Monday, September 19, 2016

Tommaso Campanella

Tommaso Campanella (1568—1639) is an Italian philosopher, poet, and Dominican friar. He joined the Dominican order in 1583, but was arrested, tried and imprisoned for heresy when his Philosophy Demonstrated by the Senses (1591) was published. Later in Rome he was tried again, and, in 1596, had to renounce his heresy.

Campanella was a leader in a plot to overthrow Spanish rule in Calabria (Southwest Italy). He was arrested, taken to Naples, and tortured into confessing his involvement. To escape death, he feigned madness, and was sentenced to life in prison.

Among his best-known works is a utopia called The City of the Sun, which he wrote during his 27-year imprisonment. Under his ideal government private property, poverty and excessive wealth would not exist. He also wrote lyrical poetry, which is praised for its originality.

On Himself

Freed and chained, accompanied and alone,
screaming, quiet, I confuse the fierce crowd:
mad to the mortal eye of the lowly world,
wise to the divine Intellect of the celestial pole.
With wings clipped on earth, I fly to heaven
in sad flesh but of rejoicing soul;
and, if sometimes the heavy weight pulls me down,
my wings, though, lift me above the hard ground.
Dubious war makes virtues manifest.
Every other time is short compared to eternity,
and nothing is lighter than a welcome weight.
I wear the image of my love on my forehead,
assured of arriving blessed, on time,
where I may always be understood without speaking.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.