I said in my heart, Come now, I will test you with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.
Read Chapter 2
George Leo Haydock
Delights. He speaks in the name of libertines, (St. Gregory, Dial. iv. 4.) or after his conversion. (Calmet)
The world ling might object that since wisdom affords not content, it is best to try pleasure. But this meets not with the approbation of the wise, as all terrestrial joy is short, and can yield no more than a passing consolation. (Worthington)
He condemns pleasures as futile. For he says, “I said in my heart, Come hither, I will test you in merriment, and also in good, and this too is futility.” For he did not give himself to this kind of experience straight away or slide into partaking of pleasures without having tasted the austere and more devout life. Rather, after training himself with these things and achieving in his character the severity and determination through which the lessons of wisdom come most readily to those who pursue them, he then descends to things considered agreeable to the senses. [He does this] not because he is drawn down to them by passion but in order to investigate whether the sensual experience of them makes any contribution to the knowledge of true Good. That is why he makes his own what he had originally regarded as alien, laughter, and calls the condition dizziness, in that it is equivalent in meaning to “frenzy” or “madness”; for what else would anyone properly call laughter? It is neither sp...
Judging, therefore, that it stood thus with this matter, I decided to turn to another mariner of life, and to give myself to pleasure, and to take experience of various delights. And now I learned that all such things are vain; and I put a check on laughter, when it ran on carelessly; and restrained pleasure, according to the rule of moderation, and was bitterly angry against it. And when I perceived that the soul is able to arrest the body in its disposition to intoxication and wine-bibbing, and that temperance makes lust its subject, I sought earnestly to observe what object of true worth and of real excellence is set before men, which they shall attain to in this present life. For I passed through all those other objects which are deemed worthiest, such as the erecting of lofty houses and the planting of vines, and in addition, the laying out of pleasure-grounds, and the acquisition and culture of all manner of fruit-bearing trees; and among them also large reservoirs for the recept...