(Nov 8th to 14th)
…(he) said to me: “Serve Caesar. You are not canvas I can cut to advantage at present. But if you serve Caesar you will be obeying at least some sort of law.” He talked as though I were a barbarian. Weak as I was, I could have snapped his back with my bare hands. I told him so. “I don’t doubt it,” he said. “But that is neither here nor there…what concerns you now is that, by taking service, you will be rid from the fear that has ridden you all your life”…
This is from “The Manner of Men” in Limits and Renewals.
Sulinor, a Roman sea captain, is recounting how he had carried the Apostle Paul as a prisoner to Rome, on a voyage in which his ship was wrecked, and Paul had shown great steadfastness and leadership. Here he is remembering how Paul had urged him to keep faith with Caesar.
“In War it is as in Love …whether she be good or bad, one gives one’s best once, to one only. That given, there remains no second worth giving or taking.”
This is from “The Winged Hats” in Puck of Pook’s Hill.
Parnesius, and his friend Pertinax, have fought as Captains of the Wall (Hadrian’s Wall) against the onslaughts of wild northern invaders, for Maximus who aims to make himself Emperor of Rome. Maximus fails, and is executed. They are offered high command by the new Emperor, but they refuse to serve him.
“…to desert one’s father’s Gods—even if one doesn’t believe in them—in the middle of a gale, isn’t quite— What would you do yourself”
This is from “The Conversion of St Wilfrid”, in Rewards and Fairies.
Wilfrid, Bishop of the West Saxons, and his friend Meon, the local chieftain, who is not a Christian, have been wrecked on a fishing trip, and are in danger of death. Meon asks Wilfrid if he should be baptised as a Christian, and Wilfrid advises him – in extremis – to keep faith with his own gods.