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John Lydgate: Saint Austin at Compton (c. 1420-40)


1 Lines 5-7: Abel, whose life was sinless, began [the practice of tithing: see line 2] / Simply to give delight to God; / Having figured out the sum total of all his produce and livestock

2 Lines 14-16: Sifting through the "figures" (archetypes/typological correspondences) of all kinds of sacrificial offerings, we find that the faith of the entire church rests symbolically on the bread and wine provided by [Melchisedech's] kingly abundance

3 Lines 33-34: This was his vow, [spoken] with great humility / Just as his intent [was] humble (i.e., his humble words reflected his inner purpose), in very plain language

4 To Abraham, who with these three fruits (i.e., wine, oil, and wheat)

5 Lines 53-55: For those interested in interpretation, these three [fruits] correspond first to priest-hood and then to renowned kings

6 Lines 61-64: In short the testimony of the patriarchs and prophets promises to increase the good fortune, prosperity, and grace of all people in their livelihoods, who pay their tithes properly with cheerful heart and demeanor

7 Lines 67-70: It is guaranteed that he will never prosper, / [But shall] lack [God's] favor and fertile abundance, / Causing their bounty to diminish with each season; / Whoever will not pay his tithe to Holy Church

8 Lines 84-86: He was honored by people of high and low rank, because, although Austin avoided worldly display, divine grace had trumpeted his praise, that heavenly sound, on account of his merits

9 By the infusion of the Holy Spirit

10 He always refusing to obey the command

11 "[I] pleaded [with] him in a manner befitting his [noble] rank["]

12 And was quite appalled by the facts of the case

13 If you withhold the tenth part [of your income] from God

14 Lines 187-88: It is always by my labor, without fail, year in, year out, that the land gets planted

15 Whatever kind of boast anyone cares to utter (i.e., regardless of what anyone else says)

16 For as long as you were present at the Mass

17 As long as they looked at the corpse, they could not be comforted

18 "Yes indeed," he said, "and I sorely regret it["]

19 To put an end to his afflictions in Purgatory

20 Lines 326-28: The last priest [of the Britons' time], resuscitated from his grave, / Absolved the other corpse with a bitterly severe whipping / In order to save his soul

21 Lines 337-38: Putting all the circumstances [of this event] in proper relation, / Weighing every aspect of this miracle [it seems to me that]

22 [As is] proven in many exempla (didactic stories) on this subject

23 With respect to the judging and sentencing of every kind of person

24 Lines 357-59: To do his utmost, with all his heart, by preaching the faith of Christ as it is grounded in the gospels

25 Supreme fullness of spiritual joy

26 Let nothing be lost, beyond what He has redeemed for us

27 This [literary] work of mine stands ready to be corrected [by others]


5-8 Abel began . . . tenthe of his substaunce. See Genesis 4:3-4. The story of Abel and Cain does not describe their offerings as tithes, but the term is common enough elsewhere in the Old Testament: e.g., Genesis 14:20 (Abraham's tithe to Melchisedech) and Numbers 18:21-29 (the people of Israel are to give their annual tithe of first-fruits to the priestly class of Levites for their sustenance and for sacrifices to God). For a vivid late medieval depiction of the Cain and Abel story as an illustration of just and unjust tithing, see the Wakefield Mactacio Abel, in The Wakefield Pageants, ed. Cawley, pp. 1-13.

9-14 Melchisedech . . . figurys out to serche. Genesis 14:1-24. See the discussion of "Tithes and Typology" in the Introduction to this chapter.

20 preceptis. A loaded technical term in this context, since there had been considerable controversy in Lydgate's time and earlier as to whether lay people's payment of personal tithes (on income derived from sources other than agricultural land and produce) to the parish clergy was mandated by God's law (sub precepto divino), or whether people were free (licet unicuique) to give the tithes to charity instead if they chose. See, e.g., the opening Latin and English documents recording the Archbishop's case against Friar William Russell of London in 1428, Chichele, Register of Henry Chichele 3.118-119 (cited above in note 30 of the Introduction).

25-26 Fro Melchisedech . . . sette of tithes a fundacioun. Lydgate, having sette . . . a fundacioun (i.e., provided one set of Biblical precedents for tithing), continues to offer further authorities in what follows. But his phrase Melchisedech doun to Abraham is problematic, since the two were contemporaries. More logical would be "Fro Abel doun to Abraham" or, better still, "Doun fro Melchisedech and Abraham," but the manuscripts concur on the awkward reading.

29-40 Whan Jacob sauh in his avisioun . . . I shal to Thee offren up the dymes. Genesis 28:10-22.

46-48 In hooly writ remembryd . . . were offryd up for tythes. E.g., Deuteronomy 14:23, 18:4; Malachias 3:10; 1 Corinthians 9:11, 13.

49-52 The Patriark of antiquyté . . . Gaff to Jacob his benediccioun. See Genesis 27, the story of Isaac, Jacob, and Esau, but there is no mention of oil, only of corn and wine. Jacob does, however, anoint his stone pillow at Bethel (Genesis 28:18).

51 which. The relative pronoun seems redundant.

78 As he tauht, sothely so he wrouhte. Docere verbo et exemplo (teaching by saying and doing) was a commonplace of medieval hagiography and Christian ethics. Compare Matthew 5:19 and, e.g., Chaucer's Parson in The General Prologue of the Canterbury Tales: "first he wroghte, and afterward he taughte" (I[A]497). But Lydgate might also have been prompted by Bede's account, where the missionaries are said to have "in all things practised what they preached" (Bede's Ecclesiastical History, ed. Colgrave and Mynors, pp. 76-77).

83 Unkouth myracles wrouhte with hys hand. Compare the Latin Narratio (line 3): diuini uerbi semina ex more gentibus erogando (" as usual sowing the seeds of the divine word among the heathen peoples"). The well-known seed metaphor derives ultimately from the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. Although Bede's account makes it clear that Austin and his followers were performing miracles (Bede's Ecclesiastical History, pp. 76-77, 108-09, 136-37), there is no indication that Austin himself undertook any missionary work outside of Kent, except for his ill-fated meeting with the Welsh bishops somewhere in the Midlands (pp. 135-41). Two of his colleagues, Mellitus and Paulinus, successfully established missions in, respectively, the London area and Northumbria (pp. 142-43). Later hagiographers, however, beginning with Goscelin of Canterbury in his Historia S. Augustini (end of the eleventh century), ascribe to Austin a variety of wanderings and miracles in other parts of England. The Narratio builds on this later legendary tradition, but in doing so creates a blatantly anachronistic situation: for Austin, traveling on a missionary journey, finds at Compton a fully functioning Christian community already in place, complete with a lord of the manor and a disgruntled priest. With some judiciously vague and repetitious narrative later in the poem (lines 129-44), Lydgate manages to suggest that Austin visited Compton after "By his labour was cristened al this lond" (line 131) as part of a second phase in his mission to "preche and teche devoutly the maneere / Of Cristes lawe" (lines 139-40), and to strengthen the faith of the people already converted ("By Awstyn tournyd," line 135). The Compton miracle's divine purpose was "To make hem stable in Articles of the Creede" (line 136).

85-86 grace hath his horn so blowe . . . the hevenly soun. In Middle English, "to have one's horn blown" often meant to have one's infamy proclaimed, but Lydgate is clearly using the expression positively to connote a kind of celestial trumpet fanfare bruiting Austin's fame as a holy man.

88 Cristes Apostil. None of the biblical apostles was ever credited with preaching in Britain (although the Glastonbury legend of Joseph of Arimathea was a move in that direction), but Bede and most of the English churches awarded the title "Apostle of the English" to Pope Gregory himself. At St. Augustine's, Canterbury, however, whose hagiographic traditions may be reflected here, the title was conferred on Austin. See Thacker, "Cults at Canterbury," pp. 221-46. The apostolic epithet is also used in the title of the Narratio in several of the manuscripts.

Brutis Albioun. According to an early medieval Welsh legend popularized and elaborated by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia regum Britanniae or History of the Kings of Britain (c. 1136), Britain was originally called Albion, but was renamed in honor of the Trojan prince, Brutus or Britto (great-grandson of Aeneas), who was believed to have colonized the island with his followers in the aftermath of the Trojan war.

89-91 He was Aurora . . . moost glorious to devise. Phebus and the day sterre (lines 89, 91) refer to Christ as the light of the world (compare John 1:4-5) and the sun of righteousness (see below, lines 108-09). Austin is figured here as the dawn, Aurora, i.e., the herald of the sun's light. Lydgate found suggestions for these allusions, which are developed with further hybrid classical-biblical imagery in the next stanza (97-104), not in the Narratio but rather in the elaborate rhetoric of Goscelin's life of Augustine and in the liturgy for the feast of a Confessor Bishop (such as Austin himself), specifically the readings at Mass drawn from Ecclesiasticus 50, where the high priest himself is compared to the "day star," stella matutina. For more details and references see Whatley, "John Lydgate's Saint Austin," pp. 215-16.

95 Cristes lawe. Lydgate uses the phrase here and later (line 140) to refer to the gospel message, in keeping with the strongly legalistic flavor, and emphasis on due process, of his rendering of the priest's and bishop's encounters with the tithe-breaking laymen. Compare lines 158, 174, 184, and also the opening of the Middle English poem, Saint Erkenwald, lines 33-34: "Now of þis Augustynes art is Erkenwolde biscop / At loue London toun and the laghe teches."

97-104 This was doon . . . of foure gospelleeris. The ultimate source of this image of the Church as a char (line 101, "car," or "chariot") drawn by four figures representing the Evangelists is Ezechiel's first vision (Ezechiel 1:4-21). Lydgate's question, "Who drove the car?" (line 101), i.e., who preached the gospel before the charioteer (Auriga, line 104) Austin, is rhetorical, since the car and the light of the Word were in effect absent from England for 150 years, the bishops of the fugitive Britons doing nothing to convert their heathen supplanters, the English. For further details and references, see Whatley, "John Lydgate's Saint Austin," p. 215n57.

98 Of th'Oly Goost by the influence. This sort of inversion of normal word order is typical of Lydgate's aureate, Latinate style. See below, line 107, and many others.

102 nyne speerys. The nine crystalline concentric spheres that make up the so-called Ptolemaic conception of the universe widely accepted among learned Christians until the end of the Middle Ages. Here Lydgate seems to equate the combined harmonic influence or "favor" of the spheres with God's grace.

108 sol justicie. The original biblical source of this phrase, "sun of righteousness," is Malachias 4:2, shortly after one of the most important biblical passages on tithing, Malachias 3:10-12.

122 Awstyn cam first doun. Today we would envisage Austin "coming up" from Italy, northwards towards Britain, but Lydgate may be picturing the Europe of the medieval mappae mundi or world maps, in which the Mediterranean was in the middle of the map and Britain below it in the bottom left corner.

126 five hundryd fourty and eek nyne. The real date of Augustine's mission to Kent was 597, which was accurately recorded in Bede's Ecclesiastical History and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The 38-year discrepancy is probably the result of scribal errors in whichever chronicle Lydgate consulted (see line 127), or possibly alludes to some obscure piece of numerological symbolism. The Narratio gives no dates, except the 150-year interval between the death of the British priest and Austin's mission.

136 Articles of the Creede. Mention of the Creed, which is recited by Catholic Christians, for example, after the reading of the Gospel at Mass, prompts Lydgate's readers to interpret the brief miracle tale that follows as an illustration of the basic truths of the Christian faith, but especially the eschatological ideas of judgment ("He shall come to judge both the quick and the dead"), mercy ("the forgiveness of sins"), and resurrection ("the resurrection of the body").

144 Comptoun. The name in the Narratio (line 2) is Cometona, from OE Cumb ("narrow valley"; compare Welsh Cym) + OE tun ("village," "town"). There is no Compton in Oxfordshire, but there are several in neighboring Warwickshire. The seventeenth-century antiquary, Sir William Dugdale, in The Antiquities of Warwickshire, 1.580- 81), identifies the story's locale as Long Compton, close to the Oxfordshire border, with its impressive thirteenth-century church on the road leading to Woodstock and Oxford. Although there are records of late medieval disputes at Long Compton between rival claimants to the tithe income, we are not aware of anything there that could have inspired the legend itself. Moreover, Long Compton is much further from Woodstock than "sex miliariis" (Narratio, line 3). Another claimant for the putative location is Combe, Oxfordshire, exactly six miles by road from Woodstock.

146 Aforn provided. Provide is used in its ecclesiastical sense, "appoint (someone) to a benefice," i.e., a stipendiary position as a priest. The phrase Aforn provided gives the impression that the priest was installed at Compton during the first phase of Austin's mission. See above, note on line 83.

158 He was bounde by lawe of oold writyng. In the Narratio (lines 23-24) it is Austin who later on formally reminds the lay lord about the fidelium consuetudines et . . . patrum traditiones ("customs of the faithful and . . . traditions of the fathers") according to which he must excommunicate him for refusing to pay his tithes. Lydgate has transferred the invocation to the priest and altered it to refer to written law. Tithe payment was hardly a fixed element of church law during the time of Austin himself in the sixth century, but enforcement of tithe payment begins to figure in both ecclesiastical and secular laws from shortly afterwards. The system of paying tithes specifically for the upkeep of the parish church (as opposed to devoting them to poor relief or hospitals) was not formalized in England, however, until the later tenth century, when it becomes explicit in the laws of King Edgar. By 1281 (i.e., probably around the time when the Narratio was composed), the Lambeth Constitutions order parish priests to make public and formal pronouncements, four times a year, of sentences of excommunication on everyone in their parishes who, among other offenses, was in arrears with their payments of tithes.

169-76 Hooly Awstyn . . . seyde unto this knyht. In this stanza, as in the previous (lines 161-68), Lydgate amplifies the story-line to emphasize legal due process (compleynt [line 170], caas [line171], poynt coupable [line 172], lawe [line 174], riht [line 174]) and the care taken by Austin to ascertain the merits of the priest's charges. The Narratio (lines 11-12) simply tells how, after hearing the priest's complaint, Augustine ordered the knight brought before him: "Quod audiens sanctus Augustinus precepit militem accersiri ante se."

192 cheef. Other copies such as London, BL MSS Lansdowne 699 (fol. 37v) and Harley 4826 (fol. 48r) have the more usual spelling, sheeff.

198-200 Each cursyd man . . . voyde shulde his place. The sense of line 198, Each cursyd man . . . grace, is repeated, apparently just to fill out the stanza, at 199-200: every maneer wiht . . . accursyd.

206 Seyntuarye. In late ME, seyntuarye can be a synonym for "cemetary" (see MED seyntuarye 4a); our punctuation avoids the lack of grammatical sense in MacCracken's unpunctuated line by assuming that Seyntuarye is used in apposition to "chircheyeerd" (line 205), and that the adverb ther refers forward to "afore the chirche style" (line 208). In one Lydgate manuscript, London, BL MS Harley 4826, fol. 48v (examined by Robert Upchurch), a later reader added the punctuation we have chosen to adopt here. Alternatively, it is possible that, unpunctuated, the difficult phrase Seyntuarye bood may mean "submitted to the sanctuary," i.e, the corpse respected the inviolable space of the church precincts. Either way, he is clearly envisaged as standing outside the churchyard. The Narratio (line 31) also states that he left the cimiterium.

213 To hooly Austyn made relacioun. The implication is that Austin, absorbed in celebrating Mass at the altar, has not seen what has been happening, since the corpse would have left the church at the other end of the building.

221 The crucifix ther baner was in deede. Baner is another detail Lydgate found in the full Latin Narratio (lines 35-36: precedat nos cum aqua benedicta . . . crucis dominice vexillum, "Let the standard of the Lord's cross,with holy water, precede us"), but not in Brompton (sed Crux cum aqua benedicta nos praecedat, ed. AS Maius 6.396). The image echoes Bede's description of Austin advancing with his monks to meet King Ethelbert of Kent for the first time: "But they came endowed with divine not devilish power and bearing as their standard a silver cross (crucem pro vexillo)" (Bede's Ecclesiastical History, pp. 74-75). But Austin's formula of conjuration (line 223, "In Jesu name, that lyst for man to bleede") is Lydgate's own contribution, introducing Christ's personal name and a direct reference to His physical death on the Cross. This marks a turning point, a shift from emphasis on justice and law towards themes of mercy and forgiveness.

222-24 Blissid Austyn . . . for to telle. The infinitive verb to telle (line 224) is dependent on gan compelle (line 222). Lydgate mingles indirect and direct speech in a way that modern English no longer allows. Another instance is at lines 263-66.

230 Geyn thy biddyng. See Austin's command, lines 197-200.

235 in the poorche abyde. In the Narratio (line 30), the tomb from which the cadaver rises is in ipso introitu ecclesiae ("in the very entrance of the church"). Many medieval English parish churches have a roofed porch or vestibule outside the main door leading into the nave. The excommunicated lord's meaning here presumably is that he could not even linger in this outermost part of the building, but was compelled to cross the churchyard and stand at the outermost gate or "style" (see line 208). At Long Compton, as in many other medieval parish churches, the south porch has a medieval sculpted sarcophagus built into its side wall. See the architectural plan in Salzman, ed., The Victoria History of the County of Warwick, 5.56.

244 patroun. The term here connotes the person who controls the right to dispose of the ecclesiastical benefice attached to the church.

249-50 This hundryd yeer . . . / And fifty ovir. The British lord claims to have been suffering in Purgatory for 150 years, i.e., since about the year 399 according to the mistaken dating of Austin's mission as 549 (see line 126 and the accompanying explanatory note). Lydgate transfers the 150-year figure here from Austin's later conversation with the resuscitated priest, perhaps to emphasize the extent of the excommunicate's suffering.

252-53 a dirk prisoun of desolacioun . . . / Mong firy flawmys, voyd of remissioun. The equivalent passage in the Narratio (lines 54-55) has animam ad claustra infernalia iugiter cruciandam incendiis emisi ("I sent my soul to the infernal prison house to be tortured ceaselessly in its fires"). This is another passage linking Lydgate's poem to the full version of the legend rather than to the Brompton Chronicle. But Lydgate adds the phrase voyd of remissioun ("devoid of forgiveness"), doubtless an allusion to one of the climactic phrases in the "articles" of the Creed: in remissionem peccatorum ("for the forgiveness of sins"). See above, line 136 and the accompanying explanatory note.

264 un. MS Harley 2265 and MacCracken's edition have vn. The form un for the preposition on is sometimes found in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century manuscripts.

271 heer he lith, cheef cause of my grevaunce. Notice that, despite his excommunicated state, the lord was buried in the privileged interior of the church of which he was patron. The parish priest, however, was buried outside in the churchyard. This social gap between patron and incumbent is emphasized in the Narratio, where, by contrast with the knight's durable mausoleum in the church porch, the priest's humble tombstone, if he ever had one, has sunk from sight (lines 62-63): nullum omnino sepulture alicuius indicium apparebat ("there was absolutely no trace of anyone's grave").

275-76 The word tretable (line 276) is used several times in the poem to mean "tractable, amenable, willing to cooperate," but in this and some other instances cited in the MED it seems to refer to the clear and precise utterance of prayers and liturgical formulas. Lydgate's handling of this section of the narrative is remarkably brief, completely bypassing the sensational character of the physical revival of the dead priest. Perhaps Lydgate preferred to focus the reader's attention on the urgently needed ritual of absolution. In the Narratio (and the Brompton abridgement) the miracle of resuscitation and resurrection is a rhetorical set piece demonstrating the power of Austin's prayer and God's power over life and death, as the dusty remains of the priest's pauca . . . ossa ("few bones," lines 66-67) miraculously reconstitute themselves to the onlookers' and the narrator's amazement: Res stupenda et humanis auribus inaudita! . . . puluerem pulueri aduniri et ossa neruis compaginari; ac sic demum humanum corpus de sepulcro animatum erigi ("An amazing event and one that human ears have never heard before! . . . Dust combines with dust and tendons join bone to bone, until at last the human body arises [as if] alive from the grave," lines 72-75). Lydgate makes use of this authorial apostrophe later in the poem. See the note on lines 329-30, below.

294 As the Gospel pleynly doth recoorde. Matthew 5:7, 7:1-5 and, perhaps, Matthew 5:38-48. Lydgate's line 292,"Thynk He that bouht us is evir merciable," appears to echo the Brompton version of the Compton legend (Nosti Frater quia misericors est deus, ed. AS Maius 6.396) whereas the Narratio (lines 82-83) has Austin invoke a famous psalm verse (Nosti . . . frater quod miseraciones dei nostri super omnia opera eius; compare Vulgate Psalm 144:9 [Septuagint]). But Lydgate makes use of this verse later in an important addition to his source narrative. See below, lines 339-52.

296 with rigour mercy may accoorde. Lydgate may be alluding here to the eschatological debate and final concord of the "four daughters" of God (mercy and truth, justice and peace, based on Vulgate Psalm 84:11 and frequently reflected in other works of Middle English literature, e.g., Langland's Piers Plowman, C-Text (ed. Pearsall) Passus 20.116 ff., and The Mary Play (ed. Peter Meredith), lines 1119 ff. Lydgate elaborates on the Narratio here to emphasize the importance of mercy and forgiveness made possible through Christ's suffering and redemption. The warning against "vengeableness" (line 295) is not reflected anywhere in his source. Lydgate offers much sterner advice about rigour in his Defence of Holy Church, lines 103-05 (ed. MacCracken, Minor Poems of John Lydgate, p. 34):
And Goddys foon manly make to sterue;        die
For any fals feynyd repentaunce
Of right lat rigour holden the ballaunce.
See also Norton-Smith's edition, pp. 32-33 and his notes, pp. 150-54.

304 Fro Purgatorye his trowblys to restreyne. Austin implies, in alluding to Purgatory, that the original act of excommunication was not such as to condemn the offender eternally to Hell itself without possibility of remission. Purgatory is not mentioned in the Narratio.

306 the same bond to unbynde. Compare Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus' words to Peter, the rock on which "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind (ligaveris) upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose (solveris) on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven." On this passage was based the commonplace medieval doctrine of the priestly power to condemn and absolve souls in this life and the next.

309-14 This passage, which has no equivalent in the Narratio, is part of Lydgate's apparent effort to focus narrative and theme around the idea of mercy and forgiveness. Austin's list of famous saints who were also "sinners" comprises three male apostles followed by two female penitents. Peter was guilty of so many lapses of faith that it is hard to know which one, if any, is meant here, but best known is his denial of Christ on the eve of the Crucifixion (e.g., Mark 14:66-72) which culminates in his own act of tearful self-recognition. Paul's offense is, of course, his early persecution of Jesus' followers, for which he is struck blind, reproached, and forgiven by God on the road to Damascus (Acts 7:58-60, 8:1-3, 9:1-30). Thomas the Apostle is famous for doubting the resurrection of Jesus (John 20:24-29); according to his apocryphal acts, he later preached the gospel and was martyred in India. Mary of Egypt, according to her medieval vita, was a prostitute converted, while on a pleasure trip to Jerusalem, by a vision of the Virgin Mary; she spent the last seventeen years of her life living as a penitent solitary in the desert beyond the River Jordan (see Ward, Harlots of the Desert, pp. 26-56). Mary Magdalen is likewise identified in medieval tradition as a prostitute who repented and reformed after the encounter with Jesus related in John 8:1-11. She also was credited with having lived out her life as a desert solitary (see Ward, Harlots, pp. 1-25).

313 Take to mercy. Literally, "Taken to mercy," i.e., received into or embraced by God's mercy because of their great repentance. In the structure of this sentence it parallels "relesyd" (line 310). See MED take(n) 8c.

326 last. The meaning is obscure, unless Lydgate means us to assume that the British priest and his lord were of the last generation of Christians before the pagan Anglo-Saxons overran the country. The priest of Compton in Austin's time would therefore be the first to hold the office there since the dead priest himself, 150 years before.

328 him. The pronoun is redundant, repeating the object already provided by "tothir corps" (line 327).

329-30 Here Lydgate splices together two phrases from different parts of the Narratio (lines 72-73, 88-89): Res stupenda et humanis auris inaudita ("an amazing event, by human ears unheard"), which occurs in response to the resuscitation of the dead priest; and [mortuus] mortuum . . . relaxauit ("the dead absolved the dead"), which occurs at the present point in the narrative. Lydgate has shifted the emphasis from the miraculous resuscitation to the idea and act of mercy.

337-39 Line 339 itself is a translation of Psalm 144:9 in the Vulgate: miserationes eius super omnia opera eius ("his tender mercies are over all his works"), which is quoted in the Narratio (lines 82-83) by Austin himself to persuade the dead priest to have mercy on the dead knight's soul. On the Psalm verse as evidence that Lydgate, in his treatment of mercy and justice in the legend of the emperor Trajan (see next note), is alluding here to Langland's Piers Plowman, see Whatley, "John Lydgate's Saint Austin," pp. 211-14.

343-47 Trajan, the Roman emperor who reigned 98-117, was widely believed in the Middle Ages to have been rescued from damnation (as a pagan) by the prayers and merits of Pope Gregory, who was moved by stories of the emperor's justice as a ruler. In the later Middle Ages some theologians believed that in order for Gregory to "save" Trajan, he must have prayed to resuscitate him and then baptized him. The situation is analogous to that in Saint Austin at Compton, where posthumous redemption is made possible by the performance of a sacrament (penance) after the resuscitation of a corpse.

356-60 Austin is offering the priest the chance to return to the world to help him preach the gospel to the English (as in the Narratio [lines 97-99]: quatinus . . . animas diabolica fraude deceptas ewangelii uerba seminando ad suum creatorem reducas? ("Do you wish me to pray to the Lord on your behalf that you might come back to us and plant the word of the gospel in order to rescue souls that have been snared by the devil's fraud?"). But Lydgate's rendering is more than usually tortuous.

359 deveer. From AN dever (Modern French devoir). Lydgate probably stresses the first syllable here (compare endeavor). The word could mean "duty" or "utmost," "what one can." See also line 408.

369 rest in pees. Compare the well-known Christian prayer for the dead, requiescat in pace ("may he/she rest in peace"), often abbreviated to R. I. P.

373-74 Feith, hoope, and charité, with hool affeccioun, / Been pilwes foure to reste upon by grace. We have found no direct medieval source for this delightful image of the four pillows of the contemplative life, which is perhaps intended to balance the four gospels preached by Austin the bishop, embodying the active life. Another of Lydgate's many additions to the narrative, the image appears to conflate the commonplace Christian image of death as a peaceful sleep with the more esoteric association between sleep and mystical contemplation of the divine. See Whatley, "John Lydgate's Saint Austin," pp. 219-20.

375 Day of the general resurreccioun. Medieval Christians believed that at the Last Judgment, the end of historical time, all the dead bodies will rise again, to be reunited with their souls for eternity. See the recent study by Bynum, The Resurrection of the Body.

377-92 In these two stanzas Lydgate greatly expands on the Narratio, in which Austin simply bids the dead priest rest in peace and pray for Holy Church (lines 111-13): Vade, karissime frater, et per longa annorum tempora quiesce in pace, simulque ora pro me et pro uniuersa dei ecclesia sancta ("Farewell, dearest brother, and rest in peace the long space of years, and also pray for me and for all the holy church of God"). MacCracken's editing is problematic here. Even though the first stanza clearly echoes some of the language of Augustine's farewell to the priest, MacCracken omits direct speech marks around the two stanzas, implying that they constitute Lydgate's own authorial address to the priest as a fellow contemplative. Appealing as this idea is, and while it is true that Lydgate is usually careful to identify speakers in this poem, with a judiciously placed "quod he" or other such device, there is clear precedent elsewhere in the poem for the situation here, where two passages of direct speech, from different characters, are juxtaposed without identifying markers. See the beginning of the dialogue between Austin and the corpse of the British lord, lines 223-25 ff.

383 The image of the ballaunce here could simply be that of the scales of justice tipping in favor of the righteous (i.e., orthodox) believers by excluding heretics from the church (compare Lydgate's use of the same image in his Defence of Holy Church, line 105, quoted in our explanatory note to line 296, above), but the idea of proper balance is also appropriate to the ship metaphor that follows here.

387-88 darnel . . . cokkyl. These terms for weeds that invade arable crops, alluding to Jesus' parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30), refer figuratively to the Lollard heresy. Compare the canceled Epilogue to Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale (CT II[B]1182-83). See also Whatley, "John Lydgate's Saint Austin," p. 221 and note 70.

401 On the medieval literary topos of the Lenvoy (lit., "the sending forth"), whether identified as such, as here and in Chaucer's balade, "Fortune," lines 73-79, or untitled (as in Chaucer's TC 5.1786-99); see the references provided in the note on TC 5.1786 in The Riverside Chaucer. Lydgate's appeal for readers to "correct" his work, owing to his own declining powers, is one variation on the so-called affected modesty topos, common in the prefaces and epilogues of medieval writers. Chaucer himself asks John Gower and the enigmatic "philosophical Strode" to correct his TC (5.1856-58).


Abbreviations: H = British Library, MS Harley 2255, fols. 24r-32v [base text]; M = Minor Poems of John Lydgate, ed. MacCracken, pp. 193-206.

19 oure. So H. M: our. Here and in numerous instances below, not recorded in these notes, we have supplied final -e after"r" where the scribe uses an"re" abbreviation overlooked by M.

20 whos. So H. M: whose.

30 cold. So H. M: cold[e].

65 dewté. So H. M: dew[e]te.

83 hond. So H. M: hand.

92 Ecliptik. So H. M: Ecliptic.

94 briht. So H. M: briht[e].

96 lond. So H. M: land.

113 pope. So M. H: pape. Here, and elsewhere in the text, the word pope was erased by a later reader.

177 froward. So H. M: [so] froward.

205 greet. So H. M: great.

215 consolacioun. So H. M: consolatioun.

221 ther. So H. M: their.

227 dewtees. So H. M: dew[e]tees.

280 boody. So H. M: body.

281 rewith. So H. M: rewithe.

296 accoorde. So H. M: accorde.

297 Jhesus. H: iheus; M: Iesus.

313 Take. So M. H: took.

326 last. So H. M: last[e].

337 Circumstauncis. So H. M: Circumstaunces.

359 affeccioun. So H. M: affectioun.

367 suffrith. So H. M: suffrithe.

373 affeccioun. So H. M: affecioun.

375 resurreccioun. So H. M: resurrectioun.

390 precious. M: p[r]ecious; H: pecious.

396 dewté. So H. M: dew[e]te.

397 doun. So H. M: doon.
Lyk as the Bible makith mencioun,
The original ground of devout offryng,
Callyd of clerkys just decimacioun
(In pleyn Ynglissh, trewe and just tithyng),
Abel began, innocent of lyving,
Oonly to God for to do plesaunce;
Of frut, of beestys, reknyd every thyng,1
Gaff God his part, tenthe of his substaunce.

Melchisedech, bisshop, preest and kyng,
To Abraham, a prynce of gret puissaunce,
For his victorye at his hoom comyng
(Whan Amelech was brouht unto uttraunce),
Offryd bred and wyn with devout obeisaunce.
Of alle oblaciouns figurys out to serche,
On bred and wyn by roial suffisaunce
The feith is groundid of al Hooly Cherche.2

Of good greyn sowe growith up good wheete;
With gret labour plantyd is the vyne;
The tenthe part is to oure Lord mooste meete,
To whos preceptis hevenly and divyne
We muste our heedys meekly doun enclyne,
Paye our dymes by His comaundementis:
Moyses lawe and eek bi the doctryne -
Foure Evangelistis and too Testamentis.

Fro Melchisedech doun to Abraham --
To sette of tithes a fundacioun --
Th'encrees of frute and al that therof cam
They trewly made there oblacioun.
Whan Jacob sauh in his avisioun,
Tyme that he slepte upon the cold stoon,
Sauh on a laddere goon angelis up and doun,
To God above made his avowh anoon.

This was his vowh, with gret humylité
Lik his entent, in ful pleyn language:3
"Lord, yif Thou list to conduite me,
Of Thy grace fortune my passage
To retourne hoom to myn herytage,
My fadris hous come therto bytymes,
Of good and tresoure with al the surplusage
I shal to Thee offren up the dymes."

Among al frutys in especial
By a prerogatif excellent and notable,
In worthynesse verray imperial,
Of reverence condigne and honourable,
By antiquité in templys custumable,
In hooly writ remembryd ofte sithes,
Wyn, oyle and wheete, frutis moost acceptable
To God above were offryd up for tythes.

The Patriark of antiquyté,
Callyd Isaak, next by successioun
To Abraham, which with thes frutys thre4
Gaff to Jacob his benediccioun.
The which thre in comparisoun
(Of the moralité whoso takith heed)
To preesthood first and kynges of renoun:5
Gret mysteries in oyle, wyn, and breed.

Breed and wyn to bisshopis apparteene,
Oyle longith for to anoynte kynges,
Offryng is maad of frutys ripe and greene,
Of foul and beeste and of al othire thynges;
Breefly conclude: all folk in there livynges
That trewly tithe with glad herte and face,
Patriarkis, prophetis in ther writynges,
Shal evere encreese with fortune, hap, and grace.6

And who fro God withhalte his dewté
Lat hym knowe for pleyn conclusyoun
Of warantise he shal nevire the,
Lakke grace and vertuous foysoun,
Of ther tresoure discrece in ech sesoun;
To hooly chirche that wil nat pay hys dyme,7
Lat hym adverte and have inspeccioun
What there befyl in Awstynes tyme.

I meene Austyn that was fro Rome sent
By Seyn Gregory into this regioun,
Graciously arryved up in Kent,
Famous in vertu, of gret perfeccioun.
His liff was lyk his predicacioun:
As he tauht, sothely so he wrouhte.
By his moost hooly conversacioun,
Into this lond the feith of Crist he brouhte.

Thoruh al the parties and provynces of the lond
Of Cristis gospel he gan the seed to sowe,
Unkouth myracles wrouhte with hys hond;
Worshipped he was bothe of hih and lowe,
Withouten pompe grace hath his horn so blowe,
Thoruh his merites, that the hevenly soun.8
He callid was, as it is wel knowe,
Cristes Apostil in Brutis Albioun.

He was Aurora whan Phebus sholde arise
With his briht beemys on that lond to shyne,
Callyd day sterre, moost glorious to devise.
Our feith was dirkid undir the Ecliptik lyne,
Oure mysbeleeve he did first enlumyne
Whan he outsprad the briht beemys cleere
Of Cristes lawe by his parfit doctryne,
Thoruh al this lond to make his liht appeere.

This was doon by grace or we were ware,
Of th'Oly Goost by the influence,9
Whan foure steedys of Phebus goldene chare
List in this regioun holde residence.
Who droff the chare, to conclude in sentence,
By goostly favoure of the nyne speerys,
Til blissed Austyn by goostly elloquence
Was trewe Auriga of foure gospelleeris?

Or Austyn cam we slombryd in dirknesse
Lyk ydolastres blyndid in oure siht;
Of Cristes feith was curteyned the cleernesse
Tyl sol justicie list shewe his beemys briht
Of his mercy to clarefye the liht,
Chace away oure cloudy ignoraunce,
The Lord of lordys of moost imperial myht,
Tavoyde away our frowarde mescreaunce.

First, fro the pope that callid was Gregory,
Awstyn was sent (who that list adverte -
Tyme and date be put in memory),
To Cristes feith whan he did us converte.
Our goostly woundys felte as tho gret smerte,
Deed was our soule, our boody eek despised,
Tyl Awstyn made us cast of cloth and sherte:
In coold watire by hym we were baptised.

Kyng Ethelbert regnyng that tyme in Kent,
Touchyng the date whan Awstyn cam first doun,
Noumbryd the tyme when that he was sent
By Pope Gregory into this regioun,
Yeer of our Lord by computacioun
Compleet five hundryd fourty and eek nyne,
As cronyclers make mencioun,
In ther bookys fully determyne.

Thus he began by grace of Goddis hond
(Wher God list werche may be noon obstacle),
By his laboure was cristened al this lond,
Feith of our Lord wex moor cleere than spectacle.
Whan th'Oly Goost made His habitacle
In tho personys that wern in woord and deede
By Awstyn tournyd, God wrouhte a gret myracle
To make hem stable in Articles of the Creede.

But to resorte ageyn to my mateere:
With th'Oly Goost Austyn sett afire
Gan preche and teche devoutly the maneere
Of Cristes lawe abrood in every shire,
Grace of our Lord did hym so inspire
To enlwmyne al this regioun.
Of aventure his herte gan desire
To entre a village that callid was Comptoun.

The parissh preest of the same place
Aforn provided, in ful humble wyse
Besouhte hym meekly that he wolde of grace
Here his compleynt as he shal devise.
In pleyn language told hym al the guyse:
Lord of that thorpe, requeryd ofte sithes
- He ay contrayre t'obeye to th'emprise10
Of Hooly Chirche - list not paye his tithes.

"Entretid hym lik to his estat,11
First secrely, next afforn the toun,
But al for nouht: I fond hym obstynat,
Moost indurat in his oppynyoun,
Toold hym the custom groundid on resoun -
He was bounde by lawe of oold writyng
To pay his dymes - and for rebellioun
I cursyd hym, cause of fals tithyng.

"This mateer hool ye must of riht redresse,
Requeryng you of your goodlyheede,
By youre discrecioun to do rihtwisnesse,
Peysen al the cas and prudently take heede
That Hooly Chirche have no wrong in deede;
Al thyng commytted and weyed in ballaunce,
Ye to be juge, and lyk as ye proceede
We shall obeye to youre ordynaunce."

Hooly Awstyn, sad and wel avised,
Kneuh by signes this compleynt was no fable
And in maneere was of the caas agrised,12
Fond that the lord was in that poynt coupable.
To reduce hym and mak hym moor tretable,
As the lawe ordeyned hath of riht,
Blissid Awstyn, in Cristes feith moost stable,
Took hym apart, seyde unto this knyht,

"How may this be that thou art froward
To Hooly Chirche to pay thy dewtee?
Lyk thy desert thou shalt have thy reward;
Thynk that thou art bounde of trouthe and equitee
To paye thy tithes; and lerne this of mee:
The tenthe part fro God yif thou withdrawe,13
Thou muste incurre of necessite
To been accursyd by rigoure of the lawe."

The knyht, astonyed somwhat of his cheere,
"Sire," quod he, "I wol wel that ye knowe
My labour is ay from yeere to yeere,
By revolucioun, that the lond be sowe;14
Afore this peple stondyng heere arowe,
By evidence to maken an open preef,
What maner boost that ony man list blowe,15
I with the nynthe wil have the tenthe cheef.

"Sey what ye list, I wyl have no lasse."
This was the answere pleynly of the knyht;
Hooly Austyn dispoosid hym to Masse,
Ful devoutly and in the peeplys siht,
Tornyd his face, comaundith anoon riht
Ech cursyd man that wer out of grace,
Tyme of his Masse that every maneere wiht
That stood accursyd, voyde shulde his place.

Present that tyme many creature,
Withoute abood or any long taryeng
Ther roos up oon out of his sepulture
Terrible of face, the peeple beholdyng,
A greet paas the chircheyeerd passyng,
The Seyntuarye bood ther a greet whyle,
Al the space the Masse was seyeng,
Feerfully afore the chirche style.

Withoute meevyng, alway stille he stood;
The peeple, feerful in ther oppynyoun,
Almoost for dreed they gan to wexen wood.
Afftir Masse alle of assent cam doun,
To hooly Austyn made relacioun
Of al this caas riht as it was falle.
Gaff hem a spirit of consolacioun,
Ful sobirly spak unto them alle.

Sad and discreet in his advertence,
Sauh by there poort that they stood in dreede.
First of alle with ful devout reverence
Cros and hooly watir he made aforn proceede
(The crucifix ther baner was in deede),
Blissid Austyn the careyn gan compelle
"In Jesu name, that lyst for man to bleede,
What that thu art trewly for to telle."

"Disobeisaunt my tithes for to paye,
Of yoore agoon I was lord of this toun,
My dewtees I did alwey delaye,
Stood accursyd for my rebellioun,
Made in my liff no restitucioun.
Geyn thy biddyng I myht no socoure have,
My cursyd careyn, ful of corrupcioun,
By Goddis angel was cast out of my grave.

"Thy precept was upon ech a side,
Beyng at Masse whil thou were in presence.16
No stynkyng flessh myht in the poorche abyde,
I was take up, lad forth by violence.
On me was yove so dreedful a sentence
Of curs, allas! Which to my diffame
Now, as ye seen, for disobedience
Disclaundrid is perpetuelly my name.

"Tyme whan Britouns were lordis of this lond,
Hadde the lordship and domynacioun,
The same tyme, as ye shal undirstond,
Of this village in sothe I was patroun,
To Hooly Chirche hadde no devocioun,
Offte sithe steryd of my Curat
To paye my dymes, hadde indignacioun,
Was ay contrayre, froward, and obstinat.

"This hundryd yeer I have enduryd peyne,
And fifty ovir by computacioun;
Greet cause have I to moorne and to compleyne
In a dirk prisoun of desolacioun
Mong firy flawmys, voyd of remissioun."
And whil that he this wooful tale toold,
Hooly Austyn with the peeple enviroun
Wepte of compassioun, as they to watire woold.

Austyn gan muse in his oppynyoun
To fynde a mene the sowle for to save.
Of this terrible doolful inspeccioun
The peeplis hertys gretly gan abave,
Whom to behoolde they cowde no coumfort have17
Al the while the careyn was in there presence.
Austin axith yif he knew the grave
Of thilke preest that gaf un hym sentence

"So long aforn for thy fals tythyng,
As we have herd the mateer in substaunce."
"Sothly," quod he, "there shal be no taryeng,
But ye shal have a reconysaunce
So ye wil digge and doon youre observaunce
To delvyn up his boonys dul and rude --
Loo! heer he lith, cheef cause of my grevaunce,
So fel a curs he did on me conclude."

Austyn fulfilled of grace and all vertu,
As ony pileer in our feith moost stable,
The deed preest in name of Crist Jhesu
He bad arise with woordys ful tretable,
Requeryd hym, by tokenys ful notable,
Yif he hadde, sith tyme that he was born,
Seyn that owgly careyn lamentable,
The deed boody that stood hem beforn.

"Sothly," quod he, "and that me rewith soore,18
That evir I knewh hym, for his frowardness.
I gaf hym counseil, daily moore and moore,
To paye his tithes, the pereil did expresse.
He took noon heed his surfetys to redresse.
I warnyd hym many divers tymes,
But al for nouht, I can weel bere witnesse,
Deyed accursyd, rebel to paye his dymes."

Whan the preest hath toold every deel,
With evy cheer and voys most lamentable
Quod Seyn Austyn, "Brothire, thou knowest weel,
Thynk He that bouht us is evir merciable;
By whoos exaumple we must be tretable
As the Gospel pleynly doth recoorde,
And for thy part be nat thu vengable
So that with rigoure mercy may accoorde.

"Thynk how Jhesus bouht us with His blood,
Oonly of mercy suffryd Passioun,
For mannys sake was nayled on the Rood,
Rive to the herte for oure redempcioun.
Remembre how thu dist execucioun
Upon this penaunt ploungid in greet peyne.
Withdrawe thy sentence and do remissioun,
Fro Purgatorye his trowblys to restreyne.19

"On hym thu leydist a ful dreedful bond,
To thee it longith the same bond to unbynde.
Tak this flagelle devoutly in thy hond,
On Cristes Passion in this mateere have mynde;
Many exaumple to purpoos thu mayst fynde
Of trespasours relesyd of there peyne,
Of Petir, Poule, and Sein Thomas of Ynde,
Of Egipsiacha, and Mary Mawdeleyne,

"Take to mercy for there greet repentaunce,
There was noon othir mediacioun.
Thu must of riht yeve hym his penaunce
With this flagelle of equité and resoun,
Sette on this careyn a castigacioun
As he requerith kneelyng afor thy face;
Best restoratif next Cristes Passioun
Is thyn assoylyng for his gret trespace."

Al this was doon by the comaundement
Of Seyn Austyn, the careyn ther knelyng;
Lord of that village was also there present,
Al the peeple moost pitously sobbyng,
From there eyen the teerys distyllyng.
The last preest, reised from his grave,
The tothir corps with bittir fel scorgyng
Assoyled him his soule for to save.20

Oo ded man assoiled hath anothire
(An unkouth caas merveilous texpresse),
Oon knelith doun, requerith of the tothire
Pleyn remissioun of oold cursidnesse;
Bete with a scorge, took it with meeknesse,
Hopyng that Jhesus shuld his soule save.
Seyn Austyn bad him in hast he shuld hym dresse,
Thankyng our Lord, ageyn unto his grave.

Circumstauncis in ordre to accounte,
Of this miracle peised every thyng,21
Mercy of our Lord doth everythyng surmounte.
To save and dampne He is Lord and Kyng,
Hevene and helle obeye to His biddyng,
By many exaumple expert in this mateere.22
Trajan the Emperour for his just deemyng
Isavid was by meene and the prayeere

Of Seyn Gregory, Pope of Rome toun:
Cause in his doomys he did so gret riht,
Rigour was medlyd with remyssioun.
For He that is of moost imperial myht
List advertise in His celestial siht,
Tween rihte and favour, rigoure and pité,
By doom and sentence of every maneere wiht,23
Mercy of virtues hath the sovereynté.

Unto the preest aforn that I you toold
Seyn Austyn made a straunge questioun,
To cheese of tweyne, whedir that he woold:
To goon with hym thoruh this regioun,
The feith of Crist by predicacioun,
For his part groundid on scripture,
To doon his deveere of hool affeccioun;24
Or to resoorte ageyn to his sepulture.

"Fadir," quod he, "with supportacioun
Of your benygne fadirly pité,
I you requeere to graunte me pardoun,
Unto my grave I may restooryd be;
This world is ful of mutabilité,
Full of trouble, chaung, and varyaunce,
And for this tyme, I pray you, suffrith me
T'abyde in reste from worldly perturbaunce.

"I rest in pees and take of nothyng keep,
Rejoisshe in quiete and contemplacioun,
Voyd of al trouble. Celestial is my sleep
And, by the meene of Cristes Passioun,
Feith, hoope, and charité, with hool affeccioun,
Been pilwes foure to reste upon by grace
Day of the general resurreccioun,
Whan Gabriel callith t'appeere aforn his face."

"O brothire myn, this choys is for thy beste!
Contemplatiff, fulfilled of al pleasaunce,
I pray to God sende thee good reste,
Of goostly gladnesse sovereyn suffisaunce.25
Pray for us and have in remembraunce
Al Hooly Chirche in quiete to be crownyd,
That Crist Jhesus dispoose so the ballaunce
That Petris ship be with no tempest drownyd.

"I meene as thus: that noon heresye
Ryse in thes dayes, nor noon that was beforn,
Nor no darnel growe nor multeplye,
Nor no fals cokkyl be medlyd with good corn.
Cheese we the roosys, cast away the thorn.
Crist boute us alle with His precious bloode:
To that He bouht us lat no thyng be lorn,26
For our redempcioun He starf upon the Rood."

The knyht, present lord of the same toun,
Thes miracles whan he did se,
Austyn axith of hym this questioun,
"Wilt thu," quod he, "paye thy dewté?"
He grauntith his axing and fyl doun on his kne,
Moost repentaunt forsook al the world as blyve,
With devout herte and al humylité
Folwith Seyn Austyn duryng al his live.

Go litil tretys, void of presumpcioun!
Prese nat to ferre, nor be nat to bold;
This laboure stant undir correccioun,27
Of this miracle remembryd manyfold,
In many shire and many cité toold.
To you echon to whom I it directe,
Bycause I am of wittis dul and old,
Doth your deveere this processe to corecte.

by scholars

(see note)

[He] gave

(see note)

the land of the Amalekites; destruction


appropriate; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)

also; [gospel] teachings

(see note)

(see note)
angels walking

please; guide
let my journey succeed

to arrive at in good time
goods; excess

In temples according to ancient custom
many times; (see note)

(see note)

(see note)
Gave his blessing to Jacob

is appropriate


whoever withholds from God what he owes; (t-note)

notice; consider

(see note)
way of life


Marvelous; (see note); (t-note)

(see note)

(see note)

the dawn; the sun god; (see note)

Astronomical equator; (t-note)

perfect; (see note)

before; aware; (see note)
(see note)


spheres; (see note)



"the sun of righteousness"; (see note)
To reveal the light of his mercy

To dispel; obstinate unbelief

whoever cares to take note
are remembered

at that time; pain

To speak of; (see note)

(see note)


wishes to work

grew; glass
those; were
(see note)

Austin, kindled by the Holy Spirit,

By chance
(see note)

Previously appointed; (see note)
Hear; describe [it]
all the particulars
village; [although] often asked

would not

in private; in front of

[I] told
[Namely, that] he was; (see note)

excommunicated him, because

You are required; goodness

Weigh; case

[Let] all the evidence be considered
judge; determine [it]

serious and judicious; (see note)

[He] determined; guilty [as charged]
reform; amenable


According to your deserts
bound by

be liable


in rows

sheaf; (see note)


at once
excommunicated; (see note)
Throughout his Mass; sort of person

I. e., in the presence of
tomb [inside the church]
as the people looked on
rapidly; (t-note)
Waited there outside the Cemetery; (see note)
time; being said

They became almost crazy with fear
with [mutual] consent
(see note)

[He] gave; (t-note)

perceptive; awareness
[He] saw by their demeanor

(see note); (t-note)
corpse; (see note)
who chose to bleed for mankind

A long time ago

payment of debts
Against your command; (see note)

[The power of] your command was everywhere

(see note)
given (imposed)
[By] which to my shame


lord; (see note)

[Although] many times urged by
[I] had

(see note)

(see note)
devoid of forgiveness

around [him]
[if] they would [dissolve] into water

At; spectacle
grew disconsolate

on him (i.e., the corpse); (see note)

If; rite [of exhumation]
(see note)
dire; bind

(see note)
clear and deliberate



[and I] made clear the peril
to repay his arrears

[He] died

With somber countenance

(see note)

may be reconciled; (see note); (t-note)

As an act of pure mercy

[formally] forgive [him]
(see note)

(see note)
scourge (whip)

(see note)

Granted mercy (forgiven); (see note); (t-note)

Inflict; chastisement

remedy except for
absolution; transgression

(see note); (t-note)

(see note)

One; (see note)

Beaten; [he] endured

(see note); (t-note)

judgment; (see note)

Justice; joined; forgiveness
He (i.e., God)
Was pleased to acknowledge

(see note)

(see note); (t-note)

[the] help

[So that] unto

allow; (t-note)
To wait

pay no heed to anything; (see note)

(see note); (t-note)
[Until the] day; (see note); (t-note)
summons [us] to appear

(see note)

to send you

(see note)

(see note)
cockle; mingled

bought (redeemed); (t-note)


debt; (t-note)
at once

(see note)
too far

Concerning; in various ways

Do what you can; narrative


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