Poems » amy levy » ubi sunt qui ante nos fuerunt


Were beth they biforen us weren,
Hound{.e}s ladden and havek{.e}s beren,
    And hadden feld and wod{.e}?
        The rich{.e} levedies in hoer{.e} bour,
        That wereden gold in hoer{.e} tressour,
    With hoer{.e} brightt{.e} rod{.e};

Eten and drounken, and maden hem glad;
Hoere lif was al with gamen i-lad,
    Men kneleden hem biforen;
        They beren hem wel swith{.e} hey{.e};
        And in a twincling of an ey{.e}
    Hoere soul{.e}s weren forloren.

Were is that lawhing and that song,
That trayling and that proud{.e} gong,
    Tho havek{.e}s and tho hound{.e}s?
        Al that joye is went away,
        That wele is comen to weylaway,
    To manie hard{.e} stound{.e}s.

Hoere paradis they nomen her{.e},
And nou they lien in helle i-fer{.e};
    The fuir hit brenn{.e}s hever{.e}:
        Long is ay, and long is o,
        Long is wy, and long is wo;
    Thenn{.e}s ne cometh they never{.e}.

Dreghy here man, thenn{.e}, if thou wilt,
A luitel pine that me the bit;
    Withdrau thine eys{.e}s ofte;
        They thi pine be oun-rede,
        And thou thenk{.e} on thi mede,
    Hit sal the thinken softe.

If that fend, that foul{.e} thing,
Thorou wikk{.e} roun, thorou fals egging,
    There ne there the haveth I-cast,
        Oup, and be god chaunpioun!
        Stond, ne fal namore adoun
    For a luytel blast!

Thou take the rode to thi staf,
And thenk on him that thereoune yaf
    His lif that wes so lef:
        He hit yaf for the; thou yelde hit him;
        Agein his fo, that staf thou nim,
    And wrek him of that thef!

Of rightte bileve thou nim that sheld,
The wil{.e}s that thou best in that feld,
    Thin hond to strenkthen fonde,
        And kep thy fo with stav{.e}s ord,
        And do that traytre scien that word;
    Biget that murie londe.

There-inne is day with-outen night,
With-outen end{.e}, strenkthe and might,
    And wreche of everich fo;
        Mid god him-selwen ech{.e} lif,
        And pes and rest without{.e} strif,
    Wel{.e} with-outen wo.

Mayden moder, heven{.e} quene,
Thou might and const, and owest to bene
    Oure sheld agein the fende:
        Help ous sunn{.e} for to flen,
        That we moten thi sone I-seen,
    In joy{.e} with-outen hende. Amen!