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.

24 XI Millia Virg.

Ondleuene þousend of virgines : for ore louerd i-martrede were;
Telle i-chulle of heore martyrdom : and ho heom þar-to gan lere.
A kyng þare was in Brutayne : sire Maur was is name;
Ane douȝter he hadde þat hiet Ourse : þat was of noble fame; Page  87
Cristine heo was and al hire kun : swiþe hende and quoynte,
So fair womman Men nusten non : no so guod in euerech pointe.
¶ Of hire fair-hede and of hire guodnesse : men tolden in eche side,
Þat þe word cam into Enguelond : and elles-ȝwoder wel wide.
A kyng þare was þo in Enguelonde : and Man of gret poer;
Gret nobleie he heorde telle : of þis maide feor and ner:
his wille was gret þat is sone : þis Maide in spoushod hadde.
Ake Men þe ȝuyt in Enguelond : cristinedom non nadden.
¶ Þe king of enguelond, þat was þo : to þe kyng of Brutayne gan siende
For is douȝter to is sone : þat was is heyr so hende;
And seide, ȝif þat he þare-aȝen were : þat þe dede nere i-do,
him and alle his he wolde destruyȝe : and al his lond al-so.
Þo þis Messagers comen to þis kyng : and heore erinde hadden i-seid,
Sori and dreori was þis king : he ne couþe þare-of no red:
For þe king of Enguelond : was heþene, and alle his,
And for he wuste wel þat is douȝhter nolde : i-wedded beo, i-wis,
And also, for þe kyng of Enguelond : was of so gret miȝhte
Þat he no strencþe ne miȝhte habbe : aȝein him for-to fiȝhte.
And naþeles Triwes of is answere : aȝein þe messagers he nam.
Deol and sor and luyte gladnesse : in is heorte þare cam!
¶ He ne tolde no-þing is douȝter fore : of þis reuful cas;
Ȝeorne he bad god niȝht and day : for he redles was,
And criede on him swiþe reufulliche : þat he him scholde rede.
A niȝht an Aungel to is douȝter cam : and þeos wordes to hire sede:
"Ne beo þou nouȝht a-ȝein þis sonde : Ake, þine fader forto paye,
Graunte i-wedded for-to beo : and bide þat he it delaiȝe
Ane þreo ȝer, þat þou mouwe þe ȝwile : þi Maiden-hod anoure;
And þat huy þe purchace clene maidenes : with þe to habbe in þi boure:
¶ And þat þe king of Enguelonde and is sone : and þi fader beon alle at one rede
Þe for-to cheose ten clene Maidenes : with-oute eche wicke dede;
Ȝwane ȝe Endleue to-gadere beothþ : þat huy eou finden ȝeot þer-to
Euer-ech of eov a þousend maidenes : to serui eou al-so,
Þat ȝwane ȝe alle to-gadere beoth : þat ech mouwe in is side Page  88
honouri hire Maiden-hod and þin : þat it beo couth wel wide,
So þat Men ne mouwen Maide non : alosed finde*. [finde overlined] aȝein þe;
And þat he wolle cristine bi-come : þi louerd þat schal beo.
In þis foreward graunte him : aftur þe þridde ȝere
I-spoused to beon in godes lawe— : And ne haue þerof no fere!"
Þo þat maide i-heorde þis : glad heo was of is lore, [folio 54b]
Þat heo wuste ȝware-with heo miȝhte : bringue hire fader of is sore.
¶ Sone heo wende to hire fader : and bad þat he ire telle scholde
Ȝwy þat he so mourninde ȝeode. : he seide þat he nolde.
"Ich wot wel þi þouȝt," þat maide seide : "þei þou it holde stille.
Of þi sonde ne haue no doute : ichulle don al þi wille."
Þo bi-gan heo tellen him in ȝwuche manere— : ase þe Aungel hire hadde i-seid—
heo wolde habbe þene heiȝe Man : ȝif þat it were is red.
¶ Welle, glad was þe kyng : þo þat he iheorde þis!
Þe Messagers he ȝaf Answere : sone with gret blis.
Þo huy [it] brouȝten þe kingues sone : þe tiþingue wel him payde.
Sone he liet Baptizen him : for loue of þat Maide;
And þoruȝ is fader and þoruȝ him : and þoruȝ þe oþur kingue
Endleue þousend of clene maidenes : to þis maide huy guonne bringue.
heo was glad of þe compaygnie : þat so fair to hire cam!
Sone heo bigan in priueite : telle heom of cristinedom;
Þat for hire loue and for hire prechingue : alle cristine huy were.
Louerd, ȝwuch a compaygnie : of clene maidenes was þere!
¶ So gret Ioye þe king of is douȝter hadde : and of ire faire ferrade,
Þat he liet heom makien a quoynte schip : of*. [al. of gret] lengþe and of brede,
Þat huy scholden in þe se : pleiȝe, ȝwane huy wolde,
Þat ech man a-londe and in watere : heore mayden-hod pre[i]sie scholde.
huy sounguen ofte a-watere and eke a-lond : and treches huy gonne lede
And oþur-manere faire pleies : and al was of clene dedes.
Mete and drinke stilleliche : to þe schip huy lieten bringue
To þreo ȝeres sustinaunce : with-oute leue of þe kingue.
¶ A dai huy wenten into þe se : and pleiden heom up and doun—
For Ioye þere stoden, to bi-holden heom : Men of mani a toun. Page  89
Ase huy weren in mest Ioye of plei : ore louerd ane wynd sende,
Þat drof heom feor into þe se : þat men nusten ȝwodere huy wende.
Welle, glade were þis maydenes þo! : þe wind heom drof wel bliue,
To*. [al. ate] þe cite of coloyne : formest huy gonne ariue.
¶ To Damoysele ourse, þe kyngues douȝhter : an Aungel cam þere
And bad hire lede wel hire compaygnye : for-to huy i-martrede were;
And seide þat huy scholden forþere fare : and alle a-ȝein wende,
And in þulke toune for ore louerdes loue : imartrede beon atþenende.
Glad was þat Mayde for þis word! : forthþ huy wenden a-non.
Atþe cite of Basilie : huy a-riueden ech-on.
¶ Fram þulke Cite euerechone : a-fote huy wenden to Rome.
Gret Ioye made þe pope with heom : þo huy þudere come—
For manie of heom weren neiȝh him sibbe : and for he was of bru|tayne;
Cyriac is name was. : huy weren of him wel fayne.
An Aungel cam to þe pope a niȝht : and seide þat he scholde
With þis Maydenes i-martred beo : for ore louerd it so wolde.
After þat tyme þis holie man : honourede heom þe more,
And prechede heom ofte of clannesse : and of ore louerdes lore. [folio 55]
Tweolf monþe and endleue wokes : alle þis Maydenes were
At Rome with þis holie pope : þat heom dude wel lere.
¶ Ake þe pope seint Ciriac : is conseil cleopie gan,
His clerkes and is Cardinales : and Mani on oþer Man:
Bi-fore heom al is dignete : he tok up atþen ende,
And seide he wolde in-to an oþur lond : with þis maydenes wende.
¶ Þis Cardinales weren þare-a-ȝein : and seiden þat he gan reue
With fole wummen for-to go : and is dignete bi-leue.
Naþeles he wende forth with heom : al a-ȝein heore rede;
Þe Cardinales and is clerkes : gret schame þare-fore him seide.
Tweie luþere princes þare weren : Maximin and Affrican,
Þouȝten þat þis Maydenes wolden : tuyrne mani a man:
To heore Mey, þe prince of Coloyne : huy senden for-þen-one
Þat he, ȝwane huy þudere comen : A-slowe heom euerech-one.
¶ Þat child þat scholde þis Mayde wedde : ase heo hadde i-seid,
Kyng was i-maud of Enguelonde : þo is fader was ded;
Þat ladde swiþe chaste lijf : and longuede swiþe sore Page  90
With þat clene Maide to speke and beo : þoruȝ strencþe of godes lore.
An Aungel cam to him and bad : þat he on alle wise
his Moder and is ȝungueste soster : anon-riȝht liete Baptize
And he with heom to Coloygne : wiende with al his mayne
A-ȝein is trewe spouse, þat was : Mayde Ourse of brutayne;
Þat heo*. [r. he] him to hire leide faste : in wille and eke in dede,
And endede heore lijf in godes seruise : ase heo heom wolde rede.
¶ þis ȝongue with gret ioye dude : þat þe Aungel him gan lere:
his moder and is soster he nam : þo huy i-baptizede were,
And þe Bischop Clement al-so : þat i-baptized heom hadde,
Toward coloyne forth with him : a-ȝen þis Maydenes he ladde.
Swiþe glad was þis ȝongue king : þo he to is lefMan cam!
And also glad was þat Maide : þo heo saiȝh him in cristinedom!
Mest Ioye heo made with is ȝongue soster : þat hiet Florentyne,
Þat heo, clene Mayde, scholde : soffrie deþes pine.
¶ Ourse of Brutayne þene ȝoungue king : in grete Ioye of loue gan lere
Þat he him heolde faste to hire : and ne bi-lefde for no fere,
Þat huy miȝhten in trewe loue : to-gadere i-martred beo
And wonye in heuene with Ihesu crist : þat bouȝte heom on þe treo.
Alþis grauntede þis ȝoungue king : and is lefmane nouȝt ne wernde;
his furste þouȝt into treowe loue : and into clannesse he turnde.
¶ Þe heþene prince i-redi was : þo huy to Coloyne come
With manie luþere heþene Men : and al þis compaygnie huy nome,
And huweden and crieden on heom a-schame : and to grounde heom a-slowe,
And ase so fale wolues a-mong lambren : heore flechs huy to-drowe.
Þo huy comen to þis clene þing : Maide Ourse of Brutayne,
Þat huy founden so fair a creature : of hire huy weren wel fayne.
Þe prince hire nam and hire bi-hiet : to laten hire gon a-liue [folio 55b]
And, for heo was so fair and noble : habbe hire to wiue.
¶ Þis Maide seide þat heo nolde to hire spouse : him ne non oþur take.
Þe prince neiȝh for wrathþe wod : þo he was so fur-sake,
he liet hire to deþe scheote : with Aruwene atþenende Page  91
And þus heo and al hire compaygnie : to þe Ioye of heuene gan wiende;
And þe ȝongue king of Enguelonde : and is Moder also,
And is ȝongue soster Florentine : to deþe weren i-do,
And þe pope Ciriac : and Bischopes mani on
Þat for trewe hope of Martyrdom : with heom weren i-gon.
Ore louerd hadde swiþe*. [al. Ou louerd þe] gret Ioye : of þat swete ferrede,
þat swuch martyrdom for is*. [al. þi] loue : a-fenguen with-oute drede.
In þe to hondrede ȝere*. [al. om.] : and eiȝte and þrittiþe ȝere
After ore louerdes buyrtyme : þis maidenes i-martrede were.
¶ Þis endleue þousend of clene maydenes : and al þis compaygnie
I-burede weren in Coloyne : in one Nonnerie.—
An Abbot þere was bi-side : þat heorde of þis cas,
And ofte of þis clene Maydenes : þat gret Miracle þere was:
he bad þe Abbesse of Coloyne : þat heo him graunti scholde
A bodi of þis clene Maydenes : and he wolde it don in golde.
Þo þis bodi was him i-take : twelf Monþe he liet it beo
With-oute seluer oþur gold : in one cheste of treo.
¶ Þo þe twelf monþes weren a-go : ase þe Monekes weren ech-one
A nyȝt at Matines, þis*. [MS. þis þis] holie bodi : a-ros hire up allone,
heo beuȝ hire to þe heiȝe weued : and wende mildeliche
A-mong al þe Couent forthþ : and out wel stilledliche.*. [r. stilleliche]
Þe Monekus, þo huy þis i-seiȝen : of-dradde and sorien*. [r. sorie] were:
huy eoden to þe cheste þare heo [was] inne i-leid : and ne founden ire nouȝt þere.
¶ "Þis," quath þe Abbod, "is ore wreche : for we hire i-do nadde
In a schrine of gold, ase we bi-heten : þo we ire hidere ladden."
To þe Abbesse of Coloyne : þe Abbod wende a-non
And tolde þis cas al-hou it was : of þat Maide i-gon.
huy wenden forthþ to þulke stude : þare heo was i-leid inne er,
And heuen up þe þrouwes lid : and founden hire ligge þer
Faire and euene ase heo dude er— : so luyte lime þere nas
Þat ne lai ase heo was furst i-leid. : a fair Miracle þere was!
Þe Abbesse was þo swyþe glad : and þe Nonnes euerechon,
And þonkede god of þat faire Miracle : and heiȝe sounguen a-non.
¶ Þe Abbot bad þat he moste habbe : þis holie bodi eft-sone, Page  92
And seide he wolde honouri it faire : ase he auȝte for-to done.
Ake þe Abbesse nolde graunti it nouȝt : ne þat couent noþur
Þat eft it scholde habbe a-wei : þei he hadde i-beo heore broþur;
For buy i-seiȝen þat it was godes wille : þat it bi-lefde þere.
Þis Abbod wende him hom a-ȝein : with wel dreorie chere.
Nou God us graunti, ȝif is wille is : þat we moten i-winne
Þe heiȝe Ioye of heouene : þare alle þis Maydenes beoth inne,
Ne þat we neuere þarof ne missen : for none*. [MS. nome] sorie sunne.