Contraception's "Dolorous Stroke"

C. S. Lewis made an interesting allusion to contraception from a story in Arthurian legend about the misuse of the "Spear of Longinus" - the lance supposedly used to pierce our Lord on the cross.

I was reading an earlier post of mine on
C.S. Lewis and contraception in which I quote from That Hideous Strength, the third book of his space trilogy, an excerpt which refers to a particular character's use of contraception:

"‘Sir,’ said Merlin, ‘know well that she has done in Logres a thing of which no less sorrow shall come than came of the stroke that Balinus struck. For, Sir, it was the purpose of God that she and her lord should between them have begotten a child by whom the enemies should have been put out of Logres for a thousand years.’"

Who was "Balinus" and what did he do?

Balinus (Balin) was a would-be knight of King Arthur's Court. At one point in the legend he sets out to avenge a man slain by an invisible knight traveling under his protection. The villain turns out to be the brother of the Grail King Pellam, and Balin kills him at a feast in Pellam's castle. Pellam goes to avenge his brother, shattering one of Balin's swords. Balin then goes from room to room in the castle to find another weapon. Though a voice warns him not to, he enters the room where the Holy Grail and the lance used to pierce our Lord were kept. Balin seizes the lance and runs the weapon through both of Pellam's thighs. This "Dolorous Stroke" maims Pellam, and turns the Grail kingdom of Logres into a barren land for years to come - the curse for using this sacred spear as a weapon.

So, now we know who Balinus was and what he did. Lewis never ceases to amaze me with the depth of his writings. Perhaps he didn't intend the obvious parallel readers of this blog might draw from his allusion, but it is certainly undeniable that contraception is, indeed, a thing which is turning our world into a barren wasteland. We are on the verge of a demographic winter caused by contraception's dolorous stroke.

No comments: