The Most Ancient Lives of Saint Patrick - Including the Life by Jocelin, Hitherto Unpublished in America, and His Extant Writings
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E-text prepared by Al Haines


Including the Life by Jocelin, Hitherto Unpublished in America, and His Extant Writings.

Illustrated with the Most Ancient Engravings of Our Great National Saint;

With a Preface and Chronological Table. by Rev. James O'Leary, D.D.

Fifth Edition.

[Frontispiece: Images of Saint Columba, Saint Patrick, and Saint Brigida, Taken from the Spicilegium Sanctorum, and engraven at Paris, A.D. 1629, by Messingham.]

New York: P. J. Kenedy, No. 5 Barclay Street. 1880. Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by P. J. Kenedy, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.



Bishop of Auckland, New Zealand,


The St. Patrick of New Zealand,





The Confession of St. Patrick

St. Patrick's Epistle to Coroticus

St. Fiech's Metrical Life of St. Patrick

Tripartite Life: Part I

Tripartite Life: Part II

Tripartite Life: Part III

The Proeme of Jocelyn

The Life and Acts of St. Patrick by Jocelin


I II How a Fountain burst forth, and how Sight and Learning were given to the Blind. III Of the Stone of Saint Patrick. IV Of the Well dried up. V How he produced Fire from Ice. VI How the Sister of St. Patrick was healed. VII How he restored to Life his Foster-Father. VIII Of the Sheep released from the Wolf. IX Of the Cow freed from an Evil Spirit, and Five other Cows restored to Health. X Of the Water turned into Honey, and of his Nurse restored to Health. XI How the Fort was Cleansed. XII Of the Religious Conversation of Saint Patrick. XIII How Saint Patrick was Carried into Ireland. XIV Of Milcho's Dream, and of its Interpretation. XV Of the Angel Victor appearing to Saint Patrick. XVI How St. Patrick was Redeemed from Slavery. XVII How he Relieved those who were Perishing of Hunger. XVIII Of his Fast continued for Twenty Days. XIX How he Overcame the Temptation of the Enemy. XX How he was again made Captive, and released by the Miracle of the Kettle. XXI Of Saint Patrick's Vision. XXII How he dwelt with the blessed Germanus, and how he received the Habit from Saint Martin. XXIII Of the Flesh-meat changed into Fishes. XXIV How in his Journey to Rome he Found the Staff of Jesus. XXV How he Journeyed unto Rome, and was made a Bishop; and of Palladius, the Legate of Ireland. XXVI How he Saw and Saluted the Lord. XXVII Of the Miraculous Voyage of the Leper. XXVIII How he beheld Devils. XXIX Of the River sentenced to perpetual Sterility. XXX How the Dry Land was turned into a Marsh. XXXI Of his coming into Ulidia, and of the Prophecy of the Magicians on his coming. XXXII How a Fierce Dog was suddenly Tamed; of the Conversion of Dichu; and how a Fountain rose out of the Earth. XXXIII Of the Evil-doer Swallowed up by the Earth. XXXIV Of the Aged Man restored unto his Youth. XXXV Of the Death of Rius. XXXVI Of the Death of Milcho. XXXVII Of the Holy Mochna. XXXVIII Of the Hostages of Dichu which were Freed by an Angel. XXXIX Of Saint Benignus, and of the Prophecy which was made of him. XL The Fire that was Lighted by Patrick. XLI Of the Holy Man named Hercus. XLII How the Magician was Destroyed. XLIII Of the Miraculous but Terrible Rescue of Saint Patrick. XLIV How the Saint Escaped the Deadly Snares. XLV Of the Poison mingled in the Wine. XLVI Of the Fantastic Snow. XLVII How the Darkness was Dispersed. XLVIII How the Magician and his Garment were consumed, and Benignus and the Garment of St. Patrick preserved unhurt. XLIX Of Many who were Swallowed up by the Earth, and how the rest were Converted unto God. L Of the Sisters and the Nephews of St. Patrick. LI How Saint Lumanus Sailed against the Wind and the Stream. LII How Forkernus and his Parents were Converted and Baptized. LIII Of the Prophecy of St. Patrick on Coyrbre, and of the Unfruitfulness of a River. LIV Of Conallus, and of the Prophecy of Patrick concerning him. LV Of the Altar of Saint Patrick. LVI Of the Images destroyed from Heaven, and of the Fountain produced from the Earth. LVII How the Darkness was Dispersed. LVIII Of the Virgins who went unto Heaven. LIX Of the Magician Struck by Lightning, and of Twelve Thousand Men Converted unto Christ. LX Of another Magician whom the Earth swallowed up. LXI How another Magician is Sunken up to the Ears, and again is Raised up. LXII How a huge Stone was raised by the Saint. LXIII How the Women were raised from Death. LXIV Two Women who were pregnant are with their Infants rescued from Death unto Life. LXV How he builded a Church of Clay alone. LXVI Of the two Rivers, Dubh and Drobhaois. LXVII Of the Voice that issued from the Sepulchre. LXVIII Of his Journey, and of his manifold Miracles. LXIX The Prophecy of the Saint Concerning Dublinia; and the Sick Man cured. LXX A Fountain is produced out of the Earth. LXXI The Dead are raised up; the King and the People are converted; a Fountain is produced, and Tribute promised. LXXII Of the Sentence pronounced on Murinus. LXXIII Foylge is punished with a double Death, and the deceiving Fiend is driven out of his body. LXXIV Of the Saint's Prophecy concerning the Kings of Momonia. LXXV How Dercardius and his Companions were destroyed. LXXVI Of the Quarrel of the Two Brothers. LXXVII Fourteen Thousand Men are miraculously refreshed with the Meat of Five Animals. LXXVIII Nineteen Men are raised by Saint Patrick from the Dead. LXXIX The King's Daughter becomes a Nun. LXXX The King Echu is raised from Death. LXXXI A Man of Gigantic Stature is revived from Death. LXXXII Of Another Man who was Buried and Raised Again. LXXXIII Of the Boy who was torn in pieces by Swine and restored unto Life. LXXXIV The Prayers of the Saint confer Beauty on an Ugly Man. LXXXV The Stature of the same Man is increased unto a sufficient Height. LXXXVI Of Saint Olcanus, the Teacher and Bishop, raised out of the Earth. LXXXVII How the Tooth of Saint Patrick shone in the River. LXXXVIII The Saint Prophesieth of the Virgin Treha, and a Veil is placed on her Head by an Angel. LXXXIX Saint Patrick Prophesieth of the Sanctity of Saint Columba. XC The River is Divided in Twain, and Blessed. XCI The Prophecy that Patrick made unto Connedus. XCII Of Mannia and the other Islands Converted unto God. XCIII Of the Saint's Prophecy concerning Six Priests, and of a Skin which he bestowed to them. XCIV Saint Patrick Continueth his Preaching Three Days. XCV Of the Vision of the Blessed Brigida, and its Explanation. XCVI Of the Angels of God, of the Heavenly Light, and of the Prophecy of Saint Patrick. XCVII The Temptation of the Nun is Subdued. XCVIII Of Saint Comhgallus, and the Monastery foreshowed of Heaven. XCIX The Saint Prophesieth of the Obstinate Fergus and of his Children. C The Malediction of the Saint is laid upon the Stones of Usniach. CI Of the Woman in Travail, and of her Offspring. CII The Bishop Saint Mel catcheth Fishes on the Dry Land. CIII The Footprints of Certain Virgins are impressed on a Stone. CIV The Earth is raised in the midst of the Stream. CV Of the Altar and the Four Chalices discovered under the Earth. CVI A Treasure is Twice discovered in the Earth by Swine. CVII Saint Patrick prophesieth of the two Brothers. CVIII The Penitence of Asycus the Bishop. CIX The Tempest of the Sea is Composed. CX The Miracle of the Waters is Repeated. CXI Of the Cowl of Saint Patrick which remained untouched by the Sea. CXII Of the Veil that was sent from Heaven. CXIII Of the Holy Leper, of the New Fountain, of the Angelic Attendance, and the Prophecy of Patrick thereon. CXIV Of the Lake which was removed by Saint Patrick. CXV Patrick understandeth the Conscience of Saint Fiechus, and blesseth him. CXVI The Chariot is, by the Decision of the Angel, sent unto Fiechus. CXVII The Several Offices of a certain Monastery are appointed by an Angel. CXVIII The Prophecy of Saint Patrick concerning the Men of Callria. CXIX Certain Cheeses are converted into Stones, and many Wicked Men are drowned. CXX Of the Pitfalls passed over without danger, and the Prophecies of the Saint. CXXI The Prophecy of the Saint on a Certain Village. CXXII The Sentence prophetically declared. CXXIII The Prophecy of the Saint on a Certain Bishop and on the one who consecrated him. CXXIV The Blind Man is restored to Sight; from him who seeeth is Sight taken; and three are relieved of Lameness. CXXV Nine Evil-doers are consumed by Fire from Heaven, and a Fountain is produced out of the Earth. CXXVI Another Magician is in like manner Consumed. CXXVII A Grove is cursed by the Saint. CXXVIII The Sentence pronounced by the Saint on his Deceivers. CXXIX A Mountain is swallowed up in the Earth, and again it is raised. CXXX Euchodius is cursed by the Saint, and his Son is blessed. CXXXI Of Saint Sennachus the Bishop. CXXXII The Miracle which is worked for Certain Hewers of Wood. CXXXIII A Hone is divided by Saint Patrick, and the Oppressor is drowned. CXXXIV An Angel foretelleth to Patrick of Saint Moccheus. CXXXV The Sentence pronounced by Patrick on Moccheus. CXXXVI The Saint prophesieth of two Brothers, and a Fountain is produced out of the Earth. CXXXVII The Saint Prophesieth of a Certain Youth. CXXXVIII Of Conallus and of his Shield. CXXXIX A Heavenly Light shineth around Saint Patrick, and Victor is converted unto the Faith. CXL A Certain Cymbal of Saint Patrick is lost and found again. CXLI The Obedience of Saint Volchanus. CXLII Of Saint Rodanus, the Herdsman of Patrick. CXLIII Of Saint Kertennus, the Bishop of Clochor. CXLIV Of a Boy who was blessed by Saint Patrick. CXLV Of a Woman who was raised from Death. CXLVI The Testimony of One who was revived from Death. CXLVII The Cross that was not observed; and the Voice which issued from the Sepulchre. CXLVIII A Goat bleateth in the Stomach of a Thief. CXLIX Of the Cloaks which fell from Heaven. CL A wicked Tyrant is transformed into a Fox. CLI The wicked Man Machaldus and his Companions are converted unto the Faith. CLII The Penitence of Machaldus. CLIII A Meadow is overflowed by the Sea. CLIV A Stone is changed into Milk, and Milk is changed into Stones. CLV A Wagon laden with Twigs is saved from the Fire. CLVI The Saint is preserved untouched from the falling Rain. CLVII The Fingers of Saint Patrick shine with Light. CLVIII Fire is also seen to issue from his Mouth. CLIX The holy Virgin Memhessa departeth unto God. CLX Of the Work which was done in the Lord's Day. CLXI A certain Man is healed, and a Horse revived, in a place which is called Feart. CLXII Of the Vessel which was given unto Saint Patrick, and again taken from him. CLXIII Ardmachia is given unto Saint Patrick; and a Fountain is produced out of the Earth. CLXIV The Saint beholdeth a Vision of Angels, and cureth Sixteen Lepers. CLXV Of the City of Ardmachia, and Twelve of its Citizens. CLXVI At the Direction of the Angels Saint Patrick goeth unto Rome. CLXVII The Acts of Saint Patrick while returning from Rome. CLXVIII The Acts of St. Patrick after he had Returned. CLXIX Of the Threefold Plagues of Hibernia. CLXX The Threefold Plague is driven out of Hibernia by Saint Patrick. CLXXI Without Earthly Food the Saint completeth a Fast of Forty Days. CLXXII He banisheth the Demons forth of the Island. CLXXIII Troops of Angels appear unto the Saint. CLXXIV The Saint titheth Hibernia and the Dwellers therein. CLXXV The different States of Hibernia are in a Heavenly Vision shown unto the Saint. CLXXVI The Answer of Saint Patrick to Secundinus. CLXXVII Secundinus composeth a Hymn in Honor of Saint Patrick. CLXXVIII The Soul of a Certain Sinner is by Saint Patrick freed from Demons. CLXXIX How the Saint appeared unto Colmanus while singing his Hymn. CLXXX The Admirable Contemplations of the Saint. CLXXXI Saint Patrick beholdeth the Souls of the Rich and of the poor Man sent unto different Places. CLXXXII Saint Vinvaloeus is miraculously stayed by Saint Patrick from his purposed Journey. CLXXXIII The Daily Prayers and Genuflexions of the Saint. CLXXXIV How he passed the Night Season. CLXXXV The Habit, the Bearing, and the Acts of Saint Patrick. CLXXXVI Of the Sick whom he healed, and the Dead whom he raised; and of his Disciples who recorded his Acts. CLXXXVII The Angelic Voice showeth unto Saint Patrick of his Death and of the Place of his Burial. CLXXXVIII The Place of his Sepulture is foreshown by a Light from Heaven. CLXXXIX Saint Brigida bringeth unto Saint Patrick the Garment which was to enshroud his Body. CXC The Death of Saint Patrick. CXCI The Number of the Years of his Life. CXCII The Funeral Honors which Men and Angels paid unto the Body of the Saint. CXCIII The Light continueth for Twelve Days. CXCIV The Miraculous Rising of the Sea between the Contending People. CXCV Two Wains appear, the which are sent by a Miracle. CXCVI The Sepulture of Saint Patrick in the City of Dunum.

A Chronological Table to the Lives of St. Patrick


Images of Saint Columba, Saint Patrick, and Saint Brigida, Taken from the Spicilegium Sanctorum, and engraven at Paris, A.D. 1629, by Messingham. . . . . . . Frontispiece

The Saint Patrick of Ancient Ages

The Saint Patrick of Medieval Times

The Saint Patrick of Our Own Century


The present volume has three objects in view: first, to present the life of Saint Patrick without writing a history of the national church which he founded or introducing irrelevant matter; secondly, to place his life and character before the reader as they have been handed down to us in the most ancient extant documents, without overcoating or withholding anything in the originals; and, thirdly, to deliver to the public at as low a price as possible the original documents grouped together.

At first I had intended to present the Seven Lives of St. Patrick as published by Colgan; but, to my knowledge, there is no copy of the Acta Triadis Thaumaturgae in this country, and the four lives which I have omitted—that is, by Benignus, Patrick Junior, Eiselan the Wise, and Probus—are of little consequence. The metrical life by St. Fiech is undoubtedly the most ancient and the most removed from saintly imaginings of miracles. The other two, that by Saint MacEvin and that by Jocelin, appear to have been elaborate compendiums of stories written in antecedent ages, and extant in their time, concerning Saint Patrick. Of the life by Saint Fiech I have made a rude translation corresponding with the original; of the Tripartite I have given Professor Hennessy's version; and of the extraordinary biography by Jocelin I reproduce, for the first time in this country, the rendering from Colgan by Mr. Swift, as published by the Hibernia Press Company, at Dublin, in 1809. Colgan's Latin version of the Life of Saint Patrick by Jocelin is given by the Bollandists, and may be seen in many libraries in this country; but the original Lives, as published at Louvain, are at the Irish College in Rome and at Trinity College, Dublin. A copy may be found elsewhere, but, if so, it is exceedingly valuable, forasmuch as it is exceedingly rare. The Life of Saint Patrick by Saint Fiech will convey an estimate of his character about the time of his death; the Tripartite life by Saint MacEvin will probably impart the notions of the eighth century; and the life by Jocelin will communicate the exaggerations of mediaeval times in the twelfth century. The public will thus have fairly placed before them the thoughts of ages about Saint Patrick through seven centuries after his death. I supply the reader with the Confession and Epistle attributed to Saint Patrick, though I incline to the opinion that they are the issue of an age subsequent to that of Ireland's Saint. The Chronotaxis or Chronological Table at the end of the book I have made out from the work by the Bollandists, which seems to have been prepared with scholarly and judicious diligence.

Of the illustrations, it is to be stated that the one prefixed to the life of St. Fiech has been an heirloom in the family of Counsellor Shechan, of this city, and is taken from an old Irish prayer-book, supposed to be between three and five hundred years old. The frontispiece and the illustration fronting the Tripartite Life are taken from the Spicelegium, were engraved by Messengham, with the approbation of the French King and the Paris Archbishop, at Paris, in 1629, and were reproduced at Dublin in 1809. They are now re-engraved for the first time in this country. The illustration prefixed to the life by Jocelin is of ancient date, and supposed to have been suggested by the representation of St. Patrick in the Kilkenny Cathedral.

I hold myself responsible in no way whatsoever for the statements of St. Fiech, St. MacEvin, or Jocelin, but I present to the reader what they asserted they had received from antiquity. Their narratives may be pronounced fables, or legends, or inventions, or superstitions, or histories. On their intrinsic merits I am silent, except inasmuch as they breathe a firm belief in the omnipresence of God amongst men, strangely at variance with the lifeless, frosty indifference of our own day, and are, in addition, savored with a holy heat of charity and a high moral tone. Without comment, then, from me, I present to you in America, kind readers, Saint Patrick, the Apostle and Patron of Ireland and the Irish race, as I received him from my ancestors. I neither overstate, nor under-estimate, nor withheld anything. Judge for yourselves.




I, Patrick, a sinner, the rudest and least of all the faithful, and most contemptible to very many, had for my father Calpornius, a deacon, the son of Potitus, a priest, who lived in Bannaven Taberniae, for he had a small country-house close by, where I was taken captive when I was nearly sixteen years of age. I knew not the true God, and I was brought captive to Ireland with many thousand men, as we deserved; for we had forsaken God, and had not kept His commandments, and were disobedient to our priests, who admonished us for our salvation. And the Lord brought down upon us the anger of His Spirit, and scattered us among many nations, even to the ends of the earth, where now my littleness may be seen amongst strangers. And there the Lord showed me my unbelief, that at length I might remember my iniquities, and strengthen my whole heart towards the Lord my God, who looked down upon my humiliation, and had pity upon my youth and ignorance, and kept me before I knew him, and before I had wisdom or could distinguish between good and evil, and strengthened and comforted me as a father would his son.

Therefore I cannot and ought not to be silent concerning the great benefits and graces which the Lord has bestowed upon me in the land of my captivity, since the only return we can make for such benefits is, after God has reproved us, to extol and confess His wonders before every nation under heaven.

For there is no other God, nor ever was, nor shall be hereafter, except the Lord, the unbegotten Father, without beginning, by whom all things have their being, who upholds all things, as we have said; and His Son, Jesus Christ, whom, together with the Father, we testify to have always existed before the origin of the world, spiritually with the Father, ineffably begotten before every beginning; and by Him were the visible things made—was made man, death being overthrown, in the heavens. And he hath given Him all power over every name of things in heaven and earth and hell, that every tongue should confess to Him that Jesus Christ is Lord, and whose coming we expect ere long to judge the living and dead; who will render to every one according to his works; who hath poured forth abundantly on us both the gift of His Spirit and the pledge of immortality; who makes the faithful and obedient to become the sons of God and coheirs with Christ; whom we confess and adore one God in the Trinity of the holy Name. For He Himself has said by the prophet: "Call upon me in the day of thy trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt magnify me." And again he says: "It is honorable to reveal and confess the works of God."

Although I am imperfect in many things, I wish my brothers and acquaintances to know my dispositions, that they may be able to understand the desire of my soul. I am not ignorant of the testimony of my Lord, who declares in the psalm: "Thou wilt destroy all that speak a lie." And again: "The mouth that belieth, killeth the soul." And the same Lord: "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the Day of Judgment." Therefore I ought, with great fear and trembling, to dread this sentence in that day when no one shall be able to withdraw or hide himself, but all must give an account, even of the least sins, before the judgment-seat of the Lord Christ.

Therefore, although I thought of writing long ago, I feared the censure of men, because I had not learned as the others who studied the sacred writings in the best way, and have never changed their language since their childhood, but continually learned it more perfectly, while I have to translate my words and speech into a foreign tongue; and it can be easily proved from the style of my writings how I am instructed in speech and learning, for the Wise Man says: "By the tongue wisdom is discerned, and understanding and knowledge and learning by the word of the wise." But what avails an excuse, however true, especially when accompanied with presumption? For I, in my old age, strive after that which I was hindered from learning in my youth. But who will believe me? And if I say what I have said before, that as a mere youth, nay, almost a boy in words, I was taken captive, before I knew what I ought to seek and to avoid. Therefore I blush to-day and greatly dread to expose my ignorance, because I am not able to express myself briefly, with clear and well-arranged words, as the spirit desires and the mind and intellect point out. But if it had been given to me as to others, I would not have been silent for the recompense; and although it may seem to some who think thus that I put myself forward with my ignorance and too slow tongue, nevertheless it is written, "The tongues of stammerers shall speak readily and plain"; how much more ought we to undertake this who are the epistle of Christ for salvation unto the ends of the earth, written in pure heart, if not with eloquence, yet with power and endurance, "not written with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God"; and again the Spirit testifies, "Husbandry, it was ordained by the Most High."

Therefore I undertook this work at first, though a rustic and a fugitive, and not knowing how to provide for the future; but this I know for certain: that before I was humbled, I was like a stone lying in deep mire, until He who is powerful came, and in his mercy raised me up, and indeed again succored and placed me in His part; and therefore I ought to cry out loudly, and thank the Lord in some degree for all his benefits, here and after, which the mind of man cannot estimate. Therefore be amazed, both great and small who fear God; rhetoricians and ye of the Lord, hear and enquire who aroused me, a fool, from the midst of those who seem to be wise, and skilled in the law, and powerful in speech and in all things, and hath inspired me (if indeed I be such) beyond others, though I am despised by this world, so that, with fear and reverence and without murmuring, I should faithfully serve this nation, to whom the charity of Christ hath transferred me, and given me for my life, if I shall survive; and that at last with humility and truth I should serve them.

In the measure, therefore, of the faith of the Trinity it behoves me to distinguish without shrinking from danger, and to make known the gift of God and everlasting consolation, and, without fear, confidently to spread abroad the name of God everywhere, so that after my death I may leave it to my Gallican brethren and to my sons, many thousands of whom I have baptized in the Lord. And I was neither worthy nor deserving that the Lord should so favor me, his servant, after such afflictions and great difficulties, after captivity, after many years, as to grant me such grace for this nation—a thing which, still in my youth, I had neither hoped for nor thought of.

But after I had come to Ireland, I was daily tending sheep, and I prayed frequently during the day, and the love of God, and His faith and fear, increased in me more and more, and the spirit was stirred; so that in a single day I have said as many as a hundred prayers, and in the night nearly the same; so that I remained in the woods, and on the mountain, even before the dawn, I was roused to prayer, in snow, and ice, and rain, and I felt no injury from it, nor was there any slothfulness in me, as I see now, because the spirit was then fervent in me. And there one night I heard a voice, while I slept, saying to me: "Thou dost fast well; fasting thou shalt soon go to thy country." And again, after a very short time, I heard a response, saying to me: "Behold, thy ship is ready." And the place was not near, but perhaps about two hundred miles distant, and I had never been there, nor did I know any one who lived there.

Soon after this, I fled, and left the man with whom I had been six years, and I came in the strength of the Lord, who directed my way for good; and I feared nothing until I arrived at that ship. And the day on which I came the ship had moved out of her place; and I asked to go and sail with them, but the master was displeased, and replied angrily: "Do not seek to go with us." And when I heard this, I went from them to go thither where I had lodged; and I began to pray as I went; but before I had ended my prayer, I heard one of them calling out loudly after me, "Come quickly, for these men are calling you"; and I returned to them immediately, and they began saying to me; "Come, we receive thee in good faith; make such friendship with us as you wish." And then that day I disdained to supplicate them, on account of the fear of God; but I hoped of them that they would come into the faith of Jesus Christ, for they were Gentiles; and this I obtained from them; and after three days, we reached land, and for twenty-eight days we journeyed through a desert, and their provisions failed, and they suffered greatly from hunger; and one day the master began to say to me: "What sayest thou, O Christian? Your God is great and all-powerful; why canst thou not, then, pray for us, since we are perishing with hunger, and may never see the face of man again?" And I said to them plainly: "Turn sincerely to the Lord my God, to whom nothing is impossible, that He may send us food on your way until ye are satisfied, for it abounds everywhere for Him." And with God's help it was so done; for, lo! a flock of swine appeared in the way before our eyes, and they killed many of them, and remained there two nights, much refreshed and filled with their flesh; for many of them had been left exhausted by the wayside. After this, they gave the greatest thanks to God, and I was honored in their eyes.

They also found wild honey, and offered me some of it, and one of them said: "This is offered in sacrifice, thanks be to God"; after this, I tasted no more. But the same night, while I was sleeping, I was strongly tempted by Satan (of which I shall be mindful as long as I shall be in this body), and there fell, as it were, a great stone upon me, and there was no strength in my limbs. And then it came into my mind, I know not bow, to call upon Elias, and at the same moment I saw the sun rising in the heavens; and while I cried out Elias with all my might, behold! the splendor of the sun was shed upon me, and immediately shook from me all heaviness. And I believe that Christ my Lord cried out for me; and I hope that it will be so in the day of my adversity, as the Lord testifies in the Gospel: "It is not you that speak," etc.

Some time after, I was taken captive; and on the first night I remained with them I heard a divine response, saying: "You shall be two months with them"; and so it was. On the sixtieth night the Lord delivered me out of their hands, and on the road He provided for us food, and fire, and dry weather daily, until on the fourteenth day we all came. As I have above mentioned, we journeyed twenty-eight days through a desert, and on the night of our arrival we had no provisions left.

And again, after a few years, I was with my relations in Britain, who received me as a son, and earnestly besought me that then, at least, after I had gone through so many tribulations, I would go nowhere from them. And there I saw, in the midst of the night, a man who appeared to come from Ireland, whose name was Victorious, and he had innumerable letters with him, one of which he gave to me; and I read the commencement of the epistle containing "The Voice of the Irish"; and as I read aloud the beginning of the letter, I thought I heard in my mind the voice of those who were near the wood of Focluti, which is near the western sea; and they cried out: "We entreat thee, holy youth, to come and walk still amongst us." And my heart was greatly touched, so that I could not read any more, and so I awoke. Thanks be to God that, after very many years, the Lord hath granted them their desire!

And on another night, whether in me or near me God knows, I heard eloquent words which I could not understand until the end of the speech, when it was said: "He who gave His life for thee is He who speaks in thee"; and so I awoke full of joy. And again, I saw one praying within me, and I was, as it were, within my body, and I heard, that is, above the inner man, and there he prayed earnestly with groans. And I was amazed at this, and marvelled, and considered who this could be who prayed in me. But at the end of the prayer it came to pass that it was a bishop, and I awoke and remembered that the apostle said: "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings." And again: "The Lord is our advocate, who also maketh intercession for us." [And when I was tried by some of my elders, who came and spoke of my sins as an objection to my laborious episcopate, I was on that day sometimes strongly driven to fall away here and for ever. But the Lord spared a proselyte and a stranger for His name's sake, and mercifully assisted me greatly in that affliction, because I was not entirely deserving of reproach. I pray God that they may not be found guilty of giving an occasion of sin; they found me after thirty years, and brought against me words that I had confessed before I was a deacon; from anxiety, with sorrow of mind, I told my dearest friend what I had done in my youth, in one day, nay, rather in one hour, because I was not then able to overcome. I know not, God knows, if I was then fifteen years of age, and from my childhood I did not believe in the living God, but remained in death and unbelief until I was severely chastised, and, in truth, I have been humbled by hunger and nakedness; and even now I did not come to Ireland of my own will until I was nearly worn out. But this proved a blessing to me, for I was thus corrected by the Lord, and he made me fit to be to-day that which was once far from my thoughts, so that I should care for the salvation of others, for at that time I had no thought even for myself.

And in the night of the day in which I was reproved for the things above mentioned, I saw in the night.] I saw in a vision of the night a writing without honor before me. And then I heard an answer saying to me, "We have heard with displeasure the face of the elect without a name." He did not say, "Thou hast badly seen," but "We have badly seen," as if he had there joined himself to me, as he said: "He that touches you is as he who toucheth the apple of my eye." Therefore I give thanks to Him who comforted me in all things that He did not hinder me from the journey which I had proposed, and also as regards my work which I had learned of Christ. But from this thing I felt no little strength, and my faith was approved before God and man.

Therefore I dare to say that my conscience does not reproach me now or for the future. I have the testimony of God now that I have not lied in the words I have told you. [But I feel the more grieved that my dearest friend, to whom I would have trusted even my life, should have occasioned this. And I learned from certain brethren that, before this defence, when I was not present, nor even in Britain, and with which I had nothing to do, that he defended me in my absence. He had even said to me with his own lips: "Thou art going to be given the rank of bishop," though I was not worthy of it. How, then, did it happen to him that afterwards, before all persons, good and bad, he should detract me publicly, when he had before this freely and gladly praised me? And the Lord, who is greater than all? I have said enough. Still, I ought not to hide the gift of God which he gave me in the land of my captivity, for I sought him earnestly then, and found him there, and He preserved me from all iniquity, I believe, through the indwelling of His Spirit, which worketh within me unto this day more and more. But God knows, if it were man who spoke this to me, I would perhaps be silent for the love of Christ.

Therefore I give unceasing thanks to my God, who preserved me faithful in the day of my temptation, so that I can to-day offer him sacrifice confidently—the living sacrifice of my soul to Christ my Lord, who preserved me from all my troubles, so that I may say to Him: "Who am I, O Lord! or what is my calling, that divine grace should have so wrought with me, so that to-day I can so rejoice amongst the nations, and magnify Thy name, wherever I am, not only in prosperity, but also in adversity?" and I ought to receive equally whatever happens to me, whether good or evil, giving God thanks in all things, who hath shown me that I should, undoubtingly, without ceasing, believe in Him who hath heard me though I am ignorant, and that I should undertake, in those days, so holy and wonderful a work, and imitate those of whom our Lord predicted of old that they should preach His Gospel to all nations for a testimony before the end of the world; which has been accomplished, as we have seen. Behold, we are witnesses that the Gospel has been preached to the limits of human habitation.]

But it is too long to detail my labors particularly, or even partially. I will briefly say how the good God often delivered me from slavery and from twelve dangers by which my soul was threatened, besides many snares, and what in words I cannot express, and with which I will not trouble my readers. But God knows all things, even before they come to pass [as he does me, a poor creature. Therefore the divine voice very often admonished me to consider whence came this wisdom, which was not in me, who neither knew God nor the number of my days. Whence did I obtain afterwards the great and salutary gift to know or love God, and to leave my country and my relations, although many gifts were offered to me with sorrow and tears. And I offended many of my seniors then against my will. But, guided by God, I yielded in no way to them—not to me, but to God be the glory, who conquered in me, and resisted them all; so that I came to the Irish people to preach the Gospel, and bear with the injuries of the unbelieving, and listen to the reproach of being a stranger, and endure many persecutions, even to chains, and to give up my freedom for the benefit of others. And if I be worthy, I am ready to give up my life unhesitatingly and most cheerfully for His name, and thus, if the Lord permit, I desire to spend it even until my death.]

For I am truly a debtor to God, who has given me so much grace that many people should be born again to God through me, and that for them everywhere should be ordained priests for this people, newly come to the faith, which the Lord took from the ends of the earth, as He promised formerly by His prophets: "Our fathers falsely prepared idols, and there is no profit in them, to thee the Gentiles come and will say." And again: "I have set thee to be the light of the Gentiles, that thou mayest be for salvation unto the utmost parts of the earth." And thus I wait the promise of Him who never fails, as He promises in the Gospel: "They shall come from the east and the west [from the north and from the south], and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob." So we believe that the faithful shall come from all parts of the world.

Therefore we ought to fish well and diligently; as the Lord taught and said: "Come ye after me, and I will make you fishers of men." And again: "Behold, saith the Lord, I send many fishers and many hunters," etc. Therefore we should, by all means, set our nets in such a manner that a great multitude and a crowd may be caught therein for God, and that everywhere there may be priests who shall baptize and exhort a people who so need it and desire it; as the Lord teaches and admonishes in the Gospel, saying: "Going, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, even to the consummation of the world." And again: "Go ye into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned." The rest are examples. [And again: "This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all nations, and then shall the consummation come." And again, the Lord, speaking by the prophet, says: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith the Lord, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Moreover, upon my servants and handmaids in those days I will pour forth my spirit, and they shall prophesy." And Osee saith: "And I will say to that which was not my people: Thou art my people: and to her who hath not found mercy; and they shall say; Thou art my God. And in the place where I said to them, You are not my people, it shall be said to them, Ye are the sons of the living God."]

Wherefore behold how in Ireland they who never had the knowledge of God, and hitherto only worshipped unclean idols, have lately become the people of the Lord, and are called the sons of God. The sons of the Scoti and the daughters of princes are seen to be monks and virgins of Christ. [And there was one blessed Irish maiden, of adult age, noble and very beautiful, whom I baptized, and after a few days she came to us for a reason, and gave us to understand that she had received a command from God, and was informed that she was to become a virgin of Christ, and to draw near to God. Thanks be to God, six days after this she most excellently and eagerly entered on this state of life, which all the virgins of God now adopt, even against the will of their parents, even enduring reproaches and persecution from them, and notwithstanding they increase in number; and as for those who are born again in this way, we know not their number, except the widows and those who observe continency. But those who are in slavery are most severely persecuted, yet they persevere in spite of terrors and threats. But the Lord has given grace to many of my handmaids, for they zealously imitate him as far as they are able.

Therefore, though I could have wished to leave them, and had been ready and very desirous to go to Britannia, as if to my country and parents, and not that alone, but to go even to Gallia, to visit my brethren, and to see the face of my Lord's saints; and God knows that I desired it greatly. But I am bound in the spirit, and he who witnesseth will account me guilty if I do it, and I fear to lose the labor which I have commenced—and not I, but the Lord Christ, who commanded me to come and be with them for the rest of my life; if the Lord grants it, and keeps me from every evil way, that I should not sin before him. But I hope that which I am bound to do, but I trust not myself as long as I am in this body of death, for he is strong who daily tries to turn me from the faith, and from the sincere religious chastity to Christ my Lord, to which I have dedicated myself to the end of my life, but the flesh, which is in enmity, always draws me to death—that is, to unlawful desires, that must be unlawfully gratified—and I know in part that I have not led a perfect life like other believers. But I confess to my Lord, and do not blush before him, because I tell the truth, that from the time I knew him in my youth the love of God and his fear increased within me, and until now, by the favor of the Lord, I have kept the faith.

Let him who pleases insult and laugh at me; I will not be silent, neither do I conceal the signs and wonders that the Lord hath shown to me many years before they took place, as he who knew all things even before the world began. Therefore I ought to give thanks to God without ceasing, who often pardoned my uncalled-for folly and negligence, who did not let his anger turn fiercely against me, who allowed me to work with him, though I did not promptly follow what was shown me and what the Spirit suggested; and the Lord had compassion on me among thousands and thousands, because he saw my good-will; but then I knew not what to do, because many were hindering my mission, and were talking behind my back, and saying: "Why does he run into danger among enemies who know not God?" This was not said with malice, but because they did not approve of it, but, as I now testify, because of my rusticity, you understand; and I did not at once recognize the grace which was then in me, but now I know I should have known before.

Therefore I have simply related to my brethren and fellow-servants who have believed me why I have preached and still preach to strengthen and confirm your faith. Would that you also might aim at higher things and succeed better. This shall be my glory, because a wise son is the glory of his father. You know and God knows how I have lived among you from my youth up, both faithful in truth and sincere in heart; also, I have given the faith to the people among whom I dwell, and I will continue to do so. God knows I have not overreached any of them, nor do I think of it, because of God and his Church, lest I should excite persecution for them and all of us, and lest the name of the Lord should be blasphemed through me; for it is written, "Woe to the man through whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed." For though I am unskilled in names, I have endeavored to be careful even with my Christian brethren, and the virgins of Christ, and devout women, who freely gave me gifts, and cast of their ornaments upon the altar; but I returned them, though they were offended with me because I did so. But I, for the hope of immortality, guarded myself cautiously in all things, so that they could not find me unfaithful, even in the smallest matter, so that unbelievers could not defame or detract from my ministry in the least.

But when it happened that I baptized so many thousand men, did I expect even half a "screpall" from them? Tell me, and I will return it to you. Or when the Lord ordained clergy through my humility and ministry, did I confer the grace gratuitously? If I asked of any of them even the value of my shoe, tell me, and I will repay you more. I rather spent for you as far as I was able; and among you and everywhere for you I endured many perils in distant places, where none had been further or had ever come to baptize, or ordain the clergy, or confirm the people. By the grace of the Lord I labored freely and diligently in all things for your salvation. At this time also I used to give rewards to kings, whose sons I hired, who travelled with me, and who understood nothing but [to protect] me and my companions. And on one day they wished to kill me; but the time had not come yet; but they put me in irons, and carried off all we possessed. But on the fourteenth day the Lord released me from their power, and what was ours was restored to us through God and through the friends we had before secured.

You know how much I expended on the judges in the districts which I visited most frequently. For I think I paid them not less than the hire of fifteen men, that you might have the benefit of my presence, and that I might always enjoy you in the Lord. I do not regret it, nor is it sufficient for me. I still spend, and will still spend, for your souls.] Behold, I call God to witness on my soul that I do not lie, neither that you may have occasion, nor that I hope for honor from any of you; sufficient for me is the honor of truth. But I see that now in the present world I am greatly exalted by the Lord; and I was not worthy nor fit to be thus exalted, for I know that poverty and calamity are more suitable for me than riches and luxury. But even Christ the Lord was poor for us.

Truly, I, a poor and miserable creature, even if I wished for wealth, have it not; neither do I judge myself, because I daily expect either death, or treachery, or slavery, or an occasion of some kind or another. [But I fear none of these things, relying on the heavenly promise; for I have cast myself into the hands of the omnipotent God, who rules everywhere; as the prophet says: "Cast thy care upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee."

Behold, now I commend my soul to my most faithful God, whose mission I perform, notwithstanding my unworthiness; but because He does not accept persons, and has chosen me for this office, to be one of the least of His ministers. "What shall I render to Him for all the things that He hath rendered to me?" But what shall I say or promise to my Lord? For I see nothing unless He gives Himself to me; but He searches the heart and reins, because I ardently desire and am ready that He should give me to drink His cup, as He has permitted others to do who have loved Him. Wherefore may my Lord never permit me to lose His people whom He has gained in the ends of the earth. I pray God, therefore, that He may give me perseverance, and that He may vouchsafe to permit me to give Him faithful testimony for my God until my death. And if I have done anything good for my God, whom I love, I beseech Him to grant to me that with those proselytes and captives I may pour out my blood for His name, even if my body should be denied burial, and be miserably torn limb from limb by dogs or fierce beasts, or that the birds of heaven should devour it. I believe most certainly that if this should happen to me, I have gained both soul and body; for it is certain that we shall rise one day in the brightness of the sun—that is, the glory of Christ Jesus our Redeemer—as sons of God but as joint heirs with Christ, and to become conformable to His image.

For that sun which we see rises daily for us; but it will not rule or continue in its splendor for ever, and all who adore it shall suffer very miserably. But we who believe in and adore the true sun, Christ, who will never perish, neither he who shall do His will, but even as Christ shall abide for ever, who reigns with God the Father Almighty, and with the Holy Spirit, before the ages, and now, and for ever and ever. Amen.

Behold, again and again, I shall briefly declare the words of my confession. I testify in truth and in joy of heart, before God and His holy angels, that I never had any occasion, except the Gospel and its promises, for returning to that people from whom I had before with difficulty escaped.]

But I beseech those who believe in and fear God, whoever may condescend to look into or receive this writing, which Patrick, the ignorant sinner, has written in Ireland, that no one may ever say, if I have ever done or demonstrated anything, however little, that it was my ignorance. But do you judge, and let it be believed firmly, that it was the gift of God. And this is my confession before I die.

Thus far is what Patrick wrote with his own hand; he was translated to heaven on the seventeenth of March.



I, Patrick, a sinner and unlearned, have been appointed a bishop in Ireland, and I accept from God what I am. I dwell amongst barbarians as a proselyte and a fugitive for the love of God. He will testify that it is so. It is not my wish to pour forth so many harsh and severe things; but I am forced by zeal for God and the truth of Christ, who raised me up for my neighbors and sons, for whom I have forsaken my country and parents, and would give up even life itself, if I were worthy. I have vowed to my God to teach these people, though I should be despised by them, to whom I have written with my own hand to be given to the soldiers to be sent to Coroticus—I do not say to my fellow-citizens, nor to the fellow-citizens of pious Romans, but to the fellow-citizens of the devil, through their evil deeds and hostile practices. They live in death, companions of the apostate Scots and Picts, blood-thirsty men, ever ready to redden themselves with the blood of innocent Christians, numbers of whom I have begotten to God and confirmed in Christ.

On the day following that in which they were clothed in white and received the chrism of neophytes, they were cruelly cut up and slain with the sword by the above mentioned; and I sent a letter by a holy priest, whom I have taught from his infancy, with some clerics, begging that they would restore some of the plunder or the baptized captives; but they laughed at them. Therefore I know not whether I should grieve most for those who were slain, or for those whom the devil insnared into the eternal pains of hell, where they will be chained like him. For whoever commits sin is the slave of sin, and is called the son of the devil.

Wherefore let every man know who fears God that they are estranged from me, and from Christ my God, whose ambassador I am—these patricides, fratricides, and ravening wolves, who devour the people of the Lord as if they were bread; as it is said: "The wicked have dissipated thy law," wherein in these latter times Ireland has been well and prosperously planted and instructed. Thanks be to God, I usurp nothing; I share with these whom He hath called and predestinated to preach the Gospel in much persecution, even to the ends of the earth. But the enemy hath acted invidiously towards me through the tyrant Coroticus, who fears neither God nor His priests whom He hath chosen, and committed to them the high, divine power: "Whomsoever they shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven."

I beseech you, therefore, who are the holy ones of God and humble of heart, that you will not be flattered by them, and that you will neither eat nor drink with them, nor receive their alms, until they do penance with many tears, and liberate the servants of God and the baptized hand-maids of Christ, for whom he was crucified and died. "He that offereth sacrifice of the goods of the poor, is as one that sacrificeth the son in the presence of the father." "Riches, he saith, which the unjust accumulate shall be vomited forth from his belly, the angel of death shall drag him away, he shall be punished with the fury of dragons, the tongue of the adder shall slay him, inextinguishable fire shall consume him." Hence, "Woe to those who fill themselves with things which are not their own." And "what doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?" It were too long to discuss one by one, or to select from the law, testimonies against such cupidity. Avarice is a mortal sin. "Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's goods." "Thou shall not kill." The homicide cannot dwell with Christ. "He who hateth his brother is a murderer," and "and he who loveth not his brother abideth in death." How much more guilty is he who hath defiled his hands with the blood of the sons of God, whom He hath recently acquired in the ends of the earth by our humble exhortations!

Did I come to Ireland according to God or according to the flesh? Who compelled me? I was led by the Spirit, that I should see my relatives no more. Have I not a pious mercy towards that nation which formerly took me captive? According to the flesh, I am of noble birth, my father being a Decurio. I do not regret or blush for having bartered my nobility for the good of others. I am a servant in Christ unto a foreign people for the ineffable glory of eternal life, which is in Christ Jesus my Lord; though my own people do not acknowledge me: "A prophet is without honor in his own country." Are we not from one stock, and have we not one God for our Father? As He has said: "He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth." Is it not agreed that one pulleth down and another buildeth? I seek not my own.

Not to me be praise, but to God, who hath put into my heart this desire that I should be one of the hunters and fishers whom, of old, God hath announced should appear in the last days. I am reviled—what shall I do, O Lord? I am greatly despised. Lo! thy sheep are torn around me, and plundered by the above-mentioned robbers, aided by the soldiers of Coroticus: the betrayers of Christians into the hands of the Picts and Scots are far from the charity of God. Ravening wolves have scattered the flock of the Lord, which, with the greatest diligence, was increasing in Ireland; the sons of the Irish and the daughters of kings who are monks and virgins of Christ are too many to enumerate. Therefore the oppression of the great is not pleasing to thee now, and never shall be.

Who of the saints would not dread to share in the feasts or amusements of such persons? They fill their houses with the spoils of the Christian dead, they live by rapine, they know not the poison, the deadly food, which they present to their friends and children; as Eve did not understand that she offered death to her husband, so are all those who work evil: they labor to work out death and eternal punishment.

It is the custom of the Christians of Rome and Gaul to send holy men to the Franks and other nations, with many thousand solidi, to redeem baptized captives. You who slay them, and sell them to foreign nations ignorant of God, deliver the members of Christ, as it were, into a den of wolves. What hope have you in God? Whoever agrees with you, or commands you, God will judge him. I know not what I can say, or what I can speak more of the departed sons of God slain cruelly by the sword. It is written: "Weep with them that weep." And again: "If any member suffers anything, all the members suffer with it." Therefore the Church laments and bewails her sons and daughters, not slain by the sword, but sent away to distant countries, where sin is more shameless and abounds. There free-born Christian men are sold and enslaved amongst the wicked, abandoned, and apostate Picts.

Therefore I cry out with grief and sorrow. O beautiful and well-beloved brethren and children! whom I have brought forth in Christ in such multitudes, what shall I do for you? I am not worthy before God or man to come to your assistance. The wicked have prevailed over us. We have become outcasts. It would seem that they do not think we have one baptism and one Father, God. They think it an indignity that we have been born in Ireland; as He said: "Have ye not one God? Why do ye each forsake his neighbor?" Therefore I grieve for you—I grieve, O my beloved ones! But, on the other hand, I congratulate myself I have not labored for nothing—my journey has not been in vain. This horrible and amazing crime has been permitted to take place. Thanks be to God, ye who have believed and have been baptized have gone from earth to paradise. Certainly, ye have begun to migrate where there is no night or death or sorrow; but ye shall exult like young bulls loosed from their bonds and tread down the wicked under your feet as dust.

Truly, you shall reign with the apostles and prophets and martyrs, and obtain the eternal kingdom, as He hath testified, saying: "They shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven." Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and murderers, and liars, and perjurers, and they shall have their part in the everlasting lake of fire. Nor does the apostle say without reason: "If the just are scarcely saved, where shall the sinner, the impious, and the transgressor of the law appear?" Where will Coroticus and his wicked rebels against Christ find themselves when they shall see rewards distributed amongst the baptized women? What will he think of his miserable kingdom, which shall pass away in a moment, like clouds or smoke, which are dispersed by the wind? So shall deceitful sinners perish before the face of the Lord, and the just shall feast with great confidence with Christ, and judge the nations, and rule over unjust kings, for ever and ever. Amen.

I testify before God and His angels that it shall be so, as He hath intimated to my ignorance. These are not my words that I have set forth in Latin, but those of God and the prophets and apostles, who never lied: "He that believeth shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned."

God hath said it. I entreat whosoever is a servant of God that he be a willing bearer of this letter, that he be not drawn aside by any one, but that he shall see it read before all the people in the presence of Coroticus himself, that, if God inspire them, they may some time return to God, and repent, though late; that they may liberate the baptized captives, and repent for their homicides of the Lord's brethren; so that they may deserve of God to live and to be whole here and hereafter. The peace of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.


Written in the Irish Language about 1,400 years ago.


At Nemthur Saint Patrick was born, As history handed it down; And when but sixteen years of age, A captive was led from that town.


Siccoth was Saint Patrick's first name; His father Calphurn without miss; His grandfather Otide was styled; He was nephew of Deacon Odisse.


Six years did he live in dark bonds, And the food of the Gentile ate not; And Cathraige by men he was called, Since to work for four homes was his lot.


To the servant of Milcho 'twas said To pass o'er the seas and the plain; Then stood angel Victor on rock, And his footprints to this day remain.


Departed Saint Patrick o'er Alps— On his way all successful he hies; And with German remained in the South 'Neath Letavia's wide-spreading skies.


In the isles of the Tyrrhenian sea Saint Patrick some period awaits, And as canon with German he reads, As his history still to us states


To Hibernia Saint Patrick returned, By visions from angels induced; For visions to him appeared oft, And his mind to subjection reduced.


Soul-saving was Patrick's intent, For 'twas to far Foclut's dark flood; He had heard the entreaty and wail Of children in Foclut's far woods.


For asked they the saint to make haste And Letavia's wide lands desert, That from error's dark ways Eire's men He might in life's pathways direct.


Foretold Eire's seers years of peace, Which were to remain through all time; But the grandeurs of Tara the proud Were to vanish in dust, as earth's slime.


To Leary, the monarch, Druids told Of the advent of Patrick the saint; And their visions were true, as we know From the facts which his histories paint.


Renowned was Saint Patrick through life, And of error he was a dire foe; Hence for ever his name shall be grand Among the nations, as ages shall flow.


The Apocalypse sang he, and hymns, And three fifty full psalms, day by day; He instructed and praised and baptized, And all time he continued to pray.


Nor could any cold e'er prevent That he stayed in the water o'er nights; And to gain the grand kingdom of heaven, Through the day he used preach on the heights.


By the far-famous fount of the North, Benibarka! thy waters sha'n't cease; For a hundred full psalms he used sing Each night the Lord's praise to increase.


Then he slept on a cold bed of stone, And with a wet cover was dressed; A stone was his pillow each night— Such, such was the saint's nightly rest.


To the people the Gospel was preached, With power and with miracles signed; The blind and the lepers were cured, And Death his dead subjects resigned.


Saint Patrick did preach to the Scots, And in Letavia much he endured, That whom he had won to the Lord In Judgment's dread day be secured.


Emir's and proud Erimon's sons A demon contrived to ensnare; And them did dread Satan engulf In the dark, fearful depths of his lair,


Until our apostle arrived, Who rescued and set them all free, Through sixty long years of his life To Christ's cross the brave Fenians flee.


Great darkness o'er Eire was spread, And its people their idols adored, Nor in the true Godhead believed, Nor the Trinity, too, of the Lord.


At Armagh the realm's throne has been placed, To Emania a glory to be; And far-famed is Dundalethglas church, Nor let fame from Temoria flee.


To Armagh, in his infirm old age, Saint Patrick desired much to go; But God's angel at noon met the saint, And induced him his wish to forego.


Southward to the angel he came (For Victor had been his good guide), And the bush in which Victor appeared Burned bright, and a voice from it cried:


"At Armagh let the government be, And to Christ let all glory be brought; Indeed, thou shalt come unto heaven; Thou obtainedst, because thou hadst sought.


"A hymn which you sing while alive Shall to Celts a proud armament be; And at judgment the Irish surround Their father, their patron, in thee."


After Patrick, good Tassach remained; When Patrick to Tassach Christ gave, Tassach said: "He from me shall receive"; And the prediction of Tassach was grave.


For the night was installed a bright day, And that day for one year did remain; So that over all Eire the fair Light's brilliance and brightness did reign.


Bethoron a battle beheld Of great Nun against Chanaan's sons, In which Gabaon saw the sun stand, As the Scriptural narrative runs.


For brave Josue stood the bright sun To witness the wicked all slain; Why not for Saint Patrick thrice more To illumine Hibernia's plain?


For all Eire's good clergy were come To bury Saint Patrick with pride; And the sounds of the singing from heaven Cast them sleeping all round, far and wide.


Saint Patrick's pure soul fled his frame (His works immortality make); And on the first night after death, The angels of God watched his wake.


And when Patrick departed from life, To the other Saint Patrick came he; And to Jesus, of Mary the Son, The two passed, bright and pure, great and free.


In Patrick pride's stain was not found; And great were the works that adorn This good son of Christ, Mary's Son! With God's blessing Saint Patrick was born.



The people who sat in darkness saw a great light, and they who were in the land and in the shadow of death received light by which came their illumination.

Patrick, then, was of the Britons of Alcluaid by origin. Calpurnn was his father's name. He was a noble priest. Potid was his grandfather's name, whose title was a deacon. Conceis was his mother's name. She was of the Franks, and a sister to Martin. In Nemtur, moreover, the man St. Patrick was born; and the flag (stone) on which St. Patrick was born would give forth water when any one swore a false oath upon it, as if it were lamenting the false testimony. If the oath was true, however, the stone would continue in its natural condition.

When the man St. Patrick was born, he was taken to a blind, flat-faced man to be baptized. Gornias was the priest's name; and he had no water out of which he could perform the baptism until he made the sign of the cross over the ground with the infant's hand, when a fountain of water burst forth. Gornias washed his face, and his eyes were opened to him; and he, who had learned no letter, read the baptism. God wrought three miracles through Patrick in this place—viz., the fountain of water through the ground, his eyesight to the blind man, and his reading the ordo of the baptism without knowing a letter up to that time. And Patrick was subsequently baptized. A church was founded, moreover, over this well in which Patrick was baptized; and the well is at the altar, and it has the form of the cross, as the learned report.

Many prodigies and miracles were wrought through Patrick in his youth, but we shall only relate a few out of many of them. One time Patrick was in his nurse's house, in winter time, when a great flood and rain filled his nurse's residence, so that the vessels and furniture of the house were floating about, and the fire was extinguished. Patrick then cried to his nurse, as usual with children when desiring food. Then his nurse said to him: "That is not what troubles us; there is something else we would rather do than to prepare food for thee; even the fire is extinguished." When Patrick heard these words, truly, he sought a certain spot in the house to which the water had not reached; and he dipped his hand in the water, and five drops fell from Patrick's fingers, and they were suddenly changed into five sparks, and the fire glowed, and the water rose not. The names of God and of Patrick were magnified thereby. Another time, as Patrick was playing amongst his companions, in the time of winter and cold in particular, he collected his armful of pieces of ice, which he brought home to his nurse. Then his nurse said: "It would be better for you to bring us withered brambles to warm ourselves with than what you have brought." Thereupon he said to his nurse:

"Believe thou, because God is powerful thereto, that even the sheets of ice will burn like faggots." And no sooner were the pieces of ice placed on the fire, and he had breathed on them, than they burned like faggots. The names of God and Patrick were magnified through this miracle.

One time, when Patrick and his sister (i.e., Lupait) were herding sheep, the lambs came suddenly to their dams, as is customary with them, to drink milk. When Patrick and his sister saw this, they ran quickly to prevent them. The girl fell, and her head struck against a stone, so that death was nigh unto her. As soon as Patrick perceived that his sister was lying down, and that death was nigh unto her, he wept loudly; and he raised her up immediately, and made the sign of the cross over the wound, and it healed without any illness. (Nevertheless, the signs of the "white wound" would appear there.) And they came home as if no evil had happened to them. Another time, Patrick was with the sheep, when a wolf took away a sheep from him. His nurse reproved him greatly therefor. The wolf brought the sheep whole to the same place on the morrow; and the restoration in this way was wonderful—viz., the wolf's dislike regarding the habitual food.

When Patrick's nurse, therefore, saw him magnified by God in prodigies and miracles, she used to love him very much, and would not wish to go anywhere without him. One time his nurse went to milk the cow. He went with her to get a drink of new milk. The cow [became mad] in the booley, and killed five other cows. The nurse was much grieved, and asked him to resuscitate the cows. He resuscitated the cows, then, so that they were quite well, and he cured the mad cow; and the names of God and Patrick were magnified through this miracle.

There was a great assembly held by the Britons. He went to the assembly with his nurse and his guardian. It happened that his guardian died in the assembly. All were hushed into silence thereat; and his relatives cried, and his friends wept, and they said, "Why, thou gilla, didst thou let the man who was carrying thee die?" As regards the gilla moreover, he ran to his guardian, and placed his hands about his neck, and said to him, "Arise, and let us go home." He arose forthwith at Patrick's word, and they went home safe afterwards.

The boys of the place in which Patrick was nursed were wont to bring honey to their mothers from the bees' nests. Then his nurse said to Patrick: "Although every other boy brings honey to his nurse, you bring none to me." Patrick afterwards carried off a bucket to the water, and filled it, and blessed the water, so that it changed into honey; and it healed every disease and ailment to which it was applied.

One time the King of Britain's steward went to command Patrick and his nurse to go and clean the hearth of the royal house in Al-Cluaid. Patrick and his nurse went. Then it was that the angel came, and said to Patrick: "Pray, and it will not be necessary for you to perform that work." Patrick prayed. The angel afterwards cleaned the hearth. Then Patrick said: "Though all the firewood in Britain were burned in that fireplace, there would be no ashes of it on the morrow." And this, indeed, is fulfilled yet. Another time, the King of Britain's steward went to demand tribute of curds and butter from Patrick's nurse; and she had nothing that she would give for the rent. Then it was that Patrick made curds and butter of the snow, and they were taken to the king; and the moment they were exhibited to the king, afterwards they changed into the nature of snow again. The king thereupon forgave the rent to Patrick for ever.

The cause of Patrick's coming to Erinn was as follows: The seven sons of Fechtmad—viz., the seven sons of the King of Britain—were on a naval expedition, and they went to plunder in Armoric-Letha; and a number of the Britons of Srath-Cluaidh were on a visit with their kinsmen, the Britons of Armoric-Letha, and Calpurn, son of Potit, Patrick's father, and his mother—i.e., Conches, daughter of Ocbas of the Galls—i.e., of the Franks—were killed in the slaughter in Armorica. Patrick and his two sisters—viz., Lupait and Tigris—were taken prisoners, moreover, in that slaughter. The seven sons of Fechtmad went afterwards on the sea, having with them Patrick and his two sisters in captivity. The way they went was around Erinn, northwards, until they landed in the north; and they sold Patrick to Miliuc, son of Buan—i.e., to the King of Dal-Araidhe. They sold his sisters in Conaille-Muirthemhne. And they did not know this. Four persons, truly, that purchased him. One of them was Miliuc. It was from this that he received the name that is Cothraige, for the reason that he served four families. He had, indeed, four names. . .

[Here a leaf is missing from both the Bodleian and British Museum MSS. of the Tripartite Life, the contents of which would fill eight pages of similar size to the foregoing.]

When Patrick had completed his sixtieth year, and had learned knowledge, his auxiliary angel, Victor (for he was of assistance to him when he [Patrick] was in bondage with Miliuc, and regarding everything besides which he might wish), went to him, and said to him: "You are commanded from God to go to Erinn, to strengthen faith and belief, that you may bring the people, by the net of the Gospel, to the harbor of life; for all the men of Erinn call out your name, and they think it seasonable and fit that you should come." Patrick afterwards bade farewell to Germanus, and gave him a blessing; and a trusted senior went with him from Germanus, to guard him and testify for him; his name was Segetius, and he was by grade a priest, and he it was who usually kept the Ordo of the church besides Germanus.

Patrick went subsequently on the sea, his company being nine. Then he went upon an island, where he saw a withered old woman on her hands at the door of a house. "Whence is the hag?" asked Patrick; "great is her infirmity." A young man answered, and said: "She is a descendant of mine," said the young man; "if you could see the mother of this girl, O cleric! she is more infirm still." "In what way did this happen?" enquired Patrick. "Not difficult to tell," said the young man. "We are here since the time of Christ. He came to visit us when He was on earth amongst men; and we made a feast for him, and he blessed our house and blessed ourselves; but this blessing reached not our children; and we shall be here without age or decay for ever. And it is long since thy coming was foretold to us," said the young man; "and God 'left it with us' [i.e., prophesied to us] that thou wouldst come to preach to the Gaeidhel; and He left a token with us, i.e., His bachall (crozier), to be given to thee." "I will not take it," said Patrick, "until He Himself gives me His bachall." Patrick remained three days and three nights with them; and he went afterwards into Sliabh-Hermoin, near the island, where the Lord appeared unto him, and commanded him to go and preach to the Gaeidliel; and He gave him the Bachall-Isa, and said that it would be of assistance to him in every danger and every difficulty in which he would be. And Patrick besought three requests of him—viz., (1) to be at His right hand in the kingdom of heaven; (2) that he (Patrick) might be the judge of the Gaeidhel on the Day of Judgment; and (3) as much as the nine companions could carry of gold and silver to give to the Gaeidhel for believing.

The Airchinnech that was in Rome at that time was Celestinus, the forty-second man from Peter. He sent Palladius, a high deacon, with twelve men, to instruct the Gaeidhel (for to the comarb of Peter belongs the instruction of Europe), in the same way as Barnabas went from Peter to instruct the Romans, etc. When Palladius arrived in the territory of Leinster—i.e., at Inbher-Dea—Nathi, son of Garchu, opposed him, and expelled him. And Palladius baptized a few there, and founded three churches—viz., Cill-fine (in which he left his books, and the casket with the relics of Paul and Peter, and the tablet in which he used to write), and Tech-na-Roman, and Doinhnach-Airte, in which Silvester and Solonius are. On turning back afterwards, sickness seized him in the country of the Cruithne, and he died of it.

When Patrick heard this thing, and knew that it was for him God designed the apostleship of Erinn, he went subsequently to Rome to receive grade; and it was Celestinus, Abbot of Rome, who read grada (orders, degrees) over him; Germanus and Amatho, King of the Romans, being present with them.

When Patrick came from Rome, where he arrived was at Inbher-Dea, in Leinster. Nathi, son of Garchu, came also against him. Patrick cursed him. Sinell, moreover, the son of Finnchadh, was the first who believed in Erinn through Patrick's teaching. Hence it was that Patrick blessed him and his seed. On the same day Auxilius and Eserninus, and others of Patrick's people, were ordained; and it was then, also, that the name Patricius—i.e., a name of power with the Romans—was given to him; i.e., a hostage-liberating man. It was he, moreover, who loosened the hostageship and bondage of the Gaeidhel to the devil. And when they were reading the grada (orders, degrees), the three choirs responded—viz., the choir of the men of heaven, and the choir of the Romans, and the choir of the children from the woods of Fochlud—all whom cried out, "Hibernienses omnes," etc. In illis diebus autem gesta sunt in predictis ita. In that time there was a fierce pagan king in Erinn—i.e., Laeghaire Mac Neill—and his seat and royal hold was in Tara. In the fifth year of the reign of Laeghaire Mac Neill Patrick came to Erinn. The eighth year of the reign of Lughaidh he died. The eighth year of the reign of Theodosius, the forty-fifth man from Augustus, Patrick came; eight years Celestine was then prince, as Gelasius said.

This valiant king, then—i.e., Laeghaire Mac Neill—possessed druids and enchanters, who used to foretell through their druidism and through their paganism what was in the future for them. Lochru and Luchat Mael were their chiefs; and these two were authors of that art of pseudo-prophecy. They prophesied, then, that a mighty, unprecedented prophet would come across the sea, with an unknown code of instructions, with a few companions, whom multitudes would obey, and who would obtain dignity and reverence from the men of Erinn; and that he would expel kings and princes from their governments, and would destroy all the idolatrous images; and that the faith which would arrive would live for ever in Erin. Two years, or three, before the arrival of Patrick, what they used to prophesy was [as follows];

"A Tailcend (i.e., Patrick) shall come across the stormy sea. His garment head-pierced, his staff head-bent, His mias (i.e., altar) in the east of his house; His people all shall answer, Amen, amen."

Baile-Cuinn (the Ecstasy of Conn, a rhapsody so called) dixit: "A Tailcend shall come who will found cemeteries, make cells new, and pointed music-houses, with conical caps [bencopar], and have princes bearing croziers." "When these signs shall come," said they, "our adoration and our gentility (paganism) will vanish, and faith and belief will be magnified." As it was foretold then and represented, so it happened and was fulfilled.

When Patrick completed his voyage, and his ship entered the harbor at Inbher-Dea, in the territory of Leinster, he brought his ships to the shore. Then it was that he decided to go to instruct Miliuc. He thought fit as he labored at first for his body, that he should labor for his soul. He then put stick to shore, and proceeded on a prosperous voyage, past the coast of Erinn, eastwards, until he stopped in Inbher-Domnand. He found no fish there, and cursed it. He went to Inis-Patrick: and he sent to Inbher-Nainge, where nothing was found for him. He cursed this also, and both are unfruitful. Then it was that Benen came into his company. Soon after, Patrick slept awhile, and all the odoriferous flowers that the youth could find, he would put them into the cleric's bosom. Patrick's people said to Benen: "Stop doing that, lest thou shouldst awake Patrick." Patrick said: "He will be the heir of my kingdom." He went to Inbher-Boindi, where he found fish. He blessed it, and the Inbher is fruitful. He found druids in that place who denied the virginity of Mary. Patrick blessed the ground, and it swallowed the druids. Patrick went afterwards from Inis-Patrick, past Conaille, and past the coast of Ulster, until he stopped at Inbher-Brena. He went afterwards to Inbher-Slani, where the clerics hid their ships; and they went ashore to put off their fatigue, and to rest; so that there it was the swine-herd of Dichu, son of Trichim, found them, where Sabhall-Patrick is to-day. When he saw the divines and the clerics, he thought they were robbers or thieves, and he went to tell his lord; whereupon Dichu came, and set his dog at the clerics. Then it was that Patrick uttered the prophetic verse, "Ne tradas bestis, etc., et canis obmutuit." When Dichu saw Patrick, he became gentle, and he believed, and Patrick baptized him; so that he was the first in Ulster who received faith and baptism from Patrick. Then it was that Dichu presented the Sabhall to Patrick. Patrick said:

"The blessing of God on Dichu, Who gave to me the Sabhall; May he be hereafter Heavenly, joyous, glorious.

"The blessing of God on Dichu— Dichu with full folds (flocks); No one of his sept or kindred Shall die, except after a long life."

Patrick went to preach to Miliuc, as we have said, and took gold with him to prevail on him to believe; for he knew that he (Miliuc) was covetous regarding gold. But when Miliuc heard that Patrick had arrived, he wished not to believe for him, and to abandon the pagan religion. He thought it unbecoming to believe for his servant, and to submit to him. The counsel that a demon taught him was this: He went into his royal house with his gold and silver; and he set the house on fire, and was burned with all his treasures, and his soul went to hell. Then it was that Patrick proceeded past the northern side of Sliabh-Mis (there is a cross in that place), and he saw the fire afar off. He remained silent for the space of two or three hours, thinking what it could be, and he said, "That is the fire of Miliuc's house," said Patrick, "after his burning himself in the middle of his house, that he might not believe in God in the end of his life. As regards the man who persuaded him thereto," added he, "there shall not be a king or righdamhna of his family, and his seed and race shall be 'in service' for ever, and his soul shall not return from hell to the judgment, nor after judgment." After he had said these words, he turned deisel (right-hand-wise) and went back again into the territory of Uladh, until he arrived at Magh-inis, to Dichu, son of Trichim, and he remained there a long time disseminating faith, so that he brought all the Ulidians, with the net of the Gospel, to the harbor of life.

Patrick went subsequently from Sabhall southwards, that he might preach to Ros, son of Trichim. He it was that resided in Derlus, to the south of Dun-leth-glaise (Downpatrick). There is a small city (cathair, i.e., civitas, but also meaning a bishop's see) there this day—i.e., Brettain, ubi est Episcopus Loarn qui ausus est increpare Patricium tenentem manum pueri ludentis justa Ecclesiam suam. As Patrick was then on his way, he saw a tender youth herding pigs. Mochae his name. Patrick preached to him, and baptized him, and cut his hair, and gave him a copy of the gospels and a reliquary. And he gave him also, another time, a bachall which had been given them from God—viz., its head into Patrick's bosom, and its end in Mochae's bosom; and this is the Detech-Mochae of Noendruim; and Mochae promised Patrick a shorn pig every year. And this, indeed, is still given.

When the solemnity of Easter approached, Patrick considered that there was no place more suitable to celebrate the high solemnity of the year—i.e., the Easter—than in Magh-Bregh, the place where the head of the idolatry and druidism of Erinn was—viz., in Temhair. They afterwards bade farewell to Dichu, son of Trichim, and put their vessels on the sea; and they proceeded until they anchored in Inbher-Colptha. They left their vessels in the Inbher, and went by land until they reached Ferta-fer-fec, and Patrick's tent was fixed in this place, and he cut the Easter fire. It happened, however, that this was the time in which the great festival of the Gentiles—i.e., the Fes of Tara—was usually celebrated. The kings and princes and chieftains were wont to come to Laeghaire Mac Neill to Tara, to celebrate this festival. The druids and the magicians were also wont to come to prophesy to them. The fire of every hearth in Erinn was usually extinguished on that night, and it was commanded by the king that no fire should be lighted in Erinn before the fire of Tara, and neither gold nor silver would be accepted from any one who would light it, but he should suffer death for it. Patrick knew not this thing; and if he knew it, it would not prevent him.

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