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and their clothing and limbs torn to the way. Now the priest was young, pieces by the thorns as they endeavoured undaunted, and bold, and of a powerful to escape from him ; by degrees they and active frame of body. However, he were purged of their sins, and became hesitated when the sounds, which seemed lighter, so that they could run faster, to proceed from troops on the march, until at last they escaped into a very first reached his ears, and began to pleasant plain, filled with purified souls, consider whether he should take to where their torn members and garments fight to avoid being laid hold of and were immediately restored ; and here discourteously stripped by the worthless Alberic saw monks and martyrs, and camp followers, or manfully stand on his good people, in great joy. He then defence if any one molested him. Just proceeded through the habitations of the then he espied four medlar-trees in a blessed. In the midst of a beautiful field at a good distance from the path, plain, covered with flowers, rose the and determined to seek shelter behind mountain of paradise, with the tree at them, as fast as he could, until the the top. After having conducted the cavalry had passed. But as he was visitor through the seven heavens, the running he was stopped by a man of last of which was held by Saturn, they enormous stature, armed with a massive brought him to a wall, and let him look club, who, raising his weapon above his over, but he was forbidden to tell what head, shouted to him, “Stand! Tak he had seen on the other side. They not a step farther !” The priest, frozen. subsequently carried him through the with terror, stood motionless, leaning on different regions of the world, and his staff. The gigantic club-bearer also showed him many extraordinary things, stood close to him, and, without offering and, among the rest, some persons sub to do him any injury, quietly waited for jected to purgatorial punishments in dif- the passage of the troop. And now, ferent places on the earth.
behold, a great crowd of people came by on foot, carrying on their heads and
shoulders sheep, clothes, furniture, and THE VISION OF WALKELIN.
moveables of all descriptions, such as
robbers are in the habit of pillaging. Odericus Vitalis, Ecclesiastical History, Book A! were making great lamentations, VIII. ch. 17. Tr. by Thomas Forester.
and urging one another to hasten their I consider that I ought not to suppress steps. Among them the priest recog. and pass over in silence what happened nized a number of his neighbours who to a certain priest of the diocese of had lately died, and heard them bewail. Lisieux in the beginning of January. In ing the excruciating sufferings with which a village called Bonneval there was a they were tormented for their evil deeds priest named Walkelin who served the They were followed by a troop of corpsechurch of St. Aubin of Anjou, who from | bearers, who were joined by the giant a monk became bishop and confessor. already mentioned. These carried as At the commencement of the month of many as fifty biers, each of which was January, 1091, this priest was summoned borne by two bearers. On these were in the night-time, as the occasion re- seated a number of men of the size of quired, to visit a sick man who lived at dwarfs, but whose heads were as large the farthest extremity of his parish. As as barrels. Two Ethiopians also carried he was pursuing his solitary road home an immense trunk of a tree, to which a wards, far from any habitation of man, poor wretch was rudely bound, who, in ne heard a great noise like the tramp of his tortures, filled the air with fearful a numerous body of troops, and thought cries of anguish ; for a horrible demon within himself that the sounds proceeded sat on the same trunk and goaded his from the army of Robert de Belésme on loins and back with red-hot spurs until their march to lay siege to the castle of the blood strcamed from them. Wal. Courci. The moon, being in her eighth kelin distinctly recognized in this wretch day in the constellation of the Ram, shed the assassin of Stephen the priest, and a clear light, so that it was easy to find was witness to the intolerable tortures
be suffered for the innocent blood he the children of the kingdom triumph in shed two years before, since which he the joys which attend perfect holiness. had died without penance for so foul a Nothing that is unrighteous is done crime.
there ; nothing that is polluted can enter Then followed a crowd of women who there ; no uncleanness, no impurity, is seemed to the priest to be innumerable. there found. All the dross of carnal They were mounted on horseback, riding desires is therefore consumed in the fires in female fashion, with women's saddles of purgatory, and purified by sufferings which were stuck with red-hot nails. of various degrees as the Judge eternal The wind often lifted them a cubit from ordains. So that as a vessel cleansed their saddles, and then let them drop from rust and thoroughly polished is laid again on the sharp points. Their up in a treasury, so the soul, purified haunches thus punctured with the burn- from all taint of sin, is admitted into ing nails, and suffering horrible torments Paradise, where it enjoys perfect happi. from the wounds and the scorching heat, ness unalloyed by fear or care. the women pitiably ejaculated, Woe! The priest, trembling at these appalwoe! and made open confession of the ling scenes, still rested on his staff, exsins for which they were punished, pecting apparitions still more terrible. undergoing in this manner fire and stench And now there followed an immense and unutterable tortures for the obscene army in which no colour was visible, but allarements and filthy delights to which only blackness and fiery flames. All they had abandoned themselves when were mounted on great war-horses, and living among men.
In this company fully armed as if they were prepared for the priest recognized several noble immediate battle, and they carried black ladies
, and beheld the palfreys and banners. There were seen Richard and mules with the women's litters of others Baldwin, the sons of Count Gilbert, who who were still alive.
were lately dead, with so many others The priest stood fixed to the spot at that I cannot enumerate them. Among this spectacle, his thoughts deeply en the rest was Landri of Orbec, who was gaged in the reflections it suggested. killed the same year, and who accosted Presently
, however, he saw pass before the priest, and, uttering horrible cries, him a numerous company of clergy and charged him with his commissions, ur. monks, with their rulers and judges, the gently begging him to carry a message bishops and abbots carrying crosiers into his wife. Úpon this the troops who their hands. The clergy and bishops marched before and after him interrupted wore black copes, and the abbots and his cries, and said to the priest : "Believe monks cowls of the same hue. They all not Landri, for he is a deceiver.” This groaned and wailed, and some of them man had been a viscount and a lawyer, called to Walkelin, and implored him, and had raised himself from a very low in the name of their former friendship, origin by 'his talents and merit. He to pray for them. The priest reported decided causes and affairs according to that he saw among them many who his own pleasure, and perverted judgWere highly esteemed, and who, in ment for bribes, actuated more by avarice human estimation, were now associated and duplicity than by a sense of what with the saints in heaven. He recognized was right. He was therefore justly in the number Hugh, Bishop of Lisieux, devoted to flagrant punishment, and and those eminent 'abbots, Manier of publicly denounced by his associates az Evroult and Gerbert of Fontenelles, a liar. ' In this company no one flattered with many others whose names I either him, and no one had recourse to his
or have no desire to publish. cunning loquacity. He, who while it Human judgment is often fallible, but was in his power had shut his ears to the eye of God seeth the inmost thoughts; the cries of the poor, was now in his for man looks only to outward appear- torments, treated as an execrable wretch ances, God searcheth the heart. In the who was unfit to be heard. realms of eternal bliss the clear light of Walkelin having seen these countless an endless day is shed on all around, and I troops of soldiers pass, on reflection,
said within himself: “Doubtless these once the renowned steward of William are Harlequin's people ; I have often de Breteuil and his father William, Earl heard of their being seen, but I laughed of Hereford. While in the world ! at the stories, having never had any abandoned myself to evil deeds and certain proofs of such things. Now, plunder, and was guilty of more crimes indeed, I assuredly behold the ghosts of than can be recounted. But, above all, the departed, but no one will believe me I am tormented for my usuries. I once when I tell the tale, unless I can exhibit lent money to a poor man, and received to mortal eyes some tangible proof of as security a mill which belonged to him, what I have seen. I will therefore and, as he was not able to discharge the mount one of the horses which are fol. debt, I kept the mortgage property and lowing the troop without any riders, and left it to my heirs, disinheriting my will take it home and show it my neigh- debtor's family. You see that I have in bours to convince them that I speak my mouth a bar of hot iron from the the truth.” Accordingly, he forthwith mill, the weight of which I feel to be snatched the reins of a black steed; but more oppressive than the tower of the animal burst violently from his hold, Rouen. . Tell, therefore, my wife Bea: and galloped away among the troops of trice, and my son Roger, to afford me Ethiopians. The priest was disappointed relief by speedily restoring to the right at the failure of his enterprise ; but he heir the pledge, from which they have was young, bold, and light-hearted, as received more than I advanced." The well as agile and strong. He therefore priest replied: "William de Glos died stationed himself in the middle of the long ago, and this is a commission which path, prepared for action, and, the mo- no Christian man can undertake. I ment a horse came up, laid his hand know neither who you are, nor who are upon it. The horse stopped, ready for your heirs. If I should venture to tell him to mount without difficulty, at the such a tale to Roger de Glos, or his same time snorting from his nostrils a brothers, or to their mother, they would cloud of vapour as large as a full-grown laugh me to scorn, as one out of his pak. The priest then placed his left wits.” However, William continued foot in the stirrup, and, seizing the reins, still to persist in his eamest entreaties, laid his hand on the saddle ; but he and furnished him with many sure and instantly felt that his foot rested on red well-known tokens of his identity. The hot iron, and the hand with which he priest understood very well all he heard, held the bridle was frozen with insupport. but pretended not to comprehend it. At able cold which penetrated to his vitals. length, overcome by importunities, he
While this was passing, four terrific consented to what the knight requested, knights came up, and, uttering horrible and engaged to do what was required. cries, shouted to him : “ What do you Upon this, William repeated again all want with our horses? You shall come he had said, and impressed it upon his with us.
No one of our company had companion during a long conversation. injured you, when you began laying The priest, however, began to consider your hands on what belongs to us. that he durst not convey to any one the The priest, in great alarm, let go the execrable message of a damned spirit. horse, and three of the knights attempting “It is not right,” he said, “to publish to seize him, the fourth said to them : such things; I will on no account tell to “Let him go, and allow me to speak any one what you require of me." Upon with him, for I wish to make him the this, the knight was filled with race, bearer of a message to my wife and chil- and, seizing him by the throat, dragged dren." He then said to the priest, who him along on the ground, uttering ter. stood trembling with fright : Listen to rible imprecrations. The prisoner fek me, I beseech you, and tell my wife the hand which grasped him burning what I say.” The priest replied: “I like fire, and in this deep extremity cried know not who you are, or who is your aloud : “Help me, o holy Mary, the wife." The knight then said: “I am glorious mother of Christ !” No sooner William de Glos, son of Barno, and was hnd he invoked the compassionate mothes
than the aid of the Son of God was suffering for the grievous sins with which afforded him, according to the Almighty's I was burdened. It is flaming armour disposing will For a horseman imme- which you see us bear, it poisons us with diately rode up, with a sword in his right an infernal stench, weighs us down with hand, and, brandishing it over Roger's its intolerable weight, and scorches us head, exclaimed: “Will ye kill my with heat which is inextinguishable ! brother, ye accursed ones? Loose him Hitherto I have been tormented with and begone! The knights instantly unutterable sufferings, but when you Bed and followed the black troops. were ordained in England, and sang
When they had all passed by, the your first mass for the faithful departed, norseman, remaining alone in the road your father Ralph was released from with Walkelin, said to him, “Do you Purgatory, and my shield, which was not know me?” The priest answered, great torment to me, fell from my arn, * No." The other said: "I am Robert, I still, as you see, carry a sword, but I son of Ralph le Blond, and your bro- confidently expect to be relieved of that ther." The priest was much astonished burden in the course of a year." at this unexpected occurrence, and much While the knight was thus talking, troubled at what he had seen and heard, the priest, attentively listening to him, as we have just related, when the knight espied a mass of clotted gore, in the began to remind him of a number of shape of a man's head, at the other's things which happened in their youth, heels, round his spurs, and in great ind to give him many well-known tokens. amazement said to him : “Whose is The priest had a clear recollection of all this clotted blood which clings to your that was told him, but not daring to spurs ?” The knight replied : “It is confess it, he stoutly denied all know. not blood, but fire ; and it weighs me ledge of the circumstances. At length down more than if I had Mount St. the knight said to him: “I am astonished Michael to carry. Once I used sharp at your hardness of heart and stupidity; and bright spurs when I was hurrying is it was I who brought you up on your shed blood, and now I justly carry this parents' death, and loved you more than enormous weight at my heels, which is any one living. I sent you to school in so intolerably burdensome, that I am France, supplied you plentifully. with unable to express the severity of my clothes and money, and did all in my sufferings. Men ought to reflect on power to benefit you in every way. You these things without ceasing, and to seem now to have forgotten all this, and dread and beware, lest they, for their will not even condescend to recognize sins, should undergo such chastisements. me." At length the priest, after being I am not permitted, my brother, to conabundantly furnished with exact particu- verse longer with you, for I must hasten lars, became convinced by such certain to follow this unhappy troop. Remember proofs, and, bursting into tears, openly me, I pray you, and give the succour of admitted the truth of what he had heard. your prayers and alıns.
In one year His brother then said: “You deserve after Palm Sunday I trust to be saved, to die, and to be dragged with us to and by the mercy of the Creator released partake of the torments we suffer, from all my torments. And you, consider because you have rashly laid hands on well your own state, and prudently things which belong to our reprobate mend your life, which is bleinished by crew; no other living man ever dared many vices, for know, it will not be to make such an attempt. But the mass very long. Now be silent, bury in your you sang to-day has saved you from own bosom the things you have so un. perishing. It is also permitted me thus cxpectedly seen and heard, and do not to appear to you, and unfold to you my venture to tell them to any one for three wretched condition. After I had con days.' ferred with you in Normandy, I took With these words the knight hastened leave of you and crossed over to England, away. The priest was seriously ill for a where, by the Creator's order, my life whole week; as soon as he began to ended, and I have undergone intense recover his strength, be went to Lisicus and related al that had happened to serve God quyetly with more devoBishop Gilbert in regular order, and cyon; and I counseyled hym to sayle obtained, on his petition, the salutary into an ylonde ferre in the see, beremedies he needed. He afterwards sydes the Mountaynes of Stones, whiche lived in good health almost fifteen years, is ful well knowen, and than he made and I heard what I have written, and hym redy and sayled thyder with his more which has escaped my memory, monkes. And whan he came thyder, from his own mouth, and saw the mark he lyked that place full well, where he on his face left by the hand of the and his monkes served our Lorde full terrible knight. I have committed the devoutly." And than Beryne sawe in account to writing for the edification of a visyon that this monke Meruoke was my readers, that the righteous may be sayled ryght ferre eestwarde into the confirmed in their good resolutions, and see more than thre dayes saylynge, and the wicked repent of their evil deeds. sodeynly to his semynge there came a
derke cloude and overcovered them,
that a grete parte of the daye they sawe FROM THE LIFE OF ST. no lyght; and as our Lorde wold, the BRANDAN.
cloude passed awaye, and they sawe a Edited by Thomas Wright.
full fayr ylond, and thyderwarde they
drewe. În that ylonde was joye and Saynt Brandon, the holy man, was a myrth ynough, and all the erth of that monke, and borne in Yrlonde, and there ylonde shyned as bryght as the sonne, he was abbot of an hous wherein were a and there were the fayrest trees and thousand monkes, and there he ladde a herbes that ever ony man sawe, and full strayte and holy lyfe, in grete there were many precyous stones shyn. penaunce and abstynence, and he ynge bryght, and every herbe there governed his monkes ful vertucusly. was ful of fygures, and every tree ful And than within shorte tyme after, there of fruyte; so that it was a glorious came to hym an holy abbot that hyght sight, and an hevenly joye to abyde Beryne to vysyte hym, and eche of them there. And than there came to them was joyfull of other; and than saynta fayre yonge man, and full curtoysly Brandon began to tell to the abbot he welcomed them all, and called every Beryne of many wonders that he had monke by his name, and sayd that seen in dyverse londes. And whan they were much bounde to prayse the Beryne herde that of saynt Brandon, he name of our Lorde Jesu, that wold of began to sygh, and sore wepte. And his grace shewe to them that glorious saynt Brandon comforted him in the place, where is ever day, and never best wyse he coude, sayenge, “Ye come night, and this place is called paradyse hyther for to be joyfull with me, and terrestre. But by this ylonde is an therefore for Goddes love leve your other ylonde wherein no man may mournynge, and tell me what mervayles come. And this yonge man sayd to ye have seen in the grete see occean, them, “Ye have ben here halfe a yere that compasseth all the worlde aboute, without meet, drynke, or slepe." And and all other waters comen out of hym, they supposed that they had not ben whiche renneth in all the partyes of the there the space of half an houre, 50
mery and joyfull they were there. And And_than Beryne began to tell to the yonge man tolde them that this is saynt Brandon and to his monkes the the place that Adam and Eve dwelte mervaylles that he had seen, full sore in fyrst, and ever should have dwelled wepynge, and sayd, “I have a sone, his here, yf that they had not broken the name is Meruoké, and he was a monke commaundement of God. And than of grete fame, whiche had grete desyre the yonge man brought them to they to seke aboute by shyppe in dyverse shyppe agayn, and sayd they might no countrees, to fynde a solytary place lenger abyde there ; and whan they wherein he myght dwell secretly out were all shypped, sodeynly this yonge of the besynesse of the worlde, for to man vanysshed away out of theyr sight.