Friday, 10 January 2014
"Yesterday’s journey is done, my boy, think about tomorrow's...."
This is a passage I came across in Spain as a somewhat weary pilgrim at the end of a day's walking on the Camino de Santiago. It resonated with me then and still does ..... This is the translation by Pansy Pakenham. Despite Péguy's influence on the poetry of Geoffrey Hill, there isn't an English translation now in print, although the Pakenham version is online here
"Wash and tidy yourself at bedtime.
That’s what self-examination means.
One doesn’t go on washing all the time.
Be like the pilgrim who takes holy water as he goes into the church
And who makes the sign of the Cross. Then he goes into the church.
And he does not go on taking holy water all the time,
And the church is not furnished exclusively with holy water stoups.
There is that which is before the threshold. There is that which is on the threshold,
And there is that which is in the house.
You must go in once and not go in and out all the time.
Be like the pilgrim who sees nothing but the sanctuary,
And who hears nothing else.
And who sees nothing but the altar where my Son has been sacrificed so many times.
Imitate the pilgrim who sees nothing but the radiance
Of the glory of my Son.
Enter my night as into my house. For there I have reserved
The right to be master.
And if you are absolutely determined to offer me something
At night when going to bed
Let it be first a thanksgiving
For all the services I do you
For the innumerable benefits which I daily heap on you
Which I have heaped on you this very day.
Thank me first of all, that is the most urgent
And that is also the fairest:
Thereafter let your self-examination
Be a cleansing once for all
And not a dawdling over spots and stains.
Yesterday’s journey is done, my boy, think about to-morrow's,
And of your salvation which is at the end of to-morrow’s journey,
It is too late for yesterday. But it is not too late for to-morrow,
And for your salvation which is at the end of to-morrow’s journey."
The Mystery of the Holy Innocents: Charles Péguy