Adam of Saint Victor

Brothers, break in jubilation
To the Father of salvation;
Recollect the revelation
Of the seer Ezechiel.
John, by sight and high permission,
Bears him out with great precision;
" Truly saw I, in a vision,
" That which now I truly tell. "

Round the throne of God, most solemn,
(Blessed ghosts in many a column)
Fourfold varied fashion feigning,
Stand the animals of God.
First an eagle's form appeareth;
One a lion's image weareth;
Man and ox the twain remaining;
Four are they, the beasts of God.

Fourfold forms of these four creatures
Mark the four Evangels' features,
Whose instruction heal and ease us,
Bless the church with gentle rain.
Matthew first, and Mark the second,
Luke, and whom the Saviour beckoned,
Whom his father sent to Jesus,
Bidding him leave nets and gain.

Matthew shape of man is given;
For he tells how God from heaven
Came, and was from man descended.
Whom himself had formed and made.
Luke a bullock's image beareth,
Forasmuch as he declareth.
What the sacrifice portended,
What its inner sense pourtrayed.

Calling through the desert places,
Mark, a lion, roars his message:
" Room for God! prepare a passage;
" Cleanse the evil heart from sin. "
John is borne to where his place is,
Fashioned in an eagle's fashion,
Sheer, on wings of strong compassion,
Into light of purer sheen.

Brute, behold, the form of each is,
As prophetic scripture teaches;
But the meaning lies directly
In the application
Flight of wings and wheels' volution
Bear a spiritual solution:
Wheel untiring moves correctly,
Wing is contemplation.

Eke the beasts pourtray succinctly
Acts of Christ in their progression,
Each according to his fashion,
As thou hast already heard.
Man is he declared distinctly;
Bullock is he immolated,
Lion death hath deprecated,
Lastly he ascends a bird.

Paradise is dewed and tended,
Green and flower and fruit in season
Do abound and joy, by reason
Of the rivers' kindly care.
Streams from Christ, the fount, descended,
Run their fatal downward courses,
That the taste of living sources
To the faithful they may bear.

Drunk with drink from these outflowing,
Thirst of love for ever growing,
May we, from a fount more glowing
Be more fully satisfied.
May their doctrine drive and urge us
From the sloughs of vice, and purge us;
Into the divinest merge us,
Led from depths into the height.
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