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.

29 Vita sancte agnetis.

SEint Anneis, þat holi Maide : wel ȝong heo bi-gan
to serui god al-miȝti : to beon cristine womman.
heo nas bote of þrettene ȝer : þo heo was to deþe i-brouȝt
For þe loue of Ihesu crist : þat deore us hath i-bouȝt.
     4
In rome, þare he wonede : so fair creature nas non
Ase was þis maide forthward : of felle noþer of bon.
Ase þis Maide-child cam a dai : goinde fram schole,
Þe constables sone hire i-saiȝ : and heold hire for fole;
     8
he gan to louien hire in folie : and for hire was in mourninge,
And carede hov he miȝte best : to ende his fole þouȝt bringe.
For stille mourninge þat he hadde : he i-werth swuyþe lene.
Þar-of wondrede muche is frend : and ȝerne him duden bi-men[e].
     12
heo axeden him a dai in priuete : hov he dude fare.
he gan to telle fram on to oþur : ȝware-of was is care,
And hou he wolde him-self a-sle : bote he þat maide hadde.
Þe consta[b]le non oþur ne saiȝ : is sone forth he ladde;
     16
heo comen to Anneyse, þat Maide hende : and nomen hire bi þe honde.
Þe fader seide : "lo here mi sone : þat wurth riche heyr of londe:
¶ A fair grace þe is i-come : he hath is heorte to þe i-take;
Riche womman þou worst i-nouȝ : he schal habbe þe to make;
     20
hext þov worst of al þi kun : of londe and oþur þinges,
gold and seluer þe worth i-nouȝ : broches and eke ringus."
Þat maide seide : "go fram me : þov luþe[r] deþes fode!
Woldestþov defouli mi bodi? : þov ne bringest me neuere in þat mode. [folio 90]
     24
Ich habbe me one spouse i-nome : þou ne wost nouȝwer swuch non,
briȝtore þane þe sonne oþur ani liȝt : þat euere on eorþe schon.
Of ȝwas kuynde wondri may ech þing : for is moder is clene mayde,
his fader of womman neuere ne wuste : so þe prophetus us saide;
     28
Al þene world he made of nouȝt : and ȝaf us ovre fode; Page  182
Wel deore with is swete blod : he bouȝte us on þe rode.
Ane marke he hathz on me i-do : þat I-ne scholde non oþur take,
Deorewurþe þing he hath me bi-hote : I-nelle him neuere fur-sake."
¶ Þe Constable het Symproni. : "hov geth þis," he seide,
"Ȝweþur þov bi-leue on þe false gode? : torne þi þouȝt, ich rede
     34
And nim þis child to þi spouse : and þenk on þine owene guod,
Oþur ischal do þe so tormenti : þat þov schalt neiȝ beo wod."
     36
"beo stille," seide þis maide þo : "be stille, þou deueles lime,
Þov ne schalt to-dai for no þretning : mi guode þouȝ[t] me bi-nime.
Ich am redi for is loue : þat deore me hath i-bouȝt
tormenz a-fonge, and þe deth al-so : for Ine drede me riȝt nouȝt."
     40
þe Constable let somony al þe cite : and brouȝte þis mayde heom bi-fore;
hire for-to schiende, he dude hire strepe : so naked so heo was i-bore,
Þat ech man scholde i-seon hire derne limes : þe more hire to schende.
"Onwreste man," þis mayde seide : "schame þe worth atþenende.
     44
¶ Ne schameth þe no-þing in þi þouȝt : bi womman þus to do,
Ȝwan þou of womman art i-come : and ech man is al-so?"
Þat*. [al. þat maide] was not*. [ags. hnot] for hire ȝong-hede : are hire smok were of i-nome,
Þare was*. [MS. was was] on hire swete heued : so muche fair her i-come,
Þat hudde al hire swete bodi : þat it tilde bi-neothe hire kne*. [MS. kneo];
Þo ne miȝten men for here : of hire bodi nouȝt i-se.
An hous þat seruede of bordel : þare was bi-side:
Þare-Inne þe constable hire let do : and sethþe het crie wide
     52
Þat alle þat wolden folie don : þudere scholden wende
And finde þare a fol womman : of bodie fair and hende.
Þo þat Maide was þare-Inne i-do. : so ful was þat hous of liȝte
Þat no man for brijȝt-hede : þat Mayde i-seo ne miȝte.
     56
Þat Maide sat a-doun a-kneo : and seide hire oresun þere:
"Louerd," heo seide, "ȝong ich am : a-mong mine fon i-brouȝt here,
Euerech fondeth to don me schame : þat he[r]-a-boute wendez:
Louerd, ne ȝif neuere no luþer man power : mi bodi for-to schende!"
Þis Maide sat euere in hire beden : to ore louerd heo gan crie:
hire ne miȝte no man for liȝte i-seo : þat come þere-In for folie,
     62
Ake euere ȝwane heo comen In : to don heore fole þouȝt,
heo heorden hire crie on ore louerd so ȝerne : and hire ne seiȝen nouȝt.*. [Vv. 63, 64 are tr. in the MS.]Page  183
¶ Þo bi-gan ech after oþur : ase euer-ech with-Inne cam,
For Miracle þat heo seiȝen þere : tuyrne to cristindom,
     66
And bi-gonne forth with hire : to ore louerd ȝeorne crie—
Þo was þat an hous of beden : þat raþer was of folie.
Ase þat maide sat and bad hire beden : an Aungel þare cam gon, [folio 90b]
A Roket he brouȝte on is hond to hire : ȝwittore nas neuere non.
Þat [maide]*. [om.] dude on þis Roket. : al naket heo was er,
Naþeles heo ne miȝten nouȝt hire bodi seo : for liȝte ne for her;
     72
Þo heo hadde ido þis Roket on : non-more i-hud heo nas;
Fairore lijf nas neuere i-seie : þane þis ȝonge maide þo was.
Þe constables sone cam for-to don with hire : ase he hadde er i-seid:
And are he miȝte þat Maiden handli : he fel a-doun stan-ded.
     76
his felawes þat with him comen : with-oute heo weren wel stille,
And hopeden, for he so longe was : þat he dude is wille.
¶ Naþeles, þo he to longe was : is o felawe gan in gon,
And fond þat child ligge ded : so cold ase a ston.
     80
he leop him out in-to þe strete : loude he gan to grede:
"Comiez hidere, men, and sleth þis wichche : for heo hath i-do a luþer dede:
Þe Constables sone heo hath a-slawe : here ȝe mouwen i-seo.
Comiez nouþe bliue and nimeth hire : þat heo a-wei ne fleo!"
     84
Þat folk cam reke a-boute þis hous : and founden þat it was ded.
Alle þe baillifs þudere comen : to nimen þar-of red.
Some seiden þat heo wichche was : some þat heo was guod,
And alle for þe childes deþe : wroþe weren in heore mod;
     88
heo stoden and Iuggeden hire a-mong heom alle : þat quelle heo wolden hire sone.
Þat maide sat a-doun on hire knes : and made to god hire bone:
"louerd," he seide, "ȝif þi wille beo : ȝif me*. [ȝif me al. om.] þine miȝte and þine grace:
Þov kuythþ þine miȝte*. [þ. m. al. om.] and send þis child : lijf here In þis place,
     92
Þat þis folk þat here is luyþur : þine miȝte mouwen i-seo;
Ne lat none mo men deth a-fonge : for enchesun of me."
¶ A-doun þar cam an Aungel : "mayde Anneis," he seide,
"Ore louerd hath i-heord þine bone : þat þou to him bede."
     96
heo blessede þat child, and hit aros : fram deþe to liue,
And þonkede god, and orn him out : at þe dore wel bliue; Page  184
he cam out a-mong al þat fo[l]k : loude he gan to crie:
"On god þat*. [om. þat] is In heuene : þat was i-bore of þe Maidene Marie,
     100
Þat is fader and sone and holi gost : louerd of alle þinge,
Þat wille hadde þoruȝ is miȝte : fram deþe to-day me bringe.
Fur-sakez eovwer false godes : for heo nabbeth miȝte non
Forto meoui heom enes of þe stude : non more þene a ston."
     104
Þe childes fader and mani oþure : swiþe glade bi-come,
Þo heo i-seiȝen þe Miracle : and cristindom hem nome.
Wod-wroþe weren þe luþere men : heo gonne bi-twene heom telle
In ȝwuche martyrdome heo miȝten : þis holi maide a-quelle.
     108
heo leten makien a gret fuyr : þare a-midde þe place,
For-to brenne seinte Anneis. : and þar*. [MS. þat] ore louerd cudde is grace.
¶ For þo þat Mayde was þudere i-brouȝt : In þe fuyr men hire þrevȝ:
Þat fuyr clef a-middes a-to : and þe luyþere men it wel i-knevȝ,
     112
For þo it smot in eiþur side : and barnde heom al-clene.
Þat Maide nas i-wemned nouȝt : for it ne touchede hire nouȝt ene; [folio 91]
bote heo sat hire a-doun a-kne : and in eiþur half was þe leiȝe.
"Louerd," heo seide, "ȝif þi wille it beo : þat ich here schulle deiȝe,
I-redi ich am for-to a-fonge þat fuyr : þat is me In eyþur side,
Ȝif ich schal here I-martred beo : oþur lengore a-bide."
     118
Þo heo hadde þis word i-seid : þat fuyr a-queinte a-non,
Non more hete nas in þe place : þane in þe colde ston.
Ȝeot þulke þat bi-lefden a-liue : on god þat ne*. [om. þat] bi-lefden nouȝt,
And Iuggeden hov heo miȝten don : þat heo were to deþe i-brouȝ[t]:
heo leten nime a kene suerd : and þoruȝ hire þrote it smite;
Þat rede blod orn a-doun : on hire limes so ȝwite.
     124
Fairore ne miȝte no-þing [be] : þane was þat ilke blod
On hire limes þat weren so ȝwite : þo hit þaron stod.
Þus þis Mayde seinte Annes : brouȝte hire lijf to fine,
And wende to þe Ioye of heuene : after hire muchele pine.
     128