The pack of this world was a kind of pleasant weight upon me, as happens in sleep, and the thoughts in which I meditated on you were like the efforts of someone who tries to get up but is so overcome with drowsiness that he sinks back again into sleep. Of course no one wants to sleep forever, and everyone in his senses would agree that it is better to be awake; yet all the same, when we feel a sort of lethargy in our limbs, we often put off the moment of shaking off sleep, and, even though it is time to get up, we gladly take a little longer in bed, conscious though we may be that we should not be doing so. In just the same way I was quite certain that it was better to give myself up to your charity rather than to give in to my own desires; but, though the former course was a conviction to which I gave my assent, the latter was a pleasure to which I gave my consent.
[Ita sarcina saeculi, velut somno adsolet, dulciter premebar, et cogitationes quibus meditabar in te similes erant conatibus expergisci volentium, qui tamen superati soporis altitudine remerguntur. Et sicut nemo est qui dormire semper velit omniumque sano iudicio vigilare praestat, differt tamen plerumque homo somnum excutere cum gravis torpor in membris est, eumque iam displicentem carpit libentius quamvis surgendi tempus advenerit: ita certum habebam esse melius tuae caritati me dedere quam meae cupiditati cedere, sed illud placebat et vincebat, hoc libebat et vinciebat.]
Confessions, Book 8, ch. 5 / ¶ 12 (8.4.12) (c. AD 398) [tr. Warner (1963)]
(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:
Thus with the baggage of this present world was I held down pleasantly, as in sleep: and the thoughts wherein I meditated on Thee were like the efforts of such as would awake, who yet overcome with a heavy drowsiness, are again drenched therein. And as no one would sleep for ever, and in all men's sober judgment waking is better, yet a man for the most part, feeling a heavy lethargy in all his limbs, defers to shake off sleep, and though half displeased, yet, even after it is time to rise, with pleasure yields to it, so was I assured that much better were it for me to give myself up to Thy charity, than to give myself over to mine own cupidity; but though the former course satisfied me and gained the mastery, the latter pleased me and held me mastered.
[tr. Pusey (1838)]
Thus with the baggage of the world was I sweetly burdened, as when in slumber; and the thoughts wherein I meditated upon Thee were like unto the efforts of those desiring to awake, who, still overpowered with a heavy drowsiness, are again steeped therein. And as no one desires to sleep always, and in the sober judgment of all waking is better, yet does a man generally defer to shake off drowsiness, when there is a heavy lethargy in all his limbs, and, though displeased, yet even after it is time to rise with pleasure yields to it, so was I assured that it were much better for me to give up myself to Thy charity, than to yield myself to my own cupidity; but the former course satisfied and vanquished me, the latter pleased me and fettered me.
[tr. Pilkington (1876)]
Thus with the baggage of this world I was sweetly pressed down, as it happens in sleep ; and the thoughts by which I meditated on Thee were like the efforts of those who would awake, but who being overpowered by deep drowsiness, are again immersed therein. And as no one wishes to be always asleep, and in the sound judgment of all men waking is better; yet often does a man, when a heavy drowsiness is upon his limbs, defer to shake off sleep, and though not approving it, yet even when the time to rise has come, more willingly encourage it; so was I convinced that it was better for me to surrender myself to Thy Charity, than to yield myself up to my own lusts; but the former course approved itself and convinced me, the latter pleased me and held me bound.
[tr. Hutchings (1890)]
So the heavy burden of the world seemed delightful, as in a dream, and my musings on Thee were like the struggles of one who would awake, but falls back overcome by depths of slumber. And as no one wishes to sleep for ever, for all men rightly count waking better, and yet a man will not break his slumber when his limbs are heavy with drowsiness, and is glad to sleep on, though his reason disapproves and the hour for rising has struck, so I knew for certain that it was better to yield to Thy love than to my lust, but the love charmed and could not prevail, the lust pleased and bound me.
[tr. Bigg (1897), 8.5.2]
I was held down as agreeably by this world’s baggage as one often is by sleep; and indeed the thoughts with which I meditated upon You were like the efforts of a man who wants to get up but is so heavy with sleep that he simply sinks back into it again. There is no one who wants to be asleep always -- for every sound judgment holds that it is best to be awake -- yet a man often postpones the effort of shaking himself awake when he feels a sluggish heaviness in the limbs, and settles pleasurably into another doze though he knows he should not, because it is time to get up. Similarly I regarded it as settled that it would be better to give myself to Your love rather than go on yielding to my own lust; but the first course delighted and convinced my mind, the second delighted my body and held it in bondage.
[tr. Sheed (1943)]
Thus with the baggage of the world I was sweetly burdened, as one in slumber, and my musings on thee were like the efforts of those who desire to awake, but who are still overpowered with drowsiness and fall back into deep slumber. And as no one wishes to sleep forever (for all men rightly count waking better) -- yet a man will usually defer shaking off his drowsiness when there is a heavy lethargy in his limbs; and he is glad to sleep on even when his reason disapproves, and the hour for rising has struck -- so was I assured that it was much better for me to give myself up to thy love than to go on yielding myself to my own lust. Thy love satisfied and vanquished me; my lust pleased and fettered me.
[tr. Outler (1955)]
Thus by the burdens of this world I was sweetly weighed down, just as a man often is in sleep. Thoughts wherein I meditated upon you were like the efforts of those who want to arouse themselves but, still overcome by deep drowsiness, sink back again. Just as no man would want to sleep forever, and it is the sane judgment of all men that it is better to be awake, yet a man often defers to shake off sleep when a heavy languor pervades all his members, and although the time to get up has come, he yields to it with pleasure even although it now irks him. In like manner, I was sure that it was better for me to give myself up to your love than to give in to my own desires. However, although the one way appealed to me and was gaining mastery, the other still afforded me pleasure and kept me victim.
[tr. Ryan (1960)]
In fact I bore the burden of the world as contentedly as one sometimes bears a heavy load of sleep. My thoughts, as I meditated upon you, were like the efforts of a man who tries to wake but cannot and sinks back into the depths of slumber. No one wants to sleep forever, for everyone rightly agrees that it is better to be awake. Yet a man often staves off the effort to rouse himself when his body is leaden with inertia. He is glad to settle down once more, although it is against his better judgement and it is already time he were up and about. In the same way I was quite sure that it was better for me to give myself up to your love than to surrender to my own lust. But while I wanted to follow the first course and was convinced that it was right, I was still a slave to the pleasures of the second.
[tr. Pine-Coffin (1961)]
So, as happens in a drowsiness, was I pleasantly loaded with the baggage of this world, and the thoughts I had in mind of you were like the struggles of those who want to wake up, but overcome by deep sleep are drowned in it again. And just as there is no one who wants to go on sleeping for ever (for in any sane man’s judgment it is better to stay awake), still a man does often postpone shaking off sleep, when he feels a heavy lethargy through all his limbs, and in spite of himself is prone to doze again, when often it is time to rise, in just such a fashion, I was certain that it was better to surrender to your love than to give in to my desire. The former course pleased and convinced me; the latter seduced me and held me prisoner.
[tr. Blaiklock (1983)]
I was thus weighed down by the pleasant burden of the world in the way one commonly is by sleep, and the thoughts with which I attempted to meditate upon you were like the efforts of people who are trying to wake up, but are overpowered and immersed once more in slumberous deeps. No one wants to be asleep all the time, and it is generally agreed among sensible people that being awake is a better state, yet it often happens that a person puts off the moment when he must shake himself out of sleep because his limbs are heavy with a lassitude that pulls him toward the more attractive alternative, even though he is already trying to resist it and the hour for rising has come; in a similar way I was quite sure that surrendering myself to your love would be better than succumbing to my lust, but while the former course commended itself and was beginning to conquer, the latter charmed and chained me.
[tr. Boulding (1997)]
Added on 10-Jul-23 | Last updated 28-Sep-23
| No comments
| No comments