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{p. 36}


Introduction, 1-6. A time of plagues and wickedness, 7-15. The tenth race, 16-28. A time of peace, 29-36. Great sign and contest, 37-63. A chapter of proverbs, 64-188. The contest, 189-195. Woes of the last generation, 196-222. Events of the last day, 223-263. Resurrection and judgment, 264-312. Punishment of the wicked, 313-383. Blessedness of the righteous, 384-403. Some saved from the fire, 404-415. The Sibyl's wail, 416-427.

{p. 37}


    Now while I much entreated God restrained
My wise song, also in my breast again
He put the charming voice of words divine.
In my whole body terror-stricken these
5 I follow; for I know not that I speak,
    But God impels me to proclaim each thing.
But when on earth come shocks, fierce thunderbolts,
Thunders and lightnings, storms, and evil blight,
And rage of jackals and of wolves, manslaughter,
10 Destruction of men and of lowing kine,
Four-footed cattle and laborious mules,
And goats and sheep, then shall the ample field
Be barren from neglect, and fruits shall fail,
And there shall be a selling of their freedom
15 Among most men, and robbery of temples.
And then shall, after these, appear of men
The tenth race, when the earth-shaking Lightener
Shall break the zeal for idols and shall shake
The people of seven-hilled Rome, and riches great

[1. This second book appears to be a continuation of the preceding, and was probably written by the same author, In several manuscripts the two books are found united and placed after the third book. The appropriation of verses from the third and eighth books shows the later composition of these first two books, which our compiler assigned to their present position on account of their contents.

6. I know not.--Comp. Plato, Apol., 22, where Socrates observes that "not by wisdom do poets write poetry, but by a sort of genius and inspiration; they are like diviners who also say many fine things, but do not understand the meaning of them."]


{p. 38}

20 Shall perish, burned by Vulcan's fiery flame.
And then shall bloody signs from heaven descend--
      .     .     .     .     .
But yet the whole world of unnumbered men
Enraged shall kill each other, and in tumult
Shall God send famines, plagues, and thunderbolts
25 On men who, without justice, judge of rights.
And lack of men shall be in all the world,
So that if anyone beheld a trace
Of man on earth, he would be wonderstruck.
And then shall the great God who dwells in heaven
30 Saviour of pious men in all things prove.
And then shall there be peace and wisdom deep,
And the fruit-bearing land shall yield again
Abundant fruits, divided not in parts
Nor yet enslaved. And every harbor then,
35 And every haven, shall be free to men
As formerly, and shamelessness shall perish.
    And then will God show mortals a great sign:
For like a lustrous crown shall shine a star,
Bright, all-resplendent, from the radiant heaven
40 Days not a few; and then will he display
From heaven a crown for contest unto men
Who wrestle. And then there shall be again
A mighty contest of triumphal march

[21. There seems to be a lacuna of one line after this, containing perhaps a mention of omens and drops of blood, as in book xii, 73, where a similar thought is found.

43. Contest of triumphal march.--Allusion to the iselastic ({Greek ei'selastiko's}) contests, the victors in which were conducted into their own city through a broken part of the wall. See Pliny, book x, Epis. 119 and 120, in which these games are mentioned. Alexandre conjectures that this whole passage (lines 37-63) concerning contests and crowns was first written in a time of persecution to inspire to fidelity; but after persecution had ceased it was accommodated to the more common struggles of the Christian life.]


{p. 39}

Into the heavenly sky, and it shall be
45 For all men in the world, and have the fame
Of immortality. And every people
Shall then in the immortal contests strive
For splendid victory. For no one there
Can shamelessly with silver buy a crown.
50 For unto them will the pure Christ adjudge
That which is due, and crown the ones approved,
And give his martyrs an immortal prize
Who carry on the contest unto death.
And unto chaste men who run their race well
55 Will he the incorruptible reward
Of the prize give, and to all men allot
That which is due, and also to strange nations
That live a holy life and know one God.
And those who have regard for marriages
60 And keep themselves far from adulteries,
To them rich gifts, eternal hope, he'll give.
For every human soul is God's free gift,
And 'tis not right men stain it with vile deeds.
    [Do not be rich unrighteously, but lead

[64. The passage beginning here and ending with line 188, and consisting mainly of proverbs, has every appearance of an interpolation. It breaks the connection of thought and the figure of the iselastic contest, which is continued in lines 189-195. The passage is for the most part taken from a poem of 217 lines in hexameter verse, entitled {Greek poi'hma nouðetiko'n} (admonitory poem), and attributed to Phocylides, a gnomic poet of Miletus (born about B. C. 560). Very few, however, will seriously accept these lines as a genuine production of a contemporary of Theognis. They are without much doubt the composition of a Christian writer, and possibly, but not probably, by the author of the second book of the Sibylline Oracles. The variations between the two texts are considerable, the Sibyllines adding many lines not found in Phocylides, and Phocylides having a few not found in the Sibyllines.]


{p. 40}

65 A life of probity. Be satisfied
With what thou hast and keep thyself from that
Which is another's. Speak not what is false,
But have a care for all things that are true.
Revere not idols vainly; but the God
40 Imperishable honor always first,
And next thy parents. Render all things due,
And into unjust judgment come thou not.
Do not cast out the poor unrighteously,
Nor judge by outward show; if wickedly
75 Thou judgest, God hereafter will judge thee.
Avoid false testimony; tell the truth.
Maintain thy virgin purity, and guard
Love among all. Deal measures that are just;
For beautiful is measure full to all.
80 Strike not the scales oneside, but draw them equal.
Forswear not ignorantly nor willingly;
God hates the perjured man in that he swore.
A gift proceeding out of unjust deeds
Never receive in hand. Do not steal seed;
85 Accursed through many generations he
Who took it unto scattering of life.
Indulge not vile lusts, slander not, nor kill.
Give the toilworn his hire; do not afflict
The poor man. Unto orphans help afford
90 And to widows and the needy. Talk with sense;
Hold fast in heart a secret. Be unwilling
To act unjustly nor yet tolerate
Unrighteous men. Give to the poor at once
And say not, "Come to-morrow." Of thy grain
95 Give to the needy with perspiring hand.

[95. With perspiring hand.--So Mendelssohn, Philologus, xlix, 2, p. 246. Comp. Rzach, p. xix.]


{p. 41}

He who gives alms knows how to lend to God.
Mercy redeems from death when judgment comes.
Not sacrifice, but mercy God desires
Rather than sacrifice. The naked clothe,
100 Share thy bread with the hungry, in thy house
Receive the shelterless and lead the blind.
Pity the shipwrecked; for the voyage is
Uncertain. To the fallen give a hand;
And save the man that stands without defense.
105 Common to all is suffering, life's a wheel,
Riches unstable. Having wealth, reach out
To the poor thy hand. Of what God gave to thee
Bestow thou also on the needy one.
Common is the whole life of mortal men;
110 But it comes out unequal. When thou seest
A poor man never banter him with words,
Nor harshly accost a man who may be blamed.
One's life in death is proven; if one did
The unlawful or just, it shall be decided
115 When he to judgment comes. Disable not
Thy mind with wine nor drink excessively.
Eat not blood, and abstain from things
Offered to idols. Gird not on the sword
For slaughter, but defense; and would thou might
120 It neither lawlessly nor justly use:
For if thou kill an enemy thy hand
Thou dost defile. Keep from thy neighbor's field,
Nor trespass on it; just is every landmark,
And trespass painful. Useful is possession
125 Of lawful wealth, but of unrighteous gains
'Tis worthless. Harm not any growing fruit
Of the field. And let strangers be esteemed
In equal honor with the citizens;


{p. 42}

For much-enduring hospitality
130 Shall all experience as each other's guests;
But let there not be anyone a stranger
Among you, since, ye mortals, all of you
Are of one 'blood, and no land has for men
Any sure place. Wish not nor pray for wealth;
135 But pray to live from few things and possess
Nothing at all unjust. The love of gain
Is mother of all evil. Do not long
For gold or silver; in them there will be
A double-edged and soul-destroying iron.
140 A snare to men continually are gold
And silver. Gold, of evils source, of life
Destructive, troubling all things, would that thou
Wert, not to mortals such a longed-for bane!
For wars, because of thee, and pillaging
145 And murders come, and children hate their sires,
And brothers and sisters those of their own blood.
Plot no deceit, and do not arm thy heart
Against a friend. Keep not concealed within
A different thought from what thou speakest forth;
150 Nor, like rock-clinging polyp, change with place.
But with all be frank, and things from the soul
Speak thou forth. Whosoever willfully
Commits a wrong, an evil man is he;
But he that does it under force, the end
155 I tell not; but let each man's will be right.
Pride not thyself in wisdom, power, or wealth;
God only is the wise and mighty one
And full of riches. Do not vex thy heart
With evils that are past; for what is done
160 Can never be undone. Let not thy hand
Be hasty, but ferocious passion curb;


{p. 43}

For many times has one in striking done
Murder without design. Let suffering
Be common, neither great nor overmuch.
165 Excessive good has not brought forth to men
That which is helpful. And much luxury
Leads to immoderate lusts. Much wealth is prowl,
And makes one grow to wanton violence.
Passionate feeling, creeping in, effects
170 Destructive madness. Anger is a lust,
And when it is excessive it is wrath.
The zeal of good men is a noble thing,
But of the base is base. Of wicked men
The boldness is destructive, but renown
175 Follows that of the good. To be revered
Is virtuous love, but that of Cypris works
Increase of shame. A silly man is called
Very agreeable among his fellows.
With moderation eat, drink, and converse;
180 Of all things moderation is the best;
But trespass of its limit brings to grief.
Be not thou envious, faithless, or abusive,
Or evil-minded, or a false deceiver.
Be prudent and abstain from shameless deeds.
185 Imitate not what's evil, but leave thou
Vengeance to justice; for persuasion is
A useful thing, but strife engenders strife.
Trust not too quickly ere thou see the end.]
    This is the contest, these are the rewards;
190 These are the prizes; this the gate of life

[176. Cypris.--Another name for Aphrodite (or Venus), love. She is fabled to have sprung from the foam of the sea and to have first stepped ashore on the island of Cyprus, The love of Cypris here means impure sexual love.

189. This is the contest.--Obvious allusion to the iselastic contest {footnote p. 43} described in lines 42-63 above, and showing the passage 64-188 to be an interpolation. The compiler who inserted the passage here probably considered these proverbs so many precepts to guide one in the great contest for immortality.]


{p. 44}

And entrance into immortality,
Which God in heaven unto most righteous men
Appointed a reward for victory;
And through this gate shall gloriously pass
195 Those who shall then receive the victor's crown.
    But when this sign shall everywhere appear--
Children with gray hair on their temples born--
And human sufferings, famines, plagues, and wars,
And change of times, and many a tearful wail,
200 Ah! of how many parents in the lands
Will children mourn and piteously weep,
And with shrouds bury flesh and limbs in earth,
Mother of peoples, with the blood and dust
Themselves defiling. O ye wretched men
205 Of the last generation, evil doers,
Terrible, childish, not perceiving this,
That when the tribes of women do not bear
The harvest time of mortal men is come.
Near is the ruin when impostors come
210 Instead of prophets speaking on the earth.
And Beliar shall come and many signs
Perform for men. And then of holy men,
Elect and faithful, there shall be confusion,
And pillaging of them and of the Hebrews.

[197. Children with gray hair.--Comp. a similar passage in Hesiod, Works and Days, 181. Children will become prematurely old by reason of the woes destined to visit the race in the last generation.

211. Beliar.--Same as Belial, named here for antichrist, whose coming in the last time is depicted in harmony with Paul's doctrine in 2 Thess. ii. 8-10.]


{p. 45}

215 And there shall be upon them fearful wrath
When from the east a people of twelve tribes
Shall come in search of kindred Hebrew people
Whom Assyrian shoot destroyed; and over these
Shall nations perish. But they afterwards
220 Shall over men exceeding mighty rule,
Elect and faithful Hebrews, and enslave
Them as before, since their power ne'er shall fail.
He that is highest of all, the all-surveying,
Dwelling in heaven, will scatter sleep on men,
225 Covering the eyelids o'er. O blessed servants
Whom when the Master comes he finds awake!
And they all watch at all times and expect
With sleepless eyes. For it will be at dawn
Or eve or midday; but he sure shall come,
230 And it shall be as I say, it shall be,
To them that sleep, that from the starry heaven
The stars at midday will to all appear
With the two lights as the time hastens on.
And then the Tishbite, urging from the heaven
235 His chariot celestial, and on earth
Arriving, shall to all the world display
Three evil signs of life to be destroyed.
Alas for all the women in that day
Who shall be found with burden in the womb!

[215-222. A passage inexplicably obscure in its historical allusions, but apparently connected with the notion of the ten tribes of the Assyrian exile, who, according to 2 Esdras xiii, 40-50, are concealed in the far East, and to be restored in the last time.

225. Comp. Matt. xxiv, 46.

228. Comp. Mark xiii, 35; Homer, Il., xxi, 111.

233. Comp. Matt. xxiv, 29.

234. Tishbite . . . chariot.--Comp. 2 Kings ii, 11; Mal. iv, 5.

238. Comp. Matt. xxiv, 19.]


{p. 46}

240 Alas for all who suckle tender babes!
Alas for all who shall dwell on the waves!
Alas for women who shall see that day!
For a dark mist shall hide the boundless world,
East, west, and south, and north. And then shall flow
245 A mighty stream of burning fire from heaven
And every place consume, earth, ocean vast,
And gleaming sea, and lakes and rivers, springs,
And cruel Hades and the heavenly sky.
And heavenly lights shall break up into one
250 And into outward form all-desolate.
For stars from heaven shall fall into all seas.
And all the souls of men shall gnash their teeth
Burned both by sulphur stream and force of fire
In ravenous soil, and ashes hide all things.
255 And then of the world all the elements
Shall be bereft, air, earth, sea, light, sky, days,
Nights; and no longer in the air shall fly
Birds without number, nor shall living things
That swim the sea swim any more at all,
260 Nor freighted vessel o'er the billows pass,
Nor kine straight-guiding plow the field, nor sound
Of furious winds; but he shall fuse all things
Together, and shall pick out what is pure.
    But when the immortal God's eternal angels
265 Arakiel, Ramiel, Uriel, Samiel,
And Azael, they that know how many evils

[263. Comp. book iii, 106; viii, 646.

264-266. These names of the angels differ somewhat from those found in the Book of Enoch, where, in chap. ix, we find Michael, Gabriel, Surjan, and Urjan (the Greek fragment has Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel); in chap. xx we have Uriel, Rufael, Raguel, Michael, Saraquel, and Gabriel; and in xl we meet the name Fanuel.]


{p. 47}

Anyone did before, shall from dark gloom
Then lead to judgment all the souls of men
Before the judgment-seat of the great God
270 Immortal; for imperishable is
One only, himself the almighty, One,
Who shall be judge of mortals; and to them
That dwell beneath will then the heavenly One
Give souls and spirit and voice, and also bones
275 Fitted with joints unto all kinds of flesh,
And both the flesh and sinews, veins and skin
About the body, and hair as before;
Divinely fashioned and with breathing moved
Shall bodies of those on earth one day be raised.
280 And then shall Uriel, mighty angel, break
The bolts of stern and lasting adamant
Which, monstrous, bold the brazen gates of Hades,
Straight cast them down, and unto judgment lead
All forms that have endured much suffering,
285 Chiefly the shapes of Titans born of old,
And giants, and all whom the deluge whelmed,
And all that perished in the billowy seas,
And all that furnished banquet for the beasts
And creeping things and fowls, these in a mass
290 Shall (Uriel) summon to the judgment-seat;
And also those whom flesh-devouring fire
Destroyed in flame, even these shall he collect
And place before the judgment-seat of God.
    And when the high-thundering Lord of Sabaoth
295 Making an end of fate shall raise the dead,
Sit on his heavenly throne, and firmly fix
The mighty pillar, then amid the clouds
Christ, who himself is incorruptible,

[297. Pillar.--Comp. lines 351 and 362, and also book vii, 36.]


{p. 48}

Shall come unto the Incorruptible
300 In glory with pure angels, and shall sit
At the right hand on the great judgment-seat
To judge the life of pious and the way
Of impious men. And Moses, the great friend
Of the Most High, shall come enrobed in flesh
305 Also great Abraham himself shall come,
Isaac and Jacob, Joshua, Daniel,
Elijah, Habakkuk and Jonah, and
Those whom the Hebrews slew. But he'll destroy
The Hebrews after Jeremiah, all
310 Who are to be judged at the judgment-seat,
That worthy recompense they may receive
And pay for all each did in mortal life.
And then shall all pass through the burning stream
Of flame unquenchable; but all the just
315 Shall be saved; and the godless furthermore
Shall to all ages perish, all who did
Evils aforetime, and committed murders,
And all who are accomplices therein,
Liars and thieves, and ruiners of home,
320 Crafty and terrible, and parasites,
And marriage-breakers pouring forth vile words,
Dread, wanton, lawless, and idolaters;
And all who left the great immortal God,
Became blasphemers did the pious harm,
325 Destroying faith and killing righteous men
And all that with a shamelessness deceitful
And double-faced rush in as presbyters
And reverend ministers, who knowingly
Give unjust judgments, yielding to false words
330 More hurtful than the leopards and the wolves
And more vile; and ill that are grossly proud


{p. 49}

And usurers, who gains on gains amass
And damage orphans and widows in each thing;
And all that give to widows and to orphans
335 The fruit of unjust deeds, and all that cast
Reproach in giving from their own hard toils;
And all that left their parents in old age,
Not paying them at all, nor offering
To parents filial duty, and all who
340 Were disobedient and against their sires
Spoke a harsh word; and all that pledges took
And then denied them; and the servants all
Who were against their masters, and again
Those who licentiously defiled the flesh;
345 And all who loosed the girdle of the maid
For secret intercourse, and all who caused
Abortions, and all who their offspring cast
Unlawfully away; and sorcerers
And sorceresses with them, and these wrath
350 Of the heavenly and immortal God shall drive
Against a pillar where shall all around
In a circle flow a restless stream of fire;
And deathless angels of the immortal God,
Who ever is, shall bind with lasting bonds
355 In chains of flaming fire and from above
Punish them all by scourge most terribly;
And in Gehenna, in the gloom of night,
Shall they be cast 'neath many horrid beasts
Of Tartarus, where darkness is immense.
360 But when there shall be many punishments
Enforced on all who had an evil heart,
Yet afterward shall there a fiery wheel
From a great river circle them around,
Because they had a care for wicked deeds.


{p. 50}

365 And then one here, another there, shall sires,
Young children, mothers, nursing babes, in tears
Wail their most piteous fate. No fill of tears
Shall be for them, nor piteous voice be heard
Of them that moan, one here, another there,
370 But long worn under dark, dank Tartarus
Aloud shall they cry; and they shall repay
In cursed places thrice as much as all
The evil work they did, burned with much fire;
And all of them, consumed by raging thirst
375 And hunger, shall in anguish gnash their teeth
And call death beautiful, and death shall flee
Away from them. For neither death nor night
Shall ever give them rest. And many things in vain
Will they ask of the God that rules on high,
380 And then will he his face turn openly
Away from them. For he to erring men
Gave, in seven ages for repentance, signs
By the hands of a virgin undefiled.
But the others, all to whom right and fair works
385 And piety and thoughts most just were dear,
Shall angels, bearing through the burning stream,
Lead unto light and life exempt from care,
Where comes the immortal way of the great God
And fountains three--of honey, wine, and milk.
390 And equal land for all, divided not
By walls or fences, more abundant fruits
Spontaneous shall then bear, and the course
Of life be common and wealth unapportioned.
For there no longer will be poor nor rich,

[376.--Comp. viii, 468; and xiii, 166.

381-383.--Comp. viii, 473-475.

394-395.--Comp. viii, 145.]


{p. 51}

395 Tyrant nor slave, nor any great nor small,
Nor kings nor leaders; all alike in common.
No more at all will one say, "night has come,"
Nor "morrow comes," nor "yesterday has been;
Nor shall there many days of anxious care,
400 Nor spring, nor winter, nor the summer-heat,
Nor autumn be [nor marriage, nor yet death,
Nor sales, nor purchases], nor set of sun
Nor rising; for a long day will God make.
And to the pious will the almighty God
405 Imperishable grant another thing,
When they shall ask the imperishable God:
That he will suffer men from raging fire
And endless gnawing anguish to be saved;
And this will he do. For hereafter he
410 Will pluck them from the restless flame, elsewhere
Remove them, and for his own people's sake
Send them to other and eternal life
With the immortals, in Elysian field,

[397-400.--Comp. viii, 561-565.

404-416.--This passage, which savors of a final restoration from future punishment, has been thought to be contrary to orthodox teaching; and we find appended to some manuscripts the following lines, headed, "Contradiction of the 'To the pious will the Almighty,'" and professedly a disproof of the doctrine of Origen on this subject:

    False manifestly; for the penal fire
Shall never cease from those who are condemned.
For also I might pray to have it thus,
Branded with greatest scars of trespasses,
Which need more kindness. But let Origen
Of his presumptuous babble be ashamed,
Saying there shall be end of punishments.

413. Elysian field.--In Homer (Od., iv, 563) the Elysian fields are represented as situated on the western border of the earth by the ocean stream. Hesiod (Works and Days, 169) speaks of "the Isles of the blessed, beside {footnote p. 52} deep-eddying ocean." But later, and with the Roman poets, Elysium was in the lower world, the blessed part of Hades, and is here conceived as bordering on the Acheronian lake.]


{p. 52}

Where move far-stretching billows of the lake
415 Of ever-flowing Acheron profound.
    Ah, miserable woman that I am!
What shall I be in that day? for I sinned--
Being busy foolishly about all things,
Caring for neither marriage-bond nor reason;
420 But even in my wealthy husband's house
I shut the needy out; and formerly
I knowingly performed unlawful things.
But, Saviour, though I shameless things performed,
Do thou from my tormentors rescue me,
425 A shameless woman. And I pray thee now
Make me to rest a little from my song,
Holy Giver of manna, King of the great realm.

[416-425.--Comp. the conclusion of book vii.]


{p. 53}

Next: Book III.