Bibliotherapy

Louis Ménard: ‘Emperor Julian’s Last Night’

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“The Bridegroom of Wisdom: Apotheosis of Julian” by Marianne M Gilchrist.

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Another sharing for the day from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA, a poem by Louis Ménard, ‘The last evening of Julian’ excerpted from ‘Les rêveries d’un paien mystique’. Paris- George Cres- 1911.

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Julian

‘Beyond all other gods of heaven and earth

I worship your untamed and immutable power,

Goddess of the old days, lame fate.

This relentless, blind and solitary power

Crushes my pride and my strength, and I see

That we try in vain to escape your inflexible laws.

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The people loved the yoke that enchained them,

Rome was sleeping in peace on its triumph cart,

Oracles were watching over your regal slumber.

Now, from Fate’s sovereign strength

May you crush Rome’s golden scepter in my hands,

And Sapor will avenge the Franks and the Germans.

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I have put up straight the altar of the gods of the Nation,

And I perceive already time trampling to its feet

The old deserted temples of my forgotten gods.

To the cult of the past, I have devoted my life.

Soon under its rubble, it will bury me.

The past is dying in me, Victory to the future !

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The Genie of the Empire

Do not fear the future, thou of which the hands are pure,

O last defender of a deserted cult,

Who wanted to carry on his own shoulders all the withering

Of the old roman world, and cover its filth

With the mantle of your glory and purity.

In vain your enemies have cursed your memory

Wishing it to be execrated through the centuries to come;

The sword is in your hands: Incorruptible history

Will tell how much it took to the lover of glory

Of strength and virtue to not use it.

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Fortune will strike a wound for a wound

To these new nations now favored,

When their crimes will reach beyond measure.

But a thousand years will pass without washing the insult,

Because Nemesis is slow to avenge the vanquished.

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O Cesar, you will die under a roman weapon.

Slow paced justice will one day erase

This surname of ‘apostate’ given by hate;

But the world shaken in its fall is taking you with it,

And your forbidden cult with you will perish.

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And for me, I will follow you because I am the genie

Of Rome and of the Empire; uniting our efforts,

Your enemies, mine, tired of my agony,

Are striving to see the last sun set upon the Nation,

Let’s give them way, Fate demands it, our gods are no more.’

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Original French

at Wikisource:

Les rêveries d’un paien mystique’,

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More about Emperor Julian here

and here

Portrait of Julianus (Emperor Julian) on a bronze coin from Antioch, 360-363. Wikipedia Commons-Photo courtesy of Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. (CNG).

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About the tittle painting with the own words of the artist, Marianne M Gilchrist. : ‘I painted this in 2012: it’s an Un-Orthodox icon. It’s acrylic (including metallic ones) on board, in a glazed wooden frame (hence reflection) which is incorporated into the design like the raised border of an icon. It depicts Sofia – Wisdom – embracing the Emperor Flavios Klaudios Ioulianos (Julian II, ‘the Philosopher’) after death. The iconography deliberately parodies the Orthodox icon types of ‘The Bridegroom’ and ‘Do Not Weep for Me, Mother’ and the traditional imagery of Sofia. Julian was acclaimed Emperor in Paris, raised up on the shields of his men and crowned with the gold torque of the draconarius (bearer of the dragon-standard).‘

Her art is to be found here

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