Ad Venetos de Papa (n.d.)

Another anti-Catholic poem (see also d2_MelA_027). The message, that the pope's race has arisen from the serpent in the garden of Eden, is clear enough; why Melville links this to the Venetians is not, unless they are standing metonymically for Italians (and thus Catholics). Metre: elegiac couplets.

Link to an image of this page  [p113]

Ad Venetos de Papa

Papa, stupor mundi, canit ut sibi rasa corona. 1
Quam stupet hic mundus, quem stupor iste movet?
Qui genus? Unde domo? Pacem qui sustulit arma 2
intulit et terras saeva minasque mari.
Desuper aethereas ostentat Iupiter arces:
incolit infernas Dis sine luce domos. 3
Non terra, non iste mari, non ortus Olympo,
non Erebo: est angui vipera ab Elysio.

Link to an image of this page  [p113]

To the Venetians, on the Pope

The Pope, the astonishment of the world, crows that the shaveling's crown is his. How can this world, which this astonishment torments, be so astonished? Who are his race? From whence is his house? He who proffered peace made a fierce attack and threats against both land and sea. God on high holds out the heavenly citadels: Satan inhabits the hellish dwellings lacking light. That man did not rise from the earth, or the sea, or Heaven, or Hell: this viper rose from the serpent in Eden.



1: 'Papa stupor mundi' comes from the opening of Geoffrey of Vinsauf, Poetria Nova, an encomium for Pope Innocent III. By the Reformation the term was firmly embedded as a subject for reformed parodies (especially Calvinist), and also applied to Frederic II. See Jean-Louis Quantin, The Church of England and Christian Antiquity: The Construction of a Confessional Identity in the 17th Century (Oxford, 2009), p. 114.

2: Virgil, Aeneid VIII.114

3: cf. Virgil, Aeneid VI.534: 'tristes sine sole domos'