The Poetry of St. Philip Neri

The Amish Catholic

SanFelipeRed He would be 502 years old today. (Source).

In honor of St. Philip Neri’s birthday today, I reproduce here the translations of two of his three surviving sonnets, taken from the Liturgia Latina collection of Oratorian materials. That site reports that the translations from the original Italian are by Fr Henry Ignatius Dudley Ryder, of the Birmingham Oratory.


The soul derives from God her being high,
In one keen instant out of nothing brought,
Not painfully through second causes wrought;
How should she, then, submit to things that die?

To hope, desire, to joy, to enmity;
To her confusion by these guides mistaught,
Of One confronting her she knoweth naught,
One glimpse of Whom would lift her to the sky.

How should the baser nature dare rebel
Against the higher, nor, as meet, consent
To do its bidding, but essay to quell?

Why prison bars the aspiring soul prevent

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The Lord of Wind and Wave

Aivazovsky Christ on Water

“The Lord of Wind and Wave”

My captain is the Lord of Wind and Wave.

He mounts the rigging, and He hoists the sail.

He can make the wildest storm behave,

For in His Hands, no man can ever fail.


We were set adrift like castaways,

In the doldrums of these seven seas.

The albatross is loosed from one who prays,

For only terror brings us to our knees.


Ahoy, mateys! Land, ho! The boat’s ashore!

Drop anchor now that we are in the bay.

We have never gone so long before,

Nor have we ever been so far away.


O Lord of Wind and Wave, Your life You gave

For me, that You may save me from the grave.