The Lyrics of Richard Rolle, Hermit of Hampole



Gastly Gladnesse

A Song of Mercy

Thy Joy be in the Love of Jesus

Song of Love-longing to Jesus

Meditacio de passione Christi

A Song of the Love of Jesus

Cantus amoris 1

A Salutation to Jesus

from The Form of Living

The Nature of Love

Cantus amoris 2

notes on the text


How to read Rolle’s lyric poetry

When you read Middle English poetry, it is almost imperative that you do so out loud. This will help you to make intellectual sense of the strange-looking words; what looks strange to the eye might be more familiar to the ear. In fact, one of the chief delights of reading 700-year-old English is the aha! of understanding that comes with this ongoing revelation: Middle English is a foreign language that you already know. If you have no formal training in Middle English phonology, that’s all right. It is believed that medieval English vowel sounds were more or less the same as those in modern European languages; Rolle wrote these lyrics before (or in the earliest stages of) the “Great Vowel Shift,” after all. So give vowels the sounds they have in Spanish, say, or especially German: “a” is always pronounced “ah” as in “father,” “e” is always pronounced “ay” as in “break,” except when it occurs at the end of a word, in which case it is pronounced (like the unaccented schwa “uh” sound as in the German bitte); “i” and “y” are always pronounced “ee” as in “fiend”; “o” is always pronounced “oh” as in “poem” or, for that matter, “Rolle” (which is, thus, “Roh-luh”); “u” is always pronounced “oo” as in “fruit”; “ai” or “ay” are diphthongs pronounced “eye.” Medieval consonants have more or less their modern values, with a few exceptions: “gh” (whether spelled thus by Rolle, or as he sometimes does with the archaic yogh) is the guttural sound of the German or Scottish “ch,” a sound no longer used by most English speakers. Rolle mainly used the archaic thorn to render the voiced “th” (as in “this” or “that”), as distinct from the unvoiced “th” of “think” or “thorn”; modern writers of English don’t seem much impoverished by the lost distinction, and neither will readers of transliterated medieval texts. There are no silent consonants, so pronounce the “k” and the “gh” in “knight”: “kuh-neeght.

   Yes, read the lyrics aloud. You will find yourself producing a soft, beautiful sound with an almost Scandinavian lilt to it. Consider, for example, this line from Rolle’s “Exhortation”: “And gherne to gang in [th]e gate [th]at es withowten ille” (which could be modernized: “And yearn to go into the gate that is without evil”). Concentrate on giving the vowels their medieval values: “Ahnd ghern-uh toh gahng een thuh gah-tuh thaht ays weethoh-ten ee-luh.” Don’t exaggerate the vowels too much, of course; unaccented vowels are softened (made more schwa-like) as they are in modern French or German (or English). The pattern of accents is of critical importance to any line of Rolle’s poetry. Generally, the accents fall two to a phrase, four to a line (as was traditional in Old and Middle English poetry), and should be quite regular, to produce a lulling, almost hypnotic rhythm. You have to get the rhythm to get the sound. Think of each phrase as a building block of sound, precisely regular in its dimensions. Think of each line as a rosary bead: a perfect little sphere of rhythmic prayer, self-contained and complete.

   A second and much more compelling reason to read Rolle’s lyrics aloud is that Rolle was attempting to recreate aurally what was to him a mystically aural experience — he heard this music as it came to him in the silence of prayer. To engage Rolle’s lyrics solely with the mind through silent reading is to miss entirely the experience that he has prepared for you. He understood something — viscerally, passionately, spiritually — that all real poets come to understand: poetry is an event, and this event occurs in the confluence of sound and sense.

   It is essentially a spiritual event, because it brings into harmony two realms of experience that, empirically, have no discernible connection. Sound represents the world of hard matter, the world of physical laws and air and energy waves and the human body. Sense represents the world of abstractions, ideas, logic. These two worlds are utterly discontinuous with one another: no science can ever measure, quantify, or even detect a thought. To be sure, the worlds of matter and of ideas are in many ways analogous, and in the sloppiness of our thinking (or is it innate poetry?) we often use the same terminology for both. An idea is said to “spread like wildfire”; we’re told to “listen to what the body is telling us.”

   It’s fine to use language as a bridge between these two distinct aspects of our human experience . . . but Richard Rolle isn’t just playing the parlor game of finding metaphorical connections between sense and substance. He’s not trying to describe a spiritual event, but to invoke it — in himself, in me, in you. His medium is music — patterned sound — and the very particular kind of music created with rhythmic language. If you encounter Rolle’s lyrics silently, intellectually, you are sure to find them very dull going indeed; they are mainly just endless variations on a very few themes: the joy of divine love, the sorrow of earthly suffering, the yearning of the soul to unite with God. Rolle, however, is not interested in making an intellectually appealing presentation of theological ideas. Indeed, he is not trying to engage the mind at all, but to disengage it, and thereby release the whole self from the imperious and self-thwarting claims of the mind. You are not your mind; you are your mind and your body and your sensations, all in their various patterns. The deepest patterns uniting these aspects of the self can be called the soul; the desire to make these patterns more fully harmonious can be called the spirit. Similarly, we can call “prayer” the deliberate attempt to bring the full self into harmony . . . and paradoxically, as this attempt “succeeds,” it sheds any intellectual sense of “attempt” or “success,” thus loosening the mind’s grip and creating the fertile soil in which contemplation (in the medieval, mystical sense) can take root.

   Rolle’s lyrics, then, provide very little grist for the mind’s mill; and this is in perfect keeping with the more or less legendary account of his leaving Oxford in disgust with its intellectualism, its scholastic nitpicking, its attempts to convey heavenly truths through mind games. In short, the lyrics are boring — in the sense that they don’t much engage the analytical mind. But in exactly this way a recipe, as a literary artifact, is boring too, and religious critics who find Rolle’s lyrics shallow or repetitious are like food critics who leaf through a cookbook and pronounce the food “unimaginative” because nearly every dish lists salt amongst the ingredients. They’re just thinking, not cooking or tasting, and certainly they’re not getting themselves nourished. They’re missing the point. Rolle’s lyrics are not recipes for ideas; they are recipes for sounds that will lull the mind, soothe the ear, and — God willing — bring the entire mind/body/spirit/soul self into greater harmony with itself and with God. When this occurs to a superlative degree it is called “rapture,” and this, not literary or intellectual “success,” is Rolle’s goal. To harmonize physical sensations of sight and sound is to encounter beauty; to harmonize sight and sound and thought and emotion is to encounter the divine, and this is the essence of Rolle’s (or anyone’s) mysticism.

   So make the sound — read these lyrics aloud, sing the patterns of rhythmic sound, feel the poet’s emotions without analyzing them, look with new, unjudging eyes on the images of Christ crucified and heaven’s splendor. These lyrics are fabulously beautiful artifacts of the spirit. Don’t just think about them — hear them!


© Michael Fleming

Temecula, California

December, 1998


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notes on the text

[The following note on the text of the lyrics, as well as the lyrics themselves, are gratefully borrowed from H. E. Allen, ed. English Writings of Richard Rolle. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963. MF]

The Cambridge MS. Dd. v. 64, Pt. iii, from which the lyrics and epistles are printed, is a Northern volume, seeming by its rare texts and unique colophons to give evidence of having had recourse to superior sources of information. It was in York in the seventeenth century. The Longleat MS. 29 containing some of the lyrics and other rare pieces is a Southern copy giving all the epistles and some lyrics, along with Gastly Gladnesse and Desyre and Delit, under the general title ’Tractatus Ricardi heremite ad margaretam de kyrkeby Reclusam de vita contemplatiua’ (in the heading), or ’Tractatus Ricardi heremite de hampoll ad margaretam Reclusam de kyrkby de amore dei’ (in the colophon). It would seem most unlikely that the three epistles were all written for the same person, and probably the notes of the Longleat scribe are derived from an autograph volume copied by Rolle from various sources: in the collection ascribed to him an enlarged text is included of the old ecstatic lyric:

Ihesu swet, nowe wil I synge . . . ,

of which the earliest copies certainly antedate his time.

The titles here given to the lyrics are none of them original. Some were given by me, some taken over from Professor Brown’s edition. The Lambeth and Thornton copies of lyrics cited in collation occur without any sign of authorship.

[Note on the Middle English text: all thorns have been rendered as “[th]”; all yoghs have been rendered as “[g]” or “[gh].” MF]


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The Lyrics of Richard Rolle, Hermit of Hampole



[A]ll synnes sal [th]ou hate thorow castyng of skylle,

And gherne to gang in [th]e gate [th]at es withowten ille.

Tumbyl noght fra the state [th]at [th]ou hase tane [th]e tille;

It ledes til [th]e kynges [g]hate, [th]are [th]ou may layke [th]i fille.


Here if [th]ou punysch [th]e, welth sall [th]ow wynne.

Na wonder it es, if [th]ou be in sorow for [th]i synne.

Somme says [th]ai may se, and blynd ar wythinne;

And if [th]ai now be sett fre, dede sall [th]am twynne.


Dede dynges al sa sare, [th]at nane may defende;

And makes many ill to fare, when [th]ai not wende.

I wate nane [th]at he will spare; with all will he lende.

For[th]i of synn make [th]e bare, [th]ou knawes not [th]i ende.


Now may we qwake trembiland, for drede to law ly.

[Th]e beme blawes at owre hand, [th]e dome es fast by.

[Th]e keyng comes with hys hoste, to fell his enmy;

And al [th]e prowde wyth [th]air boste he demes to dy.


Me thynkes it rynges in mi nere: ’Dede ryse, to be demed!’

Bot hym [th]e devel may noght dere, [th]at here hase Criste qwemed.

Al [th]e wikked in [th]at were til hel fire es flemed.

[Th]e keyng hymself schot [th]e spere, for hym it best semed.


[Th]at day owre joy sal begyn, [th]at here suffers pyne;

Owre flesch wytt of mykel wyn and bryght as sonn schyne.

Owre setels heven ar within, me lyst sytt in myne.

Lufe Criste and hate syn, and sa purches [th]e [th]ine.


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A Song of Mercy


Mercy es maste in my mynde, for mercy es [th]at I mast prayse.

Mercy es curtayse and kynde; fra al mischeves he mai me rayse.

Allas, sa lang I have bene blynd, and walked will alwayse.

Mercy walde I fayne fynd, to lede me in my last dayse.

Mercy, lede me at [th]e last, when I owt of [th]is world sal wende;

To [th]e cryand I trayst fast, [th]at kou save me fra [th]e fende.


Mercy es trew as any stele, when it es ryght up soght.

Whasa will mercy fele, seke it, for it fayles noght.

Mercy es syght of al my hele, [th]erfore I have it mast in thoght.

Mercy likes me sa wele, for thorogh mercy was I boght.

I ne wate what I may do or say til mercy, [th]at es ay sa gode.

[Th]ou graunte mercy, [th]at mercy may, [th]at es my solace and my fode.


Mercy walde I fayne honowre, it es sa swete unto my syght.

It lyes in my Creatoure, [th]at made us of his awen myght.

Mercy es al my socoure, til lede me to [th]e land of lyght,

0 And bring me til [th]e rial toure, whare I mai se mi God sa brygh[t].

God of al, Lorde and Keyng, I pray [th]e, Jhesu, be my frende,

Sa [th]at I may [th]i mercy syng in [th]i blys withowten ende.


Mercy es sa hegh a poynt, [th]ar may na syn it suppryse.

To [th]i mercy es my hert joynt, for [th]erin al my likyng lyse.

Lord, lat it noght be aloynt, when [th]ou sal sett [th]i gret assyse.

With [th]i mercy my sawle anoynt, when I sal come to [th]i jugise.

Til [th]e Juge sal I come, bot I wate noght my day.

Mercy es bath al and some [th]arin I trayst and after pray.


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Song of Love-longing to Jesus


[J]hesu, God sonn, Lord of mageste,

Send wil to my hert anly to covayte [th]e.

Reve me lykyng of [th]is land, my lufe [th]at [th]ou may be.

Take my hert intill [th]i hand, sett me in stabylte.


Jhesu, [th]e mayden sonn, [th]at wyth [th]i blode me boght,

Thyrl my sawule wyth [th]i spere, [th]at mykel luf in men hase wroght.

Me langes, lede me to [th]i lyght, and festen in [th]e al my thoght.

In [th]i swetnes fyll my hert, my wa make wane till noght.


Jhesu, my God, Jhesu my keyng, forsake noght my desyre.

My thoght make it to be meke, I hate bath pryde and ire.

[Th]i wil es my [g]hernyng; of lufe [th]ou kyndel [th]e fyre,

[Th]at I in swet lovyng with aungels take my hyre.


Wounde my hert within, and welde it at [th]i wille.

On blysse, [th]at never sal blyn, [th]ou gar me fest me skylle.

[Th]at I [th]i lufe may wyn, of grace my thoght [th]ou fylle,

And make me clene of syn, [th]at I may come [th]e tyll.


Rote it in my hert, [th]e memor of [th]i pyne;

In sekenes and in qwert [th]i lufe be ever myne.

My joy es al of [th]e; my sawle, take it as [th]ine.

My lufe ay waxand be, sa [th]at it never dwyne.


My sang es in syghyng, whil I dwel in [th]is way,

My lyfe es in langyng, [th]at byndes me, nyght and day,

Til I come til my kyng, [th]at I won with hym may,

And se his fayre schynyng, and lyfe [th]at lastes ay.


Langyng es in me lent, for lufe [th]at I ne kan lete.

My lufe, it hase me schent, [th]at ilk a bale may bete.

Sen [th]at my hert was brent in Cryste lufe sa swete,

Al wa fra me es went, and we sal never mete.


I sytt and syng of lufe langyng, [th]at in my hert es bred.

Jhesu, my keyng and my joyng, why ne war I to [th]e led?

Ful wele I wate in al my state, in joy I sulde be fed.

Jhesu, me bryng til [th]i wonyng, for blode [th]at [th]ou hase sched.


Derned he was to hyng, [th]e faire aungels fode.

Ful sare [th]ai gan hym swyng, when [th]at he bunden stode.

His bak was in betyng, and spylt hys blissed blode;

[Th]e thorn corond [th]e keyng, [th]at nayled was on [th]e rode.


Whyte was his naked breste, and rede his blody syde;

Wan was his faire face, his woundes depe and wyde.

[Th]e Jewyis wald not wande to pyne hym in [th]at tyde;

Als streme dose of [th]e strande, his blode gan downe glyde.


Blynded was his faire ene, his flesch blody for bette.

His lufsum lyf was layde ful low, and saryful umbesette.

Dede and lyf began to stryf whe[th]er myght maystre mare,

When aungels brede was dampned to dede, to safe oure sauls sare.


Lyf was slayne, and rase agayne; in fairehede may we fare ;

And dede es broght til litel or noght, and kasten in endles kare.

On hym, [th]at [th]e boght, hafe al [th]i thoght, and lede [th]e in his lare.

Gyf al [th]i hert til Crist [th]i qwert, and lufe hym evermare.


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A Song of the Love of Jesus


Luf es lyf [th]at lastes ay, [th]ar it in Criste es feste

For wele ne wa it chaunge may, als wryten has men wyseste.

[Th]e nyght it tournes intil [th]e day, [th]i travel intyll reste.

If [th]ou wil luf [th]us as I say, [th]ou may be wyth [th]e beste.


Lufe es thoght, wyth grete desyre, of a fayre lovyng.

Lufe I lyken til a fyre, [th]at sloken may na thyng.

Lufe us clenses of oure syn, lufe us bote sall bryng.

Lufe [th]e keynges hert may wyn, lufe of joy may syng.


[Th]e settel of lufe es lyft hee, for intil heven it ranne.

Me thynk in erth it es sle, [th]at makes men pale and wanne.

[Th]e bede of blysse it gase ful nee, I tel [th]e, as I kanne,

[Th]of us thynk [th]e way be dregh; luf copuls God and manne.


Lufe es hatter [th]en [th]e cole, lufe may nane beswyke.

[Th]e flawme of lufe, wha myght it thole, if it war ay ilyke?

Luf us comfortes and mase in qwart, and lyftes tyl heven ryke.

Luf ravysches Cryste intyl owr hert; I wate na lust it lyke.


Lere to luf, if [th]ou wyl lyfe, when [th]ou sall hethen fare.

All [th]i thoght til hym [th]ou gyf, [th]at may [th]e kepe fra kare.

Loke [th]i hert fra hym noght twyn, if [th]ou in wandreth ware;

Sa [th]ou may hym welde and wyn, and luf hym evermare.


Jhesu, [th]at me lyfe hase lent, intil [th]i lufe me bryng.

Take til [th]e al myne entent, [th]at [th]ow be my [g]hernyng.

Wa fra me away war went, and comne war my covaytyng,

If [th]at my sawle had herd and hent [th]e sang of [th]i lovyng.


[Th]i lufe es ay lastand, fra [th]at we may it fele.

[Th]arein make me byrnand, [th]at na thyng gar it kele.

My thoght take into [th]i hand, and stabyl it ylk a dele,

[Th]at I be noght heldand to luf [th]is worldes wele.


If I lufe any erthly thyng [th]at payes to my wyll,

And settes my joy and my lykyng when it may come me tyll,

I mai drede of partyng, [th]at wyll be hate and yll;

For al my welth es bot wepyng, when pyne mi saule sal spyll.


[Th]e joy [th]at men hase sene es lyckend tyl [th]e haye,

[Th]at now es fayre and grene, and now wytes awaye.

Swylk es [th]is worlde, I wene, and bees till domes daye

All in travel and tene; fle [th]at na man it maye.


If [th]ou luf in all [th]i thoght, and hate [th]e fylth of syn,

And gyf hym [th]i sawle, [th]at it boght, [th]at he [th]e dwell within;

Als Crist [th]i sawle hase soght, and [th]erof walde noght blyn,

Sa [th]ou sal to blys be broght, and heven won within.


[Th]e kynd of luf es [th]is, [th]ar it es trayst and trew:

To stand styll in stabylnes, and chaunge it for na new.

[Th]e lyfe [th]at lufe myght fynd, or ever in hert it knew,

Fra kare it tornes [th]at kyend, and lendes in myrth and glew.


For now lufe [th]ow, I rede, Cryste, as I [th]e tell,

And with aungels take [th]i stede; [th]at joy loke [th]ou noght sell.

In erth [th]ow hate, I rede, all [th]at [th]i lufe may fell;

For luf es stalworth as [th]e dede, luf es hard as hell.


Luf es a lyght byrthen, lufe gladdes [gh]ong and alde;

Lufe es withowten pyne, als lofers hase me talde.

Lufe es a gastly wynne, [th]at makes men bygge and balde.

Of lufe sal he na thyng tyne, [th]at hit in hert will halde.


Lufe es [th]e swettest thyng [th]at man in erth hase tane;

Lufe es Goddes derlyng; lufe byndes blode and bane.

In lufe be owre lykyng, I ne wate na better wane.

For me and my lufyng, lufe makes bath be ane.


Bot fleschly lufe sal fare as dose [th]e flowre in May,

And lastand be na mare [th]an ane houre of a day;

And sythen syghe ful sare [th]ar lust, [th]ar pryde, [th]ar play,

When [th]ai er casten in kare til [th]yne [th]at lastes ay.


When [th]air bodys lyse in syn, [th]air sawls mai qwake and drede,

For up sal ryse al men, and answer for [th]air dede.

If [th]ai be fonden in syn, als now [th]air lyfe [th]ai lede,

[Th]ai sal sytt hel within, and myrknes hafe to mede.


Riche men [th]air handes sal wryng; and wicked werkes sal by,

In flawme of fyre, bath knyght and keyng, with sorow schamfully.

If [th]ou wil lufe, [th]an may [th]ou syng til Cryst in melody.

[Th]e lufe of hym overcoms al thyng; [th]arto [th]ou traiste trewly.


Sygh and sob, bath day and nyght, for ane sa fayre of hew.

[Th]ar es na thyng my hert mai light, bot lufe, [th]at es ay new.

Whasa had hym in his syght, or in his hert hym knew,

His mournyng turned til joy ful bryght, his sang intil glew.


In myrth he lyfes, nyght and day, [th]at lufes [th]at swete chylde;

It es Jhesu, forsoth I say, of all mekest and mylde.

Wreth fra hyrn walde at away, [th]of he wer never sa wylde,

He [th]at in hert lufed hym, [th]at day fra evel he wil hym schylde.


Of Jhesu mast lyst me speke, [th]at al my bale may bete.

Me thynk my hert may al to breke, when I thynk on [th]at swete.

In lufe lacyd he hase my thoght, [th]at sal I never forgete.

Ful dere, me thynk, he hase me boght, with blodi hende and fete.


For luf my hert es bowne to brest, when I [th]at faire behalde.

Lufe es fair, [th]are it es fest, [th]at never will be calde.

Lufe us reves [th]e nyght rest, in grace it makes us balde.

Of al warkes luf es [th]e best, als haly men me talde.


Na wonder gyf I syghand be and sithen in sorow be sette.

Jhesu was nayled apon [th]e tre, and al blody for bette.

To thynk on hym es grete pyte, how tenderly he grette.

[Th]is hase he sufferde, man, for [th]e, if [th]at [th]ou syn wyll lette.


[Th]ar es na tonge in erth may tell of lufe [th]e swetnesse.

[Th]at stedfastly in lufe kan dwell, his joy es endlesse.

God schylde [th]at he sulde til hell, [th]at lufes and langand es,

Or ever his enmys sulde hym qwell, or make his luf be lesse.


Jhesu es lufe [th]at tastes ay, til hym es owre langyng.

Jhesu [th]e nyght turnes to [th]e day, [th]e dawyng intil spryng.

Jhesu, thynk on us now and ay, for [th]e we halde oure keyng.

Jhesu, gyf us grace, as [th]ou wel may, to luf [th]e withowten endyng.


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A Salutation to Jesus


Heyle Jhesu my creatowre, of sorowyng medi cyne!

Heyle Jhesu, mi saveowre, [th]at for me sufferd pyne!

Heyle Jhesu, helpe and sokowre, my lufe be ay [th]ine!

Heyle Jhesu, [th]e blyssed flowre of [th]i moder virgyne!


Heyle Jhesu, leder to lyght! In saule [th]ou ert ful swete.

[Th]i luf schynes day and nyght, [th]at strenghes me in [th]is strete.

Lene me langyng to [th]i sight, and gif me grace til grete;

For [th]ou, Jhesu, hase [th]at myght, [th]at al my bale may bete.


Jhesu, [th]i grace my hert enspyre, [th]at me til blis mai bryng!

On [th]e I sette at my desyre, [th]ou ert my luf langyng.

[Th]i luf es byrnand als [th]e fyre, [th]at ever on he wil spryng.

Far fro me put pride and ire, for [th]am I luf na thyng.


Heile Jhesu, price of my prayer, Lorde of mageste!

[Th]ou art joy [th]at tastes ay, all delyte [th]ou art to se.

Gyf me grace, als [th]ou wel may, [th]i lufer for to be.

My langyng wendes never away, til [th]at I come til [th]e.


Jhesu, to lufe ay be me lefe, [th]at es my gastly gode.

Allas, my God es, als a thefe, nayled til [th]e rode.

Hys tender vayns begyns to brest, al rennes of blode.

Handes and fete with nayles er fest ; [th]at chawnges mi mode.


Jhesu, mi keyng, es me ful dere, [th]at with his blode me boght.

Of spittyng spred es al [th]at clere, to dede with betyng broght.

For me he tholed [th]ies payns sere, [th]e whilk wreche he wroght.

For[th]i [th]ai sitt my hert ful nere, [th]at I forgete [th]am noght.


Jhesu, fortune of ilk a fyght, [th]ou graunt me grace to spede,

[Th]at I may lufe [th]e ryght, and have [th]e to my mede.

[Th]i luf es fast in ilk a fandyng, and ever at al owre nede.

Als thurgh [th]i grace art my [g]hernyng, intil [th]i lyght me lede.


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The Nature of Love


[A]ll vanitese forsake, if [th]ou his lufe will fele.

[Th]i hert til hym [th]ou take, he kan it kepe sa wele.

[Th]e myrth na man may make, of God es ilk a dele.

[Th]i thoght lat it noght qwake, [th]i lufe lat it not kele.


Of synne [th]e bitternes, [th]ou fle ay fast [th]erfra.

[Th]is worldes wikkednes, let it noght with [th]e ga.

[Th]is erthly bisynes, [th]at wirkes men sa wa,

[Th]i lufe it wyll make lesse, if [th]ou it with [th]e ta.


All we lufe sum thyng, [th]at knawyng hase of skyll,

And haves [th]erin likyng, when it mai come us tyll.

For[th]i do Crystes biddyng, and lufe hym, as he wyll,

And with lufe [th]at hase na endyng [th]i hert he wil fulfyll.


[Th]ai [th]at lufes fleschly er lickend til [th]e swyne.

In fylth [th]ai lat [th]aim ly, [th]aire fairehed wil [th]ai tyne.

[Th]air luf partes porely, and putted es to pyne.

Swetter es luf gastly, [th]at nevermare wil dwyne.


If [th]ou luf, whils [th]at [th]ou may, [th]e keyng of majeste,

[Th]i wa wendes away, [th]i hele hyes to [th]e,

[Th]e nyght turnes intil day, [th]i joy sall ever be.

When [th]ou ert as I [th]e say, I pray [th]e thynk on me.


Owre hedes sal we sett togydyr, in heven to dwell;

For [th]are [th]e gode ar mett, [th]at Cryste haldes fra hell.

When we owre synnes have grett, [th]en tythans may we tell

[Th]at we fra fer haves fett [th]e lufe [th]at nane may fell.


[Th]e world, cast it behynd, and say: ’Jhesu, my swete,

Fast in [th]i lufe me bynd, and gyf me grace to grete,

To lufe [th]e over al thyng; for ay to lufe I hete,

[Th]at I [th]i lufe may fynd, [th]at wele my bale may bete.


Wyth Me wounde me within, and til [th]i lyght me lede.

[Th]ou make me clene of synne, [th]at I [th]e ded noght drede.

Als [th]ou to save mankyn sufferd [th]i sydes blede,

Gyf me wytt to wyn [th]e syght of [th]e to mede.’


His luf es trayst and trew, whasa hym lufand ware.

Sen fyrst [th]at I it knew, hit keped me fra kare.

I fand it ever new to lere me Goddes lare;

And now thar me not rew [th]at I have sufferd sare.


In lufe [th]i hert [th]ou hye, and fande to fell [th]e fende.

[Th]i dayes sal be undregh, [th]at [th]e na sorow schende.

When [th]e dede neghes negh, and [th]ou sall hethen wende

[Th]ou sal hym se wyth hegh, and come til Cryste [th]i frende.


Aforce [th]e for to fest in Cryst [th]i covaytyng,

And chese hym for [th]e best, he es [th]i weddyd keyng.

For joy [th]i hert burd brest, to have swylk a swetyng.

Of al I hald it werst to luf another thyng.


His lufe es lyf of all [th]at wele lyvand may be.

[Th]ou sted hym in [th]i stal, lat hym noght fra [th]e fle.

Ful sone he wil [th]e call ([th]i setell es made for [th]e),

And have [th]e in his hall, ever his face to se.


[Th]is mede for [th]e I say, [th]at [th]ou kyndel [th]i thoght,

And make [th]e lufe verray in hym, [th]at [th]e hase wroght.

For al [th]at lufe hym may and [th]ai [th]arof will noght —

Tyl pyne turnes [th]ar play, [th]amself hase it soght.


Syn [th]at es sa sowre, gyf it in [th]e na gyrth.

Of lufe take [th]e flowre, [th]at [th]ou may layke [th]e wyth;

Swetter es [th]at savowre [th]an any felde or freth.

Sett hym in [th]i sokowre, [th]at lennes [th]e lym and lyth.


Take Jhesu in [th]i thynkyng, his lufe he will [th]e send.

[Th]i lufe and [th]i lykyng, in hym [th]ou lat it lend.

And use [th]e in praiyng, [th]arin [th]ou may be mend,

Swa [th]at [th]ow hafe [th]i keyng in joy withowten endyng.


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Gastly Gladnesse: A Prose Lyric

Gastly Gladnesse in Jhesu, and joy in hert, with swetnes in sawle of [th]e savor of heven in hope, es helth intil hele; and my lyfe lendes in luf, and lyghtsumnes unlappes my thoght. I drede noght, [th]at me may wyrk wa, sa mykel I wate of wele. It war na wonder if dede war dere, [th]at I myght se hym [th]at I seke. Bot now it es lenthed fra me, and me behoves lyf here, til he wil me lese. Lyst and lere of [th]is lare, and [th]e sal noght myslike. Lufe makes me to melle, and joy gars me jangell. Loke [th]ow lede [th]i lyf in lyghtsumnes; and hevynes, helde it away. Sarynes, lat it noght sytt wyth [th]e; bot in gladnes of God evermare make [th]ow [th]i gle. Amen. Expliciunt cantica divini amoris secundum Ricardum Hampole. Item secundum eundem Ricardum:


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Thy Joy be in the Love of Jesus


Thy joy be ilk a dele to serve [th]i God to pay;

For al [th]is worldes wele, [th]ou sees, wytes away.

[Th]ou fande his lufe to fele, [th]at last with [th]e will ay;

And [th]i kare sal kele, [th]i pyne turne [th]e to play.


In Cryst [th]ou cast [th]i thoght, [th]ou hate all wreth and pryde,

And thynk how he [th]e boght with woundes depe and wyde.

When [th]ou hymself hase soght, wele [th]e sal betyde.

Of ryches rek [th]e noght, fra hell bot he [th]e hyde.


Do als I [th]e rede, lyftand up [th]i hert,

And say til hym was dede: ’Cryste, myne hele [th]ou ert.’

Syn synkes as lede, and fer downe fals fra qwert.

[Th]arfore stabyl [th]i stede, [th]ar smytyng may noght smert.


In Cryste knyt [th]i solace, hys lufe chawnge [th]i chere;

With joy [th]ou take his trace, and seke to sytt hym nere.

Ever sekand his face, [th]ou make [th]i sawle clere.

He ordans hegh [th]i place, yf [th]ou his lufe will lere.


[Th]ou kepe his byddyngs ten; hald [th]e fra dedely synne;

Forsake [th]e joy of men, [th]at [th]ou his lufe may wynne.

[Th]i hert of hym sal bren with lufe [th]at never sal twynne.

Langyng he wil [th]e Ien heven to won withinne.


[Th]ou thynk on hys mekenes, how pore he was borne.

Behald, his blody flesch es prikked wit thorne.

[Th]i lufe, lat it noght lesse. He saved [th]at was forlorne.

To serve hym in swetnes all have we sworne.


If [th]ou be in fandyng, of lufe [th]ou hase grete nede

To stedde in stallyng, and gyf [th]e grace to spede.

[Th]ow dwell ay with [th]i kyng, in hys lufe [th]e fede;

For lityll have I connyng to tel of his fairhede.


Bot luf hym at [th]i myght, whils [th]ou ert lyvand here;

And loke unto [th]i syght, [th]at nane be [th]e so dere.

Say to hym, bath day and nyght: ’When mai I negh [th]e nere?

Bryng me to [th]i lyght, [th]i melodi to here.’


In [th]at lyfe [th]e stedde, [th]at [th]ou be ay lyvand;

And gyf hym lufe to wedde, [th]at [th]ou with hym wil stand.

Joy in [th]i brest es bredde, when [th]ou ert hym lufand.

[Th]i sawle [th]an hase he fedde, in swete lufe brennand.


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[M]edita[cio] de pas[si]one Christi


My keyng, [th]at water grette and blode swette;

Sythen ful sare bette, so [th]at hys blode hym wette,

When [th]air scowrges mette.

Ful fast [th]ai gan hym dyng and at [th]e pyler swyng,

And his fayre face defowlyng with spittyng.


[Th]e thorne crownes [th]e keyng; ful sare es [th]at prickyng.

Alas! my joy and my swetyng es derned to hyng,

Nayled was his handes, nayled was hys fete,

And thyrled was hys syde, so semely and so swete.


Naked es his whit breste, and rede es his blody syde;

Wan was his fayre hew, his wowndes depe and wyde.

In fyve stedes of his flesch [th]e blode gan downe glyde

Als stremes of [th]e strande; hys pyne es noght to hyde.


[Th]is to see es grete pyte, how he es demed to [th]e dede

And nayled on [th]e rode tre, [th]e bryght aungels brede.

Dryven he was to dole, [th]at es owre gastly gude,

And alsso in [th]e blys of heven es al [th]e aungels fude.


A wonder it es to se, wha sa understude,

How God of mageste was dyand on [th]e rude.

Bot suth [th]an es it sayde [th]at lufe ledes [th]e ryng;

[Th]at hym sa law hase layde bot lufe it was na thyng.


Jhesu, receyve my hert, and to [th]i lufe me bryng;

Al my desyre [th]ou ert, I covete [th]i comyng.

[Th]ow make me clene of synne, and lat us never twyn.

Kyndel me fire within, [th]at I [th]i lufe may wyn,

And se [th]i face, Jhesu, in joy [th]at never sal blyn.


Jhesu, my saule [th]ou mend; [th]i lufe into me send,

[Th]at I may with [th]e lend in joy withowten end.

In lufe [th]ow wownde my thoght, and lyft my hert to [th]e.

My sawle [th]ou dere hase boglit; [th]i lufer make it to be.


[Th]e I covete, [th]is worlde noght, and for it I fle.

[Th]ou ert [th]at I have soght, [th]i face when may I see?

[Th]ow make my sawle clere, for lufe chawnges my chere.

How lang sal I be here?


[When mai I negh [th]e nere, [th]i melody to here,]

Oft to here sang,

[Th]at es lastand so lang?

[Th]ou be my lufyng,

[Th]at I lufe may syng.


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Can[tus] am[oris] 1


My sange es in syhtyng, my lyfe es in langynge,

Til I [th]e se, my keyng, so fayre in [th]i schynyng,

So fayre in [th]i fayrehede.

Intil [th]i lyght me lede, and in [th]i lufe me fede,

In lufe make me to spede, [th]at [th]ou be ever my mede.


When wil [th]ou come, Jhesu my joy,

And cover me of kare,

And gyf me [th]e, [th]at I may se,

Lifand evermare?

Al my coveytyng war commen, if I myght til [th]e fare.

I wil na thyng bot anely [th]e, [th]at all my will ware.


Jhesu my savyoure, Jhesu my comfortoure,

Of al my fayrnes flowre, my helpe and my sokoure,

When may I se [th]i towre?

When wil [th]ou me kall? me langes to [th]i hall,

To se [th]e [th]an al; [th]i luf, lat it not fal.

My hert payntes [th]e pall [th]at steds us in stal.


Now wax I pale and wan for luf of my lemman.

Jhesu, bath God and man, [th]i luf [th]ou lerd me [th]an

When I to [th]e fast ran; for[th]i now I lufe kan.


I sytt and syng of luf langyng [th]at in my breste es bredde.

Jhesu, Jhesu, Jhesu, when war I to [th]e ledde?

Full wele I wate, [th]ou sees my state; in lufe my thoght es stedde.

When I [th]e se, and dwels with [th]e, [th]an am I fylde and fedde.


Jhesu, [th]i lufe es fest, and me to lufe thynk best.

My hert, when may it brest to come to [th]e, my rest ?

Jhesu, Jhesu, Jhesu, til [th]e it es [th]at I morne

For my lyfe and my lyvyng. When may I hethen torne?


Jhesu, my dere and my drewry, delyte ert [th]ou, to syng.

Jhesu, my myrth and melody, when will [th]ow com, my keyng?

Jhesu, my hele and my hony, my whart and my com fortyng,

Jhesu, I covayte for to dy when it es [th]i payng.


Langyng es in me lent [th]at my lufe hase me sent.

Al wa es fra me went, sen [th]at my bert es brent

In Criste lufe sa swete [th]at never I wil lete,

Bot ever to luf I hete; for lufe my bale may bete,

And til hys blis me bryng, and gyf me my [gh]ernyng,

Jhesu, my lufe, my swetyng.


Langyng es in me lyght, [th]at byndes me, day and nyght,

Til I it hafe in syght, his face sa fayre and bryght.

Jhesu, my hope, my hele, my joy ever ilk a dele,

[Th]i luf lat it noght kele, [th]at I [th]i luf may fele

And won with [th]e in wele.


Jhesu, with [th]e I byg and belde; lever me war to dy

[Th]an al [th]is worlde to welde and hafe it in maystry.

When wil [th]ou rew on me, Jhesu, [th]at I myght with [th]e be,

To lufe and lok on [th]e?

My setell ordayne for me, and sett [th]ou me [th]arin;

For [th]en moun we never twyn.

And I [th]i lufe sal syng thorow syght of [th]i schynyng

In heven withowten endyng.


Explicit tractatus Ricardi heremite de Hampole, scriptus cuidam moniali de [Gh]edyngham.


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from The Form of Living


Loved be [th]ou, keyng,

and thanked be [th]ou, keyng,

and blyssed be [th]ou, keyng,

Jhesu, all my joyng,

of all [th]i giftes gude,

[th]at for me spylt [th]i blude

and died on [th]e rode;

[th]ou gyf me grace to syng

[th]e sang of [th]i lovyng.


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cantus a[moris] 2


When will [th]ow com to comforth me, and bryng me owt of care,

And gyf me [th]e, [th]at I may se, havand evermare?

[Th]i lufe es ay swettest of al [th]at ever war.

My hert, when sal it brest for lufe? [Th]an languyst I na mare.

For lufe my thoght has fest, and I am fayne to fare.

I stand in still mowrnyng. Of all lufelyst of lare

Es lufe langyng, it drawes me til my day,

[Th]e band of swete byrnyng, for it haldes me ay

Fra place and fra plaiyng til [th]at I get may

[Th]e syght of my swetyng, [th]at wendes never away.

In welth bees oure wakyng wythowten noy or nyght.

My lufe es in lastyng, and langes to [th]at syght.


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