Here followeth the Life of S. Katherine,
virgin and martyr, and first of her name.
KATHERINE is said of catha, that is all, and ruina that is falling, for all the edifice
of the devil fell all from her. For the edifice of pride fell from her by humility that
she had, and the edifice of fleshly desire fell from her by her virginity, and worldly
covetise, for that she despised all worldly things. Or Katherine may be said as, a little
chain, for she made a chain of good works by which she mounted into heaven, and this chain
or ladder had four grees or steps which be: innocence of work, cleanness of body,
despising of vanity and saying of truth, which the prophet putteth by order where he
saith: Quis ascendet in montem domini? Innocens manibus. Who shall ascend into the
mountain of our Lord? that is heaven, and he answereth: The innocent of his hands, he that
is clean in his heart, he that hath not taken in vain his soul, and he that hath not sworn
in fraud and deceit to his neighbour. And it appeareth in her legend how these four
degrees were in her.
Katherine, by descent of line, was of the noble lineage of the emperors of Rome as it
shall be declared more plainly hereafter by a notable chronicle, whose most blessed life
and conversation wrote the solemn doctor Athanasius, which knew her lineage and her life,
for he was one of her masters in her tender age ere she was converted to the christian
faith. And after, the said Athanasius, by her preaching and marvellous work of our Lord,
was converted also, which, after her martyrdom, was made bishop of Alexandria, and a
glorious pillar of the church by the grace of God and merits of S. Katherine.
And as we find by credible chronicles, in the time of Diocletian and Maximian was great
and cruel tyranny showed in all the world, as well to christian men as to paynims, so that
many that were subject to Rome put away the yoke of servage and rebelled openly against
the empire. Among whom the realm of Armenia was one that withstood most the tribute of the
Romans, wherefore they of Rome deputed a noble man of dignity named Constantius, which was
tofore others a valiant man in arms, discreet and virtuous. The which lord, after he came
in to Armenia, anon subdued them by his discreet prudence, and deserved to have the love
and favour of his enemies, in so much that he was desired to marry the daughter of the
king which was sole heir of the realm, and he consented and married her. And soon after
the king her father died, and then Constantius was enhanced and crowned king, which soon
after had a son by his wife named Costus, at the birth of whom his mother died. After the
death of whom Constantius returned to Rome to see the emperor, and to know how his
lordships were governed in those parts, and in the meantime tidings came to Rome how that
Great Britain, which now is called England, rebelled against the empire. Wherefore, by the
advice of the consulate, it was concluded that Constantius, king of Armenia, should go
into Britain to subdue them; which addressed him thither, and in short time after he
entered into the land, by his prowess and wisdom he appeased the realm and subdued it
again to the empire of Rome. And also he was so acceptable to the king of Britain, named
Coel, that he married his daughter Helen, which afterward found the holy cross, and in
short time he gat on her Constantine, which after was emperor. And then soon after died
Constantius. And Constantine, after the death of King Coel, by his mother was crowned king
of Britain. And Costus, the first son of Constantius, wedded the king's daughter of
Cyprus, which was heir, of whom, as shall be hereafter said, was engendered S. Katherine,
which came of the lineage of Constantius.
Now followeth the Life of S. Katherine.
In the year of our Lord two hundred, reigned in Cyprus a noble and prudent king named
Costus, which was a noble and seemly man, rich and of good conditions, and had to his wife
a queen like to himself in virtuous governance, which lived together prosperously, but
after the law of paynims, and worshipped idols. This king, because he loved renomee and
would have his name spread through the world, he founded a city in which he edified a
temple of his false gods, and named that city after his name Costi, which after, to
increase his fame, the people named it Fama Costi, and yet unto this day is called
Famagosta; in which city he and the queen lived in great wealth and prosperity. And like
as the fair rose springeth among the briars and thorns, right so between these two paynims
was brought forth this blessed S. Katherine. And when this holy virgin was born she was so
fair of visage and so well formed Katherine in her members that all the people enjoyed in
her beauty, and when she came to seven years of age,anon after she was set to school,
where she profited much more than any other of her age, and was informed in the arts
liberal, wherein she drank plenteously of the well of wisdom, for she was chosen to be a
teacher and informer of everlasting wisdom. The king Costus her father had so great joy of
the great towardness and wisdom of his daughter, that he let ordain a tower in his palace,
with divers studies and chambers, in which she might be at her pleasure and also at her
will, and also he ordained for to wait on her seven the best masters and wisest in conning
that might be gotten in those parts. And within a while they that came to teach her, they
after that, learned of her and became her disciples.
And when this virgin came to the age of fourteen years, her father kIng Costus died,
and then she was left as queen and heir after him, and then the estates of the land came
to this young lady, Katherine, and desired her to make a parliament in which she might be
crowned and receive the homage of her subjects, and that such rule might be set in her
beginning, that peace and prospenty might ensue in her realm. And this young maid granted
to them their asking. And when the parliament was assembled and the young queen crowned
with great solemnity, and she sitting on a day in her parliament, and her mother by her,
with all the lords each in his place, a lord arose by the assent of her mother, the other
lords, and the commons, and kneeled down tofore her, saying these words: Right high and
mighty princess, and our most sovereign lady, please if you to wit that I am commanded by
the queen your mother, by all the lords and commons of this your realm, to require your
highness that it may please you to grant to them that they might provide some noble knight
or prince to marry you, to the end that he might rule and defend your realm and subjects,
like as your father did before you, and also that of you might proceed noble lineage which
after you may reign upon us, which thing we most desire, and hereof we desire your good
answer. This young queen Katherine, hearing this request, was abashed and troubled in her
courage how she might answer to content her mother, the lords, and her subjects, and to
keep herself chaste, for she had concluded to keep her virginity, and rather to suffer
death than to defile it. And then with a sad cheer and meek look she answered in this
wise: Cousin, I have well understood your request, and thank my mother, the lords, and my
subjects of the great love that they all have to me and to my realm, and as touching my
marriage, I trust verily there may be no peril, considering the great wisdom of my lady my
mother, and of the lords, with the good obeisance of the commons, trusting in their good
continuance. Wherefore we need not to seek a stranger for to rule us and our realm, for
with your good assistance and aid we hope to rule, govern, and keep this our realm in good
justice, peace, and rest, in like wise as the king my father held you in. Wherefore at
this time I pray you to be content and to cease of this matter, and let us proceed to such
matters as be requisite for the rule, governance and universal weal of this realm. And
when this young queen Katherine had achieved her answer, the queen her mother, and all the
lords, were abashed of her of words and wist not what to say, for they considered well by
her words that she had no will to be married. And then there arose and stood up a duke,
which was her uncle, and with due reverence said to her in this wise: My sovereign lady,
saving your high and noble discretion, this answer is full heavy to my lady your mother,
and to us all your humble liegemen, without ye take better advice to your noble courage.
Wherefore I shall move to you of four notable things that the great God hath endowed you
with before all other creatures that we know, which things ought to cause you to take a
lord to your husband, to the end that the plenteous gifts of nature and grace may spring
of you by generation, which may succeed by right line to reign upon us, to the great
comfort and joy of all your people and subjects, and the contrary should turn to great
sorrow and heaviness. Now, good uncle, said she, what be these four notable things that so
ye repute in us? Madame, said he, the first is this, that we be ascertained that ye be
come of the most noble blood in the world. The second, that ye be a great inheritor, and
the greatest that liveth of woman to our knowledge. The third is, that ye in science,
conning, and wisdom pass all other, and the fourth is, in bodily shape and beauty there is
none like to you. Wherefore, madame, us think that these four notable things must needs
constrain you to incline to our request. Then said this young Queen Katherine with a sad
countenance: Now, uncle, sith God and nature have wrought so great virtues in us, we be so
much more bound to love and to please him, and we thank him humbly of his great and large
gifts. But sith ye desire so much that we should consent to be married, we let you plainly
wit that like as ye have described us, so will we describe him that we will have to
Katherine our lord and husband, and if ye can get such an one we will agree to take him
with all our heart. For he that shall be lord of mine heart and mine husband shall have
the four notable things in him over all measure; so farforthly that all creatures shall
have need of him, and he needeth of none. And he that shall be my lord must be of so noble
blood that all men shall do to him worship, and therewith so great a lord that I shall
never think that I made him a king, and so rich that he pass all others in riches. And so
full of beauty that angels have joy to behold him, and so pure that his mother be a
virgin. And so meek and benign that he can gladly forgive all offences done unto him. Now
I have described to you him that I will have and desire to my lord and to my husband, go
ye and seek him, and if ye can find such an one, I will be his wife with all mine heart,
if he vouchsafe to have me. And finally, but if ye find such an one I shall never take
none, and take this for a final answer. And with this she cast down her eyes meekly and
held her still. And when the queen her mother and the lords heard this, they made great
sorrow and heaviness, for they saw well that there was no remedy in that matter. Then said
her mother to her with an angry voice: Alas, daughter, is this your great wisdom that is
talked so far? Much sorrow be ye like to do me and all yours. Alas! who saw ever woman
forge to her such a husband with such virtues as ye do? For such one as ye have devised,
there was never none, ne never shall be, and therefore, daughter, Ieave this folly, and do
as your noble elders have done tofore you. And then said this young Queen Katherine unto
her mother, with a piteous sighing: Madam, I wot well by very reason that there is one
much better than I can devise him, and but be by his grace find me, I shall never have
joy. For I feel by great reason that there is a way that we be clean out of, and we be in
darkness, and till the light of grace come we may not see the clear way, and when it
pleaseth him to come he shall avoid all darkness of the clouds of ignorance, and show him
clearly to me whom my heart so fervently desireth and loveth. And if it so be that he list
not that I find him, yet reason commandeth me to keep whole that is unhurt, wherefore I
beseech you meekly, my lady mother, that ye ne none other move me more of this matter, for
I promise you plainly that for to die therefore I shall never have other husband but only
him that I have described, to whom I shall truly keep me with all the pure love of mine
heart. And with this she arose, and her mother and all the lords of the parliament, with
great sorrow and lamentation, and taking their leave, departed. And this noble young
Katherine went to her palace, whose heart was set afire upon this husband that she had
devised, that she could do nothing, but all her mind and intent was set on him, and
continually mused how she might find him, but she could not find the means, how well he
was nigh to her heart that she sought. For he had kindled a burning love which could never
after be quenched for no pain ne tribulation, as it appeared in her passion.
But now I leave this young queen in her contemplation, and shall say you as far as God
will give me grace, how that our Lord by his special miracle, called her unto baptism in a
special manner, such as hath not been heard of before ne sith, and also how she was
visibly married to our Lord, in showing to her sovereign tokens of singular love. Then,
beside Alexandria, a certain space of miles, dwelled a holy father, a hermit in desert
named Adrian, which had served our Lord continually by the space of thirty years in great
penance. And on a day as he walked before his cell being in his holy meditations, there
came against him the most reverent lady that ever any earthly creature might behold, and
when this holy man beheld her high estate and excellent beauty, which was above nature, he
was sore abashed and so much astonished, that he fell down as he had been dead. Then this
blessed lady, seeing this, called him by his name goodly and said: Brother Adrian, dread
ye nothing, for I am come to you for your good honour and profit. And with that she took
him up meekly, comforting him, and said in this wise: Adrian, ye must go in a message for
me into the city of Alexandria, and to the palace of the queen Katherine, and say to her
that the lady saluteth her whose son she hath chosen to her lord and husband, sitting in
her parliament with her mother and lords about her, where she had a great confiict and
battle to keep her virginity, and say to her that this same lord whom she chose is my son,
that am a pure virgin, and he desireth her beauty and loveth her chastity among all the
virgins on the earth. I command her, without tarrying, that she come with thee alone unto
this palace, whereas she shall be new clothed, and then shall she see him, and have him to
her everlasting spouse. Then Adrian hearing this said dreadfully in this wise: Ah! blessed
lady, how shall I do this message? for I know not the city ne the way thither, and who am I, though I knew it, to do such a message to the queen? For her meiny will not suffer me
to come to her presence, and though I come to her she will not believe me, but put me in
duresse as I were a faitour. Adrian, said this blessed lady, dread ye not, for that my son
hath begun in her must be performed, for she is a chosen vessel of special grace before
all women that live, but go forth and ye shall find no letting, and enter into her
chamber, for the angel of my lord shall lead you thither, and bring you both hither
safely. Then he, meekly obeying, went forth into Alexandria and entered into the palace,
and found doors and closures opening against him, and so passed from chamber to chamber
till he came into her secret study, whereas none came but herself alone. And there he
found her in her holy contemplation, and did to her his message like as ye have heard,
according to his charge. And when this blessed virgin Katherine had heard his message and
understood by certain tokens that he came for to fetch her to him whom she so fervently
desired, anon she arose forgetting her estate and meiny, and followed this old man through
her palace and the city of Alexandria, unknown of any person, and so into desert. In which
way as they walked she demanded of him many a high question, and he answered to her
sufficiently in all her demands and informed her in the faith, and she benignly received
And as they thus went in the desert this holy man nad lost his way, and wist not where
he was and was all confused in himself, and said secretly: Alas I fear me I am deceived,
and that this be an illusion. Alas! shall this virgin here be perished among these wild
beasts? Now blessed Iady, help me that almost am in despair, and save this maiden that
hath forsa':en for your love all that she had, and hath obeyed your commandment. And as he
thus sorrowed, the blessed virgin Katherine apperceived and demanded him what him ailed,
and why he sorrowed, and he said: For you, because I cannot find my cell, ne wot not where
I am. Father, said she, dread ye not, for trust ye verily, that that good lady which sent
you for me, shall not suffer us to perish in this wilderness, and then she said to him:
What monastery is yonder that I see, which is so rich and fair to behold? And he demanded
of her where she saw it, and she said: Yonder in the east, and then he wiped his eyes and
saw the most glorious monastery that ever he saw, whereof he was full of joy, and said to
her: Now blessed be God that hath endowed you with so perfect faith, for there is that
place wherein ye shall receive so great worship and joy, that there was never none like,
save only our blessed Lady, Christ's own mother, queen of all queens. Now, good Father
Adrian, hie you fast that we were there, for there is all my desire and joy. And soon
after they approached that glorious place, and when they came to the gate, there met them
a glorious company, all clothed in white and with chaplets of white lilies on their heads,
whose beauty was so great and bright that the virgin Katherine ne the old man might not
behold them, but all ravished fell down in great dread. Then one more excellent than
another spake first, and said to this virgin: Katherine, stand up our dear sister, for ye
be right welcome, and led her farther in till they came to the second gate where another
more glorious company they came to the second gate where another more glorious company met
her, all clothed in purple, with fresh chaplets of red roses on their heads. And the holy
virgin seeing them, fell down for reverence and dread, and they, benignly comforting her,
took her up and said to her: Dread ye nothing, our dear sister, for there was never none
more heartily welcome to our sovereign lord than ye be, and to us all, for ye shall
receive our clothing ard our crown with so great honour, that all saints shall joy in you;
Come forth, for the Lord abideth desiring you. And then this blessed virgin Katherine with
trembling joy passed forth with them, like as she that was ravished with so marvellous joy
that she could not speak, and when she was entered into the body of the church she heard a
melody of marvellous sweetness, which passed all hearts to think it, and there they beheld
a royal queen standing in her estate with a great multitude of angels and saints, whose
beauty and riches might no heart think, ne no pen write, for it exceedeth every man's
mind. Then the noble company of martyrs with the fellowship of virgins, which led the
virgin Katherine, fell down flat tofore this royal empress with sovereign reverence,
saying in this wise: Our most sovereign Lady Queen of heaven, Lady of all the world,
Empress of hell, Mother of Almighty God, King of bliss, to whose commandment obey all
heavenly creatures and earthly, liketh it you that we here present to you our dear sister,
whose name is written in the Book of Life, beseeching your benign grace to receive her as
your daughter chosen and humble handmaid, for to accomplish the work which our blessed
Lord hath begun in her. And with that our blessed Lady said: Bring ye my daughter and when
the holy virgin heard our Lady speak, she was so much replenished with heavenly joy that
she lay as she had been dead. Then the holy company took her up and brought her tofore our
blessed Lady, to whom she said: My dear daughter ye be welcome to me, and ye be strong and
of good comfort, for ye be specially chosen of my son to be honoured. Remember ye not how
sitting in your parliament ye described to you a husband, whereas ye had a great conflict
and battle in defending your chastity? And then this holy Katherine kneeling with most
humble reverence and dread said: O most blessed Lady; blessed be ye among all women; I
remember how I chose that Lord which then was full far from my knowledge, but now blessed
Lady, by his mighty mercy and your special grace he hath opened the eyes of my blind
conscience and ignorance, so that now I see the clear way of truth, and humbly beseech you
most blessed Lady, that I may have him whom my heart loveth and desireth above all things,
without whom I may not live. And with these words her spirits were so fast closed that she
lay as she had been dead, and then our Lady in conforting her said: My dear daughter, it
shall be as ye desire, but yet ye lack one thing that ye must receive ere ye come to the
presence of my son; ye must be clothed with the sacrament of baptism, wherefore come on my
daughter for all things are provided. For there was a font solemnly apparelled with all
things requisite unto baptism.
And then our blessed Lady called Adrian the old father to her and said: Brother, this
office longeth to you for ye be a priest, therefore baptize ye my daughter but change not
her name, for Katherine shall she be named and I shall be her godmother. And then this
holy man Adrian baptized her, and after, our Lady said to her: Now mine own daughter be
glad and joyful, for ye lack no thing that longeth to the wife of a heavenly spouse, and
now I shall bring you to my Lord my son which abideth for you. And so our Lady led her
forth unto the quire door whereas she saw our Saviour Jesu Christ with a great multitude
of angels, whose beauty is impossible to be thought or written of earthly creature, of
whose sight this blessed virgin was I fulfilled with so great sweetness that it cannot be
expressed. To whom our blessed Lady benignly said: Most sovereign honour, joy and glory be
to you, King of bliss, my Lord, my God and my son, Lo! I have brought here unto your
blessed presence your humble servant and ancille Katherine, which for your love hath
refused all earthly things, and hath at my sending obeyed to come hither, hoping and
trusting to receive that I promised to her. Then our Blessed Lord took up, his mother and
said: Mother, that which pleaseth you, pleaseth me, and your desire is mine, for I desire
that she be knit to me by marriage among all the virgins of the earth. And said to her
Katherine, come hither to me. And as soon as she heard him name her name, so great a
sweetness entered into her soul that she was all ravished, and therewith our Lord gave to
her a new strength which passed nature, and said to her: Come my spouse, and give to me
your hand. And there our Lord espoused her in joining himself to her by spiritual
marriage, promising ever to keep her in all her life in this world, and after this life to
reign perpetually in his bliss, and in token of this set a ring on her finger, which he
commanded her to keep in remembrance of this, and said: Dread ye not, my dear spouse, I
shall not depart from you, but always comfort and strengthen you. Then said this new
spouse: O blessed Lord, I thank you with all mine heart of all your great mercies,
beseeching you to make me digne and worthy to be thy servant and handmaid, and to please
you whom my heart loveth and desireth above all things. And thus this glorious marriage
was made, whereof all the celestial court joyed and sang this verse in heaven: Sponsus
amat sponsam, salvator visitat illam, with so great melody that no heart may express ne
This was a glorious and singular marriage to which was never none like before in earth,
wherefore this glorious virgin, Katherine, ought to be honoured, lauded, and praised among
all the virgins that ever were in earth. And then our blessed Lord, after this marriage,
said unto the blessed Katherine: Now the time is come that I must depart into the place
that I came from, wherefore what that ye will desire I am ready to grant to you, and after
my departing ye must abide here with old Adrian ten days, till ye be perfectly informed in
all my laws and will. And when ye shall be come home ye shall find your mother dead, but
dread ye not, for ye were never missed there in all this time, for I have ordained there
one in your stead, that all men ween it were yourself, and when ye come home, she that is
there in your stead shall void. Now fare well, my dear spouse. And then she cried with a
full piteous voice: Ah! my sovereign Lord God and all the joy of my soul, have ye ever
mine on me. And with that he blessed her and vanished away from her sight. And then for
sorrow of his departing she fell in a swoon so that she lay still a large hour without any
life, and then was Adrian a sorry man, and cried upon her so long that at the last she
came to herself and revived and lift up her eyes and saw nothing about her save an old
cell, and the old man Adrian by her, weeping. For all the royalty was voided, both
monastery and palace, and all the comfortable sights that she had seen, and specially he
which was cause of all her joy and comfort; and then she sorrowed, l mourned, and wept
unto the time that she saw the ring on her finger, and for joy thereof yet she swooned,
and after she kissed it a thousand sithes with many a piteous tear, and then Adrian
comforted her the best wise he could with many a blessed exhortation. And the blessed
virgin Katherine took all his comforts and obeyed him as to her father, and dwelled with
him the time that our Lord had assigned her till she was sufficiently taught all that was
needful to her. And then she went home to her palace and governed her holily in converting
many creatures to the christian faith of Jesu Christ, on whom all her joy was wholly set,
and ever he was in her mind, and so dwelled still in her palace, never idle, but ever
continued in the service of our Lord, full of charity, where awhile I let her dwell
fulfilled of virtues and grace, as the dear and singular spouse of Almighty God.
And then in this meantime Maxentius, that was then emperor, and vicious to God's law
and cruel tyrant, considered the noble and royal city of Alexandria, and came thither and
assembled all the people, rich and poor, for to make sacrifice to the idols, and the
christian men that would not make sacrifice he let slay. And this holy virgin was at that
time eighteen years of age, dwelling in her palace full of riches and of servants, alone,
without parents and kin, and heard the braying and noise of beasts, and the joy that they
made and sung, and marvelled what it might be, and sent one of her servants hastily to
inquire what it was. And when she knew it, she took some of the people of her palace and
garnished her with the sign oi the cross and went thither, and found there many christian
men to be led to do sacrifice for fear of death. Then was she strongly troubled for
sorrow, and went forth hardily to the emperor, and said in this wise: The dignity of thine
order and the way of reason have moved me to salute thee, if thou know the creator and
maker of heaven, and wouldst revoke thy courage from the worshipping of false gods. And
then she disputed of many things with Cæsar tofore the gates of the temple. And then she
began to say: I have set my cure to say these things to thee as to a wise man, wherefore
hast thou now assembled this multitude of people thus in vain for to adore the folly of
the idols. Hast thou marvel of this temple that is made with man's hands? Wonderest thou
on the precious ornaments which be as dust tofore the wind? Thou shouldst rather marvel
thee of heaven, and of the earth, and of all the things that be therein, and of the sun,
the moon, the stars, and of the planets that have been since the beginning of the world,
and shall be as long as it shall please God; and marvel thee of the ornaments of heaven,
that is to say, the sun, moon, stars, and planets, how they move from the orient to the
occident and never be weary, and when thou shalt have knowledge of all these things, and
hast apperceived it, demand after, who is most mightyof all, and when thou knowest him
that is sovereign and maker of all things, to whom none is semblable ne like, then adore
him and glorify, for he is God of gods, and Lord of lords. And when she had disputed of
many things of the Incarnation of the Son of God much wisely, the emperor was much abashed
and could not answer to her, but at the last when he was come to himself, he said to her:
O thou woman, suffer us to finish our sacrifice, and after, we shall give thee an answer.
Then commanded he that she should be led to his palace and to be kept with great
diligence, and marvelled much of her great prudence and of her great beauty, for she was
right fair to behold, unto the people. And after this the emperor came to the palace, and
said to Katherine: We have heard thy fair speech and be marvellously abashed of thy
wisdom, but we be so occupied in the sacrifices that we may not entend to understand all
things. And we demand thee, first, of what lineage art thou? And the holy virgin Katherine
said: Praise not thyself over much, ne blame thyself also, for so do fools that travail in
vain glory. Nevertheless, I shall acknowledge to thee my lineage, not for any avaunting
but by humility. I am Katherine, daughter of Costus the king, and howbeit that I was born
in purple, and am informed in the arts liberal, yet have I despised all things and have
given me wholly to our Lord Jesu Christ, and the gods that thou worshippest may not help
thee ne none other. O ye cursed adorers of such gods, for when they be called in need they
help not, in tribulation they succour not, and in perils they defend not. And the king
said: If it be so as thou sayest, all the earth erreth and thou only sayest truth, and
every word ought to be confirmed by the mouth of two or three witnesses. If thou wert an
angel or a celestial virtue, yet thou oughtest not to be believed when thou art but one
frail woman. To whom she said: O emperor, I beseech thee be not overcome with woodness,
for in the courage of a wise man is no trouble, for the wise man saith: If thou governest
thyself by good courage thou shalt be a king, and if thou governest thee otherwise thou
shalt be a servant. And thou, as I see, ordainest to embrace us in thy mortal subtlety
when thou labourest to draw us by the ensamples of the philosophers.
And when the emperor saw that in no manner he could resist her wisdom, he sent secretly
by letters for all the great grammarians and rhetoricians that they should come hastily to
his pretorium to Alexandria, and he should give to them great gifts if they might surmount
a maiden well bespoken. And then were there brought from divers provinces fifty masters
which surmounted all mortal men in worldly wisdom. And then demanded they for what cause
they were called from so far parts, and the emperor answered and said: We have a maiden,
none comparable to her in wit and wisdom, which confoundeth all wise men, and she saith
that our gods be devils, and if ye surmount them by honour I shall send you again into
your country with joy. And one of them had hereof despite, and said by disdain: This is a
worthy counsel of an emperor, that for one maid, young and frail, he hath done assemble so
many sages, and from so far countries, and one of our clerks or scholars may overcome her.
And the king said to them: I may well by strength constrain her to sacrifice, but I had
liefer that she were overcome by your arguments.
Then said they: Let her be brought tofore us, and when she shall be overcome by folly
she may know that she never saw wise man. And when the virgin knew the strife of the
disputation that she abode, she commended her all unto our Lord, and an angel came to her
and said that she should keep her firmly for she should not be vanquished, but she should
surmount them and send them to martyrdom. And when she was brought tofore the masters and
orators she said to the emperor: What judgment is this to set fifty orators and masters
against one maid, and to promise to them great rewards for their victory, and compellest
me to dispute with them without hope of any reward? And God Jesu Christ, which is very
guerdon of them that strive for him, shall be only with me, and he shall be my reward, for
he is the hope and crown of them that fight for him. And when the masters had said that it
was impossible that God was made man, ne that he had suffered death, the virgin showed to
them that the paynims had said it tofore that he was made. For Plato said God to be all
round and to be slain, and Sibyl said thus, that the ilke God should be blessed and happy
that should hang on the cross. And when the virgin right wisely disputed with the masters,
and that she had confounded their gods by open reasons, they were abashed and wist not
what to say, but were all still. And the emperor was replenished with felony against them,
and began to blame them because they were overcome so foully of one maid. And then one
that was master above all the others said to the emperor: Know thou, sir emperor, that
never was there any that might stand against us but that anon he was overcome. But this
maid in whom the spirit of God speaketh hath so converted us that we cannot say anything
against Jesu Christ, ne we may not, ne dare not. Wherefore, sir emperor, we acknowledge
that but if thou mayest bring forth a more provable sentence of them that we have
worshipped hitherto, that all we be converted to Jesu Christ. And when the tyrant heard
this thing he was esprised with great woodness, and commanded that they all should be
burnt in the midst of the city. And the holy virgin comforted them and made them constant
to martyrdom, and informed them diligently in the faith, and because they doubted that
they should die without baptism, the virgin said to them: Doubt ye nothing, for the
effusion of your blood shall be reputed to you for baptism, and garnish you with the sign
of the cross, and ye shall be crowned in heaven.
And when they were cast into the flames of fire they rendered their souls unto God, and
neither hair ne clothes of them had none harm ne were hurt by the fire. And when the
christian men had buried them, the tyrant spake unto the virgin and said: Ah! right noble
lady virgin, have pity of thy youth, and thou shalt be chief in my palace next the queen,
and thine image shall be set up in the midst of the city, and shall be adored of all the
people as a goddess. To whom the virgin said: Leave to say such things, for it is evil to
think it. I am given and married to Jesu Christ, he is my spouse, he is my glory, he is my
love, and he is my sweetness, there may no fair words ne no torments call me from him. And
then he being full of woodness, commanded that she should be despoiled naked and beaten
with scorpions, and so beaten to be put in a dark prison, and there was tormented by
hunger by the space of twelve days.
And the emperor went out of the country for certain causes, and the queen was esprised
with great love of the virgin, and went by night to the prison with Porphyry, the prince
of knights, and when the queen entered, she saw the prison shining by great clearness, and
angels anointing the wounds of the holy virgin Katherine. And then S. Katherine began to
preach to the queen the joys of Paradise and converted her to the faith, and said to her
that she would receive the crown of martyrdom, and thus spake they together till midnight.
And when Porphyry had heard all that she had said, he fell down to her feet and received
the faith of Jesu Christ, with two hundred knights. And because the tyrant had commanded
that she should be twelve days without meat and drink, Jesu Christ sent to her a white
dove which fed her with meat celestial. And after this, Jesu Christ appeared to her with a
great multitude of angels and virgins, and said to her: Daughter, know thy maker, for whom
thou hast emprised this travailous battle; be thou constant, for I am with thee.
And when the emperor was returned, he commanded her to be brought tofore him, and when
he saw her so shining, whom he supposed to have been tormented bv great famine and
fasting, and supposed that some had fed her in prison, he was fulfilled with fury and
commanded to torment the keepers of the prison, and she said to him: Verily, I took never
sith meat of man, but Jesu Christ hath fed me by his angel. I pray thee, said the emperor,
set at thine heart this that I admonish thee, and answer not by doubtable words. We will
not hold thee as a chamberer, but thou shalt triumph as a queen in my realm, in beauty
enhanced. To whom the blessed virgin Katherine said: Understand, I pray thee, and judge
truly, whom ought I better to choose of these two, or the king puissant, perdurable,
glorious and fair, or one sick, unsteadfast, not noble, and foul? And then the emperor
having disdain, and angry by felony, spake: Of these two choose thee one, or do sacrifice
and live, or suffer divers torments and perish. And she said: Tarry not to do what
torments thou wilt, for I desire to offer to God my blood and my flesh like as he offered
for me; he is my God, my father, my friend and mine only spouse. And then a master warned
and advised the king, being wood for anger, that he should make four wheels of iron,
environed with sharp razors, cutting so that she might be horribly all detrenched and cut
in that torment, so that he might fear the other christian people by ensample of that
cruel torment. And then was ordained that two wheels should turn against the other two by
great force, so that they should break all that should be between the wheels, and then the
blessed virgin prayed our Lord that he would break these engines to the praising of his
name, and for to convert the people that were there. And anon as this blessed virgin was
set in this torment, the angel of our Lord brake the wheels by so great force that it slew
four thousand paynims.
And the queen, that beheld these things, came from above and had hid herself till then,
descending anon and began to blame the emperor of so great cruelty, and then the king was
replenished with woodness when he saw that the queen despised to do sacrifice, and did do
first rend off her paps, and after smite off her head. And as she wasled unto martyrdom,
she prayed Katherine to pray God for her, and she said to her: Ne doubt thee nothing,
well-beloved of God; for this day thou shalt have the realm perdurable for this transitory
realm, and an immortal spouse for a mortal. And she was constant and firm in the faith,
and bade the tormentors do as was to them commanded. And then the sergeants brought her
out of the city and erased off her paps with tongs of iron, and after smote off her head,
whose body Porphyry took away and buried it. The next day following was demanded where the
holy body of the queen was, and the emperor bade that many should be put to torment for to
know where the body was. Porphyry came then tofore them all, and cried, saying: I am he
that buried the body of the ancille and servant of Jesu Christ, and have received the
faith of God. And then Maxentius began to roar and bray as a mad man, and cried, saying:
O! wretched and caitiff, lo! Porphyry, which was the only keeper of my soul and comfort of
all mine evils, is deceived; which thing he told to his knights, to whom they said: And we
also be christian and be ready for to suffer death for Jesu Christ. And then the emperor,
drunken in woodness, commanded that all should be beheaded and that their bodies should be
cast to dogs, and then called he Katherine and said to her: Howbeit that thou hast made
the queen for to die by thine art magic, if thou repent thee thou shalt be first and chief
in my palace, for thou shalt this day do sacrifice or thou shalt lose thine head. And she
said to him: Do all that thou hast thought; I am ready to suffer all. And then he gave sentence against her, and commanded to smite off her head. And when she was brought to the
place ordained thereto, she lift up her eyes to heaven praying, and said: O ! Jesu Christ,
hope of and help of them that believe in thee! O beauty and glory of virgins! Good king, I
beseech and pray thee that whosomever shall remember my passion, be it at his death or in
any other necessity, and call me, that he may have by thy mercy the effect of his request
and prayer. And then came a voice to her, saying: Come unto me, my fair love and my
spouse; lo! behold the gate of heaven is open to thee, and also to them that shall hallow
thy passion, I promise the comfort of heaven of that they require. And when she was
beheaded there issued out of her body milk instead of blood, and angels took the body and
bare it unto the Mount of Sinai, more than twenty journeys from thence, and buried it
there honourably, and continually oil runneth out of her bones which healeth all maladies
and sicknesses, and she suffered death under Maxentius the tyrant, about the year of our
Lord three hundred.
How Maxentius was punished for this felony and for others, it is contained in the
history of the invention of the holy cross, but forasmuch as it was not known long after
where this holy body was become, there was great sorrow and lamentation among christian
men, saying: Alas ! the most clear light of our faith, of wisdom, and the temple of the
Holy Ghost, is gone from us, and besought God devoutly that it might please him to show to
them this holy relic, which after came to knowledge in this manner.
In the desert about the Mount of Sinai there were many christian hermits which were
inflamed with great devotion toward this holy virgin S. Katherine, wherefore by common
assent they ordained a chapel in which this holy virgin should specially remembered, which
chapel was by the Mount of Sinai, not far from the hill, fast by the place whereas our
Lord appeared in the bush to Moses. In which place the holy hermits lived in great
abstinence and devotion a glorious life. To whom on a time the angel of God appeared and
said: God hath beholden your effectual devotion from heaven, therefore he hath granted to
you this grace that by you shall be found and known the holy body of the glorious virgin
S. Katherine, to his sovereign honour and glory. And therefore arise ye up and follow me,
and though it so be that ye see me not, yet the shadow of the palm that I bear in mine
hand shall never depart from your sight. And then these hermits went forth and followed
the angel till they came to the place where unnethe any creature might enter for
straitness of the way and sharpness of the rocks; and when they came to the top of the
hill they saw not the angel, but they saw evidently the shadow of the palm, that it seemed
all the place had been shadowed by the leaves of the palm, by which they came unto the
place where the body had lain one hundred and thirty years in a stone. And her flesh was
dried up for length of time, but the bones were so compact and pure that they seemed to be
kept by the cure of angels. Then they took up with great joy and reverence this holy body
and bare it down into the chapel which they had made, and this was done by great miracle,
for the place where she lay in was so steep, thick, strait, and so dangerous, that it
seemed to man's reason impossible to come thereto. And these holy men, after they had
brought this body with solemnity, ordained the feast of the invention of this holy body
should be solemnised, which is yet there kept and is about the time of the Invention of
the Holy Cross. Which place is greatly honoured, and our Lord showeth there many miracles,
and out of the bones floweth out oil largely, by which many maladies be guerished. And it
is said that tofore the body was found that a monk went to the Mount of Sinai and dwelled
there by the space of seven years much devoutly in the service of S. Katherine, and on a
time as he prayed with great devotion that he might have something of her body, suddenly
there came a joint of one of her fingers of her hand, which gift he took joyfully of our
Lord. It is read also that there was a man much devout to S. Katherine and oft called on
her to his and, and by length of time he fell in foul thought, and lost the devotion that
he had to the saint, and ceased to pray to her; and as he was on a time in prayer he saw a
great multitude of virgins passing by him, among whom there was one more resplendissent
than the other, and when she approached him she covered her visage and passed tofore him,
her face covered. And he marvelled much of the beauty of her, and demanded what she was,
and one of the virgins said that it was Katherine whom thou wert wont for to know, and
because thou knowest ne rememberest her not, she passed tofore thee with face covered and
without knowledge. It is to be noted that this blessed virgin S. Katherine seemeth and
appeareth marvellous in five things: first, in wisdom, secondly, in eloquence, thirdly, in
constancy, fourthly, in cleanness of chastity, and fifthly, in privilege of dignity. First
she appeared marvellous in wisdom, in her was all manner of philosophy. Philosophy is
divided in three, in theory, in practice, and in logic. Theory is divided in three, that
is intellectual, natural, and mathematical. The blessed Katherine had science intellectual
in knowledge of things divine, of which she used against the masters, to whom she proved
to be but one very God only, and convanquished all the false gods. Secondly, she had
science natural of which she used in disputing against the emperor. Thirdly, she had
science mathematical, that is a science that be holdeth the forms and the manner of
things, and this science had she in despising the earthly things, for she withdrew her
heart from all earthly matter. She showed to have this science when she answered to the
emperor, when he demanded who she was, and said: I am Katherine, daughter of king Costus,
and how she had been nourished in purple. And hereof used she when she enharded the queen
to despise the world and herself, and to desire the reign perdurable. The practice is
divided in three manners, in ethic, economic, and politic. The first teacheth to inform
manners and adorn him with virtues, and that appertaineth to all men. The second teacheth
to rule and govern well his meiny, and that appertaineth to them that have men to govern.
The third appertaineth to the governors of cities, for she teacheth to govern the peoples,
the cities, and the commons. And these three sciences had the blessed Katherine. First,
she had in herself all honesty of manners; secondly, she ruled her meiny laudably, which
was left to her, thirdly, she informed wisely the emperor. Logic is divided in three, in
demonstrative, in probable, and in sophistical. The first pertaineth to philosophers, the
second to rhetors and logicians, and the third to sophisters, and these three sciences had
Katherine in her, for she disputed with the emperor. Secondly, she was marvellous in
eloquence, for she had fair speech in Katherine preaching as it appeared in her
predications, she was right sharp in rendering reason, as when she answered to the
emperor, she had sweet words in drawing the people to the faith, as it appeared in
Porphyry and the queen, whom she drew to the christian faith by sweetness of her fair
speech. She had right virtuous word in overcoming, as it appeared in the masters whom she
vanquished so puissantly. Thirdly, she was marvellous in constancy, for she was most
constant against the threatenings and menaces, for she despised them all and answered to
the emperor: Tarry not to do the torments that thou hast purposed, for I desire to offer
to God my blood, and make an end of that thou hast conceived in thy courage, I am ready to
suffer all. Secondly, she was firm when great gifts were offered to her, for she refused
all, and said to the emperor when he promised to hold her as second lady in his palace,
and she said: I.eave to say such things, it is felonous to think it. Thirdly, she was
constant in the torments that were done to her. Fourthly, she was constant in cleanness of
chastity, for she kept chastity among those things that chastity is wont to perish. For
there be five things in which chastity may perish, that is in pleasance of riches,
convenable opportunity, flowering youth, freedom without constraint, and sovereign beauty.
And among all these things the blessed Katherine kept her chastity, for she had great
plenty of riches as she that was heir of rich parents; she had convenable leisure to do
her will, as she that was lady of herself, and conversed all day among her servants which
were young of age; she had freedom without any that governed her in her palace, and of
these four it is said before, and she had beauty, so much that every man marvelled of her
beauty. Fifthly, she was marvellous in privilege of dignity, for certain special
privileges were in some saints when they died, like as the visitation of Jesu Christ was
in S. John the Evangelist, the flowing of oil in S. Nicholas, the effusion of milk for
blood that was in S. Paul, the preparation of the sepulchre that was in S. Clement, and
the hearing and granting of the petitions that was in S. Margaret, when she prayed for
them remembering her memory. All these things together were in this blessed virgin S. Katherine as it appeareth in her legend. Then let us devoutly worship this holy virgin and
humbly pray her to be our advocatrice in all our needs bodily and ghostly, that by the
merits of her prayers we may after this short and transitory life come unto the
everlasting bliss and joy in heaven whereas is life perdurable. Quod ipse præstare
dignetur qui cum patre et spiritu sancto vivit et regnat deus per omnia secula seculorum.
Here followeth the Life of S. Saturnine,
and first of his name.
Saturnine is said of saturare, that is to be filled, and of nux, that is a nut, for the
paynims were filled for to martyr him, like as the squirrel that eateth the nut. For when
the squirrel taketh the nut for to have it out of the hull, it seemeth to him bitter, then
he goeth up on high on the tree and letteth it fall, and then the hull breaketh and the
nut springeth out. And thus were the paynims filled in S. Saturnine, for he was bitter to
them because he would not do sacrifice, and then they brought him up on high of the
Capitol, and cast him down the steps or grees so that he brake his head, and the brain
sprang out of it.
Of S. Saturnine.
Saturnine was ordained bishop of the disciples of the apostles, and was sent into
the city of Toulouse, and when he entered into the city, the devils ceased to give
answers, and then one of the paynims said but if they slew Saturnine they should have none
answer of their gods. And they took Saturnine which would not do sacrifice, and bound him
to the feet of a bull and drew him unto the highest place of the capitol and cast him down
the degrees and steps to the ground, so that his head was all to-broken and the brain
sprang out, and so he accomplished his martyrdom. And two women took his body and buried
it in a deep place for fear of the paynims, and afterwards his successors took up the body
and transported it into a more honourable place.
There was another Saturnine whom the provost of Rome held long in prison, and after, he
raised him in the torment named Eculee, and did do beat him with sinews, rods, and
scorpions, and after, did do burn his sides, and then took him down and smote off his
head, about the year of our Lord two hundred and ninety under Maximian.
And yet there was another Saturnine in Africa which was brother of S. Satyra, S.
Revocata, and S. Felicity his sister, and S. Perpetua, which was of noble lineage, which
all suffered death together, of whom the passion is holden another time. And when the
provost said to them that they should do sacrifice to the idols, they refused it utterly,
and he then put them in prison. And when the father of S. Perpetua heard that, he came to
the prison weeping, and said: Daughter, thou hast dishonoured all thy lineage, for till
now was never none of thy lineage put in to prison. And when he knew that she was
christian, he ran upon her and would have scratched out her eyes with his fingers, and
crying loud and issued out. And the blessed Perpetua saw a vision which in the morning she
said to her fellows: I saw, said she, a ladder of gold of a marvellous height erect to
heaven, and was so strait that no man might go but one alone, and coulters and swords of
sharp iron were fixed on the right side and left side, so that he that went up might
neither look here nor there, but behoved always to behold right up to heaven. And a dragon
of horrible great form lay under the ladder, which made every man to dread and fear to
mount up, and she saw Satyra ascending by the same unto above and looking to usward, and
said: Doubt ye nothing this dragon, but come up surely that ye may be with me. And when
they heard this vision, they all gave thankings to our Lord God, for they knew then that
they were called to martyrdom, and on the morn they were all presented to the judge, and
after, he said to them: It behoveth you to be presented to the gods and do sacrifice to
them. But when they would do no sacrifice, he made S. Saturnine to be taken from the
women, and to be put among the other men, and he said to S. Felicity: Hast thou a husband?
She said: I have one, but I set not by him, and then he said to her: Have mercy on
thyself, woman, and live, specially sith thou hast a child in thy belly. To whom she said:
Do to me what thou wilt, for thou mayst never draw me to thy will. The father and mother
of S. Perpetua, and her husband, ran to her and brought her child to her, which yet
sucked. And when her father saw her standing tofore the provost, he fell down and said to
her: My most sweet daughter, have mercy on me, and on thy sorrowful mother, and also of
this most wretch thy husband, which may not live after thee, and she stood still without
moving, and then her father cast his arms about her neck, and he, her mother, and her
husband, kissed her, saying: Daughter, have pity of us, and live with us. And then she put
the little child from her, and them also, saying: Depart ye, and go ye from me, mine
enemies, for I know you not, and then when the provost saw her constancy he made her long
to be beaten, and afterwards to be put in prison. And then the other saints were sorrowful
for S. Felicity, which had yet months to come of her childing, and prayed to God for her,
and anon she began to travail and was delivered of a child alive and quick. Then one of
her keepers said to her: What wilt thou do when thou comest tofore the provost, which art
yet so grievously tormented? And Felicity answered: I shall here suffer pain for myself,
and God shall suffer there for me. And then were these saints drawn out of prison, and
were despoiled and led by the streets, and to them were let go beasts, and Satyra and
Perpetua were devoured of lions, and Revocata and Felicity were slain of leopards, and S.
Saturnine had his head smitten off. And this was about the vear of our Lord two hundred
and fifty-six, under Valerian and Galien, emperors.
Thus endeth the life of S. Saturnine.
This feast is the last feast of the year for to begin at the feast of S. Andrew, and
hereafter shall follow divers feasts which be added and set in the said book called the
Of S. James the Martyr.
James the martyr had to surname Intercisus, and was of noble lineage, but more noble by
his faith. He was born in the region of Persia in the city of Elapis, he was come of
christian people and had a good christian wife, and was well known with the king of Persia
and was chief among the princes. And it happed, for the great love that he had to the
king, he was deceived and brought to adore the idols, to whom he kneeled, and when his
mother and his wife heard that, anon they wrote to him a letter in this wise: Thou hast
forsaken him that is life in obeying to him that is mortal, and in pleasing him that is
but dust, thou hast left the odour perdurable, thou hast changed truth into leasing in
obeying him that is mortal, and hast forsaken the judge of them that be dead and of them
alive, and know thou that from henceforth we shall be to thee strange, ne we shall not
dwell with thee in no manner hereafter. And when James had heard this letter he wept
bitterly, and said: If my mother that bare me, and my wife, be made so strange to me, then
how much more shall I be estranged from God. Aud when he had sore tormented himself for
this error, there came a messenger to the prince that said that James was christian, and
then the prince called him and said: Say to me if thou be Nazarene. And James said: Yea,
verily, I am Nazarene. And the prince said: Then art thou an enchanter; and James said: I
am none. And when the prince menaced him with many torments, James said to him: Thy
menaces trouble me nothing, for it ne is but wind blowing upon a stone, thy woodness
passeth lightly through mine ears. To whom the prince said: Demean thee not disordinately,
lest thou perish by grievous death. To whom James said: This ought not to be called a
death, but a sleep, for anon after we shall rise again. And the prince said: Let not the
Nazarene deceive thee saying death is nothing but a sleep, for the great emperors doubt
it. And James said: We doubt nothing the death, for we hope to go from death to life. And
then the prince, by counsel of his friends, gave this sentence upon James, that he should
be cut every member from other, for to fear the others. And then some had pity on him and
wept, and he said to them: Weep not for me, for I go to life, but weep on yourselves, whom
torments perdurable be due unto. And the butchers cut off the thumb of his right hand, and
he cried and said: O thou deliverer of Nazarenes, receive the branch of the tree of thy
mercy, for the overplus is cut off, of him that tilleth the vine, for to burgeon and bring
forth fruit more plenteously. And the butcher said to him: If thou wilt consent to the
prince, I shall spare thee and give to thee medicine. To whom James said: Hast not thou
seen the stock of the vine, that when the branches be cut off, the knot that remaineth, in
his time when the earth achauffeth it, germeth and bringeth forth new buds in all the
places of the cutting? Then if the vine be cut because he should burgeon and bring
forth fruit in his time, how much more ought a man burgeon more plenteously in the faith
that he suffereth for the love of Jesu Christ which is the very vine? And then the butcher
cut of the forefinger. Then said S. James: Lord, receive two branches which thy right hand
hath planted, he cut off the third, and James said: I am delivered from three temptations:
I shall bless the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and, Lord, I shall confess thee
with the three children that thou savedst from the chimney of fire, and Jesu Christ, I
shall sing to thy name in the quire of martyrs. And then the fourth was cut off, and S.
James said: O protector of the children of Israel, which in the fourth blessing were
pronounced, receive of thy servant the confession of the fourth finger, like as the
benediction was Judah. And then the fifth finger was cut off, and he said: My joy is
accomplished. And then the butchers said to him: Spare thy life that thou perish not, and
anger thee not though thou hast lost one hand, for there be many that have but one hand
that have much honour and riches. And the blessed James said to them: When the shepherds
shear their sheep, they take not only the right side, but also the left side, then if the
lamb, which is but a brute beast, will lose his fleece for his master, how much more then
I, that am a man reasonable, ought to be smitten in pieces for the love of God. And then
the felon butchers went to that other hand, and cut off first the little finger, and S.
James said: Lord, when thou wert great thou wouldst be made little for us, and therefore I
yield to thee body and soul, which thou madest, and redeemedst with thy proper blood. Then
the seventh finger was cut off, and he said: Lord, I have said to thee seven times in the
day praisings. Then they cut the eighth finger, and he said: Jesu Christ was circumcised
the eighth day for to accomplish the commandments ceremonial of the faith, and, Lord, let
the mind of thy servant go from these uncircumcised, and that I may have the prepuce
undefiled that I may come and behold thy face Lord. Then the ninth finger was cut off, and
he said: The ninth hour Jesu Christ rendered his spirit in the cross to his father, and
therefore, Lord, I confess me to thee in the sorrow of the ninth finger, and thank thee.
Then the tenth finger was cut off, and he said: The tenth number is in the commandments of
the law. Then some of them that were there said: Right dear friend, confess thou our gods
tofore our prince so that thou mayst live, howbeit that thy hands be cut off, there be
right wise leeches that shall well heal thee and ease thee of thy pain. To whom S. James
said: God forbid that in me should be any false dissimulation; no man that put his hand to
the plough and looketh backward, is not convenable to come to the kingdom of heaven. Then
the butchers having despite, cut off the great toe of the right foot, and S. .James said:
The foot of Jesu Christ was pierced and blood issued out. The second was cut off, and he
said: This day is great to me tofore all other days; this day I converted, shall go
soothly to the strong God. Then they cut the third and threw it tofore him, and S. James
said, smiling: Go, thou third toe. to thy fellows, for like as the grain of wheat
rendereth much fruit so shalt thou do with thy fellows, and shalt rest in the last day.
The fourth was then cut off, and he said: My soul, wherefore art thou sorrowful, and why
troublest me? Hope in God, for I shall confess to him that is the health of my cheer, and
my God. The fifth was cut off, and he said: I shall now begin to say to our Lord digne
praising, for he hath made me worthy fellow to his servants. Then they came to his left
foot and cut off the little toe, and S. James said: Little toe be comforted, for the great
and little shall have one resurrection, a hair of the head shall not perish, and thou
shalt not depart from thy fellows. And after they cut off the second toe, and he said:
Destroy ye the old house for a more noble is made ready. The third was cut off, and he
said: By such cuttings shall I be purged from vices. And they cut off the fourth toe, and
he said: Comfort me, God of truth, for my soul trusteth in thee. Then the fifth was cut
off, and he said: O Lord, Lo! I offer and sacrifice to thee twenty times. And then they
cut off his right foot, and S. James said: Now I shall offer a gift to God for whose love
I suffer this. Then they cut off the left foot, and he said: Thou art he, Lord, that
makest marvels; hear thou me, Lord, and save me. They cut off, after, his right hand, and
he said: Lord, thy mercies help me. They cut off his left hand, and he said: Lord, thou
art he that lovest the rightful. And they cut off the right arm, and he said: My soul,
praise thee our Lord: I shall give laud to our Lord in my life, and shall sing to him as
long as I shall live. And then they cut off the left arm, and he said: The sorrows of
death have environed me, and I shall think against them. Then they cut off the right leg
to the thigh, then S. James was grieved in great pain, and said: Lord Jesu Christ help me,
for the wailings of death come about me, and he said to the butchers: Our Lord shall
clothe me with new flesh so that your wounds shall never appear in me. And then the
butchers began to fail and were weary. From the first hour of the day unto the ninth they
had sweated in cutting his members. And after they came to themselves, and cut off the
left leg unto the thigh, and then the blessed James cried and said: O good Lord, hear me
half alive, thou Lord of living men and dead; Lord, I have no fingers to lift up to thee,
ne hands that I may enhance to thee; my feet be cut off, and my knees so that I may not
kneel to thee, and am like to a house fallen, of whom the pillars be taken away by which
the house was borne up and sustained; hear me, Lord Jesu Christ, and take out my soul from
this prison. And when he had said this, one of the butchers smote off his head. Then the
christian men came privily and took away the body and buried it honourably. And he
suffered death the fifth kalends of December.
Here followeth the Life of the holy and venerable priest Bede.
The holy and venerable Bede was born in England, and when he was seven years of his age
he was delivered to Benet Biscop of Jarrow, for to learn, and after his death he was put
to Ceolfrith, abbot of the same place, and learned and profited much in holy life and
conning. And the nineteenth year of his age he was made deacon, of John, bishop of York,
and in the thirtieth year of his age he was made priest. Then began he to write and to
study and to expound holy writ, whereupon he made many noble homilies, and notwithstanding
his great business, was daily in the service of religion, as in singing and praying in the
church. He had great sweetness and liking to learn, to teach and to write; he wrote
seventy eight books; he accounted the books and years from the beginning of the world in
Historia Anglicana. In the book of Polycronicon is rehearsed that is wonder, that a man
that is without use of school made so many noble volumes in so sober words in so little
space of his life time. It is said he went to Rome for to show there his books, for to see
them according to holy writ and to the lore of holy church, but hereof some doubt, and say
that he never went to Rome. Also it is said that when he was blind he went about for to
preach, and his servant that led him brought him whereas were many hopples of stones, to
whom he made a noble sermon, and when he had all finished his sermon the stones answered
and said, Amen.
Also it is said that he found a writing of three R's and three F's over the gate of
Rome, which he expounded thus: The first R betokened regna, the second ruent, the third
Rome, that is: Regna ruent Rome. And the first F betokened ferro, the second flamma, the
third fame, that is: Ferro, flamma, famæque. Also pope Sergius wrote a letter to the
abbot Ceolfrith and prayed for to have Bede come to Rome for to assoil certain questions
that were there moved. Here is to be noted, that how noble and worthy the court of Rome
held him, when so noble a court had need to have him for to declare and assoil the
questions that were there moved. Also we ought to hold him noble and holy by the manner of
his living and his teaching. He must needs be virtuous and eschew vices that was so well
occupied in spending his wit and thought in expounding of holy writ, and his cleanness was
much seen at his last end. For his stomach had indignation of meat seven weeks
continually, and of drink, so that unnethe he might retain any meat, and was strait and
short-breathed, but for all that he spared not the travail of lecture and of books, and
every day among the detty travail of service and of psalms, he taught his disciples in
lessons and in questions. He transiated S. John's Gospel into English, and said to his
scholars: Learn ye, my small children, whiles I am alive and with you; I wot not how long
I shall abide with you, and alway among he said that saw of S. Ambrose: I have not so
lived among you that me shameth to live, neither me dreadeth to die, for we have a good
On night's time when he had no man to teach then would he devoutly be in prayers and
thanking our Lord of all his gifts. The Tuesday tofore Ascension-day his death approached,
and his feet began to swell; he was houseled, anointed and kissed his brethren, and prayed
them all to remember him, and he gave to divers of his servants things that he had in
privity. On the Ascension-day the hair was spread, and he laid him down thereon, and
prayed for the grace of the Holy Ghost, and said: O king of bliss, and Lord of virtues,
that hast the prize and art this day styed up above all heavens, leave thou us not
fatherless, but send thou in to us that behest of the Father, the ghost of soothfastness.
And when he had ended that, he gave up the last breath with a sweet dour and savour, and
there he was then buried, but the common fame telleth that he now lieth at Durham with S.
There was a devout clerk, which laboured in his mind for to make his epitaph, and in no
wise he could make true metre, wherefore on a time he went to the church and prayed God to
give him conning to make a true verse. And after came unto his tomb and saw there written
by an angel:
Hic sunt in fossa
Bedæ venerabilis ossa.
Then let us pray to this holy man that he pray for us, that after this life we may come
to everlasting life.
Here followeth the Life of S. Dorothy.
The glorious virgin and martyr S. Dorothy was born of the noble lineage of the senators
of Rome, her father hight Theodore. In that time the persecution of the christian people
was great about Rome, wherefore this holy virgin S. Dorothy, despising the worshipping of
idols, count selled her father, her mother, and her two sisters, Christine and Celestine,
to forsake their possessions, and so they did, and fled into the realm ol Cappadocia, and
came into the city of Caesarea wherein they set S. Dorothy to school, and soon after she
was christened of the holy bishop S. Appollinarius, and he named her Dorothy, and she was
fulfilled with the Holy Ghost, and in great beauty above all the maidens of that realm.
And she despised all worldly vanities, and burned in the love of Almighty God, and loved
poverty, and was full of meekness and chastity, whereof the fiend having envy at her
blessed living, provoked and set afire in her love the provost, so that he would have her
to his wife, and anon sent for her in all haste, and when she came he desired to have her
to his wife, and promised to her riches of worldly goods without number. And when this
holy virgin understood his desire and request she refused it, and denied it utterly, and
all his riches setting at nought; and moreover she acknowledged herself to be christian,
and that she had vowed her virginity unto Jesu Christ, whom she had chosen to her spouse,
and would never have other. And when the provost Fabricius heard this he was nigh from
himself for anger, and commanded that she should be put in a tun of burning oil, wherein
she was preserved by the power of her spouse Jesu Christ that she felt none disease ne
harm, but a precious ointment of balm. And when the paynims saw this great miracle, many
of them were thereby converted to the faith of Jesu Christ. And the tyrant said that she
did all this by enchantment, and did do put her in a deep prison nine days long without
meat or drink, but she was that while fed by angels' food of our Lord, so that at the end
of nine days she was nothing appaired. Then the judge sent for her, supposing that she had
been nigh dead and feeble, but when she came she was fairer and brighter to look on than
ever she was before, whereof all the people marvelled greatly. Then the judge said to her:
But if thou wilt worship and do sacrifice to the idols thou shalt not escape the torment
of the gibbet. Then she answered to the judge: I worship Almighty God that made all
things, and despise thy gods that be fiends. And then she fell down pat to the earth and
lifted up her eyes to Almighty God, beseeching him that he would show his power tofore the
people that he was only Almighty God and none other.
Then Fabricius the judge let set up a pillar on high, and thereon he set his god, an
idol, and anon there came a multitude of angels from heaven and cast down this idol, and
all to-brake it, and anon the people heard a great noise of fiends crying in the air,
saying: O Dorothy, why cost thou destroy us and tormentest us so sore? And for this great
miracle many thousands of paynims were turned to the faith of Jesu Christ and were
baptized, and after received the crown of martyrdom for the acknowledging of the name of
Then the judge commanded that this holy virgin should be hanged on the gibbet, her feet
upward and the head downward, and then her body was all to-rent with hooks of iron, and
beaten with rods and scourges, and burnt her breasts with hot fiery brands, and as half
dead she was set again into prison, and after, when she was brought again, she was all
whole and strong, without any disease or hurt. Whereof the judge had great marvel, and
said to her: O fair maid, forsake thy God and believe on our gods, for thou mayst see how
merciful they be unto thee, and preserve thee, therefore have pity of thy tender body, for
thou hast been tormented enough. And then the provost sent for her two sisters which were
named Christine and Celestine, which for fear of death forsook the faith of Jesu Christ,
and went to S. Dorothy and counselled her to obey to the provost's desire and forsake her
faith. But this holy virgin rebuked her sisters. and after informed them by so fair and
sweet language, that she withdrew them from their blind errors and established them in the
faith of Jesu Christ; in such wise that when they were come to the judge they said they
were christian and believed on Jesu Christ. And when Fabricius heard that, he was mad for
anger, and commanded that the tormentor should bind their hands, and bind them both
together back to back, and cast them in the fire so bound, and burnt them. And then he
said to the virgin Dorothy: How long wilt thou trouble us with thy witchcraft? Or do
sacrifice to our gods or else anon thy head shall be smitten off. And then said the holy
virgin with a glad semblant: Do to me what torment thou wilt, for I am all ready to suffer
it for the love of my spouse Jesu Christ, in whose garden full of delices I have gathered
roses, spices, and apples. And when the tyrant heard that he trembled for anger, and
commanded that her fair visage should be beaten with stones so that there should appear no
beauty in her visage, but all disfigured, and so to be put in prison till the next day.
And on the next day she came forth all so whole and sound as though she had suffered no
disease, and was more fairer for to look on than ever she was tofore, by the grace of her
blessed spouse Jesu Christ, for whose love she took on her these great and sharp torments.
And then this cursed judge commanded to smite off her head; and as she was led to the
place assigned where it should be done, a scribe of the realm, named Theophilus, said to
her in scorn: I pray thee to send me some of thy roses and apples that thou hast gathered
in the garden of thy spouse that thou praisest so much, and she granted to him his desire.
And this was in the cold winter time when there was both frost and snow. And when she came
to the place where she should be beheaded, she kneeled down on her knees and made her
prayers to our Lord Jesu Christ, beseeching him that all they that worship her passion
that they might be kept steadfast in the faith, and to take their tribulation patiently,
and specially to be delivered from all shame, great poverty, and false slander, and at
their last end to have very contrition, confession, and remission of all their sins. And
also women with child that call to her for help to have good deliverance, the children to
be christened and the mothers to be purified. Also she prayed to God that where her life
was written or read in any house, that it should be kept from all peril of lightning and
thunder, and from all perils of fire, from perils of thieves, and from sudden death, and
to receive the sacraments of holy church at their last end for their most sovereign
defence against their ghostly enemy the fiend.
And when she had ended her prayer there was a voice heard from heaven that said: Come
to me, my dear spouse and true virgin, for all thy love is granted to thee that hast
prayed for, and also whom thou prayest for shall be saved; and when thou hast received the
crown of martyrdom thou shalt come to the bliss of heaven without end, for thy labour. And
this holy virgin bowed down her head, and the cruel tyrant smote it off.
But a little before this appeared before her a fair child barefoot, clothed in purple,
with crisp hairs, whose garment was set full of bright stars, bearing in his hand a little
basket shining as gold, with roses and apples, to whom the virgin said: I pray thee, bear
this basket to Theophilus the scribe. And thus she suffered death and passed and Lord full
of virtues, the sixth day of February, the year of our Lord two hundred and eighty-eight,
by Fabricius, provost under Diocletian and Maximian, emperors of Rome. And as this said
Theophilus stood in the palace of the emperor, this child came to him and presented to him
the basket, saying: These be the roses and apples that my sister Dorothy hath sent to thee
from Paradise, the garden of her spouse, and then this child vanished away. Then he,
considering the marvellous work of God in this holy virgin, said anon with a stern voice,
praising the God of Dorothy for that great miracle which was showed to him of roses and
apples that time, that he that sent to me these things is of great power, and therefore
his name be blessed world without end, Amen. And then he was converted to the faith of
Jesu Christ, and the most part of the people of the city. And when Fabricius knew this,
anon, with great malice, he tormented Theophilus the scribe with many divers torments, and
at the last hewed him into small pieces, and the pieces were cast to birds and beasts to
be devoured. But he was first baptized and received the holy sacrament, and followed the
holy virgin Dorothy into the bliss of heaven. Then let us devoutly pray to this blessed
saint Dorothy that she be our special protectress against all perils of fire, of
lightning, of thundering, and all other perils, and that at our end we may receive the
sacraments of the church, that after this short life may come unto bliss in heaven whereas
is life and joy perdurable, world without end. Amen
Here followeth the Life of S. Brandon.
S. Brandon, the holy man, was a monk, and born in Ireland, and there he was abbot of a
house wherein were a thousand monks, and there he had a full strait and holy life in great
penance and abstinence, and he governed his monks full virtuously. And then within short
time after, there came to him a holy abbot that hight Birinus to visit him, and each of
them was joyful of other. And then S. Brandon began to tell to the abbot Birinus of many
wonders that he had seen in divers lands, and when Birinus heard that of S. Brandon, he
began to sigh and sore weep, and S. Brandon comforted him the best wise he could, saying:
Ye come hither for to be joyful with me, and therefore for God's love leave your mourning
and tell me what marvels ye have seen in the great sea-ocean that compasseth all the world
about, and all other waters come out of him which runneth in all parts of the earth. And
then Birinus began to tell to S. Brandon and to his monks the marvels that he had seen,
full sore weeping, and said: I have a son, his name is Mervok, and he was a monk of great
fame, which had great desire to seek about by ship in divers countries to find a solitary
place wherein he might dwell secretly, out of the business of the world, for to serve God
quietly with more devotion, and I counselled him to sail into an island far in the sea,
beside the mountain of stones which is full well known, and then he made him ready and
sailed thither with his monks. And when he came thither he liked that place full well,
where he and his monks served our Lord full devoutly.
And then Birinus saw in a vision that this monk Mervok was sailed right far eastward in
the sea, more than three days' sailing, and suddenly to his seeming there came a dark
cloud and overcovered them, that a great part of the day they saw no light, and as our
Lord would, the cloud passed away and they saw a full fair island, and thitherward they
drew. In that island was joy and mirth enough, and the earth of that island shined as
bright as the sun, and there were the fairest trees and herbs that ever any man saw, and
there were many precious stones shining bright, and every herb there was full of flowers,
and every tree full of fruit, so that it was a glorious sight and a heavenly joy to abide
there. And there, there came to them a fair young man, and full courteously he welcomed
them all, and called every monk by his name, and said that they were much bound to praise
the name of our Lord Jesu, that would of his grace show to them that glorious place where
is ever day and never night, and this place is called Paradise terrestrial. By this island
is another island wherein no man may come, and this young man said to them: Ye have been
here half a year without meat, drink, or sleep, and they supposed that they had not been
there the space of half an hour, so merry and joyful they were there. And the young man
told them that this is the place that Adam and Eve dwelt in first and ever should have
dwelled here, if that they had not broken the commandment of God. And then the young man
brought them to their ship again, and said they might no longer abide there, and when they
were all shipped, suddenly this young man vanished away out of their sight. And then
within short time after, by the purveyance of our Lord Jesu Christ, they came to the abbey
where S. Brandon dwelled, and then he with his brethren received them goodly and demanded
them where they had been so long, and they said: We have been in the land of Behest
tofore the gates of Paradise, whereas is ever day and never night, and they said all that
the place is full delectable, for yet all their clothes smelled of that sweet and joyful
And then S. Brandon purposed soon after for to seek that place by God's help, and anon
began to purvey for a good ship and a strong, and victualled it for seven years. And then
he took his leave of all his brethren and took twelve monks with him, but ere they entered
into the ship they fasted forty days and lived devoutly, and each of them received the
sacrament. And when S. Brandon with his twelve monks were entered in to the ship, there
came other two of his monks and prayed him that they might sail with him, and then he
said: Ye may sail with me, but one of you shall go to hell ere ye come again, but not for
that they would go with him. And then S. Brandon bade the shipmen to wind up the sail and
forth they sailed in God's name, so that on the morrow they were out of sight of any land.
And forty days and forty nights after they sailed plat east, and then they saw an island
far from them, and they sailed thitherward as fast as they could, and they saw a great
rock of stone appear above all the water, and three days they sailed about it ere they
could get into the place, but at the last by the purveyance of God they found a little
haven and there went aland every each one. And then suddenly came a fair hound, and fell
down at the feet of S. Brandon and made him good cheer in his manner, and then he bade his
brethren be of good cheer, for our Lord hath sent to us his messenger to lead us into some
good place. And the hound brought them into a fair hall where they found the tables
spread, ready set full of good meat and drink. And then S. Brandon said graces, and then
he and his brethren sat down and ate and drank of such as they found, and there were beds
ready for them, wherein they took their rest after their long labour.
And on the morn they returned again to their ship, and sailed a long time in the sea
after, ere they could find any land, till at last by the purveyance of God, they saw far
from them a full fair island, full of green pasture, wherein were the whitest and greatest
sheep that ever they saw. For every sheep was as great as an ox, and soon after came to
them a goodly old man, which welcomed them and made them good cheer, and said: This is the
island of sheep, and here is never cold weather, but ever summer, and that causeth the
sheep to be so great and white; they eat of the best grass and herbs that is anywhere. And
then this old man took his leave of them and bade them sail forth right east, and within
short time by God's grace, they should come in to a place like Paradise, wherein they
should keep their Eastertide.
And then they sailed forth, and came soon after to that land, but because of little
depth in some places, and in some places were great rocks, but at the last they went upon
an island weeping to them that they had been safe, and made thereon a fire for to dress
their dinner, but S. Brandon abode still in the ship, and when the fire was right hot and
the meat nigh sodden, then this island began to move, whereof the monks were afeard, and
fled anon to ship and left the fire and meat behind them, and marvelled sore of the
moving. And S. Brandon comforted them and said that it was a great fish named Jasconye,
which laboureth night and day to put his tail in his mouth, but for greatness he may not.
And then anon they sailed west three days and three nights ere they saw any land,
wherefore they were right heavy, but soon after, as God would, they saw a fair island full
of flowers, herbs, and trees, whereof they thanked God of his good grace, and anon they
went on land, and when they had gone long in this they found a full fair well, and thereby
stood a fair tree full of boughs, and on every bough sat a fair bird, and they sat so
thick on the tree that unnethe any leaf of the tree might be seen. The number of them was
so great, and they sang so merrily that it was a heavenly noise to hear, wherefore S.
Brandon kneeled down on his knees and wept for joy, and made his prayers devoutly to our
Lord God to know what these birds meant.
And then anon one of the birds fled from the tree to S. Brandon, and he with flickering
of his wings made a full merry noise like a fiddle, that him seemed he heard never so
joyful a melody. And then S. Brandon commanded the bird to tell him the cause why they sat
so thick on the tree and sang so merrily ; and then the bird said: Sometime we were angels
in heaven, but when our master Lucifer fell down into hell for his high pride, we fell
with him for our offences, some higher and some lower after the quality of the trespass,
and because our trespass is but little, therefore our Lord hath set us here out of all
pain, in full great joy and mirth after his pleasing, here to serve him on this tree in
the best manner we can. The Sunday is a day of rest from all worldly occupation, and
therefore that day all we be made as white as any snow for to praise our Lord in the best
wise we may. And then this bird said to S. Brandon: That it is twelve months passed that
ye departed from your abbey, and in the seventh year hereafter, ye shall see the place
that ye desire to come to, and all these seven years ye shall keep your Easter here with
us every year, and in the end of the seventh year ye shall come into the land of Behest.
And this was on Easter day that the bird said these words to S. Brandon, and then this
fowl flew again to his fellows that sat on the tree, and then all the birds began to sing
evensong so merrily that it was a heavenly noise to hear. And after supper S. Brandon and
his fellows went to bed and slept well, and on the morn they arose betimes, and then these
birds began matins, prime, and hours, and all such service as christian men use to sing.
And S. Brandon with his fellows abode there eight weeks, till Trinity Sunday was passed,
and they sailed again to the island of sheep and there they victualled them well, and sith
took their leave of that old man, and returned again to ship. And then the bird of the
tree came again to S. Brandon and said: I am come to tell you that ye shall sail from
hence into an island wherein is an abbey of twenty-four monks, which is from this place
many a mile, and there ye shall hold your Christmas, and your Easter with us, like as I
told you, and then this bird flew to his fellows again. And then S. Brandon and his
fellows sailed forth in the ocean, and soon after fell a great tempest on them in which
they were greatly troubled long time, and sore forlaboured, and after that they found by
the time, and sore forlaboured, and after that they found by purveyance of God an island
which was far from them, and then they full meekly prayed our Lord to send them thither in
safety, but it was forty days after ere they came thither, wherefore all the monks were so
weary of that trouble that they set little price by their lives, and cried continually to
our Lord to have mercy on them, and bring them to that island in safety. And by the
purveyance of God they came at the last into a little haven, but it was so strait that
unnethe the ship might come in, and after they came to an anchor, and anon the monks went
to land. And when they had long walked about, at the last they found two fair wells, that
one was fair and clear water, and that other was somewhat troubly and thick. And then they
thanked our Lord full humbly that had brought them thither in safety, and they would fain
have drunk of that water, but S. Brandon charged them they should not take without
licence. For if we abstain us a while our Lord will purvey for us in the best wise. And
anon after came to them a fair old man with hoar hair, and welcomed them full meekly and
kissed S. Brandon, and led them by many a fair well till they came to a fair abbey, where
they were received with great honour and solemn procession with twenty-four monks, all in
royal copes of cloth of gold and a royal cross was before them. And then the abbot
welcomed S. Brandon and his fellowship, and kissed them full meekly, and took S. Brandon
by the hand and led him with his monks into a fair hall, and set them down arow upon the
bench, and the abbot of the place washed all their feet with fair water of the well that
they saw before, and after, led them into the fraitour and there set them among his
convent. And anon there came one by the purveyance of God which served them well of meat
and drink, for every monk had set before him a fair white loaf, and white roots and herbs,
which was right delicious, but they wist not what roots they were. And they drank of the
water of the fair clear well that they saw before when they came first aland, which S.
Brandon forbade them. And then the abbot came and cheered S. Brandon and his monks, and
prayed them eat and drink for charity; for every day our Lord sendeth a goodly old man
that covereth this table and setteth our meat and drink tofore us, but we know not how it
cometh, ne we ordain never no meat ne drink for us, and yet we have been eighty years
here, and ever our Lord, worshipped may he be, feedeth us. We be twenty-four monks in
number, and every ferial day of the week he sendeth to us twelve loaves, and every Sunday
and feast-day twenty-four loaves, and the bread that we leave at dinner we eat at supper,
and now at your coming our Lord hath sent to us forty-eight loaves, for to make you and us
merry together as brethren. And always twelve of us go to dinner whiles other twelve keep
the quire, and thus have we done these eighty years, for so long have we dwelled here io
this abbey. And we came hither out of the abbey of S. Patrick in Ireland, and thus as ye
see our Lord hath purveyed for us, but none of us knoweth how it cometh, but God alone, to
whom be given honour and laud world without end. And here in this land is ever fair
weather, and none of us hath been sick sith we came hither. And when we go to mass, or to
any other service of our Lord in the church, anon seven tapers of wax be set in the quire
and be lighted at every time without man's hand, and so burn day and night at every hour
of service, and never waste ne minish as long as we have been here, which is eighty years.
And then S. Brandon went to the church with the abbot of the place, and there they said
evensong together full devoutly, and then S. Brandon looked upward toward the crucifix,
and saw our Lord hanging on the cross, which was made of fine crystal and curiously
wrought. And in the quire were twenty-four seats for twenty-four monks, and the seven
tapers burning, and the abbot's seat was made in the midst of the quire, and then S.
Brandon demanded of the abbot how long they had kept that silence, that none of them spake
to other, and he said: These twenty-four years we spake never one to another. And then S.
Brandon wept for joy of their holy conversation. And then S. Brandon desired of the abbot
that he and his monks might dwell there still with him. To whom the abbot said: Sir, that
may ye not do in no wise, for our Lord hath showed to you in what manner ye shall be
guided till the seven years be fulfilled, and after that term thou shalt with thy monks
return into Ireland in safety, but one of the two monks that came last to you shall dwell
in the island of ankers, and that other shall go quick to hell. And as S. Brandon kneeled
in the church he saw a bright shining angel come in at the window, and lighted all the
lights in the church, and then he flew out again at the window unto heaven, and then S.
Brandon marvelled greatly how the light burned so fair and wasted not. And then the abbot
said that it is written that Moses saw a bush all on afire and yet it burned not, and
therefore marvel not hereof for the might of our Lord is now as great as it ever was.
And when S. Brandon had dwelled there from Chrisunas even till the twelfth day was
passed, then he took his leave of the abbot and convent and returned with his monks to his
ship, and sailed from thence with his monks toward the abbey of S. Illaries, but they had
great tempests in the sea from that time till Palm-Sunday, and then they came to the
island of sheep, and there were received of the old man, which brought them to a fair hall
and served them. And on ShereThursday after supper he washed their feet and kissed them,
like as our Lord did to his disciples, and there abode till Saturday, Easter-even, and
they departed and sailed to the place where the great fish lay, and anon they saw their
caldron upon the fishes back, which they had left there twelve months tofore, and there
they kept the service of the resurrection on the fishes back, and after, they sailed that
same day by the morning to the island whereas the tree of birds was, and then the said
bird welcomed S. Brandon and all his fellowship, and went again to the tree and sang full
merrily, and there he and his monks dwelled from Easter till Trinity Sunday as they did
the year before, in full great joy and mirth. And daily they heard the merry service of
the birds sitting on the tree. And then the bird told to S. Brandon that he should return
again at Christmas to the abbey of monks, and at Easter thither again, and the other deal
of the year labour in the ocean in full great perils, and from year to year till the seven
years be accomplished. Anrl then shall ye come to the joyful place of Paradise and dwell
there forty days in full great joy and mirth, and after, ye shall return home into your
own abbey in safety, and there end your life, and come to the bliss of heaven, to which
our Lord bought you with his precious blood. And then the angel of our Lord ordained all
thing that was needful to S. Brandon and to his monks in victuals and all other things
necessary, and then they thanked our Lord of his great goodness that he had showed to them
oft in their great need, and then sailed forth into the great sea ocean, abiding the mercy
of our Lord in great trouble and tempests.
And soon after came to them an horrible fish which followed the ship long time, casting
so much water out of his mouth into the ship that they supposed to have been drowned,
wherefore they devoutly prayed God to deliver them of that great peril. And anon after,
came another fish greater than he, out of the west sea, and fought with him, and at the
last crave him into three pieces, and then returned again. And then they thanked meekly
our Lord of their deliverance from this great peril, but they were in great heaviness
because their victuals were nigh spent; but by the ordinance of our Lord there came a bird
and brought to them a great branch of a vine full of red grapes, by which they lived
fourteen days, and then they came to a little island, wherein were many vines full of
grapes, and they there landed and thanked God, and gathered as many grapes as they lived
by forty days after, always sailing in the sea in many storms and tempests, and as they
thus sailed, suddenly came flying towards them a great grip which assailed them and was
like to have destroyed them. Wherefore they devoutly prayed for help and aid of our Lord
Jesu Christ. And then the bird of the tree of the island where they had holden their
Easter tofore, came to the grip and smote out both his eyes, and after slew him, whereof
they thanked our Lord, and then sailed forth continually till S. Peter's day, and then
sang they solemnly their service in the honour of the feast. And in that place the water
was so clear that they might see all the fishes that were about them, whereof they were
full sore aghast, and the monks counselled S. Brandon to sing no more, for all the fishes
lay then as they had slept. And then S. Brandon said: Dread ye not, for ye have kept by
two Easters the feast of the Resurrection upon the great fishes back, and therefore dread
ye not of these little fishes. And then S. Brandon made him ready and went to mass, and
bade his monks to sing the best way they could, and then anon all the fishes awoke, and
came about the ship so thick that unnethe they might see the water for the fishes, and
when the mass was done all the fishes departed so as they were no more seen. And seven
days they sailed always in that clear water.
And then there came a south wind and drove the ship northward, whereas they saw an
island full dark and full of stench and smoke, and there they heard great blowing and
blasting of bellows, but they might see nothing, but heard great thundering, whereof they
were sore afeard, and blessed them oft. And soon after there came one starting out all
burning in fire, and stared full ghastly on them with great staring eyes, of whom the
monks were aghast, and at his departing from them he made the horriblest cry that might be
heard, and soon there came a great number of fiends and assailed them with hooks and
burning iron malles, which ran on the water, following their ship fast, in such wise that
it seemed all the sea to be on fire. But by the pleasure of our Lord they had no power to
hurt ne grieve them ne their ship, wherefore the fiends began to roar and cry, and threw
their hooks and malles at them. And they then were sore afraid, and prayed to God for
comfort and help, for they saw the fiends all about the ship, and them seemed then all the
island and the sea to be on fire. And with a sorrowful cry all those fiends departed from
them and returned to the place that they came from. And then S. Brandon told to them that
this was a part of hell, and therefore he charged them to be steadfast in the faith, for
they should yet see many a dreadful place ere they came home again. And then came the
south wind, and drove them farther into the north, where they saw a hill all of fire, and
a foul smoke and stench coming from thence, and the fire stood on each side of the hill
like a wall all burning. And then one of his monks began to cry and weep full sore, and
said that his end was come, and that he might abide no longer in the ship, and anon he
leapt out of the ship into the sea, and then he cried and roared full piteously, cursing
the time that he was born, and also father and mother that begat him, because they saw no
better to his correction in his young age, for now I must go to perpetual pain. And then
the saying of S. Brandon was verified that he said to him when he entered; therefore it is
good a man to do penance and forsake sin, for the hour of death is uncertain. And then
anon the wind turned into the north and drove the ship into the south, which sailed seven
days continually, and they came to a great rock standing in the sea, and thereon sat a
naked man in full great misery and pain, for the waves of the sea had so beaten his body
that all the flesh was gone off, and nothing Ieft but sinews and bare bones. And when the
waves were gone, there was a canvas that hung over his head which beat his body full sore
with the blowing of the wind, and also there were two ox tongues and a great stone that he
sat on, which did him full great ease. And then S. Brandon charged him to tell him what he
was, and he said: My name is Judas that sold our Lord Jesu Christ for thirty pence, which
sitteth here thus wretchedly, howbeit I am worthy to be in the greatest pain that is, but
our Lord is so merciful that he hath rewarded me better than I have deserved, for of right
my place is in the burning hell, but I am here but certain times of the year, that is,
from Christmas to twelfth day, and from Easter till Whitsuntide be past, and every
feastful day of our Lady, and every Saturday noon till Sunday, that evensong be done, but
all other times I lie still in hell in full burning fire, with Pilate, Herod, and
Caiaphas, therefore accursed be the time that ever I knew them. And then Judas prayed S.
Brandon to abide still there all that night, and that he would keep him there still, that
the fiends should not fetch him to hell. And he said: With God's help thou shalt abide
here all this night; and then he asked Judas what cloth that was that hung over his head,
and he said it was a cloth that he gave to a leper, which was bought with the money that
he stole from our Lord when I bare his purse, wherefore it doth to me full great pain now,
in beating my face with the blowing of the wind, and these two ox-tongues rhat hang here
above me I gave them sometime to two priests to pray for me, them I bought with mine own
money, and therefore they ease me because the fishes of the sea gnaw on them and spare me,
and this stone that I sit on, lay sometime in a desolate place where it eased no man, and
I took it thence and laid it in a foul way where it did much ease to them that went by
that way, and therefore it easeth me now, for every good deed shall be rewarded and every
evil deed shall be punished. And the Sunday, against even, there came a great multitude of
fiends, blasting and roaring and bade S. Brandon go thence that they might have their
servant Judas, for we dare not come into the presence of our master but if we bring him to
hell with us. And then said S. Brandon: I let not you to do your master's commandment, but
by the power of our Lord Jesu Christ I charge you to leave him this night till to-morrow.
They said: how darest thou help him that so sold his master for thirty pence to the Jews,
and caused him also to die the most shameful death upon the cross? And then S. Brandon
charged the fiends by his passion that they should not noy him that night. And then the
fiends went their way roaring and crying towards hell, to their master the great devil,
and then Judas thanked S. Brandon so ruthfully, that it was pity to see, and on the morn
the fiends came with a horrible noise, saying that they had that night suffered great pain
because they brought not Judas and said that he should sufler double pain the six days
following, and they took then Judas, trembling for fear, with them to pain. And after, S.
Brandon sailed southward three days and three nights, and on the Friday they saw an
island, and then S. Brandon began to sigh, and said: I see the island wherein S. Paul the
hermit dwelleth, and hath dwelled there forty years without meat and drink ordained by
man's hand. And when they came to the land, S. Paul came and welcomed them humbly. He was
old and foregrown, so that no man might see his body, of whom S. Brandon said weeping: Now
I see a man that liveth more like an angel than a man, wherefore we wretches may be
ashamed that we live not better. Then S. Paul said to S. Brandon: Thou art better than I,
for our Lord hath showed to thee more of his privities than he hath done to me, wherefore
thou oughtest to be more praised than I. To whom S. Brandon said: We be monks, and must
labour for our meat, but God hath provided for thee such meat as thou holdest thee
pleased, wherefore thou art much better than I. To whom S. Paul said: Sometime I was a
monk of S. Patrick's Abbey in Ireland, and was warden of the place whereas men enter into
S. Patrick's purgatory, and on a day there came one to me, and I asked him what he was,
and he said: I am your abbot Patrick, and charge thee that thou depart from hence to-morn
early to the seaside, and there thou shalt find a ship into which thou must enter, which
God hath ordained for thee, whose will thou must accomplish. And so the next day I arose
and went forth and found the ship, in which I entered, and by the purveyance of God was I
brought into this island the seventh day after. And then I left the ship and went to land,
and there I walked up and down a good while, and then, by the purveyance of God, there
came an otter, going on his hinder feet, and brought me a flint stone and an iron to smite
fire with, in his two foreclaws of his feet, and also he had about his neck great plenty
of fish, which he cast down before me and went his way, and I smote fire, and made a fire
of sticks, and did seethe the fish by which I lived three days, and then the otter came
again and brought to me fish for other three days, and thus he hath done these fifty-one
years, through the grace of God. And there was a great stone, out of which our Lord made
to spring fair water, clear and sweet, whereof I drink daily, and thus have I lived one
and fifty years. And I was forty years old when I came hither, and am now one hundred and
eleven years old, and abide till it please our Lord to send for me, and if it pleased him
I would fain be discharged of this wretched life. And then he bade S. Brandon to take of
the water of the well, and to carry into his ship: For it is time that thou depart, for
thou hast a great journey to do, for thou shalt sail to an island which is forty days
sailing hence, where thou shalt hold thine Easter like as thou hast done tofore, whereas
the tree of birds is, and from thence thou shalt sail into the land of Behest, and shalt
abide there forty days, and after return home into thy country in safety.
And then these holy men took leave each of other, and they wept both full sore, and
kissed each other; and then S. Brandon entered into his ship and sailed forty days even
south in full great tempest, and on Easter even came to their procurator, which made to
them good cheer as he had beforetime, and from thence they came to the great fish, whereon
they said matins and mass on Easter day, and when the mass was done the fish began to move
and swam forth fast into the sea, whereof the monks were sore aghast which stood upon him,
for it was a great marvel to see such a fish, so great as all a country, for to swim so
fast in the water, but by the will of our Lord this fish set all the monks aland in the
paradise of birds, all whole and sound, and then returned to the place he came from. And
then S. Brandon and his monks thanked our Lord of their deliverance of the great fish, and
kept their Easter-tide till Trinity Sunday, like as they had done beforetime, and after
this they took their ship and sailed east forty days.
And at the forty days end it began to hail right fast, and therewith came a dark mist
which lasted long after, which feared S. Brandon and his monks, and they prayed to our
Lord to keep and help them. And then anon came their procurator and bade them to be of
good cheer, for they were come into the land of Behest. And soon after that mist passed
away, and anon they saw the fairest country eastward that any man might see, and it was so
clear and bright that it was a heavenly sight to behold, and all the trees were charged
with ripe fruit, and herb full of flowers. In which land they walked forty days, but they
could see none end of that land, and there was always day and never night, and the land
temperate, ne too hot ne too cold. And at the last they came to a fair river, but they
durst not go over, and there came to them a fair young man and welcomed them courteously,
and called each of them by his name, and did great reverence to S. Brandon, and said to
them: Be ye now joyful, for this is the land that ye have sought, but our Lord will that
ye depart hence hastily and he will show to you more of his secrets when ye come again
into the sea, and our Lord will that you lade your ship with the fruit of this land, and
hie you hence for ye may no longer abide here, but thou shalt sail again into thine own
country, and soon after thou comest home thou shalt die. And this water that thou seest
here departeth the world asunder, for on that other side of this water may no man come
that is in this life, and the fruit that ye see here is alway thus ripe every time of the
year, and always it is here light as ye now see, and he that keepeth our Lord's hests at
all times shall see this land ere he pass out of this world. And then S. Brandon and his
monks took of that fruit as much as they would, and also took with them great plenty of
precious stones, and then took their leave, and went to ship weeping sore because they
might no longer abide there. And then they took their ship and came home into Ireland in
safety, whom their brethren received with great joy, giving thankings to our Lord which
had kept them all those seven years from many a peril and brought them home in safety, to
whom be given honour and glory, world without end. Amen. And soon after, this holy man S.
Brandon waxed feeble and sick, and had but little joy of this world, but ever after his
joy and mind was in the joys of heaven. And in a sbort time after he being full of
virtues, departed out of this life to everlasting life, and was worshipfully buried in a
fair abbey which he himself founded, where our Lord showeth for this holy saint many fair
miracles. Wherefore let us devoutly pray to this holy saint that he pray for us to our
Lord that he have mercy on us, to whom be given laud and honour and empire, world without
Here followeth the Life of S. Erkenwold, Bishop.
S. Erkenwold was born of noble lineage. His father was named Offa, and was king of east
England, and he had also a sister named Alburgh. Which Erkenwold and Alburgh were of right
perfect life, and howbeit that their father was a paynim, yet were these two children
christian. And when Erkenwold was in perfect age he went into religion, and was made first
abbot of Chertsey where he lived a holy life, and after, he was made bishop of London, and
his sister Alburgh was his true follower in good works, and was a woman of religion, and
for her holy life she was made abbess of Barking. This holy man, by the information of S.
Austin and S. Melitus, was informed in the faith in such wise that he utterly forsook the
world, and ordained and builded two monasteries, one for himself at Chertsey, and another
for his sister at Barking, which, after her baptism, was named Ethelburga. And S.
Erkenwold counselled his sister to flee worldly vanities, and so he did himself, and gave
him into divine contemplation, and gave such goods as he had, besides them that he spent
in the foundation and building of the said monasteries, to poor people. And he changed his
earthly heritage, his worldly dignity and his great patrimony into the heritage and
livelihood of holy church for to have his heritage in heaven. And he did all these
expenses ere he was called to be bishop of London. And the holy Theodore, archbishop of
Canterbury, did do consecrate him bishop of London, and his sister was set in Barking with
other virgins for to be always occupied in the service of our Lord. And it happed on a
time, as the artificers that builded the monastery at Barking were overseen in taking the
measure of a principal beam, for it was too short, and would not accord to the place that
it was ordained for, wherefore they made much sorrow. Then this holy man, S. Erkenwold,
and his sister, seeing this misfortune, took the same beam between their hands and drew it
out in such wise that it had sufficient length and accorded unto the proper place that it
was ordained to, which miracle was anon known openly to the people. And at that time were
no nuns in England, wherefore S. Erkenwold sent over sea for a devout religious woman
named Hildelith, to whom he betook his sister for to be informed in the religion, as well
in conning as in good manners and virtuous doctrine, in which she profited in such wise
that she passed all her fellows in conning, and soon after she was made abbess and chief
of all the monastery. And it happed soon after that the bishop of London died, whose name
was Cedda, and by consent of the king and all the people, this holy man of God, Erkenwold
was bishop of London, and whatsomever he taught in word, he fulfilled it in deed, for he
was perfect in wisdom, soft and discreet in word, busy in prayer, chaste of body, and
wholly given to God's lore, and was planted in the root of charity. And afterwards, when
he had suffered much tribulation with many ghostly battles, he began to wax right sick;
and then he commanded to make ready his chair that he might go and preach in the city the
word of God; wherefore it was kept in custom long time after of his disciples, and many
others, to touch him and kiss him, and whatsomever sickness that they had, they were anon
delivered thereof, and were made perfectly whole.
In a day of summer as this blessed saint Erkenwold rode in his chair for to preach the
word of God, it fortuned that the one wheel of the chair fell off from the axletree, and
that notwithstanding the chair went forthright without falling, which was against nature
and reason, and a fair miracle, for God guided the chair and it was a marvel to all them
that saw it. O merciful God and marvellous above all things, to whom all brute beasts be
made meek, and wild things be obedient, who vouchsafest to call to thy mercy thy blessed
servant, to make him partable of thy excellent joy, give thou us grace by his prayer,
which knew by revelation that his soul should be loosed from the body by temporal death,
to be preserved from all manner evil and everlasting death.
When this blessed S. Erkenwold, as God would, came to Barking, he fell into a great
sickness, in which he ended his temporal life; and forsomuch as he knew it before, he sent
for his servants and such as were drawing to him, and gave to them wholesome and sweet
lessons, and blessed them with great devotion, and among them he yielded up his spirit to
Almighty God, in whose passing was felt a marvellous sweet odour, as the house had been
full of sweet balm. And when the high canons of S. Paul's at London heard this, and the
monks of Chertsey, so anon they came to this holy body for to have it. And the nuns said
they ought to have the body because he died there, and also because he was their founder,
and the monks said they ought rather to have him, because he was both their abbot and
founder. Then the chapter of Paul's and the people said they strove in vain, for he should
be brought to London into his own church. thus there was great strife, and at the last
they of London took up the holy body, and bare it towards London, and as they went, there
fell a great tempest, and so much water that they might not pass, but were constrained to
set down the corpse, and in all the storm the tapers that were borne about the body were
always bright burning; and then the nuns said that God showed well that they of London
ought not to have him because of the tempest. And at the last, after many words, there was
a clerk which had been longing to S. Erkenwold, and saw this strife, and stood up and
commanded silence, and told to the people a great commendation of the virtuous life of
this holy saint, and said it was not honest, ne according, to misentreat the holy body by
violent hands, but let us beseech Almighty God, with good devotion and meekness of heart,
for to show to us some token by revelation in what place this holy body shall rest. And
all the people consented thereto, and kneeled down and prayed devoutly; and whiles they
were in prayer they saw that the water divided as it did to Moses in the Red Sea, and the
children going through into desert. In like wise God gave a dry path to the people of
London for to convey this holy body through the water to the city; and anon they took up
the body with great honour and reverence, and by one assent they bare it through the path,
the water standing up on every side, and the people not wetting their feet. And so they
came to Stratford, and set down the bier in a fair mead full of flowers, and anon after,
the weather began to wax fair and clear after the tempest, and the tapers were made to
burn without putting to fire of any man's hand, and thus pleased our Lord for to multiply
miracles to the honour and worship of this holy saint, wherefore the people were full of
joy and gladness, and gave laud to Almighty God. And then they took up the body and
brought it to Paul's, and as many sick folks as touched his bier were made whole, anon as
they touched the bier, of all their sicknesses by the merits of the holy bishop S.
Erkenwold. And after they laid and buried the body honorably in S. Paul's church, whereas
our Lord hath showed many a fair miracle, as in the delivering of prisoners out of their
irons, sick folk to their health, blind to their sight, and lame men to their bodily
strength: and among all others he hath been a special protector to the said church against
fire, whereas on a time the church was burnt, and his shrine, which was then but tree, was
saved through his bodily merits, in so much that the cloth which lay upon it was not
perished. Another time when a great fire had burnt a great part of the city, and should
have entered upon the church, S. Erkenwold was seen on the church with a banner fighting
against the fire, and so saved and kept his church from burning. Then let us pray unto
this holy saint that he be a special advocate for us to Almighty God that we may be
preserved from all perils of fire and water, and that he so govern us between wealth and
adversity in this present life, that we being assoiled from sin and vices, may be brought
unto heavenly joy where laud, honour, and glory be given to the Blessed Trinity world
without end. Amen.
Here followeth of the holy Abbot Pastor,
and first of his name.
Pastor is said of feeding, because that he feedeth his sheep, and this holy man Pastor
fed his sheep spiritually, and they were his brethren by spiritual of words of doctrine
and of manners of holy religion.
Of the holy Abbot Pastor.
The Abbot Pastor was many years in great abstinence in desert, and tormened his flesh
long time, and he shined in great holiness of religion. And his mother desired muchto see
him and his brethren, and saw on a day that he and his brethren went to the church; they
saw her, and anon they fled from her and entered into their cell, and shut the door
against her, and she came to the door and sat there sore crying and weeping. And then
Pastor came to the door and said: What criest thou there, thou old woman? And then she
understood the voice of him, and she cried louder and said: I would see you my sons, why
should I not see you, am I not your mother that bare you and gave you suck, and now am all
hoar for age? To whom her son said: Whether wilt thou see us in this world or in another?
And then she said: If I see you not here shall I see you there? And he said to her: If
thou mayst suffer not for to see us here, without doubt thou shalt see us there, which
then departed joyfully, saying: If I shall see you there I will not see you here. And then
the judge would needs see the abbot Pastor, but he might not, and then he took his
sister's son, as though he had been a malefactor, and put him in prison, and said: If
Pastor will come and pray for him, I shall deliver him and let him go. And then the mother
of the child came weeping to the door of Pastor, and prayed him to help her son; and when
she could get none answer of hirn, then she said to him by great violence: If thine
entrails be hard as iron, and hast no pity of nothing yet at the least oughtest thou to be
moved and have pity of thine own blood, which is my son. And then Pastor sent to her and
said that he had engendered no child. And then anon she departed for anger, and then said
the judge: At the least let him command by mouth, and I shall let him go. And then the
abbot Pastor sent him word that he should examine the cause according to the law, and if
he were worthy to die, let him die, and if not do as it shall please thee. He taught his
brethren and said: For to keep himself, to consider and have discretion, be works of the
soul, poverty, tribulation and discretion be works of solitary life. It is written that
these three men were so, Noah, Job, and Daniel. Noah representeth the person that
possesseth, Job them that be troubled, and Daniel them that be discreet, and if a monk
hateth two things, he may be free of this world. And one of his brethren asked him what
they were, and he said: Fleshly covetise, and vain glory; and he said: lf thou wilt find
rest in this world and in that which is to come, say in every case: Who am I? and deem no
On a time when a brother had offended, of their congregation, the abbot by counsel of
one that was solitary put him out, which wept as he had been in despair. Then the abbot
Pastor made him to be brought tofore him, whom he comforting benignly, sent him to him
that was solitary, saying: I hearing of thee, desire to see thee, labour therefore and
come to me. And when he was come, Pastor said to him: There were two men which their two
servants were dead, and that one of them left his own and went for to bewail the dead
servant of that other. And when the solitary man heard him, anon he understood him, and
wist by his words what he meant, and had compunction.
There was a brother which was sore troubled, and would leave his place because he had
heard certain words of another brother that they profited not; and Pastor said he should
not believe those words, for they were not true; he affirmed again to him that they were
true, for a true brother had told him so. To whom Pastor said: He is not true that said so
to thee, and he said: I have seen it with mine eyes. Then he demanded him of the festue
and of the beam, and he answered: A festue is a festue, and a beam is a beam. And Pastor
said: Put in thine heart all that be thy sins and thou shalt find them like a beam, and
the small sins of him be like a festue.
There was a brother which had done a great sin, being in will to do penance three
years, and asked him if it were much, which said: It is much; and then he asked if he
would command him a year, and he said it was much. They that stood by demanded of forty
days. He said it was much. And he said to them: I trow that if a man repent him with all
his heart, and will return no more to his sin and doth penance three days, our Lord shall
receive him to mercy. And then he was demanded of that word: That angered his brother
without a cause; and he said: Of all that ever thy brother grieveth thee, be not angry
with him till that he put out thy right eye, and if thou be wroth to him otherwise thou
art angry without cause, but if any would depart thee from God, then be wroth with him.
And yet he said furthermore: Who so complaineth is no monk, who that holdeth malice in his
heart is no monk, who that is wroth is no monk, who doeth evil for evil is no monk, who
that is proud and full of words is no monk. Whosomever is verily a monk is always humble,
meek, full of charity, and always to have before his eyes the dread of God in every place,
that he sin not. And also he said: If there be three together of whom that one resteth
well and that other is sick, and the third serveth and administereth with pure will, these
three be semblable as it were of one work.
There was one of his brethren which complained him that he had many thoughts and
perished in them, and he brought him in the air, and bade him hold up his lap and take the
wind, and he said: I may not; and that other said: In like wise mayst thou not forbid
thoughts to enter into thee, but it is thy part to withstand them. There was a brother
that demanded of him what he should do with the heritage that was left him, and he bade
him he should come again within three days; and when he came he said to him: If I said to
thee: Give them to thy parents or friends thou shouldst have no meed thereof, and if I
said give them to poor men, thou shalt be sure. Do what thou wilt, I have no part thereof.
This is in Vitae Patrum.
Here beginneth of the Abbot John.
John, abbot, when he had dwelled forty years in desert with Episius, then Episius
demanded how much he had profited, and then he said: As long as I have been solitary there
was never sun that saw me eating. And John said: Ne me, being wroth. In like manner it is
read that, when Epiphanius the bishop gave flesh to the abbot Hilary, he said: Pardon me,
for sith I took this habit I never eat flesh ne fowl. To whom the bishop said: And sith I
took mine habit, I suffered never none to sleep that had anything against me, ne I ne
slept also as long as I was contrary to any other. To whom Hilary said: Father, forgive it
me, for thou art better than I. John would have lived like unto angels, and entended
always to serve God without any other thing doing, and he despoiled him, and was a whole
week in desert. And when he was almost dead for hunger, and all stung with bees and wasps,
he returned to the door of his brother and knocked, and he asked: Who art thou? and he
said: I am John. And that other said: Thou art not he, for John ic made an angel and is
not among men. And John said: Truly I am he; but for all that he left him there till on
the morn. And then he opened the door to him, and said to him: If thou be a man it is need
that thou labour again for to be fed, and if thou be an angel, wherefore desires"
thou to enter herein? And John said: O brother, forgive it me, for I have sinned. And when
he should die his brethren prayed him that he would leave to them, instead of heritage, a
word of health, and that short, and then he sighed and said: I did never yet mine own will
ne I never did thing to any other but I did it first myself. Hæc in Vitis Patrum.
Here followeth of the Abbot Moses.
Moses, the abbot, said to a brother of his which demanded of him a sermon, to whom he
said: Sit still in thy cell and it shall teach thee all things. There was an old man being
sick which would go into Egypt because he would not grieve his brethren. The abbot Moses
said to him: Go not thither, for if thou go out thou shalt fall into fornication, and he
was angry, and said: My body is dead, why sayest thou so? And when he was gone, it happed
that a maid served him for devotion, and kept him in his malady, and when he was whole he
defiled her, and gat on her a child. And when the child was born the old man took the
child in his arms, and came on a day of great feast into the church of Sixtus to a great
multitude of people, and when his brethren wept, he said: Lo! see ye this child, this is
the son of inobedience, therefore beware ye, brethren, for I have done this in mine old
age, I pray you pray ye for me. And then he returned into his cell, and came again to his
first estate. And in like wise as another old man said to another: I am a dead man, and
that other said to him: Trust never to thyself till thy soul issue of thy body, for if
thou say that thou art dead, nevertheless thine enemy the fiend is not dead. There was a
brother which had sinned, and was sent by his brethren to the abbot Moses. And he took a
basketful of gravel and came to them, and they demanded him what it was, and he said:
These be my sins that run after me, and I see them not, and I am this day come to deem the
sins of a stranger. They, hearing this, spared their brother. A like thing is read of the
abbot tofore him, for when the brethren spake of a brother that was culpable, he held him
still and spake not. And after took a sackful of gravel and bare it behind him the most
part, and a little tofore him, and they demanded him what it was, and he said: The most
part be my sins which I bear behind me, them I consider not, ne sorrow for them. And this
little that I have before me be the sins of my brethren, which I consider all day and
judge them, howbeit I should always bear mine own sins tofore me, and think on them, and
pray to God for them that he would forgive me them. When the abbot Moses was made clerk,
and the bishop had ordained the oflice, he said to him: Now, thou art made all white, and
Moses said: Withinforth or withoutforth? Then the bishop would prove him, and said to his
clerks that when he should come to the altar they should wrongfully put him from it, and
follow him, and hear what he would say. And anon they put him away, and said to him: Go
out thou Ethiopian, and as he went out he said: They have done well to the foul wretch for
to defile and do despite to thee, for sith thou art no man, what presumest thou to be
among the men. This said he to himself. Hæc in Vitis Patrum.
Here followeth of S. Arsenius.
When Arsenius was yet master in the palace of a prince, he prayed unto God that he
would address him unto the way of health, so that in a time he heard a voice that said to
him: Arsenius, flee the company of men and thou shalt be saved. Then he went and took upon
him the life of a monk, and as he prayed there, he heard a voice saying: Arsenius, flee
hence, speak not and rest thee. It is read in the same place as to coveting this rest,
that there were three monks new made, and the first of them chose for to bring men that
were at debate and in discord to rest and peace, the second for to visit sick men, and the
third for to rest in wilderness and in desert. The first man, that laboured to set them at
accord that were at debate, could not please all men, and was weary and grieved and half
overcome, and he came to the second and found him all mat and failing for weariness, and
might not perform that he had emprised, and then by assent they two came to the third that
was in desert, and when they had told their tribulations to him he put water in a cup and
said: Look, and behold this water, and they saw that it was thick and troubled, and soon
after he said: See it now, how it is now fair and clear. And when they looked therein they
saw their visages therein, and then he said: Whosomever dwelleth among the men, he may
not, for the multitude of people see his sins, but when he resteth, then he may see his
And on a time there was a man found another in desert eating herbs and grass, all naked
as a beast, and he ran after him, and that other fled, and he that followed said: Abide
and tarry, for I follow thee for the love of God, and that other said: I flee from thee
for God's sake, and that other cast away his mantle from him, and then he tarried and
said: Because thou hast thrown the matter of the world from thee I have abiden thee. And
then he asked of him: How shall I be saved? And he answered and said: Flee from the
company of men, and say nothing.
There was a noble lady, which was old, came for to see the abbot Arsenius by devotion,
and Theophilus the archbishop prayed him that he would suffer that she might see him, but
he would not grant him in no wise. And at the last she went into his cell, and found him
without tofore his door, and she fell down to his feet, and he took her up with great
indignation, saying to her: If thou wilt see my face, see, and she for great shame and
confusion considered not his visage. To whom he said: How durst thou presume upon thee
that art a woman to make such a voyage? Thou shalt now go to Rome and say to other women
that thou hast seen Arsenius, and they shall also come for to see me. And she said to him:
If God will that I return to Rome I shall never stir woman to come to thee, but only I
pray thee that thou pray for me and always remember me. And he said to her: I pray to God
that he put out of my heart the remembrance of thee. And when she heard that, she was much
angry, and came into the city and began to tremble and shake for sorrow in the fevers or
axes; and when the archbishop knew it, he went for to comfort her, and she said: I die for
sorrow and heaviness, and the archbishop said to her: Knowest thou not that thou art a
woman, and the fiend overcometh holy men ofttimes by women, and therefore the old man said
to thee those words, howbeit he prayed always for thy soul? And then the woman was
comforted and was all whole, and returned home to her own house.
Also it is read of another old father, that when his disciple said to him: Thou art
waxen all old, father, let us now go dwell near to the world, and he said: Let us go
thither whereas no woman is, and his disciple said: Where is any place but that women be
therein, save in desert? To whom he said: Then bring me into that desert. There was
another brother which, when he bare his mother over the water, he wound his hands in his
mantle, to whom she said: Wherefore hast thou covered thy hands so, my son? To whom he
answered: The body of a woman is as fire that burneth, and because the mind of other women
should not come in my remembrance, therefore I do it. And Arsenius all the days of his
life, when he sat at the work of his hands, he had a linen cloth in his bosom for to dry
the tears with, that ran fast from his eyes, and all the night he would not sleep, and in
the morning, when he must sleep for weariness of nature, he would say to sleep: Come,
wicked servant, and then would take a little sleep sitting, and would arise anon, and
said: It sufficeth to a monk if he sleep an hour, if he be a fighter against vices.
When the father of S. Arsenius, which was a great senator and a right noble man, should
finish his life, he left to Arsenius by his testament much heritage, and one,
Magistrianus, brought unto him the said testament, and when he had received it he would
have broken it. Then Magistrianus fell down at his feet praying him that he would not do
so, for his head then should he lose, for it should be smitten off. To whom Arsenius said:
I was dead tofore him, he therefore that is but now dead, how may he make me his heir? And
sent again the testament, and would nothing have. On a time there was a voice came to him
and said: Come, and I shall show to thee the works of the men, and led him into a certain
place and showed to him a man of Ethiopia, that is a black man, that hewed wood and made a
great fardel, so great that he might not bear it, and always he hewed and put to the
fardel, and thus he did long, and after he showed to him a man that drew water out of a
lake and cast it into a cistern pierced, by which the water ran again into the lake, and
he would fill the cistern and might not. And after, he showed to him a temple and a man on
horseback which bare a long tree athwart, and would enter into the temple, and he might
not because the tree lay athwart. Then he expounded him this thing, and said: He that
beareth the tree is like the burden of justice with pride, and will not meek him,
therefore he abideth without the realm of heaven. And he that heweth the wood is like a
man that is in sin, and putteth none away by penance, but putteth always wickedness to
wickedness. And he that draweth the water is a man that doeth good works here in this
present world, but because that his evil works be meddled with them, he loseth his good
works. And when the evensong time of the Saturday came, on the Sunday, he left all his
works behind him, and held up his hands to heaven till the sun arose in the morning of the
Sunday tofore his face, and so abode all the night in prayers and in orisons. And hæc in
Here followeth of the Abbot Agathon.
Agathon the abbot bare three years a stone in his mouth till that he had learned to
keep silence, and there was another which entered into the congregation that said within
himself: Thou and an ass be of one kind, for like as an ass is beaten and speaketh not,
and suffereth wrong without answering, right so doest thou. And another brother was put
from the table, and he answered nothing, and afterwards he was asked, and he said: I have
put in my heart that I am like to a hound, when he is chastised he goeth his way out. And
it was demanded of Agathon what virtue was more than labour, and he answered: I trow there
be no labour so great as to pray to God, for the fiend laboureth always to break his
prayer, and in other labours a man hath some rest, and he that prayeth hath always need of
great strife. A brother demanded of Agathon how he ought to dwell with his brethren, to
whom he said: Like as the first day, and take on thee no trust but sufferance, for
sufferance is not worse than trust, for sufferance is mother of all passions; and then
keep thee from ire, for if the irous raised dead men it should not please God ne none
other for his ire. There was a brother that was angry said to himself: If I were alone, I
should not be so soon angry. On a time he filled a pot with water and poured it out again,
and he filled it the second time and poured it out always, and then he was so moved for
anger that he brake the pot. And then he advised himself, and knew that he was deceived of
the devil of wrath and of ire, and said: I am alone and yet I am overcome by wrath, and
therefore I shall return to my congregation, for over all is labour, and over all is
patience, and need of the help of God.
And two other brethren were contrary which had long conversed together and might not be
moved to wrath. And on a time that one said to that other: Let us make contentions
together like as men of the world do, and that other said: I wot not how contention is
made. And that other said: I shall lay this sack in the middle between us, and I shall
say: It is mine; and thou shalt say: It is not so, but it is mine, and thus shall the
strife be made. And then that one laid the sack so and said: It is mine, and that other
said: Nay, but it is mine, and that other said: Then thine be it, take it and go thy way,
and thus they departed and could not strive together. The abbot Agathon was wise to
understand, not slow to labour, scarce in meat and clothing, and said he had never slept,
at his will, having in his heart any sorrow against any other, or any other against him.
When Agathon should die, he held him three days without moving, holding always his eyes
open to heaven. And when his brethren roused or stirred him he said: I am tofore the
judgment of God. And they said: Why doubtest thou ? And he said: I have laboured with all
the virtue that I might to keep the commandments of God, but I am a man, and I wot not if
my works shall please our Lord. And they said: Trustest not thou in thy works which thou
hast done for God ? And he said: I shall not presume till I come tofore him, for the
judgments of God be other than the judgmenta of men. And when they would yet have asked
him something, he said: Show to me charity, and speak no more to me, for I am occupied,
and when he had said this, he yielded up his spirit with joy, and they saw our Lord and
his angels receiving his spirit and saluting, like as a man saluteth his friends. All this
is written in Vitis Patrum.
Here followeth of Barlaam the Hermit.
Barlaam, of whom S. John Damascene made the history with great diligence, in whom
divine grace so wrought that he converted to the faith S. Josaphat. And then as all India
was full of christian people and of monks, there arose a puissant king which was named
Avennir, which made great persecution to christian men and specially to monks. And it
happed so that one, which was friend of the king and chief in his palace, by the
inspiration of divine grace left the hall royal for to enter into the order of monks And
when the king heard say that he was christian he was wood for anger, and did do seek him
through every desert till that he was found with great pain, and then he was brought
tofore him. And when he saw him in a vile coat and much lean for hunger, which was wont to
be covered with precious clothing and abounded in much riches, he said to him: O thou fool
and out of thy mind, why hast thou changed thine honour into villainy and art made the
player of children? And he said to him: If thou wilt hear of me reason, put from thee
thine enemies. Then the king demanded him who were his enemies, and he said to him, ire
and covetise, for they empesh and let, that truth may not be seen, ne to assay prudence
and equity. To whom the king said: Let it be as thou sayst, and that other said: The fools
despise the things that be, like as they were not, and he that hath not the taste of the
things that be, he shall not use the sweetness of them, and may not learn the truth of
them that be not. And when he had showed many things of the mystery of the incarnation,
the king said to him: If I had not promised thee at the beginning that I should put away
ire from my counsel I should cast thy body into the flre. Go thy way and flee from mine
eyes that I see thee no more, and that I now distress thee not. And anon the man of God
went his way all heavily because he had not suffered martyrdom. Thus then, in this
meanwhile, it happed that to the king which had no child, that there was a fair son born
of his wife, and was called Josaphat. And then the king assembled a right great company of
people for to sacrifice to his gods for the nativity of his son, and also assembled
fifty-five astronomers, of whom he enquired what should befall of his son. And they said
to him that he should be great in power and in riches. And one, more wise than another,
said: Sire, this child that is born shall not be in thy realm, but he shall be in another,
much better without comparison, and know thou that I suppose that he shall be of christian
religion which thou persecutest. And that said not he of himself, but he said it by
inspiration of God. And when the king heard that, he doubted much, and did do make without
the city a right noble palace, and therein set he his son for to dwell and abide, and set
there right fair younglings, and commanded them that they should not speak to him of death
ne of old age, ne of sickness, ne of poverty, ne of no thing that may give him cause of
heaviness, but say to him all things that be joyous, so that his mind may be esprised with
gladness, and that he think on nothing to come. And anon as any of his servants were sick
the king commanded for to take them away, and set another, whole, in his stead, and
commanded that no mention should be made to him of Jesu Christ.
In that time was with the king a man which was secretly christian, and was chief among
all the noble princes of the king. And as he went on a time to hunt with the king, he
found a poor man lying on the ground, which was hurt on the foot by a beast, which prayed
that he would receive him, and that he might of him be holpen by some means. And the
knight said: I shall receive thee gladly, but I wot not how thou mayst do any profit. And
he said to him: I am a leech of words, and if any be hurt by words I can well give him a
medicine. And the knight set it at ought, all that he said, but he received him only for
God's sake and healed him. And then some princes, envious and malicious, saw that this
prince was so great and gracious with the king, and accused him to the king and said that
he was not only turned to the christian faith, but enforced to withdraw from him his
realm, and that he moved and solicited the company, and counselled them thereto. And if
thou wilt know it, said they, then call him secretly and say to him that this life is soon
done, and therefore thou wilt leave the glory of the world and of thy realm, and affirm
that thou wilt take the habit of monks, whom thou hast so persecuted by ignorance, and
after, thou shalt see what he shall answer. And when the King had done all like as they
had said, the knight, that knew nothing of the treason, began to weep, and praised much
the counsel of the king, and remembered him of the vanity of the world, and counselled him
to do it as soon as he might. And when the king heard him say so, he supposed it had been
true that the other had said to him, howbeit he said nothing. And then he understood and
apperceived that the king had taken his words in evil, and went and told all this unto the
leech of words all by order. And he said to him: Know thou for truth that the king feareth
that thou wilt assail his realm. Arise thou to-morrow and shave off thine hair and do off
thy vestments, and clothe thee in hair in the manner of a monk, and go early to the king.
When he shall demand thee what thou meanest, thou shalt answer: My lord, king, I am ready
to follow thee; for if the way by which thou desirest to go be hard, if I be with thee it
shall be the lighter unto thee, and like as thou hast had me in prosperity so shalt thou
have me in adversity; I am all ready, wherefore tarriest thou? And when he had this done
and said by order, the king was abashed, and reproved the false men and did to him more
honour than he did before.
And after this the king's son, that was nourished in the palace, came to age and grew
and was plainly taught in all wisdom. And he marvelled wherefore his father had so
enclosed him, and called one of his servants, which was most familiar with him, secretly,
and demanded him of this thing, and said to him that he was in great heaviness that he
might not go out, and that his meat ne drink savoured him not ne did him no good. And when
his father heard this he was full of sorrow. And anon he let do make ready horses and
joyful fellowship to accompany him in such wise that no thing dishonest should happen to
him. And on a time thus as the king's son went, he met a mesel and a blind man, and when
he saw them he was abashed, and enquired what them ailed, and his servants said: These be
passions that come to men. And he demanded if those passions come to all men, and they
said: Nay Then said he: Be they known which men shall suffer these passions without
definition? And they answered: Who is he that may know the adventures of men? And he began
to be much anguishous for the incustomable thing thereof. And another time he found a man
much aged which had his cheer frounced, his teeth fallen, and was all crooked for age.
Whereof he was abashed, and he desired to know the miracle of this vision. And when he
knew that this was because he had lived many years, then he demanded what should be the
end, and they said: Death; and he said: Is then death the end of all men or of some? And
they said for certain that all men must die. And when he knew that all should die, he
demanded them in how many years that should happen, and they said: In old age of four
score years or a hundred, and after that age the death followeth. And this young man
remembered oft in his heart these things, and was in great discomfort, but he showed him
much glad tofore his father, and he desired much to be informed and taught in these
things. And then there was a monk of perfect life and good opinion that dwelled in the
desert of the land of Senaar named Barlaam. And this monk knew by the Holy Ghost what was
done about this king's son, and took the habit of a merchant, and came unto the city and
spake to the greatest governor of the king's son, and said to him: I am a merchant and
have a precious stone to sell, which giveth sight to blind men, and hearing to deaf men.
It maketh the dumb to speak and giveth wisdom to fools, and therefore bring me to the
king's son and I shall deliver it to him. To whom he said: Thou seemest a man of prudent
nature, but thy words accord nothing to wisdom, nevertheless if I had knowledge of that
stone, show it me, and if it be such as thou sayst, and so proved, thou shalt have right
great honours of the king's son. To whom Barlaam said: My stone hath yet such
virtue that he that seeth it and hath none whole sight and keepeth not entire chastity if
he haply saw it, the virtue visible that it hath, he should lose it, and I that am a
physician see well that thou hast not thy sight whole, but I understand that the king's
son is chaste, and hath right fair eyes and whole. And then the man said: If it be so,
show it not to me, for mine eyes be not whole, and am foul of sin. And Barlaam said: This
thing appertaineth to the king's son, and therefore bring me to him anon, and he anon told
this to the king's son, and brought him anon in. And he received him honorably, and then
Barlaam said to him: Thou hast done well, for thou hast not taken heed of my littleness
that appeareth withoutforth, but thou hast done like unto a noble king, which when he rode
in his chair, clad with clothes of gold, and met with poor men which were clad with torn
clothes, and anon he sprang out of his chair and fell down to their feet and worshipped
them, and after arose and kissed them, and his barons took this evil, and were afraid to
reprove him thereof, but they said to his brother, how the king had done things against
his royal majesty, and his brother reproved him thereof. And the king had such a custom
that when one should be delivered to death, the king should send his crier with his trump
that was ordained thereto. And on the even he sent the crier with trump tofore his
brother's gate, and made to sound the trump, and when the king's brother heard this, he
was in despair of saving of his life, and could not sleep of all the night, and made his
testament. And on the morn early he clad him in black and came weeping with his wife and
children to the king's palace, and the king made him come tofore him, and said to him: O
fool that thou art, if thou hast heard the messenger of thy brother, to whom thou knowest
well thou hast not trespassed, and doubtest so much, how ought not I then doubt the
messengers of our Lord, against whom I have so often sinned, which signified unto me more
clearly the death than the trump, and showed to me horrible coming of the judge. And after
this he did do make four chests, and did do cover two of them with gold withoutforth, and
did do fill them with bones of dead men and of filth. And the other two he did do pitch
and did do fill them with precious stones and rich gems. And after this the king did do
call his great barons, because he knew well that they complained of him to his brother,
and did do set these four chests tofore them, and demanded of them which were most
precious, and they said that the two that were gilt were most of value. Then the king
commanded that they should be opened, and anon a great stench issued out of them. And the
king said: They be like them that be clothed with precious vestments and be full
withinforth of ordure and of sin. And after, he made open the other and there issued a
marvellous sweet odour. And after, the king said: These be semblable to the poor men that
I met and honoured, for though they be clad of foul vestments, yet shine they withinforth
with good odour of good virtues, and ye take none heed but to that withoutforth, and
consider not what is within. And thou hast done to me like as that king did, for thou hast
well received me.
And after this Barlaam began to tell to him a long sermon of the creation of the world,
and of the day of judgment, and of the reward of good and evil; and began strongly to
blame them that worship idols, and told to him of their folly such an example as
followeth, saying that: An archer took a little bird called a nightingale, and when he
would have slain this nightingale there was a voice given to the nightingale which said: O
thou man, what should it avail thee if thou slay me? Thou mayst not fill thy belly with
me, but and if thou wilt let me go, I shall teach thee three wisdoms, that if thou keep
them diligently thou mayst have great profit thereby. Then he was abashed of his words and
promised that he would let him go if he would tell him his wisdoms. Then the bird said:
Study never to take that thing that thou mayst not take. And of things lost which may not
be recovered, sorrow never therefor. Ne believe never thing that is incredible. Keep well
these three things, and thou shalt do well. And then he let the bird go as he had
promised. And then the nightingale flying in the air said to him: Alas! thou wretched man,
thou hast had evil counsel, for thou hast lost this day great treasure. For I have in my
bowels a precious margaret which is greater than the egg of an ostrich. And when he heard
that, he was much wroth and sorrowed sore because he had let her go, and enforced him all
that he could to take her again, saying: Come again to my house and I shall show to thee
all humanity, and give to thee all that shall need thee, and after shall let thee go
honourably whereas thou wilt. Then said the nightingale to him: Now I know well that thou
art a fool, for thou hast no profit in the wisdoms that I have said to thee. For thou art
right sorrowful for me whom thou hast lost which am irrecuperable, and yet thou weenest to
take me where thou mayst not come so high as I am; and furthermore where thou believest to
be in me a precious stone more big than the egg of an ostrich, when all my body may of not
attain to the greatness of such an egg. And in like wise be they fools that adore and
trust in idols, for they worship that which they have made, and call them whom they have
made keepers of them. And after he began to dispute against the fallacies of the world and
delights and vanitiee thereof, and brought forth many ensamples and said: They that desire
the delights corporal, and suffer their souls to die for hunger, be like to a man that
fled tofore an unicorn that he should not devour him, and in fleeing he fell into a great
pit, and as he fell he caught a branch of a tree with his hands and set his feet upon a
sliding place, and then saw two mice that one white and that other black, which without
ceasing gnawed the root of the tree, and had almost gnawed it asunder. And he saw in the
bottom of this pit a horrible dragon casting fire, and had his mouth open and desired to
devour him. Upon the sliding place on which his feet stood he saw the heads of four
serpents which issued there, and then he lifted up his eyes and saw a little honey that
hung in the boughs of the trees, and forgat the peril that he was in and gave him all to
the sweetness of that little honey. The unicorn is the figure of death which
continually followeth man and desireth to take him. The pit is the world which is full of
wickedness. The tree is the life of every man, which by the two mice, that the day and
night and the hours thereof, incessantly be wasted and approached to the cutting or
gnawing asunder. The place where the four serpents were, is the body ordained by the four
elements, by which the jointure of the members is corrupt in bodies disordinate.
The horrible dragon is the mouth of hell which desireth to devour all creatures. The
sweetness of the honey in the boughs of the tree is the false deceivable delectation of
the world, by which man is deceived so that he taketh no heed of the peril that he is in.
And yet he said: That they that love the world be semblable to a man that had three
friends, of which, he loved the first as much as himself, and he loved the second less
than himself, and loved the third a little or naught. And it happed so that this man was
in great peril of his life and was summoned tofore the king. Then he ran to his first
friend and demanded of him his help and told to him how he had always loved him, to whom
he said: I have other friends with whom I must be this day, and I wot not who thou art,
therefore I may not help thee, yet nevertheless I shall give to thee two slops with which
thou mayst cover thee. And then he went away much sorrowful, and went to that other friend
and required also his aid, and he said to him: I may not attend to go with thee to this
debate for I have great charge, but I shall yet fellowship thee unto the gate of the
palace, and then I shall return again and do mine own needs. And then he being heavy and
as despaired, went to the third friend, and said to him: I have no reason to speak to
thee, ne I have not loved thee as I ought, but I am in tribulation and without friends,
and pray thee that thou help me. And that other said, with glad cheer: Certes, I confess
to be thy dear friend and have not forgotten the little benefit that thou hast done to me,
and I shall go right gladly with thee tofore the king, for to see what shall be demanded
of thee, and I shall pray the king for thee. The first friend is possession of riches, for
which man putteth him in many perils, and when the death cometh he hath no more of it but
a cloth for to wind him for to be buried. The second friend is his sons, his wife, and
kin, which go with him to his grave and anon return for to entend to their own needs. The
third friend is faith, hope, and charity, and other good works which we have done, that
when we issue out of our bodies they may well go tofore us and pray God for us, and they
may well deliver us from the devils our enemies.
And yet he said according to this, that in a certain city is a custom that they of the
city shall choose every year a strange man and unknown for to be their prince, and they
shall give him puissance to do whatsomever he will and govern the country without any
other constitution. And he being thus in great delices and weeping ever to continue,
suddenly they of the city should arise against him and lead him naked through the city,
and after send him into an isle in exile, and there he should find neither meat ne
clothes, but should be constrained to be perished for hunger and cold. And after that,
they would enhance another to the kingdom, and thus they did long. At the last they took
one which knew their custom, and he sent tofore him into that isle great treasure without
number during all his year. And when his year was accomplished and passed, he was put out
and put to exile like the other, and whereas the other that had been tofore him perished
for cold and hunger, he abounded in great riches and delices. And this city is the world,
and the citizens be the princes of darkness which feed us with false delectation of the
world, and then the death cometh when we take none heed, and that we be sent in exile to
the place of darkness, and the riches that be tofore sent, be done by the hand of poor
And when Barlaam had perfectly taught the king's son, and he would leave his father for
to follow him, Barlaam said to him: If thou wilt do thus, thou shalt be semblable to a
young man that when he would have wedded a noble wife he forsook her and fled away and
came into a place whereas he saw a virgin, daughter of an old poor man, that laboured, and
praised God with her mouth. To whom he said: What is that thou doest, daughter, that art
so poor and always thou thankest God like as thou hadst received great things of him? To
whom she said: Like as a little medicine oft delivereth a great languor and pain, right so
for to give to God thankings, always of a little gift is made a giver of great gifts, for
the things that be withoutforth be not ours, but they that be within us be ours, and
therefore I have received great things of God, for he hath made me like to his image. He
hath given to me understanding, he hath called me to his glory, and hath opened to me the
gate of his kingdom, and therefore for these gifts it is fitting to me to give him
praising. This young man seeing her prudence asked of her father to have her to wife, to
whom the father said: Thou mayst not have my daughter, for thou art the son of rich and
noble kin, and I am but a poor man. But when he sore desired her, the old man said to him:
I may not give her to thee, sith thou wilt lead her home into the house of thy father, for
she is mine only daughter, and I have no more. And he said: I shall dwell with thee, and
shall accord with thee in all things. And then he did off his precious vestments and did
on him the habit of an old man, and so dwelling with him took her unto his wife, and when
the old man had long proved him he led him into his chamber and showed to him great plenty
of riches, more than ever he had, and gave to him all. And then Josaphat said to him: This
narration toucheth me convenably, and I trow thou hast said this for me. Now say to me,
father, how many years art thou old, and where conversest thou, for from thee I will never
depart. To whom Barlaam said: I have dwelled forty-five years in the desert of the land of
Senaar; to whom Josaphat said: Thou seemest better to be seventy years, and he said: If
thou demandest all the years of my nativity, thou hast well esteemed them, but I account
not of the number of my life them specially that I have dispended in the vanity of the
world, for I was then dead toward God, and I number not the years of death with the years
of life. And when Josaphat would have followed him into desert Barlaam said to him: If
thou do so I shall not have thy company, and I shall be then the author of persecution to
my brethren, but when thou seest time convenable thou shalt come to me. And then Barlaam
baptized the king's son and informed him well in the faith, and after, returned into his
And a little while after, the king heard say that his son was christened, wherefore he
was much sorrowful. And one that was his friend, named Arachis, recomforting him said: Sir
King, I know right well an old hermit that resembleth much Barlaam, and he is of our sect.
He shall feign him as he were Barlaam and shall defend first the faith of christian men,
and after, shall leave and return from it, and thus your son shall return to you. And then
the king went into desert as it were to seek Barlaam, and took this hermit and feigned
that he had taken Barlaam. And when the king's son heard that Barlaam was taken he wept
bitterly, but afterwards he knew by revelation divine that it was not he. Then the king
went to his son and said to him: Thou hast put me in great heaviness, thou hast
dishonoured mine old age, thou hast darkened the light of mine eyes, son, why hast thou
done so? Thou hast forsaken the honour of my gods. And he answered to him: I have fled the
darkness and am come to the light, I have fled error and know truth, and therefore
travailest thou for nought, for thou mayst never withdraw me f'rom Jesu Christ. For like
as it is impossible for thee to touch the heaven with thy hand, or for to dry the great
sea, so is it to thee for to change me. Then the father said: Who is cause hereof but I
myself that so gloriously have do nourished thee, that never father nourished more his
son? For which cause thine evil will hath made thee wood against me, and it is well right,
for the astronomers in thy nativity said that thou shouldst be proud and disobedient to
thy parents, but and thou now wilt not obey me thou shalt no more be my son, and I shall
be thine enemy for a father, and shall do to thee that I never did to mine enemies. To
whom Josaphat said: Father, wherefore art thou angry because I am made a partner of good
things? What father was ever sorrowful in the prosperity of his son? I shall no more call
thee father but and if thou be contrary to me, I shall flee thee as a serpent.
Then the king departed from him in great anger, and said to Arachis his friend all the
hardness of his son. And he counselled the king that he should give him no sharp words,
for a child is better reformed by fair and sweet words. The day following the king came to
his son and began to clip, embrace, and kiss him, and said to him: My right sweet son,
honour thou mine old age, son, dread thy father. Knowest thou not well that it is good to
obey thy father and make him glad, and for to do contrary it is sin, and they that anger
them sin evil? To whom Josaphat said: There is time to love and time to hate, time of
peace and time of battle, and we ought in no wise love them ne obey to them that would put
us away from God, be it father or mother. And when his father saw his steadfastness he
said to him: Sith I see thy folly and that thou wilt not obey me, come and we shall know
the truth, for Barlaam which hath delivered thee, is bounden in my prison, and let us
assemble our people with Barlaam, and I shall send for all the Galileans that they may
safely come without dread and dispute, and if that ye with your Barlaam overcome us, we
shall believe and obey you, and if we overcome you, ye shall consent to us. And this
pleased well to the king and to Josaphat, and when they had ordained that he that named
him Barlaam should first defend the faith of Christ, and suffer him after to be overcome,
and so were all assembled. Then Josaphat turned him towards Nachor, which feigned him to
be Barlaam and said: Barlaam, thou knowest well how thou hast taught me, and if thou
defend the faith that I have learned of thee, I shall abide in thy doctrine to the end of
my life, and if thou be overcome I shall avenge me anon on thee my injury, and shall pluck
out the tongue out of thine head with mine hands, and give it to dogs, to the end that
thou be not so hardy to put a king's son in error. And when Nachor heard that, he was in
great fear, and saw well that if he said contrary, he were but dead, and that he was taken
in his own snare. And then he advised that it were better to take and hold with the son
than with the father, for to eschew the peril of death. For the king had said to him,
tofore them all, that he should defend the faith hardily and without dread. Then one of
the masters said to him: Thou art Barlaam which hast deceived the son of the king, and he
said: I am Barlaam which have not put the king's son in any error, but I have brought him
out of error. And then the master said to him: Right noble and marvellous men have
worshipped our gods, how darest thou then address thee against them? And he answered: They
of Chaldee, of Egypt, and of Greece, have erred and said that the creatures were gods, and
the Chaldees supposed that the elements had been gods which were created to the profit of
men, and the Greeks supposed that cursed men and tyrants had been gods, as Saturn, whom
they said ate his son, and Jupiter which as they say gelded his father and threw his
members into the sea, whereof grew Venus, and Jupiter to be king of the other gods because
he transformed oft himself in likeness of a beast for to accomplish his adultery. And also
they say that Venus is goddess of adultery, and sometime Mars is her husband and sometime
Adonides. The Egyptians worship the beasts, that is to wit a sheep, a calf, a swine, or
such other, and the christian men worship the son of the right high king that descended
from heaven and took nature human. And then Nachor began clearly to defend the law of
christian men, and garnished him with many reasons, so that the masters were all abashed
and wist not what to answer. And then Josaphat had great joy of that, which our Lord had
defended the truth by him that was enemy of truth. And then the king was full of woodness,
and commanded that the council should depart, like as he would have treated again on the
morn of the same fait. Then Josaphat said to his father: Let my master be with me this
night, to the end that we may make our collation together for to make to-morrow our
answers, and thou shalt lead thy masters with thee, and shalt take counsel with them, and
if thou !ead my master with thee thou doest me no right. Wherefore he granted to him
Nachor, because he hoped that he should deceive him. And when the king's son was come to
his chamber and Nachor with him, Josaphat said to Nachor: Ne weenest thou not that I know
thee? I wot well thou art not Barlaam, but thou art Nachor, the astronomer. And Josaphat
preached then to him the way of health, and converted him to the faith, and on the morn
sent him into desert, and there was baptized, and led the life of a hermit.
Then there was an enchanter named Theodosius. When he heard of this thing, he came to
the king and said that he should make his son return and believe in his gods. And the king
said to him: If thou do so I shall make to thee an image of gold and offer sacrifices
thereto, like as to my gods. And he said: Take away all them that be about thy son and put
to him fair women and well adorned, and command them always to abide by him, and after I
shall send a wicked spirit that shall inflame him to luxury, and there is nothing that may
so soon deceive the young men as the beauty of women. And he said yet more:
There was a king which had with great pain a son, and the wise masters said that if he
saw sun or moon within ten years he should lose the sight of his eyes. Then it was
ordained that this child should be nourished within a pit made in a great rock. And when
the ten years were passed, the king commanded that his son should be brought tofore him
because he should know the names of all things, and then they brought tofore him jewels,
horses, and beasts of all manners, and also gold, silver, precious stones, and all other
things, and when he had demanded the names of everything, and that the ministers had told
him, he set nought thereby. And when his father saw that he recked not of such things,
then the king made to be brought tofore him women quaintly arrayed, and he demanded what
they were, for they would not so lightly tell him, whereof he was annoyed, and after the
master squire of the king said, japing, that they were devils that deceive men. Then the
king demanded him what he liefest had of all that he had seen, and he answered: Father, my
soul coveteth nothing so much as the devils that deceive men. And therefore I suppose that
none other thing shall surmount thy son but women, which move men always to lechery. Then
the king put out all his ministers, and set therein to be about his son right noble and
fair maidens, which always him admonished to play, and there were none others that might
speak ne serve him. And anon the enchanter sent to him the devil for to inflame him, which
burned the young man withinforth, and the maidens withoutforth. And when he felt him so
strongly travailed, he was much angry and recommended himself all to God, and he received
divine comfort in such wise that all temptation departed from him. And after this that the
king saw that the devil had done nothing, he sent to him a fair maiden, a king's daughter,
which was fatherless. To whom this man of God preached, and she answered: If thou wilt
save me and take me away from worshipping the idols, conjoin thee unto me by coupling of
marriage, for the patriarchs, prophets, and Peter the Apostle had wives. And he said to
her: Woman, these words sayest thou now for naught. It appertaineth well to christian men
to wed wives, but not to them that have promised to our Lord to keep virginity. And she
said to him: Now be it as thou wilt, but if thou wilt save my soul grant to me a little
request, lie with me only this night and I promise to thee that to-morn I shall be made
christian, for as ye say the angels have more joy in heaven of one sinner doing penance,
than on many others. There is great guerdon due to him that doth penance, and converteth
him. Therefore grant to me only this request, and so thou shalt save me. And then she
began strongly to assail the tower of his conscience. Then the devil said to his fellows:
Lo! see how this maid hath strongly put forth that we might not move. Come then and let us
knock strongly against him sith we find now time convenable. And when the holy young man
saw this thing, and that he was in that caitifness that the covetise of his flesh
admonished him to sin, and also that he desired the salvation of the maid by enticing of
the devil that moved him, he then put himself to prayer in weeping, and there fell asleep,
and saw by a vision that he was brought into a meadow arrayed with fair flowers, there
where the leaves of the trees demened a sweet sound which came by a wind agreeable, and
thereout issued a marvellous odour, and the fruit was right fair to see, and right
delectable of taste, and there were seats of gold and silver and precious stones, and the
beds were noble and preciously adorned, and right clear water ran thereby. And after that,
he entered into a city of which the walls were of fine gold, and shone by marvellous
clearness, and saw in the air some that sang a song that never ear of mortal man heard
like. And it was said: This is the place of blessed saints. And as they would have had him
thence, he prayed them that they would let him dwell there. And they said to him: Thou
shalt yet hereafter come hither with great travail if thou mayst suffer. And after they
led him into a right horrible place, full of all filth and stench, and said to him: This
is the place of wicked people. And when he awoke, him seemed that the beauty of that
damosel was more foul and stinking than all the other ordure. And then the wicked spirits
came again to Theodosius and he then blamed them, to whom they said: We ran upon him
tofore he marked him with the sign of the cross, and troubled him strongly, and when he
was garnished with the sign of the cross he persecuted us by great force. Then Theodosius
came to him with the king and had hoped that he should have perverted him, but this
enchanter was taken of him whom he supposed to have taken, and was converted and received
baptism and lived after a holy life. And then the king was all despaired and by counsel of
his friends he delivered to him half his realm, and howbeit that Josaphat desired with all
his thought the desert, yet for to increase the faith he received the realm for a certain
time, and made churches, and raised crosses, and converted much people of his realm
to the faith of Jesu Christ, and at the last the father consented to the reasons and
predications of his son, and believed on the faith of Jesu Christ and received baptism,
and left his realm wholly to his son, and entended to works of penance, and after,
finished his life laudably. And Josaphat oft warned the king Barachius that he would go in
to desert, but he was retained of the people long time, but at the last he fled away in to
desert, and as he went in a desert he gave to a poor man his habit royal and abode in a
right poor gown. And the devil made to him many assaults, for sometimes he ran upon him
with a sword drawn and menaced to smite if he left not the desert; and another time he
appeared to him in the form of a wild beast and foamed and ran on him as he would have
devoured him, and then Josaphat said: Our Lord is mine helper. I doubt no thing that man
may do to me.
And thus Josaphat was two years vagrant and erred in desert, and could not find
Barlaam. And at the last he found a cave in the earth, and knocked at the door, and said:
Father, bless me, and anon Barlaam heard the voice of him, and rose up and went out, and
then each kissed other and embraced straitly and were glad of their assembling. And after
Josaphat recounted to Barlaam all these things that were happened, and he rendered and
gave thankings to God therefor. And Josaphat dwelled there many years in great and
marvellous penance, full of virtues. And when Barlaam had accomplished his days, he rested
in peace about the year of our Lord four hundred and eighty. Josaphat left his realm the
twenty-fifth year of his age, and led the life of a hermit thirty-five years' and then
rested in peace, full of virtues, and was buried by the body of Barlaam. And when the king
Barachius heard of this thing, he came unto that same place with a great company, and took
the bodies and bare them with much great honour into his city, where God hath showed many
fair miracles at the tomb of these two precious bodies.
Here followeth the history of S. Pelagius the
Pope, with many other histories and gestes of the Lombards, and of Mahomet, with other
Pelagius the Pope was of much great holiness, and demeaned him laudably in the See of
Rome, and in his last end he ended in our Lord full of virtues; but this was not that
Pelagius the predecessor of S. Gregory but another tofore him. To this Pelagius succeeded
John the Third, and to John, Benedict, to Benedict, Pelagius, to Pelagius, Gregory. In the
time of this Pelagius came the Lombards into Italy, and because many know not this history
I have ordained it to be set here like as it is set in the history of the Lombards which
Paul, the historiographer of Lombards, hath compiled and expounded in divers chronicles.
He saith that there was a multitude of people of Germany issued from the rivage of the sea
ocean, and sailed towards the north from the isle of Scandinavia, and environed many
countries and made many battles, and at the last they came into Pannonia, and durst not go
farther, and there established to hold their perpetual habitation. These men were called
Huns, and afterwards they were called Lombards.
And yet as they were in Germany, Agilmud, king of the Lombards, found seven children
cast into a piscine for to be drowned, which were born at one burden of a common woman.
And when the king had found them by case of adventure, he marvelled much, and with his
spear he began to turn and move them, and one of the children took and held the spear with
his hand, and when the king saw that he was abashed, and made him to be taken and
nourished, and called him great Lamissio, and said that he should be of so great puissance
that after the death of the king of the Lombards he should be made king of them. About
that same time, in the year of our Lord four hundred and eighty, there was a bishop of the
heresy Arian, as saith Eutropius, which would have baptized one named Barnabas, and when
he said Barnabas, I baptize thee in the name of the Father, by the Son with the Holy
Ghost, by which he would show the Son and the Holy Ghost to be less than the Father, and
anon the water vanished away, and he, that should have been baptized, fled to the church
for to be baptized.
In that time flourished Medard and Gildard brethren, both of one burden and born in one
day, and both made bishops in one day, and in one day both they died in our Lord. And
tofore this time it is said in a chronicle about the year of our Lord four hundred and
one, as the heresy Arian grew in France, the unity of the substance of three persons was
showed by open miracle like as Philibert rehearseth. For as the bishop sang mass in the
city of Vasacence he saw three drops right clear, all of one greatness, which were upon
the altar, and all three ran together into a precious gem, and when they had set this gem
in a cross of gold all the other precious stones that were there fell out. And this gem
was clear to them that were clean out of sin, and it was obscure and dark to sinners, and
it gave health to them that were sick, and increased them that worshipped the cross.
After this reigned a king upon the Lombards which was named Alboin, a strong man and a
noble, which had a battle with the king of the Gebidains, and destroyed their host and
slew their king, wherefore the son of the king that was slain succeeded his father, and
came with a great puissant army against Alboin for to avenge his father. And Alboin moved
his strength against him and surmounted him and slew him, and led away with him Rosamond
his wife in captivity, but after he took her to his wife, and he did do make a cup of the
skull of that king and closed it in fine gold and silver, and drank out of it. In that
time Justinian the Less governed the empire, which had a prince chaste named Narses, which
was a noble man and strong, which went to battle against the Goths that then had taken all
Italy. And he surmounted them and slew their king and made peace in all Italy, and after,
yet for all his great victory and weal he suffered great envy of the Romans, for he was
falsely accused unto the emperor, and the wife of the emperor, named Sophia, did to him so
great despite that she sent him word that she should make him to spin and clip wool with
her chamberers. To whom Narses sent her answer, saying: I shall so purchase to set such a
cloth in thy looms that during thy life thou shalt not finish it ne take it down. Then
Narses went to Neapolin, and sent to the Lombards that they should leave that poor land of
Pannonia, and that they should pursue the right plenteous land of Italy. And when Alboin
heard this thing he Ieft Pannonia and entered with his Lombards into Italy the year of our
Lord six hundred and sixty eight, and they were accustomed to have long beards, wherefore
on a time, as it is said, certain spies came to espie them, whereof Alboin had knowledge,
and commanded that all the women should unbind their hair and bind it under their chins in
such wise that they should seem men. And therefore were they called Longebards, and so
after, Lombards, and all because of long beards. And others say when they ought to fight
with the Vandelians or Vandals, they went to a man that had a spirit of prophecy for to
pray for them, and that he should bless them, and by counsel of his wife they should put
them by the window whereas he prayed towards the orient. And the women put their hair
about their chins instead of beards, and when he opened his window and saw them, he
escried and said: Who be these longbeards? And then his wife said to him that he should
give the victory to them that he had named. Then entered they into Italy and took almost
all the cities, and slew all the inhabitants and assieged three years Pavia and at the
last they took it. And the king Alboin had sworn that he should slay all the christian
men. And as he should enter into Pavia his horse kneeled tofore the gate of the city, and
could not make him to arise with his spurs, ne in none other manner, till by the warning
of a christian man he had changed his oath. And from thence came the Lombards to Milan,
and in a little time they subdued to them all Italy save Rome and Romaniole, which always
was adherent to Rome, for it held always with Rome. And when the king Alboin came to
Verona and had ordained a great feast, he commanded to bring forth the cup that he had do
make of the head of the king, and did drink thereof, and gave it to Rosamond his wife, and
said: Drink with thy father, and when Rosamond knew it, she had great disdain and hate
toward the king. And the king had a duke which held and lay by a damsel of the queen, and
on a time she was out, and the queen entered into her chamber and sent for the duke in the
name of the same damsel. And when he was come and had done his will, she said to him:
Wotest thou who I am? and he said: Ye are my love, and she said: Nay, I am Rosamond the
queen, wherefore my husband shall be angry, but I pray thee that thou wilt avenge me on
him, for he hath slain my father, and hath do make a cup of his head, and hath made me for
to drink thereof. And he would not grant her, but promised to her that he should find one
that should do it. Then when he should come she took away the king's arms, and bound fast
his sword in the sheath so that he might not draw it out, which hung at his bed's head,
and when the king was asleep in his bed, the homicide enforced him to enter into the
chamber, and when the king felt him he sprang up and took his sword, but he might not draw
it out, and began strongly to defend him with a stool. But that other which was well armed
prevailed on the king and slew him and took all his treasure, and went with Rosamond to
Ravenna. And when Rosamond was in Ravenna she saw a fair young man which was provost of
the town, and desired to have him to her husband, and she gave to her husband to drink,
and anon he felt the bitterness of the venom and commanded to Rosamond for to drink the
residue; which she refused. And he took his sword and constrained her to drink it, and
thus they perished and died both together. And after this the Lombards made a king named
Adalaoth which was baptized, and received the faith of Christ. And Theodolina, queen of
the Lombards, a devout and most christian lady, ordained at Modena a much fair oratory. To
whom S. Gregory sent the books of dialogues, and she converted Agisulphe, her husband, to
the faith, which had first been Duke of Turin, and after was king of the Lombards. And he
made peace to be had with the emperor and with the church. And the peace was made between
the Romans and the Lombards the day of the feast of S. Gervase and S. Prothase, and
therefore established S. Gregory to sing the office in the mass: Loquetur dominus pacem.
And in the nativity of S. John Baptist the peace was all confirmed, and this Theodolina
had a special devotion to the blessed S. John, and said that by the merit of him her
people was converted, and to him she made the said oratory at Modena, and it was shewed by
revelation, unto a holy man, that S. John was patron and defender of her people. And when
Gregory was dead Sabine succeeded after him, and to him succeeded Boniface the third, and
to him Boniface the fourth, at whose request Phocas the emperor gave to the church of
Christ the temple of Pantheon, about the year of our Lord six hundred and ten, and he, at
the request of the third Boniface, established the See of Rome to be chief and head of all
the church. For tofore, the church of Constantinople wrote herself greatest of all other
churches. And when Phocas was dead Heraclius reigned. And about the year of our Lord six
hundred and ten Mahomet the false prophet, and an enchanter, deceived the Hagarenes or
Ishmaelites, that is to say the Saracens, in this manner as it is read in a history of him
in a certain chronicle. There was a clerk much renowned at Rome which could not come to
the worship that he desired, and in great disdain departed thence in to the parts over the
sea, and drew to him by his simulation much people, and found Mahomet, and said to him
that he would make him lord and chief of all the people. And after, he nourished a dove,
and laid wheat and other corn in the ears of Mahomet, and set the dove upon his shoulder,
and fed him out of his ear, and was so used and accustomed that always when he saw Mahomet
he flew on his shoulder and put his bill or beak in his ear, and then this clerk called
the people and said that he would make him lord over them all on whom the Holy Ghost
should descend in the likeness of a culver or a dove. And then he let the dove fly
secretly, and he flew upon the shoulder of Mahomet which was among the others, and put his
beak in his ear. And when the people saw this thing they supposed that the Holy Ghost had
descended on him, and had showed unto him in his ear the word of God, and thus deceived
Mahomet the Saracens, which with his adherents assailed the realm of Persia and all the
parts of the Orient unto Alexandria.
Thus it is said commonly, but this that shall here follow is had from more truer
history. For then Mahomet made and feigned his laws to be made of the Holy Ghost, which in
the sight of the people oft came unto him in the form of a dove, and in his laws he put
some things of the Old and New Testament. For when he was in his first age he haunted
Egypt and Palestine, and was a merchant and led camels, and conversed oft with Jews and
with christian men, of whom he had taken the Old Testament and the New. And after the
custom of the Jews the Saracens be circumcised, and eat no swine's flesh. And Mahomet told
them that the cause was that the swine was made of the dung of the camel after Noah's
flood, and therefore it ought to be eschewed as an unclean beast, of clean people. And to
christian men they accord whereas they believe on God Almighty Maker of all things. And
this false prophet, meddled and affrmed some true things with the false. He said that
Moses was a great prophet, but Christ was greater and most sovereign of the prophets, and
was born of the Virgin Mary without seed of man. And he saith in his book, that is called
Alkoran, that when Christ was a child he made birds of the slime of the earth. But he
meddled venom with his words, for he said that Jesu Christ was not verily dead, ne arose
not again, but that it was another in likeness of him that he had put in his stead. There
was a lady named Cadygam which was lady of a province named Corocania, and saw that this
Mahomet was keeper and governor of a great company of Saracens and Jews and supposed that
divine majesty had been in him hid. And she was a widow, and she took Mahomet to her
husband, and thus was Mahomet prince of all that province. And after, by false
demonstrances, he deceived not only this lady, but he deceived Jews and christian men, so
that he said to them openly that he was Messias that was promised in their law. And after
this Mahomet fell oft in the epileptical passion, and when the lady his wife saw him oft
fall, she was much sorrowful that she had wedded him. And he thought to please her, and
appeased her in this wise, and said that he oft saw the angel Gabriel which spake to him,
and that he might not suffer the brightness of him, wherefore he must fall because he
might not sustain him, and his wife and others supposed and believed that it had been
true. And in another place it is read that it was a monk named Sergius, a heretic, that
introduced Mahomet, which monk because he fell into the heresy of Nestorius was expulsed
from his monastery, and came into Arabia, and abode with Mahomet. Howbeit, it is said in
another place that he was archdeacon in Antioch, and as some say he was a Jacobite and
preached the circumcision, and said that Christ was not God but he was a ho]y man
conceived only of the Holy Ghost and born of a virgin, and that believe the Saracens.
And the said Sergius taught to Mahomet many things of the Old and New Testament. And
when Mahomet was orphan of father and mother he was under the governance of his uncle, and
by long time adored idols with the people of Arabia, as he witnesseth in his Alkoran that
God should say to him: Thou wert an orphan and I have taken thee. Thou abodest long in the
error of idolatry and I brought thee out thereof. Thou wert poor and I have enriched thee.
All the people of Arabia, with Mahomet, worshipped Venus for a goddess, and thereof cometh
it that the Saracens hold the Friday in great honour, like as the Jews do the Saturday,
and christian men the Sunday. And when Mahomet was enriched with the riches of this widow
Cadygam, he mounted in so great folly of thought that he thought to usurp to him the realm
of Arabia. And when he saw he might not do it by violence, and also that he was despised
of his fellows, which had been always great with him, then he feigned him to be a prophet,
and them that he might not draw to him by might he drew to him by feigned holiness. And
then he began to believe the counsel of that Sergius, which was a much subtle man, and
inquired all that he should do secretly, and reported it to the people, and called him
Gabriel. And thus Mahomet in feigning himself to be a prophet held all the seigniory of
all that people, and all believed by their agreement, or for fear, or for doubt of sword.
That thing is more true than that which is said of the dove and is more to be holden. And
because that this Sergius was a monk, he would that the Saracens should use the habit of a
monk, that is to wit a gown without a hood, and in the guise of monks they should make
many kneelings, and that they should adore ordinately. And because that the Jews worship
towards the west, and the christian men towards the east, therefore he would that his
people should adore towards the south, and so do yet the Saracens. And Mahomet published to them many of the laws that the said Sergius taught him, and took many of Moses laws.
For the Saracens wash them oft, and specially when they should pray, for then would they
wash all the members of their body, because they should pray the more clean, and in their
praying they confessed one only God to whom is none like, and they say that Mahomet is his
prophet. And they fast every year a whole month, and when they fast they eat nothing but
in the night, and fast all the day. And as soon as the day cometh, as when they may
discern black from white, they begin to fast, and fast till the sun be down, and night.
And in that while none of them dare eat ne drink, ne have to do with his wife, but they
that be sick be not constrained to this. It is also commanded to them that once a year
they should come unto the house of God for to adore, and in vestments without seam to go
about, and cast stones between their thighs for to stone the devil therewith. Which house
they say that Adam made it for all his children for to pray in, and left it to Abraham and
Ishmael, and at the last it was left to Mahomet and to all his people. They might eat all
manner of flesh, save swine's flesh, and blood, and flesh that had been strangled or found
dead. Each man might have four wives wedded at once, and refuse and repudiate three times
and take them again, but not the fourth time. And he might have no more than four wives
lawfully, but he might have concubines and such women, as many as he may buy and as many
as he might keep, and them he may sell but if she be with child. And it is granted to them
that they may have wives of their own lineage that their kindred may be the stronger among
them in friendship. And as to their possessions, he that demandeth must have witness to
prove his demand, and the defendant shall be believed by his oath. When they be found in
adultery they be stoned both together, and when they do fornication they shall have four score lashes.
Mahomet said that the angel Gabriel had showed to him that it was granted to him of our
Lord that he might go to others men's wives for to engender men of virtue, and prophets.
And one of his servants had a fair wife, and he defended and forbade his wife that they
should not speak with his lord, Mahomet. And on a day he found her speaking with him, and
then anon he put her from him, and Mahomet received her and set her among his other wives.
And then he doubted the murmur of the people, and feigned that a writing was sent to him
from heaven, in which was written: If any man repudiated his wife that he that received
her should have her to his wife which thing the Saracens keep for a law to this day. A
thief that is taken among them is beaten the first and second time, the third time his
hand is cut off, the fourth time his foot is smitten off. It is forbidden to them to drink
wine, and as they affirm, our Lord hath promised paradise to them that keep these laws and
others, that is to wit a garden or a place of delices environed with running water. In
which paradise they shall have seats perdurable, ne they shall have neither overmuch heat
ne cold, and they shall use and eat all manner meats, and whatsomever they desire they
shall anon find ready tofore them. They shall be clad in clothes of silk of all colours,
they shall be conjoined to right fair virgins, and always they shall be in delices, and
the angels shall come as butlers with vessels of gold and silver, and shall give in them
of gold, milk, and in them of silver, wine, and they shall say to them eat and drink in
gladness. And Mahomet saith they shall have three floods or rivers in Paradise, that one
of milk, that other of honey, and the third of right good wine, with right precious
spices. And that they shall see there right fair angels and so great that from that one
eye to that other is the space of a day's journey. Unto them that believe not to God and
Mahomet, as they affirm, is ordained the pain of hell without end, and to them that in
whatsomever sin have sinned and been bounden therein, if in the hour of their death they
believe in God and to Mahomet, in the day of doom when Mahomet shall come, they shall be
saved. And the Saracens, enveloped in darkness, affirm that Mahomet, the false prophet, to
have had the spirit of prophecy above all other prophets, and they say that he had ten
angels obedient to him, which kept him. And they say yet that, tofore God created heaven
and earth the name of Mahomet was tofore God, but if Mahomet should not have been, heaven,
ne earth, ne paradise, had never been made. Also they lie saying that the moon came to
him, whom receiving into his bosom he departed into two parts, and after joined them again
together. And they say that there was a lamb of flesh offered to him, which spake unto
him, and said: Beware that thou eat me not, for there is venom within me. And yet
nevertheless after certain years there was venom given by which he died.
But now let us return to the history of the Lombards, for then the Lombards were much
contrary to the church of Rome, and to the empire, how be it they had received the faith,
and then Pepin, the greatest prince of the house of France, was dead, and Charles his son
succeeded him, which was also named Eutides, and he did many battles, and had many
victories, and left two sons, princes of the royal hall, Charles and Pepin. But Charles,
leaving the pomp of the world, was made a monk of Cassinense and Pepin governed much nobly
and worshipfully the house of France. And forasmuch as Childeric the king was not
profitable, Pepin came unto the Pope and asked counsel whether he should be king that had
but only the name of the king, or he that governed the realm. And then the Pope answered
that he ought to have the name of the king that governed well the realm. And the Frenchmen
were enharded with this answer, and made Pepin king, and closed Childeric in a monastery,
about the year seven hundred and fifty. And then when Astolphus, king of the Lombards, had
despoiled the church of Rome of her possessions and seigniory, Stephen the Pope, which
came after Zachary required aid and help of Pepin the king of France against the Lombards,
and came himself into France. And then Pepin assembled a much great host, and came into
Italy, and besieged the King Astolphus, and vanquished him, and took of him forty hostages
that he should restore again to the church of Rome all that he had taken away, and that he
should no more torment it. But when Pepin was departed he did nothing of that he had
promised, and soon after as he went on hunting he died suddenly, and Desiderius succeeded
him, about the year of our Lord seven hundred and fifty-six.
Dagobert, king of France, as it is contained in a chronicle, which had reigned long
time tofore Pepin, began from his childhood to have S. Denis in great reverence, for when
he feared the anger of his father Lothair he fled anon to the church of the blessed S.
Denis, and after, when he was made king, he loved and honoured him strongly, and after,
when he was dead, it was showed to a holy man in a vision that his soul was brought to the
judgment, and many saints opposed against him that he had robbed her churches, and as the
wicked spirits would have ravished and led him to pain, the blessed Denis came and
delivered him, or peradventure the soul of him was restored to the body and did penance.
The King Clodoveus of France uncovered Denis more dishonestly than he ought to do, and
brake the bones of his arm and bare them away covetously, and anon he waxed mad.
In that time was Bede the honourable clerk in England, and how be it that he is
accounted in the catalogue of saints, yet he is not called of holy church Saint Bede, but
worshipful Bede, and this for double cause. The first is, for his old age he was blind,
and he had one that led him by towns and castles, whereas he preached the word of our Lord
in every place, and on a time he led him by a valley full of great stones, and his leader
mocking him said that there were assembled much people that were still for to hear his
predication. And then began he to preach much ardently, and at the last end he concluded
with: Per omnia secula seculorum, and anon the stones answered with a high voice: Amen,
our honourable father; and because that the stones called him honourable so the church may
say well that he is honourable. The second cause is that after his death, a much devout
clerk desired to make a verse to set on his tomb, and began in this wise: Hac sunt in
fossa, and was ended with Bedae sancti ossa, but it was no true verse, and when he could
not bring it to a true metre he was full of thought all a night, and on the morn he found
graven on his tomb by the hands of angels the verse full made in this manner:
Hac sunt in fossa
Bedae venerabilis ossa.
Whose body is worshipped by great devotion in Genoa.
In the time of about the year of our Lord seven hundred, Rachortus, King of Frisia,
should have been baptized, and had then one foot in the fontstone and that other without,
and demanded whether the more part of his predecessors were in hell or in heaven, and when
he heard that more of them were in hell than in heaven, he said: It is more holy to follow
the more part than the less, and withdrew his foot that was in the font, and so was he
deceived of the devil, which promised unto him goods without number, and the fourth day he
died suddenly and perished perdurably.
In the campagna of Italy wheat, barley, and corn fell down from heaven like rain. It is
read that in the same time, the year of our Lord seven hundred and forty, when the body of
S. Benedict was brought into the monastery of Floriacence and the body of S. Scolastica
his sister was brought to Ceromane, Charles the monk would have borne the body to the
castle of Cassinense, but by miracles that were showed it was forbidden. In that time was
a great trembling of the earth by which cities were turned and sunken, and others, with
mountains and hills, were borne and transported whole and safe seven miles thence. The
body of S. Pernelle, daughter of S. Peter the apostle, was transported from thence where
it was, and was found written in marble by the hand of S. Peter: This is the tomb of the
golden Petronelle my daughter. And as Sigebert saith they of Tyre tormented them of
Armenia, and when the pestilence had been sometime in their land, they of the country, by
the admonishments of christian men, shaved their heads in manner of a cross, and because
that by that sign they received their health they retained that manner of shaving.
At the last Pepin after many victories was dead, and Charles the Great, his son,
succeeded him in his reign. And in his time Adrian the pope sat in his See at Rome and
sent messengers to Charles the Great and required him of help against Desiderius, king of
the Lombards, which tormented strongly the church like as Astolphus his father did. And
Charles obeyed to the Pope and assembled a great host and entered by the mountains into
Italy, and assieged puissantly the royal city of Pavia and took Desiderius, and his wife,
and his princes, and sent them in exile into France and re-established to the church all
the droits and rights that had been taken from them. In that time were in the host of
Charlemagne, Amys and Amelion, which were two right noble knights of our Lord Jesu Christ,
of whom be read marvellous acts, which fell and died at Mortaria whereas Charles overcame
the Lombards. And there then failed the reign of the Lombards, for after that time they
had never king, but such as the emperors gave to them. And then went Charles to Rome, and
the pope assembled a synod of one hundred and fifty-three bishops, in which synod the pope
gave to Charles power to choose the pope and to ordain the See of Rome, and also he
granted to him the investiture to give to archbishops and bishops tofore their
consecration. His sons were made kings, and were all anointed at Rome, that is to wit,
Pepin, King of Italy, and Louis, King of Aquitaine or Guienne; and then flourished
Alcuinus master of Charles. And then Pepin, son of Charles, began to rebel against his
father, whereof he was convicted, and was shorn a monk.
About the year of our Lord seven hundred and eighty-three in the time of Irene,
Empress, and of her son Constantine, there was a man digging in a long wall, as it is read
in a certain chronicle, and he found a chest of stone, and found therein a man Iying and
letters containing this following: Christ shall be born of Mary the virgin, and I believe
in him; under Constantine and Irene the Empress, 0 son, thou shalt see me again. And when
Adrian was dead Leon was set upon the See of Rome and was Pope, and a man right honourable
in all things. And the kinsman of Adrian had and bare heavy heart towards him, and on a
time as he read the greater Litanies, they moved the people against him, and drew out his
eyes and cut off his tongue, but God by miracle reestablished again his tongue and his
sight, and after, he fled to Charles and he remised him in his seat and punished the
Then the Romans by admonishments of the pope, the year of our Lord seven hundred and
eighty-four left the empire of Constantinople, and they made Charles emperor, and crowned
him by the hand of Leo the pope, and called him Cæsar Augustus. And anon, after
Constantine the great, the see imperial was in Constantinople, and because the foresaid
Constantine had given and left Rome to the vicars of S. Peter the apostle, and had
ordained the same for their see, nevertheless for the dignity they be called Emperors of
Rome, and so were they till the Empire of Rome came to the kings of France and after that
the others were called Emperors of Constantinople, or Emperors of the Greeks, and the
others be called Emperors of Rome. And it was much marvel of this Emperor Charles, for as
long as he lived he would never marry none of his daughters, and said he might in no wise
forbear their company. And Alcuin, his master, wrote unto him upon this thing, and said:
Howbeit that thou be blest in other things, yet in this thou art unhappy in fortune, and
declared to him what he would say upon that matter. And nevertheless the Emperor did by
dissimulation so as there should be no suspicion thereof, but nevertheless it was much
spoken among the people, and wheresomever he went he led them with him.
In the time of this Charles, the office of S. Ambrose was much left, and the office of
S. Gregory was solemnly published, and the authority of the emperor helped much thereto.
For as S. Austin rehearseth, in his book of Confessions, S. Ambrose had many persecutions
of Justina the Empress, which was of the heresy Arian, and was awaited in the church, both
he and his folk catholic, and therefore established he to sing the hymns and the psalms
after the custom of them of the Orient, lest the people should abide in the slough of
error, and afterwards it was ordained through all the church. And then Gregory came
forward and changed many things and added some thereto, and some he took away. The holy
fathers might not see all that longed at the beginning to the beauty of the office, but
divers fathers ordained divers things. For the mass hath three beginniogs. For it began
sometime at the lesson, as it is done on the holy Saturday on Easter Even.
Celestine the pope ordained to sing a psalm at the introit of the mass, and S. Gregory
ordained the introit of the mass to be sung, and a verse of the psalm that was sung. And
sometimes they sang psalms about the altar, and was environed of clerks in manner of a
crown, and sang by accord together, and thereof was said chorus, a quire or company. But
Flavianus and Theodorus established that there should be sung on one side one verse, and
another on that other side, and this held they of Ignatius which was divinely taught. S.
Jerome ordained psalms, epistles and gospels, and for the more part the daily service and
office and nightly, save the song. Ambrose, Gelasius, and Gregory added thereto collects
and songs to the lessons and gospels. Grails, tracts and Alleluia, Ambrose, Gelasius, and
Gregory, established to be sung at the mass. Hilarius added to Gloria, In excelsis Deo:
Laudamus te, and so forth as followeth. Nocherius, Abbot of S. Gall, made the sequences
psalms instead of pneuma of Alleluias, and Pope Nicholas ordained that they should be sung
at mass. Hermanus of Almaine made: Rex omnipotens, Sancti Spiritus assit nobis gratia, Ave
Maria, et antiphonam: Alma redemptoris mater et Simon Bariona. Peter, Bishop of
Compostella made Salve Regina, and as Sigebert saith, Robert king of France made the
sequence of Sancti Spiritus nobis assit gracia, etc.
And as Turpin rehearseth, Charles was fair of body, cruel of sight, eight foot long of
his stature, his face a palm and a half long, his beard a palm long, his forehead a foot
large, he smote with one stroke a man armed on horseback from the top of his head unto the
sengles or girths of the horse. He drew, and stretched out of length lightly, four horses
shoes of iron. He would lift up from the earth, with his one hand, an armed man right up
to his head. He would eat a hare all whole, or two hens, or a whole goose, he drank little
or nothing, and that was wine with water. He drank so little at his dinner that he would
drink but three times. He founded many abbeys and monasteries, and at the last he made
Jesu Christ heir of all his goods, and finished his life laudably. And Louis his son
succeeded him in the empire, which was a man right debonair, about the year of our Lord
eight hundred and fifteen. In whose time the bishops and the clerks left their girdles
tissued with gold, and their outrageous and disguised clothing and array they put off, and
laid it apart. And Theodulphus, Bishop of Orleans, was falsely accused to the emperor and
was sent to Angiers to prison, and, as it is contained in a chronicle, on Palm Sunday as
the procession passed tofore the house where he was in prison, he opened the window, and
when he heard that they were in peace and sang not, he began to sing the fair verses that
he had made, that is to wit: Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit rex Christe. And the Emperor
was present, and it pleased so much to the Emperor that he took him out of prison and
re-established him into his see.
The messengers of Michael the Emperor of Constantinople brought gifts to Louis the son
of Charles, and among all others they brought the books of S. Denis of the Hierarchy of
Angels, translated out of Greek into Latin, and he received them with great joy. And then
were there about twenty sick men of divers maladies, which all were healed that night in
the church of S. Denis.
And when Louis was dead, Lothair held the empire. And Louis and Charles his brethren
made a battle against him, where there was so great occision of one and other that there
had never tofore been such in no time in France. And at last it was accorded that Charles
should reign in France, and Louis in Almain, and Lothair in Italy, and in the part of
France which is named Lorraine. And after that he left the empire to Louis his son, which
was emperor after him, and he took the habit of a monk.
And it is said in a chronicle that Sergius was then pope which tofore was named
Osporci, that is to say the mouth of a swine, but his name was changed, and was called
Sergius, and from then forthon it was ordained that all the popes should change their
names because our Lord changed the name of him that he chose to be prince of the apostles.
For as they be changed in name, so should they be changed in perfection of life, and
because that this man was chosen into a noble office, he should not be defouled by a
In the time of this Louis, in the year of our Lord eight hundred and fifty-six, as it
is said in a chronicle, in the parish of Magonce a wicked spirit smote on the walls of the
houses as it had been with hammers, and spake openly in sowing discords, and tormented so
the people that in what house he entered, anon the house burned. And when the priests said
the litanies, he cast at them stones and grieved them cruelly, and at the last he
confessed that, when holy water was cast, he hid him under the cope of a certain priest as
his familiar, accusing him that he had sinned with the daughter of the procurour.
In that time the king of Bulgaria was converted unto the faith, and was of so great
perfection that he made his oldest son king, and he himself took the habit of a monk, but
his son governed him so youngly that he took again the rite and law of the paynims. And
then his father reprised his knighthood and pursued his son, and took him and put him in
prison, and then he ordained his other son to be king, and reprised his habit again.
It was said that in Italy that time in the city of Brescia it rained blood three days,
and that same time came into France, breezes or locusts innumerable which had six wings,
six long feet, and two teeth harder than any stone, and fled by companies, as armed men,
by the space of a day's journey, stretching a four or five miles broad, and they devoured
all thing that was green in trees and in herbs, and came unto the sea of Brittany, but in
the end they were drowned in the sea by force of the wind, but the heat of the ocean sea
threw them on to the rivage, and the air was corrupted of their rotting, and thereof
ensued a great famine and great mortality, that almost the third part of the people
perished and died.
And after this, the first Otto was emperor, in the year of our Lord nine hundred and
thirty-eight. And as this Otto, on an Easter day, had ordained a great feast to his
princes, tofore they were set, a son of one of the princes, in the manner of a child, took
one of the messes of the meat from the board, and the carver smote the child with his fist
and slew him. And he that had the child in keeping saw that, and slew him anon that had
slain the child. And when the emperor would have condemned him without audience, he took
the emperor and threw him to the ground, and would have strangled him, and with great pain
he was taken from his hands. And after, the emperor made him to be kept, and said that he
himself was culpable and to blame, and for the honour of the feast he let the man go
freely his way.
And after this first Otto, the second Otto succeeded, and when the Italians had
oft-times broken the peace between them and the Romans, he came and made a great common
feast to all the barons, bishops, and great lords. And when they were all set at dinner he
environed them all with men of arms, and then he made his complaint and did do name them
that were culpable by writing, and anon did do smite off their heads there, and unto all
the others he made good cheer, and much honoured them.
And Otto the third came after him, the year of our Lord nine hundred and ninety, and he
had to surname: The Marvel of the World. And, as it is said in a chronicle, he had a wife
which would have been love or leman unto an earl, and he would not consent to her.
Wherefore she had so great malice unto him that she defamed him in such wise unto her
husband the emperor that he commanded to smite off his head without having any audience.
But tofore he was beheaded he prayed his good wife that she should show him innocent and
not guilty by the proof of hot iron. And then after, came a day that the emperor should do
right to widows and to orphans. And then this widow came and brought the head of her
husband between her arms, and demanded of what death he ought to have that had slain a man
wrongfully. And he said that he ought to have his head smitten off, and then she said:
Thou art he that hast slain my husband by the false enticements of thy wife, innocently,
and that I shall prove that I say truth by the bearing of this burning iron. And when the
emperor saw that, he was all abashed and gave himself to be punished into the hands of the
woman. Nevertheless by the prayer of the bishops and of the barons, the emperor took term
of ten days, and after of eight, and after of seven, and after of six, till the cause was
examined and the truth known. Then the emperor the cause examined and the truth known, did
do burn his wife all quick, and gave to the widow four castles for his redemption, which
castles be in the bishoprics of Lunensis, and be called the terms of the days, ten, eight,
After this emperor reigned Henry, which was duke of Bavaria in the year ten hundred and
two, and gave his sister named Ghisela to the king of Hungary in marriage. And that same
king and all his people she converted to the faith, and the king was named Stephen, which
was of so great holiness that God ennobled him by many miracles. And this Henry the
emperor and his wife Cunegonde were both clean virgins, and lived a holy life, and rested
after in peace. And him succeeded Conrad, a duke of France, which had wedded the niece of
S. Henry. In that time was seen a beam in heaven full of fire burning, and was much great,
and was above the sun, which was seen falling to the earth. This emperor put some of the
bishops in prison, and burnt the suburbs of Milan because that the archbishop of Milan
fled out of prison. And on Whitsunday, as the emperor was crowned in a little church,
there was so great thunder and so horrible, that some issued out of their wit, and others
died for fear, and Bruno, the bishop, that sang the mass, and the secretary of the
emperor, said that they had seen S. Ambrose right in the secret of the mass, which menaced
and threatened the emperor.
In the time of this Conrad, the year ten hundred and twenty-five, as it is said in a
chronicle, that the Earl Leopold and his wife fled into a forest dreading the ire of the
king, and there hid them in a little house. And as the emperor went for to hunt in the
same forest the night came upon him, and he must needs abide there in that little house
all night. And the lady, being great with child, as well as she might administered such
thing as was necessary, the best wise that she might. And that night she was delivered of
a son, and a voice came to the emperor, which said to him three times: Conrad, the child
that is now born shall be shine heir and gendre, that is son-in-law. And when he arose in
the morning, he called to him two of his squires and said to them: Go ye and take away
this child from the mother by force and hew it in pieces and bring them to me; and anon
they went hastily, and took away the child from the mother's lap. And when they saw the
child of so fair a form, they had pity and were moved with mercy, and laid him upon a tree
that he should not be devoured of wild beasts. And they took a hare and slit him, and took
out his heart, and brought it to the emperor. And the same day a duke passed by the forest
and heard the child cry, and did it to be brought to him, and because he had no son he
made it to be borne to his wife, and made it to be nourished, and feigned that he had
engendered it, and named him Henry. And after, when he was nourished, he grew and was of
right fair form and well bespoken, and gracious and courteous to everybody. And when the
emperor saw him that he was so fair and wise, he required him of his father, and made him
to dwell in his court. And when he saw that this child was so gracious and courteous that
he was praised of every man, he doubted that he should reign after him, and it were he
whom he had commanded to have been slain, and wrote letters to his wife with his own hand,
and they contained these words following: As much as thou lovest thy life, as soon as thou
hast received this letter, that thou slay this child. And as he went he was lodged in a
church, and he being weary rested him upon a bench, and his purse hung down in which his
letters were. Then there was a priest there which desired much to see what was in his
purse, and opened it and saw the letters sealed with the king's seal, and without breaking
off the seal he opened them, and reading the felony, he abhorred it, and subtly he erased
it. And whereas it said: Thou shalt slay him, he wrote: Thou shalt give our daughter to
this child for to be his wife. And when the queen saw these letters, sealed with the
king's seal, and that they were written with his own hand, she called the princes and
solemnised the matrimony, and gave her daughter to him to be his wife. And the marriage
was done at Aix-la-Chapelle. And when it was told to the emperor that the marriage of his
daughter had been solemnly made, he was much abashed, and when he knew the truth of the
two esquires and of the duke that found the child, and of the priest that had set in the
letter the things above said, he apperceived well that the ordinance of God ought not to
be contraried. And anon he sent for the child, and retained him as his son, and
established him for to be his heir and to reign after him. And in the place where this
child was born he founded a noble nnonastery, which is at this day named Ursine.
This Henry put out of his court all the jongleurs, and gave to poor men all that was
wont to be given to minstrels. In that time was so great discord in the church that there
were three chosen to be pope, and a priest named Gratian gave to the others much money,
and they left the See to him and he was pope. And as Henry the emperor came to Rome for to
appease the strifes, Gratian came against him and offered to him a crown of gold for to be
to him debonair. And he passed forth by and feigned all these things, and did do hold a
cene in which he condemned Gratian of simony, and set another in his place. Howbeit, it is
said in another place, in a letter that he sent to Matilda the countess, that the said
priest was much simple, and that he had by money gotten to him the papacy, and that after,
he knew his error, and by the means of the emperor, he deposed himself.
And after this Henry, was emperor the third Henry, and in his time Bruno was chosen to
be pope and was called Leo, and as he went to Rome for to take the See, he heard the voice
of angels singing: Our Lord saith: I am he that knoweth the thoughts of peace. This pope
made the life of many saints.
In that time the church was troubled by Berengarius, which affrmed the body and blood
of our Lord not to be verily in the altar, but figuratively, against whom wrote Lanfranc,
prior of Beccanse. And Anselm came to him out of Burgundy for his doctrine, which was much
adorned with virtue and wisdom, and was there prior after him.
In this time was Jerusalem taken of the Saracens, and after was recovered by christian
men, and the bones of S. Nicholas were brought into Bari. Thereof it is said: When there
should be sung a new history of S. Nicholas, in a church which was of the holy cross, and
was subject to the church of our Lady of Tarentino, the brethren prayed much instantly
their prior that they might sing this new history, which he in no wise would grant to
them, and said they ought not change their old for no new. And yet the brethren prayed him
more instantly, and he in despite said: Go your way, for in no manner shall ye never have
licence of me that this new song shall be sung. And when the feast of S. Nicholas came,
the brethren said their matins all in heaviness, and their vigils. And when they were all
in their beds, S. Nicholas appeared visibly and much fearfully to the prior, and drew him
out by the hair, and smote him down on the pavement of the dortour, and began to sing the
history: O pastor eterne; and at every note he smote him with a rod that he held in his
hand right grievously on his back, and sang melodiously this anthem unto the end, and then
the prior cried so loud that he awoke all his brethren, and was borne to his bed as halt
dead, and when he came to himself, he said: Go ye and sing the new history of S. Nicholas
In that same time the abbot of the convent of Molesine, and twenty-one monks with him,
went for to dwell in desert for to keep more straitly the profession of their pale, and
there established a new order out of the old.
Hildebrand, prior of Cluny, was made pope and called Gregory, and when he was in the
lesser orders, and was sent as a legate, he convanquished marvellously at Lyons the
archbishop of Ebronycence of simony. For this archbishop had corrupted all his accusers so
that he might not be convanquished. And then the legate commanded him that he should say:
In nomine Patris et Filii, and he might not say: et Spiritus Sancti, because he had sinned
in the Holy Ghost. And then he confessed his sin and was deposed, and named then the Holy
Ghost with clear voice. And this miracle rehearseth Bruno in his book, that he made to
Matthew the emperor. And when this Henry was dead it was written on his tomb whereas he
was buried with other kings: Here lieth Henry, the son of Henry the father, Henry the
belfather, Henry the old belfather. And after this Henry, reigned Henry the fifth, in the
year of our Lord eleven hundred and seven, which took the pope with the cardinals, and let
them go when he had of them right of investiture of bishops and of abbots with the ring
and the staff pastoral. In that time Bernard and his brethren took the religion of
Citeaux. In the parish of Liege a sow bare a pig having the visage of a man, and a hen had
a chicken with four feet.
And after this Henry, succeeded Lothair, in whose time a woman in Spain childed a
monster which had a double body and that one joined to that other by the backs, and tofore
had the semblance of a man whole of body and members ordinately, and behind was the
semblance of a woman whole in all properties.
After Lothair reigned Conrad. the year eleven hundred and thirty-eight. That time died
Hugh of S. Victor, which was a right excellent doctor in all science and devout in
religion, of whom it is said that when he was in his last infirmity, and that he might
retain no meat, yet he required always to have the body of our Lord with great devotion.
And then his brethren would please him and brought to him a simple host unsacred in manner
of the body of our Lord, and he knew it well in spirit, and said: God forgive you,
brethren, wherefore would ye deceive me? This is not my Lord that ye bring to me. And anon
they were abashed, and ran and fetched to him the body of our Lord, and then he saw him
whom he might not receive, and lifted up his hands to heaven and said: Now I see the Son
ascend to the Father, and the spirit to God that made him, and with these words he gave up
his spirit and the body of our Lord vanished away from them that held him.
Eugene, Abbot of S. Anastasius, was established pope, but he was put out of the city
because the senators had made another pope. And then he came into France and sent S.
Bernard tofore him which preached the way of our Lord, and did many miracles. And then
flourished Gilbert Porretanus. Frederick, nephew of Conrad, was emperor in the year of our
Lord eleven hundred and fifty-four, and at that time flourished Master Peter Lombard,
Bishop of Paris, which compiled the book of sentences, the gloss of the psalter, and of
the epistles of Paul, much profitably. And in that time were seen three moons in heaven,
and in the midst of the three was the sign of the cross, and it was not long after that
three suns were seen also. And then was Alexander chosen rightfully for to be pope, and
against him were chosen Octavian, Johannes Cremensis of the title of S. Calixtus, and
Johannis Strumetensis, successively to the papacy, and were ennoblished, by the favour of
the emperor, to the See, and this discord and schism endured eighteen years, within which
time the Almains, which dwelled in Tusculum for the emperor, assailed the Romans, which
were at Mountport, and slew from noon to evensong so much people that there were never so
many Romans slain, howbeit that in the time of Hannibal there were so many slain that
three bushels were filled with gold rings that were taken off their fingers, which
Hannibal did do send to Carthage. And many of them were buried at S. Stephen's and S.
Laurence's. And it was written upon their sepulchre that they were ten times a thousand
and ten thousand, and ten times sixteen hundred and a half. And when the emperor Frederick
visited the Holy Land and washed him in a river, there he perished and died, and as others
say he watered his horse, and his horse fell down in the water and so he died.
Henry was emperor after him in the year eleven hundred and ninety. In that time was so
great rains, thunders, and lightnings, and tempests, that never had been so great that any
man might remember. For stones fell as great as eggs and were square, which were meddled
with the rain, and destroyed the vines, trees, and the corn, and slew men, beasts, crows,
and other birds, and some fowls were seen flying by the air in that tempest, which bare
coals burning in their bills and beaks, and set fire on houses. And this Henry was always
a tyrant against the Church of Rome, and therefore when he was dead, Innocent the Pope,
opposed against Philip his son that he should not be emperor, and held with the party of
Otto, son of the Duke of Saxony, and make him to be crowned King of Almain at
Aix-la-Chapelle. In that time many barons of France went over the sea for the deliverance
of the Holy Land, and they took Constantinople. In that time began the order of friars
preachers and of the minors.
Innocent the Third sent messengers to Philip, King of France, for to assail the land of
the Albigeois for to take from them the heresies, and he took them all and did do burn
them. And after this, Innocent the Third crowned Otto emperor and took of him an oath that
he should keep the rights of holy church, and anon he did against his oath that same day,
and did do rob and despoil them that came to Rome on pilgrimage, wherefore the pope cursed
him and deposed him from the empire.
In that time was S. Elisabeth, daughter of the King of Hungary, which was wife to the
Landgrave of Thuringia and Hesse, which, among other innumerable miracles, she raised
sixteen dead men and gave sight to one that was born blind, out of whose body oil floweth
unto this day.
When Otto was deposed, Frederick, son of Henry, was chosen, and was crowned of Honorius
the Pope. And this man made right noble laws for the liberty of the church and against
heretics, and this emperor abounded above all others in glory and in riches, but he abused
them evilly by pride, and was a tyrant against the church, and set two cardinals in
prison, and such prelates as Pope Gregory had do be assembled at the council, he took
them, and therefore he was accursed of the same pope. And after Gregory died, which
was oppressed with many grievous tribulations. And then was Innocent the Fourth made pope,
which was of the nation of Genoa, and he assembled a council at Lyons where he deposed the
emperor, and then was the empire void.
Here followeth of S. Simeon.
S. Simeon was born in Antioch and was much virtuous, and from the time that he was in
his mother's belly he was chosen of God, and when he was twelve years old he kept his
father's sheep. And on a time he beheld the church, and anon, as he that was replenished
with the Holy Ghost, left his sheep and went to the church. And he accompanied him with a
good ancient man, and said to him in this manner: Fair father, what thing is that that is
here read? I pray you enseign and teach it me for I am simple and ignorant. Then the good
ancient man began to speak of the virtues of the soul, and how this poor present life
ought to be despised, and nowithstanding that the virtues be accomplished of many truly
and laudably, and by the help of God in religion they be accomplished more lightly. Then
S. Simeon fell to the feet of this good old man and said to him: Verily from hence forthon
thou shalt be my father and my mother, for thou art master of good works, and after this
good counsel I shall go into the church whereas God shall ordain for me. And then he
expounded to him the rule and order of religion and told him how he must have much pain
and affliction, and him behoved to have much patience and perseverance. Then anon he took
leave of him, and went to the church of S. Timothy, and Iaid him tofore the gate and abode
there three days and three nights without meat or drink. Then the abbot came and lifted
him up and demanded Therefore he was come thither. Then S. Simeon answered to him and
said: I desire much to be servant of our Lord, I pray thee that thou receive me into thy
monastery, and that thou command me to serve all thy brethren. He was received of the
abbot, and was there six months obeying to the brethren humbly. When the others fasted
from morn to evensong time, he after seven days took his refection, and the other days he
gave his provender to poor people. On a time he came to the pit of the place, and found
there a cord, which he took and bound fast about his body from his reins to his shoulders;
he strained so sore and fast that his flesh rotted under the cord so much that the cords
went to the bones, and unnethe might the cord be seen. On a day one of the brethren
apperceived that he gave his meat unto the poor people. He and the others told it to the
abbot, and also they said that so great a stench issued out of his body that none might
abide by him, and that the vermin that came out of it had filled all his bed. The abbot
was much angry and bade him despoil him naked, and when he saw the cord he escried,
saying: O man, from whence comest thou? Me seemeth that thou wilt destroy the rule of our
religion, when thou wilt not serve God by discretion as others do. I pray thee depart
hence and go where thou wilt. With great pain they took off the cord with which he was
bounden and healed him. After, he departed from the place without witting of any of them,
and entered into a pit in desert without water, whereas wicked spirits dwelled. That night
the abbot had a revelation that a great multitude of men of arms had environed the abbey
and said with a high voice: Give to us the man of God or else we shall burn thee and all
the abbey, for thou hast driven away the man just and debonair. The abbot told this to his
brethren, and the next night came the semblable vision. He was all abashed and sent his
monks for to search and fetch him, and they found him not. Then the abbot went with them
and they came to the pit and there made their prayers, and descended therein, and brought
him again by force to the abbey. The brethren of the abbey kneeled tofore him, and asked
him forgiveness. And after, he abode a whole year, and after, secretly he departed again
and went unto a mountain of stones fast by a cloister and dwelled so three years. Then his
neighbours came thither by devotion and enhanced his pillar four cubits of height, and
there he dwelled seven years after, and after, they made to him another of twelve cubits
of height, in which he dwelled, and after that they made another of twenty cubits, and
after that another of thirty, and there he abode four years, and beside him he did do make
two chapels, and many sick men were healed by his virtue, and he converted many Saracens
to the faith. After this, his thigh rotted a whole year, and all that year he held him on
that other foot, but the vermin fell to the ground from his thigh. He had a fellow which
was called Anthony, which wrote his life and held him company, which gathered up the
vermin and delivered them to him, and he took them and laid them upon his sore, saying:
Eat ye this that God hath given you.
There was a king, a Saracen, named Basilike that heard the fame and renown of him, and
came to him in very faith, and whiles the holy man prayed, one of the vermin fell out of
his thigh, and the heathen king took it up, and when he looked on it, it was a precious
stone. Then said to him this holy man: O man this is not happened ne made by my merit, but
it is made by thy faith, and then he thanked God and departed.
Seven years after, his mother came and would visit him, but it was forbidden her, for
no woman might enter into that place. Then the holy man said to his mother: Abide a little
and we shall see you if it please God, and she weeping three days and four nights received
her son, and then it happed that she slept, and the holy man prayed for her and she died.
After this there was made to him another pillar of forty cubits, whereon he dwelled seven
years after, that is to wit unto his death.
In which time there was a dragon right venomous which was in a cave nigh to him, which
infected so the place that nothing grew about him. In whose right eye it happed that a
stake entered, and he came all blind to the door of the monastery and lay there as to ask
help. He set his right eye by the pillar, and was there three days without doing any harm
to anybody. Then commanded S. Simeon that they should take earth and lay water on it, and
lay it thereupon. And when they had so done, anon issued out of his eyes a stake of a
cubit long, and when the people saw this miracle they glorified God. But notwithstanding
they fled for dread that they had of the dragon, and the dragon abode there till all the
people were gone. Then he arose and adored at the gate of the monastery almost two hours,
and after went in to his cave without doing harm to anybody.
Another time a woman drank out of a cruse by night wherein was a little serpent, and it
avaled down into her body, wherefore she went to divers medicine and physicians, but it
availed to her nothing. Many years after, she was brought to this holy man, the which
commanded to take of the earth and water and lay it on the mouth of the woman, and anon
the serpent issued out, which was three cubits long, and anon cleft asunder, which was
hanged up there the space of seven days, many men seeing it.
On another time many folk and beasts died for default of water, and at his prayer
suddenly the earth opened, and there was found a pit of right good water for to drink,
which endureth unto this day.
Another time other people abode long while he was in his prayer, and went a little
aback under the shadow of a tree, and they saw a hart pass by, whom they commanded thus,
saying: We conjure thee by the prayers of S. Simeon that thou tarry a while, and so he
did, and they took him and slew him, and as they ate of him they became lepers and mesels.
Then they went with the skin unto S. Simeon and were there two years, and unnethe might
they be healed, and for witness thereof they hung up the skin of the hart.
There was a leopard there about, which destroyed the people of the country. Then this
holy man commanded to take of the water of that monastery and to sprinkle it on the ground
all about whereas he went, and when they had so done, anon after they found the leopard
dead. He exhorted all them that he knew that they should not swear by him, humble sinner,
nevertheless all they of the Orient, and the barbarians of that country sware by him.
There was a thief named Jonathas, which was chased of many knights, and he entered into
the monastery and embraced the pillar, and began to weep. Then S. Simeon demanded what he
was, and he answered: I am Jonathas the thief, that am come hither to do penance; and anon
came thither the officers of Antioch, and said to this holy man: Give us this evil man,
for the beasts be ready to devour him. Then S. Simeon answered: I may not, for I doubt
that he that sent him to me, which is greater than ye, will be wroth. And seven days long
he embraced the pillar, and after, said to the holy man: If thou wilt I will go my way.
Then he said to him: Wilt thou go yet for to do harm? He answered: Nay sir, but my time is
accomplished. And so saying he gave up his soul and died.
And S. Simeon inclined down to make his prayer like as he had been accustomed, and the
people abode him three days for to have his blessing. Then Anthony came to him saying:
Arise up, sir, and give us thy blessing; and he went, and heard him not drawing his
breath, but an odour as of a precious ointment issued out of his body. Then he began to
weep strongly, kissing his eyes and his beard, and said: Alas, sir! why hast thou forsaken
me? I never heard thy doctrine angelic, what answer shall I give to the sick people that
shall require thee? Ne of what covering shall I cover thy body? And there by force of
heaviness fell asleep. Then appeared to him this holy man, saying: I shall not leave this
house ne this holy mountain in which I have been enlumined, but go down and sanctify and
appease the people, and show in Antioch that I am in rest. And cease not thou to serve God
in this place here, and God shall render and give to thee a good reward. Then he awoke,
and began strongly to weep again, in saying: What relics shall I take of thee, sir, in
remembrance of thee? Then he removed the body much strongly, and then had Anthony much
more dread, and durst not touch him, but went down anon, and went unto Antioch to the
bishop, and told him of the death of this holy man, and anon he came with three other
bishops and the master of the knights of the town, and hung curtains about the pillar, and
bare his body by the altar tofore the pillar. And anon the birds assembled about the
pillar and Rew like as they would have asked their meat, and cried so strongly that men
and beasts enforced them to cry and weep at the voice of the birds. The mountains and the
fields showed signs of heaviness, so that the complaint was heard seven miles, and there
came thereabout a cloud black and dark, and Anthony saw an angel come from heaven for to
visit, which had his face clear as fire, and his vestments white as snow. And about ten of
the clock he saw seven ancient men that spake to him, but he knew not the mystery that
they said. The prelate of Antioch would have had his beard to put in his relics, and as
soon as he put his hand for to take it, anon his hand was dry, but they made there so many
prayers for him that he was healed. Then bare they the body into Antioch, and the bishop
sware that never person should have nothing of his body. When they were come into a
street, that was called Merce, five miles from Antioch, the body abode there, so that no
man might move it.
A man that had been deaf and dumb the space of forty years because he had defiled a
woman in his house, which woman loved him not, he came and fell down tofore the bier
suddenly, and began to cry and say: Ah! man and servant of God, thou art welcome to point
for me, for thy coming hath guerished me and given to me health. Then he arose and took
one of the staves that bare the bier and anon was all whole, and served him all the days
of his life. Anon issued out of the town all the people of Antioch, and received the body
much solemnly in singing, psalmonising and glorifying God, and with great plenty of lights
burning, bare the body into the great church, which is called the church of penance. Many
other miracles hath our Lord showed at his sepulchre, and more were showed after than
tofore by his life. Then let us pray to this holy S. Simeon that he pray for us unto our
Lord that he have mercy on us. Amen.
Here followeth the Life of S. Polycarp, Martyr.
S. Polycarp was disciple of S. John the Evangelist, and S. John ordained him bishop of
Smyrna. And there were at Rome then two heretics, that one was called Marcian and that
other Valentine, the which had deceived much people by their false doctrine. Then S.
Polycarp went to Rome on Easter-day, and there by his predication he brought again to the
faith them that they had deceived. He wrote to the Philippians a much fair epistle, and
much profitable, the which is yet read in Asia unto this day. It happened that in the time
that Marcus Antoninus and Marcus Aurelius reigned, which was the year of grace one hundred
and sixty-two, was made the fourth persecution on christian people, after the Emperor
Nero, through all Asia.
S. Polycarp heard how the people cried and was moved, he therefore was never moved, but
abode without dread. And he was gracious and courteous in manners and pleasant in regard,
and tarried always in the city as an hardy champion of God. He was so much required of the
people that he departed from the city with their familiar friends, that he went to the
field nigh unto the city, and there he prayed all the night for the peace of all holy
church. And thereof had he a custom all the days of his life. It happed that three days
before that he was taken, as he prayed in a night he had a vision, that seemed that his
hair was burnt, and when he awoke he told to them that were with him the vision, and
expounded it to them, saying that: For certain he should be burnt for love of God. When he
saw that they approached him that would have taken him, he went to meet them and right
gladly received them, whereof they were much abashed that they were commanded to take so
good a man. And anon he laid the table to his enemies, and made to them as good cheer as
they had been his friends, and gave to them largely wine and meat, and get of them leave
to pray an hour, and all that hour he prayed much devoutly for all the state of holy
church. When the hour was passed he mounted upon an ass, and was brought into the city,
and as they led him, Herod came, which wwas provost of the country, and his father with
him, and they took him into a chariot with them, and
said to him much sweetly: Wherefore do ye not sacrifice as the others do? What harm is
it to call Cæsar his lord, and to do sacrifice to the gods for to live surely? And when
they saw that it availed not, and that always he was firm and constant in the law of God,
they were much wroth with him and did to him much harm in the chariot, and as he
approached the city a great multitude of people began to murmur against him. Anon a voice
descended from heaven saying unto him: Polycarp be strong and constant. That voice was
heard of many but none saw it. Then anon it was told to the provost all openly, that
Polycarp had three times confessed to be christian. When these tidings were heard all the
people of the city of Smyrna, paynims and Jews, began to cry in great ire: This is the
master and doctor of all the christian people that be in Asia, and hath destroyed all our
gods, we require that he be burnt all quick. Then the people assembled much wood and
brought him to a stake. And when they brought him to the stake they would have bound him
thereto, and nailed the bonds with great nails. Then he said to them: Let me alone, for he
that hath ordained me to suffer this torment of fire shall give to me virtue of patience,
without moving me from this place, for to endure and suffer the flame of the fire.
Then the tyrants left the nails, and bound him with cords to the stake, and his hands
bound behind him. And as in his passion he praised and blessed our Lord, and the fire was
burning and a great flame shining, a much notable miracle was showed right there to much
people, which God showed to the end that it should be showed unto all other. And the
miracle was this, that the flame departed all about him in manner of a chamber by virtue
of a sweet wind that came from heaven, and the body of the martyr was not as flesh burnt
in the flame, but as fair as it had been purified in a furnace, and they that were about
him felt an odour so sweet as it had been incense or precious ointment. When the tyrants
saw that the fire might not consume the body of the glorious martyr, they made the
ministers to approach and did them to smite him through the body with a spear, and then
issued out of his glorious body so great abundance of blood that it quenched the fire. And
when the people saw the miracle they departed, having much marvel that they did so much
cruelty to the friends of God. And with this glorious martyr were twelve other martyrs
martyred, for to get the joy of heaven. The which grant us the Father, the Son, and the
Holy Ghost. Amen.
Here followeth the Passion of S. Quiriacus.
In the time that Julian the apostate went for to fight against them of Persia, he came
into Jerusalem and did do seek S. Quiriacus the bishop, which of his friends was called
Judas, but the Queen, S. Helen, after he was baptized did do call him Quiriacus. And when
he was brought tofore Julian, he promised to him many riches and honours so that he would
do sacrifice unto the idol of Jupiter, and because Quiriacus would not do it, Julian
commanded to strain him on a bank, and with a fork of iron he made to open his mouth and
put in molten lead burning, for to burn his entrails. Quiriacus suffered it much patiently
without making of any cry, looking always up toward heaven. And about two hours after,
when they that were there supposed he had been dead, he lifted up his voice saying: Jesus,
Father eternal, resplendent light which never may be extinct, I bless thee, for thou hast
made me worthy to have participation with thy friends. Therefore I require thee that the
pride and elation of this evil tyrant may not overcome me, but that thy puissance always
confirm me in steadfast constancy of faith. And when he had accomplished his orison,
Julian said to him: Quiriacus, lo ! how I let thee jangle! I have heard oft such words; do
sacrifice to our lord Jupiter and then thou shalt do wisely. Then Quiriacus answered to
him: I believe and have believed him that is very God that shall destroy thee and thy
pride. Then Julian did do bring a grabat of copper, and did do lay and stretch out the
body thereon, and put under it burning coals, and did do strew salt on the body, and above
that did do beat him with rods, to the end that his belly and entrails should have the
more pain and travail. And after, they turned his belly towards the fire and beat his back
with rods, and then he with a high voice began to pray in Hebrew. The tyrant was much
amarvelled of the great patience that he had, and did do shut him in a little house unto
the time that he had devised of what death he might make him to die. And about two years
after, S. Anne, the mother of S. Quiriacus, came to him and exhorted him to suffer
patiently for the love of God. Anon the ministers of the devil went and told to the
tyrant, the which commanded that she should be brought to him. And when he saw that she
would in no wise do sacrifice to the idols, he commanded that she should be hanged by the
hair, and as she hung, he made to tear off all her nails or ongles, and in this torment
she was four hours without speaking. Then Julian said to her: What is this that they do to
thine ongles? And then she answered to him: O hound out of thy wit, worker of all
iniquity, if thou have any greater torments give them to me, for I am all ready to fight
against thy father the devil, over whom I have hope to have victory, moyenant on him the
name of Jesu Christ. Then the tyrant commanded to take great lamps burning and setting
them to her sides; the holy woman cried unto God, and making her prayers she rendered up
her spirit unto our Lord. The christian people that were there buried her. After this
Julian commanded that Quiriacus should be brought tofore him, and said to him: Quiriacus,
say to me of what enchantments and what evil craft hast thou used by which it seemeth that
thou feelest no torment, and therefore thou wilt not sacrifice to the idols? Then
Quiriacus answered to him: O cursed fool and indigne hound that pervertest the might of
God to enchantments and evil works, wherefore thou shalt be beaten by wound celestial.
Then commanded Julian to make a great pit, and by enchanters did do assemble all manner of
serpents and venomous beasts, and did do put them into the pit. And after, he made to cast
the holy man in the midst of them, and as they threw him therein he began to say: Right
sweet Jesus, I yield to thee grace and thankings for not only in thee wouldst thou verify
and apply the prophecy of David, but in us that be thy little creatures which thou hast
created and hast willed to have thy grace, for lo! here it pleaseth thee, that we go upon
the serpents, and that we march and tread on the lion and on the dragon. And as he said
so, Julian commanded to burn all the beasts. Then a knight called Amon said to the Emperor
Julian: O king out of thy wit and wood, how hast thou the will to put this man to death?
Thine enchanters and thy gods which be deceivable may not make the marvels that he doth,
and in truth now forthon I am certain that the God of christian men is much mighty. For
which words, Julian commanded to smite off his head; and as he was led unto the place for
to be beheaded, he began to say: Jesu Christ, which art the God of Quiriacus, receive my
soul in peace, and so saying he stretched forth his neck and was beheaded and thus
finished his martyrdom. Julian called Quiriacus, and prayed him and exhorted him that he
should reny the crucifix. Then Quiriacus answered trim: O heart perverted, evil and
without pity, that seest nothing, that wouldst that I should leave my God which giveth to
me and to other creatures so many goods, and that I should become mechant and semblable to
thee. Then Julian was much angry, and commanded to hang a great caldron of oil upon the
fire which oil was so hot that they were there about unnethe might endure the fume that
issued. And he commanded to set S. Quiriacus therein, which entered therein in making the
sign of the cross, and said: Lord Jesu Christ which hast sanctified the flom Jordan and
hast given to me the holy sacrament of baptism by water, see now where I shall be yet
baptized in oil. Yet have I the third martyrdom to do by the washing of effusion of blood,
which I have long tarried for. Then the tyrant, replenished of wrath and of ire more than
tofore, commanded that he should be smitten with a sharp dart into the breast. And as he
was so smitten he prayed God that he might depart out of the world, and then gave up his
soul unto our Lord, which was the fourth nones of May. This S. Quiriacus of whom we speak,
was the same Judas properly by whom S. Helen found the very holy cross. And after that he
was baptized S. Helen recommended him unto the bishopric of Jerusalem, which was at that
time when the said bishop was dead. Helen that then was in Jerusalem went to Rome to the
pope Eusebius, which ordained Judas to be bishop of Jerusalem in changing his name and
called him Quiriacus. To whom God gave so much grace that he enchased away the fiends by
his prayer. S. Helen delivered to him many fair gifts for to distribute and depart to the
poor. And at the prayer and request also of her was made a fair feast of the Invention of
the holy cross. And ye ought to know that when the very cross was found, and by virtue
thereof a dead man was raised, the devil, which is of all good envious, was heard crying
in the air: O Judas! by thee I am chased out and diminished, but I know well that I shall
be avenged against thee. I shall raise another king that shall reny the crucifix, the
which by my counsel and by my exhortment shall make thee to suffer so many torments that
thou thyself shalt reny the crucifix. Then said Judas to him: He that properly hath power
to raise dead men, put thee in the deep bottom of hell in fire perdurable. S. Quiriacus
suffered martyrdom, as said is, for the love of our Lord, by which he hath gotten the
glory perdurable, the which he grant to us that for us suffered death and passion. Amen.
Here followeth the life of S. Thomas
S. Thomas Aquinas, of the order of the friars preachers, was a right sovereign doctor,
high and of noble lineage, which was born in the realm of Sicily, and tofore that he was
born he was shewed by divine purveyance. For in those parts there was a holy man in work
and in renomee which with many other hermits led a right holy life, and all the people had
him in great reverence. This holy man, replenished of the Holy Ghost, came to the lady and
mother of this holy child, not yet born, and with great joy said to her that she had
conceived a son, and she supposed that she had not conceived. Then the holy man said to
her: Lady, be thou glad, for thou shalt bring forth a child which shall be called Thomas,
and shall have great name and renomee through all the world in science and in holy life,
and he shall be of the order of the friar, preachers. All the which things like as the
holy hermit has said were accomplished in the name of the Saviour of the world, and to the
glory of his glorious saint. When the child was born he was called Thomas by his right
name. He had the world and the vanity thereof in despite, and for to live in the more holy
and clean life he entered into the order of the friars preachers, and after, he was drawn
out thereof by his brethren, and was closed up in a chamber in a tower two years. And
because that by menaces ne fair words his brethren might not change his good purpose ne
revoke it in no manner, they put in to his chamber a young damsel to the innocent child,
for to subvert his good courage, and anon he took a brand of fire, and drove the damsel
out of the chamber, which was come for to deceive him.
And after that, he put him in humble prayers, devoutly beseeching our Lord that by his
benign grace he would always maintain his chastity. Anon as he had made his prayers two
angels in marvellous habit appeared to him, saying that his prayer was heard of God, and
they distrained him by the reins, saying: Thomas, we be sent to thee by the commandment of
God, and in his name we gird thee with the girdle of chastity, which shall never depart
from thee, ne shall be broken. The which gift was given to him of special grace, and was
in him so fast and firm that he never after felt pricking of his flesh, and so kept him as
long as he lived, as it appeared hereafter in his life. When he surmounted one of his
adversaries with his ministers, his good mother considering and having mind of that which
the good man had told to her, and shewed how he should be of the order of the friars
preachers, and let him to be led to them peaceably, notwithstanding that tofore his
brethren would have empeshed him of the entering in to the order, and of his study. For
when he was returned in to the order by consent of his good mother he began to study,
which was as sweet to him as it is to the bee to make the honey, and like as of the bee
the honey is multiplied, right so in like wise was by this glorious doctor the honey of
holy scripture. Whereof he made marvellous books in theology, logic, philosophy, natural
and moral, upon the evangiles, in so much that the holy church throughout all the world of
his holy science is replenished. And as he thus profited he was sent to Paris. Then his
brethren, heard that he should depart, anon came after him, saying that it appertained not
that a child of so great lineage as he was, should be in the order of mendicants ne of
truants, and all to-rent his coat and cope, and would have taken him away from his good
purpose. And when he was restored to the order to serve and give praising to our Lord, he
set all his intent to study, in thinking on God when he was in contemplation that his
thought was replenished with great joy. For many times were, as he was in a secret place
and set all his intent in prayer, he was seen lifted up many times without aid of anything
corporal. This then is well a holy doctor, for thus as he set not his thought in this
world, he set all his heart and his thought toward God, and was enhanced as he that had
not had no flesh ne bone, ne any weight. We read that the blessed doctor desputed, read,
or wrote, or argued, or did some other virtuous thing, and after when his prayer was past,
anon he had in his mouth that which he should dispute or write as if he had tofore long
studied in many books. All which things he shewed secretly to his fellow, named friar
Reynold. To whom privily he shewed all his other secrets as long as he lived, and would
that none other should know it, to the end that the vain glory of the world should not
surprise him. For the science that he had was not of human study, but was of the
administration divine by the prayers and service that he did to our Lord. This holy man is
then as Moses was, which was given to the daughter of Pharaoh. For like as he was taken
out of the sea and saved and rendered unto the said daughter, right so the blessed doctor,
not withstanding that he was born of the great lineage of the Earl of Alquin was by the
purveyance of God rendered to his mother holy church, and cast out of the flood of this
world, and enhanced and nourished by the paps and mammels of the scripture of holy church.
And like as Moses made many marvellous signs tofore the children of Israel, in Iike wise
hath this blessed doctor and his science and blessed doctrine in destroying errors always
preached verity and truth, as his holy life witnesseth.
As on a night this glorious doctor was in his orisons and prayers, the blessed apostles
Peter and Paul appeared to him and induced him in holy scripture, and especially of the
prophecy of prophets all entirely and holy. This then is a holy doctor to whom the
chancellor of heaven and the doctor of divine scripture have opened the gate; and he that
was ravished to heaven hath shewed to him the secret of all the verity. And thus this
blessed doctor is taken from the world and made burgess of heaven he being yet in the
On another time as he was in the convent of his order at Naples, being in the church in
devout prayers he was enhanced and lifted up from the ground the height of two cubits and
more. Then a friar that saw him was much abashed and amarvelled, and after, was heard a
clear voice of the image of the crucifix tofore whom the holy man was turned and made his
prayer, the which voice said unto him: O Thomas, thou hast written of me, what reward wilt
thou have for thy labour? S. Thomas answered to him: Lord, I will none other reward but
thyself; for he himself wrote in his time and made the service and office of the precious
sacrament of the altar. And for as much as on a time a question was moved among the
scholars of Paris how the accidents might by right be without subject, and hereof made
they doubt, and determined all wholly unto that which the glorious doctor should say,
which thing he clearly shewed to them. And for so much as said is that the demand or
question was moved of our Lord, it was given to understand of the end of his life which
was nigh. And as he was sent for of the Pope Gregory the tenth, he went by Champagne into
the realm of Sicily, he began to be sick in such wise that he lost entirely his appetite.
And in passing by the abbey called Fossenew of the order of the Cistercians, he was prayed
greatly of the monks that it would please him to come to their abbey. His sickness began
for to increase from day to day, and yet notwithstanding his malady, he ceased not to sow
and spread his holy doctrine of divine scripture and sapience, and then he was prayed of
the monks for to expound to them the canticles.
And that time it happed that in that monastery was seen a star three days tofore his
death in manner of a sun, whereof they were abashed what it might signify, but certainly
it signified that the holy man should depart out of this world within three days, and that
appeared well, for when the holy man was dead the star was no more seen, and it was in the
year of our Lord twelve hundred and fifty-four. And anon brother Reynold, his fellow,
witnessed in truth, part saying and openly preaching in this wise; I, friar Reynold, have
heard many times and now, the confession of this glorious doctor, and have always found
him clean and net as a child of five years of age, for he never consented ne had will in
mortal ne deadly sin. And it is not to be forgotten what marvellous tokens were shewed
when the blessed doctor should depart out of this world and of the entry of the perdurable
felicity which was granted to him. For a friar, much devout, saw in the hour of his death
the holy doctor reading in the school, and S. Paul entering into him. And S. Thomas
demanded him if he had had good and true understanding in his epistles. Then S. Paul
answered to him: Yea, as good as any creature living might have. And above that S. Paul
said to him: I will that thou come with me and I shall lead thee to a place where thou
shalt have of all things more clear understanding. And it seemed to the friar that S. Paul
drew S. Thomas out of the school by his cope. Then this friar began to cry, saying: Help
brethren, for friar Thomas is taken from us, and by the voice of this friar the other
friars awoke and demanded that friar what he had. Then he told to them and expounded this
said vision, and the friars made inquisition of the truth, and found that it was so as the
friar had said, for in the same hour that the friar had so cried, the holy doctor departed
out of this world. And like as he had had in divine sapience and science a doctor and
teacher, right so in his passing he had a leader unto the glory perdurable. And long after
that he was put in his sepulchre, the monks doubted that the holy corpse should have been
taken away against their will, for the glorious doctor had commanded that his body should
be borne to Naples, forasmuch as he was of that place. Wherefore the monks translated his
body from one place to another, wherefore the prior of the abbey was in the night
grievously reproved in a vision of S. Thomas. The prior, which doubted the judgment and
sentence divine, commanded that the body of the Saint should be remised in the place that
they had taken it from, and as soon as the sepulchre was opened there issued so great and
sweet an odour that all the cloister was replenished therewith, and it seemed not that
anybody had been buried there, but it seemed that there had been all manner of spices,
which body they found all whole in all his members. The habit of his order, his cope, his
scapulary and coat, were all without any evil corruption, and the odour of his precious
body and his habit were sweet smelling by evident witnesses seven years after that he was
translated, and the body was translated all whole. Our blessed Lord hath honoured his
blessed saint with many marvellous signs and miracles. By his benefits and merits he hath
raised some from death and some from wicked spirits, and from the puissance of the fiend,
and many from divers maladies, which have been brought to health by the grace of God and
the merits of this glorious saint.
We read also that there was a friar much devout, called brother Albert, which on a day
was much devoutly in prayers tofore the altar of the Virgin Mary, and two reverend
persons, marvellously shining, appeared to him. That one of those twain was in the habit
of a bishop and the other in the habit of friars preachers, which had a crown on his head
round beset with precious stones, and about his neck two collars, one of silver, the other
of gold, and on his breast he had a great stone which of his brightness cast out many rays
of clearness and illumined all the church, his cope that he had on was full of precious
stones, his coat and scapulary were all shining of whiteness. When the friar saw this
sight he marvelled much. Then he, that was in the habit of a bishop, said to him: I am
Austin, that am sent to thee to the end that I may show the glory of brother Thomas
Aquinas which is in heaven in glory like unto me, but he precedeth me in the order of
virginity, and I him in dignity pontifical. Many other signs and miracles hath our Lord
showed unto the honour and glory of his glorious saint, S. Thomas, whose merits be unto us
aidant and helping. Amen.
Here followeth the life of S. Gaius.
That time when Diocletian and Maximian reigned emperors, Gaius, that was pope of Rome,
called and made to assemble all the christian people together, and said to them: Our Lord
hath ordained two degrees or states to them that believe on him, that is to wit,
confessors and martyrs. And therefore if some of you be fearful and in doubt that they
shall not mowe suffer martyrdom, let them ever have true and very confession and be
steadfast in the faith, and go must they with Cromatius and Tiburtius for to save
themselves. And they that are willing for to abide with me within this city, in the name
of God let them abide, for the separation of the persons in far countries may not separate
that the divine charity hath assembled. Then escried to him Tiburtius saying: Holy father,
I beseech thee that thou leave me not to turn my back, fearing the persecutors. For to me
it shall be great joy and comfort to suffer bodily death, for to get and enjoy life
eternal. When S. Gaius saw the faith of Tiburtius and his constant courage he began to
weep for joy. There abode with him Marcellius, Mark their father, Tranquilinus, Sebastian,
Tiburtius and S. Nicostratus, with him his brother Castor and his wife Zoe, also Claudian
and Victorian hii brother, with them his son Symphorian. The bishop ordained unto deacons
S. Mark and Marcellius and made priest Tranquilinus. He did ordain S. Sebastian defensor
of the Church, and the others he ordained and made subdeacons. Night and day they were
continually in great devotion, fasting, weeping and saying their prayers and orisons, and
devoutly prayed our Lord that of his benign grace he would make them able and worthy to be
accompanied with the martyrs by very patience, and there by their prayers many one were
healed of their sickness. Many a blind person was restored of sight, and many enemies or
devils were put out from many a creature.
So as Tiburtius went through the town he saw a man that was fallen from high unto low,
insomuch that he was all to-burst and broken of all his members, and men would have made
his grave for to bury him. Soon Tiburtius approached and began to say Pater noster over
him, fair and soft, and incontinent after, he was whole, and rendered him in to good
health to his parents. And soon after, he had him aside from the people and converted and
baptized him. So as Zoe was devoutly in orison and at her prayers she was taken and led by
the paynims unto a statue of Mars, for to have constrained her to sacrifice to the idols.
She then answered: Ye will constrain a woman for to sacrifice unto the statue of Mars for
to show that your Mars delighteth and taketh his pleasure in women, and howbeit that he
may do his will of the shameful Venus, neverthelatter he shall not have the victory of me,
for I bear the victory of me at my forehead. Then she was taken and led into a prison
right dark and much obscure; and there she was five days without sight of any light,
without drink, and without meat, and without the sight and hearing of any body, but only
of him that had closed or shut her therein, who often said to her: By famine, or by fault
and lack of meat, thou shalt die here in tenebres or darkness if thou sacrifice not unto
our mighty gods. The sixth day she was had out of prison, and hanged she was by her hairs
to a high tree, and under her they made a smoke of dung and of ordure or filth, which
rendered a horrible stench. And by this torment of martyrdom she expired and rendered her
soul unto our Lord, confessing ever his right holy name.
After, the tyrants took the holy corpse and at the neck of it they hung a great stone,
and cast it within the river of Tiber, to the end that the christians should not take it
to make of it a goddess. And after that she thus had received her martyrdom, she appeared
before S. Sebastian and recounted to him how she had suffered martyrdom for the love of
our Lord. The which thing, as S. Sebastian rehearsed it to his fellows, Tranquilinus
escried and said: The women precede us to the crown of glory, why live we so long?
On the seventh day after this, Tranquilinus alone, high and public, began to denounce
the name of God, and anon he was taken and cast with stones, and when he had rendered his
soul to God he was cast into the water of Tiber. And as Nicostratus and Claudian, with
them Castor, Victorian and Symphorian were about to have out of the river of Tiber the
bodies of the martyrs, they were taken and led unto the prefect or judge Fabian, which
invited them to sacrifice unto the idols by the space of ten days, one time by menaces,
that other time by fair words, weening to have brought them to this idolatry. But ever
they were steadfast and constant in the faith, which Fabian, when he saw them so constant,
he went and told it to the emperor, and the emperor commanded that they should be
forthwith tormented by divers torments. But when he saw their steadfast belief, he
commanded that without delay they should be cast into the midst of the sea. Anon Fabian,
for to accomplish the commandment of the emperor, made to be hanged at the neck of each
one of them a great stone, and thrown they were unto the bottom of the sea. Thus were
consumed or ended their martyrdoms, flourishing as lilies before God, in sempiterna
secula, where we all may have part. Amen.
Here followeth the Life of S. Arnold.
S. Arnold was father of Pepin and grandfather of Charles the great, as a doctor
recounteth, named Peter Damian, and held a duchy in Lorraine, which did put from him all
worldly affections, as riches, wife and children, and haunted the deserts for to lead best
solitary life. On a day, so as he passed over the river of Meuse, and that he was about
the midst of the bridge where the water was more deeper than in any other place, he took a
ring that he had and cast it within the water saying: Whensomever I shall receive and have
again this ring, then shall I believe that I shall be assoiled of all my sins. And after,
from thence he departed and went into a desert, where he was long time as dead to the
world and living with God. In that time died the bishop of Metz, and happed that S. Arnold
was chosen for to be bishop there. So then on a time as he abstained him from eating of
any flesh, as he ever did while that he was in the desert or wood, was presented unto him
a fish, and as his cook dressed and slit it, he found within his belly the said ring, and
went and showed it to the holy bishop, whereof he was right joyful and glad. And ye ought
to wit that from the place where the holy man had cast the said ring into the water, unto
the place where the said fish was presented to him, was four and twenty miles by water.
And when the holy man advised him, and that well he knew for certain the said ring, he
thanked God of it, that he gave to him knowledge of the remission of his sins. From thence
forthon, ever from better unto better, devoutly and by holy perseverance he intended to
serve our Lord, and yet as now is the said ring within the palace of Metz. Men may be
marvelled and marvelling to magnify and praise God, how in this present life they may not
live without perils, but he is born in a good hour that acquireth graces of God, and that
maketh justice on his own flesh as long as he is living in it. I say this because of this
holy man that was at so good an hour born, that so much of graces he gat and acquired
toward our Lord, that he was certified and ensured of the remission and pardon of all his
sins, as tofore ye heard say.
Soon, when he was possessing his bishopric, he did distribute and departed to the poor
so much and so largely of his own goods that, the poor folk came thither from far
countries and cities for to be counselled and helped by alms. He was also busily tending
to all good works, and in especial to receive religious folk, monks, and poor pilgrims. He
himself washed their feet, he clothed them of new, and to them gave silver enough to pass
on their way, and as soon as others of new came, he was as ready for to help them as he
tofore was, for the honour and reverence of God. In watching, in fasting, in devout
prayers and in orisons he employed ever the time. None might not duly rehearse ne tell the
great abstinences that he made, for when he had fasted the space of three days, he was
content to have a little bread made of barley and a little water, and ever most secretly
that he could he ware under his clothes the hair, in so much that by force of abstinence
he right greatly had made lean his flesh.
On a time, during the three days which he fasted, he did do make a procession whereat
many creatures were, which much devoutly prayed. And so as the procession was in doing,
there was a woman tormented and sore vexed by the devil, that began to cry loud and high.
When the holy man saw this woman, he made the sign of the cross over her, and soon after
she was delivered from the enemy that so tormented her.
In the time of Dagobert king of France, so as he was within his palace, a leper came
there that began to cry after the holy man and demanded meat and clothing. Soon commanded
the holy man that he should be led home, and so as he ministered and took to him that was
needful and necessary to him he did demand of him if he were baptized, for he was of
Barbary. Then answered the leper to the holy man: Alas, sir, nay, for I that am a poor
creature have not found none that hath given to me the precious gift of baptism, and anon
the holy man baptized him, and incontinent after, his sickness left him and departed from
his body, and so he that tofore had been a sinner and sore sick, by the merit of the holy
man was left and made whole both of body and of soul.
On another time a man, named Noddo, which was drunk and full of wine, began to mock,
and dispraised the holy man, saying that he was not the man of God, but that he was full
lusty and ready to all delices. Wherefore it happed that so as he and his son went to bed,
suddenly, by the will of God, their clothing were all about on fire and began to burn.
Then they cried and called for water, but the water did nought to it, so that the fire
took on their shirts towards the genitories, and from them they might not have off their
clothes; and when they saw that no remedy they might put to it, they went out of their
chamber and began to lay themselves as swine down into the ordure or filth, and into foul
or stinking waters, but all this availed them naught, for from more into more their
genitories did burn. And so as I believe at that same hour was verified that that our Lord
said by the mouth of David the prophet, saying: Detrahentem secreto proximo suo hunc
persequebar; that is to say in English: Those that secretly blame and dispraise their
neighbours them I shall persecute. That same Noddo died in this estate and acknowledged
his sin, and so died his son by the said sentence.
So as the holy man was persevering in virtues for to keep and eschew the vainglory of
this world, he departed from the city and went unto a place not far from it, where he did
do make a little house, and made himself to be closed and shut therein and there he was
continually in prayers of and orisons lifting his hands towards heaven. It happed by
adventure that the fire took the house of the king, and so much it grew that the houses
there about began to burn fast. Suddenly the people were moved when they saw that all the
city was esprised on a fire and flame, and they went forthwith to the cell of the said
holy man where he was devoutly in his orisons and prayers thus as he was accustomed to be.
Anon one that was called Romancius took him by the hand and said: Rise thou from hence,
man of God, to the end that this fire consume ne damage thee not with the city. Then the
holy man answered: I will not depart, but lead me nigh the fire, and if God will that I
shall be burnt I am in his hands, here as I am. Then they of the city came with him hand
in hand unto the fire, and after commanded that each one of them should fall in prayers.
And when the holy man had made his prayers they rose up all and then he lift up his hands
and made the sign of the cross, and then anon the fire quenched, and made after no manner
of damage. And after that hour, one of his brethren saw in a vision towards heaven, the
sign of the very cross in a manner as flame, and at the other side he heard a voice that
said: Seest thou this cross? By that hath the bishop Arnold delivered the city from fire
After this S. Arnold relinquished and left the world all entirely, and went into a
desert among the wild beasts, where he made a little house with some monks that were
dwelling there, where he held him ever in holy meditation and divine praisings, and when
any poor people came there, he friendly received and served them, their hosen he did pull
off, their feet he washed, and made clean their shoon, and also much benignly he made
their beds, and made their meat ready, and so he was both cook and bishop together. Hunger
and thirst suffered he many times so that he might of his own meat feed his fellows. He
set apart all precious raiment, and much dear he held the hair that was rough and hard. In
these two deeds doing, the good man rendered his soul to God, and after his obsequies
done, the bishop his successor that had to name Goericus, assembled together a great
company of people, two bishops and many clerks also, and altogether they went into the
desert. And when they came unto the place thereas the corpse was, saying vigils much
solemnly; and after, they took the corpse and bare it away with great honour and reverence
unto the city. And as they came to a ruisel or channel and would have passed it, it
happened that they which bare the corpse behind fell down, but as I suppose the angels
sustained the corpse in the air, for they that bare it before went ever and letted not,
and they that were fallen had no harm, but stood up anon and bare the corpse again as they
did before. In the time that this holy man was on life, there was a man that lived much
lecherously; the holy man reproved him many times thereof and prayed him that he would
leave that life and do penitence, or that he should die in that state.
It so happed that as the holy corpse was borne to the city, and as they passed through
the said man's ground, the same holy corpse at the entrance of the said man's ground stood
still, insomuch that they that bare it could not move it from thence, wherefore the
bishops, the priests, the clerks, and all the people that were there, were much marveled
and sore troubled, also because that the night was nigh, and they wist not where they
might be lodged. Then a duke that was in the company, named Noddo, said thus to them: Ye
see how he refuseth to enter within the ground of this sinner, my town is here nigh, I
counsel that we return thither for to abide and rest us there all night. For also we ne
have here what to feed this people withal, for of all provisions or store I ne have but a
little beer within a little vessel and a little bread, if it please to God and to the holy
corpse that we might be there ere the night come. And howbeit that far away as it was
thence, nevertheless by the will of God they were there right soon, and them seemed that
the holy corpse bare himself, and namely that they were borne thither where they came by
daylight. And then said Noddo to them: I pray to S. Arnold that by his grace he will feed
us all this night, for well I wot that at his prayer we shall have all that to us needeth.
And soon, with that little drink and bread that they had, by the grace of God and of the
saint they were all fed and rassassied that night, and yet much remained of it both of
drink and of bread. On the morn next, with great joy they walked and bare the holy corpse
into the city. They of the city also came to meet the corpse in procession, with great
reverence, as he that had been their pastor or guide of their souls, which of long time
they had not seen, and much reverently they buried the
holy corpse in the church of the apostles. A woman that Julia had to name, which of
long time had lost her sight, came to the sepulchre of S. Arnold, and frequently her
prayer there made, by him recovered her sight. Another woman on a Sunday wrought. God
punished her, for her two hands were stiff and counterfeit. She came into the church where
the holy corpse lay, besought the saint with faithful heart, sore weeping, and anon
recovered health. The solemnity of this glorious saint is celebrated the seventeenth day
of the kalends of August in the honour of God, that liveth and without end reigneth. In
seculorum secula. Amen.
Here followeth the life of S. Tuien.
S. Turien was Archbishop of Dole in little Bretagne, and was born in a town nigh to the
said city, where was a church. His father and his mother were issued of noble lineage. In
that time a man of holy life, confessor and friend of God, was archbishop of the said
city, and was named Sampson. So then as the vessel of holiness, that is to wit Turien,
that yet was but a child of age, but he was by virtue of the Holy Ghost filled with grace,
relinquished and left for love of our Lord all his parents, which were of great estate,
and the fair livelihood also that he should have, and came into the city of Dole towards
S. Sampson. When S. Sampson saw him, he ordained and set him to keep his kine and his
other beasts. This prefigured he to him gladly, signifying that he should be, in time to
come, pastor or guide of the sheep of our Lord, when he should receive the dignity of
archbishop. And in this estate, keeping the beasts, esprised of the love of God and not of
nothing human, he did call every clerk that passed before him and prayed him that he would
write some letters within a little pair of tables that he had. for to learn and know them.
When he began to know well enough his letters, it pleased our Lord that he should learn
and know the art of grammar, and so much of grace gave God to him that he had a melodious
and fair voice at church, more than any of his other fellows, and so as by many a time his
voice pleased much to the archbishop, he retained and took him still with him, and of him
he made as of his own adopted son, and much endeavoured him to make him to learn the
divine scripture, and sweetly governed him. So much grew and fructified the child in
resplendour or light of all good virtues, by good doctrines and examples, that the said
archbishop ordained him master of the clerks of his chapel. The weal of this child Turien
multiplied ever from better to better in the love and grace of our Lord. The Archbishop S.
Sampson, that as then was old, considering the holy life that Turien led, the good virtues
of which he was filled, and that he was in age perfect, ordained him archbishop in his
place, and namely, he yet living, would see him to be possessor of the dignity of the
archbishop. And so when by the consecration divine he was chosen to the said dignity, all
the people made joy thereof, for well they perceived that he was full of the grace of God.
On a time, as he lifted up his eyes towards heaven, he saw a window wide open and the
angels in paradise that bare the ark of the testament of God. And then he said to all the
people: I see heaven open and the angels bearing the ark of God, and yet I see our Lord
Jesu Christ sitting on his tribunal. And when the people had heard him, they all together,
to the more and less, began of one voice, of one heart, and of one mouth to praise, to
glorify, and to magnify the name of our Lord, and from that time forthon they honoured
more the holy man than they had done before. The holy man then commanded that a cross
should be made of wood, dressed and set in the same place where he saw the foresaid
On another time as he preached nigh to a church called Carnifrut before a cross made of
stone, whereas much people were assembled to hear his predication, the which cross had
been sometime made in the honour and reverence of our Lord Jesu Christ, and of the
glorious archangel S. Michael, on which cross sometime he descended from the shoulders of
the said archbishop, it happed that a young maid dead was brought thither for to be
buried, the which by his prayer at the request of the people was raised to life. Of the
history of this glorious saint, I ne may find more of it, but we shall all pray to him
that toward our Lord he will be our good intercessor and friend. Amen.
Here followeth the Life of S. Fiacre.
S. Fiacre, the glorious hermit, made many virtuous deeds in the territory or country of
Meaux in the protection of S. Pharon, that time bishop of the city of Meaux. Many miracles
needful and necessary as then he made in this world, as the legend of the lessons of his
faits show clearly enough, and to the end that this present narration that maketh of it
mention, be not too much prolonged, and that the life of S. Fiacre and of S. Pharon
assembled together may appear to them that shall read it, it is good as to me seemeth,
that at this beginning I make mention of the excellence of S. Fiacre, how for the love of
our Lord he left his country, both father and mother, and all his goods, and came into the
parts of France. On that time that the glorious S. Pharon left and relinquished the
worldly knighthood, and that he was ordained and made bishop of Meaux, the same monk named
Fiacre, of the nation of Scots, being in his country, and moved by devotion to serve our
Lord more straitly, departed with such fellowship as fortune gave to him, and came unto
Meaux in France, where he prayed the holy bishop there that he might dwell under his
protection. When Pharon had heard his demand, right gladly he accorded to it, and as a
piteous pastor, granted that Fiacre should dwell with him after his own pleasure as long
as he would. When the hermit Fiacre had impetred his petition or demand, he went and cast
his sight low towards the earth, and onely, with all his heart and thought, and without
speaking, made his prayer to God that of his grace he would have pity on him. And so
fervently he besought and prayed that his face rendered great drops of water, and was over
red and sore chauffed. And when the blessed S. Pharon saw him in such estate, he began to
be marvelled, and weened that he was aggrieved of something, and anon he called to him one
of his servants and said to him: Go to yonder man and make him come secretly to speak with
me. The messenger did as to him was commanded, and led S. Fiacre unto the bishop. When he
was before his presence, the holy man Pharon, full of virtuous thoughts, to the end that
better he might declare his intention, said to Fiacre in this manner: My brother, I
require thee that thou wilt put from thee this sorrow and heaviness which is in thine
heart, to the end that thou mayst better receive my words. Then said S. Fiacre to him;
Fair father reverend, if thou wilt have pity and compassion on me, thou shalt mowe make me
to cease this heaviness at thy commandment, but to the end that thou mayst the better
understand my answer, proceed forth on thy demand. Then the right reverend bishop Pharon,
beholding on Fiacre said to him: First, my right dear brother, I require of thee to tell
me in what land thou wert born, and the cause why thou departedst from thy country, also
where thou art bound for to go, and what thy name is. Furthermore if thou have need of
counsel, of words, or of other things that I may do, I call God to my record that right
gladly I shall endeavour me to fulfil it. S. Flacre then, kneeling, rendered to him thanks
and mercies, and after said to him: My father and my mother engendered or begat me in an
isle of Scotland named Ireland, and forasmuch that I desire to lead my life solitary, I
have relinquished and left my land and my parents, and I do seek a place for to lead my
life hermitic and solitarily, and by my right name I am called Fiacre, and therefore
meekly I beseech thine high and ineffable paternity that, if there be in some part of thy
bishopric a little place within a wood where I might use and employ my life in prayers and
in orisons, that thou wilt not defer to me the grant of it. When S. Pharon heard this, he
was thereof joyful and glad, and said to S. Fiacre: I have a wood far enough from hence
which is within our own heritage, and is called by the folk of the country Brodile, the
which wood, as I suppose, is convenable for to lead life solitary, and if it be so that
thy desire is to see it, let us two go thither together for to behold and see the place.
Then answered S. Fiacre: So as thy paternity commandeth, I desire that it be done anon.
Then the piteous and holy bishop, as soon as he might, led Fiacre unto the right desired
place. And when they were come thither S. Pharon said to S. Fiacre: My brother, this place
is belonging to me by mine own heritage, coming from mine ancestry, and if it seem to thee
good and pleasant for to dwell and abide in, as much of it as behoveth to thee, devoutly
and with good heart I present it to thee, and full gladly I give it to thee for to do
withal thy good pleasure. And when thus he had granted and said, Fiacre fell to his feet,
and for great joy weeping, rendered to him graces and thankings, saying: O right blessed
father, the same place only of right pleaseth me and delighteth right greatly, for it is a
holy place and far from abiding of any folk. After these words they took their refection
or food of nouriture divine, and soon after returned together unto the city of Meaux. And
on the morn next, S. Fiacre took his leave of S. Pharon, which gave to him his blessing,
and when S. Fiacre had received it, he departed and went to the place beforesaid, where he
founded a church in the honour and reverence of our Blessed Lady, and beyond it, a little
way thence, he builded a little house wherein he dwelled, and there harboured he the poor
that passed foreby. When then he had done and accomplished all that to him seemed
necessary for the time, this very friend of God, Fiacre, continually without cease
laboured and watched into the service of our Lord Jesu Christ, and ever in good virtues
from better to better multiplied, and much victoriously against his adversary the enemy
resisted, and against his flesh, and that that he had, right heartily to the poor gave and
distributed. If some there were that time that had lost their strength, or that were dumb,
deaf, counterfaited, blind or vexed with the enemy, or of whatsomever sickness that it had
been, they all came, or made them to be borne, to this holy man, and anon after that he
had laid his hands on them, by the grace of our Lord, and by his prayers, they returned
homewards as whole as ever they were; and in such wise flourished the odour of the renomee
of the miracles that our Lord showed by him through all the bishopric of Meaux, that they
began all to have great hope in his suffrages and prayers. Among all other things it
happed that a holy man named Killenus, born in Scotland, that was come from Rome as a
pilgrim, and was arrived within the territory or country of Meaux, when he heard speak of
the good renomee of the holy man Fiacre, he anon went towards him, and S. Fiacre much
benignly received him, and when he understood that they were both of one land, and by
affinity of blood nigh parents, instantly prayed him that he would abide with him certain
days, which Killenus accorded to it, and as they were together, and that they had
rehearsed the extraction of their parents, and spake of the sweet sentences of the holy
scriptures wherewith they nourished and fed themselves by the great joy that they took
when they spake of it, they recommended each other to our Lord, and took leave to depart
one from the other. And for certain, the renomee of him grew so much, and flew so far
that, from far countries much people came daily to him for to recover their health in so
much that the holy man saw that of needs he must make his habitation or housing more
spacious and greater than it was, and thought to him good and necessary to make a great
garden, wherein he should have all manner of herbs good for to make pottage with, for to
feed the poor when they should return towards him, and so he did.
And howbeit that S. Pharon before that time gave to him leave to take as much of his
wood as to him needed, nevertheless he durst not take on him the hardiness for to make his
house greater ne more than it was tofore till he had spoken again with S. Pharon, for to
demand leave of him to throw down the trees and other things growing about his house, to
whom the venerable and courteous bishop gave of his wood as much as he might pick and
delve, and throw down with his own hands, to do withal as of his own livelihood. S. Fiacre
then inclined his head and rendered thanks to S. Pharon and took his leave of him, and
returned into his hermitage. And when he had made his prayer he drew his staff over the
earth. Now may ye understand thing much marvellous and of great miracle, for, by the will
of our Lord, wheresoever the holy hermit Fiacre drew his staff, the trees fell down both
on one side and on other, and round about where he drew his staff was a ditch suddenly
made. And in the meanwhile that he drew so his staff, there came a woman which marvelled
much how the earth clave and ditched by itself only by the touching of the holy man's
staff, and with great haste she ran towards Meaux, and denounced this thing to the bishop
Pharon, testifying and insuring that the holy man Fiacre was full of wicked and evil art,
and not servant of the sovereign God; and when she thus had said she returned forthwith
towards the holy man, and with an evil presumption went and said many injuries and
villainies to Fiacre, contumelying and blaspheming him, and commanded him by the bishop
that he should cease of his work, and that he were not so hardy to be any more about it,
and that for the same cause the bishop should come there.
When the holy man saw that he was thus accused to the bishop by a woman, he ceased his
work that he had begun, and made no more of it, and sat on a stone much thoughtful and
wroth. Wherefore if our Lord had before showed great miracles by him, yet greater and more
marvellous miracle was made for him, for the stone whereon he sat, by the will of God
waxed and became soft as a pillow to the end that it should be more able and easy for him
to sit on, and it was caved somewhat as a pit thereas he sat on, and for testification and
proof of this miracle, the said stone is as yet kept within his church, and many sick folk
have been and are daily healed there of divers sicknesses only to touch and to have
touched the said stone. The bishop then by the provocation of the said woman's words came
towards the holy man Fiacre, and when he saw the marvels that God showed by him, as well
of the trees that by themselves were thrown down to the earth of either part, also how the
earth only by fraying of his staff was ditched about, as of the stone that was thus caved
and made soft like a pillow, he knew well that he was a man of great merit towards our
Lord; and from thence forthon he loved the hermit S. Fiacre more than before, and honoured
him much. The ditches, beforesaid, be yet as now showed to them that go to visit his
church. When then Fiacre, as is above said, sat on the stone, full sorry and wroth that
the woman had so accused and blasphemed him to the bishop, also for the injuries and
villainies that she had said to him, he made his prayer to our Lord that no woman should
never enter into his church, without she be punished by some manner of sickness.
Wherefore it happed on a time that a woman, of much noble and rich estate, desired to
know what thereof should befall if a woman had entered into his church. The which woman
took her maiden or servant and shoved her suddenly within the chapel. And anon, seeing all
they that were there, the said woman lost one of her eyes, and the maid innocent as to the
deed, came out again with her plein health.
On another time, another woman of Latininak put one of her feet within the said chapel
or church, but her foot swelled by such manner that all the leg, knee, and thigh of it was
grieved with sickness. And many other miracles have been thereof showed, wherefore the
women shall ne ought not enter into it. The good and holy S. Fiacre in his lifetime
resplendished by miracles and virtues, and after, rendered right gloriously his soul unto
our Lord, and sith after his temporal death, at his own grave by his merits and prayers,
our Lord showed, and as yet now showeth, many miracles, as to restore in good health the
poor sick folk languishing of their members of whatsoever sickness or languor that it be,
who with good and contrited heart cometh to the church where the said grave or tomb is,
and devoutly beseecheth and prayeth God, and the good and holy S. Fiacre, the which by his
glorious merits may be unto us good friend toward our said Lord and God. Amen
Here followeth the Life of S. Justin.
S. Justin was born in the city of Naples, and his father was called Cryspobachia, and
was a right great philosopher, which laboured strongly for the christian religion,
insomuch that he composed many fair books, much profitable, as recounteth S. Jerome and
Hugo. He betook to the emperor Antoninus a book which he composed of the christian
religion, and so much he laboured toward the said emperor that he had pity and compassion
of the christian people, and not only the emperor himself, but also all his children, and
all the senators of Rome. And the said emperor made sithe a commandment that no paynim
should not be so hardy as have in despite the sign of the very cross. Item Pompey the
Trogan, which was of the Spanish nation, composed into forty-four books all the histories
that were through all the world from the time and reign of Minim that was king of Assyria,
unto the time and reign of the Emperor Caesar, and wrote them in Latin, the which history
S. Justin abbreviated or shorted, and also composed many other books which were too long
to rehearse. To him was divinely revealed or told that much he should suffer before his
death, for to maintain truth, as it appeareth by a writ or letter, which he sent to the
emperor Antoninus, where he saith thus: I shall have enough of persecutions of staves of
iron, by them against whom I battle or fight for to maintain the estate of truth, but when
that shall be, I then shall have knowledge that they be not philosophers, that is to wit,
loving art and science, but that they may be lovers of all vanities, for he is not worthy
to be called a philosopher which publicly affirmeth and attesteth that which he knoweth
not, and that saith that the christians are without a god, and put in greater error those
that already are in error. All the which thing was thus accomplished, so as S. Jerome
recounteth and Eusebius also. For when the said emperor was passed to God from this world,
after him reigned two other emperors, the which were named Antonin and Aurelian, that were
great persecutors of christian people, and so as Justin persevered in holy living and in
holy doctrine he composed the second book for to defend therewith the religion christian.
It happed so that many other philosophers were, that great envy had at Justin as much for
his holy life and honest conditions whereof he was filled, as for his great science,
accused him to the emperor, saying he was christian, and that he would destroy their law.
Then was Justin taken, and made to suffer many torments and divers pains, in which because
that he constantly reclaimed ever the name of God, they sprinkled and shed his blood by
such manner that he rendered and gave his soul to our Lord Jesu Christ with whom he
resteth in peace, and shall rest without end in seculorum secula. Amen.
Here followeth the Life of S. Demetrius.
While that the Emperor Maximian had the lordship of Thessalonica, he made all the
auditors of the christian faith to be put to death, among which was Demetrius that made
himself to be manifested and known of all without any fear or dread. For sith the time of
his youth he had ever been steadfast and constant in all good operations or works, and
ever endoctrined and taught the others how the divine Sapience was descended in the earth,
who by his own blood had quickened or raised from death the man, which by his sin was put
to death. And as he preached, some of the ministers and sergeants of the emperor that were
committed and ordained for to take the christian men, took S. Demetrius, and would have
presented him unto the emperor Maximian, but it happed so that the emperor was gone to see
a battle that should be done, for much he delighted him to see shedding of human blood. In
the same battle was a man named Lineus, which because of the victories that he in his days
had had, was much loved of the emperor, but as fortune changeth oft, it happed that this
Lineus was there wounded to death. And when the emperor was returned into his palace,
sorrowful and angry at the death of the same Lineus, mention of Demetrius was made unto
him. Then was the emperor sore moved against him, insomuch that in the same prison where
he was, sore fettered and hard holden, he made him to be sticked through and through his
body with sharp spears. The which S. Demetrius thus ever witnessing the name of Jesu,
consummated there his martyrdom. Many miracles were made by his merits and by his good
virtues on all them that with good faith devoutly reclaimed him. A man that was called
Lemicius, who heartily loved and served God, gave much of his goods to the house where the
holy corpse of S. Demetrius was buried, and made the place more greater than it was
tofore, and builded there an oratory or chapel in the honour of the said martyr Demetrius.
One of the prefects or judges of Thessalonica that named was Manam, was much agreeable
to God, and to the world, on which the enemy had great envy for his good works, and began
to tempt him sore and strong. And first he tempted him of the seven deadly sins, but God
would that he never should overcome him. When the devil saw that he might not deceive him,
he took from him all his temporal goods and finally smote him with such a sickness that he
had no member wherewith he might help him, save only his tongue, with which he praised and
thanked ever our Lord. After this, the enemy appeared to one of his servants in likeness
of a man, and showed to him a schedule saying thus to him: If thy master did put once this
schedule or scroll on him he should be anon all whole of his sickness, for it containeth
within written the names both of the gods and of the angels. Anon went forth the servant
and told it to his master, which answered to him: God that made me may save me if it
please him, and without his pleasure nothing may be done, all is his, and all thing lieth
in his hands, he may well take that is his, therefore let his will be done. Soon after
these words he fell in a sleep, and as he would sleep he heard the voice of S. Demetrius,
that commanded him that he should make himself to be borne within his church, and that he
should there recover his health. And when he was borne thither he fell yet again on sleep,
and heard S. Demetrius that said: God that created thee and that restoreth to the folk
their health, when he will, send to thee comfort and help. When he was awaked from sleep
he rehearsed how Demetrius told him in his sleep: God that healeth sick folk send to thee
comfort and help, and how at those words our Lord sent to him health and rendered to him
the force and strength of all his members and stood upon his feet, and forthwith kneeled
and thanked our Lord and the glorious martyr also. The solemnity of this glorious martyr
S. Demetrius, that many virtues hath made, is celebrated the eighth ides of the month of
October, and his life was translated out of Greek into Latin by S. Anastasius, and sent it
to Charles the Emperor, to the praising and reverence of God, who by the merits of the
said glorious martyr S. Demetrius healeth us of all our sins. Amen
Here followeth the Life of S. Rigobert.
S. Rigobert was Archbishop of Rheims, ever filled with holiness, and reigned in that
time in which two noble kings did reign in France, that is to wit Childebert and Dagobert,
and was extract or come out of the most excellent lineage that was in all the region. His
father had tu name Constantine, and his mother was called Francigene which was of the
country of Porcien. S. Rigobert from the time of his youth gave and abandoned himself to
heavenly and celestial discipline. He loved chastity, he was ready in watchings and
prayers, true both in word and in deed. Charitable, full of abstinence, founded in
humility, adorned of sapience, in justice true and just, prudent and wise in counsel, and
honest in all conditions and in all good virtues. He proceeded thus as he grew and
persevered ever from better to better in spiritual deeds, and that he was of age perfect,
by election celestial he was chosen and enhanced into the dignity of Archbishop of Rheims,
in which dignity by the grace of our Lord he maintained and governed him so that he was
both loved and dreaded of all folk. It was no marvel if the good people loved him, for
much they desired to hear his good doctrines and monitions spiritual, and humbly to serve
him. Ne no marvel it was if the evil folk doubted him, which for their sins doubted much
to be reproved of him. S. Remy writeth that by him was as it was by S. Peter, that did
appear to them that thought to do well much debonairly, and as S. Paul, that to the
sinners showed him increpatively, for he promised misericord to them that were in sin, to
the end that they should amend themselves, and to the good folk he promised pain without
end if they fell from their good works. He feared the good folk to the end that they
should take no vain glory within themselves for their good deeds, and the sinners he
recomforted to the end that for their sins and malice they should not be despaired, but
that they should be diligent to put from them their sins, and to fall in penance.
Therefore by his good and diligent predication he invited many a one to do good works. By
the multiplication also of his good doctrines many a one led a life of holy conversation.
By his good ensamples many a one he withdrew unto his holy company. Thus he gave himself
to all folk, travailing always for their salvation. He was Archbishop of Rheims, after a
man that was full of great virtues, that men called Reole, which was nigh cousin to him as
some folk say. When the foresaid Reole was dead, the siege of Rheims was recant and void
by many years, for cause of many things that were destroyed, which by long process of time
had been gotten, and with great devotion and diligence founded. All the which things the
same glorious S. Rigobert repaired and restored into their first estate, for he ordained a
religion on canons and clerks after the number that they had been in time before passed,
and sufficiently ordained for their living, to the end that they should tend and wait
busily and diligently to the divine service. They took not the canonic breed, for the
canons that were at that time were not of such rule as the canons be in time present, but
they governed themselves after the rule of S. Austin. Nevertheless he gave to them many
things which they kept as their own good to the end that perpetually they might help them
with at their need. He was also the first Archbishop of Rheims that first ordained a
common treasure in their church, and general to all their usages necessary in time to
come. These works he made and many more innumerable virtues and miracles, and he, filled
with benewred ancienty of days, by holy perseveration rendered his soul unto our Lord, cui
honor et imperium.
Here followeth the Life of S. Landry.
S. Landry, of whom hereafter we joyfully shall make memory and solemnity, was right
glorious bishop of Paris. We read in the catalogue that is made and written of the
succession, and of the number of bishops in Paris, how S. Denis was received by S.
Clement, the which S. Denis waited ever for to go thereas he wist the error of the paynims
reigned most. God that guided him brought him to Paris and there he was the first bishop,
and there he ordained clerks and officers for to serve the church. After S. Denis was the
ninth bishop S. Marcel, after S. Marcel the ninth was S. Germain, and S. Landry was the
ninth bishop after S. Germain and thus it appeareth that he was the twenty-seventh bishop
after S. Denis. He sat in the chair of the church cathedral of Paris in that time that the
noble Clovis reigned king in France, which by the great and fervent love that he had to
the church of S Denis gave to the same many gifts, and made the said church much rich, as
the privileges of the religious there testify to this day, twenty-six bishops were in the
chair of the church of Paris before S. Landry as above is said, of whom the names be
written in the privileges of the said church, and nevertheless none of them all was made
archbishop. All the intention of S. Landry whiles that he lived in this world was to
accomplish misericord, and he himself departed or dealt the alms to the poor at all times.
We have seen and known that a man which men call Raoul Gracard was smitten suddenly,
and had the head much great and swollen, and was so red in the face of him that all folk
that saw him deemed and held him for a leper Which man with great haste came to the
presence of S. Landry, and there he confessed him much devoutly, receiving much benignly
his penance, and after he came to the sudary of the saint and with great devotion kissed
it, and when he had done his offering and vow with much great faith and hope he returned,
and unnethe he was come to his house when he became as whole as ever he was. Be therefore
the name of God praised, who for his good friend S. Landry he healed so promptly the
Upon another time a squire fell of palsy so much that he could not help himself with
foot ne with hands. His friends seeing him so oppressed of this sickness made a bargain
with a physician for to help him. It happed so that on a day as this poor man saw himself
so oppressed with the said sickness and no remedy might be found to it, he began for to
weep and to reclaim S. Landry saying: O blessed S. Landry, vouchsafe to behold on my
misery, and then he prayed that they would bear him unto the sepulchre of S. Landry, which
did as he prayed them. Then the bishop of Paris named Maurice, that was there, seeing the
devotion of the said sick man, prayed to S. Landry that health he would impetre unto God
for him by his glorious merits, and with one of the teeth of the saint touched the places
on his body that most grieved him, making the sign of the cross, and anon he became all
Item, it is read of a knight named Gilbert that had a thorn within his knee, whereto he
found no remedy by no manner of medicine and was as desperate, not only for the dolour and
pain that he suffered, but also for fault of hope to be healed, the which knight made him
to be borne into the church of S. Landry, and with his sudary did to be made over him the
sign of the cross, and anon after, the thorn issued out from his knee, and was all whole,
healed by the merits of the saint, whom we beseech to pray God for us. Amen.
Here followeth the Life of S. Mellonin.
In the time of the emperor Valerian, S. Mellonin, which was born in the Great Britain,
came to Rome to pay the tribute of his land, and for to serve the emperor. When he came
thither, so as of custom was, he went into the temple of Mars for to sacrifice with his
fellows. He then heard the pope Stephen with a few christian folk, to whom he preached the
faith of Christ and the Evangile. He tended and opened his ears to understand his words,
and anon he believed on God and required to be baptized. This Mellonin then was baptized
by the pope Stephen, and also taught in the Catholic faith, and anon he sold away all such
good as he had, and gave all to the poor for the love of God. The pope promoted him into
all the degrees of the order of priesthood, insomuch that he himself made S. Mellonin
priest, and so as in prayers, in watching, and in fastings he persevered.
On a time as he said his mass, both the pope and he together saw at the right side of
the altar an angel that took to him a staff pastoral, saying in this manner: Mellonin take
this staff, under the which thou shalt rule and govern the city of Rouen, for all the
people there is of God, and all ready to thy service and commandment, and, notwithstanding
that it is far from hence, and that the way is to thee right grievable, because thou
knowest not the country, nevertheless thou oughtest not to doubt no thing, for Jesu Christ
shall ever keep thee under the shadow of his wings. And then after these words he took and
received the pope's blessing and went on his way. And when the even came, and he held the
said staff in his hand, he met with a man that was hurt in his foot, which was slit
asunder. This holy man made his prayer, and anon he healed him. From thence he came to
Rouen, where he accomplished well and holily his office, and made there many virtues and
miracles. The which glorious saint rested in peace the eleventh day of the kalends of the
month of November to the honour of God that liveth and reigneth in finita secula. Amen.
Here followeth of S. Ives.
S. Ives was born in little Britain in the diocese of Trygvier, engendered or begotten
of parents noble and catholic, and it was revealed to his mother in her sleep that he
should be sanctified. In his first age he was of right good conditions, and right humbly
and devoutly frequented the churches, hearing ententively the masses and the sermons. Much
of his time he employed to study busily the holy letters, and read much curiously the
lives of the saints, and pained himself much with all his power for to ensue them, the
which by process of time was adorned of right great wisdom and renowned full of great
science both in right civil and in canon law, and also in theology well lettered as it
appeared sith, as well in contemplation and judgment, as giving counsel to the souls upon
the fait of their conscience. For after that he had occupied and exercised much holily and
devoutly the fait of advocacy in the bishop's court of Trygvier, ever pleading without
taking any salary the causes of the miserable and poor persons, exposing himself to it
with his good gree, and not required by them for to defend their questions and
differences, he was chosen into the office of the official, first in the court of the
archdeacon of Rennes, and afterwards in the said court of the bishop of Trygvier, which
lawfully, justly, and diligently accomplished all such things that be pertaining to the
said office. He succoured them that were oppressed and that had had wrong, and to every
each one rendered his own by right, without any acception or taking of money, nor none
other good. The which then, called to the government and guiding of souls, bare ever with
him the Bible and his breviary or portos, and so he, made and ordained in the order of
priesthood, celebrated as every day, and heard much humbly, devoutly, and dilgently the
confessions of his parishioners. He visited the sick folk without difference, and recomforted them right wisely, and taught to them the way of their salvation, and devoutly
administered unto them the precious and blessed body of our Lord Jesu Christ, and for
certain in all things appertaining to the cure of the people of our Lord Jesu Christ
committed to him, he in all and over all accomplished duly and right worthily his mystery.
He profited ever, going busily from virtue into virtue, and was pleasant both to God and
to the world, insomuch that the folk were full loth to depart from his words, and from his
fellowship, and much abashed were they that saw him for cause of his friendly manner and
for wonderful holiness. What marvel he was of admirable or wonderful humility which he
showed over all in habit or clothing, in deed, in words, going, coming, and being in
divers companies. He spake ever to the folk both more and less sweetly, and full meekly
looking on the earth, his hood before his face, that he should not be praised of the folk
and to eschew all vanities. And by the space of fifteen years before his death he ne ware
but coarse cloth, russet or white, such as poor folk of the country be accustomed to wear.
He held the ewer and also the towel while the poor washed their hands, and after with his
own hands administered to them the meat that they should eat, and setting himself on the
ground ate with them of the said meat, that is to wit brown bread, and sometimes a little
pottage. And among them that ate with him he had no prerogative, but the most deformed and
most miserable he set nigh him. He lay all night on the ground and had for his bedding,
for sheets, for coverlet, and for hanging, only a little straw. Ever before the
celebration of his mass, ere he revested him, he kneeled down before the altar, and
devoutly made his prayer, weeping and piteously sighing, and oft-times as he celebrated
his mass plenty of tears fell from his eyes along his face. The humility of whom pleased
much unto our Lord as once it appeared by a columbe or dove of marvellous splendour which
openly was seen flying within the church of Trygvier about the altar, where this holy S.
Ives said mass. And certainly full patiently he suffered all injuries and blasphemies, for
when men did mock him or said evil to him, he answered nothing, but having his thought on
God sustained their evil words patiently and with great joy. A man he was of tranquillity,
for he loved peace, and never he was moved to no strife, indignation, or ire for nothing
that ever was done to him. He said no words tumelous or contumelious, ne other disordinate
words. He was defensor, without dread, of the liberties of the church, whereof it happed
that as a sergeant of the king's had taken and led with him the bishop's horse of Trygvier
for the encheson of the centime of the goods of the foresaid bishop, S. Ives then being in
the office of official, virtuously took the said horse join the said sergeant and led him
again unto the bishop's place. And how be it that men deemed and weened that great evil or
damage should fall therefor, as well to S. Ives as to the church, seeing that the sergeant
was about to have procured it, nevertheless no manner of damage came never thereof,
neither to the saint nor to the church. Which thing was holden and reputed for a miracle,
and not without cause attributed to the merits of the said S. Ives, for it is believed and
testified that he was chaste both of flesh and in thought all the time of his life, and
also chaste both in words and of eyes, and lived always so honestly and so chastely that
never no tokens of worldly manners appeared on him, but certainly ever he abhorred and
cursed the sin of lechery, and he being accustomed to preach against the said sin, made
many a person to flee from it. He was never found slothful ne negligent, but ever ready to
orison or predication, or else he was studying in the holy scriptures or doing works of
charity and pity. Ever he occupied himself in weal after the doctrine of the apostles. He
profited him to God in all things privable and without confusion in his works. He treated
to right the word of virtue and of truth, and ever eschewing all vain words, spake but
little and with pain, save the words of God and of salvation perdurable. And he, preaching
the word of God right well and boldly, brought oft them that heard him to compunction of
heart and evermore unto tears, and he exercising and occupying him in this holy operation
or work thereas he might be heard by the leave of the bishops and diocesans, ever going on
foot, preached sometimes upon a day in four churches, much far from one another. And to
the end that he should not leave the custom of his abstinence, he after this great labour
returned fasting unto his house, and would never accord with no man to dine with him. He
had the spirit of prophecy, for he prophesied that a recluse should be seen among men by
the vice of covetise. The which thing happed not long after, for the meschant recluse
leaving the way of salvation and of penitence, went out from his cell, and took a worldly
and damnable way. This holy S. Ives laboured ever to appease all discordance and strife
after his power, and the folk which might not accord by his persuasion and admonishings,
were called soon to concord after his orison by him made to God.
It may not be recounted, ne never it was seen in our time, the great charity, pity, and
misericorde that he had towards the poor indigent and suffretous, towards the widows and
to the poor children both father- and motherless all the time of his life. All that he
received or might have, as well of the church as of his patrimony, he gave to them before
said without any difference, when he was dwelling at Rennes, and promoted to the office of
official there at the court of the archdeacon. Also ere he changed his manner of living,
he made upon the great and solemn holidays plenty of meat to be dressed and ready for to
eat, and at dinner-time he called and made to be called the poor folk to dinner, and to
them administered meat with his own hands, and after, he ate with two poor children which
for the love of our Lord Jesu Christ he sustained at school, for ever he was right
courteous to help children, both father- and motherless, and as their father sent them to
school, and with his own sustained them and paid also the salary to their masters. He
revested right courteously the poor naked of our Lord. It happed once that a gown and a
hood both of like cloth which he had do make for himself to wear, and so he taking greater
care of the poor naked than of his own body, gave the said gown and hood to a poor man. He
held hospitality indifferently for the poor pilgrims in a house which he did make for the
nonce, to the which he administered both meat and drink, bed and fire for to warm them in
winter. In wheresoever a place that he went the suffretous and poor, that ran to him from
all sides, followed him, for all that he had was ready to their behoof as their own. He
gave sudaries for to bury with the dead bodies, and with his own hands helped to bury
them. A poor man once came against him, and he having as then nothing ready to give him,
took his hood and gave it to the said poor man, and went home barehead. He chastised his
flesh much sharply, for he was so accustomed to be in orisons and in prayers and to study,
that the most part of the time he passed without sleep both day and night. If he were sore
travailled by study, orisons, or going, that he as constrained must sleep, and when he
must sleep, he slept on the earth, and instead of a pillow he laid under his head
sometimes his book, and sometimes a stone. He ware ever the hair under his shirt, whiles
that yet he was in the office of the official in the city of Trygvier. He used brown bread
and porridge such as commonly use poor labourers, and none other meat he ne had, and to
his drink used cold water, and there lived with such meat and drink by the space of eleven
years, till he came to his death. He fasted eleven Lents and all the Advents of our Lord,
and from the Ascension unto Pentecost, all ember days, all vigils of our Lady, and of the
apostles, and all other days stablished by holy church for to fast, he fasted with bread
and water. And above all this during the eleven years aforesaid, he fasted three days in
the week with bread and water, that is to wit Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and on the
other days he ate also but once a day, and used bread and pottage, such as followeth
except, the Sundays, Christmasday, Easterday, Whitsunday, and All Hallows' day, on which
days he ate twice. His bread was rustical brown, made of barley or oats, his pottage was
of great coles or of other herbs or beans, or of radish root savoured only with salt
without any other liquor, sauf that sometimes he put in it a little flour and a little
butter, and on Easterday above his accustomed pittance he ate two eggs. He never within
the space of fourteen years before his death tasted of no wine, save only at mass after
that he had taken the body and blood of our Lord, or else sometime when he dined with the
bishop, for then within his water he put a little wine only for to change the colour. He
fasted once by the space of seven days without any meat or drink, ever being in good
The foresaid S. Ives lived fifty years or thereabout, and in his last sickness he
ceased not to teach them that were about him, and he preached unto them of their
salvation, and coming beneurely unto his last days, took humbly the sacraments of the body
of our Lord and last unction, Iying on his noble bed beforesaid, adjousted always to the
same with great instance of his friends, a little straw. Three days before his death he
had on his hood instead of kerchief about his head, and had on his gown, and refusing all
other things, he was covered with a little and bad coverlet, saying that he was not worthy
to have any other parements on him. The pure and clean saint then, having the hair on his
flesh, covered with his shirt and issuing out of this world in the year of grace thirteen
hundred and three, the nineteenth day of May, that was on the Sunday after the Ascension
of our Lord Jesu Christ went up unto heaven, and like as he had been asleep without any
sign or token of whatsoever dolour he took the right beneurous rest of death. And who that
could recount all the miracles done by him, howbeit that to none ne is possible but alone
to him which can number or tell the multitude of stars, and imposeth to each one their
names, but because that, to one right great inconvenience and dishonour were, if by sloth
he refrained himself from uttering, and kept still such things that are and appertain to
the praising and laud of our Lord, and namely thereas plenty and abundance of his praising
is or should be, that the said miracles are infinite or without end, nevertheless we shall
rehearse some of them.
Then as it is recorded in the book long since made and accomplished of his life and of
his virtues, that at his invocation by vows and prayers, by some devoutly made unto God,
and to the Saint in divers places were fourteen dead raised, reckoned always in the said
number two children living within their mother's womb and dead before their baptism which
sithe received life. And at the invocation of the said S. Ives ten demoniacs, mad folk, or
filled with wicked spirits, were delivered from their forsenery or madness, and from all
wicked spirits. Thirteen contracts, or filled with paralysis, were by the same restored in
good health. Three blind were by him illumined. Divers folk, in ten places, all with their
goods were kept and saved from drowning in the sea. One perfectly hydropic or filled with
dropsy was entirely cured. Another that had the stone great as an egg, and the genitors as
great as a man's head, was restituted unto health. One condemned to be hanged fell three
times from the gallows, and all whole was delivered and let go. A woman to whom the milk
wanted within her paps were filled full of it. Things lost by divers persons and in divers
places were found and recovered by miracles. Two dumb childien and divers others that had
lost the use of the tongue were restituted of their speaking. Three or four women, with
all their birth, were delivered from the peril of death. The fire taken in three divers
places was quenched and put out, and both men, women, and children, and goods kept from
burning without to be hurted, ne in no manner of wise damaged. A woman sore aggrieved with
an axes took a little bread that before had been wet in water by the hands of the saint,
ate it and recovered health. The saint himself giving foison alms, the corn multiplied in
his garret, and the bread in his hand sometimes. Many sick folk were healed of divers
sicknesses and dolours only to have touched his hood. A man dressing the wheel of his
water-mill, on whom suddenly the water came from high rushing, and he besought the holy S.
Ives, and anon he was saved from drowning. On a time, as the said saint said mass, while
he celebrated and held up the body of our Lord, a great resplendor appeared about it,
which soon after the elevation was done, disappeared and vanished away. A post ordained to
the work or making of a bridge, not convenable to the said work for fault of half a foot
of length, after the prayer of the carpenters done unto the saint, was the said post found
long enough and convenable to the foresaid work. In time of a great inundation or flowing,
which covered the ways and places, the sign of the cross made with the said holy man's
hand on the water it ceased and ebbed away. The hood which he gave to a poor man, as above
is said, and went barehead homeward, God that had himself in form or likeness of a poor
man received the said hood, as it may be believed, sent to him again the said hood,
whereof was great and marvellous miracle. On a time when he had given all his bread to
poor folks, loaves of bread were brought to him enough to suffice him and the poor people
in his fellowship withal, by a woman unknown, the which after her present delivered,
vanished away and never was seen after. On another time, as he had received a poor man
appearing right foul and disformed, and over foul in clothing, and had made him to eat and
set hand at his own dish with him, this poor man departing and saying: God be with you and
at your help, his gown that before was wonder foul, as it is said became so white, and of
so great resplendor and shining, and his face so fair appeared and so bright, that all the
house was replenished and filled with great light. The archbishop of Narbonne was vexed
with a strong axes, and by the feebleness of his nature was reputed and holden as for dead
of all them which about him were, for his eyes were shut in manner of a dead man. At the
invocation or calling to S. Ives made for the salue of the said archbishop by his parents
and friends, with weepings, vows, devotions, was the foresaid archbishop through the
merits of the saint restored unto life, sight and good health, by the grace and virtue of
him of whom it is written that he enlumineth the eyes, giveth life, health and blessing,
light, sapience, the which God, creator, enluminator, and saviour be thanked, praised and
worshipped by all the siecle and siecles. Amen.
Here followeth the Life of S. Morant.
The king Theodoric commanded to S. Morant of Douay, which was in Paris, son of
Aldebaulte a noble Frenchman, and of S. Rotrud of Marchiennes, the which had three
daughters, virgins and saints, that is to wit Clotende, Eusebe, and Ellysente. S. Rotrud
dwelled at Marchiennes in a nunnery with Clotende and Ellysente her daughters, by the
ordinance of S. Amand, and with many others, and there she passed from this world. And
Eusebe her other daughter dwelled in an abbey of nuns in Hanegau with the grandmother of
S. Aldebault her father, the which was called Gertrude, and the abbey Nivelle, of the gift
and foundation of S. Amand. And in the same country were many abbeys of monks, whereof, as
to come to our purpose, S. Morant and Rotrud his mother did build and make an abbey on
their own ground and put monks therein, and gave to them rents and possessions for to live
on, and called the place Bruell.
The king Theodoric that well wist of it, commanded to S. Morant that he should make S.
Omer to be led as prisoner from Peronne unto the said new abbey, and to do him to be kept
that he should not escape from thence and go somewhere in other place. S. Morant came to
Peronne, and from thence brought with him S. Omer through Cambray. And S. Omer whiles that
they made the dinner ready there, he went to our Lady of Cambray and made there his
prayers kneeling. He took off both his gloves and his habit, and cast them nigh to a glass
window, but the rays or beams of the sun sustained them from the ground as they had hanged
upon a staff. And the holy man which ever looked humbly downward perceired it not. S.
Morant followed him soon after to the church, and when he came there, and saw the miracle
he was all abashed, and prayed him mercy of that he had brought him thither like as a
prisoner, and besought him that from thence forthon he would become his father in God, and
that to his commandments he would obey. S. Omer then, which recked not for that, lifted
himself up and revested on him his habit and gloves, and thanked much S. Morant, and said
to him that he should obey the king, for thereto he was holden, and that as for him he
should obey to our Lord and should bear in all patience his adversities, and that gladly
he would go with him thereas he was ordained for to go. S. Morant then led S. Omer at
Bruell in Hanegau, where many holy minsters or abbeys were separated and governed by the
disciples of S. Amand, which were all saints. There was S. Omer like as he were in
paradise terrestrial; all the country thereabout replenished with saints both men and
women in great penances, servants and friends of God. Every one forced himself to pass his
fellow in weal, without evil and wicked envy, and with great charity, and gave example to
another for to do well.
When S. Morant and S. Rotrud his mother knew and enough wist the devotion, humility,
patience, and doctrine of S. Omer, they prayed him that he would emprise or undertake the
cure or government of the abbey of Bruell, which they had founded on their patrimony. They
gave their own selves, their abbey, and all their goods to him, and S. Omer received them
meekly and dwelled there together peaceably. All the other holy men there desired much to
hear his doctrine. S. Omer exhorted and taught so much S. Morant that he made him clerk,
and ordained him unto deacon, and made him abbot of his own house, founded in the honour
of God our Lord and of S. Peter. S. Omer did do make a chamber joining to the church for
his oratory, wherein he rested him with our Lord, not sleeping but watching, fasting and
continually praying. There made the holy man his holy penitence as long as he lived, and
when our Lord would call him unto his company, he received his rights, and took leave of
S. Morant and of the other friars, and so died there and was buried within the church of
S. Peter of Douay, and rendered and gave his soul to our Lord about the year of grace
seven hundred. I have said before that which I now say, the lives of saints were nigh lost
and all their legends, by the Normans, which wasted and spilt the land with two hundred
and fifty-two ships of men of arms, which arrived and came in that same land, and walked
through France unto Romania, going and coming by the space of forty years, and began about
the year eight hundred and fiftyone. If one escaped there were twain lost, and yet over
all other divers wars were, that marvel it is how we know of none. Therefore we shall pray
to our Lord Jesu Christ.
Here followeth the Life of S. Louis,
King of France.
S. Louis, sometime the noble king of France, had to his father a king right christian,
named Louis. This Louis father battled and fought against the heretics and Albigenses and
of the country of Toulouse, and extirpated their heresy, and as he returned into France he
passed unto our Lord. Then the child of holy childhood fatherless, abode and dwelled under
the keeping of the queen Blanche his mother, sometime daughter to the king of Castile, and
as she that loved him tenderly betook him for to be learned and taught under the cure and
governance of a special master in conditions and in letters, and he also, as the young
Solomon child, wise and disposed to have a good soul, profited right greatly in all
things, more than any child of his age. Of which good life and childhood his debonair
mother enjoying herself, said ofttimes to him in this manner: Right dear son, rather I
would see the death coming on thee than to see thee fall into a deadly sin against thy
creator. The which word the devout child took and shut it so within his courage, that, by
the grace of God which defended and kept him, it is not found that ever he felt any
atouchment, tache or spot of mortal crime. In the end, by the purveyance of his mother,
and of the barons of the land, to the end that so noble a realm should not fail of
succession royal, the holy man took a wife, of the which he received and gat on her fair
children, which by sovereign cure he made to be nourished, endoctrined, and taught to the
love of God and despite of the world, and to know themselves by holy admonishing and
ensamples. And when he might tend secretly to them, visiting them and requiring of their
profit as the ancient Tobias, gave to them admonishing of salute, teaching them over all
things to dread God and to keep and abstain them assiduously from all sin. Garlands made
of roses and of other flowers he forbade and defended them to wear on the Friday, for the
crown of thorns that was on such a day put on the head of our Lord. And because that he
wist well and knew that chastity in delices, pity in riches, and humility in honour often
perish, he took and gave his courage to sobriety and good diet, to humility and
misericorde, keeping himself right curiously from the pricking sautes and watch of the
world, the flesh and the devil, and chastised his body and brought it to servitude by the
ensample of the apostles. He forced himself to serve his spirit by diverse castigation or
chastising, he used the hair many times next his flesh, and when he left it for cause of
over feebleness of his body, at the instance of his own confessor, he ordained the said
confessor to give to the poor folk, as for recompensation of every day that he failed of
it, forty shillings. He fasted always the Friday, and namely in time of lent and advent he
abstained him in those days from all manner of fish and from fruits, and continually
travailed and pained his body by watchings, orisons, and other secret abstinences and
disciplines. Humility, beauty of all virtues, replenished so strong in him, that the more
better he waxed, so, as David, the more he showed himself meek and humble, and more foul
he reputed him before God. For he was accustomed on every Saturday to wash with his own
hands, in a secret place, the feet of some poor folk, and after dried them with a fair
towel, and kissed much humbly and semblably their hands, distributing or dealing to every
one of them a certain sum of silver, also to seven score poor men which daily came to his
court, he administered meat and drink with his own hands, and were fed abundantly on the
vigils solemn. And on some certain days in the year to two hundred poor, before that he
ate or drank, he with his own hands administered and cerved them both of meat and drink.
He ever had, both at his dinner and supper, three ancient poor, which ate nigh to him, to
whom he charitably sent of such meats as were brought before him, and sometimes the dishes
and meats that the poor of our Lord had touched with their hands, and special the sops of
which he fain ate, made their remnant or relief to be brought before him, to the end that
he should eat it; and yet again to honour and worship the name of our Lord on the poor
folk, he was not ashamed to eat their relief. Also he would not use scarlet, ne gowns of
rich cloth, ne also furring of over great price and cost, and namely sith he came from the
parts of beyond sea the first time again, he coveted by great desire the growing up of the
faith. Wherefore he, as very lover of the faith and covetous for to enhance it, as he yet
that of late convalesced and issued out of a grievous sickness, Iying at Pontoise, took
the cross with great devotion from the hands of the bishop of Paris, led with him three of
his brethren with the greatest lords and barons in his realm, and many a knight and other
people with him, appliked on his way, and with right great host arrived into Egypt, the
which, setting foot on ground, occupied and took by force of men of arms that same city
renowned which is called Damietta, and all the region about. Then after, the christian
host, esprised and beat with a much great and wonderful sickness by the just judgment of
God, many christian men died there, insomuch that of the number of two and thirty thousand
fighting men, ne was there left on live but six thousand men. And God, father of
misericorde, willing himself showed wonderful and marvellous on his saint, gave and betook
the same king, champion, or defensor of the faith, into the hands of the evil paymms, to
the end that he should appear more marvellous. And as the debonair king might have escaped
by the next ship nigh thence, always he yielded himself with his good gree, to the end
that he might deliver his people through the encheson of him.
He was put to great ransom, which paid, he would yet abide prisoner for the payment or
ransom of other his lords and barons, and then after, he put and left so as Joseph out of
the chartre or prison of Egypt, not as fleeing or dreadful returned anon unto the proper
or own parts, but first abode continually by the space of five years in Syria, where he
converted many paynims to the faith, and he being there, the christians out of the paynim
hands ditched and fortified many towns and castles with strong walls. He found then about
Sidon many dead bodies of christian men, of which many one was dismembered and eaten with
beasts and stank over much; the which he gathered and assembled with his own hands, with
the aid and help of his meiny, which unnethe might endure ne sufler the stench of them,
and humbly and devoutly betook them to the burying of holy church.
And after this, understanding the sickness of the queen his mother, by the cousel of
his barons he assented to return into France. And as he was upon the sea, on the third
night after, nigh the rising of Aurora, the ship where the king was in, hurted and smote
twice against the rock so strongly that the mariners and other there weened that the ship
should have broken and been plunged in the sea. And then the priests, clerks, and the
other folk there, abashed with so great hurting of the said ship, found the holy king
devoutly praying before the body of our Lord, wherefore they firmly believed that God
Almighty, by the merits and prayers of this holy king, had saved them from the foresaid
peril of death. Then the said saint, so returned into France, was received of all there
with great joy, and the more ardently or burningly profiting from virtue into virtue,
became to all manner perfection of life. And howbeit that miseration and pity was growing
in him from his youth, nevertheless he showed then more evidently his charitable deeds on
the poor folk, succouring them profitably, so as he might at their need.
He began then to build and found hospitals or houses for poor people to lie in, edified
minsters of religion, and gave yearly to other poor sufferers in divers places in the
realm much money, pecunies or silver. He founded many convents of the order of friars
preachers, and to many other poor religious builded churches, cloisters, dortoirs, and
other edifices convenable, gave for God largely alms to the blind, beguines, daughters of
God, and releved the minster of many a poor nunnery. He enriched many a church founded by
him with great revenues and rente, in which he many times exercised the office of charity
and of marvellous humility, humbly and devoutly serving the poor The with his own hands by
When he came in Paris, or in other cities, he visited the hospitals and other small
houses where poor people lay in, and without abomination of deformity ne of ordure or
filth of some patient or sick, administered, many times kneeling, giving meat to the poor
with his own hands. In the abbey of Royalmont, which he founded and endowed with great
revenue and rents, is showed notorily that such and semblable alms he made there many
And yet greater marvel, a monk of the said abbey, a leper, an abominable, and as then
deprived both of nose and eyes by corruption of the said sickness, the blessed S. Louis
administered, humbly putting, kneeling, with his own hands both meat and drink within the
mouth of the said leper without any abomination. The abbot there present which unnethe
might see that, wept and sighed piteously. And howbeit that to all indigent he opened the
bosom of misericorde, nevertheless to them that watched in divine services, and that
prayed for souls, he made greater alms and ofter. And by the great alms that he dealt
every year to the convents in Paris, both of the friars predicators and minors, said
sometime to his familiars: O God, how this alms is well set or bestowed on so much and so
great number of friars affluing and coming to Paris out from all lands for to learn the
divine scriptures, and to the end they might show and utter them through all the world to
the cure and salvation of souls.
Other alms that he did through the year, no tongue should suffice for to rehearse it.
He worshipped the holy relics with much great devotion, and assiduously grew the cultiving
of God and the honour of the saints. He builded in Paris a fair chapel within the palace
royal, in which he purposed and put right diligently the holy crown of thorns of our Lord,
with a great part of the holy cross. Also the iron or head of the spear wherewith the side
of our Lord was opened, with many other relics which he received of the emperor of
Constantinople. He would speak to nobody while that he was at church hearing the divine
service, without it were for great need or great utility of the commonweal, and then with
short and substantious words uttered that he would say, to the end that his devotion
should not be letted. He might not hear, ne forbear the reproaches or blasphemies done to
the christian faith, but he, enamoured of the love of God, as Phineas, punished them right
Whereof it befell that a citizen of Paris who loathly swearing had blasphemed Jesu
Christ, against the act or statute royal, which S. Louis by the counsel of the prelates
and princes had ordained and made for the swearers and blasphemers, at the commandment of
the said saint he was marked or tokened, at the lips of him with a hot and burning iron,
in sign of punition of his sin, and terror and dreadfulness to all others. And how for
cause of that, he hearing some say and cast in on him many cursings, said: I would fain
sustain on my lips such laidure or shame as long as I shall live, so that all the evil
vice of swearing were left and cast out from all our realm.
He had the signacle or figure of the holy cross in so great reverence that he eschewed
to tread on it, and required of many religious that, within their churchyard and tombs
they ne should from thence forthon portray ne depict the form or figure of the cross and
that the crosses so portrayed and figured, they should make to be planed. O how great
reverence he had! He also went every year on the good Friday to the chapel within the
palace royal for to worship there the holy cross, kneeling, both feet and head bare.
Of diligent discussing of causes and matters he rendered or yielded just judgment. Of
very dilection or love, he doubting that the strife, actions and pleadings of the poor
should come only to the presence and knowledge of his councillors, he went and presided
among them at the least twice in a week for to hear the plaints which lightly he made to
be discussed and soon after justly urged. He stablished also, for to have away the burning
covetise of the usurers, that no justicer should compel ne constrain them that were
bounden to the Jews or to other public usurers by letters, ne by none other manner, to pay
or yield to them their usury or growing.
In the end, after the course or running of many years, understanding that by true
report knowing the desolation and perplexity and perils of the holy land, as another
Maccabeus with his sons, not willing that the christian folk and holy persons should
sustain ne bear any longer evil or pain, inspired with the Holy Ghost, he passed and
sailed again over the high sea unto the Holy Land accompanied with the nobles and much
commonalty of his realm; and when the ships were ready for to sail, S. Louis, beholding
his three sons and specially dressing his words towards the eldest, said: Son, consider
thou must, how as now I am farforth in age, and that once I have passed over the sea, also
how that the Queen thy mother is of great age, proceeding nigh her last days, how now,
blessed be God, we possess peaceably our realm, without any war, in delices, riches and
honours, as much as pleaseth to us or appertaineth, look then that for the love of Jesu
Christ and his church I ne spare mine old age, and have no pity of thy discomforted and
woeful mother, but I leave both delices and honours, and expose mine own self to peril for
Jesu Christ. Which things I will thou hear and know, to the end that when thou comest to
the succession of the realm thou do so. The ships then ready, sailed on the sea so long
that the host arrived at the haven of Carthage in Africa, where by force of arms the
christian men took the castle, and enjoyed the land thereabout. And betwixt Tunis and
Carthage they dressed their tents for to dwell there a little time. And in this meanwhile
S. Louis after so many virtuous works, after so many pains and labours which he had
suffered for the faith of Jesu Christ, God, that would benewrely consume his life for to
yield to him fruit glorious for his labours and benefits, sent to him an axes continual,
and then the holy enseignments or teachings, which before he had written in French, exposed diligently to Philip his eldest son and commanded that soon they should be
accomplished. And then, he being thought of sight and hearing whole, saying his seven
psalms and calling on all the saints devoutly, took all the sacraments of the church, and
at the last, he coming to the last hour, stretching his arms in manner of a cross, and
proffering the last words: I commend my soul into thine hands, died and passed unto our
Lord, the year twelve hundred and seventy. The corpse of the glorious S. Louis was
transporte unto the sepulchre of his fathers and predecessors at S. Denis in France, there
to be buried. In which place, also in divers others, this glorious saint resplendisseth of
On that day that S. Louis was buried, a woman of the diocese of Sens recovered her
sight, which she had lost and saw nothing, by the merits and prayers of the said debonair
and meedful king. Not long after, a young child of Burgundy both dumb and deaf of kind,
coming with others to the sepulchre or grave of the saint, beseeching him of help,
kneeling as he saw that the others did, and after a little while that he thus kneeled were
his ears opened and heard, and his tongue redressed and spake well. In the same year a
woman blind was led to the said sepulchre, and by the merits of the saint recovered her
sight. Also that same year two men and five women, beseeching S. Louis of help, recovered
the use of going, which they had lost by divers sickness and languors.
In the year that S. Louis was put or written in the catalogue of the holy confessors,
many miracles worthy to be prised, befell in divers parts of the world at the invocation
of him, by his merits and by his prayers. Another time at Evreux a child fell under the
wheel of a water-mill. Great multitude of people came thither, and supposing to have kept
him from drowning, invoked God, our Lady and his saints to help the said child, but our
Lord willing his saint to be enhanced among so great multitude of people, was there heard
a voice saying that the said child, named John, should be vowed unto S. Louis. He then,
taken out of the water, was by his mother borne to the grave of the saint, and after her
prayer done to S. Louis, her son began to sigh and was raised on life. It befell the same
time in the diocese of Beauvais that ten men were broken within a quarry there, as they
did fetch out great stones for to build withal, for on them fell a great quantity of earth
insomuch that they were covered with it. A clerk then that passed there foreby, heard
their sighing, and having pity on them that were nigh dead, kneeled down to the earth, and
remembering the new canonisation of the blessed S. Louis, sore weeping, made for the
foresaid men his prayer to him, and after his prayer was done he saw folk coming that way.
He called them, and forthwith they delved with such staves as they had, so much that by
the merits of the saint to whom they trusted much, they had out of the quarry the foresaid
ten men, the which were found unhurt, and as whole as ever they were before, howbeit that
in certain they were dead.
It happed on another time that a great wall fell on a child which was reputed as dead
by all the folk, his mother vowed him to the said saint, made the stones that covered him
to be had away, and found her child laughing, and whole of all his members. A woman
aggrieved with a sickness which men call the fire of S. Anthony came to Poissy, thereas S.
Louis was born, and before the font wherein the said saint was baptized, she kneeled, and
sore weeping made her prayer there to God and to the saint, by the merits of whom her body
was clean delivered from the foresaid sickness. Item two days after this, a worshipful man
which of long time had been oppressed and beaten with sickness of feet, that he could not
go ne stand without he had two crutches or staves under his arms, came unto the said font,
made there his prayer, left his staves there, and home he returned as whole as ever he
was. And yet sithe were there, and are as now done, many other miracles through the
prayers and merits of S. Louis to the glory and praising of our redeemer.
Here followeth the Life of S. Louis
S. Louis of Marseilles was born of royal lineage, and had to his father Charles, King
of Sicily, and to mother Marie, Queen of Sicily. And loving humility, he refused and
forsook the highness of regality and his noble lineage, and howbeit that all the worthy
faits of his holy life with few words may not be recounted, nevertheless some we shall
rehearse, to the profit and teaching of them that shall read or hear them. This glorious
saint then, as testified it is of many, digne of faith or worthy to be believed, being of
young age, was with his brethren bolden and kept under the cure and religious diligence of
his master, and howbeit that he was tender and young of age, yet seemed to be ancient in
manners, conditions and courage, and when he was led into Catalonia, a province of the
realm of Arragon with his two brethren in hostage or pledge for the deliverance of the
said king their father, he gave himself so firmly to the study, that in seven years while
he was pledge, he profited so much in the seven sciences and in holy scripture that the
same God's man, resplendishing in wit might not only dispute subtly in public, and a part
of the said sciences, but also durst and could propose the word of God solemnly unto the
people and before clerks, insomuch that men supposed and believed better that God had sent
and inspired him with such science than it had been gotten by him humanly. He confessed
him oft and diligently, and heard the divine service devoutly, and on the solemn and high
holy days, with great preparation he received the body of our Lord, and when he was priest
he celebrated as daily and hearkened much ententively the word of God, and for the
nourishing of his soul he gladly and oft studied the holy and devout scriptures. From the
time of his childhood he loved chastity, so that for the most sure keeping of himself he
fled and eschewed the company of all women, insomuch that he spake to none save only to
his mother and with his sisters and that seldom. He chastised his body by abstinence of
meat and drink and made it lean and disciplined it, as another S. Paul, with chains of
iron right oft with his own hands, and he putting his flesh under the servitude of the
spirit, ware for a shirt a stamin or strainer's cloth, and for girdle he girded him on his
bare flesh with a cord. This holy man then remembering his vow to enter in to the order of
the friars minor, by him made being in hostage as it is said in the province of Catalonia,
purposed to accomplish it, but he seeing that, for fear of the said king his father, the
friars durst not receive him, he solemnly renewed the said vow, and by no manner of
persuasion and admonishing ne for any provision that pope Boniface had made and given to
him, he would not assent to forsake it. Which devotion considered, by the assent of the
said pope, this holy S. Louis took the habit of religion of the said friars minor, and
kneeling, made express profession in the presence of John Bishop of Portuence which as
then was minister general of the said order. Marvellous and much wonderful thing it is,
and not accustomed to be seen, for the same holy saint, filled with virtues renounced to
the right of the first-born, and despised the pomp and worship of the siege royal, and for
the realm temporal and corruptible changed and gat the realm perdurable, and full of all
He had marvellous compassion on the poor people, to whom largely he dealt his alms.
This holy S. Louis, as God's pleasure was, the pope Boniface promoted him to the dignity
of bishop. And notwithstanding he never changed his habit, but diligenely exercised the
office of a bishop. He celebrated devoutly, the orders examined diligently in life, in
conditions, and in the articles of the faith, willing and ever ready to enhance it,
persuaded and admonished ententively the Jews and paynims to baptism. And at the last,
this glorious saint, tending to God, fountain quick and living, nigh the term of his days,
Iying on his bed, sick with his last sickness, took and devoutly received the precious
body of our Lord, and howbeit that he was right feeble, he issued from his bed against his
creator, and anon after he passed right gloriously out of this world to the glory of
paradise. Wherefore it was well behoveful and reasonable thing that he, in whose life
during God adorned with so many virtues and good conditions, should be ennobled and
honoured of many miracles after his death. The which miracles are approved and testified
by the worthy people of the faith, and are declared hereafter to the honour and glory of
the said saint.
A maiden of two years of age, the which was aggrieved with a strong axes which she had
suffered by the space of two years, died and passed from this world. Her father besought
the saint for her life and anon by the merits of the saint she was raised and restored on
A child of five years of age by over great force of an axes died, but by a vow his
father made for him to the saint was restored again unto life. A maiden of seven years of
age, which had suffered an axes continual, died, and vow made unto the same saint by her
parents, recovered the spirit of life and lived long after. A woman conceiving two
daughters one of the which for cause of a fall that her mother received against her belly,
died within the womb of her mother, time came that the mother should be delivered of her
birth. This child dead, and as then all rotten, by help and mystery of midwifery was had
out one piece after another, and, vow made by the father to the saint, the child so
dismembered was restored to life and lived after seven months. Another child which under a
bed was found dead, vow made to the same saint, was the child restored tolife. A woman
which by great sickness was passed out of this world, vow made for her by her parents unto
the saint, recovered the spirit of life and sithence lived long. With these miracles and
many others would God his saint to be magnified and rendered honourable to all the world.
Therefore let us pray the holy saint Louis of Marseilles that he will pray God for us.
Here followeth the Life of S. Aldegonde Virgin.
In the time of Dagobert king of France, which reigned about the year six hundred, was
born S. Aldegonde of lineage royal. This holy Aldegonde was nourished in the service of
God, and yet I may say that our Lord himself nourished her in his service and endoctrined
her as well himself present by noble visions and wonderful, as by his angels, men and
women religious and holy, as well by her own holy sister as by others, as it appeareth in
her legend. None ought not then to be marvelled if she lived holily that was scholar of
such a school. When then this holy Aldegonde was of age competent, her father and mother
would have married her to a noble man rich and mighty, but in conclusion she answered that
none other she would take to her lord and spouse but our Lord Jesu Christ, to whom of
bounty, beauty, noblesse, puissance, riches and wit may none be compared. S. Wautrud of
Mons which, after the decease of her husband S. Vincent of Longuys, made her profession in
the Abbey of nuns at Mons which she had founded, wrote and prayed to her mother that she
might have Aldegonde her sister with her for her disport, comfort and company in very love
and charity. Aldegonde the holy virgin was sent thither, and was taught and endoctrined by
her sister in the manner of holding religion. Ten days after, her mother, yet supposing to
have married her, went there where both her daughters were, and to Aldegonde gave a piece
of linen cloth, such as princes wear, and commanded to her that therewith she should make
shirts, sheets and kerchiefs for her paramours. The good virgin, weeping that her mother
had meant her spouse Jesu Christ, took the said cloth and thereof she made chrisms which
are put on new-born children's heads when they be borne to the fonts, there to be
baptized, to whom the priest saith: Take thou this white clothing, which thou shalt bear
tofore the siege tribunal of our Lord. Wherefore the said holy virgin, to the end that the
shirts of her own shaping and making should be borne to her spouse Jesu Christ, she made
chrisms with her mother's cloth, and when she had made them much fair and rich, as for
king's sons, she with a merry countenance gave them to her mother, saying that she had
done it in the best wise that she could. When her mother saw the chrisms and her linen
cloth thus employed, she was much wroth and evil apaid, and fette a rod for to beat her
daughter withal. But the blessed saint fled unto the forest of Maubeuge, that was there
nigh, and there she made her penitence with the comfort and help of our Lord.
It is said that he, which by the assent and grant of her mother should have had her to
his wife, came in to the said forest for to have ravished her by force, but he could never
find ne see her, all went he nigh her. There she abode unto the time that her mother was
dead, and after, she went to Mons, where she was sacred unto a nun by the hands of S.
Obier and of S. Amand, and anon after she builded and founded her abbey of Maubeuge.
There was once brought to this holy virgin a great fish which she put into a fountain
for to be kept there. It happed, as such great fishes be accustomed to do, that he leapt
so high from the water that he fell on the ground and could not return in to the fountain.
On him came a great raven which would have eaten of it, but there came a lamb that kept
the fish from harm, and fought against the raven so long that this lady's nuns of the
place, perceived the battle. Some of them came to the fountain and took the fish and
brought it with them. The said lamb ever followed them unto the time the fish was before
the presence of S. Aldegonde, and never would depart till the holy virgin said to him: Ye
have done right well, go to your herd again.
On a night as S. Aldegonde, with her sister, together speaking secretly of their spouse
our Lord Jesu Christ, their candle fell from the candlestick and was put out. S. Aldegonde
took it, and as God would, it lighted by itself again. Item, on a time they two went
together towards the Church of S. Peter about the hour of sixte, the gates, that as then
were shut, suddenly opened before them at the instance of their orisons and prayers. Item,
once as she had thirst, was water brought to her which was turned into wine by the grace
of him that in Galilee did turn the water into wine. S. Wautrud saw in a vision, five daya
before the death of the holy Aldegonde her sister, the blessed Virgin Mary, both S. Peter,
and S. Paul, princes of the apostles, accompanied with many saints and a great legion of
angels, which led her sister Aldegonde into paradise. She therefore came to the place
where her sister lay sick, and was present when she rendered her soul to her spouse, our
Lord Jesu Christ, to whom we shall pray that through the merits of the blessed virgin
Aldegonde, of which the miracles both in her life and after her death be without number,
we may come there as she is, in glory without end. Amen.
Here followeth the Life of S. Albine.
Saint Albine was born of noble lineage in the parts of Italy. In his childhood he loved
and served God ententively and with so great will that he left both his father and his
mother, his parents and friends, land, and all worldly riches, and became a monk in an
abbey, called in Latin Tincillacensis Monasterium, where he ne did show of his noblesse,
but only the good conditions. He was humble and serviceable unto all, and was ever in
continual prayers and replenished with all virtues, ready and apparelled to flee and
eschew all vices. When S. Albine came to the age of thirty years he was made abbot of the
same abbey, which he governed both temporally and spiritually by the space of
five-and-twenty years, so that our Lord was at all times well and devoutly served, and all
goods temporal daily grew there. The bishop of Angers died that time, and then this holy
S. Albine, by the grace and will of our Lord, and by the common and concordable assent of
all the chapter, was promoted to the dignity of bishop there, whereas he was afterwards
known so perfect and so charitable that doubtless his promotion was cause of the salvation
of many souls.
A woman there was in the city of Angiers which had her hands as lame and counterfeited
for cause of a sickness that men called the gout, wherewith she was sore vexed. And she
made her prayer and demanded help of the saint, and soon she was holpen and relieved from
that sickness only by that he handled three times her hands.
And on a time as S. Albine went through a town within his diocese, he saw the father
and mother weeping over their child dead, took on them pity, made his prayer unto our
Lord, and suddenly their child was raised to life. Item a blind man demanded help of S.
Albine, and the Albine holy bishop made the sign of the cross over him, and anon he was
enlumined again. Item as S. Albine did pass on a time before the prison house at Angers,
the prisoners cried and besought him for help. The holy bishop having on them great
compassion went unto the bailey and prayed him for them, but nought availed there his
prayer, wherefore he went to his church, and soon after, his prayer made to God, kneeling
before the high altar, a great part of the prison wall fell down and so escaped every
A woman vexed with a wicked spirit was brought before this holy bishop, and as soon as
the enemy perceived the holy man, he put himself into the woman's eye in form of a little
whelk, red as any blood, to whom S. Albine, making the sign of the cross said: Thou wicked
spirit, thou shalt not destroy the eye which thou madest not nor canst make. And anon the
same little whelk began to bleed as one had slimed it. The enemy then went from her, which
in good health was left and of her wit restored.
After our English tongue, Albinus is as much for to say as primo: as he was white, quia
albinus dicitur quasi albus, and thus this holy saint was all white by purity of clean
living. Secundo: as he that in himself hath bounty or goodness: sic albinus dicitur quasi
bonus, and verily this holy bishop was good. Tercio: as he that by vigour or force flyeth
to the spiritually: sic albinus dicitur alias binas habens, that is to wit, hope and
faith, therewith this holy saint was replenished.
It is read that S. Albine had two wives, that is to wit two nurses, which did nourish
him, whereof the process or tale is such. S. Albine Iying in his cradle was left alone,
doubting none inconvenience, in a garden, and a she-wolf came and ravished the child and
bare it into the fields. Tvvo maidens then passed that way, perceived the child, and came
thither as he lay on the earth, and having pity on him, one of them said: Would to God I
had milk to foster thee withal, and these words thus said, she saw her paps that grew,
rose up and were filled with milk. She then took the child and gave him suck. Semblably
said and prayed the other maid, and anon she had milk as her fellow had, and so they two
nourished the holy child Albine.
It happed on a time that the Normans in great number of men of arms came into the
country where the holy corpse of S. Albine rested, and the people there, so sore they
travailled that they,ne wist where to become and flee. And a man armed all in white came
among the said people and said: Why doubt you to saute and befight your enemy so that ye
have S. Albine to your help and defence? And that said he vanished away. Wherefore the
people took courage and armed them and went against their enemies and discomfited them. S
Albine was buried at Angers, and when his successor would have translated him into a
greater chapel in the presence of S. Germain and many other more, came thither four men
counterfaited and lame in all their members, also two blind men which all six were there
by the merits of S Albine relieved into their good health, that is to wit, the
counterfaited redressed of their members, and the blind enlumined. This holy saint Albine
was bishop of Angers by the space of twenty years and six months, whose soul took his
siege in paradise the year of his nativity four score, thereas by the merits of him may
lead us the Father the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Here beginneth the noble History of the Exposition
of the Mass.
For heart devout to understand what it is to say mass, also to conscrate the body of
our Lord, the precious sacrament of the altar, it is to know that the mass may be
comprised in four parts principal. The first part dureth from the beginning of the mass
unto the offering, the second dureth from the offering to the Pater Noster said, the third
part dureth from the Pater Noster unto the perception, and the fourth part dureth from the
perception unto the end of the mass. As touching the first part, that is, the beginning of
the mass unto the offering, it is to understand that the priest, which is as he that
showeth the way of God to the people, ere he revesteth him with the chasuble, he beginneth
and saith a psalm that is in the third nocturn of the psalter, the which psalm beginneth:
Judica me deus et diseerne, and in the same psalm he asketh four things. The first is that
he may be parted from all evil company, the second is that he may be delivered from all
evil temptation, the third is that he may be of the Holy Ghost enlumined, and the fourth
is that Jesu Christ give himself to be consecrated by him. And to the entent he may the
more surely and devoutly consecrate the said sacrament, he confesseth himself generally of
all his sins, saying his confiteor, by the which confiteor he showeth four things. First,
he showeth himself worthy of redargution or rebuke, secondly, he showeth himself plein of
contrition, thirdly, he requireth aid of them that are about him, that he may have
remission of his sins, and fourthly, he demandeth of our Lord very absolution.
The priest, after, kisseth the altar, the which kissing signifieth unity and direction
in showing how our Lord would unite or join our humanity to his divinity by great love,
and take the church for his own spouse, wherefore the holy church may say thus: Quasi
sponsam decoravit me corona, et quasi sponsam ornavit me monilibus. That is to say, that
our Lord as his proper spouse, hath adorned or clad me with things precious.
The priest, after that, draweth him to the right part or side of the altar, signifying
how God when he had taken our humanity, after his passion, by the virtue of his
resurrection he translated him on the right hand of the Father, and there the priest
beginneth the introit of the mass, the which signifieth the coming of our Lord Jesu
Christ, how he would come into the world, the which coming the ancient fathers, prophets,
and patriarchs, and the faithful people of our Lord desired much ardently, and for that
they cried with a high voice and said: Emitte agnum domine dominatorem terrae; saying thus
to God the Father: Sir, we pray thee that thou wilt send the sweet lamb, having domination
in all the earth. And to God the Son they said thus: Veni domine et noli tardere, that is
for to say: We pray thee that thou wilt come hastily and tarry not. Secondly, the said
introit signifieth how the priest oweth to enter the service of God. And for this
followeth a verse of the psalter after the said introit, such as appertaineth to the day,
the which verse signifieth how we ought to put our hands jointly, praying to him devoutly,
for he is made as our proper brother in taking our humanity for to show us the way of
truth. After, followeth: Gloria Patri, the which signifieth praising and laud to the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for after good works ought to follow lauding and
praising. After that the priest repeateth the introit of the mass, to the end that the
desires of the ancient fathers, prophets, and patriarchs may the better be showed.
After, the priest beginneth and saith three times: Kyrie eleison, that is to understand
to the Father, and three times Christe eleison, to the Son, and three times Kyrie eleison
to the Holy Ghost, calling upon the mercy of God to the end that holy church be
accompanied with nine orders of angels reigning in the company of God, and this showeth
the signification of these words before said. For when men say Kyrie eleison, that is:
Lord, have thou mercy on us, and that is to understand the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Ghost are called by these words only, Kyrie eleison, for cause that they be of one nature,
and the misericorde of God the Son is called by this other word here, Christe eleison. For
howbeit that the Son, as touching the divinity be of one nature with the Father and the
Holy Ghost, and not that withstanding he would take with this nature another nature, that
is our human, for us to give the life perdurable.
After that, the priest beginneth: Gloria in excelsis, the which giveth witness of the
nativity of our Lord. For when the angels of God had knowledge that God was born, then
they all together enjoyed thereof, crying with a high voice: Glory and laud is in heaven
to the Trinity, and also peace is in earth to all creatures that are of goodwill. For
before that, all creatures were in no peace, for this, that then war was betwixt God and
creatures, betwixt the angels and creatures, betwixt creature and creature. The
inobedience of Adam caused the first war, of that he had offended God, whereof followed
the two other wars. Therefore he that is very peace would be born in the earth for to show
and set among us very peace, and therefore all the company of the angels of paradise sang
with a high voice, Gloria in excelsis sit inter angelos, that is to say, Glory and lauding
be among the angels in heaven, peace and concord be in earth betwixt creatures and God.
For therefore he would take nature of God and man, for to render us peace and to him be
reconciled. Therefore creature may, and oweth, to say of good heart to the ensample of
angels of paradise these words following: Laudamus te, benedicimus te, glorificamus te,
that is to say: We laud thee, we bless thee, we glorify thee, and for thy great glory we
yield to thee graces and thanks. Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of God the Father, thou that
takest away the sins of the world have mercy on us, thou that takest away the sins from
the world wilt receive our prayers, thou that sittest on the right hand of the Father have
mercy upon us, thou that art holy thou alone art Lord, thou only art highest, Jesu Christ,
in the glory of God the Father with the Holy Ghost. And all these laudings doth the priest
with his prayers in saying: Gloria in excelsis, etc., for all holy church.
After, when the priest hath said: Gloria in excelsis, he turneth him toward the people
and saluteth them saying: Dominus vobiscum, and that signifieth salut which our Lord gave
to his apostles after his blessed resurrection, when he appeared to them and said: Pax
vobiscum, that is to say: Peace be with you, and for this, in that representing, he
salueth the people, saying: Dommus vobiscum, to the end that the creature have his thought
towards God; and the people answer: Et cum spiritu tuo, signifying that we ought for to
pray for him that hath to say the orison, and that prayeth for us, to the end that his
orison may be heard of God and enhanced.
Then returneth the priest towards the altar and sayeth: Oremus, that signifieth how yet
again he inciteth us to pray, for in such manner did our Lord to his disciples, saying:
Orate ne intritis in tentationem, that is to say: Honour and pray to God the Father to the
end that ye enter not in evil temptation; and after, the priest goeth and prayeth, saying
the orison for all creatures for the which he entendeth and hath in memory to pray for,
and for this that our Lord hath said in the holy Evangel, all that ye shall ask of my
Father in my name ye shall have. And after, the priest saith at the end of his orison: Per
dominum nostrum Jesu Christum, as he would say: This that we pray thee of, we pray in the
name of our Lord Jesu Christ, reigning with the Father and the Holy Ghost. And it is to
wit that sometimes the priest also saith an orison the which signifieth unity of faith or
unity of sacrament. Sometimes the priest saith three orisons to signify the Holy Trinity,
or else for this, that our Lord in his passion honoured and prayed to God the Father three
times. Sometimes he saith five orisons, in signifying the five wounds of our Lord.
Sometimes he saith seven, in signifying the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost. And oweth
every one to wit and know that as many as the priest saith of orisons at the beginning of
the mass, as many he saith in his secret, and as many at the end of the mass, and for this
same cause, as it shall appear more plainly at the second part.
After these orisons the epistle followeth, the which is as much worth as a message sent
to some other by letter, and it signifieth the doctrine of the apostles of our Lord, the
which were sent to our Lord for to teach and endoctrine the people unto the way of truth.
It may be said also that this epistle signifieth the predication of S. John Baptist, the
which was sent of God for to announce the coming and doctrine of him. In which lore he
saith thus: Penitentiam agite, appropinquabit enim regnum celorum. That is to say: Do you
penitence for the realm of heaven shall come nigh to you. And of his sweet coming saith
yet S. John: Ecce agnus Dei, etc., that is to say: Here is the Lamb of God, here is he
that taketh away the sins from the world. This same epistle may also give us testimony
that our Lord will descend unto the precious sacrament of the altar for to sacrifice, as
it shall appear in the second part of the mass, for after this that S. John had taught in
his predication that we should do penitence for to acquire and have the realm of heaven,
followeth the grail that may signify lamentation and embracement of penance. And after
that the creature devout hath heard the predication of God, he oweth to put the hand to
the works and to do after his power. For this grail here came out of Greek tongue, and
signifieth how a creature oweth to mount or go up before God from degree to degree, by
virtue of humility. And it is to wit that betwixt the octaves of Easter and Pentecost the
grail is not said, for this that the grail signifieth, penance and lamentation or
mourning. And in this time of Pasque our mother holy church ne doth but joy and maketh
solation for the resurrection of Jesu Christ, and therefore is then said: Alleluia, which
signifieth joy and consolation, for after that creature hath done penance by virtue of
humility in weepings and lamentations he must lead after, joy and very consolation. For
our Lord saith thus: Beati qui lugent, quoniam ipsi consolabuntur, that is to say: Blessed
be those that weep by contrition, for they shall have very consolation. And it is to wit
that this word alleluia is expounded in four manners after four doctors, the first is S.
Austin, which exposeth it thus: Alleluia, id est, salvum me fac domine, Sir, save thou me.
S. Jerome exposeth it thus: Alle, id est cantate, lu, id est laudem, ye, id est deum vel
dominum, that is to say: Sing you lauding to our Lord Jesu Christ. S. Gregory exposeth it
thus: Alle, id est aeter, lu, id est filius, ye, id est spiritus sanctus. That is to say:
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Or thus he himself exposeth it: Alle, id est lux,
lu, id est vita, ya, id est salus. Alleluya then, by the same exposition, is as much for
to say as light, life, and health. Fourthly, Master Peter Antissidorensis expoundeth it
much well, and saith thus: Alle, id est, altissimus levatus est in cruce, lu, id est,
lugebant apostoli, ya, id est, jam surrexit. lt is as much for to say: The right high is
lift on the cross, for the which thing the apostles have wept, and soon after he is risen.
In the which exposition three things are showed to us. The first is the cruel passion of
our Lord Jesu Christ. The second is the sorrow and anguish of the apostles, and the third
is the mirth and joy of us, for he saith that our Lord is risen, and in tokening of that
men sing, Alleluia. After this Alleluia, he saith the verse which signifieth all
sweetness, and virtuous work, by the which men return to very jubilation, and therefore he
repeateth the Alleluia after that the verse is said: for by good work men return again to
very consolation, and it is to wit that from the Septuagesima unto Easter day, men owe not
to say Alleluia, and instead of it they say the tract, the which tract signifieth weeping
and lamentation, for the passion of our Lord Jesu Christ, that cometh nigh that time, that
is to wit the holy time of Lent, and therefore a creature devout with all his heart, oweth
to draw to think on that same holy passion; and during that time men say no sequence, for
the sequence signifieth joy and consolation. And that time of Lent ne signifieth but
mournings, and it is to wit that the sequence is said after Alleluia, and it is said
specially on holy days and solemn, in signifying the plenty and the multitude of mirths
and consolations that is signified by the said Alleluia and sequence. For inasmuch that
the day is more solemn than other days, the more oweth creature to lead and make greater
joy in lauding the holy Trinity.
After all these things, the priest translateth his book to the sinister part of the
altar, for to say the evangel, in signifying how our Lord when he came down in earth for
to expose the holy Evangel to all creatures, he drew him to the sinister part, that was
toward the Jews, for to announce to them the holy Evangel, for at that time the Jews had
drawn themselves to the left side, and for this the priest in that place may represent our
Lord preaching and announcing the law. And to the end that he may exercise or do that
office more perfectly, at the beginning of it he saith softly an orison that beginneth
thus: Munda cor meum, etc., in the which orison he prayeth our Lord that he will make
clean his heart, for to announce his predication. After that he demandeth the blessing of
our Lord, saying: Jube domine benedicere, that is as much to say: Lord command thou that I
may have thy blessing, and anon he, as lieutenant of our Lord, answereth and saith thus:
Our Lord be in my heart and in my lips so that I may worthily and competently announce the
holy Evangel of God in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
And after, the priest saluteth the people saying: Dominus vobiscum, for two causes. The
first cause is to the intent that the people be the more incited to hear the word of God,
and therefore the peop]e draweth toward the Evangel and standeth on their feet after the
ordinance of Anastasius, then pope, and signifieth that the people ought to be ready and
apparelled to sustain the faith of God and very love.
After, for this, that yet the people be more incited to hear the Evangel of God the
priest representeth the place of God and saith: Sequentia sancti evangelii, et cetera, in
making the sign of the cross to the end that the enemy may not empesh him. Then the clerks
and the people answer: Gloria tibi domine, in glorifying God that hath sent to them the
word of salute, saying: To the Lord be lauding given by thy word to us showed.
Then the priest saith the Evangel, the which signifieth, as said is, the predication of
our Lord God, the which finished and said, the priest warneth himself with the sign of the
cross, to the intent that the enemy may not take away from the creatures hearts the word
After followeth the creed, that is as the testimony and confirmation of the foresaid
Evangel, the which was made and composed by the apostles of our Lord Jesu Christ, in
signifying that this that the apostles said, firmly they believed, and believing announced
it. And it is to wit that, the creed is said on the holy days of them that composed it,
that is the apostles of our Lord Jesu Christ, and on the holy days of which mention is
made within the same creed, that is to wit, all Sundays of the year, Christmas-day,
Epiphany or twelfth day, Shere-thursday, Easter-day, Whitsunday, Trinity Sunday, and also
in all holy days of our Lady, and of many others of which men make mention. And this may
suffice as to the first part of the mass.
Here followeth the Second Part of the Mass.
As for the second part of the mass, that is from the offering unto the Paternoster,
every one oweth to understand that after the creature hath heard the word of God, that is
the holy Evangel, and he adjousteth to it firm or steadfast faith, which is figured by the
creed, he oweth then to offer or give his heart to God, for therefore followeth the
offering. And to the end that the people be the more incited, the priest returneth him
toward the folk, and saith: Dominus vobiscum, that is to say: Our Lord be with you, even
so as he would say: If our Lord be not with you, ye can do no good work ne good offering
toward him, and after the priest saith; Oremus, inciting us to honour and to pray God,
then he saith the offertory.
After, the priest taketh the lid of the chalice on which is the host, which oweth to be
converted to the body of our Lord, and offereth it to God the Father, saying: Suscipe
sancte Pater, etc., Father wilt thou receive this hostie without tache or spot, the which
I, thy servant unworthy, offer to thee as to my God, very and certain, for all the sins
that I have done without number, and also for all them that are here about me, and for all
the fiables of God that are alive, and for all them that are passed out of this world to
the intent that this oblation may be profitable to me and to them, to the salvation of our
souls in the life permanable or everlasting.
After, the priest maketh commixtion of wine and water together, and here it is to wit
that, by the said water is understood the people, and the wine representeth our Lord, in
signifying that the said water and wine show to us humility, and also the commixtion that
the people oweth to have with God. It may be said also that this water is meddled with the
said wine for this, that both blood and water issued out of the side of our Lord, and for
this he saith: Deus qui humanæ substantiæ, etc., in the which orison he prayeth for all,
to the end that by the virtue of the same mixion the people may be united to God by very
love and direction.
After, the priest offereth the chalice to God, saying: Offerimus tibi, in signifying
how our Lord Jesu Christ offered himself to God the Father crucified on the altar of the
cross for our health.
After, the priest covereth the chalice, for this, that none ordure should touch to that
holy sacrifice, and after maketh a cross over the hostie, and over the chalice, saying:
Veni sanctificator, etc., that is at much to say as: King Almighty, I pray thee that thou
wilt bless or hallow this sacrifice in thy sweet name, for heart devout to have pardon.
After, the priest draweth himself to the right side of the altar, in representing our
Lord, and there he receiveth the offerings of the creatures. Then the people by devotion
come and offereth to the ensample of the people of God, which people offered within the
temple of Solomon to God. One offered gold, the other silver, others offered bread, and
others offered wine, and others divers manners of offerings. After, the priest washeth his
hands, for it appertaineth that so precious a sacrament be worthily and cleanly made.
After, he draweth himself even, in the midst of the altar, and there he maketh a deep
inclination, saying: Suscipe sancta Trinitas, etc. And the same inclination may signify
the inclination of God, which inclined him after the sacrament to the feet or the
apostles, and prayed to God the Father. After, he kisseth the altar, in signifying that
the virtue of the passion peaceth the creatures to him. After, the priest returneth
himself toward the folk and saith: Orate pro me fratres, etc., and in this he prayeth the
people that they will pray God for him. For that is none other thing to say but: Right
dear brethren, pray you God that I may make this sacrifice worthily, so that I may see God
After, the priest returneth him towards the altar and beginneth his orisons secret, the
which are said for the same cause for which the first orisons be said, and as many in
number, and it is to wit that these orisons are said softly and secretly, for this that
the priest is nigh the sacrament, and therefore he will have none other empeshment or
letting, neither by voice ne by manner, for our Lord, to the intent he might more secretly
honour and pray, he went from his disciples as far as a stone might be thrown. These
orisons here be also said low or secretly for this, that when our
Lord had raised Lazarus, the Jews would have slain him, wherefore he drew himself into
the city of Ephraim, in a place all alone, and from that time he ceased his predication,
unto Palm Sunday even. Then he came to the house of Simon and openly began to preach, and
for this the priest at the end of his orisons in dressing his hands upon high saith: Per
omnia secula seculorum, and for this, that he is as messenger to God for the people. The
people hearing this message, answereth: Amen. And there the priest beginneth the Preface,
the which is so called, for that it is the preparation or first apparel that goeth before
the sacrifice principal, and therefore he saluteth in saying: Dommus vobiscum, in saying
that we prepare or make us ready so that our Lord may be and dwell with us, and the people
answereth: Et cum spiritu tuo. And thus the people and the priest both pray each for
After, the priest inciting us saith: Sursum corda, that is to say that the people heave
their hearts upon high toward God. Then answereth the people: Habemus ad dominum, that is
to say: We heave them to God, and therefore the people, that there in such hour or in that
time hath not set their hearts to God may of light lie.
After, the priest saith: Gratias agamus domino deo nostro, that is to say: Yield we
graces and thankings to God! For if the people in that time hath some devotion, they ought
to laud and thank God therefor, and for this, the clerk, for all the people, answereth:
Dignum et justum est, right even so as we would say: Worthy and lawful thing is to laud
God, just thing is to honour him, and there the priest maketh mention how the angels and
archangels and all the court of heaven praise and laud God. And for this at the end he
prayeth, that with that foresaid company we all may praise and laud God, saying with firm
devotion: Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, the which words follow after the preface, for right
even there the priest representing our mother holy church, having hope to be accompanied
with both angels and archangels, confirmeth himself to them and saith: Sanctus, etc. And
it is to wit that this sanctus is divided in two parts, the first part containeth the
lauding of the angels, and the second containeth the lauding of the people. The priest
then, as to the first part he may represent the angels of heaven, of the which it is read
in the book of Isaiah the prophet that the seraphim cried with a high voice one to
another: Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, etc., in praying to the Trinity, saying: Holy Father,
Holy Son, and Holy Spirit, all earth is replenished with thy glory. As to the second part,
he may represent the people of Israel, of the which we read that, when our Lord descended
from the mountain of Olivet, and he came to the city of Jerusalem, they cried with a high
voice: Benedictus qui venit in nomine domini, etc., that is as much to say: Blessed be he
that cometh in the name of God, of him we require pardon, and for this benediction or
blessing, which is so sweet, the priest maketh a cross, the which representeth to us that
it is our Lord that cometh to be sacrificed on the holy cross, and there he descendeth and
will be consecrate, to the end that men may see him presently, and therefore verily of the
devout people that heareth the mass right there, oweth to draw themselves within the
chamber of their conscience to the end that they may cherish thereon that sweet Lamb by
devout orison, praying that his goodly coming be consolation and joy unto every creature.
And there also they owe to think and consider on their evil deeds and offences, to the end
that they may show and declare them by firm and steadfast contrition to him that presently
cometh there, and thus the creature shall mowe thank and regracie God by devout
contemplation. After all these things followeth the canon, which is so named canon for the
mystery of the precious sacrament that is made and consecrated, and this same canon is
said low or secretly for the virtue of the words, to the end that they be not held in
filth. For anciently they were preferred and said high, wherefore it was known of the most
part of the folk, and they sang it through the streets. Wherefore we find that sometimes
shepherds took some bread and put it on a stone, and on it they said the words that are
written in the canon, and that same bread was turned and converted into a piece of flesh,
and soon after, by the will of God, fire descended from heaven upon them, and they were
all combusted and burnt. And therefore the holy fathers stablished these words to be said
low, also that none should say them without he were a priest.
That same canon containeth nine parts. As to the first part, the priest inclineth
himself before the altar, the which inclination signifieth or betokeneth the humility of
our he inclined himself at the cross, and there thepriest speaking to our Lord saith thus:
Te igitur clementissime, etc., that is to say: Father, right debonair, we thee pray thou
wilt Lord. which he showed when accept and bless these sweet oblations and these holy
sacrifices without corruption. And there the priest kisseth the altar, signifying the
compassion that he hath of the passion of our Lord Jesu Christ, and after, he maketh three
times the sign of the cross, both over the bread and over the wine, and these three
crosses signifieth how our Lord was given and offered in three manners: First of God the
Father for our redemption, secondly of Judas to the Jews by great treason, thirdly of the
Jews to Pilate by great detraction.
After, in the second part, the priest prayeth for all holy church universally, saying:
Offerimus, etc., that is to say: We offer, and therefore the priest speaketh not in his
own person but in the person of holy church. There nis none so wicked and evil, after that
he is priest, but he may consecrate the precious body of our Lord Jesu Christ.
After, in the third part, the priest hath in a special mind all the subjects of holy
church, and specially in that passage he saith joining his hands: Memento etiam domine
famulorum, etc. That is to say: Sir, have thou mind on thy servants. And there the priest
resteth, and hath special memory of all the creatures for whom he entendeth for to pray,
and he hath also mind particular on the persons whom he is bound to pray for, and it is to
wit that this memory is for the persons that be on live. After, he prayeth for all them
that hear his mass with faith and devotion.
After, in the fourth part, to the end that he himself, and they also which he hath had
memory of, may have participation in the glory of paradise with the angels, holy apostles,
and martyrs, he saith a devout orison that beginneth thus: Communicantes, etc. In the
which orison the priest maketh special commemoration of the Virgin Mary, of the twelve
apostles of Jesu Christ, and of many martyrs.
After, in the fifth part, the priest inclineth him and saith an orison that beginneth
thus: Hanc igitur oblationem, etc. In which orison he doth four things: first he prayeth
to God that he will receive our service, the second is that we may have very peace in God,
the third is that he from damnation will keep us. The fourth is that with his chosen he
will lead us.
And after, the priest coming nigh to the principal consecration, he saith: Quam
oblationem, and there the priest maketh five times the sign of the cross over the bread
and over the wine, in the remembrance and tokening of the five wounds of our Lord, and of
his prayer the sentence may be such: Sire, with heart we pray that of the same this
oblation be made and consecrate, approved and confirmed in a hostie right reasonable, and
in sacrifice acceptable, so that this bread be transferred into thy body, and this wine
translated into the blood of thy right dear Son that for us suffered great torment.
And therefore he saith after in the sixth part of the canon of the mass as hereafter
followeth. And here it is to wit that all that the priest doth as to the consecration,
representeth or betokeneth all that our Lord did to his disciples the day of the Cene,
that is on Sherethursday, where he took bread, and yielding graces to God the Father,
broke and gave to his disciples, saying: Take and eat, here is mine own proper body. And
in the same manner doth the priest in the sixth part, except that right there he bruiseth
not the bread, but to that signification or tokening the priest inclineth it both to one
side and the other. Then the priest wipeth first these three fingers on the corporal, to
the intent that the more cleanly he may take the precious hostie. And after, he taketh it,
looking upward on high for to render graces to God, in teaching and tokening that when we
enterprise a good work for to do, we ought to lift upward to God the eyes of our heart as
to him that is beginning and principal of all good works. After, he blesseth the bread,
making the sign of the cross, which signifieth the blessed passion of our Lord on the holy
And after, the priest saith the words that our Lord said: Take you and eat, this is
mine own body, saying five words sacramental, and soon therewith is the bread converted
into the proper and own body of Jesu Christ, that upon the cross died for us. After, our
Lord in his supper took the wine before his disciples and yielding graces to God the
Father, he blessed and gave it to his disciples saying: Take you and drink, for this is
the chalice of my proper and own blood that is the confirmation both of the new and old
testament and mystery of faith, which shall be spilt for you and for my people in
remission of your sins. And as many times ye shall do this that I show you here, ye shall
do it in the memory of me.
And therefore, in the seventh part of the canon of the mass, the priest, when he hath
laid down the body of our Lord, he taketh the chalice, and after looking upward, he
blesseth it, and saith: Take you and drink, for here is the chalice of mine own proper
blood, and right soon after the priest hath said these foresaid words in Latin, in mind of
our Lord, the wine is converted into the proper and own blood of Jesu Christ, that same
ass which he spilt for us on the rood tree. And here it is to wit that in this precious
sacrament we may consider nine miracles much marvellous, the which may be approved by some
semblance or likeness of nature.
The first is that the substance of the bread and of the wine is changed into the
substance of the body and precious blood of Christ, and this is showed to us by such a
similitude or likeness naturally, that is, that of food of bread and wine, both flesh and
blood are engendered in creature, much more stronger our Lord that is sovereign nature,
may do by virtue of his words that the bread and the wine is converted into his own body
and into his precious blood. The second miracle is, that every day, oft and many times,
the bread is converted into the proper and own body of our Lord, and notwithstanding none
augmentation or increase is done in God. Ensample of nature. For if I wot a thing secret,
I may utter and rehearse in it many and divers places, and notwithstanding I ne wot it the
more ne better than I did tofore. The third is that, every day our Lord is parted and
eaten, and hath no diminishing. That is to say that God nor the sacrament is not less
therefore. Reason natural. For if I have a candlelight, every one may take of the light of
it without it be lessed or diminished therefore. Also, every one may take that holy
sacrament without diminishing of it, but who that taketh it unworthily, he diminisheth
himself. The fourth miracle is that, when the hostie is parted, God is in each part
entirely. Ensample of the glass. For when the glass is parted or broken into pieces, in
every part of it appeareth the figure of the thing that is presented before in it. The
fifth miracle is that, if this precious sacrament be taken of an evil and sinful creature,
the sacrament of itself is not fouled therefor. For we see that the beams of the sun pass
through and over ordure or filth, and the sun is nothing foul therefor, but rather the
ordure or filth is made clean thereof. Thus it is that, sometimes when the creature hath
received the body of our Lord unworthily, considering that he hath misdone to have
received his Saviour into so great ordure or filth of sin, he conceiveth by bitterness or
smarting so great a coutrition that he therefore returneth to grace, and thus he is purged
or made clean of his sin. The sixth miracle is, that the body of our Lord Jesu Christ is
food of death to the sinners. For S. Paul the Apostle saith that, he that eateth it
unworthily, he eateth it to his damnable judgment, for right even so as strong wines or
strong meats are unprofitable or letting to sick people, right so is the body of our Lord
Jesu Christ nuisable and letting to the sinners. The seventh miracle is, that so great a
thing which all the world may not comprehend is contained in so little a hostie, for we
see that a great hill may be comprised and perceived with an eye, much more stranger it is
that the virtue divine may be by his puissance comprised and contained in a little hostie.
The eighth miracle is, that our Lord all entirely in divers places at once is perceived of
divers persons. In such manner we see and perceive that the word of a creature is known
and perceived in divers places at once of many and divers creatures. The ninth miracle is,
when the bread is converted into the precious body of our Lord, the accidents abide, that
is to wit, whiteness, roundness, and savour, and not therefore it is no bread, but it is
the body of Jesu Christ, the which is given under the likeness of bread, for this, that
that might be great horror, a priest to eat raw flesh, and also to drink blood.
After this consecration these miracles are contained, and saith the priest in the
eighth part of the canon an orison that beginneth thus: Unde ut memores, etc. In the which
orison the priest inciteth us to have mind of the passion of our Lord Jesu Christ, of his
resurrection, and of his glorious ascension, to the end that, by his passion we be incited
to charity, by his holy resurrection we be incited to faith, and by his glorious ascension
to hope of our health; for his passion showeth to us charity, for this, that by his
charity he would suffer death for us. And therefore the priest, in that orison, he maketh
five times the sign of the cross, in the memory and mind of the five wounds that our Lord
received on the cross, and there that time every creature ought to set his heart to think
on the passion of Christ. And thus doing, the creature shall acquire very faith by the
knowledge of the holy resurrection, and very hope by his glorious ascension. After, in
this same part the priest prayeth that our Lord will accept the sacrifice in such manner
as he did of Abel, of Abraham, and of Melchisedech. For especially these three were
accepted of God as special frrends.
After, in the ninth part of the canon of the mass, the priest inclineth him, which
inclination representeth or betokeneth this, that our Lord after his supper went to the
mountain of Olivet, and there he inclined himself praying to God the Father, saying: Sire,
I thee pray, if it may be, that thou transfer from me this bitter chalice. And therefore
he saith an orison that thus beginneth: Supplices te rogamus, in the which the priest
remembereth and maketh mention of thee for the foresaid prayer, and when he cometh to say
a word that is: Ex hac altaris participatione, etc., he kisseth the altar, the which
kissing betokeneth this that Judas made when he betrayed his master our Lord Jesu Christ
and caused him to be taken. After, in this same orison the priest maketh three times the
sign of the cross, for this, that our Lord prayed in the said mountain of Olivet and sweat
blood along his body, and therefore he maketh the first cross over the body of our Lord
Jesu Christ, and the second cross over the blood, for the sweating of blood, and the third
before his own face, for this, that our Lord praying had his face inclined, and therefore
the priest maketh it before his face. This is then the end of the orison, where he prayeth
that we be blessed of all blessings, and that we be replenished of all grace.
After, in the tenth part, the priest with joined hands saith: Memento etiam domine,
famulorum,etc., the which memento is principally ordained for them that are passed out of
this world, and for that, even there the priest resteth and hath a general memory for dead
folk, and in especial for the creatures for whom he is bound or entendeth to pray for, to
the end that by the misericorde of God they may have very light and very peace in the
glory of paradise. After, in the eleventh part of the canon of the mass the priest beateth
his breast saying: Nobis quoque peccatoribus, etc., and that signifieth the contrition and
repentance that the thief that hung on the cross at the right hand of God had, when he
said: Memento mei domine cum veneris in regnum tuum, that is to say: Lord I pray thee that
thou be remembered of me when thou comest into thy realm. Then answered God to him: Amen
dico tibi: hodie mecum eris in paradiso, that is to say: I tell thee that thou shalt this
day be with me in paradise. And therefore the priest in this orison speaking for all
sinners, having hope on the misericorde and mercy of God, he prayeth that we may have the
perdurable or everlasting life with the company of the apostles, of martyrs, and with all
the holy saints in heaven. And in this orison the priest maketh three crosses over the
bread and over the wine, the which crosses betoken this, that the Jews cried three times
to Pilate, speaking of the blessed Son of God: Crucify, crucify, crucify him, for he is
deathworthy. And therefore maketh the priest these three first crosses, and after, he
taketh the precious body of our Lord and maketh five times the sign of the cross, the
three on the chalice over the blood, and the other twain betwixt the chalice and himself.
The three crosses made over the chalice may signify the three principal torments or
despisings that our Lord suffered in his passion. The first is, that before he was put on
the cross he had much pain and suffered many spittings and many other grievous martyrdoms
and torments that the proud and fell Jews did to him. The second is the despite and the
torment that he for us suffered on the cross for to buy us from the pains and torments of
hell, and the third is that, when he was dead on the cross Longinus thrust the spear-head
into his precious side, and therefore the priest maketh the three other crosses over the
precious blood. Or else it may be said that these three crosses betoken the Holy Trinity,
saying: by the Father, by the Son, and by the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory. The
priest maketh two crosses, and these two crosses, made betwixt the chalice and the priest
may betoken the two liquors that issued out of the side of our Lord, that was blood and
water, that is to wit, blood of redemption and water of regeneration.
After, the priest saith: Per omnia saecula saeculorum, and that saith he on high. That
may represent or signify to us this, that our Lord crying with a high voice, rendered his
soul to God the Father. Or it may be said, that the priest saith that on high to the end
that the folk know the end of the canon and answer: Amen, lamenting and sorrowing the
death of our Lord, to the ensample of the women that nigh the cross lamentably and
piteously sorrowed and wept sore for Jesu Christ that they loved so much.
After, the priest saith: Oremus. Praecepti salutaribus moniti, etc., and here he
inciteth us to honour and prayer, after the ensample of our Lord that taught his apostles,
and therefore he saith: Praecepti, that is to say: we incite or admonish the commandments
of salute, and in form of divine instruction, worship we and heartily pray we: saying:
Pater noster, etc. And so ensueth the Pater noster, which was made and instituted by our
Lord Jesu Christ, for that same he commanded his apostles to say, and therefore it is
called Oratio dominica, that is to say: Orison of our Lord. And therefore veritably here
oweth the creature to say devoutly this same orison: Pater noster, and howbeit that our
Lord knoweth well what is best for us, and what we will have, notwithstanding he will that
both with heart and mouth we pray him for many reasons. First for to incite us to devotion
and for all even so as the blowing embraseth or fryeth the coal, right so the orison said
with heart and mouth enflameth the devotion. Secondly, for to give good ensample to
others, for our Lord saith: Luceat lux vestra coram hominibus ut videant, etc., that is to
say: Let your light be shining tofore the men, so that they may perceive and see your good
works, not by hypocrisy ne simuling, but by right jealousy of devotion. Thirdly for this,
that all even so as we by the tongue sin, right so the devout orison ought to be made and
said with tongue, to the end we may make satisfaction to the king of heaven, for the
scripture saith: Sicut enim exhibuistis membra vestra servire immunditiae, et iniquitati
ad iniquitatem, ita nunc exhibete membra vestra servire justitiae in sanctificationem,
that is to say: As ye have given your members to felony and wickedness or corruption, ye
must so obey both to justice and sanctification. Fourthly, that thing which is demanded
with good heart is of light granted. Of this petition or asking here, speaketh our sweet
Saviour Jesu Christ in the holy Evangile, that saith thus: Petite et dabitur vobis, etc.,
that is to say: My friends, ask you and ye shall have. And for this veritably every
creature ought well to pray devoutly with good heart saying this devout orison: Pater
noster, for the great mystery that it containeth. The mystery of this devout orison, Pater
noster, is that it containeth seven petitions or askings. The first is of the eternal
goods, that we may have them; and therefore saith he: Pater noster qui es in coelis,
sanctificetur nomen tuum, that is as much for to say: Father that art reigning in heaven
thy sweet name be blessed. The second petition is of the goods spiritual that we may
receive them and therefore saith he: Adveniat regnum tuum: That is to say, May thy realm
come to us, whereas we may see thee. The third petition is: Fiat voluntas tua sicut in
coelo et in terra, that is to say: Over all be thy will fulfilled and done so that into
heaven my soul be led. The fourth petition is: Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie,
and this petition here is demanded of the name of fortune, which is a gift of the Holy
Ghost. And the asking is this: Lord give us this day food, so that of thine we may have
cure, that is to say that our Lord God will give us our living, so that for lack of it we
leave not the service of God, whereof also we may part and deal to the poor folk, members
of God. The fifth petition is: Et dimitte nobis debita rostra, sicut et nos dimittimus
debitoribus nostril; that is to say; Pardon to us our misdeeds and faults, as we forgive
others the misdeeds by them done to us. The sixth petition is: Et ne nos inducas in
tentationem. That is to say, And lead us not into temptation. And here is to be known that
we be tempted principally of three things, the first is God, for to approve our power,
secondly our flesh, for to have our appetite and lust, thirdly is the enemy for to deceive
us. Of the first saith our Lord: Beatus vir qui suffest tentationem, etc., Blessed is he
that suffereth temptation in the tribulation that God sendeth, for if he be approved, in
heaven he shall be crowned. Of the second temptation speaketh S. James and saith:
Unusquisque vero tentatur a concupiscentia sua, etc.: Every one is oft tempted for to
pursue his desires. Of the third saith the Scripture: Sathanas temptavit cor tuum, etc.,
Satan hath made thee to fall in villainy. The seventh petition is: Sed libera nos a malo,
that is as much for to say: Deliver us from all evil that letteth us for to love thee.
After followeth: Amen, hoc est fiat, that is to say: The petitions before demanded be
confirmed and granted. And here saith the priest: Amen, along, for this, that they that
pray know not that they be heard and enhanced, whereby they leave not to pray to God. For
creatures devout ought ever to to persevere in their prayers and orisons, to the end that
they may have their petitions and askings, which are contained in the Pater noster as
before is said.
And here followeth the Third part of the Mass.
After followeth the third part principal of the mass. After that the priest hath said
the Pater noster, whereas these petitions before said are contained, he saith an orison
that thus beginneth: Libera nos quaesumus Domine ab omnibus malis, praeteritris,
praesentibus, et futuris, etc., and this orison the priest saith alow, for this signifieth
that our Lord was buried in the sepulchre at compline time, and howbeit that the body
rested in the sepulchre, notwithstanding he descended into hell, whereout he had his
friends, and delivered them of all evils, past, present, and to come. And therefore in
this signification or betokening, the priest saith this orison: Libera nos quaesumus, etc.
The which orison is as the exposition of his last petition of the Pater noster, that is,
Libera nos a malo, that is as much for to say: Lord, deliver thou us from all evil, and in
this orison the priest showeth from what evil he will be delivered, that is, of the evil
past, now being, and to come. And therefore he saith: Libera nos quaesumus Domine, ab
omnibus malis, praeteritis, praesentibus et futurist. That is to say: Lord, we pray that
thou wilt deliver us from all evil, past, present, and to come, and by the means of thy
blessed mother the Virgin Mary, and of all apostles, S. Peter, S. Paul, and S. Andrew, and
of all saints in heaven, give us peace to the end that we may be holpen of thy misericorde
and mercy from all sins delivered, and of all torments ensured from. The priest taketh
then the chalice lid and kisseth it, and that signifieth to the intent he may receive that
precious sacrament in peace and in charity. And after, the priest taketh the precious body
of our Lord Jesu Christ and parteth it over the chalice, and this may to us be signified
Lord parted himself to his disciples upon Sherethursday as before is said, and is that
holy hostie parted in three, which three parts may betoken three manners of folk. The
first part may signify the creatures that are in paradise. And this first part the priest
layeth on the chalice lid in betokening that these be those that are set in peace with
God. The second part may signify the creatures that are in purgatory, the which are
ensured and certain that once they shall have paradise, therefore is this other part set
with the first. The third part may signify the creatures that be in this life mortal, and
this third part the priest holdeth over the chalice and saith on high: Per omnia saecula
saeculorum, and that he saith with a high voice for this, that the people hearing the
priest, who as vicar of God oweth to announce peace, and the people answereth: Amen. And
there the priest enhancing his voice saith: Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum, that is to
say: The peace of God be ever with you, for so said our Lord after his holy resurrection
to his apostles: Pax vobis, peace be with you. And there the priest maketh three times the
sign of the cross, saying: Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum. And these three crosses may
betoken the three days that our Lord lay in the sepulchre. Or these crosses may signify
the three Marys seeking our Lord. And when the priest hath said: Pax domini sit, etc., the
people answereth: Et cum spiritu tuo, praying that in such manner wise as the people
desireth peace, the priest may have it. And anon the priest saith: Haec commixtio, etc.
And that commixtion betokeneth two things, that one is that, the body of Jesu Christ was
not without blood, ne the blood was not without the body. The second is that the sacrament
is consecrated under the likeness of bread and of wine. The third thing may be that the
third part of the hostie signifieth the creatures that are in this world, as said is. And
therefore it is lawful to them ere they come to God that they have mind and be remembered
of the blessed passion and of the precious body of our Lord Jesu Christ, to the end that
they be meddled and Joined unto his precious sufferance, and of his precious blood aroused
by virtue and unity of soul. And thus creature devout shall mowe arouse his heart with
that precious blood, keeping himself from evil thoughts, and his five wits natural for to
keep him from all evil beholding, from light hearing, from foolish and vain speaking, from
pleasant smelling, his hands from evil work, and his feet from evil place. And thus doing
creature devout shall mowe feel the sweet dawning of this precious blood and blessed body
meddled together. And it appeareth by these verses following that the three parts of the
hostie signify the three manners of creatures before said, Tres partes signant de Christi
corpore sancto. Prima suam carnem. Sanctosque secunda sepultos. Tertia viventes, haec est
in sanguine tincta. Martirii calicem gustant in carne fideles.
After, followeth Agnus Dei, and here it is to wit that the pnest saith three times
Agnus Dei, and at the third time at the end of it he saith: Dona nobis pacem, and it nis
none other thing to say than: Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world, have
mercy on us, and this is said two times, to the intent that our Lord be understood going
on earth for to have us from our sins, and resting in the sepulchre for to deliver us from
the pains of hell. And therefore in these two first Agnus Dei the priest saith: Miserere
nobis, and the third Agnus Dei betokeneth this, that our Lord be understood being in
heaven for to give perfect peace, and thereforth saith the priest at the end of the Agnus:
Dona nobis pacem. Lord, give us peace. Saying Agnus Dei, the priest inclineth himself,
beating his breast at every time, signifying that with humility and compassion he saith
that same orison.
After, it is to know that at a mass of requiem the priest saith not at the two first
Agnus Dei, Miserere nobis, ne at the third Agnus Dei he saith not: Dona nobis pacem, but
the priest saith instead of that: Dona eis requiem, for this, that three manners of rest
be worthy for the fiables of God, dead. First, that all pain be had away from them.
Secondly, that glory with God be given to them. Thirdly, that the soul with the body
together be crowned. And therefore saith the priest at the last Agnus Dona eis requiem
After this the priest devoutly inclineth him and saith a devout orison that beginneth
thus: Domine Jesu Christe, etc., and that is as much for to say: Lord Jesu Christ that
said to thine apostles: I give you my peace, I leave you my peace, therefore I thee pray
instantly that thou wilt not consider my misdeeds and sins, but consider thou the faith of
the holy church, and wilt it unite and peace after thy will, thou that reignest with the
Father in the realm of heaven. And after, the priest taketh peace, kissing the corporal,
or the lid of the chalice, or the body of our Lord Jesu Christ, and that is to teach and
show to us that through the holy passion of our Lord very peace is given to us of God, and
also to all human ligneage.
And the priest giveth the pax to the minister or clerk that helpeth to say the mass,
and that same minister or clerk beareth it through the church to the folk, and there the
creatures kiss it, each after other, in token of love and concord, to the end that even so
as flesh joineth itself to flesh, and spirit to spirit, right so we be allied together by
virtue of love. And here it is to wit that for this that our Lord said to his disciples:
Take ye all of this bread and eat it, it is mine own body, therefore in this manner every
one was wont in time past to be houseled every day. And for this that many one took it
indiscreetly, and few reverently, for that, it seemed to them that it was not well for to
do so, therefore it was ordained to be taken but one time in a week, that is to wit on the
Sunday, or to take it three times in the year, or at the least one time in the year and in
that place where this should be done, should be the pax given every day in token of love
and of very steadfast alliance.
And it is to wit that, when men say mass for the dead, men bear not the pax for this
that the fiables of God be out from all the tribulations of this world.
Hereafter followeth the fourth part of the Mass.
After followeth the fourth part of the mass principal, and first the perceptions. And
here is to wit that after the priest hath taken the pax, and sent the pax to the people,
to the intent that he may receive the more devoutly the body of our Lord, he saith, bowing
his knees, two orisons instituted by the ancient fathers. The first orison beginneth:
Domine Jesu Criste, qui ex voluntate patris, etc. And is as much for to say: Jesu Christ
that by the will of God the Father and wit of the Holy Ghost wouldst redeem the world by
thine own death, and them to have again in joy and bliss with thee, wilt my body deliver
from all evil, have away all my sins from me, and that I may so keep thy commandments that
I may be and dwell with thee in heaven where thou mayst reign as God with the Father and
Holy Ghost. Amen. The second orison that the priest saith in his perception is this,
Perceptio corporis tui, etc., and may be the understanding of this orison such: Jesu
Christ that perfect life hast in heaven, with heart I thee pray that the sweet perception
of thy precious body which by jealousy of love I do take, be to me eschewing of damnation,
and that by thy compassion it may be compunction to my soul, that in such place he may
come where he may be accepted and granted. Amen.
After, the priest meditating and thinking on the passion of our Lord Jesu Christ,
saith: Panem coelestem accipiam, et nomen domini invocabo, etc. That is to say: I shall
take the heavenly bread and I shall call the name of our Lord. After all these foresaid
things, the priest holding the precious body of our Lord, saith three times: Domine, non
sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea. It is
as much for to say: Lord, I am not worthy that thou enterest my house, but say thou the
word and my soul shall be healed. And there the priest beateth at every time his breast,
betokening that with right very contrition and in steadfast devotion he will receive his
salvation. After, the priest making the sign of the cross of the body of our Lord, saith:
Corpus domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam aeternam, etc. It is none
other thing to say than: The precious body of our Lord Jesu Christ will keep my soul in
life perdurable or everlasting, that is to wit, in the company of our Lord. And sith, the
priest with joined hands taketh the body of our Lord and useth it the most devoutly he
After, the priest inclineth himself and taketh the chalice wherein is the precious
blood of our Lord and saith: Quid retribuam domino pro omnibus quae retribuit mihi?
Calicem salutaris accipiam et nomen domini invocabo, and all nis other thing to say but:
What shall I retribue or yield to our Lord of all his benefits and goods by him done and
given to me? After, he taketh the chalice saying: Calicem. etc. I shall take the chalice
of my health and shall call the name of God. Lauding him and calling our Lord I shall be
delivered and kept from all mine enemies, that is to wit from all my sins and evil
temptations of the devil. After, the priest making the sign of the the cross, saith over
the chalice: Sanguis domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam aeternam.
Amen. That is to say: The precious body and blood of our Lord will keep my soul in
everlasting life. Amen. And sithe, devoutly and reverently the priest taketh the blood of
Jesu Christ, and after, he draweth himself to the corner of the altar where he taketh
wine, wetting his fingers over the chalice, to the intent that nothing ne may remain of
that precious sacrament, and that doing, the priest saith two orisons, the first beginneth
thus: Quod ore sumpsimus, domine, etc., that is to say: Lord, this that we have taken with
mouth, wit that we feel it with heart, to the end it may be remedy to us against all
temporal and wicked thoughts. The second orison is: Corpus tuum quod ego indignus, etc.,
that is as much for to say: Lord, I pray thee that the precious body and precious blood
that I have taken as unworthy, me will in such manner clarify, that none ordure or filth,
ne no fault may remain or abide within me.
After these two orisons finished that are before said, the priest inclineth him and
rendereth graces to God saying: Agimus tibi gracias, etc., that is to say thus: Lord that
art reigning in heaven, we render and yield to thee graces and laudings of all thy
benefits received of us.
After, he washeth his hands at the piscine or laver, for this, that nothing of the
sacrament ne may abide at his hands, and therefore that water there ought to be cast in
the piscine, or into some clean place where men may not tread on it. And it is to wit that
the priest washeth his hands three times at mass, that is to wit at the beginning of it,
the second, at midst of the mass that is to wit at offering, and the last is after the
perception of the mass. And this purgement or washing may signify the purity and cleanness
that the priest ought to have; in heart by good thoughts, in mouth by good and honest
speaking, and in his needs or businees to work truly and well.
And after, the priest saith the post communion, which is so named post communion for
this, that it is said after the priest hath received the precious sacrament of the altar;
and that signifieth the joy that our Lord gave to his disciples. For the apostles and
disciples of God had great joy of the holy resurrection, whereof is said in the holy
Evangile, Gavisi sunt ergo discipuli, viso domino, etc., that is as much to say: The
disciples of God be fain and glad because they have seen our Lord.
After the perception the priest kisseth the altar, in betokening that in very love he
assenteth and consenteth to believe firmly all the mystery of that precious sacrament, and
right there he returneth himself and saluteth the people saying: Dominus vobiscum, to the
end that the people be incited to make devout orison, and therefore he saith: Oremus, and
there the priest saith as many orisons as he said at the beginning of the mass, and for
that same cause, betokening that in all good work orison ought to be the beginning,
middle, and end of it.
And at the end of these orisons the priest concludeth, saying: Per dominum nostrum,
etc., and in betokening that this that we ask is in the sweet name of our Lord, reigning
with the Father and with the Holy Ghost, and there the people answereth: Amen. After, the
priest kisseth yet again the altar, and sithen returneth him and saluteth the people,
saying: Dominus vobiscum, and these two last salutes may represent and signify this, that
our Lord after his resurrection saluted his apostles two times, saying thus: Pax vobis et
iterum, Pax vobis; Peace be with you by unity of great love, and yet again, Peace be with
you, sweet and good, in the glory and bliss of paradise.
After all these orisons beforesaid ensueth, Ite missa est. And here is to wit that the
mass finisheth in three manners. First, the mass finisheth by, Ite missa est, and that is
at all times that Gloria in excelsis is said. And the understanding may be such, saying:
Creature, go after our Lord, and ensue him by good works. It may be said also that Ite
missa est betokeneth this, that when the angel had announced the shepherds the joy and
mirth of the holy nativity of our Lord Jesu Christ, they went to the place where our Lord
Jesu Christ was, right even so as they had understood: Ite, missa est, Go ye for our Lord
is sent for your redemption, and therefore the shepherds regracied and lauded God with all
their virtue and force; and therefore the people answereth and saith: Deo gracias, that is
to say: God be lauded and regracied of it. Secondly, the mass finisheth by: Benedicamus
domino, right so the priest would say: Bless we God of all his goods, and with heart laud
and praise we him. And upon this the people answereth: Deo gracias, God be graced and
thanked. Thirdly, the mass finisheth with: Requiescant in pace, and that is at a mass said
for the dead, to the end that the souls for whom the priest hath said the mass may have
rest in life perdurable, and therefore the people answereth Amen, that is to say: Thy
prayer be heard and enhanced. After that, the priest blesseth the people, the which
blessing may signify this, that the Holy Ghost was sent to the Apostles for the promise of
God that he had done to them, saying: Accipietis virtutem spiritus sancti venientis in
vos, etc. That is to say: Ye shall take the virtue of the Holy Ghost coming in you, and
because that the Holy Ghost was sent by the Trinity, therefore maketh the priest that same
blessing in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Secondly, that the
blessing whereof our Lord speaketh to his apostles, and saith: Venite benedicti patris
mei, percipite regnum, etc., that is to say: Come after me, the blessed of God my Father,
and take the possession of my realm. Thirdly, the said blessing may signify that blessing
that our Lord made when he would ascend unto heaven, to the end that by devout orison he
may ascend after him into the bliss of paradise, and therefore he soon inclineth himself,
and saith an orison that thus beginneth: Placeat tibi sanctaTrinitas. That is as much for
to say Holy Trinity, I pray you that ye vouchsafe to take this holy sacrifice acceptable
for me, and also for them for whom I have consecrated the body of our Lord: Per Christum
dominum nostrum. Amen. And here is the end of the mass, but some priests while they take
from them the vestments, they say S. John's gospel, and some say the office of our Lady.
S. John's gospel is said for the mystery in it containing, for in the tenour of it S. John
maketh mention how our humanity was joined and united to the divinity, and how he was sent
for to be testimony or witness of the divine light, of the which light all creatures were
illumined. After, the priest saith his graces, lauding and thanking God of all his
benefit. Whosoever will know and understand well and perfectly the noble virtue and noble
mystery that in the exposition of the mass is, let him well consider and imprint right
perfectly within his heart all those things that herebefore are contained, and the
creature thus doing shall mowe have certain knowledge of God, and shall mowe ordain and
dress his conscience after that before is said. And so we pray God that he give to us
grace to do such service and so good prayers that we therewith may acquire and get the
holy bliss of paradise. Amen.
Here follow the Twelve Articles of our
These be the twelve articles of the christian faith, that every christian man and woman
ought to believe steadfastly and firmly, for otherwise they may not be saved, sith they
have wit and reason. And twelve articles they be after the number of the apostles that
made them, and stablished to be holden and kept. Of which the first longeth to the Father,
the seven to the Son, and the other four to the Holy Ghost. For it is the foundation of
the faith to believe on the Trinity, that is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, one
God in three persoos. And all these articles are contained in the creed. The first is
I believe on God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. This first article
laid S. Peter in the creed. The second appertaineth to the Son as to his godhead, that is
to say in this, that he is God and it is such:
I believe on Jesus Christ our Lord, only Son of God the Father. And this ought men to
understand and believe, that he is semblable, like, and equal, to the Father in all things
that are belonging to the godhead. And he is one self and like thing with the Father, save
of person, that is not like the person of the Father. This article made and laid it in the
creed S. John the Evangelist. The third and fourth articles that follow after in the creed
appertain to the Son after his humanity, that is to say after that man is mortal.
In which third article is contained that he was conceived of the Holy Ghost and born of
the Virgin Mary by virtue and work of the Holy Ghost, and not by man's work, and that the
Virgin Mary abode ever virgin before and after his birth. And this article laid S. James,
brother to S. John the Evangelist, in the creed.
The fourth article belongeth to his passion, that is to say, he suffered under Pontius
Pilate, that was paynim and judge at that time in Jerusalem, instituted by the Romans.
Under the which was Jesu Christ judged wrongfully at the request of the felon Jews,
crucified, dead, and put in the sepulchre. This article laid S. Andrew.
The fifth article is that he descended into hell after his death, for to have out and
deliver the souls of the holy fathers, and of all them that from the beginning of the
world died in very contrition and repentance, in faith and hope that they should be saved
by him. For because of the first man's sin, all must descend into hell, there to abide the
good and certain hope of Jesu Christ the son of God, that should come to deliver them
after that he had promised by his prophets. And for this reason he would descend into
hell, that is to understand, into that part of hell where they that were damned were not,
the which were dead in their sins, and those same he drew not out of hell, for they be
damned perdurably and for ever. And this article laid in the creed S. Phillip.
The sixth article is of his resurrection, that is to wit that on the third day after
his death for to consume and accomplish the scriptures, he rose from death unto life again
and appeared to his disciples, and approved to them his resurrection in many manners by
the space of forty days. And this article laid S. Thomas.
The seventh article is this, that on the fortieth day after his resurrection, when he
ate with his disciples, before them all appertly he ascended above all creatures into
heaven, unto the right hand of the Father, where he sitteth. And this article laid S.
Bartholomew in the creed.
The eighth article is that he shall come on doomsday to judge both living and dead, the
good and evil, and shall render or yield to every one this that he shall have deserved in
this world. These be the articles that are longing to the Son. And that last article
beforesaid, laid S. Matthew the Evangelist in the creed.
The ninth, and the three last articles, belong to the Holy Ghost. These articles here
require that men believe the Holy Ghost is the gift and love of God the Father and of the
Son, from whom come to us all weal and grace, and that he is one same God, and one same
thing with the Father and with the Son, save the person, that is other than the persons of
the Father and of the Son. This article laid in the creed S. James, the brother of S.
Simon and S. Jude.
The tenth article is this: I believe on the holy church general, and in the communion
of saints, that is to say the company of all saints and of true men, that be and shall be
unto the consuming or end of the world, and that were from the beginning of the world
together with the faith of Jesu Christ. In this article are understood the seven
sacraments of holy church, that is to wit baptism, confirmation, the sacrament of the
altar, the sacrament of marriage or wedlock, penance, confession, and the last is the holy
unction. This article laid S. Simon.
The eleventh article is to believe the remission of sins that God giveth by virtue of
the sacraments of holy church. This article laid S. Jude, that was the brother of S.
Simon, and not that Jude that betrayed our Lord Jesu Christ.
The twelfth article is to believe the general resurrection of both the souls and bodies
perdurable or everlasting, that is the glory of paradise that God shall give to them that
shall deserve it by good faith, and through good works. This article giveth also to
understand his contrary, that is, death and the pain perdurable or without end, that God
hath apparelled for them that shall be damned. This article ought to be understood in such
manner that every one, be they good or evil, shall be judged on doomsday and raised from
death to life again in his own proper body, and he shall receive his reward and guerdon
both in body and in soul together, after he shall have deserved being in this life mortal,
and therefore at that day the good creatures shall be glorified both in body and soul in
life that ever shall last. This article laid S. Matthias, apostle and friend of God.
Thus endeth the legend named in Latin Legenda Aurea, that is to say in English, the
Golden Legend. For like as gold passeth in value all other metals, so this legend
exceedeth all other books, wherein be contained all the high and great feasts of our Lord,
the feasts of our Blessed Lady, the lives, passions, and miracles of many other saints,
and other histories and acts, as all along here afore is made mention. Which work I hare
accomplished at the commandment and request of the noble and puissant earl, and my special
good lord, William, earl of Arundel, and have finished it at Westminster the twentieth day
of November, the year of our Lord fourteen hundred and eightythree, and the first year of
the reign of King Richard III..
By me William Caxton.
The Life of S. Erasmus does not occur in the first edition of the ' Golden Legend'
from which this reprint was originally made, but is found in all subsequent issues till
the final black-letter edition of 1527. There is a chapel dedicated to S. Erasmus in
Westminster Abbey. His aid was specially invoked by persons suffering from intestinal
disorders, and it was probably for this reason that seafarers placed themselves under his
special protect- tion, in the hope of avoiding or mitigating sea-sickness.
The text here given is that of Wynken de Worde's edition of 1527.
Here followeth the Life of the
holy Bishop and Martyr, S. Erasmus.
The holy man, S. Erasmus, was come of noble and of great kindred, and
he was not only gentle by his birth but also in deed and conditions.
In the time that Diocletian the emperor reigned, which was a great persecutor of
Christ's people, then came this holy man S. Erasmus in the land of Campania, which was
under the jurisdiction of the said Diocletian, and there this holy man preached to the
people the word of God, and taught unto them the christian faith, and he baptized them in
the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Then was this holy man chosen and
made bishop of all the land of Campania, and preached and taught the people how they
should serve God and love him, and avoid sin. Then it came to the knowledge of the emperor
that S. Erasmus had converted all the land of Campania into his belief and to his God that
he called Jesu Christ, that was born of a pure virgin that hight Mary. Then was the
emperor sore troubled, and sent forth his knights for this holy man, S. Erasmus, and
commanded them that they should constrain him to forsake his God that he called Jesus
Christ, and if he would not do that, then they should torment him with the greatest pain
that they could imagine. So it happened that they found this holy man, and they bound him
as though he had been a thief or a manqueller, and brought him before the judge, and with
a fell and spiteful mood the judge said to him: Thou rude and unbelieving man, wherefore
cost thou with thy devilish works convert all the people from their belief to thy belief,
and to thy God? Wherefore believest thou not upon the same god that Diocletian and we
believe upon? I tell thee for truth if thou wilt not forsake and deny thy God, that thou
namest Jesus Christ, and pray to the wise god, we will hang thee so horribly that all the
veins of thy body shall break. Then answered the good S. Erasmus meekly and softly, and
said: Almighty God, that made all things, hath wrought heaven and hell and all that is
therein, him will I not forsake for no thhlg that can or may be done to me, for his goodly
grace hath given to me such grace, and to other his chosen friends, that he was made man
and hath tasted and suffered the bitter death for me and for all sinners. As the judge
heard that of this holy man, he swelled upon him for anger, and made him for to be beaten
upon his head, and spitting upon his blessed face, and besprinkled on him with foulness
that he seemed a leprous man. When this tyrannous judge saw that this good S. Erasmus thus
patiently suffered, and that always he thanked our Lord Jesu Christ of all then went he in
great cruelness and did that holy man to be beaten so cruelly with leaden malles, that all
his veins must break and burst, of which he cared nothing, for he suffered it heartily,
thinking for Christ's sake. Then commanded the cruel judge that this holy man should be
put into a deep pit, that was full of snakes, adders, paddocks, and other worms, and after
that he did take brimstone and oil, and did seethe it, and did do cast this holy man
therein, and he lay therein as he had lain in cold water, thanking and louing God. When
this unmerciful judge saw that this no thing him perished, then waxed he more angry, and
took sodden pitch and oil, and did put it in to his holy mouth, sitting alway in the pit
or furnace, thanking and louing God. Then rose there so great tempest of thundering and
lightning, that the fumace burned that S. Erasmus sat on, and he no thing grieved nor
hurt, but all the other cruel people that were by were burned up with the same fell
weather. When the emperor heard this he was so angry that for wrath he did make great
chains and bolts of iron, and smote it about his holy neck, and did him so to be cast into
the foresaid pit that was full of worms, for that they should eat this holy man Erasmus.
Then came there an angel from God and did light all the pit and did slay all the worms.
And then was this holy Erasmus throughly whole, and fulfilled greatly with the grace of
God, and against the will of the evil people he came again out of that pit, and went again
and preached the word of God so long, till the cruel emperor Diocletian died, and then
came another emperor, that hight Maximian, and he was much worse than was Diocletian; and
when this Maximian heard of the life of this holy Erasmus, then he did him to be taken and
would have made him to forsake his God and his belief. And when he saw that he would not
change his belief, then he did do this good man to be put into a pan seething with rosin,
pitch, brimstone lead, and oil, and did pour it into his mouth, for which he never
shrinked. And when this cruel emperor saw that this pain hurt him no thing, then made he a
cloak of metal as brass or copper, and made it glowing hot, and put it upon his holy body.
And as soon as that cloak had touched his holy body the cloak burned and consumed all the
evil and wicked people that were by. By which miracle many folk were turned unto the
christian faith. Then appeared to him the angel of God, and comforted him in his great
tribulation, and made him whole and strong, and carried him thence, and said to him: O
Saint Erasmus, the most chosen friend of God, be strong in thy tribulation, for through
thy great martyrdom shall many come to the eternal life, therefore believe steadfastly in
God and forsake him not. When S. Erasmus heard this, he went again gladly and preached and
converted much people unto the christian belief, more than ever he did before. And when
the emperor understood this, he pursued the holy man still, and ordained for him a coat of
iron, and he commanded that it should be made glowing hot, and so put it upon the naked
body of the holy man. And when they had found S. Erasmus preaching, they took him and
said: If thou wilt not forsake thy God and thy false belief, and pray and worship our god,
we will put on thy naked body this burning coat. Then answered the good Erasmus and said:
My Lord and my God hath for me so much done and suffered more than I have deserved.
Wherefore I will suffer all that I may suffer for him, for he hath deserved it so highly
against me and against all sinners, therefore I tell you for certain that I will never
forsake him, suffer all that I may suffer for his holy name, and I commit me wholly to his
holy grace. Then they with great wrath put this burning coat upon his blessed naked body.
Then he kneeled down and called meekly upon God and said: O Almighty God, have mercy upon
me. And forthwith burst the burning harness from his blessed body and burned all them that
so wrathfully would have punished him, by the which miracle many a man was converted and
was christened of S. Erasmus. Then appeared to him again the angel of God and said: O
Erasmus, God 's champion, thou shalt go again into Campania, and there shalt thou suffer
passing great pain, and God commandeth thee to convert there much people, and what thing
thou desirest of him to thy soul's health, it shall be granted. Then kneeled S. Erasmus
meekly down and said: O Almighty God, Father of heaven, thy will be fulfilled in me. Then
went he again gladly into the land of Campania and there preached he again the word of
God, and converted many folk to the christian faith. Then then this emperor Maximian did
do take this holy man, and let him be brought before him, and he commanded him to be led
to the false gods, and he should worship them. And when this holy man came before the
false gods, then might they no longer stand, but fell down and brake all in pieces, and
consumed into ashes or dust. And when this came to the knowledge of the emperor then was
he sore aggrieved, and then he ordained a tun to be cast full of iron nails, and did this
holy man to be put therein naked, and closed it fast, and let it fall down from a high
hill. And then came the angel of God and comforted this holy man and holp him out of the
tun and made him whole, and said to him: O Erasmus the very chosen servant of God, cease
not, but go and preach again, and take heed of no pain. Which commandment he meekly
obeyed. Then the emperor did do take him again, and commanded his teeth to be plucked out
of his head with iron pincers. And after that they bound him to a pillar and carded his
skin with iron cards, and then they roasted him upon a gridiron, and as he lay he spake to
the tormentors merrily: I lie here better than I am worthy, for I lie upon a bed well
strewed with sweet roses, and I see the light everlasting, the Son of God, sitting on the
right hand of his Father. Then spake the cruel emperor. As this is a very tarrier of time,
and he mocketh us and our gods, he deserveth to be brought to the most cruel death that we
can for him imagine. Then took they this holy man and did put him in a deep pit that was
full of stench. And then this fell and cruel emperor took counsel what martyrdom and pain
that they might do to this holy man to bring him to death. Then found they in their minds
that they vvould bring this holy man to death though they should martyr and pain him a
year long, and so they did before and after every Sunday, with new pain the heaviest and
sharpest that they could for him imagine. When the emperor had thus taken his shrewd
counsel, then took they this holy Erasmus out of that stinking pit, and did smite sharp
nails of iron in his fingers, and after, they put out his eyes of his head with their
fingers, and after that they laid this holy bishop upon the ground naked and stretched him
with strong withes bound to horses about his blessed neck, arms, and legs, so that all his
veins and sinews that he had in his body burst. Then let they him lie in the field that
the beasts should eat him. Then came a voice from heaven, and said: O Erasmus lift up
thine eyes, the crown of everlasting life is ready for thee. And with that he lift up his
holy eyes unto heaven, and he saw the everlasting joy open, and said: O God, where hast
thou been? blessed be thy name. Then was the holy man whole and sound, and an angel
brought him a purple cloth from heaven, and commanded him that he should go again and
preach the word of God, which he did more strongly than he did before. And when the
emperor with his false council understood this, he waxed out of his wit for anger, and
called with a loud voice like as he had been mad, and said: This is the devil, shall we
not bring this caitiff to death? Then found he a counsel for to make a windlass, and that
was upon the last Sunday of the year, and they laid this holy martyr under the windlass
all naked upon a table, and cut him upon his belly, and wound out his guts or bowels out
of his blessed body. But when this cruel emperor saw that they could not bring this holy
man to death with all these pains and torments, they chained and bolted him hands and feet
with great irons, and with great woodness cast him into a foul stinking pit, and let it be
shut with great iron bolts, so that he would never more see him. Then appeared to him an
angel of God with great clearness and said: O Erasmus stand up. And forthwith fell from
him all his irons and bands, and he was brought into a town called Fremyana, and there he
raised a child from death to life which was a gentleman's child, the father hight
Anastasius, by the which miracle many thousands of people were converted to the christian
faith; in which town this holy man abode seven days, preaching the word of God and
strengthened the people in the christian belief. And when the hour was come that this holy
bishop and martyr of God should depart out of this world, then was preferred a Ioud voice
perfectly, coming from heaven saying 0 Erasmus, my true servant, thou hast done me true
service, wherefore come with me and go and enter into the bliss and joy of thy Lord, and I
promise thee and all people that think upon thy great pain and call upon thy holy name,
and thee sue and worship every Sunday, what that they ask of me in thy name for the weal
of their souls, I shall grant it. Now come, my true and chosen friend, be glad and
comforted with mine ascension. I will that thou arise with me and come sit upon the right
hand of my Father. Then was this holy man right glad and joyful, and he cast his eyes
upward to heaven, with lifting up his hands, and there he saw, a clear shining crown come
from heaven upon his blessed head. Then gave he louing and thanking to Almighty God with
bowing his head and kneeling, and both his hands upward to heaven, and meekly said: O Lord
in thy hands yield I my spirit, and this Sunday receive my soul into thy peace and rest.
And with saying these words he yielded up his ghost, which was seen with many men s eyes,
shining clearer than the sun, and how that he was received of the holy angels, and was led
through the height of heaven into the uppermost plan of heaven: there he standeth with
God, with all the holy company, and is there a true helper to all them that call truly to
S. Erasmus for ghostly health, which joy and ghostly health let us pray that he for us all
of our Lord God may obtain.
adjusted (Fr.ajorter), added.
among, adv., meanwhile.
ancille, n., handmaid.
ankers, n., anchorites.
avaled, v. intr., went down.
axes, n., agues.
benewrely, adv. (Fr. bienheureux), happily.
benewred, adj., blessed.
cene, n., council.
centime, n., tenth.
chartre, n., dungeon.
cheer, n., face.
coles, n., cabbages.
crisp, adj., curly.
cruel, adj., stern.
detrenched. pp. hewed in pieces.
detty, adj., due.
empesh (Fr.empècher), hinder.
encheson, n., for cause of.
fait, n. business.
faitour n., malefactor.
fardel n., burden.
ferial, adj., ordinary.
festue, n., a straw.
fet, v. fetched.
fiables n., the faithf'ul.
flom, n., river.
foison, n., plenty.
fraitour, n., refectory.
frounced, adj., wrinkled.
grabat, n., a gridiron.
grip, n., a vulture.
guerished, (Fr. guérir), healed.
impetred, v. tr., besought.
indigne (Fr. ), unworthy.
japing, prep., mocking.
louing, prep., praising.
mat, adj., exhausted.
meiny, n., retinue.
meschant (Fr. ), wicked.
mesel, n., a leper.
moyenant (Fr. ), by means of.
mowe, v., to be able.
mystery, Fr. metierr, work or business.
notorily, adv., openly.
paddocks, n., toads.
parement, n., garment.
piscine, n., a pool.
plein (Fr.), full.
rassassied, ppl, (Fr. rassassier), satisfied.
releved, v. tr., built or set up.
sacred, v. tr., consecrated.
Salue or salut, n. (Fr.), health or prosperity.
sautes, n., assaults.
scorpions, n., whips with iron.
slimed, pp., pricked.
slops, n., loose breeches.
sudary, n., a winding-sheet.
tachc (Fr.), a stain.
unnethe, adv., scarcely.
whelk, n., a pimple.
wood, adj., mad.
INDEX OF SAINTS, PATRIARCHS,
FESTIVALS OF THE CHURCH AND SOME OTHER MATTERS
Be it noted that the * placed against a name indicates that it is not found in the
French Legend which served as the basis of Caxton's work, but was added by him from the
Legends, in Latin and in English, which he mentions in his preface, but which have not
been so far identified.
ABDON. July 30, iv. 141.
Abraham, Patriarch, i. 187
Achilleus. May 12, iii. l79
Adam. i. 169.
Adrian, September 8, v. II2.
Advent, i. 1.
Agatha. February 5, iii. 32.
Agathon. December 7, vii. 82.
Agnes. January 21, ii. 245.
*Alban. June 22, iii. 236.
Albine. March 1, vii. 222.
Aldegonde. January 30, vii. 218.
*Aldhelm. May 25, iii. I92.
Alexis, July 17,vi. 205.
All Hallows. November l, vi. 94.
All Souls. November 2, vi. 109.
*Alphage. April 19, iii. 121.
Amande. February 6, iii. 40..
Ambrose. April 4, iii. 110.
*Amphiabel. June 22, iii. 236.
Anastasia. December 25, ii. 149.
Andrew. November 30, ii. 94.
Anthony. January 17, ii. 224.
Annunciation of our Lady. March 25, iii. 97.
Appollinaris. July 23, iv. 89.
Arnold = Arnulph. August 15, vii, 164.
Arsenius, July 19, vii. 78.
Articles of the Faith, vii. 262.
Ascension of our Lord, i. 108.
Assumption of our Lady. Aug. 15, iv. 234.
Austin of Hippo. August 28, v. 44.
*Austin, Apostle of England, May 26, iii. 194.
Barbara. December 4, vi 198.
Balaam and, Josaphat. November 19, vii. 84.
Barnabas. June 11, iii. 214.
Bartholomew. August 24, v. 31.
Basil. June 14, ii. 258.
Beatrice. July 29, iv. 133.
*Bede. May 26 or 27, vii. 39.
Benet = Benedict. March 21, iii. 80.
Bernard, August 20, v. 12.
Blase. February 3, iii. 27.
*Brandon. May 16, vii. 48.
Brice. November 13, vi. 158.
Calixtus. October 14, v. 255.
Cecilia. November 22, vi. 247.
Celsus. July 28, iv. 127.
Christine. July 24, iv. 93.
Christopher. July 25, iv. 111.
Circumcision. January 1, i. 28.
Ciriacus. August 8, iv. 205.
Clare. August 12, vi. 161.
Clement. November 23, vi. 253.
Commandments, i. 281.
Concepton of our Lady. ii. 122..
Cornelius. September 14, v. 142.
Corpus Christi. i. 141.
Cosmo. September 27, v. 172.
Crisaunt = Crescentius. October 25, vi. 59.
*Crispin. October 25, vi. 69.
*Crispinian. October 25, vi. 69.
Crowned Martyrs. November 8, vi. 139.
*Cuthbert. March 20, iii. 94.
Cyprian. September l6, v. 142.
Dantian. September 27, v. 172.
Daria. October 25, vi. 59.
David. ii. 26.
Dedication of a Church. i. 149.
Demetrien. October 8, vii. 182.
Denis. October 9, v. 244.
Dominic. August 5, iv. 172.
Donatus. August 7, iv. 202.
*Dorothy. February 6, vii. 42.
*Dunstan, May 19, iii. 188.
*Edmund, King and Martyr. November 20, vi. 243.
*Edmund, Bishop. November 16, vi. 230.
*Edward, King and Martyr. Trans. June 20, iii. 233.
* Edward, King and Confessor, October 13, vi. 1.
Elizabeth. November 19, vi. 213.
Ember Days, i. 63.
Epiphany. January 6, i. 41.
*Erasmus. June 2, vii. 267.
*Erkenwolde. April 30, vii. 67.
Eufemia. September 16, v. 143.
Eugenia. December 25, ii. 151 and v. 120.
Eusebius. August 1, iv. 149.
Eustace. November 2, vi. 83.
Eutrope of Xaintes. April 30, iii. 269.
*Exaltation of the Cross. September 14, v. 125.
Fabian, January 20, ii. 231.
Faustin. July 29, iv. 133.
Felician. June 9. iii. 212.
Felix, Pope. July 29, iii. 132.
Felix, said Inpicis. January 14, ii. 221.
Felix, Priest. August 30, v. 78.
Fiacre. August 30, vii. 173.
Firmin, Invention of. January 14. ii. 216.
Forsey, January 16, v. 177.
Francis, October 4, v. 2l4.
Fulcian. December 11, ii. 129.
Gatus. April 22, vii. 161.
Geneviève. January 3, iii. 284.
Gentian. December 11, ii, 129.
George. April 23, iii. 125.
Germain of Auxerre. July 31, iii. 203.
Gervase. June 19, iii. 228.
Gests of the Lombards, vii. 106.
Giles. September 1, v. 91.
*Gordian. May 10, iii. 178.
Gorgone. September 9, v. 119.
Gregory. March 12, iii. 60.
Grysogone. November 24, vi, 270.
Hilary. January 13, ii 213. Hippolitus. August 13, iv. 228.
*Hugh. November 17, vi. 241.
Ignatius. February 1, iii. 16.
Innocents. December 28, ii. 176.
Invention of the Cross. May 3, iii. 169.
Isaac, i. 207.
Ives of Brittany. May 19, vii. 191.
Jacinctus. September I l, v. I20.
Jacob, i. 207.
James the More. July 25, iv. 97.
James the Less. May 1, iii. 158.
James the Martyr. November 27, vii. 34.
Jerome. September 30, v. 199.
Job, ii. 52.
John the Baptist. June 24, iii. 253.
John the Baptist, Decollation of. August 29, v. 67.
John the Evangelist. December 27, ii. 161.
John Port Latin. May 6, iii. 176.
John Chrysostom. January 27 (transl of September 18), v. 136.
John the Almoner. January 23, ii. 268.
John the Abbot. February 28, vii. 75.
John and Paul. June 26, iv. 6.
Josaphat. November 19, vii. 84.
Joseph, i. 228.
Joshua, ii. 1.
Jude. October 28, vi. 72.
Judith, ii. 77.
Julian the Bishop. January 27, iii. 8.
Juliana the Virgin. February 16, iii. 45.
*Juliet, or Julitte. June 16, iii. 225.
Justin. April 13, vii. 181.
Justina, September, 26, v. 165.
Katherine. November 25, vii. 1.
*Kenelm. July 17, iv. 60.
Lambert. September 17, v. 147.
Landry. June 10, vii. 187.
Lawrence. August 10, iv. 208.
Leo. June 28, iv. 10.
Leonard. November 6, vi. 132.
Litanies, i. 101.
Logier = Leodegarius. October 2, v. 211.
Longinus. March 15, iii. 70.
Louis, Bishop. August 19, vii. 215.
Louis, King of France. August 25, vii. 204.
Lowe or Lupe. September 1, v. 85.
Loye of Noyon = Eligius. December 1, iii. 261.
Lucy. December 13, ii. 130.
Luke. October 18, vi. 46.
Macarius. January 2, ii. 218.
Maccabees. August 1, iv. 153.
Mammertin. March 30, v. 88.
Marcel. January 16, ii. 223.
Marcelin, Pope. April 26, iii 143.
Marcellinus and Peter. June 3, iii. 210.
Marcial. June 30, iii. 275.
*Margaret. July 20, iv. 66.
Margaret alias Pelagien, v. 238.
*Marine. June 18, iii. 226.
Mark. April 25, iii. 134.
Martha. July 29, iv. 135.
Martin. November 11, vi. 141.
Mary, the Blessed Virgin. See Assumption, Conception, Nativity, Purification.
Mary of Egypt. April 2, iii. 106.
Mary Magdalen. July 22, iv. 72.
Mass, History of the, vii. 225.
Matthew. September 21, v. 149.
Matthias. February 24, iii. 54.
Maturin. November 9, iv. 1.
Maur. January 25, iii. 73.
Maurice. September 22, v. 158.
Mellonin = Melanius of Rouen. October 22, vii. 189.
Michael. September 29, v. 180.
Modestus. June 15, iii. 221.
Morant. May 5, vii. 201.
Moses, i. 256.
Moses the Abbot. February 7, vii. 76.
Nativity of our Lady. September 8, v. 96.
Nativity of our Lord. December 25, i. 25.
Nazarien. July 28, iv. 127.
Nereus. May 12, iii. 179.
Nicasius Of Rheims. December 14, ii. 136.
Nicholas. December 6, ii. 109.
Noah, i. 181.
Pancrace. May 12, iii. 182.
Passion of our Lord, i. 66.
Pastor, January 12, vii. 71.
Patrick. March 17, iii. 76.
Paul the Apostle. June 30, iv. 27.
Paul, Conversion of. January 25, ii. 279.
Paul the Hermit. January 10, ii. 204.
Pauline, or Paula. January 29, iii. 1.
Pelagien, Pope. August 27, vii. 106.
Pelagienne. October 19, v. 234.
Pentecost. i. 122.
Pernelle = Petronilla. May 31, iii. 186.
Peter the Deacon. June 2, iii. 210.
Peter of Milan. April 29, iii. 146.
Peter the Apostle. June 29, iv. 12.
Peter the Apostle ad Vincula. August 1, iv. 154.
Peter the Apostle in Cathedra. February 22, iii. 50.
Philip the Apostle. May 1, iii, 155.
Polycarp. January 26, vii.146.
Praxede. July 21, iv, 72.
Prime. June 9, iii. 212.
Prothase. June 19, iii. 228.
Prothurs. September 11, v. 120.
Purification of our Lady, iii. 19.
Quadragesima. i. 60.
Quinquagesima, i. 58.
Quintin. October 31, vi. 81.
Quiriacus. May 4, vii 149.
*Quirine. June 16, iii. 225.
Rehoboam, ii. 51.
Remigius. January 13, ii. 209.
Remigius, translation of. October 1, v. 208.
Resurrection of our Lord. March 27, i. 86.
*Rigobert. January 8, vii.185.
Rock. August 16. v. 1.
Sabina. See Savine.
Saturnine. November 29, vii. 30.
Saul, ii. 2.
Savien, or Savinien. August 29, v. 79.
Savina. August 29, v. 79.
Sebastian. January 20, ii. 232.
Seconde. March 31, iii. 102.
Sennen. July 30, iv 141.
Septuagesima, i. 52.
Seven Brethren. July 10, iv. 66.
Seven Sleepers. July 27, iv. 120.
Sexagesima. i. 56.
Silvester. December 31, ii. 197.
Simeon. February 4, vii. 139.
Simon the Apostle. October 28, vi. 72.
Simphorien. August 22, v. 30.
Simplicien. July 29, iv. 133.
Sixtus the Pope. August 6, iv, 200.
Solomon, ii. 40.
Stephen, December 26, ii. 152.
*Stephen, Invention of. August 3, iv. 165.
*Stephen the Pope. August 2, iv. 164.
*Swithin. July 2 (translation August 15), iv. 53.
Thaisis. October 8, v. 240
Theodora. July 17, iv. 48.
*Theodore. November 9, vi. 140.
Thomas Aquinas. March 7, vii. 154.
Thomas of Canterbury. December 29, ii. 182.
*Thomas, Translation of. July 7, iv. 56.
Thomas the Apostle. December 21, ii. 138.
Timothy and Appolinaris. August 23, v. 29.
Tobit, ii. 57.
Turian. July 13, vii. 171.
Urban. May 25, iii. 184.
Ursula. October 21, vi. 62.
Valentine. February 14, iii. 43.
Vedaste. February 6, iii. 42.
Victor and Corona. May 14, iv. 3.
Victorice. December 11, ii. 129.
Vitus. June 15, iii. 221.
Whitsuntide. See Pentecost.
William of Paris and Bourges. January 10, iii. 266.
*Winifred. November 3, vi. 127
Abgarus, letter to our Lord, vi. 73.
Abingdon, S. Edmund born at, vi. 230.
Adalaoth, king of the Lombards, vii. 111.
Agatha (S.), cured Euthicia of a bloody flux, ii. 131.
Agilmud, king of the Lombards, vii. 107.
Agisulphe, king of the Lombards, vii, 111.
Agnes, Thecla and Mary visit S. Martin, vi. 149.
Air, S. Mary of Egypt suspended in, iii. 106.
Albigenses, iv. 175.
Alboin, story of, vii. 108.
Alcuin's letter to Charlemagne, vii. 124.
Alexander the Pope, and the feast of S. Peter's chains, iv. I59.
Alexandrine of Perugia, vi. 190.
Alms-deeds of S. Gregory, iii. 61.
Ambrose, S., his vision of S. Martin's death, vi. 156.
Amis and Amelion, vii. 122.
Andrea of Ferrara, miracle of, vi. 196.
Angel entertained by S. Gregory, iii. 66.
----instructs S. Ambrose, iii. 114.
Angels appears to S. Vitus, iii. 222.
Angels sing at the death of S Martin, vi. 155.
Antichrist, signs of, i. 16.
Antwerp, painting at, of S. Austin and the child, v. 66.
Apollo, destruction of his temple resented by the devil, iii. 86.
Apostles miraculously brought together in a cloud, iv. 236, 257.
Apulia, famine in, iii. 141.
Aquapendens, town of, v. 3.
Ara cli, church of, i. 27.
Arcadius, Emperor, vi. 205.
Archemius' daughter healed, iii. 211.
Arians at Milan, iii. 113.
confounded by a miracle of S. Basil, ii. 260.
confounded by S. Peter Martyr, iii. 148.
the doings of, ii. 230.
Arius and his sect, iv. 150.
Ark, building of the, i. 182.
Arphaxat, magician, iii. 271.
Arrows hang in the air, v. 81.
Arundel, Earl of, Caxton'e patron, i. 3.
Askepodot, persecutes S. Alban, iii. 243.
Ass restored to life by S. Germain, iii. 209.
Assisi, Saracens at, vi. 167-8.
Attila and S. Leo, iv. 11.
and S. Lupus, iii. 206.
at Paris, iii. 289.
Attila tries to deceive S. Benet, iii. 87.
Austin, S., attests the miracles done by the body of S. Stephen, ii. 158.
Austridinian, restored to life, iii. 277.
Avarice rebuked by S. Ambrose, iii. 117.
Ave Maria, miracle of, iii. 101.
Avenir, a king in India, vii. 85.
Barking monastery, vii. 68.
Bathing never practiced by S. James, iii. 159.
Beams lengthened miraculously, iv. 217, vii. 199.
Beard and hair grown after death, iii. 266.
Bede, Venerable, story of, vii. 120.
Bells of Sens refuse to ring, v. 87.
ring spontaneously, iii. 224.
why rung for thunder and tempests, i. 105.
Berengarius, heresy of, vii. 133.
Bernard saw not the Lake of Lausanne, v. 21.
Bird calls on S. Thomas of Canterbury, iv. 59.
---- sings to S. Elizabeth, vi. 226.
Birds and S. Francis, v. 227.
----feed S. Blase, iii. 27.
----that were angels, vii. 52.
Birinus, vision of, vii. 48.
Blind man cured by S. Clare, vi. 191.
healed by S. Amande, iii. 41.
healed by S. Edward, vi. 22.
Blind men cured at the tomb of S. Edward, vi. 34.
Blind restored to sight, ii. 96.
Blindness cured by miracle, iii. 136.
Blood of Christ, five times shed, i. 34.
Blowing on idols breaks them, v. 78.
Body of man composed of four elements, i. 61.
Bone fires on S. John Baptist's day, v. 71.
Bones of SS. Peter and Paul, how discriminated, iv. 25.
Books of S. Dominic miraculously recovered, iv. 181.
Breeches for Adam and Eve, i. 174.
Brescia, it rains blood at, vii. 123.
Bruill abbey, vii. 201.
Bulgaria converted, vii 128.
Cadygam, wife of Mahomet, vii 113.
Calf restored to life after it had been eaten, iii. 207.
Calne, vi. 237.
Candle, miracle of a, iii. 25.
Candlemas, iii. 23.
Candles, miraculous, iii, 153, iv. 195, vii. 221.
Canute in England, vi. 4.
Capon seven years old, v. 229.
Capons' (Sir John) story of David's penance, ii. 33.
Carnifrut, the cross of, vii. 173.
Carpo, the vision of, i. 90.
Castle Angelo, why so called, iii. 65.
Cat, apparition of a, iv. 188.
Catania, city of, saved by S. Agatha. iii. 39.
Catesby, Northamptonahire, vi. 230.
Caxton declares himself translator of the life of S. Rock, v. 12.
Caxton's originals for his compilation, i. 1.
Cerne abbey, miracle of, iii. 202.
Chalgrove, Oxfordshire, vi. 234.
Chalice of crystal broken and made whole, iv. 218.
Charlemagne, his personal appearance, vii. 125.
would not marry his daughters, vii. 124.
Chartres saved by the coat of our Lady, iv. 242.
Chastity of S. Edward, vi. 10.
Chertsey, abbot of, vii. 67.
Child on whom our Lord laid his hand, iii. 283.
restored to his father over sea, ii. 121.
Christ descends from a crucifix, vii. 173.
the names of, i. 31.
Christ's seamless coat, marvellous effect of, i. 84.
Circumcision, why on the eighth day, i. 36.
Clent, miracle of S. Kenelm at, iv. 64.
Clerk dies through disobedience to S. Benet, iii. 87.
---forbidden to wed by our Lady, v. 108.
Clotilde, Queen of France, v. 208.
Clovis, King of France, v. 209.
Coat of our Lady, iv. 242.
Cologne, bodies of the Magi preserved there, i. 52.
Colomba, S., threatened by S Loye, iii. 265.
Compton squire, refuses tithes, iii. 199.
Conrad, confessor to S. Elizabeth, vi. 217.
Consecration of churches, origin of, i. 152.
Constantine's conversion, iii. 171.
Constantine's daughter cured of leprosy by S. Agnes, ii. 251.
Constantine forbids the bath of infant's blood, ii. 201.
Constantine's vision of Saint Nicholas, ii. 115.
Convent discipline, iii. 3.
Cooks, prince of the, i. 164.
Cope of S. Martin borne as a banner, vi. 156.
of S. Peter Martyr, miracle of the, iii. 149.
of sophistry, vi. 114.
Corone martyred by two trees, iv. 5.
Corpse of S. Arnold sustained in the air, vii. 169.
Cosdroe, King of Persia, and the Cross, v. 126.
Cow brings forth a lamb, iii. 162.
though mad, obeys S. Martin, vi. 152.
Crato and the precious stones, ii. 165.
Cripple cured by S. Peter, iv. 26.
Crusade preached, vi. 235
Culex and elephant, vi. 256.
Cups of silver offered to S. Nicholas, ii. 120.
Curse removed by S. Stephen, ii. 159.
Cyprian the enchanter, v. 166.
Cyprian's conversion, v. 171.
Dagobert reproved by S. Amand, iii. 40.
Damascus the place of man's creation, i. 170.
Damsel palsied for desecration of S. Edward's day, vi. 41.
Danegeld, vi. 8.
Danes in England, vi. 2-3, 244.
Daughter denies her father, iv. 95.
David's penance as related by Sir J. Capons, ii. 33.
Dead bodies defend their orator, v. 117.
----man refuses to return to life, iii. 207.
Deaf and dumb man cured, vii. 146.
Deerhurst, S, Alphage at, iii. 121.
Delphic Oracle prophesied Christ's coming, i. 26.
Denis the Areopagite, his books, vii. 126.
Devil appeare to S. Dominic, iv. 191.
appears to S Juliana, iii. 46.
as a herald, ii. 219.
cast out by S. Appollinaris, iv. 91.
cast out by S. Maturin, iv. 2.
---in a woman's belly, vi. 228.
---in female form confounded by S. Bartholomew and by S. Andrew, v. 40.
on the lettuce, v. 135.
---tempts a bishop in the form of a fair woman, ii. 105.
Devil's compact with a servant, ii. 261.
Devil's compact with a knignt, iv. 248.
Devils cast out by S. Bernard, v. 24-5.
appear in form of the old Gods, vi. 153.
in the likeness of dogs, ii. 99.
---appear to S. Theodora, iv. 50.
cast out by S. Clare, vi. 190.
cast out by S. Genevieve, iii. 295, 301.
cast out by S. Marcial, iii. 277, 281.
dispersed by S Francis, v. 222.
inhabit pagan idols, iii. 71.
invoked by a gambler, iii. 153.
supper, iii. 205.
Diana in form of the devil baffled by S.Nicholas, ii. 113.
---statue of, speaks, ii. 96.
Diana's temple destroyed by the prayer of S. John, ii. 169.
Dicer, the, and S.Bernard, v. 22.
Dioscurus' daughter Barbara, vi. 198.
Disembowelling, iii. 251.
Donatus, S. Jerome's master, v. 200.
Dove crowns S. Margaret, iv. 71.
Dragon at Arles, iv. 136.
at Epirus, iv. 161.
---subdued by S. Silvester, ii. 204.
---threatens an erring monk, iii. 91.
---why borne in procession, i. 105-6.
Dromedaries used by the Wise Men, i. 45.
Dunstan, S., vision of, vi. 31.
---vision of S. Peter, vi 3.
Ebroinus, the persecutor, v. 212.
Ebronien, the apostate, iv. 253.
Edgar, king, iii. 190.
Edward the Confessor's ring and the pilgrims, ii. 175.
Eggs broken and made whole again, iv. 54.
Emorissa, who touched our Lord, iv. 137.
Enchanters and dragons, v. 151.
England, heretics in, iii. 286.
English children and S. Gregory, iii. 62.
children at Rome, iii. 194.
conquered by the Normans for their sins, ii. 126.
Ephesus and the seven sleepers, iv. 121.
Epileptic cured by S. Clare, vi. 189.
Ethelred, iii. 233.
Euphemius, father of S. Alexis, vi. 205.
Eustace, S., story of under name of Alexis, vi. 205.
Evangelist's symbols explained, vi. 47.
Famine in Jerusalem, iii. 167.
Fasting, reasons for, i. 62-5.
Finger of S John Baptist, v.66.
Fire obeys S. Martin, vi. 147.
Fisherman of Westminster, vi. 16.
Flowers from the altar of S. Stephen cure sickness and blindness, ii. 158.
Fowl made fish miraculously, ii. 191.
Frederick the emperor, v. 39.
Frederic who mocked S. Elizabeth, vi. 229.
Frenchmen preached to by S. Philip, iii. 157.
Friars forbidden to visit nunneries, vi. 178.
Gaimas the Arian, v. 138.
Gallas rebuked by S. Benet, iii. 89.
Gargan, Mount, v. 181.
Genebald's sons named Thief and Foxwhelp, ii. 212.
Germain consecrates S. Genevieve, iii. 286.
Geronce, mother of S. Genevieve, iii. 287.
---blinded and restored, iii. 288.
Giles Michell the cripple, vi. 15.
Glanders cured by S. Clare, vi. 195.
Godwin, Earl, death of, vi. 25.
Goldsmithery of S. Loye, iii. 262.
Good John of Perugia, vi. 193.
Gotard, friend of S. Rocke, v. 7.
Gratian buys the Papacy, vii. 133.
Gregory, S., his additions to the service of the mass, vii. 124.
Gundoferus, king of India, his palace, ii. 141.
Hades, Christ's descent into, i. 90.
Hair shirts worn by S. Thomas of Canterbury, ii. 184-196.
Head of S. Nicasius speaks after it was smitten off, ii. 137.
Heat, miracle of, iii. 243.
Heaven, distance of, from earth. i. 112.
Hebrew maiden and S. Thomas,ii. 139.
Henry and Cunegonde, virgins, vii. 130.
at Toulouse, iv. 174.
Herman delivered by S. Elizabeth, vi. 229.
Hermits visit S. Anthony, ii. 228.
Hermogenes the Enchanter, iv, 99.
Herod's malady a vengeance of God, ii. 181.
Hingvar the Dane, vi. 243.
Holy Land, English pilgrims in, vi. 27.
Honeysuckles, iii. 259.
Honorius, emperor, vi. 205.
Hound obeys S. Martin, vi. 148.
Hours of prayer, wherefore instituted, i. 155.
Hubba the Dane, vi. 243.
Humility a safeguard againat the devil, ii. 218.
Ice in harvest time, vi. 113.
Idols destroyed by S. Longinus, iii. 71.
Image of Christ speaks to S. Francis, v. 216.
Incense, why offered at the Nativity, i. 51.
Incestuous mother confounded by S. Andrew, ii. 98.
India, works of S. Thomas in, ii. 144.
Inquisition searches out heretics, iii. 150.
lron made to swim, iii. 84.
Island of sheep, vii. 51.
Jangling of monks, iv. 253.
Jasconye, a great fish, vii. 52.
Jehosaphat, last judgment to in the valley of, i. 18.
Jerusalem, its destruction prophesied by Ananias, iii. 162.
token of its destruction, iii. 161.
Jesus, concerning the name of, i. 33.
Jew beats the image of S Nicholas, ii. 119.
that smote the crucifix, v.130.
Jewels restored at Paris, iii. 265.
Jewish usurer justified by S. Nicholas, ii. 1l7.
Jews pierce a crucifix, v. 131.
Jonathas the thief and S. Simon, vii. 144.
Joseph, a Jew, converted by S. Basil, ii. 267.
of Arimathea, miracle of, i. 96.
--- discovered by Titus, iii. 168.
Josephus at the siege of Jerusalem, iii. 165.
Jubal's pillars, i. 179.
Judas Iscariot, the birth and parentage of, iii. 35.
punishment of, vii. 61.
Julian the Apostate, iii. 13, iv. 7-8.
the harbourer, iii. 13.
---who slew his parents through ignorance. iii. 11.
Knight, the, who sold his wife to the devil, iv. 249.
who had the devil for chamberlain, iii. 101.
Kyrkil the Danish leader, iii. 122.
Latin understood by s. clark though unlettered, vi. 178.
Lechery in marriage punished, iii. 283.
Leg miraculously restored, iv. 233.
Leofric, Earl, vision of, vi. 19.
Leper and S. Martin, vi. 148.
tended by S. Louis, vii. 209.
Leprosy cured by the sudary of S. Landry, vii. 188.
Lexington, Stephen, vi. 237.
Light given by miracle, iii. 293.
Lime for building miraculously discovered, iii. 291.
Lion of S. Jerome, v. 203.
Loaves multiplied by S. Clare, vi. 164.
Loaves, three suffice S. Mary seventeen years, iii. 108.
Locusts, roots so called, iii. 259.
Lombards, origin of their name; vii. 109.
Londoners claim the body of S Erkenwold, vii. 70.
Lorraine pilgrims, iv. 104.
Lupa, Queen of Spain, iv. 102.
Lying punished with death, iii. 11.
Mabel, mother of s. edmund, vi. 233.
Macidiana, mother of S. Clement, vi. 255.
Maggot becomes a precious stone. vii. 142.
Mahomet, the history of, vii. 112.
Malchus of Ephesus, iv. 122.
Malmesbury Abbey, iii. 194.
Man born to be king, germ of W. Morris' story of the, vii. 134.
Manuscripts, cargo of, iii. 193.
Mariners, superstition of, iv. 79.
Marriage scorned by S. Agnes, ii. 246.
spiritual, of a priest with S. Agnes, ii. 251.
Mary, the blessed Virgin, types and symbols of, ii. 124.
---sinless from the womb, ii. 125.
---how she forbade a clerk to marry, ii. 128.
abbot of Rome saved from shipwreck on condition that he hallowed the Conception
of our Lady, ii. 127.
Mass of S. Gregory, miracle of the, iii. 69.
Mass, why sung in three languages, i. 150.
Meal miraculously provided, iii. 90.
Melancia and Eugenia, tale of, v. 122.
Mellitus, bishop of London, vi. 17.
Mice and serpents, a parable, vii. 93.
Milk flows in place of blood, iv. 5, 97.
Miller, the, and S. Remigius, v. 209.
Monk of evil life devoted to our Lady, iv. 248.
Monstrous births, vii. 135.
Mortuary beast, vi. 238.
Moses, apocryphal history of, i. 258.
Mother denied by her son, vii. 72. Mother of God, statute of S. Leo, iv. 10.
Music, invention of, i. 179.
Nachor, the magician, vii. 99.
Narses, history of, vii. 109.
Natalie, wife of S. Adrian, v. 115.
Nebuzar-adan, prince of the Cooks, i. 164.
Nero, the story of, iv. 24.
Nicholas recovered from lechery, by prayer of S. Andrew, ii. 97.
Nightingale and archer, story of the, vii. 92.
Nobleman's daughters rescued by S. Nicholas, ii. 110.
Noddo, fearful end of, vii. 167.
Octaves, meaning and use of, i. 29.
Oil of Mercy, i. 180.
Oil given in answer to prayer, iii. 92.
Omer, S., vii. 202,
Otto, the emperors of that name, vii. 128-9.
Oxen of no avail against the strength of S. Lucv. ii. 135.
Pafuntius, abbot, and S. Thais, v. 243.
Pantheon at Rome, vi. 94.
Paris, victualled by S. Genevieve, iii. 298.
Paul the deacon's history of the Lombards, vii. 106.
Pepin, king of France, vii. 119.
Peter converts S. Marcial, iii. 275.
---of less avail than S. Pancrace, iii. 184.
Peter the toller, history of ii. 269.
Petrius of Byconne, vi. 193.
Pharon of Meaux, vii. 174.
Philip the emperor denied communion by S. Fabian, ii. 231
Pine tree of Auxerre, iii. 204.
Placida gives a silver dish to S. Germain, iii. 209.
Plautilla lends S. Paul her keverchief, iv. 33.
Poisoned bread known by raven, iii. 85.
Pontius Pilate, his parentage and history, i. 80.
wedded his own mother, iii. 57.
Poverty, beloved of S. Francis, v. 219.
Precious stone falls from heaven, v. 87.
Precious stones, miracle of, ii. 166.
Prelates, condemnation of negligent, i. 157.
Prepuce of our Lord at Antwerp and Rome, i. 40.
miracles performed by it, i. 40.
Priests more worthy than kings, vi. 149.
Prisoners released by prayers of S. Eutrope, iii. 274.
Provost, the, who embraced black pots and pans, ii. 149.
Purgatory of S. Patrick, iii. 79.
seen by S. Forsey, v. 178.
Ralph the cripple cured, vi. 34.
Raven guards the body of S. Vincent, ii. 251.
Reeds in the desert removed by the Devil, ii. 220.
Response 'Et cum spiritu tuo,' how instituted, iii. 67.
Reynold, friar, vision of, iv. 184.
River dried up miraculously, iii. 246.
Robatyoa, miraculous fount of, vi. 200.
Romain the monk feeds S. Benet, iii. 81.
Rosamond, story of, vii. 108.
Roses in the tombs of saints, iv. 167.
Sacrament of the altar sent from heaven, iii. 104.
Sacraros or Goat-man, ii. 206.
Saracens at Assisi, vi 167.
---quelled by S Clare, vi. 167.
Satan and his emissaries, v. 133
Scholastica, S., and S. Benet; iii. 92.
Scrofula cured by S. Clare, vi. 195.
Sea-sickness averted by S. Erasmus, vii. 267.
Second advent of Christ, signs of, i. 12.
Sens, the bells of, refuse to ring, v. 87.
Sergius the monk, vii. 114.
Serpent exorcised by S. Leonard, vi. 139.
in a stolen flagon of wine iii. 88.
three cubits long swallowed by a woman, vii. 143.
Serpents expelled from Ireland by S. Patrick, iii. 80.
Seth brought the oil of mercy from paradise, i. 180.
Seven sleepers, vision of the, vi. 25.
Shaftesbury, S. Edward at, iii. 235.
Sheep stolen by a man bleated in his belly, by command of S. Patrick, iii. 78.
Shepherds turn bread into flesh, vii. 239.
Shrift, too frequent, v. 218.
Silence commended among hermits, ii. 228.
Silver platter laid in the desert by the Devil, ii. 226.
Simon Magus, vi. 261.
his strife with S Peter, iv. 15.
Sinai, hermits of, vii. 25.
Sneezing plague, the origin of 'God save you,' i. 102.
Spinning on a feast day, iv. 197.
Star of the Epiphany, i. 48.
Stigand, archbishop, Simony of, vi. 30.
Stigmata of S. Francis, v. 223.
Stratford le Bow, vii. 70.
Strood, no tailed children at, iii. 2O1.
Sunbeam, miracle of the, iii. 192; vii. 202.
Sunday, desecration of, condemned, i. 284.
desecration of, punished, iii. 10.
Sweet savour of S. Firmin's body, ii. 217.
Swine recovered by S. Blase, iii. 28.
Sybil prophesied of Christ, i. 27.
Tailed children in Dorsetshire, iii. 201.
Talkative nuns, miracle of, iii. 90.
Theodebert's gift to S. Maur iii. 75.
Theodolina, queen of the Lombards, vii. 111.
Theodosius, the emperor, v. 141.
Thief miraculously detected, iv. 59.
---and S. Edward the Confessor, iv. 9.
Thomas doubts the Assumption, iv. 241.
Thought reading by S. Benet, iii. 88.
Tithes, result of refusing, iii. 199.
Tomb of S. Andrew, miracle of manna, ii. 105.
of S. Nicholas, a fountain of oil, ii. 117.
Tonsure instituted by S. Peter, iii. 52.
Toulouse, heresy at, iv. 174.
Trajan spared eternal punishment, iii. 68.
punishment of S. Gregory therefor, iii. 68.
Trance of S. Clare, vi. 175.
Trinity betokened by three windows, vi. 201.
illustrated by three drops of water, vii. 107.
S. Austin's parable of the, v. 66.
Trodden fields fruitful, iii. 196.
Trygvier, vii. 193.
Tuesday sacred to S. Thomas of Canterbury, iv. 56.
Valentine despole, vi. 191.
Valentinian rebuked by S. Ambrose, iii. 119.
Veltis the fiend, iv, 69.
Vengeance on sinners, instances of. The Provost and S. Andrew, ii. 109.
Veronica, story of, i. 83.
Versailles, miracle of tapers at, iii. 210.
Vespasian's belief rewarded. iii. 163.
Vienna earthquakes, origin of the lesser litany, i. 103.
Viguy, J.de, translator of the Goden Legend, iv. 199.
Vine cuttings form S. Clare's bed, vi. 165.
Vines first planted, i. 186.
Virginity preserved in wedlock, vi. 2O6.
Virago, woman so called, i. 172.
Vision of our Lady, iii. 2.
Vital the monk and S. John the Almoner, ii. 272.
Walking on water, iii. 85.
Wall pierced by a ray of the sun, ii. 216.
Wareham, Dorset, iii. 234.
Water found by a miracle, iii. 84, 292.
------walked on by S. Gavien, v. 83.
Water-hanging, town of, v. 3.
Westminster Abbey consecrated by S. Peter, vi. 16.
---- repaired, vi. 14, 18.
Wheat inexhaustible by prayers of S. Nicholas, ii. 113.
Wild bulls tamed, iv. 103.
Winchcomb, S. Kenelm's burying at, iv. 66.
Winchester, miracle of S. Austin, iii. 202.
Windows, three, betoken the Trinity, vi. 201.
Wolf obedient to S. Vedaste, iii. 43.
Woman disguised as a monk, iii. 226.
in a monk's habit falsely accused of lechery, ii. 152.
falsely accused as a monk, v. 240.
Woman's clothing given to S. Jerome, v. 2O1.
Women avoided by S. Arsenius, vii. 80-1.
Wulstan's disposition and restoration, vi. 36.
Xaintes, martydom of Eutropius at, iii. 274.
Zaroen, magician, iii. 271.
THE pictorial frontispieces, and the thorncrown border in which they are set, are from
drawings by EMILY S. FORD.
I AM anxious to correct an error which occurs on p. viii. of the 'Introduction' to this
book. I should have said that whatever discoveries have been made as to the printer of the Legende dorée are due to the researches of Mons. A. Claudin, the historian of
early printing in France. But I am now informed that his later investigations have caused
him to mistrust his earlier conclusions, and that up to the present time both the
typographer of the book and the place of printing remain undetermined.