12 June, 2005

The Spiritual Combat: restraining speech

Lately I've been translating more of The Spiritual Combat, and today I translated the chapter regarding restraint of the tongue. (An entry on a previous chapter is here.) This was a particularly difficult chapter to translate; most chapters seem easy, but for this chapter, my initial wording usually sounded awkward, and my second attempts were not much better, occasionally even worse.

As to the content, Don Scupoli's point strikes me square:

When your heart swells with words, examine them before they pass to your tongue. You will realize how much better it would be not to send many of them outside. But I also warn you: of those things that you then think it good to say, not a few would be better off buried in silence. You will understand this if you think about it, after the opportunity to speak them has passed.
In a culture obsessed with self-expression, the vast majority of words that swell our hearts would be better off buried in silence. God knows that I'm no better than anyone else; I tend towards a multitude of words, and I keep a weblog after all. Often enough, later consideration of my words leads to a shaking of the head with pursed lips.

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