William Morris Archive

In the time of Pepin King of France was a child born in the Castle of Bericain of a noble father of Alemaine who was of great holiness.

The father and the mother promised to God, and Saint Peter and Saint Paul, whereas they had none other child, that if God gave it life, they would bear it to Rome to baptism. At the same time came a vision to a Count of Alverne, whose wife was big with child, whereby it seemed that the Apostle of Rome was baptizing many children in his palace and confirming them with chrism.

So when the Count was awaken he sought of many wise folk what might signify that which he had seen in the dream. And when his vision was uncovered, a wise man and ancient bespake him by the counsel of God: “Make great joy, Count, for there shall be born to thee a son full of great prowess and of great holiness; and him thou shalt let bear to Rome and let baptize him by the Apostle.”

Thereof great joy made the Count, and he and his folk praised the counsel of the elder.

The child was born and dearly fostered, and when he had two years, and the father after his purpose was bearing him to Rome, he came to the city of Lucca. And therein he found a noble man of Almaine who was wending Romeward and bearing his son to baptism. They greeted one the other, and each asked other who he was and what he sought, and when they found themselves to be of one purpose they joined company in all friendliness and entered Rome together. And the two children fell to loving one another so sorely that one would not eat without the other, they lived of one victual, and lay in one bed.

In this wise the fathers brought them before the Apostle at Rome, and spake to him: “Holy Father, whom we know and believe to be in the place of Saint Peter the Apostle, the Count of Alverne, and a noble knight of Bericain the Castle, beseech your Holiness that ye would deign to baptize their sons which they have brought from far away, and that ye would take their little offering from their hands.”

And the Apostle answered them: “I hold your gifts for right acceptable, but they are not to me of much necessity; give them to the poor, who have need thereof. The infants will I baptize with a good will, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost may embrace them in the love of the Holy Trinity.”

Forthwith then the Apostle baptized them in the Church of the Holy Saviour, and laid for name on the son of the Count, Amile, and on the son of the Knight, Amis; and many a knight of Rome held them at the font with mickle joy, and raised them aloft even as God would. And the office of Baptism done, the Apostle bade bring two hanaps of tree dight with gold and precious stones, side and wide alike, and of like fashion, and gave them to the bairns and said: “Take these gifts in token that I have baptized you in the Church of the Holy Saviour.” Which gifts they took joyfully and thanked him much, and betook them thence home in all joyance.

To the child of Bericain did God give so great wisdom, that one might trow that he were another Solomon; and when he was of the age of thirty years a fever took his father, and he fell to admonishing his son in such like words: “Fair son, well beloved, it behoveth me presently to die, and thou shalt abide and be thine own master. Now firstly, fair son, keep thou the commandments of God; the chivalry of Jesus Christ do thou. Keep thou faith to thy lords, and give aid to thy fellows and friends. Defend the widows and orphans. Uphold the poor and needy: and all days hold thy last day in memory. Forget not the fellowship and friendship of the son of the Count of Alverne, whereas the Apostle of Rome on one day baptized you both, and with one gift honoured you. Ye be alike of beauty, of fashion, and stature, and whoso should see you, would deem you to be brethren.”

So having finished these words, and received his Saviour, he departed in our Lord, and his son did do bury him, and did do render him his service, even as one should do for the dead.

After the death of his father evil folk bore envy against him, and did him many a scathe, and grieved him sorely; but he loved them all and suffered whatsoever they did to him. What more may I tell you, save that they cast him and his folk out of the heritage of his fathers, and chased him forth out of his castle. So when he bethought him of the commandment of his father, he said to them who went in his company: “The wicked have wrongfully cast me forth out of mine heritage: yet have I good hope in our Lord that he will help me; go we now to the Court of the Count Amile, who was my friend and my fellow. May-happen he will make us rich with his goods and his havings. But if it be not so, then shall we go to Hildegard the Queen, wife of King Charles of France, who is wont to comfort the disinherited.”

And they answered that they were ready to follow him and do his bidding.

Therewith they went their ways to the Court of the Count and found him not there, because he was gone to Bericain to visit Amis his fellow, and comfort him of the death of his father. And when he found him not, he departed sore troubled, and said to himself that he would not betake him to his own land till he had found Amis his fellow; and he sought him in France and in Almaine, where soever he heard tell that his kindred were, and could find no certainty of him.

Therewithal Amis together with his folk, ceased not to seek his fellow Amile, until they came to the house of a noble man where they were guested. Thereat they told by order all their adventure and the noble man said to them: “Abide with me, Sir Knights, and I will give my daughter to your lord, because of the wisdom that I have heard of him, and I will make you all rich of gold and of silver, and of havings.”

That word pleased them, and they I held the bridal with mickle joy. But when they had abided there for a year and a half, then said Amis to his ten fellows “We have done amiss in that we have left seeking of Amile.” And he left there two of his sergeants and his hanap, and went his ways toward Paris.

Now by this time had Amile been a-seeking for Amis two years past without ceasing. And whenas Amile drew nigh to Paris he found a pilgrim and asked if he had seen Amis whom men had chased out of his land; and that one said nay, he had not. But Amile did off his coat and gave it to the pilgrim and said: “Pray thou to our Lord and his Hallows that they give me to find Amis my fellow.”

Then he departed from the pilgrim, and went his ways to Paris, and found no-whither Amis his fellow.

But the pilgrim went his ways forthwith, and about vespers happened on Amis, and they greeted each the other. And Amis said to the pilgrim, had he seen or heard tidings in any land of Amile, son of the Count of Alverne. And the pilgrim answered him all marvelling: “Who art thou, Knight, who thus mockest a pilgrim? Thou seemest to me that Amile who this day asked of me if I had seen Amis his fellow. I wot not for why thou hast changed thy garments, thy folk, thine horses, and thine arms. Thou askest me now what thou didst ask me to-day about tierce; and thou gavest me this coat.”

“Trouble not thine heart,” said Amis, “I am not he whom thou deemest; but I am Amis who seeketh Amile.” And he gave him of his silver, and bade him pray our Lord to give him to find Amile. And the pilgrim said: “Go thy ways forthright to Paris, and I trow that thou shalt find him whom thou seekest so sore longing.” And therewith Aims went his ways full eagerly.

Now on the morrow Amile was already departed from Paris, and was sitting at meat with his knights hard by the water of Seine in a flowery meadow. And when they saw Amis coming with his fellows all armed, they rose up and armed them, and so went forth before them; and Amis said to his fellows: “I see French knights who come against us in arms. Now fight hardily and defend your lives. If we may escape this peril, then shall we go with great joy to Paris, and thereto shall we be received with high favour at the Court of the King.”

Then were the reins let loose and the spears shaken aloft, and the swords drawn on either side, in such wise that no semblance was there that any should escape alive. But God the all mighty who seeth all, and who setteth an end to the toil of the righteous, did to hold aback them of one part and of the other when they were now hard on each other, for then said Amis: “Who are ye knights, who have will to slay Amis the exile and his fellows?” At that voice Amile knew Amis his fellow and said: “O thou Amis most well beloved, rest from my travail, I am Amile, son of the Count of Alverne, who have not ceased to seek thee for two whole years.”

And therewith they lighted down from their horses, and embraced and kissed each other, and gave thanks to God of that they were found. And they swore fealty and friendship and fellowship perpetual, the one to the other, on the sword of Amile, wherein were relics. Thence went they all together to the Court of Charles, King of France; there might men behold them young, well attempered, wise, fair, and of like fashion and visage, loved of all and honoured. And the King received them much joyously, and made of Amis his treasurer, and of Amile his server.

But when they had abided thus three years, Amis said unto Amile: “Fair sweet fellow, I desire sore to go see my wife whom I have left behind; and I will return the soonest that I may; and do thou abide at the Court. But keep thee well from touching the daughter of the King; and above all things beware of Arderi the felon.” Amile answered him: “I will take heed of thy commandment; but betake thee back hither so soon as thou mayest.”

Thuswise departed Amis. But Amile cast his eyes upon the King’s daughter, and knew her so soon as he might; and right soon forgat he the commandment and the teaching of Amis his fellow. Yet is not this adventure strange, whereas he was no holier than David, nor wiser than Solomon.

Amidst these things Arderi the traitor, who bore him envy, came to him and said: “Thou wottest not, fellow, thou wottest not, how Amis hath robbed the treasure of the King, and therefore is fled away. Wherefore I require of thee thou swear me fealty and friendship and fellowship, and I will swear the same to thee on the holy Gospel.” And so when that was done Amile doubted not to lay bare his secret to Arderi.

But whenas Amile was a-giving water to the King to wash his hands withal, the false Arderi said to the King: “Take thou no water from this evil man, sir King: for he is more worthy of death than of life, whereas he hath taken from the Queen’s Daughter the flower of her virginity.” But when Amile heard this, he fell adown all astonied, and might say never a word; but the benign King lifted him up again, and said to him: “Rise up, Amile, and have no fear, and defend thee of this blame.” So he lifted himself up and said: “Have no will to trow, sire, in the lies of Arderi the traitor, for I wot that thou art a rightwise judge, and that thou turnest not from the right way, neither for love nor for hatred. Wherefore I pray thee that thou give me frist of counsel; and that I may purge me of this guilt before thee, and do the battle against Arderi the traitor, and make him convict of his lies before all the Court.”

So the King gave to one and the other frist of counsel till after nones, and that then they should come before him for to do their devoir; and they came before the King at the term which he had given them. Arderi brought with him the Count Herbert for his part; but Amile found none who would be for him saving Hildegarde the Queen, who took up the cause for him, and gat frist of counsel for Amile, on such covenant that if Amile came not back by the term established, she should be lacking all days of the bed of the King.

But when Amile went to seek counsel, he happened on Amis, his fellow, who was betaking him to the King’s Court; and Amile lighted down from his horse, and cast himself at the feet of his fellow, and said: “O thou, the only hope of my salvation, evilly have I kept thy commandment; for I have run into wyte of the King’s Daughter, and I have taken up battle against the false Arderi.”

Then said Amis, sighing: “Leave we here our folk, end enter into this wood to lay bare our secret.” And Amis fell to blaming Amile, and said: “Change we our garments and our horses, and get thee to my house, and I will do the battle for thee against the traitor.” And Amile answered: “How may I go into thine house, who have no knowledge of thy wife and thy folk, and have never seen them face to face?” But Amis said to him: “Go in all safety, and seek wisely to know them: but take good heed that thou touch not my wife.”

And thuswise they departed each from his fellow weeping; and Amis went his ways to the Court of the King in the semblance of Amile, and Amile to the house of his fellow in the semblance of Amis. But the wife of Amis, when she saw him betake him thither, ran to embrace him, whom she deemed was her husband, and would have kissed him. But he said: “Flee thou from before me, for I have greater need to lament than to play; whereas, since I departed from thee, I have suffered adversity full sore, and yet have to suffer.”

And a night-time whenas they lay in one bed, then Amile laid his sword betwixt the two of them, and said to the woman: “Take heed that thou touch me in no manner wise, else diest thou straightway by this sword.” And in likewise did he the other nights, until Amis betook him in disguise to his house to wot if Amile kept faith with him of his wife.

Now was the term of the battle come, and the Queen abode Amile all full of fear, for the traitor Arderi said, all openly, that the Queen should nevermore draw nigh the bed of the King, whereas she had suffered and consented hereto, that Amile should shame her daughter. Amidst these words Amis entered into the Court of the King clad in the raiment of his fellow, Amile, at the hour of midday and said to the King: “Right debonaire and loyal judge, here am I apparelled to do the battle against the false Arderi, in defence of me, the Queen, and her daughter of the wyte which they lay upon us.”

And the King answered benignly and said: “Be thou nought troubled, Count, for if thou vanquishest the battle, I will give thee to wife Belisant my daughter.”

On the morrow’s morn, Arderi and Amis entered armed into the field in the presence of the King and his folk. And the Queen with much company of virgins, and widows and wedded wives, went from church to church making prayers for the Champion of her daughter, and they gave gifts, oblations and candles.

But Amis fell to pondering in his heart, that if he should slay Arderi, he would be guilty of his death before God, and if he were vanquished, it should be for a reproach to him all his days. Wherefore he spake thuswise to Arderi: “O thou, Count, foul rede thou hast, in that thou desirest my death so sorely, and hast foolishly cast thy life into peril of death. If thou wouldest but take back the wyte which thou layest on me, and leave this mortal battle, thou mayest have my friendship and my service.”

But Arderi, as one out of his wit, answered him: “I will nought of thy friendship nor thy service; but I shall swear the sooth as it verily is, and I shall smite the head from off thee.”

So Arderi swore that he had shamed the King’s Daughter, and Amis swore that he lied; and straightway they dealt together in strokes, and fought together from the hour of tierce right on till nones. And Arderi was vanquished, and Amis smote off his head.

The King was troubled that he had Arderi; yet was he joyous that his daughter was purged of her guilt. And he gave to Amis his daughter, and a great sum of gold and silver, and a city hard by the sea wherein to dwell. And Amis received the same with great joy. Then he returned at his speediest to his hostel wherein he had left Amile his fellow; but whenas Amile saw him coming with much company of horse, he deemed that Amis was vanquished, and fell to fleeing: but Amis bade him return in all safety, for that he had vanquished Arderi, and thereby was wedded for him to the King’s Daughter. Thence then did Amile betake him, and abode in the aforesaid city with his wife.

But Amis abode with his wife, and he became mesel by the will of our Lord, in such wise that he might not move from his bed; for God chastiseth him that He loveth.

And his wife, who had to name Obias, had him in sore hate, and many a time strove to strangle him; and when Amis found that, he called to him two of his sergeants, Azones and Horatus by name, and said to them: “Take me out of the hands of this evil woman, and take my hanap privily and bear me to the Castle of Bericain.”

So when they drew nigh to the castle, folk came to meet them, and asked of them who was the feeble sick man whom they bore; and they said it was Amis, the master of them, who was become mesel, and prayed them that they would do him some mercy. But nevertheless, they beat the sergeants of Amis, and cast him down from the cart whereon they were bearing him, and said: “Flee hence speedily if ye would not lose your lives.”

Then Amis fell a-weeping, and said:

“O Thou, God debonaire and full of pity, give me death, or give me aid from mine infirmity!” And therewith he said to his sergeants: “Bring me to the Church of the Father of Rome, whereas God may peradventure of His great mercy purvey for my poverty.”

When they came to Rome, Constantin the Apostle, full of pity and of holiness, and many a knight of Rome of them who had held Amis at the font, came to meet him, and gave him sustenance enough for him and his sergeants.

But in the space of three years thereafter was so great famine in the city, that the father had will to thrust the son away from his house. Then spake Azones and Horatus to Amis, and said: “Fair sir, thou wottest how feally we have served thee sithence the death of thy father unto this day, and that we have never trespassed against thy commandment. But now we may no longer abide with thee, whereas we have no will to perish of hunger: wherefore we pray thee give us leave to escape this mortal pestilence.”

Then Amis answered them weeping: “O ye fair sons, and not sergeants, my only comfort, I pray you for God’s sake that ye leave me not here, but bear me to the city of the Count Amile my fellow.”

And they who would well obey his commandments, bore him thither whereas was Amile; and there they fell to sounding on their tartavelles before the Court of Amile, even as mesel folk be wont to do. And when Amile heard the sound thereof he bade a sergeant of his to bear to the sick man of bread and of flesh, and therewithal his hanap, which was given to him at Rome, full of good wine: and when the sergeant had done his commandment he said to him when he came again: “By the faith which I owe thee, sir, if I held not thine hanap in my hand, I had deemed that it was even that which the sick man had; for one and the same be they of greatness and of fashion.” Then said Amile: “Go speedily and lead him hither to me.”

But when he was before his fellow he asked of him who he was, and how he had gotten that hanap. Said he: “I am of Bericain the Castle, and the hanap was given me by the Apostle of Rome, when he baptized me.”

And when Amile heard that, he knew that it was Amis his fellow who had delivered him from death, and given him to wife the King’s Daughter of France; straightway he cast himself upon him and fell to crying out strongly, and to weeping and lamenting, and to kissing and embracing him. And when his wife heard the same, she ran thereto all dishevelled, and making great dole, whereas she had in memory of how he had slain Arderi. And straightway they laid him in a very fair bed, and said to him: “Abide with us, fair sir, until that God shall do his will of thee, for whatsoever we have is for thee to deal with.” And he abode with them, and his sergeants with him.

Now it befel on a night whenas Amis and Amile lay in one chamber without other company, that God sent to Amis Raphael his angel, who said to him: “Sleepest thou, Amis?” And he, who deemed that Amile had called to him, answered: “I sleep not, fair sweet fellow.” Then the angel said to him: “Thou hast answered well, whereas thou art the fellow of the citizens of Heaven, and thou hast followed after Job, and Thoby in patience. Now I am Raphael, an angel of our Lord, and am come to tell thee of a medicine for thine healing, whereas He hath heard thy prayers. Thou shalt tell to Amile thy fellow, that he slay his two children and wash thee in their blood, and thence thou shalt get thee the healing of thy body.”

Then said Amis: “Never shall it be that my fellow be a manslayer for the healing of me.” But the Angel said: “Yet even so it behoveth to do.”

And when he had so said, the Angel departed; and therewith Amile, as if a-sleeping, heard those words, and awoke, and said: “What is it, fellow? who hath spoken unto thee?” And Amis answered that none had spoken: “But I have prayed to our Lord according to my wont.” Then Amile said: “Nay, it is not so; some one hath spoken to thee.” Therewith he arose and went to the door of the chamber, and found it shut, and said: “Tell me, fair brother, who hath spoken to thee these words of the night?”

Then Amis fell a-weeping sorely, and said to him that it was Raphael the Angel of our Lord who had said to him: “Amis, our Lord biddeth that thou tell Amile that he slay his two children, and wash thee with the blood of them, and that then thou wilt be whole of thy meselry.”

But Amile was sore moved with these words, and said to him: “Amis, I have given over to thee man-servant and maid-servant and all my goods, and now thou feignest in fraud that the Angel hath spoken to thee that I slay my two children!” But forthwith Amis fell a- weeping, and said: “I wot that I have spoken to thee things grievous, as one constrained, and now I pray thee that thou cast me not out of thine house.” And Amile said that he had promised that he would hold him till the hour of his death: “But I conjure thee by the faith which is betwixt thee and me, and by our fellowship, and by the baptism which we took between me and thee at Rome, that thou tell me if it be man or Angel who hath said this to thee.”

Then Amis answered: “As true as it was an Angel who spake to me this night, so may God deliver me from mine infirmity.”

Then Amile fell to weeping privily, and thinking in his heart: “This man forsooth was apparelled before the King to die for me, and why should I not slay my children for him; if he hath kept faith with me to the death, why keep I not faith? Abraham was saved by faith, and by faith have the hallows vanquished kingdoms; and God saith in the Gospel: ‘That which ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them.’”

And Amile without more tarrying, went to the chamber of his wife, and bade her go hear the service of our Lord; and the Countess gat her to the church even as she was wont.

Then the Count took his sword, and went to the bed where lay his children, and found them sleeping, and he threw himself upon them, and fell to weeping bitterly and said: “Who hath heard ever of a father who of his own will hath slain his child? Ah, alas my children! I shall be no more your father, but your cruel murderer! And therewith the children awoke because of the tears which fell on them from their father; and the children, who looked on the face of their father, fell a-laughing. And whereas they were of the age of three years or thereabout, their father said to them: “Your laughter shall be turned into weeping, for now shall your innocent blood be shed.”

When he had so said he cut off their heads and then laid them out behind the bed, and laid the heads to the bodies, and covered them over even as they slept. And with their blood which he received, he washed his fellow, and said: “Sire God, Jesus Christ, who commandest men to keep faith upon the earth, and who cleansest the mesel by thy word, deign thou to cleanse my fellow, for the love of whom I have shed the blood of my children.”

Then was Amis cleansed of his meselry, and they gave thanks to our Lord with great joy and said: “Blessed be God, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who healeth them that have hope in him.”

And Amile clad his fellow in his own right goodly raiment; and therewith they went to the church to give thanks there, and the bells by the grace of God rang of themselves. And when the people of the city heard that, they ran all together toward that marvel.

Now the wife of the Count when she saw them both going together, fell to asking which of the two was her husband and said: “I know well the raiment of these twain, but I wot not which is Amile.”

And the Count said: “I am Amile, and this my fellow is Amis, who is whole.” Then the Countess wondered, and said: “I see him all whole; but much I desire to know whereby he is healed.” “Render we thanks to our Lord,” said the Count, “nor disquiet us as to how it may be.”

Now was come the hour of tierce, and neither the father nor the mother was yet entered in to their children; but the father sighed grievously for the death of his babes. Then the Countess asked for her children to make her joy, and the Count said: “Dame let be, let the children sleep!”

Therewith he entered all alone to the children to weep over them, and he found them playing in the bed; but the scars of their wounds showed about the necks of each of them even as a red fillet.

Then he took them in his arms, and bore them to their mother, and said “Make great joy, dame, whereas thy sons whom I had slain by the commandment of the Angel are alive again, and by their blood is Amis cured and healed.”

And when the Countess heard it she said: “O thou, Count, why didst thou not lead me with thee to receive the blood of my children, and I would have washed therewith Amis thy fellow and my Lord?”

Then said the Count: “Dame, let be these words; and let us be at the service of our Lord, who hath done such great wonders in our house.”

Which thing they did even unto their death and held chastity.

And they made great joy through that same city or ten days.

But on the selfsame day that Amis was made whole, the devils bore off his wife; they brake the neck of her, and bore away her soul.

After these things Amis betook him to the Castle of Bericain and laid siege before it; and abode there before so long, that they of the castle rendered themselves to him. He received them benignly, and pardoned them their evil will; and from thenceforth he dwelt with them peaceably and he held with him the elder son of Amile, and served our Lord with all his heart.

Thereafter Adrian, Apostle of Rome, sent word to Charles, King of France, that he come help him against Desir, the King of the Lombards, who much tormented the Church; and Charles was as then in the town of Theodocion. Thither came Peter, messenger of the Apostle, who said to him that the Apostle prayed him to come defend Holy Church. Thereupon King Charles sent to the said Desir messengers to pray him that he give back to the Holy Father the cities and other things which he had taken from him, and that he would give him thereto the sum of forty thousand sols of gold in gold and in silver. But he would give way neither for prayers nor gifts. Thereon the good King bade come to him all manner folk, Bishops, Abbots, Dukes, Princes, Marquises and other strong knights. And he sent to Cluses certain of these for to guard the passage of the ways. Amongst the which was Albins, Bishop of Angier, a man full of great holiness.

Then the King Charles together with many warriors, drew nigh to Cluses by the Mount of Sinense, and sent Bernhart his uncle, and a many with him, by the Mount of Jove. And the vanward said that Desir, together with all his force, was already at Cluses, the which he had do dight with bulwarks of iron and stone.

But whenas Charles drew nigh to Cluses, he sent his messengers to Desir, praying him to give back to the Holy Father the cities which he had taken; but he would nought for the prayer. Again Charles bade him that he send three of the children of the judges of Lombardy in hostage, until such time as he had given back the cities of the Church, and that he would betake him to France with all his host, without battle and without doing any scathe. But he neither for that, nor for aught else would blench one whit.

Now when God the almighty had seen the hard heart and malice of this man; and that the French were sore desirous to get them aback home, he set so great fear and so great trembling in the hearts of the Lombards, that they turned to flight all of them, although none chased them, and left there behind them their tents and all their gear. When that saw Charles and his host, they followed them and thrust forth into Lombardy French, Almaines, English and all other manner of folk.

Of that host were Amis and Amile, who were the first in the court of the King, and every way they heeded the works of our Lord, in fasting, in praying, in alms-doing, in giving aid to widows and orphans, in often times appeasing the wrath of the King, in suffering the evil, and consoling the realm of the Romans.

Now whenas Charles had much folk in Lombardy, King Desir came to meet him with his little host; for whereas Desir had a priest, Charles had a bishop; whereas that one had a monk, the other had an abbot; where Desir had a knight Charles had a prince; the one had a man afoot, the other a duke or a count. What should I say, where that King had one knight, Charles had thirty. So the two hosts fell to blows together with great cries and banners displayed; stones and darts flying here and there, and knights falling on every part.

And the Lombards fought so mightily for three days, that they slew of King Charles a very great infinity. And after the third day’s wearing Charles called to him the most mighty and the strongest of his host, and said to them: “Either die ye in battle, or gain ye the victory.”

So the King Desir and the whole host of the Lombards together fled away to the place hight Mortara, which in those days was called Fair- wood, whereas thereabout was the land delectable: there they refreshed them and took heed to their horses.

On the morrow morn King Charles and his host came thither, and found the Lombards all armed, and there they joined battle, and a great multitude of dead there was on one side and the other, and because of this slaughter had the place to name Mortara.

Moreover, there died Amis and Amile, for even as God had joined them together by good accord in their life-days, so in their death they were not sundered. Withal many another doughty baron was slain with them. But Desir, together with his judges, and a great multitude of the Lombards, fled away and entered into Pavia; and King Charles followed after them, and besieged the city on all sides. Withal he sent into France for his wife and his children. But the holy Albins, bishop of Angier, and many other bishops and abbots gave counsel to the King and the Queen, that they should bury the dead and make there a church: and the said counsel pleased much the King, and there were made two churches, one by the commandment of Charles in honour of St. Eusebius of Verceil, and the other by the commandment of the Queen in honour of St. Peter.

And the King did do bear thither two arks of stone, wherein were buried Amis and Amile; and Amile was borne into the Church of St. Peter, and Amis into the Church of St. Eusebius; and the other corpses were buried here and there. But on the morrow’s morn the body of Amile, and his coffin therewith, was found in the Church of St. Eusebius hard by the coffin of Amis his fellow.

Now hear ye of this marvellous fellowship which might not be sundered by death. This wonder wrought for them God, who had given such might to His disciples that they had power to move mountains and shift them. But because of this miracle the King and the Queen abode there thirty days, and did do the service of them that were slain, and worshipped the said churches with great gifts.

Meanwhile the host of Charles wrought for the taking of the city which they had besieged; and our Lord tormented them that were within in such wise that they were brought to nought by great feebleness and by mortalities. And after ten months from the time when the city was besieged, Charles took Desir, and all them who were with him, and laid the city and all the realm under his subjection. And King Desir and his wife they led into France.

But Saint Albins, who by that time had raised the dead to life, and given light to many blind folk, ordained clerks, priests, and deacons in the aforesaid Church of St. Eusebius, and commanded them that they should without ceasing guard and keep the bodies of those two fellows, AMIS and AMILE, who suffered death at the hands of Desir, King of Lombardy, on the fourth of the ides of October.

Reigning our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth without end with the Father and the Holy Ghost. AMEN.

Text courtesy of The University of Adelaide Library Electronic Texts Collection. Transcribed from the 1896 George Allen edition.


Almaine: Germany
apparelled: prepared
ark: receptacle, container
astonied: astonished
attempered: moderated
blench: give way
brake: broke
bridal: wedding
chastity: fidelity
chivalry: virtuous deeds
chrism: holy oil
conjure: call on
covenant: terms
dearly: fondly
debonaire: fair
deign: consider appropriate
devoir: duty, devotion
dight:  prepared
feally: loyally
fealty: loyalty
feign: pretend
felon: evildoer
fillet: head-band
fostered: brought up
frist: respite
gentle: well-born
give: grant
Gramercy: by God’s mercy
guerdon: reward
guested: given hospitality
hanap: fine goblet 
havings: possessions
hallows: saints
hostel: dwelling-place
ides: certain days of the month in the Roman calendar
infinity: number
it behoveth: it is necessary
joyance: pleasure, rejoicing
knew: had carnal knowledge of 
Lombards: ****
may-happen: perhaps
mesel, meselry: sick, sickness 
mickle: much
much: very
nones: ninth hour of monastic day - 3.p.m.
oblation: offering
peradventure: perhaps
raiment: clothing
received our Saviour: took holy communion
rede: advice, counsel 
St. Eusebius” ****
scathe: damage, harm
sergeant: servant , attendant
server: servant
sols: coins, money
tarrying: delay
tartavelle: clapper or rattle carried by sick folk and lepers
the Apostle: the Pope
tierce: third hour of the monastic day - 9.a.m.
Thoby: tobias
travail: trouble
trow: believe
uncovered: disclosed
vanward: vanguard
vespers: evening service
victual: dish (of food)
wending: travelling
whenas: when
whereas: because
whole: in good health
wyte: charge