And of him who was burned, is one and the same, in this case and in that;2
And, had its Lord commanded the fire to burn them,
Even those three on their part, burned they would have been;
And, if He had signified to it that it should not burn that one man also,
He would not have been burned; nor had it been of himself that he was rescued.
To go into the fire was of their own will, when they went in;
But that they were not burned—because the Lord of the fire willed and commanded it.
Therefore one equal beauty is that of him who was burned,
And that of him who was not burned, because the will also was equal.
Beloved martyr! exalted is thy beauty; exalted is thy rank:
Graceful too thy crown, and mingled thy story with that of the glorious.
Choice gold art thou, and the fire hath tried thee, and resplendent is thy beauty.
And lo! into the King’s crown art thou wrought, along with the victorious.
Good workman! who, in the doctrine of the Son of God,
Pursueth his course like a valiant3 man, because of the beauty of his faith.
A preacher also, whose mouth was full of faith.
Watchful was he, and prompt for service; and he encouraged with his teaching
The household of the house of God, through his faith.
Of light was he full, and he wrestled with the darkness
Which overspread the country from the paganism which had darkened it.
With the Gospel of the Son was his mouth filled in the congregations;
And as it were a leader of the way did he become to the villages when he arrived in them.
Divine, that he might establish the adherents4 of the faith.
At the time when the winds of the pagans blew, a lamp was he,
And flamed forth whilst they blew upon him, and went not out.
All on fire was he, and filled with the love of his Lord, and was concerned
For this—that he might speak of Him without hindrance.5
And, as much as in him lay, he rooted them out by his diligence.
He taught, admonished, and confirmed in the faith,
The friends of Christ,6 who were harassed by persecutors.
Against sword and against fire did he wrestle,
With love hot as the flame, and was not afraid.
Like a two-edged brand,7 keen was
His faith, and against error did he contend.
Leaven did he prove to be in this land which had become exhausted8
Through fondness for the idols of vanity which error had brought in.
He was like salt by reason of his savoury doctrine
To this region, which had become insipid through unbelief.
By the preaching and teaching of that which is true.
He was to the flock a good shepherd whilst he was its overseer;
And his life laid he down for the flock while he tended it.
He chased away the wolf, and drove off from it the beast of prey.
And he repaired the breaches, and gathered the lambs into their folds.
He went out secretly and encouraged the congregations:
He strengthened them, and exhorted them, and held them up.
And he forged armour of faith, and put it on them,
That they might not be ignominiously overthrown9 by the paganism which abounded.
By persecutors: and he encouraged the lambs and the ewes.
And he was an advocate to the household of faith;
And he taught them not to be daunted by persecutors.
He taught them to run to meet death,
Without being afraid either of sword or of fire.
In the teaching of the Son of God he prospered,
So that his faith pursued its course without dread.
And she pursued after him, that she might shed upon the earth innocent blood.
The Defamer, who hates the race of men,
Laid snares for him, that he might rid the place of his presence.10
He who hateth the truth pursued after him to put him to death,
That he might make his voice to cease11 from the teaching of the house of God.
And errour raised an outcry demanding that Habib should die, because she hated him;
Vexation goaded her on, and she sought to take away his life.
And the dear fame of him reached the king: who in great rage,
And because the diadem was interwoven with paganism, decreed13 death
Against Habib, because he was full of faith.
And, when the command reached the judge, he armed himself
With rage and fury; and, with a mind thirsting for blood,
And like hunters who lay nets for the young stag,
After Habib did they go out to catch him.
Who in the highway of the crucifixion was prospering;
And, that he might benefit by his teaching the children of his people,
His work embraced the countries round about him.
So, when error went out after him, she found him not:
Not that he was fled, but that he had gone out to preach the Gospel.
Then, because of the fury of the pagans, which was great beyond all that was meet,
His kindred and his mother did they seize for his sake.
For wherefore was it that they seized thee and bound thee, iniquitously?
What do they require of thee, O thou full of beauty? What, I ask, have they required of thee?
Lo! they require of thee that thou bring the martyr, that he may be a sacrifice.
Bring, oh bring thy sweet fruit to the place of the oblation—