Giosue Carducci

(1835-1907 / Italy)

Hymn To Satan - Poem by Giosue Carducci

To you, creation’s
mighty principle,
matter and spirit
reason and sense

Whilst the wine
sparkles in cups
like the soul
in the eye

Whilst earth and
sun exchange
their smiles and
words of love

And shudders
from their secret embrace run down
from the mountains, and
the plain throbs with new life

To you my daring
verses are unleashed,
you I invoke, O Satan
monarch of the feast.

Put aside your sprinkler,
priest, and your litanies!
No, priest, Satan
does not retreat!

Behold! Rust
erodes the mystic
sword of Michael
and the faithful

Archangel, deplumed,
drops into the void.
The thunderbolt lies frozen
in Jove’s hand

Like pale meteors,
spent worlds,
the angels drop
from the firmament

In unsleeping
matter,
king of phenomena,
monarch of form,

Satan alone lives.
He holds sway in
the tremulous flash
of some dark eye,

Or the eye which languidly
turns and resists,
or which, bright and moist,
provokes, insists.

He shines in the bright
blood of grapes,
by which transient
joy persists,

Which restores fleeting
life, keeps
grief at bay,
and inspires us with love

You breathe, O Satan
in my verses,
when from my heart explodes
a challenge to the god

Of wicked pontiffs,
bloody kings;
and like lightning you
shock men’s minds.

Sculpture, painting
and poetry
first lived for you, Ahriman,
Adonis and Astarte,

When Venus
Anadyomene
blessed the
clear Ionian skies

For you the trees of
Lebannon shook,
resurrected lover
of the holy Cyprian:

For you wild dances were done
and choruses swelled
for you virgins offered
their spotless love,

Amongst the perfumed
palms of Idumea
where the Cyprian
seas foam.

To what avail did
the barbarous Christian
fury of agape,
in obscene ritual,

With holy torch
burn down your temples,
scattering their
Greek statuary?

You, a refugee,
the mindful people
welcomed into their homes
amongst their household gods

Thereafter filling the throbbing
female heart
with your fervor
as both god and lover

You inspired the witch,
pallid from endless enquiry,
to succor
suffering nature

You, to the intent gaze
of the alchemist,
and to the skeptical eye
of the sorcerer,

You revealed bright
new heavens
beyond the confines
of the drowsy cloister.

Fleeing from material
things, where you reside,
the dreary monk took refuge
in the Theban desert.

To you O soul
with your sprig severed,
Satan is benign:
he gives you your Heloise.

You mortify yourself to no purpose,
in your rough sackcloth:
Satan still murmurs to you
lines from Maro and Flaccus

Amidst the dirge
and wailing of the Psalms;
and he brings to your side
the divine shapes,

Roseate amidst that
horrid black crowd,
of Lycoris
and Glycera

But other shapes
from a more glorious age
fitfully fill
the sleepless cell.

Satan, from pages
in Livy, conjures fervent
tribunes, consuls,
restless throngs;

And he thrusts you,
O monk, with your memories
of Italy’s proud past
upon the Capitol.

And you whom the raging
pyre could not destroy,
voices of destiny,
Wycliffe and Huss,

You lift to the winds
your waning cry:
‘The new age is dawning,
the time has come’.

And already mitres
and crowns tremble:
from the cloister
rebellion rumbles

Preaching defiance
in the voice of the
cassocked Girolamo
Savonarola

As Martin Luther
threw off his monkish robes,
so throw off your shackles,
O mind of man,

And crowned with flame,
shoot lightning and thunder;
Matter, arise;
Satan has won.

Both beautiful and awful
a monster is unleashed
it scours the oceans
is scours the land

Glittering and belching smoke
like a volcano,
it conquers the hills
it devours the plains.

It flies over chasms,
then burrows
into unknown caverns
along deepest paths;

To re-emerge, unconquerable
from shore to shore
it bellows out
like a whirlwind,

Like a whirlwind
it spews its breath:
‘It is Satan, you peoples,
Great Satan passes by’.

He passes by, bringing blessing
from place to place,
upon his unstoppable
chariot of fire

Hail, O Satan
O rebellion,
O you avenging force
of human reason!

Let holy incense
and prayers rise to you!
You have utterly vanquished
the Jehova of the Priests.


Comments about Hymn To Satan by Giosue Carducci

  • Fabrizio Frosini (11/22/2015 4:25:00 PM)


    A SATANA
    Inno


    A te, dell’essere
    principio immenso,
    materia e spirito,
    ragione e senso; 4

    mentre ne’ calici
    il vin scintilla
    sì come l’anima
    nella pupilla; 8

    mentre sorridono
    la terra e ’l sole
    e si ricambiano
    d’amor parole, 12

    e corre un fremito
    d’imene arcano
    da’ monti e palpita
    fecondo il piano; 16

    a te disfrenasi
    il verso ardito,
    te invoco, o Satana,
    re del convito. 20

    Via l’aspersorio,
    prete, e ’l tuo metro!
    no, prete, Satana
    non torna in dietro! 24

    Vedi: la ruggine
    l’ode a Michele
    il brando mistico;
    ed il fedele 28

    spennato arcangelo
    cade nel vano.
    Ghiacciato è il fulmine
    a Geo va in mano. 32

    Meteore pallide,
    pianeti spenti,
    piovono gli angeli
    dai firmamenti. 36

    Nella materia
    che mai non dorme,
    re dei fenomeni,
    e delle forme, 40

    sol vive Satana.
    Ei tien l’impero
    nel lampo tremulo
    d’un occhio nero, 44

    o ver che languido
    sfugga e resista
    od acre ed umido
    provochi insista. 48

    Brilla de’ grappoli
    nel lieto sangue,
    per cui la libera
    gioia non langue, 52

    che la fuggevole
    vita ristora,
    che il dolor proroga,
    che amor ne incora. 56

    Tu spiri, o Satana,
    nel verso mio,
    se dal sen rompemi
    sfidando il dio 60

    de’ rei pontefici,
    de’ re cruenti:
    e come fulmine
    scuoti le menti. 64

    A te, Agramainio,
    Adone, Astarte,
    e marmi vissero
    e tele e carte, 68

    quando le ioniche
    aure serene
    beò la Venere
    anadiomene. 72

    A te del Libano
    frernean le piante,
    dell’ alma Cipride
    risorto amante: 76

    a te ferveano
    le danze e i cori,
    a te i virginei
    candidi amori 80

    tra le odorifere
    palme d’Idume,
    dove biancheggiano
    le ciprie spume. 84

    Che vai se barbaro
    il nazareno
    furor dell’agapi
    dal rito osceno 88

    con sacra fiaccola
    i templi t’arse
    e i segni argolici
    a terra sparse? 92

    Te accolse profugo
    tra gli dei lari
    la plebe memore
    dei casolari. 96

    Quindi un femineo
    sen’ palpitante
    empiendo, fervido
    nume ed amante, 100

    la strega pallida
    d’eterna cura
    volgi a soccorrere
    l’egra natura. 104

    Tu all’occhio immobile
    dell’ alchimista,
    tu dell’indocile
    mago alla vista 108

    dischiudi i fulgidi
    tempi novelli
    del nero claiistro
    oltre i cancelli. 112

    Alla Tebaide,
    te nelle cose
    fuggendo, il monaco
    triste s’ascose. 116

    O dal tuo tramite
    alma divisa,
    benigno e Satana:
    ceco Eloisa. 120

    In van ti maceri
    nell’aspro sacco:
    il verso ei mormora
    di Maro e Flacco 124

    tra la davidica
    nenia ed il pianto;
    e, forme delfiche,
    a te da canto, 128

    rosee nell’orrida
    compagnia nera,
    mena Licoride,
    mena Glicera. 132

    Ma d’altre imagini
    d’età più bella
    tal or si popola
    l’insonne cella. 136

    Ei, dalle pagine
    di Livio, ardenti
    tribuni, consoli,
    turbe frementi 140

    sveglia; e fantastico
    d’italo orgoglio
    te spinge, o monaco,
    su ’l Campidoglio. 144

    E voi, che il rabido
    rogo non strusse,
    voci fatidiche,
    Wiclef ed Husse, 148

    all’aura il vigile
    grido mandate:
    s’innova il secolo,
    piena è l’ etate. 152

    E già già tremano
    mitre e corone:
    move dal claustro
    la ribellione, 156

    e pugna e predica
    sotto la stola
    di fra’ Girolamo
    Savonarola. 160

    Gittò la tonaca
    Martin Lutero:
    gitta i tuoi vincoli,
    uman pensiero, 164

    e splendi e folgora
    di fiamme cinto;
    materia, inalzati:
    Satana ha vinto. 168

    Un bello e orribile
    mostro si sferra,
    corre gli oceani,
    corre la terra: 172

    corusco e fumido
    come i vulcani,
    i monti supera,
    divora i piani, 176

    sorvola i baratri;
    poi si nasconde
    per antri incogniti
    per vie profonde; 180

    ed esce; e indomito
    di lido in lido
    come di turbine
    manda il suo grido, 184

    come di turbine
    l’alito spande:
    ei passa, o popoli,
    Satana il grande; 188

    passa benefico
    di loco in loco
    su l’infrenabile
    carro del foco. 192

    Salute, o Satana,
    o ribellione,
    o forza vindice
    della ragione! 196

    Sacri a te salgano
    gl’incensi e i voti!
    Hai vinto il Geova
    de’ sacerdoti. 200
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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 7, 2010



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