Friday, March 31, 2017

Of Just Actions the Companion Kind

Orphic Hymn to Law
tr. by Thomas Taylor


The holy king of Gods and men I call,
Celestial Law, the righteous seal of all;
The seal which stamps whate'er the earth contains,
Nature's firm basis, and the liquid plains:
Stable, and starry, of harmonious frame,
Preserving laws eternally the same:
Thy all-composing pow'r in heaven appears,
Connects its frame, and props the starry spheres;
And shakes weak Envy with tremendous sound,
Toss'd by thy arm in giddy whirls around.
'Tis thine, the life of mortals to defend,
And crown existence with a blessed end;
For thy command and alone, of all that lives
Order and rule to ev'ry dwelling gives:
Ever observant of the upright mind,
And of just actions the companion kind;
Foe to the lawless, with avenging ire,
Their steps involving in destruction dire.
Come, bless, abundant pow'r, whom all revere,
By all desir'd, with favr'ing mind draw near;
Give me thro' life, on thee to fix my fight,
And ne'er forsake the equal paths of right.

Thomas Taylor was the most notable British Neoplatonist of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; this is from his translation of the Hymns of Orpheus. To say that Taylor was philhellenic is an understatement -- he and his wife only spoke to each other in classical Greek, and he translated a vast number of Greek works. William Axon wrote a short article in 1890 summarizing his life, Thomas Taylor, the Platonist.

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