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Here followeth the Life of S. Blase, and first of his name.
Blase is as much to say as glosing, or it is said as belasius of bela, which is habit, and syor, which is to say, little. And thus he is said glosing by the sweetness of his word, meek by his habit of virtues, and little by humility of manners and of conversation.
S. Blase was so sweet, holy and humble in manners, that the christian men of Cappadocia of the city of Sebaste chose him to be a bishop. The which when he was bishop saw that Diocletian the emperor made so many persecutions to christian men that S. Blase sought and would dwell in an hermitage in a ditch, in which place the birds of heaven brought to him meat for to eat. And it seemed to him that they came to serve him and accompany him, and would not depart from him till he had lift up his hands and blessed them. And also sick men came to him and anon were cured and healed. Now it happed that the prince of this region sent his knights to hunt, and they could take nothing. But by adventure they came unto the desert place where S. Blase was, where they found great multitude of beasts which were about him, of whom they could take none, whereof they were all abashed and showed this to their lord, the which anon sent many knights for him, and commanded to bring him and all the christian men with him. And that night Jesu Christ appeared to him thrice, which said to him: Arise up and make to me sacrifice. Lo! here be the knights that come to fetch thee at the commandment of the prince. And the knights said to him: Come out from this place, the president calleth thee. And S. Blase answered: My sons, ye be welcome, I see now well that God hath not forgotten me. He went with them and continually preached, and did many miracles tofore them.
There was a woman that had a son dying, in whose throat was a bone of a fish athwart, which estrangled him, and she brought him tofore his feet, praying him that he would make her son whole. And S. Blase put his hand upon him and made his prayer to God that this child, and all they that demanded benefits of health in his name, that they should be holpen and obtain it, and anon he was whole and guerished.
Another woman there was that was poor which had a swine, which the wolf had borne away, and she humbly prayed to S. Blase that she might have again her swine. And he began to smile and said: Good woman anger thee not, for thou shalt have again thy swine, and anon the wolf brought again to the woman, which was a widow, her swine.
And anon after he was entered into the city, the prince commanded to put him in prison, and after another day he made him to come tofore him, whom he saluted by fair words, saying to him: Be thou joyful, Blase, the friend of God. S. Blase answered to him: Be thou joyous right good prince, but call not them gods whom thou worshippest, but fiends, for they be delivered to fire perdurable with them that serve and worship them. Then was the prince much wroth, and made to beat S. Blase with staves, and after to put him in prison. Then said S. Blase: O mad man, weenest thou by thy torments and pains to take away from me the love of my God whom I have with me and is my helper? And when this good widow, which by S. Blase had recovered her swine, heard thereof, she slew it, and the head and the feet with a little bread and a candle, she brought to S. Blase, and he thanked God and ate thereof, and he said to her that every year she should offer in his church a candle, and know thou that to thee and to all them that so shall do shall well happen to them, and so she did all her life, and she had much great prosperity. After this that the right cruel prince had brought him tofore his gods, and in no wise might make him incline for to adore to their gods, he made him to be hanged on a gibbet, and his body to be torn with combs of iron, and this done he was remitted again to prison. And there were seven women that siewed him, which gathered up the drops of his blood, which women anon were taken, and constrained to sacrifice to their gods. The which said: If thou wilt that we worship thy gods, and that we do to them reverence, send them to the water for to wash and make clean their visages, to the end that we may more cleanlier worship them. Then the prince was right glad and joyous, and anon sent them to the water, and the women took them and threw them in the middle of the stagne or pond, and said: Now shall we see if they be gods. And when the prince heard this he was out of his wit for anger, and smote himself all wroth saying: Wherefore retained not ye our gods that they should not have thrown them in the bottom of the water? The ministers answered:Thou spakest shrewdly to the women, and they cast them into the water. To whom the women said: The very God may not suffer iniquity ne falseness, for if they had been very gods they had well eschewed that they had not been thrown there, and had seen what we would have done. Then the tyrant became wroth and did do make ready lead molten and iron combs, and seven coats of iron burning as hot as fire on that one side, and that other he did do bring smocks of linen cloth and said to them that they should choose which they would. And one of them that had two small children ran hardily and took the smocks of linen cloth and threw them in the furnace for to go after herself if she had failed. And the children said to the mother, leave us not after thee, but right sweet mother, like as thou hast nourished us with thy milk so replenish us with the realm of heaven. Then the tyrant did do hang them, and with hooks and crochets of iron did do tear their flesh and all to-rent it. Of whom the flesh was as white as snow, and for blood they gave out milk. And as they suffered these great torments the angel of God descended from heaven and comforted them, and said to them: Have ye no dread, the worker is good that well beginneth and well endeth, and who deserveth good reward shall have joy, and for his work complete he shall have his merit, and for labour he shall have rest, and that shall be the reward. Then the tyrant did do take them down and did do throw them into the burning furnace, which women, by the grace of God issued without taking harm, and the fire was extinct and quenched. And the tyrant said to them, now leave ye your art of enchantment and adore ye our gods. And they answered: Do that thou hast begun, for we be now called to the kingdom of heaven. Then he commanded that they should be beheaded; and when they should be beheaded they began to adore God kneeling on their knees, saying: Lord God which hast departed us from darknesses, and in to this right sweet light hast brought us, and of us hast made thy sacrifice, receive our souls, and make us to come to the life perdurable, and thus had they their heads smitten off, and sith their souls went to heaven. After this the prince made S. Blase to be brought before him, and said to him: Hast thou now worshipped our gods or not? S. Blase answered: Right cruel man I have no dread of thy menaces, do what thou wilt, I deliver to thee my body whole. Then he took him and did him to be cast in to a pond, and anon he blessed the water and the water dried all away, and so he abode there safe. And then S. Blase said to him, If your gods be very and true gods, let them now show their virtue and might and enter ye hither. Then there entered into it sixty-five persons, and anon they were drowned. And an angel descended from heaven, and said to S. Blase: Blase go out of this water and receive the crown that is made ready of God for thee. And when he was issued out of the pond the tyrant said to him: Thou hast determined in all manners not for to adore our gods. To whom S. Blase said: Poor caitiff, know thou that I am servant of God, and I adore not the fiends as ye do. And anon then the tyrant did do smite off his head, and S. Blase prayed to our Lord tofore his death that whosoever desired his help from the infirmity of the throat, or required aid for any other sickness or infirmity, that he would hear him, and might deserve to be guerished and healed. And there came a voice from heaven to him saying that his petition was granted and should be done as he had prayed. And so then with the two little children he was beheaded about the year of our Lord three hundred and eighty seven.
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