St. Colman’s Poem on the Divine Office

Probably not actually composed by St. Colman. It appears in the late medieval collection of Fenian poetry, lore, and stories, Acallamh na Senorach, as Colman’s explanation of the Hours when asked about them by the ancient hero, Caeilte.

Translated by Standish Hayes O’Grady.

The eight carnal imperfections that gnaw us to the bone;
the eight choice Hours that vehemently banish them:

Prime, against immoderate gluttony;
Tierce, against anger born of many causes;
cheerful lightsome Noon we constantly oppose to lust;
Nones against covetousness so long as we are on the breast of weary Earth;
pleasant and profitable Vespers we oppose to sore despair;
Compline, against perverting weariness: this is a fair partition;
cold Nocturns that equally divides [the night] against inordinate boasting;
Matins of God’s atoning Son, against enslaving sullen pride.

Mayest thou, O judicial King, O Jesus,
save me for sake of the Eight!


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