Jo Walton (papersky) wrote,
Jo Walton

Wittenburg: a double sonnet

When studying philosophy,
At Wittenburg, a man can thrive
At least, that happened to these five
Quite different men, as you will see.
Let's contemplate them in the bar
Drinking, caught up in disputation
Before they made their reputation
One moment, as they really are,
First Brother Martin, quaffing ale
Lays out his views on simony
And how he'd like the church to be
Works before faith, the Holy Grail.
"The night is cold, the moon shines bright,
It's such hard work to set things right."

The Danish prince says "It's so odd,
As Pico says, that man's between
Angel and beast, as we have seen,
In apprehension, like a god."
Faust laughs and sighs, he'd wish that true
He buys another round, his dream
Is not of fame, as it might seem
But knowledge, to have power to do.
Quoting Agrippa, Frankenstein
Says "We alone have power of life!"
Martin says "Only with a wife,"
But Hamlet laughs "We're all divine! "
The fifth man yawns, gets up to go,
"Good night," they say, "Horatio."

(No, really, canonically, they were all there! In Wittenburg! And I am sure Hamlet must have read Pico's Oration. Since Luther's the only one who's historically real, this incident when they walked into a bar takes place in a notional 1508.) This poem sponsored by my wonderful patrons on Patreon, who are funding my book-buying habit.
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Well, that was delightful - especially the deployment of rhyme. That elongated feeling of the ABBAs followed by the couplet -- really nice. Hurrah the patrons that this came to be.

As far as I'm concerned this conversation is now canonical, and any anachronisms in the other texts happened when a satchel of books fell through a wormhole.

I've often felt that Wittenberg must have been the Berkeley of the 16th century.

(Back when the tv show Supernatural was still good, I once wrote a Hamlet/SPN AU fusion fic that had Sam Winchester studying there. All I can say is that it made sense to me at the time.)
That was delightful
I'm impressed, really I am!

But wouldn't Martin Luther have wanted the church to be faith before works? Or should there be a comma after "be", so he spoke of how he wished the church to be, and also about works before faith, and the Holy Grail?
I always get mixed up as to which way round it is.
I love this.