The Metrical Charms:
“For Unfruitful Land”
A Translation by Michelle Valore
Here is the relief, how you are able to repair your cultivated lands if they
will not flourish very easily, or where some improper deed is done upon them
by sorcery or witchcraft.
Then in night, before it
grows light, seize four turfs from four sides
of the land and mark how they were previously positioned.
Then seize oil, honey, and yeast, and milk of each animal that is on the land
and a portion of each tree that is grown on the land (except hardwood),
and a part of every well-known plant (but only excepting buckbean)
and then put holy water on them, and drip it three times onto
the underside position of the turf, and then say this speech:
Crescite, grow, et multiplicamini, and multiply, et replete, and
fill, terre, the earth. May it be blessed in the name of the Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit. And say the Paternoster (Our Father) as often as this other.
And then carry the turf to the church and let the priest sing
four masses over the turfs and let the green sides be turned to
the altar, and afterwards let the turfs be brought to their former
place of existence before the sun sinks. And let four crosses of Christ be prepared from
aspen or juniper and compose onto every end:
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Lay the symbol of Christ into the hole and then speak: Cross
of Matthew, Cross of Mark, Cross of Luke, Cross of Saint John.
Then take the turfs and lay them there up high, and then
say the Paternoster (Our Father) just as frequently,
and then turn East and humbly bow nine times
and then speak these words:
I stand facing the East, for grace I pray.
I pray the glorious Domine, then pray the great Lord
then I pray the holy guardian of the kingdom of heaven,
I pray Earth and heaven above
and the true Saint Mary
and the heaven’s might and the high hall,
so that I may worship with the gift of the Lord
reveal through my teeth, firm purpose,
raise up these fruits for our worldly use
to fill this earth with firm belief
beautify this meadow-turf, as the wise man said,
that he who distributed alms
as the Lord wills would have grace in the earthly realm.
Then turn yourself three times with the sun, and stretch
yourself and recite the litany and then speak: Sanctus, Sanctus,
Sanctus to the end. Then sing Benedicite with outstretched arms
and Magnificat and the Our Father three times and commit it to Christ
and Saint Mary and the holy cross in praise
and in honor of him who owns the land and all who
are under him. When all that has been done,
let one take an unknown seed from a beggar and give him twice
as much as whatever has been taken from him, and then gather
together all his plowing equipment. Then in a hole, place
incense, fennel, hallowed soap, and hallowed salt in the plough tree. Then take
the seed and place it on the frame of the plough and speak:
Erce, Erce, Erce, mother of earth,
may the Ruler of all, the eternal Lord, grant you
growing and flourishing fields,
increasing and strengthening,
sky-scraping stalks and lovely fruits,
and the broad barley-crop,
and the white wheat crop,
and all the crops and fruits of the earth.
May the eternal Lord and his saints,
who are in heaven grant him
that his crops be defended from every enemy,
and protected against every evil thing
of witches, sown throughout the land.
Now I pray the Ruler who has created this world
that there be no woman so argumentative or man so powerful
as can turn away from the words spoken.
Then drive the plough forwards, open up the first trench,
Be well, earth, mother of mankind!
Grow in the Lord’s embrace,
filled with food for men’s use.
Then seize meal of every kind and bake a loaf of bread as
large as the inside of the hand, and knead it with milk and holy water and
lay it under the first trench. Then speak:
field full of food for the human race,
blossoming brightly, blessed be
in the holy name of Him who created everything above
and the earth which we live upon,
the God who created everything grant us a growing gift,
so that every grain comes to our use.
Then say, “Crescite in nominee patris, sit benedicti,” three times.
[Say] Amen and Our Father three times.