The Society for Ancient Languages
|This text was translated during the Society's meeting by Dr. Peter Meister, from the UAH Foreign Language Department. Since Dr. Meister was able to translate the text with only minimal notes for the more difficult passages, there was no written translation to put here. Therefore this English translation was prepared by Brian Kleeman.|
THE VENERABLE BEDE
|Cumque ad mortem duceretur, pervenit ad flumen quod muro et harena ubi feriendus erat, meatu rapidissimo dividebatur: viditque ibi non parvam hominum multitudinem utriusque sexus, conditionis diversae et aetatis, quae sine dubio Divinitatis instinctu ad obsequium beatissimi confessoris ac martyris vocabatur, et ita fluminis ipsius occupabat pontem ut intra vesperam transire vix posset. Denique cunctis pene egressis, iudex sine obsequio in civitate substiterat. Igitur sanctus Albanus cui ardens inerat devotio mentis ad martyrium ocius pervenire, accessit ad torrentem, et dirigens ad caelum oculos, illico siccato alveo, vidit undam suis cessisse ac viam dedisse vestigiis. Quod cum inter alios etiam ipse carnifex qui eum percussurus erat, vidisset, festinavit ei ubi ad locum destinatum morti venerat occurrere, Divino nimirum admonitus instinctu, proiectoque ense quem strictum tenuerat, pedibus eius advolvitur, multum desiderans ut cum martyre vel pro martyre quem percutere iubebatur, ipse potius mereretur percuti. Dum ergo is ex persecutore factus esset collega veritatis et fidei, ac iacente ferro esset inter carnifices iusta cunctatio, montem cum turbis reverentissimus Dei confessor ascendit: qui opportune laetus, gratia decentissima, quingentis fere passibus ab harena situs est, variis herbarum floribus depictus, immo usquequaque vestitus, in quo nihil repente arduum, nihil praeceps, nihil abruptum, quem lateribus longe lateque deductum in modum aequoris natura complanat, dignum videlicet eum, pro insita sibi specie venustatis, iam olim reddens qui beati martyris cruore dicaretur.||
And when he was led to death, he reached a river which by means of the most rapid course ran between the town wall and the arena where he was to be killed: and he saw there a great (lit. not small) multitude of people of each sex, of diverse condition and age, who without doubt were called by divine inspiration to the escort of the most blessed confessor and martyr, and so much of that very multitude occupied the river's bridge that they were scarcely able to cross within the course of the evening. Finally with almost all the people having left, the judge stood in the city without an escort. Therefore Saint Alban, in whom there existed an intense devotion of mind to more quickly reach his martyrdom, approached the rushing river, and directing his eyes to heaven, and with the riverbed having instantly dried up, saw the water to have withdrawn and to have made a way for his steps. Which when among others even the executioner himself who was to behead him had seen this, he rushed to meet Alban, when he had come to the place appointed for death, he fell prostrate before Alban's feet, no doubt having been commanded by God's divine inspiration, and having thrown away the sword which he had been holding closely, greatly desired that he himself rather deserved to be executed either with the martyr or for the martyr whom he was ordered to execute. When therefore he was made a fellow member of truth and faith out of a persecutor, and the ceremony delayed with the sword laying between the executioners, the most reverend confessor of God ascended the hill with the crowd, a hill which, opportunely fertile with the most handsome beauty, was situated about 500 paces from the execution spot, embroidered, or rather adorned in every respect with the many-colored flowers of herbs; whereon was no sudden rise, nothing steep, nothing abrupt, where Nature had leveled with the sides lengthwise and breadthwise drawn down into the manner of a level surface, clearly rendering it a worthy place, by virtue of the innate form of its own beauty, which would be consecrated with the blood of the blessed martyr.
|Decollatus itaque martyr fortissimus ibidem accepit coronam vitae quam repromisit Deus diligentibus se. Sed ille qui piis cervicibus impias intulit manus gaudere super mortuum non est permissus: namque oculi eius in terram una cum beati martyris capite deciderunt. Decollatus est ibi tum etiam miles ille, qui antea superno nutu correptus sanctum Dei confessorem ferire recusavit: de quo nimirum constat, quia etsi fonte baptismatis non est ablutus, sui tamen est sanguinis lavacro mundatus ac regni caelestis dignus factus est ingressu. Tum iudex tanta miraculorum caelestium novitate perculsus, cessari mox a persecutione praecepit, honorem referre incipiens caedi sanctorum, per quam cos opinabatur prius a Christinae fidei posse devotione cessare.||Therefore the most brave martyr, having been beheaded in this place, received the crown of Life which God promised those devoted to him. But he who laid impious hands upon pious necks was not allowed to rejoice over death: for in fact his eyes fell to the ground one with the head of the blessed martyr. There and then the soldier too was beheaded, he who, was seized prior with the sign form on high, refused to kill the holy confessor of God; about whom it is certainly established that although he was not cleansed by the font of baptism, nevertheless he was cleansed by the bath of his blood and made worthy for the entry of the heavenly kingdom. Then the judge, scared to such a degree by the suddenness of the heavenly miracles, soon ordered for the persecution to be stopped, beginning to ascribe honor to the murder of the saints, through which he had imagined at first the people to be able to be free from the devotion of the Christian faith.|