To Thee, much loved, be honour paid,
O glorious Child of Hebrew maid!
To Thee I raise the hymn anew,
Who didst the serpent's wiles subdue,
And drive afar the infernal foe
That filled e'en Paradise with woe:
For, subtle with forbidden fruit,
Of woeful knowledge nurse and root,
Our primal founder he o'ercame,
And smote the world with death and shame.
All-glorious Thou with many a crown!
Thou didst to wretched earth come down,
To dwell with man by death assailed,
Thyself in mortal body veiled;
And Thou dark Tartarus didst tread,
Midst countless nations of the dead,
Then Hades, ancient-born, amazed,
Did shudder as on Thee he gazed;
And the all-devouring savage hound2020The fabled Cerberus, Janitor Orci.
Backward recoiled with frightened bound.
But lo! to holy souls, oppressed
With direful woes, Thou gavest rest,
That they in chorus led by Thee,
To praise the Father might be free.
And from below when Thou didst rise,
The demon-hosts beneath the skies,
Unnumbered, quaked, O mighty King,
To hear the judgment Thou shouldst bring.
Then did the stars, immortal band,
Gazing at Thee, astonished stand.
But Ether laughed, the father he--
The father wise--of harmony;
And mingled from his seven-toned lyre
Bright notes of music's holy fire,
Raising to Lord of earth and sky,
The song of victory on high.
And Lucifer, the guide of day,
With smiling countenance was gay;
And golden Hesperus afar
Shot beams, the Cythereïan star.
And shepherdess of right, the Moon
Filled her bright crescent with festoon,
And flowering wreath of liquid fire,
And led her peers in joyous choir.
And through the trackless paths of air
Titan spread out his flaming hair:
For God's own Son, the master Mind
Which did all things create and bind
In mutual law, full well he knew,
From whom his primal fire he drew.
But Thou, as plying heavenly oar,
Or wing of bird, didst upward soar
With holy feet; and o'er the skies
And dark-blue-vaulted heaven didst rise,
Up-mounting to the spheres of light,
The realms of Mind for ever bright.
There goodness from the Fountain-head
In bliss through silent heaven is spread;
There nor deep-flowing restless Time
Drags earthborn children through the slime
Of coarser matter, nor hard fates
Roll turbid floods o'er mortal states;
But Age himself, the ancient-sprung,
Is ageless, old at once, and young;
And in the unfading courts of love
is steward to the blest above.
Songs and Hymns of Earliest Greek Christian Poets, 1876