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The Deeds of Wiprecht


; and how his life ended
In the Year 1124. In the preceding passages, we recounted to the best of our ability and knowledge the most noble lineage of the lord margrave Wiprecht, founder of the monastery of Pegau. Then, we recounted as well his hard work from boyhood in strengthening mind and body. We also recounted how, enriched above others with estates and benefices acquired in both peace and war, he eventually grew powerful in this province, which is called Sorbia, and how he obtained the princely dignity and also the principality in Lusatia, as well as the main prefecture in Magdeburg. Amongst all of this, in both his foundation of and joint labour at Pegau and other monasteries, he fervently endeavoured to render satisfaction to God and the saints for the enormity of his sins. He also put divine worship before all earthly riches. Having nevertheless omitted many things for the sake of brevity, now it remains to be said how he died a blessed death. Once during the winter, Wiprecht was spending the night in the village of Halle, where he was attending to the lawsuits of the advocacy. In the still of the night, when everyone was lost in a deep sleep from safety and happiness after the day was done, the fire from the nearby hearth set alight the straw for the milites’ beds, which was scattered about negligently here and there in the evening. After the fire had grown stronger for awhile, only the prince, awakened from sleep, was roused. Unable to bear any delay—yet silently, as he was semi-nude—he got up and set about extinguishing the straw by stomping on it with the bare soles of his feet. He accomplished this with everyone else unaware and, half-burned, returned to his blanket. On account of this fire, little by little he reached a state of such weakness that he never recovered from it. Come morning, the situation became clear from the obvious signs and moved everyone to both compassion and wonder. Ordering that he be returned from there to his home at Groitzsch, he first turned aside toward his refuge, Pegau, as had always been his custom before. There, he poured out at length a prayer from the depths of his heart; then, with his men bringing him out in their arms, he withdrew immediately for town, so that the presence of his weakness might not disturb the brothers too much. There, as his sickness grew worse all winter, finally disgusted by the unfitness of the exterior man, he turned his whole self over to God, who alone cures the infirmity of the interior man, in order to redeem his life from eternal ruin. He therefore sent for the son of his sister, Archbishop Ruotger of Magdeburg, for other neighbouring bishops (Arnold of Merseburg, Richwin of Zeitz, Gotbold of Meissen ), and for his venerable abbot Windolf. He sought from them aid and counsel for the remedy of his soul. Seeing him to be in desperate circumstances, after many speeches of compassion and consolation, they began to advise him to adopt the habit of the monastic life. How willingly and devotedly Wiprecht paid attention to such counsel can better be concluded from the following: immediately, in the presence of those same bishops, with the surrender of his sword he renounced both military and all secular affairs, thoroughly hating them. On the following day, carried to Pegau, he was received with the greatest sorrow of the brothers, and having received the habit, with great contrition of spirit he made the vow of the Rule's intention before the main altar in the brothers' presence. Then he was led away in the arms of the many. Thereafter, so it is said, he strove to practice obedience with such great attentiveness that he would consent to take nothing of either food or drink, nor to be seen or visited by any of his men, not even his son, without being given permission, very much devoting himself to silence and obedience. And so, with God calling, after a few days he was released. As bishops and laymen performed the funeral rites with a large crowd—individual bishops saying mass for him on individual days—he was honourably commended to the earth and buried between his wife and son in the middle of his church. It is well known that on the same day he handed over on behalf of his soul the estate called Karlsdorf. Wiprecht passed away on the eleventh Kalends of June [22 May].