Saturday, October 6, 2018

Vita activa

     "Though the charge of temporal affairs seems to be and is distracting, I have no doubt that by your good and upright intention you turn everything you do to something spiritual for God's glory, and are thus very pleasing to his Divine Goodness. The distractions which you accept for His greater service, in conformity with His divine will interpreted to you by obedience cannot only equal the union and recollection of uninterrupted contemplation, but even be more acceptable to Him, proceeding as they do from a more active and vigorous charity. May God our Creator and Lord deign to preserve and increase this charity in your soul and in the souls of all. We correctly hold that any activity in which charity is exercised unto God's glory, is very holy and suitable for us. . . ."

     Ignatius of Loyola, Epistle 2383 to Father Manuel Godin(h)o dated 31 January 1552, trans. Tylenda (?).  =Epistolae et instructiones 4 (Madrid, 1906), p. 127 (126-128).  Cf. the Epistles of 1 June 1551 and 8 June 1555 (Dictionnaire de spiritualité, sv Distractions (vol. 3, col. 1354)).

The trombone (or, rather, Canary-Island sack) as supreme Muse

COme Bacchus, God of Poetry, by right; | Lend me thine influence, whilst now I write. | Thy Sackbut can into my breast inspire | More active heat, than can Apollo's Lire. | He's an Vsurper; and his pow'r a crack, | If we his Helicon compare with Sack. | Lock up that Nectar but a year or two, | And see what all his Hippocrene can do. | That Trough of Pegasus! a pretious grace | To vaunt thus of an Hackney's wat'ring-place!

     Thomas Shipman, "The Canary Islands" (1666), stanza 1 (of 7).  In Carolina, or, Loyal poems (London:  Printed for Samuel Heyrick, at Grayes-Inn-Gate in Holborn, and William Crook, at the Green Dragon without Temple-Bar, 1683), 115.  Viewed in Early English Books Online.  From the OED:
  • Crack:  an empty boast.
  • Helicon:  "a mountain in Bœotia, sacred to the Muses, in which rose the fountains of Aganippe and Hippocrene; by 16th and 17th century writers often confused with these. Hence used allusively in reference to poetic inspiration."  Also:  "An ancient acoustical instrument consisting of strings stretched over a resonance-box and capable of being adjusted to different lengths" (cf. "lire").  (And, ironically, from about 1875, "A large brass wind-instrument of a spiral form", roughly a sousaphone.)
  • Sack:  "a class of white wines formerly imported from Spain and the Canaries."
  • Hippocrene:  "Poetic or literary inspiration; [or] a source of this.  The Hippocrene spring . . . was sacred to the Muses, and its waters were said to imbue the drinker with poetic inspiration."
  • Pegasus:  "Greek Mythology.  The winged horse . .. which is said to have created the fountain Hippocrene, sacred to the Muses, with a stroke of its hoof; (hence) often represented as the favourite steed of the Muses, bearing poets on their flights of poetic inspiration."
     Forget Apollo's lyre.  Imbibe sackbutian fire.