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The Hymns Of Prudentius by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius


The pure and faithful saint, whose heart is whole,
To God the Father makes his sacrifice
From out the treasures of a stainless soul,
Glad gifts of innocence, beyond all price:
Another with free hand bestows his gold,
Whereby his needy neighbour may be fed.
No wealth of holiness my heart doth hold,
No store have I to buy my brothers bread:
So here I humbly dedicate to Thee
The rolling trochee and iambus swift;
Thou wilt approve my simple minstrelsy,
Thine ear will listen to Thy servant's gift.
The rich man's halls are nobly furnished;
Therein no nook or corner empty seems;
Here stands the brazen laver burnished,
And there the golden goblet brightly gleams;
Hard by some crock of clumsy earthen ware,
Massive and ample lies a silver plate;
And rough-hewn cups of oak or elm are there
With vases carved of ivory delicate.
Yet every vessel in its place is good,
So be it for the Master's service meet;
The priceless salver and the bowl of wood
Alike He needs to make His home complete.
Therefore within His Father's spacious hall
Christ fits me for the service of a day,
Mean though I be, a vessel poor and small, --
And in some lowly corner lets me stay.
Lo in the palace of the King of Kings
I play the earthen pitcher's humble part;
Yet to have done Him meanest service brings
A thrill of rapture to my thankful heart:
Whate'er the end, this thought will joy afford,
My lips have sung the praises of my Lord.

This edition of the Cathemerinon of Prudentius has been prepared for the Temple Classics by Rev. R. MARTIN POPE, M.A. (St John's College, Cambridge, translator of the |Letters of John Hus|), who has done the translation of the Praefatio and Hymns i., ii., iii., viii., xi., xii., with notes thereon and the note on Prudentius. For the rendering of Hymns iv., v., vi., vii., ix., x., and the Epilogus with notes thereon, Mr R.F. DAVIS, M.A. (St John's College, Cambridge), is responsible. The text, with some minor alterations in orthography and punctuation, is that of Dressel (Lipsiae, 1860). The frontispiece is due to the kind suggestion of Dr SANDYS, Public Orator of Cambridge University, to whom the thanks of the translators are hereby presented.

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