St. Francis de Sales and Just Anger

There never was an angry man who thought his anger unjust.

Attr. to St. Francis de Sales, who did say it, sort of. I looked at this years ago (pre-blogging days), and here’s what I found:

St. Francis de Sales said this in Introduction to the Devout Life, but he didn’t originate the quotation. He is explicitly quoting St. Augustine’s “Letter to Profuturus” (Letter 38). Here’s what St. Augustine wrote:

And well do you know, my excellent brother, how, in the midst of such offenses, we must watch lest hatred of any one gain a hold upon the heart, and so not only hinder us from praying to God with the door of our chamber closed, but also shut the door against God Himself; for hatred of another insidiously creeps upon us, while no one who is angry considers his anger to be unjust. For anger habitually cherished against any one becomes hatred, since the sweetness which is mingled with what appears to be righteous anger makes us detain it longer than we ought in the vessel, until the whole is soured, and the vessel itself is spoiled. Wherefore it is much better for us to forbear from anger, even when one has given us just occasion for it, than, beginning with what seems just anger against any one, to fall, through this occult tendency of passion, into hating him.

Good advice, I think.

Anyhow, this is a rare example of a quote’s being taken away from St. Augustine (who is often on the receiving end of fauxtating) and being assigned to someone else. Granted, many translations of the Introduction don’t put this passage in quotation marks, so it would be easy enough to conclude that it is St. Francis’s commentary on what St. Augustine said.

St. Brigid’s Great Lake of Beer

I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.
I would like to be watching Heaven’s family drinking it through all eternity.

Attr. St. Brigid.

I was willing to believe this one is legit, but I felt like checking anyhow. Wikiquote has it, but only gives a book from 1996 as a source. The book (I found it on Google Books) doesn’t give a source, and books like this have been known to be the source of fauxtations, so I needed a better source.

I went Googling and quickly turned up the Gaelic original:

Ropadh maith lem corm-lina mor
do rígh na rígh;
Ropadh maith muinntir nimhe
acca hól tre bithe shir.

(Spelling varies between sources.)

And with that in hand, it was easy to trace it. It goes back to an 8th Century manuscript preserved (at least in the 1890s) in the Burgundian Library in Brussels in which it’s attributed to St. Brigid, and that’s about as good as you’re going to get for a 1500 year-old quotation from a largely pre-literate society. See (I am not making this up) “Highland Plant Uses”.

The moral of the story is that authentic quotations are usually easy to trace.