Sunday, December 24, 2006















R
orate caeli desuper !
Heavens distil your balmy shouris,
For now is risen the bricht day ster,
Fro the rose Mary, flour of flouris;
The clear Son, whom no cloud devouris;
Surmounting Phoebus in the east,
Is comen of his heavenly touris;
Et nobis Puer natus est.

Archangellis, angellis, and dompnationis;
Tronis, potestatis, and martyris seir,
And all ye heavenly operationis,
Star, planet, firmament, and sphere,
Fire, erd, air, and water clear,
To him give loving, most and least,
That come in-to so meek manner;
Et nobis Puer natus est.

Sinneris be glaid, and penance do,
And thank your Maker hairtfully;
For he that ye micht nocht come to,
To you is comen full humyly,
Your saulis with his blude to buy,
And loose you of the Fiendis arrest,
And only of his awn mercy;
Pro nobis Puer natus est.

All clergy do to him incline,
And bow unto that bairn bening,
And do your observance divine
To him that is of kingis King;
Ensence his altar, read, and sing
In haly kirk, with mind degest,
Him honouring attour all thing,
Qui nobis Puer natus est.

Celestial fowlis in the air,
Sing with your notis upon hicht;
In firthis and in forestis fair
Be mirthful now, at all your micht,
For passit is your dully nicht;
Aurora has the cloudis pierc'd,
The sun is risen with glaidsome licht,
Et nobis Puer natus est.

Now spring up flouris fra the root,
Revert you upward naturally,
In honour of the blissit fruit
That raise up fro the rose Mary;
Lay out your leaves lustily,
Fro deid tak life now at the lest
In worship of that Prince worthy,
Qui nobis Puer natus est.

Sing heaven imperial, most of hicht,
Regions of air mak harmony;
All fish in flood and fowl of flicht,
Be mirthful and mak melody:
All GLORIA IN EXCELSIS Cry,
Heaven, erd, sea, man, bird, and beast,
He that is crownit abune the sky
Pro nobis Puer natus est.

William Dunbar OFM (1460-1530)

Wishing a very happy and holy Christmas to all visitors and friends of the Undercroft. Apologies for the light posting schedule of late; I expect things to pick up in the New Year.

In Christo Domino

Ben Donald

6 comments:

The young fogey said...

Happy Christmas from ACBforP!

Fr. Greg said...

May you and all your readers have a most blessed celebration of the Nativity of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ.

The Ochlophobist said...

Christ is born!
Blessed Nativity to you Ben, and I hope that next year brings many good things. We continue to remember you in our prays.

Pastor in Valle said...

Wonderful to find another fan of Dunbar. I never knew he was a Franciscan; fancy!
Happy Christmas!

Moretben said...

Happy Christmas, Father!

Yes, "The Auld Grey Hors" was ane freir; frequently, later in life, petitioning King James IV for ane pension too, which might strike us as a little unfriarly - but for the evidence of his pastor's heart. I think this is wonderful:

The Maner of Passing to Confessioun

O SYNFULL MAN, thir ar the fourty dayis
That every man sulde wilfull pennence dre;
Oure Lorde Jhesu, as haly writ sayis,
Fastit him self oure esampill to be;
Sen sic ane michty king and lorde as he
To fast and pray was so obedient,
We synfull folk sulde be more deligent.

I reid thee, man, of thi transgressioun,
With all thi hert that thow be penitent;
Thow schrive the clene and mak confessioun,
And se thairto that thow be deligent,
With all thi synnes into thi mynde present,
That every syn be the selfe be schawin,
To thyne confessioun it ma be kend and knawin.

Apon thi body gif thow hes ane wounde
That causis the gret panis for to feill,
Thair is no leiche ma mak the haill and sounde,
Quhill it be sene and clengit every deill;
Rycht sua thi schrift, bot it be schawin weill,
Thow art nocht abill remissioun for to get
Wittandlie, and thow ane syn foryhet.

Off tuenty woundis and ane be left unhelit
Quhat avalis the leiching of the laif?
Rycht sua thi schrift, and thair be oucht concelit,
It avalis nocht thi sely saule to saif;
Nor yit of God remissioun for to haif:
Of syn gif thow wald have deliverance,
Thow sulde it tell with all the circumstance.

Sa that thi confessour be wys and discreit,
Than can the discharge of every doute and weir,
And power hes of thy synnes compleit :
Gif thow can nocht schaw furth thi synnes perqueir,
And he be blinde, and can nocht at the speir,
Thow ma rycht weill in thi mynde consydder
That ane blynde man is led furth be ane uther.

And sa I halde that ye ar baith begylde;
He can nocht speir, nor thow can nocht him tell,
Quhen, nor how, thi conscience thow hes fylde;
Thairfor, I reid, that thow excuse thi sell,
And rype thi mynde how every thing befell,
The tyme, the place, and how, and in quhat wyis,
So that thi confessioun ma thi synnes pryce.

Avys the weill, or thou cum to the preist,
Of all thi synnes and namelie of the maist,
That thai be reddy prentit in thi breist;
Thow sulde nocht cum to schryfe the in haist,
And syne sit doun abasit as ane beist:
With humyll [hart] and sad contrytioun,
Thow suld cum to thine confessioun.

With thine awin mouth thi synnes thow suld tell:
Bot sit and heir the preist hes nocht ado,
Quha kennes thi synnes better na thi sell?
Thairfor, I reid the, tak gude tent thairto;
Thow knawis best quhair bindis the thi scho:
Thairfor, be wys afor or thow thair cum,
That thow schaw furth thi synnes all and sum.

Quhair seldin compt is tane, and hes a hevy charge,
And syne is rekles in his governance,
And on his conscience he takis all to large,
And on the end hes no rememberance,
That man is abill to fall ane gret mischance:
The synfull man that all the yeir our settis,
Fra Pasche to Pasche, rycht mony a thing foryhettis.

I reid thee, man, quhill thow art stark and young,
With pith and strenth into thi yeris grene,
Quhill thow art abill baith in mynde and toung,
Repent thee, man, and kepe thi conscience clene;
Till byde till age is mony perrell sene:
Small merit is of synnes for to irke
Quhen thow art ald and ma na wrangis wyrke.

Anonymous said...

Where have you gone?! You are one of my favorite bloggers.