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Cribratio Amoris [8]


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Cribratio Amoris.translation
August. Cat.
O Anima! cuius Amoris gratiâ militaris? hic
quid nisi fragile, nisi plenum periculis, &
per quot pericula peruenitur ad maius pericu-
lum? pereant hæc omnia & dimittamus hæc va-
na & inania; conferamus nos ad solam inquisi-
tionem eorum quæ finem non habent, & eorum
quæ Amor diuinus vanno sibi reseruat. illa sunt
vtilia, illa sunt sancta, illa sunt quibus æternam
gloriam tibi comparabis. repurgat vterque A-
mor, vannat de diuinus & dimittit tēporalia &
terrena, quæ te ad æternam ducerent perditionē.
cribrat Sancta humanus, & reseruat inania quæ
sub apparentiâ boni, speciem aliquam vtilitatis
& voluptatis preseferunt. Sed tu, ô Amator mū-
di, cribra illa prudenti cribro iudicij tui. Quin
age, & serio rem tangamus: quid si tota hæc
mundi machina, plenâ manu, quidquid in sese de-
liciarum complectitur in te parata sit effundere,
qualia tandem aut quanta tibi conferre possit,
enumeremus. Honores dabit, inquies; fumi sunt.
diuitias; vmbræ: nomen ac famam; aura & stre-
pitus. voluptatem dabit denique; fallax prurigo
est, primò blandiens postea dolens. & quidem
ista omnia deteriores non rarò nos reddiderunt,
meliores ferè numquam.translation

Hic optima; hic pessima seruat. translation

De ces iolijs esprits, l'vn cribre et l'autre esuante,
Et chascun d'eux retient ce qui plus le contante.

Cribrement de l'Amour.
Comme ces deux Amours ont des fins si contraires,
Chascun d'eux se choisit des moyens necessaires
Et tasche finement de s'asseurer sa fin:
Leur fin & leur moyens ont ceste differēce,
Que chascun d'eux finit par ou l'autre commence;
Vois doncq qui te plaist plus, l'humain ou le diuin

Como el trato es tan diuerso.
Cada qual dellos se queda
Con differente moneda.

Den eenen sift/ den anderen want/
En elck hout dat hem best ghehant.

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Facsimile Images

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The sifting of love1.
Oh soul, for the sake of what love are you soldiering? What else there than what is fragile, than what is full of perils and through how many dangers does it undergo only to arrive at an even greater danger? Let all this be gone and let us dismiss all this vain and futile stuff. Let us gather for the sole search of that which has no end and of those things that divine love reserves for its sieve. Those are useful, those are sacred, that is the stuff with which you attain eternal glory for yourself. Both loves clear up: divine love sieves and throws away what is temporal and of this world, as they lead you to eternal perdition, human love sifts out what is sacred and keeps the futilities that seem to be something good and give an impression of being useful and attractive. But You, oh Creator of the world, sift those out by way of the knowing sieve of Your judgement.
Come on, let us also approach the matter in a serious vein. What if the contraption of this world2 is prepared to lavishly pour out all the pleasures it contains over you: let us sum up what kind of things and how many it can bestow on you. It will give honours you will say. They are smoke. Riches. They are shadows. Name and fame. They are air and noise. Your final argument is that it will give you pleasure. It is a deceptive lecherous urge, first charming you, then hurting you. And indeed, all those things have not infrequently made us worse, practically never better.

This one preserves the best, this one the worst.

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    Sources and parallels

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    References, across this site, to this page:

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    reserved for caption

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    Sifting: cribratio not in LS, ThLL, OLD, Blaise Dictionnaire latin-français des auteurs chrétiens, but attested in Hoven, Lexique de la prose latine de la Renaissance, Brill, Leiden, 1994.
    'haec mundi machina': this expression is to be found in Lucretius V, 96. Maybe used on purpose: Lucr. claimed that the gods did not interfere with the world. He was seen as an atheist in the modern sense, but he did not deny the existence of gods. In ancient Greek however such views were called 'atheist'. In that sense the atomist Democritus was dubbed 'atheos' by Plato, although, again, Democritus did not deny the existence of gods at all, but denied them any influence on how the world came to be and on anything going on in the world (in fact, according to D. innumerable worlds).