The Prophecy of Melkin

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The Prophecy of Melkin

Melkin, supposedly, was a pagan Celtic bard who lived before Merlin, sometime in the fifth century. A prophecy included in John of Glastonbury's fourteenth century "Chronicle" is attributed to him wherein Joseph of Arimathea, together with two "cruets" containing the blood and sweat of Christ (which he is said to have brought with him on his mission to Britain in AD 63) were buried near the Old Church on the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey.

There may be a faint trace of a connection, here, with a comment by Gerald of Wales in his account of the exhumation of the body of King Arthur on the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey in 1190. In the account, he states that Henry II had been told the location of Arthur's body by a "British soothsayer." In this case, too, we have a seer or prophet of the Celtic tradition making known the location of a previously unknown grave of an individual of significance to the Arthurian legend, within the confines of Glastonbury Abbey's cemetary. Perhaps Melkin's prophecy, which cannot be traced back earlier than John of Glastonbury's "Chronicle," is merely a re-working of an older prophecy about Arthur. The prophecy promised that when Joseph's grave was found and opened, Britain would never again know drought. In part, the prophecy read:

Amid these Joseph in marble
Of Arimathea by name
Hath found perpetual sleep
And he lies on a two-forked line
Next the south corner of an oratory
Fashioned of wattles
For the adoring of a mighty Virgin

In his sarcophagus
Two cruets, white and silver
Filled with blood and sweat
Of the Prophet Jesus
When his sarcophagus
Shall be found entire, intact
In time to come, it shall be seen

And shall be open unto all the world
Thenceforth nor water nor the dew of heaven
Shall fail the dwellers in that ancient isle
For a long while before
The day of judgment in Josaphat
Open shall these things be
And declared to living men

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