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Poema Morale
ca. 1170



P o e m a  M o r a l e

(contained in the Lambeth Manuscript 487)

[f. 59v] Ich em nu alder thene ich wes awintre & a lare.
Ich welde mare thene ich dede mi wit ahte bon mare.
Wel longe ich habbe child ibon a worde & a dede
thah ich bo a wintre ald to 3ung ich em on rede.

vnnet lif ich habbe iled. & 3et me thingth ilede.
thenne ich me bithenche wel ful sare ich me adrede.
mest al thet ich habbe idon bifealt to childhade.
Wel late ich habbe me bithocht bute God me nu rede.
Fole idel word ich habbe iquedhen sodhdhen ich speke kudhe.
fole 3unge dede idon the me ofthinchet nudhe.
mest al thet me likede er nu hit me mislikedh
tha muchel fuliedh his wil hine solf he biswikedh.
Ich mihte habbe bet idon. hefde ich the iselthe.
Nu ich walde ah ich ne mei for elde & for un helthe.
Elde me is bistolen on. er ich hit wiste.
ne michte ich seon bifore me. for smike ne for miste.
Er3e we beodh to done god. & to ufele al to thriste.
mare eie stondedh men of monne thanne hom do of criste.
the wel ne dodh the hwile the ho mu3en. wel oft hit schal rowen
thenne 3e mawen sculen & repen thet ho er sowen.
Do he to gode thet he mu3e the hwile thet he bo aliue.
ne lipnie na mon to [f. 60r] muchel to childe ne to wiue.
the him solue for3et for wiue ne for childe
he scal cumen in uuel stude bute him God bo milde.
Sendedh sum god biforen eow. the hw[i]le thet 3e mu3en to houene.
for betere is an elmesse biforen thenne bodh efter souene.
Alto lome ich habbe igult a werke & o worde.
Al to muchel ich habbe ispent. to litel ihud in horde.
Ne beo the loure thene the solf ne thin mei. ne thin ma3e.
Soht is thet is odhers monnes frond betre then his a3en.
Ne lipnie wif to hire were. ne were to his wiue
bo for him solue ech .Mon. the hwile thet he bo aliue.
Wis is the to him solue thench the hwile the mot libben.
for sone wule hine for3eten the fremede & the sibbe.
the wel ne dedh the hwile he mai ne scal wenne he walde.
Monies monnes sare iswinc habbedh oft unholde.
Ne scal na mon don afirst. ne slawen wel to done.
for moni mon bihatedh wel the hit for3etedh sone.
The .Mon. the wule siker bon to habben Godes blisse.
do wel him solf hwile thet he mai thenne hauedh he his mid iwisse.
thes riche .Men. wenedh bon siker thurh walle & thurh diche.
the dedh his echte on sikere stude he hit sent to heueneriche.
for ther ne therf he bon ofdred of fure ne of thoue
ther ne [f. 60v] therf he him binimen the ladhe ne the loue.
ther ne therf he habben kare of 3eve ne of 3elde.
thider he sent. & solf beredh to lutel & to selde.
thider we sculen dra3en & don wel ofte & ilome.
for ther ne scal me us naut binimen mid wrangwise dome.
thider 3e sculen 3orne dra3en. walde 3e god ileue.
for ne mei ther hit ou binimen king ne reue.
Al thet beste thet we hefden thider we hit solde senden
for ther we hit michte finden eft. & habben buten ende.
Tho the er dodh eni God for habben godes are.
al he hit scal finden eft ther & hundred fald mare.
The thet echte wile halden wel hwile the he mu3e es welden.
Giue hies for godes luue thenne deth hes wel ihalden.
Vre swinc & ure tilthe is ofte iwoned to swinden.
Ach thet the we dodh for godes luue eft we sculen al finden.
Ne scal nan ufel bon unbocht. ne nan god unfor3olden.
vfel we doth al to muchel. & god lesse thenne we sculden.
Tho the mest dodh nu to gode. & the lest to ladhe.
Eidher to lutel & to muchel scal thunchen eft hom bathe.
Ther me scal ure werkes weien biforan the heuen king.
and 3euen us ure swinkes lan efter ure erninge.
Ech mon mid thet he hauet. mei buggen houene riche.
the mare haueth & the the lesse bathe hi [f. 61r] mu3en iliche.
Alse mid his penie alse odher midh his punde.
Thet is the wunderlukeste chep thet eni mon efre funde.
& the dhe mare ne mai don do hit mid his gode thonke.
Alse wel se the the hauedh golde fele manke.
& oft god kon mare thonc then the him 3euedh lesse.
& his werkes & his we3es his milce. & rihtwisnesse.
lutel lac is gode lof thet kumedh of gode wille.
& eclete muchel 3eue of than the herte is ille.
Houene & horthe he ouer sich. his e3en bodh swa brichte.
Sunne & mone & houen fur bodh thestre a3ein his lihte.
Nis him noht forholen ni hud. swa muchele bodh his mihte.
nis hit ne swa derne [idon] ne [a] swa thostre nihte.
he wat wet thenkedh & hwet dodh alle quike wihte.
Nis na lauerd swich se is crist. ne king swuch ure drihten.
houene & ordhe & al thet is biloken is in his honde.
he dedh al thet his wil is a wettre & alonde.
He makede fisses in the se & fu3eles in the lifte.
he wit & waldedh alle thing & scop alle scefte.
he is hord buten horde & ende buten ende.
he ane is eure an ilche stude wende ther thu wende.
he is buuen us & binothen. biforen & bihinden.
the the dedh godes wille uwer he mei him finden.
Helche rune he iherdh & wat alle deden.
he thurthsicheth uches monnes thonc. Wi hwat scal us to rede.
We thet brokedh godes hese & gultedh swa ilome.
hwet scule we seggen odher don et the muchele dome.
Tha the luueden unriht & ufel lif [f. 61v] leden.
Wet sculen ho seggen odher don then the engles bon of dred.
hwet sculen we beren biforen us mid hom scule we iquemen.
tho the neure god ne dude the houenliche deme.
ther sculen bon doule swa fole thet wulledh us for wreien.
& nabbedh hi nathing for3eten of al thet ho ise3en.
Al thet we mis duden her ho hit wulledh kudhe there.
[buten we habbe hit ibet. dhe hwile we her were]
Al ho habbedh in hore write thet we misduden here.
thach we nusten ne nise3en. ho weren ure ifere.
Hwet sculen ordlinghes don. tha swicen & ta forsworene
hwi bodh fole iclepede. & swa lut icorene.
wi hwi weren ho bi3eten to hwon weren ho iborene.
thet sculen bon to dethe idemet. & eure ma forlorene.
Ech .Mon. scal him solue ther biclepie & bidemen.
his a3en werch & his thonc te witnesse he scal temen.
ne mei him na .Mon. alsa wel demen ne alswa rihte
for nan ne knaudh him ase 3ere & buten ane drihte.
Ech .Mon. wat him solue best & his werkes. & his wille.
The dhe lest wat biseip ofte mest the hit al wat is stille.
nis nan witnesse alse muchel se monnes a3en horte.
Wa se seidh thet he bo hal. him solf wat best his smirte.
Ech .Mon. scal h[i]m solf demen to dedhe odher to liue.
tha witnesse of his a3en werch hine therto scal driue.
Al thet ech .Mon. hauedh idon sodhdhen he com to monne
sculde he [f. 62r] hit sechen o boke iwriten he scal ithenchen thenne.
Ah drihten ne demedh nenne .Mon. efter his biginnigge.
ah al his lif scal bon suilch bodh his endinge.
3ef thet his uuel al hit is uuel & God 3efe god his ende.
God 3eue thet ure ende bo god. & wite thet he us lende.
the .Mon. thet uuel don na god. ne neure god lif leden.
er dedh & dom come to his dure he mei him sare adreden.
thet he ne mu3e thenne biden are. for thet itit ilome.
forthi he is wis the biet & bit & bet bifore dome.
Wenne dedh is attere dure wel late he biddeth are.
Wel late he lathedh uuel werc the ne mei hit don ne mare.
thet achten we to leuen wel. for ure drihten solf hit seide.
A hwilke time se eure .Mon. of thinchth his misdede.
Other rather odher later milce he scal imeten.
Ac the thet ther naf[dh] nocht ibet wel muchel he hauedh to beten.
Monimon seit hwa rechdh of pine the scal habben thende.
Ne bidde ich na bet bo alesed a domes dei of bende.
lutel he wat wet is pine. & lutel he hit scawedh
hwice hete is ther tha saule wunedh hu biter wind ther blawedh.
hefde he bon ther enne dei odher twa bare tide
nolde he for al middenerd the therdde ther abiden.
thet habbedh iseid th[e] comen thonen tha hit wisten mid iwissen.
wa wurdh sor3e seue3er. for souenihte blisse.
In hure blisse the [f. 62v] the ende hauedh. for endelese pine.
betere is wori water drunch then atter meind mid wine.
Swines brede is swidhe swete. swa is of wilde dore.
alto dore he is abuh the 3efdh ther fore his swore.
Ful wombe mei lihtliche speken of hunger. & of festen
swa mei of pine the ne cnaudh the scal a ilesten.
Hefdh he ifonded summe stunde he wolde al seggen odher.
Etlete him were wif. child. suster. feder & brodher.
Al he walde & odherluker don & odherluker thenchen
Wenne he bithohte on helle fur the nawiht ne mei quenchen.
Eure he walde her inne wawe & ine wene wunien.
Widh thet the mihte helle pine biflien & bisunien
Etlete him were al world wele & ordhliche blisse.
for to thet muchele blisse cumen is murthe mid iwisse.
Iwule nu cumen eft to the dome thet ich er ow of sede
A tha dei & at ta dome us helpe crist & rede.
ther we mu3en bon ethe offerd & herde us adreden.
ther he scal al son him biforen his word & ec his deden.
Al scal ther bon thenne cud ther men lu3en her ent stelen.
Al scal ther bon thanne unwron thet men wru3en her & helen.
We sculen alre monne lif iknauwen alse ure ahen.
ther sculen eueningges bon the riche & the la3e.
Ne scal na mon skamie ther ne therf he him adreden.
Gif him her ofthincth [f. 63r] his gult & bet his misdede.
for him ne scameth ne ne gromedh the sculen bon ibor3en.
Ach thothre habbeth scome & grome & oft fele sor3e.
The dom scal sone bon idon ne lest he nawiht longe.
ne scal him na mon mene ther of strengthe ne of wronge.
the sculen habbe herdne dom tha her weren herde.
tha the uuele holden wreche men & uuele la3e redde.
Ec efter thet he efth idon sal ther thenne [beon] idemet.
[blidhe mei he dhenne beon. the god hafdh wel icwemed]
Alle tha thi sprunge both of adam & of eue.
Alle hi sculen cumen thider for sodhe we hit ileuedh.
tha the habbedh wel idon efter hore mihte.
to houene riche hi sculen faren fordh mid ure drihte.
Tha the habbedh doules werc idon. & ther inne bo ifunde.
hi sculen faren fordh mid him in to helle grunde.
Ther hi sculen wunien a buten are & ende.
Ne breketh neure drihte helle gate for lesen hi of bende.
Nis na sullic thech hom bo wa & hom bo uneade.
Ne scal neure eft crist tholie deth for lesen hom of deathe.
Enes drihten helle brec his frond he ut brochte.
him solf he tholede dedh for him. wel dore he hom bohte.
Nalde hit mei do for mei. ne suster for brodher.
nalde hit sune do for fader. ne na mon for odher.
Vre alre lauerd for his threlles ipined wes a rode.
vre bendes he unbon[d] & bohte us mid his blode.
We 3euedh [f. 63v] unedhe for his luue a stuche of ure brede.
Ne thenke we noht thet he scal deme tha quike & tha dede.
Muchele luue he us cudde. walde we hit understonde
the ure eldre misduden we habbedh uuele on honde.
Deth com in this middenerde thurh thes doules honde.
& sake & sor3e & swinc a watere & a londe.
Vre forme fader gult. we abu3edh alle.
[eal his of spring efter him. en hearme is bifealle.]
thurst & hunger. chele & hete. helde & unheldhe.
thurh him dedh com in this middenerd & odher uniseldhe.
Nere namon elles ded ne sec ne nan unsele.
ac mihten libben eure ma a blisse & a hele.
lutel hit thunchedh moni mon. ac muchel wes tha sunne.
for hwam alle tholiedh dedh the comen of hore cunne.
Hore sunne & ec ure a3en sare us mei ofthinche.
thurh sunne we libbedh alle in sor3e & in swinke.
Sudhdhen God nom swa muchele wrake for are misdede
We the swa muchel & swa ofte misdodh. we mu3en edhe us adrede.
Adam and his ofsprung for are bare sunne.
Wes fele undret wintre an helle pine & an unwunne.
tha the ledden hore lif mid unriht & mid wrange.
buten hit godes milce do ho sculen bon ther wel longe.
Godes wisdom is wel muchel & alswa is his mihte
& nis his milce naut lesse. ac bi than ilke iwichte.
Mare he ane mei for3euen. then [f. 64r] al folc gulte cunuc.
Sulf douel mihte babben milce. 3if he hit bigunne.
Tha the godes milce sechedh he iwis mei ha ifinden.
Ac helle king is areles with tha the he mei binden.
the the deth is wille mest he hauedh wurst mede.
His bath scal bon wallinde. his badh scal bon berninde glede.
Wurst he dedh his gode frond thenne his fulle fond
God scilde alle godes frond. a wih swilche freonde.
Neure in helle hi com. ne ther ne come reche.
thach ich elches worldes wele. ther me mahte feche
thet his wulle seggen on that wise men us seiden.
& aboken hit writen ther [me] mei hit reden.
Ich hit wille seggen than the hit hom solf nusten.
warni hom widh hore unfrome. 3if ho me wulledh lusten.
vnderstondedh nu to me edi men & arme.
Ich wulle tellen of helle pin & wernin ow widh herme.
In helle his hunger & thurst twa uuele iuere.
thas tholiedh tha [the] weren maket nithinges here.
Ther is waning & wow. efter eche streche.
ho faredh from hete to hete. & hech to frure the wreche.
thenne hi bidh in there hete the chele him thunchet blisse.
thenne hi cumedh eft to the chele of hete hi habbeb misse.
hi hem dedh wa inoch nabbedh hi nane blisse.
Nute hi hwether hem deth wurs mid neure nane wisse.
hi walkedh eure & sechedh reste [f. 64v] ac ho ne mu3en imeten.
forthi the ho nolden the hwile thet ho mihten here sunne beten.
ho sechedh reste ther nis nan. forthi ne mu3en hi es finden.
Ac walkedh weri up & dun se water deth mid winde.
tho bodh tha the weren her a thanke unstedefeste.
& tha the gode biheten heste & nolden hit ileste.
tha the god werc bigunnen & ful enden hit nolden.
Nu witen her. & nudhe ther. & nusten hwat hi wolden.
ther is bernunde pich hore saule to bathien inne.
tha the ledden here lif in werre & in winne.
ther is fur thet is undret fald hattre. thene bo ure.
Ne mei quenchen salt weter ne uersc of the burne.
this is thet fur thet efre bernd ne mei nawiht hit quenchen
Ther inne bodh tha the was to lof wreche men to swenchen.
tha the weren swikelemen & ful of uuel wrenchen.
tha the mihten uuel don. the the lef hit wes to thenchen.
The luueden tening & stale. hordom & drunken.
& a doules werche blitheliche swunken.
Tha the weren swa lese thet me hom ne mihte ileuen.
Medierne domes men. & wrongwise reuen.
thet odher monnes wif lof. his a3en etlete.
tho the sungede muchel a drunke & an ete.
the wreche mon binom his ehte. & leide his on horde.
thet lutel let of godes borde. & godes worde.
& tho the his a3en nalde 3euen ther he isech [f. 65r] the node
Ne nalde iheren godes sonde. thenne he hit herde bode.
The thet is odhers monnes thing. loure thene hit sculde.
& weren to gredi of solure & of golde.
& tha the untrownesse duden thon the ho sculden bon holde.
& leten thet ho sculden don. & duden thet ho wolden.
Tha the weren eure abuten thisse worldes echte.
& duden al thet the lathe gast hechte to & tachte.
& alle the then anigewise doulen iquemde.
Tha bodh nu mid him in helle fordon & fordemet.
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