The early South-English legendary ; or, Lives of saints. I. Ms. Laud, 108, in the Bodleian library. Edited by Carl Horstmann.
Horstmann, Carl, b. 1851.

20 Wolston

SEint Wolston, bischop of wyrecestre : was here of engelonde, [folio 48]
Swiþe holi man he was al is lif : ase ich me vnder-stonde.
Þe ȝwile he was a ȝong child : clene lif he ladde i-novȝ;
Ȝwane oþur children ornen to pleiȝe : toward churche he drouȝ. Page  71
Seint Edward was kyng þo : þat nouþe in heouene is;
And þe bischop of wyricestre : briȝttey heiȝte, i-wis.
Of þis bischop Briȝtei : seint wolston is ordre nam,
Ech aftur oþur, ase it fel : so þat he preost bi-cam.
Þe bischop vnder-feng him sethþe : and Monek him makede i-wis
In þe priorie of wiricestre : þat noble hous and gret is.
Swyþe wel is ordre he heold : in þat priorie
And al is wille was for-to payȝe : god and seinte Marie.
In none bedde he nolde come : ake, ȝwane oþere ȝeoden þar-to,
bi-fore on auter he wolde go : his oresones for-to do;
Ȝwane þe dede slep him ouer-eode : þat he ne miȝte no leng gon,
his heued he wolde legge a-doun : opon þe harde ston,
Ope one grece bifore þe Auter : oþur is bok þare-vnder do,
And liggen ane stounde in dweole Miengyngue— : al is slep scholde beon so.
he nolde þreo dawes in þe wyke : no-þing eten with-alle,
Ne no word speken bote his beden : for nouȝt þat miȝte bi-falle;
þe oþur dawes wel luytel he spak : and wel luytel he eat al-so,
bote it were a luyte potage— : holde he wolde him þer-to.
So longue he leouede at wirecestre : in þat holie lijf wel stille,
Þat he was imaked prior of þat hous : muche a-ȝein is wille.
his Couent he wuste swyþe wel : and to alle guodnesse hem drouȝ;
Of god and alle guode men : loue he hadde i-nouȝ.
Þe prior[ie]*. [MS. prior] of wyricestre : seint oswold bi-gan er,
Þat was bi-fore seint Wolston : neiȝ ane hondred ȝer;
And þat he hadde er bi-gonne : þe oþur fulfulde, i-wis,
So þat þoruȝ heore beire dede : strong weork and heiȝ þare is.
Ase þis holie Man seint wolston : in a tyme liet a-rere
A bel-hous of swiþe strong weork : bellen to hanguy þere,
And Machouns a-boue and bi-nethe : þare a-boute were,
Bi laddren cloumben up and doun : and þat weork bi-twene al bere,
A man þare clemb up bi one laddre : an þo he was up on heiȝ
Fram eorþe mo þane fourti fet : ase al þat folk i-seiȝ,
Dounward he ful, ase he mis-stap— : Men weren sore a-gaste.
Seint wolston stod and bi-heold : hou he was a-dounward faste:
he made þe signe of þe croyz : ase he feol to-ward þe grounde: Page  72
harmles he feol and hol man i-novȝ : his limes weren hole and sounde,
And a-ros up and dude is weork : ase him no-þing nere.
Louerd, muche is þi miȝte : and þat þou cuddest wel þere,
Þat [he] so harde fram so heiȝe feol : and of eche harme was sker;
Þou art a louerd þat wonderes dest : ase seith þe sauter.
¶ Hit bi-feol so þat briȝtey : þe Bischop of wyricestre, was ded:
A clerk was bischop after him : þat Men cleopeden aldred, [folio 48b]
Þat seint wolston louede wel : and he louede him al-so—
For ech guod man wole louien oþur : it were elles vuele i-do.
Sethþe it bi-fel þat þe Erchebischop : of Euerwicke was ded:
Erchebischop huy maden þar : þene bischop aldred,
And þe bischopriche of wiricestre : vacaunt was and lere :
Seint wolston was sone i-chose : and bischop i-maked þere.
Bischop him made þe holie man : seint Edward þe king,
And a-feng him in his dignete : and tok him is staf and ring.
his bischopriche he wuste wel : and also is priorie,
And a-forcede him to serui wel : god and seint Marie.
Four ȝer he hadde bischop i-beo : and nouȝt fulliche fiue
þo seint Edward þe holie kyng : wende out of þis liue.
Gret reuþe it was to al engelond : so weilawei þe stounde!
For straunge men þere comen sethþe : and brouȝten enguelond to grounde.
¶ Harold was þo riȝhtest eyr : for non oþur þere nas;
Þe croune he bar of Enguelonde : ȝwuche ȝwile so it was.
For willame Bastard, þat was þo : Eorl in Noremaundie,
Þouȝte to winne Enguelond : þoruȝ strencþe and tricherie:
*. [om.]he let him greiþi folk i-nouȝ : and gret poer with [him]1 nam
And with gret strencþe in-to þe se he him dude : and to Enguelonde he cam.
he liet ordeinie is fierd wel : and is banere up arer[d]e,
And destruyde and nam al þat he fond : and þat folk sore a-ferde.
¶ Harold heorde herof telle : þe king of Enguelonde:
he liet greiþie faste is ost : a-ȝein him for-to stonde.
Þe baronie of Enguelonde : redi was wel sone
Þe king to helpe and heom-sulue : ase riȝht was for-to done. Page  73
Þe weorre was þo in Enguelonde : deolful and strong i-novȝ,
And eyþur of oþeres Men : al-to grounde a-slouȝ.
¶ No strencþe ne hadden þis straunge men : þat were i-come so newe,
Aȝeinest heom of enguelonde : þe ȝwyle huy wolden beo trewe.
Ake alas þe muchele tricherie : þat þo was, and ȝeot is,
þat brouȝte þo Enguelond : al-to grounde i-wis!
For þe englische barones bi-comen some : on-treowe and false also
To bi-traiȝe heom-seolf and heore kyng : þat so muche heom truste to.
¶ Þis Noremauns and þis Englische men : ane dai of bataile huy nome,
Þare ase þe Abbeie of þe bataille is : ate daye to-gadere huy come,
To grounde huy smiten and slowen al-so. : ake alas þulke stounde,
Þat Enguelond was þoruȝ tresoun : þare i-brouȝt to grounde!
For þulke þat þe king truste to : failleden him wel faste;
So þat he was bi-neoþe i-brouȝt : and ouer-come atþe laste
And to grounde i-brouȝt, and alle his : and al Enguelond also,
In-to vnecouþe mannes honde : þat no riȝht ne hadden þar-to;
And neuer-eft [it] ne cam a-ȝein : to riȝhte Eyres none—
Vnkuynde Eyres ȝeot huy beothþ : ore kingues echone,
And neiȝh-ȝwat alle þis heiȝe Men : and of þe loȝwe al-so. [folio 49]
For willam liet [him] crouni king : þo þe bataile was al i-do,
And bi-sette al enguelond : with men of oþere londe—
Neuereft to is cuynde heritage : ne cam it, ich onder-stonde.
¶ Þis willam bastard, þat was king : sethþe him onder-stod
Þat he mid vnriȝhte hadde i-sched : mani ane mannes blod:
And þare as þe bataille was : ane Abbeiȝe he liet a-rere,
Þat "þe Abbeie of þe bataille" is i-cleoped : þat wel noble stand ȝeot þere;
for heore soulene he as liet a-rere : þat he with vnriȝhte þare a-slouȝ;
Ake euere he heold forth þe kynedom : of enguelonde with wouȝ.
¶ Ake sone so he was king i-mad : and al enguelond bi-sette,
Ase he wolde, with straunge men : and no man ne miȝhte him lette,
Þis holie Bischop seint wolston : wel ofte him withseide
Þat he with on-riȝhte hadde i-do : a swuch luþer dede,
And spac a-ȝein him baldeliche : and ne sparede for no drede— Page  74
For he was þo þe cuyndeste englische man : þat was of enie manhede,
And for alle oþure weren deseritede neiȝh. : þe king was with heom*. [r. him] wrothþ
Þat he was so luyte a-drad of him : and swor a-non is othþ
To pulte him out of is bischopriche. : he liet [him] somoune al-so
To westmunstre, to answerien him : of þat he him hadde mis-do.
¶ Nou nas nouȝt seint wulston : wel gret clerk in lore—
For þo he scholde to scole gon : to churche he ȝeode wel more.
To westmunstre he cam to is day : ase he was i-somoned er.
Þe king was in grete wrathþe : wel prest to kepe him þer,
And þe bischop of Caunterburi : lanfranc was is name,
And þe bischop gondolf of Roucestre : alle to don him schame.
Seint wolston bi-fore heom cam : þat a-ȝein him weren so strongue
Ase a þeof bi-fore Iustise : his dom to vnder-fongue.
¶ Þe king and þe Erchebischop al-so : speken to him wordes grete,
Þat he scholde, ase he wuyrþe was : is bischop-riche lete;
For-to holden swuch dignete : to luyte he couþe of lore,
And huy him hadden to longue i-þoled : And þo nolden huy nonmore,
And grete foles huy weren þat swuch a fol : formest brouȝte in swch miȝhte,
And ȝif he was folliche onder-fongue : huy wolden don him out with riȝhte.
¶ Seint wolston stod wel mildeliche : and herknede al þat huy sede—
Nadde he noman bote god : to his answere him rede.
"Sires," he seide, "riȝht it is : þat ich eoure heste do,
For, sire king, þou art mi souerein : and þe*. [r. þu] erchebischop al-so.
Þe Croce ich habbe ȝare i-bore : þat ȝe i-seothþ here, lo,
A-knowe ich am and wel ich wot : þat i-nam nouȝt wuyrþe þer-to;
Ȝwane ȝe wollez þat ich as bi-leue : ase man þat vnwurþe is,
Wel fain i-chulle eouwer heste do : ase mine souereines, i-wis.
Vn-bouȝhsome to holie churche : i-wis i-nelle be nouȝt:
To ȝelden hire up ase ȝe me hotez : ich habbe as here i-brouȝt.
¶ Ake, for ȝe ne token as me nouȝt : I nelle eou take non,
Ake him þat as me bi-tok : bi-fore eov euerech-on:
Þe guode Man þat as me bi-tok : ȝeonde he lijthþ wel stille,
Ich as wulle him taken up : and þanne ich do eoure wille." Page  75
¶ To seint Edwardes toumbe he wende : þat was of Marbre-ston,
A*. [r. and?] nam up is croiz wel mildeliche : and smot þe point þar-on.
Þe staf wende into þe marbreston : ase it were in nesche sonde,
And þo heo was inne deope i-nouȝ : þe guode Man hine liet stonde.
"Nou," he seide, "ich him habbe bi-take : him þat as tok me
And bi-fore eov here : i-ȝollden op þe dignete.
Takez as nouþe ȝwam ȝe wollez : som þat bet beo in lore,
And habbez guod dai nouþe euerech-one—; ȝe ne mouwen esche me non-more."
¶ Þis holie Man wende forth : a-mon[g] heom alle wel softe.
Þat folk stod ase it were i-nome : and bi-heolden þe croce wel ofte,
hou heo stod in þe Marbre-ston : so deope and so faste;
Of þe Miracle heom wondrede alle : and some weren sore a-gaste,
Some wenden þar-to sone : þe croce up for-to drawe:
Þare nas non so strong of heom : þat miȝhte hire enes wawe.
huy porueiden er sire Gondolf : bischop of roucestre,
Þat he scholde aftur seint wolston : beon Bischop of wirecestre:
¶ Þe Erchebischop aros him up : to saisi þe croiz a-non,
Þe Bischop of Roucestre wel baldeliche : þudere-ward gan gon,
Þe croiz he nam and faste he drouȝ : in þe Marbre-ston:
he ne miȝhte hire nouȝt enes wawien. : þat folk wondrede ech-on,
And þare-a-boute wel þicke ornen : þat wonder for-to seo.
Þo þe king and þe Erchebischop i-seiȝen : þat non oþur it ne miȝhte beo,
heom of-þouȝte heore dede : and after seint wolstan sende,
And þat huy wolden in faire manere : heore trespas a-mende.
¶ Þe Messagers i-redie weren : and aftur him sone wenden.
Ȝeot þis holie Man for al þe gult : is heorte to heom bende,
And seide, "ich mot nede do : mine souereines wille;"
To court he wende a-ȝein to heom : wel mildeliche and stille.
Þo he was to court i-come : huy a-risen a-ȝein him þere,
Þe king and þe Erchebischop al-so : and oþere þat þare were;
With gret honur huy cleopeden him forthþ : and for-ȝiuenesse him bede,
And boden a-mendi a-ȝein him : al heore grete misdede,
And beden him nime a-ȝein is croce : and don bi heore rede, Page  76
For he was bet wuyrþe þare-to : þane ani oþur, huy seide.
¶ "Nai certes, sires," quath seint wolston : "þat nere me nouȝt to do:
Ich wot wel þat ȝe seiden soth : þat i-nam nouȝt wuyrþe þare-to;
Ake nimeth ȝwam eower wille be : an oþur þat conne more."
Þe kyng and þe Erchebischop also : beden him milce and ore
And seiden þat þere nas non oþur : þat so wuyrþe were þare-to.
Longue it was are þis holie man : wolde heore wille do*. [do added later.];
Ake, for-to obeien is souereins : he wende forth atþe laste
And nam þe croce wel mildeliche : þare he stikede hire er so faste.
¶ Also liȝhtliche ase ani-þing : þe croce he gan up drawe [folio 50]
Þat so mani men fondeden er : and ne miȝhten hire enes wawe.
Þicke orn þat folk a-bouten him : and no wonder it nas!
Þe miracle was sone wide i-kud : þat so apert was.
Men anoureden þis holie Man : al-so muche ase huy miȝhte.
his power þat him was er bi-nome : he tok aȝein with riȝhte;
A-ȝein to is bischopriche : with gret honour he him drouȝ;
his Couent vnder-feng him faire : with grete nobleiȝe i-nouȝ.
¶ Þis holie Man ladde al is lif : swyþe faire and clene.
Sijknesses þare weren wel fewe : þat man wolde him offe mene,
Þat he ne brouȝte to hele a-non : þoruȝ ore louerdes grace;
Sike men wel þicke comen : to him in eche place,
Deue and doumbe and blinde al-so : he helde þoruȝ godes grace
Ȝwane huy comen to him : ouȝwere in ani place.
So longue he leouede on eorþe here : þat he was of grete elde.
His bodi bi-gan to heuegy swiþe : grete feblesse he fielde.
¶ A slouȝ feuere him cam on : þat ne nam him nouȝt ful strongue,
Ac heo made is bodi to melte a-wei— : þat laste swiþe longue.
Seue niȝht bi-fore þat he deide : his breþren he liet fette alle
And liet him alle is riȝhtes do : and seide ȝwat heom scholde bi-falle.
Out of þis world to heouene he wende : þare he schal ay bi-leue,
In þe Monþe of Ieneuer*. [[19 Jan.]] : a-seint Fabianes eue,
¶ A þousend ȝer and nie hundret : and foure þare-bi-fore
It was þat ore swete louerd : on vrþe was i-bore,
In þe teoþe ȝere also : of þe kinedom
Of willam þe rede king : þat aftur willam bastard cam*. [These two v. are written in one line.]
he hadde, are he heonne i-wende : foure and þritti ȝer Page  77
And four Monþes and four dawes : i-beo in worlde*. [r. wolde? the other MSS. bishop]
Four-score ȝer he was old : and seuene al-so neiȝh
Are he wende out of þis lijf : to þe Ioye of heuene an heiȝ.
¶ Þo þis holie man was ded : þe Monekes comen sone
In þe priorie of wirecestre : and duden þat was to done:
Wuschen þat bodi, ase it was riȝht : and to churche it bere;
Þe Monekes alle with gret honour : þat is breþerne were,
Þe seruise a-bouten him huy duden : ase it was wel riȝht,
And to seggen heore sauteres al-so : þare-bi huy woken a-niȝht.
¶ Þo it was wel with-inne niȝht : ase huy seiden in heore boke,
heom luste slepe swiþe wel : þat vnneþes huy miȝhten loke,
And some ne miȝhten nouȝt fur-bere : ake leiȝen and slepen faste,
Some ase it were in dweolkningue : heore eiȝene to-gadere huy caste.
Þat holie bodi, þat lai þare ded : a-mong heom in þe bere,
A-ros up wel mildeliche : ase þei it a-liue were,
And a-weiȝhte heom euer-ech-on : and bi-gan atþon ende
And al along þe rewe : þoruȝ þe queor he gan i-wiende;
And euere ase he a-weiȝhte heom : sumdel he*. [superscr.] gan heom chide
Þat huy nolden with heore slep : heore riȝhte tyme a-bide.
¶ So muche [was] is holi heorte : þe ordre for-to wite [folio 50b]
Þat he nolde, þei he were ded : his breþerne fur-ȝite!
Þis Miracle was sone i-kud : ase riȝht was þat it were.
At wirecestre he was i-bured : and ȝuyt he liht þere.
Þare Man may for is holie bodi : mani fair Miracle i-seo.
Nou god graunti þat we mote with him : in þe Ioye of heouene beo.