Sunday, 14 February 2021

The Vanity of the World (Miranda Vanitas) - Bernard of Clairvaux

O the wondrous vanity 
That the heart bewitches! 
Bitter poison 'tis to be 
All absorbed in riches. 
Thoughtless man, oh tell me why 
This unholy yearning 
For the wealth that passeth by 
Swift as flax in burning? 

Think, O miserable man, 
Sure is death's dark hour; 
Who, since first the world began, 
Has escaped its power? 
When we are to pass away — 
None that truth may borrow, — 
This we know, — the quick today 
May be dead to-morrow. 

While on death thus musing, I 
Feel a grief unbidden;— 
True it is that I must die, 
And my time is hidden; 
But when I shall pass away, — 
From the world be riven, 
Give me, Lord, a place, I pray, 
With thy saints in Heaven.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) France
Translated by Daniel Joseph Donahoe
Source: Early Christian hymns, Series II: translations of the verses of the early and middle ages
by Daniel Joseph Donahoe, Donahoe pub. co, 1911

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