Chapter 4.11

<Vt rēx eiusdem prōvinciae Sebbī in monachicā vītam conversātiōne fīnierit>

[1] Eō tempore praeerat rēgnō Orientālium Saxonum, ut īdem etiam libellus docet, vir multum Deō dēvōtus nōmine Sebbī, cuius suprā meminimus. [2] Erat enim religiōsīs āctibus, crēbrīs precibus, piīs elēmosinārum frūctibus plūrimum intentus; vītam prīvātam et monachicam cūnctīs rēgnī dīvitiīs et honōribus praeferēns, quam et ōlim iam, sī nōn obstinātus coniugis animus dīvortium negāret, relictō rēgnō subīsset. [3] Vnde multīs vīsum et saepe dictum est, quia tālis animī virum episcopum magis quam rēgem ōrdinārī decēret. [4] Cumque annōs XXX in rēgnō mīles rēgnī caelestis exēgisset, correptus est corporis īnfirmitāte permaximā, quā et mortuus est; ammonuitque coniugem ut vel tunc dīvīnō sē servitiō pariter mancipārent, cum amplius pariter mundum amplectī, vel potius mundō servīre, nōn possent. [5] Quod dum aegre impetrāret ab eā, venit ad antistitem Lundoniae cīvitātis, vocābulō Valdherī, quī Earconvaldō successerat, et per eius benedictiōnem habitum religiōnis, quem diū dēsīderābat, accēpit. [6] Attulit autem eīdem et summam pecūniae nōn parvam pauperibus ērogandam, nīl omnimodīs sibi reservāns, sed pauper spīritū magis propter rēgnum caelōrum manēre dēsīderāns.

[7] Quī cum, ingravēscente praefāta aegritūdīne, diem sibi mortis inminēre sēnsisset, timēre coepit homō animī rēgālis, nē ad mortem veniēns tantō adfectūs dolōre aliquid indignum suae persōnae vel ōre prōferret vel aliōrum mōtū gereret membrōrum. [8] Vnde accītō ad sē praefātō urbis Lundoniae, in quā tunc ipse manēbat, episcopō, rogāvit nē plūrēs eō moriente quam ipse episcopus et duo suī ministrī adessent. [9] Quod dum episcopus libentissimē sē factūrum prōmitteret, nōn multō post īdem vir Deī, cum membra sopōrī dedisset, vīdit vīsiōnem cōnsōlātōriam quae omnem eī ānxietātem memorātae sollicitūdinis auferret, īnsuper et quā diē esset hanc vītam terminātūrus ostenderet. [10] Vīdit enim, ut post ipse referēbat, trēs ad sē vēnisse virōs clārō indūtōs habitū, quōrum ūnus residēns ante lectulum eius, stantibus hīs quī sēcum advēnerant comitibus et interrogantibus dē statū eius, quem languentem vīsitāre vēnerant, dīxit quod anima eius et sine ūllō dolōre et cum magnō lūcis splendōre esset ēgressūra dē corpore; sed et tertium exinde diem, quō esset moritūrus, īnsinuāvit. [11] Quod ita utrumque, ut ex vīsiōne didicit, complētum est. [12] Nam diē dehinc tertiō, complētā hōrā nōnā, subitō quasi leviter obdormiēns sine ūllō sēnsū dolōris ēmīsit spīritum.

[13] Cuius corporī tumulandō praeparāverant sarcophagum lapideum; sed cum huic corpus impōnere coepissent, invēnērunt hoc mēnsūrā palmī longius esse sarcophāgō. [14] Dolantēs ergō lapidem in quantum valēbant, addidērunt longitūdinī sarcophagī quasi duōrum mēnsūram digitōrum. Sed nec sīc quidem corpus capiēbat. [15] Vnde factā difficultāte tumulandī, cōgitābant aut aliud quaerere loculum aut ipsum corpus, sī possent, in genibus īnflectendō breviāre, dōnec ipsō loculō caperētur. [16] Sed mīra rēs et nōn nisi caelitus facta, nē aliquid hōrum fierī dēbēret, prohibuit. [17] Nam subitō astante episcopō, et fīliō rēgis eiusdem ac monachī Sighardō, quī post illum cum frātre Suefredō rēgnāvit, et turbā hominum nōn modicā, inventum est sarcophagum illud congruae longitūdinis ad mēnsūram corporis, adeō ut ā parte capitis etiam cervīcal posset interpōnī, ā parte vērō pedum mēnsūrā quattuor digitōrum in sarcophagō corpus excēderet. [18] Conditus est autem in ecclēsiā beātī doctōris gentium, cuius ēdoctus monitīs caelestia spērāre didicerat.

KING SEBBI TAKES THE VOW

Sebbi (or Sæbbi) ruled Essex jointly with his brother Sighere until Sighere's death in 683. Sighere was an apostate who had reverted to paganism shortly after gaining the throne in 664, but Sebbi remained a Christian. He abdicated shortly before his death and retired to a monastery. He died around 695. Sebbi (like Ceolwulf, the dedicatee of Bede's History) was, in Clare Stancliffe's phrase, one of the "kings who opted out" (Stancliffe 1983).

(1) Sebbī: king of Essex, 664–694; see note on 4.6.

(2) Erat: with intentus: “he was intent on” (with dative)

plūrimum: adverbial

quam: the antecedent is vītam prīvātam et monachicam

et olim iam: “long since”

sī nōn negāret … subīsset: mixed conditional: “if his wife weren’t refusing, he would have…”

(4) dīvīnō … servitiō: dative indirect object of mancipārent: “devote themselves to…”

cum … possent: concessive: “since they were unable to…”

(5) Quod: the antecedent is the previous sentence (see AG 308.f)

Valdherī: Waldhere, bishop of London (693–ca. 711)

(6) ērogandam: gerundive expressing purpose (AG 500.4)

pauper: predicate nominative with dēsīderāns manēre: “desiring to remain poor…”

spīritū: ablative of respect (or specification, AG 418): “poor in spirit”

SEBBI’S VISION

(7) persōnae: persōna refers to the part played by person in life, his or her position or role (in this case kingly).

prōferret … gereret: both verbs take aliquid indignum as their object: “that he might utter something…, or do something…” (DMLBS, gerere 9).

(8) accītō … praefātō … episcopō: ablative absolute; re-order: accītō ad sē praefātō epīscopō Lundoniae, in quā…. Perhaps easiest to translate as if it were an active cum-clause: “when he had summoned the bishop of London, where he was staying at the time…”

nē plūrēs: “that no more…”

(9) factūrum: = factūrum esse (in the accusative-infinitive construction of indirect discourse)

nōn multō post: “not much later”

(10) stantibus hīs … comitibus, et interrogantibus: a long ablative absolute: “while the companions … stood and asked …” See articulated text.

dīxit quod: introducing indirect discourse, with the subjuctive verb ēgressūra esset (“was about to depart”)

sed et tertium … īnsinuāvit: “and he indicated (that it would be) the third day from this, on which he would die.” (DMLBS, īnsinuāre 4).

FITTING SEBBI’S SARCOPHAGUS

Sebbi was buried in the original St. Paul’s Cathedral in London; his tomb was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666.

(13) mēnsūrā palmī longius: ablative of degree of difference (AG 414): “longer by the measure of a palm”

(14) in quantum valēbant: “to the extent they were able”

capiēbat: “was holding”

(15) cōgitābant: “they were considering” + infinitive (“they were considering either looking for…, or shortening…”)

dōnec: with the subjunctive, “until” (AG 553, Note 1)

(16) nē … prohibuit: a clause of hindering (AG 558.b): “kept any of these things from having to happen”

(17) adstante … modicā: a long ablative absolute

Sighardo … Suefredo: Sigeheard and Swaefred, sons of Sebbi, who succeeded him and ruled jointly from 694 to 709; Sighardo and Suefredo are nominative.

congruae longitūdinis: genitive of measure (AG 345.b): “was of a length fitting (congruae ad) …”

ā parte capitis … ā parte … pedum: “at the head…at the feet”

ā mensūrā quattuor digitōrum: “by [the measure of] four inches”

(18) in ecclēsiā beātī doctōris gentium: “in the church of the blessed doctor of the Gentiles”’ i.e., St. Paul.

cuius ēdoctus monitīs: “taught by the precepts of whom”

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