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MOYSES:  text is taken from Caxton's English version of the Golden Legend (Ellis edition)

Abbot Moses

Here followeth of the Abbot Moses.

Moses, the abbot, said to a brother of his which demanded of him a sermon, to whom he said: Sit still in thy cell and it shall teach thee all things. There was an old man being sick which would go into Egypt because he would not grieve his brethren. The abbot Moses said to him: Go not thither, for if thou go out thou shalt fall into fornication, and he was angry, and said: My body is dead, why sayest thou so? And when he was gone, it happed that a maid served him for devotion, and kept him in his malady, and when he was whole he defiled her, and gat on her a child. And when the child was born the old man took the child in his arms, and came on a day of great feast into the church of Sixtus to a great multitude of people, and when his brethren wept, he said: Lo! see ye this child, this is the son of inobedience, therefore beware ye, brethren, for I have done this in mine old age, I pray you pray ye for me. And then he returned into his cell, and came again to his first estate. And in like wise as another old man said to another: I am a dead man, and that other said to him: Trust never to thyself till thy soul issue of thy body, for if thou say that thou art dead, nevertheless thine enemy the fiend is not dead. There was a brother which had sinned, and was sent by his brethren to the abbot Moses. And he took a basketful of gravel and came to them, and they demanded him what it was, and he said: These be my sins that run after me, and I see them not, and I am this day come to deem the sins of a stranger. They, hearing this, spared their brother. A like thing is read of the abbot tofore him, for when the brethren spake of a brother that was culpable, he held him still and spake not. And after took a sackful of gravel and bare it behind him the most part, and a little tofore him, and they demanded him what it was, and he said: The most part be my sins which I bear behind me, them I consider not, ne sorrow for them. And this little that I have before me be the sins of my brethren, which I consider all day and judge them, howbeit I should always bear mine own sins tofore me, and think on them, and pray to God for them that he would forgive me them. When the abbot Moses was made clerk, and the bishop had ordained the oflice, he said to him: Now, thou art made all white, and Moses said: Withinforth or withoutforth? Then the bishop would prove him, and said to his clerks that when he should come to the altar they should wrongfully put him from it, and follow him, and hear what he would say. And anon they put him away, and said to him: Go out thou Ethiopian, and as he went out he said: They have done well to the foul wretch for to defile and do despite to thee, for sith thou art no man, what presumest thou to be among the men. This said he to himself. Hæc in Vitis Patrum.

© The segmented texts, annotations and audio files at are copyrighted by Laura Gibbs, 2006. No copyright is claimed for any images.