Bright's Anglo-Saxon Reader/Ælfric's Life of King Oswald

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[From Ælfric's Lives of the Saints, according to MS. Cotton Julius E. 7. Brit. Mus.]

Æfter ðam ðe Augustīnus tō Englalande becōm, wæs sum æðele cyning, Ōswold gehāten, on Norðhymbra lande, gelȳfed swȳþe on God. Sē fērde on his iugoðefram his frēondum and māgum tō Scotlande on sǣ, and þǣr sōna wearð gefullod, and his gefēran samod þe mid him sīþedon. Betwux þām wearð ofslagen Ēadwine his ēam, Norðhymbra cynincg, on Crīst gelȳfed, fram Brytta cyninge, Ceadwalla gecīged, and wēgen his æftergengan binnan twām gēarum; and sē Ceadwalla slōh ad tō sceame tūcode þā Norðhymbran lēode æfter heora hlāfordes fylle, oðe þæt Ōswold sē ēadiga his yfelnysse ādwǣscte. Ōswold him cōm tō, and him cēnlīce wið feaht mid lȳtlum weode, ac his gelēafa hine getrymde, and Crīst him gefylste tō his fēonda slege. Ōswold þā ārǣrde āne rōde sōna Gode tō worðmynte, ǣr þan þe hē tō ðām gewinne cōme, and clypode tō his gefērum, 'Uton feallan tō ðǣre rōde, and þone Ælmihtigan biddan þæt hē ūs āhredde wið þone mōdigan fēond þe ūs āfyllan wile. God sylf wāt geare þæt wē winnað rihtlīce wið þysne rēðan cyning tō āhreddenne ūre lēode.' Hī fēollon þā ealle mid Ōswolde cyning on gebedum; and syþþan on ōðerne mergen ēodon tō þām gefeohte, and gewunnon þǣr sige, swā swā sē Eallwealdend heom ūðe for Ōswoldes gelēafan; and ālēdon heora fȳnd, þone mōdigan Cedwallan mid his micclan werode, þe wēnde þæt him ne mihte nān weod wiðstandan.

Sēo ylce rōd siððan, ðe Ōswold þǣr ārǣrde, on wurðmynte þǣr stōd. And wurdon fela gehǣlde untrumra manna and ēac swilce nȳtena þurh ðā ylcan rōde, swā swā ūs rehte Bēda. Sum man fēoll on īse, þæt his earm tōbærst, and læg þā on bedde gebrocod for þearle, oð þæt man him fette of ðǣre foresǣdon rōde sumne dǣl þæs mēoses þe hēo mid beweaxan wæs, and sē ādliga sōna on slǣpe wearð gehǣled on ðǣre ylcan nihte þurh Ōswoldes geearnungum.

Sēo stōw is gehāten 'Heofonfeld' on Englisc, wið ðone langan weall þe þā Rōmaniscan worhtan, þǣr þǣr Ōswold oferwann þone wælhrēowan cynincg. And þǣr wearð siþþan ānrǣred swīðe mǣre cyrce Gode tō wurðmynte, þe wunað ā on ēcnysse.

Hwæt ðā Ōswold ongann embe Godes willan tō smēagenne, sōna swā hē rīces gewēold, and wolde gebīgan his lēoda tō gelēafan and tō þām lifigendan Gode. Sende ðā tō Scotlande, þǣr sē gelēafa wæs ðā, and bæd ðā hēafodmenn þæt hī his lēoda mihte tō Gode gewēman; and him wearð þæs getīþod. Hī sendon þā sōna þām gesǣligan cyninge sumne ārwurðne bisceop, Aidān gehāten. Sē wæs mǣres līfes man on munuclīcre drohtnunge, and hē ealle woruldcara āwearp fram his heortan, nānes þinges wilnigende būtan Godes willan. Swā hwæt swā him becōm of þæs cyninges gifum oððe rīcra manna, þæt hē hraðe dǣlde þearfum and wǣdlum mid welwillendum mōde.

Hwæt ðā Ōswold cyning his cymes fægnode, and hine ārwurðlīce underfēng his folce tō ðearfe, þæt heora gelēafa wurde āwend eft tō Gode fram þām wiþersæce þe hī tō gewende wǣron. Hit gelamp þā swā þæt sē gelēaffula cyning gerehte his witan on heora āgenum gereorde þæs bisceopes bodunge mid blīþum mōde, and wæs his wealhstōd; for þan þe hē wel cūþe Scyttysc, and sē bisceop Aidān ne mihte gebīgan his sprǣce tō Norðhymbriscum gereorde swā hraþe þā git. Sē bisceop þā fērde bodigende geond eall Norðhymbra land gelēafan, and him wel gebȳsnode mid weorcum symle, and sylf swā leofode swā swā hē lǣrde ōðre. Hē lufode forhæfednysse and hālige rǣdinge, and iunge men tēah georne mid lāre, swā þæt ealle his gefēran þe him mid ēodon sceoldon sealmas leornian oððe sume rǣdinge swā hwider swā hī fērdon þām folce bodigende. Seldon hē wolde rīdan, ac sīðode on his fōtum, and munuclīce leofode betwux ðām lǣwedan folce mid mycelre gescēadwīsnysse and sōþum mægnum.

Þā wearð sē cynincg Ōswold swīðe ælmesgeorn and ēadmōd on þēawum and on eallum þingum cystig, and man ārǣrde cyrcan on his rīce geond eall and mynsterlīce gesetnyssa mid micelre geornfulnysse.

Hit gelamp on sumne sǣl þæt hī sǣton ætgædere, Ōswold and Aidān, on þām hālgan ēasterdæge; þā bær man þām cyninge cynelīce þēnunga on ānum sylfrenan disce; and sōna þā inn ēode ān þæs cyninges þegna þe his ælmyssan bewiste, and sǣde þæt fela þearfan sǣtan geond þā strǣt gehwanon cumene tō þæs cyninges ælmyssab, Þā sende sē cyning sōna þām þearfum þone sylfrenan disc mid sande mid ealle, and hēt tōcearfan þone disc and syllan þām þearfum heora ǣlcum his dǣl; and man dyde ðā swā. Þā genam Aidānus sē æðela bisceop þæs cyninges swȳþran hand mid swīðlīcre blysse, and clypode mid gelēafan, þus cweðende him tō, 'Ne forrotige on brosnunge þēos geblētsode swȳðre hand.' And him ēac swā geēode, swā swā Aidānus him bæd, þæt his swīðre hand is gesundful oð þis.

Ōswoldes cynerīce wearð gerȳmed þā swȳðe, swā þæt fēower þēoda hine underfēngon tō hlāforde, Peohtas, and Bryttas, Scottas, and Angle, swā swā sē ælmihtiga God hī geānlǣhte tō ðām for Ōswoldes gearnungum þe hine ǣfre wurðode. Hē fulworhte on Eferwīc þæt ǣnlīce mynster þe his mǣg Ēadwine ǣr begunnen hæfde; and hē swanc for heofonan rīce mid singālum gebedum swīþor þonne hē hogode hū hē gehēolde on worulde þā hwīlwendlīcan geþincðu, þe hē hwōnlīce lufode. Hē wolde æfter ūhtsange oftost hine gebiddan, and on cyrcan standan on syndrigum gebedum on sunnan ūpgange mid swȳðlīcre onbryrdnysse; and swā hwǣr swā hē wæs, hē wurðode ǣfre Gode ūpāwendum handbredum wið þæs heofones Weard.

On þām ylcan tīman cōm ēac sum bisceop fram Rōmebyrig, Birinus gehāten, tō Westseaxena kyninge, Cynegyls gehāten, sē wæs ðā gīt hǣðen and eall Westsexena land. Birinus witodlīce gewende fram Rōme be ðæs pāpan rǣde þe ðā on Rōme wæs, and behēt þæt hē wolde Godes willan gefremman, and bodian þām hǣþenum þæs Hǣlendes naman and þone sōðan gelēafan on fyrlenum landum. Þā becōm hē tō Westseaxan, þe wæs ðā gȳt hǣþen, and gebīgde þone cynincg Kynegyls tō Gode, and ealle his lēode tō gelēafan mid him. Hit gelamp þā swā þæt sē gelēaffulla Ōswold, Norðhymbra cyning, wæs cumen tō Cynegylse, and hine tō fulluhte nam, fægen his gecyrrednysse. Þā gēafon þā cynegas, Cynegyls and Ōswold, þām hālgan Birine him to bisceopstōle þā burh Dorcanceaster, and hē þǣr binnan wunode Godes lof ārǣrende, and gerihtlǣcende þæt folc mid lāre tō gelēafan tō langum fyrste, oð þæt hē gesǣlig sīþode tō Crīste; and his līc wearþ bebyrged on ðǣre ylcan byrig, oð þæt Hædde bisceop eft his bān ferode to Wintanceastre, and mid wurðmynte gelōgode binnan Ealdanmynstre, þǣr man hine wurðað gȳt.

Hwæt þā Ōswold cyning his cynedōm gehēold hlīsfullīce for worulde and mid micclum gelēafan, and on eallum dǣdum his Drihten ārwurðode, oð þæt hē ofslagen wearð for his folces ware on þām nigoðan gēare þe hē rīces gewēold, þā þā hē sylf wæs on ylde eahta and þrīttig geara. Hit gewearð swā be þām þæt him wann on Penda, Myrcena cyning, þe æt his mǣges slege ǣr, Ēadwines cyninges Ceadwallan fylste; and sē Penda ne cūðe be Crīste nān þincg, and eall Myrcena folc wæs ungefullod þā gīt. Hī cōmon þā to gefeohte tō Maserfelda begen, and fēngon tōgædere oð þæt þǣr fēollon þā crīstenan, and þā hǣðenan genēalǣhton to þām hālgan Ōswolde. Þā geseah hē genēalǣcan his līfes geendunge, and gebæd for his folc þe þǣr feallende swealt, and betǣhte heora sāwla and hine sylfne Gode, and þus clypode on his fylle, 'God gemiltsa ūrum sawlum!' Þā hēt sē hǣþena cynincg his hēafod of āslēan and his swīðran earm, and settan hī tō myrcelse.

Þā æfter Ōswoldes slege, fēng Ōswig his brōðor to Norðhymbra rīce, and rād mid werode tō þǣr his brōðor hēafod stōd on stacan gefæstnod, and genam þæt hēafod and his swīðran hand, and mid ārwurðnysse ferode tō Lindisfarnēa cyrcan. Þā wearð gefylled swā wē hēr foresǣdon, þæt his swīðre hand wunað hāl mid þām flǣsce būtan ǣlcere brosnunge, swā sē bisceop gecwæð. Sē earm wearð gelēd ārwurðlīce on scrīne of seolfre āsmiþod, on Sancte Pētres mynstre binnan Bebbanbyrig be þǣre sǣ strande, and līð þǣr swā ansund swā hē of āslagen wæs. His brōðor dohtor eft siððan on Myrcan wearð cwēn, and geāxode his bān and gebrōhte hī to Lindesīge tō Bardanīge mynstre, þe hēo micclum lufode. Ac þā mynstermenn noldon for menniscum gedwylde þone sanct underfon, ac man slōh ān geteld ofer þā hālgan bān binnan þǣre līcreste. Hwæt þā God geswutelode þæt hē hālig sanct wæs, swā þæt heofonlīc lēoht ofer þæt geteld āstreht stōd ūp tō heofonum swilce hēalīc sunnbēam ofer ealle ðā niht, and þā lēoda behēoldon geond ealle þā scīre swīðe wundrigende. Þā wurdon þā mynstermen micclum āfyrhte, and bǣdon þæs on mergen þæt hī mōston þone sanct mid ārwurðnysse underfōn, þone þe hī ǣr forsōcon. Þā ðwōh man þā hālgan bān and bær intō þǣre cyrcan ārwurðlīce on scrīne, and gelōgodon hī ūpp.

And þǣr wurdon gehǣlede þurh his hālgan geearnunge fela mettrume menn fram mislic_um coþum. Þæt wæter þe man þā bān mid āþwōh binnan þǣre cyrcan wearð āgoten swā on ānre hyrnan; and sēo eorðe siþþan þe þæt wæter underfēng wearð manegum tō bōte. Mid þām dūste wurdon āflīgde dēofla fram mannum, þā þe on wōdnysse ǣr wǣron gedrehte. Ēac swilce þǣr hē fēol on þām gefeohte ofslagen men nāmon þā eorðan to ādligum mannum, and dydon on wæter wanhālum to þicgenne, and hī wurdon gehǣlede þurh þone hālgan wer. Sum wegfarende man fērde wið þone feld; þā wearð his hors gesicclod, and sōna þǣr fēol, wælwigende geond ðā eorðan wōdum gelīcost. Mid þām þe hit swā wealwode geond þone wīdgillan feld, þā becōm hit embe lang þǣr sē cynincg Ōswold on þām gefeohte fēoll, swā swā wē ǣr foresǣdan; and hit sōna ārās swā hit hrepode þā stōwe, hāl eallum limum, and sē hlāford þæs fægnode. Sē ridda þā ferde forð on his weg þider hē gemynt hæfde. Þā wæs þǣr ān mǣden licgende on paralysin lange gebrocod. Hē began þā tō gereccenne hū him on rāde getīmode, and mann ferode þæt mǣden tō þǣre foresǣdan stōwe. Hēo wearð þā on slǣpe, and sōna eft āwōc ansund eallum limum fram þām egeslīcan broce. Band þā hire hēafod and blīðe hām fērde, gangænde on fōtum, swā hēo gefyrn ǣr ne dyde. Eft siððan fērde ēac sum ǣrendfæst ridda be ðǣre ylcan stōwe, and geband on ānum clāþe of þām hālgan dūste þǣre dēorwurðan stōwe, and lǣdde forð mid him þǣr hē fundode to; þā gemētte hē gebēoras blīðe æt þām hūse. Hē āhēng þā þæt dūst on ǣnne hēahne post and sæt mid þām gebēorum blissigende samod. Man worhte þā micel fȳr tōmiddes ðām gebēorum, and þā spearcan wundon wið þæs hrōfes swȳðe, oð þæt þæt hūs fǣrlīce eall on fȳre wearð, and þā gebēoras flugon āfyrhte aweg. Þæt hūs wearþ ðā forburnon būton þām ānum poste þe þæt hālige dūst on āhangen wæs: sē post āna ætstōd ansund mid þām duste; and hī swȳðe wundrodon þæs hālgan weres geearnunga, þæt þæt fȳr ne mihte þā moldan forbærnan. And manega menn siððan gesōhton þone stede heora hǣle feccende, and heora frēonda gehwilcum.

Þā āsprang his hlīsa geond þā land wide, and ēac swilce tō Īrlande and ēac sūþ to Franclande, swā swā sum mæsseprēost be ānum men sǣde. Sē prēost cwæð þæt ān wer wǣre on Īrlande gelǣred, sē ne gymde his lāre, and hē līthwōn hogode embe his sāwle þearfe oððe his Scyppendes beboda, ac ādrēah his līf on dyslīcum weorcum, oð ðæt hē wearð geuntrumod and tō ende gebrōht. Þā clypode hē þone prēost þe hit cȳdde eft þus, and cwæð him tō sōna mid sārlīcre stemne, 'Nū ic sceall geendian earmlīcum dēaþe, and tō helle faran for fracodum dǣdum, nū wolde ic gebētan gif ic ābīdan mōste, and tō Gode gecyrran and to gōdum þēawum, and mīn līf āwendan eall tō Godes willan; and ic wāt þæt ic ne eom wyrðe þæs fyrstes būton sum halga mē þingie tō þām Hǣlende Crīste. Nū is ūs gesǣd þæt sum hālig cyning is on ēowrum earde, Ōswold gehāten. Nū gif þū ǣnig þincg hæfst of þæs hālgan reliquium, syle mē, ic þē bidde.' Ðā sǣde sē prēost him, 'Ic hæbbe of þām stocce þe his hēafod on stōd, and gif þū gelyfan wylt, þū wurþest hāl sōna.' Hwæt þā sē mæsseprēost þæs mannes ofhrēow, and scōf on hālig wæter of þām hālgan trēowe, sealde þām ādligan of tō sūpenne, and hē sōna gewyrpte, and syððan leofode lange on wurulde, and gewende tō Gode mid eallre heortan and mid hālgum weorcum; and swā hwider swā hē cōm, hē cydde þās wundra. For þȳ ne sceall nān mann āwǣgan þæt hē sylfwylles behǣt þām ælmihtigan Gode, þonne hē ādlig bið, þē lǣs þe hē sylf losige, gif hē ālīhð Gode þæt.

Nu cwæð sē hālga Bēda, þe ðās bōc gedihte, þæt hit nān wundor nys, þæt sē hālga cynincg untrumnysse gehǣle, nū hē on heofonum leofað, for ðan þe hē wolde gehelpan, þā þā hē hēr on līfe wæs, þearfum and wannhālum, and him bigwiste syllan. Nū hæfð hē þone wurðmynt on þǣre ēcan worulde, mid þām ælmihtigan Gode for his gōdnysse. Eft sē hālga Cuðberht, þā þā hē gīt cnapa wæs, geseah hū Godes englas feredon Aidānes sāwle, þæs hālgan bisceopes, blīðe tō heofonum to þām ēcan wuldre þe hē on worulde geearnode. Þæs hālgan Ōswoldes bān wurdon eft gebrōht æfter manegum gēarum to Myrcena lande intō Glēawceastre; and God þǣr geswutelode oft feala wundra þurh þone hālgan wer. Sy þæs wuldor þām ælmihtigan Gode, ðe on ecnysse riīxað a tō worulde. Amen.