I’m Not Avignour Shit!

Petrarch, Against a Man Who Slandered Italy (7):

O stony heart! O slippery and unrestrained tongue! What monstrosity of feral license is this? What temerity, not to say madness of speech (or perhaps I should say babbling) is this? To use a Homeric phrase, “what word has crossed the bulwark of your teeth?” Your voice should have stuck in the gullet, not burst forth into the open to offend the taste of every learned and pious person. I shall say what I think: if you had had any power of intellect, shame would have ripped the pen from you hands and prevented you from laying such a foundation for a shameful speech, on which nothing good could ever be built. What, I ask, is someone about to say other than the worst thing they can imagine when they begin in the opening of the speech by deprecating Rome – the seat of Peter – with inane words, while straining to raise Avignon, that shithole of the world and shameful den of barbarism, to the heavens?

O cor saxeum! o lubrica et effrenis lingua! Quenam hec feralis monstra licentie? Quenam ista temeritas, ne dicam rabies loquendi, dicam minus improprie, blaterandi? utque sermone utar homerico, “quod verbum sepem dentium transivit”? Debuit faucibus vox herere neque in apertum erumpere, doctis piisque omnibus stomacum concussura! Dicam certe quod sentio: siquid fuisset ingenii, pudor e manibus calamum extorsisset, ne fede prorsus orationis tale iaceret fundamentum, super quo boni nichil posset edificari. Quid enim, nisi pessimum, queso, dicturus sit qui, in ipso sermonis exordio, Petri sedem – Romam! – deprimens verbis inanibus, celotenus illam mundi fecem turpemque barbariem nitatur attollere?

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