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.
*. [lawe]SEint Eustas þe noble knyȝt : of heþene lawe*. [MS. londe] was;
Ake are he i-cristned were : men cleopeden him placidas.
he was with Traian þe Aumperour : hext of alle is kniȝhte,
Maister he was of al is ost : at eche bataile to fiȝhte.
he wilnede to wite godes lawe : and of cristindom;
Ake no man þar-of him ne teiȝhte : ne ȝeme þare-to ne nam:
¶ his heorte him ȝaf þat is lawe nas nouȝt : and þare-fore almes-dede
Ofte he dude for godes loue : þat he him scholde þe bet rede.
A wif he hadde and twei sones : þat swiþe ȝoungue were;
heo wilnede ȝeorne þat sum man : of god hire wolde lere.—
þis heiȝe kniȝhtes wenden a day : on honteth mani on
with heore cheuenteyn placidas : to cachche hert and bocke and don.
¶ A-mong oþur game huy founden ane heort : swiþe fair best with-alle:
placidas him siwede a-non : ȝif he miȝhte maken him falle.
Fram is felawes he wende al one : þis best orn with gret pas,
And he siwede him fer in vncouþe stude : þat al weri he was.
þo huy comen opon a fair hul : þis best with-stod atþe laste.
þis kniȝht ne dorste ner him wiende : ake bi-heold him stikele and faste.
Bi-twene is hornes he i-saiȝh : ane creiz schine briȝhte
with gret leome ase it were of sonne : þat vnneþe bi-holde he it miȝhte.
¶ "Placidas," seide þe heort : "ȝwy woltþou weorri with me?
I-cham god þat þou ne knowest nouȝt : ichulle schewi me to þe.
þine almesse-dedes þat þou hast i-do : a-mountede me bi-fore;
þat þou ne canst nouȝt, i-chulle þe teche : þat þi soule ne beo for-lore.
þov were a-boute to cachche me : ichulle þe cahche al-so."
"Louerd," seide placidas : "seiȝe me ȝwat i schal do."
¶ "Bote go," seide ore louerd þo : "hom to þine wiue,
And nim hire and evwere twei sones : and lat eou cristni bliue.
þus time to-moruwe cum aȝein : and ich þe wolle wisse
hou þou schalt leden here þi lijf : to of-serui heouene blisse."
þo nuste he ȝware þe heort bi-cam. : þis kniȝht in grete þouȝte
wende hom and þonkede god : þat swuch tiþingue him brouȝhte.
his wiue he tolde it priueliche. : "sire, merci," heo seide, Page 394
"To-niȝht ore louerd cam al-so to me : and riȝht so he gan me rede."
¶ Huy nomen heore twey sones with heom : and to a bischop huy wende
And lieten heom cristni alle foure : heore lif for-to amende;
þis knyȜth liet is name tuyrne : and liet him cleopie Eustas.
With oþure kniȝhtes he wende eft an hontez : þudere ase he er was.
þis holie best he saiȝh þo eft-sone : aftur he wende al-so,
For-to he cam in-to a priue stude : ase he hadde er i-do.
þo criede he and fel a-doun a-kneo : "louerd," he seide, "þin ore, [folio 167b]
Tel me hou i schal mi lif lede : to saui me þoruȝh þi lore."
Ore [louerd] spac þo in þe heortes mouþe : "loke þat þou do after me!
For þov hast þene deuel ouer-come : he armeth him aȝen þe:
þolie þou schalt wo and sor : ase Men schulle in bataylle;
Ȝif þou wolt þolie and a-ȝein him fiȝhte : of is wille he schal faille.
he schal þe, ase he dude Iob : mid alle wo þe fonde;
Seie me ȝif þou it þolie wolt : and faste a-ȝein him stonde!"
¶ "Louerd," seide þis guode kniȝht : "ȝif me studefast-hede,
þat ich mouwe is fondingue þole : ase þou me wolt wisse and rede."
"Ope þi-sulue it is ȝif þou wolt beo : studefast," ore louerd seide;
"Ake ȝif þou wolt so, ichulle in þi care : boþe witie þe and lede."
Mid þusse worde ore louerd wende : he nuste ȝware he bi-cam.
þis kniȝht in grete þouȝhte of heorte : þene wey hamward nam;
his wiue he tolde al hou it was : and bad hire studefast be.
To is louerdes court, þe aumperoures : nolde he nonmore teo.
¶ þo comen þeoues and robbeden him : of al þat euere he hadde;
his Orf deide al-so to grounde : nouȝht o best a-liue he nadde;
his hinene deiden euerechone— : þare bi-lefde non a-liue
Bote he and [is] tweie ȝongue sones : and is leoue wiue.
þo ne bi-lefde heom non more guod : þane heom hieng a-boute—
huy þonkeden god of alle is sondene : ȝuyt nadden huy none doute.
For schame þat huy beggares weren : heore hous huy liete stonde
And bi niȝhte stelen a-wei : to-ward an oþur londe,
¶ Eustas al-one and is wijf : and is sones tweiȝe;
So ȝungue weren þis children two : þat he bar heom ofte bi weiȝe.
Gret deol made þe Aumperour : þo he miste sire Eustas,
And liet him seche al-a-boute : ake men nusten ȝware he was. Page 395
Toward Egypte huy passeden þe se : for huy mosten so don nede.
Þo huy þe se ipassede hadden : þe schipman axede is mede.
huy seiden þat huy noþing nadden : ake þat huy beggares were.
Þe schipman bi-heold þat guode wif : and þouȝte him of faire chere;
¶ he seide, "ichulle for mi mede : þis wumman with me at-holde."
Þe kniȝht weop and criede ȝeorne : ake hit ne mihȝte no-þing holde,
Þis schipman nam*. [MS. nan] him and is sones : and out of þe schipe heom þraste,
And liet heom wienden ȝwodere huy wolden : and heold*. [MS. beold] þis womman faste.
Þe knyȝht bi-heold after-ward : ake þo it non-oþur nas,
Sore he weop and wrong*. [MS. wrond] is honden : longue i-swowe he was.
"Leue sones," he seide, "ȝwat schulle ȝe nou? : ȝoungue ȝe beoth, help-les,
In vncouþe londe; ho schal ou wite : nouþe ȝe beoth moder-les?
¶ Mi-sulf ich couþe mine mete bi-swynke : ake inot ȝwat ȝe schulle do;
A feble norice ich am, alas! : i nas neuere i-teiȝht þer-to."
Wel softe he ladde is sones forth : and wel ofte he heom bar.
To a deop watur he cam : and no schip ne fond he þar:
he bar is o sone ouer þat watur : and þare a-doun him sette.*. [[Here a fol. is wanting in the MS.; MS. Cott. Iul. D ix. continues;]]
[þe while he wente ouer aȝen : his oþer sone to fette,
a-midde þe water as he was : a wolf þer com vrne
& nom þat child & ber hit ford : touard þe wode ȝerne.
A leon com in þe oþer half : & þis oþer child [he] nom
& bere hit ford touard þe wode : ar þe faþer to him com.
¶ þis kniȝt stod a-midde þe water : no wonder þe him wo were,
whan he sei þat þis wilde bestes : his sones awei bere;
he wep & his hondes wrong : & tar him be þe here;
him-sulf he wolde habbe a-dreint : ȝif þat oþing nere:
he þoȝte on þat our lord sede : þat he scholde þolie sore.
he þolede, him þoȝte, sorue y-nou : noman ne miȝte more.
"lord," he sede, "whiþer schal ich nou?" : & wente bi an vncouþe weie;
"kniȝtes ich was y-woneþ to haue : wit me of gret nobleie: Page 396
¶ Ich les hom suþþe, & al my good : þat ich scholde bi leþe mi lif;
Mene bileueþe oþer solas non : bote my sones & my wif.
þo mi wif me was by-nome : nas me wo y-nou?
ȝif ich dorste sigge, ich was : ibroȝt in more wo wit wou.
Me nas bileueþ bote mi sones : þat al myn herten were:
þo sei ich whare wilde bestes : awei to wode hom bere,
& icham a wrecche & frendles : bileueþ nou alone,
al nakeþ & bar of alle gode : as ich sprong out of þe stone!
¶ wel ichot þat iob hadde : y-nou of care & sore;
a lone wrecche as icham : me þincþ ichaue more:
for he hadde frend & wif also : him forto bimene,
me nis bileueþ wif ne frend : to solaci me ene.
a dunghupel warup he him reste : him was also bileueþ:
of al my god so moche y naue : þat ich mow rest op my hed.
of al men þat euer were : me þinch icham mest wrecche—
ac whan god wol so þat ich schal : of noþing I-ne recche."
þo he hadde al y-mad his mone : þat reuþe hit was y-nou,
In sorue & care spitosliche*. [Ashm pitosliche] : touard toune he drou.
¶ þer he ȝede & beþ his mete : þat al folc reuþe hadde
þat so fair man & stalworde : in meseise his lif ladde.
hai-ward hi made him of þe toun : hor corn forto wite,
þat he miȝte in treunesse : his liflode be-ȝite.
his lordinges he paide wel : & al oþere also—
for ho-so haþ wit him godes grace : he ne schal neuer mis-do.
for he ne couþe noȝt his mester : gret sorue he hadde ynou;
his wo he nom in pacience : to eche godnesse he drou.
heyward he was fiftene ȝer : in gret sorue & care;
ne com noman nei him þat him kneu : his frend him*. [Ashm. frendes, him om.] were wel bare.—
¶ ac*. [om. in Ashm.] hit bifel þat þe emperour : þat his lord er was,
y-worreþ was of a noþer king : þorou a luþer cas.
sone him misseþe þis gode kniȝt : & ofte he sede alas.
to many lond he sente aboute : to seche seint eustas.
tuei kniȝtes þat his felaues were : þat soȝte him suiþe wide,
In his baille hi mette him : as hi come þer-ford ride.
seint eustas i-kneu hom wel : & hi him noȝt wit-alle—
for ho-so is in meseise & in sor : his heu wole sone falle.
¶ "knowest," hi sede, "eni man : þat hatte placidas?"
he sede nai, & sede soþ : for he het eustas.
þo gonne þis kniȝtes sike sore— : & hit was nei eue:
þis haiward hom baþ suiþe faire : al niȝt wit him bileue.
þo hi come hom to his In : he made hom faire chere Page 397
& cortesliche serueþe hom : quinte man as he were.
ac euer whan he from hom turneþe : þe teres ourne of his eie;
ac fair semblant he made y-nou : euer whan hi him seie.
¶ þis kniȝtes þoȝte wonþer gret : þat a such heiward
of so quinte seruise was : as he were eny stuard.
þe lengor þat hi him bihulde : þe bet hom þoȝte [hi] him kneue—
for whan man is fol of mete & drinke : hit*. [MS. his] soteleþ*. [Ashm. so teleþ] in his hwe.
"þis man," sede þe on to þe oþer : "ilich is placidas,
loke we where he haue þe wounde : þat on his hed was,
þat he hente in þe bataile? : for ȝif he haþ þilke wounde
In þilke stude, siker we beþ : þat we him haueþ i-founde."
þo hi founde þis soþe tokne : in gret ioie hi were ibroȝt,
hi sede, "þu art placidas : þat we longe haueþ isoȝt.
¶ þe emperour sente after þe : to him þu schalt come,
for his fon haueþ moche of his lond : for þe faute*. [r. defaute] of þe y-nome."
sein eustas made gret daunger : & naþeles ate nende
to þe emperour of rome, his lord : wit hom he gan wende.
glad tiþing com to þe emperour : þo he him isay!
he let him greidi in fair atir : as noble kniȝt & hei,
he let ȝarki his ost also : mony kniȝt & sueyn,
& made eustas, as he was er : of hom alle cheuenteyn.
¶ hi wente & worreþe op hor fon : to grounde fer & ner;
hi þat er al maistres were : nadde do no poer.
more prouesse ne miȝte be : þan was of þis kniȝte,
for he was of bodi strong : & moche couþe of fiȝte,
& he hadde wit him godes grace : be dai & by nyȝte;
þer-fore non heden man : aȝen him stonde ne miȝte.
þo þe king hor fo vnþer-ȝet : þat his poer noding nas,
& þat he ne miȝte worre holde : aȝen sein eustas,
¶ he flei hom in-to his owe lond : vnneþe wit þe liue.
seint eustas wit his gode route : after sueþe bliue;
of his men he let ek mony nyme : & slou ek of hom riue,
he let sle al oþer nyme : oþer out of londe hom driue.
ȝut he suor he wolde awreke be : of þe gret schonde
þat hi hadde his lord y-worreþ : in his owe londe.
¶ gret maister he wex anon— : what, whare was þo his horn?
he ne ȝede noȝt in þe feld afote : to wite man*. [r. mannes] corn!
a maister heiward he was on : wit such men to fiȝte,
to porswy in-to his owe lond : a king of so gret miȝte!
he let ordeine wel his ost : & parti hit a-þre,] Page 398
Cheuenteynes he liet [chese]*. [om.] tweie : vnder him to beo. [folio 168]
¶ Þare weren ȝoungue tweie : faire men*. [MS. manc] with-alle,
with red heued, ȝeolu and crips*. [Ashm. Rede men wiþ ȝelou her]— : fair cas þare gan bi-falle:
For þere nere none into al þe Ost : þat so staleworþe men were
Ne of so gret prouwesse in þe bataile : ne þat so wel armes bere,
Þare-fore Evstas vnder him : cheuenteynes heom made þere,
Eyþer is owene compay[ni]e : swiþe wel to lede and lere.
huy siweden heore fo in-to is lond : no-þing a-dradde huy nere;
And þo huy þe se i-passed hadden : heor baneres huy lieten*. [MS. leieten] a-rere,
¶ Into al þat lond huy wenten a-boute : and nomen alle þat huy founden,
heore fon huy slowen þat heore pouwer : was sone i-brouȝt to grounde;
For huy nomen some and ladden forth : with heom, faste i-bounde,
Some huy raymeden for heore lif : of manie harde poundes.
Are huy heom hadden so ouer-come : huy ȝeuen manie woundes;
Gult-lese men þat weren of pais : huy lieten beo hole and sounde.
huy come and nomen a gret cite : and þare-inne huy a-liȝhte;
Ase louerdes huy resten þere— : so fareth þat habbeth miȝhte.
¶ Þis two cheuenteynes þat weren : onder sire Eustas,
huy casten of heore helmes heom for-to auente : heore bodi ful weri was;
Vnder a chaumbre huy resten heom : in a wel fair herber,
huy tolden of heore grete prouwesse : þat huy duden feor and ner.
"Wonderliche," þat on seide : "ich am forth i-gon.
Mi fader was knyȝht of gret pouwer : nis nouȝh were nouþe schuch on;
¶ he and mi moder stilleliche : lieten heom cristni beye,
And me and mi ȝoungue broþur*. [MS. broþus] : þat weren his sones tweye.*. [orig. bey ȝe]
A niȝht he nam is wif and us : þat his sones were,
And ladde us into anoþur lond : þare we neuerer nere.
Þo we þe se i-passede hadden : þe Mariner for is huyre
Drof us out of is schip . and ore moder ladde awey : þat us was leof and duyre.
¶ Ore fader nam us and ladde us forth : swiþe gret deol he made.
To awater we comen þat was so deop : þat we ne miȝhten nouȝht wade :
Mi fader bar ouer mine ȝounguere broþer : and in þat oþur half him sette, Page 399
And cam a wolf and bar him forth : þe ȝwyle he [me] wolde fette;
And are he miȝhte to me come : a leon þare cam eorne
And kipte me and bar me forth : to-ward þe wode wel ȝeorne.
¶ Schepherdes ornen him a-ȝein : with hornes and with hounde,
And crieden and schoten to-ward him : þat he me liet falle to grounde;
huy nomen and ladden me to heore hous : and lieten me forth bringue.
Of fader ne of moder ne can ich : telle eov no tyþingue."
¶ "Louerd crist," seide þat oþur : "i-hered beo þi miȝhte,
Þat ich moste of mine leoue broþur : habbe one siȝhte!
Certes," he seide, "ich am þi broþur : þat þe wolf a-wei bar;
Ake Aker-men weren in þe feld : þat weren of him i-war,
with staues and with stones al-so : aȝen him huy ornen bliue
And maden him legge me a-doun : so þat ich cam to liue."
louerd, muche was þe Ioye : þat bi-twene heom was þere! [folio 168b]
Mest huy bi-menden fader and moder : þat huy nusten ȝware huy were.
¶ Heore Moder sat and heorde þis : In ane chaumbre þare-bi-side:
welle, louerd, þat he*. [= heo] was glad : þat heo miȝhte þane day a-bide!
Sori heo was þat heo ne miȝhte out : with hire sones to speke—
Ake heo was bi-loke ase a prison : ne heo ne miȝhte þat hous breke;
For heo and manie oþer : in ostage weren itake.
Bi-fore þe prince heo was sethþe i-brouȝt : hire fin for-to make.
Þo isaiȝ heo ȝware hire louerd was— : a-doun heo feol to grounde,
"I-hered beo þou, ihesu crist!" heo seide : "mine louerd ich habbe i-founde!"
¶ Þis guode kniȝht [gan]*. [om.] for ioýe to wepe : he clupte hire and custe;
More Ioye þane [was heom]*. [om.] bi-twene : no man neuerer nuste.
"Sire, merci," heo seide : "ne haue þou no mis-þouȝt,
For god it wot, ich am clene : and i-wemmed nouȝt.
For also-sone as þe luþere man : me hadde fram þe i-brouȝt,
he vuelde, and deide sone : bi god þat ich habbe i-souȝt!"
Þo was þis guode kniȝht gladore : bi muche þane he er was!
"Dame," he seide, "of ore leoue sones : quite we beoth, alas!
For a leon bar þat on a-wei : and a wolf þat oþur also;
Wel ich wot þat huy to-drawe beoth : inot ȝwat we schullen do."
¶ "Sire," seide þis guode wif : "make gret Ioye with-alle,
Among alle þe men þat euere weren : fairest us is bi-falle: Page 400
For ase ich in a chaumbre sat : kniȝhtes ich heorde tweiȝe
Tellen of us so þat ichwot : þat it weren ovre sones beiȝe.
Lat of-sechen ȝwuche huy beoth : for soþe, huy beoth of þine.
Beo glad and in alle Ioye : for we habbez ouer-come ore pine."
¶ Þis kniȝht for Ioye liet sende a-boute : þe messagers neren nouȝt bi-hynde;
he liet seche and crien ouer-al : ȝif men miȝhten anie swuche i-finde.
he fond þat is sones weren : onder him cheuentey[n]s,
Þat he him-sulf made for heore prouwesse : of þe ostes souereins.
Glade huy hadde er i-beo : ake so glade neuere huy nere,
Þo fader and moder and þe sones : to-gadere i-come were;
Þat þe fader and þe sones : þe maistrie a-wei bere*. [v. 256-7 seem spurious.]
And maistres weren of al þat folk : to ordeinen heom and to lere.
¶ Louerd, muche is þi miȝhte : and þat þou cuddest þere—
For þat þou i-saued habbe wolt : no-þing ne schal fur-pere.—
¶ Þo þis guode kniȝht and is sones : and heore ost atþen ende
Þe Maistrie hadden of alle heore fon : hamward huy guonne wiende
with gret Ioye and nobleye— : of no man heom ne dradde;
Alle þe hexte men of þe londe : ase prisones with heom huy ladde.
Muche pris þare was of heom : ase huy wenden toward rome.
Ake deolfole tiþingues huy founden þere : þo huy þudere come:
For huy founden hore louerd ded : þene Aumperour traIan,
And an oþer huy founden imad after him : þat hiet Adrian,
Þat muche schame dude cristine men : ȝware anie weren i-nome.
Gret Ioye he made with þis kniȝhtes : þo huy weren þudere i-come, [folio 169]
For heore prouwesse, and for heore prisones : þat huy mid heom brouȝhte.
hext prince of þat lond vnder him : sire Eustas makie he þouȝhte;
Bote it were bi is red : no-þing don he nolde,
And ȝwane he wende into anie stude : euere mid him he scholde.
¶ A dai huy comen bi heore temple : þat heore maumates inne were:
Þe Aumperour liȝhte a-doun : to don þare is preiere.
Sire Eustas nolde nouȝt þare-inne come : ake bi-lefde þere-with-oute.
Þe Aumperour in wrathþe axede a-non : ȝware-of he hadde doute
And ȝwi he ne a-liȝhte, ase riȝht were : and to is godes a-loute.
"Sire," seide sire Eustas, "it is for nouȝt : þat þou art þare-a-boute; Page 401
I-ne rechche a-liue ho it wite : cristine ich am, i-wis.
Of swuch a prince ase þou art, gret deol is : þat so schal bi-leue a-mis."
¶ "Ov!" seide þe Aumperour : "hast þou þus i-seid?
habbe ich þus i-loued þe : and þou me hast bi-treid?
Ȝif þou louest þin owene stat : torne þi þouȝt, ich rede,
Oþur þou schalt segge þat þou ne dudest : neuere so luþer dede."
"Certes, sire, for nouȝt it is" : þis guode kniȝht a-ȝein seide,
"holde ichulle þat ich habbe i-take : I-ne bi-leue it for no drede."
wod-wroth was þe Aumperour : he liet him binde faste
And leden hom to is paleis : and among leones him caste,
Þat huy scholden for-swolewen euerech lime : of þis guode kniȝhte.
huy a-lutten to him and lickeden him— : þare was godes miȝhte!
¶ þo is sones and is wif : herof heorden telle
Þat þe Aumperour heore louerd nome : him for-to a-quelle,
huy comen eorne with gret eyr : and axeden ȝware he were,
And seiden huy wolden for godes*. [MS. guodes] loue : mid him deiȝe þere.*. [v. 300 is to follow here.]
he schok is heued and criede loude : and ter him bi is here;
he liet makie ane tonne of bras : for-to berne heom þare-inne.
Wel wusten þis guode kniȝhtes : ȝwat huy scholden þare-with iwinne.
¶ Þo was þe luþere Aumperour : wroþere þane he was bi-fore.*. [r. ere]
Sire Eustas sat a-doun a-kneo : and seide, "nouþe, louerd, þin ore!
Graunte us to þe Ioye of heouene : comen aftur þis sore,
And þat ore þouȝt studefast beo : and treowe euere-more.*. [v. 303 added.]
Graunte us þat alle guode men : þat us habbuth in muynde
And of us bi-sechez help to þe : þat huy it moten finde,
Þat huy of peril beon i-brouȝt : and of alle oþure vuele al-so,
Þat þou, ȝif it is þi wille : into þe Ioye of heouene heom do.
we foure þat muche of ore lif : i-liued habbeth in wo,
Graunte us one stude to ore martyrdom : and to ore burijngue al-so,
Þat we in one stude forto domes-day : to-gadere resten mote,
Þat þe sike of bodie and of soule : at us habben bote."
¶ Þo cam þare a uoyz, and seide : "Eustas, glad þou beo,
Al þat þou i-bede hast : god hath i-graunted þe." [folio 169b]
Þis tormentores nomen þis guode kniȝht : and is sones and is wif,
And duden heom in ane tonne of bras : to leten þare heore lijf;
Gret fuyr huy þare-aboute maden : bi-neoþe and a-boue: Page 402
And þare huy þoleden martyrdom : for ore louerdes loue.
¶ Þo þis fuyr hadde longue i-barnd : a-boute þe brasene tonne,
And þat bras was muche i-molte : and to-gadere i-ronne,
huy eoden ner, and þis holie men : wel faire liggen huy founde,
So ȝwijht schininde so eni milk : þe bodies hole and sounde
And þe soulene ore louerd bi-taiȝt— : for þare nas of cloþe ne of here,
Ne of no stude of alle heore bodies : þat of þe fuyre i-weommede were.
¶ Cristine men a-wayteden heore point : and stelen þare-to bi niȝhte
And þeos holie bodies ladden a-wey : and longue þare-to huy tiȝhte
And bureden heom faire in one stude : to ȝwuche huy weren i-brouȝt—
For ore louerd wolde þat it were : ase huy hadden him erore bi-souȝt.
An hondred ȝer i-passede weren : and twenti also
Aftur ore louerdes buyrtyme : þat huy weren to deþe ido.
Þus seint Eustas mid is wif : and mid is sones cam
To þe heiȝe Ioye of heouene : þoruȝ strong martyrdom.