Sunday, July 12, 2009
From the Golden Legend
And when Pilate had delivered Jesu Christ to the Jews for to be crucified he doubted the Emperor that he should be reproved of that which he had judged an innocent, and sent a friend of his for to excuse him. And in this while Tiberius the Emperor fell into a grievous malady. And it was told to him that there was one in Jerusalem that cured all manner maladies. And he knew not that Pilate and the Jews had slain him. He said to Volusian, which was secret with him: Go into the parts over sea, and say to Pilate that he send to me the leech or master in medicine for to heal me of my malady. And when he was come to Pilate and had said his message, Pilate was much abashed, and demanded fourteen days of dilation, in which time Volusian found an old woman named Veronica which had been familiar and devout with Jesu Christ. He demanded of her where he might find him that he sought. She then escried and said: alas! Lord God, my Lord, my God was he that ye ask for, whom Pilate damned to death, and whom the Jews delivered to Pilate for envy, and commanded that he should be crucified. Then he complained him sorrowfully, and said: I am sorry because he may not accomplish that which my lord the Emperor hath charged me. To whom Veronica said: My lord and my master when he went preaching, I absented me oft from him, I did do paint his image, for to have alway with me his presence, because that the figure of his image should give me some solace. And thus as I bare a linen kerchief in my bosom, our Lord met me, and demanded whither I went, and when I told him whither I went and the cause, he demanded my kerchief, and anon he emprinted his face and figured it therein. And if my lord had beholden the figure of Jesu Christ devoutly he should be anon guerished and healed. And Volusian asked: Is there neither gold ne silver that this figure may be bought with? She answered: Nay, but strong of courage, devout and of great affection, I shall go with thee and shall bear it to the Emperor for to see it, and after I shall return hither again. Then went Volusian with Veronica to Rome and said to the Emperor: Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou hast long desired, Pilate and the Jews by envy and with wrong, have put to death, and have hanged him on the cross. And a matron, a widow, is come with me which bringeth the image of Jesus, the which if thou with good heart and devoutly wilt behold, and have therein contemplation, thou shalt anon be whole. And when the Emperor had heard this, he did anon make ready the way with cloths of silk, and made the image of Jesus to be brought before him. And anon as he had seen it and worshipped it he was all guerished and whole. Then he commanded that Pilate should be taken and brought to Rome. And when the Emperor heard that Pilate was come to Rome, he was much wroth, and inflamed against him, and bade that he should be brought tofore him. Pilate ware always the garment of our Lord which was without seam, wherewith he was clad when he came before the Emperor. And as soon as the Emperor saw him all his wrath was gone, and the ire out of his heart; he could not say an evil word to him. And in his absence he was sore cruel towards him, and in his presence he was always sweet, and debonair to him, and gave him licence and departed. And anon as he was departed he was as angry and as sore moved as he was before, and more because he had not showed to him his fury. Then he made him to be called again, and sware he should be dead. And anon as he saw him his cruelty was all gone, whereof was great marvel. Now was there one by the inspiration of God, or at the persuasion of some Christian man, caused the Emperor to despoil him of that coat. And anon as he had put it off, the Emperor had in his heart as great ire and fury as he had before, wherefore the Emperor marvelled of this coat, and it was told to him that it was the coat of Jesus. Then the Emperor made Pilate to be set in prison till he had counselled what he should do with him. And sentence was given that he should die a villain's death. And when Pilate heard the sentence, he took a knife and slew himself. And when the Emperor heard how he was dead, he said: Certainly he is dead of a right villainous death and foul, for his own proper hand hath not spared him. Then his body was taken and bounden to a millstone and cast in the river of Tiber for to be sunken in to the bottom. And the ill spirits in the air began to move great tempests and marvellous waves in the water, and horrible thunder and lightning whereof the people was sore afraid and in great doubt. And therefore the Romans drew out the body and in derision sent it to Vienne and cast it in to the river named Rhone. Vienne is as much to say as hell, which is said Gehenna, for then it was a cursed place, and so there is his body in the place of malediction. And the evil spirits be as well there as in other places, and made such tempests as they did before, insomuch that they of that place might not suffer it. And therefore they took the vessel wherein the body was, and sent it for to bury it in the territory of the city of Lausanne. The which also was tempested as the other. And it was taken thence and thrown into a deep pit all environed with mountains. In which place, after the relation of some, be seen illusions, and machinations of fiends be seen grow and boil. And hitherto is this story called apocryphum read. They that have read this, let them say and believe as it shall please them.