Brief life is here our portion

Brief life is here our portion. Bernard of Cluny* (12th century), translated by John Mason Neale* (1818-1866). This is a translation of ‘Hic breve vivitur, his breve plangitur, hic breve fletur’, from the poem by Bernard of Cluny (or Morlaix), De Contemptu Mundi. That poem began ‘Hora novissima, tempora pessima sunt, vigilemus’* (later translated by Neale as ‘The world is very evil’*), but Neale first worked from an extract by Richard Chenevix Trench (in Sacred Latin Poetry, 1849) beginning ‘Hic breve vivitur’. ‘Brief life is here our portion’ was part of a poem that also included ‘For thee, O dear, dear country’* and ‘Jerusalem the golden’*. It was divided into three parts at no 142 in...

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