Wednesday, July 09, 2014



Rosalie L. Colie (1924-1972), "Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus," Atlantic Wall and Other Poems (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974), p. 49:
His journeys set the world about his ears.
    Comfort was what he thought he wanted,
In spite of which with all God-fearing fears
    He tinkered, more than grace was granted.

Save one, the towns in which he laid his head
    Knew this ear-muffed Christian not their kind:
Clasped to his chafing pommel, fled
    That timorous knight-errant of the mind.

On palimpsest and word of God he practiced
    His fiery celibate half-frocked pride.
Love took him still: the sophomoric fact is
    That Folly chose herself to be his bride.

Honed thin by her, Erasmus died in bed,
    His nose as pointed as his pen,
And praised up to the moment he was dead
    Folly's substantial golden gifts to men.

He prayed in Latin to his learned Lord,
    But with his breath's last susurrus
He died in Dutch, expecting childhood's God.
    O sainted Socrates, now pray for us!

Quentin Metsys, Erasmus of Rotterdam

Hat tip: Ian Jackson.

Related post: The Company of Saints.

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