« Prev Ode 5 Next »


'Υμνϖμεν κουρον ηυμφας,

(Tetrapod: spondaic: catalect.)

Awake, our lute, the child to sing

Of bride unwedded, holy maid;

True Son of the Eternal King,

4Ere earth's foundations yet were laid.

Ineffable Thy counsels, Lord,

Father of all, by which was born

The Christ! a virgin's throes afford

8The Light of Life to world forlorn!

A Man! and yet of ages gone,

And of all ages yet to come,

Throughout eternity, the One

12Upholder, Perfecter, and Sum.


Thyself, O Christ, art Fount of Light,

Light of the Father's Light, bright Ray!

Dark matter thou didst burst; and night

16To holy souls Thou turn'st to day.

Yea! Founder of the world Thou art,

And moulder of each starry sphere:

To earth her spurs Thou dost impart;

20While men hail Thee their Saviour dear.

For Thee his chariot Titan drives,

The quenchless fount of morning light.

From Thee the bull-faced moon derives

24Her power to loose the gloom of night.

By Thee the year with fruit is crowned:

By Thee the flocks and herds are fed:

Productive Thou dost make the ground;

28And to the poor Thou givest bread.

For Thou from Thine o'erflowing store

Of grace ineffable and love,

O'er surface of all worlds dost pour

32The fertile sunshine from above.


And from Thy bosom forth did spring

To life both light, and mind, and soul:

O pity then Thine own offspring

36Imprisoned under hard control,

By mortal limbs, by flesh and blood,

Coerced, and measures stern of fate:

O save Thine own, Thou great and good,

40Nor let sick mind sick body hate!

Persuasion to my words nod Thou,

And to my deeds such honest fame,

That truth I never disavow,

44Nor Sparta1616Synesius was a native of Cyrene, which was an ancient colony of Sparta. nor Cyrene shame!

But may my soul, unbowed by grief,

Draw all her nourishment from Thee,

Stretching both eyes, in calm relief,

48Up to Thy light, from sorrow free!

That, cleansed from dregs of worldly soil,

I may by straight course upward mount,

And 'scaping from earth's care and toil,

52Be mingled with the soul's own fount!


Life such of pure content and praise,

Do Thou to Thy poor harper grant,

While still to Thee the hymn I raise,

56And glory to the Father chant,

And Spirit,1717Here, as elsewhere, Synesius represents the Holy Spirit as seated between the Father and the Son, or holding the middle rank; cf. Ode III. l. 220; Ode IV. l. 97, in which latter place, as if to mend Synesius' theology, some sciolist has made additions contrary to the context, which additions I follow the learned editors in rejecting. In the New Testament the sacred order given in Matt. xxviii. 19, is not strictly or always followed; e. g. 2 Cor. xiii. 14, 1 Pet. i. 2, Rev. i. 4, 5. May this help to explain the difficult passage Heb. xii. 23, 24? mid-enthroned compeer,

The Parent Root and Branch between!

Be such on earth my bright career,

60Nor sin nor sorrow intervene;

Until, within the courts above,

The travail of my soul shall cease,

Still singing hymns of heavenly love

64In glory and in perfect peace.

Thee, Thee, the Fount of love, we bless,

O Father, rock and strength of Thine;

And Thee alike, His form express,

68And seal, all beauty, Son Divine;


And Holy Breath, of both the crown,

Whose quickening gifts like billows roll:

Thou with the Father, send Him down

72To cheer and fertilize my soul!

« Prev Ode 5 Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection