Monday, 24 May 2010

Guilt

More insight on human foibles from Colin Dexter - this time on an adulterer's self-condemnation. Quite poignant and sad, actually.
It would have been a huge relief to have ended it all long ago, above all, to have broken free from the web of lies and deceit he had spun around himself. Yet how beguiling had been those prospects of extra-marital delights. Conscience. Damned conscience. Nurtured in a sensitive school. Fatal.

Though not a believer himself, Bernard conceded the empirical truth of the Pauline assertion that the wages of sin is death. He wanted desperately to be rid of the guilt and the remorse, and remembered vaguely from his school days in the bible-class how lustily they had all given voice to many a chorus on sin:

"Though your sins be as scarlet, scarlet, scarlet,
They shall be whiter, yea, whiter than snow."

But he couldn't pray these days - his spirit was parched and desolate. His primitive, eager religiosity was dulled now and overlaid with a deep and hard veneer of learning, culture and cynicism. He was well rehearsed in all the theological paradoxes, and the fizz of academic controversy was no longer a delight. Whiter than snow, indeed! More like the driven slush.
Colin Dexter, Last Bus to Woodstock, chapter eight. Another Inspector Morse novel.
You might like to have look at this back post from last year...

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