Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bangur Ban'

Pangur Bán

I and Pangur Bán my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night,
Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill-will,
He too plies his simple skill.
Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur's way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.
'Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.
When a mouse darts from its den
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!
So in peace our tasks we ply,
Pangur Bán, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.
Practice everyday has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.

The humanity and the earthiness of the celtic monastics is seen in "Pangur Bán an old english poem, written about the 9th century at or around Reichenau abbey. Written by an Irish Monk, about his cat Pangur Bán, "white fuller" is both witty and whimsical. The poem is preserved in the Reichenau Primer and now kept in St paul's abbey in Lavanttal.

graphic: The page of the reichenaeu primer on which Pangur Bán is written

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