G. B. Marino's vast production of verse also includes a group of four short poems dealing with the three standard theological virtues, Faith, Hope, and Love, plus a surprise, i.e. the Stars. Each virtue is associated with a key simile: the shield for Faith, the flower for Hope, fire for Love. In spite of interesting details here and there, these poems keep a low profile, all in all. Probably the most remarkable section is the one that, within "Love," describes Saint Francis of Assisi. In fact, even if Franciscan monks played a major role in the people's spirituality and practice (see Alessandro Manzoni's novel I Promessi Sposi), their holy founder had no significant place in the main Renaissance poems in Italy (as he had had in the Divine Comedy), probably because he is the very symbol of poverty, humility, and peace, while the then mainstream culture followed right the opposite values (see Nietzsche). Anyway, here it is:
Fire, you that wonderfully
change one into his beloved object,
or rather enliven, and inform
the changed heart by acting as its soul:
With this pure affection
the Seraph of Ascesis *
had his desires burning,
so much so that he was finally seen,
turning Christ into himself, turn to Christ.
* punning on "Assisi." Saint Francis is often called "the Seraphic Father."