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

Abbot Pastor

Here followeth of the holy Abbot Pastor, and first of his name.

Pastor is said of feeding, because that he feedeth his sheep, and this holy man Pastor fed his sheep spiritually, and they were his brethren by spiritual of words of doctrine and of manners of holy religion.

Of the holy Abbot Pastor.

The Abbot Pastor was many years in great abstinence in desert, and tormened his flesh long time, and he shined in great holiness of religion. And his mother desired muchto see him and his brethren, and saw on a day that he and his brethren went to the church; they saw her, and anon they fled from her and entered into their cell, and shut the door against her, and she came to the door and sat there sore crying and weeping. And then Pastor came to the door and said: What criest thou there, thou old woman? And then she understood the voice of him, and she cried louder and said: I would see you my sons, why should I not see you, am I not your mother that bare you and gave you suck, and now am all hoar for age? To whom her son said: Whether wilt thou see us in this world or in another? And then she said: If I see you not here shall I see you there? And he said to her: If thou mayst suffer not for to see us here, without doubt thou shalt see us there, which then departed joyfully, saying: If I shall see you there I will not see you here. And then the judge would needs see the abbot Pastor, but he might not, and then he took his sister's son, as though he had been a malefactor, and put him in prison, and said: If Pastor will come and pray for him, I shall deliver him and let him go. And then the mother of the child came weeping to the door of Pastor, and prayed him to help her son; and when she could get none answer of hirn, then she said to him by great violence: If thine entrails be hard as iron, and hast no pity of nothing yet at the least oughtest thou to be moved and have pity of thine own blood, which is my son. And then Pastor sent to her and said that he had engendered no child. And then anon she departed for anger, and then said the judge: At the least let him command by mouth, and I shall let him go. And then the abbot Pastor sent him word that he should examine the cause according to the law, and if he were worthy to die, let him die, and if not do as it shall please thee. He taught his brethren and said: For to keep himself, to consider and have discretion, be works of the soul, poverty, tribulation and discretion be works of solitary life. It is written that these three men were so, Noah, Job, and Daniel. Noah representeth the person that possesseth, Job them that be troubled, and Daniel them that be discreet, and if a monk hateth two things, he may be free of this world. And one of his brethren asked him what they were, and he said: Fleshly covetise, and vain glory; and he said: lf thou wilt find rest in this world and in that which is to come, say in every case: Who am I? and deem no man.

On a time when a brother had offended, of their congregation, the abbot by counsel of one that was solitary put him out, which wept as he had been in despair. Then the abbot Pastor made him to be brought tofore him, whom he comforting benignly, sent him to him that was solitary, saying: I hearing of thee, desire to see thee, labour therefore and come to me. And when he was come, Pastor said to him: There were two men which their two servants were dead, and that one of them left his own and went for to bewail the dead servant of that other. And when the solitary man heard him, anon he understood him, and wist by his words what he meant, and had compunction.

There was a brother which was sore troubled, and would leave his place because he had heard certain words of another brother that they profited not; and Pastor said he should not believe those words, for they were not true; he affirmed again to him that they were true, for a true brother had told him so. To whom Pastor said: He is not true that said so to thee, and he said: I have seen it with mine eyes. Then he demanded him of the festue and of the beam, and he answered: A festue is a festue, and a beam is a beam. And Pastor said: Put in thine heart all that be thy sins and thou shalt find them like a beam, and the small sins of him be like a festue.

There was a brother which had done a great sin, being in will to do penance three years, and asked him if it were much, which said: It is much; and then he asked if he would command him a year, and he said it was much. They that stood by demanded of forty days. He said it was much. And he said to them: I trow that if a man repent him with all his heart, and will return no more to his sin and doth penance three days, our Lord shall receive him to mercy. And then he was demanded of that word: That angered his brother without a cause; and he said: Of all that ever thy brother grieveth thee, be not angry with him till that he put out thy right eye, and if thou be wroth to him otherwise thou art angry without cause, but if any would depart thee from God, then be wroth with him. And yet he said furthermore: Who so complaineth is no monk, who that holdeth malice in his heart is no monk, who that is wroth is no monk, who doeth evil for evil is no monk, who that is proud and full of words is no monk. Whosomever is verily a monk is always humble, meek, full of charity, and always to have before his eyes the dread of God in every place, that he sin not. And also he said: If there be three together of whom that one resteth well and that other is sick, and the third serveth and administereth with pure will, these three be semblable as it were of one work.

There was one of his brethren which complained him that he had many thoughts and perished in them, and he brought him in the air, and bade him hold up his lap and take the wind, and he said: I may not; and that other said: In like wise mayst thou not forbid thoughts to enter into thee, but it is thy part to withstand them. There was a brother that demanded of him what he should do with the heritage that was left him, and he bade him he should come again within three days; and when he came he said to him: If I said to thee: Give them to thy parents or friends thou shouldst have no meed thereof, and if I said give them to poor men, thou shalt be sure. Do what thou wilt, I have no part thereof. This is in Vitae Patrum.

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