St. Brigid’s “lake of ale”

It was about ten years ago that my friend Rob Kirby introduced me to this wonderful, ancient poem. I had forgotten about it until a few days ago when I ran across it again in Thomas Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization. St. Brigid, probably consecrated a bishop “by accident” (according to various sources, including Cogitosus), lived in Ireland during the 5th & 6th centuries. (Cahill, 172-179) Cheers!

I should like a great lake of the finest ale
For the King of kings.
I should like a table of the choicest food
For the family of heaven.
Let the ale be made from the fruits of faith,
And the food be forgiving love.

I should welcome the poor to my feast,
For they are God’s children.
I should welcome the sick to my feast,
For they are God’s joy.
Let the poor sit with Jesus at the highest place,
And the sick dance with the angels.

God bless the poor,
God bless the sick,
And bless our human race.
God bless our food,
God bless our drink,
All homes, O God, embrace.

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