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Stanzaic Life of Katherine


1 They made an amazing amount of noise

2 She said [she would go] there, and she thought [she would be] alone

3 Those who believed in Jesus were upset (ill at ease)

4 You make them do service to the devil

5 Whom you consider to be your protector

6 Lines 243-44: And in your name I will have a statue splendidly made, a very beautiful one

7 Lines 247-48: [And] on all matters of public importance / We will consult you

8 Lines 269-71: And if it would do me any good to speak, / I would now advise you / To burn and destroy your gods

9 Tie [her] up and beat [her], as long as she is alive

10 Lines 286-87: Do not give her any food or drink, / Not even a little - now understand this well

11 Lines 290-92: It behooves me not to wait long / Before relating these events to great and wise men

12 For those who love God faithfully, He ordains this [reward]

13 Lines 402-03: He inquired about the virgin's condition, / [Asking] whether she were alive or not

14 Lines 429-30: Even if I must die [for it], you can believe me: / I will never renounce Jesus

15 You have never before heard tell of any such thing

16 Lines 459-60: Very thickly studded all around / With opposing hooks, to kill her with

17 Lines 475-76: Many pagans gathered in front of the wheels. / Strong threats were uttered against the virgin [presumably by the crowd]

18 Where she would have to go in among them (the wheels)

19 They had never been so weary of (sated with) sorrow

20 Lines 511-12: I renounce you and all your possessions / And all your power forever completely

21 Lines 515-16: [The One] in whom these Christians believe, / His power extends far and wide

22 [And] torn apart completely by dogs and birds

23 To deliver her message (or intercede for her) in that ordeal

24 Lines 587-88: When you forbade her [to be buried in] the earth after you had put her to death

25 But they didn't give a sloe (a small, sour, worthless fruit) about that

26 To be chewed up by dogs and [wild] animals then

27 Lines 769-70: [To] all the sick people who went there, no matter how many there were

28 [On the date] when she was martyred here in this world

29 Lines 785-87: May Jesus give the joy of Heaven to him who thus wrote her Life and to all who read and hear it


Abbreviations: A = Auchinleck (National Library of Scotland MS Advocates 19.2.1), fols. 21r-24v; G = Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge MS 175/96, pp. 107-18 [base text]; H = Carl Horstmann; R = Bodleian Library MS Rawlinson poet. 225 (SC 15509), fols. 48r-48v, 46r-47v, and 1r-2r.

1-8 This text opens with both a blessing, recalling the invocation before a sermon, and the familiar call of the oral storyteller for the audience's attention.

10-15 These lines attempt to explain how the jurisdiction of Maxentius can extend to Katherine, who is the daughter of King Costus and living in Alexandria (lines 49-50). The historical Maxentius (Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius) was a Roman emperor from 306 to 312 and controlled Italy and north Africa, including Alexandria. King Costus was not a historical figure.

17 Mahoun. See explanatory note to line 205 of the early SEL account of Mary Magdalen.

21 Sarezyn. See explanatory note to line 194 of the early SEL account of Mary Magdalen.

tryst. The more usual form of this adjective is thrist.

25 fyve and fyfty yer. This version of the legend suggests, that is, that Maxentius was a very old man by the time of his confrontation with Katherine. A makes his previous reign even longer: 65 years.

66-67 blyssyd . . . here tungge. The gesture suggests that she is asking God to bless and guide her words when she confronts the emperor. Katherine's association with eloquent speech was so strong that medieval Christians sometimes invoked her aid to cure diseases and injuries of the tongue.

72 They wente with here, that stood here by. That is, she is accompanied by members of her own court or household.

93 Jhesu, the welle of wyt. It is appropriate for Katherine to call Jesus the wellspring or source of wisdom because the wisdom she will shortly display is portrayed as miraculous and divinely given (not merely the result of her excellent education).

102 mawmettys. See explanatory note to line 57 of Mirk's account of Mary Magdalen.

113-14 Yyf thou were leryd. Ironically, Maxentius argues that Katherine has been badly educated and should have studied with teachers like his own.

118 Termagaunt. See explanatory note to line 205 of the early SEL account of Mary Magdalen.

135-36 Ther is no god but On of alle, / That . . . al hath wrought. Katherine's reply echoes the beginning of the Nicene Creed ("I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible") - a good response to a polytheist and idolater like Maxentius.

139-48 This version of the legend places unusual emphasis on the secrecy and the personal sealing of Maxentius's letters to the philosophers, making one wonder what he fears.

166 As Jhesu Cryst schal wysse thee. An echo of Jesus's promise to His followers in Luke 21:12-15: "[you will be brought] before kings and governors, for my name's sake. And it shall happen unto you for a testimony. Lay it up therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before how you shall answer: for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to resist and gainsay."

173 In al wysdom and eke Latyne. The philosophers' knowledge of Latin would not be worth mentioning, of course, except in a vernacular retelling of the legend for audiences who did not know it themselves.

183-84 The explicit mention of God's angel again at this point, together with the way Katherine "sees" her arguments as if they had been miraculously written in her heart, reinforces the message that she is successful in this debate because of divine inspiration, not her own learning.

205 in fay. Presumably intended as a mere asseveration, meaning "certainly." But it is an ironic choice, since its literal meaning is "in faith" and Maximus seems to be the only person present who has not been converted.

210 Of ryche kynrede. The idea seems to be that this scholar's family background makes him the natural spokesman for the others.

225-28 The martyrdom of the philosophers echoes the ordeal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3), who refused King Nebuchadnezzar's command to violate their Jewish faith by worshiping his idols and were bound and cast into "a furnace of burning fire," from which they emerged unharmed (Daniel 3:6, et passim). Although the newly converted philosophers in the legend die, the miracle that preserves their bodies apparently untouched recalls the details recounted in Daniel 3:94 (3:27 in Protestant translations): "[All the witnesses] gathered together, considered these men, that the fire had no power on their bodies, and that not a hair of their heads had been singed, nor their garments altered, nor the smell of the fire had passed on them." There is also an important New Testament text on such miracles, when Jesus promises that His followers will be kept completely safe in the midst of persecution, even if they lose their earthly lives: "You shall be betrayed . . . and some of you they will put to death. And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake. But a hair of your head shall not perish. In your patience you shall possess your souls" (Luke 21:16-19).

236 par ma fay! Literally, "by my faith" - another irony, when applied to Maxentius. See explanatory note to line 205, above.

239-40 A slightly veiled threat to have her beheaded.

242 in boure and eke in halle. Since boure in Middle English can mean "bedchamber," this line briefly recalls the familiar motif of the pagan suitor who attempts to seduce the virgin martyr away from her true bridegroom, Christ. The theme of sexual temptation, however, was never as important in the Katherine legend as in those of virgin martyrs like Margaret, and there is almost nothing else to suggest it in this particular retelling. The MED glosses in bour and in hall as meaning simply "in chamber and in hall, in cottage and mansion, everywhere" (see bour n. 4).

253-56 Maxentius offers Katherine a marble temple, within which she will be worshipped after death along with his gods. Instead, Katherine will be buried in a marble tomb, to which pilgrims will come forever to be healed and edified by the miraculous oil that perpetually flows from her remains (lines 773-80 below).

282 whyt as whales bon. A conventional image of beauty in Middle English poetry, meaning "as white as ivory." Ivory did not actually come from whales, of course, but among its main sources were walruses and other animals that could be confused with whales. Interestingly enough, the corresponding line in A has alpes bon ("elephant's bone," another kind of ivory); R uses another image entirely, saying she was as white as milk foam.

289-96 In other versions of the legend, the emperor's temporary departure from Alexandria is attributed to other pressing business. In this version he is apparently so obsessed with the need to overcome Katherine that he can think of nothing else.

335-36 This seems to echo the promise in Matthew 10:32: "Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven."

349-52 An echo of 1 Corinthians 2:9 (and, somewhat more distantly, Isaiah 64:4): "That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him."

353-56 These lines echo several Biblical prophecies about the joy of the blessed in Heaven, most notably Revelation [or Apocalypse] 7:16-17 ("They shall no more hunger nor thirst, neither shall the sun fall on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall rule them, and shall lead them to the fountains of the waters of life, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes") and Revelation 21:4 (". . . and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away").

371 pynk. Either a minnow or a derivative of the verb "pinchen," suggesting a miserly portion.

375 that. In order to make the sentence parse, this word should either be construed as a demonstrative (that is, "the angels brought her that [as a] ration") or emended to ther.

392 myn handwerk. Referring to human beings as the work of God's hands recalls the poetic language used in the Psalms and some of the Old Testament prophets. See, for example, Psalm 138:8 [137.8 in Vulgate and Douay], Isaiah 29:23, 45:9-11, and 64:8.

398-400 These details about Maxentius's entourage have no equivalent in most versions of the legend. Their addition heightens his resemblance to a late-medieval monarch and also highlights the choice Katherine has made between earthly power and that of Jesus (whose own entourage of angels and saints has been mentioned just above, in lines 378-80 and 396).

426 Sarezynys so blak. The adjective here must be figurative rather than literally descriptive, referring either to their lack of enlightenment or more generally to their wickedness. On Sarezynys, see explanatory note to line 194 of the early SEL account of Mary Magdalen.

451 Cursates ("the cursed one"), the confederate of Maxentius who suggests, and in this version actually builds, the terrible wheel on which Katherine is to be torn apart.

456 Another lessoun. Continued play with the idea of Katherine's needing instruction from them: she will change her tune, predicts Cursates, once she sees this terrible torture device.

523-24 The only explanation Maxentius can imagine for his wife's conversion is witchcraft or sorcery by the Christians. He returns to this explanation below, in lines 640-44, calling Katherine a witch.

531-32 The cutting off of the queen's breasts has been interpreted as "a kind of metaphorical transference" which emphasizes her connection with Katherine, whose own body will bleed milk when she is beheaded, later in the legend (Wogan-Browne and Burgess, Introduction to Virgin Lives and Holy Deaths, p. xxxiv). It is more common in saints' legends for the virgin martyr herself to be mutilated in this way; see for example lines 441-44 of the Christina legend, below in this collection, and the accompanying explanatory note.

555-60 Although the queen's mutilated body is left unburied, to be eaten by dogs and other scavengers, her soul is immediately taken to Christ. In A lines 559-60 make this point even clearer: The soule com bifor Jhesu, / Er the bodi were cold.

574 My serjauntys that I clothe and fede! As he sends his officers out to find the unknown culprit(s), he arouses their zeal by reminding them of the loyalty and gratitude they owe him. Ironically, of course, it is the leader of his own officers who has chosen to follow Jesus Christ instead of the emperor.

583 withouten drede. The phrase probably means "without any doubt," but in this context it could also mean "without fear of the consequences."

593-608 Although modern readers might expect the emperor to mourn the loss of his wife more than that of his favorite lieutenant, medieval retellings of the legend nearly always skip over the former in favor of the latter. Indeed, the emperor's lament over Porphirius was obviously a favorite scene.

602 in wede. Perhaps "in [his] garments," but also "in [his] madness." See MED wede n. 3. This is also a handy formula to complete and intensify the alliteration on w and to supply a rhyme.

609-16 The sequence of events here is not entirely clear, but the idea in G seems to be that the knights assigned to guard Porphirius, their former leader, use their opportunities to talk with him privately while he is in their custody and are converted by what he tells them about his own decision to convert. A and R present a different scenario in which the emperor privately questions his knights about Porphirius's conversion (which they already know about) and they unanimously express their own faith (to which they have already been converted). One might logically connect these knights with the 200 whose conversion was mentioned earlier (lines 363-68), although A and R do not make that clear.

679-82 Compare Luke 23:27-28, in which Jesus is followed to His crucifixion outside Jerusalem by a multitude and specific mention is made of "women, who bewailed and lamented him." Jesus tells them to weep instead for themselves and their children.

709-16 Katherine's prayer for those who honor her memory. Note the similarity to St. Margaret's final prayer, in which that saint asked to be able to assist those who remember her martyrdom, give churches or alms in her name, or call on her in need. But unlike most versions of Margaret's prayer, which included petitions for women in labor and other particular categories of persons she wanted to help, Katherine just refers in a general way to the needs of people facing death or some other trouble and stipulates that her help be confined to those whose requests are ryghtful (line 713).

739-40 Again the legend refers to Heaven with details drawn from Biblical prophecies - for example, Revelation 22:5: "And night shall be no more: and they shall not need the light of the lamp, nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall enlighten them."

754 for the blood the mylk out ran. A miracle that is reported also at the executions of several other virgin martyrs and at least one male saint, the apostle Paul. In the cases of Katherine and the other virgins, the miraculous substitution operates most obviously as a sign of the saint's physical and spiritual purity, suggesting that she has transcended the natural, sexual functions of her earthly female body. The connection with St. Paul reminds us, however, that milk was also a symbol of spiritual fruitfulness and nurturing that could cross gender lines - as it did in Paul's account of his own initial dealings with the new Christian community in Corinth: "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as unto spiritual [people], but as unto carnal. As unto little ones in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not meat; for you were not able as yet. But neither indeed are you now able" (1 Corinthians 3:1-2).

756 He was ful blak, he was ful wan. Although there may be some word play here, in this context the principal meaning of blak is probably the opposite of the modern word it resembles - that is, it probably means pale, colorless, or dead-white (see the OED entry for the adjective blake and compare the word "bleak"). Paired here, the near synonyms blak and wan suggest the executioner's shocked reaction to the miracle that has just proved Katherine's sanctity and his own collusion in evil.

760-62 Mt. Sinai, on the Sinai Peninsula (now in Egypt), is believed to be the place where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments (see especially Exodus, ch. 19). Next to Mt. Sinai, where the legend says Katherine's body was taken by angels after her death in Alexandria, is Jebel Katherine, or Mt. Katherine. St. Katherine's Monastery, at the foot of the mountains, is the present site of Katherine's tomb. The monastery, built in 548-65 by Justinian I, originally commemorated the Burning Bush (Exodus 3:1-6), but was rededicated to St. Katherine in the tenth or eleventh century.

781-84 The anniversary of her death, November 25, was listed in medieval liturgical calendars all over Europe and commemorated every year in church services with special readings, hymns, and antiphons in her honor.

785-96 This version of the legend ends, as it began, with the invocation of a blessing that includes everyone who reads or hears it.


Abbreviations: see explanatory notes.

6 of. The scribe of G regularly doubles medial and final f, writing off for of, afftyr for aftyr, and so on. Since this spelling quirk does not affect the pronunciation of the words in question, it has not been reproduced in this edition.

25 he. G: omits.

hadde. G: hadde ben, with ben canceled.

45 Glemen. Emendation based on A. G reads Alle men, which does not make sense with the remainder of the line.

49 that. Inserted above the line in G.

50 G: hys ryghte name, with ryghte canceled.

52 eightene wyntyr. A gives her age as fifteen instead of eighteen.

of. A, H: omit.

57 in. G: i.

59 desport. Somewhat conjectural, since the last three letters can no longer be read in G. "Coort," the rhyme word (line 57), helps, however. A ends the line differently.

64 Maxeens. H: Maxcens.

69 A has an easier reading: Sche sayde sche wald thider wende; R is similar but omits thider.

82 as. Inserted above the line in G.

112 nothyng. G: no th thyng.

133 develys. G: develys alle, with alle canceled.

141 was. G: was ther, with ther canceled.

146 selyd. G: fe selyd, with fe canceled.

150 knyght. G: kyng knyght, with kyng canceled.

151 they. G: omits. H's emendation.

164 to. G: omits. H's emendation.

185 sayde. The beginning of this word is too faint and worn to be read in G.

200 it. Inserted above the line in G.

205 Maxcence. G: Maxcence hymself, with hymself canceled.

215 itold. The i is inserted above the line in G.

218 wende. The last two letters are obscured in G.

222 bad. G: bayd bad, with bayd canceled.

224 be. G: omits. H's emendation.

227 fax. A, R: flesche; H proposed emending G's fax to fay ("face"), to avoid the apparent redundancy with her. But emendation is not really necessary, since the MED defines fax as referring specifically to the hair of the head, whereas her could mean facial hair (beard, brows, lashes) and body hair. The preservation of their hair is the most essential detail here because it shows the fulfillment of Jesus' promise to His followers in Luke 21:18.

228 and. G: and and.

235 then. The last letter is obscured in G.

240 away. The first a is inserted above the line in G.

251 I. G: omits.

261 to Jhesu Cryst my love. The sense is clear, but this phrase is not very idiomatic. A has Ich have me taken to Jhesus Crist, and R is very similar.

263 G also gives an alternative version of this line - In hevene He schal me wedde above - in what looks like the same scribal hand, with the Latin notation elige ("choose").

267 my lyf. G: my my lyf.

270 thy. H emends to þy[s].

297 iwent. The i is inserted above the line in G.

305 That ylke. Inserted above the line in G, replacing an earlier reading, Withinne the.

307 he. Inserted above the line in G.

323 up. Inserted above the line in G.

329 spak. G: be spak, with be canceled.

344 thou alsoo, I. The thou and I are both inserted above the line in G. The original reading was alsoo say I thee, but the I thee in that clause has been canceled.

346 joye. The initial letter can no longer be read in G.

363-64 here . . . hem. In most versions of the legend, these two hundred men are Porphyry's converts, but here they seem to be the queen's. There is an initial confusion of the pronouns in G, however, which has hym both in line 363 (where it may have been meant to refer to Porphyry) and again in 364, where the sense clearly demands hem. A and R both have hir and hem, although neither of them repeats the language about being served at the table, which in G underlines the analogy between the heavenly servants who wait on Katherine in prison and the earthly ones who wait on the queen in her husband's court.

369 drynk. The last letter is obscured in G.

381 ben. The last two letters are obscured in G.

383 thou. Inserted above the line in G.

399 dukes, eerlys. G: dukes and eerlys, with and canceled.

404 ful. Inserted above the line in G.

449 skypte. Inserted above the line in G, replacing an earlier reading, scypte or possibly stypte.

455 sche it seeth. Inserted above the line in G, replacing an earlier reading, it is wrought.

489 breke. End of this word inserted above the line in G.

502 adrad. Inserted above the line in G, replacing an earlier reading, dred.

504 sorewe. The last two letters inserted above the line in G, which originally had sore.

513 thou. Inserted above the line in G.

523 dysseyvyd. Last three letters obscured in G.

545 trewe. Inserted above the line in G.

560 it. Inserted above the line in G.

575 Manye. The reading in G. H: Many.

589 playn. It may be that this word should be play, as in A and R, which would rhyme exactly with "ay" in line 591 instead of repeating the rhyme on "-ayn." H takes it that way; but the mark of abbreviation in G is clear, and playn makes better sense in this context.

625-28 An addition in G, not found in A and R, which briefly interrupts the narrative with a direct address to the audience, urging everyone to pray for the same reward after death that was won by the martyrs.

625 Pray. G: And pray, with And canceled.

626 Lytyl and mochyl. Written over an erasure in G.

627 G: be be hens, with hens written over an erasure.

635 holy. Inserted above the line in G, replacing an earlier reading, swete.

679 fele. G: fele fele, with the first one canceled.

698 on. Inserted above the line in G.

708 soone. G: sone, with a second o inserted above the line.

709 me. G: my, which makes a better rhyme but is ungrammatical in this context.

726 orysoun. G: prayer orysoun, with prayer canceled.

758 flowen. H reads flowe, but there is an abbreviation mark in G.
































































































































































Incipit vita sancte Katerine virginis.

He that made bothe sunne and mone
In hevene and erthe for to schyne,
Brynge us to Hevene with Hym to wone
And schylde us from helle pyne!
Lystnys and I schal yow telle
The lyf of an holy virgyne
That trewely Jhesu lovede wel -
Here name was callyd Katerine.

I undyrstonde, it betydde soo:
In Grece ther was an emperour;
He was kyng of landes moo,
Of casteles grete and many a tour.
The ryche men of that land
They servyd hym with mekyl honour.
Maxenceus was his name hotand,
A man he was ful sterne and stour.

Mahoun heeld he for hys god:
He trowyd in the false lay;
On Jhesu Cryst levede he not,
That Lord is and God verray.
He was a Sarezyn ful tryst,
With Crystyndom he werrede ay,
For alle that trowyd on Jhesu Cryst
He stroyyd bothe be nyght and day.

Whenne he hadde fyve and fyfty yer
Ben emperour and born the corown,
Thorwgh al the land hys messanger
He sente aboute fro toun to toun;
To Alisaundyr he sente hys sawe
And bad tho folk scholde come wel sone,
Ryche and pore, heyghe and lawe,
With here offryng to seke Mahone.

He bad the ryche men scholde brynge
Neet and scheep to here offerande,
And pore men up alle thynge
Quyke foulys in here hande;
And as they wolde here lyvys hente,
For nothyng ne scholde they wonde.
This was the kyngys comaundement
That he sente thorwgh al hys londe.

The folk upon this manere yood -
To wraththe the kyng they weren adrad.
Beforn hys goddys hymselven stood,
In ryche clothyng was he clad.
Glemen were there, bothe false and fykil,
He bad that they scholde be ful glad;
Noyse they maden wundyr mekyl,1
As here emperour hem bad.

Another kyng in that lande was thoo:
Costus was hys name calde.
A doughtyr he hadde - chyldryn no moo -
Of eightene wyntyr was sche of alde:
Kateryne was here ryghte name,
Of wyt and wysdom was sche bolde.
Sche lovyd Jhesu, though sche bar blame -
For Hys love was here lyf solde.

As sche stood in here fadyr coort,
Glemen herde sche lowde synge,
With pypys and trumpys they maden desport,
And bellys herde sche lowde rynge.
Sche fraynyd of here fadir men
What was that noyse and that pypyng.
They tolde here of that offryng then
That Maxeens garte his folk to bryng.

Sche hoof up here hand, that mayden yungge,
And blyssyd here fol wyttyrly,
Ferst here brest and thanne here tungge -
So says the book of here story.
Thedyr sche sayde, alone sche thoughte,2
For to se that melody.
But al alone wente sche noughte:
They wente with here, that stood here by.

Whenne sche com to hys palayse,
Sum sche sawgh make game and glee.
That levyd on Jhesu weren evele at ayse.3
Sory men sche dede hem see:
For eythir they scholde don sacrefyse
To hys mawmettys imaad of tree,
Of ston and bras, on alle wyse,
Eythir they scholde imartyryd be.

Sche com before the emperour there,
There as he made hys sacrefyze,
And grette hym al on this manere -
Wordys sche spak bothe bolde and wyse:
"Jhesu Cryst be with thee then,
Ryghtwyse Kyng and heyghe Justyse,
That tholyd deth for synful men
And hadde pousty for to ryse.

"I speke of Jhesu of Hevene within.
Of alle kyngys He is flour,
That suffryd deth for alle mankyn,
He is oure alle Creatour.
Behold Jhesu, the welle of wyt,
Sere Maxence, kyng and emperour!
This sacrefyse - to Hym doo it
And seke Hym with thus mekyl honour!

"But now me thynkith doost thou so nought.
Thou wyrkyst on a werse wyse:
This folk that thou hast hedyr brought,
Thou doost hem make the devyl servyse.4
Al that they doo, withouten were,
To these mawmettys upon this gyse,
A dysseyvaunce is to hem here,
Fykyl and fals and al fayntyse."

This emperour awondryd was
Of this maydyn, fayr of vyse;
Here stedefastnesse in herte he has,
And sayde to here wurdys ful nyse:
"Why dyspraysyst thou oure goddys so
And holdyst hem of so lytyl pryse?
Iwis, so scholdyst thou nought doo,
Me thynkith thou art nothyng wyse.

"Yyf thou were leryd of oure lay lel
And to oure scoles were entendaunte,
Thou woldyst saye we deden ful wel,
And with thy tungge thou woldist it graunte.
To myghteful goddes thou thee take,
Swylk as Mahoun and Termagaunt,
And Jhesu Cryst look thou forsake
The whylke thou holdyst thy waraunt!5

"And for we have now on hande
This ryche feste, as thou mayst see,
Come now forth with thyn offerande,
And holde it for no vanyté!
For to oure goddes, so good at nede,
Yif that thou wylt buxum be,
Ryche gyftys schal be thy mede
And that thou sayde forgeve I thee."

Thenne bespak here Kateryne -
God of Hevene forgat sche nought;
That schoop here wymman and virgyne,
Sente grace intyl here thought:
"These aren quyke develys to calle
That this peple have here sought;
Ther is no god but On of alle,
That thee and me and al hath wrought."

This emperour with woo gan wake,
And thoughte on wylys and queynte crokes.
Lettres gart he swythe make
And prevyly, as saith the bookes,
Ou a maydyn was come ful yyng,
That here goddys alle forsook.
He selyd hem with hys owne ryng
That he of hys fyngyr took.

He took the messanger in hande
The lettrys selyd for gret tokenyng
To alle the wyse men of hys lande,
And bad hem come withouten dwellyng.
Ful gret honour he hyghte hem yyt,
As he was trewe knyght and kyng,
Yyf they with here wysdam and here wyt
Myghten ovyrcome that maydyn yyng.

That maydyn was in presoun done,
Soone as the messanger was went.
An aungyl com to here fol sone
That Jhesu Cryst here hadde isent.
He sayde, "My Lord gretes thee weel
That wyt and wysdam has thee lent -
And that thyn herte be strong as steel
And thynk on Hym with good entent!

"Maxence hath isent hys sonde
Ovyral aboute in this cuntree
Aftyr men wysest in londe,
With thee to stryve, as thou schalt see.
Be that thy wurdys they have herd tel
As Jhesu Cryst schal wysse thee,
Here trowthe schal ben in God ful wel,
And for Hym schole they martyryd be."

Over al the world that was so wyde
Hys messanger wente ful yare.
Fyfty men he broughte that tyde,
Grettest clerkys and wys of lare:
In al wysdom and eke Latyne
Men sayde that they ryght redy wore
For to dysspute with Kateryne,
That Maxcense hadde withholden thore.

Amonges hem was that mayden anon.
They desputyd with here of many matere,
Here resouns sayde they on be on,
Ylkon on hys beste manere.
This maydyn, that I have of tolde,
Sche stood with a stedefast chere,
In herte here resouns gan beholde -
Goddys aungyl was here fere.

Whenne they hadden here resouns sayde,
Everylkone bothe more and lesse,
To ylke a poynt withinne a brayde
Sche answerde with wol gret mekenesse.
Al here devys thenne sayde sche
Of God of hevene, that oure Lord ysse,
Is and was and evere schal be -
The Gospel took sche to wytnysse.

Of Holy Wryt sche taughte hem thore
And of Crystys Incarnacyoun,
And of a maydyn hou He was bore,
And hou He suffrede passyoun,
And hou He sente Hys postelys wyde
To brynge men to salvacyoun -
And Crystene trowthe sche tolde that tyde
And prevyd it hem with pure resoun.

Whenne this mayden hadde isayde
Alle here resouns that were so goode,
Fol weel were these maystrys payde,
And they begunne to chaunge here moode.
But there Maxcence sat, in fay,
For yre of herte he wax nygh wood
And askyd, or they cowde ought say
Agayn that maydyn that there stood.

Thenne bespak a maystyr anon
(Of ryche kynrede was he bore):
"Sere kyng, I wene we have mysgon;
Othere resouns beth betere us fore.
For we scholen trowe on Jhesu Cryst
That bar the corowne maad of thorn,
As Kateryne hath itold fol tryst -
Ful loth us were to be forelorn."

Alle togedere hem askyd he
Whether they wolde here thought ought wende.
They sayden, on Jhesu that deyde on tree
They wolde beleve withouten ende.
He wax agrevyd, that stoute syre,
He bad hem bynden feet and hande;
He swoor he scholde quyte here hyre -
They scholde be brend as brennyng brande.

He garte hem caste al in gret feer.
Gret myracle men myght ther see:
Here fax, here clothis and here her
Of wem were they quyt and free.
Martyrdom they suffryd thore
For Hym that deyde upon the tree;
To hevene were here soulys bore,
In Goddys frayry for to be.

Thoo bad the emperour hys men,
"Bryngys forth that fayre may!"
And whanne sche com beforn hym then,
"Welcome," he sayde, "par ma fay!
Hast thou yit thy counseyl tan
For to turne upon my lay?
Have mercy on thy fayre pan!
Me longis nought don it away.

"Thou schalt be menskyd as a qwene,
Bothe in boure and eke in halle;
And in thy name I schal do clene
An ymage make, ryght fayr withalle,6
And in this burgh thenne schal it stande,
And heyghe and lowe schole loute it alle.
Of alle the nedys of this land
We schole thee unto counseyl calle.7

"Heyghe and lowe schal serve thee soo.
Kateryne, doo as I thee bede!
And yit I wole thee more doo,
Yyf thou wylt doo aftyr my rede:
Of marbylston schal I do make
A ryche temple whenne thou art ded;
Among oure goddys thou schalt be take
And layde in sylvyr and gold so red."

"Be stylle, thou fool! I saye to thee,
Thou redes me to ful mekyl synne!
What man wolde idampnyd be
In helle for ony worldys wynne?
I have to Jhesu Cryst my love:
He is my spouse, bothe oute and inne;
I hope to come to His hevene above,
There joye and blysse schal nevere blynne.

"He is myn hope, my joye mest,
My Lord, my God in Trynyté,
My leef, my lyf, my love best -
To swylke a lemman take I me.
And yyf me were boote to speke,
Of thy counseyl now wolde I be
Thy goddys for to brenne and breke8 -
For thou madyst hem, and they nought thee."

Be that sche hadde here wurdys sayde,
Hym thoughte hys herte scholde breke on fyve;
For yre and wraththe he styrte and brayde
And bad hys men hastely and blyve:
"With whyppys and scourgys doth here sterte!
Byndith and betith, whyl sche is on lyve,9
And in presoun then doth here smerte!
What boote is thusgate for to stryve?"

They maden here body al red blood ren
That fyrst was whyt as whales bon,
And aftyr sayde he to hys men:
"Prysouns here now swythe anon!
Hungyr schal sche hastely feel:
Mete ne drynk ne gevith here non,
Lytyl ne mekyl - now wete thou weel - 10
Tyl twelve dayes be comen and gon!

"Out of this land I wole, for sothe -
Me behoves nought longe dwelle,
To grete men and wyse bothe
Of these auntrys for to telle.11
Counseyl I have withouten dred
Hou I schal this maydyn quelle;
But sche take another red,
Sche schal wete of woo ful welle."

Whenne the emperour was iwent,
The qwene sayde untyl a knyghte -
Of knyghtys he was cheef and gent:
Porphurye, seys the book, he hyghte -
The qwene sayde: "With Kateryne
Doo me speke, yyf that thou myght!
Longyng I have in herte myne
To speke with here this ylke nyght."

That ylke nyght forgat he nought
To doo the qwenys comaundemente:
Unto presoun tho he here brought
And prevyly with here he wente.
They sawgh therinne ful mekyl lyght:
Goddys aungelys thedyr were sent,
That seten aboute that swete wyght,
Anoyntyd here with oynement.

Aungelys they seen here cors anoynte,
Ylke a wem and ylke a wounde.
Thorwgh Jhesu myght in every joynte
They maden here bothe heyl and sounde.
They hadde nought at the presoun dore
Istonden but a lytyl stounde,
Of the lyght they were adred so sore
In swownyng fel they to the grounde.

The maydyn ros and to hem came
And spak to hem with mylde mood:
"Rysys up in Goddys name,
And loke ye ben of counfort good!"
On Jhesu Cryst sche bad hem leve,
That for mankynde schedde Hys blood.
And whanne sche hadde this counseyl geve,
Up they resen and by here stood.

Thenne spak the qwene sone anon:
"Kateryne, fol weel is thee!
With Jhesu Cryst meche mayst thou don,
We have seen al thy prevyté."
"Looke thou," sche sayde, "upon Hym trowe
That Lord is of swylke pousté!
He nele forgete, He wole hem knowe
That serve Hym with herte free.

"I rede thee, dame, for thy behove,
Forsake Maxence and al hys myght
For that ylke Kyngys love
That made bothe day and nyght,
Hevene and erthe, beste and man,
Sunne and mone that schynys bryght.
The joye of Hevene schalt thou han,
And thou alsoo, I say, sere knyght!"

Thenne spak that knyght to Kateryne:
"What kyn joye may that be?"
Kateryne sayde weel and fyne:
"Porphyrye, I wole telle it thee:
It is the joye withouten ende
That eeren ne eyghen may here ne see,
No tungge of speke, herte thynke in mende -
That lovith God lel, this ordeynith He.12

"Ther is non in that ryche empere
That hungyr has, cold, ne threste;
Drede ne wraththe is ther non there,
But love and lykyng, joye and reste."
Thorwgh the wurdys that sche spake
Or mydnyght they were ful preste
To suffre deth for Goddys sake;
They levyd in Jhesu alther beste.

They here betaughte Jhesu, oure Lord,
And siththen wenten bothe away.
Two hundryd knyghtys servyd here at bord.
Whan sche tolde hem that othir day
Hou Goddys aungelys here servyd had
In presoun, that fayre may,
They levyd on Jhesu, as sche hem bad,
And forsoken here false lay.

For sche ne moste have neyther mete ne drynk
Thorwgh comaundement of the emperour,
Twelve dayes, nevere a pynk,
Sche hadde a betere vyaundour:
Cryst sente to here goostly foode
Fro Hevene, that is oure Saveour.
Aungelys that broughten here lyflode
Ther sche sat presounnyd in a tour.

And whenne the twelve dayes were gon,
Thenne com Jhesu, hevene Kyng,
With aungelys and maydenys many on,
For to speke with Hys derelyng.
He sayde, "For me thou hast ben led
In ful gret stryf and gret fandyng.
Looke that thou be nought adred.
I geve thee, doughtyr, my blessyng.

"Often I have thy prayers herde,
Whenne that thou hast me besought;
I schal nought fayle thee - be nought aferde -
To jugement whenne thou art brought.
Looke thou be stedefast, trewe and sekyr!
Of alle here peynys geve thou nought.
For of the blysse thou may be sekyr
That I have to myn handwerk wrought."

Whenne He hadde sayde these wurdis thoo,
Out of the presoun gan He glyde
To Hevene blysse, ther He com froo,
Hys aungelys upon ylke a syde.
Whenne Maxcense hadde idon his dede,
Hom he come with mekyl pryde;
With dukes, eerlys, and knyghtys he yede,
And pagys rennyng be here syde.

Upon that other day ful sone
He askyd of the maydenys staat,
Yif that sche were on lyve or none:13
"Sche is ful feble, weel I waat.
Fette here forth now, my gayler!
For hungyr and thyrst sche is ful mate."
The gayler broughte here to hym ther,
Ther as he sat in ryal sate.

Whenne sche was before hym led,
He sayde, "Welcome, damyseel!
Thou hast ben ful harde isted
Bothe in yryn and in steel;
But yit me thynkith that thou leve may
And that me lykith swythe wel.
Jhesu, that thou hast spoken of ay,
Thee behovith forsaken every del.

"For I wolde nought do thee to dede,
To my presoun I dede thee goo.
But sertys now thou mostyst nede
To chese thee on of thyngys twoo:
Oyther upon my goddys leve
And Cryst forsake for everemoo,
Or we schal thynke bothe morwe and eve
With stronge paynys thee to sloo."

Thenne spak the maydyn there sche stood
Among the Sarezynys so blak,
As Jhesu here taughte, that is so good,
With mylde wurdys withouten lak:
"Though I schole deye, thou may me trest:
Jhesu ne schal I nevere forsake;14
For Jhesu love I am ful prest
Gladly here my deth to take.

"For though that thou bethynke thee
Aftyr peynys grete and sare
And doo hem alle to pyne me,
To suffre hem I wil be yare.
Nevere in my lyf, be God above,
My flesch, my blood ne wole I spare
To spende hem for that Lordys love;
For me He suffryd mekyl mare.

"Blely wole I martyryd be
For Hym with peynys grete and smale:
He has me callyd to Hys frayré,
That schal be boote of al my bale."
Sche stood with a ful blythe mood
Before Maxence, to tellen here tale.
But there he sat he wex nygh wood;
For tene and angyr he was al pale.

He skypte and styrte and sore gan grame.
Ther com a Sarezyn forth anon -
Cursates, the book saith, was his name.
"Sere kyng," he sayde, "I am thy mon.
Yit I can a turnement make:
Of swylke on herdyst thou nevere er telle;15
Whanne sche it seeth, I undyrtake,
Another lessoun sche wole spelle.

"Foure wheles make schal I,
The twoo schole turne agayn the twoo,
Ful thykke idreven by and by
With wythir-hokes, here to sloo.16
Among the foure sche schal be went.
Here body schal have meche woo:
In smale peses sche schal be rent,
On erthe schal sche nevere eft goo."

Thenne bad Maxcence hys gayler
That he scholde the mayden take
And leden here into presoun ther,
The whyles he scholde the wheles make.
And or the thrydde day were gon,
They weren iwrought al for here sake.
So grym they were to loke upon
That many a man they garte quake.

Whenne the wheles weren al yare,
In the cyté were they set;
Many Sarezyn before hem ware.
The maydyn was ful gretly thret.17
Thanne bad the emperour hys men
That sche were out of presoun fet.
To ben awreke weel wende he then
Of that maydyn withouten let.

They ledde here to that ylke stede
There sche scholde in hem gon.18
Many a modyr chylde ther yede
For to loken here upon.
Sche knelyd adoun that place amydde,
To God of Hevene sche bad here bone.
But lystnes now what hap betydde!
Goddys help here com ful sone.

The whelys for to breke asundyr,
Aungelys were sent fro God anon.
On Sarezynys that were ther undyr
Venjaunse took He sone upon.
Among the folk they gunne to dryve -
Foure thousand there dede they slon.
Of hethene men were ded ful ryve,
But evyl hadde the maydyn non.

The Crystene men that there were
Of this myracle they were ful glad.
The kyng ne wyste what he dede there,
So sorweful was he and so mad.
The Sarezynys that ascape myghte
Hyyd hem faste - they weren adrad
For that ylke perylous syghte;
Of sorewe were they nevere so sad.19

Soone aftyr this folk was flowe than,
Untyl hym sayde hys wyf, the qwene:
"Weylaway, thou wrehche man!
Wherof makys thou thee so kene?
He hath weel kyd that God is He,
That born was of the maydyn schene.
I forsake alle thyne and thee
And al thy myght forevere clene.20

"Agayn the Lord that thou woldyst greve
Thy stryvyng is nought wurth a schyde;
That these Crystene men on leve,
Hys myghtynesse it goth ful wyde.21
Crye Hym mercy of thy gylt!
For yyf that thou to longe abyde,
When thou art ded thou schalt be pylt
In helle pyne for al thy pryde."

He wex for wroth bothe wood and wylde,
And to the qwene he sayde then,
"Thou art dysseyvyd - the devyl thee hylde! -
Thorwgh wyhchecraft of Crystene men.
I swere thee be my goddys goode
And be al that I can sayn:
But thou the sunnere chaunge thy moode,
With wykkyd deth thou schalt be slayn.

"But thou forsake Jhesu ful prest,
This schal be thy jugement:
Fyrst thy pappys of thy brest
With yrene hookes schole be rent;
And afftyrward withinne a thrawe
Thou schalt be hevedyd, ar evere I stent,
With houndys and foules al todrawe,22
Thorwgh myn owne comaundement."

Whenne this emperour was war
That sche nolde nought turne here thought,
On alle maner than bad he thar
That sche schoolde out of towne be brought.
Thenne lokyd sche to Kateryne,
And myldely sche here besought
To don here erende in that pyne23
To God of Hevene, that al hath wrought.

Thenne sayde Kateryne, here trewe frende:
"For sothe, dame, I telle it thee:
Of the joye withouten ende
Trust and sekyr may thou be,
Yif thou thy deth in Hys name has
That spredde Hys body upon the Tree,
As Hys swete wylle was,
For to maken oure soules free."

Men drowen here pappys of here brest
And hedyd here, as I have told.
Than bad the emperour ful feste
That no man scholde be so bold
For to beryyn here body -
For houndes scholde have it at wolde.
The soule com ful hastyly
Before Jhesu, that it fore was solde.

Thenne aftyrward, whenne it was nyght
Aftyr thys stronge passyoun,
Com Purphurye, the goode knyght,
And fond here lye withouten the toun.
In Crystene beryeles with good entent
He beryyd here with devocyoun,
Agayn the kyngys comaundement -
To suffre deth he was ful boun.

Thenne aftyr on that othir day
Men tolden the emperour ful rathe
That sche was beryyd, soth to say.
Than spak he wurdys grymme and wrathe:
"Enserches faste who this hath don,
My serjauntys that I clothe and fede!"
Manye a man that gylt hadde non
Was flemyd and prysounnyd for that dede.

Before this cruel emperour
Ful boldely com Sere Purphury
And seyde hym, there he sat ful sour,
Ryght ful of yre and felony,
"I wole thee telle who dede this dede,
Siththe thou hast so gret desyr:
I, Goddys servaunt, withouten drede,
I have beryyd Hys martyr.

"Thou was ful wood wytles, sertayn,
And lytyl thoughtyst thou on thy dede,
Aftyr that thou haddyst here slayn
The erthe whan thou here forbede.24
In helle pyne schal be thy playn
Withouten ende for thy qwed.
To Jhesu Cryst I take me ay
And I forsake thy false red."

Thanne he began to crye and rore,
And often he callyd hymself "caytyf,"
As he hadde be woundyd thore
With swerd, with spere, or with knyf.
Often he sayde, "Allas, allas,
That evere I was born of wyf!
Now Purphurye forsake me has
Wardayn of myn owne lyf!"

He hadde sorwe and care most,
Wundyr woo he was in wede.
He sayde, "Now I have hym ilost,
The beste knyght of al my lede!
My beste help bothe fer and nere
Overal he was at my moste nede.
The wyhche schal it abye ful dere
Thorwgh whom he hath don this dede!"

Hys knyghtys drowgh the knyght saunfayle
To and from in prevyté,
Thorwgh whom it was and whos counsayle
That he wolde icrystenyd be.
When they hadde counsayllyd to and fram
The knyghtys sayden, "Now so wil we!
We take us unto Crystyndam;
For drede of deth wole we nought fle."

Often he was in ful wroth plyte,
But nevere so wroth as he was thoo!
Here hedes he bad anon off smyte -
But therof gaf they nought a sloo.25
Here bodyys he bad in feeld be caste
With houndys to gnawe and bestys thoo.26
Here soules come ful swythe in haste
There joye and blysse is everemoo.

Pray we now bothe fyrst and laste,
Lytyl and mochyl, I rede thertoo,
That whanne that we be hens ipaste,
That oure soules mowe do soo.
Thenne aftyr on that othir day
The kyng was set in hys chayere;
Sarezynys that heelden here lay
On ylke a syde they sat hym nere.
Kateryne he bad forth brynge;
To fetten here wente hys jayler.
Beforn hym com that holy thynge
With blythe mood and gladful cheer.

Wrothly on here than lokyd he
And spak to here with gret envye:
"Mekyl woo hast thou do me,
Thou wyhche, ful of felounnye!
Thou hast maad my folk forlorne
And that thou schalt ful dere abye.
Ne schalt thou nevere eft me scorne,
Betraye me with thy sorserye!

"But thou wylt leve on alle wyse
Upon my goddys that al may weelde,
And mekely don hem sacrefyze,
Knele and up thyn handes helde,
This ylke day - and that als tyte -
Withowten the toun ryght in the felde
My men schole there thyn hed off smyte,
And so schole we thy servyse yelde."

This mayde forbar hym nought that tyde.
Sche sayde, "Nay, thou teraunt, nay!
That day ne schalt thou nevere abyde
That I schal leve upon thy lay.
Blessyd be Hevene Kyng above,
He hath me lent ful stable fay.
Blely wole I for Hys love
Thole deth this ylke day.

"Doo forth faste as thou began,
Thou fendes leme, thou fendes gaste!
For al that evere thou thynke kan,
I wole hem suffre al in haste,
For Jhesu love, my Spouse gay,
That born was of a maydyn chast.
My soule to Hym beteche I ay,
For I have lovyd Hym althermast."

Thanne that Sarezyn bad hys men
That they scholden lede that maydyn gent
Out of the burghe gates then
And geven here there here jugement.
Ful blythe and glad that fayre may
Out of the tounward sche went.
With many a man that ylke day
In the toun sche was bement.

Whan sche was led to the place, for sothe,
There sche scholde ihedyd be,
Wyves fele and maydenys bothe
Folewyd here of that cyté,
Makyng sorewe and wepynge harde
For that maydyn fayr and free.
Sche turnyd anon unto hemwarde
And sayde as I schal telle thee:

"I pray yow alle that ye gon hom,
Ye wyvys and ye maydenys bryght!
Dystourbles nought my martyrdom,
But bes ful glad: for He me hyght,
That Lord that is over alle thynge,
Soone aftyr when I martyryd be,
To Hevene blysse He schal me brynge."
Sche knelyd doun and up gan see,

To heveneward, there sche hadde tyght.
Sche sayde, "Jhesu, my love fre,
Of al that I leve in the ryght,
Lord, this day I thanke thee.
I thanke thee, Lord, now ful of myght,
For thou hast maad me on of thyne,
To wone among thy maydenys bryght
In Hevene, ther nevere schal be no pyne.

"Hevene and erthe, bothe lyght and derk,
Watyr and land, sunne and mone,
And al this world - this was thy werk,
That heyghe syttyst in holy trone.
I beseke thee today
That thou graunte me a bone
Out of this world ar I go away -
For that I wot schal be ful soone:

"Alle that in the name of me
My passyoun wole here or rede,
Or have me in good memory
In ony lond or ony lede:
Lord, yyf they praye in ryghtful case,
In poynt of deth or other nede,
Thou graunte hem for thyn holy grace
Of here prayer weel to spede.

"To suffre deth I am here, loo,
Ful prest, Lord, for love of thee.
This macegref is here alsoo
With drawen swerd, to hede me -
My soule greve he ne may,
For therof hath he no pousté.
Tak it to thee now, I thee pray,
Into the blysse that evere schal be!"

Soone as sche hadde maad an ende
Of here orysoun and here prayer
For alle that here hadde in mende,
And for hereself in this maner,
A voys fro hevene oure Lord dede sende,
That alle it herde that ther were:
"My gatys ben open, my leve frende.
Come to me, my doughtyr dere!

"To suffre the deth in the name of me,
Doughtyr, drede thou no wyght!
Befor me schalt thou corownyd be,
For hedyr hast thou longe ityght.
The cumpany of aungelys schene
Schal come agayn thy soule bryght
And brynge thee to this place clene
Ther evere is day and nevere nyght.

"Come, my doughtyr! come now smerte,
For herd is now thyn orysoun.
For alle that thee have in here herte
And blely here thy passyoun,
And alle that on thee calle in nede
With hertely devocyoun,
Of here prayer schole they spede
And therto have my benysoun."

Of this answere, when it was herd,
Iwundryd was many a man.
Sche stoupyd doun undyr the swerd -
Here swyre was whyt as ony swan.
Swythe he smot here hed off there,
But for the blood the mylk out ran.
Above here stood that manquellere -
He was ful blak, he was ful wan.

Anon come aungelys from the ayr
And flowen awey with here body
And beryyd it, that swythe was fayr,
In the Mount of Synay,
There gaf the lawe God of Hevene
Unto the prophete Moysy.
The soule com to Jhesu evene
With moche merthe and melody.

That day sche deyde - wetith weel it! -
Syxe aungelys deden here body lende
Into the Mount, there it is yit
And schal be to the worldes ende.
Of syke folk were ther nevere so fele -
Alle that evere wolde thedyr wende,27
Oure Lord sente hem boote and hele,
That alle bales may amende.

The toumbe that sche was layd in ther,
It was al maad of marbylston.
A strem of oyle fayr and cler
Sprong therof ryght ful good won -
And so it hath don seththyn evere,
Evere siththe that sche was slawe.
Alle Crystene folk that thedyr kevere
Here body wurschepith wundyr fawe.

Here day it fallith in Novembre,
In world as sche was martyryd here,28
On the sevynthe kalendes of Decembre,
As wreten is in kalendere.
He that wrot here lyf thus,
And alle that it rede and here,
The joye of hevene hem geve Jhesus,29
For Maryes love, Hys modyr dere!

The heyghe Kyng of alle menkynne,
That spredde Hys body upon Tree,
Brynge us out of dedly synne
And sende us love and charyté,
That we mowe to that stede wynne,
Withouten ende in joye to be,
That Seynt Kateryne is inne -
Amen, amen, pur charyté!

(see note)

[the] pain(s) of hell

(see note)

harsh and cruel

(see note)
believed; religion

true God
bold; (see note)
always made war


(see note); (t-note)

Alexandria; message

visit [the shrine or altar of]

Cattle; as their offering
above all other considerations
Live birds
to save their [own] lives

went for this reason
make angry
[he] himself

Minstrels; (t-note)


She had reached the age of eighteen; (t-note)

In; strong/confident
even if that brought disgrace/danger

entertained; (t-note)

asked; father's servants

caused; (t-note)

herself very certainly; (see note)


(see note)

(Maxentius's) palace
enjoying the festivities

they either had to
idols made of wood
at all costs

Where; (t-note)


the most excellent

Creator of us all
wellspring of wisdom; (see note)
such great

idols; in this manner; (see note)
deception (MED deceivaunce)

At; face

consider; value

educated in our excellent religion; (see note)

powerful; betake yourself
Such as; (see note)

in progress


what; I [will] forgive

[He] who created her [as]
to be called living devils; (t-note)
come to visit
One [Lord] of all; (see note)

was stirred
stratagems; clever tricks
caused; to be written rapidly; (see note)

[Saying] how; very young; (t-note)

sealed; proof of authenticity; (t-note)

promised them moreover

[As] soon; gone

Who; given
[bids] that


debate; (t-note)
By [the time] that
teach; (see note)
trust (faith)

wise in knowledge
(see note)

kept [imprisoned] there

Their arguments; one by one

She found her arguments in her heart; (see note)

each moment
very great modesty
ideas (devices)


apostles far and wide

to them by argument alone; (t-note)

scholars satisfied

(see note); (t-note)
anger; grew nearly insane
whether they could say anything

(see note)
Sir; think; been mistaken
are better for us
Who bore
courageously; (t-note)
We would be very unwilling to be lost (damned)

change at all; (t-note)

angered; fierce lord
ordered them to be bound; (t-note)
pay them as they deserved
burned; torch; (t-note)

caused; fire; (see note)

hair; (t-note)
injury; completely free; (t-note)


by my faith; (see note)
To convert to my religion
head; (see note)
I have no desire to take it away; (t-note)

in private and in public; (see note)

i.e., everyone; pay homage to it

do even more for you; (t-note)
as I advise
marble; (see note)


any worldly joy
everywhere (always)


darling; (t-note)
such a lover


By the time
into five pieces
trembled and twisted
make her jump

make her suffer
What good does it do to argue like this?

run [with] red blood
(see note)

Imprison her

will [go]; (see note)

I [must] have advice; doubt

Unless she decide differently
know a lot about misery

gone; (t-note)
leader; nobly born
was called

Arrange for me to speak



surrounded; person

saw; body
Each mark of injury

short time

Rise; (t-note)
be of good courage

given this advice

spontaneously; (t-note)
you are very fortunate

such power
will not; acknowledge; (see note)

advise; benefit



sir; (t-note)

kind [of]; (t-note)

(see note)
ears nor eyes; hear

great kingdom; (see note)


Before; prepared

best of all

committed her to
her (i.e., the queen); at the table; (t-note)
the next day

their; law

Since; (t-note)

not even a bit; (see note)
provider of food

ration to live on; (see note)

conflict; temptation
afraid; (t-note)

their tortures
for my creatures; (see note)

(see note)
went; (t-note)
by their

the next

Fetch; jailer


survive (live)

It behooves you; completely

Since I did not want to put you to death

certainly; must necessarily
To choose for yourself one of [these] two things

tortures; kill

(see note)

without fault


hold back

much more


remedy; suffering

anger and rage

jerked; trembled; was vexed; (t-note)

(see note)

an instrument of torture

I assure you; (t-note)
figure out; (see note)

against the [other] two


pieces; torn
She will never walk on earth again


While; wheels

caused to tremble


avenged; expected
Against; hindrance


mother's child
to look at her

listen; event happened
came to her


began to move forcefully

a very large number

Hastened; (t-note)


To him (the emperor)
Why do you insist on being so obstinate?
revealed, made known

want to injure; (t-note)
splinter of wood

Beg Him for mercy
wait too long

deceived; may the devil skin you; (see note); (t-note)
by my kind gods

Unless; very soon (the sooner)
a cruel (savage)

right now

breasts; upper body; (see note)
beheaded, before I pause

would not at all change her mind


Confident; sure
extended; Cross

tore; breasts; upper body
strictly; (see note)

in [their] control

for whom it was given; (t-note)

violent (cruel)

found; lying outside



Search out
officers; (see note)
put to flight; imprisoned


(see note)

furiously irrational

complaint; (t-note)
evil deeds

(see note)
"poor wretch"
As [if]

from a woman


in [his] madness; (see note)

people (subjects)

witch; pay for

led; without a doubt; (see note)

[Asking] through whom

deliberated back and forth

wrathful state
Their heads

I.e., everyone; (t-note)
have gone (passed) hence; (t-note)

throne (seat of authority)
had kept their own religion


hostility (malice)

witch; wickedness
utterly lost
pay for

believe completely

raise (hold)

reward your service

on that occasion
live to see

granted; faith

Go on
limb of the devil (fiend); spirit
All [the punishments] you can possibly devise
without hesitation
pure (chaste)
commit (commend) I ever
most of all

city gates

away from the town
By; same

Many [married] women; (see note); (t-note)

toward them

Trouble (Disturb)
be; has promised


approached spiritually

believe rightly

one of your own; (t-note)

boon (reward)


(see note); (t-note)

[among] any people
righteous cause

graciously to fare




So that all those who were present heard it

not at all (no whit)
In my presence
to meet
pure (shining); (see note)



They shall have their prayer answered
also; blessing



(see note)
executioner (man-killer)
pale (pallid); (see note)

flew; (t-note)
very much
Mount Sinai; (see note)


note it well



in great abundance
ever since
make their way thither

occurs; (see note)

(see note)

stretched out; Cross

attain to that place

for the sake of God's love