Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pedro Calderón de la Barca and the Natural Law, Part 10

THE SYNAGOGUE THREATENS PAUL AND INTELLECT, but they recruit the protection of Gentility. The Synagogue respects Gentility's power, as she is crowned with the laurel of the power of the Emperors of the Roman Empire. Jerusalem, Synagogue concedes, is a colony of the vast Roman Empire. But why is she here to protect Paul when she usually governed by the local vice-regent, leaving Palestine more-or-less in benign neglect? Gentility brings its troops to assure that Synagogue does justice. This is an implied reference to Gentility's earlier threat to Thought and Intellect that Gentility would destroy he who was responsible for the earthquake and other prodigies. The emperors Titus and Vespasian were involved in the Jewish wars that resulted in the destruction of the Temple.

Paul finds it fitting that Gentility should defend him against the hostility of the Synagogue.

Porque la predicación
Hoy de la tercera ley,
Que á la gentilidad pasa.
Con esto explicada esté.

Because the preaching
Today of the Third Law
Which passes to the Gentiles
With this I will explain myself.

What Third Law? Synagogue asks. Gentility is similarly interested in what Third Law Christ intended to introduce. Synagogue suggests that this Third Law is none other than her own, which is the Natural Law as raised by the Divine Law, from two precepts to ten.

La ley
Misma que yo me tenía
(Como ya dije) en Moisés,
Creciendo la natural
De dos preceptos a diez.

The same law
That I had
(as I've already stated) in Moses,
Growing from the natural law
Two precepts to ten.

The Natural Law, Gentility asks, what law was that? The Natural Law itself will tell you, Synagogue defers, and points to the Natural Law at the foot of a tree which is wrapped about by a serpent. The Natural Law speaks at Gentility's approach:

The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

De las malicias del mundo,
Huyendo el vago tropel,
Vuelve á pisar mis umbrales?

Of all the evils of the world
Fleeing from the uncultivated heap
Comes now to step on my thresholds?

Gentility answers:

Quien de tí intenta saber
Los fundamentos que Dios
Puso en tu primero ser.

He who intends to know of you
The foundations that God
Put in your first being.

The Natural Law responds:

Que amase á Dios más que á mí,
Y á mi prójimo después
Como á mí, cuyo suave
Yugo, paz y sencillez
Se perturbó en este árbol,
Pues desde entonces quedé
Sujeta á las inclemencias
De saber del mal y el bien.

That you love God more than yourself,*
And then your neighbor as
Yourself, which gentle
Yoke, peace and simplicity
Became disturbed in this tree
And since that time I remained
Subject to the inclemencies
Of the knoweldge of good and evil.

(*Natural Law uses the first person in Spanish, but it is clear she is reciting the first principles as if it is what Gentility should say, in a fashion that one may read a Catechism to a Catechumen (otherwise she would be saying that Gentility ought to love God more than the Natural Law, and then love one's neighbor as one loves the Natural Law, which is clearly nonsense). Perhaps the author was trying to emphasize the personal nature of the Natural Law. I have translated it into second person as if the Natural Law is speaking to Gentility. )

The Natural Law here speaks of Adam's fall, and how the knowledge of good and evil obtained as a consequence of the Fall, has disturbed man's ability to know the Natural Law and to follow it.

From these two precepts of the Natural Law, those that were later obtained, what are they? Gentility asks. Paul lets the Written Law speak for itself, for that Law apears on a crag, with tablets in hand, and a serpent of brass, not unlike Moses is depicted.

Moses with Law and Brazen Serpent

Sí haré,
Pues á la Ley Natural
Seguir la Escrita se ve,
No tendrás ajeno Dios,
Ni el nombre jurarás del;
Santifícale sus fiestas;
Honra á quien te ha dado el ser;
Ni homicida ni lascivo
Seas; el ajeno bien
No envidies, ni quieras de otro
La hacienda ni la mujer.

I will,
Now from the Natural Law
One sees the Written follow,
You shall not have alien Gods,
Nor shall you swear before God's name;
Keep Holy his feasts;
Honor those who have given you life;
Be not murderous, nor lascivious
Do not envy the other, nor desire
Another's home or woman.

What, Gentility asks, did Christ add or take away from the Natural Law and the Written Law? Hereupon comes the Law of Grace, with a cross in hand, and its eyes bound, like Faith is typically depicted.

Eso yo lo explicaré,
Pues por Ley de Gracia soy
La superior á las tres.
No sólo esos diez preceptos
Confirmó en mí; mas porque
Su cumplimiento tuviese
Fianza á no fallecer,
Los fortaleció de siete
Sacramentos, que allí ves
De la Fuente de la Gracia
Perennemente correr.

This will I explain,
As Law of Grace, I am
The superior of the three.
Not only are the ten precepts
Confirmed in me; but because
There was need for confidence that
Compliance with them would not fail,
He strengthened them with
Seven Sacraments, which you see
From the Fount of Grace
Perenially flowing.

The Seven Sacraments of the Law of Grace

The Seven Sacraments--Baptism, Confirmation, Confession, Extreme Unction, Orders, Matrimony--then introduce themselves, each holding in its hand a white sash, that reaches, like pipes or tubes, toward the Eucharist, as if all grace comes from that preeminent Sacrament.

Intellect then summarizes the import of these three laws, the Natural Law, the Decalogue, and the Law of Grace:

Hasta aquí todo tan justo
Y tan suave yugo es
El de una ley que conserva
Los preceptos de las tres,
Que debe el ingenio humano,
Restituido al papel
De Dionisio Areopagita,
Llegándose á convencer
De la doctrina de Pablo,
Con la experiencia de que
Nada su ley nos propone,
Que bien á todos no esté
El creerlo y el amarlo,
Llegando á amar y creer
Por razón de estado cuando
Faltara la de la fe.

Until this point everything is just
And so light a yoke
As one law that conserves
The precepts of all three.
What should human Intellect
Reestablished on the writings
Of Dionysius the Areopagite
Coming to convince itself
Of the teachings of Paul
With the experience that
Nothing that his law proposes for us,
Is not good for all
In believing it and loving it
Coming to love and believe
For reason of State when
Fails that of the Faith.

Synagogue, and likewise Africa, will not accept Intellect's summary, and would rather see the world end. Atheism and Gentility stand by Intellect. And Paul suggests that even Synagogue and Africa will follow, when the world comes to an end, and there is only one Shepherd and one Flock.

Thought, silent until know, suggests that the Truth of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Natural Law, the Decalogue, and the Law of Grace be celebrated, with feasts and with rejoicing. And all now join in unison:

Y contigo
Todos diciendo otra vez,
Que debe el ingenio humano
Llegarlo á amar, y creer
Por razón de Estado cuando
Faltara la de la fe.

And with you
All of us saying once again
That the human Intellect ought
To come to love and believe
For reason of State when
Fails that of the Faith.

Calderón de la Barca

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