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The Life And Writings Of Saint Patrick -Saint Patrick

1. PATRICIUS peccator indoctus scilicet:—Hiberione constitutum episcopum me esse fateor. Certissime reor a Deo accepi id quod sum. Inter barbaras itaque gentes habito proselitus et profuga ob amorem Dei. Testis est ille si ita est. Non quod optabam tam dure et tam aspere aliquid ex ore meo effundere. Sed cogor zelo Dei et ueritatis Christi excitatus, pro dilectione proximorum atque filiorum pro quibus tradidi patriam et parentes et animam meam usque ad mortem. Si dignus sum, uoui Deo meo docere gentes etsi contemnor a quibusdam.

              1. I, PATRICK the sinner, unlearned no doubt:—I confess that I have been established a bishop in Ireland. Most assuredly I believe that I have received from God what I am. And so I dwell in the midst of barbarous heathens, a stranger and exile for the love of God. He is witness if this is so. Not that I desire to utter from my mouth anything so harshly and so roughly; but I am compelled, moved as I am by zeal for God and for the truth of Christ; by love for my nearest friends and sons, for whom I have not given up my fatherland and parents, yea, and my life unto death. I have vowed to my God to teach the heathen if I am worthy though by some I be despised.


2. Manu mea scripsi atque condidi uerba ista danda et tradenda, militibus mittenda Corotici; non dico ciuibus meis, ciuibus sanctorum Romanorum, sed ciuibus daemoniorum ob mala opera ipsorum. Ritu hostili in morte uiuunt, socii Scottorum atque Pictorum apostatarum, quasi sanguine uolentes saginari innocentium Christianorum, quos ego innumeros Deo genui atque in Christo confirmaui.

              2. With mine own hand have I written and composed these words to be given and handed to and sent to the soldiers of Coroticus;—I do not say to my fellow-citizens, or to the fellow-citizens of the holy Romans, but to fellow-citizens of demons because of their evil works. In hostile guise, they are dead while they live, allies of the Scots and apostate Picts, as though wishing to gorge themselves with the blood of innocent Christians, whom I, in countless numbers, begot to God, and confirmed in Christ.


3. Postera die qua crismati neofiti in ueste Candida—flagrabat in fronte ipsorum dum crudeliter trucidati atque mactati gladio supradictis,—misi epistolam cum sancto presbytero quem ego ex infantia docui cum clericis ut nobis aliquid indulgerent de praeda uel de captiuis baptizatis quos ceperunt. Cachinnos fecerunt de illis.

              3. On the day following that on which the newlybaptised, in white array, were anointed with the chrism—it was still gleaming on their foreheads, while they were cruelly butchered and slaughtered with the sword by the above-mentioned persons—I sent a letter with a holy presbyter, whom I taught from his infancy, with some clerics, to request that they would allow us some of the booty, or of the baptised captives whom they had taken. They jeered at them.


4. Idcirco nescio quod magis lugeam an qui interfecti uel quos ceperunt uel quos grauiter Zabulus inlaqueauit. Perenni poena gehennam pariter cum ipso mancipabunt quia utique: qui facit peccatum seruus est et filius Zabuli nuncupatur.

              4. Therefore I know not which I should the rather mourn, whether those who are slain, or those whom they captured, or those whom the devil grievously ensnared. In everlasting punishment they will become slaves of hell along with him, for verily whosoever committeth sin is a slave, and is called a son of the Devil.


5. Quarepropter sciat omnis homo timens Deum quod a me alieni sunt et a Christo Deo meo pro quo legationem fungor; patricidæ, fratricidæ, lupi rapaces deuorantes plebem Domini ut cibum panis. Sicut ait: Iniqui dissipauerunt legem tuam. Domine, quam in supremis temporibus Hiberione optime et benigne plantauerat, atque instruxerat, fauente Deo.

              5. Wherefore let every man that feareth God know that aliens they are from me and from Christ my God, for whom I am an ambassador; patricides, fratricides, ravening wolves eating up the people of the Lord like bread-stuffs. As he saith: O Lord, the ungodly have destroyed Thy law, which in the last times He had excellently and kindly planted in Ireland, and built up by the favour of God.


6. Non usurpo. Partem habeo cum his quos aduocauit et praedestinauit euangelium praedicare in persecutionibus non paruis usque ad extremum terrae, etsi inuidet inimicus per tirannidem Corotici qui Deum non ueretur nec sacerdotes ipsius quos elegit, et indulsit illis summam diuinam sublimem potestatem quos ligarent super terram ligatos esse et in caelis.

              6. I make no false claim. I have part with those whom He called and predestined to preach the Gospel amidst no small persecutions even unto the end of the earth, even though the enemy envies me by means of the tyranny of Coroticus, who fears neither God nor His priests whom He chose, and to whom He granted that highest divine sublime power, that whom they should bind on earth should be bound in heaven.


7. Unde ergo quaeso plurimum, sancti et humiles corde, adulari talibus non licet nec cibum nec potum sumere cum ipsis, nec elemosinas ipsorum recipere debere donec crudeliter poenitentiam agentes effusis lacrimis satis Deo faciant, et liberent seruos Dei et ancillas Christi baptizatas, pro quibus mortuus est et crucifixus.

              7. Whence, therefore, ye holy and men humble of heart I implore you earnestly—it is not right to pay court to such men, nor to take food or drink with them, nor ought one to accept their almsgivings, until by doing hard penance with shedding of tears they make amends before God, and liberate the servants of God and the baptised handmaidens of Christ, for whom He died and was crucified.


8. Dona iniquorum reprobat Altissimus. Qui offert sacrificium ex substantia pauperum quasi qui uictimat filium in conspectu patris sui. Diuitias inquit quas congregauit iniuste euomentur de uentre eius; trahit illum angelus mortis; ira draconum multabitur; interficiet illum lingua colubris; comedit eum ignis inextinguibilis. Ideoque Uae qui replent se his quae non sunt sua. Uel, Quid prodest homini ut totum mundum lucretur, et animae suae detrimentum patiatur.

              8. The Most High approveth not the gifts of the wicked. He that offereth sacrifice of the goods of the poor is as one that sacrificeth the son in the presence of his father. The riches, he saith, which he had gathered unjustly will be vomited up from his belly. The angel of death draggeth him away. He will be tormented by the fury of dragons. The viper’s tongue shall kill him; unquenchable fire devoureth him. And therefore, Woe to those who fill themselves with what is not their own. Or again, What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?


9. Longum est per singula discutere uel insinuare per totam legem carpere testimonia de tali cupiditate. Auaritia mortale crimen. Non concupisces rem proximi tui. Non occides. Homicida non potest esse cum Christo. Qui odit fratrem suum homicida adscribitur. Uel, Qui non diligit fratrem suum in morte manet. Quanto magis reus est qui manus suas coinquinauit in sanguine filiorum Dei quos nuper adquisiuit in ultimis terrae per exhortationem paruitatis nostrae?

              9. It would be tedious to discuss or declare [them] one by one, to gather from the whole law testimonies concerning such greed. Avarice is a deadly sin: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods. Thou shalt not kill. A murderer cannot be with Christ. He that hateth his brother is reckoned a murderer. Or, again, He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. How much more guilty is he that hath stained his hands with the blood of the sons of God, whom He recently gained in the ends of the earth through the exhortations of my littleness.


10. Numquid sine Deo, uel secundum carnem Hiberione ueni? Quis me compulit—Alligatus spiritu—ut non uideam aliquem de cognatione mea? Numquid a me piam misericordiam quod ago erga gentem illam qui me aliquando ceperunt, et deuastauerunt seruos et ancillas domus patris mei? Ingenuus fui secundum carnem. Decorione patre nascor. Uendidi enim nobilitatem meam—non erubesco neque me poenitet—pro utilitate aliorum. Denique seruus sum in Christo genti exterae ob gloriam ineffabilem perennis uitae quae est in Christo Iesu Domino nostro.

              10. Did I come to Ireland without God, or according to the flesh? Who compelled me—I am bound by the spirit—not to see any one of my kinsfolk? Is it from me it is that I show godly compassion towards that nation who once took me captive and harried the menservants and maidservants of my father’s house? I was freeborn according to the flesh. I am born of a father who was a decurion, but I sold my nobility, I blush not to state it, nor am I sorry, for the profit of others. In short I am a slave in Christ to a foreign nation on account of the unspeakable glory of the eternal life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


11. Et si mei me non cognoscunt, propheta in patria sua honorem non habet. Forte non sumus ex uno ouili neque unum Deum Patrem habemus; sicut ait: Qui non est mecum contra me est et qui non congregat mecum spargit. Non conuenit: Unus destruit, alter aedificat. Non quaero quae mea sunt.

              11. And if my own know me not, a prophet hath no honour in his own country. Perchance we are not of one and the same fold nor have one God and Father. As He saith: He that is not with Me is against Me, and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth. It is not meet that one pulleth down and another buildeth up. I seek not mine own.


Non mea gratia sed Deus quidem hanc sollicitudinem [dedit] in corde meo ut unus essem de uenatoribus siue piscatoribus quos olim Deus in nouissimis diebus ante praenuntiauit.

              It was not my own grace, but God that put this earnest care into my heart, that I should be one of the hunters or fishers whom long ago God foretold would come m the last days.


12. Inuidetur mihi. Quid faciam Domine? Ualde despicior. Ecce oues tuae circa me laniantur atque depraedantur a supradictis latrunculis, iubente Corotico hostili mente. Longe est a caritate Dei traditor Christianorum in manus Scottorum atque Pictorum. Lupi rapaces deglutierunt gregem Domini qui utique Hiberione cum summa diligentia optime crescebat; Et filii Scottorum et filiae regulorum monachi et uirgines Christi enumerare nequeo. Quam ob rem iniuria iustorum non te placeat; etiam usque ad inferos non placebit.

              12. I am envied. What shall I do, O Lord? I am exceedingly despised. Lo, around me are thy sheep torn to pieces and spoiled, and by the robbers aforesaid, by the orders of Coroticus with hostile intent. Far from the love of God is he who betrays Christians into the hands of the Scots and Picts. Ravening wolves have swallowed up the flock of the Lord, which verily in Ireland was growing up excellently with the greatest care. And the sons of Scots and the daughters of chieftains who were monks and virgins of Christ I am unable to reckon. Wherefore, Be not pleased with the wrong done by the unjust; even unto hell it shall not please thee.


13. Quis sanctorum non horreat iocundare uel conuiuium fruere cum talibus? De spoliis defunctorum Christianorum repleuerunt domus suas. De rapinis uiuunt. Nesciunt miseri uenenum; letalem cibum porrigunt ad amicos et filios suos: sicut Eua non intellexit quod utique mortem tradidit uiro suo. Sic sunt omnes qui male agunt; mortem perennem poenam operantur.

              13. Which of the saints would not shudder to jest or make a feast with such men? They have filled their houses with the spoil of dead Christians. They live by plunder. Wretched men, they know not that it is poison, they offer the deadly food to their friends and sons: just as Eve did not understand that verily it was death that she handed to her husband. So are all they who do wrong. They work death eternal as their punishment.


14. Consuetudo Romanorum Gallorum Christianorum—Mittunt uiros sanctos idoneos ad Francos et caeteras gentes cum tot milia solidorum ad redimendos captiuos baptizatos; tu toties interficis et uendis illos genti exterae ignoranti Deum. Quasi in lupanar tradis membra Christi. Qualem spem habes in Deum uel qui te consentit aut qui te communicat uerbis adulationis? Deus iudicabit; scriptum est enim: Non solum facientes mala, sed etiam consentientes dampnandi sunt.

              14. The custom of the Roman Christian Gauls is this:—They send holy and fit men to the Franks and other heathens with many thousands of solidi to redeem baptised captives. Thou slayest as many and sellest them to a foreign nation that knows not God. Thou deliverest the members of Christ as it were to a brothel. What manner of hope in God hast thou, or whoso consents with thee, or who holds converse with thee in words of flattery? God will judge; for it is written, Not only those who do evil, but those that consent with them, shall be damned.


15. Nescio quid dicam uel quid loquar amplius de defunctis filiorum Dei quos gladius supra modum dure tetigit. Scriptum est enim: Flete cum flentibus. Et iterum: Si dolet unum membrum condoleant omnia membra. Quapropter ecclesia plorat et planget filios et filias suas quas adhuc gladius nondum interfecit, sed prolongati et exportati in longa terrarum, ubi peccatum manifeste grauetur, impudenter habundat. Ibi uenundati ingenui homines, Christiani in seruitutem redacti sunt, praesertim indignissimorum pessimorum apostatarumque Pictorum.

              15. I know not what I should say, or what I should speak further about the departed ones of the sons of God, whom the sword has touched sharply above measure. For it is written: Weep with them that weep, and, again, If one member suffer, let all the members suffer with it. The Church, therefore, bewails and will lament her sons and daughters whom the sword has not as yet slain, but who are banished and carried off to distant lands where sin in the light of day weighs heavy and shamefully abounds. There freemen are put up for sale, Christians are reduced to slavery, and, worst of all, to most wicked, most vile, and apostate Picts.


16. Idcirco cum tristitia et merore uociferabo: O speciosissimi atque amantissimi fratres et filii quos in Christo genui, enumerare nequeo, quid faciam uobis? Non sum dignus Deo neque hominibus subuenire. Praeualuit iniquitas iniquorum super nos. Quasi extranei facti sumus. Forte non credunt unum baptismum percepimus uel unum Deum Patrem habemus. Indignum est illis de Hiberia nati sumus. Sicut ait: Nonne unum Deum habetis? Quid dereliquistis unusquisque proximum suum?

              16. Therefore, in sadness and grief shall I cry aloud, O most lovely and loving brethren, and sons whom I begot in Christ, I cannot the number tell, what shall I do for you? I am not worthy to come to the aid of either God or men. The wickedness of the wicked hath prevailed against us. We are become as it were strangers. Perchance they do not believe that we received one baptism, or that we have one God and Father. It is in their eyes a shameful thing that we were born in Ireland. As he saith, Have ye not one God? Why have ye each one forsaken his neighbour?


17. Idcirco doleo pro uobis doleo. carissimi mihi; sed iterum gaudeo intra meipsum. Non gratis laboraui uel peregrinatio mea in uacuum non fuit. Et contigit scelus tam horrendum et ineffabile! Deo gratias, creduli baptizati de saeculo recessistis ad paradisum. Cerno uos. Migrare cepistis ubi nox non erit, neque luctus, neque mors amplius, sed exultabitis sicut uituli ex uinculis resoluti, et conculcabitis iniquos, eterunt cinis sub pedibus uestris.

              17. Therefore I grieve for you, I grieve, O ye most dear to me. But again, I rejoice within myself. I have not laboured for nothing, and my journey to a strange land was not in vain. And yet, there has happened this crime so horrid and unspeakable! Thank God, it was when baptised believers that ye departed from the world to paradise. I can see you. Ye have begun to remove to where there shall be no night nor sorrow nor death any more, but ye shall leap like calves loosened from their bonds, and ye shall tread down the wicked, and they shall be ashes under your feet.


18. Uos ergo regnabitis cum apostolis et prophetis atque martyribus; aeterna regna capietis, sicut ipse testatur inquiens; Uenient ab oriente et occidente et recumbent cum Abraham et Isaac et Jacob in regno caelorum; Foris canes et uenefici et homicidae; et mendacibus et periuris pars eorum in stagnum ignis aeterni. Non merito ait apostolus, Ubi iustus uix saluus erit, peccator et impius transgressor legis ubi se recognoscet?

              18. Ye therefore shall reign with apostles, and prophets, and martyrs. Ye shall take everlasting kingdoms, as He Himself witnesseth, saying: They shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. Without are dogs and sorcerers and murderers; and liars and false swearers shall have their portion in the lake of everlasting fire. Doth not the apostle rightly say: Where the just man shall scarcely be saved, where shall the sinner and the ungodly transgressor of the law find himself?


19. Unde enim Coroticus cum suis sceleratissimis, rebellatores Christi, ubi se uidebunt? qui mulierculas baptizatas praemia distribuunt ob miserum regnum temporale, quod utique in momento transeat sicut nubes uel fumus qui utique uento dispergitur. Ita peccatores fraudulenti a facie Domini peribunt, iusti autem epulentur in magna constantia cum Christo, iudicabunt nationes, et regibus iniquis dominabuntur in saecula saeculorum, Amen.

              19. Well then, where shall Coroticus with his guilty followers, rebels against Christ, where shall they see themselves—they who distribute baptised damsels as rewards, and that for the sake of a miserable temporal kingdom, which verily passes away in a moment like a cloud or smoke which is verily dispersed by the wind? So shall the deceitful wicked perish at the presence of the Lord, but let the righteous feast in great constancy with Christ. They shall judge nations, and shall have dominion over ungodly kings for ever and ever. Amen.


20. Testificor coram Deo et angelis suis, quod ita erit sicut intimauit imperitiae meae. Non mea uerba, sed Dei et apostolorum atque prophetarum, quod ego Latinum exposui, qui numquam mentiti sunt. Qui crediderit saluus erit, qui uero non crediderit condempnabitur. Deus enim locutus est.

              20. I testify before God and His angels that it will be so as He has signified to my unskilfulness. The words are not mine, but of God and the apostles and prophets, who have never lied, which I have set forth in Latin. He that believeth shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned. For God hath spoken.


21. Quaeso plurimum ut quicumque famulus Dei promptus fuerit ut sit gerulus litterarum harum, ut nequaquam subtrahatur a nemine, sed magis potius legatur coram cunctis plebibus, et praesente ipso Corotico. Quod si Deus inspirat illos ut quandoque Deo resipiscant, ita ut uel sero poeniteant quod tam impie gesserunt.—Homicida erga fratres Domini—et liberent captiuas baptizatas quas ante ceperunt, ita ut mererentur Deo uiuere, et sani efficiantur hic et in aeternum. Pax Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, Amen.

              21. I beseech earnestly that whatever servant of God be ready that he be the bearer of this letter, so that on no account it be suppressed by anyone, but much rather be read in the presence of all the people, yea, in the presence of Coroticus himself, if it so be that God may inspire them to amend their lives to God some time, so that even though late they may repent of their impious doings (murderer as he is in regard of the brethren of the Lord), and may liberate the baptised women captives whom they had taken, so that they may deserve to live to God, and be made whole, here and in eternity.


              Peace to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. Amen.


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