A Translation of Hugo Grotius's Elegy on Arminius

Arminius Searcher of Truths deepest part,

High Soaring Mind, Pattern of quick-ey'd Art;

Soul big with Learning, Taken from this Blind

And Dusky Age, where Ignorant Mankind

Doth tremble hoodwink'd with uncertain Night;

Thou now enjoy'st clear Fields of blessed Light,

And whether that the Truth ows much to thee,

Or as by Nature's Lot Man cannot see

All things, in some part thou didst slip (judge they

Who have that knowing Pow'r, that holy Key)

Surely a frequent Reader of that high

Mysterious book, engaged by no tye

To Man's Decrees, Heav'n knows thou gain'st from thence

A wary and a Quiet Conscience.

Full both of Rest and Joy in that blest Seat

Thou find'st what here thou sought'st, and seest how great

A Cloud doth muffle Mortals, what a small,

A vain and empty nothing is that All

We here call Knowledge, puff'd with which we Men

Stalk high, oppress, and are oppress'd agen.

Hence do these greater Wars of Mars arise,

Hence lower Hatreds, mean while Truth far flies,

And that good friend of Holy Peace disdains

To shew her self where strife and tumult raigns:

Whence is this Fury, whence this eager Lust

And itch of fighting setled in us? must

Our God become the Subject of our War?

Why sides, so new, so many? hath the Tare

Of the mischievous Enemy by Night

Been scatter'd in Christ's fields? or doth the spight

Of our depraved Nature, prone to rage,

Suck in all kind of Fuell, and engage

Man as a Party in Gods Cause? or ought

The Curious World whiles that it suffers nought

To lye obscure, and ransakes every Room

Block'd up from Knowledge justly feel this doom?

As that proud Number when they thought to raise

Insolent Buildings, and to reach new waies

Spread into thousand Languages, and flung

Off the old Concord of their single Tongue.

Alas what's our Intent poor little Flock

Cull'd out of all the world? we bear the Stock

Of new distractions dayly, daily new,

Scoft by the Turk, not pittied by the Jew:

Happy sincere Religion, set apart

As far from Common Faction, as from Art;

Which being sure all Staines are wash'd away

By Christ's large Passsion, boldly here doth lay

All Hope and Faith believing that Just One

Bestoweth life, but payes Confusion;

Whose practice being Love, cares not to pry

Into the secrets of a Mystery;

Not by an over-anxious Search to know

If future things do come to pass or no,

By a defined Law; how God wills too,

Void of't himself, how not, how far our will

Is sweyed by its Mover, what strict Laws

Exercis'd on it by the highest Cause:

And happy he, who free from all By-ends,

Gapes not for filthy Lucre, nor intends

The noise of Empty Armour, but rais'd high

To better Cares, minds Heaven; and doth try

To see and know the Deity only there

Where he himself discloseth; and with fear

Takes wary steps in narrow waies, led by

The Clew of that good Book that cannot ly;

Who in the midst of Jars walks equall by

An even freedom mix'd with Charity:

Whose pure refined Moderation

Condemn'd of all, it self condemneth none;

Who keeping Modest Limits now doth please

To speak for truth, now holds his Tongue for Peace;

These things in Publike, these in private too,

These neer thine end, thou Counsail'dst still to do,

Arminius when ev'n suffering decay

Under long Cares, weary of further stay

In an unthankfull froward Age, when found

Broke in that slighter part, i'th' better sound;

Thou wert enflam'd, and wholly bent to see

Those Kingdoms unto Thousands shewn by thee;

And thou a Star now added to the Seat

Of that thy Fathers Temple, dost entreat

God that he give us as much Light as is fit

Unto his Flock, and grant Content with it;

That he give Teachers, such as do not vent

Their private Fancies; give a full Consent

Of Hearts, if not of Tongues, and do away

By powerfull fire all dim and base Alay

Of mixt dissentions, that Christs's City be

Link'd and united in one amity;

Breath all alike, and being free from strife,

To Heav'n make good their faith, to Earth their life.

Author of original: 
Hugo Grotius
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