The Land of Cokaygne

 

This poem survives in only one manuscript, a small (less than 6 x 4 inches) collection of various items in different hands and languages (Middle English, French, and Latin). Harley MS 913, British Library, London.

Probably compiled in Ireland in the early-mid 1300s, the small format suggests a friar's pocket-book as they traveled on foot and needed to pack light. A few of the Middle English items, like Cockaygne and a drinking song making fun of local clerics and tradesmen, were clearly for amusement. Most of the Middle English content is verse, sermons and lyrics designed for the instruction of the laity.

The Land of Cokaygne is not an isolated poem; its fictional and parodic otherworld belongs to a tradition of poems dealing with an imaginary paradise where leisure rules and food is readily available. The three main traditions are:

1. Classical: going back to Lucian's True History, a Greek work of the second century AD, that describes a comical paradise full of food, drink, and loose women.

2. Christian: descriptions of both Heaven and the the garden of Eden (from which Adam and Eve were expelled, and which was seen as a real, though remote, place on earth). Believed visited by Alexander the Great, it often was placed far to the East (though Dante in his Divine Comedy locates it in the Antipodes, at the tip of the mountain of Purgatory).

3. Goliardic: one Latin poem of the twelfth century (Carmina Burana 222) is spoken by an abbas Cucaniensis, an 'abbot of Cockaygne' who presides over drinking and gambling, and the descriptions of the two abbeys in Cockaygne, which invert the usual norms of religious life.

An Old French poem from the thirteenth century, Le Fabliau de Cocagne, offers a description of Cokaygne with houses made of food and rivers of milk and beer. A Dutch rhyming text from the fifteenth century, Dit is van dat edele land van Cockaengen, also is translated below).

  Original Version
Harley 913, British Museum c 1330
Translation 1
Dunn & Byrnes 188-92
Translation 2
Wessex Parallel WebTexts




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Fur in see bi west Spayngne
Is a lond ihote Cokaygne.
žer nis lond vnd' heuen riche 1
Of wel, of godnis, hit iliche.
žo3 Paradis be miri and bri3t, 2
Cokaygn is of fairir si3t.
What is žer in Paradis
Bot grasse and flure and grene ris?
žo3 žer be ioi and gret dute,
žer nis met bote frute;
žer nis halle, bure, no bench,
Bot watir manis žurst to quench.
Bež žer no men bot two
Hely and Enok also;
Elinglich mai hi go
Whar žer woniž men no mo. 3
I Cokaigne is met and drink
Wižvte care, how, and swink;
že met is trie, že drink is clere,
To none, russin, and sopper.
I sigge forsož, boute were,
žer nis lond on erže is pere;
Vnder heuen nis lond, iwisse,
Of so mochil ioi and blisse.
žer is mani swete si3te;
Al is dai, nis žer no ni"te.
žer nis baret nožer strif,
Nis žer no dež, ac euer lif;
žer nis lac of met no clož,
žer nis man no womman wrož,
žer nis serpent, wolf ne fox,
Hors no capil, kowe no ox ...
žer nis schepe, no swine, no gote
Ne non horwgh, la, God it wote.
Nožer harace nožer stode.
The lond is ful of other gode:
Nis ther flei, fle no lowse
In cloth, in toune, bed no house
žer nis dunnir, slete no hawle,
No non vile worme no snawile,
No non storm, rein no winde.
žer nis man no womman blinde.
Ok al is game, joi and gle.
Wel is him that ther mai be!
žer beth riuers gret and fine
Of oile, melk, honi and wine.
Watir seruiž žer to nožing,
Bot to si3t and to waiissing.
žer is mani maner frute,
Al is solas and dedute.
žer is a wel fair abbei
Of white monkes and of grei.
žer bež bowris and halles.
Al of pasteiis bež že walles,
Of fleis, of fisse and rich met,
že likfullist žat man mai et.
Fluren cakes bež že schingles alle
Of cherche, cloister, boure and halle,
že pinnes bež fat podinges, 4
Rich met to princez and kinges.
Man mai žer-of et ino3
Al wiž ri3t and no3t wiž wo3.
Al is commune to yung and old,
To stoute and sterne, mek and bold.
žer is a cloister fair and li3t,
Brod and lang of sembli sight.
že pilers of žat cloister alle
Bež iturnes of cristale.
Wiž har bas and capitale
Of grene Jaspe and rede corale.
In že praer is a tre,
Swiže likful forto se.
že rote is gingeuir and galingale, 5
že siouns bež al sedwale,
Trie maces bež the flure,
že rind canel of swet odur,
že frute gilofre of gode smakke.
Of cucubes žer nis no lakke. 6
žer bež rosis of rede ble,
And lilie likful forto se.
žai falowež neuer dai no ni3t,
žis a3t be a swet si3t!
žer bež foure willis in že abbei
Of triacle and halwei,
Of baum and ek piement.
Euer ernend to ri3t rent
Of žai stremis al že molde,
Stonis preciuse and golde.
žer is saphir and vniune,
Carbuncle and astiune,
Smaragde, lugre and prassiune,
Beril, onix, topasiune,
Ametist and crisolite,
Calcedun and epetite.
žer beth briddes mani and fale:
žrostil, žruisse and ni3tingale,
Chalandre and wodwale,
And ožer briddes wižout tale,
žat stintež neuer bi har mi3t
Miri to sing, dai and ni3t.
Yite I do yow mo to witte:
že gees irostid on že spitte
Flee3 to žat abbai, God hit wot,
And grediž: ‘Gees al hote, al hote!’
Hi bringež garlek gret plente,
že best idi3t that man mai se.
že leuerokes žat bež cuž,
Li3tiž adun to man is muž
Idi3t in stu ful swithe wel,
Pudrid wiž gilofre and canel.
Nis no spech of no drink,
Ak take ino3 wižvte swink.
Whan že monkes geež to Masse,
Al že fenestres žat bež of glasse
Turnež into cristal bri3t,
To yiue monkes more li3t.
Whan že Masses bež iseiid,
And že bokes up ileiid,
The cristal turniž into glasse,
In state žat hit ražer wasse.
The yung monkes euch dai
Aftir met gož to plai.
Nis žer hauk no fule so swifte
Bettir fleing bi že lifte
žan že monkes hei3 of mode,
Wiž har sleuis and har hode.
Whan že abbot seež ham flee,
žat he holt for moch glee.
Ak naželes al žer amang,
He biddeth ham li3t to euesang.
že monkes li3tith no3t adun
Ak furre fleež in o randun.
Whan the abbot him iseež
That is monkes fram him fleež,
He takež maidin of the route
And turniž vp hir white toute,
And betiž the taburs wiž is hond
To make is monkes li3t to lond.
Whan is monkes žat iseež,
To že maid dun hi fleež
And gež the wench al abute,
And žakkež al hir white toute.
And siž aftir her swinke
Wendiž meklich hom to drink,
And goež to har collacione,
A wel fair processione.
Anožer abbei is žerbi,
Forsož a gret fair nunnerie,
Vp a riuer of swet milke,
Whar is plente gret of silk.
Whan že someris dai is hote,
že yung nunnes takiž a bote
And dož ham forž in that riuer,
Both with oris and with stere.
Whan hi bež fur fram the abbei,
Hi makiž ham nakid forto plai,
And lepiž dune in-to the brimme
And dož ham sleilich forto swimme.
že yung monkes žat hi seež,
Hi doth ham vp and forž hi fleež
And commiž to the nunnes anon,
And euch monke him takež on
And snellich beiž forž har prei
To že mochil grei abbei,
And techiž že nunnes an oreisun
Wiž iambleue vp and dun.
že monke that wol be stalun gode
And kan set ari3t is hode,
He schal hab, wižoute danger,
xij. wiues euche yere,
Al žro3 ri3t and no3t thro3 grace,
For-to do him-silf solace.
And žilke monke žat slepiž best,
And dož is likham al to rest,
Of him is hoppe, Got hit wote,
To be sone uadir Abbot!
Whose wl com žat lond to,
Ful grete penaunce he mot do:
Seue yere in swine is dritte
He mote wade, wol ye iwitte,
Al anon vp to že chynne,
So he schal že lond winne.
Lordings gode and hend,
Mot ye neuer of world wend,
Fort ye stond to yure cheance
And fulfille that penance,
žat ye mote that lond i-se
And neuer more turne a-ye.
Prey we God so mote hit be,
Amen, pur seint charite.
Far in the sea to the west of Spain
There is a land that we call Cokaygne;
Under God's heaven no other land
Such wealth and goodness has in hand
Though paradise be merry and bright,
Cokaygne is yet a fairer sight.
For what is there in paradise
But grass and flowers and green rice?
Though there be joy and great delight,
There is no food for the appetite;
There is no hall, nor room, nor bench,
Nothing but water man's thirst to quench.
There are only two people there,
Elijah and Enoch with him.
Tediously are they able to lead their lives
In a place where no other people dwell!
In Cokayne there is food and drink
Without care, anxiety and labor.
The food is excellent, the drink is splendid,
At dinner, snack time, and supper.
I say in truth, without doubt,
There is no land on earth its equal.
Indeed, there is no land under heaven
Which has so much joy and bliss.
Many a pleasing sight is there;
It is always day, there is no night.
There is no conflict or strife;
There is no death, but life forever;
There is no lack of food or clothing;
There no woman is angry at no man;
There is no snake, wolf, or fox;
No horse, cow or ox;
There is no sheep, no swine, no goat;
There is no dirt, God knows,
Nor horse-breeding farm nor stud farm.
The land is full of other goods.
There is no fly nor flea, nor louse,
In clothing, village, bed or house.
There is no thunder, no hail,
There is no vile worm nor snail,
And no storm, rain nor wind.
There no man nor woman is blind,
But all is play, joy and mirth;
Well is it for him who can be there!
There are rivers great and fine
Of oil, milk, honey and wine;
Water there serves no purpose
Except to be looked at and to wash with.
There is all manner of fruit;
All is amusement and delight.
A very lovely abbey is there
Of gray and white monks 7.
There are private rooms and large halls;
The walls are all of pies,
Of meat, of fish, and rich food,
The most pleasing that a person can eat.
All the shingles are cakes made of flour,
On the church, the cloister, and the hall.
The pegs 8 are fat sausages,
Rich food fit for princes and kings.
One cannot eat enough of them,
And can eat justifiably, without blame.
Everything is shared by young and old,
By the proud and fierce, meek and bold.
There the cloister is lovely and full of light,
Spacious and long, of pleasant sight.
All the pillars of that cloister
Are made out of crystal,
With their base and capital
Of green jasper and red coral.
In the cloister garden there is a tree
Very pleasant to see.
The root is ginger and galingale;
The shoots are all setwall.
The flowers are choice maces,
The bark is cinnamon of sweet odor,
The fruit are cloves of fine taste.
There is no lack of cubebs.
There are roses of red color
And lilies pleasant to see.
They never wither by day or night;
This has to be a sweet sight!
There are four springs in the abbey,
Of ointment and healing potion,
Of balm and spiced, sweet wine,
Always flowing to true profit,
They drench all the soil there,
Precious stones and gold.
There is sapphire and pearl,
Carbuncle and aster 9
Emerald, ligure, and prasine,
Beryl, onyx, topaz,
Amethyst and chrysolite,
Chalcedony and hepatite. 10
There are many and plentiful birds: 
Song thrush, thrush, nightingale,
Lark and golden oriole
And other birds without number
Which never, in keeping with their power, stop
Singing merrily day and night.
I'll cause you to know still more:
The geese roasted on the spit
Fly to that abbey, God knows,
And cry out: "Geese, all hot, all hot!"
They bring along plenty of garlic,
The best prepared that one can see.
The larks -- this is well known --
Land in a person's mouth,
Having been very well prepared in the stewpot,
Powdered with cloves and cinnamon.
Nothing is said about drink,
Just take plenty, with no trouble.
When the monks go to Mass
All the windows which are of glass
Turn into bright crystal
To give the monks more light.
When the Mass has been said
And the books put away,
The crystal turns [back] into glass,
The state in which it was before.
Each day the young monks
Go out to play after dinner.
There is no hawk or bird so swift
That flies better through the air
Than the monks, high spirited,
With their sleeves and their hoods.
When the abbot sees them fly,
He considers it a great joy;
But nevertheless, all the same,
He commands them to land for evensong 11.
The monks do not land,
But fly further, in a rush.
When the abbot sees for himself
That his monks fly away from him,
He takes a maiden of the company
And turns up her white behind
And beats the small drums with his hand
To make the monks alight on land.
When his monks see [him do] that,
They fly down to the maid
And go all around the wench
And pat all her white behind
And then, after their labor,
Go meekly home to drink
and go to their collation 12,
A very lovely procession!
There is another abbey nearby,
In truth, a lovely, large nunnery,
Up a river of sweet milk,
Where there is a great quantity of silk.
When the summer day is hot,
The young nuns take a boat
And betake themselves onto that river,
With both oars and rudder.
When they are far from the abbey,
They take off their clothes in order to play
And they leap down into the water
And skillfully set about swimming.
The young monks, who see them,
They get themselves up and hasten out
And come to the nuns quickly,
And each monk takes one for himself,
And they quickly carry off their prey
To the great gray abbey
And teach the nuns a prayer
With "raised leg" 13 up and down.
The monk who wants to be a good stallion
And who knows how to wear his cowl properly,
He shall have, without objection,
Twelve wives each year,
All through right and not through privilege,
To amuse himself with.
And the monk who sleeps best
And gives his body entirely over to rest,
For him there is hope, God knows,
To quickly become father Abbot.
Whoever wants to come to that land
Must do a very great penance:
Seven years in swine's dung
He must wade, well may you understand,
All the way up to his chin,
So he can deserve this land.
Gentlemen good and courteous,
May you never depart from this world
Until you hazard your luck
And try that penance,
So that you can see that land
And never more return from it.
Let us pray God that it may be so,
Amen, pur Seint Charitée.
Far out to sea and west of Spain
There is a country named Cockaygne.
No place on earth compares to this
For sheer delightfulness and bliss.
Though Paradise is fair and bright,
Cockaygne is a finer sight.
In Paradise what's to be seen
But grass and flowers and branches green?
Though paradisal joys are sweet,
There's nothing there but fruit to eat;
No bench, no chamber, and no hall,
No alcoholic drink at all.
Its inhabitants are few,
Elijah, Enoch---just the two;
They must find it boring there
Without more company to share.
But Cockaygne offers better fare,
And without worry, work, or care;
The food is good, the drink flows free
At lunchtime, suppertime, and tea.
It's true without a doubt, I swear,
No earthly country could compare;
Under heaven no land but this
Has such abundant joy and bliss.
There is many a pleasant sight,
It's always day, there is no night.
There are no quarrels and no strife,
There is no death, but always life;
Food and clothing are never short,
You'll never hear a sharp retort,
Or see a snake, or wolf, or fox,
Horse or gelding, cow or ox,
Never a sheep or goat or pig---
And so, of course, no dung to dig---
No stud-farm of any kind;
Here there are better things to find.
There's no fly or flea or louse
In clothes, in village, bed, or house;
There's no thunder, sleet, or hail,
Or any nasty worm or snail,
No storm, wind, rain of any kind.
No man or woman there is blind,
But all is pleasure, joy, and bliss.
Happy the man who has all this!
There are rivers great and fine
Of oil and milk, honey and wine;
Water's uses there are few---
For washing in, and for the view.
The fruit is fine beyond all measure---
Everything is joy and pleasure.
An abbey's there, a handsome sight,
Of monks with habits grey and white.
The house has many rooms and halls;
Pies and pasties form the walls,
Made with rich fillings, fish and meat,
The tastiest a man could eat.
Flour-cakes are the shingles all
Of cloister, chamber, church, and hall.
The nails are puddings, rich and fat---
Kings and princes might dine on that.
There you can come and eat your fill,
And not be blamed for your self-will.
All is common to young and old,
To strong and stern, to meek and bold.
There is a cloister, fine and light,
Broad and long, a pleasant sight;
The pillars in that cloister found
Are made of crystal, smooth and round,
And at their foot and at their head
Are jasper green and coral red.
In its garden is a tree,
A very pleasant sight to see:
Ginger and galingale the roots,
And zedoary all the shoots,
The flowers are mace, quite excellent,
Cinnamon gives the bark its scent,
Cloves are the fruit, whose taste is rare.
There's no lack of cubebs there.
There are roses red of hue,
And lilies lovely to the view;
They never fade by day or night.
This must be a pleasant sight!
In this abbey are four well-springs
For ointment and for medicines,
For balm, and spiced and sweetened wine,
Always flowing, rich and fine.
All the ground these streams run on
Is of gold and precious stone,
There are pearls and sapphires blue,
Astriums and rubies too,
Emeralds, gemstones, and prasine,
Onyx, beryl, and topazine,
Amethyst and chrysolite,
Chalcedony and hepatite.
Many birds there tell their tale,
Throstle, thrush, and nightingale,
Skylark and golden oriole,
And other birds, an endless roll,
That never cease by day or night
Sweetly to sing with all their might.
And still I've more to tell of it;
The geese when roasted on the spit
Fly to the abbey (believe it or not)
And cry out 'Geese, all hot, all hot!'
With garlic in great quantity,
The best-dressed geese a man could see.
The larks are known to do the same---
Land in your mouth, well-cooked and tame,
Freshly stewed and nicely done,
Sprinkled with cloves and cinnamon.
Drinking there needs no request;
You simply take what you like best.
When the monks go in to Mass,
All the windows made of glass
Are turned into a crystal bright
To give the monks some extra light.
When the Masses have been said,
And the service has been read,
The crystal turns to glass once more
In the state it was before.
There the young monks every day
After their meal go out to play;
No hawk or other bird could fly
Faster or better through the sky
Than the monks in sporting mood,
With their fluttering sleeves and hood.
When the abbot sees them fly,
Their antics make his spirits high;
But still he calls the busy throng
Down from the sky for Evensong.
The monks, reluctant to obey,
In headlong flight swoop far away.
When the abbot sees this sight,
His monks refusing to alight,
He takes a maiden standing near,
And upon her snow-white rear
Beats a tattoo with open hand
To make his monks come down to land.
When his young monks see that sight,
By the maiden they alight,
Round about her they career,
And each one pats her snow-white rear,
And then, with all their labour done,
Soberly they walk, each one,
Home for a drink at their collation,
In file according to their station.
Another abbey is nearby---
For sure, a fine big nunnery,
Upon a river of sweet milk,
With a generous store of silk.
When the summer's day is hot,
The young nuns take a boat
And go out on the river here;
Some will row and others steer.
Once the abbey is far away,
They strip stark-naked for their play,
And leap in from the river's brim,
Showing how skillfully they swim.
When the young monks see that sight,
They all take off in rapid flight;
Each monk, descending on a nun,
Takes for himself his chosen one,
And swiftly carries off his prey
To the mighty abbey grey,
And teaches the nuns an orison
With country dancing up and down.
The monk who wants to be a stud,
A rakish angle to his hood,
Shall have, without reproof or fear
A dozen wives for every year,
Not through grace but as a right,
Purely for his own delight.
And that monk who sleeps the best
And gives himself a thorough rest,
May, if he cultivates the habit,
Hope to end up as Father Abbot.
Whoever wants to reach this place,
Heavy penance he must face;
The man who hopes to share its bliss
For seven years---be sure of this---
Must wade through pigshit to his chin,
The pleasures of Cockaygne to win.
Gentlemen, well-bred and kind,
May you not leave the world behind
Till you take on this enterprise
And serve the penance for the prize;
That you may see that land at last,
Turning your back on all the past,
Let us pray God, so may it be!
Amen, for holy charity.
Dutch      
Middle Dutch Rhyming Text English Translation  







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Dit is van dat edele lant van Cockaengen

Die neringhe is menigherande
Die men doet in allen lande
Om dat lijff mede t'ondraghen
Hoert, wat ic u sal ghewaghen
Ick quam laesten in een lant.
Daer ic vreemt was ende onbecant.
Nu moechdi horen wonder groot,
Wat God den luden daer gheboet
In dat lant te wessen ende te sijn
Sonder arbeit ende sonder pijn!
Dit wort den luden wel becant.
Sach ye man beter lant
Dan dat lant van Cockaengen?
Die helft is beter dan al Spaengen
D'ander helft is beter dan Betouwen.
Men heft er wil van schonen vrouwen.
Dit is 't lant van den Heligen Gheest.
Wie daer lancst slaept, de wint meest.
Daer en derf nyemant doen werck,
Out, jonc, cranc of sterk.
Daer en mach nyemant yet gheborsten
Die wanden sijn daer ghemaect van worsten.
Daer sijn die veynsteren ende doren
Ghemaect van salmen ende van storen
Die tafelborden sijn struven in pannen,
Van bier sijn ghemaect die kannen
Die platelen die in den huse sijn,
Sijn van fijn guldijn.
Dat broet al shoen ter wijn
Alsoe claer als die sonnenschijn,
Die balkan, die daer in den huse leggen,
Sijn ghemaect van boterwegghen
Haspelen, spinrocken ende alsulke dinghen
Sijn ghebacken van crakelinghen.
Daer sijn die bancken ende stoelen
Ghebacken all van roffiolen.
Daer sijn die solreplancken oek
Ghebacken van claren pepercoeck.
Die latten sijn palinghen ghebraden,
Die huise syn gedeckt mit vladen,
Die syn geflochten sonder waen,
Daer lopen hasen ende conynen,
Wil herten ende everswynen
Van w ?
Die mach men vangen mitter hant
Sach oyt iemant beter lant!
Want schoen leyder syn daer oeck goitkoep,
Voer elke deur licht er eyn hoep,
Elkerlijc na synen sin
Daerto kous en ende schoen:
Die wil, die maech se aendoyn,
Al waer hi ridder ofte knccht.
Daer vint men tot allen straeten gespreit
Schone tafelen, die men nyemant weiderseit,
Eten, drincken mach men alle den dach
Daer en derf nyemant gheven ghelach,
Als men hier ten lande doet.
Och, dat lant van Cockaengen is so goet!
Het reghent daer in allen hoecken
Vladen, pasteyen ende pannekoecken.
in dat lant loept een ryvier
Van goeden wijn, van goeden bier,
Muscadel and oec clareyt
Romeny die men ontseit.
Die mach men drincken goeden cost
Wil men wijn of wil men most
Mit ghenghever ende mit muscaten
Sijn ghemaect aldaer die straten.
Veel ghels is daer goet tijt.
Daer en draecht man hat noch nijt,
So wat men daer in 't lant vint legghen,
Dat neemt men sonder wedersegghen.
Ende doet daermede sijn bederve
Recht of 't waer sijn eyghen erve.
Het is daer altijt of 't waer meye.
Daer singt elc voghel sijnre leye.
Daer coemt in die maent vijf weken
?? niet ghebreken
Ende iiij. Paes chen in 't jaer
Ende vier Pinte ren daernaer
?? nte Jans misse
?? ghewissen
Ende iiij. Kersdag he, dat is waer,
Ende eynen vasten in hondert jaer
?? mer enen halven dach
?? nye beter lant en sach.
Noch is daer een beter doecht,
Daer elck mynsche by is verhoecht.
In dat lant loept een Jordane
?? en die dier quamen
?? men dat water in haren mont
?? ouden alle worden jonc,
Recht of sy waren van twintich jaren
Dat seg ic u voerware.
Daer sijn trompen ende schelmeyen,
Daer sy op dansen ende op reyen,
Ende driven vroechden sonder ghetal.
Ick hoep 't hem ewelic duren sal.
So wie dat daer coemt in Gods namen
Die mach voerwaer wel segghen: Amen.
This is about that idyllic land of Cockaigne

Of livelihoods there are plenty
That men do in all the lands
Of keeping body and soul together.
Hear this, what I have to say!
I came lately on a land
There it was strange and unknown.
Now listen well, for 'tis wondrous true
What God the people there has commanded:
In that land to live and to be,
Without work and without pain!
This word the people will believe.
Has seen anyone a better land
Than that land of Cockaigne?
The half is better than all Spain,
The other half is better than Betouwen.
Men have their will with beautiful women.
This is the land of the Holy Ghost;
Those who longest sleep, earn the most.
The whole day long no one does work,
Whether old, young, weak or strong.
There no one suffers shortages,
The walls are there made of sausages.
There are the windows and the doors
Made of salmon and of sturgeon.
The tabletops are made out of pancakes,
Of beer are made the jugs.
The plates that are in the house
Are all of the finest gold.
The bread lies next to the wine
Which is as clear as the sunshine.
The beams that in the house are laid
Are made of butter.
Hasps and spools and all such things
Are baked of crispy crackel.
There are the benches and stools
Baked all of meat pies
There are the roof planks overhead
Baked of finest gingerbread.
The rafters are of eels grilled,
The roofs are decked with sweets,
All about together we see
The hares and rabbits
With deer and wild boar
Of  ?
They let men catch them with their hand
Has seen anyone an better land!
Nice clothes are there very cheap,
In front of each door lying in a heap,
All may to their liking choose
Stockings and shoes:
It will make one dressed so fine
Whether they be squire or knight.
There can men in all the streets find
Beautiful tables for anyone to partake
Eating, drinking make men all the day
And no one ever has to pay
As all men here in this land do
Oh, that land of Cockaigne is so good.
It rains there in all fair parts
Sweets, pastries and cooked tarts.
In that land flows a river
Of good wine, of good beer,
Muscatel and fine claret,
Sherry for men as well
This may men drink at no expense
Whether wine or whatever they want
With ginger and with nutmeg
Are what they use to pave the street
Everything there is going well
There of riches man has no need.
So what men there in the land find lying
That may take men without asking twice.
And do it like it is deserved
Sure that it truly is their own.
It is there always no time but May.
There sings every bird its own song.
There comes in the month five weeks
?? not lacking
And four Easters in the year
And four Pentecosts right behind
?? Saint John's feast
?? wish for
And four Christmas hear, that is the way
And one fast in a hundred years
?? lasts only a half day.
?? never a better land was seen.
Nowhere is there a better place
There everyone there is blessed.
In that land flows the Jordan
?? who there come in numbers
?? men that water in their mouth
?? the old all become young
As though they were twenty years old.
That's a sight to behold.
There are trumpets and pipes,
There all are dancing and going round,
And going on without care.
I hope it forever will endure strong.
So those that there come in God's name
They may overall well say: Amen
 

 

 

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1. ž = th; nis = negative, not is; vnd' heuen riche = under heaven's realm
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2. 3 = gh
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3. where men dwell no more, probably a reference to the Garden of Eden from which man was put out
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4. podinges, a reference to sausages not puddings
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5. galingale = like ginger, an aromatic root; sedwale = a spice, also known as zedoary; gilofre = clove
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6. cucubes = the berry of a climbing shrub Piper Cubeba or Cubeba officinalis, a native of Java and the adjacent islands; it resembles a grain of pepper, and has a pungent spicy flavour; used in medicine and cookery.
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7. Probably Cistercians, a branch of Benedictines.
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8. Large wooden beams making up the frame of a large building were secured at the joints by large wooden dowels.
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9. These are all various kinds of precious stones.
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10.  An early name for a precious stone said to resemble the liver in some respect.
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11.  Eveningsong = "Vespers," the hour of the office sung about sundown.
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12.  "7. 'The reading from the Collationes or lives of the Fathers, which St. Benedict instituted in his monasteries before compline' (Dict. Chr. Antiq.). ... 8. Extended to the light repast or refection taken by the members of a monastery at close of day, after the reading or conference mentioned in 7. (Many quotations combine senses 7 and 8.)."
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13. "jambe levée," literally "leg lifted up,"
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