Mike Aquilina

Score One for Gus

Thursday December 25th 2008, 9:34 am

It’s suddenly chic to look at St. Augustine in a positive light. First came Paula Fredriksen’s Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism. Now the New York Times gives us the news, gleaned from The Complete Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II, that Augustine was a little bit of a Show Boat.

It might be noted that while his characters were often simple and uneducated, Hammerstein himself was anything but. He got the idea for “Ol’ Man River” from Tennyson’s “The Brook” (“For men may come and men may go,/But I go on for ever”), and swiped its most famous lines, “Ah’m tired of livin’/An’ skeered of dyin’,” from St. Augustine.

He just keeps rolling along.