OF HIS PROPHECY IN ANSWER TO THE SAME ÆLFLED, CONCERNING THE LIFE OF KING ECGFRID AND HIS OWN BISHOPRIC.
§ 40. At another time, the same Ælfled, who was a most holy virgin, and mother of the virgins of Christ, sent for the man of God, adjuring him in the name of our Lord that she might be allowed to see him and to speak about certain things of importance. He therefore entered with the brethren into a ship, and went over to an island which is situated in the mouth of the river Coquet, from which it received its name. This island was also remarkable for the number of its monks. The abbess, who had requested him to meet her in this island, when she had enjoyed his conversation for some time, and the man of God had answered many questions that she put to him; on a sudden, in the midst of his conversation, she fell at his feet and adjured him, by the terrible and sacred name of our Heavenly King and his angels, that he would tell her how long her brother Ecgfrid would live and govern the English nation. "For I know," she said, "that you abound in the spirit of prophecy, and that, if you are willing, you are able to tell me even this." But he, shuddering at the adjuration, and yet not being willing openly to reveal the secret which she had asked him, replied, "It is a wonderful thing that you, being a wise woman and skilled in sacred scriptures, should call long the duration of human life: the Psalmist says, 'that our years shall perish like a spider's web,' and Solomon advises that, if a man shall live many years, and shall have been prosperous in all of these, he ought to remember the gloomy time of many days, which when it shall come, the past is convicted of folly; how much more then ought