This translation by J. R. Lumby was taken from 'Be Domes Dæge' by J. Rawson Lumby and is published here by permission of the Early English Text Society. The poem forms part of a MS. in the Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, now numbered CCI.


Lo! I lonely sat within a bower,
With shade bedecked, amidst a wood,
Where the water-burns murmured and ran,
Amid an inclosure, all as I say.
5 There also pleasant plants waxed and bloomed,
Amid the gathering in a peerless meadow;
And the trees of the wood waved and rustled,
Through roaring of the winds the welkin was desolated,
And my sad mind was all troubled.
10 Then I suddenly, fearful and sad,
This gloomy verse began to sing,
All such as thou mayest speak of, mindful of sins,
Of the faults of life, and the long tide
Of the coming of dark death on earth.
15 I trembled for myself eke at that great doom,
For my sinful deeds upon earth.
And I likewise trembled for myself at that eternal ire,
And for each sinful one from God himself,
And how the mighty Lord, all men's kin
20 Will sever and doom through his secret might.
I minded me eke of the glory of the Lord,
And of those holy-ones in heaven's kingdom;
Likewise of the wretched, their evil and punishment.

I minded this with myself, and I mourned greatly,

25 And murmuring I spake, troubled in mind.
Now, ye veins, I bid you all
That ye open well the wellsprings
Hot on my face quickly for tears;
Then I, sinful, strike strongly with fist,
30 Beat my breasts in the place of prayer;
And my body I lay on the earth,
And as deserved I invoke all pains.
I bid you now with prayers
That ye slack not at all for tears;
35 But dreary face vex ye with weeping,
And with salt drops soon overshed,
And open your sin to the Eternal Lord.
Let there no whit remain within,
In heart cave of grievous guilts,
40 So that it be not day-clear that which was secret,
With open words all laid bare,
Of breast and tongue and flesh also.
This is only salvation of a poor soul,
And to the sorrowful best of hopes:
45 That he his wounds here by weeping make known
To the leech on high. He only may
The offenders in guilt with good heal,
And the prisoners quickly unbind,
He truly will not bruise with his right hand
50 Thoughtless heart, ruler of angels:
Nor the faint smoke of weak flesh
Will Christ the ruler with water quench.
Did not the thief warn thee sharply with example,
Who with Christ was slain on the cross,
55 How much avails, and how grand is,
That true sorrow for sins and offences?
The thief was on the cross, guilty and sinful,
With wrongdoings all laden:
He to the Lord, nevertheless, nigh unto death,
60 His prayer bade with heart-thoughts:
He with few words, but full of faith,
His salvation obtained, and help speedily,
And fared in at the peerless gates
Of Paradise, with the Redeemer.
65 I ask thee, O poor mind,
Why lingerest thou so long, that thou showest not thyself to the leech?

Or why art thou silent, sinful tongue,

Now thou for forgiveness hast ready time?
Now thee, the Almighty, with attentive ears,
70 Ward of heaven's kingdom, will hear with pleasure;
But the day cometh when God will doom
The ciruit of earth. Thou by thyself shalt
Give account with words to God the Creator,
And to the mighty Lord rightly account.
75 I rede thee that thou be beforehand with penitent tears,
And that anger prevent of the Eternal Judge.
Why liest thou in dust with offences filled,
O Flesh! with sins? Why dost thou not cleanse away,
With flood of tears, grievous sins?
80 Why askest thou not for thyself bathings and plaster,
Life's leechdoms, of life's Lord?
Now shouldst thou greet, tears pour forth,
While time is, and weeping-tide.
Now is it beneficial that man here weep,
85 And penance do at the Lord's will.
Glad is the Son of God if thou sorrow bearest,
And thyself judgest for sins on earth.
Ne'er heaven's God wrongs and guilts
Above one time will wreak on any man;
90 Nor shouldst thou despise wailing and weeping,
And of forgiveness the ready time.
Think also in soul how great is the punishment,
That to the wretched shall be for former sins.
Either how aweful and how dreadful
95 A King in his majesty here will judge
Each man by his former deeds.
Or what tokens begin to fare,
And Christ's coming show on earth.
Earth all shaketh, and likewise the mountains
100 Perish and fall,
And to the doors of the graves bend and melt;
And the fearful noise of the boisterous sea
All men's hearts much affrighteth,
Utterly also is heaven above
105 Swart and cloudy, quickly it waxeth
Dark and dim-hued, and a swart chaos.
Then stedless stars fall,
And the sun grows dark early in the day,
Nor has the moon aught of any might
110 That she the night's clouds may disperse.
Also then shall come hither, down from heaven,
Death-tokenings, affright the miserable:
Then shall come on high mighty hosts,
A strong power stirred they hurry around.
115 The hosts of all angels surround the Eternal
The great Creator, with might and host.
There shall sit, sun-bright, the firmament's ruler
On high throne with crown honoured,
We shall be suddenly brought before him,
120 From all sides coming to his presence;
That each may receive doom for his deeds from the Lord himself.
I bid, O man, that thou remember how great will be the terror
Before the Lord's judgement-seat then.
He stands heartless and timorous,
125 Amazed and disturbed, powerless, terrified;
Then together will come from the firmament's shade
All the hosts of angels, the Eternal surround.
At once will be a loud proclamation, and called thither
All Adam's race, of earth inhabitants,
130 That on earth have been supported ever,
Or mother bare in human form,
Or those that were or should be,
Or who were at all about to be reckoned.
Then to all will be of all disclosed
135 The secret thoughts, on the day-tide,
All that the heart of harm devised,
Or the tongue for injustice spake,
Or man's hand of evil framed,
In dark caves, of things on earth;
140 All that any one shamed of sins in the world
That he to any man should open or tell,
Then will be to all open altogether,
Alike set free that man long hid.
Beside all this, also will be filled
145 All the lofty lift with poisonous fire.
Fire will fare over all, nor will be there any hindrance:
Nor himself by any means may man forewarn.
All that we think empty also of boundary,
Under the roaring of the sky with red blaze,