ALL FALL DOWN
ALL FALL DOWN
Ring around the rosie,
A pocket full of posie,
They all fall down.
Petronilla, I be hight, after a saint, long dead;
Pet, Mother clucks as Father growls, willful child,
for I fail to stifle questiuns at the wizened age
of seven. Sooth, I miss Dorsetshire and London
is verray vile. These wretched streets are full of sickness
and corpses pile like fish on a dock, far from graves.
My mind hosts the lost and shall e’er be graven
with their bynames, lite ghosts left behind, all dead.
These ears hold confessions wrung from the sickened,
the curses of goodwives, the wails of stung children-
Ay, there be gruesome hymns sung by all Londoners,
strange lullabies, for e’en newborns shall not age.
A twitching moon brings dreams o’ the sea, days aged
by tidepools as plovers ran from waves, so gravely.
A hundred castles I built of sand, ech a London
tower; fey, too, were those woods filled with deadnettle
flowers. Play and prattle, everich that be childisch
is done for rattles decayed in the fists of the sickly.
I was to be a man’r maid, but that household fell sick,
so we scrounge for crumbs ‘n ole curds, un-aged.
In sleep, Mother quakes as though taken to childbed,
while Father weeps of sons and sin, his thin face, grave,
It is a though the devil his-self reaps a bounty of dead
as pestilence creeps un’er the pocked doors of London.
Ech flaxen brother saved from the muck of London,
tots all, bedridden, while I was unwemmed by sickness.
Aye, they were yet alive when we fled in the dead
o’ night; six, four, three and one were their tender ages,
Wee mites passing, no kin to tuck ‘em into their graves,
hell stilled their ruckus, stole away ech marked child.
Comes, the massacre, comes, again, Childermas,
this plague is naught but the pied piper of London,
Mother and Father unbar the door, eyes like graves
as they forsake me, nay farewells said as minutes age.
See, though bled, I now wear rings o' red, I art sick,
rath, so rath, I shall join the pale line of the dead.
I shall bear no gravestone, certes, angels shall sicken,
as blessèd children fall all o’er black London,
forbeden to axe what ages the heart, leven it deadened...
* Certain words are (mis)spelled in middle English
**Please read my comments below
Middle English Translation
Verray – true
Byname - nickname
Lite – Little
Ech – Each
Everich – every
Unwemmed – undefiled
Childermas- Dec 28th, a day to commerate the infants killed by King Herod
Certes - Certainly
Axe – ask
rath - soon