Chapter 4.19

< Vt Edilthryd rēgīna virgō perpetua permānserit, cuius nec corpus in monumentō corrumpī potuerit >

[1] Accēpit autem rēx Ecgfrid coniugem nōmine Aedilthrydam, fīliam Anna rēgis Orientālium Anglōrum, cuius saepius mentiōnem fēcimus, virī bene religiōsī ac per omnia mente et opere ēgregiī; quam et alter ante illum vir habuerat uxōrem, prīnceps vidēlicet Austrālium Gyruiōrum vocābulō Tondberct. [2] Sed illō post modicum temporis ex quō eam accēpit dēfūnctō, data est rēgī praefātō, cuius cōnsortiō cum XII annīs ūterētur, perpetuā tamen mānsit virginitātis integritāte glōriōsā; sīcut mihimet scīscitantī, cum hoc an ita esset quibusdam vēnisset in dubium, beātae memoriae Vilfrid episcopus referēbat, dīcēns sē testem integritātis eius esse certissimum; adeō ut Ecgfridus prōmīserit sē eī terrās ac pecūniās multās esse dōnātūrum, sī rēgīnae posset persuādēre eius ūtī cōnūbiō, quia sciēbat illam nūllum virōrum plūs illō dīligere. [3] Nec diffīdendum est nostrā etiam aetāte fierī potuisse, quod aevō praecēdente aliquotiēs factum fidēlēs historiae nārrant, dōnante ūnō eōdemque Dominō, quī sē nōbīscum usque in fīnem saeculī manēre pollicētur. [4] Nam etiam signum dīvīnī mīrāculī, quō eiusdem fēminae sepulta carō corrumpī nōn potuit, indiciō est quia virīlī contāctū incorrupta dūrāverit.

[5] Quae multum diū rēgem postulāns ut saeculī cūrās relinquere atque in monastēriō tantum vērō rēgī Chrīstō servīre permitterētur, ubi vix aliquandō impetrāvit, intrāvit monastērium Æbbæ abbātissae, quae erat amita rēgis Ecgfridī, positum in locō quem Colūdī Vrbem nōminant, acceptō vēlāmine sānctimōniālis habitūs ā praefātō antistite Vilfridō. [6] Post annum vērō ipsa facta est abbātissa in regiōne quae vocātur Elgē, ubi cōnstrūctō monastēriō, virginum Deō dēvōtārum perplūrium māter virgō et exemplīs vītae caelestis esse coepit et monitīs. [7] Dē quā ferunt quia, ex quō monastērium petiit, numquam līneīs sed sōlum lāneīs vestīmentīs ūtī voluerit; rārōque in calidīs balneīs, praeter imminentibus sollemniīs maiōribus, verbī grātiā paschae pentēcostēs epiphanīae, lavārī voluerit; et tunc novissima omnium, lōtīs prius suō suārumque ministrārum obsequiō cēterīs quae ibi essent famulīs Chrīstī; rārō praeter maiōra sollemnia vel artiōrem necessitātem plūs quam semel per diem mandūcāverit; semper, sī nōn īnfirmitās gravior prohibuisset, ex tempore mātūtīnae synaxeōs usque ad ortum diēī in ecclēsiā precibus intenta persteterit. [8] Sunt etiam quī dīcant quia per prophētīae spīritum et pestilentiam, quā ipsa esset moritūra praedīxerit et numerum quoque eōrum quī dē suō monastēriō hāc essent dē mundō rapiendī palam cūnctīs praesentibus intimāverit. [9] Rapta est autem ad Dominum in mediō suōrum post annōs septem ex quō abbātissae gradum suscēperat; et aequē ut ipsa iusserat nōn alibī quam in mediō eōrum, iuxtā ōrdinem quō trānsierat, ligneō in locellō sepulta.

[10] Cui successit in ministerium abbātissae soror eius Sexburg, quam habuerat in coniugem Earconberct rēx Cantuāriōrum. [11] Et cum sēdecim annīs esset sepulta, placuit eīdem abbātissae levārī ossa eius et in locellō novō posita in ecclēsiam trānsferrī; iussitque quōsdam ē frātribus quaerere lapidem dē quō locellum in hoc facere possent; quī ascēnsā nāvī (ipsa enim rēgiō Elge undique est aquīs ac palūdibus circumdata, neque lapidēs maiōrēs habet) vēnērunt ad cīvitātulam quandam dēsōlātam, nōn procul inde sitam, quae linguā Anglōrum Grantacaestir vocātur; et mox invēnērunt iuxtā mūrōs cīvitātis locellum dē marmore albō pulcherrimē factum, operculō quoque similis lapidis aptissimē tēctum. [12] Vnde intellegentēs ā Dominō suum iter esse prōsperātum, grātiās agentēs rettulērunt ad monastērium.

[13] Cumque corpus sacrae virginis ac spōnsae Chrīstī apertō sepulchrō esset prōlātum in lūcem, ita incorruptum inventum est ac sī eōdem diē fuisset dēfūncta sīve humō condita, sīcut et praefātus antistes Vilfrid et multī aliī quī nōvēre testantur; sed certiōrī nōtitiā medicus Cynifrid, quī et morientī illī et ēlevātae dē tumulō adfuit, quī referre erat solitus quod illa īnfirmāta habuerit tumōrem maximum sub māxillā; ‘Iussēruntque mē,’ inquit, ‘incīdere tumōrem illum ut efflueret noxius ūmor quī inerat; quod dum facerem, vidēbātur illa per bīduum aliquantō levius habēre, ita ut multī putārent quia sānārī posset ā languōre. [14] Tertiā autem dīē priōribus adgravāta dolōribus et rapta cōnfestim dē mundō, dolōrem omnem ac mortem perpetuā salūte ac vītā mūtāvit. [15] Cumque post tot annōs ēlevanda essent ossa dē sepulchrō et, extentō dēsuper pāpiliōne omnis congregātiō, hinc frātrum inde sorōrum, psallēns circumstāret, ipsa autem abbātissa intus cum paucīs ossa ēlātūra et dīlūtūra intrāsset, repente audīvimus abbātissam intus vōce clārā prōclāmāre: “Sit glōria nōminī Dominī.” Nec multō post clāmāvērunt mē intus, reserātō ōstiō pāpiliōnis, vīdīque ēlevātum dē tumulō et positum in lectulō corpus sacrae Deō virginis quasi dormientis simile. [16] Sed et discoopertō vultūs indūmentō mōnstrāvērunt mihi etiam vulnus incīsūrae, quod fēceram, cūrātum; ita ut mīrum in modum prō apertō et hiante vulnere, cum quō sepulta erat, tenuissima tunc cicātrīcis vestīgia parērent. [17] Sed et linteāmina omnia quibus involūtum erat corpus integra appāruērunt, et ita nova ut ipsō diē vidērentur castīs eius membrīs esse circumdata.’ [18] Ferunt autem quia, cum praefātō tumōre ac dolōre māxillae sīve collī premerētur, multum dēlectāta sit hōc genere īnfirmitātis, ac solita dīcere: ‘Sciō certissimē quia meritō in collō pondus languōris portō, in quō iuvenculam mē meminī supervacua moniliōrum pondera portāre; et crēdō quod ideō mē superna pietās dolōre collī voluit gravārī, ut sīc absolvar reātū supervacuae levitātis, dum mihi nunc prō aurō et margarītīs dē collō rubor tumōris ārdorque prōmineat.’ [19] Contigit autem tāctū indūmentōrum eōrundem et daemonia ab obsessīs effugāta corporibus et īnfirmitātēs aliās aliquotiēs esse cūrātās. Sed et loculum, in quō prīmō sepulta est, nōnnūllīs oculōs dolentibus salūtī fuisse perhibent; quī cum suum caput eīdem loculō adpōnentēs ōrāssent, mox dolōris sīve cālīginis incommodum ab oculīs āmovērent. [20] Lāvērunt igitur virginēs corpus, et novīs indūtum vestibus intulērunt in ecclēsiam, atque in eō quod allātum erat sarcophāgō posuērunt, ubi usque hodiē in magnā venerātiōne habētur. [21] Mīrum vērō in modum ita aptum corporī virginis sarcophagum inventum est, ac sī eī speciāliter praeparātum fuisset, et locus quoque capitis seorsum fabrēfactus ad mēnsūram capitis illīus aptissimē figūrātus appāruit.

[22] Est autem Elgē in prōvinciā Orientālium Anglōrum regiō familiārum circiter sexcentārum, in similitūdinem īnsulae vel palūdibus, ut dīximus, circumdata vel aquīs (unde et ā cōpiā anguillārum quae in eīsdem palūdibus capiuntur nōmen accēpit), ubi monastērium habēre dēsīderāvit memorāta Chrīstī famula, quoniam dē prōvinciā eōrundem Orientālium Anglōrum ipsa, ut praefātī sumus, carnis orīginem dūxerat.

ÆTHYLTHRYTH PRESERVES HER VIRGINITY

In the Middle Ages St. Æthelthryth also became known by the names St. Etheldreda and St. Audrey. An Anglo-Saxon version of the Life of St. Æthelthryth, closely based on Bede, can be found in Ælfric's Lives of Saints (second half of the 10th century).

(1) rex Ecgfrid: Ecgfrith, king of Deira (664–670) and then of all Northumbria from 670 to his death in 685. Plummer places the marriage of Ecgfrith and Æthelthryth in 660, when Ecgfrith would have been 15 and Æthelthryth considerably older.

Anna: read as a genitive with rēgis. The genitives virī, religiōsī, and ēgregiī all agree with rēgis. King Anna ruled the East Angles ca. 636–654.

per omnia: “in all respects”

quam: Æthylthryth

uxōrem: predicate accusative: “as a wife”

Austrālium Gyruiōrum: “of the South Gyrwas.” The territory of the South Gyrwas probably occupied the Fenlands around present day Ely. Gyr is the Old English word for “marsh.”

(2) sed illō … defunctō: ablative absolute: “But when that man had died…”

post modicum temporis ex quō: “after a little time since the time when…”

cum: concessive, “although…”

consortiō … XII annīs uterētur: “spent twelve years as his partner.”

sicut … referēbat: re-order: sicut Vilfrid … referēbat mihimet … cum vēnisset in dubium quibusdam an hoc ita esset...

Vilfrid: Wilfrid (ca. 633–ca. 709), bishop of Northumbria

adeō ut: “to the extent that…”

promīserit: introduces indirect statement (accusative-infinitive): “Egfrith promised that he () would give (esse donātūrum) to him () ….” promīserit is the perfect subjunctive in a result clause.

plūs illō: illō refers to Wilfrid.

(3) Nec diffīdendum: “Nor must it be doubted” or “Nor must we lack confidence,” introducing accusative (the whole quod clause functions as the accusative) and infinitive (potuisse) construction (“…that what faithful historians say happened … was able to happen...”).

donānte … Dominō: causal ablative absolute (“since…”)

nobiscum … manēre: an allusion to Matthew 28:20: et ecce ego vōbīscum sum omnibus diēbus, usque ad cōnsummātiōnem saeculī (Vulgate).

(4) signum dīvīnī mīrāculī, quō … indiciō est: mīrācūlī is the antecedent of quō (“the divine miracle by means of which…”); indiciō is dative of purpose (AG 382): “is for an indication,” i.e., “is an indication.”

quia: introducing indirect discourse (“an indication that…”), as often in Bede (see Bede’s Latin 6.3)

ÆTHYLTHRYTH BECOMES AN ABBESS

(5) Quae, “she,” is a connecting relative (AG 380.f) and the subject; an initial noun clause ut … permitterētur (AG 561) depends on the verb impetrāvit, which comes after it; the main verb contains the key point, intrāvit, which is followed by details regarding the monastery and Æthylthryth’s entry into it. See articulated text. The structure emphasizes the intensity of Æthylthryth’s desire to withdraw.

tantum vērō rēgī Chrīstō servīre: “to serve only Christ, the true king.”

Æbbae: the sister of Oswiu (Oswy), and aunt (amita, father’s sister) of Ecgfrith.

Coludī urbem: Coldingham, in Berwickshire, in the Scottish Borders.

(6) Elge: Ely

virginum … monitīs: rearrange for clearer syntax: exemplīs vītae caelestis et monitīs [suīs], [Æthylthryth] coepit esse mater virgō perplūrium virginum dēvōtārum Deō. The word order as written emphasizes the key word, perplūrium.

vērō: moreover, indeed.

constructō monasteriō: “when a monastery had been built there.”

mater virgō: “She (Æthelthryth), began to be the ‘virgin mother’” of her abbey. Æthelthryth is associated with the Virgin Mary both here and in Bede's poem (4.20)

et … et: “both … and”

(7) Bede give details about Æthylthryth’s lifestyle as abbess in a series of subordinate clauses introduced by adverbs, after the main verb ferunt quia, “they say that”: numquam … voluerit; rārōque … voluerit; rārō … mandūcāverit; semper … persteterit. For indirect statement with quia + pf. subj., very frequent in Bede, see Bede’s Latin 6.3 and Druhan, p. 181. See articulated text.

ex quō: ex quō tempore (“from the time when”)

monasterium petiit: “entered the monastery”

rarōque: adverbial (“rarely”)

praeter imminentibus sollemniīs maioribus: ablative absolute, “except when major feast days were coming up…”

verbī gratiā: “for example”

novissima omnium: “last of all”

lotīs … famulīs: temporal ablative absolute (“when…”)

suō suārumque ministrārum obsequiō: “by her service [i.e., assistance] and that of her attendants”

quae ibi essent: the antecedent of quae is famulīs: “the handmaidens of Christ who were there.”

praeter: “with the exception of” + accusative

sī nōn: “unless”

ex tempore mātūtīnae synaxeōs: “from the time of matins” (i.e., from before dawn). Synaxeōs is a Greek genitive (συνάξεως < σύναξις, an assembly for liturgical purposes).

(8) quia: introducing indirect statement.

et … praedīxerit … et … intimāverit: “she both predicted … and indicated.”

eōrum: Æthelthryth's monastery, Ely, was a double monastery for both women and men, hence the masculine here.

hāc essent dē mundō rapiendī: hāc (ablative of means) refers to the pestilentia: “who would be snatched from the world by this [plague].”

(9) et aequē ut: “and just as”

nōn alibī quam: “not elsewhere than”

iuxtā ordinem quō trānsierat: “according to the order in which they died”

ÆTHYLTHRYTH’S BODY REMAINS UNCORRUPTED AFTER DEATH

(10) Sexburg: Seaxbuhr was Æthylthryth’s sister and wife of King Eorcenberht of Kent, and succeded Æthylthryth as abbess of Ely in 679.

(11) dē quō: “out of which”; for indicating the material from which something is made, see LS, I.C.3.

in hoc: "for this purpose"

ascensā navī: ablative absolute (“when a ship had been boarded”)

enim: explanatory: “for the region of Ely itself…”

nōn procul inde sitam quae: “located not far from (the town) which”

Grantacaestir: Grantchester, near Cambridge, the site of a Roman castrum, or fort (Granta is the original name of the River Cam, which runs through Cambridge).

locellum de marmore albō: “a sarcophagus of white marble.” The monks from Ely found a Roman marble sarcophagus among the ruins of the Roman camp.

operculō … tēctum: “covered with a lid…” Tēctum modifies locellum.

(13) ac sī … sīve: translate as conjunctive: “as if she had died and been buried (humō condita) on the same day….”

certiorī notitiā: “But Cynifrid [bears witness to this] with more certain familiarity….” Understand the verb testātur from the previous clause.

dum: "as soon as" + subjunctive (a later Latin usage, see DMLBS s.v. dum 3.b).

aliquantō levius habēre: “to suffer somewhat less severely." Habēre + adverb can mean “to be” in specific condition. levius is the comparative of the adverb leviter, “without suffering, bearably, not severely,” DMBLS, leviter 4.

(14) dolōrem … mūtāvit: mūtāre = “to exchange x (accusative) for y (ablative).”

(15) ēlevanda essent: imperfect subjunctive (in the cum-clause) of the passive periphrastic: “were to be raised.”

ēlātūra et dīlūtūra: the future active participle, agreeing with a noun, can express purpose or intention (AG 499.2). Here the participles agree with abbatissa: “When the abbess entered to raise and wash the bones….”

clāmāvērunt mē intus: "called me in"

reserātō ostiō pāpiliōnis: ablative absolute

quasi dormientis simile: “as if the image of someone sleeping” (i.e., “like someone sleeping”)

(16) discoopertō vultūs indūmentō: ablative absolute (“when the veil [i.e., covering] of her face was removed…”)

mirum in modum: “amazingly”

prō: “in place of”

parērent: “appeared”

(18) ferunt autem quia: introducing indirect discourse: “Moreover, they say that…”

delectāta sit: “she took pleasure in…” (with ablative)

moniliōrum: "of necklaces." In the 16th century, women attending St. Audrey's Fair in Ely would purchase cheap lace ribbons to wear around their necks in the saint's honor. "St. Audrey lace" was shortened to "tawdry lace," and eventually the word "tawdry" came to refer to any cheap adornment.

crēdō quod ... voluit gravārī, ut sīc absolvar: crēdō quod introduces indirect statement, in which the subordinate verb (voluit) is in the indicative, rather than the usual subjunctive. The indicative indicates that the speaker, Æthelthryth, is stating her own thought or belief, and vouching for its truth (see Druhan, p. 211). Take voluit as primary sequence (present perfect, "has wished"), introducing the present subjunctive absolvar in the purpose clause.

superna pietas: i.e., God

dolōre: ablative of means

rubor tumōris ārdorque: “the redness and fiery glow of my swelling,” i.e., the goiter, cyst, or abscess on her neck. The slightly poetic phrasing emphasizes the comparison between the cyst and jewelry.

(19) Contigit: “it came about that…” (with accusative and infinitive)

et daemonia … et īnfirmitātēs: “both … and”

nonnullīs oculōs dolentibus salūtī: double dative (AG 382) and accusative of respect (synechdochical or Greek Accusative, AG 397.b): “was a source of health for not a few people hurting with respect to their eyes…”

cālīginis: "darkness," or "cloudiness"

(21) capitis seorum fabrēfactus: "fashioned separately for her head."

figūrātus apparuit: appareō takes a predicate adjective (“appeared fashioned”)

(22) familiārum circiter sexcentārum: “of almost 600 hides (or familiae).”

anguillārum: The name Ely seems to derive from the Anglo-Saxon Ǽl (eel) and ig (island); the original name Elige was contracted to Elge.

carnis originem dūxerat: literally, “she had traced the origin of her flesh,” i.e., this was her home region.

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