Saturday, April 07, 2012

A Poem On Easter

The seasons blush varied
with the flowery, fair weather,
and the gate of the pole
lies open with greater light.

His path in the heaven raises
the fire-breathing sun higher,
who goes forth on his course,
and enters the waters of the ocean.

Armed with rays
traversing the liquid elements,
in this brief night
he stretches out the day in a circle.

The brilliant firmament
puts forth its clear countenance,
and the bright stars show their joy.

The fruitful earth pours forth
its gifts with varied increase,
when the year has well
returned its vernal riches.

Soft beds of violets
paint the purple plain;
the meadows are green with plants,
and the plant shines with its leaves.

By degrees gleaming brightness
of the flowers comes forth;
all the herbs smile with their blossoms.

The seed being deposited,
the grain springs up
far and wide in the fields,
promising to be able to
overcome the hunger of the husbandman.

Having deserted its stem,
the vine-shoot bewails its joys;
the vine gives water only
from the source from which
it is wont to give wine.

The swelling bud,
rising with tender down
from the back of its mother,
prepares its bosom for bringing forth.

Its foliage having been
torn off in the wintry season,
the verdant grove now
renews its leafy shelter.

Mingled together, the willow, the fir,
the hazel, the osier, the elm, the maple,
the walnut, each tree applauds,
delightful with its leaves.

Hence the bee, about to construct its comb,
leaving the hive, humming over the flowers,
carries off honey with its leg.

The bird which, having closed its song, was dumb,
sluggish with the wintry cold,
returns to its strains.

Hence Philomela attunes her notes
with her own instruments,
and the air becomes sweeter
with the re-echoed melody.

Behold, the favor of the reviving world
bears witness that all gifts have returned
together with its Lord.

For in honour of Christ rising triumphant
after His descent to the gloomy Tartarus,
the grove on every side
with its leaves expresses approval,
the plants with their flowers express approval.

The light, the heaven, the fields, and the sea
duly praise the God ascending above the stars,
having crushed the laws of hell.

Behold, He who was crucified
reigns as God over all things,
and all created objects
offer prayer to their Creator.

Hail, festive day,
to be reverenced throughout the world,
on which God has conquered hell,
and gains the stars!

The changes of the year and of the months,
the bounteous light of the days,
the splendour of the hours,
all things with voice applaud.

Hence, in honour of you,
the wood with its foliage applauds;
hence the vine, with its silent shoot, gives thanks.

Hence the thickets now resound
with the whisper of birds;
amidst these the sparrow sings
with exuberant love.

O Christ, You Saviour of the world,
merciful Creator and Redeemer,
the only offspring from the Godhead of the Father,
flowing in an indescribable manner
from the heart of Your Parent,
You self-existing Word,
and powerful from the mouth of Your Father,
equal to Him, of one mind with Him,
His fellow, coeval with the Father,
from whom at first the world derived its origin!

You suspend the firmament,
You heap together the soil,
You pour forth the seas,
by whose government all things
which are fixed in their places flourish.

Who seeing that the human race
was plunged in the depth of misery,
that You might rescue man,
Yourself also became man:
nor were You willing only
to be born with a body,
but You became flesh,
which endured to be born and to die.

You undergo funeral obsequies,
Yourself the author of life
and framer of the world,
You enter the path of death,
in giving the aid of salvation.

The gloomy chains of the infernal law yielded,
and chaos feared to be pressed
by the presence of the light.

Darkness perishes, put to flight
by the brightness of Christ;
the thick pall of eternal night falls.

But restore the promised pledge,
I pray You, O power benign!
The third day has returned;
arise, my buried One;
it is not becoming that Your limbs
should lie in the lowly sepulcher,
nor that worthless stones should press
that which is the ransom of the world.

It is unworthy that a stone
should shut in with a confining rock,
and cover Him in whose fist
all things are enclosed.

Take away the linen clothes, I pray;
leave the napkins in the tomb:
You are sufficient for us,
and without You there is nothing.

Release the chained shades of the infernal prison,
and recall to the upper regions
whatever sinks to the lowest depths.

Give back Your face,
that the world may see the light;
give back the day
which flees from us at Your death.

But returning, O holy conqueror!
You altogether filled the heaven!
Tartarus lies depressed,
nor retains its rights.

The ruler of the lower regions,
insatiably opening his hollow jaws,
who has always been a spoiler,
becomes a prey to You.

You rescue an innumerable people
from the prison of death,
and they follow in freedom
to the place whither their leader approaches.

The fierce monster in alarm
vomits forth the multitude
whom he had swallowed up,
and the Lamb withdraws the sheep
from the jaw of the wolf.

Hence re-seeking the tomb
from the lower regions,
having resumed Your flesh,
as a warrior You carry back
ample trophies to the heavens.

Those whom chaos held in punishment
he has now restored;
and those whom death might seek,
a new life holds.

Oh, sacred King,
behold a great part of Your triumph shines forth,
when the sacred laver blesses pure souls!

A host, clad in white,
come forth from the bright waves,
and cleanse their old fault in a new stream.

The white garment also designates bright souls,
and the shepherd has enjoyments
from the snow-white flock.

The priest Felix is added
sharing in this reward,
who wishes to give
double talents to his Lord.

Drawing those who wander
in Gentile error to better things,
that a beast of prey
may not carry them away,
He guards the fold of God.

Those whom guilty Eve had before infected,
He now restores, fed with abundant milk
at the bosom of the Church.

By cultivating rustic hearts
with mild conversations,
a crop is produced from a briar
by the bounty of Felix.

The Saxon, a fierce nation,
living as it were
after the manner of wild beasts,
when you, O sacred One! Apply a remedy,
the beast of prey resembles the sheep.

About to remain with you
through an age with the return
of a hundred-fold you fill the barns
with the produce of an abundant harvest.

May this people, free from stain,
be strengthened in your arms,
and may you bear to the stars
a pure pledge to God.

May one crown be bestowed on you
from on high gained from yourself,
may another flourish gained from your people.
On Easter, by Saint Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus (ca.530–ca.600/609-10) He was a bishop, wrote many poems and histories, and his feastday is December 14th.

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