Categories
Poetry

Really old poetry for a Yankee holiday.

If you thought that Anne Locke was old, this dates from two hundred years earlier, and for the 4th of July, a paen to freedom seems appropriate.

Breviary of Renaud de Bar, France, 1302-1303

Freedom
A! Fredome is a noble thing!
Fredome mays man to haiff liking;[1]
Fredome all solace to man giffis,
He levys at ese that frely levys!
A noble hart may haiff nane ese,
Na ellys nocht[2] that may him plese,
Gyff fredome fail; for fre liking
Is yarnyt[3] our[4] all othir thing.
Na he that ay has levyt fre
May nocht knaw weill the propyrtè,
The angyr, na the wretchyt dome
That is couplyt to foule thyrldome.
Bot gyff he had assayit it,
Than all perquer[5] he suld it wyt;
And suld think fredome mar to prise
Than all the gold in warld that is.
Thus contrar thngis evirmar
Discoweryngis off the tothir ar.

1. [liking] pleasure.
2. [na ellys nocht] nor aught else.
3. [yarnyt] yearned for.
4. [our] above.
5. [perquer] thoroughly, by heart.

John Barbour d.1395