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HYMN 3

 

Youth is like the
branch of a fruit-tree,
pleasing in summer, but when
all the fruit is gone
then the branch is thrown away
and no-one wants it any more
and what was once desired
is ugly and misshapen. O you.
young girl, do not show
your beauty to just anyone,
lest when it has become deformed,
those who look on
will treat you with scorn.

Glory to the Trinity
from all who have fought
the struggles of Virginity

 

The wings of virginity
fly quickly to the Lord.
Do not listen to
your enemy's advice.
He has money that has thrown
the market place in disarray.
He stripped away the treasures of
great Adam, who did business in
a pestilential merchandise.
Do not borrow from the one
who gives and does not want
his money returned.
If you ever
gave him what you took
from him, then
you would ruin him.

Glory to the Trinity
from all who have fought
the struggles of Virginity

 

Fear and shame
accompany his longing.
They are burdensome.
They weigh on the whole life
of those who accomplish them.
But the faces of the chaste
are open and pure
and free from all desire.
O body, do not let
yourself be possessed
by shameful love
The accomplishment
is cold and deadly, but
the thought of it
is a searing flame.

Glory to the Trinity
from all who have fought
the struggles of Virginity

 

For he is clever and subtle and wants
to be with everyone and to resemble
everyone. His presents
are pleasing. He soothes
the belly, and it is there
he takes in turn
his own pleasure,
while the eye looks away and the
mouth says nothing.
His wine too
is silent, but is given a voice
by those who drink it. It sings
and it sounds like them.
It does not sound like him.

Glory to the Trinity
from all who have fought
the struggles of Virginity

 

Consider fire,
which lies, dead
and buried in a piece of wood.
But another piece of wood
can bring it to life
Then both are destroyed,
for it sets alight
whatever has awoken it.
It is a type.
The wood is its tomb
and when it rises
up from the dead
then, wood and fire,
both are consumed.

Glory to the Trinity
from all who have fought
the struggles of Virginity

 

For our freedom is
to desires as a soul.
By it they live, but if it
refuses them, then
they are dead, and so,
our freedom is self governing.
It accumulates debts, or else
it cancels them,
like God Himself,
Who, as He wills
sustains or lets fall
everything. So our desires
are contingent on us
as we are contingent on God.

Glory to the Trinity
from all who have fought
the struggles of Virginity

 

Our God is very kind, since He does not
demand payment all at once
but gives us, as we accumulate our debts,
remorse, which leads to repentance,
which cancels everything, but if
we still refuse it, then
we have no defence.

Glory to the Trinity
from all who have fought
the struggles of Virginity

 

Remorse must give way
to repentance that will stand.
For it is by what is constant
in repentance we are saved.
Remorse is a momentary pain.
It saves us and we
lose it in a moment.
O body, if you are always
repenting and sinning again,
your remorse is like the brand
that shows you are a slave.

Glory to the Trinity
from all who have fought
the struggles of Virginity

 

O eye, do not try to seize
a beauty which bears
in it, like a disease,
old age. For indeed
the lineaments of a young girl are
delightful, but
old age exposes as deceitful
that loveliness which you see
now, but it soon disappears.

Glory to the Trinity
from all who have fought
the struggles of Virginity

 

And when there are two
who seek to possess it,
virginity
is quickly lost,
for only one
can keep it safe.
If two seize
it, both lose
that greatest of treasures
that can be
lost to the possessor
but can never
be won by the thief.

Glory to the Trinity
from all who have fought
the struggles of Virginity

 

If a maiden is dishonoured
in an open field,
Moses speaks in her defence.
Had she cried out, he says,
nobody could have heard.
But who will speak for you,
O maiden, if you are taken
captive in silence?
Do not enter into captivity
peacefully
for then, when you are in court,
your peace will cry out loud against
your innocence.

Glory to the Trinity
from all who have fought
the struggles of Virginity

 

It is said that, when
a faithless husband throws
a woman out of her house,
her father should present
on a cloth the evidence
of her virginity.
But your Betrothed
is the One above Who knows
in secret everything.
Show Him in secret, then,
not on a cloth but hidden
and intact within
your body, your defence.

Glory to the Trinity
from all who have fought
the struggles of Virginity

 

Would you lose Him Who is
Faithfulness Itself to gain
a faithless lover? Will you explain
to yourself that, though you have lost
the One, you have gained the other?
But he is all lies and deceit
and always running after everyone
and cannot be your friend.
So you will be left, alone,
filled with remorse and tossed,
this way and that, as one
abandoned by all and thrown
out into the street.

Glory to the Trinity
from all who have fought
the struggles of Virginity

 

Your Betrothed left you when
you abandoned Him, but the liar,
too, dropped you and left you
wandering in the alleyways, so now,
where will you turn? A dove
abandoned her nest to run
after a serpent. O may you never
discover what Eve
discovered, she who became
the very type
of terrible shame.

Glory to the Trinity
from all who have fought
the struggles of Virginity