Sed nos fideli contuentes lumine
retroacta vel praesentia humani status
miramur opera conditoris ardui
et praeparatos a vetustis saeculis
successionum mysticarum lineis
pios stupemus impiorum filios;
tamen in tenebris impiarum mentium
lucis videmus emicasse semina
in tempore ipso noctis antiquae sitis,
quibus probata quamlibet gentilibus
mens et voluntas lege naturae fuit.
(Paulinus, Carm. 21.228-238)
Yet as we gaze with the eyes of faith on the past and present history of the human condition, we marvel at the achievements of that lofty founder, and we are in awe of the holy sons of such ungodly forbears, designedly derived from that ancient era by a descent of mystical succession. In the darkness of those unholy minds we see that seeds of light gleamed forth from en embedded in the very era of that ancient darkness; though they were pagans, their minds and wills were tested by nature’s law. (tr. Marc Mastrangelo)
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)
Ego te per omne quod datum mortalibus
et destinatum saeculum est,
claudente donec continebor corpore,
discernam orbe quolibet,
nec ab orbe longe nec remotum lumine
tenebo fibris insitum,
videbo corde, mente complectar pia
ubique praesentem mihi.
et cum solutus corporali carcere
quo me locarit axe communis pater
illic quoque animo te geram.
neque finis idem qui meo me corpore
et amore laxabit tuo.
mens quippe, lapsis quae superstes artubus
de stirpe durat caeliti,
sensus necesse est simul et affectus suos
retineat ut vitam suam;
et ut mori sic oblivisci non capit,
perenne vivax et memor.
(Paulinus of Nola, Carm. 11.49-68)
Throughout the entire span granted and allotted to humankind, for so long as I am contained by this confining body, I may be separated from you by the length of a world, but you will not be far from my face or removed from my eyes. I shall hold you fast within me. I shall see you with my heart’s eye and embrace you with loving mind. You will be before me everywhere. When I am freed from the prison of my body and fly forth from the earth, whatever the heavenly region where our common Father sets me, even there I shall have you in mind. The death which looses me from my body will not loose me from your love, for the mind survives the limbs which fall away, and lives on because its birth is divine. So it must keep its feeling and affections as it keeps its life, and it admits forgetfulness no more than death. It lives and it remembers forever. (tr. Patrick Gerard Walsh)