The Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon Church/XXX

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XVIII. KL. SEPT.

AUGUST XV.

DE ASSUMPTIONE BEATÆ MARIÆ.

ON THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED MARY.

Hieronimus se halga sacerd awrát ænne pistol be forðsiðe þære eadigan Marian, Godes cennestran, to sumum halgan mædene, hyre nama wæs Eustochium, and to hyre meder Paulam, seo wæs gehalgod wydewe. To þysum twam wifmannum awrát se ylca Hieronimus, menigfealde traht-bec, forðan ðe hi wæron haliges lifes men, and swiðe gecneordlæcende on boclicum smeagungum. Þes Hieronimus wæs halig sacerd, and getogen on Hebreiscum gereorde, and on Greciscum, and on Ledenum fulfremedlice; and he awende ure bibliothecan of Hebreiscum bocum to Leden spræce. He is se fyrmesta wealhstod betwux Hebreiscum, and Grecum, and Ledenwarum. Twa and hund-seofontig boca þære ealdan ǽ and þære niwan he awende on Leden to anre Bibliothecan, buton oðrum menigfealdum traht-bocum ðe he mid gecneordum andgite deopðancollice asmeade. Ða æt nextan he dihte þisne pistol to þære halgan wydewan Paulam, and to þam Godes mædene Eustochium, hyre dehter, and to eallum þam mædenlicum werode, þe him mid drohtnigende wæron, þus cweðende: Jerome the holy priest wrote an epistle on the decease of the blessed Mary, the mother of God, to a holy maiden, whose name was Eustochium, and to her mother Paula, who was a hallowed widow. To these two women the same Jerome wrote several treatises; for they were persons of holy life, and very diligent in book-studies. This Jerome was a holy priest, and instructed in the Hebrew tongue, and in Greek and Latin perfectly; and he turned our library of Hebrew books into the Latin speech. He is the first interpreter betwixt the Hebrews, and Greeks, and Latins. Seventy-two books of the old and of the new law he turned into Latin, to one 'Bibliotheca,' besides many other treatises which he profoundly devised with diligent understanding. Then at last he composed this epistle to the holy widow Paula, and to the maiden of God, Eustochium, her daughter, and to all the maidenly company who were living with them, thus saying:
Witodlice ge neadiað me þæt ic eow recce hu seo eadige Maria, on ðisum dægðerlicum dæge to heofonlicere wununge genumen wæs, þæt eower mædenlica heap hæbbe þas lac Ledenre spræce, hu þes mæra freolsdæg geond æghwylces geares ymbryne beo aspend mid heofonlicum lofe, and mid gastlicere blisse gemærsode sy, þylæs þe eow on hand becume seo lease gesetnys ðe þurh gedwolmen wide tosawen is, and ge þonne þa gehiwedan leasunge for soðre race underfon. Verily ye compel me to relate to you how the blessed Mary, on this present day was taken to the heavenly dwelling, that your maidenly society may have this gift in the Latin speech, how this great festival, in the course of every year, is passed with heavenly praise, and celebrated with ghostly bliss, lest the false account should come to your hand which has been widely disseminated by heretics, and ye then receive the feigned leasing for a true narrative.
Soðlice fram anginne þæs halgan godspelles ge geleornodon hu se heah-engel Gabriel þam eadigan mædene Marian þæs heofonlican Æðelinges acennednysse gecydde, and þæs Hælendes wundra, and þære gesæligan Godes cennestran þenunge, and hyre lifes dæda on þam feower godspellicum bocum geswutollice oncneowon. Iohannes se Godspellere awrát on Cristes þrowunge, þæt he sylf and Maria stodon mid dreorigum mode wið ðære halgan rode, þe se Hælend on gefæstnod wæs. Ða cwæð he to his agenre meder, "Ðu fæmne, efne her is þin sunu." Eft he cwæð to Iohanne, "Loca nu, her stent þin modor." Syððan, of þam dæge, hæfde se Godspellere Iohannes gymene þære halgan Marian, and mid carfulre þenunge, swa swa agenre meder, gehyrsumode. Verily from the beginning of the holy gospel ye have learned how the archangel Gabriel declared to the blessed Mary the birth of the Heavenly Prince, and the miracles of Jesus, and the ministry of the blessed mother of God and the deeds of her life ye have manifestly known from the four evangelical books. John the Evangelist wrote that, at Christ's passion, he himself and Mary stood with sorrowing mind opposite the holy rood, on which Jesus was fastened. Then said he to his own mother, "Thou woman, behold, here is thy son." Again he said to John, "Look now, here standeth thy mother." Afterwards, from that day, the Evangelist John had charge of the holy Mary, and with careful ministry obeyed her as his mother.
Drihten, þurh his arfæstnysse, betæhte þæt eadige mæden his cennestran þam clænan men Iohanne, seðe on clænum mægðhade symle wunode; and he forðy synderlice þam Drihtne leof wæs, to ðan swiðe, þæt he him þone deorwurðan maðm, ealles middangeardes cwéne, betæcan wolde; gewislice þæt hire clænesta mægðhád þam clænan men geþeod wære mid gecwemre geferrædene on wynsumre drohtnunge. On him bám wæs an miht ansundes mægðhades, ac oðer intinga on Marian; on hire is wæstmbære mægðhád, swa swa on nanum oðrum. Nis on nanum oðrum men mægðhád, gif þær bið wæstmbærnys; ne wæstmbærnys, gif þær bið ansund mægðhád. Nu is forði gehalgod ægðer ge Marian mægðhád ge hyre wæstmbærnys þurh þa godcundlican acennednysse; and heo ealle oðre oferstihð on mægðhade and on wæstmbærnysse. Ðeah-hwæðere, þeah heo synderlice Iohannes gymene betæht wære, hwæðere heo drohtnode gemænelice, æfter Cristes upstige, mid þam apostolicum werode, infarende and utfarende betwux him, and hi ealle mid micelre arwurðnysse and lufe hire þenodon, and heo him cuðlice ealle þing ymbe Cristes menniscnysse gewissode; forðan þe heo fram frymðe gewislice þurh þone Halgan Gast hi ealle geleornode, and mid agenre gesihðe geseah; þeah ðe þa apostoli þurh þone ylcan Gast ealle þing undergeaton, and on ealre soðfæstnysse gelærede wurdon. Se heah-engel Gabriel hi ungewemmede geheold, and heo wunode on Iohannes and on ealra þæra apostola gymene, on þære heofonlican scole, embe Godes ǽ smeagende, oðþæt God on þysum dæge hi genam to ðam heofonlican þrymsetle, and hi ofer engla weredum geufrode. The Lord, through his piety, committed the blessed maiden his mother to the chaste man John, who had ever lived in pure virginity; and on that account he was especially dear to the Lord, so much so that he would commit to him that precious treasure, the queen of the whole world: no doubt, that her most pure virginity might be associated with that chaste man with grateful fellowship in pleasant converse. In them both was one virtue of unbroken chastity, but a second attribute in Mary; in her is fruitful virginity, so as in no other. In no other person is there virginity, if there be fruitfulness; nor fruitfulness, if there be perfect virginity. Therefore now are hallowed both the virginity of Mary and her fruitfulness through the divine birth; and she excels all others in virginity and in fruitfulness. Nevertheless, though she was especially committed to the care of John, yet she lived in common, after Christ's ascension, with the apostolic company, going in and going out among them, and they all with great piety and love ministered to her, and she fully informed them of all things touching Christ's humanity; for she had from the beginning accurately learned them through the Holy Ghost, and seen them with her own sight; though the apostles understood all things through the same Ghost, and were instructed in all truth. The archangel Gabriel held her uncorrupted, and she continued in the care of John and of all the apostles, in the heavenly company, meditating on God's law, until God, on this day, took her to the heavenly throne, and exalted her above the hosts of angels.
Nis geræd on nanre bec nan swutelre gewissung be hire geendunge, buton þæt heo nu to-dæg wuldorfullice of þam lichaman gewát. Hyre byrigen is swutol eallum onlociendum oð þysne andweardan dæg, on middan þære dene Iosaphat. Seo dene is betwux þære dune Sion and þam munte Oliueti, and seo byrigen is æteowed open and emtig, and þær on-uppon on hire wurðmynte is aræred mære cyrce mid wundorlicum stán-geweorce. Nis nanum deadlicum men cuð hú, oððe on hwylcere tide hyre halga lichama þanon gebroden wære, oððe hwider he ahafen sy, oððe hwæðer heo of deaðe arise: cwædon þeah gehwylce lareowas, þæt hyre Sunu, seðe on þam þriddan dæge mihtilice of deaðe arás, þæt he eac his moder lichaman of deaðe arærde, and mid undeadlicum wuldre on heofonan rice gelogode. Eac swa gelice forwel menige lareowas on heora bocum setton, be ðam ge-edcucedum mannum þe mid Criste of deaðe arison, þæt hi ecelice arærede synd. Witodlice hi andetton þæt ða aræredan men næron soðfæste gewitan Cristes æristes, buton hi wæron ecelice arærede. Ne wiðcweðe we be þære eadigan Marian þa ecan æriste, þeah, for wærscipe gehealdenum geleafan, us gedafenað þæt we hit wenon swiðor þonne we unrædlice hit geseþan þæt ðe is uncuð buton ælcere fræcednysse. There is not read in any book any more manifest information of her end, but that she on this day gloriously departed from the body. Her sepulchre is visible to all beholders to this present day, in the midst of the valley of Jehosaphat. The valley is between Mount Sion and the mount of Olives, and the sepulchre appears open and empty, and thereupon is raised, in her honour, a large church, with wondrous stone-work. To no mortal man is it known how, or at what time her holy body was brought from thence, or whither it be borne, or whether she arose from death: though some doctors say, that her Son, who on the third day mightily from death arose, that he also raised his mother's body from death, and placed it with immortal glory in the kingdom of heaven. In like manner very many doctors have set in their books concerning the requickened men who arose from death with Christ, that they are raised for ever. They profess verily that those raised men would not have been true witnesses of Christ's resurrection, unless they had been raised for ever. Nor do we deny the eternal resurrection of the blessed Mary, though for caution, preserving our belief, it befits us that we rather hope it, than rashly assert what is unknown without any danger.
We rædað gehwær on bocum, þæt forwel oft englas comon to godra manna forðsiðe, and mid gastlicum lofsangum heora sawla to heofonum gelæddon. And, þæt gyt swutollicor is, men gehyrdon on þam forðsiðe wæpmanna sang and wifmanna sang, mid micclum leohte and swetum breðe: on ðam is cuð þæt þa halgan men þe to Godes rice þurh gode geearnunga becomon, þæt hi on oðra manna forðsiðe heora sawla underfoð, and mid micelre blisse to reste gelædað. Nu gif se Hælend swilcne wurðmynt on his halgena forðsiðe oft geswutelode, and heora gastas mid heofonlicum lofsange to him gefeccan het, hu miccle swiðor wenst þu þæt he nu to-dæg þæt heofonlice werod togeanes his agenre meder sendan wolde, þæt hi mid ormætum leohte and unasecgendlicum lofsangum hi to þam þrymsetle gelæddon þe hire gegearcod wæs fram frymðe middangeardes. We read here and there in books, that very often angels came at the departure of good men, and with ghostly hymns led their souls to heaven. And, what is yet more certain, men, at their departure, have heard the song of men and women, with a great light and sweet odour: by which is known that those holy men who through good deserts come to God's kingdom, that they, at the departure of other men, receive their souls, and with great joy lead them to rest. Now if Jesus has often showed such honour at the death of his saints, and has commanded their souls to be conducted to him with heavenly hymn, how much rather thinkest thou he would now to-day send the heavenly host to meet his own mother, that they with light immense, and unutterable hymns might lead her to the throne which was prepared for her from the beginning of the world.
Nis nan twynung þæt eall heofonlic þrym þa mid unasecgendlicere blisse hire to-cymes fægnian wolde. Soðlice eac we gelyfað þæt Drihten sylf hire togeanes come, and wynsumlice mid gefean to him on his þrymsetle hi gesette: witodlice he wolde gefyllan þurh hine sylfne þæt he on his ǽ bebead, þus cweðende, "Arwurða þinne fæder and þine moder." He is his agen gewita þæt he his Fæder gearwurðode, swa swa he cwæð to þam Iudeiscum, "Ic arwurðige minne Fæder, and ge unarwurðiað me." On his menniscnysse he arwurðode his moder, þaða he wæs, swa swa þæt halige godspel segð, hire underðeod on his geogoðhade. Micele swiðor is to gelyfenne þæt he his modor mid unasecgendlicere arwurðnysse on his rice gewurðode, þaða he wolde æfter ðære menniscnysse on þysum life hyre gehyrsumian. There is no doubt that all the heavenly host then with unspeakable bliss would rejoice in her advent. Verily we also believe that the Lord himself came to meet her, and benignly with delight placed her by him on his throne: for he would fulfil in himself what he had in his law enjoined, thus saying, "Honour thy father and thy mother." He is his own witness that he honoured his Father, as he said to the Jews, "I honour my Father, and ye dishonour me." In his human state he honoured his mother, when he was, as the holy gospel says, subjected to her in his youth. Much more is it to be believed that he honoured his mother with unspeakable veneration in his kingdom, when he would, according to human nature, obey her in this life.
Ðes symbel-dæg oferstihð unwiðmetenlice ealra oðra halgena mæsse-dagas swa micclum swa þis halige mæden, Godes modor, is unwiðmetenlic eallum oðrum mædenum. Ðes freolsdæg is us gearlic, ac he is heofonwarum singallic. Be ðysre heofonlican cwéne upstige wundrode se Halga Gast on lofsangum, ðus befrinende, "Hwæt is ðeos ðe her astihð swilce arisende dæg-rima, swa wlitig swa móna, swa gecoren swa sunne, and swa egeslic swa fyrd-truma?" Se Halga Gast wundrode, forðan ðe he dyde þæt eal heofonwaru wundrode ðysre fæmnan upfæreldes. Maria is wlitigre ðonne se móna, forðan ðe heo scinð buton æteorunge hire beorhtnysse. Heo is gecoren swa swa sunne mid leoman healicra mihta, forðan ðe Drihten, seðe is rihtwisnysse sunne, hí geceas him to cennestran. Hire fær is wiðmeten fyrdlicum truman, forðan ðe heo wæs mid halgum mægnum ymbtrymed, and mid engla þreatum. This festival excels incomparably all other saints' mass-days, as much as this holy maiden, the mother of God, is incomparable with all other maidens. This feast-day to us is yearly, but to heaven's inmates it is perpetual. At the ascension of this heavenly queen the Holy Ghost in hymns uttered his wonder, thus inquiring, "What is this that here ascends like the rising dew of morn, as beauteous as the moon, as choice as the sun, and as terrible as a martial band?" The Holy Ghost wondered, for he caused all heaven's inmates to wonder at the ascension of this woman. Mary is more beauteous than the moon, for she shines without decrease of her brightness. She is choice as the sun with beams of holy virtues, for the Lord, who is the sun of righteousness, chose her for his mother. Her course is compared to a martial band, for she was surrounded with heavenly powers and with companies of angels.
Be ðissere heofonlican cwéne is gecweden gyt þurh ðone ylcan Godes Gast: he cwæð, "Ic geseah ða wlitegan swilce culfran astigende ofer streamlicum riðum, and unasecgendlic bræð stemde of hire gyrlum; and, swa swa on lengctenlicere tide, rosena blostman and lilian hi ymtrymedon." Ðæra rosena blostman getacniað mid heora readnysse martyrdom, and ða lilian mid heora hwitnysse getacniað ða scinendan clænnysse ansundes mægðhádes. Ealle ða gecorenan ðe Gode geþugon ðurh martyrdom oððe þurh clænnysse, ealle hi gesiðodon mid þære eadigan cwéne; forðan ðe heo sylf is ægðer ge martyr ge mæden. Heo is swa wlitig swa culfre, forðan ðe heo lufode ða bilewitnysse, þe se Halga Gast getacnode, ðaða he wæs gesewen on culfran gelicnysse ofer Criste on his fulluhte. Oðre martyras on heora lichaman þrowodon martyrdom for Cristes geleafan, ac seo eadige Maria næs na lichamlice gemartyrod, ac hire sawul wæs swiðe geangsumod mid micelre þrowunge, þaða heo stod dreorig foran ongean Cristes rode, and hire leofe cild geseah mid isenum næglum on heardum treowe gefæstnod. Nu is heo mare þonne martyr, forðan ðe heo ðrowode þone martyrdom on hire sawle ðe oðre martyras ðrowodon on heora lichaman. Heo lufode Crist ofer ealle oðre men, and forðy wæs eac hire sarnys be him toforan oðra manna, and heo dyde his deað hire agenne deað, forðan ðe his ðrowung swa swa swurd ðurhferde hire sawle. Of this heavenly queen it is yet said by the same Spirit of God, "I saw the beauteous one as a dove mounting above the streaming rills, and an ineffable fragrance exhaled from her garments; and, so as in the spring-tide, blossoms of roses and lilies encircled her." The blossoms of roses betoken by their redness martyrdom, and the lilies by their whiteness betoken the shining purity of inviolate maidenhood. All the chosen who have thriven to God through martyrdom or through chastity, they all journeyed with the blessed queen; for she is herself both martyr and maiden. She is as beauteous as a dove, for she loved meekness, which the Holy Ghost betokened, when he appeared in likeness of a dove over Christ at his baptism. Other martyrs suffered martyrdom in their bodies for Christ's faith, but the blessed Mary was not bodily martyred, but her soul was sorely afflicted with great suffering, when she stood sad before Christ's rood, and saw her dear child fastened with iron nails on the hard tree. Therefore is she more than a martyr, for she suffered that martyrdom in her soul which other martyrs suffered in their bodies. She loved Christ above all other men, and, therefore, was her pain also for him greater than other men's, and she made his death as her own death, for his suffering pierced her soul as a sword.
Nis heo nanes haliges mægnes bedæled, ne nanes wlites, ne nanre beorhtnysse; and forðy heo wæs ymbtrymed mid rosan and lilian, þæt hyre mihta wæron mid mihtum underwriðode, and hire fægernys mid clænnysse wlite wære geyht. Godes gecorenan scinað on heofonlicum wuldre ælc be his geðingcðum; nu is geleaflic þæt seo eadige] cwén mid swa micclum wuldre and beorhtnysse oðre oferstige, swa micclum swa hire geðincðu oðra halgena unwiðmetenlice sind. She is void of no holy virtue, nor any beauty, nor any brightness; and therefore was she encircled with roses and lilies, that her virtues might be supported by virtues, and her fairness increased by the beauty of chastity. God's chosen shine in heavenly glory, each according to his merits; it is therefore credible that the blessed] queen with so much glory and brightness excels others, as much as her merits are incomparable with those of the other saints.
Drihten cwæð ær his upstige, þæt on his Fæder huse sindon fela wununga: soðlice we gelyfað þæt he nu to-dæg þa wynsumestan wununge his leofan meder forgeafe. Godes gecorenra wuldor is gemetegod be heora geearnungum, and nis hwæðere nán ceorung ne ánda on heora ænigum, ac hí ealle wuniað on soðre lufe and healicere sibbe, and ælc blissað on oðres geðincðum swa swa on his agenum. The Lord said before his ascension, that in his Father's house are many dwellings: therefore we believe that he now to-day gave to his mother the most pleasant dwelling. The glory of God's chosen is measured by their deserts, and yet there is no murmuring nor envy in any of them, but they all dwell in true love and profound peace, and each rejoices in another's honours as in his own.
Ic bidde eow, blissiað on ðyssere freols-tide: witodlice nu to-dæg þæt wuldorfulle mæden heofonas astah, þæt heo unasecgendlice mid Criste ahafen on ecnysse rixige. Seo heofenlice cwén wearð to-dæg generod fram ðyssere mánfullan worulde. Eft ic cweðe, fægniað forðan ðe heo becom orsorhlice to ðam heofonlicum botle. Blissige eal middangeard, forðan ðe nu to-dæg us eallum is ðurh hire geearnunga hǽl geyht. Þurh ure ealdan modor Euan us wearð heofonan rices geat belocen, and eft ðurh Marian hit is us geopenod, þurh þæt heo sylf nu to-dæg wuldorfullice inn-ferde. I pray you, rejoice in this festival: verily now to-day that glorious maiden ascended to heaven, that she, ineffably exalted with Christ, may for ever reign. The heavenly queen was to-day snatched from this wicked world. Again I say, rejoice that she, void of sorrow, is gone to the heavenly mansion. Let all earth be glad, for now to-day, through her deserts, happiness is increased to us all. Through our old mother Eve the gate of heaven's kingdom was closed against us, and again, through Mary it is opened to us, by which she herself has this day gloriously entered.
God ðurh his witegan us bebead þæt we sceolon hine herian and mǽrsian on his halgum, on ðam he is wundorlic: micele swiðor gedafenað þæt we hine on ðisre mæran freols-tide his eadigan meder mid lofsangum and wurðfullum herungum wurðian sceolon; forðan ðe untwylice eal hire wurðmynt is Godes herung. Uton nu forði mid ealre estfulnysse ures modes ðas mæran freols-tide wurðian, forðan ðe þæt siðfæt ure hǽle is on lofsangum ures Drihtnes. Þa ðe on mæigðháde wuniað blission hí, forðan ðe hí geearnodon þæt beon þæt hí heriað: habbon hí hóge þæt hí syn swilce þæt hí wurðfullice herigan magon. Þa ðe on clænan wudewanháde sind, herion hí and arwurðion, forðan ðe swutol is þæt hí ne magon beon clæne buton ðurh Cristes gife, seoðe wæs fulfremedlice on Marian ðe hí herigað. Herigan eac and wurðian ða ðe on sinscipe wuniað, forðan ðe ðanon flewð eallum mildheortnys and gifu þæt hí herigan magon. Gif hwa synful sy, he andette, and nalǽs herige, ðeah ðe ne beo wlitig lóf on ðæs synfullan muðe; hwæðere ne geswice hé ðære herunge, forðan ðe ðanon him is beháten forgyfenys. God has commanded us through his prophets, that we should praise and magnify him in his saints, in whom he is wonderful: much more fitting is it that we, on this great festival of his blessed mother, should worship him with hymns and honourable praises; for undoubtedly all honour to her is praise of God. Let us now, therefore, with all the devotion of our mind honour this great festival, for the way of our salvation is in hymns to our Lord. Let those who continue in maidenhood rejoice, for they have attained to be that which they praise: let them have care that they be such that they may praise worthily. Let those who are in pure widowhood praise and honour her, for it is manifest that they cannot be pure but through grace of Christ, which was perfect in Mary whom they praise. Let those also who are in wedlock praise and honour her, for thence flow mercy and grace to all that they may praise her. If any one be sinful, let him confess, and not the less praise, though praise be not beautiful in the mouth of the sinful; yet let him not cease from praise, for thence is promised to him forgiveness.
Þes pistol is swiðe menigfeald ús to gereccenne, and eow swiðe deop to gehyrenne. Nu ne onhagað ús na swiðor be ðam to sprecenne, ac we wyllað sume oðre trimminge be ðære mæran Godes meder gereccan, to eowre gebetrunge. Soðlice Maria is se mæsta frofer and fultum cristenra manna, þæt is forwel oft geswutelod, swa swa we on bocum rædað. This epistle is very complex for us to expound, and very deep for you to hear. It does not now seem good to us to speak more concerning it, but we will relate for your bettering some other edifying matter of the great mother of God. Verily Mary is the greatest comfort and support of christian men, which is very often manifested, as we read in books.
Sum man wæs mid drycræfte bepæht, swa þæt hé Criste wiðsóc, and wrát his hand-gewrit þam awyrgedan deofle, and him mannrædene befæste. His nama wæs Theophilus. He ða eft syððan hine beðohte, and ða hellican pinunge on his mode weolc; and ferde ða to sumere cyrcan þe wæs to lofe ðære eadigan Marian gehalgod, and ðær-binnan swa lange mid wope and fæstenum hire fultumes and ðingunge bæd, oðþæt heo sylf mid micclum wuldre him to com, and cwæð, þæt heo him geðingod hæfde wið þone Heofenlican Deman, hire agenne Sunu. Some man was so deluded by magic that he denied Christ, and wrote his chirograph to the accursed devil, and entered into a compact with him. His name was Theophilus. He afterwards bethought himself, and revolved in his mind the torment of hell; and went then to a church that was hallowed to the praise of the blessed Mary, and therein so long with weeping and fasts prayed for her aid and intercession, till she herself with great glory came to him, and said, that she had interceded for him with the Heavenly Judge, her own Son.
We wyllað eac eow gereccan be geendunge ðæs arleasan Godes wiðersacan Iulianes. We will also relate to you concerning the end of the impious adversary of God, Julian.
Sum halig biscop wæs Basilius geháten, se leornode on anre scole, and se ylca Iulianus samod. Þa gelamp hit swa þæt Basilius wearð to biscope gecoren to anre byrig ðe is geháten Cappadocia, and Iulianus to casere, þeah ðe he æror to preoste bescoren wære. Iulianus ða ongann to lufigenne hæðengyld, and his cristendome wiðsóc, and mid eallum mode hæðenscipe beeode, and his leode to ðan ylcan genydde. Þa æt suman cyrre tengde hé to fyrde ongean Perscisne leodscipe, and gemette ðone biscop, and cwæð him to, "Eala, ðu Basili, nu ic hæbbe ðe oferðogen on uðwitegunge." Se biscop him andwyrde, "God forgeafe þæt ðu uðwitegunge beeodest:" and hé mid þam worde him bead swylce lác swa he sylf breac, þæt wæron ðry berene hlafas, for bletsunge. Þa het se wiðersaca onfon ðæra hlafa, and agifan ðam biscope togeanes gærs, and cwæð, "He bead ús nytena fódan, underfo hé gærs to leanes." Basilius underfeng þæt gærs, ðus cweðende, "Eala ðu casere, soðlice we budon ðe ðæs ðe we sylfe brucað, and ðu us sealdest to edleane ungesceadwisra nytena andlyfene, na us to fódan, ac to hospe." Se Godes wiðersaca hine ða gehathyrte, and cwæð, "Þonne ic fram fyrde gecyrre ic towurpe ðas burh, and hi gesmeðige, and to yrðlande awende, swa þæt heo bið cornbære swiðor þonne mannbære. Nis me uncuð þin dyrstignys, and ðissere burhware, ðe ðurh ðine tihtinge ða anlicnysse, ðe ic arærde and me to gebæd, tobræcon and towurpon." And hé mid ðisum wordum ferde to Persciscum earde. There was a certain bishop named Basilius, who had learned in a school together with this same Julian. It so happened that Basilius was chosen to be bishop of a place called Cappadocia, and Julian to be emperor, though he earlier had been shorn for a priest. Julian then began to love idolatry, and renounced his christianity, and with all his mind cultivated heathenism, and compelled his people to the same. Then at a certain time he went on an expedition against the Persian nation, and met the bishop, and said to him, "O thou Basilius, I have now excelled thee in philosophy." The bishop answered, "God has granted to you to cultivate philosophy:" and with that word he offered him such a gift as he himself partook of, that was three barley loaves, for a blessing. Then the apostate commanded the loaves to be received, and grass to be given to the bishop in return, and said, "He has offered us the food of beasts, let him receive grass in reward." Basilius received the grass, thus saying, "O thou emperor, verily we have offered to thee what we ourselves partake of, and thou hast given us in reward the sustenance of irrational beasts, not as food for us but as insult." The adversary of God then became angry, and said, "When I return from the expedition I will overthrow this city, and level it, and turn it to arable land, so that it shall be cornbearing rather than manbearing. Thy audacity and that of these citizens is not unknown to me, who at thy instigation brake and cast down the image which I had raised and prayed to." And with these words he went to the Persian territory.
Hwæt ða Basilius cydde his ceastergewarum ðæs reðan caseres ðeowrace, and him selost rædbora wearð, þus cweðende, "Mine gebroðra, bringað eowre sceattas, and uton cunnian, gif we magon, ðone reðan wiðersacan on his geancyrre gegladian." Hi ða mid glædum mode him to brohton goldes, and seolfres, and deorwurðra gimma ungerime hypan. Se bisceop ða underfeng ða madmas, and bebead his preostum and eallum ðam folce, þæt hí heora lác geoffrodon binnon ðam temple ðe wæs to wurðmynte ðære eadigan Marian gehalgod, and het hí ðær-binnon andbidigan mid ðreora daga fæstene, þæt se Ælmihtiga Wealdend, þurh his moder ðingrædene towurpe þæs unrihtwisan caseres andgit. Þa on ðære ðriddan nihte ðæs fæstenes geseah se bisceop micel heofenlic werod on ælce healfe ðæs temples, and on middan ðam werode sæt seo heofenlice cwén Maria, and cwæð to hire ætstandendum, "Gelángiað me ðone martyr Mercurium, þæt he gewende wið ðæs arleasan wiðersacan Iulianes, and hine acwelle, seðe mid toðundenum mode God minne Sunu forsihð." Se halga cyðere Mercurius gewǽpnod hrædlice cóm, and be hyre hæse ferde. Þa eode se bisceop into ðære oðre cyrcan, þær se martyr inne læig, and befrán ðone cyrcweard hwær ðæs halgan wæpnu wæron? He swór þæt hé on æfnunge æt his heafde witodlice hí gesawe. And he ðærrihte wende to Sca Marian temple, and ðam folce gecydde his gesihðe, and ðæs wælhreowan forwyrd. Þa eode hé eft ongean to ðæs halgan martyres byrgenne, and funde his spere standan mid blode begleddod. Hereupon Basilius made known to his fellow-citizens the cruel emperor's threat, and was a most excellent counsellor to them, thus saying, "My brothers, bring your treasures, and let us endeavour, if we can, to gladden the cruel apostate on his return." They then with glad mind brought to him of gold, and silver, and precious gems an immense heap. Thereupon the bishop received the treasures, and commanded his priests and all the people to offer their gifts within the temple that was hallowed to the honour of the blessed Mary, and bade them therein abide, with a fast of three days, that the Almighty Ruler, through his mother's intercession, might turn to naught the resolve of the unrighteous emperor. Then on the third night of the fast the bishop saw a great heavenly host on each side of the temple, and in the midst of the host sat the heavenly queen Mary, and said to her attendants, "Bring to me the martyr Mercurius, that he may go against the impious apostate Julian, and slay him, who with inflated mind despises God my Son." The holy martyr Mercurius came armed speedily, and went by her command. The bishop then went into the other church, in which the martyr lay, and asked the churchward, where the weapons of the saint were? He swore that he certainly saw them at his head in the evening. And he straightways returned to St. Mary's temple, and made known to the people what he had seen, and the destruction of the tyrant. He then went again to the holy martyr's sepulchre, and found his spear standing stained with blood.
Þa æfter ðrim dagum com án ðæs caseres ðegna, Libanius hatte, and gesohte ðæs bisceopes fét, fulluhtes biddende, and cydde him and ealre ðære buruhware þæs arleasan Iulianes deað: cwæð þæt seo fyrd wícode wið ða ea Eufraten, and seofon weard-setl wacodon ofer ðone casere. Þa com ðær stæppende sum uncuð cempa, and hine hetelice ðurhðyde, and ðærrihte of hyra gesihðum fordwán; and Iulianus ða mid anðræcum hreame forswealt. Swa wearð seo burhwaru ahred þurh Sca Marian wið ðone Godes wiðersacan. Þa bead se bisceop ðam ceastergewarum hyra sceattas, ac hi cwædon þæt hi uðon ðæra laca þam undeadlican Cyninge, ðe hi swa mihtelice generede, micele bet ðonne ðam deadlican cwellere. Se bisceop ðeah nydde þæt folc þæt hi ðone ðriddan dæl þæs feos underfengon, and he mid þam twam dælum þæt mynster gegódode. Then after three days came one of the emperor's officers called Libanius, and sought the bishop's feet, praying for baptism, and informed him and all the citizens of the death of the impious Julian: he said that the army was encamped on the river Euphrates, and seven watches watched over the emperor. Then came there walking an unknown warrior, and violently pierced him through, and straightways vanished from their sight; and Julian then with a horrible cry expired. So were the citizens saved through St. Mary from the adversary of God. Then the bishop offered their treasures to the citizens, but they said, that they would give those gifts to the Immortal King, who had so powerfully saved them, much rather than to the mortal murderer. The bishop, nevertheless, compelled the people to receive a third part of the money, and with the two parts endowed the monastery.
Gif hwá smeage hu ðis gewurde, þonne secge we, þæt ðes martyr his líf adreah on læwedum hade; ða wearð he ðurh hæðenra manna ehtnysse for Cristes geleafan gemartyrod; and cristene men syððan his halgan lichaman binnon ðam temple wurðfullice gelógedon, and his wæpna samod. Eft, ðaða seo halige cwén hine asende, swa swa we nú hwene ǽr sædon, þa ferde his gast swyftlice, and mid lichamlicum wæpne ðone Godes feond ofstáng, his weard-setlum onlocigendum. If any one ask how this happened, we say, that this martyr had spent his life in a lay condition, when, through the persecution of heathen men, for belief in Christ, he was martyred; and christian men afterwards honourably deposited his holy body within the temple, together with his weapons. Afterwards, when the holy queen sent him, as we have said a little before, his spirit swiftly went, and with a bodily weapon stabbed the foe of God, while his guards were looking on.
Mine gebroðra ða leofostan, uton clypigan mid singalum benum to ðære halgan Godes meder, þæt heo ús on urum nydþearfnyssum to hire Bearne geðingige. Hit is swiðe geleaflic þæt he hyre miceles ðinges tiðian wylle, seðe hine sylfne gemedemode þæt he ðurh hí, for middangeardes alysednysse, to menniscum men acenned wurde, seðe æfre is God butan anginne, and nu ðurhwunað, on anum hade, soð man and soð God, á on ecnysse. Swa swa gehwilc man wunað on sawle and on lichaman án mann, swa is Crist, God and mann, án Hælend, seðe leofað and rixað mid Fæder and Halgum Gaste on ealra worulda woruld. Amen. My dearest brothers, let us call with constant prayers to the holy mother of God, that she may intercede for us in our necessities with her Son. It is very credible that he will grant much to her, who vouchsafed through her to be born a human being for the redemption of the world, who is ever God without beginning, and now exists, in one person, true man and true God, ever to eternity. So as every man exists in soul and body one man, so is Christ, God and man, one Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with the Father and the Holy Ghost for ever and ever. Amen.