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Few were his following
Fled to his warship; Fleeted his vessel to sea with the king in it 60 Saving his life on the fallow flood.
Gave to the garbaging war-hawk to gorge it,
and That grey beast, the wolf of the weald.3 110
Also the crafty one,
XV Never had huger Slaughter of heroes Slain by the sword-edgeSuch as old writers Have writ of in histories Hapt in this isle, since Up from the East hither Saxon and Angle from Over the broad billow Broke into Britain with Haughty war-workers who Harried the Welshman, when Earls that were lured by the Hunger of glory gat Hold of the land.
Slender reason had
THE GRAVE: (LONGFELLOW's translation, from The Poets
and Poetry of Europe.)
For thee was a house built
Thy house is not
Doorless is that house,
Many a carcase they left to be carrion,
: Dublin. Some of the Norsemen (those under Anlaf) had come across the sea from Ireland.
Thus thou art laid And leavest thy friends; Thou hast no friend Who will come to thee,
35 : The forest.
1 Date and author unknown, but probably among the latest poems of the Old English period.
Who will ever see
which we have hitherto professed has, as far How that house pleaseth thee,
as I can learn, no virtue in it. For none of Who will ever open The door for thee,
your people has applied himself more diligently And descend after thee;
to the worship of our gods than I; and yet there For soon thou art loathsome
5 are many who receive greater favours from And hateful to see.
you, and are more preferred than I, and are more prosperous in all their undertakings.
Now if the gods were good for anything, they Bede
would rather forward me, who have been more 673-735
10 careful to serve them. It remains, therefore,
that if upon examination you find those new KING EDWIN CONSIDERS ADOPTING
doctrines, which are now preached to us,
and more efficacious, we immediately receive (Bede's Ecclesiastical History, 731)
them without any delay."
15 Another of the king's chief men, approving of (Translated by J. A. GILES)
his words and exhortations, presently added: King Edwin, therefore, delaying to receive “The present life of man, O king, seems to me, the word of God at the preaching of Paulinus, in comparison of that time which is unknown to and using for sometime, as has been said, to
us, like to the swift flight of a sparrow through sit several hours alone, and seriously to ponder 20 the room wherein you sit at supper in winter, with himself what he was to do, and what with your commanders and ministers, and a religion he was to follow, the man of God came good fire in the midst, whilst the storms of rain to him, laid his right hand on his head, and and snow prevail abroad; the sparrow, I say, asked, "Whether he knew that sign?” The flying in at one door, and immediately out at king in a trembling condition, was ready to fall 25 another, whilst he is within, is safe from the down at his feet, but he raised him up, and in a wintry storm; but after a short space of fair familiar manner said to him, "Behold by the weather, he immediately vanishes out of your help of God you have escaped the hands of the sight, into the dark winter from which he had enemies whom you feared. Behold you have of emerged. So this life of man appears for a his gift obtained the kingdom which you 30 short space, but of what went before, or what is desired. Take heed not to delay that which to follow, we are utterly ignorant. If, therefore, you promised to perform; embrace the faith, this new doctrine contains something more and keep the precepts of Him who, delivering certain, it seems justly to deserve to be folyou from temporal adversity, has raised you to lowed.” The other elders and king's counthe honour of a temporal kingdom; and if, 35 sellors, by divine inspiration, spoke to the same from this time forward, you shall be obedient effect. to his will, which through me he signifies to But Coifi added, that he wished more you, he will not only deliver you from the attentively to hear Paulinus discourse concerneverlasting torments of the wicked, but also ing the God whom he preached; which he make you a partaker with him of his eternal 40 having by the king's command performed, kingdom in heaven."
, hearing his words, cried out, “I have The king, hearing these words, answered that long since been sensible that there was nothing he was both willing and bound to receive the in that which we worshipped; because the more faith which he taught; but that he would diligently I sought after truth in that worship, confer about it with his principal friends and 45 the less I found it. But now I freely confess, counsellors, to the end that if they also were of that such truth evidently appears in this his opinion, they might all together be cleansed preaching as can confer on us the gifts of life, of in Christ the Fountain of Life. Paulinus ? salvation, and of eternal happiness. For which consenting, the king did as he said; for, holding reason I advise, o king, that we instantly a counsel with the wise men, he asked of every 50 abjure and set fire to those temples and altars one in particular what he thought of the new which we have consecrated without reaping any doctrine, and the new worship that was benefit from them." In short, the king pubpreached? To which the chief of his own licly gave his license to Paulinus to preach the priests, Coifi, immediately answered, “O king, Gospel, and renouncing idolatry, declared that consider what this is which is now preached to 55 he received the faith of Christ: and when he us; for I verily declare to you, that the religion inquired of the high priest who should first
i The famous King Edwin of Northumbria, 617-733. profane the altars and temples of their idols, ? An early English bishop, who had come to Northum- with the enclosures that were about them, he bria with the princess Æthelburh of Kent, when she became Edwin's queen.
answered, “I; for who can more properly than
myself destroy those things which I wor- towards him, he rose up from table and returned shipped through ignorance, for an example to home. all others, through the wisdom which has Having done so at a certain time, and gone been given me by the true God?” Then out of the house where the entertainment was, immediately, in contempt of his former super- 5 to the stable, where he had to take care of the stitions, he desired the king to furnish him with horses that night, he there composed himself arms and a stallion; and mounting the same, he to rest at the proper time; a person appeared to set out to destroy the idols; for it was not him in his sleep, and saluting him by his
name, lawful before for the high priest either to carry said, “Cædmon, sing some song to me." He arms, or to ride on any but a mare. Having, 10 answered, “I cannot sing; for that was the therefore, girt a sword about him, with a spear reason why I left the entertainment, and rein his hand, he mounted the king's stallion and tired to this place, because I could not sing." proceeded to the idols. The multitude, be- The other who talked to him, replied, “Howholding it, concluded he was distracted; but he ever you shall sing.”—“What shall I sing?” lost no time, for as soon as he drew near the 15 rejoined he. “Sing the beginning of created temple he profaned the same, casting into it beings," said the other. Hereupon he presthe spear which he held; and rejoicing in the ently began to sing verses to the praise of knowledge of the worship of the true God, he God, which he had never heard, the purport commanded his companions to destroy the whereof was thus:-We are now to praise the temple, with all its enclosures, by fire. This 20 Maker of the heavenly kingdom, the power of place where the idols were is still shown, not the Creator and his counsel, the deeds of the far from York, to the eastward, beyond the Father of glory. How he, being the eternal river Derwent, and is now called Godmunding- God, became the author of all miracles, who ham,' where the high priest, by the inspiration first, as almighty preserver of the human race, of the true God, profaned and destroyed the 25 created heaven for the sons of men, as a roof of altars which he himself had consecrated. the house, and next the earth. This is the
sense, but not the words in order as he sang
them in his sleep; for verses, though never so THE VISION OF CÆDMON
well composed, cannot be literally translated (From the same)
30 out of one language into another, without losing
much of their beauty and loftiness. Awaking (Translated by J. A. GILES)
from his sleep, he remembered all that he had There was in this abbess's monasteryl a sung in his dream, and soon added much more certain brother, particularly remarkable for to the same effect in verse worthy of the Deity. the grace of God, who was wont to make pious 35 In the morning he came to the steward, his and religious verses, so that whatever was superior, and having acquainted him with the interpreted to him out of Scripture, he soon gift he had received, was conducted to the after put the same into poetical expressions of abbess, by whom he was ordered, in the much sweetness and humility, in English, which presence of many learned men, to tell his was his native language. By his verses the 40 dream, and repeat the verses, that they might minds of many were often excited to despise all give their judgment what it was, and whence the world, and to aspire to heaven. Others his verse proceeded. They all concluded, after him attempted, in the English nation, to that heavenly grace had been conferred on him compose religious poems, but none could ever by our Lord. They expounded to him a passage compare with him, for he did not learn the art 45 in holy writ, either historical or doctrinal, of poetry from men, but from God; for which ordering him, if he could, to put the same into reason he never could compose any trivial or verse. Having undertaken it, he went away, vain poem, but only those which relate to and returning the next morning, gave it to them religion suited his religious tongue; for having composed in most excellent verse; whereupon lived in a secular habit till he was well advanced 50 the abbess, embracing the grace of God in the in years, he had never learned anything of man, instructed him to quit the secular habit, versifying; for which reason being sometimes at and take upon him the monastic life; which entertainments, when it was agreed for the being accordingly done, she associated him to sake of mirth that all present should sing in the rest of the brethren in her monastery, and their turns, when he saw the instrument come 55 ordered that he should be taught the whole Goodmanham, about twenty-three miles from York,
series of sacred history. Thus Cædmon, was a chief seat of the old worship. It was here that keeping in mind all he heard, and as it were the Wilan had met to consider the new religion.
"The monastery at Streoneshalh, now Whitby, on 2 For a translation of the Old English version of Cædthe coast of Yorkshire. The abbess was Hild.
mon's hymn, see p. 8.
chewing the cud, converted the same into most sing the nocturnal praises of our Lord? They harmonious verse; and sweetly repeating the answered, “It is not far off.” Then he said, same, made his masters in their turn his hearers. “Well, let us wait that hour," and signing He sang the creation of the world, the origin of himself with the sign of the cross, he laid his man, and all the history of Genesis: and made 5 head on the pillow, and falling into a slumber, many verses on the departure of the children ended his life so in silence. of Israel out of Egypt, and their entering into Thus it came to pass, that as he had served the land of promise, with many other histories God with a simple and pure mind, and undis-from holy writ; the incarnation, passion, turbed devotion, so he now departed to His resurrection of our Lord, and his ascension into 10 presence, leaving the world by a quiet death; heaven; the coming of the Holy Ghost, and the and that tongue, which had composed so many preaching of the apostles; also the terror of holy words in praise of the Creator, uttered its future judgment, the horror of the pains of hell, last words whilst he was in the act of signing and the delights of heaven; besides many more himself with the cross, and recommending about the Divine benefits and judgments, by 15 himself into His hands, and by what has been which he endeavored to turn away all men from here said, he seems to have had foreknowledge the love of vice, and to excite in them the love of his death. of, and application to, good actions; for he was a very religious man, humbly submissive to BEDE'S ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF regular discipline, but full of zeal against those 20 who behaved themselves otherwise; for which
(From the same) reason he ended his life happily.
(Translated by J. A. GILES) For when the time of his departure drew Thus much of the Ecclesiastical History of near, he laboured for the space of fourteen days Britain, and more especially of the English under a bodily infirmity which seemed to pre-25 nation, as far as I could learn either from the pare the way, yet so moderate that he could writings of the ancients, or the tradition of our talk and walk the whole time. In his neighbor- ancestors, or of my own knowledge, has, with hood was the house to which those that were the help of God, been digested by me, Bede, the sick, and like shortly to die, were carried. He servant of God, and priest of the monastery desired the person that attended him, in the 30 of the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, which evening, as the night came on in which he was is at Wearmouth and Jarrow;' who being born to depart this life, to make ready a place there in the territory of that same monastery, was for him to take his rest. This person, wonder- given, at seven years of age, to be educated by ing why he should desire it, because there was the most reverend Abbat Benedict, and afteras yet no sign of his dying soon, did what he 35 wards by Ceolfrid; and, spending all the had ordered. He accordingly went there, and remaining time of my life in that monastery, conversing pleasantly in a joyful manner with I wholly applied myself to the study of Scripthe rest that were in the house before, when it ture, and amidst the observance of regular was past midnight, he asked them whether they discipline, and the daily care of singing in the had the Eucharist there? They answered, 40 church, I always took delight in learning, “What need of the Eucharist? for you are not teaching, and writing. In the nineteenth year likely to die, since you talk so merrily with us, of my age, I received deacon's orders; in the as if you were in perfect health."-"However," thirtieth, those of the priesthood, both of them said he, "bring me the Eucharist.” Having by the ministry of the most reverend Bishop received the same into his hand, he asked, 45 John, and by the order of the Abbat Ceolfrid. whether they were all in charity with him, and From which time, till the fifty-ninth year of without any enmity or rancour? They an- my age, I have made it my business, for the swered, that they were all in perfect charity, use of me and mine, to compile out of the works and free from anger; and in their turn asked of the venerable Fathers, and to interpret and him, whether he was in the same mind towards 50 explain according to their meaning these them? He answered, “I am in charity, my following pieces. children, with all the servants of God.” Then
1 Bede entered the monastery of St. Peter at Wearstrengthening himself with the heavenly
mouth, in Durham, in his seventh year, and the associated
monastery of St. Paul at Jarrow in his nineteenth year. viaticum, he prepared for the entrance into • The famous Benedict Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth. another life, and asked, how near the time 55 Ceolfrid was his successor.
3 John of Beverley, bishop of Hexham. was when the brothers were to be awakened to
• Here follows a list of Bede's works.
And when he had come to the words "leave us
not orphans," he burst into tears and wept CUTHBERT'S LETTER ON THE DEATH much. And after a while he began to repeat OF BEDE
what he had begun. And we, hearing these (c. 735)
5 things, mourned with him. Now we read, and
now we wept; nay, we read as we wept. In (Translated by P. V. D. SAELLY)
such gladness we passed the quinquagesimal To his most dear fellow-lector Cuthwin, days 5 until the above mentioned day, and he beloved in Christ, Cuthbert, his co-disciple in rejoiced greatly and gave thanks to God God, sends greeting. The little gift you sent 10 because he had been worthy of such affliction. me I have received with pleasure, and with He would often say, "God scourgeth every son great joy have I read your letter, full of a whom He receiveth,” 6 and much more from devout learning, in which I learn, what I so the holy scriptures. A saying of Ambrose's greatly desired, that you are diligently cele- he would also repeat, “I have not lived in such brating masses and prayers for our father and 15 a manner as to be ashamed to live among you; master, Bede, beloved of God. Wherefore- but neither do I fear to die, because we have a more on account of my love for him than be- good God.” In these days also, he strove to cause of any confidence in my powers-I am produce two works worthy of memory, in pleased to tell you in a few words how he addition to teaching us and singing psalms. departed from this life, since this, I understand, 20 He translated into our tongue, for the use of is what you desire and request. About two the Church, the gospel of St. John, to where it is weeks before the day of the Resurrection, he said, “But what are these among so many?”? was afflicted with great weakness and with and certain excerpts from the works of Bishop shortness of breath, although he was without Isidore, saying, "I do not wish that my pupils pain; and so, happy and rejoicing, giving 25 should read falsehood, or labor herein without thanks to Almighty God every day and every profit after my death.” When the third Tuesnight, indeed almost every hour, he lived until day before the Ascension of our Lord had come, the day of our Lord's ascension, that is the he began to experience great difficulty in breathseventh of the Kalends of June.? To us, his ing, and a slight swelling developed in his feet. pupils, he continued to give lessons every day, 30 But he labored all that day, and dictated and the rest of the day he spent in singing happily, and among other things said, “Learn psalms. Ever vigilant, he would spend the quickly, for I know not how long I shall live, or whole night in rejoicing and in giving thanks, whether in a little while my Maker shall take except when a little sleep prevented. Upon me.” To us, however, it seemed that he knew awaking, however, he would again repeat the 35 well the time of his going forth. Thus he spent customary prayers and with hands uplifted the night in vigils and thanksgiving. And at continue to give thanks to God. Truly I may dawn, that is on Wednesday, he commanded us say that I have neither seen with my eyes nor to write diligently what we had begun; and this heard with my ears any one give thanks so we did unto the third hour. From the third diligently to the living God.
40 hour we walked with the relics of the saints, as O truly blessed man! He was wont to repeat the custom of the day demanded. One of us the words of St. Paul the Apostle, “It is a remained with him, who said to him, “There is fearful thing to fall into the hands of the yet one chapter lacking. Does it not seem hard living God,"
,"? 3 and many other things from the that you should be questioned further?” But Scriptures, by which he would admonish us to 45 he answered, “It is easy. Take pen and ink, rouse ourselves from the sleep of the soul by and write quickly." He did so. At the ninth thinking upon our last hour. Also he some- hour he said to me, “In my chest I have a few times spoke in our tongue, the English, for he little valuables, pepper, napkins, and incense. was very learned in our songs: ... He Go quickly and bring hither the priests of our would also sing Antiphons, according to his 50 monastery, that I may distribute among them usage and ours, one of which is: “O King of what gifts God has granted me. The rich men, glory, Lord of Hosts, who in triumph didst in this day, may wish to give gold and silver and this day ascend above all the heayens, leave us the like treasures; I, with great charity and not orphans, but send upon us the promise of gladness, shall give to my brothers what God the Father, the Spirit of Truth, Alleluia.” 55 has bestowed.” And with fear I did this. 1 Cuthbert, who must not be confused with the better
Then addressing one and all, he besought them known St. Cuthbert, was a pupil of Bede.
to sing masses for him and to pray diligently; : May 26, 735.
3 Hebrews, x, 31. • Here follows the so-called Bede's Death Song, for a 6 The time between Easter and Pentecost. translation of which see p. 8.
* Hebrews, xii, 6.
7 St. John, vi. 9.