Epicurean Hymns

  • I had an "earworm" today of "O For a Thousand Tongues to SIng"-- I love the tune, but ack, the words not so much! Because I seemed to be stuck with it, I decided it needed new words. Here is my draft-- feel free to make suggestions for changes. I recorded it for people who don't know the melody, and I need to give the caveat, like Dr. McCoy-- I'm a doctor, not a singer, lol! The tuning's not perfect. But you'll get the idea.


    https://drive.google.com/file/…mOuiBc4j/view?usp=sharing


    O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing


    --adapted from Charles Wesley, 1740



    O for a thousand tongues to sing Great Epicurus’ praise,


    The glories ever echoing, the triumphs of his ways!



    He hosted monthly physics feasts, his observations keen,


    he taught materiality, no fearful fates unseen.



    No supernatural designs, no torments after death,


    no absolutes, no ideal realms, but what a universe!



    Eternal, indivisible, with motion never ceased,


    the atoms in the void combine to form each plant and beast.



    Without an interfering god, without an abstract guide,


    the path is clear: in pleasure our desires satisfied!



    Honor to Epicurus, let us shout his teachings wide,


    the pleasures of this life abound, with dear friends by our side!

  • What a pleasant singing voice! Well done, Elayne .


    For many years, I've had a soft spot for "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" from when we attended a Unitarian Universalist church. I may have to work on lyrics for that now. Thanks for the inspiration! (Oh, and I will *not* be singing ;) )


    For those unfamiliar:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…very_Blessing?wprov=sfla1

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  • LOL. I couldn't go to sleep tonight until I got this first stanza out of my head! Then I realized how hard it is to stick to rhythm and rhyme scheme!! JJElbert has risen even further in my respect for his writing!!

    Here's my feeble attempt at a first draft of the first verse of "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" the Epicurean version:


    Walk the Path of Epicurus,

    Through the Garden, full of light:

    Seeking pleasure, this can cure us

    And reveal our lives' delight.

    Eschew desires that ring empty,

    Chase your joy and flee your pain.

    Nature's way leads us to plenty,

    Happiness returns again.

  • Okay, here's another verse:


    Love of wisdom has no season,

    Young and old are called alike.

    Elders recall past thoughts, pleasing,

    When they feel life's pains to strike.

    But young ones can learn to live wiser,

    Pain and pleasure they should heed.

    With these two as our advisor,

    Pleasures increase, pains recede.


    ***

    Paian Anax!! This is hard!! 8o

    Thoughts are welcomed. These are just first drafts.

  • Feels more like solving a puzzle!

    That's the analogy I was searching for. Thanks! I'm not a fan of crossword puzzles, sudoku, etc., but that searching for a solution is why I like genealogy research and doing research for library patrons

    I'll hold off on posting anymore individual verses. I'm going to solve this puzzle and then I'll post the draft. :)

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    Then I realized how hard it is to stick to rhythm and rhyme scheme!! JJElbert has risen even further in my respect for his writing!!

    I'm blushing...😄


    These are lovely! In his Ars Poetica, Horace writes (and I paraphrase) that good verse reads so effortlessly that the reader fancies he could take it in hand as easily himself. Only by attempting it does he learn his mistake. ;)


    It's hard to make it look easy! Feel free to drop these lines in the Poetry Megathread, and the more the merrier. With luck, we might inspire a future Epicurean poet more talented than any of us–and when that day comes, that's when we honor Horace, Lucretius and Epicurus!

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    With luck, we might inspire a future Epicurean poet more talented than any of us–and when that day comes, that's when we honor Horace, Lucretius and Epicurus!

    I keep thinking back to what I wrote here, and do you know what I've just realized? Of all the members of the original Garden in Athens, only one was praised in the ancient world for their writing style–and that by Cicero! Epicurus' writing was thought too plain and workmanlike (which of course was on purpose, following Euclid). We have no record of the reception of the style of Metrodorus, Hermarchus, or Polyaenus.


    Only Leontion was praised for the grace and elegance of her writing. Although to be fair, I think Cicero would accuse me of rather missing the point. ;)


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    Leontium, that mere courtesan, who had the effrontery to write a riposte to Theophrastus – mind you, she wrote elegantly in good Attic, but still, this was the licence which prevailed in the Garden of Epicurus.

    So let me correct that. When that day comes, that is when we honor Horace, Lucretius, Epicurus–and Leontion!

  • Okay, I finally realized I could go on ad nauseum, but I decided to stop with the number of verses in the original hymn. I don't hit all the principal doctrines, facets of the Canon, etc., but I hope I'm true to the spirit of the philosophy. Here, for your review, is an Epicurean version of "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing":


    Walk the Path of Epicurus,

    Through the Garden, full of light:

    Seeking pleasure, this can cure us

    And reveal our lives' delight.

    Eschew desires that ring empty,

    Chase your joy and flee your pain.

    Nature's way leads us to plenty,

    Happiness returns again.


    Love of wisdom has no season,

    Young and old are called alike.

    Elders recall past thoughts, pleasing,

    When pain's sting, they sense its strike.

    But young ones can learn to live wiser,

    Pain and pleasure, they should heed.

    With these two as their advisor,

    Pleasures increase; pains recede.


    All the Cosmos is material,

    Atoms falling through the void.

    Nothing springs from some ethereal

    Supernatural humanoid.

    Gaze in awe at all creation,

    Know you come from dying stars.

    From the dust comes our foundation,

    Venus' victory over Mars.


    You will find no soul or spirit

    Dwelling outside flesh and bone.

    Death is final, do not fear it;

    When it's present, we are gone.

    Seek no comfort in false fable,

    There's no hell nor some rewards.

    Seize the day while you are able,

    Praise the pleasure life affords.


    Pleasure seekers, ask no pardon;

    Look to learn from babe and beast.

    Hail, the friendship of the Garden,

    All are welcomed to the feast.

    Aim for a lifetime filled with pleasure;

    Prudent choices pave the way.

    See your life as Nature's treasure,

    Dance the dance and shout, "Hooray!"

  • Don, I like where you went with this! I wrote "The Hessian Monk" with a particular tune in mind, and the most difficult part with matching words to music is keeping a good 'flow'. There are a few lines I might amend in this respect, although I almost hesitate to do so–I find that if I wait a day and then return to a poem with fresh eyes, I can easily resolve problems that rankled me as I was writing it. But in the spirit of constructive criticism, here are a few points where the emphasis falls oddly to my ear, and a possible resolution for each;

    Quote

    Elders REcall past thoughts, pleasing,

    "Age reflects on past thoughts pleasing,"


    Quote

    When pain's sting, they sense its strike.

    (I see you've already tinkered with this one a bit! Sometimes it's one line or one rhyme that's endlessly thorny. Still thinking about this one)


    Quote

    But young ones can learn TO live wiser,

    "And Youth shall learn to live the wiser,"


    (This change would create strange grammar for the next line, which I might therefore amend slightly, vis a vis...)


    "Pain and pleasure taught to heed."


    Quote

    Aim FOR a lifetime filled with pleasure;

    Hmmm...🤔


    "Fill the brimming cup with pleasure"...

    "Toast to Life suffused with pleasure"...

    "Lay down a life's supply of pleasure"...


    💁‍♂️ just a few thoughts ;) don't feel obligated to follow them!


    The songs that still 'haunt' me from Mass are the Latin hymns.

  • Hmmm...🤔


    "Fill the brimming cup with pleasure"...

    "Toast to Life suffused with pleasure"...

    "Lay down a life's supply of pleasure"...

    What about this?


    Elect the Path imbued with pleasure;
    Prudent choices pave the way.


    I was trying to get away from saying life too near to each other. Plus this gets some path and pave alliteration. Path also echoes the first verse. Tinker.... Tinker....

  • Sounds good to my ear!


    Tennyson uses a similar line length and rhyme scheme in an excerpt of "A Vision of Sin", first published at the age of ~33. Some of the poems in this edition were written quite early, in his teenage years. This one gives a good example of what I mean by "flow";

  • At the risk of trying everyone's patience, but as tribute to JJElbert 's encouragement to keep tinkering, I humbly present "Walk the Path of Epicurus" version 2.0 (parrhessia welcomed!):


    Walk the Path of Epicurus,

    Through the Garden, full of light.

    Seeking pleasure, this can cure us,

    And reveal our lives' delight.

    Shun desires that ring empty,

    Chase your joy and flee your pain.

    Nature's way leads us to plenty,

    Happiness returns again.


    Love of wisdom has no season,

    Young and old are called alike.

    Age reflects on past thoughts pleasing,

    Dull the sting when pains doth strike.

    Youth shall, too, learn to live wiser,

    Pain and pleasure, taught to heed.

    With these two as their advisor,

    Pleasures increase; pains recede.


    All the Cosmos is material,

    Atoms falling through the void.

    Nothing springs from some ethereal

    Supernatural humanoid.

    Gaze in awe at all creation,

    Know you come from dying stars.

    From the dust comes our foundation,

    Venus' victory over Mars.


    You will find no soul or spirit

    Dwelling outside flesh and bone.

    Death is final, do not fear it;

    When it's present, we are gone.

    Declare heaven just a fable,

    Reject tales of demon hordes.

    Seize the day while you are able,

    Praise the pleasure life affords.


    Pleasure seekers, ask no pardon;

    Look to learn from babe and beast.

    Hail, the friendship of the Garden,

    All are welcomed to the feast.

    Stroll a road imbued with pleasure;

    Prudent choices pave the way.

    See your life as Nature's treasure,

    Dance the dance and shout, "Hooray!"