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Full text of "The dialogues of Saint Gregory, surnamed the Great; pope of Rome & the first of that name. Divided into four books, wherein he entreateth of the lives and miracles of the saints in Italy and of the eternity of men's souls"

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The binding of this volume 
is reproduced from a fine 
Italian example dating 
from the XI 1th Century 




With Notes by G. F. Hill xiii 


C&e JTicst TBoofe 


I. Of Honoratus, Abbot of the Monastery of Funda . . 6 

II. Of Libertinus, Prior of the same Abbey ... 9 

III. Of a Monk, that was gardener to the same Abbey . 13 

IV. OfEquitius, Abbot in the Province of Valeria . . 15 
V. Of Constantius, Clerk of St. Stephen's Church . . 23 

VI. Of Marcellinus, Bishop of Ancona .... 26 

VII. Of Nonnosus, Prior of the Abbey in Mount Soracte . 26 
VIII. Of Anastasius, Abbot of the Monastery called Suppen- 

tonia ......... 29 

IX. Of Bonifacius, Bishop of the City of Ferenti . . 31 

X. Of Fortunatus, Bishop of the City of Tuderti . . 38 

XI. Of Martirius, a Monk in the Province of Valeria . . 45 

XII. Of Severus, a Priest in the same Province ... 46 

Cbe Second 15oofe 

2Df tbe life ana piracies of %t IBznnzt 

I. How a sieve was broken and made sound by St. 

Bennet ........ 5 2 

II. How he overcame a great carnal temptation . . 55 

III. How he brake a glass with the sign of the Cross . . 56 

IV. How he cured a Monk that had an idle and 

wandering mind ....... 61 

V. How by prayer he made water to spring out of a 

rock in the top of a mountain .... 62 

VI. How he caused an iron bill to come again into 

the handle from the bottom of the water . . 63 



YIL How his scholar Maurus walked upon the water . 64 
VIII. How he made a crow to carry a loaf far off that 

was poisoned ...... 65 

IX. How he removed an huge stone by his prayer . 69 
X. Of the fantastical fire of the kitchen ... 69 
XI. How a little boy, a Monk, was slain with the ruin 

of a wall, and restored to life .... 70 

XII. Of certain Monks that ate meat contrary to their 

rule ........ 71 

XIII. How the holy man knew by revelation that the 

brother of Valentinian the Monk had eaten in 

his journey ....... 72 

XIV. How the counterfeiting of king Totilas was 

discovered ....... 73 

XV. How the holy man did prophesy to the same king 74 
XVI. How he dispossessed a clergyman of a devil . . 75 
XVII. How he did prophesy of the destruction of his 

own Abbey ....... 78 

XVIII. How by revelation he understood of the stolen 

flagon of wine ...... 79 

XIX. How by revelation he knew that a Monk had 

received certain napkins .... 79 

XX. How he likewise knew the proud thought of one 

of his own Monks ...... 80 

XXI. How in the time of a dearth two hundred bushels 

of meal was found before his cell ... 81 
XXII. How, by vision, he gave order for the building of 

the Abbey of Terracina . .... 82 

XXIII. How certain Nuns were absolved after their death 84 

XXIV. How a certain Monk was cast out of his grave . 86 
XXV. How a Monk, forsaking his Abbey, was encountered 

by a dragon .... ... 86 

XXVI. How he cured one of a leprosy .... 87 

XXVII. How miraculously he provided money for one that 

was in debt ....... 87 

XXVIII. How a cruet of glass was thrown upon the stones 

and not broken ...... 88 

XXIX. How an empty barrel was miraculously filled with 

oil ........ 89 

XXX. How a Monk was dispossessed of a devil . . 90 
XXXI. How a country man pinioned was by his only sight 

loosed ....... 91 

XXXII. How a dead child was restored to life ... 92 





Of a miracle wrought by his sister Scholastics 
How and in what manner he saw his sister's soul 
going out of her body ..... 

XXXV. How in vision he saw the world represented before 
his eyes ; and of the soul of Germanus, Bishop 
of Capua .... ... 

XXXVI. How he wrote the rule of his order . 
XXXVII. How he foretold the time of his death 
XXXVIII. How a mad woman, lying in his cave, was cured . 

C6e CbitD 15oofe 

I. Of Paulinus, Bishop of the City of Nola 
II. Of Pope John . 

III. Of Pope Agapitus 

IV. Of Datius, Bishop of Milan 
V. Of Sabinus, Bishop of Camisina 

VI. OfCassius, Bishop of Narni 
VII, Of Andrew, Bishop of Funda 
VIII. Of Constantius, Bishop of Aquinum 
IX. Of Frigidianus, Bishop of Lucca 
X. Of Sabinus, Bishop of Placentia, who by his letcer 
made the river of Po to retire into his channel 
XI. Of Cerbonius, Bishop of Populonium . 
XII. Of Fulgentius, Bishop of Otricoli 

XIII. Of Herculanus, Bishop of Perusium ■. 

XIV. Of the servant of God, Isaac 

XV. Of the servants of God, Euthicius and Florentius 
XVI. Of Marcius, the Monk of Mount Marsico . 
XVII. Of a Monk dwelling in the mountain called 
Argentario, who raised up a dead man 
XVIII. Of Bennet the Monk. 

XIX. Of the church of St. Zeno the martyr, into which 
the swelling waters came not any farther than 
to the door ....... 

XX. Of Stephen, a Priest in the Province of Valeria 
XXI. Of a Nun, that with her only authority dis- 
possessed a devil .,...« 
XXII. Of a Priest in the Province of Valeria that held a 
thief at his sepulchre , 

XXIII. Of the Abbot of Mount Preneste, and his Priest » 

XXIV. Of Theodorus, Clerk of St. Peter's Church in Rome 
XXV. Of Abundius, Clerk of the same Church 


















XXVI, Of a solitary Monk 148 

XXVII. Of forty country husbandmen, that were martyred 
because they would not eat flesh sacrificed to 
idols . . . . . . . .150 

XXVIII. Of a great multitude of captives, that were slain 

because they would not adore a goat's head . 15 1 
XXIX. Of an Arian Bishop strooken blind . . . 152 

XXX. Of a church of the Arians consecrated catholickly 

in the City of Rome ..... 153 

XXXI. Of Hermigildus, the son of Leuigildus, King of 
the Visegoths, put to death by his father for the 
Catholic faith . . . . . .155 

XXXII. Of certain Bishops of Africk, that had (for the 
defence of the Catholic faith) their tongues cut 
out by the Arians ; and yet spake as perfectly 
as they did before . . . . . .157 

KXXIII. Of the servant of God, Eleutherius . . 159 

XXXIV. How many kinds of compunction there be . . 161 

XXXV. Of Amantius, a Priest in the Country of Tuscania 163 

XXXVI. Of Maximianus, Bishop of Syracusis . . .164 

XXXVII. Of Sanctulus, a Priest in the Province of Nursia . 166 

XXXVIII. Of a vision which appeared to Redemptus, Bishop 

of Ferenti . . . . . . 173 

Cbe JTourtf) 15ook 

I. That carnal men do the less believe eternal and 
spiritual things, because those of which they 
hear, they know not by experience 
II. That an infidel liveth not without faith 

III. That there were three vital spirits created . 

IV. Of that question of Solomon wherein it is said : 

That the death of a man and beasts is all one . 
V. Of that question concerning the soul, which goeth 
invisibly out of the body : to wit, whether 
there be any such thing, when as it cannot be 
seen ........ 

VI. That as the life of the soul, whiles it remaineth in 
the body, is known by the motion of the 
members : so the life of the soul, after it is out 
of the body in Saints, is gathered by the virtue 
of miracles ....... 

VII. Of the departure of souls . 









VIII. Of the departure of the soul of a monk called 

Speciosus . . . . . . .188 

IX. Of the soul of an Anchoret .... 188 

X. Of the departure of the soul of an Abbot called 

Hope ..... r . . 189 

XI. Of the departure of the soul of a Priest called 

Ursinus ....... 190 

XII. Of the soul of Probus, Bishop of the City of Reati 192 

XIII. Of the departure of a Nun called Galla . . 192 

XIV. Of the departure of Servulus, sick of the palsy . 194 
XV. Of the departure of a Nun called Romula . . 195 

XVI. Of the departure of the virgin Tarsilla . . 197 

XV^II. Of the departure of a young maid called Musa . 198 
XVIII. How certain young children come not to heaven, 
through the fault of their parents : because they 
bring them up wickedly : as is shewed and 
afterward declared by the example of a 
blasphemous young boy ..... 199 

XIX. Of the departure of one Stephen, the servant of 

God ........ 201 

XX. That sometime the merit of the soul is not seen at 
the departure : but is after death the more truly 
declared ....... 202 

XXI. Of the two Monks of Abbot Valentinus . . 202 

XXII. Of the departure of Abbot Suranus . . . 202 

XXIII. Of the departure of a Deacon of the church of 

the Marsori ....... 

XXIV. Of the death of the man of God that was sent to 

Bethel ........ 203 

XXV. Whether the souls of just men be received into 

heaven before the resurrection of the body . 204 

XXVI. By what means some that are a dying do prophesy. 
Of the death of a certain advocate : Of trie 
revelation of the two Monks Gerontius and 
Mellitus : Of the death of a boy called Armen- 
tarius, and of the diversity of tongues . . 206 

XXVII. Of the death of the Earl Theophanius . . 210 

XXVIII. That as the souls of just men be in heaven : so we 
ought to believe, that, after the death of the 
bodies, the souls of wicked men are in hell . 211 
XXIX. What reason we have to believe that corporal fire 

can hold spirits, they being without bodies . 212 
XXX. Of the death of the Arian king Theodoricus . 213 





XXXI. Of the death of Reparatus . .... 214 

XXXII. Of the death of a courtier, whose grave burned with 

fire ........ 216 

XXXIII. Whether the good know the good in heaven : and 

the bad those that be bad in hell . . . 217 

XXXIV. Of a certain religious man, who at his death saw 

the Prophets ...... 219 

XXXV. How sometime souls ready to depart this world, 
that know not one another, do know for all that 
what torments for their sins, or like rewards for 
their good deeds, they shall receive. And of the 
death of John, Ursus, Eumorphius, and Stephen 219 
XXXVI. Of those souls, which through error seem to be 
carried out of their bodies. Of the vocation 
and revocation of Peter the Monk ; and of the 
death and resuscitation of Stephen. Of the 
vision of a certain soldier : and of Deusdedit, 
whose house was seen to be built upon the 
Sabbath day : and of the punishment of the 
men of Sodom ...... 223 

XXXVII. That the souls of certain men, whiles they be yet in 
their bodies, do see some spiritual punishment : 
and of the boy Theodorus .... 229 

XXXVIII. Of the death of Chrisorius : and of a certain Monk 

oflconia ....... 230 

XXXIX. Whether there be any fire of Purgatory after 

death ........ 232 

XL. Of the soul of Paschasius the Deacon . . . 234 

XLI. Why in latter times so many things come to light 
concerning men's souls, which before were not 
known ....... 235 

XLII. In what place we ought to believe that hell is . 236 
XLIII. Whether the fire of hell be one or many . . 237 

XLIV. Whether they always burn that lie in hell . . 238 

XLV. How the soul is said to be immortal, if it be 

punished with the sentence of death . . 241 

XLVI. Of a certain holy man, who was afraid at the time 

of his death ....... 241 

XLVI I. That some are by revelation strengthened not to 
be afraid when they die : and of the monks 
called Anthony, Merulus, and John . . 242 

XLVIII. Whether we ought to observe dreams : and how 

many sorts of dreams there be 244 



XLIX. Of a certain man who in his dream had long life 

promised : and yet died shortly after . . 245 
L. Whether the souls receive any commodity, by the 

burial of their bodies in the church . . 245 

LI. Of a certain Nun that was buried in the Church of 

St. Lawrence, which appeared half burnt . 246 

LII. Of the burial of the noble man Valerianus . . 246 
LIII. Of the body of Valentinus, which was thrown out 

of the church, after it was buried . . . 247 

LIV. Of the body of a dyer buried in the church, which 

afterward could not be found . . . 248 

LV. What thing that is which, after death, hath force 
to help men's souls : and of a Priest of Centum- 
cellis, who was by the soul of a certain man 
desired, that he might, after his death, be holpen 
by the holy sacrifice. And of the soul of a 
Monk called Justus ..... 249 

LVI. Of the life and death of Bishop Cassius . . 252 
LVII, Of one that was taken by his enemies, whose irons 
at the time of the sacrifice were loosed : and 
of the mariner called Baraca, saved by the 
sacred host from being drowned in the sea . 253 
LVIII. Of the virtue and mystery of the healthful sacrifice 255 
LIX. How we ought to procure contrition of heart at 
the time of the holy mysteries : and of the 
custody of our soul after we have been sorrow- 
ful for our sins ...... 256 

LX. How we ought to forgive the sins of others, that 

we may obtain forgiveness of our own . . 257 


INDEX 277 


3Ltet of ^lustrations 

With Notes by G. F. Hill 

Patfs in GToIour 

St. Benedict delivers his rule. British Museum (Arundel MS. 

155, fol. 133) Frontispiece 

The manuscript is a Latin Psalter, written and illuminated most 
probably at Christ Church, Canterbury, between 1012 and 1023, in a 
style which had its origin at Winchester. The miniature of St. 
Benedict, which shows a combination of outline and full illumination, 
comes between the Psalter and the Canticles. The Saint, enthroned, 
points to an open book inscribed "Ausculta, o fili, precepta," which a 
monk holds up to him. His brooch is inscribed " Iustus," the fillet 
on his head, "Timor Dei" ; the border of his nimbus, "Sanctus 
Benedictus pater monachorum et dux." The girdle of the prostrate 
monk who kisses his right foot bears the words "Zona humilitatis." 
In the spandril between the two arches which form the background 
is the hand of God, holding a stole, inscribed " Qui vos audit me 
audit" and " Obedientes estote preposito vestro." The miniature 
closely resembles another in the Benedictional of St. /Ethelwold. 

G. F. Warner, Illuminated Manuscripts in the British Museum (1903), 
PL 7- 

The Madonna in Glory, with St. Gregory and St. 
Bernard (?). By Pintoricchio. San Gimignano, Palazzo 

Pubblico ....... Facing page 1 6 

This picture was painted in 151 1 for the church of S. Maria 
Assunta at Monte Oliveto in Barbiano, the final payment to the artist 
being made on February 9, 15 12. The original commission specified 
that the two Saints should be Benedict and Bernard. The former 
has been replaced by a Pope, probably Gregory the Great. The 
Madonna is seated on white clouds in a mandorla of blue edged with 
white, with cherubs' heads. St. Gregory is represented without any 
particular attributes ; his tiara rests on the ground beside the mitre 
of St. Bernard, who wears the white habit and holds his pastoral staff. 
Landscape background of the kind typical of Pintoricchio. 

C. Ricci, Pintoricchio, transl, by F. Simmonds (1902), p. 229. 



Fa a tig page 
St. Scholastica. By Perugino. San Pietro, Perugia . . 96 

This is one of a number of half-figures which decorated the frame 
of the altar-piece of San Pietro, commissioned on March 8, 1496. The 
Saint holds a dove and a book. The altar-piece was broken up in the 
eighteenth century ; the central panel, representing the Ascension, is 
at Lyons ; the lunette in St. Gervais, Paris ; the predella at Rouen ; 
St. Scholastica and four other Saints at Perugia ; three others in the 

The death of St. Benedict. By Spinello Aretino. San Miniato 

al Monte, Florence . . . . . . .100 

The sacristy of San Miniato was finished about 1387, and Spinello 
was commissioned by Don Jacopo d' Arezzo to fresco its waLls with 
scenes from the life of St. Benedict. The frescoes, which show the 
Giottesque school of this period at its best, were still unfinished on 
June 11, 1387. The last and finest scene represents the death of the 
Saint ; his body lies on a bier, surrounded by mourners, and a bishop 
reads the office over him. As he breathed his last, two monks, one 
far away, the other in his cell, saw the same vision of a ladder, 
covered with a rich carpet and lit by innumerable lamps, leading from St. 
Benedict's cell to the eastern heaven, by which way the Saint mounted 
up into heaven. This vision is represented above the death-scene. 

St. Frigidianus turning the course of the Serchio. By Fra 

Filippo Lippi. Accademia, Florence (No. 42) . .116 

This panel, representing San Frediano, bishop ot Lucca, diverting 
the course of the Serchio, is one of the three compartments of the 
pTedella to a picture of the Madonna and Child with Angels and 
Saints now in the Louvre. It is a good deal restored. It was 
originally commissioned by the Company of Or San Michele in 1437, 
and before its removal to France was in the sacristy of S. Spirito. 
The other panel* represent the Virgin receiving the announcement of 
her coming death, and St. Augustine in his study in meditation, with 
the three arrows sticking in his breast. 

King Totila and St. Benedict. By Neroccio di Bartolommeo 

Landi. Uffizi, Florence (No. 1304) .... 134 

One of three predella panels, attributed variously to Neroccio, 
Francesco di Giorgio, and Vecchietta. Totila (Baduila), king of the 
Ostrogoths, who had attempted to deceive St. Benedict by sending to 
him a servant arrayed in royal garments, kneels in penitence before 
the Saint. On the right is the entrance to the abbey of Monte 
Cassino ; behind the king a brilliant retinue of pages and knights ; on 
the hills behind, the camp of the Ostrogoths ; and in the distance, 
columns and a pyramid which indicate Rome. 

plates tn f^alf-tone 

Boethius. By Justus of Ghent. Barberini Palace, Rome . xviii 

Of the twenty-eigkt ideal portraits of philosopher^ heroes and 
doctors, painted about 1476 by Justus (Josse) of Ghent, for the library 



Facing page 
of Federigo of Urbino, fourteen are now in the Louvre, the other* in 
the Palazzo Barberini. The distinction between his work and that of 
Melozzo da Forli has been much disputed, and this particular figure is 
claimed by Schmarsow, in his work on Melozzo, for that artist ; but 
the general opinion seems now to be on the other side. Boethius 
seems to be represented as the author of the de institutiont arithmetical 
and traditional founder of mediaeval arithmetic, reckoning on his 
fingers ; or possibly the action may be merely that of a philosopher 
checking off the heads of an argument. The eulogy under the portrait 
was " L, Boetio, ob cuius commentationes Latini M. Varronis scholas 
non desiderant, Fed. Urb. princeps pos." 

St. Gregory the Great. By Justus of Ghent. Barberini Palace, 

Rome .......... 6 

Another of the twenty-eight fancy portraits painted for the library 
at Urbino (see above). The Pope, in tiara and cope, holds a book ; 
Gothic architectural background. The eulogy reads : " Gregorio in 
coelum relato, ob morum sanctitatem, librorum quoque elegantiam 
testatam, gratitudo Christiana memor erexit." 

St. Benedict. By Perugino. Vatican Gallery, Rome . . 48 

From the same altar-piece as the St. Scholastica (see above). The 
Saint holds a bundle of rods, indicating the severity of his rule, and > 

St. Benedict leaving his father's house. By Spinello Aretino. 

San Miniato al Monte, Florence . . . . . 52 

A scene from the frescoes in the sacristy of San Miniato, painted 
about 1387 (see above). The Saint, mounted on a horse, bids farewell 
to his relations ; in the background, the town of Nursia ; on the right, 
two traveller!. 

St. Maurus. By Perugino. San Pietro, Perugia . . .60 
Another relic of the great altar-piece of 1496 (see above). 

Maurus saving Placidus from drowning. By Giov. Antonio 

Bazzi (Sodoma). Monte Oliveto Maggiore . . .64 

From the series of thirty-one frescoes executed by Bazzi between 
August 1505 and August 1508. It was revealed to St. Benedict in his 
study that a young monk named Placidus, who had gone to draw 
water, had fallen into the river. On the, left, the abbot is seen in his 
study despatching Maurus to the rescue ; on the right, Maurus, 
walking on the waters, brings Placidus to land. 

The women sent by Florentius. By Giov. Antonio Bazzi. 

Monte Oliveto Maggiore ...... 68 

From the same series of frescoes as the preceding. Florentius, 
having failed to poison St. Benedict, endeavoured to debauch his 
disciples, atad " took seven maidens, all naked, and sent them, into the 
garden to dance and carol lor to move the monks to temptation." To 

XV b 


Facing page 
the seven women correspond, on the other side, seven monks and an 
ass ; St. Benedict looks on in horror from the balcony above. The 
story goes that Bazzi in the first instance followed the legend exactly, 
and painted the women nude, and that he was afterwards obliged, by 
the indignation of his employers, to add clothes. This, however, is 
refuted by the fact that there is no trace here, as elsewhere, of anything 
being added in a second painting ; such additions are easily detected in 
a fresco. 

The meeting of St. Benedict and King Totila. By Spinello 

Aretino. San Miniato al Monte, Florence . . -74 

From the series of frescoes in the sacristy of San Miniato mentioned 
a,bove. . The .scene js practically the same as that represented by 
Neroccio {see above) ; but the composition is naturally simpler, and 
the conception more dignified. 

St. Placidus. By Perugino. Vatican Gallery, Rome . . 80 

From the same altar-piece as the St. Scholastica [see above). St. 
Placidus, with hands joined in prayer, and holding a palm, is a 
•characteristically sentimental Peruginesque type. 

The translation of St. Herculanus. By Benedetto Bonfigli. 

Accademia, Perugia . . . . . . .122 

Benedetto Bonfigli's chief work was the decoration of the chapel or 
the Palazzo del Comune at Perugia with frescoes representing scenes 

"from the life t>f St. Herculanus and St. Louis of Toulouse (begun in 1454 
and continued at intervals until his death in I496). The body of 
St. Herculanus, having been found uncorrupted, after it had been 
decapitated, flayed and exposed for forty days at the order of Totila, is 
here being carried in procession by the clergy, accompanied by lay-folk ; 
on the right, two women kneel as it passes. In the background, the 

.buildings of Perugia. 

The Madonna and Child with St. Zeno (and St. Laurence 
fustinian). By Girolamo dai Libri. San Giorgio, 
.Verona ... ....... 140 

The Virgin, holding her Son, is enthroned beneath a lemon-tree. 
On the left is St. Laurence Justinian, holding book and cross ; the Child 
presents a girdle to him. On the right is S. Zeno, with book and 
crozier, from which is suspended a fish, his symbol. Below are three 
angels making music. Painted in 1526, and inscribed "XXVI. Men. 
Mar. XXVIIII. Hieronimus a Libris pinxit." Oil on canvas. 

Faith. By Giotto. Arena Chapel, Padua .... 186 

' Painted about 1306. Faith, who wears a tall mitre and veil, rests 
the shaft of her cross on the torso of a fallen idol, which she spurns 
with her right foot, and holds a scroll inscribed with the creed. The 
key of heaven hangs from her girdle, and her left foot tramples upon 
cabalistic books. Above, two angels bend down to her. 



Facing page 

St. Gregory appearing to the dying Santa Fina. By Domenico 

Ghirlandaio. San Gimignano • . . . . . 198 

Painted by Ghirlandaio before 1485 in the chapel of Santa Fina in 
the Collegiate Church of S. Gimignano ; the chapel itself was 
consecrated in 1488. One of Santa Fina's attendants raises her head 
so that she may see the vision, which warns her of her approaching 

King Theodoric of the Ostrogoths. By Peter Vischer the 

Elder. Franciscan Church, Innsbruck . . . .212 

Of twenty-eight bronze statues round the cenotaph of the Emperor 
Maximilian in the Franciscan ohurch at Innsbruck, two were supplied 
by the foundry of Peter Vischer, and it is universally admitted that these 
two were the statues of Theodoric and Arthur of Britain. The latter 
is sometimes ascribed to Peter's son, of the same name, but there is 
general agreement that the Theodoric is the elder artist's own work. 
The payment for the statues was made in 1 5 1 3. Theodoric rests in a 
somewhat affected attitude on his battle-axe, supporting his shield with 
his left hand ; a curious contrast to the swaggering self-confidence of 
the King Arthur. 

The coronation of the Blessed Virgin. By Lorenzo Monaco. 

Uffizi, Florence (No. 1309) 220 

The picture was completed in February 141 3 for the high altar of the 
Church of the Monastery degli Angeli. Removed thence in the sixteenth 
century, it was rediscovered at Cerreto in 1830, and has been in the 
UffizL since 1866. It was restored by Franchi. 

In the centre is the coronation of the Virgin by her Son, among a 
crowd of angels ; below kneel two angels, censing, and a third (mostly 
destroyed) accompanies the choir on an organ. The wings contain 
eax:h ten saints. On the left, counting from the left, are in the first 
row Benedict, Petar, John Baptist ; in the second row, Stephen, Paul, 
James, Matthew. On the right, counting from the right, in the first 
row, Romuald, Andrew, John the Evangelist ; in the second row, 
Laurence, Bartholomew, Augustine, Giovanni Gualberto. Above the 
middle, in the pinnacle, is a half-figure of Christ blessing between two 
cherubim ; over the wings is the Annunciation. (These are not 
included in the illustration.) Of the si* panels of the predella, the 
two in the middle represent the Nativity and the Adoration of the 
Magi. The other four, counting from the right, show (1) Benedict 
reviving one of the brethren, killed by a falling wall during the building 
of the Abbey of Monte Cassino ; (2) Benedict forced to remain with his 
sister Scholastica, whose prayer has induced a storm which prevents 
him from leaving her ; and Benedict sending Maurus to rescue Placidus 
from drowning ; (3) the death of Benedict ; (4) Benedict curing a 
monk of his inability to continue in prayer; and Benedict in his cave 
in the wilderness, with Romanus letting down food to him by a 

O. Siren, Don Lorenzo Monaco (1905), pp. 77 fF. 



Facing page 
The Mass of St. Gregory. By Andrea Sacchi (1600-1650). 

Vatican Gallery,, Rome ....... 240 

The Pope, standing before the altar (on which is his tiara), pierces with 
a knife the fragment of linen cloth from the shroud of St. John the 
Evangelist, which exudes blood. Two deacons assist, one of them 
opening a cup to catoh the blood as it falls. The ambassador of the 
Empress Constance and two soldiers of his retinue kneel in astonish- 
ment. A dove hovers round the Pope's head. 

[/» the title of the Plate facing p. 16, " St. Benedict" should be 
printed" St. Bernard."] 


yustui of Ghent 

I < > I I H1US 
[Barberini Palace, Rome) 



C{)C four books of Dialogues of Saint Gregory the Great, 
"concerning the life and miracles of the Italian Fathers 
and the eternity of souls," were written in 593, three 
years after his elevation to the papacy, at the request of 
certain monks of his household. 

"My brethren who dwell familiarly with me," writes 
Gregory to Maximianus, Bishop of Syracuse, " would 
have me by all means write something in brief fashion 
concerning the miracles of the Fathers, which we have 
heard wrought in Italy. For this purpose I earnestly 
need the help of your charity, that you should briefly 
inform me of all those which come back to your memory, 
or which you have happened yourself to know. For 
I remember that you related certain things, which I 
have forgotten, concerning the lord abbot Nonnosus, 
who lived near the lord Anastasius de Pentumis. 1 be- 
seech you, therefore, to put down this, and whatever 
others there are, in your letters, and forward them to 
me with speed, unless you yourself are coming to me 
shortly." x 

There is no other book that gives us so vivid a pic- 
ture of religious life in Italy during the sixth century : 
the century that witnessed the brief epoch of Gothic 

1 Gregcrii I. Registrant, Epitt. iii. 5 (ed. Ewald and Hartmann, 
I. p. 206). Cf. Dialog, i. 7, 8, iii. 36. The title " lord " {domnus) is 
given to an abbot in accordance with the Rule of St. Benedict (cap. 63): 
" Abbas autem, quia vices Christi agere creditur, Domnus et Abbas 




domination, the restoration of the imperial Byzantine 
power, and finally the invasion of the Lombards, that 
"barbarous and cruel nation," writes Gregory, which, 
"drawn as a sword out of a sheath," wrought such 
unutterable havoc and devastation in the peninsula that 
many, with Bishop Redemptus, held verily that " the 
end of all flesh was come." * It is the century that 
closed the period of classical civilisation, and ushered 
in that dreariest epoch in the history of mankind known 
as the Dark Ages. 

Inevitably, men turned from the spectacle of a world 
" fraught with so many miseries and divers afflictions," 2 
to prepare in the solitude of the cloister for the end 
which they deemed fast approaching, if it were not 
already come. They naturally sought eagerly to grasp 
such phenomena as seemed to them miraculous, as 
visible signs that God had not utterly abandoned His 
creation, and to find proofs that the soul, at least, was 
immortal, and might look forward to a better life here- 
after by forgiveness of injuries, and by offering herself 
up before death as a sacrifice to Him that had made 
her. 3 It is this that gives pathos even to the apparent 
triviality of some of the miracles that Gregory records, 
and deeper significance to the note on which the work 

Three great figures illumine the general darkness of 
the sixth century in Italy : Boethius, the last philosopher 
of the classical world ; Benedict, the organiser or 
western monasticism ; and Gregory himself, the chief 
agent in the building up of the mediaeval ideal of the 

The Roman senator, Anicius Manlius Severinus 
Boethius, whom Gibbon calls " the last of the Romans 
whom Cato or Tully could have acknowledged for their 
countryman," was tortured to death by the orders or 

1 Dialog, iii. 38. 2 Ibid. iii. 38. 3 Ibid. iv. 60. 



King Theodoric the Goth, in 524 or 525. Dante was 
to meet him among the glowing spirits of great teachers 
in the fourth sphere of Paradise : " In the vision of all 
good there rejoiceth the holy soul, who unmasks the 
world's deceit to whoso giveth good heed to it. The 
body whence it was hunted lieth below in Cieldauro, 
and it from martyrdom and from exile came unto this 
peace." 1 Though a martyr for the liberty of Rome 
rather than for the faith of Christ, Botfthius was (as we 
now know for certain) an advocate of Christianity, albeit 
from the philosophical rather than the religious stand- 
point ; but his famous work, De Consolatione Philosophiae, 
composed in his prison at Pavia under the shadow of 
death, attempts to "assert eternal Providence and 
justify the ways of God to men " from the standpoint 
of human reason alone. It is somewhat curious that 
his name, which rings through the literature of the 
Middle Ages from Alfred to Dante, occurs nowhere in 
the Dialogues, although his fellow-victims under the 
tyranny of the last years of Theodoric's rule, John the 
Pope and Symmachus the Senator, are mentioned more 
than once, and the monkish legend of their persecutor's 
terrible end is related in full. 2 

Some four or five years after the death of Bo(3thius, 
Benedict of Nursia founded the great monastery of 
Monte Cassino, about 529. Here in 543, fourteen 
years later, he died. Even in the west, Benedict was 
naturally not without precursors ; such as Martin ot 
Tours, Cassianus of Marseilles, Cesarius of Aries, 
Equitius, who, " by reason of his great holiness of life, 
was the father and governor of many abbeys in the 
province of Valeria," 3 and some others ; but it was 
more especially the work of the great Italian monk, 

1 Par. x. 124-129. Cieldauro is the church of San Pietro in Ciel 
d'Oro (the Golden Roof) at Pavia, where Boiithius was buried. 

2 Dialog, iii. 2, iv. 30. 3 Ibid. i. 4. 


w 1 


whose face Dante so ardently desired to behold unveiled 
in Paradise, to elevate this western monastic life into a 
system, with fixed laws and an ideal, like the object of 
hope according to the scholastic definition, " arduous 
but not impossible of attainment." The famous rule, 
the Regula Sancti Benedicti, which he wrote and promul- 
gated from Monte Cassino (based, in part, upon the 
eastern rule of St. Basil), for all its apparent simplicity, 
is one of the few great constructive works of the sixth 
century. Although, from the standpoint of the Divina 
Commedia, Dante makes the Saint declare that his regola 
remained on earth solely to waste the parchment on 
which it was written, per danno delle carle, it became the 
norm according to which generations of men and women 
throughout the western world devoted themselves to 
the highest spiritual life, and became " kindled by that 
heat which gives birth to flowers and holy fruits." 1 

The second book of the Dialogues, De vita et miraculis 
venerabilis Benedicti, is the earliest and most authoritative 
account of St. Benedict that we possess. Indeed, it, to- 
gether with his Rule, is our only source for the story ot 
his life and the understanding of his character. As has 
been well said, it is "the biography of the greatest Monk, 
vritten by the greatest Pope (himself also a Monk.)" 2 

Gregory was born probably a year or two before the 
death of St. Benedict. The son of the Roman senator, 
Gordianus, and a scion of the noble house of the 
Anicii, he inherited vast possessions in the Roman 
Campagna and in the territory of Tivoli, stretching 
almost to the gates of Praeneste (Palestrina), and a 
palace on the Caelian Hill. His childhood was passed 
amidst the disastrous events of the struggle between 
Justinian's generals and the Goths, when Rome was 
taken and retaken again and again by the Goths and the 

1 Par. xxii. 46-48, 73-75. 

2 Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders, vol. iv., p. 411. 



barbarian armies of the Empire. In his early manhood, 
after the death of Justinian and the recall of Narses to 
Constantinople, came the even more disastrous invasion 
and partial conquest of Italy by the Lombards. " Late 
and long," he writes, " I put off the grace of con- 
version, and, after 1 had been inspired with celestial 
desire, I thought it better to be clothed in the secular 
habit." * In 573, when still a young man, he was 
prefect of Rome. A few years later, he became a monk, 
turned his palace into a monastery, made over his lands 
to the monks, and disposed of his property to religious 
and public uses. After serving as apocrisiarius, or papal 
legate, to the imperial court of Byzantium, for Pope 
Pelagius II., he was, on the latter's death during the 
terrible pestilence that devastated Rome at the begin- 
ning of 590, elected Pope, and, in spite of his resistance, 
was compelled to accept the choice of the Romans, 
which (in accordance with the usage of the times) was 
confirmed by the Emperor Mauritius. 

This is not the place to tell again the story of 
Gregory's pontificate. Physically a complete invalid, 
suffering from almost incessant pain, he held the see 
for fourteen years (dying on March 12, 604), with an 
indefatigable vigour and an incessant activity, in times 
of wellnigh unqualified difficulty and gloom. Con- 
vinced in his own mind that the end of the world was 
at hand (he had announced it to the people in his first 
public homily as Pope in St. Peter's, and the conviction 
abode with him until his death), 2 he nevertheless did not 
neglect even the care of temporal things, when these 
were forced upon him by the duties of his state and the 
pressure of the times. His conception of the temporal 
power of the papacy, and the relations of Church and 
State, was poles asunder from that of the Popes of 

1 Moralia, Epistok missoria (to Leander of Seville), cap. i. 

2 Homilia I. in Evangelia (Migne, P.L., Ixxvi. coll. 1077-1081). 



Dante's century, and essentially the same as that of the 
poet himself. Of the vast territorial possessions of 
the Church, the administration of which he thoroughly 
reformed, he regarded the Pope, " not as possessor, 
but as dispenser of the fruits for the poor of Christ, on 
behalf of the Church." 1 Compelled to act as a secular 
ruler in defence of Rome against the Lombards, he 
regarded himself, in the temporal field, as the subject 
of the State. Like Dante, he conceives of the Church 
and State as mutually co-operating, but ruling over 
different spheres, and the Emperor is God's vicar and 
representative on earth in all things temporal : " What 
"he does, if canonical, we follow ; if it is not canonical, 
we bear it, as far as we can without sin." 2 In the 
ecclesiastical sphere, on the other hand, he is uncom- 
promising in asserting the supremacy of Rome over all 
other Christian churches. His work of converting the 
English, and preparing the conversion of the Lombards, 
need not be told here. Gregory was the creator of the 
spiritual ideal of the mediaeval papacy, even as Benedict 
had created that of western monasticism. 

The Dialogues were translated into Greek by one of 
St. Gregory's successors, Pope Zaccharias I. (741-752) : 
" that so the Grecians might be instructed in the rules 
of good living," as Platina's seventeenth-century trans- 
lator puts it. With a similar desire for the edification 
of the English, an Anglo-Saxon version was made, 
about 890, by Bishop Werferth of Worcester, at the 
instigation of Alfred the Great. 3 The Dialogues were 
among the most popular reading of the Middle Ages, 
and early translations exist in almost every European 
language. In the fourth book, we find the first rudi- 

1 De Monarchic, iii. 10. 

2 Epist. xi. 29 (Ewald and Hartmann, II. pp. 299-300). 

3 Bischofs Waerferth von Worcester Ubersetzung der Dialoge Gregors 
dcs Grossen. Ed. Hans Hecht. Leipzig, 1900. 



ments of the mediaeval conception of the three states 
of souls in the other world. The story of the vision 
seen by a certain soldier 1 is practically the first in 
the west of those more or less fictitious visions of 
Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, which (inspired so many 
imitations throughout the Middle Ages, from Vener- 
able Bede's legends of Fursaeus and Drythelm to the 
visions of Tundal, Alberic of Monte Cassino, and the 
monk Edmund of Eynsham — the long series which 
(speaking superficially) may be said to culminate in the 
Divina Commedia. Dante himself knew the Dialogues 
well. His account of St. Benedict in the sphere of 
Saturn, and his own vision of the nothingness of the 
world in his ascent to the Stellar Heaven, were directly 
suggested by St. Gregory's words. 2 From Gregory, 
too, came his doctrine of the " Mansions of Beatitude," 
albeit its significance had for him acquired a deeper and 
intenser note by the passage through the mystical mind 
of Bonaventura. Echoes of the Dialogues may likewise 
be discerned in the De Monarchia and in the Letter to 
Can Qrande. The influence of Gregory's earlier work, 
the Moralia, or Exposition of the Book of Job, is also very 
marked in many passages of the Divina Commedia. 

The translation of the Dialogues, here offered to the 
reader, was published at Paris in 1 608 — seventeen years, 
that is, before the first English version of Boccaccio's 
Decameron. It was dedicated " to the high and excellent 
princess Anne : by God's singular providence, Queen 
of great Britain, France, and Ireland " ; that is, to 
Anne of Denmark, the consort of King James I. The 
translator claims to be the first thus to present a book 
to her : u For whereas divers, of divers professions, 
have directed their works to our most dread Sovereign, 

1 Dialog, iv. 36. See Notes. 

2 Cf. Par. xxii. 37-45, Dialog, ii. 8 ; Par. xxii. 133-153, Dialog. 

»• 35- 



and one also to our young Prince (your dear son, and 
the orient object of our country's joy), so none at all, 
for aught that I can learn, much less that professeth 
the religion of St. Gregory, hath hitherto presented any 
book to your Princely person." His " epistle dedica- 
tory" is dated " the first of January, 1608," and signed 
" Your Majesty's most devoted servant, and daily orator, 
P.W." This " P. W." has not been identified ; the 
Jesuit father, Henry James Coleridge, who edited 
his translation, in a somewhat modernised form, in 
1874, suggested that he was "an English Catholic, 
desirous to interest the Queen in favour of the ancient 
religion." The Dialogues are further introduced by a 
lengthy preface " to the courteous and virtuous Chris- 
tian reader," and followed (with an independent title- 
page) by " A short Relation of divers Miracles wrought 
at the memories or shrines of certain martyrs, especially 
St. Stephen, the Protomartyr of Christ's Church," the 
contents of which are mainly taken from the City of 
God of St. Augustine and the Life of St. Bernard. The 
present re-issue of the translation, save for the spelling, 
follows verbally the edition of 1608. The Latin text 
cited is that given by Migne (P.L. lxxvii.). 

The Dialogues of St. Gregory have exercised a certain 
influence upon Christian iconography. Spinello Aretino 
at San Miniato, Luca Signorelli and Giovanni Antonio 
Bazzi at Mont' Oliveto Maggiore, Fra Filippo Lippi, 
Neroccio of Siena, Benedetto Bonfigli, and many 
other Italian masters found subjects ready to their hand 
in its pages ; while the pilgrim to Subiaco and the 
other sanctuaries of the Roman Campagna, hallowed by 
the footsteps of these " fathers of the olden time," will 
still find the words of the great pontiff of the sixth 
century the most vivid of guides. 

August 15, 1 911 


Ct)e ^Dialogues of £>amt dBregorp, 
surname!) tt)e d5reat 

Cfje first ^oofc 

%ty ^Dialogues of £>atnt category 
tye (Bxtat, |0ope of laome 

Cfje first Moot 

IBtiUQ upon a certain day too much over-charged with 
the troubles of worldly business, in which oftentimes men 
are enforced to do more than of duty they are bound, 1 
retired myself into a solitary place, very fit for a sad and 
melancholy disposition ; where each discontentment and 
dislike concerning such secular affairs might plainly show 
themselves, and all things that usually bring grief, 
mustered together, might freely be presented before mine 
eyes. In which place after that I had sat a long while, in 
much silence and great sorrow of soul, at length Peter, 
my dear son and deacon, came unto me ; a man whom, 
from his younger years, 1 had always loved most entirely, 
and used him for my companion in the study of sacred 
scripture : who, seeing me drowned in such a dump of 
sorrow, spake unto me in this manner : " What is the 
matter ? or what bad news have you heard ? for certain 
I am, that some extraordinary sadness doth now afflict 
your mind." To whom I returned this answer : 
" O Peter, the grief which continually 1 endure is unto 
me both old and new : old through common use, and 
new by daily increasing. For mine unhappy soul, 
wounded with worldly business, doth now call to mind 
in what state it was, when I lived in mine Abbey, and 


Cbe Dialogues of §>t <£reprp 

how then it was superior to all earthly matters, far above 
all transitory and corruptible pelf, how it did usually 
think upon nothing but heavenly things ; and though it | 
was enclosed in mortal body, yet did it by contemplation 
pass far beyond earthly bounds, and penetrate to the very 
height of heaven ; and as for death, the memory whereof 
is almost to all men grievous, that it did love and desire, 
as the end of all misery, the reward of her labours, and 
the very entrance to an everlasting and blessed life. But 
now, by reason of my pastoral charge, my poor soul is 
enforced to endure the burden of secular men's business, 
and after so excellent and sweet a kind of rest, defiled it 
is with the dust of worldly conversation : and when it 
doth, at the request of others, attend to outward affairs, 
no question but it returneth back, far less fit to think 
upon those that be inward, spiritual, and heavenly. 
Wherefore, at this present, do I meditate what I suffer, 
and consider what my soul hath lost : and the memory 
of my former loss doth make that more grievous which 
I do now endure. For do you not behold at this 
present, how I am tossed with the waves of this wicked 
world, and see the ship of my soul beaten with the storms 
of a terrible tempest ? and therefore, when I remember 
my former state of life, I cannot but sigh to look back, 
and cast mine eyes upon the forsaken shore. 

" And that which doth yet grieve me more is because 
I see myself so carried away amain with the boisterous 
blasts of this troublesome world, that I cannot now scarce 
behold the port from whence I did first hoist sail ; for 
such be the downfalls of our soul, that first it loseth that 
goodness and virtue which before it possessed ; yet so 
that it doth still remember what it hath lost ; but after- 
wards, carried away more and more, and straying further 
from the path of virtue, it cometh at length to that pass, 
that it doth not so much as keep in mind what before it 
did daily practise : and so in conclusion, it falleth out as 


<£regorp anD }g>eter 

I said before, that sailing farther on, we go at length so 
far, that we do not so much as once behold the sweet 
harbour of quiet and peace from whence we first set forth. 
Sometime also my sorrow is increased, by remembering 
the lives of certain notable men, who with their whole 
soul did utterly forsake and abandon this wicked world : 
whose high perfection when I behold, I cannot also but 
see mine own infirmities and imperfection : very many 
of whom did, in a contemplative and retired kind of life, 
much please God : and lest by dealing with transitory 
business they might have decayed in virtue, God's good- 
ness vouchsafed to free them from the troubles and affairs 
of this wretched world. But that which I have now said 
will be far more plain, and the better perceived, if the 
residue of my speech be dialogue wise distinguished, by 
setting down each of our names, you asking what you 
shall think convenient, and I by answer, giving satis- 
faction to such questions as you shall demand at my 

IPCtCt. I do not remember any in Italy, that have been 
very famous for virtue ; and therefore ignorant I am 
who they be, that, comparing your life to theirs, you 
should be so much inflamed to imitate their steps ; for 
although I make no doubt but that there have been many 
good men, yet do I verily think that none of them 
wrought any miracles, or at least they have been hitherto 
so buried in silence that, whether any such thing hath 
been done or no, not any one man can tell. 
(JptCgOtp. If I should, Peter, but report only those 
things which myself alone have understood by the rela- 
tion of virtuous and credible persons, or else learned by 
myself, concerning the life and miracles of perfect and 
holy men, I should sooner in mine opinion lack day to 
talk in, than matter to speak of. 

IPCtCt. Desirous I am that you would vouchsafe to 
make me partaker ot some of them : and not to think 


£be Dialogues of ©t <$reg;orp 

much, if, upon so good an occasion, you interrupt your 
other study of interpreting the scripture, because no less 
edification doth grow by the relation of miracles. For as 
by the exposition of that, we learn how virtue is to be 
found and kept : so by recounting the miracles of holy 
men, we know how that which is found out and possessed, 
is declared and made manifest to the world. And some 
there are that be sooner moved to the love of God by 
virtuous examples than by godly sermons : and often- 
times, by the lives of holy fathers, the heart doth reap a 
double commodity ; for if, by comparing of his own life 
with theirs, he findeth himself inflamed with the love of 
heaven, although before he had haply a good opinion 
of himself, yet seeing now how far others do excel him, 
he becometh also more humble, and is brought to have 
a more lowly conceit of his own actions and virtue. 
(jDtCgOtp* Such things as venerable and holy men have 
told me, I will now, without any further delay, make 
you partaker of, and that following the example of sacred 
scripture : for sure I am that St. Luke and St. Mark 
learned that gospel which they wrote, not by sight but 
by the relation of others : yet lest any in reading should 
have occasion to doubt whether such things as I write be 
true or no, I will set down by what means and of whom 
I have learned them : yet in some of them you have to 
know that I remember not all the particulars, but only 
the matter : in other some, both the matter and also the 
words. And besides, if I should have been so curious as 
to have kept in mind each man's particular words, many, 
uttered after the country manner, would have made the 
style of my discourse nothing handsome nor seemly. 
Tnac story which I mean first to begin with, I had by 
the report of passing reverent men and of great years. 

Cbapter HDne: of It)onoratu0, atuot of tfte 

^OnaStCtp Of JTimDa. <& In times past one Ven- 
antius, a noble man, had a living in the country of 


Justus of Ghent 

| Barberini Palace^ R\ n 


J))onoratu0 of JTunDa 

Samnium ; the farmer whereof had a son called 
Honoratus, who from his very childhood by the virtue 
of abstinence did thirst after the joys of heaven : and 
as in other things he led an holy life, and refrained from 
all idle talk, so did he much, as I said before, subdue 
his body by means of abstinence. His parents, upon a 
certain day, had invited their neighbours to a banquet 
which consisted altogether of flesh, whereof because 
for the love of mortification he refused to eat, his father 
and mother began to laugh at him, willing him to fall 
to that which they had : " For can we," quoth they, 
" g et y ou an y fi sn nere m these mountains ? " (for in 
that place they used sometimes to hear offish, but sel- 
dom to see any.) But whiles they were thus jesting, and 
mocking at their son, suddenly they lacked water : 
whereupon a servant with a wooden bucket (as the 
manner is there) went to the well to fetch some : into 
which, as he was a drawing, a fish entered in, which upon 
his return, together with the water, he poured forth 
before them all. And the fish was so great, that it 
served Honoratus very well for all that day. At this 
strange chance all were stroken in admiration, and his 
parents abstained now from further scoffing at his virtue, 
and began to have him in reverence for his abstinence, 
whom before for that very cause they did mock and 
scorn : and by this means, the fish, brought miracu- 
lously from the well, discharged God's servant from 
that shame, which he had endured through their uncivil 
jesting. Honoratus, proceeding forward in virtue, at 
length was made free by the foresaid Lord Venantius : 
and afterward, in that place which is called Funda, he 
built an Abbey, wherein he was the father almost of 
two hundred monks : and he lived in so great holiness 
that he gave good example to all the country round 
about. Upon a certain day, it fell so out, that a stone 
of an huge greatness, which was digged out of the 


Cbe Dialogues of <&t ©rcgorp 

mountain that hung over the top of his Abbey, tumbled 
down by the side of the hill, threatening both the ruin 
of the house and the death of all the monks within : 
which danger the holy man seeing ready to come upon 
them, called often upon the name of Christ, and, putting 
forth his right hand, made against it the sign of the 
cross, and by that means did he stay it, and pin it fast 
to the side of that steep hill : which thing Lawrence, a 
religious man, affirmed to be most true. And because 
it found not there any place upon which it might rest, 
it hangeth at this time in such sort, that all which now 
look upon it do verily think that it would continually 

j^0t0t» I suppose so notable a man as he was, and who 
afterward became master to so many scholars, had him- 
self some excellent teacher of whom he was instructed. 
(2Dt0gOtp. I never heard that he was scholar to any : 
but the grace of the Holy Ghost is not tied to any law. 
The usual custom of virtuous men is, that none should 
take upon him to rule, who first hath not learned to obey : 
nor to command that obedience to his subjects, which 
before he hath not given to his own superiors. Yet 
some there be which are so inwardly taught by the 
doctrine of God's holy spirit, that although they have 
no man to instruct them outwardly, yet do they not 
want the direction of an inward teacher : which liberty 
of life notwithstanding is not to be taken for an example 
by such as be weak and infirm, lest, whiles each one 
doth in like manner presume to be full of the Holy 
Ghost, and contemn to learn of any, they become them- 
selves erroneous masters. But that soul which is full of 
God's holy spirit, hath for proof thereof most evident 
signs, to wit, the other virtues, and especially humility, 
both which if they do perfectly meet in one soul, 
apparent it is that they be testimonies of the presence 
of heavenly grace. And so we read not that John Baptist 


Ltbertmus of jTtmDa 

had any master, nor yet that Christ, who by his corporal 
presence taught his Apostles, took him in amongst the 
number of his other disciples, but vouchsafed to instruct 
him inwardly, and left him, as it were, in the sight of the 
world to his own liberty. So Moses, likewise, was taught 
in the wilderness, and learned by the Angel what God 
gave him in charge, which by means of any mortal man 
he knew not : but these things, as before hath been said, 
are of weaklings to be reverenced, and not by any means 
to be followed. 

IPCtCt. I like very well of your opinion : yet I beseech 
you to tell me, whether so notable a father as he was, left 
not some scholar behind him, that did imitate his master's 

Chapter Ctoo : of iUbertmus, prior of tfre same 

3t)t)Cp. ^ (^rCffOrp, The reverent man, Libertinus, 
who, in the time of Totilas, king of the Goths, was 
Prior of the same Abbey of Funda, was brought up 
and taught by him : of whom, albeit the certain re- 
port of passing many hath made his sundry virtues 
known to the world, yet the foresaid religious man, 
Lawrence, who still liveth and that time had very 
familiar acquaintance with him, hath often told me 
many things, whereof some few, which now come to 
my mind, I will here set down. In the same province 
of Samnium, as Libertinus was in his journey about 
business of the Abbey, it so fell out that Darida, captain 
of the Goths, with his army, met him, by whose soldiers 
the man of God was thrown from his horse ; which 
injury he taking very patiently, offered them also his 
whip, saying : "Take this, that you may make him the 
better to go " ; and having said so, he betook himself 
to his prayers. The army marched on very fast, and 
quickly came to the river called Vulturnus, where they' 
began to beat their horses both with their lances and 
also to spur them, till the blood came, and all this to 


£F)e Dialogue of %>t ®reprp 

make them take the water ; but yet no beating nor 
spurring could enforce them forward : for they were as 
much afraid to enter the river as though it had been 
some deep downfall. At length, when they were all 
wearied with beating, one amongst the rest said, that 
the reason why they were thus punished was for taking 
away the horse from God's servant : whereupon 
returning straightways back, they found Libertinus 
prostrate at his prayers ; and calling upon him to rise 
and take his horse, he bade them go on a God's name, 
saying that he needed him not ; but for all that they 
alighted and set him perforce upon his own beast, and 
so in all haste departed, and returning back to the 
river they passed over so quickly as though in the 
channel there had been no water at all ; and so it fell 
out that God's servant having restitution made him of 
his one horse, that all the soldiers came likewise to 
enjoy the use of their own. 

At the same time one Buccellinus entered Campania 
with an army of French men, and because it was com- 
monly said that the Abbey in which the holy man lived 
had great store of money, the French men, very greedy 
of so good a booty, came thither, and with raging minds 
went into his oratory (where he lay prostrate at his 
prayers) seeking and crying out for Libertinus ; and a 
strange thing it was, for though they came in, and 
stumbled upon him, yet could they not see him, and 
so, deceived through their own blindness, away they 
departed as empty as they came. 

At another time likewise upon business of the monas- 
tery, at the commandment of the Abbot who succeeded 
his master Honoratus, he took his journey to Ravenna. 
And for the great love which he bare to venerable 
Honoratus, always did he bear about him in his bosom 
one of his stockings. Being in his way it fell so out 
that a certain woman was carrying the corpse of her 


Ltbertmus of jfunDa 

dead son ; who no sooner saw the servant of God, but, 
for the love of her child, she laid hold upon his bridle, 
protesting with a solemn oath that he should not 
depart, before he had raised up her dead son. The 
holy man, not acquainted with so strange a miracle, was 
much afraid to hear her make such a request, and 
willing to have got away, yet seeing no means how to 
effect his desire, greatly did he doubt what was best to 
be done. Here it is worth the noting to consider what 
a conflict he had in his soul : humility and the mother's 
piety striving together : fear to presume upon so un- 
usual a miracle, and grief not to help the desolate 
mother. At length, to the greater glory of God, piety 
and compassion overcame that virtuous soul, which 
therefore may truly be called invincible, because it did 
yield and was conquered ; for a virtuous soul it had 
not been, if piety and compassion had not overcome it : 
wherefore, lighting from his horse, he fell upon his 
knees, lift up his hands to heaven, drew the stocking 
out of his bosom, laid it upon the breast of the dead 
corpse ; and behold, whiles he was at his prayers, the 
soul of the child returned into the body, which he 
perceiving, took it by the hand and delivered it alive 
to his sorrowful mother, and so went on the rest of his 

IPCtCt. What is to be said in this case ? For was it 
the merit of Honoratus, or the prayers of Libertinus, 
that wrought this miracle ? 

<£>tCffOt£. In the working of so notable a miracle, to- 
gether with the faith of the woman, the virtue of both 
did concur ; and therefore, in mine opinion, Libertinus 
had power to raise up that dead child, because he had 
learned to trust more upon the virtue of his master than 
his own : for when he laid his stocking upon the child's 
breast, no doubt but he thought that his soul did obtain 
that for which he did then pray. For we read the like 


£bc Dialogues of St (fcregorp 

of Heliseus, who carrying his master's cloak, and coming 
to the river of Jordan, stroke the waters once, and yet 
divided them not ; but when straight after he said, 
Where is now the God of Hellas ? and then stroke the 
river with the same cloak, he made a way open for him- 
self to pass through. 1 Whereby you perceive, Peter, 
how much humility availeth for the working of miracles, 
for then the merit of the master had force to do that 
which he desired, when he called upon his name ; and 
when with humility he did submit himself to his master, 
he wrought the same miracle which his master had done 
before him. 

IPCtCt. I am well pleased with your answer : but is 
there, I pray you, anything else of him yet remaining, 
which may serve for our edification ? 
(JPtCjJOtp. Surely there is, if there be yet any that list 
to imitate so notable an example : for I make no doubt, 
but that the patience of so worthy a man did far excel 
all his signs and miracles, as you shall now hear. Upon 
a certain day, the Abbot, who succeeded Honoratus, fell 
so pitifully out with venerable Libertinus, that he stroke 
him with his fists : and because he could find never a 
staff, up he took a footstool, and with that did so strike 
his head and his face, that they both swelled and became 
black and blue. Being thus unreasonably beaten, with- 
out giving any words, he went quietly to bed. The 
next day, he was to go forth about business of the 
Abbey, and therefore, when matins were ended, he came 
to his Abbot's bedside, and humbly demanded of him 
leave. The Abbot, knowing how greatly all did honour 
and love him, supposed that he would for the former 
injury have forsaken the Abbey : and therefore he asked 
him, whither he meant to go : to whom he answered : 
"Father," quoth he, "there is a certain matter con- 
cerning the Abbey to be handled, where I must needs 

1 4 Kings 2. 

€i)e a^onfc tfrat toas <£arDener 

be, for yesterday I promised to come, and therefore I 
am determined to travel thither." Then the Abbot, 
considering from the bottom of his heart his own 
austerity and hard dealing, and the humility and meek- 
ness of Libertinus, suddenly leapt out of his bed, gat 
hold of his feet, confessed that he had sinned and done 
wickedly, in presuming to offer unto so good and 
worthy a man so cruel and contumelious an injury. 
Libertinus, on the contrary, prostrate upon the earth, 
fell down at his feet, attributing all that he had suffered, 
not to any cruelty of his, but to his own sins and 
demerits. And by this means, the Abbot was brought 
to great meekness ; and the humility of the scholar 
became a teacher to the master. Going afterward 
abroad about the foresaid business of the Abbey, many 
gentlemen of his acquaintance, that had him in great 
reverence, much marvelled, and diligently enquired by 
what means he came by such a swollen and black face : 
to whom he answered: "Yesterday," quoth he, "at 
evening, for punishment of my sins, I met with a foot- 
stool, and gat this blow which ye see." And thus the 
holy man, preserving both truth in his soul and the 
honour of his master, did neither bewray the fault of 
his father, nor yet incurred the sin of lying. 
l£)0tCt. Had not so venerable a man as this Libertinus 
was, of whom you have told so many miracles and 
strange things, in so great a convent, some that did 
imitate his holy life and virtues ? 

Chapter Cftree : of a certain monk, t&at toas 
garoener to tfje same atrteg. <I (£regorp. Felix, 

called also Corvus, one whom you know very well, 
and who not long since was Prior of the same Abbey, 
told me divers very strange things, some of which I 
will pass over with silence, because I hasten to other, 
but one there is which by no means I can omit. This 
it was. 


€&e Dialogues of %t ©regorp 

In the same Abbey there lived a certain monk, very 
virtuous, who was the gardener. A thief likewise there 
was, that used to climb over the hedge, and so to steal 
away the worts. The holy man, seeing that he did set 
many which afterward he could not find, and perceiving 
that some were trodden down, and other stolen away, 
walked round about the garden to find the place where 
the thief came in, which when he had found, by chance 
also as he was there, he lighted upon a snake, which 
he willed to follow him, and bringing him to the place 
where the thief entered, gave him this charge l "In 
the name of Jesus," quoth he, " I command thee to keep 
this passage, and not to suffer any thief to come in." 
Whereupon the snake forthwith, obeying his command- 
ment, laid itself across in the way, and the monk 
returned to his cell. Afterward in the heat of the 
day, when all the monks were at rest, the thief, accord- 
ing to his custom, came thither, and as he was climbing 
over the hedge and had put one leg on the other side, 
suddenly he saw the snake, which stopped the way, and 
for fear falling backward, he left his foot hanging there 
by the shoe upon a stake, and so he hung with his head 
downward, until the return of the gardener ; who, 
coming at his usual hour, found the thief hanging there 
in the hedge, whom when he saw, he spake thus to the 
snake : " God be thanked, thou hast done what I bade 
thee, and therefore now go thy way " : upon which 
licence, the snake by and by departed. Then, coming 
to the thief, he spake thus unto him : " What meaneth 
this, good brother ? God hath delivered you, as you 
see, into mine hands : why have you been so bold as 
so often to rob away the labour of the monks ? '" and 
speaking thus, he loosed his foot, without doing him 
any harm, willing him also to follow him ; who brought 
him to the garden gate, and gave him those worts which 
he desired to have stolen, speaking also to him in sweet 


Zbbot 4Eqintm0 

manner after this sort : " Go your way, and steal no 
more ; but when you have need, come hither to me, 
and what sinfully you would take, that will I willingly 
bestow upon you for God's sake." 

J^)0t0t- 1 have hitherto, as I now perceive, lived in an 
error : for never did I think that there had been any 
holy men in Italy, which had wrought miracles. 

Chapter JTout : of OBquitius, 3bt)ot in t&e Iprotrince 

Of ITaletia, 9 (SregOtp, By the relation of vener- 
able Fortunatus, Abbot of the Monastery which is 
called Cicero's Bath, and also of other reverent men, 
I have come to the knowledge of that which now I 
mean to tell you. There was a passing holy man called 
Equitius, dwelling in the province of Valeria, who, for 
his virtuous life, was in great admiration with all men, 
with whom Fortunatus was familiarly acquainted. This 
Equitius, by reason of his great holiness of life, was the 
father and governor of many Abbeys in that province. 
In his younger years, many and sore carnal temptations 
he endured, which made him more fervent and 
diligent in prayers, and to persevere continually in that 
holy exercise, which he did, craving most instantly of 
God to afford him some remedy. Living in that manner, 
it fell so out, that in vision, upon a certain night, he saw 
an Angel come unto him, who made him an eunuch, 
and so delivered him from all those carnal motions in 
such sort that never after he felt any more, as though 
he had not been any man at all. Trusting now upon 
this great grace received by the special goodness of God, 
as before he was a governor of men, so afterward he 
took charge likewise of women, and yet, for all that, 
did he continually admonish his scholars not easily to 
credit themselves herein, nor to follow his example, 
nor yet to trust upon that gift, which they had not 
in themselves, lest it turned to their own ruin and 

l 5 

C6e Dialogic of %t (Sregorp 

At such time as divers witches were here in this city 
of Rome apprehended, one Basilius, that was a principal 
man in that wicked art, put upon him the habit of a 
monk, and so fled away to Valeria ; and coming to the 
reverent Bishop of the city of Amirtin, he desired his 
help, that he would, for the good of his soul, commend 
him to Abbot Equitius. The Bishop went with him to 
the Abbey, where he made suit to the servant of God, 
that he would vouchsafe to receive into his convent that 
monk which he brought, whom so soon as the holy man 
beheld, he said to the Bishop : " This man, good 
brother," quoth he, " whom you commend unto me, 
seemeth in mine eyes to be a devil, and not any monk" ; 
whereunto the Bishop replied and said, that he sought 
excuses not to grant his petition. " Not so," quoth 
the servant of God, " but I do denounce him to be 
such a one as I see him, and because you shall not 
think that I will be disobedient, what you command I 
will perform." Whereupon he was received into the 
Abbey. Not many days after, God's servant travelled 
far off to preach unto the people in the country ; after 
whose departure it fell out that, in the monastery of 
virgins which was under his charge, one of them, which 
in respect of her corruptible carcase seemed beautiful, 
fell into an ague, to be afflicted with sore fits, and not 
so much to speak as pitifully to cry out in this manner : 
" I shall die forthwith, unless Basilius come unto me, 
and by his skill in physic restore me to my health." 
But, in the absence of their father, none of the monks 
durst presume to enter into the monastery of virgins, 
much less was he permitted, that was yet but a novice, 
and whose life and conversation was not known to the 
rest of the brethren. A messenger, therefore, with all 
speed was dispatched to the servant of God, Equitius, 
to let him understand how such a Nun was fallen into 
a terrible burning ague, and how she did earnestly 




(San Qimignano) 

desire to be visited of Basilius : which news so soon as 
the holy man did hear, in an anger he smiled, and said : 
" Did I not say beforehand that this companion was a 
devil and not a monk ? Go your ways, and turn him 
out of the Abbey ; and as for the virgin that is so sick 
of a fever, take no further care, for hereafter it shall not 
trouble her any more, nor she make any further inquisi- 
tion after Basilius." The monk that was the messenger 
returning back, understood that the Nun was at that 
very hour restored to her health, in which the servant of 
God, Equitius, far distant, affirmed that she should : no 
question but by special miracle, like to the example of 
our Saviour, who, being desired to visit the son of a 
lord, did by his only word restore him to his health, so 
that the father at his return knew his son to be restored 
to life at that very hour in which he heard so much from 
the mouth of truth itself. 1 The monks, putting their 
father's commandment in execution, turned Basilius 
out of the Abbey, who being so expulsed did often say, 
that he had by his incantations hanged Equitius his cell 
in the air, and yet that he could not hurt any of his 
monks. This wretch not long after, in this city of 
Rome, through the zeal of good people, for his wicked- 
ness was burnt, and so ended his life. 

Upon a certain day, one of the Nuns of the same 
monastery, going into the garden, saw a lettice that 
liked her, and forgetting to bless it before with the sign 
of the cross, greedily did she eat it : whereupon she 
was suddenly possessed with the devil, fell down to 
the ground, and was pitifully tormented. Word in all 
haste was carried to Equitius, desiring him quickly to visit 
the afflicted woman, and to help her with his prayers : who 
so soon as he came into the garden, the devil that was 
entered began by her tongue, as it were, to excuse him- 
self, saying: "What have I done ? What have I done? 

1 John 4, 53. 

17 B 

C&e Dialogic of %t ®regorp 

I was sitting there upon the lettice, and she came and 
did eat me." But the man of God in great zeal com- 
manded him to depart, and not to tarry any longer in 
the servant of almighty God, who straightways went out, 
not presuming any more to touch her. 

A certain noble man likewise called Felix, of the pro- 
vince of Nursia, father to Castorius, who now dwelleth 
here with us in Rome, understanding that Equitius had 
not received holy orders, and yet that he did visit many 
places and preach unto divers, upon a day very boldly 
went and asked him, how he durst presume to preach, 
not having received holy orders, nor yet licence of the 
Bishop of Rome, under whom he did live ; upon which 
demand, the holy man, being thus compelled, gave him 
to understand by what means he had obtained licence to 
preach : speaking thus unto him : " What you say unto 
me, myself have seriously thought upon ; but, on a 
certain night, a young man in vision stode by me, and 
touched my tongue with such an instrument as they 
use in letting of blood, saying : ' Behold, I have put 
my word into thy mouth, go thy way and preach.' 
And since that day, though I would, I can not but talk 
of God." 

J£)0tCt. Desirous I am to know, what manner of life 
he led, who is said to have received such gifts at God's 

(2>tC$0tp, The work, Peter, proceedeth of the gift, 
and not the gift from the work, otherwise grace were 
not grace : for God's gifts do go before all works of 
ours, although the gifts by the works which follow do 
increase ; but to the end that you may understand what 
lite he led, which was known to the reverent man 
Albinus, Bishop of Reatino ; and many there be yet 
alive, which might very well remember the same. But 
what do you seek for further works, when as his purity 
of life was answerable to his diligence in preaching ? for 


abbot <ZEqtritm0 

such a zeal to save souls had inflamed his heart, that 
albeit he had the charge of many monasteries, yet did 
he diligently travel up and down, and visit churches, 
towns, villages, and particular men's houses, and all this 
to stir up the hearts of his auditors to the love of heavenly 
joys. The apparel which he ware was so base and con- 
temptible, that such as knew him not would have thought 
scorn so much as to have saluted him, though himself 
had first offered that courtesy. And whithersoever he 
went, his manner was to ride, but that upon the most 
forlorn beast which could be found ; his bridle was but 
an halter, his saddle no better than plain sheep's skins. 
His books of divinity were put into leather bags, and 
those he did carry himself, some hanging on the right 
side of his horse, and some upon the left : and to what 
place soever he came, he did so open the fountains of 
sacred scripture, that he watered their souls with the 
heavenly dew of his sermons. Whose grace in preaching 
was so great, that the fame thereof came even to Rome 
itself: and as the tongues of flatterers do with their 
glorious words kill the souls of such as give them the 
hearing, at the same time some of the Roman clergy did 
in flattering sort complain unto the Bishop of this Apos- 
tolic see, saying : " What manner of rustical companion 
is this, that hath taken upon him authority to preach, 
and, being without learning, presumeth to usurp unto 
himself the office of our Apostolical Lord ? wherefore, if 
it please you, let him be sent for before your presence, 
that he may taste of the severity of ecclesiastical disci- 
pline." And as it falleth out, that he which hath much 
business is overcome sometime by flattery, if that pleasing 
venom be not speedily dispatched from the soul, at the 
persuasion of his clergy the Pope gave his consent that he 
should be sent for to Rome, to understand what talent 
and gift he had received from God. And so one Julianus, 
who afterward was made Bishop of Sabinum, was sent, 


£f)e Dialogic of §>t. <$regotp 

having yet commandment given him to bring him up 
with great honour, to the end that the servant of God 
might not thereby sustain any injury or detriment in his 
fame : who, to gratify the Pope's clergy, went in post to 
the Abbey, and finding there in his absence certain anti- 
quaries writing, demanded of them for the Abbot ; who 
told him that he was in the valley at the bottom of the 
Abbey, mowing of hay. Julianus had a man very proud 
and stubborn, and such a one that he could scarce rule 
him. This man he sent in all haste for the Abbot ; who 
in an angry mood went his way, and coming quickly into 
the meadow where beholding all that were there cutting 
of grass, he demanded which of them was Equitius ; and 
when they shewed him where he was, being yet far off", 
he fell into a great fear, and became therewith so faint, 
that he could scarce go upon his legs : trembling in 
that manner he came to the man of God, and humbly 
bowing down his head, he embraced his knees and kissed 
them, telling him that his master was desirous to speak 
with him. After God's servant had saluted him again, 
he willed him to take up some of the grass, and to carry 
it home for their horse, " and I will," quoth he, " straight- 
ways come, when I have dispatched this little work 
which remaineth." 

In this meantime, Julianus much marvelled what the 
matter was, why his man tarried so long, and seeing him 
at length to come laden with grass upon his neck, in great 
rage he cried out to him, saying : " Sirrah, what meaneth 
this ? I sent you to fetch me the Abbot, and not to 
bring meat for mine horse." " Sir," quoth his man, " he 
will come to you by and by": and forthwith the man 
of God came in base apparel and a pair of shoes beaten 
full of nails, carrying his scythe upon his neck ; and 
being yet far off, his man told him that he was the Abbot. 
So soon as Julianus beheld him attired in that base sort, 
he contemned him, and devised with himself how to 


abbot Cquitius 

speak unto him in the most cross and crooked manner 
he could. But when God's servant drew nigh, such an 
intolerable fear came upon Julianus, that he fell a trem- 
bling, and his tongue so faltered, that he could scarce 
deliver the message for which he came : whereupon he 
fell down at his feet, and desired that he would vouch- 
safe to pray for him ; and withal gave him to understand, 
that his Apostolical father the Pope was desirous to see 
him. Upon the receipt of which news the venerable 
man, Equitius, gave almighty God most hearty thanks, 
saying that heavenly grace had visited him by means of 
the highest Bishop ; and straightways he called for some 
of his monks, commanding horse to be made ready in 
all haste : but Julianus, weary of his journey, told him 
that he could not travel so soon, but of necessity must 
rest himself that night. " I am very sorry for that," 
quoth the holy man, " for if we go not to-day, to-morrow 
we shall not " : and thus, by reason of the other's weari- 
ness, he was enforced that night to remain in the Abbey. 
The next morning, about the dawning of the day, came 
a post with a tired horse, bringing letters to Julianus, 
commanding him not to presume to molest or to draw 
the servant of God out of his monastery. And when 
he required the reason of this counter-command, the 
messenger told him that, the next night after his depar- 
ture, the Pope was terribly frighted in a vision, for pre- 
suming to send for the man of God : whereupon Julianus, 
rising suddenly out of his bed, and commending himself 
to the venerable man's prayers, spake thus unto him : 
" Our father desireth you not to .trouble yourself any 
further, but to stay in your monastery" : which when 
God's servant heard, very sorry he was, and said : " Did 
not I tell you, that if we did not set forward on our 
journey by and by, that afterward we should not ? " 
Then upon charity he entertained his messenger a little 
while with him in his Cloister, and though by all means 


C6e Dialogues of $t (Srcgorp 

he refused, yet he enforced upon him a reward for the 
pains he had taken. See therefore, Peter, how God doth 
preserve and keep them, who in this life do contemn 
themselves, and how they are secretly honoured of the 
citizens in heaven, who are not ashamed outwardly to 
be little esteemed in this world ; and on the contrary, 
in the sight of God they be of no account, who in the 
eyes of their own friends and neighbours do swell through 
desire of vain glory. And therefore our Saviour Christ, 
who was truth itself, said to certain : You are they that 
justify yourselves before men, but God knoweth your hearts, for 
that which is high to men is abominable in the sight of God. 1 
Ip0t0t* I marvel very much how so great a Bishop could 
be deceived in so worthy a man. 

<&tZQQt1>* Why do you marvel, Peter ? for the reason 
why we are deceived is, because we be men. What ? have 
you forgotten how David, who usually had the spirit of 
prophecy, pronounced sentence against innocent Mephi- 
bosheth, the son of Jonathan, when he gave credit to the 
lying words of his servant Siba ? a which thing notwith- 
standing because it was done by David, we both believe 
to be just in the secret judgment of God, and yet by 
human reason how it was just we cannot perceive. What 
marvel then is it, if we, that be not prophets, be sometimes 
by lying tongues abused, and otherwise transported than 
charity and justice would : for it is much to be considered, 
that every Bishop hath his mind troubled with a world 
of business, and it cannot be, when the mind is distracted 
about many things, but that it is the less able sufficiently 
to examine those that be particular, and so much the 
sooner is he deceived in some special case, by how much 
he is busied with the multitude of many. 
U?0tet\ It is most true that you say. 
(2DtC0Ot£. But I must not pass over with silence that 
which the reverent man Valentinus, some time mine 

1 Luke 16, 15. 2 2 Kings, 16 and 19. 


Constanttus tbe Clerk 

Abbot, told me concerning Equitius. For he said, that 
his body being buried in the oratory of St. Lawrence the 
martyr, a certain country man set upon his grave a chest 
full of wheat, little considering or respecting how worthy 
and notable a man lay there buried. Whereupon 
suddenly a miraculous whirlwind came, and overthrew 
- that chest and cast it far off, all other things remaining 
still in their former places ; by which all did plainly per- 
ceive of what worth and merit that man was, whose body 
lay there buried. 

To this must I also add another thing, which I heard 
of venerable Fortunatus, a man that doth much please 
me for his years, life, and simplicity. At such time as 
the Lombards came into the province of Valeria, the 
monks of the monastery of the reverent man Equitius 
fled from thence into the oratory, to the holy man's 
sepulchre, into which place the cruel men entering, they 
began by violence to pull the monks forth, either to 
torment them, or else with their swords to kill them. 
Amongst whom one sighed, and for very bitter grief 
cried out : " Alas, alas, holy Equitius, is it thy pleasure, 
and art thou content, that we should be thus miserably 
haled and violently drawn forth, and dost not thou 
vouchsafe to defend us ? " Which words were no sooner 
spoken, but a wicked spirit possessed those savage 
soldiers in such sort that, falling down upon the ground, 
they were there so long tormented, until all the rest of 
the Lombards which were without understood of the 
matter, to the end that none should be so hardy as to 
presume to violate that holy place. And thus, as the 
holy man at that time defended his own monks, so did 
he likewise afterward succour and preserve many more 
that fled unto the same place. 

Ctmpter JFtoe : of Constantius, Clerk of t&e 

CfjUtCf) Of §t §>tep&en, Q That which I intend 
now to tell you, I learned by the relation of one of my 


C6e Dialogue* of %t (Sttegorp 

fellow Bishops, who lived in a monk's weed many years 
in the city of Ancona, and led there a good and religious 
life. Many also of mine own friends, who be now of 
good years and live in the same parts, affirm it to be 
most true. Near to the foresaid city of Ancona there 
is a church of the blessed martyr St. Stephen, in which 
one called Constantius, a man of venerable life, did serve 
there for clerk, who for his virtue and holiness was 
famous far and near, being one that utterly despised all 
worldly things, and with the whole power of his soul 
thirsted after the joys of heaven. Upon a certain day, 
it fell so out that there wanted oil in the church, by 
reason whereof the foresaid servant of God had not 
wherewith to light the lamps : whereupon he filled them 
all with water, and, as the manner is, put a piece of 
paper in the midst, and then set them on fire, and the 
water did so burn in the lamps as though it had been 
very oil ; by which you may gather, Peter, of what merit 
this man was, who, enforced by necessity, did change the 
nature of the element. 

Ij?0t0t» Very strange it is that you say, but desirous I 
am to know what humility he had inwardly in his soul, 
who outwardly was so wonderful in the eyes of the 

(25tC0Otp. Among miracles very fitly do you enquire 
the inward state of the mind ; for it is almost incredible 
how miracles, wrought in the sight of men, do with their 
temptation inwardly assault the soul. But after you have 
heard only one thing, which this venerable Constantius 
did, you will quickly perceive what an humble man he 


JpEtCt. Having now told me one of his miracles, it 
remaineth that you do edify me also with the humility of 
his soul. 

<2DtC0Ot£. Because the report of his holy life was very 
much spread abroad, many from divers countries travelled 


Constants tfje Clerk 

to Ancona, being very desirous to see him ; and amongst 
others a certain country fellow was come far off, for that 
very purpose : at which time it so chanced that the holy 
man was standing upon a pair of wooden stairs, busying 
himself there in mending of lamps. A very little person 
he was of stature, with a thin face, and to the outward 
view contemptible. This fellow that came to see him 
enquired earnestly which was the man for whose sake he 
had travelled so long a journey. Those that knew him 
forthwith told him, pointing to Constantius. But as 
foolish souls do measure the merits of men by the quality 
of their bodies, so he, beholding him so little and con- 
temptible, by no means could be persuaded that they 
told him truth ; for in the country fellow's mind there 
fell out, as it were, a great contention betwixt that which 
he had heard, and that which he saw ; and he verily per- 
suaded himself that he could not be so little in his eyes, 
who was so great in his former conceit ; and therefore, 
when very many did constantly affirm that he was the 
man, the simple soul despised him, and in scoffing manner 
said : " I verily believed that he had been a goodly great 
man, but this fellow hath not any thing at all in him 
that is like a man." Which words of his the servant of 
God, Constantius, hearing, forthwith left his lamps which 
he was in hand with, and in great haste came merrily 
down the stairs, embraced the country clown, and of 
exceeding love held him fast in his arms, kissed him, 
gave him great thanks for having that opinion, and spake 
thus unto him : "Thou only," quoth he, "hast thine 
eyes open, and dost truly behold what 1 am." By which 
fact we may easily gather what an humble man he was, 
that loved the country fellow the more for contemning 
him ; for injurious words and contumelious usage try 
what a man is inwardly in his soul : for as proud men 
are glad of honour, so those that be humble for the most 
part rejoice in contempt and disgrace, and when they 

2 5 

C6e Dialogues of §>t. ©tegorp 

behold themselves to be of no account in the opinion of 
others, glad they are, because they see that to be con- 
firmed by the judgment of others which inwardly in 
their own souls they had of themselves. 
J^CtCt* This man, as I perceive, was outwardly great 
in miracles, but yet greater by his inward humility of 

Chapter %>ix : of ^arcellinus, 16i0f)op of ancona, 

^ (JPtCgOtp. Marcellinus, also a man of holy life, was 
Bishop of the same city of Ancona ; who was so sore 
troubled with the gout, that being not able to go, his 
servants were enforced to carry him in their hands. 
Upon a day, by negligence, the city was set on fire, and 
though many laboured by throwing on of water to quench 
it, yet did it so increase and go forward that the whole 
city was in great danger ; for it had laid hold of all 
the houses that were next it, and consumed already a 
great part of the town, none being able to help or with- 
stand it. In so pitiful a necessity and great danger, the 
Bishop, carried by his servants, came thither, and com- 
manded himself to be set down right against those furious 
flames, and in that very place whither the force of the 
fire did seem most to bend : which being done, the fire 
marvellous strangely turned back into itself, and as it 
were cried out, that it could not pass the Bishop ; and 
by this means was it stopped from going forward, [and] 
went out of itself, not being able to touch any other 
buildings. By which, Peter, you see what an argument 
of great holiness it was, for a sick man to sit still, and 
by his prayers to quench those raging flames. 
H?0t0t» 1 do both see it and much wonder at so notable 
a miracle. 

Chapter ^etien : of Jftonnosus, Iptior of tbe abfcep 

in Amount §>0taCte, «I (StegOrp* Now I intend to let 
you understand somewhat of a place not far distant, 
which I heard of the reverent Bishop Maximianus, and 


Jf3onno0us of amount ^oracte 

of the old monk Laurio, one whom you know : both 
which are yet living ; and as for Laurio, he was brought 
up under that holy man Anastasius, in the Abbey which 
is hard by the city of Nepi ; and Anastasius, both by 
reason of the nearness of the place, equal love of virtue, 
and like profession of life, was daily in the company of 
holy Nonnosus, Prior of the Abbey which is in mount 
Soracte. This Nonnosus had for his Abbot a very sharp 
man, whose rough conditions notwithstanding he did 
always bear with wonderful patience, and did in such 
sweet sort govern the monks, that oftentimes by his 
humility he appeased the Abbot's anger. The Abbey, 
standing in the top of an hill, had never an even and 
plain place fit for a garden ; one only little plot of ground 
there was, in the side of the mountain, but that was taken 
up of a great stone which did naturally grow there, so 
that by no means it could serve for a garden. Yet 
venerable Nonnosus, upon a day, began to think with 
himself that at least that piece of ground would serve 
very well to set worts, if by any means that huge stone 
could be taken away ; but then he likewise thought that 
five hundred yoke of oxen would not be able to stir it ; 
whereupon, despairing of all human help, he betook him- 
self to God's goodness, and in that very place gave 
himself to prayer in the quiet time of the night, and 
behold, on the morning, when the monks came thither, 
they found that huge stone removed far off, and a very 
fit plot of ground left to make them a garden. 

At another time, the same holy man being washing 
of lamps made of glass, one of them by chance fell out 
of his hands, and brake into many pieces ; who, fearing 
the great fury of the Abbot, did forthwith gather up all 
the fragments, laid them before the altar, and there with 
great sighing fell to his prayers ; and afterward, lifting 
up his head, he found the lamp entire and whole. And 
thus, in these two miracles, did he imitate two notable 


Cfje Dialogues of 9t (Stegorp 

fathers, to wit, Gregory and Donatus ; the first of which 
removed a mountain, and the other made a broken 
chalice safe and sound. 

U?0t0t» We have, as I perceive now, miracles after the 
imitation of old saints. 

<&tZQ0Tp* How say you ? are you content also in the 
conversation of Nonnosus, to hear how he did imitate 
the fact of the prophet Heliseus ? 
1^0t0t» Content I am, and most earnestly desire it. 
<3tZQQX]i) t Upon a certain day, when the old oil was 
spent, and the time to gather olives was now at hand, 
the Abbot, because their own trees took not, thought 
it best to send the monks abroad to help strangers in 
the gathering of theirs, that for the recompense of their 
labour they might bring home some oil for the necessities 
of their own house. This determination the man of 
God, Nonnosus, in great humility did hinder, lest the 
monks, going abroad from their cloister to get oil, might 
lose somewhat in the devotion of their souls. And there- 
fore, because he saw that their own trees had yet a few 
olives, he willed those to be gathered and put into the 
press, and that oil which came forth to be brought unto 
him, though it were never so little ; which being done, 
he set the little vessel before the altar, and after their 
departure he offered his prayers to God, which being 
ended, he called for the monks, commanding them to 
take away the oil which they brought, and to pour a 
little thereof into all the vessels which they had, that 
each of them might have some of the benediction of 
that oil : which being done, he caused the vessels, empty 
as they were, to be close stopped, and the next day they 
found them all full. 

H^CtCt. We find daily the words of our Saviour to be 
verified, who saith : My Father even to this time doth work, 
and I do work} 

1 John 5, 17. 

3na0ta0iu0 of ^uppentonia 

Cbapter OBigbt : of anastasius, abbot of tbe 
Monaster? calleo ^uppentonta, q (fcregorp. At 

the same time the reverent man Anastasius, of whom I 
spake before, was notary to the church of Rome, whereof 
by God's providence I have now the charge ; who desi- 
rous only to serve God, gave over his office, and made 
choice of a monastical life : and in that Abbey which is 
called Suppentonia, he lived many years virtuously, and 
governed that place with great care and diligence. Over 
the Abbey there hangeth an huge rock, and beneath it 
there is a steep downfall. Upon a certain night, when 
God had determined to reward the labours of venerable 
Anastasius, a voice was heard from the top of that rock, 
which very leisurely did cry out : " Come away, Anas- 
tasius" ; who being so called, straight after, seven other 
monks were severally called by their names. And then 
the voice stayed for a little time, and then called again 
the eighth monk. Which strange voice the Convent 
hearing very plainly, made no doubt but that the death of 
them that were so called was not far off ; wherefore not 
many days after, before the rest, Anastasius himself, and 
then the others in order, departed this mortal life, as they 
were before called from the top of the rock. And that 
monk who was called after some pausing did a little while 
survive the rest, and then he also ended his life : whereby 
it was plain that the staying of the voice did signify that 
he should live a little longer than the other. But a 
strange thing happened, for when holy Anastasius lay 
upon his death-bed, a certain monk there was in the 
Abbey, that would needs die with him, and therefore fell 
down at his feet, and there began with tears to beg ot 
him in this manner : " For his love to whom you are 
now going, I beseech and adjure you, that 1 may not 
remain in this world seven days after your departure"; 
and indeed it so fell out, that before the seventh day was 
come, that he left this mortal life, and yet was not he 


C6e Dialogues of %t. <£regorp 

that night named by that voice amongst the rest, so that 
it appeareth plainly that it was only the intercession of 
Anastasius which obtained that his departure. 
l^Ct0t» Seeing that monk was not called amongst the 
other, and yet by the intercession of that holy man was 
taken out of this life : what other thing can we gather 
hereof, but that such as be of great merit, and in favour 
with God, can sometime obtain those things which be 
not predestinate ? 

tiDZZQOZp* Such things as be not predestinate by God, 
cannot by any means be obtained at his hands ; but those 
things which holy men do by their prayers effect, were 
from all eternity predestinate to be obtained by prayers. 
For very predestination itself to life everlasting, is so 
by almighty God disposed, that God's elect servants do 
through their labour come unto it, in that by their prayers 
they do merit to receive that which almighty God 
determined before all worlds to bestow upon them. 
IPCtCt* Desirous I am to have this point more plainly 
proved : to wit, that predestination may by prayers be 

(JPtC0Ot£. That which I inferred, Peter, may quickly be 
proved ; for ignorant you are not that our Lord said to 
Abraham : In Isaac shall seed be called to thee ; x to whom 
also he said : / have appointed thee to be a father of many 
nations ; 2 and again he promised him, saying : I will bless 
thee, and multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as 
the sand of the sea? Out of which place it is plain that 
almighty God had predestinate to multiply the seed of 
Abraham by Isaac, and yet the scripture saith : Isaac did 
pray unto our Lord for his wife because she was barren, who 
did hear him, and Rebecca conceived} If, then, the increase 
of Abraham's posterity was predestinate by Isaac, how 
came it to pass that his wife was barren ? by which most 

1 Gen. 2 1, 12. 2 Gen. 27, 29. 

3 Gen. 22, 17. 4 Gen. 25, 21. 


IBonifacius of JFerenti 

certain it is, that predestination is fulfilled by prayers, 
when as we see that he by whom God had predestinate 
to increase Abraham's seed obtained by prayer to have 

}p0tCt, Seeing reason hath made that plain, which before 
I knew not, I have not herein any further doubt. 
(£)t00Otp* Shall I now tell you somewhat of such holy 
men as have been in Tuscania ; that you may be in- 
formed what notable persons have flourished in those 
parts, and how greatly they were in the favour of 
almighty God ? 

IPCtCt, Willing I am to give you the hearing ; and 
therefore beseech you to proceed forward. 

Chapter Bint : of T5onifaciu0, 15isi)op of j?e= 

tZUtt 1& (£>rCffOtp. A man of holy life there was, called 
Bonifacius, Bishop of the city of Ferenti, one that with 
his virtuous conversation did well discharge his duty. 
Many miracles he did, which Gaudentius the Priest, who 
yet liveth, doth still report : and seeing he was brought 
up under him, no question but by reason of that his 
presence he is able to tell all things the more truly. 

His Bishopric was passing poor (a thing which to good 
men is the preserver of humility), for he had nothing else 
for his revenues, but only one vineyard, which was also 
at one time so spoiled with a tempest of hail, that very 
few grapes did remain. Bonifacius coming in, and seeing 
what was happened, gave God great thanks, for that he 
had sent him further poverty to his former necessity. 
And when the time came that those few grapes which 
remained were ripe, he appointed one, according to the 
custom, to keep his vineyard, commanding him carefully 
to look well unto it. And upon a certain day, he willed 
Constantius, who both was a Priest and his nephew, to 
make ready, as before they were wont to do, all the 
barrels and wine-vessels they had : which thing when 
his nephew the Priest understood, he marvelled much 

3 1 

C6e Dialogues of %t ®regorp 

to hear him command so mad a thing, as to make ready 
the vessels for wine, himself having no wine at all to put 
in : yet durst he not enquire the reason why he gave that 
charge, but did as he commanded, and made all the 
vessels and other things ready, as before they had always 
used to do. Then the man of God caused the poor 
remnant of grapes to be gathered and carried to the 
wine-press, and dispatching all others away, himself 
tarried there still with a little boy whom he commanded 
to tread those grapes, and when he perceived that a little 
wine began to run forth, the man of God took it, and put 
it into a little vessel, and poured somewhat thereof into 
all the other barrels and vessels which were made ready, 
as it were to bless them with that little quantity : when 
he had so done, he called straightways for the Priest, 
commanding him to send for the poor, upon whose 
coming the wine in the press began to increase and run 
out so plentifully, that it did fill all the pots and other 
vessels which they brought. When they were all served, 
he bade the boy to leave treading, and come down ; then, 
locking up the storehouse, into which he had put his own 
vessels, and setting his own seal upon the door, to the 
church he went, and three days after he called for Con- 
stantius, and having said a few prayers, he opened the 
door, where he found all the vessels into which he had 
before poured but a very little liquor working so plenti- 
fully, that, if he had not then come, they had all run over 
into the floor. Then he straightly commanded the Priest 
his kinsman, not to reveal this miracle to any, so long as he 
lived, fearing lest, by means thereof, the outward opinion 
of men might through vain glory inwardly have hurt his 
soul : following therein the example of our master Christ, 
who, to teach us to walk in the path of humility, com- 
manded his disciples concerning himself, not to tell any 
what they had seen, until the Son of Man was risen 
again from death. 


IBontfacius of JFerenti 

J^CtCt. Because fit occasion is now offered, desirous I am 
to know what the reason was, that when our Saviour re- 
stored sight unto two blind men, and commanded them 
to tell nobody ; yet they, after their departure, madft 
him known throughout all that country. For had the 
only-begotten Son of God, iwho is co-eternal to his 
Father and the Holy Ghost, a desire herein to do that 
which he could not perform : to wit, that the miracle 
which he would have kept secret, could not yet be 
concealed ? 

(2DtC0Ot|?. All that which our blessed Saviour wrought 
in his mortal body, he did it for our example and in- 
struction, to the end that, following his steps, according 
to our poor ability, we might without offence pass over 
this present life : and therefore, when he did that 
miracle, he both commanded them to conceal it, and 
yet it could not be kept in, and all this to teach his 
elect servants to follow his doctrine ; to wit, that when 
they do any notable thing whereof glory may arise to 
themselves, that they should have a desire not to be 
spoken of, and yet for the good of others, contrary to 
their own mind, they should be laid open and known : 
so that it proceed of their great humility to desire that 
their works may be buried with silence, and yet, for the 
profit of others, it should fall so out, that they can not 
be concealed. Wherefore our Lord would not have 
any thing done which he could not effect : but what his 
servants ought to desire, and what also, contrary to their 
minds, was convenient to be done, like a good master 
he taught us by his own example^ 

H?0tCt» I am very well satisfied with this your answer. 
t&tZQQtV* For as much as we have now made mention 
of Bonifacius, let us prosecute a few more of his acts, 
not yet spoken of. At another time, upon the feast-day 
of St. Proculus the martyr, one Fortunatus, a noble man 
that dwelt in that town, did heartily entreat the Bishop 

33 c 

Cbe Dialogues of At ©rcgorp 

that, after he had done the solemnity of mass, he would 
vouchsafe to come unto his house, to bless his meat and 
dine with him. The man of God was content to satisfy 
his request, so charitably was he invited : and therefore, 
when mass was done, he went thither : but before the 
table was yet blessed, suddenly (as some men by such 
means get their living) one came to the gate with an 
ape, who began to play upon an instrument, which the 
holy man hearing, was discontented, and said : " Alas, 
alas, this wretched man is dead, this wretched man is 
dead. Behold, I am come hither to dinner, and have 
not yet opened my lips to praise God, and he is here 
with his ape, playing upon his instrument." Then he 
desired them to give him some meat and drink : " Yet 
I would have you know," quoth he, "that he is a dead 
man." When the unhappy wretch had filled himself 
and was going out at the gate, a great stone fell from 
the house, and brake his head. Of which blow he fell 
down, and was taken up half dead, and being carried 
away the next day, as the man of God had before said, 
he departed this life ; wherein, Peter, we have to con- 
sider how holy men are with fear to be reverenced : for 
they no question be the temples of God, and when an 
holy man is enforced to anger, who is then moved but 
he that dwelleth in that temple ? wherefore we have so 
much the more cause to fear how we provoke such kind 
of persons to wrath, seeing we know that he is present 
in their souls, who hath power and might sufficient to 
inflict what punishment himself best pleaseth. 

At another time, the aforesaid Priest Constantius, his 
nephew, had sold his horse for twelve crowns, which 
money he laid up in his chest ; and being abroad about 
other business, it so happened, that certain poor people 
pitifully begged of the holy Bishop, that he would vouch- 
safe to bestow something upon them for the relief of 
their necessity. The man of God, not having anything 


15ontfaciu0 of JFerenti 

to give them, was much grieved to send them away- 
empty : whiles he was thus troubled, suddenly it came 
to his mind how his nephew had sold his horse, and that 
the money was in his chest ; whereupon, in his absence, 
by virtuous violence, he brake open the lock, took away 
the twelve crowns, and bestowed them as best pleased 
himself upon the poor people. Constantius, returning 
home and finding his chest open, looked for his money, 
and finding it not, he began to exclaim, and with great 
noise and fury to cry out against his uncle, saying : 
" All other can live here in quiet, only I can not." The 
Bishop, hearing him crying out in that manner, came 
unto him, as also the rest of his family ; and when he 
began with sweet speech to mitigate his fury, in great 
anger he replied, saying : " All other can live with you, 
only I can not be suffered to be in quiet : give me my 
money, which you have taken out of my chest." The 
Bishop, moved at his words, departed away, and went 
into the church of the blessed virgin Mary, where, lifting 
up his hands with his vestment upon them, he began 
standing to pray, that she would help him to so much 
money, that he might quiet the fury of the mad Priest : 
and casting suddenly his eyes upon the garment that lay 
between his arms stretched out, he found twelve crowns 
lying there, so fair and bright, as though they had then 
newly come from the mint ; who forthwith going out 
of the church, cast them to the raging Priest with these 
words : " Lo, there is your money which you have 
kept such a stir for ; but know you that after my death 
you shall never be Bishop of this place, and that for 
your covetous mind." By which true censure of his we 
gather that the Priest provided that money for the getting 
of the Bishopric. But the words of the man of God did 
prevail : for the same Constantius ended his life without 
any further promotion than to the dignity of Priesthood. 
At another time, two Goths came unto him for 


£fje Dialogues of ft& ©regorp 

hospitality, saying that they were travelling to Ravenna ; 
unto whom he gave with his own hands a little 
wooden bottle full of wine, enough, haply, for their 
dinner ; of which, notwithstanding, they drank until 
they came to Ravenna, and though they stayed some 
days in that city, yet they had no other wine than that 
which the holy man bestowed upon them : and so like- 
wise they continued until they returned back again to 
the same venerable Bishop, drinking daily of the same, 
and yet never lacking wine to serve their necessity : as 
though, in that wooden bottle which he gave them, wine 
had grown, and not there increased. 

Not long sithence, there came from the same country 
a certain old man that is a clerk, who reporteth divers 
notable things of him, which must not be passed over 
with silence. For he saith that going upon a day into 
his garden, he found it all full of caterpillars, and seeing 
all his worts spoiled, turning himself to them, he spake 
thus : "I adjure you, in the name of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, to depart from hence, and not to eat any more 
of these worts " : after which words, those worms did 
forthwith so vanish away, that there was not one to be 
found in all the whole garden. But what great marvel 
is it, to hear such things reported of him that was now 
a Bishop, being then, both by reason of his orders, and 
also holy conversation of life, grown into favour with 
almighty God, seeing those are more to be admired 
which this old clergyman said that he did, being yet but 
a little boy ? For he affirmeth, that at such time as 
Bonifacius dwelt with his mother, and went abroad, that 
sometime he came home without his shirt, and often- 
times without his coat : for no sooner did he see a 
naked man, but he gave away his clothes, and put them 
upon him, to the end that himself might be clothed with 
a reward in the sight of God. His mother rebuked him 
often for doing so, and told him that it was no reason 

3 6 

T5omfaciu0 of JFetentt 

that, being poor himself, he should give away his apparel 
to other. Upon another day, going into the barn, she 
found almost all her wheat, which she had provided for 
the whole year, given away by her son to the poor : and 
as she was, for very grief thereof, beating and tearing of 
herself, the child of God, Bonifacius, came, and with the 
best words he could began to comfort his afflicted 
mother ; but when by no means she would be quieted, 
he entreated her to go out of the barn where the little 
wheat that remained was. When she was departed, the 
virtuous youth fell straightway to his prayers ; and 
after a little while, going out, he brought his mother 
back again, where she found it as full of wheat as before 
it was : at the sight of which miracle, she, being touched 
in soul, exhorted him to give as he pleased, seeing he 
could so soon obtain at God's hands what he asked. 
His mother also kept hens before her door, which a fox, 
that had his berry not far off, used to carry away : and 
upon a certain day, as the youth Bonifacius was standing 
in the entry, the fox, after his old manner, came and 
took away one of the hens ; whereupon in all haste he 
ran to the church, and prostrate there in. prayer, with 
loud voice he spake thus : " Is it thy pleasure, O Lord, 
that I shall not eat of my mother's hens ? for behold, 
the fox doth devour them up " : and rising from his 
prayers, he went out of the church, and straightways 
the fox came back again with the hen in his mouth, 
leaving it where he found it, and forthwith fell down 
dead in the presence of Bonifacius. 
}pet0t. It seemeth strange unto me, that God vouch- 
safed in such small things to hear the prayers of them 
that put their trust in him. 

(£>t0JJOtp, This falleth out, Peter, by the great provi- 
dence of our Creator, to the end that by little things 
which we receive at his hands, we should hope for 
greater : for the holy and simple lad was heard in 


C6e Dialogues of %>t (Sttegorp 

praying for small matters, that by them he should learn 
how much he ought to trust in God, when he prayed 
for things of greater importance. 
IPCtCt* What you say pleaseth me very well. 

Cfmpter Cen : of JFortunatus, 15i0f)op of tbe Cttp 

Of CtlDCttt. <J tiDtZQOiy. Another man also there was 
in the same parts, called Fortunatus, Bishop of Tuderti, 
who had a most singular grace in casting out of devils, 
in so much that sometime he did cast out of possessed 
bodies whole legions ; and by the continual exercise of 
prayer, he overcame all their temptations. Julianus, 
who had an office here in our church, and not long 
since died in this city, was familiarly acquainted with 
him, by whose relation I learned that which I will now 
tell you : for by reason of his great and inward famili- 
arity, often was he present at such miracles as he wrought, 
and did divers times talk of him to our instruction and 
his own comfort. 

A certain noble matron there was, dwelling in the 
hither parts of Tuscania, that had a daughter-in-law, 
which, not long after the marriage of her son, was, 
together with her mother-in-law, invited to the dedica- 
tion of the oratory of the blessed martyr, St. Sebastian : 
and the night before this solemnity, overcome with carnal 
pleasure, she could not abstain from her husband ; and 
though in the morning her former delight troubled her 
conscience, yet shame drave her forth to the procession, 
being more ashamed of men than fearing the judgment 
of God, and therefore thither she went together with 
her mother-in-law. And behold, straight upon the 
bringing of the relics of St. Sebastian the martyr into 
the oratory, a wicked spirit possessed the foresaid matron's 
daughter-in-law, and pitifully tormented her before all 
the people. The Priest of the oratory, beholding her 
so terribly vexed and lifted up, took a white linen cloth 
and cast upon her ; and forthwith the devil also entered 


JFortunatus of CuDctti 

into him, and because he presumed above his strength, 
enforced also he was by his own vexation, to know what 
himself was. Those that were present took up the young 
gentlewoman in their hands, and carried her home to 
her own house. And for as much as she was by the 
enemy continually and cruelly tormented, her kinsfolk 
that carnally loved her, and with their love did persecute 
her, cause her to be carried for help to certain witches ; 
so utterly to cast away her soul, whose body they went 
about by sorcery for a time to relieve. Coming into 
their hands, she was by them brought to a river, and 
there washed in the water, the sorcerers labouring a 
long time by their enchantments to cast out the devil, 
that had possessed her body : but by the wonderful 
judgment of almighty God, it fell out that whiles 
one by unlawful art was expelled, suddenly a whole 
legion did enter in. And from that time forward, she 
began to be tossed with so many varieties of motions, 
to shriek out in so many sundry tunes, as there were 
devils in her body. Then her parents, consulting to- 
gether, and confessing their own wickedness, carried her 
to the venerable Bishop Fortunatus, and with him they 
left her : who, having taken her to his charge, fell to 
his prayers many days and nights, and he prayed so 
much the more earnestly, because he had against him, 
in one body, an whole army of devils : and many days 
passed not, before he made her so safe and sound, as 
though the devil had never had any power or interest 
in her body. 

At another time, the same servant of almighty God 
cast forth a devil out of one that was possessed : which 
wicked spirit, when it was now night and saw few men 
stirring in the streets, taking upon him the shape of a 
stranger, began to go up and down the city, crying out : 
" O holy Bishop Fortunatus, behold what he hath done ; 
he hath turned a stranger out of his lodging, and now 


Cfje Dialogues of %t <$reg;orp 

I seek for a place to rest in, and in his whole city can 
find none." A certain man, sitting in his house by the 
fire, with his wife and his little son, hearing one to cry 
out in that manner, went forth, and enquired what the 
Bishop had done, and withal invited him to his house, 
where he caused him to sit with them by the fire : and 
as they were among themselves discoursing of divers 
matters, the same wicked spirit on a sudden entered 
into his little child, cast him into the fire, and forthwith 
killed him : then the wretched father, by the loss of his 
son in this manner, knew full well whom he had enter- 
tained, and the Bishop turned out of his lodging. 
1^0t0t» What was the cause, that the old enemy pre- 
sumed to kill his son in his own house : who, thinking 
him to be a stranger, vouchsafed him of lodging and 
entertainment ? 

CDtCjJOtp* Many things, Peter, seem to be good and yet 
are not, because they be not done with a good mind and 
intention ; and therefore our Saviour saith in the gospel : 
If thy eye be naughty all thy body shall be dar\} For when 
the intention is wicked, all the work that followeth is 
naught, although it seem to be never so good ; and 
therefore this man who lost his child, though he seemed 
to give hospitality, yet I think that he took not any 
pleasure in that work of mercy, but rather in the de- 
traction and infamy of the Bishop : for the punishment 
which followed did declare that his entertainment going 
before, was not void of sin. For some there be, which 
are careful to do good works, to the end they may ob- 
scure the virtue of another man's life ; neither take they 
pleasure in the good thing which they do, but in the 
conceit of that hurt which thereby they imagine re- 
doundeth to others ; and therefore I verily suppose that 
this man, which gave entertainment to the devil, was 
more desirous to seem to do a good work than to do 

1 Matt. 6, 23. 

JFottunatua of Cuoertt 

it indeed ; to the end that he might seem more charit- 
able than the Bishop, in that he entertained him whom 
the man of God, Fortunatus, had thrust out of his 

Ip0t0t. It is verily so, as you say : for the end of the 
work declared that the intent of the doer was not good. 
(DtCgOtp. At another time, likewise, one that had lost 
his eyesight was brought unto him, who craved his 
intercession and obtained it : for so soon as the man of 
God had prayed for him, and made the sign of the cross 
upon his eyes, straightways he received his sight. Beside 
this, a certain soldier's horse became so mad, that he 
could scant be holden by many, and so cruel he was, 
that he rent and tare the flesh of all such as he could 
reach with his teeth. At length, as well as they could, 
they tied him with ropes, and so brought him to the 
man of God ; who putting forth his hand, made upon 
his head the sign of the cross, and forthwith all his 
madness departed, in such sort that he became more 
gentle than ever he was before. Then the soldier, 
seeing his horse so miraculously cured, determined to 
bestow him upon the Bishop : which because he refused, 
and yet the other instantly entreated that he would not 
reject his poor gift, the holy man took the middle way, 
and yielded so to the soldier's request, that yet he would 
not take any reward for the doing of that miracle ; for 
he gave him first so much money as the horse was worth, 
and then received him ; for perceiving that the soldier 
would have been grieved, if he had refused his courteous 
offer, upon charity he bought that whereof he had then 
no need. 

Neither must I pass over with silence that which 1 
heard almost twelve days since : for a certain poor old 
man was brought unto me (because I loved always to 
talk with such kind of men), of whom I enquired his 
country ; and understanding that he was of the city of 


£fje Dialogues of St <$reprp 

Tuderti, I asked him whether he knew the good old 
father, Bishop Fortunatus ; to which he answered that 
he knew him, and that very well. " Then I beseech you," 
quoth I, " tell me whether you know of any miracles 
which he did, and because I am very desirous, let me 
understand what manner of man he was." " This man," 
quoth he, " was far different from all those which live 
in our days ; for he obtained at God's hands whatsoever 
he requested. One of his miracles which cometh to my 
mind, I will now tell you. 

" Certain Goths, upon a day, travelling not far from 
the city of Tuderti, as they were in their journey to 
Ravenna, carried away with them two little boys from 
a place which belonged to the said city. News hereof 
being brought to the holy Bishop Fortunatus, he sent 
straightways, desiring those Goths to come unto him : 
to whom he spake very courteously, being willing by 
fair speech to pacify their fierce and cruel natures ; and 
afterward told them that they should have what money 
they desired, so they would make restitution of the 
children : ( and therefore, I beseech you,' quoth he, 
c gratify my request in this one thing.' Then he which 
seemed to be the chief of them two told him, that what- 
soever else he commanded they were ready to perform, 
but as for the boys, by no means they would let them 
go. To whom the venerable man (threatening in sweet 
sort) spake unto him in this manner : ' You grieve me, 
good son, to see that you will not be ruled by your 
father ; but give me not any such cause of grief, for it 
is not good that you do.' But for all this the Goth, 
continuing still hard-hearted, denied his request, and so 
went his way, yet coming again the next day, the holy 
man renewed his former suit concerning the children ; 
but when he saw that by no means he could persuade 
him, in sorrowful manner he spake thus : * Well I 
know that it is not good for you to depart in this 


jFortunatus of Cu&crtt 

manner, and leave me thus afflicted.' But the Goth, 
not esteeming his words, returned to his inn, set those 
children on horseback, and sent them before with his 
servants, and straightways himself took horse and fol- 
lowed after ; and as he was riding in the same city by 
the church of St. Peter the Apostle, his horse stumbling, 
fell down, and brake his thigh in such sort that the 
bone was quite asunder : up was he taken, and carried 
back again to his inn ; who in all haste sent after his 
servants, and caused the boys to be brought back again. 
Then he sent one to venerable Fortunatus with this 
message : * I beseech you, father, to send unto me your 
deacon ' ; who when he was come unto him lying in his 
bed, he made those boys, which before upon no entreaty 
he would restore, to be brought forth, and delivered 
them to him, saying : c Go and tell my Lord the Bishop : 
Behold you have cursed me, and I am punished, but I 
have now sent you those children which before you re- 
quired, take them, and I beseech you to pray for me.' 
The deacon received the children, and carried them to 
the Bishop ; whereupon the holy man forthwith gave 
his deacon some holy water, saying : ' Go quickly and 
cast it upon him where he lieth ' ; who went his way, 
and coming to the Goth, he sprinkled all his body with 
holy water : and O strange and admirable thing ! the 
holy water no sooner touched his thigh but all the 
rupture was so healed, and himself so perfectly restored 
to his former health, that he forsook his bed that very 
hour, took his horse, and went on his journey, as though 
he had never been hurt at all : and thus it fell out, that 
he which refused for money and upon obedience to re- 
store the children, was by punishment enforced to do it 
for nothing." When the old man had told me this 
strange story, ready he was to proceed unto other ; but 
because I was at that time to make an exhortation to 
some that expected me, and the day was well spent, I 


Cfje Dialogues of %t (Stegorp 

could not at that time hear any more of the notable acts 
of venerable Fortunatus ; and yet if I might, never would 
I do any thing else, than give ear to such excellent 

The next day, the same old man reported a thing far 
more wonderful : for he said that in the same city of 
Tuderti, there dwelt a good virtuous man called Mar- 
cellus, together with two of his sisters, who, falling sick, 
somewhat late upon Easter even departed this life : and 
because he was to be carried far off, he could not be 
buried that day. His sisters having now longer respite 
for his burial, with heavy hearts ran weeping unto the 
Bishop ; where they began to cry out aloud in this 
manner : " We know that thou leadest an Apostolical 
life, that thou dost heal lepers, restore sight to the blind : 
come, therefore, we beseech you, and raise up our dead 
brother." The venerable man, hearing of their brother's 
death, began himself likewise to weep, desired them to 
depart, and not to make any such petition unto him : 
"for it is our Lord's pleasure," quoth he, "which no 
man can resist." When they were gone, the Bishop 
continued still sad and sorrowful for the good man's 
death ; and the next day being the solemn feast of Easter, 
very early in the morning he went with two of his deacons 
to Marcellus' house, and coming to the place where his 
dead body lay, he fell to his prayers ; and when he had 
made an end, he rose up and sat down by the corpse, and 
with a low voice called the dead man by his name, say- 
ing : "Brother Marcellus " ; whereat, as though he had 
been lightly asleep, and awaked with that voice, he rose 
up, opened his eyes, and looking upon the Bishop, said: 
" O what have you done ? O what have you done ? " 
To whom the Bishop answered, saying : " What have 
I done ? " " Marry," quoth he, " yesterday there came 
two unto me, and discharged my soul out of my body, and 
carried me away to a good place, and this day one was 


sent, who bade them carry me back again, because Bishop 
Fortunatus was gone to mine house." And when he 
had spoken these words, straightways he recovered of 
his sickness, and lived long after. And yet for all this 
we must not think that he lost that place which he had, 
because there is no doubt, but that he might, by the 
prayers of his intercessor, live yet more virtuously after 
his death, who had a care before he died to please al- 
mighty God. 

But why do I spend so many words in discoursing of 
his wonderful life, when as we have so many miracles, 
even at these days, wrought at his body ? for, as he was 
wont to do when he lived upon earth, so doth he now 
continually at his dead bones dispossess devils, and heal 
such as be sick, so often as men pray for such graces with 
faith and devotion. But I mean now to return to the 
province of Valeria, of which I have heard most notable 
miracles from the mouth of venerable Fortunatus, of 
whom long before I have made mention, who, coming 
often to visit me, whiles he reporteth old stories, con- 
tinually he bringeth me new delight. 

Cfmptet OBletien : of ^artirius, a 6§onk in tbe 

IptOtrince Of Valeria. <I A certain man lived in that 
province, called Martirius, who was a very devout servant 
of almighty God, and gave this testimony of his virtuous 
life. For, upon a certain day, the other monks, his 
brethren, made a hearth-cake, forgetting to make upon 
it the sign of the cross : for in that country they use to 
make a cross upon their loaves, dividing them so into 
four parts : when the servant of God came, they told 
him that it was not marked : who, seeing it covered with 
ashes and coals, asked why they did not sign it, and 
speaking so, he made the sign of the cross with his 
hand against the coals : which thing whiles he was in 
doing, the cake gave a great crack, as though the pan 
had been broken with the fire : after it was baked and 


Cfje Dialogues of &t <£regotp 

taken out, they found it marked with the sign of the 
cross, which yet not any corporal touching, but the faith 
of Martirius had imprinted. 

Chapter Ctoetoe : of §)et)erus, a Jprtest in t&e 

Same IprOtrittCe, <J In the same country there is a 
valley, which is called of the plain people Interocrina ; 
in which there lived a certain man of a rare life, called 
Severus, who was a parish priest of the church of our 
blessed Lady the mother of God and perpetual virgin. 
One that lay at the point of death sent for him in great 
haste, desiring him to come with all speed, and by his 
prayers to make intercession for him, that doing penance 
for his wickedness, and loosed from his sins, he might 
depart this life. So it chanced, that the Priest at that 
time was busy in pruning of his vines ; and therefore he 
bade them that came for him to go on before : " and I 
will," quoth he, " come after by and by." For seeing he 
had but a little to do, he stayed a pretty while to make 
an end of that, and when it was dispatched, away he went 
to visit the sick man ; but as he was going, the former 
messengers met with him, saying : " Father, why have 
you stayed so long ? go not now any further, for the 
man is dead." At which news the good man fell a 
trembling, and cried out aloud that he had killed him ; 
whereupon he fell a weeping, and in that manner came 
to the dead corpse, where before the bed he fell prostrate 
upon the earth, pouring out of tears. Lying there weep- 
ing very pitifully, beating his head against the ground, 
and crying out that he was guilty of his death, suddenly 
the dead man returned to life : which many that were 
present beholding cried out, and began to weep more 
plentifully for joy, demanding of him where he had 
been, and by what means he came back again ; to whom 
he said : " Certain cruel men," quoth he, "did carry me 
away ; out of whose mouth and nostrils fire came forth, 
which I could not endure ; and as they were leading me 


^>cticrus tfje priest 

through dark places, suddenly a beautiful young man 
with others met us, who said unto them that were draw- 
ing me forward : { Carry him back again ; for Severus 
the Priest lamenteth his death, and our Lord, for his 
tears, hath given him longer life.' Then Severus rose 
up from the earth, and by his intercession did assist him 
in doing of penance. And when the sick man that re- 
vived had done penance for his sins by the space of 
seven days, upon the eighth with a cheerful countenance 
he departed this life. Consider, Peter, I pray you, how 
dearly our Lord loved this Severus, that would not 
suffer him to be grieved for a little time. 
K^CtCt. They be marvellous strange things which you 
report, and which before this time I never heard of: but 
what is the reason that in these days there be not any 
such men now living ? 

€>tC#0tp* I make no doubt, Peter, but that there be 
many such holy men now living ; for though they work 
not the like miracles, yet for all that, may they be as 
virtuous and as holy. For true judgment of one's life 
is to be taken from his virtuous conversation, and not 
from the working of miracles, for many there be who, 
although they do not any such strange things, yet are 
they not in virtue inferior to them that do them. 
IpCtCt. How, 1 beseech you, can it be maintained for 
true, that there be some that work not any miracles, and 
yet be as virtuous as they which work them ? 
CDtCgOtJ?. Sure I am that you know very well that the 
Apostle St. Paul is brother to St. Peter, chief of the 
Apostles in Apostolical principality. 
IPCtCt. I know that indeed, for no doubt can be made 
thereof : for though he were the least of the Apostles, 
yet did he labour more than all they. 
<$DtZQ0XJ). Peter, as you well remember, walked with 
his feet upon the sea ; Paul in the sea suffered ship- 
wrack. And in one and the same element, where Paul 


C6e Dialogues of %>t ®reg;otp 

could not pass with a ship, Peter went upon his feet ; by 
which apparent it is, that though their virtue in working 
of miracles was not alike, yet their merit is alike in the 
kingdom of heaven. 

l^CtCt. I confess that I am well pleased with that you 
say, for I know most assuredly that the life, and not 
the miracles, are to be considered ; but yet, seeing such 
miracles as be wrought do give testimony of a good life, 
I beseech you, if any more be yet remaining, that you 
would, with the examples and virtuous lives of holy men, 
feed mine hungry soul. 

fytZQOty). Desirous I am, to the honour of our blessed 
Saviour, to tell you some things now concerning the 
miracles of the man of God, venerable St. Bennet : but 
to do it as it ought, this day is not sufficient ; wherefore 
we will here make a pause, and to handle this matter 
more plentifully, take another beginning. 

Cbe OBnD of tbe jfirst IBook 

4 8 

/'.'; <:i ■:,-,! 


(•I'citicaii Gallery, Roun 

€f)e g>econti ^oofc 

m tije 3Ufe and piracies of 
£>t. mtnmt 


CJje g>econti ^ook 

®f tt)e 3Ufe ano ^trades of 
£>t. Bennet 

C{)CtC was a man of venerable life, blesse#by grace, and 
blessed in name, for he was called Benedicts or Bennet : 
who, from his younger years, carried always the mind of 
an old man ; for his age was inferior to his virtue : all 
vain pleasure he contemned, and though he were in the 
world, and might freely have enjoyed such commodities 
as it yieldeth, yet did he nothing esteem it, nor the 
vanities thereof. He was born in the province of Nursia, 
of honourable parentage, and brought up at Rome in the 
study of humanity. But for as much as he saw many by 
reason of such learning to fall to dissolute and lewd life, 
he drew back his foot, which he had as it were now set 
forth into the world, lest, entering too far in acquaintance 
therewith, he likewise might have fallen into that dan- 
gerous and godless gulf : wherefore, giving over his 
book, and forsaking his father's house and wealth, with 
a resolute mind only to serve God, he sought for some 
place, where he might attain to the desire of his holy 
purpose : and in this sort he departed, instructed with 
learned ignorance, and furnished with uniearned wisdom. 
All the notable things and acts of his life I could not 
learn ; but those few, which I mind now to report, I 
had by the relation of four of his disciples : to wit, of 

5 1 

C6e Dialogues of %>t. <£reg;orp 

Constantinus, a most rare and reverent man, who was 
next Abbot after him ; of Valentinianus, who many years 
had the charge of the Lateran Abbey; of Simplicius, 
who was the third General of his order ; and lastly of 
Honoratus, who is now Abbot of that monastery in 
which he first began his holy life. 

C&apter HDne : boto fje mape a broken mtyz tofjolc 

anO 0OUnD» ^ Bennet having now given over the 
school, with a resolute mind to lead his life in the wilder- 
ness : his nurse alone, which did tenderly love him, 
would not by any means give him over. Coming, there- 
fore, to a place called Enside and remaining there in the 
church of St. Peter, in the company of other virtuous 
men, which for charity lived in that place, it fell so out 
that his nurse borrowed of the neighbours a sieve to 
make clean wheat, which being left negligently upon the 
table, by chance it was broken in two pieces : whereupon 
she fell pitifully a weeping, because she had borrowed 
it. The devout and religious youth Bennet, seeing his 
nurse so lamenting, moved with compassion, took away 
with him both the pieces of the sieve, and with tears fell 
to his prayers ; and after he had done, rising up he found 
it so whole, that the place could not be seen where before 
it was broken ; and coming straight to his nurse, and com- 
forting her with good words, he delivered her the sieve 
safe and sound : which miracle was known to all the 
inhabitants thereabout, and so much admired, that the 
townsmen, for a perpetual memory, did hang it up at the 
church door, to the end that not only men then living, 
but also their posterity might understand, how greatly 
God's grace did work with him upon his first renouncing 
of the world. The sieve continued there many years 
after, even to these very troubles of the Lombards, where 
it did hang over the church door. 

But Bennet, desiring rather the miseries of the world 
than the praises of men : rather to be wearied with labour 

5 2 

V '-. 


Cbe life anD piracies of %t I5ennet 

for God's sake, than to be exalted with transitory com- 
mendation : fled privily from his nurse, and went into a 
desert place called Sublacum, distant almost forty miles 
from Rome : in which there was a fountain springing forth 
cool and clear water ; the abundance whereof doth first 
in a broad place make a lake, and afterward running 
forward, cometh to be a river. As he was travelling to 
this place, a certain monk called Romanus met him, and 
demanded whither he went, and understanding his pur- 
pose, he both kept it close, furthered him what he might, 
vested him with the habit of holy conversation, and as 
he could, did minister and serve him. 

The man of God, Bennet, coming to this foresaid 
place, lived there in a strait cave, where he continued 
three years unknown to all men, except to Romanus, who 
lived not far off, under the rule of Abbot Theodacus, 
and very virtuously did steal certain hours, and likewise 
sometime a loaf given for his own provision, which he 
did carry to Bennet. And because from Romanus' cell 
to that cave there was not any way, by reason of an high 
rock which did hang over it, Romanus, from the top 
thereof, upon a long rope, did let down the loaf, upon 
which also with a band he tied a little bell, that by the 
ringing thereof the man of God might know when he 
came with his bread, and so be ready to take it. But the 
old enemy of mankind, envyingat the charity of the one 
and the refection of the other, seeing a loaf upon a cer- 
tain day let down, threw a stone and brake the bell ; but 
yet, for all that, Romanus gave not over to serve him 
by all the possible means he could. 

At length when almighty God was determined to ease 
Romanus of his pains, and to have Bennet's life for an 
example known to the world, that such a candle, set upon 
a candlestick, might shine and give light to the Church of 
God, our Lord vouchsafed to appear unto a certain Priest 
dwelling a good way off", who had made ready his dinner 


Cfje Dialogues of %t <$regorp 

for Easter day, and spake thus unto him : " Thou hast 
provided good cheer for thyself, and my servant in such 
a place is afflicted with hunger " : who hearing this forth- 
with rose up, and upon Easter day itself, with such 
meat as he had prepared, went to the place, where he 
sought for the man of God amongst the steep hills, the 
low valleys and hollow pits, and at length found him in 
his cave : where, after they had prayed together, and sit- 
ting down had given God thanks, and had much spiritual 
talk, then the Priest said unto him : " Rise up, brother, 
and let us dine, because to-day is the feast of Easter." 
To whom the man of God answered, and said : " 1 know 
that it is Easter with me and a great feast, having found 
so much favour at God's hands as this day to enjoy your 
company " (for by reason of his long absence from men, 
he knew not that it was the great solemnity of Easter). 
But the reverent Priest again did assure him, saying : 
"Verily, to-day is the feast of our Lord's Resurrection, 
and therefore meet it is not that you should keep 
abstinence, and besides I am sent to that end, that 
we might eat together of such provision as God's 
goodness hath sent us." Whereupon they said grace, 
and fell to their meat, and after they had dined, and 
bestowed some time in talking, the Priest returned to his 

About the same time likewise, certain shepherds found 
him in that same cave : and at the first, when they espied 
him through the bushes, and saw his apparel made of 
skins, they verily thought that it had been some beast : 
but after they were acquainted with the servant of God, 
many of them were by his means converted from their 
beastly life to grace, piety, and devotion. And thus his 
name in the country there about became famous, and 
many after this went to visit him, and for corporal meat 
which they brought him, they carried away spiritual food 
for their souls. 


£fje Life anH apitade0 of %t TBennet 
C&apter Ctoo : &oto be overcame a great tempta^ 

tlOlT Of tf)e fle0()» ^ Upon a certain day being alone, 
the tempter was at hand : for a little black bird, com- 
monly called a merle or an ousel, began to fly about his 
face, and that so near as the holy man, if he would, might 
have taken it with his hand : but after he had blessed 
himself with the sign of the cross, the bird flew away : 
and forthwith the holy man was assaulted with such a 
terrible temptation of the flesh, as he never felt the like 
in all his life. A certain woman there was which some 
time he had seen, the memory of which the wicked spirit 
put into his mind, and by the representation of her did 
so mightily inflame with concupiscence the soul of God's 
servant, which did so increase that, almost overcome with 
pleasure, he was of mind to have forsaken the wilder- 
ness. But, suddenly assisted with God's grace, he came 
to himself; and seeing many thick briers and nettle- 
bushes to grow hard by, off he cast his apparel, and threw 
himself into the midst of them, and there wallowed so 
long that, when he rose up, all his flesh was pitifully 
torn : and so by the wounds of his body, he cured the 
wounds of his soul, in that he turned pleasure into 
pain, and by the outward burning of extreme smart, 
quenched that fire which, being nourished before with 
the fuel of carnal cogitations, did inwardly burn in his 
soul : and by this means he overcame the sin, because 
he made a change of the fire. From which time forward, 
as himself did afterward report unto his disciples, Ke 
found all temptation of pleasure so subdued, that he 
never felt any such thing. Many after this began to 
abandon the world, and to become his scholars. For 
being now freed from the vice of temptation, worthily 
and with great reason is he made a master of virtue : 
for which cause, in Exodus, commandment is given 
by Moses, that the Levites from five-and-twenty years 
and upward should serve, but, after they came to fifty, 


Cftc Dialogues of %t <£rcprp 

that they should be ordained keepers of the holy 
vessels. 1 

l[?Ct0t. Somewhat I understand of this testimony 
alleged : but yet I beseech you to tell me the meaning 
thereof more fully. 

<£>tC0Ot£, It is plain, Peter, that in youth the tempta- 
tion of the flesh is hot : but after fifty years the heat of 
the body waxeth cold, and the souls of faithful people 
become holy vessels. Wherefore necessary it is that 
God's elect servants, whiles they are yet in the heat of 
temptation, should live in obedience, serve, and be 
wearied with labour and pains. But when, by reason of 
age, the heat of temptation is past, they become keepers 
of holy vessels ; because they then are made the doctors 
of men's souls. 

Ip0t0t» I cannot deny, but that your words have given 
me full satisfaction : wherefore, seeing you have now 
expounded the meaning of the former text alleged, pro- 
secute, I pray, as you have begun, the rest of the holy 
man's life. 

Chapter Cftree: ftoto Rennet, ftp tbe sign of 
tfte ftolp cross, ftrafee a Drinking^glass in pieces, 

^ <2>tCg0tp» When this great temptation was thus 
overcome, the man of God, like unto a piece of ground 
well tilled and weeded, of the seed of virtue brought 
forth plentiful store of fruit : and by reason of the great 
report of his wonderful holy life, his name became very 
famous. Not far from the place where he remained 
there was a monastery, the Abbot whereof was dead : 
whereupon the whole Convent came unto the venerable 
man Bennet, entreating him very earnestly that he 
would vouchsafe to take upon him the charge and 
government of their Abbey : long time he denied them, 
saying that their manners were divers from his, and 
therefore that they should never agree together : yet 

1 Numbers 8, 24-26. 


£fje Life anD piracies of St I6cnnet 

at length, overcome with their entreaty, he gave his 
consent. Having now taken upon him the charge of 
the Abbey, he took order that regular life should be 
observed, so that none of them could, as before they 
used, through unlawful acts decline from the path of 
holy conversation, either on the one side or on the 
other : which the monks perceiving, they fell into a 
great rage, accusing themselves that ever they desired 
him to be their Abbot, seeing their crooked conditions 
could not endure his virtuous kind of government : and 
therefore when they saw that under him they could not 
live in unlawful sort, and were loath to leave their former 
conversation, and found it hard to be enforced with old 
minds to meditate and think upon new things : and 
because the life of virtuous men is always grievous to 
those that be of wicked conditions, some of them began 
to devise, how they might rid him out of the way : and 
therefore, taking counsel together, they agreed to poison 
his wine : which being done, and the glass wherein that 
wine was, according to the custom, offered to the Abbot 
to bless, he, putting forth his hand, made the sign of 
the cross, and straightway the glass, that was holden far 
off, brake in pieces, as though the sign of the cross had 
been a stone thrown against it : upon which accident 
the man of God by and by perceived that the glass had 
in it the drink of death, which could not endure the 
sign of life : and therefore rising up, with a mild 
countenance and quiet mind, he called the monks to- 
gether, and spake thus unto them : " Almighty God 
have mercy upon you, and forgive you : why have you 
used me in this manner ? Did not I tell you before 
hand, that our manner of living could never agree 
together ? Go your ways, and seek ye out some other 
father suitable to your own conditions, for I intend not 
now to stay any longer amongst you." When he had 
thus discharged himself, he returned back to the 


C6e Dialogues of %t ®reprp 

wilderness which so much he loved, and dwelt alone 
with himself, in the sight of his Creator, who beholdeth 
the hearts of all men. 

H?Ct0t» I understand not very well what you mean, 
when you say that he dwelt with himself. 
(jDt£{J0tp» If the holy man had longer, contrary to his 
own mind, continued his government over those monks, 
who had all conspired against him, and were far unlike 
to him in life and conversation : perhaps he should have 
diminished his own devotion, and somewhat withdrawn 
the eyes of his soul from the light of contemplation ; 
and being wearied daily with correcting of their faults, he 
should have had the less care of himself, and so haply 
it might have fallen out, that he should both have lost 
himself, and yet not found them : for so often as by 
infectious motion we are carried too far from ourselves, 
we remain the same men that we were before, and yet 
be not with ourselves as we were before : because we 
are wandering about other men's affairs, little con- 
sidering and looking into the state of our own soul. 
For shall we say that he was with himself, who went 
into a far country, and after he had, as we read in the 
Gospel, 1 prodigally spent that portion which he received 
of his father, was glad to serve a citizen, to keep his 
hogs, and would willingly have filled his hungry belly 
with the husks which they did eat : who notwithstand- 
ing afterward, when he thought with himself of those 
goods which he had lost, it is written of him that, re- 
turning into himself, he said : How many hired men in 
my father s house do abound with bread? If then, before 
he were with himself, from whence did he return home 
unto himself? and therefore I said that this venerable 
man did dwell with himself, because carrying himself 
circumspectly and carefully in the sight of his Creator, 
always considering his own actions, always examining 

1 Luke 15. 


Cbe life anD piracies of St. iBennet 

himself, never did he turn the eyes of his soul from 
himself, to behold aught else whatsoever. 
P0t0r. Why, then, is it written of the Apostle, St. 
Peter, after he was by the Angel delivered out of 
prison, that, returning to himself, he said : Now I know 
verily, that our Lord hath sent his Angel, and hath delivered 
me from the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the 
people of the Jews} 

CDtegOtp. We are two manner of ways, Peter, carried 
out of ourselves : for either we fall under ourselves by 
sinful cogitation, or else we are, by the grace of con- 
templation, lifted above ourselves : for he that kept 
hogs, through wandering of his mind and unclean 
thoughts, fell under himself: but he whom the Angel 
delivered out of prison, being also rapt by the Angel 
into an ecstasy, was in truth out of himself, but yet 
above himself. Both of them, therefore, did return 
unto themselves ; the one when he recollected himself, 
and forsook his lewd kind of life ; and the other from 
the top of contemplation, to have that usual judgment 
and understanding, which before he had : wherefore 
venerable Bennet in that solitary wilderness dwelt with 
himself, because he kept himself, and retired his cogita- 
tions within the closet of his own soul : for when the 
greatness of contemplation rapt him up aloft, out of all 
question he did then leave himself under himself. 
Jpetet. Your discourse doth very well content me : yet 
I beseech you to answer me this question, whether he 
could in conscience give over those monks, whose 
government he had now taken upon him ? 
(StegOtp. In mine opinion, Peter, evil men may with 
good conscience be tolerated in that community, where 
there be some good that may be holpen and reap com- 
modity. But where there be none good at all, that may 
receive spiritual profit, often times all labour is lost, that 

1 Acts 12, I I. 


Cf)c Dialogues of §>t. (Srcgorp 

is bestowed in bringing of such to good order, especially 
if other occasions be offered of doing God presently 
better service elsewhere : for whose good, then, should 
the holy man have expected, seeing them all to perse- 
cute him with one consent ? and (that which is not to 
be passed over with silence) those that be perfect carry 
always this mind, that when they perceive their labour 
to be fruitless in one place, to remove straight to another, 
where more good may be done. And for this cause, 
that notable preacher of the world, who was desirous to 
be dissolved, and to be with Christ, unto whom to live 
is Christ y and to die is gain : * and who not only desired 
himself to suffer persecution, but did also animate and 
encourage others to suffer the same ; yet being himself 
in persecution at Damascus, got a rope and a basket to 
pass over the wall, and was privily let down. What 
then ? shall we say that Paul was afraid of death, when 
as himself said, that he desired it for Christ's sake ? not 
so : but when he perceived that in that place little good 
was to be done by great labour, he reserved himself to 
further labour, where more fruit and better success 
might be expected : and therefore the valiant soldier ot 
Christ would not be kept within walls, but sought for 
a larger field where he might more freely labour for his 
master. And so, in like manner, you shall quickly 
perceive, if you mark well, that venerable Bennet for- 
sook not so many in one place, that were unwilling to 
be taught, as he did in sundry other places raise up from 
the death of soul many more, that were willing to be 

J£)0t0t. It is so as you say, and plain reason teacheth 
it, and the example of St. Paul alleged doth confirm it. 
But I beseech you to return unto your former purpose, 
and to prosecute the life of the holy man. 
(2DtC0Ot|). When as God's servant daily increased in 

1 Phil. I, 21. 


(San Pietro, Perugia) 

Cbe Life ant) piracies of %t 15ennet 

virtue, and became continually more famous for miracles, 
many were by him in the same place drawn to the ser- 
vice of almighty God, so that by Christ's assistance he 
built there twelve Abbeys ; over which he appointed 
governors, and in each of them placed twelve monks, 
and a few he kept with himself, namely, such as he 
thought would more profit, and be better instructed by 
his own presence. At that time also many noble and 
religious men of Rome came unto him, and committed 
their children to be brought up under him, for the ser- 
vice of God. Then also Evitius delivered him Maurus, 
and Tertullius the Senator brought Placidus, being their 
sons of great hope and towardness : of which two, 
Maurus, growing to great virtue, began to be his master's 
co-adjutor ; but Placidus, as yet, was but a boy of tender 

Chapter JTout : &oto IBennet tefotmeD a monk 
tbat toouio not 0tap at to prayers. <l in one of the 

monasteries which he had built in those parts, a monk 
there was, which could not continue at prayers ; for when 
the other monks knelt down to serve God, his manner 
was to go forth, and there with wandering mind to busy 
himself about some earthly and transitory things. And 
when he had been often by his Abbot admonished of this 
fault without any amendment, at length he was sent to 
the man of God, who did likewise very much rebuke him 
for his folly ; yet notwithstanding, returning back again, 
he did scarce two days follow the holy man's admonition ; 
for, upon the third day, he fell again to his old custom, 
and would not abide within at the time of prayer : word 
whereof being once more sent to the man of God, by 
the father of the Abbey whom he had there appointed, 
he returned him answer that he would come himself, and 
reform what was amiss, which he did accordingly : and 
it fell so out, that when the singing of psalms was ended, 
and the hour come in which the monks betook themselves 


£fje Dialogic of %>t <$tcgorp 

to prayer, the holy man perceived that the monk, which 
used at that time to go forth, was by a little black boy 
drawn out by the skirt of his garment ; upon which sight, 
he spake secretly to Pompeianus, father of the Abbey, 
and also to Maurus, saying : " Do you not see who it 
is, that draweth this monk from his prayers ?" and they 
answered him, that they did not. " Then let us pray," 
quoth he, " unto God, that you also may behold whom 
this monk doth follow " : and after two days Maurus 
did see him, but Pompeianus could not. Upon another 
day, when the man of God had ended his devotions, he 
went out of the oratory, where he found the foresaid 
monk standing idle, whom for the blindness of his heart 
he strake with a little wand, and from that day forward 
he was so freed from all allurement of the little black 
boy, that he remained quietly at his prayers, as other of 
the monks did : for the old enemy was so terrified, that 
he durst not any more suggest any such cogitations : as 
though by that blow, not the monk, but himself had 
been strooken. 

Chapter jFfoe : of a fountain tfjat sprung fortb in 
tf)t top of a mountain, ftp the ptapers of tbe man 

Of <£>0D. ^ Amongst the monasteries which he had built 
in those parts, three of them were situated upon the rocks 
of a mountain, so that very painful it was for the monks 
to go down and fetch water, especially because the side 
of the hill was so steep that there was great fear of danger : 
and therefore the monks of those Abbeys with one con- 
sent came unto the servant of God, Bennet, giving him 
to understand, how laborious it was for them daily to go 
down unto the lake for water : and therefore they added, 
that it was very necessary to have them removed to some 
other places. The man of God, comforting them with 
sweet words, caused them to return back again ; and the 
next night, having with him only the little boy Placidus 
(of whom we spake before), he ascended up to the rock 


Cbe JLife anD piracies of §t iBennet 

of that mountain, and continued there a long time in 
prayer ; and when he had done, he took three stones, and 
laid them in the same place for a mark, and so, none of 
them being privy to that he had done, he returned back 
to his own Abbey. And the next day, when the foresaid 
monks came again about their former business, he said 
thus unto them : " Go your way to the rock, and in the 
place where you find three stones laid one upon another, 
dig a little hole, for almighty God is able to bring 
forth water in the top of that mountain, and so to ease 
you of that great labour which you take in fetching it 
so far." Away they went, and came to the rock of 
the mountain according to his direction, which they 
found as it were sweating drops of water, and after 
they had with a spade made an hollow place, it was 
straightways filled, and water flowed out so abundantly, 
that it doth plentifully, even to this day, spring out 
and run down from the top to the very bottom of that 

Cfmpter &ix : fjoto t&e iron beao of a ML from 
tbe bottom of tfje toater, returnee to fte fjanole 

again* ^ At another time, a certain Goth, poor of 
spirit, that gave over the world, was received by the man 
of God ; whom on a day he commanded to take a bill, 
and to cleanse a certain plot of ground from briers, for 
the making of a garden, which ground was by the side 
of a lake. The Goth as he was there labouring, by 
chance the head of the bill slipped off, and fell into the 
water, which was so deep, that there was no hope ever 
to get it again. The poor Goth, in great fear, ran unto 
Maurus and told him what he had lost, confessing his 
own fault and negligence : Maurus forthwith went to 
the servant of God, giving him to understand thereof, 
who came straightways to the lake : and took the handle 
out of the Goth's hand, and put it into the water, and 
the iron head by and by ascended from the bottom, and 


€&e Dialogues of %t (Sregorp 

entered again into the handle of the bill, which he de- 
livered to the Goth, saying : " Behold here is thy bill 
again, work on, and be sad no more." 

C&apter %tttzn : jjoto ^aurus toalfceo upon tbe 

toatCt. ^ On a certain day, as venerable Bennet was in 
his cell, the foresaid young Placidus, the holy man's 
monk, went out to take up water at the lake, and putting 
down his pail carelessly, fell in himself after it, whom 
the water forthwith carried away from the land so far 
as one may shoot an arrow. The man of God, being in 
his cell, by and by knew this, and called in haste for 
Maurus, saying : " Brother Maurus, run as fast as you 
can, for Placidus, that went to the lake to fetch water, 
is fallen in, and is carried a good way off." A strange 
thing, and since the time of Peter the Apostle never 
heard of ! Maurus, craving his father's blessing, and 
departing in all haste at his commandment, ran to that 
place upon the water, to which the young lad was carried 
by force thereof, thinking that he had all that while gone 
upon the land : and taking fast hold of him by the hair 
of his head, in all haste he returned back again : and so 
soon as he was at land, coming to himself he looked 
behind him, and then knew very well that he had before 
run upon the water : and that which before he durst 
not have presumed, being now done and past, he both 
marvelled, and was afraid at that which he had done. 
Coming back to the father, and telling him what had 
happened, the venerable man did not attribute this to 
his own merits, but to the obedience of Maurus : but 
Maurus on the contrary, said that it was done only upon 
his commandment, and that he had nothing to do in 
that miracle, not knowing at that time what he did. 
But the friendly contention proceeding of mutual humi- 
lity, the young youth himself that was saved from drown- 
ing did determine : for he said that he saw when he was 
drawn out of the water, the Abbot's garment upon his 



€&c iltfe anD piracies of St. 15cnnet 

head, affirming that it was he that had delivered him 
from that great danger. 

l^CtCt* Certainly they be wonderful things which you 
report, and such as may serve for the edification of 
many : for mine own part, the more that I hear of his 
miracles, the more do I still desire. 

C&aptcr 4£igf)t : boto a loaf toas poisoneD, ano 
catrieD far off ftp a croto. <§ ®rcgorp. when as the 

foresaid monasteries were zealous in the love of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, and their fame dispersed far and near, and 
many gave over the secular life, and subdued the passions 
of their soul under the light yoke of our Saviour : then 
(as the manner of wicked people is, to envy at that 
virtue which themselves desire not to follow) one 
Florentius, Priest of.a church hard by, and grandfather 
to Florentius our sub-deacon, possessed with diabolical 
malice, began to envy the holy man's virtues, to back- 
bite his manner of living, and to withdraw as many as 
he could from going to visit him : and when he saw 
that he could not hinder his virtuous proceedings, but 
that, on the contrary, the fame of his holy life increased, 
and many daily, upon the very report of his sanctity, 
did betake themselves to a better state of life : burning 
more and more with the coals of envy, he became far 
worse ; and though he desired not to imitate his com- 
mendable life, yet fain he would have had the reputation 
of his virtuous conversation. In conclusion so much 
did malicious envy blind him, and so far did he wade 
in that sin, that he poisoned a loaf, and sent it to the 
servant of almighty God, as it wefe for an holy present. 
The man of God received it with great thanks, yet not 
ignorant of that which was hidden within. At dinner 
time, a crow daily used to come unto him from the next 
wood, which took bread at his hands ; coming that day 
after his manner, the man of God threw him the loaf 
which the Priest had sent him, giving him this charge : 

65 e 

€f)e Dialogues of %t <£regorp 

" In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, take up that 
loaf, and leave it in some such place where no man may 
find it." Then the crow, opening his mouth, and 
lifting up his wings, began to hop up and down about 
the loaf, and after his manner to cry out, as though he 
would have said that he was willing to obey, and yet 
could not do what he was commanded. The man of 
God again and again bade him, saying : " Take it up 
without fear, and throw it where no man may find it." 
At length, with much ado, the crow took it up, and 
flew away, and after three hours, having dispatched the 
loaf, he returned back again, and received his usual 
allowance from the man of God. 

But the venerable father, perceiving the Priest so wick- 
edly bent against his life, was far more sorry for him than 
grieved for himself. And Florentius, seeing that he could 
not kill the body of the master, laboureth now what he 
can, to destroy the souls of his disciples ; and for that pur- 
pose he sent into the yard of the Abbey before their eyes 
seven naked young women, which did there take hands 
together, play and dance a long time before them, to the 
end that, by this means, they might inflame their minds 
to sinful lust : which damnable sight the holy man behold- 
ing out of his cell, and fearing the danger which thereby 
might ensue to his younger monks, and considering that 
all this was done only for the persecuting of himself, he 
gave place to envy ; and therefore, after he had for those 
abbeys and oratories which he had there built appointed 
governors, and left some under their charge, himself, in the 
company of a few monks, removed to another place. And 
thus the man of God, upon humility, gave place to the 
other's malice; but yet almighty God of justice did 
severely punish his wickedness. For when the foresaid 
Priest, being in his chamber, understood of the departure 
of holy Bennet, and was very glad of that news, behold 
(the whole house besides continuing safe and sound) that 


Cbe Life anD piracies of %t 15ennet 

chamber alone in which he was, fell down, and so killed 
him : which strange accident the holy man's disciple 
Maurus understanding, straightways sent him word, he 
being as yet scarce ten miles off, desiring him to return 
again, because the Priest that did persecute him was slain ; 
which thing when Bennet heard, he was passing sorrow- 
ful, and lamented much : both because his enemy died in 
such sort, and also for that one of his monks rejoiced 
thereat ; and therefore he gave him penance, for that, 
sending such news, he presumed to rejoice at his enemy's 

IPCtCt* The things you report be strange, and much to 
be wondered at : for in making the rock to yield forth 
water, I see Moses ; and in the iron, which came from the 
bottom of the lake, I behold Heliseus ; in the walking ot 
Maurus upon the water, I perceive Peter ; in the obedi- 
ence of the crow, I contemplate Helias ; and in lamenting 
the death of his enemy, I acknowledge David : and there- 
fore, in mine opinion, this one man was full of the spirit 
of all good men. 

CDtC0Otp. The man of God, Bennet, had the spirit of 
the one true God, who, by the grace of our redemption, 
hath filled the hearts of his elect servants ; of whom St. 
John saith : He was the true light, which doth lighten every 
man coming into this world} Of whom, again, we find it 
written : Of his fulness we have all received. 2 For God's 
holy servants might receive virtues of our Lord, but to 
bestow them upon others they could not ; and therefore 
it was he that gave the signs of miracles to his servants, 
who promised to give the sign of Jonas to his enemies : 3 
so that he vouchsafed to die in the sight of the proud, 
and to rise again before the eyes of the humble : to the 
end, that they might behold what they contemned, and 
those see that which they ought to worship and love : by 
reason of which mystery it cometh to pass that, whereas 
1 John I, 9. 2 Ibid. 1, 16. 3 Matt. 12, 40. 


C6e Dialogic of %t <£reg;orp 

the proud cast their eyes upon the contempt of his death, 
the humble contrariwise, against death, lay hold of the 
glory of his ppwer and might. 

ll^CtCt. To what places, 1 pray you, after this, did the 
holy man go : and whether did he afterward in them work 
any miracles, or no ? 

<&XZQQIJ). The holy man, changing his place, did not 
for all that change his enemy. For afterward he endured 
so much the more grievous battles, by how much he had 
now the master of all wickedness fighting openly against 
him. For the town, which is called Cassino, standeth 
upon the side of an high mountain, which containeth, as 
it were in the lap thereof, the foresaid town, and after- 
ward so riseth in height the space of three miles, that the 
top thereof seemeth to touch the very heavens : in this 
place there was an ancient chapel in which the foolish and 
simple country people, according to the custom of the old 
gentiles, worshipped the god Apollo. Round about it 
likewise upon all sides, there were woods for the service 
of the devils, in which, even to that very time, the mad 
multitude of infidels did offer most wicked sacrifice. The 
man of God coming thither, beat in pieces the idol, over- 
threw the altar, set fire on the woods, and in the temple 
of Apollo, he built the oratory of St. Martin, and where 
the altar of the same Apollo was, he made an oratory ot 
St. John : and by his continual preaching, he brought the 
people dwelling in those parts to embrace the faith of 
Christ. The old enemy of mankind, not taking this in 
good part, did not now privily or in a dream, but in open 
sight present himself to the eyes of that holy father, and 
with great outcries complained that he had offered him 
violence. The noise which he made, the monks did hear, 
but himself they could not see : but, as the venerable 
father told them, he appeared visibly unto him most fell 
and cruel, and as though, with his fierymouth and flaming 
eyes, he would have torn him in pieces : what the devil 



< Q 

* - 

im  VUt iniii 'i * i % 'n-°- ^S 


C6e Life anD piracies of %t. Rennet 

said unto him, all the monks did hear ; for first he would 
call him by his name, and because the man of God vouch- 
safed him not any answer, then would he fall a reviling 
and railing at him : for when he cried out, calling him 
" Blessed Bennet," and yet found that he gave him no 
answer, straightways he would turn his tune, and say : 
" Cursed Bennet, and not blessed : what hast thou to do 
with me ? and why dost thou thus persecute me ? ' 
Wherefore new battles of the old enemy against the ser- 
vant of God are to be looked for, against whom willingly 
did he make war, but, against his will, did he give him 
occasion of many notable victories. 

C&apter Bine : boto tienerafcle IBennet, &p fe 
praper, remotieo an jjuge stone, «l Upon a certain 

day, when the monks were building up the cells of the 
same Abbey, there lay a stone which they meant to em- 
ploy about that business : and when two or three were 
not able to remove it, they called for more company, but 
all in vain, for it remained so immovable as though it 
had grown to the very earth : whereby they plainly per- 
ceived that the devil himself did sit upon it, seeing so 
many men's hands could not so much as once move 
it : wherefore, finding that their own labours could do 
nothing, they sent for the man of God, to help them 
with his prayers against the devil, who hindered the re- 
moving of that stone. The holy man came, and after 
some praying, he gave it his blessing, and then they 
carried it away so quickly, as though it had been of no 
weight at all. 

Cfmpter €en: of tfje fantastical fire, tabid) burnt 

tfje lUtCben. €| Then the man of God thought good 
that they should presently before his departure dig up 
the ground in the same place ; which being done, and a 
deep hole made, the monks found there an idol of brass, 
which being for a little while by chance cast into the 
kitchen, they beheld fire suddenly to come from it, which 


€be Dialogues of %t ®rcgorp 

to all their sight seemed to set the whole kitchen on fire ; 
for the quenching whereof, the monks by casting on of 
water made such a noise, that the man of God, hearing 
it, came to see what the matter was : and himself behold- 
ing not any fire at all, which they said that they did, he 
bowed down his head forthwith to his prayers, and then 
he perceived that they were deluded with fantastical fire, 
and therefore bad them bless their eyes, that they might 
behold the kitchen safe and sound, and not those fantas- 
tical flames, which the devil had falsely devised. 

Cbapter aEIetien : bote venerable IBennet retitocD 
a bop, crusted to Deatb toitb tbc ruin of a toall. 

€| Again, as the monks were making of a certain wall 
somewhat higher, because that was requsite, the man of 
God in the meantime was in his cell at his prayers. To 
whom the old enemy appeared in an insulting manner, 
telling him, that he was now going to his monks, that 
were a working : whereof the man of God, in all haste, 
gave them warning, wishing them to look unto them- 
selves, because the devil was at that time coming amongst 
them. The message was scarce delivered, when as the 
wicked spirit overthrew the new wall which they were 
a building, and with the fall slew a little young child, a 
monk, who was the son of a certain courtier. At which 
pitiful chance all were passing sorry and exceedingly 
grieved, not so much for the loss of the wall, as for the 
death of their brother : and in all haste they sent this 
heavy news to the venerable man Bennet ; who com- 
manded them to bring unto him the young boy, 
mangled and maimed as he was, which they did, but 
yet they could not carry him any otherwise than in a 
sack : for the stones of the wall had not only broken 
his limbs, but also his very bones. Being in that 
manner brought unto the man of God, he bad them 
to lay him in his cell, and in that place upon which he 
used to pray ; and then, putting them all forth, he shut 


€be Life anD piracies of %t 15ennet 

the door, and fell more instantly to his prayers than he 
used at other times. And O strange miracle ! for the 
very same hour he made him sound, and as lively as 
ever he was before ; and sent him again to his former 
work, that he also might help the monks to make 
an end of that wall, of whose death the old serpent 
thought he should have insulted over Bennet, and 
greatly triumphed. 

Chapter Ctoetoe : fjoto bp revelation venerable 
15ennet kneto tbat 6fc Q^onks ban eaten out of 

t!)e Q^OnaStetp. ^ Among other miracles which the 
man of God did, he began also to be famous for the 
spirit of prophecy : as to foretell what was to happen, 
and to relate unto them that were present, such things 
as were done in absence. The order of his Abbey was, 
that when the monks went abroad (to deliver any mes- 
sage) never to eat or drink anything out of their cloister : 
and this being diligently observed, according to the 
prescription of their rule, upon a certain day some of 
the monks went forth upon such business : and being 
enforced about the dispatch thereof to tarry somewhat 
long abroad, it fell so out that they stayed at the house 
of a religious woman, where they did eat and refresh 
themselves. And being late before they came back to 
the Abbey, they went as the manner was, and asked 
their father's blessing : of whom he demanded where 
they had eaten : and they said nowhere. " Why do 
you," quoth he, "tell an untruth ? for did you not go 
into such a woman's house ? and eat such and such kind 
of meat, and drink so many cupsj*" When they heard 
him recount so in particular, both where they had stayed, 
what kind of meat they had eaten, and how often they 
had drunk, and perceived well that he knew all whatso- 
ever they had done, they fell down trembling at his feet, 
and confessed that they had done wickedly : who straight- 
ways pardoned them for that fault, persuading himself 


€f)e Dialogues of %t <£regorp 

that they would not any more in his absence presume 
to do any such thing, seeing they now perceived that 
he was present with them in spirit. 

Chapter Cbirteen : of tbe brother of l^alentinian 
tbz sponk, tobom tbc man of (Son blameD for eating 

ilt f)iS JOUmep, <& A brother also of Valentinian the 
monk, of whom I made mention before, was a layman, 
but devout and religious : who used every year, as well 
to desire the prayers of God's servant, as also to visit 
his natural brother, to travel from his own house to the 
Abbey : and his manner was, not to eat anything all that 
day before he came thither. Being therefore upon a time 
in his journey, he lighted into the company of another, 
that carried meat about him to eat by the way : who, 
after the day was well spent, spake unto him in this 
manner: "Come, brother," quoth he, "let us refresh 
ourselves, that we faint not in our journey" : to whom 
he answered : " God forbid : for eat I will not by any 
means, seeing I am now going to the venerable father 
Bennet, and my custom is to fast until 1 see him." The 
other, upon this answer, said no more for the space of 
an hour. But afterward, having travelled a little further, 
again he was in hand with him to eat something : yet 
then likewise he utterly refused, because he meant to go 
through fasting as he was. His companion was content, 
and so went forward with him, without taking anything 
himself. But when they had now gone very far, and 
were well wearied with long travelling, at length they 
came unto a meadow, where there was a fountain, and all 
such other pleasant things as use to refresh men's bodies. 
Then his companion said to him again : "Behold here is 
water, a green meadow, and a very sweet place, in which 
we may refresh ourselves and rest a little, that we may 
be the better able to dispatch the rest of our journey." 
Which kind words bewitching his ears, and the pleasant 
place flattering his eyes, content he was to yield unto 


£be life anD piracies of %t IBennet 

the motion, and so they fell to their meat together : and 
coming afterward in the evening to the Abbey, they 
brought him to the venerable father Bennet, of whom 
he desired his blessing. Then the holy man objected 
against him what he had done in the way, speaking to 
him in this manner: "How fell it out, brother," 
quoth he, "that the devil talking to you, by means 
of your companion, could not at the first nor second 
time persuade you : but yet he did at the third, and 
made you do what best pleased him ?" The good man, 
hearing these words, fell down at his feet, confessing the 
fault of his frailty ; was grieved, and so much the more 
ashamed of his sin, because he perceived that though he 
were absent, that yet he did offend in the sight of that 
venerable father. 

IPCtCt. I see well that the holy man had in his soul the 
spirit of Heliseus, who was present with his servant 
Giezi, being then absent from him. 

Chapter fourteen: boto tbe Di00imulatton of king 
Cotilas toas Di0cot>eteD anD founD out ftp tjencr= 

able TBennet <I <$regOtp. You must, good Peter, for 
a little while be silent, that you may know matters yet 
far more important. For in the time of the Goths, when 
Totilas, their king, understood that the holy man had 
the spirit of prophecy, as he was going towards his 
monastery, he remained in a place somewhat far off, and 
beforehand sent the father word of his coming : to whom 
answer was returned, that he might come at his pleasure. 
The king, as he was a man wickedly disposed, thought 
he would try whether the man of God were a prophet, 
as it was reported, or no. A certain man of his guard he 
had, called Riggo, upon whom he caused his own shoes 
to be put, and to be apparelled with his other princely 
robes, commanding him to go as it were himself to the 
man of God ; and to give the better colour to this device, 
he sent three to attend upon him, who especially were 


Cfte Dialogues of %t ®regorp 

always about'the king : to wit, Vultericus, Rudericus, and 
Blindinus ; charging them that in the presence of the ser- 
vant of God, they should be next about him, and behave 
themselves in such sort as though he had been king 
Totilas indeed : and that diligently they should do unto 
him all other services, to the end that both by such duti- 
ful kind of behaviour, as also by his purple robes, he 
might verily be taken for the king himself. Riggo, fur- 
nished with that brave apparel, and accompanied! with 
many courtiers, came unto the Abbey : at which time the 
man of God sat a little way off, and when Riggo was come 
so near that he might well understand what the man ot 
God said, then, in the hearing of them all, he spake thus : 
"Put off, my good son, put off that apparel, for that 
which thou hast on, is none of thine." Riggo, hearing 
this, fell straightways down to the ground, and was very 
much afraid, for presuming to go about to mock so 
worthy a man, and all his attendants and servitors fell 
down likewise to the earth, and after they were up again, 
they durst not approach any nearer to his presence : but 
returned back to their king, telling him with fear, how 
quickly they were discovered. 

Chapter jfifteen : fjoto timetable IBennet propf^ 
sieD to king Cotilas, anO also to tbe IBisbop of 
Camisina, sue!) tfnngs as toere aftertoaro to fall 

OUt. *I Then Totilas himself in person went unto the 
man of God ; and seeing him sitting afar off, he durst not 
come near, but fell down to the ground : whom the holy 
man (speaking to him twice or thrice) desired to rise up, 
and at length came unto him, and with his own hands 
lifted him up from the earth, where he lay prostrate : 
and then, entering into talk, he reprehended him for his 
wicked deeds, and in few words told him all that which 
should befall him, saying: "Much wickedness do you 
daily commit, and many great sins have you done : now 
at length give over your sinful life. Into the city of 


Cbe Life anD piracies of %t Rennet 

Rome shall you enter, and over the sea shall you pass : 
nine years shall you reign, and in the tenth shall you 
leave this mortal life." The king, hearing these things, 
was wonderfully afraid, and desiring the holy man to 
commend him to God in his prayers, he departed : and 
from that time forward he was nothing so cruel as before 
he had been. Not long after he went to Rome, sailed 
over into Sicily, and, in the tenth year of his reign, he lost 
his kingdom together with his life. 

The Bishop also of Camisina used to visit the servant 
of God, whom the holy man dearly loved for his virtuous 
life. The Bishop, therefore, talking with him of king 
Totilas, of his taking of Rome, and the destruction of 
that city, said : "This city will be so spoiled and ruined 
by him, that it will never be more inhabited." To whom 
the man of God answered : " Rome," quoth he, " shall 
not be utterly destroyed by strangers : but shall be so 
shaken with tempests, lightnings, whirlwinds, and earth- 
quakes, that it will fall to decay of itself." The mysteries 
of which prophecy we now behold as clear as the day : 
for we see before our eyes in this very city, by a strange 
whirlwind the world shaken, houses ruined, and churches 
overthrown, and buildings rotten with old age we behold 
daily to fall down. True it is that Honoratus, by whose 
relation I had this, saith not that he received it from his 
own mouth, but that he had it of other monks, which did 
hear it themselves. 

Chapter §>irteen : of a certain clergyman, tobom 
tienerable iBennet for a time Dettoereo from a uetnl. 

(Q At the same time a certain clergyman, that served in 
the church of Aquinum, was possessed : whom the vener- 
able man Constantius, Bishop of the same city, sent unto 
many places of holy martyrs for help : but God's holy 
martyrs would not deliver him, to the end that the world 
might know what great grace was in the servant of God, 
Bennet : wherefore at length he was brought unto him, 


C6e Dialogues of St ®regorp 

who, praying for help to Jesus Christ our Lord, did 
forthwith cast the old enemy out of the possessed man's 
body, giving him this charge : " Go your way, and here- 
after abstain from eating of flesh, and presume not to enter 
into holy orders, for whensoever you shall attempt any 
such thing, the devil again will have power over you." 
The man departed safe and sound, and because punish- 
ment fresh in memory useth to terrify the mind, he 
observed for a time what the man of God had given 
him in commandment. But after many years, when all 
his seniors were dead, and he saw his juniors preferred 
before him to holy orders, he neglected the words of the 
man of God, as though forgotten through length of time, 
and took upon him holy orders : whereupon straight- 
ways the devil that before had left him entered again, and 
never gave over to torment him, until he had separated 
his soul from his body. 

U^CtCt* This holy man, as I perceive, did know the secret 
counsel of God : for he saw that this clergyman was 
delivered to the power of the devil, to the end he should 
not presume to enter into holy orders. 
(JDtCgOtp, Why should he not know the secrets of God, 
who kept the commandments of God : when as the 
scripture saith : He that cleave th unto our Lord, is one 
spirit with him ? 1 

JpCtCt. If he that cleaveth unto our Lord, be one spirit 
with our Lord, what is the meaning of that which the 
Apostle saith : Who knoweth the sense of our Lord, or who 
hath been his counsellor?* 1 for it seemeth very incon- 
venient to be ignorant of his sense, to whom being so 
united he is made one thing. 

€>t00Ot£. Holy men, in that they be one with our Lord, 
are not ignorant of his sense : for the same Apostle 
saith 3 : For what man knoweth those things which belong to 
man, but the spirit of man which is in him ? Even so, the 
1 Cor. 6. 2 Rom. u, 34. 3 1 Cor. 2, 9-11. 


C6e life anD piracies of %l IBcnnet 

things which belong to God, no man knoweth, but the spirit 
of God. And to show also that he knew such things as 
belong to God, he addeth straight after : But we have 
not received the spirit of this world, but the spirit which is of 
God. And for this cause, again he saith : that eye hath not 
seen, nor ear heard, nor it hath ascended into the heart of man, 
those things which God hath prepared for them that love him, 
but God hath revealed to us by his spirit." 
IPCtCt* If, then, the mysteries of God were revealed to 
the same Apostle by the spirit of God, why did he then, 
entreating of this question, set down these words before- 
hand, saying : O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and 
knowledge of God : how incomprehensible be his judgments, 
and his ways investigable ? And again, whiles I am thus 
speaking of this matter, another question cometh to my 
mind : for the prophet David said to our Lord : With my 
lips have I uttered all the judgments of thy mouth. Where- 
fore, seeing it is less to know, than to utter : what is the 
reason that St. Paul affirmeth the judgments of God to be 
incomprehensible ; and yet David saith that he did not 
know only them, but also with his lips pronounce them ? 
(£)tC0Otp. To both these questions I have already briefly 
answered, when I said that holy men, in that they be 
one with our Lord, are not ignorant of the sense of our 
Lord. For all such, as do devoutly follow our Lord, 
be also by devotion one with our Lord ; and yet for all 
this, in that they are laden with the burthen of their 
corruptible flesh, they be not with God : and so in that 
they be joined with him, they know the secret judgments 
of God, and in that they be separated from God, they 
know them not : for seeing they do not as yet perfectly 
penetrate his secret mysteries, they give testimony that 
his judgments be incomprehensible. But those that do 
with their soul adhere unto him, and cleaving unto the 
sayings of the holy scripture, or to secret revelations, 
acknowledge what they receive : such persons both know 


C&e Dialogues of %t ®reprp 

these things and do utter them : for those judgments 
which God doth conceal they know not, and those which 
he doth utter they know : and therefore the prophet 
David, when he had said : / have with my lips uttered all the 
judgments ; x headdeth immediately, of thy mouth: as though 
he should plainly say : Those judgments I may both know 
and utter, which I knew thou didst speak, for those 
things which thou dost not speak, without all question, 
thou dost conceal from our knowledge. Wherefore the 
saying of David and St. Paul agree together : for the 
judgments of God are incomprehensible ; and yet those 
which himself with his own mouth vouchsafeth to 
speak, are uttered with men's tongues : because men 
may come to the knowledge of them, and being revealed, 
they may be uttered, and by no means can be kept secret. 
Jp0tCt» Now I see the answer to my question. But I 
pray you to proceed, if anything yet remaineth to be 
told of his virtue and miracles. 

Chapter ^>etoenteen : fjoto tbe man of ®oD, 
Rennet, tJiti foretell tfje suppression of one of f)is 

Ottin SlbutpS* <I €>regOrp* A certain noble man called 
Theoprobus was by the good counsel of holy Bennet 
converted : who, for his virtue and merit of life, was very 
intrinsical and familiar with him. This man upon a day, 
coming into his cell, found him weeping very bitterly. 
And having expected a good while, and yet not seeing 
him to make an end (for the man of God used not in his 
prayers to weep, but rather to be sad), he demanded the 
cause of that his so great heaviness, to whom he answered 
straightway, saying : "All this Abbey which 1 have built, 
and all such things as 1 have made ready for my brethren, 
are by the judgment of almighty God delivered to the 
gentiles, to be spoiled and overthrown : and scarce could 
I obtain of God to have their lives spared, that should 
then live in it." His words Theoprobus then heard, 

1 Vs. 119, 13. 

C6e life anti piracies of St 15ennet 

but we see them to be proved most true, who know that 
very Abbey to be now suppressed by the Lombards. 
For not long since, in the night time, when the monks 
were asleep, they entered in, and spoiled all things, but 
yet not one man could they retain there, and so almighty 
God fulfilled what he promised to his faithful servant : 
for though he gave them the house and all the goods, 
yet did he preserve their lives. In which thing I see 
that Bennet imitated St. Paul : whose ship x though it 
lost all the goods, yet, for his comfort, he had the lives 
of all that were in his company bestowed upon him, so 
that no one man was cast away. 

Chapter <£igbteen: fjoto Messeo IBtnntt feneto 
t&e giDing: atoap of a flagon of toine. <j| Upon a 

certain time, Exhilaratus our monk, a lay-brother, whom 
you know, was sent by his master to the monastery of the 
man of God, to carry him two wooden bottles, commonly 
called flagons, full of wine : who in the way, as he was 
going, hid one of them in a bush for himself, and pre- 
sented the other to venerable Bennet : who took it very 
thankfully, and, when the man was going away, he gave 
him this warning : " Take heed, my son," quoth he, 
" that thou drinkest not of that flagon which thou hast 
hidden in the bush : but first be careful to bow it down, 
and thou shalt find what is within it." The poor man, 
thus pitifully confounded by the man of God, went his 
way, and coming back to the place where the flagon was 
hidden, and desirous to try the truth of that was told 
him, as he was bowing it down, a snake straightways 
leaped forth. Then Exhilaratus perceiving what was 
gotten into the wine, began to be afraid of that wicked- 
ness which he had committed. 

Chapter Jftineteen : boto tbe man of (Son kneto 
tbat one of (us e^onks bao recetoeD certain bano^ 

feetCf)ief0, ^ Not far from his Abbey, there was a 

1 Acts 27, 22-44. 


£f)c Dialogues of %t ®regorp 

village, in which very many men had, by the sermons 
of Bennet, been converted from idolatry to the true 
faith of Christ. Certain Nuns also there were in the 
same town, to whom he did often send some of his 
monks to preach unto them, for the good of their souls. 
Upon a day, one that was sent, after he had made an 
end of his exhortation, by the entreaty of the Nuns took 
certain small napkins, and hid them for his own use in 
his bosom : whom, upon his return to the Abbey, the 
man of God very sharply rebuked, saying : " How 
cometh it to pass, brother, that sin is entered into your 
bosom ?" At which words the monk was much amazed : 
for he had quite forgotten what he had put there ; and 
therefore knew not any cause why he should deserve 
that reprehension : whereupon the holy man spake to 
him in plain terms, and said : " Was not I present when 
you took the handkerchiefs of the Nuns, and put them 
up in your bosom for your own private use ? ' The 
monk, hearing this, fell down at his feet, and was sorry 
that he had behaved himself so indiscreetly : forth he 
drew those napkins from his bosom, and threw them all 

Chapter Ctoentp : fjoto f)olp IBennet kneto tfjc 
prouD t&oug&t of one of to aponfcs. <l Upon a 

time, whiles the venerable Father was at supper, one of 
his monks, who was the son of a great man, held the 
candle : and as he was standing there, and the other at 
his meat, he began to entertain a proud cogitation in his 
mind, and to speak thus within himself : " Who is he, 
that I thus wait upon at supper, and hold him the 
candle ? and who am I, that 1 should do him any such 
service ? " Upon which thought straightways the holy 
man turned himself, and with severe reprehension spake 
thus unto him : " Sign your heart, brother, for what is 
it that you say ? Sign your heart " : and forthwith he 
called another of the monks, and bad him take the 



- I . PLA< IDUS 
{Vatican Gai/ery, Rome) 

Cfre Life anO piracies of %t. TBennet 

candle out of his hands, and commanded him to give 
over his waiting, and to repose himself : who being 
demanded of the monks, what it was that he thought, 
told them, how inwardly he swelled with pride, and what 
he spake against the man of God, secretly in his own 
heart. Then they all saw very well that nothing could 
be hidden from venerable Bennet, seeing the very sound 
of men's inward thoughts came unto his ears. 

Chapter Ctoent^one : of ttoo fwnDteD im0f)el0 of 
meal, founD before tf)e man of (SoD's cell. <I At 

another time, there was a great dearth in the same 
country of Campania : so that all kind of people tasted 
of the misery : and all the wheat of Bennet's monastery 
was spent, and likewise all the bread, so that there re- 
mained no more than five loaves for dinner. The 
venerable man, beholding the monks sad, both rebuked 
them modestly for their pusillanimity, and again did 
comfort them with this promise: "Why," quoth he, 
" are you so grieved in your minds for lack of bread ? 
Indeed, to-day some want there is, but to-morrow you 
shall have plenty " : and so it fell out, for the next day 
two hundred bushels of meal was found in sacks before 
his cell door, which almighty God sent them : but by 
whom, or what means, that is unknown to this very 
day : which miracle when the monks saw, they gave 
God thanks, and by this learned in want, not to make 
any doubt of plenty. 

K^etet. Tell me, I pray you, whether this servant of 
God had always the spirit of prophecy, when himself 
pleased, or only at certain times ? - 
<&ZZQ01J). The spirit of prophecy doth not always 
illuminate the minds of the prophets ; because, as it is 
written of the Holy Ghost that he breatheth where he 
will, 1 so we are also to know that he doth breathe 
likewise for what cause, and when he pleaseth. And 

1 John 3, 8. 

8l F 

Cbe Dialogic of ©1 (Sregorp 

hereof it cometh, that when king David demanded of 
Nathan 1 whether he might build a temple for the honour 
of God, the prophet Nathan gave his consent ; and yet 
afterward utterly forbad it. From hence likewise it 
proceedeth that, when Heliseus saw the woman weep- 
ing, and knew not the cause, he said to his servant that 
did trouble her : Let her a/one, for her soul is in grief and 
God hath concealed it from me, and hath not told me. 2 Which 
thing almighty God of great piety so disposeth : for 
giving at some times the spirit of prophecy, and at other 
times withdrawing it, he doth both lift up the prophets 
minds on high, and yet doth preserve them in humility : 
that by the gift of the Spirit, they may know what they are 
by God's grace : and at other times, destitute of the same 
Spirit, may understand what they are of themselves. 
Jj?0t0t* There is very great reason for that you say. 
But, I pray you, let me hear more of the venerable man 
Bennet, if there be anything else that cometh to your 

Chapter Ctoent^ttoo : boto, fcp Vision, ticnerable 
IBtnnzt Di0po0eD tbe builDing of tbe 3bt)ep of 

Cataritia* ^ (JDtCgOtp. At another time he was de- 
sired by a certain virtuous man, to build an Abbey for 
his monks upon his ground, not far from the city of 
Taracina. The holy man was content, and appointed 
an Abbot and Prior, with divers monks under them : and 
when they were departing, he promised that, upon such 
a day, he would come and shew them in what place the 
oratory should be made, and where the refectory should 
stand, and all the other necessary rooms : and so they, 
taking his blessing, went their way ; and against the day 
appointed, which they greatly expected, they made all 
such things ready as were necessary to entertain him, 
and those that should come in his company. But the 
very night before, the man of God in sleep appeared to 

1 I Chr. 17, 2-4. 2 4 Kings 4, 27. 


Cfje life and piracies of %t Rennet 

the Abbot and the Prior, and particularly described unto 
them where each place and office was to be builded. 
And when they were both risen, they conferred together 
what either of them had seen in their sleep : but yet 
not giving full credit to that vision, they expected the 
man of God himself in person, according to his promise. 
But when they saw that he came not, they returned 
back unto him very sorrowfully, saying: "We expected, 
father, that you should have come according to promise, 
and told us where each place should have been built, 
which yet you did not." To whom he answered : 
" Why say you so, good brethren ? Did not I come 
as I promised you ?" And when they asked at what 
time it was : " Why," quoth he, " did not I appear to 
either of you in your sleep, and appointed how and where 
every place was to be builded ? Go your way, and ac- 
cording to that platform which you then saw, build up 
the abbey." At which word they much marvelled, and 
returning back, they caused it to be builded in such sort 
as they had been taught of him by revelation. 
JPCtCt* Gladly would I learn, by what means that could 
be done : to wit, that he should go so far to tell them 
that thing in their sleep, which they should both hear 
and know by vision. 

(£>tC0Otp* Why do you, Peter, seek out and doubt, in 
what manner this thing was done ? For certain it is, that 
the soul is of a more noble nature than the body. And 
by authority of scripture we know that the prophet 
Abacuck was carried from Judea with that dinner which 
he had, and was suddenly set in Chaldea ; x by which 
meat the prophet Daniel was relieved : and presently 
after was brought back again to Judea. If, then, Abacuck 
could in a moment with his body go so far, and carry 
provision for another man's dinner : what marvel is it, 
if the holy father Bennet obtained grace to go in spirit 

1 Daniel 14, 32-38 (Vulgate). 

£f)e Dialogic of %t (Sregorp 

and to inform the souls of his brethren that were asleep, 
concerning such things as were necessary : and that as 
Abacuck about corporal meat went corporally, so Bennet 
should go spiritually about the dispatch of spiritual 
business ? 

K^CtCt* 1 confess that your words have satisfied my 
doubtful mind. But I would know what manner of man 
he was in his ordinary talk and conversation. 

CtmpterCtoent^tbrcc: of certain Bum absotoeti 
after tbeir Deatf). «I (frreprp- His common talk, 

Peter, was usually full of virtue : for his heart conversed 
so above in heaven, that no words could in vain proceed 
from his mouth. And if at any time he spake aught, 
yet not as one that determined what was best to be done, 
but only in a threatening manner, his speech in that 
case was so effectual and forcible, as though he had not 
doubtfully or uncertainly, but assuredly pronounced and 
given sentence. For not far from his Abbey, there lived 
two Nuns in a place by themselves, born of worshipful 
parentage : whom a religious good man did serve for 
the dispatch of their outward business. But as nobility 
of family doth in some breed ignobility of mind, and 
maketh them in conversation to show less humility, 
because they remember still what superiority they had 
above others : even so was it with these Nuns : for they 
had not yet learned to temper their tongues, and keep 
them under with the bridle of their habit : for often did 
they by their indiscreet speech provoke the foresaid 
religious man to anger ; who having borne with them a 
long time, at length he complained to the man of God, 
and told him with what reproachful words they entreated 
him : whereupon he sent them by and by this message, 
saying : " Amend your tongues, otherwise I do excom- 
municate you"; which sentence of excommunication 
notwithstanding, he did not then presently pronounce 
against them, but only threatened if they amended not 


C6e life anD ^trades of St TBennct 

themselves. But they, for all this, changed their con- 
ditions nothing at all : both which not long after de- 
parted this life, and were buried in the church : and when 
solemn mass was celebrated in the same church, and the 
Deacon, according to custom, said with loud voice : " If 
any there be that do not communicate, let them depart " : 
the nurse, which used to give unto our Lord an offering 
for them, beheld them at that time to rise out of their 
graves, and to depart the church. Having often times, 
at those words of the Deacon, seen them leave the 
church, and that they could not tarry within, she remem- 
bered what message the man of God sent them whiles 
they were yet alive. For he told them that he did de- 
prive them of the communion, unless they did amend 
their tongues and conditions. Then with great sorrow, 
the whole matter was signified to the man of God, who 
straightways with his own hands gave an oblation, say- 
ing : " Go your ways, and cause this to be offered unto 
our Lord for them, and they shall not remain any longer 
excommunicate " : which oblation being offered for 
them, and the Deacon, as he used, crying out, that such 
as did not communicate should depart, they were not 
seen any more to go out of the church : whereby it was 
certain that, seeing they did not depart with them which 
did not communicate, that they had received the com- 
munion of our Lord by the hands of his servant. 
l£)CtCt. It is very strange that you report : for how could 
he, though a venerable and most holy man, yet living 
in mortal body, loose those souls which stood now before 
the invisible judgment of God ? 

(£>tC0Otp* Was he not yet, Peter, mortal, that heard 
from our Saviour : Whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earthy 
it shall be bound also in the heavens : and whatsoever thou 
shalt loose in earth, shall be loosed also in the heavens ? 1 whose 
place of binding and loosing those have at this time, 

1 Matt. 16, 19. 

£be Dialogues of %>t (Sregorp 

which by faith and virtuous life possess the place of holy 
government : and to bestow such power upon earthly 
men, the Creator of heaven and earth descended from 
heaven to earth : and that flesh might judge of spiritual 
things, God, who for man's sake was made flesh, vouch- 
safed to bestow upon him : for from thence our weak- 
ness did rise up above itself, from whence the strength 
of God was weakened under itself. 
Ip0t0t» For the virtue of his miracles, your words do 
yield a very good reason. 

Cbapter CtoentHour : of a bop tbat after bis 
burial toas cast out of bis graue. <f Gregory, Upon 

a certain day, a young boy that was a monk, loving his 
parents more than reason would, went from the Abbey 
to their house, not craving the father's blessing before- 
hand : and the same day that he came home unto them, 
he departed this life. And being buried, his body, the 
next day after, was found cast out of the grave ; which 
they caused again to be put in, and again, the day follow- 
ing, they found it as before. Then in great haste they 
went to the man of God, fell down at his feet, and with 
many tears beseeched him that he would vouchsafe him 
that was dead of his favour. To whom the man of God 
with his own hands delivered the holy communion of our 
Lord's body, saying : " Go, and lay with great reverence 
this our Lord's body upon his breast, and so bury him ": 
which when they had done, the dead corpse after that 
remained quietly in the grave. By which you perceive, 
Peter, of what merit he was with our Lord Jesus Christ, 
seeing the earth would not give entertainment to his 
body, who departed this world out of Bennet's favour. 
l[?eter, I perceive it very well, and do wonderfully 
admire it. 

Cbapter Ctoent^fitoe : boto a oponfe, forsaking tbe 
Qbbzy, met toitb a Dragon in tbe toap, <J (Dregorp. 

A certain monk there was so inconstant and fickle of mind, 



Cbe Life anD piracies of %>t IBtnntt 

that he would needs give over the Abbey ; for which 
fault of his, the man of God did daily rebuke him, and 
often times gave him good admonitions : but yet, for all 
this, by no means would he tarry amongst them, and 
therefore continual suit he made that he might be dis- 
charged. The venerable man upon a time, wearied with 
his importunity, in anger bad him depart ; who was no 
sooner out of the Abbey gate, but he found a dragon in 
the way expecting him with open mouth, which being 
about to devour him, he began in great fear and trem- 
bling to cry out aloud, saying : " Help, help ! for this 
dragon will eat me up." At which noise the monks run- 
ning out, dragon they saw none, but finding him there 
shaking and trembling, they brought him back again to 
the Abbey, who forthwith promised that he would 
never more forsake the monastery, and so ever after he 
continued in his profession : for by the prayers of the 
holy man, he saw the dragon coming against him, whom 
before, when he saw not, he did willingly follow. 

C&apter Ctoentp^ir : &oto fjolp "Sennet cureD a 

t)0P Of tfre leptOSp. ^ But I must not here pass over 
with silence that which I had by relation of the honour- 
able man, Anthony, who said that his father's boy was so 
pitifully punished with a leprosy, that all his hair fell off, 
his body swelled, and filthy corruption did openly come 
forth. Who being sent by his father to the man of God, 
he was by him quickly restored to his former health. 

Cbaptet €toentp=0etien : fcoto IBznntt founO 
monep miraculously to relieve a poor man. 

t| Neither is that to be omitted, which one of his dis- 
ciples called Peregrinus used to tell : for he said that, upon 
a certain day, an honest man, who was in debt, found no 
other means to help himself, but thought it his best way 
to acquaint the man of God with his necessity : where- 
upon he came to the Abbey, and finding the servant of 
almighty God, gave him to understand, how he was 


£be Dialogues of %t <$reprp 

troubled by his creditor for twelve shillings which he did 
owe him. To whom the venerable man said that himself 
had not so much money, yet giving him comfortable 
words, he said : " Go your ways, and after two days come 
to me again, for I can not presently help you " : in which 
two days, after his manner, he bestowed himself in prayer : 
and when upon the third day the poor man came back, 
there were found suddenly upon the chest of the Abbey, 
which was full of corn, thirteen shillings : which the man 
of God caused to be given to him that required but twelve, 
both to discharge his debt, and also to defray his own 
charges. But now will I return to speak of such things 
as I had from the mouth of his own scholars, mentioned 
before in the beginning of this book. A certain man 
there was who had an enemy that did notably spite and 
malign him, whose damnable hatred proceeded so far, 
that he poisoned his drink, which, although it killed him 
not, yet did it change his skin in such sort that it was 
of many colours, as though he had been infected with a 
leprosy : but the man of God restored him to his former 
health : for so soon as he touched him, forthwith all that 
variety of colours departed from his body. 

Cfmptcr Ctoent^eigbt: boto a cruet of glass teas 
tbroton upon tbe stones, ant) not broken. <J At such 

time as there was a great dearth in Campania, the man 
of God had given away all the wealth of the Abbey to 
poor people, so that in the cellar there was nothing 
left but a little oil in a glass. A certain sub-deacon 
called Agapitus came unto him, instantly craving that 
he would bestow a little oil upon him. Our Lord's 
servant, that was resolved to give away all upon earth, 
that he might find all in heaven, commanded that oil to 
be given him : but the monk that kept the cellar heard 
what the father commanded, yet did he not perform it : 
who inquiring not long after whether he had given that 
which he willed, the monk told him that he had not, 


C6e Life anD piracies of %t IBennet 

adding that if he had given it away, that there was 
not any left for the Convent. Then in an anger he 
commanded others to take that glass with the oil, and 
to throw it out at the window, to the end that nothing 
might remain in the Abbey contrary to obedience. The 
monks did so, and threw it out at a window, under which 
there was an huge downfall, full of rough and craggy 
stones upon which the glass did light, but yet continued 
for all that so sound as though it had never been thrown 
out at all, for neither the glass was broken nor any of 
the oil shed. Then the man of God did command it 
to be taken up again, and, whole as it was, to be given 
unto him that desired it, and in the presence of the 
other brethren he reprehended the disobedient monk, 
both for his infidelity, and also for his proud mind. 

C&apter Ctocmpmmc: &oto an cmptp fcarrct teas 

fillCD ttJItf) Oil. *$ After which reprehension, with the 
rest of his brethren he fell to praying, and in the place 
where they were, there stood an empty barrel with a 
cover upon it : and as the holy man continued in his 
prayers, the oil within did so increase, that the cover 
began to be lifted up, and at length fell down, and the 
oil, that was now higher than the mouth of the barrel, 
began to run over upon the pavement, which so soon as 
the servant of God, Bennet, beheld, forthwith he gave 
over his prayers, and the oil likewise ceased to overflow 
the barrel. Then he did more at large admonish that 
mistrusting and disobedient monk, that he would learn 
to have faith and humility, who upon so wholesome an 
admonition was ashamed, because the venerable father 
had by miracle shown the power of almighty God, as 
before he told him when he did first rebuke him : and 
so no cause there was why any should afterward doubt 
of his promise, seeing at one and the same time, for a 
small glass almost empty which he gave away, he bestowed 
upon them an whole barrel full of oil. 


£f)c Dialogues of 9& <£rcg;orp 
C&aptcr Cfnrtp: fjotu 15cnnct Ddtocrco a a^onfc 

ftOltl a DCtilL fl Upon a certain time, as he was going 
to the oratory of St. John, which is in the top of the 
mountain, the old enemy of mankind upon a mule, like 
a physician, met him, carrying in his hand an horn and 
a mortar. And when he demanded whither he was going : 
"To your monks," quoth he, "to give them a drench." 
The venerable father went forward to his prayers, and 
when he had done, he returned in all haste, but the wicked 
spirit found an old monk drawing of water, into whom 
he entered, and straightways cast him upon the ground, 
and grievously tormented him. The man of God coming 
from his prayers, and seeing him in such pitiful case, 
gave him only a little blow with his hand, and at the 
same instant he cast out that cruel devil, so that he durst 
not any more presume to enter in. 
Ij?0t0t» I would gladly know, whether he obtained always 
by prayer, to work such notable miracles ; or else some- 
times did them only at his will and pleasure. 
(2>tC0Otp. Such as be the devout servants of God, when 
necessity requireth, use to work miracles both manner 
of ways : so that sometime they effect wonderful things 
by their prayers, and sometime only by their power and 
authority : for St. John saith : So many as received him, he 
gave them power to be made the sons of God. 1 They, then, 
that by power be the sons of God, what marvel is it, if 
by power they be able to do wonderful things ? And 
that both ways they work miracles, we learn of St. Peter : 
who by his prayers did raise up Tabitha ; and by his 
sharp reprehension did sentence Ananias and Sapphira to 
death for their lying. 2 For we read not, that in the death 
of them he prayed at all, but only rebuked them for that 
sin which they had committed. Certain therefore it is, 
that sometimes they do these things by power, and some- 
times by prayer : for Ananias and Sapphira by a severe 

1 John I, 12. 2 Acts 9 and 5. 


C6e life ana piracies of ©t Rennet 

rebuke, St. Peter deprived of life : and by prayer restored 
Tabitha to life. And for proof of this, I will now tell 
you of two miracles, which the faithful servant of God, 
Bennet, did, in which it shall appear most plainly that 
he wrought the one by that power which God gave him, 
and obtained the other by virtue of his prayers. 

Chapter CWrtponc : of a country feiloto, tbat, 
toitb tbe onlp sigfn of tU man of ®oD, toas looscD 

ftOttt f)i0 tanD0, ^ A certain Goth there was called 
Galla, an Arian heretic, who, in the time of KingTotilas, 
did with such monstrous cruelty persecute religious men 
of the Catholic church, that what priest or monk soever 
came in his presence, he never departed alive. This man 
on a certain day, set upon rapine and pillage, pitifully 
tormented a poor country man, to make him confess 
where his money and wealth was : who, overcome with 
extremity of pain, said that he had committed all his 
substance to the custody of Bennet, the servant of 
God : and this he did, to the end that his tormentor, 
giving credit to his words, might at least for a while 
surcease from his horrible cruelty. Galla hearing this 
tormented him no longer : but binding his arms fast 
with strong cords, drave him before his horse, to bring 
him unto this Bennet, who, as he said, had his wealth 
in keeping. The country fellow, thus pinioned and 
running before him, carried him to the holy man's 
Abbey, where he found him sitting before the gate, 
reading upon a book. Then turning back to Galla that 
came raging after, he said : " This is father Bennet, of 
whom I told you " : who looking upon him, in a great 
fury, thinking to deal as terribly with him as he had with 
others, cried out aloud to him, saying : " Rise up, 
sirrah, rise up, and deliver me quickly such wealth as 
thou hast of this man's in keeping." The man of God, 
hearing such a noise, straightways lifted up his eyes 
from reading, and beheld both him and the country 

9 1 

€bc Dialogues of %t <£reprp 

fellow ; and turning his eyes to his bands, very strangely 
they fell from his arms, and that so quickly as no man 
with any haste could have undone them. Galla, seeing 
him so wonderfully and quickly loosed, fell straight a 
trembling, and prostrating himself upon the earth, 
bowed down his cruel and stiff neck to the holy man's 
feet, and with humility did commend himself to his 
prayers. But the venerable man for all this rose not 
up from his reading, but calling for some of his monks, 
commanded them to have him in, and to give him some 
meat. And when he was brought back again, he gave 
him a good lesson, admonishing him not to use any 
more such rigour and cruel dealing. His proud mind 
thus taken down, away he went, but durst not demand 
after that anything of the country fellow, whom the man 
of God, not with hands, but only with his eyes, had 
loosed from his bands. And this is that, Peter, which 
I told you, that those which in a more familiar sort serve 
God, do sometime, by certain power and authority be- 
stowed upon them, work miracles. For he that sitting 
still did appease the fury of that cruel Goth, and un- 
loose with his eyes those knots and cords which did 
pinion the innocent man's arms, did plainly shew by 
the quickness of the miracle, that he had received power 
to work all that which he did. And now will I likewise 
tell you of another miracle, which by prayer he obtained 
at God's hands. 

Cbaptet CfnrtHtoo : froto &P ptapet venerable 
15ennetraiseD up a Dcao cbtlD. <I Being upon a day 

gone out with his monks to work in the field, a country 
man carrying the corpse of his dead son, came to the 
gate of the Abbey, lamenting the loss of his child : and 
inquiring for holy Bennet, they told him that he was 
abroad with his monks in the field. Down at the gate 
he laid the dead body, and with great sorrow of soul 
ran in haste to seek out the venerable father. At the 


C6e Life anD piracies of S& IBennet 

same time, the man of God was returning homeward 
from work with his monks : whom so soon as he saw, 
he began to cry out : " Give me my son, give me my 
son ! ' The man of God, amazed at these words, stood 
still, and said : "What, have 1 taken away your son?" 
" No, no," quoth the sorrowful father, "but he is dead : 
come for Christ Jesus' sake and restore him to life." 
The servant of God, hearing him speak in that manner, 
and seeing his monks upon compassion to solicit the 
poor man's suit, with great sorrow of mind he said : 
" Away, my good brethren, away : such miracles are not 
for us to work, but for the blessed Apostles : why will 
you lay such a burthen upon me, as my weakness can- 
not bear ? ' But the poor man, whom excessive grief 
enforced, would not give over his petition, but swore 
that he would never depart, except he did raise up his 
son. "Where is he, then?" quoth God's servant. 
He answered that his body lay at the gate of the Abbey : 
to which place when the man of God came with his 
monks, he kneeled down and lay upon the body of the 
little child, and rising, he held up his hands towards 
heaven, and said : " Behold not, O Lord, my sins, but 
the faith of this man, that desireth to have his son raised 
to life, and restore that soul to the body, which thou 
hast taken away." He had scarce spoken these words, 
and behold the soul returned back again, and therewith 
the child's body began to tremble in such sort that all 
which were present did behold it in strange manner to 
pant and shake. Then he took it by the hand and gave 
it to his father, but alive and in health. Certain it is, 
Peter, that this miracle was not in his own power, 
for which prostrate upon the ground he prayed so 

l^CtCt* All is most true that before you said, for what you 
affirmed in words, you have now verified by examples 
and works. But tell me, I beseech you, whether holy 


Cbe Dialogues of %t <£regorp 

men can do all such things as they please, and obtain 
at God's hands whatsoever they desire. 

Chapter CbirtHbrce : of a miracle torougftf tip f)is 

SiSter ^>C()OlaStiCa. $ (£>regorp. Whatman is there, 
Peter, in this world, that is in greater favour with God 
than St. Paul was : who yet three times desired our 
Lord to be delivered from the prick of the flesh, and 
obtained not his petition? 1 Concerning which point 
also I must needs tell you, how there was one thing 
which the venerable father Bennet would have done, 
and yet he could not. For his sister called Scholastica, 
dedicated from her infancy to our Lord, used once a 
year to come and visit her brother. To whom the man 
of God went not far from the gate, to a place that did 
belong to the Abbey, there to give her entertainment. 
And she coming thither on a time according to her 
custom, her venerable brother with his monks went to 
meet her, where they spent the whole day in the praises 
of God and spiritual talk : and when it was almost night 
they supped together, and as they were yet sitting at 
the table, talking of devout matters, and darkness came 
on, the holy Nun his sister entreated him to stay there 
all night, that they might spend it in discoursing of the 
joys of heaven. But by no persuasion would he agree 
unto that, saying that he might not by any means tarry 
all night out of his Abbey. At that time, the sky was 
so clear that no cloud was to be seen. The Nun, re- 
ceiving this denial of her brother, joining her hands 
together, laid them upon the table : and so, bowing 
down her head upon them, she made her prayers to 
almighty God : and lifting her head from the table, 
there fell suddenly such a tempest of lightning and 
thundering, and such abundance of rain, that neither 
venerable Bennet, nor his monks that were with him, 
could put their head out of door : for the holy Nun, 

1 2 Cor. 12, 8. 

C6e Life anD piracies of St Rennet 

resting her head upon her hands, poured forth such a 
flood of tears upon the table, that she drew the clear 
air to a watery sky, so that after the end of her devo- 
tions, that storm of rain followed : and her prayer and 
the rain did so meet together, that as she lifted up her 
head from the table, the thunder began, so that in one 
and the very same instant, she lifted up her head and 
brought down the rain. The man of God, seeing that 
he could not by reason of such thunder and lightning 
and great abundance of rain, return back to his Abbey, 
began to be heavy and to complain of his sister, saying : 
"God forgive you, what have you done ?" to whom 
she answered : " I desired you to stay, and you would 
not hear me, I have desired our good Lord, and he 
hath vouchsafed to grant my petition : wherefore if you 
can now depart, a God's name return to your monastery, 
and leave me here alone." But the good father, being 
not able to go forth, tarried there against his will, where 
willingly before he would not stay. And so by that 
means they watched all night, and with spiritual and 
heavenly talk did mutually comfort one another : and 
therefore by this we see, as I said before, that he would 
have had that thing, which yet he could not : for if we 
respect the venerable man's mind, no question but he 
would have had the same fair weather to have continued 
as it was, when he set forth, but he found that a miracle 
did prevent his desire, which, by the power of almighty 
God, a woman's prayers had wrought. And it is not 
a thing to be marvelled at, that a woman which of long 
time had not seen her brother, might do more at that 
time than he could, seeing, according to the saying of 
St. John, God is charity? and therefore of right she did 
more which loved more. 

IPCtCt. I confess that 1 am wonderfully pleased with 
that which you tell me. 

1 I John 4, 8. 


£f)e Dialogues of %t <$regorp 

Cfmpter C6irtp=four : boto iBennet sato tbe soul 
of Ws lister ascentJ into I^eatien, <J <£reprp. 

The next day the venerable woman returned to her 
Nunnery, and the man of God to his Abbey : who three 
days after, standing in his cell, and lifting up his eyes 
to heaven, beheld the soul of his sister (which was 
departed from her body), in the likeness of a dove to 
ascend into heaven : who rejoicing much to see her 
great glory, with hymns and lauds gave thanks to 
almighty God, and did impart the news of this her 
death to his monks, whom also he sent presently to 
bring her corpse to his Abbey, to have it buried in that 
grave which he had provided for himself: by means 
whereof it fell out that, as their souls were always one 
in God whiles they lived, so their bodies continued 
together after their death. 

Chapter £&irtp=£toe: fjoto &e sato tbe tobole 
toorlD representeD before W epes : ano also tbe 
soul of ®ermanus, iBisfrop of Capua, ascenoing 

tO fyeatierL ^ At another time, Servandus, the Deacon, 
and Abbot of that monastery, which in times past was 
founded by the noble man Liberius in the country of 
Campania, used ordinarily to come and visit the man 
of God : and the reason why he came so often was, 
because himself also was a man full of heavenly doc- 
trine : and so they two had often together spiritual 
conference, to the end that, albeit they could not per- 
fectly feed upon the celestial food of heaven, yet, by 
means of such sweet discourses, they might at least, 
with longing and fervent desire, taste of those joys and 
divine delights. When it was time to go to rest, the 
venerable father Bennet reposed himself in the top of a 
tower, at the foot whereof Servandus the Deacon was 
lodged, so that one pair of stairs went to them both : 
before the tower there was a certain large room in which 
both their disciples did lie. The man of God, Bennet, 

9 6 


(San Pictro, Perugia) 

Cfje Life anD a@itacle0 of %t. TBennet 

being diligent in watching, rose early up before the time 
of matins (his monks being yet at rest) and came to the 
window of his chamber, where he offered up his prayers 
to almighty God. Standing there, all on a sudden in 
the dead of the night, as he looked forth, he saw a 
light, which banished away the darkness of the night, 
and glittered with such brightness, that the light which 
did shine in the midst of darkness was far more clear 
than the light of the day. Upon this sight a marvellous 
strange thing followed, for, as himself did afterward 
report, the whole world, gathered as it were together 
under one beam of the sun, was presented before his 
eyes, and whiles the venerable father stood attentively 
beholding the brightness of that glittering light, he saw 
the soul of Germanus, Bishop of Capua, in a fiery globe 
to be carried up by Angels into heaven. Then, desirous 
to have some witness of this so notable a miracle, he 
called with a very loud voice Servandus the Deacon 
twice or thrice by his name, who, troubled at such an 
unusual crying out of the man of God, went up in all 
haste, and looking forth saw not anything else, but a 
little remnant of the light, but wondering at so great a 
miracle, the man of God told him all in order what 
he had seen, and sending by and by to the town of 
Cassino, he commanded the religious man Theoprobus 
to dispatch one that night to the city of Capua, to learn 
what was become of Germanus their Bishop : which 
being done, the messenger found that reverent Prelate 
departed this life, and enquiring curiously the time, he 
understood that he died at that very instant, in which 
the man of God beheld him ascending up to heaven. 
l£)Ctet, A strange thing and very much to be admired. 
But whereas you say that the whole world, as it were 
under one sunbeam, was presented before his eyes, as 
1 must needs confess that in myself I never had 
experience of any such thing, so neither can 1 conceive 

97 G 

€be Dialogues of %t (Sreprp 

by what means the whole world can be seen of any one 

$t0(JOtp. Assure yourself, Peter, of that which I 
speak : to wit, that all creatures be as it were nothing 
to that soul which beholdeth the Creator : for though 
it see but a glimpse of that light which is in the Creator, 
yet very small do all things seem that be created : for 
by means of that supernatural light, the capacity of the 
inward soul is enlarged, and is in God so extended, that 
it is far above the world : yea and the soul of him that 
seeth in this manner, is also above itself; for being rapt 
up in the light of God, it is inwardly in itself enlarged 
above itself, and when it is so exalted and looketh 
downward, then doth it comprehend how little all 
that is, which before in former baseness it could not 
comprehend. The man of God, therefore, who saw 
the fiery globe, and the Angels returning to heaven, 
out of all doubt could not see those things but in the 
light of God : what marvel, then, is it, if he saw the 
world gathered together before him, who, rapt up in 
the light of his soul, was at that time out of the world ? 
But albeit we say that the world was gathered together 
before his eyes, yet were not heaven and earth drawn 
into any lesser room than they be of themselves, but the 
soul of the beholder was more enlarged, which, rapt in 
God, might without difficulty see that which is under 
God, and therefore in that light which appeared to his 
outward eyes, the inward light which was in his soul 
ravished the mind of the beholder to supernal things, 
and shewed him how small all earthly things were. 
l^CtCt, I perceive now that it was to my more profit 
that I understood you not before : seeing, by reason 
of my slow capacity, you have delivered so notable an 
exposition. But now, because you have made me 
thrughly to understand these things, I beseech you 
to continue on your former narration. 


€be Jlife anD piracies of %t. 15ennet 
Cbapter Cbirt^str : boto bolp IBennet totote a 

rule fOt biS mOnfeS. <U<$reptp. Desirous I am, Peter, 
to tell you many things of this venerable father, but some 
of purpose I let pass, because I make haste to entreat also 
ot the acts of other holy men : yet I would not have you 
to be ignorant, but that the man of God amongst so 
many miracles, for which he was so famous in the world, 
was also sufficiently learned in divinity : for he wrote a 
rule for his monks, both excellent for discretion and also 
eloquent for the style. Of whose life and conversation, 
if any be curious to know further, he may in the institu- 
tion of that rule understand all his manner of life and 
discipline : for the holy man could not otherwise teach, 
than himself lived. 

Chapter Cbitt^setien : boto venerable IBennet 
DiD oropbesp to bis monks, tbe time of bis oton 

Oeatu* fl The same year in which he departed this life, 
he told the day of his holy death to his monks, some of 
which did live daily with him, and some dwelt far off, 
willing those that were present to keep it secret, and telling 
them that were absent by what token they should know 
that he was dead. Six days before he left this world, he 
gave order to have his sepulchre opened, and forthwith 
falling into an ague, he began with burning heat to wax 
faint, and when as the»sickness daily increased, upon the 
sixth day he commanded his monks to carry him into the 
oratory, where he did arm himself with receiving the 
body and blood of our Saviour Christ ; and having his 
weak body holden up betwixt the hands of his disciples, 
he stood with his own lifted up to heaven, and as he was 
in that manner praying, he gave up the ghost. Upon 
which day two monks, one being in his cell, and the other 
far distant, had concerning him one and the self-same 
vision : for they saw all the way from the holy man's 
cell, towards the east even up to heaven, hung and 
adorned with tapestry, and shining with an infinite 


€f)e Dialogic of %t <&xtQotv 

number of lamps, at the top whereof a man, reverently 
attired, stood and demanded if they knew who passed that 
way, to whom they answered saying, that they knew not. 
Then he spake thus unto them : "This is the way," quoth 
he, " by which the beloved servant of God, Bennet, is 
ascended up to heaven." And by this means, as his 
monks that were present knew of the death of the holy 
man, so likewise they which were absent, by the token 
which he foretold them, had intelligence of the same 
thing. Buried he was in the oratory of St. John Baptist 
which himself built, when he overthrew the altar of 
Apollo ; who also in that cave in which he first dwelled, 
even to this very time, worketh miracles, if the faith of 
them that pray requireth the same. 

Cbaptet £birtp=eigf)t : Jjoto a mao tooman toas 

CUtCD in fe CftOZ. <f For the tnin g which I mean now 
to rehearse fell out lately. A certain woman falling mad, 
lost the use of reason so far, that she walked up and down, 
day and night, in mountains and valleys, in woods and 
fields, and rested only in that place where extreme 
weariness enforced her to stay. Upon a day it so fell 
out, that albeit she wandered at random, yet she missed 
not the right way : for she came to the cave of the 
blessed man Bennet : and not knowing anything, in she 
went, and reposed herself there that night, and rising up 
in the morning, she departed as sound in sense and well 
in her wits, as though she had never been distracted in 
her whole life, and so continued always after, even to her 
dying day. 

Ip0t0t. What is the reason that in the patronage of 
martyrs we often times find, that they do not afford so 
great benefits by their bodies, as they do by other of 
their relics : and do there work greater miracles, where 
themselves be not present ? 

(£)t00Qtp. Where the holy martyrs lie in their bodies, 
there is no doubt, Peter, but that they are able to work 



h 5 

o -5 






C&e life ano a^iracles of %t I5ennet 

many miracles, yea and also do work infinite, to such as 
seek them with a pure mind. But for as much as simple 
people might have some doubt whether they be present, 
and do in those places hear their prayers where their 
bodies be not, necessary it is that they should in those 
places shew greater miracles, where weak souls may most 
doubt of their presence. But he whose mind is fixed in 
God, hath so much the greater merit of his faith, in that 
he both knoweth that they rest not there in body, and yet 
be there present to hear our prayers. And therefore our 
Saviour himself, to increase the faith of his disciples, 
said : If I do not depart^ the Comforter will not come unto 
you : 1 for, seeing certain it is that the comforting Spirit 
doth always proceed from the Father and the Son, why 
doth the Son say that he will depart that the Comforter 
may come, who never is absent from the Son ? But be- 
cause the disciples, beholding our Lord in flesh,did always 
desire to see him with their corporal eyes, very well did 
he say unto them : Unless I do go away, the Comforter 
will not come: as though he had plainly told them : If I 
do not withdraw my body, I cannot let you understand 
what the love of the spirit is : and except you give over 
to love my carnal presence, never will you learn to affect 
me with true spiritual love. 
l£>CtCt. That you say pleaseth me very well. 
(StCjJOtp. Let us now for a while give over our dis- 
course, to the end that if we mean to prosecute the 
miracles of other Saints, we may through silence be the 
more able to perform it. 

1 John 1 6, 7. 

Cfje cnD of t&e ^cconD IBoofe 


%ty Dialogues of £>t. ®regorj> 

TBCing; careful to entreat of such fathers as lived not 
long since, I passed over the worthy acts of those that 
were in former times : so that I had almost forgot the 
miracle of Paulinus, Bishop of Nola, who both for time 
was more ancient, and for virtue more notable, than many 
of those which 1 have spoken of : wherefore I will now 
speak of him, but as briefly as I can. For as the life and 
actions of good men are soonest known to such as be like 
them, so the famous name of venerable Paulinus became 
known to mine holy elders, and his admirable fact served 
for their instruction : who, for their gravity and old years, 
are as well to be credited, as if that which they reported 
they had seen with their own eyes. 

Chapter Dne : of %t Ipaulinua, 15i0&op of tU 

Citg Of JftOla. <I When as in the time of the cruel 
Vandals, that part of Italy which is called Campania was 
overrun and sacked, and many were from thence carried 
captive into Africk : then the servant of God, Paulinus, 
bestowed all the wealth of his Bishopric upon prisoners 
and poor people. And not having now anything more 
left, a certain widow came unto him, lamenting how her 
son was taken prisoner by one that was son-in-law to the 
king of the Vandals, and by him carried away to be his 
slave : and therefore she besought him, that he would 
vouchsafe to help her with a ransom for the redeeming 
of her son. But the man of God, seeking what he had 


C6e Dialogues of §>t. <$tegorp 

to give the poor woman, found nothing left but himself 
alone, and therefore he answered her in this manner : 
" Good woman, nothing have I to help thee withal but 
myself, and therefore take me, and a God's name say that 
I am your servant, and see whether he will receive me 
for his slave, and so set your son at liberty " : which words 
she hearing from the mouth of so notable a man, took 
them rather for a mock, than to proceed indeed from true 
compassion. But as he was an eloquent man, and passing 
well learned in humanity, so did he quickly persuade the 
doubtful woman to give credit to his words, and not to 
be afraid to offer a Bishop for the ransom of her son ; 
whereupon away they travelled both into Africk. And 
when the king's son-in-law came abroad, the widow put 
up her petition concerning her son, humbly beseeching 
him that he would vouchsafe to set him now at liberty, 
and bestow him upon his mother. But the barbarous 
man, swelling with pride and puffed up with the joy 
of transitory prosperity, refused not only to do it, but 
disdained also to give any ear to her petition. This way 
therefore taking no success, the desolate widow tried the 
next, and said unto him : " Behold, I give you here this 
man instead of him, only take compassion on me, and 
restore to me mine only son." At which words he, casting 
his eyes upon Paulinus, and seeing him to have an honest 
and good face, asked him of what occupation he was : to 
whom the man of God answered : " Trade or occupation 
I can none, but some skill I have in keeping of a garden." 
This pleased the Pagan very well, whereupon he admitted 
him for his servant, and restored the widow her son, with 
whom she departed out of Africk, and Paulinus took 
charge of the garden. The king's son-in-law coming 
often into the garden, demanded certain questions of his 
new man, and perceiving him to be very wise and of good 
judgment, he began to give over the company of his old 
familiar friends, and conversed much with his gardener, 


Paulmus of U3oIa 

taking great pleasure in his talk. Every day Paulinus 
brought him to his table divers sorts of green herbs, and 
after dinner returned to his garden. After he had used 
this a long time, upon a day, as his master and he were 
in secret talk together, Paulinus spake unto him in this 
manner : " Consider, my Lord, what is your best course, 
and how the kingdom of the Vandals shall be disposed 
of, for the king is to die shortly": which news, because 
he was in special grace with the king, he gave him to 
understand, adding that his gardener, who was a passing 
wise man, had told him so much. The king, hearing this, 
was desirous to see the man he spake of : " Your Maj esty," 
quoth he, " shall see him, for his manner is to bring me 
in daily fresh herbs for my dinner, and I will give orders 
that he shall do it in your presence " : which direction 
being given, as the king sat at dinner, Paulinus came in, 
bringing with him divers sallettes and fresh herbs : whom 
so soon as the king beheld, he fell a trembling, and send- 
ing for Paulinus' master (who by the marriage of his 
daughter was so near allied unto him), acquainted him 
with that secret which before he had concealed, saying : 
" It is very true that which you have heard, for the last 
night, in a dream, I saw certain judges in their seats sit- 
ting upon me, amongst whom this man also sat for one : 
and by their sentence that whip was taken from me, which 
for the punishment of others some time I had. But in- 
quire, I pray you, what he is, for I do not think one of 
so great merit to be an ordinary man, as he outwardly 
seemeth." Then the king's son-in-law took Paulinus in 
secret, and asked him what he was : to whom the man 
of God answered: "Your servant I am," quoth he, 
" whom you took for the ransom of the widow's son " ; 
but when he would not be satisfied with that answer, but 
did instantly press him to tell, not what he was now, but 
what he had been in his own country, and did urge him 
very often to answer to this point : the man of God, 


Ct)C Dialogic of %t <$regorp 

adjured so strictly, not being able any longer to deny his 

request, told him that he was a Bishop ; which his master 

and lord hearing became wonderfully afraid, and humbly 

offered him, saying : " Demand what you will, that you 

may be well rewarded of me, and so return home to your 

country." To whom the man of God, Paulinus, said: 

" One thing there is wherein you may much pleasure 

me, and that is, to set at liberty all those that be of 

my city " : which suit he obtained, for straightways 

throughout Africk all were sought out, their ships laden 

with wheat, and to give venerable Paulinus satisfaction, 

they were all discharged, and in his company sent home : 

and not long after the king of the Vandals died, and so 

he lost that whip and severe government, which to his 

own destruction and the punishment of Christians by 

God's providence he had before received. And thus it 

came to pass that Paulinus, the servant of almighty God, 

told truth, and he that voluntarily alone made himself a 

bondman, returned not back alone, but with many from 

captivity : imitating him who took upon him the form 

of a servant, that we should not be servants to sin : for 

Paulinus, following his example, became himself for a 

time a servant alone, that afterward he might be made 

free with many. 

K?0t0t. When I hear that which I cannot imitate, I 
desire rather to weep than to say anything. 
(2Dt00Otp* Concerning this holy man's death, it remaineth 
yet in the records of his own church, how that he was 
with a pain of his side brought to the last cast : and that, 
whiles all the rest of the house stood sound, the chamber 
only in which he lay sick was shaken with an earthquake, 
and so his soul was loosed from his body : and by this 
means it fell out, that they were all strooken with a great 
fear that might have seen Paulinus departing this life. 
But because his virtue by that which I spoke of before 
is sufficiently handled, now, if you please, we will come 

108 ' 

CM. 3Iofm, tbe IPope 

to other miracles, which are both known to many, and 
which I have heard by the relation of such persons, that 
I can make no doubt but that they be most true. 

Chapter Ctoo : of CM. 3Io6n, tfje Ipopc. <J in the 

time of the Goths, when the most blessed man John, 
Bishop of this church of Rome, travelled to the Emperor 
Justinian the elder, he came into the country of Corinth, 
where he lacked an horse to ride upon : which a certain 
noble man understanding, lent him that horse which, 
because he was gentle, his wife used for her own saddle, 
with order that when he came where he could provide 
himself of another, his wife's horse should be sent back 
again. And so the Bishop rode upon him, until he came 
to a certain place where he got another, and then he 
returned that which he had borrowed. But afterward, 
when his wife came to take his back, as before she used, 
by no means could she do it, because the horse, having 
carried so great a Bishop, would not suffer a woman to 
come any more upon his back, and therefore he began 
with monstrous snorting, neighing, and continual stirring, 
as it were in scorn, to shew that he could not bear any 
woman, upon whom the Pope himself had ridden : which 
thing her husband wisely considering, straightways sent 
him again to the holy man, beseeching him to accept of 
that horse, which by riding he had dedicated to his own 
service. Of the same man, another miracle is also reported 
by our ancestors : to wit, that in Constantinople, when 
he came to the gate called Aurea, where he was met with 
great numbers of people, in the presence of them all, he 
restored sight to a blind man that did instantly crave it : 
for laying his hand upon him, he banished away that 
darkness which possessed his eyes. 

Cbaptet C&ree : of ^>t. %apttu0, tbe Jpope. «I Not 

long after, about business concerning the Goths, the 
most blessed man Agapitus, Bishop of this holy church 
of Rome (in which by God's providence I do now serve), 


C6e Dialogues of %t ®regorp 

went to the Emperor Justinian. And, as he was travelling 
through Greece, a dumb and lame man was brought 
unto him for help. The holy man carefully demanded 
of his kinsfolk, that brought him thither and stood there 
weeping, whether they did believe that it was in his power 
to cure him : who answered, that they did firmly hope 
that he might help him in the virtue of God by the 
authority of St. Peter : upon which words forthwith the 
venerable man fell to his prayers, and beginning solemn 
mass, he offered sacrifice in the sight of almighty God : 
which being ended, he came from the altar, took the lame 
man by the hand, and straightways, in the presence and 
sight of all the people, he restored him to the use of his 
legs : and after he had put our Lord's body into his 
mouth, that tongue, which long time before had not 
spoken, was loosed. At which miracle all did wonder, 
and began to weep for joy : and forthwith both fear and 
reverence possessed their minds, beholding what Agapitus 
could do in the power of our Lord, by the help of St. Peter. 

Chapter jTout: of Dattus,15i0f)opofspilan. qin 

the time of the same Emperor, Datius, Bishop of Milan, 
about matters of religion, travelled to Constantinople. 
And coming to Corinth, he sought for a large house to 
receive him and his company, and could scarce find any : 
at length he saw afar off* a fair great house, which he 
commanded to be provided for him : and when the 
inhabitants of that place told him that it was for many 
years haunted by the devil, and therefore stood empty : 
" so much the sooner," quoth the venerable man, " ought 
we to lodge in it, if the wicked spirit hath taken possession 
thereof, and will not suffer men to dwell in it." Where- 
upon he gave order to have it made ready : which being 
done, he went without all fear to combat with the old 
enemy. In the dead of the night, when the man of God 
was asleep, the devil began, with an huge noise and great 
outcry, to imitate the roaring of lions, the bleating of 

1 10 

^atJinus of Cami0tna 

sheep, the braying of asses, the hissing of serpents, the 
grunting of hogs, and the screeching of rats. Datius, 
suddenly awaked with the noise of so many beasts, rose 
up, and in great anger spake aloud to the old serpent, 
and said : " Thou art served well, thou wretched creature : 
thou art he that diddest say : I will place my seat in the 
north, and I will be like to the highest: 1 and now through 
thy pride, see how thou art become like unto hogs and 
rats ; and thou that wouldest needs unworthily be like 
unto God, behold how thou dost now, according to thy 
deserts, imitate brute beasts." At these words the wicked 
serpent was, as I may well term it, ashamed, that he was 
so disgraciously and basely put down, for well may I say 
that he was ashamed, who never after troubled that 
house with any such terrible and monstrous shapes as 
before he did : for ever after that time, Christian men 
did inhabit the same ; for so soon as one man that was 
a true and faithful Christian took possession thereof, the 
lying and faithless spirit straightways did forsake it. 
But I will now surcease from speaking of things done in 
former times, and come to such miracles as have happened 
in our own days. 

Cbapter JFtoe : of ^atrinua, 15isf)op of Cami0tna. 

tfl Certain religious men, well known in the province of 
Apulia, do report that which many both far and near 
know to be most true, and that is of Sabinus, Bishop of 
Camisina : who, by reason of his great age, was become 
so blind that he saw nothing at all. And for as much 
as Totilas, King of the Goths, hearing that he had the 
gift of prophecy, and would not believe it, but was 
desirous to prove whether it were so or no, it fell so 
out, that coming into those parts, the man of God did 
invite him to dinner. And when the meat was brought 
in, the King would not sit at the table, but sat beside 
at the right hand of venerable Sabinus : and when 

1 Isai. 14, 13, 14. 
1 1 1 

C6e Dialogues of %t <$regorp 

the Bishop's man brought him, as he used to do, a cup 
of wine, the King softly put forth his hand, took the 
cup, and gave it himself to the Bishop, to try whether 
he could tell who he was that gave him the wine. Then 
the man of God taking the cup, but not seeing him that 
did deliver it, said : " Blessed be that hand." At which 
words the King very merrily blushed, because, albeit 
he was taken, yet did he find that gift in the man 
of God which before he desired to know. The same 
reverent man, to give good example of life to others, 
lived until he was passing old : which nothing pleased 
his Archdeacon, that desired his Bishopric : and there- 
fore upon ambition he sought how to dispatch him with 
poison, and for that purpose corrupted his cup-bearer, 
who, overcome with money, offered the Bishop at dinner 
that poison in his wine which he had received of the 
Archdeacon. The holy man, knowing what he brought, 
willed himself to drink that which he offered him. The 
wretch trembled at those words, and perceiving his 
villany to be detected, thought better to drink it, and 
so quickly dispatch himself, than with shame to suffer 
torments for the sin of so horrible a murder : but as 
he was putting the cup to his mouth, the man of God 
hindered him, saying : " Do not take it, but give it 
me, and I will drink it myself, but go thy way, and tell 
him that gave it thee, that I will drink the poison, but 
yet shall he never live to be Bishop" : and so blessing 
the cup with the sign of the cross, he drunk it without 
any harm at all ; at which very time the Archdeacon, 
being in another place, departed this life ; as though 
that poison had by the Bishop's mouth passed to his 
Archdeacon's bowels : for although he had no corporal 
poison to kill him, yet the venom of his own malice did 
destroy him in the sight of the everlasting Judge. 
Ip0tet, These be strange things, and much in our days 
to be wondered at : yet the life of the man is such, that 

I 12 

anDreto of JTuntia 

he which knoweth his holy conversation hath no such 
cause to marvel at the miracle. 

Cfmpter %ix: of Cassius, IBis&op of Jftarm. 

^ tiDZZQOX'p. Neither can I, Peter, pass over with 
silence that thing, which many of the city of Narni, 
which be here present, affirm to be most true. For in 
the time of the same Goths, the foresaid King Totilas 
coming to Narni, Cassius, a man of venerable life, 
Bishop of the same city, went forth to meet him, whom 
the king utterly contemned, because his face was high- 
coloured, thinking that it proceeded not from any other 
cause than drinking. But almighty God, to show how 
worthy a man was despised, permitted a wicked spirit 
before his whole army, in the fields of Narni, where the 
king also himself was, to possess one of his guard, and 
cruelly to torment him. Straightways was he brought 
to the venerable man Cassius, in the presence of the 
king : who praying to God for him, and making the 
sign of the cross, forthwith he cast out the devil, so 
that never after he durst presume any more to enter 
into his body. And by this means it fell out that the 
barbarous king, from that day forward, did with his 
heart much reverence the servant of God, whom before 
by his face he judged to be a man of no account : for 
seeing him now to be one of such power and virtue, he 
gave over those proud thoughts which before he had 

Chapter ^euen : of anoreto, IBls&op of JTunDa. 

(J But as I am thus busied in telling the acts of holy 
men, there cometh to my mind what God of his great 
mercy did for Andrew, Bishop of the city of Funda : 
which notable story I wish all so to read, that they 
which have dedicated themselves to continency, pre- 
sume not in any wise to dwell amongst women : lest 
in time of temptation their soul perish the sooner, 
by having that at hand which is unlawfully desired. 

1.13 H 

£f)e Dialog:ue0 of <§t #regorp 

Neither is the story which I report either doubtful or 
uncertain : for so many witnesses to justify the truth 
thereof may be produced, as there be almost inhabitants 
in that city. When, therefore, this venerable man 
Andrew lived virtuously, and with diligent care, answer- 
able to his priestly function, led a continent and chaste 
life : he kept in his house a certain Nun, which also had 
remained with him before he was preferred to that 
dignity ; for assuring himself of his own continency, 
and nothing doubting of hers, content he was to let her 
remain still in his house : which thing the devil took as 
an occasion to assault him with temptation : and so he 
began to present before the eyes of his mind the form 
of that woman, that by such allurements he might have 
his heart wholly possessed with ungodly thoughts. In 
the meantime it so fell out, that a Jew was travelling 
from Campania to Rome, who drawing nigh to the city 
of Funda, was so overtaken with night, that he knew 
not where to lodge, and therefore, not finding any 
better commodity, he retired himself into a temple of 
the god Apollo, which was not far off, meaning there 
to repose himself : but much afraid he was, to lie in so 
wicked and sacrilegious a place : for which cause, though 
he believed not what we teach of the cross, yet he 
thought good to arm himself with that sign. About 
midnight, as he lay waking for very fear of that forlorn 
and desert temple, and looked suddenly about him, he 
espied a troop of wicked spirits walking before another 
or greater authority : who coming in took up his place, 
and sat down in the body of the temple : where he 
began diligently to inquire of those his servants, how 
they had bestowed their time, and what villany they had 
done in the world. And when each one told what he 
had done against God's servants, out stepped a com- 
panion, and made solemn relation, with a notable 
temptation of carnality he had put into the mind of 


anDteto of jTunna 

Bishop Andrew, concerning that Nun which he kept 
in his palace : whereunto whiles the master devil gave 
attentive ear, considering with himself what a notable 
gain it would be, to undo the soul of so holy a man ; 
the former devil went on with his tale, and said that the 
very evening before he assaulted him so mightily, that 
he drew him so far forth, that he did merrily strike the 
said Nun upon the back. The wicked serpent and old 
enemy of mankind hearing this joyful news, exhorted 
his agent with very fair words, diligently to labour 
about the effecting of that thing which he had already so 
well begun, that for so notable a piece of service, as the 
contriving the spiritual ruin of that virtuous Prelate, he 
might have a singular reward above all his fellows. The 
Jew who all this while lay waking, and heard all that 
which they said, was wonderfully afraid : at length the 
master devil sent some of his followers to see who he 
was, and how he durst presume to lodge in their temple. 
When they were come, and had narrowly viewed him, 
they found that he was marked with the mystical sign 
of the cross : whereat they marvelled and said : " Alas, 
alas, here is an empty vessel, but yet it is signed" : 
which news the rest of those hell-hounds hearing, 
suddenly vanished away. The Jew, who had seen all 
that which then passed among them, presently rose up, 
and in all haste sped himself to the Bishop, whom he 
found in the church : and taking him aside, he demanded 
with what temptation he was troubled : but shame so 
prevailed, that by no means he would confess the truth. 
Then the Jew replied and told him, that he had cast his 
eyes wickedly upon such a one of God's servants ; but 
the Bishop would not acknowledge that there was any 
such thing. " Why do you deny it," quoth the Jew, " for 
is it not so true that yesternight you were brought 
so far by sinful temptation, that you did strike her on 
the back?" When the Bishop, by these particulars, 

TI 5 

Cfje Dialogues of §>t. <£>rcgorp 

perceived that the matter was broken forth, he humbly 
confessed what before he obstinately denied. Then the 
Jew, moved with compassion to his soul, and tendering 
his credit, told him by what means he came to the 
knowledge thereof, and what he heard of him in that 
assembly of wicked spirits. The Bishop, hearing this, 
fell prostrate upon the earth, and betook himself to his 
prayers : and straight after he discharged out of his 
house, not only that Nun, but all other women that 
attended upon her. And not long after, he converted 
the temple of Apollo into an oratory of the blessed 
Apostle, St. Andrew : and never after was he troubled 
with that carnal temptation : and the Jew, by whose 
means he was so mercifully preserved, he brought to 
everlasting salvation : for he baptized him, and made 
him a member of holy Church. And thus, by God's 
providence, the Jew having care of the spiritual health 
of another, attained also himself the singular benefit of 
the same : and almighty God by the same means 
brought one to embrace piety and virtue, by which he 
preserved another in an holy and godly life. 
ll^CtCt* This history which I have heard worketh in me 
fear, and yet withal giveth me cause of hope. 
(£>t0jJOtp« That is not amiss, Peter, for necessary it is 
that we should both trust upon the mercy of God, and 
yet, considering our own frailty, be afraid : for we have 
now heard how one of the cedars of Paradise was shaken, 
and yet not blown down, to the end that, knowing our 
own infirmity, we should both tremble at his shaking, 
and yet conceive hope, in that he was not overthrown, 
but kept his standing still. 

C&aptet <£ig&t : of Cqnstantiua, 'Bis&op of 

3QUinurn* fj Constantius, likewise a man of holy life, 
was Bishop of Aquinum, who not long since died, in 
the time of Pope John of blessed memory, my prede- 
cessor : many that knew him familiarly, say that he had 

















JTrig:iDmnu0 of Lucca 

the gift of prophecy. And amongst divers other things 
which he did, religious and honest men then present 
report that, lying upon his deathbed, the citizens that 
stood about him wept bitterly, and asked him with tears, 
who should be their father and Bishop after him. To 
whom by the spirit of prophecy he answered, saying : 
" After Constantius, you shall have a muleteer, and 
after a muleteer, a fuller of cloth : and these men," 
quoth he, " be now in the city of Aquinum " : and 
having spoken these prophetical words, he gave up the 
ghost. After whose departure one Andrew, his Deacon, 
was made Bishop : who in times past had kept mules 
and post horses. And when he died, one Jovinus was 
preferred to that dignity, who in former times had been 
a fuller in the same city : in whose days all the citizens 
were so wasted, some by the sword of barbarous people, 
and some by a terrible plague, that after his death neither 
could any be found to be made Bishop, nor yet any 
people for whose sake he should be created. And so 
the saying of the man of God was fulfilled, in that his 
church, after the death of two that followed him, had 
no Bishop at all. 

Chapter Jftme : of jTrigiDianua, IBisbop of Lucca. 

^ But I must not forget to tell you what 1 heard of the 
reverent man Venantius, Bishop of Luna, some two days 
ago : who said that there was, nigh unto him, a man ot 
rare virtue called Frigidianus, Bishop of Lucca, who 
wrought a strange miracle, which, as he saith, all the 
inhabitants of that place do speak of, and it was this. 
Hard by the walls of the city, there runneth a river 
called Anser, which divers times doth so swell and 
overflow the banks, that it drowneth many acres ot 
ground, and spoileth much corn and fruit. The in- 
habitants, enforced by necessity, seeing that this did 
often happen, went about by all means possible to turn 
the stream another way : but when they had bestowed 


C6e Dialogues of %t <$regorp 

much labour, yet could they not cause it to leave the 
old channel. Whereupon the man of God, Frigidianus, 
made a little rake, and came to the river, where all alone 
he bestowed some time in prayer ; and then he com- 
manded the river to follow him, and going before, he 
drew his rake over such places as he thought good, and 
the whole river, forsaking the old channel, did follow 
him, and kept possession of that which the holy man by 
that sign of his rake had appointed : and so never after- 
ward did it hurt any more either corn or other things 
planted for the maintenance of men. 

Chapter €en : of ^afnnus, T5i0bop of piacentta, 

t| The same Venantius told me likewise another miracle, 
done as he said in the city of Placentia, which one John, 
the servant of God, and a man of credit living now here 
amongst us, and who was born and brought up in that 
city, affirmeth also to be most true. For in that town 
of Placentia, they say that there was a Bishop of won- 
derful virtue, called Sabinus : who understanding by 
one of his Deacons, that the great river of Powas broken 
forth, and had overflowed the land which belonged to 
the church, and done much harm, he bad him go unto 
the river, and deliver it this message from him : " The 
Bishop commandeth you to retire, and keep yourself 
within your own bounds." His Deacon, hearing these 
words, scornfully contemned to be employed in any such 
business. Then the man of God, Sabinus, sent for a 
notary, and willed him to write these words : " Sabinus, 
the servant of our Lord Jesus Christ, sendeth admoni- 
tion to Po. I command thee, in the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, that thou come not out of thy channel, 
nor presume anymore to hurt the lands of the church." 
This short letter he bad the notary write, and when he 
had so done, to go and cast it into the river. The 
notary did as he bad him, and the river obeyed the 
precept of the holy man, for straightways it withdrew 


Cerfconma of IPopulonium 

itself from the church-lands, returned to his own chan- 
nel, and never presumed any more to overflow those 
grounds. By which fact, Peter, the pride of disobedient 
men is confounded, seeing that the very senseless ele- 
ment, in the name of Jesus, obeyed the holy man's 

Cbaptet OBletJen : of Cerbomus, T5isbqpof lpopu= 

lOntlim* 1$ Cerbonius, also a man of holy life, Bishop of 
Populonium, hath made great proof in our time of his 
rare virtue. For being much given to hospitality, upon 
a certain day he gave entertainment to divers soldiers, 
which, for fear of the Goths (that passed likewise by his 
house), he conveyed out of the way, and so saved their 
lives from those wicked men. Totilas, their impious 
king, having intelligence thereof, in great rage and 
cruelty commanded him to be brought unto a place 
called Merulis (eight miles from Populonium), where 
he remained with his whole army, and in the sight of 
the people to be cast unto wild bears to be devoured. 
And because the wicked king would needs be present 
himself, to behold the Bishop torn in pieces, great store 
of people were likewise assembled, to see that pitiful 
pageant. The Bishop was brought forth, and a terrible 
bear provided, that might in cruel manner tear his body 
in pieces, so to satisfy the mind of that bloody king. 
Out of his den was the beast let loose, who in great 
fury and haste set upon the Bishop : but suddenly, for- 
getting all cruelty, with bowed neck and humbled head, 
he began to lick his feet : to give them all to understand 
that men carried towards the man of God the hearts of 
beasts, and the beasts as it were the heart of a man. At 
this sight the people, with great shouting and outcries, 
declared how highly they did admire the holy man : and 
the king himself was moved to have him in great rever- 
ence : and so by God's providence it fell out, that he 
which before refused to obey and follow God by saving 


£f)e Dialogues of %>t <$reprp 

the Bishop's life, was brought to do it by the miraculous 
meekness of a cruel bear. Many of them which were 
then present, and saw it, be yet living, who do all affirm 
this to be most true. 

Another miracle concerning the same man I heard of 
Venantius, Bishop of Luna, and it was this. Cerbonius 
had in the church of Populonium a tomb provided for 
himself; but when the Lombards invaded Italy, and 
spoiled all that country, he retired himself into the island 
of Helba. "Where falling sore sick, before his death he 
commanded his chaplains to bury his body in the foresaid 
tomb at Populonium : and when they told him how hard 
a thing it was by reason of the Lombards, which were 
lords of the country, and did range up and down in all 
places : " Carry me thither," quoth he, "securely, and 
fear nothing, but bury me in all haste, and that being 
done, come away as fast as you can." For performing of 
this his will they provided a ship, and away they went 
with his body towards Populonium : in which journey 
there fell great store of rain, but that the world might 
know whose body was transported in that ship, in that 
twelve miles' space which is betwixt the island and Popu- 
lonium, a great storm of rain fell upon both sides of the 
ship, but not one drop within. When they were come 
to the place, they buried his body, and, according to his 
commandment, returned to their ship with all speed : 
and they were no sooner aboard, than there entered into 
the church, where the Bishop was buried, a most cruel 
captain of the Lombards called Gunmar. By whose sud- 
den coming to that place, it appeared plainly that the man 
of God had the spirit of prophecy, when he willed them 
in all haste to depart from the place of his burial. 

Chapter Ctoetoe : of jFulgentiu0, IBisbop of 

HDttiCOli. ^ The very same miracle, which I told you 
concerning the division of the rain, happened likewise to 
the great veneration of another Bishop. For a certain 

1 20 

$)erculanii0 of IPerustum 

old Priest, who yet liveth, was then present when it 
happened, and saith that Fulgentius, Bishop of Otricoli, 
was in disgrace with that cruel tyrant Totilas : and there- 
fore, as he was passing that way with his army, the Bishop 
did carefully beforehand by his chaplains send him certain 
presents, by that means, if it were possible, to mitigate 
his furious mind. But the tyrant contemned them, and 
in great rage commanded his soldiers hardly to bind the 
Bishop, and to keep him safe until he had heard his ex- 
amination. The merciless Goths executed his cruel com- 
mandment : and setting him upon a piece of ground, 
they made a circle round about him, out of which they 
commanded him not to stir his foot. Whiles the man of 
God stood there in great extremity of heat, environed 
round about with those Goths, suddenly there fell such 
thunder and lightning, and such plenty of rain, that his 
keepers could not endure that terrible storm : and yet for 
all that, not one drop fell within the circle, where the 
man of God, Fulgentius, stood. Which strange news 
being told to that tyrannical king, his barbarous mind was 
brought to have him in great reverence, whose torment 
before he desired and so cruelly thirsted after his blood. 
Thus almighty God, to bring down the lofty minds of 
carnal men, doth work miracles by such as they most con- 
temn : that truth, proceeding from the mouths of his 
humble servants, may subdue those, which of pride do 
extol and advance themselves against the doctrine of 

Cbapter Cfnrteen : of ^erculanus, IBisfjop of 

IpetU.SilUtt. <I Not long since, the virtuous Bishop 
Floridus told me a notable miracle, which was this. " The 
great holy man," quoth he, " Herculanus, who brought 
me up, was Bishop of Perusium, exalted to that dignity 
from the state of a monk : in whose time the perfidious 
king Totilas besieged it for seven years together, and the 
famine within was so great that many of the townsmen 


Cfje Dialogues of %t (Sregorp 

forsook the place : and before the seventh year was ended, 
the army of the Goths took the city. The commander of 
his camp dispatched messengers to Totilas, to know his 
pleasure what he should do with the Bishop, and the rest 
of the citizens : to whom he returned answer, that he 
should, from the top of the Bishop's head to his very foot, 
cut off a thong of his skin, and that done, to strike off 
his head : and as for the rest of the people, to put them 
all to the sword. When he had received this order, he 
commanded the reverent Bishop Herculanus to be 
carried to the walls, and there to have his head strooken 
off, and when he was dead, that his skin should be cut 
from the very crown down to the very foot, as though 
indeed a thong had been taken from his body ; after 
which barbarous fact they threw his dead corpse over the 
wall. Then some upon pity, joining the head to the 
body, did bury him, together with an infant that was 
there found dead. Forty days after, Totilas making pro- 
clamation that the inhabitants, which were gone, should 
without all fear come back again : those, which upon 
extremity of hunger departed, returned home to their 
houses, and calling to mind the holy life of their Bishop, 
they sought for his body, that it might, as he deserved, 
be buried in the church of St. Peter. And whe)n they 
came to the place where it lay, they digged, and found 
the body of the infant that was buried together with him, 
putrefied and full of worms : but the Bishop's body was 
so sound as though it had been newly put into the earth, 
and that which is more to be admired, and deserveth 
greater reverence, his head was so fast joined to his body 
as though it had never been cut off, neither did any sign 
of his beheading appear at all. Then they viewed like- 
wise his back, whether that were also whole and sound, 
and they found it so perfect and well, as though never 
any knife had touched the same." 
IPfctCt. Who would not wonder at such miracles of them 


Benedetto Boiifigli 

I UK I k.W.M.A I !<>\ I U SI . HI- R< I ILANUS 
wia, Perugia \ 


3l0aac of Spoleto 

that be dead : wrought, no question, for the spiritual 
good of the living ? 

Cfmpter Jf ourteen : of tbe sertmnt of <£od, 3jsaac- 

9 <2Dt00Otp* At such time as the Goths first invaded 
Italy, there was, near to the city of Spoleto, a virtuous 
and holy man called Isaac : who lived almost to the last 
days of the Goths, whom many did know, and especially 
the holy virgin Gregoria, which now dwelleth in this city, 
hard by the church of the blessed and perpetual Virgin 
Mary : which woman, in her younger years, desiring to 
live a nun's life, fled to the church from marriage, already 
agreed upon by her friends, and was by this man de- 
fended : and so, through God's providence, obtained to 
have that habit which so much she desired, and so,leaving 
her spouse upon earth, she merited a spouse in heaven. 
Many things also I had by the relation of the reverent man 
Eleutherius,who was familiarly acquainted with him ; and 
his virtuous life doth give credit to his words. This holy 
man Isaac was not born in Italy ; and therefore I will 
only speak of such miracles as he did living here in our 
country. At his first coming out of Syria to the city of 
Spoleto, he went to the church, and desired the keepers 
that he might have free leave to pray there, and not to be 
enforced to depart when night came. And so he began 
his devotions, and spent all that day in prayer, and like- 
wise the night following. The second day and night he 
bestowed in the same manner, and remained there also 
the third day : which when one of the keepers of the 
church perceived, who was a man of a proud spirit, he 
took scandal by that, whereof he ought to have reaped 
great profit. For he began to say that he was an hypo- 
crite and cozening companion, who in the sight of the 
world remained at his prayers three days and three nights 
together : and forthwith running upon the man of God, 
he strook him, to make him by that means with shame 
to depart the church as an hypocrite, and one that desired 


C6e Dialogues of %t ®reg;orp 

to be reputed an holy man. But to revenge this injury, 
a wicked spirit did presently possess his body, who cast 
him down at the feet of the man of God, and began by 
his mouth to cry out : " Isaac doth cast me forth, Isaac 
doth cast me forth." For what name the strange man 
had, none at that time did know, but the wicked spirit 
told it, when he cried out that he had power to cast him 
out. Straightways the man of God laid himself upon his 
body, and the cursed devil that was entered in, departed 
in all haste. News of this was by and by blown over the 
whole city, and men and women, rich and poor, came run- 
ning, every one striving to bring him home to their own 
house : some for the building of an Abbey, did humbly 
offer him lands, others money, and some such other helps 
as they could. But the servant of almighty God, refusing 
to accept any of their offers, departed out of the city, 
and not far off he found a desert place, where he built a 
little cottage for himself : to whom many repairing began 
by his example to be inflamed with the love of everlasting 
life, and so, under his discipline and government, gave 
themselves to the service of almighty God. And when 
his disciples would often humbly insinuate, that it were 
good for the necessity of the Abbey to take such livings 
as were offered, he, very careful to keep poverty, told 
them constantly, saying : " A monk that seeketh for 
livings upon earth is no monk": for so fearful he was 
to lose the secure state of his poverty, as covetous rich 
men are careful to preserve their corruptible wealth. 

In that place, therefore, he became famous for the spirit 
of prophecy : and his life was renowned far and near, for 
the notable miracles which he wrought. For upon a day, 
towards evening, he caused his monks to lay a certain 
number of spades in the garden. The night following, 
when according to custom they rose up to their prayers, 
he commanded them, saying : " Go your ways, and make 
pottage for our workmen, that it may be ready very early 


3fsaac of ^poleto 

in the morning." And when it was day, he bad them 
bring the pottage which they had provided ; and going 
with his monks into the garden, he found there so many 
men working as he had commanded them to lay spades : 
for it fell so out, that certain thieves were entered in to 
spoil and rob it ; but God changing their minds, they took 
the spades which they found there, and so wrought from 
the time of their first entrance, until the man of God 
came unto them : and all such parts of the ground as 
before were not manured, they had digged up and made 
ready. When the man of God was come, he saluted them 
in this wise : " God save you, good brethren : you have 
laboured long, wherefore now rest yourselves ": then he 
caused such provision as he had brought to be set before 
them, and so after their labour and pains refreshed them. 
When they had eaten that was sufficient, he spake thus 
unto them : "Do not hereafter any more harm : but when 
you desire anything that is in the garden, come to the 
gate, quietly ask it, and take it a God's blessing, but steal 
no more": and so bestowing upon them good store of 
worts, he sent them away. And by this means it fell 
out that they which came into the garden to do harm, de- 
parted thence not doing any damage at all, and besides 
had the reward of their pains, and somewhat also of 
charity bestowed upon them. 

At another time, there came unto him certain strange 
men a begging, so torn and tattered, that they had scant 
any rags to cover them, humbly beseeching him to help 
them with some clothes. The man of God, hearing their 
demand, gave them no answer : but secretly calling for 
one of his monks, bad him go into such a wood, and in 
such a place of the wood to seek for an hollow tree, and 
to bring unto him that apparel which he found there. 
The monk went his way, and brought closely to his master 
that which he had found. Then the man of God called 
for those poor naked men, and gave them that apparel, 


Cfje Dialogues of %t ®regorp 

saying : " Put on these clothes to cover your naked 
bodies withal." They, seeing their own garments, were 
wonderfully confounded : for thinking by cunning to 
have gotten other men's apparel, with shame they re- 
ceived only their own. 

Again, at another time, one there was that commended 
himself to his prayers, and sent him by his servant two 
baskets full of meat : one of the which, as he was in his 
journey, he took away, and hid in a bush till his return 
back again ; and the other he presented to the man of 
God, telling him how his master had sent him that, heartily 
commending himself to his prayers. The holy man took 
that which was sent very kindly, giving the messenger 
this good lesson : " 1 pray thee, my friend, to thank thy 
master, and take heed how thou dost lay hand upon the 
basket, for a snake is crept in, and therefore be careful, 
lest otherwise it doth sting thee." At these words the 
messenger was pitifully confounded, and though glad he 
was that by this means he escaped death, yet somewhat 
grieved that he was put to that shame. Coming back to 
the basket, very diligent and careful he was in touching 
it ; for as the man of God had told him, a snake in very 
deed was got in. This holy man, therefore, albeit he 
were incomparably adorned with the virtue of abstinence, 
contempt of worldly wealth, the spirit of prophecy, and 
perseverance in prayer : yet one thing there was in him 
which seemed reprehensible, to wit, that sometime he 
would so exceed in mirth, that if men had not known 
him to have been so full of virtue, none would ever have 
thought it. 

Ij*)0t0t. What, 1 beseech you, shall we say to that ? for did 
he willingly give himself sometime to such recreation : 
or else excelling in virtue, was he, contrary to his own 
mind, drawn sometime to present mirth ? 
(JfrtCgOtp. God's providence, Peter, in bestowing of his 
gifts, is wonderful : for often it falleth out, that upon 


31saac of ^poleto 

whom he vouchsafeth the greater, he giveth not the less : 
to the end that always they may have somewhat to mis- 
like in themselves : so that desiring to arrive unto perfec- 
tion and yet can not : and labouring about that which they 
have not obtained, and can not prevail : by this means 
they become not proud of those gifts which they have 
received, but do thereby learn that they have not those 
greater graces of themselves, who of themselves cannot 
overcome small faults. And this was the cause that, when 
God had brought his people into the land of promise, and 
destroyed all their mighty and potent enemies, yet did 
he long time after reserve the Philisteans and Chananites, 
that, as it is written, He might in them try Israel. 1 For 
sometime as hath been said, upon whom he bestoweth 
great gifts, he leaveth some small things that be blame- 
worthy, that always they may have somewhat to fight 
against, and not to be proud, though their great enemies 
be vanquished, seeing other adversaries in very small 
things do put them to great trouble : and therefore it 
falleth out strangely, that one and the self same man is 
excellent for virtue, and yet of infirmity sometime doth 
offend, so that he may behold himself on the one side 
strong and well furnished, and on another open and not 
defended : that by the good thing which he seeketh for, 
and is not able to procure, he may with humility preserve 
that virtue which already he hath in possession. But 
what wonder is it that we speak this concerning man, 
when as heaven itself lost some of his citizens, and other 
some continued sound in God's grace : that the elect 
Angels of God, seeing others through pride to fall from 
heaven, might stand so much the more steadfast, by how 
much with humility they preserved God's grace received ? 
They, therefore, took profit by that loss which heaven 
then had, and were thereby made to persevere more con- 
stantly in God's service for all eternity. In like manner 

1 Judges 3, i. 

C6e Dialogic of %t (Sreprp 

it fareth with each man's soul, which sometime for pre- 
serving of humility, by a little loss it attaineth to great 
spiritual perfection. 
l[i)0tCt* I am very well pleased with that you say. 

Chapter jTifteen : of tbe aenrant* of <£od 
(Buwciw anD j?lorenttu0, <I ®regorp. Neither will 

I pass over that with silence, which I heard from the 
mouth of that reverent Priest, Sanctulus, one of the same 
country : and of whose report I am sure you make no 
doubt, for you know very well his life and fidelity. 

At the same time, in the province of Nursia there 
dwelt two men, observing the life and habit of holy con- 
versation : the one was called Euthicius and the other 
Florentius ; of which Euthicius bestowed his time in 
spiritual zeal and fervour of virtue, and laboured much 
by his exhortations, to gain souls to God ; but Florentius 
led his life in simplicity and devotion. Not far from 
the place where they remained, there was an Abbey, the 
governor whereof was dead, and therefore the monks 
made choice of Euthicius, to take the charge thereof: 
who, condescending to their petition, governed the Abbey 
many years. And not to have his former oratory utterly 
destitute, he left the reverent man Florentius to keep the 
same ; who dwelt there all alone, and upon a day, being 
at his prayers, he besought almighty God to vouchsafe 
him of some comfort in that place ; and having ended 
his devotions, he went forth, where he found a bear 
standing before the door, which by the bowing down of 
his head to the ground, and shewing in the gesture of his 
body no sign of cruelty, gave the man of God to under- 
stand that he was come thither to do him service, and 
himself likewise did forthwith perceive it. And because 
he had in the house four or five sheep which had no 
keeper, he commanded the bear to take charge of them, 
saying: "Go and lead these sheep to the field, and at 
twelve of the clock come back again " : which charge he 


JFlorentius anD OEutWaua 

took upon him, and did daily come home at that hour : 
and so he performed the office of a good shepherd, and 
those sheep, which before time he used to devour, now 
fasting himself, he took care to have them safely kept. 
And when God's servant determined to fast until three 
of the clock, then he commanded the bear to return with 
his sheep at the same hour ; but when he would not 
fast so long, to come at twelve. And whatsoever he com- 
manded his bear, that he did, so that bidden to return 
at three of the clock, he would not come at twelve ; and 
commanded to return at twelve, he would not tarry till 
three. And when this had continued a good while, he 
began to be famous far and near for his virtue and holy 
life. But the old enemy of mankind by that means which 
he seeth the good to come unto glory, by the same doth 
he draw the wicked through hatred to procure their own 
misery ; for four of Euthicius' monks, swelling with envy 
that their master wrought not any miracles, and that he 
who was left alone by him was famous for so notable 
a one, upon very spite went and killed his bear. And 
therefore, when the poor beast came not at his appointed 
hour, Florentius began to suspect the matter : but expect- 
ing yet until the evening, very much grieved he was that 
the bear, whom in great simplicity he called his brother, 
came not home. The next day, he went to the field, to 
seek for his sheep and his shepherd, whom he found there 
slain ; and making diligent inquisition, he learned quickly 
who they were that had committed that uncharitable fact. 
Then was he very sorry, bewailing yet more the malice 
of the monks than the death of his bear ; whom the 
reverent man Euthicius sent for, and did comfort him 
what he might : but the holy man Florentius, wonder- 
fully grieved in mind, did in his presence curse them, 
saying : "1 trust in almighty God, that they shall in this 
life, and in the sight of the world, receive the reward of 
their malice, that have thus killed my bear which did 

129 1 

Cbe Dialogic of %t (Sregorp 

them no harm"; whose words God's vengeance did 
straight follow, for the four monks that killed the poor 
beast were straight so strooken with a leprosy, that their 
limbs did rot away, and so they died miserably : whereat 
the man of God, Florentius, was greatly afraid, and much 
grieved, that he had so cursed the monks ; and all his 
life after he wept, for that his prayer was heard, crying 
out that himself was cruel, and that he had murdered 
those men. Which thing I suppose almighty God did, 
to the end that he should not, being a man of great sim- 
plicity, upon any grief whatsoever, afterward presume 
to curse any. 

K^0tCt» What ? is it any great sin, if in our anger we 
curse others ? 

<&IZQ0XJ). Why do you ask me whether it be a great 
sin, when as St. Paul saith : Neither cursers shall possess 
the kingdom of God? 1 Think, then, how great the sin is, 
which doth exclude a man out of heaven. 
Ip0t0t. What if a man, haply not of malice, but of 
negligence in keeping his tongue, doth curse his neigh- 
bour ? 

<$tZQ0XJ)* If before the severe judge idle speech is 
reprehended, how much more that which is hurtful. 
Consider, then, how damnable those words be, which 
proceed of malice, when that talk shall be punished 
which proceedeth only from idleness. 
H?0t0t» I grant it be most true. 

<2Dt00Otp. The same man of God did another thing 
which I must not forget. For, the report of his virtue 
reaching far and near, a certain Deacon, that dwelt many 
miles off, travelled unto him, to commend himself to 
his prayers. And coming to his cell, he found it round 
about full of innumerable snakes ; at which sight being 
wonderfully afraid, he cried out, desiring Florentius to 
pray : who came forth, the sky being then very clear, 

1 i Cor. 6, io, 

JFlorenttus anO <But\)idm 

and lifted up his eyes and his hands to heaven, desiring 
God to take them away in such sort as he best knew. 
Upon whose prayers, suddenly it thundered, and that 
thunder killed all those snakes. Florentius, seeing 
them all dead, said unto God : " Behold, O Lord, thou 
hast destroyed them all, but who shall now carry them 
away ? " And straight as he had thus spoken, so many 
birds came as there were snakes killed, which took them 
all up, and carried them far off, discharging his habita- 
tion from those venomous creatures. 
I£)0t0t. Certainly he was a man of great virtue and merit, 
whose prayers God did so quickly hear. 
<2>t00Otp* Purity of heart and simplicity, Peter, is of 
great force with almighty God, who is in purity most 
singular, and of nature most simple. For those servants 
of his, which do retire themselves from worldly affairs, 
avoid idle words, labour not to lose their devotion, nor 
to defile their soul with talking, do especially obtain to 
be heard of him, to whom, after a certain manner, and 
as they may, they be like in purity and simplicity of 
heart. But we that live in the world, and speak often- 
times idle words, and that which is worse, sometime 
those that be hurtful : our words and prayers are so 
much the farther off from God, as they be near unto 
the world : for we are drawn too much down towards 
the earth, by continual talking of secular business : which 
thing the prophet Esaye did very well reprehend in 
himself, after he had beheld the King and Lord of 
armies, and was penitent, crying out : Woe be to me for 
being silent^ because I am a man that have defiled lips : and 
he sheweth straight after the reason why his lips were 
defiled, when he saith : I dwell in the midst of a people 
that hath defiled lips} For sorry he was that his lips were 
defiled, yet concealeth not from whence he had them, 
when he saith, that he dwelt in the midst of a people 

1 Isai. 6, 5, 

l 2 l 

C6e Dialogues of %t ©regotp 

that had defiled lips. For very hard it is that the 
tongues of secular men should not defile their souls, 
with whom they talk ; for when we do sometime con- 
descend to speak with them of certain things, by little 
and little we get such a custom, that we hear that spoken 
with pleasure which is not meet to be heard at all, so 
that afterward we are loath to give that over, to which 
at the first, to gratify others, we were brought against 
our wills. And by this means we fall from idle words 
to hurtful speeches, and from talk of small moment to 
words of great importance : and so it cometh to pass 
that our tongue is so much the less respected of God 
when we pray, by how much we are more defiled with 
foolish speech, because, as it is written : He that turneth 
away his ear that he hear not the /aw, his prayer shall be 
execrable} What marvel, then, is it, if, when we pray, 
God doth slowly hear us, when as we hear God's com- 
mandments, either slowly or not at all ? And what 
marvel if Florentius, when he prayed, was quickly 
heard, who obeyed God in observing his command- 
ments ? 

}^0t0t. The reason alleged is so plain, that nothing 
with reason can be said against it. 

30t00Otp4 But Euthicius, who was companion to 
Florentius in serving of God, was famous also for 
miracles after his death. For the inhabitants of that 
city do speak of many : but the principal is that which, 
even to these times of the Lombards, almighty God 
hath vouchsafed to work by his coat : for when they 
had any great drougth the citizens, gathering themselves 
together, did carry that, and together with their prayers 
offer it in the sight of our Lord. And when they went 
with that through the fields, praying to God, forthwith 
they had such plenty of rain as the dryness of the 
ground required : whereby it was apparent, what virtue 

1 Prov. 28, 9. 

e@arciu0 of amount 6@at0tco 

and merits were in his soul, whose garment shewed 
outwardly did pacify the anger of almighty God. 

Chapter ^irteen: of §^arctus, tbe a^onk of 

00OUnt Qpat0iCO. <I Not long since, there was a 
reverent man in Campania, called Marcius, who lived 
a solitary life in the mountain of Marsico : and many 
years together did he continue in a narrow and straight 
cave : whom many of our acquaintance knew very well, 
and were present at such miracles as he did, and many 
things concerning him have I heard from the mouth of 
Pope Pelagius of blessed memory, my predecessor, and 
also of others, who be very religious men. His first 
miracle was that, so soon as he made choice of that cave 
for his habitation, there sprung water out of the hollow 
rock, which was neither more nor less than served for 
his necessity : by which almighty God did shew what 
great care he had of his servant, seeing miraculously, 
as in ancient time he had before done to the children 
of Israel, he caused the hard rock to yield forth water. 
But the old enemy of mankind, envying at his virtues, 
went about by his ancient slight to drive him from that 
place : for he entered into a serpent, his old friend, and 
so thought to have terrified him from thence. For the 
serpent alone would come into the cave where he lived 
also alone, and when he was at his prayers, it would 
cast itself before him, and when he took his rest, it 
would lie down by his side. The holy man was nothing 
at all dismayed at this : for sometime he would put his 
hand or leg to his mouth, saying : " If thou hast leave 
to sting me, I hinder thee not " : and when he had lived 
thus continually the space of three years, upon a day 
the old enemy, overcome with his heavenly courage, 
made a great hissing, and tumbling himself down by 
the side of the mountain, he consumed all the bushes 
and shrubs with fire : in which fact by the power of 
God he was enforced to shew of what force he was, that 


C6e Dialo0tie0 of %>t tfttegorp 

departed with loss of the victory. Consider, I pray you 
then, in the top of what mountain this man of God stood, 
that continued three years together with a serpent, 
without taking any harm at all. 

IPCtCt. I do consider it, and do tremble at the very 
hearing of the story. 

(2DtC0Otp. This reverent man, when he first shut him- 
self up, was determined never to behold women any 
more : not because he contemned them, but for that he 
feared lest their sight might be the occasion of sinful 
temptation : which resolution of his a certain woman 
understanding, up she went boldly to the mountain, and 
forgetting all modesty, impudently approached to his 
cave. He seeing her a good way off", and perceiving by 
the apparel that it was a woman, he fell straight to his 
prayers, with his face upon the earth, and there he lay 
prostrate, until the shameless creature, wearied with stay- 
ing at his window, departed : and that very day after she 
was descended the mountain, she ended her life ; to give 
all the world to understand how highly she displeased 
almighty God, in offending his servant with that her bold 

At another time, many of devotion going to visit him, 
a young boy, taking little heed to his feet, and by reason 
the path was so straight upon the side of the mountain, fell 
down, and tumbled until he came to the bottom of the 
valley, which was very deep : for the mountain is so high, 
that huge trees growing beneath seem to them that 
be above nothing else but little shrubs. The people 
present were at this chance much dismayed, and very 
diligently did they seek, to see where they could find his 
dead body : for who would have thought any otherwise 
but that he was slain, or once imagined that his body 
could ever have come safe to the ground, so many rocks 
being in the way to tear it in pieces ? yet for all this, he 
was found in the valley, not only alive, but also without 





o C 

Z -5! 

< ^ 

►J .„ 


aparcius of amount e$ar0tco 

any harm at all. Then they perceived very well, that the 
reason why he was not hurt was because Marcius' prayers 
did preserve him in his falling. 

Over his cave there was a great rock, which seemed to 
hang but by a little piece unto the mountain, and there- 
fore daily was it feared that it would fall, and so kill the 
servant of God. For preventing of which mischief, the 
honourable man Mascatus, nephew to Armentarius, came 
thither with a great number of country people, desiring 
him to leave his cave so long until they had removed 
that rock, to the end he might afterward continue there 
without any danger: but the man of God could not by 
any means be persuaded to come forth, bidding them not- 
withstanding do what they thought convenient, only he 
retired himself to the farthest part of his cell : yet none 
made any doubt, but that if so huge a rock as that was 
did fall, but that it would both spoil his cave and kill 
himself. Wherefore they laboured what they might, to 
see if they could remove that mighty stone without any 
danger to the man of God, and forthwith, in the sight of 
them all, a strange thing happened : for that rock, severed 
by their labour from the rest of the mountain, not 
touching Marcius' cave, did skip clean over, and avoiding, 
as it were, to hurt God's servant, it fell far off : which 
thing no man can doubt but that it was done by the 
hands of Angels, at the commandment of almighty God. 

At such time as this holy man came first to inhabit that 
mountain, and had not yet made any door for his cave, 
he fastened the one end of an iron chain to the stony 
wall, and the other he tied to his leg, to the end he might 
go no farther than the length of that chain did give him 
leave : which thing the reverent man Bennet hearing of, 
sent him this word by one of his monks: " If thou be 
God's servant, let the chain of Christ, and not any chain 
of iron, hold thee " : upon this message Marcius forth- 
with loosed his chain, yet did he keep still the same 


Cbe Dialogues of §>t. (Srcgorp 

compass, and go no farther than he did before. Living 
afterward in the same cave, he began to entertain certain 
disciples, which dwelt apart from his cell, who, having 
no other water but that which with a rope and a bucket 
they drew out of a well, great trouble they had, because 
their rope did often break: and therefore they came unto 
him, craving that chain which he had loosed from his leg, 
that they might tie the rope to that, and fasten the bucket 
upon it : and from that time forward, though the rope was 
daily wet with water, yet did it break no more ; for having 
touched the holy man's chain, it became strong like unto 
iron, so that the water did not wear it, nor do it any harm. 
1^0t0t* These worthy acts of his do please me, seeing 
they are strange, and that very much, because they were 
so lately done, and be yet fresh in memory. 

Cbaptet ^etienteen : boto a e^onfc of amount 
argentario raisco up a Deao man, <I ^rcgorp. 

Not long since in our time, a certain man called Quadra- 
gesimus was subdeacon in the church of Buxentin, who 
in times past kept a flock of sheep in the same country 
of Aurelia : by whose faithful report I understood a mar- 
vellous strange thing, which is this. At such time as he 
led a shepherd's life, there was an holy man that dwelt 
in the mountain of Argentario: whose religious conver- 
sation and inward virtue was answerable to the habit of 
a monk, which outwardly he did wear. Every year he 
travelled from his mountain to the church of St. Peter, 
Prince of the Apostles : and in the way took this Quadra- 
gesimus' house for his lodging, as himself did tell me. 
Coming upon a day to his house, which was hard by the 
church, a poor woman's husband died not far off, whom 
when they had, as the manner is, washed, put on his 
garments, and made him ready to be buried, yet it was 
so late, that it could not be done that day : wherefore the 
desolate widow sat by the dead corpse, weeping all night 
long, and to satisfy her grief she did continually lament 


Cfje ^onfe of amount argentario 

and cry out. The man of God, seeing her so pitifully to 
weep and never to give over, was much grieved, and said 
to Quadragesimus the subdeacon : " My soul taketh 
compassion of this woman's sorrow, arise, I beseech you, 
and let us pray " : and thereupon they went to the church, 
which, as I said, was hard by, and fell to their devotions. 
And when they had prayed a good while, the servant of 
God desired Quadragesimus to conclude their prayer; 
which being done, he took a little dust from the side of 
the altar : and so came with Quadragesimus to the dead 
body ; and there he began again to pray, and when he 
continued so a long time, he desired him not, as he did 
before, to conclude their prayers, but himself gave the 
blessing, and so rose up : and because he had the dust in 
his right hand, with his left he took away the cloth that 
covered the dead man's face ; which the woman seeing, 
earnestly withstood him, and marvelled much what he 
meant to do : when the cloth was gone, he rubbed the 
dead man's face a good while with the dust, which he had 
taken up ; and at length, he that was dead received his 
soul again, began to open his mouth and his eyes, and to 
sit up, and as though he had awakened from a deep sleep, 
marvelled what they did about him ; which when the 
woman, that had wearied herself with crying, beheld, she 
began then afresh to weep for joy, and cry out far louder 
than she did before : but the man of God modestly for- 
bad her, saying : " Peace, good woman, and say nothing, 
and if any demand how this happened, say only, that our 
Lord Jesus Christ hath vouchsafed to work his pleasure." 
Thus he spake, and forthwith he departed from Quadra- 
gesimus, and never came to his house again. For, de- 
sirous to avoid all temporal honour, he so handled the 
matter, that they which saw him work that miracle, did 
never see him more so long as he lived. 
K?0t0t. What others think I know not : but mine 
opinion is, that it is a miracle above all miracles, to raise 


C&e Dialogic of %t <$regorp 

up dead men, and secretly to call back their souls, to give 
life unto their bodies again. 

$tC(J0tp« If we respect outward and visible things, of 
necessity we must so believe ; but if we turn our eyes 
to invisible things, then certain it is that it is a greater 
miracle, by preaching of the word and virtue of prayer, 
to convert a sinner than to raise up a dead man : for in 
the one, that flesh is raised up which again shall die : but 
in the other, he is brought from death which shall live for 
ever. For I will name you two, and tell me in which of 
them, as you think, the greater miracle was wrought. 
The first is Lazarus, a true believer, whom our Lord raised 
up in flesh ; the other is Saul, whom our Lord raised in 
soul. For of Lazarus' virtues after his resurrection we 
read nothing : but after the raising up of the other's soul, 
we are not able to conceive what wonderful things be in 
holy scripture spoken of his virtues : as that his most 
cruel thoughts and designments were turned into the 
bowels of piety and compassion ; that he desired to die 
for his brethren, in whose death before he took much 
pleasure ; that knowing the holy scriptures perfectly, yet 
professed that he knew nothing else but Jesus Christ and 
him crucified ; that he did willingly endure the beating of 
rods for Christ, whom before with sword he did perse- 
cute ; that he was exalted to the dignity of an Apostle, 
and yet willingly became a little one in the midst of 
other disciples ; that he was rapt to the secrets of the 
third heaven, and yet did turn his eye of compassion to 
dispose of the duty of married folks, saying : Let the hus- 
band render debt to the wife, and likewise the wife to the 
husband ;* that he was busied in contemplating the quires 
of Angels, and yet contemned not to think and dispose 
of the facts of carnal men ; that he rejoiced in his infir- 
mities, and took pleasure in his reproaches ; that for him 
to live is Christ, and gain to die ; that although he lived 

1 i Cor. 7, 3. 

IBmntt t&e 6£on& 

in flesh, yet was he wholly out of the flesh. Behold how 
this blessed Apostle lived, who from hell returned in his 
soul to the life of virtue : wherefore less it is for one to 
be raised up in body, except perchance, by the reviving 
thereof, he be also brought to the life of his soul, and 
that the outward miracle do serve for the giving of life 
to the inward spirit. 

IfPCtCt. I thought that far inferior, which I perceive now 
to be incomparably superior : but prosecute, I beseech 
you, your former discourse, that we spend no time 
without some spiritual profit to our souls. 

Cbaptct Eighteen: of T6ennet t&e Q^onfe. tj 

(S>tC{J0t£. A certain monk lived with me in mine Abbey, 
passing cunning in holy scripture, who was elder than I, 
and of whom I learned many things which before I knew 
not. By his report I understood that there was in Cam- 
pania, some forty miles from Rome, a man called Bennet, 
young in years, but old for gravity : one that observed 
the rule of holy conversation very strictly. When the 
Goths in the time of King Totilas found him, they went 
about to burn him, together with his cell ; and fire for 
that end was put to, which consumed all things round 
about, but no hold would the fire take upon his cell : 
which when the Goths saw, they became more mad, and 
with great cruelty drew him out of that place, and espying 
not far off an oven made hot to bake bread, into those 
flames they threw him, and so stopped the mouth. But 
the next day he was found so free from all harm, that not 
only his flesh, but his very apparel also, was not by the 
fire anything touched at all. 

IPCtCt. I hear now the old miracle of the three children, 
which were thrown into the fire, and yet were preserved 
from those furious flames. 1 

(25tC0Otp. That miracle, in mine opinion, was in some 
thing unlike to this : for then the three children were 

1 Daniel 3. 

J 39 

Cf)c Dialogues of %t ®regorp 

bound hand and foot, and so thrown into the fire, for 
whom the King looking the next day, found them walk- 
ing in the furnace, their garments being nothing hurt by 
those flames : whereby we gather that the fire into which 
they were cast, and touched not their apparel, did yet 
consume their bands, so that at one and the same time, 
for the service of the just, the fire had force to bring them 
comfort, and yet had none to procure them torment. 

C&aptec Nineteen : of rte cfmrcf) of itoseD Jzno 
t&e #artpr : in tofjicb tfje toater ascenDeD frigfjet 
tfjan tfje Door, anD tbougb it toere open, pet enteteo 

not in» ^ Like unto this ancient miracle we had in our 
days another, but yet in a divers element : for not long 
since John the Tribune told me that, when the Earl Pro- 
nulphus was there, and himself also with Antharicus the 
king, how there happened at that time a strange miracle, 
and he affirmeth that himself doth know it to be true. 
For he said that, almost five years since, when the river of 
Tiber became so great that it ran over the walls of Rome, 
and overflowed many countries : at the same time in the 
city of Verona, the river Athesis did so swell, that it came 
to the very church of the holy martyr and Bishop Zeno ; 
and though the church doors were open, yet did it not 
enter in. At last it grew so high, that it came to the church 
windows, not far from the very roof itself, and the water 
standing in that manner, did close up the entrance into 
the church, yet without running in : as though that thin 
and liquid element had been turned into a sound wall. 
And it fell so out, that many at that time were surprised 
in the church, who not finding any way how to escape 
out, and fearing lest they might perish for want of meat 
and drink, at length they came to the church door, and 
took of the water to quench their thirst, which, as I said, 
came up to the windows, and yet entered not in ; and so 
for their necessity they took water, which yet, according 
to the nature of water, ran not in : and in that manner it 


Girolamo dai Libri A nderson 


(Sun Giorgio^ I eroita) 

lPrie0t ^tepfjen of Unlzm 

stood there before the door, being water to them for their 
comfort, and yet not water to invade the place : and all 
this to declare the great merit of Christ's martyr. Which 
miracle I said truly, that it was not unlike to that ancient 
one of the fire : which burnt the three children's bands, 
and yet touched not their garments. 
J£)0t0t. Marvellous strange are these acts of God's saints 
which you tell ; and much to be admired of us weak 
men, that live in these days. But because I understand 
now, by your relation, what a number of excellent and 
virtuous men have been in Italy, desirous I am to know 
whether they endured any assaults of the devil, and did 
thereby more profit in the service of God. 
ffitZgOZj). Without labour and fighting, none can obtain 
the crown of victory : whence, then, come so many con- 
querors but from this, that they fought valiantly, and 
resisted the assaults of the old enemy ? For the wicked 
spirit doth continually watch our thoughts, words, and 
works : to find something whereof to accuse us before 
the eternal Judge. For proof whereof I will now let 
you understand, how ready he is always to entrap and 
deceive us. 

Cbapter Ctoentp : of a Iprtest callcD Stephen, in 
tbe province of Valeria : to&ose stockings tfje oetnl 

toOUlD batie Otaton Off. *& Some that are yet living 
with me, affirm this to be true which I will now speak 
of. A man of holy life there was, called Stephen, who was 
a Priest in the province of Valeria, nigh of kindred to 
my deacon Bonifacius : who, coming home upon a time 
from travel, spake somewhat negligently to his servant, 
saying : " Come, sir devil, and pull off my hose " : at 
which words, straightways his garters began to loose in 
great haste, so that he plainly perceived that the devil 
indeed, whom he named, was pulling off his stocking : 
whereat being much terrified, he cried out aloud, and 
said : " Away, wretched caitiff, away ; I spake not to thee, 


C6e Dialogues of %t <$reprp 

but to my servant." Then the devil gave over, leaving 
his garters almost quite off. By which we may learn, 
that if the devil be so officious in things concerning our 
body, how ready and diligent he is to observe and note 
the cogitations of our soul. 

I£>£t0t. A very painful thing it is and terrible, always to 
strive against the temptations of the devil, and, as it were, 
to stand continually armed ready to fight. 
<&tZQ0tJ). Not painful at all, if we attribute our pre- 
servation not to ourselves, but to God's grace ; yet so 
notwithstanding, that we be careful what we may for 
our parts, and always vigilant under God's protection. 
And it falleth out sometime by God's goodness, that 
when the devil is expelled from our soul, that he is so 
little of us to be feared, that contrariwise he is rather 
terrified by the virtuous and devout life of good people. 

Chapter Ctoent^one : of a Bun tbat, ftp frer onlp 
commandment, Dispossessed a Detoil. «I For the 

holy man, old father Eleutherius, of whom I spake 
before, told me that which I will now tell you : and he 
was himself a witness of the truth thereof : this it was. 
In the city of Spoleto, there was a certain worshipful 
man's daughter, for years marriageable, which had a 
great desire to lead another kind of life : whose purpose 
her father endeavoured to hinder : but she, not respect- 
ing her father's pleasure, took upon her the habit of holy 
conversation : for which cause her father did disinherit 
her, and left her nothing else but six little pieces of 
ground. By her example many noble young maids 
began under her to be converted, to dedicate their 
virginity to almighty God, and to serve him. Upon 
a time, the virtuous Abbot Eleutherius went to bestow 
upon her some good exhortation : and as he was sitting 
with her, discoursing of spiritual matters, a country man 
came from that piece of ground which her father had 
left her, bringing a certain present : and as he was 


£be Cbief at t&e <£>rat)e 

standing before them, suddenly a wicked spirit pos- 
sessed his body ; so that straightways he fell down before 
them, and began pitifully to cry and roar out. At this 
the Nun rose up, and with angry countenance and loud 
voice, commanded him to go forth, saying : " Depart from 
him, thou vile wretch, depart." " If I depart," quoth the 
devil, speaking by the mouth of the possessed man, " into 
whom shall I go ? " By chance there was at that time 
a little hog hard by : into which she gave him leave to 
enter, which he did, and so, killing it, went his way. 
l^CtCt. I would gladly be informed, whether she might 
bestow so much as that hog upon the devil. 
(2Dt0(JOtp. The actions of our Saviour be a rule for us, 
according to which we may direct our life : and we read 
in the scripture, how the legion of devils that possessed 
a man said unto our Saviour : If thou dost cast us forth , 
send us into the herd of swine : 1 who cast them out, and 
permitted them to enter in as they desired, and to drown 
that herd in the sea. By which fact of our Saviour we 
learn also this lesson, that, except almighty God giveth 
leave, the devil cannot have any power against man, 
seeing he cannot so much as enter into hogs, without 
our Saviour's permission. Wherefore, necessary it is 
that we be obedient to him, unto whom all our enemies 
be subject, that we may so much the more be stronger 
than our enemies, by how much through humility we 
become one with the author of all things. And what 
marvel is it, if God's chosen servants, living yet upon 
earth, can do many strange things, when as their very 
bones, after they be dead, do oftentimes work miracles ? 

C&aptet CtoentHtoo : of a priest in tbe province 
of Ualetia, tobo DctaineD a tbicf at bis gratis 

I] For, in the province of Valeria, this strange thing 
happened : which I had from the mouth of Valentius, 
mine Abbot, who was a blessed man. In that country 

1 Matt. 8, 31. 

Cbe Dialogues of %t <$regorp 

there was a Priest, who in the company of divers other 
clerks served God, and led a virtuous and holy life : 
who, when his time was come, departed this life, and 
was buried before the church. Not far off, there 
belonged to the church certain sheep-cotes : and the 
place where he lay buried was the way to go unto the 
sheep. Upon a night, as the Priests were singing 
within the church, a thief came to the said place, 
took up a wether, and so departed in all haste : but 
as he passed where the man of God was buried, there 
he stayed, and could go no farther. Then he took the 
wether from his shoulders, and would fain have let it 
go, but by no means could he open his hand : and 
therefore, poor wretch, there he stood fast bound, with 
his prey before him ; willingly would he have let the 
wether go, and could not ; willingly also have carried 
it away, and was not able. And so very strangely the 
thief, that was afraid to be espied of living men, was 
held there against his will by one that was dead ; for his 
hands and feet were bound in such sort, that away he 
could not go. When morning was come, and the Priests 
had ended their service, out they came : where they 
found a stranger, with a wether in his hand. And at 
the first they were in doubt, whether he had taken 
away one of theirs, or else came to give them one of 
his own : but he that was guilty of the theft told them 
in what manner he was punished : whereat they all 
wondered, to see a thief, with his prey before him, to 
stand there bound by the merits of the man of God. 
And straightways they offered their prayers for his 
delivery, and scarce could they obtain that he, which 
came to steal away their goods, might at least find so 
much favour as to depart empty as he came : yet in 
conclusion, the thief that had long stood there with his 
stolen wether, was suffered to go away free, leaving 
his carriage behind him. 


Cbe abbot of amount W>xtntm 

]§)ZtZX* By such facts almighty God doth declare, in 
what sweet manner he doth tender us, when he 
vouchsafeth to work such pleasant miracles. 

Cbapter Ctoent^tbree : of tbe abbot of amount 
!Prene0te, ano felPttegt q #te&otg* Above the 

city of Preneste there is a mountain, upon which standeth 
an Abbey of the blessed Apostle, St. Peter : of the monks 
of which place, whiles I lived in an Abbey myself, I heard 
this miracle : which, those religious men said, they knew 
to be very true. In that monastery they had an Abbot 
of holy life, who brought up a certain monk, that became 
very virtuous, whom he perceiving to increase in the 
fear of God, he caused him in the same monastery to be 
made Priest : who, after his taking of orders, understood 
by revelation that his death was not far off; and there- 
fore desired leave of the Abbot to make ready his 
sepulchre, who told him that himself should die before 
him : " but yet for all that," quoth he, " go your way, and 
make your grave at your pleasure." Away he went, and 
did so. Not many days after, the old Abbot fell sick of 
an ague, and drawing near to his end, he bad the fore- 
said Priest that stood by him, to bury his body in that 
grave which he had made for himself : and when the 
other told him that he was shortly to follow after, and 
that the grave was not big enough for both, the Abbot 
answered him in this wise : "Do as I have said, for that 
one grave shall contain both our bodies." So he died, and 
according to his desire, was buried in that grave which 
the Priest had provided for himself. Straight after, the 
Priest fell sick, and lay not long before he departed this 
life ; and when his body was by the monks brought 
to the grave, which he had provided for himself, they 
opened it, and saw that there was not any room, 
because the Abbot's corpse filled the whole place : 
then one of them, with a loud voice, said : "O father, 
where is your promise, that this grave should hold you 

145 K 

Cf)c Dialogic of %t <£rcg;orp 

both ? " No sooner had he spoken those words, than 
the Abbot's body, which lay with the face upward, did, 
in all their sight, turn itself upon one side, and so left 
place enough for the burial of the Priest : and so after 
his death he performed what he promised alive, con- 
cerning the lying of both their bodies in that one grave. 
But because we have now made mention of St. Peter's 
Abbey in the city of Preneste, where this miracle hap- 
pened, are you content to hear something of the keepers 
of his church which is in this city where his most holy 
body remaineth ? 

IPCtCt. Most willing I am, and beseech you that it 
may be so. 

Chapter Ctoentp^four: of £&eoDoru0, deeper 
of %t IPeter'0 C&urcf), in tbe Citp of Home. 

^ (£>tC0Otp. There be yet some alive that knew Theo- 
dorus, keeper of that church : by whose report a notable 
thing that befell him came to my knowledge. For rising 
somewhat early one night to mend the lights that hung by 
the door, and was upon the ladder (as he used) to pour oil 
into the lamps, suddenly St. Peter the Apostle in a white 
stole, standing beneath upon the pavement, appeared unto 
him, and spake to him in this manner : "Theodorus, why 
hast thou risen so early?" and when he had said so, he 
vanished out of his sight : but such a fear came upon 
him, that all the strength of his body did forsake him, 
so that he was not able to rise up from his bed for many 
days after. By which apparition what meant the blessed 
Apostle else, but to give those which serve him to under- 
stand by that his presence, that whatsoever they do for his 
honour, himself for their reward doth always behold it ? 
I[?0t0t. I marvel not so much at his apparition : as that 
being before very well, he fell sick upon that sight. 
(2Dt£0Otp, What reason have you, Peter, to marvel at 
that ? for have you forgotten how the prophet Daniel, 
when he beheld that great and terrible vision at which 


atJunDni0 of %t Peter's C&urcf) 

he trembled, speaketh thus of himself: / became weak, 
and was sick for very many days; 1 for the flesh cannot 
conceive such things as pertain to the spirit, and there- 
fore sometimes when a man's mind is carried to see 
somewhat beyond itself, no remedy but this earthly and 
frail vessel of ours, not able to bear such a burthen, must 
fall into weakness and infirmity. 

l£)etet. Your reason hath taken away that scruple which 
troubled my mind. 

Chapter Ctoent^fitoe: of atmntitus, deeper of tbe 
same Cfmrcb of %t JPeter. «i <£reprp. Not very 

many years since (as old men say) there was another 
keeper of the same church, called Abundius, a grave man, 
and of great humility : who served God so faithfully, that 
the blessed Apostle St. Peter did by miracle declare what 
opinion he had of his virtue. For a certain young maid, 
that frequented his church, was so pitifully sick of the 
palsy, that she crept upon her hands, and, for very weak- 
ness, drew her body upon the ground. Long time had 
she prayed to St. Peter for help of this her infirmity : 
who upon a night in a vision, stood by her and spake 
thus : "Go unto Abundius, and desire his help, and he 
shall restore thee to thine health." The maid, as she made 
no doubt of the vision, so not knowing this Abundius, up 
and down she crept through the church, enquiring for the 
man, and suddenly met with him whom she sought for ; 
and asking for him of himself, he told her that he was 
Abundius. Then quoth she : "Our pastor and patron, 
blessed St. Peter the Apostle, hath sent me, that you 
should help me of this my disease.'^ " If you be sent by 
him," quoth Abundius, "then rise up" : and taking her 
by the hand, he forthwith lifted her up upon her feet : 
and from that very hour, all the sinews and parts of her 
body became so strong, that no sign of her former malady 
remained. But if I should recount all the miracles in 

1 Daniel 8, 27. 


Cbe Dialogues of %t <£reprp 

particular, which are known to have been done in his 
church, questionless no time would be left for the relation 
of any other ; wherefore I will speak no more of them, 
but come to such holy men as have been famous in divers 
other places of Italy. 

Chapter Ctocnt^sir: of a solitary a^onfc called 

Clf)Cna0* fl Not long since, in the province of Samnium, 
there was a reverent man called Menas, who some ten 
years since led a solitary life, and was known to many 
of our friends : and for the truth of such his notable 
acts as I shall report, I will not name any one author, 
because I have so many witnesses as there be men that 
know that province of Samnium. This holy man had 
no other wealth to live upon, but a few hives of bees, 
which a certain Lombard would needs have taken away : 
for which cause the holy man reprehended him, and by 
and by he fell down before him, and was tormented of 
a devil : upon which accident his name became famous, 
both to his neighbours and also to that barbarous nation : 
so that none durst after that but in humility come into 
his cell. Oftentimes also there came certain bears out 
of the wood which was hard by, to devour up his honey, 
whom he strook with a little stick which he carried in 
his hand ; and the bears so feared his stripes, that they 
would roar out and run away, and they which little feared 
naked swords were now afraid to be beaten by him with 
a small wand. He desired not to possess aught in this 
world, nor to seek for any thing ; and his manner was, 
by heavenly talk to inflame all such as of charity came 
to visit him, with the desire and love of eternal life. And 
if at any time he understood that others had committed 
any great sin, he would never spare them, but with 
true love to their souls reprehend them for their faults. 
His neighbours, and others also that dwelt farther off, 
used upon a custom, every one upon certain days in the 
week, to send him their presents and offerings, to the end 


arenas tfje §>olitarp 

he might have somewhat to bestow upon such as came 
to visit him. A certain man there was, called Carterius, 
who, overcome of filthy concupiscence, violently took 
away a Nun, and by unlawful matrimony made her his 
wife : which thing so soon as the man of God understood, 
he sent him by such as he could that message which his 
fact deserved. The man, guilty in his conscience of that 
wickedness which he had committed, durst not himself 
go unto God's servant, fearing lest, as his manner was, 
he would sharply have rebuked him : and therefore he 
sent his offerings among others, that at least through 
ignorance he might receive what he sent him. But when 
all the offerings were brought before him, he sat still, 
viewing them all in particular, and laying the rest aside, 
he took those which Carterius sent, and cast them away, 
saying : "Go and tell him : Thou hast taken away God's 
offering, and dost thou send me thine ? I will none of 
thy offering, because thou hast taken from God that 
which was his." By which fact all that were present 
fell into a great fear, perceiving that he could certainly 
tell what they did which were absent. 
H?£t0C. Many such men as he was might, in mine 
opinion, have been martyrs, if they had lived in times 
of persecution. 

3DtC0Otp. There be, Peter, two kinds of martyrdoms, 
the one secret, the other open : for if a man hath a 
burning zeal in his mind to suffer death for Christ, 
although he endureth not any external persecution, yet 
hath he in secret the merit of martyrdom. For that one 
may be a martyr without suffering death openly, our 
Lord doth teach us in the Gospel : who said unto the 
sons of Zebedeus, desiring as then, through infirmity of 
soul, the principal places to sit upon in his kingdom : 
Can you drink the chalice which I shall drink ? and when 
they answered that they could, he said to them both : 
My chalice verily shall you drink^ but to sit at my right hand 


Cbe Dialogues of %t. ®regorp 

or /eft, is not mine to give you: 1 in which words what is 
signified else, by the name of chalice, but the cup of 
passion and death ? And seeing we know that James 
was put to death for Christ, and that John died when 
the Church enjoyed peace : undoubtedly we do gather 
that one may be a martyr without open suffering : for 
as much as he is said to have drunk our Lord's chalice, 
who yet in persecution was not put to death. But con- 
cerning those notable and excellent men of whom 1 have 
made mention before, why may we not truly say, that if 
they had fallen into a time of persecution, they might have 
been martyrs, when as by enduring the secret assaults of 
the devil, and by loving their enemies in this world, by 
resisting all carnal desires, and in that they did in their 
heart sacrifice themselves to almighty God, they were 
also martyrs in the time of peace ? seeing that now in 
our days we see that mean men and of secular life, yea, 
and even those of whom one would have supposed that 
they did little think of heaven, have by occasion of 
persecution obtained the glorious crown of martyrdom. 

Cbapter £tocntp=set)en : of fortp country bus* 
banDmen tbat toere slain bp tbe lombaros, be= 
cause tbep tooulD not eat flesb sacrificed to iDols- 

^ For about fifteen years since, as they report who 
might very well have been present, forty husbandmen 
of the country were taken prisoners by the Lombards, 
whom they would needs have enforced to eat of that 
which was sacrificed to idols : but when they utterly 
refused so to do, or so much as once to touch that 
wicked meat, then they threatened to kill them, unless 
they would eat it : but they, loving more eternal than 
transitory life, continued constant, and so they were all 
slain. What then were these men ? what else but true 
martyrs, that made choice rather to die than, by eating 
of that which was unlawful, to offend their Creator ? 

1 Matt. 20, 22-23. 

C&e lomfmrD IPersecution 

Cfmpter £toentp=eigf)t : of a great number of 
prisoner tbat toere slain, because t&ep tooulO 

not aDore a goat'S fjeaO. <j At the same time, the 
Lombards, having almost four hundred prisoners in 
their hands, did, after their manner, sacrifice a goat's 
head to the devil : running round about with it in a 
circle, and by singing a most blasphemous song did 
dedicate it to his service. And when they had them- 
selves with bowed heads adored it, then would they also 
have enforced their prisoners to do the like. But a very 
great number of them choosing rather by death to pass 
unto immortal life, than by such abominable adoration to 
preserve their mortal bodies, refused utterly to do what 
they commanded them ; and so would not by any means 
bow down their heads to a creature, having always done 
that service to their Creator : whereat their enemies, in 
whose hands they were, fell into such an extreme rage, 
that they slew all them with their swords, which would 
not join with them in that sacrilegious fact. What 
marvel then is it, that those notable men before men- 
tioned might have come to martyrdom, had they lived 
in the days of persecution, who in the time of peace, 
by continual mortification, walked the straight way of 
martyrdom : when as we see that, in the storm of 
persecution, they merited to obtain the crown of martyr- 
dom, who, the Church being quiet, seemed to walk the 
broad way of this world ? Yet that which we say con- 
cerning the elect servants of God, is not to be holden 
for a general rule in all. For when open persecution 
afflicteth the Church, as most true it is that many may 
arrive to martyrdom, who, when no such tempest did 
blow, seemed contemptible, and of no account : so like- 
wise sometimes they fall away for fear, who before 
persecution, and when all was quiet, seemed to stand 
very constant : but such holy men as before have been 
mentioned, I dare boldly say that they might have been 

J5 1 

Cbe Dialogues of %>t ®rcgorp 

martyrs, because we gather so much by their happy 
deaths : for they could not have fallen in open perse- 
cution, of whom it is certain that, to the very end of 
their lives, they did continue in the profession of piety 
and virtue. 

K?0t0t» It is as you say : but I much wonder at the 
singular providence of God's mercy, which he sheweth 
to us unworthy wretches, in that he doth so moderate 
and temper the cruelty of the Lombards, that he 
suffereth not their wicked priests to persecute the faith 
of Christians : when as they see themselves, as it were, 
the conquerors and rulers of Christian people. 

Chapter Ctoent^nine : of an arian 15isf)op tbat 
toas miraculously stroofcen blind. «I ®regorp. 

Many, Peter, have attempted that, but miracles from 
heaven have stayed the course of their cruelty : and one 
will I now tell you, which I heard three days since of 
Bonifacius, a monk of my Abbey, who, until these four 
years last past, remained amongst the Lombards. An 
Arian Bishop of theirs coming to the city of Spoleto, 
and not having any place where to exercise his religion, 
demanded a church of the Bishop of that town : which 
when he constantly denied him, the Arian prelate told 
him, that the next day he would by force take posses- 
sion of St. Paul's church, which was hard by his lodging. 
The keeper of the church, understanding this news, in 
all haste ran thither, shut the doors, and with locks and 
bolts made them as fast as he could : and when it was 
night he put out all the lamps, and hid himself within. 
The next morning, very early, the Arian Bishop came 
thither with many in his company : meaning by force 
to break open the doors. But suddenly by miracle the 
locks were cast far off, and the doors of themselves, 
making a great noise, flew open : and all the lamps, 
before put out, were lightened again by fire descend- 
ing from heaven : and the Arian Bishop that came to 


Cbe JDallotoing of §>t. agatfm's 

enter the church by violence, was suddenly strooken 
blind, so that other men were fain to lead him back 
again to his own lodging. Which strange accident when 
the Lombards there about understood, they durst not 
any more presume to violate Catholic places : and so it 
fell out wonderfully, by God's providence, that for as 
much as the lamps in St. Paul's church were by reason 
of him put out : that at one and the self same time, 
both he lost the light of his eyes, and the church re- 
ceived her former light again. 

Chapter Cbirtp : fjoto a efwref) of t&c artans in 
Eome teas ballotoeu accorDing to tfje Catholic 

mantlet. ^ Neither is that to be passed over in silence 
which God of his mercy vouchsafed, two years since, to 
shew in this city, to the great condemnation of the Arian 
heresy : for part of that which I intend now to speak of, 
many of the people know to be true : part the Priest and 
keepers of the church affirm that they saw and heard. A 
church ot the Arians, in that part of the city which is called 
Subura, remained until two years since with the doors 
shut up ; at which time, being desirous thatiit should be 
hallowed in the Catholic faith, we brought with us thither 
the relics of the blessed martyrs St. Stephen and St. 
Agatha : and so with great multitudes of people, singing 
of praises to almighty God, we entered the church : and 
when the solemnity of mass was in celebrating, and the 
people, by reason of the straight place, thrust one another, 
some of them that stood without the chancel heard an 
hog running up and down through their legs, and each 
one perceiving it told it to his next fellow : but the hog 
made towards the church door to go forth, striking all 
those into great admiration by whom he passed ; but 
though they heard him, yet none there was that saw him : 
which strange thing God of piety vouchsafed to shew, to 
the end we should understand how that the unclean spirit, 
which before possessed that place, was now departed and 

l S3 

C&e Dialogues of §>t (Sreptp 

gone. When mass was done we went away, but the night 
following such a noise was heard in the top of the church, 
as though somebody had there run up and down ; and the 
next night after that a far greater, and withal, of a sudden, 
such a terrible crack there was, as though the whole 
church had been quite falling down : which forthwith 
vanished away, and never after was the church troubled 
any more by the old enemy : but by the great stir which 
he kept before his departure, he made it apparent that he 
went very unwillingly from that place, which so long time 
he had possessed. 

Not many days after, in a passing fair and clear day, a 
cloud miraculously descended upon the altar of the same 
church : covering it as it had been with a canopy : and 
filled the church with such a kind of terror and sweetness, 
that though the doors were wide open, yet none durst 
presume to enter in. The Priest also and the keepers of 
the church, and those which were come thither to say 
mass, beheld the selfsame thing, yet could they not go in, 
although they felt the sweetness of that strange perfume. 

Likewise upon another day, the lamps hanging with- 
out light, fire came from heaven and set them a burning : 
and a few days after, when mass was ended, and the 
keeper of the church had put out the lamps, and was de- 
parted, yet returning back again, he found them burning 
which before he had put forth ; but thinking that he had 
done it negligently, he did it now more carefully the 
second time, and so departed the church and shut the 
door ; but returning three hours after, he found them 
again burning as before : to the end that by the very 
light the world might manifestly know, how that place 
was from darkness translated to light. 
Ip0t0t» Although we be in great miseries and tribula- 
tions, yet these strange miracles, which God vouchsafeth 
to work, do plainly declare that he hath not utterly for- 
saken and given us over. 

1 54 

King; ©etmigtltius 

<2Dt0gOt£. Albeit I was determined to recount unto you 
only such strange things as were done in Italy, are you 
for all that content, to the further condemnation of the 
said Arian heresy, that I turn a little my speech to Spain, 
and so by Africk return back again to Italy ? 
K?0t0t* Go whither you will, willingly will I travel with 
you, and joyfully return home again. 

Chapter Cf)irtP=one : of i&mg ©ermigilDus, son 
to LeuigilDus, feing of tbe U&egotfts : tobo toas, 
for t\)t Catboltc fattb, put to Dcatb bp bis fatbec. 

*I <2DtCg0t£. Not long since, as I have learned of many 
which came from Spain, king Hermigildus, son of Leui- 
gildus, king of the Visegoths, was from Arian heresy 
lately converted to the Catholic faith by the most reverent 
man Leander, Bishop of Seville, with whom I was not 
long since familiarly acquainted ; which young Prince, 
upon his conversion, his father, being an Arian, laboured 
both by large promises and terrible threats to draw again 
to his former error : but when most constantly his son 
answered, that he would never forsake the true faith 
which he had once embraced, his father in great anger 
took away his kingdom, and beside deprived him of all 
wealth and riches ; and perceiving that, with all this, his 
mind was nothing moved, he committed him to straight 
prison, laying irons both upon his neck and hands. Upon 
this, the young king Hermigildus began now to contemn 
his earthly kingdom, and to seek with great desire after 
the kingdom of heaven : and lying in prison fast bound, 
he prayed to almighty God in hair-cloth to send him 
heavenly comfort : and so much the more did he despise 
the glory of this transitory world, by how much he knew 
himself in that case that he had now nothing that could 
be taken from him. 

When the solemn feast of Easter was come, his wicked 
father sent unto him in the dead of the night an Arian 
Bishop, to give him the communion of a sacrilegious con- 

Cbe Dialogic of %>t <£reprp 

secration, that he might thereby again recover his father's 
grace and favour : but the man of God, as he ought, 
sharply reprehended that Arian Bishop which came unto 
him, and giving him such entertainment as his deserts 
required, utterly rejected him ; for albeit outwardly he 
lay there in bands, yet inwardly to himself he stood 
secure in the height of his own soul. The father, at the 
return of the Arian prelate, understanding these news, fell 
into such a rage that forthwith he sent his officers of exe- 
cution to put to death that most constant confessor, in the 
very prison where he lay : which unnatural and bloody 
commandment was performed accordingly : for so soon 
as they came into the prison, they clave his brains with an 
hatchet, and so bereaved him of mortal life, having only 
power to take that from him which the holy martyr made 
small account of. Afterward, for the publishing of his 
true glory to the world, there wanted not miracles from 
heaven : for in the night time singing was heard at his 
body : some also report that, in the night, burning lamps 
were seen in that place : by reason whereof his body, as 
of him that was a martyr, was worthily worshipped of all 
Christian people. But the wicked father and murtherer 
of his own son, albeit he was sorry that he had put him to 
death, yet was not his grief of that quality that it brought 
him to the state of salvation. For although he knew 
very well that the Catholic faith was the truth, yet, for 
fear of his people, he never deserved to be a professor 

At length, falling sick, a little before his death, he 
commended his son Recharedus, who was to succeed 
him in the kingdom, and was yet an heretic, unto Bishop 
Leander, whom before he had greatly persecuted : that 
by his counsel and exhortation, he might likewise make 
him a member of the Catholic Church, as he had before 
made his brother Hermigildus ; and when he had thus 
done, he departed this life. After whose death, Rec- 


€be IBisbops of afticfe 

haredus the king, not following the steps of his wicked 
father, but his brother the martyr, utterly renounced 
Arianism : and laboured so earnestly for the restoring 
of religion, that he brought the whole nation of the 
Visegoths to the true faith of Christ, and would not 
suffer any that was an heretic in his country to bear 
arms and serve in the wars. And it is not to be ad- 
mired that he became thus to be a preacher of the true 
faith, seeing he was the brother of a martyr, whose 
merits did help him to bring so many into the lap of 
God's Church : wherein we have to consider that he 
could never have effected all this, if king Hermigildus 
had not died for the testimony of true religion ; for, as 
it is written : Unless the grain of wheat falling into the earth 
doth die, itself remaineth alone ; but if it die, it bringeth forth 
much fruit} This we see to prove true in the members, 
which before was verified in the head : for one died 
amongst the Visegoths that many might live, and of one 
grain that was sown for the faith, a great crop of faithful 
people sprung up. 

Ip0t£t» A wonderful thing, and much to be admired in 
these our days. 

Cbaptcr CfnrtHtoo : of certain IBisbopsof^ftick, 
tofjo fjati tbeir tonaucs cut out tip tbc "FanDate, 
tbat toere arian heretics; for tbc Defence of tbc 
Catbolic faitb; ano pet spake still as perfectly as 

tbep DtD before. *§ (SrCgOrp. Likewise, in the time 
of Justinian the Emperor, when as the Vandals, that were 
Arian heretics, did grievously persecute the Catholic 
faith, certain Bishops, continuing constant, were openly 
examined : whom when the king of the Vandals saw 
that he could neither by any words or rewards draw to 
embrace his heretical religion, yet he thought that by 
torments he might do it : and therefore, when he com- 
manded them not to speak in defence of truth, and they 

1 John 12, 24. 


€&c Dialoguc0 of %t (Srcgorg 

refused to obey his precept, lest by silence they might 
seem to give consent unto wicked heresy, in a great 
fury he commanded their tongues to be cut out by the 
roots. A miraculous thing, and yet known to many 
old men : they did as perfectly afterward speak in de- 
fence of true religion, as they did before, when they had 
their tongues safe and sound. 

Ip0t0t, You tell me of a marvellous strange thing, and 
greatly to be admired. 

(S)tC0Otp. It is written, Peter, of the only Son of the 
eternal Father : In the beginning was the Word^ and the 
Word was with Qod} Of whose virtue and power it 
straightways followeth : All things were made by him. 
Why then should we marvel, if that eternal Word could 
speak without a tongue, which made the tongue ? 
li^CtCt* What you say pleaseth me very well. 
(£>tC0Otp. These Bishops, therefore, flying at that time 
from the persecution, came unto the city of Constanti- 
nople : and at such time as myself, about the affairs of 
the Church, was sent thither unto the Emperor, I found 
there a Bishop of good years, who told me that he saw 
them himself speak without tongues : for they opened 
their mouths, and said : " Behold and see how we have 
no tongues, and yet do speak " ; for, as he said, their 
tongues being cut off by the roots, there seemed as it 
were a deep hole in their throat : and yet, though their 
mouths were empty, they pronounced their words very 
plain and distinctly. One of which, falling afterward in 
that place into carnal sin, was forthwith deprived of that 
supernatural gift : and that by the just judgment of al- 
mighty God, seeing reason requireth that he which was 
careless to preserve the continency of his body which 
he had, should not any longer utter the words of truth 
without the tongue of his body which he had not. But 
because I have now spoken sufficient for the condemna- 

1 John i, I. 

<£leutf)criu0 of ^polcto 

tion of Arianism, therefore I will return to entreat of 
such other miracles as have lately fallen out here in 

Cbapter CWrtHbree : of tbe 0ertmnt of <£od, 

dBl0Utf)CtiU0. 1& Eleutherius, of whom I made men- 
tion before, father of the Abbey of the Evangelist St. 
Mark, which is in the suburbs of the city of Spoleto, 
lived long time together with me in this city in my 
monastery, and there ended his days. Of whom his 
monks do report that by his tears he raised up one that 
was dead : for he was a man of such simplicity and 
compunction, that no doubt but those tears, coming 
from his humble and simple soul, were of force to 
obtain many things of almighty God. One miracle of 
his I will now tell you, which himself, being demanded 
by me, did with great simplicity confess. As he was 
travelling upon a certain day, and not finding at night 
any other place to lodge in, he went to a Nunnery, 
wherein there was a little boy which the wicked spirit 
did usually every night torment. The Nuns, giving 
entertainment to the man of God, desired him that the 
said little boy might remain with him all night : where- 
with he was well content. In the morning, the Nuns 
diligently enquired of the father, if the child had not 
been sore troubled and tormented that night : who, 
marvelling why they asked that question, answered that 
he perceived not any such thing. Then they told him 
how a wicked spirit did every night pitifully afflict the 
child, and earnestly desired him that he would take 
him home to his own Abbey, because their hearts could 
not endure to behold any such misery. The old man 
yielded to their request, and so carried away the boy 
home to his own monastery : where he remained long 
time safe and sound, the devil not presuming to touch 
him. Whereupon the old man, seeing him to continue 
so well, was immoderately glad thereof, and therefore, in 


C6e Dialogues of §>t. <$regorp 

the presence of the monks, he spake thus : " The devil 
did dally with those sisters : but now he hath to do with 
the servants of God, he dare not come near this boy." 
He had scarce uttered these words, when as in that 
very instant the poor child was, in the presence of them 
all, possessed, and pitifully tormented : which the old 
man beholding, straightways lamented and fell a weep- 
ing, and persevering so a long time, the monks came 
to comfort him ; but he answered them, saying : " Be- 
lieve me," quoth he, " none of you shall this day eat any 
bread, unless this boy be dispossessed." Then, with 
the rest of the brethren, he fell prostrate to his prayers, 
and there they continued so long, until the boy was 
delivered from his former torments, and besides so 
perfectly cured, that the wicked spirit never after pre- 
sumed to molest him any more. 

IpEtCt. I verily suppose that he sinned a little in vain 
glory : and that God's pleasure was, that the other 
monks should co-operate to the dispossessing of the 

(£>tC(J0tp. It is even so as you say : for seeing he 
could not alone bear the burthen of that miracle, it was 
divided amongst the rest of his brethren. Of what force 
and efficacy this man's prayers were, I have found by 
experience in myself : for being upon a time, when I 
lived in the Abbey, so sick that I often swooned : and 
was by means thereof, with often pangs, continually at 
death's door, and in such case that, unless I did con- 
tinually eat something, my vital spirit was going away : 
Easter day was at hand, and therefore when I saw that 
upon so sacred a vigil I could not refrain from often 
eating, in which not only old persons, but even children 
use to fast, I was more afflicted with grief, than grieved 
with mine infirmity : yet at length my sorrowful soul 
quickly found out a device, and that was, to carry the 
man of God secretly into the oratory, and there to 

1 60 

Dtoers Kinds of Compunction 

entreat him that he would by his prayer obtain for me 
of God so much strength and ability as to fast that day : 
which fell out accordingly : for so soon as we came into 
the oratory, with humility and tears he fell to his 
prayers, and after a while (having made an end) he 
came forth, and upon the words of his blessed prayers, 
my stomach grew so strong, that I did not so much 
as think of any meat, nor feel any grief at all. Then I 
began to marvel at myself, and to think in what case 
I was before, and how I felt myself now : and when I 
thought upon my former sickness, I found none of 
those pangs with which before I was troubled : and 
when my mind was busied about the affairs of the 
Abbey, my sickness was quite out of my memory ; yea, 
and as I said, if I did think thereof, yet feeling myself 
so well and strong, I began to doubt whether I had 
eaten or no. When evening was come, I found myself 
so lusty that I could very well have fasted until the 
next day. And by this means, having experience of his 
prayers in myself, I made no doubt but those things 
also were true which in other places he did, though 
myself was not then present. 

}p0tCt» Seeing you told me that he was a man of 
great compunction, desirous I am to be better informed 
touching the efficacy of compunction and tears : and 
therefore I pray you, let me understand how many 
kinds of compunction there be. 

Cbapter CWrtHout: of t&e Dtoera fctnDa of com= 

piinCtiOn. <I ®teptp. Compunction is divided into 
many kinds : to wit, when every sin is of penitent men 
in particular bewailed : whereof the prophet Jeremy, in 
the person of penitent sinners, speaketh thus : Mine eye 
hath brought forth divisions of waters} But speaking more 
properly, there be especially two kinds of compunction : 
for the soul that thirsteth after God is first sorrowful in 

1 Lamentations 3, 48. 

l6l L 

C6e Dialogues of %t ®rcg;orp 

heart for fear, and afterward upon love. For first it is 
grieved and weepeth, because, calling to mind former 
sins committed, it feareth to endure for punishment of 
them everlasting torments : but when long anxiety and 
sorrow hath banished away that fear, then a certain 
security of the hope of pardon doth follow : and so the 
soul is inflamed with the love of heavenly delights, and 
whereas before it did weep for fear of eternal pain, after- 
ward it poureth out tears, that it is kept from everlasting 
joys. For the soul doth then contemplate those glittering 
quires of Angels, that heavenly company of those blessed 
spirits, that great majesty of the eternal beholding the 
face of God ; and doth lament so much more now, 
because it wanteth that everlasting felicity, than it wept 
before at the fear of eternal punishment. Which thing 
in scripture is mystically set down, in an holy and true 
history : for there we read how Axa, the daughter of 
Caleb, riding upon an ass, did sigh : and when her 
father demanded what the matter was, she answered 
him thus : Qive me your blessing, a southern and dry land 
you have given me, join also a watery : and he gave her a 
•watery ground above and beneath} For Axa then rideth 
upon the ass, when our soul doth subdue and govern 
the sensual motions of the flesh : which sighing doth 
crave wet ground of her father, when it doth with con- 
trition and sorrow of heart desire of our Creator the 
grace of tears and weeping. For some there be, upon 
whom God hath bestowed such a gift, that they will 
speak freely in defence of justice, help them that be 
oppressed, give alms to the poor, and be zealous in 
religion, but yet have they not obtained the grace of 
tears : these be they, that have ground towards the 
south, and that which is dry : but yet do they want 
that which is moist and wet : because, albeit they be 
diligent and fervent in good works, yet requisite it is 

1 Joshua 15, 19. 

amantms of €u0cania 

that they should also, either for fear of hell or the 
love of heaven, bewail the sins of their life past. But 
because, as I said, there be two kinds of compunction, 
therefore her father gave her that which was wet above 
and also wet beneath : for our soul doth then receive 
that which is wet above, when it is grieved, and doth 
weep for the desire of heaven ; and it doth then possess 
that which is wet beneath, when it is afraid, and poureth 
forth tears for the fear of hell fire : and albeit that which 
is wet beneath is bestowed upon our soul, before that 
which is wet above, yet because the compunction of love 
is the more excellent, convenient it was that the ground 
which was wet above should be first named, and after- 
ward that which was wet beneath. 

l|5Ct0t» Your discourse pleaseth me very 1 well : but 
seeing you have now told me of that reverent man 
Eleutherius, and his great grace of compunction, 
desirous I am to know whether there be now any 
such men living in the world. 

Chapter Cfnrt^ftoc : of amantius, a Priest in tbc 
lprotrinceof£u0cania. t[<$rcgotp. Fioridus, Bishop 

of Tivoli, a man (as yourself knoweth very well) of holy 
life, and worthy to be credited, told me that he had 
dwelling with him a certain Priest called Amantius, of 
marvellous simplicity : who, like unto the Apostles, had 
such a grace given him of God, that, laying his hand upon 
them that were sick, he restored them to their former 
health ; and although the disease were very great and 
dangerous, yet upon his touching did it forthwith depart. 
Moreover he said that he had also this miraculous gift, 
that wheresoever he found any serpents or snakes, though 
never so cruel, yet did he with the sign of the cross dis- 
patch and kill them : for by virtue of the cross, which the 
man of God made with his hand, their bowels did break, 
and they suddenly die : and if by chance the snake gat 
into any hole, then did he with the sign of the cross bless 


€f)C Dialogues of %t (fctegotp 

the mouth thereof, and it wrought the same effect ; for 
any might straightways find it there dead. Myself having 
understanding of this great grace bestowed upon him, was 
desirous to see him : and when he was brought unto me, 
I caused him to be lodged in a chamber amongst the 
sick men : thereby to try what his gift was in curing of 
diseases. At that time, there was one amongst them be- 
side himself, being fallen into a phrensy : who one night 
did so cry out like a mad man, that with his noise he dis- 
quieted all the rest that were sick, so that they could not 
sleep or take any rest : and so it fell out very strangely 
that, one being ill, all the rest fared the worse. But as 
I had before learned of the reverent Bishop Floridus, 
who was at that time there present with the said Priest, 
and afterward also plainly understood of him that at- 
tended that night upon the sick persons, the foresaid 
venerable Priest, rising out of his bed, went softly to the 
place where the mad man lay, and there prayed, laying his 
hands upon him ; whereupon the man became somewhat 
better. Then he carried him away unto the higher part 
of the house, into the oratory : where more plentifully 
he prayed unto God for his recovery : and straight after 
he brought him back again to his own bed safe and sound, 
so that he cried out no more, neither troubled any of 
the other sick persons. By which one fact of his, I had 
sufficient reason to give credit to all the rest that before 
had been told me. 

iJ^CtCt. A great edification it is, to see men working such 
notable miracles : and to behold, as it were upon earth, 
heavenly Jerusalem in her citizens. 

Chapter Ci)ittp ; 0ir : of apartmtanus, IBis&op of 

^ptaCU0i0. *I StCgOtp. Neither is that miracle to be 
passed over with silence, which almighty God vouchsafed 
to work by his servant Maximianus, now Bishop of 
Syracusis, but then the father and governor of mine 
Abbey. For at such time as I was, upon the command- 


^anmianus of ®pracusi0 

ment of my Bishop, sent to Constantinople to the Em- 
peror, about affairs of the Church, the same reverent man, 
Maximianus upon charity, with other of his monks, came 
thither unto me : who in his return homeward to Rome, 
fell into a great tempest upon the Adriake sea : in which 
both himself and all those that were in his company, after 
a most strange and miraculous manner, tasted both of 
the indignation and favour of almighty God. For the 
sea did so rage with the fury of the winds, that they had 
spent their mast : the sails floated upon the waves : and 
the ship, beaten and torn with boisterous billows, did leak 
water so fast, that it was now come to the upper deck, in 
such sort that the ship seemed not so much to be in the 
waters, as the waters in the ship. 

The mariners and passengers, troubled with the fear of 
death, not as a thing far off, but even present before their 
eyes, void of all hope of this life, prepared themselves for 
the next : and so, mutually giving the pax or kiss of 
peace one to another, they received the body and blood 
of our Saviour : commending themselvestoalmightyGod, 
that he would vouchsafe mercifully to receive their souls, 
who had delivered their bodies to so fearful a death : but 
God, who had wonderfully terrified their minds, did 
more wonderfully preserve their lives. For the same ship 
although full of water, yet did it hold on her course for 
eight days together, and upon the ninth, it arrived at the 
port of Cothronum : and when all the rest were safely 
gone out, then last of all the reverent man Maximianus 
went also forth : and no sooner was he upon land, than 
the ship sunk in the haven : as though, by their departure, 
it had wanted that which did preserve it : and whereas 
before, being at sea, it was full of men, and carried also 
abundance of water, and yet sailed onward : now when 
Maximianus with his monks were landed, it could not in 
the haven carry the waters alone : whereby God gave 
them to understand, that, when it was laden, himself 


€&e Dialogues of %t <£reprp 

with his divine hand did govern and preserve it : seeing 
when it was empty it could not for a small time continue 
above the water. 

Chapter Cbirt^setien : of Sanctulus, a priest in 

tf)elPrOt)inceOf JftUtSia. «I About forty days since, you 
saw with me one called Sanctulus, a reverent Priest, who 
every year came unto me out of Nursia : but three days 
ago, a certain monk, coming from those parts, brought me 
very heavy news of his death. The holy life and virtue 
of which man was such, that although I can not but fetch 
sweet sighs when I remember it, yet now I may without 
all fear report and publish to the world such miracles as 
1 have learned by the relation of very virtuous and holy 
Priests, that were his neighbours : and as amongst dear 
friends familiarity causeth one to presume much in 
charity, oftentimes myself did so courteously urge him, 
that he was enforced to tell me some small miracles which 
himself had done. 

Certain Lombards being upon a time pressing of olives 
to make oil, Sanctulus, as he was both merry in coun- 
tenance and heart, came unto them, and saluted them 
pleasantly : and shewing them his bottle which he 
brought, rather willed than desired them to fill it with 
oil. But they being infidels, and having laboured all day 
in vain, and not pressed out any oil at all, took his words 
in ill part, and gave him very bad speech : but the man 
of God, notwithstanding this, spake unto them yet with 
a more merry countenance, and said : " It you desire to 
do me a good turn, you will fill this bottle for Sanctulus, 
and so he will depart from you very well contented." But 
they, seeing no oil to run forth, and hearing him yet for 
all that so earnest to have his bottle filled, fell into a great 
rage, and railed mightily upon him. Then the man of 
God, seeing that no oil came from the press, called for 
water, which he blessed before them all, and with his own 
hands cast it upon the press : and forthwith, by virtue 


^anctulus of jftuma 

of that benediction, such plenty of oil ran forth, that the 
Lombards, who before had long laboured in vain, did not 
only fill their own vessels, but also his bottle : giving him 
thanks for that, coming to beg oil, by his blessing he be- 
stowed that upon them which himself had demanded. 

At another time, when a great dearth was in the 
country, the man of God being desirous to repair the 
church of St. Lawrence, burnt before by the Lombards, 
he hired for that end many cunning workmen and divers 
other labourers, who of necessity were daily to be main- 
tained : but so great was the scarcity, that he wanted 
bread to relieve them ; whereupon his workmen cried out 
for meat, because they were faint and could not labour. 
The man of God, hearing this, gave them comfortable 
words, promising to supply their want ; yet inwardly very 
much was he grieved, being not able to perform what he 
had said. Going therefore up and down in great anxiety, 
he came to an oven, wherein the neighbours that dwelt 
by had the day before baked bread : and stooping down, 
he looked in, to see whether they had by chance left any 
bread behind them, where he found a loaf both greater 
and whiter than commonly they used : which he took 
away, but yet would he not by and by give it to his 
workmen, lest perhaps it belonged to some other body, 
and so might as it were, of compassion to other, have 
committed a sin himself : and therefore he did first shew 
it to all the women there about, enquiring whether it 
were any of theirs : but all denied it, saying that they had 
all received their just number of loaves. Then the man 
of God in great joy went with that one loaf to many 
workmen, wishing them to give thanks to almighty God, 
telling them how his goodness had provided them of 
necessary food ; and forthwith he set that loaf before 
them, whereof, when they had satisfied themselves, he 
gathered up more pieces of bread which remained, than 
the whole loaf itself was before in quantity. The day 


€&e Dialoguc0 of §>t <$regorp 

following, again he set it before them, and again the 
pieces remaining were far more than the former frag- 
ments : and so, for the space of ten days together, all 
those artificers and workmen lived upon that one loaf, 
and were very well satisfied : some thing remaining every 
day for the next, as though the fragments had by eating 

Jjj)0t0t. A strange thing, and not unlike to that notable 
miracle of our Saviour ; and therefore worthy to be 
admired of all. 

(Jpt00Otp. Our Saviour at this time, Peter, vouchsafed 
by his servant to feed many with one loaf, who in times 
past, by himself, fed five thousand with five loaves : and 
doth daily of a few grains of corn produce innumerable 
ears of wheat : who also out of the earth brought forth 
those very grains ; and more than all this, created all 
things of nothing. But to the end you should not marvel 
any longer, what by God's assistance the venerable man 
Sanctulus wrought outwardly : I will now tell you what, 
by our Lord's grace, he was inwardly in his soul. Upon 
a certain day, the Lombards had taken a Deacon, whom 
they kept in prison, with a purpose to put him to death. 
When evening was come, the man of God, Sanctulus, 
entreated them to set him at liberty, and to grant him 
his life : but when he saw that he could not obtain that 
favour at their hands, but that they were fully resolved 
to have his life : then he beseeched them, that they would 
at least commit him to his keeping : wherewith they 
were content, but with this condition, that if he scaped 
away, that then himself should die for him. The man 
of God was very well content, and so he received the 
Deacon into his own charge and custody. 

The midnight following, when he saw all the Lombards 
fast asleep, he called up the Deacon, willing him quickly 
to rise up and to run away as fast as he could : " and 
almighty God," quoth he, "deliver thee out of their 


§>anctulti0 of fouxm 

hands." To whom the Deacon (knowing what he had pro- 
mised) said : "Father, I can not run away, for if I do, out 
of all doubt they will put you to death." Yet for all this, 
Sanctulus enforced him to be gone with all speed, saying : 
"Up, and away: and God of his goodness defend and 
protect you : for I am in his hands, and they can do no 
more unto me than his divine Majesty shall give them 
leave." Upon these words away went the Deacon ; and 
he that had undertaken his safe keeping, as one that had 
been deceived, remained behind. 

In the morning the Lombards demanded of Sanctulus 
for their prisoner : who told them that he was run away. 
" Then," quoth they, " you best know what is convenient 
for you to have." "Yea, marry, that do I," answered 
the servant of God, with great constancy. "Well," quoth 
they, " thou art a good man, and therefore we will not by 
divers torments take away thy life ; but make choice of 
what death thou wilt." To whom the man of God 
answered in this manner: "Here I am, at God's dis- 
position and pleasure, kill me in such sort, as he shall 
vouchsafe to give you leave." Then all the Lombards 
that were present agreed to have him beheaded : to the 
end an easy and quick death might soon dispatch him. 
When it was given out abroad that Sanctulus was to die, 
whom for his virtue and holiness they greatly honoured, 
all the Lombards that were in those parts repaired thither, 
being glad (such cruel minds they have) to behold him put 
to death : and when all the army was gathered together, 
they brought him forth to execution, and the strongest 
man amongst them was chosen out, to cut off his head 
at one blow. 

The venerable man, beset with armed soldiers, betook 
himself to his usual weapons : for he desired them to give 
him a little leave to pray : which when he had obtained, 
he cast himself prostrate upon the earth, and fell to his 
devotions: in which after he had continued for a good 


£f)c Dialogues of ^t. ategotp 

space, the executioner spurned him up with his foot, 
bidding him rise, kneel down, and to prepare himself 
for death. The man of God rose up, bowed down his 
knee, and held forth his head, and beholding the drawn 
sword ready to dispatch him, these only words they said 
that he spake aloud : "O Saint John, hold that sword." 
Then the foresaid executioner, having the naked weapon 
in his hand, did with all his force lift up his arm to strike 
off his head ; but by no means could he bring it down 
again, for it became suddenly so stiff that it remained 
still above, the man being not able once to bend it down- 
ward. Then all the Lombards who came to feed their 
eyes with the lamentable sight of his death, began with 
admiration to praise God's name, and with fear to reve- 
rence the man of God : for they now saw apparently of 
what great holiness he was, that did so miraculously stay 
the arm of his executioner above in the air. 

Then they desired him to rise up, which he did ; but 
when they required him to restore his executioner's arm 
to his former state, he utterly refused, saying : "By no 
means will I once pray for him, unless beforehand he 
swear unto me, that he will never with that arm offer to 
kill any Christian more." The poor Lombard, who, as 
we may truly say, had stretched out his arm against God, 
enforced with this necessity, took an oath never more 
to put any Christian to death. Then the man of God 
commanded him to put down his arm, which forthwith 
he did ; he commanded him also to put up his sword, 
which in like manner he performed. All the Lombards, 
by this perceiving him to be a man of rare virtue, began 
in all haste to present him with the gifts of such oxen 
and other cattle as before they had taken from others : 
but the man of God utterly refused all such kind of 
presents, desiring them rather, if they meant to bestow 
anything upon him worth the giving, that they would 
deliver unto him all such prisoners as they had in their 


Sanctulus of Jftursia 

keeping: that he might have some cause in his prayers 
to commend them to almighty God. To which request 
of his they condescended, and so all the poor captives 
were discharged : and thus, by God's sweet providence, 
one offering himself to die for another, many were 
delivered from death. 

U^CtCt* A strange thing it was : and although I have 
heard the same story by the relation of others, yet I cannot 
deny, but so often as I hear it repeated, it seemeth still 
unto me as though it were fresh news. 
(£>t00Ot£* There is no cause why you should admire 
Sanctulus for this thing : but ponder with yourself, if you 
can, what manner of spirit that was, which possessed his 
simple soul, and did advance it to so high a perfection of 
virtue. For where was his mind, when he offered himself 
with such constancy to die for his neighbour ; and to save 
the temporal life of his brother, contemned his own, and 
put his head under the executioner's sword ? What 
force of true love did then harbour in that heart, when 
he nothing feared death to preserve the life of another ? 
Ignorant I am not, that this venerable man Sanctulus 
could scant read well, and that he knew not the precepts 
of the law : yet because charity is the fulfilling of the law, 
by loving God and his neighbour, he kept the whole 
law : and that which outwardly lacked in knowledge, did 
inwardly by charity live in his soul. And he, perhaps, 
who never read that which St. John the Apostle said of 
our Saviour, to wit, that as he yielded his life for us, so we 
likewise should yield our lives for our brethren : l yet that great 
and high precept of the Apostle he knew more by action 
than by speculation. Let us here, if you please, compare 
his learned ignorance with our unlearned knowledge : 
where our kind of learning is nothing worth, his is of 
great price and estimation : we, destitute of virtue, do 
speak thereof, and, as it were in the midst of plentiful 

1 i John 3, 16. 

£f)c Dialogtte0 of %t $rcgorp 

trees smell of the fruit, but do not eat thereof. He knew 
full well how to gather and taste of the fruit itself, 
although he lacked the smell of words and vain speech. 
J£)0t0t, What, I pray, do you think, is the cause that 
good men are still taken away ; and such as for the bene- 
fit and edification of many, might live still in this world, 
either are not to be found at all, or at least very few can 
be heard of? 

(£>t0(JOtp. The malice and wickedness of them that re- 
main behind in the world deserveth that those should 
quickly be taken away, who by their life might much help 
us : and for as much as the world draweth towards an 
end, God's chosen servants are taken out of it, that they 
fall not into more wicked times : and therefore from 
hence it cometh that the prophet saith : The just man doth 
perish, and there is none that doth ponder it in his heart : and 
men of mercy are gathered together, because there is none that 
hath understanding} And from hence also it proceedeth 
that the scripture saith : Open ye, that they may go forth 
which do tread it under foot. 2 Hence, likewise, it is that 
Solomon saith : There is a time of casting stones abroad, and 
a time of gathering them together? And therefore the nearer 
that the world draweth to an end, so much the more 
necessary it is that the living stones should be gathered 
together, for the heavenly building : that our celestial 
Jerusalem may arrive to the full measure of his whole 
perfection. And yet do I not think that all God's elect 
servants are so taken out of the world, that none but the 
wicked remain behind : for sinners would never be con- 
verted to the sorrow of true penance, if they had not 
the examples of some good people to provoke them 

IPCtCt, Without cause do I complain of the death of 
good men, when as daily I see them also that be wicked 
in great numbers to depart this life. 

1 Isai. 57, i. 2 Jerem. 50, 26. 3 Eccles. 3, 5. 


EeDcmptu0 of JTcrenti 

Chapter C6ittp=eigf)t : of tfje toision of EeDemptua, 
T5i0popoft6eCitpofJTerentL fl ®regorp. Wonder 

nothing at this, Peter, for you knew very well Redemptus, 
Bishop of the city of Ferenti, a man of venerable life, 
who died almost seven years since : with whom I had 
familiar acquaintance, by reason that he dwelt not far from 
the Abbey in which I lived. This man, when I asked him 
(for the matter was very well known far and near), told 
me that which by divine revelation he had learned con- 
cerning the end of the world, in the time of John the 
younger, who was my predecessor. For he said that upon 
a certain day, as he was, according to his manner, visit- 
ing of his diocese, he came to the church of the blessed 
martyr Euthicius : and when it was night he would needs 
be lodged nigh to the sepulchre of the martyr, where 
after his travel he reposed himself. About midnight, 
being, as he said himself, neither perfectly waking, nor 
yet sleeping, but rather heavy of sleep, he felt his waking 
soul oppressed with great sorrow : and being in that case, 
he saw the same blessed martyr Euthicius standing before 
him, who spake thus : " Art thou waking, Redemptus ? " 
to whom he answered, that he was. Then the martyr 
said : " The end of all flesh is come : the end of all flesh 
is come" : which words after he had repeated thus three 
times, he vanished out of his sight. 

Then the man of God rose up, and fell to his prayers 
with many tears : and straight after, those fearful sights 
in heaven followed ; to wit, fiery lances, and armies 
appearing from the north. Straight after likewise the 
barbarous and cruel nation of the Lombards, drawn as a 
sword out of a sheath, left their own country, and invaded 
ours : by reason whereof the people, which before for the 
huge multitude were like to thick corn-fields, remain 
now withered and overthrown : for cities be wasted, towns 
and villages spoiled, churches burnt, monasteries of men 
and women destroyed, farms 1 eft desolate, and the country 


£bc Dialoguc0 of %t ®rcgorp 

remaineth solitary and void of men to till the ground, 
and destitute of all inhabitants : beasts possessing those 
places, where before great plenty of men did dwell. And 
how it goeth in other parts of the world I know not, but 
here in this place where we live, the world doth not fore- 
tell any end, but rather sheweth that which is present and 
already come. Wherefore so much the more zealously 
ought we to seek after eternal things, by how much we 
find all temporal so quickly to be fled and gone. Surely 
this world were to be contemned, although it did flatter 
us, and with pleasant prosperity contented our mind : 
but now, seeing it is fraught with so many miseries and 
divers afflictions, and that our sorrows and crosses do 
daily increase and be doubled, what doth it else but cry 
unto us that we should not love it ? 

Many more things yet remain of the worthy acts of 
God's servants, but because I have resolved now upon 
another course, I will now pass them over with silence. 
ll^CtCt. For as much as I perceive that many Christians 
do doubt of the immortality of the soul, after the disso- 
lution of the body : I beseech you for the spiritual good 
of many, to set down some reasons for proof thereof: or 
the examples of some souls which have testified the same, 
if you remember any : to the end that those which be 
troubled with any such temptations, may learn that the 
soul doth not die together with the body. 
<£>tC0Otp* This is a work of great labour, especially for 
one that is busied with other affairs, and hath other things 
to attend unto : yet if any profit by my means may 
redound to others, willingly do I prefer that before mine 
own will and pleasure : and therefore, God's grace assist- 
ing me, in this fourth book following, I will clearly show 
that the soul doth live after the death of the body. 

C6e ent) of tfce CbitD IBook 


Cl)e ^Dialogues of £>t. Gregory 
%\)t Jfourti) ^OOfe. 

£>t <&xt$ovps ^Dialogues 

€f)e JFourtf) ^oofe 

Cbapter £Dne : bote carnal men gtoc tbe less creDit 
to tbose tbings tobicb tie eternal ano spiritual: 
because tbep fenoto not bp erperience, tobat tbep 

bear OtberS tO Speak Of. <I After that the first Parent 
of mankind was for his sin banished from the joys of 
Paradise, he fell into the misery of this ignorance and 
banishment, which to this very day we do all endure : 
for his sin was the cause that he could not any longer 
see those joys of heaven, which before by contemplation 
he possessed : for during the time of his residence in 
Paradise, he usually heard God talking with him, and by 
purity of heart and heavenly vision, was present with the 
quires of the blessed Angels. But after his fall he lost 
that light of soul, which before abundantly he enjoyed. 
From whom we being by carnal propagation derived, that 
live now in this dark ignorance of banishment, do hear 
indeed of an heavenly country, and how it is inhabited 
by the Angels of God; and that the souls of just and 
perfect men do there keep them company. But yet 
such as be carnal, because they can not by experience 
know those invisible creatures, doubt whether there be 
any such, seeing with their corporal eyes they cannot 
behold them : from which doubt our first Parent was 
altogether free : for although he was exiled from the joys 
of Paradise, yet did he still keep in memory what he had 
lost, because he had before beheld the same : but these 

177 M 

Cfce Dialogues of %t (Stegorp 

men can not by any means call to mind such things as 
they hear others speak of, because they never had of 
them any former experience as our first father Adam had. 
For it is in this case as if a woman big with child should 
be put in prison, and be there delivered of a son, which 
never went forth, but were there continually brought up : 
for if his mother should tell him of the sun, moon, stars, 
mountains : and speak of the fields, the flying of birds, 
and running of horses ; her child, that had continually been 
brought up in the prison, and acquainted with nothing- 
else but black darkness, might well hear what she said, 
but with a doubt whether it were true or no, because 
experience taught him not any such thing. Even so, 
men that are born in this dark world, the place of their 
banishment, do hear that there be wonderful, strange, 
and invisible things : but because they are not acquainted 
with any else but terrestrial creatures, which only be 
visible, they doubt whether there be any such invisible 
things as are reported of, or no : for which cause the 
Creator himself of all things both visible and invisible, 
and the only begotten Son of the eternal Father, came 
into this world, for the redemption of mankind : and sent 
the holy Ghost unto our hearts, that quickened by him 
and his grace, we should believe those things which as 
yet by sense or experience we cannot possibly under- 
stand: and therefore so many of us as have received 
this spirit, the heavenly pledge of our inheritance, make 
no doubt of God's invisible and immortal creatures : and 
whosoever as yet is not settled in this belief, out of all 
question, he ought of reason to give credit to the words 
of them that be more learned and holy, and believe 
them that, through the grace of God's holy Spirit, have 
experience of those things that be invisible : for he were 
a very foolish child, that thought his mother lied, when 
she spake of light in other places, because himself, where 
he was, beheld nothing else but the darkness of the prison. 


elan's §>oul anD IBoOp 

K?0t0t. That you say doth wonderfully content me : yet 
he who believeth not that there be any invisible things, 
out of question in mine opinion is an infidel : and he 
that is an infidel, in that thing whereof he doubteth 
seeketh not for faith, but for reason. 

Cbaptct Ctoo : tfjat an infiDel Itoetb not toitbout 

faitf). ^ <&tZ#0tp. I speak boldly yet truly, that an 
infidel liveth not without faith : for if I demand of him, 
who is his father or mother, straightways he will tell me, 
such a man and such a woman : and if I press him 
further, whether he doth remember the time when he 
was first conceived, or the hour when he was born into 
this world, he will answer me, that he never knew or saw 
any such thing : and yet for all this doth he believe that 
which he never beheld, seeing he believeth, without all 
doubt, that such a man was his father, and such a woman 
his mother. 

K?0t0t. I must needs confess, that I never knew before 
this time that an infidel had any faith. 
(£>t00Ot|?. Infidels have faith, but not in God, for then 
they were not infidels : but worthily are they by the 
former reason to be blamed, and thereby also to be pro- 
voked to embrace true faith : for if concerning their 
visible body, they believe that which they never saw, why 
do they not also believe some things which with their cor- 
poral eyes they cannot behold ? 

Chapter Cbtec : tbat <£oo createn tbrec feinos of 

0piUtS tOitf) UfC <§ For that our soul doth live after 
the death of the body, reason doth teach us, assisted and 
holpen with faith : for almighty God created three kinds 
of spirits having life. One altogether spiritual without 
body : another with a body, but yet which dieth not with 
the body : the third that which is both joined with the 
body, and also together with the body doth die. The 
spirits that have no bodies be the Angels : they that have 
bodies but die not with them, be the souls of men : those 


€&e Dialogues of %t <$reprp 

that have bodies and die together with them, be the souls 
of cattle and brute beasts. Man, therefore, as he is 
created in the middle state,inferior to Angels and superior 
to beasts, so doth he participate of both : having immor- 
tality of soul with the Angels, and mortality of body with 
beasts, until the day of doom : for then the glory of the 
resurrection shall take away and consume the mortality 
of the body : for being then reunited to the soul, it shall 
be preserved for ever : as the soul joined to the body 
is preserved for God. Neither shall the bodies of the 
damned, lying in torments, ever perfectly perish : for 
though they always decay, yet for ever shall they con- 
tinue : and as they sinned both with soul and body, so 
living always in body and soul, they shall always die 
without end. 

l£)0tCt* All your discourse is consonant to that reason 
which Christian religion teacheth : but I beseech you, if 
there be so great difference betwixt the souls of men and 
beasts as you affirm, why doth Solomon speak in this 
manner ? / have said in mine heart of the sons of men , that 
God would prove them, and shew them to be like unto beasts : 
therefore there is one death of men and beasts, and their state 
is both alike : and prosecuting afterward more exactly that 
opinion of his, thus he writeth : As a man dieth, so do 
beasts die: all things breathe alike, and man hath nothing more 
than beasts. After which words, he addeth also this 
general conclusion : All things are subject to vanity, and all 
things go to one place : of the earth they were made, and into 
the earth they re Mm again} 

Chapter JTour : of Solomon's question, to toit : 
Cbe Deatb of men ano beasts \% all one. q Gregory. 

Solomon's book, in which these sayings are found, is 
called Ecclesiastes : as much to say properly as The 
Preacher. And in a sermon the manner is to have an 
opinion set down, by means whereof the tumultuous 

1 Eccles. 3, 17-20. 

Solomon's Ctuestion 

sedition of common people may be appeased : and where- 
as divers have divers opinions, yet are they all, by the 
Preacher's arguments and reasons, brought to unity and 
agreement: and therefore this book is called The Preacher: 
because in it Solomon doth as it were take upon him the 
person and words of the unruly vulgar sort, and by way 
of inquisition speaketh those things, which haply ignorant 
men through temptation do verily think : and therefore 
so many questions as he doth by way of enquiry pro- 
pound, so many divers persons doth he in a manner take 
upon himself : but the true Preacher doth, as it were 
with his hand, compound all their doubts and disagree- 
ments, and bring them all to concord and unity of 
opinion, when as in the end of his book he saith : Let us 
all together hear an end of speaking : Fear Qod, keep his com- 
mandments, for this is every man} For if in that book he 
had not by his discourse taken upon him the person of 
divers, why did he admonish all to make an end of 
speaking, together with him, and to hear ? 

He, therefore, that in the conclusion of the book saith: 
Let us all together hear : doth give evident testimony of 
himself, that he took many persons upon him, and that 
he spake not at all as of himself: and therefore some 
things there be in that book, which are moved by way of 
disputation, and other some which by reason give satis- 
faction : some things which he uttereth in the person of 
one that is tempted, and who as yet followeth the 
pleasures of the world : and some other things, in which 
he disputeth them according to the rule of reason, and 
to draw the mind from vain pleasure and delight : for 
as there he saith : This, therefore , seemeth unto me good, that a 
man should eat and drink, and take joy of his labour 2 : so after- 
ward he addeth : 7/ is better to go unto the house of mourning, 
than to the house of feasting? For if it be good to eat and 
drink, it seemeth better to go unto the house of feasting 

1 Eccles. 12, 13. 2 Ibid. 5, 18. 3 Ibid. 7, 2. 

181 " 

£bc Dialogues of %t ®rcg;orp 

than to the house of mourning : and therefore by this 
it is evident, that he uttered that former saying in the 
person of frail men, and pronounced this latter accord- 
ing to the rule of reason : and therefore doth he straight- 
ways set down the grounds of his reason, and sheweth 
what commodity is gotten by going to the house of 
mourning, saying thus : For in that we are put in mind of 
the end of all men, and the living man thinketh what he shall 
be} Again there we find it written : O young man, rejoice 
in thy youth : 2 and yet a little after is added : for youth 
and pleasure be vain things. 

Seeing, therefore, he doth afterward reprove that for 
vain, which before he seemed to allow : plainly doth he 
declare that he spake those words as it were of carnal con- 
cupiscence, and the other of a right and true judgment. 
Therefore as he doth, in the first place, express the delight 
of carnal things, and pronounceth it to be good to cast 
away all care, and to eat and drink : so afterward, with 
reason and judgment doth he reprove that, when hesaith 
that it is better to go unto the house of mourning, than 
to the house of feasting : and though he saith that a 
young man ought to rejoice in his youth, yet doth he 
utter that as proceeding from the resolution of a carnal 
mind ; seeing afterward, by definitive sentence, he re- 
proveth both youth and pleasure, as vain things. Even 
so and in like manner, doth our Preacher set down the 
opinion of man's suspicion, as it were in the person of 
those that be weak, and subject to temptation, when he 
saith : The death of man and beasts is one, and their condition 
both alike : as man dieth, so they also die : all things do breathe 
alike, and a man hath not any more than beasts : who, not- 
withstanding, afterward putteth down his own opinion, 
proceeding from judgment and reason, in these words : 
What hath a wise man more than a fool, and what a poor 
man, but that he may go thither where life is ? z He there- 
1 Eccles. 7, 2. 2 Ibid, 1 1, 9. 3 Ibid. 6, 8. 


Solomon's duestfon 

fore that said : A man hath no more than beasts : said 
also with mature deliberation, that a wise man hath not 
only more than a beast, but also more than a foolish man, 
to wit, that he goeth to that place where life is : in which 
words he doth also teach us, that man's life is not in this 
world, seeing he affirmeth it to be elsewhere : wherefore 
man hath this more than beasts, because they after death 
do not live : but he doth then begin truly to live, when 
by mortal death he maketh an end of this transitory life : 
and therefore long after he saith : Whatsoever thy hand can 
do ^instantly work: because with them in hell whither thou go est ^ 
there shall be neither work, nor reason , nor knowledge y nor wis- 
dom : 1 how then is the death of man and beasts all one, 
and how is their condition and state alike ? or how hath 
not a man more than beasts, when as they after death live 
not, and the souls of men, after the death of their bodies, 
be for their wicked deeds carried to hell, and do not die 
when they depart this life ? But in both these sayings, 
which seem contrary each to other, it is made manifest 
that the Preacher speaketh the truth : uttering the one 
of carnal temptation, and yet afterward, upon delibera- 
tion and according to truth, resolutely setteth down and 
defineth the contrary. 

ll^CtCt* Glad I am, that ignorant I was of that question 
which I demanded : seeing I have, by means thereof, 
come to so exact an understanding of that which before 
I knew not. But I beseech you to take it patiently, if I 
also, like to this our Preacher, take upon me the person 
of weak and frail men : that I may the better, as it were 
by their demanding of questions,, be profitable to them 
in their weakness and infirmities. 

(£)t00Otp. Why should I not bear with you, condescend- 
ing to the infirmities of your neighbours ? when as Paul 
saith : To all men I became all things^ that I might save 
all ; 2 and surely you are the more to be reverenced, for 
1 Eccles. 9, 10. a I Cor. 9, 22. 


€f)e Dialogues of §>t. <£>rcgorp 

condescending to their weakness upon charity, and 
therein do you imitate the steps of an excellent preacher. 

Cfmptcr JFitoe : of a question concerning tbe soul, 
tofjich goctf) iMrisiblp out of tbe tioDp : to toit, 
to&etfjer tbere be anp sucb tfting, seeing it can not 

fre Seen. H }petet. It chanced so, that I was present 
when one departed this life. Who suddenly, as he was a 
speaking, gave up the ghost ; and whom before I heard 
talking with me, in an instant I saw dead : but whether 
his soul went out of the body or no, that I did not see : 
and it seemeth very hard to believe that thing, which no 
man can behold. 

($)tCgOtp« What marvel is it, Peter, that you saw not 
the soul departing out of the body, seeing you behold it 
not when it remaineth in the body ? What ? do you 
believe me to have no soul, because, whiles you now talk 
with me, you can not see it ? The nature of the soul is 
invisible, and therefore invisibly doth it depart out of the 
body, as it doth invisibly remain in the body. 
H^etet. That the soul hath life, so long as it remaineth 
in the body, easily do I perceive by the motion thereof: 
for if the body were destitute of the soul, the members 
could not possibly move at all : but that the soul liveth 
when it is out of the body, by what motions or actions I 
should gather, desirous 1 am to be informed by you : to 
the end that by such things as I do see, I may know that 
thing which I can not see. 

(JptCgOtp. Though not with any great subtlety of dis- 
course, yet confidently do I affirm it to be most true, that 
as the power of the soul doth quicken and move the 
body, so the power of God doth fill all things which he 
hath created ; and to some things doth he give life by 
breathing it into them ; to other things he vouchsafeth 
life in another manner : and upon some other things he 
bestoweth only a being, without any life at all. Seeing, 
therefore, you doubt not but that God is the creator and 


€&c jftaturc of tfjc %au\ 

preserver of all things, that he doth fill and embrace all 
things, that he doth excel all things, and also maintaineth 
them, that he is incircumscriptible and invisible : so 
neither ought you to doubt, but that he is served with 
invisible creatures, seeing they that serve ought to be 
somewhat like unto him upon whom they attend, and 
so, consequently, that we ought not to doubt, but for as 
much as he is invisible in himself, that they also be of 
the same nature : and what creatures can these be else but 
his holy Angels, and the souls of just men ? Wherefore, 
as you know, when you see the body move, that the soul 
remaineth in the body, and you gather this from the body 
which is lowest : so ought you to think of the life of the 
soul that departeth from the body, deducing a reason 
from God who is the highest : to wit, that the soul 
liveth invisibly, seeing it is to remain in the service of 
the invisible Creator. 

l^CtCt* All this is very well said : yet our mind can 
hardly be brought to believe that, which with our corporal 
eyes we can not behold. 

(J>tC(J0tp. Seeing St. Paul saith, that faith is the substance 
of things to be hoped for, the argument of things not appearing .- 1 
truly are we said to believe that which can not be seen, 
and by no means to believe that which with our eyes we 
do behold : yet in few words to bring you home again 
to yourself, I say, that no visible things be seen but by 
the means of invisible : for although your bodily eye 
beholdeth all sensible creatures, yet could it not behold 
any such thing, did it not receive force from that which 
is invisible : for take away the soul, which none doth see, 
and in vain be the eyes opened to look upon anything. 
Take away the soul from the body, and the eyes, out of 
all question, may remain still open as before. If, then, 
our eyes did see of themselves, how cometh it to pass, 
that now the soul is gone, they see nothing at all ? Learn 

1 Hebr. ii, i. 

Cfje Dialogues of §>t. <£rcgorp 

then by this, that visible things themselves are not seen, 
but by means of them that be invisible. Let us also 
imagine that we saw before us the building of houses, 
huge timber and stones to be lifted up, great pillars to 
hang upon engines : what, I pray you, effecteth all this ? 
the visible body that with hands draweth and moveth 
those huge and massy things, or the invisible soul that 
giveth life to the body ? for take away that which is not 
seen in the body, and straightways all those things, which 
before did move, will remain without any motion at all. 
By which we may easily gather, that nothing can be dis- 
posed of in this visible world, but by another creature 
which is invisible : for as almighty God either by inspi- 
ration, or by replenishing those creatures which have 
reason, doth both quicken and move those things which 
be invisible, so, in like manner, those things which be 
invisible do give motion and sense to carnal bodies which 
are visible. 

IPCtCt* Willingly overcome with these reasons alleged, 
I confess that I am enforced almost to think that these 
visible things are nothing : whereas before, taking upon 
me the person of weak and unlearned men, I doubted 
whether there were any invisible creatures or no ; where- 
fore your whole discourse doth very well please me : yet, 
as 1 am assured of the life of the soul by the motion of 
the body, so desirous I am to know by some sure and 
certain demonstrations, that the soul doth also live, after 
it is departed from the body. 

Chapter §>ir: tbat as tbe life of tbe soul remain- 
ing in tf)e fcoDp, is gat&ereD tp tf)e motion of t&e 
members : so tbe life of tbe soul, after oeatf) in fjolp 
men, is to te founo out fop tbe trirtue of miracles* 

*J (Jpregorp* Herein most ready I am to satisfy your 
request ; and for proof of this point, no difficulty do I 
find: for think you that the holy Apostles and martyrs 
of Christ would have contemned this present life, and 


FA 111! 
{Madonna dell Arena, Padua) 

Departure of even's ®ouls 

offered their bodies to death, had they not known that 
their souls did most assuredly live for ever? You confess 
that you know the life of the soul remaining in the body 
by the motion thereof: behold, then, how these that lost 
their lives for Christ, and believed that souls lived after 
death, be renowned for their daily miracles. For sick 
persons come unto their dead bodies, and be cured : per- 
jured persons repair thither, and be possessed with devils : 
possessed with devils visit them, and are delivered : lepers 
come, and be cleansed : dead folk are brought, and they 
be raised up again. Consider then in what sort their 
souls do live in those places where they live, whose dead 
bodies live also in this world by so many miracles. If 
then you gather the life of the soul remaining in the 
body by the motion of the members : why do you not 
likewise, by the dead bones which work miracles, infer 
that the soul doth live after the death of the body ? 
Ureter, No solution, as I think, can overthrow the force 
of this reason alleged : by which we are constrained 
through visible things to believe those which we see not 
and be invisible. 

Chapter §>etien : of tbe Departure of men's souls; 

^ <£>reg;or|?. A little before, you complained for that 
you could not see the soul of one when it departed 
out of his body : but that was your fault, who desired 
with corporal eyes to behold an invisible thing, for many 
of us, that by sincere faith and plentiful prayer, have had 
the eye of our soul purified, have often seen souls going 
out of their bodies : and therefore now I think it necessary 
to set down both how, and in what sort, men's souls 
departing out of their bodies have been seen : and also 
what wonderful things have been revealed unto them, 
at the time of their departure : that by this means 
examples may satisfy our wavering and doubtful minds, 
which reason can not so fully persuade. Wherefore to 
begin. I remember that, in the second book of this work, 


€f)c Dialogues of §>t. ®reprp 

I told you how venerable Ben net (as by relation of his 
own monks I learned) being far distant from the city of 
Capua, beheld the soul of Germanus (Bishop of the same 
place) at midnight to be carried to heaven in a fiery globe : 
who, seeing the soul as it was ascending up, beheld also, 
in the largeness of his own soul, within the compass of 
one sunbeam, the whole world as it were gathered 

Cbapter Cigbt : of t&e Departure of tbe soul of 

^peCIOSUS, a Cponfc. fl By the relation also of the 
same monks, his disciples, I understood how two 
noble men that were brethren, and very well learned in 
humanity, the one called Speciosus, the other Gregory, 
entered into religion, there to live virtuously under the 
direction of his rule : whom the venerable father placed 
in a Monastery of his, hard by the city of Teracina. 
These men, whiles they remained in the world, were 
very rich, but for the redemption of their own souls, 
they had given all to the poor, and led their life in the 
same Monastery. One of these twain, to wit Speciosus, 
being sent upon business of the Monastery to the city 
of Capua : his natural brother Gregory in the meantime, 
sitting at table at dinner amongst the other monks, rapt 
in spirit, beheld his brother's soul, though so far distant, 
departing out of his body : which forthwith he told unto 
the other monks, and straight after in all haste took his 
journey to Capua, where he found his brother newly 
buried ; and there understood how he died at that very 
hour, in which he saw his soul going out of his body. 

Cbapter jftine : of t&e soul of a certain Snc&oret. 

^ A certain religious man, and one of great credit (at 
such time as I lived in the Monastery), told me that 
certain sailing from Sicily to Rome, as they were in the 
midst of the sea, beheld the soul of a certain servant 
of God carried to heaven, who had been an Anchoret in 
the land of Samnium. Landing afterward in the same 


£be Departure of abbot ^ope 

place, and making enquiry of that thing, they understood 
that holy man to have departed this life upon that very 
day in which they saw his soul ascending to heaven. 

Chapter £en : of tbe Departure of abbot pope's 

SOUl. ^ Whiles I lived as yet in my Monastery, I 
understood, by the relation of a very reverent man, a 
certain thing which I will now tell you. A venerable 
father there was, called Hope, who had built an Abbey 
in a place called Cample, distant almost six miles from 
the old city of Nursia. This man almighty and merciful 
God, by temporal affliction, preserved from everlasting 
misery, and gave him great grace and quiet of mind : 
for how dearly he loved him, yea, at that very time 
when he sent him affliction, was afterward made 
apparent to the world, when he vouchsafed perfectly to 
restore him to his former health. This man therefore 
was, for the space of forty years, punished with such a 
continual blindness of his eyes, that he could not so 
much as behold any light at all. But because none in 
adversity can without the help of God's grace stand : 
and unless the same merciful father, who sendeth 
punishment, giveth also patience : straightways his 
chastising of our sins doth by impatience more increase 
them : and so it pitifully falleth out, that our sin is by 
that very thing made greater, by which an end of all sin 
might very well have been expected. God therefore 
seeing our infirmity, together with affliction, by his 
sweet providence keepeth and preserveth us ; and is in 
his correction which he sendeth his chosen children in 
this world, so just with mercy/ that they may become 
such to whom afterward he may justly shew mercy : 
and therefore, though he did lay his cross of blindness 
upon this venerable man, yet did he not leave him 
destitute of inward light : for as his body was wearied 
with pain, so, by the providence of God's holy Spirit, 
his soul was refreshed with heavenly comfort. 


£fje Dialogues of %t ®regorp 

At length when he had continued forty years in this 
kind of blindness, our good Lord restored him to his 
former sight, giving him also to understand that he was 
shortly to leave this world : and therefore admonished 
him to preach the word of life unto all such Abbeys as 
were about him ; and that for as much as himself had 
received the light of his body, he would go and open 
unto them the spiritual light of the soul : who forth- 
with obeying God's commandment, visited the foresaid 
Abbeys, and preached unto them such precepts of good 
life as himself before had in conversation practised. 
Returning after fifteen days to his own Abbey, he called 
his monks together, and in their presence received the 
Sacrament of the body and blood of our Lord, and 
straightways began, together with them, the mystical 
hymns of the Psalms : afterward, falling with attention 
to his prayers, whiles they continued on their singing, 
he gave up the ghost : at which very time all the monks 
saw a dove coming out of his mouth, which in their 
sight flying forth through the top of the oratory being 
then opened, ascended up into heaven. And surely it is 
to be thought, that his soul, by divine providence, did 
in that manner appear in the likeness of a dove, that 
almighty God might thereby shew with what a true and 
simple heart that holy man had always served him. 

Chapter Clemen : of tbe Departure of a IPnest's 

0OUl, CalleO ftJrSinUS. <I Neither must I forget that 
which the reverent Abbot Stephen (who not long since 
died in this city, and whom you knew very well) told me 
to have happened in the same province of Nursia. For 
he said that a Priest dwelt in that country, who in the 
fear of God governed the church committed to his 
charge : and although, after he had taken orders, he did 
still love his old wife as his sister, yet did he avoid her 
as his enemy : and never would he permit her to come 
near him upon any occasion, abstaining wholly from all 


C6e Departure of Orsinu0 

intercourse of familiarity. For this is a thing proper to 
holy men, oftentimes to deprive themselves of those 
things which be lawful, to the end they may remain the 
more free from such as be unlawful : and therefore this 
man, not to fall into any sin, utterly refused all necessary 
and requisite service at her hands. 

When this reverent man had long lived in this world, 
the fortieth year after he was made priest, by a great and 
vehement ague [he] was brought to the last cast : his 
old wife, beholding him so far spent, and to lie as though 
he had been dead, put her head near unto him, to see 
whether he did breathe or no : which he perceiving, 
having yet a little life left, enforced himself to speak as 
well as he could, and in great fervour of spirit brake out 
into these words : " Get thee away, woman : a little fire 
is yet left, away with the straw." After she was gone, 
his strength somewhat increasing, he began with great joy 
to cry out : " Welcome, my Lords, welcome, my Lords : 
why have you vouchsafed to visit me, your unworthy 
servant ? I come, I come : 1 thank you, I thank you" : 
and when he did often repeat these and the like words, 
his friends that were present asked him to whom he 
spake, to whom with a kind of admiration he answered : 
" What ? do you not here behold the holy Apostles ? 
Do you not seethe chief of them, St. Peter and St. Paul ?" 
And so, turning himself again towards them, he said : 
" Behold 1 come, behold I come " : and in speaking 
those words, he gave up his happy ghost. And that he 
did indeed verily behold the holy Apostles, he testified 
by that his departure with them. And thus it doth 
often fall out, by the sweet providence of God, that good 
men at their death do behold his Saints going before them, 
and leading as it were the way, to the end they should 
not be afraid at the pangs thereof; and that whiles their 
souls do see the Saints in heaven, they may be discharged 
from the prison of this body, without all fear and grief. 


C6e Dialogues of ^>t (Sregotp 
Cbapter Ctoetoe : of tbe soul of IProims, 15i0f)op 

Of tm Cttp Of EeatL fl Concerning which thing I 
must also tell you that which the servant of God, Probus 
(who now in this city liveth in an Abbey), gave me to 
understand of an uncle of his, called also Probus, who 
was Bishop of the city of Reati. For he said that, being 
grievously sick and in great extremity of death, his father, 
whose name was Maximus, caused many physicians to 
be sent for, to see whether by their skill he could any 
ways be holpen ; who all upon the feeling of his pulse, 
gave sentence of speedy death. When dinner time was 
come, and the day somewhat far spent, the venerable 
Bishop, more careful of their health than of his own, 
desired them that they would go up with his old father 
into the higher part of his palace ; and after their great 
pains, to refresh themselves with a poor dinner. Where- 
upon all went up, and none remained with him, but a 
little young boy, who, as Probus saith, is yet living. 
The little boy, standing by his bedside, suddenly saw 
certain men coming in to the man of God, apparelled 
in white stoles, whose faces were far more beautiful and 
bright than the whiteness of their garments : whereat 
being amazed and afraid, he began to cry out, and ask 
who they were : at which noise the Bishop also looking 
up, beheld them coming in and knew them, and there- 
upon comforted the little boy, bidding him not to cry, 
or be afraid, saying that they were the holy martyrs 
St. Juvenal and St. Eleutherius that came to visit him : 
but he, not acquainted with any such strange visions, 
ran out at the doors as fast as he could, carrying news 
hereof both to his father and the physicians ; who, going 
down in all haste, found the Bishop departed : for those 
Saints, whose sight the child could not endure, had 
carried his soul away in their company. 

Chapter Cbitteen : of tbe Deatft of a Bun 

CalleD (£>al!a. H Neither will I conceal that which I 


€&e Departure of <£alla 

received by the relation of those that are grave and of 
good credit. In the time of the Goths, an honourable 
young maid called Galla, daughter to Symmachus the 
Consul, was bestowed in marriage : whose husband, 
before the year came about, departed this life : and 
though both plenty of wealth and her young years were 
great allurements to a second marriage, yet she made 
choice rather to be married spiritually to God, in which 
after mourning everlasting joy doth follow : than to 
become again subject to carnal matrimony, which always 
beginneth with joy, and in conclusion endeth with sor- 
row. But because she had a passing high colour, the 
physicians told her that, unless she did marry again, that 
she would through abundance of heat, contrary to nature, 
have a beard like unto men : which afterward fell so out 
indeed : but the holy woman little regarded outward 
deformity, which inwardly in her soul was enamoured 
with the beauty of the heavenly spouse ; and feared not 
if that in her became foul, which she knew that her 
celestial spouse did nothing love. Wherefore straight 
upon the death of her husband, casting off her secular 
habit and attire, she rendered herself for the service of 
God to that Nunnery which is by the church of the 
blessed Apostle St. Peter ; where she lived for the space 
of many years in prayer and simplicity of heart, and 
bestowed alms plentifully upon needy and poor people. 
At length, when almighty God determined to bestow 
upon her an everlasting reward, he sent her a cancer in 
one of her breasts. Two candles she had usually in the 
night time burning before her bed ; for loving light, she 
did not only hate spiritual darkness, but also corporal. 
One night, lying sore afflicted with this her infirmity, 
she saw St. Peter standing before her bed, betwixt the 
two candlesticks, and being nothing afraid, but glad, 
love giving her courage, thus she spake unto him : 
il How is it, my Lord ? what ? are my sins forgiven 

I 9 3 N 

€6e Dialogues of %>t eregorp 

me ? ' To whom (as he hath a most gracious coun- 
tenance) he bowed down a little his head, and said : 
"Thy sins are forgiven thee ; come and follow me." 
But because there was another Nun in the Monastery 
which Galla loved more than the rest, she straightways 
beseeched him that sister Benedicta might go with her : 
to whom he answered that she could not then come, but 
another should : "and as for her," quoth he, "whom 
you now request, thirty days hence shall she follow 
you " : and when he had thus said, he vanished out of 
her sight. After whose departure, she straightways 
called for the mother of the Convent, and told her what 
she had seen and heard : and the third day following, 
both she and the other before mentioned departed this 
life : and she also, whose company Galla desired, the 
thirtieth day after did follow them. The memory of 
which thing continueth still fresh in that Monastery, so 
that the Nuns which now live there (receiving it by 
tradition from their predecessors) can tell every little 
point thereof, as though they had been present at that 
time when the miracle happened. 

Chapter Jfourteen : of tbe Departure of a poor 
man, mk of tbe patep, calleD ^ertmlus. *§ Here 

also we have to know that oftentimes, at the death of 
God's servants, heavenly musick is heard, to the end that 
whiles they give willing ear to that melody, the soul may 
have no leisure to feel, when it departeth from the body. 
For I remember that, in my Homilies 1 upon the Gospel, I 
told how in that porch which is in the way to St. Clement's 
Church, there lay a certain man called Servulus, whom 
I doubt not but you also do remember : who, as he was 
poor in wealth, so rich in merits. This man had long 
Deen afflicted with sickness : for from the first time that 
I knew him, to the very last hour of his life, never can 
I remember but that he was sick of the palsy, and that 

1 Homelia 15. 

Cfje Departure of Eomula 

so pitifully, that he could not stand, nor sit up in his 
bed : neither was he ever able to put his hand unto his 
mouth, or to turn from one side to the other. His 
mother and brethren did serve and attend him, and 
what he got in alms, that by their hands he bestowed 
upon other poor people. Read he could not, yet did 
he buy the holy scriptures, which very carefully he 
caused such religious men as he entertained to read unto 
him : by means whereof, according to his capacity, though, 
as I said, he knew not a letter of the book, yet did he 
fully learn the holy scripture. Very careful he was in 
his sickness always to give God thanks, and day and 
night to praise his holy name. 

When the time was come, in which God determined 
to reward this his great patience : the pain of his body 
strook inwardly to his heart, which he feeling, and know- 
ing as his last hour was not far oft, called for all such 
strangers as lodged in his house, desiring them to sing 
hymns with him, for his last farewell and departure out 
of this life : and as he was himself singing with them, all 
on a sudden he cried out aloud, and bad them be silent, 
saying : " Do ye not hear the great and wonderful 
musick which is in heaven ? " and so whiles he lay giving 
of ear within himself to that divine harmony, his holy 
soul departed this mortal life : at which time, all that 
were there present felt a most pleasant and fragrant 
smell, whereby they perceived how true it was that Ser- 
vulus said. A monk of mine, who yet liveth, was then 
present, and with many tears useth to tell us, that the 
sweetness of that smell never went away, but that they 
felt it continually until the time of his burial. 

Cbapter jFtfteert : of tbe Departure of a Jf3un 

CalleO HOlttUla. fl In the same Homilies, I remember 
likewise, how I told a certain thing, which Speciosus, my 
fellow-Priest, doth also verify to be most true. At such 
time as I entered into religion, there dwelt in this city, 


Cbc Dialogues of §>t. <£regorp 

near to the church of our blessed Lady, a certain old 
woman, called Redempta, living in the habit of a Nun, 
a disciple of that Hirundina, which was famous for 
virtue, and led an eremitical life (as they say) in the 
mountains by the city of Preneste. This foresaid Re- 
dempta had two scholars, which wore the same habit 
that she did : the one called Romula, and the name of the 
other, which yet liveth, 1 can not tell, though by sight 
I know her very well. These three together in one little 
house lived a poor life, yet rich for piety and virtue : 
and of these twain Romula far excelled the other in merit 
of life : for she was a woman of marvellous patience, 
passing obedient, a great observer of silence, and one 
that with great zeal bestowed her time in continual 

But because it often falleth out, that they whom the 
world think to be perfect, have yet in the eyes of al- 
mighty God some imperfection (as many times unskilful 
men do commend seals of arms as excellently well en- 
graven, which yet the cunning workman doth better con- 
sider, and laboureth to make more perfect), this foresaid 
Romula fell into such a pitiful palsy, that she was fain to 
keep her bed : where she lay, deprived almost of all the 
use of her members : which great cross, notwithstanding, 
drew her not to any impatience, but rather the sickness 
of her body was the health of her soul, and the cause of 
her greater increase in virtue : for the less she could do 
in other things, the more she did in prayer and devotion. 
Upon a certain night she called for Redempta (who, as 
I said, brought them both up as her daughters), saying : 
" Come, mother, come, mother " : who straightways with 
her other disciple rose up, and (as myself and many more 
have heard it from their own mouths) when they were 
about midnight by her bedside, suddenly there came a 
light from heaven, which filled all that cell : and such 
a brightness there appeared, that it put them both into a 

I9 6 

€f)e Departure of Carsilla 

wonderful fear, and, as themselves did afterward report, 
all their body became cold, in such sort, that there they 
stood amazed : for they heard a noise, as it were of many 
that came in, and the cell door shaken and thrust open, 
as though there had been a great press of people : and 
as they said, they heard a great company come in, yet 
they saw nobody, and that by reason of great fear and 
much light : for both fear did make them to hold their 
eyes downward, and the brightness of such plenty of light 
did so dazzle them, that they could not behold anything. 
Straight after that light followed a wonderful pleasant 
smell, which did greatly comfort their fearful hearts. 
Romula, perceiving that they could not endure that 
abundance of light, with sweet words comforted Re- 
dempta, that stood trembling by her bedside, saying : 
" Be not affeard, mother ; for I shall not die at this 
time " : and when she had often repeated those words, by 
little and little the light vanished away, but yet the sweet 
smell remained still, and so continued both the next and 
the third day after. Upon the fourth night, again she 
called for that her mother, and when she was come, she 
desired to receive the Sacrament, and so she did ; and 
behold, before Redempta or her other disciple departed 
from her bedside, suddenly they heard two quires sing- 
ing before the door without : and as they said, they per- 
ceived by their voices that the one was of men, that 
began the psalms, and the other of women that answered: 
and whiles these heavenly funerals were in celebrating 
before the cell door, that holy soul departed this life, and 
was carried in that manner up into heaven : and the 
higher those two quires did ascend, the less did they hear 
that celestial musick, until at length they heard no more : 
and beside that sweet and odoriferous smell, which before 
they felt, vanished quite away. 

Chapter ^irteen : of tbe Departure of tbe bolp 

trirgin Car.Ollla, <J Sometime also for the comfort of 


Cbe Dialogues of %t (Sregorp 

the soul that departeth, there appeareth unto it the author 
himself of life, and rewarder of all virtue : for proof 
whereof I will here report that which I remember also 
to have spoken of in mine Homilies, concerning mine 
aunt Tarsilla : who, in the company of two others of her 
sisters, had for continuance in prayer, gravity of life, 
singularity in abstinence, arrived to the top of perfection. 
To this woman, Felix, my great-grandfather, sometime 
Bishop of this see of Rome, appeared in vision, and 
shewed her the habitation of everlasting light, speaking 
thus : " Come with me, and I will entertain you in this 
dwelling place of light." Shortly after, taken with an 
ague, she was brought to the last cast : and as when 
noble men and women lie a dying, many do visit them 
for the comfort of their friends : so divers both men 
and women, at the time of her departure, were come, 
which stood round about her bed : at what time she, 
suddenly casting her eyes upward, beheld our Saviour 
coming : whereupon, looking earnestly upon him, she 
cried out to them that were present : " Away, away : 
my Saviour Jesus is come " : and so, fixing her eyes 
upon him, whom she beheld, her holy soul departed 
this life : and such a wonderful fragrant smell ensued, 
that the sweetness thereof gave evident testimony that 
the author of all sweetness was there present. After- 
ward, when her dead body, according to the manner, 
was made ready to be washed, they found that, with long 
custom of prayer, the skin of her arms and knees was, 
like a camel's, become hard : and so her dead body 
gave sufficient testimony, what her living spirit had con- 
tinually practised. 

C&apter §>etoenteen : of tfje Departure of a poung; 

maiD CalleD $PUSa. *J Neither must that be forgotten, 
which the servant of God before mentioned, called 
Probus, used to tell of a little sister which he had, called 
Musa : for he said that one night our blessed Lady 


£be Departure of Siusa 

appeared unto her in vision, shewing her sundry young 
maids of her own years, clothed all in white : whose 
company she much desiring, but yet not presuming to 
go amongst them, the Blessed Virgin asked her whether 
she had any mind to remain with them, and to live in 
her service : to whom she answered that willingly she 
would. Then our blessed Lady gave her in charge, 
not to behave herself lightly, nor to live any more like 
a girl, to abstain also from laughing and pastime, telling 
her that after thirty days she should, amongst those 
virgins which she then saw, be admitted to her service. 
After this vision, the young maid forsook all her 
former behaviour : and with great gravity reformed the 
levity of her childish years : which thing her parents 
perceiving, and demanding from whence that change 
proceeded, she told them what the blessed Mother of 
God had given her in commandment, and upon what 
day she was to go unto her service. Five and twenty 
days after, she fell sick of an ague ; and upon the 
thirtieth day, when the hour of her departure was come, 
she beheld our blessed Lady, accompanied with those 
virgins which before in vision she saw to come unto her, 
and being called to come away, she answered with her 
eyes modestly cast downward, and very distinctly spake 
in this manner : "Behold, blessed Lady, I come, behold, 
blessed Lady, I come " : in speaking of which words 
she gave up the ghost, and her soul departed her virgin's 
body, to dwell for ever with the holy virgins in heaven. 
Ureter* Seeing mankind is subject to many and in- 
numerable vices, I think that the greatest part of heaven 
is replenished with little children and infants. 

Cbapter OEigbteen : boto certain poung cbilDren 
are binDerco from beatien bp tbcir parents' toickcD 
eDucation : as is sbetoeD 6p tbe erample of a 
blaspbemouspoungbop. <I (^regorp. Although we 

ought not to doubt, but believe that all infants which be 


Cbe Dialogues of %t <$regorp 

baptized, and die in their infancy, go to heaven ; yet no 
point of our belief it is, that all little ones which can 
speak do come unto that holy place : because some little 
children are kept from heaven by their parents, which 
bring them up wickedly and in lewd life. For a certain 
man in this city, well known to all, some three years 
since had a child, as I think five years old, which upon 
too much carnal affection he brought up very carelessly : 
in such sort that the little one (a lamentable case to 
speak of) so soon as anything went contrary to his mind, 
straightways used to blaspheme the name of God. 

This child, in that great mortality which happened 
three years since, fell sick, and came to the point of 
death : and his father holding him at that time in his 
arms, the child (as they say, which were then present) 
beheld with trembling eyes certain wicked spirits coming 
towards him : at which sight he began to cry out in this 
manner : " Keep them away, father, keep them away " : 
and crying so out, he turned away his face, and would 
have hid himself in his father's bosom : who demanding 
why he was so afraid, and what he saw : " O father," 
quoth he, " there be blackamoors come to carry me 
away " : after which words straightways he blasphemed 
God, and so gave up the ghost. For to the end God 
might make it known to the world for what sin he was 
delivered to such terrible executioners, he permitted 
him at his very death to iterate that sin, for which his 
father, whiles he lived, would not correct him : so that 
he which through God's patience had long lived a 
blasphemer, did at length, by his just judgment, blas- 
pheming end his life, that the father might both know 
his own sin, and also how, by neglecting the soul of his 
little son, he nourished and brought up not a little sinner 
for hell fire. But now to surcease from further speech 
of this sad and melancholy matter, let us prosecute, as 
we have begun, our former joyful narration. 


C6e Departure of ^tepben 
Chapter Nineteen : of tfje Departure of t&e man 

Of <2POD CalleD ^>tepl)en + J| By the relation of the 
same Probus, and other religious men, I came to the 
knowledge of such things as in my Homilies I told to 
mine auditors, concerning the venerable father Stephen. 
For he was a man, as Probus and many more affirm, who 
had no wealth in this world, nor cared for any, loving 
only poverty for God's sake : in adversity always did he 
keep patience : secular men's company did he avoid : 
and his desire was always to pray and serve God : ot 
whom I will here report one excellent virtuous act, that 
by one, many other which he likewise did, each man 
may ponder with himself. This man, therefore, having 
upon a time carried his corn, which he reaped with his 
own hands, into the barn, being the only substance upon 
which he and his disciples were to live all the year : a 
certain wicked wretch, pricked forward by the devil, set 
it all on fire : which another perceiving, ran in all haste 
and told it to the servant of God : and after he had done 
his message, he added these words, saying : " Alas and 
woe, father Stephen, what an ill chance hath befallen 
you." To whom straight ways, with a pleasant counte- 
nance and quiet mind, he answered : " Nay, what an ill 
chance and misery is befallen him that hath done this : 
for to me what hath happened ? " By which words of 
his it appeareth, to what great perfection he was arrived, 
that took so quietly the loss of all his worldly wealth, 
and was more sorry for the other's sin than grieved for 
his own loss ; and more thought what his neighbour had 
inwardly lost in his soul, than what himself had out- 
wardly lost in his substance. When this man lay a dying, 
many came to visit him, and to commend their souls to 
his, that was now leaving this world : and standing about 
his bed, some of them beheld Angels coming in, but yet 
were not able to tell it unto others then present : others 
there were that saw nothing, but yet such a great fear fell 


£be Dialogues of %t Gregory 

upon them all, that none could endure to remain in that 
place, when his soul departed the body : and therefore 
all of them, terrified and wholly possessed with fear, fled 
away : by which they perceived of what power he was, 
that received his soul going out of this world : seeing at 
that time no mortal creature could endure to be there 

Cbapter Ctoentp: boto sometime tbe merit of 
tbe soul is not so ttulp oeclareo at tbe time of tbe 

Departure as aftertoarD. <I But here we have to under- 
stand, that sometime the merit of the soul is not so truly 
known at the time of the departure, as it is afterward : 
and therefore divers holy martyrs have suffered many 
great torments at the hands of infidels : who afterwards, 
at their dead bones, were famous for signs and miracles, 
as before hath been noted. 

Cbapter £toentp=one: of tbe ttoo ajonfes of 

8bt)0t l^aletltinUS* ^ For the virtuous man Valen- 
tinus, who afterward, as you know, was in this city 
Abbot of my Monastery, having had before in the pro- 
vince of Valeria the government of another Abbey : into 
which, as he told me, the cruel Lombards entered in, and 
hung up two of his monks upon a tree, who in that 
manner ended their life. When evening was come, 
both their souls began in that place to sing so plainly 
and distinctly, that they also who had killed them, hear- 
ing that kind of musick, became wonderfully afraid. All 
the prisoners likewise that were there present heard it, 
and afterward witnessed the same : which strange melody 
God's providence would have known, to the end that 
mortal men living yet upon earth might thereby learn 
how that, if they serve him truly in this world, that 
they shall after death verily live with him in the world 
to come. 

Cbapter Ctnentpttuo : of tbe Departure of abbot 

%liranU$» ^ At such time as I yet lived in the Monas- 


Cruelty of tt>c lomtmtns 

tery, I understood by the relation of certain religious men, 
that in the time of the Lombards, in this very province 
called Sura and not far off, there was an holy Abbot 
called Suranus, who bestowed upon certain prisoners, 
which had escaped their hands, all such things as he 
had in his Monastery : and when he had given away in 
alms all his own apparel, and whatsoever he could rind 
either in the monks' cells or in the yards, and nothing 
was left : suddenly the Lombards came thither, took him 
prisoner, and demanded where his gold was : and when 
he told them that he had nothing, they carried him to 
an hill hard by, where there was a mighty great wood in 
which a certain prisoner that ran away from them had 
hid himself in an hollow tree. There one of the Lom- 
bards, drawing out his sword, slew the foresaid venerable 
Abbot, whose body as it fell to the ground, suddenly 
all the hill together with the wood did shake, as though 
the earth by that trembling had said, that it could not 
bear the weight of his holiness and virtue. 

Chapter CtoentHbree : of the departure of a 
Deacon belonging to tfjc cfwrcl) of tbe aparsori 

Cfl Another Deacon also there was in the province of the 
Marsori, a man of holy life, whom the Lombards had 
taken, and one with his sword had cut off his head. But 
as his body fell to the ground, he that slew him was 
possessed by a devil, and so he fell down at the holy 
man's feet, shewing thereby that he was delivered to the 
enemy of God, because he had so cruelly slain the friend 
of God. 

IPetet* What is the reason, I beseech you, that almighty 
God suffereth them to be put to death : whom after- 
ward he doth make known to the world, that they were 
holy men and his dear servants ? 

Chapter Ctoent??*fout : of tfjc Deatfj of tfjc man 
of (2)oo, tbat teas sent to T5etbel. cj€>rcgorp. Seeing 

we find it written, that what death soever the just man 


Cf)C Dialogues of %t (fcregorp 

dieth, that his justice shall not be taken from him : what 
hurt cometh to God's elect servants (walking no ques- 
tion the way to everlasting life), if for a little while 
they have some pitiful end ? and perhaps it proceedeth 
from some small sin of theirs, which by such kind of 
death God's pleasure is that it should be purged. And 
hereof it cometh that reprobates receive superiority and 
power over others, who at their death be so much the 
more punished, for that they used their cruel authority 
against God's servants : as the foresaid wicked and 
wretched man, whom God suffered not to triumph over 
that venerable Deacon, though he permitted him to kill 
his body : which thing to be true we learn also out of 
holy scriptures. For that man of God which was sent 
against Samaria, because contrary to God's command- 
ment he did eat in his journey, was slain by a lion ; and 
yet in the same place we read, that the lion stood by the 
man's ass, and did not touch his dead body. 1 By which 
we perceive that his sin of disobedience was by that his 
death pardoned : because the same lion that feared not 
to kill him, presumed not yet to touch his dead carcass : 
for licence he had for the one, but no leave was granted 
for the other, because he that was culpable in his life, 
having his sin of disobedience now punished, was just 
by his death ; and therefore the lion that before slew 
the body of a sinner, preserved afterward the corpse of 
a just man. 

1^0t0t» Your discourse pleaseth me very well: yet 
willing I am to know whether, before the resurrection, 
the souls of just men do enter into the kingdom of 

Chapter Ctoent^fitoe : toljetber t&e souls of just 
men be recetoeo into beatoen, before tbe general 
resurrection of our fcoDies. «I <£regorp. This thing, 

speaking generally of all just men, can neither be 

1 3 Kings 13, 24-28. 

Cfte insurrection of tfje TBoDp 

affirmed nor denied : for the souls of some just men, 
remaining as yet in certain mansions, be deferred from 
heaven ; by which stay of theirs, what else do we learn, 
but that they lacked somewhat of perfect justice ? And 
yet is it more clear than day that the souls of them that 
be perfect, do, straight after death, possess the joys of 
heaven : the truth whereof Christ himself assureth us, 
when he saith : Wheresoever the body shall be, thither will 
the eagles be gathered together ; x for where our Saviour is 
present in body, thither, without all question, do the 
souls of just men assemble themselves ; and St. Paul 
saith : / desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ. 2 He, 
therefore, that doubteth not Christ to be in heaven, how 
can he doubt that St. Paul's soul is in the same place ? 
which Apostle speaketh also of the dissolution of his 
body, and his dwelling in heaven in these words : We 
know that if our terrestrial house of this habitation be dis- 
solved^ that we have a building of God ; an house not made 
with hands, but everlasting in heaven? 
l|?0ter. If just men's souls be already in heaven : what 
then shall they receive for a reward of their virtuous and 
just life at the day of judgment ? 

(5)rC£0rp. Whereas now their souls be only in heaven, 
at the day of judgment this further increase of joy shall 
they have, that their bodies also shall be partakers of 
eternal bliss, and they shall in their flesh receive joy: in 
which, for Christ's sake, they suffered grief and torments. 
In respect of this their double glory, the scripture saith : 
In their land, they shall possess double things ; 4 and it is 
written of the souls of the just, that, before the day of 
resurrection : To every one of them white stoles were given : 
and it was said to them : that they should rest yet a little 
time, until the number of their fellow-servants and brethren 
were complete? They, therefore, that now receive but 

1 Luke, 17, 37. 2 Philipp. 1, 23. 3 2 Cor. 5, 1. 

4 Isai. 61, 7. 5 Rev. 6, 1 1. 


Cbc Dialogues of %t ®regorp 

one stole, in the day of judgment shall every one have 
two : because now they rejoice only for the felicity of 
their souls, but then shall they enjoy the endless glory 
of body and soul together. 

IPCtCt, I grant it to be as you say : but what, I beseech 
you, is the reason that oftentimes those which lie a dying 
do prophesy and tell of many things to come ? 

Chapter Ctoent^sir : T5p tobat means it failed) 
out, tbat tbose tobicb lie a oping oo propbesp of 
tbings to come : anD of tbe Oeatb of a certain 
aouocatc : of tfmt also tofjicb toas rctocaleD to tbe 
monks (^erontius anD S^ellitus : of tbe Deatb of 
a bop called 3rmentarius, anD of tbe Otoersitp of 

tongues. *J €>tegOtp. Sometime the soul itself, by 
reason of the spiritual nature which it hath, doth foresee 
some thing which will so fall out ; and sometime souls, 
before their departure, come to the knowledge of future 
things by revelation ; sometime also, when they are 
straightways to leave the body, by heavenly inspiration 
they penetrate with their spiritual eyes the secrets of 
heaven. For that the soul, by reason of the spiritual 
nature which it hath, doth know things to come, certain 
it is, by that which happened to a certain advocate in 
this city, who died two days ago of a pain in his side. 
For a little before his death, he called for his boy, to give 
him his apparel, that he might rise up and walk : who, 
supposing him not to know what he said, refused to do 
what he willed him. Whereupon he rose up, put on 
his clothes, and said that he would go to the church of 
St. Sixtus, which is in the way called Appia: and when 
not long after, his sickness increasing, he departed this 
life, determined it was, that his body should be buried in 
the church of St. Januarius the martyr, which standeth 
upon the way called Prenestina. But because they which 
had the care of his burial thought it too far off, suddenly 
they resolved upon a new course : and so, going forth 


prophecies of tfje Dptng 

with his corpse by the way called Appia, not knowing 
what he had said, they buried him in that church which 
before he had mentioned : and seeing it is well known 
that he was a man given to the world, and one that 
sought after earthly gain, how could he know that which 
fell out, but that the force and spiritual nature of his 
soul did foresee what should become of his body ? 

That those also, which lie a dying, do oftentimes by 
divine revelation foretell what shall happen afterward, 
we may learn by such things as have fallen out amongst 
us in clivers Abbeys. For ten years since, there was a 
monk in my Monastery, called Gerontius, who, lying 
sore sick, saw by vision in the night time, certain white 
men beautifully apparelled to descend from above into 
the Monastery, and standing by his bed-side, one of them 
said : "The cause of our coming hither is to choose out 
certain of Gregory's monks, to send them abroad unto 
the wars": and forthwith he commanded another to 
write in a bill the names of Marcellus, Valentinian, 
Agnellus, and divers others, whose names I have now 
forgotten : that being done, he said further : "Put down 
also the name of him that now beholdeth us." By 
which vision he being assured of that which would come 
to pass, the next morning he told the monks, who they 
were that should shortly die out of the Monastery, 
adding also that himself was to follow them. The next 
day the foresaid monks fell more dangerously sick, and 
so died all in that very order which they were named in 
the bill. Last of all, himself also departed this life, 
who had foretold the departure of the other monks 
before him. 

Likewise in that mortality which, three years since, 
lamentably afflicted this town, there was in the Monastery 
of the city of Portua, a young monk called Mellitus, a 
man of wonderful simplicity and humility, whose last 
day being come, he fell desperately sick of the common 


Cbe Dialogues of %t <£reprp 

disease : which when venerable Felix, Bishop of the 
same place, understood (by whose relation myself have 
learned this story), very careful he was to visit him, and 
with sweet words to comfort him against death : adding, 
notwithstanding, that by God's grace he might live long 
in this world. To whom the sick man answered that 
his time was at hand, saying that there came unto him a 
young man with letters, willing him to open and read 
them : which when he had done, he said that he found 
both his own name, and all the rest of them which, the 
Easter before, had been baptized by that Bishop, written 
in letters of gold : and first of all he said that he found 
his own name, and afterward the rest of them that were 
christened at that time : by which he made no doubt 
but that both himself and the rest should shortly depart 
this life, and so it fell out, for he died that very day : 
and after him followed all those which had before been 
baptized, so that, within the space of a few days, no one 
of them was left alive. Of whom no question can be 
made, but that the reason why the foresaid servant of 
God saw them written in gold, was because their names 
were written in heaven in the everlasting sight of God. 
And as these men, by divine revelation, knew and 
foretold such things as were to come : so sometimes 
souls, before their departure, not in a dream but waking, 
may have some taste of heavenly mysteries. For you 
were well acquainted with Ammonius, a monk of my 
Monastery, who whiles he lived in a secular weed and 
was married to the daughter of Valerianus, a lawyer in 
this city, continually and with all diligence he followed 
his business : by reason whereof he knew whatsoever was 
done in his father-in-law's house. This man told me, 
how, in that great mortality which happened in this city, 
in the time of that noble man Narsus, there was a boy in 
the house of the foresaid Valerianus, called Armentarius, 
who was very simple and passing humble : when, there- 


Propbecie0 of tfje Hoping 

fore, that mortal disease entered that lawyer's house, the 
foresaid boy fell sick thereof, and was brought to the 
point of death : who suddenly falling into a trance, and 
afterward coming to himself again, caused his master to 
be sent for, to whom he told that he had been in heaven, 
and did know who they were that should die out of his 
house. " Such and such," quoth he, " shall die, but as for 
yourself, fear nothing, for at this time die you shall not. 
And that you may be assured that I have verily been in 
heaven, behold I have there received the gift to speak 
with all tongues : you know well enough that ignorant 
I am of the Greek tongue, and yet will I speak Greek, 
that you may see whether it be true that I say or no." 
Then his master spake Greek, and he so answered him 
in that tongue, that all which were present did much 
marvel. In the same house there was a Bulgar, servant 
to the foresaid Narsus, who in all haste, being brought to 
the sick person, spake unto him in the Bulgarian tongue ; 
and the boy that was born and brought up in Italy, 
answered him so in that barbarous language, as though 
he had been born and bred in that country. All that 
heard him thus talking wondered much, and by experi- 
ence of two tongues which they knew very well that 
before he knew not, they made no doubt of the rest, 
though they could make no trial thereof. After this he 
lived two days, and upon the third, by what secret judg- 
ment of God none can tell, he tare and rent with his 
teeth his own hands and arms, and so departed this life. 
When he was dead, all those whom before he mentioned 
did quickly follow after ; and besides them, none in that 
house died at that time. 

K?Ct0t» A very terrible thing it is, that he which merited 
so great a grace, should be punished with so pitiful a 

tiDtZQOKV. Who is able to enter into the secret judg- 
ments or God ? Wherefore those things which in divine 

209 o 

£fje Dialogues of %t ®regorp 

examination we cannot comprehend, we ought rather to 
fear than curiously to discuss. 

Chapter Ctoentp^e&en : of tbe Deatb of tbe Carl 

Cbeopf)aniU0. fl And to prosecute what we have 
already begun, concerning the prophetical knowledge of 
those that die, I will now tell you that which, when I 
was in the city of Centumcellis, I understood by the 
relation of many, touching Theophanius, Earl of that 
place. For he was a man of great mercy and compassion, 
and one that did many good works, but especially he 
was given to good housekeeping and hospitality. True 
it is that, following the affairs of his earldom, he spent 
much time about earthly and worldly business, but that 
rather of necessity and duty than according to his own 
mind and desire, as his virtuous end afterward declared. 
For when the time of his death was come, there arose a 
great tempest, which was likely to hinder the funerals ; 
whereat his wife, pitifully weeping, asked him in this 
manner : "What shall I do ? or how shall we carry you 
to be buried, seeing the tempest is so terrible, that none 
can stir out of doors ?" To whom he answered thus : 
" Weep not, good wife, for so soon as I am dead you 
shall have fair weather" : and when he had so said, he 
gave up the ghost : and straightways the air became 
clear, and the tempest ceased. After this miracle one or 
two more followed. For whereas his hands and feet were 
with the gout before swollen and festered, and by reason 
of much corrupt matter, did savour and smell : yet when 
he was dead, and his body after the manner came to be 
washed, they found his hands and feet so sound and 
whole, as though they had never been troubled with any 
such sores at all. Four days after his burial, his wife 
was desirous to have the marble stone that lay upon him 
changed : which being done, such a fragrant and pleasant 
smell came from his body, as though, instead of worms, 
spices had sprung out of that corrupt carcass : of which 


Cbe Deatb of Cbeopfmnius 

strange thing when I did in my Homilies make public 
mention, and certain incredulous persons doubted there- 
of : upon a day, as I was sitting in the company of divers 
noble men, those very workmen, which had changed the 
tombstone, came unto me about business of their own : 
whom in the presence of the clergy, nobility, and common 
people, I examined, touching that miracle : and they all 
affirmed it to be most true, saying that they were in a 
strange manner replenished with that sweet smell : and 
they added also certain other things concerning his 
sepulchre, that made the miracle greater, which, not to 
be over long, I mean to pass over with silence. 
li?0tCt. 1 perceive now that my former question is suffi- 
ciently satisfied : yet another remaineth which troubleth 
my mind, and that is, seeing you affirmed before that 
holy men's souls which depart this life be now in heaven, 
it followeth consequently that the souls of the wicked be 
also in hell : and yet ignorant I am whether it be so or 
no, for man's imagination cannot conceive how the souls 
of sinners can be tormented before the day of judgment. 

Cbapter Ctoent^eigbt : tbat, as toe belietie tbe 
souls of just anD perfect men to be in beatien : 
so toe ougbt also to belietie tbat tbe souls of tbe 
toickeo, after tbeir Departure from tbe boop, be in 

tell ^ ©regorp. If, by the testimony of holy scrip- 
ture, you believe that the souls of holy and perfect men 
be in heaven : by the same reason ought you also to 
believe that the souls of the wicked be in hell : for as 
just men do rejoice and be glad at the retribution of 
eternal justice, so necessary it is that the wicked at the 
same justice should be grieved and tormented : for as 
heavenly felicity doth glad the elect, so we ought to 
believe that, from the day of their departure, fire doth 
afflict and burn the reprobate. 

Ureter. With what reason can we believe, that corporal 
fire can hold and torment an incorporal thing ? 

21 I 

C&e Dialogues of %t <$reprp 

Chapter £tocntp-nine : tfje reason tofjp toe ougbt 
to belietie, ttiat corporal fire can fjolD ano torment 
tfje spirits tbat be toitbout boOies- 9 ®regorp, if 

a spirit without a body can be holden and kept in the 
body of a living man : why, likewise, after death, may 
not an incorporal spirit be holden and kept in corporal 
fire ? 

Ureter* The reason why an incorporal spirit in every 
living man is kept in the body, is, because it doth quicken 
and give life to the body. 

(£>rCgOrp, If an incorporal spirit, Peter, may be kept in 
that to which it giveth life : why also, for punishment, 
may it not be kept there, where it continually dieth ? And 
we say that a spirit is holden by fire, to the end that, in 
the torment thereof, it may both by seeing and feeling be 
punished : for the soul by seeing of the fire is afflicted, 
and burned it is, in that it seeth itself to be burned : and 
so it falleth out, that a corporal thing may burn that 
which hath no body, whiles that an invisible burning 
and sorrow is drawn from visible fire, and the incorporal 
soul by means of corporal fire may be tormented with 
a spiritual and incorporal flame : although out of the 
Gospel we also learn that the soul is not only tormented 
by seeing the fire, but also by the feeling thereof : for 
the rich glutton, as our Saviour saith, was buried in hell. 
And he giveth us to understand that his soul was kept 
in fire, in that he telleth us how he did beseech Abra- 
ham, speaking to him in this manner : Send Lazarus, that 
he may dip the top of his finger into the water and may refresh 
my tongue : because I am tormented in this flame} Seeing, 
then, truth itself assureth us that the sinful rich man was 
condemned into fire, what wise man can deny that the 
souls of the reprobate be detained in fire ? 
IPCter* Both reason and testimony of scripture draweth 
my mind to believe what you say : but yet, when I think 

1 Luke 16, 24. 

Peter I 

I /run, iscan Church, Innsbruck) 

€f)c Deatb of l^ing: C&eoDoricus 

not of them, it returneth again to his former opinion : 
for I neither see, nor can perceive, how a corporal thing 
can hold and torment that which is incorporal and with- 
out body. 

(£)tC0Otp. Tell me, I pray you, whether do you think 
that those Angels which, fell from heaven have bodies 
or no ? 

J^CtCt. What man that hath his wits will say that they 
have any bodies ? 

(£)tC#0tp. And whether do you think that the fire of 
hell is corporal or spiritual ? 

IPCtCt. 1 make no doubt but that it is corporal, seeing 
most certain it is that bodies be burned therewith. 
(£>t£{J0tp» And as certain it is that, at the day of judg- 
ment, our Saviour shall say to the reprobate : Qo into 
everlasting fire^ which is prepared for the devil and his 
angels} if, then, the devil and his angels, though with- 
out bodies, shall be tormented with corporal fire, what 
marvel is it that the souls after their departure, and 
before they be united again to their bodies, may in like 
manner suffer corporal torments ? 

I[i)0t0t* The reason you give is very plain, and there- 
fore now there is not any further doubt touching this 
question, that doth trouble my mind. 

Chapter Cbirtp : of tbe oeatb of ifting C6eoDori= 
cu0,tof)otoa0 an artan Jjerettc. «I (Srcgorp. Seeing 

with such difficulty you are brought to believe, I think 
it worth my labour to let you understand such things 
concerning this very point, as I have received from them 
that be of good credit. Julian, who died almost seven 
years since, and had a worshipful office in this church of 
Rome, in which now by God's providence I serve, used 
often to visit me (living as yet in my Monastery) and to 
talk with me of spiritual things for the good of both 
our souls. This man, upon a day, told me this story. 

1 Matt. 25, 41. 

Cf)C Dialogues of 9t <£reprp 

" I n the time of king Theodoricus," quoth he, " my wite's 
father, being then in Sicily, was to return into Italy. The 
ship in which he came arrived at the island of Liparis : 
where he understood that there dwelt a certain solitary 
man of great virtue, whom he thought good, whiles the 
mariners were occupied about mending of their ship and 
tackling, to visit, to talk with him, and to commend him- 
self to his prayers : and so he did in the company or others. 
When they were come to the man of God, amongst other 
talk which they had, he asked them this question : 'Do 
you,' quoth he, 'hear that king Theodoricus is dead ?' 
to whom they quickly answered : ' God forbid : we left 
him alive at our departure from Rome ; and before this 
present we never heard of any such thing.' Then the 
servant of God told them that certainly he was dead : 
' for yesterday,' quoth he, * at nine of the clock, he was 
without shoes and girdle, and his hands fast bound, 
brought betwixt John the Pope and Symmachus the 
Senator, and thrown into Vulcan's gulph, which is not far 
from this place.' When they heard this news, care- 
fully they wrote down the time, and at their return into 
Italy, they understood that king Theodoricus died upon 
that very day, in which his unhappy passage out of this 
world and punishment was revealed to the servant of 
God." And for as much as he had, by miserable im- 
prisonment, been the death of Pope John, and also killed 
Symmachus, justly did he appear to be thrown of them 
into fire, whom before in this life he had unjustly 

Chapter Cfjirtp^onc : of tbe Dcatb of Ecparatus. 

^ At the same time, when I first desired to lead a solitary 
life, a certain old man called Deusdedit, passing well 
beloved of the whole city, and one also that was my 
friend and familiar acquaintance, told me that, in the 
time of the Goths, a certain worshipful man, called 
Reparatus, came to die ; who lying a long while with 


€f)C Dcatf) of Ecparatus 

his countenance changed, and his body stiff, many- 
thought in very deed that he had been dead : and when 
divers of his friends and family wept for his departure, all 
on a sudden he came to himself, to the great admiration 
of his mourning household. Being returned thus to 
life, he bad them in all haste to send a boy to the 
church of St. Lawrence in Damaso (so called of him 
that built it) and quickly to bring word what was be- 
come of Tiburtius the Priest. This Tiburtius, as the 
speech went, was much given to a dissolute and wanton 
life ; and Florentius, who at that time was a Priest in 
the same church, remembereth full well his conversa- 
tion and manner of life. When the messenger was 
gone, Reparatus, that was returned to life, told them 
that in the place where he was, he saw a great wood-pile 
made ready, and Tiburtius brought forth and laid upon 
it, and there to have been burnt with fire. " Then another 
fire," quoth he, "was prepared, which was so high that it 
reached from earth to heaven " : but although they de- 
manded for whom it was, yet did he not tell them : for 
when he had spoken these words straightways he died : 
and the boy, which was sent to see what was become of 
Tiburtius, returned with news, that he found him, a 
little before his coming, departed this life. By which 
we may learn that, seeing this Reparatus was carried to 
the places of torments to see them, returned afterward 
to life to tell what he had there beheld, and straight 
after left this world : that he saw not all these things 
for himself, but for us that yet live, and have time 
granted to amend our wicked lives. And the reason 
why Reparatus saw that great wood-pile burning, was 
not that we should think that the fire of hell is nourished 
with any wood : but because he was to make relation 
of these things to them that remained still in this world, 
he saw that fire prepared for the wicked, to be made of 
the same matter of which our fire is, tothe end that, by 


£f)e Dialogues of %t <$rcgorp 

those things which we know and be acquainted with, we 
should learn to be afraid of those, which yet we have 
not seen nor have any experience. 

Cbapter CbirtHtot) : of tfje Deatb of a Courtier : 
tofjose gratje tjurneo toitf) fire. <I Maximianus, 

Bishop of Syracusis, a man of holy life, who for a long 
time in this city had the government of my Monastery, 
often told me a terrible story, which fell out in the pro- 
vince of Valeria. A certain courtier, upon Easter even, 
was godfather to a young maid, who, after the fast was 
ended, returned home to his house : where drinking 
more wine than enough, he desired that his god-daughter 
might tarry with him : whom that night, which is hor- 
rible to speak of, he did utterly undo. In the morning, 
up he rose, and with guilty conscience thought good to 
go unto the bath, as though the water of that place 
could have washed away the filthiness of his sin, yet he 
went and washed himself. Then he began to doubt, 
whether it were best to go unto the church or no ; fear- 
ing, on the one side, what men would say, if he went 
not upon that so great a festival day ; and on the other, 
if he did go, he trembled to think of God's judgment. 
In conclusion, shame of the world overcame him, and 
therefore to the church he went : where yet he remained 
with great fear and horror, looking every instant that he 
should have been delivered to the devil, and tormented 
before all the people. At that solemn mass, though he 
did wonderfully shake for fear, yet he scaped free from 
all punishment : and so he departed very joyfully from 
church : and the next day after, came thither without 
any fear at all : and so merrily and securely he continued 
for six days together, thinking with himself that either 
God saw not that his abominable sin, or else that mercifully 
he had pardoned the same. Upon the seventh day, by 
sudden death he was taken out of this world. And 
being buried, for a long time after, in the sight of the 


IftnotolcDgc of tbc faints 

whole town, a flame of fire came out of his grave, which 
burnt his bones so long, until it consumed the very 
grave itself, in such sort that the earth which was raised 
up with a little bank, appeared lower than the rest of 
the ground. By which fact almighty God declared what 
his soul suffered in the other world, whose dead body 
flaming fire consumed in this. To us also he hath left 
a fearful example, that we may thereby learn what the 
living and sensible soul suffereth for sin committed, 
when as the sensible bones by such a punishment of fire 
were burnt to nothing. 

H?0t0t, Desirous I am to know whether in heaven the 
good know the good, and the wicked in hell know one 

Chapter Cbittp^tfjtee : tfmt in fjeatoen tbc gooD 
fmoto tbe pot) : ant) in bell tbc toicfeeti fjatic knoto- 
leoge of tbe toiefceo. <I ®reprp. The truth of this 

question we find most clearly resolved in those words of 
our Saviour before alleged : in which, when it is said 
that : There was a certain rich man, and he was clad with 
purple and silk) and he fared every day magnifically : and there 
was a certain beggar called Lazarus, that lay at his gate full 
of sores, desiring to be filled of the crumbs that fell from the rich 
mans table, and none did give him, but the dogs also came 
and licked his sores ; straightways it is there also said, 
that : Lazarus died, and was carried of the Angels into 
Abraham s bosom : and the rich man also died, and was 
buried in hell : who, lifting up his eyes, being in torments, saw 
Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom, and he cried 
saying: Father Abraham, have ^mercy on me, and send 
Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger into water for 
to cool my tongue, because I am tormented in this flame. To 
whom Abraham answered : Son, remember that thou diddest 
receive good things in thy lifetime, and Lazarus likewise evil. 1 
By which words, the rich man, having no hope of salva- 

1 Luke 16, 19-25. 

Cf)C Dialogues of %t ®tcg;otp 

tion for himself, beginneth to make suit for his friends, 
saying : Father, I beseech thee, that thou wouldest send him 
unto my father s house, for I have five brethren, for to testify 
unto them, lest they also come into this place of torments. In 
which words we see plainly, that the good do know the 
good, and the bad have knowledge of the bad. For if 
Abraham had not known Lazarus, never would he have 
spoken to the rich man being in torments, and made 
mention of his affliction and misery past, saying : that 
he had received evil things in his life. And if the bad did 
not know the bad, never would the rich man in torments 
have remembered his brethren that were absent : for 
shall we think that he knew not them that were present 
with him, who was so careful to pray for them that were 
absent ? 

By which we learn also the answer to another ques- 
tion, which you demanded not : and that is, that the good 
do know the bad, and the bad the good. For Abraham 
knew the rich man, to whom he said : Thou hast received 
good things in thy life : and Lazarus, God's elect servant, 
was also known to the rich reprobate, whom by name 
he desired that he might be sent unto him, saying : Send 
Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger into water, and 
cool my tongue : by which mutual knowledge on both sides, 
the reward likewise to both parts increaseth, for the good 
do more rejoice, when they behold them also in felicity 
whom before they loved : and the wicked seeing them, 
whom in this world not respecting God they did love, 
to be now punished in their company, tormented they 
are, not only with their own pains, but also with the 
pains of their friends. Beside all this, a more wonder- 
ful grace is bestowed upon the Saints in heaven : for they 
know not only them with whom they were acquainted 
in this world, but also those whom before they never saw, 
and converse with them in such familiar sort as though 
in times past they had seen and known one another : 


ITfeions of tbe ©tber £OorlD 

and therefore when they shall see the ancient fathers in 
that place of perpetual bliss, they shall then know them 
by sight, whom always they knew in their lives and 
conversation. For seeing they do in that place with 
unspeakable brightness (common to all) behold God, 
what is there that they know not, that know him who 
knoweth all things ? 

Cbapter CWrtp=four : of a certain religious man, 
tbat at bis oeatb sato tbe IPropbets. q For a certain 

religious man of my Monastery, that lived a virtuous 
life, dying some four years since, saw at the very time 
of his departure (as other religious men do report, that 
were present) the Prophet Jonas, Ezechiel, and Daniel, 
and by their names called them his Lords, saying that 
they were come unto him : and as he was bowing his 
head downward to them for reverence, he gave up the 
ghost : whereby we perceive what perfect knowledge 
shall be in that immortal life, when as this man, being 
yet in corruptible flesh, knew the Prophets whom he 
never saw. 

Chapter £f»rtp*fft)e : boto sometime souls 
reaop to Depart tbis toorlD, tbat fenoto not one 
anotber, knoto pet tobat torments for tbeir sins, 
or like retoaros for tbeir gooD occos, tbep sball 
receive. 3nD of tbe &eatb of 31obn, Orsus, <£umor= 

pfriUS, anD ^tepben, H And sometime it falleth out 
that the soul, before it departeth, knoweth them with 
whom, by reason of equality of sins or rewards, it shall 
in the next world remain in one place. For old 
Eleutherius, a man of holy life, of whom in the former 
book I spake much, saith that he had a natural brother 
of his, called John, who lived together with him in his 
Monastery, who, fourteen days beforehand, told the 
monks when he was to die : and three days before he 
departed this life, he fell into an ague, and when his 
time was come, he received the mystery of our Lord's 


£f)C Dialogues of %t. Gregory 

body and blood : and calling for the monks about him, 
he willed them to sing in his presence, prescribing them 
a certain anthem concerning himself,' saying : Open unto 
me the gates of justice, and being gone into them, I will confess 
unto our Lord : this is the gate of our Lord, just men shall 
enter in by it ; x and whiles the monks about him were 
singing this anthem, suddenly with a loud and long 
voice he cried out, saying : " Come away, Ursus " : 
straight after which words his soul departed this mortal 
life. The monks marvelled, because they knew not the 
meaning of that, which at his death he so cried for : and 
therefore after his departure, all the Monastery was in 
sorrow and affliction. Four days after, necessary busi- 
ness they had, to send some of their brethren to another 
Monastery far distant : to which place when they came, 
they found all the monks in great heaviness, and 
demanding the reason, they told them that they did 
lament the desolation of their house : " for four days 
since," quoth they, " one of our monks died, whose life 
kept us all in this place " : and when they inquired his 
name, they understood that it was Ursus : asking also 
at what hour he left this world, they found that it was 
at that very instant, when he was called by John who 
died with them. Out of which we may learn that the 
merits of either were alike ; and that in the next world 
they live familiarly together in one mansion, who at one 
time like fellows departed this life. 

Here also will I tell you what I heard from the 
mouths of my neighbours, at such time as I was yet 
a layman, and dwelled in my father's house, which 
descended to me by inheritance. A certain widow there 
was not far from me, called Galla, which had a young 
man to her son, whose name was Eumorphius : not far 
trom whom dwelt one Stephen called also Optio. This 
Eumorphius, lying sick at the point of death, called for 

1 Psalm 1 1 8, 19-20. 








Vision* of t&e Dtber motto 

his man, commanding him in all haste to go unto Stephen 
Optio, and to desire him without all delay to come 
unto him, because there was a ship ready, to carry them 
both into Sicily. But because his man refused to go, 
supposing that through extremity of sickness he knew 
not what he spake, his master very earnestly urged him 
forward, saying : " Go thy way, and tell him what I say, 
for I am not mad, as thou thinkest." Hereupon away 
he went towards Stephen, but as he was in the midst 
of his journey, he met one that asked him whither he 
was going, and when he told him, that he was by his 
master sent to Stephen Optio : " You lose your labour," 
quoth the other, " for I come now from thence : and he 
died this very hour." Back again upon this news he 
returned to his master, Eumorphius : but before he 
could get home, he found him dead. And so, by con- 
conferring their meeting together, and the length of the 
way, apparent it was that both of them, at one and the 
self same instant, departed this mortal life. 
K?0t0t. Very terrible it is that you say : but what, I 
pray you, is the reason, that he saw a ship at his depar- 
ture ? Or why did he say that he was to go into Sicily ? 
(2DtC0Otp. The soul needeth not anything to carry it : 
yet no wonder it is, if that appeared to the soul being 
yet in the body, which by means of the body it had 
oftentimes before seen : to the end that we should thereby 
understand whither his soul might spiritually be carried. 
And in that he said he was to go into Sicily, what else 
can be meant thereby, but that there be in the islands 
of that country more than in any place else, certain gaping 
gulphs of torments, casting out fire continually ? and as 
they say that know them, daily do they wax greater, and 
enlarge themselves : so that the world drawing to an end, 
and so, consequently, more coming thither to be burnt 
in those flaming dungeons, so much the more do those 
places of torments open and become wider. Which 


C6e Dialogues of %t. <£regorp 

strange thing almighty God, for the terror and amend- 
ment of the living, would have extant in this world, that 
infidels which believe not the unspeakable pains of hell, 
may with their eyes see the places of torments, which 
they list not to credit when it is told them. And that 
both the elect and reprobate, whose life and conversation 
hath been alike, shall after death be carried to like places, 
the saying of our Saviour doth teach us, though we had 
no examples to prove the same ; for of the elect himself 
saith in the Gospel : In the house of my Father there be 
many mansions} For if there were not inequality of 
rewards in the everlasting felicity of heaven, then were 
there not many mansions, but rather one : wherefore 
there be many mansions, in which divers orders and 
degrees of God's saints be distinguished, who in common 
do all rejoice of the society and fellowship of their 
merits, and yet all they that laboured receive one penny, 
though they remain in distinct mansions : because the 
felicity and joy which there they possess is one, and the 
reward, which by divers and unequal good works they 
receive is not one but divers : which to be true our 
Saviour assureth us, when, talking of his coming to 
judgment, he saith : Then I will say to the reapers : Gather 
up the cockle^ and bind it into bundles to burn? For the 
Angels, which be the reapers, do then bind up in bundles 
the cockle to burn, when like with like are put together 
in torment : as the proud to burn in hell with the proud, 
carnal with the carnal, covetous with the covetous, 
deceitful with the deceitful, envious with the envious, 
and infidels with infidels : when therefore those that 
were like in sinful life, be condemned to like torments, 
then be they as it were cockle bound together in bundles 
to be burnt. 

IPCtCt, You have given a sufficient reason for satisfac- 
tion to my demand : yet I beseech you to inform me 
1 John 14, 2. 2 Matt. 13, 30. 


Visions of tbe Dtber OToriD 

further, what the cause is, that some be called out of 
this world, as it were through error : who afterward 
return again to life, saying that they heard how they 
were not the men which were sent for out of this life. 

Chapter Cfnrt^sir : of tbose souls tobicf) seem 
as it toere tbrougb error to be tafeen out of tbcit 
boDies : anD of toe Deatb and retiring of a monk 
calleo Peter : of tfre Deatf), likewise, anD raising 
up again of one Stephen : anD of tbe strange 
tJision of a certain solDier, q ^rcgorp, when this 

happeneth, Peter, it is not, if it be well considered, any 
error, but an admonition. For God of his great and 
bountiful mercy so disposeth, that some after their death 
do straightways return again to life, that having seen the 
torments of hell, which before when they heard they 
would not believe, they may now at least tremble at, 
after they have with their eyes beheld them. For a 
certain Sclavonion, who was a monk and lived with me 
here in this city in my Monastery, used to tell me that 
at such time as he dwelt in the wilderness, that he knew 
one Peter, a monk born in Spain, who lived with him 
in the vast desert called Evasa : which Peter (as he said) 
told him how, before he came to dwell in that place, by 
a certain sickness he died, and was straightways restored 
to life again, affirming that he had seen the torments and 
innumerable places of hell, and divers, who were mighty 
men in this world, hanging in those flames ; and that as 
himself was carried to be thrown also into the same fire, 
suddenly an Angel in a beautiful attire appeared, who 
would not suffer him to be cast into those torments : 
but spake unto him in this manner : " Go thy way back 
again, and hereafter carefully look unto thyself, how 
thou leadest thy life " : after which words his body by 
little and little became warm, and himself, waking out 
of the sleep of everlasting death, reported all such things 
as happened about him : after which time he bound 


Ctje Dialogues of ^>t ategorp 

himself to such fasting and watching, that though he 
had said nothing, yet his very life and conversation did 
speak what torments he had seen and was afraid of: 
and so God's merciful providence wrought in his tem- 
poral death that he died not everlastingly. 

But because man's heart is passing obdurate and hard, 
hereof it cometh that though others have the like vision, 
and see the same pains, yet do they not always reap the 
like profit. For the honourable man Stephen, whom 
you knew very well, told me of himself, that at such 
time as he was upon business resident in the city of 
Constantinople, that he fell sick and died ; and when 
they sought for a surgeon to bowel him, and to embalm 
his body, and could not get any, he lay unburied all the 
night following: in which space his soul was carried to 
the dungeon of hell, where he saw many things, which 
before when he heard he little believed. But when he 
was brought before the judge that sat there, he would 
not admit him to his presence, saying : " I commanded 
not this man to be brought, but Stephen the smith " : 
upon which words he was straightway restored to life, 
and Stephen the smith, that dwelled hard by, at that very 
hour departed this life : whose death did show that the 
words which he heard were most true. But though the 
foresaid Stephen escaped death in this manner at that 
time, yet three years since, in that mortality which 
lamentably wasted this city (and in which, as you know, 
men with their corporal eyes did behold arrows that 
came from heaven, which did strike divers), the same 
man ended his days : at which time a certain soldier 
being also brought to the point of death, his soul was in 
such sort carried out of his body, that he lay void of all 
sense and feeling, but coming quickly again to himself, 
he told them that were present, what strange things he 
had seen. For he said (as many report that know it 
very well) that he saw a bridge, under which a black and 


Vtoions of t&e flDt&er ftHotlD 

smoky river did run, that had a filthy and intolerable 
smell : but upon the farther side thereof there were 
pleasant green meadows full of sweet flowers, in which 
also there were divers companies of men apparelled in 
white : and such a delicate savour there was, that the 
fragrant odour thereof did give wonderful content to all 
them that dwelt and walked in that place. Divers 
particular mansions also there were, all shining with 
brightness and light, and especially one magnifical and 
sumptuous house which was a building, the brick 
whereof seemed to be of gold, but whose it was, that he 
knew not. 

There were also upon the bank of the foresaid river 
certain houses, but some of them the stinking vapour 
which rose from the river did touch, and some other it 
touched not at all. Now those that desired to pass over 
the foresaid bridge, were subject to this manner of trial : 
if any that was wicked attempted to go over, down he 
fell into that dark and stinking river ; but those that were 
just and not hindered by sin, securely and easily passed 
over to those pleasant and delicate places. There he 
said also that he saw Peter, who was steward of the 
Pope's family, and died some four years since, thrust 
into a most filthy place, where he was bound and kept 
down with a great weight of iron : and inquiring why 
he was so used, he received that answer, which all we 
that knew his life can affirm to be most true : for it was 
told him that he suffered that pain, because when him- 
self was upon any occasion to punish other, that he did 
it more upon cruelty than to shew his obedience ; of 
which his merciless disposition none that knew him can 
be ignorant. There also he said that he saw a Priest 
whom he knew : who coming to the foresaid bridge, 
passed over with as great security, as he lived in this 
world sincerely. 

Likewise, upon the same bridge he said that he did 

225 p 

€f)c Dialogues of §>t. (Stcgorp 

see this Stephen, whom before we spake of, who being 
about to go over, his foot slipped, and half his body 
hanging beside the bridge, he was of certain terrible 
men, that rose out of the river, drawn by the legs 
downward : and by certain other white and beautiful 
persons, he was by the arms pulled upward : and whiles 
they strove thus, the wicked spirits to draw him down- 
ward, and the good to lift him upward, he that beheld 
all this strange sight returned to life, not knowing in 
conclusion what became of him. By which miraculous 
vision we learn this thing concerning the life of Stephen, 
to wit, that in him the sins of the flesh did strive with 
his works of alms. For in that he was by the legs 
drawn downward, and by the arms plucked upward, 
apparent it is, that both he loved to give alms, and yet 
did not perfectly resist the sins of the flesh, which did 
pull him downward : but in that secret examination of 
the supreme judge, which of them had the victory, that 
neither we know, nor he that saw it. Yet most certain 
it is, that the same Stephen, after that he had seen the 
places of hell, as before was said, and returned again to 
his body, did never perfectly amend his former wicked 
life, seeing many years after he departed this world, 
leaving us in doubt whether he were saved or damned. 
Whereby we may learn, that when any have the torments 
of hell shewn them, that to some it is for their com- 
modity, and to others for their testimony : that the 
former may see those miseries to avoid them, and these 
other to be so much the more punished, in that they 
would not take heed of those torments, which they both 
knew and with their eyes beheld. 

JPCtCt, What, I beseech you, was meant by the build- 
ing of that house in those places of delight, with bricks 
of gold ? For it seemeth very ridiculous, that in the 
next life we should have need of any such kind of 


DeusDeDtt t&c §>f)oema&er 

(KHfmt 10 meant bp tbe builDing of tfje bouse in tbose 
pleasant places. 3nD of one DeusoeOtt, tofiose 
fjouse toas seen to be built upon t&e ^aturoap. 

^ (£>te$Otp, What man of sense can think so ? but by 
that which was shewn there, whosoever he was, for 
whom that house was built, we learn plainly what 
virtuous works he did in this world : for he that by 
plenty of alms doth merit the reward of eternal light, 
certain it is, that he doth build his house with gold. 
For the same soldier who had this vision said also, 
which I forgot before to tell you, that old men, and 
young, girls, and boys, did carry those bricks of gold 
for the building of that house : by which we learn that 
those to whom we shew compassion in this world, do 
labour for us in the next. There dwelt also hard by us 
a religious man, called Deusdedit, who was a shoe- 
maker, concerning whom another saw by revelation that 
he had in the next world an house a building ; but the 
workmen thereof laboured only upon the Saturday. 
Who afterward enquiring more diligently how he lived, 
found that whatsoever he got by his labour all the week, 
and was not spent upon necessary provision of meat 
and apparel, all that upon the Saturday he bestowed 
upon the poor in alms at St. Peter's church: and there- 
fore see what reason there was, that his building went 
forward upon the Saturday. 

l^etet. You have given me very good satisfaction 
touching this one point : yet desirous I am further to 
know, what the reason was that some of those habitations 
were touched by the stinking vapour, and some were 
not ; and what is meant by the bridge and river which 
he saw. 

(£>te#0tp. By the representation of these things, Peter, 
are expressed the causes which they do signify. For the 
bridge, by which he beheld God's servants to pass unto 
those pleasant places, doth teach us that the path is very 


£&c Dialogues of §>t. ©regorp 

strait which leadeth to everlasting life : » and the stinking 
river, which he saw running beneath, signifieth that the 
filthy corruption of vice in this world doth daily run to 
the downfall of carnal pleasure. And that some of the 
habitations were touched with the stinking vapour, and 
some were not, what is meant else, but that there be 
divers which do many good works, yet in their soul 
they are touched with the delight of carnal sins ? and 
therefore very great reason there is, that in the next 
world such should taste of a stinking vapour, whom 
filthy carnality did delight in this ; and therefore blessed 
Job, perceiving the pleasure of the flesh to be stinking, 
pronounceth this sentence of the wanton and carnal 
man : His sweetness be worms. 2 But those that do 
preserve their heart free from all pleasure of carnal 
thoughts, have not their houses touched with any such 
stinking vapour : and here we have also to note, that 
he saw one and the same thing both to be a vapour and 
also to have an ill savour, because carnal delight doth 
so obscure the soul which it hath infected, that it can 
not see the brightness of true light : for the more 
pleasure it hath in the inferior part, the more darkness 
it hath in the superior, which doth hinder it from the 
contemplation of heavenly mysteries. 
U?£tCt. Is there any text of holy scripture, to prove 
that carnal sins be punished with stinking and bad 
savours ? 

£Df t&e IPunisfmtent of tfte men of §>oDom. 

^ (£>tegOtp* There is : for in (genesis 3 we read that our 
Lord rained fire and brimstone upon the city of Sodom : 
that both fire might burn them, and the stench of 
brimstone smother and kill them : for seeing they burnt 
with the unlawful lovei'of corruptible flesh, by God's 
just judgment they perished both by fire and an un- 
savoury smell ; to the end they might know that they 

1 Matt. 7, 14. 2 Job 24, 20. 3 Gen. 19, 24. 


£fje Conversion of CfjeoDorus 

had, by the pleasure of their stinking life, incurred the 
sorrows of eternal death. 

I£)0t0t» Concerning those things which before I doubted 
of, I find myself now so fully satisfied, that I have not 
any further question to move. 

Chapter Crjirt^setoen : boto tfje souls of some 
men, being pet in tbeir boOies, Do see some 
spiritual punishment: anD of toat tofjicb 6ap^ 
peneD to toe bop CbeoDorus. q ®regorp. w e have 

also to know that sometime the souls, whiles they are 
in their bodies, do behold some spiritual punishment : 
which yet happeneth to some for their own good, and 
to others for the edification of them that hear thereof. 
For there was one Theodorus (which story I remember 
that in mine Homilies to the people I have also spoken 
of) who was a very unruly lad, and, more upon neces- 
sity than of his own good will, in the company of his 
brother entered into my Monastery : and so little 
pleasure he took in spiritual talk, that it was death to 
him to hear anything tending to the good of his own 
soul, for he was so far from doing any good work, that 
he could not endure to hear thereof : and he would 
openly protest, sometimes by swearing, sometimes in 
anger, and sometimes in scoffing sort, that he never 
meant to take upon him the habit of a religious life. 
This untoward boy, in the late mortality which con- 
sumed the greatest part of this city, was grievously 
strooken : whereof he lay sore sick : and being at last 
come to the point of death, all the monks repaired to 
his chamber, to pray for the happy departure of his 
soul, which seemed not to be far off: for the one half of 
his body was already dead, and only in his breast a little 
life remained, and therefore the nearer they saw him to 
his end, the more fervently did they commend him to 
God's mercy. Whiles they were thus busied, suddenly 
he cried out to them, and with great clamour went about 


€f)e Dialogic of §>t. (Srcgorp 

to interrupt their devotions, saying : " Depart and 
away, for behold I am delivered over to a dragon to be 
devoured, and your presence doth let him, that he can 
not dispatch me. My head he hath already swallowed 
up in his mouth, and therefore go your ways, that my 
torments be not the longer, and that he may effect that 
which he is about to do : for if I be given him to 
devour, why do you keep me here in longer pain ? ' 
At these fearful words the monks said unto him : 
" Why do you speak thus, good brother ? Bless your- 
self with the sign of the holy cross'' : to whom he 
answered : " Willingly I would, but I can not, I am so 
loaden with this dragon's scales." Upon these words 
the monks fell prostrate upon the earth, and in great 
zeal with tears they prayed to God for his delivery out 
of the enemy's hands, who mercifully heard them, for 
upon a sudden the sick person began to cry out, and 
say : " God be thanked, behold the dragon that had me 
to devour, is fled away, and overcome with your prayers, 
here he could not tarry. Now, I beseech you, make 
intercession for my sins, for I am ready to turn unto 
God, and wholly to renounce all kind of secular life" : 
and thus he that was half dead, as before was said, re- 
served now to a longer life, turned to God with his 
whole heart : and so, after he had put on a new mind, 
and was a long time punished with affliction, then his 
soul departed from the miseries of this mortal life. 

Chapter Cfnrt^eigbt : oftbc Dcatf) of C&r&orius : 
anD of a certain ajionfeof 31conia. <I But Chrisorius 

on the contrary (as his kinsman Probus, of whom I 
made mention before, told me) was a substantial man 
in this world, but as full of sin as of wealth : for he was 
passing proud, given to the pleasures of the flesh, 
covetous, and wholly set upon scraping of riches to- 
gether. But when God determined to make an end of 
so many sins, he sent him a great sickness ; and when 


£f)e Deatf) of Cfmsotms 

his last time drew near, in that very hour in which his 
soul was to leave the body, lying with his eyes open, 
he saw certain cruel men and black spirits stand before 
him, pressing upon him to carry him away to the pit of 
hell : at which fearful sight he began to tremble, to 
wax pale, to sweat, and with pitiful outcries to crave 
for truce : and often with faltering tongue to call for 
his son Maximus (whom, when I was a monk, I knew 
also to profess the same kind of life), saying : " Come 
away, Maximus, with all speed. Never in my life did 
I any harm to thee, receive me now in thy faith." His 
son, greatly moved at these outcries, came unto him in 
all haste : and his whole family lamenting and crying 
out, repaired also to his chamber : none of all which 
beheld those wicked spirits, which did so urge and vex 
him : but by his trouble of mind, by his paleness and 
trembling, they made no doubt of their presence : for he 
was so affrighted with their terrible looks, that he turned 
himself everyway in his bed. Lying upon his left side, 
he could not endure their sight : and turning to the 
wall, there also he found them : at last, being very 
much beset, and despairing of all means to escape their 
hands, he cried out with a loud voice : " O truce till 
to-morrow, O truce till to-morrow " : and crying out 
in this sort he gave up the ghost. This being the 
manner of his death, certain it is that he saw this fear- 
ful sight not for himself, but for us : that his vision 
might do us good, whom God's patience doth yet with 
fatherly long sufferance expect to amendment. For 
what profit reaped he by seeing those foul spirits before 
his death, and by craving for that truce which he could 
not obtain ? 

There is also now dwelling amongst us a Priest of 
Isauria called Athanasius, who telleth a very fearful story 
which in his time happened, as he saith, at Iconium. 
For there was in that place, as he reporteth, a Monastery 


Cfje Dialogues of §>t. ®regorp 

called Thongolaton, in which there lived a monk that 
was had in great account : for he was of good conversa- 
tion, and in his life very orderly : but, as the end declared, 
he was far otherwise than he outwardly appeared : for 
though he did seem to fast with the rest of the monks, 
yet did he secretly take his meat : which vice of his none 
of the other monks ever understood. But at length it 
came forth by this means: for falling grievously sick, 
so that no hope of life remained, he caused all the monks 
of the Convent to be called together, who all willingly 
came, verily thinking that, at the departure of so notable 
a man, they should have heard some sweet and good 
exhortation : but it fell out far otherwise, for with great 
trouble of mind, and trembling of body, he was enforced 
to tell them that he died in a damnable state, saying : 
" When you thought that I fasted with you, then had 
I my meat in secret corners : and behold, now I am 
delivered to a dragon to be devoured, who with his tail 
hath enwrapped fast my hands and feet : and his head he 
hath thrust into my mouth, and so he lieth sucking and 
drawing out of my breath " : and speaking these words 
he departed this life, and had not any time given to 
deliver himself by penance from that dragon which he 
saw. By which we learn, that he had this vision only for 
the commodity of them that heard it, seeing himself 
could not escape from the enemy which he beheld, and 
into whose hands he was given to be devoured. 
1^0tCt. Desirous I am to be informed, whether we ought 
to believe that after death there is any fire of Purgatory. 

Cbapter €Wrtp=nme : tofmber tbcre fee anp fire 
of Ipurgatorp in tbe nerttoorlD. fl (^regorp. Our 

Lord saith in the Gospel : Walk whiles you have the light: l 
and by his Prophet he saith : In time accepted have I 
heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I holpen thee: 2 
which the Apostle St. Paul expounding, saith : Behold, 
1 John 12, 35. 2 Isai. 49, 8. 


Cfjc Doctrine of Ipttrgatorp 

now is the time acceptable; behold, now the day of salvation? 
Solomon, likewise, saith : Whatsoever thy hand is able to do, 
work it instantly : for neither work, nor reason, nor know- 
ledge, nor wisdom shall be in hell, whither thou dost hasten? 
David also saith : Because his mercy is for ever? By which 
sayings it is plain, that in such state as a man departeth 
out of this life, in the same he is presented in judgment 
before God. But yet we must believe that before the 
day of judgment there is a Purgatory fire for certain 
small sins : because our Saviour saith, that he which 
speaketh blasphemy against the holy Ghost, that it shall not 
be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to 
come? Out of which sentence we learn, that some sins 
are forgiven in this world, and some other may be 
pardoned in the next : for that which is denied concern- 
ing one sin, is consequently understood to be granted 
touching some other. But yet this, as I said, we have 
not to believe but only concerning little and very 
small sins, as, for example, daily idle talk, immoderate 
laughter, negligence in the care of our family (which 
kind of offences scarce can they avoid, that know in what 
sort sin is to be shunned), ignorant errors in matters of 
no great weight : all which sins be punished after death, 
if men procured not pardon and remission for them in 
their lifetime : for when St. Paul saith, that Christ is the 
foundation : and by and by addeth : And if any man build 
upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, 
stubble : the work of every one, of what kind it is, the fire 
shall try. If any man s work abide which he built thereupon, 
he shall receive reward ; if any man's work burn, he shall 
suffer detriment, but himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire? 
For although these words may be understood of the fire 
of tribulation, which men suffer in this world : yet if 
any will interpret them of the fire of Purgatory, which 

1 2 Cor. 6, 2. 2 Eccles. 9, 10. 3 Psalm 118, 1. 

4 Matt. 12, 32. 6 1 Cor. 3, 11-15. 


Cbe Dialogues of %t ^rcgotg 

shall be in the next life : then must he carefully con- 
sider, that the Apostle said not that he may be saved by 
fire, that buildeth upon this foundation iron, brass, or 
lead, that is, the greater sort of sins, and therefore more 
hard, and consequently not remissible in that place : but 
wood, hay, stubble, that is, little and very light sins, 
which the fire doth easily consume. Yet we have here 
further to consider, that none can be there purged, no, 
not for the least sins that be, unless in his lifetime he 
deserved by virtuous works to find such favour in that 

Chapter jTottp : of tfje soul of IPascfjasius t&e 

H!)0aCOn. *J For when I was yet in my younger years, 
and lived a secular life, I heard from the mouth of 
mine elders, who knew it to be true : how that Pas- 
chasius, a Deacon of this Roman church (whose sound 
and eloquent books of the holy Ghost be extant amongst 
us), was a man of a wonderful holy life, a marvellous 
giver of alms, a lover of the poor, and one that con- 
temned himself. This man, in that contention which, 
through the exceeding hot emulation of the clergy, fell 
out betwixt Symmachus and Lawrence, made choice of 
Lawrence to be Bishop of Rome : and though he was 
afterward by common consent overcome, yet did he con- 
tinue in his former opinion till his dying day : loving 
and preferring him, whom the Church, by the judgment 
of Bishops, refused for her governor. This Deacon 
ending his life in the time of Symmachus, Bishop of the 
Apostolic see : a man possessed with a devil came and 
touched his dalmatic, as it lay upon the bier, and was 
forthwith delivered from that vexation. Long time 
after, Germanus, Bishop of Capua (before mentioned), 
by the counsel of physicians, for the recovery of his 
health went to the baths : into which after he was 
entered, he found there standing in those hot waters the 
foresaid Paschasius, ready to do him service. At which 


£f)e %ou\ of Ipa0cba0iu0 

sight being much afraid, he demanded what so worthy a 
man as he was did in that place : to whom Paschasius 
returned this answer : " For no other cause," quoth he, 
" am I appointed to this place of punishment, but for 
that I took part with Lawrence against Symmachus : and 
therefore I beseech you to pray unto our Lord for me, 
and by this token shall you know that your prayers be 
heard, if, at your coming again, you find me not here." 
Upon this, the holy man Germanus betook himself to 
his devotions, and after a few days he went again to the 
same baths, but found not Paschasius there : for seeing 
his fault proceeded not of malice, but of ignorance, he 
might after death be purged from that sin. And yet we 
must withal think that the plentiful alms which he be- 
stowed in this life, obtained favour at God's hands, that 
he might then deserve pardon, when he could work 
nothing at all for himself. 

IPetCC. What, I pray you, is the reason, that, in these 
latter days, so many things come to light, which in times 
past were not known : in such sort that by open revela- 
tions and manifest signs, the end of the world seemeth 
not to be far off? 

Cbapter jTort^onc : tobp in latter time0 00 manp 
tbinp be fcnoton, concerning men's 0ouis : tobicb 
in former agc0 toerc not bearD of. q ©regorp. So 

it is, for the nearer that this present world draweth to- 
wards an end, so much the more the world to come is at 
hand, and sheweth itself by more plain and evident 
tokens. For seeing, in this world, we know not one 
another's cogitations, and, in the next, men's hearts be 
known to all, what fitter name can we give to this world 
than to term it night, and what better to the next, than 
to call it day ? But as, when the night is almost spent, 
and the day beginneth to break, darkness and light be in 
a certain manner joined together, until the light of the 
day following doth perfectly banish away the dark rem- 


£f)c Dialogues of %t. <£regorp 

nants of the former night : even so, the end of this world 
is, as it were, mingled together with the beginning of the 
next, and with the darkness of this, some light of such 
spiritual things as be in that doth appear : and so we see 
many things which belong to that world, yet for all this, 
perfect knowledge we have not any, but as it were in 
the twilight of our soul behold them before the rising 
of that sun of knowledge, which then abundantly will 
cast his beams over all. 

Jjj)0t0tt I like very well of your speech, yet, in so worthy 
a man as Paschasius was, this doubt doth trouble me, 
how he was after his death carried to any place of punish- 
ment, seeing the touching of his garment upon the bier 
did dispossess a wicked spirit. 

(£>t0gOtp» Herein appeareth the great and manifold 
providence of almighty God, by whose just judgment it 
fell out, that Paschasius for some time entertained in- 
wardly sin in his soul, and yet in the sight of the world 
wrought miracles by his body after his death, who in his 
lifetime did, as they know, many good works : to the end 
that those which had seen his virtuous life, should not be 
deceived concerning the opinion of his great alms ; and 
yet himself should not without punishment have remis- 
sion of his sin, which whiles he lived he thought to be 
no sin, and therefore did not by tears wash it away. 
1^0t0t» I understand very well what you say, but by 
this reason I am driven into such straights, that I must 
stand in fear both of those sins which I know, and also 
of those which I know not. But because a little before 
you discoursed of the places of torments : in what part 
of the world, I beseech you, are we to believe that hell 
is, whether above the earth or beneath the same ? 

Chapter j?ortp:ttoo : in tofmt place of tbe toorlD 
toe ougfn to tielietie tbat bell is. <I ®regorp. Touch- 
ing this point I dare not rashly define anything : for 
some have been of opinion that hell was in some place 


mfjerc ©ell is 

upon the earth ; and others think that it is under the 
earth : but then this doubt ariseth, for if it be there- 
fore called hell, or an infernal place, because it is below, 
then as the earth is distant from heaven, so likewise 
should hell be distant from the earth : for which cause, 
perhaps, the Prophet saith : Thou hast delivered my soul 
from the lower hell ; x so that the higher hell may seem to 
be upon the earth, and the lower under the earth : and 
with this opinion that sentence of John agreeth, who, 
when he had said, that he saw a book sealed with seven 
seals : and that none was found worthy , neither in heaven, nor 
in earth, nor under the earth, to open the book, and loose the 
seals thereof: 2, he added forthwith : and I wept much : 
which book, notwithstanding, afterward he saith was 
opened by a lion of the tribe of Juda. By which book, 
what else can be meant but the holy scripture, which 
our Saviour alone did open : for being made man, by his 
death, resurrection, and ascension, he did reveal and 
make manifest all those mysteries which in that book 
were closed and shut up. And none in heaven, because 
not any Angel ; none upon earth, because not man living 
in body ; not any under the earth was found worthy : 
because neither the souls departed from their bodies 
could open unto us, beside our Lord himself, the secrets 
of that sacred book. Seeing, then, none under the earth 
is said to be found worthy to open that book, I see not 
what doth let, but that we should believe that hell is in 
the lower parts, under the earth. 

IPCtCt* I beseech you : Is there one fire in hell, or, 
according to the diversity of sinners, be there so many 
sorts of fire prepared in that place ? 

Chapter jTortH&ree : tofietber tfrcre 10 one fire 
in bell, or manp. <I (©rcgorp. The fire of hell is but 

one : yet doth it not in one manner torment all sinners. 
For every one there, according to the quantity of his sin, 

1 Psalm 86, 13. 2 Rev. 5, 1-3. 

2 37 

€be Dialogues of %t. (fcregorp 

hath the measure of his pain. For as, in this world, 
many live under one and the same sun, and yet do not 
alike feel the heat thereof: for some be burnt more, and 
some less : so in that one fire, divers manners of burning 
be found, for that which in this world diversity of bodies 
doth, that in the next doth diversity of sins : so that 
although the fire be there all alike, yet doth it not in 
one manner and alike burn and torment them that be 

Ij?0t0t» Shall those, I pray you, which be condemned to 
that place, burn always, and never have any end of their 
torments ? 

Chapter JTortHout: tobetber tbose tbat be in 
bell sball burn tbere for etier. <I <£regorp> Certain 

it is, and without all doubt most true, that as the good 
shall have no end of their joys, so the wicked never any 
release of their torments : for our Saviour himself 
saith : The wicked shall go into everlasting punishment, and 
the just into everlasting life. 1 Seeing, then, true it is, that 
which he hath promised to his friends : out of all ques- 
tion false it cannot be, that which he hath threatened to 
his enemies. 

IPetet* What if it be said that he did threaten eternal 
pain to wicked livers, that he might thereby restrain them 
from committing of sins ? 

(fi?te#0tp. If that which he did threaten be false, 
because his intent was by that means to keep men from 
wicked life : then likewise must we say that those things 
are false which he did promise : and that his mind was 
thereby to provoke us to virtue. But what man, though 
mad, dare presume so to say ? For if he threatened that 
which he meant not to put into execution : whiles we are 
desirous to make him merciful, enforced we are likewise 
(which is horrible to speak) to affirm him to be deceitful. 
l^etet* Willing 1 am to know how that sin can justly 

1 Matt. 25, 46, 

Ctierlasting punisfjment 

be punished without end, which had an end when it was 

<£>t0gOt£* This which you say might have some reason, 
if the just judge did only consider the sins committed, 
and not the minds with which they were committed : 
for the reason why wicked men made an end of sinning 
was, because they also made an end of their life : for 
willingly they would, had it been in their power, have 
lived without end, that they might in like manner have 
sinned without end. For they do plainly declare that 
they desired always to live in sin, who never, so long as 
they were in this world, gave over their wicked life : 
and therefore it belongeth to the great justice of the 
supreme judge, that they should never want torments 
and punishment in the next world, who in this would 
never give over their wicked and sinful life. 
J£)0t0t. But no judge that loveth justice taketh pleasure 
in cruelty : and the end why the just master commandeth 
his wicked servant to be punished is, that he may give 
over his lewd life. If, then, the wicked that are tor- 
mented in hell fire never come to amend themselves, to 
what end shall they always burn in those flames ? 
(£>t0(JOtp. Almighty God, because he is merciful and 
full of pity, taketh no pleasure in the torments of 
wretched men : but because he is also just, therefore 
doth he never give over to punish the wicked. All 
which being condemned to perpetual pains, punished 
they are for their own wickedness : and yet shall they 
always there burn in fire for some end, and that is, that 
all those which be just and God's servants may in God 
behold the joys which they possess, and in them see the 
torments which they have escaped : to the end that they 
may thereby always acknowledge themselves grateful to 
God for his grace, in that they perceive through his 
divine assistance, what sins they have overcome, which 
they behold in others to be punished everlastingly. 


£f)c Dialogues of %>t <£tcgorp 

IPCtCt, And how, 1 pray you, can they be holy and 
saints, if they pray not for their enemies, whom they 
see to lie in such torments ? when it is said to them : 
Pray for your enemies. 1 

(£>t0(JOtp* They pray for their enemies at such time as 
their hearts may be turned to fruitful penance, and so 
be saved : for what purpose else do we pray for our 
enemies, but, as the Apostle saith, that God may give them 
repentance to know the truth, and recover themselves from 
the devil, of whom they are held captive at his will ? 2 
K?0t0t, I like very well of your saying : for how shall they 
pray for them, who by no means can be converted from 
their wickedness, and brought to do the works of justice ? 
<2Dt00Otp* You see, then, that the reason is all one, 
why, in the next life, none shall pray for men condemned 
for ever to hell fire : that there is now of not praying for 
the devil and his angels, sentenced to everlasting tor- 
ments : and this also is the very reason why holy men do 
not now pray for them that die in their infidelity and 
known wicked life : for seeing certain it is that they be 
condemned to endless pains, to what purpose should 
they pray for them, when they know that no petition 
will be admitted of God, their just judge? And there- 
fore, if now holy men living upon earth take no 
compassion of those that be dead and damned for their 
sins, when as yet they know that themselves do some 
thing through the frailty of the flesh, which is also to 
be judged : how much more straightly and severely do 
they behold the torments of the damned, when they be 
themselves delivered from all vice of corruption, and be 
more nearly united to true justice itself: for the force 
of justice doth so possess their souls, in that they be so 
intrinsical with the most just judge, that they list not 
by any means to do that which they know is not con- 
formable to his divine pleasure. 

1 Matt. 5, 44. 2 2 Tim. z, 25-26, 



/,'.. an Gallery, Roirit I 

£too fanner of Deatbs 

IPCtCt. The reason you bring is so clear, that I cannot 
gainsay it : but now another question cometh to my 
mind, and that is, how the soul can truly be called 
immortal, seeing certain it is that it doth die in that 
perpetual fire. 

Cbapter j?ortp=fft)e : fjoto tbe soul is saio to be 
immortal anD nctier to Die : if it be punisbeD toitb 

tf)e Sentence Of Deatf). *& C^regOtg. Because there be 
two manner of lives, consequently also there be two 
manner of deaths. For one kind of life there is, by 
which we live in God, another which we received by 
our creation or generation : and therefore one thing it is 
to live blessedly, and another thing to live naturally. 
The soul, therefore, is both mortal and immortal : 
mortal, because it loseth the felicity of an happy life : 
and immortal, in that it always keepeth his natural life, 
which can never be lost, no, not when it is sentenced 
to perpetual death : for in that state, though it hath not 
a blessed life, yet it doth retain still the former being 
and natural life : by reason whereof it is enforced to 
suffer death without death, defect without defect, and 
end without end : seeing the death which it endureth is 
immortal, the defect which it suffereth never faileth, 
and the end which it hath is infinite, and without end. 
l£)etet. What man is he, though never so holy, that, 
cometh to leave this mortal life, hath not just cause 
to fear the unspeakable sentence of damnation ? for 
although he knoweth what he hath done, yet ignorant 
he is not, how straightly his works shall be examined 
and judged. 

Chapter jTortp^sir : of a certain bolp man tbattoas 
aftato tofcen jjc came to Die, <I <£rcgorp, it is even 

so, Peter, as you say. And yet sometime the only fear 
of death doth purge the souls of just men from their 
smaller sins, as you and I have often heard of a certain 
holy man that was very much afraid when he came to 

241 Q 

£fce Dialogues of %t <$regorp 

die : and yet, after he was dead, appeared to his disciples 
in a white stole, reporting to them in what excellent 
manner he was received, when he departed out of this 

Chapter jfort^setien : fcoto some tip Otoine retoe^ 
lation are DiscbargeD from fear at tbeir oeatf), 
3nD of tbe manner boto tbe monks antbonp, 
a^erulus, anD 3|obn oeparteu tbis life, <I Sometime 

also almighty God doth by divine revelation strengthen 
the minds of them that be fearful, to the end that they 
should not be afraid of death. For a certain monk 
there was, called Anthony, that lived together with me 
in my Monastery, who by daily tears laboured to come 
to the joys of heaven : and when as he did very care- 
fully and with great zeal of soul meditate upon the 
sacred scriptures, he sought not so much for cunning 
and knowledge, as for tears and contrition of heart, that 
by means thereof his soul might be stirred up and 
inflamed : and that by contemning all earthly things, 
he might with the wings of contemplation fly unto the 
kingdom of heaven. This man upon a night, by revela- 
tion, was admonished in this manner : " Make yourself 
ready, because our Lord hath given commandment for 
your departure" : and when he answered, that he had not 
wherewith to defray the charges of that journey : straight- 
ways he heard these comfortable words : " If you take 
care for your sins, they be forgiven you " ; which thing 
though he had heard once, and yet for all that was in 
great fear, another night he had again the same vision : 
and so after five days he fell sick of an ague, and as 
the other monks were praying and weeping about him, 
he departed this life. 

Another monk there was in the same Monastery, 
called Merulus, who was wonderfully given to tears 
and bestowing of alms : and no time almost passed him, 
except it were when he was at meat or asleep, in which 


Cfrc Deatf) of Certain a^onfes 

he did not sing psalms. This man, by vision in the 
night, saw a crown made of white flowers to descend 
upon his head : and straight after falling sick, he died 
with great quiet and joy of mind. Fourteen years after, 
when Peter, who now hath the government of my 
Monastery, went about to make a grave for himself 
hard by Merulus' sepulchre, such a fragrant and 
pleasant smell, as he saith, came out of it, as though 
it had been a storehouse of all manner of sweet flowers. 
By which it appeared plainly, that it was very true, which 
before he had seen by vision in the night. 

Likewise in the same Monastery there was another, 
called John, who was a young man of great towardness, 
and one that led his life with great circumspection, 
humility, sweetness, and gravity. This man falling 
sore sick, saw in his great extremity by vision in the 
night an old man to come unto him, who touched him 
with a wand, saying: " Rise up, for you shall not die of 
this sickness : but make yourself ready, for you have 
not any long time to stay in this world " : and forth- 
with, though the physicians despaired of his health, yet 
he recovered, and became perfectly well. The vision 
which he saw he told to others, and for two years 
following, as I said, he served God in such sort, that 
his great devotion surpassed his young years. Three 
years since another monk died, who was buried in the 
churchyard of the same Monastery, and when we had 
ended all his funerals, and were departed, this John, as 
himself with pale face and great trembling told us, 
remained there still, where he heard that monk which 
was buried to call him out of the grave : and that it 
was so indeed, the end following did shew : for ten days 
after he fell sick of an ague and so departed this life. 
IPCtCt. Willingly would I learn whether we ought to 
observe such visions, as be revealed to us by night in 
our sleep. 


Cfje Dialogues of <£>t. Gregory 

Chapter jTortp^cigbt : toftetber Dreams ate to be 
fcelietJeD : anD boto manp too of Dreams tfcere be. 

*I (DregOrp. Concerning this point, Peter, you must 
understand that there are six kind of dreams. For 
sometime they proceed of too much fulness or emptiness 
of the stomach : sometime by illusion : sometime both 
by thought and illusion : sometime by revelation : and 
sometime both by thought and revelation. The two 
first all by experience know to be true : and the four 
latter we find mentioned in holy scripture. For if 
dreams did not sometime proceed by illusion from our 
secret enemy, never would the wise man have said : 
Dreams have made many to err, and hoping in them have 
they been deceived : x and again : You shall not be sooth- 
sayers, nor observe dreams : by which words we see how 
they are to be detested, that are compared with sooth- 
sayings. Again, if dreams did not sometime proceed 
both of thought together with illusion, the wise man 
would not have said : Dreams follow many cares. 2 And 
if sometime also they did not come by mystical revela- 
tion, Joseph had never known by dream that he should 
have been exalted above his brethren : 3 neither the Angel 
would ever in a dream have admonished the spouse of 
our Lady to fly away with the child into Egypt. 4 Again, 
if sometime they did not also proceed both from thoughts 
and divine revelation, never would the prophet Daniel, 
disputing of Nabuchodonosor's dream, have begun from 
the root of his former thoughts, saying : Thou, O king, 
diddest begin to think in thy bed, what should happen in times 
to come ; and he that revealeth mysteries did shew thee what 
things should come: and a little after : Thou diddest see, 
and behold as it were a great statua : that great statua 
and high of stature did stand against thee, &c. h Wherefore, 
seeing Daniel doth with reverence insinuate that the 

1 Ecclus. 34, 7. 2 Eccles. 5, 2. 3 Gen. 37, 5-10. 

4 Matt. 2, 13. 5 Daniel 2, 29-31. 


Concerning: Dreams 

dream should come to pass, and also declareth from 
what cogitation it did spring, plainly do we learn that 
dreams sometimes do come both of thought and revela- 
tion together. But seeing dreams do grow from such 
divers roots, with so much the more difficulty ought we 
to believe them : because it doth not easily appear unto 
us, from what cause they do proceed. Holy men, indeed, 
by a certain inward spiritual taste, do discern betwixt 
illusions and true revelations, by the very voices or 
representations of the visions themselves : so that they 
know what they receive from the good spirit, and what 
they suffer by illusion from the wicked : and therefore, 
if our mind be not herein very attentive and vigilant, it 
falleth into many vanities, through the deceit of the 
wicked spirit : who sometime useth to foretell many 
true things, that, in the end, he may by some falsehood 
ensnare our soul. 

Cbapter Jfort^nine : of one tobo in bis Dream 
bao long life promised bim, anO pet DieD sbortlp 

after. ^ As not long since it is most certain, that it 
befell to one that lived amongst us, who, being much 
given to observe dreams, had one night in a dream long 
life promised him : and when as he had made provision 
of great store of money for the maintenance of his many 
days, he was so suddenly taken out of this life, that he 
left it all behind him, without ever having any use 
thereof, and carried not with him any good works to 
the next world. 

IPeter. I remember very well who ft was : but let us, 
I pray you, prosecute such questions as we began to 
entreat of: Doth any profit, think you, redound to 
men's souls, if their bodies be buried in the church ? 

Chapter jTiftp : ftftlbetber tbe souls receive anp 
commodity if tbeir bodies be buricD in tbe cburcb. 

^ ^rcgorj?. Such as die not in mortal sin receive this 
benefit by having their bodies buried in the church : for 

2 45 

€H Dialogues of %t <£regorp 

when their friends come thither, and behold their 
sepulchres, then do they remember them, and pray 
unto God for their souls : but those that depart this 
life in the state of deadly sin, receive not any absolution 
from their sins, but rather be more punished in hell, 
for having their bodies buried in the church : which 
thing shall be more plain, if I do briefly tell you what 
concerning this point hath chanced in our time. 

Chapter jFift^one : of a certain Bun tfjat toas 
burien in tbe cburcb, tofjicb appeared toitb ber 

tJODp Jjalf tUttlt <& Felix, Bishop of Portua, a man of 
holy life, who was born and brought up in the province 
of Sabina, saith that there lived in that place a certain 
Nun, which, though she were chaste of her body, yet 
had she an ungracious and foolish tongue : which 
departing this life, was buried in the church : the keeper 
whereof, the night following, saw her by revelation 
brought before the holy altar, where she was cut in two 
pieces, and the one half was burnt in the fire, and the 
other was not touched at all. Rising up in the morning, 
he told unto others what a strange vision he had seen, 
and shewed them the very place in which she was burnt, 
the marble whereof appeared with the very marks and 
signs of a fire upon it, as though that woman had been 
there burnt in very deed with corporal fire. By which 
we may plainly see, that such as have not their sins 
pardoned, can reap small benefit by having their bodies 
after death buried in holy places. 

C&apter jTiftp^ttoo : of t&e burial of 17alerianu0. 

€fl John also, an honourable man, one of the governors 
of this city, and one that is of great gravity and credit, 
as all know, told me how one Valerianus, that was a 
gentleman of the city of Bressa, departed this life, whose 
body for money the Bishop was content should be buried 
in the church. This Valerianus, even to his very old 
age, led a light and wanton life : refusing utterly to give 


Cfje 15oDp of yMtntinm 

over sin and wickedness. That very night in which he 
was buried, the blessed martyr Faustinus, in whose 
church his body lay, appeared to the keeper thereof, 
saying : " Go, and bid the Bishop cast out that stinking 
carcass which he hath here buried, and if he will not do 
it, tell him that thirty days hence he shall die himself." 
This vision the poor man was afraid to report unto the 
Bishop, and though he were admonished the second 
time to do it, yet he refused : and so upon the thirtieth 
day, the Bishop going safe and sound to bed (never 
fearing any such thing), suddenly departed this life. 

Cbaptet JTtftH&ree : of t()c boop of ITalcntmus, 
tbat toas after W initial cast out of tf)C clmrcf), 

CJJ There be also at this time here in the city our vener- 
able brother Venantius, Bishop of Luna, and Liberius, 
a noble man and one of very great credit : both which 
do say that themselves know it, and that their servants 
were present in the city of Genua, when this strange 
thing happened. One Valentinus, who had an office in 
the church of Milan, died there, a man in his life time 
given to wantonness and all kind of lightness, whose 
body was buried in the church of the. blessed martyr 
Sirus. The midnight following, a great noise was heard 
in that place, as though some body by force had been 
drawn out from thence : whereupon the keepers ran 
thither, to see what the matter was, and when they 
were come, they saw two very terrible devils, that had 
tied a rope about his legs, and were drawing him out ot 
the church, himself in the mean time crying and roaring 
out : at which sight they were so frighted, that they 
returned home again to their beds : but when the 
morning was come, they opened the grave in which 
Valentinus was buried, but his body they could not 
find, and therefore they sought without the church to 
see where it was, and so found it thrown into another 
place, with the feet still bound as it was drawn out of 


£be Dialogues of At <$rcgorp 

the church. Out of which, Peter, you may learn that 
such as die in mortal sin, and cause their bodies to be 
buried in holy ground, are punished also for that their 
presumption : the holy places not helping them, but 
rather the sin of their temerity accusing them. 

Chapter fiftp.fout : of tbc boDp of a tipcr burictJ in 
tbe cburcb, tobicb aftcrtoarD coulD not be founts 

^ For another thing also which happened in this city, 
the company of dyers dwelling here do testify to be 
most true, and it is concerning one that was the chief 
of their profession, who departed this life, and was by 
his wife buried in the church of St. Januarius the martyr, 
near to the gate of St. Lawrence : whose spirit the night 
following, in the hearing of the sexton, cried out of his 
grave, saying : " I burn, I burn " : and when he con- 
tinued a long time crying so, the sexton told it to the 
dyer's wife, who thereupon sent certain of his own pro- 
fession to the church, to see in what case his body was 
in the grave, who so cried out in that pitiful manner : 
and when they had opened it, there they found his gar- 
ments safe and sound, which be still kept in the same 
church, for a perpetual memory of that which happened : 
but his body by no means could they find, as though it 
had never been buried there : by which we may gather 
to what torments his soul was condemned, whose body 
was in that sort turned out of the church. What profit, 
then, do holy places bring to them that be buried there, 
when as those, that be wicked and unworthy, be by 
God's appointment thrown out from those sacred 
places ? 

}petet* What thing is there, then, that can profit and 
relieve the souls of them that be departed ? 

Chapter jTift^fitoe : tobat is available for tbe soul 
after Oeatb : ant) of a Ipricst of Centumccllis, tobo 
teas DesircD by a certain man's spirit, to be bolpen 
after bis Death, bp tbe bolp sacrifice : anD of tbc 


£f)e IPriest of Ccntumcellts 
soul of a monk calleo 3ju0tti0. *i <£tcgorp, if the 

sins after death be pardonable, then the sacred oblation 
of the holy host useth to help men's souls : for which 
cause the souls sometime, of them that be dead, do desire 
the same : for Bishop Felix, whom we spake of before, 
saith that a virtuous Priest, who died some two years 
since, and dwelt in the diocese of the city of Centum- 
cellis, and was pastor of the church of St. John in the 
place calledTauriana, told him that himself did use (when 
he had need) to wash his body in a certain place, in 
which there were passing hot waters : and that going 
thither upon a time, he found a certain man whom he 
knew not, ready to do him service, as to pull off his 
shoes, take his clothes, and to attend upon him in all 
dutiful manner. And when he had divers times done 
thus, the Priest, minding upon a day to go to the baths, 
began to think with himself that he would not be un- 
grateful to him that did him such service, but carry him 
somewhat for a reward, and so he took with him two 
singing breads : and coming thither he found the man 
there ready, and used his help as he was wont to do : 
and when he had washed himself, put on his clothes, 
and was ready to depart, he offered him for an holy 
reward that which he had brought, desiring him to take 
that courteously, which for charity he did give him. 
Then with a sad countenance, and in sorrowful manner, 
he spake thus unto him : " Why do you give me these, 
father ? This is holy bread, and I cannot eat of it, for 
I, whom you see here, was sometime lord of these 
baths, and am now after my death appointed for my 
sins to this place : but if you desire to pleasure me, 
offer this bread unto almighty God, and be an intercessor 
for my sins : and by this shall you know that your 
prayers be heard, if at your next coming you find me 
not here." And as he was speaking these words, he 
vanished out of his sight : so that he, which before 


Cf)c Dialogues of %t <$tcprp 

seemed to be a man, shewed by that manner of depar- 
ture that he was a spirit. The good Priest all the week 
following gave himself to tears for him, and daily offered 
up the holy sacrifice : and afterward returning to the 
bath, found him not there : whereby it appeareth what 
great profit the souls receive by the sacrifice of the holy 
oblation, seeing the spirits of them that be dead desire 
it of the living, and give certain tokens to let us under- 
stand how that by means thereof they have received 

Here also I cannot but tell you that which happened 
three years since in mine own Monastery. A certain 
monk there was, called Justus, one very cunning in 
physic, and whiles I remained in the Abbey, served me 
very diligently, attending upon me in my often infirmi- 
ties and sickness. This man himself at length fell sore 
sick, so that in very deed he was brought to the last 
cast. A brother he had, called Copiosus, that had care 
of him, who yet liveth. Justus perceiving himself past 
all hope of life, told this brother of his where he had 
secretly laid up three crowns of gold ; but yet they were 
not so closely conveyed, that they could be concealed 
from the monks : for they, carefully seeking, and tossing 
up all his medicines and boxes, found in one of them 
these three crowns hidden. Which thing so soon as I 
understood, very much grieved I was, and could not 
quietly digest so great a sin at his hands, that lived with 
us in community, because the rule of my Monastery 
was that all the monks thereof should so live in common, 
that none in particular might possess anything proper to 
himself. Being, therefore, much troubled and grieved 
at that which had happened, I began to think with 
myself what was best to be done, both for the soul of 
him that was now dying, and also for the edification and 
example of those that were yet living. At length I sent 
for Pretiosus, Prior of the Monastery, and gave him 


Cbe e^onk Justus 

this charge : " See," quoth I, " that none of our monks 
do so much as visit Justus in this his extremity, neither 
let any give him any comfort at all : and when his last 
hour draweth nigh, and he doth desire the presence of 
his spiritual brethren, let his carnal brother tell him that 
they do all detest him, for the three crowns which he 
had hidden : that, at least before his death, sorrow may 
wound his heart, and purge it from the sin committed : 
and when he is dead, let not his body be buried amongst 
the rest of the monks, but make a grave for him in some 
one dunghill or other, and there cast it in, together with 
the three crowns which he left behind him, crying out 
all with joint voice : c Thy money be with thee unto 
perdition ' ; and so put earth upon him." In either of 
which things my mind and desire was, both to help him 
that was leaving the world, and also to edify the monks 
yet remaining behind, that both grief of death might 
make him pardonable for his sin, and such a severe 
sentence against avarice might terrify and preserve them 
from the like offence : both which, by God's goodness, 
fell out accordingly. For when the foresaid monk came 
to die, and carefully desired to be commended to the 
devotions of his brethren, and yet none of them did 
either visit him, or so much as speak to him : his 
brother Copiosus told him for what cause they had all 
given him over : at which words he straightways sighed 
for his sin, and in that sorrow gave up the ghost. And 
after his death, he was buried in that manner, as 1 had 
given in commandment : by which fact all the monks 
were so terrified, that they began each one to seek out 
the least and basest things in their cells, and which by 
the rule they might lawfully keep : and very much they 
feared, lest some thing they had, for which they might 
be blamed. 

Thirty days after his departure, I began to take com- 
passion upon him, and with great grief to think of his 


£fje Dialogues of ttt. <£regorp 

punishment, and what means there was to help him : 
whereupon I called again for Pretiosus, Prior of my 
Monastery, and with an heavy heart spake thus unto 
him : " It is now a good while since that our brother 
which is departed remaineth in the torments of fire, and 
therefore we must shew him some charity, and labour 
what we may to procure his delivery : wherefore go 
your way, and see that for thirty days following sacri- 
fice be offered for him, so that no one day pass in which, 
for his absolution and discharge, the healthful sacrifice 
be not offered " : who forthwith departed, and put my 
commandment in execution. In the mean time, my 
mind being busied about other affairs, so that I took no 
heed to the days how they passed : upon a certain night 
the same monk that was dead, appeared to his brother 
Copiosus : who, seeing him, enquired of his state in this 
manner : " What is the matter, brother ? and how is it 
with you?" to whom he answered thus: "Hitherto 
have I been in bad case, but now I am well ; for this 
day have I received the communion " : with which 
news Copiosus straightways coming to the Monastery, 
told the monks : and they diligently counting the days, 
found it to be that in which the thirtieth sacrifice was 
offered for his soul : and so, though neither Copiosus 
knew what the monks had done for him, nor they what 
he had seen concerning the state of his brother, yet at 
one and the same time both he knew what they had 
done, and they what he had seen, and so the sacrifice 
and vision agreeing together, apparent it was that the 
dead monk was by the holy sacrifice delivered from his 

Ip0t£t. The things you report be passing strange, and 
yet full of joy and comfort. 

C&amer jTiftp=0ir : of tf)e life anD Departure of 

1Bi06op Ca00iU0. «I ®regorp. And that we should 
not call in question, or doubt of that which the dead 


IBaraca tfjc farmer 

report, we have, for confirmation of the same thing, the 
facts of the living. For Cassius, Bishop of Narni, a man 
of holy life, who did usually every day offer sacrifice 
unto God (and whiles he was at the mysteries of those 
sacrifices, did also immolate himself in tears), received 
from our Lord this message by one of his Priests. " Do 
that thou doest : work that thou workest : let not thy 
foot cease, let not thy hand cease, upon the nativity of 
the Apostles thou shalt come unto me, and I will give 
thee thy reward." And so, seven years after, upon that 
very day of the Apostles, after he had ended the solem- 
nity of Mass and received the mysteries of the sacred 
communion, he departed this life. 

Chapter jTift^setien : of one tbat toas taken bp 
W enemies anD put in prison, tobose irons fell 
off at tbe time of tbe sacrifice : ano of one 15araca, 
a mariner, tbat toas ty tbe ftolp sacrifice DelitiereD 

from OrOtotTing. *R That also which I have heard is 
known to many, to wit, how one was by his enemies 
taken and put in prison, with irons upon him : for whom 
his wife caused upon certain days sacrifice to be offered : 
who, long time after, returning home to his wife, told 
her upon what days his bolts used to fall off : by whose 
relation she found that it was upon those very days in 
which sacrifice had been offered for him. By another 
thing likewise, which happened seven years since, the 
very same truth is confirmed. For when Agathus, 
Bishop of Palermo (as many faithful and religious men 
both have and still do tell me), was, in the time of my 
predecessor of blessed memory, commanded to come to 
Rome, and in his journey fell into such a tempest at sea, 
that he despaired of ever coming to land : the mariner 
of the ship, called Baraca (who now is one of the clergy, 
and serveth in the same church), governed another 
small vessel, tied to the poop of the former ship : the 
rope whereof breaking in pieces, away it went with man 


£f)e Dialogues of %>t <$regorp 

and all, and amongst the huge mountains of waters, 
quickly vanished out of sight. The ship in which the 
Bishop was, after many great dangers, at length arrived 
all weather-beaten at the island of Ostica : and when 
three days were past, and the Bishop could hear no 
news of the foresaid mariner that was so violently 
carried away with the storm, nor see him in any part of 
the sea, very sorry he was, and verily believed that he 
had been drowned : and so upon great charity bestowed 
one thing upon him being yet alive, which was not due 
unto him until he was dead : for he willed that the 
sacrifice of the healthful oblation should be offered unto 
almighty God for the absolution of his soul: which 
being done accordingly, and the ship new rigged, away 
he departed for Italy, where, arriving at Portua, he 
found the mariner alive, whom he verily supposed to 
have been drowned : upon which good chance altogether 
unlooked for, very glad he was, and demanded of him, 
how it was possible that he could escape so many days, 
in so great a danger and so terrible a tempest : who told 
him, how in that storm he was tossed with that little 
ship which he governed, and how he did swim with it 
being full of water : and so often as it was turned 
upside down, how he gat upon the keel, and held fast 
there : adding also that, by striving and labouring thus 
continually day and night, at length, with watching and 
hunger, his strength began to fail him : and then he told 
how, by the singular providence and mercy of God, he 
was preserved from drowning : for as even to this very 
day he still affirmeth, so then did he verify the same to 
the Bishop, telling him in this manner. "As I was," 
quoth he, " striving and labouring in the sea, and my 
strength began to fail me, suddenly I became so heavy 
of mind, that methought I was neither waking nor yet 
asleep : and being in that case in the midst of the sea, 
I saw one come, who brought me bread to refresh my 

2 54 

e^psterp of tbe ©olp Sacrifice 

tired body : which so soon as I had eaten, I recovered 
my strength again ; and not long after, a ship passing 
by took me in, and so was I delivered from that danger 
of death and set safe a land. The Bishop, hearing this, 
enquired upon what day this strange thing happened, 
and he found by his relation, that it was that very day 
in which the Priest in the island of Ostica did sacrifice 
for him unto God, the host of the holy oblation. 
Ip0t0t, That which you report, myself also heard at my 
being in Sicily. 

<£>t0£Otp. I, for my part, do verily believe, that the 
reason why, by God's providence, this thing falleth out 
thus apparently to them that be living, and think nothing 
thereof, is that all may know how, if their sins be not 
irremissible, that they may after death obtain pardon 
and absolution for them, by the oblation of the holy 
sacrifice. But yet we have here to note, that the holy 
sacrifice doth profit those kind of persons after their 
death, who in their life time obtained that such good 
works as were by their friends done for them might be 
available to their souls, after they were out of this 

Cbaptet JTiftp=eigf)t : of tf)C Virtue anD mpstcrp 

Of t6e bOlp Sacrifice 9 And here also we have 
diligently to consider, that it is far more secure and safe 
that every man should do that for himself whiles he is 
yet alive, which he desireth that others should do for 
him after his death. For far more blessed it is, to 
depart free out of this world, than being in prison to 
seek for release: and therefore reason teacheth us, that 
we should with our whole soul contemn this present 
world, at least because we see that it is now gone and 
past : and to offer unto God the daily sacrifice of tears, 
and the daily sacrifice of his body and blood. For this 
sacrifice doth especially save our souls from everlasting 
damnation, which in mystery doth renew unto us the 

2 SS 

Cbe Dialogues of %t <$reprp 

death of the Son of God: who although being risen 
from death, doth not now die any more, nor death shall 
not any further prevail against him : yet living in him- 
self immortally, and without all corruption, he is again 
sacrificed for us in this mystery of the holy oblation : 
for there his body is received, there his flesh is distri- 
buted for the salvation of the people : there his blood 
is not now shed betwixt the hands of infidels, but 
poured into the mouths of the faithful. Wherefore 
let us hereby meditate what manner of sacrifice this is, 
ordained for us, which for our absolution doth always 
represent the passion of the only Son of God : for what 
right believing Christian can doubt, that in the very 
hour of the sacrifice, at the words of the Priest, the 
heavens be opened, and the quires of Angels are 
present in that mystery of Jesus Christ ; that high 
things are accompanied with low, and earthly joined to 
heavenly, and that one thing is made of visible and 
invisible ? 

Chapter JTift^nine : fjoto toe ougbt to procure 
sorroto of fceart, at t&e time of tbe 6olg masteries : 
anD of tbe custoDp of our soul after contrition. 

^ But necessary it is that, when we do these things, 
we should also, by contrition of heart, sacrifice ourselves 
unto almighty God : for when we celebrate the mystery 
of our Lord's passion, we ought to imitate what we then 
do : for then shall it truly be a sacrifice for us unto God, 
if we offer ourselves also to him in sacrifice. Careful 
also must we be, that after we have bestowed some time 
in prayer, that, as much as we can by God's grace, we 
keep our mind fixed in him, so that no vain thoughts 
make us to fall unto dissolution, nor any foolish mirth 
enter into our heart : lest the soul, by reason of such 
transitory thoughts, lose all that which it gained by 
former contrition. For so Anne deserved to obtain that 
which she craved at God's hand, because after her tears 


jTotgtoeness of %im 

she preserved herself in the former force of her soul : 
for of her thus it is written : And her looks were not any 
more changed to divers things} She therefore, that forgot 
not what she desired, was not deprived of that gift which 
she requested. 

Cbaptet ^>irtp : tfrat toe ougfn to yaroon otber 
men tbeir 0in#, tbat toe map obtain remission of 

OUC OtOn, ^ We have also further to know, that he 
doth rightly and in good sort demand pardon for his 
own sin, who doth forgive that which hath been done 
against himself. For our gift is not received, if, before, 
we free not our soul from all discord and lack of charity : 
for our Saviour saith : If thou offer thy gift at the altar, and 
there thou remember that thy brother hath aught against thee, 
leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be 
reconciled to thy brother, and then coming thou shalt offer thy 
gift. 2. Wherein we have to consider, that whereas all sin 
by a gift is loosed, how grievous the sin of discord is, 
for which no gift is received : and therefore we ought, 
in soul and desire, to go unto our neighbour though he 
be far ofF, and many miles distant from us, and there to 
humble ourselves before him, and to pacify him by humi- 
lity and hearty good will, to the end that our Creator, 
beholding the desire of our mind, may forgive us our 
own sin, who receiveth a gift for sin. And our Saviour 
himself teacheth us, how that servant, which did owe 
ten thousand talents, by penance obtained of his Lord 
the forgiveness of that debt : but yet because he would 
not forgive his fellow-servant an hundred pence, which 
were due to him, that was again exacted at his hands, 
which before was pardoned. 3 Out of which sayings we 
learn, that if we do not from our heart forgive that 
which is committed against us, how that is again re- 
quired at our hands, whereof before we were glad that 
by penance we had obtained pardon and remission. 
1 i Kings i. IS. a Matt. 5. 23-24. 3 Matt. 18. 27. 

257 R 

Cbe Dialogues of 9t <$regorp 

Wherefore, whiles time is given us, whiles our judge 
doth bear with us, whiles he that examineth our sins doth 
expect our conversion and amendment : let us mollify 
with tears the hardness of our heart, and with sincere 
charity, love our neighbours : and then dare I speak it 
boldly, that we shall not have any need of the holy 
sacrifice after our death : if, before death, we offer up 
ourselves for a sacrifice unto almighty God. 

«I Ibcrc cnD tbe Dialogues of ^aint ®regorp. 


Jl?otes, $t. 

ISoofe 31 

Introduction, p. 4. Similarly in the letter addressed to Leander 
of Seville, prefixed to the Mora/ia, or Exposition of the Book of Job (com- 
posed before his elevation to the papacy), St. Gregory had written : 
"Now that the times are disturbed through multiplied evils, the end 
of the world being at hand, we ourselves, who are believed to be 
devoted to the inner mysteries, are involved in external cares." 
Cf below, Bk. III. chap. 38 ; Bk. IV. chap. 4.1. 

Chapter I. p. 7. Funda, more correctly Fundi (the translator is 
somewhat casual in his rendering of the Latin. names of places), is the 
modern Fondi, in the province of Caserta, between Terracina and 
Formia. Cf Horace, Sat. I. 5, 34-36. Honoratus is celebrated in 
the Roman Martyrology on January 16. 

Chapter. II. p. 9. For Totila, see below, Bk. II. chap. 14. He 
was king of the Ostrogoths in Italy from 541 to 552. 

Ibid. p. 10. In 553, after the death of Totila's successor, Teias, 
Leutharand Butilin (here called Buccellinus), chiefs of the Alamanni, 
who were subject to the king of the Franks, invaded Italy in support 
of the scattered remnants of the Goths. Butilin ravaged Campania 
in 554, until defeated and slain by Narses at the battle of Capua. 
See Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders, V. bk. vi. chap. I. 

Chapter IV. p. 15. The province of Valeria included the cities 
of Reate (Rieti) and Tibur (Tivoli), and the modern province of 
Aquila (Abruzzi). St. Equitius is commemorated on March 7. It 
is uncertain whether the monastery quod appellatur Balneum Ciceronis 
was at Tusculum, or (as seems more probable from the context) on 
the site of the present abbey of San Domenico Abbate near Isola del 
Liri in the diocese of Sora. 

Ibid. p. 16. Amiternum, an ancient Sabine town, the birthplace 
of Sallust, is some five miles from the modern city of Aquila ; its 
site is occupied by the village of San Vittorino. Two letters of 
Cassiodorus, written in the name of King Theodoric, refer to this 
Basilius, who, together with another Roman noble named Praetex- 
tatus, was imprisoned for practising magical arts, but made his 



escape. Theodoric ordered that he should be recaptured, and 
examined by a board of five persons, one of whom was the patrician 
Symmachus (Cf. Bk. IV. chaps. 13 and 30). See Hodgkin, The 
Letters of Cassiodorus, pp. 246, 247. Baronius places these events in 
the year 504 or thereabouts. Nothing is known of the subsequent 
fate of Basilius, to which St. Gregory refers ; he is evidently not 
the same person as the Basilius mentioned by Boethius, in the De 
Consolatione Philosophiae, as one of his accusers. 

Ibid. p. 18. Castorius (or Castus) was a military officer (magister 
mi/itum), who shared in the defence of Rome against the Lombards, 
and is mentioned with high praise by St. Gregory himself in a 
letter of 595 to the Emperor Mauritius (Registrum, Epist. v. 36, ed. 
Ewald and Hartmann, i. p. 317). For "Bishop of Reatino" 
(Reatinae antistes ecclesiae) read "Bishop of Reate " (Rieti). The 
Bishop of Rome mentioned in this chapter is probably Pope 
Symmachus I. (498-514), for whom see below, Bk. IV. chap. 40. 

Ibid. p. 19. Julianus is described in the Latin text as being then 
defensor (of the Church of Rome). The Defenders of the various 
Churches were ecclesiastical lawyers, clerics appointed to look after 
the interests of the Church. See Moroni, Dlzionario di Erudizione 
storico-ecclesiastica,xx. pp. 38 et sea., and St. Gregory, Registrant, Epist. 
v. 26, ed. Ewald and Hartmann, i. p. 307. 

Ibid. p. 22. Valentinus was the second Abbot of Sant' Andrea, 
the monastery into which St. Gregory converted his palace on the 
Caelian Hill. 

Ibid. p. 23. The Lombards came into the province of Valeria in 
571, three years after their first appearance in Italy. 

Chapter VII. pp. 26, 27. For Maximianus, Bishop of Syracuse, 
see Bk. III. chap. 36. The "Abbey which is hard by the city of 
Nepi " is the monastery " called Suppentonia," mentioned in the 
next chapter. There were a number of early mediaeval monasteries 
on Mount Soracte ; the one presided over by Nonnosus was, perhaps, 
that traditionally associated with St. Sylvester, which was afterwards 
in the eighth century refounded by Carloman the Frank. 

Chapter VIII. p. 29. Suppentonia is the modern Castel Sant' 
Elia, between Nepi and Civita Castellana. Anastasius is com- 
memorated on January II. 

Ibid. p. 31. Tuscania, more properly Tuscia, is, of course, the 
modern Tuscany. 

Chapter IX. p. 31. The place meant is apparently Ferentinum 
(Ferentino), near Frosinone, which, however, is in Latium not 
Tuscany. Bonifacius is commemorated on May 14. 

Chapter X. p. 38. Tuder is now Todi in Umbria. For- 
tunatus died in 537, and is commemorated on October 14. The 
Julianus here mentioned, nostrae ecclesiae defensor, is not the same 



person as the Julianus connected with St. Equitius (Bk. I. chap. 4), 
who previously held the same office of " defender." 

Chapter XII. p. 46. " In eo etiam loco Interor'ina vallis dicitur, 
quae a multis verbo rustico Interocrina nominatur." The place is 
apparently Interocrea, or Intocrium, the modern Antrodoco, between 
Rieti and Aquila. 

IBook 3131 

Introduction, p. 51. St. Benedict was born at Nursia about 480. 
The date of his leaving Rome is disputed ; it was probably a few 
years before 500. Constantinus and Simplicius were his two imme- 
diate successors, the second and third Abbots of Monte Cassino ; 
Honoratus presided over the Abbey of Subiaco in St. Gregory's own 

Chapter I., p. 52. For " Enside," read Enfde, which is identified 
with the mountain-village of Affile, between Olevano and Subiaco. 

Ibid. p. 53. Sublacum, or Sublaqueum, now Subiaco, in the 
Apennines, above the river Anio. Here Nero had built a villa, 
with three artificial lakes, and it was over the ruins of the Emperor's 
" sylvan retreat " that the order of the Benedictines thus sprang into 
being. Cf. Lanciani, Wanderings in the Roman Campagna, pp. 350- 
352. The "strait cave," in which St. Benedict lived, is now the 
famous Sagro Speco, on the mountain-side, high above the town. 

Ibid. p. 53. The name of this Abbot is variously given as 
Theodacus or Adeodatus. 

Chapter II. p. 55. These thorns and nettles are piously said to 
have turned into the roses, the descendants of which are still seen in 
the garden of the monastery of the Sagro Speco. 

Chapter III. p. 56. The monastery in question is said to have 
been at Varia (the modern Vicovaro), near Mandela. In the second 
chapter of the Rule of St. Benedict, we read that the Abbot " shall be 
acquitted in so far as he shall have shown all the watchfulness of a 
shepherd over a restless and disobedient flock ; and if as their pastor 
he shall have employed every care to cure their corrupt manners, he 
shall be declared guiltless in the Lord's judgment, and he may say 
with the prophet, / have not hidden Thy justice in my heart ; I have 
told Thy truth and Thy salvation; but jhey contemned and despised me." 
(Gasquet's translation.) 

Ibid. p. 60. "That notable preacher of the world." This is, 
perhaps, a misprint in the edition of 1608 for " word." The Latin 
has simply : tile quoque egregius praedicator. 

Ibid. p. 61. The name of the father of Maurus is variously 
written: Equitius, Evitius, Euticius ; "Tertullius the senator" is 
simply Tertullus patricius. For the reception of children into the 
order, cf. chap. 59 of the Rule. According to the tradition, Maurus 



became the Benedictine apostle of France, and died in 584, while 
Placidus died a martyr's death in Sicily in 541, a few years before the 
death of St. Benedict himself. 

Chapter VI. p. 63. " If any one whilst engaged in any work, 
either in the kitchen, in the cellar, in serving others, in the bake- 
house, in the garden, or in any other occupation or place, shall do 
anything amiss, break or lose anything, or offend in any way whatsoever, 
and do not come at once to the abbot and community of his own 
accord to confess his offence and make satisfaction, if afterwards it 
shall become known by another he shall be more severely punished." 
{Rule of St. Benedict, chap. 46, Gasquet's translation.) 

Chapter VIII. p. 68. St. Benedict thus founded the great Abbey 
of Monte Cassino in 528 or 529. Dante translates St. Gregory's 
words in the Paradiso (xxii. 37-45), where he puts them into the 
mouth of St. Benedict himself: 

"Quel monte, a cui Cassino c nella costa, 
Fu frequentato gia in sulla cima 
Dalla gente ingannata e mal disposta. 
E quel son io che su vi portai prima 
Lo nome di Colui, che in terra addusse 
La verita che tanto ci sublima ; 
E tanta grazia sopra me rilusse, 
Ch'io ritrassi le ville circostanti 
Dall' empio culto che il mondo sedusse." 

Chapter XI. p. 70. "The son of a certain courtier" is hardly 
the equivalent of cujusdam curtails films. A curia/is, or decurio, was 
.•member of the municipal council of some provincial town. See 
Hodgkin, II. pp. 577 et seq. 

Chapter XII. p. 71. "The brother who is sent on an errand, 
and expects to return to his monastery the same day, shall not presume 
to eat outside his house, even though he be asked to do so by any 
one, unless he be so ordered by his abbot. If he do otherwise, let 
him be excommunicated." (Rule of St. Benedict, chap. 51, Gasquet's 

Chapter XIII. p. 72. This Valentinian is probably the Abbot of 
the Lateran mentioned on p. 52. 

Chapters XIV. and XV. pp. 73-75. Totila (Baduila) became 
king of the Ostrogoths in Italy in 541, when Belisarius had won 
back for Justinian and the Empire all the peninsula south of the Po. 
His interview with St. Benedict took place probably in the following 
year, 542. Of his four Gothic attendants here mentioned — Riggo, 
Vult, Ruderic, and Bleda — the last two are also known in history as 
having been sent by the king to besiege Florence in this same year. 
(Cf. Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders, II. p. 433). Totila recon- 



quered almost all Italy, except Ravenna and Ancona ; he captured 
Rome twice (546 and 549), and overran Sicily ; but in 552 was 
defeated by Narses and killed in the rout of his army. It was 
naturally impossible for St. Gregory to take an impartial view of 
the Goths, and modern historians depict Totila in far more favourable 
colours. According to Dr. Hodgkin, he was " upon the whole one of 
the best types of the still future age of chivalry that the Downfall of 
the Empire can exhibit." 

Chapter XV. p. 75. "Camisina" is Canusium, the modern 
Canosa di Puglia. The Bishop is the Sabinus spoken of below, 
Bk. III. chap. 5. Honoratus is the Abbot of Subiaco already men- 
tioned on p. 52. 

Chapter XVI. p. 75. Constantius, Bishop of Aquinum (Aquino), 
is commemorated on September I. 

Chapter XVII. p. 78. The Abbey of Monte Cassino was destroyed 
by the Lombards of the duchy of Beneventum in 589. 

Chapter XIX. p. 80. " No one, without leave of the abbot, shall 
presume to give, or receive, or keep as his own, anything whatever. 
... All things are to be common to all, as it is written, Neither did 
any one say or think that aught was his own." {Rule of St. Benedict, 
chapter 33, Gasquet's translation. Cf. also chapter 54.) 

Chapter XX. p. 80. In chapter iv. of the Rule, among the instru- 
ments of good works, we read : "To dash at once against Christ (as 
against a rock) evil thoughts which rise up in the mind." According 
to the Latin text, this monk cujusdam defensoris Jilius juerat. The 
Defensores Civitatum were the chief municipal authorities of the pro- 
vinces, originally instituted to protect the people from the unjust 
extortions of the imperial officials. Cf. Hodgkin, Italy and her 
Invaders, I. pp. 625-628. 

Chapter XXII. p. 82. Tarracina, the Volscian city of Anxur, 
now Terracina, the last town of the former Papal States before crossing 
the Neapolitan frontier. 

Chapter XXXI. p. 91. The name of this Goth is more usually 
written Zalla. 

Chapter XXXIII. p. 94. According to the tradition, St. Scho- 
lastica died on February 10, 543, and St. Benedict a month later, 
March 21, 543. Their bodies are supposed to lie together under the 
high altar of the abbey church at Monte Cassino ; but this is a little 
uncertain, as they are said to have been at one time translated (perhaps 
temporarily) to France. 

Chapter XXXV. p. 96. This Liberius quondam patricius is prob- 
ably the Liberius mentioned in the letters of Cassiodorus (Hodgkin, 
The Letters of Cassiodorus, pp. 178, 179) as a Roman noble who had 
been Praetorian Prefect under Theodoric. The monastery is referred 
to in St. Gregory's letters, Registrum, Epist. ix. 162, 164 (Ewald and 



Hartmann, ii. pp. 162, 163). St. Germanus, Bishop of Capua, died 
in 540 or 541, and is commemorated on October 30. 

Ibid. pp. 97, 98. This vision of the whole world, and St. Gregory's 
explanation, deeply impressed the mediaeval mind. It was imitated 
by Marcus, the Irish Benedictine who wrote the Vision of Tundal 
(Fish Tnugdali, ed. Wagner, p. 52), and by Dante (Par. xxii. 1 33—1 53). 
St. Thomas Aquinas discusses it with a view to showing that St. 
Gregory's words do not imply that St. Benedict, still living in the 
present life, saw God in that vision per essentiam, in His Essence. 
(Summa Theologica, II. ii. Q. 108, A. 5 ad 3.) 

Chapter XXXVI. p. 99. "For he wrote a rule for his monks, 
both excellent for discretion and also eloquent for the style." The 
Latin runs : Nam scripsit monachorum regu/am, discretione praecipuam, 
sermone luculentam, St. Gregory himself, in the epistle to Bishop 
Leander prefixed to the Mora/ia, professes to despise "literary style" 
(ipsam loquendi artem, quam magisteria disciplinae exterioris insinuani) ; 
" for I deem it most unworthy," he says, " to restrict the words of 
the heavenly oracle under the rules of Donatus " (Epistola missoria ad 
Leandrutn Hhpalensem, cap. 5). For the style and Latinity of the Rule, 
cf. especially E. Wolfflin, Die Latinit'dt des Benedikt von Nursia in Archiv 
ftir lateinische Lexikographie und Grammatik, ix. Munich, 1896. 

TBoofe 313131 

Chapter I. pp. 105-108. St. Paulinus (Meropius Pontius Anicius 
Paulinus) was born at Bordeaux in 353 or 354, of a noble house with 
vast estates in Gaul, Italy, and Spain. In middle life he left the 
world, and from 409 until his death in 431 was Bishop of Nola in 
Campania (a province of which he had been governor in early man- 
hood). Many of his letters and poems (he had been a pupil of 
Ausonius) have been preserved. His feast is on June 22. The story 
here told by St. Gregory presents various chronological difficulties. 
The Vandals established their kingdom in Africa between 429 and 439 
(in which latter year Gaiseric, or Genseric, took Carthage) ; their 
ravages in Italy (culminating in the sack of Rome by Gaiseric in 455) 
did not begin in the lifetime of Paulinus ; and Gaiseric himself, who 
is evidently the king here referred to, did not die until 477, more 
than forty years after the death of Paulinus. As a matter of fact, 
Alaric took Nola in 410, after his sack of Rome, and Paulinus, then 
newly appointed Bishop, was made prisoner. " Our Paulinus, Bishop 
of Nola," writes St. Augustine, " who from one most wealthy had 
become voluntarily poor and most abundantly holy, when the Bar- 
barians sacked Nola, and he was held captive, prayed thus in his 
heart, as we afterwards learned from him : Lord, let me not be tor- 
mented on account of gold and silver, for Thou knowest where all I 



have is " (De Civitate Dei, i. io). Alaric died within the year. It 
seems not impossible, as M. Andre Baudrillart suggests (Saint Paulin 
Eveque de Note, pp. 1 67-170), that the foundation for St. Gregory's 
story is some tradition connected with the taking of St. Paulinus in 
410, and that the Vandals have been confused with the Visigoths, 
Gaiseric with Alaric. There is no evidence that St, Paulinus was 
ever a prisoner in Africa. 

Chapter II. p. 109. For "Justinian the elder" read "Justin 
the elder " (the mistake is not the translator's, but due to the Latin 
text that he used). John I., a Tuscan by birth, was elected Pope in 
523, in succession to Pope Hormisdas, whose reconciliation of the 
Roman See with the Eastern Empire, as represented by Justin I., 
had weakened the power of Theodoric in Italy. In 525 he was 
compelled by the Gothic king to go on an embassy to Justin, 
here recorded by St. Gregory, with a view of persuading the 
Emperor to adopt less vigorous methods against the Arians. At 
Constantinople he crowned the Emperor. On his return to 
Ravenna, Theodoric threw him into a dungeon, where he died in 
May, 526. He is the last Pope whom the Church of Rome venerates 
as a martyr. Cf. below, Bk. IV. chap. 30. 

Chapter III. p. 109. Agapitus 1., a Roman noble, was elected 
Pope in 535, when Justinian, the nephew and successor of Justin, 
was preparing to reconquer Italy from the Goths. He went to 
Constantinople, at once to make peace (in which he was unsuccessful) 
and to procure the deposition of the patriarch Anthimus, who adhered 
to the Monophysitc heresy and was supported by the Empress 
Theodora. There the Pope suddenly died in April 536. Dante 
(Par. vi. 10-21) makes Justinian represent himself as converted from 
the Monophysites by the words of Agapitus : 

" Cesare fui, e son Giustiniano, 

Che, per voler del primo amor ch'io sento, 

D'entro le leggi trassi il troppo e il vano. 
E prima ch'io all'opra fossi attento, 

Una natura in Cristo esscr, non piue, 

Credeva, e di tal fedc era contento ; 
Ma il benedetto Agapito, che fue 

Sommo pastore, alia fede sincera 

Mi dirizzo con le parole sue. 
Io gli crcdetti, e cio che in fede sua era 

Veggio ora chiaro, si come tu vedi 

Ogni contraddizion c falsa e vera." 

Chapter IV. p. no. Datius, Archbishop of Milan, a great 
champion of orthodoxy and an active ecclesiastical politician, was 
closely associated with Pope Vigilius in his struggle with Justinian 



and Theodora. He died at Constantinople in 552. This legend 
probably refers to his earlier visit to the Byzantine Court, circa 544. 

Chapter V. p. ill. Sabinus, Bishop of Canosa in Apulia, has 
been already mentioned, Bk. II. chap. 15. This story shows Totila 
in a different light from that in which he usually appears in Gregory's 

Chapter VIII. p. 116. The Pope in question is usually identified 
with John III. (561-574) ; but the previous reference to Constantius, 
Bishop of Aquino, as a contemporary of St. Benedict {cf. Bk. II. 
chap. 16), seems to point to John II. (533-535). 

Chapter IX. p. 117. Frigidianus or Frigdianus (in Italian, San 
Frediano) was an Irishman. He died in 588, and is celebrated on 
March 18 and November 18. For "Anser" read Juser, now called 
the Serchio. 

Chapter X. p. 118. Placentia is the modern Piacenza, in 

Chapter XI. p. 119. Cerbonius died about 575. Populonium, 
or Populonia, a few miles from Piombino in the Maremma of 
Tuscany, was an important place in antiquity by reason of the 
smelting of the iron from Elba. It was the chief Etruscan seaport. 

Chapter XII. p. 120. Otricoli (Ocriculum) is near Orte in 
Umbria. This St. Fulgentius (d. 540) is not to be confused with his 
contemporary, St. Fulgentius, Bishop of Ruspe (d. 533). 

Chapter XIII. p. 121. The capture of Perusia (the modern 
Perugia) by the Goths and the martyrdom of St. Herculanus (Sant' 
Ercolano) took place in 549> after a siege of three years, during 
which the city was gallantly defended by a Greek imperial garrison 
under Cyprian. According to the legend, when the defenders were 
reduced to extremities, Herculanus ordered a lamb or an ox to be 
fed with all the store of grain that remained, and then hurled down 
from the walls, in order that the besiegers might suppose that 
supplies abounded, and abandon their hope of reducing the city by 
starvation. A young ecclesiastic, either accidentally or by treachery, 
revealed the trick to the Goths, who straightway took the city by 

Chapter XIV. p. 123. There were a number of Syrian monks 
in Italy during the sixth century (Herculanus of Perugia is said to 
have been a Syrian). Nothing more is known concerning this 
Isaac of Spoleto, who, if he lived " almost to the last days of the 
Goths," must have died about the middle of the century (Teias, 
the successor of Totila, and the last king of the Goths in Italy, 
was slain in 553). He is not to be confused with two other 
Syrians of the same name, the presbyter Isaac of Antioch (middle 
of fifth century) and Isaac of Nineveh, the Nestorian bishop of that 
city in the latter half of the seventh century. For the last-named, 



see J. B. Chabot, De S. Isaaci Ninivitae vita, serif tis, et aoctrina (Paris, 
1892), and a more recent article by J. P. Arendzen in the Catholic 
Encyclopedia, vol. viii. (New York, 1910). The Latin Liber de 
contemptu mundi is a kind of collection from the writings of Isaac of 
Nineveh (translated from a Greek version of the Syriac original) ; 
upon this is based an Italian work of the fourteenth century, variously 
entitled De la perfectione de la vita contemplativa and Collazione deW 
Abate Isaac, erroneously attributed to St. Gregory's Isaac of Spoleto, 
which has been several times reprinted (the latest edition is that of 
Bartolommeo Sorio, published at Rome in 1845, together with the 
letters of Giovanni dalle Celle). 

Chapter XV. p. 128. Euthicius (better, Eutychius) died about 
540 ; Florentius about 547. 

Chapter XVI. p. 133. Marcius is called Martinus in the Latin 
text. Mons Marsicus is either Monte Marsicano in the Abruzzi, or 
the mountain of the same name near Marsico Nuovo in Basilicata. 
Pope Pelagius II., Gregory's immediate predecessor, reigned from 579 
to 590. 

Chapter XVII. p. 136. Buxentum, in Lucania, is either Pisciotta 
or Policastro on the coast of Calabria. Monte Argentario, in the 
Tuscan province of Grosseto (formerly a part of the republic of Siena) 
is famous in the annals of the order of the Passionists. 

Chapter XVIII. p. 139. This monk Benedict (who, of course, 
is not the same person as his more famous contemporary, St. Benedict 
of Nursia) is commemorated on March 23. 

Chapter XIX. p. 140. For "Antharicus" read Autharicus. 
Authari, king of the Lombards, reigned from 584 to 590. These 
great floods were in 589. Athesis is the modern Adige. St. Zeno, 
whose feast is on April 1 2, was Bishop of Verona in the fourth 
century, and, according to the legend, delivered the daughter of the 
Emperor Galienus from an unclean spirit. Nothing is known about 
his having suffered martyrdom. Cf. Acta Sanctorum, Aprilis Tom II., 
pp. 68-78. Two books of Tractatus, or Sermones, attributed to him 
are in Migne, P.L., XI. 

Chapter XXII. p. 143. Valentius is the same person as the 
Valentinus mentioned on pp. 22, 202. He is variously called 
Valentinus, Valentius, or Valentio. 

Chapter XXIII. p. 145. Praeneste is the mediaeval Palestrina, 
near which St. Gregory's own ancestral lands lay. The mountain, 
upon the side of which the city stands, is crowned by Castel San 
Pietro, with a church probably occupying the site ot the abbey here 
mentioned and a ruined castle of the Colonna. 

Chapters XXVII. and XXVIII. pp. 150-151. Dr. Hodgkin (VI. 
p. 97) conjectures that these atrocities were not committed by the 
Lombards properly so called, who were Arians, but by their barbarian 



auxiliaries, Bulgarians, Sarmatians, and Gepidae, who had come with 
them into Italy, and who were idolaters. 

Chapter XXX. p. 153. The church in question is Sancta Agatha 
in Subura, now known as Santa Agata de' Goti. It had been built 
(or, perhaps, restored) as a church of the Arians by Ricimer, the 
Visigothic patrician, shortly before 472, and was taken for Catholic 
worship by St. Gregory in 591 or 592, and dedicated to St. Agatha, 
to whom he had a special devotion. In a letter written early in 594, 
St. Gregory commends the church to the acolyth Leo: "ecclesia 
sanctae Agathae sita in Subora, quae spelunca fuit aliquando pravitatis 
hereticae, ad catholicae fidei culturam, Deo propitiante, reducta est." 
(Registrant, Epist. iv. 19, ed. Ewald and Hartmann, i. p. 253) ; but 
makes no mention of any miracle. Subura is the district between 
the Esquiline, Quirinal, and Viminal hills, and had a bad repute in 
classical times. Cf. Horace, Epod. v., 57. For " St. Stephen," read 
" St. Sebastian." The Latin runs : " introductis illic beati Sebastiani 
et sanctae Agathae martyrum reliquiis." 

Chapter XXXI. pp. 155-157. Leander, Bishop of Seville (to whom 
St. Gregory dedicated his Moralia), was the brother of Theodosia, the 
first wife of King Leovigild, the mother of Hermenigild and Rechared. 
Hermenigild, who had been converted from Arianism by his young 
wife Ingunthis (a Catholic Frank princess), was associated with his 
father in the kingdom, ruling at Seville, while Leovigild held his 
court at Toledo. He rebelled against his father in 583, and was 
either murdered or put to death by the latter (the circumstances are 
not clear) in 585. Leovigild died in 586, and his successor, 
Hermenigild's brother Rechared, became a Catholic in the following 
year. St. Leander died in 599, and was succeeded in the see of 
Seville by his more famous brother, St. Isidore, the great apostle of 
Latin culture and Catholic orthodoxy among the Visigoths of Spain. 

Chapter XXXII. p. 157. St. Gregory's chronology is here at 
fault. The great persecutor of the Catholics in Africa, King 
Hunneric of the Vandals (the son and successor of Gaiseric), reigned 
from 477 to 484, in the time of the Emperor Zeno. Justinian did 
not ascend the imperial throne until 527. 

Chapter XXXVI. p. 164. Maximianus, Bishop of Syracuse and 
formerly abbot of St. Gregory's abbey of Sant' Andrea on the Caelian 
Hill, was a constant friend and correspondent of the latter ; he died 
in 594. St. Gregory was sent to Constantinople as apocrisiarius or 
papal legate, by Pope Pelagius II., in 579, and stayed there until 
about 585. While there he composed his great Moralia. 

Ibid. p. 165. "Cothronum" is Cotrone, on the east coast of 

Chapter XXXVIII. p. 173. For " Ferenti " (Ferentino), cf 
Bk. I, chap. 9. "John the younger" is apparently Pope John III., 



who was Bishop of Rome from 561 to 574. The Lombards entered 
Italy in 568. Eutychius is the more usual form of this martyr's 

'Book IV 

Chapter I. p. 178. There is a certain resemblance here with 
the famous opening of the seventh book of Plato's Republic ; but 
Gregory, in spite of his residence at Constantinople, knew hardly any 
Greek, and the analogy is probably accidental. 

Chapter III. p. 180. " Man, therefore, as he is created in the 
middle state." CJ. Dante in the De Monarchia (iii. 16). 

Chapter VIII. p. 188. The monastery founded by St. Benedict 
at Terracina has been already mentioned, Bk. II. chap. 22. 

Chapter X. p. 189. Venerabilis pater nomine Spes. " Cample" is, 
perhaps, Campello sul Clitunno, nearer Spoleto than Norcia. 

Chapter XII. p. 192. For " Reati " (Reate) read " Rieti." A 
St. Juvenal was Bishop of Narni in the fourth century, but he was 
not a martyr ; St. Eleutherius (not to be confused with St. Gregory's 
friend, the Abbot of that name), Pope and martyr, suffered death 
under the Emperor Commodus in 189. 

Chapter XIII. pp. 192, 193. The Roman patrician and Christian 
philosopher, Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, was consul in 485, and 
afterwards Head of the Senate ; he was put to death by Theodoric in 
525 {cf. below, chapter 30). He was the father-in-law of Boethius, 
and Galla was therefore the sister of the latter's wife, Rusticiana. It 
was to this Galla {Ad Gallant viduam) that St. Fulgentius of Ruspe 
addressed his treatise, De Censolatione super morte mariti et de statu 
viduarum (In Migne, P.L. LXV., coll. 311-323). Another Sym- 
machus, the son of Boethius, was consul in 522 ; but chronological 
considerations make it clear that his grandfather is the person whom 
St. Gregory means. 

Chapter XIV. p. 194. The story of Servulus is told by St. 
Gregory in his 15th Homily, (Homiliarum in Evangelia y Lib. I. 
Homilia 15.) 

Chapter XV. p. 195. Homiliarum in Evangelia, Lib. II. Homilia 40. 

Chapter XV. p. 196. Praeneste, or Palestrina, was always a haunt 
for hermits and ascetics in the Middle Ages. For a later instance, 
that of the beata Margherita Colonna, see Maud F. Jerrold, Vittoria 
Colonna, pp. 32, 33. 

Chapter XVI. p. 198. The story of Tharsilla, or Tarsilla, is told 
at greater length in the Homilies (Lib. II. Homilia 38). Tharsilla, 
Gordiana, and Emiliana were the three sisters of St. Gregory's father, 
Gordianus ; one, Gordiana, returned to the world and married. The 
Pope Felix, whom St. Gregory describes as atavus mens, was probably 
the third Pope of that name, who was Bishop of Rome from 483 to 



492, famous for his struggle with the patriarch Acacius of Constanti- 
nople. He was a married man before taking priest's orders, but his 
exact relationship with St. Gregory is uncertain. This story curiously 
suggests the apparition of St. Gregory himself to the dying Santa Fina, 
painted by Domenico Ghirlandaio at San Gimignano. 

Chapter XVIII. p. 200. He refers to the great pestilence that 
devastated Rome at the beginning of 590, during which he was elected 
Pope on the death of Pelagius II. 

Chapter XIX. p. 201. In the Homilies (Lib. II. Homilia 35), 
St. Gregory speaks of Stephen as " pater monasterii juxta Reatinae 
urbis moenia constituti." Cf. above, Bk. IV. chap. 1 1. 

Chapter XXI. p. 202. Cf note on Bk. III. chap. 22. 

Chapter XXII. p. 203. Sura is the present Sora in the valley of 
the Liris (included in the modern province of Caserta), still famous 
for the abbeys in its neighbourhood. 

Chapter XXIII. p. 203. For " Marsori " read " Marsi " (Eccksia 
Marsorum). The district indicated is the modern Abruzzi. 

Chapter XXV. p. 205. This appeal to these two texts in Isaiah 
and the Revelation of St. John, for evidence of the resurrection of the 
body, became a traditional one with mediaeval theologians. Thus 
Dante, answering St. James as to the object of the Christian's hope 
{Par. xxv. 88-96) : 

" Le nuove e le scritture antiche 

Pongono il segno, ed esso lo mi addita. 
Dell' anime che Dio s'ha fatte amiche 
Dice Isaia che ciascuna vestita 

Nella sua terra fia di doppia vesta, 
E la sua terra e questa dolce vita. 
E il tuo fratello assai vie piu digesta, 
La dove tratta delle bianche stole, 
Questa rivelazion ci manifesta." 

Chapter XXVI. p. 206. The church of San Sisto is on the Via 
Appia within the city ; it was given by Honorius III. to St. Dominic 
in the thirteenth century, and is now occupied by Dominican nuns. 
The Via Praenestina runs from the Porta Maggiore (Porta Praenestina) 
to Palestrina. 

Ibid. p. 207. Portua (more properly Portus, the Portus Traiani) is 
the modern Porto, an important commercial seaport under the Empire, 
but now a village two miles from the sea. 

Ibid. p. 208. Patricii Narsae temporibus. The Narses meant is 
evidently the famous Armenian eunuch who reconquered Italy from the 
Goths and governed Rome for the Empire from 552 to 567 ; not the 
Narses, a contemporary of St. Gregory, to whom several of the Pope's 
letters are addressed. 



Chapter XXVII. p. 210. Centumcellae is the present Civita 
Vecchia. " Earl " is the translator's equivalent of comes, or "count," 
the chief military officer of a district. St. Gregory relates this story 
in his Homilies (Lib. II. Homilia 36). 

Chapter XXX. p. 213. Ju/ianus hujus Romanae Eccksiac secundus 
defensor has already been mentioned, Bk. I. chap. 10. He was the 
second of this name to hold the office of " defender." Cf, note on 
Bk. I, chap. 4. 

Ibid. p. 214. Theodoricus (Thiuda reiks), whom we call Theo- 
doric the Goth, was born in 454, invaded Italy as the delegate of the 
Emperor Zeno in 489, and, by his capture of Ravenna from Odoaccr 
in 493, founded the short-lived Ostrogothic kingdom. In 500, he 
came to Rome as a pacific and beneficent sovereign, hailed by the 
Romans as a new Trajan, pledging himself to maintain the Roman 
laws for the benefit of the Roman People. He restored the walls and 
decreed the preservation of the monuments of the city. " King of 
the Goths and Romans in Italy," he ruled nominally as the repre- 
sentative of the Emperor at Byzantium. Himself an Arian, Theodoric 
during the greater part of his reign treated Arians and Catholics with 
the same impartial justice as he did Goths and Romans in the 
political field. But the reconciliation between the Byzantine Court 
and the Holy See in 519, the consequent tendency of the Roman 
Senate towards Constantinople rather than towards Ravenna, and the 
increasing bitterness between Arians and Catholics both in East and 
West, gradually alienated the King from his Catholic and Roman 
subjects, and he finally degenerated into a religious persecutor and 
suspicious tyrant. The philosopher Boethius was tortured to death 
by his orders in 524 or 525 ; Symmachus, the Head of the Senate, 
was executed in 525 ; and Pope John I. {cf. above, Bk. III. chap. 2) 
died in the King's dungeons at Ravenna in May, 526. Theodoric 
followed his victims to the grave on August 30, 526, the day on which, 
according to his decree, all the Catholic churches in Italy were to 
have been surrendered to the Arians. At some uncertain date, his 
body was cast out of his magnificent tomb at Ravenna : Agnellus of 
Ravenna, who wrote in the first half of the ninth century, states 
that it had been done before his time {Liber Pontificalis, in Migne, 
P.L. cvi. col. 535) ; but there seems no foundation for the 
assertion of Fra Salimbene, the thirteenth-century chronicler of 
Parma (Cronica, ed. Holder-Egger, pp. 209, 210), that it was St. 
Gregory the Great himself who ordered this work of desecration to 
be carried out. The crater mentioned in this unpleasant legend is 
either that of Vulcano or Stromboli, two of the Lipari islands. 

Chapter XXXI. p. 215. San Lorenzo in Damaso, the basilica of 
St. Lawrence near the site of Pompey's theatre, was founded by Pope 
St. Damasus (366-384). 

273 S 


Chapter XXXII. p. 216. "Courtier" is here, as before, the 
translator's equivalent for curia/is. Cf. above, note on Bk. II. 
chap. 1 1 . 

Chapter XXXIII. p. 219. " For seeing that they do in that place 
with unspeakable brightness (common to all) behold God, what is 
there that they know not, that know him who knoweth all things :" 
Cf. Dante, Par. xv. 55-63, xxi. 82-102. 

Chapter XXXV. p. 219. A " natural brother " {germanus ftater) 
means a brother according to the flesh, not merely a fellow-monk. 

Ibid. p. 220. Optio was not Stephen's name, but his military 
rank. The right reading is not cut cognomen Optio fuit, " whose sur- 
name was Optio," but qui in numero optio fuit, " who in rank was 

Ibid. p. 221. This allegorical ship is possibly the ultimate source 
of the boat that conveys the souls of the redeemed from the mouth 
of the Tiber in Dante's Purgatorio. 

Chapter XXXVI. p. 223. Evasa appears to be the island of 
Iviza in the Balearic Archipelago. 

Ibid. pp. 223-226. This famous and important chapter may be 
regarded as the germ of the later mediasval visions of Hell, Pur- 
gatory, and Heaven. The Bridge is the " Bridge of Dread," said to 
be of Oriental origin, which occurs in so many of the later visions of 
the other world (though not in the Divina Commedia ) ; this is its 
first appearance in the West, the Latin version of the Visio Sancti 
Pau/i, in which (though not in the original Greek) it also occurs, 
being later. The sumptuous house of gold, which is being built for 
an unnamed person, is the ultimate source of the empty throne seen 
preparing (probably for St. Bernard) in the vision of Tundal {Visio 
Tnugdali, ed. cit., p. 54), and for Henry VII. in the Divina 
Commedia {Par. xxx. 133-138). The episode of the priest, who 
passes safely over the bridge, is dramatically expanded in the vision of 
Tundal (ed. cit., pp. 15, 27). 

Ibid. p. 227. In the usual version of the Latin text, the arrange- 
ment of the chapters is different. The story of Deusdedit forms 
chapter xxxvii., the story of the boy Theodorus being included with 
those of the deaths of Chrysaorius and the monk of Iconium as 
chapter xxxviii. 

Chapter XXXVII. p. 229. The story of Theodorus (without his 
name) is told by St. Gregory in the Homilies (Lib. II. Homilia 38). 

Chapter XXXVIII. p. 230. Chrysaorius in the Latin text. 

Ibid. p. 232. St. Gregory calls this monastery in Greek Twr 
TdXitTioy, that is, "of the Galatians." 

Chapter XL. pp. 234, 235. Pope Anastasius II., whom Dante 
(Inf. xi. 7-9) condemns as a heretic, died in November 498. Two 
rival conclaves met : the one, which represented the majority, was 

274 , 


held in the Lateran, and elected the Sardinian deacon Symmachus to 
the papacy ; the other, which favoured a reconciliation with the 
Emperor (Anastasius I.), in S. Maria Maggiore, chose for Pope the 
Archdeacon Laurentius, who was a Roman. After a violent struggle, 
an appeal to the arbitration of Theodoric resulted in the general 
recognition of Symmachus. The struggle was afterwards renewed, 
until Laurentius finally withdrew in 505. In the synod (Synodus 
palmaris) which was called in 501 to investigate the charges against 
Symmachus, the famous principle of the Church of Rome was estab- 
lished : Summa sedes a nemlne judicatur. Cf. Grisar, Geschichte Roms 
und der P'dpste int Mittelalter, nos. 308, 309. Paschasius died a few 
years before the death of Symmachus (514.) ; he is venerated as a saint 
on May 31. A work on the Holy Ghost, De Spiritu Sancto libri duo, is 
attributed to him, and identified with the " rectissimi et luculenti de 
Sancto Spiritu libri," of which St. Gregory here speaks (Migne, P.L. 
Ixii.) ; but its authenticity has been disputed, and it is included 
by Augustus Engelbrecht among the works of Bishop Faustus o. 
Riez {Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum, vol. xxi., Vienna, 
1 891.) A letter from Paschasius to Eugippius, the biographer of 
St. Severinus, is extant (In Migne, torn, (it., and ed. Pius Knoell in 
Corp. Script. Eccles. Lat., vol. ix. pars 2, Vienna, 1886). The scene 
of this apparition is laid by St. Gregory in Angulanis thermis, that is, 
the baths of Angulus, or Paterno, near the modern Castel Sant' 
Angelo in the Abruzzi. This story of Paschasius is cited by medieval 
writers on the place of Purgatory as implying that souls are punished 
in the places on earth where they committed their faults. In his 
Commentary upon the Sentences of Peter the Lombard (In Lib. IV. 
Sententiarum, dist. xx. pars i. art. i. q. 6), St. Bonaventura combats 
this theory, declaring that the case of Paschasius was a special dispen- 
sation, and not according to the general purgatorial rule ; for " it 
appears altogether incredible, or at least improbable, that all the souls 
who sinned in Paris should be punished in Paris." 

Chapter XLIV. p. 240. This doctrine of St. Gregory's, that 
the faithful do not pray for the souls of those whom they suppose to 
be in Hell, is more explicitly stated in the Moralia (lib. xxxiv. cap. 19) : 
"The Saints do not pray for the unbelieving and impious that are 
dead, because they shrink from the merit of their prayer, concerning 
those whom they already know to be condemned to eternal punish- 
ment, being made void before that countenance of the just Judge." 
This is curiously inconsistent with the popular legend, first heard in 
the eighth century, that St. Gregory, moved by the tale of the 
justice and humility of Trajan towards the poor widow whose son 
had been slain, prayed and obtained that the soul of the Emperor 
might return from Hell to his body to win his salvation. This 
inconsistency is noticed by St. Thomas Aquinas, who discusses 



the story at some length (Summa Theologlca, III. supl. Q. 71, A. 5 : 
Utrum suffragia prosint exhtentibus in Inferno). Dante speaks of the 
legend of Trajan and St. Gregory, in two famous passages (Purg. x. 
73-93 ; Par. xx. 106-117). 

Chapter XLV. p. 241. "Two manner of deaths," duobus etiam 
modis mors debet intelligi. Cf. Rev. xxi. 8 : " which is the second 
death." Thus Dante speaks of the souls of the lost, che la seconda morte 
ciascun grida (Inf. i. 117). 

Chapter XLV1II. p. 245. This power of saints, to " discern 
betwixt illusions and true revelations," is emphasised by St. Catherine 
of Siena. 

Chapter LII. p. 246. In the Latin text, this John is described 
as in hac urbe locum praefectorum servans, that is, vicar of the prefect or 
Rome. Bressa (Brixia) is the modern Brescia, of which St. Faustinus 
(martyred in the second century) is one of the patron saints. 

Chapter LIII. p. 247. This Liberius, a contemporary ot St. 
Gregory, is not to be confused with the Liberius mentioned in 
Bk. II. chap. 35. The office that Valentinus held was ecclesiae 
Mediolanensis defensor (Cf. Book I. chap. 4, notes). St Syrus, who 
is specially venerated at Genoa, was Bishop of Pavia, and was martyred 
about 96. 

Chapter LV. p. 249. "Two singing breads," duas oblationum 
<oronas ; apparently, two unconsecrated hosts. 

Ibid. p. 250. The monastery is, as usual, St. Gregory's convent of 
Sant' Andrea, on the Caelian Hill. In the Rule of St. Benedict, we 
read : " The beds shall be frequently searched by the abbot to guard 
against the vice of hoarding. And if any one be found in possession 
of something not allowed by the abbot, let him be subjected to the 
severest punishment" (chap. 55, Gasquet's translation). 

Chapter LVI. p. 253. Cassius, Bishop of Narni, died in 558. 
The story of his death is told at greater length in the Homilies 
Lib. II. Homilia 37). 



Abundius, keeper of St. Peter's Church, 147 
Acacius, Patriarch of Constantinople, 272 
Agapitus, St., Pope, 109, no, 267 

subdeacon, 88 
Agathus, Bishop of Palermo, 253 
Agnellus of Ravenna, 273 
Alaric, King of the Visigoths, 264, 265 
Alberic of Monte Cassino, xxv. 
Albinus, Bishop of Rieti, 18 
Alfred, King, xxi., xxiv. 
Amantius, priest at Tivoli, 163, 164 
Ammonius, monk, 208 
Anastasius, Abbot of Suppentonia, xix., 27, 29, 262 

Pope, 274 
Andrew, Bishop of Funda, 113-116 

Bishop of Aquinum, 117 
Antharicus (Autaris), King of the Lombards, 140, 269 
Anthimus, Patriarch of Constantinople, 267 
Anthony, layman, 87 

monk, 242 
Aquinas, St. Thomas, 266, 275 
Armentarius, nobleman, 135 

boy visionary, 208 
Athanasius, Greek priest, 231 

Augustine, St., on the captivity of St. Paulinus, 266 
Ausonius, 266 

Baraca, manner, 253-255 
Basilius, magician, 16, 17, 261, 262 
Bede, Venerable, xxv. 
Belisarius, 264 

277 T 


Benedict (Bennet), St., of Nursia, xx.-xxii., xxv., 48, 51- 
100, 135, 188, 263-266; his Rule, xix., xxii., 99, 263, 
264, 265, 266, 276 

Benedict (Bennet), monk in Campania, 139 

Benedicta, nun, 194 

Blindinus (Bleda), Gothic chieftain, 74, 264 

Boethius, xx., xxi., 262, 271, 273 

Bonaventura, St., xxv., 275 

Bonifacius, Bishop of Ferenti, 31-37, 262 

St. Gregory's monk and deacon, 141, 152 

Buccellinus (Butilin), leader of the Alamanni, 10, 261 

Carterius, a sinner, 149 

Cassianus of Marseilles, xxi. 

Cassiodorus, 261, 265 

Cassius, Bishop of Narni, 113, 252, 253, 276 

Castorius, Roman officer, 18, 262 

Cerbonius, Bishop of Populonium, 119, 120, 268 

Cesarius, St., of Aries, xxi. 

Chrisorius, or Chrysaorius, 230, 231, 274 

Constantinus, successor to St. Benedict, 51, 52, 263 

Constantius, clerk near Ancona, 23-26 
ambitious priest, 31, 32, 34, 35 
Bishop of Aquinum, 75, 116, 117, 265, 268 

Copiosus, monk under St. Gregory, 250-252 

Curiales, 70, 216, 264, 274 

Damasus, St., Pope, 215, 273 

Dante, xxi., xxii., xxiv., xxv., 264, 266, 267, 271, 272, 274, 

Darida, Gothic captain, 9 
Datius, Bishop of Milan, no, in, 267, 268 
Defensors Civitatum y 80, 265 

Defensores Ecclesiae, 19, 38, 213, 247, 262, 273, 276 
Deusdedit, friend of St. Gregory, 214 

shoemaker, 227 (perhaps the same person) 

Edmund of Eynsham, xxv. 
Eleutherius of Spoleto, 123, 142, 159-161, 219 
St., Pope and martyr, 192, 271 



Equitius, Abbot, xxi., 15*23, 261 

Eugippius, 275 

Eumorphius, 220, 221 

Euthicius (Eutychius), Abbot, 128-132, 269 

Euthicius (Eutychius), the martyr, 173 

Evitius (or Equitius or Euticius), father of Maurus, 61, 263 

Exhilaratus, lay brother, 79 

Faustinus, patron saint of Brescia, 247 
Faustus, Bishop of Riez, 275 
Felix, prior of Funda, 13 

nobleman of Nursia, 18 

III., Pope, 198, 271, 272 

Bishop of Porto, 246, 249 
Florentius, enemy of St. Benedict, 65-67 

solitary, 128-132, 269 

priest in Rome, 215 
Floridus, Bishop of Tivoli, 121, 163 
Fortunatus, Abbot, 15, 45 

nobleman of Ferenti, 33 

Bishop of Todi, 38-45 
Frigidianus, Bishop of Lucca, 117, 118, 268 
Fulgentius, Bishop of Otricoli, 120, 121, 268 

Bishop of Ruspe, 268, 271 

Galla, daughter of Symmachu^, 192, 193, 271 
Roman widow, 220 
(or Zalla), a Goth, 91, 92 

Gaiseric, King of the Vandals, 105-108, 266, 270 

Gaudentius, a priest, 31 

Germanus, Bishop of Capua, 97, 188, 234, 266 

Gerontius, monk, 207 

Gordianus, father of St. Gregory, xxii., 271 

Gregoria, nun, 123 

Gregory the Great, Pope, his Dialogues^ xix., xx., xxii. ; 
life and pontificate, xxii.-xxiv. ; influence of his Dialogues, 
xxiv.-xxvi. ; their setting, 3-5 ; his talk with the old man 
of Todi, 41 ; his knowledge of the life of St. Benedict, 
51 ; his consecration of Santa Agata, 153, 270 ; at Con- 
stantinople, 158, 164, 165, 270; friendship with Eleuth- 
erius, 1 59—16 1 ; with Sanctulus, 166 ; his Homilies, 194, 



195; his family, 197, 198, 271," 272; his treatment of 
the avaricious monk, 250-252 ; his Mora/ia, 261 ; 
letters, 262, 265 ; on literary style, 266 ; alleged desecra- 
tion of Theodoric's tomb, 273; on prayers for the lost, 

Gregory, monk of Terracina, 188 

Gunmar, Lombard captain, 120 

Herculanus, St., Bishop of Perugia, 121, 122, 268 
Hermigildus (Hermenigild), St., Prince of the Visigoths, 155- 

157, 270 
Hirundina, nun at Praeneste, 196 
Honoratus, Abbot of Funda, 6-9, 10-12 
Abbot of Subiaco, 52, 75, 263, 265 
Hope, Abbot, 189, 271 
Hormisdas, Pope, 267 
Hunneric, King of the Vandals, 157, 270 

Isaac of Spoleto, 123-127, 268, 269 
Isidore, St., 270 

John I., St., Pope and martyr, 109, 214, 267, 273 
II., Pope, 116, 268 

III., Pope, 173, 268, 270 

the tribune, 140, 246, 276 

brother of Eleutherius, 219, 220 

a young monk, 243 
Jovinus, Bishop of Aquinum, 117 
Julianus, defender, afterwards Bishop, 19-21, 262 

the second defender, 38, 213, 262, 273 
Justinian, Emperor, xxiii., no, 157, 267, 270 
Justin, Emperor ("Justinian the Elder"), 109, 267 
Justus, monk under St. Gregory, 250-252 
Juvenal, St., 192, 271 

Laurio, monk, 27 
Lawrence, monk, 8, 9 
Lawrence, antipope, 234, 235, 275 

Leander, St., Bishop of Seville, xxiii., 155, 156, 261, 270 
Levigildus (Leovigild), King of the Visigoths, 155-157, 270 



Liberius, the elder, 96, 265 
the younger, 247, 276 
Libertinus, prior of Funda, 9-13 

Marcellus of Todi, 44 

one of St. Gregory's monks, 207 
Marcellinus, Bishop of Ancona, 26 
Marcius (or Martinus), solitary, 133-136, 269 
Martin, St., of Tours, xxi. 
Martirius, monk, 45 
Maurus, St., disciple of St. Benedict, 61, 62, 63, 64, 66, 

Mascatus, 135 

Mauritius, Emperor, xxiii., 158 
Maximianus, Bishop of Syracuse, xix., 26, 164, 165, 216, 

Maximus, father of Probus, 192 

son of Chrisorius, 231 
Mellitus, monk of Porto, 207, 208 
Merulus, monk under St. Gregory, 242, 243 
Menas, solitary, 148, 149 
Musa, virgin, 198, 199 

Narses, xxiii., 208, 209, 272 

Nonnosus, Prior on Mount Soracte, xix., 26-28, 262 

Optio, Stephen, 274 

Paschasius, the Deacon, 234-236, 275 

Paulinus, St., Bishop of Nola, 105-108, 266, 267 

Pelagius II., Pope, 133, 269, 270 

Peregrinus, 87 

Peter the Deacon, 3-6, et passim 

monk of Spain, 223, 224 

papal steward, 225 

Abbot of St. Gregory's monastery, 243 
Placidus, St., disciple of St. Benedict, 61, 62, 64, 264 
Pompeianus, Abbot, 62 

Pretiosus, Prior of St. Gregory's monastery, 250-252 



Probus, Bishop of Rieti, 192 

his nephew, 192, 198, 201, 230 
Pronulphus, comes, 140 

Quadragesimus, subdeacon, 136, 137 

Recharedus, King of the Visigoths, 156, 157, 270 

Redempta, nun, 196, 197 

Redemptus, Bishop of Ferenti, xx., 173 

Reparatus, his vision, 214, 215 

Riggo, guardsman of Totila, 73, 74, 264 

Roman us, monk, 53 

Romula, nun, 195-197 

Rudericus, Gothic chieftain, 74, 264 

Saeinus, Bishop of Camisina, in, 112, 268 

Bishop of Placentia, 118 
Salimbene of Parma, 273 
Sanctulus, priest of Nursia, 128, 166-171 
Scholastica, St., sister of St. Benedict, 94-96, 265 
Servandus, deacon, 96, 97 
Servulus, poor man, 194, 195 
Sirus (Syrus), St., 247, 276 
Severus, parish priest, 46, 47 

Simplicius, third general of the Benedictines, 52, 263 
Speciosus, priest, 188, 195 
Stephen, priest in Valeria, 141 

"Optio," 220, 221, 274 

visions concerning, 224, 226 

the smith, 224 

Abbot, 190, 201 
Symmachus, Pope, 18-21 (?), 234, 235, 262, 275 

Consul and Senator, xxi., 193, 214, 262, 271, 273 
Suranus, Abbot, 203 

Tarsilla (Tharsilla), St., aunt to Pope Gregory, 197, 198, 

Teias, King of the Ostrogoths, 261 
Tertullius, father of Placidus, 61, 263 
Theodacus (or Adeodatus), Abbot, 53, 263 

282 ' 


Theodoricus, King of the Ostrogoths, 213, 214, 262, 267 

2?3> 275 
Theodorus, keeper of St. Peter's, 146 

boy monk, 229, 230 
Theoprobus, convert of St. Benedict, 78, 97 
Theophanius, Count of Centumcellae, 210, 211, 273 
Tiburtius, priest of San Lorenzo in Damaso, 215 
Totila (Baduila), King of the Ostrogoths, xxi., 9, 73, 74, 91, 

in, 112, 113, 119, 121, 122, 139, 261, 264, 265 
Trajan, Emperor, 275, 276 
Tundal, Vision of, xxv., 266, 274 

Ursus, monk, 220 

Valentinianus, Abbot of the Lateran, 52, 72, 264 
Valentinus (or Valentius), St. Gregory's Abbot, 22, 14;, 
202, 262, 269 

defender of the Milanese Church, 247, 276 
Valerian, gentleman of Brescia, 246, 247 
Venantius, nobleman of Samnium, 6, 7 

Bishop of Luna, 117, 118, 120, 247 
Vigilius, Pope, 267 
Vultericus (Vult), Goth chieftain, 74, 264 

Werferth, Bishop of Worcester, xxiv. 

Zaccharias I., Pope, xxiv. 
Zeno, St., Bishop of Verona, 140, 269 
Emperor, 270, 273 

Printed by 



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2 6 



L. B. Cat. No. 1 137 



3 5002 00340 9831 


The dialogues of Saint Gregory surnamed 

BR 65 . G75 D5 1911 
Gregory I, ca. 540-604, 

The dialogues of Saint