SAINT BERNARD, by way of dialogue, to the Gentle Reader.

Transcribed by E.T.H. III from the introduction to A Hive of Sacred Honey-Combs Containing Most Sweet and Heavenly Counsel Taken Out of the Works of the Mellifluous Doctor S. Bernard, Abbot of Clareval. Faithfully translated into English by the R. Fa. Antonie Batt Monk, of the holy Order of S. Bennet, of the Congregation of England. Printed at Doway by Peter Avroy, for John Heigham. Anno 1631.

The Author, by way of dialogue, to the gentle Reader.

I speak of wonders : worthy yet belief.
Bernard what’s this? Is it of joy or grief?
Dost thou yet live? I live. Therefore not dead?
Yes. What dost thou? I sleep within this bed.
Speak’st thou, or art thou silent? Both. Then why
Hold’st thou thy peace? Dull sleep hath clos’d mine eye.
Why dost thou speak? Because I am alive.
What are thy words? Those accents which derive
From sacred mysteries their language.
To whom? To such as read and mark my pen.
What not to all? No. Then once more to whom?
To those, who sweet things love, and love alone.
Hast thou a name? I have. Tell what it is.
Bernard. Not without cause, unless I miss.
Thou dost not. Why? What means it? prithee say.
Bernardus, Bona nardus, a sweet way.
Why nardus? From my smell. What odour? sweet,
Where sweet perfumes, and sweetest flowers meet.

To whom and where? To him which doth incline
To read, and to observe this book divine.

What surname hast thou? Clarivall. Dost here
Abide? I did, but do not. Then say where.
Upon the top of yonder glorious hill,
Where perfect joy doth true contentment fill.

What wert thou then, when here thou didst abide,
Within this valley? Humble, free from pride.
Art thou now great? Yes. Great by so much more,
As I was truly humble heretofore.

But doth this valley nought of thine contain?
Nought but my bones. How long shall they remain
Within their urn? Until this carcass be
Changed from earth, unto eternity.

When will this be? Even then, and not until
All flesh shall rise again, to good or ill.



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Filed under Bardic Poetry & Christian Verse, Recusant History

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