Proem to the Martyrdom of Cyprian

02-18 Eudocia
Aelia Eudocia
c. 401


When God in heaven brought light to earth
and the true voice of wondrous men was accomplished,
a life-producing radiance filled the whole world
through the words of (other) prophets, the evangelists.
For all robust men embraced one God,
the Heavenly Father, Lord of all, and his Son,
and in the name of the Holy Spirit were washed with water
from the many sins staining their bodies.


Translation by Brian P. Sowers

from The Baths at Hamat Gader

Aelia Eudocia
c. 401


I have seen many wonders in my life, countless,
But who, noble Clibanus, however many his mouths, could proclaim
Your might, when born a worthless mortal? But rather
It is right for you to be called a new fiery ocean,
Paean and parent, provider of sweet streams.
From you the thousandfold swell is born, one here, one there,
On this side boiling-hot, on that side in turn icy-cold and tepid.
Into fountains four-fold four you pour out your beauty.
Indian and Matrona, Repentius, holy Elijah,
Antoninus the Good, Dewy Galatia, and
Hygieia herself, warm baths both large and small,
Pearl, ancient Clibanus, Indian and other
Matrona, Strong, Nun, and the Patriarch’s.
For those in pain your powerful might is always everlasting.
But I will sing of a god, renowned for wisdom
For the benefit of speaking mortals.

Returning to Live in the Country

In honor of Dragon Boat Day, we present this work by one of the great poets of the Six Dynasties.

Tao Yuanming
365 – 427


Young, I was always free of common feeling.
It was in my nature to love the hills and mountains.
Mindlessly I was caught in the dust-filled trap.
Waking up, thirty years had gone.
The caged bird wants the old trees and air.
Fish in their pool miss the ancient stream.
I plough the earth at the edge of South Moor.
Keeping life simple, return to my plot and garden.
My place is hardly more than a few fields.
My house has eight or nine small rooms.
Elm-trees and Willows shade the back.
Plum-trees and Peach-trees reach the door.
Misted, misted the distant village.
Drifting, the soft swirls of smoke.
Somewhere a dog barks deep in the winding lanes.
A cockerel crows from the top of the mulberry tree.
No heat and dust behind my closed doors.
My bare rooms are filled with space and silence.
Too long a prisoner, captive in a cage,
Now I can get back again to Nature.

Postscript Sent to a Traveler

Bao Linghui
464 – ?


Ever since you went away
The face by the window has not lit up.
The clothes-pounder and block are mute at night;
The tall gates are closed during the day.
Into my bed curtains fireflies glide;
In front of the courtyard purple orchids bloom.
As nature withers, I know the season’s changing;
When wild geese arrive, I know the traveler is cold.
Your journey will end at winter’s close;
I’ll await your return at the start of spring.