Ταῦτα πόνει, ταῦτ’ ἐκμελέτα· τούτων χρὴ ἐρᾶν σε,
ταῦτά σε τῆς θείης ἀρετῆς εἰς ἴχνια θήσει·
ναὶ μὰ τὸν ἁμετέρᾳ ψυχᾷ παραδόντα τετρακτὺν
παγὰν ἀενάου φύσεως· ἀλλ’ ἔρχευ ἐπ’ ἔργον,
θεοῖσιν ἐπευξάμενος τελέσαι· τούτων δὲ κρατήσας,
γνώσῃ ἀθανάτων τε θεῶν θνητῶν τ’ ἀνθρώπων
σύστασιν, ᾗ τε ἕκαστα διέρχεται, ᾗ τε κρατεῖται·
γνώσῃ δ’, ᾗ θέμις ἐστὶ, φύσιν περὶ παντὸς ὁμοίην,
ὥστε σε μήτε ἄελπτ’ ἐλπίζειν, μήτε τι λήθειν.
γνώσῃ δ’ ἀνθρώπους αὐθαίρετα πήματ’ ἔχοντας·
τλήμονας, οἵ τ’ ἀγαθῶν πέλας ὄντων οὐκ ἐσορῶσιν
οὔτε κλύουσι· λύσιν δὲ κακῶν παῦροι συνίσασι.
τοίη μοίρα βροτῶν βλάπτει φρένας· ὡς δὲ κύλινδροι
ἄλλοτ’ ἐπ’ ἄλλα φέρονται, ἀπείρονα πήματ’ ἔχοντες.
λυγρὴ γὰρ συνοπαδὸς ἔρις βλάπτουσα λέληθε
σύμφυτος, ἣν οὐ δεῖ προσάγειν, εἴκοντα δὲ φεύγειν.
Ζεῦ πάτερ, ἦ πολλῶν κε κακῶν λύσειας ἅπαντας,
εἰ πᾶσιν δείξαις, οἵῳ τῷ δαίμονι χρῶνται.
ἀλλὰ σὺ θάρσει, ἐπεὶ θεῖον γένος ἐστὶ βροτοῖσιν,
οἷς ἱερὰ προφέρουσα φύσις δείκνυσιν ἕκαστα.
ὧν εἴ σοί τι μέτεστι, κρατήσεῖς ὧν σε κελεύω,
ἐξακέσας, ψυχὴν δὲ πόνων ἀπὸ τῶνδε σαώσεις.
ἀλλ’ εἴργου βρωτῶν, ὧν εἴπομεν, ἔν τε καθαρμοῖς
ἔν τε λύσει ψυχῆς κρίνων, καὶ φράζευ ἕκαστα,
ἡνίοχον γνώμην στήσας καθύπερθεν ἀρίστην.
ἢν δ’ ἀπολείψας σῶμα ἐς αἰθέρ’ ἐλεύθερον ἔλθῃς,
ἔσσεαι ἀθάνατος θεὸς ἄμβροτος, οὐκ ἔτι θνητός.
(Pseudo-Pythagoras, Carm. Aur. 45-71)
Practise thoroughly all these things; meditate on them well; thou oughtest to love them with all thy heart.
‘Tis they that will put thee in the way of divine virtue.
I swear it by him who has transmitted into our souls the Sacred Quaternion, the source of nature, whose cause is eternal.
But never begin to set thy hand to any work, till thou hast first prayed the gods to accomplish what thou art going to begin.
When thou hast made this habit familiar to thee,
Thou wilt know the constitution of the Immortal Gods and of men.
Even how far the different beings extend, and what contains and binds them together.
Thou shalt likewise know that according to Law, the nature of this universe is in all things alike,
So that thou shalt not hope what thou ought’st not to hope; and nothing in this world shall be hid from thee.
Thou wilt likewise know, that men draw upon themselves their own misfortunes voluntarily, and of their own free choice.
Unhappy that they are! They neither see nor understand that their good is near them.
Few know how to deliver themselves out of their misfortunes.
Such is the fate that blinds mankind, and takes away his senses.
Like huge cylinders they roll to and fro, and always oppressed with ills innumerable.
For fatal strife, innate, pursues them everywhere, tossing them up and down; nor do they perceive it.
Instead of provoking and stirring it up, they ought, by yielding, to avoid it.
Oh! Jupiter, our Father! if Thou would’st deliver men from all the evils that oppress them,
Show them of what dæmon they make use.
But take courage; the race of man is divine.
Sacred nature reveals to them the most hidden mysteries.
If she impart to thee her secrets, thou wilt easily perform all the things which I have ordained thee.
And by the healing of thy soul, thou wilt deliver it from all evils, from all afflictions.
But abstain thou from the meats, which we have forbidden in the purifications and in the deliverance of the soul;
Make a just distinction of them, and examine all things well.
Leaving thyself always to be guided and directed by the understanding that comes from above, and that ought to hold the reins.
And when, after having divested thyself of thy mortal body, thou arrivest at the most pure Æther,
Thou shalt be a God, immortal, incorruptible, and Death shall have no more dominion over thee.
(tr. Florence M. Firth)