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Here followeth the Life of S. Swithin, Bishop.
S. Swithin, the holy confessor, was born beside Winchester in the time of St. Egbert, king. He was the seventh king after Kenulf that S. Birinus christened. For S. Austin christened not all England in S. Ethelbert’s days, but S. Birinus christened the west part of England in the days of Kenulf the king. And at that time this holy S. Swithin served our Lady so devoutly that all people that knew him had great joy of his holiness, and Elmeston, that was in that time Bishop of Winchester, made him priest. And then he lived a straighter living than he did before, and he became then so holy in living that King Egbert made him his chancellor and chief of his council, and set Ethulf his son and his heir under his rule and guiding, and prayed him to take heed to him that he might be brought up virtuously. And within short time after the king died, and then his son Ethult was made king after him. And he guided this land full well and wisely, that it increased greatly in good living, through the counsel of S. Swithin. And when Elmeston the Bishop of Winchester was dead, Swithin was made Bishop there after him, whereof the people were full glad, and by his holy living he caused the people to live virtuously, and to pay their tithes to God and holy church. And if any church fell down, or was in decay, S. Swithin would anon amend it at his own cost. Or if any church were not hallowed, he would go thither afoot and hallow it. For he loved no pride, ne to ride on gay horses, ne to be praised ne flattered of the people, which in these days such things be used over much. God cease it.
S. Swithin guided full well his bishopric, and did much good to the town of Winchester in his time. He did do make without the west gate of the town a fair bridge of stone at his proper cost. And on a time there came a woman over the bridge with her lap full of eggs, and a reckless fellow struggled and wrestled with her, and brake all her eggs. And it happed that this holy bishop came that way the same time, and bade the woman let him see her eggs, and anon he lift up his hand and blessed the eggs, and they were made whole and sound, ever each one, by the merits of this holy bishop, and being then glad she thanked God and this holy man for the miracle that was done to her.
And soon after died King Ethulf, and his son Egbert reigned after him. And after him was Ethelbert king; and in the third year of his reign died this blessed bishop S. Swithin. And when he should die, he charged his men to bury him in the churchyard, for the people should not worship him after his death. For he loved no pomp by his life, ne none would have after his death. He passed to our Lord the year of grace eight hundred and six. And he lay in the churchyard, ere he was translated, a hundred and nine years and odd days. But in the time of holy king Edgar his body was translated and put in a shrine in the abbey of Winchester by S. Dunstan and Ethelwold. And the same year was S. Edward, king and martyr shrined at Shaftesbury. These two bishops, Dunstan and Ethelwold, were warned by our Lord to see that these two holy Saints, Swithin and Edward, should be worshipfully shrined, and so they were within short time after. And a holy man warned Ethelwold whilst he lay sick, to help that these two holy bodies might be shrined, and then he should be perfectly whole, and so endure to his life’s end; and the token is that, ye shall find on S. Swithin’s grave two rings of iron nailed fast thereon. And as soon as he set hand on the rings they came off of the stone, and no token was seen in the stone, where they were fastened in. And when they had taken up the stone from the grave, they set the rings to the stone again, and anon they fastened to it by themselves. And then this holy bishop gave laud and praising to our Lord for this miracle. And at the opening of the grave of S. Swithin, such a sweet odour and savour issued out that king Edgar and all the multitude of people were fulfilled with heavenly sweetness, and a blind man received there his sight again, and many were healed of divers sickness and maladies by the merits of this holy saint, S. Swithin, to whom let us pray that he be our advocate to the good Lord for us, etc.
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