Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/59

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that scholars and persons of sedentary habits, though liable to frequent petty illnesses from want of bodily exercise and too great mental exertion, are nevertheless on the whole rather a long-lived race. This rule was not exemplified in the case of Bede. He seems to have contracted at a somewhat early period a complaint in his stomach, accompanied with shortness of breath: "Ita ut," says Malmesbury, "stomacho laboraret ægroque et angusto suspirio anhelitum duceret."[1] An attack of this disorder had lately prevented him from visiting his friend Archbishop Egbert, and led to his writing him the valuable letter on the duties of a bishop, which we have still extant. We are not informed whether the disorder left him at that time, and came on afresh, when it at last killed him; but it is most probable that he enjoyed general ill health during the last few years of his existence. He was ill some weeks before he died, and was attended by Cuthbert, who had been one of his pupils, and after Huetbert became abbot of the monastery. The Christian piety with which he suffered the dispensation which awaited him, has been the universal theme of panegyric. The whole scene of his increasing malady, his devout resignation, and fervent prayers for all his friends,

  1. Gesta Regum Anglorum, I. 2, 23.