Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fr Maciel's Epitaph: "like a puff'd and reckless libertine,

Fr Maciel's Epitaph: "like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads"

I shall the effect of this good lesson keep
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,(50)
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whilst, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads
And recks not his own rede.

O, fear me not.

Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 46–51

Yes, we have Shakespeare to blame for all the confusion between "primrose path" and "garden path." Ophelia, Hamlet's sweetheart, coins the former, meaning "the path of luxury," apparently linking primroses to libertine indulgence. The primrose had, since at least the fifteenth century, been associated with the metaphorical "flower" of youth, and so, indirectly, with youthful appetites.

Here, Ophelia responds to her brother's warnings to play things cool with Hamlet. Laertes is about to depart for Paris, a city Ophelia regards as at least as corrupting as Hamlet's love, and she turns Laertes' preachings back on the preacher. Indulging in mild satire on the church, she counsels her brother to "reak his own rede" (heed his own advice) and avoid the lifestyle of a "puff'd" (arrogant), incautious libertine. She seems to accept his assurances, but her father Polonius is hardly so sanguine—he will not shy from sending a spy after his son.


  1. Hey Pablo, where is that great writing about you asking questions of the founder the day before you left When Fr Moylan shouted you down? Won't you post that exchange, as a favor to an anonymous friend?

  2. Hello, good friend,
    I have it in my published memoir when I describe how I actually left.
    I could fish it out of my manuscript, I suppose; I am a bit tight on time right now.

    Confronting Maciel was the climax of my discomfort with him and the legion; the confrontation was "violent" and not the way I planned to leave. When Fr Moylan expressed his "non solidarity" for me that pushed me over the edge and I realized the lc was not the place for me. I stomped out, put my stuff in my case and left the retreat house in Cotija.

    Lesson, there is no perfect way to leave the Legion or Regnum. The important thing is to leave. Only after you leave can you see clearly. Inside, your vision will always be blurred and your mind confused

  3. I think you might find it also on line at in previous drafts of my bio: