Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/169

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OP VENERABLE BEDE. 97

under the government of the reverend and religious servant of Christ, Witmaer, whose acquaintance with every kind of learning, both sacred and profane, was equally extensive, he made a gift to it for ever of a por- tion of land of ten hides, which he had received from King Aldfrid, in the village called Daltun.

§ 16. But Ceolfrid, having now practised a long course ceoifrid re- of regular discipline, which the prudent father had laid to Rome. ^"^ down for himself and his brethren on the authority of the elders; and having shown the most incomparable skill both in praying and chanting, in which he daily exercised himself, together with the most wonderful energy in punishing the wicked, and modesty in consoling the weak ; having also observed such abstinence in meat and drink, and such humility in dress, as are uncommon among rulers ; saw himself now old and full of days, and unfit any longer, from his extreme age, to prescribe to his brethren the proper forms of spiritual exercise by his life and doctrine. Having, therefore, deliberated long within himself, he judged it expedient, having first im- pressed on the brethren the observance of the rules which St. Benedict had given them, and thereby to choose for themselves a more efficient abbot out of their own number, to depart, himself, to Rome, where he had been in his youth with the holy Benedict ; that not only he might for a time be free from all worldly cares before his death, and so have leisure and quiet for reflection, but that they also, having chosen a younger abbot, might naturally, in consequence thereof, observe more accu- rately the rules of monastic discipline.

§ 17. At first all opposed, and entreated him on their His depar- knees and with many tears, but their solicitations were to no purpose. Such was his eagerness to depart, that on the third day after he had disclosed his design to the brethren, he set out upon his journey. For he feared, what actually came to pass, that he might die before he reached Rome ; and he was also anxious that neither

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