|« Prev||The Life of Barlaam the Hermit||Next »|
Here followeth of Barlaam the Hermit.
Barlaam, of whom S. John Damascene made the history with great diligence, in whom divine grace so wrought that he converted to the faith S. Josaphat. And then as all India was full of christian people and of monks, there arose a puissant king which was named Avennir, which made great persecution to christian men and specially to monks. And it happed so that one, which was friend of the king and chief in his palace, by the inspiration of divine grace left the hall royal for to enter into the order of monks And when the king heard say that he was christian he was wood for anger, and did do seek him through every desert till that he was found with great pain, and then he was brought tofore him. And when he saw him in a vile coat and much lean for hunger, which was wont to be covered with precious clothing and abounded in much riches, he said to him: O thou fool and out of thy mind, why hast thou changed thine honour into villainy and art made the player of children? And he said to him: If thou wilt hear of me reason, put from thee thine enemies. Then the king demanded him who were his enemies, and he said to him, ire and covetise, for they empesh and let, that truth may not be seen, ne to assay prudence and equity. To whom the king said: Let it be as thou sayst, and that other said: The fools despise the things that be, like as they were not, and he that hath not the taste of the things that be, he shall not use the sweetness of them, and may not learn the truth of them that be not. And when he had showed many things of the mystery of the incarnation, the king said to him: If I had not promised thee at the beginning that I should put away ire from my counsel I should cast thy body into the flre. Go thy way and flee from mine eyes that I see thee no more, and that I now distress thee not. And anon the man of God went his way all heavily because he had not suffered martyrdom. Thus then, in this meanwhile, it happed that to the king which had no child, that there was a fair son born of his wife, and was called Josaphat. And then the king assembled a right great company of people for to sacrifice to his gods for the nativity of his son, and also assembled fifty-five astronomers, of whom he enquired what should befall of his son. And they said to him that he should be great in power and in riches. And one, more wise than another, said: Sire, this child that is born shall not be in thy realm, but he shall be in another, much better without comparison, and know thou that I suppose that he shall be of christian religion which thou persecutest. And that said not he of himself, but he said it by inspiration of God. And when the king heard that, he doubted much, and did do make without the city a right noble palace, and therein set he his son for to dwell and abide, and set there right fair younglings, and commanded them that they should not speak to him of death ne of old age, ne of sickness, ne of poverty, ne of no thing that may give him cause of heaviness, but say to him all things that be joyous, so that his mind may be esprised with gladness, and that he think on nothing to come. And anon as any of his servants were sick the king commanded for to take them away, and set another, whole, in his stead, and commanded that no mention should be made to him of Jesu Christ.
In that time was with the king a man which was secretly christian, and was chief among all the noble princes of the king. And as he went on a time to hunt with the king, he found a poor man lying on the ground, which was hurt on the foot by a beast, which prayed that he would receive him, and that he might of him be holpen by some means. And the knight said: I shall receive thee gladly, but I wot not how thou mayst do any profit. And he said to him: I am a leech of words, and if any be hurt by words I can well give him a medicine. And the knight set it at ought, all that he said, but he received him only for God’s sake and healed him. And then some princes, envious and malicious, saw that this prince was so great and gracious with the king, and accused him to the king and said that he was not only turned to the christian faith, but enforced to withdraw from him his realm, and that he moved and solicited the company, and counselled them thereto. And if thou wilt know it, said they, then call him secretly and say to him that this life is soon done, and therefore thou wilt leave the glory of the world and of thy realm, and affirm that thou wilt take the habit of monks, whom thou hast so persecuted by ignorance, and after, thou shalt see what he shall answer. And when the King had done all like as they had said, the knight, that knew nothing of the treason, began to weep, and praised much the counsel of the king, and remembered him of the vanity of the world, and counselled him to do it as soon as he might. And when the king heard him say so, he supposed it had been true that the other had said to him, howbeit he said nothing. And then he understood and apperceived that the king had taken his words in evil, and went and told all this unto the leech of words all by order. And he said to him: Know thou for truth that the king feareth that thou wilt assail his realm. Arise thou to-morrow and shave off thine hair and do off thy vestments, and clothe thee in hair in the manner of a monk, and go early to the king. When he shall demand thee what thou meanest, thou shalt answer: My lord, king, I am ready to follow thee; for if the way by which thou desirest to go be hard, if I be with thee it shall be the lighter unto thee, and like as thou hast had me in prosperity so shalt thou have me in adversity; I am all ready, wherefore tarriest thou? And when he had this done and said by order, the king was abashed, and reproved the false men and did to him more honour than he did before.
And after this the king’s son, that was nourished in the palace, came to age and grew and was plainly taught in all wisdom. And he marvelled wherefore his father had so enclosed him, and called one of his servants, which was most familiar with him, secretly, and demanded him of this thing, and said to him that he was in great heaviness that he might not go out, and that his meat ne drink savoured him not ne did him no good. And when his father heard this he was full of sorrow. And anon he let do make ready horses and joyful fellowship to accompany him in such wise that no thing dishonest should happen to him. And on a time thus as the king’s son went, he met a mesel and a blind man, and when he saw them he was abashed, and enquired what them ailed, and his servants said: These be passions that come to men. And he demanded if those passions come to all men, and they said: Nay. Then said he: Be they known which men shall suffer these passions without definition? And they answered: Who is he that may know the adventures of men? And he began to be much anguishous for the incustomable thing thereof. And another time he found a man much aged which had his cheer frounced, his teeth fallen, and was all crooked for age. Whereof he was abashed, and he desired to know the miracle of this vision. And when he knew that this was because he had lived many years, then he demanded what should be the end, and they said: Death; and he said: Is then death the end of all men or of some? And they said for certain that all men must die. And when he knew that all should die, he demanded them in how many years that should happen, and they said: In old age of four score years or a hundred, and after that age the death followeth. And this young man remembered oft in his heart these things, and was in great discomfort, but he showed him much glad tofore his father, and he desired much to be informed and taught in these things. And then there was a monk of perfect life and good opinion that dwelled in the desert of the land of Senaar named Barlaam. And this monk knew by the Holy Ghost what was done about this king’s son, and took the habit of a merchant, and came unto the city and spake to the greatest governor of the king’s son, and said to him: I am a merchant and have a precious stone to sell, which giveth sight to blind men, and hearing to deaf men. It maketh the dumb to speak and giveth wisdom to fools, and therefore bring me to the king’s son and I shall deliver it to him. To whom he said: Thou seemest a man of prudent nature, but thy words accord nothing to wisdom, nevertheless if I had knowledge of that stone, show it me, and if it be such as thou sayst, and so proved, thou shalt have right great honours of the king’s son. To whom Barlaam said: My stone hath yet such virtue that he that seeth it and hath none whole sight and keepeth not entire chastity if he haply saw it, the virtue visible that it hath, he should lose it, and I that am a physician see well that thou hast not thy sight whole, but I understand that the king’s son is chaste, and hath right fair eyes and whole. And then the man said: If it be so, show it not to me, for mine eyes be not whole, and am foul of sin. And Barlaam said: This thing appertaineth to the king’s son, and therefore bring me to him anon, and he anon told this to the king’s son, and brought him anon in. And he received him honorably, and then Barlaam said to him: Thou hast done well, for thou hast not taken heed of my littleness that appeareth withoutforth, but thou hast done like unto a noble king, which when he rode in his chair, clad with clothes of gold, and met with poor men which were clad with torn clothes, and anon he sprang out of his chair and fell down to their feet and worshipped them, and after arose and kissed them, and his barons took this evil, and were afraid to reprove him thereof, but they said to his brother, how the king had done things against his royal majesty, and his brother reproved him thereof. And the king had such a custom that when one should be delivered to death, the king should send his crier with his trump that was ordained thereto. And on the even he sent the crier with trump tofore his brother’s gate, and made to sound the trump, and when the king’s brother heard this, he was in despair of saving of his life, and could not sleep of all the night, and made his testament. And on the morn early he clad him in black and came weeping with his wife and children to the king’s palace, and the king made him come tofore him, and said to him: O fool that thou art, if thou hast heard the messenger of thy brother, to whom thou knowest well thou hast not trespassed, and doubtest so much, how ought not I then doubt the messengers of our Lord, against whom I have so often sinned, which signified unto me more clearly the death than the trump, and showed to me horrible coming of the judge. And after this he did do make four chests, and did do cover two of them with gold withoutforth, and did do fill them with bones of dead men and of filth. And the other two he did do pitch and did do fill them with precious stones and rich gems. And after this the king did do call his great barons, because he knew well that they complained of him to his brother, and did do set these four chests tofore them, and demanded of them which were most precious, and they said that the two that were gilt were most of value. Then the king commanded that they should be opened, and anon a great stench issued out of them. And the king said: They be like them that be clothed with precious vestments and be full withinforth of ordure and of sin. And after, he made open the other and there issued a marvellous sweet odour. And after, the king said: These be semblable to the poor men that I met and honoured, for though they be clad of foul vestments, yet shine they withinforth with good odour of good virtues, and ye take none heed but to that withoutforth, and consider not what is within. And thou hast done to me like as that king did, for thou hast well received me.
And after this Barlaam began to tell to him a long sermon of the creation of the world, and of the day of judgment, and of the reward of good and evil; and began strongly to blame them that worship idols, and told to him of their folly such an example as followeth, saying that: An archer took a little bird called a nightingale, and when he would have slain this nightingale there was a voice given to the nightingale which said: O thou man, what should it avail thee if thou slay me? Thou mayst not fill thy belly with me, but and if thou wilt let me go, I shall teach thee three wisdoms, that if thou keep them diligently thou mayst have great profit thereby. Then he was abashed of his words and promised that he would let him go if he would tell him his wisdoms. Then the bird said: Study never to take that thing that thou mayst not take. And of things lost which may not be recovered, sorrow never therefor. Ne believe never thing that is incredible. Keep well these three things, and thou shalt do well. And then he let the bird go as he had promised. And then the nightingale flying in the air said to him: Alas! thou wretched man, thou hast had evil counsel, for thou hast lost this day great treasure. For I have in my bowels a precious margaret which is greater than the egg of an ostrich. And when he heard that, he was much wroth and sorrowed sore because he had let her go, and enforced him all that he could to take her again, saying: Come again to my house and I shall show to thee all humanity, and give to thee all that shall need thee, and after shall let thee go honourably whereas thou wilt. Then said the nightingale to him: Now I know well that thou art a fool, for thou hast no profit in the wisdoms that I have said to thee. For thou art right sorrowful for me whom thou hast lost which am irrecuperable, and yet thou weenest to take me where thou mayst not come so high as I am; and furthermore where thou believest to be in me a precious stone more big than the egg of an ostrich, when all my body may of not attain to the greatness of such an egg. And in like wise be they fools that adore and trust in idols, for they worship that which they have made, and call them whom they have made keepers of them. And after he began to dispute against the fallacies of the world and delights and vanitiee thereof, and brought forth many ensamples and said: They that desire the delights corporal, and suffer their souls to die for hunger, be like to a man that fled tofore an unicorn that he should not devour him, and in fleeing he fell into a great pit, and as he fell he caught a branch of a tree with his hands and set his feet upon a sliding place, and then saw two mice that one white and that other black, which without ceasing gnawed the root of the tree, and had almost gnawed it asunder. And he saw in the bottom of this pit a horrible dragon casting fire, and had his mouth open and desired to devour him. Upon the sliding place on which his feet stood he saw the heads of four serpents which issued there, and then he lifted up his eyes and saw a little honey that hung in the boughs of the trees, and forgat the peril that he was in and gave him all to the sweetness of that little honey. The unicorn is the figure of death which continually followeth man and desireth to take him. The pit is the world which is full of wickedness. The tree is the life of every man, which by the two mice, that the day and night and the hours thereof, incessantly be wasted and approached to the cutting or gnawing asunder. The place where the four serpents were, is the body ordained by the four elements, by which the jointure of the members is corrupt in bodies disordinate. The horrible dragon is the mouth of hell which desireth to devour all creatures. The sweetness of the honey in the boughs of the tree is the false deceivable delectation of the world, by which man is deceived so that he taketh no heed of the peril that he is in.
And yet he said: That they that love the world be semblable to a man that had three friends, of which, he loved the first as much as himself, and he loved the second less than himself, and loved the third a little or naught. And it happed so that this man was in great peril of his life and was summoned tofore the king. Then he ran to his first friend and demanded of him his help and told to him how he had always loved him, to whom he said: I have other friends with whom I must be this day, and I wot not who thou art, therefore I may not help thee, yet nevertheless I shall give to thee two slops with which thou mayst cover thee. And then he went away much sorrowful, and went to that other friend and required also his aid, and he said to him: I may not attend to go with thee to this debate for I have great charge, but I shall yet fellowship thee unto the gate of the palace, and then I shall return again and do mine own needs. And then he being heavy and as despaired, went to the third friend, and said to him: I have no reason to speak to thee, ne I have not loved thee as I ought, but I am in tribulation and without friends, and pray thee that thou help me. And that other said, with glad cheer: Certes, I confess to be thy dear friend and have not forgotten the little benefit that thou hast done to me, and I shall go right gladly with thee tofore the king, for to see what shall be demanded of thee, and I shall pray the king for thee. The first friend is possession of riches, for which man putteth him in many perils, and when the death cometh he hath no more of it but a cloth for to wind him for to be buried. The second friend is his sons, his wife, and kin, which go with him to his grave and anon return for to entend to their own needs. The third friend is faith, hope, and charity, and other good works which we have done, that when we issue out of our bodies they may well go tofore us and pray God for us, and they may well deliver us from the devils our enemies.
And yet he said according to this, that in a certain city is a custom that they of the city shall choose every year a strange man and unknown for to be their prince, and they shall give him puissance to do whatsomever he will and govern the country without any other constitution. And he being thus in great delices and weeping ever to continue, suddenly they of the city should arise against him and lead him naked through the city, and after send him into an isle in exile, and there he should find neither meat ne clothes, but should be constrained to be perished for hunger and cold. And after that, they would enhance another to the kingdom, and thus they did long. At the last they took one which knew their custom, and he sent tofore him into that isle great treasure without number during all his year. And when his year was accomplished and passed, he was put out and put to exile like the other, and whereas the other that had been tofore him perished for cold and hunger, he abounded in great riches and delices. And this city is the world, and the citizens be the princes of darkness which feed us with false delectation of the world, and then the death cometh when we take none heed, and that we be sent in exile to the place of darkness, and the riches that be tofore sent, be done by the hand of poor men.
And when Barlaam had perfectly taught the king’s son, and he would leave his father for to follow him, Barlaam said to him: If thou wilt do thus, thou shalt be semblable to a young man that when he would have wedded a noble wife he forsook her and fled away and came into a place whereas he saw a virgin, daughter of an old poor man, that laboured, and praised God with her mouth. To whom he said: What is that thou doest, daughter, that art so poor and always thou thankest God like as thou hadst received great things of him? To whom she said: Like as a little medicine oft delivereth a great languor and pain, right so for to give to God thankings, always of a little gift is made a giver of great gifts, for the things that be withoutforth be not ours, but they that be within us be ours, and therefore I have received great things of God, for he hath made me like to his image. He hath given to me understanding, he hath called me to his glory, and hath opened to me the gate of his kingdom, and therefore for these gifts it is fitting to me to give him praising. This young man seeing her prudence asked of her father to have her to wife, to whom the father said: Thou mayst not have my daughter, for thou art the son of rich and noble kin, and I am but a poor man. But when he sore desired her, the old man said to him: I may not give her to thee, sith thou wilt lead her home into the house of thy father, for she is mine only daughter, and I have no more. And he said: I shall dwell with thee, and shall accord with thee in all things. And then he did off his precious vestments and did on him the habit of an old man, and so dwelling with him took her unto his wife, and when the old man had long proved him he led him into his chamber and showed to him great plenty of riches, more than ever he had, and gave to him all. And then Josaphat said to him: This narration toucheth me convenably, and I trow thou hast said this for me. Now say to me, father, how many years art thou old, and where conversest thou, for from thee I will never depart. To whom Barlaam said: I have dwelled forty-five years in the desert of the land of Senaar; to whom Josaphat said: Thou seemest better to be seventy years, and he said: If thou demandest all the years of my nativity, thou hast well esteemed them, but I account not of the number of my life them specially that I have dispended in the vanity of the world, for I was then dead toward God, and I number not the years of death with the years of life. And when Josaphat would have followed him into desert Barlaam said to him: If thou do so I shall not have thy company, and I shall be then the author of persecution to my brethren, but when thou seest time convenable thou shalt come to me. And then Barlaam baptized the king’s son and informed him well in the faith, and after, returned into his cell.
And a little while after, the king heard say that his son was christened, wherefore he was much sorrowful. And one that was his friend, named Arachis, recomforting him said: Sir King, I know right well an old hermit that resembleth much Barlaam, and he is of our sect. He shall feign him as he were Barlaam and shall defend first the faith of christian men, and after, shall leave and return from it, and thus your son shall return to you. And then the king went into desert as it were to seek Barlaam, and took this hermit and feigned that he had taken Barlaam. And when the king’s son heard that Barlaam was taken he wept bitterly, but afterwards he knew by revelation divine that it was not he. Then the king went to his son and said to him: Thou hast put me in great heaviness, thou hast dishonoured mine old age, thou hast darkened the light of mine eyes, son, why hast thou done so? Thou hast forsaken the honour of my gods. And he answered to him: I have fled the darkness and am come to the light, I have fled error and know truth, and therefore travailest thou for nought, for thou mayst never withdraw me f’rom Jesu Christ. For like as it is impossible for thee to touch the heaven with thy hand, or for to dry the great sea, so is it to thee for to change me. Then the father said: Who is cause hereof but I myself that so gloriously have do nourished thee, that never father nourished more his son? For which cause thine evil will hath made thee wood against me, and it is well right, for the astronomers in thy nativity said that thou shouldst be proud and disobedient to thy parents, but and thou now wilt not obey me thou shalt no more be my son, and I shall be thine enemy for a father, and shall do to thee that I never did to mine enemies. To whom Josaphat said: Father, wherefore art thou angry because I am made a partner of good things? What father was ever sorrowful in the prosperity of his son? I shall no more call thee father but and if thou be contrary to me, I shall flee thee as a serpent.
Then the king departed from him in great anger, and said to Arachis his friend all the hardness of his son. And he counselled the king that he should give him no sharp words, for a child is better reformed by fair and sweet words. The day following the king came to his son and began to clip, embrace, and kiss him, and said to him: My right sweet son, honour thou mine old age, son, dread thy father. Knowest thou not well that it is good to obey thy father and make him glad, and for to do contrary it is sin, and they that anger them sin evil? To whom Josaphat said: There is time to love and time to hate, time of peace and time of battle, and we ought in no wise love them ne obey to them that would put us away from God, be it father or mother. And when his father saw his steadfastness he said to him: Sith I see thy folly and that thou wilt not obey me, come and we shall know the truth, for Barlaam which hath delivered thee, is bounden in my prison, and let us assemble our people with Barlaam, and I shall send for all the Galileans that they may safely come without dread and dispute, and if that ye with your Barlaam overcome us, we shall believe and obey you, and if we overcome you, ye shall consent to us. And this pleased well to the king and to Josaphat, and when they had ordained that he that named him Barlaam should first defend the faith of Christ, and suffer him after to be overcome, and so were all assembled. Then Josaphat turned him towards Nachor, which feigned him to be Barlaam and said: Barlaam, thou knowest well how thou hast taught me, and if thou defend the faith that I have learned of thee, I shall abide in thy doctrine to the end of my life, and if thou be overcome I shall avenge me anon on thee my injury, and shall pluck out the tongue out of thine head with mine hands, and give it to dogs, to the end that thou be not so hardy to put a king’s son in error. And when Nachor heard that, he was in great fear, and saw well that if he said contrary, he were but dead, and that he was taken in his own snare. And then he advised that it were better to take and hold with the son than with the father, for to eschew the peril of death. For the king had said to him, tofore them all, that he should defend the faith hardily and without dread. Then one of the masters said to him: Thou art Barlaam which hast deceived the son of the king, and he said: I am Barlaam which have not put the king’s son in any error, but I have brought him out of error. And then the master said to him: Right noble and marvellous men have worshipped our gods, how darest thou then address thee against them? And he answered: They of Chaldee, of Egypt, and of Greece, have erred and said that the creatures were gods, and the Chaldees supposed that the elements had been gods which were created to the profit of men, and the Greeks supposed that cursed men and tyrants had been gods, as Saturn, whom they said ate his son, and Jupiter which as they say gelded his father and threw his members into the sea, whereof grew Venus, and Jupiter to be king of the other gods because he transformed oft himself in likeness of a beast for to accomplish his adultery. And also they say that Venus is goddess of adultery, and sometime Mars is her husband and sometime Adonides. The Egyptians worship the beasts, that is to wit a sheep, a calf, a swine, or such other, and the christian men worship the son of the right high king that descended from heaven and took nature human. And then Nachor began clearly to defend the law of christian men, and garnished him with many reasons, so that the masters were all abashed and wist not what to answer. And then Josaphat had great joy of that, which our Lord had defended the truth by him that was enemy of truth. And then the king was full of woodness, and commanded that the council should depart, like as he would have treated again on the morn of the same fait. Then Josaphat said to his father: Let my master be with me this night, to the end that we may make our collation together for to make to-morrow our answers, and thou shalt lead thy masters with thee, and shalt take counsel with them, and if thou !ead my master with thee thou doest me no right. Wherefore he granted to him Nachor, because he hoped that he should deceive him. And when the king’s son was come to his chamber and Nachor with him, Josaphat said to Nachor: Ne weenest thou not that I know thee? I wot well thou art not Barlaam, but thou art Nachor, the astronomer. And Josaphat preached then to him the way of health, and converted him to the faith, and on the morn sent him into desert, and there was baptized, and led the life of a hermit.
Then there was an enchanter named Theodosius. When he heard of this thing, he came to the king and said that he should make his son return and believe in his gods. And the king said to him: If thou do so I shall make to thee an image of gold and offer sacrifices thereto, like as to my gods. And he said: Take away all them that be about thy son and put to him fair women and well adorned, and command them always to abide by him, and after I shall send a wicked spirit that shall inflame him to luxury, and there is nothing that may so soon deceive the young men as the beauty of women. And he said yet more:
There was a king which had with great pain a son, and the wise masters said that if he saw sun or moon within ten years he should lose the sight of his eyes. Then it was ordained that this child should be nourished within a pit made in a great rock. And when the ten years were passed, the king commanded that his son should be brought tofore him because he should know the names of all things, and then they brought tofore him jewels, horses, and beasts of all manners, and also gold, silver, precious stones, and all other things, and when he had demanded the names of everything, and that the ministers had told him, he set nought thereby. And when his father saw that he recked not of such things, then the king made to be brought tofore him women quaintly arrayed, and he demanded what they were, for they would not so lightly tell him, whereof he was annoyed, and after the master squire of the king said, japing, that they were devils that deceive men. Then the king demanded him what he liefest had of all that he had seen, and he answered: Father, my soul coveteth nothing so much as the devils that deceive men. And therefore I suppose that none other thing shall surmount thy son but women, which move men always to lechery. Then the king put out all his ministers, and set therein to be about his son right noble and fair maidens, which always him admonished to play, and there were none others that might speak ne serve him. And anon the enchanter sent to him the devil for to inflame him, which burned the young man withinforth, and the maidens withoutforth. And when he felt him so strongly travailed, he was much angry and recommended himself all to God, and he received divine comfort in such wise that all temptation departed from him. And after this that the king saw that the devil had done nothing, he sent to him a fair maiden, a king’s daughter, which was fatherless. To whom this man of God preached, and she answered: If thou wilt save me and take me away from worshipping the idols, conjoin thee unto me by coupling of marriage, for the patriarchs, prophets, and Peter the Apostle had wives. And he said to her: Woman, these words sayest thou now for naught. It appertaineth well to christian men to wed wives, but not to them that have promised to our Lord to keep virginity. And she said to him: Now be it as thou wilt, but if thou wilt save my soul grant to me a little request, lie with me only this night and I promise to thee that to-morn I shall be made christian, for as ye say the angels have more joy in heaven of one sinner doing penance, than on many others. There is great guerdon due to him that doth penance, and converteth him. Therefore grant to me only this request, and so thou shalt save me. And then she began strongly to assail the tower of his conscience. Then the devil said to his fellows: Lo! see how this maid hath strongly put forth that we might not move. Come then and let us knock strongly against him sith we find now time convenable. And when the holy young man saw this thing, and that he was in that caitifness that the covetise of his flesh admonished him to sin, and also that he desired the salvation of the maid by enticing of the devil that moved him, he then put himself to prayer in weeping, and there fell asleep, and saw by a vision that he was brought into a meadow arrayed with fair flowers, there where the leaves of the trees demened a sweet sound which came by a wind agreeable, and thereout issued a marvellous odour, and the fruit was right fair to see, and right delectable of taste, and there were seats of gold and silver and precious stones, and the beds were noble and preciously adorned, and right clear water ran thereby. And after that, he entered into a city of which the walls were of fine gold, and shone by marvellous clearness, and saw in the air some that sang a song that never ear of mortal man heard like. And it was said: This is the place of blessed saints. And as they would have had him thence, he prayed them that they would let him dwell there. And they said to him: Thou shalt yet hereafter come hither with great travail if thou mayst suffer. And after they led him into a right horrible place, full of all filth and stench, and said to him: This is the place of wicked people. And when he awoke, him seemed that the beauty of that damosel was more foul and stinking than all the other ordure. And then the wicked spirits came again to Theodosius and he then blamed them, to whom they said: We ran upon him tofore he marked him with the sign of the cross, and troubled him strongly, and when he was garnished with the sign of the cross he persecuted us by great force. Then Theodosius came to him with the king and had hoped that he should have perverted him, but this enchanter was taken of him whom he supposed to have taken, and was converted and received baptism and lived after a holy life. And then the king was all despaired and by counsel of his friends he delivered to him half his realm, and howbeit that Josaphat desired with all his thought the desert, yet for to increase the faith he received the realm for a certain time, and made churches, and raised crosses, and converted much people of his realm to the faith of Jesu Christ, and at the last the father consented to the reasons and predications of his son, and believed on the faith of Jesu Christ and received baptism, and left his realm wholly to his son, and entended to works of penance, and after, finished his life laudably. And Josaphat oft warned the king Barachius that he would go in to desert, but he was retained of the people long time, but at the last he fled away in to desert, and as he went in a desert he gave to a poor man his habit royal and abode in a right poor gown. And the devil made to him many assaults, for sometimes he ran upon him with a sword drawn and menaced to smite if he left not the desert; and another time he appeared to him in the form of a wild beast and foamed and ran on him as he would have devoured him, and then Josaphat said: Our Lord is mine helper. I doubt no thing that man may do to me.
And thus Josaphat was two years vagrant and erred in desert, and could not find Barlaam. And at the last he found a cave in the earth, and knocked at the door, and said: Father, bless me, and anon Barlaam heard the voice of him, and rose up and went out, and then each kissed other and embraced straitly and were glad of their assembling. And after Josaphat recounted to Barlaam all these things that were happened, and he rendered and gave thankings to God therefor. And Josaphat dwelled there many years in great and marvellous penance, full of virtues. And when Barlaam had accomplished his days, he rested in peace about the year of our Lord four hundred and eighty. Josaphat left his realm the twenty-fifth year of his age, and led the life of a hermit thirty-five years’ and then rested in peace, full of virtues, and was buried by the body of Barlaam. And when the king Barachius heard of this thing, he came unto that same place with a great company, and took the bodies and bare them with much great honour into his city, where God hath showed many fair miracles at the tomb of these two precious bodies.
|« Prev||The Life of Barlaam the Hermit||Next »|
►Proofing disabled for this book
► Printer-friendly version