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The Life of St Osith.

REVISED AND ANNOTATED BY JOCELYN WOGAN-BROWNE

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE TEXT: The text, written in two columns per page, begins, after the opening rubric in red, with an illuminated initial C , five lines high. Within the edited text, a large drop capital indicates a large majuscule letter in the manuscript, written over two line spaces. Scribal abbreviations have been silently expanded, following the scribe's practice for the same word found written in full. Editorial additions of words or letters judged to have been inadvertently omitted by the scribe are enclosed in square brackets; missing lines are indicated by ellipsis marks enclosed within square brackets. Rejected readings and scribal deletions or additions are indicated within the line, inside parentheses, preceded by ms:, e.g. (ms: deivre) 163, (ms: eras.--) 216; editorial interventions may similarly be indicated, e.g. (528-29 interverted by ed.). We have followed modern practice with respect to punctuation, the use of capital letters for proper names, the distinction between u/v, i/j, c/c, the use of the acute accent on tonic final -e. Because of our uncertain knowledge of Anglo-Norman metrics, the trema has not been used, nor is the text emended solely for metrical reasons. The scribal omission of final unaccented -e is noted by the use of an apostrophe, e.g. seint' Osith 103. Foliation and column number is indicated inside square brackets, in the right margin opposite the first line.

ON THE TRANSLATION: The text is translated into prose from the original's verse couplets as closely as is consistent with fluent modern English. The past tense is used, as is conventional in most English narrative, even where the text alternates past and historic present. Line numbers in the original are given in brackets at the end of each paragraph. Manuscript paragraphing has been followed where possible, but extra paragraphs have been introduced as necessary.

Edition and transcription [c] D.W. Russell, University of Waterloo 2005
ICI COMENCE LA VIE SEINTE OSITH, VIRGE ET MARTIRE

4    Ceo nus mustre seinte escripture,
     Bon fu ki met en Deu sa cure
     Et aime e creient son creatur
     Plus ke ne fet autre seigniur;
     Ki l'aime e creient e bien le sert,
     Ne ci ne ailliurs ja ne pert;
     Ki guerpist terre pur son non
8    Ciel li donne de guerdon;
     Ne change cil pas follement
     Ke terre lesse e le ciel prent;
     Ne folement ne change mie
12   Ke lesse mort e receit vie;           [Fol. 134vb]
     Cil change bien, cil change a dreit
     Ki mort lesse e vie receit;
     Kar certes del mund la richesse
16   N'est fors dolur e granz tristesce;
     Honur del mond est trespassable,
     Et a nus tuz mut poi estable.
     Ki ne volt creire ne saveir,
20   Bien l'os dire, fols est pur veir.
     Veum par ceus ke sunt ale,
     Nos ancestres e trespasse:
     U sont nos aels e nos peres,
24   U nos uncles, u nos meres,
     Ke tant furent riches e beaus,
     Assez orent dras e chivaus?
     Tuz i sont alez, sachez en fin,
28   Si vous atendunt en chemin;
     [.......]
     Quel jur son eire ert aprestez;
     Pur ceo vous di, si l'entendez,
32   Ki aime Deu bonz fu neez.


HERE BEGINS THE LIFE OF ST OSITH, VIRGIN AND MARTYR.

Holy scriptures show us that he who puts his faith in God and loves and fears his creator more than he does any other lord does well: whoever loves and fears him and serves him well will never lose, either here or elsewhere. Whoever gives up land for his sake will receive heaven as a reward. He who gives up earth and receives heaven does not make a foolish bargain; nor he who gives up death and takes life. He makes a good exchange, he exchanges well who leaves death and receives life. For certainly the wealth of the world is nothing but pain and great sadness: the honor of the world is temporary and very unstable for us all. I can confidently say that whoever doesn't want to believe or know this is truly foolish. We can see by those who have died, our ancestors. Where are our grandfathers and fathers? Where are our uncles and our mothers who were so rich and so beautiful, who had so many robes and horses? They have all gone, you may be quite certain, and they are waiting for you on the way [...] on the day his journey will be ready. (1) For this reason I say to you, if you will listen, that whoever loves God was born fortunate.--
     Kar tant cum il Deu amera,
     Et son servise meintendra,
     Pur veir vous di, n'estut doter
36   Quel jur deive del siecle aler.
     A Deu tant bonz fu finement
     Ke de seinz Deu example prent,
     Ki gurpirent terre e honur
40   Et tut le mund pur Deu amur,
     Et soffrirent hunte e esclandre;
     Pur Deu firent lur sanc espandre;
     En bon entente e en bon espeir
44   Mort donerent pur vie aveir;
     De tels a grant plente trovum
     En seinz escriz ke nus lisum;       [Fol. 135ra]
     Et nient de madles solement,
48   Mes de femmes tuit ensement;
     Seintes e veraies Deu anceles,
     Et de [al]quanz tendres puceles,
     Ke tut le mund unt refuse
52   Pur prendre sei a Dampnede,
     Et suffrirent pur son non
     Ou veraie conpunction.
56   De une tele volum parler
     Ke durement fet a loer,
     Ke Deu ama e Deu servi,
     Et tut le mund pur li guerpi;
     Et pur son verai creatur
60   Guerpi son terrien seigniur.
     Li reis estoit fort e puissant,
     Pur Deu l'ad tut refusant,
     Pur li suffri peine e dolur,
64   Et martyre a chef de tur.
     La virge dunt voil parler
     Sovent avez oy nomer,
     Sa vie n'estut guerres leue,


For I tell you truly, as long as he loves God and keeps in his service, there is no need to fear the day he must depart from the world. (1-36)

Certainly dear to God in this way was one such who took example from God's saints, those who abandoned land and honor and all the world for God's love and suffered shame and slander and allowed their blood to be spilled for God. With good intentions and in good hope they gave their death in order to receive life. We find a great many such in holy writings that we read. And not only men but also women, saints and true handmaidens of God, and many tender girls who have rejected all the world to commit themselves to God and suffered for his name with true compunction. (37-54)

We want to speak about one of these who is greatly to be praised, and who loved and served God and left all the world for him, and abandoned her earthly lord for her true creator. It was a strong and powerful king whom she rejected for God's sake, for whom she suffered pain and sadness and finally martyrdom. You have often heard the name of the virgin about whom I want to speak to you--
68    Ne cum dreit fust partut seue;
      Ele est par non Osyd nomee,
      De Engletere nurrie e nee;
      A Deu voua son pucelage,
72    Et bien le tint tut son age;
      Sa vie est bele e gloriuse,
      Seinte e duce e preciuse;
      En cest romanz purrum oir
76    Aprendre bien e retenir
      De seinte Osith e de sa vie,
      Cum Deu la choisi a amie;
      Cum Deu l'aveit ame e chere       [Fol. 135rb]
80    Mustre l'ad en meinte manere;
      Par miracles e par vertu
      Ke en plusurs lius sunt avenu,
      Et bien veu par Engletere,
84    Et en la peis e en la guerre;
      Ke Deus i ad fet aparer
      Et nuit e jur e matin e seir;
      Entendez i communaument,
88    Kar ge le vus di seurement,
      Meuz vaut oir ci entur
      Ke de la geste paenur,
      De Gurcedin e de Saisons,
92    Deu enemis e felons,
      Et d'autre teus pur verite,
      U l'em vus ment a grant plente;
      Ky aime e ot la vanite,
96    Deu li en set mut malgre.
      Des seinz Deu la veraie estoire
      Devum aver bien en memoire;
      Kar quant nus la folur oum,
100   Essample sovent en pernum;


but her life is not much read nor is it known by all as it should be. Her name is Osith, born and bred in England. She vowed her maidenhood to God and kept this vow all her life. (2) Her life is beautiful and glorious, holy, sweet, and precious. In this French story (3) we can hear and learn about St Osith and commemorate her and her life; how God chose her for his lover; how God loved and cherished her and has shown it in many ways, by miracles and marvels that have happened in a number of places, and which have been clearly seen throughout England both in peace and in war, and which God has revealed both night and day, morning and evening. Listen all together, for I tell you certainly that it is better to listen to this than to the deeds of pagans, of Gurredin and the Saxons, (4) enemies of God and evil-doers, (5) and to other such things, where you will be told many lies. Those who love and listen to vanity are not welcome to God. We must hold in our memories the true histories of God's saints because when we listen to folly, we very often take example from it--
      Ky sen escute e sen entent
      Il en amende mut sovent.
      De saint' Osith ore vous dirum,
104   Si cum en l'escrit le trovum;
      Certes mut fet a amer,
      Et a criendre e a duter;
      Mut par est bien de Deu lasus,
108   Bien le direz kant orez plus;
      Mut est dutuse a curucer,
      Kar tantost pense sei venger;
      N'i ad mester coruz ne plait,
112   Tost se venge ki se mesfait         [Fol. 135va]
      Cum vus avant orez assez;
      En cest romanz si l'entendez,
      Ne serrez de fables peu,
116   Mes de miracles e de verteu,
      Ke Deus en Engletere fist
      Pur seint' Osith k'a li se prist;
      Si en crei ke volenters l'orast
120   Ke seint' Osith gre le saverast;
      Kar ki voudra bien puet aider
      Ves Dampnedeu e avancier.
      Ore entendez bien dunc sa vie
124   K'en puissez aver aie,
      Sucurs e son amendement
      Vers Dampnedeu omnipotent.
      La virge Deu tant bonuree
128   Ke seinte Osith est apellee,
      Gentil estoit de parente,
      Fillie ert au rei mut renome,
      En Engletere estoit cil reis,
132   Fredeyold l'apelent Engleis.
      Seinte Osith out cil rei a pere,
      Withborc reine fu sa mere
      Ke estoit fillie Pende le rey,


while he who listens to sensible things and understands them can very often improve himself. (55-102)

Now we will tell you about St Osith, as we have found it written down. She is well worthy of being loved and respected and feared. She is on very good terms with God on high, as you will certainly say when you hear more. It's very dangerous to anger her because she thinks immediately of avenging herself. Nor does she need her anger to develop into a formal offence or a legal action: (6) she readily revenges herself on whoever wrongs her, as you will hear fully farther on. In this French story, (7) if you listen, you will not be fed with fables but with miracles and marvels that God performed in England for St Osith who committed herself to him. (8) And I believe that those of you who listen willingly will know St Osith's gratitude. For anyone who wishes it can certainly help himself to advance towards God. Now listen well to her life so that you can have help, aid, and advancement through her with God the all-powerful. (103-126)

The blessed virgin of God who is named St Osith came from a noble lineage. She was the daughter of a famous king. This king dwelt in England and was called Fredewald by the English. (9) St Osith had this king for father and her mother was Withburga the queen, who was the daughter of Penda, a
136   De grant puissance e de nobley,
      Et mut out en subjection;
      Seint Bede en fait grant mention
      En cele estorie des Engleis,
140   Et dist tut fust cil paens reis
      Il out enfanz de bone fey,
      Verais en crestiene ley;
      Un fiz aveit mut renome,
144   Fillies e neces a grant plente
      Ki se pristrent a Deu del tut,               [Fol. 135vb]
      Amerent e servirent mut.
      Le reis Pende dunt ay parle
148   Les cheres enfanz out engendre
      Ke Dampnedeu a sei choisi;
      Lur non avez assez oy;
      L'une est nome Keneburc,
152   Et l'autre ad non Eadburc,
      Seinte Osith fu del parente,
      Kar lur niece fu pur verite;
      Example prist de lur chastete,
156   Pur Dampnedeu servir a gre;
      Entains en sa primere enfance
      En fiz Deu out sa fiance;
      Entente e tut s'amur
160   Aveit en Deu son creatur;
      Richesce aveit a grant noblei
      Si cume fillie a riche rei;
      Plente de beivre (ms: deivre) e de manger,
164   Et quanque l'em ad en mund cher;
      Mes trestut ce petit preisa,
      Pur Deu despit e tut lessa,
      La richesce ne tut le bien
168   K'eu mund veeit ne preise rien;
      Bien le sachez ke la pucele
      De face estoit e clere e bele,


king of great power and nobility who ruled over many. St Bede makes prominent mention of him in his history of the English and says that although this king was a pagan, he had children of true faith, Christians true to Christian law. (10) He had a very famous son and many daughters and nieces who all took God as their own and loved and served him greatly. King Penda about whom I have spoken begot some dear children whom God chose for himself. You have heard their names often enough. One was named Kyneburga and another was named Eadburga. (11) St Osith was their relative, for she was their niece. She took example from their chastity to serve God willingly. Already during her early childhood she had chosen the son of God as her betrothed. All her love and desire was fixed on God her creator. Since she was the daughter of a rich king, she had wealth and nobility, plenty to eat and drink, (12) and whatever men hold dear in the world. But she did not value all this. She despised and abandoned everything for God's sake. She saw no value in all the wealth and goods of the world. You should know that this girl had a beautiful, bright face--
      De cors bien fete e acemee,
172   Mes plus dedenz fu esmeree;
      Riches e poveres refusa,
      Son pucelage a Deu voua,
      Et cil requist come seigniur
176   Ke violee ne seit nul jur;
      Et Dampnedeu bien l'en oy,
      Par sa ducur e par sa merci               [Fol. 136ra]
      Ne perdi sa virginite (ms: virginitee),
180   Pur nul home de mere ne (ms: nee);
      Unc nul hom de ce ne la conuit,
      Virge nasqui, virge morut.
      La vile u seinte Osith fu nee
184   Querendone est apellee;
      Assez sevent li paisant
      K'en la cuntre sunt manant,
      Plusurs [del] luitain autresi,
188   Le liu u seinte Osith nasqui;
      Enseignie i ad assez apert,
      Ke puet chescum fere cert,
      Unkes pus jekes a cest jur
192   Au liu n'out herbe ne verdur;
      Par son nestre le liu est sacre,
      Et de tut humein us sequestre;
      Dementers k'en ceste vie fu,
196   Deu fist pur lui mut grant vertu,
      Et pus k'est martir mut a fest,
      Dunt partie orrez si vus plest,
      Pur vus joir ge dirray
200   Une partie ke apris ay
      Si cum avant vus disai
      Kant des parenz Osith tuchai;
      Seinte Osith out grant parente
204   De grant richesce e de grant seintete,
      Aels e uncles de grant poeste,


and a well-made and slender body, but she was even more refined within. She refused rich and poor suitors alike. She had vowed her virginity to God and she asked him, as her lord, to make sure that her virginity would never be violated at any time. And God heard her request. Because of his mildness and mercy, she never lost her virginity for any man of woman born. No man ever knew her in this way. She was born a virgin and she died a virgin. (127-182)

The town where Osith was born is named Quarrendon. (13) Plenty of people who live in the area and many also from far away know the place where St Osith was born. It has been clearly revealed, so that anyone who cares to do so can see for himself, that never afterwards to this day has there been either grass or plant in that place. The place was sanctified by her birth and sequestered from all human use. During the time that she was alive, God performed many miracles through her and many more after she was martyred of which you will hear a part if it pleases you. To give you something to profit by, I will tell you some part of what I have learned about them. As I told you before when I touched on Osith's parents, St Osith came from a noble lineage of great wealth and great holiness: grandfathers and uncles of great power,--
      Auntes e neces de grant chastete;
      Li plus d'euz sunt assemble,
208   Au pere Osith sunt conseillie
      Ke a tel mestre seit Osith baillie[e]
      K'en nule manere seit afole[e];
      A Modwin baillier a plus plout,          [Fol. 136rb]
212   A cest consent le conseil finout.
      Kant la pucele parler saveit,
      A Modwen l'abesse baillie esteit;
      A merveillie ama e chere tint,
216   A Rome fu, (ms eras.:--) ou li revint.
      Ceste Modwen dunt ay dist,
      Juste Ardene teus musters fist;
220   L'on a Poleswurthe (ms polesuurche)
        ce dient la gent,
      L'autre en Straneshale vereiment.
      Modwen en l'en sujurna,
      A Edith l'autre otreia;


aunts and nieces of great chastity. A number of them got together and advised Osith's father that he should entrust her to a teacher who could be relied upon not to lead her astray. Most of them thought it a good idea to hand her over to Modwenna, (14) and this was the advice that the council ended by giving. When the girl knew how to talk, she was given to the abbess Modwenna. Modwenna greatly loved and cherished her. She traveled to Rome and back with her. This Modwenna I have spoken about established two churches beside the forest of Arden, one at Polesworth, as people say, and the other at Straneshall. (15) Modwenna lived in one and Edith in the other.--
      Al rei Edfrid esteit seur,
224   Modwen ver li out grant amur.
      Un jur issi aveneit
      K'en oreisons Modwen loinz aleit;
      A Edith Osith enveia
228   Ke bien la preist kar mut l'ama;
      Sa compaigne out lung tens estee
      Mut fu de lui joius' e lee.
      Aukes tens ert trepasse,
232   Modwene a muster est repaire.
      Un livre out trove Edithz,
      Plein de proverbes e de bonz diz,
      Examples i trova a grant plente
236   De vertuz e de seintete,
      Ne vot cel bien sule celer
      Mes ou Modwen commun[i]er.
      A volage ne vot baillier
240   Ki l'empeireit de leger,
      Osith apella par grant ducur:
      "Plereit," dist ele, "bele seur,
      A nostre mere Modwen aler,
244   A li cest livre par moi porter?         [Fol. 136va]
      Dirrez ke granz bienz i puet trover,
      Dunt se memes puet amender,
      Et par doctrines k'ele trovera,
248   Tuz les sens amender purra."
      Osith encline, lui otria,
      Dist ke volenters i (ms: il) irra;
      Le livre prent, rien ne resta,
252   Mes al aler se presta.
      Ha, Deu! ke Edith ne seust l'aventure
      K'avendreit a Osith en cest' ure,
      Ne la lerreit aler si cum je crei
256   Pur tut l'or Mide le rey.


Edith was sister to king Alfred, (16) and Modwenna loved her greatly. One day it happened that Modwenna went far away to pray and because she loved her very much, sent Osith to Edith to take good care of her. She had been her companion for a long time and she was very pleased and happy about her. After a certain time had passed, Modwenna returned to her minster. Edith had found a book full of proverbs and good sayings. She found many examples there of miracles and holiness. She did not want to hide this good thing for herself alone, but rather to share it with Modwenna, but she did not want to entrust it to a careless person who might easily damage it. She called Osith sweetly: "My sister, would you please go to our mother Modwenna and take her this book for me? Tell her that great good can be found in it by which she can edify herself and that from the teachings she will find in it she can correct all her people." Osith obeyed and said that she would go willingly. She took the book and didn't delay at all, but hurried away. Thank God that Edith did not know the adventure which would befall Osith or she would not have let her go, I am sure, for all the gold of King Midas.--
      Si Edith seust ke li avendreit,
      Ceste eire emprendre ne li suffreit
      Pur tut l'or ke seit en Espaine,
260   Ne pur l'onur de Lovaine.
      Si Edith seu[s]t ke Osith est a venir,
      Cest message ne li freit furnir,
      Pur ce k'ot (ms eras.:--) Salamon le sage
264   U Alisandre en tut son age.
      Mes Deu li cela cest conseil,
      Kar de Osith vot fere grant merveil.
      Ivern ert [freid, e](ms eras.:--) mut out pleu,
268   Pur ce la pucele n'est remansu;
      A l'aube del jur en la matinee,
      Errant se est acheminee;
      Le livre prist e s'en ala
272   A Modwen u Edith l'enveia.
      En cest chemin une ewe curreit,
      U la damisele passer deveit;
      Le punt fu lung e d'un sul tref,
276   Passer comensa pouruse e suef.
      La rivere fu large e parfund,                     [Fol. 136vb]
      Et ele ert ja en mi le punt;
      Le vent fu fort e mut bruant,
280   Les pans de son mantel despant,
      Mes par les taches al col remist,
      Et par les gerrons a sei le prist
      Son mantel k'en le livre obli,
284   Ke de ses meins en l'ewe chai;
      De cele perte fu esbai,
      Al prendre s'abessa si le suivi;
      Bien quida son livre aver receu,
288   Mes amdeuz l'ewe ad reteneu.
      Loinz de cel liu les desaka
      Et en une krenke les jeta
      Bien treis arpenz loin del pont,


If Edith had known what would happen to her, she would not have allowed her to undertake this errand for all the gold in Spain nor for all the honor of Louvain. (17) Edith would never have given her that message even for everything that king Solomon the wise possessed, or Alexander in all his life-time, if she had known what was going to happen to Osith. But God hid this knowledge from her because he wanted to perform a miracle through Osith. (183-266)

The winter was cold and it had rained a lot. (18) For this reason the girl did not delay, but set out at dawn in the morning. She took the book and she set off for Modwenna to whom Edith had sent her. Along the way a river flowed which the girl had to cross. The bridge was long and only a single board in width. She began to pass it timidly and fearfully. The river was wide and deep. And when she had got to the middle of the bridge, the wind was strong and very turbulent, and blew up the skirts of her cloak, which remained attached at the neck by the fastenings. She pulled the skirts of her cloak around her and in doing so, she forgot about her book which fell out of her hands into the water. She was dismayed by that loss; she leaned over to get it and followed it into the water. She thought she could rescue her book, but the water took them both. It carried them far off from that place and cast them into a crevice a good three furlongs (19) from the bridge;--
292   Les graventa en un parfunt,
      La jurent amdeuz treis jurs
      Et treis nuiz sanz succurs;
      La jurent treis jurs e treis nuiz
296   Si enfundre en un puiz;
      Treis jurs e nuiz Osith i jut
      Iloec nee en cel duit.
      Issi Osith gesir larrum,
300   Et de sa dame nus cunterum.
      Del quart jur s'esclarzi la matinee,
      Edith s'est mut esmerveilliee
      Ke fest Osith tant targer;
304   Dist k'ele irra l'encheson saver.
      En son quer suffri grant batestal,
      Bien leva devant le chant de gal,
      Errant se mist a cheminal;
308   Modwen l'encuntre par esperital;
      Si cum Edith aveit veu
      Modwen silence ad derumpu;                      [Fol. 137ra]
      Bien par son semblant ad aparcu
312   Ke ele fu dolente e (ms eras.:u) irascu.
      "Edith, bele seur, ke estes dolente?"
      "Dame," dit Edith, "Ore oez quei me turmente:
      Damoisele Osith a vus enveiay,
316   Un livre portant ke mut amay,
      Hui est le quart jur trespassant
      Puis n'en oi mes ne cuntremant;
      Dame, ke est ele demore tant?"
320   Dist Modwen: "De co ne soi rien avant."
      Si l'un' e l'autre fu esbaye
      Ceo demander serreit folie.
      Pasturs furent leus delez,
324   Lur bestes pessanz par ces pres;
      Les dames a eus sunt alez,
      Apres saluz unt demandez:


it hurled them into a deep hole. They both lay there for three days and three nights without any help, thrust into a pit. Three days and nights Osith lay there, drowned in this stream. (267-298)

We will let Osith lie there and tell of her mistress. From the dawn of the fourth day, Edith greatly wondered what made Osith so late. She said that she would go to find out the reason. She suffered a great turmoil in her heart. She got up well before the cock crowed and set out quickly. By divine guidance, Modwenna met her. When she had seen Edith, Modwenna broke the silence. She could clearly see from her appearance that she was upset and worried. "Edith, dear sister, what is the matter?" "Lady," said Edith, "now you will hear what is troubling me. I sent Mademoiselle Osith to you, bringing a book which I loved greatly. Today is the fourth day that has passed without either a messenger or an explanation. Lady, why has she delayed so long?" Modwenna replied, "I know nothing of this." Both of them were dismayed: it would be foolish to ask why! There were some shepherds nearby who were pasturing their animals in the meadows there. The women went to them and, after greeting them, asked:--
      "Amis, ke Deu vus doint sauvete,
328   Ceo dunt vus prium diez verite,
      Veistes une damoisele al punt aler,
      A la matinee li tierz jur fu er,
      Afuble out un neir mauntel?"
332   A ceo dient li pasturel:
      "Une tele pucele cum vus querez,
      Hui est quart jur veimes assez,
      Amunt sur la chause passer,
336   Jeske al punt veimes aler,
      Mes kar a nos bestes entendium,
      Plus n'en seumes, en fei vus dium."
      Lors ke nee fust suscherent
340   Les dames, e al punt repeirerent;
      Amedeuz se mistrent en oreison,
      Ou plurs, ou grant devotion,
      Ke Deu lur deignast le cors mustrer,   [Fol. 137rb]
344   Ke suveus le puissent enterrer.
      Primes sa preere Modwen fina,
      A pont Osith deuz feiz clama:
      "Damoisele Osith, venez hors
348   Ke veer puissum vostre cors;
      A ceo vus doint force e vigur
      Ke Lazre suscita al tirz jur."
      A peine out Modwen sa voiz fini
352   Ke de l'euue Osith ne issi
      Neste e secke, son livre ausi,
      Et dist: "Dame, veez moi ci."
      Si cum del tut fu virgine pure,
356   Son livre e li sunt sanz muilliure.
      Ha Deu! ky pust esgarder
      Quel joie les dames vunt demener,
      Tut le mund dust refuser
360   Ki ces treis pust bien aviser.


"Friends, may God give you health, please tell us the truth about this. Did you see a girl dressed in a black cloak cross the bridge in the morning three days ago?" The shepherds said, "We did see a girl like the one you're asking about up on the road--this is now the fourth day since then. We saw her go as far as the bridge, but because we were busy with our animals we can't tell you anything more." (299-339)

Since the two women thought that she had drowned, they returned to the bridge. Both began to pray with tears and great devotion that God would consent to reveal to them the body so that they could at least bury it. Modwenna finished her prayer first. At the bridge she called Osith twice: "Mademoiselle Osith, come out so that we can see your body. May he who raised Lazarus on the third day give you strength and vigor for this." Hardly had Modwenna finished when Osith came out of the water, neat and dry, and her book too, and said, "Lady, see me here." Because she was a pure virgin, both she and her book were without any moisture. (20) I swear by God, anyone who had seen the joy these women showed would have rejected all the world if he had been able carefully to observe these three.--
      Modwen Osith ad a sei prise,
      Tant cum vesqui li est remise;
      Tant cum Modwen fu en vie
364   De li Osith ne fu partie.
      Ke ja ne seit celee cest miracle,
      Cum Osith en l'euue out habitacle,
      L'euue ou Osith fu nee
368   Tut dis puis en ad renumee;
      Ke james en secle ne seit cele (ms: celee),
      Le liu Nunnepol (ms: uinnepol) est apelle
        (ms: apelee);
      Ke dunc fust nunein ne di pas,
372   Kar l'en le tendreit a folie e gas
      Si dunc fust nonein velee
      Ne fust apres reine espusee.
      Assez a[y] dist de cest veage,
376   Ore vus dirrai del mariage.                   [Fol. 137va]
      Kant Modwen fu en cel mene[e],
      Frethuuald sa fillie ad repelle[e].
      Le sunt e joius tuit li parent
380   De sa porture e enseinement;
      Tuit fu son purpos e desir
      Virgine vivre e morir,
      En quel change serra martir.
384   De cest purpos n'est ensense
      Son pere, pur ceo se est purpense
      De Osith, k'il la volt marier (ms: marcer)
      A poestif homme le rei Syer.
388   Seint' Osith en est anguisuse,
      Pensive en quer e doleruse.
      Mes al pere de ceo n'est rien,
      Que que li seit, [eu] mal eu bien,
392   N'i ad rien d'escusatiun,
      Faire l'estuet eu voillie eu nun.
      Li rei fet mander ses amis,
      Baruns e cuntes del pais,


Modwenna hugged Osith and she remained with her for the rest of Modwenna's life. As long as Modwenna was alive, Osith was never separated from her. May this miracle never be hidden, how Osith had a dwelling place in the water. The river where Osith was drowned has been famous ever since, so that it may never be hidden from the world. The place is called Nunpool. (21) (I do not mean to say that she was a nun at that time: people would consider it folly and mockery if she were then a veiled nun and afterwards also became a married queen.) (340-374)

I have said enough about this journey. Now I will tell you about the marriage. When Modwenna was taken up to heaven, Fredewald called his daughter back to him. All her relatives were happy and pleased with her behavior and education. Her whole desire and intention were to live and die a virgin (in which exchange she will be a martyr.) (22) Her father was not aware of this intention. Therefore he decided that he wanted to marry Osith to a powerful man, King Sighere. (23) St Osith was greatly anguished, full of care in her heart and sorrowful. But this was nothing to her father: however she might feel about it, whether happy or sad, there was no excuse. She had to do it, willingly or not. The king sent for his friends, for barons and counts from the
396   Et chivalers e autre gent,
      Pur lur conseil communalment.
      Al rei Syer ad fet doner
      Osith sa filie, e espuser
400   Solunc l'agard ke fu asis
      En icel tens en lur pais.
      Syer le rey sa femme ameine,
      Ele out au quer dolur e peine,
404   E Deu requert omnipotent
      Ou lermes mut espessement,
      Ke ja ne li seit viole
      Ceo que peca li out voe,
408   Sun pucelage li purgart
      Ke ne perde ne tost ne tart;     [Fol. 137vb]
      Mes si cum se est a lui donee,
      Bien li puisse estre gardee.
412   Le jur ke seint' Osith alat,
      Kant li rey Syer l'enmenat,
      Witburg sa mere al departir
      Deuz homes fist ou li venir,
416   Ke Dampnedeu aveient cher,
      Ententif mut a sun mester.
      Prestres esteient ordenez,
      Et seinz eveskes puis sacrez,
420   Bedewin out li un a nun,
      Ecca li autre compaignun.
      La reine ad a ceus liveree
      Osith [sa] fillie e comandee,
424   Pur li garder en dreite fey,
      En dreit amur e en sa ley.
      Li reis Syer ses noces tint
      Si cum a rei plus bel covint;
428   E les plus hauz de son regne
      Le jur i aveient ensemble,
      Mut se penat de tuz heiter.


region, and knights and other people, for their agreement. He gave his daughter Osith to King Sighere in marriage according to the custom of their country at that time. (375-401)

King Sighere took his wife away with him. She had pain and suffering in her heart and prayed with abundant tears to God almighty that what she had vowed to him some time ago would never be broken, that he would safeguard her virginity for her so that she would never ever lose it, and that, since she had given herself to God, she would be saved for him. On the day that St Osith left, when king Sighere took her away, Withburga, her mother, on her departure, sent with her two men who loved God and were very devout in his service. They were ordained priests and later were consecrated as bishops. Bedwin was the name of one and his companion was called Acca. (24) The queen entrusted her daughter Osith to them and commanded them to preserve her in the true faith in righteous love and in God's law. (402-425)

King Sighere held his wedding as was fitting for an important king and he assembled the leading people of his kingdom and took care that all should enjoy themselves.--
      La nuit quant vunt puis a cocher,
432   Sa femme ad fet tost demander
      Ke tant al quer puet desirer.
      Kant seint' Osith out la novele
      A Dieu ceo dist: "La vostre ancele
436   Pur vostre nun ore defendez,
      Le vostre poer i mettez,
      Ge i mettrai trestut le mien
      Ke ne seie pur nule rien
440   Hunye a nuit ne violee;
      E quant me sui a vous donee,
      Defendez moy cum vostre amye                 [Fol. 138ra]
      Ke ne seie a nuit honye."
444   Atant si est avant venue,
      Si tost cum li rois l'ad veue
      Mut la coveite, mut la desire,
      Et seint' Osith li dist: "Beau sire,
448   Pur Deu merci, kar m'entendez,
      Et aukes de respit me donez;
      De ceste assemble entre nus
      Dunt vus estes tant desirus,
452   Respit vus requer, sire rey,
      Si ja voilliez joir de mey."
      Cil la ne vout pur rien oir
      Mes tut dis tire a son desir.
456   Cele pur rien ke sace dire,
      Par boneirte plus ke pur ire,
      Ne vout faire ne consentir
      A son talent n'a son pleisir.
460   Mut requert termes e respiz
      Mes il le fait mut a envis;
      Et nequedent tant l'ad lutie (ms: lutiee),
      Requis mut et travaillie (ms: trauailliee)
464   Par la vertu del Seint Esperit
      Ke l'ovre est mis en respit;


When night came and time to go to bed, he at once asked for his wife, whom he so much desired in his heart. When St Osith heard the news, she said to God: "Now defend your handmaiden for the sake of your name. Exert your power so that, as long as I do my best, I shall not be in any way shamed or violated this night. And since I have given myself to you, defend me as someone you love, so that I may not be shamed this night." (426-443)

She came forward. As soon as the king saw her, he greatly desired and lusted for her. St Osith said to him: "Dear lord, for the love of God, listen to me and give me some respite from this union between us which you desire so much. I ask you for a small delay, lord King, if you ever wish to enjoy me." He didn't want to listen to her at all but continued to pursue his desire. She, using anything she could think of to say, but speaking pleasantly rather than in anger, would not consent to his desire or his pleasure. She urgently requested terms and a respite, but he accepted this very unwillingly, and she continued nevertheless to resist him so much, pressing her request, and pleading through the power of the Holy Spirit, that the time was put off. (25)--
      Deus l'ad garde omnipotent,
      Unc ne l'aprocha charnelement.
468   E gueres plus ne demora
      Ke il autre feiz la resona
      K'a li se vout assembler,
      Respit ne vout mes doner.
472   Mes seint' Osith cria merci
      A Dampnedeu tut autresi
      Cum aveit ele fet devant
      Ke par son nun l'ert defendant.     [Fol. 138rb]
476   Le reis comence a losenger,
      E tel ovre est, a coroucer;
      Mes tant a purchace e quis
      E tant feit entre giu e ris,
480   De jur en jur est purloinie,
      Charnelement ne ad aproche.
      Soventefeiz l'ad envaie,
      Mes Dampnedeu garda s'amie,
484   Ke ou son barun maneit issi
      Virgine treis anz e demi.
      Un jur apres issi avint
      Li reis Syer sa feste tint
488   Ke il fist de sa nativite;
      Grant poeple i out assemble,
      Contes, barons e chivalers,
      Ses frankeleins e ses terrers.
492   Le jur quant il aveit mange,
      Et sunt partut joius e le,
      Et il meimes bien enbeverez
      En la chambre est tut dreit alez,
496   Et s'i cuche sur son lit;
      Kant repose se est un petit
      Sa femme fet a ly venir,
      Si la comence en lit gisir,


Almighty God protected her and Sighere never managed to approach her in a carnal way. And hardly any time passed before he began arguing with her again because he wanted to sleep with her. He didn't want to grant her any further reprieve. But St Osith cried to God for mercy just as she had done before, that he would defend her for his name's sake. The king began first to flatter, and then to become angry. But she exerted herself and pleaded so much and between game and laughter said enough so that from day to day he was put off. He never approached her carnally. He often wanted to, but God protected his beloved, so that she lived in this way as a virgin with her husband for three and a half years. (444-485)

One day after this it happened that King Sighere held his birthday feast. He had assembled many people: counts, barons, and knights, his franklins and his landholders. That day, when he had eaten and everybody was merry and glad and he himself had drunk well, he went straight to his chamber and lay down on his bed. When he had rested a bit he sent for his wife and began to lie with her in his bed.--
500   Bien entrussement li dist,
      Mes ne li durra respit.
      Kant seint' Osith icest entent,
      Plure des oilz mut tendrement
504   Et vers le ciel lasus garda,
      Et Dampnedeu mut reclama,
      Ke par la sue grant vertu,
      G[a]rant li seit en bon escu.
508   Li reis se peine mut forment       [Fol. 138va]
      De son bon fere e sun talent,
      E ele a trestut son poer
      Se tint contre l'ardent voler,
512   Me[s] come ele plus se defent
      Cil se deve e plus esprent,
      De son bon fere met pur veir
      Tute sa force e son poeir,
516   E jure asez e dist le bien
      Son cuntredit ne li vaut rien.
      En ceste anguisse u ele esteit
      E la dolur ke ele a quer aveit
520   Seint' Osith ententivement
      Reclama Deu omnipotent,
      E dist: "Sire Deu, vostre aye,
      Ceste ancele n'obliez mye,
524   Tantes feiz m'avez sucuru,
      E mun cors, Sire, defendu;
      A ceste feiz, Sire, me sucurez,
      Des maus a cestui me delivrez
528   Sanz enfreindre la veray voe.
      Si vus promet pur verite (528-29
        inverted by ed.)
      Si vus a ceste feiz aydez
      Pur mei succure e travailliez,
532   Puis ceste hure mettrai pur veir
      Tute ma force e mun poeir
      Ke mes travail n'averez en pose
      De mei ayder pur cele chose."


He told her very firmly that he would never again grant her any delay. When St Osith heard that, she wept very piteously and looked up to heaven and called fervently to God to protect and shield her by his great power. The king tried with all his might to have his will of her and she, with all her might, defended herself against his ardent desire. But the more she defended herself, the more he became maddened and inflamed. He used all his force and strength to have his will of her and swore many times and said clearly that her resistance counted for nothing with him. (486-517)

In such straits as she was, and with pain in her heart, St Osith called on God almighty and said, "Lord God, give me your aid. Do not forget this maiden. Many times you have helped me and defended my body, lord. This time, lord, help me and free me from the evil of this man, so that I do not break my true oath. (26) I promise you truly that if you help me this time, from this hour onwards I will truly apply all my strength and my power so that you will never again have to trouble to help me in this matter." (518-535)
536   Qant seint' Osith aveit dit tant,
      Este vus une noyse mut grant,
      Ke en cele sale est ja levee;
      La gent laenz se desree
540   E haut e bas communaument
      Crient e huchent durement,           [Fol. 138vb]
      E vers la chambre vunt criant,
      Li un ariere, li autre avant.
544   "A Deu," funt il, "li reis u est?
      Allas, ke il ne set cest
      Ke hui en cest jur est avenu!
      Mut se tenist a deceu
548   Si il sust ceste aventure,
      Kant venu n'i est a dreit' hure!"
552   Ly reis escute e entent
      La grant noyse ke funt sa gent,
      Coment le vunt tut demandant.
      E il s'en turne maintenant,
      E vers l'uis de la sale vait
      Pur saver mun quele noise i ait;
556   E puis ke il lur ad demande
      Delivrement li unt cunte
      Cum faitement un poy devant
      Un cerfs tut blanc i vint currant,
560   Ke de la mer tut dreit veneit
      Et si curut a grant espleit
      La hors u bien esteit veus
      Par les braches e les seus,
564   U tut esturent a lur past,
      Si cum les chiens rien ne dotast.
      E li brachet trestuz cuple
      E li seuz entremedle,
568   Li autre chien petit e grant,
      A fort espleit le vunt suivant.


Just as St Osith had finished saying this, there arose a great noise in the hall. The people there were in great confusion: everyone, high and low together, called out and yelled loudly and ran shouting towards the bedchamber, some in front and others behind. "God!" they said, "Where is the king? Alas that he does not know what has happened today! He would hold himself cheated for not coming out at the right time if he knew about this adventure." (536-549)

The king listened and heard the great clamor his people were making, and how they all asked for him, and he turned and went towards the door of the chamber to find out what the noise was about. And after he asked them, they quickly told him how, a little before, a white stag had come running directly from the sea, and how it ran very fast out in the open where it was seen by the hounds and hunting dogs where they were all at their meal, as if the stag did not fear the dogs at all. And all the leashed brachets and the other hunting dogs with them, and all the other dogs both large and small, went running after it at great speed.--
      Ky ke pout unkes cheval aver,
      Apres s'en est ale pur ver,
572   E que cheval n'en aveit prest,
      Tut a pie ale s'en est.
      Quant li reis ad iceo oy,                       [Fol. 139ra]
      "Ostez," ceo dit, "trop ai dormi!
576   Ca, mun cheval delivrement!"
      E il ne s'est targie nient,
      Ainz comande trestuz munter
      E sei meimes fet aprester,
580   Puis est munte maintenant
      E vait le cerf a plein suivant.
      Li cerfs s'en (ms: cen) vait ou grant bandon,
      Li reis apres e cist baron;
584   Current li chien a grant espleit,
      Deske li cerf est venu tut dreit
      Deske a un bras parfund de mer,
      U ne soleit nuls hom passer,
588   Kar l'euue esteit redde e parfunde.
      Li cerf s'est mis tut dreit en l'unde.
      Cel bras de mer li paisant
      Cattewade vunt apellant.
592   Li cerf en l'euue noe amunt,
      Les chiens anguissus sunt,
      Crient e funt noise mut grant.
      A nou le vunt a plein suivant,
596   Li reis en est mut anguissus,
      Del cerf prendre mut desirus,
      Kar unkes ne vit nul jur
      Cerf ne bisse de sa blanchur.
600   Il vait puignant par cel sablon,
      Hurte chival des esporun,
      Coment chevache ne li chuet,
      En braz de mer parfund se met,


Indeed anyone there who could get a horse followed it, and those who didn't have a horse ready went running on foot. (550-573)

When the king heard this, he said, "Away! I've slept too much. My horse, quick!" He didn't wait at all. He commanded all to mount and got himself ready. Then he mounted immediately and went to follow the stag. (574-581)

The stag fled headlong with the king and his men chasing after it. The dogs were running rapidly and the stag came to a deep arm of the sea where no man was used to crossing because the water was rough and deep. The stag plunged straight into the sea. The inhabitants call this arm of the sea Cattawade. The stag swam in the current; the dogs were highly excited. Baying and making a great deal of noise, they followed it. The king was very anxious, very desirous of taking the stag, because he had never before that day seen a stag or hind of such whiteness. He went galloping along the beach, pricking his horse with his spurs. How he rode didn't matter to him. He plunged into the arm of the sea.--
604   Red e parfund esteit li guez,
      Devant ceo n'ert unc mes passez
      Par home a chival ne a pie,
      Trestut primes l'ad asaie.                     [Fol. 139rb]
608   L'ure quant sunt li chien passe
      Estoit li reis parfund en gue;
      Mes le cheval iert fort e bon,
      Tut sulement se met a port.
612   Ly cerf a plein en chemin entre
      E vunt li chien currant sur ventre,
      E li reis vient apres puigniant,
      Ses chiens a plein esbaudissant.
616   Mes li cerf n'est unkes restuz,
      Dekes Donewiz est dreit venuz,
      Iluec s'est mis en cele mer.
      Li rei se peine del haster,
620   Mes n'i put unc si tost venir,
      Pur rien [ne] put le cerf choisir.
      Ne set coment s'en est partiz
      Kar de ses oilz est evaniz.
624   Les chiens esteient tut asote,
      E sus e jus unt resgarde.
      Ore penst d'autre cerf li reis,
      Kar ne verra cesti del meis.
628   Tant cum li reis vait demorant,
      E ou ses chiens le cerf suivant,
      Seint' Osith n'ad pas oblie
      En quel pour aveit este.
632   Ainz dist ke mes ne targera
      De ceo ke out enpense peca.
      Coment ke li plai pust se prendre, (ms: pus se prenge)
636   A Dampnedeu se voudra rendre.
      Puis en apres la Deu ancele
      Tuit en secrei a sei apelle
      Seint Ecca e seint Bedewin,


The crossing was deep and rough. Before that, it had never been crossed by a man either on foot or on horseback. He was the first to try. When the dogs had got across, the king found himself deep in the middle of the ford. But the horse was good and strong and reached the shore on its own. (582-611)

The stag went running along the path, and the hounds went running after it as fast as they could, flat to the ground. The king came riding behind, encouraging his dogs. But the stag never stopped until it came to Dunwich. There it plunged into the sea. The king tried hard to hurry, but he couldn't get there quickly enough. He could not see the stag at all. He didn't understand how it had gone, but it had vanished from his sight. The dogs were confused, looking this way and that. Now the king had better think about other stags, because he will never see this one again. (612-627)

While the king was delayed following the stag with his dogs, St Osith had not forgotten how frightened she had been, rather she told herself that she would not put off any longer what she had made up her mind to do a little while before. However their disagreement might resolve itself, she would want to give herself to God. Shortly after this, God's handmaiden called St Acca and St Bedwin to her,--
      E si lur dist, le chief enclin:
640   "Seigniurs, ore m'escutez ici,           [Fol. 139va]
      Pur amur Deu merci vus cri,
      Pensez de mei conseil doner:
      Eu mund ne voudray plus ester,
644   Ne mes suffrir le grant ennui;
      En cel habit u ore sui,
      Jeo voil ke le veil me donez,
      Pur nule rien me ne targez;
648   Jeo l'ay tut prest ci ou mei,
      Prendre le voil en bone fei."
      Cil responent: "Dame, merci,
      Nus ne l'osum pas fere issi
652   Kar vus estes joint a seigniur,
      Coment k'entre nus seit l'amur
      Par nostre asenz n'osum pas
      Muer a vus l'abit des dras;
656   Mes si vus plest, dame, suffrez,
      A ceo purrez venir assez;
      N'osum tele chose uncore enprendre,
      Deske en avant bien est d'atendre."
660   E seint' Osith requert assez
      Pur Deu amur les ordenez,
      Ke il fac[ent] ceo ke lur ad dist
      Mes il li unt tut escundist;
664   E quant la dame bien entent
      Ke ne volent faire nient,
      "Seigniurs," ceo dit, "quant est issi,
      Deu penst de mei par sa merci."
668   Plus en apres leva sa main
      E treit le veil hors de son sein
      E sur le auter offrir le vait,
      Puis de sa main vers li le trait
672   E sur son chief le veil ad mis
      E atache e bien asis [Fol. 139vb]


and said to them, her head bowed:

"Sirs, listen to me here. For the love of God, I beg your mercy. I need your advice. I no longer wish to live in the world, or suffer its pains any longer in the clothing I currently wear. I want you to give me the veil. By no means put me off: I have it all ready here with me. I want to take it in good faith."

They responded:

"Lady, mercy: we don't dare to do it in this way, for you are joined to a husband. For all the affection that there is between us, we daren't give our consent to changing your habit. But if you will be patient, lady, you can achieve what you desire. We do not yet dare to undertake such a thing since it is better to wait a little."

And St Osith pleaded greatly with the priests for the love of God to do what she had asked them to, but they refused her everything. When the lady realized that they did not intend to do anything, she said:

"Sirs, since it is like this, may God think of me in his mercy."

Then she lifted her hand, and took the veil out of her bosom and went to offer it on the altar. Then, with her own hand, she drew the veil towards herself and placed it on her head and attached it and fixed it well--
      E dit: "Dampnedeu tut puissant,
      Cors e alme ci vus comant,
676   Si me gardez pur vostre nun,
      Car n'ay d'autre guarisun."
      Seinte Osith ad cest ovre enpris
      Ke sur son chief le veil ad mis.
680   Li rei vient ja de chacer
      U gueres ne put espleiter.
      A l'us de la sale decent,
      Irus e plein de maltalent,         (682-83 inverted by ed.)
684   Car custume est, bien le savez,
      Ke riche home coruce assez
      Kant a sa beste avera failli,
      E il refist tut autresi.
688   En la chambre est droit ale,
      La reine ad tost demande.
      E ele vient en son neir veil:
      Al rei en fremist chescun peil,
692   L'alme del cors pur poi s'en ist,
      Tant s'emai, tant enpouerist.
      E quant regart la couele bise,
      A poy d'effrai le quer n'i brise.
696   Del cerf li membre ke il tant suivi,
      Quide ke deable l'en a trai.
      Mes quant se parceit de la reine,
      De rampuner la ne fet traine:
700   Mut la comence a leidenger
      Des paroles e a tencer;
      Coruce e deve a desmesure,
      Asez li dist, asez li jure,
704   Dist par serment e manascer,
      Tut son engin n'avera mester,
      [......]
      Ne pura pas si enginnier.              [Fol. 140ra]


and said: "Almighty and all powerful God, I commend my body and soul to you. Protect me in your name, for I have no other surety." (628-677)

Just when St Osith had undertaken to place the veil on her own head, the king returned from the hunt, where he had not been successful, and dismounted at the hall door. (27) He was angry and full of bad temper, for it is usual, as you well know, for a rich man to become very angry when he fails to capture his quarry, and just so did the king. He went straight to his chamber and sent immediately for the queen. And she came in her black veil. (28) The hair on the king's neck stood up. His soul nearly fled from his body out of fright, so great was his dismay and alarm, and when he looked at the brown cowl, his heart almost cracked for fear. He remembered the stag which he had pursued so hard and thought that the devil had taken it. But when he saw the queen, he did not delay in reviling her. He began vehemently to upbraid and reproach her. Angry and furious beyond measure, he said and swore enough at her, saying both as a threat and an oath that all her scheming would be of no use [....], (29) that she could not deceive him in this way.
708   Mais ele li dist pur nient le fet,
      Pur nul homme n'ert defet;
      Dekes a Deu s'est si rendue,
      Mes ne put li estre tollue;
712   Ainz voudra meuz la mort suffrir
      Ke cest abit james guerpir.
      A demesure grant dolur
      En fet li rei e nuit e jur;
716   Lesse son beivre e son manger,
      Cum fu jadis custumer,
      Ne put nuls hom a ly parler,
      N'en la chambre gueres entrer.
720   Kant sa dolur ad fet asez
      Ke tut put estre alessez,
      Purpense sey a chef de tur
      Ke rien ne vaut sa dolur,
724   Kant veit ke ne put estre muee,
      A seinte Osith ad grantee,
      Ke remaine tut autresi
      En cel abit ke ele ad choisi;
728   S'il vei[s]t ke el estre peust,
      Ja le conge par lui n'eust.
      "Dame," ceo dit il, "quant issi est
      Ke jeo ne puis vus tollir icest,
732   Ceo peise mei estre mun gre,
      Ore seit a vostre volunte.
736   Mes kant l'avet issi empris,
      Des ore n'i ad en, ceo m'est avis;
      Mes a ceste religion
      Covent ke jeo mette mun don:
      La vile Chich vus doins issi,
      Kenelovedene tut autresi,
740   Tut ensement Hodefeld averez.         [Fol. 140rb]
      De ceo faites vos volentez,
      Kar jeo vous bien frai estorer;


But she told him that his threats were of no account, that her action could not be undone for any man. Now that she had given herself up to God, she could not be taken away from him: on the contrary, she would rather suffer death than ever abandon her habit. (678-713).

The king grieved out of measure day and night. He stopped eating and drinking as he had been accustomed to do. Nor could any man speak to him or even enter his chamber. When he had mourned enough for everything to be somewhat relieved, he thought finally that nothing was worth all that grief. When he saw that nothing could be changed, he gave his permission to St Osith to remain as she was, in the habit she had chosen. If he had seen that it could have been otherwise, she would never have had his leave. (714-730)

"Lady," he said, "although it grieves me that I can't persuade you to remove the veil from yourself, let it now be as you wish. Since you have undertaken this, from now on there's nothing left to do about it, in my opinion: but it is fitting that I should make my gift to this religion. So I give you the town of Chich and also Kelvedon as well, and you shall also have Hatfield. (30) Do what you will with these, because I will have them well endowed for you.
      E estre ceo vus voil doner
744   De checun conte e de baron
      La secunde fillie par non,
      De tant cum ad en mun regne;
      E puis a vostre volente
748   Ensemble ou vus serrunt veleez,
      E en religiun doneez."
      Si cum il dist issi l'ad fet,
      E seinte Osith mut tost s'en vet
752   Pur sa meisun faire aturner
      U deit, pur Deu servir, rester.
      Aprester fait delivrement
      Des offices ceo ke apent;
756   Les damiseles sunt mande[e]z
      E de par Deu mut tost veleez;
      Ou seinte Osith remises sunt
      E tut guerpi l'onur del mund,
760   A Deu servunt devotement,
      E mut i vivent seintement.
      Apres lung tens avint issi,
      Cum vus avez asez oi,
764   Des ces paens Deus enemis
      Ke ja vindrent en cest pais
      De Danemarche lur dreit curs,
      Gent haye de pute murs,
768   Ki sunt venu par dreit fuire,
      Pur crestiens partut destruire.
      Li deuz tyranz ki unt mene
      Ynguar e Ubba sunt nome;
772   Les crestiens vunt destruant,
      Chasteus e viles asegant,         [Fol. 140va]
      N'en pernent autre rancun
      De crestien for le chef nun.
776   Cil deuz tyranz pur verite,
      Seint Edmund unt decole,


And this done, I will give you the second daughter by name of every count and baron in my kingdom. And at your wish, they shall be veiled together with you and given to religion." (731-749)

As he said, so did he do. And St Osith left promptly to make her house ready, where she would have to remain to serve God. She speedily prepared everything necessary for its various offices. The maidens were sent for and very soon veiled for God; they remained with St Osith, and she completely abandoned the honor of the world. They served God devotedly and lived very holy lives. (750-761)

After a long time it happened, as you have often heard, that God's enemies, the pagans, who had already been to this country, took their way from Denmark. They were hateful people of terrible customs, who came here to flee justice and to destroy all the Christians. The two tyrants who led them were called Hubba and Yngvar. They destroyed Christians and besieged castles and towns; they took no other ransom for Christians except their heads. These two tyrants in fact beheaded St Edmund. (31)
      E puis comencent a errer
      Par la costere de la mer,
780   E en viles entrent partut
      E ocient le gent a but,
      Ardent les eglises a plein,
      Tuent les prestres de lur mein,
784   Robent la gent, funt envayes
      Partut la u trouvent abeies;
      Le fu i metent de lur mains,
      Moines ocient e noneines,
788   U k'il viengent, ceo saciez bien,
      A destruire ne lessent rien,
      E en lur nef entrent apres.
      Par cele mer vunt ades,
792   Tant unt nage, tant unt sigle,
      Ke pres de Chich sunt araie,
      E puis sailliunt sur cel gravier,
      Le pais vunt tut enchercher,
796   Pur quere cristiene gent,
      K'a quer heent trop cruelement.
      Seinte Osith fu le jur alee
      Si cum esteit acustumee,
800   A une secree fontaine
      Quatre meschines ou sei meine,
      Pur sei laver sunt alees
      E li paen les unt trovees;
804   N'entendirent pas lungement
      Ainz decolent communaument
      Seinte Osith ke unt trove ci        [Fol. 140vb]
      E les autres ensemble ou li.
808   Mes Seinte Osith tut erranment
      Son chief entre ses mains prent,
      Si cum n'eut anguisse eue,
      Tant veit k'al muster est venue;


Then they began to travel along the sea coasts and they went into villages everywhere and killed the people without hesitation. They burned many churches and killed the priests with their own hands. They robbed the people and made attacks wherever they found abbeys. They fired them with their own hands and killed monks and nuns. Wherever they went, you may be sure, they left nothing to be destroyed. Then they went back to their ships and went elsewhere. Advancing down that coast, they sailed and navigated so far that they drew up near Chich. Then they leapt out onto the shingle and went searching through the countryside to look for Christian people, whom they cruelly hated in their hearts. (762-797)

That day, as was her custom, St Osith had gone to a secret spring, taking four young girls with her. They had gone there to bathe. And the pagans found them. They didn't wait long. On the contrary, they beheaded them all together, St Osith whom they found there, and the others with her. But St Osith immediately picked up her head in her hands, as if she had not suffered any harm, and went along until she came to her monastery.
812   La fontaine dunt ele est alee
      A deuz quarenteines de veiee
      E plus est loinz de cel muster,
      A dreite veie u a sentier,
816   U seinte Osith son chief porta.
      L'us del muster puis entra,
      De ses mains l'ad ensenglante
      Dunt ele aveit son chef porte.
820   L'enseigne fu apert' e grant,
      E lung tens puis aparissant,
      E si raveit tut ensement
      En nostre tens asez [de] gent
824   Ke l'us virent ensenglante (ms: ensenglantee)
      Par ki savum la verite (ms: veritee).
      Seinte Osith n'est unkes arestue,
      Dekes a l'auter est dreit venue,
828   E de son chef i fet present
      A Dampnedeu omnipotent,
      A ly del tut s'est comandee
      Pur ki amur fu decolee,
832   E puis repeire belement
      E entre pilers se estent
      En presbiterie del muster,
      E ses meins comence a drecer
836   Vers Dampnedeu son creatur
      Pur ky suffri mort e dolur.
      Torne[e] dreit vers l'orient,
      A Dampnedeu l'esperit rent. [Fol. 141ra]
840   Seignurs, ore avez bien oy
      De la vie seinte Osith ci,
      Coment pur Deu guerpi le mund
      E les richesces ke ici sunt
844   Pur trover joie pardurable
      Ke a tut dis ert estable.
      Trove l'ad finablement.


Whether by the road or as the crowflies, the fountain she had gone to was two leagues and more away from the monastery where St Osith carried her head. She went in the door of the church. She bloodied it with her hands, which had blood from her head on them. The sign was large and clear, (32) and visible for a long time afterwards, and just so in our time too, the bloody door has been seen by plenty of people through whom we know the truth. St Osith did not stop until she came to the altar and made a present of her head to Almighty God; she commended herself wholly to him, for whose love she had been beheaded. And then she went back, and, standing between some pillars in the presbytery of the church, she raised her hands to God her creator, for whom she suffered pain and death, and turned directly towards the east, and rendered up her soul to God. (798-839)

Lords, you have now heard about the life of St Osith here, how she abandoned the world for God and left the riches that exist here to find lasting joy that will endure forever. She found it in the end.--
      Sachez ke n'en dotum nent,
848   Kar Deu le rey de majeste
      Apertement l'ad ci mustre
      Par miracles gentils e granz
      Ke pur ly fet aparissanz.
852   Fort serreit tut a [ra]cunter,
      Mes partie volum mustrier,
      U vus porrez tres bien oir
      Ke a Dampnedeu fet a servir,
856   Ky leaument le servira
      Sanz guerdon ne s'en irra.
      E cum nus avum pur veir oy,
      Acune feiz avint issy
860   Ke grant tempeste out en la mer,
      Horriblement la fist emfler,
      Jeter guages e verser undes
      Leides, horribles e parfundes.
864   Ky dunc i furent, bien vus jur,
      N'esteient pas del tut seur.
      En grant houre de la tempeste
      K'en mer feseit si grant moleste,
868   Par la tormente sunt chaciez
      Nefs estranges e travailliez;
      Une hore aval, un' autre amunt,
      Tant cum tut dreit venues sunt
872   En cel havene, puis al drein               [Fol. 141rb]
      A seinte Osith le plus prochein.
      Les mariners i unt ancre (ms: ancree),
      Sigle abatu e bien teolde (ms: teoldee),
876   Ilokes vunt cum est custume,
      De tens attendent suautume;
      En havene sunt bien lungement
      Pur atendre le prospre vent,
880   E vunt tel hore est a la terre
      Pur vitaille e garison quere;


You should know that we have no doubt about any of this, because God, the king of majesty, has clearly shown it to us here by noble and great miracles that he openly manifested for her. It would be too much to tell them all, but we want to reveal a part to you in which you can very clearly hear that we ought to serve God and that whoever loyally serves him will never be without a reward. (840-857)

As we have heard in truth, at one time it happened that there was a great storm at sea that made the ocean swell terribly, hurling waves and pouring billows of water, threatening, horrible, and deep. Those who were out there, I can assure you, were not at all safe. At the height of the storm which was causing so much disturbance on the sea, foreign ships were driven along and belabored by the tempest, now down, now up, until finally they came directly to this harbor, the closest to St Osith. The sailors anchored there, lowered the sails and furled them. They went in there, as is the custom, to await milder weather. They were in the harbor a long time waiting for a favorable wind, and they went to shore from time to time to look for provisions and shelter.--
      A seinte Osith revunt suvent
      A oreisuns ou autre gent.
884   Un jur i vunt les mariners,
      Ly envoisez, les juvencels,
      Si cum esteient custumer
      E pur orer vunt al muster.
888   A ceo ke aukes i unt este
      E sus e jus partut ale,
      Li uns de eus cum esteit alant
      Trove un marbre gisant:
892   Pres deuz espaunes de lungur
      E pleine paume out de laur.
      E cil la prist deliverement
      Si l'enporta tut belement,
896   E si comence a purpenser
      K'en son pais la vout porter,
      E pense bien k'en son muster
      Al pais doner avera mester.
900   Le marbre porte si s'en vait
      Vers la marine tut dreit,
      Entre sa nef de meintenant,
      E del marbre ne fet semblant,
904   A compaignon mot ne sona,
      Kar plai n'en tint, bien le mustra.   [Fol. 141va]
      Atant es vus si unt vent
      Dreit e portant a talent:
908   Drecent lur mast e cordes tendent
      E le wydas partut amendent
      E puis unt trait lur sigle amunt,
      Ancre sakent, si s'en vunt.
912   De cele nef oir porrez
      U li marbre fu enz portez:
      Kant li autre vunt herneschant
      E lur aferes adrescant,
916   E s'atournent e la e ci,


They often returned to St Osith, to attend prayers along with other people. (858-883)

One day the sailors went there to amuse themselves with the young people, as was their custom, and to pray at the church. After they had been there a little while, and had gone up and down, one of them, as he was walking along, found lying on the floor a piece of marble almost two handbreadths long and one wide. And he quickly took it and carried it away and began to think that he wanted to take it to his country. He thought that he would give it to the church in his town. He took the marble and left and went directly to the seashore. He went on board his ship without letting anyone know about the marble. He didn't say one word to his companions or discuss it at all, as later was made clear. (884-905)

Just at that time a good wind arose, stiff and steady, exactly as they wished. They set their mast and stretched the ropes and set the windlass, and then they pulled up the sail, raised the anchor and departed. You will be able to hear about that ship into which the marble was carried: while those in the other ships were taking care of their equipment, tending to their affairs and making ready in one way and another,--
      E cil refunt tut autresi.
      Mes kant unt le mast bien ferme,
      Ancre sake et veil leve,
920   E les autres partut s'en vunt
      Cum cil ky vent a talent unt,
      Unke cele nef ne fist semblant
      K'en euue fust ne tant ne quant,
924   Ne pur force, ne pur saver,
      Ne la porrunt del liu mover.
      Les mariners levent lur main,
      Chescun de euz se seignie a plein,
928   Dient entre eus: "Avez veu?
      Itel merveillie ne unkes fu!
      Dunc n'avum nus le vent portant
      Cum cil autre ki vunt devant,
932   Le governail bien atache,
      Degurde ris, ancre sake,
      E drecie mast, sigle amunt trait,
      Ke deit ke nostre nef ne vait?"
936   Puis comandent les compaignons
      K'il augent tut a [a]virons
      De totes parz pur asaer              [Fol. 141vb]
      Si rien lur vausist lur nager.
940   Enteims pur mut estre greve
      Ke del havene seient gete,
      Les juvenceus pruz e legiers
      Se peinent mut del efforcers,
944   E chescun de euz i met sa main,
      Des avirons ferent a plein.
      Mes plus semblant ne fist la nef
      Ke maison fet ke (ms: le) tuche tref;
948   Bien la porunt conduire ariere,
      Mes avant en nule manere;
      Costeant veit e en belif,
      Dreit come cheval ke est restif.


those in that ship were doing likewise. But when they had set the mast well, attached the rudder, weighed the anchor, and raised the sail, and the others were departing like people who had a wind to their liking, that ship never seemed as if it were in water at all. They could not move it from the place in any way, either by force or by skill. The sailors raised their hands. Each one of them crossed himself many times. They said among themselves: "Did you see that? There never was such a marvel. Don't we have a good wind just like the others who are sailing away in front of us? The rudder well attached, the anchor lifted, the mast raised, the sail pulled to the top of the mast? Shouldn't our ship be moving?" (906-935)

Then the crew were ordered all to go to the oars on both sides to see if their seamanship could accomplish something. Surely, no matter how much trouble they were having, they should be able to leave the harbor. The youths, hardy and agile, tried as hard as they could and each one of them took his turn. They did plenty of rowing. But the ship did not respond at all, any more than a house being pushed by a pole. (33) They could go backwards but by no means forwards. The ship kept going sideways and obliquely, just like an unruly horse.--
952   Kant cil veient ke n'ad mester
      Ne lur sigler ne lur nager,
      Parolent en estreitement
      Cum cil ki sunt mut dolent.
956   "Seignurs," fet l'un, "ca entendez,
      Nus sumes mal bailli assez
      E cil veum tut a estrus
      Ke le ire Deu vient sur nus,
960   Pur nos pechez bien le savum
      Cest encumbrer en mer avum;
      Criums merci, cher compaignons,
      Pur Deu le veir e pur ses nons
964   Ke cil ke se savera copable,
      Encumbre de peche del deable,
      Ke il put sei faire confes
      De penitence prendre apres,
968   Ke Dampnedeu merci en ait
      De ceo dunt il ad mesfait.
      Pur Deu, seigniurs, ki ke ceo seit,
      Ke conisant seit ore endreit,            [Fol. 142ra]
972   Ke pur un sul e sun peche
      Ne seum tut ci perilie;
      Kar s'il n'i ad amendement
      Ici demorum finablement."
976   A ceo ki l'unt lungement parle
      E entre sei chescun pense
      De ses mesfez e de ces pechez,
      Atant s'est dresce sur piez
980   Ky enporta le marbre issi.
      "Seigniurs," ceo dist, "pur Deu merci,
      Endreit de mei voil primes parler,
      Le men mesfet ne voil celer,
984   Si mesfet deit estre nome.
      Ceo k'en mon quer ay recorde
      Poy de chose est, me nekedent


When they saw that their sailing and navigating were no use, they discussed it intently in the way of greatly distressed people. "Sirs," said one, "Listen to this. We are in very bad straits here, and we can see very clearly that the anger of God is come upon us: we well know that it's because of our sins that we are having this great trouble at sea. Let us ask for mercy, dear companions, for love of the true God and in his name, so that he who knows himself to be guilty, encumbered with the sins of the devil, may confess himself and take penitence afterwards, so that God may have mercy for what he has done. For God's love, sirs, whoever it is, make yourself known here and now, so that we may not all be put in such danger here for the sake of one man and his sin alone. Because if there is no reparation, then we will be stuck here forever." (936-975)

After they had spoken at length, and each one had thought to himself about his own misdeeds, finally the one who had taken the marble stood up. "Sirs," he said, "may God be merciful to me, I want to speak first. I don't want to hide my misdeed, if it can be called a misdeed. What I have recorded in my heart is only a small thing, but nevertheless--
       Dirray le vus tut erraument.
988    A seinte Osith estoie alez
       Ou autre compaignons asez,
       En son muster u jeo entray,
       Un marbre petit i trovay
992    Si l'enportay par aventure,
       Par geu le (ms: les) fis e enveisure,
       Ci l'ay porte, ici l'ay mys,
       N'enquer celer ceo k'en fis.
996    Ore vus en ay le veir gey,
       Beaus compaignuns, pur veir vous di,
       Si de ceo ay vers vus mespris,
       Faire en voudray tut vostre avis."
1000   Quant l'unt oi, funt grant bruit,
       A une voiz s'escrient tuit:
       "A Dampnedeu graces rendum
       Kant tant enquis suvaus avum.
1004   Ore n'i ad en for returner,             [Fol. 142rb]
       Le marbre ou nus volum porter,
       A seinte Osith tut dreit alum
       E Deu e ly merci crium.
1008   Rendum le marbre a son muster,
       Mut covient iluc Deu prier
       Ke il nus pardoint icel peche
       Ke mes ne seum travaillie
1012   Cum nus avum este devant,
       Kar ci sumes trop sujurnant."
       Si cum unt dist, issi le funt:
       Issent de nef si s'en vunt;
1016   A seinte Osith sunt dreit ale;
       Kant en muster furent entre,
       Sachez ne sunt unques restu,
       Dekes a l'auter sunt dreit venu,
1020   A genoilliuns iluec cuche,
       Crient merci de lur peche.


I will tell it to you right away. I went to St Osith with some other friends. In her church where I entered I found a small piece of marble and I happened to take it. I did it as a lark, for a joke. I brought it here. I have it here. I don't want to hide what I did. Now you have the true story. Dear companions, I tell you truly, if I have offended you in any way, I would like to do whatever you advise." (976-999)

When they heard this they made a great deal of noise. With one voice they all cried out, "We give thanks to God that we have found this out. Now there is nothing else to do but to go back and take the marble straight to St Osith and ask God and her for mercy. We will return the marble to her church. We must pray there to God and ask forgiveness for that sin so that we won't be afflicted anymore as we were before, for we have stayed here too long." They did just as they had said. They left the ship and went straight to St Osith. When they entered the church, you may be sure they did not delay, but went straight to the altar and knelt down there and asked for mercy for their sin.--
       Le marbre i unt offert e mis
       E Dampnedeu sovent requis,
1024   E seinte Osith sa chere amie,
       Mes ne seient en tel baillie,
       Ne travaillie ne malmene
       En havene u tant unt demore.
1028   Communaument voe unt
       Ke checun, atant cum viverunt,
       Lour offrende frunt porter
       A seinte Osith e presenter,
1032   Ke Dampnedeu omnipotent
       Aler lur doint sauvement.
       Al pople k'il unt iluec trove
       Cum lur avint unt cunte.
1036   Pernunt conge si s'en vunt
       E en lur nef puis entre sunt,                 [Fol. 142va]
       Levent sigle hastivement;
       Si tost cum i feri le vent,
1040   La nef se torne a tel randon,
       Come colum devant faucon.
       Deu fist iluec grant vertu
       E miracle tres bien seu,
1044   Kar cil s'en vunt par cele mer
       E poeste unt de sigler.
       Les nefs ke peca sunt aleez
       E loin en mer avant passeez,
1048   Cil ke tant esteient ariere,
       Ne sai coment n'en quele manere
       Fors cum Deu le vout en maeste,
       Lour compaigniuns unt ja passe;
1052   Errent e vunt siglant (ms: siglent) a fort,
       Atant vienent plus tost a port,
       E les autres passent de tant
       Cum ariere esteient devant.


They placed the marble there and offered it, and repeatedly begged God and his dear friend, St Osith, to grant that they would no longer be under such restraint and so troubled and ill-treated in the harbor where they had remained for so long. They all swore that each one of them, for as long as he lived, would have offerings brought and presented to St Osith in order that almighty God would allow them to leave safely. They told the people they found there what had happened to them. They took their leave and departed. Then they boarded their ship, and hastily raised the sail. Just as soon as the wind struck it, the ship shot forward as swiftly as a dove before a hawk. (1000-1041)

God worked a great marvel there, a clear miracle, because they traveled over the sea and sailed so quickly that they, who had been so far behind, passed all their companions in the ships which had departed some time before them and had already sailed a far distance into the sea. I don't know how or in what way, other than the fact that God in his majesty wanted it, but they passed all their companions. They traveled and sailed so quickly that they reached port first and left the others as far behind as they themselves had been before.--
1056   N'at cil, saciez, k'il n'eit oy
       Coment la nef siglat issy,
       Ke mut ne seit esmerveillie.
       Kant enquis unt e cerche
1060   E entend[u] unt la verur,
       Mercient Deu le creatur,
       E seinte Osith la gloriuse,
       Martir e virgine preciuse,
1064   Pur ki Deu fist si grant vertu
       Ke apertement le unt veu.
       Autre miracle apres orrez
       De seinte Osith si, l'entendez.
1068   Une femme contraite esteit
       Vers Hereford de Wales dreit,
       Ke ne poeit aveir (ms: en nule) baillie   [Fol. 142vb]
       De li mover sanz [nule] aie,
1072   Des menbres ne se poeit ayder,
       Ne al lever ne al cucher;
       De ses membres tutdis estoit
       E[n] grant anguisse e grant desdroit.
1076   Asez ala par Engleterre,
       A oreisuns les seinz requere,
       Partut u ele oi aveit
       Ke Dampnedeu vertu feseit;
1080   Ne puet uncore estre oie
       Kar Dampnedeu ne voleit mie.
       Kant ale tant aveit partut
       Ke ses amis esteient mut
1084   De li porter (ms: partir) ja travaillie,
       E au derein mut ennuie,
       Ne saveit mes a [qui] requere
       Seint ne seinte en Engleterre,
1088   U ne aient ja fet venir,
       Fors seint Edmund le bon martir.
       La chaitive fu mut anguissuse,


There was no one, you may be sure, who heard how the ship sailed there who did not marvel greatly. When they had enquired and searched and heard the truth, they thanked God the creator and St Osith the glorious martyr and precious virgin for whom God did this great miracle that they had openly seen. (1042-1065)

You will hear another miracle of St Osith if you listen. There was a crippled woman from Wales living near Hereford who could not move at all without help. She could neither stand up nor lie down with her own limbs. She had great pain and discomfort from her limbs every day. She had traveled all over England to ask in prayer for help from the saints in every place where she had heard that God had worked a miracle. (She could not yet be heard because God did not want it.) When she had gone everywhere so that her friends were very tired of carrying her and had finally become fed up, she did not know any saint to ask in England, male or female, where they had not already taken her except St Edmund the good martyr. The poor wretch was in great anguish
       E de garrir mut desiruse;
1092   Tant ad prie, tant ad requis,
       E ses parenz e ses amis
       A grant peine grante li unt
       De li porter a seint Edmund.
1096   Sa suer par non ke mut l'ama
       E par terre tant la mena,
       Ore a derein tut ensement
       Icest labur pur li enprent,
1100   Si l'aturnast a meuz ke poeit,
       Vers seint Edmund s'en vunt tut dreit.
       Tant errunt petites jurnees,
       Cum furent bien acustumees,              [Fol. 143ra]
1104   Ke nequedent a chief de tur,
       Le seurveillie devant le jur
       Seint Michel venues i sunt
       E la contraite porte unt
1108   A grant travail dekes al muster
       Pur faire la iluec veillier.
       Mes kant vint tut dreit al vesper
       Li secrestains la fet oster,
1112   E estrusse li ad mut bien:
       Suffrir ne vout pur nule rien
       K'ele la nuit seit al muster,
       Ne pur orer ne pur veillier;
1116   Oster la fit demaintenant
       E cele en fet doil mut grant.
       Quant de l'eglise esteit ostee,
       A ceus a dist ki l'unt portee:
1120   "Pur Deu amur, merci vus cri,
       Ne me portez loinz de ci,
       Metez mei ci dehors cest us,
       Lessez mei iluec, ne vus quer us!"
1124   E cil refunt tut autretel
       E puis s'en vunt a lur ostel.


and very desirous of healing. She begged her family and friends and pleaded so much that, with great reluctance, they finally agreed to take her to St Edmund's. Her sister [...] (34) by name who loved her greatly and who had carried her all over the country now finally also undertook this labor for her. She made her ready as well as she could and they set off straight for St Edmund. They traveled for so many of the small daily distances they were well accustomed to that they managed finally to arrive before dawn on the eve of St Michael's day, and carried the crippled woman with great effort to the church so she could keep vigil there. But when she came in to vespers, the sacristan made her leave, and he made it very clear to her that he did not want to allow her to spend the night in the church, either to pray or to keep vigil. He had her removed at once and she was extremely upset about it. (1066-1117)

When she was removed from the church she said to those who had carried her, "For the love of God, I beg you, don't take me away from here. Put me here outside this door. Leave me here, I don't ask you for anything else." And they did exactly that and then they went to their inn.
       Tute la nuit iluec remaint
       La contraite ke mut se pleint,
1128   [E] crie Dampnedeu merci
       E seint Edmund tut autresi,
       Ke puisse aver amendement
       De mal ke la tient forment.
1132   A meuz ke sout vers Deu orat,
       Tute la nuit iluec veilliat,
       E pres de l'us se est ajustee.
       Tut dreit cum vint en l'ajurnee
1136   La cheitive ke tant i crie                   [Fol. 143rb]
       Un petitet se est endormie.
       De hors cel us u ele jut
       Un hom [en] blanc li aparut:
1140   "Diva!" ceo dit, "Ki es tu ci
       Ke tute nuit me cries si?
       Ke demandez, ke vus aveir?"
       E cele li dit: "Sire (ms: Sere), pur veir,
1144   A Dampnedeu vinc (ms: vint) ici
       A seint Edmund tut autresi,
       Ke jeo requer pur son non
       Ke il m'envoie guarison.
1148   Mut ay par Engletere erre
       E[n] oreisuns pur ma sancte,
       Mes ne oi pas dekes a cest jur,
       Ci sui venue a chief de tur."
1152   Il li respunt demeintenant:
       "Uncore t'estuet aler avant;
       Kar Deu n'ad pas purveu issi
       Ke guarisun eies ici (ms: issi ici).
1156   A seinte Osith tei estuet aller,
       Iluec veillier, iluec orer,
       Kar Dampnedeu t'ad destine
       En icel liu aver sancte."


All night the crippled woman remained there, lamenting and begging God's mercy, and also St Edmund's, so that she could be cured from the illness that gripped her so strongly. She prayed to God as much as she was able. All night she watched there, and kept close to the door. Just as the day came, the poor thing, who had cried so much, fell asleep for a little while. (1118-1137)

Outside the door where she was lying a man in white appeared. "Now then," he said, "who are you, crying all night to me here? What do you ask for?"

She said to him:

"Sir, in truth I came here to seek God and St Edmund and also to request in his name that he send me a cure. I have journeyed all over England to pray for my health, but up to this day on which I have at last come here, he hasn't yet heard me."

He responded to her immediately:

"You must go still farther because God has not ordained for you to be healed here. You must go to St Osith and watch and pray there, because God has destined you to be cured in that place."
1160   "Syre, merci," fet la contraite,
       "Icest respons trop mei desheite,
       Kar cher sire, ceo sachiez bien,
       De seinte Osith ne say jeo rien,
1164   Ne sai u est ne en quele terre,
       Seinte Osith ne say u quere,
       Unkes mes de li n'oy parler,
       E si resui lasse de errer
1168   E cil ke tant porte m'unt
       De mei porter ennuie sunt.          [Fol. 143va]
       Avant de ci, bien sai en fin,
       Voie ne sevent ne chemin."
1172   Cil li respont: "Si demandez
       A gent ke ci demain verrez,
       Aucun troverez en cest entree
       Ke vus enseignera la veiee;
1176   Iluec guarrez cum vus ay dit
       Puis en alez sanz respit."
       E cele li dist: "Sire, merci,
       Ki estes vus que parlez ci?"
1180   E il respunt mut humblement:
       "Seint Edmund me noment la gent."
       La contraite mut en pensa,
       Puis l'endemain quant gent trova
1184   Ke esteient a cel us entrant,
       Si lur demande demeintenant
       Ver seinte Osith la dreite veie,
       Ke pur Deu seit asenseie;
1188   Tant ad enquis e tant demande,
       Le dreit chemin li unt mustre.
       Tant ad parle a ses amys
       Ke il ja sunt en chemin mys;
1192   Vers seinte Osith la funt porter,
       Uit jurs i mistrent a l'aler.


"Sir, thanks," said the crippled woman, "This answer greatly discourages me, for, dear sir, you may know that I have never heard of St Osith nor do I know anything about her. I don't know where she is, nor in what country, nor do I know where to seek St Osith. I have never heard of her and I am so tired of traveling and those who have carried me all over are tired of carrying me. And anyway I am certain that they don't know any way or road there from here."

He answered:

"If you ask the people you see here tomorrow, you will find someone at this entrance who will teach you the way. There you will be healed, as I told you. So go there without delay."

And she said:

"Sir, thank you. Who are you who speak here?"

And he replied very meekly,

"The people call me St Edmund." (1139-1181)

The crippled woman thought about it a lot. Then the next day when she found some people coming in at that entrance, she immediately asked them about the way to St Osith and that for God's sake they would teach it to her. She begged so much that they showed her the right way. She talked so much to her friends that they set out immediately; they carried her to St Osith. It took them eight days (35) to get there,--
       E travaillient se a merveillie,
       Venue i sunt dreit la veillie
1196   De seinte Osith kant est la feire.
       Funt la contreite al muster trere,
       Dreit a hore porter la funt
       Kant li chanoines a vespres sunt;
1200   A ceo ke esteient haut chantant
       Cil vierent ci demaintenant
       Ke la cheitive unt portee            [Fol. 143vb]
       E einz al muster avalee.
1204   Puis vunt a l'us del chancel,
       Acenent les seigniurs mut bel
       Ke il unt plus pres de l'us trove;
       Requis l'unt pur l'amur De
1208   Ke la contraite ke unt porteie
       A seinte Osith si longe veie,
       Ke a sa fertre l'osent porter
       Ke tote nuit en puisse orer;
1212   Ele est a seinte Osith par non
       Venue par avision.
       Tant unt requis, tant unt parle
       Ke li seigniur l'unt grante;
1216   La contraite est remuee
       E a la fertre amunt portee.
       Sa suer ke l'ad portee tant
       En haut se crie maintenant:
1220   "Ma dame seinte Osith, merci
       De ma suer ke vus porte ci,
       Pur ki me sui tant travaillie[e]
       E sufferte ay mainte hachie[e];
1224   Porte[e] l'ai e sus e jus,
       Tant sui lasse ne puis plus,
       Ore la vus ay ci fet porter,
       Avant de ci ne say aler;
1228   Si ici ne puet estre amendee


and they labored so marvellously hard that they arrived just on the eve of St Osith's feast when there is a fair. (36) They took the crippled woman to the church, carrying her there at the very hour that the canons were at vespers. Just when they were singing loudly, those who had brought the crippled woman came there and, having put her down in the church, went to the door of the chancel and nodded very politely to the canons (37) whom they found closest to the door. They asked them in God's name to allow them to bring in to St Osith's shrine the crippled woman that they had carried for such a long way to St Osith, so that she could pray to her all night. She had come to seek St Osith by name because of a vision. (1182-1213)

They talked so much and asked so many times that the canons granted their request. The crippled woman was brought to the shrine. Her sister who had carried her for so long now cried out loud, "My lady St Osith, have mercy on my sister that I bring to you here and for whom I have labored so much and suffered so many torments. I have carried her up and down until I am so weary that I can't go on. Now I have brought her to you. I can't go any farther. If she can't be healed here
       Ja n'iert pur mei avant portee."
       Sa suer l'ad iluec lessee
       Devant la fiertre dreit cuchee.
1232   E cele remaint la nuit issi
       E Dampnedeu crie merci,
       E seinte Osith par non,
       Ke li tramette garison.              [Fol. 144ra]
1236   Puis unt a matines sone,
       Li chanoines sunt assemble.
       Lur matines vunt comencant
       E mut a trait les vunt chantant
1240   Cum a tele feste estoit raisun.
       Kant vint a la sime lescun
       La contraite geta un cri,
       E pleint e gient e plure si
1244   K'enui estoit escuter.
       Um la comanda assez cesser
       Ke ne desturbast le servise,
       Mes ele ne pout en nule guise
1248   Al comandement garde prendre,
       Kar ailliurs aveit mut a entendre,
       Ne put sun cri amesurer.
       Le sime respons vunt chanter,
1252   Regnum mundi, li ordine:
       Tut dreit cum sunt en vers entre,
       La contreite s'escrie tant,
       Les nerfs li vunt tut crussant,
1256   Deu reclaime omnipotent
       E seinte Osith tut ensement.
       Kant longes estoit travaillie[e],
       Sur piez se est a dreit drescie[e]
1260   E ver le auter veit tut dreit
       E loe Deu a grant espleit
       E seinte Osith sa chere amie
       Par ki sa preiere est oie.


she will never be taken anywhere else by me." (1214-1229)

And her sister left her there, placed directly before the shrine, and she remained there all night. She begged God for mercy and cried to St Osith by name that she would cure her.

After matins had rung, the canons assembled. They began their matins and sang very loudly as was appropriate on such a feast. When they came to the sixth lesson, the crippled woman called out and wept and trembled and cried so that it was wearisome to hear her. They ordered her to stop so as not to disrupt the service but she could not in any way heed the command because she was listening to something else. She could not restrain her cry. They were singing the sixth response, the priests were chanting Regnum mundi. (38) Just as they began the verse, the crippled woman cried so much that she was shattering all their nerves. She called out to God and St Osith alike. When she had been afflicted like this for quite some time, she suddenly stood on her feet and walked straight to the altar. She praised God loudly and St Osith, her good friend, by whom her prayer had been heard.--
1264   A chanoines cuntat e dit
       La grant vertu ke Deu li fit;
       Tut par ordre lur ad cunte
       Coment par terre aveit erre,
1268   Coment aveit ailliurs failli,             [Fol. 144rb]
       Com Deu l'ad drescie[e] ci.
       Kant li chanoine e li seigniur
       Entendu unt bien la verrur,
1272   Tut loent Deu omnipotent
       E comencent mut hautement
       Te Deum laudamus; partut
       Par cel muster demandent mut
1276   Quele noise seit ke lamunt funt.
       Tut a un frus curru i sunt,
       Deu comencent mut a loer
       E funt les seins partut soner.
1280   Kant la contreite bien entent
       Ke guarie est finement
       E mes ne sent de ses dolurs,
       Venue est devant les seigniurs
1284   E si lur dit: "Seigniurs merci,
       Dampnedeu m'ad guarrie ci
       E seinte Osith la vostre avoee,
       La amie Deu verraie esprovee.
1288   Mut aim cest liu e mut l'ai cher
       U Deu m'ad si fet adrecer.
       Si pur Deu me voilliez tenir,
       Ja nul jur ne voudrai partir,
1292   En icest liu finablement
       A Deu e a seinte Osith me rent."
       E li seigniur pur l'amur De(ms eras.:u)
       Ke ele remaine unt grante.


She told the canons about the great miracle that God had worked. She recounted the story from beginning to end, how she had journeyed all over the country, how she had always failed, how God had directed her there. (1230-1269)

When the canons and lords had heard the truth, they all praised God and began very loudly to sing "Te Deum laudamus" everywhere. In the church the people were all asking what the noise was that so many were making. They all ran there together in a crowd and began to praise God and ring the bells when they heard how the crippled woman had finally been cured (39) and didn't feel any of her pains at all. She came before the canons and said to them, "Lords, I thank you. God has cured me here and St Osith, your patroness, God's true and proven friend. I very much love and hold dear this place where God directed me to go. If, for God's love, you want to keep me, I will never ever want to leave, but will stay in this place forever. I give myself to God and to St Osith." And the canons, for love of God, agreed that she should remain. (1270-1295)
1296   Cele est remise e mut se peine
       Trestuz les jurs de la semeine,
       A plus ke puet travaillier
       Entur l'uveraine del mustier.
1300   Penible est en mude manere,
       Nomeement de trere piere,          [Fol. 144va]
       E l'el k'ele puet a cele eglise,
       Longes remaint en cel servise.
1304   Mes deables est mut enginius,
       E de tut biens trop envius,
       Kant Deu a fet ses granz vertuz,
       E ses miracles bien veuz,
1308   Pur seinte Eglise enluminer
       E ses amis reconforter.
       Peise deable estrangement
       E se efforce peniblement
1312   D'esteindre ceo pur verite
       Ke Deu ad si enlumine.
       Dieble n'ad unkes envie
       Ne de pechie ne de folie,
1316   De mesfet ne de traisun
       N'ad envie, si de bien nun.
       La vertu ke est par Deu venue
       Mut vot turner en fanfelue,
1320   Pur fere mescrere la gent
       E ci si fest tut ensement.
       Un lur vassal de la maisun,
       Godwine l'esquieler par nun,
1324   Tant ad forment dieble entice,
       Empeint a fere malveiste,
       Ke a la femme s'est ajuste;
       Tant ad requis, tant parle
1328   Ke il sunt tut a un voleir
       De fere la folur pur veir;
       Kar nature est, bien le savez,


She stayed and exerted herself every day of the week as much as she could to work for the needs of the church. She was attentive in all ways and especially in dragging stones and whatever else she could do for the church. She long remained in that service. (1296-1303)

But the devil is very tricky and too envious of all good, especially when God has worked his great miracles and his clearly seen marvels to enlighten holy church and comfort his friends. It disturbed the devil and he tried his best to extinguish that which God had truly made so illustrious. The devil has no envy of sin or folly, misdeeds or treason; he has no envy except of what is good. He wants to turn the virtue that comes from God to folly in order to make people believe wrongly, and here he did the same thing. One of the vassals of the house, Godwin was the scullion's name, was so strongly enticed by the devil and tempted to do dishonest acts that he approached the woman. He begged and argued so much that they came to one will between them, to do folly in truth. For it is natural, as you well know,
       Ke femme est frele chose assez:
1332   Tost ad le quer asis en glu,
       Tost ad un mal conseil cru,
       Tost ad lessie dreite veie,            [Fol. 144vb]
       Tost est en la folur entreie,
1336   Tost ad lesse bien e honur,
       Tost se prent a la folur.
       Ceste tut ensement le fist,
       Lessa le bien e le mal prist.
1340   A lur folie unt liu trove
       La nuit quant furent asemble
       Eu lit trestut primerement
       E li fous out fet sun talent.
1344   Seinte Osith pas ne vot suffrir
       Cest overaine endormir,
       Ne voleit pas pur verite
       Iceo mesfet estre cele;
1348   L'un pie de la cheitive prent,
       Sur l'autre dreit en croiz l'estent,
       Si forment l'ad iloukes mis,
       Cuche e joint e ferm asis,
1352   Ne puet de luec plus estre ostez
       Ke s'il de clous i fust fermez.
       Kant la chaitive iceo entent,
       Plure des oilz e gient forment,
1356   E grant dolur comence a faire,
       Ne puet l'un pie de l'autre trere.
       Li pautener quant l'entendi,
       Mut s'esmaie tut autresi,
1360   E par matin est tost leve
       E as seigniurs tut dreit ale,
       As piez lur chiet si lur ad dit:
       "Seigniurs, entendez un petit,
       Pur nient le vus irrai celant,
       Assez le saverez en avant,


that woman is a frail enough thing. Too quickly her heart is ensnared, too quickly she has believed wicked advice, too quickly left the right way, too quickly entered into folly, too quickly abandoned honor and good, too quickly she gives way to lust. This woman did exactly this. She abandoned the good and took up the bad. They found a place for their wantonness. That night when they were first in bed together and the rogue had done his will, St Osith did not wish to allow this deed to be overlooked and she certainly did not want this misbehavior to be hidden. She placed one foot of the miserable woman across the other one in a cross. So firmly did she place it there, join and solidly set it, that it could no more be removed from there than if it had been held by nails. (1304-1353)

When the wretched woman understood this, she wept and trembled and began to make a great lament. She could not take one foot away from the other. When the scoundrel saw that, he was very dismayed, and in the morning he got up early and went straight to the canons and fell at their feet and said: "Lords, listen a little, there will be no point in my hiding this from you: you will soon know it clearly enough.
       Meuz le vus voil dire en secrei
       Ke autre le vus die de mei;          [Fol. 145ra]
1368   Tut ay en tele manere overe,
       Contre raisun e contre De,
       E avenu est tut issi,
       Pur Deu amur, seigniurs merci;
1372   Trestut issi sui contenu
       Vers Dampnedeu e encorru."
       E li seigniurs demeintenant
       La verite vunt enquerant,
1376   L'aventure ke est avenue
       Trestut issi est reconue,
       A rien ne muntast le celer,
       Semblant n'i veient demander.
1380   La cheitive ne puet pur veir
       Del lit pur nule rien moveir,
       Les piez li sunt si transverse
       Cum s'il fuissent des clous ferme.
1384   Les seigniurs en sunt anguissus
       Sur tute rien e dolerus.
       Al muster vunt erraument,
       Requerent Deu communaument
1388   E seinte Osith lur dame chiere,
       Ke ele ne suffre en nule manere
       Ke sa ancele seit si baillie,
       Ne al siecle si forment hunie.
1392   Requis unt ententivement
       Mes tut iceo ne lur est nient.
       Kar ne amende en nule manere,
       Pur oreison ne pur priere;
1396   Contreite i vint premerement
       E contreite reest ensement.


I would rather tell it to you in private myself than have others tell it to you about me. I have acted completely against reason and against God, and so all this has come about. For the love of God, have mercy, lords. Here is the whole story of how I have behaved and acted towards God." And the canons immediately enquired about the truth. The adventure which took place was completely known. It did no good to hide it. They made no more pretence. The wretched woman could not fail to see that she could by no means move from her bed. Her feet were crossed as if they had been nailed together. (1354-1383)

The canons were in great anxiety about all this and very sad. They all went quickly to the church, all of them together asking God and St Osith their dear lady that she not allow her handmaiden to be so stricken and shamed before all the world. They asked insistently, but all was for nothing because there was no remedy at all, either by prayer or petition. She came there paralyzed in the first place and thus paralyzed she remained. (1384-1397)
       Mut lungement remaint issi,
       Tote contreite cume vus di,
1400   Dekes le pauteniers morut           [Fol. 145rb]
       Ke en tele manere la decut.
       Deu fist iluec mut grant vertu,
       Miracle apert e bie[n] veu,
1404   Le jur ke il fu deviez
       E par la mort del siecle alez:
       La nuit apres erraument
       Vint seinte Osith verrayment
1408   E la chaitive deliat.
       De tut en tut la deliverat,
       Les piez li ad desseelez,
       E quitement desencumbrez.
1412   E cele est par matin levee
       E al muster tut dreit alee
       E loe Deu omnipotent
       E seinte Osith tut ensement.
1416   Tut dis remaint en la maisun
       E sert ou grant devotiun.
       Assez avum oy sovent
       Par reprover dire la gent
1420   Ke d'estriver encontre aguilion
       N'avient a nuli si mal non.
       Prendre en poum example assez
       De un miracle ke ici orrez
1424   Ke Deu pur seinte Osith mustra;
       Ki garde en prent, bor le verra,
       Kar bel se repent de sa folie
       Ke par autre se chastie,
1428   E cil d'assez trop tart se repent
       Sur ky le fiael Deu decent;
       Kar Dampnedeus est mut suffrant,
       E lungement vait deportant,
1432   Mes puis quant il fert au derein


She remained in that state a very long time, all immobile as I tell you, until the scoundrel who had so deceived her died. God then worked a very great miracle, a marvel openly and clearly seen. On the night of the day he died and left this world, St Osith came immediately and loosed the wretched woman. She completely liberated her, unlocking her feet and wholly freeing her. And in the morning the woman got up and went straight to the church and praised God and likewise St Osith. She remained in the house always and served with great devotion. (1398-1417)

We have often heard people say as a proverb that to struggle against the goad accomplishes nothing except misfortune. We can take example from a miracle that God revealed for St Osith that you will now hear. Whoever takes warning from it will prosper. For he who can learn from others, well repents his folly. And he on whom the punishment of God has already fallen repents much too late. For God is very long-suffering and is tolerant for a long time, but when he finally strikes at last, you can be sure that he has a very hard hand.
       Sachez ke il ad mut dure mein;             [Fol. 145va]
       E il refist tut autresi,
       Seigniurs, cum vus orrez ci.
1436   De le eveske Ricard essample dirum
       De ceo dunt vus tuche avum.
       Le tiers a Lundres se aveit
       Puis cil ke l'abbeie de Chic fundeit,
1440   E a seinte Osith chanoines mist,
       Teres e rentes aset i conquist.
       A cist Ricard le ben ne plout
       Ke son ancestre a liu fet out.
1444   Un jur avint ke il fist mander
       Ses menestraus e assembler
       Ke soleient ses plais tenir,
       E danz Williame avant venir,
1448   Son seneschal i fist par non,
       De Wokindone aveit surnon,
       E en ki se fieit mut enfin
       Ou un Nichole e Rad' Patin.
1452   A Clakintone (ms: dakintone)comanda aler
       De luec oveskaus pur veer
       Ke a Chic deusent poseer,
       E a son eus tut apruer.


And this is just what he did, lords, as you will now hear. (1418-1435)

We will tell a story for you about Bishop Richard concerning what we have touched on. He was the third bishop of London (40) after the one who had founded the abbey at Chich, placing canons there for St Osith, and acquiring a great deal of land and rents. To this Richard, the good that his predecessor had done there was not pleasing. One day it happened that he had his servants who usually carried out his law suits summoned and assembled, and Sir William came forward, his seneschal, whom he called by name, and whose last name was de Wordekind, and in whom he trusted greatly, together with one Nicholas and with Randalf Patin. (41) He ordered episcopal visitors to go to Clacton4 (42) to see to it that the canons should not possess anything at Chich but should turn over everything to his usage.
1456   E cil s'en vunt (ms: vint) a grant espleit,
       A Clakintone vienent tut dreit,
       Iluec tienent a fort estur
       Les plez le eveske lur seigniur.
1460   En icel tens ke cil veneient,
       A Chic chanoines mis esteient
       Ke Deu serveient humblement
       E seinte Osith tut ensement.
1464   De terre aveient environ
       Dunt pussunt vivre a fuison,
       Estre l'aport de lur autel                        [Fol. 145vb]
       Ke il aveient quei d'un quei de el.
1468   Deu serveient en leaute
       E furent de grant charite.
       Le seneschal a Clakintone (ms: dakintone) vint,
       Les pleiz l'eveske forment tint;
1472   D'iluec purveit queus enverreit
       A Chich kar ces fors mettreit
       Ki par les chanoines mis est[e]ient;
       Ouveskeseus mettreit ke dureient
1476   A li acuntes; l'esveske out voil
       Kanoines oster de cel soil;
       Ne voleient en nule manere
       Oir requeste ne preiere,
1480   N'entains suffrir hum parler,
       Ne terme ne respit doner;
       Mes si cum lur est comande
       Issi en ad del tut overe.
1484   Quant les chanoines l'unt entendu,
       Mut sunt dolent e irascu.
       A Deu s'en vunt pleindre erranment,
       E a lur dame tut ensement,
1488   Seinte Osith, ke unt serv[i]e tant,
       Ke del surfet seit eus vengant.


And they went with great haste and came immediately to Clacton. There, amidst great strife, they conducted the suits of their lord, the bishop. (1436-1459)

At the time they came, canons had been placed at Chich who humbly served both God and St Osith. They had land round about from which they could live in great plenty in addition to the income from their altars which they had some from one, some from another. (43) They served God with great loyalty and exercised great charity. The seneschal came to Clacton and vigorously conducted the bishop's suits there and considered whom he should send to Chich, for he wanted to drive out those who had been put there by the canons. He wanted to put episcopal agents there who would be accountable to him; the bishop intended to remove the canons from that seat. The bishop's men did not want on any account to hear any request or petition or intend to allow any man to speak, or concede any terms or give any respite. And just as they had been commanded, so they did. (1460-1483)

When the canons heard this, they were very troubled and displeased. They went immediately to appeal to God and to their lady, St Osith, whom they had served so well, that she should avenge them for this outrage.--
       Ke ele deust bien a lur avis
       Defendre les de lur enemis.
1492   A sa fiertre vienent errant,
       L'ymage ostent tres estant,
       Hors l'us l'eglise l'unt pose
       Cum pur prendre son cunge.
1496   Le fiertre covrent de une here,
       Ceo signe ke de joie volent trere,
       Ne volent seinte Osith plus loer,
       Kar par semblant le liu n'ad cher. [Fol. 146ra]
1500   Ou lermes e ou plaintes funt
       Asez saver ke il au quer unt,
       Sainte Osith vunt chalengant
       K'en cest surfet est si suffrant.
1504   Seinte Osith pas lunges n'endure,
       Bien li sovient de sa leidengure,
       Suffrir ne vout pur nule rien
       Ke venge[e] ne seit mut bien,
1508   E de celui nomeement
       K'a achesun fu premerement,
       Fonteine e surse e chief par non
       De faire icele envasion.
1512   Kar ceo fu le eveske Ricard:
       Venu i sunt cil de sa part
       Ke lur terres unt envase
       E lur serganz unt hors bute.
1516   Miracle avint ici mut grant:
       Cum les chanoines vunt plainant,
       L'ymage en fiertre unt envili
       Cum vus avez devant oi,
1520   Meisme le hore fu notee
       De plus sages de la contree,
       Un mal par tut le cors susprent
       Ricard le eveske horriblement,
1524   Sudain e leid, de grant baillie,


In their opinion, she certainly ought to defend them from their enemies. They came quickly to her shrine, immediately picked up her image and placed it outside the church as if she were taking her leave. (44) They covered the shrine with a cloth. That signified that they wanted to withdraw from happiness. They didn't want to praise St Osith any more because it seemed that she did not hold that place dear. With tears and weeping they made plain what they had in their hearts, and they protested against St Osith, who was so tolerant of this outrage. St Osith didn't bear it for very long. She well remembered the offence against her. She didn't want to endure it for anything unless she were to be very well avenged, and especially on him who was the original cause, the fountain and source and chief reason of this invasion, and that was Bishop Richard. Those who came there and who had invaded their lands and thrown their servants out came on his behalf. (1484-1515)

A great miracle occurred here. Just at the time when the canons were complaining, and had humiliated the image on the shrine, as you have heard before--the very hour was noted by the wisest in the country--an illness overtook Bishop Richard horribly in all his body, sudden and hideous, an illness of great power,
       Ke nome est paralisie.
       Ne peut ver, ne peut sentir,
       [Ne peut parler, ne peut oir,]
1528   Ne peut conustre hum pur veir,
       Ne il ne se peut del liu mover;
       Saillient si hum, si sergant,
       Entre lur braz le vunt portant,
1532   Plurent ou mut horible cri:
       "Sire," funt il, "pur Deu merci,      [Fol. 146rb]
       Parlez a nus, cheles k'avez,
       Vus fustes sein oreinz asez!"
1536   Asez le vunt aresonant,
       Mes ne respont ne tant ne quant,
       Ne saveit en quel siecle fu,
       Tut l'unt pur mort iluec tenu.
1540   Tut issi jut deske le mardi,
       De ci ke vint al vendredi
       Ne treit a sei ne main ne pie.
       Les seens sunt mut desconseillie.
1544   Par cele sale vunt pleinant,
       En la chambre funt doel grant,
       Kar al quer unt grant desconfort,
       Ne sevent s'il est vif u mort.
1548   Atant este vus repaire sunt
       Ke seinte Osith deseise unt.
       La novele mut esturmie
       De lur seigniur unt ja oie.
1552   Li seneschals vienent au seigniur,
       K'il veient suspris de grant dolur.
       Williame ke ja est repairez
       De la u il fu enveiez,
1556   "Sire," fet il, "pur Deu merci,
       Un poy ver moy entendez ci.
       Si de memoire rien avez,
       U nul home entendre poez,


which is named paralysis. He couldn't see or feel, [or speak or hear]. (45) He couldn't recognize anyone in truth, nor could he move at all. His men, his sergeants, went to him and picked him up. They carried him in their arms, weeping with many dreadful cries. "Lord," they said, "for God's sake, talk to us, tell us what is wrong with you. You were healthy enough till now." They continued to plead with him but he didn't answer at all. He didn't know what world he was in. They all thought him as good as dead. He remained like this from Tuesday until Friday without being able to move hand or foot. His men were very distraught. They went lamenting in the hall and made great sorrow in the chamber, for they had great discomfort in their hearts. They didn't know if he was dead or alive. (1516-1547)

In the meantime those who had dispossessed St Osith returned. They immediately heard the disturbing news about their lord. The seneschals came before their lord, whom they saw overtaken by great pain. William, who had already returned from where he had been sent, said: "Sire, for the love of God, listen to me a little here. If you have any memory or can understand any man here--
1560   E raison de clerc u de lay,
       Dunc entendez ke vus diray.
       Beau sire cher, tres bien savez,
1564   Vers Dampnedeu mespris avez,
       Vers seinte Osith nomeement
       Ke nus avum si folement
       Ja desaise de sa terre.            [Fol. 146va]
       Empris avum mut fole guerre:
1568   Quei k'en apres seit fet de nus,
       La peine chiet primes sur vus.
       Kar par autre oy avum
       E par nos mesmes le savum,
1572   A seinte Osith ne puet hom rien
       Mesfaire, ja ceo sachez bien,
       K'ele ne enprenge tel vengement
       Ke bien parra finablement.
1576   E ore l'avez pur verite
       Par vus mesmes eprove.
       Pur Deu, tant cum vus poez,
       Sovaus de quer vus repentez!
1580   Kant est issi ke n'avez mye
       Force de lange ne de baillie,
       De quer criez a Deu merci
       E a seinte Osith tut autresi.
1584   E voez li sa terre rendre
       Si ja vousist vers vus entendre,
       E Dampnedeu merci crier
       Pur vus de cest mal deslier.
1588   Pur Deu, sire, kar en pensez!
       Bien le veum, mester avez!
       Pensez de ceo ke vus ay dit,
       Pur sa ducur Deus i ait."


and the speech of clerk or layman, then listen to what I will tell you. My fine dear lord, you know very well that you have committed a wrong against God, and namely against St Osith whom we have so foolishly disseised of her land. (46) We have undertaken a very foolish quarrel: whatever should become of us afterwards, the consequences fall first on you. For we have heard from others, and we have seen it in your own case, that no man may commit a wrong against St Osith, as you now well know, without her undertaking clear vengeance in the end. And now, in truth, you have proved this on yourself. For God's sake, as much as you can, repent often in your heart! Since it's the case that you no longer have any power of speech or control of your body, beg in your heart for God's mercy and for that of St Osith. And vow to give back her land if you ever want him to listen to you, and ask God in his mercy to release you from this illness. For God's sake, sire, think about this! We see clearly that you are in distress: think of what I have told you, so that God in his mildness may help here." (1548-1591)
1592   A ceo ke il ad parle si,
       Li eveske puis s'esperi,
       K'aveit longement geu
       E sanz vigur e sanz verteu.
1596   Al seneschal k'ad si parle
       E de son bien amoneste
       De la main destre vereiement
       Le dei ou tut l'anel li tent,               [Fol. 146vb]
1600   Kar solunc ceo ke out en corage
       L'anel li tent e lui degage.
       E cil li tret le anel del dei
       E si li dit: "Beau sire, ore vei
1604   Ke cest gage enveer volez
       A Deu, vers ki mespris avez,
       A seinte Osith nomeement,
       Pur li requere acordement,
1608   E as seigniurs de son muster,
       Ke dessaise avum l'autre ier.
       Ore n'i ad el (ms:eu), quant cest entent,
       Jeo m'en irray tut erranment."
1612   Li seneschal est ja muntez
       E a seinte Osith tut dreit alez.
       Veint a muster, fet apeller
       E les seigniurs trestuz mander.
1616   Sur l'autel ad en apert
       En li[u] de gage l'anel offert,
       Crie merci a tut entur
       De par le eveske son seigniur
1620   E lur terre tut quitement
       A chanoines tantost rent,
       E si requert tuz les assemblez
       Ke le maufait seit pardonez.
1624   Meisme l'oure qu'est venuz
       [E] a seinte Osith receuz


When he had spoken thus, the bishop, who had lain so long without vigor and strength, roused himself. He held out just the finger of his right hand with the ring to the seneschal who had spoken thus, and who had given him good advice. He held out his ring and offered it to him because of what he had in his heart. And the seneschal drew the ring from his finger and said: "Good sire, now I see that you want to send this pledge to God, whom you have offended, and namely to St Osith, to request an understanding with her and with the lords of her church whom we disseised the other day. Now that I understand this, there is no alternative: I will go at once." (1592-1611)

The seneschal quickly mounted and went immediately to St Osith. He came to the church and had all the canons summoned. He offered the ring as a pledge openly on the altar, and on behalf of the bishop, his lord, asked everyone there for mercy. He completely and freely restored their land to the canons, and he also requested all those assembled that the misdeed might be pardoned. At the very same hour that he came and was received at St Osith's--
       Pur le mesfait fere adrecer
       Dunt est venu tel encumbrer,
1628   Bien unt note, bien entendu,
       E de plusurs est retenu
       Ke a l'eveske demaintenant
       La u esteit mort gisant
1632   Est l'oie e la v[e]ue                  [Fol. 147ra]
       E la parole ja rendue.
       Meismes en point e l'ure dreit
       Ke li gage offert esteit,
1636   Gariz esteit si come si,
       Mes nequedent pur veir vus di,
       Unckes puis sur piez n'estoit alant,
       Ne pout estre pur rien estant.
1640   Mes hum li fist une chaere
       Aturne en tele manere
       Ke iluekes sist quant fut errant,
       Tant cum en munde fu conversant.
1644   Le merc tut dis bien li parut
       Ke il en tel mal issi recut;
       Il puet v[e]er, il puet parler,
       Mes sur piez nul pas aler.
1648   Dekes a sa fin verraiment
       Ne li estuit nul autrement.
       La chaere, u fu portez
       E par la terre tant menez,
1652   Esteit si cum fu furmee,
       A seint Pol de Londres portee.
       Iluec remis est a tut dis,
       Bien le sevent cil del pais
1656   E cil ki iluec unt este
       Si enquis unt la verite.


to right the wrong from which had come such a misfortune, it was well noted and heard and maintained by many that the bishop, where he was lying as if dead, immediately regained his sight, his hearing, and his speech, just at the exact moment the pledge was offered. He was cured just like that, but nevertheless I tell you truly that afterwards he could never walk or stand on his feet. But they made him a chair fixed in such a manner that he could sit in it to go about as long as he was living in the world. The mark he had received in his illness was always apparent. He could see, he could speak, but he could not walk. Until his death, truly, it could not be otherwise. The chair in which he was carried and taken all round the land was formed to fit him and was brought to St Paul's in London. (47) It has remained there till this day, as those in that part of the country well know, as do those who have been there and learned the truth in that way. (1612-1657)
       Seigniurs, freres, pur ceo vus di,
       Ke ceste example avez oi;
1660   Ne fet a Deu pas tel juer
       Cum a veisin ne cum a per.
       Quant contre li pechent la gent,
       Il est mut suffrant longement,
1664   Mes tut seez de ceo seur,
       Ke quant il fiert, il fiert dur!     [Fol. 147rb]
       Bien resavum la verite.
       Seinte Osith ad grant pouste
1668   Ke Dampnedeu li ad done,
       Asez veu et bien mustre,
       De sey venger (ms: e) de ses enemis
       Ke li mesfunt en son pais,
1672   E pouste read ensement
       De mut valer a tute gent
       Ke Deu voudrunt e li servir.
       Mut bien purrat trestut merir
1676   Quanque hum frat pur li de bien,
       Ne puet estre perdeu pur rien.
       Ele est la sus en cel pais
       U Deu ad mis ses chers amis.
1680   Ne puet buche de hume parler,
       Oreile oir, ne quer penser,
       Ne oil ver en nule manere
       Cum la joie est iluec pleniere
1684   A tuz ceus qui Deu amerunt
       E de bon quer le servirunt.
       Seinte Osith nus seit en aye
       Tant cum sumes en ceste vie,
1688   Ke tant i puissum bien overer.
       E de peche nos cors garder
       Ke puissum au jur de la fin
       Vers Deu tenir le dreit chemein,


Lords, brothers, who have heard this example, I tell it to you for this reason: do not play with the Lord as if he were your equal or your neighbor. When people sin against him, he is tolerant for a long time. But be quite sure of this, that when he strikes, he strikes hard. We well know the truth. It has been seen and shown abundantly that St Osith has great power given her by God to avenge herself on her enemies who wronged her in her country, and that she likewise has the power to be of great value to all people who want to serve God and her. She can reward very well whatever good people do for her; it cannot ever be wasted. She dwells on high in that country where God has placed his dear friends. Nor may mouth of man tell, ear hear, heart think, or eye see in any way how full is the happiness there.

May St Osith come with help to all those who will love God and serve him with a good heart as long as we are in this life, so that we may do well and so save our bodies from sin that we may follow the straight road towards God on the final day--
1692   E meindre ou ses chers amys
       Ke unt la joie de parais,
       [E] vers nus doint sa majeste
       Ke maint uns Deus en Trinite. Amen.


and dwell with his dear friends who have the joy of paradise; and may he who remains one God in Trinity give us his eternal glory. Amen. (1657-1695)

LIST OF PROPER NAMES

Alisandre 264, Alexander the Great

Ardene 218, the forest of Arden

Bede, seint 138, Bede

Bedewin 420, seint ~ 638, Bedwin, priest, later bishop

Cattewade 591, Cattawade, Suffolk

Chic 1439, 1454, 1461, Chich 738, 793, 1473, Chich, Essex

Clakintone (ms: dakintone) 1451, 1457, 1470, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex

Dampnede 52, Dampnedeu 122, 126, 149, 177 etc, De 1369, Deu 2, 32, 33, 37, 38 etc, Deus 85, 117, 764, 1591 etc, Dieu 435

Danemarche 766, Denmark

Deable 697, 965, 1310, deables 1304, dieble 1314, 1324, the devil

Deu see Dampnede

Donewiz 617, Dunwich, Suffolk

Eadburc 152, Eadburga, daughter of Penda of Mercia

Ecca 421, seint 638, Acca, priest, later bishop

Edfrid 223, King Alfred

Edith 222, 227, 253, 257, 261, 272, 302, 309, 313, 314, Edithz 233, sister of King Alfred

Edmund, seint ~ 777, 1089, 1129, 1145, 1181 as place name 1095, 1101, St

Edmund of East Anglia

Engleis 132, the English, estorie des ~ 139, [Bede's] history of the English

Engletere 70, 83, 117, 131, 1148, Engleterre 1076, 1087, England

Espaine 259, Spain

Fiz Deu 158, the son of God

Fredeyold 132, Frethuuald 378, King Fredewald of South Mercia

Godwine, l'esquieler 1323, Godwin the scullion

Gurcedin 91, Guerredin, pagan king

Hereford 1069, Hereford, Herefordshire

Hodefeld 740, Hatfield Peverel or Hatfield Broad Oak, Essex [?]

Keneburc 151, Kyneburga, daughter of Penda of Mercia

Kenelovedene 739, Kelvedon or Kelvedon Hatch, Essex [?]

Lazre 350, Lazarus

Lovaine 260, Louvain

Lundres 1438, Londres 1653, London

Michel, seint 1106, St Michael the archangel, le jur de ~ 1105-06 the feast of St Michael (29th September)

Mide, le rey 256, King Midas

Modwen 217, 221, 224, 226, 238, 243, 272, 308, 310, 320, 345, 351, 361, 377, Modwen, l'abesse 214, Modwene 232, Modwin 211, St Modwenna of Burton

Nichole 1451, Nicholas, servant of Richard Belmeis

Nunnepol [ms.: uinnepol]370, Nunpool in Arden

Osith 202, 208, 209, 227, 241, 249, 254, 261, 266, 297, 299, 303, 346, 352, 361, 364, 366, 367, 386, 399, 423, Osith, damoisele 315, 347, saint' ~ 103, seint' ~ 118, 120, 388, 412, 434, 447, 472, 502, 520, 536, 660, seinte ~ 77, 128, 133, 153, 183, 188, 203, 678, 725, 751, 758, 798, 806, 808, 816, 826, 841, 1024, 1062, 1067, 1196, 1212, 1220, 1234, 1257, 1262, 1286, 1293, 1344, 1388, 1407, 1415, 1463, 1488, 1498, 1502, 1504, 1549, 1564, 1572, 1583, 1606, 1667, 1686, as place name 873, 882, 988, 1006, 1016, 1031, 1156, 1163, 1165, 1186, 1192, 1209, 1440, 1613, 1625, Osyd 69, St Osith

Pende, le rey 135, le reis ~ 147, Penda, king of Mercia

Pol, seint 1653, St Paul's, London

Poleswurthe [ms.: polesuurche] 219, Polesworth in Arden

Querendone 184, Quarrendon, Buckinghamshire

Rad' patin 1451, Randulf [Ranulfus?] Patin, clerk of Richard Belmeis

Ricard le eveske 1436, 1442, 1512, 1523, Richard Belmeis, Bishop of London

Rome 216, Rome

Saisons 91, the Saxons

Salamon, le sage 263, King Solomon

Straneshale 220, unidentified nunnery in Arden

Syer, le rei 387, 398, 402, 413, li reis ~ 426, 487, King Sighere of the East Saxons

Ubba 771, Hubba, Danish raider

Wales 1069, Wales

Williame, de Wokindone 1447, 1554, William of Ockendon, steward of Richard Belmeis

Witburg 414, Withborc, reine 134, Withburga, daughter of Penda of Mercia

Ynguar 771, Yngvar, Danish raider PLL 442 La Vie seinte Osith

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--. "The Single Woman as Saint: Three Anglo-Norman Success Stories." The Single Woman in Medieval and Early Modern England: Her Life and Representation. Ed. Laurel Amtower and Dorothea Kehler. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 263. Tempe, AZ: ACMRS, 2003. 1-19.

--. "The Vie Seinte Osith: Hagiography and Politics in Anglo-Norman England." Studies in Philology 96 (1999): 367-93 (rpt. here).

(1) On the day his journey will be ready (Quel jur son eire ert aprestez 30): the rhyme and the sense suggest there is a missing line here; but it is possible occasionally to have 3 lines in rhyme, and it may be that this should read, with minor correction of "ton eire" (from "son eire" 30)--'and they await you on the road [to heaven], on whatever day your journey [i.e. death] will be made.'

(2) And kept this vow all her life (Et bien le tint tut son age 72): for the possibility that Osith was the mother of Offa, son of Sighere, see Hagerty 127-28. Bede mentions this Offa in his Historia Ecclesiastica: see Colgrave and Mynors v, 19, 516 (henceforth Bede, HE).

(3) French story (romanz 75): the term 'romanz' can indicate the narrative genre of romance, but also frequently means 'vernacular version.' See further Zatta 1998.

(4) Gurredin and the Saxons (de Guercedin e de Saisons 91): perhaps Guerredin, a pagan king who appears in both the early and late twelfth century recensions of the Chanson d'Antioche, or Guithechin/Guitheclin who is the king of the Saxons in Jean Bodel of Arras's Les Saisnes, a chanson de geste of the late twelfth or early thirteenth century (see Moisan 520, s.v. Guenedon, and Brasseur). The rhetorical opposition of saints' lives and chansons de geste is conventional and works to underline similarities between the two genres, whose relationship such opposition 'almost inevitably invites the audience to reconsider' (Russell 1991, 4).

(5) Evil-doers (felons 92): another possible sense is 'traitor': the Saracens may be regarded as traitors to God who should be their lord as he is that of Christians. On the assimilation of Saxons and Saracens, see Speed.

(6) A formal offence or legal action (coruz ne plait, 111): here understood as anger leading to legal action: see J. H. Baker s.v. corouce.

(7) French story (romanz 114): see n. 3 to line 75 above.

(8) Committed herself to him (k'a li se prist 118): the masculine and feminine indirect pronoun are identical here, and the phrase may mean either that God takes Osith to himself or that Osith takes God to herself.

(9) Fredewald [also Frithuwold, Fredeswoldi] (Fredeyold 132): not mentioned in Bede, but seems from c. 655-c. 670 to have been a sub-regulus in South Mercia (Bailey 39, 41-2), probably connected with the family of St Frideswide of Oxford (Blair 1987, 87). For the debate over whether there were two St Osiths, one at Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire and one at Chich, Essex, see Hohler, who argues for two early sets of traditions combined in a lost life which was the source for three later lives (accepted by Bethell 1970a, 103; counterarguments in Bailey).

(10) Penda, a king ... (Pende le rey 135): Penda, king of Mercia (d. 654), Osith's maternal grandfather, is indeed prominent in Bede, though his daughters are not: for a table of Penda's children see Bailey 39-40, and on the daughters (who were all, except Withburga, abbesses or nuns) see Blair 2002 s.v. Eadburh, Eadgyth, Cyneburh, and Cyneswith.

(11) Kyneburga ... Edburga (Keneburc ... Eadburc 151-52): Osith's aunts are Eadburh [Edburga] of Adderbury and Cyneburh [Kyneburga] of Castor (see n. 10 above).

(12) Drink (beivre 163) MS deivre. We take writing de beivre as an example of scribal eyeskip.

(13) Quarrendon in Buckinghamshire was, as its name suggests, called after a hill above its river crossing (close to the confluence of Quarrendon stream with the Thames): the present site has a church opposite the hill at the end of a causeway. The area was important territory for Fredewald and his kin's ambitioins in the seventh century. Its villa regalis was within sight of Aylesbury monastery, and its church of St Peter was probably connected with a seventh-century foundation associate with Osith (Everson 9-11, 37-38).

(14) Hand her over to Modwenna.... Modwenna was taken up to heaven (A Modwin baillier.... Modwen fu en cel mene[e] 211.... 377): Osith's stay with Modwenna (and her subsequent drowning and resurrection in the river Anker) was thought by Baker to have been a later interpolation (Baker 1911, 480-81). Zatta has argued convincingly that Baker's linguistic, prosodic, and historical arguments for a composite poem by three writers are insufficient or circular, and that there is no barrier and every reason for the Anglo-Norman Vie de seinte Osith to have been composed as a single poem in the late twelfth century (pp. 316-17 above). It is not clear what source materials the Anglo-Norman Osith writer used for Osith's schooling in Arden: Modwenna's foundations there are already part of that saint's life by the time of Conchubrannus's eleventh-century vita (Bartlett 2002, xviii). None of the extant Latin Osith vitae give the incident with as much detail as does Geoffrey of Burton in his late twelfth-century life of St Modwenna (though Geoffrey's source, Conchubrannus, also shares several points with the Anglo-Norman Osith), yet the thirteenth-century Anglo-Norman Modwenne and the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman Osith agree in some details against Geoffrey of Burton's vita (see Bethell 1970a, 84-85 for a tabulation of all versions and 124-27 for Conchubrannus and Geoffrey's texts). In a further notable incident, the ritual humiliation of the patron saint by her monks, Osith and Modwenna again share motifs, but the Anglo-Norman Osith is closer to Geoffrey of Burton than to the Anglo-Norman Modwenne (see p. 429 and n. 44 below).

(15) Polesworth ... Straneshall (Poleswurthe ... Straneshale 219-20): both foundations are here ascribed to Modwenna, whereas in the Anglo-Norman Modwenne, Polesworth is founded for Edith by her brother Atulf ([AEthelwulf] Baker and Bell 67, v. 1887; 90, v. 2553) when she becomes Modwenna's disciple, and subsequently given into her charge by Modwenna when she leaves for a quieter contemplative life at 'Strenehale' (Baker and Bell 90-91, vv. 2571, 2587-88). Polesworth's foundation as a pre-Conquest house is attested only in post-Conquest sources (Foot 139-42): Matthew Paris, for instance (in an account somewhat reminiscent of Osith's own life), says that King Athelstan's sister Edith (d. 925) founded Polesworth as a virgin widow after the death of her pagan husband Sihtric of Northumbria who had repudiated her (Chronica majora, I, 447). Straneshale has never been satisfactorily identified: the name closely resembles the Anglo-Saxon name for Abbess Hild's monstery at Whitby (Streaneshalch) but this is geographically impossible. The name is given as Trensale (Trensall) in a seventeenth-century account transcribed by Dugdale (366), but no community of this name is known.

(16) Sister to King Alfred (Al rei Edfrid esteit seur 223): in most versions Edith is sister to King Alfred (Bethell 1970a 84): in La Vie seinte Modwenne she is aunt to him and sister of King AEthelwulf (Baker and Bell 87, vv. 2463, 2476). For a lucid summary of all the Anglo-Saxon saints named Edith, see Blair 2002, s.v. Eadgyth, 527-28.

(17) Thank God that Edith did not know.... Alexander in all his life-time(Ha, Deu! Ke Edith ne seust.... Alisandre en tut son age 253-64): no other life of Osith or Modwenna includes comparable rhetorical flourishes. The repeated figures here refocus the incident to make it Osith's rather than Modwenna's. William de Vere, author of a lost life of Osith probably known at Chich, grew up in the court of Henry I and Adeliza of Louvain (Barrow 175-76): the other figures used here are more standard. For a comparable rhetorical topos see Shepherd.

(18) The winter was cold (Ivern ert [freid e] 267): there is an erasure in this line: the reading is an editorial reconstruction.

(19) Three furlongs (treis arpenz 291): a measure of land of about an acre. 'Furlong' is not strictly equivalent (OED s.v. arpent, furlong) but is a measure of a plowed strip of land.

(20) Her book ... without any moisture (Son livre ... sanz muilliure 356): For a similar miracle concerning Margaret Queen of Scotland (d. 1093) and her Gospel book (still extant as Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Latin liturgical f5), see Forbes-Leith: for Margaret's vita see the translation by Huneycutt ch. 25 (175).

(21) Nunpool (Nunnepol 370): the site remains unidentified. The river is given as the Anker (Staffordshire) in most other versions of Osith's life.

(22) In which exchange she will be a martyr (En quel change serra martir 383): this line is one of three lines on the same rhyme and may be an insertion or may lack the other half of the couplet.

(23) King Sighere (le rei Syer 387): Sighere, seventh-century King of the East Saxons and apostate from Christianity to paganism according to Bede, HE iii, 30, 322).

(24) Bedwin ... Acca (Bedewin ... Ecca 420-21): subsequently bishops of Dunwich and Elmham respectively (Bede, HE iv, 6, 354, n. 1).

(25) She continued nevertheless to resist him, pressing her request and pleading (Et nequedent tant l'ad lutie,/Requis mut et travaillie 462-63): the manuscript has feminine endings for the past participles (lutiee ... travaillee), but retains the masculine for requis and elsewhere exhibits some confusion of ee/e. The emendations adopted here make the subject of the sentence Osith, giving readier sense than if it were Sighere.

(26) So that I do not break my true oath ... I promise you truly (Sanz enfreindre la veray voe / Si vus promet pur verite 528-29): the lines make poor sense in their order in the manuscript and have been inverted by the editor.

(27) Dismounted at the hall door ... angry and full of bad temper (A l'us de la sale decent... Irus e plein de maltalent 682-83): these lines have been reversed in the manuscript and are re-ordered in the text and translation here.

(28) In her black veil (En son neir veil 690): black was the standard colour of a nun's veil, and the habits of undyed cloth first worn by the Benedictines created a general presumption for religious clothing to be of coarse brown, grey, or dark cloth. The Augustinian canons and canonesses of the twelfth century wore a white surplice along with their habit, though several sets of early thirteenth-century bishops' injunctions to St Osith's at Chich suggest the canons were not all wearing garments of uniform price and color (VCH Essex 158). In the extant (late thirteenth-century) manuscript of La Vie seinte Osith, BL Addit. 70513, the opening illustration on f. 134va shows Osith dressed in a brown tunic under a white-lined blue mantel with a white veil, while her companion saints, Audree and Modwenna, both Benedictine abbeses, wear black and brown habits respectively (the latter with a white-lined overmantel): see Russell 2003, plates 5a and 6a for reproductions.

(29) [706][....]: the rhyme suggests that a line has been omitted in the manuscript at the bottom of f. 139vb, following line 705, though it is also possible that this may be a triplet (cf vv. 381-83 and see notes 1 and 22 above).

(30) Kelvedon ... Hatfield (Kenelovedene ... Hodefeld 739-740): Baker suggests Colchester, the Roman Camulodunum (Baker 1911, 491, n. to vv. 738-39); Bethell argues for Kelvedon or Kelvedon Hatch in Essex (Bethell 1970a, 87-88, n. 3). Hodefeld is possibly Hatfield Broad Oak or Hatfield Peverel, which were sites of subsequent de Vere foundations in Essex (Bethell 1970a, 88).

(31) St Edmund (Seint Edmund 777): Edmund King of East Anglia (841-69), martyred in Suffolk by the invading Danish army led by Ingvar and Hubba and patron saint of the large Benedictine male monastery of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.

(32) The sign was large and clear (L'enseigne fu apert' e grant 820): compare Christina of Markyate who marks a cross on the church door of St Albans and next day offers an oblatory penny at the altar before dedicating herself to Christ (Talbot 40-41). Thomas Head argues that these actions (which have parallels both to Osith's bloody marking of her church and her self-veiling at lines 668-677 above) constitute betrothal to Christ (1990, 81; 2005, 120).

(33) A house being pushed by a pole (Ke meson fet ke [ms: le] tuche tref 947). Baker reads cuche tref (1911 494, v. 946) but subsequently agreed that tuche tref , the reading adopted here, made better sense (Bell 51).

(34) Her sister [...] by name (Sa suer par non 1096): although the line is metrically complete, it is possible that the sister's name has been in some way omitted (unless the phrase 'par non' has here a purely asseverative or intensifying function: other examples of the phrase in the poem--at lines 745, 1237, and 1323--are not conclusive).

(35) Eight days (uit jurs 1193): Baker's emendation to vint is unnecessary: eight days is in any case a more probable time for this journey of some forty miles (Bell 52).

(36) The eve of St Osith's feast ... a fair (la veillie ... De seinte Osith ... la feire 1196): Osith's principal feast day is 7th October, its vigil October 6th.

(37) The canons (les seigniurs 1205): the lords of the church, i.e. the canons.

(38) Regnum mundi (1252): for a reconstruction of possible liturgies at Chich, see Bethell 1970a, 95-96.

(39) The Te Deum.... finally been cured (Te Deum.... Guarie est finement 1274-1281): singing the Te Deum and ringing bells is a standard response to an accepted shrine cure. For further accounts see Finucane 1995, ch. 5.

(40) The third bishop of London (Le tieres a Lundres 1438): although the most obvious assumption here is that Bishop Richard Belmeis II, Bishop of London 1152-1162 is meant and that the predecessor referred to is Richard Belmeis I (Bishop of London 1109-1127 and the founder, in 1121, of Chich as a priory of canons regular), the miracle story which the poem precedes to tell is historically attached to Richard I and 'corroborated at every point by charter evidence' (Bethell 1970b, 303). Zatta considers the possibility that the poem has confused Bishops Richard Belmeis I and II (a ready source of confusion is the fact that Richard II, like Richard I, was perceived as a predator of Chich properties, see Bethell 1970b, 304), but argues that the poem splits the historical Richard Belmeis I into two persons, a 'good' Richard who founds the priory of canons regular at Chich and a 'bad' Richard punished for expropriating its lands (pp. 333-34 above). The term 'ancestre' in line 1446, here translated as 'predecessor,' can also mean '[biological] ancestor' and arguably could apply to Richard Belmeis II, but the replacement of the priests of Osith's shrine by 'chanoines' (line 1440) presumably applies only to Richard Belmeis I's foundation, not to earlier translations of Osith by his eleventh-century predecessors (for which see Bethell 1970b, 301-302). The matter is complex and hard to resolve satisfactorily, though the thematics of Zatta's reading remain illuminating regardless of whether bishops have been confused or generalized in the Anglo-Norman poem. For an argument that the Belmeis dynasty were promoters of the regular monastic life rather than secularists, see Whatley 31-35. 41William of Ockendon and Ranulfus Patin are recorded respectively as Richard Belmeis's steward and clerk (Bethell, 1970b, 303). At line 1450, the manuscript reads "Rad' Patin": this abbreviation is commonly used for Randulfus.

(42) It was from the episcopal estate of Clacton that Chich had been founded as a priory: the bishop of London held episcopal court there (Bethell 1970b). The misreading of "cl" as "d" is common, particularly in proper names.

(43) Maurice, Bishop of London (1086-1107) had replaced the communal provisioning of the priests of St Osith's shrine at Chich by a prebendal system (Bethell 1970b, 301-302).

(44) As if she were taking her leave (Cum pur prendre son cunge 1495): for this and associated rituals, see Geary, 123-40. Geoffrey of Burton's Life of Modwenna includes such a ritual against Roger the Poitevin (hitherto believed to be unique in insular sources: see Bartlett 1996, 33-34: text in Bartlett 2002, 192-94): the Anglo-Norman Modwenne retains a version of monastic lamentation and clamor from Geoffrey, but does not mention the deposition of her shrine from the altar (Baker and Bell 281, vv. 8169-8188).

(45) [Or speak or hear] ([Ne peut parler, ne peut oir, ] 1527): A line is missing in the manuscript here and has been supplied by the editor.

(46) Disseised of her land (desaise de sa terre 1566): on disseisin and its counter, the assize of novel disseisin, in the twelfth century, see Zatta, 336 above.

(47) Was brought to St Paul's in London (A seint Pol de Londres portee 1653): in the reign of Osith's husband Sighere, Erkenwald was consecrated bishop of the East Saxons in London in 675. After he died (in 693) and was buried in St Paul's London in 693, the horse-litter (caballarium) in which the infirm bishop had been carried about was preserved and miracles reported of it (Bede, HE iv, 6, 354).
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Title Annotation:Vie Seinte Osith
Author:Zatta, Jane
Publication:Papers on Language & Literature
Article Type:Biography
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 22, 2005
Words:25458
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