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Full Online Book HomePoemsHierocles Upon The Golden Verses Of Pythagoras
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Hierocles Upon The Golden Verses Of Pythagoras Post by :Judy_McDonald Category :Poems Author :Richard Lovelace Date :October 2011 Read :3875

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Hierocles Upon The Golden Verses Of Pythagoras

ON HIS EXACT TRANSLATION OF HIEROCLES
HIS COMMENT UPON THE GOLDEN VERSES OF PYTHAGORAS.<1>


Tis not from cheap thanks thinly to repay
Th' immortal grove of thy fair-order'd bay
Thou planted'st round my humble fane,<2> that I
Stick on thy hearse this sprig of Elegie:
Nor that your soul so fast was link'd in me,
That now I've both, since't has forsaken thee:
That thus I stand a Swisse before thy gate,
And dare, for such another, time and fate.
Alas! our faiths made different essays,
Our Minds and Merits brake two several ways;
Justice commands I wake thy learned dust,
And truth, in whom all causes center must.

Behold! when but a youth, thou fierce didst whip
Upright the crooked age, and gilt vice strip;
A senator praetext,<3> that knew'st to sway<4>
The fasces, yet under the ferula;
Rank'd with the sage, ere blossome did thy chin,
Sleeked without, and hair all ore within,
Who in the school could'st argue as in schools:
Thy lessons were ev'n academie rules.
So that fair Cam saw thee matriculate,
At once a tyro and a graduate.

At nineteen, what ESSAYES<5> have we beheld!
That well might have the book of Dogmas swell'd;
Tough Paradoxes, such as Tully's, thou
Didst heat thee with, when snowy was thy brow,
When thy undown'd face mov'd the Nine to shake,
And of the Muses did a decad make.
What shall I say? by what allusion bold?
NONE BUT THE SUN WAS ERE SO YOUNG AND OLD.

Young reverend shade, ascend awhile! whilst we
Now celebrate this posthume victorie,
This victory, that doth contract in death
Ev'n all the pow'rs and labours of thy breath.
Like the Judean Hero,<6> in thy fall
Thou pull'st the house of learning on us all.
And as that soldier conquest doubted not,
Who but one splinter had of Castriot,<7>
But would assault ev'n death so strongly charmd,
And naked oppose rocks, with his<8> bone<9> arm'd;
So we, secure in this fair relique, stand<10>
The slings and darts shot by each profane hand.
These soveraign leaves thou left'st us are become
Sear clothes against all Times infection.

Sacred Hierocles, whose heav'nly thought
First acted ore this comment, ere it wrote,<11>
Thou hast so spirited, elixir'd, we
Conceive there is a noble alchymie,
That's turning of this gold to something more
Pretious than gold, we never knew before.
Who now shall doubt the metempsychosis
Of the great Author, that shall peruse this?
Let others dream thy shadow wandering strays
In th' Elizian mazes hid with bays;
Or that, snatcht up in th' upper region,
'Tis kindled there a constellation;
I have inform'd me, and declare with ease
THY SOUL IS FLED INTO HIEROCLES.

Notes:

<1> These lines were originally prefixed to "Hierocles upon the Golden Verses of Pythagoras. Teaching a Virtuous and Worthy Life. Translated by John Hall, of Durham, Esquire. OPUS POSTHUMUM." Lond. 1657, 12mo. (The copy among the King's pamphlets in the British Museum appears to have been purchased on the 8th Sept. 1656.) The variations between the texts of 1656 and 1659 are chiefly literal, but a careful collation has enabled me to rectify one or two errors of the press in LUCASTA.

<2> Lovelace refers to the lines which Hall wrote in commendation of LUCASTA, 1649.

<3> The HORAE VACIVAE of Hall, 1646, 16mo., are here meant.

<4> See Beloe's translation of Aulus Gellius, ii. 86.

<5> HORAE VACIVAE, or Essays and some Occasional Considerations. Lond. 1646, 16mo., with a portrait of Hall by William Marshall, au. aet. 19.

<6> Sampson.

<7> Scanderbeg, whose real name was George Castriot. CASTRIOT is also one of the DRAMATIS PERSONAE in Fletcher's KNIGHT OF MALTA.

<8> So the text of 165 , .e. of the lines as originally written by the poet. Lucasta, <1>659, erroneously has THIS.

<9> "And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith."--JUDGES, xv. 15.

<10> i.e. withstand.

<11> So the text of 1656. LUCASTA has WROUGHT.


(The end)
Richard Lovelace's poem: Hierocles Upon The Golden Verses Of Pythagoras

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