Bright's Anglo-Saxon Reader/Ælfric's Homily on St. Gregory the Great

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[The text of this homily is here given according to MS. Gg. 3. 28 od the Camb. Univ. Lib. (C). The variants that are not marked are from MS. Bodl. 340 (=NE. F. 4. 10).]

Grēgōrius sē hālga pāpa, Engliscre ðēode apostol, on ðisum andwerdan dæge, æfter menigfealdum gedeorfum and hālgum gecnyrdnyssum, Godes rīce gesǣliglīce āstāh. Hē is rihtlīce Engliscre ðēode apostol, for ðan ðe hē þurh his rǣd and sande ūs fram dēofles biggengum ætbrǣd, and tō Godes gelēafan gebīgde. Manega hālige bēc cȳðað his drohtnunge and his hālige līf, and ēac 'Historia Anglōrum,' ðā ðe Ælfrēd cyning of Lēdene on Englisc āwende. Sēo bōc sprecð genōh swutelīce be ðisum hālgan were. Nū wylle wē sum ðing scortlīce ēow be him gereccan, for ðan ðe sēo foresǣde bōc nis ēow eallum cūð, þēah ðe hēo on Englisc āwend sȳ.

Þēs ēadiga pāpa Grēgōrius wæs of æðelborenre mǣgðe and ēawfæstre ācenned; Rōmānisce witan wǣron his māgas; his fæder hātte Gordiānus, and Fēlix, sē ēawfæsta pāpa, wæs his fīfta fæder. Hē wæs — swā swā wē cwǣdon — for worulde æðelboren, ac hē oferstāh his ædelborennysse mid hālgum ðēawum and mid gōdum weorcum geglengde. Grēgōrius is Grēcisc nama, sē swēgfh on Lēdenum gereorde 'Vigilantius,' þæt is on Englisc 'Wacolre.' Hē wæs swīðe wacol on Godes bebodum, ðā ðā hē sylf herigendlīce leofode, and hē wacollīce ymbe manegra ðēoda þearfe hogode and him līfes weg geswutelode. Hē wæs fram cilðāde on bōclīcum lārum getȳd, and hē on ðǣre lāre swā gesǣliglīce ðēah, þæt on ealre Rōmānabyrig næs nān his gelīca geðūht. Hē gecneordlǣhte æfter wīsra lārēowa gebīsnungum, and næs forgytol, ac gefæstnode his lāre on fæsþafelum gemynde. Hē hlōd ðā mid þurstigum brēoste ðā flōwendan lāre, ðe hē eft æfter fyrste mid hunigswēttre þrotan þæslīce bealcette. On geonglīcum gēarum, ðā ðā his geogoð æfter gecynde woruldðing lufian sceolde, þā ongann hē hine sylfne tō Gode geþēodan, and tō ēðele þæs ūpplīcan līfes mid eallum gewilnungum orðian. Witodlīce æfter his fæder forðsīðe, hē ārǣrde six munuclīf on Sicilialande, and þæt seofoðe binnon Rōmānabyrig getimbrode, on ðām hē sylf regollīce under abbodes hǣsum drohtnode. Þā seofon mynstru hē gelende mid his āgenum, and genihtsumlīce tō dæghwōmlīcum bigleofan gegōdode. Þone oferēacan his ǣhta hē āspende on Godes þearfum, and ealle his woruldlīcan æðelborennysse tō heofonlīcum wuldre āwende. Hē ēode ǣr his gecyrrednysse geond Rōmānaburh mid pællenum gyrlum, and scīnendum gymmum, and rēadum golde gefrætewod, ac æfter his gecyrrednysse hē ðēnode Godes ðearfum, hē sylf ðearfa, mid wācum wǣfelse befangen.

Swā fulfremedlīce hē drohtnode on anginne his gecyrrednysse, swā þæt hē mihte ðā gȳu bēon geteald on fulfremedra hālgena getele. Hē lufode forhæfednysse on mettum and on drence, and wæccan on dyndrigum gebedum; þǣr tō ēacan hē ðrōwade singāllīce untrumnysse, and swā hē stīðlīcor mid andwerdum untrumnyssum ofsett wæs, swā geornfullīcor þæs ēcan līfes gewilnode.

Þā undergeat sē pāpa, þe on þām tīman þæt apostolīcesetl gesæt, hū sē ēadiga Grēgōrius on hālgum mægnum ðēonde wæs, and hē ðā hine of ðǣre munuclīcan drohtnunge genam and him tō gefylstan gesette, on dīaconhāade geendebyrdne. Ðā gelamp hit æt sumum sǣle, swā swā gȳt for oft deð, þæt Englisce cȳpmenn brōhton heora ware tō Rōmānabyrig, and Grēgōrius ēode be þǣre strǣt tō ðām Engliscum mannum, heora ðing scēawigende. Þā geseah hē betwux ðām warum cȳpecnihtas gesette, þā wǣron hwītes līchaman and fægeres andwlitan menn, and æðellīce gefexode. Grēgorius ðā behēold þǣra cnapena wlite, and befrān of hwilcere þēode hī gebrōhte wǣron. Þā sǣde him man þæt hī of Englalande wǣron, and þæt ðǣre ðēode mennisc swā wlitig wǣre. Eft ðā Grēgōrius befrān, hwæðer þæs landes folc crīsten wǣre ðe hǣðen. Him man sǣde þæt hī hǣðen wǣron. Grēgōrius ðā of innweardre heortan langsume siccetunge tēah, and cwæð, 'Wālāwā, þæt swā fægeres hīwes menn sindon ðām sweartan dēofle underðēodde!' Eft hē āxode, hū ðǣre ðēode nama wǣre þe hī of cōmon. Him wæs geandwyrd, þæt hī Angle genemnode wǣron. Þā cwæð hē, 'Rihtlīce hī Angle gehātene, for ðan ðe hī engla wlite habbað, and swilcum gedafenað þæt hī on heofonum engla gefēran bēon.' Gȳt ðā Grēgōrius befrān, hū ðǣre scīre nama wǣre þe ðā cnapan of ālǣdde wǣron. Him man sǣde, þæt ðā scīrmen wǣron Dēre gehātene. Grēgōrius andwyrde, 'Wel hī sind Dēre gehātene, for ðan ðe hī sind fram graman generode, and tō Crīstes milðeortnysse gecȳgede.' Gȳt ðā hē befrān, 'Hū is ðǣre lēode cyninge gehāten?' Him wæs geandswarod, þæt sē cyninge Ælle gehāten wǣre. Hwæt ðā Grēgōrius gamenode mid his wordum tō ðām naman, and cwæð, 'Hit gedafenað þæt Allēlūia sȳ gesungen on ðām lande tō lofe þæs ælmihtigan Scyppendes.'

Grēgōrius ðā sōna ēode tō ðām pāpan þæs apostolīcan setles, and hine bæd þæt hē Angelcynne sume lārēowas āsende, ðe hī tō Crīste gebīgden, and cwæð, þæt hē sylf gearo wǣre þæt weorc tō gefremmenne mid Godes fultume, gif hit ðām pāpan swā gelīcode. Þā ne mihte sē pāpa þæt geðafian, þēah ðe hē eall wolde; for ðan þe ðā Rōmāniscan ceastergewaran noldon geðafian þæt swā getogen mann and swā geðunguen lārēow þā burh eallunge forlēte, and swā fyrlen wræcsīð genāme.

Æfter ðisum gelamp þæt micel manncwealm becōm ofer ðǣre Rōmāniscan lēode, and ǣrest ðone pāpan Pelāgium gestōd, and būton yldinge ādȳdde. Witodlīce æfter ðæs pāpan geendunge, swā micel cwealm wearð þæs folces, þæt gehwǣr stōdon āwēste hūs geond þā burh būton būgigendum. Þā ne mihte swā ðēah sēo Rōmānaburh būton pāpan wunian, ac eal folc ðone ēadigan Grēgōrium tō ðǣre geðingðe ānmōdlīce gecēas, þēah ðe hē mid eallum mægne wiðerigende wǣre. Grēgōrius ðā āsende ǣnne pistol tō ðām cāsere Maurīcium — sē wæs his gefædera — and hine hālsode and micclum bæd, þæt hē nǣfre ðām folce ne geðafode þæt hē mid þæs wurðmyntes wuldre geferod wǣre; for ðan ðe hē ondrēd þæt hē ðurh ðone micclan hād on woruldlīcum wuldre, þe hē ǣr āwearp, æt sumum sǣle bepǣht wurde. Ac ðæs cāseres hēahgerēfa, Germānus, gelæhte ðone pistol æt Grēgōries ǣrendracan, and hine tōtær; and siððan cȳdde þām cāsere þæt þæt folc Grēgōrium tō pāpan gecoren hæfde. Maurīcius ðā, sē cāsere, þæs Gode ðancode, and hine gehādian hēt. Hwæt ðā Grēgōrius flēames cēpte and on dymhofon ætlūtode; ac hine man gelæhte, and tēah to Pētres cyrcan, þæt hē ðǣre tō pāpan geh_algod wurde. Grēgōrius ðā, ǣr his hādunge, þæt Rōmānisce folc for ðām onsīgendum cwealme ðisum wordum tō behrēowsunge tihte:

'Mīne gebrōðra þā lēofostan, ūs gedafenað þæt wē Godes swingle, þe wē on ǣr tōwearde ondrǣdan sceoldon, þæt wē hūru nū andwerde and āfandode ondrǣdan. Geopenige ūre sārnys ūs infær sōðre gecyrrednysse, and þæt wīte ðe wē ðrōwiað tōbrece ūre heortan heardnysse. Efne nū ðis folc is mid swurde þæs heofonlīcan graman ofslegen, and gehwilce ǣnlīpige sind mid fǣrlīcum slihte āwēste. Nē sēo ādl ðām dēaðe ne forestæpð, ac gē gesēoð þæt sē sylfa dēað þǣre ādle yldinge forhradað. Sē geslagena bið mid dēaðe gegripen, ǣr ðan ðe hē tō hēofungum sōdre behrēowsunge gecyrran mæge. Hogiað for ðī hwilc sē becume ætforan gesihðe þæs strecan Dēman, sē ðe ne mæg þæt yfel bewēpan ðe hē gefremode. Gehwilce eorðbūgigende sind ætbrōdene, and heora hūs standað āwēste. Fæderas and mōdru bestandað heora bearna līc, and heora yrfenuman him sylfum tō forwyrde forestæppað. Uton eornestlīce flēon tō hēofunge sōðre dǣdbōte, þā hwīle ðe wē mōton, ǣr ðan þe sē fǣrlīcan slege ūs āstrecce. Uton gemunan swā hwæt swā wē dweligende āgylton, and uton mid wōpe gewītnian þæt þæt wē mānfullīce ādrugon. Uton forhradian Godes ansȳne on andetnysse, swā swā sē wītega ūs manað: 'Uton āhebban ūre heortan mid handum tō Gōde;' þæt is, þæt wē sceolon ðā gecnyrdnysse ūre bēne mid geaarnunge gōdes weorces ūp ārǣran. Hē forgifð trūwan ūre forhtunge, sē ðe þurh his wītengan clypað, "Nylle ic þæs synfullan dēað, ac ic wille þæt hē gecyrre and lybbe."

'Ne geortrūwige nān man hine sylfne for his synna micelnysse; witodlīce ðā ealdan gyltas Niniueiscre ðēode drēora daga behrēowsung ādilegode; and sē gecyrreda sceaða on his dēaðes cwyde þæs ēcan līfes mēde geearnode. Uton āwendan ūre heortan; hradlīce bið sē Dēma tō ūrum bēnum gebīged, gif wē fram ūrum ðwyrnyssym bēoð gerihtlǣhte. Uton standan mid gemāglīcum wōpan ongēan ðām onsīgendum swurde swā miccles dōmes. Sōðlīce gemāgnys is þām sōðan Dēman gecwēme, þēah ðe hēo mannum unðancwurðe sȳ, for ðan ðe sē ārfæsta and sē milðeorta God wile þæt wē mid gemāglīcum bēnum his milðeortnysse ofgān, and hē nele swā micclum swā wē geearniað ūs geyrsian. Be ðisum hē cwæð þurh his wītegan, 'Clypa mē on dæge ðīnre gedrēfednysse, and ic ðē āhredde, and ðū mǣrsast mē.' God sylf is his gewita þæt hē miltsian wile him tō clypigendum, sē ðe manað þæt wē him tō clypian sceolon. For ðȳ, mīne gebrōðra þā lēofostan, uton gecuman on ðām fēorðan dæge þysre wucan on ǣrnemerigen, and mid ēstfullum mōde and tēarum singan seofonfealde lētānias þæt sē streca Dēma ūs geārige, þonne hē gesihð þæt wē sylfe ūre gyltas wrecað.'

Eornostlīce ðā ðā micel menigu, ǣgðer ge prēosþādes ge munuchādes menn and þæt lǣwede folc, æfter ðæs ēadigan Grēgōries hǣse, on þone wōdnesdæg tō þām seofonfealdum lētānium gecōmon, tō ðām swīðe āwēdde sē foresǣda cwealm, þæt hundeahtatig manna, on ðǣre ānre tīde feallende, of līfe gewiton, ðā hwīle þe þæt folc ðā lētānias sungon. Ac sē hālga sācerd ne geswāc þæt folc tō manigenne, þæt hī ðǣre bēne ne geswicon oð þæt Godes miltsung þone rēðan cwealm gestilde.

Hwæt ðā Grēgōrius, siððan hē pāpanhād underfēng, gemunde hwæt hē gefyrn Angelcynne gemynte, and ðǣr rihte þæt luftȳme weorc gefremode. Hē nā tō ðæs hwon ne mihte þone Rōmāniscan bisceopstōl eallunge forlǣtan, ac hē āsende ōðre bydelas, geðungene Godes ðēowan, tō ðysum īglande, and hē sylf micclum mid his bēnum and tihtingum fylste, þæt ðǣre bedela bodung forðgenge, and Gode wæstmbǣre wurde. Þǣra bydela naman sind þus gecīgede: Augustīnus, Mellītus, Laurentius, Pētrus, Iōhannes, Iustus. Ðās lārēowas āsende sē ēadiga pāpa Grēgōrius, mid manegum ōðrum munecum, tō Angelcynne, and hī ðisum wordum tō ðǣre fare tihte: 'Ne bēo gē āfyrhte ðurh geswince þæs langsuman færeldes, oððe þurh yfelra manna ymbesprǣce; ac mid ealre ānrǣdnysse and wylme þǣre sōðan lufe þās ongunnenan ðing þurh Godes fultum gefremmað. And wite gē þæt ēower mēd on ðām ēcan edlēane miccle māre bið, swā micclum swā gē māre for Godes willan swincað. Gehȳrsumiað ēadmōdlīce on eallum ðingum Augustīne, þone ðe wē eōw tō ealdre gesetton: hit fremað ēowrum sāwlum swā hwæt swā gē be his mynegunge gefyllað. Sē ælmihtiga God þurh his gife ēow gescylde, and geunne mē þæt ic mōte ēoweres geswinces wæstm on ðām ēcan ēðele gesēon, swā þæt ic bēo gemēt swincan ne mæge, for ðon ðe ic wille swincan.' Augustīnus ðā mid his gefērum, þæt sind gerehte fēowertig wera, fērde be Grēgōries haēse, oð þæt hī tō ðisum īglande gesundfullīce becōmon.

On ðām dagum rīxode Æþelbryht cyning on Cantwarabyrig rīclīce, and his rīce wæs āstreht fram ðaēre micclan eā Humbre oð sūðsǣ. Augustīnus hæfde genumen wealhstōdas of Francena rīce, swā swā Grēgōrius him bebēad; and hē ðurh ðaēra wealhstōda mūð þām cyninge and his lēode Godes word bodade: hū sē mildheorta Haēlend mid his āgenre ðrōwunge þysne scyldigan middaneard ālȳsde, and gelēaffullum mannum heofonan rīces infær geopenode. Thā andwyrde sē cyinge Æðelbriht infær geopenode. Þā andwyrde sē cyninge Æðelbriht Augustīne, and cwæð þæt hē fægere word and behāt him cȳdde; and cwæð þæt hē ne mihte swā hrædlīce þone ealdan gewunan ðe hē mid Angelcynne hēold forlaētan; cwæð þæt hē mōste frēolīce ðā heofonlīcan lāre his lēode bodian, and þæt hē him and his gefērum bigleofan ðēnian wolde; and forgeaf him ðā wununge on Cantwarabyrig, sēo wæs easlles his rīces hēafodburh.

Ongann ðā Augustīnus mid his munecum to geefenlǣcenne þǣra apostola līf, mid singālum gebedum and wæccum and fæstenum Gode ðēowingende, and līfe word þām ðe hī mihton bodigende, ealle middanearlīce ðing, swā swā ælfremede, forhogigende; ðā þing āna þe hī tō bigleofan behōfedon underfōnde; be ðām ðe hī tǣhton sylfe lybbende, and for ðǣ sōðfæstnysse ðe hī bodedon gearowe wǣron ēhtnysse tō ðoligenne and dēaðe sweltan, gif hī ðorfton.

Hwæt ðā gelȳfdon for wel menige, and on Godes naman gefullode wurdon, wundrigende þǣre bilewitnysse heora unscæððigan līfes and [þǣre] swētnysse heora heofonlīcan lāre. Ðā æt nēxtan gelustfullode ðām cyninge Aeðelbrihte heora clǣne līf and heora wynsume behāt, þā sōðlīce wurdon mid manegum tācnum gesēðde; and hē ðā gelȳfende wearð gefullod, and micclum ðā crīstenan geārwurðode, and swā swā heofonlīce ceastergewaran lufode: nolde hē swā ðēah nǣnne tō crīstendōme genēadian, for ðan ðe hē ofāxode æt ðām lārēowum his hǣle þæt Crīstes ðēowdōm ne sceal bēon genēadad, ac sylfwilles. Ongunnon ðā dægwōmlīce for wel menige efstan tō gehȳrenne ðā hālgan bodunge, and forlēton heora hǣðenscipe, and hī sylfe geðēoddon Crīstes gelaðunge, on hine gelȳfende. Betwux ðisum gewende Augustīnus ofer sǣ tō ðām ercebisceope Ēthērium, and hē hine gehādode Angelcynne tō ercebisceope, swā swā him Grēgōrius ǣr gewissode. Augustīnus ðā gehādod cyrde tō his bisceopstōle, and āsende ǣrendracan tō Rōme, and cȳdde ðām ēadigan Grēgōrie þæt Angelcynn crīstendōm underfēng, and hē ēac mid gewritum fela ðinga befrān, hū him tō drohtnigenne wǣre betwux ðām nīghworfenum folce. Hwæt ðā Grēgōrius micclum Gode ðancode mid blissigendum mōde, þæt Angelcynne swā gelumpen wæs, swā swā hē sylf geornlīce gewilnode, and sende eft ongēan ǣrendracan tō ðām gelēaffullan cyninge Æþelbrihte, mid gewritum and menigfealdum lācum, and ōðre gewritu tō Augustīne, mid andswarum ealra ðǣra ðinga þe hē hine befrān, and hine ēac ðisum wordum manode.

'Brōðer mīn sē lēofosta, ic wāt þæt sē ælmihtiga God fela wundra þurh ðē þǣre ðēode ðe hē gecēas geswutelað þæs þū miht blissigan, and ēac ðē ondrǣdan: þū miht blissigan gewisslīce þæt ðǣre ðēode sāwla þurh ðā ȳttran wundra bēoð getogene tō ðǣre incundan gife; ondrǣd ðē swā ðēah þæt ðīn mōd ne bēo āhafen mid dyrstignysse on ðām tācnum þe God ðurh ðē gefremað, and þū ðonon on īdelum wuldre befealle wiðinnan, þonon ðe ðū wiðūtan on wurðmynte āhafen bist.'

Grēgōrius āsende ēac Augustīne hālige lāc on mæsserēafum, and on bōcum, and ðǣra apostola and martyra reliquias samod; and bebēad þæt his æftergengan symle ðone pallium and ðone ercehād æt ðām apostolīcan setle Rōmāniscre gelaðunge feccan sceoldon. Augustīnus gesette æfter ðisum bisceopas of his gefērum tō gehwilcum burgum on Engla ðēode, and hī on Godes gelēafan ðēonde ðurhwunodon oð ðisum dægðerlīcum dæge.

Sē ēadiga Grēgōrius gedihte manega hālige trahtbēc, and mis mīcelre gecnyrdnysse Godes folc tō ðām ēcan līfe gewissode, and fela wundra on his līfe geworhte, and wuldorfullīce þæs pāpan setles gewēold ðrēottȳne gēar and six mōnðas and tȳn dagas, and siððan on ðisum dæge gewāt tō ðām ēcan setle heofenan rīces, on ðām hē leofað mid Gode ælmihtigum ā on ēcnysse. Amen.