Chapter 4.14

<Vt Vecta īnsula Chrīstiānōs incolās suscēperit, cuius rēgiī duo puerī statim post acceptum baptisma sint interēmptī>

[1] In quō tunc monastēriō nōnnūlla caelestis grātiae dōna speciāliter ostēnsa fuisse perhibentur, utpote ubi nūper expulsā diabolī tyrannide Chrīstus iam regnāre coeperat; ē quibus ūnum, quod mihi reverentissimus antistes Acca sepius referre, et ā fidēlissimīs eiusdem monastēriī frātribus sibi relātum asserere solēbat, memoriae mandāre commodum dūximus.

[2] Eōdem fermē tempore quō ipsa prōvincia nōmen Chrīstī suscēperat, multās Brittāniae prōvinciās mortālitās saeva corripiēbat. [3] Quae cum praefātum quoque monastērium, cui tunc regendō religiōsissimus Chrīstī sacerdōs vocābulō Eappa praefuit, nūtū dīvīnae dispēnsātiōnis attingeret, multīque, sīve dē hīs quī cum antistite illō vēnerant sīve dē illīs quī dē eādem prōvinciā Saxonum nūper ad fidem fuerant vocātī, passim dē hāc vītā raperentur, vīsum est frātribus trīduānum ieiūnium agere et dīvīnam suppliciter obsecrāre clēmentiam, ut misericordiam sibi dignārētur impendēre, et sīve perīclitantēs hōc morbō ā praesentī morte līberāret seu raptōs ē mundō ā perpetuā animae damnātiōne servāret.

[4] Erat tunc temporis in eōdem monastēriō puerulus quīdam dē nātiōne Saxonum, nūper vocātus ad fidem, quī eādem tāctus īnfirmitāte nōn paucō tempore recubāns in lectulō iacēbat. [5] Cum ergō secunda memorātī ieiūniī ac supplicātiōnum diēs agerētur, contigit forte ipsum puerum hōrā fermē secundā diēī in locō in quō aeger iacēbat sōlum invenīrī; cui dīvīnā dispositiōne subitō beātissimī apostolōrum prīncipēs dignātī sunt appārēre. [6] Erat enim puer multum simplicis ac mānsuētī animī, sincērāque dēvōtiōne sacrāmenta fideī quae suscēperat servāns. [7] Salūtantēs ergō illum verbīs piissimīs apostolī dīcēbant: ‘Nōlī timēre, fīlī, mortem prō quā sollicitus es; nōs enim tē hodiernā diē ad caelestia sumus rēgna perductūrī. [8] Sed prīmum expectāre habēs, dōnec missae celebrentur, ac viāticō dominicī corporis ac sanguinis acceptō, sīc īnfirmitāte simul et morte absolūtus ad aeterna in caelīs gaudia sublēveris. [9] Clāmā ergō ad tē presbyterum Eappan, et dīcitō illī quia Dominus exaudīvit precēs vestrās, et dēvōtiōnem ac ieiūnia propitius aspexit, neque aliquis dē hōc monastēriō sīve adiacentibus eī possessiunculīs hāc clāde ultrā moritūrus est, sed omnēs quī alicubi dē vestrīs hāc aegritudīne labōrant, resurrēctūrī ā languōre, prīstinā sunt sospitāte recuperandī, praeter tē sōlum, quī hodiernā es diē līberandus ā morte et ad vīsiōnem Dominī Chrīstī, cui fidēliter servīstī, perdūcendus in caelum; quod dīvīna vōbīs misericordia per intercessiōnem religiōsī ac Deō dīlēctī rēgis Osvaldī, quī quondam gentī Nordanhymbrōrum et rēgnī temporālis auctōritāte et Chrīstiānae pietātis, quae ad rēgnum perenne dūcit, dēvōtiōne sublīmiter praefuit, cōnferre dignāta est.

[10] Hāc etenim diē īdem rēx ab īnfidēlibus in bellō corporāliter extīnctus, mox ad sempiterna animārum gaudia adsūmptus in caelum, et ēlēctōrum est sociātus agminibus. [11] Quaerant in suīs cōdicibus, in quibus dēfūnctōrum est adnotāta dēpositiō, et invenient illum hāc, ut dīximus, diē raptum esse dē saeculō. [12] Celebrent ergō missās per cūncta monastēriī ōrātōria huius, sīve prō grātiārum āctiōne exaudītae suae dēprecātiōnis sīve etiam in memoriam praefātī rēgis Osvaldī, quī quondam ipsōrum gentī praeerat ideōque prō eīs quasi prō suae gentis advenīs supplex ōrābat ad Dominum; et cūnctīs convenientibus ad ecclēsiam frātribus commūnicent omnēs sacrificiīs caelestibus, et ita solūtō ieiūniō corpus quoque suīs reficiant alimentīs.’

[13] Quae cum omnia vocātō ad sē presbytērō puer verba nārrāsset, interrogāvit eum sollicitus, quālēs essent habitū vel speciē virī quī sibi appāruissent. [14] Respondit: ‘Praeclārī omnīnō habitūs, et vultūs erant laetissimī ac pulcherrimī, quālēs numquam ante vīderam, neque aliquōs hominum tantī decōris ac venustātis esse posse crēdēbam. [15] Vnus quidem adtōnsus erat ut clēricus, alius barbam habēbat prōlixam; dīcēbantque quod ūnus eōrum Petrus, alius vocārētur Paulus, et ipsī essent ministrī Dominī et salvātōris nostrī Iēsu Chrīstī, ad tuitiōnem nostrī monastēriī missī ab ipsō dē caelīs.’ [16] Crēdidit ergō verbīs puerī presbyter, ac statim ēgressus requīsīvit in annāle suō et invenit eādem ipsā diē Osvaldum rēgem fuisse peremtum; vocātīsque frātribus parārī prandium, missās fierī atque omnēs commūnicāre mōre solitō praecēpit, simul et īnfirmantī puerō dē eōdem sacrificiō dominicae oblātiōnis particulam dēferrī mandāvit.

[17] Quibus ita gestīs nōn multō post eādem ipsā diē puer dēfūnctus est, suāque morte probāvit vēra fuisse verba quae ab apostolīs Chrīstī audierat. [18] Sed et hoc eius verbīs testimōnium perhibuit, quod nēmō praeter ipsum tempore illō ex eōdem est monastēriō raptus dē mundō. [19] Ex quā nīmīrum vīsiōne multī, quī haec audīre potuērunt, et ad exōrandam in adversīs dīvīnam clēmentiam et ad salūtāria ieiūniōrum remedia subeunda sunt mīrābiliter accēnsī; et ex eō tempore nōn sōlum in eōdem monastēriō sed et in plērīsque locīs aliīs coepit annuātim eiusdem rēgis ac mīlitis Chrīstī nātālicius diēs missārum celebrātiōne venerārī.

ACCA’S STORY

The scene shifts to Selsey Abbey, Sussex, founded in 681 by Bishop Wilfrid, on land granted by King Æthelwealh of Sussex, the first Christian king of Sussex (see 4.13). Sussex was the last Anglo-Saxon kingdom to be converted to Christianity. This chapter shows the extent of the Northumbrian influence on Anglo-Saxon Christianity; the abbey was founded by a Northumbrian (Wilfrid), and Bede ends with a story connected with the veneration of the Northumbrian St. Oswald.

(1) In quō … monastēriō: Selsey Abbey

nōnnulla … dōna: nōnnulla goes with dōna, and caelestis (genitive) with grātiae

expulsā … tyrannide: ablative absolute

relātum: understand relātum esse, the infinitive introduced by asserere solēbat (“which he used to assert had been related to him…”)

commodum dūximus: “I reckoned it appropriate” (LS, ducō II.B.4.β). The “editorial we” is a common, and polite, way of stating a preference in Latin.

THE MONKS OF SELSEY PRAY TO BE SAVED FROM THE PLAGUE

(2) provincia: Sussex

mortālitās saeva: the plague of 664

(3) As often when discussing miracles, Bede indulges in a long, impressive periodic sentence setting the scene. See articulated text.

Quae: connecting relative, referring back to the plague (mortālitās)

cui … regendō: dative with praefuit

visum est: “it seemed right to,” with dative and infinitive (“it seemed right to the brothers to conduct…”)

sibi: “on them” (referring to the monks)

hōc morbō: ablative with perīclitantēs (“in danger from this sickness”)

perpetuā … damnātiōne: ablative of separation with servāret (“save from”)

THE APOSTLES APPEAR TO A SMALL BOY

(4) tunc temporis: “at that time”; temporis is a partitive genitive (AG 346.4) with tunc.

nōn paucō tempore: ablative of extent of time; paucus in the singular (= parvus) is quite rare, but classical (LS, paucus).

(5) secunda: with diēs, which is the subject of the verb agerētur

contigit … puerum … sōlum invenīrī: accusative-infinitive construction with contigit (“it happened that…”); sōlum is a predicate after invenīrī.

hōrā … secundā: ablative of time when

(6) multum: adverbial, “very”

sincērāque dēvōtiōne: ablative of manner

(7) hodiernā diē: = hodiē

(8) expectāre habēs: a rare infinitive of purpose (AG 460.a) with habeō (“you have to wait…”)

dōnec: introduced by expectāre, see AG 553, and Note 1.

(9) Another massively complex period adds weight to the content of the vision itself: the plague will end with the death of the small boy, a miracle brought about through intercession with God by King Oswald. See articulated text part 1 and part 2. The first part predicts the miraculous abatement of the plague and the death of the boy; the second part emphasizes the role of Oswald as intecessor.

quod … dignāta est: re-order: quod dīvīna misericordia dignāta est conferre vōbis per intercessiōnem religiōsī ac Deō dīlēctī rēgis Osvaldī, quī quondam sublīmiter praefuit gentī Nordanhymbrōrum et auctoritāte temporālis rēgnī et dēvōtiōne Chrīstiānae pietātis, quae dūcit ad perenne rēgnum. Both auctoritāte and dēvōtiōne are ablatives of means. quod (“a thing which”) is the object of conferre.

(10) extīnctus … adsūmptus … sociātus: take est with each of these

et … agminibus: re-order: et sociātus est agminibus ēlēctōrum

(11) Quaerant: jussive subjunctive (“let them search”), as are celebrent, commūnicent, and reficiant, below.

in suīs cōdicibus: possibly the librī memoriālēs, or “memorial books,” which contained “lists of deceased benefactors, clerics, monks and noteworthy lay persons for whom the resident monks were expected to say mass” (Kleinschmidt 2000, 21 note 8)

(12) prō grātiārum āctiōne: “as an expression of thanks for” (+ genitive)

ipsōrum gentī: the people of the monks, i.e., the South Saxons

prō eīs, quasi prō suae gentis advenīs: literally, “for them, as if for strangers (advenīs) of his own people”; the sense seems to be: “he prayed for them as if they were his own people, although they were strangers.” According to Bede (HE 3.6) Oswald of Northumbria (c. 604–642) was overlord (bretwalda in Anglo-Saxon) of all of England, which means he would have ruled Sussex, though he was himself a “stranger” (not a South Saxon)

MIRACLE ON OSWALD’S FEAST DAY

(13) vocātō ad sē presbyterō: indirect object of nārrāsset

qualēs essent: indirect question, introduced by interrogāvit

(14) aliquōs hominum: partitive genitive

tantī decōris ac venustātis: genitives of quality (AG 345)

(15) ad tuitiōnem: ad indicates purpose: “for the protection”

(16) in annāle suō: in the memorial book

vocātīsque frātribus: ablative absolute

parārī prandium … commūnicāre: accusative-infinitive construction of indirect discourse after praecēpit. communicāre = “take holy communion” (DMLBS, communicāre 5)

dē eōdem sacrificiō dominicae oblātiōnis particulam: literally, “a portion from the same sacrifice of the Lord’s Supper”; i.e., Communion is taken to the boy.

(17) nōn multō post: “not much later”

(18) et hoc … quod: “this too … the fact that”

ex eōdem … mundō: re-order: [nēmō] ex eōdem monastēriō raptus est dē mundō

(19) The positive results of this vision included more common recourse to prayer and fasting in times of crisis at the monastery and, more generally, the spread of the celebration of Oswald’s birthday in Sussex.

ad exōrandum … ad … subeunda: ad + gerundive to express purpose (AG 506) introduced by the verb accēnsī sunt

coepit … venerārī: re-order: nātālicius diēs eiusdem rēgis ac mīlitis Chrīstī coepit venerārī annuātim celebrātiōne missārum.

eiusdem rēgis: Oswald

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