9.25.2011

Ancient Irish Christian poetry


Ancient Irish poem by Manchan of Offaly, convert of St Patrick:


Grant me sweet Christ the grace to find---

Son of the Living God!---

A small hut in a lonesome spot

To make it my abode.



A little pool but very clear

To stand beside the place

Where all men's sins are washed away

By sanctifying grace.



A pleasant woodland all about

To shield it from the wind

And make a home for singing birds

Before it and behind.



A southern aspect for the heat

A stream along its foot,

A smooth green lawn with rich topsoil

Propitious to all fruit.



My choice of men to live with me

And pray to God as well;

Quiet men of humble mind---

Their number I shall tell.



Four files of three or three of four

To give the psalter forth;

Six to pray by the south church wall

And six along the north.



Two by two my dozen friends---

To tell the number right---

Praying with me to move the King

Who gives the sun its light.



A lovely church, a home for God

Bedecked with linen fine,

Where over the white Gospel page

The Gospel candles shine.



A little house where all may dwell

And body's care be sought,

Where none shows lust or arrogance,

None thinks an evil thought.



And all I ask for housekeeping

I get and pay no fees,

Leeks from the garden, poultry, game,

Salmon and trout and bees.



My share of clothing and of food,

From the King of fairest face,

And I to sit at times alone,

And pray in every place.

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