Giordano Bruno (1548 – February 17, 1600)
Cause, Principle and One, the Sempiterne,
On whom all being, motion, life, depend,
From whom, in length, breadth, depth, their paths extend
As far as heaven, earth, hell their faces turn:
With sense, with mind, with reason, I discern
That act, rule, reckoning, may not comprehend
That power and bulk and multitude which tend
Beyond all lower, middle, and superne.
Blind error, ruthless time, ungentle doom,
Deaf envy, villain madness, zeal unwise,
Hard heart, unholy craft, bold deeds begun,
Shall never fill for one the air with gloom,
Or ever thrust a veil before these eyes,
Or ever hide from me my glorious sun.
Since i have spread my wings to purpose high,
The more beneath my feet the clouds I see,
The more I give the winds my pinions free,
Spurning the earth and soaring to the sky.
Unwarned by Icarus' sad fate to ply
My flight near earth, I farther heavenward flee.
That I shall sink in death, I know must be;
But with that death of mine what life will die?
Across the air, I hear my heart's voice cry:
Where dost thou bear me reckless one? Descend!
Such rashness seldom ends but bitterly'
'Fear not the lofty fall' I answer 'rend
With might the clouds, and be content to die,
if God such a glorious death for us intend.
Such glorious death God did intend; and the poet met it, as an exceptional honor, without fear, without complaint, without appeal. Such in life and death, was Giordano Bruno, the first of modern men, the Messiah of free thought and free life-
Thomas Davidson 1885