Monday, June 18, 2007

Mirres vous u

I got John Skelton's poem here:

Pic is by Gericault

Upon a dead man's head that was sent to him from an honorable gentlewoman for a token, devised this ghostly meditation in English covenable, in sentence commendable, lamentable, lachrymable, profitable for the soul.

YOUR ugly token
My mind hath broken
From worldly lust;
For I have discussed
We are but dust,
And die we must.
It is general
To be mortal: I have well espied
No man may him hide
From Death hollow-eyed
With sinews witherèd,
With bonès shatterèd,
With his worm-eaten maw,
And his ghastly jaw
Gasping aside,
Naked of hide,
Neither flesh nor fell.
Then, by my counsel,
Look that ye spell
Well this gospel:
For whereso we dwell
Death will us quell
And with us mell.
For all our pampered paunches,
There may no fraunchis,
Nor worldly bliss ,
Redeem us from this:
Our days be dated
To be checkmated
With draughtès of death,
Stopping our breath;
Our eyen sinking,
Our bodies stinking,
Our gummès grinning,
Our soulès brinning.
To whom, then, shall we sue,
For to have rescue,
But to sweet Jesu,
On us then for to rue?
O goodly Child Of Mary mild,
Then be our shield !
That we be not exiled
To the dyne dale
Of bottomless bale,
Nor to the lake Of fiendès blake.
But grant us grace
To see thy face,
And to purchase
Thine heavenly place,
And thy palace,
Full of solace,
Above the sky,
That is so high;
Eternally To behold and see The Trinity!

Mirres vous y.*
* Mirres vous y. Fr. trans. "See yourself therein",i.e. recognize your own mortality at seeing this dead man's head. —AJ
Skelton is kindaneat. And this one always has struck me as rock bottom motivation to be Christian, and pray for salvation to "Lord Jesu"
Gericault is kindaneat too...maybe tomorrow The Raft of Medusa...
June 17, 2007
Tree in the Door

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