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THE LEGEND OF ST. CHRISTOPHER.
THERE was a man of stature big,
And big withall in mind;
He greater none might find.
He, hearing that the emperor
Was in the world most great, Came to his court, was entertain’d,
And, serving him at meat,
It chanced the devil was named-whereat
The emperor him blest;
The Pagan would not rest.
But when he heard his lord to fear
The devil, his ghostly foe, He left his service, and to seek
And serve the devil did go,
Of heav'n or hell, God or the devil,
He erst nor heard nor cared ; Alone he sought to serve the same
That would by none be dared.
He met (who soon is met) the devil ;
Was entertain'd: they walk, Till, coming to a cross, the devil
Did fearfully it balk :
The servant, musing, questioned
His master of his fear: “ One Christ (quoth he) with dread I mind,
" When doth a cross appear.”
“ Then serve thyself! (the Giant said)
“ That Christ to serve I'll seek !" For him he ask'd a hermit, who
Advis’d him to be meek:
By which, by faith, and works of alms,
Would sought-for Christ be found ; And how, and where to practise these
He gave directions sound.
Then he, that scorn'd his service late,
To greatest potentates,
To carry all awaits.
THE ORIGIN OF MONKS.
Quoth he, not long since was a man,
That did his devoir give, .
And did in penance live.
And though beloved by the king,
He lived by his sweat:
Unworthy for to eat.
He told the erring their amiss,
And taught them to amend ; He counselled the comfortless,
And all his days did spend
In prayer and in poverty:
Amongst his doings well,
This accident befell :
A dozen thieves, to have been hang'd
Were led this hermit by ;
Like Christian men to die.
So penitent they were, and he
So pitiful, good man,
The prisoners he ran :
Which got, he gave it them: but this
Proviso did he add,
They grant, poor souls, and glad.
He got them gowns of country grey,
And hoods for rain and cold, And hempen girdles, which (besides
Themselves) might burthens hold;
Pick-ax, and spade : and hard to work
The convent fell together; , With robes, and ropes, and ev'ry tool
For every work and weather.
So did they toil, as thereabout
No causey was unwrought; Wherefore new labours for his men
The holy hermit sought.
But, at departure, prayed them
To fast, to watch, and pray,
And live remote from worldly men;
And goeth so his way.
The holy thieves, (for now in them
Had custom wrought content,)
Did heartily repent.
Now when the country-folk did hear
Of these same men devout, Religiously they haunt their cells ;
And lastly, brought about
That, from the woods, to buildings brave,
They won the hermit's crew, Who was from found-out work return’d,
And their aposta knew.
He, going to their stately place,
Did find, in every dish,
Of dainty fowl and fish.
Who seeing their saturity,
And practising to win
“ Doth work access to sin.