Richard Rolle

I didn’t know much about Richard Rolle until I had a search on the internet. He was a religious writer and hermit (a hermit is someone who lives separate from society). What is important about this man is that he wrote many poems and other writings and these writings were very popular in 1400’s – and in fact were translated into many different European languages. This is amazing because it was before printing was invented.

This is one of his poems written in old English… it is a bit difficult to read because the spelling of words is different. But I will make an attempt to put it into modern English.

What is Heaven?

Ther is lyf withoute ony deth,
And ther is youthe without ony elde;
And ther is alle manner welthe to welde:
And ther is rest without ony travaille;
And ther is pees without ony strife,
And ther is alle manner lykinge of lyf:—
And ther is bright somer ever to se,
And there is nevere wynter in that countrie:—
And ther is more worshipe and honour,
Than ever hade kynge, other emperour.
And ther is grete melodie of angeles songe,
And ther is pressing hem amonge.
And ther is all manner frendshipe that may be,
And ther is ever perfect love without charite;
And ther is wisdom without folye
Ans ther is honeste without vileneye.
Al thes a man may joyes of hevene call:
Ac yutte the most sovereyn joye of alle
Is the sighte of Goddes bright face,
In wham resteth alle manere grace.
There is life without any death,
and there is youth without any old.
and there is all manner of wealth to weald
and there is rest without having to work.
And there is peace without any strife,
and there is all manner of liking of life.
And there is bright summer ever to see
and there is never winter in that country
And there is more worship and honour
that ever had king or emperor.
There is a great melody of angels song
and the is pressing him among
and there is all manner of friendship that may be,
and there is ever perfect love without charity
and there is wisdom without folly,
and there is honesty without villainy
all this a man may joys of heaven call;
and yet the most sovereign joy of all
is the sight of God’s bright face
in whom restate all manner of grace. 
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Richard Rolle b1349

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