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Japan 6: Wenceslau de Moraes, on fleeing from the worldly noise

Sixteenth-century Spanish poet Fray Luis de León picked up on the trope and wrote these famous verses:

¡Qué descansada vida
la del que huye del mundanal ruïdo,
y sigue la escondida
senda, por donde han ido
los pocos sabios que en el mundo han sido ...

(What a rested life
that of he who has fled from the worldly noise,
and who follows the the hidden path
Down which have gone
The few wise men who have lived in the wold ...)

As I recall, even though he could write about it gracefully and with a good style, Fray Luis never did manage to escape the worldly noise.

De Moraes, on the other hand:

"My prattling on about my house in Tokushima has become long and tiresome. I have the proverbial lack of discretion of those who live in solitude, I am the maniac who converses with himself, and I would now expose myself to the mordant critics who will read these essays, and in fact those readers who do not permit eccentricity and have managed read so far must have cried out already, 'but what is this devil doing in Tokushima?' I must confess my fault, for I have forgotten to hand you, at the beginning, my name card, with my name and a list of honorific titles, which have been reduced to very little - zero. To be zero is something to be enjoyed by a person of most privileged situation; very few people can reach this point, and only after the most complicated disturbances. With respect to myself, departing from modesty for the moment, I first tore my trousers on school benches for nine or ten years, then entered into apprenticeship, and took up the practical life. Practical, practical, practical, forty years without rest; and only after having paid such a cost was it possible for me to reach for my diploma, this social position, which is so transcendent - zero."




February 2019



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