Sonnet XV.

Tommaso Campanella

_Neron fu Re._
Nero was king by accident in show;
But Socrates by nature in good sooth;
By right of both Augustus; luck and truth
Less perfectly were blent in Scipio.
The spurious prince still seeks to extirpate
The seed of natures born imperial--
Like Herod, Caiaphas, Meletus, all
Who by bad acts sustain their stolen state.
Slaves whose souls tell them that they are but slaves,
Strike those whose native kinghood all can see:
Martyrdom is the stamp of royalty.
Dead though they be, these govern from their graves:
The tyrants fall, nor can their laws remain;
While Paul and Peter rise o'er Rome to reign.

Last updated January 14, 2019