[Paraphrase of Psalm LXXXIV]
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[Paraphrase of Psalm LXXXIV]
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Title/Paratext] "[Prose translation by J. R. [...]" H.W. Starr/J.R. Hendrickson, 1966.
"[Prose translation by J. R. Hendrickson:]
"Paraphrase of Psalm LXXXIV."
O dwellings, sweet love of my soul! O most high holy presence of the sacred place! What is this sacred hunger, this pleasant fire that consumes me in my affliction?
To what place does eager passion bear me in accordance with my desire! I stretch longing hands toward the lofty threshold; while my tongue mocks my efforts when I try to pray, my silent heart is shouting within.
There the bird that loves the springtime, the visitor to the altar for many years, has built his chattering home and entrusted his little Lares to the protection of a more propitious god:
Blessed the bird, but more blessed he who dwells within, whom the temple sees before the altars of God, ministering with perpetual worship, and who passes his life within the holy shades.
Twice, yea three times happy he who has consecrated a better temple to God in the depths of his heart; upon him shall living pleasure shine, and clear suns without a cloud.
Joys flowing from a purer fountain shall refresh the souls of those who obey God; but if it is their lot to mourn, even grief itself comes bearing with it something sweet.
By strength does strength become more firmly fixed, always being born, always lovable; it increases for ever; every hour it soars higher through the clear tracts of heaven.
As for me, ruler of the consecrated race, he who holds the reins of Thy Judaea, anointed with the royal olive, hear me with favour and be not pleased to have rejected a king.
A single day which gives the privilege of lingering in the blessed doorways, on the threshold of the beloved door, a single day among the outermost columns, smiles more brightly for me than an eternity among the houses of the barbarians, beneath gem-studded beams, amid the arrogance of tyrants and the brief delights and pleasures of royalty:
From a happier stream the father of the heaven-dwellers will pour forth abundance with unstinting hand and will bestow more lasting riches."
- The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966.
Contractions, italics and initial capitalization have been largely eliminated, except where of real import. Initial letters of sentences have been capitalized, all accents have been removed. The editor would like to express his gratitude to library staff at Pembroke College, Cambridge, at the British Library, and at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, for their invaluable assistance.