I step through origins
like a dog turning
its memories of wilderness
on the kitchen mat
The Threefold Plague is Driven out of Hibernia by Saint Patrick
And the most holy Patrick applied all his diligence unto the extirpation of this threefold plague; and at length by his salutary doctrine and fervent prayer he relieved Hibernia of the increasing mischief. Therefore he, the most excellent pastor, bore on his shoulder the staff of Jesus, and aided of the angelic aid, he by its comminatory elevation gathered together from all parts of the island all the poisonous creatures into one place; then compelled he them all unto a very high promontory, which then was called Cruachan-ailge, but now Cruachan-Phadruig; and by the power of his word he drove the whole pestilent swarm from the precipice of the mountain headlong into the ocean. O eminent sign! O illustrious miracle! even from the beginning of the world unheard, but now experienced by tribes, by peoples, and by tongues, known unto all nations, but to the dwellers in Hibernia especially needful! And at this marvellous yet most profitable sight, a numerous assembly was present; many of whom had flocked from all parts to behold miracles, many to receive the word of life.
Without Earthly Food the Saint Completeth A Fast For Forty Days
And that in Hibernia or in the other islands which had received his blessing no poisonous animal should continue or revive, nor the wonted troop of demons therein abide, the saint completed without earthly food a fast of forty days. For he desired to imitate in his mystical fast Moses, who was then bound by the natural law, or rather Elias the prophet, appointed under the law; but most principally desiring to please the great Founder of nature, the Giver of the law and of grace, Jesus Christ, who in Himself had consecrated such a fast. Therefore he ascended the high mountain in Conactia, called Cruachan-ailge, that he might there more conveniently pass the Lent season before the Passion; and that there, desiring and contemplating the Lord, he might offer unto Him the holocaust of this fast. And he disposed there five stones, and placed himself in the midst; and therein, as well in the manner of his sitting as in the mortification of his abstinence, showed he himself the servant of the cross of Christ. And there he sat solitary, raising himself above himself; yet gloried he only in the cross, which constantly he bore in his heart and on his body, and ceaselessly he panted toward his holy Beloved; and he continued and hungered in his body, but his inward man was satisfied, and filled, and wounded with the sweetness of divine contemplation, the comfort of angelic visitation, and the sword of the love of God: “For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing even unto the separation of the body and the spirit,” wherewith the saint was wounded, even unto holy love.
He Banisheth the Demons forth of the Island
And the demons grieved for their lost dominion, and assailing the saint they tormented him in his prayers and his fastings; and they fluttered around him like birds of the blackest hue, fearful in their form, their hugeness, and their multitude, and striving with horrible chatterings to prevent his prayer, long time they disturbed the man of God. But Patrick being armed with His grace, and aided by His protection, made the sign of the cross, and drove far from him those deadly birds; and by the continual sounding of his cymbal, utterly banished them forth of the island. And being so driven away, they fled beyond the sea, and being divided in troops among the islands which are alien unto the faith and love of God, there do they abide and practise their delusions. But from that time forward, even unto this time, all venomous creatures, all fantasies of demons, have through the merits and the prayers of the most holy father Patrick entirely ceased in Hibernia. And the cymbal of the saint, which from his frequent percussions thereof appeared in one part broken, was afterward repaired by an angel’s hand; and the mark is beheld on it at this day. Likewise on the summit of this mountain many are wont to watch and to fast, conceiving that they will never after enter the gates of hell; the which benefit they account to be obtained to them of God through the merits and the prayers of Patrick. And some who have thereon passed the night relate them to have suffered grievous torments, whereby they think themselves purified of all their sins; and for such cause many call this place the Purgatory of Saint Patrick.
Troops of Angels Appear unto the Saint
And God, the ruler of all, who after darkness bringeth light, compassionated his servant; and so soon as the evil spirits were driven forth, a multitude of angels poured around the place with exceeding brightness, and with wondrous melody they comforted the saint. And he, having finished his fast of forty days, offered the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving unto God, who had vouchsafed to mortal man the virtue of so great abstinence, and had bestowed such mercies through the intercession of Him. And moreover he rejoiced in the angelic salutation. Then being led by the angels, he descended from the mountain, and smote his cymbal, the sound whereof the Lord caused to be heard through all parts of Hibernia. Thence, let none of the faithful doubt that every man even over the whole world will hear the sound of the last trumpet. And raising his hands, Saint Patrick blessed the island and all the dwellers therein, and commended them unto Christ.
Now understand ye how it was the custom of Patrick, as of the other ancient saints who abided in the islands, to have with them cymbals, for the expulsion of evil spirits, for their own bodily exercise, to proclaim the hours of the day and night, and for I know not what other causes. One thing, however, is certain, that many miracles are known to have been performed by the sound or the touch of these cymbals. Therefore at the Lord’s Supper, the blessed Patrick going forth of his retirement into public view, rejoiced with his presence the whole church of the saints who were born of his preaching unto Christ. And there he discharged his episcopal office, the which he always joined with those sacred seasons; and thus went he forward in the work of salvation.
Jocelyn was a 12th cen. Cistercian hagiographer and monk of Furness Abbey in Cumbria.
James O’ Leary, The Most The Most Ancient Lives of Saint Patrick Including the Life by Jocelin, Hitherto Unpublished in America, and His Extant Writings”, 1880
Frosche in Bauch und Ruckenla, Josef Maria Eder