Martin J. Murphy
Limerico di Galileo©
While watching a cannonball's motion,
Galileo conceived of the notion
That natural laws,
Not a mystical Cause,
Ruled the physical world's locomotion.
Though its own view was mostly confused,
The Church was not greatly amused
With this flaunting of Deo
By old Galileo
And ordered it quickly defused.
So the Pope sent some priests who inquired
If it wouldn't be best he retired?
"Undoubtedly you know
What we did for Bruno;
Do you also wish to be fired?"
He asked an old Cardinal's opinion:
"Pray tell me, Your Grace, if you will then,
Does this mean what I think?
That henceforth I must shrink
From discussing my clever perception?"
Said Bellarmine, "No, it is not a ban;
If you want to keep teaching of course you can.
They merely have said
To take care where you tread
And smile when you say thing Copernican."
Unbeknownst to our venerable dissident
The records said something quite different.
When the Pope saw the note
The inquisitors wrote
He lost what remained of his temperament.
The message the Vatican sent
Was blunt in its stated intent
"Recant all this heresy
Quick or we' harass thee,
Now til your life has been spent."
In facing the dread inquisition,
Few men could defend their position;
So it shouldn't surprise
When we are apprised
Of old Galileo's decision.
"Explaining celestial motion
Needs more than just faith and devotion.
But to save my poor head
I'll recant what I've said
(Though I'll secretly keep to my notion)".
So our friend the illustrious Florentine
Spent his last years in Vatican quarantine,
Locked up in his home
By the prelates of Rome
For being a cosmical libertine.
The Church caused a major imbroglio
By correcting Copernicus' folio
Yet it couldn't discern
The abuse it would earn
In forbidding the whole Dialogo?
By killing Sidereus Nuncius
For the news that their views were defunctus,
The renaissance ended
And darkness descended
Upon the Dominican dunces.
Galileo still rose to the occasion.
Though once deemed heretical,
He proved more phrophetical
Than those of a clerical persuasion.