the wild man comes to the monastery

There was a time when I thought sweeter than the quiet converse of monks, the cooing of the ringdove flitting about the pool.

There was a time when I thought sweeter than the sound of a little bell beside me, the warbling of the blackbird from the gable and the belling of the stag in the storm.

There was a time when i thought sweeter than the voice of a lovely woman beside me, to hear at matins the cry of the heathen of the moor.

There was a time when I thought sweeter the howling of wolves, than the voice of a priest indoors, baa-ing and bleating.

Though you like your ale with ceremony in the drinking-halls, I like better to snatch a drink of water in my palm from a spring.

Though you think sweet, yonder in your church, the gentle talk of your students, sweeter I think the splendid talking the wolves make in Glenn mBolcain.

Though you like the fat and meat which are eaten in the drinking-halls, I like better to eat a head of clean wter-cress in a place wihtout sorrow.

Irish; author unknown; 12th century