CELT document T300000-001

Anglo-Irish poems of the Middle Ages

Unknown author

English Translation

    Anglo-Irish Poems of the Middle Ages

    1. The Land of Cokaygne

      Far away in the sea, to the west of Spain, is a land called Cokaygne. There is not a land beneath the kingdom of heaven like it for prosperity and excellence.
      Though Paradise may be joyful and bright, Cokaygne is of more beautiful appearance. What is there in Paradise but grass and flower and green leafy spray?
      Though there may be joy and great pleasure, there is10  no food but fruit; there is no hall, lodging nor seat, only water to quench man's thirst.
      There are only two men15  there, Elijah and Enoch too. Desolately, they can go where men dwell no more.
      In Cokaygne there is food and drink without sorrow, anxiety and toil. The food is excellent, the drink is is pure, for mid-day meal, light collation and supper.20 
      I say indeed, without doubt, there is not a land on earth its equal. Indeed, there is not a land under heaven of so much joy and happiness.25 
      There is many a delightful sight, it is always day, there is no night there. There is neither conflict nor strife, there is no death there, but life perpetually.30 
      There is no lack of food or clothing, neither man nor woman is angry there. There is not a serpent nor a wolf nor a fox, horse nor hunter, cow nor ox. There is not a sheep nor a pig nor a goat, nor any filth, lo! God knows it.35 
      There is neither horse-breeding establishment nor stud. The land is full of other wealth: there is no fly, flea nor louse in clothing, bed or house.
      There is no thunder there, sleet nor hail, nor any40  repulsive worm or snail, nor any storm, rain or wind. No man or woman is blind there, on the contrary, everything is pleasure and happiness and amusement. He is fortunate who can be there!45 
      There are great and excellent rivers there of oil, milk, honey and wine. Water serves no purpose there, except as something to look at and for washing. There are many50  kinds of fruit, everything is pleasure and enjoyment.
      There is a very splendid abbey of white and grey monks. There are bedrooms and halls. The walls are entirely55  of pies, of meat, fish and excellent food, the most delightful that men can eat.
      The shingles of the church, the cloister, bedroom and hall are all cakes made of flour, the pegs are60  fat sausages, excellent food for princes and kings.
      Man can eat enough of it as by right and not wrongfully. Everything is held in common by young and old, by the proud and the fierce, the humble and the brave.65 
      There is a cloister beautiful and full of light, broad and long, beautiful to see. All the pillars of that cloister are70  shaped in crystal, with their base and capital of green jasper and red coral.
      In the meadow is a tree, very pleasant to see; the root is ginger and galingale, the shoots are entirely of zedoary, the75  flower is excellent mace, the bark cinnamon of pleasant scent, the fruit a clove of good flavour.
      There is no lack of cubebs. There are roses there of red colour,80  and the lily, so pleasant to see. They never wither, day or night, this must be a pleasant sight!
      There are four springs in the abbey, of healing ointment85  and healing medicine, of balsam and also spiced wine. Ever running from these streams without diminishing the whole world, are precious stones and gold.90 
      There is sapphire and large pearl, carbuncle and moonstone, emerald, ligure and prasine, beryl, onyx, topaz, amethyst and chrysolite, chalcedony and red precious stone.95 
      There are a great many birds there, song thrush and thrush, nightingale, lark and golden oriole, and other birds without number, which never stop singing joyfully as well as100  they can, day or night.
      I will let you know more still. The geese roasted on the spit fly to that abbey, God knows it, and they cry out: “Geese, right hot, right hot!” The best dressed that man can see, they105  bring garlic in great abundance.
      The larks, which are renowned, come down to man's110  mouth fully dressed in a great stewpan, sprinkled with clove and cinnamon. There is no talk of not drinking, but take enough without toil.
      When the monks go to Mass, all the windows115  which are of glass turn into radiant chrystal, to give them more light. When the Masses are said and the books put away,120  the crystal turns into glass, to the state that it was in before.
      Every day after food the young monks go to play. There is neither hawk nor bird so swift, better at flying through the125  air than the high-spirited monks with their sleeves and their hoods.
      When the abbot sees them fly, he regards it with great pleasure, but nevertheless, right there in the midst of it, he130  requests them to come down to evensong.
      The monks do not come down, but fly further in a rush. When the abbot sees for himself that his monks fly away135  from him, he takes a girl from the crowd and turns up her white buttocks and beats the small drums with his hand, to make his monks come down to land.140 
      When his monks see that, they fly down to the girl and go all around the wench and all pat her white buttocks. And then after their toil they take their way obediently home to145  drink, and go to their collation, a very fine procession.
      Another abbey is nearby, in truth a big beautiful nunnery, upon a river of sweet milk, where there is great abundance150  of silk.
      When the summer day is hot, the young nuns take a boat, and take themselves out on that river both with oars and with rudder.155 
      When they are far from the abbey, they make themselves naked in order to play, and leap down into the water and devote themselves skilfully to swimming.
      The young160  monks who see them take themselves upwards and out they fly, and come to the nuns at once, and each monk takes one for himself and quickly carries forth his prey to the165  great grey abbey, and teaches the nuns a prayer with legs uplifted thoroughly.
      The monk who wishes to be a good stallion and knows how to arrange his hood becomingly shall have, without difficulty,170  twelve wives a year, entirely by right and not by grace, in order to give himself pleasure.
      And there is hope for that same monk who sleeps best and puts his body175  completely at rest, God knows, to be Father Abbot immediately.
      Whoever wishes to come to that land must do a very180  great penance. For seven years, you know well, he must wade in pig's dung all the way up to the chin, in order that he shall attain the land.
      Gentlemen, virtuous and noble, may you never185  depart from this world until you risk your luck and perform that penance, so that you may see that land and nevermore return again.190 
      Let us pray to God that it may be so! Amen, for blessed charity.


    2. Five Hateful Things

    1. A bishop without doctrine,
      a king without judgment,
      an imprudent young man,
      a foolish old man,
      a woman without shame —
      I swear by the King of heaven,
      those are five hateful things.

    3. Satire

      Hail, Saint Michael with the long spear! Your wings are beautiful upon your shoulders. You have a red kirtle straight to your foot. You are the best angel that God ever made. This verse is very well made. It is brought from a great distance.
      Hail, Saint Christopher with your long stake! You bore Our Lord Jesus Christ over the broad lake. Many a great conger eel swims about your feet. How many herring for a penny at West Cheap in London? This verse is from Sacred Scripture, it comes from an illustrious talent.13 
      Saint Mary's bastard, the Magdalen's son, your custom was always to be well dressed. You carry a box in your hand painted all over with gold. You were accustomed to be courteous give us some of your spices. This verse is well made, of consonants and vowels.19 
      Hail, Saint Dominic with your long staff! It is as crooked as an iron hook at the upper end. You carry a book on your back, I think it is a Bible. Though you be a good cleric, you are not too exalted. Lo! an excellent rhyme, God knows it! I know not such another on earth.25 
      Hail, Saint Francis, with your many birds - kites and crows, ravens and owls, twenty-four wild geese and a peacock! Many a stout-hearted beggar follows your company. This verse is very well put. From a very great distance it was sought for.31 
      Hail, you friars with the white copes! You have a house at Drogheda where ropes are made. You are always wandering idly all about the country. You rob the churches of the brushes for sprinkling holy water. He was a very good master who understood this sentence.37 
      Hail, you Williamite Hermits with your black robes! You leave the wilderness and fill the towns. Minors without and preachers within, your customary practice is the collecting of money, that is a great disgrace. This verse is cleverly said. It would be injurious set down in writing.43 
      Hail, you holy monks with your tankards, late and early filled with ale and wine! You can booze deeply, that is your entire concern. You discipline frequently with Saint Benedict's scourge. Everyone pay attention to me: that this is artful you can see well.49 
      Hail, you nuns of Saint Mary's house, God's ladies-in-waiting and his own spouses! You often 'treat your shoes amiss' (lose your virginity), your feet are very tender! Misfortune to the shoemaker who dresses your leather! You understood very well the one who made this song so worthily.55 
      Hail, you priests with your big books! Though your crowns are shaven, your curly lock are handsome. You and other lay men only distribute alms in a niggardly fashion. When you distribute sacred bread, only give me a little. Certainly he was a learned man who wrote this skilful work.61 
      Hail, you merchants with your large packages of cloth, avoir du poids, and your wool sacks, gold, silver, precious stones, rich marks and pounds too! You give little of it to the miserable poor. He who put this learning into writing was clever and full of intelligence.67 
      Hail, you tailors with your sharp shears! You cut wedgeshaped pieces of cloth frequently to make hoods wrongly. Your needles are hot in preparation for mid-winter. Though your seams seem fine, they last [only] a short time. The cleric who made this stanza, without doubt, was awake and did not sleep at all.73 
      Hail, you shoemakers with your many lasts! With your soft hides of wonderful animals, and afflictions and plaiting tools, leather-cutting tool and awls. Your teeth are black and horrible, filthy was that crowd. Is not this stanza well put? Each word of it fits correctly.79 
      Hail, you skinners with your poisonous vat! Whoever smells it is much distressed. When it thunders you may void excrement therein. Misfortune on your manners, you cause the whole street to stink! He who composed this true utterance would be entitled by merit to be a king.85 
      Hail, you potters with your axe for splitting wood! Fine are your aprons, yellow is the hair of your head. You stand at the stall, broadly built, terrible men. You are subservient to the flesh, you swallow enough. The best cleric in this whole town made this verse skilfully.91 
      Hail, you bakers with your very great many small loaves of white and black bread! You drive hard bargains on the correct grain, against God's law. Take heed, I advise, to the fine pillory! This verse is so well made that no tongue, indeed, can tell of it.97 
      Hail, you brewers with your gallons, half-gallons and quarts over all the towns! Your thumb-measures steal a lot away, shame on the double-dealing. Be wary of the cucking-stool, the lake is deep and muddy. Truly, he was a learned man who composed this work so craftily.103 
      Hail, you peddlers down by the lake, with candles and bowls and black pots, tripes and cows' feet and sheep's heads! With the dirty liver your stall is filthy. He who is joined to such a wife is grieved that he is alive.109 
      Fie upon devils, miserable wretches who card the wool, the shameful signs of the pillory of the public weighing scales on high upon your heads! You made such an obnoxious noise for me above all the howls, and so I made one of you sit upon a flax-comb. He was a noble and good cleric who understood this profound teaching.115 
      Make merry, my friends, you sit still for too long, speak now, and rejoice and drink all you fill! You have heard of the lives of men who live in the land. Drink deeply and make merry, may you have no other need. This song has been recited by me. May you be blessed always.


    4. Song of Michael of Kildare

      Sweet Jesus, merciful and generous, who was stretched on the rood-tree, be with us now and forever, and protect us from sin. Do not allow those who are here to go to hell. Hear me, you who are so glorious of countenance, hope of all mankind! Cause us to see the Trinity and to gain the kingdom of heaven.11 
      This world's love has gone away, like the dew on the grass on a summer's day. There are few, alas, who love God's teaching. We are all shrivelled like the earth, we ought to grieve sorely for that. Prince and king, what, do they expect to live for ever? Give up your pleasure and cry unceasingly: Jesus Christ have mercy!21 
      Alas, alas, the prosperous men! Why will you fill your den with dung? Do you hope to take it hence? Nay, as I may prosper! You must see that the chattels of this life are entirely worthless. Run and fall on your knees to Christ who suffered five wounds, for you are trees fit to burn in the painful pit of hell.31 
      God has sent you to the earth, has lent you a little period of time. He shall know how it is spent, I advise you, take heed. If it is hidden you shall be destroyed, for hell will be your reward. The bow is bent, the fire stoked for you if you are miserly. Unless you reform, you shall be sent away into ever glowing coals.41 
      Your arrival was in poverty, so shall be your departure. You shall not carry a penny of all your property to the grave. That is a sorrowful tiding, for whoever wishes to hear it. Lord King, what makes a man so faithful to sinful filth? In torment he must not give a farthing, though he wanted to.51 
      Rich man, think carefully, pay careful attention to what you are! You are only a fragile tree not attaining seven feet, clothed on the outside with gold and money, the axe is at the root. The ungracious devil considers it all a sport to root up this tree. As I may prosper, I advise you, flee and bring about your soul's deliverance.61 
      Now you are in quiet and rest, you are the most important person of all the land. You pay no heed to God's command. Why will you not think about death? When you think you are living most splendidly, death will destroy your body. The poor coffin must be a nest for you who sits boldly on a bench. Though your enterprise shall range East and West, you will not be able to avoid anything.71 
      Whether you are a baron or a knight, you shall be a sorrowful creature; when you lie stretched on a bier in very poor clothing, you have neither power nor strength; while you fear no man, with grief-filled sight - and that is right - you shall be led to the earth. Then your daylight must turn into night. Consider, man! This I caution.81 
      The poor man asks good things of you every day, and you always say: “Beggar, go to the devil, you fill my ears completely with noise!” Stung with hunger, he goes away with many a sorrowful tear. Woe, alas! You clod of earth, when you lie on a bier, you do not have particoloured fur, nor grey squirrel fur, nor red squirrel fur, nor fine striped cloth, but only a haircloth shroud.91 
      Christ tells in Holy Scripture that a man of perverse under standing who was rich in this life was buried in the abyss of hell. Then he shall never escape from the sorrowful pit. He must sit deprived in hell, without wine and a loaf of white bread. The devil must sit to knit his fetters securely. Bitterly can he scream.101 
      The poor man goes before you, thoroughly dried up like a tree, and cries out: “Lord, help me! Hunger has bound me. Let me die for charity's sake. I am overcome”. As I may prosper, and as Christ sees it, you shall be held responsible for his death, if he dies at that time, though you give him no wound.111 
      I advise you: Rise and awaken, move quickly from corrupt sin. If you are taken in it, indeed you must go to hell, to live with the black devils in that grievous boiling heat. Make your way, endure the penance, tell your sins to a priest, so that lamentation and retribution shall depart from you, together with devils cruel and treacherous.121 
      If your life is led in sin, do not be set against doing penance; whoever does so, as Holy Church teaches, is not mad. Do not be afraid of it, Christ shall be your physician. Thus Christ, whom the rood stretched, advised us with joyful words. When He commanded thus you could be glad, He loves no wretched man.131 
      Jesus, gracious King of Heaven, may you be ever blessed! Lord, I beg of you, have concern for me. May you protect me from mortal sin while I live amongst the human race! May the gracious Virgin who bore you so lovingly under her garments, cause us to see the Trinity - we are all in need!141 
      A friar minor made this song, may Jesus Christ be his aid! Lord, bring him - Friar Michael Kildare - to the heavenly stronghold. Shield him from the mansion of hell when he must go hence! Lady, flower of all virtue, remove his sorrow, shield him on every side from the shower of certain torments! Amen.

    5. Sermon

      May the grace of God and Holy Church through the power of the Trinity, give us grace to perform such deeds as may be helpful to our souls.
      These words which I speak now remain unchanged - it is written in a book in Latin - we may well fear and be terrified, the dead are so disgusting to look upon.
      Therefore he says: “Ah, man, remember that there comes an end to this life! Our human nature is of dust and ashes, and we shall return to dust”.13 
      Thus says Saint Bernard in his book, and teaches us often and frequently to be skilful, if we would direct our vision - what may come from us is very vile.17 
      Man, look from every viewpoint at your eyes and your nose, your mouth, your ears! What comes out from your belt to your stockings is very vile.21 
      Man, you could hunt louse and flea from your shoulders and from your side. I enjoy no pride in such a hunting-ground. The animal you might kill is worthless.25 
      If you are proud of your flesh, man, or of the skin that is on the outside, your flesh is nothing but a serving of worm's food. Why are you proud of such a thing?29 
      Worms shall spring out of your flesh, your outer skin is only a sack, sprinkled full of excrement and dung, which is black and stinks disgustingly.33 
      Sire, is the noble man made of anything other that this? He himself can say, if he has knowledge of what is right, for he shall find that it is so.37 
      That it is true and not lies, look at your neighbour, at the where and how [of his situation]. Look into his grave, he was proud, as you are.41 
      What pride will you see there, but stench and worms crawling in excrement? We should beware of such a sight, and have it written in our hearts.45 
      There is no silk nor silken garment, no dark-coloured cloth nor any squirrel-fur, there is nothing around the bone to protect what was concealed here.49 
      The worms have diligently sought out the wicked garment that was round about. Alas, what is man so proud of, when all his pride shall turn to nothing?57 
      If a man is proud of the world's wealth, I consider that he is a fool. It comes, it goes, it is only a delusion, only excrement, deceit and vanity.57 
      Lo! You may see correctly that property is only a deceit. It will only be a companion for a while, you must leave it, or it must leave you.61 
      It is my advice that while you have it, you spend it well so that it is helpful for good. Unless you will do so at the last, other men will after you.65 
      Now there are other men of all classes, they are morally blinded by covetousness, who would rather go to death than spend the goods which God has sent them.69 
      Though a man possesses it, it is not his, it is only lent to him solely in order to live his life, indeed, and help the needy who have nothing.73 
      Now many wretches become slaves, they will not spend but guard it in storage. They have become the devil's slave, night and day they live in anxiety.77 
      And so, night and day, all their thought is on how they will possess and seize it now, to guard it firmly and spend nothing at all, and they lead their life continually in mental torment.81 
      The wretches extort the muck so quickly, they will not spend it upon themselves. Yet they must die in the end and they shall go to the devil.85 
      Since such an extortioner goes to hell for a little property which is not his, what can I say about the rich man who leads his whole life in bliss?89 
      It is as easy to bring a camel into the eye of a needle as to bring a rich man into the bliss that is on high.93 
      Though a man is rich in land and vassals, and holds banquets very frequently, there is no doubt that he shall be dead, and have to render an account at the Judgment.97 
      Yes, we must give accounts for all that we have here, yea, of a farthing, truly indeed, of all your time from year to year;101 
      And unless you have spent properly the goods that God has lent you, you will lose the vision of Jesus Christ, you will be sent to the torment of hell.105 
      We ought to take heed of hell's torment and keep it in mind for ever more, but no-one will pay heed in any other way before they themselves are brought into it.109 
      Though friars preach of heaven and hell, of joy and torment to many men, all of that seems but a delusion to them, as men tell about Wlonchargan.113 
      But still that same day shall come, when there will be no one who would not wish to hide himself, so sorely shall we fear to see the wounds of Jesus Christ's side.117 
      His hands, His feet, shall run with blood, you would want to flee, you might not be able to then. The spear, the nails and the cross will cry: “Take vengeance on sinful man!”121 
      The water then shall spread over the earth, shall roar and drive everything before it; “Now, Jesus Christ, we shall take revenge, on your behalf, on sinful man who shed your blood!”125 
      Both fire and wind shall cry loudly, “Lord, now let us get to work, for I will blow and the fire shall bum sinful man who has done wrong!”129 
      Heaven and earth shall cry and wail, and hell shall burn, you will see, Oh! sinful man, sorrowful will be your lot when all this vengeance shall befall you!133 
      It is so terrible to look and to hear the bitter judgment, angels shall tremble, - so the book says - and you hear of it very frequently.137 
      Say, sinful man, why will you not believe that all things must come to the pruning knife? Rightly ought your heart to split asunder, your eyes weep bloody tears.141 
      It is too late, when you are there, to cry: “Jesus, your mercy!” While you are here take good care, open your heart and live according to his teaching.145 
      Open your heart, which is locked with covetousness and pride therein, and think about those words spoken here. Do not forget them but think about them.149 
      And unless you will think upon it in order to accept good doctrine, indeed, as certainly as you are a man, you shall regret it grievously and dearly.153 
      Man's life is only a shadow, now he exists and now he does not; consider how he can be happy, even though he could possess the whole world.157 
      Would he remember, the wretched man, what he brought into this world? wrapped about in a stinking skin, very little better than nothing.161 
      What is the property which he shall have when he must go out of this world? A vile garment - why should I he? - for he brought no more with him.165 
      He shall go out just as he came, in distress and torment and poverty. Pay careful attention to your ending, man, for it shall be just as I say.169 
      I do not know what man is so proud of, of earth, ashes, skin and bone, for once the soul is excluded there is no viler carrion.173 
      Many a man thinks in his mind that he will not leave his heir completely destitute. His heir shall run short and keep nothing, and waste the property far and wide.177 
      I warn you, because it shall be handed over to another everything that you gained with suffering here. A degenerate heir shall waste it all, and everything that was yours shall be another's.181 
      Now since the world is nothing and property is only vanity, let us have God in our thought and we will be free of the chattels.185 
      Honour God and Holy Church, and help those that have need; thus we shall do God's will. [and] have as reward the joy of heaven.189 
      What is the joy that man shall have if he spends his life well? To speak the truth and not to lie, there is no tongue that can tell of it.193 
      If I shall tell everything that I can, as we are able to read in Holy Book, it is a joy that falls to man's lot that he need not fear hell's torment.197 
      The man who can come to heaven in order to see the sweet consolation, seven times brighter than the sun shall the man's soul be in heaven.201 
      His body shall also be so beautiful and strong there, you may believe it with good reason, evil is always far from him, there is nothing that shall cause him difficulty.205 
      There will be no need for meat and drink, nor shall he be troubled about any feeling of hunger. The sight of God shall feed him. It is very delightful to dwell there.209 
      There are a great many dwelling-places, good and better, pay careful attention. The last word supports the story: Whoever can do best, his reward shall be best.213 
      Heaven is high, both long and wide, there are many angels in it, both joy and happiness on every side. The good Christian man shall dwell therein.217 
      The smallest happiness that is therein: A man shall know his own friend, his wife, his father and all his kindred. There is no end to all this joy.221 
      We shall see Our Lady fair, so full of love, joy and happiness, that the light shall spring forth from her face into our heart, a joy indeed.225 
      The sight of the Trinity is the greatest joy that can befall, both God and Man in majesty, the high King above us all.229 
      The sight of him is our food, the sight of him is our respite, all our joys shall be very good, the sight of him is best of all.233 
      Let us beseech Him, meek of disposition, who sucked the milk of a virgin's breast, who redeemed us with His precious blood, to give us the happiness that shall last for ever.237 
      All who have come here in order to hear this sermon, take heed that you have no doubt, for you have seven years as an indulgence.

    6. Fifteen Signs Before Judgment

      May the grace of Jesus full of power, through the prayer of Our Blessed Lady, alight among us now, and always guard and save us.
      Man and woman, you ought to take notice of how this world's ending shall be, the wonders that will come before the Judgment that young and old will see.
      The fifteen signs I shall tell you, as Isaiah teaches us. The Holy Spirit taught him very well, and he preached it as a prophecy.13 
      It is written in the Holy Book, as learned men may see and read, that no man can behold anything that is so terrible to fear.17 
      There is no sinful man alive - if he would take heed of it and he would think about it - who would not lament grievously in his heart.21 
      Good men, take no heed of signs that come in advance. The children in the mother's womb shall doubt and fear verysorrowfully on that account.25 
      Within the mother's womb they shall call upon Jesus Christ always crying: “Lord Christ, guide our resolve and have mercy upon us!”29 
      “Lord, we wish that we had never come into the world and were not begotten by our father, because all things shall now suffer harm”.33 
      The first sign shall be as follows, in truth we shall all see it, and the second shall be worse, in truth you may believe me utterly.37 
      The stars so bright that you see, that are established so firmly in heaven above, shall give no light because of man's sin, but shall be thrown down to earth.41 
      Beautiful and bright though you see them, they will become as black as coal and be dark and dusky of hue. They shall suffer because of man's sin.45 
      There is no man alive so steadfast, who shall not shudder with fear because of this; he will not be able to hide himself in any way nor flee anywhere.49 
      But, like beasts that were mad, running here and there against each other therefore, they shall not know any good. They shall stay away from neither sea nor land.53 
      Then the dead shall rise up to sit upon their tombs. They shall shudder with fear that same day, and look like animals who know no reason.57 
      Then the third day in the morning it shall be terrible to see, a day of much weeping and of sorrow, as we find in the Holy Book.61 
      That same day you will see that the sun's light, that shines now so brightly, shall be very colourless and dark, and that shall be so for certain.65 
      About the time of mid-day it will be as black as coal. We may say “alas!” Great is the torment that we will suffer.69 
      On the fourth day that same sun will be as red as it were fire, for fear of judgment that it should come before Jesus, the great Lord.73 
      The fifth sign will occur so that every kind of beast shall tremble before it along with the rest, while that same day shall last.77 
      They shall look towards heaven to beg mercy of Jesus Christ with their mind and their thought, although they may not speak at all.81 
      Alas, Lord, what shall we receive, we who have committed sin? Night and day we ought to tremble terribly when we should think of it in our minds.85 
      I do not leave out the sixth day, when these mountains and these hills will all be brought low, truly, to fill these deep valleys.89 
      There is no castle nor tower made of lime and stone that ever was or shall be that shall not fall down;93 
      Nor any tree so firm in the earth, so firmly driven in with all its roots that will not crash down on that same day, before it is night.97 
      On the seventh day they will grow again, their growth down, their roots on high. We shall see such wonders, on account of the anger of God who sits on high.101 
      The trees shall bleed - a marvellous thing - the thing that has no body nor flesh, for fear of the King of heaven, against the law of nature they shall do the deed.105 
      Then both poor and rich will die, nor shall anything be an exception then. We shall all be the same, both knight and baron, earl and king.109 
      Neither castle nor tower will help there, neither palfrey, hunter nor any steed, for all his great position, will prevent him from dying very soon.113 
      The eighth day will be terrifying, and you shall see that very well. This whole day shall be full of suffering and agony.117 
      The entire sea will draw together to stand upright like a wall, and all these waters that are here shall call upon God Almighty for mercy.121 
      The sea shall drive apart so fiercely all the fish that are created therein that they will believe in their thought that the God of heaven is not alive.125 
      Then the sea shall draw back again into the place where it had been and each area of fresh water then shall have come to its own place.129 
      The ninth sign shall be as follows: The wonders that shall happen that same day shall be different from all the others. I can tell you what it will be.133 
      The holy man, Saint Augustine, tells that the skies shall speak then in a voice just as if it were a man, when all things shall have an end.137 
      They shall cry loudly, moreover, to call upon God with the sound of a man, as heaven and earth shall collapse: “God and man, now mercy!”141 
      “Lord, have mercy, out of your great power! Now all our time is spent, for the sight of sinful man's eyes never let us be destroyed!”145 
      There is no saint in heaven above in the whole of God's company that will not be moved by it, and be afraid of that same sign.149 
      Thus Saint Jerome tells us, and Saint Gregory as well, that the Seraphim and Cherubim, who are two ranks of angels, will tremble then.153 
      There is no angel in heaven, indeed, that shall have speech with another so grievously afraid they will be, indeed, on account of Jesus Christ's terrible vengeance.157 
      All the devils that are in hell will come then with a great noise. You will hear their lament very well, hear how they will cry to God and man.161 
      Oh, man and woman take heed how the devils shall make their lament! You ought to conduct yourself with great purity, while you are in this miserable dwelling.165 
      They will call upon Jesus Christ with such a voice of torment and misery: “Lord, give us our safe resting place, let us never go to hell again!”169 
      On the eleventh day four winds will rise and then the rain bow will fall, so that all the devils will shudder in fear of it and be driven into hell.173 
      And so, willy nilly they must flee, and into the torment of hell, in spite of themselves there they must be, to remain there in double torment.177 
      On the twelfth day the four elements will all cry in one strong voice: “Mercy, Jesus, son of Mary, as you are God and King of heaven!”

    7. Fall and Passion

      May the grace of God full of power, who is and ever was a king, come down among us and give us all His tender grace,
      Me to speak and you to learn, so that it be to your worship, Lord; me to teach and you to conduct yourself so that it may be helpful to our souls,
      So that I may with much respect so accomplish through His power as to show to you His resurrection, if it be His precious will.13 
      Everything that God suffered in torment was not on account of His own offence, but it was for your sin, man, - on account of sin - that you were thrust into hell.17 
      When Lucifer was filled with pride - he was such a beautiful angel in heaven - he fell out of heaven and in a short time he descended into hell.21 
      And a great number besides, that no tongue could count, fell down with him as well into the dark pit of hell.25 
      Seven days and seven nights, as you imagine that snow falls, they fell down out of heaven and were thrown into hell.29 
      Because of the pride of Lucifer, the tenth order of angels and ill who were obedient to him fell into hell. They must live in torment for ever.33 
      To fill up the places of those who had fallen because of pride and defilement, God made Adam for His own purpose, to fill up the places of those who were lost.37 
      He gave Adam discrimination, reason and also strength in his disposition, in order to be resolute with all righteousness, and forsake evil and do good.41 
      God gave him a great dominion over everything that was in water and on land, all the boundaries of Paradise as his responsibility when it pleased Him,45 
      Birds, animals and the fruit - only one tree He excluded him from - the great pleasure of Paradise, and yet he sinned because of evil counsel.49 
      The Devil bore malice towards him, in that he was to be brought into his place. He became a serpent through deceit and caused Eve to change her mind.53 
      Why did he come to Eve rather than to Adam? I shall tell you, Sirs, have trust; it is because woman is always precious to man.57 
      Woman can direct a man's purpose where she makes up her mind to it, that is the reason and the cause why the Devil came to her first.61 
      “Eat”, he said, “Of this apple if you desire to be wise. You will become as wise of power and will as God Himself in the Trinity”.65 
      No sooner had they eaten that apple than the sin was committed. The Devil was glad, you will know, because of the grief to which they must come.69 
      They were thrust out of Paradise, to earn their sustenance with heavy labour, and driven out because of their sin, never to come into Paradise again.73 
      In the valley of Hebron he had to toil hard for his sustenance, with sorrow and anxiety and doleful habitation he lived nine hundred years and more.77 
      After his life that he had here, he had of necessity to go to hell, because of the sin he committed here. There he had to remain and live.81 
      God made more members of the human race, but the Devil brought them to hell and always betrayed them through his teaching. None at all escaped him.85 
      God sent his prophets to them, and said how they should be saved, as, for instance, Moses, who went to them in anticipation of the prophecy already signified.89 
      God made well known by this same dictum, that generally they were not forsaken by any man that was chosen - either prophets or lay-men.93 
      In order to fulfill the [prophecies of] Holy Books, God at once sent forth his angel, that is, the Angel Gabriel, who went to the Virgin.97 
      He took flesh from the Virgin Mary, the nature of God and man together, and that was a great mystery, that the daughter bore the father.101 
      A Virgin bore the King of heaven who is the Creator of us all. A Virgin bore that precious being, because of it she did not lose her virginity.105 
      God went about here on earth for thirty winters and a bit more, as Holy Writ taught us. He suffered both torment and sorrow.109 
      Man so sinned against God that no soul could go to heaven. And so God's Son was put upon the cross and won heavenly light for us.113 
      Judas was not able to remain faithful to his Lord, though he was His own disciple. He sold Him for thirty pennies. He was taken and bound.117 
      He was buffeted and struck, and they spat in His face. They bade Him decide if He was able to know which of them all it was.121 
      He was bound to a tree and beaten with sharp scourges, so that all the blood rushed out. It was visible over His whole body.125 
      Afterwards they took Him as a thief and led Him before Pilate, because He was not dear to them. They had a great hatred for Him.129 
      Pilate bade them do their best, he did not wish to be against the law, because he knew no offence [committed] by Him for which He ought to suffer death.133 
      They nailed Him by his hands and feet, as you may all see. On account of the apple which Adam ate, He suffered death upon the tree.137 
      The wicked men would not believe that He was completely dead in this way, until they had attacked him with a spear and cleft His precious heart in two.141 
      There was a knight in the land who was called Joseph of Arimathea, who loved Jesus very much and thought to honour his death.145 
      He went to Pilate very quickly and begged him mercy, if it were his will, to grant that the body should be buried.149 
      When Pilate had granted his petition he was glad enough. He took that precious body down and buried Him in a beautiful place.153 
      His mother stood beside Him, St John too. Bitter tears flowed out, it seemed to her that her heart would break in two.157 
      It was no wonder that she wept for her precious child. He was very heavily pierced with nails, with a spear they split Him in two.161 
      All her joy was gone. When she saw Him die on the cross, she had no more than four bitter tears of blood to shed.165 
      Whoever speaks of lamentation in respect of that period of time [says that] there was never any such as she and Saint John made, when they looked upon Him.169 
      Afterwards they said unanimously that He wished to destroy temple and church and that He was well known as one who should perform every treachery.173 
      And every one of them cried out to Pilate with one voice that they should keep Barrabas alive and put Jesus on the cross.177 
      In this way He was tortured, as it was His precious will, and He suffered death for mankind. The third day He rose up.181 
      After that He descended into hell, where all the souls were, indeed. He brought out all His friends into joy and heavenly happiness.185 
      When Saint John was in hell, patriarchs and many others, it was seen that none escaped; prophets too that God loved,189 
      All were held fast in hell; until Jesus Christ through His power cast them out of the pit and brought them to the light of heaven.193 
      Through His death He was victorious, as He conformed to His humanity - as prophets preached in His name - so that He suffered death.197 
      When He rose from death to life, as David the king tells us, He made known His divinity. The Holy Book narrates His resurrection.201 
      Jesus was sufficiently strong, who said: “In the morning I will lift myself up”, and answered truly: “After that, death will be defeated”.205 
      The third day He rose to life. He spread His teaching abundantly. He made His disciples happy. Thereafter, He sent them into the world209 
      In order to preach His doctrine - how they, Lord, ought to follow You - and teach sinful people how joyful it is to be with You.213 
      After that He ascended into heaven above where there is joy that lasts for ever, and there He shall love us all at His joyful happy banquet. Amen.

    8. Ten Commandments

      Now, Jesus, by your precious blood which you shed for mankind, give us grace to do good works so that we may enter heaven.
      Man and woman, I advise you, beware, that you desist from your great oaths, and unless you do, God will not spare you. He will deprive you of both life and property.
      It is no wonder, indeed, that great clamity befalls on that account, because we do not spare any of His limbs by not swearing in vain on them.13 
      Man is worse than any dog, or he is too wild and mad, that we should speak slightingly of His precious wounds which He suffered for our benefit.17 
      Pay attention, whoever wishes to! All torment and sorrow that ever exists, we shall so find at the end that it exists on account of man's sins.21 
      I advise that each one beware, indeed, in as much as you are a man: when you swear great oaths, you put Him upon the cross.25 
      God commanded Isaiah that he should go and preach - that was on the hill of Sinai - and how he ought to teach the people,29 
      And to show them God's prohibition both to young and to old of the Ten Commandments. Whoever wishes to be saved must keep them.33 
      The first commandment is this: We must worship one God, the divine king of heavenly bliss, honour His name with acts of worship.37 
      Love Him as He loves you, with all your strength and your mind. We should do so fully, because it was He who redeemed us wretches at so high a price.41 
      The greater pity is that we do not do so. We loved the foul dung of the earth. Alas! Wretches, why do we do so? It can not preserve our life for a moment.45 
      Yea, they who believe in more gods than one and make gods by witchcraft, are ruled by the devil. They shall all go to the devil.49 
      The second is thus as follows: that you keep Sunday properly, to serve God after the manner of that day, both young and old alike.53 
      And now on Sunday men openly hold all their markets. The wonder is that God does not send vengeance upon mankind over the whole world.57 
      The third is: honour father and mother for each man ought to do so very fully. They suffered much vexation before they could bring the wretch to a state of well-being.61 
      It happens with children that are cruel as it does with bees in a hive: when a father gives them land and retainers, the young wish to drive out the old.65 
      The fourth: love your neighbour like your own body, desire nothing else for him. The fifth: keep yourself from lechery. The sixth is: steal no goods from man.69 
      The seventh: be not a murderer, nor ever covet anything the least bit, though you are stronger than he is, nor his wife nor his property.73 
      Do not bear false witness, for to destroy the reputation of poor or rich will grievously and severely injure the soul, for it deprives it of the kingdom of heaven.77 
      Let us beseech Him, merciful of heart, who sucked the milk of a Virgin's breast, who redeemed us with His precious blood, to give us repose in heaven for ever. Amen.

    9. Christ on the Cross

      Look at your Lord, man, where He hangs on the cross, and weep, if you can, tears entirely of blood. And look at His head completely wreathed with thorns and at His skin so defiled, and at the spear's wound.
      Behold His naked breast and His bloody side, His arms that are spread so wide become stiff. His fair cheek turns pale and His sight grows dim, in that His noble body is so stretched upon the cross. His loins thus hang 10  as cold as marble-stone, because there was never any lust of lechery there.
      Look at His nails, in hand and also in foot, and how the streams of His precious blood flow. Begin at His head and look all the way to His toes. You will find in His body only excruciating suffering and affliction.15 
      Turn Him up, turn Him down, your dear lover; you will find Him either bloody or pale in every part.
      “Beloved, for you my naked breast shines, glistening, my side deeply pierced, my hands bleeding sorely.”
      “Man, you have brought yourself to ruin, and are carried very 20  close to hell. Turn back and come to me, and I will receive you in friendship. For first, I made you from nothing, and then redeemed you at great cost, when I gave my life for you and was hung upon a tree.”
      “Man, behold what I suffered for you upon the rood tree. No kind of suffering can be greater than mine was when I hung 25  there.”
      “Hear me, man, crying out to you, dying cruelly for love of you. Look at my torments, cruel and arduous, when I was nailed through foot and hand.”
      “For you I had severe pains, great blows and grievous wounds. For you I drank a bitter drink and you are not able to thank me. I was sorely tortured without, within I was tortured much more. 30  For you will not thank me for the love that I showed you”.

    10. Lullay

      Lullay, lullay, little child, why do you weep so bitterly? You must needs weep, it was arranged for you long ago to live in sorrow always, and sigh and mourn as a result, as your forbears did before this while they were alive. Lullay, lullay, little child, child lullay lullow, thus have you come into an unfamiliar world.
      Those birds and beasts and the fish in the sea, and each living creature made of bone and blood, when they come into the world they themselves some good; all except the wretched brat who is of Adam's blood. Lullay, lullay, little child, you are destined to sorrow. You do not know that the wildness of this world is in store for you.13 
      Child, if it happens that you shall thrive and prosper, remember you were fostered upon your mother's knee. Always remember in your heart those three things: whence you come, who you are and what shall become of you. Lullay, lullay, little child, child lullay, lullay. You came into this world with sorrow, with sorrow you must journey away.19 
      Do not trust in this world, it is your great enemy. It makes the rich poor, the poor rich as well. It turns misery to joy and joy to misery too. Let no man trust in this world while it changes in this way. Lullay, Lullay, little child, your foot is in the wheel: you do not know whether it turns to joy or misery.25 
      Child, you are a pilgrim born in wickedness, look before you as you wander in this false world. Death shall come with a blast out of a very dark corner to cast down Adam's race, as he himself did before. Lullay, lullay, little child, thus Adam made trouble for you through the wickedness of Satan in the land of Paradise.31 
      Child, you are not a pilgrim but an ignorant visitor. Your days are numbered, your journeys preordained; whether you shall go north or east, death shall come to you with bitter pain in the heart. Lullay, lullay, little child, Adam caused this sorrow for you when he ate the apple and Eve offered it to him.

    11. Song of the Times

      Anyone who thinks night and day about this sorrowful life that is ours, [knows that] we see so much of sorrow and what little there is of the world's joy.
      Hate and anger is very widespread there, and faithful love is completely lacking in vigour. Men who are in the highest position in life are most loaded with sin.
      This land is false and wicked, as we can see all the time. There is both hatred and envy therein - I expect that it will always be so.13 
      Covetousness has the law at its disposal, so that it cannot see the truth, now pride and envy are master. Alas! Lord, why does it submit patiently?17 
      If Holy Church would apply its power and the law of the land apply itself to it, then covetousness and injustice would be put out of the land.21 
      Holy Church ought to keep to its duty, that it should not, on account of any fear or any affection, fail to show its power because of the outcry of lordings who are in high places25  to place under interdict or excommunication all those, whatever they be, who rob law-abiding men either on land or on sea.29 
      And those light-armed horse men namely, who deprive the timid husbandman of compensation for his piece of land, one ought not to bury them in any church, but cast them out like a dog.33 
      Those king's ministers, who should pay attention to justice and the law, are corrupt, and in order to reform all the country they take bribes from all those thieves.37 
      If the law-abiding man is brought to death and his property taken away, they do not disclose his death, but they have some of their booty.41 
      If they have received the silver and the corrupt gains and the property, they take no heed of the felony; all that sort of offence has come to pass.45 
      I heard a parable narrated about those people: the lion is king of all the animals, and - everyone listen to my story - in his country he gave a command.49 
      The lion made a proclamation as it was [usually] done, because he heard it said frequently, and moreover it was told to him, that the wolf did not behave well.53 
      And the fox, that wicked worthless creature, was accused with the wolf. They had to come before their lord to punish their wrong-doing.57 
      And so men brought it about that the innocent ass, who did not transgress, and committed no offence, was accused with them both, and was forced into the indictment.61 
      The fox got to know from amongst all the men, and told the wolf with the wide head, that geese and hens committed the one of them to trial, and goats and sheep committed the other.65 
      The innocent ass thought he was safe, for he ate nothing but grass. He gave no gifts nor supposed that there was any evil.69 
      When they came to court to their lord, he told them what was due according to the law, and the argument of the case. Those wicked animals made obeisance: “Lord,” they said, “what is your intention?”73 
      Then the lion spoke to them, spoke his pleasure to the fox immediately: “Tell me, wretch, what have you done? You are about to be put to death”.77 
      Then the fox spoke first straight away: “Lord king, your favour now! Those men of the town accuse me and would gladly kill me”.81 
      “I had no geese nor hen, Sire, I tell you for certain, except as I purchased them dearly and carried them on my own back”.85 
      “He must needs have God's anger who thus put you in the court, when it is as you say, I vouchsafe. I forgive you this offence”.89 
      The false wolf stood behind. He was cruel and also ruthless. “I am descended from a family of high position, may you grant me protection who are fully able to do so”.93 
      “What have you done, fair friend, that You thus call for protection from me?” --- “Sire”, he said, “I do not wish to he, if you will hear a case from me.”97 
      “For I hunted upon the hill to look, Sire, for my spoils. There I killed a sheep, yes, Sire, and a few goats.”101 
      “I am denounced to you, Sire, on account of that offence. Sire, I must clear myself of a charge: I did not give them any blow or thrust”.105 
      “For certain, I say to you, fair friend, they who denounced you to me had no good intention. You did nothing except according to your nature.”109 
      “Tell me, ass, what have you done? It seems to me you are able to do no good. Why have you not done as the majority of others? You come of a wicked breed”.113 
      “Certainly, Sire, I do not know anything. I eat sage apple stalks. I committed no other wrong. Therefore I was denounced”.117 
      “Fair friend, that was badly done. That was against your nature thus to eat such grass. Bind him without delay”.121 
      “Pull all his bones asunder. Take heed that you do not leave off, and what I lay down as a rule to be obeyed is that his flesh be thoroughly tortured”.125 
      It happens just like that now in the land, whoever wishes to pay attention to it, concerning those who have control: they take bribes from thieves.129 
      The law-abiding man shall be bound, and thrown into great torment and kept in a secure prison, until he pay for exemption from punishment.133 
      And the thief, who always acts against what is right, to get thus clean away! May God, who is all-powerful, take notice of that!137 
      Thus fares the whole world now, as we can all see, both east and west, north and south, God and the Trinity help us!141 
      Truth is absent from stranger and from kin, as far and wide as this whole country. No man is able to live in it, what with covetousness and envy.145 
      Though the law-abiding man would preserve his life in love, in charity and in peace, soon his life must be plotted against, and that in a small matter.149 
      Pride is master, and covetousness, the third brother men call envy. Night and day they try indeed to possess the land of law-abiding men.153 
      When man born of earth has acquired the goods of this world and thus has sufficient earth, when he is enclosed therein, he who was in the wrong is afflicted.157 
      What is the possession that man shall bear out of this world when he must go? A mean garb, why shall I deceive? For he brought no more with him.161 
      Just as he came, he must return, in misery, suffering, in poverty. Pay proper attention to your end, men, for it will be everything that I say.165 
      I do not know what men are so proud of, of earth and ashes, skin and bone. Once the soul is excluded, there is no viler carcass.169 
      The carrion is so hateful to see that men have to hide it beneath the earth. Both wife and child will flee away from him. There is no friend who will remain with him.173 
      What will men share out for [the good of] the soul? Corn or grain, you know well, only very seldom; at the meal-time a rough empty platter or a crust.177 
      The beggar who must have the crust looks very contemptuously upon it. To tell the truth and not to lie, he is not at all satisfied by it.181 
      Then says the beggar in his manner: “The crust is both hard and tough”. The wretch who ought to do good was cruel. Harsh action in return for harsh action is good enough.185 
      Much bad luck [to the one] who prayed Our Father and Creed for him, but let him have according as he did, for he will have no reward for the gift.189 
      I advise thee, have trust in no man, nor in anyone else, but take action with your own fist. Trust neither sister nor brother.193 
      Honour God and Holy Church, and give to the poor who have need; thus you will do God's will and have the joy of heaven as a reward. To which joy may Jesus Christ, king of heaven, bring us. Amen.

    12. Seven Sins

      May the King of heaven be with us, and the fiend of hell depart from us, today and ever more! Grant me today a good beginning, to adore the King of heaven and to declare his teaching,
      And grant that you may understand this sermon - in order greatly to shame and disgrace the devil - and that you may obey it, as a great remedy for body and soul, and for salvation.13 
      We are all dirt and maw, and sown from the same foul earth. This world's wealth is only misery, whoever wishes to understand it. This wretched life is only a brief period of time. It is passing away constantly.19 
      Man, be you never so powerful, consider whom you resemble when you are entirely naked. Realise that which you shall turn into, and rot to ashes and dust from which you are made.25 
      Cleanse yourself of wrongdoing, learn to lead your life well while you are alive. Have trust in no friend, child nor wife, but in one Jesus Christ.31 
      My dear friends, I beg you, young, old, poor and rich, give heed to God's word. Today I will teach you to amend your sinful life in the name of God and Blessed Mary.37 
      And that He may grant me to speak so well today as to break the devil's staff, and with him thus to fight, I beg of you in charity an Our Father and a Hail Mary for it, in the name of God Almighty.43 
      May that peace that is in God's house be amongst us today, through his holy grace; may that give life and good ending to me, and give to you great happiness in this same place!49 
      God Himself says in His Gospel: “My beloved friends, I wish to tell you, take heed to me! I will not lie one word to you, of the bliss of heaven nor of the torment of hell, nor of mighty judgment,”55 
      And of the seven principal sins, on account of which men lose heaven. I wish to mention them all, and I will teach you their names, and how they desire to deceive men and make them fall.61 
      First I will begin with Pride, for it is the source of all sin - I will cause you to know Lucifer - it is written in the Holy Book who was so glorious, who was the most beautiful of all beings. Apart from God, there was none so fair as he was. There was never found70  one so ugly as when he lies fettered in hell.
      He had no greater sin for which he was thrust from heaven. A little pride had come to him, therefore God has taken away from him 75  heavenly happiness which shall last for ever, and he is thrown into hell. There he must dwell for ever more, and pay very bitterly for his pride. Alas! man, why are you proud?80 
      Where does your beautiful clothing come from with which you are wrapped around? Not at all from yourself, man, certainly! You wear your own disgrace upon you, which covers your flesh and your bone.85 
      I desire that you know well that it is only a corrupt skin that is your own proper garment. Consider, man, and be fearful!90 
      Man and woman, understand this: let each one - who is so completely deceived by it - give up his most favourite thing, linen, woollen, gloves or shoes, which you are so proud of, you must not allow yourself a shred of clothing.95 
      Therefore, man, I warn you against worldly pride in thought and deed; and [command you] to lead your life according to God's counsel, to love God and have reverence [for Him], so 100  that you may be God's son and please Him at the Last Judgment.
      Covetousness is the second, listen now, dear brother! There is many a man deluded, the devil has so bound them.105  The man who is covetous will never come to God's house.
      There are all too many like that who love this world's wealth 110  more than God, who has made them from dust, and has redeemed them at so high a price. He does not wish to expend his property wastefully, but he always guards it securely.115 
      He wishes that there might not be anyone alive as rich as he, and always, as he possesses more, he gathers the faster to store for the future.
      And he will always Eve his life thus, in 120  great sorrow and fear. He will never have repose, in order to guard securely his vast wealth, so that sleep cannot come to him in case his property is taken from him. He would rather give of his blood to any man than of his goods.125 
      He will not take heed of another thing, but will feed his foul body with his silver and his gold, not his soul which he ought to nourish. He sits upon his dung-heap of wealth.130 
      He who acts like this with his property does not imagine his end - that he must depart out of this world - and he will not understand what he is nor whither he must go.135 
      He hopes to guard his property well, but he will not think about his own soul. He always thinks his life secure with his silver and his gold. When he hopes to live well, he must fall 140  down dead.
      The devil takes away his life's breath, then he causes him much grief. On account of his wealth the devil torments him, and he carries off his soul to hell.145 
      The devil is the executor of his gold and his treasure which he trusted to so much. Look, now, how it has passed away!150 
      Therefore, man, in every way I forbid you covetousness. Have no trust in the world's prosperity. It goes away like the mist - it is here, and it is gone - worldly happiness fares in this way.155 
      Be he never so prosperous, when he lies a cold corpse, he can be proud if he has an old piece of cloth with which he can be 160  covered, so that no man see him stripped naked of what he amassed and was his. Is this not a shame? Alas, alas!
      The third sin thus is envy, that is much in the land at the 165  present time - and they always please the devil in hell - I will tell you in what manner. Dear bretheren, listen now, and I will tell you how!170 
      The world's prosperity comes unequally, and not to each man alike. There are some who are not able to live, some who have the amity of friends, and there are some who toil hard, to gain property in order to have more to sustain themselves properly, and they are for ever unsatisfied.175 
      And there are some, dear brother, who have more than another, and greater love of property, man.180  Because of that the other will stir up discord.The MS text breaks off here.

    13. Piers of Bermingham

      It is more than a full one thousand three hundred and eight years, indeed, since Gabriel did address Our Lady, gracious Mary, [with news] that God would descend upon her.
      Then of the eighth year take twice ten together, that will be twenty in all. Thus, upon the twentieth day - of April before May - death proceeded to despoil us.13 
      It plucked one from us. All Ireland mourns, England as well. You know his name very well: Sir Piers de Bermingham, there is no need to tell it.19 
      That was and is his name, I tell you most certainly. There was no better knight, nor any of greater excellence that shall rise up, in skin, flesh and bone.25 
      He was a noble warrior, and had a fine castle in his region. Wherever he would ride on horseback with his spear and shield, in rough wood and field, no thief dared to face him.31 
      Then let all who will strive with lamentation call him to mind, how good he was in time of necessity to stand firm in battle. Indeed, peer there was none. Alas, that he should be dead!37 
      All Englishmen alive now, lament his death grievously, that such a knight should fall! Each one of those knights can grieve for him as the paragon of them all.43 
      Paragon he might be, and that because of three things he carried out often and frequently. One of the best was this: he permitted no thief to have rest in any place where he came.49 
      Another thing as well: he was enemy to Irishmen, so that readily, over a wide region, he always rode about with his forces to hunt them out as a hunter hunts the hare.55 
      For when they thought best to have rest in the wilderness, so that no man should see them, then he would conduct a hunt immediately to their nest, into the place where they were.61 
      He would wake them from sleep, they would tremble for terror, and try to move away stealthily. For the payment for their beds he took their heads as security, and so he taught them to play games.67 
      Those Irishmen of the land, they swore and undertook to afflict the English, and said they would kill as many as I shall tell you about, all in one day.73 
      The Earl of Ulster, Sir Edmund de Butler, Sir John Fitzthomas, all especially by name; Sir Piers de Bermingham, this was the extent of their plan.79 
      This machination came to light passing from one knight to the other in the neighbourhood, it was not concealed for long. All of those knights prayed that calamity might befall them [the Irish] if they were able to get away with it.85 
      And swore by God's name to give punishment to the region as a payment where they could succeed, and that, without hindrance, at a certain fixed day, this thing should be done.91 
      Long before this day had come, it had been forgotten by some who are weak in time of necessity. Alas! that they should be born. Through them this land is lost, putting an end to ale and bread.97 
      Sir Piers de Bermingham, whether in serious or in playful mood, this day was in his mind. He intended to give orders for whenever he could capture them, it was nothing of toil to him.103 
      O'Conchobhair who was king, proceeded to bring his kerne of footsoldiers - the captain was called Gilla Buidhe - to Piers at Tethmoy, precisely on the feast of the Holy Trinity, when hoods had best be worn.109 
      And with yet another body of persons came Aedh Mac Maelmordha, and many others by name. Sir Piers looked out, he saw such an attendant company, it seemed no jest to him.115 
      Sir Piers saw them come, He received each one, not one was turned away. Then he caused hoods to be made, not one was refused, but he did them all honour,121 
      Except one wretch who was there. He was not able to read his part of the text, nor sing where he was to come in. He was of the race of Cain, and [Piers] declined to admit him. He turned back home unhooded.127 
      He who caused this song to be made for the sake of Sir Piers, has gone far and wide, sought in various places and gained a good indulgence - two hundred days and more.


    14. Old Age

      Old age makes me impotent and grow completely grey. When old age intends to cut me down there is no denying it.
      Old age will not bear news of the joys of May. When old age wishes to conquer me, my well-being is gone.
      Old age will 10  grow cold and dry up like the clod of clay, with old age I must submit and hasten to my appointed day.13 
      When maturity blossoms it is confident. Its condition is soon diminished. We all desire to be mature, why is old age hated?17 
      I am greatly annoyed that my saliva dries up and my snout a rips. Old age twists my shape so that my shoulders grow sharp, and youth has forsaken me.23 
      I cannot grope beneath a woman's skirts any more, although would still desire to do so. Since long ago I am burdened with vice and sinful behaviour, and sin has afflicted me.29 
      Since long ago I am disposed to sin so that I am not able to speak about pleasant subjects with my mouth. Old age has destroyed me. I believe that he who trusts in youth is deceived.35 
      In this entire fashion old age renders me useless. Thus he pulls out my teeth and draws them in misery.
      I am no longer able to make love, my penis pisses on my shoes, every rascal invokes a curse upon me.41 
      My head is grey and completely disfigured, coloured like a grey mare, my body grows short; when I look upon my shins, entirely wasted away, my eyes grow dim. My friends grow few in number.47 
      Now I babble, I pant, I pout, I become shrivelled. I sob, I snuffle in my nose. Because of my physical nature I become weak and grow cold. I stoop, I grow lean. I become shrunken of limb, I walk with my head poked forward, I totter, I grow feeble with age, I walk like a castrated man who has saddlesores.53 
      I become wrinkled, I become feeble, my mind wanders, I wander, I waste away, I crouch in two, I become crippled, I cough. In this way he wishes to subdue me.
      I complain, I groan, I snarl, I grumble, I sneeze, I nod off, I snivel, I tremble. Old age desires all this [for me].59 
      I stop, I stagger, I stumble like a sled drawn over rough ground. I go blind, I have bleary eyes, I snore in bed - such utterance is sent to me!
      I spit, I dribble in speech, I kick, I refuse things, I grow smaller in stature, and so I grieve. In this way my wellbeing is gone.65 
      My strength is spent and impaired, and I wish for desirable like fallow land I wither and grow feeble.
      I was a shepherd, now I am an empty shell. Everyone is thoroughly weary of me. Such inclination is there to go in pursuit of old age!71 
      Old age has taken so tight a hold on me, look, he quickly pays out misery to me.
      Each tooth has twisted away from the other and is pulled from the root, the tongue nauseates, I retch with it.
      Listless, I become feeble in every joint. I must be where old age is, he comes upon me under foot. Amen.

    15. Repentance of Love

      Love has brought me into sinful thought, thought I have to give up, to cease to think; it is as nothing, worthless is the love of sin.
      Sin has brought me into grief, brought me into much unhappiness; I had hoped to possess joy, what I am in is a state of contemplation.
      I am in distress, how must I proceed? I intend to carry on and strive, strive without favour until I am brought to the earth.

    16. Denial

      To place 'I deny' in any scholarship is only to pervert the truth. Truth tends so much towards heavenly happiness, 'I deny' certainly does not do so. 'Abandon' and 'Save' is a thief in learning, 'I deny' is invaluable to a impoverished man of learning. When men harass them on all sides, 'I deny' saves them from anxiety.10 
      Away with 'I deny' out of the place, whosoever wishes to have God's grace. Whoever wishes to fight against the devil, there can 'I deny' take its place properly. But take care that we never more place 'I deny' in the midst of true teaching, for whoever knows little has soon finished, he turns to 'I deny' immediately.20 
      Now one learned man says “I deny”, and the second “I am uncertain”, another says “I grant” and another “I bind by special condition”. Place 'False Truth' with these, then all the teaching is completed.
      Thus the sham scholars from their own intellects cause men to be robbed by them of the truth.

    17. Earth

      When man made of earth has acquired earthly goods with anguish, then earth can take her sufficiency from the earth. Man made of earth falls upon the earth in a very fragile manner, man made of earth moves himself miserably towards the earthen grave. You were made of the dust of the earth, and, man, you are all equal - the poor and the rich awoke in the same earth.
      When earth acquires earth unjustly, then earth from earth inherits its fire. Earth on earth is suddenly deceived. Earth to earth has dragged itself and is grieved. Of earth you are fashioned and like to a thane. In the one earth rich and poor are stretched.12 
      Man goes about in the world, moving here and there in garments, man goes towards the grave to feed worms. Man carries to the grave all the deeds of his life. When man is in the earth, it determines your just desserts. When man is in the grave the roof is on the chin. Then a hundred worms must writhe on the skin.18 
      Earth walks in vestures on vestures various, and earth is contructed to give feed to the worms, and with all his achievements to depart to the earth; when earth is in the grave, who wants to sigh? When earth in earth is laid 'roof' reaches 'cornice', then in fair skin a hundred worms clean up.23 
      Earth asks man and man answers it: why does man-born-of-earth hate man and why does man drive away man? Man possesses territory and man lacerates the earth. Man lives on earth and man obtains worldly things. Of dust you were created, in dust you must end. All that you gained on earth must return to the earth.29 
      Earth questions earth, and a response is given, why earth earth ignores, and yet enjoys earth. Earth puts forth earth and thus earth operates, what by earth is borne rushes about on the earth. Thus from earth are you begun and to earth you will return, what from earth you will have won to earth you will all give back.35 
      Man made of earth achieves sovereignty and power on earth. We are all dust, we are destined for the earth. Earth demands a rotten corpse from king and from knight, when man is in the grave, so low has he fallen. When your righteousness and your evil-doing proceed before you, if you are three nights in a grave, your friendship is dissolved.41 
      Earth over earth wins power and prize, but the whole race of mankind is in clientage of earth. Earth searches out the corpse of knights and king. Once given to the tomb earth is soon consumed, when judgement and public mourning come to your turn, few will grieve for your passing for a triduum.46 
      The world is a fine riding horse to king and to queen. Earth represents our path of life, yet we, who wear grey squirrel fur and such beautiful clothing, little conceive that when earth makes his garb he covers us in grass. When man has thus acquired worldly possessions with strength, at the end he has his length measured for him miserably.52 
      Call earth a charger for king and for queen, a long sea-voyage that is without ending. Yet the motley garments it gives it consigns to the bilge. When it gives a banquet it is handing us to ruin. When earth by strength holds this earth as won, he receives a length of it miserly measured.57 
      Man gets treasure and wealth in the world, earth is your progenitor, earth the dust to which you return. Upon earth, may the body made of earth be your soul's dwelling-place. Before earth goes to the grave build your great mansion! Man builds castles, man builds towers. When man is in the earth his dwelling places are black.63 
      Earth on the earth seeks multiple goods, earth is your mother, in whom to acquire your gifts. Be a servant to your soul prostrate on the earth, complete the dwelling-place of God with a finely moulded cornice. Earth builds towers and castles of rock, but when destiny takes them foul are their stores.68 
      Think, man, on your final end in the world, where you came from and whither you must go! Make yourself fully reconciled with Him who is so gracious, and fear the Judgement lest sin destroy you. For He is King of bliss and a Man of great spiritual reward, who separates the day from the night, and bestows life and death.74 
      On your last end bravely meditate, reflect by what way you came hither by what way you will leave. Devote yourself in concord to the Meek and All-forseeing One. Stay with the [thought of His] judgement lest for sin you be condemned, for He is King of Glory and stands meting out measure, day into night He changes, life and death He bestows.

Document details

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Title statement

Title (uniform): Anglo-Irish poems of the Middle Ages

Title (supplementary): English Translation

Responsibility statement

Translated by: Angela M. Lucas

Electronic edition compiled by: Benjamin Hazard

Funded by: University College Cork and Professor Marianne McDonald

Edition statement

2. Second draft.

Responsibility statement

Proof corrections by: Benjamin Hazard

Extent: 16375 words

Publication statement

Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College Cork.

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland—http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2003

Date: 2008

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: T300000-001

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Availability: The text is copyrighted to Angela Lucas and reproduced here with her kind permission. Available with prior consent for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Source description

Manuscript sources/catalogues

  1. London, British Library, Harley MS 913, ff. 3r–63v.
  2. Humphrey Wanley, A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, G. Eyre & A. Strahan, London 1819, 117–18.

Editions and Translations

  1. E. Mätzner, Altenglische Sprachproben. Berlin 1867, I. i. 147ff.
  2. W. Heuser, Die Kildare Gedichte. Bonner Beiträge zur Anglistik 14 (1904). (Standard discussion and edition of the poems of MS Harley 913; in German.)
  3. V. Vaananen, Le 'fabliau' de Cocagne. Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 48, 1947, 3–36. (Analogues: Old French and Middle Dutch poems on the same theme.)
  4. R. H. Robbins, Historical Poems of the XIVth and XVth centuries. Oxford 1959, 120–127 (47).
  5. J. A. Bennett and G. V. Smithers, Early Middle English Verse and Prose. 2nd edn. Oxford 1968, 136–144.
  6. Angela M. Lucas (ed.), Anglo-Irish Poems of the Middle Ages. Dublin 1995. (The Land of Cokaygne).
  7. Herman Pleij, Dreaming of Cockaigne, Medieval Fantasies of the Perfect Life. Transl. by Diane Webb, New York 2001 (Texts and translation of the Dutch versions).
  8. For a translation of 'The Land of Cockaygne' (with further information and notes) see the website of 'Wessex Parallel Texts': (http://www.soton.ac.uk/~wpwt/trans/cockaygn/cockaygn.htm).

Secondary Literature.

  1. J. M. Schipper, Englische Metrik in historischer und systematischer Entwicklung I: AE Metrik, E. Strauss, Bonn 1882.
  2. J. Poeschel, Das Märchen vom Schlaraffenlande. Paul and Braune's Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur V, 1898, 398–427.
  3. E. K. Chambers and F. Sidgwick (eds.), Early English Lyrics, Amorous, Divine, Moral and Trivial, London, 1907–21.
  4. A. W. Ward and A. R. Waller (eds.), The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes, 1907–21, New York. Volume I, From the Beginnings to the Cycles of Romance, XVII, Later Transition English, paragraph 4, The Land of Cokaygne. (Online on http://www.bartleby.com/211/1704.html)
  5. H. M. R. Murray (ed.), Erthe upon Erthe, Early English Text Society original series 141, London 1911, repr 1964.
  6. J. E. Wells, A Manual of Writings in Middle English, 1050–1400 with nine supplements, Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, New Haven, 1916–51.
  7. E. B. Fitzmaurice, OFM, and A. G. Little, Materials for the History of the Franciscan Province in Ireland 1230–1450, Manchester 1920.
  8. C. Brown (ed.), Religious Lyrics of the XIVth Century, Oxford 1924.
  9. A. Graf, Miti, Leggende, e Superstizioni del Medio Evo. Torino 1925, 169–75.
  10. Jeremiah J. Hogan, The English Language in Ireland. Dublin 1927.
  11. St John Seymour, Anglo-Irish Literature 1200–1582. Cambridge 1929.
  12. C. Brown (ed.), English Lyrics of the XIIIth Century, Oxford 1932.
  13. R. H. Robbins, The Earliest English Carols and the Franciscans, Modern Language Notes 53 (1935) 239–45.
  14. R. H. Robbins, The Authors of the Middle English Religious Lyrics, Journal of English and Germanic Philology 39 (1940) 230–38.
  15. H. R. Patch, The Other World. Harvard/Mass. 1950 7–22, 134–74.
  16. R. H. Robbins (ed.), Secular Lyrics of the XIVth and XVth Centuries, Oxford 1952.
  17. Russell Alspach, Irish Poetry from the English Invasion to 1798. Philadelphia 1959, 14ff. (Cites discussions of provenance and identity of 'Friar Michael' in Crofton Croker, Popular Songs of Ireland. London, 1886, 262–71.)
  18. A. J. Otway-Ruthven, The Medieval County of Kildare, Ir. Hist. Stud. 11 (1959) 181–99.
  19. Thomas Jay Garbáty, Studies in the Franciscan 'The Land of Cokaygne' in the Kildare MS., Franziskanische Studien Heft 1–2, 1963, 139–163.
  20. A. McIntosh and M. L. Samuels, Prolegomena to a Study of Medieval Anglo-Irish, Medium Aevum 37 (1968) 1–11.
  21. R. Woolf, The English Religious Lyric in the Middle Ages, Oxford 1968.
  22. Clifford Davidson, The Sins of the Flesh in the Fourteenth-Century Middle English 'Land of Cokaygne', Ball State University Forum 11, No. 4 (1970) 21–26.
  23. A. Gwynn and R. N. Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses in Ireland, London 1970, repr. 1988.
  24. C. Sisam and K. Sisam (eds.), The Oxford Book of Medieval Verse, Oxford 1970.
  25. T. Silverstein (ed.), Medieval English Lyrics, Edward Arnold, London 1971.
  26. P. L. Henry, Land of Cokaygne. Studia Hibernica 12 (1972) 120–41.
  27. G. Bullough, Later History of Cokaigne — influence of Land of Cokaigne. Festschrift for Prof. Herbert Koziol. Stuttgart/Wien 1973.
  28. D. Gray (ed.), A Selection of Religious Lyrics, Oxford 1975.
  29. Tom D. Hill, Parody and Theme in Land of Cokaygne. Notes & Queries 22, 1975.
  30. J. Burrow (ed.), English Verse 1300–1500, London 1977.
  31. Thérèse Saint Paul, Satire des gens de Kildare, MS Harley 913. Transl. by Thérèse Saint Paul, University of Pennsylvania, 1979.
  32. Jacques De Caluwé, Mélanges de langue et littérature françaises du Moyen Age et de la Renaissance offerts à Charles Foulon par ses collègues, ses élèves et ses amis. L'élément irlandais dans la version moyen-anglaise de The Land of Cockaygne [Cocagne III]. Rennes 1980, 89–98.
  33. P. R. Robinson, The Booklet: A Self-Contained Unit in Composite Manuscripts, Codicologica 3 (1980) 46–69.
  34. A. N. Jeffares, Anglo-Irish Literature. London 1982.
  35. Alan Bliss, Language and Literature, in: James Lydon (ed.), The English in Medieval Ireland, Dublin 1984, 27–45.
  36. D. L. d'Avray, The Preaching of the Friars. Oxford 1985.
  37. S. Wenzel, Preachers, Poets and The Early English Lyrics, Princeton, New Jersey 1986.
  38. Alan Bliss and Joseph Long, Literature in Norman French and English to 1534, in: Art Cosgrove (ed.), A New History of Ireland Vol II: Medieval Ireland 1169–1534. Oxford 1987, 708–736.
  39. Evelyn Mullally, Hiberno-Norman literature and its public, in: John Bradley (ed.), Settlement and Society in Medieval Ireland: Studies presented to F. X. Martin. Kilkenny 1988, 327–43.
  40. M. Benskin, The Style and Autorship of the Kildare Poems, (1) Pers of Bermingham, in: In Other Words. Transcultural Studies in Philology, Translation and Lexicography, presented to H.H. Meier on the occasion of his sixty-fifth birthday. ed. J. L. Mackenzie and R. Todd, Dordrecht 1989, 57–75.
  41. Augustine Valkenburg, The Kildare poems. Journal of the County Kildare Archaeological Society and Surrounding Districts Vol. XVII (1989–91) 30–33.
  42. M. Benskin, The Hands of the Kildare Poems' Manuscript. Irish University Review 20 (1990) 163–193.
  43. A. M. Lucas and P. J. Lucas, Reconstructing a Disarranged Manuscript: The Case of MS Harley 913, a Medieval Hiberno-English Miscellany, Scriptorium 14 (1990) 286–99.
  44. T. P. Dolan, The Literature of Norman Ireland, in S. Deane et al, The Field Day Anthology, I, Field Day, Derry 1991, 141–70.
  45. Raymond Hickey, The Beginnings of Irish English, Folia Linguistica Historica 14/1–2 (1993) 213–38.
  46. Karl Reichl, Satire und politische Lyrik in der anglo-irischen Kildare-Handschrift [Hs. BL Harley 913]. In: Cormeau, Christoph (ed.), Zeitgeschehen und seine Darstellung im Mittelalter=L'actualité et sa représentation au Moyen Âge (Bonn: 1995) 173–99.
  47. Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, and Denise Despres, Iconography and the Professional Reader: The Politics of Book Production in the Douce 'Piers Plowman'. Minneapolis 1999 [This reference was kindly supplied by Deborah Hatfield-Moore].
  48. Deborah Hatfield-Moore, Paying the minstrel: a cultural study of B.L. MS Harley 913. Ph.D. Thesis, Queen's University Belfast 2001.

The edition used in the digital edition

Lucas, Angela M., ed. (1995). Anglo-Irish Poems of the Middle Ages‍. 1st ed. One volume. Dublin: Columba Press.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  title 	 = {Anglo-Irish Poems of the Middle Ages},
  editor 	 = {Angela M. Lucas},
  edition 	 = {1},
  note 	 = {One volume},
  publisher 	 = {Columba Press},
  address 	 = {Dublin},
  date 	 = {1995}


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This edition represents pp. 47–173 of Angela Lucas's edition; the editorial text has been retained.

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Segmentation: div0=the group of poems. div1=the individual poem. Line-breaks are numbered. These refer to the Middle English text (available in a separate file, E300000-001).

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Profile description

Creation: Translation by Angela M. Lucas (For source text see CELT file E300000-001)

Date: 1994

Language usage

  • The translation is in Modern English. (en)
  • A few formulaic words are in Latin. (la)

Keywords: miscellaneous; poetry; English; 14c; modern rendering

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2010-04-26: Header updated, conversion script run; new wordcount made. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2008-10-26: Keywords added; file validated. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2008-07-27: Value of div0 "type" attribute modified, title elements streamlined, creation details inserted, content of 'langUsage' revised; minor modifications made to header. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 2005-08-25: Normalised language codes and edited langUsage for XML conversion (ed. Julianne Nyhan)
  5. 2005-08-04T16:41:15+0100: Converted to XML (ed. Peter Flynn)
  6. 2004-11-02: Bibl. reference added. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  7. 2004-11-02: Bibl. reference added. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  8. 2003-02-20: Second proofing, direct speech marked up. (ed. Ruth Murphy)
  9. 2003-02-18: File parsed using NSGMLS. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  10. 2003-02-14: Header modified based on Middle English source file, bibliography modified, structural mark-up entered and checked, text checked and proof-read, lineation checked and verified. (ed. Benjamin Hazard)
  11. 2003-01-20: Text proof-read (1). (ed. Benjamin Hazard)
  12. 2003-01-20: Text captured by scanning. (text capture Benjamin Hazard)

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E300000-001: Anglo-Irish poems of the Middle Ages: The Kildare Poems (in English Translation)

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