Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism

Savonarola Versified

As I’ve noted before, Beza includes tributes to some non-/proto-Protestants in his Icones. One of those is Girolamo Savonarola, a Florentine Dominican friar hanged and burned in the Piazza della Signoria in 1498.

After a brief section in prose, Beza appends a verse-eulogy by Marcantonio Flaminio (interestingly; since generally Beza uses his own poems): singularis tuae pietatis…quam merito postea Marcus Antonius Flaminius, excellentissimus poeta, versibus istis optimis celebravit.

The short poem consists of two elegiac couplets, and includes a nice example of personification.


Dum fera flamma tuos, Hieronyme, pascitur artus,

Relligio sanctas dilaniata comas,

Flevit, et o, dixit, crudeles parcite flammae,

Parcite, sunt isto viscera nostra rogo.1


While the savage flame fed on your limbs, Girolamo,

Religion tore her holy hair

and wept; she said, “Spare [him], o cruel flames,

spare [him]: it is my heart on that pyre.”2


  1. The “embracing” word-order is effective here: the pyre “surrounds” and engulfs the viscera.
  2. The translation is my own.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.