. THE MASS OF THE BIRDS.
(From the Welsh of Davyth Ap Gwylym,
an Anglesea Bard of the Fourteenth Century.)
This morning, lying couched amid the grass
In the deep deep dingle south of Llangwyth’s Pass,
While it was yet neither quite bright nor dark,
I heard a new and wonderful High Mass.
The Chief Priest was the Nightingale : the Lark
And Thrush assisted him ; and some small bird
(I do not weet his name) acted as Clerk.
My spirit was lapt in ecstasy : each word,
Word after word, thrilled through me like the deep
Rich music of a dream : not wholly asleep
Nor all awake was I, but, as it were,
Tranced somewhere between one state and the other.
All heavy thoughts that through the long day smother
Man’s heart and soul with weariness and care
Were gone, and in their place reigned pure delight.
The nightingale, sent from a far and bright
Land by my golden sister, prophesied
Of blessèd days to come, in a sweet voice ;
And the small Bird responding, sang, “Rejoice ! Rejoice !”
I heard his little bell tinkle and jingle
With a clear silver sound that filled the dingle.
Heaven is a state wherein Bliss and Devotion mingle,
And such was mine this morn : I could have died
Of rapture ! Never knelt upon his hassock
Bishop or deacon with a holier feeling.
How beautifully shone the Thrush’s cassock,
Covered all over with a thousand strange
And lovely flowers, like those upon an Arabesque ceiling !
The altar seemed of such resplendent gold
As no man, even a miser, would exchange
For all the jewels in the East of old.
Two hours I lay admiring all I saw,
Yet those two hours appeared to me no more
Than as a moment : I look back with awe
And wonder at what then I thought and felt,
And would give all my fame, and all my lore,
Yea, even almost my life, but to restore
The rapturous emotions that then dwelt
Within my bosom ! Ah ! this may not be—
But glory unto Gᴏᴅ, who in His infinite love
Created Man to enjoy to eternity
Even greater happiness in His own Heaven above !
– translation by James Clarence Mangan