Sidi J. Mahtrow

Mirror Of Fools (Speculum Stultorum) - Poem by Sidi J. Mahtrow

Nigellus Wierker wrote a satire of the workings of the Catholic Church
Not much has changed from when he penned the works
Describing the foibles of the hierarchy in Latin rhyme
Using a "simple ass" as his messenger at the time.

So it is that "The Book of Daun Burnel the Ass" as some have it called
Has been translated in several languages, great and small.
But the "Mirror" available to the English reader today
Are two noted works by Regenos and Mozley.

While at the time, the satire was composed in two line couplets
Which (in Latin of the day) makes rhyme a bit of a test,
So it is that both Regenos and Mozley did their best
To make sense of the past.

Mozley did attempt at rhyme
But left out some of the more salacious lines
While Regenos made no attempt to put the endings in place
So that there would be a metric pace.

Accordingly, (and not having the ability to read Latin
Especially that of days of yore, as it was written)
I have here recorded my rendition of the above cited? poems?
With revision, so that the poetry rhymes

And here I begin, not as the author addressed in his prologue
But with a brief introduction of the events to follow (hopefully to help you) .
Brunellus, the ass provides an insight into wisdom
Wisdom, once gained is quickly lost to not a few (call it some)

Hopefully, others seeing the act of fools
Set about addressing the foibles
And put their own house in order
(At least to avoid the coming odor.)

So it is that we find Brunel (as some call him)
Having broken free from his master's binding
Goes seeking a longer tail to match his ears.
And discouragement is all he hear.

Even when told a tale about two cows where foolish action by one
Lead to grief in times to come
Of course, he ignores the advice of the professional (a doctor)
And begins a quest for magic potions to cure

Burnel having money (from whence the author tells us not)
Spends it foolishly in gaining the contents of vials, which is what he was about.
But alas, being attacked by dogs, he loses what tail he has
And the vials are broken as well for they are made of glass

By intimidation he causes the dogs owner to fear
That recompensation is near.
Who plots to do Burnellus in
But fates turn and he into waters is pushed and drowned.

Then another fable unfolds of past hurts,
Never to be forgotten, are a reminder of need for forgiveness.
Even when the penalty is severe
The fable meaning here is unclear.

Seeing a need for education, the ass
Goes to Paris to join an education class.
But after years of study, he chooses to leave
Although remembering how to bray, cannot remember the name of the city.

Reflecting on the disorder of the churches houses and their people
Burnellus decides to found an order of his own in which he will be leader exemplar.
However, on viewing the state of the Church and its strife.
He pauses to listen to the stories of birds who relate the essence of life.

Whereupon he seeks to enlist his old doctor
In joining him in his new beginning of the hour.
Using example with moral overtones
He relates stories taught by his mother in rhymes.

As he finishes his discourse on nature
A sudden nose bleed foretells the future
For all are to meet with an end
No escape is available from evil's hand.

And sure enough as the story end nears, his master does appear.
Giving a mighty thrashing to Burnellus rear
Then although he no longer has a tail,
His master removes his ears as well!

A final judgement of good and evil awaits
For a story is related of man's fickle fates
Where one who has not honored his words
Is cast into a decision between loss of life and rewards.

Good triumphs!

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, August 29, 2012

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