Hymn Against Pestilence

A great pestilence namely the Buide Connail (the Yellow Plague) which ransacked all Ireland and left only one man in every three alive led to this hymn by St. Colman.

God’s blessing lead us, help us!

May Mary’s song veil us!

May we be under His safeguard tonight!

Whither we go may He guard us well!

Whether in rest or motion,

Whether sitting or standing,

The Lord of Heaven against every strife,

This is the prayer that we will pray.

May the prayer of Abel son of Adam,

Enoch, Elias help us;

May they save us from swift disease

On whatever side, throughout the noisy world.

Noah and Abraham,

Issac the wonderful son,

May they surround us against pestilence,

That famine may not come to us!

We entreat the father of three tetrads,

And Joseph their junior:

May their prayers save us

To the king many-angeled, noble!

May Moses the good leader protect us,

Who protected us through Rubrum Mare,

Joshua, Aaron Amre’s son,

David the bold lad.

May Job with his trials

Protect us past the poisons!

May God’s prophets defend us,

With Maccabee’s seven sins!

John the Baptist we invoke,

May he be a safeguard to us, a protection!

May Jesus with His apostles

Be for our help against danger!


A great pestilence was sent on the men of Ireland, namely the Buide Connail (the Yellow Plague), which ransacked all Ireland, and left only one man in every three alive. And it was to protect them and his school against that pestilence that Colman made this hymn. And it befell that he composed it when he began to make for a certain island of the sea of Ireland, outside, fleeing from this pestilence, so that there might be nine waves between them and the land, for pestilence does not pass beyond that.

This is an 8th century Irish poem translated by Whitley Stokes and John Strachan.

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