Hymns And Homilies Of Ephraim The Syrian by Ephraim the Syrian
Hymn LV. Lo! the Evil One reproached Death
1. Lo! the Evil One reproached Death, and was in turn reproached: from each and to each and against each, were their taunts. -- 2. R., To Thee be glory, Son of the Lord of All, Who diedst for all: for He was raised to give life to all, in the day of His Coming! -- 3. S., Jonah who conquered thee, and returned back from Sheol, became my advocate in asking, why sinners were spared? -- 4. D., Slander not, O Evil One, the son of Amittai: he showed a face of anger, that they might praise thee more. -- 5. S., Quite powerless is all thy persuasion, O tyrant Death: for there pleases me nothing, of all thou hast said. -- 6. D., For when was the word of truth pleasing to thee? A gulf is between thee and truthfulness, O lying one. -- 7. I am righteous all my days, with nought to repent: I am he that rescues from thee the sons of men. -- 8. S., Proclaim thy repentance, Death, thou art well come: lo! Saul also among the prophets, great cause of scorn. -- 9. If thou, Death, be justified, then for myself: I cut not off hope, likewise, of repentance. -- 10. D., No idol with my Lord have I made, O hater of thy Lord! lo! thou by dead idols, slayest the living. -- 11. S., That thou, Death, art half of me, I know, and I half of thee: if half of me repents, it repents, but I marvel. -- 12. D., Thy partner am I in share, but not in sin: mine are the slain and thine the slayers, whom thou madest sin. -- 13. S., My craftiness weeps for itself, when I dispute with thee: my wiles mourn over me, when I meet thee. -- 14. D., Workers of witchcraft and soothsayers, with all their offences: the fire that thou kindledst in the world, in Sheol I have quenched. -- 15. S., Thou penitent who strainest out gnats, and swallowest the just: the chaste shall rend thee, who cry, from within thy belly. -- 16. D., It is the treasure-house where I keep all the righteous: their resurrection threatens ill to thee, who didst persecute them. -- 17. S., The greedy one who carries all creatures, in his bowels: lo! he casts up to me that I am robbed, of my possessions. -- 18. D., Before the stroke lament not, for it has not yet reached thee: the day will come when thou shalt cry out, and I shall hear and rejoice. -- 19. The fire will come that shall strip off thee thy very skin: as by the potsherd thou didst strip the skin of Job. -- 20. D., The savour of sloth begins, as if to hover on me; it is then a dream that I ceased, for a short space. -- 21. It was not that words failed me, and therefore I was silent: it is for the time I grieve, that has passed idly. -- 22. The hurt done by thy speech is very great: would I had not heard it! For my whole mind is intent upon my work. -- 23. This humankind that is lost, was undone by wandering thought: slothfulness, with negligence, brought it under yoke. -- 24. The madness of desire bid for wealth, and bought it: contention with boastfulness, were the sureties. -- 25. With persistence for strength, I wage my war: and if I neglect but a little, my sway is naught. -- 26. By continual dropping, I clean the rocks: for continual dropping can dissolve even a mountain. -- 27. Habit even over nature, becomes master: it trains and leads even lions, as beasts of burden. -- 28. Habit, repose, and increase, with persistence; by these is freedom conquered, though stubborn above all. -- 29. If its will be firmly set, it breaks the fetters; but if lax, a fragile net, can capture it. -- 30. If so be that Freedom shouts, we are scattered: but if she be silent we gather together, to mock at her. -- 31. Let us cease from much speaking, lest it lead to much sloth: with one mind let us assail the wall, and lo! it is broken down. -- 32. S., Go thou and see to diseases, and I to snares: for to me sins and to thee pestilences, are great solace. -- 33. And even though I have paused, I have not paused from my cares: for my will at no time rests, but is ready.