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IACOPONUS

Iacoponus, a nickname, said to have been adopted through humility by Jacobus de Benedictis, who was born at Todi in Umbria, early in the thirteenth century. In his youth he was dissipated and lost his property, but afterward regained it by his industry and talents. The death of his wife wrought a complete change in his religious life, and he entered the Franciscan Order. Many anecdotes are told as illustrating the peculiarities of his character. He seems to have blended buffoonery with saintliness in a marked degree. Possibly he used folly for a cloak of wisdom, that he might with more freedom, as a privileged person, speak homely and unpalatable truths. He incurred the displeasure of Pope Boniface VIII, and was by him imprisoned. He died in the year 1306. The hymn Stabat Mater Dolorosa is agreed to have been his. Other hymns ascribed to him are disputed, but this, which ranks second only to the“ Dies Irae "shows in him a poet of the highest order. Some of his verses are open to criticism on the ground of their Mariolatry, but the translation here offered need not be taken to imply the endorsement of those theological opinions which were peculiar to his century.

IACOPONUS

SEQUENTIA DE PASSIONE BEATAE VIRGINIS

Stabat mater dolorosa
Iuxta crucem lacrymosa,

Dum pendebat filius,
Cuius animam gementem,
Contristantem et dolentem

Pertransivit gladius.

O quam tristis et afflicta
Fuit illa benedicta

Mater unigeniti,
Quae moerebat et dolebat
Et tremebat, dum videbat

Nati poenas inclyti.

Quis est homo, qui non fleret,
Matrem Christi si videret,

In tanto supplicio?
Quis non posset contristari,
Piam matrem contemplari

Dolentem cum filio!

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