mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Found verse

Oh, isn't that nice? Everyone wants to quote Phyllis McGinley's poem about St Jerome, so now I can have it complete and not the lacuna'd version of my memory.

The Thunderer

God's angry man, His crotchety scholar
Was Saint Jerome,
The great name-caller
Who cared not a dime
For the laws of Libel
And in his spare time
Translated the Bible.
Quick to disparage
All joys but learning
Jerome thought marriage
Better than burning;
But didn't like woman’s
Painted cheeks;
Didn't like Romans,
Didn't like Greeks,
Hated Pagans
For their Pagan ways,
Yet doted on Cicero all of his days.

A born reformer, cross and gifted,
He scolded mankind
Sterner than Swift did;
Worked to save
The world from the heathen;
Fled to a cave
For peace to breathe in,
Promptly wherewith
For miles around
He filled the air with
Fury and sound.
In a mighty prose
For Almighty ends,
He thrust at his foes,
Quarreled with his friends,
And served his Master,
Though with complaint.
He wasn’t a plaster sort of a saint.

But he swelled men’s minds
With a Christian leaven.
It takes all kinds
To make a heaven.

And if I remember enough of a poem I can also find Philip Neri, though no one wants to give me the title:

When Philip Neri walked abroad
Beside the Tiber, praising God
They say he was attended home
By half the younger set of Rome.

Knight, novice, scholar, boisterous boy,
They followed after him with joy,
To nurse his poor and break his bread,
And hear the funny things he said.

For Philip Neri (by his birth
A Florentine) believed in mirth,
And held that virtue took no harm
That went with laughter arm-in-arm.

Two books he read with most affection-
The Gospels and a joke collection;
And sang hosannas set to fiddles,
And fed the sick on soup and riddles.

So when the grave rebuke the merry,
Let them remember Philip Neri
(Fifteen-fifteen to ninety-five),
Who was the merriest man alive,
Then dying at eighty or a bit
Became a Saint by holy wit.

Also, non sine labore, the one about Thomas More


Of all the saints who have won their charter,
Holy man, hero, hermit, martyr,
Mystic, missioner, sage, or wit,
Saint Thomas More is my favorite.
For he loved these bounties with might and main:
God and his house and his little wife, Jane,
And four fair children his heart throve on,
Margaret, Elizabeth, Cecily, and John.

That More was a good man everybody knows.
He sang good verses and he wrote good prose,
Enjoyed a good caper and like a good meal
And made a good Master of the Privy Seal.
A friend to Erasmus, Lily’s friend,
He lived a good life and he had a good end
And left good counsel for them to con,
Margaret, Elizabeth, Cecily, and John.

Some saints are alien, hard to love,
Wild as an eagle, strange as a dove,
Too near to heaven for the mind to scan.
But Thomas More was a family man,
A husband, a courtier, a doer and a hoper
(Admired of his son-in-law, Mr. Roper),
Who punned in Latin like a Cambridge don
With Margaret, Elizabeth, Cecily, and John.

It was less old Henry than Anne Boleyn
Hailed him to the Tower and locked him in.
But even in the Tower he saw things brightly.
He spoke to his jailers most politely,
And while the sorrowers turned their backs
He rallied the headsman who held the ax,
Then blessed, with the blessing of Thomas More,
God and his garden and his children four.

And I fear they missed him when he was gone,
Margaret, Elizabeth, Cecily, and John.
Tags: verse

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