SIMEON I have been a priest in Jerusalem here And taught God's laws many a year Desiring in all my mind That the time were nearly here In which God's son should appear -- 5 On earth become mankind Before I died, that I might find My saviour and with my eyes him see. But that hope is now long behind. It is great sadness unto me. 10 For I want strength as I grow old The quickness of my sight grows cold More sorrowful am I at this tide. Save only as I tell you right, God, of his grace, hath me told, 15 That blissful babe to bide. Wherefore now here beside In the sancta sanctorum will I go To pray that God will be my guide To comfort me after my woe. 20
Here Simeon kneels and says,
Ah, good God in Trinity How long shall I abide thee Till that thou dost thy son send, That I, on earth, may him see. Good lord consider me 25 I draw fast to my end. Before my strength does from me wend Good lord send down thy son That I, with my full mind, May worship him while I can. 30 Both my feet and hands too To go to him and hold also. My eyes to see him in certain. My tongue with which to speak him to And all my limbs to work and do 35 In his service to be plain. Send forth thy son, my lord sovereign Hastily, anon, without tarrying. From this world I would be, fain, It is not my will still to be living. 40 ANGEL Simeon, leave off thy heavy sigh For thy prayer has been heard on high. To Jerusalem fast now run And there shall you see full even And hold also him that is God's son. 45 In the temple thou dwellest in The darkness of original sin He shall make light and clarify. And now the action shall begin That has been spoken in prophecy. 50 SIMEON Ah, I thank thee lord of grace That has granted me time and space To live and wait for this. And I will walk now to the place Where I may see thy son's face 55 Which is my joy and bliss. I was never lighter, iwis To walk ever here before For the merry time now is When God, my lord, is born. 60 ANNA PROPHETESS All hail Simeon, what tidings with you? Why make you all this mirth now? Tell me whither you fare. SIMEON Anna Prophetess, if you knew who So should you, I make a vow 65 And all manner of men that are -- For God's son, as I declare, Is born to buy mankind. Our saviour is come to banish our care Therefore I have great mirth to wend. 70 And that is the cause I haste me Unto the temple him to see And, therefore, stop me not, good friend. ANNA PROPHETESS Now blessed be God in Trinity! Since that time is come to be! 75 And with you I will I wend To see my saviour and my friend And worship him also With all my will and my full mind. As I am bound, now will I do. 80
And then they go together to the temple and prophesy,
SIMEON In the temple of God, I have understood This day shall be offered with mild mood Him who is king of all, That shall be scourged and shed his blood And, after, die upon the rood 85 Without a cause to tell. For whose passion there shall befall Such a sorrow both sharp and smart That as a sword pierce it shall Even through his mother's heart. 90 ANNA PROPHETESS Yea, that shall be as I well find For the redemption of all mankind That bliss for to restore Which has been lost time out of mind From the forefather of our kind 95 Adam and also Eve before. MARY Joseph, my husband, without a miss You know that forty days near is Since my son's birth full right. Therefore we must to the temple, iwis 100 There to offer our son of bliss Up to his father in height. And I, in God's sight, Purified to be In clean soul, with all my might 105 In presence of the Trinity. JOSEPH To be purified have you no need, Nor thy son to be offered, so God me speed For first you are full clean Undefiled in thought and deed 110 And also thy son without any dread. Is God and man to all men. Therefore it needs not to have been Except to keep the law on Moses' wise. Therefore we shall take us between 115 Doves and turtledoves for sacrifice.
And they go to the temple
SIMEON All hail my kindly comforter! ANNA PROPHETESS All hail mankinds' creator! SIMEON All hail thou God of might! ANNA PROPHETESS All hail mankind's saviour! 120 SIMEON All hail both king and emperor! ANNA PROPHETESS All hail, as is right! SIMEON All hail, also, Mary bright! ANNA PROPHETESS All hail, saver from sickness! SIMEON All hail, lantern of light! 125 ANNA PROPHETESS All hail, mother of meekness! MARY Simeon I understand and see That of both my son and me You have knowledge clear. Also, in thy company 130 My son desireth for to be And therefore have him here.
Simeon takes Jesus
SIMEON Welcome prince without peer, Welcome God's own son Welcome my lord so dear 135 Welcome with me to come.
"Suscepimus deus misericordiam tuam"
Lord God in majesty, We have received this day of thee In the midst of this temple here Thy great mercy as we may see. 140 Therefore thy name in high degree Be worshipped in every manner Over all this world both far and near Even unto the uttermost end. For now is man out of danger, 145 For rest and peace comes to all mankind!
"Nunc dimittis servum tuum domine" etc. The psalm is sung, every verse and meanwhile Simeon plays with the child and when the psalm is ended, he says,
Now let me die, lord, and hence pass. For I thy servant in this place Have seen my saviour dear Which thou hast ordained before the face 150 Of all mankind, at this time of grace Openly to appear. Thy light is shining clear For all mankind's salvation. Mary, take your child now here 155 And keep well man's salvation ANNA PROPHETESS For joy I am near to die also, For more that fourscore years and two This time have I waited to see. And since the time has come thereto 160 What God's will is with me to do Right even so might it be. JOSEPH Take here these candles three Mary, Simeon and good Anne, And I shall take the fourth to me 165 To offer up our child then. MARY Highest Father, God of power Your own dear son I offer you here As I to your law am sworn. Receive thy child in glad manner, 170 For he is the first, this child so dear That of his mother is born. But thou I offer him you before Good lord yet give me him again For my comfort were fully lorn 175 If we should long asunder be.
Mary lays the child on the altar
JOSEPH Sir priest of the temple now Have here five pence that is for you. Our child again to take It is the law, as you well know. 180 CHAPLAIN Joseph, you do all right now. As for the child's sake. But other offering must you make. And therefore take your son, Mary. In much joy you may awake 185 While he is in your company. MARY Now I am full glad and fain To receive my son again Or else I were to blame. And, afterwards to make full plain, 190 I offer to God in full certain In my son's dear name Fowls both wild and tame. In God's service I shall ever work. JOSEPH Lo Mary, have here the same 195 To do the duties of holy kirk.
And then Mary offers fowls on the altar and says
MARY Almighty father, merciful king, Receive now this little offering. For it is the first in degree That your little child so young 200 Presents today with my helping To your high majesty From his simple poverty. Be his devotion and my good will Upon your altar received from me, 205 Your son's offering, if that you will.
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