Augustine Confessions
Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430)


The Augustine Confessions is, next to the Bible, the most widely read book in history. It is also the first autobiography as we know them. It is devoted to telling Augustine's story of faith, his dramatic journey from wild student to church father.

This excerpt reflects the author's passion for his Lord. Worldly pleasures became for him sheer emptiness in the light of the fullness he experienced in knowing Christ. His love for God virtually seeps through the pages. I've included two English translations. (Dutch translation via a link below.)


Augustine Confessions X.27

Late have I loved you,
Beauty so ancient and so new,
late have I loved you!

Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong,
I, misshapen.
You were with me but I was not with you.
They held me back far from you,
those things which would have no being
were they not in you.

You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance,
I gasped, and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and I hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.



Augustine Confessions X.27
Translated by Henry Chadwick

Late have I loved you,
beauty so old and so new,
late have I loved you.

And see, you were within,
and I was in the external world and sought you there,
and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely things
which you made.

You were with me, and I was not with you.
The lovely things kept me far from you,
though if they did not have their existence in you
they had no existence at all.

You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness.
You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness.
You were fragrant,
and I drew my breath and now pant after you.
I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you.
You touched me,
and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours.

© 1991 Henry Chadwick


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"The place where God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."

Frederick Buechner
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