|Letter to a Carthusian Monk|
In the three following respects I have complied with your injunctions. In the first place, I have by means of solitary confession, laid open the secret uncleanness of my transgressions, which would otherwise have fatally putrified, through neglect and long silence I have learned to do this frequently, and have accustomed myself to submit the secret wounds of my soul to the healing balm of Heaven. Next, I have learned to send up songs of praise to Christ, not only by day but in the night. And following your admonitions I have put away habits of sloth, so that even in these short summer nights the dawn never finds me asleep or silent, however wearied I am by the vigils of the evening before. I have taken the words of the Psalmist to heart, "Seven time a day do I praise thee";
and never since I began this custom have I allowed anything to distract me from my daily devotions. I observe, likewise, the admonition, "At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee." When the hour arrives I feel a mysterious stimulus which will not allow me to sleep, however oppressed I may be with weariness.
In the third place, I have learned to fear more than death itself that association with women which I once
thought I could not live without. And, although I am still subject to severe and frequent temptations, I have
but to recollect what woman really is, in order to dispel all temptation and return to my normal peace and
liberty. In such straits I believe myself aided by your loving players, and I trust and beg that you will continue your good offices, in the name of him who had mercy on you, and led you from the darkness of your errors into the brightness of his day. In all this you are most happy, and show a most consistent contempt for false and fleeting joys, May God uphold you. Do not forget me in your prayers.
From Petrarch, the First Modern Scholar and Man of Letters, J.H. Robinson.
RESOURCE: World Civilizations
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