Thursday, August 31, 2006

Perditum Non Duco

Despite the lighting strike and its associated trauma, despite the neoconservative war against America's religious and philosophical tradition, and despite a whopping case of sciatica, Father A. and his strikingly beautiful consort are endeavoring to get a bit of West and Wewaxation in the Adirondack Mountains. (The photo's not our place, but it gives the general idea).

As is my tradition on these summer vacations, I've been translating some Latin poetry (now you know why I'm so much fun at parties). Here's a morsel that's been making me think: Miser Catulle, desinas ineptire / et quod vides perisse, perditum ducas. Roughly, it means:
"Poor Catullus! Stop being a dope, and give up for lost what you can see is lost."

Catullus, of course, goes on to talk about faithless women and their lip-nibbling. [He was that kind of guy.] On the one hand, this is straightforward worldly wisdom, of the sort that everybody has given to a heartbroken pal in a bar at three A.M. (Or that Jesus gave to his apostles, when he advised them to brush the dust off their sandals). And it sometimes seems, in a world of struggle, that this is just the advice we need:
Stop fretting! Admit defeat; move on to the next challenge.

But honestly, friends, I just can't do it. Not on the big things, anyway -- the future of the Church, or of the Republic; not on matters of war and peace, life and death. Even when it seems that the Flying Monkeys have taken over Washington, that pietist halfwits have taken over the ELCA, that the sheer bigotry is destroying the Anglican Communion and Rome's "defenders" are her greatest enemies -- even then, I can't just walk away and let them have their fun. And so I type, pissing and moaning and doubting it does much good today, but hoping it may do some good tomorrow. As Cicero says, somewhere, Spero meliora: I hope for better days.

[P.S. -- Those of you who enjoy Catullus and his sweet-and-sour approach to life might click on two blogs that have mentioned him lately:
Professor Zero and grammar.police]

1 comment:

Professor Zero said...

Catullus is fun & thus hard to resist. I went back to my Catullus post because someone was complicating a minor practical issue needlessly at work. I found myself thinking, as I sidestepped the whole thing and tripped down to my office, "Otium, [Catulle], tibi molestum est / otio exsultas nimiumque gestis:
otium et reges prius et beatas / perdidit urbes." Just being able to say that to myself was fun.