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143 [130]

Actes and Monuments of the Church.

30 For by the feeble strokes of th'one,
Death vvas denied hys vvyll:
Of smart that made hym vvoe begone,
he had the better skill.
31 The deeper strookes the great ones gaue,
and nearer toucht the quicke:
The vvelcomer he thought the same,
VVhome longyng death made sicke.
32 God make you strong he sayth, I pray,
God geue you myght at vvyll:
And vvhat you vvant in yeares I say,
Let cruelty fulfyll.
33 But vvhilest the hangman breatheth styll,
and me vvyth you do matche:
That vveakly vvorke, yet vvant no vvyll,
My lyfe for to dispatche.
34 My griefes vvaxe great, vvhat gronest thou novv?
Sayd some of them agayne?
In schoole, aduised vvell art thou?
VVhome there thou putst to payne?
35 Behold, vve pay and novv make good,
as many thousand strypes:
As vvhen vvith vvepyng eyes vve stoode,
In daunger of thy grypes.
36 Art thou novv angry at thy bande,
that alvvayes cryed vvryte, vvryte:
And neuer vvouldst that our ryght hand,
Should rest in quiet plyte?
37 VVe had forgot our playeng tymes,
thou churle deniedst vs of:
VVe novv but pricke and poynte our lynes,
and thus they grinne and scof.
38 Correcte good syr, our vevved verse,
If ought amisse there bee:
Novv vse thy povver, and them rehearse,
that haue not marked thee.
39 Christ pitieng this groning man,
VVyth torments torne and tyerd:
Commaundes hys harte to breake euen than,
and lyfe, that vvas but hyerd:
40 He yeldes agayne to hym that gaue,
and thus he makes exchaunge:
Immortall, for mortall to haue,
that in suche payne dyd raunge.
41 This is sayth he, that thys picture,
Thou so beholdst, oh Gest:
Of Cassianus Martyr pure,
Doth preach. I do protest.
42 If thou Prudence ought haue in store,
In pietie to deale:
In hope of iust revvard therefore,
Novv shevv thy louyng zeale.
43 I could not but consent, I vveepe,
Hys toombe I doe imbrace:
Home I returne, and after sleepe,
Thys pitifull preface
44 I vvryte as a memoriall,
For euer to indure:
Of Cassianus schoolemaister,
all others to allure.
45 To constancye vnder the crosse,
of theyr profession:
Accomptyng gayne vvhat euer losse,
for Christ they take vpon.

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No less admirable and wonderfull was the constancie also of women and maidens, who in the same persecution gaue their bodies to þe tormentes, and their liues for the testimonie of Christ, with no lesse boldnesse of spirite, then dyd the men themselues aboue specified, to whom how much more inferiour they were in bodely strength, so much more worthy of prayse they be, fortheir constant standing. Of whom some examples here we minde (Christ willing) to inferre, such as in our stories and Chronicles seme most notable, fyrst beginning with Eulalia, whose storie we haue taken out of the foresayd Prudentius as followeth.

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MarginaliaEulalia. Martyr.
Ex Aurel. prudentio. lib. peristephanon.
In the West parte of Spaine called Portingall, is a Citie great & populus, named Emerita, wherein dwelt & was brought vp, a virgine borne of noble parentage, whose name was Eulalia: which Emerita although for the apte cituation therof, was both riche and famous, yet more adourned and famous was the renowne therof, by the Martyrdome, bloud, and sepulture of this blessed virgine Eulalia. Twelue yeares of age was she and not much aboue, when she refused great and honourable offers in mariage, as one not skilfull of, nor yet delighting in cowrtlye daliance, neither yet taking pleasure in purple and gorgeous aparell, or els in precious balmes, or costly ornaments and iuells: MarginaliaThe chast and cōtinent behauiour of Eulalia.But, forsaking and dispising all these and suche like pompious allurementes, then shend she her selfe most busie in preparing her iournie to her hoped inheritaunce, and heauenly patronage. Which Eulalia as she was modest and discret in behauour, sage and sober in condicions, so was she also wittie and sharpe in aunswering her enemyes. But when the furious rage of persecution inforced her to ioyne her selfe amongst Gods children, in the housholde of fayth, and when the Christians were commaunded to offer incense & sacrifice to deuills or dead gods: MarginaliaEulalia geueth the onset, denieng to sacrifice to deuills>Then began the blessed spirite of Eulalia to kindle, and being of a prompt and readie witte, thought forth with (as a couragious captayne) to geue a charge vppon thys so great, and disordred a battaile: and so she, selie woman, pouring out þe bowells of her innocent hart before God, more prouoketh thereby the force and rage of her enemies against her. MarginaliaEulalia kept secure by her parentes.But the godly care of her parentes, fearing least the willing minde of the Damsell, so readie to die for Christes cause, myght make her giltie of her own death, hyd her and kept her close at their house in the countrey, being a great way out of the citie. She yet misliking that quiet lyfe, as also detesting, to make suche delaye: softlye stealeth out of the doores (no man knowing therof) in the night: and in great haste leauing the common way, openeth the hedge gappes, and with werye feete (God knoweth) passeth through the thornie and brierie places, accompanied yet with the angelicall garde: and although darke and dreadfull were þe silent nyght, yet had she with her the Lorde & guider of light. And as the children of Israell comming out of Egypt, had by the mightie power of God, a cloudye piller for their guide in the day, and a flame of fire in the night: so had this godly virgine, traueling in this darke night, when she flying and forsaking the place where all filthie idolatrie abounded, and hastened her heauenly iournie, was not oppressed with the dredfull darknes of þe night. But yet she before the daye appeared in this her speedie iournie, with her selfe considered & mused of a thousand matters and more. In þe morning betime with a haute courage she goeth vnto þe tribunal or iudgement seate, and in the middest of them all with a loud voyce, crying out sayd: MarginaliaEulalia disproueth the heathen Iudge.I praye you what a shame is it for you thus rashlye and without aduisement to destroy & kill mens soules, and to throwe their bodyes aliue agaynst the rockes, and cause them to denie the omnipotent God. Would you know (O you vnfortunate) who I am? beholde, I am one of the Christians: an enemye to your deuelish sacrifices, I spurne your idoles vnder my feete: MarginaliaThe godly confessiō of Eulalia.I confesse God omnipotent with my harte and mouth. Isis, Apollo, and Venus, what are they? Maximianus himself, what is he? The one a thing of nought, for that they be the worke of mens handes, the other but a caste away, bicuase he worshippeth þe same worke. Therfore friuolous are they both, and both not worthye to bee set

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