Friday, March 17, 2006

The Legends of Saint Patrick

The Legends of Saint Patrick - This is a copy of this classic public domain book by Aubrey De Vere from Project Gutenberg. Many of us remember Project Gutenberg as the place to get public domain text before Google Books came along. The book is available as text, html, zip, and zipped html. There are also links to four alternate download sites.

The book itself recounts ancient stories, and the saint's own "Confession," rendered as English verse. There is also a biographical introduction by the editor.

The author (Aubrey De Vere) lived from 1814 to 1902. He was renowned for his literary works. He published The Legends of Saint Patrick in 1874. The Catholic Encyclopedia noted, "He was undoubtedly one of the most profoundly intellectual poets of his time."

From the site:

The birth of St. Patrick, Apostle and Saint of Ireland, has been generally placed in the latter half of the fourth century; and he is said to have died at the age of a hundred and twenty. As he died in the year 493--and we may admit that he was then a very old man--ifwe may say that he reached the age of eighty-eight, we place his birth in the year 405. We may reasonably believe, therefore, that he was born in the early part of the fifth century. His birthplace, now known as Kilpatrick, was at the junction of the Levin with the Clyde, in what is now the county of Dumbarton. His baptismal name was Succath. His father was Calphurnius, a deacon, son of Potitus, who was a priest. His mother's name was Conchessa, whose family may have belonged to Gaul, and who may thus have been, as it is said she was, of the kindred of St. Martin of Tours; for there is a tradition that she was with Calphurnius as a slave before he married her. Since Eusebius spoke of three bishops from Britain at the Council ofArles, Succath, known afterwards in missionary life by his name in religion, Patricius (pater civium), might very reasonably be a deacon's son.

In his early years Succath was at home by the Clyde, and he speaks of himself as not having been obedient to the teaching of the clergy. When he was sixteen years old he, with two of his sisters and other of his countrymen, was seized by a band of Irish pirates that made descent on the shore of the Clyde and carried him off to slavery. His sisters were taken to another part of the island, and he was sold to Milcho MacCuboin in the north, whom he served for six or seven years, so learning to speak the language of the country, while keeping his master's sheep by the Mountain of Slieve Miss. Thoughts of home and of its Christian life made the youth feel the heathenism that was about him; his exile seemed to him a punishment for boyish indifference; and during the years when young enthusiasm looks out upon life with new sense of a man's power--growing forman's work that is to do--Succath became filled with religious zeal.

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