The Conclusion of "A Bear's Lent"
For the final episode of "A Bear's Lent," a little early, it seems best to let Paul the Deacon, the great chronicler of the Lombards have the last word. This poem, printed in "Die Gedichte des Paulus Diaconus" ed. Karl Neff (1908) establishes the main facts of the Bear's account, including the Bear's baptism. (Translation by the Bear.)
Sharp March's winds didst blow,
As strange party toileth slow.
Crossing snowbound passes
T'ward Turin's Easter masses.
King and bishop and a bear,
Brake into Lombard fields so fair,
With brisk spring's first petals due
For Turin's maidens soon to strew.
Corbinian, brave Frankish saint,
To Germany goeth nor complaint,
To tame the men who liveth there,
But instead he tamed a bear.
Bear through goodly father's prayer
Horse's pack doth gently bear,
But more, from out of bears among,
The only beast that hath a tongue.
Still sharp March's wind didst blow,
Yet crown, and crook and taper's glow,
A king, a bishop and the bear,
Crowned and crooked, font didst dare.
Who hath ever seen such sight?
Bear all in white linen bright?
Bear beneath that saving flood?
Bear beneath that saving rood?
If speech it is that makes a man,
And naught puts beasts beneath the ban,
Corbinian's Bear is man indeed,
Who like a man recites his creed.