The Twelve Patriarchs; The Mystical Ark; Book Three of the Trinity

By Richard of St. Victor; Grover A. Zinn | Go to book overview

For not even Rachel, her mistress, can suppress Bala's loquacity, and not even the generosity of her mistress can completely quench Zelpha's thirst. The wine that Zelpha drinks is the joy of pleasures. The more of it she drinks, the greater is her thirst. For the whole earth does not suffice to satisfy the appetite of sensation. Since she always holds her mouth open for drinking, no matter how much she drinks she is rightly called Zelpha, that is "gaping mouth," the thirst of which is never quenched. Now the imagination makes noise in the ears of the heart with so much importunity, and so great is its clamor, as we have said, that Rachel herself can scarcely, if at all, restrain her. It is for this reason that often when we say psalms or pray we wish to banish phantasies of thoughts or other sorts of images of things from the eyes of the heart, but we are not able to do so. Since even unwillingly we daily suffer a tumult of resounding thoughts of this sort, we are taught by daily experience of what sort and how great is the garrulity of Bala. She calls to memory everything, whether seen or heard, that we ourselves have done or said at some time or another. And she does not cease repeating over and over again the same things she has already set forth in a full explanation. And often when the will of the heart does not give assent to hearing her, she herself nevertheless unfolds her narrative although, as it were, no one listens. So, in any case, decrepit old men and inveterate old women are accustomed to talk continually about something without any hearer and as if some people were present, to hold a conversation with them. Therefore she who imitates the habits of inveterate persons is not undeservedly called Bala (that is, "inveterate"). But who does not know about the garrulity of Bala and the drunkenness of Zelpha except perhaps one who does not know himself?


CHAPTER VII

What the principal affections are and in what order or manner they are
brought back to virtues

Now it seems we should speak about their sons, and first about the sons of Leah, for she is read to have given birth first. As we have said, the sons of Jacob from Leah are nothing other than

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