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{p. 160}


Introduction, 1-4. The five monarchies, 5-21. Lust of gain, 21-46. Doom of Rome, 47-63. The gray-haired prince, 61-83. The three rulers, 84-94. Misery of Rome, 95-115. Final judgment of Rome, 116-140. Dirge over Rome, 141-173. The sixth race of Latin kings, 174-182. Appearance of the Phenix, 183-186. Fall of Rome, 187-210. Woes of Rhodes, Thebes, Egypt, Rome, Delos, Samos, and the Persians, 211-222. The Messianic king, 223-225. The day of evil and of doom, 226-251. The Sibyl's wish, 255-260. The end of all things, 261-283. Christian acrostic concerning the last day, 284-330. Moses a type of the Messiah, 331-337. The Messianic Saviour portrayed, 338-379. The crucifixion, 380-410. Entrance into Hades and resurrection, 411-429. Exhortation to honor the Messianic king, 430-447. Another picture of the day of doom, 448-475. Self-declaration of the Creator through the Sibyl, 476-568. The heavenly Ruler addressed, 569-607. The incarnation of the Word, 608-641. Additional Christian precepts, 642-669.

{p. 161}


GOD'S declarations of great wrath to come
In the last age upon the faithless world
I make known, prophesying to all men
According to their cities. From the time
5 When the great tower fell and the tongues of men
Were parted into many languages
Of mortals, first was Egypt's royal power
Established, that of Persians and of Medes
And also of the Ethiopians
10 And of Assyria and Babylon,
Then the great pride of boasting Macedon,
Then, fifth, the famous lawless kingdom last
Of the Italians shall show many evils
Unto all mortals and shall spend the toils
15 Of men of every land. And it shall lead
The untamed kings of nations to the West,
Make laws for peoples and subject all things.
Late do the mills of God grind the fine flour.
Fire then shall destroy all things and give back
20 To fine dust the heads of the high-leafed hills

[1. This eighth book is remarkably fragmentary, and touches on a wide range of topics. It is obviously of Christian authorship, and contains (lines 284-330) the famous Sibylline acrostic of the name of Jesus Christ.

1-4. Cited by Lactantius, de Ira Dei, xxiii [L., 7, 143].

5. Tower-Comp. book iii, 119.

7-13. Comp. book iii, 190-195.

18. A proverb found also in Plutarch, de Sera Num. Vind., and Sextus Empiricus, Contra Mathem., i, 13.]


{p. 162}

And of all flesh. First cause of ills to all
Are covetousness and a lack of sense.
For there shall be love of deceitful gold
And silver; for than these did mortals choose
15 Naught greater, neither light of sun nor heaven,
Nor sea, nor broad-backed earth whence all things grow,
Nor God who giveth all things, of all things
The Father, nor yet faith and piety
Chose they before them. Of impiety
30 A fount, and of disorder forward guide,
An instrument of wars and foe of peace
Is lack of sense, that sets at enmity
Parents and children. And along with gold
Shall marriage not be honorable at all.
35 And the land shall have its borders and each sea
Its watchers craftily distributed
To all those that have gold; for ages thus
Shall those who purpose to possess the land
That feedeth many plunder laboring men,
40 In order that, procuring larger space,
They may enslave them by a false pretense.
And if the huge earth from the starry heaven
Held not her throne far off there had not been
For men an equal light, but, bought with gold,
45 It had belonged to rich men and God must
For poor men have prepared another world.
    There shall come to thee sometime from above
A heavenly stroke deserved, O haughty Rome.
And thou shalt be the first to bend thy neck
50 And be rased to the ground, and thee shall fire
Destructive utterly consume, cast down
Upon thy pavements, and thy wealth shall perish,

[21, 22. Comp. 1 Tim. vi, 10.]


{p. 163}

And wolves and foxes dwell in thy foundations.
And then shalt thou be wholly desolate,
55 As if not born. Where thy Palladium then?
What god shall save thee, whether wrought of gold
Or stone or brass? Or then where thy decrees
Of senate? Where shall be the race of Rhea,
Of Cronus, or of Zeus, and of all those
60 Whom thou didst worship, demons without life,
Images of the worn-out dead, whose tombs
Crete the ill-starred shall hold a cause of pride,
And honor the unconscious dead with thrones?
    But when thou shalt have had voluptuous kings
65 Thrice five, enslaving the world from the east
Unto the west, there shall be then a lord
Gray-headed, having name of the near sea,
The world inspecting with a nimble foot,
Bringing gifts, having large amount of gold
70 And plundering hateful silver even more,
And stripping it off he shall pick it up.
And he shall have part in all mysteries
Of Magian shrines, display his child as god,
Abolish all things sacred, and disclose
75 The ancient mysteries of deceit to all.
Sad then the time when he himself, sad one,
Shall perish. And yet shall the people say:
"Thy mighty strength, O city, shall fall down,"
At once perceiving that the evil day

[60-62. Cited by Lactantius, Div. Inst., book 1, xl [L., 6, 179].

65. Thrice five.--Emperors from Julius to Hadrian; a round number, but inexact. Comp. the first part of book v.

67. Gray-headed.--Hadrian. Comp. book v, 66.

73. Child as god.--Reference to the beautiful youth Antinous, whom Hadrian sought to deify.]

{p. 164}

80 Is coming on. And, thy most piteous fate
Foreseeing, fathers and young children then
Shall mourn together; they alas, alas! Shall wail
Beside the Tiber's lamentable banks.
    After him at the latest day of all
85 Shall three rule, filling out a name of God
The heavenly, of whom is the power both now
And to all ages. One of them being old
The scepter long shall wield, most piteous king,
Who in his houses shall shut up and guard
90 All the goods of the world, in order that,
When from the utmost limits of the earth
That man, the matricidal fugitive,
Shall come again, he may bestow these things
On all and furnish Asia with great wealth.
95 And then shalt thou mourn and shalt put aside
The luster of the broad-striped purple robe
Of thy commanders and wear mourning dress,
O haughty queen, off spring of Latin Rome;
The glory of that arrogance of thine
100 Shall be for thee no longer, nor shalt thou,
Ill-fated, ever be raised up again,
But shalt lie prostrate. For the glory also
Of eagle-bearing legions shall fall low.
Where then thy power? What allied land shall be
105 Subjected by thy follies lawlessly?
For then in all earth shall confusion be
Of mortals, when the Almighty shall himself

[86. Three.--The Antonines. See book v, 72. Name.--Allusion probably to the Hebrew name Adonai, which it was thought to resemble.

87. One of them . . . old.--Antoninus Pius.

92. Matricidal fugitive.--Nero. Comp. book v, 490.

106-109. Cited by Lactantius, Div. Ind., vii, 24 [L., 6, 808].]


{p. 165}

To the tribunal come to judge the souls
Of the living and the dead and all the world.
110 And parents shall not be to children dear
Nor children to their parents, on account
Of their impiety and their distress
Unlooked-for. Thine thenceforth shall gnashing be
And scattering and conquest, and when the fall
115 Of cities comes and yawnings of the earth.
    When a dragon charged with fire in both his eyes
And with full belly shall come on the waves
And shall afflict thy children, and there be
Famine and war of kinsmen, near at hand
120 Is the end of the world and the last day
And judgment of the immortal God for them
That are approved and chosen. And there shall
Against the Romans first of all be wrath
Implacable, and there, come a time
125 Of drinking blood and wretched course of life.
Alas, alas for thee, thou reckless land,
Great barbarous nation; thou didst not perceive
Whence naked and unworthy thou didst come
To the sun's light, that to that place again
130 Naked thou mightest withdraw and afterwards
Come unto judgment, as unjustly judging. . . .
With hands gigantic coming from on high
Alone through all the world thou, shalt abide
Under the earth. By naphtha and asphalt
135 And brimstone and much fire thou utterly
Shalt disappear and shalt be burning dust
For ages; and each one who sees shall hear
From Hades a great mournful bellowing

[116. Perhaps an allusion to the imagery of Rev. xii, 17; xiii, 1, as associated in the thought of the writer with the end of the world.]


{p. 166}

And gnashing of teeth, and thee noisily
140 Beating with thine own hands thy godless breast.
For all together there is equal night;
For rich and poor; and naked from the earth
Naked again to earth they haste away
And cease from life when they complete their time.
145 No slave is there, nor any lord, nor tyrant,
Nor king, nor leader having much conceit,
Nor speaker learned in law, nor magistrate
Judging for money; nor do they pour out
The blood of sacrifices in libations
150 Upon the altars; there sounds not a drum
Nor cymbal. . . .
Nor perforated flute that has a power
To madden mind itself, nor sound of pipe
That bean the likeness of a crooked snake,
155 Nor trumpet, harsh-toned messenger of wars;
Nor those made drunken in the lawless feasts
Of revelry, nor in the choral dance;
Nor sound of harp, nor harmful instrument;
Nor strife, nor anger manifold, nor sword
160 Is with the dead; but an eternity
Common to all is keeper of the key
Of the great prison before God's judgment-seat
With images of gold and silver and stone
Ye are ready, that unto the bitter day
165 Ye may come to see your first punishment,
O Rome, and gnashing of teeth. And no more
Shall Syrian or Greek lay down his neck
Beneath thy servile yoke, nor foreigner,

[142. Comp. Job. i, 21.

163-165. Comp. book iii, 68-72.]


{p. 167}

Nor other nation. Plundered thou shalt be
170 And made to suffer what thou didst exact,
And in fear wailing thou shalt give, until
Thou pay back all things; and thou for the world
Shalt be a triumph and reproach of all.
    Then shall the sixth race of the Latin kings
175 End life at last and scepters leave behind
From the same race another king shall reign,
Who shall rule every land and scepters wield;
And having full power, and by the decrees
Of God most mighty, shall his children rule,
180 And of unshaken children is his race;
For thus it is decreed while time moves round,
When there shall be of Egypt thrice five kings.
    Thereafter when the limit of the time
Of the Phenix shall come round, there shall a race
185 Of peoples come to plunder, tribes confused,
Enemy of the Hebrews. Then shall Ares
Go plundering Ares; and he shall himself
Destroy the haughty threatening of the Romans.
For Rome's power perished then while in its bloom;
190 An ancient queen with cities dwelling round,
No longer shall the land of fertile Rome
Prevail, when out of Asia one shall come

[174. Sixth race.--Referring to the Antonines, and reckoning the preceding generations as (1) the Cæsars; (2) the Flavii; (3) Nerva; (4) Trajan; and (5) Hadrian.

176. Another king.--Referring perhaps to Septemius Severus.

182. Thrice five.--The same as those referred to in line 65.

184. Phenix.--Fabulous Egyptian bird, said to appear once in, five hundred years. See Herod., ii, 73; Pliny, Nat. Hist., x, 2; Clem. Rom., 1 Cor., xxv [G., 1, 261-276], According to Tacitus (Annal., vi, 28), the fourth appearance, of the Phenix occurred in the reign of Tiberius.]


{p. 168}

To rule with Ares. And when he has wrought
All these things, to the city afterwards
195 Shall he come. And three times three hundred
And eight and forty shalt thou make complete,
When, taking thee by force, an ill-starred fate
Shall come upon thee and complete thy name.
    Ah me, I the thrice wretched, shall I see
200 Sometime that day to thee destructive, Rome,
But to all Latins most? It honors him
With counsels who goes, up on Trojan car
With hidden children from the Asian land,
Having a fiery soul. But when he shall
205 Cut through the isthmus looking wistfully,
Moving against all, passing o'er the sea,
Then shall dark blood pursue the mighty beast.
And a dog chased the lion which destroys
The shepherds. And then shall they take away
210 His scepter and to Hades he shall pass.
    And unto Rhodes shall come an evil last,
But greatest, There shall also be for Thebes
An evil conquest afterwards, And Egypt

[193. To rule with Ares.--The matricidal fugitive of line 92, returning as antichrist. This whole passage is apocalyptic, and no exact conformity to history need be sought.

195. The number 948 is the numerical value of the Greek letters in the name Rome ({Greek r}=100, {Greek w}=800, {Greek m}=40, {Greek h}=8, = {Greek Rw'mh}). Nine hundred and forty-eight years after the founding of Rome extends to about 196 of our era, and the reign of Septimius Severus.

199. Wretched.--Comp. book v, 74, and the close of book vii.

203. From the Asian land.--Another allusion to Nero. His ascending the Trojan car is metaphorical of his supposed coming with war chariots from the east, and all the force and fury of Ares.

208-209. Comp. book xiv, 21, 22.

211, 222. Fragments of sentiments found in other books. Comp. iii, 453-455.]


{p. 169}

Shall perish by the wickedness of rulers,
215 And he who, being mortal, even so
Escaped headlong destruction afterwards,
Thrice blessed was, even four times happy man.
And Rome shall be a room, and Delos dull,
And Samos sand. . . .
220 Later again thereafter there shall come
An evil to the Persians for their pride,
And all their insolence shall come to naught.
    And then a holy Lord of all the earth
Having raised up the dead shall wield the scepter
225 Unto all ages. Thrice then unto Rome
Will the Most High bring pitiable fate
And unto all men, and by their own works
They'll perish; but they would not be persuaded,
Which would have been much more, to be desired.
230 But when forthwith there shall increase for ill
An evil day of famine and of plague
And of intolerable battle-din,
Even then again the former daring lord
Shall, having called the senate, counsel take
235 How he shall utterly destroy. . . .
    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
Dry land shall bloom together with the leaves
Appearing; and the, heavenly firmament
Shall bring to light upon the solid rock
Rainstorm and flame, and much wind on the land,
240 And over all the earth a multitude
Of poisonous sowings. But with shameless soul
Shall they again act, fearing not the wrath
Of God or men, forsaking modesty,

[223. A holy Lord.--The Messiah. Comp. book iii, 58.

243-247. Comp. book i, 217-221.]


{p. 170}

Longing for and greedy tyrants
245 And violent sinners, false, insatiate,
Workers of evil and in nothing true,
Destroyers of faith, on foul speech
In false words; they shall have no fill of wealth;
But shamelessly will they strip off still more;
250 Under the rule of tyrants they shall perish.
    The stars shall all fall forwards in the sea,
All one by one, yet shall men see in heaven
A brilliant cornet, sign of much distress
About to come, of war and battle-strife.
255    Let me not live when the gay woman reigns,
But then when heavenly grace shall reign within,
And when the holy child shall crush with bonds
The mischievous destroyer of all men,
Opening the depth to view, and suddenly
260 The wooden house shall cover mortals round.
    But when the generation tenth shall be
Within the house of Hades, afterwards
The mighty sway of one of female sex;
And God himself shall increase many evils
265 When she with royal honor has been crowned;
And altogether then an impious age.
The sun obscurely looking shines by night;
The stars shall leave the sky; and with much storm
A hurricane shall desolate the earth;

[251. Comp. book ii, 251, and Lactantius, Div. Inst., vii, 16 [L., 6, 191, 792].

257. Apparent allusion to Rev. xx, 1-3.

260. Wooden house.--A coffin.

261. Generation tenth.--Supposed by the Sybil to be the last. Comp. book vii, 133.

263. Female.--The woman symbolically portrayed in Rev. xvii, 1-6. Comp. book iii, 92, note.]


{p. 171}

240 And there shall be a rising of the dead;
The running of the lame shall be most swift,
The deaf shall bear, the blind shall see, and those
That talk not shall talk, and to all
Shall life and wealth be common. And the land
275 Alike for all, divided not by walls
Or fences, shall bear more abundant fruits.
And fountains of sweet wine and of white milk
And honey it shall give. . . .
    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
And judgment of the immortal God (great king).
280 But when God shall change times . . .
Winter producing summer, then shall be
Oracles (all fulfilled) . . .
But when the world has perished . . .


And the earth shall perspire, when there shall be
285 The sign of judgment. And from heaven shall come
The King who for the ages is to be,
Present to judge all flesh and the whole world.

[270-274. Comp. book i, 427-432.

276-218. Comp. book iii, 781-783, and Lactantius, Div. Inst., vii, 24 [L., 6, 811]. What follows between these lines and the acrostic is fragmentary. The remaining words, translated in our text, show that the general subject was that of judgment of God and the end of the world.

281. Winter . . . summer.--Cited in Lactantius, Div. Inst., vii, 16 [L., 61 792]. 282 appears in full, book xiv, 381.

284-330. This passage is celebrated as being an acrostic of thirty-four lines in the Greek text, the first letters of which lines form the title given above, namely, JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, SAVIOUR, CROSS. It is quoted in full by Eusebius in his report of Constantine's Oration to the Assembly of the Saints, xviii [G., 20, 1288, 1289], and, excepting the seven lines representing the word CROSS, by Augustine, de Civitate Dei, xviii, 123 [L., 41, 5791. We give in our text a faithful translation of the Greek without any {footnote p. 172} attempt to transfer it into a corresponding English acrostic, but in the Appendix of this volume (pp. 274-277) the reader may find several English translations which aim to reproduce the acrostic form of the original. To the picture of the day of judgment as given in this acrostic there is obvious allusion at the beginning of the famous medieval hymn:

Dies iræ, dies illa,
Solvet sæclum in favilla,
Teste David cum Sibylla.



{p. 172}

Faithful and faithless mortals shall see God
The Most High with the saints at the end of time.
290 And of men bearing flesh he judges souls
Upon his throne, when sometime the whole world
Shall be a desert and a place of thorns.
And mortals shall their idols cast away
And all wealth. And the searching fire shall burn
1295 Earth, heaven, and sea; and it shall burn the gates,
Of Hades' prison. Then shall come all flesh
Of the dead to the free light of the saints;
But the lawless shall that fire whirl round and round.
For ages. Howsoever much one did
300 In secret, then shall he all things declare;
For God shall open dark breasts to the light.
And lamentation shall there be from all
And gnashing of teeth. Brightness of the, sun
Shall be eclipsed and dances of the stars.
305 He shall roll up the heaven; and of the moon
The light shall perish. And he shall exalt
The valleys and destroy the heights of hills,
And height no longer shall appear remaining
Among men. And the hills shall with the plains
310 Be level and no more on any sea
Shall there be sailing. For the earth shall then
With heat be shriveled and the dashing streams

[293, 294. Cited by Lactantius, Div. Inst., vii, 19 [L., 6, 798].]


{p. 173}

Shall with the fountains fall. The trump shall send
From heaven a very lamentable sound,
315 Howling the loathsomeness of wretched men
And the world's woes. And then the yawning earth
Shall show Tartarean chaos. And all kings
Shall come unto the judgement seat of God.
And there shall out of heaven a stream of fire
320 And brimstone flow. But for all mortals then
Shall there a sign be, a distinguished seal,
The Wood among believers, and the horn
Fondly desired, the life of pious men,
But it shall be stumbling block of the world,
325 Giving illumination to the elect
By water in twelve springs; and there shall rule
A shepherding iron rod. This one who now
Is in acrostics which give signs of God
Thus written openly, the Saviour is,
330 Immortal King, who suffered for our sake;
    Him Moses typified when he stretched out
Holy arms, conquering Amalek by faith,
That the people might know him to be elect
And honorable before his Father God,
335 The rod of David and the very stone
Which he indeed aid promise, and in which
He that believes shall have eternal life.
    For not in glory, but as mortal man
Shall he come to creation, pitiable,

[313, 314. Cited by Lactantius, Div. Inst., vii, 16 [L., 6, 792].

316-318. Cited by Lactantius, Div. Inst., vii, 20 [L., 6, 798].

322. The Wood.--The Cross. Comp. book vi, 33-36.

326. Illumination.--The grace of baptism. Comp. line 360 below, and note on book i, 411.

339-341. Cited by Lactantius, Div. Inst., iv, 16 [L., 6, 498].]


{p. 174}

340 Unhonored, without seemly form, to give
Hope to the pitiable; and he will give
Fair form to mortal flesh, and heavenly faith
To those without faith, and he'll give fair form
To the man who was fashioned from the first
345 By the holy hands of God, and whom by guile
The serpent led astray unto the fate
Of death to go and knowledge to receive
Of good and evil, so that leaving God
He serves the ways of mortals. For at first
350 Receiving him as fellow-counsellor
From the beginning the Almighty said:
"Let both of us, O Son, make mortal tribes--
Stamping them with the impress of our image;
I now by my hands, and thou by the Word
355 In after time shalt for our form provide
That we may jointly cause it to arise."
Keeping in mind this purpose he shall come
To the creation, to a holy virgin
Bringing the likeness antitypical,
360 Baptizing with water by the elders' hands,
And by the Word accomplishing all things,
And healing every sickness. By his word
He winds shall he make cease, and with his foot
Shall calm the raging sea, walking thereon
365 In peaceful faith. And from five loaves of bread
And a fish of the sea live thousand men
Shall he fill in the desert, and then taking
All the remaining fragments for the hope
Of peoples shall he fill twelve baskets full.
370 And the souls of the blessed he shall call,

[363-369. Comp. book i, 432-431.]


{p. 175}

And love the pitiable, who, being mocked,
Beaten, and whipped, shall evil do for good
Desiring poverty. He who perceives
All things and sees all things and hears all things
375 Shall search the heart and bare it to conviction;
For of all things is he himself the ear
And mind and sight, and Word that maketh forms
To whom all things submit, and he preserves
Them that are dead and every sickness heals.
380 Into the hands of lawless men, at last,
And faithless he shall come, and they will give
To God rude buffetings with impure hands
And poisonous spittle with polluted mouths.
And he to whips will openly give then
385 His holy back; [for he unto the world
A holy virgin shall himself commit.]
And silent he will be when buffeted
Lest anyone should know whose son he is
Or whence he came, that he may talk to the dead.
390 And he shall also wear a crown of thorns;
For of thorns is the crown an ornament
Elect, eternal. They shall pierce his side
With a reed that they may fulfill their law;
For of reeds shaken by another spirit
395 Were nourished inclinations of the soul,
Of anger and revenge. But when these things
Shall be accomplished, of the which I spoke,
Then unto him shall every law be loosed
Which from the first by the decrees of men

[372. Evil for good.--Several MSS. here read good for evil. The sense is

380-386, also 387-390, are cited by Lactantius, Div. Inst., iv, 18 [L., 6,
506]. 12 (279-801.)]

{p. 176}

400 Was given because of disobedient people.
He'll spread his hands and measure all the world.
But gall for food and vinegar to drink
They gave him; this inhospitable board
They'll show him. But the curtain of the temple
405 Shall be asunder rent and in midday
There shall be for three hours dark, monstrous night.
For it was no more pointed out again
How to serve secret temple and the law,
Which had been covered with the world's displays,
410 When the Eternal came himself on earth.
And into Hades shall he come announcing
Hope unto all the saints, the end of ages
And the last day, and having fallen asleep
The third day he shall end the lot of death;
415 Then from the dead departing he shall come
To light, the first to show forth to the elect
Beginning of resurrection, and wash off
By means of waters of immortal spring

[401. Measure.--"In his suffering," says Lactantius, "he stretched forth his hands and measured out the world, that even then he might show that a great multitude, collected out of all languages and tribes, from the rising of the sun even to the setting, was about to come under his wings and to receive on their foreheads that great and lofty sign." Div. Inst., iv, 26 [L., 6, 530].

404-406. Cited by Lactantius, Div. Inst., iv, 19 [L., 6, 511].

411. Into Hades.--This doctrine of Christ's descent into Hades is found in the well-known clause of the Apostles' Creed, and claims for its biblical support the language of Psa. xvi, 9 (comp. Acts ii, 25-27); Rom. x, 7; Eph. iv, 8-10; 1 Pet. iii, 18-20. It is found also in Justin Martyr, Trypho, 72 [G., 6, 645]; Irenæus, Adv. Hær., iii, xx, 4 [G. 7, 945], and iv, xxvii, 2 [G., 7, 1058]; Clem. Alex., Strom., vi, chap. vi [G., 9, 265-275]; Tertullian, de Anima, chaps. vii [L., 2, 657] and lv [L., 2, 742-745]; Origen, adv. Celsus, ii, 43 [G., 11, 864].

414-417. Cited by Lactantius, Div. Inst., iv, 19 [L., 6, 513].]


{p. 177}

Their former wickedness, that, being born
420 From above, they might be no more enslaved
To the unlawful customs of the world.
And first then openly unto his own
Shall he as Lord in flesh be visible,
As he before was, and in hands and feet
425 Exhibit four marks fixed in his own limbs,
Denoting east and west and south and north;
For of the world so many royal powers
Shall against our Exemplar consummate
The deed so lawless and condemnable.
430    Daughter of Zion, holy one, rejoice,
Who hast suffered many things; thy king himself
Mounted upon a foal is hastening on;
Behold, meek he shall come, that he may lift
Our slavish yoke, so grievous to be borne
435 Lying upon our neck, and may annul
Our godless laws and bonds compulsory.
Know thou thy God himself, who is God's Son;
Him glorify and hold within thy heart,
From thy soul love him and extol his name.
440 Put off thy former friends and wash thyself
From their blood; for he is not by thy songs
Nor by thy prayers appeased, nor does he give
To perishable sacrifices heed,
Being imperishable; but present
445 The holy hymn of understanding mouths
And know who this one is, and thou shalt then
Behold the Father. . . .
    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

[426. Comp. book iii, 30, note.

430. Rejoice.--Comp. Zech. ix, 9; Matt. xxi, 6; John xii, 15.

433-436. Cited by Lactantius, Div. Inst., vii, 18 [L, 6, 796].]


{p. 178}

And then shall all the elements of the world
Abide in solitude, air, earth, sea, light
450 Of gleaming fire, and heavenly sky and night
And all days into one shall run together
And into outward form all-desolate.
For from heaven shall the stars of light all fall.
And there shall fly no longer in the air
455 The well-winged birds, nor stepping be on earth;
For wild beasts shall all perish. Nor shall be
Voices of men, nor of beasts, nor of birds.
The world shall hear no serviceable sound,
Being disordered; but a mighty sound
460 Of threatening shall the deep sea sound aloud,
And swimming trembling creatures of the sea
Shall all die; and no longer on the waves
Shall sail the freighted ship. And earth shall groan
Blood-stained by wars; and all the souls of men
465 Shall gnash with their teeth, [of the lawless souls
Both by loud crying and by fear,] dissolved
By thirst, by famine, and by plague and murders,
And they shall call death beautiful and death
Shall flee away from them; for death no more
470 Nor night shall give them rest. And many things
Will they in vain ask God who rules on high,
And then will he his face turn openly
Away from them. For he to erring men
Gave in seven ages for repentance signs
475 By the hands of a virgin undefiled.
    All these things in my mind God himself showed
And all that have been spoken by my mouth

[448-475. Comp. similar passage in book ii, 243-263, and book iii, 97-111; and also Lactantius, Div. Inst., vii, 16 [L., 6, 791, 792]. All these prophecies are obviously derived from corresponding Scripture passages.]


{p. 179}

Will he accomplish; and I know the number
Of the sands and the measures of the sea,
480 I know the inmost places of the earth
And gloomy Tartarus, I know the numbers
Of the stars, and the trees, and all the tribes
Of quadrupeds, and of the swimming things
And flying birds, and of men who are now
485 And of those yet to be, and of the dead;
For I myself the forms and mind of men
Did fashion, and right reason did I give
And knowledge taught; I who formed eyes and ears,
Who see and hear and every thought discern,
490 And who within am conscious of all things,
I am still; and hereafter will convict
[And punishing what any mortal did
In secret, and upon God's judgment seat
Coming and speaking unto mortal men].
495 I understand the dumb man and I hear
Him that speaks not, and how great the whole height
From earth to heaven is, and the beginning
And end I know, who made the heaven and earth.
[For all things have proceeded from him, things
500 From the beginning to the end he knows.]
For I alone am God and other God
There is not. They my image formed of wood
Treat as divine, and shaping it by hand
They sing their praises over idols dumb

[478. At this point the Sibyl assumes to represent God himself as speaking, and continues this strain to line 567, throwing in occasional observations of her own, as if forgetful of the part she holds. Lines 478, 479, and 496, 496, are identical with two lines attributed to the oracle of Delphi by Herodotus, i, 47.

501. Cited by Lactantius, Div. Inst., i, 6 [L., 6, 148].]


{p. 180}

505 With supplications and unholy rites.
Forsaking the Creator they were slaves
To lewdness. Men possessing everything
Bestow their gifts on things which cannot aid,
As if they for my honors deemed these things
510 All useful, with the smell of sacrifice
Filling the feast, as if for their own dead.
For they flesh and bones full of marrow burn
Offering on altars, and they pour out blood
To demons, and they kindle lights to me
515 The giver of light, and as to a god
That thirsts do mortals drunken pour out wine
For nought to idols that can give no aid.
I have no need of your burnt offerings,
Nor your libations, nor polluted smoke,
520 Nor blood most hateful. For in memory
Of kings and tyrants they will do these things
Unto dead demons, as to heavenly beings,
Performing service godless and destructive.
And godless they their images call gods,
525 Forsaking the Creator, having faith
That from them they derive all hope and life,
Deaf and dumb, in the evil putting trust,
But they are wholly ignorant of good.
Two ways did I myself before them set,
530 Of life and of death, and before them set
Judgment to choose good life; but they themselves
Hastened to death and to eternal fire.
Man is my image, having upright reason.
For him a table pure and without blood
535 Make ready and with good things fill it up,

[530. Life and of death.--Comp. Dent. xxx, 15, 19, and also the opening
words of the "Teaching of the Twelve Apostles."]


{p. 181}

And give the hungry bread, the thirsty drink,
And to the body that is naked clothes
From thine own labors with unsullied hands
Providing. Recreate the afflicted man,
540 And help the weary, and provide for me
The living One a living sacrifice
Sowing piety, that also I to thee
Sometime may give immortal fruits, and light
Eternal thou shalt have and fadeless life
545 When I shall prove all by fire. For all things
I shall fuse and shall pick out what is pure,
Heaven will I roll up and the depths of earth
Lay open, and then will I raise the dead
Making an end of fate and sting of death,
550 And afterward for judgment will I come
Judging the manner both of pious men
And impious; I will set ram close to ram,
Shepherd to shepherd, calf to calf, for test,
Close to each other; whosoever were
555 Exalted, proven by trial, and who stopped
The mouth of every one, that they themselves
Vieing with them that lead a holy life
May likewise bring them into slavery,
Enjoining silence, urged by love of gain,
560 Not proved before me, then shall all withdraw.
No longer henceforth shalt thou grieving say
"Morrow shall be," nor "yesterday has been;"
Not many days of care, nor spring, nor winter,
Nor summer then, nor autumn, nor sunset

[546. Comp. book ii, 363; iii, 105.

547-551. Cited by Lactantius, Div. Inst., vii, 20 [L., 6, 799].

654-560. The import of these lines is very obscure and uncertain.

561-565. Comp. book ii, 397-403.]


{p. 182}

565 Nor sunrise; for a long day I will make.
And unto ages there shall be the light
Longed for of the great . . .
(Christ Jesus, of ages) . . . .
    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
    Thou who art self-begotten, undefiled,
570 True and eternal, measuring by thy power
From heaven the fiery blast, and with rough torch
From clashing doth the scepter keep, and calm
The crashings of the heavy-sounding thunders,
And driving earth into confusion dost
575 Hold back the rushing noises. . . .
And the fire-blazing scourges thou dost blunt
Of lightnings, and the vast outpour of storms
And of autumnal hail, and chilling stroke
Of clouds and shock of winter. For of these
580 Each one indeed is marked out in thy mind,
Whatever seems good to thyself to do
Thy Son nods his assent to, having been
Begotten in thy bosom before all
Creation, fellow-counselor with thee,
585 Former of mortals and creator of life.
Him with the first sweet utterance of mouth
Thou didst address: "Behold, let us make man
In a form altogether like our own,
And let us give him life-sustaining breath;
590 Him being yet mortal all things of the world
Shall serve, and unto him formed out of clay
We will subject all things." And thou didst speak
These things by word, and all things came to pass
According to thy heart; and thy command
595 Together all the elements obeyed,


{p. 183}

And an eternal creature was arranged
In mortal figure, also heaven, air, fire,
And earth and water of the sea, sun, moon,
Chorus of stars, hills . . .
600 Both night and day, sleeping and waking up,
Spirit and passion, soul and understanding,
Art, might and strength, and the wild tribes
Of living things both swimming things and fowls,
And of those walking, and amphibia,
605 And those that creep and those of double nature;
For acting in accord with his own will
Under thy leading he arranged all things.
But in the latest times the earth he passed,
And coming late from the virgin Mary's womb
610 A new light rose, and going forth from heaven
Put on a mortal form. First then did Gabriel show
His strong pure form; and bearing his own news
He next addressed the maiden with his voice:
"O virgin, in thy bosom undefiled
615 Receive thou God." Thus speaking he inbreathed
God's grace on the sweet maiden; and straightway
Alarm and wonder seized her as she heard,
And she stood trembling; and her mind was wild
With flutter of excitement while at heart
620 She quivered at the unlooked-for things she heard.
But she again was gladdened and her heart
Was cheered by the voice, and the maiden laughed
And her cheek reddened with a sense of joy,
And spell-bound was her heart with sense of shame.
625 And confidence came to her. And the Word
Flew into the womb, and in course of time
Having become flesh and endued with life
Was made a human form and came to be


{p. 184}

A boy distinguished by his virgin birth;
630 For this was a great wonder to mankind,
But it was no great wonder unto God
The Father, nor was it to God the Son.
And the glad earth received the new born babe,
The heavenly throne laughed and the world rejoiced.
635 And the prophetic new-appearing star
'Was honored by the wise men, and the babe
Born was shown in a manger unto them
That obeyed God, and keepers of the herds,
And goatherds and to shepherds of the lambs;
640 And Bethlehem called by God the fatherland
Of the Word was chosen. . . .
    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
And in heart practice lowliness of mind
And cruel deeds hate, and thy neighbor love
Wholly, even as thyself; and from thy soul
645 Love God and do him service. Therefore we
Sprung from the holy race of the heavenly Christ
Are called of common blood, and we restrain
In worship recollection of good cheer,
And walk the paths of piety and truth.
650 Not ever are we suffered to approach
The inmost sanctuary of the temples,
Nor pour libations to carved images,
Nor honor them with prayers, nor with the smells
Much-pleasing of flowers, nor with light of lamps,

[642-669. These lines, which conclude the book, are a fragment, which may have once been naturally connected with what now precedes by intervening lines no longer extant. As they now stand they have no natural connection with the preceding passage, and appear mutilated both at beginning and end. (473-490.)]

{p. 185}

655 Nor yet with shining votive offerings
Adorn them, nor with smoke of frankincense
That sends forth flame of altars; nor do thou,
Adding unto the sacrifice of bulls
And taking pleasure in defilement send
660 Blood of sheep-slaughtering outrage, thus to give
Ransom for penalty beneath the earth;
Nor by the smoke of flesh-consuming pyre
And odors foul pollute the light of heaven;
But joyful with pure minds and cheerful soul,
665 With love abounding and with generous hands,
With soothing psalms and songs that honor God,
We are commanded to sing praise to thee,
The imperishable and without deceit,
All-father God, of understanding mind,
    .    .    .    .    .    .    .


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Next: Book XI.