December 31, 2006

For Sunday, a little pome from about the year 800...

This life is naught but a struggle for good men.
The holy book hath sung it in your ears.
The son the father loves most tenderly
He chastens most: and so God proves his saints
By hard blows here, and recompense of joy hereafter.

So take it not to heart, my brothers,
This inconsistency of earthly things,
      The swirling eddies.
So was and so shall be this changing world,
And let none think that he is sure of joy.
He lies bedridden now, who coursed with stags
Over the ploughed lands: age was far away.
And this man tugging at his ancient tatters
To hide his shivering legs
Slept under purple once.
The eyes are dim and fogged with length of days,
That counted dancing atoms: the right hand
That swung the sword and brandished
      the stout spear
Is shaky now, and finds it hard enough
To carry to the mouth a piece of bread.
Beloved, let us love the lasting things
Of heaven, than the dying things of earth.
Here time brings change, and nothing
      canst thou see
But suffers alteration: there abides
One sole unchanging everlasting day...

For He that cast down raiseth up again,
He maketh sore and bindeth up,
He woundeth and his hands make whole.
Breaketh in shards and buildeth up again.
By day and night entreat in holy prayer
The kind Christ, that He keep you everywhere;
And if ye learn the things that please Him best,
Then let your hand do what the heart hath willed.
So Heaven itself shall be your shield and buckler,
And God's own hand protect and be your guide.
    -- Alcuin

Alcuin (died 804) was a noted churchman, scholar, and confidant of Charlemagne.

Posted by John Weidner at December 31, 2006 7:30 AM
Weblog by John Weidner