Song 24


The foure and twentieth Song.


The fatall Welland from her Springs,
This Song to thIle of Ely brings:
Our ancient English Saints revives,
Then in an oblique course contrives,
The Rarities that Rutland showes,
Which with this Canto shee doth close.

his way, to that faire Fount of Welland hath us led,
At * Nasby to the North, where from a second head
The Fountaine of
Runs Avon, which along to Severne shapes her course,
But pliant Muse proceed, with our new-handled sourse,
Of whom from Ages past, a prophecie there ran,
(Which to this ominous flood much feare and reverance wan)
That she alone should drowne all Holland, and should see
Her Stamford, which so much forgotten seemes to bee;
Renown’d for Liberall Arts, as highly honoured there,
As they in Cambridge are, or Oxford ever were;
Whereby shee in her selfe a holinesse suppos’d,
That in her scantled banks, though wandring long inclos’d,
Yet in her secret breast a Catalogue had kept
Of our religious Saints, which though they long had slept,
Yet through the chrystned world, for they had wonne such fame
Both to the British first, then to the English name,
For their abundant Faith, and sanctimony knowne,
Such as were hither sent, or naturally our owne,
It much her Genius grievd, to have them now neglected,
Whose pietie so much those zealous times respected.
Wherefore she with her selfe resolved, when that shee
To Peterborough came, where much shee long’d to be,
That in the wished view of Medhamsted, that Towne,
Which he the greatst of Saints doth by his Name renowne,
An ancient Prophecie
of the River of
Shee to his glorious Phane an Offring as to bring,
Of her deare Countries Saints, the Martyrologe would sing:
And therefore all in haste to Harborough she hy’d,
Whence Lestershire she leaves upon the Northward side,
At Rutland then ariv’d, where Stamford her sustaines,
By Deeping drawing out, to Lincolneshire she leanes,
Upon her Bank by North, against this greater throng,
Northamptonshire to South still lyes with her along,
And now approching neere to this appointed place,
Where she and Nen make shew as though they would imbrace;
But onely they salute, and each holds on her way,
When holy Welland thus was wisely heard to say.
I sing of Saints, and yet my Song shall not be fraught
With Myracles by them, but fayned to be wrought,
That they which did their lives so palpably belye,
To times have much impeach’d their holinesse thereby:
Though fooles (I say) on them, such poore impostures lay,
Have scandal’d them to ours, farre foolisher then they,
Which thinke they have by this so great advantage got
Their venerable names from memory to blot,
Which truth can ne’r permit; and thou that art so pure,
The name of such a Saint that no way canst endure;
Know in respect of them to recompense that hate,
The wretchedst thing, and thou have both one death and date:
From all vaine worship too; and yet am I as free
As is the most precise, I passe not who hee bee.
Antiquitie I love, nor by the worlds despight,
I can not be remoov’d from that my deare delight.
This spoke, to her faire ayd her sister Nen shee winnes,
When shee of all her Saints, now with that man beginnes.
The first that ever told Christ crucified to us,
The course of Welland
to the Sea.
(By Paul and Peter sent) just Aristobulus,
Renown’d in holy Writ, a Labourer in the word,
For that most certaine Truth, opposing fire and sword,
By th’Britans murthered here, so unbeleeving then.
Next holy Joseph came, the mercifulst of men,
The Saviour of mankind, in Sepulchre that layd,
That to the Britans was th’Apostle; in his ayd
Saint Duvian, and with him Saint Fagan, both which were
His Scollers, likewise left their sacred Reliques here:
All Denizens of ours, t’advaunce the Christian state,
At Glastenbury long that were commemorate.
When Amphiball againe our Martyrdome began
In that most bloody raigne of Dioclesian:
This man into the truth, that blessed Alban led
(Our Proto-Martyr call’d) who strongly discipled
Saints in the Primitive
British Church.
The foure and twentieth Song. 77
In Christian Patience, learnt his tortures to appease:
His fellow-Martyrs then, Stephen, and Socrates,
At holy Albans Towne, their Festivall should hold;
So of that Martyr nam’d, (which Verlam was of old.)
A thousand other Saints, whom Amphiball had taught,
Flying the Pagan foe, their lives that strictly sought,
Were slaine where Lichfield is, whose name doth rightly sound,
(There of those Christians slaine) Dead field, or burying ground.
Then for the Christian faith, two other here that stood,
And teaching, bravely seald their Doctrine with their blood:
Saint Julius, and with him Saint Aron, have their roome,
At Carleon suffring death by Dioclesians doome;
Whose persecuting raigne tempestuously that rag’d,
Gainst those here for the Faith, their utmost that ingag’d,
Saint Angule put to death, one of our holiest men,
At London, of that See, the godly Bishop then
In that our Infant Church, so resolute was he.
A second Martyr too grace Londons ancient See,
Though it were after long, good Voadine who reprov’d
Proud Vortiger his King, unlawfully that lov’d
Anothers wanton wife, and wrong’d his Nuptiall bed;
For which by that sterne Prince unjustly murthered,
As he a Martyr dy’d, is Sainted with the rest.
The third Saint of that See (though onely he confest)
Was Guithelme, unto whom those times that reverence gave,
As he a place with them eternally shall have.
So Melior may they bring, the Duke of Cornwalls sonne,
By his false brothers hands, to death who being done
In hate of Christian faith, whose zeale lest time should taint,
As he a Martyr was, they justly made a Saint.
Those godly Romans then (who as mine Authour saith)
Wanne good King Lucius first t’imbrace the Christian faith,
Fugatius, and his friend Saint Damian, as they were
Made Denizens of ours, have their remembrance here:
As two more (neere that time, Christ Jesus that confest,
And that most lively faith, by their good works exprest)
Saint Elvan with his pheere Saint Midwin, who to win
The Britans, (com’n from Rome, where Christned they had bin)
Converted to the Faith their thousands, whose deare grave,
That Glastenbury grac’d, there their memoriall have.
As they their sacred Bones in Britaine here bestow’d,
So Britaine likewise sent her Saints to them abroad:
Marsellus that just man, who having gathered in
The scattered Christian Flocke, instructed that had bin
By holy Joseph here; to congregate he wan
This justly named Saint, this never-wearied man,
Britain sendeth her
holy men to other
Next to the Germans preach’d, till (voyd of earthly feare)
By his couragious death, he much renown’d Trevere.
Then of our Native Saints, the first that di’d abroad;
Beatus, next to him shall fitly be bestow’d,
In Switzerland who preach’d, whom there those Paynims slue,
When greater in their place, though not in Faith, ensue
Saint Lucius (call’d of us) the primer christned King,
Of th’ancient Britons then, who led the glorious ring
To all the Saxon Race, that here did him succeed,
Changing his regall Robe to a religious Weed,
His rule in Britaine left, and to Helvetia hied,
Where he a Bishop liv’d, a Martyr lastly died.
As Constantine the Great, that godly Emperour,
Here first the Christian Church that did to peace restore,
Whose ever blessed birth, (as by the power divine)
The Roman Empire brought into the British Line,
Constantinoples Crowne, and th’ancient Britans glory.
So other here we have to furnish up our Story,
Saint Melon welneere, when the British Church began,
(Even early in the raigne of Romes Valerian)
Here leaving us for Rome, from thence to Roan was cald,
To preach unto the French, where soone he was instauld
Her Bishop: Britaine so may of her Gudwall vaunt,
Who first the Flemmings taught, whose feast is held at Gaunt.
So others foorth she brought, to little Britaine vow’d,
Saint Wenlocke, and with him Saint Sampson, both alow’d
Apostles of that place, the first the Abbot sole
Of Tawrac, and the last sate on the See of Dole:
Where dying, Maglor then, thereof was Bishop made,
Sent purposely from hence, that people to perswade,
To keepe the Christian faith: so Golvin gave we thither,
Who sainted being there, we set them here together.
As of the weaker Sex, that ages have enshrin’d
Amongst the British Dames, and worthily divin’d:
The finder of the Crosse Queene Helena doth lead,
Who though Rome set a Crowne on her Emperiall head,
Yet in our Britaine borne, and bred up choicely here.
Emerita the next, King Lucius sister deare,
Who in Helvetia with her martyred brother di’d;
Bright Ursula the third, who undertooke to guide
Th’eleven thousand Mayds to little Britaine sent,
By Seas and bloody men devoured as they went:
Of which we find these foure have been for Saints preferd,
(And with their Leader still doe live incalenderd)
Saint Agnes, Cordula, Odillia, Florence, which
With wondrous sumptuous shrines those ages did inrich
The foure and twentieth Song. 79
At Cullen, where their Lives most clearely are exprest,
And yearely Feasts observ’d to them and all the rest.
But when it came to passe the Saxon powers had put
The Britans from these parts, and them o’r Severne shut,
The Christian Faith with her, then Cambria had alone,
With those that it receiv’d (from this now England) gone,
Whose Cambrobritans so their Saints as duely brought,
T’advance the Christian Faith, effectually that wrought,
Their David, (one deriv’d of th’royall British blood)
Who gainst Palagius false and damn’d opinions stood,
And turn’d Menevias name to Davids sacred See,
Th Patron of the Welsh deserving well to be:
With Cadock, next to whom comes Canock, both which were
Prince Brechans sonnes, who gave the name to Brecnocksheere;
The first a Martyr made, a Confessor the other.
So Clintanck, Brecknocks Prince, as from one selfe same mother,
A Saint upon that seat, the other doth ensue,
Whom for the Christian Faith a Pagan Souldier slue.
So Bishops can shee bring, which of her Saints shall bee,
As Asaph, who first gave that name unto that See;
Of Bangor, and may boast Saint David which her wan
Much reverence, and with these Owdock and Telean,
Both Bishops of Landaff, and Saints in their Succession;
Two other following these, both in the same profession,
Saint Dubric whose report old Carleon yet doth carry,
And Elery in Northwales, who built a Monastery,
In which himselfe became the Abot, to his praise,
And spent in Almes and Prayer the remnant of his dayes.
But leaving these Divin’d, to Decuman we come,
In Northwales who was crown’d with glorious Martyrdome.
Justinian, as that man a Sainted place deserv’d,
Who still to feed his soule, his sinfull body sterv’d:
And for that height in zeale, whereto he did attaine,
There by his fellow Monkes most cruelly was slaine.
So Cambria, Beno bare; and Gildas, which doth grace
Old Bangor, and by whose learn’d writings we imbrace,
The knowledge of those times; the fruits of whose just pen,
Shall live for ever fresh, with all truth-searching men:
Then other, which for hers old Cambria doth averre,
Saint Senan, and with him wee set Saint Deiferre,
Then Tather will we take, and Chyned to the rest,
With Baruk who so much the Ile of Bardsey blest
By his most powerfull prayer, to solitude that liv’d,
And of all worldly care his zealous Soule depriv’d.
Of these, some liv’d not long, some wondrous aged were,
But in the Mountaines liv’d, all Hermits here and there.
The Cambro-British
O more then mortall men, whose Faith and earnest prayers,
Not onely bare ye hence, but were those mightie stayres
By which you went to heaven, and God so clearely saw,
As this vaine earthly pompe had not the power to draw
Your elevated soules, but once to looke so low,
As those depressed paths, wherein base worldlings goe.
What mind doth not admire the knowledge of these men?
But zealous Muse returne unto thy taske agen.
These holy men at home, as here they were bestow’d,
So Cambria had such too, as famous were abroad.
Sophy King Gulicks sonne of Northwales, who had seene
The Sepulchre three times, and more, seven times had beene
On Pilgrimage at Rome, of Beniventum there
The painfull Bishop made; by him so place we here,
Saint Mackloue, from Northwales to little Britaine sent,
That people to convert, who resolutely bent,
Of Athelney in time the Bishop there became,
Which her first title chang’d, and tooke his proper name.
So she her Virgins had, and vow’d as were the best:
Saint Keyne Prince Brechans child, (a man so highly blest,
That thirtie borne to him all Saints accounted were.)
Saint Inthwar so apart shall with these other beare,
Who out of false suspect was by her brother slaine.
Then Winifrid, whose name yet famous doth remaine,
Whose Fountaine in Northwales intitled by her name,
For Mosse, and for the Stones that be about the same,
Is sounded through this Ile, and to this latter age
Is of our Romists held their latest Pilgrimage.
But when the Saxons here so strongly did reside,
And surely seated once, as owners to abide;
When nothing in the world to their desire was wanting,
Except the Christian Faith, for whose substantiall planting,
Saint Augustine from Rome was to this Iland sent;
And comming through large France, ariving first in Kent,
Converted to the faith King Ethelbert, till then
Unchristened that had liv’d, with all his Kentishmen,
And of their chiefest Towne, now Canterbury cald,
The Bishop first was made, and on that See instauld.
Foure other, and with him for knowledge great in name,
That in this mighty worke of our conversion came,
Lawrence, Melitus then, with Justus, and Honorius,
In this great Christian worke, all which had beene laborious,
To venerable age, each comming in degree,
Succeeded him againe in Canterbury See,
As Peter borne in France, with these and made our owne,
And Pauline whose great zeale, was by his Preaching showne.
Those that came from
forraine parts into this
Ile, & were canonized
here for Saints.
The foure and twentieth Song. 81
The first to Abbots state, wise Austen did preferre,
And to the latter gave the See of Rochester;
All canoniz’d for Saints, as worthy sure they were,
For establishing the Faith, which was received here.
Few Countries where our Christ had ere been preached then,
But sent into this Ile some of their godly men.
From Persia led by zeale, so Ive this Iland sought,
And neere our Easterne Fennes a fit place finding, taught
The Faith: which place from him the name alone derives,
And of that sainted man since called is Saint-Ives;
Such reverence to her selfe that time Devotion wan.
So Sun-burnt Affrick sent us holy Adrian,
Who preacht the Christian Faith here nine and thirtie yeere,
An Abbot in this Isle, and to this Nation deare,
That in our Countrey two Provinciall Synods cald,
T’reforme the Church that time with Heresies enthrald.
So Denmarke Henry sent t’encrease our holy store,
Who falling in from thence upon our Northerne shore
In th’Isle of * Cochet liv’d, neere to the mouth of Tyne,
In Fasting as in Prayer, a man so much divine,of
That onely thrice a weeke on homely cates he fed,
And three times in the weeke himselfe he silenced,
That in remembrance of this most abstenious man,
Upon his blessed death the English men began,
An Islet upon the coast
Scotland, in the
German Sea.
By him to name their Babes, which it so frequent brings,
Which name hath honoured been by many English Kings.
So Burgundy to us three men most reverent bare,
Amongst our other Saints, that claime to have their share,
Of which was Felix first, who in th’East-Saxon raigne,
Converted to the faith King Sigbert: him againe
Ensueth Anselme, whom Augusta sent us in,
And Hugh, whose holy life, to Christ did many win,
How the name of Henry
came so frequent
among the English.
By * Henry th’Empresse sonne holpe hither, and to have
Him wholly to be ours, the See of Lincolne gave.
So Lumbardy to us, our reverent Lanfranck lent,
For whom into this land King William Conqueror sent,
And Canterburies See to his wise charge assign’d.
Nor France to these for hers was any whit behind,
For Grimbald shee us gave (as Peter long before,
Who with Saint Austen came, to preach upon this shore)
By Alsred hither cald, who him an Abbot made,
Who by his godly life, and preaching did perswade,
The Saxons to beleeve the true and quickning word:
So after long againe she likewise did afford,
Saint Osmond, whom the See of Salsbury doth owne,
A Bishop once of hers, and in our conquest knowne,
Henry the second.
When hither to that end their Norman William came,
Remigius then, whose mind, that worke of ours of fame,
Rich Lincolne Minster shewes, where he a Bishop sat,
Which (it should seeme) he built for men to wonder at.
So potent were the powers of Church-men in those dayes.
Then Henry nam’d of Bloys, from France who crost the Seas,
With Stephen Earle of Bloys his brother, after King,
In Winchesters rich See, who him establishing,
He in those troublous times in preaching tooke such paine,
As he by them was not canonized in vaine.
As other Countries here, their holy men bestow’d;
So Britaine likewise sent her Saints to them abroad,
And into neighbouring France, our most religious went,
Saint Clare that native was of Rochester in Kent,
At Volcasyne came vow’d the French instructing there,
So early ere the truth amongst them did appeare,
That more then halfe a God they thought that reverent man.
Our Judock, so in France such fame our Nation wan,
For holinesse, where long an Abbots life he led
At Pontoyse, and so much was honoured, that being dead,
And after threescore yeares (their latest period dated)
His body taken up, was solemnly translated.
As Ceofrid, that sometime of Wyremouth Abbot was,
In his returne from Rome, as he through France did passe,
At Langres left his life, whose holinesse even yet,
Upon his reverent grave, in memory doth sit.
Saint Alkwin so for ours, we English boast againe,
The Tutor that became to mightie Charlemaigne,
That holy man, whose heart was so with goodnesse fild,
As out of zeale he wan that mightie King to build
That Academy now at Paris, whose Foundation
Through all the Christian world hath so renown’d that Nation,
As well declares his wealth, that had the power to doe it,
As his most lively zeale, perswading him unto it.
As Simon cald the Saint of Burdeux, which so wrought,
By preaching there the truth, that happily he brought
The people of those parts, from Paganisme, wherein
Their unbeleeving soules so long had nuzled bin.
So in the Norman rule, two most religious were,
Amongst ours that in France dispersed here and there,
Preach’d to that Nation long, Saint Hugh, who borne our owne,
In our first Henries rule sate on the See of Roan,
Where reverenc’d he was long. Saint Edmund so againe,
Who banished from hence in our third Henries raigne,
There led an Hermits life neere Pontoyse, where before,
Saint Judock did the like) whose honour to restore,
Native English sent into
forraine parts,
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Religious Lewes there interr’d with wondrous cost,
Of whose rich Funerall France deservedly may boast.
Then Main we adde to these, an Abbot here of ours,
To little Britaine sent, imploying all his powers
To bring them to the Faith, which he so well effected,
That since he as a Saint hath ever been respected.
As these of ours in France, so had wee those did show
In Germany, as well the Higher, as the Low,
Their Faith: In Freezeland first Saint Boniface our best,
Who of the See of Mentz, whilst there he sate possest,
At Dockum had his death, by faithlesse Frizians slaine,
Whose Anniversaries there did after long remaine.
So Wigbert full of faith, and heavenly wisedome went
Unto the selfe same place, as with the same intent;
With Eglemond a man as great with God as he;
As they agreed in life, so did their ends agree,
Both by Radbodius slaine, who ruld in Frizia then:
So in the sacred roule of our Religious men,
In Freeze that preach’d the faith we of Saint Lullus read,
Who in the See of Mentz did Boniface succeed;
And Willihad that of Bren, that sacred Seat supplide,
So holy that him there, they halfely deifide;
With Marchelme, and with him our Plechelme, holy men,
That to the Freezes now, and to the Saxons then,
In Germany abroad the glorious Gospell spread,
Who at their lives depart, their bodies gathered,
Were at old-Seell enshrin’d, their Obijts yearely kept:
Such as on them have had as many praises heap’d,
That in their lives the truth as constantly confest,
As th’other that their Faith by Martyrdome exprest.
In Freeze, as these of ours, their names did famous leave,
Againe so had we those as much renown’d in Cleave;
Saint Swibert, and with him Saint Willick, which from hence,
To Cleeve-land held their way, and in the Truths defence
Pawn’d their religious lives, and as they went together,
So one and selfe same place allotted was to either:
For both of them at Wert in Cleaveland seated were,
Saint Swibert Bishop was, Saint Willick Abbot there.
So Guelderland againe shall our most holy bring,
As Edilbert the sonne of Edilbald the King
Of our South-Saxon Rule, incessantly that taught
The Guelders, whose blest dayes unto their period brought,
Unto his reverent Corpse, old Harlem harbour gave;
So Werenfrid againe, and Otger both we have,
Who to those people preach’d, whose praise that country tells.
What Nation names a Saint, for vertue that excels
Saint German who for Christ his Bishoprick forsooke,
And in the Netherlands most humbly him betooke,
From place to place to passe, the secrets to reveale,
Of our deare Saviours death, and last of all to seale
His doctrine with his blood: In Belgia so abroad,
Saint Wynock in like sort, his blessed time bestow’d,
Whose reliques Wormshault (yet) in Flanders hath reserv’d,
Of these, th’rebellious flesh (to winne them heaven) that starv’d.
Saint Menigold, a man, who in his youth had beene
A Souldier, and the French, and German warres had seene,
A Hermit last became, his sinfull soule to save,
To whom good Arnulph, that most godly Emperour gave
Some ground not farre from Leedge, his Hermitage to set,
Whose floore when with his teares, he many a day had wet,
He for the Christian faith upon the same was slaine:
So did th’Erwaldi there most worthily attaine
Their Martyrs glorious Types, to Ireland first approov’d,
But after (in their zeale) as need requir’d remoov’d,
They to Westphalia went, and as they brothers were,
So they, the Christian faith together preaching there,
Th’old Pagan Saxons slew, out of their hatred deepe
To the true Faith, whose shrines brave Cullen still doth keepe.
So Adler one of ours, by England set apart
For Germany, and sent that people to convert,
Of Erford Bishop made, there also had his end.
Saint Liphard like wise to our Martyraloge shall lend,
Who having been at Rome on Pilgrimage, to see
The Reliques of the Saints, supposed there to bee,
Returning by the way of Germany, at last,
Preaching the Christian faith, as he through Cambray past,
The Pagan people slew, whose Reliques Huncourt hath;
These others so we had, which trode the selfe same path
In Germany, which shee most reverently imbrac’d.
Saint John a man of ours, on Salzburgs See was plac’d;
Saint Willibald of Eist the Bishop so became,
And Burchard English borne, the man most great of name,
Of Witzburg Bishop was, at Hohemburg that reard
The Monastery, wherein he richly was interd.
So Mastreight unto her Saint Willibord did call,
And seated him upon her See Episcopall,
As two Saint Lebwins there amongst the rest are brought;
Th’one o’r Isells banks the ancient Saxons taught:
At over Isell rests, the other did apply,
The Gueldres, and by them interd at Deventry.
Saint Wynibald againe, at Hidlemayne enjoy’d
The Abbacy, in which his godly time employ’d
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In their Conversion there, which long time him withstood.
Saint Gregory then, with us sprung of the Royall blood,
And sonne to him whom we the elder Edward stile,
Both Court and Country left, which he esteemed vile,
Which Germany receav’d, where he at Myniard led
A strict Monastick life, a Saint alive and dead.
So had we some of ours for Italy were prest,
As well as these before, sent out into the East.
King Inas having done so great and wondrous things,
As well might be suppos’d the works of sundry Kings,
Erecting beautious Phanes, and Monuments so faire,
As Monarchs have not since beene able to repaire,
Of many that he built, the least, in time when they
Have (by weake mens neglect) been falne into decay:
This Realme by him enrich’d, he povertie profest,
In Pilgrimage to Rome, where meekly he deceast.
As Richard the deare sonne to Lothar King of Kent,
When he his happy dayes religiously had spent;
And feeling the approch of his declining age,
Desirous to see Rome in holy Pilgrimage,
Into thy Country com’n at Leuca, left his life,
Whose myracles there done, yet to this day are rife.
The Patron of that place, so Thuscany in thee,
At faire Mount-flascon still the memory shall bee
Of holy Thomas there most reverently interd,
Who sometime to the See of Hereford preferd;
Thence travailing to Rome, in his returne bereft
His life by sicknesse, there to thee his body left.
Yet Italy gave not these honors all to them
That visited her Rome, but from Jerusalem,
Some comming back through thee, and yeelding up their spirits,
On thy rich earth receiv’d their most deserved merits.
O Naples, as thine owne, in thy large Territory,
Though to our Countries praise, yet to thy greater glory,
Even to this day the Shrines religiously dost keepe,
Of many a blessed Saint which in thy lap doth sleepe!
As Eleutherius, com’n from visiting the Tombe,
Thou gav’st to him at Arke in thy Apulia roome
To set his holy Cell, where he an Hermite dy’d,
Canonized her Saint; so hast thou glorifide
Saint Gerrard, one of ours, (above the former grac’d)
In such a sumptuous Shrine at Galinaro plac’d;
At Sancto Padre so, Saint Fulke hath ever fame,
Which from that reverent man ’t should seeme deriv’d the name,
His Reliques there reserv’d; so holy Ardwins Shrine
Is at Ceprano kept, and honoured as divine,
For Myracles, that there by his strong faith were wrought.
Mongst these selected men, the Sepulchre that sought,
And in thy Realme arriv’d, their blessed soules resign’d:
Our Bernards body yet at Arpine we may find,
Untill this present time, her patronizing Saint.
So Countries more remote, with ours we did acquaint,
As Richard for the fame his holinesse had wonne,
And for the wondrous things that through his Prayers were done,
From this his native home into Calabria cald,
And of Saint Andrewes there the Bishop was instauld,
For whom shee hath profest much reverence to this land:
Saint William with this man, a paralell may stand,
Through all the Christian world accounted so divine,
That travelling from hence to holy Palestine,
Desirous that most blest Jerusalem to see,
(In which the Saviours selfe so oft vouchsaft to be)
Priour of that holy house by Suffrages related,
To th’Sepulchre of Christ, which there was dedicated;
To Tyre in Syria thence remov’d in little space,
And in lesse time ordain’d Archbishop of that place;
That God inspired man, with heavenly goodnesse fild,
A Saint amongst the rest deservedly is held.
Yet Italy, nor France, nor Germany, those times
Imployd not all our men, but into colder Clymes,
They wandred through the world, their Countries that forsooke.
So Sigfrid sent fromhence, devoutly undertooke
Those Pagans wild and rude, of Gothia to convert,
Who having laboured long, with danger oft ingirt,
Was in his reverent age for his deserved fee,
By Olaus King of Goths, set on Vexovias See.
To Norway, and to those great North-East Countries farre;
So Gotebald gave himselfe holding a Christian warre
With Paynims, nothing else but Heathenish Rites that knew.
As Suethia to her selfe these men most reverent drew,
Saint Ulfrid of our Saints, as famous there as any,
Nor scarcely find we one converting there so many.
And Henry in those dayes of Oxsto Bishop made,
The first that Swethen King, which ever did perswade,
On Finland to make warre, to force them by the sword,
When nothing else could serve to heare the powerfull word;
With Eskill thither sent, to teach that barbarous Nation,
Who on the Passion day, there preaching on the Passion,
T’expresse the Saviours love to mankind, taking paine,
By cruell Paynims hands was in the Pulpit slaine,
Upon that blessed day Christ dyed for sinfull man,
Upon that day for Christ, his Martyrs Crowne he wan.
The foure and twentieth Song. 87
So David drawne from hence into those farther parts,
By preaching, who to pearce those Paynims hardned hearts,
Incessantly proclaim’d Christ Jesus, with a crie
Against their Heathen gods, and blind Idolatry.
Into those colder Clymes to people beastly rude,
So others that were ours couragiously pursude,
The planting of the Truth, in zeale three most profound,
The relish of whose names by likelinesse of sound,
Both in their lives and deaths, a likelinesse might show,
As Unaman we name, and Shunaman that goe,
With Wynaman their friend, which martyred gladly were
In Gothland, whilst they taught with Christian patience there.
Nor those from us that went, nor those that hither came
From the remotest parts, were greater yet in name,
Then those residing here on many a goodly See,
(Great Bishops in account, now greater Saints that be)
Some such selected ones for pietie and zeale,
As to the wretched world, more clearely could reveale,
How much there might of God in mortall man be found
In charitable workes, or such as did abound,
Which by their good successe in aftertimes were blest,
Were then related Saints, as worthier then the rest.
Of Canterbury here with those I will begin,
That first Archbishops See, on which there long hath bin
So many men devout, as rais’d that Church so high,
Much reverence, and have wonne their holy Hierarchy:
Of which he first that did with goodnesse so inflame
The hearts of the devout (that from his proper name)
As one (even) sent from God, the soules of men to save
The title unto him, of Deodat they gave.
The Bishops Brightwald next, and Tatwin in we take,
Whom time may say, that Saints it worthily did make
Succeeding in that See directly even as they,
Here by the Muse are plac’d, who spent both night and day
By doctrine, or by deeds, instructing, doing good,
In raising them were falne, or strengthening them that stood.
Then Odo the Severe, who highly did adorne
That See, (yet being of unchristened parents borne,
Whose Country Denmarke was, but in East England dwelt)
He being but a child, in his cleere bosome felt
The most undoubted truth, and yet unbaptiz’d long;
But as he grew in yeares, in spirit so growing strong:
And as the Christian faith this holy man had taught,
He likewise for that Faith in Sundry battels fought.
So Dunstan as the rest arose through many Sees,
To this Arch-type at last ascending by degrees,
Bishops of this land
canonized Saints.
There by his power confirm’d, and strongly credit wonne,
To many wondrous things, which he before had done.
To whom when (as they say) the Devill once appear’d,
This man so full of faith, not once at all afeard,
Strong conflicts with him had, in myracles most great.
As Egelnoth againe much grac’d that sacred seat,
Who for his godly deeds surnamed was the Good,
Not boasting of his birth, though com’n of Royall blood:
For that, nor at the first, a Monkes meane Cowle despis’d,
With winning men to God, who never was suffic’d.
These men before exprest; so Eadsine next ensues,
To propagate the truth, no toyle that did refuse;
In Haralds time who liv’d, when William Conqueror came,
For holinesse of life, attain’d unto that fame,
That Souldiers fierce and rude, that pitty never knew,
Were suddenly made mild, as changed in his view.
This man with those before, most worthily related
Arch-saints, as in their Sees Arch-bishops consecrated.
Saint Thomas Becket then, which Rome so much did hery,
As to his Christned name it added Canterbury;
There to whose sumptuous Shrine the neere succeeding ages,
So mighty offrings sent, and made such Pilgrimages,
Concerning whom, the world since then hath spent much breath,
And many questions made both of his life and death:
If he were truely just, he hath his right; if no,
Those times were much to blame, that have him reckond so.
Then these from Yorke ensue, whose lives as much have grac’d
That See, as these before in Canterbury plac’d:
Saint Wilfrid of her Saints, we then the first will bring,
Who twice by Egfrids ire, the sterne Northumbrian King,
Expulst his sacred Seat, most patiently it bare,
The man for sacred gifts almost beyond compare.
Then Bosa next to him as meeke and humble hearted,
As the other full of grace, to whom great God imparted
His mercies sundry wayes, as age upon him came.
And next him followeth John, who likewise bare the name,
Of Beverley, where he most happily was borne,
Whose holinesse did much his native place adorne,
Whose Vigils had by those devouter times bequests
The Ceremonies due to great and solemne Feasts.
So Oswald of that seat, and Cedwall sainted were,
Both reverenc’d and renown’d Archbishops, living there
The former to that See, from Worcester transfer’d,
Deceased, was againe at Worcester inter’d:
The other in that See a sepucher they chose,
And did for his great zeale amongst the Saints dispose,
The foure and twentieth Song. 89
As William by descent com’n of the Conquerors straine,
Whom Stephen ruling here did in his time ordaine
Archbishop of that See, among our Saints doth fall,
Deriv’d from those two Seats, styld Archiepiscopall.
Next these Arch-Sees of ours, now London place doth take,
Which had those, of whom time Saints worthily did make.
As Ceda, (brother to that reverent Bishop Chad,
At Lichfield in those times, his famous seat that had)
Is Sainted for that See amongst our reverent men,
From London though at length remoov’d to Lestingen,
A monastery, which then he richly had begun.
Him Erkenwald ensues th’East English Offas sonne,
His fathers kingly Court, who for a Crosiar fled,
Whose works such fame him wonne for holinesse, that dead,
Time him enshrin’d in Pauls, (the mother of that See)
Which with Revenues large, and Priviledges he
Had wondrously endow’d; to goodnesse so affected,
That he those Abbayes great, from his owne power erected
At Chertsey neere to Thames, and Barking famous long.
So Roger hath a roome in these our Sainted throng,
Who by his words and works so taught the way to heaven,
As that great name to him sure was not vainely given.
With Winchester againe proceed we, which shall store
Us with as many Saints, as any See (or more)
Of whom we yet have sung, (as Heada there we have)
Who by his godly life, so good instructions gave,
As teaching that the way to make men to live well,
Example us assur’d, did Preaching farre excell.
Our Swithen then ensues, of him why ours I say,
Is that upon his Feast, his dedicated day,
As it in Harvest haps, so Plow-men note thereby,
Th’ensuing fortie dayes be either wet or dry,
As that day falleth out, whose Myracles may wee
Beleeve those former times, he well might sainted bee.
So Frithstan for a Saint incalendred we find,
With Brithstan not a whit the holyest man behind,
Canoniz’d, of which two, the former for respect
Of vertues in him found, the latter did elect
To sit upon his See, who likewise dying there,
To Ethelbald againe succeeding did appeare,
The honour to a Saint, as challenging his due.
These formerly exprest, then Elpheg doth ensue;
Then Ethelwald, of whom this Almes-deed hath been told,
That in a time of dearth his Churches plate he sold,
T’releeve the needy poore; the Churches wealth (quoth he)
May be againe repayr’d, but so these cannot be.
With these before exprest, so Britwald forth she brought,
By faith and earnest prayer his myracles that wrought,
That such against the Faith, that were most stony-hearted,
By his religious life, have lastly been converted.
This man, when as our Kings so much decayed were,
As ’twas suppos’d their Line would be extinguisht here,
Had in his Dreame reveald, to whom All-doing heaven,
The Scepter of this land in after-times had given;
Which in Prophettick sort by him delivered was,
And as he stoutly spake, it truly came to passe.
So other Southerne Sees, here either lesse or more,
Have likewise had their Saints, though not alike in store.
Of Rochester, we have Saint Ithamar, being then
In those first times, first of our native English men
Residing on that Seat; so as an ayd to her,
But singly Sainted thus, we have of Chichester,
Saint Richard, and with him Saint Gilbert, which doe stand
Enrold amongst the rest of this our Mytred Band,
Of whom such wondrous things, for truths delivered are,
As now may seeme to stretch our strait beleefe too farre.
And Cimbert, of a Saint had the deserved right,
His yearely Obiits long, done in the Isle of Wight;
A Bishop, as some say, but certaine of what See,
It scarcely can be proov’d, nor is it knowne to me.
Whilst Sherburne was a See, and in her glory shone,
And Bodmin likewise had a Bishop of her owne,
Whose Diocesse that time contained Cornwall; these
Had as the rest their Saints, derived from their Sees:
The first, her Adelme had, and Hamond, and the last
Had Patrock, for a Saint that with the other past;
That were it fit for us but to examine now
Those former times, these men for Saints that did allow,
And from our reading urge, that others might as well
Related be for Saints, as worthy every deale.
This scruteny of ours, would cleere that world thereby,
And shew it to be voyd of partiality,
That each man holy cald, was not canoniz’d here,
But such whose lives by death had triall many a yeere.
That See at Norwich now establisht (long not stird)
At Eltham planted first, to Norwich then transferd
Into our bedroule here, her Humbert in doth bring,
(A Counsellour that was to that most martyred King
Saint Edmund) who in their rude massacre then slaine,
The title of a Saint, his Martyrdome doth gaine.
So Hereford hath had on her Cathedrall Seat,
Saint Leofgar, a man by Martyrdome made great,
The foure and twentieth Song. 91
Whom Griffith Prince of Wales, that Towne which did subdue,
(O most unhallowed deed) unmercifully slue.
So Worster, (as those Sees here sung by us before)
Hath likewise with her Saints renown’d our native shore:
Saint Egwin as her eld’st, with Woolstan as the other,
Of whom she may be proud, to say shee was the Mother,
The Churches Champions both, for her that stoutly stood.
Lichfield hath those no whit lesse famous, nor lesse good:
The first of whom is that most reverent Bishop Chad,
In those religious times for holinesse that had,
The name above the best that lived in those dayes,
That Stories have been stuft with his abundant praise;
Who on the See of Yorke being formerly instauld,
Yet when backe to that place Saint Wilfrid was recald,
The Seat to that good man he willingly resign’d,
And to the quiet Closse of Lichfield him confin’d.
So Sexulfe after him, then Owen did supply,
Her Trine of reverent men, renown’d for sanctitie.
As Lincolne to the Saints, our Robert Grosted lent,
A perfect godly man, most learn’d and eloquent,
Then whom no Bishop yet walkt in more upright wayes,
Who durst reproove proud Rome, in her most prosperous dayes,
Whose life, of that next age the Justice well did show,
Which we may boldly say, for this we clearely know,
Had Innocent the fourth the Churches Suffrage led,
This man could not at Rome have been Canonized.
Her sainted Bishop John, so Ely addes to these,
Yet never any one of all our severall Sees
Northumberland like thine, have to these times been blest,
Which sent into this Isle so many men profest,
Whilst Hagustald had then a Mother-Churches stile,
And Lindisferne of us now cald the Holy-Ile,
Was then a See before that Durham was so great,
And long ere Carleill came to be a Bishops seat.
Aidan, and Finan both, most happily were found
Northumberland in thee, even whilst thou didst abound
With Paganisme, which them thy Oswin that good King,
His people to convert did in from Scotland bring:
As Etta likewise hers, from Malrorse that arose,
Being Abbot of that place, whom the Northumbers chose
The Bishopricke of Ferne, and Hagustald to hold.
And Cuthbert of whose life such Myracles are told,
As Storie scarcely can the truth thereof maintaine,
Of th’old Scotch-Irish Kings descended from the straine,
To whom since they belong, I from them here must swerve,
And till I thither come, their holinesse reserve,
Proceeding with the rest that on those Sees have showne,
As Edbert after these borne naturally our owne.
The next which in that See Saint Cuthbert did succeed,
His Church then built of wood, and thatch’d with homely reed,
He builded up of stone, and covered fayre with Lead,
Who in Saint Cuthberts Grave they buried being dead,
As his sad people he at his departing wild.
So Higbald after him a Saint is likewise held,
Who when his proper See, as all the Northren Shore,
Were by the Danes destroyd, he not dismayd the more,
But making shift to get out of the cruell flame,
His Cleargie carrying foorth, preach’d wheresoere he came.
And Alwyn who the Church at Durham now, begun,
Which place before that time was strangely overrun
With shrubs, and men for corne that plot had lately eard,
Where he that goodly Phane to after ages reard,
And thither his late Seat from * Lindisferne translated,
Which his Cathedrall Church by him was consecrated.
So Acca we account mongst those which have been cald
The Saints of this our See, which sate at Hagenstald,
Of which he Bishop was, in that good age respected,
In Calenders preserv’d, in th’Catalogues neglected,
Which since would seeme to shew the Bishops as they came:
Then Edilwald, which some (since) Ethelwoolph doe name,
At Durham by some men supposed to reside
More rightly, but by some at Carleill justifide,
An Isle neere to
Scotland, lying into the
German Ocean, since
that called Holy Iland,
as you may read in the
next page following.
The first which rul’d that See, which * Beauclerke did preferre,
Much gracing him, who was his only Confessor.
Nor were they Bishops thus related Saints alone;
Northumberland, but thou (besides) hast many a one,
Religious Abbots, Priests, and holy Hermits then,
Canonized as well as thy great Mytred men:
Two famous Abbots first are in the ranke of these,
Whose Abbayes touch’d the walls of thy two ancient Seas.
Thy Roysill (in his time the tutillage that had
Of Cuthbert that great Saint, whose hopes then but a lad,
Exprest in riper yeares how greatly he might merit)
The man who had from God a prophesying Spirit,
Foretelling many things; and growing to be old,
His very hower of death, was by an Angell told.
At Malroyes this good man his Sainting well did earne,
Saint Oswald his againe at holy Lindisferne,
With Ive a godly Priest, supposd to have his lere
Of Cuthbert, and with him was Herbert likewise there
His fellow-pupill long, (who as mine Authour saith)
So great opinion had, of Cuthbert and his faith,
Henry the first.
The foure and twentieth Song. 93
That at one time and place, he with that holy man,
Desir’d of God to dye, which by his prayer he wan.
Our venerable Bede so forth that Country brought,
And worthily so nam’d, who of those ages sought
The truth to understand, impartially which he
Delivered hath to time, in his Records that we,
Things left so farre behind, before us still may read,
Mongst our canoniz’d sort, who called is Saint Bede.
A sort of Hermits then, by thee to light are brought,
Who liv’d by Almes, and Prayer, the world respecting nought.
Our Edilwald the Priest, in Ferne (now holy Ile)
Which standeth from the firme to Sea nine English mile,
Sate in his reverent Cell, as Godrick thou canst show;
His head and beard as white as Swan or driven Snow,
At Finchall threescore yeeres, a Hermits life to lead;
Their solitary way in thee did Alrick tread,
Who in a Forrest neere to Carleill, in his age,
Bequeath’d himselfe to his more quiet Hermitage.
Of Wilgusse, so in thee Northumberland we tell,
Whose most religious life hath merited so well,
(Whose blood thou boasts to be of thy most royall straine)
That Alkwin, Master to that mightie Charlemaigne,
In Verse his Legend writ, who of our holy men,
He him the subject chose for his most learned pen.
So Oswyn, one of thy deare Country thou canst show,
To whom as for the rest for him we likewise owe
Much honour to thy earth, this godly man that gave,
Whose Reliques that great house of Lesting long did save,
To sinders till it sanke: so Benedict by thee,
We have amongst the rest, for Saints that reckoned bee,
Of Wyremouth worship’d long, her Patron buried there,
In that most goodly Church, which he himselfe did reare.
Saint Thomas so to us Northumberland thou lent’st,
Whom up into the South, thou from his Country sent’st;
For sanctitie of life, a man exceeding rare,
Who since that of his name so many Saints there are,
This man from others more, that times might understand,
They to his christened name added Northumberland.
Nor in one Country thus our Saints confined were,
But through this famous Isle dispersed here and there:
As Yorkshire sent us in Saint Robert to our store,
At Knarsborough most knowne, whereas he long before
His blessed time bestowd; then one as just as he,
(If credit to those times attributed may be)
Saint Richard with the rest deserving well a roome,
Which in that Country once, at Hampoole had a toombe.
Religious Alred so, from Rydall we receive,
The Abbot, who to all posteritie did leave,
The fruits of his staid faith, delivered by his Pen.
Not of the least desert amongst our holiest men,
One Eusac then we had, but where his life he led,
That doubt I, but am sure he was Canonized,
And was an Abbot too, for sanctity much fam’d.
Then Woolsey will we bring, of Westminster so nam’d,
And by that title knowne, in power and goodnesse great;
And meriting as well his Sainting, as his Seat.
So have we found three Johns, of sundry places here,
Of which (three reverent men) two famous Abbots were.
The first Saint Albans shew’d, the second Lewes had,
Another godly John we to these former add,
To make them up a Trine, (the name of Saints that wonn)
Who was a Yorkshire man, and Prior of Berlington.
So Biren can we boast, a man most highly blest
With the title of a Saint, whose ashes long did rest
At Dorchester, where he was honoured many a day;
But of the place he held, books diversly dare say,
As they of Gilbert doe, who founded those Divines,
Monasticks all that were, of him nam’d Gilbertines:
To which his Order here, he thirteene houses built,
When that most thankfull time, to shew he had not spilt
His wealth on it in vaine, a Saint hath made him here,
At Sempringham enshrin’d, a towne of Lincolneshire.
Of sainted Hermits then, a company we have,
To whom devouter times this veneration gave:
As Gwir in Cornwall kept his solitary Cage,
And Neoth by Hunstock there, his holy Hermitage,
As Guthlake, from his youth, who liv’d a Souldier long,
Detesting the rude spoyles, done by the armed throng,
The mad tumultuous world contemptibly forsooke,
And to his quiet Cell by Crowland him betooke,
Free from all publique crowds, in that low Fenny ground.
As Bertiline againe, was neere to Stafford found:
Then in a Forrest there, for solitude most fit,
Blest in a Hermits life, by there enjoying it.
An Hermit Arnulph so in Bedfordshire became,
A man austere of life, in honour of whose name,
Time after built a Towne, where this good man did live,
And did to it the name of Arnulphsbury give.
These men, this wicked world respected not a hayre,
But true Professors were of povertie and prayer.
Amongst these men which times have honoured with the Stile
Of Confessors, (made Saints) so every little while,
The foure and twentieth Song. 95
Our Martyrs have com’n in, who sealed with their blood,
That faith which th’other preach’d, gainst them that it withstood;
As Alnoth, who had liv’d a Herdsman, left his Seat,
Though in the quiet fields, whereas he kept his Neat,
And leaving that his Charge, he left the world withall,
An Anchorite and became, within a Cloystred wall,
Inclosing up himselfe, in prayer to spend his breath,
But was too soone (alas) by Pagans put to death.
Then Woolstan, one of these, by his owne kinsman slaine
At Evsham, for that he did zealously maintaine
The veritie of Christ. As Thomas, whom we call
Of Dover, adding Monke, and Martyr therewithall;
For that the barbarous Danes he bravely did withstand,
From ransacking the Church, when here they put on land,
By them was done to death, which rather he did chuse,
Then see their Heathen hands those holy things abuse.
Two Boyes of tender age, those elder Saints ensue,
Of Norwich William was, of Lincolne little Hugh,
Whom th’unbeleeving Jewes (rebellious that abide)
In mockery of our Christ at Easter crucifi’d,
Those times would every one should their due honour have,
His freedome or his life, for Jesus Christ that gave.
So Wiltshire with the rest her Hermit Ulfrick hath
Related for a Saint, so famous in the Faith,
That sundry ages since, his Cell have sought to find,
At Hasselburg, who had his Obiits him assign’d.
So had we many Kings most holy here at home,
As men of meaner ranke, which have attaind that roome:
Northumberland, thy seat with Saints did us supply
Of thy religious Kings; of which high Hierarchy
Was Edwin, for the Faith by Heathenish hands inthrald,
Whom Penda which to him the Welsh Cadwallyn cald,
Without all mercy slew: But he alone not dide
By that proud Mercian King, but Penda yet beside,
Just Oswald likewise slew, at Oswaldstree, who gave
That name unto that place, as though time meant to save
His memory thereby, there suffring for the Faith,
As one whose life deserv’d that memory in death.
So likewise in the Roule of these Northumbrian Kings,
With those that Martyrs were, so foorth that Country brings
Th’annoynted Oswin next, in Deira to ensue,
Whom Osway that bruit King of wild Bernitia slue:
Two kingdomes, which whilst then Northumberland remain’d
In greatnesse, were within her larger bounds contain’d;
This Kingly Martyr so, a Saint was rightly crown’d.
As Alkmond one of hers for sanctity renown’d,
Saxon Kings canonized
for Saints.
King Alreds Christned sonne, a most religious Prince,
Whom when the Heathenish here by no meanes could convince,
(Their Paganisme a pace declining to the wane)
At Darby put to death, whom in a goodly Phane,
Cald by his glorious name, his corpse the Christians layd.
What fame deserv’d your faith, (were it but rightly wayd)
You pious Princes then, in godlinesse so great;
Why should not full-mouthd Fame your praises oft repeat?
So Ethelwolph her King, Northumbria notes againe,
In Martyrdomethe next, though not the next in raigne,
Whom his false Subjects slue, for that he did deface
The Heathenish Saxon gods, and bound them to embrace
The lively quickning Faith, which then began to spread.
So for our Saviour Christ, as these were martyred:
There other holy Kings were likewise, who confest,
Which those most zealous times have Sainted with the rest,
King Alfred that his Christ he might more surely hold,
Left his Northumbrian Crowne, and soone became encould,
At Malroyse, in the land, whereof he had been King.
So Egbert to that Prince, a Paralell we bring,
To Oswoolph his next heire, his kingdome that resign’d,
And presently himselfe at Lindisferne confin’d,
Contemning Courtly state, which earthly fooles adore:
So Ceonulph againe as this had done before,
In that religious house, a cloystred man became,
Which many a blessed Saint hath honoured with the name.
Nor those Northumbrian Kings the onely Martyrs were,
That in this seven-fold Rule the scepters once did beare,
But that the Mercian raigne, which Pagan Princes long,
Did terribly infest, had some her Lords among,
To the true Christian Faith much reverence which did add
Our Martyrologe to helpe: so happily shee had
Rufin, and Ulfad, sonnes to Wulphere, for desire
They had t’imbrace the Faith, by their most cruell Sire
Were without pittie slaine, long ere to manhood growne,
Whose tender bodies had their burying Rites at * Stone.
So Kenelme, that the King of Mercia should have beene,
Before his first seven yeares he fully out had seene,
Was slaine by his owne Guard, for feare lest waxing old,
That he the Christian Faith undoubtedly would hold.
So long it was ere truth could Paganisme expell.
Then Fremund, Offas sonne, of whom times long did tell,
Such wonders of his life and sanctitie, who fled
His fathers kingly Court, and after meekly led
An Hermits life in Wales, where long he did remaine
In Penitence and prayer, till after he was slaine
A Towne in
The foure and twentieth Song. 97
By cruell Oswayes hands, the most inveterate foe,
The Christian faith here found: so Etheldred shall goe
With these our martyred Saints, though onely he confest,
Since he of Mercia was, a King who highly blest,
Faire Bardncy, where his life religiously he spent,
And meditating Christ, thence to his Saviour went.
Nor our West-Saxon raigne was any whit behind
Those of the other rules (their best) whose zeale wee find,
Amongst those sainted Kings, whose fames are safeliest kept;
As Cedwall, on whose head such praise all times have heapt,
That from a Heathen Prince, a holy Pilgrim turn’d,
Repenting in his heart against the truth t’have spurn’d,
To Rome on his bare feet his patience exercis’d,
And in the Christian faith there humbly was baptiz’d.
So Ethelwoolph, who sat on Cedwalls ancient Seat,
For charitable deeds, who almost was as great,
As any English King, at Winchester enshrin’d,
A man amongst our Saints, most worthily devin’d.
Two other Kings as much our Martyrologe may sted,
Saint Edward, and with him comes in Saint Ethelred,
By Alfreda, the first, his Stepmother was slaine,
That her most loved sonne young Ethelbert might raigne:
The other in a storme, and deluge of the Dane,
For that he Christned was, receav’d his deadly bane;
Both which with wondrous cost, the English did interre,
At Wynburne this first Saint, the last at Winchester,
Where that West-Saxon Prince, good Alfred buried was
Among our Sainted Kings, that well deserves to passe.
Nor were these Westerne Kings of the old Saxon straine,
More studious in those times, or stoutlier did maintaine
The truth, then these of ours, the Angles of the East,
Their neer’st and deer’st Allies, which strongly did invest
The * Island with their name, of whose most holy Kings,
Which justly have deserv’d their high Canonizings,
Are Sigfrid, whose deare death him worthily hath crownd,
And Edmund in his end, so wondrously renownd,
For Christs sake suffring death, by that blood-drowning Dane,
A people of the Saxons,
who gave the name to
England, of Angles
To whom those times first built that Citie and that Phane,
Whose ruines Suffolke yet can to her glory show,
When shee will have the world of her past greatnesse know.
As Ethelbert againe alur’d with the report
Of more then earthly pompe, then in the Mercian Court,
From the East-Angles went, whilst mighty Offa raign’d;
Where, for he christned was, and Christian-like abstain’d
To Idolatrize with them, fierce Quenred, Offas Queene
Most treacherously him slew out of th’inveterate spleene
Saint Edmunsbury.
Shee bare unto the Faith, whom we a Saint adore.
So Edwald brother to Saint Edmund, sung before,
A Confessor we call, whom past times did interre,
At Dorcester by Tame, (now in our Calender.)
Amongst those kingdomes here, so Kent account shall yeeld
Of three of her best blood, who in this Christian Field
Were mighty, of the which, King Ethelbert shall stand
The first; who having brought Saint Augustine to land,
Himselfe first christned was, by whose example then,
The Faith grew after strong amongst his Kentishmen.
As Ethelbrit againe, and Ethelred his pheere,
To Edbald King of Kent, who naturall Nephewes were,
For Christ there suffring death, assume them places hye,
Amongst our martyred Saints, commemorate at Wye.
To these two brothers, so two others come againe,
And of as great discent in the Southsexian straine:
Arwaldi of one name, whom ere King Cedwall knew
The true and lively Faith, he tyranously slew:
Who still amongst the Saints have their deserved right,
Whose Vigils were observ’d (long) in the Isle of Wight.
Remembred too the more, for being of one name,
As of th’East-Saxon line, King Sebba so became
A most religious Monke, at London, where he led
A strict retyred life, a Saint alive and dead.
Related for the like, so Edgar we admit,
That King, who over eight did soly Monarch sit,
And with our holyest Saints for his endowments great,
Bestow’d upon the Church. With him we likewise seat
That sumptuous shrined King, good Edward, from the rest
Of that renowned name, by Confessor exprest.
To these our sainted Kings, remembred in our Song,
Those Mayds and widdowed Queenes, doe worthily belong,
Incloystred that became, and had the selfe same style,
For Fasting, Almes, and Prayer, renowned in our Isle,
As those that foorth to France, and Germany we gave,
For holy charges there; but here first let us have
Our Mayd-made-Saints at home, as Hilderlie, with her
We Theorid thinke most fit, for whom those times averre,
A Virgin strictlyer vow’d, hath hardly lived here.
Saint Wulfshild then we bring, all which of Barking were,
And reckoned for the best, which most that house did grace,
The last of which was long the Abbesse of that place.
So Werburg, Wulpheres child, (of Mercia that had been
A persecuting King) by Ermineld his Queene,
At Ely honoured is, where her deare mother late,
A Recluse had remain’d, in her sole widdowed state:
Holy women
Canonized Saints.
The foure and twentieth Song. 99
Of which good Audry was King Inas daughter bright,
Reflecting on those times so cleare a Vestall light,
As many a Virgin-breast she fired with her zeale,
The fruits of whose strong faith, to ages still reveale
The glory of those times, by liberties she gave,
By which those Easterne Shires their Priviledges have.
Of holy Audries too, a sister here we have,
Saint Withburg, who her selfe to Contemplation gave,
At Deerham in her Cell, where her due howres she kept,
Whose death with many a teare in Norfolke was bewept.
And in that Isle againe, which beareth Elies name,
At Ramsey, Merwin so a Vayled Mayd became
Amongst our Virgin-Saints, where Elfled is enrold,
The daughter that is nam’d of noble Ethelwold,
A great East-Anglian Earle, of Ramsey Abbas long,
So of our Mayden-Saints, the Female sex among.
With Milburg, Mildred comes, and Milwid, daughters deere,
To Mervald, who did then the Mercian Scepter beare.
At Wenlock, Milburg dy’d, (a most religious mayd)
Of which great Abbay shee the first foundation layd:
And Thanet as her Saint (even to this age) doth herye
Her Mildred. Milwid was the like at Canterbury.
Nor in this utmost Isle of Thanet may we passe,
Saint Eadburg Abbesse there, who the deare daughter was,
To Ethelbert her Lord, and Kents first Christened King,
Who in this place most fitst we with the former bring,
Translated (as some say) to Flanders: but that I,
As doubtfull of the truth, here dare not justifie.
King Edgars sister so, Saint Edith, place may have
With these our Maiden-Saints, who to her Powlsworth gave
Immunities most large, and goodly livings layd.
Which Modwen, long before, a holy Irish mayd,
Had founded in that place, with most devout intent.
As Eanswine, Eadwalds child, one of the Kings of Kent,
At Foulkston found a place (given by her father there)
In which she gave her selfe to abstinence and prayer.
Of the West-Saxon rule, borne to three severall Kings,
Foure holy Virgins more the Muse in order brings:
Saint Ethelgive the child to Alfred, which we find,
Those more devouter times at Shaftsbury enshrin’d.
Then Tetta in we take, at Winburne on our way,
Which Cuthreds sister was, who in those times did sway
On the West-Saxon Seat, two other sacred Mayds,
As from their Cradels vow’d to bidding of their beads.
Saint Cuthburg, and with her Saint Quinburg, which we here
Succeedingly doe set, both as they Sisters were,
Saint Audries Liberties.
And Abbesses againe of Wilton, which we gather,
Our Virgin-Band to grace, both having to their father
Religious Ina, red with those which ruld the West,
Whose mothers sacred wombe with other Saints was blest,
As after shall be shew’d: an other Virgin vow’d,
And likewise for a Saint amongst the rest allow’d;
To th’elder Edward borne, bright Eadburg, who for she,
(As five related Saints of that blest name there be)
Of Wilton Abbasse was, they her of Wilton styl’d:
Was ever any Mayd more mercifull, more mild,
Or sanctimonious knowne: But Muse, on in our Song,
With other princely Mayds, but first with those that sprung
From Penda, that great King of Mercia; holy Tweed,
And Kinisdred, with these their sisters, Kinisweed,
And Eadburg, last not least, at Godmanchester all
Incloystred; and to these Saint Tibba let us call,
In solitude to Christ, that set her whole delight,
In Godmanchester made a constant Anchorite.
Amongst which of that house, for Saints that reckoned be,
Yet never any one more grac’d the fame then she.
Deriv’d of royall Blood, as th’other Elfled than
Neece to that mighty King, our English Athelstan,
At Glastenbury shrin’d; and one as great as shee,
Being Edward Out-lawes child, a Mayd that liv’d to see
The Conquerour enter here, Saint Christian (to us knowne)
Whose life by her cleere name divinely was foreshowne.
For holinesse of life, that as renowned were,
And not lesse nobly borne, nor bred, produce we here;
Saint Hilda, and Saint Hien, the first of noble name,
At Strenshalt, tooke her vow, the other sister came
To Colchester, and grac’d the rich Essexian shore:
Whose Reliques many a day the world did there adore.
And of our sainted Mayds, the number to supply,
Of Eadburg we allow, sometime at Alsbury,
To Redwald then a King of the East-Angles borne,
A Votresse as sincere as shee thereto was sworne.
Then Pandwine we produce, whom this our native Isle,
As forraine parts much priz’d, and higher did instyle,
The holyest English Mayd, whose Vigils long were held
In Lincolneshire; yet not Saint Frideswid exceld,
The Abbesse of an house in Oxford, of her kind
The wonder; nor that place, could hope the like to find.
Two sisters so we have, both to devotion plite,
And worthily made Saints; the elder Margarite,
Of Katsby Abbesse was, and Alice, as we read,
Her sister on that seat, did happily succeed,
The foure and twentieth Song. 101
At Abington, which first receiv’d their living breath.
Then those Northumbrian Nymphs, all vayld, as full of Faith,
That Country sent us in, t’increase our Virgin-Band,
Faire Elfled, Oswalds child, King of Northumberland,
At Strenshalt that was vaild. As mongst those many there,
O Ebba, whose cleere fame, time never shall out-weare,
At Coldingham, farre hence within that Country plac’d;
The Abbesse, who to keepe thy vayled Virgins chast,
Which else thou fearst the Danes would ravish, which possest
This Isle; first of thy selfe and then of all the rest,
The Nose and upper Lip from your fayre faces kerv’d,
And from pollution so your hallowed house preserv’d.
Which when the Danes perceiv’d, their hopes so farre deluded,
Setting the house on fire, their Martyrdome concluded.
As Leofron, whose faith with others rightly wayd,
Shall shew her not out-match’d by any English Mayd:
Who likewise when the Dane with persecution storm’d,
She here a Martyrs part most gloriously perform’d.
Two holy Mayds againe at Whitby were renown’d,
Both Abbesses thereof, and Confessors are crown’d;
Saint Ethelfrid, with her Saint Congill, as a payre
Of Abbesses therein, the one of which by prayer
The Wild-geese thence expeld, that Island which annoy’d,
By which their grasse and graine was many times destroy’d,
Which fall from off their wings, nor to the ayre can get
From the forbidden place, till they be fully set.
As these within this Isle in Cloysters were inclosd:
So we our Virgins had to forraine parts exposd;
As Eadburg, Anas child, and Sethred borne our owne,
Were Abbesses of Bridge, whose zeale to France was knowne:
And Ercongate againe we likewise thither sent,
(Which Ercombert begot, sometime a King of Kent)
A Prioresse of that place; Burgundosora bare,
At Eureux the chaste rule, all which renowned are
In France, which as this Isle of them may freely boast.
So Germany some grac’d, from this their native coast.
Saint Walburg heere extract from th’royall English Line,
Was in that Country made Abbesse of Heydentine.
Saint Tecla to that place at Ochenford they chose:
From Wynburne with the rest (in Dorsetshire) arose
Chast Agatha, with her went Lioba along.
From thence, two not the least these sacred Mayds among,
At Biscopsen, by time encloystred and became.
Saint Lewen so attayn’d an everliving name
For Martyrdome, which shee at Wynokebergin wan,
Mayds seeming in their Sex t’exceed the holyest man.
Wild geese falling
downe, if they fly over
the place.
Nor had our Virgins here for sanctitie the prize,
But widdowed Queenes as well, that being godly wise,
Forsaking second beds, the world with them forsooke,
To strict retyred lives, and gladly them betooke
To Abstinence and Prayer, and as sincerely liv’d.
As when the Fates of life King Ethelwold depriv’d,
That o’r the East-Angles raign’d, bright Heriswid his wife,
Betaking her to lead a strait Monasticke life,
Departing hence to France, receav’d the holy Vayle,
And lived many a day incloystred there at Kale.
Then Keneburg in this our Sainted front shall stand,
To Alfred the lov’d wife, King of Northumberland,
Daughter to Penda King of Mercia, who though he
Himselfe most Heathenish were, yet liv’d that age to see
Foure Virgins, and this Queene, his children, consecrated
Of Godmanchester all, and after Saints related.
As likewise of this Sex, with Saints that doth us store,
Of the Northumbrian Line so have we many more;
Saint Eanfled widdowed left, by Osway raigning there,
At Strenshalt tooke her Vaile, as Ethelburg the pheere
To Edwin, (rightly nam’d) the holy, which possest
Northumbers sacred seat, her selfe that did invest
At Lymming farre in Kent, which Country gave her breath.
So Edeth as the rest after King Sethricks death,
Which had the selfe same rule of Wilton Abbesse was,
Where two West-Saxon Queenes for Saints shall likewise passe,
Which in that selfe same house, Saint Edeth did succeed,
Saint Ethelwid, which here put on her hallowed weed,
King Alreds worthy wife, of Westsex; so againe
Did Wilfrid, Edgars Queene, (so famous in his raigne)
Then Eadburg, Anas wife, received as the other,
Who as a Saint her selfe, so likewise was she mother
To two most holy Mayds, as we before have show’d
At Wilton, (which we say) their happy time bestow’d,
Though she of Barking was, a holy Nunne profest,
Who in her husbands time, had raigned in the West:
Th’East-Saxon Line againe, so others to us lent,
As Sexburg sometime Queene to Ercombert of Kent,
Though Inas loved child, and Audryes sister knowne,
Which Ely in those dayes did for her Abbesse owne.
Nor to Saint Osith we lesse honour ought to give,
King Sethreds widdowed Queene, who (when death did deprive
Th’Essexian King of life) became enrould at Chich,
Whose Shrine to her there built, the world did long enrich.
Two holy Mercian Queenes so widdowed, Saints became,
For sanctity much like, not much unlike in name.
The foure and twentieth Song. 103
King Wulpheres widdowed Pheere, Queene Ermineld, whose life
At Ely is renown’d, and Ermenburg, the wife
To Mervald raigning there, a Saint may safely passe,
Who to three Virgin-Saints the vertuous mother was,
The remnant of her dayes, religiously that bare,
Immonastred in Kent, where first she breath’d the ayre.
King Edgars mother so, is for a Saint preferd,
Queene Algyue, who (they say) at Shipston was interd.
So Edward Outlawes wife, Saint Agatha, we bring,
By Salomon begot, that great Hungarian King;
Who when she saw the wrong to Edgar her deare sonne,
By cruell Harold first, then by the Conquerour done,
Depriv’d his rightfull crowne, no hope it to recover,
A Vestall habite tooke, and gave the false world over.
Saint Maud here not the least, though shee be set the last,
And scarcely over-matcht by any that is past,
Our Beauclearks Queene, and borne to Malcolme King of Scots,
Whose sanctity was seene to wipe out all the spots
Were laid upon her life, when shee her Cloyster fled,
And chastly gave her selfe to her lov’d husbands bed,
Whom likewise for a Saint those reverend ages chose,
With whom we at this time our Catalogue will close.
Now Rutland all this time, who held her highly wron’g,
That shee should for the Saints thus strangely be prolong’d,
As that the Muse such time upon their praise should spend,
Sent in her ambling Wash, faire Welland to attend
At Stamford, which her Streame doth eas’ly overtake,
Of whom her Mistresse Flood seemes wondrous much to make;
For that she was alone the darling and delight
Of Rutland, ravisht so with her beloved sight,
As in her onely childs, a mothers heart may be:
Wherefore that she the least, yet fruitfulst Shire should see,
The honourable ranke shee had amongst the rest,
The ever-labouring Muse her Beauties thus exprest.
Love not thy selfe the lesse, although the least thou art,
What thou in greatnesse wantst, wise Nature doth impart
In goodnesse of thy soyle; and more delicious mould,
Survaying all this Isle, the Sunne did nere behold.
Bring forth that British Vale, and be it ne’r so rare,
But Catmus with that Vale, for richnesse shall compare:
What Forrest-Nymph is found, how brave so ere she be,
But Lyfield shewes her selfe as brave a Nymph as shee?
What River ever rose from Banke, or swelling Hill,
Then Rutlands wandring Wash, a delicater Rill?
Small Shire that can produce to thy proportion good,
One Vale of speciall name, one Forrest, and one Flood.
O Catmus, thou faire Vale, come on in Grasse and Corne;
That Bever ne’r be sayd thy sister-hood to scorne,
And let thy Ocham boast, to have no litle grace,
That her they pleased Fates, did in thy bosome place,
And Lyfield, as thou art a Forrest, live so free,
That every Forrest-Nymph may praise the sports in thee.
And downe to Wellands course, O Wash, runne ever cleere,
To honour, and to be much honoured by this Shire.
And here my Canto ends, which kept the Muse so long,
That it may rather seeme a Volume, then a Song.