Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Works of Sulpitius Severus.: Chapter XXVII.
“Well,” said the Gaul, “I, for my part, though I am unequal to so great a task, feel constrained by those examples of obedience which have been related above by Postumianus, not to refuse that duty which you impose upon me. But when I reflect that I, a man of Gaul, 107 am about to speak in the presence of natives of Aquitania, I fear lest my somewhat rude form of speech should offend your too delicate ears. However, you will listen to me as a foolish sort 108 of man, who says nothing in an affected or stilted fashion. For if you have conceded to me that I was a disciple of Martin, grant me this also that I be allowed, under the shelter of his example, to despise the vain trappings of speech and ornaments of words.”
“Certainly,” replied Postumianus, “speak either in Celtic, or in Gaulish, if you prefer it, provided only you speak of Martin. But for my part, I believe, that, even though you were dumb, words would not be wanting to you, in which you might speak of Martin with eloquent lips, just as the tongue of Zacharias was loosed at the naming of John. But as you are, in fact, an orator, 109 you craftily, like an orator, begin by begging us to excuse your unskillfulness, because you really excel in eloquence. But it is not fitting either that a monk should show such cunning, or that a Gaul should be so artful. But to work rather, and set forth what you have still got to say, for we have wasted too much time already in dealing with other matters; and the lengthening shadow of the declining sun warns us that no long portion of day remains till night be upon us. Then, after we had all kept silence for a little, the Gaul thus begins—“I think I must take care in the first place not to repeat those particulars about the virtues of Martin, which our friend Sulpitius there has related in his book. For this reason, I shall pass over his early achievements, when he was a soldier; nor will I touch on those things which he did as a layman and a monk. At the same time, I shall relate nothing which I simply heard from others, but only events of which I myself was an eye-witness.”
The word Gaul here must be taken in its more limited sense as denoting only the country of the Celtæ. See the well-known first sentence of Cæsars Gallic War.37:108
“Gurdonicus”: a word said to have been derived from the name of a people in Spain noted for their stolidity.37:109
Next: Dialogue II. Concerning the Virtues of St. Martin.
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