Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This Too Shall Pass

I happened across an evidently well-known Virgil quote yesterday on Laudator. It must be well known because I found it easy to get a translation of the phrase into English, not present where I saw it. On Laudator I always feel decidedly like a fellahin, and justly so. Here is the quote:
Dabit Deus his quoque finem.
God will also bring this to an end—which just happens to match one of our most basic sayings within Ghulfdom, and we are not alone.

The more we know the more humble we ought to be—because as knowledge expands so does awareness of the vast universes we’ve not even approached. Having read Dante a while back I couldn’t help but become very aware of Virgil, Dante’s guide right to the gates of heaven. In that connection I looked up the poet, read bits. Of course I’d also read or used other snippets from him (see this, for instance). With the Roman culture I am exactly in the same position as those who used bricks and stones from once splendid Roman architectural works to build their hovels. I meant to read the Aeneid, one of these days, the celebration of Rome’s foundation, but to speak of an urge here is incorrect. Whether in writing that work Virgil was celebrating the Augustan age or poetically critiquing it, that scholars are still debating. In any case his focus was the founding of what I view as a secular domain, which interests me not at all. And I don’t even have a child’s Latin any more, hence I can’t appreciate Virgil’s works in the original.

Nevertheless, like a child, having found that quote, I ran upstairs to read it to Brigitte with a manner, although camouflaged in a 75-year-old body, of a little boy: “Look, Ma! Look what I found!”

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