Monday, 29 July 2013

Tote that barge

My "train book" at the moment (well, for quite a while actually) is St Augustine's Confessions, in the the translation by Henry Chadwick.  I was lucky enough to attend Henry Chadwick's Patristics lectures in Cambridge: his huge scholarship and wisdom, and occasionally wicked sense of  humour, kindled a life-long passion in me for the Early Church. And a love for St Augustine.

Anyway, I share today's gem with you as a spiritual nosegay. Who knew that the song Old Man River (from Showboat) contains a direct quote from Augustine?

"I gets weary
And sick of trying
I'm tired of living
And scared of dying..."

Honest! Have a look at Confessions IV:vi. ("I found myself heavily weighed down by a sense of being tired of living and scared of dying" - after the loss of his friend and when his Manicheeism failed to comfort him). I do wonder if using those exact words in his translation was Henry C's little joke... 

So I now have an indelible mental image of Augustine breaking into song in the rich tones of Paul Robeson. Well, he did say that whoever sings prays twice!




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