Mother Shipton’s Prophecy


In the air men shall be seen
In white, in black, in green.
Fire and water shall more wonders do.
England shall at last admit a Jew,
The Jew that was held in scorn
Shall of a Christian be born, and born.

When pictures look alive with movements free,
When ships, like fishes, swim beneath the sea,
When men, outstripping birds can soar the sky,
Then half the world, deep-drenched in blood
Shall die.

Women will dress like men and trousers wear,
And cut off all their locks of hair.
They will ride astride with brazen brow,
And love shall die and marriage cease,
And nations wane, and babes decrease,
And wives shall fondle cats and dogs,
And men shall live much as hogs,
Just for food and lust.

Iron in the water shall float,
as easily as a wooden boat.
Through hills shall man ride,
And no horse be at his side.
Carriages without horses shall go,
And accidents fill the world with woe.
Around the world thought shall fly,
in the twinkling of an eye.
Under water men shall walk,
Shall ride, shall sleep, shall talk.


I don’t know the origin of this version or compilation of Mother Shipton’s prophecies (Ursula Southeil, c. 1488–1561), but it is pretty straight-forward, without all the vague mumbo-jumbo subject to any interpretation of most “prophecies.” The lines about a Jew is unclear, unless it could refer to Benjamin Disraeli, twice Prime Minister of Britain and of Italian Jewish Descent. Until 1858 a Jew could not serve in Parliament, but Disraeli was baptized Christian. Sequentially, there are predictions at least of motion pictures, submarines, airplanes, a world-war, women’s liberation (?), descent of moral standards, iron ships, automobiles, and radio. Not bad for the 16th century! It is hard to see how a peasant woman in the 1500’s could even have such thoughts.

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