Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Old Age

St. Jerome, commentary on Amos, II prol.:
Old age brings many things with it, both good and bad. Good, because old age frees us from those most shameless masters, pleasures; puts a limit to gluttony; counters the attacks of lust; increases wisdom; gives riper counsels....But these are the things that are considered the evils of old age: frequent weaknesses; very troublesome mucus which some Greeks call coryza, others phlegm; failing eyesight; heartburn; hands that shake sometimes; gumless teeth that fall out while eating. In addition, old age is often tortured by colic and stomach aches, by pains of gout in the feet and hands, so that it can't even hold pencil or pen, can't walk on its own feet, and seems deprived of a large part of life and dead before its time in many parts of the body.

Senectus multa secum et bona affert et mala. Bona, quia nos ab impudentissimis liberat dominis voluptatibus, gulae imponit modum, libidinis frangit impetus, auget sapientiam, dat maturiora consilia....Quae autem putantur senectutis mala, ista sunt: crebrae infirmitates, pituita molestissima, quam Graecorum alii κόρυζαν, alii φλέγμα nuncupant, caligantes oculi, acescentes cibi, tremens interdum manus, nudi gingivis dentes, et inter cibos cadentes. Ad haec torminibus et aculeis stomachi, podagraeque et chiragrae doloribus saepe torquetur, ita ut ne stilum quidem aut calamum tenere queat, ut suis pedibus non possit incedere magnaque parte vitae videatur esse truncata, et multis membris praemortua.

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