O! ‘Tis no theme of common things

O! ‘Tis no theme of common things
That wakes my ivory-fastened strings!
To Thee, in solemn Dorian1919He uses the epithet Dorian in a general sense, to express that which is grave and sublime. strain,
I lift my heart and voice amain,
O blessèd, O Immortal One,
The holy Virgin’s glorious Son!
But, O great King, save Thou my life
From cares and woes and worldly strife,
That from calamity all free
Both night and day I may praise Thee.
And to my mind mayst Thou convey
From mind’s own fount, a clear bright ray.


Unto my youth mayst Thou impart
Soundness of limbs and manly heart:
And may my deeds reflect Thy light
In honour, truth, and glory bright.
And on the ripeness of mine age
Mayst Thou the wisdom of the sage
Bestow, with health, the blessed mead
Of harvest rich from well-sown seed.
And on that darling son of mine
May Thy preserving mercy shine,
Whom, when just passing gate of death,
Thou didst restore to vital breath.
O Lord of life, ’twas Thou didst wrench
From Death’s firm grasp, his prey, and quench
My burning grief in floods of joy;
For Thou didst give me back my boy;
And tears, O Father, Thou didst dry,
In answer to Thy suppliant’s cry!
May son and daughter, much loved pair,
Thy kind protection ever share,
And all my house, in happy calm,
Be sheltered by Thine hand from harm!
And, O my Saviour King, bless Thou
The partner of my wedded vow;


From sickness and from sorrow free,
Faithful, one-minded, may she be,
Preserved by Thee from thought of sin,
All bright without, all pure within!
Untouched by roving passions’ tide,
My honoured wife, my love, my pride!
Loose Thou my soul from baneful chains
Of worldly life, its cares and pains,
And floods of dismal grief and woe,
Which overwhelm this earth below.
O! thus prepared may I be found
With holy worshippers around
To lead the choir, and chants to raise
To Thy all-glorious Father’s praise;
And to Thy majesty, great King,
Loud hymns again I hope to sing;
Again in voice of praise Thy name
To bless, Thy honours to proclaim;
May be, my harp I shall again
Tune all-unhurt to highest strain.

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

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