PRAYER: Prayers From the Black Book of Carmarthen

Prayers From the Black Book of Carmarthen

The Black Book of Carmarthen was written in 1250 Wales.

Praising God

Let’s praise God
at the beginning
and the end of time.
Whoever seeks him out
He’ll not deny,
not refuse.
The son of Mary
queen-bee of kings,
Mary mother of Christ,
famed of maidens.
The sun will shift
from the east to the north:
out of your great mercy
implore your Son
to put an end to our sinning.

God above us,
God before us.
God rules.
May the King of Heaven
give now the portion of mercy.
Regal bosom,
let there be peace between us
without denial.
May we undo what
we have done,
before going to my earth,
my verdant grave,
all dark without a candle
to my tumulus,
my nook,
my cranny,
my resting place.

After horses
and drinking new mead,
feasting,
making love to women,
I don’t sleep,
I think—
about my end:
we are in a land
where pleasaunce
is troubled. . .
like leaves,
we,
from the tip
of withered trees.

Woe to the miser
who amasses great riches
and doesn’t
give to the glory of God.
Even though he’s let off
in the bustle of the present,
in danger he will be
in the end.
The foolhardy doesn’t know,
he doesn’t tremble
in his time.
He doesn’t get up early,
he doesn’t greet you,
he doesn’t stay put,
he doesn’t chant a prayer,
doesn’t beg for mercy.
He pays bitterly in the end
for his pride
and pomp
and sway. . .
nurtured the body
for toads
and snakes
and monsters,
evil done.
And death
will come to the door,
greedily collect,
take away.
Upon you
descend
old age
senility;
hearing
sight
bite
fade
away. . .
the skin of your fingers
shrivels,
this
has ageing
greying
wrought.

May Saint Michael beg for us
mercy’s portion
from the King of Heaven.


Blessed Be The Lord

Glorious God,
all hail.
May church and chancel
bless you,
may lowland and highland
bless you,
may the three fountains
bless you,
two above the wind,
one above the earth;
may darkness and daylight
bless you,
may satin and fruit-trees
bless you.

Abraham blessed you,
the father of the faith:
life eternal blessed you,
birds and bees blessed you,
blessed you
stubble and grass.

Moses and Aaron blessed you,
male and female blessed you,
seven days and stars blessed you,
air and atmosphere blessed you,
books and letters blessed you,
fish in the torrent blessed you,
mind and act blessed you,
sand and soil blessed you,
blessed you
all the good that’s done.

I bless you,
Lord of Majesty,
Glorious God,
all hail.


To The Trinity

Trinity in Heaven,
I extol you.
One in Three,
one unit of energy.
In divine right
one miracle,
one God to be praised.

Great King
I praise you,
great is your manhood.
Praise to you is true,
I am your extoller.
To be laureate
at Eloi’s behest
is indeed benefit.
Greetings, Christ,
father and son
and the spirit of God.

I extol God
who is one and two,
who is three—
no lie,
and doubting him
no walkover—
he who made fruit and flow
and the world’s miscellany:
God whose name is two,
whose word is divine,
God whose name is three,
whose energy is divine;
God whose name is one,
the God of Paul and Anthony.

One I extol
who is two and one,
who is three together,
who is God himself;
the one who made
Tuesdays and Mondays
man and woman
that shallows and depths
are not one;
who made hot and cold,
sun and moon,
a letter in wax
flame in a wick
love in sensibility,
and a maiden,
beloved, gentle:
did the sacking of five castles
for their fornication.

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