Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/289

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217
APPENDIX.
elsewhere,) prompted by the spirit of the Evil One, fancied that he had an opportunity of plundering. So having fixed on a certain night when he might do this favourably, he asked the guards of the monastery to allow him to watch there, according to the custom of his country. They, suspecting no harm, listened to his pretended devotion, and granted him his request, as was their custom to do to all the pious. Leave being thus obtained, the hypocrite no sooner saw the guards asleep, than he put in execution the theft which he had meditated. A few days after, there was still no suspicion of what he had done, because no one suspects theft in a church, when, on a sudden, he was seized with a severe illness, and a burning fever as hot as fire. By the pain of which he was driven to madness, and leaped from his bed, and rushing with only his shirt on, into a field, mounted his horse, which was grazing there, and galloped to the monastery, where he threw himself before the crucifix, and exclaimed aloud, "'Pity me, O Holy Cuthbert, pity and spare me, though I know you will not, because I stole such and such things," (naming what he had taken,) "out of your monastery." Thus he ran in a state of phrensy up and down the monastery, uttering these words, until he was brought back to the house, and bound with strong cords; for he tore in pieces, like a dog, every thing he could seize in his mouth, or in his hands. Three or four nights he spent in this state of madness and torment, until at last, by what means I know not, he escaped from his bonds, and rushed like mad into the monastery. He then fell down before the tomb of God's beloved Confessor, and, whilst the choir was singing "Te Deum laudamus,"—for it was the hour of nightly thanksgiving,—he howled aloud, using, besides others, the expressions I have before mentioned, "Pity me. Holy Cuthbert!" to which he now added, "but I know you will not, because you smote me so heavily with your staff." For he acknowledged that the Holy Confessor had come to him in a vision by night, and in anger in-