Tuesday, 27 February 2007


Aphra Behn has been ruminating on her delightful blog about the approach of old age. Do read her lovely piece. Having already arrived at that destination, terminus in sight, let me share with Aphra and my burrow friends the following

17th Century Nun's Prayer:

"LORD Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will some day be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody: helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.

"Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others' pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

"I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint - some of them are so hard to live with - but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And, give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so. AMEN."


lavenderblue said...

It could have been written by you, Anticant......
I wonder if we will manage it ?

Aphra Behn said...

Thank you for that. I've printed it out and put it on my kitchen wall.

"Keep me reasonably sweet".

You see, that is the kind of wise and tollerant religion I like. Hey ho.

Many thanks.

*blowing a kiss*


1loneranger said...


Were you wearing a habit when you wrote that?

anticant said...

Aphra - a warm welcome to the burrow and the arena!

I don't suppose it was really written by a 17th century nun - just one of those rather bogus pseudo-philosophical posters like "Desiderata" that were fashionable in the kinder 1970s and '80s. But worth reprinting, I agree.

1loneranger - my only habits are bad ones.

1loneranger said...