Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nor in the Heavens Above, Nor in the Sea

[This is one of the posts that temporarily vanished in the recent Blogger Troubles.]

Hymn to Zeus
by Cleanthes
translated by Edward Beecher

Great Jove, most glorious of the immortal gods,
Wide known by many names, Almighty One,
King of all nature, ruling all by law.
We mortals thee adore, as duty calls;
For thou our father art, and we thy sons,
On whom the gift of speech thou hast bestowed
Alone of all that live and move on earth.
Thee, therefore, will I praise; and ceaseless show
To all thy glory and thy mighty power.
This beauteous system circling round the earth
Obeys thy will, and wheresoe'er thou leadest,
Freely submits itself to thy control.
Such is, in thine unconquerable hands,
The two-edged, fiery, deathless thunderbolt;
Thy minister of power, before whose stroke
All nature quails and, trembling, stands aghast:
By which the common reason thou dost guide,
Pervading all things, filling radiant worlds,
The sun, the moon, and all the host of stars.
So great art thou, the universal king,
Without thee naught is done on earth, O God!
Nor in the heavens above, nor in the sea;
Naught save the deeds unwise of sinful men.
Yet harmony from discord thou dost bring;
That which is hateful, thou dost render fair;
Evil and good dost so coordinate,
That everlasting reason shall bear sway,
Which sinful men, blinded, forsake and shun,
Deceived and hapless, seeking fancied good.
The law of God they will not see nor hear;
Which if they would obey, would lead to life.
But they unhappy rush, each in his way: —
For glory some in eager conflict strive;
Others are lost inglorious, seeking gain;
To pleasure others turn, and sensual joys,
Hasting to ruin, whilst they seek for life.
But thou, O Jove! the giver of all good,
Darting the lightning from thy house of clouds,
Permit not man to perish darkling thus;
From folly save them; bring them to the light;
Give them to know the everlasting law
By which in righteousness thou rulest all,
That we, thus honored, may return to thee
Meet honor, and with hymns declare thy deeds,
And though we die, hand down thy deathless praise,
Since not to men nor gods is higher meed
Than ever to extol with righteous praise
The glorious, universal King Divine.

Another translation of the hymn in the previous post, according to different principles.

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