The Church of Spain, the fair pearl of Christendom, brings before us on this same tenth of December her illustrious Martyr Eulalia, the glory of Merida, the ornament of Iberia, the joy of the universal Church. She is the third of those Wise Virgins, whose names are most prominent in the Church's liturgy during the season of Advent. She is the worthy companion of Bibiana, and Barbara, and that heroic Lucy whose feast we shall keep on the 13th. We give the whole of the beautiful poem on the life and martyrdom of Eulalia, written by Prudentius. Never, perhaps, did this prince of Christian poets write finer verses than these nor can we be surprised that the Mozarabic Liturgy, in its admiration of this exquisite canticle, should have made but one Hymn of its 45 stanzas. As it gives the Life of our Saint, we shall not add the Legend of the proper Office as used in the Churches of Spain [were one to celebrate E. in the Roman Office one would use the commune virginum et martyrum].
Am copying the Latin of Prudentius and the English version of Professor H.J. Thomson (long out of copyright) from two sources, rather than work my way through the mixed Latin and English that results from copying directly Dom Laurence's text. I will correct the copying errors etc in Prudentius's Latin and Thomson's English text... eventually.
Germine nobilis Eulaliamortis et indole nobiliorEmeritam sacra uirgo suam,cuius ab ubere progenita est,ossibus ornat, amore colit.Proximus occiduo locus est,qui tulit hoc decus egregium,urbe potens, populis locuples,sed mage sanguine martyriiuirgineoque potens titulo.Curriculis tribus atque nouemtris hiemes quater adtigerat,cum crepitante pyra trepidosterruit aspera carnificessupplicium sibi dulce rata.lam dederat prius indiciun,tendere se patris ad soliumnec sua membra dicata toro:ipsa crepundia reppuleratludere nescia pusiola;spernere sucina, flere rosas,fulua monilia respuere,ore seuera, modesta gradu,moribus et nimium teneriscanitiem meditata senum.Ast ubi se furiata luisexcitat in famulos dominichristicolasque cruenta iubettura cremare, iecur pecudismortiferis adolere deis,infremuit sacer Eulaliaespiritus ingeniique feroxturbida frangere bella paratet rude pectus anhela deofemina prouocat arma uirum.Sed pia cura parentis agit,uirgo animosa domi ut lateatabdita rure et ab urbe procul,ne fera sanguinis in pretiummortis amore puella ruat.Illa perosa quietis operadegeneri tolerare moranocte fores sine teste mouetsaeptaque claustra fugax aperit,inde per inuia carpit iter.Ingreditur pedibus lacerisper loca senta situ et uepribusangelico comitata choroet, licet horrida nox sileat,lucis habet tamen illa ducem.Sic habuit generosa patrumturba columniferum radium,scindere qui tenebrosa potensnocte uiam face perspicuapraestitit intereunte chao.Non aliter pia uirgo uiamnocte secuta diem meruitnec tenebris adoperta fuit,regna Canopica cum fugeretet supra astra pararet iter.Illa gradu cita peruigilimilia multa prius peragitquam plaga pandat Eoa polum;mane superba tribunal aditfascibus adstat et in mediisuociferans: `Rogo, quis furor estperdere praecipites animaset male prodiga corda suisternere rasilibus scopulisomnipatremque negare deum?Quaeritis, o miseranda manus,christicolum genus? en ego sumdaemonicis inimica sacris,idola protero sub pedibus,pectore et ore deum fateor.Isis, Apollo, Venus nihil est,Maximianus et ipse nihil,illa nihil, quia facta manu,hic, manuum quia facta colit,friuula utraque et utraque nibil.Maximianus, opum dominuset tamen ipse cliens lapidum,prostituat uoueatque suisnuminibus caput ipse suum,pectora cur generosa quatit?Dux bonus, arbiter egregius,sanguine pascitur innocuocorporibusque piis inhiansuiscera sobria dilaceratgaudet et excruciare fidem.Ergo age, tortor, adure, seca,diuide membra coacta luto!soluere rem fragilem facile est,non penetrabitur interiorexagitante dolore animus'.Talibus excitus in furiaspraetor ait: `rape praecipitem,lictor, et obrue suppliciis!sentiat esse deos patriosnec leue principis imperium.Quam cuperem tamen ante necem,si potis est, reuocare tuam,torua puellula, nequitiam!respice, gaudia quanta metas,quae tibi fert genialis honor!Te lacrimis labefacta domusprosequitur generisque tuiingemit anxia nobilitas,sole quod occidis in teneroproxima dotibus et thalamis.Non mouet aurea pompa Ioui,non pietas ueneranda senum,quos temeraria debilitas?ecce parata ministeriaexcruciabilis exitii:aut gladio feriere caputaut laniabere membra ferisaut facibus data fumificisflebiliterque ululanda tuisin cineres resoluta flues.Haec, rogo, quis labor est fugere?si modicum salis eminulisturis et exiguum digitistangere, uirgo, benigna uelis,poena grauis procul afuerit'.Martyr ad ista nihil, sed eniminfremit inque tyranni oculossputa iacit, simulcra dehincdissipat inpositamque molamturibulis pede prosubigit.Nec mora, carnifices geminiiuncta pectora dilacerantet latus ungula uirgineumpulsat utrimque et ad ossa secatEulalia numerante notas.`Scriberis ecce mihi, domine,quam iuuat hos apices legere,qui tua, Christe, tropea notant,nomen et ipsa sacrum loquiturpurpura sanguinis eliciti'.Haec sine fletibus et gemitulaeta canebat et intrepida,dirus abest dolor ex animomembraque picta cruore nouofonte cutem recalente lauant.Vltima carnificina dehinc:non laceratio uulnificacrate tenus nec arata cutis,flamma sed undique lampadibusin latera stomachumque furit.Crinis odorus ut in iugulosfluxerat inuolitans umeris,quo pudibunda pudicitiauirgineusque lateret honostegmine uerticis opposito,flamma crepans uolat in faciemperque comas uegetata caputoccupat exsuperatque apicem,uirgo citum cupiens obitumadpetit et bibit ore rogum.Emicat inde columba repensmartyris os niue candidioruisa relinquere et astra sequi;spiritus hic erat Eulaliaelacteolus, celer, innocuus.Colla fluunt abeunte animact rogus igneus emoritur,pax datur artubus exanimis,flatus in aethere plaudit ouanstemplaque celsa petit uolucer.Vidit et ipse satelles auemfeminae ab ore meare palam,obstupefactus et adtonitusprosilit et sua gesta fugit,lictor et ipse fugit pauidus.Ecce niuem glacialis hiemsingerit et tegit omne forum,membra tegit simul Eulaliaeaxe iacentia sub gelidopallioli uice linteoli.Cedar amor lacrimantum hominum,qui celebrare suprema solent,fliebile cedat et officium:ipsa elementa iubente deoexequias tibi, uirgo, ferunt.Nunc locus Emerita est tumulo,clara colonia Vettoniae,quam memorabilis amnis Anapraeterit et uiridante rapax.gurgite moenia pulchra lauit.Hic, ubi marmore perspicuoatria luminat alma nitoret peregrinus et indigena,relliquias ineresque sacrosseruat humus ueneranda sinu.Tecta corusca super rutilantde laquearibus aureolissaxaque caesa solum uariant,floribus ut rosulenta putesprata rubescere multimodis.Carpite purpureas uiolassanguineosque crocos metite!non caret his genialis hiems,laxat et arua tepens glacies,floribus ut cumulet calathos.Ista comantibus e foliismunera, uirgo puerque, date!ast ego serta choro in mediotexta feram pede dactylico,uilia, marcida, festa tamen.Sic uenerarier ossa libetossibus altar et inpositum,illa dei sita sub pedibusprospicit haec populosque suoscarmine propitiata fouet.
Noble of stock, and nobler still in the quality of her death, the holy maid Eulalia honours with her bones and tends with her love her own Emerita, the town that gave her birth. Far in the west lies the place that has won this signal honour; as a city, great and populous, but greater through the blood of martyrdom and a maiden's tombstone. In twelve courses of the sun twelve winters had she seen, when on the crackling pyre her hardihood struck terror into her trembling executioners, for she counted her suffering a pleasure to herself. Already she had given a sign that her face was set towards the Father's throne and her body not destined for marriage ; for even as a little girl she had put toys from her and was a stranger to fun ; she would scorn amber beads, scout roses, spurn golden necklaces ; she was grave of face, sober in her gait, and in the ways of her tenderest years practised the manner of hoary age. Now when the raging scourge was working himself up against the servants of the Lord and with bloody mind commanding that the followers of Christ should burn incense and offer burnt sacrifice of the livers of cattle to gods who brought death, Eulalia's holy courage made loud protest. With her bold spirit she made ready to shatter the violent onslaught, and with the heart in her young breast panting for God, female as she was she challenged the weapons of men. But her mother's loving care sought to keep the high-spirited damsel at home out of notice, buried in the country at a distance from the town, lest the self-willed girl rush to expend her blood from the love of death. She, hating to let herself be saved by keeping quiet and hanging back like a coward, opens the door by night with none to see, makes her escape through the enclosing fence, and then pursues her way across the wilds. With torn feet she passes over a rough waste overgrown with briers, but she is accompanied by a troop of angels, and for all the gruesome silence of the night she still has light to guide her. So it was that the noble company of the patriarchs had a beam in the shape of a pillar which, being able to pierce the gloom, showed them the way by night with its bright flame and the darkness was done away, a Like them, the devoted girl was deemed worthy to have the light of day as she followed her course in the night, and was not covered with darkness as she fled from the realm of Egypt, winning a way beyond the stars. Stepping quickly all through the night she covers many a mile ere the eastern quarter opens up the sky ; and in the morning presents herself haughtily at the seat of authority, standing there amid the symbols of power and calling out : " What madness is this, I ask, that makes you send your souls headlong to destruction and bow down before smoothed stones hearts all too ready to throw themselves away, denying God who is the Father of all? Seek ye, O pitiable company, the people who worship Christ ? Here am I, a foe to the worship of evil spirits ; I trample idols under foot, and with heart and lips I confess God. Isis, Apollo, Venus-- they are naught ; Maximian himself too is naught ; they because they are works of men's hands, he because he worships the works of men's hands, both worthless, both naught. Though Maximian, lord of power and yet himself in vassalage to figures of stone, prostitute himself to his gods and make himself over to them, why does he persecute noble hearts? Your good captain, your excellent ruler, feeds on innocent blood; hungering for the bodies of the godly, he tears their continent flesh and delights in torturing the faithful. Come then, tormentor, burn, slash, cut up my body. It was put together of clay; it is easy to destroy so frail a thing. But the racking pain will not reach the spirit within.' Roused to fury by such words the governor cries: Away with her, lictor! Heap tortures on her. Let her see that the gods of our fathers exist and the emperor's command is no light thing. And yet how much I would desire before you die, if it may be, fierce young girl, to turn back your wickedness! Think of the great joys you are cutting off, which the honourable state of marriage offers you. The family you are bereaving follows you with tears, your noble stock mourns over you in distress, because you are dying in the bloom of youth when you are just reaching the age of dowry and wedlock. Does not a rich and splendid marriage appeal to you, nor the love of your elders, which you ought to respect, whereas your rash conduct is breaking their hearts? You see here in readiness the agents of a death of torture. You will be beheaded with the sword, or your limbs will be torn by wild beasts, or you will be delivered to the smoking brands to be destroyed and reduced to ashes, for your friends to mourn you with weeping and cries of woe. I put it to you, what effort would it cost to avoid all this ? If, damsel, you would be so obliging as just to put out your fingers and touch a little of the salt and a tiny grain of the incense, you would escape the cruel suffering.' The martyr answers never a word; howbeit with a loud cry she spits into the tyrant's eyes and then scatters the images and with her foot kicks over the meal laid on the censers. In a moment two executioners are tearing her slim breast, the claw striking her two girlish sides and cutting to the bone, while Eulalia counts the marks. 'See, Lord,' she says, 'thy name is being written on me. How I love to read these letters, for they record thy victories, O Christ, and the very scarlet of the blood that is drawn speaks the holy name.' These words she uttered with never a tear or moan, cheerful and undismayed; the dreadful pain did not reach her spirit while the fresh blood was colouring her body and washing her skin in its warm stream. Then comes the final torture, not the rending of wounds, not the ploughing up of the skin down to the ribs, but a fire from flambeaux set all round and raging against her sides and front. Her fragrant hair has streamed on to her neck and flowed over her shoulders to shield her bashful modesty and the grace of her maidenhood behind the covering of her head, and the roaring flames, quickened by her locks, rush upon her face and seize on her head, surmounting its top; and the maid, desiring a speedy end, eagerly draws the fire in through her mouth. Thence all at once a dove whiter than snow springs forth; they see it leave the martyr's mouth and make for the stars. It was Eulalia's spirit, milk-white, swift, and sinless. Her head droops as the soul departs, and the burning fire dies down; peace is granted to the lifeless body, while the spirit far up claps her wings in triumph and flies off to the heavenly regions. The executioner himself saw the bird pass plainly from the girl's mouth; amazed and confounded he broke away and fled from what his own hands had done, and the lictor too fled in terror. Suddenly the icy winter pours down snow and covers all the square, covering Eulalia's body too where it lies under the cold sky, like a linen shroud. Let those who in human love and tears are wont to solemnize the last rites stand aside, let their sad office give place; the very elements at God's command are performing thy obsequies, O maiden. Now her tomb stands in Emerita, that famous town in Vettonia by which the notable river Ana passes, washing the handsome walls as it sweeps along with its green waters. Here, where the lustre of shining marble, foreign and native, lights up the motherly church, the worshipful earth keeps her remains, her holy ashes, in its bosom. Overhead the gleaming roof flashes light from its gilded panels, and shaped stones diversify the floor so that it seems like a rose-covered meadow blushing with varied blooms. Pluck ye purple violets, pick blood-red crocuses. Our genial winter has no lack of them; the cold is tempered and loosens its grip on the land to load our baskets with flowers. Give her these gifts, you girls and boys, from the luxuriant leaves. But I in the midst of your company will bring garlands wreathed of dactylic measures, of little worth and faded, but still joyous. So will we venerate her bones and the altar placed over her bones, while she, set at the feet of God, views all our doings, our song wins her favour, and she cherishes her people.
Laetetur in te, Domine, quaeso virginitas et huic proxima congaudeat continentia. Non sexum quaerunt hujus modi bella sed animum. Non mucronis confidentiam, sed pudoris. Non etiam personas discussuras, sed causas. Impune inter armatas transit acies innocens conscientia quae superavit crimina, superat et metalla. Facile vincit alios quisquis se vicerit et cum laudabile sit viro fecisse virtutem, majoris tamen praeconii est fecisse virginem rem virilem. Prophanum sacra ingreditur puella concilium et solum Deum in pectore gestans inert violentiam passioni. Nec deest lictor tam impudeus quam crudelis qui sponsam (secure dixerim) Christi, fornicantium verberibus oculorum, supplicio libidinante torqueret ut quae poenas in adulterio non luebat, saltem poenas adulteras sustineret. Dudumquod gravius carnifex putat, exspectantium oculis corpus exponit, et per divaricatas viscerum partes, ictuum sulcos cursus fusi sanguinis antecedit. Periit tunc tortoris iniqui commentum sola patiuntur tormenta ludibrium. Habet quidem virginem nostram nuditas, sed pudicam. Discat ergo, discat uterque sexus ex virgine, non pulchritudinem colere, sed virtutem fidem amare, non formam. Placiturus Domino, non decoris exspectare judicium, sed pudoris. Sed quia tuum est, Christe, totum quod meruit tuum etiam quod peregit. Nec enim tela repellimus adversantium, nisi tuae divinitatis beneficio sublevemur. Nunc praesta nobis, ut sicut haec beatissima Martyr tua pugnando praemium adepta est castitatis ita nos commissorum nostrorum ad te dimissis contagiis, adipiscamur praemia tuae promissionis. Amen.
Let virginity be glad in thee, Lord, we beseech thee and with it let rejoice its sister-virtue of continency. Battles like these are won not by sex but by courage, not by them that can well wield the sword, but by them that can be chaste not by the combatant's title, but by his motive.
An innocent conscience fears not an armed legion. He that has vanquished sin, will not flinch at sword. He that has conquered himself, easily conquers others and if it be praiseworthy when man does a virtuous act, it is more so when a virgin does manly deeds. The holy virgin Eulalia stands before tribunal of ungodly men and with God alone in her heart, she bids defiance to all their tortures. There comes the Lictor as lustful as he is cruel; he punishes this spouse of Christ, as we may indeed call her, by the torture of his impure looks and she that could have no adultery to atone for suffered its punishment from him that had. He reserves to the last what he knew was the worst: he exposes her body to the gaze of the spectators, and the stream of blood from the open gashes on her sides stains her flesh before the knife can open deeper wounds.
Then was confounded the design of the wicked tormentor, and his torments are insulted by the victim. Impiety strips our Martyr, but modesty veils her. Let all, then, learn from this virgin to cultivate not beauty but virtue, nor form but faith. He that would please the Lord must be tried not for how much comeliness he possesses, but for how much modesty he has.
And yet, Jesus, since it was from thee that Eulalia had all her merits, and from thee all that she achieved (for it is in vain that we would repel the darts of our enemies, unless we be shielded by thy divine mercy), grant, we beseech thee, that, as this thy most holy martyr won, by her combat, the reward of chastity, we also may be forgiven the uncleanness of our sins, and obtain the rewards thou hast promised. Amen.
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