Lines from the Middle English (c. 1320) (Original and Translation

By John Dobby Boe

Wynter wakeneth al my care;
Now thise leves waxen bare,
Ofte I sike and murne sare
Whan it cometh in my thoght
Of this worldes joye, how it goth all to noght.

Now it is and now it nis,
also it ner nere, y-wis.
That many man seyth, sooth it is—
Al goth but Goddes wille;
Alle we shullen deye, thogh us like ille.

Al that greyn me graveth grene,
Now it faleweth al bidene.
Jhesu, help that it be sene,
And shilde us from helle,
For I not whider I shal, ne how longe heer dwelle.

Winter wakens all my care;
Now these trees are growing bare.
I often sigh and clutch my hair
When it comes into my thought
How all this world’s joy comes to nought.

Here today is gone tomorrow,
And never was, joy nor sorrow.
Life’s a dream that we just borrow—
Nothing lasts but God’s own will;
And when we die, we all want more life still

In graves we bury good green grain.
By some command it starts to wane.
Sweet Jesus let us make some gain,
And protect us please from hell;
For where and when we’re going no one can tell.

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