Monday, September 19, 2016
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.
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.