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of this holy bysshop.'
But admirable as this miracle unquestionably is, it is perhaps even surpassed by the following. "Thise two bysshops, Dunston and Ethelwold, were warned by our Lorde to see that thyse ij holy saintes, Swythyne and Edward, sholde be worshypfully shryned; and so they were wythin a short tyme after; and an holy man warned Ethewold, whyles he lay seke to helpe that thyse two holy bodyes myght be shryned; and thene he sholde parfyghtly hool and so endure to hys lyves' ende; and the token is, that ye shall fynde on Saynt Swythynes grave two rynges of yron nayled fast thereon; and as sone as he sette honde on the ringes, thei come of of the stone, and no token was seen in the stone where they were fastened in. And whan they had taken up the stone fro the grave, they sette the rynges to the stone agayn, and anone they fastened to it by themself. And thene this holy bysshop gof lowdt and praysing to our lord for this. miracle."
JULY THE 27TH.-This day is celebrated in the Romish calendar as being dedicated to the Seven Sleepers, a popular story even in our own time, but which like most tales of the kind has not always been told with uniform consistency. According to one version there is somewhere in Norway upon the sea-shore a cave, in which seven men have slept for an unknown length of time, their garments and bodies being alike untouched by decay. From the appearance of the former it is evident they are Romans, and it seems to be rather unsafe to meddle with them, for when a curious visitor attempted to strip one
* Golden Legend, fol. 173. Folio, 1572-Caxton. † i.e. gave laud, or thanksgivings.
Golden Legend, fol. 173. Folio, 1572.-Caxton. From all this it is plain that St. Swithin must have been a highly popular character in his day, and yet he is not included in Ribadeneira's list of the saintly host.
of them, his arms instantly withered up, as a warning to others who might be troubled with the same fancy.*
Olaus Magnus tells the same story ;† Possevinus confounds these Northern sleepers with those of Ephesus; ‡ and Gregory of Tours has a version altogether different.§
"In extremis circium versus Germaniæ finibus, in ipso oceani littore, antrum sub eminenti rupe conspicitur, ubi septem viri (incertum ex quo tempore) longo sopiti sopore quiescunt, ita inlæsis non solum corporibus, sed etiam vestimentis, ut ex hoc ipso quod sine ullo per tot annorum curricula corruptione perdurant, apud indociles easdem et barbaras nationes venerationi habeantur. Hi denique, quantum ad habitum spectat, Romani esse cernuntur. E quibus dum unum quidam, cupiditate stimulatus, vellet exuere, mox ejus, ut dicitur, brachia aruerunt, pænaque sua cæteros proterruit ne quis eos alterius contingere auderet." P. Warnefridus De Gestis Langebordum, Lib. i. cap. 10.—The geography of this passage is exceedingly vague, not to say contradictory. A cave somewhere on the seashore, toward the North, is far from being a plain direction; and besides, circius can only mean the North-West, while in the Acta Sanctorum, the commentators on this passage tell us that by Germania we are to understand Norway, p. 375, tom. vi.-July.
+ OLAI MAGNI HISTORIA.-De Ritu Gent. Septen. cap. iii. lib. 1. But indeed he only quotes from Warnefrid.
POSSEVINUS Gonzaga. Lib. i. p. 4, Folio, Mantuæ, 1628.
§ I may here observe that this is one only of three accounts, given, or said to be given, by Gregory of Tours in regard to the Seven Sleepers. It is not to be found, as far as I know, in any edition of the bishop's works, but occurs in the ACTA SANCTORUM (p. 389, tom. vi.—July.) where it is stated to be taken from a MS. in the church of St. Audomar. No doubt they are all equally authentic; and therefore, relying upon the learned editors of the ACTA, I have chosen that which seemed to me the most interesting, but abridging it considerably, and being more careful to retain the peculiar quaint character of the original than to give any thing like a close translation. The second of the tales alluded to (S. Gregorii Episc. Turon. DE GLORIA MARTYRUM, Lib. 1, cap. 95, p. 826,) agrees with this in substance, though not altogether in detail, and it is much more brief. The third, as the reader will perceive from the following analysis, seems to be only another version of the Northern Sleepers, and I should observe that it is somewhat doubtful whether it was really written by the Bishop, for, having
This it is: At a time when the persecution of the Christians was general throughout the world, there were seven men in the royal palace of noble birth, by name Achillidis, Diomedis, Diogenis, Probatus, Stephanus, Sambucius, and Quiriacus. Beholding the horrid crimes of the Emperor, and that deaf and dumb idols were worshipped in place of the Eternal, they were divinely impelled to fly to the grace of baptism, when they received at the regenerating font the name of Maximianus, Malchus, Martinianus, Constantinus, Dionysius, Joannes, Serapion. Now Decius, coming to the city of Ephesus, ordered strict enquiry to be made after the Christians, that the very name of their religion might, if possible, be extinguished. The altars were prepared, and threats and persuasions alike used to in
given one version of the legend in his MARTYROLOGY, he would hardly have sent forth another to the world in this letter to Sulpicius Bituvicensis, without some allusion to what he had already published. The story, however, is briefly this. There were seven brothers, by name Clemens, Primus, Laetus, Theodorus, Gaudens, Quiriacus, and Innocentius, cousins of Martin of Tours, who were received by him in the convent of Marmoutier (Majus-Monasterium) a Benedictine abbey, on the banks of the river Loire, nearly opposite to Tours. Here they led so holy a life, that Martin was frequently in the habit after his own decease of visiting them in dreams to comfort them, and eventually he was so kind as to come in the middle of the night and warn them of their approaching death, saying, "To-morrow you will die; so call the abbot Ricardus to you, relate your life, confess your sins, and tell him to say a mass in honour of the Holy Trinity, not forgetting to commemorate myself. This being done and having received the viaticum, you will go the way of all flesh, but without pain, and your bodies will remain free from corruption."-Even as the Saint had said, so it happened, and the place was immediately filled with so sweet an odour for seven days together, that all the sick who came thither were healed whatever might be their malady. At the end of that time we may infer, though it is not set down, that the sweetness had ceased, for the abbot then caused them to be buried in their clothes.
duce the people to offer up sacrifices, till the whole city reeked and glowed with the splendour of these horrid ceremonies; which being perceived by these champions of Christ, they prostrated themselves in prayer, scattered dust upon their heads, and prayed to God that he would look down from his sanctuary on high, and not permit his people to be perverted.
When this was perceived by the persecutors of the Christian name, they came to the Emperor, saying, “O Prince, thy commands have been spread to the extremest boundaries of the earth, and none have dared to disobey them; but all offer daily sacrifice to the immortal Gods, seven men alone excepted, whom you have loved and held in favour."—And the Emperor said, "who are they?"— And they replied, "Maximianus, the son of your prefect, with his companions." Hereat the Emperor waxed wrath, and they were led before him in chains, having their faces bathed in tears, and their heads covered with ashes, just as they had been deprecating the Lord. And the Emperor said, "Are you of such wicked minds that you oppose our deities, and refuse the sacrifices due to the immortal Gods? By my glory I say to you you shall suffer many kinds of torture for this contempt." Then the men made answer and said, "the Lord is the creator of heaven and earth, to whom we daily offer the fitting sacrifice of praise, and for whose name we are prepared to die." And the wrathful Emperor, being left alone with them, said, Away, ye slaves from our presence, 'till ye have repented of your blasphemy, and, being reconciled to the mercy of the Gods, enjoy the flower of your youth, for it is not fitting that so much perfection of form should be subjected to torture."-And, the collar being struck from off their necks, he commanded that they should go free until his return from Ephesus. The men having thus received permission to depart, and the Emperor
going to another city, they went home, collected their gold, silver, apparel, and household goods, and distributed them to the poor. Then they sought a cavern on Mount Celeus,* carrying with them only a small supply of money to buy food, and chose Malchus of their number to make the necessary purchases, and learn what the Emperor might daily decree in regard to the Christians.
While the saints were thus enclosed in the cavern, the Emperor returned to Ephesus, and, examining the Christians as usual, he demanded intelligence of Maximian and his companions; to this their relations replied that they had betaken themselves to a certain cavern of Mount Celeus, from which they might be easily dragged if the Emperor commanded it. Now when the saints knew all this from Malchus, they were greatly troubled, and flinging themselves on the earth, they with tears entreated the Lord that he would hide them from the sight of the wicked Emperor. And God, foreseeing that they would be hereafter necessary, gave ear to their prayer, and received their souls, and they lay upon the ground, as if buried in a sweet sleep.
The Emperor, being much wroth at what he had heard, said to his people, "go ye then, and pile up the mouth of the cave with stones, that these rebels to the Gods may have no means of departing forth. Hereupon the servants of the Emperor went out to block up the cave, but two men, called Theodore and Ruben, had got the start of them, and these men worshipped Christ in secret, for they feared the imperial anger. Writing the whole history of the saints upon leaden tablets; they privately deposited
Eutychus calls this mountain, Chaos, and describes it as lying to the east of Ephesus-" Ad montem magnum, Chaos appellatum, ad partem Ephesi orientalem, profecti, in specu quodam magno, qui in ipso fuit, se abdiderunt."-Contextio Gemmarum, sive Eutychii Patriarchæ Alexandrini Annales, tom. i. p. 391. 4to. Oxoniæ, 1656.