The Parliament of Heaven and Annunciation
Four thousand, six hundred and four years, I tell,
Man for his offense and foul folly
Hath lain years in the pains of hell,
And is worthy to lie there endlessly;
But then should perish your great mercy.
Good lord, have on man pity;
Have in mind the prayer said by Isaiah;
Let mercy make mild thy high majesty.
And come down here unto the earth,
And live years three and thirty,
Thy famished folk with thy food to feed;
To staunch their thirst, let thy side bleed,
Without that, there will be no redemption.
Come visit us in this time of need;
On thy careful creatures, Lord, have compassion!
For God has added sorrow to sorrow!
I pray thee, Lord, thy souls come see,
How they lie and sob for sickness and sorrow.
With thy blessed blood from bale them borrow,
Thy careful creatures crying in captivity.
Ah! tarry not, gracious Lord, till it be tommorow!
The devil hath deceived them in his iniquity,
That I may weep both day and night
To see our brothers so long in pain?"
Here mischiefs may amend by thy great might.
As great as the sea, Lord, was Adam’s contrition right;
From our head is fallen the crown;
Man is cumbered in sin. I cry in thy sight:
Gracious Lord, gracious Lord, gracious Lord come down!
Lord, may it please thy high domination,
On man that thou move to have pity.
Patriarchs and prophets have made supplication,
Our office is to present their prayers to thee.
Angels, archangels, we three,
That be in the first hierarchy,
For man to thy high majesty,
Mercy, mercy, mercy, we cry!
Whose sin hath made him a devil in hell,
He moved man to be so contrarious;
Man repented, but he in his obstinance doth dwell.
These great evils, good Lord, repell,
And take man unto thy grace;
Let thy mercy make him with angels dwell,
Of Lucifer to restore the place.
Exit Virtues and Contemplation
Propter miseriam inopum
Et gemitum pauperum
And the poor’s lamentation,
Now shall I rise that am almighty.
Time is come of reconciliation.
My prophets with prayers have made supplication,
My contrite creatures cry all for comfort,
All mine angels in heaven without cessation
They cry that grace to man might exhort.
Lord, I am thy daughter, Truth,
Thou wilt see I am not lost;
Thy unkind creatures to save were wrong,
The offence of man hath grieved thee sore.
When Adam sinned, thou saidest then
That he should die and go to hell,
And now to bliss him to restore –
Two contraries might not together dwell.
I may in no wise from thee go.
That wretch that was to thee so unkind,
He may not have too much woe.
He despised thee, and pleased thy foe;
Thou art his creator, and he is thy creature;
Thou hast loved Truth, it is said, evermore,
Therefore in pain let him evermore endure.
Oh, Father of Mercy and God of comfort,
That counsel us in each tribulation,
Let your daughter, Mercy, to you resort,
And on man that is mischieved have compassion.
Him grieveth full greatly for his transgression,
All heaven and earth cry for mercy;
Meseemeth there should be no exception
Their prayers be offered so specially.
I grant it well she hath been so –
And thou sayest endlessly that mercy thou hast kept for man;
Then, merciful Lord, keep us both two.
Thou sayest: Veritas mea et misericordia mea cum ipso.
Suffer not thy souls, then, in sorrow to sleep;
That hell-hound that hateth thee, bid him let go!
Thy love, man, no longer let him keep.
Mercy, I marvel at what you move!
You know well I am your sister, Justice;
God is rightful and rightfulness loveth.
Man offended him that is endless,
Therefore his endless punishment may never cease.
Also he forsook his maker that made him of clay,
And the devil to his master he chose –
Should he be saved? Nay, nay, nay!
This was the abominable presumption!
It is said, you know well this, of me
That the Justice of God hath no limitation –
Therefore let this be our conclusion:
He that sore sinned lie still in sorrow.
He may never make atonement by reason;
Who might then thence him borrow?
Sister Justice, you are too vengeable;
Endless sin God, endless, may restore.
Above all his works God is merciful.
Though he forsook God by sin, by faith he forsook him nevermore;
And thou he presumed never so sore,
You must consider the frailness of mankind.
Learn and so hear: this is God’s lore:
The mercy of God is without end.
To spare your speeches, sisters, it is fit;
It is not honest in virtues to have discension.
The Peace of God overcomes all wit.
Thou Truth and Justice say great reason,
Yet Mercy sayeth best, to my pleasing.
For if man’s soul should abide in hell,
Between God and man ever should be division,
And then I, Peace, might not dwell.
Then heaven and earth ye should please;
Put both your Judgements to our Lord
And in his high wisdom let him judge –
This most fitting to me should seem –
And let see how we four may all abide.
That man’s soul should perish, it were a shame,
Or that any of us from other should divide.
In truth hereto I consent;
I will pray our Lord it may so be.
I, Justice, am well content,
For in him is very equity.
And I, Mercy, from this counsel will not flee;
Till Wisdom hath said, I shall cease.
Here is God now, here is Unity;
Heaven and earth is pleased with Peace.
I think the thoughts of peace and not of wickedness.
This I deem to cease your controversy:
If Adam had not died, perished had Justice,
And also Truth had been lost thereby;
Truth and Right would chastise folly.
Yet if another death come not, Mercy should perish,
Then Peace were exiled finally;
So two deaths must be, you four to cherish.
That in him may be no iniquity,
That hell may hold him by no law,
But that he may pass at his liberty.
And his death, for man’s death, shall be redemption.
All heaven and earth search now ye;
Pleaseth it you this conclusion?
I, Truth, have searched the earth without and within,
And in truth there can none be found,
That is even of one day’s birth without sin
Or who in not to death already bound.
I, Mercy, have run the heavenly region round
And there is none of the charity
That for man will suffer a deadly wound –
I cannot think how this shall be.
Sure I can find none sufficient,
For servants unprofitable we be each one.
His love needs to be full ardent
That for man to hell would go.
There is only one who may do this good.
Therefore this is Peace’s advise:
He that gave his counsel, let him give the comfort too,
For in him the conclusion of all this lies.
It pains me that man I made,
That is to say, pain must I suffer it for.
A counsel of the Trinity must be had,
Which of us shall man restore.
In your wisdom, Son, man was made there,
And in wisdom was his temptation;
Therefore some sapience, you must ordain herefore
And see how of man may be salvation.
Father, he that shall do this must be both God and man;
Let me see how I may wear that man’s flesh.
And since in my wisdom he began,
I am ready to do this deed.
I, the Holy Ghost, of you two do proceed;
This charge I will take on me:
I am Love and to your loved one shall you lead –
This is the accord of our unity.
Now is the loveday made of us four finally,
Now may we live in peace as we were wont:
Misericordia et Veritas occurrerunt,
Justitia et Pax deosculatae sunt.
Mercy and Truth have met together:
Justice and Peace have kissed each other.
And here they shall kiss each other and exit
Enter Gabriel. Enter Mary and sit
From us, God, angel Gabriel, thou shalt be sent
Into the country of Galilee –
The name of the city, Nazareth is called –
To a maid wedded to a man is she
Of whom the name is Joseph, see,
Of the house of David born;
The name of the maid free
Is Mary, that shall all restore.
Say that she is without woe and full of grace,
And that I, the Son of the Godhead, of her shall be born.
Hie thee, thou were there apace,
Else we shall be there thee before.
I have great haste to be man there
In that meekest and purest virgin.
Tell her she shall restore
Of you angels the great ruin.
And if she ask thee how it might be,
Tell her I, the Holy Ghost, shall work all this.
She shall be saved through our unity.
In token her barren cousin, Elizabeth, is
Quick with child in her great age, iwis.
Tell her to us is nothing impossible;
Her body shall be so full filled with bliss
That she shall soon think this news credible.
In thine high embassy, Lord, I shall go.
It shall be done with a thought.
Behold now, Lord, I go here to,
I take my flight and abide not.
Gabriel descends to Mary
Hail, full of grace, God is with thee!
Among all women blessed art thou.
Here this name, Eva, is turned Ave;
That is to say: without sorrow are ye now.
Yet of joy, lady, ye need more,
Therefore I add and say: full of grace,
For so full of grace was never none born;
Yet who hath grace, she needs keeping sore,
Therefore I say: God is with thee,
Which shall keep you endlessly there;
So among all women blessed are ye.
Ah, mercy, God! This is a marvellous hearing!
In the angel’s words I am troubled here;
I think how may be this greeting.
Angels daily to me do appear,
But not in the likeness of man, that is my fear,
And also thus highly to commended be
And am most unworthy – I cannot answer;
Great shamefastness and great dread is in me.
Mary, in this take ye no dread,
For with God, grace found have ye
Ye shall conceive in your womb, indeed,
A child, the son of the Trinity,
His name of you, Jesus called shall be.
He shall be great, the son of the highest called of kin,
And of his father, David, the Lord shall give him the see,
Reigning in the house of Jacob, of which reign shall none end.
Angel, I say to you,
In what manner of wise shall this be?
For knowing of man, I have none now;
I have evermore kept, and shall, my virginity.
I doubt not the words you have said to me,
But ask how it shall be done.
The Holy Ghost shall come from above to thee,
And the virtue of him, the highest, shall shadow thee so.
Therefore that holy child of thee shall be born,
He shall be called the Son of God sage.
And see, Elizabeth, your cousin there,
She hath conceived a son in her age –
This is the sixth month of her passage,
Of her that was called barren –
Nothing is impossible to God’s usage.
Here the angel makes a little resting and Mary beholds him, and the angel sayeth …
And take heed in thine intent
How the Holy Ghost, blessed he be,
Abideth thine answer and thine assent.
Through wise work of divinity,
The second person, verament,
Is made man by fraternity
Within thyself in place present.
How all the blessed spirits of virtue
That are in heaven before God’s face,
And all the good livers and true
That are here in this earthly place –
Thine own kindred the truth who know –
And the chosen souls this time of grace
That are in hell and await rescue,
And many others of good reputation,
That thine answer desire to hear
And thine assent to the incarnation,
In which thou standest as preserver
Of all mankind salvation.
To all these creatures comfortation.
With all meekness I incline to his accord,
Bowing down my face with all benignity;
See here the handmaiden of our Lord,
After the word be it done to me.
Gramercy, my lady free!
Gramercy, of your answer, on high!
Gramercy, of your great humility!
Gramercy ye lantern of light!
Here the Holy Ghost descends with three beams to Our Lady, the Son of the Godhead next with three beams to the Holy Ghost, and the Father Godly with three beams to the son, and so enter all three into her bosom and Mary says …
Ah, now I feel in my body be
Perfect God and perfect man,
Having all shape of childly carnality;
Even all at once, thus God began.
But perfect childhood ye have anon.
Of your handmaiden, now ye have made your mother.
Without pain in flesh and bone,
Thus conceived never woman none
That ever had being in this life.
Oh my highest father in your throne
It is worthy your son, now my son, have a prerogative.
Now I feel in my body!
Angel Gabriel, I thank you for this!
Most meekly recommend me to my Father’s mercy.
To have been the mother of God, full little knew I!
Now my cousin, Elizabeth, fain would I see,
How she has conceived as you did specify.
Now blessed be the high Trinity!
Farewell, turtledove, God’s daughter dear!
Farewell, God’s mother, I thee honour!
Farewell, God’s sister and his playmate dear!
Farewell, God’s chamber and his bower!
Farewell, Gabriel, specially!
Farewell, God’s messenger express!
I thank you for your travel high.
Gramercy of your great goodness,
For I understand by inspiration,
That ye know by singular privilege,
Most of my son’s incarnation.
I pray you take it into usage,
By a custom occupation,
To visit me oft in my passage –
Your presence is my comfortation.
At your will, lady, so shall it be,
The gentlest of blood, and highest of kindred
That reigneth in earth in any degree
By the principal purpose of the Godhead.
Oh! meekest maid, now the mother of Jesus!
Queen of Heaven, Lady of Earth, and Empress of Hell be ye;
Succour to all sinful that will to you sue,
Through your body beareth that babe our bliss shall renew.
To you, mother of mercy, most meekly I recommend.
And as I began, I end, with an Ave new,
Joining heaven and earth – with that I ascend.
Angels singing Ave Maria gracia plena dominus tecum virgo serena
2017 Dec 13 18:14:15