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.

33 Vita sancte Agathe.

SEinte Agace, þat guode Maide : In cisile was i-bore;
Wel ȝong heo bi-gan cristine to beon : þat hire soule nere fur|lore.
Of faire porture þis Mayde was : and stable in godes lore.
Þe Duyk of þe londe it onder-ȝat : it him of-þouȝte sore.
     4
he ne miȝte for revþe don hire in pine : Al for hire ȝonghede; Page  194
And for heo so fair was : he hopede hire out of þulke bi-leue lede.
An old quene þare was bi-side : strong hore and baudestrote;
heo hadde Niȝe douȝtren liȝt wummen. : þe Duyk bi-gan hire gret mede bi-hote,
     8
Þat heo scholde þat maide wite : and mis-techen hire and rede,
And fondi ȝif heo miȝte hire bringe : in fol þouȝt oþur in fol dede.
Þis clene þing was to þis hore i-brouȝt : þat heiȝte Affrodose.
heo, and hire douȝtren al-so : maden hire þe glose,
     12
And bi-hete hire quoynte þingus fale : of seluer and of golde,
Richesse and oþur Ioye i-nouȝ : þat heo hire þouȝt chaungi scholde;
heo seiden : "hov miȝte a swuche creature : þus gent and þus freo,
hende and milde and swete i-novȝ : with-oute Iolifte [beo]?
     16
Þi ȝongue blod nolde it þolie nouȝt : scholde þi Ioie beon þe bi-nome;
In þis lond nis prince so heiȝ : þat þov ne miȝtest him wel bi-come."
¶ Þis Maide, þei heo were ȝong : bi-gan to Answerie a-non,
And seide, "beo stille, þou deueles bouk! : þe ne worth here non i-won.
Þe hexte prince þat is ani : In loue ich habbe i-take,
In mine ȝonghede and euere-more : to holde him for mi make.
     22
Swete and hende and milde he is : on him is al mi þouȝt,
Ich am so faste to him i-bounde : þar-of ne bringuest þou me nouȝt."
Þis luþere wummen weren ech-one : studefastliche Niȝt and daiȝ
A-boute to bringue luþer þouȝt : In-to þis swete ȝounge mayȝ;
     26
Þritti dawes heo was with heom : þat heo fondeden euere
to bringue hire into þe deueles lore : Ake heo ne spedden neuere.
     28
Þis wychche wende to þe Duyk þo : þat het quincian,
And seide, "sire, i-ne mai chaungi nouȝt : þe þouȝt of þis womman;
Liȝtloker man may þane hardeste ston : make nesche ase wolle
Þane þat Maide þoruȝ any gin : of hire þouȝt bringe schulle."
     32
Þe Duyk let a-non þis mayde fette : and Axede ȝwat heo were.
"godes schulchone," heo seide, "ich am" : heo nadde none fere.
he Axede of ȝwat kunne heo were. : heo seide, "of gent and freo."
Þe Duyk seide, "hov miȝt þov gentil womman : and eke a schulchone beo?"
     36
"Ȝus," seide þat maide þo : "hit is more fraunchise
to beon gode[s]schulchene oþer is þral : þane king oþur Iustise." [folio 95]
"Anovre ovre godes!" seide þe Duyk : "ne spec of þi god non-more, Page  195
Oþur ichulle þe swuch pine do : þat it schal þe rewe sore."
     40
"I-ne schal so sone," þat maide seide : "In pine beo i-brouȝt
Þat it nele a-swagi ȝif ich habbe : on ihesu crist mi þouȝt;
Ȝif þou bringest me in ani fuyre : and ich me bi-þenche
On þe pine þat he þolede for me : a-non it wole a-quenche."
     44
Þe Duyk let nime þat maide a-non : and In-to þe gayhole lede;
Þat maide was þo also glad : ase þei men hire to feste bede.
In stronge prisone heo was i-do : þar-inne longe heo lay.
Þe Duyk let þare-after-warde : at-fore him þat mayde bringe a day.
     48
¶ "Agace," he seide, "bi-þench þe wel : bi-lef þi fole þouȝt,
Anovre ore*. [MS. ore ore] godes þat mowen þe helpe : are þou beo in pine i-brouȝt."
Þat maide seide, "þou spillest þi breth : and þou tellest embe nouȝt.
Ake ich rede þat þou Anouri him : þat deore us hath i-bouȝt,
     52
And bi-lef þine false godes : þat power nabbez non,
Þat beoth i-mad of an old stoc : oþur of þe harde ston."
"Neltþou [nou]ȝt*. [MS. Neltþouȝt]," seide þe duyk : "þine folie ȝuyt bi-leue,
In stronge pine þov schalt beo i-don : to-day are it beo eue."
     56
hokes and witthene he let nime : and faste to hire breoste binde,
And let is tormentores with þe withþene : hire breostene of wynde.
"Þov onwreste bouk," þis Maide seide : to þe duyk quincian,
"Ne hastþov no schame in þine heorte : defouli þus ani man
     60
Þat lyme þat þov þi moder of soke : and þe hath forth i-brouȝt?
Do þov þin owene confusion : and ne dred þe riȝt nouȝt."
¶ gret pine þolede þis clene [may] : are heo weren of i-drawe;
So muche was hire þouȝt on gode : þat it ne greuede hire nouȝt an hawe.
     64
Þo heo weren of i-drawe : In-to prisone heo was eft i-do.
Þe Duyk let witie þat prison faste : þat no man ne come hire to
hire woundene to hele with ani-þing : oþur hire pines forto lisse.
Ake ore louerd ne for-ȝat nouȝt hire : þo ne þorte he misse.
     68
Ase heo in prisone al one was : an old man þare cam gon,
boxes fulle of Oygneme[n]z : he brouȝte mani on
And seide þat he hire hele wolde. : "þov ne schalt," heo seide;
"I-ne kepe no man bote god : þat me hele and rede."
     72
"Ich am," seide þe olde man : "In his name hidere i-wend, Page  196
For ich am his apostle— : to þe he me hath i-send
Þine woundene forto hele : þat þov hast for him stronge.
In þe Ioye of heuene : þine mede þou schalt afonge."
     76
Þe woundes he gan smeorie : heo weren hole in one stounde.
Þat Maide nuste ȝware he*. [MS. heo] bi-cam : þo he hadde i-held hire wounde.
Þe Duyk let þat maide bi-fore him bringe : þene feorþe day,
he seide, "hastþov ȝeot i-chaunget þi þouȝt?" : þat mayde seide "nay.
Þi word," heo seide, "ne doth non oþur : ȝwane þov spext þus to me,
bote fuylez swiþe foule þe eyr : þat it deth inne fleo.
     82
he is wod þat stok oþur ston : wole to helpe calle, [folio 95b]
And nouȝt to god of heuene : þat hath i-heled mine wounden alle."
     84
"Darstþou ȝeot," seide þe Duyk : "of þine false gode more telle?
Beo þov so wod to nemmen him more : in stronge deþe Man schal þe quelle."
"Onwreste bouk," þat Maide seide : "I-nelle it lete nouȝt,
Þe ȝwyle þat ich libbe may : to nemen him with worde oþur with þouȝt."
     88
Þe Duyk het men hire for-brenne : a gret fuyr he let make.
Þo heo [hire] wolden þar-inne do : þe eorþe bi-gan to quake,
¶ Ase wide ase þe cite was : and felde a-doun þe dom-halle;
Twei men þat hire Iuggeden to deþe : a-slawe weren with þe walle.
Þat folk of þe cite was a-drad. : to þe duyke heo seiden:
"Þis Mayde is guod, and we beth for hire : In grete perile and in drede.
     94
gret pine þov hast [hire] i-don : þou ne schal so non-more."
Þo þe Duyk i-herde þis : a-drad he was wel sore;
     96
Þat Mayde he let to prisone lede : and he him-seolf a-scapede a-wey
bi one posterne stilleliche : þat no man him ne seyȝ.
Þo þat mayde into prisone cam : a-doun heo sat a-kneo,
"Louerd," he seide, "fram mani pine : þou hast i-saued me,
     100
fram fuyr and fram woundes stronge : þou me hast i-brouȝt,
And fram mi child-hod þou me hast i-wust : þat ine mis-bi-lefde nouȝt:
Lat me, louerd, to reste wende : for here me þinchez long,
Tyme it is to endi mi lijf : mine soule þov onder-fong."
     104
Mid þusse worde bi-fore al þat folk : heo bi-gan to deiȝe.
Þare was mani a sori man : and mani a wepinde eiȝe. Page  197
Þat folk þat hire louede : siwede hire wel faste,
hire bodi heo nomen with gret honour : and bureden it atþe laste.
     108
Þo heo bureden þat holi bodi : a felawe-schipe þare cam go
Of þe faireste children þat miȝten beo : þre hondret and wel mo,
Ȝonge þingus of on age : in ȝwite cloþus of palle;
Ane table of Marbre In is hond : þe on bar at-fore heom alle:
     112
¶ heo Ioyneden it to seinte Agace toumbe : þo heo comen þer-to,
Wel sweteliche heo wenden aȝen : þo heo hadden so i-do—
Angles it weren þat þare a-liȝten : for seinte Agace to grounde.
Clerkes bi-heolden þe table ȝeorne : þare-Inne i-write huy founde:
     116
"Þis Maide hadde holi þouȝt : god heo dude honour,
A-serued heo hath to alle þe contreie : deliueraunce of langour."
For-soþe heo miȝten þis laste word : þar-after onder-stonde:
þulke time a twelf-Monþe : of an hul in þe londe
     120
Strong fuyr þare cam eornen out : ase water doth of welle,
And barnde al þat þare was a-boute : quic þing it gan a-quelle;
hit spradde wide into al þat lond : þat folk hadde grete fere,
And barnde þe hard roche of ston : ase þei it Col were.
     124
heo ne dorsten bi-leue at no toun : ake ornen ase men þat were wode:
At seinte Agace Toumbe : þare heo formest at-stode.
Al-so it bi-feol in hire daye : ase sone ase heo weren þere,
Þat fuyr queinte a-non in-to al þat lond : ase þei it neuere nere; [folio 96]
     128
And bi-fore it hadde six dawes i-last : and six Nijȝt al-so,
And orn ase þei it water were : for-barnde al þat him cam to.
Þo schewede ore louerd þat it was soth : þat þe maide seinte Agas
A-seruede deliueraunce to al þe Contree— : þare wel i-sene it was.
Al-so w[i]sliche we schullen hire bidde : ase heo þe contreie ȝaf bote,
Þat we to þe Ioye þare heo is Inne : with hire come we mote.