The Life of St Werburge

Bradshaw, Henry

STC 3506
Ringler 3506 and TP 2179; also TP 631 ("Honour / ioye / and glorie / the toynes organicall"), TP 1266 ("O frutefull histore / o digne memoriall"), TP 1375 ("O thou disciple of Tully most famous") and TP 2298 ("With hert contrite accepte my supplicacion"). Ed. Edward Hawkins, Chetham Soc. 15 (1848); ed. Carl Horstmann, _The Life of Saint Werburge of Chester, by Henry Bradshaw_ (London, 1887), EETS o.s. 88. Although the work is not a translation of any one identifiable text, Bradshaw drew on a Latin Life of St. Werburg attrib. to Goscelin, in addition to a number of other sources (see Horstmann, pp. xvi-xxvi). UMI microfilm reel 27

Here begynneth the holy lyfe and history of saynt Werburge / very frutefull for all christen people to rede
London: Richard Pynson,1521.

Composition Date: 1513 [see Sig. S2v].

sig: [char-2 1]
¶Here begynneth the holy lyfe and history of saynt werburge / very frutefull for all christen people to rede.
sig: [char-2 1v]

¶The prologe of .I._T. in the honour and laude of saint Werburge / and to the prayse of th e translatour of the legende folowynge.

H_onour / ioye / and glorie / the toynes organicall
E_ndeles myrthes wi t h melodies / prayse ye all th e princes
N_ourisshed in vertue / intact / as pure as cristall
R_elefe to all synners / o Werburge lady maistres
5 I_n grace thou passed / all other and in goodnes
Whan thou was present in this mundayne lyfe
None was the lyke / wydowe / mayde / ne wyfe

B_y diuyne grace / to vs a ryche present
R_eioyce we may / in Werburge one and all
10 A gemme of vertue / a virgin resplendent
D_ilect of our lorde (in ioye and blis eternall
S_urely she is set) to intercede and call
H_er mouth nat cessyng / for them to call and crye
A_nd in her trust / of synne to haue mercy

15 O good lady maistres / declyne thy syght a_fer
And graciously beholde / thy seruaunt chast and pure
Henry_Bradsha / sometyme monke in Chester
Whiche only for thy loue / toke the payne and laboure
Thy legende to translate / he dyd his busy cure
20 Out of latine / in Englisshe rude and vyle and] ande and 1521
Whiche he hath amended / with many an ornate style

Alas of Chestre / ye monkes haue lost a treasure
Henry_Bradsha / the styrpe of eloquence
Chestre thou may wayle / the deth of this floure
sig: char-2 2
25 So may the citezens / alas for his absence
So may many other / for lacke of his sentence
O swete lady Werburge / an holy Abbasse glorious
Remembre Henry_Bradsha / thy seruaunt most gracious

In hym remayned no vice ne presumpcion
30 Enuy and wrath / from hym were exyled
Slouth ne Uenus in hym had no dominion
Auarice and glotony / he vtterly expelled
No vice in hym regned / his felowes he excelled
As clene as cristall / he bare these vertues thre
35 Chastite / obidience / and wylfull pouerte

O cruell deth / whiche art the perfite ende
Of this noble clerke / and euery mortall thyng
Agaynst the no man may hym defende
Thou causest wo / languor / and anguissyng
40 And who on this / wolde haue remembryng
Howe from erth / to erth he must agayne
He wolde dispise all thynges that be mundayne. Uale.

The table of this boke.

FIrst the prologue of the translatour of this litell treatyse. Cap .i.
¶A descripcion of the realme of merciens of the boundes and commodites of the same. Cap .ii.
¶A descripcion of the geanologie of saynt Werburge and howe she descended of .iiii. kynges of this lande / and of the riall blodde of Fraunce. Cap .iii.
sig: [char-2 2v]
¶A playn descripcion of the actes and chiualry of kyng Penda grauntfather to saynt Werburge / and of his noble and vertuous progenie. Ca .iiii.
¶Howe after the deth of kyng Penda / and of his prince Pe[a]da Peada] Penda 1521 his seconde son Wulfer father of saynt Werburge was elect to be kyng of merciens Cap .v.
¶A lyttell descripcyon of the noble maryage bytwene kyng Wulfer and saynt Ermenilde the kynges doughter of Kent / and of the solempnite done at the same season The syxt chapitre.
¶A breue declaracion of the holy lyfe and conuersacion of saynt Werburge / vsed in her tender youth / aboue the comon cours of nature. Cap .vii.
¶Howe this yonge virgin saynt Werburge was desired of dukes and erles in mariage / and of the reasonable answere she gaue to them in auoydyng suche wordly pleasures. Cap .viii.
¶Howe the false Werebode desyred kyng Wulfer to haue his doughter Werburge in mariage / and howe he graunted thervnto. Cap .ix.
¶Howe the quene saynt Ermenilde wolde nat consent ther-to / and how her bretherne saynt Wulfade / and Ruffin were agaynst the sayd mariage. Cap .x.
¶How the false Werebode complaynned vpon saynt
sig: char-2 3
Wulfade and Ruffyn to kyng Wulfer / and was the cause of their deth. Cap .xi.
¶Howe kynge Wulfer was conuerted / and toke great repentaunce for his offence. and by the counsell of saint Ceade was a deuout man / and a good benefactour to holy churche / and founder of diuers places Cap .xii.
¶Of the feruent desire and singular deuocion saynt Werburge had to be religious / and of the dayly supplicacions she made to her father for the same. Cap .xiii.
¶Of the reasonable and meke answere saynt Werburge gaue to her father / whan he moued her to haue ben maried. Cap .xiiii.
¶How saint Werburge was made an nonne at Ely after her desire vnder saint Audri lady and abbasse. Ca. xv.
¶Of the great solemnisacion kyng Wulfer made at þ e gostly mariage of saynt Werburge his doughter at Ely / to all his louers and frendes. Cap .xvi.
¶Of the holy profession and gostly conuersacion saynt Werburge vsed at Ely in religion vnder saint Audri. xvii.
Space set for ¶.A litell treatise of the lyfe of saynt Audrie abbasse of Ely / and of her holy conuersacion and great deuocion which Audrie was aunt and cosyn to saynt Werburge. xviii.
¶A breue rehersal of the lyfe of saint Sexburge graunt-
sig: [char-2 3v]
moder to saint werburge / and of her comyng to Ely to her syster Audrie th 'abbasse from Shepay monasterie. c .xix.
¶Howe saint Ermenilde after dethe of kynge Wulfer was made a no[n]ne at Ely / vnder her moder Sexburge and Wer[b]urge Werburge] Werkurge 1521 her doughter. Cap .xx.
¶Howe kyng Ethelrede seynge the holy conuersacion of Werburge his nece / made her lady and president at Wedon / Trentam / and Hambury. Also by her example and counsel made hym a monke at Bardeney abbay. c .xxi.
¶The holy conuersacion of kyng Kenred brother to saynt Werburge / and howe he refused his crowne / and was made a monke at Rome / and there departed a holy confessour. xxii.
¶Of the gostly deuocion of saynt Werburge andvertuous gouernans of her places / and of the great humilite she vsed to her systers and all creatures. Ca .xxiii.
¶How at Wedon wilde gyse were pynned at her commandement / and also relesed and put at liberte. Ca .xxiiii.
¶How a tyrande without pite was punysshed his face set backewarde /and by his mekenes was restaured to helth and prosperite agayne.Cap .xxv.
¶How d[i]uers diuers] deuers 1521 princes folowyng sensualite entendyng to violate this virgine by power: by myracle were put to confusion. Cap .xxvi.
¶How saynt Werburge gaue knowlege to her systers
sig: [char-2 4]
of her departure / and howe she ordred in vertue her sayd monasteries after her departure. Cap .xxvii.
¶Of the gostly exortacion saint Werburge made to her systers in her sekenes / and howe deuoutly she receyued the sacramentes of holy churche afore her deth. c .xxviii.
¶Of the departure of saynt Werburge at Trentam vnto heuen from this miserable lyfe / and what lamentacion her systers and subiectes made for her deth Ca .xxix.
¶Howe the hamburgenses toke the blessed body of Werburge from Trentam by myracle and brought it to Hambury / and of the buriall of this virgin / and manyfolde signes shewed of god by her merites / the space of .ix. yere afore her translacion. Cap .xxx.
¶A litel breue treatise of her hole lyfe / and how for her myracles shewed after her deth / the couent of Hamburi purposed to translat her body by helpe of kyng Coelrede reignyng in mercelande. Ca .xxxi.
¶The solempne translacion of this glorious virgine saynt Werburge and of the great myracles done at the same season by the might of god / and merite of this gracious lady. Cap .xxxii.
¶Howe the body of saynt Werburge continued hole / and substancial at Hambury after þ e translacion by the space of .CC. yeres / tyll the danes were comon to this lande / or it fell and resolued was vnto powder. Cap .xxxiii.
sig: [char-2 4v] [page blank]
sig: [A1]
¶Here foloweth the lyfe of the gloryous virgyn saynt werburge / also many miracles that god hath shewed for her / and fyrst the prologe of the auctour.
sig: [A1v]
sig: A2

¶The prologe of the translatour of this lytell werke þ e lyfe of saynt Werburge.

WHan Phebus had ronne his cours in sagittari
And Capricorne entred a sygne retrograt
Amyddes Decembre / þ e ayre colde and frosty
And pale Lucyna / the erthe dyd illumynat
5 I rose vp shortly / fro my cubycle preparat
Aboute mydnyght / and cast in myne intent
How I myght spende / the tyme conuenyent.

I called vnto mynde / the great vnstedfastnes
Of this wretched worlde / not by cours of nature
10 How there be brought / some men to busynes
Oppressed with pouerte / langour / and dyspleasure
Some other exalted / to felycyte and pleasure
The maker of mankynde / most in maieste
Ruleth all at his wyll / it may non other be.

15 Beholde dyscretly / and se the fyrmament
Consyder the sonne / and the mone also
With all the planettes / and sterres resplendent
How they kepe theyr cours / bothe to and fro
Euer obedyent / theyr creature vnto
20 And byrdes besely / syngynge euery day
Praysynge theyr prymate all that they may.

The .iiii. elementes / in lyke condycyon
The fyre / the water / the ayre / and the londe
Obseruen theyr duty / after theyr creacyon
25 And buxum ben / and euer so be fonde
Thus euery creature / as we vnderstonde
sig: [A2v]
Obeyeth to his creature / with humylyte
Except dyssolute man / folowyng sensualyte.

If man wyll remembre / how he was create
30 To the lykenes and figure / of god almyghty
And set in paradyse / a place moost delycate
To haue the fruycyon / of eternall glory /
If not synne expulsed hym / to the vale of mysery
But that he wolde enclyne / his naturall reason
35 To serue his maker / truely at due season.

Dyuers people / haue dyuers condicions
Comynly proued / it is euery day
Some set to vertu / and good disposycyons
In penaunce / prayer / all that they may
40 Some in contemplacyon / the sothe to say
Some in abstynence / to chastyce the body
And make it subget / to the soule perfytely.

Some other reioyce / in synne and ydelnes
Some seruauntes to Uenus / both day and nyght
45 Other to couetyse / and worldly besynes
Some to deceyue / by subtylte in syght
Some vnto marchandyse / and wynnynge full ryght
Some ferefull and tymerous / without audacyte
Some sadde and sobre / and of great grauyte.

50 Many haue pleasure to speke of rybaudry
Some of fyghtynge / braulynge / and actes marcyall
Other to flater / and paynt the company
Some to syt bytwene the cuppe and the wall
Some to blaspheme / and dyssemble withall
sig: A3
55 To backbyte and sclaunder / by malyce and enuy
Some to extorcyon / thefte and playne robry.

Thus after fraylte / and sundry compleccyons
Dyuers men dyuers in lyuynge there be
Dysposed by a contrary dysposycyon
60 Some vnto vertue / some vnto vanyte
Many maners of people / now we may se
Wauerynge in the worlde / without quyetnes
As a shyp by tempest / is dryuen doubtles.

Whan I reuolued / with due circumstaunce
65 The dyuers maners / and mutabylyte
Of worldly people / and the great varyaunce
And how this lyfe / is of no suerte
Now in great langour / now in prosperyte
Yet after our meryte / we shalbe sure
70 To be rewarded / at our departure.

Than to vertuous labours / we shulde apply
And spende not our tyme / all in ydlenes
For as a byrde is made / by nature to fly
Ryght so we shulde vse / some good busynes
75 To our soule-helthe / with great mekenes
For tyme euyl spende / in labours vayne
Is harde to be well / recouered agayne

But now syth I am / a relygyous man
For losynge of tyme / can not me excuse
80 Therfore I purpose / to do as I can
All suche ydlenes / whylom to refuse
With the grace of god / the tyme for to vse
sig: [A3v]
Some small treatyse / to wryte breuely
To the comyn vulgares / theyr mynde to satysfy.

85 To descrybe hye hystoryes / I dare not be so bolde
Syth it is a mater / for clerkes conuenyent
As of the .vii. aeges / and of our parentes olde
Or of the .iiii. empyres / whylom moost excellent
Knowynge my lernynge / therto insuffycyent
90 As for bawdy balades / ye shall haue none of me
To excyte lyght hertes / to pleasure and vanyte.

But now in auoydynge / suche great folysshenes
I purpose to wryte / a legende good and true
And translate a lyfe / into Englysshe doubtles
95 I meane the spouse / of our lorde Ihesu
Blessed saynt Werburge / replete with vertue
A noble prynces borne / and vyrgyne pure and gloryous
After an holy monyall / and an abbesse gracyous.

In the abbay of Chestre / she is shryned rychely
100 Pryores and lady / of that holy place
The chyef protectryce / of the sayd monastery
Longe before the conquest / by deuyne grace
Protectryce of the Cytee / she is and euer was
Called specyall prymate / and pryncypall presydent
105 There rulynge vnder / our lorde omnypotent.

And yf I vnworthy / begynne this lytell werke
I praye all the reders / mekely of pardon
To correcke and amende / syth I am no clerke
Excuse my ignoraunce / and take the entencyon
110 My mynde is to shewe / her lyfe and deuocyon
sig: A4
That euery man and woman / ensample maye take
At this pure vyrgyn / synne to forsake.

And syth that she is / in blysse now gloryfyed
It were no reason / her name be had in scylence
115 But to the people / her name be magnyfyed
To her laude and prayse / honour and reuerence
Her parentes and bretherne / þ e floures of experyence
Haue ben kepte in close / secrete many a day
Wherfore I purpose / somwhat of them to say.

120 Fyrst I entende / to make playne descrypcyon
Of her fathers kyngedome the realme of Mercyens
How longe it endured / vnder his tuycyon
Under how many kynges / it had prehemynens
Also of her petygre / the noble excellence
125 For so many sayntes / of one kynred certayne
Is harde to be founde / in all the worlde agayne.

Unto this rude werke / myne auctours these shalbe
Fyrst the true legende / and the venerable Bede
Mayster Alfrydus / and Wyllyam_Maluysburye Maluysburye: =Malmesbury
130 Gyrarde / Polycronycon / and other mo in-deed
Now gloryous god / graunt me to procede
Blessed vyrgyn Werberge / my holy patronesse
Helpe me to endyte / I praye the swete maystresse.

¶A descrypcyon of the realme of Mercyens / of bondes and commodytes of the same.

THe yere of our sauyoure / by full compu[t]acyon computacyon] compulacyon 1521
135 Foure hundred / nyne and fourty frome his natiuite
sig: [A4v]
As venerable Bede / maketh declaracyon
Duke Hengyst came to this lande in great royalte
With Saxons / Angles / Iutes / thre people myghtye
Desyred by Uortyger / than kynge of Brytons
140 Came to defende / fro greuous oppressyons. 'Came' is probably an error for 'him' or 'them'

Also the yeres of our blessed sauyoure
Syxe hundreth foure score and nyne expresse
The Brytons were expulsed / so sayth myne auctoure
From Englande to walles / with great wretchydnes
145 In Englande than ruled / seuen kynges doubtles
Whose names we purpose / to shewe with lycens
But pryncypally / of the kyngdome of Mercyens.

The fyrst realme of Saxons / began in Kent
The yere of grace / foure hundreth fyue and fyfty
150 Where duke Engystus / in honour excellent
With septre and crowne / fyrst reygned royally
The seconde was Southsex / sayth the hystory
Wher Adla and Ella / reygned full ryght
Whiche realme endured / but short tyme in myght.

155 The thyrde was Westsaxons / famous and myghty
Where fyrst reygned / kynge Cerdicus
The yere of our lorde / fyue hundreth one and twenty
Whiche realme by processe / and power vyctoryous
Subdued all other / to hym full memorous
160 The pryncypall Cytees / of his regalyte
Were in olde season / Wynchester and Salesburye.

The fourth was Estsex / Where duke Erchenwyn
Fyrst reygned kynge / hauynge domynacyon
sig: [A5]
By the kynge of Merselande / brought ofte to ruyne
165 The chyef Cytee was Colchester / of his domynyon
Also of eest_Englande / was the fyfth kyngdome
Where Uffa crowned / had fyrst the sufferaynte sufferaynte: =sovereignty
Of Northfolke and Southfolke / knowen in certaynte.

The syxthe was the kyngdome of Merslande
170 Where Cryda was crowned / fyrst by auctoryte
Hauynge nyne shyres / obedyent to his hande
As after shall appere / more euydent to be
The seuenth was Northumberlande / vnder Ida and Alle
Whylom dyuyded / in sondry kyngdomes twayne
175 The chyfe Cytee was yorke / where þ e kynge dyd reygne

The realme of Mercyens / by olde antyquyte
As playnly declareth / Polycronycon
Thre hundreth yeres / endured in auctoryte.
Under eyghtene kynges / worthy nomynyon nomynyon: see OED s.v. nominion (='nomination'). Perhaps to be emended to 'domynyon'.
180 Greatest of gouernaunce of all this regyon
Where Uulfer reygned / a kynge vyctoryous
Father to saynt Werburge / vyrgyn moost gloryous

The boundes and lorshyppes / of the sayd Mercyens lorshyppes: =lordships
As shewen dyuers bokes hystoryall
185 Were large and myghty / and of great prehemynens
Where the sayd kynge reygned by power imperyall
This realme to dyscrybe / begyn we shall
At the Cytee of Chester / and the water of Dee
Bytwene Englande and wales / of the west partye

190 And so transcendynge / vp towarde Shrewysbury
By the water of Sabryne / vnto Brystowe Sabryne: =Severn
sig: [A5v]
The Eest_see mesureth / the Eest parte truely
The water of Thamys / the south parte doth shewe
Flowynge vnto London / who-so dothe it knowe
195 The water of Humbre was on the north syde
With the Water of Mersee / theyr landes to dyuyde.

Of the foresayd ryuer / and water of Mersee
The kynge of Mercyens / taketh his name
As moost sure dyuydent / to be had in memorye
200 Mesurynge and metynge / the bondes with great fame
Of Mersee and Northumberlande / kynges of the same
Bitwene chesshyr / and lancashyr theyr kingdomes certayne
As auncyent Cronycles descryben it full playne.

The sayd myghty kyngdome / of Mercyens dyd holde
205 Many noble Cytees / with townes and burghes royall
Whiche Penda optayned / enlarged manyfolde
As Chester / Stafford / Lytchefelde / Couentre memorall
Lyncolne and Huntyngdon / Northampton withall
Leycester and Derby / Cambrydge and Oxonforde
210 Worchester and Brystowe / with other mo and Herforde.

Many royall ryuers / were conteyned in the same
With sundry kyndes of fysshes swete and delycyous
It were tedyous to shewe / of them the dyuers name
In ryuers and in pooles / swymmynge full plentuous
215 Also forestes / parkes / chases large and beauteous
And all beestes of venery / pleasaunt for a kynge
To cours at lyberte / be founde there pasturynge.

Also this royall realme / holdeth as we fynde
Habundaunce of fruytes / plesaunt and profytable
sig: [A6]
220 Great plente of cornes / and graynes of euery kynde
With hylles / valeys / pastures / comly and delectable
The soyle and glebe / is set plentuous and commendable
In all pleasaunt propurtes / no part of all this lande
May be compared / to this foresayd Merselande.

225 The people of Mercyens / the trouthe yf we dare saye
Lordes / barons / knyghtes / with all the comunete
In musture and in batayle / euer the pryce haue they
The kynges grace to serue / moost valyaunt in artylere
In all actes Marcyall / euer hauynge the vyctorye
230 With herte / mynde and harneys / redy day and nyght
Theyr enemyes to subdue / by power mayne and myght.

If they be well ordred / vnder a sure capytayne
And set to suche busynesse / theyr honour to auaunce
The tryumph they optayne / knowen it is certayne
235 In Englande and Scotlande / and in the realme of Fraunce
Fewe of them haue countred / by manhode and valeaunce
Great nombre of enemyes / with knyghthode and polycy
We meane them moost specyall / in the Weest party.

Many other commodytes / pleasures and proprytes
240 This sayd realme / holdeth of olde antyquyte
In royaltes and lordshyppes / landes and lybertes
Honourably dylated / in worshyp and polyce
Flourynge in wysedome / honours / and chyualre
Ueryfyed by kynge Offa / moost myghty and excellent
245 Proued in his actes / by playne experyment

This Offa subdued / in hystory as is founde
The kynge of Westsaxons / Northumberlande and Kent
sig: [A6v]
Droue Brytons to wales / out of this lande
And made a depe dytche / for a sure dyuydent
250 Bytwene Englande and Wales / and to this day presente
Is called dytche Offa / so that no Bryton
On payne of punysshement / shulde entre this regyon.

Kynge Offa translated / as sayth Polycronycon
By myghty power / the see of Canterbury
255 Unto Lychefelde chyrche / with famous oblacyon
For euer to contynu / confyrmed by auctoryte
Also he founded / saynt Albans monasterye
Fyrst of deuocyon / to Rome gaue Peter-pens
Thus royall somtyme / was the realme of Mercyens.

¶A descrypcyon of the Geanalogy of saynt Werburge and how she descended of foure kynges of this lande / and of the royall blode of Fraunce.

Regnum Merciorum ex parte patris.

260 THis noble prynces / the doughter of Syon
The floure of vertu / and vyrgyn gloryous
Blessed saynt Werburge / full of deuocyon
Descended by auncetry / and tytle famous
Of foure myghty kynges / noble and vyctoryous
265 Reynynge in this lande / by true successyon
As her lyfe hystoryall / maketh declaracyon.

The yere of our lorde / frome the natyuyte
Fyue hundreth .xiiii. and also .iiii. score
Whan Austyn was sende / frome saynt Gregorye
270 To conuert this regyon / vnto our sauyoure
The noble kynge Cryda / than reygned with honoure
sig: [A7]
Upon the mercyens / whiche kynge was father
Unto kynge Wybba and Quadriburge his syster.

This Wybba gate Penda / kynge of mercyens
275 Whiche Penda subdued / fyue kynges of this regyon
Reygny[n]ge thyrty yere / in worshyp and reuerens Reygnynge] Reygnyge 1521
Was grauntfather to Werburge / by lynyall successyon
By his quene Kyneswith / had a noble generacyon
Fyue valeant prynces / Pe[a]da and kynge Wulfer / Peada] Penda 1521
280 Kynge Ethelred / saint Marceyl / saint marwalde in fere.

And two holy doughters / blessed and vertuous
Saynt Keneburge / and saynt Keneswyde the vyrgyn
Whiche ladyes were buryed / full memorous
At peturborowe abbay / and now there lyen in shryne
285 The sayd kynge Ethelrede / by sufferaunce deuyne
Had a prynce Co[elr]ede / whiche after reygned kynge Coelrede] Cochede 1521
That translated Werburge / the .x. yere of her buryenge.

Saynt Merwalde specyfyed / vncle to saint Werburge
By his quene saint Ermenberge a princes doughter of kent
290 Gate .iii. holy vyrgyns / saint myldred and saint mylburge
Saynt Mylgyde the thyrde / of vertu equypolent
With a sone Mereu[in] / whiche frome the holy sacrament Mereuin] Mereum 1521
Of baptym was taken / by myracle expresse
To the blys of heuen / to reygne there endelesse.

295 The seconde sone of Penda / we meane kynge Wulfere
A noble valyant prynce / by lynyall dyscent
Reygnynge vpon the Mercyens with royalte and power
Maryed saynt Ermenylde / þ e kynges doughter of kent
Where throughe the grace of god omnypotent where: =whereby
sig: [A7v]
300 They had fayre yssue / saynt Werburge / saynt Kenrede
Saynt wulfade / saynt Ruffyn / in story as we rede.

Regnum Northumbrorum / ex parte matris.

The seconde realme of whom saynt Werburge dyd descende
Was of saynt Edwyn / kynge of Northumberlande
Whiche maryed Quadryburge / his ryghtes to defende
305 Doughter of Gryda / kynge of Merslande
Bytwene them descended / as we vnderstande
Two comly prynces / the fyrst we call Eadfryde
The seconde sone in batayle slayne was named O[s]fryde Osfryde] Offryde 1521

Kyng Eadfryde gate Hereryc th a t was kynge of Deiram
310 This Hereryc by Beorswyde his quene fayre and fre
Had saynt Hylde the abbesse / saynt Bede sayth th e same
Lady also foundresse / of the abbay of Whytbye
This sayd kyng Hereryc / had another lady
The quene of eest_Englande / saynt Heryswith she hyght
Mother to saynt Sexburge / and thre other ladies bryght.

315 This holy Sexburge / full of grace and goodnes
Was maryed to Ercombert / a noble kynge of Kent
Bytwyx them descended / a precyous ryches
The blessyd Ermenylde / humble and pacyent
Whiche for her vertue / was maryed full excellent
320 To Wulfer kynge of Merciens / with great solempnyte
And mother was to werburge / a swete floure of chastite

Regnum Estanglorum / ex parte matris.
sig: [A8]
The thyrde noble kyngedome / of her parentage
Was the realme of eest_England / whylom in great degre
Tytylus kynge of the same / vyctoryous and sage
325 Gate Redwald his fyrst sone / a chrysten prynce was he
This Redwalde had .ii. sones flourynge in chyualrye
The fyrst was Kenuherus / a noble man of fame
The seconde Eorpwaldus / called by his name.

This foresayd kynge Tytylus / had a seconde sone
330 Called Egnicius / accepted as a martyre
Whiche sayd Egnicius by lynyall progressyon
Had .iii. noble prynces / that worthy euer were
The fyrst was called Ethelwod / þ e seconde Adelhere
The thyrde was saynt Anna / a kynge moost vertuous
335 In batayle slayne vnryghtfully / now a martyr gloryous

This forsayd kynge Anna / maryed as we rede
The holy prynces Hereswith / for loue and amyte
They had a noble yssue / to encrease theyr mede
The blessed Sexburge / saynt Audry of Elye
340 Saynt Ethelburge the thyrd / in Bryges now lyeth she
Saynt Withburge the .iiii. th e martyr saynt Iurwyne
And Aldulph after kynge / whiche regned a longe tyme.

The lady saynt Sexburge / eldest of them all
A gracyous matrone / endurynge all her lyfe
345 Was maryed to Ercombert / þ e kynge of Kent royall
They brought fourth a progeny / noble to dyscryue
The blessed Ermenylde / vertuous mayd and wyfe
Whiche lady was mother / by grace of god almyght
Unto blessed Werburge / our confort and our lyght

sig: [A8v]

Regnum Can[t]ie
Cantie: Cancie 1521
et Francie / ex parte matris.

350 The .iiii. myghti kyngdome / of whom this royal princes
Saynt Werburge descended / was the realme of kent
Where reygned fyrst Hengystus / by vyctory and prowes
Whiche was the fourth man / by lygnage euydent
Procedynge fro Woden / a prynce full prepotent
355 Of whom our progenytours / Angles / Iutes / and Saxons
Lynyally succeded / kynges of dyuers nacyons.

This foresayd prynce Woden / as dyuers auctours sayne
Was the .xv. fro Noe / by naturall progressyon
Of his eldest sone Sem / descendynge playne
360 In saxons tongue Geaf / after ryte and custome
Not of the lygne of Iaphet / by theyr opynyon
Retourne we to Hengyst / and to his successoures
And speke of theyr royalte / to please the audytoures.

Ermenrycus kynge of kent / reygned with great power
365 The yere of our sauyoure / fyue hundreth fyue and thyrte
Unto whome Engystus was great-graundfather
This sayd kynge Ermenryc / had yssue fayre and fre
A doughter called Ricula / which maried was to sledde
Of Estsex and Mydylsex / gouernoure and kynge
370 Of whom a myghty kynred / by proces was comynge.

This Ermenryc gate Ethelbryct full vertuous
Whiche kynge reygned in kent / the yere of our sauyour
Fyue hundreth fyue and fyfty / and baptysed was gracyous
By blessyd bysshop Austyn / of Englande called doctour
375 He was fyrst crysten kynge / and pryncypall protectour
Of the fayth within this lande / and founder was also
sig: B1
Of dyuers holy places / and monasteryes both-tow. both tow: =bothtwo; see OED s.v. both B.2.b

This sayd kynge Ethelbryc / for the great habundaunce
Of ryches and honour / was maryed solemply
380 To the prynces Berta / the kynges doughter of Fraunce
And of them proceded a vertuous progeny
Eadburg and Ethelburg saintes / whiche Ethelburg truly
By Edwyne kyng of North / had .iiii. princes honorable
And .iii. holy doughters / gracyous and commendable.

385 Also kynge Ethelbryct / had to his successoure
Kynge Eadbalde / in Kent reygnynge a longe space
He maryed lady Emma / of fraunce the chosen floure
And by her had yssue / saynt Enswyde full of grace
Also prynce Ermenred his seconde sone / whiche wace wace: =was
390 Maryed to quene Oslaua / of them dyd procede
Two holy martyrs / Ethelbryct and Etheldrede.

This prynce Ermenred / had .iiii. ladyes bryght
Lyke the .iiii. floodes of Paradyse / shynynge in vertu
The eldest of the systers / saynt Ermenberge hyght
395 The seconde saynt Ermenburge / the spouses of Ihesu
The thyrde saynt Adeldryde / all vyces dyd subdu
The .iiii. saynt Ermengyde / sayth theyr lyues hystoryall
Thre of them holy vyrgyns / the fourth matrone we call

This foresayd Eadbalde / a souerayne myghty kynge
400 By Emma of Fraunce / had to his enherytoure
The noble kynge Ercumbert / full gracyous in lyuynge
Whiche maryed Sexburge / with worshyp and honoure
The kynges doughter of eest_England specyfyed afore
This prynce loued vertue / prayer and deuocyon
sig: [B1v]
405 Commaundynge all his realme / to kepe þ e fast of Lenton

Ercombert .xxx. yere / regnynge in his regaly
Had a noble progeny / in grace and all goodnes
His prynce hyght Egbryct / his seconde sone Lothary
Whiche prynce reygned but ten yere / kynge expresse
410 Lothary succeded hym / raynynge .xii. yeres doubtlesse
Also he had two doughters / saynt Ermenylde þ e quene
The other hyght saynt Erkengode / a moynes serene. moynes: 'nun'; see OED s.v. moines. A form attested only in this work.

This lady Ermenylde / was maryed royally
To the aforesayd Uulfer / kynge of Mercyens
415 Bytwene them descended / full gracyously
A noble Margaryte / of hye magnyfycens
A roose of Paradyse / full of prehemynens
Moost blessed Werburge / the gemme of holynes
Our synguler suffrage / and sterre of our clerenes.

¶A descrypcyon of the actes and chyualry of kynge Penda graundfather to saynt Werburge / and of his noble and vertuous yssue and progenye. Ca .iiii.

420 THe yere of grace .vi.C. syxe and twenty
The foresayd prynce Penda / began for to reygne
The tenth man fro Woden / a prynce in Saxony
Sone and heyre to Wybbe / sayth myne auctour playne
Fyfty yeres of aege / that tyme he was certayne
425 Whan he was fyrst crowned / kynge of Mercyens
Thyrty yeres he reygned / with great reuerens.

Fyue kynges in batayle / this Penda dyd subdue
Saintes Edwyn and Oswald / kinges of Northumberlande
sig: B2
With Sygebert / Egnycius / and Anna full of vertu
430 Thre noble kynges / regnynge in eest_Englande
With helpe of Brytones / by Bede we vnderstande
Dylated his regyon / with worshyp and honoures
Moche more than dyd / any of his predecessoures.

He maryed Keneswith / a lady fayre and bryght
435 And by her had yssue / a goodly generacyon
Peada his prynce / Uulfer a noble knyght
Saynt Ethelred / and Merwalde full of deuocyon
Also saynt Mersellyn / of holy conuersacyon
Saynt Keneburge / also saynt Keneswyde
440 Auntes to saynt Werburge / vpon the fathers syde.

Thre of his chyldren / as we vnderstande
Prynce Peada / Kyneburge / and Ethelrede
He maryed with Oswy / Kynge of Northumberlande
To .iii. of his yssue / for loue and for mede
445 Uulfer and Merwalde / the story sayth in-dede
Were maryed vnto / the royall blode of Kent
To Ermenylde and Dom[n]eue / two ladyes excellent.

Soone after by grace / the myddyll parte of Mercyens
Under prynce Peada / were baptysed euery-chone
450 Whiche Peada maryed / Elflede with reuerens
Doughter vnto Oswy / kynge of the North regyon
Penda therto graunted / without contradyccyon
Under a fre lycence / his people were at lyberte
Within all his regyon / baptysed for to be.

455 Also prynce Alfryde / sone to kynge Oswy
Maryed saynt Keneburge / syster to prynce Peada
sig: [B2v]
Whiche sayd Peada / brought from the north party
Foure holy preestes / Ced / Beccy / and Adda
To preche to his people / the fourth was Duyna
460 Whiche .iiii. selden seased / day / nyght nor tyme
To conuert the people / vnto chrystes doctryne.

Kynge Penda consented / as afore is sayd
And permytted doctours / to preche in euery place
Thrughout his realme / and neuer it denayed
465 To baptyse his subgectes / by fayth and ghostly grace
He ayded them with socour / and helpe in that case
That wolde be conuerted / for theyr synguler mede
As sayth myne auctour / the venerable Bede.

But by the temptacyon / of our ghostly enemy
470 This sayd kynge Penda / this vyctoryous knyght
Of valyaunt men in armure raysed a great company
And to the North partyes went / purposynge to fyght
And cruelly to slee / by power / mayne / and myght
The foresayd kynge Oswy / as he afore had slayne
475 Say[n]t Oswalde his brother / kynge and martyr playne. Saynt] Sayt 1521

Shortly was forgoten / the fauour of his affynyte
That fully was contracte / bytwene these kynges twayne
Ioyned at the maryages / of theyr chyldren thre
Euer to haue endured / in loue by reason playne
480 Yet Oswy offered Penda / many ryche gyftes certayne
To auoyde his malyce / and for to kepe the peas
Whiche Penda refused / replete with wyckednes.

Bytwene these .ii. kynges / was a stronge myghty batell
Not ferre frome yorke / ny the flood of Wynwed
sig: B3
485 In the regyon of Leedes / where by fortune cruell
Kynge Penda perysshed / and carefully was leed
And .xxx. dukes with hym / were slayne and lefte deed
The kynge Oswy offered gladly / with good entent
His yonge doughter Edelfled / to god omnypotent.

490 He set her for doctryne / to the abbesse saynt Hylde
Lady of Strenyshalt / now called Whytby
And gaue .xii. possessyons / a monastery to buylde
Whiche place if from yorke / myles thyrty
He gaue great landes to his sone-in-lawe Peade
495 But the thyrde yere after / this sayd prynce was slayne
By treason of his wyfe Elflede / for certayne.

¶How after dethe of Penda and his sone prynce Peada his seconde sone Uulfer / father to saynt Werburge was electe to be kynge of all the Mercyens. Ca .v.

AFter that this Penda / of Mercyens kynge
In batayle by kynge Oswy / cruelly was slayne
And his prynce Peada / after hym thre yeres reygnynge
500 Was put vnto deth / by his quene in certayne
These people of Mercyens / rebelled sore agayne
The foresayd Oswy / kynge of Northumberlande
And hym refused / as ye shall vnderstande.

All the sayd Mercyens / by a generall counsell
505 Fortyfyed themselfe / with power myght and reason
And crowned prynce Uulfer / as Bede doth vs tell
With honour / worshyp / and great renowne
Whiche prynce to kynge Penda / was the seconde sone
This prynce was preserued / afore-tyme secretly
sig: [B3v]
510 And saued by his subiectes / frome dethe and malady.

This valyaunt prynce / and redoubted knyght
Kynge Uulfer thus crowned / with great prosperyte
Upon the Mercyens regned / by tytle and myght
Whiche realme was dyuyded / whylom in partes thre
515 Fyrst in the West marches / and in the South parte truely
The thyrde parte was nomynate / mydle_Englonde
Ouer them all thre / he reygned as is fonde.

This sayd kynge Uulfer / in honour famous
Was deuoutely baptysed / with great solempnyte
520 By two holy bysshops / the blessed Finanus
And bysshop Ierumannus / saythe the hystorye
The kynge made a vowe / of hye auctoryte
All temples of ydols / within his regyon
To destroy and chaunge / vnto chrysten relygyon.

525 This Uulfer was polytyke / replete with wysdom
Uyctoryous in batayle / proued by his chyualry
His enemyes oppressed / by manhode and reason
Subdued his aduersaryes / and had the vyctory
From his realme expelled / all cruell tyranny
530 Conquered in batayle / at Ashdu[n] ryght famous Ashdun] Ashdum 1521
The kynge of West Saxons / called Kenwalcus.

Also he subdued / vnto his Empyre
The Ilande Uecta / called the yle_of_wyght
And after that he had / of it his desyre
535 He gaue the sayd yle / by tytle full ryght
To the kynge of eest_Englande / to enlarge his myght
Under that condycyon / that he baptysed wolde be.
sig: [B4]
And was his godfather / of pure charyte

In lykewyse as this prouynce / of Mercyens
540 Whylom was greatest realme / within Englande
Many yeres contynuynge / in prehemynens
Ryght so the spyrytualte / well knowen and founde
How fyue bysshop-sees / within this sayd Merselande
As at Chester / at Lychefelde / also at Worcester
545 The fourth at Lyncolne / the fyfth at Dorchester.

Forthermore after dethe / of Ierumannus
Bysshop of Lychfelde / Uulfer the sayd kynge
Desyred the archebysshop / and prymate Theodorus
To graunt them a bysshop / of holy lyuynge
550 To gouerne the people / by spyrytuall techynge
To shewe to his subiectes / the ensample of vertu
And to preche and teche / the fayth of Chryst_Ihesu.

This holy archebyss[h]op / and prymate Theodorus archebysshop] archebyssop 1521
Desyred saynt Cedda / of the kynge Oswy
555 For his perfeccyon / and lyuynge vertuous
To be remoeued / to the prouy[n]ce of Mercy prouynce] prouyce 1521
Kynge Uulfer was gladde / of his comynge truly
Ryght so were all / the people of his realme
Thankynge therfore / the kynge of Ierusalem.

560 Kynge Uulfer graunted / to saynt Cedda the confessoure
Than bysshop of Lychefelde / moche possessyon
To edyfy chyrches / vnto chrystes honoure
But namely he gaue a certayne mansyon
In the prouynce of Lyndesy / ny vnto Lyncolne
565 Suffycyent to suffyse / and well for to content
sig: [B4v]
Fyfty seruauntes / of god relygyous obedyent. god] good 1521

This noble sayd prynce / and redoubted souerayne
Flourynge in manheed / wysedome and polycy
Excelled the peres / of this realme certayne
570 In person / fortytude / and proued chyualry
Lyberall to his seruauntes / gentyll in company
Gracyous to the poore / and a sure protectour
A founder of chyrches / and a good benefactour.

¶A lytell descrypcyon of the noble maryage bytwene Kynge Uulfer and saynt Ermenylde th e kynges doughter of Kent / and of the solempnyte done at þ e same season. Ca .vi.

IN meane-whyle the kynge / mynded maryage
575 By the sufferaunce of our lorde god omnypotent
Issue to encrease / acordynge to his lygnage
After hym to succede / kynge and presydent
He mynded moost / the kynges doughter of Kent
Prynces Ermenylde / nomynate she was
580 A beautefull creature / replete with great grace.

Certaynly her father / was called Ercomberte
As afore is specyfyed / the kynge of Kent
Her mother Sexburge / humble in her herte
Of whome Ermenylde / a lady excellent
585 Lynyally descended / by tytle full auncyent
Her graundfather Edbalde / kynge Ethelbryctes sone
The fyrst crysten prynce / of Saxons nacyon.

Of foure myghty kyngdomes / she is descended
From the royall blode of Fraunce / also of Kent
sig: C1
590 Upon her fathers party / as afore is notyfyed
And on her mothers syde / by lyne auncyent
Frome the eest_Englande / famous and excellent
Also of Northumberlande / flourynge in honour
Conuerted and baptysed / vnto our sauyour.

595 This sayd Ermenylde / this floure of vertue
Was euer dysposed / from her natyuyte
Unto the dyscyplyne / of our lorde Ihesu
Enspyred with his grace / and benygnyte
Refused this worlde / ryches and vanyte
600 [S]he vsed the maners / of sadde dysposycyon She] He 1521
Passynge fragyll youth / and naturall reason.

Suche synguler confort / of vertuous doctryne
In her so dyd water / a pure perfyte plante
Whiche dayly encreased / by sufferaunce deuyne
605 Merueylously growynge / in her fresshe and varnaunt varnaunt: =vernant
With dyuers proprytes / of grace exuberaunt
As sobrynes / dyscrecyon / and mekenesse vyrgynall
Obedyence / grauyte / and wysedome naturall.

Euery tree or plante / is proued euydent
610 Whyther good or euyll / by experyence full sure
By the budde and fruyte / and pleasaunt descent
A swete tree bryngeth forth / by cours of nature
Swete fruyte and delycyous / in tast and verdure
Ryght so Ercombert / by his quene moost mylde
615 Brought gracyously forth / the swete Ermenylde.

She folowed her father / in worshyp and honoure
At her mother Sexburge / she toke imytacyon
sig: [C1v]
To lyue in clennes / presentynge in behauyour
Her father in power / her mother in relygyon
620 Humble in herte / hauynge compassyon
Pyteous and lyberall / where was necessyte
Ioyfull to obserue / the dedes of charyte.

Forther of her lyfe / to make declaracyon
As the true legende playnly dothe expresse
625 Consyder the hystory / with good inspeccyon
Of blessed Sexburge / that noble pryncesse
The sayd conuersacyon / and ghostly swetenesse
That is perceyued / in her holy mother
The same perfeccyon / was in the other.

630 Neuerthelesse Ermenylde / escape ne myght
Worldely honours / and seculer dygnyte
As requyred so noble a state of ryght
Ryches / possessyon / namely her beaute
But vnto maryage / compelled was she
635 Of her parentes / contrary to her entent
To whome she was founde / euer obedyent.

This noble lady / by deuyne prouydens
Elected to her / a spouse commendable
A valyaunt prynce / the kynges sone of Mercyens
640 Called kynge Uulfer / famous and honorable
Reygnynge in Mercelande / with ioy incomparable
Excellynge many other / prynces of this regyon
In ryches / retynu / fortune / honour / and wysdome

At this maryage / was moche solempnyte
645 Her father Ercomberte / and her frendes all
sig: C2
Tho prynces her vncles / Egbryct and Lothary
The kynge of eest_Englande / Aldulph in specyall
Dukes / erles / barons / and knyghtes in generall
Whiche sayd company / were redy that same day
650 To worshyp the matrymony / in theyr beest aray.

This royall maryage / was solempnysed
With synguler pleasures / ryches and royalte
Theyr frendes cosyns / redy on euery syde
To do theyr deuoyre / and shewe humanyte
655 Nothynge wantynge / euery-thynge was plente
Of delycate metes / and myghty wynes stronge
With mynstrels / melody / and myrthes amonge.

Whan this fayre prynces / resplendent in vertue
Came vnto Mercelande / in the order of matrymony
660 Than grace with good gouernaunce / dyd vyce subdue
Uertue was maystres / chefe ruler and lady
The faythe of holy chyrche / dyd growe and multyply
Relygyon encresed / honour and prosperyte
In euery place pacyence / true loue and charyte.

665 At the solempne spousage / of this lady bryght
Kynge Uulfer promysed / on his fydelyte
Errours to correcke / by his wysdome and myght
Clerely to expell / all sectes of ydolatrye
Frome his realme / and fulfyll by his auctoryte
670 The promyse truely made / at the fonte of baptyme
The chyrche to conserue / and saue it from ruyne.

The myghty realme of Mercyens / also of Kent
That season were brought / bothe vnto vnyte
sig: [C2v]
And as one kyngedome / ruled full excellent
675 Theyr subiectes and seruauntes / in tranquyllyte
Kynge Uulfer by his quene / had a noble progenye
Uulfade and Ruffyn / with prynce Kenrede
And Werburge / of whome we purpose to procede.

¶A breue declaracyon of the holy lyfe and conuersacyon of saynt Werburge / vsed in her tender youthe / aboue the comyn cours of nature. Ca .vii.

THis blessed lady / and royall prynces
680 Descendynge of noble / and hye parentage
Was doughter to Uulfer / the legende dothe rehers
Kynge of Mercelande / and of famous lynage
Her mother Ermenylde / ioyned to hym in maryage
They dwelled somtyme / a lytell frome Stone
685 At a place in Stafforde_shyre / amyddes his regyon.

They had bytwene them / other chyldren thre
Uulfade and Ruffyn / martyrs full gloryous
Synt Kenrede his prynce / of greate auctoryte
Tumylate at Rome / a confessour gracyous
690 The lyues of these thre / we wyll not now dyscus
But speke of the ghostly / and meke conuersacyon
Of blessed Werburge / now at this season.

For as declareth / the true Passyonary
A boke wherin / her holy lyfe wryten is
695 Whiche boke remayneth / in Chester monastery
I purpose by helpe / of Ihesu kynge of blys
In [no] wyse to reherse / any sentence amys no] any 1521
sig: C3
But folowe the legende / and true hystory
After an humble style / and from it lytell vary.

700 This blessed Werburge / from her natyuyte
Folowynge the counseyll / of her noble parentes
Dysposed her-selfe / euer to humylyte
Obedyent to them / with all reuerens
Loth to dysplease / or make any offens
705 Or dysquyet any reasonable creature
Thus was her maner / in youthe be ye sure.

Sadde and demure / of her countenaunce
Stable in gesture / proued in euery place
Sobre of her wordes / all vertu to auaunce
710 Humble / meke / and mylde / replete with grace
Many vertuous maners / in her founde there was
And dyuers gyftes naturall / to her appropryate
As was conuenyent / for so noble a state.

And as she encreased / moore and more in age
715 A newe plant of goodnes / in her dayly dyd sprynge
Great grace and vertue / were set in her ymage
Wherof her father / had moche merueylynge
Her mother mused / of this ghostly thynge
To beholde so yonge / and tender a may
720 From vertu to vertu / to procede euery day.

No merueyll it is / who-so taketh hede
In naturall thynges / the dyuers operacyon
Dothe not a royall rose / from a brere procede
Passynge the stocke / with pleasaunt dylectacyon
725 The swete ryuer passeth / by due probacyon
sig: [C3v]
His heed and fountayne / ryght so dothe she
Transcende her parentes / with great benygnyte.

And tho her bretherne / delyted for to here
For theyr soule-helthe / ghostly exortacyon
730 Yet she them passed / manyfolde more clere
In loue of our lorde / and meke conuersacyon
And lyke as Phebus / in his heuenly regyon
Passe[th] other st[err]es / shynynge moost pure Passeth] Passed 1521; sterres] stretes 1521
So dothe this vyrgyn / aboue the cours of nature.

735 Lordes / dukes / barons / within the kynges hall
Merueyled on her maners / and constaunte sobrynes
The plente of wysedome / and dyscrecyon withall
In so tender age / they neuer knewe expresse
Her mynde so perfyte / auoydynge all ylnes
740 But they knewe well / it pretended by all reasone
Synguler grace and goodnes / to her comynge soone.

Affyrmynge on this wyse / yf she wolde contynu
With suche vertuous maner / in yeres of hye dyscrecyon
That she sholde do honour / by the grace of Ihesu
745 Unto all her kynrede / and synguler consolacyon
An ensample of vertu / and humylyacyon
Theyr conforte / theyr tresure / and sterre full bryght
And chefe lumynary / shynynge day and nyght.

Fyrst in the mornynge / to chyrche she wolde go
750 Folowynge her mother / the quene euery day
With her boke and bedes / and departe not them fro
Here all deuyne seruyce / and her deuocyons say
And to our blessed sauyour / mekely on knees pray
sig: C4
Dayly hym desyrynge / for his endeles grace and pyte
755 To kepe her frome synne / and preserue her in chastyte.

Where youthe is dysposed / of naturall mocyon
To dysportes and pleasures / full of vanyte
This mayde was euer / of sadde dysposycyon
Constaunt and dyscrete styll and womanle
760 Gladde in her soule / to here speke of chastyte
Clennes and sobrenes / and ioyfull for to here
Ghostly exortacyons / to her herte moost dere.

¶How this yonge vyrgyn saynt Werburge was desyred of dukes and erles in maryage / and of the answere she gaue to them / in auoydynge worldly pleasures. Ca .viii.

AS tender youthe passed / this blessed maydyn
Dayly encreased / more and more in vertue
765 In ghostly scyence / and vertuous dyscyplyne
Obseruynge the doctryne / of our lorde Ihesu
Had his commaundymentes / in her herte full tru
So that no creature / more perfyte myght be
In vertuous gyftes (by grace) than she.

770 She was replete / with gyftes naturall
Her vysage moost pleasaunt / fayre and amyable
Her goodly eyes / clerer than the crystall
Her countenaunce comly / swete and commendable
Her herte lyberall / her gesture fauourable
775 She lytell consyderynge / these gyftes transytory
Set her felycyte / in chryst perpetually.

She hadde moche worshyp / welthe / and ryches
sig: [C4v]
Uestures / honoures / reuerence and royalte
The ryches she dysposed / with great mekenesse
780 To the poore people / with great charyte
But her sadnes / constaunce / and humylyte
Uertue / gentylnes / so pacyent and colde
Transcended all these other / a thousande-folde.

The vertuous maners / and excellent fame
785 Of this holy vyrgyn / redoubted so ferre
In all this regyon / in praysynge her name
That the nobles of this lande / wolde not dyfferre
But with ryche apparell / and myghty power
Came for to seke her / lyke as to Salomon
790 Quene Saba approched / to here of his wysedome.

So lykewyse some came / to her[e] of her vertue here] her 1521
Some of her sadnesse / and prudent dyscrecyon
Some for her constaunce / so stable and true
Some of her chastyte / and pregnaunt reason
795 Some for her beaute / and famous wysedome
And some that were borne / of kynges lygnage
Desyred yf they myght / haue her in maryage.

In beaute amyable / she was equall to Rachell
Comparable to Sara / in fyrme fidelyte
800 In sadnes and wysedom / lyke to Abygaell
Replete as Delbora / with grace of prophecy
Equyualent to Ruth / she was in humylyte
In pulchrytude Rebecca / lyke Hester in lolynesse
Lyke Iudyth in vertue / and proued holynesse.

805 The prynce of Westsaxons / a pere of this lande
sig: [C5]
Wyllynge to haue her by way of maryage
With humble reuerence / as we vnderstande
Sayd to her these wordes / wysely and sage
O souerayne lady / borne of hye lynage
810 O beautefull creature / and imperyall prynces
This is my full mynde / that I now rehers.

From my fathers realme / hyder I am come
Unto [y]our presence / yf ye be so content your] our 1521
With worshyp and honour / and moche renowne
815 In all honest maner / aperynge euydent
My mynde is on you set / with loue feruent
To haue you in maryage / all other to forsake
If it be your pleasure / thus me for to take.

Ye shalbe asured / a quene for to be
820 Ye shall haue ryches / worshyp / and honour
Royall ryche appareyll / and eke the sufferaynte
Precyous stones in golde / worthy a kynges tresour
Landes / rentes / and lybertees / all ar your pleasur
Seruauntes euery houre / your byddynge for to do
825 With ladyes in your chambre / to wayte on you also.

With these kynde wordes / the vyrgyn abasshed sore
And with mylde countenaunce / answered hym agayne
The playnes of her mynde / to rest for euermore
Sayenge: o noble prynce / I thanke you now certayne
830 For youre gentyll offer / shewed to me so playne
Ye be well worthy / for your regalyte
To haue a better maryage / an hundreth-folde than me.

But now I shewe you / playnly my true mynde
sig: [C5v]
My purpose was neuer / maryed for to be
835 A lorde I haue chosen / redemer of mankynde
Ihesu the seconde persone in trynyte
To be my spouse / to Whome my vyrgynyte
I haue depely vowed / endurynge all my lyfe
His seruaunt to be / true spouses and wyfe. spouses: =spousess

840 Therfore noble prynce / hertfully I you pray
Tempte me no forther / after suche condycyon
Whiche am so stedfast / and wyll be nyght and day
Neuer for to chaunge / nor make alteracyon
Take ye this answere / for a sure conclusyon
845 The promyse I haue made / and vowe of chastyte
Endurynge my lyfe / shall neuer broken be.

Dyuers other astates / came her for to assayle
Made instaunt requestes / vnto this vyrgyn fre
For all theyr busynesse / they myght not preuayle
850 So constaunt fyrme and stable / in herte and mynde was she
A mountayne or hyll / soner leue ye me
Myght be remoeued / agaynst the course of nature
Than she for to graunte / to suche worldly pleasure.

She well consydered / the texte of holy scrypture
855 Who byleueth her chast / for the loue of Ihesu
The temple of god / they be clypped sure
And shalbe rewarded / for that noble vertu
An hundreth-folde (by grace) vyces to subdu
And heuen for to haue / at theyr departynge
860 Whiche she remembred wysely / aboue all-thynge.

¶How þ e false Werbode desyred kynge Uulfer to haue Werburge his doughter in maryage. And how th e kynge graunted therto. Ca .ix.
sig: [C6]
AS afore is sayd / whan Penda the kynge
By saynt Oswy kynge / at Leedes was slayne
And Uulfer his sone / the fourth yere folowynge
Was baptysed and crowned / By bysskop Fynane
865 A solempne voue he made / faythfull and certayne
All temples of ydolles / in his realme to destroy
And chaunge them to chyrches / and newe edyfy.

The same he promysed / as he was true knyght
Whan that he maryed / blessed Ermenylde
870 Dredynge sore the iustyce / of god almyght
For his fathers demerytes / vnreconsyled
On hym to fall sodeynly / and so be begyled
Promysynge a_mendes / at his conuersyon
Unto holy chyrche / with humble deuocyon.

875 Whiche kynge Uulfer / as was the more pyte
By the wycked counseyll / of a fals knyght
Called Werbode / ranne soone in apostasy
For a lytell whyle / wantynge perfyte lyght
The bryghtnes of the day / was tourned to nyght
880 Whan he gaue credence / that creature vnto
Prolongynge the actes / he promysed to do.

Under kynge Uulfer / chefe stewarde of his hall
Was this false Werbode / ruler of euery porte
Whome the lady Uenus / brought vnto thrall
885 Persed and wounded / so greuously his harte
Enflammed with loue / and with her fyry darte
sig: [C6v]
Plonget with sorowe / syghynge day and nyght
The beaute of Werburge moeued so his syght.

The blynde goddes Cupyde / vexed so sore his mynde
890 With interyor loue / and sensuall desyre
Of worldely affeccyon / that reste coude he none fynde
His spyryte was troubled / he brenned as dothe the fyre
Upon this holy vyrgyn / his loue was so entyre
To haue her in maryage / was all his intent
895 That euery houre was a moneth / after his iudgement.

Prouyded in his mynde / how that he well myght
Enforce hym wysely / with boldynesse and polycye
To shewe his full entent / in maner good and ryght
No dyspleasure taken / vpon his lordes partye
900 By this ymagynacyon / he fell vpon his knee
Afore his lorde and kynge / desyrynge a petycyon
His mynde to declare / with fully grace of pardon.

Excellent prynce he sayd / and moost worthy kynge
That reygnes now within the realme of Englande
905 Flourynge in chyualry / in honour encreasynge
Transcendyng other prynces / of this forsayd lande
My full intencyon / now ye shall vnderstande
Requyrynge your grace / in this poore cyrcumstaunce
At my petycyon / to take no greuaunce.

910 My synguler good lorde / hertfully I you pray
With instaunte request / and humble supplycacyon
Graunte me your doughter Werburge / as ye maye
To haue her in maryage / auoydynge all treason
If your grace deny / this present petycyon
sig: [C7]
915 Dethe me behoues / full sonne and hastely
My loue is so feruent / there is no remedy.

Stande vp Werbode / kynge Uulfer than sayd
Our chyfe champyon / in all our chyualry
Your humble desyre / shall not be denayd
920 Of Werburge our doughter / now consent wyll we
If ye may optayne / her wyll and mynde truele
Her mothers also / vnder that condycyon
We graunt her to you / at your meke suggestyon.

Of this gracyous answere / a gladde man he was
925 Reioysynge in his herte / began to conspyre
Castynge in his mynde / craftely by compas
How he myght optayne / to the hye empyre
And reygne after Uulfer / at his owne desyre
But tho man prepose / god dysposed all
930 Who clymbeth to hye / often hath a fall

¶How the quene saynt Ermenylde wolde not consente therto / and how her bretherne saynt Wulfade and Ruffyn were agaynst the sayd maryage. Ca .x.

OF this busynesse / whan the quene had knowlege
Namely of Werebode / the greuous presumpcyon
How he had moeued / thrugh his wycked rage thrugh] thrught 1521
The kynge in suche causes / by synguler petycyon
935 And how the kynge consented / to his supplycacyon
She was sore greued / at this prowde crafty knyght
Called hym in presence / and sayd these wordes ryght.

Thou wycked tyraunt / and vnkynde creature
sig: [C7v]
Folowynge thyne appetyte / and sensualyte
940 Thou cruell pagane / presumynge at thy pleasure
Blynded with ygnoraunce / and infydelyte
Who gaue the lycence / and suche auctoryte
Our doughter Werburge / to desyre of the kynge
Without our counseyll / therto consentynge.

945 Consyder ryght well / thy kynred and pedegre
It is well knowen / thou arte comen of nought
Nother of duke / erle / lorde / by auncetre
But of vylayne people / yf it be well sought
Agaynst our honour / now that thou hase wrought
950 Whiche consequently / shall be to thy payne
For all thy labour / is spende in vayne.

Thou knowes of a certayne / refused she hase
Many a ryche maryage / within this londe
A thousande tymes better / than euer thou wase
955 Is now or els shalbe / by any maner fonde
Our doughter to the / shall neuer be bonde
Nor suche a caytyfe / shall haue no powere
With kynges blode royall / to approche it nere.

Under my souerayne lorde / and me also
960 An offycer thou arte / and of great royalte
To be a true seruaunte / now thou arte our foo
Tryed / proued / founde fals / in eche degre
Thou hase well deserued / to be hanged on a tre
For thy mysdede / thou shall soone repent
965 Thy hye presumpcyon / proude and dysobedyent.

As for our doughter / and dere derlynge
sig: [C8]
By the grace of god / and our aduysement
Soone shalbe maryed / to the moost myghty kynge
That euer was borne / and in this erth lent
970 We meane our sauyour / lorde omnypotent
Wherfore thy wretchydnes / wyll vpon the lyght
Thou taynted traytour / out of our syght.

With that saynt Werburge / came into presence
Afore her mother / and all the company
975 Doynge her duty / with all due reuerenc[e] reuerence] reuerenc 1521
Folowynge her doctryne / full sapyently
With lycence optayned / spake euydently
After suche maner / that all the audyence
Reioysed to here / her lusty eloquence

980 O souerayne lady / and kynges doughter dere
My dere mother / ouer all-thynge transytory
O gracyous prynces / and quene to kynge Uulfere
To your ghostly counseyll / do me euer apply
As I haue promysed / ryght euydently
985 To the kynge of kynges / and lorde celestyall
I wyll obserue / endurynge this lyfe mortall.

And thou false Werbode / folowynge sensualyte
I meruayle greatly / thy hye presumpcyon
To moeue our father / with suche audacyte
990 Knowynge my mynde / set on relygyon
Yet for thy soule-helthe / accepte this lesson
Aske mercy and grace / of my spouse eternall
Lest vengeaunce sodeynly / vpon the do fall.

Wherwith her bretherne / Uulfade and Ruffyn
sig: [C8v]
995 Two noble prynces / manfull sadde and wyse
Sore vexed with peyne / theyr hertes were within
At this false stewarde / whiche can so deuyse
Agayne theyr honour / to do suche preiudyse
As to attempte theyr father the kynge
1000 In so great a mater / they not consentynge.

They called Werebode / afore them all
Sayenge thou caytyfe / who gaue the lycence
To moeue this cause / so h[y] and specyall hy] he 1521handwritten emendation of 'he' to 'hy' in 16th c.(?) hand handwritten emendation of 'he' to 'hy' in 16th c.(?) hand
Touchynge a lady / of suche prehemynence
1005 A kynges doughter / of moche magnyfysence
None comparable to hym / in all this regyon
In honour / royalte / power / and dyscrecyon.

And as our mother sayd / to the byforne
Loke well thy progeny / and all thy lynage
1010 A vyllayne or els wers / sothly thou was borne
Now our dere syster / wolde haue in maryage
As semynge for a prynce / of hye parentage
Than for suche a carle / by a prouerbe auncyent
A lad to wedde a lady / is an inconuenyent.

1015 Therfore we charge the / vpon greuous peyne
Moue no suche mater / nor speke of it no more
For yf suche mocyon / come to vs agayne
Of hye presumpcyon / as is done afore
Thou shalt repent / the cause and dede full sore
1020 Now we commaunde the / no forther to contryue
But cease of suche busynesse / in peyne of thy lyue.

¶How the false Werbode complayned vpon Uulfade and [R]u[ff]yn
Ruffyn] Fussyn 1521
to kynge Uulfare by malyce and enuy / and was the cause of theyr dethe. Ca .xi.
sig: D1
THis wycked Werebode / the bedyll of Belyall
The minister of myschef / and sergeaunt of sathanas
Consyderynge he was / despysed of them all
1025 And sore rebuked / for his outragyous trespas
He brenned in enuy / as a man without grace
Cast in his mynde / how he myght wroken be
Upon her bretherne / by some subtylte.

Euer from that tyme / he lay in wayte
1030 Sekynge occasyons / on them to complayne
Dayly ymagyned / with subtyll deceyte
Them to subdue / and cause to be slayne
Attendynge oportunyte / to take them in a trayne
By the false entysement / of his mayster Belyall
1035 Prompte to all myschefe / as dyscyple naturall.

In fauour of his prynce / by crafte he hym brought
(As now is in custome) with false flatery
Some please theyr mayster / and that is ryght nought
So dyd this Werebode / by subtyll polycy
1040 His vengeable mynde / was hymselfe to magnyfy
And vtterly to lose / these prynces twayne
Or destroye hymselfe / by mysfortune playne.

Lyke as Archythofell chefe counselour to absalon
Sundry tymes moeued hym / vnto varyaunce
1045 And with kynge Assuerus / in fauour was Amon
Counseylynge hym euer / vnto great myschaunce
In lyke cause Werbode / moeued to vengeaunce
sig: [D1v]
Was chefe counseler / to Uulfer the kynge
Whiche brought hym-selfe to shame / and euyll endynge.

1050 The elder prynce Uulfade / in his dysporte
Used haukynge huntynge / for a past-tyme
But vnto huntynge namely / was his resorte
Euery day in the morowe / longe afore pryme
And as it fortuned / vpon a tyme
1055 A myghty harte reysed was / coursed a longe space
Whome Uulfade pursued / with pleasure and solace.

This harte sore strayned / ranne for his socour
As all deer done / of theyr propryte
To a well with water / after his great labour
1060 Hym to reconforte / and the more fressher be
Wherby saynt Cead / had his oratorye
The wylde harte there lay / full secrete and styll
And suffered this holy man / to do all his wyll.

This blessed bysshop moeued with pyte
1065 Couered this sayd harte / with bowes and leues also
Put a small corde / aboute his necke trule
And after commaunded hym spedly to go
To the wylde woodes / whens he came fro
His pasture to seke / for saynt Cead knewe truly
1070 It was a sygne folowynge / of some great mysery.

(As Bede wytnesseth) this holy confessour
Was bysshop of Lychefelde / and Couentre
Whiche for the loue of our sauyour
In wyldernesse dwelled / all solytarye
1075 Contented with fruytes / of the wylde tree
sig: D2
With rootes / herbes / water / for his sustentacyon
Endurynge penaunce / with due contemplacyon.

This venerable prynce / ensuynge this great harte
Approched to his cell / with great dylygence
1080 Tenderly requyrynge / where and in what parte
This harte escaped / so ferre out of presence
This holy man answered / with all reuerence
Beestes / byrdes / fowles / I kepe none at all
But I knowe the instructour / of thy helthe eternall.

1085 By this brute beest / thou shall perceyue well
The sacramentes of holy chyrche euerychone
To encrese thy byleue / by our ghostly counsell
And so to be baptysed / and haue remyssyon
By dyuers brute beestes / for mannes saluacyon
1090 Our lorde hath shewed / secretes mystycall
To his electe persones / by grace supernall.

To Noe came conforte / after the great deluge
By a douue / bryngynge a braunche of Olyue
To the prophet Hely / a rauen dyd refuge
1095 Brought hym his sustenaunce / and saued his lyue
Unto saynt Eustach / full memoratyue
Our lorde appered / in a hartes lykenes
To whome he obeyed / gladly with mekenes.

Of whiche examples / prynce Uulfade gladde was
1100 Thankynge god and saynt Cead that he thyder come
And sayd holy father / fulfylled with grace
If ye can supply / my instaunte petycyon
That the sayd harte / myght retourne hyder soone
sig: [D2v]
Whiche is now in wyldernesse / vnto our presence
1105 Than to your doctryne / I wyll gyue fully credence.

Saynt Cead vnto prayer / deuoutely went
And the wylde harte / frome the wood came hastely
With the corde in his necke / apperynge euydent
And in theyr presence / stode full ryght soberly
1110 My sone than he sayd / byleue than stedfastly
Understande ye may / all-thynge possyble is
To a faythfull persone / that perfytely byleuys.

Uulfade conforted / and in the fayth probate
Fell downe to his fete / with humble deuocyon
1115 Desyrynge baptym / to be regenerate
Unto our sauyour / for his soules saluacyon
Saynt Cead blessed / the well that season
And baptysed this prynce / in name of trynyte
Was preest and godfather / for want of companye.

1120 This chrysten prynce / taryed with hym all nyght
In fastynge / prayer / and medytacyon
And was refresshed / naturally in syght
With bodyly and ghostly sustentacyon
The next day receyued / the holy communyon
1125 With lycence departed / to his father agayne
The harte to the forest / recoursed certayne.

The thyrde day after / his brother Ruffyn
Folowynge the same harte / by deuyne prouydence
Was well instructed / in ghostly doctryne
1130 Baptysed by saynt Cead / and communed with reuerence
And as it fortuned / by playne experyence
sig: D3
Of all the proces done / to the elder brother
All-thynge dyd happe / ryght so to the other.

Afore this season / chrystes fayth moost gracyous
1135 Thrugh this lande / was preched in eue[r]y place euery] euey 1521
By bysshop Fynane / and Ierumannus
Whiche Ieruman of eest_Englande / fyrst byss[h]op was bysshop] byssop 1521
And with saynt Ermenylde / came hyder by grace
Yet fully conuerted / was not Mersee regyon
1140 Clene from ydolatry / vnto this season.

These forsayd prynces / conuerted newly
By blessed Cead / to chrysten relygyon
Dayly to hym resorted / for counseyll ghostly
To encreace in vertue / and holy perfeccyon
1145 With lycence pretended / they wolde togyder come
Unto his oratory / from the kynges hall
Under colour of Huntynge / as they dyd it call.

And as it is wryten / in holy scrypture
Who-so is a sure frende / loueth stedfastly
1150 And who is enemy / putteth dylygent cure
Myschefe to accomplysshe / moost studyously
The false Werebode suspectynge / euydently
The newe conuersyon / of these prynces twayne
Prepared hym craftely / to take them in a trayne.

1155 He watched on them / secretely euery day
To knowe theyr resorte / and vnto what place
[L]yke as a hounde folowynge / these prynces to bytray Lyke] Kyke 1521
Or a dogge dothe a dere / by sent of the chas
Whan he had perceyued / how all-thynge was
sig: [D3v]
1160 He compased in mynde / by false inuencyon
To complayne to the kynge / for theyr destruccyon.

My synguler good lorde / and moost pryncypall
Sayd this Werebode / the fals traytour
Pleaseth your goodnes / and grace specyall
1165 To my supplycacyon / to be a protectour
Ye haue two prynces / myghty in honour
Whiche are my lordes / and euer shalbe
If they wolde be true / to your soueraynte

They haue refused / the more pyte is
1170 Your auncyent lawes / and sectes euerychone
And with your lycence / haue done yet more amys
For now they be subiecte / to a newe relygyon
Utterly refusynge / your decrees and olde custome
Folowynge the counseyll / and mynde of a senyor
1175 Called bysshop Cead / theyr specyall auctor.

Your strayte commaundymentes / they dayly despyce
And purpose I tell you / in secretenes
Unto your persone / to do moche preiudyce
To murther or poyson you / shortly doubtles
1180 And so for to reygne / and gouerne your ryches
Bytwene them twayne / to dyuyde your lande
By fals conspyracy / as ye shall vnderstande.

With these false tales / and many other mo
The kynge was moeued / to malyce and yre
1185 By his compleccyon / as he was wont to do
More cruell than a beest / as feruent as the fyre
Depely affyrmynge / that dethe shulde be theyr hyre
sig: [D4]
If he myght take them / in any place
They shulde be slayne / and suffer withouten grace.

1190 In the morowe after / whan Phebus began to clere
The kynge toke Werbode / with hym secretly
To try out the truthe / and how it wolde appere
Wheder his prynces / were gone to the oratory
If it were so / he sende hym pryuely
1195 To gyue them knowlege / of his entent
For to remoeue / from his hasty Iudgment.

The father had pyte / vpon his chyldren naturall
Wolde not haue slayne them / the sothe to say
Wherfore he sende / the seruaunt of Belyall
1200 To conuay them fro thens / some other way
The kynge knewe hym-selfe / not able that day
To refrayne his yre / and cruell hastynesse
Gyuen to hym of nature / in suche great dystresse.

This wycked Werebode / came to the oratory
1205 And sawe these prynces / in great deuocyon
Counceyled his message / by malyce and enuy
Retourned to the kynge / hastely and soone
Newly complaynynge / by fals ymagynacyon
A hundreth-folde worse / than at the fyrst tyme
1210 With new addycyons / to brynge them to ruyne.

And whan the kynge / approched nygh the cell
Herynge the complayntes / of this fals knyght
The chyldren perceyued / a voyce ryght well
Cessed of theyr prayers / and came forth full ryght
1215 On whome whan Uulfere / had ones a syght
sig: [D4v]
He was sore moeued / as hote as the fyre
Agaynst h[is] chyldren / that loued hym entyre. his] her 1521handwritten emendation of 'her' to 'hes' in 16th c.(?) hand handwritten emendation of 'her' to 'hes' in 16th c.(?) hand

But by the malyce / and wycked temptacyon
Of the deuyll / mannes olde mortall enemy
1220 And what by the false crafty suggestyon
Of Wycked Werebode / fulfylled with enuy
And by his owne hastynesse / and cruell fury
These prynces were slayne / Uulfade and Ruffyn
Now gloryous martyrs / reygnynge in heuyn.

1225 After whan kynge Uulfer / approched his castell
And vnneth was entred / into his hall
Incontynently a spyryte / the false fende of hell
Entred fals Werebode / af[ore] the people all afore] after 1521
Inwardly hym vexed / with peynes contynuall
1230 That his armes and handes / he dyd horrybly tere
Whiche sodayne vengeaunce / all the courte dyd fere.

He rored and yelled / lyke a wylde bull
Shewed all the myschefe / malyce and enuy
Done agaynst the martyrs / with a mynde yrefull
1235 So sore constrayned / with peynes greuously
The deuyll ceased not / his dolours to multyply
Tyll his fylthy soule / compelled sore was
For to expyre / for his hydeous trespas.

¶How kynge Uulfer was conuerted and toke great repentaunce for his offences. And by the counseyll of saynt Ceade was a deuoute man / and a good benefactour to holy chyrche / and a founder of dyuers holy places relygyous. Ca .xii.
sig: E1
THan Uulfer consyderynge with due dyscrecyon
1240 His cruell hastynes / and furyous mynde
How ferre he had / abused his reason
Agaynst his chyldren / by nature and kynde
He sore repented / in hystory as we fynde
His greuous trespas / and homycyde vnnaturall
1245 In conscyence greued / for his synnes mortall.

Namely lamentynge / in soule his apostasy
After his baptyme / and ghostly conuersyon
And for the departure / of his prynces truly
Contrary to ryght / kynde and all reason
1250 The losse of his fame / thrugh this regyon
A dethe to his quene / and his louers all
Greuous to his kynnesmen / and frendes naturall.

All these consydered / with due cyrcumstaunce
He wayled and weped / sobbynge full sore
1255 Plonged in sorowe / heuynes / and greuaunce
Lamentynge his offence / a thousande tymes therfore
His intollerable peyne / encreased more and more
Wofully he went / to his bed by and by
Supposynge some dethe / withouten any remedy.

1260 Some of his louers / beynge there present
Gaue hym theyr counseyll / to hunte in the forest
Some to dysportes / and pleasures euydent
Some vnto melody / all thoughtes to degest
But Ermenylde his quene / whiche loued hym best
1265 Counseyled hym truly / to take contrycyon
And mendes make / by due satysfaccyon.

sig: [E1v]
Of this ghostly counseyll / the kynge was very glad
And in the morowe after / prepared besyly
With mekenesse to seke / blessed saynt Cead
1270 So whan the kynge came / to his oratory
The bysshop was at masse / and ryght consequently
Fro he[u]en descended / so gloryous a lyght
That of the mystery / Uulfer had no syght.

Whan masse was ended / saynt Cead his vestures caste
1275 Upon the sonne-beame / by myracle there hangynge
Supposynge on a forme / and made moche haste
To mete at the doore / mekely the sayd kynge
Whiche laye there prostrate / penaunce desyrynge
With reuerence hym eleuate / and gaue an exortacyon
1280 The kynge was agreable / for to do satysfaccyon.

The bysshop hym enioyned / in parte of penaunce
To destroye all ydolles / and sectes of ydolatry
In all his realme / and the temples of paganes
To translate to the honour / of god almyghty
1285 With preestes and clerkes / to pray and synge deuoutly
Also peas and iustyce / to be kepte contynuall
With the werkes of mercy / to be vsed in specyall.

Forther he enioyned hym / of his charyte
Monasteryes to make / of great perfeccyon
1290 Endowed with landes / possessed in lyberte
Therin for to set / men of relygyon
To pray to our lorde / for his saluacyon
Whiche Uulfer promysed / to fulfyll gladle
As soone as he myght / by possybylyte.

sig: E2
1295 Than the foresayd kynge / and the holy confessour
Went to theyr prayers / in the oratory
And as the kynge loked vp / to our sauyour
The sayd sacrat vestures / he sawe euydently
Hangynge on the sonne-beame / full merueylously
1300 His gloues / his gyrdell / the kynge had vpon
Whiche shortly to grounde / falled adowne.

Wherby he perceyued / the great holynesse
Of blessed saynt Cead / and interyor deuocyon
Desyred his prayer / dayly with mekenesse
1305 To almyghty god / for his remyssyon
Frome thens departed / with his benedyccyon
Ioyfull in his soule / towarde his place
Thankynge god mekely / of his great grace.

As the kynge promysed / to our sauyour
1310 Shortly he auoyded / all ydolatry
Brenned theyr ydolles / correcked theyr errour
Translated theyr temples / vnto god almyghty
Founded monasteryes / of relygyon many
Of men and women / gaue them possessyons
1315 Landes / rentes / ryches / to encrese deuocyons

Namely he founded / a ryche monastery
For dethe of the prynces / in satysfaccyon
To the honour of god / and saynt Peter truly
Called Peterborowe abbay / in all this regyon
1320 Endowed it with rentes / lybertes / possessyon
A place where many / relygyous persones be
Seruynge day and nyght / our lorde with charyte.

sig: [E2v]
Also there was founded / at Stone a pryore
In the honour of god / and the martyrs twayne
1325 Possessed with landes / rentes and lyberte
Where deuoute chanons / ben inhabyte certayne
Myracles and sygnes / haue ben shewed there playne
To the laude and prayse / of god omnypotent
And of these holy martyrs / patrones there present.

¶Of the feruent desyre and great deuocyon th a t saynt Werburge hadde to be relygyous / and of þ e dayly supplycacyons she made to the kynge her father for the same. Ca .xiii.

1330 AS this myghty prynces / encreased in age
So dayly encresed / her good condycyons
That greatly enioyed / her honorable lynage
Consyderynge in her / suche vertuous dysposycyons
In vygyls / prayers / and ghostly medytacyons
1335 Set all her mynde / power / myght / and mayne
To serue our sauyour / day and nyght certayne.

She well consydered / with due dyscrecyon
Of this present lyfe / the great wretchydnesse
How dredefull it is / fyll of varyacyon
1340 Deceuable / peryllous / and of no sykernesse
The tyme vncertayne / to be knowen doubtlesse
For here is no cytee / nor sure dwel[l]ynge-place dwellynge] dwelyynge 1521
All-thynge is transytory / in short proces and space.

Wherfore this vyrgyn / gladde and benyuolent
1345 Folowynge the counseyll / of blessed Mathewe
Was on of fyue vyrgyns / euer redy present
Had her lampe replete / with oyle full of vertue
sig: E3
Redy for to mete / her spouse swete Ihesu
With charytable werkes / in her soule contynuall
1350 Therfore she was taken / to his blys eternall.

She well consydered the wordes of the gospell
Who refuses pleasures / and naturall generacyon
For the loue of Ihesu / rewarded shalbe well
With a hundreth-folde grace / here for theyr guerdon
1355 And after this lyfe / haue eterne fruycyon
Whiche she remembred / and euer fro that day
On her father wolde call / and mekely to hym say.

Reuerent myghty prynce / and lorde honorable
Moost dere byloued father / my synguler helpe and socour
1360 My trust / tresure / and solace / to me moost amyable
Instauntly I beseche you / for loue of our sauyoure
And of his mother mary / of vyrgyns the floure
With all the company / that in heuen be
My humble petycyon / now graunt it vnto me.

1365 Well byloued father / this is my fully mynde
My instaunte desyre / and humble supplycacyon
By the grace of god / maker of all mankynde
And by your lysence / helpe / and tuycyon
I purpose to enter / into holy relygyon
1370 And vtterly refuse / all pleasures transytory
To be professed / at the house of Ely.

O my dere doughter / sayd this noble kynge
My pleasure / solace / and hope of my gladnesse
Moost dere byloued / and my synguler swete derlynge
1375 I well consyder / your vertue and sadnesse
sig: [E3v]
Your instaunt request / and humble gentylnesse
And of your desyre / inwardly I am gladde
But yet your motyon / makes my herte full sadde.

All my ioye and conforte / now resteth in the
1380 Syth thy dere bretherne / from vs ben agone
Thou arte the trusty treasure / to thy mother and me
Our synguler solace / and sure consolacyon
Wherfore swete derlynge / as for my heyre alone
I wolde the mary / and a quene the make
1385 If thou wyll consent / and my counseyll take.

Consyder and beholde / thrugh all this lande
Take the a maryage / at thyne owne pleasure
A prynce moost valyaunt / moost noble to be founde
And of helpe and ayde / I shall the assure
1390 With ryches / royalte / welthe / and tresure
Clothes of golde / and royall ryche apparell
And all thynges necessary / as man can of tell.

Remembre also / how after course of kynde
Aege dothe sore greue / thy moder and me also
1395 Therfore naturall loue (swete chylde) dothe me bynde
To gyue the best counseyll / what thou shall do
To honour and worshyp / how thou may come to
Whiche great renowne / and hye astate certayne
To se the a quene / wyll make vs yonge agayne.

1400 God ordeyned matrymony / fyrst in Paradyse
Bytwene man and woman / whan he the worlde dyd make
That mankynde myght encrese / multyply and ryse
Eche persone at pleasure / a spouse for them to take
sig: E4
Now ioyned by holy chyrche / all other to forsake
1405 The chylde of the father / to take his dyscyplyne
And after that to teche / his yssue theyr doctryne.

Also man and beest / haue dysposycyon naturall
To brynge forthe theyr lykenesse / by generacyon
But man hauynge reason / and fre-wyll with-all
1410 As lawe requyreth / hath his procreacyon
Under true matrymony / by his owne eleccyon
Or els to obserue / and lyue in pure vyrgynyte
For the greater meryte / and rewarde of glorye.

And yf all maydens / shulde kepe theyr chastyte
1415 As ye now do / how shulde the worlde encrese
Swete louely creature / ryght ioyfull wolde I be
To kysse a chylde of thyne / hauynge thy lykenesse
And se the also coronate / as a myghty pryncesse
Enclyne dere derlynge / thy mynde to myne entent
1420 And all these sayd honours / wyll folowe consequent.

¶Of the meke answere saynt Werburge gaue to her father whan she was moeued to maryage. Ca .xiiii.

THe holi mayd / whan she knewe her fathers mynde
Her soule was replete / with woo and pensyuenesse
And sore began to wepe / after cours of kynde
The salte teeres dystylled / for payne and heuynesse
1425 By her ruddy chekes shynynge / full fayre doubtelesse
Pyteous to beholde / but whan the foresayd mayde
Ceased of her sorowe / thus to hym she sayde.

Moost beest byloued father / nexte to god almyght
sig: [E4v]
Your kynde gentyll mocyon / wolde moeue inwardely
1430 The mynde of any creature / to folowe you ryght
Or any stony stomake / to relent and apply
And resolue eche harde herte / to waylynge dolefully
Consyderynge on euery parte / with good dyscrecyon
To accepte or refuse / this harde eleccyon.

1435 Father I haue ben to you / meke and obedyent
Euer syth I had / yeres of dyscrecyon
Gladde to obserue / your hye commaundyment
With loue interyor / and humble intencyon
And so wyll contynue / with lowly submyssyon
1440 In this present lyfe / whyle I do endure
Of my loue and prayer / euer ye shalbe sure.

But moost louely father / I pray you hertfully
Take no dysplesure / pardon what I shall say
My soule / my herte / and mynde / is set stydfastly
1445 To serue my lorde god / nyght and also day
Neuer to be maryed / by no maner of way
For sothly I haue vowed / my true vyrgynyte
Unto Ihesu / the seconde persone in trynyte.

That is my spouse / and blessed sauyour
1450 For Whose loue refused / in certaynte haue I
All worldely pleasures / welth / ryches and honour
With all voyde busynesse / a[n]d cures transytory
My loue on hym is sette / so sure and feruently
That nothynge shall separate / my hert hym fro
1455 Sekenes nor helthe / pleasure / peyne / ne wo.

Also my full entent / was neuer otherwyse
sig: [E5]
Than to be handmayde / to my lorde Ihesu
And of my soule and body / to make hym sacryfyce
For my ghostly welthe / all vyces to subdue
1460 He is my dere spouse / solace / helthe moost true
On hym is all my herte / and hase ben set alway
And euer shalbe / vnto my endynge-day.

In this wretched worlde / we can not longe endure
And of this present lyfe / we are in no suerte
1465 As we haue deserued / so we shalbe sure
After this pylgrymage / rewarded for to be
For mercy and grace / therfore mekely call we
Whyle we haue tyme and space / for than it is to late
Whan dethe with his darte / sayth to vs chekemate.

1470 Wherfore dere father / I shewe you now agayne
All my hole herte / desyre and entent
Whiche euer hath ben / and so shalbe certayne
For to be relygyous / chast / and obedyent
Namely at Ely / for theyr vertue excellent
1475 Father I requyre you / for chrystes loue and charyte
My meke supplycacyon / now graunte it vnto me.

The kynge well consydered / his doughters desyre
Her constaunte true mynde / and pure deuocyon
Graunted her petycyon / with synguler loue entyre
1480 Trustynge by her prayer / and dayly supplycacyon
Unto heuen blysse / the rather for to come
Her mother Ermenylde / was gladde of this tydynge
And lauded full lowly / our lorde and heuen kynge.

¶How saynt Werburge was made a moynes after her desyre at the monastery of Ely vnder saynt Audry / lady and abbesse. Ca .xv.
sig: [E5v]
THan the kynge remembred / with due cyrcumstaunce
1485 The excellent vertue / sadnes / and grauyte
Of his dere doughter / and the perfyte constaunce
Her humble petycyon / and pure vyrgynyte
He thanked our lorde / with great humylyte
Of his infynyte grace / that so royall a floure
1490 Frome hym descended / to his prayse and honoure.

He sende messages / in all goodly hast
With letters myssyue / thrugh his regyon
Commaundynge his subiectes / they shulde full fast
By a day assygned / be redy euerychone
1495 In theyr best maner / with hym for to gone
To brynge his doughter / to the hous of Ely
There to be relygyous / after her desydery.

Whan the day was come / of theyr appoyntment
The nobles of the realme / and lordes were redy
1500 To attende on theyr souerayne / at his commaundyment
Kynge Uulfer prepared / all-thynge pleasauntly
And of his court / had chosen a noble company
In theyr best aray / royalte / and renowne
To offer saynt werburge / to god and relygyon.

1505 The kynge on his Iourney / rode forthe royally
The quene hym folowed / as is the custome
Werburge succeded them conseque[n]tly
The peeres and his counseyll / knewe well theyr rowme
Dukes / erles / lordes / and many a worthy barowne
sig: [E6]
1510 Knyghtes / squyers / gentyls / of her kynred also
With ladyes and gentylwomen / and seruauntes both-two.

Whan the kynge approched / the sayd monastery
Saynt Audry than abbesse / toke her holy couent
And mette the sayd kynge / and all his company
1515 With solempne processyon / and gretynge benyuolent
Praysynge our lorde god omnypotent
Whiche of his goodnes / to that congre[g]acyon congregacyon] congrecacyon 1521
Sende them a syster / of suche perfeccyon.

Wereburge requyred / by the order of charyte
1520 Mekely on her knees / to enter relygyon
Saynt Audry receyued / of her benygnyte
And graunted fre lycence / after her petycyon
Gladde were also / the hole congregacyon
And sange (Te deum) with moche reuerence
1525 Magnyfyenge our lorde / of his prouydence.

She was receyued / with moche solempnyte
Into the holy order / after her entent
To proue her sadnes / and humylyte
(As is the custome) and so be obedyent
1530 To lyue euer after / humble / chast / and contynent
Than dyd theyr Ioye / merueylously encreas
Consyderynge her pacyens / and perfyte holynes.

Her royall dyademe / and shynynge coronall
Was fyrst refuted / for loue of our sauyoure
1535 The poore vayle accepted / and the symple pall
The royall ryche purpull / reiected that same houre
With other clothes of golde / sylkes of great honoure
sig: [E6v]
She toke lowe appareyll / vestures that were blake
All her plesaunt garmentes / she clerely dyd forsake.

1540 Also she refused / her fathers realme and royalte
All ryches / rentes / pleasures / possessyon
With all worldely honoures / full of vanyte
Lowly submyttynge her / vnder subieccyon
Vertu to encrese / myndynge moost relygyon
1545 She refused yet more her owne proper wyll
Put all to her abbesse / her order to fulfyll.

¶Of the great solempnyte kynge Uulfer made at the ghostly maryage of saynt Werburge his doughter / to al his louers / cosyns / and frendes. Ca .xvi.

Kynge Uulfer her father / at this ghostly spousage
Prepared great tryumphes / and solempnyte
Made a royall feest / as custome is of maryage
1550 Sende for his frendes / after good humanyte
Kepte a noble housholde / shewed great lyberalyte
Bothe to ryche and poore / that to this feest wolde come
No man was denyed / euery man was well-come.

Her vncles and auntes / were present there all
1555 Ethelred and Merwalde / and Mercelly also
Thre blessed kynges / whome sayntes we do call
Saint keneswyd / saint keneburg / theyr systers both-two
And of her noble lygnage / many other mo
Were redy that season / with reuerence and honour
1560 At this noble tryumphe / to do all theyr deuour.

Tho kynges mette them / with theyr company
sig: [E7]
Egbryct kynge of kent / brother to the quene
The seconde was Aldulphe / kynge of the eest party
Brother to saynt Audry / wyfe and mayde serene
1565 With dyuers of theyr progeny / and nobles as I wene
Dukes / erles / barons / and lordes ferre and nere
In theyr best aray / were present all in fere.

It were full tedyous / to make descrypcyon
Of the great tryumphes / and solempne royalte
1570 Belongynge to the feest / the honour and prouysyon
By playne declaracyon / vpon euery partye
But the sothe to say / withouten ambyguyte
All herbes and floures / fragraunt fayre and swete
Were strawed in halles / and layd vnder theyr fete.

1575 Clothes of golde and arras / were hanged in the hall
Depaynted with pyctures / and hystoryes manyfolde
Well wrought and craftely / with precyous stones all
Glyterynge as Phebus / and the beten golde
Lyke an erthly paradyse / pleasaunt to beholde
1580 As for the sayd moynes / was not them amonge
But prayenge in her cell / as done all nouyce yonge.

The story of Adam / there was goodly wrought
And of his wyfe Eue / bytwene them the serpent
How they were deceyued / and to theyr peynes brought
1585 There was Cayn and Abell / offerynge theyr present
The sacryfyce of Abell / accepte full euydent
Tuball and Tubalcain / were purtrayed in that place
The inuentours of musyke / and craftes by great grace.

Noe and his shyppe / was made there curyously
sig: [E7v]
1590 Sendynge forthe a rauen / whiche neuer came agayne
And how the douue retourned / with a braunche hastely
A token of conforte and peace / to man certayne
Abraham there was / standynge vpon the mount playne
To offer in sacryfyce / Isaac his dere sone
1595 And how the shepe for hym / was offered in oblacyon.

The twelue sones of Iacob / there were in purtrayture
And how into Egypt / yonge Ioseph was solde
There was inprysoned / by a false coniectour
After in all Egypte / was ruler (as is tolde)
1600 There was in pycture / Moyses wyse and bolde
Our lorde apperynge / in busshe flammynge as fyre
And nothynge therof brent / lefe / tree / nor spyre.

The ten plages of Egypte / were well embost
The chyldren of Israell / passynge the reed_see
1605 Kynge Pharoo drowned / with all his proude hoost
And how the two tables / at the mounte of Synaye
Were gyuen to Moyses / and how soone to ydolatry
The people were prone / and punysshed were therfore
How Datan and Abyron / for pryde were lost full youre.

1610 Duke Iosue was ioyned / after them in pycture
Ledynge the Isrehelytes / to the lande of promyssyon
And how the sayd lande / was dyuyded by mesure
To the people of god / by equall sundry porcyon
The Iudges and bysshops / were there euerychone
1615 Theyr noble actes / and tryumphes Marcyall
Fresshly were browdred / in these clothes royall.

Nexte to [the] hye borde / appered fayre and bryght the hye borde] hye borde lorde 1521Horstmann reads 'borde-lorde', 'lords of the feast' Horstmann reads 'borde-lorde', 'lords of the feast'
sig: [E8]
Kynge Saull and Dauyd / and prudent Salomon
Roboas succedynge / whiche soone lost his myght
1620 The good kynge Esechyas / and his generacyon
And so to the Machabees / and dyuers other nacyon
All these sayd storyes / so rychely done and wrought
Belongyng to kyng Uulfer / agayn th a t tyme were brought

But ouer the hye desse / in the pryncypall place
1625 Where the sayd thre kynges / sate crowned all
The best hallynge hanged / as reason was
Wherin were wrought / the .ix. ordres angelycall
Dyuyded in thre Ierarchyses / not cessynge to call
Sanctus / sanctus / sanctus / blessed be the trynyte
1630 Dominus deus sabaoth / thre persones in one deyte.

Nexte in ordre suynge / sette in goodly purtrayture
Was our blessed lady / floure of femynyte
With the twelue apostles / eche one in his fygure
And the foure euangelystes / wrought moost curyously
1635 Also the dyscyples / of chryst in theyr degre
Prechynge and techynge / vnto euery nacyon
The faythes of holy chyrche / for theyr saluacyon. faythes] faythtes 1521Horstmann retains 'faythtes', glossing as 'facts' Horstmann retains 'faythtes', glossing as 'facts'

Martyrs than folowed / ryght manyfestly
The holy innocentes / whome Herode had slayne
1640 Blessed saynt Stephan / the prothomartyr truly
Saynt Laurence / saynt Uyncent / sufferynge great payne
With many other mo / than here ben nowe certayne
Of whiche sayd martyrs / exsample we may take
Pacyence to obserue / in herte for chrystes sake.

1645 Confessours approched / ryght conuenyent
sig: [E8v]
Fresshely enbrodred / in ryche tysshewe and fyne
Saynt Nycholas saynt Benedycte / and his couent
Saynt Ierom / Basylyus and saynt Augustyne
Gregory the great doctour / Ambrose and saynt Martyne
1650 All these were sette / in goodly purtrayture
Them to beholde / was a heuenly pleasure.

Uyrgyns them folowed / crowned with the lyly
Amonge whome our lady / chefe presydent was
Some crowned with rooses / for theyr great vyctory
1655 Saynt Katheryne / saynt Margarete / saynt Agathas
Saynt Cycyly / saynt Agnes / and saynt Charytas
Saynt Lucye / saynt Wenefryde / and saynt Apolyn
All these were brothered / the clothes of golde within. brothered: =broidered

Upon the other syde / of the hall sette were
1660 Noble auncyent storyes / and how the stronge Sampson
Subdued his enemyes / by his myghty power
Of Hector of Troy / slayne by fals treason
Of noble Arthur / kynge of this regyon
With many other mo / whiche it is to longe
1665 Playnly to expresse / this tyme you amonge.

The tables were couered / with clothes of Dyaper
Rychely enlarged / with syluer and with golde
The cupborde with plate / shynynge fayre and clere
Marshalles theyr offyces / fulfylled manyfolde
1670 Of myghty wyne plenty / bothe newe and olde
All maner kynde / of meetes delycate
(Whan grace was sayd) to them was preparate.

To this noble feest / there was suche ordynaunce
sig: F1
That nothynge wanted / that goten myght be
1675 On see and on lande / but there was habundaunce
Of all maner pleasures / to be had for monye
The bordes all charged / full of meet plente
And dyuers subtyltes / prepared sothly were
With cordyall spyces / theyr ghestes for to chere.

1680 The Ioyfull wordes / and swete communycacyon
Spoken at the table / it were harde to tell
Eche man at lyberte / without interrupcyon
Bothe sadnes and myrthes / also pryue counsell
Some adulacyon / some the truthe dyd tell
1685 But the great astates / spake of theyr regyons
Knyghtes of theyr chyualry / of craftes the comons.

Certayne at eche cours / of seruyce in the hall
Trumpettes blewe vp / shalmes and claryons
Shewynge theyr melody with / toynes musycall
1690 Dyuers other mynstrelles / in crafty proporcyons
Made swete concordaunce / and lusty dyuysyons
An heuenly pleasure / suche armony to here
Reioysynge the hertes / of the audyence full clere.

A synguler mynstrell / all other ferre passynge
1695 Toyned his instrument / in pleasaunte armony
And sange moost swetely / the company gladynge
Of myghty conquerours / the famous vyctory
Wherwith was rauysshed / theyr spyrytes and memory
Specyally he sange / of the great Alexandere
1700 Of his tryumphes and honours / endurynge .xii. yere.

Solemply he songe / the state of the Romans
sig: [F1v]
Ruled vnder kynges / by polycy and wysedome
Of theyr hye iustyce / and ryghtfull ordynauns
Dayly encreasynge / in worshyp and renowne
1705 Tyll Tarquyne þ e proude kynge / with th a t great confusyon
Oppressed dame Lucrece / the wyfe of Colatyne
Kynges neuer reygned in Rome / syth that tyme.

Also how the Romayns / vnder thre dyctatours
Gouerned all regyons / of the worlde ryght-wysely
1710 Tyll Iulyus Cesar / excellynge all conquerours
Subdued Pompeius / and toke the hole monarchy
And the rule of Rome / to hym -selfe manfully
But Cassius_Brutus / the fals conspyratour
Caused to be slayne / the sayd noble emperour.

1715 After the sayd Iulyus / succeded his syster-sone
Called Octauyanus / in the imperyall see
And by his precepte / was made descrypcyon
To euery regyon / lande / shyre / and cytee
A trybute to pay / vnto his dygntye
1720 That tyme was / vnyuersall peas and honour
In whiche tyme was borne / our blessed sauyoure.

All these hystoryes / noble and auncyent
Reioysynge the audyence / he sange with pleasuer
And many other mo / of the newe testament
1725 Pleasaunt and profytable / for theyr soules cure
Whiche be omytted / now not put in vre
The mynysters were redy / theyr offyce to fulfyll
To take vp the tables / at theyr lordes wyll.

Whan this noble feest / and great solempnyte
sig: F2
1730 Dayly endurynge / a longe tyme and space
Was royally ended / with honour and royalte
Eche kynge at other / lysence taken hace
And so departed from thens / to theyr place
Kynge Uulfer retourned / with worshyp and renowne
1735 Frome the house of Ely / to his owne mansyon.

¶Of the holy professyon and ghostly conuersacyon saynt Werburge vsed at Ely in relygyo[n] / vnder saynt Audry her abbesse and cosyn. Ca .xvii.

SO whan this vyrgyn / the spouse of Ihesu
Had fully contynued / in holy relygyon
With mekenesse / pacyens / and all vertu
Fully the yere / of her probacyon
1740 Than she made instaunce / for her professyon
Unto saynt Audry / her lady and abbesse
Whiche soone was graunted / with great gladnesse.

Ordynaunce they made / and great royalte
Her frendes were called / agaynst that season
1745 She was professed / with great humylyte
The obseruaunce done / with due deuocyon
She made solempne vowe / of ghostly conuersacyon
Mekely to obserue / obedyence and chastyte
Endurynge her lyfe / and wylfull pouerte.

1750 By the exsample / of her perfeccyon
Many dyuers persones / of her noble lynage
Refused this worlde / and entred relygyon
Renounsynge vayne pleasures / ryches and maryage
Enclyned to vertue / for theyr ghostly auauntage
sig: [F2v]
1755 As may be specyfyed / here-after folowynge
Theyr names / theyr astate / and theyr good lyuynge.

Now this gloryous vyrgyn / after her desyre
Is ghostly maryed / to our lorde Ihesu
Accordynge to her entent / and true loue entyre
1760 She dayly encresed / frome vertu to vertu
With more strayter lyfe / vyces to subdu
The longer she endured / in relygyon
The better she prepared / her herte to deuocyon.

And tho this vyrgyn / clerely dyd forsake
1765 All ryches honours / and pleasures worldly
With all possessyons / for her lordes sake
She thought than she reygned / moost lyke a lady
Cause that she lyued / in chrystes seruyce dayly
And certayne it is / holy scrypture recordynge
1770 Who serues well god / dothe reygne lyke a kynge.

In prayer / penaunce / and / contemplacyon
Was all her busynesse / and study alway
Compasynge by what maner of medytacyon
She myght best please / our lorde to his pay
1775 Offerynge her persone / a true sacryfyce euery day
No labour her greued / loue was so feruent
Her body vpon erthe / her soule in heuen lent.

Swete / comly creatures / ladyes euerychone
Sekynge for pleasures / ryches and arayment
1780 Blynded by your beaute / and synguler affeccyon
Consyder this vyrgyn / humble and pacyent
A spectacle of vertue / euer obedyent.
sig: F3
Beholde how she hase / clerely layde away
Her royall ryche clothes / and is in meke aray.

1785 Your garmentes now be gay and gloryous
Euery yere made / after a newe inuencyon
Of sylke and veluet / costly and precyous
Brothered full rychely / after the beest facyon
Shynynge lyke angels / in your opynyon
1790 Where lesse wolde suffyse / and content as well
As all that great cost / folowynge wyse counsell.

A playne exsample / now ye may take
Of this myghty kynges doughter dere
Whiche for the loue of god / dyd forsake
1795 All suche vayne pleasures / and garmentes clere
She gaue herselfe / to penaunce and prayere
Wherfore fayre ladyes / do way suche vantye
Prepare yourselfe / to vertue and humylyte.

Some of lowe byrthe / excellynge theyr degre
1800 Done couet to haue / as royall ryche vesture
Worldly honours / also the sufferaynte
As they were ladyes / by lyne of nature
Of dredefull mysery / they bere the fygure
Prowde as a Pecocke / whelynge full bryght
1805 All is but vanyte / contentynge the syght.

O Gloryous vyrgyn / replete with synguler grace
Endowed with souerayne gyftes celestyall
Refusynge voyde pleasures / whan thou had space
And honours transytory / whiche hath brought in thrall
1810 A thousande persones / in ruyne to fall
sig: [F3v]
A myrrour thou arte / of vyrgynall clennes
Of true obedyence / and perfyte mekenes.

So Werburge professed / to her rule full ryght
A redolent floure / all vertue to augment
1815 As Lucyfer shynynge / a clere lampe of lyght
For whome her spouse / god[es] sone omnypotent godes] god 1521
Shewed many myracles / to euery pacyent
A sygne her loue was / supernaturall
Closed in our lorde / by grace supernall.

1820 The excellent goodnes / of this moynes
And fame of vertue / with humylyte
Transcended all other / in perfyte holynes
So that sundry persones / approched that party
For ghostly conforte / counsell and remedy
1825 Suche as to her came / pensyue / woo / and sadde
Departed ioyfull / in soule mery and gladde.

She dayly prouyded / for ghostly treasure
To buylde her a place / a sure mansyon
Euer to remayne / with ioye and endure
1830 In pleasure perpetuall / without corrupcyon
Whiche she optayned / by her deuocyon
After this departure / to reygne as a presydent
In eterne blys / with god omnypotent

¶A lytell treatyse of the lyfe of saynt Audry abbesse of Ely / and of her holy co[n]uersacyon
conuersacyon] couersacyon 1521
and great deuocyon / vnder whome saynt Werburge was made nonne / and professed. Ca .xviii.
sig: [F4]
THe yere of our lorde .vi.C.ix. and thyrty
1835 Regned saynt Anna / kynge of eest_Englande
Whiche maryed saynt Hereswith / of the North party
They had noble yssue / as we vnderstande
Prynce Aldulph and Iurwyne / in story as is founde
Saynt Sexburge the quene / and blessed Audry
1840 Saynt Ethelberge / Withburge / a holy progeny.

This blessed Audry / called Etheldred
Of two great kyngedomes / lynyally descendynge
Was borne in Suffolke / as sayth saynt Bede
In a lytell vyllage / called Exmynge Exmynge: recte Exnynge (Horstmann)
1845 This noble prynces / and dere derlynge
With many great vertues / of grace illumynate
Magnyfyed her parage / and royall astate.

This blessed Audry / from her yonge aege
Was dysposed euer / vnto sadnes
1850 Obedyent lowly / vnto her parentage
Encreasynge in vertue / and constaunt sobrynes
Worldely pleasures / dysportes / and wantonnes
Lyghtnes of language / and all presumpcyon
In this sayd vyrgyn / had no domynacyon.

1855 Sad and demure / she was in countenaunce
Nothynge enclyned / vnto fragylyte
Benynge and pacyent / without perturbaunce
Meke / curteys / gentyll / full of humylyte
Pryde / statelenes / and sensualyte
1860 Were not in her founde / by any condycyon
Curteyse in byhauour / vnto euery persone.

sig: [F4v]
No man was greued / nor toke dyspleasure
At this sayd mayden / in her fathers hall
Euery honest persone / and reasonable creature
1865 Were pleased with her / bothe one and all
None dyscontent / pryuate nor generall
She was so meke / and full of pacyence
That people desyred / to come to her presence.

She was beauteous / fayre and amyable
1870 Pleasaunte to beholde / in gyftes of nature
Her countenaunce comly / swete / louely / and stable
Nothynge dysposed / vnto worldely pleasure
More lyke an angell / by all coniecture
Than a fragyll mayde / of sensuall appetyte
1875 For in vayne pleasures / she had no delyte.

Whan that she came / to yeres of dyscrecyon
Dyuers her moeued / in way of maryage
Some offered ryches / royalte / and renowne
Some other possessyons / landes and herytage
1880 And some the sufferaynte / her mynde to asswage
All these she refused / for the loue of Ihesu
To whome she auowed / her chastyte full tru.

After that Uenus / had her longe assayled
To peruerte her mynde / to worldly affeccyon
1885 And of all nettes and engynes / therof had fayled
Than came to her presence / a prynce of renowne
Called duke Tombert / of the eest regyon
Whiche longe desyred / to haue her in spousage
At the laste optayned / the wyll of her parentage.

sig: G1
1890 Unto whiche thynge / [s]he wolde neuer enclyne she] he 1521
For all the mocyon / of her hye parentes
Tyll she was assured / by heuenly doctryne
To kepe her vyrgynyte / clere in conscyens
Than she consented / without concupyscens
1895 And with the sayd duke / she lyued in chastyte
Bothe mayden and wyfe / almost yeres thre.

After whose dethe / she remayned in Ely
In fastynge / prayer / vygyls / and penaunce
Whiche place was gyuen / to her Ioynt and dowry
1900 By Tombert her husbande / with great pleasaunce
This yle of Ely / by deuyne purueaunce
With muddy waters / is compased aboute
Theyr enemyes to greue / and strongely to holde out.

Thyder came Eg[fryde] / kynge of the north parte Egfryde] Egbyrct 1521
1905 To desyre saynt Audry / in matrymony
To whome she wolde neuer / consent in herte
For no maner counseyll / that myght be done truly
Tho her syster Sexburge / moeued her tenderly
Tyll the angell of god / assured her to be
1910 Quene / wyfe / and mayde / kepynge vyrgynyte.

Than Audry graunted / maryed for to be
Unto this foresayd / noble kynge Egfryde
And at the maryage / was great solempnyte
Tryumphes honoures / on euery syde
1915 Great cost and royalte / they dyd prouyde
Frome Ely departed / vnto his owne place
In the North parte dwellynge / with great solace

sig: [G1v]
By the grace of our lorde god / moost of myght
And helpe of his mother / blessed mayd mary
1920 By prayer of Audry / and by myracle ryght
Togyder they lyued / bothe in pure chastyte
The naturall mocyon / of his lascyuyte
Was shortly slaked / and feruent desyre
By myracle / as water quencheth the fyre.

1925 Whan he apperceyued / her asured constaunce
Her perfyte holynes / and chast contynence
His herte reiosed / of her contynuaunce
Of whome she desyred / with humble reuerence
And synguler supplycacyon / to haue fre lysence
1930 At Canwod abbay / to enter relygyon
Whiche the kynge graunted / for her deuocyon.

Saynt Ebba syster / vnto saynt Oswolde
Was abbesse and ruler / of that congregacyon
Where blessed Audry / ryght as she wolde
1935 Was reuerently receyued / into relygyon
And after the yere / of her probacyon
Professed there was / by bysshop Wylfryde
Where all worldly honours / she set on syde.

Frome thens she departed / to the yle of Ely
1940 More quyetly to lyue / out of busynesse
For drede of the kynge / her husbande truly
Purposynge to take her / frome that holynesse
She toke two maydens / with her doubtlesse
And in theyr Iournay / our lorde of his grace
1945 Shewed dyuers myracles / at eche restynge-place.

sig: G2
The archebysshop of yorke / Wylfryde her confessour
Was depryued frome his benefyce / by the kynge cruelly
Obserued pacyence / laudynge our sauyour
And folowed saynt Audry / to the place of Ely
1950 Whiche (as afore is sayd) was her Ioynt and dowry
And electe her abbesse / on that congregacyon
Moost worthy to be / for her holy conuersacyon.

Where Audry buylded / a chyrche of our lady
With helpe of kynge Aldulph / her brother naturall
1955 Dystaunt a myle / frome the olde monastery
Founded by saynt Austyn / for meryte spyrytuall
Whiche place all desolate / she edyfyed full specyall
By her prouysyon / an-other noble monastery
The yere of grace / syxe hyndreth seuenty and thre.

1960 Whan the werke was ended / as her wyll was
She endowed the abbay / with fraunches and lyberte
And gaue the hole yle of Ely / to that place
With all commodytes / profettes / and yssues fre
Frome all exaccyons / exempte clerely to be
1965 Of kynge and bysshop / confyrmed it at Rome
With all prelates and prynces / consentynge of this regyon.

In short tyme and space / to Audry dyd resorte
Relygyous men and women / a great company
Professed in that place / for theyr ghostly conforte
1970 Renounsynge vayne pleasures / and honours transsytory
Amonge whome saynt Werburge / professed solemply
Promysed in audyence / to lyue a lyfe monestycall
After saynt Benettes rule / for the lyfe eternall.

sig: [G2v]
Also the yere of grace / syxe hundreth seuenty and nyne
1975 In the moneth of Iulii / in the nynth kalendas
To heuen departed / saynt Audry the quene
Then reygnynge in Kent / kynge Lothary by grace
Aldulph in eest_Englande / her brother whiche was
Kynge [Eg]fryde her husbande / in Northumberlande Egfryde] Offryde 1521
1980 Also kynge Ethelrede / than reygnynge in Mercelande

¶A breue rehersal of þ e lyfe of saynt Sexburge / graund-mother to saynt Werburge. And of her comynge to Ely to her syster Audry from Shepay monastery. Ca .xix.

THe holy matrone / and quene saynt Sexburge
A kynges doughter / and moder to kynges twayne
Syster to saynt Audry / and graundmother to Werburge
Of noble parentage / is comen certayne
1985 Of two realmes descendynge / lynyally and playne
By her father / from the realme of eest_Englande
And by her mother / frome Northumberlande.

Her father saynt Anna / as sayth myne auctour
Was kynge of the eest parte / sone to Egnicius
1990 Whiche Anna was maryed / with moche honour
To Hereswith / doughter to kynge Herericius
And syster to saynt Hylde / the vyrgyn gracyous
To whome saynt Edwyn / the gloryous martyr
Kynge of Northumberlande / was great-graundfather.

1995 This sayd kynge Anna / lyued a longe space
In welthe / worshyp / honour / and prosperyte
With his quene Hereswith / by synguler grace
Obseruynge Iustyce / pacyence / and equyte
sig: G3
Kepte the preceptes / of god almyghte
2000 Mercyfull and lyberall / to the poore in payne
Whiche kynge by Penda / was murdred and slayne.

As the ryuer passeth / oftetymes the heed-fountayne
The lytell graffe or ympe / transcendeth the tree
Lykewyse theyr chyldren / encresed certayne
2005 In mekenes / pacyence / and perfyte charyte
Aboue theyr parentes / in vertue and benygnyte
So that theyr name / lynage / and hye astate
By them was magnyfyed / praysed and decorate.

Kynge Anna and Hereswith / had a noble yssue
2010 Syxe goodly chyldren / pleasaunt to beholde
None fayrer in this lande / myndynge all vertue
And to all good maners / dysposed manyfolde
Yet was theyr fayrenes / not equall to be tolde
To theyr deuocyon / and synguler goodnes
2015 Whose names expressed / ben afore doubtles.

Sexburge the eldest / of the systers all
Instructe by her parentes / in vertuous dyscyplyne
Folowynge theyr counsell / in herte full specyall
Prepared her soule / after theyr doctryne
2020 For aboue the age / of so yonge a femynyne For: =Far, OED
So that euery day / by grace and wysdome
In her dyd growe / some plant of deuocyon.

In all this realme / dylated was her fame
That whan she approched / vnto lawfull aege
2025 Prynces / dukes / erles / herynge of her name
Desyred to haue Sexburge / in maryage
sig: [G3v]
And busyly laboured / vnto her parentage
This mayd was maryed / with honour full excellent
Unto Ercombert / the noble kynge of Kent.

2030 To whome kynge Ethelbryct / graundfather was
The fyrst chrysten kynge / of Saxons and chefe floure
Baptysed by saynt Austyn / thrughe heuenly grace
He was to holy chyrche / a specyall benefactour
Monasteryes and pryores / founded with great honoure
2035 Kynge Eadbalde his sone / exemple of hym toke
Whiche was father to Ercombert / as sayth my boke.

This lady Sexburge / cyrcumfulsed with grace cyrcumfulsed: ='shone around' (L. circumfulgere)
After her desyre / and vertuous entent
Had leuer the monastery / than the fayre palace
2040 The chyrche to vysyte / than with maryage be lent
But to her parentes / she was euer obedyent
Folowynge theyr counseyll / and of her frendes dere
In lawfull maryage / toke the sayd kynge her fere.

A noble generacyon / she hadde by the kynge
2045 Egbryct and Lothary / two prynces prepotent
And two holy doughters / in vertue shynynge
Ermenylde and Erkengode / by lynyall descent
This Ermenylde maryed / with honour equyualent
Unto kynge Uulfer / had a royall yssue
2050 The gloryous Werburge / replete with vertue.

Her syster Erkengode / refused vtterly
Honours / worshyp / and worldly possessyon
Ryches / maryage / and pleasures transytory
Went vnto Fraunce / with humble deuocyon
sig: G4
2055 At the Cytee of Burges / entred relygyon
Where Ethelberge her aunt / was ruler and abbesse
Togyder they lyued / in perfyte holynesse.

This honorable Sexburge / and blessed matrone
Refusynge worldly honours / and solempnyte
2060 Preferred mekenesse / and perfyte deuocyon
Aboue all ryches / power and dygnyte
Auoyded ambycyon / obserued humylyte
Upon poore people / euer had compassyon
And them releued / with due mynystracyon.

2065 She made her palace / manytymes an hospytall
Her pryuate cubycle / a deuoute oratory
As a kynde mother amyable / in courte and in hall
Mekely fulfylled / the seuen werkes of mercy
Oftetymes in the chyrche / selde amonge company
2070 Yet euer whan she myght / haue tyme and space
Magnyfyed and praysed / our lorde in secrete place.

She instructe her husbande / in ghostly vertu
To great lolynesse / and synguler perfeccyon
So by her counseyll / with the grace of Ihesu
2075 Frome infydelyte / purged was that regyon
Destroyed theyr ydolles / theyr sectes euerychone
Restaured temples / vnto chrystes honour
Founded monasteryes / by her cost and labour.

The kynge by her mocyon / commaunded straytly
2080 All his people and subiectes / vpon sharpe correccyon
To obserue prayer / and penaunce deuoutely
And truly for to fast / the holy tyme of Lenton
sig: [G4v]
The archbysshop Theodorus / and fathers of relygyon
Consyderynge her pacyence / and benygnyte
2085 Reioysed in her dedes / and praysed the trynyte.

Whan the famous Ercombert / the sayd kynge of Kent
Foure and twenty yere had reygned / in honour full royall
With blessed Sexburge / his quene excellent
Than he departed / frome this lyfe mortall
2090 The quene prepared / the obsequyes funerall
With great lamentacyon / and great royalte
As was conuenyent / for his state and degre.

After that Sexburge / refused worldely pleasure
Entred relygyon / professed chastyte
2095 At Shepay monastery / in Kent full sure
Buylded at her cost / full honorable
After electe Abbesse / and ruler of that companye
To whome she was / a myrrour of mekenes
And exemple of vertue / and proued holynes.

2100 As she was occupyed / in medytacyon
An heuenly messanger / to her was sent
Shewynge how for synne / and transgressyon
Englande shulde suffer / great punysment
And be subdued / with greuous torment
2105 Wherfore she lefte / in good rule that place
And dyd electe to them / an-other abbace.

Sexburge toke lycence / of her systers all
Commendynge them / vnto the trynyte
And so departed / fro her chyldren spyrytuall
2110 With labour attayned / to the hous of Elye
sig: [G5]
There to be subiecte / to Her syster Audrye
And to her doctryne / apply her entent
Unto relygyon / euer founde obedyent.

Saynt Audry was gladde / of her systers comynge
2115 In lyke maner / were all the hole congregacyon
With myrthes and solace / in soule reioysynge
To haue the presence / of so worthy a persone
There lyued togyder / in perfyte deuocyon
Tyll blessed Audry / frome this lyfe mortall
2120 Departed was / to the lyfe eternall.

After whose buryall / Sexburge was electe
To be abbesse and ruler / ouer that couent
Whiche to all vertue / her mynde dyd erecte
And the .xvi. yere after / with labours dylygent
2125 She translate saynt Audry / that noble presydent
Beynge hole incorrupte / also substancyall
In body and in vesture / by grace supernall.

¶How saynt Ermenylde after the dethe of kynge Uulfer her husbande was made a nonne at Ely / vnder her mother saynt Sexburge abbesse / and Werburge her deuoute doughter. Ca .xx.

OF Mercyens the kynge / whan the foresayd Uulfere
Had regned in honour / worshyp and royalte
2130 With saynt Ermenylde his quene / fully .xvii. yere
Unto euerlastynge blysse / departed than he
And buryed was / with moche solempnyte
In Lychefelde chyrche / after hym there dyd succede
In-to the kyngdome / his brother Ethelrede.

sig: [G5v]
2135 The quene for her husbande / made great lamentacyon
Dolefully lamentynge / nyght and day his departure
As nature enquyred / endurynge a longe season
Remayned in wydohode / and mournynge vesture
Yet after all heuynesse / penaunce / and dysconfyture
2140 She reioysed in soule / to be at lyberte
Entendynge relygyon / by grace of the trynyte.

Soone she departed / to the hous of Ely
Refusynge this worlde / pleasures possessyon
Instauntly requyred / with perfyte humylyte
2145 To be a moynes / accepte in relygyon
Gladde was the abbesse / of her conuersyon
And thanked our lorde / of his specyall grace
So dyd all the systers / within the sayd place.

Her naturall mother / blessed Sexburge
2150 That tyme was lady / and chefe presydent
There was professed / her doughter Werburge
An exemple of mekenes / to all the couent
Ermenylde thanked god / and was obedyent
To her mother Sexburge / a myrrour of vertu
2155 Also to her doughter / the spouses of Ihesu.

It passeth mannes reason / playnly to expresse
Her vertuous lyfe / and ghostly conuersacyon
In prayer / penaunce / and proued mekenesse
In perfyte obedyence / and synguler deuocyon
2160 In vygyls / abstynence / and in hye perfeccyon
The cotydyane labours / her body to chastyce
That her soule may be / to god true sacryfyce.

sig: [G6]
Bycause that Werburge / in order was senyoure
Her mother Ermenylde / gaue her the sufferaynte
2165 Preferrynge her doughter / with mekenes and honoure
But yet her doughter / of a naturall amyte
Preferred her mother / with humble senyoryte
And so bytwene them / was a swete contencyon
Wheder shulde more subiecte be / to other in relygyon.

2170 Afore whan Ermenylde / was vnder maryage
Unto holy matrones / she was comparable
Sara / Rebecca / Rachell / and Sybell sage
And saynt Elysabeth / with other mo honorable
Now in relygyon / she is moost notable
2175 Knowen by her vertues / and sadde dysposycyon
What vnder matrymony / was her intencyon.

Ermenylde subdued / by synguler deuyne grace
All fragyll mocyons / and sensualyte
Lyke maner as Iudyth / Olofernes slayne hace
2180 She mortyfyed all pleasures / lustes and volupte
Lykewyse as Iaell / dyd the prynce Sysare
A duches of vertue / as whylom was Delbora
Used the oratory / in prayer as dyd Anna.

After the departure / and wofull buryall
2185 Of Sexburge her mother / abbesse and lady
Her doughter Ermenylde / the blessed monyall
Was chosen abbesse / and ruler of Ely
As sheweth dan Wyllyam / of Maluysbury
How fyrst was Audry / than Sexburge her syster
2190 Afterwarde was abbesse / Ermenylde her doughter.

sig: [G6v]
The lyfe of Ermenylde / was euer vertuous
Pleasaunt to god / and her systers euerychone
In the syght of god / her dethe was precyous
Playnly notyfyed / by her conuersacyon
2195 She vertuously gouerned / her congregacyon
Frome this lyfe departed / to eternall glory
As sayth her legende / the Idus of February.

And buryed was / with moche lamentacyon
In the holy monastery / and house of Ely
2200 Amonge her parentage / and congregacyon
Where she is shryned / with her aunt saynt Audry
And with her mother / saynt Sexburge rychely
For whome our sauyour / of his specyall grace
Sheweth dayly myracles / in that sayd place.

2205 One of the myracles / we shall now rehers
Our lorde for her shewed / at Ely abbay
After her translacyon / the story dothe expres
It fortuned in Whytson-weke / vpon a thursday
An Englysshman was bounden / in wofull aray
2210 Fetered with yrons / bothe on handes and fete
Wrongfully accused / as ye may all wete.

By instaunt request / he gate hym lycence
To vysyte the tombe / of saynt Ermenylde
Whome he requyred / with humble reuerence
2215 And meke petycyon / frome the herte full mylde
To be delyuered / and fully reconsylde
Whose humble desyre / and synguler supplycacyon
Was fully graunted / to his consolacyon.

sig: [G7]
At this tyme / whan this holy man was prayenge
2220 Whan the Deken redde the holy gospell
By meane of Ermenylde / to our lorde and kynge
Frome his handes and fete / the yrons done fell
By grace aboue nature / merueylously to tell
That the sayd yrons in syght of all the bretherne
2225 Sprange vp sodenly / and lyght vpon the aulter.

Aliud miraculum.

AN-other myracle / declare now may we
Done at the sayd Ely / by this holy matrone
In presence of the pryor / and all the fraternyte
Whiche pryor of this mater / had best notycyon
2230 A scole-mayster of Innocentes / after the custome
Gaue lysence / vpon saynt Ermenyldes day
To all his chyldren / to sport them in play.

Whan the feest / and solempnyte was done
The yonge tender chyldren / wanton and neclygent
2235 Dredynge theyr mayster / for fere of correccyon
To the holy shryne / they assembled full dylygent
Trustynge therby of pardon / after theyr entent
Desyred theyr mayster / for saynt Ermenyldes sake
To pardon theyr trespas / and no dyspleasure take.

2240 The mayster fulfylled / with hastynes and e[nu]y
Toke them frome the tombe / with great indygnacyon
Without dyscrecyon / punysshed them greuously
Gyuynge no honour / to the saynt ne deuocyon
Rebuked them sore / sayenge with insultacyon
2245 Trowe ye to be spared / from punyshment this day
For saynt Ermenyldes sake / nay nay do way.

sig: [G7v]
After all this done / the nexte nyght folowynge
Whan the sayd mayster / to his bedde was gone
His great vnkyndenes / saynt Ermenylde remembrynge
2250 Rewar[d]ed hym Iustly / after his guerdon Rewarded] Rewarned 1521
His handes and his fete / prompte to persecucyon
Were sodenly smytten / made lame / contracte also
No power had to ryse / to moeue nor to go.

This sodayne punysshement / langour / confusyon
2255 Vexed hym greuously in all his body
Moost terryble of all / of helthe desperacyon
Inwardly hym troubled / with peynes horryble
But yet by grace / he thought best remedy
Sende for his chyldren / vpon the other day
2260 Humble asked them pardon / in a wofull aray.

Desyrynge his scolers / for loue and charyte
To cary hym moost carefull / to her sepulture
To requyre for hym grace / helthe and prosperyte
Of god and saynt Ermenylde / with all theyr cure
2265 They toke hym tenderly / ye may me leue full sure
Amonge them all / with mynde dylygent
And brought to the shryne / this wretched impotent.

They prayed for hym / to our blessed sauyour
And to saynt Ermenylde / a longe tyme and space
2270 Knelynge on theyr knees / wepynge full sore
In prayer and psalmody / for his helthe and solace
And so contynuynge / by our lordes great grace
He that afore was lame / bothe on fote and hande
Restored to helthe / departed hole and sounde.
sig: [G8]

¶How kynge Ethelrede seynge the holy conuersacyon of Werburge his nece / made her lady and abbesse at Wedon / Trentam / and Humbury
Humbury: recte Hambury (Horstmann)
. And by her counseyll and exsample was made monke at Bardeney abbay. Ca .xxi.

2275 THe famous prynce / and foresayd Ethelrede
Brother to kynge Uulfer / as lawfull enherytour
To the sayd kyngedome / dyd nexte hym succede
Electe of his peeres / with worshyp and honour
Permytted by his chyrche / to be theyr gouernour
2280 Bycause prynce Kenrede / his brother-sone
Was yonge and not able / to rule his kyngdome.

This sayd kynge Ethelrede / clerely consyderynge
With due cyrcumstaunce / the hye perfeccyon
Of Werburge his nece / and vertuous lyuynge
2285 Her great holynesse / and ghostly conuersacyon
Dayly encresynge / with feruent deuocyon
The excellent fame / and myracles full ryght
Shewed by our sauyour / bothe day and nyght.

These good exsamples / grounded in vertu
2290 Moeued kynge Ethelrede / in soule and in mynde
And clerely conuerted / throwe the grace of Ihesu
To despyse this worlde / wretched and blynde
Pryncypally by grace / wryten as we fynde
For her great goodnes / and vertues excellent
2295 He made her lady / ruler / and presydent.

Ouer all the nonnes / of euery monastery
Within his realme / to gouerne and to guyde
To instructe and informe / and to exemplyfy
sig: [G8v]
To encrese deuocyon / vpon euery syde
2300 Uertue to exalte / to subdue vyce and pryde
That holy relygyon / pleasaunt to chryst_Ihesu
Myght dayly encrese / frome vertu to vertu.

Also he gaue Werburge / great possessyon
Landes / and rentes / ryches withall
2305 To edyfy and repayre / places of relygyon
After her desyre / with fauour specyall
Wherwith she buylded / famous memoryall
Two fayre monasteryes / Trentam and Humbury Humbury: recte Hambury (Horstmann)
Possessed with rentes / landes / and lyberte.

2310 Also by sufferaunce / of the sayd kynge truly
She translate the kynges maner of Wedon
Whiche was in Hamptonshyre / vnto a monastery
Of holy women / obseruynge relygyon
Suffycyently endowed / with lybertes / possessyon
2315 Of whiche sayd places / she had the gouernaunce
As worthy maystres / all vertue to auaunce.

The yere of grace / syxe hundreth foure score and nyen
As sheweth myne auctour / a Bryton Giraldus
Kynge Ethelred / myndynge moost the blysse of heuen
2320 Edyfyed a collage-chyrche / notable and famous
In the subbarbes of Chester / pleasaunt and beauteous
In the honour of god / and the Baptyst saynt Iohan
With helpe of bysshop Uulfryce / and good exortacyon.

Also at the humble / and synguler supplycacyon
2325 Of blessed Egwyn / bysshop of worcestur
This kynge gaue a place / for a fundacyon
sig: H1
To buylde a monastery / to relygyous brethur
At Eu[e]s[h]am_vpon_Auen / for heuenly tresur Euesham] Eusam 1521
With a large precynct / to compas all the abbay
2330 More quyetly to serue / our sauyour nyght and day.

After this tyme / Ethelrede the kynge
By his counseyll maryed / a beautefull lady
Called quene Ostryde / a woman of good lyuynge
Borne in the North parte / doughter to kynge Oswy
2335 To whome saynt Oswalde / was vncle truly
The yssue bytwene them / after to succede
Was a noble prynce / nomynate Colrede.

Agaynst his enemyes / the kynge gate vyctory
Fortunate in batayle / sore oppressed Kent
2340 In all this regyon / famous was his chyualry
Namely he subdued / at the water of Trent
Egfryde of Northumberlande / a kynge auncyent
His brother-in-lawe / whan Egfryde agaynst reason
Entred his landes / by subtyll intrusyon.

2345 But after that Ostryde / his quene was slayne
By people of the North parte / moost cruelly
The kynge frome that tyme / by grace certayne
Chaunged his maners / and lyuynge dayly
Frome temporall cures / and busynesse worldly
2350 To ghostly werkes / and contemplacyon
Sekynge for heuen / with pure deuocyon.

Specyally he folowed / saynt Werburge counsell
Usynge hym after / her swete ghostly doctryne
The clere exsamples / as we afore dyd tell
sig: [H1v]
2355 Moeued his conscyence / to ghostly dyscyplyne
With suche contrycyon / by specyall grace deuyne
That all vayne pleasures / and honours transytory
Were clere expulsed / and put out of memory.

This kynge refused / his septre and crowne
2360 Clothes of Tyshew / and purpull full royall
With ryches / lybertes / pleasures / possessyon
For the loue of Ihesu / in herte pryncypall pryncypall] pryncaypall 1521
And for the meryte / of his soule-helthe withall
So whan he had reygned / nyne and twenty yere
2365 He chaunged his habyte / sayth the story clere.

At a relygyous place / nomynate Bardenay
In Lyncolne_shyre / vnder his domynyon
Synguler byloued / of hym alway
Desyred the habyte / with meke supplycacyon
2370 And was receyued / professynge relygyon
Euer after to obserue / the essencyals thre
Obedyence / chastyte / and wylfull pouerte.

He assygned his crowne / and temporall dygnyte
Unto prynce Kenrede / his brother-sone
2375 As true enherytour / to haue regalyte
For in pure obedyence / prayer and medytacyon
Ethelrede encresed / with feruent deuocyon
And as declareth / wyllyam of Maluysbury
After was made abbot / of the sayd monastery.

¶The holy conuersacyon of kynge Kenred brother to saynt Werburge / and how he refused his crowne / and was made monke at Rome / and ther departed a holy confessour. Ca .xxii.

sig: H2
2380 SO whan kynge Ethelrede / by heuenly grace Ethelrede] Etheldrede 1521
At Bardenay abbay / professed relygyon
Than prynce Kenrede / his successour was
And toke the Empyre / the septre and the crowne
With moche worshyp / royalte / and renowne
2385 As nexte of inherytaunce / by law naturall
To be kynge of Mercyens / by dyscent lynyall.

This noble kynge Kenrede / replete with vertu
Brother to Werburge / obserued truly
The commaundymentes of god / and his lawes moost tru
2390 Obedyent to our sauyour / and lorde almyghty
Loued holy chyrche / moost tenderly
Mynystred Iustyce / to his subiectes all
Mercyfull to the poore / pyteous and lyberall.

In all his realme / was no dyuersyte
2395 Malyce was subdued / rancour and debate
Uertue encreased / true loue and charyte
Enuy was exyled / and all pryuy hate
Thefte / murthur / robry / were founde at no gate
True men myght lyue / without vexacyon
2400 Pollers / promoters / had no domynacyon.

He gaue to our sauyour / and bysshop Egwyn
For ghostly meryte / with moche honoure
Of tenementes and landes / playnely to determyne
Within worceturshyre .iiii. score and foure
2405 To maynteyne the monastery / spoken of before
Euesham_vpon_Auen / byfore lawfull wytnes
As the legende of Egwyn / truly dothe expres.

sig: [H2v]
To the courte of Rome / kynge Kenred went
So dyd Offa kynge / of the eest Saxons
2410 Also bysshop Egwyn / by one assent
Deuoutly to vysyte / all the hole stacyons
Of the cytee of Rome / with humble supplycacyons
Thankynge our lorde / of his mercy
Hath them preserued / and all theyr company.

2415 This holy bysshop / and kynge Kenrede
Offered to our holy father / pope boneface
With mekenes deuocyon / for ghostly mede
Afore his collage / wytnes in that case
The foresayd monastery / and relygyous place
2420 Frome that day euer after / to be clerely exempte
To the popes holynes / immedyatly obedyent.

Whan they had optayned / perfyte expedycyon
Of all theyr bulles / after theyr entent
They toke lycence / and had the popes beneson
2425 And towarde Englande / retourned and went
Praysynge our lorde / with herte and loue feruent
For theyr good spede / and prosperous Iournay
Preserued in good helthe / all to theyr countray.

After all this done / Kenrede the sayd kynge
2430 Commaunded to be had / a counseyll generall
By letters myssyue / his peeres and lordes cytynge
Shortly to be present / with hym one and all
As well the spyrytualte / as the temporall
The Seyn was kepte / at a place called Alue
2435 And thyder assembled / his prelates of degre.

sig: H3
Berthtunaldus / the archebysshop of Canturbury
The archbysshop of yorke / called Wylfryde
With bysshops / suffreganes / archdekens many
Dukes / erles / barons / vpon euery syde
2440 Knyghtes / esquyers / and comunes that tyde
Were redy to knowe / the kynges mynde and pleasure
Well ordred in place / and scylence kepte sure.

This gloryous Kenrede / crowned with golde
Clothed in purpull / rose vp fro his place
2445 After due salutacyon / the cause mekely he tolde
Why he for them sende / and wherfore it was
That they shulde testyfy / with hym in this case
What landes he gaue / towarde the fundacyon
Of the sayd monastery / with grete deuocyon.

2450 And how for that abbay / he went to Rome
And made the place subiecte / immedyatly
To our father boniface / and gate an exempcyon
For euer to remayne / to the sayd monastery
With pardons and pryuyleges / there redde openly
2455 And many other benefytes / of great commodyte
Wryten in theyr grauntes / who lyst them to se.

Requyrynge the lordes / spyrytuall and temporall
To graunte to the same / with good entent
And it to confyrme / and roborate specyall
2460 With charters and dedes / and seales patent
To whose petycyon / they dyd all consent
Made confyrmacyons / and grauntes them amonge
With a terryble sentence / who dothe the place wronge.

sig: [H3v]
Kynge Kenrede consyderynge / the great holynes
2465 Of his noble parentes / his vncles euerychone
Theyr royall progeny / the sufferaunt goodnes sufferaunt: =sovereign
From this lyfe transytory / to heuen agone
Namely the vertue / and feruent deuocyon
Of his syster Werburge / and his auntes all
2470 Moeued his mynde / to seke for lyfe eternall.

And as saynt Bede sayth / whan this noble kynge
Had regned fyue yere / in great prosperyte
He forsoke this worlde / and chaunged his lyuynge
Refusynge his crowne / septre / and dygnyte
2475 All vayne honours / ryches and regalyte
And made his vncles sone / prynce Coelrede
To take his empyre / after hym to succede.

So with all gentylnes / and humylyte
The kynge of his subiectes / toke leue specyall
2480 Commendynge his people / to the trynyte
Them to conserue / spyrytuall and temporall
Of his departure / dolorous were they all
Thus for the loue / of our sauyoure
He refused this worlde / pleasures and honoure.

2485 And went to Rome agayne / the yere of grace
Seuen hundreth and eyght / by full computacyon
Uysytynge the stacyons / frome place to place
There was professed / to saynt Benettes relygyon
Used vygyls / fastynges / prayer / medytacyon
2490 Where this holy monke / frome this lyfe transytory
With vertu departed / to eternall glory.
sig: [H4]

¶Of þ e feruent and ghostly deuocyon of saynt Werburge / and vertuous gouernaunce of her places / and of þ e great humilite she vsed to her sisters / and al other creatures. Ca .xxiii.

THis venerable Werburge / and moynes gracyous
For her great vertue / and perfyte holynesse
Electe to be gouernour / ouer the nonnes relygeous
2495 By her vncle kynge Ethelrede / of his goodnesse
Ouer dyuers monasteryes (as is sayd) expresse
Was consecrate abbesse / and lady gracyous
By the bysshop of Lychefelde / nomynat Sexwulfus.

And thus she departed / fro the hous of Ely
2500 Wherin she vsed / heuenly medytacyon
With lycence optayned / in mynde sad and heuy
So were the systers / and all the congregacyon
Of her departure / knowynge her conuersacyon
But as wolde charyte / they had great gladnes
2505 Knowynge by her vertue / relygyon to encres.

The spouses of Ihesu / and floure of benygnyte
Consyderynge her-selfe / a lady and presydent
Ordered her monasteryes: ryght well and wysele
Receyued in systers / chast / humble / obedyent
2510 Ouer them made rulers / vertuous / and pacyent
Her subiectes to instructe / and counseyll day and nyght
Uertue to exalte / and vyce depryue aryght.

This noble abbesse / remembrynge her duty
What charge it is / to rule a congregacyon
2515 Humble requyred / the grace of god almyghty
And dylygently prepared / to supple her rowme supple: =supply
sig: [H4v]
Pryncypally she gaue / to them euerychone
Perfyte exsample / of vertue in her dede
With vertuous doctryne / the same to procede.

2520 A myrrour of mekenesse / she was to them all
A floure of chastyte / and well of clennes
The fruyte of obedyence / in her was specyall
Refusynge vayne pleasures / honours and ryches
Content with lytell / an exsample of lowlynes
2525 As dothe belonge / vnto wylfull pouerte
Pryde had no resydence / but all humylyte.

She was a mynyster / rather than a maystres
Her great preemynence / caused no presumpcyon
She was a handmayd / rather than a pryores
2530 Seruynge her systers / with humble subieccyon
Subduynge her body / to penaunce and afflyccyon
Subiecte to the soule / as reason wolde shulde be
A true sacryfyce / offered to the trynyte.

It was no merueyll / tho all her couent
2535 Under suche a ruler / encreased in vertu
Seynge her exsample / afore them dayly present
Euer augmentynge / throwe the helpe of Ihesu
Worldy desyres / she clerely dyd subdue
She neuer ware lynon / by day or by nyght
2540 All ryche vayne vestures / she set by them but lyght.

In prayer medytacyon / the tyme she dyspent
Proued: for euery nyght / longe afore matyns
[S]he wolde vpryse / at an houre conuenyent She] The 1521
And deuoutely say / afore our lordes presens
sig: I1
2545 Dauyd [ps]alter holly knelynge / with great reuerence psalter] spalter 1521
Or that her systers / came to the oratory
To say dyuyne seruyce / fyndynge her all-redy.

At after matyns / she vsed contemplacyon
Contynually abydynge / vnto the day-lyght
2550 Prostrate on the grounde / or knelynge in deuocyon
Wepynge full tenderly / with teeres downe-ryght
Many holy oraysons / she sayd day and nyght
Pyteous / mercyable / and full of charyte full] fulll 1521
To the poore people / in theyr necessyte.

2555 This lady obserued / suche sharpe abstynence
That one dayly repast / wolde her well suffyse
Delycate dysshe-meetes / were put out of her presence
So nature were content / in moost humble wyse
The Worde of god / was moost delycate seruyse
2560 Myndynge moche more / the soule to satysfy
Than please and content / her enemy the body.

These sayd exemples / with many other mo
Pleasaunte vnto Ihesu / she taught her couent
Them to preserue / frome theyr mortall fo
2565 By synguler vertue / grace to augment
Her precepte and lyuynge / were euer corespondent
She neuer commaunded syster / do any-thynge
But it was fulfylled / in her owne doynge.

She exorted her chyldren / euer to deuocyon
2570 With manyfolde doctrynes / ydlenes to exchewe
Lyke a tender mother / had pyte and compassyon
She dayly fedde them / and nourysshed in all vertue
sig: [I1v]
And dylygently prayed / our sauyour Ihesu
Them to preserue / of his infynyte grace
2575 Frome peryll of persyhynge / in blysse to se his face.

Also the .xii. degrees / of humylyte
Pacyence / quyetnes / and great perfeccyon
Were well obserued / with true loue and charyte
Amonge her systers / the hole congregacyon
2580 And the thre essencyals / of relygyon
Wylfull pouerte / chastyte / and obedyence
Were truly fulfylled / proued by the consequence.

As for a pastyme / amonge her systers all
She caused to be redde / auoydynge ydlenesse
2585 The swete legendary / for a memoryall
And Uitas_patrum / shewynge great swetenesse
With other narracyons / of grace and goodnesse
Ofttymes to her couent / she had a comyn sayenge
Please god and loue hym / and doubte ye nothynge.

2590 All reders excuse me / tho I can not expresse
For lacke of lernynge / the vertues morall
The hye perfeccyon / and proued holynesse
Of this pure vyrgyn / and sanctymonyall
Wherwith was decorate / her lyfe monestycall
2595 Manyfest with myracles / by meryte of her mekenesse
As the true hystory / playnly dothe expresse.

The worthy myracles / of this vyrgyn pure
Dylated were / thrugh all this regyon
By deuyne sufferaunce / aboue nature
2600 Profytable / to euery chrysten synguler persone
sig: I2
In sekenesse / trouble / peyne or vexacyon
Of her they haue refuge / helpe / and socoure
By her merytes / and prayer / that euery honoure. 'that euery honoure': recte 'at euery houre' (cf. sig. N2)?

Her merytes were / moche more commendable
2605 Than were her myracles / manyfest and playne
For why by her merytes / famous and notable
Sygnes and myracles / were shewed full playne
In the house of Ely / by grace of our sufferayne
And in euery place / where she kepte resydence
2610 Of whome parte folowen / in this rude sentence.

¶How at Wedon wylde gees were pynned by her commaundyment / and also releshed and put at lyberte. Ca .xxiiii.

THis holy vyrgyn / whan she dwelled at Wedon
In Northamptonshyr[e] / with a deuoute couent Northamptonshyre] Northamptonshyrn 1521
Whiche place somtyme / was the kynges mansyon
Translated to an abbay / by her commaundyment
2615 A myracle was done / by this noble presydent
As the true legende / playnly dothe vs say
And all the inhabytauntes / vnto this present day.

A great multytude / somtyme of wylde gees
Comunely called Gauntes / made great des[truc]cyon destruccyon] descrypcyon 1521
2620 Upon her landes / pastures / waters / and feldes
Deuourynge the cornes / and fruytes of Wedon
Greuous to her subiectes / within that possessyon
The people coude fynde / no suffycyent remedy.
But shewed theyr complaynte / to Werburge theyr lady.

2625 Whan Werburge had herde / this greuous complayne
sig: [I2v]
How the cornes were wasted / þ e tenauntes hurte therby
Her herte was moeued / with charyte than certayne
To saue her fruytes / and helpe her company
Wherfore she commaunded a seruaunt go hastely
2630 To dryue those wylde gees / and brynge home to her place
There to be pynned / and punysshed for theyr trespace.

The messanger merueyled / and mused in his mynde
Of this straunge message / stode styll in a study
Knowynge it well / it passed course of kynde
2635 Wylde gees for to pynne / by any mannes polycy
Syth nature hath ordeyned / suche byrdes to fly
Supposynge his lady / had ben vnreasonable
Commaundynge to do / a thynge vnpossyble.

With wordes of conforte / she sayd to hym agayne
2640 Go in my name / do my commaundyment
The seruaunt went forth / thynkynge all but vayne
Unto the foldes / where the byrdes were lent
And sayd his message / with mynde and good entent
My lady commaundes you / byrdes euerychone
2645 Afore me to go / vnto her proper mansyone.

A merueylous thynge / transcendynge nature
Unto his wordes / the gees were obedyent
Not one departed / fro thens ye may be sure
Of all the nombre / that there were present
2650 Towarde her place / afore hym they went
Mekely / as yf they had reason naturall
Unto her presence / he brought the gauntes all.

Dredefully darynge / comen now they be
sig: I3
Theyr wynges traylynge / entred into the hall
2655 For great confusyon / after theyr kynde and propryte
Mournynge in theyr maner / abydynge one and all
Her wyll and Iudgment / with mercy specyall
Lamentynge all nyght / there in captyuyte
Tyll the morowe after / withouten lyberte.

2660 All that same nyght / Werburge dyd contynue
In deuoute prayers / and ympnes celestyall
After her olde custome / vsed in all vertue
In the mornynge after / the byrdes that were thrall
With hye voyces (as yf it were) on her dyd call
2665 For grace and pardon / of theyr offence
And of departure / to haue fre lycence.

Than she full pyteous / to euery creature
Upon these byrdes hauynge compassyon
Delyuered them / frome all daunger and cure
2670 Frely to departe / vnder this condycyon
That none of them / vpon the lordshyp of Wedon
Shulde make destruccyon / nor lyght by any way
On cornes or fruytes / neuer after that day.

Neuertheles a seruaunt / one of the gees dyd take
2675 And pryuely hydde it / agaynst iustyce and ryght
Unknowynge to Werburge / suche brybry to make
The byrdes departed / moost glad to take theyr flyght
From theyr tender Iudge / but whan they sawe in syght
One of theyr felawes / taken frome theyr company
2680 The sayd great nombre / of gees retourned hastely.

They flewe ouer / this blessed vyrgyns hall
sig: [I3v]
Mournynge and waylynge / after theyr entent
And wolde not departe / but fast on her dyd call.
Yet they durst not lyght / for drede of her commaundyment
2685 But in theyr maner and kynde they sayd / o swete presydent
Why suffer ye suche wyckednes / done for to be
Anendes our felawe / agaynst all ryght and charyte.

Werburge went fyrst / to knowe wherfore and why
These byrdes retourned / so hastely certayne
2690 By grace she perceyued / the cause of it truly
And tryed out the truthe / of all the mater playne
She restaured the byrde / to his felyshyp agayne
And gaue them a lesson / or they went her fro
How they shulde prayse / theyr maker and sufferayne
2695 Sayenge (benedicite volucres celi domino)

But as Wyllyam_Maluysbury / sheweth expresse
The goos that was taken / and stollen afore away
Was rosted and eten / the same nyght doubtlesse
So whan it was asked / for vpon the other day
2700 The bare bones were brough[t] / af[ore] this lady veray brought] brough 1521; afore] after 1521
And there by the vertue / of her benedyccyon
The byrde was restaured and flewe away full soone.

Certaynly frome that tyme / vnto this present day
As all the people knowe / dwellynge aboute Wedon
2705 The foresayd wylde gees / attempten by no way
To hurte theyr fruytes / ne lyght in that possessyon
No merueyll it is / remembrynge the deuocyon
And true loue she had / to god omnypotent
For vnto vertue / all-thynge is obedyent.
sig: I4

¶How a tyraunt without pyte punyshynge an Innocent was punyshed / and after made hole. Ca .xxv.

2710 FOrther to declare / the pacyence and humylyte
And the synguler grace / grounded in this abbas
As in the true legende / playnly ye may se
We shall parte rehers / to augment your solas
Werburge had a seruaunte / whiche named was
2715 Alnotus a man / of meke conuersacyon
Knowen by his merytes / after due probacyon.

Also a baylyfe she had / a cruell tyraunt
Whiche pyteously punysshed / without reason
And wounded greuously / Alnot her seruaunt
2720 Without any greuaunce / at the place of Wedon
Werburge for pyte / and great compassyon
Afore this caytyfe / kneled on her knee
Prayenge hym to cease / for loue of the trynyte.

Sayenge why does thou punysshe / this innocent
2725 Causeles without mercy / whiche I byleue playne
Is more acceptable / to our lorde omnypotent
Than many other be / for his mekenesse certayne
The baylyfe at her prayer / wolde not refrayne
But punysshed hym styll / in his fury and pryde
2730 Tyll the vengeaunce of god / fell on hym that tyde.

Incontynente his heed / his necke / and his face
Were tourned backwarde / lyke a persone monstruous
Contrary to nature / for his great trespace
Crucyate with sorowe / and peynes hyduous
2735 Contynually encreasynge / to beholde pyteous
sig: [I4v]
At the last remembred / of the best remedy
Fell prostrate to the fete / of Werburge his lady.

And cryed vpon her / with wofull chere
Wepynge / lamentynge / his great inyquyte
2740 My louely lady / and maystres moost dere
Helpe me swete abbesse / in this necessyte
I haue offended god / now pray for me
And I wyll neuer / endurynge all my lyfe
Dysplease no more / man / mayde / ne wyfe.

2745 Whan Werburge consydered / his great contrycyon
His woofull herte / and lamentable crye
Upon hym she had / tender compassyon
Beholdynge his greuaunce / and tender agony
Good brother she sayd / who-so wyll haue mercy
2750 Must be mercyable / as in prouerbe wryten is
Who is without mercy / of mercy shall mys.

Call vnto mynde / thy owne wycked dede
In punyshynge this poore man / without offence
To se his punyshment / my herte sore dyd blede
2755 I kneled afore thy fete / desyrynge indulgence
Thou toke no regarde / to my prayer ne presence
Wherfore the Iustyce / of god almyghty
Upon the is fallen / for thy synne soday[n]ly. sodaynly] sodayly 1521

Whan she had ended / her ghostly exortacyon
2760 Perceyuyng hym penytent / with great humylyte
Gladde to amende / vyce and transgressyon
Anone vnto prayer / she went with charyte
Opteyned forgyuenesse / of the blessed trynyte
sig: [I5]
His fysnamy / restaured to his kynde agayne
2765 Bothe bodyly and ghostly / cured was certayne.

This forsayd Alnotus / by synguler grace
Refused this worlde / pleasures and vanyte
Went vnto wyldernesse / and [an]choryte was anchoryte] machoryte 1521
Whome theues martyred / to heuen blysse went he
2770 At Stow_besyde_Bukbrydge / buryed was trule
For whome our lorde / of his infynyte goodnes
Shewed many myracles / affyrmynge his holynes.

¶How dyuers prynces folowynge sensualyte intendynge to violate this vyrgyn bi power / by myracle were put to confusyon. Ca .xxvi.

ANother sygne was shewed / by the kynge of blys
Of a wanton prynce / folowynge sensualyte
2775 And his fragyll appetyte / in doynge amys
Entendynge by vyolence / power / and auctoryte
To depryue Werburge / of her vyrgynyte
Espyed a season / to fulfyll his entent
Whan she was solytary / and no man there present.

2780 By force than he began / this mayd to assayle
But she trustynge in god / to be her protectour
Escapynge his presence / cast her sacrat vayle
For lyghtnesse and ease / to fle from the traytour
The sonne-beame receyued it / whiche hanged that houre
2785 Whiche myracle sene / the prynce fledde away
The vyrgyn was preserued / by grace that day.

¶An-other myracle / was done in Kent
sig: [I5v]
In the vyllage of Hoo / yet full memorous
A sensuall prynce / of wycked consent
2790 Purposed to maculate / this vyrgyn gloryous
Consyderynge her persone / so fayre and beauteous
Taryed the season / to fynde her solytary
By power to oppresse / this gracyous lady.

Whan the tyme was comen / he thought conuenyent
2795 After her furyously / he ranne a fast pace
She knowynge his mynde / a[n]d vnchast entent and] add 1521
Seynge no remedy / by man in that place
Called to our sauyoure / for his helpe and grace
Sayenge blessed lorde / for thy endeles pyte
2800 Defende me this daye / and saue my chastyte.

And as she fledde / frome this cruell persone
She ranne for socour / to a great oke-tree
By grace the sayd tree / opened that same season
Sufferynge this mayd / to haue sure and fre entree
2805 Wherby she escaped his / wycked tryannye
Whiche tree to this day / endurynge all the yere
By myracle is vernaunte / fresshe / grene / and clere.

Of the sayd oke-tree / is a famous opynyon
That no man may entre / the sayd concauyte
2810 In deedly synne bounden / without contrycyon
But in clene perfyte lyfe / who-soeuer he be
May entre the sayd oke / with fre lyberte
And nygh to that place / a chyrche is now dedycate
In the honour of god / and werburge immaculate.

2815 ¶Many other myracles / our blessed sauyour
sig: [I6]
Shewed for this vyrgyn / of his goodnes
Conforte to the people / in sekenes and langour
That to her wyll seke / in theyr dystresse
Her excellent vertue / and great holynesse
2820 By sygnes and myracles / were dayly manyfest
To many a creature / with peynes opprest.

The fame wherof sprange / so fast aboute
Notyfyed playne / in all this regyon
The people approched / withouten doubte
2825 To knowe her blessed / and holy conuersacyon
And of these myracles / to haue probacyon
By the syght wherof / they myght all gloryfy
With ioy and gladnesse / our lorde god almyghty.

There was no sekenesse / nor infyrmyte
2830 That mankynde had / nor vexacyon
But by her prayer / and humylyte
Makynge for them / to our lorde intercessyon
They were restaured / to helthe and saluacyon
All by the meryte / of this vyrgyn pure
2835 A synguler refuge / vnto euery creature.

To the dombe was gyuen / speche and language
To blynde theyr syght / to defe theyr herynge
To halte and lame people / helthe in euery aege
By deuyne grace / and her ghostly lyuynge
2840 The people approchynge / nygh to her in_dwellynge
By cally[n]ge to her / in the name of Ihesu callynge] callyge 1521
Had theyr petycyon / by her synguler vertu.

Some other that were / fully possessed
sig: [I6v]
With wycked spyrytes / vexynge the mynde
2845 Or with sekenes incurable / myserably greued
By her dayly prayer / aboue course of kynde
Of theyr dyseases / they shulde remedy fynde
And from her departe / in soule with gladnesse
Whiche to her came / sory in peyne and wretchednes.

¶How saynt Werburge gaue knowlege to her systers of her departure and how she ordered in vertue her sayd monasteryes afore her dethe. Ca .xxvii.

2850 THis blessed abbesse / and vertuous floure
The well of clennes / and humylyte
Called to mynde / the wordes of our sauyour
Rehersed by Mathewe / in his euangely
The vyctoryall crowne / of eterne glory
2855 Is gyuen to them / that be redy eche houre
Wysely attendynge / whan they be sende fore.

This texte was euer / in her memoryall
Prompte alway redy / as a true spouses
To wayte on her spouse / whan he wyll call
2860 Her lampe replete / with oyle of mekenes
Synguler gyftes / she had of chrystes goodnes
Inspyred with the spyryte / of prophecy
Secrete thynges to come / knowynge therby.

She knewe the season / was hastely comynge
2865 Of her departure / fro this lyfe mortall
Wherfore she ordred / sadly euery-thynge
Within her monasteryes / and charges spyrytuall
Uysytynge her couent / with her presence personall
sig: [I7]
Gaue knowlege to them / that soone and hastely
2870 She shulde departe / frome this lyfe transytory.

Afore her were called / the systers of yche place
And were apoynted / who shulde succede
After to be gouernour / ruler / and abbesse
To the pleasure of god / and theyr ghostly mede
2875 Specyally commendynge / vertue as we rede
What meryte they shall haue / of god almyghty
In spyrytuall cures / that done well theyr duty.

All other offycers / within eche monastery
Were assygned by Werburge / theyr presydent
2880 And vnder obedyence / charged full depely
Theyr offyce to execute / vertue to augment
For the synguler profyte / of all the couent
She gaue to yche place / landes and possessyon
Suffycyently to serue / all the congregacyon.

2885 Whan she had ordeyned / eche place in charyte
Dyschargynge her conscyence / chargynge them all
To obserue relygyon / with perfyte humylyte
After her exemple / and doctryne pryncypall
She had perfyte knowlege / by grace supernaturall
2890 Her body shulde rest / in the place of Hamburgens
After her departure / by deuyne prouydens.

Wherfore she commaunded / the couent of Hambury
Wysely to attende / with all theyr dylygence
Upon the ende / of her lyfe transytory
2895 Wheresoeuer it be / to come with benyuolence
And incontynent take / her body with reuerence
sig: [I7v]
And brynge it shortly / vnto theyr monastery
There to be tumylate / after her desydery.

As it pleaseth our lorde / and celestyall sufferayne
2900 To sende to his seruaunte / his vysytacyon
The day was apoynted / the houre incertayne
Of her departure / frome worldly vexacyon
The messanger of dethe / the ende of trybulacyon
Oppressed this lady / moost worthy fame
2905 Ryght at her monastery / nomynat Trentame.

She thanked her maker / sayenge day and nyght
Well-come be the vysytacyon / of god almyghty
She called her systers / present afore her syght
Her entente rehersynge / to them tenderly
2910 Desyrynge all them / to folowe dylygently
The lawes of god / with honour and reuerence
And to her counseyll / to gyue fully credence.

Sayenge dere byloued systers / in our sauyour
O spyrytuall chyldren / my derlynges moost dere
2915 Whiche haue refused / all worldly honour
To serue our lorde / with herte and mynde clere
Suffer no synne / in your soule to apere
But wasshe it away / by bytter contrycyon
With prayer penaunce / and true confessyon.

2920 And trust ye well your true obedyence
Your chast lyuynge / and wylfull pouerte
Your dayly prayers / vygyls / and abstynence
That ye haue obserued / her vnder me
Shalbe recompensed / a thousande-folde trule
sig: [I8]
2925 Whan ye shalbe taken / fro this lyfe transytory
Your rewarde shalbe / with immortall glory.

As for my dethe / whiche approches nere
I drede nothynge / tho nature ferefull be
I knowe for certayne / who departeth well here
2930 Is newe borne agayne / to Ioye and felycyte
Iche chrysten man hath / a threfolde natyuyte
Fyrst of his parentes / by cours of nature
Borne to many troubles / and sorowes sure.

By the seconde byrthe / which is more excellent
2935 At fonte of baptym / we haue regeneracyon
By fayth professed / to god omnypotent
And made the chyldren / of ghostly saluacyon
To auoyde by grace / all wycked temptacyon
To be inherytours / of Ioy perpetuall
2940 Folowynge the counseyll / of holy chyrche withall.

The thyrde byrthe / moost ferefull and to be dredde
Is whan the soule / departeth fro the body
To payne or blysse / and leues the corps dedde
To tourne agayne to erthe / to wast and putryfy
2945 In this thyrde byrthe / by callynge [afere] for mercy afere] aferre 1521
Our soule shall lyue / in blysse / euerlastynge
Crowned with vyctory / for our chast lyuynge.

The swete byrde closed / in a cage a longe season
Gladly entendeth / to fly at lyberte
2950 The prysoner fetered / and cast in depe dongeon
Euer supposes / to be rydde frome captyuyte
The soule of mankynde / moost dygne of dutye
sig: [I8v]
Naturally desyreth / proued by reason
To be delyuered / frome bodyly pryson.

¶Of þ e ghostli exortacyon saynt Werburge made to her systers in her sekenesse / and how deuoutely she receyued þ e sacramentes of holy chyrche byfore her deth. Ca .xxviii.

2955 THe day knowen / to her by reuelacyon
Of her departure / by sygnes euydent
She sende for all / the hole congregacyon
And in presence / of all her holy couent
She called for the blessed sacrament
2960 To whome she sayd / with wordes expresse
With wepynge teeres / and great mekenesse.

Well-come my lorde / well-come my kynge
Well-come my sufferayne / and sauyour
Well-come my conforte / and ioy euerlastynge
2965 My trust / my treasure / my helpe and socour
Well-come my maker / and my redemptour
The sone of god / moost in maieste
Withouten begynnynge / and endeles shalbe.

I byleue that thou / for all mankynde
2970 Frome heuen descended / of thy charyte
And was incarnate / scrypture dothe mynde
In the vyrgynal wombe / of blessed marye
And suffered dethe / to make vs all fre
Descended to hell / roose the thyrde day
2975 Ascended to heuen / and our raunson dyd pay.

And I knowlege to the / with pure entent
sig: K1
On Shorpthursday / after thy passyon Shorpthursday: =Sheer Thursday
Thy moost blessed body / in sacrament
Thou gaue to vs / for our communyon
2980 To be our defence / and ghostly tuycyon
Now present here / in forme of breed
To Iudge mankynde / bothe quycke and deed.

O sufferayne sauyour / replete with grace
I the beseche / haue pyte vpon me
2985 And in my soule / make a dwellynge place
Expulce all vyce / synne and mysery
Defende my soule / frome our aduersary
Saue and protecte me / from peynes infernall
And brynge thrugh thy mercy / to ioye perpetuall

2990 Thus with reuerence / and great humylyte
She receyued / the blessed sacrament
The seconde persone / in trynyte
In perfyte fayth / hope / and loue feruent
With great contrycyon / as it was apparent
2995 Her herte lyfte vp / towarde heuen on hye
Abydynge the wyll / of god almyghty.

She exorted / her systers euerychone
That were there present / in companye
Desyrynge them all / with supplycacyon
3000 To remembre her / sayenge with humylyte
My systers in god / now knowe may ye
My dayes ben ferre past / comynge is the houre
Wherfore I betake you / fyrst to our sauyour.

Prayenge you tenderly / for the loue of me
sig: [K1v]
3005 In deuyne seruyce / loke ye contynu
Obseruynge pacyence / mekenes / and chastyte
Encresynge in relygyon / by the grace of Ihesu
Who-so perceuers / in herte and mynde true
Under obedyence / to the extreme day
3010 Is sure to be saued / scrypture so doth say.

Also remembre / that all worldly royalte
Honour / ryches / pleasure / possessyon
If ye consyder / are but a vanyte
Nothynge assured / to trust therupon
3015 Wherfore dyspose you / to vertue alon
Whyle ye endure / in this lyfe mortall
Tyll that ye come / to Ioy perpetuall.

Secondly she sayd / systers I you pray
Kep[e] well the order / of perfyte charyte Kepe] Kept 1521
3020 Neuer declynynge / fro it by no way
As ye haue taken / exemple of me
Iche loue other / and worshyp in theyr degre
So that no murmure / nor dyssymulacyon
Be founde amonge / this holy congregacyon.

3025 Be euer lowly / humble / and obedyent
With due reuerence / worshyp and honoure
Folowe the mynde / of your presydent
Unto your heed / and ghostly gouernoure
Kepe well chastyte / that precyous floure
3030 So that no thought / of sensualyte
Corrupte your mynde / to breke vyrgynyte.

Se that ye vse / dyscrete temperaunce
sig: K2
Abstenynge frome vayne superfluyte
Se that amonge you / be founde no varyaunce
3035 Kepe well the degrees / of humylyte
These and many other / exemples of charyte
She taught her couent / of synguler deuocyon
How they shulde optayne / to hye perfeccyon.

Thyrdly she prayed / sayenge with mynde dylygent
3040 O blessed sauyour / I desyre the
Saue and defende / my hole couent
And theyr monasteryes / of thy great pyte
Frome peryll of peryshynge / and frome enmyte
That all the subiectes / of our congregacyon
3045 May well obserue / theyr holy professyon.

And graunt me swete lorde / throwe thy goodnes
Who-so in thy name / vpon me dothe call
In langour / mysery / in peyne / or sekenes
Also women with chylde / in peynes thrall
3050 May haue remedy / and helpe specyall
And people in pryson / halte / blynde / and lame
By me may magnyfy / thy gloryous name.

Than she requyred / with humylyte
The spyrytuall sufferage / of holy vnccyon
3055 Her soule to conforte / frome all aduersyte
She toke her leue / and kyssed them ycheon
Alas what herte / myght shewe the lamentacyon
The wepynge / waylynge / and wofull heuynes
At the departure / of theyr swete maystres.

¶Of the departure of saynt Werburge vnto heuen at the abbay of Trentam / fro this myserable lyfe / and what lamentacyon her systers made for her dethe Ca .xxix.
sig: [K2v]
3060 IN all her infyrmyte / peyne and busynesse
She vsed prayer / and medytacyon
Callynge for mercy / by interyor mekenesse
With wepynge eyes / and great lamentacyon
Remembrynge in herte / our lordes passyon
3065 Commendynge her couent / vnto our sauyour
To be theyr defence / ayde / and protectour.

The peynes encreased / of her infyrmyte
The panges doubled / her peyne to augment
Nature decayed / vnto suche debylyte
3070 That the sygnes of dethe / appered euydent
The houre approched / after all Iudgment
Wherfore all thynges / were redy preparate
As was conuenyent / for so noble a state.

Her spouse Ihesus / hauynge pyte and cure
3075 Upon his spouses / in extreme dystresse
Wolde not suffer her peyne / longer endure
But sende his angels / with great lyghtnesse
To conforte his seruaunt / in peyne and sekenesse
To dyssolue her wo / and great penalte
3080 And brynge vp her soule / to eterne felycyte.

There derknes was tourned / all vnto lyght
Langour and trouble / vnto prosperyte
The day was gouernour / ouer the nyght
Whan that she passed / this lyfe transytory
3085 Bondage and thraldome / were brought to lyberte
The tyme [o]f Ioye / and euerlastynge pleasure of] ef 1521
sig: K3
Was approchynge to Werburge / euer to endure.

A multytude of angelles / shynynge moost clere
Were redy to gyde / with humble reuerence
3090 The soule of werburge / as truly dyd apere
And brought it to blys / vnto the hye presence
Of almyghty god / moost of magnyfycence
Clerely releashed / frome peynes of purgatory
To be rewarded / with euerlastynge glory.

3095 This blessed vyrgyn / gloryous and pure
In stedfast fayth / hope / loue / and charyte
The thyrde day of February / ye may be sure
Expyred frome this lyfe / caduce and transytory
To eterne blysse / coronate with vyctory
3100 Chaungynge her lyfe / myserable and thrall
For infynyte ioye / and glory eternall.

With moche honour / these spyrytuall mynysters
Conueyed the soule / aboue the fyrmament
Passynge the seuen planettes / and all the sterres
3105 Unto the presence / of god omnypotent
Syngynge full swetely / theyr songes equyualent
Of pleasaunt armony / of conforte and blys
Salutynge her mekely / with wordes reuerent
Ueni dilecta: veni coronab[e]ris. coronaberis] coronabiris

3110 The thre Ierarcheses / were redy present Ierarcheses: =Hierarchies
With heuenly melody / to receyue this monyall
The quere of vyrgyns / mette her incontynent
With great solempnyte / and processyon royall
Presentynge her soule / with myrthes angelycall
3115 To Ihesu her spouse / to whome he sayd truly
sig: [K3v]
Well-come dere doughter / to blysse celestyall
Intra in gaudium: domui tui.

In meane-tyme and space / this venerable body
(The soule departed) lay whyte / streyght and colde
3120 Semynge as on slepe / she had ben verely
With swete odours fragrant / passynge manyfolde
All spyces and herbes / in erth may be tolde
The place was so pleasaunt / full of delyce
Lyke as it had ben / an erthly paradyce.

3125 This forsayd venerable congregacyon
With wepynge teeres / and syghes lamentable
Wasshed the swete body / after the olde custome
And dressed the corps / with clothes honorable
Prepared all necessaryes / pleasaunt and commendable
3130 To churche she was brought / solemply in syght
With feruent deuocyon / to be watched all nyght.

And as they watched / with due mynystracyon
Ouer the sayd corps / deuoutly prayenge
They made great mournynge / and lamentacyon
3135 Euerychone to other / for her departynge
Alas they all sayd / with wofull waylynge
Our solace / our helthe / is clere gone away
Alas for sorowe / what shall we now say.

The sterre of our conforte / is extyncte clere
3140 The lanturne of our lyght / is taken vs fro
The floure of chastyte / is layd vpon a bere
The myrrour of mekenes / now lyeth full loo
The treasure of relygyon / from vs now is ago
Our sorowe encresed / wretchednes / and mysery
sig: [K4]
3145 Syth thou arte departed / alas what remedy?

Our hertes ben plonged / in great wo and peyne
Our myndes are medled / with heuy langour
How shulde we now rest / frome mornynge certayne
Beholdynge now deed / whylom our protectour
3150 Swete lady thou art gone / frome vs for euermore
Our deedly sorowe / replete with bytternes
For waylynge and wepynge / can neuer ceas.

With herte mynde and voyce / to the we do call
O blessed Werburge / our moost dere maystres
3155 O sufferayne lady / and ruler of vs all
Why hase thou vs lefte / in suche heuynesse
If thy wyll had ben / it is knowen expresse
Thou myght haue taryed / with vs by petycyon
Alas remedylesse / is our lamentacyon

3160 Frome vs thou arte taken / and gone is our solace
The myrrour of vertue / is deed now with the
The tryed stock of truth / and the grounde of grace
Is pyteously decayed / our hope and sufferaynte
O blessed sauyour / vpon vs haue pyte
3165 Sende vs our conforte / by thy great myght agayne
As thou hase reysed many / from dethe to lyfe certayne.

O dredefull dethe / cruell enemy to nature
With dolefull heuynes / on the we may complayne
Takynge our heed frome vs / to our great dysconfyture
3170 Hath brought vs to thraldome / wofulnes and peyne
Nother kynge ne emperour / thy fauour may optayne
But he must departe / arested with thy launce.
sig: [K4v]
Thanke we god of all / for it is his pleasaunce.

¶How the hamburgenses toke the blessed body of Werburge frome Trentam by myracle and brought it to Hambury / and of þ e buryall of werburge / and of manyfolde myracles shewed for her merytes .ix. yere after her translacyon. Ca .xxx.

THis gloryous vyrgyn / and moost blessed abbace
3175 Departed from this lyfe / caduce and transytory
(As afore is sayd) the yere and tyme of grace
Almoost seuen hundreth / the thyrde day of February
To celestyall blysse / and infynyte glory
Her subiectes oppressed / with wylfull pensyuenesse
3180 With great trybulacyon / care and heuynesse.

But where werburge gaue / in commaundyment
To bury her corps / at place of Hambury
As was the wyll / of our lorde omnypotent
Her subiectes of Trentam / whiche had her body
3185 Purposed her wyll / and entent to deny
Prepared to kepe / the corps by stronge hande
With them to remayne / as ye shall vnderstande.

The sayd people of Trentam / watched full dylygent
Her corps fulfyllynge / the obsequyes funerall
3190 Entendynge to auoyde / and frustrate her testament
Gate a great company / by power Marcyall
Closed fast theyr doores / and gates one and all
Made sure yche place / by theyr prouydens
For to kepe the corps / excludynge Th 'amburgens.

3195 But as Salomon sayth / sentencyously
sig: L1
There may be no counseyll / power ne prudence
Wysedome of man / nor naturall polycy
To derogate or chaunge / deuyne sentence
Proued euer[y] day / by true experyence euery] euer 1521
3200 Tho mankynde prepose / his mynde to fulfyll
Yet god dysposeth / all-thynge at his wyll.

And as they watched / the same-sayd nyght
Moost busyly / to execute they[r] wyll and entent theyr] they 1521
By deuyne prouydence / passynge mannes myght
3205 Sodeynly on slepe / was all that couent
Theyr company and mynysters / that were there lent
Hauynge no power / for to waken doubtles
God so prouyded / for theyr great maystres.

Than shortly resembled / vnto that sayd place
3210 The people of Hamburgens / a great company
With the mynysters of god / people full of grace
And anone by the wyll / of our lorde almyghty
The lockes and the barres / of that sayd monastery
Fell downe to the gounde / by power supernall
3215 Without mannes hande / that enter they myght all.

Whiche myracle proued / the people of Hambury
Entred Trentam abbay / with mynde reuerent
And founde there on slepe / all the other company
Man / woman / and chylde / all that were present
3220 They kneled all downe / and worshypped the sacrament
Praysynge our maker / of theyr good spede
Theyr specyall socour / euer at theyr nede.

Her blessed body / from Trentam they dyd take
sig: [L1v]
Gladly departynge / out of the monastery
3225 Nother man nor woman / had power to wake
Tyll they were passed / all greuous Ieopardy
Magnyfyenge our lorde / of his grace deuoutly
Solemply syngyng their songes celestiall
With infinite gladnes / and comfort spirituall.

3230 After all this done / this holy congregacion
With reuerence / honour / and solempnite
With wepynge tearis / for pure affection
With lamentable songes / masse and dirige
Buried the corps / of this blessed ladie
3235 Right in the chauncell / of the sayd abbay
There bodily to rest / as her wyll was alway.

All obsequies ended / therto belongynge
As was agreable for suche a president
The systers departed / with clamour and mournynge
3240 Plonged in heuynes / and to their celles went
To wepe and wayle secretly / their hartis to content
Criynge alas alas / nowe buried haue we
The exemple of vertu / mekenes / and chastite.

And as the history of her lyfe / doth expresse
3245 In a boke nominat / the thrid Passionary
After the buriall of this patronesse
The place was decorat / with myracles many
Manifest to the people / of euery progeny
Howe god almyghty of his speciall grace
3250 Hath done for his seruant / in short tyme and space.

For many people greued with infirmite
sig: L2
Dolorous of hert / and interiour tribulacion
Heuynes of mynde / or other penalite
To her graue resortyng / with feruent deuocion
3255 Sekynge for remedy / with great contricion
Anon by her prayer / vnto our sauyour
They were released from peyne and langour.

Also by her merite suffrage and peticion
Euery humble creature had helpe and succour
3260 To distract persons / was yelded reason
Wikked spirites expulsed were that same hour
Impotent and feble to helth she dyd restour
Halt and lame had passage / the blynde had perfect syght
The dombe had speche / the deffe herynge ryght.

3265 Women with childe / beynge in great ieopardy
Namely in trauelyng / greued with wo and payne
Whan they myght nat come / sendyng to her oratorye
Makynge true oblacion / restaured were certayne
To helth and prosperite / from wo delyuered playne
3270 And if they obteyned a relique from the place
The mother and childe / by it founde speciall grace.

The deuout pilgrym / the perfit maryner
The true laborer / the marchant with richesse
The carefull pore man / the peynfull prisoner
3275 Were sondry tymes delyuered from wo and distresse
Men / women / childer / sekynge with mekenes
This glorious virgyn / with humble supplicacion
Founde soone remedie / helpe and consolacion.

¶A litle breue rehersall of her lyfe / and howe for her myracles shewed þ e couent of Hambury purposed to translate her body / by the helpe of Mercyens. Ca .xxxi.
sig: [L2v]
THis gloryous lady / and gemme of holynesse
3280 Of fyue myghty kynges / descended lynyally
A prynces / an enherytryce / replete with mekenes
Refused all pleasures / pompe / and vayne-glory
Entred relygyon / professed at Ely
A spectacle of vertue / dwellynge in that place
3285 And a floure of chastyte / electe by synguler grace.

Her honorable vncle / kynge Ethelrede
Consyderynge her vertue / and hye deuocyon
Made her gouernour / for ghostly helthe and mede
Ouer all the monasteryes / within his regyon
3290 For the sure encresement / of perfyte relygyon
Foure of these monasteryes / we haue in memory
As Wedon / Trentam / Repton / and Hambury.

Whan she was ruler / and chefe presydent
Of these sayd places / vnder god almyghty
3295 Than vertue and goodnes / dayly dyd augment
By heuenly grace / to the soule-helthe of many
And by her exemple / and doctryne ghostly
Kynges / lordes / barons / refusynge theyr royalte
Entred relygyon / with great humylyte.

3300 Her lyfe and doctryne / agreed bothe in one
Proued in effecte / by specyall gyftes of grace
Many she conuerted / vnto contemplacyon
To prayer and penaunce / whyle they had here space
Her couent and subiectes / within euery place
3305 By her excellent vertue / and hye dyscrecyon
sig: L3
Were gratiously gouerned / for theyr saluacion.

Her dwellynge was most at the place of Wedon
Where many myracles were shewed openly
And at Trentam abbay / of her foundacion
3310 From peyne she departed to eternall glory
After her entent was buried at Hambury
Of whom it may be sayd / here lyeth nowe present
A princesse / a virgin / a nonne / and a president.

The deuout couent of her congregacion
3315 Whiche hath long wayled / with sorowfull payne
Nowe haue great cause to make consolacion
And gyue due honour to our lorde and sufferayne
Knowynge that Werburge / in blysse is nowe certayne
For them all dayly a true mediatrice
3320 In the heuynly trone / afore the hie Iustice.

Our sauiour Iesus / graunter of all goodnes
Consyderyng the mekenes / and pure virginite
Of Werburge his spouse / and proued holynes
By speciall grace / preserued her body
3325 To his laude and honour / his name to magnifye
Both hole and sounde / from naturall resolucion
As her soule was clere from vice and corruption.

This immaculat mayde / shenyng more bryght
Than radiant phebus in the triumphant trone
3330 With the quere of virgins / prayseth day and nyght
The blessed trinite with due adoracion
Of perpetuall pleasure hauyng the fruycion
A singular intercessour for her seruauntes all
sig: [L3v]
That here in erth mekely to her wyll call

3335 And though her body do rest nowe in graue
Yet notable signes contynually be done
Some warned in their slepe comfort to haue
By visityng her place / callynge her vpon
With contrite hert makyng true oblacion.
3340 Whiche thynge contynued by space of .ix. yere
With meruailous myracles euydent and clere

The couent consyderyng suche great company
From diuers partes / resortynge to theyr place
In pylgrimage to Werburge / for helpe and remedy
3345 Entended to translate this glorious abbasse
To exalte her body replet with great grace
To her great honour / comfort to eche creature
Pite that suche a relique shulde lye in sepulture

To the prayes and honour of god omnipotent
3350 And of saint Werburge laude and reuerence
The couent and the people by one assent
Desired Coelrede than kynge of merciens
For aide in this case / helpe and diligence
(Whiche thynge graunted) the day appointed was
3355 The clergy and the comons reioised with solace

¶Of the solempne translacion of this glorious virgyn saynt Werburge / and of the great myracles done at the sayd season by the myght of god and merite of this gracious lady. Cap .xxxii.

At the day appoynted of her translacion
sig: L4
Kyng Coelred and his counsell were redy present
With bysshops and the clergy men of deuocion
Her systers and subiettes a religious couent
3360 The comon people from eche place thider went
With great gladnes / the hole for pleasure gostly
The seke and impotent for helth and remedy

The bysshops and clergy stode vpon one parte
Of her holy graue / and her systers echone
3365 Syngynge and praysynge the blessed trinite
The kyng and his counsell with great deuocion
Stode on the other parte in contemplacion
The graue was opened eleuat was the chest
Wherin her holy corps .ix. yere fully dyd rest

3370 Whan this sayd monument discouered was
Suche a suauite and fragrant odoure
Ascended from the corps by singular grace
Passyng all wordly swetnes and sauour
That all there present that day and hour
3375 Supposed they had ben / in the felicite
Of erthely paradise / without ambiguite.

And as eche man th[o]ught by naturall reason thought] thaught 1521
Nothyng shulde remayne of that blessed body
But the bare boones / all els to resolucion
3380 The couerture remoued by the sayd clergy
The corps hole and sounde was funde verely
Apperyng to them / on slepe as she had ben
Nothyng depaired / that ther coude be seen.

Her vesture appered hole clere and white
sig: [L4v]
3385 No parte consumed / for all the longe space
Fragrant in odoure / repleit with delite
As at the fyrst season whan she buried was
But whan discouered was her swete face
Beautye appered more white than the lile
3390 Mixt with rose colour / moost faire for to se

Her louely counte[n]a[u]nce / so comly to beholde
And her swete fisnomy / with fairenes decorat
As fresshely apparant / moost pleasant to be tolde
As at the fyrst day / whan she was tumulat
3395 No doubt therof / for she with synne nat maculat
Usyng all her lyfe in clennes and virginite
From bodily corruption / by grace must saued be.

The clergy yet serchyng more diligently
Her precious body / and interiour vesture
3400 Eleuat the corps full reuerently
With moche worchip honour and cure
Founde nothynge perisshed in shap nor figure
For all the long space tyme and contynuaunce
She lay in sepulture by diuine ordynaunce.

3405 Whiche famous myracle / notified so clere
The clergy with her systers in ioy and honour
The kyng and his counsell all therat present were
With voice melodious made a great clamour
Praysyng and magnifiyng our blessed sauiour
3410 With celestiall songes / and hymnes full of blys
Deuoutly rehersyng / with all their deuour
Mirabilis deus in sanctis suis.

sig: [L5]
With that the comon rude people euerychone
In the sayd churche-yarde standyng without
3415 Heryng the clergy syng with suche deuocion
Towarde heuen they cried / and busely dyd shout
The space of .iii. houres / or nere there-about
Worshippyng our lorde / with voice shrill and loude
In hert wyll and mynde / as well as they coude.

3420 After all this done / her blessed body
Was wasshed and reclothed with vesture precious
By the sayd couent of the place of Hambury
The bysshops were reuesshed in pontificalibus reuesshed ='vested in ecclesiatical garments'; see OED s.v. revesh, revest
And all the clergy syngyng with voice melodious
3425 Kneled all downe and gaue due reuerence
Honour and worship to her corporall presence.

Thus they resceyued with perfit humilite
This sacrat relique hole and substanciall
And layd it in a shryne with great solempnite
3430 Enowrned with riches sumptuous and roiall
Prepared by the kyng / and ordeyned in speciall
Entendyng that this relique and gostly treasure
Perpetually with them shulde remayne and endure

People oppressed with greuous infirmite
3435 Distract persons / halt blynde and lame
Resortynge to her shryne with humilite
Shortly were cured by callynge of her name
Impotent creatures (the legende sayth the same)
Touchyng her tumbe / were cured from payne
3440 Whiche tumbe remayneth at Hambury certayne

sig: [L5v]
After she was translate / knowen it is well
The clergy to procession / went after to mas
Honoryng and praysyng / the kyng of Israell
And blessed Werburge / with moche solace
3445 Whan diuine seruice duely ended was
The bisshops gaue theyr holy benedictions
The people departed glad to their mansions

This holy sayd fest of her translacion
Was ordeyned and celebrate with solemnite
3450 As sayeth Ranulphus in his policronicon
About the yere of grace .vii. hundreth and .viii. sothle
The .xi. Kalendas of the moneth Iulii
Regnyng in mercelande the said kyng Coelrede
Than bysshop of Lichefelde was Hedda / as we rede

¶Howe the body of saynt Werburge contynued hole / and substanciall at Hambury after the translacion by the space of two hundreth yeres / tyll the danes were comon to this lande / or it felle and was resolued vnto powder The .xxxiii. Chapitre.

3455 This rutilant gemme and specious floure
Hole and substanciall remayned at Hambury
Two hundreth yeres in beaute and colour
By singular grace / and angelicall custodye
Tyll the danes were comon of malice and misery comon, i.e. comen
3460 Of ire and myschief / as we vnderstande
We meane the comyng of pagans to this lande

Whiche danes by sufferaunce and dispensacion
sig: [L6]
Of almyghty god / for synne and iniquite
Punysshed vnpiteously all this region
3465 With a wofull plage of great crudelite
The sharpe swerde of deth / hauynge no pite
Spared no creature / prest nor religious
Long-tyme duryng in their malice odious

Than this vitall glebe by diuine ordinaunce
3470 Uoluntary permytted naturall resolution
Lest the cruell gentils / and wiked myscreauntes
With pollute handes full of corrupcion
Shulde touche her body / by indignation
Whiche pagans were enemyes to our lorde Iesu
3475 Rebels to holy churche vnfeithfull and vntrue

Howe-be-it the power of our swete sauyour
Myght haue continued the body of his syruant syruant: =servant
All that longe season in worshyp and honour
As he preserued of his grace abundaunt
3480 Many sayntes of this realme hole fresshe and vernant
viii. hundreth yeres agon / to this present day
And like so to endure / hole and clere alway.

Sothely to considre / our lorde omnipotent
Glorious in his sayntes / scripture doth specifie
3485 Of his diuine prouidence / pleasure and intent
Some haue resolued / for the greatter glorie
Of their resurrection for the tyme truly
Some other to continue without corruption
To the true example of his promission

3490 Many holy martyrs / for Christ haue byn slayne
sig: [L6v]
The hie-prestis of god murdred cruelly
Some with wylde bestes deuoured in certayne
Some cast in fiers on cooles to broyle and fry
Upon many other byrdes fedyng openly
3495 Of whom the prophet clerely doth reherce
The more peyne here and wo / the more glory doubtles.

The glorious martyr Stephan (as is red)
In this present lyfe dyd myracles many
Neuertheles / he raised no people that were deed Neuertheles] Neuertherles 1521
3500 But after the resoluynge of his blessed body
He raised deed men to lyfe agayne truely
That the great power of lyfe myght sprynge
From iniurie of deth / by our heuen kynge.

Great was the respect of diuyne grace
3505 In the body of Werburge / without resolucion
Shewed by her myracles / for mannes helth and solace
But greatter was the hope of the eterne re[n]ouacion
In her body resolued to naturall consumption
Whiche for her merites to this present day
3510 Helpeth all her seruantes that to her wyll praye

Therfore worshyp we with singular deuocion
The holy lyuynge of this virgin gratious
For-why all the halowynge of her conuersacion
Belongeth to the honour of our lorde Iesus
3515 Whiche of his grace hath made her so glorious
And graunteth his mercy / and of synne remyssion
To all them / for whom / she maketh intercession.

Blessed pure virgin / moines and abbasse
sig: [L7]
O venerable werburge / mekely we the pray
3520 Make thou supplycacyon / to the graunter of grace
After this lyfe present / that all we may
Come to heuen blysse / whiche lasteth for ay
There to beholde / the gloryous trynyte
To whom be laude / worshyp / honour / and endeles glorye.

¶The table of the seconde boke of þ e gloryous vyrgyn saynt Werburge.

OF the comynge to this lande of paganes / and of the trouble of this lande / and how th e kynge of Mercyens for drede departed out of this lande / and how longe saynt Werburge contynued incorrupte and hole at the abbay of Hambury. Ca .i.
¶How the people of Hambury brought the shryne to Chester / and of the solempne receyuynge of it / by all the inhabytauntes of the countre. Ca .ii.
¶A lytell descrypcyon of the fundacyon of Chester / and of þ e abbay churche within the sayd cytee / where the holy shryne remayneth. Ca .iii.
¶A breue rehersall / of the fyrst fundacyon of the mynster of Chester Chester] Cherster 1521 / and of the instytucyon of seculer chanons / in the tyme of kynge Edwarde senyor. Ca .iiii.
¶Of the notable myracle of saynt Werburge in th e tyme of chanons / and fyrst how she saued Chester from the destruccyon of Walshe-men. Ca .v.
sig: [L7v]
¶Howe saynt Werburge cured and healed a woman thre tymes whiche was halt and lame to helthe and prosperite agayne. Cap .vi.
¶Howe saynt Werburge saued and defended Chester from innumerable barbarik nacions purposynge to destroye and spoyle the same cite vtterly. Cap .vii.
¶Howe saynt Werburge by her merite sent fruyte to a barayne Woman by synguler prayer made vnto her. Cap .viii.
¶Howe a woman with childe by peyne brought out of her mynde and reason by saynt Werburge was restaured to prosperite and helthe agayne. Cap .ix.
¶Of a nother woman vnlaufully wurkyng was made blynde and sore punysshed / and by saint Werburge was restored to syght agayne. Cap .x.
¶Howe saint Werburge restored to helth and prosperite. vi. lame and halt persons by singular grace. Ca .xi.
¶Of a yonge man vnryghtfully hanged was thries delyuered from deth by saynt Werburge to helth and prosperite. Cap .xii.
¶Howe at the maner of Upton saynt Werburge refrayned wilde horses from distruction of her cornes. ca .xiii.
¶Of a chanon of Chester hauyng his leg broken was restored to helth by saint Werburge his patrones. Ca .xiiii.
sig: [L8]
¶A breue rehersall or cronicle of certayne kyngis / and howe kyng Edgar came to Chester / also howe erle Leofrice repared diuers churches. Ca .xv.
¶Of the comyng of Willyam_conquerour to this lande / and how Lupe was fonder of Chester monastery. ca .xvi.
¶Howe saint Werburge taught her monke to kepe pacience for the greatter merite and glori to come. ca .xvii.
¶Howe sandes rose vp within the salt see ayenst Hilburgh[e]e Hilburghee] Hilburghde 1521 by saint Werburge at the peticion of William constable of Chestre. Ca .xviii.
¶Howe Matilde countesse of Chestre counsellynge her husband agaynst the monasterie was drowned at Bartflowe with many other mo. Cap .xix.
¶Howe a great fire like to destroye all Chestre by myracle ceassed whan the holy shryne was borne about the towne by the monkes. Ca .xx.
¶A breue rehersall of the myracles of saynt Werburge after her translacion to Chestre. Ca .xxi.
¶A charitable mocion / counsel / and desire to al th 'inhabitantes wi t hin the countie palatin of Chester for þ e monastori. ca .xxii.
¶A litle orison or prayer to þ e blessed virgin saint Werburge by the translatour of this warke. Ca .xxiii.
¶A short conclusion of this litle werke to the reders by the translatour. Ca .xxiiii.
sig: [L8v]

¶The prologe of the translatour of this lytell treatyse in the seconde boke.

NOw whan we consyder / with mynde dylygent
The merueylous maners / and synguler condycion
Of the comyn people / symple and neclygent
Whiche without lytterature / and good informacyon
5 Ben lyke to Brute beestes / as in comparyson
Rude / wylde / and boystous / by a prouerbe certan
Good maners and conynge / maken a man.

Saynt Paule sayth / shewynge to the Romans
How all-thynge wryten / in holy scrypture
10 Is wryten for our doctryne / and ghostly ordynans
For our great conforte / and endeles pleasure
All-thynge is knowen playnly / by lytterature
Morall vertues / be noted by it full playne
Frome vyce and neclygence / to abstayne certayne.

15 What were mankynde / without lytterature
Full lytell worthy / blynded by ignoraunce
The way to heuen / it declareth ryght sure
Thrugh perfyte lyuynge / and good perseueraunce
By it we may be taught / for to do penaunce
20 Whan we transgresse / our lordes commaundyment
It is a swete cordyall / for mannes entent.

How shulde the seuen / scyences lyberall
Haue ben preserued / vnto this day
The wysdome / of the phylosophers all
25 But alone by lernynge / it is no nay
The notable actes / of our fathers I say
sig: M1
(Yf litterature were nat) myght nat nowe be tolde
Nor auncient histories and cronycles olde

The lawe of ciuile / and of holy canon
30 By study be preferred with moche honour
To execute iustice / and for due reformacion
The most blessed doctrine of our sauiour
The actis of the apostoles / with the doctours four
Be preserued by wrytyng / and put in memorie
35 With the lyues of saintes many a noble storie

Of whiche histories we purpose speciall
To speke of saint Werburge / vnder your protection
Declaryng the ende of her lyfe historiall
As we haue begon / and made playne mencion
40 In the fyrst volume by breue compilacion
There playnly descriuyng her liniall discens
Of .iiii. myghty kyngdomes by true experience

Also we haue shewed in the sayd littell boke
Her goodly maners / and vertuous disposicion
45 Of her yonge age / who-so lyst theron to loke
And howe her bretherne suffred martyrdome
Of her fathers realme a litell discripcion
Howe she was professed in the place of Ely
Of her conuersacion within the sayd monastery

50 After for her vertue / howe she was made abbasse
Of diuers monasteries flouryng in vertue
And of the great miracles whiche there done was
For her great charite / by the grace of Iesu
Howe diuers of her kynrede dyd clerely exchewe
sig: [M1v]
55 All wordly pleasures and honours transetory
Professynge obedience at the place of Ely

Also we haue shewed vnder your licence
Of her departure from this lyfe mortall
And of her sepulture at the place of Hamburgence
60 The manyfolde myracles shewed by grace supernall
The wofull lamentacion of her systers all
And howe after .ix. yere of her translacion
By diuine ordinaunce miracles were done

We humble require you of your charite
65 To this seconde abstract to graunt pardon
Consyderynge we omytte whilom the historie
And speke of cronicles / makyng a digression
It is of no ignoraunce / nor presumption
But to enlarge the mater and sentence
70 To gladde the auditours / and moue their diligence

In oure seconde boke expresse nowe wyll we
Under your licence and speciall tuicion
Of this blessed virgin / flourynge in chastite
Why and wherfore she came to Chestre towne
75 Principally by miracle / and diuine prouision
And howe for synne / vice / and wykednes
Danes oppressed this lande with wretchednes

And howe she was receyued at Chestre citie
Of the fyrst foundacion of towne and the place
80 Of the great myracles there shewed openlie
To chanons and monkes / by singular grace
Unto euery creature in extreme case
sig: M2
Howe Werburge delyuered the towne from enmite
From dredfull fire / and plages of miserye

85 Also encronicled foloweth here expresse
A brefe compilacion of kynge Edwarde seniour
Of kynge Ethelstam / the great worthynes
Of humble kynge E[d]gare regnyng as emperour Edgare] Ergare 1521
Of his comyng to Chestre / of his great honour
90 And howe Erle Leofrice repared of his charite
The mynstre of Werburge gyuyng therto liberte

Of the seconde foundacion of the sayd monastery
From secular chanons to monkes religious
Soone after the conquest sayth the historye
95 By the erle of Chestre nominat Hugo_Lupus
With counsell and helpe of blessed Anselmus
And of the great compas of the sayd abbay
Enuired with walles myghty to assay

Howe Richard erle of Chestre by myracle ryght
100 Was preserued from daunger of Walshemen
And howe he was drowned about mydnyght
Purposyng to distroye the monastery certen
Celestiall signes were shewed to men and women
To children and innocentes by singular grace
105 Of blessed Werburge patronesse of the place

These miracles specified / and many other mo
This virgin shewed within Chestre cite
Whiche at this tyme we let ouer-go
Lest to the reders tedious it shulde be
110 Almyghty god both one two and thre
sig: [M2v]
Sende vs of theyr grace to make a good ende
Helpe lady Werburge this warke to amende

¶Of the comynge of cruell pagans to this lande / and howe saint Werburge longe lyenge hole and incorrupt at Hambury. than was resolued to pouder. And howe the kynge of merciens was chased from his lande. Ca .i.

AFore the comyng of danes to this lande
Merueilous signes were shewed in syght
115 To conuert the people (as we vnde[r]stande) vnderstande] vndestande 1521
Sterres in the heuen shynyng full bryght
Dyuersly mouynge apperyng day and nyght
Rennynge in the ayre dredfull to beholde
By longe continuaunce sayth the story olde

120 Flamyng fire / dragons in the ayre fleynge
Thondryng / and layth / erth-quake moost terrible
With many other signes / as cometis blasynge
Were seen in the ayre / to nature horrible
Upon clothynge of people bloddy dropes odible
125 Euydently appered: the yere of grace
vii. hundreth .lxxxvi in many a place

By whiche sayd signes wonderfull to se
Two plages of pestilence folowed incontinent
The first was great derthes hungre and pouerte
130 The seconde was the greuous and sore punysshement
Of the cruell danes cursed and fraudulent
Whiche trouble began the .iiii. yere of Bricticus
Kyng of westsaxon[s] / saith maister Alfridus. westsaxons] westsaxon 1521

sig: M3
The thyrde yere folowyng these signes in certen
135 Danes and Norwaies enterprised this lande
In the north partie. an hoost of armed men
Whiche cruelly spoiled and distroied holy_Ilande
With Tynmouth abbay / and all that myght be fonde
Drowned and slewe the people euerychone
140 Brenned churches / townes / spared no religion

In short tyme after the prenominate pagans
At tamysmouth reentred this realme agayne
Destroyed many cites by their myghty ordynaunce
Oppressed London / Canturbury by power certayne
145 The kynge of Merciens to escape was fayne
Kyng Adoulfus made the danes a batell
To whiche kyng by grace the victorye befell

Yf ye wyll consydre the cause wherfore and why
Our lorde suffred pagans to punysshe this region
150 The treuth was this: for synne specially
For in the primatiue churche / with great perfection
Kynges / quienes / dukes entred religion
Professed obedient chaste without propurte
Uertue to encrease / true loue and charite

155 That tyme was iustice ministred with mercy
True loue and amite founde in euery place
Dissimulacion / pride and fals enuye
Durst nat appere in halle nor in palace
Extorcion pollynge opteyned no grace
160 The commaundementes of god were obserued a_ryght
Charite was feruent / encreasynge day and nyght

sig: [M3v]
By proces of tyme / as sayth myn auctour
Through great possession / power / and liberte
Uertue decreased in holy churche day and houre
165 Holy religion decayed pitiousle
Charite was colde / iustice and equite
Extorcion disceyte were vsed euery day
Couetise / pride / lechery were ryued alway

Therfore our lorde of his great ryghtwisnes
170 Suffred cruell people to entre this region
A scourge to correct synne and wykednes
Like a swarme of bees from dyuers nacion
Whiche had no pite mercy nor compassion
Danes Gotes Norwayes and scottes also
175 Pictes and the wandeles with mony other mo

These foresayd fearfull and cruell nacions
Moost cruell pagans dyd great persecucion
From the begynnyng of Adelw[u]lfe kyng of westsaxons / Adelwulfe] Adelwlfe 1521
Tyll the comynge of normans vnto this region
180 The space enduryng by full computacion
Two hundreth yeres complet .xxx. also
With the swerde of vengeaunce fire and moche wo

The yere of our lorde .D.CCC. fyfty and one
At Tamysmouth arriued a great hoost of pagans
185 With .iii. hundreth ships and .l. men of armes echone
Whiche destroied Douer / and put the lande to greuans
Agayne Bernulphus the kyng of Mercians
The paynyms preuayled / and caused his hoost to fle
Whiche fortune enforced them more bolder to be

sig: [M4]
190 But the yere of grace .D.CCC. sixe and sixtie
The greattest noumbre of the pagans all
viii. kynges entred this realme by victorie
Norwaies / gootes / Wandels / danes in especiall
With many other nacions within in generall
195 Kyng Hingware and Hubba than came to this lande
Whiche slewe saint Edmunde kyng of Estenglande

The cruell paynyms and tyrauntes moost furious
Repleit with malice / pride / and enuye
Seruauntes to satan and ministres malicious
200 Purposed to desolate holy churche wyckedly
Brenned monasteries and spoiled vtterly
Many churches chapels of a mortall hate
Slewe religious men and nonnes dyd violate

The people were punysshed in euery place
205 To olde sicke and impotent they shewed no mercy
Yonge soukyng children coude fynde no grace
Wyddowes and wyues were put to vilany
Maydens were corrupt / and slayne chamfully
So all this realme endured confusion
210 Put to greuous peyne / deth / and affliction

After these infidels had ben at London
And there accomplisshed theyr cruell entent
They soone proceded towarde Lincoln region Lincoln: final 'n' carries sign of abbreviation
From thens directly with hasty iugement
215 To the realme of Merciens noble and auncient
Right vnto Repton where the kynge lay
Robbyng and spoilynge all in theyr way

sig: [M4v]
This kynge of Mercelande called Burdredus Burdredus: recte Burgredus
Regnyng .xxii. yere vpon the merciens
220 Was clerely expulsed by the pagans furious
And went vnto rome with pure conscience
Where he is buried by diuine prouidence
Whiche kyng was cosyn by discent liniall
To blessed Werburge so glorious and pudicall

225 This gracious virgin and preelect abbasse
Buried at Hambury (as is sayd before)
Continued incorrupt and hole in that place
In vesture and body .ii. hundreth yere and more
But whan the danes came with suche rigour
230 To Repton abbay / than she was resolued
And of deuocion full richely shryned

¶Howe the people of Hambury brought the shryne to Chestre / and of the solemne receyuyng of it by all the inhabitauntes of Chesshyre. Cap .ii.

IN meane-tyme the danes pitously destroyed
The monasteries of Werburge / Trentam and Wedon
As they many other places had euyll oppressed
235 In the north and eest part of this region
The kyngdome of Kent suffred lyke punicion
The Ile_of_Wyght endured moche turment
So dyd the Westmarches / for punysshement

The people of Hambury Wysely consyderyng
240 The comynge of danes vnto Repton
And of the departure of Burdred theyr kyng
Howe all Englande was in great affliction
sig: N1
And howe they were next to endure punicion
Whiche forsayd Repton was distaunt from Hambury
245 The space of .v. mile sayth the history

The Hamburgenses with all the comons and clergy
Dredynge full sore the pagans flagellacions
Of their lyues desperate / but for the shryne specially
To our blessed sauiour made dayly inuocacions
250 With vigils prayers and feruent meditacions
To preserue the countrey / the relique / the shryne
From daunger of enmite and miserable ruyne

As they continued in cotidian prayer
The best remedie sekyng for to fynde
255 To auoide vexacion and all greuous daunger
Of theyr great ennemies cursed and vnkynde
The holy goost inspired theyr mynde
To take the shryne with great humilite
And brynge it to Chestre from perill and enmyte

260 They toke this riall relique of reuerence
With great mekenes deuocion and feruour
Through the grace of god theyr helpe and defence
Came towarde Chester with diligence and honour
A place preordinat by our sauiour
265 Where her body shulde rest and worshipped be
Magnified with miracles next our ladie

¶Whan the clergie of Chestre and the citezens
Herde tell of the comynge of this noble abbasse
They made preparacion and great diligence
270 In theyr best maner worship and solace
sig: [N1v]
To mete this relique of singular grace
The great estates / and rulers of the countray
Were redy to honour saint Werburge that day

First was ordeyned a solemne procession
275 With crosses / and baners / and surges clere lyght
The belles were tolled for ioye and deuocion
The ministres of god in coopes redy dight
With censours of siluer / to encense her body right
All prestis and clerkes redy to say and synge
280 Proceded in ordre / this holy virgin praysyng

Next to the clergie approched in degree
The lordes of the shyre knyghtes barons all
With feruent deuocion / praysyng the trinite
Whiche sent to them suche comfort spirituall
285 The citezens ensued with gladnes cordiall
With bokes and beades / magnifieng our maker
For this great treasure to kepe them from daunger

Uenerable virgins next sette in ordre clere
With lilies in theyr handes / coronate with chastite
290 Good widowes and wyues appoynted well were
Gyuynge true thankes vnto this virgin fre
Nex[t] them assemble all the commonte Next] Nex 1521
In all goodly maner dyuised by discrecion
Praysynge saynt Werburge with humiliacion

295 Whan they approched to her hie presence
And comon were afore this relique most riall
They kneled all downe with mycle reuerence
Salutynge the shryne with honour victoriall
sig: N2
Magnifiyng with melodye and tunys musicall
300 This glorious virgin / nothyng done amis
Syngynge Te deum to the kyng of blysse

The lordes / the citezins / and all the commons
Mekely submytted them-selfe to the shryne
With manyfolde prayses and humble supplicacions
305 With interiour loue / and morall discipline
Tru[st]yng all in her to saue them from ruyne letters illegible
From greuous daunger / and cruell enmite
By her entercession vnto the trinite

They gaue due thankes vnto this abbasse
310 Deuoutly sayenge knelyng vpon kne
Welcome swete lady replet with grace
The floure of mekenes / and of chastite
The cristall of clennes and virginite
Welcome thou art to vs euerychone
315 A speciall comfort for vs to trust vpon

Welcome swete princesse / kynges doughter dere
Welcome faire creature / and rose of merciens
The diamonde of dignite / and gemme shenyng clere
Uirgin and moiniall of mycle excellence
320 Welcome holy abbasse of hie preeminence
The rutilant saphire of syncerite
Welcome swete patronesse to Chestre cite

Thou art our refuge / and singular succour
Oure sure tuicion next to the trinite
325 Oure speciall defence at euery houre
To releue thy seruauntes in all necessite
sig: [N2v]
Thou art our solace and helpe in eche degre
Oure ioye / trust / and comfort / and goostly treasure
Welcome to this towne for euer to endure

330 ¶Agaynst her comynge into Chestre cite
The stretes were strawed with flours fragrant
The mancions and halles edified rialle
Were hanged with arras precious and pleasaunt
Torches were caried on eche syde flagrant
335 Also ouer the shryne was prepared a canaby
Of cloth of golde and tissewe riche and costly

Thus with great worship decoure and dignite
Of all the clergie lordis and citezens
She was receyued with great humilite
340 Into the cite with humble reuerence
The clergie syngyng with mycle diligence
The comons playeng with loue feruent
Folowynge this relique after their entent

In procession they passed all in-to the towne
345 With ioye and great gladnes ye may be sure
In ordre togyther in charite and deuocion
Praysyng our sauiour and this virgin pure
They brought full solemple with gostly p[l]easure pleasure] peasure 1521
This riall relique to the moost noble place
350 Within all the cite as our lordes wyll was

This seconde translacion of this virgin bright
From Hambury abbay vnto Chestre cite
Was celebrate with ioye and gladnes full right
The yere of our saueour in his humanite
sig: N3
355 viii. hundreth complet .v. and seuentie
Alured regned than kyng of this region
Uictorious and liberall / coronate at London

This kyng deuyded in .iiii. partes his richesse
One parte to the poore the seconde to religion
360 The thyrde part to scholers / the fourth to bild churches
And of a day naturall / he made trium diuision trium: poss. triun, i.e. triune
viii. houres to rede and praye with feruent deuocion
viii. houres occupied with businesse naturall
And other .viii. houres to rule his realme riall

Henricus .libro .v.

Nobilitas innata tibi probita[ti]s honorem probitatis] probitas 1521
Armipotens Alurede dedit / probitasque laborem:
Perpetuumque labor nomen: cui mixta dolori
Gaudia semper erant: spes semper mixta timori.
5 Si modo victus erat / ad crastina bella parabat
Si modo victor erat / ad crastina bella pauebat.
Iam post transactos regni viteque labores /
Christ[us] ei sit vera quies / sceptrumque perenne. Christus] Christe 1521

¶A litel descripcion of the foundacion of Chestre / and of the abbay churche within the sayd cite / Where th e holy shryne by grace remayneth. Cap .iii.

365 Two cites of legions in cronicles we fynde
One in south Wales / in the tyme of Claudius
Called Caeruska / by britons had in mynde
Or els Caerleon / buylded by kynge Belinus
Where somtyme was a legion of knyghtes chiualrous
370 This cite of legions was whilom the bysshops se
Unto all south wales / nominat Wenedocie

sig: [N3v]
A nother cite of legions we may fynde also
In the west part of Englande / by the water of Dee
Called Caerlleon of britons longe ago
375 After named Chestre by great auctorite
Iulius the emperour sende to this sayd cite
A legion of knyghtes / for to subdue Irelande
Like-wyse dyd Claudius (as we vnderstande)

The founder of Chestre / as sayth Policronicon
380 Was Lleon_Gauer / a myghty stronge gyaunt
Whiche buylded caues and dongions many one
No goodly buyldyng / propre ne pleasaunt
But the Kynge Leil a briton sure and valiaunt
Was founder of Chestre by pleasaunt buyldyng
385 And of Caerleil also / named by the kynge

Ranulphus in his cronicle yet doth expresse
The cite of Chestre edified for to be
By the noble romans prudence and richesse
Whan a legion of knyghtes was sende to the cite
390 Rather than by the wysdome of Britons or policie
Obiectyng clere agaynst the britons fundacion
Whiche auctour resteth in his owne opinion.

Anno gratie .lxv.

Kyng Marius a bryton regnyng in prosperite
In the West partie of this noble region
395 Ampliat and walled strongly Chestre cite
And myghtyly fortified the sayd foundacion
Thus eche auctour holdeth a singular opinion
This Marius slewe Reodric kyng of pictis lande
Callyng the place of his name Westmarilande

sig: N4
400 This cite of legions so called by the Romans
Nowe is nominat in latine of his proprete
Cestria quasi castria / of honour and pleasance
Proued by the buyldynge of olde antiquite
In cellers and lowe voultes / and halles of realte
405 Lyke a comly castell / myghty stronge and sure
Eche house like a toure somtyme of great pleasure

Unto the sayd Chestre all northwales subiect were
For reformacion Iustice and iugement
Theyr bysshops see also it was many a yere
410 Enduryng the gouernaunce of brutes auncient
To saxons and britons a place indifferent
The inhabitauntes of it manfull and liberall
Constant sad and vertuous / and gentyll continuall

Of frutes and cornes ther is great habundaunce
415 Woddes / parkes / forestes / and beestis of venare
Pastures / feeldes / comons / the cite to auaunce
Waters / pooles / pondes / of fysshe great plente
Most swete holsome ayre by the water of dee
There is great marchandise / shyps / and wynes strang
420 With all-thyng of pleasure the citezens amonge

The yere of our lorde a hundreth sixe and fyfty
Reigned vpon this lande a briton kyng Lucius
Whiche with great desire required instantly
His realme to be baptized of pope Ele[u]therius
425 Whose charitable mocion was harde full gratius
The pope enioyed / graunted his peticion
And sende .ii. doctours to conuerte this region

sig: [N4v]
The doctours by prechyng and singular grace
In short tyme conuerted the greatter_Britayne
430 The people confessed their synne and trespase
Baptized all were / forgyuenes dyd attayne
Idolatrie cessed through-out this lande certayne
With grace circumfulced and lyghtned was Englande
By faith to god professed was all Wales and scotlande

435 Kynge Lucius ordeyned by the doctours mocion
xxviii. bisshops in this realme for to be
And .iii. archebisshops for gostly exhortacion
To reduce the people to vertue and humilite
At London was set the chiefe archebisshops se
440 The seconde in south Wales at cite of legions
The thyrde was at yorke all subiect to the britons

Churches were edified in many a place
Here in the more_Britayne with diligent labour
Christis faith encreased by speciall grace
445 Faithfull religion delated euery hour
Diuine seruice was songon and sayd with great honour
True faith and deuocion were dayly encreasynge
Namely in Chestre by grace continuall abidynge

Certaynly sith baptym came to Chestre cite
450 Soone after Lucius and afore kynge Arthure
By the grace of god and their humilite
The faith of holy churche dyd euer there endure
Without recidiuacion and infection / sure
Wherfore it is worthy a singular commendacion
455 Aboue all the citees and townes of this region

sig: N5
The perfect begynnyng and fyrst foundacion
Of the monasterie within the sayd cite
Was at the same tyme by famus opinion
That baptym began within this countre
460 The great lordes of Chestre of landes and auncetre
First edified the churche for comfort spirituall
In honour of the apostels Peter and Paule

Whiche churche was principall to all the citie
And the mouther-churche called withouten doubt
465 It was their buriall by great auctorite
To all this sayd cite / and .vii. myle without
The cemiterie was large to compase it about
But what by sufferaunce and processe of tyme
Many olde customes ben brought now to ruyne

470 In whiche mother-churche of Peter and Paule
All holy sacramentes ministred dayly were
With great encreasement of vertues all
Continuall endurynge more than .CCC. yere
In the britons tyme / of blodde noble and clere
475 Afore the comyng of saxons to this lande
Whiche with apostasie enfected all Englande

So after that the Angles / Iutes / and saxons
By fortune of batell / power and policie
Had clerely subdued all the olde britons
480 And them expulsed to wales and wylde countre
The faith of holy churche remayned at chestre cite
In the sayd churche truely by singular grace alone
Like as the faith of Peter neuer fayled at Rome

sig: [N5v]
What tyme saint Austin the doctour of Englande
485 Had baptized Ethelbrut kynge of Kent
And by relacion dyd fully vnderstande
That the faith of Christ most digne and excellent
In the citie of legions was truely remanent
In the churche of the apostoles Peter and Paule
490 He magnified our lorde with thanke speciall

That season there was a noble monasterie
xii. myles from Chestre nominate Bangour
Where religious monkes lyued vertuouslye
Almost .iii. thousande / obedient euery houre
495 Without possessions / lyuyng by theyr labour
Unto whiche place he sende for helpe at nede
To conuert the saxons (sayth venerable Bede)

Saynt Austin approched the cite of legions
Where the sayd couent afore hym were present
500 Whom he required to preche to the saxons
The faith of holy churche and baptym diligent
To whose humble prayer / they were disobedient
Obseruyng no charite / yet for theyr great pride
Many of them were slayne by kynge Ethelfride

505 That season the britons remayned vnder licence
Of Angles and saxons within the sayd cite
Tyll the dayes of Offa kynge of merciens
Regnyng in the west marche with great victorie
Whiche kynge expulsed by power and chiualrie
510 All brutes and walshemen clere out of his londe
In peyne of punysshement none there to be fonde

sig: [N6]
Whan the said churche hauynge great liberte
Dayly augmented in vertue and holynes
Prestis and clerkes praysed the holy trinite
515 And the sayd apostoles with great mekenes
The cite encreased in worshyp and ryches
Churches wre edified with feruent deuocion
In sondrie places within the sayd towne

This noble kyng Offa agaynst the pagans
520 Of .xvii. batels had euer the victorye
Confederate was with great Charles kyng of Fraunce /
And edified saint Albans monasterye
Of Englande first toke the hole monarchie
Gaue Peter-pens vnto the court of Rome
525 Translate to Lichefelde the se of Canturbury
xxxix. yere regned fully in this region.

¶A brefe rehersall of the first foundacion of the mynstre of Chestre / and of the institucion of secular chanons in the tyme of kynge Edwarde senior. Cap. .iiii.

THe yere of grace .D.CCC. seuynte and fyue
Kyng Alured regned vpon this region vpon] vnpon 1521
The relique the shryne full memoratyue
530 Was brought to Chestre for our consolacion
Reuerently receyued set with deuocion
In the mouther-churche of saint Peter and Paule
(As afore is sayd) a place moost principall

In whiche holy place vnto this present day
535 She bodilye resteth by diuine prouidence
And so by his grace shall continue alway
In honour worshyp / and mycle reuerence
sig: [N6v]
A deuout oratorie of vertue and excellence
Prepared by our lorde / where speciall remedy
540 Is agayne all greuans in soule and in body

The primatyue gyftes gyuen to the place
Immediatly were after her comynge
Of deuout people replet with grace
In the dayes of the forsayd Alured kyng
545 Of landes and libertes they made moche offerynge
To god and saint Werburge / after theyr possession
Tristyng to her prayer and sure protection

The people with deuocion and mynde feruent
Gaue diuers enormentes vnto this place
550 Some gaue a coope / and some a vestement
Some other a chalice / and some a corporace
Many albes and other clothes offred ther was
Some crosses of golde / some bokes / some belles
The pore folke gaue surges / torches / and towelles

555 The citezens offered to the sayd virgine
For the great miracles amonge them wrought
Many riall gyftes of Iewels to the shrine
Thankynge our lorde that hath vs all bought
And blessed Werburge in worde dede and thought
560 Women and children she mynded full gracious
As testifieth the archebisshop Antoninus

Diuine seruice was obserued deuoutly
Euery day encreasyng with feruent adoracion
As the feest required / and the solemnite
565 To the honour of our lorde and hi[s] glorificacion his] hie 1521
sig: [N7]
Preistis and clerkes with pure meditacion
Obseruynge their dutie gaue vertuous example
Of great perfection to the comon people

¶After kyng Alured / regned his son
570 Edwarde senior by liniall discence
Crowned the yere of grace .ix. hundreth and one
With wordly glorie and great preeminence
Buylded castels townes of myghty defence
Subdued the danes .vii. tymes in batell
575 Encreased his realme manfully and well

That tyme the realme of merciens was translate
By the kynge / and gyuen to duke Ethelrede
A noble man of auncetre / politicke and fortunate
Whiche maried his syster lady Elflede
580 Doughter to the forsaid valiant kynge Alurede
The sayd gentilman was wyse and vertuous
Sad and discrete pacient and famous

This lady Elflede duchesse of merciens
Had speciall loue and singular affection
585 To blessed Werburge and true confidence
Wherfore she mynded with great dilectacion
To edifie a mynstre a place of deuocion
To this holy virgin for profite of her soule
Enlargynge the churche of Peter and of Paule

590 She moued her husbande with great mekenes
To supplie the same dede of his charite
And diuers other nobles of theyr goodnes
For aide in that cause after their degree
sig: [N7v]
Ioyfull was the duke of the mocion gostle
595 Glad were the nobles within all the shire
To founde a mynstre after her desire

Afore the holy roode in a table writen is
At saint_Iohans churche without the sayd cite
Howe that prince Edmunde the thyrde son ewis
600 Of Edwarde senior true foundour shulde be
To whom lady Elflede was aunt by auncetre
So betwix twayne was founded in short space
An holy mynstre of vertue full and grace

They sende for masons vpon euery syde
605 Counnynge in geometrie / the foundacion to take
For a large mynstre longe hie and wyde
Substancially wrought / the best that they can make
To the honour of god / for saynt Werburge sake
At the est ende taken theyr sure foundacion
610 Of the apostoles churche / ioynynge both as one

Whan it was edified / and curiously wrought
And all-thyng ended / in goodly proporcion
Than riche enormentes were offred and brought
Of the said nobles with great deuocion
615 Temporall landes / rentes / possession
Were gyuen for euer to mayntayne the place
Of blessed Werburge by singular grace

Spirituall ministres were elect also
Secular chanons of great humilite
620 To synge and psalmodise oure sauiour vnto
Within the sayd mynstre hauynge a perpetuite
sig: [N8]
Prebendes were assigned to that fraternite
With townes / borowes / and fredomes manifest
Continually encreasyng vnto the conquest

625 And the olde churche of Peter and of Paule
By a generall connsell of the spiritualte
With helpe of the duke moost principall
Was translate to the myddes of the sayd cite
Where a paresshe churche was edified truele
630 In honour of the aforesayd apostoles twayne
Whiche shall for euer by grace diuine remayne

Also we may note holdyng none opinion
This lady Elflede of her charite
Of the sayd mother-churche translate the patron
635 Caused the sayd oratorie reconciled to be
In the honour of the most blessed trinite
And of saynt Oswalde martyr and kyng
For the loue she had to hym continuynge

The yere of our lorde .ix. hundreth and .viii.
640 This noble duchesse with mycle royalte
Reedified Chestre / and fortified it full ryght
Churche / house / and wall decayed piteousle
Thus brought vnto ruyne was Chestre cite
First by Ethelfride kyng of Northumberlande
645 And by danes / norwaies vexyng all Englande

Also she enlarged this sayd olde cite
With newe myghty walles stronge all about
Almost by proporcion double in quantite
To the forther byldynge brought without dout
sig: [N8v]
650 She compassed in the castell enemies to hold out
Within the sayd Walles to defende the towne
Agaynst danes and walshemen to dryue them all downe

After the deth of her husband Ethelrede
She ruled the realme of mercelande manfully
655 Buylded churches / and townes repared in-dede
As Staforde / Warwike / Thomwort / and Shirisbury
Of newe she edified Runcorn and Edisbury Runcorn: final 'n' carries sign of abbreviation
The body of saynt Oswalde also she translate
From Bardeney to Gloucetur there to be tumulate

660 Where she edified a noble monastery
With licence of her brother afore nominate
In honour of saint Peter / ouer the blessed body
Of the sayd saint Oswalde / kyng and martyr coronate
In wiche monastery this lady was tumulate
665 The yere of our lorde .ix. hundreth and nyntene
Whom myn auctour prayseth in this wordes serene

Henricus .li.v.

O Elfleda potens / o terror virgo virorum:
Uictrix nature nomine digna viri.
Te quoque splendidior fecit natura puellam 'Te quoque splendidior fecit': recte 'Tu quo splendidior fieres' (Horstmann)
Te probitas fecit nomen habere viri.
5 Te mutare docet sed solum nomina sexus 'docet': recte 'decet'; 'solum': recte 'solam' (Horstmann)
Tu regina potens / rexque trophea parans
Iam nec cesarei tantum meruere triumphi
Caesare splendidior virgo virago. Uale.

¶Of the notable myracles of saynt Werburge shewed in the tyme of chanons / and fyrst howe she saued Chester from distruction of walshemen Cap .v.
sig: O1
THis glorious Werburge and virgin pure
By singular grace of god omnipotent
Shewed many myracles to euery creature
670 To blynde / dombe / halt / lame / and impotent
In the cite of Chestre / whan her shryne was present
Like-wyse as in her lyfe at Wedon / and Hambury
Witneseth the same her true legende and history

Where to the honour / prayse / and laudacion
675 Of Iesu / the seconde persone in trinite
And of this virgin a speciall commendacion
We purpose to reherse nowe with charite
Under the protection of you that shall the reders be
Parte of the myracles / with mynde diligent
680 In this humble stile / and sentence consequent

The first myracle / that our blessed sauiour
Shewed for his spouses / after her translacion
To Chestre: was nye the tyme of Edwarde seniour
Son to kynge Alured famous of renowne
685 The Name of britons was chaunged that season
Were named walshemen in the montaynes segregate
Euer to the saxons hauynge inwarde hate

The Walshemen that tyme had ouer them a kyng
Called Griffinus / to be theyr gouernour
690 Electe by the comons their appetite folowyng
Endurate with malice / couetise and rancour
Ennemies to englisshemen / as is said before
This kyng entended by mortall enuy
The cite of Chestre to spoyle and distrye

sig: [O1v]
695 A myghty host discended from the mountans
Well-armed and strongely approchyng the cite
Prepared for batell with them great ordinaunce
The sayd Griffinus and all his company
With his power passed ouer the water of Dee
700 Whiche ryuer adioynneth to the sayd towne
Betwene Englande and Wales a sure diuision

This kynge layd siege vnto Chestre cite
With all his great host / there honour to wyn
By policie of warre / encreasynge myghtyle
705 For whiche the citezens remaynyng within
Were sore disconsolate like for to twyn
With wofull heuy hartes they dyd call and crye
Upon blessed Werburge for helpe and remedye

The charitable chanons with great deuocion
710 Toke the holy shryne of theyr patrones
Set it on the towne-walles for helpe and tuicion
Trustynge on her to be saued from distres
But one of the ennemyes with great wyckednes
Smot the sayd shryne in castyng of a stone
715 And it empaired / piteous to loke vpon

Anone great punysshement vpon them all lyght
The kyng and his host were smytten with blyndnes
That of the cite / they had no maner of syght
And he that smote the holy shryne doubtles
720 Was greuously vexed with a sprite of darkenes
And with hidous payne expired miserably
The kynge was sore a_dred / and all his company

sig: O2
Shortly the kynge remoued his great host
Departed from the cite without any praye praye: =prey
725 And gaue in commaundement in euery coost
Saynt Werburge landes to meynteyne alway
Assigned her possessions euer after that day
With the signe of the crosse a token euident
In pleasyng this virgin / for drede of punysshement.

¶Howe saynt Werburge cured and healed a woman thre tymes (whiche was halte and lame) to helth and prosperite agayne. Cap .vi.

730 IN the cite of Chestre (the legende doth expresse)
An honest matrone dwelled / Eagida nominat
Whiche by continuaunce / and payne of sickenes
Was made halt and lame / of helth all desperate
Yet to saynt Werburge her hart was eleuate
735 Instantly required with humble supplicacion
This holy virgin for helth / and preseruacion

Anone by the merite of this lady clere
The pacient restored to helth and prosperite
Gaue honour and thankes to Werburge and prayer
740 Entendyng euer after her true seruaunt to be
And truely continue lyuyng in pure chastite
But shortly she brake her promesse made in syght
Folowyng her appetite and carnall lustes full ryght

She had great riches welth and prosperite
745 And maried with pleasure after her entencion
Where thries she endured her olde infirmite
And thries was cured by meke intercession
sig: [O2v]
To helth of body from peynfull contraction
Thus by the merite of this virgin pure
750 She was deliuered from peyne thries to pleasure

This forsayd Eadgide prudently ponderyng
These notable miracles with her gostly eye
Gaue great commendacion and speciall thankyng
To almyghty god / with feruent humilite
755 And to saynt Werburge knelynge on kne
Came to her oratorie and gaue an oblacion
To the holy shryne with singular deuocion

¶Howe saynt Werburge saued Chestre from innumerable barbarike nacions / purposynge to distroye and spoyle the sayd cite vtterly Cap .vii.

AN-other tyme innumerable barbarike nacions
Came to spoyle Chestre to robbe it and distry
760 (Sayth the historye) from diuers regions
Harolde kyng of danes / the kynge of gotes and galwedy
Maucolyn of Scotlande and all theyr company
With baners displayed well-armed to fyght
Theyr tentes rially in hoole heth were pyght

765 They set theyr ordinaunce agaynst the towne
Upon euery side / timorous for to se
Namely at the northgate they were redy bowne
By myght[y] police to haue entred the cite myghty] myght 1521
The citezens dredyng to be in captiuite
770 Made intercession vnto this holy abbasse
For theyr deliueraunce in suche extreme case

sig: O3
The deuout chanons sette the holy shryne
Agaynst theyr enemies at the sayd northgate
Trustynge to Werburge to saue them from ruyne
775 And shewe some myracle to them disconsolate
For the citezens were of their lyues desperate
Passynge mannes mynde to escape theyr daunger
But all-only by merite of this virgin clere

As the kynges were sautynge this forsayd cite
780 Trustyng for a praye to haue it euery hour
One of the sayd ennemies replet with iniquite
Nat worshyppyng th e virgin / nor dredyng our sauiour
Smote this riall relique with a stone in his rancour
Brake therof a corner curiously wrought
785 Cast all to the grounde: than sorowe came vnsought

The sayd malefactour nat passynge the place
Uexed with the deuill for his greuous offence
Roryng and yellyng his outragious trespase
Tore his tonge a_sonder in wodely violence
790 Miserable exspired afore them in presence
Satan ceased nat to shewe great punysshement
Upon his soule and body / by signes euident

These kynges considerynge this soden vengeaunce
Amonge them all lyght so soone and hastely
795 Shortly remoued theyr great ordinaunce
Departed from the cite with theyr company
Callyng on this virgin fast for grace and mercy
Promyttynge neuer after to retourne agayne
To disquiete her seruauntes and cite in certayne
sig: [O3v]

¶Howe saynt Werburge by her merite sent frute to a barrayne woman by syngular prayer made vnto her The .viii. chapitre.

800 A Noble gentilman / a consul in office
Descendyng of the hie and riall blodde of costy
Elected a spouses at his owne deuice
A swete faire gentilwoman curtes and comly
Nominat Iudith / ioynned to hym in matrimony
805 With whom this lady lyued a longe season
Barrayn and fruteles of generacion

She daily lamented her great wretchednes
As woman infortunate full of miserye
Prayed to saynt Werburge with interiour mekenes
810 For remedy and helpe agaynst that wofull infamye
Desired to haue issue and frute of her bodye
If it pleased god / and this virgin also
Most greattest comfort to brynge her hert from wo

Saynt Werburge appered to her in vision
815 In white bright vesture / clere as the cristall
Expressynge wordes of great consolacion
Most ioyfull to Iudith to make rehersall
Commaundyng her by the effect speciall
To go to her churche with singular deuocion
820 And praye our sauiour with humble supplicacion

Also for to compasse her holy aulter
With a linen cloth / knelyng on her kne
And after for to take the same cloth in fere
And compas her wombe about reuerentle
sig: [O4]
825 This Iudith was ioyfull / and rose vp yerle
And truely fulfylled this gostly vision
From thens departed to her propre mancion

Soone after this wyfe afore rehersed
Conceyued a childe and had succession
830 Praysyng this virgin in hart worde and dede
And after the tyme of her purificacion
Of the same faire cloth she made oblacion
Richely set in syluer / well wrought in compas
With many riche enormentes she sende to this place

835 After came her-selfe vnto the monastery
With many of her neyghbours / there nye dwellyng
Praysyng and laudyng this glorious lady
With cordiall thankynges makyng theyr offeryng
Of this great myracles true witnes bearyng
840 Departed from the place with ioy and deuocion
All the sayd company / eche to theyr mancion.

¶Of a woman great with childe with peyne brought out of her wytte / by saynt Werburge was restoured to reason agayne. Cap .ix.

IN the prouince of Chestre / knowen it is of olde
A certayne man dwelled / of great honeste
Whiche had a doughter disposed manyfolde
845 To sondrye vertues / clennes / and humilite
This humble mayde ioyned was in matrimonye
To an honest yong man / of whom she conceyued
And was great with childe / openly perceyued

sig: [O4v]
Whan the tyme approched of her deliueraunce
850 Uexed she was with mycle wo and payne
Continually enduryng / with suche hidous greuaunce
That out of her mynde she went in certayne
All phisike and medicyns were founde to her in vayne
No comfort in erth helpe nor remedye
855 For her myght be founde in suche extremite

Her father and mother / and her frendes all
Brought theyr dere doughter with great deuocion
To saynt Werburge churche / requiryng speciall
This blessed virgin / with humble intercession
860 To helpe the pacient from all vexacion
Promyttynge an oblacion to this lady bryght
Whan she vnto reason were comen a_ryght

And as she slepped at the aulter ende
Wofully cruciat with peynes hiduous
865 Passyng mannes cure it for to amende
Anone by the merite of this virgin glorious
She was released from all payne greuous
And fully restored to her reason agayne
Had good deliueraunce / and spedde well in certayne

870 Whiche myracle knowen / her frendes euerychone
And all the good matrons of the sayd cite
Came holly togyther with theyr oblacion
To the holy shryne thankyng with hart fre
This blessed virgin of her benignite
875 Whiche is so redy a mediatrice alway
To helpe her true seruauntes both nyght and day
sig: P1

¶Howe an-other woman vnlaufully wurkynge was made blynde / and by saynt Werburge restored was to her syght agayne. Cap .x.

Within the same cite afore the abbay gate
Dwelled a woman / which brake the commaundement
Of god and holy churche / hye sabbot-day dyd violate
880 Unlaufully wurkynge: wherfore great punysshement
Fell vpon this woman with peynes equiualent
Sodaynly smytten / wurkynge full busely
With greuous blyndnes / and mycle miserye

This woman consyderynge her syght was gone
885 The pleasure of this worlde her helpe and succour
Hauynge to lyue by / small riches or none
Cried maynly out out alas euery hour
Wo is me wretche fulfylled with dolour
Alas I was borne to abyde this wofull day
890 My maker to displease / alas what shall I say?

She called to memorie with hye discrecion
The myracles that Werburge shewed to mankynde
By grace she repented / with suche contricion
That water distilled from her eyes blynde
895 Dolefully lamentynge / that she was so vnkynde
Ruthfully was brought to Werburge oratory
Trustyng in this virgin to haue remedy

As she continued in her supplicacion
Wofully wepynge / abidyng the great grace
900 Of blessed Werburge / with singular inuocacion
Anone she was cured to helth and solace
sig: [P1v]
Restored to her eye-sight / she passed the place
Praysed our lorde and this virgin pure
Was a holy woman after ye may be sure.

¶How saint Werburge restored to helth and prosperite vi. lame and halt persons by singular grace. Cap .xi.

905 THe excellent fame of this glorious lady
Dilated was through all this region
Manifest by myracles full honorably
Therfore from diuers partes came many a person
For helth of body and gostly conuersacion
910 Some to be cured from payne intollerable
And some of olde sores that were incurable

Amonge whom there came vnto her place
Sixe wofull persones / cured for to be
Halt blynde and lame besekyng her of grace
915 With humble supplicacion vpon them haue pite
With wepynge teares sayenge / o souerayn ladie teares] treares 1521
O imperiall princesse / and kynges doughter dere
Heele our disease by thy instant prayer

O blessed virgin and holy moiniall
920 O glorious abbasse / and worthy gouernour
O pereles parens and ministre spirituall
O celestiall gemine resplendent with honour
Praye for vs wretches vnto our sauiour
That we may opteyne here mercy and grace
925 Cured of our sekenes / after to se thy face

Thy name transcendeth this realme swete lady
sig: P2
Thy myracles magnifien thy great goodnes
Thy worshyp encreaseth with honour and glorie
Daily euermore through thy great holynes
930 Shewe nowe thy power / cure vs from sekenes
That by the we may prayse the kyng of blis
As thou hast cured many one or this

By these meke prayers / in hert full penitent
And many other orisons sayd priuatly
935 Callyng on this virgin with deuocion feruent
For certayne / or they passed the monastery
They were all cured from peyne and malady
In wytnes wherof / and triall as it was
Theyr staues remayned longe after in the place

¶Howe a yonge man thries hanged vnlaufully Was thries delyuered by saynt Werburge from dethe to lyfe and lyberte. Cap .xii.

940 ALmyghty god gaue in commaundement
By moises lawe / to his people echone
No innocent to slee by wrongfull iudgement
Nor causeles to punysshe by greuous oppression
Also to beware of lyght suspection
945 Wherof a myracle we shall nowe expresse
Done in Chestre cite by Werburge theyr patronesse

A certayne yonge man dwelled in the cite
Honest in maners / and of good conuersacion
Disposed to vertue and humilite
950 Was arrest and taken of a lyght suspicion
By the officers and rule[r]s of the sayd towne rulers] rules 1521
sig: [P2v]
Gyltles accused most innocently
Condemned and iudged to deth shamfully

After sentence gyuen / ministres were all redy
955 Upon the iudgement to do execucion
He was fettred and brought to the gebbet by and by
And as a stronge thefe hanged thervpon
His frendes and cosyns for hym made great mone
Alas what tonge myght expresse the wo
960 They made that tyme departynge hym fro

And as this innocent hang in his payne
He called to mynd the manyfolde goodnes
The myracles of Werburge shewed her certayne
Howe she had saued many in great distres
965 So whan he myght no wordes expresse
In mynde her required her / and humblie dyd pray
From shamfull deth to saue hym that day

Whan all the officers departed were thens
Supposynge the soule seperate from the body
970 A white do[u]e descended afore them in presence
And lyght vpon the gebbet immediatly
The byrde with his byll brake the rope truely
The prisoner escaped that tyme from deth
Shortly reuiuynge toke naturall breth

975 Whiche thynge notified so meruailous in syght
The ministers returned / theyr labour in vayne
Toke this innocent by power and myght
Upon the sayd gebbet hanged hym agayne
Thus he was delyuered by myracle from payne
sig: P3
980 The tortuous turmentours cessed their tyranny
Permytted the prisoner to go at liberte

Whiche myracle knowen / his frendes and cosyns all
Returned agayne with glad mynde and chere
The prisoner mette them louyng god in speciall
985 And blessed Werburge in his best manere
The deuout citezens approched them nere
Went all to the shryne the virgin thankyng
The belles were tolled for ioy of this thyng

¶Howe at the maner-place of Upton saint Werburge restrayned wylde horses from distruction of cornes put in by theyr ennemyes. Cap .xiii.

ALso the thyrde season approched to Chestre cite
990 Many cruell ennemyes in the part of Wirall
Purposyng to spoyle and distroy all the countre
The people and theyr frutes / theyr corne and catall
The citezens dredyng to be captyue and thrall
Fortified the cite with men of armes bright
995 Hauynge sure artillarie for to defende and fight

The husbandes of the countrey about there dwellyng
Agaynst the sayd ennemyes makyng sore prouysion
Brought their corne and cattell / their husolde remaynynge
In assurance to be / to the parke of Upton
1000 Saynt Werburge landes from all distruction
Whiche parke from Upton was distaunt a myle space
A prebende to a chanon of her mynstre and place

These Wycked ennemies fulfylled with malice
sig: [P3v]
Agaynst all conscience and ordre of charite
1005 In no maner wise dredynge the hie iustice
Entred the sayd parke with mycle cruelte
Pulled downe the paale at pleasure and liberte
Put in theyr horses made great distruction
Of cornes and catell of a hie presumpcion

1010 Werburge remembrynge theyr great wyckednes
Theyr malice and myschief agaynst her possession
By myracle shewed her power and goodnes
Preseruynge her seruauntes from all vexacion
And punysshyng her ennemies with great affliction
1015 As she hath done many seasons or this
By mean to her spouse our lorde kyng of blis

Whan the corne-sheuys laye broken afore them playne
The horses had no power any part to take
For why? by myracle / theyr heedes all in certayne
1020 Were vp-holden in the ayre / theyr bodyes sore dyd quake
They touched no frutes / wast they dyd none make
Of the principall doers / some raged out of mynde
Some smetyn with palsy / some lepre halt and blynde

Whiche punysshement knowen vnto all the host
1025 The rulers and captens without any delaye
Knyt agayne the sheuys / that none shulde be lost
With tremblynge hartes humbly began to praye
This holy virgin to saue them that daye
Upon a condicion / escapynge from payne
1030 Endurynge theyr lyfe neuer to turne agayne

From that tyme furth ther dare no nacion
sig: P4
Consyderyng the power of this virgin pure
Approchyng Chestre cite to make derogacion
Denmarke Goet nor Galway scot ye may be sure
1035 Cruell danes nor walshemen dare nat procure
Wherfore the citezens haue cause to loue the place
And thanke this virgin for her helpe and grace

¶Howe a chanon of Chestre hauyng his leg and thie broken was restaured to helth by saynt Werburge hys patronesse. Cap .xiiii.

Within Chestre mynstre that holy place
Dwelled a chanon nominate Ulminus
1040 Sad of disposicion by syngular grace
Humble and pacient / discrete and vertuous
Liberall and honest / gentyll and piteous
And for a pastyme this was his pleasure
To hunt and to hauke to confort nature

1045 And as this chanon rode for his solace
On huntyng with other honest company
By fortune vnfrendly / the more pite was
Both horse and man fell to grounde sodendly
In perill of theyr lyues standynge in ieoperdye
1050 The horse downe lyenge oppressed the chanon
Brake his leg a_sondre / with blod great effusion

Whan by his company the chanon was vp take
He fell in a swowne for anguisshe wo and payne
All wordly riches redy to forsake
1055 For one hour of quietnes to be had agayne
Unto his mancion they brought hym certayne
sig: [P4v]
Where he continued in mycle wo and langour
Abydyng all-only the mercy of our sauiour

Counnyng surgeans were sought vpon euery syde
1060 To cure this gentylman from penalite
But none of them / by wysdome coude prouyde
Clerely to heele hym / and do hym remedye
Thus he remediles / in extreme ieopardye
Prayed to saynt Werburge his patronesse
1065 For helth and remedye / of her great goodnesse

Whose humble prayer with inward loue feruent
Was graciously harde of her charite
For right soone after appered euident
A byrde like a doue most clere for to see
1070 Into the chanons chambre the byrde flow trule
Among the company / and anone doubtles
The place was repleit with odour and swetnes

Soone after the company euerichone
Were sadly on slepe a thynge meruaylous
1075 And afore the pacient by playne vision
Saynt Werburge appered in his syght full glorious
Sayeng: my chaplayne and seruaunt vertuous
Why be ye absent from diuine seruice
Nat doynge your dutie accordyng to iustice

1080 Ma-dame he sayd / and swete president
It is well knowen to all the cite
Of my mysfortune and harmes euydent
Howe my horse almost had oppressed me
Wherfore an impotent I endure mysere
sig: [P5]
1085 It is no feyned cause / that I do expresse
I beseke you of helpe nowe swete maistres

Saynt Werburge euer piteous and merciable
Upon her seruantes in great distresse
Conforted her chaplayne with wordes delectable
1090 Proued in effect by her excellent goodnes
To his syght and felynge as he dyd expresse
She touched the foote / that sore and broken was
Cured it holly from payne by singular grace

Whan she had cured thus this impotent
1095 Anone she departed out of his syght
The chanon gaue honour to god omnipotent
And to this virgin and lady bryght
Of his gostly vision comfort and lyght
All peyne was past sekenes vexacion
1100 Helth was come by playne probacion

The chanon rose vp the same mydnyght
And went to mattens as custome was
His bretherne were glad with all theyr myght
Praysed our lorde of his singular grace
1105 And Werburge patrones of the sayd place
Also with honour reuerence and humilite
The bretherne sange te deum solemle

¶A brefe rehersall of certayne kynges / and how kyng Edgare came to Chestre. Also howe Leofrice Erle of Chestre repared diuers churches. Cap .xv.

After the decesse of kynge Edwarde seniour
Ethelstan his sonne was coronate at London
sig: [P5v]
1110 Kyng of this lande / regnyng in honour
With power regalite by true succession
Ualeant in chiualry and actes euerychone
Subdued danes / scottes / norwayes / britons all
Opteyned triumphe / and dignite imperiall

1115 The fourth yere of his reigne / and the yere of grace
viii. hundreth .ii. and seuenty by full computacion
Guy erle of Warwike by fortune slayne hase
Colbrond the gyaunt / floure of danes nacion
The sayd kyng Ethelstan by power and renowne
1120 Thries subdued danes / and slewe the kyng of Irelande
Nominat prince Anlaff as we vnderstande

This noble Ethelstan was good and gracious
To all holy churche / namely to religion
Ryghtfull in iudgement / liberall and piteous
1125 To his true subiectes through his dominion
To mynstres and holy places had great affection
Confirmed theyr foundacions with libertes clere
Whose noble actes be touched a lytell here

Regia progenies produxit nobile stemma.
Cum tenebris nostris illuxit splendida gemma
Magnus Ethelstanus patrie decus / orbita recti
Illustris probitas a vero nescia flecti.

After Ethelstan regned Edmunde his brothur
1130 Fyue yeres in honour / hauyng great victory
Princis Elred and Edwyn succided eyther othur
In great busines with scottes and danes truly
Next whom meke Edgare / sayth the history
xvi. yere of age / coronate at Kyngston
1135 With peace and quietnes first ruled this regio[n].

sig: [P6]
In whose natiuite the blessed Dunstan
Herde angels singe with mycle melody
Peace is nowe come to Englande certan
Quietnes / and rest / honour / and victory
1140 Of cornes and frutes that tyme was plentie
Danes / norwaies / scottes / britons in euery place
Submytted them-selfe to the kynges grace

Science encreased true loue and amite
Uertue was exalted in all this region
1145 Monasteries were edified of his benignite
Endowed with riches / and riall possession
xl. religious places by famous opinion
Were newly buylded by the sayd noble kyng
In sondry places of this realme standyng

1150 Secular prestes expulsed sothely were
From diuers monasteries with great discrecion
Religious persones repleit with vertue clere
Entred their places cause of deuocion
Charitie was feruent and holy religion
1155 The lyues of sayntes were soth in eche place soth: =sought
And written in legendes for our comfort and grace

Many shyps were made vpon the kynges cost
To serche by the se all his lande about
That no alian entre in no maner cost
1160 By policie and manhod to holde all his ennemies out
Danes / norwaies / scottes durst nat ones loke out
Suche drede all nacions had ensuynge the tyme
That kyng Edgare regned by prouidence diuine

In progresse he passed ones in the yere
1165 Eche quarter of the realme with his company
sig: [P6v]
To se that his subiectes well-ordred were
And the lawe obserued / iustice with mercy
Than was none oppression wronges nor iniury
Debate malice rancour myght nat be founde
1170 True loue and charite was in all the londe

Kynge Edgare approched the cite of legions
Nowe called Chestre / specified afore
Where .viii. kynges mette of diuers nacions
Redy to gyue Edgare reuerence and honour
1175 Legiance and fidelite depely sworne full sore
At the same cite: after to be obedient
Promyt at his callyng to come to his parliament

From the Castell he went to the water of Dee
By a priue posturne through walles of the towne
1180 The kyng toke his barge with mycle rialte
Rowyng vpwarde to the churche of saynt Iohnn
The forsayd .viii. kynges with hym went alone
Kynge Edgare kept the storne / as most principall
Eche prince had an ore to labour with-all

1185 Whan the kynge had done his pylgrimage
And to the holy roode made oblacion
They entred agayne into the sayd barge
Passynge to his place with great renowne
Than Edgare spake in praysyng of the crowne
1190 All my successours may glad and ioyfull be
To haue suche homage honour and dignite

Also it is to be had in memory
That this sayd Edgare and his princis all
sig: [P7]
Came with great reuerence vnto the monastery
1195 To worshyp saynt Werburge with mynde liberall
Where he gaue fredoms and priuileges speciall
With singular possessions of his charite
Confirmynge the olde grauntes by hye auctorite

This Edgare was nominate in cronicles expresse
1200 The floure of Englande / regnyng as emperour
Lyke-wise as Romulus to romains was of prowes
Cyrus to the persis / to the grekes their conquerour
Great Charles to frenchemen / to troians Hectour
Famous in victorye preignant in wysdome
1205 Uertuous and pacient / feruent in deuocion

Henricus .libro .v.

Auctor opum vindix scelerum / largitor honorum
Sceptriger Edgarus regna superna petit.
Hic alter Solomon / legum pater / orbita pacis
Quod claruit bellis / claruit inde magis.
5 Templa deo / templis monachos / monachis dedit agros:
Nequitie lapsum / iusticieque locum.

Also from the byrthe of our blessed sauiour
A thousande fyfty yere / and seuyn expresse
In the tyme of saynt Edwarde kyng and confessour
As William_Maluesbury beareth wytnes
1210 Than Leofricus a man of great mekenes
Was erle of Chestre and duke of merciens
Son to duke Leoffwin by liniall discence

This noble Leofric sayth policronicon
Of his deuocion and beningne grace
sig: [P7v]
1215 Namely by the counsell and vertues mocion
Of his lady Godith countes whiche was
Reedified churches decayed in many a place
Also he founded the monastery of Leonence
By the towne of Herforde / and the place of Wenlecence

1220 This erle repareled a noble olde monastery
Euesham_vpon_Auen / gaue them great riches
Also founder was of the abbay in couentre
Made the cite free for loue of his countesse
At the cite of Chestre of his great goodnes
1225 He repared the College-churche of saynt Iohnn
Endowed it with riches and enormentes many one

This erle of Chestre the sayd Leofricus
Of his charite / and feruent deuocion
To the honour of god / reedified full gracious
1230 The mynstre of Werburge within the sayd towne
Gaue vnto it riches and singular possession
Endowed the sayd place with fredoms and liberte
And speciall priuileges confirmed by auctorite

So the sayd place encreased in honour
1235 In great possessions / fredoms / and richesse
With singular deuocion vnto our sauiour
And prayse to saynt Werburge theyr patronesse
The chanons obserued vertue and clennes
Daily augmentyng by diuine sufferaunce
1240 Unto the comyng to this lande of normans

¶Of the comyng of Willyam_conquerour to this lande and howe Hugo_Lupe his syster-sonne was founder of Chestre monasterye Cap .xvi.
sig: [P8]
THe yere of grace .M. sixe and thre scour
The .xiii. day of the moneth of october
The duke of Normandy / William_conquerour
Pight a stronge batell / displayed his baner
1245 Of normans and frenchemen hauynge great power
Subdued kynge Harolde / opteyned all the londe
Was coronate at London / made saxons all bonde

For diuerse great causes he came to this countre
First for deth of Alured his nere kynsman
1250 The proscripcion of Robert archebisshop of Canterbury
The periury of Harolde agaynst conscience playne
The promys of saynt Edwarde made to hym certayne
That the sayd Wylliam shulde enioye the crowne
If the kyng departed without succession

1255 A generall counsell was celebrate at London
That all bysshops sees by helpe of the conquerour
From borowes shulde be translate to a famous towne
Within their diocese / to the greatter honour
Ryght so they all were / sayth myn auctour
1260 Also the see of Lichefelde was translate to Chester
By helpe and sufferaunce of the bysshop Peter

With Wylliam_conquerour came to this region
A noble worthy prynce nominate Hugo_Lupus
The dukes son of Britayne / and his syster-son
1265 Flourynge in chiualry bolde and victorious
Manfull in batell / liberall and vertuous
To whom the kyng gaue for his enheritaunce
sig: [P8v]
The counte of Chesshire with the appurtinaunce

By victorie to wynne the forsayd Erledom
1270 Frely to gouerne it as by conquest right
Made a sure chartre to hym and his succession
By the swerde of dignite to holde it with myght
And to calle a parlement to his wyll and syght
To ordre his subiectes after true iustice
1275 As a prepotent prince / and statutes to deuise

This valeant knyght with a myghty host
Descended from London to wynne the sayd counte
But the lordes of Chesshire rose from euery cost
Agaynst hym made batell and had the victorie
1280 Thries they preuayled agaynst the erle trulie
After he optayned to his fame and honour
The erledome of Chestre entred as a conquerour

He gaue to his knyghtes after theyr desire
Lordshyps and franches / and great possession
1285 With riche mariages within all Chesshire
Exalted his seruauntes to hye promocion
Unto holy churche had special deuocion
Maynteyn[yn]ge iustice / commendyng vertue Maynteynynge] Maynteynge 1521
Deposyng vice by the helpe of Iesu

1290 After the departure of his vncle the conquerour
Whan William_Ruff. toke the regalite
Than blessed Anselme the famous doctour
Dyd viset this lande oft-tymes of his charite
Glad to refourme / and brynge vnto vnite
1295 Where was debate / and mycle diuision
sig: Q1
By diligent labour and good exhortacion

This forsayd erle of his benignite
Interiously louynge holy religion
Repleit with vertue and feruent charite
1300 Sende for saynt Anselme vnto London
To come to Chestre at his peticion
And there for to founde a religious place
In honour of Werburge by diuine grace

Blessed Anselme at the erles supplicacion
1305 Came vnto Chestre with gladde chere shortly
Where he founded an abbaye of holy religion
A pleasaunt place and a noble monasterye
In worshyp of god / and saynt Werburge sothely
The yere of grace by full computacion
1310 A thousande .iiii. score .xiii. yere alon

All secular prestes / and chanons also
Within the sayd place afore-tyme dwellyng
Were clerely dismyssed / and letten go
Religious monkes perfect in lyuynge
1315 Receyued were gladly their rule professynge
Saynt Anselme ordeyned Richard of Beccense
To be their abbot with great preeminence

Landes / rentes / libertes / and great possession
Franches / fredoms / and priuileges riall
1320 Were gyuen mekely to that foundacion
Maners / borowes / townes / with the people thrall
And many faire churches / chapels withall
Wardes and mariages were gyuen that season
sig: [Q1v]
To god and saynt Werburge cause of deuocion

1325 Kyng Wyllyam_Ruff. son to the conquerour
Confirmed the foundacion / with great auctorite
Endowed the monastery with mycle honour
Of fredoms / franches / also liberte
The place that tyme was made as fre
1330 As the sayd erle was in his castell
Or as hert myght thynke / or tonge myght tell

Saynt Anselme departed thence vnto London
And was made archebisshop of Canturbury
To the place he gaue a sure confirmacion
1335 With singular priuileges to be had in memory
Of whom it is written here folowyng truly
Hic vir dum vixit extirpantes maledixit
Werburge iura presentia si[u]e futura.

This noble prince gaue of his charite
1340 Riall riche enormentes vnto the sayd place
Coopes / crosses / Iewels of great rialte
Chales / censures / vestures / and landes dyd purchace
A librarie of bokes to rede and synge there was
Of whiche riall iewels and bokes some remayne
1345 Within the sayd monastery to this day certayne

The founder also buylded within the monasterie
Many myghty places / conuenient for religion
Compased with stronge walles on the west partie
And on the other syde with Walles of the towne
1350 Closed at euery ende with a sure postron
In south part the cimiterie inuironed rounde about
sig: Q2
For a sure defence ennemies to holde out

The .ix. yere aftre this riall foundacion
This noble founder the .xxvii. day of Iuly
1355 Departed towarde the heuenly mancion
Next whom his son Richarde succeded truly
Than regnyng in honour the first kyng Henry
Also the place had their fraunches and fredom
Afore the sayd cite a hundreth yere and one

¶Howe saynt Werburge taught her monke and chaplayne to kepe paciens for his greatter merite and glorye to come. Cap .xvii.

1360 AFter the translacion of Chestre monasterye
From secular chanons to monkes religious
By helpe of Anselme archebisshop of Canturburye
Supportyng therto the founder Hugo_Lupus
As afore is specified full memorous
1365 A monke there dwelled of vertuous disposicion
Under obedience / nominate dan Symon

This brother Simon his tyme well vsyng
Nowe in vertuous study / nowe in contemplacion
Nowe in deuout prayer / nowe busely wryttynge
1370 Somtyme in solace / and honest recreacion
Obserued deuoutly his holy religion
Obedience / pacience / and wylfull pouerte
Mekenes / meditacion / with pure chastite

For whiche examples and signes of vertue
1375 Diuers of his bretherne repleit with enuy
Were fully confederate entendyng to subdue
This honest prest by malice and policy
sig: [Q2v]
They layd to his charge open wronges and iniury
They punysshed and oppressed hym with great affliction
1380 Dayly augmentyng by subtyll collusion

Dan Symon offendyng no brother at all
Obserued pacience / euer callynge for grace
Wepyng lamentyng with syghes cordiall
His fortune vnfrendly remediles in that case
1385 Entended to depart to some other place
Of a scrupulous conscience / seyng no redresse
Was redy to procede plonged in heuynes

Werburge appered to this monke in vision
Bryghter than Phebus in his meridian spere
1390 My seruaunt she sayd callyng hym vpon
Why be ye so sad / and heuy of chere?
Wheder entende ye? shewe the mater clere
Alas he sayd ma-dame and patronesse
For sorowe I can nat my peynes expresse

1395 Diuers of my bretherne ben greued at me
Uexyng me dayly with great tribulacion
Causeles on my part deserued trule
In worde or [i]n dede gyuyng non occasion in] en 1521
I can nat be quiet amonge that congregacion
1400 Wherfore swete lady vnder your licence
I purpose to departe in sauynge my conscience

Saynt Werburge pacified his mynde and entent
With wordes of comfort and holy scripture
Made hym be humble in hert and pacient
1405 Thy sufferaunce shalbe great ioye and pleasure
sig: Q3
And for thy pacience thou maist be sure
To haue rewarde in blis perpetuall
At thy departure from this lyfe mortall

Wherwith saynt Werburge departed sodeinl[y] letter illegible
1410 To the blys of heuyn euer endurynge
The monke was meke in hert and mery
Obserued her doctrine this lyfe continuyng
Gaue good example of perfect lyuynge
Unto his bretherne / and at his departure
1415 For his pacience passed to eternall pleasure

¶Howe sondes rose vp within the salt see agaynst Hilburghee by saynt Werburge at the peticion of the constable of Chestre. Ca .xviii.

THe seconde erle of Chestre after the conquest
Was erle Richard / son to Hugo_Lupus
Whiche Richarde entended all-thyng to the best
To visite saynt Winifride in hert desirous
1420 Upon his iourney went / myn auctour sayth thus
Deuoutly to holy_well in pylgrimage
For his great merite and gostly aduantage

Whan the wicked walshemen herd of his comyng
After a meke maner vnto that party
1425 They made insurrection inwardly gladdyng
Descended from the mountaynes most furiously
Agaynst the erle raised a cruell company
Bytwxt hym and Chestre lettynge the kynges way
Purposynge to slee or take hym for a praye

sig: [Q3v]
1430 The erle son perceyued theyr malicious entent
In all hast possible sende to Chestre secretly
To warne his constable by loue and commaundem[en]t commaundement] commaundemt 1521
Wyllyam the son of Nigell / to rayse a great army
To mete hym at Basyngwerke right sone and spedely
1435 For his deliueraunce from deth and captiuite
Of the wyld walshemen / without humanite

The constable congregate in all goodly hast
A myghty stronge host / in theyr best arraye
Towarde Hilburghee on iourney ridyng fast
1440 Trustyng vpon shippes all them to conuaye
Whiche was a riall rode that tyme nyght and daye
And whan they theder came shyppyng none there was
To carie all them ouer in conuenient space

Alas what hert may thynke / or tonge well expresse?
1445 The dolorous greuaunce / and great lamentacion
That the host made / for loue and tendernes
Knowynge their great maister in suche persecucion
Some wept and wayled without consolacion
Some sighed and sobbed / some were in extasy
1450 Without perfect reason / alas what remedy?

Wyllyam the constable most carefull man on lyue
Of his mysfortune in suche extreme necessite
Called to hym a monke there dwellyng contemplatyue
Required hym for counsayle and prayer for his charite
1455 The monke exhorted hym to knele vpon his kne
Humblie to beseke Werburge his patronesse
For helpe and remedy in suche great distresse

sig: [Q4]
The constable content anone began to praye
O blessed Werburge and virgin pure
1460 I beseke the mekely helpe me this day
That we may transcende this ryuer safe and sure
To saue and defende my lorde from discomfiture
And here I promytte to god and the alone
To offre to the a gyfte at my comyng whome

1465 Whiche prayer ended with wepyng and langour
Beholde and consydre well with your gostly ee
The infinite goodnes of our sauiour
For like as to Moises deuided the redde_see
And the water of Iordan obeyed to Iosue
1470 Ryght so the depe riuer of Dee made diuision
The sondes drye appered in syght of them echone

The constable consyderynge / and all the company
This great myracle transcendyng nature
Praysed and magnified our lorde god almyghty
1475 And blessed Werburge the virgin pure
They went into wales vpon the sondes sure
Deliuered their lorde from drede and enmite
Brought hym in safe-garde agayne to Chestre cite

The said Wyllyam constable came to the monasterye
1480 Thanked saynt Werburge with meke supplicacion
Fulfylled his promes made in extremite
Offred to the place the village of Neuton
Afterwarde he founded the abbay of Norton
And where the host passed / ouer betwix bondes
1485 To this day ben called the constable_sondes
sig: [Q4v]

¶Howe Matilde countesse of Chestre counsellyng her husbande agaynst the monastery of Chestre was drowned at Barflewe with many other mo. Cap .xix.

AFter the decesse of Hugo_Lupe prenominate
Richarde his son .vii. yeres of age
Was elect Erle by the kyng and creat
With counsaile gouerned his landes and heritage
1490 At yeres of discrecion he toke in mariage
The lady Matild / nece to the first kynge Henry
Doughter to erle Stephan (sayth the history)

At his begynnyng he was a benefactour
A founder to the place by landes and possession
1495 By franches and libertes / ayde / helpe / and succour
Gyuen to the abbay / augmentyng the foundacion
Proued by his actes of singular deuocion
Enduryng long-tyme / tyll that his lady
By wycked counsaile moued hym the contrarye

1500 It is red in scripture howe quene Iesabell
Ambicious of honour agaynst all ryghtousnes
Peruerted her lorde Achas / kyng of Israell
To sle Nabath for his vineyard doubtles
Also Athalia / the bible sheweth expresse
1505 Commaunded to slee the kynges children all
That she myght regne sole princesse imperiall

Ryght so this Matilde clerely refusyng
The steppes of Sara / Rebecca / and Rachell
And other good matrons: but [imi]tacion takyng imitacion] mutacion 1521
1510 Of these wycked women Athali and Iesabell
sig: R1
Peruerted her husbande by her subtyll counsell
To aske of the abbot the maner-place of Salton
With the appurtinaunce / by famous opinion

Th 'abbot by counsell of his bretherne all
1515 Denyed to graunt their propre possession
The patrimony of Christ and their landes seuerall
To the sayd erle Richarde and his succession
Gyuen by his father at the first foundacion
For Whiche thyng the erle and Matilde his lady
1520 Hated th 'abbot / the bretherne / and the monastery

The erle and his countesse went to Normandy
To viset their frendes and cosyns naturall
So dyd the princis / their father kyng Henry
With many estates of the blodde riall
1525 These princis fauored no saxon at all
The erle conominat in malice and hate
Agaynst the monasterie / as a man endurate

Satan sende forth his seruauntes in hast
To enfect the erles hert with venomous poison
1530 The bedyls of Belial attempted full fast
The erle and his countesse / to kepe theyr opinion
Detractours flaterers cause of promocion
Trustyng therby to opteyne fauour and grace
Excited their myndes agaynst the sayd place

1535 The erle sore attempted by his gostly ennemy
By wycked people callyng hym vpon
Namely by the counsell of Matilde his lady
Entended to alter and chaunge the foundacion
sig: [R1v]
Of the sayd abbay to another religion
1540 Confirmed the same sweryng most depely
At his whom-comyng to Englande / from Normandy

Th 'abbot and couent knowyng this great perell
By speciall louers and frendes secretly
Were pensyue and sorowfull (it was no meruell)
1545 Their hertes plonged in wo and misery
By naturall reason hauyng no remedy
Consyderyng his malice encreased more and more
Agaynst the monastery / with wordes of rigour

They had their hope trust and confidence
1550 In blessed Werburge their patronesse
With wepyng eies clere in conscience
They called her vpon in all their distresse
O glorious virgin lady and swete maistres
Metigate the malice by thy benignite
1555 Of Richarde our lorde / mekely we praye the

Suffre hym neuer to distroye thy place
By wycked consell malice and enuy
Founded and dedicate by heuenly grace
In honour of god / and the specially
1560 Protect / defende / and saue thy monastery
Thy landes / thy libertes / and thy seruauntes all
As thou afore-tyme hast done continuall

In meane-tyme the erle entended spedely
From thens to depart / and retourne agayne
1565 To fulfyll his entent agaynst the monasterye
By the subtyll mocion of his countesse playne
sig: R2
A ship was prepared / all-thyng redy certayne
The prince of England / the erle and his lady
Toke shippyng at Barflewe and all their comp[any] company] comp 1521company: last three letters added in ink in a late 16th c. hand company: last three letters added in ink in a late 16th c. hand

1570 Certaynly they sayled but a lytell space
Whan agaynst them roose a contrarie wynde
The mariners to gyde the ship had no grace
The stormes so great hiduous agaynst kynde
On a rocke they ranne / no remedy myght fynde
1575 Incontinently the ship barst all in sondre
The erle and his feliship were turned all vndre

No man ne childe scaped from deth that tyme
But one pore seruaunt whiche swamme to the londe
Suche was theyr fortune by sufferaunce diuyne
1580 Many of theyr b[o]dis were neuer fonde bodis] bedis 1521
Thus was their power made thrall and bonde
Theyr lyues were lost within a s[h]ort space short] sort 1521
Whiche were cruell ennemyes vnto her place.

On saynt Katharins day at after mydnyght
1585 Whan matens were ended / and bretherne gon
Some mournyng waylyng for drede full ryght
Some busie in prayer and contemplacion
Werburge appered to the secristan alone
Sayenge: ye may be ioyfull in god and mery
1590 Erle Richarde is drowned your mortall ennemy

The same glad tidyng shewed an honest woman
Tollyng at the churche dore the sayd day and hour
As she was commaunded by Werburge in certan
To th 'abbot and couent plonged in great langour
sig: [R2v]
1595 (Whiche myracle herde) they pray[s]ed our sauiour praysed] prayed 1521
And blessed Werburge / with hert deuoutly
Syngyng Te deum full solemply

¶Howe a great fire like to distroye all Chestre by myracle ceased / whan the holy shryne was borne about the towne by the monkes. Cap .xx.

FRom the incarnacion of our sauiour
A thousand / a hundreth yere .lxxx. also
1600 On sonday in mydlenton / the .viii. houre
Whan euery paresshen theyr churche went to
As all christen people of dutie shulde do
A fyre by infortune rose vp sodeinly
All flamyng feruent or the people dyd espy

1605 This fearefull fire encreased more and more
Piteously wastyng hous / chambre / and hall
The citezens were redy their cite to succour
Shewed all their diligence / and labour continuall
Some cried for water / and some for hookes dyd call
1610 Some vsed other engins by crafte and policy
Some pulled downe howses afore the fire truly

Other that were impotent / mekely gan praye
Our blessed lorde / on them to haue pite
Women and children cried out and waile_a_way
1615 Beholdyng the daunger and perill of the cite
Prestes made hast diuine seruice to supple
Redy for to succour their neyghbours in distres
(As charite required) and helpe their heuynes

sig: R3
The fire contynued without any cessynge
1620 Feruently flamyng euer contynuall
From place to place meruaylously rennyng
As it were tynder consumyng toure and wall
The citezens sadly laboured in vayne all
By the policie of man was founde no remedy
1625 To cesse the fire so feruent and myghty

Alas great heuynes it was to beholde
The cite of Troye all flamyng as fire
More pite of Rome cite was manyfolde
Feruently flagrant / empeiryng the empire
1630 As to the quantite the cite of Chestire
Myght be assembled this tyme in like case
To the sayd citees remedeles alas

Many riall places fell adowne that day
Riche marchauntes houses brought to distruction
1635 Churches and chapels went to great decay
That tyme was brent the more part of the towne
And to this present day is a famous opinion
Howe a myghty churche a mynstre of saynt Michaell
That season was brent and to ruyne fell

1640 Whan the people sawe their power insufficient
By diligent labour / wysdome and policye
To subdue the fire / but styll dyd augment
To almyghty god they dyd call and crye
And to saynt Werburge the gracious lady
1645 For helpe and succour in suche wretchednes
Wepyng and waylyng for woo and heuynes

sig: [R3v]
Th 'abbot and couent of the sayd monasterie
Religiously lyuyng in holy conuersacion
Repleit with mekenes and feruent charite
1650 Toke the holy shryne in prayer and deuocion
Syngyng the letanie bare it in procession
Compasyng the fyre in euery strete and place
Trustyng in Werburge for helpe aide and grace

Whan they had ended the holy letanye
1655 From place to place procedyng in stacion
Anone a stremyng sterre appered sodaynlye
A white doue descended afore the congregacion
Approchyng as to helpe them / a signe of consolacion
The people reioysed of that gostly syght
1660 And praysed saynt Werburge with power and myght

So by the merite of this blessed virgin
The fire began to cesse / a myracle clere
Nat passyng the place / where the holy shryne
Was borne by the bretherne / as playnly dyd appere
1665 The citezens dyd helpe in their best manere
The feruent great fire extincted was in-dede
By grace aboue nature / in story we may rede

The clergie the burges / and the comons all
Consyderyng the goodnes of this virgin bright
1670 With tendernes of hert and loue in speciall
Magnified and praysed our lorde god almyght
And blessed Werburge by day also nyght
Whiche hath perserued of her great charite
Chestre from distruction in extreme necessite

sig: R4
1675 Unto her shryne the people all went
The clergie before in maner of procession
Thankyng this virgin with loue feruent
For her mercy and grace shewed them vpon
Deuoutly knelynge there made oblacion
1680 Sayeng full sadly / we shall neuer able be
The place to recompence for this dede of charite

¶A breue rehersall of the myracles of saynt Werburge after her translacion to Chestre. Cap .xxi.

THese fore-sayd myracles and signes celestiall
By diuine sufferaunce shewed manifestly
Magnifien this virgin and blessed moiniall
1685 With mycle worshyp honour and victory
Playnly declaryng vnto your memory
What singular grace / worshyp / and excellence
Our sauiour shewed for his spouse openly
As is rehersed at masse in her sequens

1690 To expresse all myracles written in the place
In a boke nominate the thrid passionarye
It wolde require a longe tyme and space
To the reders tedious (no meruayle sothly)
Where we omytte to writte of them specially where: =wherefore
1695 But touched in generall vnto your audience
To reioyse and comfort your hertes inwardly
As ye may considre in her sequens

Certaynly it is knowen by bokes expresse
Sith that saynt Werburge came to Chestre cite
1700 By the power of god and myracle doutles
sig: [R4v]
She hath defended the towne from ennemite
From barbarike nacions full of crudelite
Of whom we haue shewed with diligence
Preseruyng her seruauntes / and the monastery
1705 As is declared in her true sequence

Also of her goodnes preserued she hase
The sayd towne from fire in extreme necessite
Many diuers tymes to their ioye and solace
Releuyng the citezens in wo and penalite
1710 For it is well knowen by olde antiquite
Sith the holy shryne came to their presence
It hath ben their comfort and gladnes truly
As playnly appereth in her sequens

Also to blynde men she hath gyuen syght
1715 To dombe men speche right perfectly
To deffe men their heryng pleasaunt and right
And helth to sicke men repleit with debilite
Delyuered prisoners from captiuite
Passage to lame men / to mad men intelligence
1720 Suche myracles shewed this blessed lady
As ye may vnderstande in her sequens

Women with childe by her had good delyueraunce
Uirgins defended from shame and vilany
Her seruauntes were cured from wofull greuaunce
1725 Marchantes and mariners delyuered from ieopardye
Other were saued from hangyng shamfully
A speciall comfort succour and defence
To all carefull creatures sekyng for remedy
By singular grace / as sayth the sequens

sig: [R5]
1730 No wofull person in payne and wretchednes
Man woman childe / who-so-euer they be
Comynge to the abbay with perfit mekenes
Makyng supplicacion to this lady free
But they departed ioyfull and merie
1735 To theyr dwellyng-place by her beniuolence
And for their lyuyng had all-thyng necessarie
As written is playnly in her sequens

For whiche great myracles and signes continuall
This blessed Werburge floure of humilite
1740 Of the people is called for grace supernall
Patrones of Chestre / protectrice of the countre
Where next our sauiour and his mother Marie
She hath great honour prayse and preeminence
As most condigne to beare the principalite
1745 In witnes wherof recordeth her sequens

This holy abbasse and lady imperiall
Hath ben president in Chestre monasterie
Theyr trust / theyr treasure / and defence speciall
In mycle reuerence .vii. hundreth yere trulie
1750 And so shall continue by grace of god almyghty
To the worldes ende in hie magnificence
To whom be honour worship and glorie
Euer to endure / as sayth her sequens

¶A charitable mocion and a desyre to all the inhabytauntes within the countie palatine of Chestre for the monasterie. Cap.xxii.
sig: [R5v]
O ye worthye nobles of the west partye
1755 Considre in your mynde with hye discrecion
The perfite goodnes of this swete ladye
We mean saynt Werburge nowe at this season
Whiche hath ben your helpe and singular tuicion
And so euer wylbe / haue this in your mynde
1760 Whan ye to her call with humble supplicacion
Wherfore to the monasterye be neuer vnkynde

Remembre / at the foundacion of the sayd place
Your predecessours and fore-fathers redy were
To gyue for their soule-helth by singular grace
1765 Parcell of their landes and possessions mere
To our sauiour and to saynt Werburge clere
Redy to offre them with humble hert and mynde
In perfit oblacion with Hugo_Lupe their foundere
Wherfore to the monasterie be neuer vnkynde

1770 Many helde their landes of the sayd monasterie
By tenure grand-seriante / and some by homage
By tenure franke-almoigne / other by fealtie
With seruice de chiualere / and some by escuage
Some by petit-seriant / and by tenure burgage
1775 As in their euidentes and grauntes they may fynde
Tres maners de rentes / with tenure villenage
Wherfore to the monasterie be neuer vnkynde

The place hath speciall franches and liberte
Hauynge certayne wardes of landes and mariage
1780 Of diuers gentilmen within the sayd counte
All theyr tenauntes and seruauntes haue fre passage
Within all chesshire without tolle and pillage
sig: [R6]
Suche auncient fredoms in their dedes they fynde
Gyuen by theyr founders for gostly auauntage
1785 Wherfore to the monasterie be neuer vnkynde

The erle gaue the place many great fredoms
Within Chestre cite / whiche ben knowen of olde
With singular priuileges and auncient customs
Saynt Werburge faire / with profites manyfolde
1790 That no marchandise shulde be bought ne solde
Enduryng the faire dayes (in writyng as we fynde)
But afore th 'abbay gate / to haue and to holde
Wherfore to the monasterie be neuer vnkynde

Therfore lordes barons / ye rulers of the countre
1795 We you nowe exhorte in our sauiour
Discretly considre with your gostlie eie
The myght of this mayden and chaste floure
Shewed by myracles euery day and hour
Whan she was required with true hert and mynde
1800 In all busines she hath ben their protectour
Wherfore to the monasterie be neuer vnkynde

Whan your forefathers haue ben in great perell
In ieoperdie of lyfe on see and on londe
Or like to be slayne by ennemies in batell
1805 Or taken by warre in prison fast bonde
Unto this virgin / as we vnderstonde
Whan they called and cryed with contrite mynde
They escaped all daunger / cam whom safe and sonde
Wherfore to the monasterie be neuer vnkynde

1810 Marchauntes passynge with marchaundise
sig: [R6v]
From lande to lande truly entendyng
If they were taken with cruell ennemyse
Or els were put in perill of perisshyng
If they to this virgin deuoutly praying
1815 Made supplicacion with humble hert and mynde
Anone they opteyned theyr humble askyng
Wherfore to the monasterie be neuer vnkynde

If any of you vexed with infirmite vexed: was vexed (Horstmann); and note shift of pronouns from 'you' to they' in this stanza
With sekenes incurable / or other vexacion
1820 A[s] wronges iniuries and other maladie As] Ar 1521
Unto saynt Werburge makyng intercession
And to her place promysyng an oblacion
With contrite hert and penitent mynde
They were soone cured from all affliction
1825 Wherfore to the monasterie be neuer vnkynde

And you honest matrons remembre you all
The goodnes of this virgin full of grace
Whan ye in trauelyng vpon her do call
Or haue any relique sende from the place
1830 Ye fortune and spede well in short tyme and space
And diuers maydens louyng a chaste mynde
From vilany ben saued by her purchase
Wherfore to the monasterie be neuer vnkynde

But eche contray / shire / and congregacion
1835 Some be disposed to vertues generall
And some to the contrarie proued by reason
Folowyng their mynde and appetite sensuall
Haue shewe[d] vnkyndnes to the place spirituall shewed] sheweb 1521
And haue ben sore punysshed / take this in mynde
sig: [R7]
1840 To all other folowynge [an] example speciall an] and 1521
Wherfore to the monastery be neuer vnkynde

There was neuer man of high nor lowe degree
Lorde / baron / knyght / marchaunt / and burges
Attemptyng to infringe their rightes and liberte
1845 Remaynyng in the same malice and wyckednes
But if they repent shortly theyr busynes
Askyng absolucion to theyr conscience blynde
Uengeance on them doth lyght doutles
Wherfore to the monastery be neuer vnkynd

1850 Diuers malefactours agayne good conscience
Attemptyng to take there seuerall possession
By subtell policy and wrong-feyned euidens
By proued periury and fals collusion
Whiche in theyr iniury and wronge mesprision
1855 Without repentauns in theyr consciens blynde
Sodenly haue ben drow[n]ed a sharpe punycion drowned] drowed 1521
Wherfore to the monastery be neuer vnkynde

Other haue be glad to alienat the patronage
Of certayne churches by malice and enuy
1860 By a fals enquest for theyr owne auauntage
Defraudyng the right of the holy monastery
Suche euill-doers remaynynge in theyr tyranny
Without satisfaccion in their consciens blynde
Lyke wretches expired moste myserably
1865 Wh[e]rfore to the monastery be neuer vnkynde Wherfore] Whrfore 1521

Other haue ben besy serching day and nyght
To infringe theyr fraunchis and fridome auncient
sig: [R7v]
By fals recordes oppugnant to ryght
As hath ben proued by persones indifferent
1870 Yet they haue procured and sought wrong iugement
Agaynst their libertes in conscience blynde
Sodayne and euyll deth folowed them consequent
Wherfore to the monasterye be neuer vnkynde

Some other haue be parauenture on late
1875 Studious to disquiet the place the company
And diuers libertes haue alienate
Also tolled their franchis fraudulently
From the sayd place well knowen in memory
Suche mysdoers we moue in conscience blynde
1880 To mende their wronges lest payne come sodeynly mende] maende 1521
Wherfore to the monasterie be neuer vnkynde

Suche malefacto[u]rs considre nat discretly
Howe all suche landes libertes and fredoms
Were gyuen to Christ and ben his patrimonye
1885 And nat all-only to religious persons
For all suche fraunches priuileges possessions
Of charite were gyuen of pure conscience and mynde
To god and saynt Werburge with great deuocions
Wherfore to the monasterie be neuer vnkynde

1890 Nowe for to make a small conclusion
We well perceyue in auncient bokes olde
All suche transgressours / holdyng their opinion
Obstinate in malice indurate and bolde
Some haue ben slayne / some drowned in water colde
1895 Some shamfully hanged rebukyng their kynde
Some wretchedly departed / some cruciat manyfolde
Wherfore to the monasterie be neuer vnkynde
sig: [R8]

¶A litell orison or prayer to the blessed virgine saynte Werburge by the translatour of this werke. Ca .xxiii.

O Blessed Werburge and virgin glorious
Descended by auncetrie of blod victoriall
1900 Doughter to kynge Uulfere / and Ormenilde vertuous
O sufferayne lady and famous moiniall
With hert and true mynde on the I call
Thou art my succour / my helpe in all distres
Defende and saue me from peynes infernall
1905 By thy meke prayer swete patrones

O rutilant gemme clerer than the cristall
O redolent rose repleit with suauite
Whiche for the loue of thy spouse eternall
Refused hast all vayne pleasures transetore
1910 Honours / riches / and secular dignite
Nowe regnyng in heuyn as a quene doutles
Praye for thy seruaunt to the lorde of mercy
Mekely I beseke the swete patronesse

O sufferayne lady full of singular vertue
1915 Myndyng most religion from thy infancy
Elect to the a spouse our sauiour / Iesu
Professed obedience at the house of Ely
Where thou obserued the sensuals thre sensuals: aphetic form, see OED s.v. essential
By grace aboue nature playn to expresse
1920 Opteyne me power to haue victory
Ageynst myn ennemyes swete patrones

O floure of virgins and comly creature
Syngyng with angels in the heuenly toure
sig: [R8v]
Transcendyng the saphir and diamounde pure
1925 In worship praisyng beaute and decur
What tong can reherse thy ioy and honour
Whiche is ineffable for man to expresse
Beseke thy spouse our blessyd sauiour
To graunte me mercy swete patrones

1930 For thy great vertu and hie discrecion
Chosen thou was a pyler here to be
Of diuers monasteryes to encrease religion
By thy gostly doctryne and humilite
Exsample thou gaue of perfit charite
1935 Unto thi subgettis as a kynde maistres
Helpe me thy seruaunt of thy benignite
To please my maker swete patrones

No maruell it was thought thy subgettis all
Were vertuous and perfect in contemplacion
1940 Under suche a ruler a hed and principall
Whose gostly example and exortation
Were corespondent accordyng in one
Thy precept and deed were vnit with mekenes
In this vale [of] misery be my protection of] 1521 omits
1945 I humble the require swete patrones

Glorious abbasse and floure of chastite
Carboncle shenyng bothe day and nyght
All this region by thy noble progenie
And by the is decorat vnder god almyght
1950 The presens of thy blessyd body right
Reioisith thy seruauntis in all distres
Thou art our refuge and lanterne of light
sig: S1
Succour thy seruauntes swete patrones

O pereles princes lady imperiall
1955 O gemme of holynes and noble president
Comfort to all creatures in paynes thrall
Releuyng all secke feble and impotent
A myrrour of mekenes to euery pacient
Whose myracles magnifien thy great goodnes
1960 Defende thy seruaunt from greuous turment
By thy supplicacion swete patronesse

O noble sufferayne and singular protectrice
Of thy true subiectes by speciall grace
In all necessite a sure mediatrice
1965 From greuous oppression preseruyng thy place
A lanterne of lyght in eche wofull case
To illumine thy people plonged in heuynes
With great consolacion and gostly solace
Nowe lyghten our conscience swete patronesse

1970 Swete louely lady mekely I the praye
For thy great mekenes and perfect charite
Make thou intercession both nyght and day
For thy true seruauntes vnto the trinite
That we may opteyne here grace and mercy
1975 And of our synne to haue forgyuenes
Afterwarde to come to eternall glorie
Helpe nowe and euer swete patronesse

¶A breue conclusion of this litell werke vnto the reders by the translatour. Cap .xxiiii.
sig: [S1v]
With tremblynge penne / and hand full of drede
In termes rude translate nowe haue we
1980 The noble historye of saynt Werburge in-dede
Besekyng all them for their good humanite
Whiche this litell proces shall beholde and se
For to adde and minisshe and cause reformacion
Where nede requireth after your discrecion

1985 At her lyfe historiall example may take
Euery great estate / quene / duches / and lady
To encreace in vertue / and synne to forsake
To obserue mekenes and prayer deuoutly
With pacience of hert / and almesdede truly
1990 If thou be widowe / her lyfe well folowyng
Thou mayst be sure in blis to haue a wonnyng

If thou be religious / wearyng blacke vesture
Take good example at this holy abbasse
Her lyfe wyll teche the how thou shult endure
1995 In holy religon / opteynyng mycle grace
With mekenes / meditacion / mesure in eche place
And howe thou shalt kepe thy sensuals thre
Consideryng in heuen thy rewarde to be

If thou be a virgin of hie or low degre
2000 Takyng imitacion of this virgin bright
Thou mayst well obserue the floure of chastite
And thy spouse shalbe the lorde most of myght
On whom if thou attende redy day and nyght
Thou shalt haue merite as recordeth scripture
2005 With .v. wise virgins after thy departure

sig: S2
The cause mouyng vs this werke to begyn
It was to auoyde slouth and idelnes
And most for the loue of this holy virgin
Whiche is our sufferayn lady and patrones
2010 As for baudy balades full of wretchednes
And wanton wylde gestis / we purpose none to make
For drede of losyng tyme / clothed in vesture blake

Go forth litell boke / Iesu be thy spede
And saue the alway from mysreportyng
2015 Whiche art compiled for no clerke in-dede
But for marchaunt-men / hauyng litell lernyng
And that rude people therby may haue knowyng
Of this holy virgin / and redolent rose
Whiche hath ben kept full longe-tyme in close

2020 To all auncient poetes litell boke submytte the
Whilom flouryng in eloquence facundious
And to all other / whiche present nowe be
Fyrst to maister Chaucer / and Ludgate sentencious
Also to preignaunt Barkley / nowe beyng religious
2025 To inuentiue Skelton and poet laureate
Praye them all of pardon both erly and late

If there be any-thynge within this litell boke
Pleasaunt to the audience / contentyng the mynde
We praye all reders / whan they theron do loke
2030 To gyue thankes to god maker of mankynde
Nat to the translatour ignoraunt and blynde
For euery good dede / done in any cost
It cometh allonly of the holy gost.

sig: [S2v]
Almyghty god both one two and thre
2035 We desire the with humble supplicacion
Saue holy churche of thy benignite
And all ministres in holy religion
Preserue the kyngis grace the Peeris the region
Defende our monasterie and thy serua[n]tes all
2040 And graunt vs by grace to come to blis eternall


A balade to the auctour.

O thou disciple of Tully most famous
Nowe flourisshyng in the floures of glorious eloquence
Like as appereth by your stile facundius
Full worthe laude prayse and preeminence
5 Put forth your werkes full sure of sentence
Whose auctour / what though vncertayne be his name
Of all the reders exalted shalbe in fame

Alas why shulde this delicious werke
Thus surely sette by pured science
10 To be examined by my rudenes all derke
Whiche knowe full well myn insufficience
Sith I haue lerned by longe experience
That dulled age in werkes of poetry
Must nedes gyue to poetes place and victory

15 Glorious god and kynge eternall
We magnifie thy name as is but ryght
Sith thou gaue to vs a floure most riall
Redolent in cronicles with historicall syght
Whiche nowe is departed from this temporall lyght
20 The present yere of this translacion
.M.D.xiii. of Christis incarnacion

Cuius anime propicietur deus.
sig: [S3]

An-other balade.

O frutefull histore / o digne memoriall
Enbawmed with doctrine of vertues infinite
With termes exquised / and sence retoriall
To spirituall hertes a singular delite
5 Fragrant and facunde / of englisshe exquisite
Holsome in doctrine / for those that it desire
Auaunce you to rede it / for it is exquisite
Folowynge th 'effect to kepe you from hell-fire

Reioyse Chestre / reioyse ye religious
10 And thanke your maker of his beniuolence
That hath you gyuen suche treasure preciouse
Aduocatrice / in your most indigence
O virgin werburge / of double excellence
Conserue thy seruauntes dayly familier
15 Preseruyng them from inconuenience
The for t 'ensue / that art theyr lode-sterre

Amonges the whiche to thyn honour
One of thy clientes / with morall retorique
Hath chaunged newly / o mayde most swete flour
20 Thy legende latine / to our language publique
Preserue his soule / and make hym domestique
Within the heuyns / in whiche that thou art sonke
With deth preuent / he myght nothyng replique
Harry_Braddeshaa of Chestre abbay monke

25 O cruell deth / o theffe vindicatyfe
To persons vertuous ennemy mortall
Of this good clerke thou hast abbreged the lyfe
Preuentyng hym with thy dede stronge fatall
sig: [S3v]
Yet in dispite of thy most venomus gall
30 He hath translate this legende profitable
And left it for holsome memoriall
To all his sequaces / a gyft most couenable

With polysshed termes / and good sence litterall
No place there voyde / but vertue abundeth
35 Th 'effect is manifest: for science ouer-all
Rethorically thy sentence groundeth
All vices surely it confoundeth
Shewynge the legende of this mayde pure
Her shenyng lyfe eche-where redoundeth
40 Suche steppes folowyng / we hope in them t 'endure.

An-other balade to saynt werburge

With hert contrite accepte my supplicacion
Aydynge my fraylete and lyfe vacillaunt
Renegate and contumace in all obstinacion
Be_wrapt with all synnne detestable and recreaunt
5 Uouchsafe to supplie Iesu and geat graunt
Remyssion to haue of my synnes generall
Greuous and thrall that I may the auaunt
A ge[n]till Werburge / to thy doctrine me call

Wherfore thy father / thy mother Ermenilde
10 Enclined both to dedes catholique
Ruffine and Kenrede / thy bretherne were fulfilde
Both with great grace / through martyrdome both like
With diuers of thy kynne magnifique
Redact in the catholique papall
15 Geat me suche grace to voyde all synnes inique
And gentill Werburge to thy doctrine me call

sig: [S4]
With faithfull clennes / thy soule was sure [preserued] page torn, reading supplied by Horstmann
Euer contynuynge in doctrine celicall
Refusyng vanite / from vertue neuer swarued
20 But in all grace remaynyng principall
Unto thy deth exhortyng great and small
Ruled to be / to the preceptes diuine
Gouerned by grace / were thy disciples all
A gentill Werburge call me to suche doctrine

25 Wordly felicite abiect from my courage
Enuy and pride / with lustes voluptuous
Rancorous cupidite myn hert sore do aswage
Bryng oyntmentes sanatiue for my sores dolorous
Unclose thy succours / and be beniuolous
30 Redy to be preseruyng me from pyne
Gouerne my lyfe from all actes daungero[u]s
And gentill Werburge call me to thy doctrine

Be nowe beniuolent / whan I shall on the call
Unto thy slaue / as my trust hath ben sure
35 Leue vnto me for a memoriall
Knowlege effectuall of thy lyfe pure
Lyuynge ther-after / and so t 'endure
Euer in purite my lyfe to contynue
Yeldyng thankes for thy most holsome [c]ure cure] lure 1521
40 Christ ouer vs holde his hande / al vices t 'eschue. Amen.
¶And thus endeth the lyfe and historye of saynt Werburge. Imprinted by Richarde_Pynson / printer to the kynges noble grace / With priuilege to hym graunted by our souerayne lorde the kynge. Anno .M.D.xxi.
sig: [S4v]