The Proeme of Jocelin
It has been, from ancient times, the object and the design of most writers to perpetuate, with a pen worthy of their virtues, the lives of holy men, that the fervor of sanctity so deserving our veneration might not be buried in oblivion, but rather that it might shine before all as in a glass, to the end that posterity might imitate its brightness – as was commanded from above, that in the breast-plate of the chief priest the names of the twelve patriarchs, the sons of Israel, should be engraven on twelve precious stones, so that by the sight thereof the faithful might be moved to imitate the acts of the holy fathers; for it is most fitting that of those in whose titles we glory, in whose praises we delight, by whose patronage we are protected, we should endeavor to conform to the manners, and be confirmed by the examples; but since the dearth of literature has so much increased, and the slothfulness to learning so much abounded, very many, fools and ignorant persons, have ofttimes, lest they should perish from the memory of the faithful, written the lives of the saints, certainly with a pious intent, but in a most unhandsome style. Wherefore, in reading the lives and acts of the saints composed in a rude manner or barbarous dialect, disgust is often excited, and not seldom tardiness of belief. And hence it is that the life of the most glorious priest Patrick, the patron and apostle of Ireland, so illustrious in signs and miracles, being frequently written by illiterate persons, through the confusion and obscurity of the style, is by most people neither liked nor understood, but is held in weariness and contempt. Charity therefore urging us, we will endeavor, by reducing them to order, to collect what are confused, when collected to compose them into a volume, and, when composed, to season them, if not with all the excellence of our language, at least with some of its elegance. To this our endeavor the instruction of the threefold instrument which is described to belong to the candlestick of the tabernacle giveth aid; for we find therein the tongs, the extinguisher, and the oil-cruse, which we must properly use, if, in describing the lives of the saints, who shone in their conversation and example like the candlestick before the Lord, we should labor to clear away the superfluous, extinguish the false, and illuminate the obscure, which, though by the devotion we have toward Saint Patrick we are bound to do, yet are we thereto enjoined by the commands of the most reverend Thomas, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland, and of Malachy, the Bishop of Down; and to these are added the request of John de Courcy, the most illustrious Prince of Ulidia, who is known to be the most especial admirer and honorer of Saint Patrick, and whom we think it most becoming to obey. But if any snake in the way, or serpent in the path, watching our steps, shall rashly accuse us herein of presumption, and shall attack our hand with viper tooth, yet do we, with the blessed Paul, collect the vine-twigs for the fire, and cast the viper into the flame. Wherefore, in describing the saints that sleep, which were the branches of the true vine, so that the minds of the faithful may be inflamed toward the love and belief of Christ, we little regard the tongue of the scorner and of the slanderer; for if we are to be judged of such, with the apostle setting them at small account, we commit all to the divine judgment.
There was once a man named Calphurnius, the son of Potitus, a presbyter, by nation a Briton, living in the village Taburnia (that is, the field of the tents, for that the Roman army had there pitched their tents), near the town of Empthor, and his habitation was nigh unto the Irish Sea. This man married a French damsel named Conchessa, niece of the blessed Martin, Archbishop of Tours; and the damsel was elegant in her form and in her manners, for, having been brought from France with her elder sister into the northern parts of Britain, and there sold at the command of her father, Calphurnius, being pleased with her manners, charmed with her attentions, and attracted with her beauty, very much loved her, and, from the state of a serving-maid in his household, raised her to be his companion in wedlock. And her sister, having been delivered unto another man, lived in the aforementioned town of Empthor.
And Calphurnius and his wife were both just before God, walking without offence in the justifications of the Lord; and they were eminent in their birth, and in their faith, and in their hope, and in their religion. And though in their outward habit and abiding they seemed to serve under the yoke of Babylon, yet did they in their acts and in their conversation show themselves to be citizens of Jerusalem. Therefore, out of the earth of their flesh, being freed from the tares of sin and from the noxious weeds of vice by the ploughshare of evangelic and apostolic learning, and being fruitful in the growth of all virtues, did they, as the best and richest fruit, bring forth a son, whom, when he had at the holy font put off the old man, they caused to be named Patricius, as being the future father and patron of many nations; of whom, even at his baptism, the God which is three in one was pleased, by the sign of a threefold miracle, to declare how pure a vessel of election should he prove, and how devoted a worshipper of the Holy Trinity. But after a little while, this happy birth being completed, they vowed themselves by mutual consent unto chastity, and with an holy end rested in the Lord. But Calphurnius first served God a long time in the deaconship, and at length closed his days in the priesthood.
How a Fountain burst forth, and how Sight and Learning were given to the Blind
A certain man named Gormas, who had been blind even from his mother’s womb, heard in a dream a voice commanding him that he should take the hand of the boy Patrick, then lately baptized, and make on the ground the sign of the cross – adding that at the touch a new fountain would burst forth, with the water whereof, if he bathed his eyes, he would forthwith receive his sight. And the blind man, instructed by the divine oracle, went to the little boy, made with his right hand on the ground the sign of salvation, and immediately did a new fountain burst forth. And his darkened eyes, being bathed with this healing stream, perceived the day poured in, and the virtue of Siloe renewed; and, that the mercies of the Lord might be acknowledged, and the wonders that he doeth for the children of men, while the outward blindness of Gormas was enlightened, his inward sight received the revealing gift of science; and he who was before unlearned, having experienced the power of the Lord, read and understood the Scriptures, and as by the outward mercy from being blind he became able to see, so by the inward grace from unlearned he became learned. But the fountain flowing forward with a more abundant stream, even unto this day pouring forth its clear waters, sweet to the draught and wholesome to the taste, is honored with the name of Saint Patrick, and, as is said, gives health or relief to many laboring with divers diseases; and it rises near the seaside, and over it the devotion of posterity has erected an oratory, with an altar built in the form of a cross.
Of the Stone of Saint Patrick
Near this place is a stone which the inhabitants call Saint Patrick’s Rock; for some believe that he was born thereon, and others that on it he celebrated Mass. As often as any controversy arises between the villagers or the neighbors which is thought fit to be determined by an oath, it is brought to this stone, and there, the sacrament being taken, the cause is decided. But if any perjurer or false witness laid his hand thereon, immediately it was wont to pour forth water, and the holiness of Patrick openly showed unto all how accursed was the crime of perjury or of false testimony; yet at any other time it did not use to exude one drop, but always remained in its natural dryness. Which opinion of the people, however, as to this stone, is the more probable, we know not, though the latter may seem the nearer unto the truth. Let it suffice, therefore, to record the miracle which the Bishop Saint Mel testifies that he had oftentimes beheld.
Of the Well dried up
As he grew in age, he was seen also to grow in grace, and, as from the full store of divine ointment flowing within him, he perfumed all around with the abundance of his manifold miracles. And Patrick, the child of the Lord, was then nursed in the town of Empthor, in the house of his mother’s sister, with his own sister Lupita. And it came to pass in the winter season, the ice being thawed, that a well overflowed and threatened to overturn many houses in the town; and the rising of the waters filled the mansion wherein Patrick abided, and overturned all the household stuff, and caused all the vessels to swim. And the little boy, being an hungered, asked in his infantine manner for bread; yet found he not any who would break bread for him, but jeeringly was he answered that he was nearer to being drowned than fed. When the boy dipped three of his fingers into the swelling water, and, standing on a dry place, he thrice sprinkled the water in the form of a cross, and in the name of the Holy Trinity commanded the well that forthwith it should subside. And behold a miracle! Immediately all the flood retired with a refluent course, and the dryness returned, nor was there hurt or damage seen in the vessels or in the furniture of his dwelling. And they who looked on saw that sparks of fire instead of drops of water were sprinkled from the fingers of the holy child, and that the waters were licked up and absorbed thereby; and the Lord, “who collects the waters as in a heap, and lays up the depths in his treasury,” who had worked such great works through his beloved child Patrick, is praised of all; and the child also is magnified who was so powerful in Him, great and worthy of all praise.
How he produced Fire from Ice
Though Saint Patrick, in his childish years, sometimes thought as a child and acted as a child, yet do his illustrious works declare how precious was he in the eyes of Him who was for us born a child. And on a certain day, the winter then freezing everything, the boy Patrick, being engaged in their sports with boys of his own age, gathered many pieces of ice in his bosom, and bore them home, and cast them down in the court-yard; but his nurse, seeing this, said to him that it were better he had collected wood for the hearth than have played with pieces of ice. And the boy, speaking with the tongue of an aged man, answered unto her: “It is easy for the Lord, who created all things, even from these to supply the hearth; and at His nod, so that faith be not wanting, it is easy for fire to prevail over water; and that thou mayest know,” said he, “how possible are all things to them who believe, thy faith shall be an eye-witness of that which I say unto thee.” And he heaped together the pieces of ice, like brands for the fire, and he prayed, and, making the sign of the cross, he breathed on them, and immediately fire went forth, and, lighting the ice, produced long streams of flame; yet not only did the hearth give warmth to all who came near, but it ministered much cause of admiration, for out of the mouth of the boy Patrick was seen to issue flame instead of breath, that he might plainly appear to be illuminated within by the infinite light of the divine grace. Nor does this miracle much fall short of that ancient miracle which the Scripture records to have been performed by Nehemias; for when he brought back into the land of Juda the people of the Hebrews after their long captivity, restored to freedom by Cyrus, the King of Persia, he commanded the place to be searched out wherein their fathers had hidden the fire of the sacrifice; in which, when discovered, the fire was not found, but thick water; the which Nehemias commanded to be brought, and the sacrifice to be sprinkled therewith; and immediately a great fire was kindled, and it consumed the holocaust and burned the hard stones. So was the congealed water burned up by the power of the same fire which, proceeding from water, did burn to ashes the sacrifice and the stones of the altar. Therefore is the strangeness of this miracle to be admired, the holiness of Patrick to be venerated, and in all these things the power of the omnipotent God to be adored; and herein by a most evident sign did the Lord illustrate Saint Patrick, whose preaching afterward inflamed many that had been frozen in unbelief with the fire of faith and of the charity of God.
How the Sister of Saint Patrick was healed
On a certain day the sister of Saint Patrick, the aforementioned Lupita, being then of good stature, had run about the field, at the command of her aunt, to separate the lambs from the ewes, for it was then weaning time, when her foot slipped, and she fell down and smote her head against a sharp flint, and her forehead was struck with a grievous wound, and she lay even as dead; and many of the household ran up, and her kindred and her friends gathered together to comfort the maiden wounded and afflicted; and her brother came with the rest, compassionating his sister, but confiding in the divine medicine; for, drawing near, he raised her, and, touching with his spittle the thumb of his right hand, he imprinted on her forehead, stained with blood, the sign of the cross, and forthwith he healed her; yet the scar of the wound remained as a sign, I think, of the miracle that was performed, and a proof of the holiness of him who, by his faith in the cross of Christ, had done this thing.
How he restored to Life his Foster-Father
The husband of Saint Patrick’s nurse, who had often-times borne him an infant in his arms, being seized with a sudden death, expired. And his wife, with many others of the household, ran thither, and to Patrick, who was standing nigh, bursting into tears, she thus spake: “Behold, O Patrick! thy foster-father, the bearer of thine infancy, lieth dead; show now, therefore, on him thine enlivening virtue, even that which hath been wont to heal others!” And the boy of holy disposition, compassionating the tears of his nurse and the miserable state of his foster-father, approached him lying there lifeless, and he prayed over him and blessed him, and signed him on his head and on his breast with the sign of life, and he embraced him, and raised him up, and restored him unto her alive and safe. And all who beheld this miracle gave praise to God, who worked such works in Patrick.
Of the Sheep released from the Wolf
While Saint Patrick was a little boy, his aunt entrusted him with the care of the sheep, and to these he diligently attended with his aforementioned sister. For in that age no reproach was attached to such employments when the sons of the chief men discharged the duties of a shepherd; as the patriarch Jacob and his sons truly declared before Pharao, that they, like their forefathers, were keepers of sheep; and as the lawgiver Moses and the illustrious King David long time labored in the shepherd’s occupation. But as the boy Patrick was one day in the fields with his flock, a wolf, rushing from the neighboring wood, caught up a ewe-lamb, and carried it away. Returning home at evening from the fold, his aunt chided the boy for negligence or for sloth; yet he, though blushing at the reproof, patiently bore all her anger, and poured forth his prayers for the restoration of the ewe-lamb. In the next morning, when he brought the flock to the pasture, the wolf ran up, carrying the lamb in his mouth, laid it at Patrick’s feet, and instantly returned to the wood. And the boy gave thanks to the Lord, who, as he preserved Daniel from the hungry lions, so now for his comfort had saved his lamb uninjured from the jaws of the wolf.
Of the Cow freed from an Evil Spirit, and Five other Cows restored to Health
The aunt who had nursed Saint Patrick had many cows, one of which was tormented with an evil spirit; and immediately the cow became mad, and tore with her feet, and butted with her horns, and wounded five other cows, and dispersed the rest of the herd. And the owners of the herd lamented the mishap, and the cattle fled from her fury as from the face of a lion. But the boy Patrick, being armed with faith, went forward, and, making the sign of the cross, freed the cow from the vexation of the evil spirit; then drawing near to the wounded and prostrate cows, having first prayed, he blessed them and restored them all even to their former health. And the cow, being released from the evil spirit, well knowing her deliverer, approached with bended head, licking the feet and the hands of the boy, and turned every beholder to the praise of God and the veneration of Patrick.
Of the Water turned into Honey, and of his Nurse restored to Health
The nurse of Saint Patrick, being oppressed with illness, longed much for honey, by the taste whereof she trusted that her health might be restored. It was sought by all who stood round her, but obtained not; and when she was told thereof, she longed so much the more earnestly for that which she could not have, and complained that she was remembered and assisted of none. But her young charge, the illustrious boy Patrick, was grieved for her, and, putting his trust in the Lord, he commanded that a vessel might be filled with fresh water from the fountain, and brought unto him; and he bended his knees in prayer, and, rising, blessed it with the sign of the cross, and gave it to the woman desiring honey. And immediately the water was changed into the best honey; and the woman tasted, and her soul was satisfied, and she was relieved from her infirmity. Thus did Patrick change water into honey in the name of Him who, at Cana in Galilee, changed water into wine.
How the Fort was Cleansed
On a certain promontory overhanging the aforementioned town of Empthor was erected a fort, the ruins of whose walls may yet be traced. And the governor thereof had reduced the nurse of Saint Patrick under the yoke of slavery, and compelled her to be a servant unto him. And among other servile works enjoined to her, he had commanded her to clean with shovels all the offices within the fort, and to carry forth the soil from the stables. But the woman, having an ingenuous mind, and understanding that all power was from God, and that all things were ordained of God, made of her necessity a virtue, and patiently bore the servitude imposed on her. Then the boy Patrick, compassionating his nurse’s affliction, besought the Lord that he would vouchsafe to set her free from the labor of this servile work; and behold, as he prayed, all the dwelling-places therein were cleansed without an human hand, and neither within nor without could any remains of the soil be found. And the governor and all who saw or heard this miracle marvelled; and the nurse was released from slavery through the merits of her foster-child. Nor is this miracle beheld only at stated seasons, or once in every year; for even to this day does it appear to be continued. And the dwellers and the neighbors bear witness that if within the precincts of the fort as many cattle as the place could hold were gathered to abide there together, not even the least portion of soil could therein be found. And the place, being in the Valley of Clud, is called in the language of that people Dunbreatan – that is, the Mountain of the Britons; and the miracle cannot be unknown to those who desire to be informed thereof, inasmuch as so often it is published abroad by all the dwellers in that country.
Of the Religious Conversation of Saint Patrick
And the boy Patrick grew up precious in the sight of the Lord, in the old age of wisdom, and in the ripeness of virtue. And the number of his merits multiplied beyond the number of his years; the affluence of all holy charities overflowed in the breast of the boy, and all the virtues met together made their dwelling in his youthful body. Entering, therefore, and going forward in the slippery paths of youth, he held his feet from falling, and the garment that nature had woven for him, unknowing of a stain, he preserved whole, abiding a virgin in the flesh and in the spirit. And although the divine unction had taught him above all, the fit time being now come, he was sent from his parents to be instructed in sacred learning. Therefore he applied his mind to the study of letters, but chiefly to psalms and to hymns and to spiritual songs, and retaining them in his memory, and continually singing them to the Lord; so that even from the flower of his first youth he was daily wont to sing devoutly unto God the whole psaltery, and from the vial of his most pure heart to pour forth the odor of many prayers. Thus wearing out his tender body in fastings, in many watchings, and in the pious exercise of holy labors, he offered up himself a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God; and thus passing his days in the flesh, against the flesh, and above the flesh, in his conversation he represented an angel.
How Saint Patrick was Carried into Ireland
As, according to the testimony of Holy Writ, the furnace tries gold and the fire of tribulation proves the just, so did the hour of his trial draw near to Patrick, that he might the more provedly receive the crown of life. For when the illustrious boy had perlustrated three lustres, already attaining his sixteenth year, he was, with many of his countrymen, seized by the pirates who were ravaging those borders, and was made captive and carried into Ireland, and was there sold as a slave to a certain pagan prince named Milcho, who reigned in the northern part of the island, even at the same age in which Joseph is recorded to have been sold into Egypt. But Joseph, being sold as a slave, and being after his humiliation exalted, received power and dominion over all Egypt. Patrick, after his servitude and his affliction, obtained the primacy of the especial and spiritual dominion of Ireland. Joseph refreshed with corn the Egyptians oppressed by famine; Patrick, in process of time, fed with the salutary food of the Christian faith the Irish perishing under idolatry. To each was affliction sent for the profit of his soul, as is the flail to the grain, the furnace to the gold, the file to the iron, the wine-press to the grape, and the oil-press to the olive. Therefore it was that Patrick, at the command of the forementioned prince, was appointed to the care of the swine, and under his care the herd became fruitful and exceedingly multiplied. From whence it may well be learned that as the master’s substance is often increased and improved by the attention of a diligent and fortunate servant or steward, so, on the other hand, is it reduced and injured under an idle or unprosperous hand. But the holy youth, heartily embracing in his soul the judgments of the Lord, made of his necessity a virtue, and, having in his office of a swineherd obtained solitude, worked out his own salvation. For he abode in the mountains, and in the woods, and in the caves of the wilderness, and having leisure for prayer, and knowing how kind was the Lord, freely and more freely did he pour forth the incense of his supplications in the presence of the Most High; and an hundred times in the day and an hundred times in the night did he on his bended knees adore his Creator, and often did he pray for a long time fasting, and, nourishing himself with the roots of herbs and with the lightest food, did he mortify his members which were stretched upon the earth. Nor him could heat, nor cold, nor snow, nor hail, nor ice, nor any other inclemency of the air compel from his spiritual exercises. Therefore went he forward daily increasing and confirming himself more strong in the faith and love of Christ Jesus; and the more weak and infirm he appeared, so much the steadier and more powerful was he in fulfilling the commands of the Lord.
Of Milcho’s Dream, and of its Interpretation
And Milcho beheld a vision in the night; and behold, Patrick entered his palace as all on fire, and the flames issuing from his mouth, and from his nose, and from his eyes, and from his ears, seemed to burn him. But Milcho repelled from himself the flaming hair of the boy, nor did it prevail to touch him any nearer; but the flame, being spread, turned aside to the right, and, catching on his two little daughters who were lying in one bed, burned them even to ashes; then the south wind, blowing strongly, dispersed their ashes over many parts of Ireland. And Milcho, awaking, meditated with himself on his couch what prodigy might this remote vision portend. On the morrow, Patrick being called before him, he declared unto him his dream, entreating and abjuring him that if he knew he would unfold its interpretation. And Patrick, being filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, answered unto Milcho: “The fire which thou sawest to issue from me is the faith of the Holy Trinity, with which I am entirely illumined, and which I shall endeavor to preach unto thee; but my speech will find in thee no place, for thou wilt, in the blindness of thine heart, repel from thee the light of the divine grace, and thou wilt die in the darkness of thy unbelief; but thy daughters shall at my preaching believe in the true God, and, all the days of their lives serving God in holiness and in justice, shall, in a pious end, rest in the Lord; and their ashes, that is, their relics, the Lord revealing them and making of them signs, shall be carried into many places through Ireland, and shall give the blessing of health to many who are infirm; and thy dream is true, and its interpretation is true, and all shall be fulfilled in due time.” Thus having said, Patrick departed to his accustomed labor; and all these things happened unto Milcho and unto his daughters even as Patrick had foretold.
Of the Angel Victor appearing to Saint Patrick
And six years had now passed when, under the direction of the Lord, he had thoroughly learned the Irish tongue, and with prayers and with tears he unceasingly besought of God that he might be released from slavery and restored to his country. And on a certain day appeared unto him, while praying, an angel of the Lord, standing on the crag of an overhanging rock, and announcing that his prayers and his fastings had ascended as a memorial before God; and the angel added thereto that he should soon cast from his neck the yoke of servitude, and, after a prosperous voyage, return to his own parents. And the servant of God looked on the angel of God, and, conversing with him face to face familiarly, even as with a friend, asked who he was, and by what name was he called. And the heavenly messenger answered that he was the ministering spirit of the Lord, sent into the world to minister unto them who have the heritage of salvation; that he was called Victor, and especially deputed to the care of him, and he promised to be his helpmate and his assistant in doing all things. And although it is not needful that heavenly spirits should be called by human names, yet the angel, being beautifully clothed with an human form composed of the air, called himself Victor, for that he had received from Christ, the most victorious King, the power of vanquishing and binding the powers of the air and the princes of darkness; who had also given to his servants made of the potter’s clay the power of treading on serpents and scorpions, and of vanquishing and bruising Satan. And in their mutual colloquy the angel showed unto Patrick an opening in the ground that had been delved up by the swine, and therein he directed him to look for gold with which he might redeem himself from the hands of his cruel master; and he added that a ship to carry him over to Britain was ready in a harbor two hundred miles distant, and which, by the divine will, could not have a favorable wind until he should arrive. And the vision of the angel, thus saying, disappeared, and his speech ended; and, as the inhabitants assert, the marks of his feet appear even to this day imprinted on the rock in the Mountain Mis, in the borders of Dalnardia; and an oratory is erected there in honor of Saint Patrick, wherein the devotion of the faithful is wont to watch and pray.
How Saint Patrick was Redeemed from Slavery
And Patrick went to the place which the angel had pointed out unto him, and he found therein no small weight of gold. Wherefore he addressed for his ransom his hard and cruel master, and with the offering of the yellow metal induced his mind, greedy of gold, to grant unto him his freedom. Therefore, being by the aid of Mammon solemnly released from his servitude, he went his way rejoicing, and hastened toward the sea, desiring to return to his own country. But Milcho repented that he had dismissed a servant so very necessary unto him, and, falsifying his agreement, pursued Patrick that he might bring him back and reduce him to his former slavery, as Pharao pursued the Hebrews. But by the divine will, wandering both in his mind and in his course, he found not him whom he sought. Foiled, therefore, in his attempt, he returned with grief and with shame. And his sorrow was much increased, for that not only Patrick, having obtained his freedom, had escaped, but the gold which was the price of his freedom, on returning home, he found not. And with this the law accords; for to him who has served six years in slavery, the law directs that in the seventh year shall his freedom be restored.
How he Relieved those who were Perishing of Hunger
And Saint Patrick, guided by his angelic guide, came unto the sea, and he there found the ship that was to carry him to Britain, and a crew of heathens who were in the ship freely received him, and, hoisting their sails with a favorable wind, after three days they made land. And being come out of the ship, they found a region desert and inhabited of none, and they began to travel over the whole country for the space of twenty-four days; and for the want of food in that fearful and wide solitude were they perishing of hunger. And Patrick, through their whole journey, was preaching unto those pagans the Word of God, and disputing with them and persuading them unto the faith of the Holy Trinity and the kingdom of heaven; but they, even as the deaf adder that listens not to the voice of the charmer charming wisely, closed their ears against the Word of God until misery gave them understanding to hear. For hunger yet more heavily assailing and oppressing them, the greater part are said to have thus spoken: “Behold, O worshipper of Christ! how wretched are we with want and misery, and our eyes fail us for every need; now, therefore, implore for us thy God, whom thou describes! and exaltest as all-powerful, that His bounty may relieve us, and we will adore and glorify His greatness.” And Saint Patrick answered unto them: “Believe in and confess the God who giveth food unto all flesh, and by whom, when He openeth His hand, ye shall be satisfied from His goodness.” And he prayed earnestly, and behold, as he prayed for them, suddenly an herd of swine appeared, and they saw wild honey, and therewith they were sufficed even to fulness, nor from that day through their whole journey did ever a supply of food fail unto them. And this great miracle being seen, they all gave thanks unto God and held Saint Patrick in the highest reverence.
Of his Fast continued for Twenty Days
And all things succeeding prosperously, and their provision much abounding, these men soon forgot the Lord who had saved them from the straitness of hunger, and, ungrateful for the benefits extended unto them by the divine bounty, they sacrificed of their food to devils, and not unto God, imitating herein those Samaritans whom the Book of Kings records to have worshipped God, yet not to have the service of their idols. Wherefore it seemed good to Saint Patrick to eat no earthly food for twenty continual days, and, albeit he was much entreated thereto, he would in no wise join with them in their meals, lest he should appear to be contaminated with their sacrifices. And the power to endure this abstinence was given unto Patrick by the Lord, who had theretofore enabled Elias the prophet to fast forty days.
How he Overcame the Temptation of the Enemy
The wonderful Ruler of all things, the more he exalts with signs and with wonders his elect whom he loveth, the more does he, according to the Apostle, suffer them to fall into divers temptations, that they may learn and know how to preserve their strength in God, who is their maker, and trust to nothing in themselves or of themselves. Wherefore Patrick, the beloved and the elect of God, is suffered by the divine will to be grievously tempted of Satan, to increase the confusion of the tempter and the glory of him who was tempted, and lest he should be lifted up by the greatness of his miracles or his fastings. For in the night season the prince of darkness rushed on him, and oppressed him as with the weight of a huge stone, and, falling on him, the tempter took from him all sense and motion, causing to him darkness and heaviness, and for the space of three days ceased not to torment and lash him beyond human power to endure. But the saint in his tribulation cried unto the Lord, thrice in His name invoking Elias, the prince of prophets, unto his aid. And Elias, being sent of the Lord with a great brightness, freed him from the pressure of the enemy that hemmed him round, and, wonderfully illumining him both within and without, refreshed the powers of his limbs and his senses. And the enemy of mankind, being put to confusion, was compelled to own himself vanquished by Patrick, and that ever after he could have no power to prevail against him.
How he was again made Captive, and released by the Miracle of the Kettle
But Patrick, departing from the company of his fellow-travellers that he might prove how many are the tribulations of the just through which they must enter into the kingdom of heaven, fell into the hands of strangers, by whom he was taken and detained; and while his spirit was afflicted within him, the Father of mercies and God of all consolation sent the angel Victor in the wonted manner to comfort him, promising that in a short time he should be released from the hands of his captors; and how truly was made the angelic promise did its speedy fulfilment show, which followed even in the space of two months; for the barbarians sold him to a certain man in the neighborhood for a kettle – how small a purchase for so precious a merchandise! But when the vessel that had been bought with such a price was filled with water, and placed as usual on the hearth to dress their victual, behold it received no heat; and so much the hotter the fire burned, so much the colder did it become; and fuel being heaped thereon, the flame raged without, but the water within was frozen, as if ice had been placed under instead of fire. And they labored exceedingly thereat; but their labor was vain, and the rumor went everywhere through the country; and the purchaser, thinking it to have been done by enchantment, returned his kettle to the seller, and took Patrick again into his own power. And the vessel thereon received the heat, and did its accustomed office even naturally, and showed to all that this miracle happened because Patrick had been unjustly oppressed; and forthwith they who had taken him let him go free. Thus, by the heavenly power being released from the hands of strange children, was he, after his long captivity, restored to his parents; and they, beholding him, rejoiced with exceeding great joy, and at the return of their son did their spirits revive as the spirits of one awakening from a heavy sleep, and they besought of him, with entreaty of many prayers and the abundance of many tears, that he would not again bereave them of his presence. Therefore, that he might show the honor and the submission due unto his parents, he abided with them certain days.
Of Saint Patrick’s Vision
And a short space of time being passed, the while he was settled in his lather’s house, he beheld in a vision of the night a man of comely garb and countenance, bearing many letters as if from Ireland, and holding out to him one of them for him to read – which taking, he read, and found therein thus written: “THIS IS THE VOICE OF THE IRISH.” But when he would have continued to read, he seemed in the spirit to hear the Irish infants which were yet unborn crying unto him with a loud voice, “O holy youth Patrick! we beseech thee come unto us, and abide with us, and release us!” And Patrick, being pierced therewith in his heart, could not finish the letter; but awaking, he gave infinite thanks to God, for he was assured by the vision that the Lord had set him apart, even from his mother’s womb, had by His grace called him to convert and to save the Irish nation, which seemed to desire his presence among them. And on this he consulted the angel of great counsel, and through the angel Victor he received the divine command that, quitting his father and his country, he should go unto France, there to learn the doctrine and the discipline of the Christian faith.
How he dwelt with the blessed Germanus, and how he received the Habit from Saint Martin
Being thus instructed and directed of heaven, though both his parents resisted and would have detained him, he, with the faithful Abraham, quitted his country, his kindred, and his father’s house, and, passing through his native Britain, he went into France. And lest his labor should be fruitless, or that he might not attempt to teach what he had not thoroughly learned, he attached himself to the blessed Bishop Germanus, and, for his greater progress in the Christian faith and learning, abided with him for the space of eighteen years, reading and imbibing the Holy Scriptures (as in the acts of the blessed Germanus is recorded). And each had received the divine command – Patrick that he should abide with Germanus, and the holy bishop that he should retain and instruct the youth. For he was a prelate, in his descent, in his nobility, in his life, in his learning, in his office, and in his miracles most illustrious; and from him the several degrees of the holy orders, and at length the sacerdotal dignity according to the canons, did Patrick receive. With the like purpose did he some time abide with the blessed Martin, Archbishop of Tours, who was the uncle of his mother, Conquessa. And as this holy luminary of the priesthood was a monk, he gave to his nephew, Patrick, the monastic habits and rules, the which he most devoutly assumed, and adorned by his life, and persevered therein. And bidding farewell, they departed the one from the other, forasmuch as Martin was enjoined by the angel to go into a certain island. And Saint Patrick, returning to the blessed Germanus, remained with him many days.
Of the Flesh-meat changed into Fishes
But Patrick, having now become a monk, forgetting all things that were past, applied to the future, and, as if little accounting his former conversation, hastened to the height of perfection. For by incredible abstinence, by his lengthened fasts, and by the exercise of his other virtues, he afflicted himself, and continually bore in his heart and on his body the mortification of that cross which his habit displayed. But the most high Pastor, who intended to raise him to the head of the holy Church, that he might learn to think humbly of himself, to walk with the lowly, and to bear with the weak, permitting him to feel his own inferiority; so that the more deeply he was fixed on the foundation of true humility, the more firmly he might stand in the height of perfection. For a desire of eating meat came upon him, until, being ensnared and carried away by his desire, he obtained swine’s flesh, and concealed it in a certain vessel, thinking rightly that he might thus satisfy his appetite privily, which should he openly do he would become to his brethren a stone of offence and a stumbling-block of reproach. And he had not long quitted the place when, lo! one stood before him having eyes before and eyes behind, whom when Patrick beheld, having his eyes so wonderfully, even so monstrously, placed, he marvelled who he was, and what meant his eyes fixed before and fixed behind, did earnestly ask; and he answered, I am the servant of God. With the eyes fixed in my forehead I behold the things that are open to view, and with the eyes that are fixed in the hinder part of my head I behold a monk hiding flesh-meat in a vessel, that he may satisfy his appetite privily. This he said, and immediately disappeared. But Patrick, striking his breast with many strokes, cast himself to the earth, and watered it with such a shower of tears as if he had been guilty of all crimes; and while he thus lay on the ground, mourning and weeping, the angel Victor, so often before mentioned, appeared to him in his wonted form, saying, Arise, let thine heart be comforted; for the Lord hath put away thine offence, and henceforward avoid backsliding. Then Saint Patrick, rising from the earth, utterly renounced and abjured the eating of flesh-meat, even through the rest of his life; and he humbly besought the Lord that He would manifest unto him His pardon by some evident sign. Then the angel bade Patrick to bring forth the hidden meats, and put them into water; and he did as the angel bade; and the flesh-meats, being plunged into the water and taken thereout, immediately became fishes. This miracle did Saint Patrick often relate to his disciples, that they might restrain the desire of their appetites. But many of the Irish, wrongfully understanding this miracle, are wont, on Saint Patrick’s Day, which always falls in the time of Lent, to plunge flesh-meats into water, when plunged in to take out, when taken out to dress, when dressed to eat, and call them fishes of Saint Patrick. But hereby every religious man will learn to restrain his appetite, and not to eat meat at forbidden seasons, little regarding what ignorant and foolish men are wont to do.
How in his Journey to Rome he Found the Staff of Jesus
And being desirous that his journey and all his acts should by the apostolic authority be sanctioned, he was earnest to travel unto the city of Saint Peter, and there more thoroughly to learn the canonical institutes of the holy Roman Church. And when he had unfolded his purpose unto Germanus, the blessed man approved thereof, and associated unto him that servant of Christ, Sergecius the presbyter, as the companion of his journey, the solace of his labor, and the becoming testimony of his holy conversation. Proceeding, therefore, by the divine impulse, or by the angelic revelation, he went out of his course unto a solitary man who lived in an island in the Tuscan Sea; and the solitary man was pure in his life, and he was of great desert and esteemed of all, and in his name and in his works he was Just; and after their holy greetings were passed, this man of God gave unto Patrick a staff which he declared himself to have received from the hands of the Lord Jesus.
And there were in the island certain other solitary men, who lived apart from him, some of whom appeared to be youths, and others decrepit old men, with whom when Patrick had conversed, he learned that the oldest of them were the sons of the youths; and when Saint Patrick, marvelling, enquired of them the cause of so strange a miracle, they answered unto him, saying: “We from our childhood were continually intent on works of charity, and our door was open to every traveller who asked for victual or for lodging in the name of Christ, when on a certain night we received a stranger having in his hand a staff; and we showed unto him so much kindness as we could, and in the morning he blessed us, and said, I am Jesus Christ, unto whose members ye have hitherto ministered, and whom ye have last night entertained in His own person. Then the staff which He bore in His hand gave He unto yonder man of God, our spiritual father, commanding him that he should preserve it safely, and deliver it unto a certain stranger named Patrick, who would, after many days were passed, come unto him. Thus saying, He ascended into heaven; and ever since we have continued in the same youthful state, but our sons, who were then infants, have, as thou seest, become decrepit old men.”
And Patrick, giving thanks unto God, abided with the man of God certain days, profiting in God by his example yet more and more; at length he bade him farewell, and went on his way with the staff of Jesus, which the solitary man had proffered unto him. O excellent gift! descending from the Father of light, eminent blessing, relief of the sick, worker of miracles, mercy sent of God, support of the weary, protection of the traveller! For as the Lord did many miracles by the rod in the hand of Moses, leading forth the people of the Hebrews out of the land of Egypt, so by the staff that had been formed for His own hands was He pleased, through Patrick, to do many and great wonders to the conversion of many nations. And the staff is held in much veneration in Ireland, and even unto this day it is called the staff of Jesus.
How he Journeyed unto Rome, and was made a Bishop; and of Palladius, the Legate of Ireland
The God of our salvation having prospered Patrick’s journey, he arrive at the city which is the capital of the world; and often, with due devotion, visiting the memorials of the apostles and the martyrs, he obtained the notice and the friendship of the chief Pontiff, and found favor in his sight. In the apostolic chair then sat Pope Celestine, of that name the first, but from the blessed Apostle Peter the forty-third; but he, keeping Saint Patrick with him, and finding him perfect and approved in faith, in learning, and in holiness, at length consecrated him a bishop, and determined to send him to the conversion of the Irish nation. But Celestine had sent before him, for the sake of preaching in Ireland, another doctor named Palladius, his archdeacon, to whom, with his coadjutors, he gave many books, the two Testaments, with the relics of the Apostles Peter and Paul and of numberless martyrs; and the Irish not listening to, but rather obstinately opposing, Palladius in his mission, he quitted their country, and, going towards Rome, died in Britain, near the borders of the Picts; yet, while in Scotland, converting some to the faith of Christ, he baptized them and founded three churches built of oak, in which he left as prelates his disciples Augustine, Benedict, Sylvester, and Sulomus, with the parchments and the relics of the saints which he had collected. To him with more profitable labor did Saint Patrick succeed, as is said in the Irish proverb, “Not to Palladius, but to Patrick, the Lord vouchsafed the conversion of Ireland.” And the Pope, being certified of Palladius’s death, immediately gave to Patrick the command, which hitherto, keeping more secret counsel, he had delayed, to proceed on his journey and on the salutary work of his legation.
How he Saw and Saluted the Lord
And shortly after he had received the episcopal dignity, the angel Victor appeared unto him, then abiding in Rome, and commanded him that he should hasten his journey into Ireland, that he might gain unto Christ the people of that country, as the Lord had willed. But Patrick, judging himself to be unequal to such a work and to such a labor, answered that he could not and would not attempt it unless he should first behold and salute the Lord. Therefore was he conducted by the angel unto the mountain Morion, bordering on the Tuscan Sea, nigh unto the city of Capua; and there, even as Moses, did he merit to behold and salute the Lord, according to his earnest desire. Who, I pray you, can estimate in his mind the merit of Patrick? What tongue can sufficiently praise him to whom, while yet living on earth, it was given to behold the King of Glory, whom the angels desire to behold face to face, and who was permitted to declare unto men what he had been taught from the lips of the Most Highest? And the Lord promised unto Patrick that He would hear his prayers, and that He would be his assistant in all his acts to be done by him. Therefore, being by the vision and by the divine colloquy strengthened unto the ministry enjoined to him of heaven and confided to him by our lord the Pope, he vehemently longed to complete the same, and speeded his journey toward Ireland with twenty men deputed unto his assistance by the Sovereign Pontiff, and who were renowned for their lives and for their wisdom. Yet turned he out of his way unto the blessed Germanus, from whom he received chalices, and priestly vestments, and many books, and other matters unto the divine worship and ministry pertaining.
Of the Miraculous Voyage of the Leper
When the blessed Patrick, speeding his journey toward Ireland; was about to embark with his disciples at a British port, a certain leper standing on the shore met the holy man, beseeching in the name of the Lord Jesus that he would carry him over in his ship. The man of God, abounding with the bowels of compassion, listened to the prayers of the poor leper; but the sailors and the others that were of the ship forbade him, saying that the vessel was already enough loaded, and that he would be to them all at once an encumbrance and a horror. Then the saint, confiding in the power of the divine mercy, cast into the sea an altar of stone that had been consecrated and given to him by the Pope, and on which he had been wont to celebrate the holy mysteries, and caused the leper to sit thereon. But the pen trembles to relate what, through the divine power, happened. The stone thus loaded was borne upon the waters, guided by Him, the head-stone of the corner, and, diverse from its nature, floating along with the ship, held therewith an equal course, and at the same moment touched at the same shore. All, then, having happily landed, and the altar being found with its freight, the voice of praise and thanksgiving filled the lips of the holy prelate, and he reproved his disciples and the sailors for their unbelief and hardness of heart, endeavoring to soften their stony hearts into hearts of flesh, even to the exercising the works of charity.
How he beheld Devils
And when the saint with his people drew nigh unto the shore, he beheld a multitude of devils gathered together in the form of a globe, surrounding the whole island, and setting themselves against him even as a wall to defend their own citadel and to oppose his entrance. But his heart was not moved, nor did he tremble at the presence of these deformed ones, knowing that there were many with him more powerful than with them, even unto his triumph and their overthrow. Therefore stood he fixed in faith as Mount Sion, because mountains of angels were around him, and the Lord encompassed His servant great and mighty unto the battle. And the holy prelate, knowing that all those enemies were to be quelled by him through the virtue of the cross of Christ, raised his sacred right hand, and made the sign of the cross, and, telling unto his people what he beheld, and confirming them in the faith, unhurt and unterrified passed he over. Thus clothed with strength from on high, mightily did he exercise the armor of the power of God to the overturning of the powers of the air, who raised themselves against all height and against the wisdom of the Lord, being always ready to punish their disobedience and their rebellion, as will more plainly in the following chapters appear.
Of the River sentenced to perpetual Sterility
The man of God landed with the companions of his voyage within the borders of Leinster, in the port of Innbherde, where a river flowing into the sea then abounded with many fishes. And the fishermen were quitting the water, and drawing after them to the bank their loaded nets, when the servants of the holy prelate, being wearied with their travel and with hunger, earnestly besought that they would bestow on them some of their fishes; but they, barbarous, brutal, and inhuman, answered the entreaty, not only with refusal, but with insult. Whereat the saint, being displeased, pronounced on them this sentence, even his malediction: that the river should no longer produce fishes, from the abundance of which idolaters might send empty away the worshippers of the true God. From that day, therefore, is the river condemned to unfruitfulness, so that the sentence uttered by the mouth of Patrick might be known to proceed from the face of the Lord.
How the Dry Land was turned into a Marsh
And going forward, he arrived at a place which was called Aonach Tailltion, and there he made ready to refresh himself and his people, and to announce the office of his ministry. But the idolatrous inhabitants, not enduring the presence of the man of God, gathered together and violently drove him thence, as the light of the sun is intolerable to the weak-eyed. Yet the God whom Patrick bore about him, and glorified in his body, permitted not that an affront offered unto His servant for the sake of His name should go unpunished; but quickly did he bring on them his deserved wrath, inasmuch as for the wickedness of them who dwelt therein the Lord converted their fruitful land into a salt marsh; and the sea, with the foreflowing of an unwonted tide, covered it, and, that it might even for ever be unhabitable, changed the dry land into a plashy lake. Then the saint, going unto a small island not far from the main shore, abided there certain days, and it is called unto this time Saint Patrick’s Island.
Of his coming into Ulidia, and of the Prophecy of the Magicians on his coming
And the blessed Patrick, embarking with his people, steered toward the northern parts of the island, that he might overcome the northern enemy, and expel him from those hearts where he had fixed his seat. And the north wind fell, and the south wind arose, that he might go into the quarters of the north, and plant therein the garden of the Lord, breathing sweet odors; and the desire had come into his mind to bring unto the knowledge of truth the king, Milcho, who was yet living, to whom he had formerly been a servant, and to make him a servant of the true King, whose service is a kingdom. But forasmuch as the ways of man are not in his own power, but as his steps are directed of the Lord, he landed on the coast of Ulidia, that the vessels of mercy might there be gathered together. But Patrick being come forth on the dry land, a multitude of heathens met him who were waiting and expecting his coming; for the magicians and soothsayers, either by divination or by prophecy, had foreknown that the island would be converted by the preaching of Patrick, and had long before predicted his arrival in these words: “One shall arrive here, having his head shaven in a circle, bearing a crooked staff, and his table shall be in the eastern part of his house, and his people shall stand behind him, and he shall sing forth from his table wickedness, and all his household shall answer, So be it! so be it! And this man, when he cometh, shall destroy our gods, and overturn their temples and their altars, and he shall subdue unto himself the kings that resist him, or put them unto death, and his doctrine shall reign for ever and ever.” Nor let it seem strange or incredible that if the Lord inspired or even permitted the magicians should thus foretell the arrival and the several acts of Saint Patrick, since the soothsayer Balaam and the King Nabuchodonosor plainly prophesied the coming of Christ, and since the devils that bore testimony to the Son of God. But when they said that he should from his table sing forth wickedness, evidently doth it appear that he who never stood on the truth, but who from the beginning was a liar and the father of lies, did in his blasphemy utter these things through their mouths.
How a Fierce Dog was suddenly Tamed; of the Conversion of Dichu; and how a Fountain rose out of the Earth
But the chief King of Ireland, named Leogaire, the son of Neyll, recollecting the prophecy, gave command unto his subjects that as soon as Patrick should land they should forthwith expel him from the country. And the saint, being then in the harbor called Innbherslan, went alone out of the ship, and immediately the people, infidel and dog-like in their manners, excited a very fierce dog to bite him even unto death. But the dog, being at the sight of the man of God entirely stiffened like a stone, stood fixed and without motion, plainly showing that the worshippers of stones were like unto the gods which they worshipped. The which, when a certain man named Dichu, who was powerful of strength, gigantic of stature, and savage of mind, beheld, he brandished his sword to destroy the saint. But the Lord interposed His protecting arm, and all his strength withered in him, and he entirely stiffened, so that he could move neither his foot to go forward nor his hand to strike. And he, experiencing in himself such a miracle, suddenly is changed into another man, and from proud becoming humble, mild from fierce, from an infidel a believer, he is, with all his household, at the preaching of Patrick, baptized in the Christian faith. Thus he who had been in that country its first and principal opposer became its first professor, and even to his latest age continued its most devoted follower. And as his soul was loosed from the chains of sin, so were his limbs loosed from their heaviness, and all their strength was restored unto him. Behold, therefore, the miracle which the Book of Kings relates to have been formerly wrought on Jeroboam did Patrick more profitably renew on Dichu; for when that king was sacrificing unto idols, and stretched out his hand to seize on the prophet who was reproving him, forthwith his arm stiffened, which on his repentance the prophet healed, yet did not he when healed forsake his error; but Dichu, for the increase and for the evidence of his devotion toward his new faith, gave unto Saint Patrick the place wherein this miracle had been declared, to erect thereon a new church.
In this place, at the request of Dichu (but for what cause I know not), did the saint build the church, having its aspect against the north, and looking toward the southern point. Perchance that by this mystical structure the worshippers of idols might be persuaded from the northern coldness of unbelief unto the meridian fervor of the faith and the charity of Christ – the which to this day is called Sabhall Phadruig, that is, the Barn of Patrick; for in process of time he builded there a fair monastery, into which he introduced monks that had passed their novitiate; and for their use he not long afterward, by his prayers, produced a fountain out of the earth. Of this monastery did he appoint his disciple, Saint Dunnius, to be the abbot, wherein when he had returned from his mission, he abided with him not a few days.
Of the Evil-doer Swallowed up by the Earth
And in that church the holy prelate stood before the altar on a certain day, celebrating the divine mysteries, when an evil-doer, a bondsman of Satan, thrusting with accursed boldness a rod through the window, overturned the chalice, and sacrilegiously poured out on the altar the holy sacrifice. But the Lord instantly and terribly avenged this fearful wickedness, and in a new and unheard-of manner destroyed the impious man. For suddenly the earth, opening her mouth (as formerly on Dathan and Abiron), swallowed up this magician, and he descended alive into hell. And the earth, thus disjoined and rent asunder, closed on him again; but to this day a ditch yet remaining declareth the judgment of the divine wrath. But the holy sacrificer, being struck with sorrow, mourned with heavy mourning over the chalice that had been filled; and the chalice, with the divine sacrifice entire therein, stood erect before him, being raised by the divine Power, nor did any trace of the offering remain to be seen.
Of the Aged Man restored unto his Youth
And Dichu had a brother named Rius, far advanced in years and in unbelief, the tabernacle of whose body, for very age, was bending unto the grave; and this man heavily grieved for the death of the magician and for the conversion of his brother. And his wisdom was wholly of this world, and he believed in no life but the present life; for he thought that he had lost his brother, who, believing in Christ, labored with all his strength after the glory to come, which he had revealed to his followers. Therefore for many days he opposed and troubled Patrick, and strove to stop his mouth, lest he should spread abroad the Word of God, and increase the number of the believers. But the saint, desiring to gain him unto Christ, met him with true and lively arguments, persuading him from the very kinds and natures of all created things to believe that God was the Creator of all; and, that he might the more thoroughly lead him into the way of truth, he promised unto him a miracle, saying, “Now that the power of all thy limbs and of all thy senses fail thee, and are nearly dead, and that thy life is almost gone from thee, if Christ should restore unto thee the strength of the grace of thy early youth, wouldst thou not be bound of right to believe in Him?” And the man answered: “If thou canst through Christ perform on me such a miracle, forthwith will I believe in him.” Then Saint Patrick prayed, and, laying his hand on him, he blessed him, and immediately he became beautiful and strong, and flourished again as in his early youth. And great marvel seized on all who witnessed this miracle, and their mouths were opened to the praise of Christ and to the veneration of Saint Patrick.
Of the Death of Rius
And Rius, being renewed outwardly in his body and inwardly in his spirit, brought with him his three brothers, and came with very many to be purified at the healing font. And after these things, Saint Patrick, observing him to be thoroughly freed from sin, and knowing how sin besets the slippery path of human life, inspired of the Holy Spirit, said unto him: “Choose, now, whether in this valley of tears, this world of tribulation and sorrow, shall thy years be prolonged, or whether, the misery of this life being instantly ended, thou wilt be carried up by the angels of light, and enter into the joy of the Lord thy God.” But he, trusting that he should behold the mercies of the Lord in the land of eternal life, answered: “I choose, and I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ for ever, rather than to continue in the habitations of sinners.” And he received the sacrament from the hands of the holy bishop, and, commending his spirit unto the Lord, he was brought unto eternal rest.
Of the Death of Milcho
But Saint Patrick, confiding his affairs to his beloved Dichu, set forward to visit Milcho, his former master, even his tormentor; for so had he long intended in his mind, that by his preaching he might truly convert unto the infancy of the Christian faith him now grown old in his evil days. And Milcho, this man of envious heart, this minister of death feared lest the preaching of Patrick should penetrate a breast of stone, and that by his clear and fiery eloquence, or by some irresistible miracle, he should be compelled to believe. Therefore held he it as base and shameful to submit unto the doctrine of one who had formerly been his servant, and to be bound unto the unused worship of the Creator rather than his accustomed idolatry. So when he heard that the priest of the Most High was approaching, this child of perdition gathered together all his substance, and cast it into the fire; and then, throwing himself on the flames, made himself an holocaust for the infernal demons. And the holy prelate, beholding from a neighboring mountain the deadly end of this wicked prince, saw his soul, in the form of a fiery serpent, plunged into hell; when, contemplating the infinite depths of the judgments of God, with heavy tears and sighs uttered he these words: “Of this king, who, lest he should believe in the Creator of heaven and earth, hath thus doubly damned himself, the posterity shall not inherit his kingdom, but shall be bound in servitude that never may be loosed.” And all this came to pass even according to the word of the man of God, for none of his race ascended after him to the throne of his kingdom; but in a short time all his generation quickly perished; from the face of the earth by the sword or by famine, or by captivity and the lowest servitude. Thus visiteth the Lord the sins of the fathers on their children; and thus is put the axe unto the tree of death, lest it should bring forth branches of iniquity. Yet as God is able of stones to raise up sons unto Abraham, and to produce from thorns roses, the two daughters of Milcho were, by the inspiration of the Lord and by the preaching of Patrick, converted unto the faith. And each, after they were purified by the healing water, was called Emeria; and they lived a holy and religious life, and after their deaths they were buried in the place which is called Cluainbroin, and, as Patrick had long before prophesied, were celebrated for many miracles. Then the saint returned unto the house of Dichu, where he abided not a few days, and by preaching the Christian faith, and by working signs and miracles, he profited much people.
Of the Holy Mochna
And there was a youth of virtuous disposition named Mochna, and he was a swine-herd whom Saint Patrick had met near the town of Ereattan while he was preaching in those parts, and to him, the Spirit having revealed that he was destined to be a vessel of election, did the saint preach the way of salvation. And the youth, even at his first preaching, believed; and Patrick, when he had baptized him, taught unto him the alphabet, and, having blessed him, sent him to be instructed in learning, and went his way. But the youth, through the divine grace, learned in one month the whole Psaltery, and, before the year had ended, arrived he at the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. And after some time Patrick returned to the aforementioned village, and Mochna met him there. And while sitting together, they conversed on holy things; behold, a staff sent from heaven fell between them, and the head thereof rested on the bosom of Patrick, and the point thereof on the bosom of Mochna. And the saint, gratulating the youth on the gift thus miraculously bestowed, said unto him: “Now, my best-beloved son, shalt thou know by this pastoral staff that the guardianship of souls will be committed unto thee.” But he refusing and alleging his ignorance and the imperfection of his youth, the saint is reported thus to have said: “Seek not thou to excuse thyself for that thou art a boy, since unto all those parts whither the Lord sendeth thee shalt thou go; and what he commandeth unto thee, that shalt thou speak.” Therefore through the several degrees did Patrick at length consecrate him a bishop, and placed him over the church of Edrum. And he profited much the church of God by his conversation and by his example, and, being renowned in virtues and in miracles, was called to heaven. And he was buried in that church wherein he had worthily served the Lord, and wherein, adorned with manifold miracles, he had accustomed himself to live in Christ. And the staff is in that church still preserved, and is called by the Irish “the flying staff.” And as Saint Patrick had advanced this man from the care of swine unto the episcopate, a swine is yearly taken from that territory, and paid unto the church of Down.
Of the Hostages of Dichu which were Freed by an Angel
Leogaire, a man of leonine fierceness, with a high and swelling heart, rose above himself in the pride of his exploits, for that he seemed to himself to hold the land by the strength of his arm and the firmness of his valor. And he took hostages of all the provincial chiefs bordering on his kingdom, and among others he held in his power the sons of Dichu, lest any of them should raise the head to defend themselves, or the heel to offend him. For he, being rooted in the errors of idolatry, strenuously favored the magicians and the soothsayers; and his neck was stiff and his head was stubborn against the true religion. But when he understood that Dichu, with all his household and kindred and people, had turned unto Christ, and renounced the gods of their country, even the devils, his mind and his eye were inflamed with the fury of his wrath. Therefore, being moved in his mind, he gave order that the hostages of Dichu should be punished in a manner mainly destructive; for he forbade drink to be given to them, to the end that they might perish of thirst. And the Spirit revealed this unto the saint, and he disclosed it unto Dichu, and advised him to seek from Leogaire the respite of at least ten days until Patrick should appear before him. Yet could he not, as directed by the man of God, obtain the respite even of one day, but rather did his entreaties more vehemently blow up the flame, and exasperate the heart of the king with the fire of fiercer rage, which when the prelate heard he betook himself to his accustomed arms of prayer; and behold, on the following night an angel appeared and gave unto them to drink, and satisfied their thirst. And from that hour not any suffering of thirst came on them; and when a few days had passed, at the prayers of the saint, the angel again appeared, and freed them from their prison-house and from the power of their enemies. And from the place wherein they were confined he bore them through the air, as was formerly the prophet; and he left one of them in a place in Down, where is now erected the church of Saint Patrick, and the other on a neighboring hill surrounded by a marsh of the sea; and he broke asunder the chains wherewith they were bound, and each place is even to this day, from the broken chains, called Dun-daleathglas.
Of Saint Benignus, and of the Prophecy which was made of him
And the Passover was nigh, the festival of the Christians, whereon the Life that died, arising from the dead, became the first-fruits of the resurrection of the dead. Therefore was it near to the heart of the holy prelate to solemnize this solemn day, which the Lord had appointed a day of joyfulness to the dwellers on earth and the dwellers in heaven, on the fair and spacious plain called Breagh, and there, by evangelizing the kingdom of God, and baptizing the people of his conversion, to gather together the elect race unto Christ. And he embarked in a vessel, and arrived in a harbor nigh unto this plain, and, committing the care of the vessel unto his nephew, Saint Lumanus, he there landed, and went to the mansion of a certain venerable man named Sesgnen, therein to pass the night. And he gladly received the saint, hoping that salvation would be brought unto his house by such a guest, nor did his hope fail unto him, for when Patrick preached the word of salvation he and all his household believed and were baptized. And the venerable man had a son, whom the saint purified with the healing water, and, taking the name from the occasion, called Benignus; and as was his name, so were his life and his manners; and he was beloved of God and of man, worthy of honor and of glory on earth and in heaven, and he steadfastly adhered to the holy prelate, nor ever could be separated from him; for when the saint, being weary, would lie down to rest, this unspotted youth, flying from his father and from his mother, would cast himself at the feet of the holy man, and enfold them in his bosom, and ever and anon would he kiss them, and there would he abide. But on the morrow, when the saint was arrayed for his journey, and, with one foot in his sandal, the other on the ground, was ascending his chariot, the boy caught his foot with fast-closing hands, and besought and implored that he might not leave him. And when his parents would have separated him from the saint, and retained him with themselves, the boy, with wailing and lamentation, cried out, Away, away, I entreat ye! Release me, that I may go with my spiritual father. And the saint, observing such devotion in his tender heart and body, blessed him in the name of the Lord, and, bidding him ascend with him the chariot, prophesied that he would be, as indeed he was, the successor of his ministry. And this Benignus succeeded Saint Patrick in the primacy of all Ireland, and, being illustrious for his virtues and his miracles, at length he rested in the Lord.
The Fire that was Lighted by Patrick
And the saint, on that most holy Sabbath preceding the Vigil of the Passover, turned aside to a fit and pleasant place, called Feartfethin, and there, according to the custom of the holy church, lighted the lamps at the blessed fire. And it happened on that night that the idolaters solemnized a certain high festival called Rach, which they, walking in darkness, were wont to consecrate to the prince of darkness. And it was their custom that every fire should be extinguished, nor throughout the province should be relighted until it was first beheld in the royal palace. But when the monarch, Leogaire, being then with his attendants at Teomaria, then the chief court of the kingdom of all Ireland, beheld the fire that was lighted by Saint Patrick, he marvelled, and was enraged, and enquired who had thus presumed. And a certain magician, when he looked on the fire, as if prophesying, said unto the king: “Unless yonder fire be this night extinguished, he who lighted it will, together with his followers, reign over the whole island.” Which being heard, the monarch, gathering together a multitude with him, hastened, in the violence of his wrath, to extinguish the fire. And he brought with him thrice nine chariots, for the delusion of foolishness had seduced his heart and persuaded him that with that number he would obtain to himself a complete triumph; and he turned the face of his men and his cattle toward the left hand of Saint Patrick, even as his magicians had directed, trusting that his purpose could not be prevented. But the saint, beholding the multitude of chariots, began this verse: “Some in chariots, and some on horses; but we will invoke the name of the Lord.” And when the king approached the place, the magicians advised him not to go near Saint Patrick, lest he should seem to honor him by his presence, and as if to reverence or adore him. Therefore the king stayed, and, as these evil-doers advised, sent messengers unto Patrick, commanding that he should appear before him; and he forbade all his people that when he came any one should stand up before him. So the prelate, having finished his holy duties, appeared; and no one stood up before him, for so had the king commanded.
Of the Holy Man named Hercus
But a certain man named Hercus, the son of Degha, who had heard many things of Saint Patrick, rose up in the sight of all, and did him honor. Therefore the prelate blessed him, and promised eternal life unto him; and he, believing in God, received the grace of baptism, and, leading his life renowned for virtues and for miracles, after a while he was made a bishop, and died in the city of Slane.
How the Magician was Destroyed
And there was in that place a certain magician named Lochu, who was highly favored with the king, and he uttered blasphemies against the Lord and his Christ. For being driven mad by the delusions of devils, he declared himself to be a god; and the people, being dazzled with his cheats, and stubbornly adhering to his pernicious doctrine, worshipped him even as a deity. Therefore he continually blasphemed the ways of the Lord, and those who were desirous to be converted from idolatry did he labor to subvert in their faith, and to pervert from Christ. And almost in the same manner as Simon Magus resisted Saint Peter did he oppose Saint Patrick. And on a certain time, when he was raised from the earth by the prince of darkness and the powers of the air, and the king and the people beheld him as if ascending into the heavens, Saint Patrick thus prayed unto the Lord: “O omnipotent God! destroy this blasphemer of Thine holy name, nor let him hinder those who now return or may hereafter return unto Thee!” And he prayed, and the magician fell from the air to the earth at the feet of the man of God, and his head was stricken against a stone, and, bruised and wounded, he expired, and his spirit descended into hell.
Of the Miraculous but Terrible Rescue of Saint Patrick
But the king, being much grieved at the death of the magician, burned with anger, and, with all the manifold multitude of his people, he arose to destroy the saint. And he, beholding their violence, and singing forth with a loud voice, began this verse from the Psalms: “Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered, and let them who hate His face be put to confusion.” Then the Lord, the protector of His chosen ones in the time of need, saved from this multitude his faithful servant; for, with a terrible earthquake, and with thundering and the stroke of the thunderbolt, some he destroyed, some he smote to the ground, and some he put to flight. Thus, as was said by the prophet, “The Lord shot forth His arrows, and He scattered them; He poured forth His lightnings, and He overturned them.” For He sent among them, according to the prophecy of Isaiah, the spirit of giddiness; and He set the idolaters against the idolaters, like the Egyptians against the Egyptians; each man rushed on his fellow, and brother fought against brother, and the chariots and their riders were cast to the ground and overturned; and forty and nine men were slain, and hardly did the rest escape. But the king trembled at the rebuke of the Lord, and at the breath of the spirit of His anger, and ran into a hiding-place with only four of his people, that he might conceal himself from the terrors of the face of the Lord. But the queen, entreating for the pardon of the king, reverently approached, and, bending her knee before Saint Patrick, promised that her consort should come unto him and should adore his God. And the king, according to her promise, yet with a designing heart, bended his knees before the saint, and simulated to adore the Christ in which he believed not. There, with the tongue of iniquity and the heart of falsehood, he promised that if on the morrow he would vouchsafe to visit his palace, he would obey all his precepts. But the man of God, though the Lord suffered not the wickedness which this unworthy king had conceived in his heart, confidently trusting in the protection of the Lord, assented to his entreaty.
How the Saint Escaped the Deadly Snares
And the king, bidding farewell to the bishop, returned to his palace, and in the several places through which the saint was to pass he laid an ambush; and divers rivers crossed the road, which might in many parts be forded, nigh unto the shallows whereof he placed nine chariots with some of his murderous servants, that if the saint should escape the one he might meet with the other, and so that in no wise could he pass unharmed. But on the morrow Patrick, with eight persons only and the boy Benignus, going in a straight road to Teomaria, where the king then resided, passed through them who had laid snares for his life; and their eyes were bound, that they could not behold him; but to their sight appeared eight stags with one hind passing over the mountains; and thus, the Lord being his protector, did the saint and his companions escape the contrivers of his destruction. Therefore he came unto the royal city, and found the king at supper with his companions. And at his entrance no one arose excepting a certain bard of the king named Dubhtach, who devoutly saluted the saint, and besought and obtained of him that he should be made a Christian. And Dubhtach the first among them all believed in the Lord, and it was remembered to his justification; for, being baptized and confirmed in the faith of Christ, the strains that erewhile he had poured forth in the praise of his false gods, now converting to a better use, he composed more excellent poems unto the praise of the All-powerful and the honor of His saints.
Of the Poison mingled in the Wine
But the King Leogaire, fermenting with the gall of wickedness and deceit, knowing and marvelling how often the saint had escaped his snares, turned himself to other inventions, and whom he could not slay with the sword he plotted to destroy with poison. Therefore, by the hand of a certain evil-doer named Lugaich Mael, he gave his cup unto Patrick, whereof, that servant of Satan mingling poison with the wine, did the saint drink. But the man of God, taking the cup and invoking the name of the Lord, bended it forward, and all that was deadly therein poured he into the hollow of his hand unmixed with the rest of the liquor; then making the sign of the cross, what remained he blessed, and, to the confusion of the poisoner and the admiration of all who sat around, drinking thereout, he received neither hurt nor damage.
Of the Fantastic Snow
Then, being utterly covered with shame, did the magician more and more grieve; and lest he should appear to be vanquished, he challenged Patrick to bring down signs from heaven. And the saint answered that he would not tempt the divine will; but the magician by his enchantments sprinkled all those parts with the coldest snow, and afflicted all the inhabitants with cold. And the saint urged him, urging and pressing that he would remove the snow from the earth and the cold from the inhabitants; and thus compelled, the magician confessed that by all his enchantments he could not do that thing. Therefore, O impious man! said the saint, out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, and prove that thou art the worker of wickedness and minister of Satan; thou who canst cause evil only, and canst not at all produce good. Then raising his consecrated hand, blessed he the plain and all the places around in the name of the Holy Trinity; and forthwith all the fantastic snow which could not melt in the accustomed manner vanished. And all around marvelled, confessing the hand of the Lord working in Patrick, and detesting the deceitful works of the magician.
How the Darkness was Dispersed
And the magician, beholding how his art was scorned and set at small account, once again by his enchantments covered the places that had been whitened with snow, even with a palpable cloud of thick darkness. And fear and trembling came on all whom it covered, or at least they experienced how closely it shaded them from the brightness of the true faith. Nor let it be marvelled that strangers to the darkness of the true light which illuminates every man entering this world should be involved in the darkness of magicians, who, with blind and hardened heart, worshipped the prince of darkness. And Patrick in his wonted words addressed the magician, that he would make this cloud to pass away; but the magician answered even as before. Then did the son of light pour out a prayer unto the Eternal Light, the Sun of Justice, and immediately the material sun arose and shone forth, and the darkness was dispersed. And the people which had hitherto sat in darkness, now beholding the great light, proclaimed their thanks and their praises, and magnified Patrick, who was the preacher of the Eternal Light.
How the Magician and his Garment were consumed, and Benignus and the Garment of Saint Patrick preserved unhurt
But the magician, loving darkness rather than light, and darkening himself in the delusions of his darkness, stubbornly persevered in his malice, and still contentiously affirmed that his wicked and perverse opinions excelled the doctrines of the saint. And the king feared that the works of the magician would be overturned, and he proposed a certain trial to be made between them: “Let your books be plunged into the water, and he whose writings are blotted or effaced, let his preaching be disbelieved; but he in whose writings no blemish shall be found, let his preaching be admitted and confirmed.” And Patrick assented to this decision, but the magician refused; for he affirmed that Patrick worshipped the element of water for a god, inasmuch as he baptized with water in the name of his God. Then the king changed the trial, and appointed that each book should be cast into the fire, and that of him whose book should remain unhurt the doctrine should be received of all. And the saint accorded to this sentence, but the magician, distrusting himself, accorded not; for he said that Patrick worshipped, in their turn, now the fire, now the water, and that therefore he held propitious to him either element. And Patrick replied that he adored no element, but that he worshipped the Creator of all the elements. While, therefore, the dispute waxed high, and the people varied from the one side unto the other, the wisdom of the Lord inspiring them to distinguish the light of the true faith from the darkness of idolatry, and the soundness of holy doctrine from the vanity of magical delusion, a new trial by fire is sought out. Then with the agreement of all, and Patrick and the evil-doer consenting, in a new manner a new house is builded, whereof the one-half is made of wood which was green, the other of wood which was dry and eaten of worms; and the boy Benignus and the magician, each being bound hand and foot, are placed over against each other, the boy, arrayed in the magician’s garment, is placed in the dry part of the building, and the magician, clothed in the robe of Saint Patrick, is placed in the green part, and the fire is put thereto. And behold an event marvellous and much unwonted! The fire, furiously raging, consumed the magician, even to ashes, with the green part of the building wherein he stood; and the robe of the saint wherewith he was clad was neither scorched nor soiled; but the blessed youth Benignus, standing in the dry part thereof, the fire touched not, yet reduced to a cinder the garment of the magician that wrapped him round. Behold, therefore, herein repeated the miracles which are recorded in the Holy Writ, as when the three youths were cast into the furnace, the fire burned only their bonds, and hurted not themselves; so destroyed it the magician, with the green part of the house, yet hurted not the vest of Patrick, and, leaving the boy with the dry part of the house uninjured, it consumed the garment of the evil-doer.
Of Many who were Swallowed up by the Earth, and how the rest were Converted unto God
But the heart of Leogaire was hardened, as was formerly the heart of Pharao before Moses against the commands of the Lord. For though so many miracles had been wrought, he feared not to provoke the high God, and to offend his servant Patrick. Therefore, showing himself to be a second Nero, in revenge for the death of the evil-doer, he appointed several of his people to destroy the saint. And, as is testified by the Holy Writ, a wicked prince always hath wicked ministers, many of his servants put themselves forward, voluntary, prompt, and earnest to so great a sacrilege. But God, the all-powerful protector of His beloved, armed the zeal of the creature against these senseless idolaters, and ere they could effect their wickedness he swept them from the earth and destroyed them. For the earth opened and swallowed them up, and so many of the people of Teamhrach as were consenting thereto; and the abyss opened its mouth and devoured them, even alive. And they who remained, and all the dwellers of that land seeing or hearing of these things, feared with mighty fear; and, lest they should be punished with the like punishment, they believed in Christ, and crowded together unto the font. And the king trembled, and threw himself at the feet of Patrick, and besought pardon, and promised that he would thenceforth obey him. And the saint forgave him; yet, though he a long time instructed him in the faith of the Lord Jesus, in no wise could he persuade him unto baptism. Therefore he dismissed him, that, following his free will, he might go on in the inventions of his own heart, nor seem to be compelled unto the faith; yet, at the revelation of the Spirit, what he foreknew of the king and his posterity thus was prophesied by the saint: “Since thou hast always resisted my doctrine, nor ceased to afflict me beyond measure; moreover, since thou thoughtest scorn to believe in the Creator of all things, therefore art thou the child of perdition, and thou, with all that were partners in thine offence, shouldst justly, even at this instant, go into eternal punishment; but since thou humbly besought of me forgiveness, and, like the King Achab, hast humbled thyself before my God, the Lord will not at this time bring on thee the evil which thou hast deserved; yet shall none of thy seed sit on thy throne after thee, but they shall become servants unto thy brother, who will believe in Christ, and to his posterity for ever and ever.” But the queen believed in Christ, and was baptized and blessed of Patrick, and at length, with a pious end, rested in the Lord. And he went forward with his people, baptizing in the name of the Holy Trinity all those who believed, while the Lord assisted and confirmed his labors with manifold miracles.
Of the Sisters and the Nephews of Saint Patrick
And the saint had three sisters, memorable for their holiness and for their justice, and they were pleasing unto the Lord; and of these the names were Lupita, Tygridia, and Darercha. And Tygridia was blessed with a happy fruitfulness, for she brought forth seventeen sons and five daughters. And all her sons became most wise and holy monks, and priests, and prelates; and all her daughters became nuns, and ended their days as holy virgins; and the names of the bishops were Brochadius, Broichanus, Mogenochus, and Lumanus, who, with their uncle, Saint Patrick, going from Britain into Ireland, earnestly laboring together in the field of the Lord, they collected an abundant harvest into the granary of heaven. And Darercha, the youngest sister, was the mother of the pious bishops, Mel, Moch, and Munis, and their father was named Conis. And these also accompanied Saint Patrick in his preaching and in his travel, and in divers places obtained the episcopal dignity. Truly did their generation appear blessed, and the nephews of Saint Patrick were a holy heritage.
How Saint Lumanus Sailed against the Wind and the Stream
And Saint Patrick, having sailed over from Ulidia, came unto the territory of Midia, at the mouth of the river Boinn, among barbarians and idolaters; and he committed his vessel and its tackle unto his nephew, Saint Lumanus, enjoining him that he should abide there at the least forty days, the while he himself would go forward to preach in the interior parts of the country. But Lumanus, abiding there the messenger of light, and being made obedient through the hope of obtaining martyrdom, doubled the space of time that was enjoined unto him, which no one of his companions, even through the fear of their lives, dared to do. Yet was not this child of obedience disappointed of his reward. For while he received the seed of obedience, he brought forth unto himself the fruit of patience, and deserved to fertilize strange lands, even with the seed of the divine Word, to the flourishing of the flowers of faith and the fruits of justice; and the more devotedly he obeyed his spiritual father, the more marvellously did the elements obey him. And having fulfilled there twice forty days, and being wearied with the continual expectation of the saint’s return, on a certain day, the wind blowing strongly against him, he hoisted the sails, and, trusting in the merits of Saint Patrick, even by the guidance of the vessel alone passed he over unto the place where he was appointed to meet him. O miracle till then unheard and unknown! The ship, without any pilot, sailed against the wind and against the stream, at the bidding of the man of God, and bore him with a prosperous course from the mouth of the Boinn even to Athtrym; and He who formerly turned back the stream of Jordan unto its fountain did, for the merits of Patrick, guide the vessel against the wind and against the stream.
How Forkernus and his Parents were Converted and Baptized
And Saint Lumanus having landed at the aforementioned town of Athtrym, he converted unto the faith of Christ first Forkernus, the son of a certain great man who there ruled, then his mother, a Britoness by nation, and lastly his father, Fethleminus, and in a fountain which by his prayers he produced out of the earth, even before their eyes, did he baptize them and many others. And these things being done, the holy prelate, in the twenty-fifth year before the foundation of Ardmachia, there builded a church, to the endowment and the enrichment whereof Fethleminus, that faithful servant of Christ, gave by solemn gift Athtrym and Midia, with many farms, and then crossing the river, he builded a habitation for himself and for his people, and there did he piously finish his days. And Lumanus, being consecrated the bishop of this church, sent his novice, Forkernus, to be instructed in letters, and, when he was sufficiently learned, advanced him to the priesthood. And as the day of his death approached, he went with Forkernus unto his brother Brocadius, and commanded Forkernus on his obedience that he should, after his decease, take on himself the government of the church over which he presided. But he, refusing and protesting that it accorded neither to reason nor to justice that he should in the church of his father take on himself the guidance of souls, lest he should seem to hold in heritage the sanctuary of the Lord, his father and pastor bound him thereto by his iterated commands. Why need we many words? Lumanus would not bless him until he had promised to undertake this office. And at length Lumanus, having departed from this light unto the mansion of eternal light, Forkernus, as enjoined, took on himself the care of his church; and after he had presided over it only three days, he committed it unto a certain stranger, by birth a Briton, named Cathladius. Thus did the man of God fulfil the command of his father, and thus he took care that he should not set the example of selling the rights of the church or the heritage of his parents. But all the revenues of this church were by Lumanus transferred to Saint Patrick and his successors, and for ever after given unto the church of Ardmachia.
Of the Prophecy of Saint Patrick on Coyrbre, and of the Unfruitfulness of a River
And Leogaire had two brothers, the elder of whom was named Coyrbre, like unto him in cruelty and unbelief, if, indeed, any one could in that country be found like him, who contemned and condemned the law of the Most High; and the younger was named Conallus, who retained no more of his birth than does the fish of the sea or the rose of the thorn. But Patrick having gone to Coyrbre, who then abided in the place called Tailltion, that he might convert him unto the Christian faith, if in any wise from that stone could a son be raised up unto Abraham, yet he, his heart being hardened against belief, intended the death of the preacher who would have preached life unto him, and even in the middle of the river he scourged the servants of Patrick; and the saint, knowing him to be obstinate in his error, and to be abandoned of God, thus prophesied unto him: “Since thou hast refused to bear the yoke of Christ, whose service is freedom, no one of thy posterity shall attain the throne of thy kingdom, but in perpetual servitude shall they serve the seed of thy younger brother, Conallus. And this shall be to thee a sign that the Lord will fulfil the word which He has spoken through my mouth: the river near thy mansion, which, with the abundance of its fishes, is wont to feed thee and thine household, from henceforward, even for ever, shall produce no fishes.” And the word of the man of God obtained, for all his posterity became subject unto the posterity of his brother Conallus, and they came unto the throne of his kingdom; and the river, which is called Seyle, even to this day beareth no fishes.
Of Conallus, and of the Prophecy of Patrick concerning him
And the saint, leaving those children of darkness in the anger and blindness of their hearts, and the depth of their error, turned his steps towards Conallus, who was to be the child of the truth. And he, rejoicing and giving thanks, received him as the angel of peace and of delight, and opened the ears of his hearing unto the words of salvation, and, through the laver of the regeneration and renovation of the Holy Spirit, deserved he to be incorporated with Christ. Whereby are we plainly showed that the Heavenly Potter out of the same clay can form at His will one vessel unto reproof and another unto honor. Then Conallus, being comforted and confirmed in the Catholic verity, offered unto the saint his dwelling-house, and his land, and his farm, and besought of him with many prayers that for the spreading of the Christian faith he there would build a city for him and for his people; and he said he would build a habitation for himself on the borders thereof. And the saint, praising so great charity in his novice, lest he should seem to reject his entreaty, builded there a city, which is now called Domnhach Phadruig – that is, the City of Patrick; and touching it with his staff, he marked out the dwelling-place of Conallus, which is now called Rathyr-tair. And the saint blessed him in the name of the Lord; and among other things which were to happen unto him, thus did he prophesy: “Happy and prosperous shall be this dwelling-place, and happy shall be they who dwell therein; nor shall the blood of any man, save only one, be shed in it; and the Lord, giving His blessing, shall bless thee, and He shall confirm thy throne and multiply thine empire, and the seed of thy brother shall serve thy seed for ever and ever.” And all these things which the saint prophesied were not in the event disproved.
Of the Altar of Saint Patrick
And it was near to the heart of the saint to visit Connactia; and chiefly for the vision which he had heretofore beheld in his sleep, wherein he was called by the infants of that country, even in their mothers’ wombs, he desired there to evangelize the kingdom of God. And he purposed to travel round the whole island, that he might convert it unto Christ; and the saint, being prepared to his journey, blessed Conallus, and in memorial of himself he left in the aforementioned city his altar of stone, for the relieving of the sick and for the working of miracles; but when he proceeded on his journey, the altar followed, nor to the eyes of any man was it visible how it was carried; but, as I account, it was carried along the path of the saint by the power and the virtue of Him at whose nod the prophet was carried from Judea into Chaldea. Thus did the Corner-Stone, Christ, that He might show unto all the holiness of Patrick, cause this holy stone to be moved without human hand. And the prelate, looking back, beheld the altar thus marvellously borne after him, and exulted in the Lord, and returned, and placed it in a fitting place. And from that day did it remain fixed, yet ceased it not to shine in miracles, as if the virtue of Patrick had remained in it or flowed from it.
Of the Images destroyed from Heaven, and of the Fountain produced from the Earth
And the King Leogaire, being devoted to the worship of devils, with a great part of his people who much desired to please him adored a certain idol magnificently formed of silver and gold, and which was raised in a field called Maghfleidh. And the idol was named Ceancroithi – that is, the head of all the gods, for that it was by that foolish people accounted to utter responses. And around this image stood twelve inferior gods, made of brass, as if subject unto it. Therefore Saint Patrick turned toward this place, that he might overturn the idol, and by his preaching convert its worshippers to the worship of the Creator. But when he could not prevail, neither could he recall those idolaters from the folly that was fixed in their minds, he betook himself to his accustomed arms of prayer. And from a neighboring hill beholding the idol, he stretched forth in prayer his spotless hands unto God, and lifted against it the staff of Jesus, when suddenly, by the power of God, the idol fell on its left side, and all the silver and the gold poured from it broken and powdered into dust; but on the hard stone of the image was seen impressed the mark of the staff, though it had touched it not; and the earth swallowed up the twelve inferior gods, even to their necks, and their heads continue above the ground unto this day. Thus what human strength could not accomplish was done by the divine power; and many beholding it believed in the true and living God, and being baptized, according to the apostle, put on Christ, And in that place Saint Patrick by his prayers produced out of the earth a fountain of the clearest water, wherein many were afterward baptized.
How the Darkness was Dispersed
And the saint, having overturned the idols, held on the way that he purposed; and the fame of his holiness, going before him, announced his coming. And when he drew nigh unto Connactia, two magicians, the sons of Neyll, the one whereof was named Mael, the other Cabhlait, heard of his approach; and they were both bound in the bonds of Satan, nor were they less germane in the exercise of their evil deeds than in the germ of their native generation. These men by their enchantments covered the whole country with thick darkness for three continual days, whereby they hoped to prevent the entrance of Patrick into that place. But the son of light, in whose heart the morning star that never sets perpetually shone, while he lifted up unto heaven his heart and his hand and his tongue in prayer, the light-streaming rays of the sun, shining forth, dispersed the magic darkness; and, finding free entrance into Connactia, with all his strength he labored to open to those unworthy enemies of the truth the door of faith.
Of the Virgins who went unto Heaven
And of Leogaire were born two daughters, like roses growing in a rose-bed. And the one was of a ruddy complexion, and she was called Ethne; and the other was fair, and she was called Fedella; and they were educated by these magicians. And early on a certain morning, the sun having just arisen, they went to bathe in a clear fountain, on the margin whereof they found the saint sitting with other holy men; and regarding his countenance and garb, they were struck with wonder, and enquired of his birth and his residence, taking him for an apparition. But the saint admonished them rather to believe in his God than to enquire of his descent or his dwelling-place. Then the damsels, desiring to know more assuredly of God, earnestly questioned about His power, and His riches, and His glory. And the Saint instructed them in the Catholic faith, truly affirming him to be the Creator and Ruler of the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and of all that is therein; and that He had one Son, with Himself coeternal, coeval, and consubstantial – everywhere reigning, governing all things, possessing all things; and promised he also unto them that they should exchange an earthly and transitory kingdom for a heavenly and eternal kingdom; for that if they obeyed his counsel, they should unite with the Celestial King in pure and indissoluble union. And when he had thus preached unto them with persuasive eloquence, the damsels believed in Christ, and he baptized them even in that fountain. Thus being made Christians, they besought the saint that according to his promise he would show unto them the face of Christ, their beloved Spouse. And the saint thus answered: “Ye must first, with the mouth of your heart and of your body, devoutly receive the flesh and the blood of your Spouse, so that, being quickened with the living food, and having tasted of death, ye may pass from this impure world unto the starry bride-chamber.” Then the virgins, believing in the word of the man of God, devoutly entreated and received the Eucharist, and, immediately falling asleep in the Lord, they quitted their earthly tabernacles, and went unto their heavenly Spouse. And their friends and their kindred gathered together and bewailed them for three days, as was the custom of the country, and returned their sacred remains unto the womb of the mother of all human kind. And on that spot was erected a church, which is now collated to the metropolitan seat of Ardmachia. And the two magicians, for that they had educated the damsels, were sorely grieved at their deaths, and reproached the saint with bitter and angry words; but he, touching the harp of David, and preaching unto them the kingdom of God, converted them unto the faith, and they were baptized.
Of the Magician Struck by Lightning, and of Twelve Thousand Men Converted unto Christ
And after these things had come to pass, a great and solemn council was held in a solemn place by the people of that province gathered there together, whereat the seven sons of Amhlaich, a man eminent for his birth, his dignity, his riches, and his power, were present with a numerous train of their followers. Then the saint, that he might gain many of that multitude unto Christ, threw himself into the midst of the assembly, and took the spiritual armor of the power of God unto the extirpation of idolatry. But when this renowned preacher unsheathed the sword of the Spirit to the destruction of devils and the salvation of man, a certain magician named Rochait with all his strength endeavored to slay him. Lest, however, his wicked attempt should accomplish the yet more wicked deed, the hand of the Almighty, sending on him fire from above, consumed this child of hell, and smote him with lightning, even in the presence of all. And beholding this marvellous and fearful miracle, the seven sons of Amlaich, with twelve thousand of the people, believed in Christ, and were baptized, and constantly remained in the Catholic faith which they had taken on them. And the two daughters of a certain nobleman named Glerannus, who were then unborn, are said to have invoked the saint, and were with the rest converted unto Christ, and were baptized even in their mother’s womb. And they afterward, living a holy and religious life, in a pious end rested in the Lord, and after their deaths proved by many miracles that they were with the saints in heaven. And Saint Patrick placed over this newly-converted people a prelate named Mancenus, and he was learned and religious, and well versed in the Holy Scriptures.
Of another Magician whom the Earth swallowed up
And the Lord ordained unto Saint Patrick strong and frequent conflicts with the magicians, that he might conquer and know how prevailing was the wisdom of Him in whose name all their endeavors were foiled. For as, according to the apostle, Iannes and Mambres resisted Moses, so did very many evil-doers resist Patrick. Therefore, on another day, in the place of the aforementioned council, another but not a different evil-doer, at the instigation of Satan, arose with the like fury against the saint, that he might destroy him. But the right hand of the Lord, which erewhile had smote his enemy with consuming fire, was magnified in strength, and in His manifold power swept this evil-doer from the face of the earth. For the earth, cleaving asunder, opened her mouth and swallowed up the magician who had so often defiled himself with so many evil deeds, and, closing again, plunged him into the abyss.
How another Magician is Sunken up to the Ears, and again is Raised up
And the deadly end of this evil-doer being discerned by one who was germane unto him in his flesh and in his mind, and who was not able to succor his brother when perishing, therefore sought he to avenge his destruction on Patrick as his destroyer; and being enraged against the saint, he sought to put him to death. But the Lord fought for Patrick, and the earth in like manner opened and swallowed up the magician, even to his ears. Then the man, being almost swallowed up in the earth, implored pardon of the saint, and promised that he would believe in Christ, and that he would obey his doctrine. And the saint, being moved with pity, prayed for him unto the Lord; and immediately the earth cast him forth, and raised him. And the unmerciful man, being mercifully saved, gave thanks unto the power that had saved him, and believed in Christ, and received the grace of baptism. Thus doth the Lord, distinguishing between the light and darkness, severely condemn the reprobate and obstinate in evil, and mercifully saveth those who fly unto his mercy.
How a huge Stone was raised by the Saint
And the saint, passing along on a certain day, beheld a multitude of men gathered together, that they might move from its place a very large stone; and they had labored a long time, but in vain; for they were wearied in their strength and fatigued with the unequal attempt, and to raise the stone they prevailed not. Then the saint approached, even as a builder of the temple of the living God to be builded in the Lord; and having prayed and blessed their work, that huge stone, which could not be stirred by an hundred hands, did he alone remove and raise and place in its fit place. And the men who stood around marvelled at this marvellous work, and were converted to believe in the God of Saint Patrick; and they who hitherto, having stony hearts, worshipped stones, this stone being raised by the saint, believed in the living Stone, the precious Stone, the Corner-Stone, the elect Stone, the Stone which is placed in the foundations of Sion; and this Stone had they long time rejected; but now becoming themselves living stones, joined together with the cement of the Christian faith, and following the sacred doctrine, and being polished and purified in baptism, they grew in the temple of the Lord.
How the Women were raised from Death
And wheresoever in his preaching went Patrick, the man of God, his lips diffused the healing knowledge, and the number of the believers was daily increased. And the Lord assisted his faithful servant with manifold miracles, and confirmed his doctrine, for that he falsified not the word of God, but always sought His praise and His glory. And on a certain day he came to a place called Fearta, where at the side of a hill two women who had deceased were buried. Then the man of God, approaching the grave, commanded the earth to be removed, and, having invoked the name of Christ, he raised them up to life. And the women thus raised up, even in the presence of all around, proclaimed that their idols were vain, and that their gods were devils, Christ alone being the true God; and in His name they besought to be baptized, and they attained their prayer. And the bystanders glorified God, and devoutly received his faith and baptism. Thus did the most holy prelate revive from double death the two women who were dead in the flesh; and their resurrection from bodily death gave unto many resurrection from the death of the soul.
Two Women who were pregnant are with their Infants rescued from Death unto Life
And in these parts was a certain woman named Fidelina, yet knew she not how to confide in Christ; and she was pregnant, and even at the instant other travail, for lack of strength, she expired. But as a city builded on a mountain cannot be hidden, nor a candle placed in a candlestick, nor the fragrance of a sweet-smelling garden, so, though ever so much he desired it, could not the virtue of the blessed Patrick be concealed. For proceeding from him it drew after him many who had been evil-disposed; and for the odor of his ointments many followed him, so by the grace thereof the friends of the departed woman, being attracted, brought her lifeless body unto the saint, and entreated with lamentable entreaties that he would show now on her the power which erewhile he had shown on others. And forthwith the man full of God betook himself unto prayer; and he restored the dead woman unto life; and afterwards she brought forth a son, and in a convenient season thereafter, with her child, received baptism; and thus was each from the death of the body and of the soul revived by Patrick before the people. And all the multitude who beheld these things believed and gave praise unto God. And the woman related what during her death she had seen of the glories of heaven and of the pains of hell; and her testimony was believed, and converted unto Christ many thousands. And shortly after this miracle was renewed on another woman, who also died in travail, and who was in like manner revived by the saint, and with her child was baptized.
How he built a Church of Clay alone
And Saint Patrick journeyed round Connactia, spreading through all that region the Word of God; nor ceased he from his preaching nor from his working of miracles until all the inhabitants thereof were converted unto the true faith. And in many places builded he churches, and appointed therein priests and other ecclesiastical ministers unto the government of souls and the holy ministry. And on a time when the saint was intent on his wonted work, he came unto a certain plain, which, by its fair and pleasant site, was fitted unto the building of a church; but neither wood nor stone could be found therein. For the forest was a long way distant, and no axe could be found in those parts, nor even, if found, did any of the inhabitants understand its use. Therefore did this holy man offer up his prayers, and, being helped of heaven, he builded there a church of clay alone, and it was fashioned for that time in very handsome form, and it was endowed with the divine grace. For well is it known to have suffered naught, neither from the wind, nor from the snow, nor from the hail, nor from the rain, nor from any other inclemency of the air; but from thence even to this day is it seen to continue in its original state. And the seat of Saint Patrick, wherein sitting he was wont to preach, is still shown; and manifold and marvellous miracles are reported to have been done there.
Of the two Rivers, Dubh and Drobhaois
In that country were two rivers, whereof the one was called Dubh, and the other Drobhaois; and the river Dubh was wont to abound with fishes, but the other produced them not. And the saint, passing nigh the bank of the fruitful river, entreated the fishermen that out of a great draught which they had taken they would bestow their kindness unto him. But they, wanting charity toward the beloved of the Lord, sent him away empty, and wholly refused unto him even one fish. Therefore God, the author and the lover of charity, from these fishermen, narrowed in their hearts, and frozen with covetousness, withdrew their wonted gain, and deprived that river of its perpetual abundance of fishes; and the other river, which was called Drobhaois, did he immediately enrich therewith. And this river, as being more fruitful, so is it clearer than all the other rivers in Ireland. From whence a wise man may understand that we should show charity unto every member of Christ, and receive the friends of God and relieve them with all kindness. For whatever honor, whatever kindness, we show unto them, that do we assuredly show unto Christ; so whatever we unjustly take from or deny unto them, of that doth God attest us to have defrauded Him.
Of the Voice that issued from the Sepulchre
The holy standard-bearer of the Lord was accustomed to stop at the head-stone of every Christian who was buried outside of a burial-place, there to erect a cross; for he knew that in that country, then only lately converted unto the faith, all the dead, by reason of the fewness of the churches, could not be buried in consecrated ground; and therefore the good pastor wished by that blessed token to distinguish the sheep from the goats – namely, the Christians that were buried from the pagans. So might the worshippers of Christ, beholding the sign of life, understand that a servant of the faith of the cross was there buried, and so might they not delay to offer unto the Creator their prayers for his soul. Truly, a pious custom, and worthy is it of general observance that all who were baptized in the death of Christ, and are dead in his faith, should, when buried, have on them or near them the ensign of the death of Him.
And it came to pass that Patrick, in going out of Connactia, beheld outside of a burying-place which was consecrated to God the graves of two men who had been lately buried, and he observed that at the head of the one was a cross erected. And sitting in his chariot, as was then the custom, he bade his charioteer to stay, and, speaking to the dead man as to one living, he asked him who and of what religion he had been? And the voice answered unto him from the grave that he had been a pagan, altogether ignorant of the Christian faith. “Why, then,” said the saint, “bearest thou the cross of Christ, thou who didst never worship or acknowledge Him?” And the voice answered: “He who is buried near me was a Christian; and some one of your faith, coming hither, placed the cross at my head.” Thus the voice spake, and was silent. Then the saint descended from his chariot, and removed the cross from that place, and fixed it at the head-stone of him who had been baptized, and prayed for him, and went his way.
Of his Journey, and of his manifold Miracles
And going out of Connactia, after having confirmed that country in the Christian faith, he went toward the northern part of Ireland, which is called Dalnardia; and the people therein dwelling, by his conversation, and by his example, and by his miracles, did he convert unto the faith of Christ and the sacraments of the faith. Then he passed over the mountain Ficoth, even to the great plain of Bregh, thus traversing through Midia into Lagenia; and everywhere he preached the kingdom of God, and certain of his disciples he advanced in fit places unto the episcopal dignity. But by how many miracles his journey was graced, how many diseased persons he healed, severally to relate, not even the pen of the most eloquent could suffice. For divers received health, not only by his touch or by his prayer, but even by the passing of his shadow, as were he another Peter. So many as were not purified by the healing water did he labor to persuade unto baptism; so many as were already baptized, lest their faith should be perverted by the old enemy or subverted by heretical doctrines, did he therein confirm. And since faith, according to the Apostle James, is “dead without works,” and since a dead faith is no faith, this blessed preacher earnestly persuaded the believers unto a holy and sincere faith by their diligent working of good works. But they who, proceeding in all wickedness, condemned his doctrine, and, rebelling against God, obstinately persevered in the worship of devils, often at his prayer were they by the suddenness of divine justice destroyed, as our relation has hitherto declared, and will declare in the following pages.
The Prophecy of the Saint Concerning Dublinia; and the Sick Man cured
And the saint, departing from Midia, directed his course toward Lagenia, for the purpose of preaching there; and on his journey he crossed a river named Finglas to a certain hill distant about one mile from the village Athcliath, the which is now called Dublinia; and looking on this place and on the country around it, and blessing it, thus spake he, prophesying: “This village, now so small, in time shall be renowned, and it shall be increased in riches and in dignity until it be advanced the royal seat of a kingdom.” How truly he spake the proof of this time manifestly showeth. And he entered the village, and the dwellers therein, having heard of the miracles which he had wrought in the Lord, came forth joyfully to meet him; and the son of the lord of that place, his only son, was even at the point of death, so that many said he had already expired. Then, at the entreaty of the father and of the rest who flocked around him, the saint went unto the sick man’s bed, and bended his knees on the earth, and prayed, and blessed him then dying, and snatched him from the jaws of death, and in the sight of them all restored him. And they who beheld this miracle believed in the Author of life, and by the holy prelate were baptized in His name.
A Fountain is produced out of the Earth
And Saint Patrick, while abiding in this village, was entertained at the house of a woman who often in his presence complained of the want of fresh water. For the river that ran near it was, by the flowing in of the tide of the sea, made wholly salt of taste; nor before the return thereof could any fresh water be obtained, unless drawn at a great distance. But the saint, who continually thirsted after God, the living fountain, compassionated the grievance of his hostess and of the multitude then newly born unto Christ, and, the rather that they might the more ardently pant toward the fountain of life, thought he fit to show its virtue. Therefore on the morrow he went unto a certain place, and in the presence of many standing around he prayed, and touched the earth with the staff of Jesus, and in the name of the Lord produced from it a clear fountain. Thus with the staff in the hand of his preacher Saint Patrick did the Lord renew the miracle which of old time he had deigned to work by the rod in the hand of Moses striking the rock; there the rock twice struck flowed forth abundant waters; here the earth once pierced poured forth a pure fountain. And this is the fountain of Dublinia, wide in its stream, plenteous in its course, sweet to the taste, which, as is said, healeth many infirmities, and even to this day is rightly called the fountain of Saint Patrick.
The Dead are raised up; the King and the People are converted; a Fountain is produced, and Tribute promised
The divine Providence bestoweth on this transitory world the desire of letters, to the end that the human race, which when death arrives cannot long continue in the memory, may through distant ages preserve the record of great events, and recall them as if passing before their eyes. Therefore do those things appear to me very worthy of remembrance which were done by Patrick, the illustrious preacher unto the Irish nation, the holy prelate, who, by the grace of God, in his evidences, his miracles, and his virtues, became the conqueror of the old enemy, even to the gathering together the people of Ireland and her kings, that they might serve the Lord; and at length he came unto the noble city which is now called Dublinia. And it was inhabited by the Norwegians and by the people of the Isles, having been conceded by the King of Ireland unto the dominion of the queen, who was the daughter of the King of Norwegia; and in course of time was it one while allied to, and other while warring against, the kings of Ireland. Hither Saint Patrick coming, found the city defiled with the abominations of idols, and unknowing of the true Creator. And He who burst asunder the gates of death and of hell smoothed the path for his servant; for the king and the people, who erewhile had said unto the Lord, Depart Thou from us, we will not the knowledge of Thy ways, so cast down were they, so saddened with weeping and with lamentation, that all memory of their wonted fierceness, all their barbarous rudeness, and all the pride of their idolatry, were utterly subdued. Wretched was the spectacle on that day! The twin hope of the kingdom, the delight of the city, the solace of the old, the companion of the young, the son of the King of Dublinia, lay in his chamber dead; and his sister, who had gone to bathe in the neighboring river, had that day perished in the mid-stream. And a tumult arose through the whole city; and the funeral rites of the king’s son being wholly neglected, all ran confusedly to the shore; some, not even casting off their garments, plunge into the river, some dive into its lowest depths, and others sail down the course of the tide, lest haply the body of the royal damsel might thitherward be hurried down. But they who had gone out to seek beheld in the water the damsel lying down, even as one sleeping. They delay not; they raise the royal maiden from the stream; they bear her unto the chamber of her brother for her obsequies; and, according to the superstition of the pagans, the tombs are prepared. And a rumor gathers in the palace that he, Patrick of Ardmachia, who in the name of the unknown God had already raised many that were even dead, had on that day arrived in the city. This the king hearing rejoiced mightily; and he caused him to come where his two children lay, and, being already full of faith, he promised that if God at the prayers of the saint would restore the children of his age, he and all his people would worship him. And all the nobles confirm the promise of the king, and the whole city yearneth toward the faith, so that the children may but be revived. Then the saint, beholding the gain of souls which was there prepared for him, poured forth his prayers, and in the sight of the king and of the people restored to life the royal children; and they, being made the assistants unto the faith, rising again in their bodies, assisted in their father and in the people the resurrection of souls. And this king was called Alphinus, and his son was called Cochadh, and his daughter Dublinia, and from her the city received its name. And he and all his people, rejecting their idols and all the abominations of the devils, were converted unto Christ, and were baptized at the fountain of Saint Patrick, at the southern side of the city, which the saint, striking the earth with the staff of Jesus, had caused to arise, to the increase of the faith of the believers; wherefore did the saint offer there the sacrifice unto salvation; and there, even to this day, is honor and reverence paid Saint Patrick and his successors, the primates of Ardmachia. And from that time the King Alphinus and all the citizens of Dublinia vowed themselves and all their posterity to the service of Saint Patrick and the primates of Ardmachia, and builded one church near this fountain, and another near the Church of the Holy Trinity, and in the city westward of the archbishop’s palace. And they appointed a tribute unto Saint Patrick their patron, which was unto the Archbishop of Ardmachia from every merchant ship a sufficient cask of wine or of honey, a hook of iron, or a measure of salt; from every tavern a vessel of mead or of ale; and from every shop a gift of shoes, or gloves, or knives, or combs, with many gifts of such kind. And on that day the king and his nobles each offered unto him a talent of gold; but the people offered even as they could, the which did Patrick, the poor in Christ, give unto the poor, having retained a part unto the building of churches. Then blessed he them with the blessings of Jacob the patriarch, and of Moses the servant of God, like unto the age and spiritual bearing of whom he appeared, prophesying, and praying, if their deeds agreed with their words, that they might be unconquered and fortunate, but weak and unhappy if ever they falsified their vows. Which plainly was proved when this people, becoming proud and regardless of the blessing of the saint, neglected to pay the appointed tribute.
Of the Sentence pronounced on Murinus
And the saint having blessed and bidden farewell unto the inhabitants of Dublinia, then by the power of his miracles confirmed in the faith, preparing himself for the like work, set forward on his journey. And he came unto a neighboring town, which is now called the Castle Cnoc, where a certain infidel named Murinus governed. Him did the saint desire to lead into the path of life; but this son of death, hearing the fame of his virtue and of his wisdom, which he feared no one could resist, absented himself from the saint, even as from a fierce enemy. And the saint required him that he would at the least give unto him of his abundance; but he, concealing himself in an inner chamber, required him that he would at the least suffer him to sleep. The which commands being of each oftentimes repeated, the saint, at the inspiration of the Spirit, understanding him to be a child of perdition, exclaimed: “Let him sleep, let him sleep; nor until the day of judgment let him awaken or arise!” Then the saint departed, and the wretched man sank into the sleep of death. Thus when the sleeper, covered with the darkness of unbelief, refused to awake at the heavenly voice which called him from the dead, that he might be illuminated of Christ, he descended into the dark grave, there to remain for ever covered with the darkness of death. Therefore, even to this day, it is among the Irish a frequent imprecation on a feigned sleeper, Mayest thou sleep, as at the word of Saint Patrick Murinus slept!
Foylge is punished with a double Death, and the deceiving Fiend is driven out of his body
And in Lagenia was a certain wicked idolater named Foylge, who was an eminent adversary of Christ, so far forth as he was able; this child of Belial frequently sought occasion to lay on Patrick, the anointed of the Lord, his impious hands, for to him it was very grievous not only to see but even to hear the saint. To this inveterate malice was he urged, for that the man of God had destroyed the aforementioned idol Ceancroythi, unto the abominable worship whereof he was especially bound. But when he could not effect his wicked purpose, he one day attacked the charioteer of Saint Patrick, who was named Odranus; for he seized him sitting in the chariot, and strangled him, so that by the one act of blood his fury might be the more fiercely excited toward another. And the saint, wounded in his heart, cast the weapon of his malediction on this child of hell, who, pierced thereby, even at the moment breathed out his soul into the infernal regions. Of some it is said that Odranus, foreknowing the servant of Satan to be intent on the death of the saint, obtained that in his stead he might on that day hold the reins. And this he did, earnestly desiring to lay down his life for the saint, lest, so bright a lamp being extinguished, the people of Ireland should again walk in darkness. And the saint beheld his soul borne into heaven by the angels, and placed in the seat of the martyrs. But the old enemy, entering the dead body, showed to all a false and feigned Foylge, as if revived unto life, and dwelled therein as returned to his possessions and to his people. And after some days, as Patrick was passing nigh unto the dead man’s dwelling, he called unto him certain of the family, and asked where Foylge was; and they answered that he was then within in the house, when the saint replied: “The soul of Foylge, for that he unjustly slew my chariot-driver, God justly judging and vindicating my cause, hath gone cut of his body, and descended into hell; but Satan, to the delusion and the seduction of mankind, hath entered into his corpse, and occupieth it as his own proper vessel.” Then the saint forbade Satan that in that vessel he should longer abide, or deceive mankind with so wicked a phantom. And forthwith, at the command of the man of God, the deceiving spirit quitted his habitation of clay; the which, covered with worms, and raising horror and offence to all, was carried into instant sepulture. Nor let it be wondered that the devil should show himself in the visible form of his accustomed instrument, the God permitting whose judgments are an abyss; but rather let Him be feared who can destroy both body and soul in hell.
Of the Saint’s Prophecy concerning the Kings of Momonia
And the saint, going out of Lagenia, journeyed prosperously forward into the country of Momonia. And the king thereof, who was named Oengus, met the holy prelate, rejoicing and giving thanks in the exultation of his heart, as on that day occasion was ministered unto him of joy and of belief, for that in the morning, when he entered the temple to adore his idols, he beheld them all prostrate on the ground. And so often as he raised them, so often by the divine power were they cast down; nor could they stand upright, but continually were they overthrown. And as Dagon could not stand at the approach of the ark of the testament, so neither could the idols stand at the approach of Saint Patrick. And he may truly be called the ark of the covenant, who in his pure heart, as in a golden urn, bore the manna of heavenly contemplation, the tables of the heavenly law, and the rod of the heavenly discipline. And the king brought him, with great reverence and honor, unto his palace in the city of Cassel, because his mind and his eye had long time longed for him, by reason of the manifold miracles which he knew had been worked by the saint. And at his preaching the king believed in the Holy Trinity, in the name of which he is regenerated in the healing water of baptism. And after he had blessed the king by touching his head, at his earnest and devout entreaty the saint pierced his foot with the point of the staff of Jesus. But the king, receiving his blessing with ardent desire, felt in his body no pain of the wound, so much did he rejoice in the salvation of his soul. Then did the saint behold the wounded foot of the king, and imprinted on it the sign of the cross, and blessed it, and healed the wound; and, full of the prophetic spirit, thus prophesied he unto the king: “The blood of any king of thy race who shall sit on thy throne shall never be shed, save of one alone.” And the inhabitants of this region, assert the prophecy to have been proved by undeniable truth, inasmuch as history recordeth not one king of all his posterity, even to the tenth generation, to have been slain, but only one. And there remained in that place a tablet of stone, whereon the saint is said to have celebrated the holy mysteries; and it is called by the Irish Leac Phadruig – that is, the Stone of Saint Patrick; and on this stone, for reverence of him, the kings of Cassel are wont to be crowned and to be advanced unto the throne of their kingdom.
How Dercardius and his Companions were destroyed
And thence the saint speeded unto Urmonia, that out of that place he might pluck the thorns and the branches of error which, being planted by the craft of the old enemy, had flourished there, and sow in their stead the spiritual harvest. And a certain man of Comdothan, named Lonanus, freely received him, and made unto him and the companions of his journey a great supper. And the saint deemed right to impart the spiritual and eternal food unto those who had prepared for him the food which was perishing and earthly. And during supper, while the saint labored to fill their minds with the word of life, a certain wicked man named Dercardius approached, and with rude and importunate speech, nay, even with clamor, wearying the ears of the saint, afflicting his mind, and stopping his mouth, demanded of him food. The which the saint not having at hand, blushed, and took unkindly the irreverence that prevented him from preaching. But a certain man named Nessan, who beheld how the just man’s spirit was vexed, offered unto him a ram, which the saint bade him give to the bold importuner. This receiving, Dercardius returned to his companions, boasting that by his importunity he had penetrated the stony heart of Patrick, even as the continual dropping of water weareth out a stone. And they slay the ram, and dress and eat it. And while the meat was yet in their mouths the anger of God came on them, and suddenly avenged His servant; for the meat turned to instant poison, and destroyed them all; wherein are we sufficiently admonished not to offend the servants of God, lest we offend the Almighty Himself, who will protect and defend them in the time of their trouble.
Of the Quarrel of the Two Brothers
The blessed Patrick, as the angel of peace, announcing by the blood of Christ that peace which passeth all understanding, journeyed through Ciarraghus. And as he journeyed, he beheld two brothers named Bibradius and Locradius, who, their father having then lately been buried, were dividing the inheritance; and they at first disputed with their tongues, and at length they attacked each other very fiercely. And when each brandished the sword unto the death of the other, the saint feared exceedingly, lest even in his sight the crime of fratricide should happen. Therefore unto the pity of these unpitying men did he address his heart, unto prayer his mouth, unto blessing his hand; and making their arms immovable as wood or as stone, he stayed them in the air. And they, beholding themselves thus miraculously prevented, ceased from the fury of their conceived sin, and, at the bidding of the saint telling good tidings of peace and preaching salvation, returned unto the mutual kindness of brotherly love. Then he, the brothers being appeased, and his blessing being given unto them, restored the power of their arms; and they offered him for the building of a church the field wherein was worked this miracle.
Fourteen Thousand Men are miraculously refreshed with the Meat of Five Animals
And after that Patrick, the illustrious worker of miracles, had fortified with his most holy admonitions the inhabitants of Momonia, whom he had already filled with the faith, he turned to visit the northern part of the island, the territories of the sons of Neyll, that he might convert or confirm the dwellers therein. And the aforementioned King Oengus, with twelve of his tributary kings, and other of the chiefs who were subject unto him, followed the saint with fourteen thousand men, desiring to be fed with the bread of life and of understanding. And when they came unto the river Brosnach, where Triamus the bishop, by birth a Roman, companion unto Saint Patrick in his journey and his labors, dwelled in a place called Choibeach, he desired to refresh all this multitude. Therefore he first fed them all with spiritual food, and then bade them sit down unto supper. And Triamus had one cow, by the milk of which he was wont to be sustained, and he caused her to be slain for their repast. But what was this one among so many? Then Patrick, the beloved of the Lord, addressed a prayer unto heaven; and behold, two stags issued from one part of the wood, and two boars issued from another part, and came unto him as tamed and domestic. And these; giving thanks unto the most high Giver, he in like manner bade to be killed, and, having blessed, he placed before the multitude. And all the people ate, and were abundantly filled; and the remnants, that nothing might be lost, were gathered up; thus with the flesh of five animals did Patrick most plenteously feed fourteen thousand men in the name of Him who, with five loaves and two fishes, did feed four thousand. For he said: “He who believeth in me, the works that I do, these shall he do, and greater than these,” that the Father may be glorified in the Son. And these miracles differ not, though they vary in their number, for each was worked of the Lord, this in Himself, that in His servant. Nevertheless, on the morrow was found in that field a cow like unto the one that was killed and eaten, and it was given unto Triamus, that he might be nourished of her milk. And the rumor went forth among very many, affirming this to have been the same cow revived by Saint Patrick. We, however, say that nothing is impossible unto God, but that this was done we neither deny nor assert.
Nineteen Men are raised by Saint Patrick from the Dead
But to these wonderful acts succeed yet more wonderful, and evidently show in His saint the wonderful God; for the next miracle deserveth even higher admiration. And as Patrick was one day preaching eternal punishment to those who resisted the commands of God, and the reward of eternal life to those who obeyed, his words were confirmed by the argument of an unheard miracle. For, lest any scruple of doubt should arise in their hearts, he revived, in the sight of all, nineteen men who had been dead and buried in their graves, one of whom, named Fotus, had lain in his narrow house for the space of ten years. And all these related the pains which they had suffered, and with one voice declared that the God whom Patrick preached was the true and the living God. Then the King Oengus and all his people, beholding these things, glorified the God who is glorious in His saints, wonderful in His majesty, and eminent in His miracles, such as are never seen on earth; and they honored Patrick as the priest of the high God and His peculiar apostle. And each returned unto his home, saying, This day we have beheld a miracle. And they who had been revived were by Patrick baptized, and, professing a penitent life, they took on them the monastic habit, and, abiding with the blessed Triamus, they remained in holiness and in faith even to their lives’ end.
The King’s Daughter becomes a Nun
And Patrick came unto the country of Neyll, wherein reigned a king named Echu, and he had one beloved daughter named Cynnia, whom he intended at a fitting time to give in fitting marriage. And the damsel unfolded to the saint her father’s purpose, and he exhorted her to deserve the reward of virginity even an hundred-fold; therefore, rejecting worldly nuptials, she determined to offer herself an undefiled offering unto her celestial Spouse, and to cherish Him in her heart. And the king, beholding her thus steadily to preserve her virgin purity, called unto him the saint, and thus he spake: “I had determined that my daughter should continue unto me a long-descending progeny for the confirmation of my kingdom and the solace of mine age; but the succession is cut off, and mine hope is defeated by thee; if, therefore, thou wilt promise unto me the heavenly kingdom, yet not compel me unwillingly to receive baptism, my daughter shall become the servant of thy God, even as thou hast exhorted her; otherwise will I not be stopped of my desire, nor shall thy preaching prevail.” And the saint, confiding in, and committing all unto, the Lord, faithfully promised what the king required. Then the damsel, being veiled and consecrated, and serving the Lord in virginity and in the exercise of all other virtues, brought by her example many unto His devotion; and during her life and after her death she was renowned by divers miracles. And the saint commended her unto the care of the holy virgin Cethuberis, who first of all the women of Ireland had received from him the veil, and to whom, being placed over the Monastery of Druimduchan, with a great multitude of virgins serving Christ, the saint himself addressed an exhortatory epistle. And in this monastery did Cynnia abide, until at length with many holy virgins she rested there in the Lord.
The King Echu is raised from Death
And after some time had passed, the King Echu was reduced to the bed of sickness, and when he perceived that his strength failed, and the day of his death approached, he sent a messenger to call Saint Patrick unto him. And he strictly forbade that his body should be buried until the arrival of the saint; for that he had promised unto him the heavenly kingdom, and especially, that the king desired to receive from him the heavenly baptism. Thus saying, he expired, and his body was kept for the space of one day and one night unburied, in expectation of the saint. And he, then abiding in the Monastery of Saballum, which was distant two days’ journey, knew in the spirit of the king’s death, and, ere the messenger could arrive, had made ready for the journey. And the saint came, and mourned over the king, especially for that he had died without baptism. Therefore prayed he unto the Lord, and loosed him from the bonds of double death, and forthwith instructed in the faith him restored unto life, and baptized him, and bade him that for the edification of the people and for the proof of his preaching he should relate what he had seen of the pains of the wicked and of the joys of the just. And he told unto them many wonders, and there among that in that heavenly country he had beheld the place which Patrick had promised unto him; but, because he was not then baptized, he could not enter therein; and so at the prayers of the saint his body was revived. Then the saint enquired of him whether would he longer live in this world, or instantly go into that place which was prepared for him; and he answered that all the power, all the riches, all the delights of the whole world, were to him but as the emptiest smoke compared with those celestial joys which he had proved with the eye of faith. But I entreat, said he, that I may be loosed from the body of this death, and delivered instantly from this prison-house; for earnestly I desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ. Thus having said, he received the Eucharist, and, falling asleep in the Lord, went unto the place of immortality.
A Man of Gigantic Stature is revived from Death
And Patrick was journeying on a certain day for the wonted purpose of his preaching; and he found near the road a sepulchre of wondrous length. And his brethren who journeyed with him beheld it; but with their very admiration could they not believe that the body of any man was buried in such a tomb. But the saint affirmed that God could prove it by the resurrection of this gigantic man, so that they did not falter in the faith; for there was then no small doubting of the general resurrection. Then prayed the saint earnestly that his acts might be accorded with his words, and that thereby he might remove from their hearts every scruple of doubt. Wonderful was the event, and to past ages wholly unknown! The holy prelate, having first prayed, signed the sepulchre with the staff of Jesus, and awakened from the dust the buried man. Then stood one before them horrible in stature and in aspect; and he looked on the saint, and, bitterly weeping, said unto him: “How great thanks do I give unto thee, O beloved and chosen of God! who even for one hour hast released me from unspeakable torments and from the gates of hell!” And he besought the saint that he might go along with him; but the saint refused, for that no man for very terror could stand before his countenance. And being asked by Patrick who he had been, he replied that he was the son of Chaiis, by name Glarcus, formerly a swineherd of the King Leogaire; and that when he was an hundred years of age, he was slain in an ambush by a certain man named Fynnan Mac Con. Then the saint admonished him that he should believe in the three-in-one God, and in His name receive baptism unto salvation, so that he might escape that place of torment. And he answered that he firmly believed in the God, whom he knew to be almighty, and in his name desired to receive baptism. And he said that while he had lived he understood of the Creator from the likeness of the created; and though he knew Him not, yet loved he Him according to his ability. Therefore he was baptized by Patrick, and forthwith he expired, and was buried in his former sepulchre; and according to the word of the saint, he was freed from his punishment. And the saint, considering and commending the inestimable riches of the goodness of God, exhorted them all earnestly, faithfully, and continually to love God, and chiefly those who knew and understood Him, affirming that this man had obtained so great a mercy through the earnestness of the love which, though ignorant, he held toward God.
Of Another Man who was Buried and Raised Again
And a certain prince who reigned in Humestia at the preaching of Patrick believed, and, with all his people, was baptized. But when the saint would have instructed him as to the general resurrection, he could not easily bend thereto his faith, for in nowise could he believe that the body which was once reduced into dust could ever be raised again in the pristine state of its proper but improved nature. So when the man of God, that he might reclaim him from his error, showed divers testimonies of the Holy Writ, examples, signs, and miracles, he is said to have thus replied; “If, by the virtue of Christ Jesus, thou shall revive my grandfather, who has now been buried many days, then will I believe in the resurrection of the dead which thou preachest.” Then the saint, being accompanied of the prince and all his people, went unto the tomb, and signed it with the staff of Jesus; and he caused the tomb to be opened, and, having prayed, to the admiration of all present, and to the confirmation of the Catholic faith, he raised to life the buried man. And he was of exceeding height and of terrible countenance, yet much inferior to the aforementioned in his stature. And him, relating the torments of hell, and devoutly asking baptism in the name of Christ, did the saint baptize, and, when baptized, gave unto his entreaty the Holy Eucharist; and placed him again, falling to sleep, but sleeping in the Lord, in his former sepulchre. Then no one of those present doubted of the resurrection of the dead, since it was proved before their eyes by a testimony so credible, a miracle so apparent. And this and the aforementioned miracle hath the saint recorded in an epistle, addressed to a certain friend who dwelled in a country beyond the sea, wherein, among other things, he sayeth: “The Lord hath given unto me, though humble, the power of working miracles among a barbarous people, such as are not recorded to have been worked by the great apostles; inasmuch as in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I have raised from the dead bodies that have been buried for many years; but, I beseech you, let no one believe that for these or the like works I am to be at all equalled with the Apostles, or with any perfect man, since I am humble and a sinner, and worthy only to be despised.” Now, let the hearer admire to what a point of perfection this man had raised his mind, who, working so many and so great works, yet thought so humbly of himself. And I truly admire in the saint his extreme humility, beyond even his raising up of the dead.
Of the Boy who was torn in pieces by Swine and restored unto Life
And another prince, named Elelius, strenuously resisted the doctrine of the saint, nor ever opened his ears unto his preaching until misery gave him understanding. For on a certain day his best-beloved son was trampled on by the swine, and torn in pieces and almost devoured. Which when the father heard, he rent his garments, and cast himself at Patrick’s feet, and, weeping, told unto him what had happened, and promised him to believe in his God and obey his precepts, if, in His name, the saint would revive his son. Then the saint commanded one of his disciples, by name Malachia, by nation a Briton, that he should restore unto life the dead and mangled youth. But he, disobeying and disbelieving the word of the saint from the faint-heartedness of his faith, thus answered: “Who is the man that may replace the bones which are broken in pieces, renew the nerves, and restore the flesh, recall the spirit to the body, and the life to the dead corpse? I will not endeavor it, nor will I with such rashness tempt the Lord, nor essay a work which I cannot finish.” And the saint answered unto him: “Hast thou not read the promise of the Lord? If ye ask anything from my Father in my name, He will grant it unto ye: and again, If ye have faith, though but as a grain of mustard-seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Move thou hence, and cast thyself into the sea, and it shall be done.” And he answering that often had he so read, the saint rejoined: “Since, as much as in thee lieth, thou hast rendered naught the word of the Lord, I prophesy unto thee that thou shalt possess on earth but a poor and slender household, and in thy church shall be the dwelling of one man only.” Then commanded he two bishops, his disciples Elbeus and Hibarus, that they should revive the dead youth, adding that he would assist them with his prayers. And they obeyed the commands of their father, and, being aided by his prayers, they restored the torn and mangled boy not merely unto life, but unto his former health and unto his beauty and his strength. Therefore the prince believed, and with all his household and with all his people was baptized. And in the place where this miracle was worked he builded a church, and, in memory of Saint Patrick, and of the two bishops, and of the revived youth, he erected four very huge stones. But what the saint foretold of his disciple Malachia happened in due time. Why, however, he did not this miracle himself, but willed it to be done by his disciples, is, I confess, to me and many such as I, utterly unknown. Yet by these things a wise man will understand that as Saint Patrick, in the name of the Lord, raised this dead body and divers others, so, what is still more excellent, his disciples, when enjoined by his commands and assisted by his prayers, were enabled to work this great miracle.
The Prayers of the Saint confer Beauty on an Ugly Man
And among the chief men of Hibernia was one named Eugenius, who had long resisted the preaching of the saint, but, being at length compelled by the argument of the living Word, and convinced by indisputable miracles, he at length believed, and, by the water of the holy font, was renewed in Christ. And this man was rich and powerful, but in his countenance and his person he was more deformed than all his people. And after complaining of his deformity unto the saint, he besought him to banish by the sending up of his prayers the hideous ugliness of his face, and thereby show the omnipotence of his God, on whom all the people believed. At length the saint, being moved with the entreaties of the man thus ashamed of himself, asked to whose form he would desire to be likened. Then he, regarding the people placed around him, preferred the form of Roichus, an ecclesiastic, the keeper of Saint Patrick’s books; and this man was by birth a Briton, by degree a deacon, a kinsman of the holy prelate, and beautiful in his form above all men in those countries dwelling. Nevertheless was he a man of most holy life, so that he might say with the Psalmist, “Lord, by thy will thou hast added righteousness to my beauty!” But the saint caused them to sleep in one bed and under one covering; and, standing over them, he lifted his pure hands in prayer. Wonderful and unwonted event! When they awaked and arose, not any difference appeared in their countenance; the tonsure alone distinguished the one from the other. And all who beheld admired; but more exceedingly joyful was he who experienced in himself this miracle.
The Stature of the same Man is increased unto a sufficient Height
And since the saint had gratified Eugenius by his form being thus improved, he, confiding in his prayers, added another entreaty. For he was of very low stature; and therefore he besought the holy prelate that, as man can nothing prevail by his own merits, he would, in the name of his God, add to his stature one cubit. Then Patrick bade him to show the height which he desired; and he raised himself on tiptoe, leaning on his erected spear, and stretched the ends of his fingers as far upward as he could, and desired that his stature might reach unto the measure of that height; and behold, at the prayers of the saint, the man, erewhile a dwarf, increased thereto; and, lest the miracle should be deemed the work of magic or of falsehood, in that stature and in that form did he continue unto his life’s end.
Of Saint Olcanus, the Teacher and Bishop, raised out of the Earth
A certain prince, going on a journey, heard, not without much amazement, a voice as if the voice of an infant weeping in a sepulchre, and, staying, he bade his people to open the sepulchre; and within he found a living boy nigh unto the dead mother. Him, by general advice, did the prince raise out of the chamber of death, and bear unto Saint Patrick, who, baptizing the child, named him Olcanus, for that he had suffered much evil, and in a fit season sent him to be instructed in letters. And he, being arrived at good stature, and being desirous of learning, went into Gaul; and having long abided there, and acquired much learning, he returned to his country; and being so returned, he instituted schools, and taught many scholars who in after-time were holy bishops. But this renowned teacher attained the episcopal dignity, and, at length closing his life in much sanctity, was illustrious even for many miracles.
How the Tooth of Saint Patrick shone in the River
And on a time the saint, with his holy company, passed over a certain river named Dabhall; and for that the day declined and the evening came on, he prepared to pass the night near the bank, and pitched his tent on a fair plain. And approaching the water, he washed his hands and his mouth, and with his most pious fingers he rubbed his gums and his teeth; but through age or infirmity one of his teeth, by chance, or rather by the divine will, dropped out of his mouth into the water; and his disciples sought it diligently in the stream, yet with all their long and careful search found they it not. But in the darkness of the night the tooth lying in the river shone as a radiant star, and the brightness thereof attracted all who dwelled near to behold and to admire. And the tooth so miraculously discovered is brought unto the saint, and he and all around him offer thanks to the Almighty, who had brought this thing to pass; and on that spot he builded a church, and deposited the tooth beneath the altar. The which is famed for divers miracles, and even to this day is called Cluayn Fiacal – that is, the Church of the Tooth. And the tooth of Saint Patrick, like a radiant star, shone by the same divine grace whereby, at the prayer of Samson, the conqueror of the Philistines, a fountain of water streamed forth from the jaw-bone of an ass. And this church is distant about five miles from the metropolitan city of Ardmachia.
The Saint Prophesieth of the Virgin Treha, and a Veil is placed on her Head by an Angel
While on a certain time the saint was baptizing in the holy font a chief named Cartanus, together with his wife, he foretold unto the woman that she should bring forth a daughter, unto whom he would give the veil and consecrate a virgin to the heavenly Spouse. And in the appointed time the woman bore a daughter, who at her baptism was named Treha; and when her tenth year was completed, the damsel journeyed toward Saint Patrick for the purpose of her consecration, but a marsh that crossed the way prevented her. Fatigued, therefore, and anxious, she sat upon the bank, and beheld afar off, with a longing eye and a wistful mind, the place where the prelate abided. And he, at the revelation of the Holy Spirit, knew of the damsel’s journey and of her desire; and he prayed, and removed thence the marsh, and; passing over with unsoiled feet, he went unto her. And while the saint was consecrating the virgin Treha, a veil is dropped on her head by the angel of the Lord, and reaching even unto her lips, covering her eyes; and the saint stretched forth his hand, willing to remove the veil from her eyes; but the damsel humbly prevented him, saying, “I beseech thee, my father, let the veil remain, even as it is placed on the head of thine handmaid, that mine eyes may no longer behold the vanity of this world, but rather may, looking inward, contemplate the brightness of mine heavenly Spouse!” Therefore Patrick, rejoicing at the pious purpose of the damsel, let fall her veil; and as it was at first placed on her from heaven, through all her life, covering her eyes like a dove and her knees like a turtle-dove, it remained as if it were joined to her face. Thus did the covering of the sacred veil exclude every alluring object from her eye, lest death should enter therewith.
Saint Patrick Prophesieth of the Sanctity of Saint Columba
A certain prince named Conallus sought and obtained a blessing from the saint. And with the like purpose came also his younger brother, Fergus, who was one of the most powerful chiefs of the country. And him, the holy prelate, having prayed, blessed, and laid his hand upon his head with much solemnity and with peculiar devotion. But Conallus, who was elder in birth and in dominion, seeing that the saint had blessed his brother more earnestly and more devoutly than himself, wondered and grieved mightily. Therefore Patrick, observing his face unusually clouded, explained the cause of this so solemn benediction, and, prophesying, said unto him: “I have blessed thy brother Fergus for the sake of the blessed child that will be born of his race. For his son Fedhleminus will beget a son who will be called Columba – a name well fitted to his birth, since even in his mother’s womb will he be filled with the Holy Spirit. Forasmuch as he will be enriched with the treasures of the divine wisdom and grace, rightly will he be called the bright and shining lamp of his generation, and the prophet of the Most Highest; and from the time that he cometh to the age of understanding never shall a purposed falsehood issue from his lips.” How truly was this prophecy made of Saint Columba, who is called Coluimcille, and was the founder of an hundred monasteries, he who would more fully know, let him read the volume that has been written of the saint’s life.
The River is Divided in Twain, and Blessed
On a certain time Saint Patrick came unto a deep and impassable river named Boallus; and as neither boat nor vessel was at hand, he prayed and divided the river in twain, and made unto himself and his followers a free passage. And raising his right hand, he blessed the river, and even to this day the eastern part of the stream can be passed by horsemen and by footmen; yet over the western part cannot any pass unless in some vessel. And being so blessed, this river abounded in fishes beyond all others. Then to his disciples marvelling, and seeking to know the cause of this so great miracle, did the saint answer: “The yet unborn son of life, who will be named Columba, after the lapse of many years will live in this place, and the water thus divided will, for several purposes, be needful unto him and his fellow-militants in Christ, while its abundance of fishes will minister food unto his brethren.” And Saint Columba being after many years born, when he became a man builded there a stately monastery, and by his dwelling and by his works approved the prophecy of Patrick.
The Prophecy that Patrick made unto Connedus
And Saint Patrick visited the country of the Turturini, where he abided for the space of seven weeks; and in that little space builded he seven churches, one whereof he called the Lord’s Church. For this was his custom: that wheresoever he abided on the Lord’s day, if he founded a church there, he called it Domnhach – that is, belonging to the Lord. And over one of these seven churches he appointed one of his disciples named Connedus, a good and holy man, by degree a presbyter, and learned in the divine law. And he, undertaking the government of this church rather from obedience than from ambition, abided there only one week, and then quitting it hastened to Saint Patrick. And the saint enquiring the cause of his so speedy return, he answered that he could not patiently endure the absence of his beloved father. “Nor is it to be wondered,” replied the saint, “since in that place there are not children of life, but men of blood and devourers of cattle, of whose sword thou standest in dread, and fearest that thy blood will be poured out. Return, return securely, nor tremble before their face; for the blood of no man shall in that place be shed, even from generation to generation.” Therefore, receiving this answer of Saint Patrick, the venerable Connedus returned unto the government of his church; and, as the dwellers in that country declare, the word of the saint has been confirmed by many proofs.
Of Mannia and the other Islands Converted unto God
The saint, beholding in Hibernia that the harvest was great, but the laborers few, passed over into Britain to obtain assistance in the field of the Lord. And forasmuch as the pest of the Pelagian heresy and the Arian faithlessness had in many places denied that country, he, by his preaching and working of miracles, recalled the people unto the way of truth. And many are the places therein which even to this day bear witness to his miracles and are imbued with his sanctity. And he brought away with him many learned and religious men, thirty of whom he afterward advanced unto the episcopal office. Returning to Hibernia, he touched at the islands of the sea, one whereof, Eubonia – that is, Mannia – at that time subject unto Britain, he by his miracles and by his preaching converted unto Christ. And among his miracles very conspicuous was this: a certain evil-doer named Melinus, like Simon the magician, asserting himself to be a god, and attempting the air with a diabolical flight, at the prayers of the saint fell headlong, and was dashed in pieces, and so perished. And the saint placed as bishop over the new church of this nation a wise and holy man named Germanus, who placed his episcopal seat in a certain promontory unto this day called Saint Patrick’s Island, for that the saint had there some time abided. And the other islands being converted unto the faith, he placed over them bishops from among his disciples – one over some, many over others – and then he returned to Hibernia; for the saint was accustomed to appoint bishops not only in cities, but even in towns and the more crowded places, lest any who had been baptized should be deprived of episcopal confirmation. And this did he provide that the faithful might always have present unto them one who could minister the episcopal office; while the diocese, being not too extended, needed not to withdraw from them the presence and the care of their pastor. But the dwellers in some of these islands, being aliened from the faith, afterward renounced the law of God which Patrick preached unto them; and therefore unto this day are they deprived of the special gift of God which, through the prayers of Patrick, freed from all venomous animals the islands that persevered in their faith.
Of the Saint’s Prophecy concerning Six Priests, and of a Skin which he bestowed to them
Six priests, who were led by their unanimous desire of learning the Scripture and of visiting holy places, quitted Hibernia to travel beyond the sea, when by a happy chance they met the saint returning out of Britain; and he blessed them with bended knees entreating his benediction, and foretold that they all would be bishops. And the saint observing one of them, who appeared elder and stronger than the rest, carrying in his bosom all their volumes, for that he had nothing wherein he might bear them in his hand, bade that a seal-skin should be given unto him on which he was wont to stand while he was celebrating the Mass, that he might make thereof a satchel. And they, receiving with manifold thanks the gift of the holy man, prosperously journeyed; nor from that day forth was there among them any want; but whether in travelling or abiding in the schools, they always found an honest sufficiency. Therefore they knew that the saint assisted them with his prayers, and that the Lord, through his merits, continued unto them His mercy. But in process of time, having thoroughly acquired all holy learning, they returned to their own country; and shortly after, according to the word of the saint, they were all made bishops. And the names of these holy prelates were Lugacius, Columbanus, Meldanus, Lugadius, Cassanus, Ceranus; but to mention the names of the bishoprics we for good reason omit – for in many instances we avoid the names of places and of persons, that we may not, by their uncouth barbarousness, occasion disgust or horror to cultivated ears. However, these prelates profited much the church of God by their conversation and by their example, and closed their lives in much holiness; for they were wont to relate many miracles to have been worked by the aforementioned seal-skin, the which even to this day remaineth entire, and is preserved as a relic in memory of Saint Patrick.
Saint Patrick Continueth his Preaching Three Days
And Saint Patrick preached to many people gathered together from divers parts unto a place in Hibernia called Fionnabhair, which, being interpreted, is the White Field. And for three continual days and nights he read and explained to them in their order the four holy books of the evangelists; and all who heard him accounted that not more time had passed than the space but of one day – so happily were they deceived, so profitably were they delighted, by the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth. O profitable, delightful deception! whereby falsehood is excluded and truth induced; whereby the time is beguiled, and the night is stolen away, and one day is made to appear as three days. Nor let the reader admire for that I call it a deception when the prophet exclaimeth unto his Creator, “O Lord! Thou hast deceived me,” and when the Apostle Paul sayeth unto certain of his disciples, “Being crafty, I deceived you with guile.” Kind deception which saveth souls! Blessed seduction which induces unto God!
Of the Vision of the Blessed Brigida, and its Explanation
And the blessed Brigida was at these meetings; and at one, having reclined her head, she slept. And the holy prelate forbade that any one should arouse the beloved of God until she herself would awaken; so did it appear how evidently what is said in the Canticles agreed with her; “I sleep, but mine heart waketh”; for that his heavenly Spouse revealed unto her all His mysteries. And when the holy virgin awaked, he enjoined her that she should tell unto them all what she had beheld in her vision. And she, obeying the command of the saint, said: “I beheld an assembly of persons clothed in white raiment; and I beheld ploughs, and oxen, and standing corn, all white, and immediately they became all spotted, and afterward they became all black; and in the end I beheld sheep and swine, dogs and wolves, fighting all and contending together.” Then Saint Patrick expounded the vision, and said that the whiteness pertained unto the state of the world as it then was; for all the prelates and servants of the church were then fruitful and diligent in faith and in good works, even according to the evangelic and apostolic doctrine. And the things which were spotted belonged, as he said, to the time of the succeeding generation, which would be pure in faith, but stained with evil works. And the blackness, he said, was the season of the following generation, when the world would be profaned, not only with evil works, but with the renunciation of the Christian faith. And the contest of the sheep and the swine, of the dogs and the wolves, he pronounced to be the controversy of the pure and impure prelates, of good and of bad men, which, after the lapse of many years, would at length come to pass. And having said, he departed. Now, that the vision of the virgin and the interpretation of the saint are proved by indisputable truths no one, I think, will doubt.
Of the Angels of God, of the Heavenly Light, and of the Prophecy of Saint Patrick
The blessed Patrick was accustomed to visit frequently all parts of Hibernia, and, as opportunity permitted or discretion required, to abide therein. Wherefore he abided for seven years in Momonia, and as many in Connactia; but he dwelled a much longer time in Ultonia, wherein, first announcing the kingdom of God, he had brought its inhabitants unto the faith of Christ, and whose country he had more frequently in his perlustrations illustrated with his holy presence. And whithersoever he went he converted unto the faith or confirmed in the faith all his hearers. And on a certain time he was journeying through that part of Ultonia which is called Dalnardia; became unto a place named Mucoomuir, when his disciple, the aforementioned Benignus, stayed his steps, and gazed upward, as contemplating something wonderful in the heavens. For he beheld radiant choirs of angels surrounding the place with heavenly brightness; and he heard them with unspeakable melody singing the praises of the Creator. And he, intently contemplating these wonders, was filled with inward joy; yet understood he not what meaned the angelic presence, the glittering light, the celestial psalmody. But after a short season it vanished from before his eyes, and he, following the holy prelate, hastened his course, that he might overtake him. And when the saint enquired of his delay, he related unto him his heavenly vision. Then the saint, instructed of heaven, expounded this effusion of light and this angelic choir: “Know ye, beloved children, in that place shall a certain son of life, named Colmanclus, build a church, and gather together many who will be the children of light and fellow-citizens of the angels. And he will become the prelate and the legate of all Hibernia; and being eminent in his virtues and his miracles, after he shall have closed the darkness of this life, he will be conveyed by the angels of God unto eternal light and eternal rest.” And in that place, after the process of time, all those things happened according to the prophecy of the saint.
The Temptation of the Nun is Subdued
The venerable Benignus, among the other endowments wherewith the divine grace had endowed him, excelled in the song of a sweet voice, so that he penetrated the hearts and the ears of all who heard him. But as a virtue or gift which is given from on high becometh unto many the odor of life unto life, yet unto others the odor of death unto death, so out of the melody of his voice did the tempter minister the occasion of sin. For a certain nun, while she was delighted with the sweet singing of Benignus, entertained at length a more earnest desire toward the man of God, who nothing knew of this unhallowed flame, which hardly could she control in her bosom. And the more vehemently did it burn for that the strict discipline which was instituted by Saint Patrick, and the difficulty of the very attempt, prevented the damsel from any secret conversation with Benignus. Therefore, taught by woman’s cunning, feigned she extreme illness, and withdrew as unto her sick-bed, and besought that from Benignus she might receive spiritual counsel and the holy communion. For he had then attained the priesthood, and was held in great veneration as one who adorned with his holy life the priestly office. But Saint Patrick, at the revelation of the Spirit, was not ignorant of what distemper did the nun labor. Whereupon he called unto him Benignus, and bade him that he should visit the sick damsel and minister unto her soul’s health. And he, obedient unto his spiritual father, having besought and obtained his blessing, entered the house of the complaining damsel, and made the sign of the cross, as was Saint Patrick’s custom at entering any house, that so he might overcome the snares of the enemy of man’s salvation. Wonderful was the event, and marvellous; unwonted, indeed, yet exceedingly profitable. The damsel, raising her eyes at his entrance, beheld Benignus, very terrible in his stature, and his face as breathing forth flames; and she beheld herself bright with fire both within and without, and Saint Patrick standing nigh, and covering his head with his hands. And from that hour, even unto the end of her life, was the fire of human love extinguished in her bosom, as if her body were of stone or wood, and not of flesh. And afterward she loved Saint Benignus with a pure and a saintly love, and she confessed that through his merits Saint Patrick had snatched her from the fire of hell. Now, for me, I do much more admire this quickening and refreshing of the soul unto life than the raising up of any man from death.
Of Saint Comhgallus, and the Monastery foreshowed of Heaven
Often times did Saint Patrick travel through Ultonia, very earnestly teaching unto its inhabitants the Catholic faith. And not seldom he turned, for the sake of rest for himself and his holy company, unto a certain hill situated in a valley where afterward was builded the Monastery of Beannchor. And sitting there, they beheld the valley filled with heavenly light and with a multitude of the host of heaven; and they heard, as chanted forth from the voice of angels, the psalmody of the celestial choir. Then did all who beheld this wondrous vision earnestly entreat of Saint Patrick that in that place, consecrated of heaven, he would build a church. But the saint refused, and prophesied unto them: “When threescore years have passed away, then shall a son of life be born, and his name shall be Comhgallus, which is, being interpreted, the Beautiful Pledge; for he shall be beloved of God and of man, and beautiful in his manners and in his merits; and he shall happily go forward, and reign with Christ, and be accounted among His pledges. And in this place, which is fore-showed by the heavenly light, shall he build a church, wherein he shall collect innumerable troops of the children of life, to be bound by the yoke of Christ.” And of all these things which Patrick foretold, not one jot hath passed unfulfilled. But at the prophesied time Comhgallus was born, and in the ripeness of his years and of his virtues, even in that place named Beannchor, he builded a most stately monastery, wherein he brought forth unto Christ many thousands of holy monks. And this saintly place, so fruitful of saints, even as a vine increasing the sweetness of its odor, extended its shoots unto the sea and its branches beyond the sea; for it filled with monasteries and with pious monks Hibernia, Scotia, and many islands, and even foreign regions, inasmuch as we gather from ancient writers that one of the children of Beannchor, Luanus by name, founded of himself an hundred monasteries. And another, named Columbanus, a man most holy, and filled with the abundance of all graces, as having instituted many monasteries, may be accounted the father of innumerable monks. And he first presided over the renowned Monastery of Luxovia, in Gaul, and then over that of Bobi, beyond the Alps, wherein, having shone with many miracles, he now resteth in peace. Thus is the prophecy of Saint Patrick seen to be fulfilled. But of the antiquity of the church of Beannchor needless is it to speak further here, inasmuch as it is most amply described in the acts of those holy saints, Comhgallus, who was the first abbot of that place, and Malachia, the bishop, who was the legate in Hibernia of the apostolic chair.
The Saint Prophesieth of the Obstinate Fergus and of his Children
And the saint came unto Assul, which was within the territories of Midia, where it seemed good to him in a fitting place to build a church. But a certain wicked man, named Fergus, who therein dwelled, was to him an especial hindrance, that he might not accomplish his purpose. Then the saint, willing to express the hard-heartedness of this man rather by signs than by words, with the staff of Jesus made the sign of the cross on a stone there placed, and immediately the surface of the stone appeared divided into four parts, and showed the form of the cross thereon portrayed. Yet did this man, stiff-necked, and of heart more hard than stone, refuse to be melted unto penitence; but his wife, who was then in travail, entreated pardon of the saint, and fell at his feet. And the saint, beholding him thus hardened in perverseness, spake unto him with prophetic voice: “Even thus, had it so willed, could the power of God have dissolved thee at the word of my mouth. But since thou canst not, nay, wilt not, believe, though the long-suffering of God hath led thee unto repentance, shalt thou, according to thine impenitent heart and the hardness of thine obstinacy, treasure up stores of wrath which right soon shall come upon thee. Quickly shall God consume thee from the face of the earth, nor shall any of thy seed reign ever in this land, nor in any other land shall they prosper, save only the infant alone which thy wife now beareth in her womb, for on him shall my blessing come.” And all these things which were prophesied of the lips of the saint unto the father and unto the offspring did happen.
The Malediction of the Saint is laid upon the Stones of Usniach
And with the like intention of building a church, this servant of Christ turned unto a certain very renowned place named Usneach. But two brothers, by name Fiechus and Enda, ruled in those parts; and unto them and unto their offspring the saint prophesied, if they would so permit him, many blessings in this world and in the next; yet not only turned they their ears from his entreaty and from his preaching, but violently expelled him from the place. Then the saint, more grievously taking the hindrance of his purpose than his own expulsion, began to cast on them and on their seed the dart of his malediction. And Secundinus, his disciple, caught the word of his lip, and, ere he could finish, entreated and said unto him: “I beseech thee, my father, that thy malediction be not poured forth on these men, but on the stones of this place!” And the saint was patient, and he was silent, and he assented. Wonderful was the event! From that day forth are these stones found useful unto no building; but if should any one thereunto dispose them, suddenly would the whole work fall down and tumble into pieces. And they admit not the heat of any fire, nor, when plunged into water, do they hiss like other stones; whence it hath become a proverb in that country, when at any time a stone falleth from a building, that it is one of the stones of Usneach. But Enda repented of the injury which he had offered unto the saint, and cast himself at his feet, and besought his pardon, and obtained and deserved it. And he had nine sons, the youngest of whom, named Cormacus, he offered unto Saint Patrick, to be subject to the divine command, together with the ninth part of all his land; and another brother of his, named Leogerus, was converted unto the faith, and gave unto the saint, with his nephew, fifteen villages. And Saint Patrick baptized the boy, and educated and instructed him; and the boy increased in years, in wisdom, and in holiness, and at length, being renowned in virtue and in miracles, rested he in the Lord.
Of the Woman in Travail, and of her Offspring
A certain prince, named Brendanus, who was then lately baptized, earnestly besought the saint that he would bless a certain pregnant woman; for he believed that his blessing would much avail unto her and her offspring. And the saint, assenting to his petition, raised his hand; but suddenly, before he had given the word of blessing or had made the sign of the cross, he drew it back. For, at the revelation of the Spirit, he knew that her child was conceived of Coirbre, of whom he had prophesied that not one of his succession should remain. But why the saint thus did the prince marvelled, and unto him the man of God delayed not to declare the mystery nor the cause thereof. Then did he the more earnestly entreat the saint that at least he would in some other manner vouchsafe to bless the woman and her offspring. And Patrick, raising his right hand, blessed her, and said: “The infant which thou bearest in thy womb shall not reign, for the word that in the name of the Lord I have spoken on Coirbre and on his seed shall stand fixed; yet shall he be one of the chiefs of the land, and very needful shall he be unto the king and unto the kingdom.” And what the saint foretold without doubt happened.
The Bishop Saint Mel catcheth Fishes on the Dry Land
And the aforementioned Mel, a man of exceeding desert, who with his most holy brothers, Munius and Kiochus, had come from Britannia unto Hibernia, being promoted by Saint Patrick himself unto the episcopal degree, became the assistant in the preaching. And he, like the Apostle Paul, labored to live by the labor of his own hands; and what was given unto him by the rich bestowed he on the poor. And with this blessed man, as being her nephew, Lupita, the sister of Saint Patrick, abided in one house (for such was the custom of the primitive church), that by his conversation and example she might profit in the exercise of all holy duties. And after some time had passed, when the pious prelate, as he was wont, would arise in the middle of the night to confess unto the Lord, this holy woman would compose herself to sleep and cover herself with the skins in his bed. And they suspected not that any evil suspicion would be formed thereof, for they accounted of the minds of others from the purity of their own conscience. But some one, holding this her familiarity with the bishop to be naught, divulged it abroad. And as the tongue of the people is ever open unto the spreading of scandal, it could not long lie hidden from Saint Patrick. Then he, desiring to try whether so the matter was, repaired unto the house of the bishop. But Mel, preferring to prove his innocence by a token rather than by an oath, ploughed up the earth on a certain hill, and took by the ploughshare many and large fishes out of the dry land; and these he offered unto the saint as a miracle, that no suspicion might continue in the beholders, inasmuch as such a token could not ever be showed by an impure hand. And the sister of Saint Patrick, gathering her vest around her bosom, filled it with live coals; and these she carried a sufficient way, and shook them thereout before the saint without any mark of a scar or of other hurt, proving thus her innocence. Then the saint, beholding these evident proofs, pronounced each to be pure and justified; yet took he care to ordain what to them and to many others would be right profitable. And first addressing the bishop, he bade him that he should thenceforth plough on the land, and fish in the water, lest he should seem to tempt the Lord his God; then, that he should not presume to glory in any miracle worked by him through the divine grace; and, lastly, the saint gave command that the men should be divided from the women, and that distinct dwellings and oratories should be builded for either sex. Thus truly, as Saint Patrick said, the name of God would not through them be dishonored among the nations to whom they preached it; nor would in such case occasion of scandal be given unto the weak, nor cause of reproach afforded. And what he ordained and appointed, that did Saint Patrick make to be observed.
The Footprints of Certain Virgins are impressed on a Stone
And on a certain day the saint veiled and consecrated and espoused unto the heavenly Spouse four virgins standing on one stone. Then did an event marvellous and unwonted appear. Even unto this day are seen impressed on the hard stone the footprints of the virgins which were consecrated unto God, that to all it might be seen how deeply could the prayer or the preaching of the saint penetrate even stony hearts. And hereby may we understand that they who, for the love of Christ, contemn the world, should continue in the hard way, that they might attain Him unto whom they have approved themselves. And the place wherein these virgins were consecrated is called Tedna; and for the servants of the Lord is there builded a church, which at this day pertaineth unto the metropolitan seat of Ardmachia.
The Earth is raised in the midst of the Stream
And Saint Patrick, for the sake of passing thereover, came unto a very great river named Synnia, between Midia and Connactia, which was impassable of all, save only by vessels. And he long time sought a vessel, but found it not. Then prayed he unto the Lord, who erewhile had made a way through the sea and a path through the deep waters, and immediately the earth at the divine bidding was raised in the middle of the stream, and to the saint and his company it afforded a free passage. And when they had reached the bank, his charioteer dropped dead; and on that spot was a church builded, which to the church of Ardmachia now of right belongeth.
Of the Altar and the Four Chalices discovered under the Earth
In that place where the prayers of Saint Patrick had dispersed the darkness which had been raised by the magicians, a church was builded, wherein he promoted one of his disciples, named Ailvius, unto the priesthood, that he there might minister. And he complained unto the saint that the matters needful for his ministry were wanting unto him. Then the saint, instructed of heaven, showed him under ground an altar of wonderful workmanship, having at its four corners four chalices of glass, and enjoined him to dig them forth carefully, lest perchance they should be broken; and the priest did accordingly, and found all things as the saint had foretold. But by whom this altar was made, or with the chalices there deposited, to me is yet unknown. Some, however, think that they were placed there by Palladius or his associates, being placed there after his departure.
A Treasure is Twice discovered in the Earth by Swine
It seemed good unto the saint to build in a certain plain a church, wherein he might gather together unto God the people of his conversion; for the which purpose he entreated from the owner of the inheritance that a place should be prepared, promising unto him the portion of eternal life. But the man, accustomed to the magicians’ arts, held as naught that portion so worthy to be desired, requiring rather gold, for the which he cherished an accursed appetite. And the saint replied that at that season gold had he none, for that he had expended all which he had possessed in the building of churches and in relieving the poor. But when he could no otherwise prevail, having first prayed, he went unto a hole in the earth which had been delved up by swine, and therein found he as much gold as he required, and gave it in exchange for the land. And there was another man possessing a neighboring field, the which the saint earnestly entreated might be given unto the said church. Wherefore this man answering as even did the other, again the saint repaired unto the delved hole, and found therein an equal weight of gold, and gave it to the man for the purchase of his field. Thus did the Lord thrice show unto Saint Patrick gold in the earth delved up by swine: once for his own redemption from captivity, twice in this place for the enrichment and endowment of a church. And the latter of the two brothers, Ono by name, was touched in his heart, and not only restored the gold unto the saint, but even gave unto him for the founding and building of a church his own house, his inheritance, and all his substance; and the place is called Alfind, wherein to this day is held the seat of a bishop.
Saint Patrick prophesieth of the two Brothers
But what the saint at the revelation of the Spirit foretold of the two brothers should not be passed over in silence. For to the elder, who had preferred Mammon and gold before his prayers, he predicted that he and his seed should in a little time lose the possession of their inheritance; and to the younger, for the devotion of his soul toward him, predicted he many good things – that he should in that land be the coadjutor of kings, and that of his race the holiest priests of the Lord should be born. And none of those things which the saint foretold in anywise failed in the event.
The Penitence of Asycus the Bishop
And over this church Saint Patrick placed one of his disciples named Asycus, who was both in habit and demeanor a monk, the first bishop. And he, at the advice of the saint, instituted therein a college of monks, the which he governed with the privileges of an abbot. But this man, on a certain time, while he ought to have spoken the truth, backsliding with a slippery tongue, uttered forth a falsehood. And immediately he set himself against his own face, and in the bitterness of his sorrow banished he himself, and, flying from human-kind, remained in solitude, and abided he there seven years beheld of none. And his monks sought him long time; and at the end of the seventh year they found him in the depth of a valley, and they strove even by force to bring him thence unto his church, and to compel him as a bridegroom unto the bosom of his spouse. But the bishop in nowise yielded unto them, accounting himself no longer worthy to exercise the priestly office; since from his mouth had issued a purposed falsehood, the which the sacred canons define to be sacrilege in the mouth of a priest. Whereby it is to be considered how deeply should they repent who of their own fault have fallen into the heaviest offences, when this holy man so deeply repented of, and so strictly atoned for, one falsehood alone. Alas! what hearts of clay do they bear unto the resistance of sin, but what hearts of stone unto repentance! For many men, wicked, sinful, abandoned in their lives (the which cannot be observed without grief), take on themselves the cure of souls, and think to wash away the guilt of others with their own denied hands; who, being themselves bound with the chain of mortal sin, desire to loose others’ bonds, and thus heap on themselves increased offence. These men, being placed under the spiritual control, can repent of and atone for their own guiltiness, but, when seated in the pastoral chair, bound are they to account for the faith of all those who are entrusted to their charge. Since, then, the words of a priest must be either a truth or a sacrilege, terrible is the judgment on those priests whose tongue is defiled with falsehoods and with perjuries. Thus much let us show, as speaking by digression, how earnestly not only crimes and evil deeds, but even falsehoods, are to be avoided by all Christian men, and especially by the pastors of souls. Now let us return unto the thread of our sacred story. The aforementioned monks, unwilling to separate from Saint Asycus, continued with him even unto the end of his life; and after he was buried, building there a monastery, served they the Lord in holiness and in truth.
The Tempest of the Sea is Composed
While on a certain time Saint Patrick was preaching unto the heathens, for the sake of instructing and baptizing them, he made in that place a long stay. But his disciple Benignus was grieved thereat; and the saint declared that he would not depart until his disciples and pupils should arrive from foreign regions. And one day he beheld the sky to grow dark, and the ocean to be perturbed and shaken with a strong wind. Then the saint, covering his face for very sorrow, showed unto his attendants his sons which were born unto him in Christ laboring under grievous peril; and he was sorely afflicted for them, and feared he chiefly for his young pupil, the son of Erchus; but when every one said that the vessel could not endure so violent a storm, forthwith the saint betook himself unto prayer. And after a short space, even in the hearing of them all, he bade the winds and the waves, in the name of his God, to rest from their wrath. O wonderful event! and worthy of admiration. Forthwith the wind surceased, the ocean became silent, the tempest is appeased, and a great calm is made. And on that day the aforementioned brothers happily landed, and told unto all around what they had suffered from the elements which were turned unto their destruction, but afterward composed by the powerful prayers of the saint.
The Miracle of the Waters is Repeated
And at another time the aforementioned brothers, for the purpose of visiting Saint Patrick, took their way on foot over the sands of the sea-shore. And as they walked along, communing on the way together, behold, the flowing-in of the tide surrounded them, and, preventing all escape, smote them with the fear of death. Then the saint, instructed of heaven, saw their peril, and, showing it unto his disciples, professed that he grieved for them. Then, having prayed, he commanded the tide of the sea, by the powerful virtue of his word, speaking in the name of the Lord God, that it should instantly retire, and leave unto his sons who were about to visit him a safe and quiet passage. And forthwith the sea obeyed the voice of the man of God, and retired; and this company of brothers, rejoicing and lauding God, came unto Saint Patrick, and, for so great a miracle, turned the hearts of all which heard them unto the praise of the God who worked such wonders in His saints.
Of the Cowl of Saint Patrick which remained untouched by the Sea
And on a time, having sailed on a certain way, Saint Patrick landed with his religious men, and, going out on the dry land, perchance he left his cowl on the shore. And being landed, they sat together, and conferred on heavenly things, and refreshed themselves with the comfort of mutual colloquy. Then the sea, rising as it was wont, covered the surface of the sands, and was nigh unto bearing with it and carrying away the cowl of the prelate. And this the saint observing, in the name of Him who hath power in heaven and on the earth, in the sea and in all the deeps, enjoined the tide of the sea that it should not touch his cowl or bear it away. Wonderful was the event! The flowing-forward of the sea filled the whole accustomed space, save that spot alone whereon the cowl lay, and that did it leave untouched. And after the tide had receded, the saint caused the cowl to be brought unto him; and the miracle excited all who beheld it unto the praise of God and the veneration of Saint Patrick. And thenceforward were they all more ready to submit unto Him whose commands the mute element was thus sent to obey.
Of the Veil that was sent from Heaven
And there was a time when Patrick was about to consecrate two virgins in a field within the territory of Cregrus, and a veil sent from heaven dropped into the bosom of the saint, the which, devoutly receiving, he offered unto the virgin so soon as she was consecrated. But she, deeming herself unworthy of a commendation so holy, said unto him: “Since this most excellent and powerful gift, descending from the Father of Light, is not sent unto me a sinner, I account it right that thou, on whom it has fallen, shouldst keep it or bestow it on another who is worthier than me.” Then the saint, applauding the virgin’s lowliness, placed the veil on her head, enjoining that she should wear it continually until she should be introduced unto the chamber of her heavenly Spouse. And the virgin obeyed the command of the saint, and, living a holy life, at length she rested in the Lord.
Of the Holy Leper, of the New Fountain, of the Angelic Attendance, and the Prophecy of Patrick thereon
And Saint Patrick, induced by his holy custom, retained with him a certain leper, unto whom with intent devotion he ministered all things needful for the sake of Christ. Even with his own hands cleansed he his sores, and refreshed in him either man with fitting food. For the leper, the health of his body being almost destroyed, earnestly studied to preserve the health of his soul, and was continually intent on prayer and on rendering thanks unto God. But when wasted with his leprosy, he feared lest he should become an offence unto all, and privily and humbly he withdrew himself from society, and lived solitary in a hollow tree that he by chance had found. And while he sat there alone he beheld a certain man passing by, and he called the man unto him, and asked him of his religion; whom, answering that he was a Christian, he besought that for the love of Him in whom he believed he would not delay to go unto the nearest place which was full of bulrushes, and, pulling up the bulrushes by the roots, to bring unto him a bundle thereof. And at his entreaty, or rather, at his adjuration, the man went unto the place; he pulled up a bulrush, and immediately a clear fountain burst forth; and he bore the bulrush unto the leper, and related of the new fountain. Then the leper rejoiced and gave thanks unto God, and said unto him: “Knowest thou not, most dear brother, that our Lord Jesus Christ brought thee hither that thou mayest wash my body in the water of that fountain, and bury me there?” Thus the leper said, and, raising his eyes and his hands towards heaven, he expired; and the man washed his body in the fountain, and beheld no mark of leprosy thereon, and committed it without spot to the sepulchre, and departed. And after some days Saint Munis, the devout bearer of many relics of saints, was returning from Rome, and of necessity abided there for one night. And in the silence of the night-season he beheld a great light to cover the place, and he heard angels hymning and watching even until the morn around the tomb of the buried leper. And all these things reported he unto Saint Patrick, saying that he wished to remove the body from that desert place. But Saint Patrick forbade this to be done, foretelling that a certain son of life, named Keranus, but as yet unborn, should there dwell, who should fill that place with a worthy company of holy men, and exalt the body of the saint with much honor. And what Patrick foretold in the course of time came to pass; the place is between Midia and Connactia, and therein is situated the city of Cluane, in which even to this day is an episcopal seat.
Of the Lake which was removed by Saint Patrick
The aforementioned Saint Munis, being returned from Rome, disliking after so long a journey the fatigue of any further travel, besought Saint Patrick that as he had provided rest for his brethren who possessed churches, so he would provide for him a dwelling suited unto contemplation. Therefore the saint, knowing that although he loved internal quiet, nevertheless he would be right profitable unto the salvation of many, offered unto him a fitting place, saying: “Behold a hill; behold a valley; build and inhabit where it seemeth pleasant unto thine eyes; yet know thou this: if thou wilt build in the valley, thou mayest bring many souls unto God; but if thou abidest in the hill, thou wilt gain not so many, by reason of the vanities and delights which will attract their eyes, and for very many other causes and reasons.” And Munis, foreadvised and forewarned by the Holy Spirit, answered thus: “Neither of the hill nor of the valley do I complain, but of the neighboring lake, nigh unto which is a royal dwelling; for the crowding thither of courtiers and of other secular persons would unto me be an exceeding trouble, and a disturbance unto the Sabbath rest of my mind.” Then Saint Patrick, encouraging him, said that God would easily remedy this trouble, and, retiring a little space, poured he forth powerful and prevailing prayers in the presence of God. And on the following night the Lord removed the lake, with all its dwellings and dwellers thereon, so far distant that his servant sustained thence neither trouble nor damage. And Saint Munis, abiding there, builded a church, unto which Saint Patrick bestowed certain relics of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and of very many saints, and other ornaments, the which were necessary unto its ecclesiastical ministry. And for his conspicuous virtues he was afterward, although reluctant thereto, advanced unto the episcopal office, for he was renowned for many miracles; and at length he rested in the Lord.
Patrick understandeth the Conscience of Saint Fiechus, and blesseth him
There was a certain youth, named Fiechus, a scholar of Dubhtachus the bard, and he was docile of disposition, subtle of wit, florid of eloquence, and beauteous of form. And a few years before he espoused a damsel who then had lately deceased, of whom was born unto him one only son. Him walking with his aforementioned tutor did the saint meet, and, the Spirit revealing it unto him, at the moment, even with the glance of his eye, understood his conscience, and in the presence of all exclaimed: “Behold the husband of one wife, who, according to the apostle, may worthily be advanced unto the priesthood, nay, even unto the episcopate!” Then began he to expound unto Fiechus the doctrines of the faith, and advised him unto baptism. And the youth marvelled at the words of grace which proceeded from the lips of Saint Patrick; and chiefly for that so soon the saint had divined his secret and understood all the passages of his life. Therefore he believed, and took on him baptism; and after his tutor had long time withstood, but at length consented, he devoted himself unto the direction of the holy bishop. And the holy bishop blessed him, and gave unto him the alphabet written with his own hand. And being thus blessed, in one day he learned the whole Psaltery, and in a short time, the spirit of wisdom and knowledge inspiring him, he sufficiently understood the Scriptures; for no delay can there be where the Holy Spirit descends to be the teacher. And Saint Patrick advanced him unto the ecclesiastical order, and, after he had worthily ministered in each degree, consecrated him the bishop of the Church of Scleptus. And Fiechus was eminent in his life, in his learning, and in his miracles; and being directed by the angelic command, he took on him the habit of a monk, and builded in his episcopal seat a stately monastery.
The Chariot is, by the Decision of the Angel, sent unto Fiechus
The blessed Patrick gave order that a chariot should be prepared unto Saint Fiechus, for that he, being weighed down by infirmity, could not go on foot to visit his diocese and discharge his episcopal duties. For he was reduced with exceeding abstinence, and moreover he was afflicted with a disease in his hip. And Saint Secundinus, this observing, felt in his mind certain worldly feelings, and was displeased, and insisted that the chariot should rather be given unto himself than unto Fiechus. And the holy prelate, seeing his displeasure, sought rather to satisfy him with a sign than by argument, saying: “Be not displeased, most dear brother, at this little gift which we have given unto our brother and fellow-bishop, lest occasion of reproach should be afforded to the evil one; for this our brother, who is infirm, needeth the chariot more than doth any one among us. But that I may not seem to err in my judgment, let this matter be left to the heavenly decision.” Then the angel, appearing at the prayer of the saint, bade the horses to be yoked unto the chariot, and to be sent forward without a charioteer; and at whichsoever they should stop, to him should the chariot be given. And it was done as the angel commanded, and the saint bade the chariot to be yoked; but the horses, no man guiding them, went through irregular and devious paths, and came in the evening to the dwelling of Secundinus, and, being unyoked, were turned there to pasture. And in the morning, no man yoking them, they were yoked to the chariot, and in like manner going unto the mansion of a certain other saint, there they stayed the night. And on the third day they hastened unto Saint Fiechus, and stayed there, and evidently showed that they were intended for him. Yet would not the saint ascend the chariot, until the angel had certified him that unto him the gift was sent. And at another time was this miracle in like manner repeated of two horses which were by Saint Patrick himself intended for Fiechus, and to be yoked unto his chariot.
The Several Offices of a certain Monastery are appointed by an Angel
And at another time the angel commanded the aforementioned Fiechus that he should build a monastery on the other side of the river, assigning unto all the offices their fit and proper place; that where a boar should appear unto him, there should he build a refectory, and where a stag should be seen, an oratory. And the saint replied unto the angel that he in no wise could undertake such a work, unless Patrick, his father and pastor, should come and approve thereof. And his words displeased not the angel; for in them he saw the affection and the obedience which Fiechus bore in Christ unto the man of God. And after a few days were past, the angel so advising, Patrick assisted Fiechus, and in the place which is called Forrach builded they a monastery, even according to the direction of the angel. And therein Fiechus presided as abbot; nevertheless throughout his diocese did he fully exercise the episcopal office. And every year, at the beginning of the fast of the Lent time, he went alone out of the monastery, with five barley loaves mixed with ashes for his support, and abided in the wilderness through all that sacred season. But on the Sabbath day which is called Palm-Sunday, or sometimes at the Supper of the Lord, he was wont to return unto his monastery for the discharge of his holy office, always bringing with him the half of one loaf yet uneaten. And he sent before him unto God threescore saints, whom when he followed he was buried in Scleptus. And his son aforementioned imitated his father in wisdom and holiness; and having in another place attained the episcopal degree, he rested in the Lord.
The Prophecy of Saint Patrick concerning the Men of Callria
And while Saint Patrick earnestly pursued his preaching of the divine Word, certain armed men of Callria met him, and violently expelled this angel of peace from their borders. But what the man of God beheld of them in the Spirit, deemed he that should not be concealed in silence. “Since ye have raised your arms against an unarmed man, and driven from your borders him announcing unto ye peace and preaching salvation, ye and your seed shall turn your backs in the day of battle.” And they, hearing this, feared his face mightily, even as a sword, and repenting their rashness, save only five alone, bended their knees before the saint with lamentable prayers, and besought forgiveness. Then the saint awhile deliberated within himself, and once again spoke unto them with prophetic speech: “The word which, at the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, hath gone out of my mouth on ye and on your seed shall be fulfilled; but since ye have repented in your hearts, though ye shall be turned to flight, shall none of ye, save only five alone, fall in any conflict of battle.” And the people of Hibernia vouch that this prophecy of the saint hath been evinced by continual proofs.
Certain Cheeses are converted into Stones, and many Wicked Men are drowned
And certain wicked and envious men, who lived in the country of Ferros, contriving to destroy the life of the saint, offered unto him poisoned cheeses, as if for his benediction; the which he blessed, and immediately converted into stones, to the admiration of many, the honor of God, the veneration of himself, and the confusion of the poisoners. And unto this day remain these stones in the place where the miracle was done, and show the virtue of Patrick, though mute, because they underwent mutation. Then did these poisoners, seeing that their machinations redounded to the glory of the saint and to the shame of themselves, gather together fifty armed men to spill the blood of this just one. And they, being assembled against him, entered the ford of a certain river, journeying along the bank whereof the man of God met them; and when he beheld their countenances, he understood their thoughts, and raising against them his left hand, with a clear voice he cried out, “Ye shall not come unto us, nor shall ye return unto your own people, but in this river shall your bodies remain, even to the day of judgment.” Then, according to the word of the man of God, immediately they sank as lead in the mighty waters; nor even to this day were their bodies found, though long and often sought. Thus, at the divine mandate, did the water punish them who conspired the death of Saint Patrick, as erewhile the fire from heaven punished them which were sent by King Achab to the prophet. And the place wherein they sank in the waters is called even to this day the Ford of the Drowned Men.
Of the Pitfalls passed over without danger, and the Prophecies of the Saint
And certain other sons of darkness, dwelling in the plain called Liffy, digged deep pitfalls in many parts of the public pathway, the which they covered with branches and green sods, that the saint when journeying might fall unawares therein. But a certain damsel discovered the contrived snare, and she hastened to show it unto the man of God, that he might avoid the mischief. Then he, trusting in the Lord, commanded his people to drive forward the horses, and, having blessed them, he passed over with unfailing foot. For the soft and tender herbage supported them like the solid earth, inasmuch as the holy troop bore in their hearts and on their bodies Him who bore all things. And the priest of God sent the damsel unto her father, that she might bring him into his presence to receive the salvation of his soul. And the damsel did even as he commanded, and brought before him her father; and at the preaching of the saint the man believed, and with his ten sons and his three daughters was baptized. Then did Patrick consecrate the virgins unto God, and gave to them the sacred veil; and he prophesied that of the sons five should be happy and prosperous in a secular life, and that the other five should first enter the clerical order, and at length holily live and die in the monastic habit; but unto them who had treacherously prepared the pit for him and for his people he foretold that they and their seed should pass their life in providing their sustenance and continually digging in the ground, and that, according to the Scripture, poverty should come on them like water. And all these things which the saint prophesied did the event prove.
The Prophecy of the Saint on a Certain Village
And Saint Patrick went unto a certain village, near the island of Inchenn, and he found therein a place fitting for the erection of a church; the which when he had begun, a crowd of rustics issued from the village, and impeded the work. Then the saint, being filled of the spirit of prophecy, foretold unto them with the voice of truth, “Since ye have made yourselves a hindrance unto me, that I may not build a habitation to the Lord my God, never shall the smoke go out of the houses which ye or your generation shall build in this place.” And the testified proof of the words of the saint even to this day evinceth its truth, for many have oftentimes begun to build houses there, but for the rudeness of these men never could they be finished.
The Sentence prophetically declared
A certain man named Dengo, who was wicked and perverse, and powerful in iniquity, prevented the saint from building a church in a convenient place; to whom the saint attesting his Judge, nay, prophesying, said, “In a short time shall thine house be destroyed, and thy substance wasted away; and thy sons that issue from thine impious loins shall of the greater part defile themselves by mutual fratricide; while the remnant of them shall never attain unto dignity or power, but shall be strangers and wanderers on the earth.” And the prophecy of Saint Patrick was proved by the subsequent misery visited on the man and on his children.
The Prophecy of the Saint on a Certain Bishop and on the one who consecrated him
A certain powerful man had endowed with lands and possessions a church that he was about to build on his own estate; the which to govern, Saint Patrick would have appointed one among his disciples who was able unto the gaining of souls. But the man refused, saying that in his own family he had a priest whom he willed to place over his own church. Then the saint, deeming it unworthy to contend for such a matter, departed from the man. And he on the morrow brought unto the saint his son, desiring that he might be consecrated unto the bishopric of that church. And for that the saint apart from his companions pursued in solitude his studies and his prayers, the man, turning from him, went unto two of his disciples, who were elsewhere appointed bishops, and addressed them for the consecration of his son. And one of them denied his request, saying that he could do no such thing without the consent and the approbation of the saint; but the other, induced either by entreaty or reward, presumed to do what the man required. The which having discovered, Saint Patrick, afflicting the presumer with the affliction of penance sufficiently severe, foretold that through all his life he should suffer the want of bread. And he declared that the bishop so consecrated was worthy of degradation and contempt, and that his church should be exceeding poor, so that it should not be able to defend itself even from two men. And that which the saint foretold unfailingly came to pass – whereby a prudent man may take heed, lest misled by ambition he should ever attempt the like.
The Blind Man is restored to Sight; from him who seeeth is Sight taken; and three are relieved of Lameness
A certain man named Domhhaldus, who was blind even from his birth, hearing the saint passing by, placed himself in his way; for he trusted that through him should he receive the light so much desired. But forasmuch as the darkness was before his steps and the light was withdrawn from his eyes, while running forward he fell, and when he would have arisen no one was there who would help him with their hand. And a certain priest in the company of the saint seeing him to fall, laughed, and mocked the mischance of the blind man. The which Saint Patrick observing, was offended, and lest any among his disciples should so again presume, he checked the foolishness of the scorner with reproof and with punishment, saying, “Verily I say unto thee, since in the name of my God the eyes of this man, which are closed in darkness, shall now be opened, the eyes of thee, which are opened only to evil, shall now be closed.” Thus he said, and making the sign of the cross, he removed the darkness from the blind man, and the light from the bad man who saw. And herein was the word of the Saviour, recorded in the Holy Scriptures, fulfilled: “That they which see not might see, and that they which see might be blind.” And even on the same day healed he three lame men who besought his aid; and according to the prophet, he made the lame to leap as a hart, and run on their way rejoicing.
Nine Evil-doers are consumed by Fire from Heaven, and a Fountain is produced out of the Earth
And nine evil-doers contriving the death of Patrick, the herald of life, pretended to be monks and ministers of righteousness; and they put on them white cowls, that the easier might they destroy the saint, who was clothed in the same habit. And herein did they imitate their preceptor, Satan, the angel of darkness, who sometimes transfigureth himself into an angel of light, and unto whom in their arts and in their acts they paid obedience. But an illustrious man named Enda, the friend of the holy prelate, observing the treachery of these wicked men, sent unto them his own son named Conallus, that he might prevent their endeavor, and repulse their violence from the man of God. And the son did even as his father commanded, and stood, the son of light, among these sons of darkness. And Saint Patrick, warned of heaven, knew these ravens under the wings of the dove, these wolves under the fleece of the lamb; but well he knew that as the Ethiop cannot change his skin, no, not though washed with fine linen, so could not these magicians quit their inborn wickedness, though clothed in white raiment. Therefore with the sign of the cross he fortified himself, and opposed it to the enemies of Christ; and fire marvellously descending from heaven consumed the evil-doers, and left Conallus standing among them, unhurt of the flame, as he was guiltless of their sin. Thus was the cross of Christ a protection to the faithful even for their salvation, and to the idolaters a punishment even for their perdition. And afterward the saint impressed on the earth the sign of the cross, and a clear and salubrious fountain issued forth. And on the spot where this miracle was worked by the cross did he build a church, which even unto this day is called the Cross of Saint Patrick.
Another Magician is in like manner Consumed
And at another time another magician, but in wickedness not differing, bound himself by a sacrilegious oath before the heathens which were gathered together unto evil deeds, that he would destroy the saint. But ere the accursed crime could be attempted, the saint, raising his left hand, imposed in the name of the Lord his malediction on the malefactor; and he was consumed by fire from heaven, and even like the other nine he perished. Then the people which were collected to behold the death of the saint, fearing that a like destruction might descend on themselves, escaped by flight, or rather by the sufferance of the divine mercy.
A Grove is cursed by the Saint
And Patrick was on a certain day speeding his journey for the ministry of his wonted preaching, when the wheel of the chariot wherein he sat was broken in twain. And his attendants hastened unto a neighboring grove, wherein was seen wood that seemed fit unto their purpose; and the wood is hewed down, and smoothed, and shaped to repair the wheel. Nevertheless they long time labored with useless toil, for still did the wheel appear broken as before; and ever and anon as they endeavored to repair it, yet still, as touched of heaven, again did it fall in twain. Then the man of God well knowing that this could not uncausedly happen, enquired of the grove, and unto whom it belonged; and he was told that it had been consecrated unto the infernal spirits. Wherefore, knowing the divine will, and agreeing with the sentence of heaven, he raised his left hand, and cursed the grove. Wonderful was the event! Forthwith, like the fig-tree in the Gospel, it withered; nor from that time was it ever fit unto any use, save only to be hewed down and cast into the fire.
The Sentence pronounced by the Saint on his Deceivers
A certain prince and his people, which dwelled in a place called Nadese, within the country of Momonia, appointed a day and an hour whereon they might meet in the presence of Saint Patrick to deliberate concerning the erection of churches. And the saint came at the fixed time, and he waited during the whole day until the evening, but no man, at least no man thereunto deputed, came to meet him. And in this manner did they oftentimes deceive the servant of God. Nevertheless the Holy Spirit dwelling in Patrick concealed not from these men the reward of their presumption delivered through his mouth; for when on another evening they came, he said openly unto them, “Since ye have not only deceived me, but the Holy Spirit, neither ye nor your children shall ever in this place finish any your business until the evening.” And according to the common saying, this the sentence of the saint is continually fulfilled, for if the people of this place begin any business in the early morning, never can they finish it until the latest evening.
A Mountain is swallowed up in the Earth, and again it is raised
And among the chiefs of Momonia was a certain wicked man named Cearbhallus, and he always hindered Saint Patrick, so that a church could not be builded in the lands of his inheritance. And not far from this man’s dwelling was a lake which was fair and pleasing to the eye, but a lofty mountain which stood between intercepted all the delight from his view. Him did the saint address for the building of a church, exhorting and entreating; but long time he resisted. And on a certain day this wicked man, endeavoring with subtle argument to circumvent the saint, said unto him: “If in the name of the Lord thy God thou wilt remove yonder mountain, so that mine eyes may be freely satisfied with this desired lake, then shall thou build a church on my land wheresoever thou mayest please.” This he required, because he deemed it impossible to be done. Then the saint having prayed raised his eyes of faith and love unto the prepared Mountain which is exalted on the top of the mountains; and forthwith the mountain was laid low, and swallowed in the earth, and permitted unto the man a free view of the lake. But when Saint Patrick began to build the church, this man of hardened heart would not suffer it to be finished, for he feared where no fear was, and dreaded lest thereby he should be deprived of his inheritance. Then the saint prayed again unto the Lord, and the mountain was lifted up unto its former height. And he foretold that the wicked man should in a short space lose the possession of his land, and that no one of his race should ever be a prince or a bishop. And the prophecy of the saint was fulfilled, for as his eyes were prevented from the sight of the lake, so was his life closed by death.
Euchodius is cursed by the Saint, and his Son is blessed
A certain wicked tyrant, named Euchodius, reigned in Ulydia; and he commanded two holy virgins, for that they rejected wedlock, to be bound with chains and cast into the water; and he set at naught Saint Patrick interceding for them. Wherefore the saint punished him with the sentence of his malediction, and foretold that not one of his seed should reign after him, but that his kingdom should be transferred to Kerellus, his younger brother. And his wife, who was then in travail, earnestly besought the saint that he would bless her and the child which she carried in her womb. Then the saint blessed them both, and prophesied that she would bring forth a most holy son, whose death should be doubtful and unsearchable. And the woman brought forth a son, who was named Dovengardus; and he was renowned for his sanctity and his miracles, whereof many and wondrous traditions are told among that people. And Euchodius in a short time lost both his life and hit kingdom, and thereto not one of his race succeeded. But his aforementioned brother and his descendants through many years possessed the kingdom of Ulydia.
Of Saint Sennachus the Bishop
In the place which is named Achadhfobhair Saint Patrick built and endowed a church with fair possessions; and thereover he appointed and consecrated a bishop, Sennachus, who for the innocency of his heart was called a lamb of God. And he, being so consecrated, entreated of the saint that with unceasing prayer he would labor with the Lord to shield him in this his office from the commission of all sin; and furthermore he suppliantly besought that the church over which he presided might not be called by his name, as was in many places the custom among the Irish people. And this did he to preserve his lowliness, and to avoid vainglory, which is the fretting moth of all virtues. Then Saint Patrick, understanding the worthiness of Sennachus and the simplicity of his heart, promised unto him all his desire; and blessing him and his flock, prophesied that thereout should proceed many holy and eminent priests. And Sennachus, serving in exceeding holiness the Holy One of all holies, and being renowned for his miracles and for his virtues, entered at length into the heavenly sanctuary.
The Miracle which is worked for Certain Hewers of Wood
And Saint Patrick in his journeying passed with his people through a forest in Midernia, and he met therein certain slaves that were hewing wood; and these men were under the yoke of a hard and cruel master, named Tremeus; and they hewed the wood with blunt axes, nor had they whetstones nor had they any other means whereon to sharpen them. Wherefore their strength failed, their arms stiffened, and the flesh fell from their hands, and the naked sinews were seen, and the miserable men wished rather for death than for life. But when the man of God beheld their misery, he compassionated them, and he touched them, and he blessed their hands and their instruments. Then at the touch and the word of his blessing, all their strength is restored, their hands are healed, their instruments become sharpened, the hardest oaks are hewed down without toil, even as the tenderest twigs; and in these men did the miracle continue until the saint had wondrously obtained for them their freedom.
A Hone is divided by Saint Patrick, and the Oppressor is drowned
And Patrick the pious father addressed the master, nay, rather the tormentor of these slaves, yet found he him stubborn and inexorable. Wherefore betaking himself unto his accustomed arms, he fasted and prayed for three days; and once again approaching the man, he humbly besought their liberation, and once again found he him a new Pharao. Then the saint spat on a stone by chance before them lying, and for the softening, the reproving, and the confounding of his hard-heartedness, the stone immediately splitted in three parts. But Tremeus becoming the more hardened by that which should have softened him, forthwith ascended his chariot, and scorning and rejecting the prayer of the saint, commanded these slaves to be afflicted with yet severer toil. Wherefore the Lord suffering not that this insult to Patrick, the second Moses, should go unavenged, now punished the contemner of his servant, even as formerly he punished Pharao and his host; for the horses which were yoked to the chariot of Tremeus, rushing forward, plunged into a neighboring lake, and drowned in its waters the chariot and him who sat therein. Then, this child of Belial being so destroyed, Saint Patrick without hindrance freed these afflicted men brought out of the house of bondage, and gave unto them their long-desired freedom.
An Angel foretelleth to Patrick of Saint Moccheus
The blessed Patrick purposed to build a church in a place sufficiently fair and fitting, which is now called Ludha. But an angel appearing unto him, enjoined that he should desist therefrom, saying; “Soon shall a servant of the Lord arrive from Britain, named Moccheus, who for the sake of God deserting his country and his parents, shall come into Hibernia; and in this place shall he build and dwell, and finish his days in piety.” Then the saint obeying the angel, turned unto the left side of the place, and there builded unto the God of Jacob a tabernacle which is yet known by the name of Saint Patrick. And Moccheus coming thither, erected an oratory and all places fitting, and lived there a life abundant in virtue; and often Saint Patrick was wont to visit him, and confer with him on things pertaining unto God. And on a certain day, while they were sitting together and communing of God, the angel appeared and proffered unto them an epistle; the which Saint Patrick reading, found to be an exhortation, nay, rather a command, unto him especially directed, that he should absolutely confer on Moccheus the place which he had builded, with all matters pertaining thereunto, and that he himself should fix his cathedral seat in Ardmachia. And Patrick willingly did as the angel, nay, rather as the Lord, had enjoined and thence retiring, he commended unto Moccheus twelve lepers, to whom he had ministered in Christ; and Moccheus assumed the care and the custody of all these matters.
The Sentence pronounced by Patrick on Moccheus
And after some days, while Moccheus heard the Book of Genesis read before him, wherein he is told that the patriarchs before the Flood lived for nine hundred years and more, and that after the Flood many lived for three hundred years, he did not readily believe in the sacred history; for he said that this tabernacle of clay, the human body, of flesh so weak, covered with skin, and framed with bones and sinews, could in no wise so long endure. The which when Saint Patrick observed, he came unto him, that with true reason he might drive all such scruples from his mind; for he said that the whole canonical Scripture was dictated and written by the finger of God, and therefore should in no wise be derogated or disbelieved; inasmuch as it was not more difficult for the Creator of all things to extend the life of man unto a thousand years, if so he willed, than unto one day, as according to the Psalmist: A thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday, which is passed. But even on these things Moccheus still doubting, the saint thus pronounced, or rather prophesied: “Since thou disbelievest the Holy Scriptures, by thine own experience shalt thou prove the truth of its records; for even to the length of three hundred years shall thy life be prolonged, nor until that time is passed shalt thou enter into the joy of the Lord.” And Moccheus afterward repented him of his want of faith, but the sentence pronounced by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Patrick could not be revoked. And he lived for the space of three hundred years; and then paying the debt of nature, and shining in virtues and in miracles, at length he passed out of the world unto Christ.
The Saint prophesieth of two Brothers, and a Fountain is produced out of the Earth
And Saint Patrick coming out of Dalnardia, began to build a church in a place called Elum, where twelve brothers, the sons of Killadius, then ruled. And one of these, named Seranus, governed there, who preventing the saint from his purpose, violently drove him away. But the saint, though patiently would he bear an injury offered to himself, yet grievously taking the hindrance of his holy work, prophesied what through God he knew would happen, and said unto him: “Yet a little while, and thou shalt be driven from this land, and the rule shall be given to a better than thee.” Then Colladius, the younger brother of this perverse man, gave unto the saint a place which is called Domhnachcumbuir, and even until the church was builded gave unto him sufficient aid. And the saint blessed him, prophesying what the Lord had determined for him, saying; “Unto this land shalt thou succeed, and from thy loins shall kings proceed, and reign through many generations.” And in that place did the saint by his prayers produce out of the heart of the earth a pure fountain, which to this day is called Slan, that is, healing; for that it relieveth many laboring under multiplied diseases. And for his perverseness Seranus was driven from that land; and according to the word of the saint, the kingdom was given to his younger brother, Colladius.
The Saint Prophesieth of a Certain Youth
Twelve brothers, whose father, a ruler in Dalnardia, was then lately dead, met together to divide the inheritance; but holding in scorn their youngest brother, Fergusius, without his portion they turned him empty away. Therefore the youth addressed Saint Patrick, that by his prayers he might be admitted unto his share; promising that he would give unto the building and the maintaining a church the better part thereof. And the saint prevailing for him, Fergusius receiveth his share of the inheritance; of the which the larger half he gave to the holy prelate for the erection of a church; but this, lest he should seem to have sold his interference, he refused to receive himself, and bade it be given unto the aforementioned Olcanus. And he builded a church within that territory, in a place which is called Derkan, and being there made bishop, continued in justice and in holiness. But Saint Patrick blessed Fergusius, and prophesying said unto him, “Though this day thou appeared humble and despised in the sight of thy brothers, yet in a short time shalt thou be chief over them all; for from thee shall kings proceed, who not only in this land, but even in distant regions, shall hold rule.” And after a short space, according to the prophecy of the holy man, did Fergusius obtain the government of all that country, and his seed ruled therein for many generations. And thence was born Edan, the son of Gabranus, who reduced Scotia, which is called Albania, and other islands wherein his posterity yet reigneth.
Of Conallus and of his Shield
And Saint Patrick addressed his well-beloved, the Prince Conallus; and he enquired of him whether would he assume the habit of a monk. And the prince replied that his heart was prepared to do whatsoever the saint would command. Then the saint rejoicing at his devotion said unto him, “For the sign of power and protection, and for the proof of thy spiritual worth, shall thou bear thy shield and thy sceptre; the name of a laic shalt thou show; but the mind and the merit of a monk shall thou possess, inasmuch as many saints shall proceed from thee, and many nations shall in thy seed be blessed.” And he signed his shield with the sign of the staff of Jesus, declaring that no one of his progeny who should carry this shield in battle should ever by any one be vanquished. And the chronicles of Hibernia declare, and her bards record, that this the saint’s prophecy unto Conallus and his seed duly came to pass.
A Heavenly Light shineth around Saint Patrick, and Victor is converted unto the Faith
And Saint Patrick coming into the territory of Mogharnd, went toward the town of Domnhach Maghin, over which a man named Victor ruled. And he hearing of the saint’s arrival, yet loving darkness rather than light, concealed himself in the shades of a thick grove, for much he feared, lest being driven from the darkness of his unbelief, he should though unwilling be compelled to believe in the true light. But the shadows of the night season came on, nor yet did Patrick the son of light therefore delay his journey. And when the curtain of deep night had covered all things with surrounding darkness, it darkened not the course of Patrick, who was the precursor of light; for unto him the night was as day, and the deep shadows were as brightness. And the light piercing through the darkness poured around the man concealing himself, nor could he longer hide from before the face of the light. Then Victor by so signal a sign being vanquished, and being even as bound with the chains of the fear of the Lord, came unto Saint Patrick, and devoutly entreated and received from him the holy baptism. And being with all his household and all his people baptized, he gave unto the saint his inheritance for the erection of a church, and among his disciples he abided. And after a while he increased in holiness and in the knowledge of the divine law, and being at length consecrated by Saint Patrick, he received in that church the episcopal degree, and for his virtues and his merits was he very renowned.
A Certain Cymbal of Saint Patrick is lost and found again
A certain man of the servants of Saint Patrick carelessly lost a cymbal; when lost he sought it, when sought he found it not, when found not he therefore sorely repented. And the saint forgave him, and directed that no longer he should seek for the cymbal, until in that place a church should be builded. And after a long time had passed, a certain religious man named Dicullus builded there a church, and there found the aforementioned cymbal; and in that church placed he it. And many who were infirm, drinking out of or being sprinkled with water from this cymbal, often received instant health; and when this instrument was tuned, they experienced the holiness of the saint breathing forth and sounding through its music.
The Obedience of Saint Volchanus
And a certain disciple of Saint Patrick, named Volchanus, was eminent in faith and in religion, but especially surpassing in the virtue of obedience; and Saint Patrick willing that this his piety, which was so well known unto him and unto God, should also be known unto his fellow-disciples for an example unto them, commanded him that he should build a church wheresoever God should vouchsafe to direct. And hearing the word of the saint, he obeyed, and carrying a hatchet on his shoulder, went forth to seek a fitting place for the erection of a church. Then the spiritual father observing him to go forth with the hatchet in his cowl, prophesied unto him with the words of consolation: “Do not, well-beloved Volchanus, doubt of a fitting place; but wheresoever thine hatchet shall fall, there securely build and inhabit, and there shalt thou be among a great nation paying worship unto God!” Thus having heard, he retired from the presence of his honored father, knowingly unknowing, and wisely untaught, yet persuaded in his mind to go whithersoever the most true teacher had directed him. Therefore the whole day did he go forward, nor did he aught, save to lift up his hands and his heart in prayer. And as the day declined eveward, the hatchet fell from his shoulder unexpectedly, yet moved of heaven, in a place neither intended nor foreseen. Then the man of God understanding this to be the appointed place, with great labor builded there a monastery, and gathered together unto one holy society many sons of God, who were dispersed; and therein dwelling, holily and religiously finished he his life, and at length, renowned in his virtues and his miracles, he rested in the Lord.
Of Saint Rodanus, the Herdsman of Patrick
And Saint Patrick had a certain herdsman named Rodanus, and he was exceeding religious; and this man in his pastoral duty lived a hermit’s life, and often being absorbed in prayer, he pastured the cows and the young calves together. And at the command of Saint Patrick, the whole herd was wondrously retained under his control, nor was any disturbance or confusion there among, for never did the calves approach their mothers, nor depart from them, other than at the bidding of Rodanus; and this he did by the authority and the power of his father, Saint Patrick. And he after a while learning letters, acquired sufficiently the knowledge thereof, and attaining the episcopal degree, he flourished during his life and after his death by manifold miracles.
Of Saint Kertennus, the Bishop of Clochor
And Kertennus, a disciple of Saint Patrick, bore the saint, now worn with age, on his shoulders, for so necessity required; and by his panting showed he his weakness or weariness. And the saint said unto him, “Often hast thou carried me, yet never before have I perceived thee thus to pant.” Then answered Kertennus, “Wonder not, holy father, for now hath mine age come on me, and my companions whose years are as mine have from the forecast of thy bounty received the refreshment of a little rest; and mine head is covered with gray hairs, and I labor with daily toil, and earnestly do I long for quiet, which above all things else I need.” Therefore Saint Patrick compassionating Kertennus, promised unto him a place fitted for contemplation, yet not unsuited to the exercise of pious duties. And as he much desired the presence of so worthy a disciple, he provided for him a church; yet not too remote from the archiepiscopal seat, which at the angel’s command he had builded in Ardmachia; nor yet too near, lest by succeeding archbishops he should be oppressed; thus was it done, that in his frequent visits to Saint Patrick the man of God should not by the distance be wearied, nor his church appear contemptible by too close a neighborhood. And after some days he placed him over the church of Clochor, which the saint himself then ruled; and when he had thereto consecrated him, he gave unto him a chrismatory, which he had received from heaven. And Saint Kertennus there dwelling, and exercising within doors the office of an abbot, and abroad the office of a bishop, cherished his gray hairs, and finished his life in holiness.
Of a Boy who was blessed by Saint Patrick
And a certain woman, who was strong in the faith, brought unto the saint her little son named Lananus, to be instructed in letters; and for that she believed his blessing would render the child more docile and ready unto learning, humbly she besought on her son the benediction of his grace. Nor was she deceived in her faith, inasmuch as the saint covered him with the aspiration of his blessing, and assisted him with the divine favor; and he impressed on the boy the sign of the cross, and committed him unto Saint Cassanus, that he might be instructed in virtue and in learning. And the boy thus blessed, in fifteen days learned the whole Psaltery; and afterwards he became a man of most holy life, and shining in miracles rested he at length in the Lord.
Of a Woman who was raised from Death
And Ethra, the wife of a noble man named Euchadius, lay dead; and he, carrying her body placed on a bier, met Saint Patrick near a certain ford in Connactia. And with many prayers he besought the saint that he would recall her to life; and promised that he and all his people would then believe in the Christ whom he preached. And the saint delayed not, but revived the dead woman, and baptized her husband, who at so wonderful a miracle thoroughly believed. And from the revived woman is it called unto this day the Ford of Ethna; and the fluid element affording a passage unto all travellers, showeth the merit of her reviver. And often the saint visited Connactia and Momonia, working miracles in each; and in each he dwelled for the space of seven years.
The Testimony of One who was revived from Death
And even unto the evening of his days did the saint continue his wonted labor and his accustomed work; sowing the field of the Lord with the seed of the divine word, from the fruit whereof he might gather eternal life. This the devoted ones of Satan perceiving and envying, they gnashed with their teeth, and one to the other they said in their malice: “What shall we do? This man, the destroyer of our gods, the persecutor, nay the extirpator of our sect, worketh many miracles; if we let him go thus, all the people of Hibernia through him will believe in his God, and the Christians will come and they will remove our laws.” Then took they counsel together, how they should destroy him with their snares, and under the pretence of justice bring him unto the death. And a certain woman was washing flax nigh unto the place where the saint was to pass; and her they directed to hide much of the flax in a hollow tree, and when the saint and his company passed by to accuse him as of the theft. And the woman did according as she was induced, nay rather as she was seduced; and loudly crying out, called these children of Belial, and with wicked tongue accused him thereof. And they, as before they had contrived, rushed forth from their hiding-place, and seized the saint and his disciples as robbers, and exclaimed that they were guilty unto the death. And in the place where this accursed band were gathered together, was a tomb, and therein a man was buried. Him did Saint Patrick, having first prayed, awaken from the sleep of death; and by the virtue of the truth, which is God, commanded that he should bear true witness of this their accusation. And the revived man, openly protesting the innocence of the saint and of his disciples, exposed the deceits of these wicked ones, and showed in the presence of all where they had concealed the flax. Thus was Saint Patrick and his people marvellously freed from the hands of the destroyers, and his blood was in that day preserved, and brought salvation to many which were evil-doers: for they who had contrived the death of the herald of life, were by this miracle converted unto God and obtained his mercy.
The Cross that was not observed; and the Voice which issued from the Sepulchre
And Saint Patrick was accustomed, wheresoever in his journeying he beheld the triumphal sign of the cross, to descend from his chariot, and to adore it with faithful heart and bended head, to touch it with his hands, and embrace it with his arms, and to imprint on it the repeated kiss of devout affection. And on a certain day sitting in his chariot, most unwontedly he passed by a cross which was erected near the wayside, unsaluted; for his eyes were held, that he saw it not. This the charioteer observing, marvelled; but he held his peace, until they arrived at their dwelling. But when they began to pray, as was their custom before dinner, then spake he of the cross which he had seen, and of the place where he beheld it. Then Saint Patrick, the preacher of the cross, leaving his meal prepared, went forth of his dwelling, and returned unto the place on the road which he had passed along. And diligently he sought for the sign of life, and he found nigh unto it a certain sepulchre. And drawing near, he prayed in the sight of the Lord, and enquired who therein was sepultured. And a voice answered from within, that he had been a heathen, and that a Christian man was buried at his side, whose mother had been absent when her son died, and when he was returned into the bosom of the common mother: and that after some days she had come hither to wail, but knowing not the burial-place of her son, had placed over him the Christian sign. Therefore the man of God averred that he could not behold the cross, because it was placed over a heathen who had been an enemy of the cross of Christ. And removing the cross, he placed it at the head of the baptized man, and commending his soul to God, he walked back unto his own dwelling.
A Goat bleateth in the Stomach of a Thief
The blessed Patrick had a goat, which carried water for his service; and to this the animal was taught, not by any artifice but rather by a miracle. And a certain thief stole the goat, and eat, and swallowed it. And the author or instigator of the theft is enquired: and one who by evident tokens had incurred suspicion, is accused; but not only denieth he the fact, but adding perjury unto theft, endeavoreth he to acquit himself by an oath. Wondrous was the event to be told, yet more wonderful to come to pass. The goat which was swallowed in the stomach of the thief bleated loudly forth, and proclaimed the merit of Saint Patrick. And to the increase of this miracle it happened, that at the command, nay rather at the sentence of the Saint, all the posterity of this man were marked with the beard of a goat.
Of the Cloaks which fell from Heaven
And that he might the more entirely profit unto God by their conversation and their example, the saint was used to seek the society of holy men, and to join himself unto them in the most strict friendship. For, as Solomon witnesseth, as iron is sharpened by iron, so are the lives of holy men by conversation and by example enflamed into a firm faith, and more fervent love of God; the which how acceptable is it to the Lord, vouchsafed he to show by the token of an evident miracle. Therefore on a certain day, when Saint Patrick and a venerable man named Vinnocus sate together, they conferred of God and of things pertaining unto God; and they spake of garments which by their works of mercy had been distributed among the poor; when behold, a cloak sent from Heaven fell among them, even as the present eulogy of the Divine gift and the promise of future reward. And the saint rejoiced in the Lord, and what had happened each ascribed to the merit of the other. And Patrick averred that it was sent unto Vinnocus, who had for the Lord renounced all the things of this world: and Vinnocus insisted it to have been sent unto Patrick, who though possessing all things retained nothing, but clothing many which were poor and naked, left himself naked for the sake of the Lord. Then from these holy men thus friendlily disputing, suddenly the cloak disappeared; and in the stead thereof the Lord sent down by an angel two cloaks, one truly unto each, that even in charity they might no longer contend.
A wicked Tyrant is transformed into a Fox
In that part of Britain which is now called Vallia, lived a certain tyrant named Cereticus; and he was a deceiver, an oppressor, a blasphemer of the name of the Lord, a persecutor and a cruel destroyer of Christians. And Patrick hearing of his brutal tyranny, labored to recall him into the path of salvation, writing unto him a monitory epistle, for his conversion from so great vices. But he, that more wicked he might become from day to day, laughed to scorn the monition of the saint, and waxed stronger in his sins, in his crimes, in his falsehoods and in his cruelties. The which when Patrick heard, taught by the Divine Spirit, he knew that the vessel of evil was hardened in reprobation, prepared in no wise for correction, but rather for perdition; and thus he prayed unto the Lord: “O Lord God, as thou knowest this vulpine man to be monstrous in vice, do thou in a monstrous mode cast him forth from the face of the earth, and appoint an end unto his offences!” Then the Lord, inclining his ear unto the voice of his servant, while on a certain time the tyrant stood in the middle of his court surrounded by many of his people, suddenly transformed him into a fox; and he, flying from their sight, never more appeared on the earth. And this no one can reasonably disbelieve, who hath read of the wife of Lot who was changed into a pillar of salt, or the history of the King Nabuchodonoser.
The wicked Man Machaldus and his Companions are converted unto the Faith
And in Ulydia was Magiul, a heathen, who was also called Machaldus; and he was eminent in wickedness and notorious in cruelty; and forasmuch as like always accordeth with like, he gathered unto himself no small company, well practised in theft, in rapine, and in blood. And this man placed on his own head and on his companions’ certain diabolical signs which are called Deberth; that all might behold how devoted was their brotherhood unto the service of Satan. And it happened on a time that the blessed Patrick was journeying with his people through the place where lurked this band of evil-doers, waiting and watching for any traveller on whom they might rush forth to destroy and to despoil. And beholding the saint, they thought at first to slay him as the seducer of their souls and the destroyer of their gods: but suddenly their purpose being changed by the Divine will, they thought it shame to shed the blood of a peaceful, weak, and unarmed old man; yet counselling to prove or rather to mock the power of Christ, and the holiness of Patrick, they placed one of their companions named Garbanus on a couch, and though he was in perfect health they feigned him as dead; and they covered him with a cloak, and with deriding prayers they besought the man of God that he would provide the funeral rites, or, as he was wont, restore unto life the dead man. But the saint, at the revelation of the Spirit, understood what they had done, and pronounced that these scorners had deceivingly, yet not falsely, declared of their companion’s death. Therefore disregarding their entreaties he prayed unto God for the soul of the derider, and went on his way. And the saint had not journeyed far, when they uncovered the cloak from their companion; and lo! they found him not feignedly but really dead. And they, affrighted at this fearful chance, and dreading lest the same should happen unto themselves, followed the saint, and fell at his feet, and acknowledged their offence, and by their contrition obtained pardon. And they all believed in the Lord, and in his name were they baptized. Then did the saint, at their humble entreaty, revive the dead man; and washing him in the holy font, associated him unto them in the faith of Christ.
The Penitence of Machaldus
And Machaldus their chief falling at Saint Patrick’s feet, confessed his sins and entreated with many tears that a life of penitence might be appointed unto him, whereby he might attain the life of eternity. And the saint, inspired of Heaven, enjoined him that he should utterly renounce his native soil and give all his substance to the poor; and he clothed Machaldus in a vile and rough garment, and chained him with chains of iron, and cast the key thereof into the ocean. Likewise he commanded him to enter, alone, without oars, into a boat made only of hides, and that on whatsoever country he should land under the guidance of the Lord there should he serve Him even unto the end of his days. And the man, truly repenting, did as his pastor enjoined; for he, alone, chained with iron chains, bearing on his head the tonsure as the token of penitence, entered the boat; and under the protection of God he committed himself unto the waves, and was borne by them unto the Island Eubonia, which is called Mannia. And therein were two bishops, named Connidrius and Romulus, whom Saint Patrick himself had consecrated and appointed to rule over the people of that island and to instruct them in the faith of Christ after the death of Germanus the first bishop. And they, beholding Machaldus, marvelled much, and they pitied his misery; and when they understood the cause, received him kindly and retained him with themselves. And after he had for some space there abided, a fish was one day taken in the sea and brought unto their dwelling; and when the fish was opened before them, a key was found in its belly, and Machaldus being released from his chains, gave thanks unto God, and went thenceforth free. And he, increasing in holiness, after the deaths of these holy bishops attained the episcopal degree; and being eminent in his miracles and in his virtues, there did he rest. And in that island was a city after him named of no small extent; the remains of whose walls may yet be seen. And in the cemetery of its church is a sarcophagus of hollowed stone, whereout a spring continually exudeth, nay, sufficiently floweth forth; the which is sweet to the draught, wholesome to the taste, and healeth divers infirmities, but chiefly the stings of serpents and the deadliness of poison: for whoso drinketh thereof, either receiveth instant health, or instantly he dieth. And in that stone are the bones of Saint Machaldus said to rest, yet therein is nothing found, save only clear water. And though many have oftentimes endeavored to remove the stone, and especially the king of the Norici, who subdued the island, that he might at all times have sweet water, yet have they all failed in their attempt: for the deeper they have digged to raise up the stone, so much the more deeply and firmly did they find it fixed in the heart of the earth.
A Meadow is overflowed by the Sea
At another time the blessed Patrick being fatigued with travel, turned aside for the sake of a little rest, and for pasturing his horses, into a grassy meadow near Roscomaira in Connactia. But when he had sate down and his horses had begun to feed, a certain wicked and perverse plebeian, the owner of the place, rushed forward in the fury of anger to expel him forth. And first he attacked the saint with reproachful words, and at length he cast stones at the horses and drove them from the field: wherefore the hurt done unto them, increased the injury and the affront offered unto their master. And as Saint Patrick was one, and chief among those horses, with which according to the prophet Habacuc the Lord made his way in the sea, therefore was the Lord wroth at an injury offered unto him, and therefore at his command the meadow withered up, and the sea flowing forward covered it, and it remained unfruitful for ever. Fitting and just was this judgment of God, that the people which hated him, and refused his servant one blade of grass, should lose the whole harvest; and that as this man despitefully entreated Saint Patrick, and drove him from his field, he should thenceforward lose the place for which so contentiously he had striven.
A Stone is changed into Milk, and Milk is changed into Stones
And one who had long time been a servant unto many evil-doers, hearing of the virtues and the miracles of Saint Patrick, came unto him, for the purpose of contending with him in working signs. And many false signs did he multiply, the which the saint, having prayed and made the sign of the cross, dispersed. Then the magician seeing all his inventions to be frustrated, required of Patrick that he should work signs to evince the power of his God; and the saint delayed not to do what might prove the virtue of Christ, and instruct in the faith many Christians: for he changed an hard stone into a soft mass of curdled milk, and of this milk, in the name of Christ, he changed two soft pieces into hard stones. But lest these should be accounted false and like unto the signs of the magicians, the stones continued in the same hardness whereunto they were transformed. But this which was corporally done before the eyes of men, doth the divine virtue spiritually do in the conversion of believers; inasmuch as the worshippers of stones, men of hardened hearts, become soft unto the faith and love of Christ, and as if again born infants, they desire the milk of the apostolic doctrine, that thereby they may grow up unto salvation. So did it happen unto the magician, who beholding this miracle believed in the Lord and was baptized.
A Wagon laden with Twigs is saved from the Fire
And Saint Patrick requested of a certain man, that he would bring unto him two wagons laden with twigs, for that such were required for certain needful uses. And the man fulfilled his request, and brought the twigs unto the appointed place. But a fire seized the two wagons and burned one thereof, yet left it the other unharmed of the flame. And all the beholders marvelled, that the fire should exercise its natural power over the one wagon, and on the other have no effect; as of yore it happened unto the three children which were cast into the fiery furnace, but which were saved from the fire, nor did any hurt come on them. We however admire in this miracle the merit of the saint; but in no wise think that the cause thereof needs to be discussed.
The Saint is preserved untouched from the falling Rain
The man of God was wont to observe with singular devotion the Lord’s day, for the remembrance of that great solemnity, which the life of death reviving unto resurrection, hath made worthy of rejoicing in heaven, in earth, and in the grave. Wherefore this holy custom was fixed in his mind, even as a law, that wheresoever the Sabbath-eve arrived, he for reverence thereto passed the night and the next holy day in hymns, and in psalms, and in spiritual songs; and heartily devoting himself unto divine contemplation, so he continued until the morning of the succeeding day. And on a time the observance of this holy custom caused the blessed Patrick to celebrate the vigil under the open air; and a violent fall of rain inundated all the field around: but the place whereon the holy watchman, the guardian of the walls of Jerusalem, stood with his companions, was not wetted even with the dropping of one drop thereof. Thus was in Patrick repeated the miracle, which formerly appeared in the fleece of Gideon, when the whole ground was wet with dew, and the fleece was found dry and undamped.
The Fingers of Saint Patrick shine with Light
But the brightness of the eternal light, that He might prove with how radiant a light of His grace the inward vessel of His saint was illumined, glorified him by another miracle of yet higher marvel. For on the same night which Patrick had passed under the open air, lauding and praising God, the field wherein he stood was covered with thickest darkness. And the chariot-driver of the holy prelate long time sought for the steeds which he had loosed unto pasture, that he might reyoke them to the chariot: but when for the darkness he could not find them, he wailed with much lamentation. Which the saint compassionating, drew forth his right hand from his sleeve, and raised up his fingers. Wonderful was the event, and unheard of through ages! Immediately his fingers shone even as sunbeams, and wonderfully illumining the whole country, turned darkness into light, and night into day. Then by the aid of this radiant miracle the chariot-driver found his steeds, and led them rejoicing to the father, and yoked them unto the chariot. And he, the bearer and the preacher of the heavenly light, his fingers ceasing to shine, yet ceasing not to pour forth the purest and freshest myrrh, ascended the chariot on the morning of the succeeding day, as was his custom; and hastened on, whithersoever he was called by the will of Him, who directed him, and dwelled in him. Thus by a very beautiful but sufficiently convincing miracle his fingers outwardly shone; so working in them the finger of the God, who so frequently had healed and saved and protected by his works of light.
Fire is also seen to issue from his Mouth
And he preached the word of God unto a certain great man, to whom it seemed that fire issuing from the mouth of the saint entered into his ears and mouth, and filled him internally with its heat. And this fire was not consuming, but illumining; not burning, but shining; as he who so experienced related unto the saint, saying, “I behold a flaming fire to issue from thy mouth, and penetrate my body and my inmost heart.” Then to him the saint: “Our God is the true light illumining every man at his entrance into the world; our God, who came to send upon earth that fire which He desireth should burn in the hearts of the faithful: for the word of the Lord is bright, and his speech is as fire; whereof by my preaching hast thou had in thyself the proof.”
The holy Virgin Memhessa departeth unto God
There was a noble and beautiful damsel, named Memhessa, the daughter of a prince who reigned in a certain part of Britain. And she, being occupied with the grace of the Holy Spirit, through the virtue which is innate in a good disposition, and from the divers species of all created creatures, understood the Creator; and Him, being so understood, she affected with all her heart and with all her soul; for the love and desire of the which affection she looked down on all the riches, and all the delights, and all the splendors, and all the charms of this world’s glory, and she despised them in her heart. Yet had she not been washed in the holy font, though in her manners she represented the purity of the Christian faith. And her parents being heathens, mainly endeavored with words and with stripes to frustrate and to shake her purpose; but the column of her virgin heart being builded on the rock of Christ, could neither be subverted by their persuasions, nor shaken by their threats, nor could she by any their evil doings at all be moved from her fixed firmness. And forasmuch as the spring-time of her youth made her beautiful, and the elegance of her form made her right lovely, while in her countenance the lilies and the roses of the garden were mingled together, very many princes of royal stock desired her in marriage; however in no wise could she thereunto be persuaded or compelled. Wherefore having a long time vainly labored, her parents by general consent brought her unto Saint Patrick, the fame of whose holiness was proved and published through all that country by many signs and miracles. Then they unfolded unto the saint the purpose of the damsel, earnestly entreating him that he would bring her unto the sight of his God whom she so loved and toward whom her heart yearned. This the saint hearing, rejoiced in the Lord, giving thanks unto Him, whose breath doth blow even whither and how he listeth; and who oftentimes calleth unto himself without any preaching those whom he had predestinated unto life. Then, having expounded to the damsel the rules of the Christian faith, he catechised her, and baptized her confessing her belief, and strengthened her with the sacraments of the body and blood of Christ. And she, having received the viaticum, fell to the ground in the midst of her prayers and breathed forth her spirit: thus ascending from the font spotless and washed of all sin, and being led by the angels unto the sight of her fair and beautiful Beloved, went she into his embraces. Then did Patrick, and all who were present, glorify God; and with honorable sepulture they committed her holy remains unto the earth.
Of the Work which was done in the Lord’s Day
And at a certain time Saint Patrick on the Lord’s day entered a harbor on the northern coast of Hibernia, opposite the town of Druimbo; yet would he not go forth of the ship, but remaining therein he solemnized the day with his wonted devotion. And now was the mid-hour of the day passed, when he heard no little noise; whereby he understood that the heathens were violating the Sabbath with their profane labors (the which was right contrary to his custom and command); and that they were then employed in a certain work which is called rayth; that is, a wall. And thereat being somewhat moved, he ordered that they should be bidden before him, and imperatively commanded them on that day to surcease from their labor. But this profane and foolish generation received the prohibition of the saint not only with contempt, but with scorn and laughter. Then did he, understanding the perverseness of those scorners, repeat his prohibition, and thus did he say unto them, “Though mightily shall ye labor unto your purpose, never shall it come to any effect, nor ever shall ye derive any profit therefrom.” And how true were his words, the event showed: for on the next night was the sea wondrously raised with a tempest, and spreading thereover scattered all the work of the heathens; and lest ever it should be recollected or rebuilded, dispersed it with irreparable dispersion.
A certain Man is healed, and a Horse revived, in a place which is called Feart
A certain illustrious man, named Darius, gave unto Saint Patrick at his request a dwelling-place together with a small field, whither he might betake himself with the fellowship of his holy brethren. And this was a small place near Ardmachia, in modern time called the Feast of Miracles. And after a season, the charioteer of Darius sent his horse into this field, there to pasture during the night; the which when on the morrow he would lead forth of the field, found he dead. Which when Darius heard, he was moved with wrath, and preventing all excuse, all delay, all revocation, commanded that Patrick should be slain, as the slayer of his horse. But scarcely had the word issued from his lips, when lo, suddenly came on him a monitory, nay, a minatory weakness of death, and cast him on his sickbed; and as suddenly were his feet which were prompt unto mischief, and his hands which were accustomed unto evil, recalled from the shedding of innocent blood; for misery alone gave him understanding. Which things being told unto the saint, he bade that the steed and the man should be sprinkled with water which had been blessed of him: and being so sprinkled, each arose; the horse from death, and Darius from the bed of sickness.
Of the Vessel which was given unto Saint Patrick, and again taken from him
And Darius being thus healed, sent unto the saint by the hands of his servants a large brazen vessel, the which contained thrice twelve gallons, and was most needful unto him and his companions for the dressing of their food. And he, much requiring such a vessel, kindly received it; yet said he only: this “I thank him.” And the servants, returning unto their master, when he enquired of the saint’s answer, replied that he said nothing other than, “I thank him.” Then Darius thereat wondering, accused the saint of rashness and of rudeness; yet desiring to try the virtue of the word, commanded that they should take the vessel from Patrick and bring it back again. Which when they did, the saint, as he was thereto accustomed in his words and in works, said, “I thank him.” And again Darius demanded what Patrick had this time said: and hearing that even then he had only spoken as before, “I thank him,” and admiring and understanding his firmness, pronounced he the saint to be a man of consummate constancy, and that the word of his mouth was most excellent. “Truly,” said he, “this is a magnanimous man and of unalterable mind, whose countenance and whose word could not be changed, whether the vessel be given unto him or taken from him; but ever do they continue the same.” Then did he, following his servants, salute the saint with appeasing speech, and gave unto him a field near his dwelling-place, about which dispute might possibly have arisen.
Ardmachia is given unto Saint Patrick; and a Fountain is produced out of the Earth
And after a short time the noble Darius, that he might show unto the saint yet greater favor, brought him out of a low place unto a place which was high; from a narrow dwelling unto one which was spacious and fair, which was foreshown unto him by an angelic miracle, at that time named Druymsaileach, but which is now called Ardmachia. And Saint Patrick, considering the pleasantness and convenience of the place, and walking around it, found therein a doe lying down with her fawn, which they who accompanied the saint willed to slay; but this the pious father would in no wise suffer to be done. And that he might show the bowels of pity, which he had unto God’s creatures, he bore the fawn in his own arms, and caressed and cherished it, and carried it unto a park at the northern side of Ardmachia; and the doe, even as the tamest sheep, followed the compassionate bearer of her youngling, until he placed it down at her side. And on that day did the saint, for the praise of God and for the benefit of the people, bring forth out of the earth by his prayers, even for the seventh time, a clear fountain.
The Saint beholdeth a Vision of Angels, and cureth Sixteen Lepers
When the lamp of the daily light was extinguished in the shades of nocturnal darkness, the man of God beheld in a vision of the night angels measuring the form and the extent of the city which was to be builded in that high place, and one of the angels enjoined him, that on the morrow he should go unto the fountain near Ardmachia, which is now called Tobar Patraic, that is, the Fountain of Patrick; and there he should heal in the name of the Lord sixteen lepers, who were come thither from many places to experience the mercy of the Lord, and to receive his faith. And Patrick obeyed the voice of the angel; and early in the morning he found those men, and by his preaching he converted them unto the faith, and being converted, he baptized them in that fountain, and when baptized, he purified them from the leprous taint of either man. And this miracle when published abroad, was accounted a fair presage and a present sanction of the future city. And the angel, at the prayers of Patrick, removed far from thence an exceeding huge stone which lay in the wayside, and which could not be raised by the labor or the ingenuity of man; lest it should be an hindrance to passengers approaching the city.
Of the City of Ardmachia, and Twelve of its Citizens
Then Patrick founded, according to the direction of the angels, a city, fair in its site, its form, and its ambit, and when by the divine assistance it was completed, he brought to dwell therein twelve citizens, whom he had from all parts diligently and discreetly chosen: and these he instructed in the Catholic doctrines of the Christian faith. And he beautified the city with churches builded after a becoming and spiritual fashion; and for the observance of divine worship, for the government of souls, and for the instruction of the Catholic flock, he appointed therein clerical persons; and he instituted certain monasteries filled with monks, and others filled with nuns, and placed them under the regulations of all possible perfection. And in one of these monasteries was a certain brother, who would not take either food or drink before the hour appointed by the saint; and he perished of thirst; and Patrick beheld his soul ascending into heaven, and placed among the martyrs. And in the convent of the handmaidens of God, was a certain virgin, the daughter of a British king, with nine other holy damsels, who had come with her unto Saint Patrick, and of these, three in his presence went unto heaven. And in this city placed he an archiepiscopal cathedral; and determined in his mind that it should be the chief metropolis, and the mistress of all Hibernia; and that this his purpose might remain fixed and by posterity unaltered, he resolved to journey unto the apostolic seat, and confirm it with authentic privileges.
At the Direction of the Angels Saint Patrick goeth unto Rome
And the angel of the Lord appearing unto Patrick, approved the purpose of his journey, and showed him that the Pope would bestow and divide among many churches the relics of the Apostles Peter and Paul, and of many saints. And as carriages were haply then wanting unto him, the angels provided him with four chariots, as if sent from heaven, the which conveyed him and his people unto the sea-side. Then the glorified prelate Patrick; after that the urgency of his laborious preaching was finished, and the abundance of so many and so great miracles had converted the whole island, blessed and bade farewell to the several bishops and presbyters and other members of the church whom he had ordained: and with certain of his disciples, led by his angelic guide, he sailed toward Rome. Whither arriving, while in the presence of the supreme pontiff he declared the cause of his coming, supreme favor he found in his eyes; for, embracing and acknowledging him as the apostle of Hibernia, he decorated the saint with the pall, and appointing him his legate, by his authority confirmed whatsoever Patrick had done, appointed or disposed therein. And many parting presents, and precious gifts, which pertained unto the beauty, nay, unto the strength of the church, did the Pope bestow on him; where-among were certain relics of the Apostles Peter and Paul, and of Stephen the proto-martyr, and of many other martyrs; and moreover, gave he unto the saint a linen cloth, which was marked with the blood of our Lord the Saviour Jesus Christ. Gift excelling all other gifts! And with these most holy honors the saint being returned unto Hibernia, fortified therewith this metropolitan church of Ardmachia (unto the salvation of souls and the safety of the whole nation), and reposited them in a chest behind the great altar. And in that church even from the time of Saint Patrick the custom obtained that on the days of the Passover and of the Pentecost these relics should be thereout produced, and venerated in the presence of the people.
The Acts of Saint Patrick while returning from Rome
But the miracles which Saint Patrick wrought, when going to Rome, or returning thence, or after he had returned, are beyond our ability to relate either one by one or all together. For wheresoever he remained through the night, or made any abiding, left he behind him the proofs of his sanctity, in the healing of some diseased person; inasmuch as churches and oratories which were builded in those places and entitled after his name are yet to be seen; and which even to this day are redolent of his holiness, and impart the benefit of his miracles to many who sought the same with the desert of faith. And in his return he some time abided in his own country of Britain, and founded there many monasteries, and rebuilded many others which had been destroyed of the heathens; and he filled them with convents of holy monks who assented unto that form of religion which he thereto appointed; many events also, prosperous and adverse, which were to happen unto Britain, did he prophesy in the spirit; and especially he foresaw and foretold the holiness of the blessed David, who was then in his mother’s womb. For there were many country places and towns, the inhabitants whereof rudely drove away the saint while journeying, lest he should abide the night among them; and these and their posterity could never prosper or become rich therein, but strangers and aliens always possessed of them the wealth and the dominion. But the groves into which the saint was by those wicked ones driven to pass the night, and which before produced but few and fruitless copses, were seen, by the blessing of such a holy guest, to thicken and to flourish with so great abundance of trees that in no future time could they be entirely destroyed. And in the rivers, where the deceivers, fraudful both in heart and word, had shown unto the saint a deep abyss instead of a safe ford, passed he over safely, having first blessed the passage, and changed the abyss into a ford; and the ford which before was pervious unto all changed he unto a deep abyss.
The Acts of Saint Patrick after he had Returned
And after his long journey was finished, he consoled his people with his presence; and he appointed unto the Lord’s field thirty bishops which he had chosen and in foreign countries had consecrated, for that the harvest was many, and the laborers few. Therefore began he the more frequently to assemble holy synods of bishops, to celebrate solemn councils, and whatsoever he found contrary to the ecclesiastical institutes or the Catholic faith, that did he take away and annul; and whatsoever he found accordant to the Christian law, to justice, or to the sacred canons, and consonant to good morals, that did he direct and sanction. And daily he shone with innumerable miracles, and whatsoever with his lips he appointed or taught, that did he confirm by most signal miracles; whence it came to pass that all deservedly admired him, by whose kindness all the inhabitants of that island are through ages blessed; as in the sequel more fully shall we endeavor to show.
Of the Threefold Plagues of Hibernia
Even from the time of its original inhabitants, did Hibernia labor under a threefold plague: a swarm of poisonous creatures, whereof the number could not be counted; a great concourse of demons visibly appearing; and a multitude of evil-doers and magicians. And these venomous and monstrous creatures, rising out of the earth and out of the sea, so prevailed over the whole island that they not only wounded men and animals with their deadly sting, but slayed them with cruel bitings, and not seldom rent and devoured their members. And the demons, who by the power of idolatry dwelled in superstitious hearts, showed themselves unto their worshippers in visible forms; often likewise did they, as if they were offended, injure them with many hurts; unto whom, being appeased with sacrifices, offerings, or evil works, they seemed to extend the grace of health or of safety, while they only ceased from doing harm. And after was beheld such a multitude of these, flying in the air or walking on the earth, that the island was deemed incapable of containing so many; and therefore was it accounted the habitation of demons, and their peculiar possession. Likewise the crowd of magicians, evil-doers, and soothsayers had therein so greatly increased as the history of not any other nation doth instance.
The Threefold Plague is driven out of Hibernia by Saint Patrick
And the most holy Patrick applied all his diligence unto the extirpation of this threefold plague; and at length by his salutary doctrine and fervent prayer he relieved Hibernia of the increasing mischief. Therefore he, the most excellent pastor, bore on his shoulder the staff of Jesus, and aided of the angelic aid, he by its comminatory elevation gathered together from all parts of the island all the poisonous creatures into one place; then compelled he them all unto a very high promontory, which then was called Cruachan-ailge, but now Cruachan-Phadruig; and by the power of his word he drove the whole pestilent swarm from the precipice of the mountain headlong into the ocean. O eminent sign! O illustrious miracle! even from the beginning of the world unheard, but now experienced by tribes, by peoples, and by tongues, known unto all nations, but to the dwellers in Hibernia especially needful! And at this marvellous yet most profitable sight, a numerous assembly was present; many of whom had flocked from all parts to behold miracles, many to receive the word of life.
Then turned he his face toward Mannia, and the other islands which he had imbued and blessed with the faith of Christ and with the holy sacraments; and by the power of his prayers he freed all these likewise from the plague of venomous reptiles. But other islands, the which had not believed at his preaching, still are cursed with the procreation of those poisonous creatures. And he converted innumerable evil-doers unto the faith; but many who continued obstinate, and hardened in their perverseness, he destroyed from the face of the earth (as we have already recorded); and from the men of Hibernia, whom he made servants unto the true and living God, prayed he of the Lord that the visions of the demons and their wonted injuries should be driven away; and he obtained his prayer.
Without Earthly Food the Saint completeth a Fast of Forty Days
And that in Hibernia or in the other islands which had received his blessing no poisonous animal should continue or revive, nor the wonted troop of demons therein abide, the saint completed without earthly food a fast of forty days. For he desired to imitate in his mystical fast Moses, who was then bound by the natural law, or rather Elias the prophet, appointed under the law; but most principally desiring to please the great Founder of nature, the Giver of the law and of grace, Jesus Christ, who in Himself had consecrated such a fast. Therefore he ascended the high mountain in Conactia, called Cruachan-ailge, that he might there more conveniently pass the Lent season before the Passion; and that there, desiring and contemplating the Lord, he might offer unto Him the holocaust of this fast. And he disposed there five stones, and placed himself in the midst; and therein, as well in the manner of his sitting as in the mortification of his abstinence, showed he himself the servant of the cross of Christ. And there he sat solitary, raising himself above himself; yet gloried he only in the cross, which constantly he bore in his heart and on his body, and ceaselessly he panted toward his holy Beloved; and he continued and hungered in his body, but his inward man was satisfied, and filled, and wounded with the sweetness of divine contemplation, the comfort of angelic visitation, and the sword of the love of God: “For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing even unto the separation of the body and the spirit,” wherewith the saint was wounded, even unto holy love.
He banisheth the Demons forth of the Island
And the demons grieved for their lost dominion, and assailing the saint they tormented him in his prayers and his fastings; and they fluttered around him like birds of the blackest hue, fearful in their form, their hugeness, and their multitude, and striving with horrible chatterings to prevent his prayer, long time they disturbed the man of God. But Patrick being armed with His grace, and aided by His protection, made the sign of the cross, and drove far from him those deadly birds; and by the continual sounding of his cymbal, utterly banished them forth of the island. And being so driven away, they fled beyond the sea, and being divided in troops among the islands which are alien unto the faith and love of God, there do they abide and practise their delusions. But from that time forward, even unto this time, all venomous creatures, all fantasies of demons, have through the merits and the prayers of the most holy father Patrick entirely ceased in Hibernia. And the cymbal of the saint, which from his frequent percussions thereof appeared in one part broken, was afterward repaired by an angel’s hand; and the mark is beheld on it at this day. Likewise on the summit of this mountain many are wont to watch and to fast, conceiving that they will never after enter the gates of hell; the which benefit they account to be obtained to them of God through the merits and the prayers of Patrick. And some who have thereon passed the night relate them to have suffered grievous torments, whereby they think themselves purified of all their sins; and for such cause many call this place the Purgatory of Saint Patrick.
Troops of Angels appear unto the Saint
And God, the ruler of all, who after darkness bringeth light, compassionated his servant; and so soon as the evil spirits were driven forth, a multitude of angels poured around the place with exceeding brightness, and with wondrous melody they comforted the saint. And he, having finished his fast of forty days, offered the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving unto God, who had vouchsafed to mortal man the virtue of so great abstinence, and had bestowed such mercies through the intercession of Him. And moreover he rejoiced in the angelic salutation. Then being led by the angels, he descended from the mountain, and smote his cymbal, the sound whereof the Lord caused to be heard through all parts of Hibernia. Thence, let none of the faithful doubt that every man even over the whole world will hear the sound of the last trumpet. And raising his hands, Saint Patrick blessed the island and all the dwellers therein, and commended them unto Christ.
Now understand ye how it was the custom of Patrick, as of the other ancient saints who abided in the islands, to have with them cymbals, for the expulsion of evil spirits, for their own bodily exercise, to proclaim the hours of the day and night, and for I know not what other causes. One thing, however, is certain, that many miracles are known to have been performed by the sound or the touch of these cymbals. Therefore at the Lord’s Supper, the blessed Patrick going forth of his retirement into public view, rejoiced with his presence the whole church of the saints who were born of his preaching unto Christ. And there he discharged his episcopal office, the which he always joined with those sacred seasons; and thus went he forward in the work of salvation.
The Saint titheth Hibernia and the Dwellers therein
Then at the Paschal tide, his accustomed devotions being finished, he went round the whole island with a holy multitude of his sons whom he had brought forth unto Christ; and everywhere teaching the way of the Lord, he converted to, or confirmed in, the faith the dwellers therein. And all the islanders, unto whom had come even the knowledge of his name, for this so strange and wondrous miracle surrendered themselves to him and to his doctrine, as to an angel of light, and devoutly they obeyed him for their peculiar apostle. Then this most excellent husbandman, seeing the hardness of the Lord’s field to be softened, and the thorns, the thistles, and the tares rooted forth, labored to fertilize it so much the more abundantly with the increase of profitable seed, that it produced good fruit not only to the increase of thirty or sixty, but even of an hundred-fold. Therefore he caused the whole island to be divided with a measuring line, and all the inhabitants, both male and female, to be tithed; and every tenth head, as well of human kind as of cattle, commanded he to be set apart for the portion of the Lord. And making all the men monks, and the women nuns, he builded many monasteries, and assigned unto them for their support the tithe of the land and of the cattle. Wherefore in a short space so it was that no desert spot, nor even any corner of the island, nor any place therein, however remote, was unfilled with perfect monks and nuns; so that Hibernia was become rightly distinguished by the especial name of the Island of Saints. And these lived according to the rule of Saint Patrick, with a contempt of the world, a desire of heaven, a holy mortification of the flesh, and an abandonment of all pleasure; equalling the Egyptian monks in their merit and in their number, so that with their conversation and example they edified far distant countries. And in the days of Saint Patrick, and for many ages of his successors, no one was advanced unto the episcopal degree or the cure of souls, unless by the revelation of the divine Spirit or by some other evident sign he was proved worthy thereof.
The different States of Hibernia are in a Heavenly Vision shown unto the Saint
And the man of God anxiously desired and earnestly prayed that he might be certified of the present and the future state of Hibernia, to the end that he might be assured of the faith, or of the value that his labors bore in the sight of God. Then the Lord heard the desire of his heart, and manifested the same unto him by an evident revelation; for while he was engaged in prayer, and the heart of his mind was opened, he beheld the whole island as it were a flaming fire ascending unto heaven; and he heard the angel of God saying unto him: “Such at this time is Hibernia in the sight of the Lord.” And after a little space he beheld in all parts of the island even as mountains of fire stretching unto the skies. And again after a little space he beheld as it were candles burning, and after a while darkness intervened; and then he beheld fainter lights, and at length he beheld coals lying hidden here and there, as reduced unto ashes, yet still burning. And the angel added: “What thou seest here shown, such shall be the people of Hibernia.” Then the saint, exceedingly weeping, often repeated the words of the Psalmist, saying: “Whether will God turn himself away for ever, and will he be no more entreated? Shall his mercy come to an end from generation to generation? Shall God forget to be merciful, and shut up his mercy in his displeasure?” And the angel said, “Look toward the northern side, and on the right hand of a height shalt thou behold the darkness dispersed from the face of the light which thenceforth will arise.” Then the saint raised his eyes, and behold, he at first saw a small light arising in Ulydia, the which a long time contended with the darkness, and at length dispersed it, and illumined with its rays the whole island. Nor ceased the light to increase and to prevail, even until it had restored to its former fiery state all Hibernia. Then was the heart of the saint filled with joy, and his heart with exultation, giving thanks for all these things which had been shown unto him: and he understood in the greatness of this fiery ardor of the Christian faith the devotion and the zeal of religion, wherewith those islanders burned. By the fiery mountains he understood the men who would be holy in their miracles and their virtues, eminent in their preachings and their examples; by the lessening of the light, the decrease of holiness; by the darkness that covered the land, the infidelity which would prevail therein; by the intervals of delay, the distances of the succeeding times. But the people think the period of darkness was that in which Gurmundus and Turgesius, heathen princes of Norwegia, conquered and ruled in Hibernia; and in those days, the saints, like coals covered with ashes, lay hidden in caves and dens from the face of the wicked, who pursued them like sheep unto the slaughter. Whence it happened that differing rites and new sacraments, which were contrary to the ecclesiastical institutes, were introduced into the church by many prelates who were ignorant of the divine law. But the light first arising from the north, and after long conflict exterminating the darkness, those people assert to be Saint Malachy, who presided first in Dunum, afterward in Ardmachia, and reduced the island unto the Christian law. On the other hand, the people of Britain ascribe this light to their coming, for that then the church seemed under their rule to be advanced unto a better state; and that then religion seemed to be planted and propagated, and the sacraments of the church and the institutes of the Christian law to be observed with more regular observance. But I propose not the end of this contention, neither do I prevent it, thinking that the discussion and the decision thereof should be left unto the divine judgment.
The Answer of Saint Patrick to Secundinus
And oftentimes the Saint Secundinus sat in the assembly of the holy men, conversing together of the acts and the virtues of Saint Patrick. And when one of them affirmed that Patrick was the most holy of all living men, Secundinus answered, “Verily, he would be the most holy, had he not too little of that brotherly charity which it becometh him to have.” And this saying, uttered in the presence of so many of his disciples, was not long concealed from the saint. Therefore it came to pass that when Saint Patrick and Secundinus afterward met together, the master enquired of his disciple, the metropolitan of his suffragan, why he had spoken such a word of him, or rather against him. And Secundinus replied, “So did I say, because thou refusest the gifts offered unto thee of rich men, and wilt not accept farms and inheritances, wherewith thou mightest sustain the great multitude of the saints which are gathered unto thee.” Then Saint Patrick answered and said, “For the increase of charity is it that I do not accept these works of charity; inasmuch as were I to receive all that are offered unto me, I should not leave even the pasturage of two horses for the saints which will come after us.” Then Secundinus repenting of the word which he had spoken, entreated forgiveness of the saint; and he, with his wonted kindness, accorded it unto his penitence.
Secundinus composeth a Hymn in Honor of Saint Patrick
And Secundinus, who was exceeding wise and learned, said unto Saint Patrick that he desired to compose a hymn in honor of a saint who was yet living. This he said, for that the saint of whom he purposed to write was Patrick himself; and therefore concealed he the name in silence. Then answered the saint: “Verily, it is worthy, and fit, and right, and profitable, that the people should tell the wisdom of the saints, and that the congregation should speak of their praise; but yet is it more becoming that the subject of our praise should not be praised until after his death. Praise thou therefore the clearness of the day, but not until the evening cometh; the courage of the soldier, but not until he hath triumphed; the fortune of the sailor, but not until he hath landed; for the Scripture saith, Thou shalt praise no man in his lifetime. Nevertheless, if so thy mind is fixed, what thou proposest to do, that do thou quickly; for death draweth nigh unto thee, and of all the bishops which are in Hibernia, shalt thou be the first to die.” Therefore Secundinus composed a hymn in honor of Saint Patrick, and after a few days, according to the word of the saint, he died; and he was buried in his own church, in a place which he called Domnhach-Seachlainn, and by manifold miracles showeth himself to live in Christ. And this hymn are many of the islanders daily wont to sing, and from its repetition they affirm many and great wonders to have happened; for divers, while singing this hymn, have passed unseen through their enemies who were thirsting for their blood, and who were stricken with that sort of blindness which physicians term acrisia.
The Soul of a Certain Sinner is by Saint Patrick freed from Demons
And on a time a certain saint, named Kaennechus, saw in Hibernia troops of demons passing along, armed with infernal instruments; whom having adjured in the name of the Holy Trinity, he compelled to declare the cause of their coming thither. And they, thus adjured, confessed, though unwillingly, that they came to bear away the soul of a certain most wicked sinner, who for his sins deserved to be carried into hell. Then Kaennechus enjoined them in the name of the Lord to return unto him, and to tell him what they had done. And after some hours had passed, the demons returned with confusion, and declared that by the power of Patrick they had lost their expected prey; for that this man had in every year during his life celebrated with a great feast the festival of Saint Patrick, and had every day repeated certain chapters of the hymn which had been composed in his honor; and therefore, they said, had Saint Patrick snatched him from their hands, as his own proper right. Thus saying, the demons vanished into thin air; and Kaennechus rejoiced in these things, and by the relation excited many unto the frequent repetition of this hymn in honor of Saint Patrick.
How the Saint appeared unto Colmanus while singing his Hymn
A certain abbot, a disciple of Saint Patrick, named Colmanus, was accustomed frequently to repeat this hymn; and when he was asked of the disciples why he would not rather sing the appointed offices and psalms, inasmuch as once to sing this hymn ought to suffice him, he continually beheld the face of his beloved father, Patrick, nor could he ever be satisfied with the contemplation thereof. This, though happening long after the death of Saint Patrick, we have written and recorded among his acts; that we may show how this hymn was esteemed among the people of Hibernia, and how ready was he in the hour of necessity and tribulation to aid those who honored him, and who frequently celebrated his memory.
The Admirable Contemplations of the Saint
As Saint Patrick, the preacher of truth, while yet living in the flesh, recalled and incited by his example and conversation many living men, who yet were dead, unto the true life, so did he by his prayers bring many who were buried unto the land of the living. For divers which were deceased, he by his powerful prayers snatched from the depths of eternal punishment, and from the roaring lions which were prepared for their food, and bringing them to the expiatory place, restored them unto salvation. And he, being often made the contemplator of the divine mysteries, beheld the heavens opened, and the Lord Jesus standing in the middle of the multitude of angels; and this, while he offered the holy immolation of the Son of God, and devoutly sang the Apocalypse of John, did Patrick merit to behold. For while in his meditations he admired these admirable visions, unto the sight of their similitude was he lifted up in the Lord. And the angel Victor, so often before named, thrice in each week appeared unto him, and comforted and consoled him with mutual colloquy.
Saint Patrick beholdeth the Souls of the Rich and of the poor Man sent unto different Places
Oftentimes did the saint behold the souls of men going forth of their bodies, some unto places of punishment, others unto places of reward; one instance whereof we think worthy to record, inasmuch as the saint was wont to relate it for the purpose of edification. There was a man who had a great name, according as names are in this world accounted great; and he had flocks of sheep, and herds of oxen, and his possessions increased on the earth. And this man died; and a long assembly of his children and his kindred celebrated his obsequies with much pomp and honor according to the estimation of men, and so committed him unto the common mother. And they who account blessed the man unto whom these things are given, declared him happy, whose life was so fortunate, and whose death so honorable; and they thought that he very much had pleased the Lord. But the other man was a beggar, who having lived all his life in wretchedness and in poverty, went the way of all flesh. And his body long time lay without the ministry of the funeral rites, unburied, and mangled by the birds of prey; and at length was it dragged by the feet into a pit-hole, and covered with turf; and they who judge according to outward show esteemed this man most miserable and unfortunate. But the saint pronounced the opinion of men to differ from the righteousness of Him who searcheth the reins and the heart, whose judgments are a deep abyss; and he declared that he saw the soul of that rich man plunged by the demons into hell; but the spirit of the poor man, whose life was accounted as foolishness, and his end without honor, was reckoned among the children of God, and his lot of blessedness was among the saints. “Truly,” said he, “the sons of men are vain, and their judgments are false in the weight; but the just God loveth justice, and his countenance beholdeth righteousness; and in the balance of his righteousness weigheth he the pleasures and the riches of this evil man, and the sins of this poor man, haply whereby he hath merited the wrath and the misfortunes which he bore; and the one from his honor and his glory he adjudged unto present torment; and the other, which had atoned in the furnace of poverty and of affliction, mercifully sent he unto the heavenly joys.” Nor did the saint behold this of these men only, but often of many others did he behold and relate such things. Thus what the word of truth had before told of the rich man clothed in purple and the poor man covered with sores did this friend of truth declare himself to have beheld of other.
Saint Vinvaloeus is miraculously stayed by Saint Patrick from his purposed Journey
And in Lesser Britain lived a venerable man, named Vinvaloeus, who was even from his infancy renowned for signs and wonders; for as his acts are recorded, very many exceeding great miracles are attested to have been done by him. And he, the south wind so blowing that all his perfumes breathed forth, heard the holy name of Saint Patrick, and earnestly desired he to hasten unto the odor of his virtues. And long time he pondered and desired; and at length determined he to leave his country and his parents, and to go unto Hibernia to serve Christ under the discipulate and disciplinate of Saint Patrick; but when the night came, with the morrow whereof he purposed to begin his journey, he beheld in a vision that most illustrious man standing before him, clothed in his pontifical vestments; and then said he unto him: “Know thou me, beloved Vinvaloeus, to be the Patrick unto whom thou purposest to travel; yet weary thou not thyself, nor seek thou him whom thou canst not find; for the hour of my dissolution draweth nigh, when I shall go the way of all flesh. Therefore it is the will of God that thou leavest not this place; but by thy conversation and example shalt thou endeavor to gain over a people acceptable unto him, and which shall follow good works; forasmuch as the crown of life is yet to be seen, which he hath promised unto those who love him.” Thus saying, the vision disappeared, and Vinvaloeus did as he was bidden of heaven. Now let the hearer admire his perfection, who by the spirit which was in him saw the desire of the holy man dwelling in Armorica, and thus wondrously changed him from the purpose of his intended journey.
The Daily Prayers and Genuflexions of the Saint
And now, the cloud of unbelief, by whose eclipse the people of Hibernia so long had wanted the warmth and the light of the true sun, being dispersed, now did the tongue, the life, the virtue of the blessed Patrick, so long as the breath and the Spirit of God were in his nostrils, avail unto the things which were begun, continued, and ended in the Lord; giving the knowledge of salvation, affording the example of holiness, extending the remedy of all diseases. And verily, this peculiar habit of life, which he exercised in secret, was daily and perpetual; inasmuch as every day was he wont diligently to sing the entire Psaltery, with many songs and hymns, and the Apocalypse of the Apostle John, and two hundred prayers before God; three hundred times did he bend his knees in adoration of the Lord; every canonical hour of the day did he one hundred times sign himself with the sign of the cross. Nevertheless did he not omit every day worthily and devoutly to offer up unto the Father the sacrifice of the Son; and never ceased he to teach the people or instruct his disciples.
How he passed the Night Season
And in a wondrous manner dividing the night season, thus did this wakeful guardian and laborer in the Lord’s vineyard distinguish that also. For in the earliest part thereof having with two hundred genuflexions and one hundred psalms praised God, then applied he unto study and in the latter part, he plunged himself into cold water, and raising his heart, his voice, his eyes, and his hands towards heaven, offered he one hundred and fifty prayers. Afterward he stretched himself on a bare stone, and of another stone making a pillow, he rested his most sanctified body with a short sleep; or, that more clearly we may speak, he refreshed himself unto the labor of his continual conflict. With such rest indulging, he girded his loins with roughest hair-cloth, the which had been dipped in cold water; lest haply the law of the flesh, warring in his members against the law of the Spirit, should excite any spark of the old leaven. Thus did Saint Patrick with spare and meagre food, and with the coarsest clothing, offer himself a holy and living sacrifice, acceptable unto God; nor suffered he the enemy to touch in him the walls of Jerusalem, but he inflicted on his own flesh the penance of perpetual barrenness; and that he should not bring forth children which might hereafter be worthy of death, made he his spirit fruitful of abundant fruit.
The Habit, the Bearing, and the Acts of Saint Patrick
And until the five and fiftieth year of his age, wherein he was advanced in Hibernia unto the episcopal degree, did he after the manner of the apostles continually travel on foot; and thenceforth, by reason of the difficulty of the journey, he used a chariot, according to the manner of the country. And over his other garments he was clothed with a white cowl, so that in the form and the candid color of his habit he showed his profession, and proved himself the candidate of lowliness and purity. Whence it came to pass that the monks in Hibernia following his example, for many years were contented with the simple habit which the wool of the sheep afforded unto them, untinged with any foreign dye. And he kept his hands clear from any gift, ever accounting it more blessed to give than to receive; therefore when any gift was given unto him by any rich man, he hastened so soon as might be to give it unto the poor, lightening himself thereof as of a heavy burden. In his countenance, in his speech, in his gait, in all his members, in his whole body, did he edify the beholders; and his discourse was well seasoned, and suited unto every age, sex, rank, and condition. In four languages, the British, the Hibernian, the Gallic, and the Latin, was he thoroughly skilled; and the Greek language also did he partly understand. The little Book of Proverbs, which he composed in the Hibernian tongue, and which is full of edification, still existeth; and his great volume, called Canoin Phadruig, that is, the canons of Patrick, suiteth every person, be he secular, be he ecclesiastic, unto the exercise of justice and the salvation of souls. Whensoever he was addressed for the exposition of profound questions or difficult cases, always, according to the custom of his lowliness, did he answer: “I know not, God knoweth “; but when great necessity compelled him to certify the word of his mouth, he always confirmed it by attesting his Judge. So excellent was he in the spirit of prophecy that he foretold divers future things even as if they were present; things absent he well knew, and whatsoever fell from his lips, without even the smallest doubt did that come to pass. So evidently did he foretell of the saints which for an hundred years thereafter would be born in Hibernia, but chiefly in Momonia and Conactia; that he showed even their names, their characters, and the places of their dwelling. Whomsoever he bound, them did the divine justice bind; whosoever he loosed, them did the divine justice loose; with his right hand he blessed, with his left hand he cursed; and whom he blessed, on them came the blessing of the Lord; whom he cursed, on them came the heavenly malediction; and the sentence which issued from his lips, unshaken and fixed did it remain, even as had it gone forth of the eternal judgment-seat. Whence doth it plainly appear, that this holy man being faithful unto God, was with Him as one spirit. Yet though in his manifold virtues he equalled or excelled all other saints, in the virtue of lowliness did he excel even himself; for in his epistles he was wont to mention himself as the lowest, the least, and the vilest of all sinners; and little accounting the signs and the miracles which he had wrought, he thought himself to be compared not to any perfect man; and being but of small stature, he used often to call himself a dwarf. And not seldom, after the manner of the Apostle Paul, he toiled with manual labor, fishing, and tilling the ground; but chiefly in building churches, to the which employment he much urged his disciples, both by exhortation and example. Nevertheless, right earnestly did he apply himself unto baptizing the people and ordaining the ministers of the church. Three hundred bishops and fifty did he consecrate with his own hand; seven hundred churches did he endow; five thousand clerical men did he advance unto the priestly rank. But of the other ministers whom he appointed unto the inferior orders, of the monks and the nuns whom he dedicated unto the divine service, God alone knoweth the number.
Of the Sick whom he healed, and the Dead whom he raised; and of his Disciples who recorded his Acts
Therefore under this most sanctified rule of life did he shine in so many and so great miracles that he appeared second to no other saint. For the blind and the lame, the deaf and the dumb, the palsied, the lunatic, the leprous, the epileptic, all who labored under any disease, did he in the name of the Holy Trinity restore unto the power of their limbs and unto entire health; and in these good deeds was he daily practised. Thirty and three dead men, some of whom had many years been buried, did this great reviver raise from the dead, as above we have more fully recorded. And of all those things which so wondrously he did in the world, sixty and six books are said to have been written, whereof the greater part perished by fire in the reigns of Gurmundus and of Turgesius. But four books of his virtues and his miracles yet remain, written partly in the Hibernian, partly in the Latin language; and which at different times four of his disciples composed – namely, his successor, the blessed Benignus; the Bishop Saint Mel; the Bishop Saint Lumanus, who was his nephew; and his grand-nephew Saint Patricius, who after the decease of his uncle returned into Britain, and died in the church of Glascon. Likewise did Saint Evinus collect into one volume the acts of Saint Patrick, the which is written partly in the Hibernian and partly in the Latin tongue. From all which, whatsoever we could meet most worthy of belief, have we deemed right to transmit in this our work unto after-times.
The Angelic Voice showeth unto Saint Patrick of his Death and of the Place of his Burial
And Patrick, the beloved of the Lord, being full of days and of good works, and now faithfully finishing the time of his appointed ministry, saw, as well by the divine revelation as by the dissolution of his earthly tabernacle, that the evening of his life was drawing near. And being then nigh unto Ulydia, he hastened his journey toward the metropolitan seat, Ardmachia; for earnestly he desired to lay in that place the remains of his sanctified body, and in the sight of his sons whom he had brought forth unto Christ to be consigned unto the common mother. But the event changed the purpose of the holy man; that all might know, according to the testimony of the Scriptures, that the way of man is not in his own power, but that his steps are directed of God. For the Angel Victor met him while on his journey, and said unto him: “Stay thou, O Patrick, thy feet from this thy purpose, since it is not the divine will that in Ardmachia thy life should be closed or thy body therein be sepultured; for in Ulydia, the first place of all Hibernia which thou didst convert, hath the Lord provided that thou shalt die, and that in the city of Dunum thou shall be honorably buried. And there shall be thy resurrection; but in Ardmachia, which thou so lovest, shall be the successive ministry of the grace which hath been on thee bestowed. Therefore remember thy word, wherewith thou gavest hope unto thy first converts, the sons of Dichu; when, instructed of heaven, thou didst foretell unto them that in their land thou wouldest die and be buried.” And at the word of the angel the saint was grieved; but quickly returning unto himself, embraced he the divine Providence with much devotion and thanksgiving, and submitting his own will unto the will of God, he returned into Ulydia.
The Place of his Sepulture is foreshown by a Light from Heaven
And after a few days Patrick, the most holy old man, rested on a place not far distant from the mother church of the city of Dunum; and with him was Brigida, the spotless Pearl of Hibernia, and no small assembly of religious and ecclesiastical persons. And while the saint discoursed unto them of the glory of the saints, a great light descended from heaven, and poured round a certain spot on the eastern side of the cemetery; at the which marvelling, they enquired of the saint what meant that light, and the holy prelate bade the blessed Brigida to explain to them the meaning thereof. Then the virgin openly declared that the so great light denoted and sanctified the burial-place of a certain saint most illustrious and dear unto God, who therein would shortly be buried. And the holy woman, Ethembria, who first of all the nuns in Hibernia had been consecrated by Patrick, privily enquired of Brigida who was the saint. And she answered that Saint Patrick himself, the father and apostle of Hibernia, would soon be buried in that place, but that in process of time he would be removed from thence; and further she pronounced that she would be happy if she might enshroud his most holy body in a linen cloth, which she had made with her own hands and woven for his obsequies. This said she secretly unto her sister nun, nor deemed she her words overheard of any. Then the light which appeared from heaven was taken up from their eyes, and foreshowed the ascension of the saint unto heaven.
Saint Brigida bringeth unto Saint Patrick the Garment which was to enshroud his Body
And Saint Patrick, being instructed of heaven, understood the desire of the heart of Brigida, and the words of her mouth, and her preparation of the garment, and that she would enshroud therewith his body, as the spiritual token of their mutual love in Christ. And he himself returned unto the monastery of Saballum, which he had filled with a fair assembly of monks; and there, down lying on the bed of sickness, awaited he with a happy hope the termination of his life, nay, rather of his pilgrimage, and his entrance into the life eternal. And the venerable virgin obeyed the word of her father and bishop; and she went unto the monastery, and took the garment, and with four virgins in her train hastened she to return unto the saint; but forasmuch as they were afflicted with too long abstinence and with the difficulty of the journey, for very weariness they stayed on their way, nor could they speed thereon as they had purposed. Yet the saint, while in Saballum, knew at the revelation of the Spirit the weariness of the virgin; and he commanded his charioteer to meet them on their way with four chariots, and the charioteer obeyed, and met them at the place exceeding wearied, and brought them unto the saint. And they offered unto him the garment, the which he kindly received; and kissing his feet and his hands, they obtained his benediction.
The Death of Saint Patrick
Now, the sickness of his body increasing, age pressing on, or rather the Lord calling him unto his crown, the blessed Patrick perceived he was hastening unto the tomb; and much he rejoiced to arrive at the port of death and the portal of life. Therefore, being so admonished by the angel, his guardian, he fortified himself with the divine mysteries from the hand of his disciple, the Bishop Saint Thasach, and lifting up his eyes he beheld the heavens opened, and Jesus standing in the multitude of angels. Then raising his hands, and blessing his people, and giving thanks, passed he forth of this world, from the faith unto the proof, from his pilgrimage unto his country, from transitory pain unto eternal glory. Oh! how blessed Patrick. Oh! how blessed he, who beheld God face to face, whose soul is secured in salvation! Happy, I say, is the man, unto whom the heavens opened, who penetrated into the sanctuary, who found eternal redemption, whom the blessed Mary with the spotless choirs of virgins welcomed, whom the bands of angels admitted into their fellowship! Him the wise assembly of prophets attendeth, the venerable senate of apostles embraceth, the laurelled army of martyrs exalteth, the white-robed company of confessors accepteth, and the innumerable number of the elect receiveth with all honor and with all glory. Nor wondrous was it, nor undeserved; seeing that he was the angel of God, though not by his birth, yet by his virtue and by his office – he, whose lips were the guard of knowledge, and declared unto the people the law of life which was required of God. Rightly is he called the prophet of the Most Highest, who knew so many things absent, who foretold so many and such things future, as seldom have any of the prophets prophesied! Rightly is he called, and is, the apostle of Hibernia, seeing that all the people thereof, and the other islanders, are the signs of his apostolate! Rightly is he called a martyr, who, bearing continually in his heart and in his body the name of Christ, showed himself a living sacrifice unto God; who having suffered so many snares, so many conflicts, from magicians, from idolaters, from rulers, and from evil spirits, held his heart always prepared to undergo any and every death! Rightly is he called the confessor of God, who continually preached the name of Christ, and who by his words, his examples, and his miracles excited peoples, tribes, and tongues unto the confession of his name, of human sin, and of divine promise! Rightly is he called a virgin, who abided a virgin in his body, in his heart, and in his faith; and by this threefold virginity pleaseth he the Spouse of virgins and the Virgin of virgins! Rightly is he numbered among the angelic choirs and the assemblies of all saints, who was the sharer in all holy acts and all virtues!
The Number of the Years of his Life
On the seventeenth day of March, in the one hundredth and twentieth and third year of his age, departed he forth of this world; and thus the years of his life are reckoned. Ere he was carried into Hibernia by the pirates, he had attained his sixteenth year; oppressed beneath a most cruel servitude, six years did he feed swine; four years did he feed with the sweet food of the Gospel those who before were swine, but who, casting away the filth of their idolatry, became his flock of unspotted lambs; eighteen years did he study under Saint Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerres. When he had reached his fiftieth and third year, he was invested with the episcopal dignity, and returned unto Hibernia, therein to preach; in the space of thirty and five years converted he unto Christ all that country and many other islands; and during the thirty and three years which remained unto him, leading a life of contemplation, abided he chiefly in Saballum, or in the monastery which he had founded in Ardmachia. Nor did he willingly leave those holy places, unless some cause of inevitable urgency called him forth; nevertheless, once in every year did he celebrate a council, that he might bring back unto the right rule those things which he knew to need reformation.
The Funeral Honors which Men and Angels paid unto the Body of the Saint
And as Saint Patrick expired, the surrounding circle of monks commended his spirit unto God, and enwrapped his body in the linen cloth which Saint Brigida had prepared. And the multitude of the people and of the clergy gathered together, and mourned with tears and with sighs the dissolution of Patrick, their patron, even as the desolation of their country, and paid in psalms and in hymns the rites which unto his funeral were due. But on the following night a light-streaming choir of angels kept their heavenly watch, and waked around the body; and illumining the place and all therein with their radiance, delighting with their odor, charming with the modulation of their soft-flowing psalmody, poured they all around their spiritual sweetness. Then came the sleep of the Lord on all who had thither collected, and while the angelic rites were performed, held them in their slumber even until the morning. And when the morning came, the company of angels reascended into heaven, leaving behind them the sweet odor which excelled all perfumes; the which, when the sleepers awakened, they and all who came unto the place experienced even for twelve succeeding days. For during that time was the sanctified body preserved unsepultured, inasmuch as the controversies of the people with the clergy permitted it not to be buried in that holy place.
The Light continueth for Twelve Days
And this was the reason of the controversy. A great and wondrous light appeared, such as never in any time preceding had been beheld. Over that whole country the light continued for twelve days, without any intervention of night; for the night was illuminated, and shone even as the day. Whereby was it plainly given to be understood that the darkness of night obscured not Patrick, the son of life, the inhabiter of eternal brightness, while the night was to him the illumination of his joys, while he ascended unto the light without spot, the day without night, the sun without eclipse. And this miracle seemeth like unto that ancient miracle which was wrought by Joshua in Gibeon, though much extended in its duration. For the sun, as is written, stood still over Gibeon, and the moon stood still over the valley of Ajalon, one day for the space of two days, gave by the divine virtue the victory unto a faithful people; and by the same power the continued shining of twelve days’ light showed the merit of Patrick, triumphant over this world and the prince of this world.
The Miraculous Rising of the Sea between the Contending People
And at the sight of such a miracle, the people could not be restrained from their contention, for the fury of their wrath and the violence of their minds which governed them they imputed to their devotion toward the saint. And on the twelfth day a deadly and perilous contention arose between the two people of Ulydia and Ardmachia about the sacred body. And while arrayed in armor they rose unto arms, they heard a voice from heaven, which seemed as the voice of Saint Patrick, staying their violence; and the sea, rising above its wonted bounds, reared itself as a wall, and separated the contending people, so that they could neither behold nor attack one the other; and thus corporeally separated, united them unto the concord of mutual peace. Then the people being restrained from their fury, the waters surceased from their fury also.
Two Wains appear, the which are sent by a Miracle
Then, the swelling waves of the sea being reduced and returned unto themselves, two oxen appear, seeming to draw toward Dunum a wain laden with a noble burden, the holy body; the which the people and clergy of Ultonia followed with exceeding devotion, with psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. And plainly it showed that vehicle which formerly bore the ark of the covenant from Acharon unto Getht. But by all these wonders the fury of the Ardmachians is not appeased; for still is their hand prepared unto battle, that the body of their prelate, their primate, their patron, might not be riven from them. Nevertheless, the divine Providence took heed that occasion of contest should not any more be ministered; for another wain appearing, drawn by two oxen, went before the Ardmachians, even like the former wain which had borne the sacred body unto Dunum; and they stayed not to follow its track, believing that it carried the precious burden, until it came within the borders of Ardmachia, unto a certain river which is named Caucune. Then the visionary wain disappeared; and the people, frustrated of their hope, unsatisfied and sad, returned unto their dwellings.
The Sepulture of Saint Patrick in the City of Dunum
And the people of Ultonia, having entered Dunum, celebrated the solemnities of the Mass, and in the place foreshown by the heavenly light buried the venerable body with all due veneration, and this desirable treasure, this most precious jewel, they deposited beneath a stone, five cubits deep in the heart of the earth, lest haply by stealth it might be conveyed thence. But by how many and how great miracles the bones of this most holy saint were graced therein, we find not recorded; either because the pen of the negligent preserved them not, or being written, they were destroyed by some of the many heathen princes who ruled in Hibernia. Now, Saint Patrick died in the four hundredth and ninetieth and third year of Christ’s incarnation, Felix being then pope, in the first year of the reign of Anastasius the emperor, Aurelius Ambrosius ruling in Britain, Forchernus in Hibernia, Jesus Christ reigning in all things and over all things.
Now unto Him be glory, and praise, and honor, and empire, through infinite ages, for ever and ever! Amen!
Here End The Acts of Saint Patrick
- from , by various authors, edited by James O’Leary; transcribed by Al Haines