- A March of Condemned Souls
- Halloween Video in Latin
- Pompa Perditorum – The Latin Text
- The Procession of the Dead – English Translation
A March of Condemned Souls
This story is an exceptional episode from the Ecclesiastical History, written by the 12th-century monk Orderic Vitalis from the abbey of Saint Evroult in Normandy. More known for his records of political events and local news of the medieval Anglo-Norman world, Orderic provides a stark divergence in Book Eight to tell a striking supernatural tale.
We present the story as Pompa Perditorum in a slightly abbreviated version.
Centered around a priest called Walchelin, this tale unfolds on the night of January 1, 1091, when this robust and young man encountered what seemed to be a ghostly army on a lonely road while returning from a sick visit in his parish.
The eerie spectacle known as the ‘procession of the dead,’ or a march of condemned souls, appears frequently in various cultures’ folklore and ghost stories. You will find it under names such as the Wild Hunt, Wütendes Heer, Oskoreia, Odens jakt, and Herlaþing. In this march, multitudes of sinners are seen being tortured and punished for their sins. This bone-chilling narrative offers not only an insight into the beliefs prevalent in the Middle Ages but also underscores the moral compass of that time. Despite being a departure from the standard chronicles, this tale enriches our understanding of the complex tapestry of belief that punctuated medieval thought.
Orderic’s story provides the first mention of the demon Herlechin, Herlequin or Hellequin, that develops into the famous checkered wearing Harlequin.
If you simply cannot get enough of Halloween, may I suggest you check out previous year’s Halloween Specials in Latin. You can find them all here.
You can also find Pompa Perditorum along with some of our earlier specials on Legentibus. We have transformed them into storybooks where you can listen to them and follow along in the text, have dictionaries built into the text, and an English translation with a small tap of your finger. You can find them in the free books section, as they are available to all – subscription or not. You can find the app here.
You will find the text and an English translation below the video, but it is much easier, more enjoyable and better to read it in the Legentibus app.
Halloween Video in Latin
Pompa Perditorum – The Latin Text
Quid in epīscopātū Lexoviēnsī, in capite Jānuāriī contigerit cuidam presbyterō, praetereundum nōn aestimō, nec comprimendum silentiō.
In vīllā, quae Bonavallis dīcitur, Gualchelmus sacerdōs erat, quī ecclēsiae Sānctī Albīnī Andegavēnsis dēserviēbat.
Hic annō Dominicae Incarnātiōnis 1091 in capite Jānuāriī accersītus, quendam aegrōtum in ultimīs parochiae suae terminīs noctū vīsitāvit. Unde dum sōlus redīret, et longē ab hominum habitātiōne remōtus īret, ingentem strepitum velut maximī exercitūs coepit audīre.
Lūna quippe octāva in signō arietis tunc clārē micābat, et gradientibus iter dēmōnstrābat.
Praefātus presbyter erat juvenis, audāx et fortis, corpore magnus et agilis. Audītō itaque tumultū properantium, timuit et plūrima sēcum tractāre coepit an fugeret, nē ā vīlibus parasītīs invāderētur, et inhonestē spoliārētur, aut validam manum prō dēfēnsiōne suī ērigeret, sī ab aliquō impeterētur.
Tandem quattuor mespileās arborēs in agrō, procul ā calle, prōspexit, ad quās latitandī causā, dōnec equitātus pertrānsīret, cito dīvertere voluit. Vērum quīdam ēnōrmis statūrae, ferēns ingentem maxūcam, presbyterum properantem praevēnit, et super caput ejus levātō vecte dīxit:
“Stā, nec prōgrediāris ultrā!”
Mox presbyter diriguit et baculō quem bajulābat appodiātus, immōbilis stetit. Arduus vērō vectifer juxtā eum stābat, et nihil eī nocēns praetereuntem exercitum exspectābat.
Ecce ingēns turba peditum pertrānsībat, et pecudēs ac vestēs, multimodamque supellectilem, et dīversa ūtēnsilia, quae praedōnēs asportāre solent, super colla scapulāsque suās ferēbat. Omnēs nīmīrum lāmentābantur, sēsēque ut festīnārent cohortābantur.
Multōs etiam vīcīnōrum suōrum, quī nūper obierant, presbyter ibīdem recognōvit, et maerentēs prō magnīs suppliciīs, quibus ob facinora sua torquēbantur, audīvit. Deinde turma vespiliōnum secūta est, cui praefātus gigās repente associātus est.
Feretra ferē quīnquāgintā ferēbantur et ūnumquodque ā duōbus bajulīs ferēbātur. Porrō super feretra hominēs parvī velut nānī sedēbant, et magna capita ceu dōlia habēbant. Ingēns etiam truncus ā duōbus Aethiopibus portābātur, et super truncum quīdam misellus, dīrē ligātus, cruciābātur, et inter angōrēs dīrōs ululātūs ēmittēns, vōciferābātur. Taeterrimus enim daemōn, quī super eumdem truncum sedēbat, igneīs calcāribus in lumbīs et tergō sanguinolentum importūnē stimulābat.
Nōn multō post, numerōsum agmen clēricōrum et monachōrum, jūdicēs atque rēctōrēs eōrum, epīscopōs et abbātēs cum pāstōrālibus cambūtīs advertit.
Clēricī et epīscopī nigrīs cappīs indūtī erant. Monachī quoque et abbātēs nigrīs nihilōminus cucullīs amictī erant. Gemēbant et plangēbant, et nōnnūllī Galchelmum vocitābant, ac prō prīstinā familiāritāte ut prō sē ōrāret postulābant. Multōs nīmīrum magnae aestimātiōnis ibi presbyter sē vīdisse rettulit, quōs hūmāna opīniō sānctīs in caelō jam conjūnctōs astruit.
Terribilibus vīsīs presbyter admodum trepidābat. baculōque innīxus, terribiliōra exspectābat. Ecce ingēns exercitus mīlitum sequēbātur, et nūllus color sed nigrēdō et scintillāns ignis in eīs vidēbātur. Maximīs omnēs equīs īnsidēbant et omnibus armīs armātī velut ad bellum festīnābant, et nigerrima vēxilla gestābant.
Gualchelmus autem, postquam multōrum mīlitum ingēns cohors pertrānsiit, intrā sēmetipsum sīc cōgitāre coepit:
Haec sine dubiō familia Herlechīnī est. Ā multīs eam ōlim vīsam audīvī; sed incrēdulus relātiōnēs dērīsī, quia certa indicia nunquam dē tālibus vīdī. Nunc vērō manēs mortuōrum vērāciter videō; sed nēmō mihi crēdet, cum vīsa rettulerō, nisi certum specimen terrigenīs exhibuerō.
Dē vacuīs ergō equīs, quī sequuntur agmen, ūnum apprehendam, cōnfestim ascendam, domum dūcam, et, ad fidem obtinendam, vīcīnīs ostendam.
Mox nigerrimī cornipedis habēnās apprehendit; sed ille fortiter sē dē manū rapientis excussit, āligerōque cursū per agmen Aethiopum abiit.
Presbyter autem vōtī compotem sē nōn esse doluit. Erat enim aetāte juvenis, animō audāx et levis, corpore vērō vēlōx et fortis. In mediā igitur strātā parātus cōnstitit, et venientī parātissimō cornipedī obviāns manum extendit.
Ille autem substitit ad suscipiendum presbyterum, et exhālāns dē nāribus suīs prōjēcit nebulam ingentem velutī longissimam quercum. Tunc sacerdōs sinistrum pedem in teripedem mīsit, manumque arreptīs lōrīs clītellae imposuit, subitōque nimium calōrem velut ignem ārdentem sub pede sēnsit, et incrēdibile frīgus per manum, quae lora tenēbat, ejus praecordia penetrāvit.
Dum tālia fīunt, quattuor horrendī equitēs adveniunt, et terribiliter vōciferantēs, dīcunt:
“Cūr equōs nostrōs invādis? Nōbīscum veniēs. Nēmō nostrum laesit tē, cum tū nostra coepistī rapere.”
At ille, nimium territus, caballum dīmīsit, tribusque mīlitibus eum prehendēre volentibus, quārtus dīxit:
“Sinite illum, et permittite loquī mēcum, quia conjugī meae fīliīsque meīs mea mittam mandāta per illum.”
Deinde nimium paventī presbyterō dīxit:
“Audī mē, quaesō, et uxōrī meae refer quae mandō.”
“Quis sīs nesciō, et uxōrem tuam nōn cognōscō.”
“Ego sum Guillelmus dē Glōtis, fīlius Barōnis, quī fāmōsus fuī quondam dapifer Guillelmī Bretoliēnsis, et patris ejus Guillelmī, Herfordēnsis comitis. Praejūdiciīs et rapīnīs inter mortālēs anhēlāvī, multīsque facinoribus plūs quam referrī potest peccāvī. Cēterum super omnia mē cruciat ūsūra. Nam indigentī cuidam pecūniam meam ērogāvī, et quoddam molendīnum ejus prō pignore recēpī, ipsōque cēnsum reddere nōn valente, tōtā vītā meā pignus retinuī, et lēgitimō hērēde exhērēdātō, hērēdibus meīs relīquī.”
“Ecce candēns ferrum molendīnī gestō in ōre, quod sine dubiō mihi vidētur ad ferendum gravius Rothoniagēnsī arce. Dīc ergō Beātrīcī, uxōrī meae, et Rogeriō, fīliō meō, ut mihi subveniant, et vadimōnium unde multō plūs recēpērunt quam dedī, vēlōciter hērēdī restituant.”
Presbyter respondit: “Guillelmus dē Glōtis jamdūdum mortuus est, et hujusmodī lēgātiō nūllī fidēlium acceptābilīs est. Nesciō quis es, nec quī tuī sunt hērēdēs. Sī Rogeriō dē Glōtis, vel frātribus ejus, aut mātrī eōrum praesūmpserō tālia ēnārrāre, ut āmentem dērīdēbunt mē.”
Porrō Guillelmus obnīxē īnsistēns rogābat, et plūrima nōtissima signa dīligenter inculcābat. Presbyter autem intelligēns ea quae audiēbat, omnia tamen sē scīre dissimulābat.
Tandem multā prece victus, acquiēvit et iterum ut rogātus fuerat sē factūrum prōmīsit.
Tunc Guillelmus cūncta recapitulāvit, et longā cōnfābulātiōne multa eīdem replicāvit.
Intereā sacerdōs coepit sēcum tractāre quod nōn audēret exsecrābilia biothanatī mandāta cuilibet annūntiāre.
“Nōn decet,” inquit, “tālia prōmulgāre. Nullātenus quae injungis cuilibet referam.”
Mox ille furibundus manum extendit, et presbyterum per faucēs apprehendit, sēcumque per terram trahēns, mināre coepit. Captīvus autem manum, quā tenēbātur, ārdentem ignem persēnsit, et in tālī angustiā repente exclāmāvit:
“Sāncta Marīa, glōriōsa māter Chrīstī, adjuvā mē!”
Prōtinus, ad invocātiōnem piissimae genetrīcis, fīliī Dominī auxilium praestō adfuit. Nam quīdam mīles, ēnsem dextrā ferēns, supervēnit, gladiumque suum, quasi ferīre vellet, vibrāns, dīxit:
“Cūr frātrem meum interficitis, maledictī? Sinite illum, et abīte.”
Mox illī āvolārunt, Aethiopicamque phalangem prōsecūtī sunt. Abeuntibus cūnctīs, mīles in viā cum Gualchelmō dēmorātur, et ab eō scīscitātur:
“Ego sum Rodbertus, fīlius Rodulfī, cognōmentō Blondī, et sum frāter tuus.”
Cum presbyter prō tam īnspērātā rē vehementer admīrārētur, nimiumque prō hīs quae vīderat vel sēnserat, angerētur, mīles eī dē pueritiā utriusque multa coepit recēnsēre, et nōtissima signa recitāre. Sacerdōs autem audīta optimē recolēbat, sed ōre cōnfitērī nōn ausus, omnia dēnegābat. Tandem praefātus eques ait:
“Mīror dūritiam et hebetūdinem tuam. Ego tē post mortem utriusque parentis nūtrīvī, et super omnēs mortālēs dīlēxī. Ego tē ad scholās in Galliam dīrēxī, et vestēs nummōsque tibi cōpiōsē porrēxī, aliīsque multīs modīs tibi prōdesse satis ēlabōrāvī. Nunc hōrum immemor efficeris, mēque tantummodo recognōscere dēdignāris!”
Tunc presbyter, vēridicīs fāminibus ūbertim prōlātīs, convictus est allēgātiōnibus certīs, palamque cum lacrimīs fassus est affāmina frātris. Tunc mīles dīxit eī:
“Meritō dēbuissēs morī, nostrārumque particeps poenārum nunc nōbīscum trahī, quia rēs nostrās nefāriā temeritāte invāsistī. Hoc nūllus alius inchoāre ausus fuit. Sed missa, quam hodiē cantāstī, nē perīrēs, tē salvāvit.”
“Postquam in Normanniā tēcum locūtus fuī, ā tē salūtātus in Angliam perrēxī, ibique fīnem vītae jussū Creātōris accēpī, et prō peccātīs, quibus nimis onerātus eram, immānia supplicia pertulī. Arma quae ferimus, ignea sunt, et nōs foetōre taeterrimō īnficiunt, ingentīque ponderōsitāte nimis opprimunt, et ārdōre inexstinguibilī combūrunt. Hāctenus itaque hujuscemodī poenīs inēnārrābiliter cruciātus sum. Sed quandō in Angliā ōrdinātus fuistī, et prīmam missam prō fidēlibus dēfūnctīs cantāstī, Radulfus pater tuus suppliciīs ēreptus est, et scūtum meum, quō vehementer angēbar, ēlāpsum est. Ēnsem hunc, ut vidēs, ferō. Sed in annō relaxātiōnem ab hōc onere fīdūciāliter exspectō.”
Dum mīles haec et alia hujusmodī dīceret, et dīligenter ad eum presbyter intenderet, quasi strūmam sanguinis īnstar hūmānī capitis ad ejus tālōs circā calcāria vīdit, stupēnsque sīc interrogāvit:
“Unde tanta coāgulātiō cruōris imminet calcāneīs tuīs?”
At ille respondit:
“Nōn est sanguis, sed ignis; et maiōris mihi vidētur esse ponderis, quam sī ferrem super mē Montem Sānctī Michaēlis. Et quia pretiōsīs et acūtīs ūtēbar calcāribus, ut festīnārem ad effundendum sanguinem, jūre sarcinam in tālīs bajulō ēnormem; quā intolerābiliter gravātus, nūllī hominum exprimere valeō poenae quantitātem. Haec indēsinenter meditārī mortālēs dēbērent, et timēre, immō cavēre, nē prō reātibus suīs tam dīra luerent.”
“Plūra mihi nōn licet tēcum, frāter, fārī, quia miserābile agmen festīnanter cōgor prōsequī. Obsecrō, mementō meī, precibusque piīs et eleēmosynīs succurre mihi. Nam ā Paschā Flōrum usque ad ūnum annum spērō salvārī, et clēmentiā Creātōris ab omnibus tormentīs līberārī. Tū vērō sollicitus estō dē tē, vītamque tuam prūdenter corrige, quae plūribus vitiīs sordēscit, scītōque quod diuturna nōn erit. Ad praesēns silē. Rēs, quās nunc ex īnspērātō vīdistī et audīstī, silentiō comprime, et usque ad trēs diēs nēminī praesūmās ēnārrāre.”
Hīs dictīs, mīles festīnus abscessit. Presbyter autem tōtā septimānā graviter aegrōtāvit. Deinde postquam invalēscere coepit. Lexovium adiit, Gisleberiō epīscopō cūncta ex ōrdine recitāvit et ab eō medicāmenta sibimet necessāria impetrāvit.
Postmodum, ferē XV annīs vegetus vīxit, et haec quae scrīptō trādidī ab ōre ipsīus audīvī, et faciem ejus horrendī mīlitis tāctū laesam prōspexī.
Haec ad aedificātiōnem legentium scrīpsī, ut in bonīs cōnsolidentur jūstī, et ā malīs resipīscant perversī.
The Procession of the Dead – English Translation
I consider that I ought not to suppress and pass over in silence what happened to a certain priest of the diocese of Lisieux, in the beginning of January.
In a village called Bonneval there was a priest named Walkelin who served the church of Saint Aubin of Anjou.
At the commencement of the month of January 1091, this priest was summoned in the night time to visit a sick man who lived at the furthest extremity of his parish. As he was pursuing his solitary road homewards, far from any habitation of man, he heard a great noise like the tramp of a numerous body of troops, and thought within himself that the sounds proceeded from the army of Robert de Bellême on their march to lay siege to the castle of Courcy.
The moon, being in her eight day in the constellation of the Ram, shed a clear light so that it was easy to find the way.
Now the priest was young, undaunted, and bold, and of a powerful and active frame of body. However, he hesitated when the sounds, which seemed to proceed from troops on the march first reached his ears, and began to consider whether he should take flight, to avoid being laid hold of and discourteously stripped by the worthless camp followers, or manfully stand on his defence if any one molested him.
Just then he espied four medlar trees in a field at a good distance from the path, and determined to seek shelter behind them, as fast as he could, until the cavalry had passed. But as he was running he was stopped by a man of enormous stature, armed with a massive club, who, raising his weapon above his head, shouted to him:
“Stand! Take not a step further!”
The priest, frozen with terror, stood motionless leaning on his staff. The gigantic club-bearer also stood close to him, and without offering to do him any injury, quietly waited for the passage of the troop.
A murderer’s punishment
Behold a great crowd of people came by on foot, carrying on their heads and shoulders; sheep, clothes, furniture, and moveable’s of all descriptions, such as robbers are in the habit of pillaging. All were making great lamentations and urging one another to hasten their steps.
Among them the priest recognised a number of his neighbours who had lately died, and he heard them bewailing the excruciating sufferings with which they were tormented for their evil deeds. They were followed by a troop of corpse-bearers, who were joined by the giant already mentioned.
They carried as many as fifty biers, each of which was borne by two bearers. On these were seated a number of men of the size of dwarfs, but whose heads were as large as barrels. Two Ethiopians also carried an immense trunk of a tree, to which a poor wretch was rudely bound, who, in his tortures filled the air with fearful cries of anguish; for a horrible demon sat on the same trunk and goaded his loins and back with red-hot spurs until the blood streamed from them.
Not long after, he saw pass before him a numerous company of clergy and monks, with their rulers and judges, the bishops and abbots carrying croziers in their hands.
The clergy and bishops wore black copes, and the abbots and monks cowls of the same hue. They all groaned and wailed, and some of them called to Walkelin, and implored him in the name of their former friendship to pray for them. The priest reported that he saw among them many who were highly esteemed, and who, in human estimation, were now associated with the saints in heaven.
The priest, trembling at these appalling scenes, still rested on his staff, expecting apparitions still more terrible. And now there followed an immense army in which no colour was visible, but only blackness and fiery flames. All were mounted on great war-horses, and fully armed as if they were prepared for immediate battle, and they carried black banners.
A bad idea
Walkelin having seen these countless troops of soldiers pass, on reflection, said within himself:
“Doubtless these are Hennequin’s people. I have often heard of their being seen, but I laughed at the stories, having never had any certain proofs of such things. Now, indeed, I assuredly behold the ghosts of the departed, but no one will believe me when 1 tell the tale unless I can exhibit to mortal eyes some tangible proof of what I have seen.
“I will therefore mount one of the horses which are following the troop without any riders, and will take it home and show it my neighbours to convince them that I speak the truth.”
Accordingly he forthwith snatched the reins of a black steed, but the animal burst violently from his hold and galloped away among the troops of Ethiopians.
The priest was disappointed at the failure of his enterprise; but he was young, bold, and light-hearted, as well as agile and strong. He therefore stationed himself in the middle of the path, prepared for action, and the moment a horse came up, laid his hand upon it.
The horse stopped, ready for him to mount without difficulty, at the same time snorting from his nostrils a cloud of vapour as large as a full-grown oak. The priest then placed his left foot in the stirrup, and, seizing the reins, laid his hand on the saddle, but he instantly felt that his foot rested on red-hot iron, and the hand with which he held the bridle was frozen with insupportable cold which penetrated to his vitals.
While this was passing, four terrifying knights came up and uttering horrible cries, shouted to him:
“What do you want with our horses? You shall come with us. No one of our company had injured you, when you began laying your hands on what belongs to us.”
The priest, in great alarm, let go the horse, and three of the knights attempting to seize him, the fourth said to them:
“Let him go, and allow me to speak with him, for I wish to make him the bearer of a message to my wife and children.”
“Listen to me, I beg, and tell my wife what I command.”
The priest replied:
“I do not know who you are, and I do not know your wife.”
The soldier said:
“I am William de Glos, son of Barno, and was once the renowned steward of William de Breteuil and his father William, earl of Hereford. While in the world I abandoned myself to evil deeds and plunder, and was guilty of more crimes than can be recounted. But, above all, I am tormented for my usuries. I once lent money to a poor man, and received as security a mill which belonged to him, and as he was not able to discharge the debt I kept the mortgage property and left it to my heirs, disinheriting my debtor’s family.”
“You see that I have in my mouth a bar of hot iron from the mill, the weight of which I feel to be more oppressive than the tower of Rouen. Tell, therefore, my wife Beatrice, and my son Roger, to afford me relief, by speedily restoring to the right heir the pledge from which they have received more than I advanced.”
The priest replied: “William de Glos died long ago and this is a commission which no Christian man can undertake. I know neither who you are, or who are your heirs. If I should venture to tell such a tale to Roger de Glos, or his brothers, or to their mother, they would laugh me to scorn as one out of his wits.”
However, William continued still to persist in his earnest entreaties, and furnished him with many sure and well-known tokens of his identity. The priest understood very well all he heard, but pretended not to comprehend it.
At length, overcome by importunities, he consented to what the knight requested, and engaged to do what was required.
Upon this, William repeated again all he had said, and impressed it on his companion during a long conversation.
The knight’s anger
The priest, however, began to consider that he durst not convey to any one the execrable message of a dammed spirit.
“It is not right” he said “to publish such things. I will on no account tell to anyone what you require of me.”
Upon this, the knight was filled with rage, and seizing him by the throat dragged him along on the ground, uttering terrible imprecations. The prisoner felt the hand which grasped him burning like fire, and in this deep extremity cried aloud: “Help me, holy Mary, the glorious mother of Christ.”
No sooner had he invoked the compassionate mother than the aid of the Son of God was afforded him.. For a horseman immediately rode up, with a sword in his right hand, and brandishing it over Roger’s head, exclaimed:
“Will ye kill my brother, ye accursed ones? Loose him and begone!”
The knights instantly fled and followed the black troops. When they had all passed by, the horseman, remaining alone in the road with Walkelin, said to him:
“Do you not know me?” the priest answered “No.” The other said: “I am Robert, son of Ralph le Blond, and your brother.”
A brother’s love
The priest was much astonished at this unexpected occurrence, and much troubled at what he had seen or heard, when the knight began to remind him of a number of things which happened in their youth, and to give him many well-known tokens. The priest had a clear recollection of all that was told him, but not daring to confess it, he stoutly denied all knowledge of the circumstances. At length the knight said to him:
“I am astonished at your hardness of heart and stupidity; it was I who brought you up on our parents’ death, and loved you more than anyone living. I sent you to school in France, supplied you plentifully with clothes and money, and did all in my power to benefit you in every way. You seem now to have forgotten all this, and will not even condescend to recognise me.”
At length the priest, after being abundantly furnished with exact particulars, became convinced by such certain proofs, and bursting into tears, openly admitted the truth of what he had heard. His brother then said:
“You deserve to die, and to be dragged with us to partake of the torments we suffer, because you have rashly laid hands on things which belong to our reprobate crew; no other living man ever dared to make such an attempt. But the mass you sang to-day has saved you from perishing.”
The nature of the punishment
“After I had conferred with you in Normandy, I took leave of you and crossed over to England, where, by the Creator’s order, my life ended, and I have undergone intense suffering for the grievous sins with which I was burdened. It is flaming armour which you see us bear, it poisons us with an infernal stench, weighs us down with its intolerable weight, and scorches us with heat which is inextinguishable! Hitherto I have been tormented with unutterable sufferings but when you were ordained in England, and sang your first mass for the faithful departed, your father Ralph was released from purgatory, and my shield, which was a great torment to me, fell from my arm. I still, as you see, carry a sword, but I confidently expect to be relieved of that burden.”
While the knight was thus talking, the priest attentively listening to him espied a mass of clotted gore, in the shape of a man’s head, at the other’s heels, round his spurs, and in great amazement said to him:
“Whose is this clotted blood which clings to your spurs?”
The knight replied:
“It is not blood but fire; and it weighs me down more than if I had Mount St. Michael to carry. Once I used sharp and bright spurs when I was hurrying to shed blood, and now I justly carry this enormous weight at my heels, which is so intolerably burdensome, that I am unable to express the severity of my sufferings. Men ought to reflect on these things without ceasing, and to dread and beware lest they, for their sins, should undergo such chastisements.
“I am not permitted, my brother, to converse longer with you, for I must hasten to follow this unhappy troop. Remember me, I pray you, and give me the succour of your prayers and alms. In one year after Palm Sunday I trust to be saved; and by the mercy of the Creator released from all my torments. And you, consider well your own state, and prudently mend your life which is blemished by many vices, for know it will not be very long. Now be silent, bury in your own bosom the things you have so unexpectedly seen and heard, and do not venture to tell them to any one for three days.”
With these words the knight hastened away. The priest was seriously ill for a whole week. As soon as he began to recover his strength, he went to Lisieux and related all that had happened to Bishop Gilbert, in regular order, and obtained, on his petition, the salutary remedies he needed.
He afterwards lived in good health almost fifteen years, and I heard what I have written, and more which has escaped my memory, from his own mouth, and saw the mark on his face left by the hand of the terrible knight.
I have committed the account to writing for the edification of my readers, that the righteous may be confirmed in their good resolutions, and the wicked repent of their evil deeds.