From Augustine’s Confessions (1.21). I’m trying, under influence of reading Petrarch and intellectual histories of the late medieval/early renaissance transition, finally to finish something of Augustine’s. I’ve always found him tiresome in rhetoric – too close to the inspiration for God in Monty Python saying ‘get on with it’ – but at least now I find him authentic as well. I sympathize with the spirit of much of what he says – mostly what he borrows from Plotinus – but feel his Old Testament materialist rhetoric too weighs down his far lighter Platonic leanings.
non te amabam, et fornicabar abs te, et fornicanti sonabat undique: “euge! euge!” amicitia enim mundi huius fornicatio est abs te et “euge! euge!” dicitur ut pudeat, si non ita homo sit.
I did not love you, and by separating from you I prostituted myself; and as I prostituted myself the cry resounded from every side: “Well done, well done!” For the love of this world is a physical infidelity to you, and the “Well done, well done!” is said in such a way as to make people ashamed, if that is not really the kind of people they are.