Translated by the Rev. S. Thelwall.
Text edited by Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson and first published by T&T Clark in Edinburgh in 1867. Additional introductionary material and notes provided for the American edition by A. Cleveland Coxe, 1886.
After the living, aye'enduring death Of Sodom and Gomorrah; after fires Penal, attested by time-frosted plains Of ashes; after fruitless apple-growths, 5Born but to feed the eye; after the death Of sea and brine, both in like fate involved; While whatsoe'er is human still retains In change corporeal its penal badge:  A city'Nineveh'by stepping o'er 10 The path of justice and of equity, On her own head had well-nigh shaken down More fires of rain supernal. For what dread  Dwells in a mind subverted? Commonly Tokens of penal visitations prove 15 All vain where error holds possession. Still, Kindly and patient of our waywardness, And slow to punish, the Almighty Lord Will launch no shaft of wrath, unless He first Admonish and knock oft at hardened hearts, 20 Rousing with mind august presaging seers. For to the merits of the Ninevites The Lord had bidden Jonah to foretell Destruction; but he, conscious that He spare; The subject, and remits to suppliants 25 The dues of penalty, and is to good Ever inclinable, was loth to face That errand; lest he sing his seerly strain In vain, and peaceful issue of his threats Ensue. His counsel presently is flight: 30 (If, howsoe'er, there is at all the power
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God to avoid, and shun the Lord's right hand 'Neath whom the whole orb trembles and is held In check: but is there reason in the act Which in  his saintly heart the prophet dares?) 35 On the beach-lip, over against the shores Of the Cilicians, is a city poised,  Far-famed for trusty port'Joppa her name. Thence therefore Jonah speeding in a barque Seeks Tarsus,  through the signal providence 40 Of the same God;  nor marvel is's, I ween, If, fleeing from the Lord upon the lands, He found Him in the waves. For suddenly A little cloud had stained the lower air With fleecy wrack sulphureous, itself  45 By the wind's seed excited: by degrees, Bearing a brood globose, it with the sun Cohered, and with a train caliginous Shut in the cheated day. The main becomes The mirror of the sky; the waves are dyed so 50 With black encirclement; the upper air Down rushes into darkness, and the sea Uprises; nought of middle space is left; While the clouds touch the waves, and the waves all Are mingled by the bluster of the winds 55 In whirling eddy.'Gainst the renegade, 'Gainst Jonah, diverse frenzy joined to rave, While one sole barque did all the struggle breed 'Twixt sky and surge. From this side and from that Pounded she reels; 'neath each wave-breaking blow 60 The forest of her tackling trembles all; As, underneath, her spinal length of keel, Staggered by shock on shock, all palpitates; And, from on high, her labouring mass of yard Creaks shuddering; and the tree-like mast itself 65 Bends to the gale, misdoubting to be riven. Meantime the rising  clamour of the crew Tries every chance for barque's and dear life's sake: To pass from hand to hand  the tardy coils To tighten the girth's noose: straitly to bind 70 The tiller's struggles; or, with breast opposed, T' impel reluctant curves. Part, turn by turn, With foremost haste outbale the reeking well Of inward sea. The wares and cargo all They then cast headlong, and with losses seek 75 Their perils to subdue. At every crash Of the wild deep rise piteous cries; and out They stretch their hands to majesties of gods, Which gods are none; whom might of sea and sky Fears not, nor yet the less from off their poops 80 With angry eddy sweeping sinks them down. Unconscious of all this, the guilty one 'Neath the poop's hollow arch was making sleep Re-echo stertorous with nostril wide Inflated: whom, so soon as he who guides 85 The functions of the wave-dividing prow Saw him sleep-bound in placid peace, and proud In his repose, he, standing o'er him, shook, And said, "Why sing's", with vocal nostril, dreams, In such a crisis? In so wild a whirl, 90 Why keep'st thou only harbour? Lo! the wave Whelms us, and our one hope is in the gods. Thou also, whosoever is thy god, Make vows, and, pouring prayers on bended knee, Win o'er thy country's Sovran!" Then they vote 95 To learn by lot who is the culprit, who The cause of storm; nor does the lot belie Jonah: whom then they ask, and ask again, "Who? whence? who in the world? from what abode, What people, hail'st thou?" He avows himself 100 A servant, and an over-timid one, Of God, who raised aloft the sky, who based The earth, who corporally fused the whole: A renegade from Him he owns himself, And tells the reason. Rigid turned they all 105 With dread."What grudge, then, ow'st thou us? What now Will follow? By what deed shall we appease The main?" For more and far more swelling grew The savage surges. Then the seer begins Words prompted by the Spirit of the Lord:  110"Lo! I your tempest am; I am the sum Of the world's  madness: 'tis in me," he says, "That the sea rises, and the upper air Down rushes; land in me is far, death near, And hope in God is none! Come, headlong hurl 115 Your cause of bane: lighten your ship, and cast This single mighty burden to the main, A willing prey!" But they'all vainly!'strive Homeward to turn their course; for helm refused To suffer turning, and the yard's stiff poise 120 Willed not to change. At last unto the Lord They cry: "For one soul's sake give us not o'er Unto death's maw, nor let us be besprent With righteous blood, if thus Thine own right hand Leadeth." And from the eddy's depth a whale 125 Outrising on the spot, scaly with shells,  Unravelling his body's train, 'gan urge More near the waves, shocking the gleaming brine, Seizing'at God's command'the prey; which, rolled From the poop's summit prone, with slimy jaws 130 He sucked; and into his long belly sped The living feast; and swallowed, with the man, The rage of sky and main. The billowy waste Grows level, and the ether's gloom dissolves; The waves on this side, and the blasts on that, 135 Are to their friendly mood restored; and, where The placid keel marks out a path secure, White traces in the emerald furrow bloom. The sailor then does to the reverend Lord Of death make grateful offering of his fear;  140 Then enters friendly ports. Jonah the seer The while is voyaging, in other craft Embarked, and cleaving 'neath the lowest waves A wave: his sails the intestines of the fish, Inspired with breath ferine; himself, shut in; 145 By waters, yet untouched; in the sea's heart And yet beyond its reach; 'mid wrecks of fleets Half-eaten, and men's carcasses dissolved In putrid disintegrity: in life Learning the process of his death; but still' 150 To be a sign hereafter of the Lord  ' A witness was he (in his very self),  Not of destruction, but of death's repulse..
(Author Uncertain.) Already had Almighty God wiped off By vengeful flood (with waters all conjoined Which heaven discharged on earth and the sea's plain  Outspued) the times of the primeval age: 5 Had pledged Himself, while nether air should bring The winters in their course, ne'er to decree, By liquid ruin, retribution's due; And had assigned, to curb the rains, the bow Of many hues, sealing the clouds with band 10 Of purple and of green, Iris its name, The rain-clouds' proper baldric.  But alike With mankind's second race impiety Revives, and a new age of ill once more Shoots forth; allotted now no more to showers 15 For ruin, but to fires: thus did the land Of Sodom earn to be by glowing dews Upburnt, and typically thus portend The future end.  There wild voluptuousness (Modesty's foe) stood in the room of law; 20 Which prescient guest would shun, and sooner choose At Scythian or Busirian altar's foot 'Mid sacred rites to die, and, slaughtered, pour His blood to Bebryx, or to satiate Libyan palaestras, or assume new forms; 25 By virtue of Circaean cups, than lose His outraged sex in Sodom. At heaven's gate There knocked for vengeance marriages commit With equal incest common 'mong a race By nature rebels 'gainst themselves;  and hurts 30 Done to man's name and person equally. But God, forewatching all things, at fix'd time Doth judge the unjust; with patience tarrying The hour when crime's ripe age'not any force Of wrath impetuous'shall have circumscribed 35 The space for waiting.  Now at length the day Of vengeance was at hand. Sent from the host Angelical, two, youths in form, who both Were ministering spirits,  carrying The Lord's divine commissions, come beneath 40 The walls of Sodom. There was dwelling Lot A transplantation from a pious stock; Wise, and a practicer of righteousness, He was the only one to think on God: As oft a fruitful tree is wont to lurk, 45 Guest-like, in forests wild. He, sitting then Before the gate (for the celestials scarce Had reached the ramparts), though he knew not them Divine,  accosts them unsolicited, Invites, and with ancestral honour greets; 50 And offers them, preparing to abide Abroad, a hospice. By repeated prayers He wins them; and then ranges studiously The sacred pledges  on his board,  and quits  His friends with courteous offices. The night 55 Had brought repose: alternate  dawn had chased The night, and Sodom with her shameful law Makes uproar at the doors. Lot, suppliant wise, Withstands: "Young men, let not your new fed lust Enkindle you to violate this youth!  60 Whither is passion's seed inviting you? To what vain end your lust? For such an end No creatures wed: not such as haunt the fens; Not stall-fed cattle; not the gaping brood Subaqueous; nor they which, modulant 65 On pinions, hang suspended near the clouds; Nor they which with forth-stretched body creep Over earth's face. To conjugal delight Each kind its kind doth owe: but female still To all is wife; nor is there one that has 70 A mother save a female one. Yet now, If youthful vigour holds it right  to waste The flower of modesty, I have within Two daughters of a nuptial age, in whom Virginity is swelling in its bloom, 75 Already ripe for harvest'a desire Worthy of men'which let your pleasure reap! Myself their sire, I yield them; and will pay For my guests' sake, the forfeit of my grief!" Answered the mob insane: "And who art thou7 80 And what? and whence? to lord it over us, And to expound us laws? Shall foreigner Rule Sodom, and hurl threats? Now, then, thyself For daughters and for guests shalt sate our greed! One shall suffice for all!" So said, so done: 85 The frantic mob delays not. As, whene'er A turbid torrent rolls with wintry tide, And rushes at one speed through countless streams Of rivers, if, just where it forks, some tree Meets the swift waves (not long to stand, save while 90 By her root's force she shall avail to oppose Her tufty obstacles), when gradually Her hold upon the undermined soil Is failing, with her bared stem she hangs, And, with uncertain heavings to and fro, 95 Defers her certain fall; not otherwise Lot in the mid-whirl of the dizzy mob Kept nodding, now almost o'ercome. But power Divine brings succour: the angelic youths, Snatching him from the threshold, to his roof 100 Restore him; but upon the spot they mulct Of sight the mob insane in open day,' Fit augury of coming penalties! Then they unlock the just decrees of God: That penalty condign from heaven will fall 105 On Sodom; that himself had merited Safety upon the count of righteousness. "Gird thee, then, up to hasten hence thy flight, And with thee to lead oat what family Thou hast: already we are bringing on 110 Destruction o'er the city." Lot with speed Speaks to his sons-in-law; but their hard heart Scorned to believe the warning, and at fear Laughed. At what time the light attempts to climb The darkness, and heaven's face wears double hue 115 From night and day, the youthful visitants Were instant to outlead from Sodoma The race Chaldaean,  and the righteous house Consign to safety: "Ho! come, Lot! arise, And take thy yokefellow and daughters twain, 120 And hence, beyond the boundaries be gone, Preventing  Sodom's penalties!" And eke With friendly hands they lead them trembling forth, And then their final mandates give: "Save, Lot, Thy life, lest thou perchance should will to turn 125 Thy retroverted gaze behind, or stay The step once taken: to the mountain speed!" Lot feared to creep the heights with tardy step, Lest the celestial wrath-fires should o'ertake And whelm him: therefore he essays to crave 130 Some other ports; a city small, to wit, Which opposite he had espied."Hereto," He said, "I speed my flight: scarce with its walls 'Tis visible; nor is it far, nor great." They, favouring his prayer, safety assured 135 To him and to the city; whence the spot Is known in speech barbaric by the name Segor.  Lot enters Segor while the sun Is rising,  the last sun, which glowing bears To Sodom conflagration; for his rays 140 He had armed all with fire: beneath him spreads An emulous gloom, which seeks to intercep The light; and clouds combine to interweave Their smoky globes with the confused sky: Down pours a novel shower: the ether seethe 145 With sulphur mixt with blazing flames:  the air Crackles with liquid heats exust. From hence The fable has an echo of the truth Amid its false, that the sun's progeny Would drive his father's team; but nought availed 150 The giddy boy to curb the haughty steeds Of fire: so blazed our orb: then lightning reft The lawless charioteer, and bitter plaint Transformed his sisters. Let Eridanus See to it, if one poplar on his banks 155 Whitens, or any bird dons plumage there Whose note old age makes mellow!  Here they mourn O'er miracles of metamorphosis Of other sort. For, partner of Lot's flight, His wife (ah me, for woman! even then  160 Intolerant of law!) alone turned back At the unearthly murmurs of the sky) Her daring eyes, but bootlessly: not doomed To utter what she saw! and then and there Changed into brittle salt, herself her tomb 165 She stood, herself an image of herself, Keeping an incorporeal form: and still In her unsheltered station 'neath the heaven Dures she, by rains unmelted, by decay And winds unwasted; nay, if some strange hand 170 Deface her form, forthwith from her own store Her wounds she doth repair. Still is she said To live, and, 'mid her corporal change, discharge With wonted blood her sex's monthly dues. Gone are the men of Sodom; gone the glare 175 Of their unhallowed ramparts; all the house Inhospitable, with its lords, is gone: The champaign is one pyre; here embers rough And black, here ash-heaps with hoar mould, mark out The conflagration's course: evanished 180 Is all that old fertility  which Lot, Seeing outspread before him, No ploughman spends his fruitless toil on glebes Pitchy with soot: or if some acres there, But half consumed, still strive to emulate 185 Autumn's glad wealth, pears, peaches, and all fruits Promise themselves full easely  to the eye In fairest bloom, until the plucker's hand Is on them: then forthwith the seeming fruit Crumbles to dust 'neath the bewraying touch, 190 And turns to embers vain. Thus, therefore (sky And earth entombed alike), not e'en the sea Lives there: the quiet of that quiet sea Is death!  'a sea which no wave animates Through its anhealant volumes; which beneath 195 Its native Auster sighs not anywhere; Which cannot from its depths one scaly race, Or with smooth skin or cork-like fence encased, Produce, or curled shell in single valve Or double fold enclosed. Bitumen there 200 (The sooty reek of sea exust) alone, With its own crop, a spurious harvest yields; Which 'neath the stagnant surface vivid heat From seething mass of sulphur and of brine Maturing tempers, making earth cohere 205 Into a pitch marine.  At season due The heated water's fatty ooze is borne Up to the surface; and with foamy flakes Over the level top a tawny skin Is woven. They whose function is to catch 210 That ware put to, tilting their smooth skin. down With balance of their sides, to teach the film, Once o'er the gunnel, to float in: for, lo! Raising itself spontaneous, it will swim Up to the edge of the unmoving craft; 215 And will, when pressed,  for guerdon large, ensure Immunity from the defiling touch Of weft which female monthly efflux clothes. Behold another portent notable, Fruit of that sea's disaster: all things cast 220 Therein do swim: gone is its native power For sinking bodies: if, in fine, you launch A torch's lightsome  hull (where spirit serves For fire) therein, the apex of the flame Will act as sail; put out the flame, and 'neath 225 The waters will the light's wrecks ruin go! Such Sodom's and Gomorrah's penalties, For ages sealed as signs before the eyes Of unjust nations, whose obdurate hearts God's fear have quite forsaken,  will them teach 230 To reverence heaven-sanctioned rights,  and lift Their gaze unto one only Lord of all..
(Author Uncertain.) In the beginning did the Lord create The heaven and earth:  for formless was the land,  And hidden by the wave, and God immense  O'er the vast watery plains was hovering, 5 While chaos and black darkness shrouded all: Which darkness, when God bade be from the pole  Disjoined, He speaks, "Let there be light; "and all In the clear world  was bright. Then, when the Lord The first day's work had finished, He formed 10 Heaven's axis white with nascent clouds: the deep Immense receives its wandering  shores, and draws The rivers manifold with mighty trains. The third dun light unveiled earth's  face, and soon (Its name assigned  ) the dry land's story 'gins: 15 Together on the windy champaigns rise The flowery seeds, and simultaneously Fruit-bearing boughs put forth procurvant arms. The fourth day, with  the sun's lamp generates The moon, and moulds the stars with tremulous light 20 Radiant: these elements it  gave as signs To th' underlying world,  to teach the times Which, through their rise and setting, were to change. Then, on the fifth, the liquid  streams receive Their fish, and birds poise in the lower air 25 Their pinions many-hued. The sixth. again, Supples the ice-cold snakes into their coils, And over the whole fields diffuses herds Of quadrupeds; and mandate gave that all Should grow with multiplying seed, and roam 30 And feed in earth's immensity. All these When power divine by mere command arranged, Observing that things mundane still would lack A ruler, thus It  speaks: "With utmost care, Assimilated to our own aspect,  35 Make We a man to reign in the whole orb." And him, although He with a single word  Could have compounded, yet Himself did deign To shape him with His sacred own right hand, Inspiring his dull breast from breast divine. 40 Whom when He saw formed in a likeness such As is His own, He measures how he broods Alone on gnawing cares. Straight way his eyes With sleep irriguous He doth perfuse; That from his left rib woman softlier 45 May formed be, and that by mixture twin His substance may add firmness to her limbs. To her the name of "Life"'which is called "Eve"  ' Is given: wherefore sons, as custom is, Their parents leave, and, with a settled home, 50 Cleave to their wives. The seventh came, when God At His works' end did rest, decreeing it Sacred unto the coming ages' joys. Straightway'the crowds of living things deployed Before him'Adam's cunning skill (the gift 55 Of the good Lord) gives severally to all The name which still is permanent. Himself, And, joined with him, his Eve, God deigns address "Grow, for the times to come, with manifold Increase, that with your seed the pole and earth  60 Be filled; and, as Mine heirs, the varied fruits Pluck ye, which groves and champaigns render you, From their rich turf." Thus after He discoursed, In gladsome court  a paradise is strewn, And looks towards the rays of th' early sun.  65 These joys among, a tree with deadly fruits, Breeding, conjoined, the taste of life and death, Arises. In the midst of the demesne  Flows with pure tide a stream, which irrigates Fair offsprings from its liquid waves, and cuts 70 Quadrified paths from out its bubbling fount Here wealthy Phison, with auriferous waves, Swells, and with hoarse tide wears  conspicuous gems, This prasinus,  that glowing carbuncle,  By name; and raves, transparent in its shoals, 75 The margin of the land of Havilath. Next Gihon, gliding by the Aethiops, Enriches them. The Tigris is the third, Adjoined to fair Euphrates, furrowing Disjunctively with rapid flood the land 80 Of Asshur. Adam, with his faithful wife, Placed here as guard and workman, is informed By such the Thunderer's  speech: "Tremble ye not To pluck together the permitted fruits Which, with its leafy bough, the unshorn grove 85 Hath furnished; anxious only lest perchance Ye cull the hurtful apple,  which is green With a twin juice for functions several." And, no less blind meantime than Night herself, Deep night 'gan hold them, nor had e'en a robe 90 Covered their new-formed limbs. Amid these haunts, And on mild berries reared, a foamy snake, Surpassing living things in sense astute, Was creeping silently with chilly coils. He, brooding over envious lies instinct 95 With gnawing sense, tempts the soft heart beneath The woman's breast: "Tell me, why shouldst thou dread The apple's  happy seeds? Why, hath not All known fruits hallowed?  Whence if thou be prompt To cull the honeyed fruits, the golden world  100 Will on its starry pole return."  But she Refuses, and the boughs forbidden fears To touch. But yet her breast 'gins be o'er come With sense infirm. Straightway, as she at length With snowy tooth the dainty morsels bit, 105 Stained with no cloud the sky serene up-lit! Then taste, instilling lure in honeyed jaws, To her yet uninitiated lord Constrained her to present the gift; which he No sooner took, then'night effaced!:'their eyes 110 Shone out serene in the resplendent world.  When, then, they each their body bare espied, And when their shameful parts they see, with leaves Of fig they shadow them. By chance, beneath The sun's now setting light, they recognise 115 The sound of the Lord's voice, and, trembling, haste To bypaths. Then the Lord of heaven accosts The mournful Adam: "Say, where now thou art." Who suppliant thus answers: "Thine address, O Lord, O Mighty One, I tremble at, 120 Beneath my fearful heart; and, being bare, I faint with chilly dread." Then said the Lord: "Who hath the hurtful fruits, then, given you? " "This woman, while she tells me how her eyes With brilliant day promptly perfused were, 125 And on her dawned the liquid sky serene, And heaven's sun and stars, o'ergave them me!" Forthwith God's anger frights perturbed Eve, While the Most High inquires the authorship Of the forbidden act. Hereon she opes 130 Her tale: "The speaking serpent's suasive words I harboured, while the guile and bland request Misled me: for, with venoms viperous His words inweaving, stories told he me Of those delights which should all fruits excel." 135 Straightway the Omnipotent the dragon's deeds Condemns, and bids him be to all a sight Unsightly, monstrous; bids him presently With grovelling beast to crawl; and then to bite And chew the soil; while war should to all time 140 'Twixt human senses and his tottering self Be waged, that he might creep, crestfallen, prone, Behind the legs of men,  'that while he glides Close on their heels they may down-trample him. The woman, sadly caught by guileful words, 145 Is bidden yield her fruit with struggle hard, And bear her husband's yoke with patient zeal.  "But thou, to whom the sentence  of the wife (Who, vanquished, to the dragon pitiless Yielded) seemed true, shalt through long times deplore 150 Thy labour sad; for thou shalt see, instead Of wheaten harvest's seed, the thistle rise, And the thorn plenteously with pointed spines: So that, with weary heart and mournful breast, Full many sighs shall furnish anxious food;  155 Till, in the setting hour of coming death, To level earth, whence thou thy body draw'st, Thou be restored." This done, the Lord bestows Upon the trembling pair a tedious life; And from the sacred gardens far removes 160 Them downcast, and locates them opposite, And from the threshold bars them by mid fire, Wherein from out the swift heat is evolved A cherubim,  while fierce the hot point glows, And rolls enfolding flames. And lest their limbs 165 With sluggish cold should be benumbed, the Lord Hides flayed from cattle's flesh together sews, With vestures warm their bare limbs covering. When, therefore, Adam'now believing'felt (By wedlock taught) his manhood, he confers 170 On his loved wife the mother's name; and, made Successively by scions twain a sire, Gives names to stocks  diverse: Cam the first Hath for his name, to whom is Abel joined. The latter's care tended the harmless sheep; 175 The other turned the earth with curved plough. These, when in course of time  they brought their gifts To Him who thunders, offered'as their sense Prompted them'fruits unlike. The elder one Offered the first-fruits  of the fertile glebes: 180 The other pays his vows with gentle lamb, Bearing in hand the entrails pure, and fat Snow-white; and to the Lord, who pious vows Beholds, is instantly acceptable. Wherefore with anger cold did Cain glow;  185 With whom God deigns to talk, and thus begins: "Tell Me, if thou live rightly, and discern Things hurtful, couldst thou not then pass shine age Pure from contracted guilt? Cease to essay With gnawing sense thy brother's ruin, who, 190 Subject to thee as lord, his neck shall yield." Not e'en thus softened, he unto the fields Conducts his brother; whom when overta'en In lonely mead he saw, with his twin palms Bruising his pious throat, he crushed life out. 195 Which deed the Lord espying from high heaven, Straitly demands "where Abel is on earth? " He says "he will not as his brother's guard Be set." Then God outspeaks to him again: "Doth not the sound of his blood's voice, sent up 200 To Me, ascend unto heaven's lofty pole? Learn, therefore, for so great a crime what doom Shall wait thee. Earth, which with thy kinsman's blood Hath reeked but now, shall to thy hateful hand Refuse to render back the cursed seeds 205 Entrusted her; nor shall, if set with herbs, Produce her fruit: that, torpid, thou shalt dash Thy limbs against each other with much fear."..
(Author Uncertain.)  Who will for me in fitting strain adapt Field-haunting muses? and with flowers will grace The spring-tide's rosy gales? And who will give The summer harvest's heavy stalks mature? 5 And to the autumn's vines their swollen grapes? Or who in winter's honour will commend The olives, ever-peaceful? and will ope Waters renewed, even at their fountainheads? And cut from waving grass the leafy flowers? 10 Forthwith the breezes of celestial light I will attune. Now be it granted me To meet the lightsome  muses! to disclose The secret rivers on the fluvial top Of Helicon,  and gladsome woods that grow 15'Neath other star.  And simultaneously I will attune in song the eternal flames; Whence the sea fluctuates with wave immense: What power  moves the solid lands to quake; And whence the golden light first shot its rays 20 On the new world; or who from gladsome clay Could man have moulded; whence in empty world  Our race could have upgrown; and what the greed Of living which each people so inspires; What things for ill created are; or what 25 Death's propagation; whence have rosy wreaths Sweet smell and ruddy hue; what makes the vine Ferment in gladsome grapes away; and makes Full granaries by fruit of slender stalks distended be; or makes the tree grow ripe 30 'Mid ice, with olives black; who gives to seeds Their increments of vigour various; And with her young's soft shadowings protects The mother. Good it is all things to know Which wondrous are in nature, that it may 35 Be granted us to recognise through all The true Lord, who light, seas, sky, earth prepared, And decked with varied star the new-made world;  And first bade beasts and birds to issue forth; And gave the ocean's waters to be stocked 40 With fish; and gathered in a mass the sands, With living creatures fertilized. Such strains With stately  muses will I spin, and waves Healthful will from their fountainheads disclose: And may this strain of mine the gladsome shower 45 Catch, which from placid clouds doth come, and flows Deeply and all unsought into men's souls, And guide it into our new-fumed lands In copious rills.  Now come: if any one Still ignorant of God, and knowing naught 50 Of life to come,  would fain attain to touch The care-effacing living nymph, and through The swift waves' virtue his lost life repair, And'scape the penalties of flame eterne,  And rather win the guerdons of the life 55 To come, let such remember God is One, Alone the object of our prayers; who 'neath His threshold hath the whole world poised; Himself Eternally abiding, and to be Alway for aye; holding the ages  all; 60 Alone, before all ages;  unbegotten, Limitless God; who holds alone His seat Supernal; supereminent alone Above high heavens; omnipotent alone; Whom all things do obey; who for Himself 65 Formed, when it pleased Him, man for aye; and gave Him to be pastor of beasts tame, and lord Of wild; who by a word  could stretch forth heaven; And with a word could solid earth suspend; And quicklier than word  had the seas wave 70 Disjoined;  and man's dear form with His own hands Did love to mould; and furthermore did will His own fair likeness  to exist in him; And by His Spirit on his countenance The breath  of life did breathe. Unmindful he 75 Of God, such guilt rashly t' incur I Beyond The warning's range he was not ought to touch.  One fruit illicit, whence he was to know Forthwith how to discriminate alike Evil and equity, God him forbade 80 To touch. What functions of the world  did God Permit to man, and sealed the sweet sweet pledge Of His own love! and jurisdiction gave O'er birds, and granted him both deep and soil To tame, and mandates useful did impart 85 Of dear salvation!'Neath his sway He gave The lands, the souls of flying things, the race Feathered, and every race, or tame or wild, Of beasts, and the sea's race, and monsterforms Shapeless of swimming things. But since so soon 90 The primal man by primal crime transgressed The law, and left the mandates of the Lord (Led by a wife who counselled all the ills), By death he 'gan to perish. Woman 'twas Who sin's first ill committed, and (the law 95 Transgressed) deceived her husband. Eve, induced By guile, the thresholds oped to death, and proved To her own self, with her whole race as well, A procreatrix of funereal woes. Hence unanticipated wickedness, 100 Hence death, like seed, for aye, is scattered. Then More frequent grew atrocious deed; and toil More savage set the corrupt orb astir: (This lure the crafty serpent spread, inspired By envy's self:) then peoples more invent 105 Practices of ill deeds; and by ill deeds Gave birth to seeds of wickedness. And so The only Lord. whose is the power supreme. Who o'er the heights the summits holds of heaven Supreme, and in exalted regions dwells 110 In lofty light for ages, mindful too Of present time, and of futurity Prescient beforehand, keeps the progeny Of ill-desert, and all the souls which move By reason's force much-erring manf'nor less 115 Their tardy bodies governs He'against The age decreed, so soon as, stretched in death, Men lay aside their ponderous limbs, and light As air, shall go, their earthly bonds undone, And take in diverse parts their proper spheres 120 (But some He bids be forthwith by glad gales Recalled to life, and be in secret kept To wait the decreed law's awards, until Their bodies with resuscitated limbs Revive.  ) Then shall men 'gin to weigh the awards 125 Of their first life, and on their crime and faults To think, and keep them for their penalties Which will be far from death; and mindful grow Of pious duties, by God's judgments taught; To wait expectant for their penalty 130 And their descendants', fruit of their own crime; Or else to live wholly the life of sheep,  Without a name; and in God's ear, now deaf, Pour unavailing weeping. Shall not God Almighty, 'neath whose law are all things ruled, 135 Be able after death life to restore? Or is there ought which the creation's Lord Unable seems to do? If, darkness chased, He could outstretch the light, and could compound All the world's mass by a word suddenly, 140 And raise by potent voice all things from nought, Why out of somewhat  could He not compound The well-known shape which erst had been, which He Had moulded formerly; and bid the form Arise assimilated to Himself 145 Again? Since God's are all things, earth the more Gives Him all back; for she will, when He bids, Unweave whate'er she woven had before. If one, perhaps, laid on sepulchral pyre, The flame consumed; or one in its blind waves 150 The ocean have dismembered; if of one The entrails have, in hunger, satisfied The fishes; or on any's limbs wild beasts Have fastened cruel death; or any's blood, His body reft by birds, unhid have lain: 155 Yet shall they not wrest from the mighty Lord His latest dues. Need is that men appear Quickened from death 'fore God, and at His bar Stand in their shapes resumed. Thus arid seeds Are drops into the vacant lands, and deep 160 In the fixt furrows die and rot: and hence Is not their surface  animated soon With stalks repaired? and do they  not grow strong And yellow with the living grains? and, rich With various usury,  new harvests rise 165 In mass? The stars all set, and, born again, Renew their sheen; and day dies with its light Lost in dense night; and now night wanes herself As light unveils creation presently; And now another and another day 170 Rises from its own stars; and the sun sets, Bright as it is with splendour'bearing light; Light perishes when by the coming eve The world  is shaded; and the phoenix lives By her own soot  renewed, and presently 175 Rises, again a bird, O wondrous sight! After her burnings! The bare tree in time Shoots with her leaves; and once more are her boughs Curved by the germen of the fruits. While then The world  throughout is trembling at God's voice, 180 And deeply moved are the high air's powers,  Then comes a crash unwonted, then ensue Heaven's mightiest murmurs, on the approach of God, The whole world's  Judge! His countless ministers Forthwith conjoin their rushing march, and God 185 With majesty supernal fence around. Angelic bands will from the heaven descend To earth; all, God's host, whose is faculty Divine; in form and visage spirits all Of virtue: in them fiery vigour is; 190 Rutilant are their bodies; heaven's might Divine about them flashes; the whole orb Hence murmurs; and earth, trembling to her depths (Or whatsoe'er her bulk is  ), echoes back The roar, parturient of men, whom she, 195 Being bidden, will with grief upyield.  All stand In wonderment. At last disturbed are The clouds, and the stars move and quake from height Of sudden power.  When thus God comes, with voice Of potent sound, at once throughout all realms 200 The sepulchres are burst, and every ground Outpours bones from wide chasms, and opening sand Outbelches living peoples; to the hair  The members cleave; the bones inwoven are With marrow; the entwined sinews rule 205 The breathing bodies; and the veins 'gin throb With simultaneously infused blood: And, from their caves dismissed, to open day Souls are restored, and seek to find again Each its own organs, as at their own place 210 They rise. O wondrous faith! Hence every age Shoots forth; forth shoots from ancient dust the host Of dead. Regaining light, there rise again Mothers, and sires, and high'soured youths, and boys, And maids unwedded; and deceased old men 215 Stand by with living souls; and with the cries Of babes the groaning orb resounds.  Then tribes Various from their lowest seats will come: Bands of the Easterns; those which earth's extreme Sees; those which dwell in the downsloping clime 220 Of the mid-world, and hold the frosty star's Riphaean citadels. Every colonist Of every land stands frighted here: the boor; The son of Atreus  with his diadem Of royalty put off; the rich man mixt 225 Coequally in line with pauper peers. Deep tremor everywhere: then groans the orb With prayers; and peoples stretching forth their hands Grow stupid with the din! The Lord Himself Seated, is bright with light sublime; and fire 230 Potent in all the Virtues  flashing shines. And on His high-raised throne the Heavenly One Coruscates from His seat; with martyrs hemmed (A dazzling troop of men), and by His seers Elect accompanied (whose bodies bright 235 Effulgent are with snowy stoles), He towers Above them. And now priests in lustrous robes Attend, who wear upon their marked  front Wreaths golden-red; and all submissive kneel And reverently adore. The cry of all 240 Is one: "O Holy, Holy Holy, God!" To these  the Lord will mandate give, to range The people in twin lines; and orders them To set apart by number the depraved; While such as have His biddings followed 245 With placid words He calls, and bids them, clad With vigour'death quite conquered'ever dwell Amid light's inextinguishable airs, Stroll through the ancients' ever blooming realm, Through promised wealth, through ever sunny swards, 250 And in bright body spend perpetual life. A place there is, beloved of the Lord, In Eastern coasts, where light is bright and clear, And healthier blows the breeze; day is eterne, Time changeless: 'tis a region set apart 255 By God, most rich in plains, and passing blest, In the meridian  of His cloudless seat. There gladsome the air, and is in light Ever to be; soft is the wind, and breathes Life-giving blasts; earth, fruitful with a soil 260 Luxuriant, bears all things; in the meads Flowers shed their fragrance; and upon the plains The purple'not in envy'mingles all With golden-ruddy light. One gladsome flower, With its own lustre clad, another clothes; 265 And here with many a seed the dewy fields Are dappled, and the snowy tilths are crisped With rosy flowers. No region happier Is known in other spots; none which in look Is fairer, or in honour more excels. 270 Never in flowery gardens are there born Such lilies, nor do such upon our plains Outbloom; nor does the rose so blush, what time, New-born, 'tis opened by the breeze; nor is The purple with such hue by Tyrian dye 275 Imbued. With coloured pebbles beauteous gleams The gem: here shines the prasinus;  there glows The carbuncle; and giant-emerald Is green with grassy light. Here too are born The cinnamons, with odoriferous twigs; 280 And with dense leaf gladsome amomum Joins Its fragrance. Here, a native, lies the gold Of radiant sheen; and lofty groves reach heaven In blooming time, and germens fruitfullest Burden the living boughs. No glades like these 285 Hath Ind herself forth-stretcht; no tops so dense Rears on her mount the pine; nor with a shade So lofty-leaved is her cypress crisped; Nor better in its season blooms her bough In spring-tide. Here black firs on lofty peak 290 Bloom; and the only woods that know no hail Are green eternally: no foliage falls; At no time fails the flower. There, too, there blooms A flower as red as Tarsine purple is: A rose, I ween, it is (red hue it has, 295 An odour keen); such aspect on its leaves It wears, such odour breathes. A tree it  stands, With a new flower, fairest in fruits; a crop Life-giving, dense, its happy strength does yield. Rich honies with green cane their fragrance Join, 300 And milk flows potable in runners full; And with whate'er that sacred earth is green, It all breathes life; and there Crete's healing gift  Is sweetly redolent. tide, Flows in the placid plains a fount: four floods 305 Thence water parted lands.  The garden robed With flowers, I wot, keeps ever spring; no cold Of wintry star varies the breeze; and earth, After her birth-throes, with a kindlier blast Repairs. Night there is none; the stars maintain 310 Their darkness; angers, envies, and dire greed Are absent; and out-shut is fear, and cares Driven from the threshold. Here the Evil One Is homeless; he is into worthy courts Out-gone, nor is't e'er granted him to touch 315 The glades forbidden. But here ancient faith Rests in elect abode; and life here treads, Joying in an eternal covenant; And health  without a care is gladsome here In placid tilths, ever to live and be 320 Ever in light. Here whosoe'er hath lived Pious, and cultivant of equity And goodness; who hath feared the thundering God With mind sincere; with sacred duteousness Tended his parents; and his other life  325 Spent ever crimeless; or who hath consoled With faithful help a friend in indigence; Succoured the over-toiling needy one, As orphans' patron, and the poor man's aid; Rescued the innocent, and succoured them 330 When press with accusation; hath to guests His ample table's pledges given; hath done All things divinely; pious offices Enjoined; done hurt to none; ne'er coveted Another's: such as these, exulting all 335 In divine praises, and themselves at once Exhorting, raise their voices to the stars; Thanksgivings to the Lord in joyous wise They psalming celebrate; and they shall go Their harmless way with comrade messengers. 340 When ended hath the Lord these happy gifts, And likewise sent away to realms eterne The just, then comes a pitiable crowd Wailing its crimes; with parching tears it pours All groans effusely, and attests  in acts 345 With frequent ululations. At the sight Of flames, their merit's due, and stagnant pools Of fire, wrath's weapons, they 'gin tremble all.  Them an angelic host, upsnatching them, Forbids to pray, forbids to pour their cries 350 (Too late!) with clamour loud: pardon withheld, Into the lowest bottom they are hurled! O miserable men! how oft to you Hath Majesty divine made itself known! The sounds of heaven ye have heard; have seen 355 Its lightnings; have experienced its rains Assiduous; its ires of winds and hail! How often nights and days serene do make Your seasons'God's gifts'fruitful with fair yields! Roses were vernal; the grain's summer-tide 360 Failed not; the autumn variously poured Its mellow fruits; the rugged winter brake The olives, icy though they were: 'twas God Who granted all, nor did His goodness fail. At God earth trembled; on His voice the deep 365 Hung, and the rivers trembling fled and left Sands dry; and every creature everywhere Confesses God! Ye (miserable men!) Have heaven's Lord and earth's denied; and oft (Horrible!) have God's heralds put to flight;  370 And rather slain the just with slaughter fell; And, after crime, fraud ever hath in you Inhered. Ye then shall reap the natural fruit Of your iniquitous sowing. That God is Ye know; yet are ye wont to laugh at Him. 375 Into deep darkness ye shall go of fire And brimstone; doomed to suffer glowing ires In torments just.  God bids your bones descend To  penalty eternal; go beneath The ardour of an endless raging hell;  380 Be urged, a seething mass, through rotant pools Of flame; and into threatening flame He bids The elements convert; and all heaven's fire Descend in clouds. 3 Then greedy Tartarus With rapid fire enclosed is; and flame 385 Is fluctuant within with tempest waves; And the whole earth her whirling embers blends! There is a flamy furrow; teeth acute Are turned to plough it, and for all the years  The fiery torrent will be armed: with force 390 Tartarean will the conflagrations gnash Their teeth upon the world.  There are they scorched In seething tide with course precipitate; Hence flee; thence back are borne in sharp career; The savage flame's ire meets them fugitive! 395 And now at length they own the penalty Their own, the natural issue of their crime. And now the reeling earth, by not a swain Possest, is by the sea's profundity Prest, at her farthest limit, where the sun 400 (His ray out-measured) divides the orb, And where, when traversed is the world,  the stars Are hidden. Ether thickens. O'er the light Spreads sable darkness; and the latest flames Stagnate in secret rills. A place there is 405 Whose nature is with sealed penalties Fiery, and a dreadful marsh white-hot With heats infernal, where, in furnaces Horrific, penal deed roars loud, and seethes, And, rushing into torments, is up-caught 410 By the flame's vortex wide; by savage wave And surge the turbid sand all mingled is With miry bottom. Hither will be sent, Groaning, the captive crowd of evil ones, And wickedness (the sinful body's train) 415 To burn! Great is the beating there of breasts, By bellowing of grief accompanied; Wild is the hissing of the flames, and thence The ululation of the sufferers! And flames, and limbs sonorous,  will outrise 420 Afar: more fierce will the fire burn; and up To th' upper air the groaning will be borne. Then human progeny its bygone deeds Of ill will weigh; and will begin to stretch Heavenward its palms; and then will wish to know 425 The Lord, whom erst it would not know, what time To know Him had proved useful to them There, His life's excesses, handiworks unjust, And crimes of savage mind, each will confess, And at the knowledge of the impious deeds 430 of his own life will shudder. And now first, Whoe'er erewhile cherished ill thoughts of God; Had worshipped stones unsteady, lyingly Pretending to divinity; hath e'er Made sacred to gore-stained images 435 Altars; hath voiceless pictured figures feared; Hath slender shades of false divinity Revered; whome'er ill error onward hath Seduced; whoe'er was an adulterer, Or with the sword had slain his sons; whoe'er 440 Had stalked in robbery; whoe'er by fraud His clients had deferred; whoe'er with mind Unfriendly had behaved himself, or stained His palms with blood of men, or poison mixt Wherein death lurked, or robed with wicked guise 445 His breast, or at his neighbour's ill, or gain Iniquitous, was wont to joy; whoe'er Committed whatsoever wickedness Of evil deeds: him mighty heat shall rack, And bitter fire; and these all shall endure, 450 In passing painful death, their punishment. Thus shall the vast crowd lie of mourning men! This oft as holy prophets sang of old, And (by God's inspiration warned) oft told The future, none ('tis pity!) none (alas!) 455 Did lend his ears. But God Almighty willed His guerdons to be known, and His law's threats 'Mid multitudes of such like signs promulged. He 'stablished them  by sending prophets more, These likewise uttering words divine; and some, 460 Roused from their sleep, He bids go from their tombs Forth with Himself, when He, His own tomb burst, Had risen. Many 'wildered were, indeed, To see the tombs agape, and in clear light Corpses long dead appear; and, wondering 465 At their discourses pious, dulcet words! Starward they stretch their palms at the mere sound,  And offer God and so'victorious Christ Their gratulating homage. Certain 'tis That these no more re-sought their silent graves, 470 Nor were retained within earth's bowels shut;  But the remaining host reposes now In lowliest beds, until'time's circuit run' That great day do arrive. Now all of you Own the true Lord, who alone makes this soul 475 Of ours to see His light,  and can the same (To Tartarus sent) subject to penalties; And to whom all the power of life and death Is open. Learn that God can do whate'er He list; for 'tis enough for Him to will, 480 And by mere speaking He achieves the deed; And Him nought plainly, by withstanding, checks. He is my God alone, to whom I trust With deepest senses. But, since death con Every career, let whoe'er is to-day 485 Bethink him over all things in his mind. And thus, while life remains, while 'tis allowed To see the light and change your life, before The limit of allotted age o'ertake You unawares, and that last day, which  is 490 By death's law fixt, your senseless eyes do glaze, Seek what remains worth seeking: watchful be For dear salvation; and run down with ease And certainty the good course. Wipe away By pious sacred rites your past misdeeds 495 Which expiation need; and shun the storms, The too uncertain tempests, of the world.  Then turn to right paths, and keep sanctities. Hence from your gladsome minds depraved crime Quite banish; and let long-inveterate fault 500 Be washed forth from your breast; and do away Wicked ill-stains contracted; and appease Dread God by prayers eternal; and let all Most evil mortal things to living good Give way: and now at once a new life keep 505 Without a crime; and let your minds begin To use themselves to good things and to true: And render ready voices to God's praise. Thus shall your piety find better things All growing to a flame; thus shall ye, too, 510 Receive the gifts of the celestial life;  And, to long age, shall ever live with God, Seeing the starry kingdom's golden joys..
After the Evil One's impiety Profound, and his life-grudging mind, entrapped Seduced men with empty hope, it laid Them bare, by impious suasion to false trust 5 In him,'not with impunity, indeed; For he forthwith, as guilty of the deed, And author rash of such a wickedness, Received deserved maledictions. Thus, Thereafter, maddened, he, most desperate foe, 10 Did more assail and instigate men's minds In darkness sunk. He taught them to forget The Lord, and leave sure hope, and idols vain Follow, and shape themselves a crowd of gods, Lots, auguries, false names of stars, the show Is 15 Of being able to o'errule the births Of embryos by inspecting entrails, and Expecting things to come, by hardihood Of dreadful magic's renegadoes led, Wondering at a mass of feigned lore; 20 And he impelled them headlong to spurn life, Sunk in a criminal insanity; To joy in blood; to threaten murders fell; To love the wound, then, in their neighbour's flesh; Or, burning, and by pleasure's heat entrapped, 25 To transgress nature's covenants, and stain Pure bodies, manly sex, with an embrace Unnameable, and uses feminine Mingled in common contact lawlessly; Urging embraces chaste, and dedicate 30 To generative duties, to be held For intercourse obscene for passion's sake. Such in time past his deeds, assaulting men, Through the soul's lurking-places, with a flow Of scorpion-venom,'not that men would blame 35 Him, for they followed of their own accord: His suasion was in guile; in freedom man Performed it. Whileas the perfidious one Continuously through the centuries  Is breathing such ill fumes, and into hearts 40 Seduced injecting his own counselling And hoping in his folly (alas!) to find Forgiveness of his wickedness, unware What sentence on his deed is waiting him; With words of wisdom's weaving,  and a voice 45 Presaging from God's Spirit, speak a host Of prophets. Publicly he  does not dare Nakedly to speak evil of the Lord, Hoping by secret ingenuity He possibly may lurk unseen. At length 50 The soul's Light  as the thrall of flesh is held; The hope of the despairing, mightier Than foe, enters the lists; the Fashioner, The Renovator, of the body He; True Glory of the Father; Son of God; 55 Author unique; a Judge and Lord He came, The orb's renowned King; to the oppress Prompt to give pardon, and to loose the bound; Whose friendly aid and penal suffering Blend God and renewed man in one. With child 60 Is holy virgin: life's new gate opes; words Of prophets find their proof, fulfilled by facts; Priests  leave their temples, and'a star their guide' Wonder the Lord so mean a birth should choose. Waters-sight memorable!'turn to wine; 65 Eyes are restored to blind; fiends trembling cry, Outdriven by His bidding, and own Christ! All limbs, already rotting, by a word Are healed; now walks the lame; the deaf forthwith Hears hope; the maimed extends his hand; the dumb 70 Speaks mighty words: sea at His bidding calms, Winds drop; and all things recognise the Lord: Confounded is the foe, and yields, though fierce, Now triumphed over, to unequal  arms! When all his enterprises now revoked 75 He  sees; the flesh, once into ruin sunk, Now rising; man'death vanquisht quite'to heavens Soaring; the peoples sealed with holy pledge Outpoured;  the work and envied deeds of might Marvellous;  and hears, too, of penalties 80 Extreme, and of perpetual dark, prepared For himself by the Lord by God's decree Irrevocable; naked and unarmed, Damned, vanquisht, doomed to perish in a death Perennial, guilty now, and sure that he 85 No pardon has, a last impiety Forthwith he dares,'to scatter everywhere A word for ears to shudder at, nor meet For voice to speak. Accosting men cast off From God's community,  men wandering 90 Without the light, found mindless, following Things earthly, them he teaches to become Depraved teachers of depravity. By  them he preaches that there are two Sires, And realms divided: ill's cause is the Lord  95 Who built the orb, fashioned breath-quickened flesh, And gave the law, and by the seers' voice spake. Him he affirms not good, but owns Him just; Hard, cruel, taking pleasure fell in war; In judgment dreadful, pliant to no prayers. 100 His suasion tells of other one, to none E'er known, who nowhere is, a deity False, nameless, constituting nought, and who Hath spoken precepts none. Him he calls good; Who judges none, but spares all equally, 105 And grudges life to none. No judgment waits The guilty; so he says, bearing about A gory poison with sweet honey mixt For wretched men. That flesh can rise'to which Himself was cause of ruin, which he spoiled 110 Iniquitously with contempt (whence,  cursed, He hath grief without end), its ever-foe,' He doth deny; because with various wound Life to expel and the salvation whence He fell he strives: and therefore says that Christ 115 Came suddenly to earth,  but was not made, By any compact, partner of the flesh; But Spirit-form, and body feigned beneath A shape imaginary, seeks to mock Men with a semblance that what is not is. 120 Does this, then, become God, to sport with men By darkness led? to act an impious lie? Or falsely call Himself a man? He walks, Is carried, clothed, takes due rest, handled is, Suffers, is hung and buried: man's are all 125 Deeds which, in holy body conversant, But sent by God the Father, who hath all Created, He did perfect properly, Reclaiming not another's but His own; Discernible to peoples who of old 130 Were hoping for Him by His very work, And through the prophets' voice to the round world  Best known: and now they seek an unknown Lord, Wandering in death's threshold manifest, And leave behind the known. False is their faith, 135 False is their God, deceptive their reward, False is their resurrection, death's defeat False, vain their martyrdoms, and e'en Christ's name An empty sound: whom, teaching that He came Like magic mist, they (quite demented) own 140 To be the actor of a lie, and make His passion bootless, and the populace  (A feigned one!) without crime! Is God thus true? Are such the honours rendered to the Lord? Ah! wretched men! gratuitously lost 145 In death ungrateful! Who, by blind guide led, Have headlong rushed into the ditch!  and as In dreams the fancied rich man in his store Of treasure doth exult, and with his hands Grasps it, the sport of empty hope, so ye, so 150 Deceived, are hoping for a shadow vain Of guerdon! Ah! ye silent laughingstocks, Or doomed prey, of the dragon, do ye hope, Stern men for death in room of gentle peace?  Dare ye blame God, who hath works 155 So great? in whose earth, 'mid profuse displays Of His exceeding parent-care, His gifts (Unmindful of Himself!) ye largely praise, Rushing to ruin! do ye reprobate' Approving of the works'the Maker's self, 160 The world's  Artificer, whose work withal Ye are yourselves? Who gave those little selves Great honours; sowed your crops; made all the brutes  Your subjects; makes the seasons of the year Fruitful with stated months; grants sweetnesses, 165 Drinks various, rich odours, jocund flowers, And the groves' grateful bowers; to growing herbs Grants wondrous juices; founts and streams dispreads With sweet waves, and illumes with stars the sky And the whole orb: the infinite sole Lord, 170 Both Just and Good; known by His work; to none By aspect known; whom nations, flourishing In wealth, but foolish, wrapped in error's shroud, (Albeit 'tis beneath an alien name They praise Him, yet) their Maker knowing! dread 175 To blame: nor e'en one  'save you, hell's new gate!' Thankless, ye choose to speak ill of your Lord! These cruel deadly gifts the Renegade Terrible has bestowed, through Marcion'thanks To Cerdo's mastership'on you; nor come' 180 The thought into your mind that, from Christ's name Seduced, Marcion's name has carried you To lowest depths.  Say of His many acts What one displeases you? or what hath God Done which is not to be extolled with praise? 185 Is it that He permits you, all too long, (Unworthy of His patience large,) to see Sweet light? you, who read truths,  and, docking them, Teach these your falsehoods, and approve as past Things which are yet to be?  What hinders, else, 190 That we believe your God incredible?  Nor marvel is't if, practiced as he  is, He captived you unarmed, persuading you There are two Fathers (being damned by One), And all, whom he had erst seduced, are gods; 195 And after that dispread a pest, which ran With multiplying wound, and cureless crime, To many. Men unworthy to be named, Full of all magic's madness, he induced To call themselves "Virtue Supreme; "and feign 200 (With harlot comrade) fresh impiety; To roam, to fly.  He is the insane god Of Valentine, and to his Aeonage Assigned heavens thirty, and Profundity Their sire.  He taught two baptisms, and led 205 The body through the flame. That there are gods So many as the year hath days, he bade A Basilides to believe, and worlds As many. Marcus, shrewdly arguing Through numbers, taught to violate chaste form 210 'Mid magic's arts; taught, too, that the Lord's cup Is an oblation, and by prayers is turned To blood. His  suasion prompted Hebion To teach that Christ was born from human seed; He taught, too, circumcision, and that room 215 Is still left for the Law, and, though Law's founts Are lost,  its elements must be resumed. Unwilling am I to protract in words His last atrocity, or to tell all The causes, or the names at length. Enough 220 It is to note his many cruelties Briefly, and the unmentionable men, The dragon's organs fell, through whom he now, Speaking so much profaneness, ever toils To blame the Maker of the world.  But come; 225 Recall your foot from savage Bandit's cave, While space is granted, and to wretched men God, patient in perennial parent-love, Condones all deeds through error done! Believe Truly in the true Sire, who built the orb; 230 Who, on behalf of men incapable To bear the law, sunk in sin's whirlpool, sent The true Lord to repair the ruin wrought, And bring them the salvation promised Of old through seers. He who the mandates gave 235 Remits sins too. Somewhat, deservedly, Doth He exact, because He formerly Entrusted somewhat; or else bounteously, As Lord, condones as it were debts to slaves: Finally, peoples shut up 'neath the curse, 240 And meriting the penalty, Himself Deleting the indictment, bids be washed!
The whole man, then, believes; the whole is washed; Abstains from sin, or truly suffers wounds For Christ's name's sake: he rises a true  man, 245 Death, truly vanquish, shall be mute. But not Part of the man,'his soul,'her own part  left Behind, will win the palm which, labouring And wrestling in the course, combinedly And simultaneously with flesh, she earns. 250 Great crime it were for two in chains to bear A weight, of whom the one were affluent The other needy, and the wretched one Be spurned, and guerdons to the happy one Rendered. Not so the Just'fair Renderer 255 Of wages'deals, both good and just, whom we Believe Almighty: to the thankless kind Full is His will of pity. Nay, whate'er He who hath greater mortal need  doth need  That, by advancement, to his comrade he 260 May equalled be, that will the affluent Bestow the rather unsolicited: So are we bidden to believe, and not Be willing to cast blame unlawfully On the Lord in our teaching, as if He 265 Were one to raise the soul, as having met With ruin, and to set her free from death So that the granted faculty of life Upon the ground of sole desert (because She bravely acted), should abide with her;  270 While she who ever shared the common lot Of toil, the flesh, should to the earth be left, The prey of a perennial death. Has, then, The soul pleased God by acts of fortitude? By no means could she Him have pleased alone 275 Without the flesh. Hath she borne penal bonds?  The flesh sustained upon her limbs the bonds. Contemned she death? But she hath left the flesh Behind in death. Groaned she in pain? The flesh Is slain and vanquisht by the wound. Repose 280 Seeks she? The flesh, spilt by the sword in dust, Is left behind to fishes, birds, decay, And ashes; torn she is, unhappy one! And broken; scattered, she melts away. Hath she not earned to rise? for what could she 285 Have e'er committed, lifeless and alone? What so life-grudging  cause impedes, or else Forbids, the flesh to take God's gifts, and live Ever, conjoined with her comrade soul, And see what she hath been, when formerly 290 Converted into dust?  After, renewed Bear she to God deserved meeds of praise, Not ignorant of herself, frail, mortal, sick.  Contend ye as to what the living might  Of the great God can do; who, good alike 295 And potent, grudges life to none? Was this Death's captive?  shall this perish vanquished Which the Lord hath with wondrous wisdom made, And art? This by His virtue wonderful Himself upraises; this our Leader's self 300 Recalls, and this with His own glory clothes God's art and wisdom, then, our body shaped What can by these be made, how faileth it To be by virtue reproduced?  No cause Can holy parent-love withstand; (lest else 305 Ill's cause  should mightier prove than Power Supreme;) That man even now saved by God's gift, ma, learn  (Mortal before, now robed in light immense Inviolable, wholly quickened,  soul And body) God, in virtue infinite, 310 In parent-love perennial, through His King Christ, through whom opened is light's way; and now, Standing in new light, filled now with each gift,  Glad with fair fruits of living Paradise, May praise and laud Him to eternity,  315 Rich in the wealth of the celestial hall.
After the faith was broken by the dint Of the foe's breathing renegades,  and sworn With wiles the hidden pest  emerged; with lies Self-prompted, scornful of the Deity 5 That underlies the sense, he did his plagues Concoct: skilled in guile's path, he mixed his own Words impious with the sayings of the saints. And on the good seed sowed his wretched tares, Thence willing that foul ruin's every cause 10 Should grow combined; to wit, that with more speed His own iniquitous deeds he may assign To God clandestinely, and may impale On penalties such as his suasion led; False with true veiling, turning rough with smooth, 15 And, (masking his spear's point with rosy wreaths,) Slaying the unwary unforeseen with death Supreme. His supreme wickedness is this: That men, to such a depth of madness sunk! Off-broken boughs!  should into parts divide 20 The endlessly-dread Deity; Christ's deeds Sublime should follow with false praise, and blame The former acts,  God's countless miracles, Ne'er seen before, nor heard, nor in a heart Conceived;  and should so rashly frame in words 25 The impermissible impiety Of wishing by "wide dissimilitude Of sense" to prove that the two Testaments Sound adverse each to other, and the Lord's Oppose the prophets' words; of drawing down 30 All the Law's cause to infamy; and eke Of reprobating holy fathers' life Of old, whom into friendship, and to share His gifts, God chose. Without beginning, one Is, for its lesser part, accepted.  Though 35 Of one are four, of four one,  yet to them One part is pleasing, three they (in a word) Reprobate: and they seize, in many ways, On Paul as their own author; yet was he Urged by a frenzied impulse of his own 40 To his last words:  all whatsoe'er he spake Of the old covenant  seems hard to them Because, deservedly, "made gross in heart."  Weight apostolic, grace of beaming word, Dazzles their mind, nor can they possibly 45 Discern the Spirit's drift. Dull as they are, Seek they congenial animals! But ye Who have not yet, (false deity your guide, Reprobate in your very mind,  ) to death's Inmost caves penetrated, learn there flows 50 A stream perennial from its fount, which feeds A tree, (twice sixfold are the fruits, its grace!) And into earth and to the orb's four winds Goes out: into so many parts doth flow The fount's one hue and savour.  Thus, withal, 55 From apostolic word descends the Church, Out of Christ's womb, with glory of His Sire All filled, to wash off filth, and vivify Dead fates.  The Gospel, four in number, one In its diffusion 'mid the Gentiles, this, 60 By faith elect accepted, Paul hands down (Excellent doctor!) pure, without a crime; And from it he forbade Galatian saints To turn aside withal; whom "brethren false," (Urging them on to circumcise themselves, 65 And follow "elements,"leaving behind Their novel "freedom,") to "a shadow old Of things to be" were teaching to be slaves. These were the causes which Paul had to write To the Galatians: not that they took out 70 One small part of the Gospel, and held that For the whole bulk, leaving the greater part Behind. And hence 'tis no words of a book, But Christ Himself, Christ sent into the orb, Who is the gospel, if ye will discern; 75 Who from the Father came, sole Carrier Of tidings good; whose glory vast completes The early testimonies; by His work Showing how great the orb's Creator is: Whose deeds, conjoined at the same time with words, 80 Those faithful ones, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Recorded unalloyed (not speaking words External), sanctioned by God's Spirit, 'neath So great a Master's eye! This paschal Lamb Is hung, a victim. on the tree: Him Paul, 85 Writing decrees to Corinth, with his torch,  Hands down as slain, the future life and God Promised to the fathers, whom before He had attracted. See what virtue, see What power, the paschal image  has; ye thus 90 Will able be to see what power there is In the true Passover. Lest well-earned love Should tempt the faithful sire and seer,  to whom His pledge and heir  was dear, whom God by chance  Had given him, to offer him to God 95 (A mighty execution!), there is shown To him a lamb entangled by the head In thorns; a holy victim'holy blood For blood'to God. From whose piacular death, That to the wasted race  it might be sign 100 And pledge of safety, signed are with blood Their posts and thresholds many:  'aid immense! The flesh (a witness credible) is given For food. The Jordan crossed, the land possessed, Joshua by law kept Passover with joy, 105 And immolates a lamb; and the great kings And holy prophets that were after him, Not ignorant of the good promises Of sure salvation; full of godly fear The great Law to transgress, (that mass of types 110 In image of the Supreme Virtue once To come,) did celebrate in order due The mirrorly-inspected passover.  In short, if thou recur with rapid mind To times primordial, thou wilt find results 115 Too fatal following impious words. That man Easily credulous, alas! and stripped Of life's own covering, might covered be With skins, a lamb is hung: the wound slays sins, Or death by blood effaces or enshrouds 120 Or cherishes the naked with its fleece. Is sheep's blood of more worth than human blood, That, offered up for sins, it should quench wrath? Or is a lamb (as if he were more dear!) Of more worth than much people's? aid immense 125 As safeguard of so great salvation, could A lamb, if offered, have been price enough For the redeemed? Nay: but Almighty God, The heaven's and earth's Creator, infinite,  Living, and perfect, and perennially 130 Dwelling in light, is not appeased by these, Nor joys in cattle's blood. Slain be all flocks; Be every herd upburned into smoke; That expiatively 't may pardon win Of but one sin: in vain at so vile price; 135 Will the stained figure of the Lord'foul flesh' Prepare, if wise, such honours:  but the hope And faith to mortals promised of old' Great Reason's counterpart  'hath wrought to bring These boons premeditated and prepared 140 Erst by the Father's passing parent-love; That Christ should come to earth, and be a man! Whom when John saw, baptism's first opener, John, Comrade of seers, apostle great, and sent As sure forerunner, witness faithful; John, 145 August in life, and marked with praise sublime,  He shows, to such as sought of olden time God's very Paschal Lamb, that He is come At last, the expiation of misdeed, To undo many's sins by His own blood, 150 In place of reprobates the Proven One, In place of vile the dear; in body, man; And, in life, God: that He, as the slain Lamb, Might us accept,  and for us might outpour Himself Thus hath it pleased the Lord to spoil 155 Proud death: thus wretched man will able be To hope salvation. This slain paschal Lamb Paul preaches: nor does a phantasmal shape Of the sublime Lord (one consimilar To Isaac's silly sheep  ) the passion bear, 160 Wherefore He is called Lamb: but 'tis because, As wool, He these renewed bodies clothes, Giving to many covering, yet Himself Never deficient. Thus does the Lord shroud In His Sire's virtue, those whom, disarrayed 165 Of their own light, He by His death redeemed, Virtue which ever is in Him. So, then, The Shepherd who hath lost the sheep Himself Re-seeks it. He, prepared to tread the strength Of the vine, and its thorns, or to o'ercome 170 The wolf's rage, and regain the cattle lost, And brave to snatch them out, the Lion He In sheepskin-guise, unasked presents Himself To the contemned  teeth, baffling by His garb The robber's bloody jaws. Thus everywhere 175 Christ seeks force-captured Adam; treads the path Himself where death wrought ruin; permeates All the old heroes' monuments;  inspects Each one; the One of whom all types were full; Begins e'en from the womb to expel the death 180 Conceived simultaneously with seed Of flesh within the bosom; purging all Life's stages with a silent wisdom; debts Assuming;  ready to cleanse all, and give Their Maker back the many whom the one  185 Had scattered. And, because one direful man Down-sunk in pit iniquitous did fall, By dragon-subdued virgin's  suasion led; Because he pleased her wittingly;  because He left his heavenly covering  behind: 190 Because the "tree" their nakedness did prove; Because dark death coerced them: in like wise Out of the self-same mass  re'made returns Renewed now,'the flower of flesh, and host Of peace,'a flesh from espoused virgin born, 195 Not of man's seed; conjoined to its own Artificer; without the debt of death. These mandates of the Father through bright stars An angel carries down, that angel-fame The tidings may accredit; telling how 200 "A virgin's debts a virgin, flesh's flesh, Should pay." Thus introduced, the Giant-Babe, The Elder-Boy, the Stripling-Man, pursues Death's trail. Thereafter, when completed was The ripe age of man's strength, when man is wont 205 To see the lives that were his fellows drop By slow degrees away, and to be changed In mien to wrinkles foul and limbs inert, While blood forsakes his veins, his course he stayed, And suffered not his fleshly garb to age. 210 Upon what day or in what place did fall Most famous Adam, or outstretched his hand Rashly to touch the tree, on that same day, Returning as the years revolve, within The stadium of the "tree" the brave Athlete, 215'Countering, outstretched His hands, and, penalty For praise pursuing,  quite did vanquish death, Because He left death of His own accord Behind, disrobing Him of fleshly slough, And of death's dues; and to the "tree" affixed 220 The serpent's spoil'"the world's  prince" vanquisht quite! Grand trophy of the renegades: for sign Whereof had Moses hung the snake, that all, Who had by many serpents stricken been, Might gaze upon the dragon's self, and see 225 Him vanquisht and transfixt. When, afterwards, He reached the infernal region's secret waves, And, as a victor, by the light which aye Attended Him, revealed His captive thrall, And by His virtue thoroughly fulfilled 230 The Father's bidding, He Himself re-took The body which, spontaneous, He had left: This was the cause of death: this same was made Salvation's path: a messenger of guile The former was; the latter messenger 235 of peace: a spouse her man  did slay; a spouse Did bear a lion:  hurtful to her man  A virgin  proved; a man  from virgin born Proved victor: for a type whereof, while sleep His  body wrapped, out of his side is ta'en 240 A woman,  who is her lord's  rib; whom, he, Awaking, called "flesh from his flesh, and bones From his own bones; "with a presaging mind Speaking. Faith wondrous! Paul deservedly, (Most certain author!) teaches Christ to be 245 "The Second Adam from the havens."  Truth, Using her own examples, doth refulge; Nor covets out of alien source to show Her paces keen:  this is a pauper's work, Needy of virtue of his own! Great Paul 250 These mysteries'taught to him'did teach; to wit, Discerning that in Christ thy glory is, O Church! from His side, hanging on high "tree," His lifeless body's "blood and humour" flowed. The blood the woman  was; the waters were 255 The new gifts of the font:  this is the Church, True mother of a living people; flesh New from Christ's flesh, and from His bones a bone. A spot there is called Golgotha,'of old The fathers' earlier tongue thus called its name,' 260 "The skull-pan of a head: "here is earth's midst; Here victory's sign; here, have our elders. taught, There was a great head  found; here the first man, We have been taught, was buried; here the Christ Suffers; with sacred blood the earth  grows moist. 265 That the old Adam's dust may able be, Commingled with Christ's blood, to be upraised By dripping water's virtue. The "one ewe" That is, which, during Sabbath-hours, alive The Shepherd did resolve that He would draw 270 Out of th' infernal pit. This was the cause Why, on the Sabbaths, He was wont to cure The prematurely dead limbs of all flesh; Or perfected for sight the eyes of him Blind from his birth'eyes which He had not erst 275 Given; or, in presence of the multitude, Called, during Sabbath'hours, one wholly dead To life, e'en from the sepulchre.  Himself The new man's Maker, the Repairer good Of th' old, supplying what did lack, or else 280 Restoring what was lost. About to do' When dawns "the holy day"'these works, for such As hope in Him, in plenitude, (to keep His plighted word,) He taught men thus His power To do them. What? If flesh dies, and no hope 285 Is given of salvation, say, what grounds Christ had to feign Himself a man, and head Men, or have care for flesh? If He recalls  Some few, why shall He not withal recall All? Can corruption's power liquefy 290 The body and undo it, and shall not The virtue of the Lord be powerful The undone to recall? They, who believe Their bodies are not loosed from death, do no, Believe the Lord, who wills to raise His own 295 Works sunken; or else say they that the Good Wills not, and that the Potent hath not power,' Ignorant from how great a crime they suck Their milk, in daring to set things infirm Above the Strong.  In the grain lurks the tree; 300 And if this  rot not, buried in the earth, It yields not tree-graced fruits.  Soon bound will be The liquid waters: 'neath the whistling cold They will become, and ever will be stones, Unless a mighty power, by leading on 305 Soft-breathing warmth, undo them. The great bunch Lurks in the tendril's slender body: if Thou seek it, it is not; when God doth will, 'Tis seen to be. On trees their leaves, on thorns The rose, the seeds on plains, are dead and fail, 310 And rise again, new living. For man's use These things doth God before his eyes recall And form anew'man's, for whose sake at first  The wealthy One made all things bounteously. All naked fall; with its own body each 315 He clothes. Why man alone, on whom He showered Such honours, should He not recall in all His first perfection  to Himself? man, whom He set o'er all? Flesh, then, and blood are said To be not worthy of God's realm, as if 320 Paul spake of flesh materially. He Indeed taught mighty truths; but hearts inane Think he used carnal speech: for pristine deeds He meant beneath the name of "flesh and blood; " Remembering, heavenly home'slave that he is, 325 His heavenly Master's words; who gave the name Of His own honour to men born from Him Through water, and from His own Spirit poured A pledge;  that, by whose virtue men had been Redeemed, His name of honour they withal 330 Might, when renewed, receive. Because, then, He Refused, on the old score, the heavenly realm To peoples not yet from His fount re-born, Still with their ancient sordid raiment clad' These are "the dues of death"'saying that that 335 Which human is must needs be born again,' "What hath been born of flesh is flesh; and what From Spirit, life; "  and that the body, washed, Changing with glory its old root's new seeds,  Is no more called "from flesh: "Paul follows this; 340 Thus did he speak of "flesh." In fine, he said  This frail garb with a robe must be o'erclad, This mortal form be wholly covered; Not that another body must be given, But that the former one, dismantled,  must 345 Be with God's kingdom wholly on all sides Surrounded: "In the moment of a glance," He says, "it shall be changed: "as, on the blade, Dispreads the red corn's  face, and changes 'neath The sun's glare its own hue; so the same flesh, 350 From "the effulgent glory"  borrowing, Shall ever joy, and joying,  shall lack death; Exclaiming that"the body's cruel foe Is vanquisht quite; death, by the victory Of the brave Christ, is swallowed; "  praises high 355 Bearing to God, unto the highest stars.
Now hath the mother, formerly surnamed Barren, giv'n birth:  now a new people, born From the free woman,  joys: (the slave expelled, Deservedly, with her proud progeny; 5 Who also leaves ungratefully behind The waters of the living fount,  and drinks' Errant on heated plains''neath glowing star:  ) Now can the Gentiles as their parent claim Abraham; who, the Lord's voice following, 10 Like him, have all things left,  life's pilgrimage To enter. "Be glad, barren one; "conceive The promised people; "break thou out, and cry," Who with no progeny wert blest; of whom Spake, through the seers, the Spirit of old time: 15 She hath borne, out of many nations, one; With whose beginning are her pious limbs Ever in labour. Hers "just Abel"  was, A pastor and a cattle'master he; Whom violence of brother's right hand slew 20 Of old. Her Enoch, signal ornament, Limb from her body sprung, by counsel strove To recall peoples gone astray from God And following misdeed, (while raves on earth The horde of robber-renegades,  ) to flee 25 The giants'sacrilegious cruel race; Faithful in all himself. With groaning deep  Did he please God, and by deserved toil Translated  is reserved as a pledge, With honour high. Perfect in praise, and found 30 Faultless, and just'God witnessing  the fact' In an adulterous people, Noah (he Who in twice fifty years  the ark did weave) By deeds and voice the coming ruin told. Favour he won, snatched Out of so great waves 35 Of death, and, with his progeny, preserved. Then, in the generation  following, Is Abraham, whose sons ye do deny Yourselves to be; who first'race, country, sire, All left behind'at suasion of God's voice 40 Withdrew to realms extern: such honours he At God's sublime hand worthily deserved As to be father to believing tribes And peoples. Jacob with the patriarchs (Himself their patriarch) through all his own 45 Life's space the gladdest times of Christ foresang By words, act, virtue, toil. Him follows'free From foul youth's stain'Joseph, by slander feigned, Doomed to hard penalty and gaol: his groans Glory succeeds, and the realm's second crown, so 50 And in dearth's time large power of furnishing Bread: so appropriate a type of Christ, So lightsome type of Light, is manifest To all whose mind hath eyes, that they may see In a face-mirror  their sure hope. Himself 55 The patriarch Judah, see; the origin Of royal line,  whence leaders rose, nor kings Failed ever from his seed, until the Power To come, by Gentiles looked for, promised long, Came. Moses, leader of the People, (he 60 Who, spurning briefly'blooming riches, left The royal thresholds,) rather chose to bear His people's toils, afflicted, with bowed neck, By no threats daunted, than to gain himself Enjoyments, and of many penalties 65 Remission: admirable for such faith And love, he, with God's virtue armed, achieved Great exploits: smote the nation through with plagues; And left their land behind, and their hard king Confounds, and leads the People back; trod waves; 70 Sunk the foes down in waters; through a "tree"  Made ever'hitter waters sweet; spake much (Manifestly to the People) with the Christ,  From whose face light and brilliance in his own Reflected shone; dashed on the ground the law 75 Accepted through some few,  'implicit type, And sure, of his own toils!'smote through the rock; And, being bidden, shed forth streams; and stretched His hands that, by a sign,  he vanquish might The foe; of Christ all severally, all  80 Combined through Christ, do speak. Great and approved, He  rests with praise and peace. But Joshua, The son of Nun, erst called Oshea'this man The Holy Spirit to Himself did join As partner in His name:  hence did he cleave 85 The flood; constrained the People to pass o'er; Freely distributed the land'the prize Promised the fathers!'stayed both sun and moon While vanquishing the foe; races extern And giants' progeny outdrave; razed groves; 90 Altars and temples levelled; and with mind Loyal  performed all due solemnities: Type of Christ's name; his virtue's image. What Touching the People's Judges shall I say Singly? whose virtues,  it unitedly 95 Recorded, fill whole volumes numerous With space of words. But vet the order due Of filling out the body of my words, Demands that, out of many, I should tell The life of few. Of whom when Gideon, guide 100 Of martial band, keen to attack the foe, (Not keen to gain for his own family, By virtues,  tutelary dignity,  ) And needing to be strengthened  in the faith Excited in his mind, seeks for a sign 105 Whereby he either could not, or could, wage Victorious war; to wit, that v. with the dew A fleece, exposed for the night, should be Moistened, and all the ground lie dry around (By this to show that, with the world,  should dry  110 The enemies' palm); and then again, the fleece Alone remaining dry, the earth by night Should with the self-same  moisture be bedewed: For by this sign he prostrated the heaps Of bandits; with Christ's People 'countering them 115 Without much soldiery, with cavalry  Three hundred'the Greek letter Tau, in truth, That number is  'with torches armed, and horns Of blowers with the mouth: then  was the fleece, The people of Christ's sheep, from holy seed 120 Born (for the earth means nations various, And scattered through the orb), which fleece the word Nourishes; night death's image; Tau the sign Of the dear cross; the horn the heraldings Of life; the torches shining in their stand  125 The glowing Spirit: and this testing, too, Forsooth, an image of Christ's virtue was:  To teach that death's fierce battles should not be By trump angelic vanquished before Th' indocile People be deservedly 130 By their own fault left desolate behind, And Gentiles, flourishing in faith, received In praise. Yea, Deborah, a woman far Above all fame, appears; who, having braced Herself for warlike toil, for country's sake, 135 Beneath the palm'tree sang how victory Had crowned her People; thanks to whom it was That the foes, vanquisht, turned at once their backs, And Sisera their leader fled; whose flight No man, nor any band, arrested: him, 140 Suddenly renegade, a woman's hand' Jael's  'with wooden weapon vanquished quite, For token of Christ's victory. With firm faith Jephthah appears, who a deep-wounding vow Dared make'to promise God a grand reward 145 Of war: him  then, because he senselessly Had promised what the Lord not wills, first meets The pledge  dear to his heart; who suddenly Fell by a lot unhoped by any. He, To keep his promise, broke the sacred laws 150 Of parenthood: the shade of mighty fear Did in his violent mind cover his vow Of sin: as solace of his widowed life For  wickedness, renown, and, for crime, praise, He won. Nor Samson's strength, all corporal might 155 Passing, must we forget; the Spirit's gift Was this; the power was granted to his head.  Alone he for his People, daggerless, Armless, an ass-jaw grasping, prostrated A thousand corpses; and no bonds could keep 160 The hero bound: but after his shorn pride Forsook him thralled, he fell, and, by his death,' Though vanquisht,'bought his foes back 'neath his power. Marvellous Samuel, who first received The precept to anoint kings, to give chrism 165 And show men-Christs,  so acted laudably In life's space as, e'en after his repose, To keep prophetic rights.  Psalmographist David, great king and prophet, with a voice Submiss was wont Christ's future suffering 170 To sing: which prophecy spontaneously His thankless lawless People did perform: Whom  God had promised that in time to come, Fruit of his womb,  a holy progeny, He would on his sublime throne set: the Lord's 175 Fixt faith did all that He had promised. Corrector of an inert People rose Emulous  Hezekiah; who restored Iniquitous forgetful men the Law:  All these God's mandates of old time he first 180 Bade men observe, who ended war by prayers,  Not by steel's point: he, dying, had a grant Of years and times of life made to his tears: Deservedly such honour his career Obtained. With zeal immense, Josiah, prince 185 Himself withal, in like wise acted: none So much, before or after!'Idols he Dethroned; destroyed unhallowed temples; burned With fire priests on their altars; all the bones Of prophets false updug; the altars burned, 190 The carcases to be consumed did serve For fuel! To the praise of signal faith, Noble Elijah, (memorable fact!) Was rapt;  who hath not tasted yet death's dues; Since to the orb he is to come again. 195 His faith unbroken, then, chastening with stripes People and frenzied king, (who did desert The Lord's best service), and with bitter flames The foes, shut up the stars; kept in the clouds The rain; showed all collectively that God 200 Is; made their error patent;'for a flame, Coming with force from heaven at his prayers, Ate up the victim's parts, dripping with flood, Upon the altar:  'often as he willed, So often from on high rushed fire;  the stream 205 Dividing, he made pathless passable;  And, in a chariot raised aloft, was borne To paradise's hall. Disciple his Elisha was, succeeding to his lot:  Who begged to take to him Elijah's lot  210 In double measure; so, with forceful stripe, The People to chastise:  such and so great A love for the Lord's cause he breathed. He smote Through Jordan; made his feet a way, and crossed Again; raised with a twig the axe down'sunk 215 Beneath the stream; changed into vital meat The deathful food; detained a second time, Double in length,  the rains; cleansed leprosies;  Entangled foes in darkness; and when one Offcast and dead, by bandits'slaughter slain 220 His limbs, after his death, already hid In sepulchre, did touch, he'light recalled' Revived. Isaiah, wealthy seer, to whom The fount was oped,'so manifest his faith! Poured from his mouth God's word forth. Promised was 225 The Father's will, bounteous through Christ; through him It testified before the way of life, And was approved:  but him, though stainless found, And undeserving, the mad People cut With wooden saw in twain, and took away 230 With cruel death. The holy Jeremy Followed; whom the Eternal's Virtue bade Be prophet to the Gentiles, and him told The future: who, because he brooded o'er His People's deeds illaudable, and said 235 (Speaking with voice presaging) that, unless They had repented of betaking them To deeds iniquitous against their slaves,  They should be captived, bore hard bonds, shut up In squalid gaol; and, in the miry pit, 240 Hunger exhausted his decaying limbs. But, after he did prove what they to hear Had been unwilling, and the foes did lead The People bound in their triumphal trains, Hardly at length his wrinkled right hand lost 245 Its chains: it is agreed that by no death Nor slaughter was the hero ta'en away. Faithful Ezekiel, to whom granted was Rich grace of speech, saw sinners' secrets; wailed His own afflictions; prayed for pardon; saw 250 The vengeance of the saints, which is to be By slaughter; and, in Spirit wrapt, the place Of the saints' realm, its steps and accesses, And the salvation of the flesh, he saw. Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, too, 255 With Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, come; Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, And Zechariah who did violence Suffer, and Malachi'angel himself! Are here: these are the Lord's seers; and their choir, 260 As still they sing, is heard; and equally Their proper wreath of praise they all have earned. How great was Daniel! What a man! What power! Who by their own mouth did false witnesses Bewray, and saved a soul on a false charge 265 Condemned;  and, before that, by mouth resolved The king's so secret dreams; foresaw how Christ Dissolves the limbs of kingdoms; was accused For his Lord's was made the lions' prey; And, openly preserved  before all eyes, 270 Rested in peace. His Three Companions, scarce With due praise to be sung, did piously Contemn the king's iniquitous decree, Out of so great a number: to the flames Their bodies given were; but they preferred, 275 For the Great Name, to yield to penalties Themselves, than to an image stretch their palms On bended knees. Now their o'erbrilliant faith, Now hope outshining all things, the wild fires Hath quencht, and vanquisht the iniquitous! 280 Ezra the seer, doctor of Law, and priest Himself (who, after full times, back did lead The captive People), with the Spirit filled Of memory, restored by word of mouth All the seers' volumes, by the fires and mould  285 Consumed. Great above all born from seed Is John whose praises hardly shall we skill To tell: the washer  of the flesh: the Lord's Open forerunner; washer,  too, of Christ, Himself first born again from Him: the first 290 Of the new convenant, last of the old, Was he; and for the True Way's sake he died, The first slain victim. See God-Christ! behold Alike, His Twelve-Fold Warrior-Youth!  in all One faith, one dove, one power; the flower of men; 295 Lightening the world  with light; comrades of Christ And apostolic men; who, speaking truth, Heard with their ears Salvation,  with their eyes Saw It, and handled with their hand the late From death recovered body,  and partook 300 As fellow-guests of food therewith, as they Themselves bear witness. Him did Paul as well (Forechosen apostle, and in due time sent), When rapt into the heavens,  behold: and sent By Him, he, with his comrade Barnabas, 305 And with the earlier associates Joined in one league together, everywhere Among the Gentiles hands the doctrine down That Christ is Head, whose members are the Church, He the salvation of the body, He 310 The members' life perennial; He, made flesh, He, ta'en away for all, Himself first rose Again, salvation's only hope; and gave The norm to His disciples: they at once All variously suffered, for His Name, 315 Unworthy penalties. Such members bears With beauteous body the free mother, since She never her Lord's precepts left behind, And in His home hath grown old, to her Lord Ever most choice, having for His Name's sake 320 Penalties suffered. For since, barren once, Not yet secure of her futurity, She hath outgiven a people born of seed Celestial, and  been spurned, and borne the spleen  Of her own handmaid; now 'tis time to see 325 This former-barren mother have a son The heir of her own liberty; not like The handmaid's heir, yoked in estate to her, Although she bare him from celestial seed Conceived. Far be it that ye should with words 330 Unlawful, with rash voice, collectively Without distinction, give men exemplary (Heaven's glowing constellations, to the mass Of men conjoined by seed alone or blood), The rugged bondman's  name; or that one think 335 That he may speak in servile style about A People who the mandates followed Of the Lord's Law. No: but we mean the troop Of sinners, empty, mindless, who have placed God's promises in a mistrustful heart; 340 Men vanquisht by the miserable sweet Of present life: that troop would have been bound Capital slavery to undergo, By their own fault, if sin's cause shall impose Law's yoke upon the mass. For to serve God, 345 And be whole-heartedly intent thereon, Untainted faith, and freedom, is thereto Prepared spontaneous. The just fathers, then, And holy stainless prophets, many, sang The future advent of the Lord; and they 350 Faithfully testify what Heaven bids To men profane: with them the giants,  men With Christ's own glory satiated, made The consorts of His virtue, filling up The hallowed words, have stablished our faith; 355 By facts predictions proving. Of these men Disciples who succeeded them throughout The orb, men wholly filled with virtue's breath, And our own masters, have assigned to us Honours conjoined with works. Of whom the first 360 Whom Peter bade to take his place and sit Upon this chair in mightiest Rome where he Himself had sat,  was Linus, great, elect, And by the mass approved. And after him Cletus himself the fold's flock undertook; 365 As his successor Anacletus was By lot located: Clement follows him; Well known was he to apostolic men:  Next Evaristus ruled without a crime The law.  To Sixtus Sextus Alexander 370 Commends the fold: who, after he had filled His lustral times up, to Telesphorus Hands it in order: excellent was he, And martyr faithful. After him succeeds A comrade in the law,  and master sure: 375 When lo! the comrade of your wickedness, Its author and forerunner'Cerdo highs' Arrived at Rome, smarting with recent wounds: Detected, for that he was scattering Voices and words of venom stealthily: 380 For which cause, driven from the band, he bore This sacrilegious brood, the dragon's breath Engendering it. Blooming in piety United stood the Church of Rome, compact By Peter: whose successor, too, himself, 385 And now in the ninth place, Hyginus was, The burden undertaking of his chair. After him followed Pius'Hermas his Own brother  was; angelic "Pastor" he, Because he spake the words delivered him:  390 And Anicetus  the allotted post In pious order undertook 'Neath whom Marcion here coming, the new Pontic pest, (The secret daring deed in his own heart Not yet disclosed,) went, speaking commonly, 395 In all directions, in his perfidy, With lurking art. But after he began His deadly arrows to produce, cast off Deservedly (as author of a crime So savage), reprobated by the saints, 400 He burst, a wondrous monster! on our view.
What the Inviolable Power bids The youthful people,  which, rich, free, and heir, Possesses an eternal hope of praise (By right assigned) is this: that with great zeal 5 Burning, armed with the love of peace'yet not As teachers (Christ alone doth all things teach  ), But as Christ's household'servants'o'er the earth They should conduct a massive war;  should raze The wicked's lofty towers, savage walls, 10 And threats which 'gainst the holy people's bands Rise, and dissolve such empty sounds in air. Wherefore we, justly speaking emulous words,  Out of his  own words even strive to express The meaning of salvation's records,  which Is 15 Large grace hath poured profusely; and to ope To the saints' eyes the Bandit's  covert plague: Lest any untrained, daring, ignorant, Fall therein unawares, and (being caught) Forfeit celestial gifts. God, then, is One 20 To mortals all and everywhere; a Realm Eternal, Origin of light profound; Life's Fount; a Draught fraught  with all wisdom. HE Produced the orb whose bosom all things girds; Him not a region, not a place, includes as 25 In circuit: matter none perennial is,  So as to be self'made, or to have been Ever, created by no Maker: heaven's, Earth's, sea's, and the abyss's  Settler  is The Spirit; air's Divider, Builder, Author, 30 Sole God perpetual, Power immense, is He.  Him had the Law the People  shown to be One God,  whose mighty voice to Moses spake Upon the mount. Him this His Virtue, too, His Wisdom, Glory, Word, and Son, this Light 35 Begotten from the Light immense,  proclaims Through the seers' voices, to be One: and Paul,  Taking the theme in order up, thus too Himself derives; "Father there is One  Through whom were all things made: Christ One, through whom 40 God all things made; "  to whom he plainly owns That every knee doth bow itself;  of whom Is every fatherhood  in heaven and earth Called: who is zealous with the highest love Of parent-care His people-ward; and wills 45 All flesh to live in holy wise, and wills His people to appear before Him pure Without a crime. With such zeal, by a law  Guards He our safety; warns us loyal be; Chastens; is instant. So, too, has the same 50 Apostle (when Galatian brethren Chiding)'Paul'written that such zeal hath he.  The fathers'sins God freely rendered, then, Slaying in whelming deluge utterly Parents alike with progeny, and e'en 55 Grandchildren in "fourth generation"  now Descended from the parent'stock, when He Has then for nearly these nine hundred years Assisted them. Hard does the judgment seem? The sentence savage? And in Sodom, too, 60 That the still guiltless little one unarmed And tender should lose life: for what had e'er The infant sinned? What cruel thou mayst think, Is parent'care's true duty. Lest misdeed Should further grow, crime's authors He did quench, 65 And sinful parents' brood. But, with his sires, The harmless infant pays not penalties Perpetual, ignorant and not advanced In crime: but lest he partner should become Of adult age's guilt, death immature 70 Undid spontaneous future ills. Why, then, Bids God libation to be poured to Him With blood of sheep? and takes so stringent means By Law, that, in the People, none transgress Erringly, threatening them with instant death 75 By stoning? and why reprobates, again, These gifts of theirs, and says they are to Him Unwelcome, while He chides a People press With swarm of sin?  Does He, the truthful, bid, And He, the just, at the same time repel? 80 The causes if thou seekst, cease to be moved Erringly: for faith's cause is weightier Than fancied reason.  Through a mirror  'shade Of fulgent light!'behold what the calf's blood, The heifer's ashes, and each goat, do mean: 85 The one dismissed goes off, the other falls A victim at the temple. With calfs blood With water mixt the seer  (thus from on high Bidden) besprinkled People, vessels all, Priests, and the written volumes of the Law. 90 See here not their true hope, nor yet a mere Semblance devoid of virtue:  but behold In the calf's type Christ destined bodily To suffer; who upon His shoulders bare The plough-beam's hard yokes,  and with fortitude 95 Brake His own heart with the steel share, and poured Into the furrows water of His own Life's blood. For these "temple-vessels" do Denote our bodies: God's true temple  He, Not dedicated erst; for to Himself 100 He by His blood associated men, And willed them be His body's priests, Himself The Supreme Father's perfect Priest by right. Hearing, sight, step inert, He cleansed; and, for a "book,"  Sprinkled, by speaking.  words of presage, those 105 His witnesses: demonstrating the Law Bound by His holy blood. This cause withal Our victim through "the heifer" manifests From whose blood taking for the People's sake Piacular drops, them the first Levite  bare 110 Within the veil; and, by God's bidding, burned Her corse without the camp's gates; with whose ash He cleansed lapsed bodies. Thus our Lord (who us By His own death redeemed), without the camp  Willingly suffering the violence 115 Of an iniquitous People, did fulfil The Law, by facts predictions proving;  who A people of contamination full Doth truly cleanse, conceding all things, as The body's Author rich; within heaven's veil 120 Gone with the blood which'One for many's deaths' He hath outpoured. A holy victim, then, Is meet for a great priest; which worthily He, being perfect, may be proved to have, And offer. He a body hath: this is 125 For mortals a live victim; worthy this Of great price did He offer, One for all. The  semblance of the "goats" teaches that they Are men exiled out of the "peoples twain"  As barren;  fruitless both; (of whom the Lord 130 Spake also, in the Gospel, telling how The kids are severed from the sheep, and stand On the left hand  ): that some indeed there are Who for the Lord's Name's sake have suffered: thus That fruit has veiled their former barrenness: 135 And such, the prophet teaches, on the ground Of that their final merit worthy are Of the Lord's altar: others, cast away (As was th' iniquitous rich man, we read, By Lazarus  ), are such as have remained 140 Exiled, persistent in their stubbornness. Now a veil, hanging in the midst, did both Dissever,  and had into portions twain Divided the one shrine.  The inner parts Were called "Holies of holiest" Stationed there 145 An altar shone, noble with gold; and there, At the same time, the testaments and ark Of the Law's tablets; covered wholly o'er With lambs'skins  dyed with heaven's hue; within Gold-clad;  and all between of wood. Here are so 150 The tablets of the Law; here is the urn Replete with manna; here is Aaron's rod Which puts forth germens of the cross  'unlike The cross itself, yet born of storax-tree  'And over it'in uniformity 155 Fourfold'the cherubim their pinions spread, And the inviolable sanctities  Covered obediently.  Without the veil Part of the shrine stood open: facing it, Heavy with broad brass, did an altar stand; 160 And with two triple sets (on each side one) Of branches woven with the central stem, A lampstand, and as many  lamps: The golden substance wholly filled with light The temple.  Thus the temple's outer face, 165 Common and open, does the ritual Denote, then, of a people lingering Beneath the Law; amid whose  gloom there shone The Holy Spirit's sevenfold unity Ever, the People sheltering.  And thus 170 The Lampstand True and living Lamps do shine Persistently throughout the Law and Seers On men subdued in heart. And for a type Of earth,  the altar'so tradition says' Was made. Here constantly, in open space, 175 Before all eyes were visible of old The People's "works,"  which ever'"not without Blood"  'it did offer, shedding out the gore Of lawless life.  There, too, the Lord'Himself Made victim on behalf of all'denotes 180 The whole earth  'altar in specific sense. Hence likewise that new covenant author, whom No language can describe, Disciple John, Testifies that beneath such altar he Saw souls which had for Christ's name suffered, 185 Praying the vengeance of the mighty God Upon their slaughter.  There,  meantime, is rest. In some unknown part there exists a spot Open, enjoying its own light; 'tis called "Abraham's bosom; "high above the glooms,  190 And far removed from fire, yet 'neath the earth.  The brazen altar this is called, whereon (We have recorded) was a dusky veil.  This veil divides both parts, and leaves the one Open, from the eternal one distinct 195 In worship and time's usage. To itself' Tis not unfriendly, though of fainter love, By time and space divided, and yet linked By reason. 'Tis one house, though by a veil Parted it seems: and thus (when the veil burst, 200 On the Lord's passion) heavenly regions oped And holy vaults,  and what was double erst Became one house perennial. Order due Traditionally has interpreted The inner temple of the people called 205 After Christ's Name, with worship heavenly, God's actual mandates following; (no "shade". Is herein bound, but persons real;  ) complete By the arrival of the "perfect things."  The ark beneath a type points out to us 210 Christ's venerable body, joined, through "wood,"  With sacred Spirit: the aërial  skins Are flesh not born of seed, outstretcht on "wood; "  At the same time, with golden semblance fused,  Within, the glowing Spirit joined is 215 Thereto; that, with peace  granted, flesh might bloom With Spirit mixt. Of the Lord's flesh, again, The urn, golden and full, a type doth bear. Itself denotes that the new covenant's Lord Is manna; in that He, true heavenly Bread, 220 Is, and hath by the Father been transfused  Into that bread which He hath to His saints Assigned for a pledge: this Bread will He Give perfectly to them who (of good works The lovers ever) have the bonds of peace 225 Kept. And the double tablets of the law Written all over, these, at the same time, Signify that that Law was ever hid In Christ, who mandate old and new fulfilled, Ark of the Supreme Father as He is, 230 Through whom He, being rich, hath all things given. The storax-rod, too, nut's fruit bare itself; (The virgin's semblance this, who bare in blood A body:) on the "wood"  conjoined 'twill lull Death's bitter, which within sweet fruit doth lurk, 235 By virtue of the Holy Spirit's grace: Just as Isaiah did predict "a rod" From Jesse's seed  'Mary'from which a flower Issues into the orb. The altar bright with gold Denotes the heaven on high, whither ascend 240 Prayers holy, sent up without crime: the Lord This "altar" spake of, where if one doth gifts Offer, he must first reconciliate Peace with his brother:  thus at length his prayers Can flame unto the stars. Christ, Victor sole 245 And foremost.  Priest, thus offered incense born Not of a tree, but prayers.  The cherubim  Being, with twice two countenances, one, And are the one word through fourfold order led;  The hoped comforts of life's mandate new, 250 Which in their plenitude Christ bare Himself Unto us from the Father. But the wings In number four times six,  the heraldings Of the old world denote, witnessing things Which, we are taught, were after done. On these  255 The heavenly words fly through the orb: with these Christ's blood is likewise held context, so told Obscurely by the seers' presaging mouth. The number of the wings doth set a seal Upon the ancient volumes; teaching us 260 Those twenty-four have certainly enough Which sang the Lord's ways and the times of peace: These all, we see, with the new covenant Cohere. Thus also John; the Spirit thus To him reveals that in that number stand 265 The enthroned elders white  and crowned, who (as With girding'rope) all things surround, before The Lord's throne, and upon the glassy sea Subigneous: and four living creatures, winged And full of eyes within and outwardly, 270 Do signify that hidden things are oped, And all things shut are at the same time seen, In the word's eye. The glassy flame-mixt sea Means that the laver's gifts, with Spirit fused Therein, upon believers are conferred. 275 Who could e'en tell what the Lord's parentcare Before His judgment'seat, before His bar, Prepared hath? that such as willing be His forum and His judgment for themselves To antedate, should 'scape! that who thus hastes 280 Might find abundant opportunity! Thus therefore Law and wondrous prophets sang; Thus all parts of the covenant old and new, Those sacred rights and pregnant utterances Of words, conjoined, do flourish. Thus withal, 285 Apostles' voices witness everywhere; Nor aught of old, in fine, but to the new Is joined. Thus err they, and thus facts retort Their sayings, who to false ways have declined; And from the Lord and God, eternal King, 290 Who such an orb produced, detract, and seek Some other deity 'neath feigned name, Bereft of minds, which (frenzied) they have lost; Willing to affirm that Christ a stranger is To the Law; nor is the world's  Lord; nor doth will 295 Salvation of the flesh; nor was Himself The body's Maker, by the Father's power.  Them must we flee, stopping (unasked) our ears; Lest with their speech they stain innoxious hearts. Let therefore us, whom so great grace  of God 300 Hath penetrated, and the true celestial words Of the great Master-Teacher in good ways Have trained, and given us right monuments;  Pay honour ever to the Lord, and sing Endlessly, joying in pure faith, and sure 305 Salvation. Born of the true God, with bread Perennial are we nourished, and hope With our whole heart after eternal life.
The first Book did the enemy's words recall In order, which the senseless renegade Composed and put forth lawlessly; hence, too, Touched briefly flesh's hope, Christ's victory, 5 And false ways' speciousness. The next doth teach The Law's conjoined mysteries, and what In the new covenant the one God hath Delivered. The third shows the race, create From freeborn mother, to be ministers 10 Sacred to seers and patriarchs;  whom Thou, O Christ, in number twice six out of all,  Chosest; and, with their names, the lustral  times Of our own elders noted, (times preserved On record,) showing in whose days appeared i 15 The author  of this wickedness, unknown, Lawless, and roaming, cast forth  with his brood. The fourth, too, the piacular rites recalls Of the old Law themselves, and shows them types In which the Victim True appeared, by saints 20 Expected long since, with the holy Seed. This fifth doth many twists and knots untie, Rolls wholly into sight what ills soe'er Were lurking; drawing arguments, but not Without attesting prophet. And although 25 With strong arms fortified we vanquish foes, Yet hath the serpent mingled so at once All things polluted, impious, unallowed, Commaculate, -the blind's path without light! A voice contaminant!-that, all the while 30 We are contending the world's Maker is Himself sole God, who also spake by voice Of seers, and proving that there is none else Unknown; and, while pursuing Him with praise, Who is by various endearment  known, 35 Are blaming-among other fallacies- The Unknown's tardy times: our subject's fault Will scarce keep pure our tongue. Yet, for all that, Guile's many hidden venoms us enforce (Although with double risk  ) to ope our words. 40 Who, then, the God whom ye say is the true, Unknown to peoples, alien, in a word, To all the world?  Him whom none knew before? Came he from high? If 'tis his own  he seeks, Why seek so late? If not his own, why rob 45 Bandit-like? and why ply with words unknown So oft throughout Law's rein a People still Lingering 'neath the Law? If, too, he comes To pity and to succour all combined, And to re-elevate men vanquisht quite 50 By death's funereal weight, and to release Spirit from flesh's bond obscene, whereby The inner man (iniquitously dwarfed) Is held in check; why, then, so late appear His ever-kindness, duteous vigilance? 55 How comes it that he ne at all before Offered himself to any, but let slip Poor souls in numbers?  and then with his mouth Seeks to regain another's subjects: ne'er Expected; not known; sent into the orb. 60 Seeking the "ewe" he had not lost before, The Shepherd ought  to have disrobed himself Of flesh, as if his victor-self withal Had ever been a spirit, and as such  Willed to rescue all expelled souls, 65 Without a body, everywhere, and leave The spoiled flesh to earth; wholly to fill The world  on one day equally with corpses To leave the orb void; and to raise the souls To heaven. Then would human progeny 70 At once have ceased to be born; nor had Thereafter any scion of your  kith Been born, or spread a new pest  o'er the orb. Or (since at that time  none of all these things Is shown to have been done) he should have set 75 A bound to future race; with solid heart Nuptial embraces would he, in that case Have sated quite;  made men grow torpid, reft Of fruitful seed; made irksome intercourse With female sex; and closed up inwardly 80 The flesh's organs genital: our mind Had had no will, no potent faculty Our body: after this the "inner man" Could withal, joined with blood,  have been infused And cleaved to flesh, and would have ever been 85 Perishing. Ever perishes the "ewe: " And is there then no power of saving her? Since man is ever being born beneath Death's doom, what is the Shepherd's work, if thus The "ewe" is stated  to be found? Unsought 90 In that case, but not rescued, she is proved. But now choice is allowed of entering Wedlock, as hath been ever; and that choice Sure progeny hath yoked: nations are born And folk scarce numerable, at whose birth 95 Their souls by living bodies are received; Nor was it meet that Paul (though, for the time, He did exhort some few, discerning well The many pressures of a straitened time) To counsel men in like case to abide 100 As he himself:  for elsewhere he has bidden The tender ages marry, nor defraud Each other, but their compact's dues discharge. But say, whose suasion hash, with fraud astute, Made you "abide," and in divided love 105 Of offspring live secure, and commit crime Adulterous, and lose your life? and, though 'Tis perishing, belie (by verbal name) That fact.. For which cause all the so sweet sounds Of his voice pours he forth, that "you must do, 110 Undaunted, whatsoever pleases you; " Outwardly chaste, stealthily stained with crime! Of honourable wedlock, by this plea,  He hath deprived you. But why more? 'Tis well (Forsooth) to be disjoined! for the world, too, 115 Expedient 'tis! lest any of your seed Be born! Then will death's organs  cease at length! The while you hope salvation to retain, Your "total man" quite loses part of man, With mind profane: but neither is man said 120 To be sole spirit, nor the flesh is called "The old man; "nor unfriendly are the flesh And spirit, the true man combined in one, The inner, and he whom you call "old foe; "  Nor are they seen to have each his own set 125 Of senses. One is ruled; the other rules, Groans, joys, grieves, loves; himself  to his own flesh Most dear, too; through which  his humanity Is visible, with which commixt he is Held ever: to its wounds he care applies; 130 And pours forth tears; and nutriments of food Takes, through its limbs, often and eagerly: This hopes he to have ever with himself Immortal; o'er its fracture doth he groan; And grieves to quit it limb by limb: fixt time 135 Death lords it o'er the unhappy flesh; that so From light dust it may be renewed, and death Unfriendly fail at length, when flesh, released, Rises again. This will that victory be Supreme and long expected, wrought by Him, 140 The aye-to-be-revered, who did become True man; and by His Father's virtue won: Who man's redeemed limbs unto the heavens Hath raised,  and richly opened access up Thither in hope, first to His nation; then 145 To those among all tongues in whom His work Is ever doing: Minister imbued With His Sire's parent-care, seen by the eye Of the Illimitable, He performed, By suffering, His missions.  What say now 150 The impious voices? what th' abandoned crew? If He Himself, God the Creator's self, Gave not the Law,  He who from Egypt's vale  Paved in the waves a path, and freely gave The seats which He had said of old, why comes 155 He in that very People and that land Aforesaid? and why rather sought He not Some other  peoples or some rival  realms? Why, further, did He teach that, through the seers, (With Name foretold in full, yet not His own,) 160 He had been often sung of? Whence, again, Could He have issued baptism's kindly gifts, Promised by some one else, as His own works? These gifts men who God's mandates had transgressed, And hence were found polluted, longed for, 165 And begged a pardoning rescue from fierce death. Expected long, they  came: but that to those Who recognised them when erst heard, and now Have recognised them, when in due time found, Christ's true hand is to give them, this, with voice 170 Paternal, the Creator-Sire Himself Warns ever from eternity, and claims; And thus the work of virtue which He framed, And still frames, arms, and fosters, and doth now Victorious look down on and reclothe 175 With His own light, should with perennial praise Abide.  What  hath the Living Power done To make men recosnise what God can give And maul can suffer, and thus live?  But since Neither predictions earlier nor facts 180 The latest can suede senseless frantic  men That God became a man, and (after He Had suffered and been buried) rose; that they May credit those so many witnesses Harmonious,  who of old did cry aloud 185 With heavenly word, let them both  learn to trust At least terrestrial reason. When the Lord Christ came to be, as flesh, born into the orb In time of king Augustus' reign at Rome, First, by decree, the nations numbered are 190 By census everywhere: this measure, then, This same king chanced to pass, because the Will Supreme, in whose high reigning hand doth lie The king's heart, had impelled him:  he was first To do it, and the enrolment was reduced 195 To orderly arrangement. Joseph then Likewise, with his but just delivered wife Mary,  with her celestial Son alike, Themselves withal are numbered. Let, then, such As trust to instruments of human skill,200 Who may (approving of applying them
As attestators of the holy word)
Inquire into this census, if it be
But found so as we say, then afterwards
Repent they and seek pardon while time still
205 Is had 
The Jews, who own  to having wrought
A grave crime, while in our disparagement
They glow, and do resist us, neither call
Christ's family unknown, nor can  affirm
They hanged a man, who spake truth, on a tree: 
210 Ignorant that the Lord's flesh which they bound 
Was not seed-gendered. But, while partially
They keep a reticence, so partially
They triumph; for they strive to represent
God to the peoples commonly as man.
215 Behold the error which o'ercomes you both! 
This error will our cause assist, the while,
We prove to you those things which certain are.
They do deny Him God; you falsely call
Him man, a body bodiless! and ah!
220 A various insanity of mind
Sinks you; which him who hath presumed to hint
You both do, sinking, sprinkle:  for His deeds
Will then approve Him man alike and God
Commingled, and the world  will furnish signs
225 No few.
While then the Son Himself of God
Is seeking to regain the flesh's limbs, 
Already robed as King, He doth sustain
Blows from rude palms; with spitting covered is
His face; a thorn-inwoven crown His head
230 Pierces all round; and to the tree  Himself
Is fixed; wine drugged with myrrh,  is drunk, and gall 
Is mixt with vinegar; parted His robe, 
And in it  lots are cast; what for himself
Each one hath seized he keeps; in murky gloom,
235 As God from fleshly body silently
Outbreathes His soul, in darkness trembling day
Took refuge with the sun; twice dawned one day;
Its centre black night covered: from their base
Mounts move in circle, wholly moved was earth,
240 Saints'sepulchres stood ope, and all things Joined
In fear to see His passion whom they knew!
His lifeless side a soldier with bare spear
Pierces, and forth flows blood, nor water less
Thence followed. These facts they  agree to hide,
245 And are unwilling the misdeed to own,
Willing to blink the crime.
Can spirit, then,
Without a body wear a robe? or is't
Susceptible of penalty? the wound
Of violence does it bear? or die? or rise?
250 Is blood thence poured? from what flesh. since ye say
He had none? or else, rather, feigned He? if
'Tis safe for you to say so; though you do
(Headlong) so say, by passing over more
In silence. Is not, then, faith manifest?
255 And are not all things fixed? The day before
He then  should suffer, keeping Passover,
And handing down a memorable rite 
To His disciples, taking bread alike
And the vine's juice, "My body, and My blood
260 Which is poured  for you, this is," did He say;
And bade it ever afterward be done.
Of what created elements were made,
Think ye, the bread and wine which were (He said)
His body with its blood? and what must be
265 Confessed? Proved He not Himself the world's 
Maker, through deeds? and that He bore at once
A body formed from flesh and blood?
This true Man, too, the Father's Virtue 'neath
An Image,  with the Father ever was,
270 United both in glory and in age; 
Because alone He ministers the words
Of the All-Holder; whom He  upon earth
Accepts;  through whom He all things did create:
God's Son, God's dearest Minister, is He!
275 Hence hath He generation, hence Name too,
Hence, finally, a kingdom; Lord from Lord;
Stream from perennial Fount! He, He it was
Who to the holy fathers (whosoe'er
Among them doth profess to have "seen God"  )-
200 God is our witness-since the origin
Of this our world,  appearing, opened up
The Father's words of promise and of charge
From heaven high: He led the People out;
Smote through th'iniquitous nation; was Himself
285 The column both of light and of cloud's shade;
And dried the sea; and bids the People go
Right through the waves, the foe therein involved
And covered with the flood and surge: a way
Through deserts made He for the followers
290 Of His high biddings; sent down bread in showers 
From heaven for the People; brake the rock;
Bedewed with wave the thirsty;  and from God
The mandate of the Law to Moses spake
With thunder, trumpet-sound, and flamey column
295 Terrible to the sight, while men's hearts shook.
After twice twenty years, with months complete,
Jordan was parted; a way oped; the wave
Stood in a mass; and the tribes shared the land,
Their fathers' promised boons! The Father's word,
300 Speaking Himself by prophets' mouth, that He 
Would come to earth and be a man, He did
Predict; Christ manifestly to the earth
Then, expected for our aid,
Life's only Hope, the Cleanser of our flesh, 
305 Death's Router, from th' Almighty Sire's empire
At length He came, and with our human limbs
He clothed Him. Adam'virgin'dragon'tree, 
The cause of ruin, and the way whereby
Rash death us all had vanquisht! by the same
310 Our Shepherd treading, seeking to regain
His sheep-with angel-virgin-His own flesh-
And the "tree's" remedy;  whence vanquisht man
And doomed to perish was aye wont to go
To meet his vanquisht peers; hence, inter-posed,
315 One in all captives' room, He did sustain
In body the unfriendly penalty
With patience; by His own death spoiling death;
Becomes salvation's cause; and, having paid
Throughly our debts by throughly suffering
320 On earth, in holy body, everything,
Seeks the infern! here souls, bound for their crime,
Which shut up all together by Law's weight,
Without a guard,  were asking for the boons
Promised of old, hoped for, and tardy, He
325 To the saints'rest admitted, and, with light,
Brought back. For on the third day mounting up, 
A victor, with His body by His Sire's
Virtue immense, (salvation's pathway made,)
And bearing God and man is form create,
330 He clomb the heavens, leading back with Him
Captivity's first-fruits (a welcome gift
And a dear figure  to the Lord), and took
His seat beside light's Father, and resumed
The virtue and the glory of which, while
335 He was engaged in vanquishing the foe
He had been stripped;  conjoined with Spirit; bound
With flesh, on our part. Him, Lord, Christ, King, God,
Judgment and kingdom given to His hand,
The father is to send unto the orb.
(N.B.-It has been impossible to note the changes which I have had to make in the text of the Latin. In some cases they will suggest themselves to any scholar who may compare the translation with the original; and in others I must be content to await a more fitting opportunity, if such ever arise, for discussing them.)
About these versifications, which are "poems" only as mules are horses, it is enough to say of them, with Dupin, "They are no more Tertullian's than they are Virgil's or Homer's. The poem called Genesis seems to be that which Gennadius attributes to Salvian, Bishop of Marseilles. That concerning the Judgment of God was, perhaps, composed by Verecundus, an African bishop. In the books Against Marcion there are some opinions different from those of Tertullian. There is likewise a poem To a Senator in Pamelius' edition, one of Sodom, and in the Bibliotheca Patrum one of Jonas and Nineve; the first of which is ancient, and the other two seem to be by the same author."
It is worth while to observe that this rhymester makes two bishops out of one.  Cletus and Anacletus he supposes different persons, which brings Clement into the fourth place in the see of Rome. Our author elsewhere makes St. Clement the immediate successor of the apostles. 
In taking leave of Tertullian, it may be well to say a word of his famous saying, Cerlum est quia impossibile est. It occurs in the tract De Carne Chrisli,  and is one of those startling epigrammatic dicta of our author which is no more to be pressed in argument than any other bon-mot of a wit or a poet. It is evidently designed as a rhetorical climax, to enforce the same idea which we find in the hymn of Aquinas: -
"Et si sensus deficit, Ad
firmandum cor sincerum
Sola fides sufficit."
As Jeremy Taylor  argues, the condition is, that holy Scripture affirms it. If that be the case, then "all things are possible with God: "I believe; but I do not argue, for it is impossible with men. This is the plain sense of the great Carthaginian doctor's pithy rhetoric. But Dr. Bunsen sets it on all-fours, and treats it as if it were soberly designed to defy reason, -that reason to which Tertullian constantly makes his appeal against Marcion, and in many of his sayings  hardly less witty. Speaking of Hippolytus, that writer remarks,  "He might have said on some points, Credibile licet ineptum: he would never have exclaimed with Tertullian, 'Credibile quia ineptum.'"Why attempt to prove the absurdity of such a reflection? As well attempt to defend St. John's hyperbole  against a mind incapable of comprehending a figure of speech.
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