Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Selections from the Hymns and Homilies of Ephraim the Syrian and from the Demonstrations of Aphrahat the Persian Sage.: Hymn VI.
1. I will run in my affections, to Him who heals freely. He who healed my sorrows, the first and the second, He who cured the third, He will heal the fourth. R., Heal me, Thou Son the First Born!
2. My sons, O my Lord, drank and were drunken, of the tidings which wrath had mixed; and they rushed on my adornments, and spoiled and cast away my ornaments; they rent and spared not, my garments and my crowns.
3. They uncovered me and I was made bare. Because I was shamed a little, by means of that stripping, the first and the second, because I was shamed a third time, lo! they have stripped me a fourth time.
4. For they have seized and taken away my garments, my ornaments and my gardens. On the sackcloth that girds my altar, look Thou, O my Lord, and have pity on me! Let the sackcloth be to me, O my Lord, the breastplate of salvation!
5. Lo! it is not by the hand of the chaste, that Thou hast chastised me, O my Master! For lo! his shame is before him, and behind him his disgrace; for as to his marriage, adultery is better than it.
6. Lo! his daughter is his wife, and his sister his consort; and his mother whence he came forth, he turns again and takes her to wife! The heavens are astonished that thus, he provokes Thee, and lo! he prospers.
7. And though, O my Lord, my crimes are many, are my offences so heavy, that Thou shouldst make over a chaste woman, mother of chaste daughters, to foul Assyria, mother of defiled daughters?
8. Restrain him that he come not, and wag at me his head, and stamp on me his heel, and rejoice that the voice of his fame, thus troubles the world; and be uplifted yet a little!
9. My sons, O my Lord, have seen my nakedness, yea have uncovered me and wept. Uncover Thou me before my children, who are pained by my pain, and let p. 175 not those mock at me, the accursed that have no pity!
10. My lands had brought forth fruits and pleasant things; good things in the vineyard, abundance in the fields. But as I rested secure, of a sudden wrath overtook me.
11. The husbandmen were plundered, the spoilers heaped the grain; what thou had borrowed and sown these destroyed. With ones debt his hunger, haply will also remain unsatisfied, for his bread is snatched from him.
12. The husbandman, O my Lord, is plundered, for he lent to the earth; she has received the deposit, and given it to a stranger; she has borrowed it of the husbandman; and paid it to the spoiler.
13. Be jealous over me who am Thine, and to Thee, O my Lord: am I betrothed! The Apostle who betrothed me to Thee, told me that Thou art jealous. For as a wall to chaste wives is the jealousy of their husbands.
14. Samson stirred up seas, because he was mightily jealous over his wife, though she was greatly defiled, and was divided against him. Keep Thy Church, for no other, has she beside Thee!
15. Whoso is not jealous, over his spouse despises her. Jealousy it is that can make known, the love that is within. Thou art called jealous, that thou mayest show me Thy love.
16. The nature of woman is this; it is weak and rash: it is jealousy keeps it, under fear every hour. Thou hast been named among the jealous, that Thou mightest make known Thy solicitude.
17. Every man has been master, of something that was not his own; every man has gone forth gathering, something that he scattered not. The day of confusion, I have prepared for myself by my crimes.
18. How shall they bear the suffering, the labourers and tillers? In the face of the vinedresser, they have cut down the vines and driven away the flocks of the husbandman; his sowing they have reaped and carried off.
19. They had yoked cattle sown and harrowed, they had ploughed, planted, nurtured. They stood afar and wept; and they went away bereft of all. The labour was for the toilers, the increase for the spoilers.
20. The rulers, O my Lord, maintained not, order in the midst of Thy wrath. If they had willed it they might have kept order, but our iniquity suffered it not. Though wrath had greatly abated, wrath compelled them to spoil.
21. To whom on any side, shall I look for comfort, for my plantations that are laid low, and my possessions that are laid waste? Let the message of the voice of peace, drive away my sadness from me!
22. Give me not over; lest it be thought that Thou, hast given me a writing of divorce, and sent me away and driven me out! Let them not call me, O my Lord, the forsaken and the disgraced!
23. I have not anything, to call to mind before Thine eyes, for I am wholly despised. Call Thou to mind for me, O my God, this only that none other, have I set before me beside Thee!
24. Who would not weep for me, with voice and wailing? for before the days of full moon I was chaste and crowned; and after the days of full moon, I was uncovered and made bare.
25. My chaste daughters of the chambers, wander in the fields; for the wrath that makes all drunken, has caused my honourable women to be despised. Let Thy mercy which gives peace to all, restore these beloved ones to honour!
26. My elder daughters and my younger, lo! they cry before Thee; the damsels with their voices, they that are aged with their tears; my virgins with their fasts, my chaste ones with their sackcloth!
27. Mine eyes to all the streets, I lift up and lo! they are deserted. There are left of a hundred ten, and a thousand of ten thousand. Give Thou peace and fill my streets, with the tumult of my dwellers!
p. 176 28. Bring back them that are without, and make them glad that are within! Mighty is Thy grace, that Thou extendest it within and without. Let the wings of Thy grace gather my chickens together!
29. Let the prayer of my just men, save my fugitives! The unbelievers have plundered me, and the believers have sustained me. In them that believe put Thou to shame them that believe not!
30. There came together on one day, two festivals as one: the Feast of Thine Ascension, and the Feast of Thy Champions; the feast that wove Thy Crown, and the memorial of the crowning of Thy servants.
31. Have thou mercy because there were doubled for us, these feasts on one day; and there were doubled for us instead of them, even the two feasts in one, suffering from the voice of ill tidings, and mourning from desolation!
32. Give peace to my festivals! for both my feasts have ceased; and instead of rejoicing, of my remnants in festivals, tremblings and desolations meet me in every place.
33. Bring home mine that are far off, make glad mine that are nigh; and in the midst of our land shall be preached, good tidings of joy; and I shall render in return for peace, praise from every mouth!
Next: Hymn VII.
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