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W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.

The Four Evangelists

Adam of St. Victor (d. 1146)

Translated by Edward Hayes Plumptre

‘Supra Cœlos dum conscendit.’

SEE, far above the starry height,

Beholding, with unclouded sight,

The brightness of the sun,

John doth, as eagle swift, appear,

Still gazing on the vision clear

Of Christ, the Eternal Son.

To Mark belongs the lion’s form,

With voice loud-roaring as the storm,

His risen Lord to own;

Called by the Father from the grave,

As victor crowned, and strong to save,

We see Him on His throne.

The face of man is Matthew’s share,

Who shows the Son of man doth bear

Man’s form with might divine,

And tracks the line of high descent,

Through which the Word with flesh was blent,

In David’s kingly line.

To Luke the ox belongs, for he,

More clearly than the rest, doth see

Christ as the victim slain;

Upon the cross as altar true,

The bleeding, spotless Lamb we view,

And see all else in vain.

So from their source in paradise

The four mysterious rivers rise,

And life to earth is given:

On these four wheels and staves, behold,

God and His ark are onward rolled,

High above earth in heaven.