History of the Franks
6. In the same year as that mentioned above, that is, the year
in which Sigibert died and Childebert his son began to reign, many miracles
were done at the tomb of the blessed Martin which I have described in
the books I have attempted to compose about these miracles. And though
my speech is unpolished I have still not allowed the things that I saw
with my own eyes or learned from trustworthy persons to pass unknown.
Here I shall relate merely what happens to the heedless who after a miracle
from heaven have sought for earthly cures, because his power is shown
in the punishment of fools just as much as in the gracious working of
cures. Leonastis, archdeacon of Bourges, lost his sight through cataracts
that grew over his eyes. And when he altogether failed to recover it by
going around among many physicians, he came to the church of St. Martin
and remaining here for two or three months and fasting continuously he
prayed to recover his sight. And when the festival came his eyes brightened
and he began to see. He returned home and summoned a certain Jew and applied
cupping glasses to his shoulders by the help of which he was to increase
his eyesight. But as the blood flowed his blindness revived again. When
this happened he again returned to the holy temple. And remaining there
again a long time he did not succeed in recovering t his sight. Which
I think was refused because of his sin, according to the words of the
Lord: "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have
abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that
which he hath." "Behold thou art made whole; sin no more lest
a worse thing befall thee." For he would have continued in health
if he had not brought in the Jew in addition to the divine miracle. For
such is the warning and reproof of the apostle saying: "Be not yoked
with unbelievers. For what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity?
Or what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ
with Belial? Or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? And what
agreement hath a temple of God with idols ? For you are a temple of the
living God. Therefore come ye out from among them and be ye separate,
saith the Lord." Therefore let this case teach every Christian that
when he has merit to receive heavenly medicine he should not seek after
[7. Death of the priest Senoch, one "of the tribe of Theifali." 8. Germanus, bishop of Paris, dies. As he is taken to be buried his body bears heavily down on the street when the prisoners raise a cry and when they are released it is easily taken up again." 9. The recluse Caluppa dies. 10. The recluse Patroclus dies. He was very abstemious and "always wore a hair shirt next his body." "His eyes never grew dim."]
11. And since our God always deigns to give glory to his bishops, I shall relate what happened to the Jews in Clermont this year. Although the blessed bishop Avitus often urged them to put aside the veil of the Mosaic law and interpret the Scriptures in their spiritual sense, and with pure hearts contemplate in the sacred writings Christ, son of the living God, promised on the authority of prophets and kings, there remained in their hearts, I will not now call it the veil which dimmed the light for Moses face, but a wall. The bishop prayed also that they should be converted to the Lord and that the veil of the letter should be torn from them, and one of them asked to be baptized on holy Easter, and being born again in God by the sacrament of baptism, in his white garments he joined the whiteclad procession with the others. When the people were going in through the gate of the city one of the Jews, urged to it by the devil, poured stinking oil on the head of the converted Jew. And when all the people, horrified at this, wished to stone him, the bishop would not allow it. But on the blessed day on which the Lord ascends to heaven in glory after the redemption of man, when the bishop was walking in procession from the cathedral to the church singing psalms, a multitude of those who followed rushed upon the synagogue of the Jews and destroying it from the foundations they leveled it to the ground. On another day the bishop sent messengers to them saying: "I do not compel you by force to confess the Son of God, but nevertheless I preach him and I offer to your hearts the salt of wisdom. I am the shepherd put in charge of the Lord's sheep, and as regards you, the true Shepherd who suffered for us said that he had other sheep which are not in his sheepfold but which should be brought in, so that there may be one flock and one shepherd. And therefore if you are willing to believe as I, be one flock with me as your guardian; but if not, depart from the place." Now they continued a long time in turmoil and doubt and on the third day because of the prayers of the bishop, as I suppose, they met together and sent word to him saying; "We believe in Jesus, son of the living God, promised to us by the words of the prophets, and therefore we ask that we be purified by baptism and remain no longer in this guilt." The bishop was rejoiced at the news and keeping watch through the night of holy pentecost went out to the baptistery beyond the walls and there the whole multitude prostrated themselves before I him and begged for baptism. And he wept for joy, and cleansing all with water he anointed them with ointment and gathered them in i: the bosom of the mother church. Candles were lit, lamps burned brightly, the whole city was whitened with the white throng and the joy was as great as once Jerusalem saw when the holy spirit ! descended on the apostles. The baptized were more than fivc hundred. But those who refused baptism left that city and returned I turned to Marseilles.¶
[12. The abbot Brachio, a Thuringian and formerly a hunter dies. 13. Great battle between Chilperic's duke, Desiderius, and Gunthram's patrician, Mummolus. Desiderius is defeated.]¶
14. After this Merovech, who was kept in custody by his father received the tonsure, and changing his garments for those which it is customary for the clergy to wear he was ordained priest and sent to the monastery at Mans called Anninsola [Saint-Calais] to be instructed in the duties of priests. Hearing this Gunthram Boso who was then living in the church of St. Martin, as we have stated sent the subdeacon Rigulf to advise him secretly to take refuge in the church of St. Martin. And when Merovech was on his way, Galen his slave went to meet him from the other side. And since his escort was not a strong one he was rescued by Galen on the way, and covering his head and putting on secular clothes he took refuge in the temple of the blessed Martin. We were celebrating mass in the holy church when he entered, finding the door open. After the mass he asked us to give him the consecrated bread. Now there was with us at that time Ragnemodus, bishop of the see of Paris, who had succeeded the holy Germanus; and when we refused, Merovech began to raise a disturbance and to say that we did not rightly suspend him from the communion without the assent of our brethren. When he said this we examined the case in the light of canon law, and with the consent of the brother who was present he received the consecrated bread from us. I was afraid that if I suspended one from communion I would become a slayer of many. For he threatened to kill some of our people if he did not receive the communion from us. The country of ours has sustained many disasters on this account. In these days Nicetius, my niece's husband, went with our deacon to king Chilperic on business of his own, and he told the king of Merovech's flight On seeing them queen Fredegunda said: "They are spies and have come to learn what the king is doing, in order to know what to report to Merovech." And she at once ordered them to be spoiled and thrust off into exile, from which they were released in the seventh month. Now Chilperic sent messengers to us saying: "Cast that apostate out of the church. If you don't I will burn that whole country with fire." And when we wrote back that it was impossible that what had not happened in the time of the heretics should now happen in Christian times, he set his army in motion and sent it toward this country.
In the second year of king Childebert, when Merovech saw that his father was set in this purpose, he proposed to take with him duke Gunthram and go to Brunhilda, saying: "Far be it from me that the church of the master Martin should submit to outrage on my account, or his country be put into captivity for me." And going into the church and keeping watch he offered the things he had with him on the tomb of the blessed Martin, praying to the saint to help him and to grant him his favor so that he could take the kingdom. At that time count Leudast after setting many traps for him out of love for Fredegunda, at last craftily entrapped his slaves who had gone out into the country and slew them with the sword, and he desired to slay Merovech himself if he could find him in a suitable place. But Merovech followed Gunthram's advice and, desiring to avenge himself, he ordered Marileif the chief physician to be seized as he was returning from the king's presence, and after beating him most cruelly he took away the gold and silver and other valuables which he had with him and left him naked, and would have killed him if he had not escaped from the hands of those who were beating him and taken refuge in the church. And later we clothed him and having obtained his life sent him back to Poitiers. Now Merovech charged many crimes to his father and stepmother. But although they were partly true it was not acceptable to God I suppose that they should be made known through a son. This I learned to be so later on. For one day I was invited to dine with him and when we were sitting together he begged urgently that something be read for the instruction of his soul. So I opened the book of Solomon and took the first verse that came which contained the following: " The eye of him who looketh at his father askance, the ravens of the valleys shall pick it out." Although he did not understand it, I believed that this verse had been given by the Lord. Then Gunthram sent a slave to a certain woman known to him from the time of king Charibert, who had a familiar spirit, in order that she should relate what was to happen. He asserted besides that she had foretold to him the time, not only the year but also the day and hour, at which king Charibert was to die. And she sent back this answer by the slaves: " King Chilperic will die this year and king Merovech will exclude his brothers and take the whole kingdom. And you shall hold the office of duke over all his kingdom for five years. But in the sixth year you shall win the honor of the bishop's office, with the consent of the people, in a city which lies on the river Loire on its right bank, and you shall pass from this world old and full of days. " And when the slaves had come back and reported this to their master he was at once filled with vanity as if he were already sitting In the chair of the church of Tours, and he reported the words to me. But I laughed at his folly and said: "It is from God that this should be sought; what the devil promises is not to be believed. He went off in confusion and I had a hearty laugh at the man who thought such things credible. At length one night when the watch was being kept in the church of the holy bishop and I had lain down and fallen asleep on my bed, I saw an angel flying through the air. And when he passed the holy church he cried in a loud voice: "Alas. Alas. God has stricken Chilperic and all his sons and there shall remain no one of those who came forth from his loins to rule his kingdom forever." He had at this time four sons by different wives, not to speak of daughters. And when this was fulfilled later on, then I saw clearly that what the soothsayers promised was false. Now while these men were staying in the church of St. Martin, queen Fredegunda who already favored Gunthram Boso secretly for the death of Theodobert, sent to him saying: "If you can cast Merovech forth from the church so that he will be killed you shall receive a great gift from me." And he thought the assassins were close at hand and said to Merovech: "Why are we so spiritless and timid as to sit here and hide sluggishly around the church? Let our horses be brought and let us take hawks and hunt with dogs and enjoy the hunting and the open views." He was acting cunningly to get Merovech from away the holy church. Now Gunthram otherwise was a very good man but he was too ready for perjury, and he never took an oath to any of his friends but that he broke it forthwith. They went out, as we have said, from the church and went as far as the house of Jocundiacus near the city; but Merovech was harmed by no one. And as Gunthram was at that time wanted for the killing of Theodobert, as we have said, king Chilperic sent a letter all written out to the tomb of St. Martin which contained the request that the blessed Martin would write back to him whether it was permissible to drag Gunthram from his church or not. And the deacon Baudegisih who brought the letter, sent to the holy tomb a clean sheet of paper along with the one he had brought. And after waiting three days and getting no answer he returned to Chilperic. And he sent others to exact an oath of Gunthram not to leave the church without his knowledge. Gunthram took the oath eagerly and gave an altarcloth as pledge that he would never go thence without the king's command. Now Merovech did not believe the sorcerers but placed three books on the saint's tomb, namely, Psalms, Kings and the Gospels, and keeping watch the whole night he prayed the blessed confessor to reveal to him what was coming and whether he could be king or not, in order that he might know by evidence from the Lord. After this he continued three days in fasting, watching and prayer, and going to the blessed grave a second time he opened the book of Kings.
And the first verse on the page which he opened was this: "Because you have forsaken the Lord your God and have gone after other gods and have not done right in his sight, therefore the Lord your God has betrayed you into the hands of your enemies." And this verse was found in the Psalms: " But thou hast brought evils upon them because of their deceitfulness; thou hast hurled them down when they were lifted up. How have they been brought to desolation? They have suddenly failed and perished because of their iniquities." And in the Gospels this was 'found: "Ye know that after two days the passover cometh and the Son of man is delivered up to be crucified."
At these answers he was troubled and wept long at the tomb of the blessed bishop, and then taking duke Gunthram with him he went off with five hundred men or more. He left the holy church and while marching through the territory of Auxerre he was captured by Erpo, king Gunthram's duke. And while he was being held by him he escaped by some chance and entered the church of the holy Germanus. On hearing this king Gunthram was angry and fined Erpo seven hundred gold pieces and removed him from office, saying: "You held prisoner one who my brother says is his enemy. Now if you intended to do this, you should first have brought him to me; otherwise you should not have touched him whom you pretended to hold prisoner."
King Chilperic's army came as far as Tours and plundered this region and burned it and laid it waste, and did not spare St. Martin's property, but whatever he got his hands on he took without regard for God or any fear. Merovech remained nearly two months in the church I have mentioned and then fled and went to queen Brunhilda, but he was not received by the Austrasians. And his father set his army in motion against the people of Champagne, believing that he was hiding there. He did no injury, but he could not find Merovech.