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Julian, 4 The Live of S. Blase [Blaise], 13 The Life of S. Agatha, 15 The Life of S. Amande, 18 The Life of S. Vedaste, 19 The Life of S. Valentine, 20 The Life of S. Juliana, 21 The Chairing of S. Peter, 23 The Life of S. Matthias, 25 The Life of S. Gregory, 27 The Life of S. Longinus 32 The Life of S. Maur, 33 The Life of S. Patrick, 35 The Life of S. Benet [Benedict], 37 The Life of S.
Seconde, 47 The Life of S. Mary of Egypt, 49 The Life of S. Ambrose, 51 The Life of S. Alphage, 56 The Life of S. George , 58 The Life of S.
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Mark, 62 The Life of S. Marcelin, 66 The Life of S. Vital, 67 The Life of S. Peter of Milan, 68 The Life of S. Philip, 72 The Life of S. Gordian, 82 The Lives of SS. Nereus and Achilleus. Pancrace [Pancras], 84 The Life of S. Urban, 85 The Life of S. Pernelle, 86 The Life of S. Dunstan, 87 The Life of S. Aldhelm, 89 The Life of S. Germain, 94 The Life of S. Prime and Felician, 98 The Life of S. Quirine and Juliet, The Life of S. Gervase and Prothase, The Life of S. Alban and Amphiabel, The Nativity of S. John Baptist, The Life of S.
Loye, The Life of S. William, The Life of S. Eutropius, The Life of S. Marcial [Martial], The Life of S. Maturin, 3 The Life of S. Victor, 4 The Lives of SS. John and Paul, 5 The Life of S. Leo the Pope, 7 The Life of S. Peter the Apostle,. Theodora, 24 The Life of S. Swithin [Swithun], 26 The Translation of S.
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Thomas of Canterbury, 28 The Life of S. Kenelm, 30 The Life of S. Margaret, 32 The Life of S. Praxede, 35 The Life of S.
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Mary Magdalen, 36 The Life of S. Nazarien and Celsus, 60 The Life of S. Felix, 63 The Lives of SS. Martha, 64 The Lives of SS. Abdon and Sennen,. Germain, 68 The Life of S. Eusebius, 71 The Seven Maccabees, 73 S. Peter ad Vincula, 73 The Life of S. Stephen the Pope, 78 The Invention of S. Stephen, Protomartyr, 78 The Life of S. Dominic , 82 The Life of S. Sixtus, Pope, 94 The Life of S.
Donatus, 96 The Life of S. Ciriacus, 97 The Life of S. Laurence, 98 The Life of S. Then Paul preached to them of the kingdom of heaven and of the pain of hell, in such wise that he converted them to the faith, and they prayed him to go freely whither he would. God forbid, brethren, said he, that I should flee, I am not fugitive, but the lawful knight of Christ.
I know well that from this transitory life I shall go to everlasting life. As soon as I shall be beheaded, true men shall take away my body; mark ye well the place, and come thither to-morrow, and ye shall find by my sepulchre two men, Luke and Titus, praying. To whom when ye shall tell for what cause I have sent you to them, they shall baptize you and make you heirs of the kingdom of heaven. And whiles they thus spake together, Nero sent two knights to look if he were slain and beheaded or no, and when thus S. Paul would have converted them, they said: When thou art dead and risest again, then we shall believe, now come forth and receive that thou hast deserved.
And as he was led to the place of his passion in the gate of Hostence, a noble woman named Plautilla, a disciple of Paul, who after another name was called Lemobia, for haply she had two names, met there with Paul, which weeping, commended her to his prayers. To whom Paul said: Farewell, Plautilla, daughter of everlasting health, lend to me thy veil or keverchief with which thou coverest thy head, that I may bind mine eyes therewith, and afterwards I shall restore it to thee again.
And when she had delivered it to him, the butchers scorned her, saying: Why hast thou delivered to this enchanter so precious a cloth for to lose it? Then, when he came to the place of his passion, he turned him toward the east, holding his hands up to heaven right long, with tears praying in his own language and thanking our Lord, and after that bade his brethren farewell, and bound his eyes himself with the keverchief of Plautilla, and kneeling down on both knees, stretched forth his neck, and so was beheaded.
And as soon as the head was from the body, it said: Jesus Christus! From his wound sprang out milk into the clothes of the knight, and afterward flowed out blood. In the air was a great shining light, and from the body came a much sweet odour. Dionysius, in an epistle to Timothy, saith ot the death of Paul thus: In that hour full of heaviness, my wellbeloved brother, the butcher, saying: Paul, make ready thy neck; then blessed Paul looked up into heaven marking his forehead and his breast with the sign of the cross, and then said anon: My Lord Jesu Christ, into thy hands I commend my spirit, etc.
And then without heaviness and compulsion he stretched forth his neck and received the crown of martyrdom, the butcher so smiting off his head. The blessed martyr Paul took the keverchief, and unbound his eyes, and gathered up his own blood, and put it therein and delivered to the woman. Then the butcher returned, and Plautilla met him and demanded him, saying: Where hast thou left my master? The knight answered: He lieth without the town with one of his fellows, and his visage is covered with thy keverchief, and she answered and said: I have now seen Peter and Paul enter into the city clad with right noble vestments, and also they had right fair crowns upon their heads, more clear and more shining than the sun, and hath brought again my keverchief all bloody which he hath delivered me.
For which thing and work many believed in our Lord and were baptized. And this is that S. Dionysius saith. Now believe then certainly that I am not dead but alive, but thou, caitiff, thou shalt die of an evil death, because thou hast slain the servants of God.
And when he had said thus he vanished away. And Nero, what for dread and what for anger, he was nigh out of his wit, and wist not what to do. Then by the counsel of his friends he unbound Patroclus and Barnabas and let them go where they would. And the other knights, Longinus, master of the knights, and Accestus, came on the morn to the sepulchre of Paul, and there they found two men praying, that were Luke and Titus, and between them was Paul.
And when Luke and Titus saw them they were abashed and began to flee, and anon Paul vanished away, and the knights cried after them and said: We come not to grieve you, but know ye for truth that we come for to be baptized of you, like as Paul hath said whom we saw now praying with you.
When they heard that they returned and baptized them with great joy. The head of S. Paul was cast in a valley, and for the multitude of other heads of men that were there slain and thrown there, it could not be known which it was. It is read in the epistle of S. Dionysius that on a time the valley should be made clean, and the head of S. Paul was cast out with the other heads. And a shepherd that kept sheep took it with his staff, and set it up by the place where his sheep grazed; he saw by three nights continually, and his lord also, a right great light shine upon the said head.
Then they went and told it to the bishop and to other good christian men, which anon said: Truly that is the head of S. And then the bishop with a great multitude of christian men took that head with great reverence, and set it in a tablet of gold, and put it to the body for to join it thereto.
Then the patriarch answered: We know well that many holy men be slain and their heads be disperpled in that place, yet I doubt whether this be the head of Paul or no, but let us set this head at the feet of the body, and pray we unto Almighty God that if it be his head that the body may turn and join it to the head, which pleased well to them all, and they set the head at the feet of the body of Paul, and then all they prayed, and the body turned him, and in his place joined him to the head, and then all they blessed God, and thus knew verily that that was the head of S.
Gregory telleth that there was a man that fell in despair in the time of Justin the emperor, and made ready a cord to hang himself, and always he cried on S. Paul, saying: S. Paul, help me. Then came there a black shadow, saying to him: Hie thee, good man, make an end of that thou hast begun. And he alway made ready the cord, saying: Most blessed Paul, help me. And when all was ready there came another shadow, as it had been of a man that said to him that stirred him: Flee hence, thou most wretched, for Paul the advocate is come. Then the foul shadow vanished away, and the man coming again to himself, and casting away the cord, took condign penance for his offence and trespass.
In the same epistle aforesaid, S. Denys bewailed the death of his master Paul with mild words, saying: Who shall give tears to mine eyes, and to my brows a fountain of water, that I may weep day and night that the light of the church is extinct. And who is he that shall not weep and wail and clothe him with clothes of mourning and sorrow, and in his mind be greatly abashed? Peter the foundement of the church and glory of saints and holy apostles is gone from us, and hath left us orphans.
Paul also, the teacher and comforter of the people, is failed to us, and shall no more be found, which was father of fathers, doctor of doctors, pastor of pastors, profoundness of wisdom, a trump sounding high things, and a preacher of truth. I say verily, Paul to be most noble of the apostles, and never weary of preaching of the Word of God; he was an earthly angel, an heavenly man, image and similitude of divinity, and hath us all forsaken, needy and unworthy in this despised world, and is gone unto Christ his God, his Lord and friend.
Also my brother Timothy, best beloved of my soul, where is thy master, thy father and lover? From whence shall he greet thee any more? Lo, thou art made an orphan and remainest alone. Now he shall no more write to thee with his own hand, my dearest son. Woe to me, my brother Timothy' what is happed to us of heaviness, of darkness, and harm. Because we be made orphans, now come not his epistles to thee, in which he wrote Paul the little servant of Jesu Christ.
Now he shall no more write to the cities saying: Receive ye my well-beloved son. Shut, my brother, the books of the prophets and clasp them, for we now have none interpreter of the parables ne paradigmes, ne their dictes. David the prophet bewailed his son and said: Woe to me! And I may say woe to me, master mine, verily woe to me. Now the concourse of thy disciples coming to Rome and seeking, ceaseth and faileth. Now no man saith: Let us go and see our doctors, and ask we them how us behoveth to rule the churches to us committed, and shall interpret and expound to us the sayings of our Lord Jesu Christ and of the prophets.
Verily, woe to these sons, my brother Timothy, that be deprived of their spiritual father.
And also to us that be deprived of our spiritual masters which gathered together understanding and science of the old and new law and put them in their epistles. Where is now the renewing of Paul and the labour of his holy feet? Where is the mouth speaking, and the tongue counselling, and the spirit well pleasing his God? Who shall not weep and wail? For they that have deserved glory and honour towards God be put to death as malefactors and wicked men.
Woe to me that beheld in that hour his blessed body all bewrapped in his innocent blood. Now whither shall I go for to seek thee, the glory of christian men and praising of good, true men? Who shall stint thy voice that sounded so high in the church in preaching the Word of God? Jerusalem and Rome be evil friends, for they be equal in ill. Jerusalem hath crucified our Lord Jesu Christ, and Rome hath slain his apostles, Jerusalem serveth him that they crucified, and Rome in solemnising, glorifieth them that it hath slain. And now, my brother Timothy, these be they whom thou lovedst and desiredst with all shine heart, like as Saul and Jonathan that were not departed in life ne in death, and so I am not departed from my lord and master, but when ill and wicked men depart us.
And the separation of one hour shall not be always, for his soul knoweth them that love him though they speak not to him which now be far from him. And at the day of the great resurrection they shall not be departed from him. John Chrysostom saith in the book of praising of S. Paul, and commendeth this glorious apostle much, saying: What is founder sufficient in commendation of him, sith all the goodness that is in man the soul possesseth it only, and hath it in him, and not only of a man, but also of the angels?
And in what manner we shall say to you hereafter, Abel offered sacrifice, and of that he was praised, but we shall show thee the sacrifice of Paul, and it shall appear greater, inasmuch as heaven is higher than the earth. For Paul sacrificed himself every day, and offered double sacrifice in heart and in body, which he mortified. He offered not sheep ne meat, but he sacrificed himself in double wise, and yet that sufficed him not, but he studied to offer to God, all the world.
For he environed all the world that is under heaven and made angels of men. And moreover men that were like fiends he changed them to angels. Who is he that is found pareil or like to this sacrifice, which Paul with the sword of the Holy Ghost offered up to the altar which is above heaven? Abel was slain by treason of his brother, but Paul was slain of them whom he desired to withdraw and save from innumerable evils. His deaths were so many that they may not well be numbered.
He had as many as he lived days. Noah, as it is read, kept himself; his wife, and his children in the ark, but Paul in a more perilous and older flood, in an ark not made with boards, with pitch and glue, but with epistles made for boards, delivered and saved the universal world from the floods of error and of sin. This ark or ship was not borne to one place, but it was sent through the universal world, ne limed with pitch ne glue, but the boards thereof were anointed with the Holy Ghost. He took them that were worshippers of reasonable beasts, almost more fools than unreasonable beasts, for to be the followers of angels.
He overcame that ark in which was received the crow, and sent him out again, and closing a wolf therein whose woodness he could not change. But this Paul took falcons and kites, and made of them doves, and excluded all woodness and ferocity from them, and brought to them the spirit of meekness. Some marvel of Abraham that at the commandment of God left his country and kindred, but how may he be compared to Paul, which not only left his country and kindred, but also himself and the world also.
He forsook and despised all things and required to have but one thing, and that was the charity and love of Jesu Christ. Ne he desired things-present, ne things to come, etc. But Abraham put himself in peril for to save his brother's son, but Paul sustained many perils for to bring the universal world from perils of the devil, and brought others to great surety with his own death. Abraham would have offered his son Isaac to God, but Paul brought neither friend nor neighbour, but offered himself to God a thousand times.
Some marvel of the patience of Isaac, for he suffered the pits that he made to be stopped, but Paul not beholding the pits stopped with stones, ne his own body beaten only, but them of whom he suffered great pains he studied to bring to heaven, and the more this well was stopped, so much the more it flowed out streams in shedding of water of scripture, of meekness and of patience. Of the patience of Jacob scripture marvelleth, which abode seven years for his spouse, but who hath that soul of an adamant that may follow the patience of Paul?
For he abode not only seven years for Christ his spouse, but all his lifetime. He was not only burnt with the heat of the day, ne suffered only the frost of the night, but suffering temptations, now with beatings, now stoned with stones, and always among his torments caught the sheep and drew them to the faith from the mouth of the devil.
And also he was made decorate and made fair with the chastity of Joseph. And here I doubt lest some would take it for a leasing for to praise here Paul, which crucifying himself, not only the beauty of men's bodies, but all such things that were seen to be fair and clear that he beheld, set no more by them than we do by a little ashes or filth, and abode unmovable as a dead man to a dead man. All men wonder at Job, for he was a marvellous champion, but Paul was not only troubled by months, but many years enduring in agony, and always appeared clear.
He put not away the woodness of his flesh with a shard or shell, but he ran daily, as the understanding mouth of a lion, and fought against innumerable temptations, which were more tolerable than a stone. Which not of three or four friends, but of all men and of his brethren he suffered opprobrium, and was confused and cursed of them all, and he took everything meekly and patiently. Job was a man of great hospitality, and had care of poor people, and that he did was to sustain the filth of the flesh.
But S. Paul laboured to help the sickness of the souls. Job opened his house to every man that came, but the soul of Paul showed him to the universal world. Job had sheep and oxen innumerable, and of them he was liberal to poor men. Paul had no possession save his body, and with that he ministered suflicient]y to them that had need, which in a place saith: Unto my necessities, and to them that were with me, these hands have ministered.
And to holy Job were given worms, wounds, and sores, which did to him much pain and sorrow; but an thou wilt consider Paul, thou shalt see betimes hunger, chains, and perils that he suffered of his known men and of strangers. He suffered of all the world, business for the churches, and burning for slanders.
Thou mayst see that he was harder than any stone, and his soul overcame with infirmity, iron, and adamant. What Job suffered with his body, that Paul sustained with his mind, which is more grievous than any worm. And oft his eyes flowed of tears, not only on days, but also on nights. He was more tormented than a woman in the birth of her child, wherefore he said: My little children, whom yet I bring forth.
Moses chose to be defaced out of the book of life for the health of the Jews, and offered himself to perish with others; but Paul would not only perish with his kindred, but, that all other should be saved, would be cast down from everlasting joy. And Moses repugned against Pharaoh, and Paul against the devil every day. He for one people of the Jews, and Paul fought for all the universal world, not by sweat, but by blood. John the Baptist ate locusts and wild honey, but Paul in the middle of the world was as straight in his conversation as S.
John was in desert. Not only he was fed with locusts and wild honey, but with much fouler meat he was content. For oft he left his necessary meat for the fervent study that he had to preach the Word of God. Truly there appeared in S. John great constancy in preaching against Herodias; but Paul, not one, ne two, ne three, but he corrected innumerable men set up in high power, and also older tyrants.
It resteth now that we compare Paul to angels, in which we shall preach a great thing, for with all charge, they obey unto God, which David saith, marvelling that they be mighty in virtue, and ever do the commandments of God. And also the prophet saith that he maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers fire burning. And all this we may find in Paul, that like to fire and a spirit he hath run throughout all the world, and with his preaching hath purged it. And yet he hath not sorted heaven, and that is wonderful, for he conversed such as in heaven, and was yet environed with his mortal flesh.
Lord, how much be we worthy damnation, when we see all good things to be assembled in one man, and we study not to follow the least part of them. Ne he had in this world none other thing, ne none other nature, ne none other soul dissemblable to us, ne dwelling in none other world, but in the same earth, and the same region, also under the same laws nourished, and manners; and he surmounteth all men, that now be or have been, by virtue of his courage.
Ne this thing is not to be marvelled in him only, that for the abundance of devotion he felt no pain, but he recompensed in him the virtue for his reward. And when he saw that his death approached, he called others to the delight of his joy, saying: Make ye joy and rejoice ye with me. And certainly he hasted more to wrongs and injuries which he suffered for his true preaching, and was gladder thereof than he were bidden to a feast of great joy.
For he desired more death than bodily life, and he desired more poverty than riches, and travail than rest, for in his rest he chose rather weeping than rest. He used to pray more for his enemies than others do for their friends. And above all other thing he dreaded the wrath of God, and had none other desire, but only to please God. And he forsook not only all present things, but all things that be for to come. He refused all prosperities that ever were or ever shall be on earth, and if we shall speak of heavenly things, thou shalt see the love of him in Jesu Christ.
And with this love he thought himself blessed. He coveted not to be fellow with angels ne archangels, ne with none order of angels, but he coveted more with the love of God to be least of them that be punished, than without his love to be among sovereign honours, and that was to him most greatest torment, for to depart from his love, for that departing should be to him a hell and pain without end. And on that other side, for to use the charity of Christ was to him life, world, and promission and all goods without number. And so he despised all that we dread, like as we despise a herb putrified and rotten.
He reputed the tyrants conspiring their fury into the apostles, like as bitings of fleas, and he reputed death, cruelness, and a thousand torments, but as a play or game of children whilst he suffered them for Christ's sake. He thought he was made more fair with binding of chains than he had been crowned with a diadem. For when he was constrained to be in prison, he thought he was in heaven, and he received more gladlier beatings and wounds, than others victories.
He loved no less sorrows than meeds, for he reputed those sorrows instead of rewards. And such things that be to us cause of sorrows; were unto him great delight, and was ever embraced with great weepings. Wherefore he said: Who is slandered and I burn not? Many be wounded with the death of their children, and take comfort when they may weep enough, and it is most grievance to them when they be restrained from their weeping. In like wise Paul night and day had consolation of his tears and weeping.
There could no man weep ne bewail his own defaults as he bewailed other men's defaults, for like as thou weenest him to be in torment that weepeth the perishing for his sins, the which desired to be excluded from the joy of heaven, to the end that they might be saved, for he felt as much the perishing of other souls as he felt or trowed himself to perish.
To what thing may he then be likened, to what iron, or to what adamant? For he was stronger than any adamant, and more precious than gold or gems. That one matter he overcame with strength, and that other with preciousness. Then we may say that Paul is more precious than all the world and all that is therein, for he flew, as he had wings, through all the world in preaching, and he despised all labours and perils as though he had been without body.
And like as he possessed heaven, so he despised all earthly things; and like as iron that is laid in the fire is made all fire, right so Paul, embraced with charity, was made all charity. And right as it had been a common father of all the world, so he loved all men, and surmounted all other fathers, bodily and ghostly, by curiosity and pity, and desired and hasted him to yield all men to God and to his kingdom, as though he had engendered them.
This holy Paul that was so simple, and used the craft to make baskets, came to so great virtue, that in the space of thirty years he converted to the christian faith the Persians and Parthians, them of Media, the Indians, the Scythians, the Ethiopians, and the Saromates and the Saracens, and moreover all manner men. And like as fire put in straw or in tow wasteth it, right so wasted Paul all the works of the fiend.
And when he was led through the great sea, he joyed him as greatly as though he had been led to see an empire. And when he was entered into Rome, it sufficed him not to abide there, but he went into Spain, and was never idle ne in rest, but was always more burning than fire in the love to preach the Word ot God, ne dreaded no perils, ne had no shame of despites, but was ever ready unto battle, and anon showed himself peaceable and amiable.
And when his disciples saw him bound in chains, for all that he ceased not to preach whilst he was in prison. Wherefore some of the brethren considering his teaching, took the more strength to them, and were more constant against the enemies of Christ's faith. And all this, and much more saith S. John Chrysostom, which were overmuch to write here, but this shall suflfice. Then let us pray unto Almighty God, that by the merits of S.
Paul we may have forgiveness of our sins and trespasses in this present life, that after the same we may come to everlasting joy in heaven. Here follow the Lives of the Seven Brethren. The seven brethren were the sons of S. All these were called by the commandment of the emperor Anthony, tofore Publius the provost.
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And then the provost counselled the mother that she should have pity upon herself and on her sons, who answered and said: Neither for thy flattering ne thy blandishing words thou mayst not draw me to thy desire, ne with thy threatenings thou mayst not break me. I am assured of the Holy Ghost, whom I have, that I shall alive overcome thee, and better shall vanquish thee when I am dead. And then she turned her to her sons, and said: My sons, see the heaven and look upward my dearest children, for Christ abideth you there.
Fight ye strongly for Christ, and show you faithful and true in the love of Jesu Christ. And when the provost heard that, he commanded that she should be smitten and buffeted. And as the mother and her sons abode most constantly in the faith, the mother seeing and comforting them, they were slain with divers torments.
Gregory calleth this blessed Felicitas more than a martyr, for she suffered seven times death in her seven sons, and the eighth time in her proper body, and he saith in his homily that S. Felicitas in believing was the handmaid of Christ, and in preaching was made the martyr of Christ. And she dreaded to leave after her, for to live, her seven sons in prison, like as worldly friends dread lest they should die in prison. She childed and bare them by the Holy Ghost, whom she had borne to the world of her flesh; and them whom she knew well of her own flesh, she might not see die without sorrow.
But it was the force of the love withinforth, that overcame the sorrow of the flesh. And I have said by right this woman to be more than a martyr, that so oft hath been extinct in her sons, in which she hath therein multiplied martyrdom. She overcame the victory of martyrdom, when for the love of God her only death sufficed her not.
And they suffered death about the year of our Lord one hundred and ten, under Decius the emperor. The Life of S. Theodora was a noble woman and a fair, in Alexandria in the time of Zeno the emperor, and had a rich man to her husband, and dreading God. The devil having envy to the holiness of Theodora, enticed a rich man of the town into the concupiscence of her; which sent her divers messengers and gifts, requiring that she would assent to his desire.
But she refused their message and despised the gifts. He was so busy on her, and so much grievous, that she could have no rest, and was almost overcome. At the last he sent a witch and promised her many things if she could bring about that she should consent to his desire. And she went and exhorted her to do this sin with that man, and to have pity on him.
To whom she said that, tofore God all things were known, wherefor she would in no wise do so great a sin. And this false enchantress said: whatsoever is done in the daytime God seeth and knoweth, but what is done after the sun is down in the west and is dark, God knoweth nothing thereof. To whom Theodora said: Sayst thou the truth? Yea, verily I tell you the truth. And so the woman being deceived, bade the man he should come at night, and she should accomplish his will and desire. And when this ill woman had told this to the man, he was glad and joyful, and kept his hour, and had his will of her and departed.
Theodora, returning to herself, began to weep most bitterly, and smote her visage and breast, saying: Alas! I have lost my soul, and have destroyed the beauty of my name. Her husband came from without, and found his wife so sorrowing and desolate, desired to know the cause for to comfort her, but she would receive no consolation. In the morn early she went to a monastery of nuns, and demanded of the abbess if God could know any sin done and committed by night, after the day was passed.
To whom she said: Nothing may be hid from God, for God seeth and knoweth all that is done in what hour it be committed by night or day. And then she wept bitterly saying: Give me the book of the Gospels that some lot may fall to me. And she opening the book found written: Quod scripsi scripsi. Then she returned home to her house. And on a day when her husband was out, she cut off her hair, and clad her with the clothes of her husband, and went to a monastery of monks which was eighteen miles thence, and hied her, and there required that she might be received with the monks.
She was demanded of her name, and she said she was named Theodorus. And there she was received, and meekly did all the offces, and her services were acceptable to everybody. After certain years the abbot called brother Theodorus for to yoke the oxen, and commanded her that she should go to the city and fetch oil.
Her husband wept much for sorrow and dread lest she were gone away with another man. And the angel of God appeared to him and said: Arise early and stand in the way of the martyrs Peter and Paul, and she that shall meet thee is thy wife. Which done, Theodora with her camels came, and, seeing her husband, knew him well, and said within herself: Alas!
And when she approached him she saluted him saying: Our Lord give thee joy, my lord. He nothing knew her, and when he had long abided he held him deceived. And a voice said to him: He that yesterday saluted thee was thy wife. Theodora was of so great holiness, that she did many miracles. She saved a man all to-torn with a wild beast by her prayers, and she cursed that beast, and suddenly it died and fell down.
The devil could not suffer her holiness, and appeared to her saying: Thou strumpet above all other, and adulterer, thou hast forsaken thy husband for to come hither and despise me. By my might and power I shall raise a battle against thee, and but I make thee reny the crucified God, say it am not I. She made the sign of the cross, and anon the devil vanished away. On a time as she returned from the city, and in a certain place was harboured, a wench came to her in the night, saying: Sleep with me this night, whom she refused.
And then this wench went to another that lay in the same hostelry. When her belly began to swell, she was demanded of whom she had conceived. And she said: That monk hath lain by me. When the child was born they sent it to the abbot of the monastery, which blamed sore Theodorus, and he meekly demanded that it might be forgiven him. But he was cast out of the monastery, and took the child upon his shoulder, and so she abode out of the monastery seven years, and nourished the child with the milk of the beasts. The devil having envy of her much patience, in the likeness of her husband he transfigured him, and came and said to her: Come now thou, my wife, for if thou hast lain with another man I forgive it thee.
And she had supposed it had been her husband, and said: I shall no more dwell with thee, for the son of John the knight hath lain by me, and I will do penance for that I have sinned against thee. And she made her prayer, and anon the devil vanished away, and she knew that it was the devil. Another time the devil would make her afraid, for devils came to her in the likeness of terrible wild beasts, and a certain man said to them: Eat ye this strumpet; she then prayed, and anon they vanished away.
Another time a multitude of knights came, with whom was a prince tofore, and the others worshipped him. Which knights said to Theodora, Arise and worship our prince. Which answered: I worship and adore my Lord God. And when it was told to the prince, he commanded that she should be brought tofore him, and to be tormented with so many torments that she should be esteemed for dead.
And then she made her prayers, and all the multitude vanished away. Another time she saw there much gold, and she blessed her and commended her to God, and it vanished away. Another time she saw a basket borne full of all manner of good meat, and he that bare it said to her: The prince that beat thee saith that thou shouldest take this and eat, for he did it unwittingly. She blessed her, and anon he vanished away. When the seven years were complete that she had been out of the monastery, the abbot considering her patience took her in again with her child. And unnethe two years after, when she had laudably accomplished her observance, she took the child and closed it with her in her cell.
And when the abbot knew thereof he sent certain of his monks to take heed what she did and said. And she embracing the child and kissing said: My sweet son, the time of my death cometh, I leave and commend thee to God; take him for thy father and helper. And my sweet son, see that thou fast and pray, and serve my brethren devoutly. And she thus saying gave up her spirit, and slept in our Lord, about the year of grace four hundred, sixty and ten, which the child be holding began to weep bitterly. In that same night was a vision showed to the abbot in this wise.
Him seemed that a great marriage was made, and thereto came angels, prophets, martyrs, and all saints, and in the middle of them was a woman beset about with great glory, and they that assisted her, worshipped her. And a voice was heard saying: This is Theodora the monk that was falsely accused of a child. And seven times be changed on her. She is chastised, because she defouled the bed of her husband.
And then the abbot awoke, and astonished, went with his brethren to her cell, and found her there dead. And they entered in and uncovered her, and found that she was a woman. The abbot sent for the father of the wench that slandered her, and said to him: The man that hath lain by thy daughter is now dead, and took away the cloth and so knew that she was a woman. And all that heard thereof were in great dread. The angel of God spake to the abbot, saying: Arise hastily and take thy horse, and ride into the city, and him that thou meet, take and bring him with thee.
And forth he rode, and met with a man running, whom the abbot demanded whither he ranne, and he said: My wife is now dead, and I go to see her. And the abbot took and set the husband of Theodora on his horse, and came together weeping much sore, and with great reverence and solemnity buried her. The husband of Theodora entered into the cell of his wife, and abode therein till that he died in our Lord. The child, following his nurse, Theodora, flourished in all honesty, and when the abbot of the monastery was dead, he was elected with one voice of the convent for to be abbot.
Then let us pray to this holy saint Theodora, to pray Almighty God for us. Swithin , Bishop. Swithin, the holy confessor, was born beside Winchester in the time of St. Egbert, king. He was the seventh king after Kenulf that S. Birinus christened. For S. Austin christened not all England in S. Ethelbert's days, but S. Birinus christened the west part of England in the days of Kenulf the king. And at that time this holy S.
Swithin served our Lady so devoutly that all people that knew him had great joy of his holiness, and Elmeston, that was in that time Bishop of Winchester, made him priest. And then he lived a straighter living than he did before, and he became then so holy in living that King Egbert made him his chancellor and chief of his council, and set Ethulf his son and his heir under his rule and guiding, and prayed him to take heed to him that he might be brought up virtuously.
And within short time after the king died, and then his son Ethult was made king after him. And he guided this land full well and wisely, that it increased greatly in good living, through the counsel of S. And when Elmeston the Bishop of Winchester was dead, Swithin was made Bishop there after him, whereof the people were full glad, and by his holy living he caused the people to live virtuously, and to pay their tithes to God and holy church.
And if any church fell down, or was in decay, S. Swithin would anon amend it at his own cost. Or if any church were not hallowed, he would go thither afoot and hallow it. For he loved no pride, ne to ride on gay horses, ne to be praised ne flattered of the people, which in these days such things be used over much. God cease it. Swithin guided full well his bishopric, and did much good to the town of Winchester in his time. He did do make without the west gate of the town a fair bridge of stone at his proper cost.
And on a time there came a woman over the bridge with her lap full of eggs, and a reckless fellow struggled and wrestled with her, and brake all her eggs. And it happed that this holy bishop came that way the same time, and bade the woman let him see her eggs, and anon he lift up his hand and blessed the eggs, and they were made whole and sound, ever each one, by the merits of this holy bishop, and being then glad she thanked God and this holy man for the miracle that was done to her.
And soon after died King Ethulf, and his son Egbert reigned after him. And after him was Ethelbert king; and in the third year of his reign died this blessed bishop S. And when he should die, he charged his men to bury him in the churchyard, for the people should not worship him after his death. For he loved no pomp by his life, ne none would have after his death. He passed to our Lord the year of grace eight hundred and six. And he lay in the churchyard, ere he was translated, a hundred and nine years and odd days.
But in the time of holy king Edgar his body was translated and put in a shrine in the abbey of Winchester by S. Dunstan and Ethelwold. And the same year was S. Edward, king and martyr shrined at Shaftesbury. These two bishops, Dunstan and Ethelwold, were warned by our Lord to see that these two holy Saints, Swithin and Edward, should be worshipfully shrined, and so they were within short time after.
And a holy man warned Ethelwold whilst he lay sick, to help that these two holy bodies might be shrined, and then he should be perfectly whole, and so endure to his life's end; and the token is that, ye shall find on S. Swithin's grave two rings of iron nailed fast thereon. And as soon as he set hand on the rings they came off of the stone, and no token was seen in the stone, where they were fastened in. And when they had taken up the stone from the grave, they set the rings to the stone again, and anon they fastened to it by themselves.
And then this holy bishop gave laud and praising to our Lord for this miracle. And at the opening of the grave of S. Swithin, such a sweet odour and savour issued out that king Edgar and all the multitude of people were fulfilled with heavenly sweetness, and a blind man received there his sight again, and many were healed of divers sickness and maladies by the merits of this holy saint, S. Swithin, to whom let us pray that he be our advocate to the good Lord for us, etc.
Here followeth the Translation of S. Thomas of Canterbury. The translation of the glorious martyr, S. Thomas of Canterbury, we shall shortly rehearse unto the laud and praising of Almighty God, then in the fiftieth year after his passion, which was the year of jubilee, that is of remission. For, of ancient time, the fiftieth year was called the year of the jubilee of pardon and remission, and is yet used among religious men.
For when a religious man hath continued in his order fifty years, then he shall be admitted to make his jubilee, and that made, he is pardoned and hath remission of many observances that tofore he was bounden unto. Then in this year of jubilee from his passion, was the solemnity of his translation accomplished, in the time of Honorius, the third pope of that name.
The which granted yearly remissions and indulgences so great and large, that tofore in no time of mind hath been seen any popes to have granted and given like. Then let us call to mind that on a Tuesday his translation was accomplished. On the Tuesday happed to him many things.
On a Tuesday he was born, on a Tuesday he was exiled, on a Tuesday our Lord appeared to him at Pountney in France, saying: Thomas, my church shall be glorified in thy blood. On a Tuesday he returned from his exile, and on a Tuesday he suffered martyrdom. Then how this holy translation was fulfilled now ye shall hear. The reverend father in God, Stephen, Archbishop of Canterbury, Richard, bishop of Salisbury, Walter, the prior of the same place, with the convent, with spiritual songs and devout hymns, when it was night, went to the sepulchre of this holy martyr, and all that night and day of his translation, they persevered in prayers and fastings.
And after midnight, four priests, elected and thereto chosen, approaching to his body, took up the holy head with great devotion and reverence, and unto them all offered it for to kiss it. Then the archbishop, and all the others, made great honour to it, and took all the relics of the precious body, and laid them in a chest, and shut it fast with iron locks, and set it in a place for to be kept unto the day that the translation should be solemnised.
The day then of this holy translation being come, there were present a great innumerable multitude of people, as well of rich as of poor. There was Pandulphus, a legate of our holy father the pope, and two archbishops of France, of Rheims and Arles, with many other bishops and abbots, and also king Harry the Third with earls and barons, which king himself took the chest upon his shoulders, and with the other prelates and lords, brought it with great joy and honour in to the place where it is now worshipped, and was laid in a fair and much rich shrine.
At whose holy translation were showed, by the merits of this holy martyr, S. Thomas, many miracles. To blind men was given their sight, to deaf men their hearing, to dumb men their speech, and to dead men was restored life. Among all others there was a man, because of great devotion that he had to be at this holy translation and visit the holy martyr, which came to the bridge at Brentford by London; and when he was in the middle of the bridge, meeting there one, was cast into the water.
This man, not forgetting himself, called S. Thomas unto his help, and besought him not to suffer his pilgrim to perish, ne to be there drowned. And five times he sank down to the ground, and five times arose above the water, and then he was cast to the dry ground. Then he affirmed that he received no water into his mouth, ne into his ears that did to him grievance ne hurt that he felt, save in his falling he felt in his mouth a little salt water; and added more thereto, saying that, when he sank, a bishop held him up that he might not sink. This holy translation was done and accomplished the year of our Lord twelve hundred and twenty, in the nones of July, at three o'clock, in the fiftieth year after his passion.
For this glorious saint our Lord hath showed many great miracles, as well by his life, as after his death and martyrdom. For a little tofore his death a young man died and was raised again by miracle. And he said that he was led to see the holy order of saints in heaven, and there he saw a seat void, and he asked for whom it was, and it was answered to him that, it was kept for the great bishop of England, S.
There was also a simple priest that daily sang no other mass but of our Lady, whereof he was put to S. Thomas his ordinary, whom accused, he opposed, and found him full simple of conning, wherefore he suspended him, and inhibited him his mass. Wherefore this priest was full sorry, and prayed humbly to our blessed Lady that he might be restored again to say his mass. And then our blessed Lady appeared to this priest, and bade him go to S.
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Thomas, and bid him by the token that the lady whom thou servest hath sewed his shirt of hair with red silk, which he shall find there as he laid it, that he give thee leave to sing mass, and assoil thee of his suspending and thine inhibiting, and restore thee again to thy service. Thomas heard this he was greatly abashed, and went and found like as the priest had said, and then assoiled him to say mass as he did before, commanding him to keep this thing secret as long as he lived.
There was a lady in England that desired greatly to have grey eyes, for she had a conceit that she should be the more beauteous in the sight of the people; and only for that cause she made a row to visit S. Thomas upon her bare feet. And when she came thither, and had devoutly made her prayers to have her desire, suddenly she wax stark blind, and then she perceived that she had offended and displeased our Lord in that request, and cried God mercy of that offence, and besought him full meekly to be restored of her sight again.
And by the merits of the blessed S. Thomas she was restored to her sight again, and was glad to have her old eyes, and returned home again, and lived holy to her life's end. Also there was a lord's carver that brought water to him at his table, to whom the lord said: If thou hast ever stolen anything of mine, I pray God and S. Thomas that thou have no water in the bason, and suddenly it was all void of the water and dry, and there was he proved a thief. There was a tame bird kept in a cage whicb was learned to speak. And on a time he fled out of the cage and flew into the field; and there came a sparrowhawk, and would have taken this bird and pursued after.
And the bird being in great dread cried: S. Also there was a man that S. Thomas loved much in his days, and he fell in a grievous sickness, wherefore he went to the tomb of S. Thomas to pray for his health, and anon he had his desire and was all whole. And as he turned homeward, being all whole, then he began to dread lest this health should not be most profitable for his soul.
Then he returned again to the tomb of S. Thomas, and prayed if his health were not profitable to his soul, that his old sickness might come again to him. And it came anon again to him, and endured unto his life's end. And in like wise there was a devout blind man which had his sight restored to him again by the merit of S. Thomas; but after, he repented him for he could not be so quiet in his mind as he was before, he had then so much letting by seeing the vanities of the world.
Wherefore he prayed to our Lord that by the merits of S. Thomas, he might be blind again to the world as he was before, and anon he had his desire, and lived after full holily to his life's end. Who should tell all the miracles that our blessed Lord hath showed for this holy martyr, it should overmuch endure, for ever sith his passion unto this day, God hath showed continually for him many great miracles. Then let us pray this holy saint to be a special advocate for us wretched sinners unto our Lord God, who bring us unto his everlasting bliss in heaven.
Kenelm , Kng and Martyr. Kenelm, martyr, was king of a part of England by Wales. His father was king tofore him, and was named Kenulf, and founded the abbey of Winchcombe, and set therein monks. And when he was dead he was buried in the same abbey. And that time Winchcombe was the best town of that country.
In England are three principal rivers, and they be Thames, Severn, and Humber. This king Kenelm was king of Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire, and the bishop of Worcester was bishop of those three shires, and he was king also of Derbyshire, Cheshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Herefo rdshire, Nottinghamshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Leicestershire, and Lincolnshire. All this was called the March of Wales, and of all those countries S. Kenelm was king, and Winchcombe, that time, was chief city of all these shires. And in that time were in England six kings, and before that, Oswald had been king of all England.
And after him it was departed, in S. Kenelm's days. Kenulf, his father, was a full holy man, and Dornemilde and Quendred were sisters of S. And Kenulf, his father, died the year of our Lord eight hundred and nineteen. Then was Kenelm made king when he was seven years of age, and his sister Dornemilde loved him much, and they lived holily together to their lives' end. But Quendred, that other sister, turned her to wickedness, and had great envy of her brother Kenelm, because he was so rich above her, and laboured with all her power to destroy him, because she would be queen and reign after him, and let make a strong poison, and gave it to her brother.
But God kept him that it never grieved him. And when she saw that she could not prevail against the king in that manner, she laboured to Askeberd, which was chief ruler about the king, and promised to him a great sum of money, and also her body at his will, if he would slay this young king her brother, and anon they accorded in this treason.