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Fathers Of The Church, Catholic Edition


Part I

Of the Divine Unity

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

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 opprest

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 comes

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!

Part II

Of the Resurrection of the Flesh

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, may 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 heavens.” 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 not

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.


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,


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-bitter 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.


Touching the People’s Judges shall I say

Singly? whose virtues, if unitedly

95 Recorded, fill whole volumes numerous

With space of words. But yet 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 virtue, 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 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.


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


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—


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 hight—

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

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 delivers; “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 prest

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 calf’s 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 holies.” 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 aerial 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 parent-care

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

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’er 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 hath, 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


What hath the Living Power done

To make men recognise what God can give

And man 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


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 God

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” )—

280 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, interposed,

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.)

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