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Wisdom 4

 
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1 κρείσσων ἀτεκνία μετὰ ἀρετῆς ἀθανασία γάρ ἐστιν ἐν μνήμῃ αὐτῆς ὅτι καὶ παρὰ θεῷ γινώσκεται καὶ παρὰ ἀνθρώποις 2 παροῦσάν τε μιμοῦνται αὐτὴν καὶ ποθοῦσιν ἀπελθοῦσαν καὶ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι στεφανηφοροῦσα πομπεύει τὸν τῶν ἀμιάντων ἄθλων ἀγῶνα νικήσασα 3 πολύγονον δὲ ἀσεβῶν πλῆθος οὐ χρησιμεύσει καὶ ἐκ νόθων μοσχευμάτων οὐ δώσει ῥίζαν εἰς βάθος οὐδὲ ἀσφαλῆ βάσιν ἑδράσει 4 κἂν γὰρ ἐν κλάδοις πρὸς καιρὸν ἀναθάλῃ ἐπισφαλῶς βεβηκότα ὑπὸ ἀνέμου σαλευθήσεται καὶ ὑπὸ βίας ἀνέμων ἐκριζωθήσεται 5 περικλασθήσονται κλῶνες ἀτέλεστοι καὶ ὁ καρπὸς αὐτῶν ἄχρηστος ἄωρος εἰς βρῶσιν καὶ εἰς οὐθὲν ἐπιτήδειος 6 ἐκ γὰρ ἀνόμων ὕπνων τέκνα γεννώμενα μάρτυρές εἰσιν πονηρίας κατὰ γονέων ἐν ἐξετασμῷ αὐτῶν 1 How fair a thing is the unwedded life[1] that is nobly lived! Think not the me-mory of it can fade; God and man alike preserve the record; 2 in life how eagerly imitated, in death how long regretted, in eternity how crowned with triumph, the conquest gained in fields of honourable striving! 3 Let the wicked gender as they will, it shall nothing avail them; what, should those bastard slips ever strike their roots deep, base the tree firm? 4 Burgeon they may for a little, but the wind will shake their frail hold; root and all, the storm will carry them away. 5 Half-formed, the boughs will be snapped off, and their fruit go to waste, unripe, unprofitable. 6 And indeed, when the day of reckoning comes, needs must they should be cited as witnesses against their own parents, these, the children of their shame, by unlawful dalliance begotten.[2] 1

O quam pulchra est casta generatio, cum claritate!
immortalis est enim memoria illius,
quoniam et apud Deum nota est, et apud homines.
2
Cum præsens est, imitantur illam,
et desiderant eam cum se eduxerit;
et in perpetuum coronata triumphat,
incoinquinatorum certaminum præmium vincens.
3
Multigena autem impiorum multitudo non erit utilis,
et spuria vitulamina non dabunt radices altas,
nec stabile firmamentum collocabunt.
4
Etsi in ramis in tempore germinaverint,
infirmiter posita, a vento commovebuntur,
et a nimietate ventorum eradicabuntur.
5
Confringentur enim rami inconsummati;
et fructus illorum inutiles et acerbi ad manducandum,
et ad nihilum apti.
6
Ex iniquis enim somnis filii qui nascuntur,
testes sunt nequitiæ adversus parentes in interrogatione sua.
7 δίκαιος δὲ ἐὰν φθάσῃ τελευτῆσαι ἐν ἀναπαύσει ἔσται 8 γῆρας γὰρ τίμιον οὐ τὸ πολυχρόνιον οὐδὲ ἀριθμῷ ἐτῶν μεμέτρηται 9 πολιὰ δέ ἐστιν φρόνησις ἀνθρώποις καὶ ἡλικία γήρως βίος ἀκηλίδωτος 10 εὐάρεστος θεῷ γενόμενος ἠγαπήθη καὶ ζῶν μεταξὺ ἁμαρτωλῶν μετετέθη 11 ἡρπάγη μὴ κακία ἀλλάξῃ σύνεσιν αὐτοῦ ἢ δόλος ἀπατήσῃ ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ 12 βασκανία γὰρ φαυλότητος ἀμαυροῖ τὰ καλά καὶ ῥεμβασμὸς ἐπιθυμίας μεταλλεύει νοῦν ἄκακον 13 τελειωθεὶς ἐν ὀλίγῳ ἐπλήρωσεν χρόνους μακρούς 14 ἀρεστὴ γὰρ ἦν κυρίῳ ἡ ψυχὴ αὐτοῦ διὰ τοῦτο ἔσπευσεν ἐκ μέσου πονηρίας οἱ δὲ λαοὶ ἰδόντες καὶ μὴ νοήσαντες μηδὲ θέντες ἐπὶ διανοίᾳ τὸ τοιοῦτο 15 ὅτι χάρις καὶ ἔλεος ἐν τοῖς ἐκλεκτοῖς αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐπισκοπὴ ἐν τοῖς ὁσίοις αὐτοῦ 16 κατακρινεῖ δὲ δίκαιος καμὼν τοὺς ζῶντας ἀσεβεῖς καὶ νεότης τελεσθεῖσα ταχέως πολυετὲς γῆρας ἀδίκου 17 ὄψονται γὰρ τελευτὴν σοφοῦ καὶ οὐ νοήσουσιν τί ἐβουλεύσατο περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς τί ἠσφαλίσατο αὐτὸν ὁ κύριος 18 ὄψονται καὶ ἐξουθενήσουσιν αὐτοὺς δὲ ὁ κύριος ἐκγελάσεται 19 καὶ ἔσονται μετὰ τοῦτο εἰς πτῶμα ἄτιμον καὶ εἰς ὕβριν ἐν νεκροῖς δ{I'} αἰῶνος ὅτι ῥήξει αὐτοὺς ἀφώνους πρηνεῖς καὶ σαλεύσει αὐτοὺς ἐκ θεμελίων καὶ ἕως ἐσχάτου χερσωθήσονται καὶ ἔσονται ἐν ὀδύνῃ καὶ ἡ μνήμη αὐτῶν ἀπολεῖται 20 ἐλεύσονται ἐν συλλογισμῷ ἁμαρτημάτων αὐτῶν δειλοί καὶ ἐλέγξει αὐτοὺς ἐξ ἐναντίας τὰ ἀνομήματα αὐτῶν 7 Not so the innocent; though he should die before his time, rest shall be his. 8 A seniority there is that claims reverence, owing nothing to time, not measured by the lapse of years; count a man grey-haired when he is wise, 9 ripe of age when his life is stainless. 10 Divine favour, divine love banished him from a life he shared with sinners; 11 caught him away, before wickedness could pervert his thoughts, before wrong-doing could allure his heart; 12 such witchery evil has, to tarnish honour, such alchemy do the roving passions exercise even on minds that are true metal. 13 With him, early achievement counted for long apprenticeship; 14 so well the Lord loved him, from a corrupt world he would grant him swift release.

The world looks on, uncomprehending; a hard lesson it is to learn, 15 that God does reward, does pity his chosen friends, does grant his faithful servants deliverance. 16 Did they know it, the death of the just man, with its promise early achieved, is a reproach to the wicked that live yet in late old age. 17 But what see they? Here is a man dead, and all his wisdom could not save him. That the Lord planned all this, and for the saving of him, does not enter their minds. 18 What wonder if the sight fills them with contempt? And they themselves, all the while, are earning the Lord’s contempt; 19 they themselves, doomed to lie there dishonoured among the dead, eternally a laughing-stock! How they will stand aghast, when he pricks the bubble of their pride![3] Ruins they shall be, overthrown from the foundation, land for ever parched dry; bitter torment shall be theirs, and their name shall perish irrecoverably. 20 Alas, the long tally of their sins! Trembling they shall come forward, and the record of their misdeeds shall rise up to confront them.
7
Justus autem si morte præoccupatus fuerit,
in refrigerio erit;
8
senectus enim venerabilis est non diuturna,
neque annorum numero computata:
cani autem sunt sensus hominis,
9
et ætas senectutis vita immaculata.
10
Placens Deo factus est dilectus,
et vivens inter peccatores translatus est.
11
Raptus est, ne malitia mutaret intellectum ejus,
aut ne fictio deciperet animam illius.
12
Fascinatio enim nugacitatis obscurat bona,
et inconstantia concupiscentiæ transvertit sensum sine malitia.
13
Consummatus in brevi,
explevit tempora multa;
14
placita enim erat Deo anima illius:
propter hoc properavit educere illum de medio iniquitatum.
Populi autem videntes, et non intelligentes,
nec ponentes in præcordiis talia,
15
quoniam gratia Dei et misericordia est in sanctos ejus,
et respectus in electos illius.
16
Condemnat autem justus mortuus vivos impios,
et juventus celerius consummata longam vitam injusti.
17
Videbunt enim finem sapientis,
et non intelligent quid cogitaverit de illo Deus,
et quare munierit illum Dominus.
18
Videbunt, et contemnent eum;
illos autem Dominus irridebit.
19
Et erunt post hæc decidentes sine honore,
et in contumelia inter mortuos in perpetuum:
quoniam disrumpet illos inflatos sine voce,
et commovebit illos a fundamentis,
et usque ad supremum desolabuntur,
et erunt gementes, et memoria illorum peribit.
20
Venient in cogitatione peccatorum suorum timidi,
et traducent illos ex adverso iniquitates ipsorum.
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Copyright © 2013 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.