Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Which got me thinking...

As someone whose opinion of the liturgical English to which we are subjected at Mass is, er, not sanguine, I am often at a loss to understand what those arguments in favor of the current translation. To illustrate my point, I have decided to "Trautmanize" assorted bits of Shakespeare. Here are what Shakespeare might sound like, as word-processed by the more robustly modernist voices who resided in the ICEL:

Hamlet (A. III, s. 1), from this:
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
To this:

The question is whether to continue to exist or not. Is it nobler to suffer the pain of an unbearable situation, or to fight to the troubles that afflict me? If I oppose them, I could end them. That means to die, though. Which is kind of like being asleep and if we sleep we can end the miseries human beings have to endure. Which is something we can all hope for: to die and, in a way, sleep. If we sleep, though, we might dream. And that's a problem, because with that kind of sleep what sorts of dreams will we have?

Now, that's a thought, especially if you live a long time. Think about it, who would put up with the abuse you accumulate over time; mean people's being offensive to us; being subjected to the snobbery of snobby persons; persons who don't love you back; the persons who are your boss insulting you; how bad persons take advantage of good persons, when you could just slash your wrists? Who could deal with such a drag, all sweaty and noisy and gross from carrying a burden that makes your life tiring, if it weren't for the fact you're worried about life after death -- because nobody knows what that's like because nobody who's gone there has ever come back to tell us?

That's confusing, and it makes us put up with the unfairness we know instead of going towards something we don't know a thing about. So, if you just think about it, you're already a coward. Because you want to kill yourself, and then you think about it and then you don't. And that happens all the time. You have a great idea, and then you think about it, and then you don't do anything.