Lyra Celtica

II

ANCIENT CORNISH

The Pool of Pilate.

                                [Wayfarer loq.
Guel yv thy'mmo vy may fe
mos the wolhy ow dule
        a Thesempes
me a vyn omma yn dour
may fons y guyn ha glan lour
        a vestethes
*     *     *     *      *     *     *
Ellas pan fema gynys
ancow sur yw dynythys
        Scon thy'mmo vy
ny'm bus bywe ma fella
an dour re wruk thy'm henna
        yn pur deffry.

The Pool of Pilate.  (45)

                                    [Wayfarer loq.
    It is best to me that it be so
    Go to wash my hands
            Immediately
    I will, here in the water,
    That they may be white, and clean enough
            From dirt.

[He washes his hands in the water and dies
            immediately.]

    Alas that I was born!
    Death surely is come
        Soon to me.
    Life is no longer for me,
    The water has done that to me
        Very clearly.

Merlin the Diviner. (46)

Merlin! Merlin! where art thou going
So early in the day, with thy black dog?
Oi! oi! oi! oi! oi! oi! oi! oi! oi! oi!
Oi! oi! oi! ioi! oi!

I have come here to search the way,
To find the red egg;
The red egg of the marine serpent,
By the sea-side in the hollow of the stone.
I am going to seek in the valley
The green water-cress, and the golden grass,
And the top branch of the oak,
In the wood by the side of the fountain.

Merlin! Merlin! retrace your steps;
Leave the branch on the oak,
And the green water-cress in the valley,
As well as the golden grass;
And leave the red egg of the marine serpent,
In the foam by the hollow of the stone.
Merlin! Merlin! retrace thy steps,
There is no diviner but God.

ANCIENT CORNISH DRAMA .

The Vision of Seth. (47)

    [Adam bids Seth journey to the Gate of Paradise--the way to be known to him because of the burnt imprints of the feet of himself and Eve on the day they were driven forth, sere marks never grass-grown since--and, after telling him to ask for the oil of mercy, blesses him, and sees him go.]

CHERUBIN.
        Seth, what is thy errand,
        That thou wouldst come so long a way?
            Tell me soon.

SETH.
        O angel, I will tell thee:
        My father is old and weary,
            He would not wish to live longer;

        And through me he prayed thee
            To tell the truth
        Of the oil promised to him
            Of mercy in the last day.

CHERUBIN.
        Within the gate put thy head,
        And behold it all, nor fear,
            Whatever thou seest,
        And look on all sides ;
        Examine well every particular;
            Search out everything diligently.

SETH.
        Very joyfully I will do it;
            I am glad to have permission
        To know what is there,
            To tell it to my father.

[And he looks, and turns round, saying:--]
        Fair field is this;
            Unhappy he who lost the country:
        And the tree, it is to me
            A great wonder that it is dry
        But I believe that it is dry,
        And all made bare, for the sin
            Which my father and mother sinned.
        Like the prints of their feet,
        They are all dry, like herbs.
            Alas, that the morsel was eaten.

CHERUBIN.
        O Seth, thou art come
        Within the Gate of Paradise;
            Tell me what thou sawest.

SETH.
        All the beauty that I saw
        The tongue of no man in the world can
            Tell it ever.
        Of good fruit, and fair flowers,
        Minstrels and sweet song,
            A fountain bright as silver;
        And four springs, large indeed,
        Flowing from it,
            That there is a desire to look at them

        In it there is a tree,
        High with many boughs;
            But they are all bare, without leaves.
        And around it, bark
        There was none, from the stem to the head
            All its boughs are bare.

        And at the bottom, when I looked,
            I saw its roots
        Even into hell descending,
            In the midst of great darkness.
        And its branches growing up,
            Even to heaven high in light;
        And it was without bark altogether,
            Both the head and the boughs.

CHERUBIN.
  
   Look yet again within,
        And all else thou shalt see
            Before thou come from it.

SETH.
        I am happy that I have permission;
        I will go to the gate immediately,
            That I may see further good.
                                  [He goes, and looks, and returns.

CHERUBIN.
        Dost thou see more now,
            Than what there was just now?

SETH.
        There is a serpent in the tree;
            An ugly beast, without fail.

CHERUBIN.
        Go yet a third time to it,
            And look better at the tree.
        Look, what you can see in it,
            Besides roots and branches.
                                [Again he goes up.

SETH.
        Cherub, angel of the God of grace,
        In the tree I saw,
            High up on the branches,
        A little child newly born;
        And he was swathed in cloths,
            And bound fast with napkins.

CHERUBIN.
        The Son of God it was whom thou sawest,
        Like a little child swathed.
            He will redeem Adam, thy father,
        With his flesh and blood too,
        When the time is come,
            And thy mother, and all the good people.

        He is the oil of mercy,
            Which was promised to thy father;
        Through his death, clearly,
            All the world will be saved.

SETH.
        Blessed be he:
            O God, now I am happy;
        Knowing the truth all plainly,
            I will go from thee.

CHERUBIN.
        Take three kernels of the apple,
            Which Adam, thy father, ate.
        When he dies, put them, without fail,
            Between his teeth and tongue.
        From them thou wilt see
            Three trees grow presently;
        For he will not live more than three days
            After thou reachest home.

SETH.
        Blessed be thou every day;
            I honour thee ever very truly
        My father will be very joyful,
            If he soon passes from life.

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