среда, декабря 12, 2007

From the Confessions of st. Augustine

To Carthage I came, where there sang all around me in my ears
a cauldron of unholy loves. I loved not yet, yet I loved to love,
and out of a deep-seated want, I hated myself for wanting not. I sought
what I might love, in love with loving, and safety I hated, and a
way without snares. For within me was a famine of that inward food,
Thyself, my God; yet, through that famine I was not hungered; but
was without all longing for incorruptible sustenance, not because
filled therewith, but the more empty, the more I loathed it. For this
cause my soul was sickly and full of sores, it miserably cast itself
forth, desiring to be scraped by the touch of objects of sense. Yet
if these had not a soul, they would not be objects of love. To love
then, and to be beloved, was sweet to me; but more, when I obtained
to enjoy the person I loved, I defiled, therefore, the spring of friendship
with the filth of concupiscence, and I beclouded its brightness with
the hell of lustfulness; and thus foul and unseemly, I would fain,
through exceeding vanity, be fine and courtly. I fell headlong then
into the love wherein I longed to be ensnared. My God, my Mercy, with
how much gall didst Thou out of Thy great goodness besprinkle for
me that sweetness? For I was both beloved, and secretly arrived at
the bond of enjoying; and was with joy fettered with sorrow-bringing
bonds, that I might be scourged with the iron burning rods of jealousy,
and suspicions, and fears, and angers, and quarrels.

Stage-plays also carried me away, full of images of my miseries,
and of fuel to my fire. Why is it, that man desires to be made sad,
beholding doleful and tragical things, which yet himself would no
means suffer? yet he desires as a spectator to feel sorrow at them,
this very sorrow is his pleasure. What is this but a miserable madness?
for a man is the more affected with these actions, the less free he
is from such affections. Howsoever, when he suffers in his own person,
it uses to be styled misery: when he compassionates others, then it
is mercy. But what sort of compassion is this for feigned and scenical
passions? for the auditor is not called on to relieve, but only to
grieve: and he applauds the actor of these fictions the more, the
more he grieves. And if the calamities of those persons (whether of
old times, or mere fiction) be so acted, that the spectator is not
moved to tears, he goes away disgusted and criticising; but if he
be moved to passion, he stays intent, and weeps for joy.

Are griefs then too loved? Verily all desire joy. Or whereas
no man likes to be miserable, is he yet pleased to be merciful? which
because it cannot be without passion, for this reason alone are passions
loved? This also springs from that vein of friendship. But whither
goes that vein? whither flows it? wherefore runs it into that torrent
of pitch bubbling forth those monstrous tides of foul lustfulness,
into which it is wilfully changed and transformed, being of its own
will precipitated and corrupted from its heavenly clearness? Shall
compassion then be put away? by no means. Be griefs then sometimes
loved. But beware of uncleanness, O my soul, under the guardianship
of my God, the God of our fathers, who is to be praised and exalted
above all for ever, beware of uncleanness. For I have not now ceased
to pity; but then in the theatres I rejoiced with lovers when they
wickedly enjoyed one another, although this was imaginary only in
the play. And when they lost one another, as if very compassionate,
I sorrowed with them, yet had my delight in both. But now I much more
pity him that rejoiceth in his wickedness, than him who is thought
to suffer hardship, by missing some pernicious pleasure, and the loss
of some miserable felicity. This certainly is the truer mercy, but
in it grief delights not. For though he that grieves for the miserable,
be commended for his office of charity; yet had he, who is genuinely
compassionate, rather there were nothing for him to grieve for. For
if good will be ill willed (which can never be), then may he, who
truly and sincerely commiserates, wish there might be some miserable,
that he might commiserate. Some sorrow may then be allowed, none loved.
For thus dost Thou, O Lord God, who lovest souls far more purely than
we, and hast more incorruptibly pity on them, yet are wounded with
no sorrowfulness. And who is sufficient for these things?

But I, miserable, then loved to grieve, and sought out what to
grieve at, when in another's and that feigned and personated misery,
that acting best pleased me, and attracted me the most vehemently,
which drew tears from me. What marvel that an unhappy sheep, straying
from Thy flock, and impatient of Thy keeping, I became infected with
a foul disease? And hence the love of griefs; not such as should sink
deep into me; for I loved not to suffer, what I loved to look on;
but such as upon hearing their fictions should lightly scratch the
surface; upon which, as on envenomed nails, followed inflamed swelling,
impostumes, and a putrefied sore. My life being such, was it life,
O my God?

And Thy faithful mercy hovered over me afar. Upon how grievous
iniquities consumed I myself, pursuing a sacrilegious curiosity, that
having forsaken Thee, it might bring me to the treacherous abyss,
and the beguiling service of devils, to whom I sacrificed my evil
actions, and in all these things Thou didst scourge me! I dared even,
while Thy solemnities were celebrated within the walls of Thy Church,
to desire, and to compass a business deserving death for its fruits,
for which Thou scourgedst me with grievous punishments, though nothing
to my fault, O Thou my exceeding mercy, my God, my refuge from those
terrible destroyers, among whom I wandered with a stiff neck, withdrawing
further from Thee, loving mine own ways, and not Thine; loving a vagrant

Those studies also, which were accounted commendable, had a view
to excelling in the courts of litigation; the more bepraised, the
craftier. Such is men's blindness, glorying even in their blindness.
And now I was chief in the rhetoric school, whereat I joyed proudly,
and I swelled with arrogancy, though (Lord, Thou knowest) far quieter
and altogether removed from the subvertings of those "Subverters"
(for this ill-omened and devilish name was the very badge of gallantry)
among whom I lived, with a shameless shame that I was not even as
they. With them I lived, and was sometimes delighted with their friendship,
whose doings I ever did abhor -i.e., their "subvertings," wherewith
they wantonly persecuted the modesty of strangers, which they disturbed
by a gratuitous jeering, feeding thereon their malicious birth. Nothing
can be liker the very actions of devils than these. What then could
they be more truly called than "Subverters"? themselves subverted
and altogether perverted first, the deceiving spirits secretly deriding
and seducing them, wherein themselves delight to jeer at and deceive

Among such as these, in that unsettled age of mine, learned I
books of eloquence, wherein I desired to be eminent, out of a damnable
and vainglorious end, a joy in human vanity. In the ordinary course
of study, I fell upon a certain book of Cicero, whose speech almost
all admire, not so his heart. This book of his contains an exhortation
to philosophy, and is called "Hortensius." But this book altered my
affections, and turned my prayers to Thyself O Lord; and made me have
other purposes and desires. Every vain hope at once became worthless
to me; and I longed with an incredibly burning desire for an immortality
of wisdom, and began now to arise, that I might return to Thee. For
not to sharpen my tongue (which thing I seemed to be purchasing with
my mother's allowances, in that my nineteenth year, my father being
dead two years before), not to sharpen my tongue did I employ that
book; nor did it infuse into me its style, but its matter.

5 комментариев:

jikajika комментирует...

Whacko, that was a fair old treatise. Full of 'loves' and 'sicklinesses' and 'sores' and 'jealousies' and 'vanities' and 'miseries' and 'grievances' and 'doleful and tragical things' and all manner of diverse emotions.

Shame it was so mindfuckingly boring.

What was the point?

max комментирует...

like theres more point in a poem from the point of view of a lecherous old mind....
what do you think the point was?

jikajika комментирует...

a) dunno just tell me.


b) what this dude says: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/jod/augustine/introconf.html

max комментирует...

yes, well, not exactly what that fellow says, though to be fair i glanced only very cursorily.
honesty is the point. if you were to read the confessions, and manage to control your squirming and take into account the time period it was written in, and the correspoinding difference in style, you might just see gut wrenchingly bare honesty.

max комментирует...

whats the matter anyway? you seem to be on the edge of yourself right now, and a little less considerate than i remember....