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Here followeth the Translation of S. Thomas of Canterbury.
The translation of the glorious martyr, S. Thomas of Canterbury, we shall shortly rehearse unto the laud and praising of Almighty God, then in the fiftieth year after his passion, which was the year of jubilee, that is of remission. For, of ancient time, the fiftieth year was called the year of the jubilee of pardon and remission, and is yet used among religious men. For when a religious man hath continued in his order fifty years, then he shall be admitted to make his jubilee, and that made, he is pardoned and hath remission of many observances that tofore he was bounden unto. Then in this year of jubilee from his passion, was the solemnity of his translation accomplished, in the time of Honorius, the third pope of that name. The which granted yearly remissions and indulgences so great and large, that tofore in no time of mind hath been seen any popes to have granted and given like. Then let us call to mind that on a Tuesday his translation was accomplished. On the Tuesday happed to him many things. On a Tuesday he was born, on a Tuesday he was exiled, on a Tuesday our Lord appeared to him at Pountney in France, saying: Thomas, my church shall be glorified in thy blood. On a Tuesday he returned from his exile, and on a Tuesday he suffered martyrdom.
Then how this holy translation was fulfilled now ye shall hear. The reverend father in God, Stephen, Archbishop of Canterbury, Richard, bishop of Salisbury, Walter, the prior of the same place, with the convent, with spiritual songs and devout hymns, when it was night, went to the sepulchre of this holy martyr, and all that night and day of his translation, they persevered in prayers and fastings. And after midnight, four priests, elected and thereto chosen, approaching to his body, took up the holy head with great devotion and reverence, and unto them all offered it for to kiss it. Then the archbishop, and all the others, made great honour to it, and took all the relics of the precious body, and laid them in a chest, and shut it fast with iron locks, and set it in a place for to be kept unto the day that the translation should be solemnised. The day then of this holy translation being come, there were present a great innumerable multitude of people, as well of rich as of poor. There was Pandulphus, a legate of our holy father the pope, and two archbishops of France, of Rheims and Arles, with many other bishops and abbots, and also king Harry the Third with earls and barons, which king himself took the chest upon his shoulders, and with the other prelates and lords, brought it with great joy and honour in to the place where it is now worshipped, and was laid in a fair and much rich shrine. At whose holy translation were showed, by the merits of this holy martyr, S. Thomas, many miracles. To blind men was given their sight, to deaf men their hearing, to dumb men their speech, and to dead men was restored life.
Among all others there was a man, because of great devotion that he had to be at this holy translation and visit the holy martyr, which came to the bridge at Brentford by London; and when he was in the middle of the bridge, meeting there one, was cast into the water. This man, not forgetting himself, called S. Thomas unto his help, and besought him not to suffer his pilgrim to perish, ne to be there drowned. And five times he sank down to the ground, and five times arose above the water, and then he was cast to the dry ground. Then he affirmed that he received no water into his mouth, ne into his ears that did to him grievance ne hurt that he felt, save in his falling he felt in his mouth a little salt water; and added more thereto, saying that, when he sank, a bishop held him up that he might not sink.
This holy translation was done and accomplished the year of our Lord twelve hundred and twenty, in the nones of July, at three o’clock, in the fiftieth year after his passion. For this glorious saint our Lord hath showed many great miracles, as well by his life, as after his death and martyrdom. For a little tofore his death a young man died and was raised again by miracle. And he said that he was led to see the holy order of saints in heaven, and there he saw a seat void, and he asked for whom it was, and it was answered to him that, it was kept for the great bishop of England, S. Thomas of Canterbury. There was also a simple priest that daily sang no other mass but of our Lady, whereof he was put to S. Thomas his ordinary, whom accused, he opposed, and found him full simple of conning, wherefore he suspended him, and inhibited him his mass. Wherefore this priest was full sorry, and prayed humbly to our blessed Lady that he might be restored again to say his mass. And then our blessed Lady appeared to this priest, and bade him go to S. Thomas, and bid him by the token that the lady whom thou servest hath sewed his shirt of hair with red silk, which he shall find there as he laid it, that he give thee leave to sing mass, and assoil thee of his suspending and thine inhibiting, and restore thee again to thy service. And when S. Thomas heard this he was greatly abashed, and went and found like as the priest had said, and then assoiled him to say mass as he did before, commanding him to keep this thing secret as long as he lived.
There was a lady in England that desired greatly to have grey eyes, for she had a conceit that she should be the more beauteous in the sight of the people; and only for that cause she made a row to visit S. Thomas upon her bare feet. And when she came thither, and had devoutly made her prayers to have her desire, suddenly she wax stark blind, and then she perceived that she had offended and displeased our Lord in that request, and cried God mercy of that offence, and besought him full meekly to be restored of her sight again. And by the merits of the blessed S. Thomas she was restored to her sight again, and was glad to have her old eyes, and returned home again, and lived holy to her life’s end. Also there was a lord’s carver that brought water to him at his table, to whom the lord said: If thou hast ever stolen anything of mine, I pray God and S. Thomas that thou have no water in the bason, and suddenly it was all void of the water and dry, and there was he proved a thief.
There was a tame bird kept in a cage whicb was learned to speak. And on a time he fled out of the cage and flew into the field; and there came a sparrowhawk, and would have taken this bird and pursued after. And the bird being in great dread cried: S. Thomas! help! like as he had heard others speak, and the sparrowhawk fell down dead. and the bird escaped harmless.
Also there was a man that S. Thomas loved much in his days, and he fell in a grievous sickness, wherefore he went to the tomb of S. Thomas to pray for his health, and anon he had his desire and was all whole. And as he turned homeward, being all whole, then he began to dread lest this health should not be most profitable for his soul. Then he returned again to the tomb of S. Thomas, and prayed if his health were not profitable to his soul, that his old sickness might come again to him. And it came anon again to him, and endured unto his life’s end. And in like wise there was a devout blind man which had his sight restored to him again by the merit of S. Thomas; but after, he repented him for he could not be so quiet in his mind as he was before, he had then so much letting by seeing the vanities of the world. Wherefore he prayed to our Lord that by the merits of S. Thomas, he might be blind again to the world as he was before, and anon he had his desire, and lived after full holily to his life’s end. Who should tell all the miracles that our blessed Lord hath showed for this holy martyr, it should overmuch endure, for ever sith his passion unto this day, God hath showed continually for him many great miracles. Then let us pray this holy saint to be a special advocate for us wretched sinners unto our Lord God, who bring us unto his everlasting bliss in heaven.
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