HERE FOLLOWETH THE LIFE OF ST. GILES
Chapter 130 of the Golden Legend by Jacobus Voragine (1275), translated by William Caxton, 1483. This "reader's edition" of the text adds section headings, paragraph breaks, and explanatory notes.
St. Giles was born in Athens, and was of noble lineage and royal kindred. And in his childhood he was informed in
The Miracle of St. Giles’s CoatAnd on a day as he went to the church, he found a sick man which lay all sick in the way and demanded asked alms of St. Giles, which who gave him his coat. And as soon as he clad him withal with it he received full and entire health.
Jesus Christ His HeirAnd after that, anon soon his father and his mother died, and rested in our Lord, and then St. Giles made Jesu Christ heir of his heritage.
St. Giles and the SerpentOn a time as he went to the church a man was smitten with a serpent and died, and Giles came against toward this serpent, and made his orison, prayer and chased out of him all the venom.
He Cures a DemoniacThere was a man which was demoniac in the monastery with other people, and troubled them that heard the service of God. Then Giles conjured the devil that was in his body, and anon he issued out, and anon he was all whole.
He Travels to ArlesThen Giles doubted the peril feared the dangers of the world, and went secretly to the rivage shore of the sea, and saw there mariners in great peril and like to perish in the sea. And he made his prayer, and anon immediately, soon the tempest ceased, and anon the mariners came to land and thanked God. And he understood by them that they went to Rome, and he desired to go with them, whom they received into their ship gladly, and said they would bring him thither without any freight or hire.
And then he came to Arles, and abode there two years with St. Cezarien, bishop of that city, and there he healed a man that had been sick of the fevers three years.
He Heals the DesertAnd after, he desired to go into desert, and departed covertly, and dwelled there long with a hermit that was a holy man. And there by his merits he chased away the sterility and barrenness that was in that country, and caused great plenty of goods.
St. Giles and the HindAnd when he had done this miracle he doubted the peril of the glory human, vainglory and left that place, and entered farther into desert and there found a pit, and a little well, and a fair hind, which without doubt was purveyed of provided by God for to nourish him, and at certain hours ministered her milk to him.
And on a time servants of the king rode on hunting, and much people and many hounds with them. It happed that they espied this hind, and they thought that she was so fair that they followed her with hounds, and when she was sore constrained she fled for succour help to the feet of St. Giles, whom she nourished. And then he was much abashed upset when he saw her so chauffed, excited and more than she was wont accustomed to be. And then he sprang up and espied the hunters. Then he prayed to our Lord Jesu Christ that like as he sent her to him, to be nourished by her, that he would save her. Then the hounds durst not approach her by the space of a stone cast, but they howled together, and returned to the hunters, and then the night came, and they returned home again and took nothing.
And when the king heard say of this thing he had suspicion what it might be, and went and warned informed, advised the bishop, and both went thither with great multitude of hunters, and when the hounds were on the place whereas the hind was, they durst not go forth as they did before, but then they all environed surrounded the bush for to see what there was, but that bush was so thick that no man ne nor beast might enter therein for because of the brambles and thorns that were there. And then one of the knights drew up an arrow follily foolishly for to make it afeard and spring out, but he wounded and hurt the holy man, which ceased not to pray for the fair hind.
And after this the hunters made way with their swords and went into the pit, and saw there this ancient man, which was clothed in the habit of a monk, of a right honourable figure and parure, decoration on the vestments and the hind lying by him.
And the king and the bishop went alone to him, and demanded asked him from whence he was, and what he was, and why he had taken so great a thickness of desert, and of whom he was so hurt. And he answered right honestly to every demand; and when they had heard him speak they thought that he was a holy man, and required asked him humbly pardon. And they sent to him masters and surgeons to heal his wound, and offered him many gifts, but he would never lay medicine to his wound, ne nor receive their gifts, but refused them. And he prayed our Lord that he might never be whole thereof in his life, for he knew well that virtue should profit to him in infirmity.
And the king visited him oft, and received of him the pasture of health. And the king offered to him many great riches, but he refused all.
And after, he admonished the king that he should do make order to be built a monastery, whereas the discipline of the order of monks should be, and when he had do make it, Giles refused many times to take the charge and the crosier. i.e. the role of abbot And at the last he was vanquished by prayers of the king and took it.
A Sin of King Charles is ForgivenAnd then king Charles heard speak of the renown of him, and impetred requested that he might see him, and he received him much honourably, and he prayed him to pray for him; among other things because he had done a sin so foul and villainous that he durst not be shriven thereof to him ne to none other.
And on the Sunday after, as St. Giles said mass and prayed for the king, the angel of our Lord appeared to him, and laid a schedule a paper upon the altar where the sin of the king was written in by order, and that was pardoned him by the prayers of St. Giles, so that as long as, if he were thereof repentant and abstained him from doing it any more, and it was adjoined to the end that, who that required whoever asked St. Giles for any sin that he had done, if he left it stopped doing it that it should be pardoned to him.
And after the holy man delivered the schedule to the king, and he confessed his sin and required pardon humbly.
St. Giles Raises a Dead PrinceThen St. Giles returned thence with honour, and when he came to the city of Nemausense, he raised the son of a prince that was dead.
His Monastery To Be DestroyedAnd a little while after he denounced that his monastery should be destroyed of by enemies of the faith.
The Miracle of the Cypress GatesAnd after he went to Rome and gat privileges of the pope to his church, and two doors of cypress, in which were the images of SS. Peter and Paul, and he threw them into the Tiber at Rome, and recommended them to God for to govern. And when he returned to his monastery he made a lame man to go, walk and found the two doors of cypress at the gate of his monastery, whereof he thanked God that had kept them without breaking in so many adventures as they had been, and sith afterwards he set them at the gates of the church for the beauty of them, and for the grace favor, gift that the church of Rome had done thereto.
His DeathAnd at the last our Lord showed to him his departing out of this world, and he said it to his brethren, and admonished them to pray for him, and so he slept and died goodly in our Lord. And many witness that they heard the company of angels bearing the soul of him into heaven. And he flourished about the year of our Lord seven hundred.
VORAGINE'S ETYMOLOGY FOR THE NAME GILES
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