The season is aglow, embroidered under the clear sky with flowers,
and the gate of heaven opens with a fuller light.
Higher in the sky the fiery sun traces its path,
which, errant, leaves, then returns to the Ocean waters.
Illuminating with its piercing rays the liquid-clear elements,
though night still briefly stays, it brings day to the world.
The bright heaven raises its cloudless countenance,
while the stars, still clear, testify to their gladness.
The earth in joy pours forth a bountiful variety of offspring,
as the year brings back the full wealth of spring.
Soft beds of violets paints the fields purple,
meadows are green with grass, plants gleam with foliage.
Gradually the starry lights of flowers appear
and pick out the grass like smiling eyes.
From the sown seed milky-rich crops spring forth in the field,
promising to the farmer that he can conquer hunger.
When shoots are pruned the vine stock weeps for joy,
and now produces liquid to furnish wine hereafter.
Rising from the mother stem with soft down
the swelling bud prepares its womb for offspring.
In winter time the canopy of leaves is scattered,
but now the greening wood restores its covering of foliage.
Myrtle, osier, fir, hazel, willow, elm, and maple,
each tree, fair-tressed in foliage, joins the celebration.
Here the bee to build its combs now leaves the hives,
and buzzing round the flowers steals honey on its legs.
The bird awakes again to song which, its music stopped,
had been voiceless, duller than the winter cold.
Here the nightingale tunes its voice to its piping,
and the breeze grows sweeter as it reechoes the song.
Behold, the beauty of the reborn earth declares
that all God's gifts have returned with their lord.
For as Christ celebrates his triumph after the gloom of Tartarus,
the wood with leaves, the grass with flowers acclaim him.
God passes beyond the stars, the laws of hell overthrown,
while light, heaven, fields, and wave give him due praise.
The God who had been crucified, look, now he reigns over all,
and all creation utters a prayer to its creator.
Greetings, holy day, revered for all ages,
when God conquered hell and reached the stars,
ennobler of the year, glory of the months, and bulwark of the days,
illuminator of hours, nourisher of minutes and seconds.
The forest acclaims you with its leaves, the field with its crops,
and the vine gives thanks to you with its silent shoots,
If thickets now ring with birds' soft whispering,
I, the humblest sparrow, among them sing from love.
Monday, June 13, 2011
All Creation Rejoices
Extract from "To Bishop Felix, On Easter" (c. 567-573) by Venantius Fortunatus (6th century AD), from the translation of Michael John Roberts, The Humblest Sparrow: The Poetry of Venatius Fortunatus, pp. 140-146: