The Martyrdom of Sancte Katerine
THE MARTYRDOM OF SANCTE KATERINE: EXPLANATORY NOTES
Header Sancte Katerine. Katherine of Alexandria was supposedly a fourth-century saint. Little is known about her, despite the popularity of her cult throughout Europe and especially in England. According to D, in the Early Greek legend she was actually persecuted by Maximinus, not Maxentius. Maxentius won power in Italy after Constantine was proclaimed emperor after the death of his father Constantius in 306 CE, but there is no truth to the legend that he ruled in Alexandria (see pp. 204–05n1; see also explanatory note 1.1, below). Katherine’s name appears here in its French form. It is likely that the audience, for whom this text was intended, read French and English as well as some Latin. For a fuller discussion of the nature of the probable audience of these texts, see Robertson, “Living Hand” and Early English Devotional Prose; Savage and Watson, AS; and Millett, “Woman in No Man’s Land.” On the popularity of Saint Katherine in the Middle Ages, see Christine Walsh, Cult of St. Katherine, especially Chapters 2, “The Historical Katherine” (pp. 7–22), and 7, “The Introduction of the Cult of St. Katherine into England” (pp. 97–142).
1.1 Costentin. Constantine “the Great,” emperor from 306–37 CE (although the traditional date given to St. Katherine’s martyrdom is 305). Constantine’s campaigns against Maxentius and Maximinus during the early years of his reign appear to be represented in the beginning of SK, though these figures are conflated with each other (OCD, “Constantine”).
Maxence. Though the name and position suggests Maxentius, Constantine’s enemy and rival for the title Augustus in Rome from 306–12 CE, Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximinus is in fact the Roman aristocrat and governor more likely to have executed St. Katherine. The governor of Syria and Egypt in the early years of the fourth century, Maximinus was notorious for his persecution of Christians, ordering public sacrifices of all citizens in 306 and 308, and inflicting torture and death as punishment. The figure of Maxence in SK is likely a conflation of Maximinus and Maxentius, possibly a result of interpretations of their similar names, or from confusion over their 311 alliance against Constantine (OCD, “Maximinus Gaius”).
1.5 Ylirie. Illyria was a region of the Western Balkan peninsula.
2.1 anes kinges Cost hehte anlepi dohter. In John Capgrave’s fifteenth-century work The Life of Saint Katherine, Katherine is not only Costus’ learned daughter, but also the queen of Alexandria in her own right whose power is being usurped by the emperor Maxence. For an interesting discussion of the integral role of politics in Capgrave’s Katherine, see Winstead, “Capgrave’s Saint Katherine.” Winstead examines the way in which Capgrave’s depiction of Katherine as an active ruler complicates her status as a laudable figure. The Bodley Katherine-poet, by contrast, avoids political complications by depicting Katherine as a learned private landholder with no specific political obligations. Additionally, see Winstead, “St. Katherine’s Hair” for a discussion of Katherine’s princely genealogy.
Cost. Vernacular versions of the Katherine passio develop Cost’s bloodline so that Katherine in a sense becomes localized or nationalized, rather than remaining a distant Greek saint. Walsh, in particular, notes the “anglicization” of the tale in the fifteenth-century prose version of the legend: there, “Costas” actually becomes the elder half-brother of Constantine the Great; thus, as Walsh writes “Katherine is . . . linked both to Constantine, the man who made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, and Britain [through his British mother, Helena]” (Cult of St. Katherine, p. 99n6). For more detail, see Walsh, Cult of St. Katherine, pp. 9–10 and p. 99n6.
cleargesse. It is difficult to say precisely what the word cleargesse means. Katherine could not have been clerically trained, but the word suggests she had scholarly training in Latin. The audience for whom this text was intended may well have been similarly trained; although not clerical, they probably had some limited training in Latin. The word is used to describe some anchoresses in Ancrene Wisse (ed. Hasenfratz, “Author’s Preface,” p. 62, line 48). For discussion of the significance of that word in the Ancrene Wisse, see Robertson, “This Living Hand.”
2.2 nawt forthi that . . . telleth wel to. Although the precise audience of this text is unknown, it is likely that many of its readers were women who had been “ladies” in secular life; thus, this comment here would have particular resonance for the audience.
3.3 Modi meistres ant . . . menske al up. This passage both establishes Katherine’s position as a dominant intellectual figure and highlights the steadfastness and power granted to her by the Holy Spirit (3.2). The careful declaration that many learned men have been overcome by her knowledge foreshadows her competition with and victory over the fifty masters that begins at 11.3.
crefti crokes. D glosses “crokes” as “sophistries” (p. 302), referring to the art of formal philosophical dispute. There is a connection here to the Devil’s “crafty tricks” as though philosophical argument were itself a weapon of the devil; for example, see 6.1, where “crokinde creftes” refers specifically to the devil’s tricks. Note the patristic suspicion of formal classical rhetoric and logic, which can be used to obscure truth. Compare also SK,11.3, and see the explanatory note to those sentences, below.
4.1 burdeboldes. D notes that this word translates the Latin palatio patris (p. 301). Literally, the term means “birth-castle” or where Katherine was born, the place of her heritage.
4.3 seide hire thet sothe. The literal translation is “told her that truthfully,” with thet (as well as this and hwet of 4.2) referring to the antecedent swuch nurth of 4.1. For the sake of clarity, however, we have freely translated thet sothe as “the truth,” following Savage and Watson’s translation (AS, p. 263).
4.7 hwet hit mahte . . . al his kineriche. B appears to be missing a verb, and this problem is duplicated in R and T. The Latin text offers no help here. D notes the similarity between the Middle English “yeinen” (see MED yeinen (v.), sense a, “to be useful or profitable; avail; help,” which we have translated as “gain”) and the cognate “geinen” (see MED geinen (v.), sense 2, “to oppose”). This second cognate, according to D, would have been “ʒeinin” in the AB dialect; the scribe of the exemplar may have conflated the two terms, hence our translation. See D, pp. 209–10n63, for a more extended explanation.
4.10 Rode-taken. I.e., the sign of the cross.
5.2 scheop. We have translated this verb as “shape” to illustrate both the very physical sense of creation (God shaping Adam from clay with His hands) and also to demonstrate the modern cognate. See MED shapen (v.), sense 1.
5.5 sculde. D notes that the “sc” spelling is common in the B manuscript, although T and R invariably spell “sch” (see D, p. xlv). This spelling is a holdover from Anglo-Saxon.
6.5 thurh thet. D glosses as “by reason of the fact that” (p. 340).
7.3 lahe sprung. AB’s lahe corresponds to the later Middle English laue, both descendants of Old English lagu, “law” (BT, lagu (n.)). There are two ways to translate the phrase lahe sprung, as we see it: first, to consider AB lahe as an adjectival form of laue, following Savage and Watson’s translation “legitimate source” (AS, p. 265); or, (the more questionable option) to translate hefde lahe sprung as “had originated from law.” Given the lack of preposition, though, we have translated based on Savage and Watson.
7.5 Me hwet is . . . ant te deade? Contrast Maxence’s elaborate and detailed description of Christian doctrine with his very general reference to his own pagan religion. See Bernau, “Christian Corpus,” for a discussion of this “lack of specificity” (pp. 124–26). Maxence gives a clear summary of the Nicene Creed. The Nicene Creed, affirmed at the Council of Nicea in 325 CE, is the set of words of faith all Catholics are expected to proclaim. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, those words are:
We believe (I believe) in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages. (God of God) light of light, true God of true God. Begotten not made, consubstantial to the Father, by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven. And was incarnate of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary and was made man; was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried; and the third day rose again according to the Scriptures. And ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, and shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, of whose Kingdom there shall be no end. And (I believe) in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father (and the Son), who together with the Father and the Son is to be adored and glorified, who spoke by the Prophets. And one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We confess (I confess) one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for (I look for) the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.akennet. See MED akennen, (v.2), sense 2a, which cites this occurrence.
9.3 Ah wastu nu hwet is? Literally, “But do you know what is now?” Our translation follows D’s suggestion on p. 216n143. Savage and Watson’s translation is also helpful: “Do you know what happens now?” (AS, p. 265).
9.4 motild. This descriptor is unique to the AB texts. D glosses as “female debater, wrangling woman” (p. 323); MED motild (n.) defines as “A female disputant, debater; female advocate.” Compare Maxence’s use here with the term in On Lofsong of Ure Lefdi, line 305: “Ich . . . bidde þin ore, þet tu beo mi motild aʒeines mine soule fan,” where motild has the connotation of advocate or intercessor as well (ed. Morris, Old English Homilies, p. 205). See also 9.5 of SK, where “theos modi motild” is used more neutrally, to mean “this proud debater.” We have translated the term “motild” in this instance as “argumentative babbler,” to get at the pejorative sense of the term as it is used here. Compare Savage and Watson’s translation: “you spitfire” (AS, p. 265). The word itself only survives in the three examples cited and is most likely derived from Old English mót + -ild. Of note is that this now obscure noun (mot) only survives in occasional legal use as “moot,” where it refers to legislative or judicial meetings (see BT mót (n.)), or to a formal argument about law conducted by legal students discussing hypothetical cases.
9.5 ikennen ant icnawen. On why this is “willing to admit and acknowledge,” see D, pp. 217–18n154–5.
10.4–5 Ah forthi thet . . . Him to Lauerd. Katherine’s dual movement from a worldly position to spiritual one, first in her declaration of her abandonment of worldly knowledge for spiritual knowledge, and later in her renunciation of worldly spouses for the heavenly Spouse, differentiates her from the other two virgin martyrs of the Katherine Group, who have no such worldly position. A number of critics have explored the implications that this dual emphasis has for Katherine’s construction as a gendered figure and as a role model for different audiences. See Jenkins and Lewis “Introduction” to St. Katherine of Alexandria; Francomano, “‘Lady, you are quite a chatterbox’”; Winstead, “St. Katherine’s Hair”; and Reames, “St. Katherine.”
10.5 Perdam sapientiam sapientum et intellectum intelligentium reprobabo. Isaias 29:4; as quoted in 1 Corinthians 1:19. This reference is repeated at 21.3.
10.7 Deus autem noster . . . similes illis fiant. Vulgate Psalm 113:3–8. This quotation indirectly implies that if the pagans are like their gods, then Katherine herself must in turn be like her god, an implication that is borne out in her eventual martyrdom.
11.3 creftes. In order to maintain the alliteration, our translation maintains the modern cognate. However, the sense of this passage supports OED’s reading of craft here ((n.), sense 5b) as a specific branch of knowledge, possibly referring to the seven Liberal Arts, traditionally grammar, rhetoric, and logic (the Trivium) and arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music (the Quadrivium).
13.2 to balewe ant to bismere. This phrase functions as a dative of purpose and reference, following Latinate functions of the dative. We have translated balewe and bismere as adverbs. D also glosses as adverbs “maliciously and contumaciously” (p. 28). This construction is not in the Latin text but seems to follow a Latin dative of purpose and reference. Savage and Watson also translate as adverbs “abusively and insultingly” (AS, p. 267).
14.4 thet ha understonde . . . bute bivore dusie. A difficult line to translate. The Latin text reads ut cognoscat se nondum uidisse aut audisse preter hodie sapientem (D, p. 159, lines 290–91) [in order that she understand that not yet has she before today seen or heard wisdom except]. After dealing with the indirect statement within an ut clause of result, the Middle English translator has modified the text to make the clerks’ arrogance all the more clear. We have translated as “so that she may understand that before this day she never stood except before fools” to keep as much literal meaning as possible; an “anyone” is implied by “thene” (than) with the sense that Katherine has never stood before anyone besides, or other than, fools.
15.1 Dum steteritis ante reges et presides, et cetera. Compare Matthew 10:18–20, Mark 13:9–11, and Luke 21:12–15.
16.1–29.8 Ne beo thu . . . thet tu wult. The contest with the fifty masters is the episode of Katherine’s vita that has caused the most controversy in terms of its potential to be read as a religious precedent allowing women to teach and preach. See Bernau, “Christian Corpus,” p. 122, on Katherine’s status as a dangerous preacher; Francomano, “‘Lady, you are quite a chatterbox,’” on Katherine’s talkativeness and persuasive abilities; Frazier, “Katherine’s Place,” p. 236; and Blamires, “Women and Preaching,” for medieval theological debates regarding women preachers and heresy.
16.2 i stude ant i stalle. An alliterative turn of phrase, meaning literally “in place and in place;” we have used D’s gloss for the phrase in our translation (see D, p. 332).
18.1 thet hoker thuhte. We have consulted D’s gloss (p. 315) in our translation of this phrase.
19.3 cume, cuthe . . . take. These verbs are subjunctives with hortatory force. D (p. 226n302) notes that cume and cuthe, while subjunctive forms, function as imperatives.
20.1 sette sikel forth. Literally, “set the sickle forth.” D glosses the phrase as “begin reaping, start the harvest, cut the first swathe (?)” (p. 330). We have followed D’s and Savage and Watson’s “cut the first swathe.” This invitation is a serious mistake on the philosophers’ part, although, as Savage and Watson point out “in theory it would be to the philosophers’ advantage to speak second.” They continue that despite this, “letting [Katherine] speak first is evidently a major, and telltale, tactical blunder” (AS, p. 424n18).
21.2 Homers motes ant . . . ant Platunes bokes. Christian audiences frequently had mixed feelings regarding the wisdom of classical writers. Here, Katherine whole-heartedly condemns Homer, Aristotle, Asclepius, Galen, Philistion, and Plato. In contrast, the fifteenth-century Dicts and Sayings of the Philosophers regards the sayings of many of these philosophers as highly valuable, and the text is considered as part of the medieval genre of “wisdom literature” (see Sutton’s introduction). More often, though, Christian writers regarded classical texts with cautious pragmatism, as in St. Augustine’s equation of the plundering of the Egyptians’ gold with the Christians’ use of classical material. See On Christian Doctrine, book 2, chapter 60, where he writes: “If those who are called philosophers, especially the Platonists, have said things which are indeed true and are well accommodated to our faith, they should not be feared; rather, what they have said should be taken from them as from unjust possessors and converted to our use” (trans. Robertson, p. 75).
21.3 Perdam sapientiam sapientum et intellectum et cetera. 1 Corinthians 1:19.
21.4 wit. D’Ardenne and Dobson point out that although wit is not the most accurate translation of disciplinam, it does serve the purpose of alliteration. See D, p. 229n328.
21.7 ilatet. D’Ardenne and Dobson emend both R and T following the use of this phrase in SJ (see D’s long discussion, p. 230n333).
22.1–4 An for ham . . . ba somet nanesweis. Maxence here echoes the Nicene Creed. See above, note 7.5.
23.1–11 Heo ne sohte . . . . thet He walde. Here Katherine explains the simultaneous humanity and divinity of Christ, arguments related to such influential treatises as Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo.
23.1 derfschipe. A difficult word to translate. D glosses as “secret, hidden meaning”; MED derfshipe citing this occurrence only, glosses as “Irreverence, sacrilege (compare derfnesse)”; E glosses as “baseness, vileness” but includes the translation “strength” (p. 158, 46) ; the Latin source presented in E (p. 46) has: hec est subtilitas [this is the subtlety]. Savage and Watson translate derfschipe as “subtlety” (AS, p. 270). However, compare MED derfnesse (n.), sense a, meaning “audacity, irreverence, sacrilege.” This meaning seems to be a later development of the noun “derf” (used frequently in the Katherine Group to refer to suffering, pain, torment, or the act of martyrdom) not attested until the fifteenth century. We have decided to translate the term as “wicked” to connect with this earlier meaning, as well as reveal the immoral connotations of the philosophers’ overly clever but ultimately false arguments.
D explains that here the English author changes the sense of the Latin source: “The whole run of the English sentence leads up to the proposition that he could do one of these two things, suffer death or overcome death, but not both at once; it is not designed to pose the alternatives that he could be either God or man, but not both” (p. 231n359).
23.3 iwend uppon. Compare Savage and Watson, AS (p. 278). The actual meaning of wenden is “to turn,” so supposedly Katherine builds on the image of humanity as clay, and God as the great Shaper (or potter).
23.8 In euch thing . . . of Godes wisdom. The cleargesse Katherine has already demonstrated her accomplished book-learning by the sophisticated Christological discussion with the fifty teachers. Here, however, she also shows an aptitude for discerning God’s presence in the natural, living world, a kind of divinely inspired wisdom that exists outside of her books. The signs of God’s presence in the living world, briefly described here, are of course later expanded in greater detail in St. Bonaventure’s Itinerarium Mentis in Deum (Mind’s Road to God), especially in section 2: “Of the Reflection of God in His Traces in the Sensible World” (see Boas trans., pp. 14–21). The Welsh life of Katherine places more emphasis on this natural divine wisdom, rather than on her bookish learning. See Cartwright, “Buchedd Catrin,” p. 73.
24.6 seolf the ilke. I.e., the self-same.
26.2 bute sunne ane. “Except sin alone.” Christ took upon Himself all the hardships of humanity except for their sinful state (since He was perfect).
26.4 toschrapede his hefde! See MED scrapen (v.) and shrapen (v.). D glosses as “Scratch to shreds, lacerated” from Old English scrapian (BT, scrapian (v.)). See also the textual note to 26.4, since the manuscript reading in R and T is most likely corrupt. Savage and Watson translate as “lacerated his head” (AS, p. 272), as a reference to Genesis 3:15, God’s curse upon the devil: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he [i.e., humankind] will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” The sense is that when Christ took human form, He deceived the devil, and figuratively “crushed his head” by conquering death and redeeming humankind. Compare MED shaven (v.), sense 2a, "to deceive someone"; in later Middle English to give someone a “close shave” essentially means to rob, deceive, or otherwise trick them, thus our translation of robbed him blind.
26.8 te bruchen thet mon hefde ibroken agein Him. I.e., the transgressions that mankind had committed against Him (based on D’s gloss, p. 301).
28.3 studgi. See D’s note, pp. 241–42n464.
30.1–2 bringen . . . warpen. These verbs are infinitives as a result of the indirect command initiated by bed and het, respectively. A passive construction introduced in the following sentence As me droh ham (30.3) (literally “as one dragged them,” but in AB meant “as they were dragged”), we have translated these two verbs as passives.
31.3 furene tungen. The image of a fiery tongue recalls Pentecost (Whitsunday), a Christian feast that commemorates the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, fifty days after the resurrection of Christ; see Acts 2:1–4.
33.3 pel ant with purpre. “Pall,” according to the OED (citing this line), is a fine cloth “used for the robes of persons of high rank.” However, MED pel (n.2) notes “a furred skin used as lining or trim on a garment.” It seems most likely that Maxence is suggesting a purple robe trimmed with fur, an appropriate gift for a lady high in status at his court.
33.4 seli. D suggests a possible translation here of “innocent” (p. 330), an interesting alternative that pairs well with Maxence’s eventual blaming of Katherine for the deaths of the fifty masters, Augusta, and Porphirius and his knights. The Middle English terms traverse a spectrum of possible meanings, from “holy, blessed” (sense 1a), to “innocent” (sense 2a), to “foolish” (sense 2b) as it is applied to John the “sely” carpenter of Chaucer’s Miller’s Tale (CT I[A] 3423, 3601, 3614). The term’s modern descendent is the contemporary word “silly.”
34.1–10 Katerine ontswerede — smirkinde . . . thu to wisse. In this passage Katherine shifts tracks from dense theological discussion to a discourse more grounded in matters concerning gender, marriage, and sex. The shift is appropriate here, as Maxence has, in true fiendish form, posed temptations for her similar to those of the world (“ich chulle dihten . . . efter thet tu demest,” 33.5), the flesh (“tu schalt . . . eaver the other beon . . . i bure,” 33.5), and the devil, in offering to make her an object of idolatrous worship (33.5–8). Katherine grounds her rebuttal upon her relationship with her true Husband, and in turn engages questions of gender that emerged both in the fictional landscapes of romance as well as in actual women’s lives. For the idea of marriage in these saints’ lives see Bugge, Virginitas, and Robertson, Early English Devotional Prose. See Wogan-Browne, “Virgin’s Tale,” p. 169, and Saints’ Lives, specifically chapters 1.2, 3, and 4.1, on the romance structure of virgin martyr tales. See also Jenkins and Lewis, “Introduction” to St. Katherine of Alexandria, pp. 13–15, and Lewis, “Pilgrimage,” pp. 47–51, for discussions of Katherine as sponsa Christi; and see also Walsh, “Role of the Normans,” p. 33, for more on Katherine’s divinely wedded virginity as a model for real women, particularly Christina of Markyate.
34.1 meareminnes. See MED mere-maiden (n.), sense b: “one who misleads or deceives.”
34.7 wit. First person dual pronoun.
35.2–4 Het o wodi . . . . et lahinde tholede. The Bodley author specifies that Katherine, is beaten with cnottede schurgen, . . . hit lihtliche aber and lahinde tholede (“with knotted scourges . . . bore it lightly and suffered it laughing”); he later emphasizes the angels’ healing ministrations. Concerning these details, Jacobus de Voragine writes that Katherine was “stripped and beaten with scorpions, and then thrown into a dark cell” (trans. Ryan and Ripperger, p. 712). Jacobus says nothing of her reaction to these tortures. This could be proof that the Bodley Katherine is like the Bodley Juliana in being what Margherita calls a “self-consciously Germanic English narrative” (“Desiring Narrative,” p. 358), sharing in the Anglo-Saxon sensibilities present in Old English saints’ lives. In “Pain and Saint Making,” Dendle notes that most “Old English saints’ lives . . . reflect the anesthetic tradition” in which “the saint is invulnerable to the tortures” (p. 46). This apparent invulnerability was important in Anglo-Saxon culture, where “[t]rial by ordeal” was believed to make “manifest what was hidden, by inscribing on the bodies of the guilty the marks of sin that already stained the soul” (p. 51). An accused person whose wounds healed quickly and cleanly would be judged innocent, a circumstance that places greater importance on Katherine’s ability to ignore her tormentors and to recover quickly from Maxence’s abuse, as well as shedding a different light on the unburned appearance of the martyred masters at 32.3, and on the prayer of the queen at 50.2.
37.3 Ah an se swithe swote smeal com anan. A sweet smell, in contrast with the stench of death, is associated with Christ and faith in 2 Corinthians 2:14–16. Sweet smells thus imply holiness. Memorable examples can be found not only in religious narratives (such as the miraculous smell of the invisible rose and lily crowns in Chaucer’s Second Nun’s Tale [CT VIII[G] 229, 247]), but also in romances with religious components, e.g., the sweet odor associated with Sir Guy’s corpse in The Stanzaic Guy of Warwick (ed. Wiggins, lines 3524–27) or the odor associated with the appearance of the Grail in Arthurian romances.
37.5 bieoden. See OED bego (v.), sense 6, which cites this occurrence. D glosses as “to tend (a wound)” (p. 299).
bruchen of hire bodi. Compare the earlier use of the phrase to refer to a loss of virginity at 7.5; the phrase also occurs in HM 8.12, and in On Lofsong of ure Louerde (ed. Morris, Old English Homilies, p. 205). This is the only occurrence of the phrase that does not specifically refer to the loss of virginity.
38.2 bur inwith thin heorte. See Apocalypse 21:10–27, where the New Jerusalem (Heaven) is described as a city. See also Augustine’s De Civitate Dei, where the New Jerusalem is a condition of being, not just a place. While Jacobus entirely omits mention of the city, the English version expands the Latin version’s account, and anticipates the elaborate description of the New Jerusalem found in Pearl.
38.7 beatewil. See D, p. 257–58n618 on this difficult term; d’Ardenne and Dobson note that MED has “of good will, benevolent; ?humble,” which makes little sense given the context.
the neaver ne linneth nowther ne leassith ah leasteth áá mare, se lengre se mare. The author’s use of the instrumental here (the longer, the greater) to describe the proportions of heavenly pleasures looks ahead to the Pearl-poet’s similar use, as the maiden explains the difficult rationale of the Parable of the Vineyard: “Now he that stod the long day stable / And thou to payment come hym byfore — Thenne the lasse in werke to take more able, / And ever the lenger the lasse, the more” (ed. Stanbury, lines 597–600, emphasis ours). While the maiden’s words reveal an indirect proportion, as opposed to Katherine’s direct proportion, the similar, if reversed, expressions both emphasize the difficulty, if not the impossibility, of describing Heavenly reward in measurable terms which the mortal mind can conceptualize.
38.8 thear as. Our translation is based on D’s gloss of as in this instance as “at the place in which” (p. 298).
38.10 nan eorthliche ehe . . . Him ariht luvieth. 1 Corinthians 2:9.
39.1 wilcweme. MED glosses as “pleased, satisfied,” but see also the Middle English meanings of queme (adj., sense 1), which describe the word as a quality that is “pleasing, acceptable (to God, Christ).” Also compare the Old English wel-gecwéme, “well-pleasing” (BT, wel-gecwéme (adj.)).
39.2–3 Freineden Porphire alle . . . i worldliche wecchen. Clearly Porphirius’ knights wonder if he has been committing adultery with the queen, hence the pun between “wordlich wecchen” and “heovenliche iwaket.” Their almost schoolgirl interest in their commander’s whereabouts demonstrates their interest not only in the fabliaux potential of such a holy story (compare the conception of Christ and the portrayal of Joseph as the senex amans) but moreover, a faithful loyalty to their commander, as evidenced by their immediate conversion to Christianity. In such a way, they are ideal thanes, following their commander to death with absolute loyalty.
39.3 therin is al mi rihte bileave. See corresponding textual note. Both D (pp. 259–60n638–39) and E (p. 143n1751) agree that the exemplar for all three manuscripts was corrupt and that the scribes of the manuscripts did their best to emend the line. Our modern editors emend as “þear as me [learde me mi] rihte bileaue” (D) and “þer as me rihte mi bileaue” (E). The corresponding Latin text reads quibus michi uia uite reuelata est et uere deitatis cognitio reserata (D, pp. 185–86, lines 808–09): [in which [heavenly watches] the road of life was revealed to me and, truly, the knowledge of the deity was made accessible] (translation ours). This text forms the basis for D’s emendation of “þear as me [learde me mi] rihte bileaue” [there as I was taught my true belief]. We have gone with a less extreme emendation of T’s text.
40.1 as He dude Daniel. See the apocryphal Bel and the Dragon (Daniel 14:30–38) for the story of Daniel being fed by Habakkuk.
40.5 with hwucche. Bodley lacks an explicit noun for “hwucche” [which] to modify. D inserted “duheðe” [company] (see MED douthe (n.), sense 1c) to give a noun for “hwuchhe” to modify, and they translate as “with company.” We are translating “with” according to MED with (prep.), sense 14c, as “because of,” which is attested also in AW. We are translating “which” according to MED which (pron.), sense 2b as “that.” With this adjusted translation the antecedent for “hwucche” is “death” earlier in the same sentence.
43.1 deofles budel. A “beadle,” in this context, refers to a person “who delivers the message or executes the mandate of an authority” (OED, beadle (n.), sense 2). Although the term can describe anyone from a simple messenger to a town-crier, the word “beadle” is sometimes pejorative; compare SJ 19.1, as well as Piers Plowman, where beadles make up part of the retinue “that regneth with the false” and attends the marriage of Mede and Falsehood: “Bedelles and bailliues and brokoures of chaffare” (B.II.53, 59). We have translated the term as “beadle” throughout to preserve the alliteration, though the word is somewhat obsolete.
Belial. Belial is a standard name for a demon or devil; the name is also assigned to the demon adversary in SJ.
43.4 Do ido dede. I.e., “make an end of the matter” (D, p. 305).
43.5 wed. “Rage, rave, become mad,” a word that would more appropriately describe Maxence than Katherine.
fowr hweoles. A wheel of torture also occurs in SJ (see 60.1–61.1). SK and SJ clearly are related; d’Ardenne and Dobson explore the question of which text preceded the other, but come to no conclusion about the chronology (see D, pp. 263–65n700). See also Bernau, “Christian Corpus,” p. 119, for the wheel’s associations with knowledge and learning.
44.3 mate. See MED mat (adj., sense 1b); the figurative meaning of the adjective to mean “helpless, powerless; overcome, defeated” comes from the literal origin of the word in the term “check-mate” (see sense 1a). D (p. 268n725) provides a thorough etymological discussion of this word, whose earliest occurrence (preceding even those referring to chess) is in this line.
tohwitherin. Compare 43.7, where the same verb describes the supposed fate for Katherine. Unbeknownst to them, the emperor and his henchman are powerless to dole out this fate, which will instead be meted out upon their invention.
46.5 todriven with a dunt. “Broken to pieces with a blow.” While none of the manuscripts specify that the wheel is meant here, we have included it in our translation for clarity.
48.6 Ant yet ne . . . thing to drehen. Sarah Salih, in “Performing Virginity,” comments on the fact that only the queen, and not Katherine herself, has her breasts ripped off. Salih posits the virgin as belonging to a gender category distinct from the usual male/female divisions, noting that the virgin martyrs are never tormented through the specifically female parts of their bodies. The queen, who falls into the firmly female-gendered category of “wife,” has one of the most visible signs of her femininity, her breasts, mangled during her martyrdom, “a torture enacted on the specifically female body of a rebellious wife . . . The tortures of the virgin heroines are never sexualized in this manner; the texts refuse to mark their naked bodies as female” (p. 104). For a detailed discussion of virgin martyrs whose breasts are mutilated, see Kristen Wolf, “Severed Breast.” While the text does differentiate the sexualized violence meted on the queen from the torture inflicted on the virgin, in our view both are sexualized, albeit in different ways; see Margherita, Romance of Origins, who asserts that we readers, “like Eleusius himself,” are repeatedly “made to gaze with prurient interest at the spectacle of [Juliana’s] broken female body” (p. 49).
53.2 the me seide hit upon. Literally, “upon whom it was said.”
53.3 Lowr! Another possible translation is “Listen!” or simply “Lo!” but we have chosen “Look!” based both on the context (Porphirius is looking for the perpetrator of the crime) but also on D’s evidence that the AB interjection lowr may be related to Old English lo we, or “let us look” (p. 277n809). See BT lá (interj.) meaning “Lo! Oh! Ah!” and BT lócian (v.2) meaning “to apply one’s sight to ascertain.”
54.4 to undervonne. The inflected infinitive indicates the text’s Anglo-Saxon roots. It also suggests a sense of necessity that Porphirius must, both according to Maxence’s law and God’s law, accept the martyrdom that is being offered to him. Our translation has followed the glossing of the line in the MED definition of underfon ((v.), sense 8b) which means “to accept (martyrdom, death, evils, etc.),” rather than E’s and D’s glossing of “receive” to emphasize the role Porphirius’ free choices take in determining his fate. In addition, the term undervonne is notable in that the verb, in the sense of accepting death (in the same definition in MED) is universally used in religious contexts: see Early English Homilies in Cotton Vespasian D XIV: “Gyf we god underfengen of Godes hande, hwy ne scule we eac yfel underfon?” (ed. Warner, p. 126, line 6) [If we accept goodness from God’s hand, why will we not also accept evil?]; HM 33.11: “He underveth blitheliche ant bicluppeth swoteliche the alre ladlukeste” [He (Christ) receives happily and embraces sweetly the loathsomest of all]; Ancrene Wisse: “Ant tah ne gruchede he nawt, ah underueng hit eadmodliche forte learen hise” (ed. Millett, p. 46, lines 1003–04) [And then he did not complain, but accepted it humbly to teach his own]; “Lofsong of our Louerde”: “Ich bidde the thet ich mote under uon in obedience bothe wone and weole” (in Þe Wohunge ed. Meredith, p. 13, lines 126–27) [I pray you that I might receive in obedience both poverty and wealth]. The point is that even though the evil Maxence demands that Porphirius stretch out his neck to accept his martyrdom, he still speaks using holy language; God himself uses Maxence and speaks through him.
55.1 hise. We have provided “men” in the translation, as the “hise” acts as a substantive adjective, and could be translated simply as “his own.” E provides “knights” (p. 112).
heolden ham togederes. Literally, “held themselves together”; i.e., “stayed together.”
55.2 alle clane bihefdet. The verb form (bihefdet) is the third person singular, which in the context of the sentence would imply that either Maxence beheaded them or, presumably, one of his henchmen. Since the subject of this verbal phrase is missing, we have translated as a passive.
55.3 nes hit thet te bodies neren ifatte. Literally, “it was not that the bodies were not fetched . . .” This use of the mutually canceling double negative represents a significant departure from the Old English use of double (or triple, or quadruple) negatives for emphasis, as D points out (p. 278n823). The use of the double negative here implies a kind of secretiveness, or slyness, to the action of the anonymous Christians who bury Porphirius and his knights.
57.2 mine feolahes the . . . virgines in Heovene. Katherine refers here to the 144,000 virgins who reside with Christ in Heaven, described in Apocalypse 14:1–5.
58.1 swithe with hire. This idiom, literally “quickly with her,” is glossed by D as “take her quickly” (p. 344). According to Dobson, this idiom means “take her quickly” but the “with” here suggests an ellipsis of the verb (p. 344).
59.1 bone. Here the word is a form of MED bane (n.) meaning, possibly “slayer, murderer” (sense 1a, which is paralleled by the Morton translation), “destroyer” (sense 2a), or “destruction . . . death, doom” (sense 3); based in Old English bana (BT, bana (n.)), meaning killer or manslayer, the word remains in the modern if slightly archaic sounding “bane.” However, also possible is a pun with the term bon (MED (n.2), sense 1a) meaning a prayer, or “a favor asked for” in prayer, which appears later in this sentence, where Katherine “buhe hire ant bede ane bone.” This reading of 59.1 makes sense since the sword, for Katherine, signifies both her bodily destruction as well as the answer to her “bone,” her prayer.
ha2. The feminine singular pronoun, literally “she,” but in this context “it,” referring to the soul. The term is feminine as it translates Latin anima.
61.1 Mi lif ant . . . . nu icleopet me. The echoing here of language from the Canticle of Canticles remarks clearly on the association in the Middle Ages of heavenly love with romantic love. Numerous religious, male and female, refer to themselves as the “brides” of Christ and to Christ as the “bridegroom” or “lover.” See in particular the Shewings of Julian of Norwich, the Book of Margery Kempe, and, much later, the writings of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. For discussions of the bride of Christ or sponsa Christi motif see references in note 34.1.
61.3 Ant he, as . . . of thet heaved. See Cartwright, “Buchedd Catrin,” p. 58, for information on the association of Katherine with John the Baptist.
61.4 milc imenget with . . . hire hwite meithhad. For a discussion of this passage and Katherine’s connections with fertility, see Walsh, “Role of the Normans,” p. 27.
as pilegrims the wel witen. On Katherine and pilgrims, see Lewis, “Pilgrimage.”
61.4–7 beren forth hire bodi . . . . rihte bileave habbeth. See Walsh, “Role of the Normans,” for a discussion of the movement of some of Katherine’s relics from Sinai to Rouen (pp. 21–23) and on the need for faith in the occurrence of miracles (pp. 26–27). Lewis, “Pilgrimage,” also discusses the finger bones at Rouen (pp. 44–45). In “Buchedd Catrin,” Cartwright examines this section of the Middle Welsh versions, in which the healing oil flows from Katherine’s breast instead of from her bones (pp. 78–81).
62.1 i Novembres moneth the fif ant twentuthe dei. 25 November is Katherine’s feast day. According to the Gospels (see Matthew 27:46–50, Mark 15:34–37, and Luke 23:44–46), Christ died in the ninth hour, not the third (for a discussion see D, pp. 285–86n914–15).
under. Refers to the undern, the third canonical hour, the prayer said daily according to the ecclesiastical timetable, at approximately 9am.
THE MARTYRDOM OF SANCTE KATERINE: TEXTUAL NOTES
ABBREVIATIONS: BT: Bosworth and Toller, Anglo-Saxon Dictionary; D: d’Ardenne and Dobson edition (1981); H: a series of sixteenth-century scribbles in various hands (see Introduction, p. 22); MS: Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Bodley 34 [base text]; R: British Library MS Royal A XXVIII; T: British Library MS Cotton Titus D XVIII.
Our edition is based on Bodley 34’s text; on those occasions when the MS reading has not sufficed, we have supplemented based on the Royal manuscript (R), or emended following d’Ardenne’s and Dobson’s edition from 1981 (D). However, in general we have worked to conserve B’s reading whenever possible. We refer readers who wish to compare all three manuscripts of SK to D’s edition, which presents an excellent triple text manuscript reading as well as an emended text of the Bodley 34 reading.
Title Fol. 1r is heavily damaged and stained almost entirely brown. The title is virtually illegible; we follow Ker’s reconstruction.
1.1 Costentin. The rubricated capital C is very faintly visible, 1.2 cm. The indicator letter has been cropped.
1.5 ter he etstutte. So R. MS is unreadable.
1.6 siker. So D, R, T. MS: the second letter is unreadable.
cume. So D, R, T. MS: cunne. MS’s scribe mistakenly writes an extra minim.
warth. So D, R, T. MS: war.
1.8 I. MS: the capital is badly faded.
of2. So D, R, T. MS: unreadable. To the right of the line, the symbol ∞ is written in another hand.
2.1 I. MS: small rubricated capital, 6 mm.
2.2 offearet. MS: a inserted above the line.
3.1 Theos. MS: large rubricated capital Þ, 1.3 cm.
3.2 evening. So D, R, T. MS: euenig.
3.3 se. MS: inserted above the line.
ant cwethen. MS: this phrase is marked for insertion in the right margin.
menske. So D, R, T. MS: meske.
4.1 Thus. MS: small rubricated capital Þ, 7 mm.
wiste. MS: corrected from wil.
áá. MS: a. This word is usually spelled áá in MS. Because of this, and to avoid confusion with the definite article, we have silently emended those occurrences of a to áá throughout this volume.
bur. So D, R, T. MS: burh.
towart. MS: o inserted above the line.
aweariede. So D, following R’s awariede. MS: aweari, with the last three letters almost illegible.
of2. MS: corrected from ef.
4.2 hwet1. So D, R. MS: wet. T: hwat.
4.3 wreaththe. MS: wreadthe. The MS scribe often does not cross the top of ð, making it resemble d throughout the manuscript.
iwurthen. MS: iwurden; the ð has not been crossed. D, R, T: wurðen.
4.5 heathene. So D, T. MS: headene; another uncrossed ð. R: heðene.
4.7 yeinen. So MS, altered from geinen.
4.11 steavene. MS: decorative line filler in red follows this word to the end of the line.
5.1 Gretunge. MS: large rubricated capital G, 1 cm, with indicator letter cropped.
5.2 fordeth. So D, R, T. MS: forthdeth.
6.1 The. MS: large rubricated capital Þ, 2.6 cm, with indicator letter cropped.
ahten. So D, R, T. MS: ahte.
thurh. MS: þ2 inserted above the line.
gold. MS: d inserted above the line.
6.2 sehen. So D, T. MS, R: schulen. See D, p. 213n101.
6.3 nawiht. So D. MS: nawhit. The scribe often inverts h and i in this and similar words. We have silently emended obvious examples of metathesis such as this.
6.6 gremieth. So D, R. MS: gremied, with uncrossed ð.
7.1 The. MS: small rubricated capital Þ, 7 mm.
swithe. So D, R, T. MS: swide, with uncrossed ð.
7.2 Thi. MS: small rubricated capital Þ, 6 mm, with indicator letter cropped.
7.3 lahe sprung. So MS, R, and T. D (p. 214–15n116) emends to lahet.
7.5 Me. MS: small rubricated capital M, 4 mm, with indicator letter cropped.
8.1 Theos. MS: large rubricated capital Þ, 2.1 cm, with indicator letter cropped.
9.1 The. MS: small rubricated capital Þ, 6 mm.
yung. So D, R, T. MS: gung.
9.2 forcwethest. So D, R, T. MS: forcwedest, with uncrossed ð.
undedliche. So R. MS: undeðliche. D, T: undeadliche. It seems likely here that the MS-scribe interchanged d and ð.
9.3 nu hwet. So D, following T’s nu hwat. MS: wet. R: hwet.
9.4 kine mede. So D, R, T. MS: þine mede.
9.5 dearneliche. So T. MS: dearliche. R: dernliche. D emends to dearnliche.
het ham. So D, R, T. MS: thet ha.
medin. So D, R. MS: meaðin. T: meden.
thet2. So D. MS: þe. It appears that the MS-scribe has forgotten to cross the þ, his usual abbreviation for þet.
9.7 hethene. So R. MS: heaðne. D, T: heaðene.
9.8 Nat. MS: small rubricated capital N, 6 mm.
misseist. So D, R, T. MS: mis seist seist.
thu3. So D. MS, R, T omit. See D, p. 219n166.
10.1 Ha. MS: small rubricated capital H, 6 mm.
10.4 wurthschipe. So D, R, T. MS: wu?rdschipe with the unclear letter probably otiose.
10.7 Beginning on fol. 5r is the first series of sixteenth-century scribblings (hereafter noted as hand “H”). The majority of these notations are most likely “pen-trials made in a lawyer’s office,” most likely somewhere in Herefordshire (Ker, p. xiii). Halfway down the page in the right margin is Th, which is repeated further below, along with a few other scribbles and This in written at the bottom of the page.
argentum. So D, R, T. MS: ar.
10.8 Godd. So D, R, T. MS: goþ.
10.9 sihthe. So D, R, T. MS: siðhðe.
10.11 wurthschipe. So D, R, T. MS: wurdschipe; ð is uncrossed.
11.3 Thes. MS: small rubricated capital Þ, 6 mm.
long. So D, R, T. MS: log. The scribe likely forgot a macron indicating n.
13.2 tuketh. So D, R, T. MS: tuket.
seith. So D, R, T. MS: seid.
13.3 yef. So D, R, T. MS: gef.
13.6 runes. So D, R, T. MS: run, with a stroke through the following ampersand that could signify -es; D reads it as an otiose mark.
14.4 stod. So D. MS: stoð, with a very faded stroke on the d-ascender signifying ð.
14.5 Theos. MS: small rubricated capital Þ, 8 mm.
14.7 nawiht. So D, R, T. MS: nawhit. Metathesis corrected for sense.
15.1 Crist. MS: small rubricated capital C, 5 mm.
Godd. In the top margin of fol. 6r, H: This indenture made the xii daye of July in the fowerth yere of the Rey (see Ker, p. xiii).
sculde. MS: sclude. We have emended the metathesis. D, R, T: schulde.
swete2. MS: swete swete. D, R, T: swucche.
yef. So D, R. MS: gef. T: ʒif.
15.2 worlde world. So D, R, T. MS: world.
15.3 Nefde. MS: small rubricated capital N, 5 mm.
16.6 strengthe. MS: strengðe
mot. MS, R, T omit. Emended for sense following D (see p. 223n262).
meidnes. So D, T. MS: meiðdnes. R: meidenes.
lives. So MS, corrected from liven.
buten. So D. R, T omit. MS: livesi. D’s emendation allows the phrase to translate as “life without end” (see pp. 223–24n262).
16.9 Theos. MS: small rubricated capital Þ, 1.2 cm.
abad. So D, R, T. MS: aba
16.13 unimete. So D, R. MS: unimeð. T: unimet. See D, p. 225n275.
16.14 heo. So D, R, T. MS omits. See D, p. 225n275.
hercnende. So T. MS, R: hercnede. D emends to hercneð.
16.16 seggen. MS: decorative line filler in red follows this word to the end of the line.
17.1 Thu. MS: large rubricated capital Þ, 2.1 cm.
18.1 thuhte. So D, R, T. MS: þuþte.
18.4 dei. So R. T: dai. MS, D: de.
19.1 Nu. MS: large rubricated capital N, 8 mm.
lihtliche. MS: liht
19.3 the3. So D, based on T’s þeo. MS, R: þet.
nomecuthest. So D, R, T. MS: nomecudest; the ð is uncrossed.
talien. So D, R, T. MS: talien, corrected to tallien, with i inserted above the line in red.
of2. So D, R, T. MS: on.
20.1 nu. So D, R, T. MS omits.
21.1 Ich. MS: large rubricated capital I, 1.1 cm.
glistinde. So D, R, T. MS: gllistinde.
nawt. So D, R, T. MS: nawit.
21.2 Aristotles. So D, R. MS: aristocles. T: aristoles.
wreothieth. So D, R, T. MS: wreoðien on. See D, p. 228n318.
21.3 ich beo. So D, R, T. MS omits. We emend to provide a subject.
ilearet. So MS, altered from ileared.
ham2. So D, R, T. MS omits.
21.3–28.1 After fol. 7v, three leaves have clearly been torn out of the manuscript. We have supplied the missing text from R.
21.5 hefde ham bihaten. So D, T. R omits.
21.7 se luthere ilatet. So D. See p. 230n333. R: he luðere ahte. T: þe luðere lihte.
21.10 soth mon ant soth Godd. So D, T. R: soth godd and soth mon. See D, p. 230n345.
21.15 adun. So D, T. R omits. See D, p. 230n350.
theo. So D, T. R: þet.
riht leveth and luvieth. So D, T. R: luvieð riht and leveð. See D, p. 230n351.
23.1 dustest. So D, T. R: dudest. See D, p. 231n362.
the3. So D. R, T omit.
His. So D, T. R omits.
23.2 His. So D, T. R: is.
23.4 hit Him. So D, T. R omits.
to2. So D, T. R omits.
duhti. So D. R, T omit. See D, p. 232n370–71.
23.8 leome. So D, T. R: leomen. See D, pp. 233–34n385.
23.10 weneth. R:
23.11 thes. So D, T. R: wes.
euch. So D, T. R: eveh.
23.12 makieth. Emended from R’s maket to agree with men. The phrase miracles thet his men maket yette reads in T as follows: miracles thet beth maked yet. In either reading the phrase is problematic; D emends to miracles þet [bi] his men beoð [i]maket ʒette, which more closely paraphrases the Latin “que si ab eo gesta non credis, fieri ab hominibus in nomine eius, uel certe multotiens facta, cognosce” (see p. 234n394–95).
24.6 onont. So D, T. R: on nont.
25.1 leven. So D, T. R: ileven.
25.3 helpen ant beon. So D, T. R: helpen oðre ant beon.
26.1 wult. R: t inserted above the line.
26.2 ne sorhe uppon . . . te wa wente. So D, T (though D emends wente to wende). R omits. See D, p. 236n427.
26.3 He1. So D, T. R: Godd. See D, p. 237n432.
26.4 his. So D, T. R omits. See D, p. 237n434–35.
26.5 forto. So D, T. R: to.
moncun. So D, T. R: mon to.
26.7 misdude — tholede. So D, T. R: misdude bette ant eode on bote ant þolede, most likely looking ahead to the bette ant eode on bote of the next line.
26.8 ibet. So D, T. R: ibroken. See D, p. 238n445.
deathe to live thet ne dredeth na deth. So D, T. R: deaðe þet ne dredeð na deð to live. See D, p. 238n446.
26.9 Him we mahen. R: we mahten him; the scribe has indicated that him should precede we. We have emended mahten to mahen following D and T.
26.10 he eaver. So D, T. R: heaver.
26.11 Godd. R:
swithe. So D, T. R: swide, with uncrossed ð.
27.1 ant alle his feren. So D, T. R omits. See D, p. 238n456–57.
atine. R: atint. T: a dint. D writes that this word is “one of the trickiest problems in the text” (p. 239n457). d’Ardenne and Dobson choose this form because it accords with tavelin and because it is closest to the recorded form. See their lengthy discussion on pp. 238–40n457.
27.2 agelwede. R: ageide. As it appears in the manuscripts, ageide in R and agide in T, this word is unidentifiable; thus D follows the Old English word agelwan (BT, a-gelwan (v.)). See D’s detailed discussion on p. 240n458.
28.1 Thes. MS: large rubricated capital Þ, 2 cm.
thet. So D, R, T. MS omits.
dead. So D. MS, T: deað. R: ded.
28.5 unstrenget. So D, R. MS: unstreged. T: unstrengðet.
28.7 ikimet. So T. MS, D, R: bikimet. We have emended following T’s close spelling to akimed (see OED akimed (adj.)).
ut. So D. MS, R, T omit. D argues that this must have been omitted by eyeskip (p. 243n473).
29.1 Ontswerede. MS: large rubricated capital O, 7 mm.
nohwer. MS: h inserted above the line.
al tom. So R, T. MS: acomen. D emends to atomet.
turnde. So D, R, T. MS: turde.
29.2 mot2. So T. MS: us acomen. R omits. D eme nds to us atomet. We have adopted T’s reading following the Old English phrase habban gemot (“hold a council”); compare to D, pp. 245–46n483–84, who compares the Old English but ultimately emends; see also note 29.1 to al tom, above. See also BT, ge-mót (n.).
29.5 cutheth. So D, R, T. MS: cudeth.
29.8 wult. So D, T. MS, R: wult nu, repeating the nu at the beginning of the line.
30.1 The. MS: large rubricated capital Þ, 3.5 cm. The indicator letter has been cropped.
31.3 fur. So D, R, T. MS omits.
32.1 Me. MS: small rubricated capital M, 6 mm.
32.3 iwemmet. So D, T. MS: iweumet. The MS scribe probably missed a minim. See D, p. 249n519. R: iweommet.
her. MS: her
lufsume. So D, T. MS: leufsume. See D, p. 249n520. R: lufsum.
turnden. So D, R, T. MS: turden.
33.1 Tha. MS: small rubricated capital Þ, 1.2 cm.
33.2 wurthschipe. MS: decorative line filler in red follows this word to the end of the line.
34.1 Katerine. MS: large rubricated capital K, 1.4 cm.
34.2 thin. So D, R, T. MS: thing.
34.3 áá. MS omits. D, R: a. T: ai.
34.5 wurthshipe. So MS, with h2 altered from c.
34.8 buve. So D, T. MS: bune. R: bunen.
35.1 The. MS: small rubricated capital Þ, 1.2 cm. The indicator letter is cropped.
35.4 hit lihtliche. So D, R, T. MS: hihtliche, with h2 altered from t.
35.5 kasten. So R, T. MS: kestten. D: kesten.
nowther. So D, R, T. MS: nowder, with uncrossed ð.
tweolf. MS: o inserted above the line.
36.1 Bicom. MS: large rubricated capital B, 9 mm.
36.3 wurthliche. So D, R, T. MS: wurliche.
hire3. So D, R, T. MS omits.
36.4 Ant. So D, R, T. MS: And þet.
thus. MS: originally omitted, but inserted in the left margin.
On fol. 10v, bottom margin, H: A medycyn for, in heavily smeared ink and upside down.
37.1 Porphire. MS: space has been left for a large capital P which was never inserted, but the indicator letter in the left margin is clear.
37.3 smeal. MS: a inserted above the line.
37.5 of hire. So D, R, T. MS: of hire of hire.
37.6 the. So D, T. MS: þe þe. R omits.
37.8 wurthschipe. So D, T. MS: wurdschipe, with uncrossed ð. R: wurschipe.
38.1 Feng. So D, R, T. MS: Wende. D argues that MS’s wende is the result of misreading (p. 254n598).
worldliche. So D, T. MS: worlðliche, with l1 inserted above the line. R: worldlich.
38.2 constu. MS: space has been left for a large capital C that was never inserted. Most likely the paragraph break here would have indicated a pause and new emphasis on the main body of Katherine’s sermon, since the text would probably have been read aloud. We have continued the paragraph and indicated emphasis with a colon.
deorewurthe. So D, R. MS: deorepurðe. T: derewurðe.
schene. So D. MS, R, T: schenre. All three manuscripts have the comparative schenre, but according to D, it makes better sense to avoid the comparative here. D also points out the R scribe’s attempt to correct the error, by writing schenre þen eni ʒimstanes. See p. 255n604.
38.3 slec. So D, R, T. MS: slech, with the c inserted above the line. Possibly the MS scribe forgot to cancel the h. D emends this to follow the other manuscripts and provide a discussion of the etymology of this unusual word (p. 256n609).
o. MS: os. D, R, T: of.
38.4 other2. So D, T. MS: oder, with uncrossed ð. R: oðere.
longunge. MS: lungunge. We have emended based on the sense of the line in MS, where the blessed are described as not lacking anything thet ha wulleth other mahe wilnin. R: linunge. T: blinnunge. D emends to linnunge; see D’s discussion on emending, p. 257n614.
38.7 linneth. So D, R. MS: limieð, perhaps an error in strokes, but also the scribe’s difficulty with this suggests that he may not have been familiar with this word (D, p. 258n622). T: blimneð.
ne2. So D, R, T. MS: ne ne.
leasteth. MS: a inserted above the line.
38.10 Wealdent. MS: a inserted above the line.
39.1 Porphire. MS: space has been left for a large capital P that was never inserted.
39.2 Porphire. MS: Por
39.3 therin is al mi rihte bileave. Our emendation is based on T’s þer is al mi rihte
bileaue. MS: þear as me þear as me rihte bileaue. D emends to thear as me [learde me mi]. R: þer as mi rihte bileaue schawde me.
39.4 isette. So D, following T. MS: isete. R: iset.
39.6 haldeth. So D, R, T. MS: halðeð.
blisse. MS: blisse
39.7 schal. So D, R, T. MS omits.
40.1 Crist. MS: space has been left for a large capital C that was never inserted.
40.2 Bihalt. So D. MS: Bihaldt, with the dt ligatured. R, T: bihald.
40.3 Healent. MS: e2 inserted above the line.
nowcin. So D, R, T. MS: newcin.
40.5 hwucche. So MS. D: hwucche duheðe. See also the corresponding explanatory note.
41.1 Under. MS: space has been left for a large capital U that was never inserted.
42.1 This. MS: space has been left for a large capital Þ that was never inserted.
mi3. So D, R, T. MS: ni.
42.2 Top margin of fol. 13r. H: This byll mad fo.
43.1 Hwil. MS: space has been left for a large capital H that was never inserted.
weol. So D, R, T. MS. wweol.
43.5 pikes2. So R. MS and T omit. D makes a compelling argument to emend to spikes kenre (p. 265n704). However, we have decided to emend our text from R based on the lack of evidence for the existence of spikes before the fourteenth century (with the exception of two occurrences in the late thirteenth-century Middle English Sea Terms [see MED spike (n.1), sense a]). “Pikes,” however, is well-attested in early Middle English; in particular, see the Worcester fragment of Body and Soul where it is specifically designated as an instrument of torture: “Nu me wulleþ prikien þeo pikes inne helle” (see MED pike (n.1), sense a).
44.1 This. MS: space has been left for a large capital Þ that was never inserted.
swuch. So D, R, T. MS: swuhc.
turnden either. So D, R, T. MS: turden eider. Both ðs are uncrossed.
turnden2. So D, R, T. MS: turden, with the ð uncrossed.
kahten. So R. MS: chachten. D has emended to cahten, following T.
othre2. So D, T. MS: odre with the ð uncrossed. R: oðer.
44.3 stille. So D, R, T. MS omits.
Almihti. So D, R, T. MS: al mihte.
menske. So D, R, T. MS: meske.
thet1. So D; see p. 268n724. MS, R, T omit.
smeortliche. So D. MS: smeordtliche. R, T: smertliche.
45.2 then. MS: þene with final e canceled out.
Healent. MS: e2 inserted above the line.
45.3 hefde. So D, R, T. MS: hef.
46.1 The. MS: space has been left for a large capital Þ that was never inserted.
46.2 ha. So D, T. MS, R omit.
wreastlin. MS: a inserted above the line.
Wealdent. So D, T. MS: welalden. R: weldent.
46.3 worldliche. So D, R, T. MS: worldlich.
46.6 isihen. So D, T. MS: isehene. R: isehen. Emended for sense to mean “have journeyed.” As D points out, it would have been easy for the scribe to be distracted by the isehen that appears in the line above or sehen in the line below to produce a form meaning “were seen” (p. 272n750).
47.1 Godd. So D, R, T. MS: goðd.
47.3 heom. So D, R. MS: ha?m, most likely either a garbled a or a midword correction from ham. The third letter is unreadable. See D’s discussion on pp. 272–73n756, where they argue that heom is what the scribe intended to write. T: ham.
48.2 Hu. MS: space has been left for a large capital H that was never inserted.
dotest tu. So D, after R’s and T’s dotestu. MS: dutest tu.
49.2 weane. So D, R, T. MS: wene.
50.1 Sone. MS: space has been left for a large capital S that was never inserted.
50.2 deofles. So D. MS: deoflel, though the l looks like it could have been altered to or from an s. R: deoules. T: deoueles.
hire forth. So D. MS, R, T omit.
bilimeth. So D, R, T. MS: bilimieð.
flesch. So R. MS, T: vles (vles=fles). We have emended to flesch for ease of comprehension.
slakie. So T. MS, R: earni. D emends to earhi, citing a misreading of the exemplar (see p. 274n781).
na. MS: inserted above the line.
51.1 Ne. MS: space has been left for a large capital N that was never inserted.
deorewurthe. So D, R. MS: deorewrðe. T: derewurðe.
51.2 linunge. So R. MS: longunge. T: ende. D emends to linnunge.
52.1 istrenget. So D, R, T. MS: istreget.
52.4 In left margin of fol. 15v, H: very faint, illegible writing, most likely Latin.
53.1 Me. MS: space has been left for a large capital M that was never inserted.
thet me. MS, R, T omit. D adds this for sense (see p. 276n804).
53.2 Sathanesse. So MS. D: Sathanase, following T (see p. 277n808). Rather than implying a female Satan (as the -esse at first glance indicates), satanasse and sathanasse are common variants of the word satanas (see MED (n.)). See the Sayings of St. Bede, line 235: “If ʒe miʒtten at-blenche from þe sori satanasse”; and the Quatrefoil of Love, line 96: “Sary sathanasse soughte þam belyue, for to wakken oure waa.” According to the MED, MS’s Katherine is the only text with the variant of sathanesse.
53.5 eorthe. So D, R, T. MS: eorde.
54.1 Nu. MS: space has been left for a large capital N that was never inserted.
55.2 bihefdet. So MS, corrected from bihefde
55.4 forwurthen. So D, following R. MS: forwurdthen. T: forlosen.
56.1 Theyet. MS: space has been left for a large capital Þ that was never inserted.
thurst. So D, R, T. MS omits.
56.2 ant2. So D, T. MS, R omit.
57.1 Nai. MS: space has been left for a large capital N that was never inserted.
58.1 The. MS: space has been left for a large capital Þ that was never inserted.
nuste. So D, R, T. MS: and nuste.
ehsihthe. So D, R. MS: hehsihðe. T: sihðe.
58.2 heathene. So D, T. MS: headene, with an uncrossed ð. R: heðene.
58.4 Lauerd. MS: space has been left for a large capital L that was never inserted. The indicator letter appears twice (ll) in the left margin.
59.4 ileavet. So T. MS: ileveð. R: ilenet. D emends to ileuet.
59.7 wone. So D, T. MS: weone. R: weane.
60.1 Nefde. MS: space has been left for a large capital N that was never inserted.
61.1 Heo. MS: large rubricated capital H, 2.1 cm. The indicator letter has been cropped. This capital and the next are the work of the second rubricator, using a much better quality ink.
61.7 botneth. MS: a letter has been erased after this word.
62.1 Thus. MS: large rubricated capital Þ, 2.5 cm.
from: The Katherine Group MS Bodley 34 2016
biginneth the martyrdom of Sancte Katerine.
(2) Ah Costentin ferde thurh the burhmenne read into Franclonde ant wunede
summe hwile thear for the burhes neode, ant Maxence steorede the refschipe i
Rome. (3) Weox umbe-hwile wreathe ham bitweonen, ant comen to fehte. (4) Wes
Maxence overcumen ant fleah into Alixandre. (5) Costentin walde efter ant
warpen him theonne, ah se wide him weox weorre on euche halve (ant nomeliche
in a lont Ylirie hatte) thet ter he etstutte. (6) Tha Maxence iherde this, thet he wes
of him siker ant of his cume carles, warth king of thet lont the lei into Rome as
duden meast alle the othre of the weorlde. (7) Bigon anan ase wed wulf to weorrin
Hali Chirche ant dreaien Cristene men (the lut thet ter weren) alle to
heathendom, heathene as he wes, summe thurh muchele yeoven ant misliche
meden, summe thurh fearlac of eisfule threates, o least with stronge tintreohen
ant licomliche pinen. (8) I the fif ant thrittuthe yer of his rixlinge he set o kine
seotle i the moder-burh of Alixandres riche, ant sende heaste ant bode, se wid se
thet lont wes, thet poure ba ant riche comen ther bivoren him to the temple i the
tun of his heathene godes, euchan with his lac forte wurthgin ham with. (9)
Comen alle to his bode, ant euchan bi his evene bivore Maxence seolf wurdgede
his maumez. (10) The riche reo|theren ant schep ant bule (hwa se mahte), brohte
to lake; the poure, cwike briddes.
twenti, feier ant freolich o wlite ant o westum ant yet (thet is mare wurth),
steathelvest withinnen of treowe bileave, anes kinges Cost hehte anlepi dohter,
icuret cleargesse Katerine inempnet. (2) Theos meiden wes bathe feaderles ant
moderles of hire childhade; ah thah ha yung were, ha heold hire ealdrene hird
wisliche ant warliche i the eritage ant i the eard thet com hire of burde, nawt
forthi thet hire thuhte god in hire heorte to habbe monie under hire ant beon
icleopet leafdi (thet feole telleth wel to) ah ba ha wes offearet of scheome ant of
sunne yef theo weren todreavet other misferden thet hire forthfeadres hefden
ivostret. (3) For hireseolf, ne kepte ha nawt of the worlde. (4) Thus lo, for hare
sake ane dale ha etheold of hire ealdrene god ant spende al thet other i neodfule
ant i nakede.
luvede ha nane lihte plohen ne nane sotte songes, nalde ha nane ronnes ne nane
luve-runes leornin ne lusten, ah ever ha hefde on Hali Writ ehnen other heorte,
oftest ba togederes. (2) Hire feader hefde iset hire earliche to lare ant heo,
thurh the Hali Gast, undernom hit se wel thet nan nes hire evening. (3) Modi
meistres ant feole fondeden ofte hire o swithe feole halve forte underneomen
hire, ah nes thear nan thet mahte neaver eanes | wrenchen hire with al his crefti
crokes ut of the weie, ah se sone ha yeald ham swucche yeincleappes, ant wende
hare wiheles upon hamseolven thet al ha icneowen ham cravant ant overcumen,
ant cwethen hire the meistrie ant te menske al up.
meithhad, as ha set in a bur of hire burdeboldes, ha iherde a swuch nurth towart
te aweariede maumetes temple: lowinde of thet ahte, ludinge of the men,
gleowinde of euch gleo to herien ant hersumin hare heathene godes. (2) As ha
this iherde ant nuste yet hwet hit wes, ha sende swithe forte witen hwet wunder hit
were. (3) Sone se hire sonde com agein ant seide hire thet sothe, heo wes swa
itend of wreaththe thet wod ha walde iwurthen. (4) Het up of hire hird hwuch as ha
walde ant wende hire thiderwart. (5) Ifont ter swithe feole yeinde ant yurinde ant
theotinde unthuldeliche with reowthfule reames: the Cristene weren ant leaffule
i Godes lei, ah for dred of death duden thet deofles lac as the heathene duden.
(6) Hwa wes wurse thene heo, heorte iwundet inwith, for the wrecches thet ha seh
se wrathe werkes wurchen agein Godes wille? (7) Thohte, thah (as ha wes thuldi
ant tholemod) se yung thing as ha wes hwet hit mahte yeinen, thah heo hire ane
were, agein se kene keiser ant al his kineriche. (8) Stot stille ane hwile ant hef hire
heorte up to the hehe Healant the iheret is in Heovene. (9) Bisohte Him help ant
hap ant wisdom, ase wisliche as | al the world is iweld thurh His wissunge. (10)
Threfter wepnede hire with sothe bileave ant wrat on hire breoste ant bivoren hire
teth ant te tunge of hire muth the hali Rode-taken. (11) Ant com leapinde forth
as al itent of the lei of the Hali Gast, as the keiser stot bimong thet sunfule slaht
of thet islein ahte — deovele to lake, thet euch waried weoved of the mix maumez
ron of thet balefule blod al biblodeget — ant bigon to yeien ludere steavene:
ilke yeld thet tu dest to deovelen — thet fordeth the bathe i licome ant i sawle, ant
alle the hit driveth — yef thu hit yulde ant yeve to His wurthemunt the scheop the
ant al the world, ant welt thurh His wisdom al thet ischapen is. (3) Ich walde, king,
greten the yef thu understode thet He ane is to herien, thurh hwam ant under
hwam alle kinges rixlith, ne ne mei nathing withstonden His wille, thah He muche
tholie. (4) Thes heovenliche Lauerd luveth treowe bileave, ant nowther blod ne
ban of unforgult ahte ah thet me halde ant heie His halewinde heastes. (5) Ne nis
nathing hwerthurh monnes muchele meadschipe wreatheth Him mare then the
schafte of mon — thet He schop ant yef schad ba of god ant of ufel thurh wit ant
thurh wisdom — schal wurthe se vorth ut of his witte thur the awariede gast thet
he yelt the wurthemunt to unwitelese thing thet te feont wuneth in thet he ahte
to Gode, ant herieth ant hersumeth | seheliche schaftes — blodles ant banles ant
leomen bute live — as he sculde his ant heoren ant alre thinge Schupent: thet is,
neaver an ne kecheth he creftiluker cang men, ne leadeth to unbileave then thet
he maketh men — thet ahten to wite wel thet ha beoth biyetene ant iborene ant
ibroht forth thurh the heovenliche Feader — to makie swucche maumez of treo
other of stan other (thurh mare meadschipe) of gold other of seolver, ant yeoven
ham misliche nomen, of sunne other of mone, of wind ant wude ant weattres, ant
hersumeth ant wurthgith as thah ha godes weren. (2) Ne naveth he thurh other thing
i this bileave ibroht ow bute thet ow thuncheth thet ha schulen leasten áá forthi
thet ye ne sehen ham neaver biginnen. (3) Ah ther nis buten an Godd thur hwam
witerliche ha alle weren iwrahte ant of nawiht, ant i this weorlde iset us forto
frovrin ant to fremien. (4) Ant alswa as euch thing hefde biginnunge of His
godlec, alswa schulden alle habben endunge yef He thet walde. (5) Engles ant
sawlen, thurh thet ha bigunnen, ahten ant mahten endin thurh cunde; ah He
thurh His milce ant godlec of His grace maked ham thet ha beoth in eche buten
ende. (6) Ant thervore nis nathing evening ne eche with Godd — thet ye gremieth
— for He is hare alre schupent ant schop ham i sum time, ant na time nes,
neaver, thet He bigon to beon in.”
thus. (2) Swithe he awundrede him of hire wliti westum ant swither of hire wordes,
ant feng on thus to speokene: “Thi leor is, meiden, lufsum ant ti muth murie, ant
witti ant wise weordes hit weren yef ha neren false! (3) Ah we witen wel thet ure
laghen, ure bileave, ant ure lei hefde lahe sprung. (4) Ah al thet ye seggeth is se
sutel sotschipe thet hit na wis mon ah wittlese hit weneth. (5) Me hwet is mare
meadschipe then forte leven on him ant seggen he is Godes sune — the the Giws
demden ant heathene ahongeden — ant thet he wes akennet of Marie, a meiden,
buten monnes man, ant iboren of hire bute bruche of hire bodi, deide ant wes
iburiet, ant herhede helle, ant aras of death, ant steah into Heovene, ant schal eft
o Domesdei cumen ba te demen the cwike ant te deade? (6) Hwa walde ileve this
thet is ase noht wurth, thet alle ower leasunges beoth unlefliche? (7) Ah yet ne
thuncheth ow nawt inoh to forleosen ow thus i thulli misbileave; ah gath yet ant
seggeth scheome bi ure undeaddeliche godes the sunne ant te mone, thet euch
mon ahte hersumin ant herien in eorthe.”
him thullich onswere: “Al ich iseo thine sahen sottliche isette. (2) Cleopest theo
thing godes the nowther sturien ne mahen ne steoren hamseolven bute as the
hehe King hat ham i Heovene. (3) Ant heo buheth to Him as schafte to his
Schuppent. (4) Nis buten an Godd (as ich ear seide) thet al the world wrahte ant
al worldliche thing, ant al wurcheth His wil bute mon | ane. (5) Stille beo thu
thenne, ant stew swuche wordes, for ha beoth al witlese ant windi of wisdom.”
ich iseo wel — for sutel is ant etsene o thine sulliche sahen — thet tu were iset
yung to leaf ant to lare. (2) Ah of swuch larspel thu havest leave ileornet thet tu
art theronont al to deope ilearet hwen thu forcwethest for thi Crist ure undedliche
godes ant seist ha beoth idele ant empti of gode. (3) Ah wastu nu hwet is?
(4) We schulen bringe to ende thet we bigunnen habbeth, ant tu schalt, tu motild,
to curt cume seothen ant kine mede ikepen yef thu wult ti wil iwende to ure, for
yef hit went agein us, ne schal the na teone ne tintreohe trukien.” (5) Tha he
hefde thus iseid, cleopede an of his men dearneliche to him ant sende iselede
writes with his ahne kine ring yeont al his kineriche to alle the icudde clerkes, ant
het ham hihin towart him hare cume swithe — ant swa muche the swithere thet,
he bihet to medin ham with swithe heh mede, ant makien ham hehest in his halle
yef ha theos modi motild overcume mahten ant wende the hokeres of his
heathene godes upon hire heavead, thet ha were on alre erst ikennen ant icnawen
thet nis bute dusilec al thet ha driveth, ant threfter thenne fordon ant fordemed
yef ha nalde leaven thet ha yet lefde, ant hare lagen luvien. (6) Thes sonde wende
him forth as the king hehte. | (7) He heold on to herien his hethene maumez with
misliche lakes long time of the dei thet he idon hefde, ant wende tha, the wari,
towart his buriboldes, ant bed bringen anan this meiden bivoren him. (8) Ant
seide to hire thus: “Nat ich nowther thi nome ne ich ne cnawe thi cun, ne hwucche
men thu havest ihaved hiderto to meistres, ah thi schene nebscheft ant ti semliche
schape schaweth wel thet tu art freomonne foster, ant ti sputi speche walde of
wisdom ant of wit beore the witnesse, yef thu ne misnome onont ure maumez —
thet tu se muchel misseist — ant ure godes hokerest — the thu schuldest, as we
doth, heien ant herien.”
icleopet. (2) Yef thu wult cnawe mi cun: ich am kinges dohter. (3) Cost hehte mi
feader, ant habbe ihavet hiderto swithe hehe meistres. (4) Ah forthi thet te lare
thet heo me learden limpeth to idel yelp, ant falleth to biyete to wurthschipe of
the worlde, ne ne helpeth nawiht eche lif to haben, ne yelpe ich nawiht therof. (5)
Ah sone se ich seh the leome of the sothe lare the leadeth to thet eche lif, ich
leafde al thet other ant toc me Him to Lauerd ant makede Him mi leofmon, the
theos word seide thurh an of His witegen: Perdam sapientiam sapientum et intellectum
intelligentium reprobabo. (6) ‘Ich chulle fordo the wisdom of theos wise world-men,’
He seith, ‘ant awarpen the wit of theose world-witti.’ (7) Ich herde eft theos word
of another witege: Deus autem noster in celo omnia quecumque voluit fecit. | Simulacra
gentium argentum et aurum et cetera usque ad similes illis fiant. (8) ‘Ure Godd is in
Heovene thet wurcheth al thet He wule. (9) Theos maumez beoth imaket of gold
ant of seolver al with monnes honden: muth bute speche, hehnen bute sihthe,
earen buten herunge, honden bute felunge, fet bute yonge. (10) Theo thet ham
makieth mote beon ilich ham ant alle the ham trusteth.’ (11) Ah nu thu seist thet
ha beoth alleweldinde godes ant wult thet ich do ham wurthschipe! (12) Schaw
sumhwet of ham forhwi ha beon wurthe forte beon iwurdget for ear nulle ich
nowther ham heien ne herien.”
havest inohe. (2) Ah thole nu ane hwile ant tu schald ifinden hwa the ontswerie.”
(3) Thes sondesmon, umbe long, tha he hefde al thet lont overgan ant thurh-
sohte, com ant brohte with him fifti scolmeistres: of alle the creftes the clearc ah to
cunnen ant in alle wittes of worldliche wisdomes wisest o worlde. (4) The king wes
swithe icwemet ant walde witen yef ha weren se wise ant se witi as me foreseide.
(5) Ant ha somet seiden thet witiest ha weren of alle the meistres the weren in
Estlonde ant heaved of the heste, ant mest nomecuthe icud of alle clergies.
us hider to cumene.”
witti ant wis on hire wordes thet ha with hire anes mot meistreth us alle. (2) Ah yet
me teoneth mare thet ha tuketh ure godes to balewe ant to | bismere ant seith hit
beoth deoflen thet in ham dearieth. (3) Ich mahte inohreathe wel habben aweld
hire, yef ha nalde with luve, with luther eie lanhure. (4) Ah yet me thuncheth
betere thet ha beo ear overcumen with desputunge. (5) Ant yef ha theyet wule,
then ha wat hire woh, withstonden agein us, ich hire wule don to the derveste
death thet me mei hire demen, ant with kinewurthe yeoves yelden ow hehliche
ower yong hider (yef ye agein wulleth). (6) Other, yef ow is willre forte wunie with
me, ye schule beon mine readesmen in alle mine dearne runes ant mine dearne
Hwuch wis read of se cud keiser, makie se monie clerkes to cumene — ant se swithe
crefti of alle clergies — of Alixandres lont the alre leaste ende to motin with a
meiden! (3) Me, an mahte of ure men with his mot meistrin ant with his anes wit
awarpen the alre wiseste the wuneth bi westen! (4) Ah hwuch se ha eaver beo, let
bringen hire forth thet ha understonde thet ha ne stod neaver ear thene thes dei
bute bivore dusie.” (5) Theos meiden wes bicluset the hwile i cwarterne ant i
cwalmhuse. (6) Com a sonde ant seide hire thet ha schulde cume forth to fehten
i the marhen: ane agein vifti. (7) Nes this meiden nawiht hervore imenget in hire
mod inwith, ah buten euch fearlac bitahte al hire feht in hire Helendes hont, ant
bigon to Him to bidde theos bone:
alwealdinde | Godd, Thi Feadres wisdom, Thu thet tahtest Thine thet ha ne
sculde nowther diverin ne dreden for teone, ne for tintreohe, ne for na worldlich
wontreathe, ah warnedest ham wel hu me ham walde threatin ant leaden
unlaheliche, ant elnedest ham swa thet ham wes eth to drehen al thet me dude
ham ant al thet ha drohen for Thi deore luve, deorewurthe Lauerd; ant seidest
Theseolven: Dum steteritis ante reges et presides, et cetera; ‘Hwene ye stondeth bivore
kinges ant eorles, ne thenche ye neaver hweat ne hu ye schulen seggen, for Ich
chulle yeoven ow ba tunge ant tale thet an ne schal of alle ower witherwines witen
hwet he warpe a word agein ow’ — Lauert, wune with me ant halt thet Tu bihete us
ant sete, Jesu, swete sahen i mi muth to marhen, ant yef swuch mahte ant strengthe
i mine wordes thet theo the beoth icumene ageines Thi deore nome me to under-
neomene moten missen throf. (2) Awelt thurh Thi wisdom hare worldliche
wit ant thurh Thi muchele mihte mestre ham swa ha beon alle istewet ant stille,
other wenden to The ant Thi nome wurdgin, the with Godd heh Feader ant with
the Hali Gast thurh-wunest in alre worlde world, áá on ecnesse.” (3) Nefde ha
bute iseid swa thet an engel ne com lihtinde with swuch leome from Heovene thet
ha wes sumdel offruht ant offert, for al the cwarterne of his cume leitede o leie.
(4) Ah the engel elnede hire ant sweteliche seide:
havest bigunnen, for thi leofmon ant ti Lauert (for hwas nome thu undernome
this strif) is with the eaver ihwer i stude | ant i stalle the wel wule wite the. (3) He
bihat te thet He wule i thi muth healden flowinde weattres of wittie wordes, the schule
the flit of thine fan swifteliche avellen. (4) Ant swuch wunder ham schal thunchen of
thi wisdom thet ha wulleth alle wende to Criste, ant cume thurh martirdom to
Drihtin in Heovene. (5) Monie schule turnen to treow bileave thurh hare forbisne. (6)
Ant tu schalt sone etsterten al the strengthe of this strif thurh a stealewurhthe deth,
ant beo thenne undervon i the feire verredene ant i the murie mot of meidnes, ant
libben lives buten ende with Jesu Crist thi Lauerd, thi leofmon in Heovene. (7)
Ich hit am Michael, Godes heh-engel, ant of Heovene isent forte seggen the thus.”
(8) Ant mid tet ilke, step up ant steah to the steorren. (9) Theos meiden (thet ich
munie) stot, thurh theos steavene stercliche istrenget, ant abad baldeliche athet me
com ant fatte hire to fliten with the fifti. (10) Maxence ine marhen set i kineseotle ant
bed bringen bivoren him thes modi moteres ant te meiden with ham. (11) Heo
with Cristes Cros cruchede hire overal ant com baldeliche bivoren thes feondes
an foster ant agein thes fifti, alle ferliche freken. (12) Comen alle strikinde,
strengest te swithest, of eaver-euch strete forte here this strif. (13) Stoden on an
half theos meistres, se monie ant unimete modi; theos meiden on other half. (14)
Heo biheolden hire hokerliche alle, ant heo stot hercnende ant biheolt efter help
up towart Heovene. (15) The king bigon | to wreththen thet te dei eode awei ant
heo ne duden nawiht. (16) Ant the eadie Katerine bigon forte seggen:
dest fifti meistres to moti with a meiden! (2) Ant havest ham bihaten — yef ha
mahen on me the herre hont habben — kinewurthe meden, ant me nawiht under
al, the moti, a meiden, ageines ham alle. (3) Ah ne drede ich nawiht thet mi
Lauert nule wel yelde me mi hwile (for hwas nome ich underneome to fehten o
this wise). (4) Ah yette me an hwet thet tu ne maht nawt wearne with rihte. (5) Yef
me is ilevet thurh mi leove Lauert forte leggen ham adun, thet tu thi misbileave
lete thenne lanhure ant lihte to ure.”
to the to legge lahe upo me. (3) Of mine bileave — beo ha duhti other dusi —
nave thu nawt to donne. (4) Do nu thet tu schalt don ant we schule lustnin hu thi
Lauerd ant ti leof — thet al thi bileave is upon — wule werie to dei thine
toc on towart thes fif sithe tene to talien o this wise: “Nu ye alles to strif beoth
isturet hidere forte beon with gold ant gersum igrette — ant se feole, cuthe men
ba ant utcumene copnith ant kepeth hwuch ure is kempe to overcumen other—
lure ow is to leosen ower swinkes lan the leoteth se lihtliche of ant spearieth ower
speche, ant schome ow is to schuderin lengre under schelde ant schunien thet ye
| schule to. (2) Scheoteth forth sum word ant let us ontswerien! (3) The meast
kempe is icud ant kenest of ow alle of the creft, the he is nomecuthest ant meast
con: cume, cuthe throf, ant thet haveth in heorte (nu we schullen talien) take ut
of his tunge, ant teveli with me.”
iflut hidere, thu schalt sette sikel forth, ant seggen earst hwet tu wult, ant we
leornede ant luvede the liffule leave of Hali Chirche — the ich ichosen habbe —
ich aweorp with alle the glistinde wordes the beoth in ower bokes, the beoth withuten
godlec ant empti withinnen, thet ye beoth with toswollen, nawt with wit ah with wint
of ane wlonke wordes the thuncheth se greate, ant beoth godlese thah ant beare of
euch blisse, thah ye blissen ow throf. (2) Lo, thullich is al thet ye thencheth todei
forto weorri me with — Homers motes ant Aristotles turnes, Esculapies creftes ant
Galienes grapes, Filistiones flites ant Platunes bokes, ant al thes writers writes thet
ye wreothieth on. (3) Thah ich beo in alle of se earliche ilearet thet ich ne font
nawt feole neaver min evening; thah, forthi thet ha beoth ful of idel yelp ant empti
of thet hali liffule lare, al ich forsake ham her ant cwethe ham al scher up, ant
segge thet ich ne con ne ne cnawe na creft bute of an thet is soth wit ant wisdom
ant heore eche heale thet Him riht leveth; thet is, Jesu Crist, mi Lauert ant mi
leofmon the seide — as ich seide ear ant yet wule seggen —: Perdam sapientiam
sapientum et intel|lectum et cetera. (4) ‘Ich chulle fordon the wisdom of theos wise
worldmen ant warpen the wit of theos world-witti.’ (5) The alre schafte Schuppent
schawde ure eareste aldren Adam ant Eve the wit ant te wei of lif thurh His
halwunde heast, ant hefde ham bihaten (yef heo ham wel heolden) heoveneliche
meden. (6) Ah the wrenchfule feont, thurh onden, with his willes weorp ham ut
sone of Paraises selhthen into this liflese lif. (7) Ant al thet lihte of ham twa
schulde vorleosen, yef thet Godes goddlec nere the mare, the swa muche luvede
us (thah se luthere ilatet) thet He lihte nu late of heovenliche leomen; ant forthi
thet He is to ure sihthe unsehelich | in His ahne cunde, com ant creap in ure
forto beon isehen thrin, ant nom blod ant ban of a meidenes bodi. (8) Thus He
schrudde ant hudde Him, alre thinge Schuppent, mid ure fleschliche schrud,
ant schawde us His nebscheft ant weolc — hwil His wil wes — bimong worldliche
men. (9) Ant tha he hefde arudd us of feondes raketehen, wende up as He walde
wunien ther He wuneth, áá withuten wonunge. (10) Swa thet we witen wel, thurh
wundres thet He wrahte thet na mon ne mahte, thet He is soth Godd, ant
eft thurh thet He throwede ant tholede deth on Rode as dedlich mon, that He is
ec soth mon: of His Feader soth Godd, ant of His moder soth mon, in anhad
ba somet, soth mon ant soth Godd weldinde ant wissinde alle worldliche
thing efter His wille. (11) Thes is mi Lauerd thet ich on leve. (12) Thes is al
the lare thet ich nu leorni. (13) Thes is the i this strif schal strengen me agein ow.
(14) In His hali nome ich schal leten lihtlich of al thet ye cunnen kasten agein me.
(15) Ne beo ye so monie, for nis Him no dervre forto adweschen adun feole |
then fewe, bivoren theo Him riht leveth ant luvieth.”
ant Godes sune, hu mahte he as mon derfliche deien? (2) Yef he wes soth mon,
hu mahte he death overcumen? (3) Alle wise witen wel thet hit is agein riht ant
agein leave of euch cundelich lahe thet Godd the is undedlich mahe deth drehen,
ant deadlich mon mahe death overcumen. (4) Ant thah hit mahte nu beon thet he
ba were, soth Godd ant soth mon efter thet tu munnest, an he mahte inohrathe
of theos twa thing — ba somet nanesweis.”
of thi dusi onsware ant te deopnesse, thet tu of thet thing thet te misthuncheth
undervest the an half ant dustest adun the other: the Goddnesse of Godd for the
mennesse of His monhad, as thah the Almihti ne mahte nawt theos twa misliche
cundes gederin togederes. (2) Ye, ne makede He mon of lam to His ilicnesse? (3)
Hwi schulde He forhohien to wurthen to thet thing thet is iwend uppon Him? (4)
Ant hwen He hit mahte don buten ewt to leosen of His hehnesse, | hwi were hit
Him erveth to don — the thet alle thing mei ant wule al thet god is — to neomen
monnes cunde ant beon isehen soth mon Godd thah unsehlich in His ahne cunde,
ant tholien as mon deth hwen duhti Him thuhte? (5) Ah yef thu wult siker beon thet
seoth beo thet ich segge, leaf thi lease wit thet tu wlenchest te in, ant liht to ure
lare thet tu mahe stihen to understonden in Him Godes muchele strencthe, ant
nan monnes mihte, thurh His wundri werkes ant wurthful in eorthe. (6) For nultu
nawt tenne thet tu schuldest heien heanin ne hatien na mare: thet is, i soth Godd
monnes unmihte thet He neodeles nom uppon Himseolven, us forto salvin ant
maken us stronge thurh His unstrencthe. (7) His unstrencthe ich cleopie thet He
wes as mon cundeliche ofhungret ant weri ant pinen mahte tholien. (8) In euch
thing of the world beoth sutel ant ethsene the weolen of Godes wisdom, thah in
this an thing He schawde ant sutelede inoh that He wes soth Godd, the leadeth
euch leafful to treowe bileave ant His leove nome to herien ant to heien, tha He
with His stefne the storvene astearde ant mid His word awahte the liflese liches
to lif | ant to leome. (9) Thus ne dude neaver nan dedlich mon thurh his anes
mihte yef He Godd nere. (10) Other, thurh wiheles ant thurh wicchecreftes,
wurchith summe wundres ant bigulith unweoten, the weneth thet hit beo swa as
hit on ehe bereth ham. (11) Ah thes, thurh thet He wes soth Godd, in His cunde
icuplet with ure, arerde the deade, botnede blinde, the dumbe, ant te deave,
healde halte and hoverede, ant euch unheale, ant draf of the wedde awariede
wihtes, ant as alweldende wrahte her on worlde al thet He walde. (12) Ant yef thu
nult nanesweis witen thet He wrahte thulliche wundres, lef lanhure thet tu isist:
miracles thet His men makieth yette, thurh Him ant His deorewurthe nome, deies
Godd ba beon ant mon. (3) Ah yef He nere soth Godd ant undeadlich Himseolf,
hu mahte He lenen lif to the deade? (4) Ant yef He nere soth mon, hu mahte He
drehen thet He droh ant deien so derfliche? (5) Thurh this suteleth soth al thet
ich segge: ant tat is Godd seolf, the duste death under Him thurh | thet He is
Drihtin, meinful ant almihti. (6) Ant seolf the ilke is Godes Sune, the onont thet
He Godd wes ne mahte He drehen na deth, ant tah deide ah fleschliche for; ba
He underveng ban ant flesch on ure cunde — thet is bruchel ant dedlich — forto
deien in hire forthi thet He wes undedlich in His ahne ne in hire ne mahte He
nanesweis deien — buten in ure. (7) Thes sothe Godd ant Godes sune, the deide
onont ure cunde thet He hefde, aras ant arerde Himseolven from deathe, for thah
He were dedlich thurh thet He mon wes onont His mennesse ant deide as ich
seide, He ne losede na lif onont thet He Godd wes ne undedlichnesse onont His
Drihtnesse, ah wes eaver ant is Drihtin undedlich. (8) Thus ido dede, death ne
akaste nawt Crist, ah Crist overcom deth ant sloh hire in Himseolven.”
for ham alle: “Yef Drihtin the darede in ure mennesse wrahte theos wundres —
as thu wult thet we leven — hwi walde He throwin as He dude ant tholien deth on
Rode? (2) Hwen He com to arudden of deathes raketehen | othre hwi deide He
Himseolven? (3) Ant hu mei He helpen ant beon bivoren othre, the thurh-ferde
death as heo doth? (4) Hefde He thet lanhure Himseolven aleset sum walde
hopien ant habben bileave to His alesunge.”
of theos cnotti cnotten (yef thu wult icnawen), ah her thu wenest yet thet tu ne
wenen therf: thet Godd, the is unthrowlich, throwede other tholede pine other
passiun o the deore Rode onont thet He Godd wes. (2) Ne mahte thet wite thu His
heovenliche cunde o nanes cunnes wise felen sar ne sorhe uppon the Cruche, ah
al the weane ant te wa wente uppon the unstrencthe of thet undervo flesch thet He
neodeles nom with al ure nowcin bute sunne ane uppon Himseolven. (3) O Godd,
the is al freo, ne mei nan uvel festnin; ne mahte me nowther Godd, onont thet He
Godd wes, beatin ne binden ne neomenne halden, for He is unneomelich. (4) Ah
thurh the mon thet He wes ischrudd ant ihudd with, He bicherde thene feont ant
schrenchte then alde deovel ant toschrapede his hefde! (5) Nes nawt iteiet to the
Treo ther He deide uppon forto drahen | buten flesch-timber, ah swa He withuten
woh adweschte ant adun warp thene witherwine of Helle, mon i monnes cunde,
the mid woh hefde to deth idrahen moncun thurh dedliche sunnen. (6) That wes,
as ich munne, mon ant nawt Godes drihtnesse thurh-driven uppon the Rode, thah
He in the ilke time soth Godd were. (7) Ah mon — for mon the misdude —
tholede dom ant deide, ant Godd i mon for monnes bruche bette ant eode on
bote, as His ahne goddlec lahede hit ant lokede. (8) Low, this makede Him thet He
underveng mon (thet is, bicom mon) thet te bruchen thet mon hefde ibroken agein
Him weren ibet thurh mon, ant thet He arise earest from deathe to live thet ne
dredeth na deth. (9) Thurh Him we mahen habben sikere bileave to arisen alle efter
Him. (10) Eth were ure Lauerd, liviende Godes Sune, to awarpen His unwine ant
reavin him his hondiwerc — thet he with woh etheold — on euch wise in world
thet he eaver walde: with an anlepi word; ye, with His an wil. (11) Ah the witti
Weldent ant te rihtwise Godd bireadde hit swa swithe wel, thet he thet overcom
mon were akast | thurh mon with meokelec ant liste, nawt with luther strencthe,
thet he ne mahte nanesweis meanen Him of wohe.”
— the an modgeste of ham thet mealde toyein hire warth swa awundret of hire
wittie wordes, ant swa offearet ant offruht ant alle hise feren, thet nefde heore nan
tunge to tavelin atine with. (2) Swa swithe Godes grace agaste ant agelwede ham
thet euchan biheold other as ha bidweolet weren, thet nan ne seide nawiht ah
seten stille as stan. (3) Cwich ne cweth ther neaver an.
wurthen ut of his ahne wit, wodeliche yeide: “Hwet nu, unwreste men, ant wacre
then ei wake, of dead ant of dult wit? (2) Nu is ower stunde! (3) Hwi studgi ye nu
ant steventith se stille? (4) Nabbe ye teth ba ant tunge to sturien? (5) Is nu se
steorliche unstrenget ower strengthe ant ower wit awealt swa thet te mihte ant te
mot of a se meoke meiden schal meistren ow alle? (6) Me, yef fifti wimmen ant
thah ther ma weren hefden with wordes ower an awarpen, nere hit schendlac inoh
ant schir scheome to ow alle thet yelpeth of lare? (7) Nu is alre scheomene meast:
thet anlepi meiden with hire anes muth haveth swa bitevelet, itemet, ant iteiet alle,
italde bi tale fif sithe tene, icudde ant icorene ant of feorrene ifat, thet al ye beoth
blodles, ikimet ut of ow seolven. (8) Hwider is ower wit ant ower wisdom iwend?
(9) Breoketh on, for bismere, ant biginneth sumhwet!”
and cweth to the king: “An hwet ich chulle thet tu wite: thet we habbeth witnese
of alle the wise the beoth in estlonde thet neaver athet tes dei ne funde we nohwer
nan swa deop ilearet the durste sputi with us, ant yef he come i place, nere he
neaver se prud thet he ne talde him al tom ear he turnde from us. (2) Ah nis nawt
lihtliche of this meidenes mot, for yef ich soth schal seggen, | in hire ne moteth
na mon, for nawt nis hit monlich mot thet ha mealeth. (3) Ne nawt nis heo thet
haveth mot, ah is an heovenlich gast in hire swa agein us thet we ne cunnen (ant
tah we cuthen, ne nullen ne ne durren) warpen na word agein to weorri, ne te
wreaththin Him thet ha wreotheth on. (4) For sone se ha Crist cleopede ant His
nome nempnede ant te muchele mihtes of His hehnesse, ant schawde seoththen
suteliche the deopnesse ant te derne run of His death o Rode, al wat awei ure
worldliche wit swa we weren adrede of His drihtnesse. (5) Ant thet we kennith the
wel, keiser, ant cutheth thet we leaveth thi lahe ant al thi bileave ant turneth alle
to Crist. (6) Ant her we cnawlechith Him soth Godd and Godes Sune thet se
muche godlec cudde us alle on eorthe thet woh haveth eni mon to weorrin Him
mare. (7) This we schawith the. (8) Nu sei thet tu wult.”
of grome ant of teone, bed bringen o brune an ad amidde the burh, ant ba binden
ham swa the fet ant te honden thet ha wrungen agein. (2) Ant i the reade lei ant
i thet leitinde fur het warpen, euch fot. (3) As me droh ham to hare death, tha
yeide thus the an ant elnede the othre: “O leove iferen, feire is us ifallen, ah yet
we forgeoteth us. (4) Nu the deore Drihtin arew us ant toc read of ure alde
dusischipes the we driven longe, ant haveth idiht us todei forte drehe this death
thurh His milde milce, thet we forlete this lif for His treowe luve i treowe bileave
ant i the cnaw|lechunge of His kinewurthe nome, hwi ne hihi we forte beon
ifulhet as He het hise ear we faren heonne?”
moste, i the wurthschipe of Godd, with halwende weattres bihealden ham alle. (2)
Ah heo ham ontswerde ant swoteliche seide: “Ne drede ye ow nawiht, cnihtes
icorene, for ye schulen beon ifulhet ant beten alle the bruchen thet ye ibroken
habbeth in ower blodes rune. (3) Ant tis ferliche fur schal lihten in ow the
halwende lei of the Hali Gast, the i furene tungen ontende the apostles.”
honden to Heovene. (2) Ant swa somet readliche thurh seli martyrdom verden with
murthe, icrunet to Criste, o the threotuthe dei of Novembres moneth. (3) Ah thet
wes miracle muchel, thet nowther nes iwemmet clath thet ha hefden ne her of hare
heafden, ah with se swithe lufsume leores ha leien, se rudie ant se reade ilitet eaver-
euch leor, as lilie ileid to rose, thet nawt ne thuhte hit thet ha weren deade, ah thet
ha slepten swoteliche a sweovete, swa thet feole turnden to treowe bileave ant
tholeden anan death I the nome of Drihtin. (4) Comen Cristene a naht ant nomen
hare bodies ant biburieden ham deorliche, as hit deh Drihtines cnihtes.
bivoren him, ant thus to hire cleopede: “O mihti meiden! (2) O witti wummon
wurthmunt ant alle wurthschipe wurthe! (3) O schene nebschaft ant schape se |
swithe semlich, thet schulde beo se prudeliche ischrud ant iprud ba with pel ant
with purpre! (4) Nim yeme of thi yuhethe; areow thi wlite ant tac read, seli, to the
seolven. (5) Ga ant gret ure godes the thu igremet havest, ant tu schalt (efter the
cwen) eaver the other beon in halle ant i bure, ant al ich chulle dihten the deden
of mi kinedom efter thet tu demest. (6) Ah yet ich segge mare: ich chulle lete
makie the of golt an ymage as cwen icrunet ant swa me schal amit te burh setten
hit on heh up. (7) Therefter me schal beoden ant bodien hit overal thet alle the
ther bigath greten hit o thi nome ant buhe thertowart, alle the wurthmunt,
burhmen ant othre. (8) On ende, thu schalt habben heheliche, as an of ure
heovenliche leafdis, of marbrestan a temple thet schal áá stonden hwil thet te
worlt stont to witnesse of thi wurthschipe.”
uleth thi muth ant murie thu makest hit, ah ich drede thet tis dream me dreaie
towart deathe as deth meareminnes. (2) Ah al the helpeth an thin olhnunge ant tin
eie. (3) Ful wel ich chulle thet tu wite ne maht tu with nawiht wende min heorte from
Him thet ich heie ant áá wulle herien. (4) Bihat al thet tu wult; threp threfter inoh
ant threate thet tu beo weri. (5) Ne mei me wunne ne weole ne na worldes
wurthshipe, ne mei me nowther teone ne tintreohe turnen from mi
leofmones luve thet ich on leve. (6) He haveth iweddet Him to mi meithhad with
the ring of rihte | bileave, ant ich habbe to Him treowliche itake me. (7) Swa wit
beoth ivestnet ant iteiet in an ant swa the cnotte is icnut bituhhen us tweien, thet
ne mei hit liste ne luther strengthe nowther of na liviende mon lowsin ne
leothien. (8) He is mi lif ant mi luve, He is thet gleadeth me, mi sothe blisse buve
me, weole ant al mi wunne, ne nawt ne willni ich elles. (9) Mi swete lif, se
swoteliche He smecheth me ant smealleth, thet al me thuncheth savure ant softe
thet He sent me. (10) Stute nu thenne ant stew the, ant stille thine wordes, for ha
beoth me unwurth, thet wite thu to wisse.”
Het o wodi wise strupen hire steort-naket ant beaten hire beare flesch ant hire
freoliche bodi with cnottede schurgen. (3) Ant me swa dude sone thet hire
leofliche lich litherede al a blode. (4) Ah heo hit lihtliche aber ant lahinde
tholede. (5) Het hire threfter kasten i cwalmhus ant bed halden hire thrin thet ha
nowther ne ete leasse ne mare tweolf dahes fulle.
of Alixandre. (2) The cwen Auguste longede forte seo this meiden. (3) Ant cleopede
to hire Porphire, cnihtene prince, ant seide him a sweven thet hire wes ischawet, thet
ha seh sitte theos meiden with monie hwite wurthliche men ant meidnes inohe al
abute biset, ant heo wes hireseolf ther imong as hire thuhte. (4) Ant te an toc a
guldene crune ant sette on hire heavet ant seide to hire | thus: “Have, cwen, a crune
isent te of Heovene.” (5) Ant forthi, ha seide, hire luste swithe yeorne speoke with
the cwarterne. (2) Ah swuch leome ant liht leitede thrinne thet ne mahten ha nawt
loki thear-ageines, ah feollen ba for fearleac dun duvelrihtes. (3) Ah an se swithe
swote smeal com anan therefter thet fleide awei thet fearlac ant frovrede ham
sone. (4) “Ariseth,” quoth Katerine, “ne drede ye nawiht, for the deore Drihtin
haveth idiht ow ba the blisfule crune of His icorene.” (5) Tha ha weren iseten up
sehen as the engles with smirles of aromaz smireden hire wunden, ant bieoden
swa the bruchen of hire bodi, al tobroken of the beattunge, thet tet flesch ant tet
fel worthen se feire thet ha awundreden ham swithe of thet sihthe. (6) Ah this
meiden bigon to bealden ham bathe, ant to the cwen seide: “Cwen, icoren of Jesu
Crist, beo nu stealewurthe, for thu schalt stihen bivore me to Drihtin in Heovene.
(7) Ne beo thu nawiht offruht for pinen the feareth forth in an honthwile, for with
swucche thu schalt buggen ant biyeote the endelease blissen. (8) Ne dred tu nawt
to leaven thin eorthliche lauerd for Jesu Crist thet is King of thet eche kinedom,
the yelt for the false wurthschipe of this world heoveriches wunne, for thing thet
sone alith weole thet áá lesteth.”
te endelese lif thet Godd haveth ilevet His icorene for the luren thet tis worldliche
lif thet ha leoseth for the luve of rihte | bileave. (2) Heo ontswerede ant seide: “Beo
nu thenne, Porphire, stille ant understont te: constu bulden a bur inwith thin
heorte, al abute bitrumet with a deorewurthe wal, schininde ant schene of gimstanes
steapre then is ei steorre, ant euch bolt thrinwith briht as hit bearnde ant leitede al
o leie? (3) Ant al thet terin is glistinde ant gleaminde as hit were seolver other gold
smeate, isteanet euch strete with deorewurthe stanes of misliche heowes imen get
togederes, isliket ant ismaket as eni gles smethest, bute sloh ant slec, eaver iliche
sumerlich; ant alle the burhmen seove sithe brihtre then beo sunne, gleowinde o
euch gleo ant a mare iliche glead. (4) For nawiht ne derveth ham ne nawiht ne
wonteth ham of al thet ha wulleth other mahe wilnin, alle singinde somet ase
lifleovi, euchan with other, alle pleinde somet, alle lahinde somet, eaver iliche lusti
bute longunge. (5) For ther is áá liht ant leitinde leome; ne niht nis ther neaver ne
neaver na newcin. (6) Ne eileth ther na mon nowther sorhe ne sar, nowther heate
ne chele, nowther hunger ne thurst, ne nan ofthunchunge. (7) For nis thear nawt
bittres, ah is al beatewil, swottre ant swettre then eaver ei healewi, i thet heovenliche
lond, i thet endelese lif, i the wunnen ant te weolen thurh-wuniende, ant monie ma
murhthen then alle men mahten with hare muth munien ant tellen with tunge (thah
ha áá talden), the neaver ne linneth nowther ne leassith ah leasteth aá mare, se
lengre se mare. (8) Yef thu | yet wite wult hwucche wihtes thear beon thear as al this
blisse is, yef thear is orcost other ei ahte, ich the ontswerie. (9) Al thet eaver oht is
al is ther iwer, ant hwet se noht nis, thet nis ther nohwer. (10) Yef thu eskest ‘Hwet
oht?’ nan eorthliche ehe ne mei hit seon ich segge ne nan eorthliche eare hercnin
ne heren, ne heorte thenchen of mon — ant hure meale with muth — hwet te
worldes Wealdent haveth iyarket alle theo the Him ariht luvieth.”
hardi, forthi thet ha hefden isehen sihthen of Heovene, thet ha wenden from hire
abute the midniht, yarowe to al thet wa thet ei mon mahte ham yarki to drehe for
Drihtin. (2) Freineden Porphire alle his cnihtes hwer he hefde with the cwen iwunet
ant iwiket swa longe of the niht. (3) Ant Porphire ham seide: “Hwer ich habbe iwiket
ich on wel thet ye witen, for wel ow schal iwurthen yef ye me wulleth lustnin ant
leven, for nabbe ich nawt teos niht i worldliche wecchen ah habbe in heovenliche
iwaket, therin is al mi rihte bileave, thear me unwreah me the wei thet leadeth to
thet lif, ther me liveth áá i blisse buten euch bale, i wunne bute wa. (4) Forthi, yef ye
beoth mine as under me isette, ant wulleth alle with me in eche murhthe wunien,
leaveth to leven lengre o thes lease maumez — the mearreth ow ant alle theo the
ham to luteth — ant wendeth to the Wealdent the al the world wrahte: Godd
heo|venlich Feader, euch godes ful. (5) Ant heieth ant herieth His an deorewurthe
Sune Jesu Crist hatte, ant te Hali Gast, Hare beire luve, the lihteth of Ham ba ant
limeth togederes swa thet nan ne mei sundri from other, alle threo an Godd almihti
overal, for He halt in His hont — thet is, wisseth ant wealt — the Heovene ant te
eorthe, the sea ant te sunne, ant alle ischepene thing sehene ant unsehene. (6) Theo
the leveth this soth ant leaveth thet lease ant buhsume ant beisume haldeth His
heastes, He haveth bihaten ham thet He ham wule leasten, thet is, blisse buten ende
i the riche of Heovene. (7) Ant hwa se is se unseli thet he this schunie, ne schal
him neaver teone ne tintreohe trukien in inwarde Helle. (8) To longe we
habbethidriven ure dusichipes, ant He haveth itholet us, the tholemode Lauerd.
(9) Ne we nusten hwet we duden athet He undutte us ant tahte us treowe ileave
thurh thet eadi meiden, Katerine, thet te king pineth i cwalmhus ant thencheth
to acwellen.” (10) Thus he talede wel with twa hundret cnihtes ant with ma yet,
thet yeven anan up hare yeomere bileave ant wurpen alle awei hare witlese lei ant
wenden to Criste.
keiser het) bute mete ant mel i the cwarterne, ah with fode of Heovene thurh His
ahne engel i culvrene iliche, fedde hire al the tweolf dahes as He dude Daniel
thurh Abacuc the prophete i the liunes leohe ther he in lutede. (2) Ure Lauerd
Himseolf com with engles | ant with monie meidnes with alle, with swuch dream
ant drihtfere as Drihtin deh to cumene, ant schawde Him ant sutelede Himseolf
to hireseolven, ant spec with hire ant seide: “Bihalt Me, deore dohter! (3) Bihalt
thin hehe Healent, for hwas nome thu havest al undernume this nowcin. (4) Beo
stalewurthe ant stont wel. (5) Ne thearf thu drede na deth, for lo, with hwucche
Ich habbe idiht to do the i Mi kinedom — thet is thin — with Me imeane as Mi
leofmon. (6) Na thing ne dret tu, for Ich am eaver with the, do thet me do the, ant
monie schulen thurh the yet turne to Me.” (7) With this ilke steap up with thet
heovenlich hird ant steah into the Heovene, ant heo biheolt efter hwil ha a mahte,
blisful ant blithe.
— agein to his kineburh. (2) Theos meiden ine marhen wes ibroht bivoren him,
ant he bigon to von on thisses weis towart hire: “This me were leovere, yef thu wel
waldest, to habben ant to halden the cwic then to acwelle the. (3) Thu most nede,
notheles, an of thes twa curen cheosen ananriht: libben, yef thu leist lac to ure
liviende godes, other, yef thu nawt nult, thu schalt dreoriliche deien.”
swa thet ich ne leose nawt Him thet is mi lif ant mi leof, Jesu Crist mi Lauerd. (2)
Ne nawiht ne drede ich na deth thet overgeath for thet endelese lif thet He
haveth ilevet me ananriht therefter. (3) Ah thu bithench me anan teo|nen ant
tintreohen, the alre meast derve thet ei deadlich flesch mahe drehen ant drahen,
for me longeth heanewart, for mi Lauerd Jesu Crist, mi deorewurthe leofmon,
luttel ear me haveth ileathet. (4) Ant wel is me thet ich mot ba mi flesch ant mi
blod offrin Him to lake the offrede to His Feader, for me ant for al volc, Himseolf
o the Rode.”
thes deofles budel, Belial of Helle) Cursates hehte, ant tus on heh cleopede: “O
kene king! (2) O icudd keiser! (3) Yet ne seh Katerine nanes cunnes pine thet ha oht
dredde. (4) Do ido dede! (5) Nu ha thus threateth ant threpeth agein the hat, hwil
ha wed tus, inwith the threo dahes yarkin fowr hweoles, ant let thurh-driven threfter
the spaken ant te velien with irnenne gadien swa thet te pikes ant te irnene preones
se scharpe ant se sterke borien thurh, ant beore forth feor o thet other half
thet al the hweoles beon thurh-spitet mid kenre pikes then ei cnif, rawe bi rawe. (6)
Let thenne turnen hit tidliche abuten swa thet Katerine schal, with thet grisliche
rune, hwen ha therbi sit ant bisith therupon, swiken hire sotschipes ant ure wil
wurchen. (7) Other, yef thet ha nule no, ha schal beo tohwitheret with the hweoles
swa in an honthwile thet alle the hit bihaldeth schule grure habben.” (8) The king
hercnede his read; ant wes sone, as he het, thes heane ant tes heatele tintreoh
itimbret ant wes the thridde dei idrahen thider as the reven weren eaver iwunet. (9)
Ant te king heold ta of | this a meiden hise kinemotes.
other ant anes weis bathe; the other twa turnden anes weis alswa ah toyein the othre,
swa thet hwenne the twa walden keasten uppart thing thet ha kahten, the othre
walden drahen hit ant dusten dunewardes, se grisliche igreithet thet grure grap
euch mon hwen he lokede thron. (2) Her amidde wes this meiden iset forte al
torenden reowliche ant reowthfulliche torondin yef ha nalde hare read heren ne
hercnin. (3) Ah heo keaste up hire ehnen ant cleopede towart Heovene, ful heh with
hire heorte ah with stille stevene: “Almihti Godd, cuth nu Thi mihte ant menske nu
Thin hehe nome, heovenliche Lauerd, ant forte festnin ham i treowe bileave the
beoth to The iturnde, ant thet Maxence ant alle hise halden ham mate, smit se
smeortliche herto thet al theos fower hweoles tohwitherin to stucches.”
adunewart, ant draf therto dunriht as a thunres dune ant duste hit a swuch dunt thet
hit bigon to cleaterin al ant tocleoven, tobursten ant tobreken as thah hit were
bruchel gles, ba the treo ant tet irn, ant ruten forth with swuch rune the stucchen
of bathe bimong ham as ha stoden ant seten therabuten thet ter weren isleine of
thet awariede volc fowr thusent fulle. (2) Thear me mahte iheren the heathene
hundes yellen ant yeien ant yuren on euch half, the Cristene ken|chen ant herie
then Healent, the helpeth Hise overal. (3) The keiser, al acanget, hefde iloset
mon drem ant dearede, al adedet, druicninde ant dreori, ant drupest alre monne.
ta ant hire bileave ihole theyet, ne mahte ha na mare, ah dude hire adun swithe
ant forth withute fearlac o vet thidewardes, ant weorp hire bivoren then awariede
wulf, ant yeide lut-stevene: “Wrecche mon thet tu hit art, hwerto wult tu wreastlin
with the worldes Wealdent? (3) Hwet meadschipe maketh the, thu bittre balefule
beast, to weorri The thet wrahte the ant alle worldliche thing? (4) Beo nu ken ant
cnawes of thet tet tu isehen havest: hu mihti ant hu meinful, hu heh ant hu hali
is thes Cristenes godd Crist thet ha herieth. (5) Hu wrakeliche wenest tu wule He,
al wrathe, wreoken o the, wrecche, the haveth todriven with a dunt ant fordon, for
the, todei se feole thusent?” (6) Ant monie mid alle of thet heathene folc the alle
weren isihen thider forte seo this feorlich, sone se ha this sehen ant herden swa
the cwen speoken, alle somet turnden ant token to yeien:
Godd Crist, soth Godes Sune. (2) Ant to Him we kennith ant cnaweth to Lauerd
ant to heh Healent heonne forthwardes. (3) Ant tine mix maumez alle beon
amanset, for ha ne mahe nowther helpen hamseolven ne heom thet ham servith!”
swithest. (2) Biheolt hire heterliche ant bigon to threatin hire thus, o thisse wise:
“Hu nu, dame, dotest tu? (3) Cwen, acangest tu nu mid alle thes othre? (4) Hwi
motest tu se meadliche? (5) Ich swerie, bi the mahtes of ure godes muchele, bute
yef thu the timluker do the i the geinturn ant ure godes grete thet tu gremest
nuthe, ic schal schawin hu mi sweort bite i thi swire ant leote toluki thi flesch the
fuheles of the lufte. (6) Ant yet ne schalt tu nower neh se lihtliche etsterten ah
strengre thu schalt tholien, for ich chulle leote luken ant teo the tittes awei of
thine beare breosten ant threfter do the to deth, dervest thing to drehen.”
mare wa ant mare weane dest me for mi neowe leofmon, the ich on with luve leve,
se thu wurchest mi wil ant mi weole mare. (3) Do nu thenne hihendliche thet tu
havest on heorte, for of me ne schalt tu biyeote nawiht mare.”
unhendeliche neomen hire, ant bute dom ananriht thurh-driven hire tittes with
irnene neilles ant rende ham up hetterliche with the breost roten. (2) As thes
deofles driveles drohen hire forth to fordon hire ha biseh towart Katerine ant
seide: “Eadi meiden, ernde me to thi leove Lauerd for hwas luve ich tholie thet
me bilimeth me thus, thet He, i the tintreohe thet ich am iturnt to, heardi min
heorte | thet tet wake flesch ne wursi neaver mi mod swa thet ich slakie to ofservin
Heoveriche, thet ich ne forga neaver for fearlac of na pine thet beo fleschlic, the
crune the Crist haveth — efter thet tu cwiddest — ilevet His icorene.”
Drihtin of Heovene, for the is ilevet todei, for a lutel eorthlich lont, thet
heovenliche kinedom; for a mon of lam, the the is Lauerd of lif, for this lutle pine
the alith i lute hwile, endelese reste i the riche of Heovene, for this swifte pine the
aswiketh se sone, blissen buten ende ant murhthen áá mare. (2) Ne nawiht ne wen
thu thet tu nu forwurthe, for nu thu biginnest earst ant art ibore to libben i thet
lif thet leasteth áá bute linunge.”
ha veng to cleopien upo the cwelleres ant hihede ham to donne thet ham wes
ihaten. (2) Ant heo duden drohen hire withute the burh geten ant tuhen hire tittes
up of hire breosten bi the beare bane with eawles of irne, ant swipten of therefter
with sweort hire heaved, ant heo swearf to Criste upo the threo ant twentuthe dei
of Novembres moneth. (3) Ant thet wes on a Weodnesdei thet ha thus wende,
martir, to the murhthes the neaver ne wonieth. (4) Porphire ananriht ferde thider
i the niht, ant swucche with him of his men thet he wel truste on, ant al thes
leafdis licome leofliche smi|rede with smirles of aromaz swote smellinde ant
biburiede hire as hit deh martyr ant cwen forte donne.
forbod, thet licome ilead theonne. (2) Tha Porphire iseh feole the me seide hit
upon gultelese leaden ant dreien to deathe, leop forth withute fearlac ant com
bivoren the keiser ant keneliche cleopede: “Sei, thu Sathanesse sune, thu king
forcuthest, hwet const tu to theos men thet tu thus leadest! (3) Lowr! (4) Ich am
her, thu heateliche gast, with alle mine hirdmen to yelde reisun for ham. (5)
Fordem nu me ant mine for we ageines thin heast thet licome awei leadden ant
leiden in eorthe.”
ofservet ant thurh the alle the othre. (2) Ah for thu art icudd cniht ant heaved of
ham alle, cheos yet of theos twa. (3) Other chear ananriht thet te othre chearren
thurh the, ant tu schalt libben ant beo leof ant wurth with me. (4) Other yef thet
tu nult, streche forth thi swire scharp sweord to undervonne.”
gremeden him se sare thet he het hetterliche anan withute the burh bihefden ham
euch fot, ant leaven hare bodies unburiet alle, fode to willde deor ant to
luftfuheles. (2) His heaste wes ivorthet, ant alle clane bihefdet. (3) Ah for al his
forbod, nes hit thet te bodies neren ifatte i the niht ant feire bi|buriet. (4) Nalde
nawt Godd leoten His martyrs licomes liggen to forleosen, thet hefde bihaten thet
an her of hare fax ne schulde forwurthen.
cumen swithe bivoren him. (2) Ha wes sone ibroht forth ant he brec on to
seggen: “Thah thu beo schuldi — the ane — of ham alle clane, thah thu with thi
wicchecreft habbe imaket se monie to eornen towart hare death as ha weren wode,
yet yef thu withdreiest te ant wulle greten ure godes ase forth as thu ham havest
igremet ant igabbet, thu maht in alle murthe longe libbe with me ant meast schalt
beo cuth ant icudd in al mi kineriche. (3) Ne lead tu us na lengre, ah loke nu
bilive hwether the beo leovere don thet ich the leare ant libben yef thu swa dest,
other this ilke dei se dreoriliche deien thet ham schal agrisen alle the hit
schal arise thurh thet fal a thusentfalt te fehere, of death to lif undeathlich, ant
to arise from ream to áá leastinde lahtre, from bale to eche blisse, from wa to
wunne ant to weole thurh-wuniende. (2) Nawiht, king, ne kepe ich thet tu hit fir
firsti, ah hat hihendliche thet tu havest in heorte, for ich am yarow to al the wa
thet tu const me yarkin thet ich iseo mahe mi lufsume leofmon ant beon ibroht
se blithe bimong | mine feolahes the folhith Him overal i the feire ferredene of
virgines in Heovene.”
meanen ah het swithe with hire of his ehsihthe ant biheafdin utewith the barren of
the burhe. (2) Heo as me ledde hire lokede ayeinwart for ludinge thet ha herde, ant
seh efter hire heathene monie, wepmen ant wummen, with wringinde honden
wepinde sare, ah the meidnes alre meast with sari mod ant sorhful ant te riche
leafdis letten teares trondlin. (3) Ant heo biwende hire ayein, sumdel iwreathet, ant
eadwat ham hare wop with thulliche wordes: “Ye leafdis ant ye meidnes, yef ye
weren wise, nalde ye nawt bringe me forth towart blisse with se bale
bere, nalde ye neaver remen ne makie reothe for me, the feare to eche reste into
the riche of Heovene. (4) Beoth blithe, ich biseche ow, yef ye me blisse unneth,
for ich iseo Jesu Crist, the cleopeth me ant copneth, the is mi Lauerd ant mi luve,
mi lif ant mi leofmon, mi wunne ant me iweddet, mi murhthe ant mi mede ant
meidene crune. (5) Ower wop wendeth al on ow seolven lest ye eft wepen
echeliche in Helle for thet heathene lif thet ye in liggeth, as ye schulen alle bute
yef ye forleoten, hwil ye beoth o live, ower misbileave.”
| ant sculde hire bone beon — thet he for his freolec fristede hire ant fremede the
hwile thet ha buhe hire ant bede ane bone. (2) He yettede hire ant yef blitheliche
leave. (3) Ant heo biheolt uppart with up aheven heorte, ant cneolinde dunewart
thus to Crist cleopede: “Lauerd, leome ant lif of alle riht bileave, milde Jesu, the art
Te seolf meidene mede, iheret ant iheiet beo Thu, hehe Healent! (4) Ant The ich
thonki, Lauerd, thet Tu havest ileavet me ant waldest thet ich were i tale of Thine
wummen. (5) Lauerd, milce me nu ant yette me thet ich yirne. (6) Ich bidde The
theos bone, thet alle theo the munneth mi pine ant mi passiun — The to luve,
Lauerd — ant cleopieth to me hwen ha schulen the derf of death drehen, other
hwen se ha hit eaver doth, i neode ant i nowcin, hihentliche iher ham, heovenliche
Healent. (7) Aflei from ham alle uvel: weorre ant wone bathe, ant untidi wederes,
hunger ant euch hete the heaneth ham ant hearmith. (8) Lowr, her ich abide the
bite of sweordes egge! (9) The thet deth me to death do al thet he mei don, neome
thet he neome mei: thet lif of mi licome. (10) Mi sawle ich sende to The, Healent
in Heovene. (11) Hat thet ha beo iset thurh Thine hali engles i thet heovenliche
hirt bimong Thine meidnes.”
“Cum, Mi leove leofmon, cum nu Min iweddet, leovest an wummon! (2) Low, the
| yete of eche lif abit te al iopenet; the wununge of euch wunne kepeth ant
copneth thi cume. (3) Lo, al the meidene mot ant tet hird of Heovene kimeth her
agein the with kempene crune. (4) Cum nu, ant ne beo thu na thing o dute of al
thet tu ibeden havest. (5) Alle theo the munneth the ant ti passiun, hu thu death
drohe, with inwarde heorte, in eaver-euch time thet heo to the cleopien with luve
ant riht bileave, Ich bihate ham hihentliche help of heoveriche.”
to the cwellere: “Mi lif ant mi leofmon, Jesu Crist mi Lauerd, haveth nu icleopet me!
(2) Do nu thenne hihentliche thet te is ihaten.” (3) Ant he, as ha het him, hef thet
heatele sweord up ant swipte hire of thet heaved. (4) I thet ilke stude anan iworthen
twa wundres: the an of the twa wes thet ter sprong ut mid te dunt milc imenget with
blod, to beoren hire wittnesse of hire hwite meithhad; the other wes thet ter engles
lihten of Heovene ant heven hire on heh up, ant beren forth hire bodi ant
biburieden hit i the Munt of Synai, ther Moyses fatte the lahe et ure Lauerd, from
theonne as ha deide twenti dahene yong ant yette ma, as pilegrimes the wel witen
seggeth. (5) Thear ure Lauerd wurcheth se feole wundres for hire as
na muth ne mei munnen. (6) Ah bimong ham alle this is | an of the heste: thet ter
rinneth áá mare eoile iliche rive, ant striketh a stream ut of thet stanene thruh
thet ha in resteth. (7) Yet, of the lutle banes the floweth ut with the eoille floweth
other eoile ut, hwider se me eaver bereth ham ant hwer se ha beoth ihalden, thet
healeth alle uveles ant botneth men of euch bale the rihte bileave habbeth.
pinen, i Novembres moneth the fif ant twentuthe dei, ant Fridei, onont te under,
i the dei ant i the time thet hire deore leofmon Jesu, ure Lauerd, leafde lif o Rode
for hire ant for us alle. (2) Beo He as Healent iheret ant iheiet, in alre worlde
worlt, áá on ecnesse. (3) Amen.
begins the martyrdom of Saint Katherine.
the highest in Rome. (2) But Constantine went, through the citizens’ advice, into
France and dwelled there for a while because of the city’s need, and Maxence
guided the government in Rome. (3) There grew, after a time, anger between
them, and they came to fight. (4) Maxence was overcome and fled into Alexandria.
(5) Constantine wanted to go after and cast him out, but war spread around him
so widely on every side (and especially in a land called Illyria) that there he
stopped. (6) When Maxence heard this, so that he was sure of him and fearless at
his coming, he became king of that land, which was subject to Rome, as were most
of the others in the world. (7) He began at once like a mad wolf to wage war on
Holy Church and to draw Christian men (the few that there were) all to
heathendom, since he was a heathen, some through great gifts and various
rewards, some through terror of his fearful threats, and at last with fierce torments
and bodily tortures. (8) In the thirty-fifth year of his reign he sat on his royal seat
in the mother-city of the kingdom of Alexandria, and sent an order and
command, as wide as that land was, that both poor and rich should come there
before him to the temple of his heathen gods in the town, each with his offering
with which to worship them. (9) They all came at his command, and everyone
according to his means before Maxence himself worshiped his idols. (10) The
rich brought cattle and sheep and bulls (those who could) as offerings; the poor,
twenty, fair and lovely in face and form and yet (what is worth more), steadfast
within of true belief, the only daughter of a king called Cost, a well-known scholar
named Katherine. (2) This maiden was both fatherless and motherless from her
childhood; but though she was young, she looked after her parents’ household
wisely and prudently in the inheritance and in the land which came to her by
birth, not because that seemed to her good in her heart to have many under her and
to be called lady (which many consider a good) but she was afraid both of shame
and of sin if those whom her forefathers had fostered were driven away or came to
harm. (3) For herself, she cared nothing for the world. (4) Thus lo, for their sake
only she kept a part of her parents’ goods, and spent all the rest on the needy and
on the naked.
love any frivolous games or any stupid songs, nor did she wish to learn or listen
to any love-songs or love-stories, but ever on Holy Writ she had eyes or heart,
most often both together. (2) Her father had set her early to learning and she,
through the Holy Ghost, undertook it so well that no one was her equal. (3)
Numerous and proud scholars tested her often from very many different sides to
trick her, but there was not one there, with all his crafty tricks, who could ever
once wrench her out of the way, but so soon she repaid them such counter-strokes,
and turned their wiles upon them that they all knew themselves defeated and
overcome, and granted her the victory and the honor completely.
maiden in maidenhood, as she sat in a room of her family house, she heard a great
noise in the direction of the accursed idols’ temple: the lowing of the cattle, the
shouting of the people, the merry-making of each musical instrument to praise and
worship their heathen gods. (2) As she heard this and did not know yet what it was,
she sent quickly to find out what strange thing it could be. (3) As soon as her
messenger came back and told her the truth, she was so inflamed with wrath that
she would have gone mad. (4) She called up from her company of servants
whichever ones as she wanted and went in that direction. (5) She found there a great
many people howling and yelling and crying querulously in pitiable laments: those
who were Christians and faithful to God’s law, but for dread of death they did that
devil’s sacrifice as the heathen did. (6) Who was worse off than she, her heart
wounded within, for the wretches that she saw work such evil works against God’s
will? (7) She thought, though (as she was patient and long-suffering) what it might
gain so young a creature as she was to strive, although she was alone by herself,
against so cruel a king and all his kingdom. (8) She stood still for a moment and
heaved her heart up to the high Savior who is praised in Heaven. (9) She asked Him
for help and luck and wisdom, as wisely as all the world is ruled by His guidance.
(10) After that she armed herself with true belief and traced the holy Rood-token
on her breast and before her teeth and the tongue of her mouth. (11) And she came
leaping forth as if all inflamed with the flame of the Holy Ghost, as the emperor
stood among that sinful slaughter of those slain beasts — sacrifices to the devil,
so that each accursed altar of the filthy idols ran bloodied by that foul blood —
and began to cry out in a loud voice:
you offered this same sacrifice that you do to devils — who destroy you both in
body and in soul, and all who practice it — if you yielded and gave it to His honor
who made you and all the world, and rules through His wisdom all that is made.
(3) I would, king, greet you if you understood that He alone must be praised,
through whom and under whom all kings rule, nor can anything withstand His
will, although He endures much. (4) This heavenly Lord loves true belief, and
neither the blood nor bone of guiltless beasts but one who keeps to and carries
out His sanctifying commandments. (5) Nor is there anything through which the
great madness of men angers Him more than that the creature man — whom He
shaped and to whom He gave discernment both of good and of evil through wit
and through wisdom — should go so far out of his mind through the accursed
spirit that he gives the honor that he ought to give to God to non-sentient things
which the devil dwells in, and praises and worships visible creatures — bloodless
and boneless and limbs without life — as he should the Maker of him and them
and all things: that is, God invisible.
does he ever more craftily catch foolish men, nor leads them into unbelief, than when
he makes men — who ought to know well that they are begotten and born and
brought forth through the heavenly Father — to make such idols of tree or of stone
or (through more madness) of gold or of silver, and to give them various names, of
sun or of moon, of wind and wood and waters, and praise and worship them as
though they were gods. (2) Nor has he for another reason brought you into this belief
except that you think that these things will last forever because you never saw them
made. (3) But there is nothing except one God, through whom certainly they all were
wrought and from nothing, and set in this world to comfort and to help us. (4) And
also as each thing had a beginning from His goodness, so must they all have an
ending if He wished it. (5) Angels and souls, because they began, ought and must end
through nature; but He through His mercy and the goodness of His grace makes
them so that they are in eternity without end. (6) And therefore there is nothing equal
to nor eternal with God — whom you anger — for He is the maker of them all and
made them at some time, and there was no time, ever, during which he began to
was very surprised by her lovely form and more by her words, and began in this way
to speak: “Your face is, maiden, lovely and your mouth pleasant, and witty and wise
words they would be if they were not false! (3) But we know well that our laws, our
belief, and our religion have a lawful origin. (4) But all that you say is such
clear foolishness that no wise man but a witless one would believe it. (5) Yet what is
more madness than to believe in Him and say He is God’s Son — he whom the Jews
condemned and the heathens hanged — and that he was born of Mary,
a maiden, without the fellowship of a man, and born of her without breach of her
body, died and was buried, and harrowed hell, and arose from death, and ascended
into Heaven, and will again on Doomsday come to judge both the quick and the
dead? (6) Who would believe this which is worth nothing, because all your lies are
unbelievable? (7) But yet it seems to you not enough to damn yourself thus in such
misbelief; but moreover you go and say shame about our immortal gods the sun and
the moon, which every man ought to worship and honor on earth.”
such an answer: “I see that all your words are foolishly expressed. (2) You call those
things gods which can neither move nor steer themselves except as the high King
of Heaven commands them. (3) And they bow to Him as a creature to his Creator.
(4) There is not but one God (as I said before) who wrought all the world and every
worldly thing, and everything works His will except humankind alone. (5) Be still
then, and stop such words, for they are all witless and devoid of wisdom.”
clearly — for it is clear and evident in your remarkable words — that you were set
young to belief and to learning. (2) But from such teaching you have learned belief
which you are, in that regard, all too deeply taught when you renounce for your
Christ our immortal gods and say they are worthless and empty of good. (3) But do
you know what the situation is now? (4) We will bring to an end what we have
begun, and you must, you argumentative babbler, come afterwards to court and
receive a royal reward if you will turn your will to ours, for if it goes against us, no
torment or torture will be spared you.” (5) When he had said thus, he called one
of his men secretly to him and sent sealed letters with his own royal ring
throughout his entire kingdom to all the renowned scholars, and commanded
them to greatly hasten their coming — and to hasten it even more swiftly, because
he promised to honor them with a very lofty reward, and to make them highest
in his hall if they could overcome this proud debater and turn the mockeries of
his heathen gods upon her head, so that at first she would be willing to admit and
acknowledge that all that she argues is only folly, and then afterwards be
condemned and doomed if she would not abandon what she still believed and
love their laws. (6) This messenger went his way forth as the king commanded. (7)
He continued to worship his heathen idols with various offerings for the greater
part of the day until he had finished, and he went then, the villain, toward his
dwellings, and ordered this maiden brought immediately before him. (8) And he
said thus to her: “I know neither your name, nor do I know your kin, nor which
men you have had hitherto as teachers, but your fair face and your seemly shape
show well that you are a child of noble men, and your eloquent speech would
reveal wisdom and wit, if you were not mistaken about our idols — which you
slander so much — and mock our gods — whom you should, as we do, honor and
(2) If you wish to know my kin, I am a king’s daughter. (3) My father was called Cost,
and I have had hitherto very great teachers. (4) But because the learning that they
taught me pertains to idle boasting, and belongs to profit for worship of the world,
and does not at all help anyone have eternal life, I do not at all boast of it. (5) But as
soon as I saw the light of the true learning that leads to that eternal life, I renounced
all the rest, and took Him to me as Lord and made Him my lover, who said these
words through one of His prophets: Perdam sapientiam sapientum et intellectum
intellegentium reprobabo. (6) ‘I will destroy the wisdom of these wise worldly ones,’ He
says, ‘and cast down the wit of these worldly-wise ones.’ (7) I heard moreover these
words from another prophet: Deus autem noster in celo omnia quecumque voluit fecit.
Simulacra gentium argentum et aurum et cetera usque ad similes illis fiant. (8) ‘Our God is
in Heaven who works all that He wishes. (9) These idols are made of gold and of silver
entirely by human hands: mouth without speech, eyes without sight, ears without
hearing, hands without feeling, feet without movement. (10) May those who make
them be like them, and all those who trust in them.’ (11) But now you say that they are
all-ruling gods and wish me to worship them! (12) Show something of them — for
what reason are they worthy to be worshiped? — for until then I will neither honor
nor praise them.”
more than enough words. (2) But wait now a while and you will meet one who
shall answer you.”(3) This messenger, after a long time, when he had traversed
that whole land and searched it from end to end, came and brought with him fifty
schoolmasters: of all the crafts which a clerk ought to know and in all the disciplines
of worldly wisdom the wisest in the world. (4) The king was greatly pleased and
wanted to know if they were as wise and as clever as he was told. (5) And together
they said that they were the wisest of all the masters who were in the Eastern
Empire and chief among the most distinguished, and the most widely known in
all the branches of knowledge.
you commanded us to come here.”
and wise in her words that she with her reasoning alone masters us all. (2) But, it
angers me still more that she reviles our gods maliciously and scornfully and says
it is devils that lurk inside them. (3) I could readily enough have overpowered
her, if she would not have love, then at least with terrible fear. (4) But yet it seems
better to me that she be first overcome with disputing. (5) And if she still will,
when she knows her error, stand against us, I will put her to the most painful
death that anyone could deem for her, and with royal gifts I will richly repay you
for your coming here (if you want to go back). (6) Or, if it is preferable to you to stay
with me, you will be my advisors in all my secret meetings and my secret matters.”
(2) What wise council from so famous an emperor, to make so many clerks come
— and so very skilled in all the branches of knowledge — from the furthest ends
of the land of Alexandria to dispute with a maiden! (3) Moreover, one of our men
with his own argument can master and with his wit alone overthrow the wisest of
all who lives in the west! (4) But whosoever she may be, let her be brought forth
so that she may understand that before this day she never stood before anyone
except fools.” (5) This maiden was locked in the meantime in prison and in the
death-house. (6) A messenger came and told her that she would come forth to
fight in the morning: one against fifty. (7) This maiden was in no way on account
of this dismayed internally in her mind, but without any fear entrusted all her
fight into her Healer’s hands, and began to pray this prayer to Him:
all-ruling God, Your Father’s wisdom, You who taught Your own that they should
neither tremble nor dread for torment, nor for torture, nor for any worldly hardship,
but warned them well how people would threaten them and lead them immorally,
and strengthened them so that it was easy for them to endure all that was done to
them and all that they suffered for Your dear love, precious Lord; and You said
Yourself: Dum steteritis ante reges et presides, et cetera; ‘When you stand before kings and
earls, do not ever think about what or how you will speak, for I will give you both
tongue and tale so that not one of all your enemies will know how he may cast a word
against you’ — Lord, dwell with me and keep what you promised and established for
us and set, Jesus, sweet words in my mouth tomorrow, and give such might and
strength to my speech that those who are come against Your dear name to entrap me
may miss in their aim. (2) Through Your wisdom overrule their worldly wit and
through Your great strength master them so that they all may be stopped and
silent, or else turn to You and worship Your name, who with God the high Father
and with the Holy Ghost lasts forever from world into world, forever in eternity.”
(3) She had scarcely said this when an angel came descending with such light from
Heaven that she was somewhat frightened and afraid, for all the prison blazed
with flame from his coming. (4) But the angel encouraged her and sweetly said:
begun, for your lover and your Lord (in whose name you have undertaken this
contest), who will watch you well, is with you everywhere in all places. (3) He
promises you that He will pour into your mouth flowing waters of wise words, that
will swiftly fell the argument of your enemies. (4) And your wisdom will seem such
a wonder to them that they will all turn to Christ and come through martyrdom
to the Lord in Heaven. (5) Many will turn to true belief through their example.
(6) And you will soon escape all the violence of this strife through a stalwart death,
and then be received in the fair fellowship and in the merry meeting of maidens,
and live life without end with Jesus Christ your Lord, your lover in Heaven. (7)
I am Michael, God’s archangel, and am sent from Heaven to say so to you.” (8)
And with that, he rose up and ascended to the stars. (9) This maiden (whom I
have in mind) stood, stoutly strengthened from this speech, and waited boldly
until someone came and brought her to argue against the fifty. (10) Maxence in
the morning sat on the throne and ordered brought before him these proud
debaters and the maiden with them. (11) She with Christ’s cross crossed herself
everywhere and came boldly before the very child of the devil and against these
fifty, all formidable fighters. (12) Everyone came striding, the strongest and
swiftest from every single street to hear this strife. (13) There on one side stood
these masters, so many and immeasurably proud; this maiden on the other side.
(14) They all stared at her scornfully, and she stood listening and looking up
toward Heaven for help. (15) The king began to get angry because the day passed
by and they did nothing at all. (16) And the blessed Katherine began to speak:
make fifty masters debate with a maiden! (2) And you have promised them — if
they can have the higher hand over me — kingly rewards, and me nothing at all,
who argues, a maiden, against them all. (3) But I do not at all fear that my Lord
will not reward me well for my time (for whose name I undertake to fight in this
way). (4) But grant me one thing which you may not justly refuse. (5) If it is
permitted me with the help of my beloved Lord to cast them down, that you then
at least abandon your misbelief and adopt ours.”
business to lay the law upon me. (3) Whether it is valid or foolish, do not be con-
cerned with my faith. (4) Now do what you will do and we will hear how your Lord
and your love — in whom is all your belief — will defend your lies today.”
and began to speak to those five times ten in this way: “Since all of you have been
spurred on here to the struggle in order to be rewarded with gold and gifts — and
so many, both famous men and foreigners, wait and watch to see which of us is the
champion to overcome the other — it is your loss to lose the reward of your work,
who take it so lightly and are sparing of your speech, and it is shame to you to
shudder longer under shield and shun what you should do. (2) Shoot forth some
word and let us answer! (3) Whoever is known as the greatest champion among
you and keenest of the craft of all of you, he who is the most famous and knows
the most: come, let him show it, and what he has in his heart, since we will speak,
let him take it out with his tongue and argue with me.”
so far for you here, you must cut the first swath, and say first what you wish, and
we will speak afterwards.”
loved the life-giving belief of Holy Church — which I have chosen — I cast away with
it all the glistening words that are in your books, which are without goodness and
empty within, and with which you are puffed up, not with wit but only with the
wind of some haughty words which seem so splendid, and yet are worthless and
barren of every blessing, though you bless yourselves with them. (2) Lo, such is all
that you think to fight me with today — Homer’s arguments and Aristotle’s sub-
tleties, Asclepius’ skills and Galen’s gropings, Philistion’s debates and Plato’s
books, and all these writers’ writings which you lean on. (3) Although I was
instructed in all of them so young that I never found many my equal, nevertheless,
because they are full of idle yelping and empty of that holy life-giving lore, I forsake
them here and give them all up completely, and say that I neither know
nor acknowledge any craft but the one that is true wit and wisdom and the eternal
salvation of those who believe truly in Him; that is, Jesus Christ, my Lord and my
lover who said — as I said before and still will say —: Perdam sapientiam sapientum et
intellectum et cetera. (4) ‘I will destroy the wisdom of these wise worldly men and cast
down the wit of these worldly-wise people.’ (5) The Creator of all creatures showed
our first ancestors Adam and Eve the wit and the way of life through His sanctifying
commandment, and had promised them (if they guarded themselves well) heavenly
reward. (6) But the crafty fiend, through jealousy, with his wiles soon cast them out of
the joys of Paradise into this lifeless life. (7) And all who descended from those
two would be destroyed, if God’s goodness were not greater, who loved us so much
(though so wickedly mannered) that He descended now recently from heavenly rays
of light; and because He is to our sight invisible in His own kind, came and crept into
ours in order to be seen in it, and took blood and bone from a maiden’s body. (8)
Thus He shrouded and hid Himself, the Creator of all things, with our fleshly shroud,
and showed us His face and walked — while it was His will — among worldly men. (9)
And when He had rescued us from the fiend’s fetters, He went up as He wished to
dwell where He dwells, forever without waning. (10) Because of this we know
well, through the wonders that He worked which no man might, that He is true God,
and again through the fact that He suffered and endured death on the Cross as a
mortal man, that He is also true man: from His Father true God, and from His
mother true man, in unity both together, true man and true God governing and
guiding all worldly things after His will. (11) This is my Lord in whom I believe.
(12) This is all the lore that I now learn. (13) This is what will strengthen me
against you in this strife. (14) In His holy name I will think little of everything that
you think to cast against me. (15) Nor are you so many, for it is no harder for Him
to overwhelm many than few, before those who truly believe and love Him.”
God’s son, how might he as a man dreadfully die? (2) If he was true man, how
might he overcome death? (3) All the wise know well that it is against truth and
against the authority of every natural law that God who is immortal may suffer
death, and that mortal man may overcome death. (4) And though it might now
be that he were both, true God and true man after what you imagine, he could
easily do one of these two things — but in no way both together.”
audacity and the wisdom of your foolish answer, that you accept half of that thing that
displeases you and cast away the other: the Godness of God for the humanity of His
manhood, as though the Almighty could not gather together these two separate
natures. (2) On the contrary, did He not make mankind out of clay in His likeness?
(3) Why should He disdain to become that thing that is modeled upon Him? (4) And
when He could do it without losing anything of His dignity, why would it be hard for
Him to do — He who can and will do everything that is good — to take man’s nature
and be seen as true human though God is invisible in His own nature, and suffer
death as a human when it seemed worthy to Him? (5) But if you want to be sure that
what I say is true, leave your false knowledge that you pride yourself on, and adopt
our lore so that you may arise to understand in Him God’s great strength, and not
man’s might, through His wondrous and worthy works on earth. (6) For then you
will not any more scoff at or hate what you should honor: that is, in true God
man’s weakness which He needlessly took upon Himself, to heal us and make us
strong through His weakness. (7) I call it His weakness in that He was as a man
naturally ahungered and weary and could endure pains. (8) In everything of the
world the riches of God’s wisdom are clear and evident, yet in this one thing He
showed and made clear enough that He was true God, who leads every believer
to true belief and to praise and exalt His beloved name, when He with His voice
stirred the dead and with His word awoke the lifeless corpses to life and to light.
(9) No mortal man ever did this through his own might unless He were God. (10)
Others, through wiles and through witchcrafts, work certain wonders and beguile
the ignorant, who think that it is just as it appears to them in the eye. (11) But this
one, because he was true God, in His nature coupled with ours, raised the dead,
healed the blind, the dumb, and the deaf, cured the cripples and the
humpbacked, and every disease, and drove from the mad accursed demons, and
as the all-powerful He worked here in the world all that He wished. (12) And if
you will not in any way know that He wrought such wonders, believe at least what
you see: miracles His people work still, through Him and His beloved name, by
day and by night.
be both God and man. (3) But if He were not true God and Himself immortal,
how could He give life to the dead? (4) And if He were not true man, how could
He suffer what He suffered and die so cruelly? (5) Through this all that I say is
shown to be the truth: and that is God Himself, who cast death down under Him
because He is the Lord, strong and almighty. (6) And the very same one is God’s
Son, who insofar as He was God could suffer no death, and yet He died but in the
flesh; for He took on both bone and flesh in our nature — which is brittle and
mortal — in order to die in it because He was immortal in His own nature and in
it He could not die in any way — only in ours. (7) This true God and God’s Son,
who died insofar as he had our nature, arose and raised Himself up from death,
for although He was mortal because He was man as regards His manhood and
died, as I said, He did not lose life insofar as He was God, nor immortality with
respect to His divine nature, but was ever and is the immortal Lord. (8) Thus put
to death, death did not cast down Christ, but Christ overcame death and slew it
them all: “If the Lord who hid in our humanity worked these wonders — as you
wish us to believe — why would He suffer as He did and endure death on the
Cross? (2) When He came to rescue others from death’s fetters, why did He die
Himself? (3) And how can He help and be above others, who underwent death as
they do? (4) Had He at least redeemed Himself some would hope and have belief
in His redemption.”
of these intricate knots (if you would recognize it), but here you still think
what you ought not think: that God, who is incapable of suffering, suffered or
endured pain or passion on the dear Rood insofar as He was God. (2) And know
that His heavenly nature might not in any kind of way feel pain or sorrow on the
Cross; but all the wretchedness and woe was directed upon the weakness of that
borrowed flesh that He needlessly took upon Himself with all our hardship, only
without sin. (3) On God, who is completely free, no evil can fasten; nor could
anyone either beat or bind or seize or hold God, inasmuch as He is God, for He
is unseizable. (4) But through the man with which He was shrouded and hidden,
He duped the fiend and deceived the old devil and robbed him blind! (5) Nor was
anything tied in order to suffer upon the Tree where he died except for flesh-
matter, so that without a doubt He, a man in human nature, overwhelmed and
cast down the enemy of Hell, who had wrongfully dragged humankind down to
death through deadly sins. (6) That was, as I mentioned, a man and not God’s
divinity pierced upon the Cross, although at that same time He was true God. (7)
But humanity — for it was humanity who did wrong — suffered judgment and
died, and God in humanity for humanity’s mistake made it good and expiated the
sin, as His own goodness ordained and determined. (8) Lo, this caused Him to
take on humankind (that is, become a human) so that the breaches that
humankind had committed against Him would be atoned for through humanity,
and so that He who does not dread death should arise first from death to life. (9)
Through Him we can all have a certain belief to rise up after Him. (10) It would have
been easy for our Lord, the living God’s Son, to cast down His foe and seize from him
His handiwork — which he held captive with injustice — in any way in the world
that He ever wanted to: with a single word; yes, with His will alone. (11) But the
wise Lord and the righteous God planned it so very well that He who overcame
humankind was cast down through humankind with meekness and skill, not with
brute force, so that the Devil could in no way complain to Him of injustice.”
more — the proudest one of them who argued against her became so astonished
by her wise words, and so afraid and affrighted, as well as all his fellows, that none
of them had a tongue to continue the argument with. (2) So thoroughly God’s
grace terrified and frightened them that each one looked at the other as if they
were bewildered, so that no one said anything but sat still as stone. (3) Not one
there ever uttered a sound.
out of his own wit, savagely shouted: “What now, miserable men, and weaker than
any weak ones, of dead and of dulled wit? (2) Now it is your turn! (3) Why do you
hesitate now and stand so still? (4) Do you not have both teeth and tongue to stir?
(5) Is your strength now so severely weakened and your wit so overcome that the
might and the argument of so meek a maiden will master you all? (6) Moreover,
if fifty women, and though there were more, had overthrown one of you with
words, would it not be humiliation enough and complete shame to you all who
brag of learning? (7) Now is the greatest of all shames: that a single maiden
with her own mouth has so out-argued, tamed, and tied all of you, counted by
number five times ten, known and chosen and fetched from afar, that you are
all bloodless, overcome out of yourselves. (8) Where have your wit and your
wisdom gone? (9) Open up, for shame, and begin something!”
swered and said to the king: “One thing that I want you to know: that we have the
witness of all the wise who are in the east that never until this day have we found
anywhere one so deeply learned who dared debate with us, and if he appeared in
public, he would never be so proud that he did not consider himself entirely tame
before he turned from us. (2) But there is nothing trivial about this maiden’s
speech, for if I will tell the truth, no human speaks in her, for it is not a human
argument that she speaks. (3) Nor is it she who holds this debate, but it is a
heavenly spirit in her so against us that we do not know how (and though we
knew, we would not wish or dare) to cast a word against her to wage war, nor to
anger Him whom she relies on. (4) For as soon as she called Christ and named
His name and the great strengths of His highness, and showed afterwards clearly
the deepness and the secret mystery of His death on the Cross, we were so afraid
of His majesty that all our worldly wit went away. (5) And we declare this to you,
emperor, and make it known that we leave your law and all your belief and all
turn to Christ. (6) And here we acknowledge Him true God and God’s Son who
has shown so much goodness to us all on earth that anyone is wrong to fight Him
further. (7) This we reveal to you. (8) Now say what you will.”
with rage and anger, commanded a funeral pyre to be set aflame in the middle of
town, and commanded them bound both feet and hands so that they writhed against
it. (2) And into the red flame and into that blazing fire he commanded them to be
cast, every single one. (3) As they were dragged to their death, one of them cried out
thus and strengthened the others: “O dear friends, things have fallen out fairly for us,
but yet we forget ourselves. (4) Since the dear Lord pitied us and considered our old
follies which we practiced for a long time, and has ordained for us today to suffer this
death through His gentle mercy, so that we relinquish this life for His true love in true
belief and in the acknowledgment of His kingly name, why do we not hasten to be
baptized as He commanded His own before we depart from here?”
should, in the worship of God, bathe them all with sacred waters. (2) But she answered
them and sweetly said: “Do not be at all afraid, chosen knights, for you will be
baptized and atone for all the breaches that you have broken by the flowing of your
blood. (3) And this fearsome fire will alight in you the healing flame of the Holy
Ghost, who inflamed the apostles with fiery tongues.”
up their hands to Heaven. (2) And so they departed together swiftly through holy
martyrdom with joy, crowned to Christ, on the thirteenth day of the month of
November. (3) But that was a great miracle, that neither the clothing which they had
nor a hair of their heads was harmed, but with such lovely faces they lay, so flushed and
glowing red every face, as a lily laid against a rose, that it did not seem that they were
dead at all, but that they slept sweetly in a sleep, so that many turned to true belief and
suffered death immediately in the name of the Lord. (4) Christians came by night and
took their bodies and buried them tenderly, as is fitting for the Lord’s knights.
should be brought before him, and he said thus to her: “O mighty maiden! (2) O
wise woman worthy of every worship and reverence! (3) O bright face and shape
so very seemly, which should be so proudly clothed and adorned with rich and
purple clothing! (4) Take heed of your youth; have pity on your beauty and
consider, blessed one, yourself. (5) Go and greet our gods whom you have
enraged, and you will (after the queen) always be second in hall and in chamber,
and I will order the business of my kingdom entirely after what you advise. (6) But
still I say more: I will have made for you a statue of gold like a crowned queen and
it will be set high up in the middle of the town. (7) Thereafter it will be
announced and proclaimed everywhere that all who pass by there greet it in your
name and bow towards it, all in reverence to you, citizens and others. (8) Finally,
you will have honorably, as one of our heavenly ladies, a temple of marble that
will stand forever while the world stands as witness of your worship.”
flatters your mouth and you make it sound pleasant, but I fear that this song would
draw me toward death, as does the mermaid’s. (2) But your flattery and your fear
all help you equally. (3) Full well I want you to know that you cannot with anything
turn my heart from Him whom I honor and will always praise. (4) Promise all that
you want; afterward scold enough and threaten until you are weary. (5) Neither joy
nor riches nor any world’s worship, nor can torment nor torture turn me from my
lover’s love in whom I believe. (6) He has wedded Himself to my maidenhood
with the ring of right belief, and I have committed myself to Him truly. (7) We two
are so fastened and tied into one and the knot is so knotted between us two, that
neither the cleverness nor brute force of any living man may loosen or undo it.
(8) He is my life and my love, it is He who gladdens me, my true bliss above me,
my joy and all my well-being, and I desire nothing else. (9) My sweet life, so
sweetly He tastes and smells to me, that everything seems delicious and pleasing
which He sends me. (10) Stop now then and be silent, and still your words, for
they are worthless to me, know that for certain.”
say. (2) In a mad fashion he ordered her stripped stark naked and her bare flesh
and her beautiful body beaten with knotted scourges. (3) And it was immediately
done so that her lovely body became lathered all in blood. (4) But she bore it
lightly and suffered it laughing. (5) Afterward he commanded her to be cast into
prison and ordered her held therein so that she ate neither less nor more for
twelve full days.
furthest end of Alexandria. (2) The queen Augusta longed to see this maiden. (3)
And she called to her Porphirius, the leader of the knights, and told him a dream
which had been shown to her, that she saw this maiden sit with many worthy men
in white and maidens enough surrounded her, and she was there herself among
them as it seemed to her. (4) And the one took a golden crown and set it on her
head and said to her thus: “Have, queen, a crown sent to you from Heaven.” (5)
And therefore, she said, she very eagerly desired to speak with the maiden.
to the prison. (2) But such radiance and light shone inside it that they could not
look at it, but both fell down headlong in fear. (3) But so very sweet a smell came
immediately afterwards that that fear fled away and they were soon comforted. (4)
“Arise,” said Katherine, “and fear nothing, for the dear Lord has ordained for you
both the blissful crown of His chosen ones.” (5) When they had sat up they
watched as the angels with ointments of spices smeared her wounds, and so
treated the cuts in her body, all torn up from the beating, so that the flesh and the
skin grew so fair that they wondered very much at that sight. (6) But this maiden
began to encourage them both, and to the queen said: “Queen, chosen of Jesus
Christ, be now stalwart, for you will ascend before me to the Lord in Heaven. (7)
Do not be at all afraid of the pains which pass away in a moment, for with such
you will buy and obtain endless bliss. (8) And fear not to leave your earthly lord
for Jesus Christ who is King of that eternal kingdom, who yields the joy of the
heaven-kingdom in exchange for the false worship of this world, a wealth that
lasts forever in exchange for things which soon cease.”
endless life that God has granted His chosen in exchange for the losses and this
worldly life which they lose for the love of true belief. (2) She answered and said:
“Be still now, Porphirius, and understand: can you build a city within your heart,
all surrounded with a precious wall, shining and beautiful from gemstones brighter
than is any star, and every dwelling within bright as though it burned and blazed
all in flame? (3) And all that is therein is glistening and gleaming as though it were
silver or pure gold, each street paved with precious stones of various hues mixed
together, glossed and polished as any of the smoothest glass, without mud or mire,
forever like summer; and all the citizens seven times brighter than is the sun,
rejoicing from every joy and forever equally glad. (4) For nothing at all either hurts
them nor do they lack anything of all they want or could want, all singing together
like lifelong friends, each one with the other, all playing together, all laughing
together, always equally joyful without longing. (5) For there is always light and
blazing radiance; nor is night ever there nor ever any distress. (6) Neither does
sorrow or pain afflict any man there, neither heat nor cold, neither hunger nor
thirst, nor any displeasure. (7) For nothing of bitterness is there, but everything is
tasty, sweeter, and more fragrant than any healing tincture, in that heavenly land,
in that endless life, in the pleasures and the blessings everlasting, and many more
mirths than all people might mention with their mouths and tell with tongue (even
if they talked forever), which never cease or lessen but last evermore, the longer the
greater. (8) If you still wish to know what people there are at the place where all this
bliss is, if there is wealth or any property, I answer you. (9) All that ever is good is
there everywhere, and whatever is evil, that is nowhere. (10) If you ask, ‘What
good?’, I say that no earthly eye can see it, and no earthly ear hearken or hear, nor
human heart think — and least of all mention with mouth — what the world’s
Ruler has prepared for all those who love Him rightly.”
words, because they had seen sights of Heaven, that they went from her about
midnight, prepared for all that woe that any man might ordain them to endure for
the Ruler. (2) All of his knights asked Porphirius where he had stayed with
the queen and lodged for so long into the night. (3) And Porphirius said to them:
“Where I have stayed I grant well that you know, for it will go well for you if
you will listen and believe me, for I have not this night kept awake in any worldly
watch but in a heavenly one, in which is all my true belief, where the way that leads
to that life was made clear to me where one lives forever in bliss without any
hardship, in joy without woe. (4) Therefore, if you are mine as you are placed under
me, and all want to live with me in eternal joy, leave off believing
any longer in these false idols — which mar you and all those who bow down
to them — and turn to the Ruler who made all the world: God the heavenly Father,
full of every good. (5) And honor and worship His one precious Son called Jesus
Christ, and the Holy Ghost, the love of both of Them, who proceeds from Them
both and unites Them together so that none can be sundered from the others, all
three one God almighty over all, for He holds in His hand — that is, He governs
and guides — the Heaven and the earth, the sea and the sun, and all created things
seen and unseen. (6) Those who believe this truth and leave that falsehood and
buxomly and obediently hold to His commandments, He has promised them what
He will fulfill for them, that is, bliss without end in the kingdom of Heaven. (7) And
for whomever is so foolish that he should shun this, torment and torture
will never fail him in innermost Hell. (8) For too long have we indulged our
follies, and He has suffered us, the patient Lord. (9) We did not know what we did
until He revealed to us and taught us true belief through that blessed maiden,
Katherine, whom the king tortures in prison and intends to kill.” (10) Thus he
talked well with two hundred knights and with more yet, so that they at once gave
up their wretched belief and cast away all their witless law and turned to Christ.
emperor commanded) without food and meal in the prison, but, with food of
Heaven through His own angel in the likeness of a dove, fed her the whole twelve
days as He did Daniel through Habakkuk the prophet in the lion’s lair in which
he lay imprisoned. (2) Our Lord Himself came with angels and with many
maidens as well, with such angelic singing and a procession as it befits the Lord
to come, and showed and revealed Himself to her, and spoke with her and said:
“Behold Me, dear daughter! (3) Behold your high Savior, for whose name you
have undertaken all this hardship. (4) Be stalwart and stand firm. (5) You need
not dread any death, for lo, because of that I have ordained to put you in My
kingdom — which is yours — shared with Me as My lover. (6) And dread you
nothing, for I am ever with you, let be done what may be done to you, and many
will yet turn to Me through you.” (7) With this He rose up with that heavenly
company and ascended into the Heavens, and she looked after them as long as
she could, blissful and blithe.
came again to his capital city. (2) This maiden in the morning was brought before
him, and he began to reproach her in this way: “I would rather, if you were well
willing, have and hold you alive than kill you! (3) You need, nevertheless, to
choose one of these two options immediately: live, if you offer a sacrifice to our
living gods, or, if you will not, you will miserably die.”
I do not lose Him who is my life and my love, Jesus Christ my Lord. (2) I do not
fear at all any death that passes by in return for that endless life He has granted
me immediately thereafter. (3) But you — come up with torments and tortures for
me right away, the most cruel of all that any mortal flesh could endure and suffer,
for I long to go from here, for my Lord Jesus Christ, my precious lover,
summoned me a little earlier. (4) And well it is for me that I may offer both my
flesh and my blood as a sacrifice to Him who offered to His Father, for me and
for all folk, Himself on the Rood.”
one who was a beadle of the devil, Belial of Hell) named Cursates, and thus aloud
he called out: “O mighty king! (2) O famous emperor! (3) Katherine did not yet see
any of the kinds of torture that she ought to fear. (4) Make the deed done! (5) Since
she thus threatens and scolds you, order while she rages like this, four wheels to be
prepared within three days, and then order afterward the spokes and the rims be
driven through with spikes of iron so that the points and the iron pins
pierce through so sharply and so strongly, and project far on the other side
so that all the wheels are studded with spikes sharper than any knife, row on row.
(6) Then have it turned quickly about so that from that terrible movement,
Katherine shall cease her follies and work our will, when she sits nearby and looks
upon it. (7) Or, if she will not, she will be so whirled to pieces by the wheels that
in a moment all who behold it will feel terror.” (8) The king heeded his counsel;
and soon, as he commanded, this heinous and hateful torture was constructed and
was on the third day drawn there where the reeves were accustomed to be. (9) And
then the king held his royal council concerning this one maiden.
side by side with the other and both in one direction; the other two turned in one
direction also but opposite the others, so that, when the first two would cast
upward the thing which they caught, the other two would drag it and fling it
downward, so fearsomely built that terror took hold of each man when he looked
at it. (2) Here in the middle was this maiden set to be torn apart wretchedly and
piteously ripped up if she would neither hear nor hearken to their counsel. (3)
But she cast up her eyes and called toward Heaven, very loudly with her heart but
with a quiet voice: “Almighty God, make known now Your might and glorify now
Your high name, heavenly Lord, and in order to fasten those who are turned to
You in true belief, and so that Maxence and all his people consider themselves
vanquished, strike so hard here that all these four wheels shatter into fragments.”
downward, and dashed straight down into it as a thunder’s din and struck it such
a blow that it all began to clatter and split apart, burst and break up as though it were
brittle glass, both the wood and the iron, and the pieces of both burst forth with such
violence among them as they stood and sat around there that there were slain of that
accursed folk a full four thousand. (2) There one could hear the heathen hounds yell
and yelp and yowl on every side, the Christians laugh loudly and praise the Savior,
who helps His own everywhere. (3) The emperor, completely demented, had lost
human joy and cowered, quite mortified, swooning and sorrowful and most downcast
of all men.
den herself until then and still concealed her belief, and she could not any more, but
came down quickly and forth without fear on foot went forward there, and cast herself
before the accursed wolf, and cried in a loud voice: “Wretched man that you are, why
will you wrestle with the world’s Ruler? (3) What madness, you bitter baleful beast,
makes you war against Him who made you and all worldly things? (4) Be now willing
to acknowledge and admit what you have seen: how mighty and how strong, how high
and how holy is this Christian’s God Christ whom she worships. (5) How vengefully
do you think He, entirely angry, will wreak vengeance on you, wretch, He who has
destroyed the wheel with one blow and put to death, because of you, so many
thousands today?” (6) And many among all that heathen folk who had all come there
to see this wonder, as soon as they saw this and heard the queen speak so, all together
converted and began to cry out:
true Son of God. (2) And Him we declare and acknowledge as our Lord and high
Savior henceforth. (3) And your filthy idols are all accursed, for they can neither
help themselves nor those who serve them.”
with the queen. (2) He looked at her wrathfully and began to threaten her thus,
in this way: “ How now, dame, are you mad? (3) Queen, are you insane now with
all these others? (4) Why do you speak so madly? (5) I swear, by the powers of our
great gods, that unless you turn yourself around sooner and honor our gods
whom you now anger, I will show how my sword may bite into your neck and let
the birds of the sky tear into your flesh. (6) And yet you will escape nowhere near
so lightly but suffer more strongly, for I will have the nipples torn and rent away
from your bare breasts and after that put you to death, the cruelest thing to suffer.”
and the more misery you do to me for my new lover, in whom I believe with love,
the more you work my will and my joy. (3) Do now then quickly what you have in
your heart, for from me you will get nothing more.”
heart he commanded her to be taken roughly, and without a trial immediately to
have iron nails driven through her nipples and have them ripped up fiercely with
the breast-roots. (2) As these devil’s drudges dragged her forth to put her to death
she looked towards Katherine and said: “Blessed maiden, intercede for me to your
beloved Lord for whose love I suffer to be mutilated in this way, that He, in the
torture that I am turned to, may strengthen my heart so that the weak flesh never
worsens my spirit so that I fear to deserve the Heaven-kingdom less, that I never
forgo for fear of any pain that is fleshly, the crown which Christ — according to
what you say — has granted His chosen.”
Heaven, for to you is granted today, in place of a little earthly land, that heavenly
kingdom; for a man of earth, He who is Lord of life, for this little pain which
passes in a little while, endless rest in the kingdom of Heaven, for this swift pain
which ceases so soon, bliss without end and joy forever more. (2) Do not at all
believe that you perish now, for now you begin first and are born to live in that
life that lasts forever without ending.”
that she began to call upon the killers and urged them to do what was
commanded them. (2) And they did drag her outside the city gates and tore her
nipples up from her breasts to the bare bones with awls of iron, and swiped off
her head after that with a sword, and she crossed over to Christ on the third and
twentieth day of the month of November. (3) And that was on a Wednesday that
she went thus, a martyr, to the joys which never end. (4) Porphirius immediately
went there in the night, and with him those of his men he trusted well, and
anointed all this lady’s body lovingly with sweet smelling aromatic spices and
buried her as it was fitting to do for a queen and a martyr.
against the king’s prohibition, taken that body from there. (2) When Porphirius saw
many guiltless people who were accused of it led off and dragged to death, he
leapt forth without fear and came before the emperor and boldly called out: “Say,
you son of Satan, you most infamous king, what you know to these men you lead
away like this! (3) Look! (4) I am here, you hateful ghost, with all my retainers to
give an answer for them. (5) Now condemn me and mine, for against your order
we carried off that body and laid it in the earth.”
have deserved death and through you all the others. (2) But since you are a
famous knight and leader of them all, choose nevertheless between these two. (3)
Either change your mind immediately so that the others change their minds
through you, and you will live and be dear and esteemed to me. (4) Or, if you will
not, stretch forth your neck to accept the sharp sword.”
gibes enraged him so sorely that he angrily ordered that every single one of them
be beheaded at once outside the city, and all their bodies left unburied, food for
wild beasts and birds of the sky. (2) His command was carried out, and all without
exception were beheaded. (3) But despite his command, it happened that the
bodies were fetched in the night and fittingly buried. (4) God would not let His
martyrs’ bodies lie destroyed, He who had promised that not a single hair of their
heads would be lost.
he commanded that Katherine come quickly before him. (2) She was soon brought
forth, and he burst out saying: “Though you are responsible — you alone —for
every single one of them, though you with your witchcraft have made so many run
towards their deaths as if they were mad, still if you restrain yourself and will
honor our gods as fully as you have enraged and mocked them, you can live long
with me in all joy and be the most renowned and famous in all my kingdom. (3)
Now lead us astray no longer, but consider now quickly whether it is preferable
to you to do what I advise you and live if you do so, or this same day to die so
dreadfully that it will terrify all those who behold it.”
will rise through that fall a thousandfold more fair, from death to immortal life,
and rise from wailing to everlasting laughter, from bale to every bliss, from woe
to joy and to lasting happiness. (2) In no way, king, do I care for you to postpone
it further, but command quickly what you have in your heart, for I am prepared
for all the woe that you can contrive for me so that I can see my beautiful lover
and be brought so blithely among my fellows who follow Him everywhere in the
fair fellowship of virgins in Heaven.”
what to say but commanded her to be taken quickly from his sight and beheaded
outside the gates of the city. (2) As she was led she looked backwards because of a
clamor that she heard, and saw behind her many heathens, men and women, weeping
sorrowfully and wringing their hands, but the maidens most of all with sad and
sorrowful spirits and the rich ladies letting their tears roll down. (3) And she turned
around, somewhat angered, and reproached them for their weeping with these words:
“You ladies and you maidens: if you were wise, you would not bring me forth
towards bliss with such a sorrowful clamor, and you would never lament or cause
grief for me, who goes to eternal rest in the kingdom of Heaven. (4) Be happy,
I beseech you, if you wish me bliss, for I see Jesus Christ, who calls and looks for
me, who is my Lord and my love, my life and my lover, my joy and my spouse, my
mirth and my reward and the maidens’ crown. (5) Turn your weeping all on
yourselves, lest afterward you weep eternally in Hell because of that heathen life
in which you remain, as you all will unless you give up, while you are alive, your
above her and was about to be her doom — that he because of his kindness would
delay for her and aid her while she bowed down and prayed a prayer. (2) He
assented and gave permission gladly. (3) And she looked upward with heart
uplifted, and kneeling downward called to Christ thus: “Lord, light and life of all
true belief, mild Jesus, who are Yourself the maidens’ reward, may You be praised
and glorified, high Savior! (4) And You I thank, Lord, that You have allowed
me and wish that I were in the group of Your women. (5) Lord, pity me now and
give me what I yearn for. (6) I pray You this prayer, that all those who remember
my pain and my passion — to love You, Lord — and call to me when they must
endure the pain of death, or whensoever they do it, in need and in hardship,
hastily hear them, heavenly Savior. (7) Drive from them all evil: war and
want both, and unseasonable weather, hunger and every hatred that injures and
harms them. (8) Lo, here I await the bite of the sword’s edge! (9) May he who
puts me to death do all that he may do, let him take what he may
take: the life of my body. (10) My soul I send to You, Savior in Heaven. (11)
Command that it be set by Your holy angels in that heavenly company among
from Heaven: “Come, My beloved lover, come now My spouse, dearest of women!
(2) Lo, the gate of eternal life awaits you all open; the dwelling of every joy waits
and watches for your coming. (3) Lo, all the assembly of maidens and the
company of Heaven comes here to greet you with the champions’ crown. (4)
Come now, and do not be in any doubt about all that you have prayed for. (5) All
those who remember you and your passion, how you suffered death, in their
inmost hearts, every single time they call to you with love and true belief, I prom-
ise them immediate help from the heavenly kingdom.”
killer: “My life and my lover, Jesus Christ my Lord, has now called me! (2) Do now
then quickly what is commanded of you.” (3) And he, as she ordered him, heaved
up that hateful sword and swiped off her head. (4) In the same place immediately
two wonders occurred: one of the two was that there sprang out with the blow milk
mixed with blood, to bear witness to her white maidenhood; the other was that
angels came down there from Heaven and lifted her up on high, and carried her
body forth and buried it on Mount Sinai, where Moses brought the law from our
Lord, from there where she died twenty days’ journey and yet more, as pilgrims say
who know it well. (5) There our Lord works so many wonders for her
that no mouth can recount them. (6) But among them all this is one of the
highest: that there runs oil forever unceasingly abundant, and a stream runs out
of that stone tomb that she rests in. (7) Furthermore, from the little bones which
flow out with the oil another oil flows out, wherever they are carried and wherever
they are kept, which heals all sicknesses and cures people of every misery who
have true belief.
pains, in the month of November the fifth and twentieth day, and Friday, towards
the third hour, on the day and at the time that her dear lover Jesus, our Lord,
gave up His life on the Rood for her and for us all. (2) May He be praised and exalted
as Savior, from world into all worlds, forever into eternity. (3) Amen.