PRICKE OF CONSCIENCE  poem 1340, window 1410 © Stanbury&Raguin/MMK

The Pricke of Conscience is a poem on the Last Days once attributed to Richard Rolle, now ascribed to an anonymous 14th-century author. In the early 15th century copies of the poem were known to have been in the possession of important members of theYorkshire laity, including Alice Bolton who gave windows to All Saints, North Street, York. A window on the theme of the poem at All Saints is dated c. 1410 and related in style to the great east window of York Minster, that depicts the Book of Revelations. See for the text,  The Pricke of Conscience (Stimulus Conscientiae), A Northumbrian Poem by Richard Rolle de Hampole ed. Richard Morris. A. Asher & Co.: Berlin, 1863. The lines of the poem are here presented with the scene of each segment of the window.  The inscriptions on the windows invariably condenses lines of the poem.

Pricke of Conscience window, All Saints North Street, York, c. 1410 © Raguin/MMK

Day 1: The sea rises and overflows the earth. (legend lost) © Raguin/MMK

The se sal ryse, als the bukes says
Abouten the heght of ilka mountayne
Fully fourty cubyttes certaybne
And in his stede even upstande
Als an hegte hille dus on the lande. Lines 4759-4763
Day 2: The sea falls. (The seconde day ye see sall be lowe as all men sall yt see) The secunde day, the se sal eb swa law
The unnethes men sal it knaw Lines 4764-4765
Day 3: The sea recedes and the earth is left again dry. (Ye iii day yt sall be playne and stande as yt was agayne) © Raguin/MMK
The thred day the se sal seme playn
And stand even in his cours agayn
Also it stode first at the bygynnyng
With-outen mare rysng or fallyng.  Lines 4766-4769
 Day 4: Sea monsters rise up and roar and invade the earth. (Ye iv. daye ye fisches sal [rest illegible]) © Raguin/MMK The fierth day, sal swilk a wonder be
The mast wondreful fisshes of the se
Sal com to-gyder and mak swilk roryng
That it sal be hydus til mans heryng
Bot what that roryng sal signify,
Na man whit, bot God almyghty.  Lines 4770-4775
Day 5: The sea is set on fire and burns; the earth then catches fire. (Ye fift daye ye see sall bryn, and all ye waters yt may ryn) The fift day , the se sal brynne
And alle watters als thai sal rynne;
And that sal last fra the son rysing
Till the tyme of the son doun gangyng.  Lines 4776-4779
Day 6: Trees are on fire and the fruits drops off. (legend effaced) © Raguin/MMK The sext day, sal spryng a blody dewe
On grisse and tres, alss it sal shewe.  Lines 4780-4781
Day 7: An earthquake shakes the buildings. (Ye sevent daye howses mon fall. Castles and towres and ilka wall.) The sevend day begynns doun sal falle
And grete castels, and tour with-alle.  Lines 4782-4783
Day 8: The rocks and the trees are consumed by the fire. (Ye viii daye ye rockes and stanes sall bryn togedyr all at anes) © Raguin/MMK The eght day, hard roches and stanes
Sal strik togyder, alle attanes.
An ilkan of tham sal doun cast
And ilkan agayn other hortel fast
Swa that ilka stan, on diverse wyse,
Sal sonder other in thre partyse.  Lines 4784-4789
Day 9: In fear, people hide themselves in holes in the earth. (legnd effaced) The neghend day, gret erthedyn dal be,
Generaly in ilka contré
And swa gret erthdyn als sal be than
Was never hard, sythen the world bygan.  Lines 4790-4793
Day 10: Only the bare earth and the sky are to be seen. (Ye tende daye for (before) even Erthe sall be playne and even) The tend day thar-aftir to neven
The erthe sal be made playn and even,
For hilles and vales sal turned be
In-til playn, and made even to se.  Lines 4794-4797
Day 11: Men, women, and a priest arise from the holes and pray. (Ye xi. daye sall men come owte of their holes and wende aboute) © Raguin/MMK The ellevend day men sal com out
Of caves, and holes and wend about,
Als wode men that na witt can;
And nane sal spek til other than.  Lines 4798-4801
Day 12: The bones in coffins come again to life. (Ye xii daye sall banes dede in [. . .] Be somen sett, and at anes ryse all)
In the window the 12th and 13th days are interchanged from the order in Rolle's poem. The thredend day sal dede men banes
Be sett to-gyder, and ryse al attanes,
And aboven on thair graves stand;
This sal byfalle in ilka land.  Lines 4804-4807
Day 13: The stars fall from heaven with a blinding light. (Ye thirtende daye suth sall sterres and ye heven fall)
In the window the 12th and 13th days are interchanged from the order in Rolle's poem. The twelfte day aftir, the sternes alle
And the signes fra the heven sal falle.  Lines 4802-4803
Day 14: A bed with a man and woman dead. Death appears as a skeleton with a spear (Ye xiv. daye all yat lives yon, sall dy, bathe childe, man, and woman) © Raguin/MMK The fourtend day, al that lyves than
Sal dighe, childe man and woman;
For thai shalle with tham rys ogayn
That byfor war dede, outher til ioy or payn.  Lines 4808-4811
Day 15: Finally, fire devours everything. (Ye xv. day yat sall betyde ye werlde sal bryn on ilka syde) The fiftend day thos sal betyde,
Alle the world sal bryn on ilke syde,
And the erthe whar we now duelle,
Until the utter end of all helle.  Lines 4812-4815
Concluding lines of Poem The Pricke of Conscience trans. of lines 4816-4824) Thus tells Jerome their tokens fifteen,
As he in the books of Hebrews had seen,
But for all the tokens that men shall see,
That shall no man certain be

What time Christ shall come to the doom,
So suddenly He down shall come,
For as befel in Noah and Lot's days,
So shall He come, for Luke in the Gospel says
Et sicut factum est in diebus Noe, ita erit in illis diebus

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