THE HYMN OF CLEANTHESk
THE HYMN OF CLEANTHESkk Cleanthes, the author of this hymn, was a stoic philosopher, a disciple of Zeno. He wrote many pieces, none of which are come down to us, but this and a few fragments, which are printed by H. Stephens, in a collection of philosophical poems..
1 O Under various sacred names ador'd!
2 Divinity supreme! all-potent Lord!
3 Author of nature! whose unbounded sway
4 And legislative power all things obey!
5 Majestic Jove! all hail! To thee belong
6 The suppliant prayer, and tributary song:
7 To thee from all thy mortal offspring due;
8 From thee we came, from thee our being drew;
9 Whatever lives and moves, great Sire! is thine,
10 Embodied portions of the soul divine.
11 Therefore to thee will I attune my string,
12 And of thy wondrous power for ever sing.
13 The wheeling orbs, the wandering fires above,
14 That round this earthly sphere incessant move,
15 Through all this boundless world admit thy sway,
16 And roll spontaneous where thou point'st the way.[Page 69]
17 Such is the awe imprest on nature round
18 When through the void thy dreadful thunders sound.
19 Those flaming agents of thy matchless power,
20 Astonish'd worlds, hear, tremble, and adore.
21 Thus paramount to all, by all obey'd,
22 Ruling that reason which thro' all convey'd
23 Informs this general mass, thou reign'st ador'd,
24 Supreme, unbounded, universal Lord.
25 For nor in earth, nor earth-encircling floods,
26 Nor yon etherial pole, the seat of gods,
27 Is ought perform'd without thy aid divine;
28 Strength, wisdom, virtue, mighty Jove, are thine!
29 Vice is the act of man, by passion tost,
30 And in the shoreless sea of folly lost,
31 But thou, what vice disorders, canst compose;
32 And profit by the malice of thy foes:
33 So blending good with evil, fair with foul,
34 As thence to model one harmonious whole:
35 One universal law of truth and right;
36 But wretched mortals shun the heavenly light;
37 And, tho' to bliss directing still their choice,
38 Hear not, or heed not reason's sacred voice,
39 That common guide ordain'd to point the road
40 That leads obedient man to solid good.
41 Thence quitting virtue's lovely paths they rove,
42 As various objects various passions move.
43 Some thro' opposing crowds and threatning war
44 Seek power's bright throne, and fame's triumphal car.[Page 70]
45 Some, bent on wealth, pursue with endless pain
46 Oppressive, sordid, and dishonest gain:
47 While others, to soft indolence resign'd,
48 Drown in corporeal sweets th'immortal mind.
49 But, O great father, thunder-ruling God!
50 Who in thick darkness mak'st thy dread abode!
51 Thou, from whose bounty all good gifts descend,
52 Do thou from ignorance mankind defend!
53 The clouds of vice and folly, O controul;
54 And shed the beams of wisdom on the soul!
55 Those radiant beams, by whose all-piercing flame
56 Thy justice rules this universal frame.
57 That honour'd with a portion of thy light
58 We may essay thy goodness to requite
59 With honorary songs and grateful lays,
60 And hymn thy glorious works with ceaseless praise,
61 The proper task of man: and sure to sing
62 Of nature's laws, and nature's mighty king
63 Is bliss supreme. Let gods with mortals join!
64 The subject may transport a breast divine.
About this text
Title (in Source Edition): THE HYMN OF CLEANTHES.
Author: Gilbert West
Themes: God; virtue; vice
Genres: heroic couplet; hymn; imitation; translation; paraphrase
References: DMI 22731
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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.
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