But never, though the torturers them sought
To move by pains, their God would they deny,
But kneeled them down beneath the axe’s stroke,
Glad for the Lord and for His truth to die.
Their death, to Life, one of their jailers won,
And he in turn received the martyr’s crown.
Cecilia buried them with tranquil joy
That they so fair an end of life had won,
And she herself in virtuous employ,
In trust of God and of His risen Son,
Worked ever, till the tyrant her also
Had seized for to deal her pain and woe.
Boldly she stood before the judgment seat,
And boldly answered for her faith full free;
With nought of mercy hoped she then to meet,
Never to idols would she bow the knee.
Her at the last Almachius doomed to die
By torture, for she dared his power defy.
They placed her in a bath of boiling heat,
But cold and calm she sat amid the flame,
And never let she fall a drop of sweat,
But preached for ever Christe’s holy name,
Until the tyrant foul that wished her dead,
Commanded them straightway smite off her head.
The cruel executioner with his knife
Twice tried in vain her slender neck to sever,
But all for nought, she could not lose her life.
Still crying on the Son of God for ever,
Three days she lived in torment and in pain,
But taught men still, their souls for Christ to gain.
Now at the last has God’s bright angel come,
And borne her soul to heavenly bliss above.
Unto His Church she gave her earthly home
With all her wealth, in token of her love.
As she a saint is, so God grant that we
By her ensample pure and good may be. Amen.
When the Nun had ended her life of St. Cecilia, and we had ridden on a few miles and were just at Boughton-under-Blee, a man began to overtake us. He was dressed in black with a white surplice underneath. His horse was grey and so necked with foam that he seemed to have galloped several miles. His yeoman followed, whose horse was in little better condition. Across his saddle he had a pack thrown, but it seemed to contain little. For a long time I could not make out who the stranger was, but at last I decided from the style of his dress that he must be a canon. His hat hung down his back on a cord, for he had been riding fast, and over his head as a protection from the sun was a dock-leaf. In spite of this the sweat poured off his forehead in huge drops. As he came near, “Good day to you all, sirs,” he cried. “I have hurried so because I wished to join you.” His yeoman added, “I saw you start this morning from your inn and told my master, and he is eager to join you, for he loves merry-making.” The Host was willing enough that he should join us. “For doubtless your master is a merry fellow too, and can tell us a tale or so,” he said. “Who? My master? I can warrant he will do that,” replied the yeoman, “and let