Archive for October 16th, 2016

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The Song of Manchan the Hermit by Manchán mac Silláin

I wish, O Son of the Living God, O Ancient Eternal King,
For a hidden hut in the wilderness, a simple secluded thing.

The all-blithe lithe little lark in his place, chanting his lightsome lay;
The calm, clear pool of the Spirit’s grace, washing my sins away.

A wide, wild woodland on every side, its shades the nursery
Of glad-voiced songsters, who at day-dawn chant their sweet psalm for me.

A southern aspect to catch the sun, a brook across the floor,
A choice land, rich with gracious gifts, down-stretching from my door.

Few men and wise, these I would prize, men of content and power,
To raise Thy praise throughout the days at each canonical hour.

Four times three, three times four, fitted for every need,
To the King of the Sun praying each one, this were a grace, indeed.

Twelve in the church to chant the hours, kneeling there twain and twain;
And I before, near the chancel door, listening their low refrain.

A pleasant church with an Altar-cloth, where Christ sits at the board,
And a shining candle shedding its ray on the white words of the Lord.

Brief meals between, when prayer is done, our modest needs supply;
No greed in our share of the simple fare, no boasting or ribaldry.

This is the husbandry I choose, laborious, simple, free,
The fragrant leek about my door, the hen and the humble bee.

Rough raiment of tweed, enough for my need, this will my King allow;
And I to be sitting praying to God under every leafy bough.


Date: c645 (original in Gaelic); 1912 (translation in English)

By: Manchán mac Silláin (c600-664)

Translated by: Eleanor Henrietta Hull (1860-1935)