[這篇讚頌摘自 Thomas Taylor 的「A Dissertation on...」的開始,
內容是從畢逹哥拉斯開始到新柏拉圖的眾賢哲,
其中提及的哲人順序為畢逹哥拉斯, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles(前蘇格拉底),
蘇格拉底, 柏拉圖, 亞里士多德, 
Plotinus, Porphyry, Iamblichus, Syrianus, Proclus, Ammonius, Damascius, Priscian, Olympiodorus, Simplicius(新柏拉圖)]

 

A Panegyric 

on the Most Eminent Intellectual Philosophers of Antiquity

by Thomas Taylor 


In just proportion to the solar ray,
Tho' truth eternal gives the mental day,
Yet of our race most ne'er behold its light,
Fast bound in Matter's cave involv'd in night;
And but a few emerging from her den,
Its brightest splendor can distenctly ken.
This noble few in Greece of old were found,
Whose names mankind with just applause resound.

See! like some god descended from the skies,
PYTHAG'RAS, stands the foremost of the wise;
Celestial beauties in his person shine,
His manners modest, and his life divine.
See! like some oracle, by Heav'n inspir'd,
His breast with more than mortal wisdom fir'd,
While to his harp he sings his former fate,
The soul's transitions, and eternal state.
He far discovered in the realms of mind,
And soar'd from sense with vigor unconfin'd.

See! HERACLITUS quit his rightful throne,
The various follies of mankind to moan;
Mark! how he scorns the multitude impure,
And truths sublime describes in words obscure;
Attentive listen to his fav'rite theme,
That all things flow like some per petual stream;
And ever-varying without check or stay,
Rise to new life, or gradually decay.
He saw the depths of Matter's dark domain,
Stormy and whirling, like the raging main;
Yet well the realms of intellect he knew,
Where all is lovely, permanent and true;
And certain of the soul's immortal frame,
Obscurely told her lapse, and whence she came.

Next view PARMENIDES, by heav'n inspir'd,
And from th' ignoble multitude retir'd;
Divinely meditate, and sing alone,
In venerable verse the mystic one.
Indignant from the realms of sense he flew,
Corporeal forms receding from his view,
Till leaving Matter's region far behind,
His piercing sight discern'd the world of mind.

See! great EMPEDOCLES with rapture cry,
"Farewell, a god immortal cannot die."
In verse divine, he sung the wretched fate
Of souls imprison'd in this mortal state;
And man he call'd,(immers'd in Matter's night)
"Heaven's exile, straying from his orb of light."

Next mighty SOCRATES demands my lays,
Whose life and doctrines claim unbounded praise.
He to the theory of the realms of mind,
All his researches and his views confin'd;
And in the world's artificer divine
Saw the fair series of ideas shine
In depths immense of all-prolific light,
Forever vig'rous and forever bright.

See! PLATO next in rank of wistom stand,
Whose godlike works unbounded praise demand;
Who rose sublime to Truth's immortal plain,
And scorn'd dull Body, and her dark domain.
To GOOD ITSELF he soar'd with eager flight,
Till boundless beauty met mis piercing sight.
See him with elegance sublime, unfold
Whate'er was known to men divine of old;
Yet but a few the secret sense can find,
And wond'rous depth of his capacious mind.

Next ARISTOTLE claims our just applause,
Who thought itself confin'd by logic laws;
By gradual steps who teaches how to soar,
And the bright world of intellect explore.
Whose piercing genius with Lyncean view,
Look'd allt he ample realms of Science thro',
Saw to what dazzling summit they extend,
And what the darksome barrier where they end.
To these philosophers succeed a race
Of glorious souls adorn'd with ev'ry grace;
All men divine; of ancient Wisdom's train,
And justly call'd by some a golden chain.

See! as the leader of the noble band,
The grealy-wise and good PLOTINUS stand.
Genius sublime! whilst bound in mortal ties,
Thy soul had frequent commerce with the skies;
and oft you loosen'd the lethargic folds
By which th' indignant mind dark matter holds.
What depth of thought, what energy is thine!
What rays of intellect in ev'ry line!
The more we fathom thy exalted mind,
A stronger light a greater depth we find.

Thee to blest PORPHYRY! my muse shall sing,
Since from the great Plotinus' school you spring;
What holy thoughts thy sacred books contain!
what stores of wisdom from thy works we gain!
Urg'd on by thee, we learn from sense to rise,
To break its fetters, and its charms despise.
Nor shall my muse the just applause decline,

Due to IAMBLICHUS, surnam'd divine:
Who pierc'd the veil which hid in dark disguise
Wisdom's deep mysteries from mortal eyes.
Whose godlike soul an ample mirror seems,
Strongly reflecting mind's unclouded beams:
Or like some sphere capacious, polish'd bright,
Throughout disphanous and full of light.

Great SYRIANUS next, O muse, resound,
For depth and subtilty of thought renown'd.
Genius acute! th' exalted task wa thine
The concord to display of men divine.
And what in fable was by them conceal'd,
Thy piercing mind perspicuously reveal'd.

But greatly emment above the rest,
PROCLUS, the Coryphaeus, stands confest.
Hail, mighty genius! of the human race,
Alike the guide, the glory, and the grace:
Whose volumes, full of genuine science shine
With thoughts magnificent, and truths divine.
Wose periods, too, redundant roll along,
Like some clear stream, Magjestically strong.
While genius lives, thy num'rous works shall fast,
Alike the future wonder as the past.

The great AMMONIUS and DAMASCIUS claim
Our rev'rence next, as men of mighty name;
While yet Philosophy could boast a train
Of souls ally'd to Homer's golden chain.
The former for unfolding truth renown'd,
The latter for his searching mind profound.

PRISCIAN and fam'd OLYMPIODORUS stand
The next in order, and our praise demand,
And with th' acute SIMPLICIUS close the band.

Hero, all hail! who left your native skies,
From Lethe's realms t' instruct us how to rise,
And thus once more our kindred stars regain,
And ancient seats in Truth's immortal plain,
From whence we wand'ring fell, thro' mad desire
Of Matter's region, and allotments dire.
Let Folly proudly boast her tyrant reign,
Her num'rous vot'ries, and her wide domain;
Your wisdom scorn, and with barbaric hand
Spread futile theories thro' a venal land.
By you inspir'd, the glorious task be mine
To soar from sensible to forms divine;
From Plantasy, the souls Calypso, free,
To sail secure on life's tempestuous sea,
Led by your doctrines, like the Pleiads' light,
With guiding radiance streaming thro' the night;
From mighty Neptune's overwhelming ire,
Back to the palace of my lawful sire.

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