You who would read this book

by Marguerite Porete

English version by Ellen L. Babinsky


You who would read this book,
If you indeed wish to grasp it,
Think about what you say,
For it is very difficult to comprehend;
Humility, who is keeper of the treasury of
Knowledge
And the mother of the other Virtues,
Must overtake you.

Theologians and other clerks,
You will not have the intellect for it,
No matter how brilliant your abilities,
If you do not proceed humbly.
And may Love and Faith, together
Cause you to rise above Reason,
Since they are the ladies of this house.

Humble, then, your wisdom
Which is based on Reason,
And place all your fidelity
In those things which are given
By Love, illuminated through Faith.
And thus you will understand this book
Which makes the Soul live by love.

-- from Marguerite Porete: Mirror of Simple Souls (Classics of Western Spirituality), by Ellen Babinsky

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You who would read