The gold-encrusted silk dalmatic bends,
As Last Apostle bows to bishops, lends
His welcome to the most unwelcome there,
Arius, who returns a cold imperial stare.
Was it for quarrels such as this that he,
The First Crusader, crossed to victory
Over the vain gods and their worshippers?
He speaks, while Athanasius, restless, stirs;
Then, courteous, listens while iotas fly.
Stupid he is not; Arius may try
Egyptian flatteries, but each falls far.
Had Christ or Arius won him his war?
The thundering words of Athanasius roll
Around him and he feels them in his soul.
Yes, Christ is God, begotten from the first:
Let Arius, the heretic, be cursed.
And now, the Creed proclaimed, the banquets done,
He moves into the great Nicean sun,
Which, flashing from his iron-set diadem,
That Nail the Pope had given him to stem
Christ’s enemies and his, cascades as far
As the world’s end, where all his final titles are.