Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Anglo-Irish poems of the Middle Ages: The Kildare Poems (Author: [unknown])

Poem 4

Song of Michael of Kildare

{MS fol 9r}

    1. 1] Swet Jesus hend and fre,
      That was i-strawght on rode tre,
      Nowthe and euer mid vs be
      And vs schild form sinne.
      Let thou noght to helle te
      Thai that beth her-inne.
      So bright of ble thou hire me,
      Hoppe of alle mankynne!
      Do us i-se the Trinite
      And heuene riche to winne.
    2. 11] This world is loue is gon awai
      So dew on grasse in someris dai,
      Few ther beth, weilawai,
      That louith Goddis lore.
      Al we beth iclung so clai,
      We schold rew that sore.
      Prince and king, what, wenith thai
      To libbe euir-more?
      Leueth your plai and crieth ai:
      Jesu Crist, thin ore!
    3. 21] Alas, alas, the riche men,
      Of muk whi wol ye fille yur denne?
      Wende ye to ber hit henne?
      Nai, so mote I thriue!
      Ye sulle se that al is fenne,
      The catel of this liue.
      To Criste ye ren and falleth o knen
      That wondis tholiid fiue,
      For ye beth trenne worthi to brenne
      In bitter helle kiue.
    4. 31] Godde yow hauith to erthe isent,
      Litel dwel yov hauith ilent,
      He schal wit how hit is spent,
      I rede yow, tak hede.
      If hit be hidde ye beth i-schent,
      For helle worth yur mede.
      The bow is bend, the fire i-tend
      To yow, if ye beth gnede.
      Bot yeu a-mend, ye sul be wend
      In euer glowind glede.
    5. 41] Pouir was thin in-comming,
      So ssal be thin oute-going.
      Thou ne ssalt of thi thing
      A peni ber to molde.
      That is a rewful tithing,
      whose hit hire wold.
      Louerd king, to hori ding
      What makith man so hold?
      In pining yiue a ferthing
      He ne sal, thegh he wold.
    6. 51] Riche man be-thenche the,
      Take gode hede wat thou be!
      Thou ne art but a brotil tre
      Of schorte seuen fote,
      I-schrid with-vte with gold and fe,
      The ax is at the rote.
      The fent vn-fre halt al to gle
      This tre adun to rote.
      So mote Ich the, Ich rede the, fle,
      And do thi sowle is bote.
    7. {MS fol 9v}
    8. 61] Now thou art in ro and rest,
      Of al the lond thou art the mest,
      Thou doist no streinth of God is hest.
      Of deth whi neltov thenche?
      Whan thou wenist libbe best,
      Thi bodi deth sal qwench.
      The pouir chest ssal bi thi nest
      That sittist bold a bench.
      Est and West schal be thi qwest,
      Ne might thou nothing blench.
    9. 71] Be thou barun other knighte,
      Thou salt be a sorful wight;
      Whan thou liste in bere itight
      In fulle pouer wede,
      Nastou nother main no mighte;
      Whil thou no man drede,
      With sorwghful sight - and that is righte—
      To erthe me sul the lede.
      Than ssal thi light turn into nighte
      Bethench, man! This I red.
    10. 81] The pouer man bit uche dai
      Gode of the and thou seeist ai:
      'Begger, wend a deuil wai,
      Thou deuist al min ere!'
      Hungir-bitte he goth a-wai
      With mani sorful tere.
      A wailowai! thou clotte of clai!
      Whan thou list on bere,
      Of fow no grai, no rede no rai,
      Nastov bot a here.
    11. 91] Crist tellith in Holy Writte
      That a man of withir witte
      Ibiriid was in helle pitte
      That in this lif was riche.
      Ssal he neuer than flitte
      Fram the sorful diche.
      He sal sitte in helle flitte
      With-oute wyn and miche,
      The fent sal sitte is knot to knitte
      Sore mai he skriche.
    12. 101] The pouer man goth bi-for the,
      Al idriid als a tre,
      And gredith: 'Louerd help me!
      Hunger me hauith ibund.
      Let me dei, pur charite,
      Ibroght Ich am to grund.'
      So mot I the, and Crist ise,
      If he dei that stund,
      His lif sal be icrauid of the,
      Thegh thou yif him no wonde.
    13. 111] I the rede: rise and wake
      Of the hori sinne lake.
      If thou be ther-in itake,
      I-wisse thou schalt to helle,
      To woni with the fentis blake
      In that sorful wille.
      Thi wei thou make, thou dri the stake,
      To prest thi sinnes telle,
      So wo and wrake sal fram the rake,
      With fendis grimme and felle.
    14. 121] If in sinne thi liue is ladde,
      To do penance ne be noght sadde.
      Who-so doth, he nis noght madde,
      As Holy Church vs techithe.
      Therof be thou noght a-dradde,
      Crist sal be thi lech.
      Thus Crist us radde, that rode spradde,
      With a blisful spech.
      Whan He so bad, thou might be gladde,
      Ne louith He no wreche.
    15. {MS fol 10r}
    16. 131] Jesu, King of heuen fre,
      Euer iblessid mot thou be!
      Louerd, I besech the,
      To me thou tak hede.
      Fram dedlich sinne thou yem me,
      While I libbe on lede!
      The Maid fre that bere the
      So swetlich vnder wede,
      Do vs to se the Trinite—
      Al we habbeth nede!
    17. 141] This Sang wroght a frere menour
      Jesus Crist be is socure!
      Louerd, bring him to the toure—
      Frere Michel Kyldare;
      Schild him fram helle boure,
      Whan he sal hen fare!
      Leuedi, flur of al honur,
      Cast a-wei is care,
      Fram the schoure of pinis sure,
      Thou sild him her and thare! Amen.