Lives of the Saints
Compiled by Jacobus de Voragine,
Archbishop of Genoa, 1275
First Edition Published 1470
ENGLISHED by WILLIAM CAXTON, First Edition 1483
From the Temple Classics Edited by F.S. ELLIS First issue of this Edition, 1900 Reprinted 1922, 1931
· The Life of S. Rocke [Roch, Rocco]
· The Life of S. Bernard [of Clairvaux]
· The Life of S. Timothy
· The Life of S. Symphorien
· The Life of S. Bartholomew
· The Life of S. Austin of Hippo [Augustine]
· The Decollation of S. John Baptist [Beheading of John the Baptist]
· The Life of S. Felix
· The Life of S. Savien
· The Life of S. Savina
· The Life of S. Lowe or Lupus [Lupe]
· The Life of S. Mammertin
· The Life of S. Giles
· The Nativity of Our Lady
· The Life of S. Adrian
· The Life of S. Gorgone
· The Lives of SS. Prothus and Jacinctus
· The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
· The Life of S. John Chrysostom
· The Lives of SS. Cornelius and Cyprian
· The Life of S. Eufemia [Euphemia]
· The Life of S. Lambert
· The Life of S. Matthew
· The Life of S. Maurice
· The Life of S. Justina
· The Lives of SS. Cosmo and Damian [Cosmos]
· The Life of S. Forsey
· The Feast of S. Michael
· The Life of S. Jerome
· The Translation of S. Remigius
· The Life of S. Logier [Ledger]
· The Life of S. Francis [of Asissi]
· The Life of S. Pelagienne [Pelagia]
· The Life of S. Margaret, also called S. Pelagien [Pelagia/us]
· The Life of S. Thaisis [Thais]
· The Life of S. Denis
· The Life of S. Calixtus
Here followeth the Life of S. Rocke
S. ROCKE was born in Montpelier, which is a town of great name upon the border of France, and was born of noble progeny. His father was lord of Montpelier, and was named John, and was come of the noble house of France. And though he was noble of birth, and rich of lordship, he was also virtuous in all humanity. He had a wife of noble kindred and fair of visage named Libera, which both devoutly served our Lord Jesu Christ, and lived in divine love and holy works. And how well that they thus had lived long, yet had they no child ne heir, wherefore they oft made their prayers, and vowed pilgrimages. And on a day most specially, the wife made her prayers to our Blessed Lady, praying devoutly for to have a child, and was in very contemplation, in which she heard the voice of an angel saying: O Libera, God hath heard thy prayer, and thou shalt receive of him grace of thy petition. And anon she went to her husband and told him as she had heard of the angel. And then they, hereof joyful, accomplished the act of matrimony, and she conceived, and at time was delivered of a son, which in his baptism was named Rochus or Rocke.And this Rocke had impressed in the shoulder on his left side a cross, which was a token that he should be acceptable and beloved of God, which thing when his father and mother saw they blessed God, and his mother herself nourished and gave suck to the child, and fed it and committed and did gladly the other business of a nurse. Which devout mother fasted twice in the week, and the blessed child Rocke abstained him twice also, when his mother fasted in the week, and would suck his mother but once that day, which was to all a great wonder, and that day he was gladder, merrier, and sweeter than the other. And after, when he came to five years of age, he disposed him to the works of penance, and was much obedient to father and mother. And in the twelfth year of his age he fasted many and divers fastings for Christ's love. And the more his members grew, the more the cross, that tofore was spoken of, appeared larger and more apparent.
In that time the father of S. Rocke was sick and saw his last end approach, and called to him his son Rocke, and said: O mine only son Rocke, thou seest well that I shall shortly finish my life; alway the will of God be fulfilled, and four things, with my lordship and heritage, I leave to thee, and command thee to accomplish. First, like as thou hast begun that thou serve busily God. Secondly, that thou remember poor people, widows and orphans. Thirdly, I constitute and ordain thee governor and dispenser of all my treasures, that thou dispend them in charitable and meek works. And fourthly that, with all diligence thou haunt and frequent the hospitals of sick and poor men. These foresaid things Rocke promised to his father to fulfil them to his power. And anon after his father died, whom Rocke buried honourably, and laid in a sepulture, and in the twentieth year of his age he buried also his devout mother. And in few days he executed the testament of his father effectually, and visited religious places of poor people; wretches oppressed, and sick men, he cured by counsel and works; widows and orphans he comforted; and poor maidens to marry he relieved. And in these good offices and works he dispended his father's goods. And when he had finished his father's commandments he decreed to leave the country of Montpelier and to make and seek other divers pilgrimages, and clad him with the habit of a pilgrim, and covered his head with a bonnet, a scrip on his shoulder, and a pilgrim's staff in his right hand, and so departed.
And after many desert places he came to Rome, but tofore he came into a town called in Latin Aquapendens, where as was a common and hard pestilence, which, when Rocke knew of many by the way, he desirously went unto the hospital of that town, called Water-hanging, and gat with great prayers and labour of one Vincent, which had the rule of the hospital, that he might there, day and night, serve the sick people. Vincent was afeard and dreaded lest Rocke, which was a young flowering man should be smitten with pestilence. But after that he came, them that were sick he blessed in the name of Christ, and as soon he had touched the sick men they were all whole. And they said and confessed as soon as and this holy man Rocke was come in. All they that were vexed and sick, and the fire of pestilence had infected, he extincted it and delivered all the hospital of that sickness. And after he went through the town, and each house that was vexed with pestilence he entered, and with the sign of the cross and mind of the passion of Jesu Christ he delivered them all from the pestilence. For whomsoever Rocketouched, anon the pestilence left him. And when the town of Water-falling was delivered from the contagion of the pestilence, Rocke went to the city of Cesena which is a great city of Italy, which no less pestilence vexed, and he in a short space delivered it from the pestilence. And from thence he came to Rome, which was then so full of pestilence that unnethe in all the town could not be found one house void thereof. In those days there was at Rome a cardinal of the title of Angleria, which is a province of Lombardy, and the blessed Rocke came into this cardinal's place. And as he stood tofore him a little, suddenly a marvellous comfort and hope entered into the courage of the cardinal. He understood the young man Rocke to be right dear with God, for his cheer, his manners, and his attemperance showed it, wherefore he commended him to Rocke that he should deliver him from the pestilence and conserve him. And then Rocke did sign in the cardinal's forehead and made with his finger a cross. And anon an apparent sign and a very cross was seen impressed in his forehead, and so the cardinal was preserved from the pestilence. Nevertheless, for the novelty of the thing, he prayed S. Rocke that the token of the cross should be taken away, lest thereby it should be to the people a new spectacle. Then Rocke exhorted the cardinal that he should bear the sign of the cross of our Redeemer, in memory of his passion, in his forehead perpetually, and worship it reverently, by which sign he was delivered from the hard pestilence. The cardinal then brought S. Rocke to the pope, which anon saw that is godly, a bright ray and heavenly, shining out of the forehead of Rocke. And after, when his divine virtue was known to the pope, Rocke obtained of him full remission of sin. Then the cardinal began to inquire of Rocke of his lineage and of his country, but Rocke affecting no mortal glory, hid his lineage and received again of the pope his blessing and departed from him. And abode at Rome with the same cardinal three years continually, and laboured in visiting and helping the poor people and them that were sick of the pestilence. And after three years the cardinal, being old, died, and Rocke forsook Rome and came to the town of Armine, a noble city of Italy, which also he delivered from the said pestilence. And when that town was delivered, he went to the city of Manasem in Lombardy, which was also sore oppressed with sick men of the pestilence, whom with all his heart he served diligently, and by the help of God made that town quit of the pestilence. And from thence went to Piacenza, for he understood that there was great pestilence. Rocke was ever of great study how he might, in the name of Jesu and of his passion, deliver mortal men from the hurt of pestilence. And so an whole year he visited the houses of poor men, and they that had most need, to them he did most help, and was always in the hospital. And when he had been long in the hospital of Piacenza, and had helped almost all the sick men therein, about midnight he heard in his sleep an angel thus saying:
O Rocke, most devout to Christ, awake and know that thou art smitten with the pestilence, study now how thou mayst be cured. And anon he felt him sore taken with the pestilence under his both arms, and he thereof gave than kings to our Lord. And he was so sore vexed with the pain, that they that were in the hospital were deprived of their sleep and rest of the night, wherefore S. Rocke arose from his bed and went to the utterest place of the hospital, and lay down there abiding the light of the day. And when it was day the people going by saw him, and accused the master of the hospital of offence, that he suffered the pilgrim to lie without the hospital, but he purged him of that default, saying that: The pilgrim was smitten with the pestilence as ye see, and unwitting to us he went out. Then the citizens incontinent put out S. Rocke from the city and suburbs, lest by him the city might be the more infected. Then S. Rocke, sore oppressed with fervent pain of the pestilence, suffered patiently himself to be ejected out of Piacenza, and went into a certain wood, a desert valley not far from Piacenza, always blessing God. And there as he might he made him a lodge of boughs and leaves, always giving thankings to our Lord, saying: O Jesu, my Saviour, I thank thee that thou puttest me to affliction like to thine other servants, by this odious ardour of pestilence, and most meek Lord, I beseech thee to this desert place, give the refrigery and comfort of thy grace.And his prayer finished, anon there came a cloud from heaven by the lodge that S. Rocke had made within boughs, whereas sprang a fair and bright well, which is there yet unto this day. Whose water S. Rocke drank, being sore athirst, and thereof had great refreshing of the great heat that he suffered of the pestilence fever.
There was nigh unto that wood a little village in which some noblemen dwelled; among whom there was one well beloved to God named Gotard,which had great husbandry, and had a great family and household. This Gotard held many hounds for hunting, among whom he had one much familiar, which boldly would take bread from the board. And when Rocke lacked bread, that hound, by the purveyance of God, brought from the lord's board bread unto Rocke. Which thing when Gotard had advertised oft that he bare so away the bread, but he wist not to whom ne whither, whereof he marvelled, and so did all his household. And the next dinner he set a delicate loaf on the board, which anon the hound by his new manner took away and bare it to Rocke. And Gotard followed after and came to the lodge of S. Rocke, and there beheld how familiarly the hound delivered the bread to S. Rocke. Then Gotard reverently saluted the holy man and approached to him, but S. Rocke, dreading lest the contagious air of the pestilence might infect him, said to him: Friend, go from me in good peace, for the most violent pestilence holdeth me. Then Gotard went his way and left him, and returned home, where, by God's grace, he said thus to himself all still: This poor man whom I have left in the wood and desert, certainly is the man of God, sith this hound without reason bringeth to him bread. I therefore, that have seen him do it, so ought sooner to do it, which am a Christian man. By this holy meditation Gotard returned to Rocke and said: Holy pilgrim, I desire to do to thee that thou needest, and am advised never to leave thee. Then Rocke thanked God which had sent to him Gotard, and he informed Gotard busily in the law of Christ. And when they had been awhile together the hound brought no more bread. Gotard asked counsel how he might have bread, for more and more he hungered and asked remedy of S. Rocke. S. Rocke exhorted him after the text, saying: In the sweat of thy visage thou shalt eat thy bread, and that he should return to the town, and leave all his goods to his heirs, and follow the way of Christ and demand bread in the name of Jesu. Then Gotard was ashamed to do so where he was known, but at the last by the busy admonition of S. Rocke, Gotard went to Piacenza, whereas he had great knowledge, and begged bread and alms at the door of one of his gossips. That same gossip threatened sharply Gotard, and said he shamed his lineage and friends by this foul and indecent begging, and put him away, being wroth and scorning him. For which cause Gotard was constrained to beg busily at the doors of other men of the city. And the same day the gossip that so had said to Gotard was taken sore with the pestilence, and many others that denied alms to Gotard. And then anon the city of Piacenza was infect with contagious pestilence, and Gotard returned to the wood and told to S. Rocke all that was happed.
And S. Rocke told to Gotard tofore, that his gossip should hastily die, which was done indeed. And S. Rocke, moved with pity and mercy, being full sick, went into Piacenza, being full of pestilence, and left Gotard in the wood. And though S. Rocke were sore vexed with the pestilence, yet he with great labour went to Piacenza and with touching and blessing he helped and healed them all, and also cured the hospital of the same city. And he being sore sick and almost lame returned again to Gotard into the wood. And many that heard that he and Gotard were in the place of the desert valley,came to them whom they found all with Rocke, and tofore them all he did these miracles. The wild beasts which wandered in the wood, what hurt, sickness or swelling they had, they ran anon to S. Rocke, and when they were healed they would incline their heads reverently and go their way. And a little while after Gotard, and his fellows, for certain necessities and errands, returned into Piacenza and left that time S. Rocke alone in the valley. And S. Rocke made his prayers to Almighty God that he might be delivered from the wounds of pestilence, and in this prayer he fell asleep. And in the meanwhile returned Gotard from the city, and when he came and joined him to Rocke sleeping, he heard the voice of an angel saying: O Rocke, friend of God, our Lord hath heard thy prayers, lo, thou art delivered from the pestilence, and art made all whole, and our Lord commandeth that thou take the way toward thy country. With this sudden voice Gotard was astonished which never tofore knew the name of Rocke. And anon Rocke awoke, and felt himself all whole by the grace of God like as the angel said. And Gotard told unto Rocke how he had heard the angel and what he had said. Then S. Rocke prayed Gotard that he should keep his name secret and to tell it to no man, for he desired no worldly glory. Then after a few days S. Rocke with Gotard and his fellows abode in the desert, and informed them all in godly works, and they then began to wax holy, wherein he exhorted them and confirmed, and left them in that desert valley. And S. Rocke, as a pilgrim doing penance, entended, burning in the love of God, toward his country and came to a province of Lombardy called Angleria, and applied him toward Almaine, where the lord of his province made war with his enemy, whose knights took S. Rocke as a spy, and delivered him to their lord as a traitor. This blessed saint, always confessing Jesu Christ, was deputed unto a hard and strait prison, and the blessed Rocke patiently went into prison and suffered it gladly. Where day and night remembering the name of Jesu, he commended him to God, praying that the prison should not disprofit him, but that he might have it for wilderness and penance. And there he abode five years in prayers.
In the end of the fifth year, when God would that his soul should be brought into the fellowship of his saints, and be always in the sight of God, he that bare meat to S. Rocke into the prison, as he was accustomed every day, he saw a great light and shining in the prison, and S. Rocke kneeling on his knees praying, which all these things he told to his lord. And the fame hereof ran all about the city, so that many of the citizens ran to the prison because of the novelty of this thing. And there saw and beheld it and gave laud thereof to Almighty God, and accused the lord of cruelty and woodness. Then at the last, when S. Rocke knew by the will of God that he should finish his mortal life, he called to him the keeper of the prison, and prayed him that he would go to his lord, and to exhort him in the name of God and of the glorious Virgin Mary, that he would send to him a priest, of whom ere he died he would be confessed, which thing was anon done. And when he had confessed him to the priest and devoutly taken his blessing, he prayed him that he might abide alone three days next following for to be in his contemplation, by which he might the better have mind of the most holy passion of our Lord. For Rocke felt well then that the citizens prayed the lord for his deliverance, which things the priest told to the lord. And so it was granted to S. Rocke to abide there alone three days. And in the end of the third day the angel of God came to S. Rocke, saying thus: O Rocke, God sendeth me for thy soul, of whom in this last part of thy life that what thou now desirest thou shouldest now ask and demand. Then S. Rocke prayed unto Almighty God with his most devout prayer, that all good christian men which reverently prayed in the name of Jesu to the blessed Rocke might be delivered surely from the stroke of pestilence. And this prayer so made, he expired and gave up the ghost.
Anon an angel brought from heaven a table divinely written with letters of gold into the prison, which he laid under the head of S. Rocke. And in that table was written that God had granted to him his prayer, that is to wit, that who that calleth meekly to S. Rocke he shall not be hurt with any hurt of pestilence. And then after the third day the lord of the city sent to the prison that S. Rocke should be delivered out of it. And they that came to the prison found S. Rocke departed from this life, and saw through all the prison a marvellous light, in such wise that without doubt they believed him to be the friend of God. And there was at his head a great taper burning, and another at his feet, by which tapers all his body was light. Furthermore, they found under his head the foresaid table, by which they knew the name of the blessed Rocke by authority, which name known, the mother of the lord of that city knew many years tofore S. Rocke to be the son of the lord John of Montpelier, which was brother germain to this lord of whom we have said, which thing, and all that was done, was because they knew not his name. Then they knew him to be nephew to the lord, and also by the sign of the cross which S. Rocke bare, as tofore is said that he had it when he was born out of his mother's belly. Then they being thereof penitent, and in great wailing and sorrow, at the last with all the people of the city they buried S. Rocke solemnly and religiously, which soon after the holy saint was canonised by the pope gloriously. And in his glorious name and honour they builded a great and large church. Then let us reverently with devotion pray unto this glorious saint S. Rocke, that by his intercession and prayer we may be delivered from the hard death of pestilence and epidemic, and that we may so live in this life and be penitent for our sins, that after this short life we may come unto everlasting life in heaven. Amen. The feast of S. Rocke is always holden on the morn after the day of the Assumption of our Lady, which life is translated out of Latin into English by me, William Caxton.
Here followeth the Life of S. Bernard, the mellifluous doctor, and first of the interpretation of his name.
Bernard is said of ber, that is, a pit or well, and nardus, which, as the gloss saith upon Cantica, is an humble herb and of hot nature and well smelling. He was hot inburning love, humble in conversation, a well in flowing doctrine, a pit in deepness of science, and well smelling in sweetness of fame. His life hath written Abbot William of S. Theodoric, and the fellow of S. Bernard, and Hernaldus the abbot of Bonevalle. S. Bernard was born in Burgundy in the castle of Fontaine of noble lineage and much religious. Whose father hight Celestin, and was a noble knight in the world and much religious to God. And his mother was named Aleth. She had seven children, six males and one female. The men children she nourished all for to be monks, and the daughter for to be a nun. And anon, as she had a child she offered it to God with her own hands. She would refuse strange breasts, for like as she fed them with her motherly milk, so fed she them with nature of goodness.And as long as they grew and were under her hand she nourished them more for desert than for the court. For she fed them with more common and grosser meats, like as she would have sent them right forth into desert. And as she bare the third son, which was Bernard, in her belly, she saw in her sleep a dream which was a demonstrance of things to come. Her seemed that she had in her belly a whelp, all white and red upon the back, barking in her belly. And when she had told her dream to a holy man, he answered to her, prophesying: Thou art mother of a right noble whelp, which shall be a warden of the house of God, and shall give great barkings against the enemies. For he shall be a noble preacher, and shall guerish much people by the grace of his tongue.
And as Bernard was yet a little child he was sick of the headache, and there came a woman to him for to charm him, and thereby to assuage the grievous ache of his head, but he put her from him, crying by right great indignation, and the mercy of God failed not to his infancy in good love, for he arose and felt that he was delivered hereof. In the blessed night of the nativity of our Lord, when the child Bernard abode in the church the office of matins, and coveted to know what hour Jesu Christ was born, the child Jesus appeared to him as he had been born again out of his mother's belly, wherefore, as long as he lived, he supposed that hour to be the hour of the nativity of our Lord. And ever after as long as he lived was given to him in that hour more perfect wit, and speech more abundant in such things as appertain to the sacrament. And after that he made a noble work, among all his other works, of the laud and praising of God and his blessed mother. In the which work he expounded the lesson evangelic, how the angel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary. And when the ancient enemy saw the purpose of the child full of health he bent against him many gins of temptation. And on a time when he had holden his eyes and fixed them upon a woman, he had anon shame in himself and was a cruel venger of himself. For he leapt anon into a pond full of water, and frozen, and was therein so long that almost he was frozen. And by the grace of God he was cooled from the heat of carnal concupiscence.
About that time, by the instigation of the devil, a maid laid her in his bed by him all naked there where he slept, and when he felt her, he let her lie in that side of the bed she had taken, and turned him to that other side and slept. And she tarried a space of time, and felt him and kittled him, and would have drawn him to her intent. And at the last, when she felt him immoveable, though she were unshamefaced, yet she was ashamed, and all confused, arose and went her way. Another time as he was harboured in the house of a lady, she considered the beauty of this young man and was greatly achauffed and strongly desired his company. And then she ordained a bed out from the others. And in the night she arose without shame and came secretly to him. And when he felt her he cried: Thieves! thieves! And she fled, and lighted a candle herself and sought the thief, and none was found, and then each man went to his bed again. But this unhappy woman rested not, but arose again and went to the bed of Bernard, as she did tofore, and he cried: Thieves! thieves ! And the thief was sought but was not found, ne published of him that knew her well. And yet was she chased the third time, and then with great pain she ceased what for dread and despair. And on the morn as they went by the way, his fellows reproved him of that he had so dreamed of thieves, and enquired of him what it was. And he answered: Verily, I have suffered this night the assailings of a thief, for mine hostess enforced to take away from me treasure not recoverable. And then he bethought himself that it was not sure thing to dwell with the serpent, and thought for to flee it. And then he ordained him to enter into the order of Cistercians. And when his brethren knew it they would have taken him from that purpose, and our Lord gave to him so great grace that they might not turn him from his conversion, but he brought all his brethren and many others to religion.
Nevertheless, Gerard, his brother, a noble knight, supposed always that they were vain words and refused always his monestements and treachings. And then bernard, burning in the faith and in the spirit of brotherly love of charity, said: My brother, I know well that one sharp travail shall give understanding to thine ears. And after that he put his finger on his side, and said to him: One day shall come, and that soon, that a spear shall pierce thy side, and shall make way to thine heart, for to take the counsel that thou now refusest. And a short time after Gerard was taken of his enemies, and was hurt on the side in the place where his brother had set his finger, and was put in prison fast bounden. And then came to him Bernard, and they would not suffer him to speak to him. And he cried on high: Gerard, brother, know thou that we shall go shortly and enter into the monastery. And that same night the bonds of Gerard brake and fell off, and the door opened by himself, and he fled out, and said to his brother that he had changed his purpose and would be a monk. And this was in the year of the incarnation of our Lord eleven hundred and twelve, in the fifteenth year of the order of Citeaux. The servant of God, Bernard, at the age of twenty-two years entered into the order of Citeaux with more than thirty fellows. And as Bernard issued with his brethren out of his father's house, Guy, that was the eldest, saw Nivard, his younger brother, which was a little child and played with the children, and said to him: Nivard, brother, all the possession of our heritage shall appertain to thee. And the child answered not as a child, and said: Ye shall then have heaven, and leave to me only the earth, this part is not evenly ne righteously divided. And after, the child abode a little while with his father, but afterward he followed his brethren.
When the servant of God, Bernard, was entered in to the order, he was so esprised and in all things occupied in God that he used no bodily wits. He had been a year in the cell of novices, and yet he wist not whether there were any windows in the house or no, and oft-times he had entered and gone out of the church whereas in the head were three windows, and he supposed there had been but one. And the abbot of Citeaux sent of his brethren for to edify the house of Clerevaux, and made Bernard there abbot, which was there long in great poverty, which oft made his pottage with leaves of holm. And the servant of God waked over man's power, and said that he lost no time but when he slept, and said that the comparison of sleep and of death were like semblable, so they that sleep be like as death were with men, and like as dead men be seen sleeping to God. He was unnethe drawn to any meat for delight of appetite, but only for dread of failing, and he went to take his meat like as he should have gone to a torment. And he was always accustomed, when he had eaten, to weet if he had eaten too much or more than he was accustomed, and if he had so done he would punish himself so that he refrained his mouth, that he lost a great part of the savour and tasting of his meat. For sometimes he drank oil when it was given him by error instead of drink. He said that the water was good alone and refreshed him well, and he perceived not that he drank oil, but when his lips were anointed some told him thereof. And some time and other while he ate the fat of raw flesh instead of butter. He said that all that he had learned of holy scripture he had learned it in woods, in fields, most by meditation and praying, and confessed that he had none other masters but oaks and holm-trees, this confessed he among his friends. At the last he confessed that sometime, when he was in meditation or praying, him thought that all holy scriptures appeared to him expounded. On a time, as he rehearseth in Canticis, that he would put among the words such as the Holy Ghost counselled him, and whiles he made that treatise he would think, of good courage, what he should do when that were made. And then a voice came to him, saying: Till thou hast accomplished this work thou shalt do none other. He had never pleasure in clothing; he said that filths were in demonstrance of negligence, and outrageous clothing was folly, a man but glorifying himself in respect of outward vain glory. He had in his heart always this proverb, and oft said it: Who doth that no other man cloth, all men wonder on him. He ware many years the hair, and as long as he might hide it he ware it. And when he saw that it was known, he left it anon and took him to common vesture. He laughed never but if he made greater force to laugh than to refrain him. He was wont to say that the manner of patience was in three manners, of injuries of words, of damage of things, and of misdoing of the body. On a time he wrote a letter to a bishop, friendly, and admonished him amiably, and he was much wroth, and wrote to him a letter saying thus at the beginning: Greeting to thee that hast the spirit of blasphemy. To whom he answered: I suppose not to have the spirit of blasphemy, ne have said evil to any man, but only to the prince the devil. An abbot sent to him six hundred marks of silver for to make a convent, but all the money was robbed by thieves by the way. And when S. Bernard heard thereof he said none other thing but: Blessed be God that hath spared me from this charge. A canon regular came to him and prayed him much that he Bernard would receive him to be a monk, and he would not accord it to him, but counselled him to return to his church. He said to him: Why hast thou so much in thy books praised perfection if thou wilt not show it, and deliver it to him that coveteth it? If I had thy books I would all torend them. And Bernard said to him: Thou hast not read in any of them but that thou mightest be perfect in thy cloister; I praise in all my books the correction of manners and not the mutation of places. And the canon being all araged leapt to him and smote him on the cheek, that it was red and swollen. And they that were by arose against this cursed man for to have smitten this cursed man, but Bernard came between, crying and conjuring by the name of Jesu Christ that they should not touch him, ne do him none harm. He had a custom to say to the novices that would enter into religion: Leave there without your body, ye that will enter into religion, leave the body without that ye have taken from the world, and join you to them that be here within, let the spirit enter only, for the flesh profiteth no thing.
S. Bernard's father went into the monastery and dwelled there a certain time, and after died in good age. The sister was married in to the world, and on a time she arrayed and apparelled her in riches and delights of the world, and went into the monastery for to visit her brethren in a proud estate and great apparel. And he dreaded her as she had been the devil, or his net for to take souls, ne would not go out for to see her. And when she saw that none of her brethren came against her, one of her brethren, that was porter, said to her that she was a foul ordure stinking, wraped in gay array. And then she melted all in tears, and said: If I be a sinner, God died for sinners, and because I am a sinful woman I come to ask counsel of them that be good. If my brother despise my flesh, he that is servant of God ought not to despise my soul; let my brother come, and what he shall command me I shall do. And she held that promise. And he came with his brethren, and because she might not depart from her husband, he taught her to despise the glory of the world, and showed to her how she should ensiew the steps of her mother. And then when she came home again she was so sore changed, that in the middle of the world she led the life of a hermit, and all estranged from the world. In the end she vanquished her husband by prayers, and was assoilled by the bishop of her vow and entered into a monastery.
On a time S. Bernard was sore sick, so that him seemed he should give up his spirit, and was at his end as him seemed in a trance, and him thought that he was tofore God in judgment and there was the devil on that other side, which put on him many accusations and reproaches, and when he had all said, Bernard said without fear, dread, or wrath: I confess me that I am not worthy to have the kingdom of heaven by mine own merits, but our Lord which holdeth me by double right as his heritage and by the merits of his passion. By that one he is content, and that other he giveth to me, by which gift I ought not to be confounded, but it appertaineth to me by right. And thus he was confused and the vision failed, and the man of God came to himself and destrained his body by so great travail of fastings and wakings, that he languished in continual malady, that he might not follow the convent but with pain.
On a time he was so grievously sick that all the brethren prayed for him, so that he felt him a little alleged and eased of his pain. Then he did do assemble all his brethren, and said: Wherefore hold ye so wretched a man? Ye be stronger and have vanquished, I pray you, spare me and let me go. This holy man was elect of many cities for to be a bishop, specially of the city of Milan, and refused it not follily, ne granted thereto, but said to them that required that he was not his own, but deputed to other. And by the counsel of this holy man, the brethren so provided by the authority of the pope, that none might take him from them which was their joy to have him.
On a time when he visited the order of Charterhouse, and when the brethren were well edified by him, one thing there was that moved a little the prior of the place, and that was, the saddle that S. Bernard rode on was over precious and showed little poverty of the brethren, and the prior told it to one of the brethren. And the brother said it to S. Bernard, and he marvelled and asked what saddle it was, and sent for it. For he wist not what saddle it was, how well he had ridden upon it from Clerevaux to the Charterhouse. He went all a long day by the lake of Lausanne and saw not the lake ne took heed of it, and at even as his fellows spake of that lake, he demanded where was that lake. And when they heard that, they marvelled strongly, for certainly the humbleness of his heart vanquished in him the height of name. For the world could never enhance him so high, but be alone humbled himself the more; he was reputed sovereign of all, and he accounted himself Ieast and most low. And at the last he confessed that when he was among his sovereign honours and favours ot the people, him seemed that there was another man changed in him, or as he had been in a dream. And there where he was among the most simple brethren he used most amiable humility, there he joyed, there found he himself, and that he was returned in to his own person. He was always found tofore the hours, or reading, or writing, or in meditation, or in edifying his brethren by word. On a time as he preached to the people, and that they all understood devoutly his words, such a temptation arose in his heart: Verily, now preachest thou well, now art thou well heard of the people, and art reputed wise of them all. And the holy man feeling him to be put in this temptation, rested and tarried a while, and thought whether he might say more or make an end. And anon he was comforted by divine aid, and answered softly to him that tempted him: I neither began by thee, ne shall I end by thee; and so performed surely all his sermon.
A monk that had been a ribald in the world and a player, tempted by a wicked spirit, would return again to the world. And as S. Bernard retained him, he demanded him whereof he should live. And he answered to him that he could well play at the dice, and should well live thereby. And S. Bernard said to him: If I deliver to thee any good, wilt thou come again every year that I may part half gain with thee ? And he had great joy thereof, and promised him so to do. And then S. Bernard said that there should be delivered to him twenty shillings, and he went withal. And this holy man did this for to draw him again to the religion, as he did after. And he went forth, and lost all, and came again all confused tofore the gate. And when S. Bernard knew him there, he went to him joyously and opened his lap for to part the gain. And he said: Father, I have won nothing, but have lost your chattel; receive me, if it please you, to be your chattel. And S. Bernard answered to him sweetly: If it be so, it is better that I receive thee, than lose both thee and that other.
On a time S. Bernard rode upon an horse by the way, and met a villein by the way, which said to him that he had not his heart firm and stable in praying. And the villein or uplandish man had great despite thereof, and said that he had his heart firm and stable in all his prayers. And S. Bernard, which would vanquish him and shew his folly, said to him: Depart a little from me, and begin thy paternoster in the best entent thou canst. And if thou canst finish it without thinking on any other thing, without doubt I shall give to thee the horse that I am on. And thou shalt promise to me by thy faith that if thou think on any other thing thou shalt not hide it from me. And the man was glad and reputed the horse his, and granted it him, and went apart and began his paternoster. And he had not said the half when he remembered if he should have the saddle withal. And therewith he returned to S. Bernard and said that he had thought in praying, and after that he had no more will to advance him.
There was monk of his named brother Robert, nigh to himself as to the world, had been deceived in his childhood by the enticement of some persons, and was sent to the abbey of Cluny, and the honourable man left him awhile there. And he would call him again by letters; and as he indited the letter by clear day, and another monk wrote it, a rain came suddenly upon them. And he that wrote would have hid the parchment from the rain, and S. Bernard said: This work is the work of God, write on hardily and doubt thee nothing. And then he wrote the letter in the midst of the rain without being wet, and yet it rained all about them; for the virtue of charity took away the moisture of the rain from them.
A great multitude of flies had taken a church that he had do make, so that they did much harm to all them that came thither. And he said: I curse and excommunicate them, and on the morn they were found all dead. He was on a time sent from the pope to Milan for to reconcile the church, and when he had so done and was returned, a man of Milan brought to him his wife which was demoniac. And anon the devil began to missay him through the mouth of the wretched woman, and said: Thou eater of porret, ween thou to take me out of mine house? Nay, thou shalt not! And the holy man, S. Bernard, sent him to S. Syrus in his church, and the said S. Syrus gave the honour to his host and healed her not, and thus was she brought again to S. Bernard. And then the devil began to cry, and said: Neither Syrus ne Bernard shall put me out. And S. Bernard said: Syrus ne Bernard shall not put thee out, but our Lord shall put thee out. And as soon as he made his prayer the wicked spirit said: Ha ! ha! how gladly would I issue from hence, for I am here tormented grievously. But I may not, for the great Lord wills it not. And the holy man said: Who is that Lord? and he said, Jesus of Nazareth. And S. Bernard said: Sawest thou him ever? And he answered: Yea. S. Bernard said: Where sawest thou him? And he said: In his glory. And S. Bernard asked him: And wert thou in glory? And he said: Yea. How wentest thou from thence? And he said: With Lucifer many of us fell. All these he said by the mouth of the woman, that every man heard. Then said to him the holy man: Wouldst not thou go again into that glory? And he said, mowing marvellously: It is too late. Then the holy man prayed, and the wicked spirit issued out of that woman, but when the man of God was departed thence, the wicked spirit entered again. And her husband came after the holy man and told him what was happed. And he made to bind a writing about her neck containing these words: I command thee in the name of our Lord Jesu Christ that thou be not so hardy to touch more this woman, and he durst never after touch her.
There was a piteous woman in Guienne, which was vexed with a devil that dwelled in her and vexed her marvellously six years during, in using her to his lechery. And the holy man, S. Bernard, came in to the parts. And the devil menaced her, if she went to him that it should not profit her. And if she went, he that was her love should be to her a cruel persecutor. But she went surely to the holy man, and told to him, weeping strongly, what she suffered. And he said: Take this staff which is mine, and lay it in thy bed, and if he may do anything let him do it, and she did so and laid it in her bed. And he came anon, but he durst not go to his work accustomed, ne presumed to approach her bed, but he threatened her right eagerly that, when he was gone, he would avenge
him right cruelly on her. And when she had said this to Bernard, he assembled the people that every each should hold a candle burning in his hand, and came to this devil, and with all them that were there he cursed him and excommunicated him, and defended that never after he should so do to her ne to none other. And thus was she all delivered of that illusion. And when on a time as this holy man went as a legate in to that province
for to reconcile the duke of Guienne to the church, and he refused to be reconciled in all manners, the holy man went to the altar for to sing mass, and the duke abode without the church as excommunicate. And when he had said Pax domini, he laid the body of our Lord upon the paten, and bare it without the church, and went out with a face flaming and burning, and assailed the duke by fearful words, saying: We have prayed thee and
thou hast despised us, lo! here is the son of the Virgin which is come to thee, which is Lord of the church whom thou persecutest. This is thy judge, in the name of whom all knees bow, in the hands of whom thy soul shall come, despise him not as thou hast his servants, resist him if thou mayst. Then anon the duke waxed all stiff and was impotent in all his members, and then he fell down at his feet. And the holy man put his foot at him, and commanded him to arise and to hear the sentence of God. He then trembling arose, and accomplished anon that the holy man commanded.
On a time as this holy S. Bernard entered into Almaine for to appease a great discord, there was an archbishop that sent an honorable clerk against him. And when the clerk said to him that he had been sent from his master against him, the holy man answered to him and said: Another lord hath sent thee. And he marvelled and said that he was sent of none other, but of his lord the archbishop. And S. Bernard said: Son, thou art deceived, our Lord Jesu Christ, which hath sent thee, is a greater master. And when the clerk understood him he said: Sire, weenest thou that I will be a monk? Nay, I thought it never, ne it came never in my heart, yet after in the same voyage he forsook the world and received the habit of this holy man, S. Bernard.
He took also on a time into the order a noble knight, and when he had followed S. Bernard a little time he began to be grievously tempted, and when a brother saw him so heavy, he inquired the cause of his heaviness. And he answered him: I wot well that I shall never be glad. And the brother told it to S. Bernard, and he prayed to God much ententively for him, and anon that brother that was so pensive and so heavy, seemed more joyous than the other, and more glad than he had been tofore heavy. And the brother blamed him because he had said that he should never be joyous. And he answered and said: I wot well I said I should never be glad, but I say now that I never shall be sorrowful.
When S. Malachi, bishop of Ireland, of whom he wrote the life, full of virtues, passed out of this world out of his monastery blessedly to our Lord Jesu Christ, and S. Bernard offered to God for him sacrifice of health, he saw the glory of him by revelation of our Lord, and by the inspiration of God he changed the form of prayer after the communion, saying thus with joyous voice: God, that hast accompanied S. Malachi by his merits with thy saints, we pray thee to give to us that we that make the feast of his precious death, may follow the examples of his life. And when the chanter heard him,he said to him, and showed that he erred. And he said: I err not, but I know well what I say, and then went to the body and kissed his feet. And in a time that the Lent approached he was visited of divers knights. And he prayed them that at the least in these holy days they should abstain them from their vanities, their jollities, and doing outrages, and they in no wise would agree thereto. And then he bade make ready wine, and said to them: Drink ye the health of your souls, and when they had drunk the wine they were suddenly changed and went to their houses, and they that had denied to do a little time, they gave to God after, all the time of their life, and led a right holy life. At the last the holy S. Bernard, approaching to the death, said blessedly to his brethren: I require and command you to keep three things, the which I remember to have kept to my power as long as I have been in this present life. I have not willed to slander any person, and if any have fallen I have hid it as much as I might. I have ever trusted less mine own wit than any others. If I were hurt, I never required vengeance of the hurter. I leave to you charity, humility, and patience. And after that he had done many miracles, and had made one hundred and seventy-one monasteries, and had ordained many books and treatises, he accomplished the days of his life the sixty-third year of his age, in the year of our Lord eleven hundred and fifty six. He slept in our Lord among the hands of his sons, and his glory showed his departing hence to much people.
He appeared to an abbot in a monastery and admonished him that he should follow him, and he so did. And then S. Bernard said: We be come to the mount of Lebanon, thou shalt abide here, and I shall ascend up on high. And he asked him wherefore he would go up, and he said: For to learn, I will go up. And he being greatly admarvelled, said: What wilt thou learn, father, of whom we believe that there is none to thee like, ne holden so wise in science as thou art? And he said: Here is no science, ne here is no knowledge of truth, but there above is plenty of science, and on high is the very knowledge of truth. And with that word he vanished away. And then that abbot marked that day, and found that S. Bernard was then passed to our Lord, which showed for him many miracles and innumerable. To whom be given laud and praising everlasting. Amen.
Of S. Timothy, and interpretation of his name.
Timothy is as much to say as holding dread. Or of timor, that is dread, and theos, a word of Greek, which is deus in Latin and God in English, as the dread of God.
Of S. Timothy.
S. Timothy was taken under Nero of the provost of Rome, and was grievously beaten, and had quicklime put in his throat and upon his wounds. And he rendered thankings to God with all his heart. And then two angels came to him, saying: Lift up thine head to heaven. And then he beheld and saw the heaven open, and Jesu Christ, which held a double crown, and said tn him. Thou shalt receive this of my hand. Anda man named Apollinarius saw this thing and did him to be baptized. And therefore the provost commanded that they twain together, persevering in the confession of our Lord, should be beheaded about the year of our Lord fifty-six.
Here followeth of S. Symphorien.
Symphorien was born in the city of Augustidinense. And he being a young child shone in so great abundance of virtues, that he surmounted the life of the ancients. And as the paynims hallowed the feast of Venus, Symphorien was there and would not worship the image tofore Heraclius the provost. And then he was long beaten, and after set in prison. And they would have constrained him to do sacrifice, and promised to him many gifts. He answered and said: Our Lord can well reward the merits, and also he can well punish the sins. Then the life that we owe to God of debt, let us pay with goodwill. Slow penance is to understand, sinners enhardened be anointed with the sweetness of honey which engendereth venom and thoughts evil believing. Your covetise tofore all things possesseth nothing, for it is bounden to the arts of the devil, and shall be withholden in the bounds of the cursed and evil winning. And your joys, when they begin to shine, shall be broken like glass. And then the judge, fulfilled with wrath, gave sentence, and commanded that Symphorien should be slain. And as he was led to the place of his martyrdom, his mother cried from the wall of her house, and said: Son! son ! remember thee of the life perdurable, look upward and behold him that reigneth
in heaven. The life shall not be taken away from thee, but it shall be changed into a better. And then he was anon beheaded, and his body taken of christian men and was honourably buried. And so many miracles were showed at his tomb that it was held in great honour of the paynims. Gregory of Tours rehearseth of the place where his blood was shed: A christian man bare away three stones which were besprent with his blood, and put them in a case of silver, and tables of tree enclosed about it, and bare them into a castle, which castle was all burnt with fire. And that case was found whole and safe in the middle of the fire. And he suffered death about the year of our Lord two hundred and seventy.
Here beginneth the Life of S. Bartholomew the Apostle, and first the exposition of his name.
Bartholomew is expounded the son of abovehanging the waters, or son of overhanging the sea. He is said of bar, that is as much to say as son, and tholos, which is as much to say as sovereignty, and of moys, that is to say water. And hereof is said Bartholomew, as a son hanging over the waters. That is of God, which enhanceth the minds of doctors on high, for to shed and bespring beneath the waters of doctrine. And it is a name of Syriac and not of Hebrew. And the first three suspendings that he had, ought to be noted: He was suspended or taken up from the love of the world, and he was suspended, that is to say ententive, in heavenly love, and he was suspended, that is to say wrapped, in the grace and in the aid of God. Not by his merits his life shone, but by the aid of God. Of the second came the deepness of his wisdom, of which deepness of wisdom Denis saith, in his mystical theology: The divine Bartholomew, of whom is much divinity and right little, and that the gospel is broad and great, and also it is short. And after the entent of S. Denis, Bartholomew will show that all things may be affirmed and showed of God under one consideration, and by another consideration may be more properly denied.
Of S. Bartholomew the Apostle.
S. Bartholomew, the apostle, went into India, which is in the end of the world. And therein he entered into a temple where an idol was which was named Astaroth, and he, as a pilgrim, abode there. In that idol dwelt a fiend that said that he could heal all manner sicknesses, but he lied, for he could not make them whole, but might better them but for a while. And the temple was full of sick people, and could have no answer of that idol, wherefore they went in to another city whereas another idol was worshipped named Berith, and they demanded him wherefore Astaroth gave to them no answer. And Berith said: Your god is bound with chains of fire that he neither dare draw breath ne speak after that Bartholomew, the apostle of God, entered into the temple. And they said to him: Who is that Bartholomew? And the devil said: He is the friend of God Almighty, and he is come into this province for to avoid all the gods of India. And then they said: Tell us some tokens and signs that we may know him and find him. And the devil said to them: He hath his hairs black and crisp, his skin white, eyes great, his nostrils even and straipht, his beard long and hoar a little, and of a straight and seemly stature. He is clad in a white coat, and a white mantle, which in every corner hath gems of purple and precious stones therein. And it is sith twenty-six years that his clothes never waxed old ne foul. He prayeth and worshippeth God on his knees a hundred times a day, and a hundred times by night. The angels go with him, which never suffer him to be weary ne to be an hungered, he is always of like semblant, glad and joyous. He seeth all things tofore, he knoweth all things, he speaketh all manner languages, and understandeth them, and he knoweth well what I say to you. And when ye seek him, if he will he may show himself to you, and if him list not, not shall ye find him. And I pray you, when ye find him, that ye pray him that he come not hither, that his angels do not to me as they have done to my fellow. Then they went and sought him diligently and busily two days, and found him not.
On a day, one that was beset with a devil cried, and said: Apostle of God, Bartholomew, thy prayers burn me. And the apostle said: Hold thou thy peace and come thence. And anon he was delivered. And when Polemius, king of that region, heard this thing, which had a daughter lunatic, he sent to the apostle, praying that he would come to him and heal his daughter. And when the apostle was come to him and saw that she was bound with chains, and bit all them that went to her, he commanded to unbind her. And the ministers durst not go to her. And he said: I hold the devil fast bound that was in her, and therefore be not afeard; and then anon she was unbound and delivered. And then would have presented to the apostle camels charged with gold and silver and precious stones, but he could not be found in no manner. And on the morrow following, the apostle appeared to the king, alone in his chamber, and said to him: Wherefore soughtest thou me yesterday with gold and silver and precious stones? Those things be necessary to them that covet things worldly, but I desire no things terrien ne carnal. Then S. Bartholomew began to say many things, and inform the king of our redemption, and among other things how Jesu Christ vanquished the devil by marvellous and convenable puissance, justice, and wisdom. For it was convenable that he that overcame the son made of the earth, that was Adam, while he was yet a virgin, should be overcome of the son of the virgin. He overcame him then mightily, when he threw him
puissantly out of his lordship which had thrown out by force our forefather. And thus, as he that overcometh some tyrant, sendeth his fellows tofore for to set up his sign over all, and to cast out tyrants, in like wise Jesu Christ sent his messengers over all for to take away the honour and the worshipping of the devil righteously. For it is right that he that vanquished man by eating, and held him, that he should be overcome by a man fasting, and hold man no longer. For it is rightful that he which by the art of the devil was despised, that by the art of Jesu Christ he should be vanquished. And like as the falcon taketh the bird, right so took he Jesu Christ in desert because he fasted, and would assay if he had hunger; and if he had hunger, that he might have deceived him by meat, and if he had no hunger, then knew he well without doubt that he was God. But he might not know him, for he had hunger, and consented nothing to him ne to his temptations.
And when he had preached the sacraments of the faith, he said to the king that, if he would receive baptism, he would show him his god bounden with chains. And the day following, when the bishops sacrificed within the palace of the king, the devils began to cry and say: Cease, ye cursed wretches, to do sacrifice to us, lest ye suffer worse than I that am bounden with chains of fire by the angels of Jesu Christ, whom the Jews crucified and supposed to have brought to death. Which death, that is our queen, he hath imprisoned, and hath bound our prince in chains of fire. And anon then they set cords on the image for to pull down and overthrow the idol, but they might not. The apostle then commanded the devil that he should issue and go out and break the idol all to pieces, and he issued out and destroyed and brake all the idols of the temple. And anon the apostle made his prayer, saying: O God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, which hast given to us such power that we enlumine the blind, and cleanse the lepers, I desire and require that this multitude might be healed, and they all answered, Amen. And forthwith all the sick people were cured and healed. And then the apostle did do hallow and dedicate that temple, and commanded the devil to go in to the desert. Then the angel of our Lord appeared there, and flew round about the temple, and ensigned and graved with his finger the sign of the cross in four corners of the temple, saying: Our Lord saith this: Like as I have you cured and made you clean of all your sickness, so let this temple be made clean of all filth and ordure. but I shall show him of all filth and ordure. But I shall show him to you that dwelleth therein tofore, to whom the apostle hath commanded to go in to desert. And doubt ye not to see him, but make in your forehead such a sign as I have graven in these stones. And then he showed to them an Ethiopian more black than thunder, the face sharp, the beard long, his hairs hanging unto his feet, his eyes flaming as hot fire, and cast out sparkles of fire, and casting out of his mouth flames of sulphur, and his hands bound with chains of fire behind his back. And then the angel said to him: Because that thou hast heard that the apostle hath commanded, and hast broken all the idols of the temple, I shall unbind thee; go in to such a place whereas dwelleth no man, and be thou there unto the day of judgment. And when he was unbound he went his way with a great braying and howling, and the angel of our Lord mounted up to heaven in the sight of them all. And then was the king baptized, with his wife and his children and all his people, and left his realm and was made disciple of the apostle.
Then all the bishops of the idols assembled them together and went to Astrages the king, and brother to Polemius, and complained of the loss of their gods and of the destruction of their temples, and of the conversion of his brother made by art magic. Astrages was wroth and sent a thousand men armed to take the apostle, and when he was brought tofore him, the king said to him: Art thou not he that hast perverted my brother? And the apostle answered to him: I have not perverted him, but I have converted him; and the king said to him: Like as thou hast made my brother forsake his god and believe in thy God, so shall I make thee forsake thy God, and thou shalt sacrifice to my god. And the apostle said : I have bound the god that thy brother adored, and showed him bound, and constrained him to break his false image, and if thou mayst do so to my God, thou mayst well draw me to thine idol, and if not, I shall all to-break thy gods, and then believe thou in my God. And as he said these words, it was told the king that his god Baldach was overthrown and all to-broken, and when the king heard that, he brake and all to-rent his purple in which he was clad, and commanded that the apostle should be beaten with staves, and that he should be flayed quick, and so it was done. Then the christians took away the body and buried it honourably. Then the king Astrages and the bishops of the temples were ravished with fiends and died, and the king Polemius was ordained bishop, and accomplished the oflfice of a bishop twenty-two years much louably, and after that rested in peace full of virtues.
There be divers opinions of the manner of his passion. For the blessed Dorotheus saith that he was crucified, and saith also: Bartholomew preached to men of India, and delivered to them the gospel after Matthew in their proper tongue. He died in Alban, a city of great Armenia, crucified the head downward. S. Theoderus saith that he was flayed, and it is read in many books that he was beheaded only. And this contrariety may be assoiled in this manner, that some say that he was crucified and was taken down ere he died, and for to have greater torment he was flayed and at the last beheaded.
In the year of our Lord three hundred and thirty-one, Saracens assailed Sicily, and destroyed the isle of Lipari whereas the body of S. Bartholomew lieth, and brake up the sepulchre and threw the bones hither and thither. And it is said that his body came in such wise from India thither into that isle. When the paynims saw that this body and his sepulchre were greatly honoured for the miracles that befell, they had thereof great despite, and laid them in a tomb of lead, and threw them into the sea, and by the will of God they came into this isle. And when the Saracens had departed and thrown the bones here and there, and were departed thence, the apostle appeared to a monk and said to him: Arise up, and go and gather together my bones that be departed. And he said to him: By what reason shall I gather together thy bones, and what honour ought we to do to them, when thou sufferest us to be destroyed? And the apostle said to him: Our Lord hath spared this people here a long while by my merits, but for their sins that they have sinned, which cry vengeance unto heaven, I have not con get pardon ne forgiveness for them. And then the monk said: How shall I among so many bones find thine? And the apostle said to him: Thou shalt gather them by night, and them that thou shalt find shining thou shalt take up. And the monk went, and found them all as he had said, and took them up, and brought them with him in to a ship, and sailed with them to Benevento, which is chief city of Apulia, and thus were they transported thither. And it is said now that they be at Rome, howbeit they of Benevento say they have the body.
There was a woman that brought a vessel full of oil for to put in the lamp of S. Bartholomew, and how well she inclined the vessel for to pour out the oil, there would none issue out, how well she touched with her finger the oil clear. And then one cried and said: I trow this oil be not agreeable to the apostle that it should be in his lamp, wherefore they put it in another lamp and it issued anon.
When that the emperor Frederick destroyed Benevento, and he had commanded that all the churches that there should be destroyed, and enforced them to bear away the goods from that city into another place, there was a man which found men all white shining, and him seemed that they spake together of some secret thing, and he marvelled strongly who they were and demanded them, and then one of them answered and said: This is Bartholomew, the apostle, with the other saints which had churches in this city, that speak and ordain together in what manner and by what pain this emperor should be justified, that hath cast them out of their tabernacles. And they have now confirmed among them by firm sentence that he, without tarrying, shall go to the judgment of God for to answer thereupon. And anon the emperor died an evil death.
It is in a book read of the miracles of saints that, a certain master hallowed solemnly the feast of S. Bartholomew, and the devil in the form of a maid appeared to this master that preached. And when he saw her, he bade her to come and dine with him, and when they were set at the table she enforced her much for to draw him to her love. And then S. Bartholomew came to the gate and prayed that he might come in for the love of S. Bartholomew, and she would not, but sent him bread, and he would none take, but prayed the master by his message that he should say what thing that he supposed was most proper in a man. And he answered: To laugh. And the maid said: Nay, it is sin in which a man is conceived, born and liveth in sin. And S. Bartholomew answered that he had well said, but she had more profoundly answered. And the pilgrim demanded after at the master, where the place was contaimng the space of a foot where had God made greatest miracle. And he said, the sign of the cross, in which God had made many miracles. And she said: Nay, it is the head of a man, in which the little world is. And the apostle allowed the sentence of that one and of that other, and then he demanded the third time: How far it was from the sovereign siege or seat in heaven unto the lowest and deepest place of hell. And the master said that he wist not; and she said: I know it well, for I fell down from that one to that other, and it behoveth that I show it to thee. And the devil fell down into hell with a great bruit and howling, and then they sent for the pilgrim, and he was vanished and gone and away and they could not find him. And in like wise nigh according to this is read of S. Andrew.
The blessed Ambrose saith thus in the preface that he made of this apostle in abridging his legend: Jesu Christ, thou hast vouchsafed to show to thy disciples, preaching, many things of thy divine Trinity in marvellous manner, and thy majesty, among whom thou hast sent the blessed Bartholomew honour by right great prerogative in to a far country. And how be it that he was all far from human conversation, nevertheless he deserved by the increasing of his predications to mark and think in thy sign the beginning of that people. Ah! by what louings is the marvellous apostle to be honoured. And when the hearts of the people of his neighbours sufficed not to him to receive his seed, he through-pierced like in fleeing in to the last countries of the lands of India, and entered in to the temple where there was great company of sick people without number, and made the devil so mute that he gat no remembrance to them that adored him, and the maid that was lunatic by torment of the devil he did unbind and delivered her all whole to her father. Oh, how great was this miracle of holiness, when he made the fiend, enemy to the lineage human, to break and destroy his own idol, and to bring it to nought. Oh, how worthy is he to be numbered to the heavenly company to whom the angel appeared, to praise the faith of him by his miracles, and came from the sovereign hall and showed to all the people the devil chained, and right foul, and the sign of the cross impressed in the stone bearing health. And the king and the queen were baptized, with the people of their cities. And at the last the tyrant brother of Polemius, new in faith by the relation of the bishops of the temple, made the blessed apostle, constant in the faith, to be beaten, flayed, and receive right foul death. And as he denounced the mischief of death, he had and bare with him, in to the glory of heaven, victory of his glorious strife.
And the blessed Theodore, abbot and noble doctor, saith of this apostle in this manner among other things. The blessed apostle Bartholomew preached first in Licaonia, and after in India, and at the last in Alban, a city of great Armenia, and there he was first flayed and afterward his head smitten off, and there he was buried. And when he was sent of our Lord to preach, as I suppose, he heard how our Lord said to him: Go, my disciple, to preach, void out of this country, and go fight and be capax of perils. I have first accomplished and finished the works of my father, and am first witness, fill thou the vessel that is necessary and follow thy master, love thy lord, give thy blood for his blood, and thy flesh for his flesh, and suffer that which he had suffered, let thine armour be debonairty in thy sweatings, and suffer sweetly among wicked people and be patient among them that perish thee. And the apostle recoiled not, but as a true servant and obeissant to his master went forth joying, and as a light of God illumining in darkness the work of holy church, like as the blessed S. Austin witnesseth in his book, that, like a tiller of Jesu Christ, he profiteth in spiritual tilling. S. Peter the apostle taught the nations, but S. Bartholomew did great miracles. Peter was crucified the head downward, and Bartholomew was flayed quick, and had his head smitten off. And they twain increased greatly the church by the gifts of the Holy Ghost. And right as a harp giveth a right sweet sound of many strings, in like wise all the apostles gave sweet melody of the unity divine, and were established by the king of kings. And they departed among them all the world, and the place of Armenia was the place of Bartholomew, that is from Ejulath unto Gabaoth. There thou mayst see him, with the plough of his tongue, ear the fields unreasonable, sowing in the deepness of the heart the word of the faith, and in planting the vines of our Lord and trees of paradise. And to every each setting medicinally the remedies of the passions, rooting out pernicious thorns, cutting down trees of felony, and setting about hedges of doctrine. But what reward yielded the tyrants to their curate? They gave to him dishonour for honour, cursing for benediction, pains for gifts, tribulation for rest, and right bitter death for restful life. And sith that he had suffered many torments, he was of them discoriate and flayed quick, and died not, and yet for all that he had them not in despite that slew him, but admonished them by miracles, and taught them by demonstrances, that did him harm. But there was nothing that might refrain their bestial thoughts, ne withdraw them from harm. What did they afterwards? They enforced them against the holy body, and the malades and sick men refused their mediciner and healer, the city refused him that enlumined their blindness, governed them that were in peril, and gave life to them that were dead. And how cast they him out? Certainly, they threw the body into the sea in a chest of lead, and that chest came from the region of Armenia with the chests of four other martyrs, for they did also miracles and were thrown with him into the sea. And the four went before a great space of the sea, and did service to the apostles like as servants in a manner, so far that they came into the parts of Sicily in an isle that is named Lipari, like as it was showed to a bishop of Ostia which then was present. And these right rich treasures came to a right poor woman. And these right precious margarets came to one not noble, the bright shining light came to one right heavy. And then the other four came in to other lands, and left the holy apostle in that isle, and he left the other behind him. And that one which was named Papian went into a city of Sicily, and he sent another, named Lucian, into the city of Messina. And the other twain were sent into the land of Calabria, S. Gregory into the city of Columna, and Achate into a city named Chale, where yet at this day they shine by their merits. And then was the body of the apostle received with hymns, louings, and candles honourably, and there was made and builded a fair church in the honour of him. And the mountain of Vulcan is nigh to that isle, and was to it much grievous because it received fire, the which mountain was withdrawn by the merits of this holy saint from that isle seven miles, without to be seen of any body, and was suspended toward the sea. And yet appeareth it at this day to them that see it, as it were a figure of fire fleeing away. Now then, therefore, I salute thee, Bartholomew, blessed of blessed saints, which art the shining light of holy church, fisher of fishes reasonable, hurter of the devil which hurted the world by his theft. Enjoy thee, sun of the world, enlumining all earthly things, mouth of God, fiery tongue pronouncing wisdom, fountain springing goodly, full of health, which hallowest the sea by thy goings and ways not removable, which makest the earth red with thy blood, which repairest in heaviness, shining in the middle of the divine company clear in the resplendishour of glory. And enjoy thee in the gladness of joy insatiable. Amen. And this is that Theodore saith of him.
Here followeth the Life of S. Austin, or Augustine, Doctor, and first the exposition of his name.
Austin, this name was sorted to him for the excellence of his dignity, or for the fervent love that he had, or for the exposition of his name. For the excellence of his dignity; for like as the emperor Augustus precelled all other kings, right so he excelled all other doctors, after that Remigius saith: The other doctors be compared to stars and this to the sun. As it appeareth in the epistle that is sung of him: He shineth in the temple of God like to the sun shining. Secondly, for the fervent love, for like as the month of August is hot by heat, so is he enchauffed of the fire of the divine love, wherefore he saith himself in the book of Confessions: Thou hast throughpierced my heart with thy charity. Also in the same: Thou hast brought me in to a desirous affection withinforth which cannot be assuaged. And I wot not to what sweetness it is made in me; I wot not to what it shall be, I wot well it shall not be in this life. Thirdly, for the exposition of the name. Augus is as much to say as growing, and stin is a city, and ana is as much to say as sovereign, and then Augustin is as much to say as, increasing the city sovereign. And it is sung of him: This is he that may well increase the city of God. Or it is said in the glossary: Austin is said great, blessed, and clear; he was great in his life, clear in his doctrine, and blessed in glory. Possidonius, bishop of Calamente, compiled his life, as Cassiodore saith in the book of noble men.
Of S. Austin, Doctor and Bishop.
S. Austin the noble doctor was born in Africa in the city of Carthage, and was come of noble kindred. And his father was named Patrick and his mother Monica. He was sufficiently instructed in the arts liberal, so that he was reputed for a sufficient philosopher and a right noble doctor, for he learned all by himself, without master, in reading the books of Aristotle and all other that he might find of arts liberal. And he understood them, as he himself witnesseth in the book of Confessions, saying: All the books that be called of the arts liberal, then, I, most wretched servant of all covetises, read them all by myself alone, and understood all them that I might read, and all them of the craft of speaking and of devising, all them of divisions of figures, of music and of numbers. I read and understood them without great difficulty, and without teaching of any man, this knowest thou, my Lord God. For the hastiness of mine understanding and the gift of learning is of thee only, and cometh of thy name, but I have not sacrificed to thee therefore, and therefore science without charity edifieth not, but swelleth in the error of Manicheans, which affirm that Jesu Christ was fantastic, and reny the resurrection of the flesh. And in the same error Austin fell, and abode therein nine years, whiles he was an adolescent, and was brought to believe the truffes and japes tnat say that the fig tree weepeth when his figs or leaves be taken away. And when he was nineteen years of age, he began to read in the book of philosophy, in which he was taught to despise the vanities of the world. And because that book pleased him well, he began to be sorry that the name of Jesu Christ, which he had learned of his mother, was not therein. And his mother wept oft, and enforced her much to bring him to the verity of the faith.
And as it is read in the book of Confessions, she was in a place much heavy, and her thought that a fair young man was tofore her, that enquired of her the cause of her heaviness, and she said: I weep here the loss of my son Austin, and he answered: Be thou sure, for where thou art he is. And she saw her son beside her, and when she had told this to Austin, he said to his mother: Thou art deceived mother, it was not said so but: Where that I am thou art; and she said contrary: Son, it was not said so to me, but where I am thou art. And then the mother ententively prayed and required a bishop instantly that he would pray for her son Augustin. And he, being overcome, said to her by the voice of a prophet: Go thy way surely, for a son of so many tears may not by possibility perish.
And when he had certain years taught rhetoric in Carthage he came to Rome secretly, without the knowledge of his mother, and assembled there many disciples. And his mother had followed him unto the gate to make him abide, or else that she should go with him, and he abode that night, but he departed secretly on the morn. And when she apperceived it, she replenished the ears of our Lord with clamour, and went in the morning and at even to the church, and prayed God for her son.
In that time, they of Milan required a doctor of rhetoric of Symmachus the prefect of Rome, that he might read rhetoric at Milan. And that time Ambrose, servant of God, was bishop of that city, and Augustin was sent at the prayer of them of Milan. And his mother might not rest, but did much pain to come to him, and found him that he neither was very Manichean, ne very catholic. And then it happed that Augustin began to haunt with S. Ambrose, and oft heard his predications, and was much ententive to hear if anything were said against the Manicheans or other heresies.
On a time it happed that S. Ambrose disputed long against the error Manichean, and condemned it by open and evident reasons and by authorities, so that this error was all put out of the heart of Augustin. And what befell to him afterward he rehearseth in the book of his Confessions, and saith When I knew thee first thou beatedst away the infirmity of my sight, shining in me forcibly. And I trembled for dread of good love, and I found myself right far from thee in a region of unlikelihood, like as I heard thy voice from heaven on high, saying: I am meat of greatness increased and thou shalt eat me, thou shalt not change me in thee as meat of thy flesh, but thou shalt be changed in me. And as he rehearseth there, the life of Jesu Christ pleased him much well, but he doubted yet to go in such distresses, but our Lord anon put in his mind that he should go to Simplician, in whom all divine grace shone, for to refrain his desires, and for to say to him what manner was convenable to live, for to go in the way of God in which that other went. For all that was done displeased him save the sweetness of God and the beauty of the house of God, which he loved. And Simplician began to exhort him, and S. Augustin exhorted himself and said: How many children and maidens serve in the church of God to our Lord: and mayst not thou do that they do in themselves and not in their God? Wherefore tarryest thou? Cast thyself on him and he shall receive thee and reward thee. And among these words Victorin came to his mind. Then Simplician was much glad, and told to him how Victorin was yet a paynim, and deserved to have a great image to his likeness in the market of Rome, and how he ofttimes said that he was a christian man. To whom Simplician said: I shall not believe it but if I see thee in the church. And he answered merrily: The walls make not a man christian. At the last, when he came into the church, he brought to him secretly a book wherein the credo of the mass was, and bade him read. And he ascended upon high, and with voice on high propounced it, whereof Rome marvelled, and the church was joyful, and all cried suddenly: Victorin! Victorin! And anon they held their peace for joy. And after that there came from Africa a friend of Augustin which was named Poncian, and recounted to him the life and miracles of the great Anthony, that had died lately under Constantine the emperor. And by the ensamples Austin enforced him strongly, so that he assailed his fellow Alipius as well with cheer as mind, and cried strongly: What suffer we? what hear we? Untaught people and foolish, ravish and take heaven, and we with our conning and doctrines plunge and sink into hell, and because they go tofore we be ashamed to follow them. And then he ran into a garden, and, as he saith himself, he cast himself down under a fig-tree and wept right bitterly, and gave out weeping voice because he had tarried so long from day to day, and from time to time. And was greatly tormented, so that he had no manner in himself for sorrow of his long tarrying, like as he writeth in the book of his Confessions and said: Alas! Lord, how thou art high in high things and deep in deepness, and departest not ne goest out of the way, and unnethe we come to thee. Ah! Lord, he said, call me, move me, change me, and enlumine me, ravish me and make sweet and soft all mine empeshments and lettings, as it appertaineth, for I dread them sore, I have loved thee over late, thou beauty so old and so new, I over late have loved thee. Thou wert within and I was without, and there I sought thee and in the beauty and fairness that thou hast made I fell all deformed and foul. Thou wert with me, but I was not with thee. Thou hast called and cried and hast broken my deafness. Thou hast enlumined, cleared, and hast put away my blindness. Thou hast replenished me with fragrant odours and I haste me to come to thee. I have tasted thee, and am hungry and desire thee. Thou hast touched me, and I am burnt in the voice of louing thy peace.
And as he wept thus bitterly, he heard a voice saying: Take and read, and anon he opened the book of the apostle, and cast his eyes on the first chapter and read: Clothe ye you in our Lord Jesu Christ. And anon all the doubts of darkness were extinct in him. And in the meantime he began to be so greatly tormented with toothache, that almost, he saith, he was brought to believe the opinion of Cornelius the philosopher, which putteth that the sovereign weal of the soul is in wisdom, and the sovereign weal of the body is in suffering no pain ne sorrow. And his pain was so great and vehement that he had lost his speech, wherefore as he writeth in the book of his Confessions, he wrote in tables of wax that all men should pray for him that our Lord should assuage his pain, and he himself kneeled down with the other, and suddenly he felt himself whole. And then he signified by letters to the holy man, S. Ambrose, that he would send to him word, which of the books of holy writ appertaineth best to read in, for to be made most convenable to the christian faith. And he sent to him answer: Isaiah the prophet, because that he was seen to be the shower and pronouncer of the gospel and of calling of men. And when Augustin understood not all the beginning, and supposed all the remnant to be otherwise than it was to read, he deferred to read them till he were more conning in holy writ.
And when the day of Easter came and Austin was thirty years old, he and his son which was named Adeodatus, a child of noble wit and understanding, whom he had gotten in his youth when he was a paynim and a philosopher, with Alipius his friend, by the merits of his mother, and by the preaching of S. Ambrose received baptism of S. Ambrose. And then, as it is read, S. Ambrose said: Te deum laudamus, and S. Austin answered: Te dominum confitemur, and so they two together ordained and made this hymn and sung it unto the end. And so witnesseth it Honorius in his book which is named, The Mirror of the Church. And in some other old books, the title of this hymn or psalm is entitled: The canticle of Ambrose and of Augustin. And anon he was marvellously confirmed in the faith catholic, and forsook all the hope that he had in the world, and renounced the schools that he ruled. And he showeth in his book of Confessions how he was from thenceforth achauffed in the love of God, saying: Lord, thou hast throughpierced my heart with thy charity, and I have borne thy words fixed in mine entrails, and the ensamples of thy manners which thou hast made of black, white and shining, and of dead, living, and of corrupt thoughts thou makest fair and high understanding in heavenly things. I mounted up into the hill of weeping, and thou gavest to me, singing the canticle of grees, sharp arrows and coals wasting, ne I was not in the days fulfilled in thy marvellous sweetness, for to consider the height of the divine counsel upon the health of the lineage human. How much have I wept in thy hymns and canticles sweetly sounding, and by the voice of thy church I have been moved eagerly. The voices have run in mine ears, and thy truth hath dropped in mine heart, and then tears have run down and I was well eased with them. Then these hymns were established to be sung in the church of Milan. And I cried with an high cry of mine heart: O in pace, O in id ipsum, O thou that sayst I shall sleep in that same and take rest, thou art the same, for thou art not changed, and in thee is rest, forgetting all labours. I read all that psalm, and I burned, which sometime had been a barker bitter and blind, against the letters honied with the sweetness of heaven and enlumined with thy light. And upon such scriptures I held my peace and spake not. O Jesu Christ my helper, how sweet is it suddenly made to me to lack the sweetnesses of truffes and japes, which were far from me to leave and forsake, and now to leave and forsake them is to me great joy. Thou hast cast them out from me, and thou which art sovereign sweetness hast entered into me for them, which art sweeter than any sweetness or delices, more clear than any light, and more secret than any secret counsels, and more high than all honour, and there is none more high than thou. And after this he took Nebridius and Evodius, and his mother, and returned again into Africa.
But when they came to Tiberina, his sweet mother died, and after her death Austin returned unto his proper heritage, and there entended with them that bode with him in fastings and in prayers. He wrote books, and taught them that were not wise, and the fame and renown of him spread over all. And in all his books and works he was holden marvellous. He refused to come to any city whereas was no bishop lest he should be let by that office.
And in that time was in Hippo a man full of great virtues, which sent to Augustin, that if he would come to him that he might hear the good of his mouth, he would renounce the world. And when S. Augustin knew it he went hastily thither. And when Valerian, bishop of Hippo, heard his renomee and fame, he ordained him a priest in his church, howbeit that he refused it much and wept. And some reputed his tears to be made by pride, and said to him, in comforting him, that it was time that he were a priest, though he were worthy to a greater office, nevertheless he approached to the bishopric. And anon he established a monastery of clerks, and began to live under the rule of the apostles, out of which monastery were ten chosen to be bishops. And because the said bishop was a Greek and but little lettered in Latin tongue and taught, he gave power to Augustin for to preach against the manner of the church oriental. And therefore many bishops despised him, but he raught not if he did it to be done by the said Augustin, that which he could not do himself. In that time he con-vanquished Fortunatus the priest, a Manichean, which was a heretic, and many other heretics, which namely were rebaptized Donatists and Manicheans; all these he confounded and overcame. Then the blessed Valerian doubted lest Augustin should be taken away from him, for to be made and required to be a bishop in another city. And he would have gladly offered to him his bishopric, but he supposed that he would have fled into some secret place, thereas he should not have been found. And then he impetred of the archbishop of Carthage that he might cease and leave his bishopric, and that he would promise Augustin to be bishop of the church of Hippo, but when Augustin heard that, he refused it utterly in all manners. Nevertheless he was constrained and so co-acted that he took at the last the cure of the bishopric, which thing, he said, that he ought not to be ordained, the bishop living, and said, and wrote, for the inhibition of the general council, the which he learned after, that it was ordained in the council of the bishops, that all the statutes of the fathers ought to be said to ordain of them that ordained them. And it is read that he said after of himself: I ne feel our Lord so angry with me in no thing as that I am not worthy to be set in the dignity of the governance of the church.
His clothing, and hosing, and shoeing, and all his other adornments and array, were not over foul ne over fair, but they were of sufficient, moderate, and competent habit. And he said of himself: I am ashamed of precious clothing, and therefore, when any is given to me I sell it, for clothing may not be common, the price is common. He used always his table sparing; he used always pottage and wortes for sick folk, and oftimes he had flesh for guests and sick people, and he loved better at his table lessons and disputations than meat, and had these verses written at his table:
dictis absentum rodere vitam,
Hanc mensam indignam noverit esse sibi:
that is to say: Whosoever loves to missay any creature that is absent, it may be said that this table is denied to him at all. For, on a time. as a man had loosed his tongue to missay of a bishop familiar with him, he rebuked him cruelly, and said that, he should leave off or raze away these verses, or go from the table.
On a time when he had bidden to dinner some of his friends, one of them entered into the kitchen, and found yet all the meat cold that they should have at dinner; and anon he returned to Austin and said: What have ye for our dinner? And Austin answered to him: I noot ne can no skill of such meats; and then he said: I shall not then dine with you. And then Augustin said that three things he had learned of S. Ambrose: the first is that, he should never demand wife for another man, the second that, he should never not lend his horse to him that would ride, and the third, that he should go to no feast. The cause of the first, lest they accord not and be not of one will, and curse him that brought them together. The cause of the second, lest the rider take harm in his riding and blame him that lent him the horse. The cause of the third, lest at the feast he lose the manner of temperance.
He was of so great purity and humility, that the right little sins which we repute for none he confessed them to God, as it appeareth in the book of his Confessions, and accused himself meekly to our Lord. For he accused himself there, that when he was a child, how he played at the ball when he should go to school. Also of that he would not learn of his father and mother and of his masters, but by constraint. Also, when he was a child, of that he read gladly the fables of Ęneas and complained Dido which died for love. Also of that he had stolen meat from the table out of the celyer of his father and mother that he had given to children that played with him, and of that, that the plays and games he had victory by fraud. Also he confessed him of stealing of pears off a pear tree standing nigh his vineyard when he was sixteen years old. In the same book he accused him of that little delectation which sometime he felt in eating, and said: Thou hast taught me that I should take nourishing of meat like a medicine, but when I go to rest with full belly, then I go in the way in which the snare of concupiscence assaileth me. And how well that the cause of eating and drinking be cause of health, she adjoineth with her a perilous chamberer, that is joyousty, which enforceth her oft to perish, so that by the cause it is oft cause of that I would do for health. Drunkenness is far from me; I beseech thee, Lord, have mercy on me, that it approach not me. And, Lord, who is he, but sometime he is ravished out of his meats? Who that it be that is not, certainly is much perfect, it am not I, for I am a sinful man. Also he held himself suspect of smelling, saying: Of unlawful smelling I intermit me not overmuch, but when they be present, I require them not, and if I have them I refuse them not, nor I covet them not as me seemeth, when I lack them I shall not be deceived. No man, saith he, ought to be sure in this life, for it is called all temptation, that is to wit, that he may be made of the worse the better, and not of the better the worse. And he confessed him also of hearing, saying: The delights and voluptuosities of mine ears have bowed and subdued me, but thou hast unbound and delivered me, for when it happed me that the song more moved me than the thing sung, I confess me sore to have sinned, and then I would that I had not heard him that so sang. And then he accused him of seeing; of that he saw sometime gladly the hound running, and when he went sometime by adventure by the fields, he beheld gladly hunting, and when he was at home he beheld oftimes the spincoppes or spiders taking flies by the nets of their cobwebs. Hereof he confessed him to our Lord, for sometime they took from him good thoughts, and letted him of some good works. And he accused him of the appetite of praising and of the moving of vain glory, saying that he would be praised of men. And thou blamest him, he shall not be defended of men when thou judgest him, nor be withdrawn when thou shalt damn him. For man is praised for some gift that thou hast given to him; nevertheless he enjoyeth more of that he is praised, than he doth of the gift that thou hast given. We be tempted every day with these temptations without ceasing, for quotidian furnace is our tongue human. Nevertheless I would well that the name of every good deed should increase by the help of a strange mouth. But the tongue increaseth it not, but blame minisheth it. I am sorry sometime of my praisings, when they be praised in me in which they displease me, for so some manners be esteemed better than they be.
This holy man confounded right valiantly the heretics, insomuch that they preached openly that it were no sin to slay Augustin, and said that he ought to be slain like a wolf, and they affirmed that God pardoned all the sins to them that slew him, and he was oftimes awaited of them, and when he went in to any places, they set spies, but, by the grace of God, they were deceived of their voyage and might not find him.
He remembered always the poor people, and succoured them freely of that he might have, and sometimes he commanded to break the vessels of the church for to give to the poor people, and dispend it among the needy. He would never buy house, nor field, nor town, and refused many heritages that were fallen to him, wherefore, he said, that they appertained to the children of the dead people, and to them that were next of their. kin, and it sufficed him enough that which fell to him by the church. And yet he was not ententive for the love of such goods, but day and night he thought in divine scriptures. He had never study in new fabrics nor buildings, but eschewed to set thereon his courage, which ever he would have free from all bodily griefs, so that he might more freely entende, and more continually, to the lesson. Nevertheless he would not forbid them that would edify, if that he saw them not do it disattemperately.
He praised them strongly that had desire to die, and remembered much oft thereupon the ensamples of three bishops. For when Ambrose was at his end, he was prayed that he should get longer space of his life by his prayers. He answered: I have not lived so that I am ashamed to live among you, and I am not afraid to die, for I have a good Lord; which answer Augustin praised marvellously, and also he said of another bishop, that it was said to him that he was yet much necessary to the church, and that he should pray to God for the deliverance of his sickness. And he said: If I did never well but seldom, wherefore should he deliver me now? And of another bishop, that he said that Cyprian told when he was in grievous sickness and prayed that God would send him health, a youngling appeared to him, and looked sternly on him, and said to him by disdain: Thou doubtest to suffer, thou wiliest not to die, what shall I do to thee?
He would never have that any woman should dwell with him, neither his own sisters, nor the daughters of his brother, which served God together. For he said, though of his sister nor of his nieces might none evil suspicion grow; nevertheless because that such persons might not be without other that served them, and also other might come to them, and of such might the thoughts be moved to temptations, or might be defamed by evil suspicion of men. He would never speak alone with any women but if some one were present in secret. He gave never no goods to his kin, nor to his cousins, nor he recked whether they abounded or were needy. He would never, or seldom, pray for any, neither by letters nor by words, remembering a certain philosopher to whom his friends had not given much to in the time of his fame; and oft he said: Oft the puissant that is required giveth verily. When he spake for his friend he attempered so the manner of his duty, that he was not overhasting himself, but the courtesy of the sayer deserved to be heard. He would gladlier hear causes of unknown men than of his friends, for between them he might freely know the default, and of them to make one his friend for whom by right he might give sentence, and of his friends he was sure to lose one, that was, him against whom he gave the sentence. He was desired to preach the word of God in many churches, and there he preached and converted many from errors. When he preached he had a custom sometime to depart him from his purpose, and then he said that God had ordained that for the profit of some person; as it appeared to a Manichean, which in a sermon of Augustin whereas he departed from his matter and preached against the same error, and thereby he was converted to the faith.
In that time that the Goths had taken Rome, and that the idolaters and false christian men enjoyed them thereof, then made S. Augustin therefore the book of the City of God, in which he showed first that righteous men were destroyed in this life, and the evil men flourished. And the treatise of the two cities is Jerusalem and Babylon and of the kings of them. For the king of Jerusalem is Jesu Christ, and he of Babylon is the devil, the which two cities make two loves in them. For the city of the devil maketh a love to himself, growing the same unto despite of God. And the city of God made a love growing unto the despite of him.
In that time the Vandals about the year of our Lord four hundred and forty took all the province of Africa, and wasted all, and spared neither man nor woman nor for order nor for age, and after came to the city of Hippo and assieged it with great power. And under that tribulation, Augustin before all other led a bitter and right holy life, for the tears of his eyes were to him bread day and night, when he saw some slain, others chased away, the churches without priests, and the city wasted with the inhabitants. And among these many evils, by the sentence of a certain wise man he comforted himself, saying: Thou shalt not be great in weening great things because that the woods and stones fall, and they that be mortal die. He called them his brethren, and said: I
have prayed our Lord that either he take away from us these perils or send to us patience, or take me out of this life that I be no more constrained to have so many cursednesses or ill-haps. And the third thing that he required he had. For in the third month of the siege he travailed in the fevers, and lay down on his bed. And when he understood his departing he did do write the seven psalms of penance in a place against the wall, and read them Iying in his bed and wept abundantly. And because he should entend to God the more diligently, and that his entent should not be letted by nobody, ten days tofore his death he suffered nobody to enter in to him but if it were his physician, or else when his refection was brought him.
A certain sick man came because he should lay his hand on him and thereby to heal him of his infirmity: and S. Augustin answered to him: Son, that which thou requirest of me weenest thou that I may do such thing that I ne never did? If I might do it, I would then heal myself. And the man required of him always, affirming that he was so commanded in a vision to come to him. And then he prayed for him, and he received health. He healed many sick people and did many other miracles. He counted in the book of the City of God another miracle of twain fools, of which that one said: I have seen a virgin of Hippo which anointeth her with oil, and anon the devil ravished and vexed her, and a priest prayed for her weeping, and she was anon made all whole and the fiend issued from her, and of that other miracle he saith in the same book: I know well that a bishop on a time prayed for a child that he had never seen, and he was anon delivered of the devil. And it is no doubt but that he said it of himself but he would not name himself because of humility. He saith in the same book that a man should have been cut of the stone and men doubted that he should die, and then the sick man prayed God weeping, and Austin prayed for him, and he was healed without cutting or incision.
Then, when his departing approached, he enseigned his brethren that they should retain in mind that no man, of what excellence that he were, ought not to die without confession, ne without to receive his Saviour. And when he came to the last hour he felt him whole in all his members, of good entendment, clear seeing and hearing, and in the year of his age three score and six, and of his bishopric forty, he put himself in prayers with his brethren, which praying he departed out of this life and went unto our Lord. And he made no testament, for he was poor in Jesu Christ and had not whereof. And he flourished about the year of our Lord four hundred. And thus S. Augustin right clear by light of wisdom, fighting in defence of truth, of faith and of garrison of the church, surmounted all the other doctors of the church, as well by engine, as by conning, flourishing without comparison as well by example of virtues as by abundance of doctrine. Of whom the blessed Remigius in recording of Jerome and other doctors saith thus: S. Augustin concluded all the others by engine and by science. For howbeit that the blessed Jerome saith that he had seen six thousand volumes of Origen, this same wrote so many that no man by day nor night might not write his books ne yet read them. Volusian, to whom S. Augustin wrote, saith of him, thus: It lacketh in the law of God all that Augustin knew not. S. Jerome saith thus in an epistle that he wrote to the glorious S. Augustin: I have no conning to answer to thy two great books, shining by all clearness of fair speaking, and certainly this that I have said and have learned by engine and conning, and drawn out of the fountain of scripture, is by thee declared and set forth, but I pray thy reverence thou suffer me a little to praise thy engine. The blessed Isidore wrote thus of him in the book of twelve doctors: The glorious S. Augustin, bishop, flying by the high mountains as an eagle, hath pronounced by clear words many of the spaces of heaven, the bounds of the lands, and the circle of the waters. And after it appeareth what reverence and love S. Jerome had to him in the epistles that he sent to the holy father S. Augustin: I, Jerome, honour alway thy blessedness by such honour as it appertaineth to love our Lord Jesu Christ dwelling in thee. But and if it may be, let us now gather of thy praisings something. The blessed S. Gregory saith thus of his books in an epistle that he sent unto Innocent, provost of Africa: Because it hath liked to thee to send to us for the exposition of holy Job, we rejoice us in thy study. But if thou wilt be made fat in science, read the sweet epistles of thy patron and head S. Augustin our fellow, but think not that our wheat may be compared to his rye. And the blessed Prosper saith of him: S. Augustin was quick in engine, sweet in speech, wise in letters, and a noble worker in the labours of the church; clear in daily disputations, in all his doings well ordered, sharp in assoiling questions, right appert in confounding heretics, and right catholic in expounding of our faith, and subtle in expounding the canon of scripture.
And after that the strange people had occupied that country long, and had corrupted the holy places, the good christian men took the body of S. Augustin and brought it into Sardinia. And after that, two hundred and eighty years, one Liprand, a devout king of the Lombards, sent solemn messengers thither for to bring the relics of S. Augustin to Pavia, which gave great good for it, and brought the body unto Genoa. And when the devout king heard thereof he had great joy, and went for to meet with it at the said city, and received it honourably. And on the morn when they would have led the body away, they might not remove it in no manner till that the king had avowed that, if he would let him be borne thence, he would make there a church in the honour of him; and when he had done so, anon without any difficulty it was led and taken from thence.
And on that day following there fell a miracle in a town named Cassel, in the bishopric of Tyrdone, in the same wise; and there he builded another church in the honour of him. And the same town with all the appurtenances he gave to them that served in the same church, to possess for evermore. And because the king would please the saint, and doubted that he would be in some other place than the king would have, wherever the king harboured by night with the body, he made there a church in the honour of him, and thus was brought to Pavia with great joy; and was laid honourably in the church of S. Peter which is called Cieldore, or heaven of gold in English. S. Bernard, on a night as he was at matins, he slumbered a little, and the lessons of S. Augustin were read. And then he saw a right fair young man standing before him, and so great abundance of water coming out of his mouth that him seemed all the church was full thereof. And then he awoke, and wist well that it was S. Augustin, which had fulfilled that church with his doctine.
There was a man, which had great devotion to S. Augustin, gave great good to a monk that kept the body of S. Augustin for to have a finger of the glorious saint. And this monk took this money and delivered to him the finger of another dead man, wrapped in silk, and feigned that it was the finger of the glorious S. Austin. And the good man received it much honourably and in great reverence, and honoured it every day devoutly and touched withal his eyes and his mouth, and oft embraced it against his breast. And God by his mercy, that beholdeth all things, and the faith of this man, gave to him for that finger the very proper finger of S. Augustin, and when he came into his country, there were many miracles showed thereby. The renown and fame thereof came to Pavia of this finger, and the monk aforesaid affirmed always that it was the finger of another dead man. The sepulchre was opened for to know the truth, and it was found that there lacked one of the fingers of the glorious saint. And when the abbot had knowledge of this thing, he put out the monk of that office, and tormented and punished him sore. Many other miracles hath God showed by his life, and also after his death, which were overlong to write in this book, for they would, I suppose, contain a book as much as all this and more, but among other corrections, I will set herein one miracle, which I have seen painted on an altar of S. Austin at the black frirs at Antwerp, howbeit I find it not in the legend, mine exemplar, neither in English, French, ne in Latin. It was so that this glorious doctor made and compiled many volumes, as afore is said, among whom he made a book of the Trinity, in which he studied and mused sore in his mind, so far forth that on a time as he went by tbe sea-side in Africa, studying on theTrinity, he found by the sea-side a little child which had made a little pit in the sand, and in his hand a little spoon. And with the spoon he took out water of the large sea and poured it into the pit. And when S. Augustin beheld him he marvelled, and demanded him what he did. And he answered and said: I will lade out and bring all this water of the sea into this pit. What? said he, it is impossible, how may it be done, sith the sea is so great and large, and thy pit and spoon so little? Yes, forsooth, said he, I shall lightlier and sooner draw all the water of the sea and bring it into this pit than thou shalt bring the mystery of the Trinity and his divinity into thy little understanding as to the regard thereof; for the mystery of the Trinity is greater and larger to the comparison of thy wit and brain than is this great sea unto this little pit. And therewith the child vanished away. Then here may every man take ensample that no man, and especially simple lettered men, ne unlearned, presume to intermit ne to muse on high things of the godhead, farther than we be informed by our faith, for our only faith shall suffice us. Then herewith I make an end of the life of this glorious doctor S. Austin, to whom let us devoutly pray that he be a mediator and advocate unto the blessed Trinity, that we may amend our sinful life in this transitory world, that when we shall depart we may come to everlasting bliss in heaven. Amen.
Here followeth the Decollation of S. John Baptist.
It is read that the decollation of S. John Baptist was established for four causes, like as it is found in the Book of Office. First, for his decollation; secondly, for the burning and gathering together of his bones; thirdly, for the invention and finding of his head; and fourthly, for the translation of his finger and dedication of the Church. And after some people this feast is named diversely, that is to say, decollation, collection, invention, and dedication. First, this feast is hallowed for his decollation which was made in this manner. For, as it is had in Historia Scholastica, Herod Antipas, son of the great Herod, went to Rome and passed by the house of Philip his brother, and began to love the wife of his brother, which was named Herodias, wife of the same Philip, his brother. After that Josephus saith, she was sister of Herod Agrippa. And when he returned, he refused and repudiated his own wife, and secretly wedded her to his wife, the which thing his wife knew well, that he had wedded his brother's wife. And this first wife of Herod was daughter of Areth, king of Damascus, and therefore she abode not the coming home of her husband, but went to her father as soon as she might. And when Herod returned, he took away the wife of Philip his brother, and wedded her, and left his own. And there moved against him therefore Herod Agrippa, and the king Areth and Philip became his enemies. And S. John said to him that he had not done well to do so, because after the law it appertained not to him to have and hold the wife of his brother living. And Herod saw that John reproved him of this thing so cruelly, as Josephus saith, because he reproved him of blame. He assembled great people for to please his wife, and did do bind and put S. John in prison, but he would not slay him for doubt of the people, which much loved John, and followed him for his predication. And Herod and Herodias, coveting occasion against S. John how they might make him die, ordained between them secretly that, when Herod should make the feast of his nativity the daughter of Herodias should demand a gift of Herod for dancing and springing at the feast tofore the principal princes of his realm, and he should swear to her by his oath that he shall grant it her. And she should ask the head of S. John, and he would give it to her for keeping of his oath, but he should feign as he were angry because of making of the oath. And it is read in the History Scholastic that he had this treachery and great fantasy in him where it is said thus: It is to be believed that Herod treated first secretly with his wife of the death of S. John. And under this occasion saith Jerome in the gloss: And therefore he sware for to find occasion to slay him, for if she had required the death of his father or mother, he had not given it to her ne consented it. And when the feast was assembled, the maid was there springing and dancing tofore them all, in such wise that it pleased much to all. And then sware the king that he would give to her whatsomever she required, though she demanded half his kingdom. And then she, warned by her mother, demanded the head of S. John Baptist. Nevertheless, Herod by evil courage feigned that he was angry because of his oath, and as Rabanus saith: That he had sworn follily, that he must needs do. But he made no sign of sorrow save in the visage, for he was joyous in his heart; he excused the felony of his oath, showing that he did it under the occasion of pity. Then the hangman came and smote off his head and delivered it to the maid, the which she laid in a platter and presented it at the dinner to her mischievous mother. And then Herod was much abashed when he saw it. And S. Austin rehearseth in a sermon that he made on the occasion of the decollation, by way of example, that there was an innocent man and a true which had lent certain money to another man which denied it him when he asked it. And the good man was moved, and constrained him by his oath to swear whether he owed him or no, and he sware that he owed him nought, and so the creditor lost that he had lent. And then he saith that, in the next day following the creditor was ravished and brought tofore the judgment, and it was asked him: Why calledst thou that man for to be believed by his oath? And he said: Because he denied my debt. And the judge said: It had been better to thee to lose thy debt than he should lose his soul by making of a false oath as he did. And then this man was taken and grievously beaten, so that when he awoke the tokens of his wounds appeared on his back, but he was pardoned and forgiven. And after this Austin saith that S. John was not beheaded on this day when the feast of his decollation is hallowed, but the year tofore, about the feast of Easter, and because of the passion of Jesu Christ and of the sacrament of our Lord it is deferred unto this day, for the less ought to give place to the more and greater. And of that, S. John Chrysostom saith: John the Baptist beheaded is become master of the school of virtues and of life, the form of holiness, the rule of justice, the mirror of virginity, the ensample of chastity, the way of penance, pardon of sin, and discipline of faith. John is greater than man, peer unto the angels, sovereign holiness of the law of the gospel, the voice of the apostles, the silence of the prophets, the lantern of the world, the foregoer of the Judge, and moyen of all the Trinity. And this so great a man was put to martyrdom, and gave his head to the adulterer, and was delivered to the springing maid.
Herod then went not away all unpunished, but he was damned into exile. For as it is contained in the History Scholastic, Herod Agrippa was a noble man but he was poor, and for his overmuch poverty he was in despair, and entered into a certain tower for to suffer death there by famine and hunger. But when Herodias, his sister, heard thereof, she prayed Herod Tetrarch that he would bring him thence and minister to him. And when he had done so they dined together, and Herod Tetrarch began to chauffe him by the wine which he had drunk, and began to reprove Herod Agrippa of the benefits that he had done to him. And that other sorrowed sore, and went to Rome and was received into the grace of Gaius the emperor, and he gave to him two lordships, that is to say of Lisania and Abilina, and crowned him, and sent him king into the Jewry. And when Herodias saw her brother have the name of a king, she prayed her husband with great weepings that he should go to Rome and buy him the name of a king. He abounded greatly in riches, and entended not to her desire, for he had liefer be idle in rest than to have honour laborious. But at the last he was overcome by her busy prayers, Baptist and went to Rome with her. And when Herod Agrippa knew it, he sent letters to the Cęsar, that Herod Antipas, or the Tetrarch, had made friendship with the king of Persia and alliance, and that he would rebel against the empire of Rome. And in token of this thing he signified to him that he had in his garrisons armours enough for to garnish with seven thousand men. And when the emperor had read these letters he was much glad, and began to speak of other things first, afar from his purpose, and among other things he demanded him if he had in his cities great abundance of armours as he heard say, and he denied it not to him. Then the emperor believed well that which Herod had sent him in writing, and was angry toward him, and sent him into exile. And because his wife was sister to Herod Agrippa, whom he much loved, he gave to her leave to return to her country, but she would go with her husband into exile, and said that he that had been in great prosperity, she should not leave him in his adversity. And then were they brought to Lyons, and there ended their lives miserably. This is in the History Scholastic.
Secondly, this feast was established and hallowed for the burning of his bones and gathering together on this day, like as some say they were burnt, and were gathered up of good christian men. And then suffered he the second martyrdom when his bones were burnt, and therefore the church halloweth this feast also as his second martyrdom, as it is read in the History Scholastic. For when his disciples had borne his body in to the city Sebasten of Palestine, they buried it between Elisęum and Abdias, and at his tomb many miracles were showed. Then Julian the apostate commanded that his bones should be burnt, and they ceased not to do their woodness then; they took them and burnt them into powder and winnowed them in the fields. And Bede saith in his Chronicles that when they had gathered his bones they drew them afar that one from that other, and by this wise he suffered the second martyrdom. But they say that know it not, that the day of his nativity his bones were gathered all about and were burnt. And whiles they were ingathering, as it is said in Scholastica Historia, there came monks from Jerusalem which covertly put them among the gatherers, and took a great part of them and bare them to Philip, bishop of Jerusalem. And he sent them afterwards to Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, and long time after Theophilus, bishop of the same city, laid them in the temple of Serapis, when he had hallowed and purged it from filth, and sacred it a church in the honour of S. John Baptist, and this is that the History Scholastic saith. But now they be worshipped devoutly at Genoa, like as Alexander the third, and Innocent the fourth, witnesseth for truth, and approve it by their privileges. And like as Herod which beheaded him was punished for his trespass, so Julian the apostate was smitten with divine vengeance of God, whose persecution is contained in the history of S. Julian tofore rehearsed after the Conversion of S. Paul. Of this Julian the apostate, of his nativity, of his empire, of his cruelty and of his death, is said plainly in Historia Tripartita.
Thirdly, this feast is hallowed for the invention of his head or finding thereof. For, as some say, his head was found on this day. And, as it is read in the History Scholastic: John was bound and imprisoned, and had his head smitten off within the castle of Arabia that is named Macheronta. And Herodias did do bear the head in to Jerusalem, and did do bury it secretly thereby whereas Herod dwelled, for she doubted that the prophet should rise again if his head were buried with the body. And as it is had in the History Scholastic: In the time of Marcian the prince, which was the year of our Lord three hundred and fifty-three, John showed his head to two monks that were come to Jerusalem. And then they went to the palace which was longing to Herod and found the head of S. John wrapped in an hair, and as I suppose, they were of the vestments that he ware in desert. And then they went with the head toward their proper places. And as they went on their way a poor man which was of the city of Emissene came and fellowshipped with them, and they delivered him the bag in which was the holy head. Then this man was warned in the night that he should go his way and flee from them with the head, and so he went with the head, and brought it into the city of Emissene. And there as long as he lived he worshipped the head in a cave, and had always good prosperity. And when he should die he told and showed it to his sister, charging her to tell it to nobody by her faith, and she kept it all her life, as he had done tofore long time. After that, long time, the blessed John Baptist made revelation of his head to S. Marcellus, monk, that dwelled in that cave, in this manner. Him seemed, in his sleeping, that many companies singing went thither, and said: Lo! here is S. John Baptist. Whom one led on the right side and another on the left side, and blessed all them that went with him. To whom when Marcellus came, he raised him up and took him by the chin, and kissed him. And Marcellus demanded him and said: My lord, from whence art thou come to us? And he said: I am come from Sebasten. And then when Marcell was awaked, he marvelled much of this vision. And the night following, as he slept, there came a man to him which awoke him, and when he was awaked he saw a right fair star which shone amidst of the cell through the house. And he arose and would have touched it, and it turned suddenly on that other side. And he began to run after it till that the star abode in the place where the head of S. John was, and there he dalf and found a pot, and the holy head therein. And a monk that would not believe that it was the head of S. John, laid his hand upon the pot, and forthwith his hand burned and cleaved so to the pot, that he could not withdraw it there from in no manner, and his fellows prayed for him. And then he drew off his hand, but it was not whole. And S. John appeared to him and said: When my head shall be set in the church, touch thou then the pot and thou shalt be whole, and so he did and received his health, and was whole as it was before. Then Marcellus showed this to Julian, bishop of the same city, and they bare it reverently into the city and showed it honourably. And from that time forth the feast of his decollation was there hallowed, for it was found the same day. And after this it was transported into the city of Constantinople. And as it is said in the History Tripartita, that Valens the emperor commended that it should be laid in a chariot for to be brought to Constantinople. And when it came to Chalcedon, the chariot would go no farther, how well that they set in more beasts to draw it, wherefore they must leave it there. But afterwards Theodosius would bring it thence, and found a noble woman set for to keep it, and he prayed her that she would suffer him to bear away the head. And she consented because that she supposed that like as Valens might not have it thence, that in like wise he should not conne have it thence. Then the emperor took it and embraced in his arms much sweetly the holy head, and laid it within his purple, and bare it in to the city of Constantinople and edified there a right fair church and set it therein. This saith the History Tripartita.
After this, in the time that king Pepin reigned, it was transported in France in Poictou, and there by his merits many dead men were raised to life. And in like wise as Herod was punished that beheaded S. John, and Julian the apostate that burnt his bones, so was Herodias which counselled her daughter to demand the head of S. John. And the maid that required it died right ungraciously and evil, and some say that Herodias was condemned in exile, but she was not, ne she died not there, but when she held the head between her hands she was much joyful, but by the will of God the head blew in her visage, and she died forthwith. This is said of some, but that which is said tofore, that she was sent in exile with Herod, and miserably ended her life, thus say saints in their chronicles and it is to be holden. And as her daughter went upon the water she was drowned anon, and it is said in another chronicle that the earth swallowed her in, all quick, and may be understood as of the Egyptians that were drowned in the Red Sea, so the earth devoured her.
Fourthly, this feast was hallowed for the translation of his finger and the dedication of his church. For his finger with which he showed our Lord, as it is said, might not be burnt. And this said finger was found of the said monks, which afterwards as it is had in Historia Scholastica, S. Thecla brought it over the mountains, and set it in the church of S. Martin, and this witnesseth Master John Beleth, saying that the said S. Thecla brought the same finger from beyond the sea into Normandy and there builded a church in the honour of S. John, which church, as it is said, was dedicated and hallowed this same day, wherefore it was stablished of our holy father the pope, that this day should be hallowed through the world. And Gobert saith that a much devout lady towards S. John was in France, which much prayed to our Lord that he should give to her some relics of the said S. John, and when she saw that it profited not in praying to God, she began to take affiance in God, and avowed that she would fast and never eat meat till she had of him some relic. And when she had fasted certain days she saw upon the table tofore her a finger of marvellous whiteness, and she received with great joy that gift of God. Then after, came thither three bishops, and each of them would have part of the finger. Then by the grace of God the finger dropped three drops of blood upon a cloth by which they knew that each of them had deserved to have a drop. And then Theodolina, queen of the Lombards, founded at Modena, beside Milan, a noble church in the honour of S. John Baptist.
And like as Paul witnesseth in the history of Lombards: And the time passed unto Constance the emperor which would have taken Italy from the Lombards, and he demanded of a holy man which had a spirit of prophecy, how he should do with the battle which he had enterprised. And that man was all night in prayer and came to the emperor and answered to him and said: The queen hath do made a church of S. John Baptist and prayeth continually for the Lombards, and therefore thou mayst not surmount them, but the time shall come that that place shall be despised, and then they shall be overcome. Which was accomplished in the time of Charlemagne.
On a time came a man of great virtue, as S. Gregory saith in his dialogue, whose name was Sanctilus and had received in his keeping a deacon that was taken of the Lombards by such a condition that if he fled he should have his head smitten off. The said Sanctilus constrained the deacon to flee, and delivered him, and when the deacon was gone they took the same Sanctilus and led him forth to be beheaded. And they chose a strong tyrant to do it, and he had no doubt to smite off his head at one stroke. And then the said Sanctilus stretched forth his neck, and the strong butcher lifted up his arm with the sword, and Sanctilus cried: S. John receive my soul, and then anon the arm of the butcher was so stiff that he could not bring it down again, ne bow it in no manner. And then that butcher made his oath that he would never after in his life smite no christian man. And the good man Sanctilus prayed for him and anon the arm came down and was all whole. Then let us pray unto this holy saint John Baptist, to be a moyen between God and us, that we may so live virtuously in this life that when we shall depart, we may come to everlasting life in heaven. Amen.
Here followeth of S. Felix, and first of his name.
Felix is said of fero, fers, that is to say as to bear, and of this word lis, litis, which is as much to say as strife. For he bare strife for the faith of our Lord Jesu Christ against all the miscreants and the idols, and destroyed them all by his blowing.
Of S. Felix.
S. Felix was a priest and so was his brother, and was named also Felix. And they were presented to Maximian and to Diocletian, which were emperors, for to sacrifice unto the gods, of whom the oldest of them, as soon as he was brought into the temple of Serapis for to do sacrifice unto the idols, he blew in his visage, and as soon as he had done so the idol fell to the earth and all tobrake. And then he was led to the idol of Mercury, on which he blew also, and it fell down then to the earth. And after he was led to the third image, which was of Diana, and did like as he had to that other. And then he was tormented with the great torment of eculeus, that is a torment which is made like a cross. Then he was brought, after, to the tree of sacrifice, for to sacrifice there. And the holy man kneeled down and prayed, and blew against the tree, and in continent the tree turned the root upward and fell down, and in the falling destroyed the simulachre with the altar and temple. And when the provost heard that, he commanded that he should there be beheaded, and that the body should be left to hounds and beasts. And there sprang a man in the middle among them confessing him freely to be a christian man, and both of them kissing other were there beheaded together. The christian men not knowing his name called him Adauctum, because he went so hardily to S. Felix, and said he was a christian man, when he suffered martyrdom. And there were they beheaded both twain together. Then christian men took the bodies and buried them in the pit where the tree fell. And after, the paynims would have taken them out, and anon they were taken of the devil. And they suffered death about the year of our Lord two hundred and eighty-seven.
Here followeth of S. Savien, and first of his name.
Savien may be said of sale, which is as much to say as bitter, for he was bitter toward God, for he was a paynim. And sith he was peaceable to him when he was converted to him by the peace of christian faith, and was bitter to himself. For he had liefer have died than not to understand the letter, for he might not understand paynim speech. And he was right bitter to his father for he would never obey him ne adore his gods.
Of S. Savien.
S. Savien and Savina his sister were children of Savininus, a right noble paynim. and was twice married. He had Savien of his first wife, and of the second he had Savina, his daughter, and gave to them both that name. On a time Savien read this verse: Asperges me, domine, and anon he demanded what it was to say, but he might not understand what it was to say, and he entered into his chamber and ware the hair, and kneeled within his chamber, and said to himself that he had liefer die than that he should not understand the sense of that verse. Then the angel appeared and said to him: Torment thee not, for thou hast found grace anenst our Lord Jesu Christ. And to the end that thou be more white, make thee clean, it behoveth thee to be baptized, and then thou shalt understand and know that which thou requirest to know now. And then he was joyous and glad by the word of the grace of God. And then he had in despite the idols and would not adore them. Then he was reproved and strongly chidden of his father, who said him oft: Why honourest thou not our gods? It is better that thou die alone than we all be wrapped in the death. And then Savien fled secretly away, and went unto the city of Trecassina, and as he went over the river of Secana he prayed our Lord that he might be baptized there, and so he was, and then our Lord said to him: Thou hast found now that which thou hast sought so long with great labour.
And anon he pight his staflf in the earth and made his prayer to God; and his staff flourished and brought forth leaves tofore them all that were there, in so much that a thousand one hundred and eight men believed in our Lord God. And when Aurelian the emperor heard hereof he sent many knights to take him, whom they found praying, and dreaded for to approach him. And when the emperor saw that they returned not, he sent more after than he did before, and when they came they found the others praying with him. And when he arose from prayer they said to him: The emperor desireth to see thee, and sendeth for thee by us that thou shouldest come to him. And this holy good man went much humbly to him, and when he was tofore the emperor he required of him if he were christian or not. And he said: Yes. Then the emperor, being full of woodness, bade him to sacrifice to his gods, or else he would make him to die an evil death. Savien refused it. And anon he commanded to bind him by the hands and by the feet, and to beat him with staves of iron. And then Savien said to him: Increase the torments if thou mayst hardily, for I doubt not, ne fear not thee, ne the torments that thou dost to me. And then the emperor being all wroth commanded that he should be brought into the middle of the city, and there be bounden upon a bench, and make a great fire thereunder, and cast oil therein, that he might be burnt and broiled. And he being within the flame, the emperor beheld him, and saw that he was joyous therein as he had been in a bain, whereof he was much abashed, and said to him: Evil beast, sufficeth it not enough to thee the souls that thou hast deceived, though thou not essay to deceive by thy art magic? To whom Savien said: There be many souls yet, and also thyself, which shall by me believe in our Lord Jesu Christ. And then the emperor blamed the name of Jesu Christ, and commanded that he should be bound on the morn at a stake and be shot at with arrows. The arrows abode hanging in the air on the right side and on the left, and none of them hurt him. And when the emperor knew that he had none harm, he weened to have been enraged, and commanded that the next day following he should be brought to him, and after, he demanded him: Where is thy God? Now let him come hither and deliver thee from these arrows. And as soon as he had said so, one of the arrows sprang into the eye of the emperor, and smote out his eye, and the emperor was angry, and commanded to put him in prison, and that on the next morning early he should be beheaded. And then Savien prayed our Lord that he might be brought into the place whereas he was baptized, and then the chains with which he was bound all to-brake and the doors of the prison were opened. And he went out of the prison and went tofore all the knights that kept him, and they in no manner apperceived him, and went into the same place. And when the emperor heard say that he was escaped, he commanded that he should be pursued and that his head should be smitten off. And when S. Savien apperceived that the knights followed, and that he approached the water, he made the sign of the cross and went upon the water like as he should have gone upon the earth dry, and went unto the place whereas he was baptized. Then the knights followed him, and were much abashed of that they had seen him go on the water. And when they were nigh him, they doubted much to smite at him, and he said to them: Smite me when ye will all surely, and bear of my blood to your emperor, and let him rub his eye therewith, and he shall be whole, to the end that he know the virtue of God. And after this they smote his head off, and he rose up and bare it thence nine and-forty paces, and there was buried. And after that the knights bare of his blood to the emperor, wherewith he anointed his eyes, and anon he had his sight and was all whole, and then he said: His God is good and mighty. And there was by, a woman that heard what the emperor said which woman had been blind by the space of forty years. And then she made her to be borne thither, and as soon as she had touched his sepulchre and made her prayer, anon she received health and her sight again. And he suffered death about the year of our Lord two hundred and seventy, in the calends of February, and the history of his sister is here set in because that the feast of her is on the same day.
And Savina, his sister, wept every day for her brother and sacrificed for him to the idols. And in the end the angel appeared to her in her sleep and said: Savina, weep no more, but leave all that thou hast, and thou shalt find thy brother in great honour. Then she awoke and said to her fellow: My sweet love, hast thou heard nothing? and she said: Yes, lady, for I have seen a man that spake to thee, but I wot not what he said. And then she said to her: Wilt thou not accuse me? And she said: No, lady, but do what thou wilt so that thou slay not thyself. And thus they both went away that morning and when her father wist it that she was gone, he was much sorrowful, and did do seek her long. And then he lift up his eyes to heaven, and said If thou art very God of heaven, I pray thee destroy mine idols which may not save me ne my children. And anon our Lord made it for to thunder and break all the idols, and much people saw it, which believed in our Lord. Then the blessed Savina went to Rome, and there she was baptized of the blessed Eusebius the pope, and dwelled there five years and healed two lame men and two blind men. And then the angel appeared to her in her sleep and said to her: What is this that thou dost, that hast left thy riches and livest here in delices? Arise and dine, and after go into the city of Trecane that thou mayst find there thy brother. And then she said to her chamberer: It behoveth us no longer to abide here; and she said: Lady, whither will ye go? All the people here love you well, and will ye go die in a place whereas the people know you not? And she said: God shall purvey for us; and then she took a loaf of barley bread and went unto the city of Ravenna, and entered into the house of a rich man whose daughter was bewailed as dead. And she required the maid of the house that she might be lodged there, and she said: How mayst thou be lodged here when the daughter of herein is dead, and all be sorrowful? And she said to her: For me she shall not die; and then she entered in, and took the hand of the maid and raised her up all whole. And the mother would have retained her there, but she in no wise would agree thereto, but departed. And the daughter lived, and arose on the morn. And when Savina with her chamberer arrived a mile nigh unto Trecane, she said to her chamberer that she would there rest a little. And there came a noble man from the city named Licerius, and demanded them, saying: Of whence be ye? To whom Savina said: I am of this city. And he said: Why liest thou when thy speech sheweth thee to be a pilgrim? And she said: Verily I am a pilgrim, and seek Savien my brother whom I have long lost. And he said to her: That man for whom thou demandest was but late slain for the name of Jesu Christ, and is buried in such a place. And then she put her in praying, and said: Lord, which hast always kept me in chastity, suffer me then no more to travail by these hard and weary journeys, ne my body to be removed out of this place, and, Lord, I recommend to thee my chamberer, which hath suffered so much pain for me. And for my brother whom I may not here see, I beseech thee to make me worthy to see him in thy reign. And when she had finished her prayer she passed out of this world, and went to our Lord. When her chamberer saw that her mistress was dead, she began to weep because she had nothing necessary to bury her with. The said man then sent a crier through the city, that all, great and small, should come to see the strange woman that was there dead; and incontinent all the people ran, and she was buried honourably. And this same day is the feast of S. Savina that was wife of S. Valentine, knight, which was beheaded under Adrian the Emperor, because he would not sacrifice to the idols.
Here followeth the Life of S. Lowe, and first of the interpretation of his name.
Lowe or lupe is some sickness in the leg, which behoveth a medicine, for it is a malady that rogneth and useth the flesh. And also it is said a manner of fish that is on the water and on the land, and it may not drown by no force of water. And thus may be expounded S. Lowe, for he used and strained his proper flesh by penance. For he was like the lupe of the water and of the earth, for he dwelled in the waters of delices, of riches, and of temptations, and might not drown among these waters in no wise.
Of S. Lupe or Lowe.
S. Lupe or Lowe was born at Orleans, and was of the royal lineage, and by the splendour of his great and many miracles and virtues, he was made Archbishop of Sens. And he gave all that he had to poor people, and on a day when all was given, it happed that he had bidden many men to dine with him. And then his ministers said that there was not wine half enough for the dinner. And he answered to them: He that feedeth the birds of heaven shall perform his charity of wine. And anon after came a messenger to the gate, that said to them, that there were arrived tofore the gate an hundred mues of wine.
On a time, they of the court said evil of him, because that he had with him a virgin of our Lord, which was daughter of his predecessor. And as they said, he loved paramours, and spake much despitously and over disattemperately. And when he had heard these things, he took the virgin, and kissed her tofore all the detractors and evil sayers, and said that, ne strange ne evil words annoy ne hurt no man when his own conscience defileth him not. And because he knew well that she loved well Jesu Christ, and purely, therefore this holy man loved her with a right pure thought.
On a time when the King Clothair was King of France, and entered in to Burgundy, he sent his steward against them of Sens for to assiege the city. Then Lupe entered in to the church and began to ring the clock, and when the enemies heard it, they had so great dread that they supposed never to have escaped from thence, but that they should have died all, but if they fled, and at the last the steward of Burgundy was taken. And when he was taken, there was another steward sent in to Burgundy, and came to Sens. And because S. Lupe had given to him no gifts he had great despite, and defamed him to the king, so that the king sent him into exile, and there he shone by miracles and virtues. And in the meanwhile, they of Sens slew a bishop which had taken the place of S. Lupe, and after, they impetred of the king that S. Lupe returned from exile. And when the king saw that he was wrongly done to, he was changed by the grace of God that, he kneeled tofore the saint and required pardon, and re-established him again in his church, and gave to him many fair gifts.
On a time as he came to Paris, a great company of prisoners came against him, their bonds broken and all the doors of the prison open. On a Sunday as he sang mass, a precious stone fell down from heaven into his chalice, the which he gave to the king, which he held for a noble relic.
On a time the King Clothair heard say that the clocks of S. Stephen of Sens had a marvellous sweetness in their sound, and sent for them and took them from thence, and did do bring them to Paris, because he would hear the sound of them. But it displeased much to S. Lupe, and as soon as they were out of the city they lost all the sweetness of their sound, and when the king heard that, he commanded that they should be brought again into their place. And as soon as they were seven miles nigh unto the town, they began to reprise the sound like as they had tofore. And S. Lupe went against them and received them with great joy and honour, for he had lost them with great sorrow tofore.
On a night as he prayed, he had over great thirst by the false movings of the devil. And he demanded cold water for to drink, and he knew well the treachery of the enemy, and when he held the vessel in which he should drink, he set a platter upon it and shut the devil fast therein, and he began all the night to howl and bray. And in the morning the holy man conjured him that, he that was comen by night to tempt him, by day he let him go all confused.
On a time, as he by night visited the churches, as he was accustomed, as he returned home he heard his clerks brawling and chiding because they would do fornication with women, which anon entered into the church and prayed for them, and anon all the pricking of temptation went from them, and they came tofore him and demanded pardon and forgiveness. At the last, he being ennobled in many virtues, slept in peace in our Lord. He flourished about the year of our Lord six hundred and ten.
Here beginneth the Life of S. Mammertin, and first of the interpretation of his name.
Mammertin is said of mamma, which is as much to say as a pap, and of tine, that is to say taste, for like as taste that falleth from the pap into the mouth of the child, and is first nature of blood, and after it is converted into the sweetness of milk, in like wise was he nourished, first in blood, that is to say in sin, and after, he converted himself anon into the pap of his heart in the sweetness of God.
Of S. Mammertin.
Mammertin was first a paynim and worshipped idols, and it happed on a time he lost his one eye and his hand was dried up. And he supposed that he had angered his gods, and went towards the temple for to adore the idols; and there met him on the way a religious man named Savien, which demanded of him how this infirmity happed to come to him, and he said: I have angered my gods, and therefore I go adore them, to the end that if they be angry they may become debonair to me. To whom he answered: Brother, thou errest, for thou weenest that the devils be gods, but go unto S. Germain, bishop of Auxerre, and if thou wilt believe his counsel thou shalt be whole anon. Then anon he took his way to go thither, and went to the sepulture of S. Amadour, bishop, and of moo other saints; and because of the great rain that fell that night, he went into the cell which was set on the tomb of S. Concord. And as he slept he saw a marvellous vision. Him thought there came a man to the door of the cell and called S. Concord, and said that he should come to the feast that S. Amadour and S. Peregrine and other saints made, and he answered again out of the tomb that he might not now come, for his guest whom he must keep, for the serpents that were there would else slay him. And he went and told to the others what he had said, and anon he returned again, and said: Holy S. Concord, arise and come, and bring with thee Vivian the deacon and Vivian the sub-deacon for to do their office, and Alexander shall keep thy guest. Then it seemed to Mammertin that S. Concord took him by the hand and led him with him. And when S. Amadour saw him he demanded of him: Who is this that is come with thee? And he said: It is my guest. And he said: Put him out, for he is all foul and may not be here with us. And when he should be put out, he kneeled tofore them, and gat grace of S. Amadour, which commanded him to go to S. Germain. Then he awoke and came to S. Germain, and kneeled tofore him and required pardon, and told to him all that was happed. And they went then together to the tomb of S. Concord, and lifted up the stone and saw many serpents, which were ten foot long, and would have flown away, but S. Germain commanded that they should go into such a place there as they should neither grieve ne hurt man. And then Mammertin was baptized, and was made all whole, and was made a monk in the monastery of the blessed S. Germain, and was abbot after S. Elodien.
And in his time S. Marine was there, a monk whose obedience S. Mammertin would prove, and committed him to keep the foulest office of the monastery, and made him herdman of the oxen and kine in an isle that was there, but he was of so great holiness that wild birds came to him and were nourished of his hands, and he delivered a wild boar from the hounds and let him go his way. There came thieves and robbed him, on a time, of all that he had, and took away all his clothes save a mantle. And when they were gone he called them again and said: Return and come again for I have founden here a penny in my mantle, peradventure it is necessary to you, which anon returned and took away the mantle with the penny and left him naked. And then as they went hastily towards their withdraught and secret places, they went all that night, and in the morning they found them at his cell, whom he saluted and received them benignly, and washed their feet, and ministered to them such as he had; then they were astonished and repented them, and each of them was converted to the faith.
On a time young monks that dwelled with S.Mammertin had set snares for to take a bear which was accustomed to eat their sheep. And the bear fell in the snare and was taken, which S. Mammertin Iying in his bed knew, and arose out of his bed, and finding him in the snare, said: What dost thou here, thou wretch? flee hence lest thou be taken, and loosed him and let him go.
And when this holy man was dead and his body was borne to Angiers, as they came by a town, they might not remove him thence in no manner, unto the time that a man that was there in prison came out suddenly and brake his two bonds, and ran freely to the corpse and helped to bear it into the city, where it is buried honourably in the church of S. Germain in much great reverence.
Here followeth the Life of S. Giles, and first the interpretation of his name.
Giles in English, and Egidius in Latin. And it is said of E, that is without, and geos, that is the earth, and dya, that is clear or godly. He was without earth, by despising of earthly things, clear by enlumining of science, divine or godly by love,which assembleth the lover to him that is loved.
Of S. Giles.
S. Giles was born in Athens, and was of noble lineage and royal kindred. And in his childhood he was informed in holy lettrure. And on a day as he went to the church, he found a sick man which lay all sick in the way and demanded alms of S. Giles, which gave him his coat. And as soon as he clad him withal he received full and entire health. And after that, anon his father and his mother died, and rested in our Lord, and then S. Giles made Jesu Christ heir of his heritage. On a time as he went to the church a man was smitten with a serpent and died, and Giles came against this serpent, and made his orison, and chased out of him all the venom. There was a man which was demoniac in the monastery with other people, and troubled them that heard the service of God. Then Giles conjured the devil that was in his body, and anon he issued out, and anon he was all whole.
Then Giles doubted the peril of the world, and went secretly to the rivage of the sea, and saw there mariners in great peril and like to perish in the sea. And he made his prayer, and anon the tempest ceased, and anon the mariners came to land and thanked God. And he understood by them that they went to Rome, and he desired to go with them, whom they received into their ship gladly, and said they would bring him thither without any freight or hire. And then he came to Arles, and abode there two years with S. Cezarien, bishop of that city, and there he healed a man that had been sick of the fevers three years. And after, he desired to go into desert, and departed covertly, and dwelled there long with a hermit that was a holy man. And there by his merits he chased away the sterility and barrenness that was in that country, and caused great plenty of goods. And when he had done this miracle he doubted the peril of the glory human, and left that place, and entered farther into desert and there found a pit, and a little well, and a fair hind, which without doubt was purveyed of God for to nourish him, and at certain hours ministered her milk to him.
And on a time servants of the king rode on hunting, and much people and many hounds with them. It happed that they espied this hind, and they thought that she was so fair that they followed her with hounds, and when she was sore constrained she fled for succour to the feet of S. Giles, whom she nourished, and then he was much abashed when he saw her so chauffed, and more than she was wont to be. And then he sprang up and espied the hunters. Then he prayed to our Lord Jesu Christ that like as he sent her to him, to be nourished by her, that he would save her. Then the hounds durst not approach her by the space of a stone cast, but they howled together, and returned to the hunters, and then the night came, and they returned home again and took nothing. And when the king heard say of this thing he had suspicion what it might be, and went and warned the bishop, and both went thither with great multitude of hunters, and when the hounds were on the place whereas the hind was, they durst not go forth as they did before, but then they all environed the bush for to see what there was, but that bush was so thick that no man ne beast might enter therein for the brambles and thorns that were there. And then one of the knights drew up an arrow follily for to make it afeard and spring out, but he wounded and hurt the holy man, which ceased not to pray for the fair hind. And after this the hunters made way with their swords and went into the pit, and saw there this ancient man, which was clothed in the habit of a monk, of a right honourable figure and parure, and the hind Iying by him. And the king and the bishop went alone to him, and demanded him from whence he was, and what he was, and why he had taken so great a thickness of desert, and of whom he was so hurt; and he answered right honestly to every demand; and when they had heard him speak they thought that he was a holy man, and required him humbly pardon. And they sent to him masters and surgeons to heal his wound, and offered him many gifts, but he would never lay medicine to his wound, ne receive their gifts, but refused them. And he prayed our Lord that he might never be whole thereof in his life, for he knew well that virtue should profit to him in infirmity. And the king visited him oft, and received of him the pasture of health. And the king offered to him many great riches, but he refused all. And after, he admonished the king that he should do make a monastery, whereas the discipline of the order of monks should be, and when he had do make it, Giles refused many times to take the charge and the crosier. And at the last he was vanquished by prayers of the king and took it.
And then king Charles heard speak of the renown of him, and impetred that he might see him, and he received him much honourably, and he prayed him to pray for him; among other things because he had done a sin so foul and villainous that he durst not be shriven thereof to him ne to none other. And on the Sunday after, as S. Giles said mass and prayed for the king, the angel of our Lord appeared to him, and laid a schedule upon the altar where the sin of the king was written in by order, and that was pardoned him by the prayers of S. Giles, so that he were thereof repentant and abstained him from doing it any more, and it was adjoined to the end that, who that required S. Giles for any sin that he had done, if he left it that it should be pardoned to him. And after the holy man delivered the schedule to the king, and he confessed his sin and required pardon humbly.
Then S. Giles returned thence with honour, and when he came to the city of Nemausense, he raised the son of a prince that was dead. And a little while after he denounced that his monastery should be destroyed of enemies of the faith. And after he went to Rome and gat privileges of the pope to his church, and two doors of cypress, in which were the images of SS. Peter and Paul, and he threw them into the Tiber at Rome, and recommended them to God for to govern. And when he returned to his monastery he made a lame man to go, and found the two doors of cypress at the gate of his monastery, whereof he thanked God that had kept them without breaking in so many adventures as they had been, and sith he set them at the gates of the church for the beauty of them, and for the grace that the church of Rome had done thereto. And at the last our Lord showed to him his departing out of this world, and he said it to his brethren, and admonished them to pray for him, and so he slept and died goodly in our Lord. And many witness that they heard the company of angels bearing the soul of him into heaven. And he flourished about the year of our Lord seven hundred.
Here followeth the Nativity of our Blessed Lady.
The nativity of the blessed and glorious Virgin Mary, of the lineage of Judah and of the royal kindred of David took her original beginning. Matthew and Luke describe not the generation of Mary but of Joseph, which was far from the conception of Christ. But the custom of writing was of such ordinance that the generation of women is not showed but of the men. And verily the blessed Virgin descended of the lineage of David, and it is certain that Jesu Christ was born of this only Virgin. It is certain that he came of the lineage of David and of Nathan, for David had two sons, Nathan and Solomon among all his other sons. And as John Damascene witnesseth that of Nathan descended Levy, and Levy engendered Melchion and Panthar, Panthar engendered Barpanthar, Barpanthar engendered Joachim, Joachim engendered the Virgin Mary, which was of the lineage of Solomon. For Nathan had a wife, of whom he engendered Jacob, and when Nathan was dead Melchion, which was son of Levy and brother of Panthar, wedded the wife of Nathan, mother of Jacob, and on her he engendered Eli, and so Jacob and Eli were brethren of one mother but not of one father. For Jacob was of the line of Solomon and Eli of the line of Nathan, and then Eli of the line of Nathan died without children, and Jacob his brother, which was of the line of Solomon, took a wife and engendered and raised the seed of his brother and engendered Joseph.
Joseph then by nature is son of Jacob by descent of Solomon. That is to wit, Joseph is the son of Jacob, and after the law he is son of Eli which descended of Nathan. for the son that was born, was by nature his that engendered him, and by the law he was son of him that was dead, like as it is said in the History Scholastic. And Bede witnesseth in his chronicle that, when all the generations of the Hebrews and other strangers were kept in the most secret chests of the temple, Herod commanded them to be burnt, weening thereby to make himself noble among the others. If the proofs of the lineages were failed, he should make them believe that his lineage appertained to them of Israel. And there were some that were called dominics, for because they were so nigh to Jesu Christ and were of Nazareth, and they had learned the order of generation of our Lord, a part of their grandsires' fathers, and a part by some books that they had in their houses and taught them forth as much as they might. Joachim spoused Anne, which had a sister named Hismeria, and Hismeria had two daughters, named Elizabeth, and Elind. Elizabeth was mother to John Baptist, and Eliud engendered Eminen. And of Eminen came S. Servatius, whose body lieth in Maestricht, upon the river of the Meuse, in the bishopric of Ličge. And Anne had three husbands, Joachim, Cleophas, and Salome; and of the first she had a daughter named Mary, the Mother of God, the which was given to Joseph in marriage, and she childed our Lord Jesu Christ. And when Joachim was dead, she took Cleophas, the brother of Joseph, and had by him another daughter named Mary also, and she was married to Alpheus. And Alpheus her husband had by her four sons, that was James the Less, Joseph the Just, otherwise named Barsabee, Simon, and Jude. Then the second husband being dead, Anne married the third named Salome, and had by him another daughter which yet also was called Mary, and she was married to Zebedee. And this Mary had of Zebedee two sons, that is to wit, James the More, and John the Evangelist. And hereof be made these verses:
Anna soles dici tres concepisse Marias,
Quas genuere viri Joachim, Cleophas Salomeque.
Has duxere viri Joseph, Alpheus, Zebedeus.
Prima parit Christum, Jacobum secunda minorem,
Et Joseph justum peperit cum Simone Judam,
Tertia majorem Jacobum volucremque Johannem.
But it is marvellous for to see how the blessed Virgin Mary might be cousin of Elizabeth as it is tofore said. It is certain that Elizabeth was Zachary's wife, which was of the lineage of Levi, and after the law each ought to wed a wife of his own lineage. And she was of the daughters of Aaron, as S. Luke witnesseth, and Anne was of Bethlehem, as S. Jerome saith, and was of the tribe of Judah. And then they of the line of Levi wedded wives of the line of Judah, so that the line royal and the line of the priests were always joined together by cousinage. So that as Bede saith: This cousinage might be made sith the first time, and thus to be nourished from lineage to lineage, and thus should it be certain that the blessed Virgin Mary descended of the Ioyal line, and had cousinage of the priests. And our blessed Lady was of both lineages, and so our Lord would that these two lineages should entresemble together for great mystery. For it appertaineth that he should be born and offered for us, very God, and very king, and very priest, and should govern his true christian men fighting in chivalry of this life, and to crown them after their victory, the which thing appeareth of the name of Christ, for Christ is as much to say as anointed. For in the old law there was none anointed but priests and kings, and we be said christian men of Christ, and be called the lineage chosen of kings and priests. But because it is said that the men took wives of their lineage only, that was because the distribution of the sorts should not be confounded. For the tribe of Levy had not his sort with the other, and therefore might they well marry them with the women of that tribe or where they would, like as S. Jerome rehearseth in his prologue. When he was a child he had a little book of the history of the nativity of the Virgin Mary, but as he remembered a long time after, he translated it by the prayer of some persons, and found that Joachim, which was of Galilee of the city of Nazareth, espoused S. Anne of Bethlehem, and they were both just and without reproach or reprehension in the commandments of our Lord, and divided all their substance in three parts: that one part was for the temple, that other they gave to the poor and pilgrims, and the third was for themselves and their meiny to live with, and thus lived twenty years in marriage without having any lineage. And then they avowed to our Lord that if he sent to them any lineage they should give it to him, for to serve him. For which thing they went every year into Jerusalem in three principal feasts, so that in the feast of Encenia, that was the dedication of the temple, then Joachim went unto Jerusalem with his kindred, and came to the altar with the others and would have offered his offering. And when the priest saw him, he put him apart by great despite, and reproved him because he came to the altar of God, and said to him that it was convenable that a man cursed in the faith should not offer to our Lord, ne he that was barren should be among them that had fruit, as he that had none to the increase of the people of God. And then Joachim, all confused for this thing, durst not go home for shame, because they of his lineage and his neighbours which had heard it should not reprove him. And then he went to his herdmen, and was there long, and then the angel appeared to him only, and comforted him with great clearness, and said to him that he should not doubt ne be afraid of his vision, and said: I am the angel of our Lord sent to thee for to denounce to thee that thy prayers have availed thee and been heard, and thy alms be mounted tofore our Lord. I have seen thy shame and heard the reproach. That thou art barren is to thee no reproach by right, and God is venger of sin and not of nature. And when he closeth the belly or womb, he worketh so that he openeth it after, more marvellously. And the fruit that shall be born shall not be seen to come forth by lechery, but that it be known that it is of the gift of God. The first mother of your people was Sara, and she was barren unto the ninetieth year, and had only Isaac, to whom the benediction of all people was promised. And was not Rachel long barren? And yet had she not after Joseph, that held all the seigniory of Egypt? which was more strong than Samson, and more holy than Samuel? And yet were their mothers barren. Thus mayst thou believe by reason and by ensample that the childings long abiden be wont to be more marvellous. And therefore Anne thy wife shall have a daughter, and thou shalt call her Mary, and she, as ye have avowed, shall be from her infancy sacred unto our Lord, and shall be full of the Holy Ghost sith the time that she shall depart from the womb of her mother, and she shall dwell in the temple of our Lord, and not without, among the other people, because that none evil thing shall be had in suspicion of her, and right as she shall be born of a barren mother, so shall be born of her marvellously the son of a right high Lord. Of whom the name shall be Jesus, and by him shall health be given to all the people. And I give to thee the sign, that when thou shalt come to the golden gate at Jerusalem, thou shalt meet there Anne thy wife, which is much amoved of thy long tarrying, and shall have joy of thy coming. And then the angel, when he had said this, he departed from him. And as when Anne wept bitterly and wist not whither her husband was gone, the same angel appeared to her, and said all that he had said to her husband, and gave to her for a sign that she should go into Jerusalem, to the golden gate, and there she should meet with her husband which was returned. And thus by the commandment of the angel they met, and were firm of the lineage promised, and glad for to see each other, and honoured our Lord and returned home, abiding joyously the promise divine. And Anne conceived and brought forth a daughter, and named her Mary.
And then when she had accomplished the time of three years, and had left sucking, they brough her to the temple with offerings. And there was about the temple, after the fifteen psalms of degrees, fifteen steps or grees to ascend up to the temple, because the temple was high set. And no body might go to the altar of sacrifices that was without, but by the degrees. And then our Lady was set on the lowest step, and mounted up without any help as she had been of perfect age, and when they had performed their offering, they left their daughter in the temple with the other virgins, and they returned into their place. And the Virgin Mary profited every day in all holiness, and was visited daily of angels, and had every day divine visions.
Jerome saith in an epistle to Chromatius and to Heliodorus that the blessed Virgin Mary had ordained this custom to herself that, from the morning unto the hour of tierce, she was in orison and prayer, and from tierce unto nones she entended to her work, and from nones she ceased not to pray, till that the angel came and gave to her meat. And in the fourteenth year of her age, the bishop commanded in common that the virgins that were instituted in the temple, and had accomplished the time of age, should return to their houses and should after the law be married. All the others obeyed his commandment, but Mary answered that she might not do so because her father and mother had given her all to the service of our Lord. And then the bishop was much angry because he durst not make her to break her avow against the scripture, that saith: Avow ye vows and yield them to God. And he durst not break the custom of the people. And then came a feast of the Jews, and he called all the ancient Jews to council, and showed to them this thing. And this was all their sentence: That in a thing so doubtable, that counsel shall be asked of our Lord. And then went they all to prayer, and the bishop, that was gone to ask counsel of our Lord. Anon came a voice out of the oracle and said that, all they that were of the house of David that were convenable to be married and had no wife, that each of them should bring a rod to the altar, and his rod that flourished, and, after the saying of Isaiah, the Holy Ghost sit in the form of a dove on it, he should be the man that should be desponsate and married to the Virgin Mary. And Joseph, of the house of David, was there among the others, and him seemed to be a thing unconvenable, a man of so old age as he was to have so tender a maid, and whereas others brought forth their rods he hid his. And when nothing appeared according to the voice of God, the bishop ordained for to ask counsel again of our Lord. And he answered that, he only that should espouse the virgin had not brought forth his rod. And then Joseph by the commandment of the bishop brought forth his rod, and anon it flowered, and a dove descended from heaven thereupon, so that it was clearly the advice of every man that he should have the virgin. And then he espoused the Virgin Mary, and returned into his city of Bethlehem for to ordain his meiny and his house, and for to fetch such things as were necessary. And the Virgin Mary returned unto the house of her father with seven virgins, her fellows of her age, which had seen the demonstrance of the miracle.
And in those days the angel of our Lord appeared to the Virgin praying, and showed to her how the Son of God should be born of her. And the day of the nativity was not known in long time of good christian men, and as master John Beleth saith that, it happed that a man of good contemplation every year in the sixth ides of September was in prayer, and he heard a company of angels that made great solemnity. And then he required devoutly that he might have knowledge wherefore every year only on that day he heard such solemnity and not on other days. And then he had a divine answer that, on that day the blessed Virgin Mary was born into this world, and that he should do it to be known to the men of holy church, so that they should be concordable to the heavenly court in hallowing this solemnity. And when he had told this to the sovereign bishop the pope, and to the others, and had been in fastings, in prayers, and sought in scriptures and witnesses of old writings, they established this day of the nativity of the glorious Virgin to be hallowed generally of all christian men, but the utas sometime was not hallowed ne kept. But Innocent the fourth, of the nation of Genoa, ordained and instituted the said utas to be observed. And the cause was this:
After the death of Pope Gregory, anon the citizens of Rome enclosed all the cardinals in the conclave because they should purvey lightly for the church, but they might not accord in many days, but suffered of the Romans much sorrow. Then avowed they to the Queen of Heaven that if they might go quiet from thence they should establish to hallow the octaves of the nativity which they had long negligently left. And they then by one accord chose Celestin, and were delivered, and accomplished then their avow by Innocent, for Celestin lived but a little time, and therefore it might not be accomplished by him. And it is to wit that the church halloweth three nativities, the nativity of our Lord, the nativity of the blessed Virgin Mary, and the nativity of S. John Baptist. And these three signify three nativities spiritual, for we be born again with S. John Baptist in the water of baptism, and with Mary in penance, and with our Lord Jesu Christ in glory. And it behoveth that nativity of baptism go tofore contrition, and that of joy also. For the two by reason have vigils, but because that penance is accounted for vigil, therefore that of our Lady behoveth no vigil, but they have all utas, for all haste them unto the eighth resurrection.
There was a knight much noble and devout unto our Lady which went to a tourneying, and he found a monastery in his way which was of the Virgin Mary, and entered into it for to hear mass, and there were masses one after another, and for the honour of our Lady he would leave none but that he heard them all. And when he issued out of the monastery he hasted him appertly. And they that returned from the tourney met him, and said to him that he had ridden right nobly. And they that hated him affirmed the same, and all they together cried that he had right nobly tourneyed, and some went to him and said that he had taken them. Then he, that was wise, avised him
that the courteous Virgin and Queen had so courteously honoured him, and recounted all that was happened, and then returned he to the monastery, and ever after abode in the service of our Lord, the son of the blessed Virgin.
There was a bishop which had the blessed Virgin Mary in sovereign honour and devotion, and there he saw the virgin of all virgins, which came to meet him, and began to lead him by sovereign honour to the church that he went to, and two maidens of the company went tofore singing and saying these verses:
Cantemus domino, socię, cantemus honorem,
Dulcis amor Christi resonet ore pio.
That is to say: Sing we fellows to our Lord, sing we honour. Sing we with a voice debonair that sweet love which ought to please him. And that other company of virgins sang and rehearsed again the same. Then the two first singers began to sing this that followeth:
Primus ad ima ruit magna de luce superbus,
Sic homo cum tumult, primus ad ima ruit.
That is to say: The first pride fell low from great light. So the first man, for his eating of the apple, fell low also. And so brought they to the church with procession the said bishop, and the two tofore began alway, and the others followed.
There was a widow whose husband was dead, and had a son whom she loved tenderly, and that son was taken with enemies and put in prison fast bound. And when she heard thereof, she wept without comfort, and prayed unto our blessed Lady with right devout prayers that she would deliver her son, and at the last she saw that her prayers availed her not, and entered then into the church whereas the image of our Lady was carved, and stood tofore the image and areasoned it in this manner, saying: O blessed Virgin, I have prayed oft thee for my son that thou shouldst deliver him, and thou hast not helped me his wretched mother, and I pray also thy son to help me and yet I feel no fruit. And therefore like as my son is taken from me so shall I take away thine, and set him in prison in hostage for mine. And in this saying she approached near and took away from the image the child that she held in her lap, and wrapped it in clean clothes and shut it in her chest, and locked it fast right diligently, and was right joyful that she had so good hostage for her son, and kept it much diligently. And the night following, the blessed Virgin Mary came to the son of the same widow, and opened to him the door of the prison, and commanded him to go thence, and said to him: Son, say to thy mother that she yield to me again my son sith I have delivered her son. And he issued and came to his mother, and told to her how our blessed Lady had delivered him, and she was joyful, and took the child and came to the church and delivered him to our Lady, saying: Lady I thank you, for ye have delivered to me my son, and here I deliver to you yours again, for I confess that I have mine.
There was a thief that often stole, but he had always great devotion to the Virgin Mary, and saluted her oft. It was so that on a time he was taken and judged to be hanged. And when he was hanged the blessed Virgin sustained and hanged him up with her hands three days that he died not ne had no hurt, and they that hanged him passed by adventure thereby, and found him living and of glad cheer. And then they supposed that the cord had not been well strained, and would have slain him with a sword, and have cut his throat, but our blessed Lady set on her hand tofore the strokes so that they might not slay him ne grieve him, and then knew they by that he told to them that the blessed Mother of God helped him, and then they marvelled, and took him off and let him go, in the honour of the Virgin Mary, and then he went and entered into a monastery, and was in the service of the Mother of God as long as he lived.
There was a clerk that loved much the blessed Nativity Virgin, and said his hours every day ententively. And when his father and mother were dead, they had none other heir so that he had all the heritage, and then he was constrained of his friends that he should take a wife and govern his own heritage. And on a day it happed that they entended to hold the feast of his marriage, and as he was going to the wedding he came to a church, and he remembered of the service of our blessed Lady, and entered in and began to say his hours. And the blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and spake to him a little cruelly: O fool and unhappy, why hast thou left me that am thy spouse and thy friend, and lovest another woman tofore me? Then he, being moved, returned to his fellows and feigned all, and left to accomplish the sacrament of marriage. And when midnight came he left all and fled out of the house, and entered into a monastery and there served the Mother of God.
There was a priest of a parish, which was of honest and good life, and could say no mass but mass of our Lady, the which he sang devoutly in the honour of her, wherefore he was accused tofore the bishop, and was anon called tofore him. And the priest confessed that he could say none other mass, wherefore the bishop reproved him sore as unconning and an idiot, and suspended him of his mass, that he should no more sing none from then forthon. And then our blessed Lady appeared to the bishop and blamed him much because he had so entreated her chaplain, and said to him that he should die within thirty days if he re-established him not again to his office accustomed. Then the bishop was afeard, and sent for the priest and prayed him of forgiveness, and bade him that he should not sing but of our Lady.
There was a clerk which was vain and riotous, but always he loved much our Lady, the Mother of God, and said every day his hours. And he saw on a night a vision that, he was in judgment tofore our Lord, and our Lord said to them that were there: What judgment shall we do of this clerk? devise ye it for I have long suffered him, and see no sign yet of amendment. Then our Lord gave upon him sentence of damnation, and all they approved it. Then arose the blessed Virgin and said to her son: I pray thee, debonair son, of thy mercy for this man, so that thou assuage upon him the sentence of damnation, and that he may live yet, by the grace of me, which is condemned to death by his merits. And our Lord said to her: I deliver him at thy request for to know if I shall see his correction. Then our Lady turned her toward him and said: Go, and sin no more lest it happen worse to thee. Then he awoke, and changed his life, and entered into religion, and finished his life in good works.
In the year of our Lord five hundred and thirty-seven, there was a man named Theophilus which was vicar of a bishop, as Fulbert saith, that was bishop of Chartres. And this Theophilus dispended all wisely the goods of the church under the bishop; and when the bishop was dead, all the people said that this vicar should be bishop. But he said the office of vicar sufficed him, and had liefer that than to be made bishop, so there was there another bishop made, and Theophilus was against his will put out of his office. Then he fell in despair, in such wise that he counselled with a Jew how he should have his oflice again, which Jew was a magician, and called the devil, and he came anon. Then Theophilus, by commandment of the devil, renied God and his Mother, and renounced his christian profession, and wrote an obligation with his blood and sealed it with his ring, and delivered it to the devil, and thus he was brought into his office again. And on the morn Theophilus was received into the grace of the bishop by the procuration of the devil, and was re-established in the dignity of his office. And afterwards, when he advised himself, he repented and sorrowed sore of this that he had done, and ran with great devotion unto the Virgin Mary, with all devotion of his thought, praying her to be his aid and help. And then on a time our blessed Lady appeared to him in vision, and rebuked him of his felony, and commanded him to forsake the devil, and made him to confess Jesu Christ to be son of God, and to knowledge himself to be in purpose to be a christian man, and thus he recovered the grace of her and of her son. And in sign of pardon that she had gotten him, she delivered to him again his obligation that he had given to the devil, and laid it upon his breast so that he should never doubt to be servant of the devil, but he enjoyed that he was so delivered by our blessed Lady. And when Theophilus had heard all this he was much joyful, and told it to the bishop and tofore all the people that was befallen him, and all marvelled greatly, and gave laud and praising unto the glorious Virgin, our Lady, S. Mary. And three days after he rested in peace. There be many other miracles which our blessed Lady hath showed for them that call upon her, which were over long to write here, but as touching her nativity this sufficeth. Then let us continually give laud and praising to her as much as we may, and let us say with S. Jerome this response: Sancta et immaculate virginitas. And how this holy response was made, I purpose, under correction, to write here. It is so that I was at Cologne, and heard rehearsed there by a noble doctor that, the holy and devout S. Jerome had a custom to visit the churches at Rome. And so he came into a church where an image of our blessed Lady stood in a chapel by tbe door as he entered, and passed forthby without any salutation to our Lady, and went forth to every altar and made his prayers to all the saints in the church, each after other, and returned again by the same image without any saluting to her. Then our blessed Lady called him and spake to him by the said image, and demanded of him the cause why he made no salutation to her, seeing that he had done honour and worship to all the other saints of whom the images were in that church. And then S. Jerome kneeled down and said thus: Sancta et immaculate virginitas, quibus te laudibus referam nescio. Quia quem celi capere non poterant, tuo gremio contulisti. Which is to say: Holy and undefiled virginity, I wot never what laud and praisings I shall give to thee. For him that all the heavens might not take ne contain, thou hast borne in thy womb. So sith this holy man thought himself insufficient to give to her laud, then what shall we sinful wretches do but put us wholly in her mercy, acknowIedging us insufficient to give to her due laud and praising? But let us meekly beseech her to accept our good intent and will, and that by her merits we may attain after this life to come to her in everlasting life in heaven. Amen.
Of S. Adrian, Martyr, and first of his name.
Adrian is said of A, which is as much to say as without, and of ydros, that is water. For after that he confessed to be christian, he was without water of sin. Or he may be said of andor, that is to say light, and dian, that is to say God. For he was illumined with light divine by passion of martyrdom.
Of S. Adrian, Martyr.
Adrian suffered death under Maximian, emperor. For when the said Maximian was in the city of Nicodemia, whereas he sacrificed to the idols, and by his commandment they sought all christian men, some sought them for dread, and some for love, and some for promise of sllver, so that neighbour brought his neighbour to martyrdom, and cousin his cousin. Among whom three and thirty were taken of them that they sought, and brought tofore the king. And the king said to them: Have ye not heard what pain is ordained against the christian men? And they said to him: We have heard the commandment of thy folly. Then the king was angry and commanded that they should be beaten with raw sinews, and their mouths beaten with stones, and that each of their tongues should be pierced with iron, and that they should be bound and closed in prison. And then Adrian, which was first in the office of knighthood, said to them: I conjure you by your God that ye tell to me the reward that ye entend to have for these torments. And the holy man said that never eye saw, nor ear heard, ne heart of man might think, those things that our Lord maketh ready for them that love him perfectly. And Adrian leapt in the middle among them and said: Account ye me with them here, for I am a christian man. And when the emperor heard that, and that he would do no sacrifice, he did do bind him and threw him in prison. And when Natalie his wife knew that her husband was in prison for the faith of Jesu Christ she was glad, and ran to the prison, and kissed the chains that her husband was bound with, and also of the others, for she was christian secretly, but she durst not publish it for dread of the persecution. And she said to her husband: Blessed art thou, my lord Adrian, for thou hast found the riches which thy father and mother never left to thee, which have need of them that possess many things, and shall have thereof great need when they shall have no time to borrow ne to take; when that one shall not deliver that other from pain, ne the father the son, ne the mother the daughter, ne the servant the master, ne one friend another friend, ne riches them that own them. And when she had admonished him that he should despise all worldly glory and friends and kindred, and that always he should have his heart unto celestial things, Adrian said to her: Go now, my sister, the time of our passion hasteth, of which thou shalt see our end. Then she recommended her husband unto the other saints that they should comfort him, and then she returned unto her house. And after, Adrian hearing when the day of his passion should be, gave gifts to the keepers of the prison, and delivered to them the other saints in pledge, and went to his house for to call Natalie, like as he had promised by oath that she should be present at their passion. And a man that saw him come, ran tofore him, and said to Natalie: Adrian is delivered, see, lo! where he cometh. And when she heard it she believed it not, and said: And who may deliver him from his bonds? God forbid that he be loosed of his bonds, and departed from the saints. And as she said these words, a child of the meiny came, that said: Certes, my Lord is let go. And she supposed that he had fled from his martyrdom, and wept bitterly, and when she saw him she shut hastily the door against him. Let him be far from me, said she, that is fallen away from God, and God forbid that I speak to the mouth of him that renied his Lord. And then she turned to him and said: O thou wretch without God, who constrained thee to emprise and take which thou mayst not perform? Who hath taken thee from the saints, or who hath deceived thee for to depart from them? Say to me, wherefore art thou fled tofore thou sawest the battles? How art thou hurt? Certain it is of none arrow that was shot to thee. Certes, I should have marvelled if any of the people of the felons, and without God, had been offered to God, and how unhappy and how caitiff am I ! What shall I do that am joined to him that is of the lineage of felons? It is not granted to me to be the wife of a martyr but for a time, but now I shall be called the wife of a renegade and transgressor, my joy certainly hath little endured, and it shall be to me a reproach long time. And in hearing this thing the blessed Adrian enjoyed him strongly, and marvelled much of his wife that was so young and right fair, noble, and married but fourteen months without more, how she might say this, and therefore he was the more ardent to martyrdom, and heard gladly these words. But when he saw her overmuch tormented, he said to her: Open the door to me, Natalie, my love and lady, for I have not fled the martyrdom as thou weenest, but I am come to call thee, as I promised to thee. And she believed it not, but said to him: See how this traitor renegade deceiveth me, why liest thou? that other Judas! Flee, thou unhappy, from me or I shall slay myself; and then thou shalt be full sorry. And while she tarried to open the door, he said: Open anon, for I must go, and then thou shalt see me no more, and then shalt thou weep that thou hast not seen me tofore my death. I have laid to pledge for me the holy martyrs, and if the ministers seek me and they find me not, they shall cause the saints to suffer their martyrdom and mine also. And when she heard that, she opened the door, and they then embraced and kissed each other, and went together to the prison, and there Natalie cleansed, seven days during, the wounds of the saints with precious cloths. And then the emperor commanded them to be brought to him, and they were so broken with the pains that they might not go, but were borne as beasts. And Adrian certainly was bound, his hands behind him, and spake to Natalie, and was borne upon the torment of eculee and presented to Cęsar. And Natalie joined her to him, and said to him: My lord, beware that thou tremble not for none adventure when thou shalt see the torments, thou shalt not suffer here but a little, but thou shalt be anon enhanced with the angels. And then Adrian would not sacrifice, and was beaten right grievously. And then Natalie ran to the saints that were in the prison, and said: My lord hath begun his martyrdom. And the king warned him that he should not blame his gods; and he answered: If I be thus tormented that blame them that be no gods, how shalt thou be tormented that blasphemest him that is very God! And the king said to him: These other traitors have taught thee these words. To whom Adrian said: Why callest thou them traitors, which be doctors and enseign the life perdurable? And Natalie ran to the others with great joy, and told the words that her husband had said. And then the king did him to be beaten with four strong men. And Natalie anon reported to the other martyrs that were in the prison all the martyrdom, the answers, and the pains of her husband, and he was so sore beaten that his entrails sprang out of his belly, and then he was bound with iron, and put in prison with the other. And Adrian was a young man, lusty and much fair, of eight-and-twenty years of age. And when Natalie saw her husband lie grovelling upon the earth, and all to-broken, she laid her hand on his head in comforting him, and said: Thou art blessed, my lord, for thou art made worthy to be of the number of saints; thou art blessed, my light, when thou sufferest for him that suffered death for thee: go then forth, my sweet love, that thou mayst see his glory. And when the emperor heard that many women ministered to the saints in prison, he commanded that they should no more be suffered to enter. And when Natalie heard that, she shaved her head and took the habit of man, and served the saints in the prison and made the other women do so by the ensample of her. And she prayed her husband when he should be in glory that he would pray for her, that she might keep her undefiled in this world, or rather to be taken out thereof. And when the king heard what the women had done, he commended to bring forth an anvil or a stithie, so that the holy martyrs should have their legs and arms all to-frusshed and broken thereon, and die the sooner. And then Natalie doubted that her husband should be afeard for the torments of the others, and prayed the ministers that they would begin with him. Then they hewed off his legs and thighs, and Natalie prayed them that they would smite off his hands, and that he should be like to the other saints that had suffered more than he, and when they had hewn them off he gave up his spirit to God. The other saints held forth their feet with their free will, and passed to our Lord. And the king commanded that the bodies should be burnt. And Natalie hid in her bosom the hand of S. Adrian. And when the bodies of the saints were thrown into the fire, Natalie would have with them sprung into the fire and be burnt, and suddenly anon there came a great rain and quenched the fire, so that the bodies of the saints had none harm. And the christian men took counsel together, and did do bear the bodies to Constantinople till that the peace was given to the church, that they were fetched again with honour. And they suffered death about the year of our Lord two hundred and four score.
Natalie then abode and dwelled in her house, and retained the hand of S. Adrian, and for to have comfort thereof she kept it always at her bed's head. And after the judge saw Natalie so fair, so rich, and so noble, by leave of the emperor he sent women to her because she should consent to him by marriage. To whom Natalie answered: Who is he that may do me so much honour that I may be joined to him by marriage? but I require you that I may have term of three days to array and make me ready. And this she said to the end that she might flee away. Then began she to pray our Lord that he would keep her from touching of man. And then suddenly she fell asleep, and one of the martyrs appeared to her and comforted her sweetly, and commanded her that she should go to the place where the holy bodies were. And when she awoke she took the hand of Adrian only with her, and entered into a ship with many christian men, and when the judge heard it he followed after with many knights, and then the wind came contrary to them, and drowned many, and constrained the others to return. And then in the night the devil appeared to them in guise of a mariner in a ship of phantasm, and said to them: From whence come ye, and whither go ye? And the christian men said: We come from Nicomedia and go unto Constantinople. And he said: Ye err, go towards the left side and ye shall sail more right. And he said so because he would have drowned them in the sea. And as they followed the stars, anon suddenly Adrian appeared to them in a boat, and bade them sail as they did before, and told to them that it was a wicked spirit that had spoken to them, and then he went tofore them and showed them the way; and when Natalie saw him go tofore them she was replenished with joy, so that tofore day they came to Constantinople. And when Natalie entered into the house where the martyrs were, she put the hand of Adrian to the body. And when she had made her prayers she slept. And S. Adrian appeared to her and saluted her, and commanded her that she should come with him to joy perdurable. And when she awoke she told to them that were there her vision, and took her leave, and after gave up her spirit to Almighty God. And then the good christian men took her body and laid it with the bodies of the martyrs.
Here followeth the Life of S. Gorgone.
SS. Gorgone and Dorothy were in Nicomedia, chief in the palace of Diocletian, and renounced their chivalry for to follow their everlasting king. And confessed with a high voice that they were christian; and when the emperor heard that, he was strongly angry, and it did him much displeasure and grievance for to lose such men, which he had nourished in his palace, and were noble of manner and of lineage. And when he saw that he might not turn them by menaces ne by fair words, he did do strain and pain them in the torment of eculee and did all to-rend and break them with scourges and hooks of iron, and to cast in their wounds salt and vinegar, which entered in to their entrails. And they suffered it joyously. Then he made them to be roasted upon a gridiron, and they lay thereupon as they had lain upon a bed full of flowers and suffered none harm. And after this the emperor commanded that they should be hanged with cords, and their bodies to be given to hounds and wolves to be devoured. And so they yielded up their spirits to Almighty God, but their bodies abode untouched, and were taken up and buried by good christian men. And they suffered death the year of our Lord two hundred and eighty. Then many years after, the body of S. Gorgone was transported to Rome, and the year of our Lord seven hundred and seventy four the bishop of Metz, nephew of king Pepin, transported the same body to France and laid it honourably in the monastery of Gorgociense.
Here begin the Lives of SS. Prothus and Jacinctus and Eugenia, and first of their names.
Prothus is said of prothos, that is to say first, and of panthos, which is as much to say as presentation. For he was of the first of his lineage presented to God by good works, and by martyrdom. Jacinctus is as much to say as lying within, or a precious stone named Jacincte; for he played in the torments and therefore he is in joy above, as a precious Jacincte. Eugenia is said of eu, which is as much to say as good, and gigno gignis, that is to engender, and so Eugenia is as much to say as well engendering. For she engendered to Jesu Christ good lineage, that was father and mother, and many others, which by her were engendered to the christian faith.
Of SS. Prothus and Jacinctus.
Prothus and Jacinctus were gentlemen of noble lineage and were fellows in the study of philosophy with Eugenia, daughter of Philip, of the most noble lineage of the Romans. Which Philip had taken of the senate the provostry of Alexandria, and had led with him Claudia his wife, his sons Avitus and Sergius, and his daughter Eugenia. And Eugenia was perfect in all the liberal arts and letters. Prothus and Jacinctus had studied with her, and were come to perfection of those sciences. And Eugenia, in the fifteenth year of her age, was required to be married of one Aquilinus, son of the consul Aquilinus, and she answered that her behoved to be married and choose a husband full of good manners and not of high lineage. And then came to her hand the doctrine of S. Paul, and she began in her courage to be made christian by good manners. And then at that time the christian men were well suffered to dwell beside the city of Alexandria. And as she went playing and walking by the town, she heard christian men sing a verse of the psalter which saith: All the gods of the miscreants be devils, our Lord certainly made the heavens. Then said she to Prothus and Jacinctus, that had studied with her in the arts liberal: We have overpassed the arguments and syllogisms of the philosophers by study corruptible, the arguments of Aristotle, and ideas of Plato, and the enseignments of Socrates, and shortly all that the poet sang and made, or the philosopher thought, it is all closed by his sentence; let us then be brethren and follow we our Lord Jesu Christ. And this counsel pleased them. And then she took the habit of a man, and came to the monastery where Helenus was abbot, which would in no wise suffer that any woman should come to him. And this Helenus had on a time disputed against a heresy, and when that he saw that he might not sustain the force of the arguments, he did do burn a great fire for to prove his faith, and said: We shall see now which is the right faith, and he himself entered first into the fire and came out again without hurt or grief, but the heretic would not enter into the fire, and was confused and put away. And when Eugenia was gone to him, and had said that she was a man, he said to her: Thou sayest truly and well that thou art a man, for thou workest virtuously. And the condition of her was showed to him then of God, and she received the habit with Prothus and Jacinctus, and did her to be called of all brother Eugene. And when her father and mother saw her chair come home empty and void, then they did do seek their daughter over all but she might not be found, and then went they to diviners and soothsayers and demanded them where their daughter was become. And they answered that she was ravished of the gods among the stars, and therefore her father made an image of his daughter and commanded that all the people should worship her. And she dwelled among the company of brethren in the dread of God; and when the provost of the church was dead, she was made provost. And then in Alexandria was a lady noble and rich which was named Melancia, whom S. Eugenia anointed with oil and delivered her of a quartan, in the name of God, and she sent to her many gifts which she would not receive. And the said lady supposed that Eugenia had been a man, and visited her oft and beheld the greatness and beauty of her body, in such wise that she was strongly esprised and chauffed in her love, and was greatly troubled how she might do to make Eugene to have to do with her. And then she feigned her to be sick and sent for this brother Eugene to come and have pity on her, and when she was come she told to her in what manner she was taken in his love, and how she burned in desiring him, and prayed her that she would lie thy her and have to do carnally, and embraced her and kissed her and exhorted her to do sin. And Eugenia had great horror and abomination of her, and said: Thou art by right called Melancia, for it is an evil name and fulfilled of treason, thou art said black and dark, daughter of darkness, friend of the devil, light of pollution, nourishing of lechery, anguishing daughter of sempiternal death. And when she saw her deceived of that she coveted, she doubted that Eugenia should discover her felony, and began first to cry that Eugenia would there have enforced her, and then she went to the provost Philip and complained, saying that a young man, a false christian, was come to me because of medicine, and took me and would have enforced me by strength for to have sinned with him, if I had not been holpen and delivered by a chamberer which was in my chamber. And when the provost heard this he was greatly moved, and sent for a multitude of people, and made Eugenia to be brought with the other servants of Jesu Christ bound in iron, and established a day when they all should be delivered to beasts for to be devoured, and then were they called tofore the provost, which said to Eugenia: Say to me, thou right cursed wretch, if your God hath taught you to do such works as for to corrupt and defile the women forcibly against their will? And then Eugenia, which had the head inclined because she would not be known, said that our Lord had taught and enseigned chastity entirely, and promised to them that kept it the life perdurable. And we may well show that Melancia is false and lieth, but it is better to us to suffer than she should be vanquished and punished, and that the fruit of our patience perish not. But notwithstanding, let her chamberer be brought forth here, she is the witness of our felony, so that the leasings of her may be reproved. And when she was come, she being learned of her lady, opposed against Eugenia, and said that he would have taken her by force, and also all the other of the meiny, corrupted by the lady, witnessed that it was so. And Eugenia said: The time is passed of silence, and the time to speak is now. I will no longer suffer that this shameless creature put more blame guiltless on the servant of Jesu Christ, ne that she glorify not in her malice ne in her falsity. And because that truth surmounteth her leasing, and that wisdom surmounteth her malice, I shall show the truth for none advantage, but for the glory of our Lord. And then she took her coat and rent it unto her girdle above, and said that she was a woman, as it appeared, and also said to the provost: Thou art my father and Claudia is my mother, and the twain that sit with thee, Avitus and Sergius, be my brethren, and I am Eugenia, thy daughter, and these twain be Prothus and Jacinctus. And when the father heard that, he knew well his daughter, and then he and her mother embraced her and wept tenderly for joy. And then they clothed Eugenia with clothes of gold and enhanced her on high. And after this came a fire from heaven and burnt Melancia and all her meiny. Then Eugenia converted to the faith her father, mother, brethren, and all the meiny, and therefore left the father the provostry, and was ordained bishop of the christian people. And as he was in prayer and orison he was slain of the miscreants and paynims. Then Claudia, with her sons and Eugenia, returned to Rome, and there converted much people unto the faith of Jesu Christ. Then by the commandment of the emperor there was a great stone bound to the neck of Eugenia, and she was thrown into Tiber, but the stone brake and she went without harm upon the water. Then she was thrown into a burning furnace, but the furnace was quenched by miracle and became cold. And then she was put into a dark prison, but a great shining light made it all clear and light. And when she had been there ten days without meat, our Lord Jesu Christ appeared to her, and brought to her a right white loaf and said to her: Take this meat of my hand, I am thy saviour whom thou hast loved with all thy thought. And on that day that I descend into the earth I shall receive thee. Then on the day of the nativity of our Lord, the tormentor was sent to her and he smote off her head.
And after that she appeared to her mother, and said to her that she should follow her on the Sunday after. And when the Sunday came Claudia put herself to prayer and gave her spirit to God, and then Prothus and Jacinctus were drawn to the temple for to do sacrifice, and they by their prayers all to-brake the idol; and when they would in no wise do sacrifice, they accomplished their martyrdom in suffering their heads to be smitten off. And suffered death under Valerianus and Gallus about the year of our Lord two hundred and fifty-seven, by whose merits let us pray Almighty God to have mercy on us and bring us to his bliss. Amen.
Here followeth the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
The exaltation of the Holy Cross is said, because that on this day the Holy Cross and faith were greatly enhanced. And it is to be understood that, tofore the passion of our Lord Jesu Christ, the tree of the cross was a tree of filth, for the crosses were made of vile trees and of trees without fruit, for all that was planted on the mount of Calvary bare no fruit. It was a foul place, for it was the place of the torment of thieves, it was dark, for it was in a dark place and without any beauty. It was the tree of death, for men were put there to death, It was also the tree of stench, for it was planted among the carrions. And after the passion the cross was much enhanced, for the vilety was transported into preciousness. Of the which the blessed S. Andrew saith: O precious Holy Cross, God saw thee. His barrenness was turned into fruit, as it is said in the Canticles: I shall ascend up into palm tree, et cetera. His ignobility or unworthiness was turned into sublimity and height. The cross, that was torment of thieves, is now borne in front of the emperors, his darkness is turned into light and clearness; whereof Chrysostom saith: The cross and the wounds shall be more shining than the rays of the sun at the judgment. His death is converted into perdurability of life, whereof it is said in the preface that, from whence that the death grew, from thence the life resourded, and the stench is turned into sweetness, Canticorum I.
This exaltation of the Holy Cross is solemnised and hallowed solemnly of the church, for the faith is in it much enhanced. For the year of our Lord six hundred and fifteen, our Lord suffered his people much to be tormented by the cruelty of the paynims. And Cosdroe, king of the Persians, subdued to his empire all the realms of the world; and he came into Jerusalem and was afeard and adrad of the sepulchre of our Lord, and returned, but he bare with him the part of the Holy Cross that S. Helena had left there. And then he would be worshipped of all the people as a god, and did do make a tower of gold and of silver, wherein precious stones shone, and made therein the images of the sun and of the moon and of the stars, and made that by subtle conduits water to be hid, and to come down in manner of rain. And in the last stage he made horses to draw chariots round about, Iike as they had moved the tower, and made it to seem as it had thundered. And thus this cursed man abode in this temple, and delivered his realm to his son, and did do set the cross of our Lord by him, and commanded that he should be called god, of all the people. And as it is read in libro de mitrali officio: The said Cosdroe, resident in his throne as a father, set the tree of the cross on his right side instead of the sun, and a cock on the left side instead of the Holy Ghost, and commanded that he should be called father. And then Eraclius the emperor assembled a great host and came for to fight with the son of Cosdroe by the river of Danube; and then it pleased to either prince that each of them should fight one against that other upon the bridge, and he that should vanquish and overcome his adversary should be prince of the empire without hurting either of both hosts, and so it was ordained and sworn, and that whosomever should help his prince should have forthwith his legs and arms cut off and to be plunged and cast into the river. And then Eraclius commended him all to God and to the Holy Cross with all the devotion that he might, and then they fought long. And at the last our Lord gave the victory to Eraclius and subdued to him his empire. The host that was contrary, and all the people of Cosdroe, obeyed them to the christian faith, and received the holy baptism. And Cosdroe knew not the end of the battle, for he was adored and worshipped of all the people as a god, so that no man durst say nay to him. And then Eraclius came to him, and found him sitting in his siege of gold, and said to him: For as much as after the manner thou hast honoured the tree of the cross, if thou wilt receive baptism and the faith of Jesu Christ, I shall get it to thee, and yet shalt thou hold thy crown and realm with little hostages, and I shall let thee have thy life. And if thou wilt not, I shall slay thee with my sword, and shall smite off thy head. And when he would not accord thereto, he did anon do smite off his head, and commanded that he should be buried because he had been a king. And he found with him one, his son, of the age of ten years, whom he did do baptize, and lifted him from the font, and left to him the realm of his father; and then did do break that tower, and gave the silver to them of his host, and gave the gold and precious stones for to repair the churches that the tyrant had destroyed, and took the Holy Cross and brought it again to Jerusalem. And as he descended from the Mount of Olives and would have entered by the gate by which our Saviour went to his passion, on horseback, adorned as a king, suddenly the stones of the gates descended and joined them together in the gate like a wall, and all the people was abashed. And then the angel of our Lord appeared upon the gate, holding the sign of the cross in his hand, and said: When the king of heaven went to his passion by this gate, he was not arrayed like a king, ne on horseback, but came humbly upon an ass, in showing the example of humility, which he left to them that honour him. And when this was said, he departed and vanished away. Then the emperor took off his hosen and shoes himself, in weeping, and despoiled him of all his clothes in to his shirt, and took the cross of our Lord and bare it much humbly unto the gate. And anon the hardness of the stones felt the celestial commandment and removed anon, and opened and gave entry unto them that entered. Then the sweet odour that was felt that day when the Holy Cross was taken from the tower of Cosdroe and was brought again to Jerusalem from so far country and so great space of land, returned in to Jerusalem in that moment and replenished it with all sweetness. Then the right devout king began to say the praisings of the cross in this wise: O crux splendidior, et cetera. O cross more shining than all the stars, honoured of the world, right holy and much amiable to all men, which only wert worthy to bear the ransom of the world, sweet tree, sweet nails, sweet iron, sweet spear, bearing the sweet burdens, save thou this present company that is this day assembled in thy laud and praisings. And thus was the precious tree of the cross re-established in his place, and the ancient miracles renewed. For a dead man was raised to life, and four men taken with the palsy were cured and healed, ten lepers were made clean, and fifteen blind received their sight again. Devils were put out of men, and much people and many were delivered of divers sickness and maladies. Then the emperor did do repair the churches, and gave to them great gifts, and after returned home to his empire. And it is said in the Chronicles that this was done otherwise. For they say that when Cosdroe had taken many realms, he took Jerusalem and Zacharias the patriarch, and bare away the tree of the cross. And as Eraclius would make peace with him, the king Cosdroe sware a great oath that he would never make peace with christian men and Romans if they renied not him that was crucified, and adored the sun. And then Eraclius, which was armed with faith, brought his host against him, and destroyed and wasted the Persians with many battles that he made to them, and made Cosdroe to flee unto the city of Ctesiphont. And at the last Cosdroe had the flux in his belly, and would therefore crown his son king, which was named Medasan, and when Syrois, his oldest son, heard hereof he made alliance with Eraclius, and pursued his father with his noble people, and set him in bonds, and sustained him with bread of tribulation and with water of anguish, and at last he made to shoot arrows at him because he would not believe in God, and so died. And after this thing he sent to Eraclius, the patriarch, the tree of the cross, and all the prisoners. And Eraclius bare into Jerusalem the precious tree of the cross, and thus it is read in many chronicles; also Siby saith thus of the tree of the cross: That the blessed tree of the cross was three times with the paynims, as it is said in the History Tripartite: O thrice blessed tree on which God was stretched. This peradventure is said for the life of nature, of grace, and of glory, which came of the cross.
At Constantinople a Jew entered into the church of S. Sophia and considered that he was there alone, and saw an image of Jesu Christ, and took his sword and smote the image in the throat, and anon the blood gushed out and sprang in the face and on the head of the Jew. And he then was afeard, and took the image and cast it into a pit, and anon fled away. And it happed that a christian man met him and saw him all bloody, and said to him: From whence comest thou? Thou hast slain some man. And he said: I have not. The christian man said: Verily, thou hast committed some homicide, for thou art all besprongen with the blood. And the Jew said: Verily, the God of christian men is great, and the faith of him is firm and approved in all things; I have smitten no man, but I have smitten the image of Jesu Christ, and anon issued blood of his throat; and then the Jew brought the christian man to the pit and there they drew out that holy image. And yet is seen on this day the wound in the throat of the image; and the Jew anon became a good christian man and was baptized.
In Syria, in the city of Beirout, there was a christian man which had hired an house for a year and he had set the image of the crucifix by his bed, to which he made daily his prayers, and said his devotions, and at the year's end he removed and took an other house, and forgat and left the image behind him. And it happed that a Jew hired that same house, and on a day he bade another Jew, one of his neighbours, to dinner, and as they were at meat, it happed to him that was bidden, in looking on the wall, to espy this image which was fixed to the wall, and began to grin at it for despite, and against him that bade him, and also threatened and menaced him because he durst keep in his house the image of Jesus of Nazareth; and that other Jew sware as much as he might that he had never seen it, ne knew not that it was there, and then the Jew feigned as he had been appeased, and after, went straight to the prince of the Jews and accused that Jew of that which he had seen in his house. Then the Jews assembled and came to the house of him and saw the image of Jesu Christ, and they took that Jew and beat him and did to him many injuries, and cast him out half dead of their synagogue; and anon they defiled the image with their feet, and renewed in it all the torments of the passion of our Lord, and when they pierced his side with the spear, blood and water issued abundantly, insomuch that they filled a vessel which they set thereunder. And then the Jews were abashed and bare this blood into their synagogue, and all the sick men and malades that were guerished and made whole. And then the Jews told and recounted things by order to the bishop of the country, and all they with one will received baptism in the faith of Jesu Christ. And the bishop put this blood in ampuls of crystal and of glass for to be kept, and then he called the christian man that had left it in the house, and enquired of him who had so fair an image. And he said that Nicodemus had made it, and when he died he left it to Gamaliel, and Gamaliel to Zaccheus, and Zaccheus to James, and James to Simon, and had been thus in Jerusalem unto the destruction of the city. And from thence it was borne into the realm of Agrippa, of christian men, and from thence it was brought again into my country, and it was left to me by my parents by rightful heritage. And this was done in the year of our Lord seven hundred and fifty. And then all the Jews hallowed their synagogues into churches, and thereof cometh the custom that churches be hallowed, for tofore that time the altars were but hallowed only. And for this miracle the church hath ordained that the fifth kalends of December, or as it is read in another place the fifth ides of November, should be the memory of the passion of our Lord, wherefore at Rome the church is hallowed in the honour of our Saviour, whereas is kept an ampul with the same blood. And there a solemn feast is kept and done, and there is proved the right great virtue of the cross, unto the paynims, and to the misbehaved men in all things. And S. Gregory recordeth in the third book of his dialogues that when Andrew, bishop of the city of Fundana, suffered a holy nun to dwell with him, the fiend the enemy began to imprint in his heart the beauty of her in such wise that he thought in his bed wicked and cursed things. And on a day a Jew came to Rome, and when he saw that the day failed and he might find lo lodging, he went that night and abode in the temple of Apollo. And because he doubted of he sacrilege of the place, howbeit that he had no faith in the cross, yet he marked and garnished him with the sign of the cross. Then at midnight when he awoke, he saw a company of evil spirits, which went tofore one like as he had some authority of puissance above the others by subjection, and then he saw him sit in the midst among the others, and began to enquire the causes and deeds of every each of these evil spirits which obeyed him, and he would know what evil every each had done.
But Gregory passeth the manner of this vision because of shortness, but we find semblably in the lives of Fathers that. as a man entered in a temple of the idols, he saw the devil sitting and all his meiny about him. And one of these wicked spirits came and adored him, and he demanded of him: From whence comest thou? And he said: I have been in such a province, and have moved great wars, and made many tribulations, and have shed much blood, and am come to tell it to thee. And Satan said to him: In what time hast thou done this? And he said: In thirty days. And Satan said: Why hast thou been so long thereabout? and said to them that stood by him: Go ye and beat him all to-lash him. Then came the second and worshipped him, and said: Sire, I have been in the sea, and have moved great winds and torments, and drowned many ships and slain many men. And Satan said: How long hast thou been about this? And he said: Twenty-two days. And Satan said: How! hast thou done no more in this time? And he commanded that he should be beaten. And the third came and said: I have been in a city, and have moved strifes and debates in a wedding, and have shed much blood, and have slain the husband, and am come to tell thee. And Satan asked: In what time hast thou done this? And he said: In ten days. And he said: Hast thou done no more in that time? And commanded them that were about him to beat him also. Then came the fourth and said: I have been in the wilderness forty years, and have laboured about a monk, and unnethe at the last I have thriven, and made him fall in the sin of the flesh. And when Satan heard that, he arose from his seat and kissed him, and took his crown off his head and set it on his head, and made him to sit with him, and said: Thou hast done a great thing, and hast laboured more than all the others. And this may be the manner of the vision that S. Gregory leaveth. When each had said, one started up in the middle of them all, and said he had moved Andrew against the nun, and had moved the fourth part of his flesh against her in temptation, and thereto that yesterday he drew so much his mind on her that, in the hour of evensong he gave to her in japing a buff, and said plainly, that she might hear it, that he would sin with her. Then the master commanded him that he should perform that he had begun, and for to make him to sin he should have a singular victory and reward among all the others. And then commanded he that they should go look who that was that lay in the temple; and they went and looked, and anon they were ware that he was marked with the sign of the cross. And they being afeard, cried and said: Verily, this is an empty vessel, alas ! alas! he is marked. And with this voice all the company of the wicked spirits vanished away. And then the Jew, all amoved, came to the bishop and told to him all by order what was happened. And when the bishop heard this he wept strongly, and made to void all the women out of his house. And then he baptized the Jew.
S. Gregory rehearseth in his dialogues that a nun entered into a garden and saw a lettuce, and coveted that, and forgat to make the sign of the cross, and bit it gluttonously, and anon fell down and was ravished of a devil. And there came to her S. Equicius, and the devil began to cry and to say: What have I done? I sat upon a lettuce and she came and bit me. And anon the devil issued out by the commandment of the holy man of God.
It is read in the History Scholastic that the paynims had painted on a wall the arms of Serapis, and Theodosius did do put them out, and made to be painted in the same place the sign of the cross. And when the paynims and priests of the idols saw that, anon they did them to be baptized, saying that it was given them to understand of their elders that, those arms should endure till that such a sign were made there in which were life. And they have a letter of which they use that they call holy, and had a form that they said it exposed, and signified life perdurable.
Here followeth the Life of S. John Chrysostom.
John Chrysostom was of Antioch, and was born of noble kindred, of whom the life, the lineage, the conversation, and the persecution, is more plainly contained in the History Tripartite. When he had been in the study of philosophy, he left it and gave himself to the service of God, and was made a priest. And for the love of chastity he was reputed old, for he entended more to the burning love of God than to the outerward debonairty, and for the righteousness of his life he entended most to the things to come, and was deemed proud of them that knew him not. He was noble in teaching, he was wise in expounding, and right good in refraining of vain manners. Arcadius and Honorius reigned then in the empire, and Damasus sat then in the see of Rome. And when Chrysostom was made bishop of Constantinople, he began to correct hastily the life of clerks, and therefore all they were moved and stirred to hate him, and eschewed him as he had been a madman, and spake evil of him. And because he would not bid them to dine and eat with him, ne would not eat with them, they said that he did it because he ate his meat so foul, and the other said that he did it for the excellence and noblesse of his meats. And the truth was because that his stomach was oft sore and grieved, wherefore he eschewed the great dinners and the feasts. And the people loved him much for the good sermons that he made to them, and set little by that his enemies said. Then Chrysostom began to reprove some of the barons, and therefore the envy was the more against him. And yet he did other things that moved yet more. For Eutropius, provost of the empire, which had the dignity of consul, would have avenged him on some that fled to the church for succour, and studied that a law should be ordained by the emperor that none should flee to the church, and that they that had been therein tofore should be drawn out. And a little while after, Eutropius had trespassed to the emperor, and fled anon to the church, and when the bishop heard thereof, he came to him, which was hid under the altar, and made a homily against him, in the which he reproved him right sharply. And therefore many were wroth, because he would do no mercy to that cursed man, and yet he did nothing but chide. And when the emperor saw his will, he made Eutropius to be borne out of the church, and did do smite off his head. And he reproved sharply many men for divers causes, and therefore he was hateful to many. And Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria, would have deposed John Chrysostom, and would have set in his see Isidore the priest, and therefore he sought diligently cause to depose him. And the people, that were fed marvellously with the doctrine of S. John, defended him strongly. And John Chrysostom constrained the priests to live after the holy ordinances of Holy Church, and said that they should not use the honour of priesthood, for they despised the life of a priest and would not follow it. And John governed not only the bishopric of Constantinople, but he ordained to the other provinces by authority of the emperor such laws were much profitable. And then when he knew that yet the people sacrificed about the other provinces to the devils, he sent thither monks and clerks, and made them destroy all the temples of the idols.
In that same time was a man which was made master of the chivalry, and was named Gaimas, of the lineage of Celtic barbarians, which strongly was lifted up, and by study of tyranny was corrupt of the heresy Arian. And that same Gaimas prayed the emperor that he would give to him a church within the city for him and his to make in their prayers. And when the emperor had granted him, he came to John Chrysostom for to have a church as was granted to him by the emperor, but John, which was strong in virtue and all embraced in the love of God, said to the emperor: Promise not, ne give no such thing, ne holy thing unto dogs. And dread thee nothing of this barbarian, but command that we both two be called tofore thee, and take heed what shall be said between us both softly, for I shall so refrain him that he shall no more dare demand such thing. And when the emperor heard this he was glad, and the next day he did do call that one and that other. And as an orator required for him, John said: The house of God is open in every place to thee, whereas no man is warned to adore and pray. And he said: I am of another law, and make request that I may have a temple for myself; for I have emprised many travails for the common profit of Rome, and therefore I ought not to be warned of my petition. And John said to him: Thou hast received many rewards which amount to more than thy pains, and hast been made master of the knights, and clad with the adornments of consul, and it behoveth thee to consider what thou wert late and what thou art now, and thy rather poverty, and thy riches now, and what clothing thou usedest tofore, and what array thou wearest now. And because that a little labour hath given to thee so great rewards, be not now disagreeable to him that hath so much honoured thee. And by such manner words he stopped his mouth and constrained him to be still. And as S. John governed nobly the city of Constantinople, this same Gaimas coveted the empire, and because he might do nothing by day he sent by night his barbarians for to burn the palace. And then it was well showed how S. John kept the city, for a great company of angels, which had great bodies and were armed, appeared to the barbarians and chased them away anon. And when they had told to their lord that which was happed, he marvelled strongly, for he knew well that the host of the other knights were spread in other cities. And then he sent them the second time, and they were rechased again by the vision of the angels. And at the last he issued himself with them and saw the miracle and fled, and supposed they had been knights that had by day-time been within, and had watched by night. And then he went to Tarsus with great strength, and wasted and destroyed all the country, so that all the people dreaded the cruelty of the barbarians. And then the emperor committed to S. John the charge of his legation, and he, not remembering the enmity between them, went forth joyously. And Gaimas, which knew the truth of him, came to meet him on the way, for he knew well that he came for pity, and took him by the hand, and kissed his mouth and his eyes, and commanded his sons that they should kiss his holy knees. And he was of such virtue and so holy that he constrained the most cruel men to dread him.
In this time when these things were done S. John flourished in Constantinople by doctrine, and was holden marvellous of all them of the sect of the Arians, which then increased greatly. And they had a church without the city, and on the Saturday and Sunday they would sing within the gates, by night, hymns and anthems, and on the morn they would go through the city singing anthems, and issued by the gates and entered into their church, and ceased not to do thus in despite of christian men, and sung oft this song: Where be they that say one only to be three things by his virtue? And then John doubted that by this song simple men might be deceived, and ordained that the good christian people should go by night with tapers, torches, and lanterns, singing glorious hymns of the church that, the evil works of the others might be destroyed, and the faith of the good men might be aflirmed. And did do make crosses of gold and of silver which were borne, with tapers burning. And then the sect of the Arians, embraced with envy rebelled unto the death, so that Brison, on a night, which was chamberlain of the emperor, was smitten with a stone, who was ordained by S. John Chrysostom for to go with the hymns, and of the people were many slain on that one party and on that other. Then the emperor moved by these things, defended that the Arians should sing no more hymns in common. And after, this holy man suffered great persecution for righteousness and true doctrine, and was exiled and after repealed again. And yet after, for envy he was exiled again. And so, after many a great labour and noble doctrine he ended his life, being in exile, the fourteenth day of September. And when he was passed, a strong hail fell in Constantinople upon the city and upon the suburbs, which did much harm, and then all the people said it was done by wrath of God for the wrongful exiling and condemning of the holy man S. John Chrysostom, and that was showed well by the death of the empress, his greatest enemy, which died the fourth day after the hail. And when this noble doctor of the church was passed out of this world, the bishops of the west would in no wise commune ne have to do with the bishops of the east till that, the name of that holy man S. John was set among the bishops his predecessors. And then Theodosius, a right good christian man, son of the said emperor, which held the name and party of his grandsire, did do bring the holy relics of this doctor in to the royal city with tapers and lights. Then Theodosius did do put and bury the said body of S. John Chrysostom in the church of S. Sophia in the month of January. And all the people went to meet with it, and accompanied it with torches and lights. And then Theodosius worshipped devoutly the holy relics, and visited oft his sepulchre, praying to the holy saint to pardon Arcadius his father, and Eudoxia his mother, and to forgive them that they had done ignorantly against him. And they were dead long tofore. This emperor was of so great debonairty that he judged no man to death that had offended him, and said that his will was to call the dead to life again if he might. It seemed that his court was a monastery, for therein were said continually matins and lauds, and he read the books divine. And his wife was called Eudoxia, he had also a daughter named Eudoxia whom he gare to wife to Valentinian, whom he made emperor. And all these things be written more plainly in the History Tripartite. And this holy holy man S. John Chrysostom passed about the year of our Lord three hundred and ninety.
Here followeth of S. Cornelius the Pope and Martyr, and first the exposition of his name. And of S. Cyprian.
Cornelius is expounded, and is as much to say as, entending in prayer, and the gard, in abiding things outrageous. Or Cornelius is said of cornu, which is as much to say as strong, and of leos, that is people, that is the strength of people. Cyprian is said of cypress, that tincture, and ana, that is high. Then Cyprian is as much to say as tincture of height, for he had tincture of the grace, sovereign, and of virtues. Or Cyprian is said of cypress, that is to say heaviness or heritage, for he had heaviness of his sins and heritage of the heavenly joys.
Of S. Cornelius and S. Cyprian.
S. Cornelius succeeded to Fabian in the papacy, and was sent in exile of Decius Cęsar, and his clerks with him. And there received letters of comfort from Cyprian, bishop of Carthage. And at the last he was brought again from exile and presented to Decius. And when he saw him fast in the faith, he commanded that he should be beaten with plummets of lead, and that he should be brought to the temple of Mars for to do sacrifice, or else to have his head smitten off. And as he was led, a knight prayed him that he would return to his house because of Sallustia his wife, which had lain sick five years of the palsy. And she was healed by his prayers, and one and twenty knights with her believed in God, and were all brought to the temple of Mars by the commandment of Decius. And all they spit against it and were all martyred with Cornelius. And they suffered death about the year of our Lord two hundred and fifty-three. And Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, was present in the same city and was brought tofore Patronus the consul, and when he could not turn him in no wise from the faith of Christ, he sent him in exile. And from thence he was called again of Angliricus proconsul, which came after Patronus, and received martyrdom by smiting off his head. And when the sentence was given on him, he said: Graces and thankings be given to God. And when he came to the place of his martyrdom he commanded his servants to give to him that should smite off his head twenty-five pieces of gold. And then he took a linen cloth and bound his eyes with his own hands, and thus he received the crown of martyrdom, the year of our Lord two hundred and fifty-six.
Here followeth the Life of S. Eufemia, and first of the interpretation of her name.
Eufemia is said of eu, that is good, and of femme that is a woman, that is to wit a profitable, honest and delectable, for in this treble manner she is said good. She was profitable to others by conversation, honest by ordinance of manners, and delectable to God. Or Eufemia is said of euphoria as sweetness of sound. Sweet sound is made in three manners, that is to wit, by voice, as in singing, by touching, as in a harp, and by blowing as in pipes and organs. Thus was the blessed sweet sound to God in voice of predication, in touching of good works, and in blowing of devotion.
Of S. Eufemia.
Eufemia was daughter of a senator, and saw christian men in the time of Diocletian so sore tormented and all to-rent by divers torments, that she came to the judge and confessed her to be christian. And she comforted by example the courages of other men, and by her constancy. And when the judge slew the christian men, the one tofore another, and made others to be present because they should be afeard of that they saw the others so cruelly tormented and broken, and that they should sacrifice for dread and fear, and when Eufemia saw even thus tofore her the holy saints, she was the more constant by the steadfastness of the martyrs, and spoke to the judge, and said that she suffered wrong of him. Then the judge was glad, weening that she would have consented to do sacrifice, and when he demanded of her what wrong he had done to her, she said to him: For sith I am of noble lineage, why puttest thou tofore me the strangers and unknown, and makest them go to Christ tofore me? For it were my pleasure to go thither by martyrdom tofore them. And the judge said to her: I had supposed thou wouldst have returned in thy thought, and I was glad that thou haddest remembered thy noblesse. And then she was inclosed in the prison, and the day following, without bonds, was brought tofore the judge. And then she complained right grievously why against the laws of the emperors she was alone spared for to be out of bonds. And then she was long beaten with fists, and after, sent again to prison, and the judge followed her, and would have taken her by force for to have accomplished his foul lust, but she defended her forcibly, and the virtue divine made the hands of the Judge to be lame. And then the judge weened to have been enchanted, and sent to her the provost of his house for to promise to her many things for to make her consent to him, but he might never open the prison which was shut, neither with key ne with axes, till he was ravished with a devil, crying and treating himself, that unnethe he escaped. And then she was drawn out and set upon a wheel full of burning coals. And the artillour, that was master of the torment, had given a token to them to turn it, that when he should make a sound, that they all should turn it, and the fire should spring out and all to-break and rend the body of the virgin; but by the ordinance of God the iron that the artillour and master had in his hand, fell to the earth, and made the sound. And they turned hastily so that the wheel burnt the master of the work and kept Enfemia without hurt, sitting upon the wheel. And the parents of the artillour wept and put the fire under the wheel and would have burnt Eufemia with the wheel, but the wheel was burnt, and Eufemia was unbounden by the angel of God, and was seen to stand all whole, unhurt, in a high place. And then Apulius said to the judge: The virtue of christian people may not be overcome but by iron, therefore I counsel thee to do smite off her head. Then they set up ladders, and as one would have set hand on her, he was anon smitten with a palsy, and was borne thence half dead. And another named Sosthenes went up on high, but anon he was changed in his courage and repented him and required her humbly pardon, and when he had his sword drawn he cried to the judge that he had liefer slay himself than touch her whom the angels defended. At the last, when she was taken thence, the judge said to his chancellor that he should send to her all the young men that were jolly, for to enforce and to make her do their will till she should fail and die. And then he entered in and saw with her many fair virgins praying with her, and she made him to be christened with her admonishments. And then the provost did do take the virgin by the hair and hung her thereby, and she ever abode constant and immovable. And then he did do shut her in prison without meat seven days, and pressed her there between four great stones as who should press olives, but she was every day fed with an angel. And when she was between those two hard stones she made her prayers, and the stones were converted into right soft ashes. Then the provost was ashamed for to be vanquished of a maid; and then he made her to be thrown into a pit whereas cruel beasts were, which devoured every man that came therein and swallowed them in. And anon they ran to this holy virgin in fawning her, and joined their tails together, and made of them a chair for her to sit on. And when the judge saw that, he was much confounded, so that almost he died for anguish and sorrow. Then the butcher came for to avenge the injury of his lord and smote his sword into her side, and all to-hewed her and made her there the martyr of Jesu Christ our Lord. And the judge clad him with clothes of silk, and hung on him ouches and brooches of gold, but when he should have issued out of the pit, he was ravished of the beasts, and all devoured anon. And then his people sought him long, and unnethe found they a little of his bones with his clothes of silk and his ouches of gold. And then the judge ate himself for madness, and so was found dead wretchedly. And Eusemia was buried in Chalcedonia, and by her merits all the Jews and paynims of Chalcedonia believed in Jesu Christ. And she suffered death about the year of our Lord two hundred and eighty. And S. Ambrose saith of this virgin thus: The holy virgin, triumphant in virginity, retaining the mitre, deserved to be clad with the crown, by whose merits the wicked enemy is vanquished, and Priscus, her adversary and judge, is overcome. The virgin is saved from the furnace of fire, hard stones be converted into powder, wild beasts be made meek and tame, and incline down their necks, and all manner of pains and torments by her orations and prayers be overcome. And at the last, smitten with a sword, she left the cloister of her flesh, and is joined to the celestial company, glad and joyous. And, blessed Lord, this blessed virgin commendeth to thee thy church, and, good Lord, let her pray to thee for us sinners, and this virgin, without corruption flourishing, get unto us that our desires may be granted of thee.
Here beginneth the Life of S. Lambert, and first of the interpretation of his name.
Lambertus is said of lampos in Greek, which is as much to say as burning, and of thus, that is incense. That is to say incense burning to God. Or he may be said of lampas, a lamp, which giveth light in the church. He was incense burning to God by distress of conscience, and for to keep obedience. And he was light in the church by noble predication, and by ensample of good operation.
Of S. Lambert.
Lambert was of a noble lineage, but he was more noble by holiness, and was informed in lettrure in his first age. So, for his holiness, he was loved of all the people in such wise that after his master Theodardus, he deserved to be promoted to be bishop of Utrecht. Whom Childeric, king of France, loved much and had him always dear before other bishops. But when the malice of the Jews grew, the felons put him out of his honour without cause, and set Ferramund in his chair. And L ambert entered into a monastery, and was there and conversed seven years goodly. On a night when he arose from prayer, he let wind go behind by ignorance, and when the abbot heard it he said: He that hath done that, let him go out to the cross barefoot. And anon Lambert went out to the cross barefoot in his hair, and was there and went in the snow and in the frost when the brethren chauffed them after matins. And the abbot demanded where Lambert was, and a brother said that he was gone to the cross by his commandment. He did do call him, and then the abbot and his monks required him to pardon them, but he not only pardoned them, but also preached to them the virtue of patience. And after seven years Ferramund was put out, and S. Lambert was brought again by the commandment of Pepin to his first see, and there he shone by word and by ensample in all virtue. Then two wicked men addressed them against him and began to rebuke and blame him strongly, and the friends of the same bishop slew them.
In that time Lambert began to blame strongly Pepin, for a common woman that he held. And Dodo, a cousin of them that had been slain, and brother of the same common woman, and officer of the king's hall, assembled a great fellowship and assieged all about the bishop's place, and would avenge the death of his cousins on S. Lambert. And when a child came to S. Lambert, which was in his prayers, and told him thereof, he, trusting well in our Lord, thought he should well vanquish them, and took a sword. And when he had remembered himself he threw away his sword, and judged himself better to vanquish in suffering of death, than to leye his holy hands in the blood of the felons. And this holy man warned his people that they should confess their sins, and suffer patiently death. And anon the felons came upon them, and slew forthwith S. Lambert whom they found in orison and prayer. And when they were gone, some of his men that escaped, bare the body to the cathedral church secretly by water in a boat, and buried it with great heaviness of them of the city, in the year of our Lord four hundred and ten.
Here beginneth the Life of S. Matthew, and, first of the interpretation of his name.
Matthew was named by twain names, that was Matthew and Levy. Matthew is expounded a hasty gift, or a giver of counsel, or it is said Matthew of magnus, and theos, that is God, as it were a great God. Or of manus, that is a hand, and theos, that is God, as it were the hand of God. He was a gift of hastiness by hasty conversion, a giver of counsel by wholesome predication, great to God by perfection of life, and the hand of God by writing of the gospel of God. Levy is interpreted assumyt, or applied, or put to, or set. He was assumpt and taken away from gathering of tolls, he was applied to the number of the apostles, he was put to the company of the evangelists, and set to the catalogue of martyrs.
Of S. Matthew.
Matthew the apostle, preaching in Ethiopia, in the city that is said Nadaber, found there two enchanters named Zaroes and Arphaxat, which enchanted the men by their art, so that whom that they would, should seem that thy were prived of the health and office of their members. Which were so elevated in pride that they made them to be honoured as gods. Then Matthew the apostle entered into that city and was lodged with the eunuch of Candace, the queen, whom Philip baptized. Then he discovered the faits and deeds of the enchanters in this manner, that all that they did to men into hurt, that turned Matthew into health. Then this eunuch demanded of S. Matthew how he spake and understood so many tongues. And then Matthew told him how the Holy Ghost descended and had given to the apostles all science of tongues. That like as they had emprised by their pride to make the tower unto heaven which ceased by confusion of tongues that were changed, all in like wise the apostles made a tower of sciences of tongues, and nothing of stones but of virtues, by the which all that believe shall mount up into heaven.
Then came before them a man that said that the enchanters were come with two dragons, which cast fire and sulphur by their mouths and nostrils, and slew all the men. Then the apostle garnished him with the sign of the cross and went out surely to them, and anon as these dragons saw him, anon they came and slept at his feet. Then said Matthew to the enchanters: Where is your craft? Awake ye them if ye may; and if I would pray our Lord, that which ye would have committed in me, I should soon execute on you. And when the people were assembled, he commanded the dragons that they should depart without hurting of any, and they went anon.
And the apostle there made a great sermon of the glory of paradise terrestrial, saying that it appeared above all the mountains and was nigh unto heaven, and that there were neither thorns ne rocks, and that the lilies and roses flourished always and waxed never old; but the people were there always young, and the sound of angels sounded there always, and the birds came anon as they were called. And said that out of this paradise was a man cast, but he was called to the paradise of heaven by the nativity of our Lord. And as he said these words to the people, anon a great noise arose, and a great weeping was made for the son of the king which was dead, and when these enchanters might not raise him, they made the king believe that he was ravished into the company of the gods, and that he should make to him a temple and an image. And then the foresaid eunuch, keeper of the queen Candace, made the enchanters to be kept, and sent for the apostle. And when the apostle was come he made his prayer and raised the king's son anon. And then the king, which was named Egippus, sent for all the men in his provinces saying to them: Come and see ye God in the likeness of a man. And then the people came with crowns of gold and divers manner of sacrifices, and would have sacrificed to him, and then S. Matthew beheld them and said: What do ye men? I am not God, but I am servant of our Lord. And by the commandment of him they made a great church of the gold and silver that they had brought, which in thirty days space was edified and achieved. In which church the apostle sat three and thirty years, and converted all Ethiopia to the faith of Christ. And then the king Egippus, with his wife and his daughter, and all the people, were baptized. And then the apostle hallowed to God Ephigenia the king's daughter, and made her mistress and governess of more than two hundred virgins.
And after this, Hirtacus succeeded to the king, and coveted the said virgin Ephigenia, and promised to the apostle half his realm if he would make her consent to be his wife; and the apostle said to him that after the custom of his predecessor he should come on the Sunday to the church, and Ephigenia being present with the other virgins, he should hear what he should say of the goodness of lawful marriage. And then he departed with great joy, and supposed that he would have stirred Ephigenia to his marriage. And when the virgins and all the people were assembled, he spake long of good and lawful matrimony, and was much allowed of the king, which supposed that he had said for to have joined the virgin to him for to consent the marriage. Then when silence was made, he made rehearsal of his sermon saying that marriage is good if it be truly held by good alliance. But ye that be here, know ye well that if any servant would take the wife of a king wedded he should not only run to the offence of the king, but above that he should deserve death, and not for to wed her, but for that he in so taking the spouse of his lord should corrupt the marriage joined. And thou the king that knew that Ephigenia is made the spouse of the king perdurable, and is sacred with the holy veil, how mayst thou take the wife of a more puissant king and couple her to thee by marriage? And when the king heard this he began to enrage and departed all wood and frantic. And the apostle without dread confirmed all the others to patience. And Ephigenia, Iying tofore him for dread, he blessed, and all the other virgins also. And after the solemnities of the mass, the king sent a tormentor which slew Matthew with a sword behind him, which was standing by the altar holding up his hands into heaven, and so was consecrate a martyr. And then all the people would have gone into the palace for to have slain the king, and with great pain were they holden of the priests and deacons, and hallowed with great joy the martyrdom of the apostle. And the king then sent to Ephigenia matrons and enchantresses, but for all them, when he saw that he might not turn her courage ne draw her to him in no manner, he environed and beset the house of her with a right great fire, for to burn her and all the other virgins. And then the holy apostle appeared at the fire and put out the fire about the house, and it took the palace of the king, so that it burnt and consumed all that was therein, that none escaped save the king and his son only. And the son was ravished of the devil and began to cry and confess his father's sins, and went to the sepulchre of the apostle. And the father was made a foul mesel, and when he saw that he might not be cured, he slew himself with his own hand with a sword. And the people then established for to be king, the brother of Ephigenia whom the apostle had baptized, and reigned seventy years, and established his son for to be king after him, and increased much the honour of christian men, and replenished all Ethiopia with noble churches of our Lord. And then Zaroes and Arphaxat fled into Persia from the day that the apostle raised the son of the king, but S. Simon and S. Jude vanquished them there. And know ye that four things be principally considered in the blessed S. Matthew. The first is the hastiness of obedience, for as soon as our Lord called him, he left all and doubted nothing of the Lord, and left the reckonings of his receipts imperfect, and joined him perfectly to our Lord Jesu Christ. And for this hasty obedience some took occasion of error in themselves, like as S. Jerome recordeth in the original upon the foresaid place, saying in that place: Porphyry and Julian Augustus reproveth in the same place the folly of the story Iying, saying that as the story saith, like as they followed suddenly the Saviour, that they would as hastily follow another man that had called them. For there were showed so many virtues and so many tokens tofore, that the apostles of our Lord believed verily without doubt. And certainly this replenisher of the privy majesty shone in his blessed face at the first to them that saw him, and he might by that sight and will draw them to him. If such virtue, as men say, is in a precious stone which is named magnet, which draweth to him festues and straws, how much more the creator of all things may draw to him whom he will. This said Jerome. The second is his largess or his liberality. For anon he made to him a great feast in his house, the which was not great by apparel of meats, but it was much great only by reason of great desire, for he received with right great will and right great desire. And also it was great by reason of service, for this feast was demonstrance of great mystery, which mystery the gloss expoundeth upon S. Luke saying: He that receiveth our Lord Jesu Christ in his house was fed withinforth plenteously of greater things than the other, that is to wit of delectations, of good manners, and of good delights. And after he was great by reason of his enseignments, for he showed great teachings and doctrines. And this was of great mercy by desire, and not by sacrifice, as he said: Misericordiam volo et non sacrificium, etcetera. And also they that be whole need no leech, and so it was great, for there was Jesu Christ and his disciples. The third is humility which appeared to him in two things, first he showed him a publican. The other evangelists, as saith the gloss, because of shame, and for the honour of the evangelist, they set not their common name, but as it is written: The just is first accuser of himself. And Matthew named himself publican, first because that he showed that none converted ought not mistrust of health, like as he was made of a publican, an apostle and evangelist. Secondly, because he was patient in his injuries. For when the pharisees murmured that Jesu Christ was descended to a man, sinner, Matthew might have answered: Ye be more wicked and more sinful that ween ye be just and refuse the leech, for I may no more be said sinner that am gone to the leech of health and hide not my sin ne wound. The fourth is the great solemnity of him in the church of his gospels. His gospels be offer and more used in the church than the other evangelists, like as the psalms of David and the epistles of Paul be rehearsed before other scriptures, which be more offer recited in the church. And this is the reason that James witnesseth that there be three manner of sins, that is to wit: the sin of pride, of lechery, and of avarice. In the sin of pride sinned Saul, for Saul by the sin of pride persecuted the church over proudly. David sinned in the sin of lechery, for he made adultery, and for the adultery he slew Uriah, his true knight. And Matthew sinned in the sin of avarice, for for covetousness he meddled him of villainous gain. For he was in a port of the sea where he received the toll and custom of ships and merchandise. And howbeit that they were sinners, yet always our Lord took their penance in gree and was pleased therewith, so that he pardoned them not only their sins, but multiplied in them his gifts of grace. For him that was a right cruel persecutor, he made a right true preacher, and him that had been adulterer and homicide, he made a prophet, and him that coveted so villainous gain, he made apostle and evangelist. And therefore these foresaid three be oft recited that no man that would be converted should have despair of pardon when such that were in so great sin, he beholdeth to have been in so great grace. And it is to be considered that, after S. Ambrose, some things ought to be noted in the conversion of S. Matthew, that is to wit somewhat of the party of the leech, and some of the party of the sick to be healed. In the leech were three things, that is to wit, wisdom by which he knew the root of the malady, and the bounty by which he ministered the medicine, and the power by which he healed him so soon. Of these three saith S. Ambrose in the person of the said Matthew: This master may take away the sorrow from my heart, and the dread of the soul which knoweth the things hid and privy. And this is as touching to the first. And as to the second: I have found a leech that dwelleth in heaven and sheddeth in earth his medicine. And as to the third he said: He may well heal my wounds that knoweth not his own. In this blessed sick man that was healed, that is to say S. Matthew, three things be to be considered, after S. Ambrose. He took away first his malady, he was always agreeable to his leech, and he was always clean and whole after he had received his health. Then he said: Matthew, follow now thy leech merrily and gladly, and he joying said: Now I am no publican, ne am not Levi, I have put away Levi sith I have received Christ and follow him, and this is to the first. And as to the second, I hate my lineage and flee my life and follow only the Lord. And as to the third he said: Who shall depart me from the charity of our Lord God which is in me? Tribulation or anguish or hunger? As who saith: Nothing. And the manner of healing, as Ambrose saith, was treble. First, Jesu Christ bound him with bonds; secondly, he impressed in him charity; and thirdly, he cleansed him from all rottenness. And Ambrose saith in the person of Matthew: I am bounden with the nails of faith, and good life of charity. Secondly, I shall keep thy commandment as imprinted in me by charity. And as to the third: Good Lord, come soon and open my wounds lest any noieful humour corrupt ne rot the hid passions, and wash them that be foul and cleanse them. His gospel that he had written with his own hand, was found with the bones of S. Barnabas, the which gospel Barnabas bare with him, and laid them upon them that were sick, and anon they were healed by the merits of the martyr, and were founden in the year of our Lord five hundred.
Here followeth the Life of S. Maurice, and first of his name.
Maurice is said of amarus, that is bitter, and cis, that is to say, vomiting odour, or hard, or of us, that is to say, counsellor or hasty. Or it is said of mauron, which, after Isidore, in Greek is said black. He had bitterness for his evil idolatry and dilation of his country; he was vomiting by covetise of things superfluous; hard and firm to suffer torments; counsellor by the admonishment of knights his fellows; hasty by ardour and multiplying of good works; black by despising himself. And the blessed Eucherius wrote and ordained his passion when he was Archbishop of Lyons.
Of S. Maurice or Moris.
Moris or Maurice was duke of the right holy legion of Thebans. They were named Thebans, of Thebes their city. And that region is in the parts of the East beyond the parts of Arabia, and it is full of richesses, plenteous of fruit, delectable of trees. The indwellers of that region be of great bodies and noble in arms, strong in battle, subtle in engine, and right abundant in wisdom. And this city had a hundred gates, of which is said this verse: Ecce vetus Thebea centum jacet obruta portis; that is to say: The town of Thebes with a hundred gates right strong is now overthrown. To them James the brother of our Lord preached the gospel of our Lord. In that time Diocletian and Maximian, emperors, would have utterly destroyed the faith of our Lord Jesu Christ, and sent such epistles unto all the provinces where christian men dwelt. If anything behoved to be determined or to be known, and all the world were assembled on that one party, and Rome alone were of that one party, all the world should be as vanquished and overcome, and Rome only should abide in the highness of science. And wherefore then, ye that be not but a little people, and contrary to the commandment of her, refuse ye so follily the establishments of the city of Rome? Wherefore receive ye the faith of the gods immortal, or else sentence irrevocable of damnation shall be pronounced against you. And then the christian people received these letters, and sent again their messengers all void without answer. And then Diocletian and Maximian, moved by great ire and wrath, sent unto all the provinces and commanded that they should come to Rome ready in arms of battle for to discomfit all the rebels of the empire of Rome. Then the letters of the emperors were sent and directed to the Thebans, which people after the commandment of God, they rendered to God that was due to him, and to the Cęsar that was longing to him. Then assembled this chosen legion of knights, that is to wit six thousand six hundred and sixty-six knights, and were sent to the emperor for to help in their just and lawful battles, and not to bear arms against christian men, but rather to defend them. And the noble man, Maurice, was duke of this holy legion; and they that governed under him, which bare the banners, were named S. Candidus, S. Innocent, S. Exsuperius, S. Victor, and S. Constantine, all these were captains. Diocletian then sent against the Frenchmen, Maximian, which he had made fellow with him in the empire, and delivered to him great strength without number, and adjoined to him the legion of Thebans. And they had been exhorted of Marcel, the pope, that they should rather suffer death than to corrupt the faith of Jesu Christ. And when this great host without number had passed the mountains and came beneath, the emperor commanded that all they that were with him should sacrifice to the idols, and on them that would not, they should swear to run upon them as rebels, to be destroyed, and specially on christian men. And when the holy knights heard that, they departed from the host eight miles farther, and took there a certain place delectable, by the river of Rhone, which was named Aganum. And when Maximian knew it, he sent knights to them, and commanded that they should come hastily unto the sacrifices of the gods with the other; and they answered that they might not so do because they held the faith of Jesu Christ. And then the emperor, embraised with ire, said: The injury celestial is meddled with my despite, and the religion Roman is despised with me. Now shall each contumacious knight feel not only for me, but to avenge my gods. Then Cęsar commended his knights that they should go and constrain them to do sacrifice to the gods, or else they should slay always the tenth man. Then the holy saints stretched their heads with joy, and hasted that one tofore that other to come to the death. And after, S. Maurice arose up and said to his fellows among other things: Enjoy ye with us, and I thank you, for we be all ready for to die for the faith of Jesu Christ. We have suffered our fellow knights to be slain, and I have suffered your fellows to suffer death for Jesu Christ, and I have kept the commandment of God which said to Peter: Put thy sword into the sheath. But now, because that we be enclosed with the bodies of the knights our fellows, and have our clothes red of their blood, let us then follow them by martyrdom. And if it please you, let us send this answer unto Cęsar: We be thy knights, sir emperor, and have taken arms to the defence of the common weal; in us is no treason ne dread, but in no wise we will forsake the law ne faith of Jesu Christ. And when the emperor heard that, he commanded to behead yet the tenth man of them. And when that was done, one of the bannerers, named Exsuperius, took the banner and stood among them and said: Our glorious duke Maurice hath spoken of the glory of our fellow knights; ne think not that I take arms for to resist such things, but let our right hands cast away such fleshly arms, and let us arm us with virtues. And if it please you, let us remand unto the emperor such words: We be knights of thine empire, but we confess us to be servants of Jesu Christ; we owe unto thee chivalry, and unto him innocence, and of thee we attend the reward of our labour, and of him we have the beginning of life. And we be ready to receive for him all torments, and we shall not depart from his faith. Then Cęsar commanded that his host should environ all that legion of knights, so that none should escape. Then were environed the knights of Jesu Christ with knights of the devil, that one of them should not escape, and were all to-hewn, and smitten off heads and hands, and trodden under the feet of the horses, and were sacred martyrs of Christ. And they suffered death in the year of our Lord two hundred and eighty. Nevertheless there escaped some by the will of our Lord, and came into other regions, and preached the name of Jesu Christ, and had in other places victory of martyrdom. And it is said that Solutor and Adventor and Octavius went unto Turin, and Alexander to Pergamos, Secundus unto Ventimiglia, and Victor, Constantine, and Ursin and others escaped. And when the butchers divided the prey amongst them, and ate together, they saw an old man named Victor pass forth by, and they bade him come and eat with them, and he began to demand them how they might eat with joy among so many men slain and dead. And when he had heard that they were christian men, sighing he wailed greatly, and said he had been well blessed if he had been slain with them. And when they apperceived that he was a christian man, they anon ran upon him and slew him.
After this, Maximian at Milan and Diocletian at Nicomedia in one day forsook their purple clothing and laid it down for to lead a more simple life, and they that were younger, as Constantine, Maximian, and Galerian, whom they had ordained Cęsarians, should govern the empire. And as Maximian would again reign and command as a tyrant, he was pursued of Constantius, his step-son, and finished his life by hanging. And after this the holy body of Innocent, one of that legion which had been cast in the river of Rhone, was found, and by Domitian of Genanence and Gratus of Autun and Prothase, of the same bishops, in their church is honourably buried.
And there was a paynim, a workman that wrought to make the church with others, but he wrought not but on the Sundays in the time when men sang and made solemnity of masses in the said church; and there came to him a company of saints which ravished him, and beat him, and also reproved him, because he wrought in masonry when others did the divine service and office in the church, and then, he so corrected, ran to the church, to the bishop, and required to be christened. And Ambrose saith thus of these martyrs in his preface: The company of these true christian men enlumined with divine light, coming from the farther ends of the world, which were armed with spiritual arms, and hied to their martyrdom with stable faith and diligent constancy, whom the cruel tyrant for to fear them tithed two times by the slaughter of the sword, and after, he seeing them constant in the faith, commanded them all to have their heads smitten off. But they burned in so great charity that they cast and threw away their arms and harness, and kneeling on their knees received sufferably with a joyous heart the swords of them that martyred them, among whom Maurice, embraced in the love and faith of Jesu Christ, received the crown of martyrdom. Hęc Ambrosius.
There was a woman which delivered her son, to learn, unto the abbot of the church in which the holy saints lie in. And the son died in short time after, wherefore the mother wept without remedy. Then S. Maurice appeared to her and inquired why she wept so for her son. And she answered that as long as she should live she should weep for him. And he said to her: Weep no more for him as he were dead, for know thou for certain he is with us, and if thou wilt prove it, arise tomorn and every day of thy life, and come to matins, and thou shalt hear his voice among the monks singing. And ever after, during her life, she came every day, and heard the voice of her son singing among the monks.
When the king Gaturanicus had given all that he had to poor men and to churches, he sent a priest for to fetch to him of the relics of this holy company. And as he returned with the relics, the tempest arose in the lake of Lausanne in such wise that the ship was in peril; he set the chasse with the relics against the waves of water, and anon the tempest ceased and the waves of the water were appeased.
It happed in the year of our Lord nine hundred and sixty-three, that some monks, by the accord of Charles, had impetred and gotten of Nicholas the pope, the body of S. Urban, pope, and of S. Tiburtius, martyr. And returning, they visited the church of the holy martyrs, and impetred and gat of the abbot and monks that they transported the body of S. Maurice and the head of S. Innocent unto Auxerre, into the church that S. Germain had dedicated in the name of these martyrs, and brought it thither. Peter of Amiens rehearseth that in Burgundy was a proud clerk and ambitious which had gotten a church of S. Maurice, and usurped it by force against a mighty knight which was contrary and against him. And on a time was sung a mass in the end of the gospel, that they that enhance them shall be meeked, and they that meek them shall be enhanced. This said malerous and cursed clerk laughed and said: That is false, for if I had humbled and meeked myself I had not had this day so much riches as I have in the church. And as soon as he had said that, anon came thunder and lightning from heaven in manner of a sword, and entered into his mouth out of which issued the blasphemies, and anon he was extinct and died suddenly. Then let us devoutly beseech Almighty God that by the merits of this holy martyr S. Maurice and his holy fellowship the legion, which is six thousand six hundred and sixty-six, that suffered martyrdom, as heretofore is rehearsed, we may after this transitory life come unto the everlasting bliss in heaven, where he reigneth, world without end. Amen.
Here followeth the Life of S. Justina, and first of her name.
Justina is said of justice, for by justice she rendered to every each that was his: that is to wit, to God obedience; unto her superior prelate, reverence; to her like and semblable, concord; to them that were beneath and inferior, discipline; to her enemies, patience; unto wretches and to them in distress, compassion and works of pity; and to herself, holiness.
Of S. Justina.
Justina the virgin was of the city of Antioch, daughter of a priest of the idols. And every day she sat at a window by a priest which read the gospel, of whom at the last she was converted. And when the mother of her had told it unto her father in his bed, Jesu Christ appeared to them with his angels, saying: Come to me, I shall give to you the kingdom of heaven. And when he awoke, anon they did them to be baptized with their daughter. And this virgin was strongly grieved and vexed of Cyprian, and at the last she converted him to the faith of Jesu Christ. And Cyprian from his childhood had been an enchanter, for from the time that he was seven years old he was consecrated by his parents to the devil. And he used the craft of necromancy, and made women to turn into juments and beasts as them seemed, and many other things semblable. And he was covetous of the love of Justina, and burnt in the concupiscence of her, and resorted to his art magic that he might have her for himself, or for a man named Acladius, which also burnt in her love. Then he called a devil to him, to the end that he might by him have Justina, and when the devil came he said to him: Why hast thou called me? And Cyprian said to him: I love a virgin, canst thou not so much that I may have my pleasure of her? And the devil answered: I that might cast man out of Paradise, and procured that Cain slew his brother, and made the Jews to slay Christ, and have troubled the men, trowest thou I may not do that thou have a maid with thee, and use her at thy pleasure? Take this ointment and anoint withal her house withoutforth, and I shall come and kindle her heart in thy love, that I shall compel her to assent to thee. And the next night following the devil went and enforced him to move her heart unto unlawful love. And when she felt it, she recommended herself devoutly to God, and garnished her with the sign of the cross, and the devil, all afraid of the sign of the cross, fled away from her, and came again to Cyprian and stood before him. And Cyprian said to him: Why hast thou not brought to me this virgin? And the devil said: I see in her a sign which feared me, that all strength is failed in me. Then Cyprian left him, and called another devil more stronger than he was. And he said: I have heard thy commandment and have seen the non-power of him, but I shall amend it and accomplish thy will. Then the devil went to her, and enforced to move her heart in love, and inflame her courage in things not honest. And she recommended her to God devoutly, and put from her that temptation by the sign of the cross, and blew on the devil, and threw him anon away from her. And he fled all confused and came tofore Cyprian, and Cyprian said to him: Where is the maid that I sent thee for? and the devil said: I acknowledge that I am overcome and am rebutted, and I shall say how, for I saw in her a sign horrible, and lost anon all my virtue. Then Cyprian left him, and blamed him, and called the prince of the devils. And when he was come he said: Wherefore is your strength so little, which is overcome of a maid ? Then the prince said to him: I shall go and vex her with great fevers, and I shall inflame more ardently her heart, and I shall arouse and bedew her body with so ardent desire of thee that she shall be all frantic: and I shall offer to her so many things that I shall bring her to thee at midnight. Then the devil transfigured himself in the likeness of a maid, and came to this holy virgin, and said: I am come to thee for to live with thee in chastity, and I pray thee that thou say what reward shall we have for to keep us so. And the virgin answered: The reward is great, and the labour is small. And the devil said to her: What is that then that God commanded when he said: Grow and multiply and replenish the earth? Then, fair sister, I doubt that if we abide in virginity that we shall make the word of God vain, and be also despising and inobedient, by which we shall fall into a grievous judgment, where we shall have no hope of reward, but shall run in great torment and pain. Then by the enticement of the devil the heart of the virgin was smitten with evil thoughts, and was greatly inflamed in desire of the sin of the flesh, so that she would have gone thereto, but then the virgin came to herself, and considered who that it was that spake to her. And anon she blessed her with the sign of the cross, and blew against the devil, and anon he vanished away and melted like wax, and incontinent she was delivered from all temptation. A little while after, the devil transfigured him in the likeness of a fair young man, and entered into her chamber, and found her alone in her bed, and without shame sprang into her bed and embraced her, and would have had a done with her. And when she saw this she knew well that it was a wicked spirit, and blessed her as she had done tofore, and he melted away like wax. And then by the sufferance of God she was vexed with axes and fevers. And the devil slew many men and beasts, and made to be said by them that were demoniacs that, a right great mortality should be throughout all Antioch, but if Justina would consent unto wedlock and have Cyprian. Wherefore all they that were sick and languishing in maladies lay at the gate of Justina's father and friends, crying that they should marry her and deliver the city of that right great peril. Justina then would not consent in no wise, and therefore everybody menaced her. And in the sixth year of that mortality she prayed for them, and chased and drove thence all that pestilence. And when the devil saw that he profited nothing, he transumed and transfigured him in the form of Justina for to defoul the fame of Justina, and in mocking Cyprian he advanced him that he had brought to him Justina. And came to him in likeness of her, and would have kissed him as if she had languished for his love. And when Cyprian saw him and supposed that it had been Justina, he was all replenished with joy, and said: Thou art welcome, Justina, the fairest of all women; and anon as Cyprian named Justina, the devil might not suffer the name, but as soon as he heard it he vanished away as a fume or smoke. And when Cyprian saw him deceived, he was all heavy and sorrowful, and was then more burning and desirous in the love of Justina, and woke long at the door of the virgin, and as him seemed he changed him sometimes into a bird by his art magic, and sometimes into a woman, but when he came to the door of the virgin he was neither like woman nor bird, but appeared Cyprian as he was. Acladius, by the devil's craft, was anon turned into a sparrow, and when he came to the window of Justina, as soon as the virgin beheld him, he was not a sparrow, but showed himself as Acladius, and began to have anguish and dread, for he might neither fly ne leap, and Justina dreading lest he should fall and break himself, did do set a ladder by which he went down, warning him to cease of his woodness, lest he should be punished as a malefactor by the law. Then the devil, being vanquished in all things, returned to Cyprian, and held him all confused tofore him, and Cyprian said to him: And how art not thou overcome, what unhappy is your virtue that ye may not overcome a maid, have ye no might over her, but she overcometh you and breaketh you all to pieces? Tell me, I pray thee, in whom she hath all this great might and strength. And the devil said: If thou wilt swear to me that thou wilt not depart from me ne forsake me, I shall show to thee her strength and her victory; to whom Cyprian said: By what oath shall I swear? And the devil said: Swear thou by my great virtues that thou shalt never depart from me. And Cyprian said: I swear to thee by thy great virtues that I shall never depart from thee. Then the devil said to him, weeping to be sure of him: This maid maketh the sign of the cross, and anon then we wax feeble and lose all our might and virtue, and flee from her, like as wax fleeth from the face of the fire. And Cyprian said then to him: The crucified God is then greater than thou? And the devil said: Yea, certainly he is greater than all others, and all them that we here deceive, he judgeth them to be tormented with fire inextinguishable. And Cyprian said: Then ought I to be made friend of him that was crucified, lest I fall hereafter into such pains. To whom the devil said: Thou hast sworn by the might and virtues of my strengths, the which no man may forswear, that thou shalt never depart from me. To whom Cyprian said: I despise thee, and forsake thee and all thy power, and renounce thee and all thy devils, and garnish and mark me with the sign of the cross, and anon the devil departed all confused.
Then Cyprian went to the bishop, and when the bishop saw him he weened that he were come to put the christian men in error, and said: Let it suffice unto thee, Cyprian, them that be without forth, for thou mayst nothing prevail against the church of God, for the virtue of Jesu Christ is joined thereto, and is not overcome. And Cyprian said: I am certain that the virtue of our Lord Jesu Christ is not overcome, and then he recounted all that was happened, and did him to be baptized of him. And after, he profited much, as well in science as in life. And when the bishop was dead, Cyprian was ordained bishop, and placed the blessed virgin Justina with many virgins in a monastery, and made her abbess over many holy virgins. S. Cyprian sent then epistles to martyrs and comforted them in their martyrdom.
The earl of that country heard of the fame and renomee of Cyprian and Justina, and he made them to be presented tofore him and demanded them if they would do sacrifice. And when he saw that they abode steadfastly in the faith of Jesu Christ, he commanded that he should be put in a caldron full of wax, pitch, and grease, burning and boiling. And all this gave to them marvellous refreshing, and did to them no grief ne pain. And the priest of the idols said to the provost of that place: Command me, sire, to stand and to be tofore the caldron, and I shall anon overcome all their virtue. And then he came tofore the caldron and said: Great is the god Hercules, and Jupiter the father of gods. And anon the great fire issued from under the caldron and anon consumed and burnt him. Then Cyprian and Justina were taken out of the caldron and sentence was given against them, and they were both beheaded together. And their bodies were thrown to hounds and were there seven days, and after they were taken up and translated to Rome, and as it is said, now they rest at Placentia. And they suffered death in the seventh calends of October, about the year of our Lord two hundred and eighty, under Diocletian.
Here follow the Lives of SS. Cosmo and Damian, and first of their names.
Cosmo is said of cosmos, which is to say a form, shape, or ornation. Or, after Isidore, cosmos in Greek is said clean in Latin. He was a form to others in example, he was ornate in good virtues, and clean from all vices. Damian is said of dama, which is a beast humble and meek. Or damianus is said of dogma, which is doctrine, and ana, that is above, or of damum, that is sacrifice. Or Damianus is said as it were the hand of our Lord. He had meekness in conversation, supernal doctrine in predication, his sacrifice was in mortification of his flesh, and he was the hand of our Lord in medicinal curation and healing.
Of the Saints Cosmo and Damian.
Cosmo and Damian were brethren germane, that is of one father and of one mother, and were of the city Egea, and born of a religious mother named Theodora. They were learned in the art of medicine, and of leechcraft, and received so great grace of God that they healed all maladies and languors, not only of men but also cured and healed beasts. And did all for the love of God without taking of any reward. There was a lady which had spent all her goods in medicines, and came to these saints, and anon was healed of her sickness, and then she offered a little gift to S. Damian, but he would not receive it. And she sware and conjured him by horrible oaths that he granted to receive it, and not for covetise of the gift, but for to obey to the devotion of her that offered it, and that he would not be seen to despise the name of our Lord of which he had been conjured. And when S. Cosmo knew it, he commanded that his body should not be laid after his death with his brother's. And the night following our Lord appeared to S. Cosmo and excused his brother. And when Lysias heard their renomee he made them to be called tofore him, and demanded their names and their country. And then the holy martyrs said: Our names be Cosmo and Damian, and we have three other brethren which be named Antimas, Leontius, and Euprepius, our country is Arabia, but christian men know not fortune. Then the proconsul or judge commanded them that they should bring forth their brethren, and that they should all together do sacrifice to the idols. And when in no wise they would do sacrifice, but despised the idols, he commanded they should be sore tormented in the hands and feet. And when they despised his torments, he commanded them to be bound with a chain and thrown into the sea, but they were anon delivered by the angel of our Lord, and taken out of the sea, and came again tofore the judge. And when the judge saw them, he said: Ye overcome our great gods by your enchantments; ye despise the torments and make the sea peaceable. Teach ye me your witchcraft, and in the name of the god Adrian, I shall follow you. And anon as he had said this two devils came and beat him greatly in the visage, and he crying said: O ye good men, I pray you that ye pray for me to our Lord, and they then prayed for him and anon the devils departed. Then the judge said: Lo! ye may see how the gods had indignation against me, because I thought to have forsaken them, but I shall not suffer my gods to be blasphemed. And then he commanded them to be cast into a great fire, but anon the flame sprang far from them and slew many of them that stood by. And then they were commanded to be put on a torment named eculee, but they were kept by the angel of our Lord, and the tormentors tormented them above all men, and yet were they taken off without hurt or grief, and so came all whole tofore the judge. Then the judge commanded the three to be put in prison, and made Cosmo and Damian to be crucified, and to be stoned of the people, but the stones returned to them that threw them, and hurt and wounded many of them. Then the judge, replenished with woodness, made the three brethren to stand by the cross, and commanded that four knights should shoot arrows to Cosmo and Damian, but the arrows returned and hurt many, and did no harm to the martyrs. And when the judge saw that, he was confused in all things, he was anguishous unto the death, and did do behead all five brethren together.
Then the christian men doubted of the word that S. Cosmo had said, that his brother should not be buried with him, and as they thought thereon there came a voice which cried and said: They be all of one substance, bury them all together in one place. And they suffered death under Diocletian about the year of our Lord two hundred and eighty-seven.
It happened that a husbandman after that he had laboured in the field about reaping of his corn, he slept with open mouth in the field, and a serpent entered by his mouth into his body. Then he awoke and felt nothing, and after returned into his house. And at even he began to be tormented and cried piteously, and called unto his help the holy saints of God, Cosmo and Damian, and when the pain and anguish increased he went to the church of the saints, and fell suddenly asleep, and then the serpent issued out of his mouth like as it had entered.
There was a man that should have gone a long voyage, and recommended his wife to Cosmo and Damian, and left a token with her that, if he sent for her by that token she should come to him. And the devil knew well the token, and transfigured himself in the form of a man, and brought to the woman the sign of her husband and said: Thine husband hath sent me from that city to thee for to lead thee to him. And yet she doubted for to go with him and said: I know well the token, but because he left me in the keeping of the saints Cosmo and Damian, swear to me upon their altar that thou shalt bring me to him surely, and then I shall go with thee, and he sware like as she had said. Then she followed him. And when she came in a secret place the devil would have thrown her down off her horse for to have slain her. And when she felt that, she cried to God and to the saints Cosmo and Damian for help, and anon these saints were there with a great multitude clothed in white, and delivered her, and the devil vanished away. And they said to her: We be Cosmo and Damian, to whose oath thou believedest, therefore we have hied us to come to thine help.
Felix, the eighth pope after S. Gregory, did do make a noble church at Rome of the saints Cosmo and Damian, and there was a man which served devoutly the holy martyrs in that church, who a canker had consumed all his thigh. And as he slept, the holy martyrs Cosmo and Damian, appeared to him their devout servant, bringing with them an instrument and ointment of whom that one said to that other: Where shall we have flesh when we have cut away the rotten flesh to fill the void place? Then that other said to him: There is an Ethiopian that this day is buried in the churchyard of S. Peter ad Vincula, which is yet fresh, let us bear this thither, and take we out of that morian's flesh and fill this place withal. And so they fetched the thigh of the sick man and so changed that one for that other. And when the sick man awoke and felt no pain, he put forth his hand and felt his leg without hurt, and then took a candle, and saw well that it was not his thigh, but that it was another. And when he was well come to himself, he sprang out of his bed for joy, and recounted to all the people how it was happed to him, and that which he had seen in his sleep, and how he was healed. And they sent hastily to the tomb of the dead man, and found the thigh of him cut off, and that other thigh in the tomb instead of his. Then let us pray unto these holy martyrs to be our succour and help in all our hurts, blechures and sores, and that by their merits after this life we may come to everlasting bliss in heaven. Amen.
Here followeth of S. Forsey, and first of his name.
Forsey is said of forma, that is the rule of vertu to others by example. Or he may be said Forsey, like as sitting out of paradise as long as the battle of angels and of devils dured for him. Or he is said of tors, which is clarte, and of sedio sedis to sit, for he sitteth in the clearness perdurable.
Of S. Forsey.
Forsey was a bishop, and Bede writeth the history of him. And like as he shone in all bounty and virtue, so at his last end he yielded up his spirit. And when he passed, he saw two angels coming to him which bare his soul up to heaven; and the third angel came with a white shield shining, and he went before. And after that he saw devils crying, and heard how they said: Let us go tofore and make a battle tofore him. And when they were gone tofore him they returned against him, and threw to him burning darts, but the angel that went before received them with his shield. And then the devils set them against the angels, and said that he had always said idle words, and therefore he ought not without pain use the blessed life. And the angel said to them: If ye purpose not against him the principal vices, he shall not perish for the small. And then the devil said: If God be righteous this man shall not be saved, for it is written: If ye be not converted and made like as one of my little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. To whom the angel, excusing him, said. He had indulgence in his heart, but he obtained the custom and usage. And the devil said: Like as he hath taken evil custom, so let him receive vengeance by the sovereign judge. And the holy angel said: We shall be judged tofore God. Then the devil was still; yet he arose again, and said: Unto now we trowed that God had been true, for all those sins that be not purged in earth, he promised that they should everlastingly be punished. This man received a vesture of a usurer and was not thereof punished, where is then the righteousness of God? To whom the angel said: Hold your peace, for ye know not the secret judgments of God. As long as a man hopeth to do his penance, so long the mercy of God is ready to the man. The devil answered: Here is no place of penance. To whom the angel said: Ye know not the profoundness of the judgments of God. Then the devil smote him so grievously that, after, when he was re-established to life, the token and trace of the stroke abode ever after. Then the devils took one that was tormented in the fire and threw him on Forsey so that he burnt his shoulder, and then Forsey saw well that it was the usurer of whom he had received the vestment. And the angel said to him: Because thou receivedst it, he hath burnt thee, if thou hadst not received the gift of him that is dead in sins, this pain should not have burnt thee, and thou hast this pain of burning because thou receivedst of the vestment of him. And that other devil then said: Yet must he pass by the strait gate whereas we may surmount and overcome him. And said to the angel. God commanded to love his neighbour as himself. And the angel said: This man hath done good works to his neighbours. And the adversary said: It sufficeth not but if he hath loved them as himself. To whom the angel said. The fruit of love is to do well, for God shall reward ever man after his works. And the enemy said: Because he hath not fulfilled the words of love he shall be damned. Then the devils fighting were overcome of the angels, and yet the devil said: If God be not wicked, this man shall not escape without pain, for he promised to renounce and forsake the world, and he hath not done it. Then the angel answered: He loved not those things that be of the world, but he loved well to dispend them unto them that had need. And the devil answered: In whatsomever manner he loved them it was against the commandment of God. And these adversaries thus vanquished, yet the devil began again malicious accusations, saying: It is written: If thou show not to the wicked man his wickedness, I shall require his blood of thine hand and this man hath not showed worthily penance to the sinners. And the angel said. When the sinners despise the word that they hear, then the tongue of the doctor is letted to speak. When he seeth that his predication is heard and despised, then it appertaineth well to a wise man to be still, when it is no time to speak. And this battle was right strong, so much that they came tofore the angel of God, and that the good had overcome the adversaries. Then this holy man was environed with great clearness, and as Bede saith one of the angels said to him: Behold the world. Then he turned him, and saw a valley dark and tenebrous, and four fires in the air above, which were far that one from that other. And the angel said to him: These be four fires that burn, that one is the fire of leasings, for in baptism all promise to renounce the devil and all his works, and they accomplish it not. The second is of covetise, that is when the richesse of the world is set tofore heavenly things. The third is of dissension, that is when men dare not offend their neighbours for villainous and vicious things. The fourth is of wickedness and felony, when they despoil them that be feeble and poor, by fraud and deceit, as by extortion and tyranny for nought. And after, these fires assembled together in one, and he approached to it and doubted and was afeard, and said to the angel: Sir, this fire approacheth to me. And the angel answered: This that thou hast not set afire shall not burn thee, for this fire here examineth the people after their merits, and like as the bodies burn by will not convenable, right so burneth the fire by pain due. And at the last the soul was brought again to his proper body, and his neighbours wept, which had supposed that he had been dead. And after this he lived a certain time, and finished his life laudably in good works.
Here followeth the feast of S. Michael the archangel, and first the exposition of his name.
Michael is expounded sometimes as God. And oft-times, as S. Gregory saith, when a thing of marvellous virtue is done, Michael is sent forth, so that he, by the deed and the name, be given to understand that none may do that God may do, and therefore be attributed to him many things of marvellous virtue. For like as Daniel witnesseth, he shall arise and address in the time of Antichrist against him, and shall stand as a defender and keeper for them that be chosen. He also fought with the dragon and his angels, and casting them out of heaven, had a great victory. He also had a great plea and altercation with the devil for the body of Moses, because he would not show it; for the children of Israel should have adored and worshipped it. He received the souls of saints and brought them into the paradise of exultation and joy. He was prince of the synagogue of the Jews, but now he is established of our Lord, prince of the church of Jesu Christ. And as it is said, he made the plagues of Egypt, he departed and divided the Red Sea, he led the people of Israel by the desert and set them in the land of promission, he is had among the company of holy angels as bannerer, and bearing the sign of our Lord, he shall slay by the commandment of God, right puissantly, Antichrist that shall be in the Mount of Olivet. And dead men shall arise at the voice of this same archangel. And he shall show at the day of judgment the cross, the spear, the nails and the crown of thorns of Jesu Christ.
Of S. Michael.
The holy solemnity of S. Michael is said, appearing, dedication, victory and memory. The apparition of this angel is manifold. The first is when he appeared in the Mount of Gargan. This mountain is in Naples, which is named Gargan and is by the city named Syponte. And in the year of our Lord three hundred and ninety, was in the same city of Syponte a man which was named Garganus, which, after some books, had taken that name of the mountain, or else the mountain took the name of the man. And he was right rich, and had a great multitude of sheep and beasts, and as they pastured about the sides of the mountains it happed that a bull left the other beasts, and went upon high on the mountain and returned not home again with the other beasts. Then this rich man, the owner, took a great multitude of servants, and did do seek this bull all about, and at the last he was founden on high on the mountain by the entry of a hole or a cave. And then the master was wroth because he had strayed alone from other beasts, and made one of his servants to shoot an arrow at him. And anon the arrow returned with the wind and smote him that had shot it, wherewith they of the city were troubled with this thing, and went to the bishop and inquired of him what was to be done in this thing, that was so wonderful. And then he commanded them to fast three days and to pray unto God. And when this was done S. Michael appeared to the bishop, saying: Know ye that this man is so hurt by my will. I am Michael the archangel, which will that this place be worshipped in earth, and will have it surely kept. And therefore I have proved that I am keeper of this place by the demonstrance and showing of this thing. And then anon the bishop and they of the city went with procession unto that place, and durst not enter into it, but made their prayers withoutforth.
The second apparition was in the year of our Lord seven hundred and ten, in a place which was named Tumba, by the seaside, six miles from the city of Apricens. S. Michael appeared to the bishop of that city and commanded him to do make a church in the foresaid place, like as it was made in the mount of Gargan, and in like wise should hallow the memory of S. Michael there. And the bishop doubted in what place it should be made. And S. Michael said to him in the place where he should find a bull hid of thieves. And yet he doubted of the largeness of the place, and S. Michael appeared to him, and said that he should make it of the brede that he should find that the bull had trodden and traced with his feet. And there were two rocks which no man's power might remove. Then S. Michael appeared to a man and commanded him that he should go to that same place and take away the two rocks. And when he came, he removed the two rocks as lightly as they had weighed nothing. And when the church was edified there, Michael set a piece of stone of marble there, upon which he stood, and a part of the pall that he had laid on the altar of that other church he brought thither to this church. And because they had great penury and need of water, they made, by the admonishment of the angel, a hole in a stone of marble, and anon there flowed out so much water that unto this day they be sustained by the benefit thereof. And this apparition is solemnly hallowed the seventeenth kalends of November in that place.
And there happed in the same place a miracle worthy to be put in remembrance. This mountain is environed about with the sea-ocean, but on S. Michael's day it avoideth twice and giveth way to the people. And as a great company of people went to the church, it happed that a woman great with child, nigh her time of deliverance, was in the company, and when they returned, the waves and water came with great force, so that the company for dread fled to the rivage. And the woman great with child might not flee, but was taken and wrapped in the floods of the sea, but S. Michael kept the wife all whole, and she was delivered and childed among the waves in the middle of the sea. And she took the child between her arms and gave it suck, and after, when the sea was withdrawn, she went a-land all whole with her child.
The third apparition happed in the time of Gregory the pope. For when the said pope had established the litanies for the pestilence that was that time, and prayed devoutly for the people, he saw upon the castle which was said sometime: The memory of Adrian, the angel of God, which wiped and made clean a bloody sword, and put it into a sheath. And thereby he understood that his prayers were heard. Then he did do make there a church in the honour of S. Michael, and that castle is yet named the Castle Angel. And yet another apparition was in the Mount of Gargan when he appeared and gave victory to them of Syponte, which is hallowed the eighth ides of July.
The fourth apparition is that which is in the Gerarchy of the same angels. For the first apparition is said Epiphany, that is, the apparition of sovereigns, the second is said Hyperphania, that is, the mean apparition, and that other is said Hypophania, that is, the most low apparition. And Gerarchia is said of gerar, that is, holy, and of archos, that is, a prince, and so Gerarchia is to say a holy principate, and every Gerarchia containeth three orders of angels. For the sovereign Gerarchia after the assignation of S. Denis containeth Cherubim, Seraphim, and the thrones: the middle containeth the dominations, the virtues, and the potestates; and the last containeth the principates, angels, and archangels. And the ordinance and disposition of them may be seen by semblable and like in earthly principates. For of the ministers that be about a king, some work immediately about the person of the king, as cubiculers, counsellors, and the assistants, and they be like unto the order of the first Gerarchia. Some there be that have the rule of the realm, some in one province, some in another, as be lieutenants, captains of chivalry, and judges, and they be like unto the second Gerarchia. And others be assigned to particular offices in the divers parts of the realm, as mayors, sheriffs, bailiffs, and such other less offices, and these be like to the orders of the third Gerarchia. The three orders of the first Gerarchia be taken inasmuch as they assist God and be converted to him. And thereto be three things necessary, that is to wit, sovereign love, and that is as touching the order of seraphim, which be said fiery; perfect knowledge, that is touching cherubim, which is as much to say as plenitude of science and perpetual fruition or usance; as touching the thrones which be said sitting, for God sitteth and resteth in them. The three orders of the middle Gerarchia be taken and had inasmuch as they dominate and govern the university of people in common. This seigniory and this governing is in three things: the first in seigniory and commanding, and that appertaineth to the order of domination, which seignioreth above others that be lower, and addresseth them in all the ministries divine, and commandeth to them all things. And that saith Zechariah, in the fifth chapter, that one angel saith to another: Run and speak to the child. Secondly, in doing, and this appertaineth to the order of virtues. To whom nothing ne is impossible to execute which that is commanded to them, for to them is given power to do all things difficult which be pertaining to divine mystery, and therefore it is attributed to them to do miracles. Thirdly, in constraining, for to constrain the impediments and destourbles, and this appertaineth to the order of the potestates. And this is signified in Tobit, where Raphael bound the devil in the overest desert. The three orders of the last Gerarchia be taken after that they have government and limited. Some of them seigniory and govern in one province, and that be they of the order of the principates, like as the prince of Persia seignioreth upon the Persians, like as it is read in Daniel in the tenth chapter. And some be deputed to the governance of a multitude of a city, and they be said archangels, and the other be committed to the governance of one person, and they be said angels, and be said to show the small things and little, because that their service and ministry is limited unto one man. Archangels be said more and greater, for the weal of a multitude is better and more worthy than the weal of one man. In the assignation of the orders of the first Gerarchia, Gregory accordeth with Dionysius, and Bernard also, which is taken about their fruition, which is in burning love as touching to Seraphim, in profound cognition as to Cherubim, and in perpetual retention as touching the thrones. But they discord in the assignation of the middle and last two orders, that is, principates and virtues. Gregory and Bernard have another consideration, that is to wit. that the middle Gerarchia is in his seigniory or prelacy, and the last is taken in his pity or ministration. The prelacy in angels is treble. For angels dominate over spirits angelic, and they be said dominations, and they dominate also over good works, and they be said principates, and they dominate over devils, and they be said potestates, and the order and the degrees of their dignity appeareth in these things. The ministry of them is threefold. Some standeth in working, some in teaching, and in teaching, some more and some less. The first appertaineth to virtues, the second to archangels, and the third to angels. The fifth apparition is it which is read in the History Tripartite. There is a place beside Constantinople whereas sometime the goddess Vesta was worshipped, but now there is builded a church in the honour of S. Michael, and is named Michael's place. There a man that was named Aquiline was taken with a right great fever, moved of red colour, and the physicians gave to him, so burning in an ague, a drink, which anon he vomited out at his mouth, and what he ate or drank always he vomited and casted out, so that he was nigh dead, and did him to be borne to that place, and supposed well there to be soon dead or healed. And then S. Michael appeared to him and said to him that he should make a confection of honey and wine and pepper, and whatsomever he ate he should wet therein, and so should he have plein health. Which thing he did, and anon he was delivered from his malady, how well that after the judgment of the physicians that drink or medicine was contrary to them that be choleric. This is had in the History Tripartite.
Secondly, this solemnity of S. Michael is said victory, and the victory of S. Michael is manifold. And also of other angels, the first is that S. Michael gave to them of Syponte in this manner. After a certain time that the place was found, they of Naples were yet paynims, and ordained their host for to fight against them of Syponte and Benevento. And by the counsel of the bishop, the christian men took truce for three days that they might fast those three days and require their patron S. Michael unto their aid and help. In the third night the holy S. Michael appeared to the said bishop and said that their prayers were heard, and promised them to have victory, and commanded them to run on their enemies at the fourth hour of the day without more tarrying. And when they ran against them the mountain of Gargan began strongly to tremble and a great tempest arose, so that lightning flew about and a dark cloud covered the mountain, so that six hundred of their adversaries died of the fiery arrows which came from the air. And all the residue of them, that were not slain, left their idolatry and submitted them anon to the christian faith. The second victory of S. Michael was when he put out of heaven the dragon Lucifer with all his followers. Of which is said in the Apocalypse: Factum est prelium magnum, Apocalypsis duodecimo. For when Lucifer coveted to be like to God, the archangel which bare the banner of the celestial host, came and chased Lucifer out of heaven with all them that followed him, and hath inclosed them in dark air unto the day of doom. For they be not suffered to dwell in heaven, neither in the upper part of the air, because that place is clear and delectable, ne yet to be in earth with us, to the end that they should not overmuch tempt ne torment us. But they be in the air between heaven and earth, so that when they look upward they may behold the joy that they have lost, and have thereof great sorrow, and when they look downward they may see the men mount up to heaven from whence they fell. Notwithstanding, by the divine dispensation they descend oft unto us in earth, as like it hath been showed to some holy men. They fly about us as flies, they be innumerable, and like flies they fill the air without number. Whereof saith Haymo: As the philosophers said, and doctors have opinion, this air is also full of devils and of wicked spirits as the sunbeams be full of small motes, which is small dust or powder. And how well that they be so many, nevertheless after the sentence of Origen, their power ne strength is but right little, and that we may overcome them here. And if any of them be overcome of any holy man, he may never after tempt a man of that vice of which he is overcome. The third victory is that angels have every day of the devils when they fight for us against them, and deliver us from their temptations. And they deliver us in three manners. First, in refraining the power of the devil, like as it is said (Apocalypsis vicesimo), of the angel that bound the devil and sent him into abysm, that is the pit of hell; and Tobit, which saith that the angel Raphael bound the devil in the outerest desert. And this binding is none other thing but the refraining of his puissance and might. Secondly, he delivereth us in refraining our covetise, the which thing is in Genesis xxxii. chap.: there where he saith that, the angel took the sinew of Jacob, and anon it dried up. Thirdly, in impressing in our hearts the memory of the passion of our Lord, this is signified Apocalypsis vii., where it is said: Ne will ye not grieve ne noye in the earth ne in the sea, ne the trees, till we have marked them. Ezechiel saith: The sign of Thau be in the foreheads of the people. Thau is made like a headless cross, and they that be marked therewith dread not the angel smiting, whereof is said: Upon whom ye see Thau, slay them not. The fourth victory is that the archangel Michael shall have of Antichrist when he shall slay him. Then Michael, the great prince, shall arise, as it is said Danielis xii.: He shall arise for them that be chosen as a helper and a protector, and shall strongly stand against Antichrist. And after, as the gloss saith: Antichrist shall feign him to be dead, and shall hide him three days, and after, he shall appear saying that he is risen from death to life, and the devils shall bear him by art magic, and shall mount up into the air, and all the people shall marvel and worship him. And at the last he shall mount up on the Mount of Olivet, and when he shall be in a pavilion, in his siege, entered into that place where our Lord ascended, Michael shall come and shall slay him. Of which victory is understood, after S. Gregory, that which is said in the Apocalypse. The battle is made in heaven. This word of the treble battle in heaven is expounded of the battle that he had with Lucifer when he expulsed him out of heaven, and of the battle that he had with the devils that torment us. And of this last solemnity is said dedication, because on this day the said place in the Mount Gargan was dedicate and hallowed of him by revelation. For when they of Syponte were returned from the occision of their adversaries, and had so noble victory, yet doubted they to enter into the said place and hallow it to the archangel. Then the bishop went and asked counsel of Pope Pelagius, and he answered: If the church ought to be dedicated, that ought to be on that day that the victory was done, and if it please otherwise to S. Michael, men ought to require his will thereof. And then the pope, the bishop, and the men of the city, fasted three days, and S. Michael appeared to the bishop and said: It is no need to you to dedicate and hallow that I have hallowed, and commanded that he should enter into that place the next day with the people, and should frequent it with prayers, and they should feel that he should be a special patron to them. And he gave to them a sign of consecration, that was that they should go up thereto by a postern towards the east, and they should find there the steps of a man impressed in a marble stone. Then the bishop on the morn, and much great people, came to the place and entered in, and found a great cave and three altars of which two were set toward the south, and the third toward the east much honourably, and was covered all about with a red mantle. And when the solemnities of the masses were done, and the people had taken holy communion, all returned to their proper places, and the bishop left there priests and clerks for to sing and say goodly the divine office. And within the said church sourdeth clear water and sweet, which the common people drinketh and be healed thereby of many diverse maladies. And when the pope heard these things he established to hallow this day in the honour of S. Michael and of all the holy angels, and to be kept holy through all the world. Fourthly, this solemnity is said the Memory of S. Michael, how well that we all solemnise this feast in the honour of all the archangels of our Lord. We do the memory and the honours generally, and it appertaineth, and is behoveful to us, to give to them laud, praising, and honour, by manifold reasons expert, that is to wit, for they be our keepers, our ministers, our brethren, our neighbours, the bearers of our souls into heaven, and representers of our prayers unto God, right noble knights of the king of heaven, and perdurable comforters of them that be in heaviness and tribulations. And first we ought to honour them for they be our keepers, wherefore we ought to worship them. To every man be given two angels, one evil, or to stir him to ill, and one good, to keep him. The good angels be deputed to the keeping of men in their birth, and after the nativity also, and be always with them when they be full grown. And in these three estates is an angel necessary to a man. For when he is yet little in the womb he may be dead and be damned. When he is out of the womb before he be grown, he may be let from baptism, and when he is grown he may be drawn to divers sins. The devil deceiveth them that be grown, by fallacy and by hearkening, he flattereth them by delices and blandishes, and oppresseth virtue by violence. Therefore it is need that a good angel be deputed to the keeping of a man to the end that he address and induce man against the fallacy, that he exhort, and summon him to do good against fiattering and blandishes, and that he defend him from oppression against violence. And the profit of the keeping of the angel to a man may be assigned in four manners. The first, that the soul may profit in the weal and good of grace, and this doth the angel to the soul in three manners. And the first is in to removing all letting to do well and good, and that is signified in Exodi duodecimo, where the angel smote all the first begotten of Egypt Secondly, in awaking or exciting from sloth and that is signified Zacharię quarto: The angel of the Lord hath aroused me as a man that is waked out of his sleep. Thirdly, in leading a man in the way of penance and bringing again and this is signified in Tobit, in the fifth chapter in the angel that led him and brought him again. The second profit that the angel doth, is that he fall not into sin, and this doth the angel in three manners. First, in letting the evil to be done that it be not done, and this is signified in the book of Numbers in the twenty-second chapter. For Balaam, which went for to curse Israel, was let of the angel. Secondly, in blaming the sin past, that man depart from it, and that is signified in the book of Judges in the second chapter, how the angels blamed the children of Israel for breaking of the law, wherefor they wept. Thirdly in bringing strength for to take away the sin present, and this is signified in Lot, when he was led out by force, he, his wife, and his daughters from the city of Sodom, that is to wit, from the customance of sin. The third effect and profit is that if he fall, that he arise anon again, and this doth the angel in three manners. First, in moving a man to contrition, and this is signified in Tobit, in the twelfth chapter, where, as he taught Tobias to anoint the eyes of his father with gall, that is to understand, contrition of the heart anointeth the eyes of the heart. Secondly, in purging lips by confession, and that this is signified in Isaiah, the fifth chapter, where the angel purged the lips of Isaiah. Thirdly, in enjoying to satisfaction, and that is signified in Luke, fifteenth chapter, that saith that greater joy is in heaven of a sinner doing penance than of ninety-nine rightful men which need no penance. The fourth profit is that man fall not so oft into sin as the devil inciteth him thereto, and this doth he in three manners, that is to wit, in refraining the puissance and might of the devil, in affeebling the covetise and desire of sin, and in imprinting in our minds the passion of our Lord Jesu Christ, of which things it is said tofore. We ought to honour them, secondly, for they be our administrators, like as the apostle saith, ad Hebreos x. They be spirits of administration, all spirits be sent for us. The superiors be sent to the moyens, the moyens be sent to the lowest, and the lowest be sent to us, and this sending cometh of the divine bounty. And in this sending appeareth how much the divine bounty appertaineth to the love of our health. Secondly, of the charity of the angel; for this sending appertaineth that it be of ardent charity specially to desire the health of others, wherefore Isaiah saith: Lo! I am here Lord, send me forth. And the angels may help us because they see that we have need of them, and may well overcome the evil spirits and angels, and therefore the law of charity angelic requireth that they be sent to us. Thirdly, this sending is needful to the need of man, for they be sent to inflame our affection to love, wherefore, in sign hereof, it is read that they were sent in a fiery chair. Secondly, they be sent to enlumine to understanding unto knowledge, and this is signified Apocalypsis x. in the angel which had a book open in his hand. Thirdly, they be sent for to strengthen in us all our perfection unto the end, and that is signified I Regum xix., where the angel brought to Elijah a loaf of bread baked under ashes and a vessel of water, and he ate and walked in the strength of that meat unto the mount of God, Oreb. Thirdly, they ought to be honoured for they be our brethren and our neighbours, for all they that be chosen be taken to the orders of angels, the some unto the overeat, and some to the lowest, and some to the middle, for the diversity of their merits. And howbeit that the Blessed Virgin be above all, like as S. Gregory showeth in his homily. For he saith: There be some that take the small things, but yet they leave not to show it to the brethren, and they run in the number of angels. And there be they that may take the sovereignties of the secrets celestial and show it to others, and these be the archangels celestial. And these be the archangels, and be they that make marvellous signs and works puissantly, and these be they that with virtues work. And some there be that chase away the wicked spirits by the virtue of prayer and by strength of their power received of God, and these have their merits with the potestates. And there be some that by their virtues mount above the merits of them that be chosen, and dominate over the brethren, and sort their merit with the principates. And there be some that overcome and dominate over all vices in themselves, and they by right be called of the world, gods among men. Like as God said to Moses: Lo! I have established the god of Pharaoh, and these be with the dominations. And there be some that sit in the thrones like presidents and examine the works and deeds of others, by whom when holy church is governed, all they that be chosen be judged, and these be with the thrones, and be they that with the charity and love of God and their neighbour before others be full, and these by their merits have taken their sort in the number of cherubim, for cherubim is said the plenitude of science, and as Paul saith, the plenitude of the law is love and charity. And these be they that, embraced in the burning love of supernal contemplation, wish only to be in the desire of their maker. They desire nothing of this world, but only be fed in the love of the Lord perdurable, they eschew all earthly things, and overpass by thought all temporal things. They love, they burn, and rest in that burning love, they burn in loving and be inflamed in speaking, and all that ever they touch in any manner by word, they make them anon to burn in the love of God. And where shall these take their sort but among the number of Seraphim? Hęc Gregorius; this saith S. Gregory. Fourthly, they ought to be honoured because that they be bearers of our souls into Paradise, and this do they in three manners. The first, in making ready the way, as Malachi saith in the third chapter: Lo! here I send mine angel which shall make ready thy way tofore thy face. Secondly, in bearing them to heaven by the way made ready, like as it is said in Exodus the four and twentieth chapter: I send to thee mine angel which shall keep thee in thy way, and shall bring thee to the land which I have promised to thy fathers. Thirdly, in setting them in heaven, and hereof saith Luke, cap. xvi. It was done when the beggar died, his soul was borne of angels into Abraham's bosom. Fifthly, they ought to be honoured because they be representers of our souls tofore God, and this representation is in three manners. First, they represent our prayers tofore God, and this saith Tobit the xii. chapter. When thou prayedest with tears and buryedest the dead men, I offered thy prayer to our Lord. Secondly, they allege for us tofore our Lord, and hereof saith Job the xxxiii. chapter. If there were an angel speaking for him and said one of a thousand, that he show the equity of the man, our Lord should have mercy and pity on him. Also Zechariah primo. And the angel of our Lord answered and said: O Lord of all strengths, shalt not thou have pity of Jerusalem and of the cities of Judah to whom thou art wroth? This is the seventieth year. Thirdly, they show the sentence of God, as it is said in Daniel that the angel Gabriel flying said: Sith the beginning of the prayers the word issued out, that is to wit, the sentence of God, and I am come for to show it to thee, for thou art a man of desires. Of these three things saith Bernard upon the Canticles. The angel seeketh moyen between the love and the lover in offering the desires and bringing gifts, and moveth her and pleaseth him. Sixthly, they ought to be honoured, for they be the right noble knights of the king perdurable, after that Job saith in the twenty-fifth chapter: Is not this the noble number of his knights? For as we see in the knights of some king, that some of them dwell always in the hall of the king, and accompany the king, and sing honour and solace to the king, and some others keep the cities and castles of the king, and others fight against the enemies of the king, thus is it of the knights of Christ. Some be in the hall royal, that is to say in the heaven imperial, and accompany always the king of kings, and sing always songs and gladness to his honour and glory, saying: Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, blessing, and clearness, and wisdom. And the others keep the cities, the towns, the castles, and the faubourgs, they be deputed to the keeping of us, keeping the state of virgins, of continents, of married people, and the castles of religion, whereof Isaiah saith: Upon the walls of Jerusalem I have established keepers. Others there be that fight and vanquish the enemies of God, of whom it is said in the Apocalypse: There is a battle made in heaven, that is, after some exposition in the church militant, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon. The seventh and the last they ought to be honoured, because they be comforters of them that be in tribulation, and hereof saith Zechariah in the first chapter: The angel that spake to me good words were words of comfort. And this do they in three manners. First, in comforting and strengthening, Danielis decimo. For whereas Daniel fell, the angel of our Lord touched him and said: Be not afeard ne dread thee nothing, peace be to thee, comfort thyself and be boystous. Secondly, in keeping from impatience, and this saith David: He hath commanded his angels to keep thee in all thy ways. Thirdly, in refreshing and lessing that tribulation, and that is signified in Daniel, the third chapter, there whereas the angel of our Lord descended in the furnace with three children, and made the middle of the furnace as it had been a wind blowing with a soft dew. By these ensamples we may understand that we ought to give honour to the holy company of angels, and to pray them to keep us in this wretched life from our enemies the devil, the world, and the flesh, that after, when we shall depart, they present our souls unto Almighty God in heaven, there to dwell and
abide sempiternally with them, quod ipse prestatur,
qui sine fine vivit et regnat in secula seculorum. Amen.
Here followeth the Life of Jerome, and first of his name.
Jeronimus is said of gerar, that is holy, and of nemus, that is to say a wood. And so Jerome is as much to say as a holy wood. Or it is said of norma, that is to say law, whereof is said in his legend that Jerome is interpreted a holy law. He was farforth holy, that is to say firm or clean or dyed of blood, or deputed to holy usage, like as vessels of the temple be said holy for they be ordained to holy usage. He was holy, that is to say steadfast, in holy work by long perseverance, he was clean in mind by purity, he was dyed in blood by thinking of the passion of our Lord Jesu Christ, he was deputed to holy usage by the exposition of holy Scripture, he was said a holy wood by the conversation that he sometimes did and abode in the wood. And he was said law for the rules of his discipline which he taught to his monks, or because he expounded and interpreted the holy law and Scripture. Jerome also is interpreted the vision of beauty or judging words. There is beauty manifold. First is spiritual, which is in the soul. Second, moral, which is in honesty of manners. The third is intellectual, which is in the angels. The fourth is substantial, which is divine. The fifth is heavenly, which is in the country of saints. This five-fold beauty had S. Jerome in himself. For he had spiritual in diversity of virtues; the moral had he in the honesty of his life; he had intellectual in the excellence of purity; he had the substantial in burning charity; he had the celestial in the perdurable and excellent clearness or clarte. He judged the speeches and words, his own well examined in clearly pronouncing, the others being true in confirming, the false condemning and confusing, and the doubtful in expounding.
Of S. Jerome.
Jerome was the son of a noble man named Eusebius, born of the town Stridon, which is in the utter end of Dalmatia and of Pannonia. He, being yet a child, went to Rome and was there taught in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. He had for his teacher in grammar Donatus, in rhetoric Victorinus, the orator, and he was day and night occupied, and exercised himself in divine Scriptures, which he drew covetously, and after shed it out abundantly. And as he writeth in an epistle to Eustochius, that on a time as he read on a day Plato, and in the night Tully desirously, because that the book of the prophets pleased him not, he was about mid-Lent taken with a sudden and burning fever, that all his body was cold, in such wise that there was no vital heat save a little which he felt in his breast. And as the exequies for his death were making ready, he was suddenly brought to the judgment of God, and there he was demanded of what condition he was, and he answered boldly that he was a christian man. And the judge said: Thou liest, thou art a Ciceronian, and no christian man, whereas thy treasure is, there is thy heart. Then S. Jerome was still and said nothing, and anon then the judge commended that he should be sore beaten. Then he cried and said: Have mercy on me, Lord, have mercy on me. Then they that were assisting our Lord prayed him that he would forgive this young man his trespass. And he then began to swear and say: Lord, if ever I read or hear more secular books, I shall forsake thee. And with the words of this promise and oath he was let go, and anon he revived. And then he saw himself all bewept. And of the strokes of the beatings that he received tofore the throne of our Lord, the tokens of the strokes and lashes were seen on his shoulders right horrible and great. And from then forthon he became good, and read divine books with as great study as ever he had read the books of poetry and of paynims. And when he was nine-and-twenty years old he was ordained cardinal priest in the church of Rome. And when Liberius was dead all the people cried to have S. Jerome sovereign priest. And when he began to blame the jollity and lavish life of some clerks and monks, they had indignation and despite of him, and lay in a wait to hurt and slander him. And as John Beleth saith: They scorned and mocked him by the clothing of a woman. For on a night when he arose to matins, as he was accustomed, he found a woman's clothing Iying by his bed which his enemies had laid there. And he weeping that they had been his own, did them on, and so clothed came in to the church, and this did they that had envy at him because others should ween that he had a woman in his chamber. And when he saw that, he eschewed their woodness and went unto Gregory Nazianzen, bishop of Constantinople. And when he had learned of him the holy Scripture and holy letters, he went into desert, where, what, and how much he suffered for Christ's sake, he recounted to Eustochium, and said that when he was in that great desert and waste wilderness, which is so burnt by the sun that it gave to the monks a right dry habitacle, I supposed me then to be at Rome among the delices, and my members scalded, burnt, made dry and black like to the skin of a Morian or an Ethiopian, and I was always in tears and weepings. And when the very sleep came and oppressed me against which I oft repugned, then I laid my dried bones on the bare earth. Of meats and drink I speak not, for they that were sick used only cold water, and for to take any thing boiled or roasted, it was to them lechery. And yet nevertheless I was oft fellow unto scorpions and wild beasts, and yet the carols of maidens and the embracements of lechery grew in my cold body and in my flesh, wherefore I wept continually, and for to adaunt and subdue my proud flesh I rose at midnight all the week long, joining oft the night with the day, and I ceased not to beat my breast, praying our Lord to render to me the peaceable peace of my flesh. And I also doubted my proper cell as fearing my conceits and thoughts, wherefore I went and departed wroth, and revenging myself, passed alone through the sharp and thick deserts. And as our Lord is witness, after many weepings and tears, it seemed to me that I was among the company of angels, this during four years.
Then his penance thus done, he returned to the town of Bethlehem, where as a wise and a prudent beast he offered himself to abide by the crib of our Lord. And then his holy Bible, which with study he had translated, and other books he read, and led the day forth with fasting unto even. And there he assembled many disciples unto him for to Iabour there in his holy purpose, and abode there in the translation of holy Scripture fifty-five years and six months, and remained a pure virgin unto the end of his life. And how well that it be said in his legend that he was ever a virgin, yet nevertheless he wrote of himself to Palmatian: I bear virginity into heaven, not for that I have virginity, but for I marvel more that I have it not. Then at the last he being weary for to travail, lay down in his bed wherover hung a cord on a beam, whereon he laid and held his hands for to lift up himself that he might do the service of God as much as he might.
On a day towards even Jerome sat with his brethren for to hear the holy lesson, and a lion came halting suddenly in to the monastery, and when the brethren saw him, anon they fled, and Jerome came against him as he should come against his guest, and then the lion showed to him his foot being hurt. Then he called his brethren, and commanded them to wash his feet and diligently to seek and search for the wound. And that done, the plant of the foot of the lion was sore hurt and pricked with a thorn. Then this holy man put thereto diligent cure, and healed him, and he abode ever after as a tame beast with them. Then S. Jerome saw that God had sent him to them, not only for the health of his foot, but also for their profit, and joined to the lion an office, by the accord of his brethren, and that was that he should conduct and lead an ass to his pasture which brought home wood, and should keep him going and coming, and so he did. For he did that which he was commanded, and led the ass thus as a herdsman, and kept him wisely going and coming, and was to him a right sure keeper and defender, and always at the hour accustomed he and the ass came for to have their refection and for to make the ass to do the work accustomed.
On a time it happed that the ass was in his pasture, and the lion slept fast, and certain merchants passed by with camels and saw the ass alone, and stole him and led him away. And anon after, the lion awoke and when he found not his fellow, he ran groaning hither and thither, and when he saw that he could not find him he was much sorrowful and durst not come in, but abode at the gate of the church of the monastery, and was ashamed that he came without the ass. And when the brethren saw that he was come more late than he was wont, and without the ass, they supposed that by constraint of hunger he had eaten the ass, and would not give to him his portion accustomed, and said to him: Go and eat that other part of the ass that thou hast devoured, and fill thy gluttony. And because they doubted, and they would wit if he had so eaten, they went to the pastures of the town to see if they could have any demonstrance of the death of the ass, and they found nothing, and returned and told it to Jerome, and then he commanded them to enjoin him to do the office of the ass. Then they hewed down bushes and boughs and laid upon him, and he suffered it peaceably. And on a day when he had done his office, he went out to the fields and began to run hither and thither desiring to know what was done to his fellow, and saw from far merchants that came with camels charged and laden, and the ass going tofore them. It was the manner of that region that when the people went far with camels, they had an ass or a horse going tofore with a cord about his neck for to conduct the better the camels. And when the lion knew the ass, with a great roaring he ran on them so terribly that all the merchants fled, and he so feared the camels with beating the earth with his tail that, he constrained them to go straight unto the cell with all their charge and lading. And when the brethren saw this they told it to Jerome, and he said: Brethren, wash the feet of our guests and give them meat, abide ye the will of our Lord hereupon. And then the lion began to run joyously throughout all the monastery, as he was wont to do, and kneeled down to every brother and fawned them with his tail, like as he had demanded pardon of the trespass that he had done. And S. Jerome, which knew well what was to come, said to his brethren: Go and make ye ready all things necessary for guests that be coming to us. And as he thus said, there came to him a messenger, saying to him that there were guests at the gate that would speak with the abbot. And as soon as they were come they kneeled to the abbot, and required of him pardon. And he raised and made them to stand up goodly, and commanded them to take their own good, and not to take away other men's. And then they prayed the holy saint that he would take the half of their oil, and he refused it. And at the last he commanded to take a measure of oil, and then they promised that they should bring every year a measure of oil to that church, and their heirs after them.
It was anciently the custom that whosomever would might sing in the church, so that Theodosius the emperor, as John Beleth saith, required and prayed Damasus the pope that he would commit to some wise man of the church to ordain the office and ordinal of the church. And then he knew well that Jerome was a man that knew the languages of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, and in all science, and committed to him the said sovereign office. And then Jerome divided the psalter by ferias, and to every feria a nocturn proper be assigned, and established in the end of every psalm to be said: Gloria petri. And after, he ordained reasonably to be sung the epistles and gospels, and all other things appertaining, save the song which he sent from Bethlehem unto the pope. Which all was approved and ratified of him and of the cardinals for to be used perpetually and so confirmed.
After this, in the mouth of the spelunke or cave in which our Lord lay, he did do make his monument or sepulture. And when he had accomplished eighty-eight years and six months he was there buried. In what reverence S. Austin had him in, it appeareth in his epistles that he sent to him, in one of the which he wrote in this manner: To his right dear friend; most best beloved and most clean in observing and embracing of chastity, unto Jerome, Austin, etc. And in another place he writeth thus of him: S. Jerome, priest, learned in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, and in holy writings approved unto his last age, of whom the nobleness of his fair eloquence hath resplended from the east unto the west, like unto the clearness of the sun. Prosper saith also of him in his Chronicles: Jerome, priest, was in Bethlehem sometime, clear to all the world, of noble engine, and lived in translating and writing of holy Scripture, and with high and noble study served the universal church. He said also of himself to Albigen: I never enforced me so much from mine infancy as for to eschew a swelling courage and enhanced head, and calling against him the hate of God. And ever I have dreaded the sure things, and have entended with all my heart to the monastery and to hospitality and have received gladly all comers save heretics, and have washed their feet. Isidore saith thus in the book of Etymology: Jerome was wise in three languages, whose interpretation is taken tofore other, for it is more holding and clear by words and it is interpreted of a very christian. It is written also of Jerome in the dialogue of Severus, disciple of S. Martin, which was in his time: Jerome without the merit of the faith and dowry of virtues is not only instruct in letters of Latin, but in Greek and Hebrew, so that none ought to be compared to him in every science, the which had war perpetual against the wicked men. The heretics hated him for he left never to impugn against them, the clerks hated him, for he reproved their sins and their life. But plainly good men loved him and marvelled of him, for they that deemed him a heretic were mad. He was all in lessons, all in books, he never rested day ne night but always read or wrote. Hęc Severus. And like as it appeareth by these words, and also he witnesseth himself, he suffered many persecutors and detractors, which persecutions he suffered patiently and goodly, as it appeared in an epistle that he sent to Assela: I give thankings to our Lord God that I am worthy that the world hate me, and that wicked men and janglers hold me for evil. For I know well that men come to heaven by the defaming of wicked men more than by good renomee, and I would that the company of miscreants should pursue and persecute me for the name and right of our Lord. My will is that the reproof of the world arise more fervently against me so that I might deserve to be praised of our Lord, and that I may hope the reward of his promise. Temptation is desirous and agreeable whose merit in resisting is to be hoped reward of Christ in heaven. Ne the cursing ne malediction is not grievous which is changed into divine laud and praising. He died about the year of our Lord three hundred and eighty-eight.
Here followeth the Life of S. Remigius.
Remigius is said of remige that is a boatman or a rower. Or it is said of remis, which be instruments by which the ship is rowed and conducted, and of gyon, that is to say wrestling. He governed the church and kept it from peril of wreck, and brought it to the port of heaven. And for the church he wrestled against the assaults of the devil.
Of S. Remigius.
S. Remigius converted to the faith the king and the people of France. The king had a wife named Clotilde, which was christian, and she enforced her much to convert her husband to the christian faith, but she might not. And when she had a child she would have christened him, but the king defended it to her. And she rested not till at the last the king granted that it should be christian, and after that it was christened, it died anon. Then said the king: Now it appeareth well that Christ is a vile God, for because he may not keep him which in his faith should have been enhanced in my kingdom after me. And she said to him: Now feel I well that I am loved of my God because he hath received the first fruit of my womb; he hath enhanced to a better kingdom my son, and to reign perpetually without end, which is much better than thy kingdom is. And soon after she conceived again, and had a fair son, whom with great prayers she baptized as she did the first, but anon after, he was sick, so that they had no hope of his life. And then the king said to his wife: Certainly this is a feeble god which may not conserve, ne keep none that is baptized in his name, and if thou hadst a thousand and didst them to be baptized, all should perish. Yet nevertheless the child revived and was whole, so that he reigned after his father, and the faithful queen enforced her to bring her husband to the faith, but he refused it in all manners.
It is said in that other feast which is after the Epiphany, how the king was converted to the faith. And the foresaid king Clovis, when he was christened, said that he would give to S. Remigius, for to endow his church, as much land as he might go about whilst he slept at mid-day, and so it was done. But there was a man which had a mill within the circuit which S. Remigius had closed. And as S. Remigius went about it the milner put him out with great indignation and great despite. And S. Remigius said to him
Friend, have no disdain and let it not be too hard if we have also this mill with that other. Nevertheless the milner put him out, and anon the wheel of the mill began to turn contrary, and then the milner cried after S. Remigius and said: Servant of God, come and let us have the mill together. And S. Remigius said: Nay, it shall neither be mine nor thine, and anon the earth opened and swallowed in all the mill.
And S. Remigius knew by the spirit of prophecy and by the will of God, that a great famine should come, and assembled in a town great plenty of wheat. And the drunken villains of the town mocked and scorned him of his providence, and set the garners afire. And when he knew it he came thither, and because he was cold for age and his last time approached fast, he sat down by the fire and warmed him, and said with a peaceable heart: The fire is always good. Nevertheless they that made that fire, and all the men of their lineage, were broken in their members and the women gouty. And this endured in the same town unto the time of Charles, which chased and made them go their way, and so disperpled them.
And it is to be known that the feast of S. Remigius that is hallowed in January, is the feast of his blessed death and disposition, and this is the feast of the translation of his blessed body. For when, after his death, the holy body should have been brought to the church of S. Timothy and Apollinarius with the shrine, and came nigh unto the church of S. Christopher, it began to weigh so much that they might not move it from thence in no manner. At the last they prayed our Lord that he would vouchsafe to show them if it were his will that the body should be buried in that church, whereas no relics rest. And then anon they took up the body lightly enough and buried him there honourably. And many miracles were there showed, so that they enlarged and made the church more ample and large.
And then they made an oratory behind the altar, and would have dolven for to have laid the body in that oratory, but they could not move it in no manner. Then they watched, and prayed unto our Lord, and at midnight they fell all asleep, and on the morn they found the sepulchre with the body in the place, which angels had borne thither while they slept. And this was the kalends of October which afterwards by long time on the same day, it was translated into a feretre or shrine of silver. He flourished about the year of our Lord four hundred and ninety.
Here followeth the Life of S Logier, and first of his name.
Leodegarius or Logier is said of leos, that is to say, people, and of ganos, that is to say, angel. Logier was angel of the people. For an angel is properly light, and is a messenger for to show the people good works. And so he showed to the people tofore the deed how he and Ebroinus should finish their lives.
Of S. Logier.
Logier when he shone and resplended in all virtue he deserved to be bishop of Autun. Clotaire was dead. He was much grieved for the cure and charge of the realm, and by the will of God and counsel of the princes he crowned Childeric, yet young, to be king. But Ebroinus would have made Theodoric, brother of Childeric, king, not for the profit of the realm, but because he was put out of his power and was hated of all the people, and doubted the ire of the king and of the princes, and therefore he required of the king licence for to enter into religion, and the king granted it to him. Then the king did hold his brother Theodoric in guard that he should machine nothing against the realm. And by the holiness and providence of the good bishop Logier all the people were in joy and in peace.
And soon after, the king being impaired by evil counsel was moved in wrath against this holy bishop, servant of God, and sought means ententively how he might convenably put him to death. But Logier suffered all goodly, and reputed his enemies like as his friends, and did so much toward the king, that on Easter-day he should sing mass in the city, whereof he was bishop. And that day it was told to him that the king should perform that night all that he had treated for his death, but he ne doubted nothing, but dined that day with the king at his own table. And then he fled his persecutor in such manner that he went to the monastery of Luxen, there, serving our Lord, in which Ebroinus there was hid in the habit of a monk, and also served him in great charity. And a while after the king died, and Theodoric was enhanced into the reign. For which thing the blessed S. Logier, moved by the weeping and tears of the people, and constrained by the commandment of his abbot, returned unto his see in his city. But Ebroinus anon renounced his religion, and was ordained steward of the king. And howbeit that he was evil tofore, yet he was worse after, and studied how he might bring Logier to death, and sent knights for to take him. And when the blessed Logier knew it he would have escaped from the woodness and malice. And as he issued out of the town in the habit of a bishop, he was taken of the knights, which anon put out his eyes. And then two years after, S. Logier with Guerin his brother, whom Ebroinus had exiled, were brought unto the palace of the king. And as Ebroinus mocked the bishop, they answered wisely and peaceably. Notwithstanding, that wicked man Ebroinus sent Guerin for to be stoned to death with stones, and made the bishop to be led all the night barefoot upon sharp stones, on which the water ran fast. And when he heard that he prayed God in his torments, he made to cut out the tongue of his head, and after to keep in prison, for to make him suffer new torments. But for all that he lost never his speech, but entended to preach and exhortation as well as he might, and said tofore how he and Ebroinus should die, and when. Then a great light in manner of a crown environed his head, which much people saw, and some demanded him what thing it was, and he kneeled down and made his prayers, yielding graces to God, and admonished all them that were there that they should change their life into a better. And when Ebroinus heard that, he had great envy at him, and sent four men for to smite off his head. And when they led him forth, he said to them: It is no need to you to labour any more, but fulfil ye here the desire of him that sent you. And then three of them had so great pity of him that they kneeled down and required pardon, and the fourth smote off his head, which anon was ravished of the devil, and being thrown in the fire, ended his life miserably.
Then two years after Ebroinus heard that God showed many miracles for his blessed saint, and the renomee of it shone over all, and he was tormented with cursed envy, and sent thither a knight to weet the truth, and to return and tell to him. And when the knight came thither, he proudly smote the tomb with his foot, and said: An evil death may he have that saith and believeth that this dead body may do miracles. And anon he was ravished of the devil and died suddenly, and the saint was the more worshipped by his death. And when Ebroinus heard this, he was then more tormented with malice of envy, and enforced to quench the fame of the holy saint. But after the saying tofore of the saint he feloniously slew himself with a sword. And this holy bishop S. Logier suffered death about the year of our Lord six hundred and eighty, in the time of Constantine the fourth.
Here followeth the Life of S. Francis, first beginner of the friars minor, and first of his name.
Francis was first named John, but after his name was changed and was called Francis. The cause of changing of his name was manifold. First, for the reason of his marvellous changing, for it is known that he received of God by miracle the French tongue, and it is said in his legend that when he was replenished of the grace of God, and of the ardour of the Holy Ghost he pronounced out burning words in French. Secondly, by the reason to publish his office, whereof is said in his legend that, the divine providence gave to him that name, because of his singular and inaccustomed name, the opinion of his mystery might be known throughout all the world. Thirdly, by reason of his office in effect, whereupon was given to understand that by him and by his sons he should make many servants of the devil and bond to sin, free. Fourthly, by reason of great courage and magnanimity of heart. For Frenchmen be said of fierceness, for in them is natural fierceness and great courage of heart. Fifthly, by reason of virtuosity in speaking, for his word carved away the vices like an axe. Sixthly, by reason that he chased away commonly the devils. Seventhly, by reason of honesty in his conversation, and of perfection of work. And it is said that some signs that were borne in Rome tofore the consuls, which were in terror of the people and in worship, were called Franciscas.
Of S. Francis.
Francis, servant and friend of Almighty God, was born in the city of Assisi, and was made a merchant unto the twenty-fifth year of his age, and wasted his time by living vainly, whom our Lord corrected by the scourge of sickness, and suddenly changed him into another man, so that he began to shine by the spirit of prophecy. For on a time he with other men of Perugia was taken prisoner, and were put in a cruel prison, where all the others wailed and sorrowed, and he only was glad and enjoyed. And when they had reproved him thereof, he answered: Know ye, said he, that I am joyful, for I shall be worshipped as a saint through all the world.
On a time he went to Rome because of devotion, and he took off all his clothes and clad him with the clothes of a beggar, and sat among the poor men tofore the church of S. Peter, and as one of them, begged and ate eagerly with them, and much oftener would have done, but the shame of being known of people letted him. The old enemy the devil enforced him to let him of his holy purpose, and showed to him a woman monstrous and horribly disfigured, crookbacked and lame, which was in that city, and he said to him if he left not that he had enterprised, he would make him semblable and like unto her. But he was comforted of our Lord, which heard a voice saying to him: Francis, take these bitter things for the sweet, and despise thyself if thou desire to know me.
On a time he met a leper whom naturally men abhor, but he remembered him of the word that was said of God, and ran to him and kissed him, and anon the lazar vanished away, wherefore he went to the habitation of the lazars and kissed devoutly their hands, and gave to them money, and let them have no need of such as he might do.
On a time he entered into the church of S. Damian for to make his prayers, and the image of Jesu Christ spake unto him and said: Francis, go and repair my house which is all destroyed as thou seest. And from that hour the soul of him liquefied, and the passion of Jesu Christ was marvellously infixed in his heart. And then he did great pain, and was busy in repairing the church, and sold all that he had, and gave the money thereof to a priest, and he durst not receive it for fear of his parents and kin. Then he, casting it away tofore the priest as dust, setting not thereby, wherefore he was taken of his father and bound, and he restored to him his money, and resigned also his clothes, and so naked he fled to our Lord, and clad him with hair. And then the blessed Francis went unto a simple man, whom he took instead of his father, and prayed him that like as
his father doubled on him his curses, that in contrary he should bless him. His own brother germane seeing him in a winter time have on him but foul and few clothes, and that he trembled for cold and was entending to his prayers, said to his fellow: Go to Francis and say to him that he sell to thee a pennyworth of his sweat. And when he heard it he answered with a glad cheer: I will sell it unto my Lord God. On a day he heard in the church that which our Lord said to his disciples when he sent them to preach, and anon he addressed him with all his might to do and keep all those things; he did off his hosen and shoon from his feet and clad him with a foul coat, and took a cord for his girdle. He went on a time in a snow by a wood, and was taken by thieves, and they demanded him what he was, and he said that he was the messenger of God, and anon they took him and cast him in the snow, saying to him: Lie there, thou villain messenger of God. Many noble and unnoble clerks and laymen had despised the world and begun to follow him, and the holy father enseigned and taught them the perfection of the gospel, which was for to be in poverty, and that they should go by the way of simpleness. He wrote then a rule, after the gospel, to himself and his brethren, had and to be had, which Pope Innocent confirmed. And from then forthon he began to spread more ardently the seeds of the Word of God, and went about cities and castles by a fervent and marvellous desire. There was a friar which seemed outward of marvellous holiness, and kept silence so straitly that he would not be shriven by words but by signs, and every man praised him as a saint. This holy man Francis came thither and said: Leave ye brethren to praise him, for I shall not yet praise him lest it be by feigntise of the devil, let him be warned to be shriven twice in the week by word and speaking, and if he do it not, this is but temptation of the devil and fraudulous deceit. And then the friars warned him so to do, and he put his finger to his mouth, and shook his head, and showed that in no wise he would confess him. And anon after he returned again to worldly life as a hound to his vomit, and went out of his order, and finished his life in sinful acts and works.
On a time S. Francis was weary of going, and rode upon an ass, and his fellow, one Leonard of Assisi, was also weary of going, and S. Francis began to think thus and to say in himself: His kin and my kin were not like, and incontinent he alighted down, and said to the friar: It appertaineth not to me to ride and thee to go afoot, for thou art more noble than I am. And the friar was abashed, and kneeled down and required pardon.
On a time, as he passed by a place, a noble lady ran so hastily against him that she might not speak for weariness, and he asked of her what she would. And she said: Pray for me, father, for I may not perform the purpose of health which I have begun, for my husband, which letteth me, doth to me many adversities in the service of God. And he said to her: Go thy way, daughter, for thou shalt have anon comfort of him, and say to thine husband, in God's name and mine, that now is the time of health, and hereafter shall be time of equity and right. And when she had said so to her husband, the man was suddenly changed and avowed to God continence and chastity.
On a time a poor labourer was almost lost in a wood for thirst. and this holy saint impetred a fountain by his prayers. He said on a time to a friar, that was familiar with him, this secret which was showed to him by the Holy Ghost. There is a servant of God living in the world on this day, for whose sake, as long as he shall live, our Lord shall suffer no famine among the people. But without doubt it is said that, when he was dead all that condition was changed to the contrary, for after his blessed death he appeared to the same friar and said to him: Lo! now is the famine come, which as long as I lived upon earth, our Lord would not suffer to come.
On an Easter day the friars Greek that were in desert had laid their table more curiously than in another time, and had made ready the glasses and set them on the board. And when S. Francis saw that he anon withdrew him, and set on his head the hat of a poor man which was there, and bare his staff in his hand, and went out and abode at the gate. And when the friars ate at dinner, he cried at the door that they should give for the love of God an alms to a poor sick man. Then the poor man was called in and entered and sat down alone upon the earth, and set his dish in the dust, which when the friars saw they were abashed and were sore aghast. And he said to them: I see the table arrayed and adorned, and I know well that it is not for poor men that seek their meat from door to door.
He loved poverty in himself and in all others, so that he always called poverty his lady, but when he saw one more poor than himself he had thereof envy, and doubted to be overcome of him. On a day he saw a poor woman and he showed her to his fellow and said: The poverty of this woman doth to us shame, and reproveth strongly our poverty, for, for my riches I have chosen my lady poverty, and she shineth more in this woman than in me.
When on a time a poor man passed tofore him, and the holy man was moved with inward compassion, his fellow said to him: Though this man be poor, peradventure there is not a richer of his will in all the province. Then S. Francis said to him anon: Despoil thee of thy coat and give it to the poor man, and knowledge thyself culpable and kneel down to his feet, to whom anon he obeyed and did so.
On a time three women like of visage and all things, and of habit, entered and met him, and saluted in this manner: Welcome my lady poverty, and anon they vanished away and were no more seen.
On a time as he came to the city of Arezzo, and a mortal battle was moved in the city, this holy man saw within the burgh, on the ground, the devils making joy and were glad. Then he called his fellow named Silvester, and said to him: Go to the gate of the city and command to these devils in God's name, that is Almighty, that they go out of the city. Then he went hastily and cried strongly: All ye devils depart from hence in the name of God and by the commandment of Francis our Father. And they went away, and then the citizens anon became to accord.
The foresaid Sylvester when he was yet a secular priest saw in his sleep a golden cross issue out of the mouth of S. Francis, of the which the over end touched heaven and the arms of the cross stretched forth from that one to that other part of the world. Then this priest had compunction and left the world, and followed perfectly this holy man Francis. And on a time as this holy man was in prayer, the devil called him thrice by his own name, and when the holy man had answered him, he said: None in this world is so great a sinner, but if he convert him our Lord would pardon him, but who that slayeth himself by hard penance shall never find mercy. And anon this holy man knew by the revelation the fallacy and deceit of the fiend, how he would have withdrawn him for to do well. And when the devil saw that he might not prevail against him, he tempted him by grievous temptation of the flesh, and when this holy servant of God felt that, he despoiled him of his clothes and beat himself right hard with a hard cord, saying: Thus, brother ass, it behoveth thee to remain and to be beaten; and when the temptation departed not, he went out and plunged himself in the snow all naked, and made seven great balls of snow and purposed to have taken them into his body and said: This greatest is thy wife, and of these four, two be thy daughters, and two thy sons, and the other twain, that one thy chamberer, and that other thy varlet or yeoman; haste thee and clothe them, for they all die for cold, and if thy business that thou hast about them grieve thee sore, then serve our Lord perfectly. And anon the devil departed from them all confused, and S. Francis returned again into his cell glorifying God.
And as he dwelled on a time with Leo the cardinal of S. Cross, in a night the devils came to him and beat him right grievously. Then he called his fellow and said to him: These be devils, jailers of our Lord, whom he sendeth to punish the excesses, but I can remember me of none offences that I have done, but by the mercy of God I have washed them away by satisfaction. But peradventure he hath sent me them because he will not suffer me to fall, because I dwell in the courts of great lords, which thing peradventure engendereth not good suspection to my right poor brethren, which suppose I abound in delices. And early in the morning he arose and departed thence.
On a time, as he was in his prayers, he saw upon the covering of the house assemblies and companies of devils which ran hither and thither with great noise, and he went out, and signed him with the sign of the cross, and said: I say to you in the name of Almighty God that ye devils do to my body all that is suffered to you to do, and I shall suffer it patiently. For I have no greater enemy than my body, and ye shall avenge me of mine adversary, whiles ye take on it vengeance by my life. Then they vanished away all confused.
There was a friar which was fellow of S. Francis was on a time ravished, and saw in spirit the glorious place in heaven, wherein he saw, among other seats, a right noble seat, shining of more noble glory than all the others. And as he marvelled for whom this noble seat was kept, he heard that it was said that this seat belonged sometime to one of the princes that fell, and is now made ready to the meek and humble Francis.
And when S. Francis issued from his prayers, that friar demanded him: Father, what weenest thou of thyself? And he said: I ween that I am greatest of all sinners. And anon the spirit came into the heart of the friar and said: Behold what was the vision that thou sawest, for humility shall lift up the most meek man unto the seat lost by pride.
This holy man S. Francis saw in a vision above him, Seraphin crucified, the which emprinted in him the signs of his crucifying, that him seemed that he was crucified, and that in his hands, his feet, and in his side, him seemed were the sign of the wounds of the crucifying, but he did hide these tokens as much as he might, that no man should see them. And yet nevertheless some saw them in his life, and at his death they were seen of many, and were showed by many miracles that those signs were true. Of which miracles twain shall suffice for to be set here. There was a man named Rogier, and was in Apulia tofore the image of S. Francis, and began to think and say: May this be true that this man was so ennobled by such miracle, or was this an illusion or an invention dissimuled of his brethren the friars? And as he thought this, he heard suddenly a sound like as a quarel had been shot out of an arbalaste or a crossbow, and he felt him grievously hurt in his left hand, but there appeared no hurt in his glove, and then he took off his glove, and saw in the palm of his hand a wound as it had been of an arrow, out of which wound there issued so great pain of ache and burning, that almost he died for sorrow and pain. And then he repented him, and said that he believed right verily the signs and tokens of S. Francis; and when he had prayed by two days S. Francis by his holy signs and stigmata, he was anon delivered of his pain and made all whole.
In the realm of Castile there was a man devout to S. Francis which went on a time to compline to the church of S. Francis. And men lay in await for to slay him, and instead of another man he was taken by error and ignorance, and was wounded and left as half dead; and after, the cruel murderer stuck his sword in his throat, and left it therein, and might not draw it out, but went his way. And then men cried and ran hither and thither, and the man was bewailed like as he had been dead. And when they rang to matins at midnight at the church of the friars, the wife of the man began to cry: Arise up, sire, and go to matins, for the bell calleth thee. And anon he lifted up his hand to show that some man should take away the sword from his throat, and anon in the sight of them all the sword sprang out afar as it had been thrown of a strong champion, and anon the man arose perfectly whole, and said that S. Francis came to him and joined his stigmatas to my wounds, and anointed them with the sweetness of his signs and sewed them together marvellously by his touching. And when he would have gone, I showed him that he should take away the sword for else I should not con speak, and anon he took it out, and threw it away far from him, and healed me with touching my throat with his signs.
The two clerks, great luminaries of the world, that is to say S. Dominic and S. Francis, were in the city of Rome tofore the Lord Hostience, which afterward was pope of Rome. And this bishop said to them: Wherefore make ye not of your friars bishops and prelates, which should prevail more by teaching and example giving? And there
was long contention between them who should first answer, and humility overcame Francis that he would not speak tofore that other, and then S. Dominic humbly obeyed and said: Sire, our brethren be lifted up in good degree if they know it, and I shall never suffer to my power that ever they shall hope to have any higher dignity. After that answered S. Francis: Sire, my brethren be called minors, because they would not be made greater. And the blessed S. Francis full of right great simplicity admonished and warned all creatures to love their creator. He preached to birds and was heard of them, they suffered him to touch them, and without licence they would not return ne flee from him. And on a time when he preached, the swallows chittered and sang, and anon by his commandment they were still. There was also, on a time, a bird on a fig-tree beside his cell which sang oft full sweetly. And S. Francis put forth his hand and called that bird, and anon the bird obeyed and came upon his hand. And he said to her, Sing my sister and praise thy Lord, and then anon she sang, and departed not till she had licence.
He spared to touch lights, lamps, and candles, because he would not defile them with his hands. He went honourably upon the stones for the worship of him that was called Stone. He gathered the small worms out of the way because they should not be trodden with the feet of them that passed by. He commanded in winter to give honey unto bees, that they should not perish for hunger. He called all beasts his brethren. He was replenished of marvellous joy for the love of his Creator. He beheld the sun, the moon, and the stars, and summoned them to the love of their Maker. He defended for to make him a great crown, saying: I will that my simple brethren have part in my head.
There was a secular man which saw S. Francis, the servant of God, preaching at S. Severin's, and saw by revelation of God, that S. Francis was stretched on a cross made of two clear swords, of which that one came from his head to his feet, and that other stretched from that one hand to that other, so that he never had seen such a demonstrance. Then he was moved in his heart, and entered into the order, and finished goodly his life.
On a time, as S. Francis was sick on his eyes for continual weeping, his brethren said to him that he should refrain him from weeping, and he answered: The visitation of the light perdurable is not to be put away for the light that we have here with the flies. And when his brethren constrained him to take a medicine for his eyes, and the surgeon held a burning iron in his hand, the blessed Francis said: My brother fire, be thou to me in this hour debonair and curable: I pray to our Lord that made thee, that thou attemper my heat. And then he made the sign of the cross against the fire, and the fiery iron was put in his tender flesh from his ear unto his eyelids, and he felt no pain.
He was strongly sick in the desert of S. Urban, and when he felt that nature failed in him he asked for to drink wine, and there was none. And they brought to him water, and he blessed it and made the sign of the cross thereon, and it was converted and turned into right good wine. And the holy man gat of our Lord that which the poverty of the desert might not get. And as soon as he had tasted it, he became strong and was all whole.
He had liefer hear blame of himself than praising, and for because that the people praised in him anything of merit of holiness, he commanded to some brother to say to him in his ear some villainy in blaming him and defouling. And when such a brother, so constrained against his will, called him villain merchant, and unprofitable fool, then was he glad and blessed him, and said: God bless thee, for thou sayest right very true words, and this thing appertaineth to me for to hear.
And this holy S. Francis would never be more master ne governor, but he would be more subject, ne so willingly command as obey. And therefore he left for to be general, and demanded to be under the warden, to whose will he always submitted himself in all things. He promised always obedience to the friar with whom he went, and kept it.
When a friar had done something against the rule of obedience, and had sign of penance, yet this holy S. Francis, for to fear others, commanded to cast the hood of him into the fire, and when it had been a while in the fire, he commanded to take it out and give it again to the friar, and the hood , was taken out of the fire without hurt.
He went on a time by the morass of Venice and found there a great multitude of birds singing and he said to his fellows: Our sisters, these birds, give laud to their Maker, let us go in the middle of them, and sing we our hours canonical to our Lord. And they entered in among them and they moved not, but because they might not hear each other for the chittering and noise of birds he said: My sister birds, cease your songs till we have yielded unto our Lord due praisings. And then they held them still, and when they had finished their lauds, he gave to them licence to sing again, and anon they reprised their song after their custom.
He was on a time harboured with a knight, and S. Francis said to him: Brother, fair host, agree to that I shall say to thee, confess thy sins, for thou shalt soon eat in another place. And anon he granted that to him, and ordained for his meiny, and took penance of health. And also soon as they went to the table the host died suddenly.
On a time he found a great multitude of birds, and then he said to them: My brethren, ye ought strongly to praise and give laud to your Maker which hath clad you with feathers and hath given to you pens for to fly and hath granted you the purity of the air and governed you without charge or business. And the birds turned their beaks or bills to him and spread their wings, and stretched their necks and addressed their heads and beheld him intently. And he passed forth by the middle of them so nigh that he touched them with his coat, and none of them arose out from his place till he gave to them leave that they flew together.
On a time when he preached at the castle Almarye, and he might not be heard for the swallows which made their nests, to whom he said: My sister swallows, it is time that I speak, for ye have said enough, be ye now still till the word of God be accomplished. And they obeyed and were still anon.
And as this holy man S. Francis passed through Apulia, he found in his way a purse full of money, and when his fellow saw it, they would have taken it for to have given it to the poor people, but he would not suffer him in no manner, and said to him: Son, it appertaineth not to thee to take the goods of others. And when his fellow hasted to take it S. Francis prayed a little, and after, commanded him to take the purse, which then found therein a great adder, instead of money. And when the friar saw that he began to doubt, but he would obey and took the purse in his hands, and there sprang out anon a serpent venomous. And then S. Francis said to him: Money is none other thing to the servant of God but the devil, which is a serpent venomous.
There was a friar grievously tempted, and he began to think that if he had anything written with the hand of their father S. Francis, that that temptation should be chased away anon, but he durst in no wise discover this thing. On a time S. Francis called him and said: Son, bring to me parchment and ink, for I will write something praising to God. And when he had written he said: Take this charter and keep it unto the day of thy death diligently, and anon all his temptation went away. And the same friar, when S. Francis lay sick, began to think: Our Father approacheth the death, and if I might have, after his death, his coat I should be greatly comforted. And after this the saint called him and said: I give to thee this my coat; if thou have thereto, after my death, plain right. He was lodged on a time in Alexandria, in Lombardy, with an honest man, which demanded him, if for the observance of the gospel he should eat of all that which was set tofore him, and he consented to the devotion of the host; and then the host did do make ready a capon of seven years old, and as they ate there came an untrue man which demanded alms for the love of God, and anon when this blessed man heard that blessed name, he sent to him a member of the capon, and the cursed man kept it. And on the morn when the holy man preached, he showed that piece of the capon, and said, Lo! see here what flesh this friar eateth whom ye honour as a saint, for he gave it to me yester even, but this piece of the capon was seen of all the people as it were fish, and that man was blamed of all the people, and said that he was mad, and when he understood it, he was ashamed and demanded pardon; and when this man came again to his good thought, the flesh returned again to his own kind and form.
On a time as he sat at the table, and collation was made of the poverty of the Blessed Virgin our Lady, anon S. Francis arose and began to weep and sob sorrowfully, so that his visage was all wet of tears, and began to eat the remnant of his bread upon the ground. He would also that right great reverence should be done to the hands of priests, to whom was given power to sacre the blessed sacrament of our Lord. And then he said oft: If it happed me to meet any saint coming from heaven, and also a poor priest, I would first go kiss the priest's hands, and would say to the saint: Holy saint, abide a while, for the hands of this priest have handled the son of life, and hath performed a thing above humanity. He was ennobled in his life by many miracles, for the bread that was brought to him to bless gave health to many sick men. He converted the water into wine, of which a sick man anon tasted and received anon health, and also did many other miracles. And when his last days approached, and he was grieved by long infirmity; then he made himself to be laid upon the bare ground, and did do call all the friars that were there, and when they were all present he blessed them. And like as our Lord fed his disciples at supper on Shere-thursday, he gave to each of them a morsel of bread, and warned them, as he was wont to do, to give laud to their Maker. And the very death which is to all men horrible and hateful, he admonished them to praise it, and also he warned and admonished death to come to him, and said: Death, my sister, welcome be thou; and when he came at the last hour, he slept in our Lord. Of whom a friar saw the soul in the manner of a star, like to the moon in quantity, and to the sun in clearness.
There was a friar named Augustin, which was minister and servant in the labour of the earth, and as he was in his last end, and had lost his speech, he escried suddenly and said: Abide me, father, abide, I shall go with thee. Then the friars demanded him what he said, and he said: See ye not our father Francis that goeth unto heaven, and anon he slept in peace, and followed his holy father. A lady which had been devout to the blessed Francis died, and the clerks and priests were at the bier for to sing the exequies of her. She arose up suddenly off the bier, and called one of the priests that were there and said: Father, I would confess me; I was dead, and should have been put in a cruel prison, because I had not shriven me of a sin that I shall say, but S. Francis prayed for me, that this confessed and showed I shall have forgiveness, and anon as I shall have said and confessed it to thee I shall rest in peace tofore you all. And then she was confessed and assoiled, and rested anon in our Lord.
The friars of Viterbo would have borrowed a cart of a man, and he answered in despite: I had liefer see two of you flayed with S. Francis than I should lend you my cart, but he came again to himself and reproved himself, and repented him of the blame that he had said, and doubted the ire of God. And anon his son was sick and died, and when he saw his son dead he slept on the earth weeping, and called S. Francis and said: I am he that sinned, thou shouldest have beaten me, give again to me, holy saint, praying devoutly to thee, whom thou hast taken away from me, blaming thee and blaspheming wickedly. And anon his son revived and said: When I was dead S. Francis led me by a long way and dark, and at the last he brought me unto a right fair green, and after said to me: Return to thy father, I will no longer hold thee. There was a poor man which owed unto a certain rich man a quantity of money, and prayed him, for the love of S. Francis, he would prolong the term of payment. To whom he answered proudly: I shall set thee in such a place that neither Francis ne none other shall help thee. And anon he took and bound him, and set him in a dark prison, and anon after, S. Francis came thither and brake up the prison, and loosed his bonds and brought the man all safely to his own house. There was a knight which detracted the works and miracles of S. Francis, and on a time as he played at the dice, he being all enraged, and full of woodness and cruelness, said to them that stood by him: lf S. Francis be a saint, let come eighteen on the dice, and anon came in three dice in each of them six, and so it appeared nine times, at every time three sixes at each cast, and then he adjousting woodness to woodness, he said: If it be true that Francis be a saint, let a sword rive me through my body this day, and if he be no saint, that it escape safely. And when the playing at dice was ended, because he had made that prayer in sin, he said injury to his nephew, and he took his sword and stack it through his belly and slew him anon.
There was a man that had lost his thigh that he could not move it, and cried to S. Francis thus, saying: Help me, S. Francis, remember thee of the devotion and of the service that I have done to thee, for I carried thee upon mine ass, and kissed thy feet, and thy hands, and now I die for pain of this right hard torment. Then the holy man appeared to him with a little staff that he held, which had the sign of Thau, and touched therewith the place of his pain, and the postume brake, and he received anon full health, but the sign of Thau abode alway in the same place. With that sign S. Francis was wont always to sign his letters.
There was a maid which dwelled in the mountains of Apulia in a castle, and her father and mother ne had but only this daughter, and she died, and her mother was much devout toward S. Francis, but then she was full of heaviness, and S. Francis appeared to her and said: Weep no more, for the light of thy lantern is quenched, and it appertaineth not that I yield her again to thee by thy prayer. But yet the mother had affiance and trust in the saint, and would not suffer to bear away the body, but in calling S. Francis, she took her daughter that was dead and raised her up alive and whole. There was a little child in Rome fallen out of a window to the ground and died forthwith, and they called to S. Francis for help, and he was anon restored to life. In the city of Suessa, it happed that a house fell and slew a child, and when they had put the corpse in a chest for to bury, the mother called on S. Francis with all her devotion, and about midnight the child coughed and arose all whole, and began to praise God.
Friar James of Reaten had passed a flood in a vessel with other friars which were set aland, and he hasted so sore after to go out because he was last, and the ship recoiled backward into the water, so that he fell down into the deepest of the flood, and then all the friars prayed S. Francis for him, and he himself, as he might, with like devotion, called the holy saint unto his aid and help, in his heart, and that same friar began to go in the bottom of the water, as dry as he had gone on the earth, and caught the boat, which was drowned, and brought it to the bank, and came up without wetting of his clothes that he ware, ne never drop of water touched his coat ne wet nothing on him. Then let us devoutly pray this holy father, S. Francis, to be our succour and aid in our adversities and perils, and help, that by his merits we may after this short life come into everlasting life in heaven. Amen.
Here followeth the Life of S. Pelagienne, and first of her name.
Pelagienne is said of pelagus, which is as much to say as the sea, for as in the sea all waters abound, in like wise abounded she in the sea of this world of all riches, and of delices. She was the sea of iniquity and the flood of sins, but she plunged after into the sea of tears, and washed her in the flood of baptism.
Of S. Pelagienne.
Pelagienne was the foremost and noblest of the women of Antioch, full of riches in all things. She was right fair of body, noble of habit, vain and variable of courage, and not chaste of body. On a time as she went through the city with great pride and ambition, that there was nothing seen on her but gold and silver and precious stones, and over all whereas she went she filled the air with divers odours and sweet smells, and tofore and after her went a great multitude of young men and maidens, which were also clad with right noble vesture and rich. And a holy father which was named Nonnon, bishop of Heliopolis, which now is called Damietta, passed through the city and saw her. Then he began to weep right bitterly because she had more care to please the world than she had to please God; and then fell down upon the pavement and smote the earth with his visage, and wet it with his tears, and said: O most high God, have pity on me, sinner, the adormnents and array of one common woman hath surmounted in one day all the wisdom of all my life. O Lord, let not the array of one woman of folly confound me tofore the sight of thy dreadful majesty. She hath arrayed herself with high study, and all her might for earthly things, and I had purposed, Lord, to have pleased thee, but I have not accomplished it because of my negligence. Then he said to them that were with him: In truth I say to you that God shall set this woman in witness against us in the doom, because that she so busily painteth her for to please worldly friends and lovers, when we be negligent for to please the heavenly spouse, our Lord God. And when he had said these, or semblable words, he fell suddenly asleep, and him seemed that a foul dove or black culver flew about him whilst he was at mass at the altar. And when he commanded that they that were not baptized should depart and go their way, this dove departed anon and came again after the mass, and was plunged in a vessel full of water, and went out all clean and white, and flew up so high that she might not be seen, and then he awoke.
On a time when he preached in a church Pelagienne was present. She then became so repentant that she sent him a lettter by a messenger thus saying: To the holy bishop of Jesu Christ, Pelagienne, disciple of the devil, etc. If thou art verily the disciple of Jesu Christ, the which, as I have heard said, descended from heaven for the sinners, vouchsafe to receive me, repentant sinful woman. To whom the bishop sent again: I pray thee not to tempt my humility, for I am a sinful man. If thou desirest to be saved, thou mayst not see me alone, but among other men thou shalt see me. Then she came to him tofore many, and took his feet, and most bitterly weeping, she said: I am Pelagienne, the sea of iniquity, flood of sins, the swallow of perdition, and the devourer of souls. I have deceived many by deceits which now all I abhor. Then the bishop demanded her, saying: What is thy name? She said: I have been called from my birth Pelagienne, but for the pomp of my clothing men call me Margaret. Then the bishop received her benignly, and enjoined to her healthful penance, and informed her in the dread of God diligently, and regenerated her by holy baptism. The devil then cried there, saying: O what violence I suffer of this old servant of God. O violence, O evil old age, accursed be the day in which thou wert born contrary to me, for thou hast taken away my greatest hope.
On a night, whilst Pelagienne slept, the devil came to her and awoke her, and said: Lady Margaret, what harm did I ever to thee? Have I not adorned thee in all riches and in all glory? I pray thee tell me wherein I have angered thee, and I shall amend it anon. I require thee, leave me not lest I be made reproach unto the christian people. And then she blessed her and blew on him, and the devil vanished away. And the third day after, she assembled all the goods that she had and gave it to the poor people for the love of God. And a little while after she fled away by night, without knowledge of any person, and took the habit of a hermit and set herself in a little cell, and there served our Lord in much great abstinence. And was of much great and good renomee unto all the people, and led a right holy life and good, and was called brother Pelagien. After, a deacon of the same bishop that had baptized her, went to Jerusalem for to visit there the holy places. Then that bishop said to him that, after the visitation of the holy places he should seek a monk that was named Pelagien, and that he should visit him, for he should find there the true servant of our Lord, and so he did. And anon she knew him, but he knew her not for the great leanness that she had. And Pelagien demanded him: Have ye a bishop? And he said: Yea, lady. And she said to him: Say to him that he pray for me, for truly he is the apostle of Jesu Christ. And then the priest departed and came again the third day, but when he came he knocked at the door of the cell and none answered, he opened the window and saw that she was dead. Then he came and told it to the bishop. Then the bishop and the clergy and all the monks assembled for to do the exequies for this holy man, and when they had taken the body out of the cell, they found that she was a woman. And then they marvelled greatly, and gave thankings unto God, and buried the body much honourably the eighth day of October, the year of our Lord two hundred and four score.
Here followeth of S. Margaret, said Pelagien, and first of her name.
This virgin Margaret had twain names; she was called Margaret and Pelagien. Insomuch as she was named Margaret, she is always likened to a flower, for she had in her, flower of her virginity. And in that she was called Pelagien, she might be said of pena, pain, and lego, legis, to gather. For she gathered pain in many manners in the religion where she put herself as a man for to keep to God her vlrginity.
Of S. Margaret, otherwise Pelagien.
Margaret, otherwise called Pelagien was a right noble virgin, right rich and right fair, and was much nobly kept by the diligence of her friends. For she was instructed in good manners, and she was ententive to keep chastity, and honest in such wise that she refused to be seen of all men in any manner. And at the last she was required to marriage of a noble young man, and by the accord of one and other of each other's friends, all things necessary to the wedding were made ready and had with much great glory of riches and delices. And when the day of wedding came, that the younglings and maidens were assembled in right great noblesse tofore the chamber, and the fathers and the mothers made great feast for the marriage with great joy, the virgin was inspired of God that the damage of her virginity was brought by so great harmful enjoying, and stretched her to the earth sore weeping, and began to think in her heart the recompense of her virginity, and the sorrows that follow of marriage, and reputed all the joys of the world as ordure and filth. And that night she kept her from the company of her husband, and at midnight she commended her to God, and cut off her hair, and clad her in the habit of a man, and fled from thence to a monastery of monks, and did do call her brother Pelagien. And there was received of the abbot, and diligently instructed and taught, and she held herself there holily and religiously. And when the prior, which was thereby, of nuns was dead, by consent of the abbot and of the ancient men, she was set to be master of the abbey of nuns, howbeit that she refused it strongly. And as she administered not only their necessaries but also food to the soul continually without blame, the devil had envy of her, and thought he might occupy her good time by some objection of sin. And a virgin which was dwelling without the gates had sinned in lechery by the intimation of the devil, and when her belly arose so that she might not hide it, all the virgins were so afraid and so shamefaced, and also the monks of either monastery, that they wist not what to do, and supposed verily that Pelagien, which was provost, and also familiar with the woman, had done this deed, and so condemned him without judgment. And then he was put out and wist not why, and was closed in a pit within a rock. And then he that was most cruel of all the monks, was ordained for to minister him, which served him with barley bread and water, and that in right little quantity. And when the monks had enclosed him they departed and left Pelagien there alone. And she was not troubled in any manner, but ever thanked God, and comforted herself in her continence by the ensample of holy saints. At the last when she knew that her end approached, she wrote letters unto the abbot and to the monks in this wise. I, of noble lineage, was called Margaret in the world, but for I would eschew the temptations of the world, I called myself Pelagien. I am a man. I have not lived for to deceive, but I have showed that I have the virtue of a man, and have virtue of the sin which was put on me, and I innocent thereof have done the penance, therefore I require you, forasmuch as I am not known for a woman, that the holy sisters may bury me, so that the demonstrance of me dying may be the cleansing of my living, and that the women may know that I am a virgin whom they judged for adulterer. And when they heard hereof the monks and the nuns ran unto the pit in which she was enclosed, and the women then had knowledge that she was a woman, and virgin without touching of man. And then they were penitent, and had great repentance of that which they had done, and buried her in the church among the virgins honourably.
Here followeth of S. Thais or Thaisis, and first of her name.
Thais is said of taphos, that is to say death, for she was cause of the death of many that died for her in sin. Or she is said of thalos, that is to say delight, for she was delicious to men, and accomplished all worldly delights, or she is said of thalamo, that is will or affection of martiage, for at the last she had will to be married to God by great penance.
Of S. Thaisis.
Thaisis, as it is read in Vitas Patrum, was a common woman, and of so great beauty that many followed her, and sold all their substance, that they came unto the utterest poverty. And they that were her lovers fought for her, and strove for jealousy, so that they otherwhile slew each other, and thereof her house was oft full of blood of young men that drew to her. Which thing came to the knowledge of a holy abbot named Pafuntius, and he took on him secular habit, and a shilling in his purse, and went to her in a city of Egypt, and gave to her a shilling, that is to say twelve pence, as it had been cause for to sin with her. And when she had taken this money, she said to him: Let us enter into the chamber here within. And when they were both entered into the chamber, she said to him that he should go into the bed, which was preciously adorned with clothes; then said he to her: If there be any more secret place here, let us go thereto; and then she led him into divers secret places; and he said always he doubted to be seen. And she said to him: There is within a place where no man entereth, and there shall no man see us but God, and if thou dread him there is no place that may be hid from him. And when the old man heard that, he said to her: And knowest thou that there is a God? And she answered: I know that there is a God, and a realm of a to-coming world, for them that shall be saved, and also torments in hell for sinners. And he said to her: If thou knowest this, wherefore hast thou lost so many souls? And thou shalt not only give accounts for thine own sin, but thou must reckon them that by thee have sinned. And when she heard this, she kneeled down to the feet of the abbot Pafuntius, and sore weeping, she prayed him to receive her to penance, saying: Father, I acknowledge me penitent and contrite, and trust verily by thy prayer that I shall have remission and forgiveness of my sins. I ask of thee but the space of three hours, and after that I shall go whithersomever thou wilt, and shall do that which thou shalt command me. And when he had given to her that term and assigned her whither she should come, then she took all those goods that she had won with sin, and brought them into the middle of the city tofore the people, and burnt them in the fire, saying: Come ye forth all that have sinned with me, and see ye how I burn that which ye have given to me. And the value of the goods that she burnt was of five hundred pounds of gold. And when she had all burnt it, she went to the place which the abbot had assigned to her. And there was a monastery of virgins, and there he closed her in a cell, and sealed the door with lead. And the cell was little and straight, and but one little window open, by which was ministered of her poor living. For the abbot commanded that they should give to her a little bread and water. And when the abbot should depart, Thaisis said to him: Father, where shall I shed the water, and that which shall come from the conduits of nature? And he said to her: In thy cell, as thou art worthy. And then she demanded how she should pray, and he answered: Thou art not worthy to name God, ne that the name of the Trinity be in thy mouth, ne stretch thy hands to heaven, because thy lips be full of iniquities, and thine hands full of evil attouchings, and foul ordures, but look only towards the east and say oft of these words: Qui plasmasti me, miserere mei, Lord that hast formed me, have mercy on me. And when she had been there three years closed, the abbot Pafuntius remembered and sorrowed, and went to the abbot Anthony for to require of him if God had forgiven her her sins. And the cause told, S. Anthony called his disciples and commanded them that they should all wake that night and be in prayer so that God should declare to some of them the cause why the abbot Pafuntius was come. And then as they prayed without ceasing, the abbot Paul, the greatest disciple of S. Anthony, saw suddenly in heaven a bed arrayed with precious vestments, which three virgins arrayed, with clear visages. And these three virgins were named, the first was Dread which drew Thaisis from evil, and the second Shame of the sins that she committed, and that made her to deserve pardon, and the third was Love of Righteousness, which brought her to high sovereign place. And when Paul had said to him that the grace of this vision was only by the merits of S. Anthony, a goodly voice answered that it was not only by the merits of Anthony, his father, but by the merit of Thaisis, the sinner. And on the morn when the abbot Paul recounted his vision, and they had known the will of God, the abbot Pafuntius departed with great joy and went anon to the monastery where she was, and opened the door of the cell. And she prayed him that she might yet abide there enclosed in, and the abbot said to her, Issue and go out, for God hath forgiven to thee thy sins. And she answered: I take God to witness that sith I entered herein I have made of all my sins a sum, and have set them tofore mine eyes, and like as the breath departeth not from the mouth and the nostrils, so the sins departed never from mine eyes, but always have bewept them. To whom the abbot Pafuntius said: God hath not pardoned thee thy sins for thy penance, but because that thou hast had always dread in thy courage. And he took her out from thence, and she lived after, fifteen days, and then she rested in our Lord.
The abbot Effrem converted in like wise another common woman, for when that common woman would have drawn S. Effrem for to have sinned dishonestly, he said to her: Follow me, and she followed. And when they came in a place where a great multitude of men were, he said to her, Sit down here, that I may have to do with thee; and she said: How may I do this among so great multitude of people here standing? And he said, If thou be ashamed of the people, thou oughtest to have greater shame of God which seeth all things hid, and she went away all ashamed.
Here followeth the Life of S. Denis, and first of his name.
Denis is as much to say as hastily fleeing, or Denis is said of dia, which is as much to say as two, and nysus, which is to say lift up, for he was lifted up after two things, that is, after the body and after the soul. Or Denis may be said of Diana, that is Venus, the goddess of beauty, and of sios, that is to say God, as who saith, he is fair to God; or as some say he is said of Dionisia, that is, after Isidore, a precious stone black, which is good against drunkenness. He was hasty in fleeing the world by perfect renunciation. He was lift up by contemplation of things within forth, he was fair to God by beauty of virtues. He profited to sinners against drunkenness of vices, and he had many names tofore his conversion, for he was called Areopagita, for the street that he dwelled in. He was called Theosophus, that is to say wise to God. Also of the wise men of Greece, he is said unto this day Pterigiontuvrani, that is to say, the wing of heaven, for he flew marvellously with the wing of spiritual understanding into heaven. Also he was said Macarius, that is, blessed. Also he was said of his country lonicus. Ionica, as saith Papias, is one of the languages of Greeks. Or Ionices be said a manner of round pillars. Or Ionicum is said a foot of versifying which hath two syllables short and twain long. By which he is showed that he was wise and knowing God by inquisition of things privy and hid, wing of heaven by love of things celestial, and blessed by possession of everlasting goods. By other things it is showed that he was a marvellous rhetorician by eloquence, a sustainer and a bearer up of the church by doctrine, short to himself by humility, and long to others by charity. S. Austin saith in the eighth book of the City of God that Ionique is a kind of philosophers, Italian, which be towards Italy, and lonian which be of the parts of Greece, and because that Denis was a sovereign philosopher he was named Ionicus. And Methodius of ConstantinopIe indited his life and his passion in Greekish tongue, and Anastasius in Latin, which was a writer of the Bible of the church of Rome, as Hincmar, bishop of Rheims, saith.
Of S. Denis.
S. Denis Areopagite was converted to the faith of Jesu Christ of S. Paul the apostle. And he was called Areopagite of the street that he dwelled in. And in that street called Areopage was the temple of Mars, for they of Athens named every street of the gods that they worshipped in the same, and that street that they worshipped in the god Mars, they called Areopage, for Areo is to say Mars, and pagus is a street, and where they worshipped Pan, they named Panopage, and so of all other streets. Areopage was the most excellent street, because that the noble men haunted it, and therein were the scholars of the arts liberal, and Denis dwelled in that street, which was a right great philosopher. And forasmuch as the plant of wisdom of the deity was in him he was called Theosophus, that is to say, knowing God. And one Apollophanes was his fellow in philosophy. There were also Epicureans, which said that all felicity of man was in only delight of the body. And Stoics, which held opinion that it was in the only virtue of courage. And then on the day of the passion of our Lord when darkness was upon the universal world, the philosophers that were at Athens could not find in causes natural the cause of that darkness. And it was no natural eclipse, for the moon was then from the sun, and was fifteen days old, and so was in a perfect distance from the sun, and nevertheless an eclipse taketh not away the light in the universal parts of the world, and it may not endure three hours long. And it appeareth that this eclipse took away all the light, by that which S. Luke saith that, our Lord suffered in all his members; and because that the eclipse was in Heliopolis, in Egypt, and Rome and in Greece. And Orosius saith that it was in Greece, and in the end of Asia the less, and saith that when our Lord was nailed to the cross there was a right great trembling and earthquave through the world. The rocks were cut asunder, and the mountains cloven, right great floods fell in many parts, more than they were wont to do, and that day, from the sixth hour unto the ninth hour, the sun lost his sight throughout all the lands of the universal world. And in that night there was no star seen in all Egypt, and this remembereth Denis to Apollophanes, saying in his epistle: The world was dark commonly of obscurity of darkness, and after the only diameter returned purged, and when he had found that the sun might not suffer such heaviness, and that we may not have knowledge in our courage, ne understand yet the mystery of this thing by our conning and wisdom. And, O Apollophanes, mirror of doctrine, what shall I say of these secrets and hid things? I attribute and put them to thee as to a mouth divine, and not as to understanding ne speech human. To whom he said: O good Denis, these be the mutations of divine things, and in the end it is signified all along, the day and the year of the annunciation that Paul our Doctor said to our deaf ears, and by the signs that all men cried, which I remembered, I have found the very truth and am delivered from the leash of falseness. These be the words of Denis that he wrote in his epistle to Polycarp, and to Apollophanes, saying: We were, we twain, at Heliopolis, and we saw the moon of heaven go disordinately, and the time was not convenable. And yet again from the ninth hour unto evensong time, at the diameter of the sun established above all natural ordinance, that eclipse we saw begin in the east and coming unto the term of the sun. After that returning again, and not purged of that default, but was made contrary after the diameter. Then Denis and Apollophanes went to Heliopolis in Egypt by desire to learn astronomy. And after, Denis returned again. That the said eclipse took away the light from the universal parts of the world, it appeareth that Eusebius witnesseth in his chronicles, which saith that he hath read in the dictes of the Ethnicians that there was in Bithynia, which is a province of Asia the less, a great earth shaking, and also the greatest darkness that might be, and also saith that in Nicene, which is a city of Bithynia, that the earth trembling threw down houses. And it is read in Scholastica Historia that the philosophers were brought to this, that they said that: The God of nature suffered death, or else the ordinance of nature in this world was dissolved, or that the elements lived, or the God of nature suffered, and the elements had pity on him. And it is said in another place, that Denis saith: This night signified that the new very light of the world should come. And they of Athens made unto this God an altar, and set this title thereupon: This is the altar of the God unknown. And on every altar of their gods the title was set above in showing to whom that altar was dedicated, and when the Athenians would make their sacrifice unto this unknown God, the philosophers said: This God hath no need of none of our gods, but let us kneel down tofore him and pray unto him devoutly, for he requireth not the oblations of beasts but the devotions of our courages. And after, when the blessed S. Paul came to Athens, the Epicurean philosophers and Stoics disputed with him. Some of them said: What will this sower of words say? And others said that he seemed a shower of new gods that be devils. And then they brought him into the street of the philosophers, for to examine their new doctrine, and they said to him: Bringest thou any new tidings? We would know what thou hast brought to us. For the Athenians entended to none other thing but to hear some new things. And then when S. Paul had beholden all their altars he saw among them the altar of God unknown, and Paul said: Whom honour ye that ye know not, him show I to you to be very God that made heaven and earth. And after, he said to Denis, whom he saw best learned in divine things: Denis, what is he, that unknown God? And Denis said: He is verily a God which among gods is not showed, but to us he is unknown, and to come into the world and to reign without end. And Paul said: Is he a man only, or spirit? And Denis said: He is God and man but he is unknown, because his conversation is in heaven. Then said S. Paul: This is he that I preach, which descended from heaven, and took our nature human, and suffered death and arose again the third day.
And as S. Denis disputed yet with S. Paul, there passed by adventure by that way a blind man tofore them, and anon Denis said to Paul: If thou say to this blind man in the name of thy God: See, and then he seeth, I shall anon believe in him, but thou shalt use no words of enchantment, for thou mayst haply know some words that have such might and virtue. And S. Paul said: I shall write tofore the form of the words, which be these: In the name of Jesu Christ, born of the virgin, crucified and dead, which arose again and ascended into heaven, and from thence shall come for to judge the world: See. And because that all suspicion be taken away, Paul said to Denis that he himself should pronounce the words. And when Denis had said those words in the same manner to the blind man, anon the blind man recovered his sight. And then Denis was baptized and Damaris his wife and all his meiny, and was a true christian man and was instructed and taught by S. Paul three years, and was ordained bishop of Athens, and there was in predication, and converted that city, and great part of the region, to christian faith. And it is said that S. Paul showed to him that he saw when he was ravished into the third heaven, like as S. Denis saith and showeth in divers places, whereof he speaketh so clearly of the hierarchies of angels, and of the orders and of the dispositions and offices of them, so that it is not supposed that he learned of any other, but only of him that was ravished into the third heaven, and had seen all things. He flourished by the spirit of prophecy like as it appeareth in an epistle that he sent to John the Evangelist, in the isle of Patmos, to which he was sent in exile, whereas he prophesied that he should come again, saying thus: Enjoy thou verily beloved, very wonderful and to be desired, right well beloved, thou shalt be let out from the keeping tbat thou hast in Patmos, and shalt return unto the land of Asia, and thou shalt make there the following of thy good God,and the good works of him, and shalt deliver them to them that shall come after thee. And, as it is seen and showed in the book of the names divine, he was at the dying of the blessed Virgin Mary. And when he heard that Peter and Paul were imprisoned at Rome under Nero, he ordained a bishop under him, and came for to visit them. And when they were martyred and passed to God, and Clement was set in the see of Rome, after a certain time he was sent of the said Clement into France, and he had in his company Rusticus and Eleutherius, and then he came with them to Paris and converted there much people to the faith, and did do make many churches, and set in them clerks of divers orders. And then he shone by so great heavenly grace that, when the bishops of the idols moved by strife the people against him, and the people came for to destroy him, anon as they had seen him they left all their cruelty, and kneeled down at his feet, where they had so great dread that they fled away from him for fear.
But the devil which had envy, and saw every day his power minished and destroyed, and that the church increased and had victory of him, moved Domitian the emperor in so great cruelty that he made a commandment that whosomever might find any christian man, that he should constrain them to do sacrifice or torment them by divers torments. And then he sent the provost Fescennius of Rome to Paris against the christian men. And found there the blessed Denis preaching, and made him cruelly to be beaten, bespit and despised, and fast to be bounden with Rusticus and Eleutherius, and to be brought tofore him: And when he saw that the saints were constant and firm in the acknowledging of our Lord, he was much heavy and sorrowful. Then came thither a noble matron, which said that her husband was foully deceived of these enchanters, and then anon the husband was sent for, and he abiding in the confession of our Lord, was anon put to death. And the saints were beaten cruelly of twelve knights, and were straightly bounden with chains of iron, and put in prison. The day following, Denis was laid upon a gridiron, and stretched all naked upon the coals of fire, and there he sang to our Lord saying: Lord thy word is vehemently fiery, and thy servant is embraced in the love thereof. And after that he was put among cruel beasts, which were excited by great hunger and famine by long fasting, and as soon as they came running upon him he made the sign of the cross against them, and anon they were made most meek and tame. And after that he was cast into a furnace of fire, and the fire anon quenched, and he had neither pain ne harm. And after that he was put on the cross, and thereon he was long tormented, and after, he was taken down and put into a dark prison with his fellows and many other christian men. And as he sang there the mass and communed the people, our Lord appeared to him with great light, and delivered to him bread, saying: Take this, my dear friend, for thy reward is most great with me. After this they were presented to the judge and were put again to new torments, and then he did do smite off the heads of the three fellows, that is to say, Denis, Rusticus, and Eleutherius, in confessing the name of the holy Trinity. And this was done by the temple of Mercury, and they were beheaded with three axes. And anon the body of S. Denis raised himself up, and bare his head between his arms, as the angel led him two leagues from the place, which is said the hill of the martyrs, unto the place where he now resteth, by his election, and by the purveyance of God. And there was heard so great and sweet a melody of angels that many of them that heard it believed in our Lord. And Laertia, wife of the foresaid provost Lubrius, said that she was christian, and anon she was beheaded of the wicked felons, and was baptized in her blood, and so died.
And Virbius his son, which was a knight at Rome under three emperors, came afterward to Paris and was baptized, and put himself in the number of the religious. And the wicked paynims doubted that the good christian men would bury the body of Rusticus and Eleutherius, and commanded that they should be cast into the river Seine. And a noble woman bade them to dine that bare them, and whilst they dined, this lady took away the bodies and buried them secretly in a field of hers, and after, when the persecution was ceased, she took them thence, and laid them honourably with the body of S. Denis. And they suffered death about the year of our Lord four score and sixteen, under Domitian. The years of the age of S. Denis four score and ten.
On a time when Regulus the holy bishop sang mass at Arles, and rehearsed the names of the apostles in the canon, he added and joined thereto the blessed martyrs Denis, Rusticus, and Eleutherius, which so said, many supposed that they yet lived, and marvelled why he so rehearsed their names in the canon. And they so wondering, there appeared upon the cross of the altar three doves sitting, which had the names of the saints marked and written on their breasts with blood, which diligently beholding, they understood well that the saints were departed out of this world. And Hincmar, bishop of Rheims, saith in an epistle which he sent to Charles that, this Denis that was sent into France was Denis Areopagite as afore is said, and the same saith Johannes Scotus in an epistle to Charles, lest by the reason of the counting of the time should be said against, as some would object. About the year of our Lord eight hundred and thirty-two, in the time of Louis, king of France, the messengers of Michael, emperor of Constantinople, among other things, brought to Louis, son of Charles le Grand, the books of S. Denis of the hierarchy of the angels, translated out of Greek into Latin, and were received with great joy, and that same night were nineteen sick men healed in his church.
About the year of our Lord six hundred and forty-three, like as it is contained in a chronicle, Dagobert, king of France, which reigned long tofore Pepin, began to have from his childhood great reverence to S. Denis, for when he doubted in that time the ire of his father Clothair, he fled anon to the church of S. Denis. And when this holy king was dead, it was showed in a vision unto a holy man that, the soul of him was ravished to judgment, and that many saints accused him that he had despoiled their churches. And as the wicked angels would have had him to the pains, the blessed Denis came thither, and by him he was delivered at his coming, and escaped from the pains, and peradventure the soul returned to the body and did penance. King Clovis discovered the body of S. Denis not duly, and brake the bone of his arm and ravished it away covetously, and anon he became out of his mind. Then let us worship Almighty God in his saints, that we, by their merits, may amend ourselves in this wretched life, that we may after this life come into his sempiternal bliss in heaven. Amen.
Here followeth of S. Calixtus, and first of his name.
Calixtus is said of caleo, cales, that is to say, eschauffe or make warm. For he was hot and burning, first in the love of God, and after, he was hot and burning in getting and purchasing souls, and thirdly, he was hot in destroying the false idols, and also in showing the pains for sin.
Of S. Calixtus.
Calixtus the pope was martyred the year of our Lord two hundred and twenty-two, under Alexander the emperor. And by the works of the said emperor the most apparent part of Rome was then burnt by vengeance of God, and the left arm of the idol Jupiter, which was of fine gold, was molten. And then all the priests of the idols went to the emperor Alexander, and required him that the gods that were angry might be appeased by sacrifices. And as they sacrificed on a Thursday by the morn, the air being all clear, four of the priests of the idols were smitten to death with one stroke of thunder. And the altar of Jupiter was burnt, so that all the people fled out of the walls of Rome. And when Palmatius, consul, knew that Calixtus with his clerks. hid him over the water of Tiber, he
required that the christian men, by whom this evil was happed and come, should be put out for to purge and cleanse the city. And when he had received power for to do so, he hasted him incontinent with his knights for to accomplish it, and anon they were all made blind. And then Palmatius was afeard, and showed this unto Alexander. And then the emperor commanded that the Wednesday all the people should assemble and sacrifice to Mercury, that they might have answer upon these things. And as they sacrificed, a maid of the temple, which was named Juliana, was ravished of the devil, and began to cry: The god of Calixtus is very true and living, which is wroth and hath indignation of our ordures. And when Palmatius heard that, he went over Tiber unto the city of Ravenna unto S. Calixtus, and was baptized of him, he, his wife, and all his meiny. And when the emperor heard that, he did do call him, and delivered him to Simplician, senator, for to warn and treat him by fair words, because he was much profitable for the commune. And Palmatius persevered in fastings and in prayers. Then came to him a man which promised to him that if he healed his wife, which had the palsy, that he would believe in God anon. And when Palmatius had adored and prayed, the woman that was sick arose, and was all whole, and ran to Palmatius saying: Baptize me in the name of Jesu Christ, which hath taken me by the hand and lifted me up. Then came Calixtus and baptized her and her husband, and Simplician and many others. And when the emperor heard hereof, he sent to smite off the heads of all them that were baptized, and made Calixtus to live five days in the prison without meat and drink, and after, he saw that Calixtus was the more comforted and glad, and commanded that he should every day be beaten with staves. And after, he made a great stone to be bounden to his neck, and to be thrown down from an height out of a window into a pit. And Asterius, his priest, took up the body out of the pit, and after, buried the body in the cemetery of Calipodium.
achaufed, pp., kindled.
adjousting, pr. p.,Fr. ajouter, adding.
alleged, v., Fr. alleger, mitigated.
ampulles, n., flasks or phials.
anenst, adv., in the sight of.
artillour, n., engineer,
avoid, v., to destroy.
bain, n., (Fr.) a bath.
blechures, n., Fr. blessures, wounds.
boystous, adj., strong.
brede, n., the size,
canticis, n., the Song of Solomon.
capax, adj., able to meet or withstand.
celyer, n., cupboard or store place.
chasse, n., box or shrine.
clock, n., Fr, cloche, bell,
complained, v., pitied.
con, v., be able to.
conjured, v., exorcised.
courage, n., mind.
defended, v., forbade.
do make, did do make =caused to be made.
eculee, n., the rack.
empeshment, n., Fr. empčchement, hindrance.
enseign, v., Fr. enseigner, to teach.
feria, n., day of the week.
gins, n., snares.
holm, n., elm tree.
japes, n., gibes.
juments, n., mares.
kittled, v., tickled, excited.
Ieasings, n., Iies.
lettrure, n., learning.
Ieye, v., stain or pollute.
malerous, adj., Fr. malheureux, evil disposed.
meiny. n.. retinue.
noot, v., know not.
porret, n., leek.
quarel, n., arrow.
rather, adj., former.
refrigery, n., refreshment.
renoinee, n., renown.
rogneth, v.. to eat away.
sacred, pp., consecrated.
sort, v., adapt or place.
sourd, v., issue, spring.
terrien, adj., earthly,
thau, n., the Greek t , a headless cross.
truffes, n., flouts.
utas, n., octave.
wood, adj., mad.