Home  »  Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse  »  Be my comfort, Christ Jesus!

Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.


Be my comfort, Christ Jesus!

JESUS 1 that sprang of Jesse’s root,
As us hath preached the prophete,
Flower and fruit both soft and soote 2
To mannis soul of savour sweet;
Jesu, Thou broughtest man to boot        5
When Gabriel gan Mary greet,
To fell our foemen under foot,
In her Thou sit’st a seemly seat;
A maiden was Thy mother meet,
Of whom Thou tookest flesh for us;        10
As ye may both my balës beet, 3
So be my comfort, Christ Jesus.
Jesu, Thou art wisdom of wit,
Of Thy Father full of might!
Mannis soul to saven it,        15
In poor apparel Thou wert dight.
Jesu, Thou were in cradle knit
In weedë wrapped both day and night,
In Bethlehem born, as the gospel writ,
With angels’ song and heaven light.        20
Bairn y-born of a birdë 4 bright,
Full courteous was Thy comely cus; 5
Through virtue of that sweetë light,
So be my comfort, Christ Jesus.
Jesu, that were of yearës young,        25
Fair and fresh of hide and hue,
When Thou were in thraldom throng 6
And tormented with many a Jew;
When blood and water were out-wrong,
For beating was Thy body blue;        30
As a clod of clay Thou were for-clong, 7
So dead in trough 8 then men Thee threw.
But grace out of Thy gravë grew;
Thou rose up quick, comfort to us.
For her love that this counsel knew,        35
So be my comfort, Christ Jesus.
Jesu, soothfast God and Man,
Two kindis knit in one persone,
The wonder work that Thou began,
Thou hast fulfilled in flesh and bone.        40
Out of this world wytely 9 Thou wan,
Lifting up Thyself alone;
For mightily Thou rose, and ran
Straight unto Thy Father in throne.
Now dare man make no morë moan;        45
For man it is Thou wroughtë thus,
And God with man is made at one,
So be my comfort, Christ Jesus.
Jesu, my sovereign Saviour,
Almighty God, there be no mo;        50
Christ, be Thou my Governour,
Thy faith let me not fallen fro.
Jesu, my joy and my succour,
In my body and soul also,
God, be Thou my strongest food,        55
And wis 10 Thou me when me is woe.
Lord, Thou makest friend of foe,
Let me not live in languor thus,
But see my sorrow, and say now “ho!” 11
And be my comfort, Christ Jesus.        60
Jesu, to Thee I cry and greed, 12
Prince of Peace, to Thee I pray;
Thou wouldest bleed for mannis need,
And suffer many a fearful fray.
Thou me feed in all my dread        65
With patïencë now and ay
My life to lead in word and deed,
As is most pleasant to Thy pay, 13
And to die well when it is my day.
Jesu, that died on tree for us,        70
Let me not be the fiendis prey,
But be my comfort, Christ Jesus.    Amen.
Note 1. The three anonymous poems which open our anthology are taken from an early fifteenth-century MS. in Lambeth Library. They were first printed by the Early English Text Society in 1866–67, and are now offered, slightly modernised, to the general reader. [back]
Note 2. Sweet. [back]
Note 3. Amend. [back]
Note 4. Maid. [back]
Note 5. Kiss. [back]
Note 6. Driven. [back]
Note 7. Shrunk. [back]
Note 8. Grave. [back]
Note 9. Actively. [back]
Note 10. Guide. [back]
Note 11. i.e. Stay it. [back]
Note 12. Moan. [back]
Note 13. Pleasure. [back]