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.
37 [Vita sancti Nicholai]
SEynt Nicholas þe holie Man : þat guod confessour was, [folio 111]
Of heiȝe men he was i-come : In þe cite of patras :
For in patras he was i-bore— : nelle ich þar-of nouȝt lye;
his moder name was Ione : his faderes epiphanie.
Þe furste day þat he was i-bore : þat child, þat was so guod,
Ase it was in ane mele i-baþed : al one upriȝt it stod.
Ano[n] so he was i-bore : he*. [MS. and] gan to beo guod and clene;
he nolde fridai ne wodnesday : souke nouȝt bote ene.
Þo he couþe gon ant speke : he ne pleide neuere mo,
Ake ȝwane oþur children rageden*. [orig. raieden] faste : to churche he wolde go;
he nolde speke non ydel word : ase swuche children doth;
Leiȝingue and pleiȝes and ragingues : he bi-lefte al-so.
Þo he was sethþe of grettore elde : to scole he was i-set;
So wel he leornede : þat man nuste, no child leorni bet.
Sethþe þo he more*. [al. m. wit] couþe : al his studie he tok
to guodespelles ant to holi writes : and alle oþere bokes for-sok. Page 241
So clene lijf he ladde ȝong : þat deinte it was to wite;
More godnesse ne miȝte beo : þane we findeth of him i-write.
Þo is fader and is moder weren dede : þis holie child Nicholas
luyte tolde of heore guode : þei he heore eyr was :
to pouere Men he ȝaf it clene : ȝware he saiȝ neode;
And heo þat nolden bidde him non : stilleliche he gan hem beode.—
An heiȝ Man þare was bi-side : þat sethþe þoruȝ luþer cas
his guod was al-clene a-wei i-go : and al pouere bi-come he was.
he hadde þre douȝtren faire i-nouȝ : clene and guode al-so;
In so gret Meseise heo weren i-brouȝt : þat heo nusten ȝwat to do.
Þo heo nusten ȝware-bi libbe— : for heore guod heom was bi-nome—
heore red huy nomen alle þreo : fole wommen to bi-come
And raþer þanne heo in swuche houngur weren : to libbe bi hore|*. [MS. heore] dom.
Þe olde man, heor alre fader : gret deol to him he nom.
gret pite hadde in is heorte : þe guode seint Nicholas,
Þo he i-heorde þe deolfole mone : þat a-mong heom alle was.
Of is fader guode a nyȝt : ane beiȝ*. [al. weg] of gold he nam,
I-wounde in one cloute : and stilleliche to heore house he cam,
to a derne wyndouwe softeliche : seint Nicholas gan gon
And caste in þat gold priueliche : and wende a-ȝein a-non.
Þis housebonde a-ros a-Moruwe : ant þar-of nuste nouȝt :
he com and fond þane beiȝ of gold : þat seint Nicholas hadde i-brouȝt.
Þar-of he was glad i-nouȝ : þei he nuste ho it brouȝte;
he it nam and þonkede Iesu crist : þat on is meseise þouȝte.
Þare-with he conseilede swyþe wel : his eldeste douȝter sone
With fair bruydale and gret honour : ase riȝt was for-to done.
Seint Nicholas i-saiȝ al þis : and naþeles ȝuyt he þouȝte
Þat þis selie Man neode hadde : þat he more guod to him brouȝte.
A niȝt he a-waitede swyþe wel : ase ore louerd it wolde,
And at one fenestre caste In eft-sone : ane oþur beiȝ of golde. [folio 111b]
Þis housebonde a-morewe a-ros : þat gold he fond sone;
he þonkede god with guode heorte : þat hadde i-heord is bone.
And natheles him wondrede muche : ho is freond so wel were,
And þouȝte þat he a-waiti wolde : ȝif he more come þere.
he conseilede is oþur douȝter : swiþe wel with þis golde, Page 242
With gret nobleie and fayr bruydale : ase ore louerd it wolde.
Ȝeot þouȝte þis guode Nicholas : þo þis was al i-do,
Þat it were guod to conseili : þe þridde douȝter al-so :
A niȝt he wende wel stilledliche : to þat fenestre eft-sone
And caste In ane beiȝ of gold : ase he was i-woned to done.
Þis housebonde hadde i-waked longue : for-to wayti of þis cas :
So þat, þo seint Nicholas cam : wakiende he was.
Op he sturte and siwede him : and bi is cloþus heold him faste,
he ne let nouȝt go are þe guode man : i-kneuȝ him*. [al. was iknowe] at þe laste.
Ȝeorne bad seint Nicholas : þat he to no man ne sede,
Þe ȝwyle þat he a-liue were : of þis priue dede.
With þis gold þe þridde douȝter : wel i-conseilled was;
And alle þreo weren riche*. [al. gode] wiues : þoruȝ seint Nicholas.
In þis manere seint Nicholas : ase ich nouþe habbe i-sed,
Delde al is heritage : þo is fader was ded.
Ȝwane oþur Men eoden to habbe solas : he nadde þar-to no*. [MS. ne] wille :
to churche he wolde and in one huyrne : is beden bidde wel stille.—
¶ Hit bi-feol þat þe bischop : of Mirre was ded,
And folk cam to cheose ane oþur : and þar-of hy nomen heore red;
So þat heo weren in hore beden : nyȝt and dai wel faste
Þat ore louerd heom sende ane guode man. : and he herde heom ate laste.
For a nyȝt þare cam a voiz : ase it were in metingue,
to a bischop þat was maister þer : and tolde him þis tyþingue*. [al. of þe cheosinge]
And seide, "goth to-morewe to churche*. [to ch. on the margin.] sone : riȝt are hit dai beo :
Þe furste man þat ȝe þare mouwen : i-heore oþur i-seo
And þat hote Nicholas : takez him wel sone
And makez him bischop of Mirre! : god hath i-heord ower bone."
þe bischop and þat oþur folk : a-risen are hit dai were,
And comen to churche, and founden sone : Nicholas stonde þere :
In one huyrne he stod ful stille. : heo axeden ȝwat he was
And ȝwat were is riȝte name. : he seide hem "Nicholas."
heo nomen and ladden him with gret honour : to þe churche of Mirree
And sacreden him to bischop þere : and setten him in is se.
Þo he was heiȝ man i-maked : þis guode Nicholas, Page 243
More bouȝsum and milde he bi-cam : þane euer er [he] was;
luyte pruyte he hadde of is power : ȝwane men him wolden a-loute,
And ȝif it nere for eiȝe of god : leouere him were with-oute.
So prest he was to alle men : þat on him beden & cride,
And so muche for heom he dude : þat men speken þar-of wide.—
Muche folk In a time : In-to þe se i-wende [folio 112]
In a schip, to don heore neode : ȝif ore louerd þe grace heom sende.
So þat þere cam a gret tempeste : þat heo wenden alle a-drenche.
Alle guodnesse heo bi-heiȝten god : þat heo miȝten on bi-þenche.
So þat heo þouȝten, ase heore schip : toward þe grounde was,
On þe guodnesse þat men tolden : of þe bischop Nicholas :
"Leoue louerd Nicholas" : wel loude alle heo criden,
"Ȝif it is*. [MS. it] soth þat we habbez : i-heord tellen of þe wide,
In þis peril saue us nouþe : þat we ne beon a-dreint;
Louerd Nicholas, help us nouþe : are ore schip beo a-seint!"
Ase heo gradden, þare cam on eorne : on-owarde þe watere bi-side
A bischop in abite swiþe fair. : wel loude on him huy cride.
"Lo me here," quath þis holie man : "ȝe cleopeden me wel faste.
Seggez ȝwat ouwer wille beo : and ȝwarof ȝe beon a-gaste!"
"Louerd," heo seiden, "Nicholas : ȝif it is þi wille,
Saue us nouþe of þis tempeste : þat we he[re]*. [MS. he] ne a-spille"
"Ne habbe ȝe," quath þis holie man : "her-of none drede!"
Þat weder bi-cam þo stille inouȝ : þo he þeos wordes sede.
heo bi-heolden þo after him— : heo nusten ȝware he was;
And þonkeden muche ore swete louerd : and þene bischop Nicholas.
Þene wei stille and murie : toward þe londe huy nome;
With-oute eche destourbingue : to londe wel glade heo come.
Alle heo duden heom fort a-non : to þe bischope Nicholas,
Ase to a man þat heo neuere ne seiȝen : ne nusten ȝwuch he was.
Ech of heom bi-heolden him faste : þat to þis guode man com :
Alle heom þouȝte þat it was he : þat þene deth heom bi-nam.
"Louerd," heo seiden, "i-hered þou beo! : to þe we gradden bliue;
On-ouewarde þe se þo þou come : and brouȝtest us to liue.
I-hered beo þe tyme þat þou most : a-mong men on eorþe beo!
For swuche grace ne hadde neuere eorþelich Man : ase man may on þe i-se." Page 244
Þis guode Man, þo he i-heorde þis : þonkede and herede al-so
Ore louerd, þat wolde for is loue : suych miracle do.—
¶ hit bi-feol In ane oþur tyme : of þe bischop Nicholas,
Þat gret hongur al-a-boute : In is bischopriche was;
So luþere fullen þe ȝeres alle : þat no corn nouȝwere nas.
gret deol hadde þis guode bischop : of þat luþere cas.
Fram feorrene contreies*. [al. om.] þare comen schipes : with muche corn þare|bi-side :
Þis bischop wende a-ȝein heom sone : and bad heom one stounde a|bide,
"For þe loue of Iesu crist : leneth me," he sede,
"Ane hondret quarters of þat corn : þat ȝe þare doth lede,
to þis selie men þat beoth here : neiȝ for houngur dede;
heo ne habbeth no corn to libbe bi : to sede ne to brede."
"Certes, sire," þis schipmen seiden : "þat ne dorre we nouȝt :
For al þis corn þat þou i-sixt : þat we habbez here i-brouȝt,
With swyþe schars met with-alle : bitauȝt it is us echone
Þat we it leden þe Aumperour— : ne dorre we make no lone." [folio 112b]
"With-oute faille," quath þis gode man : "ne dredez ou riȝt nouȝt,
Ȝif ȝe me wollez þar-of lene : þat eov schulle faili ouȝt;
Þe folle ȝe schulle ȝelden þe Aumperoure : ase men token ou for-to lede,
No-þing ne schal ou failli : ne þarf ov no-þing drede."
Þe schipmen ope truste of is word : wel largeliche him mete
And token þe bischope wel i-metene : Ane houndred quarteres ȝwete;
And wenden forth to þe Aumperour : and is corn him ladde;
And beden is stiwardes meten wel : ȝif heo þe folle hadden.
huy meten, and founden al þe fulle : and wel more þare-to.
For wonder heo axeden þe schipmen : ȝwi it woxe so.
heo þonkeden a-non þane gode bischop : þat is neode to heom mende,
And tolden fore þe Aumperoure : hou muche corn heo him lende,
And hou he bi-het heom þat it ne scholde : þare-fore ne wanie nouȝt,
And hou heo hadden bi large met : wel more corn i-brouȝt.
Þis guode bischope heo hereden swiþe : and þonkeden muche also,
Þat hadde þoru ore louerdes grace : swche miracle i-do.
Al þe contreie hadde i-nouȝ : to mete and to sede, Page 245
To ȝer and more, of þat corn : þat heo gonne þare lede.—
¶ In an oþur tyme þis guode bischop : bi a fair treo com :
he fond þare men þat duden þing : a-ȝein heore cristine-dom :
heo stoden þare, ase heo ofte duden : and maden heore sacrefise
to þe deuel onder þis treo : þat men*. [superscribed.] miȝten þar-of a-grise.
Seint Nicholas heom tornede echone : gode men for-to be,
And dude heom for-sake þe feondes lore : and hewe a-doun þat treo.
Þe deuel after þulke tyme : to him hadde gret onde :
For-to a-batien is pouwer : in alle manere he gan fonde.—
pilegrimes weren in þe se : to seint Nicholas for-to wende,
For þe guodnesse þat huy of him herden : ȝif god heom wolde þe grace sende.
In fourme of a fair womman : þe deuel cam heom to
And seide, "louerdingues, wel is eou : þat ȝe mouwen ouwer wille do
For-to seche þis holie man : þat so milsful is and hende!
Leouere ich hadde þane ani-þing : miȝte ich with ou wende :
For ich ne wilni no-þing so muche : ase þane holie man to seo.
A luyte þing ȝe moten for me don : ȝwane it ne may oþur beo :
Nimeth here þis guode oygnement : þat deorewurþe is with-alle,
And ȝwane ȝe into is churche comiet : smeorieth in eche walle,
For-to wurthschipien þane guode man : þat is of so gret pouste;
And ȝwane ich ne mai to him come : doth þat In þe muynde of me!"
Þis pilegrimes with glade heorte : þis oynement to heom nome,
to smerien with þis holie churche : ȝwane heo þudere come.
Ase he wenden forth in þe se : sone it dude bi-falle
Þat þare cam to heom a schip : with faire men with-alle;
A bischop þare was a-mong heom : swiþe fair man and hende.
he grette heom faire and axede a-non : ȝwodere heo þouȝten wende.
heo seiden þat heo wolden : ȝif it godes wille were, [folio 113]
to þe churche of Mirree : for-to Anouri seint Nicholas þere.
"Ȝwat was þe womman," þe bischop seide : "þat ȝwile er eou cam to,
And ȝwat was it þat heo eou bi-teiȝte? : ȝwat schulle ȝe þare-with do?"
"Sire, it is an oynement" : þeos pilegrimes seden,
"Þe guode womman ȝeorne us bad : to þe holie churche it lede
And þare-with in muynde of hire : ȝwane it were þudere i-brouȝt, Page 246
Smeorie þe holie churche wowes— : þat we ne leten it nouȝt!"
"Ȝe, ȝe," quath þis holie man : "ȝe nuten nouȝt ȝwat heo is.
takez me þat oynement : and ȝe schullen i-seo, i-wis."
Þis guode man nam þat oynement : and a-midde þe se it caste.
Þat watur bi-gan to berne a-non : a-ȝein is kuynde, wel faste;
Fram stude to stude þat fuyr orn : and barnde þe se, i-wis.
Þo seide þe guode man, "here ȝe iseoth : ȝwat ouwer oynement is.
hadde ȝe ani-þing þarof : on þe churche-walles i-do,
Al þe churche hadde for-barnd : and al þe toun al-so.
hit was þe foule feond of helle : þat it ou tok with honde
For-to brenne þulke churche : for he haueth þar-to onde."
Forth wende þis bischop and alle his : anon-riȝt þoruȝ godes sonde.
Þe pilegrimes roweden*. [orig. rewe] þene nexte wey : so þat huy comen to londe.
to seint Nicholas heo wenden þo : þat heo so wide souȝte.
A-non so heo i-seiȝen þis guode man : heo stoden in grete þouȝte;
heom þouȝte þat it þe bischop was : þat in þe se to heom cam,
Þat schewude hem þat oynement : and þe feondes swykedam.
"Louerd," heo seiden, "nov þin ore! : muche is þi pouwer :
Þat we i-seiȝen in þe se : are we comen her."
heo hereden muche þene holie man : as it wel riȝt was.
Þe guode man faste heom for-bed : þat heo ne tolden nouȝt þis cas.
Fairore Miracle on eorþe : ne miȝte we neuere i-wite
Þane we of seint Nicholas : findeth ofte i-write!—
In a tyme luþere men weorreden : þene Aumperour of rome
And destruyden is londes faste : and bataille a-ȝein him nome.
Þe Aumperour nam þre grete louerdingues : and oþere wel mani on,
For-to wenden, I-armede swyþe wel : to fiȝten a-ȝein is fon.
Þis þreo princes with heore men : in þe se forth i-wenden,
to fiȝten a-ȝein is wyþerwynes : ase þe Aumperour heom sende.
So þat þe wynd heom drof : ase it were bi cas,
to þe contreie of Mirree : þare þis bischop was.
Þe bischop heorde of hem telle. : aȝen heom he wende sone,
And bad heom come and ete with him : and huy graunteden is bone.
Þis [þe]*. [om.] guode man dude for heo ne scholden : none robberie do.
he made hem suyþe wel an ayse : and fair semblaunt al-so;
So þat þoruȝ þis holie bischop : heo and heore fon Page 247
With-oute dunt oþur blod i-sched : a-corded*. [orig. acordet] weren a-non,
Al-to þe Aumperores guode : ant to his honour al-so.
Þeos þre maistres wenden hamward : þo þis dede was i-do. [folio 113b]
heo comen and tolden þe Aumperour : hov heo hadden on i-take.
Þe Aumperour was wel a-payd : and gret feste gan heom make.
heore luþere felawes comen sone : and þare-to hadden envie,
And seiden heo hadden þe Aumperoure : i-don gret tricherie
And with is fon imaked a fol pays : and with grete feolonie,
to þe deseritisun of þe Aumperour : ope heom heo gunne lye.
Þe Aumperour in grete wrathþe : let heom nime faste
And binden þeos þre princes : and in strongue prisone caste.
So faste weren þis luþere men : ope þis princes þreo
Þat þe Aumperour swor is oth : A-slawe heo scholden beo.
he let somony is knyȝtes alle : þat heo a-morewe come
For-to bringuen þeos þreo princes : to deþe þoruȝ heore*. [al. his] dome.
A-non so þe tiþingue was i-brouȝt : to þis princes*. [al. prisons] þreo,
heo weopen and criden deolfulliche : þat reuþe it was to se,
heo weopen and heore cloþes teren : and heore her al-so;
And þouȝten on þe grete godnesse : þat seint Nicholas hadde i-do.*. [vv. 241-2 al. om.]
"Louerd," heo seiden, "Nicholas : fro ȝwam wel glade we eode,
And also wis ase we gultelese beoth : help us in ore neode,
Ne lat us neuere þus gulte-lese : to deþe beon i-brouȝt!"
Þe holie bischop Nicholas : ne fur-ȝat heom nouȝt :*. [vv. 245-6 al. om.]
For a nyȝt, ase þe Aumperour : ase a louerd lay and ase a sire,
In-to is paleis, þat was so strong : and i-barred al with ire,
to him riȝt bi-fore his bed : þis holi bischop com,*. [orig. caom]
And seide, "sire Aumperour, ȝwat þencst þou : with þi false dom?
Ȝwi hast þou þis gultelese men : In þi prisone i-brouȝt
And gulteles þenchest heom a-quelle? : ich rede, with-drauȝ þi þouȝt!
A-ris op sone, ich rede þe : and lat heom of prisone wende,
Oþur ichulle mine louerd bidde : þat he þe weorre sende,*. [al. schal þe schende]
Þat þare-inne þou worst al-to-boned : and i-brouȝt of lijf-dawe,
Þat foules schullen and wilde bestes : þi caroyne al-to-drawe."*. [vv. 255-6 al. om]
"Ȝwat artov," quath þe Aumperour : "oþur of ȝwat pouste,
Þat in þis tyme art i-come : in-to mi paleys to me
And swuche bolde wordes spext? : wonder me þinchez of þe!" Page 248
"Ich am," quath þis Nicholas : "bischop of mirree."
¶ Seint Nicholas wende al-so : to þe Aumperoures heiȝe Iustise,
Þare he lai bi-side in þe paleys : and made him sum-del a-grise :
"Þov witlese wrechche," he seide : "ȝwat hauestou i-þouȝt?
Rastov þat þis gultelese men : to deþe beon i-brouȝt?
With-drauȝ þi red, ich þe rede, sone : oþur þou schalt al for-dwyne
And for-leose al þi guod : and deyȝe in strongue pine."
"Ȝwat artou," þis oþur seide : "þat spext wordes þus grete
And þe Aumperores heiȝe Iustise : þus baldeliche darst þrete?"
"Ich am," he seide, "Nicholas : bischop of Mirree.
bote þou with-drawe þi red sone : þou schalt i-leue me."
Þe Aumperour lai and quakede sore : and sende after is Iustise, [folio 114]
Þat was al-so sore a-drad : and soruful in eche wise.
Eyþur tolde oþur fore : hou he to heom seide
And wel baldeliche þretnede heom. : ȝware-fore heo weren in drede.
For-to schilden heom fram is wrathþe : an-oþur heo mosten rede :
Þis þre prisones heo leten up nime : and sone bi-fore heom lede.
Swiþe sore heo weren a-dradde : for heo wenden a-non beo dede;
To þe bischop Nicholas : reuliche heo gonne grede.
"beaus amis," quath þe Aumperour : "ȝwat-manere men beo ȝe,
Þat þus þoruȝ ouwer enchauntement : a-niȝt drechcheth*. [al. derieþ] me?"
"A, sire, merci," þis oþure seide : "ȝwi wolle ȝe seggen so?
Of anchauntement ne couþe we neuere : ope god we wollez us do.
Ake gultelese men we buth : with onriȝte hidere i-brouȝt;
Al-so wis god schilde us fram þe deth : ase we ne beth gultie nouȝt."
"I-knowe ȝe ani Man," quath þe Aumperour : "þat hote Nicholas?"
Þare nas neuere on, for þis word : þat in gre[t] hope ne was!
heore hondene heo heolden op on heiȝ : and wel loude gradden
to þe bischope*. [MS. bi bischope] Nicholas : þat he reuþe of heom hadde.
"Þoruȝ him," quath þe Aumperour : "ȝe beth to liue i-do,
Ich ou ȝiue lijf and lime : and ouwer chateles al-so.
goth nouþe hasteliche to him : and tellez him wel bliue
hou þat for þe loue of him : ich let ov gon a-liue;
biddeth þat he for-ȝiue me is wrathþe : and non harm for eu me do,
Ake þat he bidde god for me : and for mi kynedom al-so."*. [vv. 293-4 al. om.]
Þis prisones wenden with glade heorte : to þe bischope Nicholas, Page 249
And þonkeden him, ase heo auȝten wel : of þis Ioyfule cas.
Ich wene, þere nas neuere haluwe : seint Nicholases i-per,
Þat so manie faire Miracles : bi is liue dude her;
For to come into so strong paleis : and gon op-on þe se al-so,
gret wonder was þat ani-bodi : swuch miracle miȝte do!
Muche of þe kuynde of heuene : ore louerd here him sende,
Aungles dede a-liue to do : are he hennes i-wende.*. [vv. 297-302 al. om.]—
Þo ore louerdes wille was : þat he scholde hennes wiende,
he bad ore louerd þat he scholde : aungles to him sende.
Þo he i-say þe Aungles to him come : he þonkede ore louerd faste.
Þe þrittiþe saume of þe sauter : he bi-gan þus ate laste
"In þe, louerd, ich habbe i-hoped : þat ich i-confundet ne beo,
Þine holie ere beiȝ a-doun to me : heiȝe and deliuere me."
he deide ate sixte vers : þat on e[n]glichs to seggen is
"Mine soule, louerd, ich bi-take þe : þou bouȝtest hire, i-wis."
Þe soule out wende with þulke worde : and þe Aungeles forth hire bere;
Alle þe felaweschipes of heuene : wel glade þere-with were.
he deide þre houndret ȝer : and in þe þreo and fourtyþe ȝere
After þat god was i-bore : as þe bok us deth lere.
In one toumbe of Marbre he was i-leid : swyþe faire with-alle.
Out of þe harde Marbre-ston : þe oyle gan out walle; [folio 114b]
A welle of eoyle þare sprong out : riȝt at is heued a-non,
And at is fet a welle of water : of þe harde Marbre-ston.*. [vv. 317-8 al. om.]
Sike men þare gonnen sone : wel þicke þudere gon.
Þar-of men beren wide a-boute : and ȝeot men doth al-so;
gret botningue þar is ȝuyt : of men þat comieth þare-to—
For þe welle of eoyle and of watur : ase manie men i-seoth,
In þe harde ston lastez ȝeot : þare is holie bones beoth.—
Many fair Miracle þare*. [om. þare] hath of him : sethþe he deide, i-come.
Þei we ne mouwen nouȝt tellen alle : we moten tellen of some.*. [vv. 320-5 al. om.]—
¶ To a gyv at one tyme : a cristine man ȝeode
For-to borewi gold of him : to is muchele neode.
he ne miȝte finden him nanne boruȝ : ne wed nadde he non :
Þane gyv to seint Nicholas churche : he bad with him gon;
Op-on seint Nicholases auter he swor : at one certeyne daye, Page 250
So god him helpe and seint Nicholas : his gold him for-to paye.
Þis giv for seint Nicholas loue : his oth nouȝt ne for-sok,
Ake seint Nicholas to borewe he nam : and þat gold him bi-tok.
Þis luþere cristine man : þo it cam to is daye,
Þat gold nolde he ȝelde nouȝt : ake þouȝte þane giv bi-traye.
Þe giv cam and axede him : ȝwanne he it ȝelde wolde.
"Þov false schrewe," þe oþur seide : "ich it þe habbe i-ȝolde."
Þe giv seide nay, and he ȝus : bote al ne heold it nouȝt.
Þe giv let him somoni : þat he was to court i-brouȝt.
Ake þis false cristine man : þouȝte op one feolle gynne :
Ane staf he nam op-on is hond : —holuȝ he was with-inne—
Þare-inne he dutte al þat gold : þat he scholde þe giwe ȝelde,
And feolliche dutte hine and faste : þat men ne scholden him bi|melde.
bi-fore þe bayllifs huy comen : þe giv and he boþe.
he with-sok þe giwes dette : and was i-don to ane oþe.
Þo he scholde is oth do : is false staf he bi-tok
Þe giwe, and bad him ȝwitie þe ȝwile : he leide is hond on þe bok;
And seide, "al-so muche gold al-so ich borewede : of þe giv þat here is,
So helpe me crist and seint Nicholas : ich tok him a-ȝein, i-wis."
Þis luþere man with is fals oth : swiþe wel i-leued was,
And þe oþur, for he was a giv : no-þing i-leued he nas.
"Ȝwane þou me hast bi-giled : with þi false cas,
Ich bidde þine borouȝ þat he it me ȝelde : þe guode seint Nicholas."
Þe giv with wel sorie chere : wende him forth a-non,
And þe false man nam is staf : and hamward bi-gan to gon.
Al-so he wende bi þe weie hamward : to slepe he hadde grete wille :
Þare twei weiȝes to-gadere comen : a-doun he lai wel stille.
As þis false man lay and slep : a cart þare cam gon,
And al-to-bruysde is false bones : þat he deide a-non.
Þat o ȝweol to-brak þane false staf : ase mani a man i-saiȝ :*. [[Here a fol. is wanting; MS. Harl continues :]]
[Þat gold schadde out al-abrod : & amidde þe weye lay.
¶ þe gyw, þo he þis iseȝ : loude he gan to crie Page 251
& þonkede seint Nicholas : þat schewede his tricherie.
For þe miracle men him radde : cristene forto beo.
"Certes, ynelle," quaþ þis oþer : "er ic more iseo;
Ac if god & seint Nicholas : wolde þis liþer manes*. [al. man is] lyf sende,
Cristene ic wolde þanne beo : & serui hem to mi lyues ende."
¶ Fram deþe to lyue þis false man : þurf seint Nicholas com.
Anon so þe gyw þis iseȝ : he wilnede cristendom,
& bileouede on ihesu crist : & god man euereft was.
Þis me þinȝþ a fair miracle : of seint Nicholas!
her ȝe seoþ hou hit goþ bi men : þat wiþ gyle swerieþ, iwis;
Þeȝ he þurf gyle swerie soþ : iwis forswore he is.—
¶ A god man þer was in a tyme : þat longe was mid his wyue,
Þat no childe nemiȝte habbe : þat euere cam to lyue.
To seint Nicholas ofte hi bede : achild hem to sende,
& bihete him, if hit so were : to him forto wende.
¶ Seint Nicholas ihurde here bone : —for god he is & mylde :
hit biful þer-after sone : þat his wyf was mid chylde,
& brouȝte forþ afair sone. : glad þis gode man was!
he let ȝarki a fair coupe : to seint Nicholas.
So faire was þe coupe of golde : þo heo was ȝaru iwrouȝt,
& þis hosebonde heo was so leof : þat he nolde leue hire noȝt,
Ac athuld hire in his owe hous : him-silue þer-of to drinke;
Anoþer to seint Nicholas : þe goldsmyth he let biswinke.
¶ Þo þe coupe was ymaked : to þe louerd seint Nicholas,
he wiste hire wiþ gret drueri : ac þoþer fairere was.
¶ Þo his sone was wel i-woxe : & hadde strenȝþe & miȝte,
To þe pelgrimage of seint Nicholas : þis gode man him diȝte,
& nom wiþ him his leoue sone : & þe coupen beye,
Þe furste, þat him was so leof : to serui him bi þe weye,
Þoþer, to ofri seint Nicholas : whan hi þider come.
hi greiþede hem a-godes name : & þe holi wei hi nome.
¶ So þat hi come in þe see : as hi þane wei wende.
After water of þe see : þis gode man his sone sende :
"Fech me," he seide, "of þe water : in myn owene coupe!"
Þat child dude his fader heste : & to þe water gan stoupe.
Þe coupe ful out of his hond : & anon to grounde sonk;
Þe child ful in afterward : & in þe water adronk.
Gret deol makede þis gode man : þo he seȝ þis cas,
Þat he nadde bote þat o child : & he adronke was.
"Awei," he seide,*. [al. þat ic schal] "þis dai abide! : leoue louerd, allas! Page 252
wel ic wot, ic haue agult : þe louerd seint Nicholas,
Þat ic bynom him þe furste coupe. : louerd, what schal ic do?
Þerfore ic habbe ilore nou mi child : & þe coupe also.
Seint Nicholas, forȝif hit me : & ynelle noȝt bileue, iwis,
Þat ynelle siche þe : þeȝ me beo bifalle þis!"
¶ Þis gode man [him] wende forþ : in deol & sori þoȝt;
Er he to seint Nicholas com : he neturnde aȝe noȝt.
Þo he to þe weued com : þat he hadde wide isoȝt,
Þe coupe he offrede þerto : þat he hadde þider ibroȝt.
þe coupe hipte anon aȝe : he nolde astinte þere,
Ac hipte into þe flor : wreche as þeȝ hit were.
Þis gode man hire nom vp : & offrede hire eft þere.
Eftsone heo hipte fram þe weued : forþere þan heo dude ere.
¶ Þo was þis gode man agrise : & þoþere aboute also.
"Louerd," he seide, "seint Nicholas : ic haue þe moche misdo.
Ich wolde offri þoþer coupe : ac ynemai þerto come :
vnderfong þus, if hit beo þi wille : for þoþer me is bynome.
vnderfong þoþer of mi sone : for þu wost wher he is;
Let mi sone to þe offri þulke : & let me offri þis."—
For no hope of his sones lyf : þe gode man þis nesede,
Ac for he scholde his soule helpe : & þe whatlokere do what he bede.—
¶ Mid þis word þer com in : his sone, þat was adronke,
& bar þe coupe on his hond : þat was mid him asonke;
To þe weued he ȝeode & offrede : to seint Nicholas.
wele, louerd, þe grete ioye : þat of þe miracle was!
Gladliche þe fader & þe sone : here offring vp bere; [folio 182]
& wende hom wiþ gret ioye : & leuede þe coupen þere,
& herede moche seint Nicholas : as hi wel auȝte, iwis.—
Meni is þe faire miracle : þat of seint Nicholas is!—
¶ A gyw was while in a tyme : þat i-hurde meni o tale
Of þe miracles of seint Nicholas : þat he dude so fale.
So [þat], þeȝ he were a gyw : vpe him his hurte he caste,
& honurede him ynouȝ : & biþoȝte him atte laste :
An ymage priueiliche he makede : of seint Nicholas
& honurede hit in his hous : þo hit ȝare was.
¶ In a tyme hit biful : þat he hadde to done
In þe contrai þer-aboute : to come aȝe wel sone.
he nuste wham his god bitake : forte he aȝe come :
Seint Nicholas ymage he bad : nyme þer-to gode gome.
"Ich þe habbe," he seide, "iloued ynouȝ : do me som god þerfore : Page 253
wite mi god forte ic come : þat hit ne beo forlore!
For, bi seint Nicholas þat ic louie : if hit beo awei ibore
whan ic come aȝe, þu schalt : sore abigge þerfore."
Þe gyw wende forþ his wei : & tok al his god to wite
Þe ymage, forte he come aȝe : as hit is iwrite.
Siþþe hit biful þat liþere men : & þeoues þer come*. [[Here L. goes on again.]]
And to*. [al. om.]-breken þe giwes hous : and is guod a-wei nome. [folio 115]
Þo þe giv cam hom a-ȝein : and miste al is gvod,*. [orig. good]
gret deol he made and seoruwe i-novȝ : and ferde ase he were wod.
to þane ymage he wende a-non : ase he bi þe walle stod :
"Seie," he seide, "ȝwat hauest þou i-do? : þou hauest i-set harm a-brod.
Ich bi-tok þe to witene al mi guod : þat god lente me :
hit is nouþe al i-bore a-wei : and þat ich wite þe,
Ȝwan ich it bi-tok þe in warde : and þou were of pouste
to witen it wel, ȝif þat þou woldest. : þare-fore þou haue maugre.*. [vv. 456-7 al. om.]
For ȝwane ich truste so muche to þe : and þou noldest do mi bone,
bi riȝte lawe, ase ich þe bi-het : þov schalt a-bugge sone,
Ȝwane þou ȝolde mine godhede : so vuele atþe laste."
harde scourgene he nam and stronge : and beot þis ymage wel faste,
Þat grete peces borsten a-wei— : he ferde ase he were wod,
And euere he bad þat seli treo : bringue aȝen is guod.
Seint Nicholas þare-afterward sone : to þe þeoues wende,
Al for-woundet and to-drawe : ase þe giv him to-rende;
"Lo," he seide, "hov ich am for ov : I-woundet and for-gnawe,
blok and blodi, ase ȝe i-seoth : and al mi bodi to-drawe.
bringez a-ȝen, ich red ov, sone : þat ȝe habbez a-wei*. [orig. a-ȝen] i-bore
And istole of þe giwes guode : oþur ȝe schulle hangi þare-fore.*. [vv. 466-9 al. om.]
For-soþe i segge, ȝe schullen hangen : bote ȝe it hom anon lede,
Ȝe schullen some a-bugge with me : ouwer foule mis-dede."
Þeos þeoues weren sore of-dradde : heo nomen heom to rede
And ladden hom a-ȝein þe giwes guod— : huy ne dorsten oþur for drede,*. [orig. fere]Page 254
And weren a-knowe of al hore gult : and þe Miracle him sede
hov seint Nicholas to heom cam : with is sidene blod-rede.
Þe giv, and þe þeues al-so : to seint Nicholas bede
Þat he for-ȝeue heom heore gult : and nolden more don to quede.
Þe þeues bi-comen trewe men : and ne stelen neuereft more,
And þe giv him let cristny sone : and tok him al-to godes lore,
And euereft more euerechone : loueden seint Nicholas.
Me þincheth, a-mong alle oþere : a fair Miracle þat was!*. [vv. 480-1 al. om.]—
¶ In anoþur time a guod man was : þat hadde a clerk to sone;
Eche ȝere he wolde for is loue : a-seint Nicholas dai bi wone
Of manie clerkus gret feste holden : and wurthschipien*. [al. om.] seint Nicholas al-so,
with offringue and seruise at churche : gret honur him do.
Þe feond hadde þar-to onde. : a dai he*. [MS. ase he] cam þere
A-seint Nicholas day to þe ȝate : ase þei it a beggare were,
And bad, for seint Nicholas loue : þat man sum guod him*. [orig. heom] ȝeoue.
Anon so þat child wuste him þere : he nolde no leng bi-leue
Ake bred he nam in is hond : þane schrewe forto beode.
And þo þat child cam toward þe ȝate : þe schrewe aweiward ȝeode;
Þat child eode euere after-ward : to ȝiuen him of þe brede,
Ake he ȝeode euere forth, ase it were : a-weiward þat child to lede :
And þo he cam in-to a derne stude : he bi-turnde him ate laste, [folio 115b]
Ase it were to nime þat bred : and anon he nam wel faste
Þat child bi is seli þrote*. [MS. þr ote] : and a-stranglede him a-non;
Þat child lai þare and deide sone : and þe schrewe a-wei gan gon.
Þe guode man, þo he miste is child : he souȝte it wel wide;
Ake þo he fond it ligge a-slawe : wel deolfulliche he cride.
"Louerd," he seide, "seint Nicholas : ich bidde þe milce and ore!
honoured ich þe habbe mani a dai : ant ȝeot ich hopie more,
And for anchaisun of mi sone : þe more, and for is lore,
Þat þou me sendest Ioie of him : and schildest me fram sore :
Ȝwi ȝelstov mine ȝwyle þus? : louerd, ȝwi dest þou so?
hov miȝtþou þus, seint Nicholas : for reuþe bi me do?
Ȝif me gladnesse of mi child : þat ich mote him a-liue i-seo, Page 255
And ich him bi-hote to þine seruise : and þat he schal guod man beo."
Ase he was þus in is beden : þat child a-ros op allone,
And herede god and seint Nicholas : a-mong heom euerechone,
Þat him hadde lijf i-sent : for is fader bone þer;
And he tolde al-hou þe deuel hadde : him a-strangled er,
For al-so muche ase he honourede so : þane guode seint Nicholas.
Þis, me þinchez, a-mong alle oþere : a fair Miracle it was!
Louerd, [þat] for þe loue of seint Nicholas : mani Miracle hast i-do,
Þou schild us fram þe pine of helle : and fram dedliche sunne also.