chapter 10

Howe an other woman vnlaufully wurkynge was made blynde / and by saynt Werburge restored was to her syght agayne.

stanza 127

884This woman, consyderynge her syght was gone,realising
The pleasure of this worlde, her helpe and succour,assistance
Hauynge to lyue by / small riches or none,live
Cried maynly 'out out, alas' euery hour,vehemently / 'woe is me, alas!
'Wo is me wretche, fulfylled with dolour!Woe is me, a wretch / filled / misery
Alas, I was borne to abyde this wofull dayexperience
My maker to displese! / alas, what shall I say?'

stanza 128

891She called to memorie with hye discrecion noble judgement
The myracles that Werburge shewed to mankynde:
By grace she repented / with suche contricion contrition, remorse
That water distilled from her eyes blynde,flowed
Dolefully lamentynge / that she was so vnkynde; 1 Sorrowfully / impious, rebellious
Ruthfully was brought to Werburge oratory,Ruefully, piteously
Trustyng in this virgin to haue remedy.

stanza 129

898As she continued in her supplicacion,
Wofully wepynge / abidyng the special gracewaiting for
Of blessed Werburge / with singular inuocacion,special prayer
Anone she was cured to helth and solace,Suddenly / consolation
Restored to her eye-sight / she passed the place,left
Praysed our lorde and this virgin pure,
Was a holy woman after, ye may be sure.

chapter 12

Howe a yonge man thries hanged vnlaufully, was thries delyuered by saynt Werburge from dethe to lyfe and lyberte.

stanza 135

940 Almyghty god gaue in commaundement
By moises lawe to his people echone,Through Moses' law / every one
No innocent to slee by wrongfull iudgementkill
Nor causeles to punysshe by greuous oppression,without cause
Also to beware of lyght suspection. 2 groundless, over-eager suspicion
Wherof a myracle we shall nowe expresse,In relation to which
Done in Chestre cite by Werburge theyr patronesse.

stanza 136

947A certayne younge man dwelled in the cite,
Honest in maners / and of good conuersacion,conduct
Disposed to vertue and humilite:
Was arrest and taken of a lyght suspicion arrested / through a groundless suspicion
By the officers and rule[r]s of the sayd towne,
Gyltles accused most innocently,Guiltless
Condemned and iudged to deth shamfully.sentenced to death

stanza 137

954After sentence gyuen / ministres were all redy
Vpon the iudgement to do execucion:
He was fettred and brought to the gebbet by and bygibbet, gallows
And as a stronge thefe hanged ther-vpon.persistent, violent / thief
His frendes and cosyns for hym made great mone - asrelatives / great lamentation
Alas, what tonge myght expresse the wo
They made that tyme departynge hym fro?departing from him (at the gallows)

stanza 138

961And as this innocent hang in his payne,hung
He called to mynd the manyfolde goodnes,great
The myracles of Werburge, shewed her, certayne,
Howe she had saued many in great distres: 3
So, whan he myght no wordes expresse,
In mynde he required her / and humblie dyd prayasked
From shamfull deth to saue hym that day. 4

stanza 139

968Whan all the officers departed were thens from there
Supposynge the soule seperate from the body,to be separated
A white doue descended afore them in presence dove / in their presence
And lyght vpon the gebbet immediatly;landed / gallows
The byrde with his byll brake the rope, truely,bird / beak / broke
The prisoner escaped that tyme from deth,
Shortly reuiuynge toke naturall breth. 5 reviving


For discussion of the late-antique and medieval convention that tears demonstrate sincere emotion, see Rosenwein 2006, 49-50. Back to context...
This probably recalls Moses' prescriptions regarding justice and the law in Exodus 20. Back to context...
The hanged man's recollection of Werburgh's previous acts of mercy, as well as his prayers, provide a set of precedents which seemingly move the saint to act. Back to context...
Robert Barrett reads this episode as evidence of the tensions between St Werburgh's and the secular civic authorities in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, observing how here '[t]he saint's intervention repudiates corrupt civic justice'. However, despite the pro-monastic propagandist intent, this story and others in the Life of St Werburge turn out to be 'ineffectual fantasies'. See Barrett, 2009, 49. Back to context...
This stanza, with its stylised scene of the white dove freeing the innocent man from the gallows, is marked by a particularly intense use of alliteration. This is most evident in lines 970-2. Back to context...