Columcille's Poem (521-597 A.D.)

Delightful to me to be on an island hill, on the crest of a rock,
that I might often watch the quiet sea;  

That I might watch the heavy waves above the bright water, 
as they chant music to their Father everlastingly.

That I might watch its smooth, bright-bordered shore, no 
gloomy pastime, that I might hear the cry of the strange birds, 
a pleasing sound;

That I might hear the murmur of the long waves against the
rocks, that I might hear the sound of the sea, like mourning
beside a grave;

That I might watch the splendid flocks of birds over the well-
watered sea, that I might see its mighty whales, the greatest wonder.

That I might watch its ebb and flood in their course, 
that my name should be--it is a secret that I tell--"he 
who turned his back upon Ireland;"

That I might have a contrite heart as I watch, 
that I might repent my many sins, hard to tell;

That I might bless the Lord who rules all things, 
heaven with its splendid host, earth, ebb, and flood...

Brian Tierney, The Middle Ages, Volume I: Sources of Medieval History, 5th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1992), p. 72 [with no copyright information given]

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.
Poem & Boat Song Source: Prayer Foundation

Image Source: Red Egg Gallery: Iona

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