Christian History Project. This site contains the text of 12 volumes on the history of mankind over the last 2,000 years written from a 'collectively-denominational' Christian perspective.

Pangur Ban |
A touch of doggerel on a monastic cat

Pangur Ban is drawn from Chapter Nine, beginning on page 252, of Volume Four, Darkness Descends of the twelve-volume historical series The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years. If you would like to order this book please visit www.TheChristians.info.

Pangur Ban - A touch of doggerel on a monastic cat

Pangur Ban – A touch of doggerel on a monastic cat

The Irish monks, most of whom would spend thousands upon thousands of hours diligently copying ancient biblical and classical manuscripts, often made little notations of their own in the margins. This poem is typical. It is dedicated by a late-working monk to his cat. Some ascribe it to St. Gall, the gentle seventh-century missionary who is credited with introducing Christianity to the Swiss.

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

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

’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.

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

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

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

Translated by Robin Flower

This is the end of the Pangur Ban category article drawn from Chapter Nine, beginning on page 252, of Volume Four, Darkness Descends. To continue reading more about Pangur Ban from The Christians, Their First Two Thousand Years we suggest experiencing the rest of the book, complete with hundreds of magnificent illustrations, by ordering it at www.TheChristians.info