All Things New
Pagan Despair Ends with the Hope & Charity of God in Christ
I was standing before a hundred or so people, parents and students, giving a special Family Day lecture, to show what sorts of things we talk about in our Development of Western Civilization program and, more than that, to show just a bit of what can happen in a school whose classrooms are all marked with a crucifix.
“Where is hope to be found?” I asked, remarking that at the end of Rome’s civil war, with the accession of Augustus Caesar, the poet Virgil had attempted to resuscitate in epic poetry the old Roman virtue of pietas. That virtue had embraced one’s duty to one’s father, to the patria or fatherland, to the household gods (tutelary ancestral shades), and to the great gods. But in Virgil’s vision it seems also to embrace what the Italian language, centuries later, would mean by pieta: mercy for weak and suffering mankind.
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Anthony Esolen is a professor at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire, and the author of many books, including Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (Tan, with a CD), Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (Regnery), and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord (Ignatius). He has also translated Dante’s Divine Comedy (Random House). He and his wife Debra publish a web magazine, Word and Song (anthonyesolen.substack.com), on poetry, hymnody, language, classic films, and music. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.
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