« PreviousContinue »
With Mother's pity in her breast enclosed
She goeth, as she were half out of her mind,
To every place wherein she hath supposed
By likelihood her little Son to find;
And ever on Christ's mother meek and kind
She cried, till to the Jewry she was brought,
And him among the accursed Jews she sought.
She asketh, and she piteously doth pray
To every Jew that dwelleth in that place
To tell her if her child had passed that way;
They all said Nay; but Jesu of his grace
Gave to her thought, that in a little space
She for her Son in that same spot did cry
Where he was cast into a pit hard by.
O thou great God that dost perform thy laud
By mouths of Innocents, lo! here thy might;
This gem of chastity, this emerald,
And eke of martyrdom this ruby bright,
There, where with mangled throat he lay upright, The Alma Redemptoris 'gan to sing
So loud that with his voice the place did ring,
The Christian folk that through the Jewry went
Come to the spot in wonder at the thing;
And hastily they for the Provost sent;
Immediately he came not tarrying,
And praiseth Christ that is our heavenly King,
And eke his Mother, honour of Mankind:
Which done, he bade that they the Jews should bind.
This Child with piteous lamentation then
Was taken up, singing his song alway;
And with procession great and pomp of men
To the next Abbey him they bare away;
His Mother swooning by the Bier lay:
And scarcely could the people that were near
Remove this second Rachel from the Bier.
Torment and shameful death to every one
This Provost doth for those bad Jews prepare
That of this murder wist, and that anon:
Such wickedness his judgments cannot spare;
Who will do evil, evil shall he bear;
Them therefore with wild horses did he draw,
And after that he hung them by the law.
Upon his Bier this Innocent doth lie
Before the Altar while the Mass doth last :
The Abbot with his Convent's company
Then sped themselves to bury him full fast;
And, when they holy water on him cast,
Yet spake this Child when sprinkled was the water,
And sang, O Alma Redemptoris Mater!
This Abbot for he was a holy man
As all Monks are, or surely ought to be,
In supplication to the Child began
Thus saying, "O dear Child! I summon thee
In virtue of the holy Trinity
Tell me the cause why thou dost sing this hymn,
Since that thy throat is cut, as it doth seem."
"My throat is cut unto the bone, I trow,"
Said this young Child, "and by the law of kind
I should have died, yea many
But Jesus Christ, as in the books ye find,
Will that his glory last, and be in mind;
And, for the worship of his Mother dear,
Yet may I sing, O Alma! loud and clear.
This well of mercy Jesu's Mother sweet
After my knowledge I have loved alway,
And in the hour when I my death did meet
To me she came, and thus to me did say,
"Thou in thy dying sing this holy lay,"
ye have heard; and soon as I had sung
Methought she laid a grain upon my tongue.
Wherefore I sing, nor can from song refrain, In honour of that blissful Maiden free, "Till from my tongue off-taken is the grain; And after that thus said she unto me, "My little Child, then will I come for thee Soon as the grain from off thy tongue they take, Be not dismayed, I will not thee forsake!"
This holy Monk, this Abbot.
him mean I,
Touched then his tongue, and took away the grain;
And he gave up the ghost full peacefully;
And, when the Abbot had this wonder seen,
His salt tears trickled down like showers of rain,
And on his face he dropped upon the ground,
And still he lay as if he had been bound.
Eke the whole Convent on the pavement lay,
Weeping and praising Jesu's Mother dear;
And after that they rose, and took their way
And lifted up this Martyr from the Bier,
And in a tomb of precious marble clear
Enclosed his uncorrupted body sweet.-
Where'er he be, God grant us him to meet!
Young Hew of Lincoln! in like sort laid low
By cursed Jews—thing well and widely known,
For not long since was dealt the cruel blow,
Pray also thou for us, while here we tarry
Weak sinful folk, that God, with pitying eye,
In mercy would his mercy multiply
On us, for reverence of his Mother Mary!