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IV. DE LAUDIBUS S. SCRIPTURÆ.
TRINGERE pauca libet bona carminis hujus, et
Hebræo populo de Pharaonis humo.
5 Omnem gustanti qui sapit ore cibum : Ut brevius curram per singula; præminet auro
In pretio; soli luce; sapore favo.
10 Fons est hortorum, puteus vel abyssus aquarum,
Quarum potus alit pectora, corda rigat.
IV. Leyser, Hist. Poett. Med. Ævi, p. 748. -- It is the Aurora, a metrical version of the larger part of Holy Scripture, which, as Leyser informs us, the anonymous author of this poem has immediately in his eye. This is the explanation of the carminis in the first line, which would not otherwise be intelligible. He passes, however, at once from it to the praise of Scripture itself.
3, 4. Cf. Exod. xii. 34.
5, 6, The Jewish legend, that the manna tasted to every man like that which he liked the best, is well known. It is alluded to Wisd. xvi. 21. The poet would say, that even such heavenly manna, meeting every man's desires, was Scripture. Cf. Gregory the Great (Moral., 1. 31, c. 15): Manna quippe est verbum Dei, et quidquid bene voluntas suscipientis appetit, hoc profectò in ore comedentis sapit.
11. The words of Cant. iv. 15 (Vulg.): Fons hortorum ; puteus aquarum viventium, quæ fluunt impetu de Libano; were applied to Holy Scripture, which was this fountain for its abundance,
Pascua coelestis, cellaria regia, coelum
Tot signis fulgens quot sacramenta tegens.
Qui curativo vulnere corda ferit.
In medioque rotæ fertur inesse rota.
this well for its depth. Thus a mystical exposition of the Canticles (Bernardi Opp., v. 2, p. 125): Accipiamus in fonte sufficientiam doctrinæ, in puteo secretum : in illo abundantiam, in isto alta mys. teria.
13. cellaria regia] Cf. Cant. i. 3 (Vulg.): Introduxit me rex in cellaria sua. For the sense in which Scripture was thus re. garded as the king's cellar, I must refer to St Bernard, In Cant. Serm. 23.
15. The old exposition of Ps. xlv. 2, namely, that the Holy Spirit was the ready writer,” and that the Psalmist would say his tongue did but utter, and his hand write down, that which was freely suggested and supplied by that Spirit, must explain this line. The poet transfers to all Scripture what had been spoken of a single Psalm._arcus] Gregory the Great, speaking of the different uses of the word “bow” in Scripture, observes (Moral., 1. 19, c. 30): Aliquando autem per arcum etiam Sacra Scriptura signatur. Ipsa quippe arcus est Ecclesiæ, ipsa arcus est Domini, de qua ad corda hominum, sicut ferientes sagittæ, sic terrentes sententiæ veniunt.
17. Hic rota sive rote] These words are to be explained from Ezek. i. 15, 16. At ver. 15, the prophet sees “one wheel ;' Apparuit rota una, (Vulg.) while immediately in the next verse it is said, Et aspectus rotarum quasi visio maris. The wheel or wheels is Holy Scripture; this, and the wheel within wheel, of which the same verse presently speaks, (quasi sit rota in medio rotæ,) is the New Testament; which is contained and shut up in the Old. Gregory the Great (Hom. 6 in Ezek.): Rota ergo in medio rotæ est; quia inest Testamento Veteri Testamentum Novum. Quod Testamentum Vetus promisit, hoc Novum exhibuit; et quod illud occultè annunciat, hoc istud exhibitum apertè clamat. Prophetia ergo Testamenti Novi, Testamentum Vetus est; et expositio Tes
Quatuor his facies, species est una : levantur,
Stant, vel eunt, prout has Spiritus intrò regit. 20 Hic liber in dextrâ regnantis scriptus et intus
Et foris ; intus habens mystica, plana foris. Hic Mosi facies, quæ velo tecta, videri
Non valet; at Christi luce retecta patet. Per Mosen typico, per Christum sanguine vero 25
Hic liber aspersus, remque typumque gerit. Lex nova, res; antiqua, typus: diffusior illa,
Hæc brevior: retegit ista, quod illa tegit. Dumque rei testis typus exstat, abyssus abyssum
Invocat. Utraque lex nomen abyssus habet. 30
tamenti Veteris, Testamentum Novum.- Quarum ut mare visio mira] Et aspectus rotarum et opus earum, quasi visio maris; (Ezek. i. 16, Vulg.) on which words Gregory the Great (Ibid.): Rectè sacra eloquia visioni maris similia narrantur, quia in eis magna sunt volumina sententiarum, cumuli sensuum. These words have nothing answering to them in our text, or in the Hebrew.
19. Gregory the Great (Ibid.): Rota quatuor facies habere describitur, (Ezek. i. 15,) quia Scriptura Sacra per utraque Testamenta in quatuor partibus est distincta. Vetus enim Testamentum in Lege et Prophetis, Novum vero in Evangeliis atque Apostolorum Actibus et Dictis. Una similitudo ipsarum est quatuor, (Ezek. i. 16,) quia divina eloquia, etsi temporibus distincta, sunt tamen sensibus unita.
21, 22. intus et foris] Richard of St Victor (In Apoc., v. 1): Liber qui in dexterâ Dei tenetur, est Sacra Scriptura. Intus scriptus est per spiritualem intelligentiam, foris per literam. Cf. Gregory the Great, Hom. 9 in Ezek. §. 30.
28. retegit] The lengthening of the last syllable of retegit here, by the force of the arsis and on the strength of the two more which must here be made, is not without parallels, as is well known, even among the best writers of elegiac verse. It was another sign of the way in which accent was penetrating into the domain of quantity, that the later Latin poets, and most of all the medieval,
Sic brevitate libri geminæ clauduntur abyssi ;
Utraque magna nimis, nullus utramque capit.
Quid nisi coelesti luce ciboque frui?
Figat ibi vitam, quo sibi vita venit.
Attrahit, ut vitam condiat inde suam.
Nil sibi, quod didicit codice, corde sapit. 40
Non sapit; it prorsus à sapiente procul.
Qui colit hanc, audi, quæ metit inde bona.
Liberior mundo, carneque pressa minus.
Intima, declinat noxia, vana fugat.
assumed the entirest liberty of making long a short syllable-even a short vowel at this place, whenever it was convenient to them. They used the same freedom in regard of the hexameter, where, when the cæsura occurred immediately after the arsis in the third foot, the syllable on which the pause thus fell, was always and on this ground alone considered long. The reader will find examples of both kinds in this volume, and should not regard them as neglects or oversights, but as results of a system.
T AMBROSE, born about 340, and probably at Treves,
was intended by his father, who was prefect of Gaul, for a secular career. He practised as an advocate at Milan; and was already far advanced on the way to the highest honours and offices of the state, having been appointed about 370 the consular prefect of Liguria, when it became plain that for him other and more lasting honours were in store. For having won the affections alike of Catholics and Arians by the mildness and justice of his rule, on the death of Auxentius, bishop of Milan, A.D. 374, he was chosen as by a sudden inspiration, and under circumstances which are too well known to need being repeated, his successor, being as yet only a layman and unbaptized. He died in 397.
The hymns which go under the name of Ambrosian are very numerous, yet do not all appertain to him; the name having been freely given to as many as were formed after the model and pattern of those which he composed, and among these to not a few which were in every way unworthy of him. The Benedictine editors do not admit more than twelve, as with any certainty of his composition; and even these, some in later times have affirmed to be 6 ascribed to him upon doubtful authority;" so the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography; although no evidence can well be stronger than that which in regard of some of them we possess ?.
1 This evidence is well brought together by Cardinal Thomasius in a preliminary discourse, Ad Lectorem (unpaged), prefixed to the