Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Anicius Severinus Boethius (d. 524)
The Hymn of Philosophy
Roman Poets of the Later Empire
From the ‘Consolation of Philosophy’: Translation of Harriet Waters Preston

UNDYING SOUL of this material ball,
Heaven-and-Earth-Maker! Thou who first didst call
Time into being, and by thy behest
Movest all things, thyself alone at rest,
No outward power impelled thee thus to mold        5
In shape the fluid atoms manifold,
Only the immortal image, born within
Of perfect beauty! Wherefore thou hast been
Thine own fair model, and the things of sense
The image bear of thy magnificence!        10
Parts perfect in themselves, by Thy control,
Are newly wrought into a perfect whole;
The yokèd elements obey thy hand:
Frost works with fire, water with barren sand,
So the dense continents are fast maintained,        15
And heaven’s ethereal fire to earth restrained.
Thou dost the life of threefold nature tame,
To serve the parts of one harmonious frame,—
That soul of things constrained eternally
To trace thy image on the starry sky,        20
The greater and the lesser deeps to round,
And on thyself return. Thou too hast found
For us,—thy lesser creatures of a day,
Wherewith thou sowest earth,—forms of a clay
So kindly-fragile naught can stay our flight        25
Backward, unto the source of all our light!
Grant, Father, yet, the undethronèd mind!
A way unto the fount of truth to find,
And, sought so long, the Vision of thy Face!
Lighten our flesh! Terrestrial vapors chase,        30
And shine in all thy splendor! For thou art
The final Rest of every faithful heart,
The First, the Last! of the expatriate soul
Lord, Leader, Pathway, and Eternal Goal!

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