he would not give one chance of heaven, nor relinquish, for the elysium of her love, one hope of...

Irelia20150604

Senior Member
Chinese
The quotation comes from Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (Chap. 32) | Genius

Quotation: And then she would pout like a disappointed child; a pensive cloud would soften her radiant vivacity; she would withdraw her hand hastily from his, and turn in transient petulance from his aspect, at once so heroic and so martyr-like. St. John, no doubt, would have given the world to follow, recall, retain her, when she thus left him; but he would not give one chance of heaven, nor relinquish, for the elysium of her love, one hope of the true, eternal Paradise. Besides, he could not bind all that he had in his nature—the rover, the aspirant, the poet, the priest—in the limits of a single passion.

Context: St. John was resolved to be a missionary, delivering the errand God gives him. “…a last conflict with human weakness, in which I know I shall overcome, because I have vowed that I will overcome—and I leave Europe for the East.” (from Chapter 31)
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Hi everyone! I don’t quite understand the bold part. It seems to have something to do with St. John’s religious fervor, usually incompressible to secular Chinese. I try to interpret it as below. Is it correct?

The normal wording of the sentence => Doubtless, St. John would have given the world to follow, recall, retain her, when she thus left him; but he would not give one chance of heaven for the elysium of her love, nor relinquish one hope of the true, eternal Paradise for the elysium of her love.


St. John, no doubt, … retain her => Doubtless, St. John would have sacrificed anything worldly he had to follow, recall, retain her, when she left him in this way.

Heaven = the true, eternal Paradise.
The second => But he would take any chance and hope to pursue his sacred ideal (i.e., heaven). He would not sacrifice any chance or hope of this kind for the elysium of her love.

I’ve referred to my thread: my hope of heaven
No, not exactly. In Jane's religion, the worldly existence we experience during our lifetime is followed by an eternal, perfect, life in heaven (paradise), at least for those who deserve it. She is saying that Rochester is becoming a "paradise on earth" for her.
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  • Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    You have understood. St. John feels "called by God" to be a missionary. Therefore, he believes that if he does not do is duty and become a missionary, he will not be allowed to go to the real heaven "the true, eternal Paradise." He denies himself "one chance of heaven" (heaven on Earth) by not allowing himself to marry this girl that he really loves.

    St. John is really an annoying character.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    St. John, no doubt, would have given the world to follow, recall, retain her, when she left him after she had behaved in the way I have just described; but he would not forfeit/forego a single chance of going to heaven, nor relinquish, in exchange for the perfect delight of her love, one of his many hopes of going to heaven.
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    St. John, no doubt, … retain her => Doubtless, St. John would have sacrificed anything worldly he had to follow, recall, retain her, when she left him in this way.

    Heaven = the true, eternal Paradise.
    The second => But he would take any chance and hope to pursue his sacred ideal (i.e., heaven). He would not sacrifice any chance or hope of this kind for the elysium of her love.
    Right, exactly. This is cunning writing: note that "elysium" is the name for the heaven of the Greek pagans, and thus, although it "heavenly" in a certain way, elysium is ultimately false. And as to the difference drawn between giving up worldly things and giving up the chance at the salvation of one's immortal soul, compare this very well known verse from the Bible: "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:26.
     
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