purple motes : Contra plagam & other medieval prayers against plague

by Douglas Galbi, the author of purple motes

In the mid-ninth-century Carolingian empire, the eminent Irish scholar-cleric Sedulius Scottus urged God to spare the people from plague. He prayed to God with a poem entitled “Against the plague {Contra plagam}”:

Would not your people have to drink
now the cup of your anger, deserved wrath.
May you shine upon us your former compassion;
we beg you, you hear us.

Destroy our evil deeds, we pray;
save us, blessed prince.
Disperse dark shadows covering our minds,
faithful light of the world.

Holy of Holies, Lord of kings,
may your right hand be with your lowly ones,
may your serene face look upon us,
or else we perish.

{ Non propinetur populo tuoque
nunc calix irae, meriti furoris.
clareant priscae miserationes;
quaesumus, audi.

Deleas nostrum facinus, precamur;
nosque conserva, benedicte princeps.
mentium furvas supera tenebras,
lux pia mundi.

Sancte sanctorum, dominusque regum,
visitet plebem tua sancta dextra,
nos tuo vultu videas serenus,
ne pereamus. }

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