Pangur Ban

Nov 9, 2011 by

My wife Erin came home this morning excited about a very old poem she read exclaiming, “It reminds me of you and Bahji” and after reading the poem I couldn’t disagree and decided that I wanted to share it with you.

Pangur Ban, was written in the 8th or 9th century, on a 4-page manuscript by an anonymous Irish Benedictine monk who lived in the extant St. Paul’s Monastery on Reichenau Island in Lake Constance (Bodensee), where Germany meets with Carinthia, Austria.

Pangur Ban

I and Pangur Ban my cat,
Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill will,
He too plies his simple skill.

Tis a merry thing to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur’s way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

‘Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
‘Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our tasks we ply,
Pangur Ban, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.

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