Cecili may eek be meant in this manére,
Wantyng of blyndnes, for hir grete light
Of sapience, and of all
those graces cleere.
Or elles lo, this maydenes name bright
Of heven and Laos comes, of which by right
might her wel the heven of peple calle,
Ensample of goode and wise werkes alle.
For Laos peple in Englissh is to say;
And right as men may in the heven see
The sonne and moone, and
sterres every way,
Right so men holy in this mayden free
See of true faith the magnanimitee,
And eek the
clernes whole of sapience,
And sondry werkes, bright of excellence.
And right so as these philosófres wryte,
That heven is swyft and round, and eek burníng,
Right so was faire
Cecily the whyte
Ful swyft and besy ever in good werkýnge,
And round and whole in good perséverynge,
burning ever in charitee ful flame;
Now have I you declarèd all her name.
This mayden bright Cecilie, as her lyf saith,
Was comen of Romayns and of noble kynde,
And from her
cradel fostred in the faith
Of Crist, and bare his Gospel in her mynde;
She never cessèd, as I writen fynde,
here prayer, and God to love and drede,
Byseching him to kepe her maydenhede.
And when this mayde shuld unto a man
Y-wedded be, that was ful yong of age,
Which that i-namèd was
And day was comen of her mariáge,
She ful devout and humble in hir corráge,
Under hir robe of
gold, that sat ful faire,
Hadde next hir flessh a schirt al made of heire.
And whil the organs made melodie,
To God allone in herte thus sang she;
O Lord, my soule and eek my
Unspotted, lest that I confounded be.
And for his love that deyde upon a tree,
Every secónd or
thirdde day she faste,
Ay biddyng in her orisouns ful faste.
The nyght cam, and to bedde most she goon
With her housbond, as oft is the manere,
And privily to him
she sayde anon;
O swete and wel bilovèd spouse deere,
Ther is a counseil, if ye wold it heere,
right fayn I wold unto you saye,
So that ye swere ye shul it not bytraye.
Valirian gan fast unto hir swere,
That for no case or thing that mighte be,
He sholde never for nothing
And thenne at erst thus to him sayde she;
I have an aungel which that loveth me,
gret love, whether I wake or slepe,
Is redy ay my body for to kepe;
And if that he may knowen, by my
That ye me touche or love in vilonye,
He right anon wil slay you with the dede,
And in youre youthe
thus ye shulde dye.
And if that ye with clene love me eye,
He wol you love as me, for your clennesse,
And shewe to you his
joye and his brightnesse.
Valirian, corrected as God wolde,
Answerde agayn: If I shal truste thee,
Let me that aungel see and him
And if that it a very aungel be,
Than wil I do as thou hast prayèd me;
And if thou love another man
Right with this swerd than wil I slee you bothe.
Cecilie answerd anon right in this wise;
If that you list, the aungel shul ye see,
So that ye trust on Crist,
and you baptise;
Go forth to Via Apia, quoth she,
That from this toun standeth but myles three,
the pore folkes that there duelle
Say them right thus, as that I shal you telle.
Telle them, I Cecilie you unto them sent,
To shewen you the good Urbán the olde,
For secret needes,
and for good entent;
And when that ye seint Urban have byholde,
Tel him the wordes which that I yow
And when that he fro sinne hath purged you free,
Than shul ye se that aungel guardyng me.
Valirian is to the place y-gon,
And right as him was taught by his lernynge,
He found this holy old Urbán
Among the seyntes tombes there livinge;
And he anon withoute taryinge
Did his messáge, and when
that he it tolde,
Urban for joye his handes gan upholde.