Men of Aquino
by Lionel Johnson
To Charles Mulvaney
Those angry fires, that clove the air,
Heavy with Rome's Imperial lust:
Those bitter fires that burn and flare
Unquenched, above their kindler's dust:
Aquinum can their birth declare.
The wicked splendors of old time,
Juvenal! stung they passionate heart.
Wrath learned of thee a scorn sublime;
The Muses, a prophetic art:
Yet pride and lust kept still their prime.
A greater birth, Aquinum knows:
Rank upon rank, in stately wise;
Rank upon rank, in ordered rows;
Like sacred hosts and hierarchies,
The march of holy science goes.
Vain, a man's voice, to conquer men!
Rome fell: Rome rose: Aquinum lent
The world her greater citizen:
Armed for Rome's war, Saint Thomas went,
Using God's voice: they listened, then.
Ah, Juvenal: thy trumpet sound:
Woe for the fallen soul of Rome!
But the high saint whose music found
The altar its eternal home,
Sang: Lauda Sion! heavenward bound.
A fourfold music of the Host
He sang: the open Heavens shone plain.
Then back he turned him to his post,
And opened heavenly Laws again,
From first to last, both least and most.
O little Latin town! rejoice,
Who hast such motherhood, as this:
Through all the worlds of faith one voice
Chaunts forth the truth: yet stays not his,
Whose anger made a righteous choice.