Anonymous Olde English

The Menologium. (Preface To The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles) - Poem by Anonymous Olde English

in midwinter, mighty prince,
eternal, almighty, on the eighth day,
Healer, called, heaven's ward;
so at the same time singing praises
countless folk begin the year,
for the awaited time comes to town,
the first month, famous January.
Five nights later the Lord's baptism,
and eternal God's epiphany comes;
the twelve-days' time to blessed men known,
by us in Britain called Twelfthnight.
Four weeks later February falls,
Sol-month brighter settles in town,
a month minus two days;
so February's way was reckoned by the wise,
One night more is Mary's mass,
the King's mother; for on that day Christ,
the child of the Ruler, she revealed in the temple.
After five nights winter was fared,
and after seventeen he suffered death:
the Saviour's man, great Matthew,
when spring has come to stay in town.
And to the folk after five nights
-- unless it is Leap Year, when it comes one night later --
by his cold clothes of frost and hail
wild March is known throughout the world,
Hlyda-month, blowing loud,
Eleven nights later, holy and noble,
Gregory shone in God's service,
honoured in Britain. So Benedict,
nine nights passing, sought the Preserver,
the resolute man celebrated in writings
by men under his rule. So the wise in reckoning
at that time count the equinox,
because, wielding power, God at the beginning
made on the same day sun and moon.
Four nights after the Father
sent the equinox, his archangel announced
the mighty salvation to great Mary,
that she the Shaper of all should bear
bring to birth the best of kings,
as it was widely told through the world;
that was a great destiny delivered to us.
So after seven nights the Saviour sends
the month of April, most often bringing
the mighty time of comfort to mankind,
the Lord's resurrection, when joy is rightly
celebrated everywhere, as that wise one sang:
'This is the day which the Lord hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.'
Nor may we hold that time by tally
of a length of days, nor the Lord's
ascension to heaven, for always it changes
within the rules known to the wise man,
old in winters; in the cycle
he can with craft find the holy days.
The martyrs' memory we must yet recount,
say in words, sing with wisdom,
that after nineteen nights and five
from Easter's blessed coming to us,
men begin to raise the relics,
holy treasures; that is a high day,
when Rogation is held. Quickly to men's homes,
six nights further in the fine gear,
in groves and flowers comes glorious, shining,
strongly to men as it must,
the fulness of May through many lands.
On the same day the noble disciples
Philip and James gave up their lives,
mighty warriors, for the maker's love.
After two nights was taken by God
to blessed Helen the noblest of beams,
on which lay suffering the Lord of angels
for love of man, the maker on a gallows
by the Father's leave. After the first week
minus one night, to men are brought
sun-bright days by summer to town,
warm weather. Woods and fields as soon
bloom and blossom; so beauty is called up
over middle-earth, as in his manner
each kind of creature declares the King's love,
the Almighty's. After eight nights
and days turning, the Lord took up
Augustine into the other light,
embraced the blessed man who in Britain
gladly inspired men's obedience
within the will of God as wise Gregory bade.
Nor have I heard before of a better man
anywhere bringing better teaching,
a more celebrated bishop over the sea;
by the king's seat in Kent he rests near the church
after six long days the month draws near,
earlier by us called Litha,
now called June, and the gem rises
in the heavens the highest in the year,
then sinks from his place and sets;
he will not for long travel late,
the fairest light over the fields.
After thirteen nights and ten the glorious thane
loved by the Lord, John the Baptist, was born,
whom we celebrate in midsummer.
And widely it is held throughout the world,
widely honoured as well it should be,
that holy day in the homes of men,
when Peter and Paul the apostles,
loyal servants, suffered in Rome
five nights on from midsummer's day
glorious martyrdom; miracles they worked,
many for men among the nations,
countless, manifest and clear through the Maker's Son.
Then after two nights, timely to us,
comes July, in which James
on the twenty-fourth night took up his life,
wise and truthful, teacher of the people,
Zebedee's son. Summer on the seventh night
brings the weed-month brightly to town;
everywhere August comes to the earth,
and Lammas-time. Later coming,
one week minus one day,
is high autumn, heavy with harvest;
then wealth is found that is fair on earth.
On the third day the glorious deacon
was martyred and went forth, mighty man,
Lawrence, who now has life
with the wonder-Father in reward for his works.
After five nights the fairest of virgins,
the wondrous woman, went to the God of hosts
for her son's mothering, to the victory-seat,
a home in heaven; the Saviour has so
repaid forever that perfect fostering.
Then on the tenth night in the turning of time,
Bartholomew here in Britain
is honoured far and wide for his fate.
So also after four nights,
the noble's death-day is known to men:
he who baptized the glorious Boy,
the worthy warrior of the Word,
of whom God said no greater man
was born on earth between man and woman.
And after three nights throughout the nations,
the month that is held by men as holy
fares to the people as it was foreseen,
as the old astronomers ere found,
September's way; and it was on the seventh day
that the best queens came to birth,
the Lord's mother. Then more days pass,
thirteen in number, and the blameless thane
clear-sighted in God's word sent up his spirit:
Matthew to his Maker
went in eternal joy. Then arrives
after three nights to the nations,
the day of equinox to the children of earth;
and here we count worthy, far and wide,
the archangel's time in the autumn,
Michael, known to the multitude,
five nights after the equinox-day.
Two nights later, the tenth month
comes to men with wise counsel,
October arrives among men with abundance:
Winterfylleth was the old word
among the island-dwellers, Angles and Saxons,
men and women. So the warriors' time comes
on the twenty-seventh, and the two noble ones
on the same day are celebrated:
we have heard how long ago
Simon and Jude, shining with glory,
did great deeds. For that their doom
was a blessed uplifting. Then arrives quickly,
after four nights, to the folk with plenty,
Blotmonath in town, and brings feasting to men:
November, a time of blessedness
like no other month, by the Lord's mercy.
The same day we celebrate the feast of All Saints,
who worked in the world the will of God.
Then winter's day opens wide
in six nights, seizes the sun,
ravages the harvest with rime and snow,
chains them with frost at the Lord's command;
the green meadows may not stay with us,
the fields' covering. And four nights later
it was that the mighty one, Martin, departed,
the stainless servant sought the Lord;
and on the twelfth night Clement was taken,
sunk in the grey sea, strong in victory,
called on by name by many in need.
On the seventh night after, dear to the Saviour,
noble Andrew arose into heaven,
gave his ghost into God's keeping,
eager depart in earthly death,
Then morning to men brings in the month
called December by the Redeemer's children,
the old Yule. So in eight nights and twelve
the Saviour himself, strong in purpose,
gave with difficulty an eternal kingdom to Thomas,
and to the bold man his blessing.
Then after four nights the Father of angels
sent his Son into creation's expanse
to comfort mankind. Now you can find
the holy days, that man shall hold
throughout Britain at the bidding
of the Saxon's king at the same time.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010

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