Simon Winter, The Life of St. Jerome
THE LIFE OF ST. JEROME: FOOTNOTES1 drawe, translated; to, for.
3 gostly, spiritual.
4 morwe, morrow (next day).
9 hit shulde mowe . . . other, it might remain available and be used to edify other people.
10 lyke, please.
11 latte, let.
12 is thynge, are things; knowe, known.
14 Cristemannys, Christian's; straytnes, discipline.
16 conne, know how to.
17 woot, knows.
18 kon, know how to.
21 to greet, too great.
22 dulnesse, folly.
23 moste, must.
24 yyf, if.
26 gove, given.
28 oo, one.
29 strayt doom, strict judgement.
30 trewantys, truants.
33 behote, promise; or, before.
38 mowe, be able.
40 ayeynward, on the other hand.
41 betechyth, teaches.
43 outher, either.
44 stably and hastly, firmly and quickly.
45 for, in order that.
53 moo at ones, more at one time.
62 areryd, raised.
72 lad, led.
74 or, before.
76 hevedyd, beheaded.
81 thefys, thieves.
94 Grewe, Greek.
99 dispose, arrange.
100 doom, judgement seat.
102 soeth, truthfully.
108 wordly, worldly.
111 woundes of, wounds from.
119 mysgovernance, evil living.
120 do hym repreef, harm his reputation.
121 woned, wont; dyde, put; cloth, garment.
122 wenynge, thinking.
125 comened, conversed; of, about.
127 dissese, distress.
129 tobrent, burned up.
131 lyche, like.
132 unnethe, scarcely.
133 seek, sick.
136 brennynges, burnings; sith, since.
147 also, so; what, whatever.
150-51 And when . . . hooly chirche, And because, prior to that time, no regular form of divine worship had been drawn up for use in holy church.
151 yche body, everybody.
156 woke, week; Gloria Patri, Glory be to the Father.
158 longe, belong.
161 but as, unless.
162 balk, beam; longed to be doo, was customary.
169 dyede of, took off.
172 was prayed, had been asked.
175 lerned . . . lyve, instructed by anyone alive as clearly as by him.
179 yeet, yet; enhaunsyd, exalted.
180 knowe to muche puple, known too many people; wont, customary.
181 dissolvyd, set free.
182 arayed, prepared for; for, because.
185 souned, sounded.
187 wenest thou, do you think (hope); lette, prevent.
189-190 That . . . . herd, "Do you think to see what man's eye (ye) has never seen, or hear what his ear has never heard?"
192 Rather, sooner.
193 speerd, confined.
196 but yyf, unless.
198 but of, except by.
207 stoole, robe; undeedly, immortal.
208 lassyng, lessening; morynge, increase.
220-21 lyke hit thee to answere me to, may it please you to answer for me.
222-23 to thy wylle al, everything you wish.
228 that, what.
251 thynk, should think.
256 leffull, allowable.
257 discordynge from, unequal to; acceptor, respecter.
260 grevys, hardships.
263 even, equal.
266 lyghtly, easily.
267 unkonnyng of myself, my own ignorance.
268 clepe, call.
269 heyghneth, raises.
273-74 wythoute comparison, incomparably.
274 lych, alike.
276 wofe, woven.
280 woost nevere, do not know at all.
287 aureol, golden crown.
293 dew, due (proper).
296 telle, should tell.
297 doo, due.
308 for, so that.
309 otherwhyle, sometimes.
313 oweth, ought.
313-14 Ne wene no man . . . evenyng Jerom unto thaym, No one should think it injurious to Saint John and the apostles to compare Jerome to them.
317-18 knawleche we, let us acknowledge.
322 of charité, charitably (indulgently).
325 doute, should doubt that.
328 on tyme, once.
330 verrey, true.
333 neygh, come near.
335 levynge of, abandoning.
340-41 This salutacion . . . Jerom, Jerome obtained for you this greeting.
341 went, turned (converted).
352-54 Iste est . . . . glorie induit eum, This is he who has wrought mighty miracles in the presence of God, and the whole earth is filled with his teaching. May he intercede for the sins of all peoples. The Lord has loved him and adorned him. He has clothed him with a stole of glory.
355-58 Deus qui uobis. . . . Amen, God, you who have deigned to reveal to us, through blessed Jerome, your confessor and priest, the truth of holy scripture and the mystic sacraments, grant, we pray you, that as we celebrate his feast day we may continually be instructed by his teachings and assisted by his merits. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE LIFE OF ST. JEROME: EXPLANATORY NOTESAbbreviations: see Textual Notes.
4 Seynt Jeroms day. September 30, in the ecclesiastical calendars the day for commemorating the saint's death.
5 Myghalmas day. September 29, the feast day of the archangel Michael; an important seasonal day in medieval and modern England, traditionally the beginning of the autumn "term" when the London law courts, and Oxford and Cambridge colleges, are in session.
9 mowe. Mowe, "to be able to," "have power to," is one of the forms of the infinitive of may. See MED mouen, v.(3) 2a, where all the examples, however, are of its finite use as an auxiliary.
51 xix. chapitris. Of the nineteen chapters, the following are printed in our edition: 1, 3, 5, 19. For the rest, see Hamer and Russell, Supplementary Lives, pp. 323-65 and H's edition of the text of L.
84 symonye. The buying or selling of ecclesiastical offices or orders, as here where the nuns charge fees for admission to their convent. For the origin of the name, see Acts 8:9-24.
93-166 The life of Jerome in LA (chapter 146 in Ryan's translation, 2.211-16) is the basis of Winter's chapter 1; in the notes we have indicated his occasional omissions and additions.
93-94 Saynt Jerom come . . . on a tyme. All the copies except Y abbreviate LA's description of Jerome's parentage and education, omitting especially the proper names that are numerous in this section of the narrative. The occurrence of the names in Y exemplifies an inconsistent pattern of interpolation and revision by the Y copyist or his exemplar (e.g., the interpolation at lines 125-32). Winter's work is ostensibly intended for laypeople, for whom the Roman names might be assumed to have had little meaning or devotional value. Following is the Y version of the opening passage (note the insertion of the statement that Jerome went to Rome before he was christened, a detail not supplied in LA):
Seynt Jerom come of noble kyn. & he was born yn a town callyd Strydon that is betwyx ii. contreyes of which that oon ys callyd Dalmatia, that other Pannonia. His fadres name was Eusebius, & yn his childhade he was sent to Rome to lerne [er] that he was crystenyd, & lernyd grew, latyn, & Ebrew. His master yn gramere was Donatus & yn Rethoryk Victorinus, & on a tyme . . . (fol. 5v)95 Eustache. Eustochium, consecrated virgin and daughter of the devout Roman widow, Paula. They (and other patricians, including the widow Marcella) befriended Jerome during his second period in Rome and followed him into exile in the East in 385. Paula founded and administered the monastic settlement in Bethlehem in which Jerome lived and worked during the latter part of his life. Hence the epithet for Jerome recorded in Saint Bridget's visions: "lovere of wydewis" (viduarum amator), quoted in Winter's chapter 19 (line 343). Jerome's long letter (no. 22) to Eustochium, the tract on virginity, includes his famous account of his "Ciceronian" vision, and also his account of his experiences in the Syrian desert. All the medieval vitae, and in turn Jacobus de Voragine in LA, draw on the letter for these two episodes. See LA, trans. Ryan, 2.213 and, e.g., Pseudo-Sebastian, PL 22.203-04, 205-06; for the letter itself, see Jerome's Epistulae, in CSEL 54.152-54 (the desert episode), 189-91 (vision); PL 22.398-99, 416-17; trans. in Schaff and Wace, A Select Library, 6.24-25, 35-36. On Jerome and his circle of friends (and enemies), see above, Introduction and note 1.
102-03 where thy tresour . . . hert. Compare Matthew 6:21: Ubi enim est thesaurus tuus, ibi est et cor tuum, "For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also."
113-15 Then he made hymself . . . ensample. This passage is adapted by Winter not from LA but from the Pseudo-Sebastian life of Jerome, PL 22.203: . . . probatissimorum quoque monachorum habitum factumque imitatus est . . . voluptatemque corporis . . . frangens, plerosque bonorum religiosorum,meliores fore suo docuit instituto.
116 cardinal prest. Jerome was actually ordained priest not in Rome but in Antioch, Syria, during his first long period of study and hermit life in the East. The term "cardinal priest," originally meaning a priest licensed to conduct services in churches other than where he was ordained, became current in Rome in the eighth century, and is applied to Jerome in the Pseudo-Sebastian life (ninth century); the office did not acquire high ecclesiastical dignity until the eleventh century, when the cardinal priests of the major Roman churches became the pope's senior advisors and administrators. Jerome is often depicted in late medieval art wearing the distinctive red hat of the Roman cardinals. See Rice, pp. 35-37.
120-24 And on a nyght . . . so to scorne hym. This humorous "transvestite" anecdote, which Winter translates closely from LA, is apparently first told in the mid-twelfth-century Vita Hieronimi now attributed to Nicholas Maniacoria (PL 22.186). See Rice, p. 28. Maniacoria plausibly links the trick played by Jerome's enemies to suspicions aroused by his friendship with Paula and other women. While there is no historical basis for the episode or the accusation, Jerome's departure from Rome was in part occasioned by public criticism of his relationship with the patrician widow Paula. See Kelly, Jerome, pp. 113-14.
121 Matyns. The service or "office" of Matins, comprising mainly the chanting of groups of psalms and readings from homilies and saints' lives, was sung by medieval monks and cathedral clergy in the middle of the night, starting usually around 2:00 a.m. This type of service, clearly formulated in the rule of Benedict in the sixth century, was already taking shape in Roman churches served by monks in the century after Jerome (Van Dijk and Walker, The Origins of the Modern Roman Liturgy, p. 17), but the episode as told in the life of Jerome is anachronistic.
125-32 and there he comened wyth the byshop . . . when sleep come uppon me. After his first sojourn in the desert communities of Syria, Jerome studied Greek and biblical exegesis with the theologian and opponent of Arianism Gregory of Nazianzus (died 390), who was briefly archbishop of Constantinople. Like LA, Y (fol. 6r) supplies Gregory's name (which Simon Winter omits), but also goes on to interpolate several lines justifying Jerome's departure from Rome as an act of divine providence. The passage, which also touches on Jerome's authorship of the life of the captive monk, Malchus, is adapted not from LA but from one or other of the Latin lives (compare PL 22.178-79 and 204-05):
& ther he comynd with the bisshop of the cyte of holy scriptur whos name was Gregorius nazanzenus. But his fleynge out of Rome was not only do be the malyce of his pursuers, but be the mercyfull prouydence of god, that the chirch of Rome thorough his laboure shulde haue holy wryt translatyd ynto latyn out of the trouth of Ebrewe tonge. Wherethorough the iewes sholde no lengyr scorne crystyn peple for lakke of knowynge of holy wryt. And the grekys, which mayntenyd hem that we had holy wrytt only of hem, shulde knowe that thorough Jeromes labour we haue [holy writ] more clerly out of the welle of Ebrewe than they hemsilf. But aftir seynt Jerome had studyed holy scripture with the seyd holy bysshop he went ynto Cyrye & ther he wrot the lyf of the monke that was take prisoner ynto hethenesse & aftirwarde he went ynto wyldernesse to do penawnce as he had longe desyryd & so gladly he wente therto that he semyd rather to fle than to go [i.e., to fly or float than to walk].After this the Y scribe or his exemplar resumes Winter's narrative of Jerome's life at and ther slep come vpon me (compare our edition, line 132: and when sleep come uppon me), thus omitting several lines of Winter's narrative proper (125-32).
126 desert. Here an abstraction, connoting the condition of solitude sought by hermits in desolate places.
127 Eustace. For "Eustache" and the source of this episode, see note on line 95, above.
130-31 blak lyche an Ethyope or a man of Ynde. Jerome's comparison of his sun-blackened skin with that of an Ethiopian is in LA (Ethiopice carnis: ed. Maggioni, p. 1004; trans. Ryan, 2.213), but not the Indian allusion. However, in a late-fifteenth-century manuscript of GiL (BL Add. 35928, fol. 125r), adapted independently from the fourteenth-century French Legende doree, we find the Indian comparison, in identical wording, but without the Ethiopian: "blak lyk a man of Ynde." Caxton, in his adaptation of the same material, has "black like to the skin of a Morian" [i.e., Mauretanian] "or an Ethiopian" (Golden Legend, ed. Ellis, 5.202). For fanciful medieval acccounts of Ethiopia and India, see Mandeville's Travels, pp. 117-18, 120-26.
134 sooth. Here meaning "boiled,"or "cooked," it is a variant of sothe(n), past participle of ME seethe. The desert ascetics scorned to eat cooked food (aliquid coctum - LA, ed. Maggioni, p. 1004; trans. Ryan, 2.213), even when sick. The word is misunderstood by W and H, who print it (plausibly enough) as an emphatic adverb soth(e), "truly," beginning the next sentence.
136 Y felt brennynges and sturynges of unclennes. Winter tones down the more graphic imagery of the LA account by omitting Jerome's confession that he often fantasized that he was surrounded by dancing girls: saepe choreis intereram puellarum (LA, ed. Maggioni, p. 1005; trans. Ryan, 2.213).
136-39 And therfore sith they fele . . . they are deed in soule. The moralizing parenthesis, including the quotation from St. Paul (1 Timothy 5:6), is not based on LA, but closely adapted from Jerome's own comment on his temptations in the desert in his Letter 22. Winter, however, aims the warning at a more general audience, men or wommen, in place of the single puella Jerome has in mind. See Jerome's Epistulae, CSEL 54.154; PL 22.399; trans. in Schaff and Wace, A Select Library, 6.25.
144-45 rule of the apostles. Winter again departs from his source here (LA does not mention an "apostolic" rule, or even the founding of a monastery as such), apparently drawing on one or other of the medieval vitae: compare PL 22.206: . . . monasterium construxit. In quo statuta ab Apostolis regula degens coepit . . . cum fratribus habitare. In the later Middle Ages, some of the newer orders (e.g., the Augustinians and Franciscans) invoked the vita apostolica as purer and more authentically biblical than the customs of the Benedictines.
145-46 translacion of holy wryt and unto his ende he lyvyd a virgyne. Winter here omits Jerome's own admission, mischievously quoted in LA (trans. Ryan, 2.213), that he was not in fact a virgin. Winter also omits at this point the famous story of Jerome and the lion, which follows immediately in LA (trans. Ryan, 2.213-15). He supplies two brief passages in lieu (see next two notes), culled from different portions of the other medieval vitae, before resuming the LA narrative with an account of Jerome's liturgical compositions.
147 Vitas patrum. Jerome in fact wrote only three lives of desert saints (Hilarion, Malchus, and Paul the Hermit), but in the later Middle Ages the great collection known as the Vitae patrum (translated by various writers into Latin from Greek in the fifth to sixth centuries) was commonly attributed to him, e.g., in the Pseudo-Gennadius life, PL 22.183: Plerasque Eremitarum Patrum vitas insignium veracissimo eloquio texuit historiae. For modern translations of the Vitae patrum, see The Life of St. Benedict (V[a]), Introduction, note 3, below.
147-49 He was also wyse . . . and a sufficient answere. This passage, not in LA, occurs in Pseudo-Sebastian, PL 22.207 (ut undecumque interrogatus fuisset, paratum haberet et competens sine aliqua dilatione responsum); it was borrowed not only by Winter here but also by the Y copyist in his additions to the lion episode. See below.
152-60 And for the pope knewe wel . . . apprevyd and auctorized forevere. This apocryphal story anachronistically attributes to the late Roman era the initiatives for liturgical uniformity taken by the Frankish emperor Charlemagne (who commissioned Alcuin to revise the mass books). However, a system of chanting all the psalms each week (so many each night of the week at the service of Matins, which comprised three successive "nocturns") had gradually emerged in the larger Roman churches by the sixth century and is also reflected in the Benedictine rule. For the Psalter divisions, see Taft, The Liturgy of the Hours in East and West, p. 136. Although Jerome himself was not responsible for this system, he did prepare three editions of the Psalter: in 383 ("Roman"), 385 ("Gallican"), and 405 ("Hebrew"). By the eighth century, he was also being falsely credited with preparing a lectionary of readings from the gospels and epistles for use at Mass: see the forged letter Ad Constantium (PL 30.487-88, 501-03) discussed by Vogel, Medieval Liturgy, pp. 320, 393; and Rice, p. 46n72, for further references.
161-63 a roop teyghyd unto a balk . . . in the monastery. The story of the pulley, which figures prominently in the iconography of Saint Jerome, is not in LA. Winter adapted it from Pseudo-Sebastian, PL 22.214, where it follows the preparation of the grave at the cave mouth. Winter here omits a long passage in his source quoting testimonials in Jerome's favor by famous authors such as Augustine and Sulpicius Severus, along with general comments on Jerome's embattled career (LA, trans. Ryan, 2.215-16). Some of this material forms the conclusion to the lion episode added by the Y scribe. See below.
164 foure score. Represented in S, H, and Y by xx over iiii; W simply has lxxx. Jerome's age is thus said to have been ninety-eight and a half, as in many copies of LA (ed. Maggioni, p. 1008; trans. Ryan, 2.215).
165-66 CCC. and xviii. All the extant copies have this corrupted date of 318. The sixteenth-/ seventeenth-century hand in the margin of S notes the date given in LA as 388, perhaps an error for 398, as in a variant recorded by Maggioni (p. 1009), and reflected in Ryan's translation (2.216). The correct date is generally agreed to be 420.
172 as I was prayed. According to Winter's Latin source, the Pseudo-Augustine epistle (PL 22.283-84), the person who asked Augustine to write this treatise was Sulpicius Severus (author of the Life of St. Martin of Tours).
177 att Complyn. The brief liturgical office of Compline was the last of the "hours" of the liturgical day in medieval monasteries, usually around sunset just before the monks went to bed.
186-87 Trowest thou . . . . a lytell vesselle. The forger of the letter here casts Augustine as the misguided rationalist intellectual, the archetypal Schoolman chided by Jerome for being distracted from genuine devotion by abstruse questions of metaphysics and logic. The first of the examples of pointless, impossible projects alludes to a tale (first told concerning an anonymous Parisian theologian by Caesarius of Heisterbach in the late thirteenth century) that appears in various late medieval collections of preachers' exempla and was commonly associated with Augustine by Renaissance artists: it tells how Augustine, musing on his great treatise on the Trinity during a walk on the sea-shore, came upon a child scooping sea water into a small container and claiming he was trying to empty the whole ocean into the vessel. When Augustine told him this was impossible, the child (really an angel or Jesus himself) replied that Augustine's own efforts to explain the mysteries of the Trinity were even more futile. See the published summary of an untitled 1955 paper by H.- I. Marrou, in Bulletin de la Société Nationale des Antiquaires de France, 1954-55, pp. 131-35.
189-90 That nevere mannys . . . . nevere mannys herd. Compare 1 Corinthians 2:9: "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."
192 mesure . . . mesured. Compare Matthew 7:2: "For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again." In W, the first mesure falls at the end of the verso of leaf (A5); but the order of the following two leaves has been inadvertently reversed, so that the sentence actually continues at the top of (A7) recto, not (A6).
203 so swete wordes into my throte. Winter's source, tam dulcia eloquia gutturi meo (PL 22.284-85) in turn echoes Psalm 118:103 in the Vulgate: "How sweet are thy words to my palate! more than honey to my mouth."
207 stoole of undeedly blisse. With Winter's rendering of his source (PL 22.285: illo induta immortalitatis deaurato vestimento) compare the Wycliffite Lay Folk's Catechism: [crist] wyle clothe oure sowlys . . . with the stole of vndedlynesse (ed. Simmons and Nolloth, p. 73, line 1115). See also below, line 354, and the explanatory note to lines 352-58.
210-13 day of Resurrection . . . be wyth oure Lord. Migne's edition of Winter's source reads rationis die, "day of reckoning," but the text printed by Klapper has the reading corresponding to Winter's: resurrectionis die (Johann von Neumarkt, Schriften, ed. Klapper, 2.266.22-23). After the word Resurrection, Winter adds a few phrases of his own (when alle mankynde . . . wyth oure Lord) echoing the language of 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 ("We shall all indeed rise again. . . . For the dead shall rise again incorruptible. And we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption: and this mortal must put on immortality"), and 1 Thessalonians 4:17 ("Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be taken up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ, into the air: and so shall we be always with the Lord").
226-32 Austyn, knowe thou . . . . and He in us. By attributing these ideas to the spirit of Jerome, the author of the Pseudo-Augustine epistle ingeniously implies that Augustine's famous account of life in Heaven near the end of the City of God was dictated to him by Jerome! See City of God 22.30, especially the following: "I shall be everything that men can honourably desire . . . 'so that God may be all in all' (1 Corinthians 15:28). He will be the goal of all our longings" (trans. Bettenson, p. 1088, and see PL 22.285).
233-43 O fadir Cirille . . . to mannys undirstondynge. This passage is another, more blatant instance of the tendency of Winter's source to imply that Augustine did not compose his most important theological treatises himself, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but rather that the spirit of Jerome dictated them to him. See also above, note on lines 226-32.
248-50 for he is entryd . . . amongst the hyghist mansions of blisse. Winter combines his source's image of Jerome's heavenly seat (sete, line 249), with an allusion to the well-known passage from John 14:2: in domo Patris mei mansiones multae sunt ("in my Father's house are many mansions"). But Winter's phrase hyghist mansions (line 250) also introduces the idea of Jerome's ranking in the celestial hierarchy, a topic explored further in Winter's chapter 4 (not printed here), where "Austin" reports a vision seen by Sulpicius Severus at the moment of Jerome's death, confirming that "he is of the hyest Ceteceyns of heuenly Jherusalem; and no-man dout but that, as his will is more nere to goodis will, so he may gitt there what he will, rather than other" (H, p. 338, lines 15-18; compare Hamer and Russell, Supplementary Lives, p. 333, lines 329-31). This last remark reveals an underlying purpose of the Pseudo-Augustine letters, namely to promote the idea of Jerome's power and influence in Heaven, as a way of enhancing his appeal as a patron saint and intercessor on earth. This theme continues in Winter's chapter 5, below.
252 noon ys more then he. See Matthew 11:11 ("there hath not risen among them that are born of women a greater than John the Baptist"); Luke 7:28 ("Amongst those that are born of women, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist").
257 acceptor of persones. Winter's source, Pseudo-Augustine, here echoes Acts 10:34 (non est personarum acceptor Deus, "God is not a respecter of persons") where Peter is proclaiming the doctrine that God saves people regardless of their nationality or social standing, provided they fear him and live righteously. Compare 2 Chronicles 19:7 (non est enim apud Dominum Deum nostrum iniquitas, nec personarum acceptio, nec cupido munerum, "for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor desire of gifts") and Galatians 2:6 (Deus personam hominis non accipit, "God accepteth not the person of man").
261 bothe lawes. The Old and New Testaments.
265 snare of scornynge of somme. Winter seems to have had some trouble with this passage and renders it in a painfully literal manner. The basic meaning of the Latin source (PL 22.287: ne aliquibus deridendi laqueum injicere videar) is "Lest I incur the risk of being scorned by some people." The text is corrupt in H, who omits snare of, and in W (suaar of). Y is almost identical with S.
267 unkonnyng of myself. Winter's rendering seems to mean something like "my own ignorance" but the sense of the Latin is more "my insane stupidity" (PL 22.287: vesanae mentis imperitia).
269 heyghneth. For other examples of this verb, in similar contexts, see MED heinen (a), "to raise, exalt, honor." It is variously rendered or misunderstood in the other copies: Y: heryeth; W: hiheth; H: honoureth. Compare PL 22.287: qui suos exaltat . . . et magnificat.
285 more or lasse blis. Compare the ME Pearl, lines 601-04: "Of more and lasse in Godez ryche / . . . lys no joparde / For þer is vch mon payed inlyche / Wheþer lyttel oþer much be hys rewarde" (ed. Andrew and Waldron, The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript, p. 82). See also lines 298-301 and the explanatory note, below.
287 more then he. I.e., John's third crown: Jerome has only two (see lines 275-76).
aureol. "Little golden crown," from corona aureola (see Exodus 25:25), denotes the disk-like head-adornment of a saint, commonly depicted in medieval and renaissance art, and now displaced in common usage by the words halo or nimbus. The emphasis on the aureola is anachronistic in this context, since it did not become a familiar Christian image until centuries after the age of Augustine and Jerome.
293 virgyns and doctours. Various different ways of classifying the saints existed side by side in the Middle Ages. The oldest system, reflected in early medieval service books and in some early legendaries, recognized apostles, martyrs (male and female), virgins (i.e., virgin females who were not martyred), and confessors (all other male and female saints), the latter category including ecclesiasts such as Augustine and Jerome. For a typical medieval discussion of the types of saints, see that of Jacobus de Voragine in LA, chapter 162 (trans. Ryan, 2.272-80). The author of the Pseudo-Augustine letter offers an alternative grouping, designed to give special prominence to the sub-category of confessors to which Jerome belonged, namely doctors, meaning "teachers," distinguished for their contributions to Christianity as a body of doctrine. Special pleading is a factor here, however, in that John the Baptist would not normally be classified as a doctor and Jerome would not normally be considered a virgin.
296 that thou telle. I.e., present subjunctive, "that you should tell" (Latin nunties: PL 22.288).
298-301 For ther is noon envye ther . . . joye of alle ys the joye of yche. Compare Augustine, City of God 22.30 (trans. Bettenson, p. 1088): "no inferior will feel envy of his superior." Augustine's argument in the final chapter of his great work rests on the doctrine of the communion of the saints, in that, although they differ in honor, all are as members of one body in which all are content with their place: "the finger does not wish to be the eye." Each has the gift of contentment with what he has. Clearly, however, Jerome's devotees are not at all content that he should remain inferior to even the highest saints. Pseudo-Augustine alludes to the communion of the saints here in order to justify his claim that Jerome deserves to be glorified equally with the apostles and martyrs, since they all participate in each other's glory.
309 scorned. I.e., mocked, deceived. The Latin text has quibus saepe deluditur mens nostra (PL 22.288). On true and false dreams in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, see Kruger, Dreaming in the Middle Ages, pp. 17-34.
311-12 that dyde grete thyngis . . . in his deeth. Winter's source reads: quoniam in vita sua magnifice fecit . . . . Quapropter magnus est in medio nostri, audaciously praising Jerome in the language Isaias uses to praise God's glorious deeds (Isaias 12:5-6): Cantate Domino quoniam magnifice fecit . . . quia magnus in medio tui sanctus Israel ("Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath done great things: shew this forth in all the earth. Rejoice, and praise, O thou habitation of Sion: for great is he that is in the midst of thee, the Holy One of Israel").
327 Farewelle, fadir, and pray for me. This short valediction was added by Winter, whose source ends at defraudatur desiderio (PL 22.289).
Chapters 6-18 are omitted here. For their contents see above, lines 62-90. For an edition based on L, see H, pp. 340-59. See also Hamer and Russell, Supplementary Lives, pp. 336-61.
328 Seynt Birgit. Bridget (Birgitta) of Sweden (1303-73), a noblewoman of Upland, and for a time lady-in-waiting to Queen Blanche, wife of King Magnus II, bore eight children to the wealthy Ulf Gudmarrson, whom she had married when fourteen years of age. But while at court in the 1330s she began to experience visions and a call to a life of penitence and pilgrimage, visiting the shrines of St. Olaf in Norway and St. James in Spain. When she was widowed (1343), she withdrew into religious seclusion and three years later founded at Vadstena the mother house of what became known as the Order of the Most Holy Savior, or Bridgettines (nuns and monks sharing a common church, but living in separate quarters, under the authority of an abbess). From 1349 Bridget lived mainly abroad in Italy or on pilgrimage elsewhere, supervising the growth of her order, and experiencing and recording her numerous visionary experiences. On the Bridgettine convent founded outside London by Henry V, see the Introduction, above. Winter's chapter 19, which forms a Bridgettine appendix to the lengthy collection of miracles from the Pseudo-Augustine and Pseudo-Cyril letters, comprises a rather flatly literal translation of two separate passages from the massive Latin collection of Bridget's Liber celestis (or Revelaciones) 4.21 and 6.60. See the modern edition, Revelaciones 4.119 (ed. Aili) and 6.204-05 (ed. Bergh). Neither editor makes use of a huge manuscript, London BL MS Harley 612, copied in 1427 from a Swedish exemplar in Vadstena by Syon Abbey monks (for the passages corresponding to Winter's extracts, see fol. 43, col. 166, and fol. 89, col. 349; however, it appears that Winter's chapter 19 was translated from a text more like that edited by Aili and Bergh: see the explanatory note to line 330). There are several Middle English versions of Bridget's Liber, two of which have been published. One of these, the abridged rendering in BL MS Cotton Claudius B. i., shares a few similarities of phrasing with the text of Winter's extracts but for the most part the two versions differ considerably. Winter's is, for the most part, more learnedly faithful to the Latin. See The Liber Celestis of St. Bridget, ed. Ellis, 1.278, lines 5-22, and p. 448, lines 11-19.
330 Thou art verry fayrnes and power. This corresponds to Tu ipsa pulchritudo et potestas in the Aili/Bergh edition of Bridget's Revelaciones (4.119), but is lacking in Harley 612, implying the latter was not Winter's immediate source.
331 alle thyngis lyve and have thayre beynge. Compare Acts 17:28: In ipso enim vivimus et movemur et sumus ("for in him we all live and move and are"), by which Winter must have been influenced in adapting Bridget's words: per quam sunt omnia, viuunt et subsistunt (Revelaciones, 4.119).
332-33 of whiche floure alle that neygh therto resceyve sweetnes in thayre tastynge. This literally translates omnes appropinquantes flori optinent suauitatem in gustu (Revelaciones, 4.119).
333 relevyng in thayre brayn. This translates alleuiationem in cerebro (Revelaciones, 4.119); today we might say "relief of tension."
340 salutacion. This word is made clearer in the Virgin's second speech (below, lines 345-51). It means here Bridget's prayer, to which the Virgin is responding; i.e., Bridget did not compose the preceding prayer solely by her own efforts but rather she was inspired to utter it through St. Jerome's "merits," i.e., his saintly virtues, which have become available after his death for Christ to use to secure for other Christians various kinds of heavenly blessings. On the doctrine of "merits" as used here, see New Catholic Encyclopedia 12.972.
343 lovere of wydewis. I.e., Jerome was the spiritual friend of devout widows such as the Roman patrician Paula, whose life offered many parallels to that of Bridget of Sweden.
345 And another tyme. See Liber Celestis 6.60 (Revelaciones 6.204-05), which is mainly about the doctrine of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary but closes with the brief passage that Winter translates here.
350 Pentecost day. This closing allusion is to the idea that the Virgin Mary was present with the apostles when they received the gift of the Holy Spirit in the upper room at Pentecost. Although she is not mentioned specifically in Acts 2:1-4, it is easy enough to infer from Acts 1:14 that she could have been present with the twelve. In medieval artistic depictions of Pentecost before the twelfth century, Mary is only occasionally seen with the apostles, but in the later Middle Ages, her presence is more and more taken for granted, although some modern commentators attribute this to her typological identification with Ecclesia, i.e., she is not present in person, but as a personification of the Christian Church, which was established at Pentecost. Bridget's visionary affirmation of the Virgin's personal reception of the gifts of the Holy Spirit refutes the typological rationale and implicitly validates the visionary experience of women like Bridget herself. Shortly after the events in the upper room, Peter is said to have repeated the eschatological prophecy of Joel (2:28) that the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit would be bestowed on men and women alike (Acts 2:16-18).
352-58 Iste est . . . Amen. The Latin coda, comprising a set of Latin liturgical texts for singing or reciting on St. Jerome's feast day, occurs after chapter 19 in S, H, and W, and in Y after the added chapter 20. All identify the text beginning Deus qui (lines 355-58) as an Oracio or prayer, here specifically the one (often called the Collecta or Collect) recited at the beginning of Mass and of certain of the "hours" of the liturgical Office. H and W identify the first text, Iste est (lines 352-54), as an anthem (Antiphona or Antifona), which was originally a refrain or responsorial chant accompanying the singing of a psalm, but the term came to be used of various kinds of refrains or responsorial chants sung during Office and Mass; it usually takes the form, as here, of a linked pair of short texts, each sung, as in a dialogue, by different parts of a church choir, before and after a lection or reading. W identifies the second anthem, Amavit eum, as a verse or versicle (versus), which might refer to the responsorial chant sung with or after the Alleluia, before the reading of the Gospel at Mass, but the terminology of responsorial texts fluctuates and overlaps. See Hughes, Medieval Manuscripts for Mass and Office, pp. 33-34, 39-41. W (fol. D5v) adds an alternative and longer set of texts (omitted here). The Collect for Jerome's day, Deus qui, is represented widely in medieval service books in England and abroad: it is edited, with a list of sources, in the monumental Corpus Orationum, number 1821, ed. Moeller et al. (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 190B.51-52. While this prayer was written with Jerome in mind, the other liturgical pieces are from the "Common," i.e., they are taken from a repertoire of similar optional texts available for singing at prescribed junctures in the services for the feast of any confessor saint (but especially a churchman). The texts selected for Jerome, as often, echo scripture: e.g., ante deum magnas virtutes operatus est (line 352) probably recalls Wisdom of Solomon 8:7, labores huius magnas habent virtutues ("her labors have great virtues"); with Stola glorie induit eum (line 354), compare Baruch 5:1, exue . . . stola luctus et vexationis tuae et indue te decore et honore eius quae a Deo tibi est in sempiterna gloriae ("Put off, O Jerusalem, the garment of thy mourning, and affliction: and put on the beauty, and honour of that everlasting glory which thou hast from God"). The image of the stola is especially appropriate in this context since it is one of the vestments (a sort of scarf) priests wear to celebrate Mass; as such it was also associated figuratively with the "Angelyk doctryne" of "doctors" like Jerome and Augustine, as in John Lydgate's poem The Interpretation and Virtues of the Mass, 153-55:
The stoole also, strechyng fer in leyngthSee Minor Poems, ed. MacCracken, p. 94. See also line 207, and note, above.
Ys of doctors the Angelyk doctryne,
Mawgre herytykes to stonde in his streyngth,
Fro Crystes law neuer to declyne.
THE LIFE OF ST. JEROME: TEXTUAL NOTESAbbreviations: H = Horstmann; L = London, Lambeth Palace Library MS 72, fols. 188v-202r; S = Cambridge, St. John's College MS N.17 [base text; formerly MS 250]; Y = New Haven, Yale University Library MS Beinecke 317, fols. 5r-21v; W = Wynkyn de Worde printed ed., London, 1499/1500 (Short Title Catalogue no. 14508).
36 we. So H, Y. S omits.
94 Hebrew. S: Hebrew3. H, W, Y: Ebrew. L: Hebrewe.
95 in. So H et al. S: iij.
96 bokes of poetys and of philosophres. Y (fol. 5v) adds: that is to say of Tullius & of Plato.
savouryd. So S et al. H: sauoure.
97 holy scripture. Y (fol. 5v) adds: whych him semyd were not eloquent.
108 seculer. So H et al. S: sedules. Compare LA (ed. Maggioni, p. 1003; trans. Ryan, 2.212): codices seculares.
114 chastysynge the luste . . . of the world. So S et al. H: chastising his body with the lust þerof.
119 mysgovernance of clerkes. So S. H et al.: misgouerned clerkes.
120 repreef. So S et al. L: represse.
125 comened. S. H: comende. Others: communed or commyn(e)d. See explanatory note to lines 125-32 for Y's variant version of this passage.
130 clad. So S et al. L: clothyd.
132 Y. So H et al. S omits.
134 sooth. So S. Y: sodyn.
136 Y. So H et al. S omits.
151-52 the emperour prayed the pope. So S. Y is more faithful to LA: The Emperor theodosius prayed þe pope callyd Damasus.
157 gospelles. So L. H: gospellis. Y: gospellys. S: gospelle.
179-81 Jerom, makynge his mervaylys . . . . trewe servaunt Jerom. Omitted accidentally in W.
181 mercys. So Y, H. S: meritis. Compare the Latin source, PL 22.284: Deus antiquae miserationis (i.e.,"God of enduring mercy").
182 my eyen. So S (in margin yyn) and W. L: myne eyen. H: myne yghene. Y: myne ey3ene.
183 lyght. So H, W. L, Y: syght.
186 sekest thou. So Y, H, L. S and W omit thou.
189 huyre. So S (in margin: here).
201 entyr. So Y, H. S: euere. W: euer entre.
207 undeedly. Y (fol. 8v) omits.
208 morynge. So S et al. H: mornyng.
220 havene. So H et al. S: heuene. The majority reading is corroborated by Winter's source, PL 22.285: salutis attingam portum.
227 seure. In the margin of S (fol. 9v) a contemporary hand has written sure.
230 defraudid. So Y, W, H. S: descaudid (in margin: descayued). Compare PL 22.285: fraudatur.
240 Sone. So H et al. S: Same. Compare PL 22.285: Filii a Patre generationem.
245 man. So H et al. S: mannys. Compare PL 22.285-86: Quam mirabilis ergo iste est, faciens tot mirabilia.
255 resons. So S, Y. W, H: resone.
260 grevys. So Y et al. S: greuous. Winter's source (PL 22.287) reads illius laboris gravia.
265 deme that. So Y et al. S omits that.
273-74 wythoute comparison. So S et al. H: incomparable.
293 dew. So H et al. S: dewly.
304 afore. So S (corrected in the margin to tofore), H. Y: before; L, W: tofore.
313 slawfull. So S. H: slewfull. Y: sloughfull. W: slenthfall. In S, the a is the single-bowled type, very rare in this manuscript, and could be a poorly-formed o. With the exception of W's garbled effort, all these are spelling variants of the late ME word slowfull ("slack,""sluggish"), deriving from the adj. slow rather than the n. slough or sloth, although this has influenced W's typesetter or exemplar.
314 the apostellis. So H et al. S omits.
315 mygth. So S (in margin: myght).
320 unto. So H et al. S: un.
329-30 Thou art verrey goodnes. H omits Thou art verrey.
338 wordly. So S et al. H: worldly (also Hamer and Russell); but the spelling wordly seems to have been quite common. Compare above, line 108.
350 Pentecost day. So S et al. Y: Whit sonday.
this. So H et al. S: his. The majority reading is supported by the equivalent phrase in the Latin Liber Celestis (see explanatory note to line 328, above): hanc tubam.
353 pro peccatis. So H et al. S: pro pitio.
The prologe into the lyfe of Saint Jerom drawe into Englyssh to the hyghe Prin-
cesse Margaret duchesse of Clarence.
Ryght noble and worthy lady, and my fulle reverent and dere gostly doughtir in
oure Lorde Jhesu, I have mynde hou on Seynt Jeroms day, that is the morwe after
Myghalmas day, aftir I had toolde you somwhat of the lyfe and myraclys of Saint
Jerom, I sayde that wyth oure Lordys help, when I had laysere, I wolde wryte his
lyfe and myracles on Englysh to the praysynge and worshep of oure Lorde and of
hym; and that not oonly ye shulde knowe hit the more cleerly to youre goostly
profyte, but also hit shulde mowe abyde and turne to edificacion of other that
wolde rede hit or here hit. Wherfore I desire that hit shulde lyke youre ladyshype
first to rede hit, and to doo copye hit for youreself and syth to latte other rede hit
and copye hit, whoso wyl. For ther is thynge therynne ful needfull to be knowe,
and had in mynde of alle folk. For in the first and secounde chapitres we may
lerne and take ensample to lyve a Cristemannys lyfe in penaunce and straytnes.
And in the vii. and ix. chapitres we may lerne to dye. And what ys more necessarye
to ony man or womman in erthe, then to conne lyve and dye. Sothly alle folke lyve
and dye and yche man that lyveth woot wel he shal dye, but fulle fewe ther be that
kon lyve and dye. What ys hit to konne lyve and dye but to lyve soo that we be
alway redy to dye, so to have oure hert and oure soule redy unto God, that we
abyde deeth as the comyng of a loved frende that we desyre to goo wyth, from
wrecchednes unto delytes. Thus lerne we to lyve and to dye, for hit is to greet a
dulnesse not to konne doo, nor be aboute to lerne that thynge that every man
doeth and moste nedys doo.
But yyf hit seme over hard to use the sharp dysciplyne of this scole wher we
shulde lerne this holsom lesson, then we may loke in the iii., iiii., and v. chapitres
and see there the greet reward that is gove to them that fervently labour aboute
And yyf the counfort of oo greet reward make not oure harde hertys to melt,
thenne may we see in the viii. and x. chapitres the strayt doom that we goo to and
the greet paynes that be put aftir this lyf unto alle trewantys, that the beholdynge
therof may breke oure dulnesse and hast us to goo lerne and travayle in this scole
And yyf we behote oureself longe lyfe, thenkynge that hit wil be long or this
reward or paynes come, and so waxe wery to abyde so longe in straytnesse and
tribulacion wythoute counfort, and therfore begynne to play wanton among the
lustys of the world and of the flesh whyle we schulde studye in this scoole, then
loke we in the vi., xii., xiii., xiiii., xv., xvi., xvii., and xviii. chapitre and there we
schall mowe see how mercyfully oure Lord, aftur He hath suffred His scolers to
be chastysed a lytil while, anoon He helpeth hem and delyveryth hem from theyre
disese nat oonly at theyre deeth but also in this present lyfe. And ayeynward hou
ferefully He betechyth alle trewantys as wele wyth temporall vengeaunce, as wyth
endlees paynes. And so begynneth in this lyfe bothe His reward and punyshynge
that we shulde outher for love of joye, or for drede of payne temporall or
everlastynge, stably and hastly sette us to entre and to abyde in this scole to lerne
to lyve and dye.And for we schulde be the better wylled hereto, at the last in the
xix. chapitre oure mercyfull Lady geveth hire blessynge to alle suche scolers. And
in alle these chapitrys, we may see the greet worthynesse and holynesse of hym
that was bothe a disciple and a mayster in this scoole, Saynt Jerom, hou holy and
strayte he was in lyvynge, and hou myghty and mervaylous aftir his deth, and hou
profitable hit is to do aftir hym, to trust hym, and to do hym servyse.
Thus ys this werke divided into xix. chapitris, that ye shull not ben over wery
to rede hit, whyle ye may at yche chapitris ende have a restynge place, and oon
tyme rede oon, another tyme anothir, yyf ye have leyser to rede no moo at ones.
The first chapitre is of the lyf of Saynt Jerom as hit is take of Legenda aurea.
The ii. is of his lyffe also as Saynt Austyn wryteth in his epistell.
The iii. is how Saynt Jerom apperyd to Saynt Austyn in greete joye and swetnesse
the same houre of his deeth.
The iiij. is how iiij othere men had a mervelous vision of Saynt Jerom the same
houre that he dyde.
The v. is how Saynt John Baptist and Saynt Jerom arayed bothe lyche apperyd
to Saynt Austyn.
The vi. is how by meritis of Saynt Jerom iii. men were areryd from deeth to
lyfe in destruction of an heresye.
The vii. is of a mervaylouse and a feerfull deeth of a hooly man clepid Eusebie
and how Saynt Jerom apperyd to hym and comfortid hym in the houre of his
The viii. is how the sayde iii. men that were areryd toolde of the paynes of Helle
and of Purgatorye.
The ix. is of the dyynge of the same iii. men and how Saint Jerom helped hem
in thayre dyynge.
The x. is how the soules of the same men aftir theyre deeth stood to fore the
doom and hou Saynt Jerom lad them to see the joyes of Hevene, the paynes of
Purgatory and of Helle, and syth baad them goo ageyn to theyre bodyes.
The xi. is of ii. myracles of Saynt Euseby that were doo or his bodye were
The xii. is hou an heretyke called Sabyman was mervaylously hevedyd and a
bysshop clepid Sylvan delyvered from deeth by help of Saynt Jerom.
The xiii. hou the fend apperyd in the lyknesse of the same Archebysshop Syl-
van and sclaundryd hym mervaylously and how Saynt Jerom help hym.
The xiiii. hou Saynt Jerom savyd ii. hethen men that come to visite hym from
thefys and from deeth.
The xv. hou Saynt Jerom saved ii yonge men from deeth that come from Rome
to visite hym.
The xvi. is hou an abbay of nonnes was distroyed for symonye and for covetyse
and hou Saynt Jerom savyd oon of thoo nonnes that was not gylty in that synne
when alle that other were kyllyd by vengeaunce.
The xvii. how iii heretykes were mervaylously puneshyd for offence agenst
The xviii. is how Saynt Jerom delyveryd a man out of pryson from oo lond to
anothir on a nyght.
The xix. is hou oure Lady preyseth Saynt Jerom as hit is wryton in the Revelacions
of Saynt Birgytt.
The liff of Saint Jerom as hit is take of Legend aurea. Capitulum i.
Saynt Jerom come of a noble kyn and in his childhood he was sende to Rome to
lerne and there he lerned Grewe, Latyn, and Hebrew, and on a tyme as he wryteth
hymself to the hooly mayde Eustache when he studyed bysyly nyght and day in
bokes of poetys and of philosophres by cause they savouryd hym bettir then
bokes of holy scripture, hit happed that about mydlent he was smyte wyth a
sodeyn and a fervent fevir in so moche that all his body was deed and coold unto
the hert. And when they were bysye to dispose for his buryinge sodeynly he was
ravyshyd tofore the doom of God. And there he was askyd what man he was and
he answeryd that he was a Cristenman. Then sayde the Juge, "Thow sayst not
soeth, for thou art an hethen man and nought a Cristenman; for where thy tresour
is there is thy hert. And thy hert is more uppon worldly bookys then uppon holy
wrytt." Saynt Jerom coude not onswere. But anoon the Juge bade bete hym hard.
And then he cryed and sayde, "Have mercy uppon me Lord, have mercy uppon
me." And they that stood bysyde prayde that he myght have forgyfenesse for he
was but yonge. And then Saynt Jerom swore tofore the Juge almyghty God, and
sayde, "Lord, yif evere Y have ony seculer or wordly bookys or reed uppon them
hereafter, then forsak me for a Cristenman." And by this ooth he was late goo,
and anoon he lyvyd ageyn and fonde hymself alle bewept, and his body sore and
full of woundes of the betynges that he suffred tofore the Juge and from thensforth
he studyed and redde al busily uppon holy bokes as he had doo tofore uppon
wordly bokes. Then he made hymself a monk and there he lyvyd so holyly,
chastysynge the luste of the flesh and wythstondynge the desyres of the world
that he caused other that were holy religious to be the better for his ensample.
When he was xxxix. yeere of age he was maad a cardinal prest in the chirche of
Rome. And after the pope was deed, alle folk cryed and sayde that Jerom was
worthy to be pope. But for as moche as he had used to blame the flesshlynesse of
mysgovernance of clerkes and religious peple, they wyth grete indignacion lay in
wayte to do hym repreef. And on a nyght when Saynt Jerom shulde ryse to
Matyns as he was woned, he dyde uppon hym a wommannys cloth and so went
to the chirche wenynge hit had be his owne, whiche his enemyes had layd besyde
his beddes side to make folk wene that he hadde hade a womman in hys chambere
and so to scorne hym. And whanne he sawgh thayre malice he fledde thens and
come unto Constantynenople and there he comened wyth the byshop of holy
scripture and syth went into desert. And there he suffred grete penaunce and
dissese iiii yeere togedir. Wheroff he wryteth unto the sayde holy mayde Eustace
and sayth, "When I was in desert in that greet wildernesse, where ys a full horribil
dwellynge place al tobrent wyth the sonne, me thought Y was amongst the delytes
of Rome. All my body was deformed and clad in sakke and my skyn made blak
lyche an Ethyope or a man of Ynde. Every day wepynge, every day waylynge,
and when sleep come uppon me unnethe Y wolde suffre my drye bones to reste
uppon the bare erthe. Of mete and drynke Y speke not, when they that be seek
use there but coold water and hit semed glotonye to ete eny thyng sooth. I was
felaw of scorpyons, and of wilde bestys, and yeet in this coolde body and in my
deed flesh Y felt brennynges and sturynges of unclennes. (And therfore sith they
fele suche temptacions that so dispyse thayre bodyes and fyght oonly wyth thayre
thoughtes, what suffre they, men or wommen, that lyve in delites? Soothly as the
apostel sayth they lyve in body but they are deed in soule.) But oure Lord ys my
wytnes that aftir many wepyngis full often tymes me semed that I was amongst
the companyes of angels."
Aftir he had lyved thus in desert iiii. yeere he went ageyn unto Bethleem, and
there offred hymself as a wyse beist to abyde by the crybbe of oure Lorde. And
there he gadrid many disciples and founded a monastery and lyved under the rule
of the apostles and lv. yeere and an half he travaylid about translacion of holy
wryt and unto his ende he lyvyd a virgyne. Also he wrote the lyvys of hooly
Faders in a book that ys called Vitas patrum. He was also wyse that what man had
askyd hym ony question he shuld anoon wythoute taryinge geve hym a resonable
and a sufficient answere.
And when ther had yet nevere as unto that tyme be sette no maner servyse in
hooly chirche, but yche body sang and radde what he wolde, the emperour prayed
the pope that he wolde ordeyne som wyse man to sett divine servyse. And for the
pope knewe wel that Saynt Jerom was parfyte and moost excellent in Latyn tonge,
Grew, and Hebrew, and in al wysdom, he commyttyd unto hym that office. And
thenne Seynt Jerom devydid the Sautere into nocturnes and assigned to yche day
in the woke a propure nocturne and ordeyned that Gloria Patri schulde be sayd
atte the ende of every psalme. He ordeyned also pisteles and gospelles for al the
yere and other thynges that longe unto divine servyse, and sent tham from Bethleem
unto the pope, which he and his cardinals resceyved and apprevyd and auctorized
forevere. Then wyth abstinence and labour he wex so wery and feble that when
he lay on his bed he myght not aryse but as he pullyd up hymself wyth a roop
teyghyd unto a balk, for to goo do the servyce that longed to be doo in the mon-
astery. After this he made hymself a grave in the mouth of the cave where oure
Lord laye when he was bore, and therafter he had lyvyd foure score yeere and
xviii. and vi. monthis, he dyed and was buryed, the yeere of oure Lord CCC. and
[Selections from the posthumous miracles: Pseudo-Augustine/Pseudo-Cyril
correspondence. The first miracle, Chapter 2, is omitted].
Hou Saynt Jerom the same houre that he dyede appered unto Saynt
Austyn. Capitulum iii.
That the meritis of moost hooly Jerom be not hid I shal telle that byfell me
thorow Goddis grace the same day of his passynge. For the same day and houre
that hooly Jerom dyede of the cote of filthe and unclennes and was clad wyth the
clothynge of joye and of undeedlynes, whyle I was in my celle thynkyng bysili
what glorye and myrthe was yn the blissid soules that joye wyth Crist, desyrynge
to make therof a short tretys as I was prayed, I toke penne and ynke to wryte a
pistelle therof unto moost hooly Jerom, that he shulde write ageyn to mee what he
felt in this matiere. For I knewe well that in so hard a question I myght not be
lerned so evidentlye as of hym of no man on lyve. And when I began to write the
begynnynge of my lettre sodaynly an unspekable lyght wyth a mervelous swetnes
of swete smell entred into my celle att Complyn tyme. And when I sawe hit I was
so greetly astonyed that I loste al my strength bothe of herte and of body. I wist
not yeet then that the mervelous hond of God had enhaunsyd His servaunt Jerom,
makynge his mervaylys knowe to muche puple. I wist not that God of His wont
mercys had dissolvyd His trewe servaunt Jerom from corruption of the body and
arayed hym so hyghe a sete in Hevene. But for my eyen had never saw suche a
lyght, my smellyng had nevere felt suche a savour, I was gretly astonyed at so
unherd mervayles. And while I thought in myself what hit myght be, anoon ther
souned a voyce out of the light sayinge these wordes.
"Austyn, Austyn, what sekest thou? Trowest thou that alle the see shalle be
putt in a lytelle vesselle or wenest thou to close all erthe in a lytil fyst, or to lette
the firmament from continuel movynge, or to lette the see from his wont cours?
That nevere mannys ye myght see, shalle thyn see? Or thyn eere huyre that nevere
mannys herd? Wenest thou to mowe undirstonde that nevere mannys hert
undirstood, nor myght thynke? What shalle be the ende of an endles thinge? What
shal be the mesure of thynge that may not be mesured? Rather shalle al the see be
speerd in a litelle pitt, rather shal all the erthe be hoold in a litylle fist, rather shal
the see ceese of ebbynge and flowynge then thow schuldist undirstonde the leest
part or portion of the joyes and blisse that blessed soules in Hevene have wythouten
ende, but yyf thou were taught by experience and tastynge of the same blisse as I
am. Therfore travayl thou not to do thyngys that be impossible til the ende of thy
lyfe be come. Seche thou not here tho thynges that may not be knowe but of hem
that be in blisse. But rather travayle thou to do suche dedys that thou may be in
possession ther of suche thyngys as thou desyrest to knowe here. For they that
ones entyr thyder goo nevere out ageyn."
Then I all astonyed for drede, and wythoute strengthe of herte, tok to me a lytel
booldnes and sayde, "Who art thou that droppest so swete wordes into my throte?"
"I am," he sayth, "Jerom preist to whom thou hast begonne to wryte a pistelle. I
am his soule that this same houre in Bethleem, levynge the birden of the flesh, am
joyned unto Crist and, felawed wyth alle the companyes of Hevene clad in lyght
and arayed wyth the stoole of undeedly blisse, goo unto the everlastynge kyngdom
of Hevenes. And from hensforth I abyde no lassyng of joye but morynge, when I
shal be joyned ageyn to the body that shal be glorified and the glory that I have
now aloone I shal have thenne wyth the body in the day of Resurrection, when
alle mankynde shal aryse and oure bodyes shal be chaunged from corrupcion and
we shal be ravyshed up into the eyre to mete wyth Crist, and so we shul alway be
wyth oure Lord."
Then I, Austyn, not cessyng to wepe, answeryd and sayde, "O thou worthiest
of men, wolde God Y myght be worthy to be thy footman. But have mynde on thy
servaunt, thoughe I be moost unworthy, whom thou lovedist in the world wyth so
greet affeccion of charité, that by thy prayeres I may be clensyd of synne, by thy
governaunce I may goo wythoute stomblyng in the ryght way of vertu, by thy
bysy defence I may contynuely be defendid from myn enemyes, and by thyn holy
ledynge I may come to the havene of helthe. And now lyke hit thee to answere me
to som thyngys that I schal aske thee."
Then sayde the soule, "Aske what thou wylt, knowynge that Y shal answere to
thy wylle al."
Then Y sayde, "Y wolde wyte yf the soules that be in Hevene may wylle enythyng
that they may not gette."
The soule answerid, "Austyn, knowe thou oo thyng: that the soules in that
hevenly blys are made so seure and stable that ther is no wille in thaym but Goddis
wille. For they may wille nothynge but that God wille. Therfore they may gete
what thay wille, and what they wille God wille and fulfyllyth hit. Noon of us is
defraudid of oure desyres ageinst oure wille, for noon of us desyreth onythynge
but God. And for we have God alwaye, as we wylle oure desyres are alway fully
fulfyllyd, for we abyde perfytly in God and He in us."
O fadir Cirille hit were to longe to write in this short pistelle alle thyngys that
that glorious soule answerid and made knowe unto me. But I hope wyth Goddys
help aftir fewe yeeres to come to Bethleem to visite his hooly reliques, and then to
declare more openly that I herde and have write. If Y shulde speke with the
tongys of alle men, Y myght in no wyse worthyly expresse hou sotylly, hou opynly,
and hou mervaylously that hooly soule abydynge wyth me many houres expressid
unto me the unité of the hooly Trinité and the trinité of Unité, and the generacion
of the Sone of the Fader, and the goynge forth of the Hooly Goost from the Fadir
and the Sonne, and tho ierarchies and ordres of angellys and of blessed spiritis
and thayre mynystracion and the blessid joyes of hooly soules and other thyngys
profytable and hard to mannys undirstondynge.
And aftir this the lyght vanysshyd from myn eyen, but the swete smelle abode
many dayes aftir. How mervaylous is this man, doynge so many mervayles and
shewynge to men so unwont wondres. Therfore to hym crye we and joye we and
geve we glorye unto his praysyng, for certaynly he is worthy all praysynge and
we are not sufficient to prayse hym, for he is entryd into the hous of oure Lord,
bryght and moost fayre, where wythouten doute he hath an everlastynge sete
amongst the hyghist mansions of blisse.
[chapter 4 omitted; chapter 5 follows]
Hou Saynt John Baptist and Saynt Jerom aperid to Saynt Austyn in a
vision. Capitulum Quintum.
No man thynk that I am so boold to say that Saynt Jerom is better then Saynt
John Baptist, for as oure Saviour berith wytnes, noon ys more then he. Nor that
Jerom is in the blys of Hevene tofore Petir and Poule and other apostelis that were
specially choose and halowid of Crist Hymself. Yeet though reson forbede to say
that Jerom shuld have more glorie in Hevene then thay, I see no resons why hit
shulde not be leffull to say that Jerom is even in blys wyth thaym whyle he was
not discordynge from them in hoolynes. And syth God is not acceptor of persones
but He discernyth the meritis of yche persone, He geveth to yche all that they
deserve. If hit seme that Jerom shulde have lasse joye then John Baptist and
othere apostelis, yeet the meritis of his hoolynesse, the grevys of his labours, the
bokys of his wrytynge, the translacion of bothe lawes, the ordinaunce of divine
servyce, the frutis and profytis of goodnes that he dyde not oonly to alle that be
now, but also to them that be to come, seme to preve that Jerom is even to them
But lest that I make a snare of scornynge of somme that wolde deme that for
carnal affeccion - wherthorough a man may lyghtly erre from trouthe - or for
unkonnyng of myself I lykned glorious Jerom to Saynt John Baptist or other
apostelis, I clepe God to witnesse that I shal telle a thyng that Y lernyd nevere of
man but by revelacion of almyghty God that heyghneth and magnifyeth His chosyn.
The iiii. nyght aftir his passynge, when I thought desyrously uppon the praysyng
of moost blest Jerom and began to wryte a pistil therof unto thee, about mydnyght,
when sleep come uppon me, ther byfille me a mervelouse vision. There come unto
me a grete multitude of angels and amongst them were two men wythoute com-
parison brighter then the sonne, so lych that ther semed no difference, saaf that
oon bare iii. crownes of goold sett fulle of precious stonys on his heed and that
other but ii. Bothe they were clad wyth mantellis moost white and fayre al wofe
wyth goold and preciouse stonys. They were so fayre that no man may ymagyne
hit; they bothe come neere unto me and stood still in scilence. Then he that had iii.
crownys sayd unto me these wordys: "Austyn, thou thynkyst what of trouthe
thou shuldest say of Jerom and aftir longe thynkyng thou woost nevere; therfore
we be come bothe unto thee to telle thee his blys.Sothly this my felaw whom
thou seest is Jerom, which is even unto me in all wyse in glorye as he was even to
me in lyvynge. That I may, he may; that I wylle, he wylle. And as I see God, so
seeth he God, knoweth God, and undirstondeth God, in whom is al blessidnes of
sayntes; nor no saynt hath more or lasse blis then othir but in as moche as oon
hath more cleere contemplacion and sight then another, of the fayrnes of God.
That crowne that I bere more then he is the aureol of martirdom by which I endid
my bodily lyff. For, though Jerom, for the travaylis and dissesis, penaunces and
affliccions, wordes and repreves, and other grevous thyngis whiche he suffred
joyfully for Crist and so beyng a verry martir, hath not loost the reward of
martirdom; yeet for he endid not his liffe by the swerd he hath not the aureol that
is geven in token of martirdom.The ii. other crownes that bothe he and I have are
the aureols that are dew oonly to virgyns and doctours by which they are knowe
Then answerid I and sayde, "Who art thou, my lord?" He saide, "I am John
Baptist that am come down to teche thee of the glorie of Jerom, that thou telle hit
to other puple. For knowe thou that the worship that is doo to ony saynt is doo to
alle sayntys. For ther is noon envye ther, as is in the world where yche man
seketh rather to be above then undir. Not so in Hevene, but there yche soule is als
glad of otheres joye and blys as yyf he had hit hymself. Wherfore the joye of yche
ys the joye of alle. And the joye of alle ys the joye of yche."
When these thyngys were sayde that blessid company went theyre wayes and I
awook of that swete slep and felt in me so grete fervour and brennynge of love
and charité that I felt never so moche afore. And from thensforth was ther noon
appetite in me of envye or of pryde as was tofore. God is my wyttnes, that ther is
so moche fervour of charité in me that I joye more of anotheres good then of
myne. I desire more to be undir alle then above ony. I say not this for to gete me
vayn praysyng, but for no man shuld wene that these were vayn dremys, wherby
we are ofte scorned, but a trewe vision by the whiche we are otherwhyle taught
Prayse we therfore God in this saynt, prayse we moost hooly Jerom that dyde
grete thyngis in his lyf and hath resceyved greet thyngis in his deeth. A man
oweth not to be slawfull to prayse hym whoom God hath magnifyed. Ne wene no
man to do wrong to Saynt John and to the apostellis, evenyng Jerom unto thaym.
For they wolde gladly, yf they mygth, geve hym of theyre glorye. Therfore thou
that worshippist Saynt John and the aposteles, worship also Saynt Jerom for he
ys even unto them in alle thyngys. Sykirly therfore, wythoute drede, knawleche
we wyth devocion that Jerom is even unto John, for yyf we say that he is lesse
then John we do derogacion unto John.
This tretys of the praysyng of Jerom I sende unto thee, fadir Cirille, prayinge
that thou scorne nat my litylle wytt, but that thou wylt rede these praysyngys that
I have write of charité. If alle tongys of alle men shuld prayse hym, they were not
sufficient. Worshipfulle fadir have mynde on me, synnere, when thou stondist in
that place where the body of Jerom lyyth and commende me wyth thy prayerys.
For noo man doute, whatever Jerom desyre in Hevene, he may gete hitt. For he
may in noo wyse be defraudid of his desyre.
Farewelle, fadir, and pray for me.
Here endyth the pistel of Saynt Austyn unto Cirille and begynnyth the
pistel of the same Cirille bisshop of Hierusalem unto Saynt Austyn of the
myracles of Saynt Jerom. And first hou iii. deed men were areysid and an
heresye destroyed by Saynt Jerom. Capitulum sextum.
[Chapters 6-18 omitted; chapter 19 follows]
Hou oure Lady commendyth Saynt Jerom in the Revelacions of Saynt
Birgytt. Capitulum undevicensimum.
When Seynt Birgit was on tyme in hir prayere she sayde unto oure Lord, "Blessid
be Thou, my God, that art iii. and oon, iii. in persones, oon in nature. Thou art
verrey goodnes and verrey wisdom. Thou art verry fayrnes and power. Thou art
verry ryghtwisnes and trouthe, by whoom alle thyngis lyve and have thayre beynge.
Thou art like a floure growynge syngulerly alone in the feeld, of whiche floure alle that
neygh therto resceyve sweetnes in thayre tastynge, relevyng in thayre brayn, delecta-
tion in thayre syght and strengthe in alle thayre membris. So alle that nyghe unto Thee
are made the fayrere by levynge of synne, wysere folewynge the wyl of Thee and
nought of the flesshe, more ryghtwys folewynge the profyte of the soule and the
worship of Thee. Therfore, moost pytefull God, graunt me to love that that plesyth
Thee, myghtyly to wythstonde temptacions and to despise alle wordly thyngys, to
hoold Thee busyly in myn mynde."
The moder of God, oure Lady, answerid, "This salutacion gate thee that good
Jerom by his meritis, that went from fals wisedom and founde trewe wisedom, that
dispysed erthly worshep and wan God Hymself. Blessid is that Jerom and blessid are
they that folew his techyng and lyvynge. For he was a lovere of wydewis, a myrrour
of alle that profyte in vertu, and a doctour and techere of alle trouthe and clennes."
And another tyme oure Lady sayde to Saynt Birgitt, "Doughtir, have thou in mynde
how I toolde thee that Jerom was a lovere of wydous, a folewer of perfyt monkis and
an auctour and defensour of trouthe, that gate thee by his meritis that prayere that
thou saydest? And now I adde to and say that Jerom was a trompe by whiche the
Hooly Gooste spake. He was also a flaume inflaumyd of that fyr that come uppon me
and upon the appostelis on Pentecost day. And therfore blessid are thay that here this
trompe and folew therafter." Explicit.
Iste est qui ante deum magnas virtutes operatus est et omnis terra doctrina eius
repleta est. Ipse intercedat pro peccatis omnium populorum. Amauit eum dominus et
ornauit eum. Stola glorie induit eum.
Deus qui uobis per beatum Jeronimum confessorem sacerdotemque tuum, scrip-
ture sancte veritatem et mistica sacramenta reuelare dignatus es, presta quesumus vt
cuius commemoracionem agimus eius semper et erudiamur doctrinis et meritis
adiuuemur. Per christum dominum nostrum. Amen.
Go To St. Jerome and the Lion