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    a painting of the Resurrection of Christ

    Poem: “Jesus Our Ransom”

    In this medieval Easter poem, Christ leads his people out of bondage.

    By Friar William Herebert

    April 17, 2022

    This poem can be found in the Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts: London, British Library, Additional 46919.

    Jesus our ransom,
    Love and longing,
    Lord God almighty,
    Maker of all things,
    Flesh you took
    And man became
    In the fullness of time.

    What mercifulness overcame you,
    The one who bears our sins,
    When you suffered bitter death,
    To raise us up from sin?

    Hell’s gate you pierced,
    And bought your own out of bondage;
    With great nobility
    You ascended
    To your Father’s right hand.

    May that same mercy lead you
    To overcome our wickedness
    With your mercy
    And fill us full
    With the bliss of your face.

    Be now our joy
    You who will be our reward,
    May we find all our delight in you,
    The one who longs for us to be with you.

    Translation into modern English by Grace Hamman. The original text in Middle English appears below.

    Giovanni Bellini, <em>Resurrection of Christ</em>

    Giovanni Bellini, Resurrection of Christ (Public domain)

    Jesus Our Raunsoun

    Jesus our raunsoun,
    Love and longing,
    Lord God almighty,
    Wroughte of all thinge,
    Flesh thou nome
    And mon bicome
    In times endinge

    What milsfolnesse awalde thee
    That our sunnes bere
    So bitter deth to tholien
    From sunne us for t’arere?

    Helle-clos thou thorledest
    And boughtest thine of bonde;
    With grete nobleye
    Thou opsteye
    To thy Fader right honde.

    Thilke milse nede thee
    T’awelde oure wickeness
    With thy mercy
    And full us ay
    With thy nebshaftes blisse.

    Thou be now our joye
    That shalt ben oure mede,
    And oure wele ay be in thee
    That shalt us with thee nede.

    Contributed By

    Friar William Herebert (died ca. 1333) was a master of the Franciscan house in Oxford ca. 1317. He assembled a book of miscellaneous texts (from cookery and medicinal recipes to poems and sermons) in French, English, and Latin.

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