Anonymous Olde English Poems >>
The Menologium. (Preface To The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles)

CHRIST WAS BORN,    KING OF GLORY
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.