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.

65 [Leonard conf.]

SEint leonard þe confessour : a-londe eode her
Aftur ore louerdes buyrtyme : a-boute fif hundred ȝer.
his freond and is cunnes-men : þe gretteste maystres were
In þe kyngus house of Fraunce : grettore none þare nere;
And seint leonard al-so was : a gret maister with þe king; Page  457
Of þat he him bidde wolde : he wernde him no-þing.
he grauntede him alle þe prisones : þat he fore bidde wolde,
Aftur is bone ope al is lond : þat men him*. [al. hem] deliueri scholde.
¶ Þis holie man wende a-boute faste : prisones forte glade;
And ȝwane he fond ani of luyte gult : deliuered sone he made.
For-þi Men him cleopeden "prisones louerd" : and ȝuyt men doth al-so,
For non oþur halewe for prisones : so fair miracle nath i-do.—
Þe king of Fraunce him bi-souȝhte : ȝeorne ope al is miȝhte
Þat he scholde with him beo : bi dayes and bi nyȝhte,
For-te þare fulle ani bischopriche : þat he him miȝhte bi-take.
Seint leonard nolde it graunti nouȝht : ake outriȝht it gan for-sake,
And wende forth a-ȝein is wille : and bad him habbe guod day.
Formest he wende to Orlians : to prechie godes lay.
¶ Longue he prechede þare-a-boute : þat folk for-to lere;
And sethþe he wende to Aquitayne : for-to prechie þere.
Eche daye he wolde at toune beo : to prechi godes lawe,
And eche niȝhte he wende to þe wode : ȝwane it to eue gan drawe,
In is oresones to beon al one— : ac so sone so it was day,
In-to þe contreye he wolde a-boute : and prechi godes lay.— [folio 188b]
¶ Þe king hadde in þulke wode : a tour of grete bolde,
Þat he miȝhte soiourni þer : ȝwane he euere wolde.
Þe Quene was with childe grete : þudere men gonne hire bringue,
Ȝif heo þe betere miȝhte for solas : ouer-come hire childingue.
Þo he was in trauail : heo ne miȝhte ouer-come it nouȝht;
So sore heo pinede þat heo was : wel neiȝh to deþe i-brouȝht.
¶ Þe king, and alle his, gret deol maden : þat crie men heorde hem wide;
And þo seint leonard herde þar-of : he gan heorkni and a-bide.
Þo he i-heorde þat it was of men : þudere he gan wende,
Ȝif god wolde ani a-mendement : þoruȝ is bone hire*. [al. om.] sende.
To þe king he wende a-non : and axede ȝwat him were.
"beo glad," he seide, "for of þi Quene : ne haue þou none fere!"
"A, Merci, sire," quath þe king : "al mi lond ichulde*. [orig. ichulle] ȝyue
ho-so miȝhte [it] þar-to bringue : þat þe Quene moste liue!
¶ For of þe childe ne rouȝhte i nouȝht : miȝhte ich habbe hire lif." Page  458
"Sire," seide þis holie Man : "lat me i-seo þi wif,
Ȝif ich hire may to liue bringue : and þat child al-so,
Þoruȝ mine louerdes swete grace— : nere it wel i-do?"
Þis holie Man was to þe Quene i-brouȝht : þat lai ȝare to deþe;
So clene heo was with pine ouer-come : þat vnneþe heo miȝhte breþe.
¶ Seint leonard sat a-doun a-kne : and is preiere made,
Þat ore louerd hire deliueri scholde : hire freond forto glade,
And þat heo moste to liue come : and al-so þat child þere,
Þat Men miȝhten seo þat þe grace : of ore louerd muche were.
¶ Þe Quen a-non þoruȝh is bone : deliuered was of childe,
In guod lif, and hire child al-so— : þare was ore louerd wel milde!
¶ Þo þe king i-say þe Quene sauf : and þat child al-so,
For ioye he nuste ȝwat he miȝhte : with þat holie man do;
he bad he scholde of al is guod : nime ȝwat he wolde.
Seint leonard seide, "ne kepe i nouȝht : of þi seluer ne of þi guolde,
Bote a place þat ich mowe : in godes seruise inne liue."
"Certes," seide þe king, "and ichulle : al þis wode þe ȝiue."
"Ne kepe ich," quath seint leonard : "nouȝht more of þe i-bide
Bote þat ich may in one niȝhte : with min Asse ouer-ride."
¶ "Ich graunti it þe," seide þe king : "ne wende þou no so wide,
Þei heo were quickore þane ani best : þat is bi þis wode-side."
Þis guode man a-boute þis wode wende : opo[n] is Asse wel stille
And bi-rod al-so muche place : ase it was is wille.
Þe king, þo it i-marked was : liet wal makie a-boute,
And Aftur is wille he liet a-rere : noble hous and proute.
¶ Þare seint leonard Monk bi-cam : ase it an Abbeye were,
And mani oþere he nam in to him : ore louerdes lawe to arere.
he bi-gan þare a religion : of ordre swiþe strongue;
Clerkus þat wolden guode men beo : to him he gan hem fongue.
Nier þane a gret Mile wei : no watur nadden huy þere; [folio 189]
Seint leonard hopede amendi þat : ȝif godes wille it were :
he bi-gan openi þe eorþe a luyte : and is oresones he made.
A swiþe fair welle þare sprong up : þat þare-inne men miȝhte wade.
Þo miȝhten huy habbe watur i-novȝ : þe ȝwile þat hous i-laste,
Þoruȝȝ godes grace and seint leonardes bone : þat heore miȝhte*. [on the margin.] þare|to casten.— Page  459
¶ "prisones louerd," seint leonard : ful wide i-cleopud was:
Ore louerd him schewede fayr miracle : for some þingue it was*. [al. & noȝt for noȝt it nas]!
For ȝwane prisones criden to him : manie with dreorie chere,
heore biendes borsten alle a-to : and huy deliurede were;
Manie comen to þonki him : and heore feoteres with heom bere,
And manie to serui ore louerd crist : bi-lefden with him þere.
¶ Seue Men with alle heore freond : þat weren of is kunne,
Þo huy heorden of is guodnesse telle : huy solden lond and wunne,
And wenden and woneden þare with him : holi lif to lede;
Þis holie Man of godes lawe : gan heom wissi and rede.
So fair Miracle ase of him was : no man nouȝwere nuste;
Mani sik Man þare hadde bote : þat to him wel truste.—
¶ Atþe laste þo*. [MS. þe] he scholde heonne fare : longue at-fore he it wuste;
his breþren he cleopede alle to him : and wel mildeliche hem custe,
And wende to þe Ioye of heouene : þo god aftur him sende.
Gret deol alle is breþren maden : þo he þannes wende.
Ȝif ore louerd fair Miracle dude : on eorþe bi is liue,
Aftur þat he was heonne i-wend : he dude swuche fiue.
¶ For miracle þat þare was : muche folk þudere gan falle,
Þat þe place ne miȝhte nouȝht : bi manie holden alle.
¶ Þat folk cride on ore louerd ȝeorne : þre daiȝes and þre niȝht,
Þat he scholde, ȝif is wille were : þar-of don insiȝht.
huy i-seiȝen þo þe contreie al-a-boute : i-heoled al mid snowe,
And a place a-midde fair and grene : Men miȝhten þaron mowe.
Þo iseien huy þat ore louerd wolde : þat þis guode man leiȝe þere:
huy lieten him bere þudere a-non : and a wel fair churche a-rere;
Þat al þe folk þat þudere cam : ne miȝhte fulle þe place
Þat ore louerd him hadde i-chose : þoruȝ is swete grace.—
¶ Þe scherreue of leouns : feteres made strongu[e]
And in þe hexte tour of þe castel : þare he liet heom*. [MS. heom heom] hongue,
So heiȝe, þat ech man heom miȝhte i-seo : þat bi þe weyȝe scholde wiende,
And euerech man þat þar-on were : þe more him for-to schende;
Þat Men þat schuuych torment iseiȝen : þe more scholden drede,
Laste huy weren þaron i-brouȝht : to don ani mis-dede. Page  460
So þat he nam ane trewe Man : for a luyte lesingue
And dude him binde swiþe faste : and in þulke feoteres bringue.
With pine and sorewe þis seli man was : almest i-brouȝt to deþe;
To seint leonard he cride ȝeorne : ase he miȝhte speke onneþe.
¶ Seint leonard cam a niȝht to him : in swiþe ȝwite wede:
"For þou hast to me ȝeorne i-bede : here ich am," he seide; [folio 189b]
"Þine strongue feteres bring with þe : ne haue þou none drede,
And a-ris up sone a[nd] cum forth with me : for henne ichulle þe lede."*. [vv. 115 & 116 al. transposed.]
¶ Op a-ros þis selie man : with wel glade chere;
his feteres borsten sone a-two : for huy bi-comen ful sere,
And seint leonard ladde him forth : ase he is felawe were,
To þe churche þat he inne lay : and hanguede is feteres þere.
Euere ase huy bi þe weye eoden : þis holie man with him tolde,
Ase þey he hadde is felawe i-beo : bi þe hond he gan him holde.
Þe schirreue cam an oþur day : and is feteres souȝhte:
he saiȝh þat he tolde luyte of him : þat heom þudere brouȝhte.*. [al. 2 vv. more.]—
¶ A luþur Man in gret power : in an oþur stude was also,
Ane gultelese Man he hadde i-nome : and in strong prisone ido.
he heorde telle of seint leonard : þat þe prisones help was,
And þouȝhte fram him is prisun wite : with som quoynte cas:
he liet maken of lim and ston : a wonderliche deop put,
And wit strongue dores of Ire and stiel : swyþe faste he was i-dut;
On-ouewarde þe fallinde dore : þo þe guode Man was þar-inne,
A strong ȝwuchche of Ire he liet maken : with wel quoynte ginne:
Þare-inne he dude staleworþe Men : þane prison for-to wite,
Þat seint leonard ne scholde neiȝh him come : bote he were underȝite.
Þe selie Man þat bi-neoþe was : in so strong warde i-brouȝt,
Criede ȝeorne on seint leonard : þat he ne fur-ȝete him nouȝht.
¶ A nyȝht cam þis holie man : And þe ȝwuchche he fond þere:
Sone he ȝweluede hire op þe doun : and heom þat þare-inne were,
And sethþe he brac þe Irene dore : and ase a maister he wende a-doun,
with swyþe gret lyȝht of heouene : and spac with þat prisoun:
"Slepestþou?" he seide, "ich am i-come : þat þou hast i-cleopud so, Page  461
Godes desciple leonard. : ȝwat woltþou habbe i-do?"
"louerd," seide þis selie man : "al-so wis ich bidde þe
Ase ich am gultles here i-do : þat þou helpe me."
A-non-riȝht þis holie Man : þe Gyues he to-brac,
And bi-tweone is Armes he bar him forth : no man a-ȝein him ne spac,
And so hom to is owene hous : bi-twene is Armes him bar,
he bad him beon a guod man : and sette him a-doun þar.
¶ Þis luþere men wit alle hore ginnes : fiebleliche habbuth a-guonne,
huy miȝhten hangen up heore Ax : and leuen weork*. [a. l. w. al. om.] : for luyte huy þare wonne!—
¶ A luþer man in Alemaygne : an onkouth pilegrim nam
And brouȝhte him into strong prisoun : and ȝaf him swiþe hard dom,
Þat bote his freond him wolden out bugge : he scholde bi-leue þere.
Þis selie Man nadde no freond : and Maude wel reulich chere,
he bad for seint leonardes loue : þat he merci of him hadde;
And he nolde him oþur merci do : bote into þat strong prisone him ladde.
¶ To þe louerd of þat Castel : seint leonard a-niȝht cam
And [hiet] him late gon is seriaunt : þat he with vnriȝhte nam.
An oþur niȝht eft-sone he cam : and þe þridde niȝht also, [folio 190]
And hiet him deliuri his seriaunt. : ake neuere he nolde it do.
¶ Seint leonard ladde þis selie man : fram þe prisone a-mong heom alle;
Þe heiȝe tour of þat Castel a-non aftur him : a-doun gan falle
And a-slov al þat folk þat þare was : bote þene louerd one;
Ake boþe is leggues breken a-two : with fallingue of ane stone,
Þat neuereft ne miȝhte he beon hol : noþur of flechs ne of bone;
Croked he was al is lif : he nuste to ȝwam mene is mone.—
¶ Also in Brutayne was a knyȝht : þat in strong prisone was i-brouȝht;
To seint leonard he cride faste : þat he ofte hadde i-souȝht.
Streite wardeines ouer him þare weren : boþe nyȝht and day,
Þare he with strongue feteres : in prisone i-bounde lay.
Seint leonard a-mong alle þe wardeins : in-to þe prisone cam
Ase a maister þoruȝ heom alle : þisne selie knyȝht he nam,
his biendes he brac formest a-two : and ladde him bi þe hond
A-mong alle is wardeins : hom in-to is owene lond;
¶ his feoteres he tok him in is hond : þat he forth with him bar Page  462
To seint leonardes Chapele : and a-mong oþure hieng heom þar.
Þo ne dorste non of þe wardeines : a word speke with mouþe.
Swuch a man may wel mayster hote : þat so heom a-gaste couþe!
Þe Miracles þat he for prisones dude : ne may no man telle.
Nov god for þe bone of seint leonard : us schilde fram þe pine of helle.