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PRUDENTIUS

Aurelius Prudentius Clemens was born in the year 348, probably at Calahorra, near Saragossa, in Spain. He seems to have been of good family and to have received a liberal education. Few names have been the subject of more numerous conjectures than his, and few present fewer details that can be assuredly received as authentic. In his youth rhetoric was one of his pursuits, and his life at the age of twenty seems to have been a profligate one.

He was called to the bar and became a judge in two cities, possibly Toledo and Cordova. It was not until late in life that he embraced the pursuit of literature. At fifty-seven he gave himself to the serious and sacred calling of a Christian, and from that time lived in retirement and devoted himself to the service of God. He has been called "the Horace and Virgil of the Christians"; "Poeta eximius eruditissimus et sanctissimus scriptor"; "The first Christian poet." These praises are doubtless too high for his deserving. He died some time between 410 and 424 A.D., but at what place in Spain is uncertain.

I

DE NATIVITATE DOMINI

Da, puer, plectrum, choreis
Ut canam fidelibus
Dulce carmen et melodum,
Gesta Christi insignia.
Hunc camena nostra solum
Pangat, hunc laudet lyra.

Corde natus ex parentis
Ante mundi exordium,
A et cognominatus,
Ipse fons et clausula
Omnium, quae sunt, fuerunt,
Quaeque post futura sunt,

Corporis formam caduci, Membra morti obnoxia Induit, ne gens periret Protoplasti ex germine, Merserat quem lex profundo Norialis Tartaro.

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