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7-10-2015, 17:49

THE HISTORY OF TALIESIN

WALES

This story is not in The White Book of Rhydderch or The Red Book of Hergest and was written down relatively late, perhaps after 1500. Even so, it contains elements that are ancient. It is not to be confused with The Book of Taliesin, a collection of poems attributed to the enigmatic Taliesin. Here it is in full, in all its strangeness and inscrutability:

There lived in Arthur’s time in Penllyn a man of noble lineage, named Tegid Voel, and his dwelling was in the midst of Lake Tegid, and his wife was Caridwen. And there was born to him of his wife a son named Morvran ab Tegid, and also a daughter named Creirwy, the fairest maiden in the world; and they had a brother, the most ill-favored man in the world, Avagddu.

Caridwen thought his ugliness would exclude him from the company of men of noble birth, unless he had some special knowledge. So she boiled a cauldron of Inspiration and Science for her son, until she could distil three drops of the grace of Inspiration.

She put her servant boy, Gwion Bach, to stir the cauldron, and a blind man named Morda to kindle the fire beneath it, and she ordered them to boil for a year and a day. She gathered charm-bearing herbs every day.

One day toward the end of the year, while Caridwen was making incantations, three drops of the charmed liquor flew out of the cauldron and fell upon the finger of Gwion Bach. He put his finger to his mouth, and that instant he foresaw everything that was to come, including that his chief care had to be to guard against the wiles of Caridwen, for vast was her skill. He fled toward his own land. And the cauldron burst in two, because all the liquor within it was poisonous—except the three charmbearing drops.

Caridwen saw the toil of the whole year lost. She seized a billet of wood and struck the blind Morda on the head until one of his eyes fell out upon his cheek. He cried, “Wrongfully have you disfigured me, for I am innocent. Your loss was not because of me.”

“You speak true,” said Caridwen. “It was Gwion Bach who robbed me.” She ran after him.

When Gwion Bach saw her, he changed himself into a hare and fled. But Caridwen changed herself into a greyhound and headed him off. He ran toward a river and became a fish. In the form of an otter she chased him under the water, until he turned himself into a bird of the air. As a hawk, she followed him and gave him no rest in the sky. Just as she was about to swoop upon him, he saw a heap of winnowed wheat on the floor of a barn, dropped among it, and turned himself into one of the grains. Then Caridwen transformed herself into a black hen, scratched the wheat with her feet, and found him out and swallowed him. And, as the story says, she bore him nine months, and when she was delivered of him, she could not find it in her heart to kill him, by reason of his beauty. She wrapped him in a leather bag and cast him into the sea.

At that time the weir of Gwyddno was on the beach between Dyfi and

Aberystwyth, near Gwyddno’s castle. Gwyddno had an only son named Elphin, the most hapless of youths and the neediest. Gwyddno granted him the drawing of the weir that year, to see if good luck would befall him and to give him a start in the world.

When Elphin went to look, there was nothing in the weir. Then he perceived the leather bag upon a pole of the weir. One of the weir guardians said to him, “You were never unlucky until tonight, but now you have destroyed the virtues of the weir. It always yielded 100 pounds’ worth of fish a year and now there is nothing but this leather skin.”

“There may be 100 pounds in it,” said Elphin.

The weir-ward opened the leather bag and saw the forehead of the boy inside. He said to Elphin, “There’s a radiant brow!”

“Let him be called Taliesin,” said Elphin, lifting the boy in his arms.

Elphin made his horse amble gently and he carried the boy as softly as he could. Then the boy praised him:

“Fair Elphin, cease to lament!

Let no one be dissatisfied with his own,

Despair brings no advantage.

No man sees what supports him.

Never in Gwyddno’s weir

Was there such good luck as tonight.

Fair Elphin, dry your cheeks!

Being too sad will do no good;

Nor doubt the miracles of the Almighty:

Although I am but little, I am gifted.

From seas andfrom mountains,

Andfrom the depths of rivers,

God brings wealth to the fortunate man.

Elphin of lively qualities,

Your resolution is unmanly;

You must not be over-sorrowful:

Better to trust in God than to forbode ill.

Weak and small as I am,

On the foaming beach of the ocean,

In the day of trouble I shall be Of more service to you than 300 salmon.

Elphin, do not be displeased at your misfortune:

With me as your protector You have little to fear;

None shall be able to harm you. ”

Gwyddno Garanhir asked the boy what he was, whether he was man or spirit. Then Taliesin sang this tale:

“First, I have been formed a comely person;

In the court of Ceridwen I have done penance;

Though I was seen but little, and received indifferently,

I have been a prized defense, the sweet muse the cause,

And by law without speech, I have been liberated By a smiling old hag, when irritated,

Dreadful her claim when pursued;

I have fled with vigour, I have fled as a frog,

I have fled in the semblance of a crow, scarcely finding rest,

I have fled as a thrush ofportending language,

I have fled as a fox, used to bounding,

I have fled as a martin, which was of no avail,

I have fled as a squirrel, that vainly hides,

I have fled as a stag’s antler, of ruddy course,

I have fled as iron in a glowing fire,

I have fled as a spear-head, which is woe to those who wish for it,

I have fled as a fierce bullfighting bitterly,

I have fled as a bristly boar seen in a ravine,

I have fled as a white grain ofpure wheat,

On the skirt of a hempen sheet entangled,

That seemed the size of a mare’s foal,

That is filling like a ship on the waters.

Into a dark leather bag I was thrown,

And on a boundless sea I was set adrift;

Which to me was an omen of being tenderly nursed,

Then Elphin came to the house of Gwyddno, his father, and Taliesin with him. Gwyddno asked him if he had had a good haul at the weir and he told him that he had got something better than fish.

“What was that?” asked Gwyddno.

“A bard,” said Elphin.

Then said Gwyddno, “What use will he be to you?”

Taliesin himself replied, “More good than the weir ever profited you.”

Gwyddno asked, “Are you able to speak, when you are so small?”

Taliesin answered, “I am better able to speak than you to question me.”

“Let me hear what you have to say,” said Gwyddno.

Then Taliesin sang:

“In water there is a quality endowed with blessings;

On God it is most just to meditate aright;

To God it is proper to supplicate with seriousness,

Since there can be no obstacle to obtaining a rewardfrom him.

Three times have I been born, I know by meditation;

It would be wretched if people could not come and learn All the sciences of the world, that are gathered in my heart,

For I know what has been, and what will come to pass in future.

I will entreat my Lord to give me refuge,

A regard I may obtain in his grace;

The Son of Mary is my trust, great is my delight in him,

For in him the world is continually upheld.

God has been to instruct me and to raise my expectation,

The true Creator of Heaven, who affords me protection;

It is rightly intended that the saints should pray every day,

For God, the redeemer, will bring them to him. ”

Elphin’s wife nursed Taliesin tenderly and lovingly. From then on, Elphin increased in riches day by day and increased in love and favor with the king. Taliesin lived with him until he was 13 years old, when Elphin accepted a Christmas invitation to stay with his uncle, Maelgwn Gwynedd.

Maelgwn held open court at Christmas-tide in the castle of Degannwy for all his

Lords and a discussion arose among the vast thronged host of knights and squires. Someone asked, “Is there in the whole world a king so great as Maelgwn, or one on whom Heaven has bestowed so many spiritual gifts? First, form, beauty, meekness, and strength, and all the powers of the soul besides!”

Others said Heaven had given one gift exceeding all the others: the beauty, comeliness, grace, wisdom, and modesty of his queen; her virtues surpassed those of all the ladies and noble maidens in the whole kingdom. And with this they put questions one to another among themselves. Who had braver men? Who had fairer or swifter horses or greyhounds? Who had more skillful or wiser bards than Maelgwn?

At that time the bards were in great favor with the exalted of the kingdom; none performed the office of those who are now called heralds unless they were learned men, not only expert in the service of kings and princes but studious and well versed in the lineage, arms, and exploits of the princes and the kings, and in discussions concerning foreign kingdoms, the ancient things of their own kingdom, and the annals of the first nobles. They were always prepared with their answers in various languages—Latin, French, Welsh, and English. They were great chroniclers and recorders, skillfial in framing verses and ready in making englyns in every one of those languages. In the palace of Maelgwn there were at that feast as many as four-and-twenty bards, and chief of them all was Heinin Vardd.

When they had all made an end of praising the king and his gifts, it fell to Elphin to speak. “Truly only a king may compete with a king; but if Maelgwn were not a king, I would say that my wife was as virtuous as any lady in the kingdom. I would also say that I had a bard who was more skillfial than all the king’s bards.”

The king’s friends quickly reported Elphin’s boasts to him. Maelgwn ordered him to be imprisoned until he learned the true virtues of his wife and the wisdom of his bard. Elphin was thrown into a tower of the castle with a heavy chain around his feet.

Then Maelgwn sent Rhun, his son, to inquire into the demeanor of Elphin’s wife. Rhun, the most graceless man in the world, went in haste toward Elphin’s house, minded to bring disgrace upon Elphin’s wife. She was forewarned, however: Taliesin told her that Maelgwn had placed Elphin his master in prison, and that Rhun was coming to bring disgrace upon her. He persuaded his mistress to dress one of the kitchen maids in her apparel, which the noble lady gladly did, loading the best rings she and her husband possessed onto the maid’s hands. Then Taliesin sat the

Disguised maiden down to supper in her mistress’s room.

Rhun arrived and was taken by the servants to the room of their mistress. The maid playing the mistress rose and welcomed him then sat down again and Rhun with her. He began jesting with her and slipped a sleeping powder into her drink. She fell asleep and slept so soundly that she never felt it when Rhun cut off her little finger bearing the signet ring of Elphin. He returned to the king with the finger and the ring as a proof that he had cut it from her hand without waking her from her drunken sleep.

Maelgwn rejoiced at this news. Then he had Elphin brought out of his prison and rebuked him for his boast. “Elphin, it is but folly for a man to trust in the virtues of his wife liarther than he can see her. You may be certain of your wife’s vileness. See, her finger, with your signet ring upon it, cut from her hand last night, while she was in a drunken stupor.”

Elphin said, “Mighty king, I cannot deny that that is my ring, but that finger is not my wife’s. There are three notable things about it. The first of the three is that this ring was hard to draw over the joint of this little finger. The second is that the nail of this little finger has not been pared for a month. The third is the hand from which this finger came was kneading dough three days before the finger was cut therefrom, and my wife has never kneaded dough since she has been my wife.”

Maelgwn was angry with Elphin for standing up to him and ordered him to prison a second time, saying that he should not be released until he had proved the truth of his boast concerning the wisdom of his bard and the virtues of his wife.

In the meantime Taliesin told Elphin’s wife that he would go to Maelgwn’s court to free his master. She asked how he would set Elphin free and Taliesin answered:

“A journey I will undertake,

And to the gate I will come.

The hall I will enter,

And my song I will sing;

My speech I will pronounce

To silence royal bards

In the presence of their chief—

And Elphin I will free.

Should contention arise,

In the presence of the prince,

With summons to the bards For the sweet flowing song,

And wizards ’posing lore,

And the wisdom of the Druids.

In the court are some who did appear intent on cunning schemes,

By craft and tricking means,

Let the fools be silent,

As once in Badon ’s fight,

With Arthur the leader of free men, with long red blades,

Through feats of testy men,

And a chief together with his foes.

Woe be to them, the fools,

When revenge comes upon them.

I, Taliesin, chief of bards,

With a wise Druid’s words,

Will set kind Elphin free

From a haughty tyrant’s shackles.

To their fell and chilling cry,

By the act of a surprising steed,

From the far distant North,

There soon shall be an end.

Let neither grace nor health Be to Maelgwn Gwynedd,

For this force and this wrong,

And let there be extremes of woes And an avenged end To Rhun and all his race.

Let the course of his life be short,

Let all his lands be laid waste,

And let exile on far Iona be assigned To Maelgwn Gwynned. ”

After this, Taliesin took leave of his mistress and came at last to the court of Maelgwn, who was about to dine in royal state, as was the custom for kings at every feast.

When Taliesin entered the hall, he sat in a quiet corner, close to the place where the bards and the minstrels sat. The bards and the heralds came to cry largesse and proclaim the power of the king and his strength and, as they passed by the corner where he crouched, Taliesin pouted at them, and made a “Blerwm, blerwm” noise with his finger upon his lips.

The bards and heralds took little notice of him as they walked past and went before the king, to whom they bowed in the usual way But then they said nothing but pouted, making faces at the king, and made a “Blerwm, blerwm” noise upon their lips with their fingers, just as they had seen the boy do.

The king wondered if they were drunk. He commanded one of his lords to go and tell them to collect their wits and to consider whether their behavior was appropriate. Nevertheless, the bards and heralds carried on making this strange childish noise.

Maelgwn sent to them a second and a third time, telling them to leave the hall. At last he ordered one of his squires to cuff the chief of the bards, Heinin Vardd. The squire took a broom and hit Heinin Vardd on the head, so that he fell back in his seat. Then Heinin went down on his knees, and pleaded with the king that it was not the bards’ fault, nor was it through drunkenness, but by the influence of some spirit that was in the hall in the form of a child.

The king immediately commanded the squire to find the boy and bring him forward. The squire went to the nook where Taliesin sat and brought him before the king. Maelgwn asked him what he was and where he came from. Taliesin answered the king in verse, singing:

“Chief bard am I to Elphin,

And I come from the region of the summer stars;

Idno and Heinin called me Merddin,

In time, every king will call me Taliesin.

I was with my Lord in the highest sphere,

On the fall of Lucifer into the depth of hell:

I have carried a banner before Alexander;

I know the names of all the stars from north to south;

I was in Canaan when Absalom was slain;

I conveyed the Divine Spirit to the vale of Hebron;

I was in the court of Don before the birth of Gwydion.

I was instructor to Eli and Enoc;

I have been winged by the genius of the splendid crozier;

I have been talkative before being gifted with speech;

I was at the place of the Crucifixion of the merciful Son of God I have been three periods in the prison of Arianrod;

I have been the chief architect of the work of the tower of Nimrod I am a wonder whose origin is not known.

I have been in Asia with Noah in the ark,

I have seen the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah;

I have been in India when Rome was built,

I am now come here to the remnant of Troy.

I have been with my Lord in the manger of the ass;

I strengthened Moses through the water of Jordan;

I have been in the firmament with Mary Magdalene;

I have obtained the muse from the cauldron of Caridwen;

I have been bard of the harp to Lleon of Lochlin.

I have been on the White Hill, in the court of Cynvelyn,

For a day and a year in stocks andfetters,

I have suffered hunger for the Son of the Virgin.

I have been fostered in the land of the Deity,

I have been teacher to all intelligences,

I am able to instruct the whole universe.

I shall be until the day of doom on the face of the earth;

And it is not known whether my body is flesh or fish.

Then I was for nine months In the womb of the hag Ceridwen;

I was once little Gwion,

And now, at last, I am Taliesin. ”

When the king and his nobles heard Taliesin’s song, they were filled with wonder, because they had never heard anything like it from a boy as young as he. And when the king knew that Taliesin was the bard of Elphin, he bade Heinin, his first and wisest bard, to answer Taliesin and to compete with him.

But when Heinin came forward, he found he could do nothing but make the noise “blerwm.” When Maelgwn sent for the other four-and-twenty bards, they all did the same; they could make no other sound.

Maelgwn asked Taliesin what his errand was and Taliesin once more answered him in song:

“You puny bards, I am trying To win the prize, if I can;

By a gentle prophetic strain I am trying to win back Any loss I may have suffered;

Complete the attempt I hope,

Since Elphin is in dire trouble In the fortress of Degannwy.

On him may there not be laid Too many chains andfetters.

Strengthened by my muse I am powerful.

On my part, might is what I seek,

For 300 songs and more Are combined in the spell I sing.

There ought to stand where I am Neither stone, neither ring;

And there ought not to be about me Any bard who may not know That Elphin the son of Gwyddno Is in the land of Artro,

Secured by 13 locks,

For praising his instructor.

Then I, Taliesin,

Chief of the bards of the west,

Shallfree Elphin From his golden fetters.

If you are primary bards,

To the master of sciences Declare mysteries

That relate to the inhabitants of the world;

There is a noxious creature,

From the rampart of Satan,

Which has overcome everything Between the deep and the shallow;

His jaws are as wide

As the mountains of the Alps;

Death will not subdue him,

Nor will human hand nor blades of swords;

There is the load of900 wagons In the hair of his two paws There is in his head an eye Green as the limpid sheet of icicle.

Three springs arise In the nape of his neck;

Sea-roughs thereon Swim through it.

The names of the three springs From the midst of the ocean;

One generated brine Which is from the Corina,

To replenish the flood Over seas disappearing;

The second, without injury It willfall upon us,

When there is rain abroad,

Through the whelming sky.

The third will appear Through the mountain veins,

Like a flinty banquet,

The work of the King of kings.

You bards are blunderers, with too much solicitude; You are not competent to celebrate The kingdom of the Britons.

And I am Taliesin,

Chief of the bards of the west,

It is I who will free Elphin From his golden fetters.

Be silent, now, you luckless rhyming bards,

For you cannot judge between truth andfalsehood.

If you are primary bards formed by heaven,

Tell your king what his fate will be.

It is I who am a diviner and a leading bard,

And know every passage in the country of your king;

I shall liberate Elphin from the belly of the stony tower;

And shall tell your king what will befall him.

A most strange creature will come from the sea marsh of Rhianedd As a punishment on Maelgwn Gwynedd’s iniquity,

His hair, his teeth, and his eyes being as gold.

This will bring destruction upon Maelgwn Gwynedd.

Discover what it is,

This strong creature from before the flood,

This creature without flesh, without bone,

Without vein, without blood,

Without head, without feet.

It will be neither older nor younger Than it was at the beginning.

Great God! How the sea whitens When first it comes!

Great are the gusts of wind When it approaches from the south;

Great is the rainfall When it strikes on the coasts.

It is in the field, it is in the wood,

Without hand and without foot,

Without signs of old age,

Though it may be co-eval

With the five ages or periods of the Earth,

And older still,

Though they be years without number.

It is also as wide

As the surface of the Earth

And it was never born,

Nor was it ever seen.

It will cause consternation Wherever God wills it.

On sea and on land,

It neither sees, nor is it seen.

Its course is devious

And it will not come when desired

On land and on sea,

It is indispensable.

It is without an equal,

It is four-sided;

It is not confined,

It is incomparable.

It comes from four quarters,

It will not be advised,

It will not be without advice.

It commences its journey Above the marble rock. It is sonorous, it is dumb,

It is mild,

It is strong, it is bold,

When it glances over the land.

It is silent, it is vocal,

It is clamorous,

It is the noisiest thing On the face of the Earth.

It is good, it is bad,

It is extremely injurious.

It is concealed,

Because sight cannot perceive it.

It is noxious, it is beneficial;

It is yonder, it is here,

It will discompose,

But will not repair the injury;

It will not suffer for its doings,

Seeing it is blameless.

It is wet, it is dry,

It frequently comes,

Proceeding from the heat of the sun,

And the coldness of the moon.

The moon is less beneficial,

Inasmuch as her heat is less.

One Being has prepared it,

Out of all creatures,

By a tremendous blast—

All to wreak vengeance On Maelgwn Gwynedd. ”

While Taliesin was singing his verse near the door, a mighty storm of wind arose, and the king and all his nobles thought that the castle would fall on their heads. The king ordered them to fetch Elphin in haste from his dungeon and placed him before Taliesin. The moment Taliesin sang a verse, the chains opened from about Elphin’s noble feet and fell away from him. Taliesin sang:

“I adore the Supreme Lord of all animation,

Him that supports the heavens, Ruler of every extreme,

Him that made the water goodfor all,

Him who has bestowed each gift, and blesses it;

May abundance of mead be given Maelgwn of Anglesey, who supplies us,

From his foaming meadhorns, with the choicest pure liquor.

Because the bees collect and do not enjoy,

We have sparkling distilled mead, which is universally praised.

The multitude of creatures which the Earth nourishes God made for man, with a view to enriching him;

Some are violent, some are mute; he enjoys them all.

Some are wild, some are tame; the Lord makes them.

Part of their produce becomes clothing;

For food and beverage till doom will they continue.

I entreat the Supreme Sovereign of the region of peace,

To liberate Elphin from banishment,

The man who gave me wine and ale and mead,

With large princely steeds of beautiful appearance,

May he one day give me; and in the end,

May God of his good will grant me, in honour,

A succession of numberless ages in the retreat of tranquillity.

Elphin, knight of mead, may your life be long!”

Afterward he sang the ode that is called The Excellence of the Bards:

“What was the first man Made by the God of Heaven?

What was the fairest flattering speech That was prepared by Ieuav?

What meat, what drink,

What roof was his shelter?

What was the first impression Of his primary thinking?

Who sported a disguise,

Owing to the wildness of the country,

In the beginning?

Why should a stone be hard?

Why should a thorn’spoint be sharp?

Who is hard like a flint?

Who is salt like brine?

Who is sweet like honey?

Who rides on the gale?

Why should a wheel be round?

Why should the tongue be gifted with speech Rather than another member?

Heinin, if your bards are able,

Let them reply to me—Taliesin. ”

And after that he sang the address that is called The Reproof of the Bards: “If you are a bard completely imbued

With a genius that cannot be controlled,

Do not be intractable Within the court of your king;

Until your rigmarole shall be known,

Keep your peace, Heinin,

As to the name of your verse,

And the name of your vaunting;

And as to the name of your grandsire Prior to his being baptized,

And the name of the sphere,

And the name of the element,

And the name of your language,

And the name of your region.

Avaunt, you bards above,

Avaunt, you bards below!

My beloved is below,

In the fetter of Arianrod.

It is certain you do not know How to understand the song I utter,

Nor clearly how to discriminate Between the truth and what is false.

You puny bards, crows of the district,

Why do you not take to flight?

A bard that will not silence me, may he not obtain silence, Till he goes to be covered Under gravel and pebbles;

Such as shall listen to me,

May God listen to him. ”

Then he sang the piece called The Spite of the Bards:

“Minstrels persevere in their false custom,

Immoral ditties are their delight;

Vain and tasteless praise they recite;

Falsehood at all times do they utter;

They ridicule poor innocent people And married women they destroy.

Innocent virgins of Mary they corrupt As they pass their lives away in vanity;

At night they get drunk, and they sleep all day long In idleness, without work.

They hate the Church, and they frequent the tavern;

They associate with thieves and perjuredfellows;

At courts they inquire after feasts.

They bring forward every senseless word;

They praise every deadly sin;

They lead every vile course of life;

They stroll through every village, town, and country Thinking nothing concerning the pain of death.

They give neither lodging nor charity,

They do not use psalms or prayers,

They do not pay tithes or offerings to God,

Nor worship on feast-days or Sundays;

They do not heed vigils or festivals.

The birds fly, and the fish swim,

Bees collect honey, and worms crawl;

Every living thing works to get food,

Except minstrels and lazy useless thieves.

I do not scorn songs, I do not scorn minstrels,

For they are given by God to lighten thought;

Only those who abuse them,

For blaspheming Jesus and his service. ”

Taliesin had set his master free from prison and protected the innocence of his wife. He had silenced the bards —not one of them now dared say a word. Now he brought Elphin’s wife before them and showed that she had not one little finger missing. Elphin rejoiced, and so did Taliesin.

Then Taliesin asked Elphin to wager the king that he had a better and swifter horse than any of the king’s horses. This Elphin did. The day, the time, and the place were fixed, and the place was that which today is called Morfa Rhiannedd. The king

Went there with all his people, and four-and-twenty of the fastest horses he possessed. The course was marked out and the horses placed for running.

Then Taliesin came with four-and-twenty twigs of holly, which he had burned black, and he told the youth who was to ride his master’s horse to place them in his belt and gave him orders to let all the king’s horses go before him and then to overtake one horse after the other, and as he did so to take a twig and strike the horse with it over the crupper, and then let the twig fall; and after that to take another twig, and do the same thing to every one of the horses as he overtook them. He also told the horseman to watch out for when his own horse stumbled and to throw down his cap on the spot.

All these things the youth did and his horse won the race.

Afterward Taliesin brought Elphin to the spot where his horse had stumbled. He asked him to get workmen to dig there, and when they had dug a deep hole, they found a large cauldron lull of gold.

Then Taliesin said, “Elphin, here is the payment and reward for you for rescuing me from the weir and for bringing me up from that time until now.”

On that spot today stands a pool of water, which is called Pwllbair.

After all this King Maelgwn ordered Taliesin to be brought before him and he asked him to recite the creation of man from the beginning. In response, Taliesin composed the poem which is now called One of the Four Pillars of Song:

“The Almighty made,

Down the Hebron vale,

With his sculpting hands,

The fair form of Adam:

And 500 years,

Devoid of any help,

He remained there and lay there Without a soul.

Again he created,

In the tranquillity of Paradise,

From a left-side rib,

Bliss-throbbing Eve.

For seven hours they were Content in that orchard,

Till Satan brought strife,

With cunning from hell.

From there they were they driven, Cold and shivering,

To gain their living,

Into this world.

To bring forth with pain Their sons and daughters,

To have possession Of the land of Asia.

Twice five, ten and eight,

She was self-bearing,

The mixed burden Of man-woman.

And once, not hidden,

She brought forth Abel,

And Cain the forlorn,

The homicide.

To him and his mate Was given a spade,

To break up the soil,

Thus to get bread.

The wheat pure and white, Summer tilth to sow,

To feed everyone,

Till the great yuletide feast.

An angelic hand From the high Father,

Brought seedfor growing That Eve might sow;

But she then hid a tenth of the gift, And did not sow all Of what was dug.

For this thievish act,

It is necessary now

For every man to pay A tithe unto God.

Of the ruddy wine, Planted on sunny days, And on new-moon nights; And of the white wine too. The wheat rich in grain And red flowing wine Christ’s pure body make, Son of Alpha.

The wafer is flesh,

The wine is spilt blood, The Trinity’s words Sanctify them. ”



 

 

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