THE TWELVE WORDS OF TRUTH. 
THIS is a 'ritornella,' the whole being repeated over as each new sentence is added. I remember, years ago, meeting the same in Wiltshire, and then there was this additional refrain to be repeated:
'When want is all the go;
And it evermore shall be so.'
Then it went on:
'I'll sing you three O;
Three O are rivo.'
If I remember right, there were no numbers before three-o. Four, were the four Evangelists, and nine, the nine orders of angels, as in the text; but the seventh line was 'seven are the seven bright stars in the sky,' and this, taken in connexion with the text, establishes a curious link in popular mythology between the mysterious Seven-branch Candlestick and the Pleïades. Subjoined is a translation of the text.
'One, and first, is the Lord God, ever ready to help us.' ('Domeniddio' is a popular way of naming God, like the French 'le bon Dieu,' identical with the German 'unser Herrgott.') 
'Two stands for the keys of heaven. There is gold.' (This would be the literal rendering of this line, but it has manifestly been lamed by bad memory.) 
'Three stands for three patriarchs, &c.' 
'Four stands for the four columns which support the world, &c.' 
'Five stands for the five wounds of Jesus Christ.' 
'Six stands for the six cocks which crowed in Galilee.' 
'Seven are the seven tapers that burnt in Jerusalem.' ('Cantorno' for cantarono, a vulgar transposition, like 'hunderd,' and 'childern,' in English; 'ardorno' similarly, instead of 'arderono,' though 'arsero' would be the correct form.) 
'Eight' stands for the octave of Christ. (Probably in allusion to the 'octave,' or eight days' festival, of Christmas.) 
'Nine' stands for the nine quires of angels. 
'Ten' stands for the ten years of Christ. (What 'ten years' it is not easy to see.) 
'Eleven' stands for the crowning with thorns. (St. Bridget or Soeur Emmerich, in their minute meditations or 'Revelations' on the Passion, have fixed a number for the thorns in our Lord's crown, but I do not remember what they make it; there may be a tradition that it was eleven.) 
'Twelve' stands for the Twelve Apostles. 
 Le dodici Parole della Verità.
 'Uno e primo è Domeniddio, che sempre c'aiuta.'
 'Due sono le chiavi del cielo, c'è l'oro.'
 'Tre sono tre Patriarchi Abramine, Giacobbe, e Isaache.'
 'Quattro sono le quattro colonne che il mondo mantiene; Luca, Giovanni, Marco, e Matteo.'
 'Cinque sono le piaghe de Gesù Cristo.'
 'Sei sono i sei galli che cantorno in Galilea.'
 'Sette sono i sette cerini ch' ardorno in Gerusalemme.'
 'Otto è l'ottava di Cristo.'
 'Nove sono i nove cori degli angeli.'
 'Dieci è la diecenna di Cristo.'
 'Undici è la coronazione di spine.'
 'Dodici sono i dodici Apostoli.'
Twelve Words of Truth, The
Busk, Rachel Harriette
Roman Legends: A Collection of the Fables and Folk-lore of Rome
Busk, Rachel Harriette
Estes and Lauriat
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