Sunday, February 10, 2013

Poem of the Lord's Day

A poem of the Lord's Day, 

O bright God,
Truth under the strength of Christ always.
On the Lord's Day Mary was born,
Mother of Christ of golden yellow hair,
On the Lord's Day Christ was born
     As an honour to men.

The Lord's Day, the seventh day,
God ordained to take rest,
To keep the life everlasting,
Without taking use of ox or man,
Or of creature as Mary desired,
Without spinning thread of silk or of satin,
Without sewing, without embroidery either,
Without sowing, without harrowing, without reaping,
Without rowing, without games, without fishing,
Without going out to the hunting hill,
Without trimming arrows on the Lord's Day,
Without cleaning byre, without threshing corn,
Without kiln, without mill on the Lord's Day.

Whosoever would keep the Lord's Day,
Even would it be to him and lasting,
From setting of sun on Saturday
Till rising of sun on Monday.

  He would obtain recompense therefrom,
Produce after the ploughs,
Fish on the pure salt-water stream,
Fish excelling in every river confluence.

The water of the Lord's Day mild as honey,
Whoso would partake of it as drink
Would obtain health in consequence
From every disease afflicting him.

The weeping of the Lord's Day is out of place,
A woman doing it is untimely;
Let her weep betimes on Monday,
But not weep once on the Lord's Day.

The wood of the Lord's Day is too soon.
In the pool it is pitiful,
Though its head should fall in char,
It would till Monday be dormant.
About noon on the Monday,
The wood will arise very quickly,
And by the great flood without
Hasten the story of my trouble. 
Without any searching for lamb, sheep, kid or goat
That would not belong to the King in the cause.
It is now it ought to be burnt,
Without listening to the clamour of the stranger,
Nor to the blind babbling of the public.

To keep corn on a high hillock,
To bring physician to a violent disease,
To send a cow to the potent bull of the herd,
To go with a beast to a cattle-fold,

 Far or near be the distance,
Every creature needs attention.
To allow a boat under her sail from land,
From land to the country of her unacquaintance.
Whoso would meditate my lay,
And say it every Monday eve,
The luck of Michael would be on his head,
And never would he see perdition.

Carmicheqal's foot noteL THIS poem was obtained from Janet Currie, Staonabrig, South Uist, a descendant of the Mac Mhuirichs (corrupted into Currie) of Staoligearry, the famous poet-historians to the Clanranalds. She was a tall, strong, dark-haired, ruddy-complexioned woman, with a clear, sonorous voice. Her p. 217 language was remarkably fluent and copious, though many of her words and phrases, being obsolete, were unintelligible to the stranger. I took down versions of the poem from several other persons, but they are all more or less corrupt and obscure. Poems similar to this can be traced back to the eighth century.

 Carmina Gadelica, Volume 1,collected  by Alexander Carmicheal, [1900]

No comments: