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ROGER OF WENDOVER Flowers of history. The history of England from the descent of the saxons to A.D. 1235. vol.1

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ROGER OF WENDOVER
Flowers of history. The history of England from the descent of the saxons to A.D. 1235. vol.1
page 286



A.D. 1012.] CRUELTY OP CONSTANTINE. 281 unattended to the entrance of a certain wood ; and seeing a church hard by, he made for it, and feigning himself to be a soldier, simply requested a mass of the priest. Now that priest was a man of notable piety, but so deformed in person that he seemed a monster rather than a man. When he had attentively considered him, the emperor began to wonder exceedingly why God, from whom all beauty proceeds, should permit so deformed a man to administer his sacraments. But presently, when mass commenced, and they came to the passage, " Know ye that the Lord he is God," which was chanted by a boy, the priest rebuked the boy for singing negligently, and said with a loud voice, " It is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves." Struck by these words, and believing the priest to be a prophet, the emperor raised him much against his will, to the archbishopric of Cologne, which see he adorned by his devotion and excellent virtues. In a monastery of nuns in that city there was a certain damsel, whom the zeal of her parents rather than her own devotion had placed there. By her worldly behaviour and deceitful address she had allured a number of lovers ; one of whom, whose lust had been nourished by immense wealth and high descent, carried off the damsel and kept her as a lawful wife. A long time elapsed, but at last the matter became known to Herebert the archbishop, and by his command the sheep was restored to the fold. But not long after she was, in the absence of the archbishop, again carried off from the monastery by the aforesaid youth ; on which the sentence of excommunication was pronounced against him, forbidding any of his fellow citizens to speak or hold any intercourse with him. Lightly regarding the sentence, the youth withdrew to his more remote possessions, where he spent a flagitious life with his excommunicated companion. But when at length it pleased God to call the archbishop to himself, and he was confined to his bed with exceeding sickness, his people came together from all parts to receive the blessed man's last benediction ; but the libertine alone, disdaining to come himself, procured others to speak for him, that he might receive absolution. On hearing the name of the young man, the archbishop groaned and said, " 1£ the wretched man will leave the cursed woman, let him be absolved; but if he continue obstinate, next year, on this


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