it may very well be that the fixture you are discribing requires a ground to operate. I would first use a cord with the female end cut off, and wirenut the cord to the fixture wires. ( make sure the cord has a ground); then simply plug the cord into a grounded receptacle. If it now works then you need to have a ground in the ceiling box. Is the ceiling box metal? and if it is and there is metal raceway to the box, you can use the box as a ground. good luck!!!