Quid abdicatas in meam curam, pater,
redire Musas praecipis?
negant Camenis, nec patent Apollini
dicata Christo pectora.
fuit ista quondam non ope, sed studio pari
tecum mihi concordia
ciere surdum Delphica Phoebum specu,
vocare Musas numina
fandique munus munere indultum Dei
petere e nemoribus aut iugis.
nunc alia mentem vis agit, maior deus,
aliosque mores postulat,
sibi reposcens ab homine munus suum,
vivamus ut vitae patri.
vacare vanis, otio aut negotio,
et fabulosis litteris
vetat, suis ut pareamus legibus
lucemque cernamus suam,
quam vis sophorum callida arsque rhetorum et
figmenta vatum nubilant,
qui corda falsis atque vanis imbuunt
tantumque linguas instruunt,
nihil ferentes, ut salutem conferant
aut veritate nos tegant.
quod enim tenere vel bonum aut verum queant,
qui non tenent summae caput,
veri bonique fomitem et fontem deum,
quem nemo nisi in Christo videt?
(Paulinus of Nola, Carm. 10.19-46)
Why, father, do you bid the deposed Muses return to my charge? Hearts dedicated to Christ reject the Latin Muses and exclude Apollo. Of old you and I shared common cause (our zeal was equal if our poetic resources were not) in summoning deaf Apollo from his cave at Delphi, invoking the Muses as deities, seeking from groves or mountain ridges that gift of utterance bestowed by divine gift. But now another power, a greater God, inspires my mind and demands another way of life. He asks back from man His own gift, so that we may live for the Father of life. He bids us not spend our days in the emptiness of leisure and business, or on the fictions of literature, so that we may obey His laws and behold His light which is clouded by the clever powers of philosophers, the skill of rhetoricians, and the inventions of poets. These men steep our hearts in what is false and empty. They form only men’s tongues, and bring nothing to bestow salvation or to clothe us in the truth. What good, what truth can they possess who do not have the Head of all, God who is the Kindling and the Source of truth and goodness, whom no man sees except in Christ? (tr. Patrick Gerard Walsh)