Verse > Anthologies > Robert Bridges, ed. > The Spirit of Man: An Anthology

Robert Bridges, ed. (1844–1930).  The Spirit of Man: An Anthology.  1916.
From Confessions

Saint Augustine (354–430)
NOT 1 with doubting, but with assured consciousness do I love thee, O Lord. Thou didst strike my heart with thy word and I loved thee. And the heavens too, and the earth and all therein, manifestly on every side they bid me love thee; nor cease to say so unto all, that there may be no excuse…….  1
  But what do I love when I love Thee? Not grace of bodies, nor the beauty of the seasons, nor the brightness of the light, so gladsome to these eyes; nor inexhaustible melodies of sweet song, nor the fragrant smell of flowers, of ointments and spices, not manna and honey, not limbs acceptable to embracements of the flesh. None of these love I when I love my God: and yet I love a kind of light, and of melody and of fragrance, a kind of food, and a manner of embracement, when I love my God; the embracement, food, fragrance, melody, and light of my inner man: where there shineth unto my soul what space containeth not, and there soundeth what time snatcheth not, and there smelleth what breath disperseth not, and there tasteth what eating cloyeth not, and there clingeth what satiety divorceth not. This is it which I love when I love my God.  2
  And what is this? I asked the earth and it said, ‘I am not He’: and whatsoever is in it confessed the same. I asked the sea and the deeps, and all that swimming or creeping live therein, and they answered ‘We are not thy God, seek above us’. I asked the wandering winds; and the whole air with his inhabitants spoke ‘Anaximenes was deceived, I am not God’. I asked the heavens, sun, moon and stars, ‘Nor (say they) are we the God whom thou seekest’. And I replied unto all those things which encompass the door of my flesh, ‘Ye have told me of my God, that ye are not he: tell me something of him’. And they cried all with a great voice, ‘He made us’. My questioning them was my mind’s desire, and their Beauty was their answer.  3
Note 1. Augustine. Confessions, x. 6. [Trans. R. Bridges.] [back]

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