Saturday, March 14, 2009

Reflections: God Bless the Child

The greening of America?

In the second prose section of Book II of Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, Fortune addresses the Prisoner thus:

When nature brought you forth from your mother’s womb, I took you, naked, resourceless, lacking in every thing, into my arms; I nurtured you from my own wealth and resources and (this is the thing that makes you impatient with us now) I pampered you and raised you, excessive in my blessings; in the radiance and in the abundance of all those things that were within my power I surrounded you. Now it pleases me to draw my hand back: You have the benefit, the use of things that belong to someone else; you do not have the right to complain as if you have lost things truly your own. So why are you moaning? There was no violence done to you at our hands. Wealth and resources, honors, all other such things: They are within my power. These servants recognize their mistress; they come with me, and when I go they leave. I would assert this with complete confidence: If the things whose loss you complain of had ever been yours, there would have been no way you could have lost them.
xxx~ (trans., Joel C. Relihan)

For a more colloquial presentation of the same kind of theme, listen to any good blues album: If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. That is, sometimes the greening is just mold. But God bless the child that’s got his own.