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William Paris, Life of St. Christina


1 Thus the disobedient one argued, began against me

2 Lines 455-56: Therefore it seems to me very long [that I wait] to be brought to you [and] to your perfect joy

3 Here ends the life of the virgin Saint Christine


33-34 Evidently her family has decided to keep her unmarried so that she can serve their gods as a temple virgin. Some retellings of the legend suggest that her father has incestuous designs on her.

34 mawmentrye. On this term see the explanatory note to Mirk's account of Mary Magdalen, line 57.

58 As had the Baptiste. According to the Gospel of Luke, the blessedness of John the Baptist was foretold by an angel even before he was conceived (Luke 1:13-17) and confirmed in the sixth month of his mother's pregnancy when he leaped for joy in her womb at the greeting of her kinswoman, the Virgin Mary, who had herself just become pregnant with Jesus (Luke 1:39-44).

62 As in Poules lyfe. The dramatic acts of grace which converted St. Paul from a persecutor of the early church to one of its chief missionaries are related in Acts 9:1-30.

64 As Barabas thef, that honge so hye. Presumably a reference to the thief who was crucified alongside Jesus and repented as he was dying, receiving forgiveness and the promise of Heaven (Luke 23:39-43). The name traditionally given to that thief, however, was Dismas or Demas. The criminal Barabbas, who seems to have gotten confused with him in this text, was the condemned prisoner whom Pilate released in place of Jesus (Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23: 17-25).

141 my doughter small. Either a reference to her slender body or to her extreme youth. Although this text does not mention her age until line 444, it follows the tradition which envisioned her as a child of twelve.

150-52 Although they are supposedly on Urban's side, Christina's handmaidens seem to be mocking him. The verb auntred (line 150) answers the question "how durste she" (line 147) with a simple assertion: she did dare to defy him. The term dyght (line 151) is ironic when used to describe the broken idols because it ordinarily refers to a constructive activity like building, adorning, or putting in order. But it also can have negative connotations. See MED dighten v. 5 ("fall"), and 2c ("condemn"). And the question in line 152 sounds more like ridicule of Urban's pretensions to power than like faith in that power.

170 in depe prisoun. In this context, depe might refer either to the severity of her imprisonment or to its location; in the latter case, we should envision a dark dungeon below the ground or in the innermost part of a tower.

202 Befor the barre. The term bar, in this sense, refers to the barrier in front of the judge's seat in a court of law.

206 Thus coppid the kene, on me began. A difficult line to translate. The kene ("The haughty, obstinate, or rebellious one"?) looks like the subject of the verb coppid ("accused," "argued," "quarreled," or "tilted with"); but coppid could also be a past participle modifying the kene ("Thus accused, the haughty one"?). The phrase on me began could mean either "began [to quarrel] against me" or "began [her life] in dependence on me." It is even conceivable that the first half of the line is a description of the way Urban is speaking, rather than part of his accusation against Christina.

223-24 fadir . . . / Of Satan fende. This sounds reversed. We would expect Christina to be saying that Urban is the devil's son, not the devil's father; and at least one Middle English version, that of Bokenham, has her say just that. But William Paris is accurately translating the usual Latin version of this line. The point seems to be that Christina is glad to be disowned by Urban because Urban is a devil and she could only be his daughter if she were a devil too. Her real father, as the legend keeps suggesting, is Christ.

239-40 What is "full of wytt" (line 237) about this response is the way it accuses Urban of devouring the flesh of his own offspring. This act can be seen as a proof of God's anger against Urban, since it fulfills a dire curse with which God threatened in Leviticus to punish the most incorrigible transgressors against Him: "But if you will not for all this [preceding series of chastisements] hearken to me, but will walk against me: I will also go against you with opposite fury, and I will chastise you with seven plagues for your sins, so that you shall eat the flesh of your sons and of your daughters" [Lev. 26:27-29]. The connection between Christina's legend and this Biblical curse is confirmed by the fact that the very next verse, Leviticus 26:30, corresponds with the saint's victory over her second judge: "I will destroy your high places and break your idols. You shall fall among the ruins of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you." (See below, lines 361-72.)

269-72 Christ's words echo the standard baptismal formula, in which the priest says, "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

274 godfadir and preste. That is, Christ had filled the role of her godparent and sponsor, bringing her to the ceremony and conferring her baptismal name, as well as the priestly role of administering the sacrament itself.

280 in the stronde! The noun stronde generally refers to land bordering a sea or river, but it can also mean the waters near a coast.

281 Seint Mighell. Michael the Archangel, mentioned in Revelation 12:7-9 as the leader of the angelic host that defeated Satan's army and drove them from Heaven, was generally associated with mountains and other high places rather than with rescues from the sea, and was the protector of soldiers in particular. His introduction into some retellings of Christina's legend (including the Legenda aurea, as well as William Paris's version) may have been intended to emphasize the resemblances between this intrepid young virgin and the archetypal Christian warrior.

284 He wiste in world. Obviously this must be an idiom which, like the modern "could care less," means the opposite of what it literally says.

294 depe prison. On this term see explanatory note to line 170, above.

305 Dyons. The name of Christina's second judge is generally given as "Zyon" in English sources. In the Legenda aurea tradition, on the other hand, he is usually called "Elius."

323 twys-borne child. That is, born again with baptism and enjoying the luxury of a second childhood, safe in the protection of her real father, Christ.

344 tonne. Drinking from the same tun - i.e., from the same barrel of wine or ale - was a proverbial expression for sharing the same fate.

350 Apolyn. That is, to a large statue of the Roman god Apollo, which must stand in a public place in this city.

353 in that araye. An ironic choice of words, since Christina is naked and the term araye usually refers to clothing.

355 wyfs and wemen. Married women and women in general.

368 Sarzyns. On this term, see explanatory note to line 194 of the early SEL Life of Mary Magdalen.

441-44 Kirsten Wolf discusses the possible implications of such mutilation of female saints in "The Severed Breast: A Topos in the Legends of Female Virgin Martyr Saints," Arkiv for Nordisk Filologi 112 (1997), 97-112.

445 The mylke stremyd oute. A miraculous sign reported at the deaths of several other virgin martyrs, including Katherine of Alexandria. For possible interpretations, see explanatory note to line 754 of the stanzaic Life of Katherine.

474-80 This complaint by the persecutor represents a surprising departure from most versions of the legend, which have Christina miraculously continuing to speak, and thus affirm the powerlessness of violence to silence the martyr's defiant witness. Stouck suggests that William Paris may have reversed the usual message at this point in order to reduce the embarrassing contrast between Christina and Warwick, who was said to have capitulated and confessed all too easily ("Saints and Rebels," p. 87).

482 He wiste in world. On this idiom, see explanatory note to line 284 above.

489-90 stronge castyll . . . Bulstene. The Legenda aurea identifies Bolsena as a fortified place between Orvieto and Viterbo.

501-02 Sir Thomas Brawchaump. That is, Sir Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. See Introduction to this text.

505-12 Notice how the "Ubi sunt" motif in this stanza is used both to lament the absence of Sir Thomas' other followers and to suggest their cowardice and ingratitude. Christina was braver than any of them, which may be a reason for William Paris' retelling of the legend.


Abbreviations: A = British Library MS Arundel 168, fols. 2r-4v [base text]; H = Carl Horstmann.

8 highte.A: toke highte, with toke dotted for deletion.

68 sacrifiee. Corrected in A from sacrifice, presumably for the sake of the rhyme.

96 My. Conjectural reading; A damaged at this point.

97 Thi. Conjectural reading; A damaged at this point.

127 wold. Emended from A: wild.

216 this. Emended from A's reading, thus, to restore the rhyme with "is" (line 209), "sacrifice" (line 211), and "mysse" (line 214).

234 toke. Corrected in A from to.

250 sorcerrie. Emended from A: socerrie.

251 Therfor. Corrected in A from Ther.

258 thei. Emended from A: thi.

302 away. Emended from A: al way.

306 To. Emended from A: Tho.

321 Corrected in A, which originally omitted thee.

323 yonge. The text must originally have been composed in a dialect that could use the form yinge, rhyming in this stanza with "kynge" (line 321), "nothinge" (line 326), and "hynge" (line 328).

344 tonne. Emended from A: towne.

345 Than Dyons. H suggests emending this line by inserting the verb bad.

353 forthe in that. Corrected in A, which originally omitted in.

387 keene. Corrected in A from kiene or kuene.

399 no grevaunce. Corrected in A, which originally omitted no.

428 well. Emended from A: will.

438 And he stode. Corrected in A, which originally omitted he.

441 ywysse. Emended from A: ywyse.

450 Thee. A: omits. H's emendation.

460 tonge! It. There is a canceled letter between tonge and It in A.

465 Corrected in A, which originally omitted toke.

476 Corrected in A, which originally omitted thi.

500 The Ile of Man, that stronge cuntré. An emendation suggested by Gerould. A has another of after Man.

513 Corrected in A, which originally omitted the verb site.

521 Goddes. Emended from A: goddeste.










































































































Seynte Cristyn was a maide bryghte,
As clerkis in bokes hath rede and seen;
Sche served God both daye and nyghte
As martyr shuld and virgyn clene.
In Itayle she was borne, Y wene,
And come of kynne were grete of myghte,
But she forsoke them all bedene
And holle hir herte to Criste she highte.

She was so faire, that maiden myld,
That every wighte that ones hire see,
If it were man, woman, or child,
She wan theire lofe with hir beauté.
Suche grace of God forsoth had shee
To flee all vice and werkes wilde,
And fully purposed hir to be
Goddes owne servaunte and maide unfylde.

Urban hight hir fader, ywisse,
A wykked tyrande and a wode.
It was of hym as of moo is:
A sherew may gete a child righte goode,
And so did Urban, be the Rode.
If he were man that dide amysse,
Yit gate he Cristyn, myld of mode,
That is with Criste in heven blysse.

Many men desired that may
And wolde hafe wedded hir if thei myghte;
Whan thei mighte se hir on a daie,
Thei ferd the better a full sevennyghte.
Hir chere was suche in all mens sighte,
It made ylke man to other saye,
"Truly, this is the gentileste wighte
That ever we see - this is no naye."

Hir kynne wolde gife hir to righte non,
For she shulde lyfe in mawmentrye;
But in a tour of lyme and ston
Hyr fader ordeyn hir to lye,
And twelfe maydens to be hir bye,
Of whiche she myght triste never on:
For thei were ordeyn for to aspie
How that she lyved and made hyr mon.

Goddes of golde and silver bright
That may hade with hir in hir toure,
That she shuld wurchipe daie and nyghte,
And when hir liste to do them honour.
But sodenly ther com socour
Fro God, that is moste of myghte:
He made that maye to have savour
To brynge hir soule to heven lyghte.

The Holy Goste in Cristyn is,
And he hath tawghte hir to forsake
Hir fals goddes ilkon, ywisse,
That are but stonys and stokkes blake,
And full purpose now will she take
To drede no ded, but think of blysse.
Thus God can of uncrystyn make
Right holy martirs to be His.

Thus som have grace or thei borne be,
As had the Baptiste, goode Seint John;
And some in tendre age, pardé,
As Cristyn had, that faire woman;
And some in elde when youghte is gon,
As in Poules lyfe we may see;
And some when thei shall die anon,
As Barabas thef, that honge so hye.

Encens she had, and sho it hyde
Up in a wyndowe prevyly,
And with goode hert she it dyde,
For she thoughte never to sacrifiee
To no fals goddes of mawmentrie,
For drede of non that wold hir byde;
She prayed to Criste that she myght dye
And martire be, or that betyde.

To it befelle upon a daie
That Urban wold his doughter se;
And Cristyn maydyns all thei saie,
"Urban, sir, we telle thee:
Thi doughter and our lady free
Dispice our goddes and thaire araie
And sais truly that she wille be
A Cristen woman, if that she maye."

Urban saide, "Late me alon,
For I will to my doughthire goo;
With faire wordes Y shall anon
Make hir to lefe, if she saie soo.
And truly, but she sacrifice doo,
She shall be wrouthe or I - the ton -
For it will breke myn herte in too
To witte my doughter so begoon."

Urban went with sobere schere
To Cristyn chambir alle on hye
And saide, "Cristyn, my doughter dere,
Se - I am comme to sitte thee bye
And als to se thee sacrifie
To all our goddes of grete powere.
That was the cause sekyrly,
My faire doughter, that I sitte here."

"Thi doughter, Urban, clepe me noght,
For fadere will Y never clepe thee;
For on Jhesu is all my thoughte
And His child, sir, will Y be.
And therfor speke no more to me
Of maumentrie, of metall wrought,
But speke of God in magesté,
For He alone me made and bought."

"My faire doughter," Urban said,
"Wurchup noght on god alon,
Un happe the other be evyll paid
For thou will do them wurchupe non,
But gete thank of them ilkon;
Than nedes thee noght be afrayed.
And think how all thi kinne has don.
Do thou thus, as I hafe thee prayed."

"Thou wenes thou speke right well, ywisse,
But as a fole thou spekes me to
That knew no trueth nere thought of blysse.
But here, Urban, how I will do:
The Fadire in hevyn, the Son also,
The Holy Goste - the thirde He is;
To this Y wille, and to no moo,
With all myn herte do sacrifice."

"Sen thou will wurchipe goddes three,
Whi wurchups thou noght other also?"
Cristyn said, "Fole, I tell it thee:
Thies three are on Gode, and no moo."
Thus Urban went away hir froo,
Als wrothe as he myght be;
Hym thought his herte wold breke in too
For Cristyns lofe, his doughter free.

Anon after, wen he was gon,
Seint Cristyn went the mawmentes to
And caste them down everylkon
And byrste ther legges and armys in too.
The plates of silver and gold also
She pekyd all of, that was them on,
And caste it oute away hir froo
To pore Goddes men that had right non.

Urban com another daie
And wold have wurchupe his goddes alle;
He fonde right non - thei were awaye.
On Cristyns maydyns he dyd calle:
"What hath Cristyn, my doughter small,
Don with our goddes? Telle me, I saye!"
Thei sai, "Thi doughter made them falle -
Oute at the wyndow all are thei."

Urban said, "So myght I thee,
My doughter is a cursyd wyght!
Maidons," said Urban, "how durste she
Thus breke our goddes so myche of myght?"
Thei answerd all with wordes on hight:
"She auntred hir, as ye may see;
Now are thei all in peces dyght.
Sir, make them hole! Late se, can ye?"

"Have of hir clothes," quod Urban thoo,
"And bring hir faste me her before!
And ye twelfe men shall to hir goo
And bete hir, nakyd as she was bor!"
Thei bete hir to thei myght no mor;
Thei stent, as men that myght noght do.
It semyd bi hir she felt no sor,
For thus she said hir fadire to:

"Withoutyn honour and shame, I say,
Abhomynable to God arte thou!
Se, thi mens myght es all away;
Ther strenghte is gon, thei wot noght how.
Aske helpe to them of thi goddes now!
If thei may do owght, now assay!
More betynge than thou ordeyn now
For my Goddes lofe abyde I may."

Bownden in cheynes that mayden swete,
Cristyn, was in depe prisoun.
Hir modire herd tell that, where she sete.
She tere hire clothes and felle in swoun,
And after she hyed to that dongioun;
She had so wepped, hir chekes were wete.
Whan she se Cristyn, she felle downe
Anon to hir doughter fete.

She said, "Crystyn, my doughter dere,
Of bothe myn yen thou arte the lighte.
Alas, that evyre I se thee her
In such disease as thou arte dyght!
Thou wote thou may make us light -
Urban, thi fader, and me in fere.
Have mercy on me, gentill wight
And faire doughter - amende our cher!"

Seinte Cristyn said hir modere to,
"Wherto thi doughter clepes thou me?
Wote thou not wele that I hate soo
After my God in magestie?
Criste, Godes Son, forsothe highte He.
For thee and me He suffird woo;
Therfor His servaunte will I be -
Iwisse, I wille non other do."

Hir moder se she had no myght
With no faire speche to turne hir mode;
She wente oute as a sorye wighte,
That mete ner drynke myght do hir goode.
Than Urban aste hir woo it stoode,
And Cristyn answers she told right;
Therfor he fared as he were wode,
And for his doughter sor he sight.

"Do feche hir forthe!" said Urban.
"Befor the barre that she were ibrouth,
And I shall assay if I can
To make hir turne hir wikked thought.
She said my doughter was she noghte.
Thus coppid the kene, on me began;1
She braste my goddes so richely wrouth -
What wondur if I were wrothe than?"

Befor the barre now Cristyn is -
God graunte hir grace right wele to saie!
Urban bade hir, "Do sacrifice
To our goddes, that moste may.
For truly, if thou ous say nay,
Grete peyne shall make thee leve thi mysse,
Ne clepe thee doughter never I may
Ne never will do, but thou do this."

Than said Cristyn, that maydyn bryght,
To hir fadire, that sate so hye,
"Se, suche grete grace thou has me hight:
The devels doughter no mor to be.
What child commes of the devele," said she,
"The devele may be his name oryght.
Thou arte fadir, Y tell it thee,
Of Satan fende, that cursyd wyght."

Urban commaunded than anon
Hir flesch, that was so white and shene,
It shuld be scraped of bi the bon
With hokyd nayles, sharpe and kene.
He bad that all hir lymmes bedene
Thei shuld be brokyn, on be on.
It was grete peté, wo had it seen,
Of such a mayde, be Seinte John!

When Seint Cristyn hir flesch se,
She toke a pece that was of kytte,
And even she caste at Urbans eye;
And he had not blenchyd, she had hym hitte.
Thus said the maydyn, full of wytt,
To hym that shuld hir fadir be:
"Have here a morcell, teraunt - take it! -
Of the flesche was getyn of thee."

Than Urban, full of ire so wode,
Upon a whele he layd that maye.
Full grete fyer, to chaunge hir mode,
He bad make under, as she lay;
Full of oile the fier powred thei.
Fro hir it wente - she felyd but goode.
It brent of men to ded that day
Fyften hundrith, about that stode.

Hir fadir wende that she had wrought
By wichecrafte or sorcerrie;
Therfor had he myche thought.
He couthe not sytt ner stande ner lye,
But bad his men agayn in hye
That she shuld be to preson brought.
Now Criste hir help, and our Ladie,
As He on Rode that mayden bought!

Whan daie was gon and comme was nyght,
Aboute hir neke thei honge a ston -
It was right hevy and nothinge lighte;
Thai caste hir in the see anon.
When thei that dulfull dede had don,
Ther com aungels fro hevyn so bryght,
And held hir up the water anon,
Thorough Goddes grace and His grete myght.

Than Criste com downe Hymself, iwysse,
And baptyste Cristyn in the see,
And in hir Lyfe writen is
That thies same wordes to hir said He:
"In My Fadir and als in Me,
Jhesu Criste, Goddes Son of blisse,
And in the Holy Goste, Us Three,
I baptise thee in watire this."

Criste cristynd Cristyne with His honde -
He was godfadir and preste that nyght,
And after Criste, I understonde,
Cristyn may be hir name orighte:
Than after hir godfadir so she highte,
Criste, that in the see hir fonde.
Hir muste nedis be on holy wight
That Criste thus baptiste in the stronde!

Criste hir betaughte Seint Mighell to,
And he to londe brought hir anon.
Hir fadir herd tell that it was soo;
He wiste in world what he myght don.
For ire he smote himself right sone
In mydis the fronte - he was so woo.
Whan he hir se, he lokyd hir on
And thus he spak that mayden to:

"What whichecrafte is this that thou can,
That see ne londe may make thee dye?"
She said, "Full unhappy man,
Of Criste this grace resceyved have I."
"Do have hir up anon in hye
In depe prison," quod Urban than;
"Hir hed shall of full sekyrly
Tomorne, if I be lyvand man!"

Yit if he said all in play,
Yit said he sothe, that cursyd wight;
For he was ded, or it was daie,
And Cristyne lyved, that mayden brighte.
Thus he thrette hir over nyghte
That she shuld on the morne away;
Yit was he ded, for all his myght,
And Cristyn lyved a merye maye.

Than cam Dyons with evyll spede
To make an ende of that virgyne.
For he ordeynd as hote as glede
A grete vessell of hyrne fyne,
Full of oile, pyche, and rosyn -
It welled so hote all men myght drede;
And therin caste thei faire Cristyne,
But she lay still and toke non hede.

Four men roked hir to and froo,
To make hir payne mor violente
And als for Cristyn shuld also
The soner be to pouder brente.
Ther she laye als innocente
In credyll rokked, that felyd no wo.
She thanked God she was not shente
With tourmentynge that thei couthe doo.

She said, "I thankyd Thee, hevyn Kynge,
That Thou has ordeynd thus for me:
As twys-borne child that were right yonge,
Twys in credell rokked to be."
Dyons lokyd on hir and see
How that she lay and felt nothinge;
For sorow and care so wrothe was he,
He thought he wold himself hynge.

Ther said Dyons to Cristyne thoo,
"Sen thies tormentes greves not thee,
Thai are our goddes that help thee soo,
For thei wold thou convertyd shuld be.
Therfor, Cristyn, goo with me;
Forthink that thou has don hem too.
For thei woll have of thee peté
And mercy, if thou thus will doo."

She said, "Dyons, the devels own son,
Thi tormentes truly drede I noght.
And syn thou have thus begon,
Let noght, to thi malice be wroght
Or thou me to dethe have brought.
Urban and thou togedire shall wone
In dyrnesse grete and sorow unsought,
And both togedir to drynk of a tonne."

Than Dyons: "Kytt of hir tresse!
Let noght if hir here be bright,
And shave hir hede yit neverthelesse.
Do nakyn hir in all men sighte.
Thorought-oute all the cité lede that wyght
To Apolyn; late hym redresse!
So grete, I wote, is his myghte
He may amend hir wikkednesse."

Thai lede hir forthe in that araye
Thorought-oute the ceté longe and wyde.
When wyfs and wemen se that may
That all was bar, both wombe and syde
(She had no clothe, hir with to hyde),
Therfor on Dyons all cried thei,
"Vengeaunce, Dyons, on thee betyde!
Thou dos all women shame this daie!"

When she was broughte, that maydyn free,
To Apolyn, sche said full sone,
"In Cristis name Y commaunde thee:
In poudre thou fall downe anon."
Apolyn felle ther downe on the ston
In poudre, ther alle men myght see;
Thoroughte this miracle, whan it was donne,
Thre thowsand Sarzyns converted she.

Whan Dyons herde that it was soo,
That Cristyn had Apolyn schent,
For ferde his hert it braste in too.
Thus Dyons died and never repent.
Such grace God to Cristyn sent
That she of peyne felt no woo;
Bothe hir enmys now ere thei wente,
Thei may no more do hir too.

Urban and Dyons are now paste;
Of Cristyn have thei no more myghte.
Than com the thirde schrew at the laste:
Julyan, wele Y wote, he highte.
Thus began that cursid wighte:
He bade his men do orden faste
An oven als hote as fier so brighte,
And therin Cristyn shulde thei caste.

When it was hote, it shone as shene
As any fier that ever myght be.
Than Julyan said, that was so keene,
"Do put hir inne anon, late see!"
Thei caste hir inne withoute peté;
Thei wende thei shuld hir never have sen,
But of that hete no more felte she
Than sche in a bathe had been.

Fyve daies togedir, daie be daie,
Sche welkid therin to and froo;
She songe ther as a mery maye,
Aungels and she togedir also.
All that Julian did hir to
Of grete tormentes and paynes alway,
She feled no grevaunce ne no wo,
For all turnyd hir to aungels playe.

When Julyan herd it greved hir noght,
But that sche songe with aungels bright,
He wende by wychecrafte that sche had wrouthe -
He had no grace to know the righte.
But sone he called another wighte
(To slee Cristyn was his thoughte);
I have herde telle Marces he highte,
And sexté serpens he with hym broughte.

Marces crafte, for soth, was this:
That he couthe charme his serpens so,
What beste hym liste to do mys,
Anon to deth thei wold it do.
Now are thei put Seint Cristyn to.
She hath no drede of theym, iwysse,
But loke upon them, who thei goo;
Abowte hir nek ther playinge is.

For swett hir nek was wondre wete -
Too wormes lykkyd it clene away.
Too wente downe unto hir fete;
Thai lykkyd them clene, and ther thei lay.
At hir pappis too honge to play,
As thei wold soke that maydyn swete.
To do hir harme no myght had thei;
This saw Julyan, ther he seete.

Julyan said to Marces than,
"Thou said thi bestis wold slee hir sone.
Make tham to smyte hir, if thou can!
Thou wote well yit thei have not don."
Marces beganne his charme anon,
To make tham byghte that blissed woman;
But thei lefte Cristyn everychon
And slow hym that the charme began.

Seinte Cristyn loked who Marces lay,
That shuld have made the wormes to byghte.
She bade the serpens voyde awaye
Into deserte, no man to smyte.
She bade Marces ryse up tyte,
And he stode up before that may.
Than Julian had so grete dispyte
Hym thought his herte schuld breste that day.

Hir paps were als rounde, ywysse,
As an appill that growes in feld;
Thai kitte them of - the more dole is,
When she was twelve yer of elde.
The mylke stremyd oute - all men behelde,
And some were sory that se this;
But Julian wold hym never yelde
Ne never ones forthink his mys.

Seint Cristyn saide, "With herte and thought
I thanke Thee, God in magesté,
Of alle that Thou has for me wroughte
To make men knowe the myghte of Thee.
In alle my peynes Thou has kept me,
That fiere ne watir grevyd me noght.
Therefor me thinke right longe to Thee,
To Thi faire blisse, that I were broughte."2

Julian wondrede who she myghte
In hir grete tormentes jangill so.
Therefore he bade a wykkyd wighte,
"Kytte oute hir tonge! It dos me woo."
And whan hir tonge lay at hir too,
She spake als wele, that maydyn brighte,
As never it had be kytt hir froo.
Thei herd and seye, all men, with sight.

She toke hir tonge upe, where it lay,
And even sche caste it at Julian eye,
That aftir nevermore alway
On that syde myght he noght see.
For she hym hit, softely smylid she;
He for wrethe lyste nothinge playe;
He said, "Vengeaunce com on thee!
Thou arte a wyche, Y dare wele say."

With his on eye he lokyd asyde,
And thus he spake the tonge unto:
"Whiles thou waste in hir mouthe so wyde,
Than with thi wordes thou wrought me woo.
Thi stroke greves me mor than soo,
For it hath made myn eye out glyde;
Thi wordis as wynde flyed too and froo,
But strokes ar sor and evyll to byde."

For ire and wreth he was so woo
He wiste in world what he do myght:
But thre arraws he shett hir to,
And too ageyn hir herte thei lyght;
The thirde hit in hir syde full righte.
But when Cristyn was smyten so,
Hir soule wente up to heven so brighte,
Where she shall feele of peynes no moo.

Hir bodye lyeth in stronge castyll -
And Bulstene, seith the boke, it highte -
Wher many seke men have had hele
And blynde also have had her sighte.
Truly Y trowe: if any wighte
Praye hertely to that damesele,
She will hym helpe with alle hir myghte,
If theire desire be goode and leele.

Seint Cristyn, helpe thorought thi prayere
That we may fare the better for thee,
That hath ben longe in prison here,
The Ile of Man, that stronge cuntré.
Sir Thomas Brawchaump, an erle was he;
In Warwikshire was his power.
Now is he of so pour degré,
He hath no man save on squiere.

Where are his knyghtes that with hym yede
Whan he was in prosperité?
Where are the squiers now at nede,
That sumtyme thoughte thei wold not flee?
Of yomen had he grete plenté
That he was wonte to cloth and feede;
Nowe is ther non of the mené
That ons dare se ther lorde, for drede.

In prison site ther lorde alone.
Of his men he hath no moo,
But William Parys, be Seint John,
That with his will woll noght him fro.
He made this lyfe in Ynglishe soo,
As he satte in prison of ston,
Ever as he myghte tent therto
Whan he had his lordes service don.

Jhesu Criste, Goddes Son of myghte,
As Thou com down to mende our mysse
And in a clene virgyne Thou lyghte,
Marie, that now Thi modir is,
Thou graunte all grace that hath herd this,
In Heven of Thee to have a sighte,
To se Thee sitte there in Thi blisse
With Seint Cristyn, Thi maydyn bright.

Explicit vita sancte Cristine virginis.3 Amen.

I believe
family [who] were exalted in power
entirely; promised; (t-note)

person; once; saw
won; love

wanton behavior
wholeheartedly resolved
unsullied virgin

Her father was named Urban

It was [true] of him as [it] is of others
evil-doer; beget
by the Cross
Even though
Yet fathered; gentle of heart


one day
fared; a whole week

there is no denying it

no one at all; (see note)
was supposed to live in idolatry; (see note)
directed; remain
not a single one
assigned; observe

was supposed to worship
it pleased her


every one
blocks of wood

from non-Christians

(see note)

old age; youth
Paul's; (see note)

(see note)

incense; hid
intended; (t-note)
bid (command)

before that occurred

Until; on a certain day


Despises; ceremonies


grieved; one of the two

Christine's; in haste (aloft)


call; (t-note)


one god alone
Lest the others might be displeased

you will not have to

hear (listen)



two; (t-note)
the love of Christine


broke; two
thin sheets
stripped off entirely

poor Christians (men of God); none at all

none at all; gone

(see note)

Gone out the window

So may I prosper [on my life]

out loud
took a risk; (see note)
whole; [if] you can

Take off
firmly (quickly)

stopped; could do nothing
concerning her; pain


for them
anything; try and see
love of my God; endure

(see note)
afterward; hurried



pain (distress); placed

lift our spirits

am called so (i.e., Christina)

was called

nothing else

change her mind

Whom neither food nor drink could help
asked; how

bitterly he sighed

Have her fetched
Let her be brought into court; (see note)


(see note)
broke; made


have most power
defy us
abandon your offense

unless; (t-note)


Whatever; from
(see note)

off near
hook-shaped spikes
completely (immediately)
one by one
pity, [for] anyone who
With regard to

cut off; (t-note)
straight; threw [it]
If; turned aside

was supposed to
tyrant; (see note)
that was begotten by

ordered to be kindled underneath
[Away] from; only well-being
who were standing nearby

i.e., he could not rest

on the Cross; redeemed

millstone; (t-note)
not at all

sad (doleful)

upon (on top of)


(see note)

(see note)

is named
She must necessarily be a
sea; (see note)

entrusted to St. Michael; (see note)

(see note)

In the middle of his forehead
gazed at her

witchcraft; know (have skill in)
neither sea nor land
unfortunate (miserable)

Have her carried off
(see note)
She shall be beheaded certainly
Tomorrow; a living

Even if
he spoke truly

must depart (die) the next day; (t-note)

joyful maiden

misfortune; (see note)
burning coal
pure iron


in order that
sooner; burned to dust
like a little child
knew how to do


twice-born; (see note); (t-note)


I.e., the source of this help is our gods
Because they desired [that]

Repent what; to them

Do not stop, until your malice is carried out

darkness; untold (immeasurable)
from the same barrel; (see note); (t-note)

Cut off her hair; (t-note)
Do not desist

Have her stripped naked

Apollo; correct [her]; (see note)

(see note); (t-note)
Throughout the city
maiden; (see note)
stomach and flank
with which to cover herself
May vengeance fall on you, Dyons
You cause

Into dust

By means of
(see note)


are they gone
do to her

passed (dead)

to prepare at once
as hot as fire


fierce; (t-note)
let us see [what happens]

would never see her again

Than [if]


always (progressively)
everything turned to angels' play for her

worked (acted)

[that] he was called Marcus


Whatever animal; to harm
they would put it to death
placed on St. Christine

looks; how they move

Two serpents

As [if]; suck [milk from]

where he sat

know; they have not yet done so; (t-note)

i.e., every one of them
slew him who

saw how
was supposed to

maiden; (t-note)

breasts; (see note); (t-note)

cut; off; cause of sorrow
(see note)

give in (yield)
regret his evil deeds

For everything

[So] that; fire



As [if]
saw; with their own eyes

straight; Julian's
never again afterwards

fury had no desire to joke


to the tongue; (see note)
While; were
I.e., being hit by you is even worse
blows; painful to endure

(see note)
shot toward her
two reached her heart

remains; (see note)

sick; health (healing)

earnestly; young lady


by means of
because of thy help
[We] who have
rugged (fortified) place; (t-note)
(see note)
seat of power
such low status
servant except one

(see note)

in his need
once [would] dare

sits; (t-note)

will not leave him voluntarily

Whenever he could work on it

God's powerful Son; (t-note)
remedy our sinfulness

grace to everyone who