The Stigmata according to Vittoria Colonna

This is the second of two poems about St Francis by Vittoria Colonna, and my translation. 

Francesco, in cui sì come in umil cera
Con sigillo d’amor sì vive impresse
Le sue piaghe Iesù, che sol t’elesse
A mostrarne di sé l’imagin vera,

Quanto ti strinse ed a te quanto intera
Die’ la sua forma e le virtuti istesse,
Onde fra noi per la sua sposa cresse
Il tempio e ‘l seggio e l’alma insegna altera.  

 Povertade, umil vita e l’altre tante
Grazie l’alzaro al più sublime stato,
Quanto or per suoi contrari è bassa e vile;  

 L’amasti in terra, or prega in ciel, beato
Spirto, ch’ella ritorni omai pura gentile
Ai pensieri, ai desiri, a l’opre sante.  

  • Vittoria Colonna


Jesus presses wax to the living flesh
Makes his wounds a seal of love. All is heat.
Marks on Francis a true image; and fresh
with love, Francis celebrates, replete.

When he gripped you and gave to you his fire,
and virtue itself, all of you was made whole.
Now among us as his bride inspire
Time and place to prepare the soul.  

 Poverty, humble life, and their friends
Raise grace to the most sublime state,
All low and vile are brought to their ends.   

 You loved him on earth, now in heaven ask,
Blessed Spirit, that you may return straight
To your thoughts, desires, holy tasks.

  •   Translation Ted Witham 2017


The Stigmata; painted on a clasp, The Met

The Stigmata – painted on a clasp 1300-50, The Met. 



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