulgor amarus. 88

Fulmar alone is an exception, shining with generosity, nobly born; alone among the greedy, he lives without avarice, brilliantly generous, a bitter splendor to the miser.



Mos Fulmari precipit locum dare vago,

nam Fulmaro displicet avari vorago;

Fulmarum largificat nobilis propago,

si genus arguitur vultu, nisi fallit ymago.

Fulmar's behavior teaches one to show courtesy to a vagabond, for the miser's abyss is displeasing to Fulmar; the noble breed makes Fulmar generous (largificat), "if lineage may be inferred from features, unless appearance deceives me." (Fasti 2.397)



Ergo manu dapsili fulgurans, Fulmare,

ne permittas peditem me repatriare


magnus eris, si me bipedem scis quadrupedare. 96

Therfore, Fulmar, with your generous hand prevent me from returning on foot to my native will be great if you know me, with my two feet, to travel on four.



Divites in facinus omnes dissoluti

tanquam idem reputant uti vel abuti;

hii sunt, quorum intima non respondent cuti,

nam semper agitant nunc de virtute locuti.

All wealthy menhave dissolved in crime, as though they thought use and abuse thesame thing; they are people whose insides do not match their outsides, who are always thrusting forward, while speaking of virtue. (Juvenal 2.20, on pederasts)



Cum se locus obtulit, ut ocultis vacent,

tractant de Taydibus, de Sabinis tacent;

cum latenter hic vel hec vel hec et hic iacent,

carnis ad officium carnea membra placent. 104


When an opportunity presented itself to pursue secret affairs, they turn to Thais's and are silent about the Sabines; when he or she or she or he lie in hiding, they pleasure their fleshly members in carnal offices.


De futura divitum gloria diffido,

quos ad mortem vulnerat hic et hec cupido;

in secreto lusitant Aeneas et Dido,

irruit in vetitum dampni secura libido

I despair of the future glory of rich men, whom this or that desire has wounded to death; Dido and Aeneas play in secret, "heedless of loss, passion plunges into forbidden joys." (Claudian, Eutrop 2.52)



Poem 6

Missus sum in vineam circa horam nonam,

suam quisque nititur vendere personam;

ergo quia cursitant omnes ad coronam,

semper ego auditor tantum, nunquamne reponam?

I was sent into the vineyard around the ninth hour,( Matthew 20.1) and each struggled to sell his own office (personam cf. 4.2); therefore since everyone is racing for the crown, (Corinth 1.9.24) shall I always be only a listener and never reply? (Juvenal 1.1)


Rithmis dum lascivio versus dum propino,

rodit forsan aliquis dente me canino,

quia nec afflatus sum pneumate divino

neque labra prolui fonte caballino. 8

If I play with rhythmic verse some one may gnaw at me with dog's teeth, because I am not inspired by the divine breath, nor have I purified my lips with the fountain of Hippocrene.


Licet autem proferam verba parum culta

et a mente prodeant satis inconsulta.

licet enigmatica non sint vel occulta,

est quodam prodire tenus, si non datur ultra.

The words that I offer shall not be polished, and they proceed from an insufficiently trained mind. Although they are not recondite or difficult to understand, yet "it is worthwhile to take some steps forward, though we may not go still further." (Horace Ep 1.1.32)


Cur sequi vestigia veterum refutem,

adipisci rimulis corporis salutem,

impleri divitiis et curare cutem?

Quod decuit magnos, cur michi turpe putem? 16

Why should I refuse to follow in the footsteps of the ancients, to gain the body's health, to become wealthy and look after my own skin. Why should I think vile what great men have thought fitting to do? (Ars AM 2.8.140)


Qui virtutes appetit, labitur in imum,

querens sapientiam irruit in limum;

imitemur igitur hec dicentem mimum;

o cives, cives, querenda pecunia primum.

He who seeks out virtues slips into the depths, and he who seeks wisdom falls in slime. Therefore let us follow what the poet said: "O citizens, citizens, money is the first thing to be sought!" (Horace Ep. 1.1.53 and Walt 5.19.4)


Hec est, que in sinodis confidendo tonat,

in electionibus prima grande sonat;

intronizat presules, dites impersonat:

et genus et formam regina pecunia donat. 24

Money it is that makes the best sound in synods and in elections; it places priests on the throne, bestows benefices on rich men, and queen money grants nobility and beauty. (Horace Ep.1.6.37)


Adora pecuniam, qui deos adoras:

cur struis armaria, cur libros honoras?

Longas fac Parisius vel Athenis moras:

si nichil attuleris, ibis, Homere foras.

Worship money, you who worship the gods; why do you build bookcases, why do you honor books? Stay for a long time in Paris or in Athens; if you bring nothing with you, Homer, you will be thrown out. (AA 2.280 and Walt 4.21.4)


Disputet philosophus vacuo cratere,

sciat, quia minus est scire quam habere;

nam si pauper fueris, foras expellere,

ipse licet venias musis comitatus, Homere. 32

If the philosopher conducts his discourse with an empty cup, he will come to understand that knowing is less than owning; for should you be a pauper, you will be thrown out, even if you come, Homer, accompanied by the muses themselves.


Sciat artes aliquis, sit auctorum plenus,

quid prodest, si vixerit pauper et egenus?

Illinc cogit nuditas vacuumque penus,

hinc usura vorax avidumque in tempore fenus.

What good does it do a man to know the arts, to be well acquainted with the authorities, if he must live like a poor, needy man? Naked and hungry, he will be driven forth by insistent, devouring usury.


Si Joseph in vinculis Christum prefigurat,

so tot plagis Pharao durum cor indurat,

si filiis Israel exitus obturat:

quid valet hec genesis, si paupertas iecur urat? 40

If Joseph in chains prefigures Christ, if the Pharaoh's heart, hardened because of the many plagues, if he did not let the sons of Israel go, what is Genesis worth, if poverty burns the bowels? (Horace Sat 1.9.66)


Quid ad rem, si populus sitit ante flumen,

si montis ascenderit Moyses cacumen

et si archam federis obumbravit numen?

Malo saginatas carnes quam triste legumen.

What does it matter that the people thirsted at the river, or that Moses climbed to the top of the mountain, or that the ark of the covenant reflects the divine will? I prefer the fattened flesh to the dreary bean.


Illud est, cur odiens studium repellam

paupertatem fugiens vitamque misellam;

quis ferret vigilias frigidamque cellam?

Tutius est iacuisse thoro, tenuisse puellam. 48

That is, why should I not reject hated study, flee poverty and the wretched life; who can bear remaining awake long hours in a cold cell? "It is far more satisfying to lie in bed, holding a girl." (Ovid Her 3.117)


Quidam de scientia tantum gloriantur

et de pede Socratis semper cornicantur

et dicunt, quod opes his, qui philosophantur,

non bene conveniunt nec in una sede morantur.

Those who glory only in knowledge, and are always crowing about Socrates' foot, and say that those who philosophize are wealthy, "they don't get along well together, nor do they remain in the same place." (Ovid Met 2.846, where it is maiestas and amor, and W 4.29.4)


Idcirco divitias forsan non amatis,

ut eternam postmodum vitam capiatis.

Heu mentes perdite! numquid ignoratis,

quod semper multum nocuit differre paratis? 58

Perhaps you reject wealth for the sake of eternal life, ah, destroyed minds! Don't you know that, "Procrastination is always dangerous once a man is ready to act?"(Lucan 1.281 and Walt 4.14.4)


Si pauper Diogenes fuit huius sortis,

si Socrates legitur sic fuisse fortis.

Juvenalis extitit magister cohortis

marmoreisque satur iacuit Lucanus in hortis.

If Diogenes and Socrates were poor and chose this life, yet a line of Juvenal stands out,let Lucan lie satisfied in his marble gardens (Juvenal 7.79, where Lucan is not satur, but contentus fama)


Heu quid confert pauperi nobilis propago?

Quid Tityrus patula recubans sub fago?

Ego magis approbo rem, de qua nunc ago;

nam sine divitiis vita est quasi mortis imago. 64

Alas, what does the noble give to the poor man? What does Tityrus, lying under the spreading beech tree, give? (Vergil) I am more enthusiastic about what I am now doing; For without wealth life is like the image of death. (Cato)


Semper habet comitem paupertas merorem,

perdit fructum Veneris et amoris florem,

quia iuxta nobilem versificatorem

non habet unde suum paupertas pascat amorem.

Poverty's companion is always sad, loses the fruit of Venus and the flower of love, because, according to the noble versifier, "his poverty does not have the means whereby to feed his love." (Ovid Rem 749)


Adde, quod superbia sequitur doctores,

inflati scientia respuunt minores;

ergo sic impletum est, quod dicunt auctores:

inquinat egregios adiuncta superbia mores. 72

In addition, pride accompanies the learned, who, puffed up in their knowledge, despise their lessers; therefore it comes about that, as the authorities say: "The finest behavior is defiled if it is accompanied by pride."


Audi, qui de Socrate disputas et scribis,

miser, vaca potius potibus et cibis;

quod si dives fieri noles vel nequibis,

inter utrumque tene, medio tutissimus ibis.

Listen, you wretch, who argues and writes about Socrates, devote yourself instead to drink and food; if you do not wish or will be unable to become rich, hold to a middle path, where you will move more safely. (Met 2.140)


Statim ut inceperit quid philosophari,

inflatur occursibus amat salutari,

letatur ab omnibus locum sibi dari

et cathedras primas, et doctor ubique vocari. 80

As soon as a man begins to philosophize, he loves to stride boastfully, greeting people in the streets, taking pleasure in the deference shown to him by everyone, in the chair reserved for him in church, and to be called "doctor" everywhere.


Loquitur sublimia, se prebet acerbum,

mox dilatat fimbrias, manifestat limbum

subiectis, set audiat sapientis verbum:

desine grande loqui, frangit deus omne superbum.

Speaking of lofty matters, he grows hard, and soon he ostentatiously spreads the edges and fringes of his garments to those beneath him, but he should heed the word of the wise man: "Do not speak grandly, for God smashes all pride." (Prudentius Psych 285)


Velut alter igitur Censorinus Cato

eructat parabolas sermone cribrato,

de corde sententias nimium elato

eliquat ac tenero subplantat verba palato. 88

Like another Cato the Censor, he pours forth parables in riddling speech, makes affected judgements, and minces his words on his delicate palate.


Stultus et scientie cultu destitutus,

quibusdam panniculis verborum indutus

videri pre ceteris conatur astutus,

rancidulum quiddam balba de nare loquutus.

Stupid and without learning, clothed in swollen words, he strives energetically to seem superior to others, "the stammer speaks stench from his nose." (Persius 1.33)



Exultans scematibus diversis ornari

se credit pre omnibus mira cornicari,

set auctorem noverit ista sibi fari:

metiri se quemque decet propriisque iuvari. 96

Rejoicing in his ability to ornament with rhetorical schemes, he believes that his miraculous crowing is superior to all others, but he should familiarize himself with what this authority says: "each man should take measure of himself, and enjoy his own abilities." (Avian 5.1)


Quisquis est huismodi, non se diu fraudet,

desistat, qui talibus implicari gaudet,

sua semper negligat, aliena laudet;

quod natura negat, nemo feliciter audet.

Whoever behaves in this manner does not deceive himself long; he who takes pleasure in getting involved in such things always neglects his own affairs, and praises those of others; What nature denies, no one may dare to do happily.


(Six more stanzas printed in smaller type by Strecker):

Penas et supplicia supreme diei

ad mentes reducite, sancti fratres mei;

licet enim criminis simus omnes rei,

magna tamen spes est in bonitate dei. 104

Call to mind, my holy brothers, the punishment and suffering of the Last Day; although we may all be guilty, God's goodness offers us great hope (Ovid Ex Pont 1.6.14)


If a poor man comes from the noble race of giants, if he can calculate the path of the sun and of Saturn, his praise will be sung only by himself: what is glory worth if is only glory?


Poem 7


Eliconis rivulo modice respersus vereor,

ne pondere sim verborum mersus;

set quoniam scriptitat mundus universus,

incipe Menalios mecum, mea tibia, versus.

Sprinkled by some of the Heliconian stream, I fear lest I be drowned by the weight of words, but since the entire world is scribbling, o my flute, accompany my Maenalian (Arcadian) verses.


Accusator criminum iudexque sedebo

omnium, que video fieri sub Phebo;

vitiosus siquidem vitia delebo,

munus et officium nil scribens ipse docebo. 8

I shall sit in judgement, an accuser of all crimes that I see take place under the sun; though defective myself, I shall destroy the vices, and though I myself write nothing, I shall teach the poet's office and duty.


Dicta fuit aurea vita proavorum,

quando nec simonia vendicabat chorum

nec regnabant scismata, set vi modernorum

effodiuntur opes irritamenta malorum.

The writing of the ancients was golden, since simonists did not then sell the church, schismatics did not rule; but by the power of modern men, wealth, the provoker of evils, is dug up. (Met 1.140, on the age of bronze).


Ecce papas geminos instruxere reges,

set cui adhereas, nescis, vel quem neges;

utrobique pullulat vitiorum seges,

amisse pereunt nullo discrimine leges. 16

Lo, kings have set up twin popes, but you do not know whom to obey and whom to reject. A crop of vices springs up on both sides, "when the constitution was lost and destroyed, it made no difference." (Lucan 3.119)


Fortassis ecclesia non hunc iure repulit,

non hunc iure cathedra dignitatis extulit,

nam sepe, cum ratio male sibi consulit,

pro vitio virtus crimina sepe tulit.

Perhaps the church has not rightly rejected him, and has not rightly removed his authority, for often, when reason goes awry, virtue has been perceived as vice.


A Christo neuter est forsitan electus,

neuter michi sufficit, uterque suspectus;

nescio, quis horum sit obliquus vel rectus,

in diversa trahunt unum duo nomina pectus. 24

Perhaps neither has been chosen by Christ, neither is enough for me, and both are suspect; I don't know which of them is wrong and which is right -- my heart moves in two directions at once (Met 8.464 Althae about to throw the firebrand into the flames, killing Meleager for his having killed her brothers).


Suam Christus vineam amodo non fodit,

illam vorat ambitus, illam scisma rodit;

sponsa Christi coniugis iussa non custodit,

sepe etenim mulier, quem coniunx diligit, odit.

Christ does not now dig in his vineyard, but ambition devours it and heresy eats away at it; the bride of Christ does not keep the bridegroom's commands, and the woman often hates the loving spouse. (Cato 1.82)


Sponsa dicit aput se: 'Heu, quam diu teror!

quo me rapit impetus scismatis, quo feror?

Sponsum, per quem meus hic relevetur meror,

ultra promissum tempus abesse queror. 32

The wife says to herself: "Alas, how long have I been beaten! Where I am being carried so brutally by the force of heresy? I lament the fact that the bridegroom who may relieve my suffering has remained absent beyond the date of his promised return. (Ovid Heroides 2.2)


Hinc me Rheus opprimit, hinc Francorum chori,

dubito, cui debeam cedere favori;

veniat mors, veniat terminus merori:

impia quid dubitas Deianira mori?

One one side the Germans oppress me, on the other hords of French. I don't know to whom I should yield; let me die, let my suffering end: 'impious Deinara, why do you hesitate to die?'" (Ovid Her 9.146)


Non erat a cesare papa statuendus,

set secundum canones erat eligendus,

hic tibi precipue sit pura mente colendus. 40

The Pope was not established by Caesar (the emperor), but was chosen by canon law, .


Illi, per quos hereses scismataque vici

quondam, michi facti sunt nuper inimici;

que cecidi, stabilis non debebam dici:

quid me felicem totiens iactastis, amici?

Those through whose efforts I once conquered heresies and schisms have recently become my enemies; I who have fallen should not have been called stable: "why, friends, do you so often boast that I am happy?" (Boeth Cons 1.21 ff.)


Mea gens antiquitus dici Nazarea,

id est sancta, potuit, set nunc Pharisea;

unam duas faciunt, et cum non sim rea,

prelati partiti sunt vestimenta mea. 48

My ancestry may be called Nazarene, that is, sacred, but now it is Pharisaical; they have made two out of one, although I myself am not guilty, the bishops share my garments.


Iam casura videor, quia tota nuto,

mea propugnacula muri carent scuto;

aurum meum scoria, vilius est luto,

et princeps provincie facta sub tributo.

Now I seem to have fallen, because I tremble from head to foot, my ramparts lack protection, my gold is dross, worth less than mud, and the prince of the province is laid under tribute. (Lament 1.1 Thren).


Set ne vos detineam turbine sermonum:

caput mundi corruit, non habet patronum;

ubinam est hodie virtus Scipionum

Marcellusque loquax et nomina vana Catonum? 56

But, lest I detain you with windy speech: the head of the world has fallen and has no patron; where now is the virtue of the Scipios, eloquent Marcellus, and the empty names of the Catos? (Lucan 1.313)


Veni, coniunx optime, nam hinc turba Rheni,

illinc me cum Glalicis lacerant Rutheni;

veni, ne tardaveris, et lugentes leni,

nil michi rescribas, attamen ipse veni.

Come, oh my finest husband, for the Rhenish tribe, as well as the Rutheni, together with the French, wound me; come, do not be late, and comfort those that mourn, do not write to me, but come in person.


Me desertam creditis forsitan ex toto,

set sponsum ad nuptias hoste iam remoto

aspiciens a longe venientem noto'.

Sic ait et longo consumit gaudia voto. 64

Perhaps you think that everyone has abandoned me, but I see the bridegroom a long way off, approaching for the marriage, with the enemy driven off." Thus she spoke, and "consumed joys in a long prayer." (Theb 1.332 and Alananus 2, p. 49

To see things as they are, the authority and freedom of the cleric has failed; Rome has fallen in an eclipse of the truth, and, if it has not fallen, it seems to have fallen. (Met 2.322, Phaeton compared to a fallen star).

and whoever is so elected should be revered, and he should be especially honored by your best efforts



Poem 7A

Inter curas hominum curis depravata

iam virtutum probitas iacet improbata;

viatores devii via non curata

nitimur in vetitum cupimus semperque negata.

Among the troubles of men, disfigured with care, correct behavior lies rejected; lost travelers on a careless path,we seek what is forbidden and always desire what is denied.(Ovid Am 3.4.17)


Nescimus vestigia veterum moderni

regni nos eternitas non trahit superni,

ardentis set nitimur per viam inferni,

cum sit tamen facilis descensus Averni. 8

We moderns are ignorant of the footsteps of the ancients, the eternal realm does not attract us, but we eagerly strive to follow the path to hell, since it is "easy to descend to Avernus" (Aen 6.126).


Cur per carnis vitium peccant sic moderni?

Fert malus iudicium iudicis eterni.

Quidquid talis turpiter, debet prorsus sperni,

instabile est etenim, facilis descensus Averni.

Why do modern men commit sins of the flesh, bringing upon themselves the condemnation of the eternal judge? Whatever is evil should be spurned, for it does not last, and "easy is the descent to Avernus" (Aen 6.126).


Hic potus, hic vitio Veneris laborat,

hic fraudis, hic ambitus nodos non ignorat,

hunc future glorie vanitas colorat,

per diversa tamen exitus acta probat. 16

One man drinks, another labors under the venereal vice, another is familiar with the trap of fraud, another with the trap of ambition, the empty hope of future glory "colors" another, in various ways the results indicate the value of the acts.(Ovid Her 2.85)


Vide mestos exitus magnis in personis,

vide durum publicae ius conditionis.

O Circee fugias virus potionis!

Est virtus placidis abstinuisse bonis.

See how great people end up tragically, see how harsh is the law of public life. O, you should flee the poison of the Circaean drink! It is correct for good men to refrain (Heroides 16.98 Helen's advice)


Omnis inest vanitas mundi speciebus,

est Phebo mobilius, quidquid lustrat Phebus,

alternantur singula singulis diebus,

ludit in humanis divina potentia rebus. 24

Worldly things contain every kind of vanity, wherever Phoebus goes is more variable than Phoebus himself; things change every day, divine power plays in human affairs.


Mors inexorabilis secum trahit optima,

set nec parcit pessimis, fert cum parvis maxima,

infimis sublimia, summis equat infima,

tendimus huc omnes, domus est hec ultima.

Inexorable death takes the best with him, but he does not spare the worst, but the great leveler carries off the greatest together with the least, the loftiest with the lowest; we are all headed thither, to our last home.


Cum ubique seviat error inconsultus,

cum passim preveniat sapientem stultus,

cum rotundent quadrata insani tumultus,

quo teneam nodo mutantem Prothea vultus? 32

Since ignorant error rages everywhere, and fools stand in the way of wise men everywhere, and the mad rabble are busy turning the circle into a square, with what knot can I hold this face-changing Proteus? (Horace Ep 1.1.90,100)


Igitur consilio si velimus uti,

rebus vitam dubiis emendemus uti,

sola virtus hominis consulit saluti,

nulla via creditur invia virtuti.

Therefore, if we wish to make use of wise counsel let us mend our ways in these troubled times, no path is too difficult for the virtuous man. (ovid Met 14.113 Sybil's words to Vergil-variation of earlier eschatological allusions see also Corinth 2.12.9; annominatio)


Ut virtus inhabitet me constanter, precor,

nam si pono vitium, si virtutem sequor,

quocumque diverterim, me sequetur decor,

omne solum forti patria est ut piscibus equor. 40

I pray that virtue inhabit me constantly, for if I lay aside vice and follow virtue, surely goodness will follow me wherever I may wander, "for the brave man, every soil is his native land, as the ocean is for fish." (Fasti 1.493 Evander's mother to Evander)


Virtus prodest, si potest ad finem teneri;

quid enim ciconias credimus mereri,

hodie si perdimus acquisitum heri?

Non minor est virtus quam querer parta tueri.

Virtus wins out, if it is maintained to the end; why should we believe that storks mourn, (Jeremiah 8.78)if we lose today what we gained yesterday? "Nor is there less prowess in guarding what is won than in seeking." (Ars Am 2.13)


Quid dixisse proderit de virtute multa?

An mirabor pecora vitiis sepulta,

pecora volentia semper esse stulta?

Est quodam pridire tenus, si non datur ultra. 48

What good would it do to speak of great virtue? Shall I marvel that beasts, willing but stupid, are buried in sin? "It is worthwhile to take some steps forward, though we may not go still further." (Horace Ep.1.1.32)


Hiis opponet aliquis: 'Turpiter nos mordes,

cum sis eger medicus, cum plus cunctis sordes.'

Set hic nostras audiat qui defendit partes:

'Non prosunt domino, que prosunt omnibus, artes.

Someone might offer this opposing argument: "you attack us in a foul manner, since you are a sick doctor, despised more than all others."But let that man listen to our defense: "The arts which serve everyone are not for the master."


O quicumque niteris, ut stes in virtute,

gemme non sis immemor quamvis obvolute;

a quocumque recipe verbum de salute,

mel quia sugit apis etiam de flore cicute. 56

Oh you who strive to be virtuous, remember the diamond in the rough, and accept the word about salvation from anyone, for the bee sucks honey even from the hemlock's flower. (Ovid Am 1.12.9 ff.)


Prudenti, si stultus es, non exemplum fies,

sis me fuge, melior aliis tu si es,

corrigi non differas, hinc sit procul quies,

optima vindicte proxima queque dies.

You cannot be an example for a wise man if you are stupid, if you wish, dismiss me, and, if you are better than the others, do not wait to be corrected, "next day is ever the best for your deliverance." (Ovid Rem 93,96)


Stultus quid inducias corrigendi querit?

Quid sequatur, videat, si pollutus perit;

mors incerto gladio, etsi certa, ferit:

qui non est hodie, cras minus aptus erit. 64

Why does the fool look for ways to avoid being corrected? If he dies still polluted, he may see what follows; death's sword certainly strikes without warning: "who is not prepared today will be less prepared tomorrow." (Ovid Rem 94)

                                                                                                               Poem 8


Fallax est et mobilis lex humane sortis,
necdum natis etiam spondet horam mortis,
ac peccantis ulcio semper est in portis,
quia sic instituit iudex iustus, fortis.

The law of human fate is fickle and deceptive, nor does it ever indicate to the child when it will die, but vengeance for sin is always at the gates, because the just and powerful judge has willed it so.


Si quis ergo sperneret mundum male tutum,
nummorum congeriem reputans ut lutum,
conservans viriliter corpus incorruptum,
hunc plane diligeret dominus virtutum. 8

If someone spurns the perilous world, thinking that a pile of coins is like mud, keeping his body pure, in a manly fashion, he will clearly be loved by the lord of virtues.


Set non placet omnibus hec consuetudo,
quia placet amplius burse plenitudo;
universos allicit cutis pulcritudo,
hodie vix aliquem decet sanctitudo.

But this custom does not please everyone, because a bursting purse is more pleasing; the beauty of the skin is universally appealing, today
scarcely anyone admires holiness.


Ubi sunt ecclesiam in Christo regentes,
qui velint existere benefacientes,
exemplorum lumine tantum relucentes,
ut letentur pariter et exultent gentes? 16

Where are those who rule the
church in Christ, who wanted to do good deeds, shining examples of light, so that the people are joyful and exult? (Psalm 66.5)


Nil volunt solacii subditis conferre
et, cum modo conterant totum mundum guerre,
nolunt se pro filiis Israel offerre,
ut in pace maneant omnes fines terre.

They do not wish to grant solace to those under them, and since they now grind the world down .us guerre, they are unwilling to offer themselves for the sons of Israel, so that all the nations of the earth may dwell in peace.


In bellorum turbine de deo diffidunt,
hos norunt metuere, qui corpus occidunt,
omnes in pecunie thesauris confidunt,
assidos et validos debiles elidunt. 24

In the turmoil of war they lose faith in God, they learn to fear those who slay the body, all place their confidence in the hords of money, and the weak elude those who are steady and trong.


A foris suscipiunt cultum pastoralem,
numquam degustati sunt cenam spiritalem,
non habentes apud se vestem nupcialem,
agentes operibus curam mercennalem.

They take up the pastoral care
who have never tasted the spiritual feast, they do not have the nuptial vest, always concerning themselves with mercenary cares.


Isti sunt, quos tumidos efficit potestas
et quos numquam afficit pauperum egestas;
hos districti iudicis opprimet maiestas,
cuius in circuitu valida tempestas. 32

They are those whom power puffs up, who are never moved by the suffering of poor men;


Omnes avaritcie coeunt cecatum,
ore psalmos ruminant, in corde mercatum;
nonne, dum non cogitant domini mandatum,
eorum oracio flet in peccatum?

Every kind of avarice brings together the blind, who mouth
the psalms while their thoughts dwell on buying and selling. While they pay no attention to the Lord's commands, doesn't their speech turn into sin?


Habundes in capite cano senectutis
retinent in renibus flores iuventutis;
male sibi conscii de via virtutis
insectantur alios gladiis acutis. 40

Although their hair has grown white
with age, they retain the vigor of youth in their loins; with scarcely any concern for the right path, they cut others down with their sharpened swords.


Ex hiis esse novimus plures Sodomeos,
deas non recipere, set amare deos,
set quotquot invenerit huius rei reos,
qui in celis habitat, irridebit eos.

Among them we know of several
Sodomites, who love gods and not goddesses, but when he who inhabits the skies comes upon those guilty of this act, he will laugh at them.


Sic pascunt, ut isimet pocius pascantur,
qui vix ad humilium preces inclinantur,
attamen sublimiter eis dominantur;
confundantur pariter et revereantur. 48

Those who feed merely that they themselves may be fed, who scarcely pay any attention to the prayers of
the poor, but instead lord it over them,


Qui burse solummodo querunt implementum
nec Christi familiis dividunt frumentum,
qui male dominicum duplicant talentum,
veterascent miseri sicut vestimentum.

Those who look only to fatten their purses, and do not
distribute the harvest among the servants of Christ, who do a poor job of multiplying the talents given to them by the Lord,


Quis Mirreo presuli similis nunc vivit?
nam mna huius quia mnas decem acquisivit,
hunc ad ea dominus premia ascivit,
que non vidit oculus nec auris audivit. 56

Who now alive is the equal of Saint Nicholas? mna

which the eye did not see nor the ear hear. (Corinth 1.2.9)


Paucos sibi similes nunc habet Paulinus
et quem condam habuit patrem Mons Cassinus,
set et qualis extitit pastor Tudertinus,
vix habet consimiles ecclesie sinus.

Few now are the equals of Paul, or of him who founded Monte Cassino, but the shepherd Tuderinus is such a one, and the bosom of the church scarcely has his equal.


Sanctulum presbiterum nolumus tacere,
qui vita pro proximo voluit carere;
set moderni presules hoc solum legere:
'si nichil attuleris, exibis, Homere'. 64

We are unwilling to be silent about .us sanctulum presbiterum,
who would sacrifice his life for another; but modern priests
have read only this: "If you bring nothing, even if your were
Homer, you will be thrown out." (Ovid AA 2.280 and Walt 4.21.4)


Magis fiunt avidi tumore bursarum,
sitim quod multiplicat fons diviciarum,
quia sic desiderant congestus earum,
ut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum.

Many are thirsty for swelling purses, and their thirst is
increased by the fountain of wealth, so that they desire
.us congestus earum, as the stag thirsts for the waters of the fountains. (Ps 41.2)


Si me forsan odiunt ob hoc Pharisei,
quod eos non taceo tant reos rei,
cantabo suppliciter in conspectu dei:
'Ego dixi: domine, miserere mei!' 72

If the Pharisees hate me because I refuse to conceal the
crimes of which they are guilty, I pray as a suppliant in the
sight of God: "I have spoken, Lord, have mercy on me!" (Psalm 40.5)


Set asculta, pontifex, cor habens tam cecum:
ut thesauros congreges, estimo non equum;
quare dicit dominus, ut iam loquar tecum:
'Nonne ex denario convenisti mecum?'

But listen, blind-hearted bishop, who I think has no equal for piling up treasures, why did the lord say, as I say to you: Did you not agree to work for me (Matthew 20.13) for money?


Audi, pastor ovium, vivere si velis,
pugnato pro Israel manibus et telis;
sis in domo domini prudens et fidelis,
ut laudare valeas dominum de celis. 80

Hear, o shepherd of the flock, if you wish to live, fight for Israel with your hands and with your weapons; be wise and faithful in the house of the lord, so that you may praise the Lord of the heavens.


Baculare sacramentum,
nec recenter est inventum
nec sine misterio;
ab antiquo manet rata,
scripto legis figurata,
baculi religio.

The sacred staff is neither a recent invention nor without mystery; belief in the staff was established among the ancients, belief in the staff was symbolized in the writing of the law.


Ergo ne res occultetur,
ut occultum reveletur,
ordiamur altius;
nam id, de quo dubitatur,
scripto teste dum probatur,
creditur facilius. 12

Therefore, lest the matter remain hidden, to reveal what is secret,
.us ordiamur altius; those things that are doubtful are more easily believed


Lignum, per quod rubrum mare
fecit tanquam murum stare
legis ille baiulus --
per hoc lignum figuratur,
quod a nobis appellatur
tam virga quam baculus.

The wood by means of which the staff of the law made the Red Sea stand up like a wall -- this wood
symbolizes what we call as much a rod as a staff.


Illa siccat fluctus maris,
ieste siccat in avaris
fluctus avaritie;
illa mergit persequentes,
iste dampnat detrahentes
morsibus invidie. 24

That one dries up the flood of the sea, this one dries up the flood of greed in misers; that one drowns those who follow, this one damns those who are attacked by gnawing envy.


Ut testatur legis lator,
dum sitiret susurrator
Ebreorum populus,
expandente deo numen
super aquas rude flumen
dulcoravit baculus.



Per amarum parcitatem
et per dulce largitatem
denotamus singuli;
ibi dulce de amaro,
hic fit largus ex avaro
per virtutem baculi. 36

By bitter scarcity and sweet generosity we denote singuli (stumps Strecker: "different things"?); by the power of the staff sweetness comes from bitterness and a miser becomes generous.


Ligno serpens elevatus
in deserto cruciatus
repressit veneficos;
istud lignum largitores
munit contra detractores
et dampnat maledicos.

The serpent raised on a beam (Numbers 21.6) and tortured in the desert fights poisoners; this beam protects generous men against their opponents and damns the .us maledicos.


Ibi serpens adoratur,
qui per lignum sublimatur;
notate misteria:
hic per lignum baculista
predicatur die ista
dignus laudis gloria. 48

The serpent raised on that beam was worshipped; understand the mystery: the
bearer of the rod prefigured the day of praiseworthy glory.


Jacob dum instinctu matris
iret pre timore fratris
iungendus avunculo,
sapienter et modeste
pertransivit ipso teste
Jordanem in baculo.

When Jacob, guided by his mother, fearing his brother, went to join his uncle, wisely and temperately he crossed the Jordan by his own testimony, on a staff (Genesis 32.10)


Per Jordanem designari
potest mundus et notari
largitas per baculum;
transit ergo baculator
parcitatis supplantator,
largitate seculum. 60

By the Jordan, the world may be symbolized, and the staff may symbolize generosity; therefore the wielder of the staff, the supplanter of scarceness, passes over the world by means of


Libro Regum teste scitis,
dum pro nato Sunamitis
agit plantum querulum,
Elisei vice functus
currit puer, set defunctus
nec surgit ad baculum.

You know by the testimony of the Book of Kings that when the Sunamite lamented for her son, the boy ran when Elisha administered the staff, but dead, did not rise at the mere presence of the staff.


Hic tenaces et avari
per defunctum figurari
recto possunt ordine:
nec defunctus suscitatur,
nec avarus revocatur
a feda cupidine. 72

We correctly interpret the dead child as a symbol of the greedy and avaricious; the dead cannot be revived, nor the greedy recalled from foul avarice.


Per Giezi Giezitas
nota, quos et Simonitas
nuncupat latinitas,
per quos nemo suscitatur,
quia per hos propagatur
vix aut nunquam largitas.

By Giezi we understand those who are called in Latin "Simonists," through whom no one can be revived, because generosity is hardly ever propogated by them.


Tegit Thamar partes nudas,
ut iungatur sibi Judas
mediante baculo;
tali dono federata
et armilla subarrata
coit in propatulo. 84

Thamar covered her naked
parts, that Judah might join himself to her, aided by the staff (one of the tokens he gives her); for such a promised gift and for the bracelet he had pledged, she copulated with him in a public thoroughfare.


Si per Thamar probitatem
et per lignum largitatem
designat moralitas,
ergo quisquis largus erit,
sociari sibi querit
Thamar, id est probitas.

If Thamar morally signifies probity, and the staff
generosity, then whoever is generous seeks to be joined
with Thamar, that is, probity.


Set id ad figuram verto,
quod coivit in aperto
Judas, non in latebris,
quia largus preminere
cunctis debet et torpere
non querit in tenebris. 96

However, the corollary of
the symbol is that Judah, copulating in a public and not
a hidden place, signifies the need for generosity to stand
out above all things, and not to seek the shadows.

Et condendum cordis archa,
quod fidelis patriarcha,
quando carnes obtulit,
super partes, quas incidit,
congregari muscas vidit,
quas baculo propulit.

In quo manifeste patet,
quod si forte te dilatet
bacularis largitas,
cave vigilanti cura,
ne defedet festi iura
leccatorum feditas. 108

Possunt enim leccatores
dici musce, quorum mores
muscis bene consonant:
tactu, voce sunt deformes,
sic et hi, cum sint enormes,
feda verbis intonant.

His largiri non est via
largitatis; quare? quia
dare leccatoribus,
ut a sanctis perhibetur,
idem erit ac si detur
victima demonibus. 120

Istis loquor confidenter,
quorum si quis inpudenter
me verbis impeteret,
lacessitus reticerem,
si quid enim responderem,
victus forte vinceret.

Nam quotiens reprobum reprobo probus ore lacessit,
degenerat probitas probra loquente probo;
Illos si facinus equat, qyos inquinat, ergo,
iam nebulonizat cum nebulone loquens.
Andromachen Tais, Tersites Hectora culpet,
non minus Andromache, non minus Hector erit.
Inclament igitur furem, paticum, parasitum,
dum nichil obiciam, quidlibet esse fero. 134

And the office of the heart must be built, that the faithful
patriarch, when he has offered the flesh,

By which it is clearly shown that if by chance the generosity of the
staff makes you larger,

the foulness of lechers. For the lechers may be called flies,
since their behavior very much resembles that of flies: they
are misshapen in touch and in voice, and since they are evil,
their words resonate with filth. To be generous to them is not
the path of generosity; why? because to give to lechers, so that
.us a sanctis perhibetur
(Corinth 1.10.20) is like giving a sacrifice to devils. To them
I speak confidently; if any of them shameless attacks me in words,
although attacked, I shall remain silent, for if I replied at all,
the loser might win. For whenever a wise man attacks a foolish
one, his wisdom diminishes
if a deed stains both the perpetrator and the victim,
then speaking with a worthless fellow diminishes one's own worth.
Thais blames Andromache, Thersites blames Hector, but neither
Andromache nor Hector is any the less for it. Therfore let them
call him thief, pervert, parasite, while I shall
offer no resistance,
.us quidlibet esse fero.











[1] Isaiah 62:1: Propter Sion non tacebo et propter Hierusalem non quiescam donec egrediatur ut splendor iustus eius et salvator eius ut lampas accendatur.

[2] Lamentations 1:1 ALEPH quomodo sedit sola civitas plena populo facta est quasi vidua domina gentium princeps provinciarum facta est sub tributo

[3] Isaiah 62:4: non vocaberis ultra Derelicta et terra tua non vocabitur amplius Desolata

[4] Acts of the Apostles 27:41 et cum anchoras abstulissent committebant se mari simul laxantes iuncturas gubernaculorum et levato artemone secundum flatum aurae tendebant ad litus

[5] the most famous line from Walter's Alexandreis: "Incidit in Scyllam qui vult vitare Charybdim"

[6] Acts of the Apostles 27:17 qua sublata adiutoriis utebantur accingentes navem timentes ne in Syrtim inciderent submisso vase sic ferebantur

[7] Psalm 121 Hierusalem quae aedificaris ut civitas cuius participatio eius simul

quia ibi ascenderunt tribus tribus Domini testimonium Israhel ad confitendum nomini Domini

[8] Pope Gelasius II, 1118-1119

[9] Gratianus fl 1150 Author of Concordantia discordantium canonum. "He is the true founder of the science of canon law" (source: The Catholic Encyclopedia

[10] Zechariah 5:7-8 et ecce talentum plumbi portabatur et ecce mulier una sedens in medio amphorae et dixit haec est impietas et proiecit eam in medio amphorae et misit massam plumbeam in os eius

[11] Matthew 16:19 et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum et quodcumque ligaveris super terram erit ligatum in caelis et quodcumque solveris super terram erit solutum in caelis

[12] cf Jesus' denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:24 duces caeci excolantes culicem camelum autem gluttientes

[13]Ezekiel 22:25 coniuratio prophetarum in medio eius sicut leo rugiens capiensque praedam animam devoraverunt opes et pretium acceperunt viduas eius multiplicaverunt in medio illius; I Peter 5:8 sobrii estote vigilate quia adversarius vester diabolus tamquam leo rugiens circuit quaerens quem devoret

[14] II Kings 5 The story of Elisha healing Naaman's leprosy for free, only for Gehazi, his greedy servant, to go asking for payment afterwards. Gehazi's punishment was to suffer from leprosy himself.