Age Rating: 7 +
"Scotia quae et Hibernia discitur.”
With softened affection, in the reign of King Niall, who Ireland swayed: -
To his prowess nine principalities fell hostage,
Where truth and charity were absent and men false to the core.
Religion, abnormal and mystic, fell under the spells
With rites of the Druids in horrid detail and popular creed.
Victims were hunted with clerical zeal, fire and steel
In foul and fallacious rituals conceived in heresy.
On doctrinal points, these Druids deemed naught efficacious.
What time the bold King Niall swayed
Jerrie’s realm, and warfare made
With Anglian Gaul, with Goth and Hun
And Ethiopia’s swarthy son;
Victorious came he from each fight
With valor’s laurelled crown bedright,
So peerless in the lists of fame
Was this renowned monarch’s name.
The bravest knights to him might yield
And bear no strain upon his shield –
‘Twas then that in the regal train
St. Patrick wore the captive’s chain.
What time the sage King Logar ruled
Ierne, and his people schooled
To wisdom, industry and peace
And bade woes, fearful woes, to cease.
As vital stream that life imparts
Lived he within his lieges’ hearts,
And whatsoever virtue came
All honored was this good King’s name;
So did his praise men’s voices fill,
Foul crime it was to speak him ill –
‘Twas then that with pure faith imbued
St. Patrick bor the Holy Rood.
What time the base and bloody rite
Of Druidism shamed the light,
When sacrificial altars blazed
Throughout the Western world and raised
Their lurid columns to the sky.
While ever rose the piercing cry
From tender youth of beauty rare
Or virgin innocent and fair,
In fearful anguish, yielding life,
While reeked the archpriest’s dreadful knife.
‘Twas then, amid these scenes of ruth,
St. Patrick spread the light of Truth.
Would you dictum have and date
For the various blessings great
That St. Patrick caused to smile
Upon Erin’s lovely isle
During sixty years and four
That the sacred staff he bore!
As they not inscribed upon
The bold Polychronicon?
All the miracles he wrought: -
How the populace he taught
Senseless idols to detest
And the merciful behest
Of the God of peace and love
To obey all else above.
How, despite of cell and cord
He still preached the blessed Word
And its excellence maintained
How he with a sign explained
The mysterious Trinity
By the shamrock’s petals three.
How all serpents from the land
He drove away on every hand
Till no poisonous thing was found
Did they search the country round.
And we found out
Beyond a doubt
The serpents that he banned
Were evil men
Whose doing then
Disturbed Jerrie’s land;
Who kept the isle
In squalor vile.
And for their selfish end
The kindly ties
That mortals prize all ruthlessly did rend.
PATRICK OF IRELAND (A.D. 389 - c. 461)
Patrick was born in Britain. His father was a wealthy alderman and a Christian. Pirates captured Patrick at the age of 16, during a raid and sold him as a slave in Ireland. During this time, Patrick dedicated himself to religion. He was a slave for 6 years, and then escaped back to his home of Britain.
Patrick's experiences in Ireland made him driven by the idea of converting the Irish to Christianity. He studied in the monastery of Lerins, on an island off the southeast coast of France. Patrick also went to Auxerre, France, and studied religion under Saint Germanus, a French bishop. His religious superiors were reluctant to let him return to Ireland as a missionary, because of his inadequate education. But Palladius, the first Irish missionary bishop, died in 431. Pope Celestine I then sent Patrick to Ireland.
No one had ever preached Christianity in northern and western Ireland,so this is where Patrick began his work. He gained the trust and friendship of several tribal leaders and soon made many converts. Patrick founded more than 300 churches and baptized more than 120,000 people. He brought in clergymen for his new churches from England and France. Patrick preached in Ireland the rest of his life. Patrick was chiefly responsible for converting the Irish people to Christianity. He became known as the Apostle to the Irish. His name in Latin is Patricius.
Copyright © March 2006, Gregory J. Christiano
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Another wonderful poem, and about a most worthy subject. There is a great deal to be said about Patrick. I found Cahill's popular treatment of him in How the Irish Saved Civilization to be very entertaining and insightful. BTW, no,he did not drive out the snakes, but that one of those things that was "not true, but ought to have been."
Best of all is how, exactly, Patrick converted the Irish. On Cahill's view, he did it by utterly undaunted courage. The paganism of the time seemed, on the face of it, to be a gloriously free, 'state of nature' sort of thing, but underneath, its theological imperative, its imitatio dei, was a rigged game in which the gods played with and consumed men, and a glorification of "constant flux".
In a world where nothing was stable, Patrick lived among them, in more or less constant peril of his life, and soon enough the Irish got to know him. And they found that he did not scream out for the terror by night, nor did did he find his courage in a bottle. This was something new, and they took note.
I am always amazed at your knowledge of history, and in the way you can put it into prose, so that others can read about the past and actually enjoy the reading of it.
Of course the younger kids say it is easy for us older ones to know so much about history, for most of it we knew as current events. lol
I really enjoyed this and learned something.