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Archive for November, 2009

As to worldliness — well, yes, my Gwen, it is a thoroughly vulgar thing, especially when we remember the real call of our souls. There is, however, one consolation about this — worldliness is a less dangerous foe of the spiritual life than is brooding and self-occupation of the wrong, weakening sort. Nothing ousts the sense of God’s presence so thoroughly as the soul’s dialogues with itself — when these are grumblings, grievances, etc. But, of course, the ideal is this, whilst confident that you do not class a right amount of (and kind of) sociability and of pleasure in it, as worldliness. Of course such social activity and pleasure is right, and indeed a duty and a help to God. (43)

Baron Friedrich Von Hugel, Letters to a Niece

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For Latin died out in Britain, as in no other part of the Roman Empire in the west.  The language, religion, and way of life that were to survive in the exposed parts of Britain were not Roman, nor even British, but English — i.e., a composite of the ways of the Frisians, Angles, Saxons, and Jutes (northern Germans), who were beginning to establish themselves aggressively westward across the country from Kent to the Firth of Forth, no later than the mid-fifth century. (132)

Nicholas Ostler, Ad Infinitum, A Biography of Latin

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O farmers, abounding in good fortune, should they only
come to know their luck! For them, far from battle’s din the land
in its perfect fullness pours fourth spontaneous nourishment.
. . .
No public honor, no tyrant’s purple has swayed him,
no discord driven him to break faith with his brothers.
He is not distressed by wild tribes, allied in war, that sweep down
from the Danube nor by Roman policies that destroy
kingdoms. He neither pities the poor nor envies the rich.
He gathers the fruits that his boughs, that his will acres
readily yield and gives no thought to laws hard as iron,
the Forum’s insanity, and the hall of public records.
(Book II)

Publius Virgilius Maro, Georgics (Trans. Janet Lembke)

barrow

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And your face yet other work and caring for your vine,
for which you can never do enough. Every year the soil
must be turned over three or four times, and the clods broken up
with your two-pronged hoe reversed, and the whole arbor
stripped of leaves. Moving in great circles, work revisits
the farmer as the year wheels around its own tracks.
As soon as the vineyard drops its leaves in the fall,
and the frigid North Wind shakes summer’s beauty from the woods,
the passionate farmer extends his planning to the coming
year and attacks the dormant vine, cutting it back
with Saturn‘s curved pruning hook and trims it into shape.
Be the first to break up the earth, first to burn the cuttings
you’ve piled up, and first to store your support stakes in the shed.
Be the last to gather grapes. Twice, deep shade assaults your vines;
twice, weeds thick with thorny brambles overrun your vineyard.
Either task is hard work. Give praise to grand estates, but
farm one that’s modest. Still more, prickly shoots of butcher’s broom
throughout the woods and reeds on the riverbanks much be cut back;
dealing with wild willows will also keep you occupied.
Now the vines are bound, now leave off pruning the vineyard,
Now the very last vine-dresser sings the completed rows
You must still rake the soil, stirring up clouds of dust, and worry
that Jove may pummel your ripe grapes with hard rain. (Book II)

Publius Vergilius Maro, Georgics (Trans. Janet Lembke)

barrow

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