Chapter 53 : - Page 3 of 5

Il Buon Dí Si Conosce Da Mattina

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Man has at last comprehended that he is man; he has given up analyzing his God and searching into the imperceptible, into what he has not seen; he has given up framing laws for the phantasms of his brain; he comprehends that his heritage is the vast world, dominion over which is within his reach; weary of his useless and presumptuous toil, he lowers his head and examines what surrounds him.  See how poets are now springing up among us! The Muses of Nature are gradually opening up their treasures to us and begin to smile in encouragement on our efforts; the experimental sciences have already borne their first-fruits; time only is lacking for their development.  The lawyers of today are being trained in the new forms of the philosophy of law, some of them begin to shine in the midst of the shadows which surround our courts of justice, indicating a change in the course of affairs.  Hear how the youth talk, visit the centers of learning! Other names resound within the walls of the schools, there where we heard only those of St. Thomas, Suarez, Amat, Sanchez,[2] and others who were the idols of our times.  In vain do the friars cry out from the pulpits against our demoralization, as the fish-venders cry out against the cupidity of their customers, disregarding the fact that their wares are stale and unserviceable! In vain do the conventos extend their ramifications to check the new current.  The gods are going! The roots of the tree may weaken the plants that support themselves under it, but they cannot take away life from those other beings, which, like birds, are soaring toward the sky.

The Sage spoke with animation, his eyes gleamed.

Still, the new seed is small, objected Don Filipo incredulously.  If all enter upon the progress we purchase so dearly, it may be stifled.

Stifled! Who will stifle it? Man, that weak dwarf, stifle progress, the powerful child of time and action? When has he been able to do so? Bigotry, the gibbet, the stake, by endeavoring to stifle it, have hurried it along.  E pur si muove, [3] said Galileo, when the Dominicans forced him to declare that the earth does not move, and the same statement might be applied to human progress.  Some wills are broken down, some individuals sacrificed, but that is of little import; progress continues on its way, and from the blood of those who fall new and vigorous offspring is born.  See, the press itself, however backward it may wish to be, is taking a step forward.  The Dominicans themselves do not escape the operation of this law, but are imitating the Jesuits, their irreconcilable enemies.  They hold fiestas in their cloisters, they erect little theaters, they compose poems, because, as they are not devoid of intelligence in spite of believing in the fifteenth century, they realize that the Jesuits are right, and they will still take part in the future of the younger peoples that they have reared.

[2] Scholastic theologians.—TR.

[3] And yet it does move!

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