Ballade Made for his Mother that She mighte Praye toe our Ladye
Wilfrid Thorley, Fleurs de Lys: A Book of French Poetry Freely Translated into English Verse (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1920) 52-53. Internet Archive.
1Ladye of heaven that o'er earth hath swaye
2 And of Hell's marshes art most Royal Reeve,
3Grant toe thy humble Christian that doth praye.
4 To be of those thy virtue doth retrieve.
5 Though all unworthye of thy great reprieve,
6Ladye and mistresse whom I worship well,
7Yet can thy virtues save my soul from Hell
8 Despite my sinfulnesse, and purge the offence
9Soe that I win to heaven. Truth I tell:
10 And in this faith I live and will goe hence.
11Tell toe thy Sonne that I am his; my shame
12 I bear untoe him to be purged of sinne.
13Forgive me even as the Egyptian dame
14 Or as the clerk Theophilus who did win
15 Thy pardon and a new life did begin,
16Though he hadde given his soul in bond to Hell.
17Guard me, O Virgin, from foul Satan's spell
18 Soe that the holye bread I taste, nor thence
19Be driven, till Tyme sounde my passynge bell:
20 And in this faith I live and will goe hence.
21I am but a poor old woman whose dim eyes
22 That lack book-learning, do with joy behold
23Within the church a painted Paradyse
24 With harps and eke with lutë's manifold;
25 Therunder a huge cauldron wherin roll'd
26The damnéd seethe for ever in deep Hell,
27The which I fear. O Goddesse, let me dwell
28 Where joy is. Thou, the sinner's sure defence,
29Fill me with faith, and all my sloth dispell:
30 And in this faith I live and will goe hence.
31 Thou barest, Virgin Princesse, without stain,
32 Jesus the Kynge that doth for ever reign.
33The Almightye, seeinge us in thrall to Hell,
34 Didde give his deare sonne for our soul's offence
35To die, and from the heavens where he doth dwell,
36Our Lord did brynge salvation as I tell:
37 And in this faith I live and will goe hence.
RPO poem Editors:
Data entry: Sharine Leung