"Erthe Upon Erthe" as written by and Ruth Galloway....
Erthe out of erthe is wonderly wroghte
Erthe hase geten one erthe a dignite of noghte
Erthe upon erthe hase sett alle his thoghte
How that erthe upon erthe may be heghe broghte

Erthe upon erthe wolde be a kinge
Bot how erthe to erthe shall thinkes he no thinge
When erthe bredes erthe and his rentes home bringe
Thane shall erthe of erthe have full harde parting

Memento, homo, quad cinis es
Et in cenerem reverentis

Erthe upon erthe winnes castells and towrres
Thane sayse erthe unto erthe, "This es al ourres"
When erthe upon erthe has bigged up his barres
Thane shall erthe for erthe suffere sharpe scowrres

Memento, homo, quad cinis es
Et in cenerem reverentis

Erthe goes upon erthe as molde upon molde
He that gose upon erthe, gleterande as golde
Like erthe never more go to erthe sholde
And yitt shall erthe unto erthe ga rathere than he wolde

Whye erthe lurves erthe, wondere me thinke
Or why erthe for erthe sholde other swete or swinke
For when erthe upon erthe has broughte within brinke
Thane shall erthe of erthe have a foul stinke

Memento, homo, quad cinis es
Et in cenerem reverentis

Memento, homo, quad cinis es
Et in cenerem reverentis

Lyrics submitted by wolfchilde

"Erthe Upon Erthe" as written by Ruth Galloway

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Erthe Upon Erthe song meanings
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    General CommentIt's a bit easier to understand the song with the lyrics translated into modern English:

    Earth has been miraculously created out of earth
    Earth has attained a high position on earth out of nothing
    Earth has fixed all his thoughts
    On trying to raise earth to heaven on earth

    Earth wants to be an earthly king
    But earth doesn't have a clue how on earth to go about it
    When earth breeds earth and brings his reward home
    Earth and earth will have to bid each other a tragic farewell

    Remember, o man, that you are ashes
    And into ashes you will return

    Earth conquers castles and towers on earth
    Then says earth to the earth, "All of this belongs to us"
    When earth has built up his defences on earth
    That is when earth will really get his come-uppance from earth

    Remember, o man, that you are ashes
    And into ashes you will return

    Earth is piled up on earth like dirt on dirt
    He who swans around the earth, glittering like gold
    As though earth won't really have to return to earth
    Will soon find earth indeed becoming earth again, no matter how much he tries to fight it

    I really wonder why earth loves earth
    Or why earth should toil and work for earth's sake
    Because when earth is brought to the earth of his grave
    Earth back in the earth will stink to high heaven

    Remember, o man, that you are ashes
    And into ashes you will return

    Remember, o man, that you are ashes
    And into ashes you will return

    The fascinating thing about this song is the play on words and the juxtaposition of the song itself with the Ash Wednesday prayer "Remember, O man, that you are ashes and into ashed you will return."

    The word "earth" sometimes refers to the dirt or the planet and sometimes to a man, who is made out of dirt (or ashes.) It talks about how the earth-man tries to conquer the entire Earth, that from which he was made. And when he does, he dies. The Earth he conquered conquers him and he stinks to high heaven.

    Presumably, the earth-man should have fixed his mind not on trying to raise Earth to heaven, but his thoughts and soul to heaven, although that is not stated in the song. Or, perhaps it just means, "You're going to die anyway, so why try to do anything important." It reminds me of another poem about Erthe and the poem "Ozymandias" which I will post here:

    Erþe toc of erþe erþe wyþ woh
    Erþe oþer erþe to þe erþe droh
    Erþe leyde erþe in erþene þroh
    þo heuede erþe of erþe erþe ynoh

    This translates, roughly, to:

    Earth took earth from earth with woe,
    earth dragged other earth to the earth;
    earth put earth into an earthen chest.
    Then earth had enough earth from earth.

    Of 'that which is of the earth' [a person]
    being taken from the earth [the world of men]
    and buried in the earth [in a grave]


    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
    Nothing beside remains: round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.
    criostoiron June 29, 2007   Link

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