“Light-Conveying Light Eternal”: Another Greek Prayer in Verse

I had a lot of fun working on the Greek poem last week, so this week’s “Melancthon Monday” is once again…not Melanchthon. But, Christian humanist that he was, I don’t think he would mind.

For this installment, I’ve again translated a poem from the first book of the Greek Anthology. Actually, “translation” isn’t really the right word this time. The Greek poem consists of three lines in dactylic hexameters, which I have chosen to render with eight lines of iambic pentameters. Part of the reason is that the three Greek lines express more than I could fit into three lines of English verse. Part of it was a desire to expand on hints and suggestions in the poem and bring them more to the surface.

First, the Greek text, which I take from the Loeb:

Ὑψιμέδων θεοῦ υἱέ, φαοσφόρον ἀΐδιον φῶς,

σήν μοι ὄπαζε χάριν καὶ νῦν καὶ ἔπειτα καὶ αἰεί,

ὡς προθέλυμνον ἐοῦσαν ὅτῳ καὶ ὅπῃ κατανεύσεις.

Next, the Loeb’s prose translation:

Son of God, who rulest on high, eternal Light that lighteneth, give me Thy grace now and after and ever, for that is the root of all for him to whom Thou shalt grant it in such manner as is best.

Finally, my version:

You rule on high, O Son of God, the light-

conveying light eternal: give to me 

your grace both now and in the days to come

and thence in heaven’s everlasting now.

For grace and grace alone is all the root

that stretches down so he to whom you grant 

it in the way your providence designs,

illumined by your love, can hasten up.


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