Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

So we'll live, and pray . . . RESEARCH STAGE

The library next to SPS has a perpetual used book sale which I peruse whenever I happen to go there. Wandering through it last month I came across a copy of Robert Hugh Benson's By What Authority which chronicles Catholics and Protestants from a small community on the outskirts of London trying to live through the Elizabethan Era. Like a lot of Benson, it is pretty good, with the occasionally great passage. He was always giving talks, writing something . . . oh, and he was a priest . . . so if his work lacks that polish of a dedicated full-time author it is understandable.

Whenever I read an author, I like to get a little biography and find some of their work in different genres if it's available. Benson, aside from his novels and sermons, wrote plays and a few poems. These last works, the poetry, were collected after his death and assembled in a little volume which happens to be part of Ireland Library's collection. Thumbing through that volume, I ran across a poem entitled O Deus Ego Amo Te. "Oh," says I, "that's the same title as a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins. I start reading it and realize, "Hey, this is practically the same as the Hopkins poem." Here's the Benson poem:

O God, I love Thee mightily,
Not only for Thy saving me,
Nor yet because who love not thee
Must burn throughout eternity.
Thou, thou, my Jesu, once didst me
Embrace upon the bitter Tree.
For me the nails, the soldier's spear,
With injury and insult, bear --
In pain all pain exceeding,
In sweating and in bleeding,
Yea, very death, and that for me
A sinner all unheeding!
O Jesu, should I not love Thee
Who thus hast dealt so lovingly --
Not hoping some reward to see,
Nor least I my damnation be;
But, as Thyself hast loved me,
So love I now and always Thee,
Because my King alone Thou art,
Because O God, mine own Thou art!

And Hopkins's runs like this:

O God, I love thee, I love thee,
Not out of hope of heaven for me
Nor fearing not to love and be
In the everlasting burning.
Thou, thou, my Jesus, after me
Didst reach thine arms out dying,
For my sake sufferedst nails, and lance,
Mocked and marred countenance,
Sorrows passing number,
Sweat and care and cumber,
Yea and death, and this for me,
And thou couldst see me sinning:
Then I, why should not I love thee,
Jesu, so much in love with me?
Not for heaven's sake; not to be out of hell by loving thee;
Not for any gains I see;
But just the way that thou didst me
I do love and I will love thee:
What must I love thee, Lord, for then?
For being my king and God. Amen.

Considering both Benson and Hopkins seemed to have a relatively high moral code, I presume that they are both translating from some original -- likely in Latin. However, anybody interested in doing the research for which I simply do not have the time is free to post a comment.

And for all those like me, without much time to spare, since this is the great day of elections, I suggest a little impromptu voting. Which is the better translation if, indeed, that's what they are?

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