Words: Synesius of Cyrene (now Shahhat, Libya) (ca. 373–ca. 414), Ode III (Αγε μοι ψυχα), dedicated to his
own beloved Libya, on his return from the court of Arcadius. Translated from Greek to English by Allen W. Chatfield, Songs and Hymns of Earliest Greek Christian Poets, 1876.
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Lift up thyself, my soul,
Above this world’s control!
Spend and be spent in holy hymns of praise.
Be armed with pure desire,
Burn with celestial fire;
Unto the King of kings our voice we raise;
To Him a crown we weave, and bring
A sacrifice of words,
A bloodless offering.
Thee on the troubled deep,
Thee o’er the islands steep,
Thee through the mighty continents of land,
Thee in the city’s throng,
Or mountain tops along,
Or when in celebrated plains I stand,
Thee, Thee, O blessèd One, I sing,
Thee, Thee, O Father
Of the world, eternal King!
Thy praise I hymn by night,
Thy praise at morning light,
Thy praise by day, Thy praise at eventide.
This know the hoary stars,
And moon with silver bars,
And chiefly He that doth on high preside
O’er all the host of Heav’n, the sun
Who measuring time for
Holy souls his course doth run.
O mind immutable!
O light inscrutable!
Thine is the eye that guides the lightning fire,
In Thee the ages live,
Thou dost their limits give,
Who can Thy praises reach, eternal Sire?
Thou art beyond the dreams of men;
Beyond the reach of mind,
Or highest angel’s ken.
O’er all Thy rule is spread,
The living and the dead;
To minds that be, the parent mind Thou art;
All Heav’n Thou dost control,
Thou nourishest the soul,
And dost to spirit energy impart,
The spring Thou art whence all things flow;
And from eternity the root
Whence all things grow.