ST. VINCENT of SARAGOSSA
, according to the Golden Legend
of James of Voragine, as Englished by William Caxton.
Sequence by Adam of St. Victor
: Ecce dies preoptata,
Dies felix, dies grata,
Dies digna gaudio.
Nos hanc diem veneremur,
Et pugnantem admiremur
Christum in Vincentio.
Ortu, fide, sanctitate,
Sensu, verbo, dignitate
Clarus et officio,
Hie arcem diaconi,
Sub patris Valerii
Lingue presul impedite
Deo vacat, et levite
Verbi dat officia:
Cujus linguam sermo rectus,
Duplex quoque simplex pectus
Dumque fidem docet suam
Sevit in Ecclesiam,
Post auditam fidei constantiam,
Jubet ambos pertrahi Valentiam
Nec juveni parcitur egregio,
Nec etas attenditur ab impio
Fessos ex itinere,
Presses ferri pondere,
Tetro claudit carcere,
Sic pro posse nocuit,
Nee pro voto potuit,
Quia suos aluit
Seniorem relegat exsilio,
Juniorem reservat supplicio
Equuleum perpessus et ungulam,
Vincentius conscendit craticulam
Dum torretur, non terretur;
Christum magis confitetur,
Nec tyrannum reveretur
In ejus presentia:
Ardet vultus inhumanus,
Heret lingua, tremit manus,
Nec se capit Datianus
Pre cordis insania.
Inde specu martyr retruditur,
Et testulis fixus illiditur:
Multa tamen hic luce fruitur,
Ab angelis visitatus.
In lectulo tandem repositus,
Ad superos transit emeritus;
Sicque suo triumphans spiritus
Est Principi presentatus.
Non communi sinit jure
Virum tradi sepulture:
Legi simul et nature
Vim facit malitia.
In defunctum judex sevit:
Hinc defuncto laus accrevit.
Nam, quo vesci consuevit,
En cadaver inhumatum
Corvus servat illibatum,
Sicque sua sceleratum
Nec tenetur a molari,
Nec celari potest mari,
Quem nec laude singulari
Venerari voto pari
Ustulatum corpus igne
Terra, mari fit insigne.
Nobis, Jesu, da benigne
Ut cum sanctis te condigne
Laudemus in patria! Amen.
Englished by Digby S. Wrangham
: See the longed-for day arriving!
Happy day, day pleasure giving!
Day in which we should delight!
Let us keep this day then holy,
On it Christ admiring truly,
As He doth in Vincent fight.
For his birth, self-consecration,
Feeling, faith, speech, lofty station.
And his office eminent.
Under the paternal sway
Of Valerius his day
Of diaconate was spent.
Slow of speech, the bishop giveth
All his time to God, and leaveth
Preaching to the deacon's share:
Wreathed his words are with uprightness,
And his single mind with brightness.
Bred of double learning, fair.
When the truth that he believeth
Sarragossa's crowd receiveth
From his lips through present grace,
Then the prefect's enmity,
Zealous for idolatry,
Fiercely would the church abase.
When their constant faith he learns, that never flagged,
To Valentia both in fetters to be dragged
Doth he direct.
Neither doth the wretch that noble young man spare,
Neither to the holy bishop's age doth care
To pay respect.
These men, tired with travel-pains,
Weighed down 'neath a weight of chains,
In a foul jail he detains,
And all food to them denies.
Though to hurt them he is fain,
Yet his wishes are in vain.
Since Christ's bounty doth maintain
His own servants with supplies.
To exile by him is the old man sent.
The younger one meanwhile for punishment
The prefect keeps still graver.
What time his pain by claw and horse-rack ends,
Vincent at once the gridiron ascends
With spirit braced and braver.
As he burneth, fears he spurneth;
Even more to Christ he turneth,
Nor, though present he discerneth
The dread tyrant, for him cares:
Datian's cruel visage gloweth,
Tongue and hand each useless groweth,
Till, such furious rage he showeth,
He beside himself appears.
Into a cave then is the martyr thrown,
And, there confined, flung down on potsherds prone;
Still he enjoys much light unto him shown,
When angels bright to him appear.
At length, upon a pallet rudely cast.
He passes thence to heaven, his labours past;
And, thus triumphant, his brave soul at last
Is to his Prince presented there.
Datian no such grave alloweth,
As man's common law bestoweth:
Violence his malice doeth
To what law and nature say.
'Gainst the dead the fierce judge burneth,
But more glory for him earneth,
For the very wild beast turneth,
Awe-struck, from its wonted prey.
Lo! untouched, a raven, flying,
Keeps the corpse, unburied lying,
And, a monstrous scheme thus trying,
Datian faileth utterly.
What earth would not,
What earth could not,
Waste, is hurried
To be buried
In the silent depths of sea.
Millstone's weight can hold him never,
Ocean must her dead deliver.
Whom the church would now endeavour
With one voice of praise for ever
To revere especially.
For his corpse, reduced to cinder,
Fire, earth, sea, illustrious render!
Jesu! grant in mercy tender
We and all saints may Thy splendour.
Duly praise at home with Thee! Amen.