Awake, our lute, the child to sing

Awake, our lute, the child to sing
Of bride unwedded, holy maid;
True Son of the Eternal King,
Ere earth’s foundations yet were laid.

Ineffable Thy counsels, Lord,
Father of all, by which was born
The Christ! a virgin’s throes afford
The Light of Life to world forlorn!

A Man! and yet of ages gone,
And of all ages yet to come,
Throughout eternity, the One
Upholder, Perfecter, and Sum.

Thyself, O Christ, art Fount of Light,
Light of the Father’s Light, bright Ray!
Dark matter thou didst burst; and night
To holy souls Thou turn’st to day.

Yea! Founder of the world Thou art,
And moulder of each starry sphere:
To earth her spurs Thou dost impart;
While men hail Thee their Saviour dear.

For Thee his chariot Titan drives,
The quenchless fount of morning light.
From Thee the bull-faced moon derives
Her power to loose the gloom of night.

By Thee the year with fruit is crowned:
By Thee the flocks and herds are fed:
Productive Thou dost make the ground;
And to the poor Thou givest bread.

For Thou from Thine o’erflowing store
Of grace ineffable and love,
O’er surface of all worlds dost pour
The fertile sunshine from above.

And from Thy bosom forth did spring
To life both light, and mind, and soul:
O pity then Thine own offspring
Imprisoned under hard control,

By mortal limbs, by flesh and blood,
Coerced, and measures stern of fate:
O save Thine own, Thou great and good,
Nor let sick mind sick body hate!

Persuasion to my words nod Thou,
And to my deeds such honest fame,
That truth I never disavow,
Nor Sparta1616Synesius was a native of Cyrene, which was an ancient colony of Sparta. nor Cyrene shame!

But may my soul, unbowed by grief,
Draw all her nourishment from Thee,
Stretching both eyes, in calm relief,
Up to Thy light, from sorrow free!

That, cleansed from dregs of worldly soil,
I may by straight course upward mount,
And ‘scaping from earth’s care and toil,
Be mingled with the soul’s own fount!

Life such of pure content and praise,
Do Thou to Thy poor harper grant,
While still to Thee the hymn I raise,

Translator: Allen W. Chatfield
Author: Synesius of Cyrene, Bishop of Ptolemais

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