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The Deeds of Wiprecht

Judith's d. Core


In the year of the Lord 1109. In this year, Henry, the fourth [fifth] king of this name, arranged to celebrate Christmas at Mainz. The German princes solemnly came together there from all directions, supported by a great deal of pomp. Wiprecht too was present with his sons, Wiprecht and Henry. But for them—oh the pain!—that same feast was turned into mourning. For the lady countess Judith, worthy of everyone's veneration and remembrance, died—with God piously arranging it (as we hope and wish) on account of her most generous good will towards our monastery. Ready to sing on the nativity of her Saviour, she joined with the saints in the angelic song, 'Glory in the highest to the lamb, who takes away the sins of the world.' And ready to delight in the bosom of Abraham in the resting place for the earthly amongst the heavenly, she went the way of all flesh on her patrimony called Bautzen on the sixteenth Kalends of January [17 December]. Messengers were therefore sent quickly in both directions to report her death: not only to the lord Wiprecht and their sons, but also to the princes of Bohemia, the lady Judith's brothers. Meanwhile, everyone came together in groups for her funeral. Indeed, having received such sad news through the messengers, the lord Wiprecht, with a tearful plaint about the passing of his wife, obtained permission from the emperor to return home immediately. He sent a legate ahead as soon as possible to have the body brought in the meantime to the monastery at Pegau, where Abbot Windolf received it with honour and his brothers received it solemnly with grief and chanting. The lord Wiprecht himself very swiftly followed with his men. Finally, on Wiprecht’s arrival there and with the princes of Bohemia meeting up with him simultaneously, great lamentations were made. There was a gathering of a crowd of people, who had flocked together from all directions within four days. On account of this, the body brought to Pegau remained continuously placed on top of a bier and unburied. Besides the bishop of Meissen, who had come with everything needed for the funeral rites, the lord Wiprecht invited [Bishops] Albuin of Merseburg and Walram of Zeitz, who came surrounded by ranks of clerics. They devoutly performed the funeral office with due veneration. In the end, how do such great and festive funeral rites deserve to be distinguished or delimited? What description might satisfy the reader? A short one, to be sure. For what could be said more briefly or heard more truly from us than that dirt is consigned to dirt, ashes to ashes? But without doubt they are settled in the sole hope of resurrection and rebirth; falling blessedly asleep in the Lord, they rest in peace. May God, the redeemer of our souls, who lives and reigns with the Father and Holy Spirit (etc.), grant this peace and the grace of rebirth to our lady Judith.
Who indeed may set forth in words how much—not only on the thirtieth day but also beyond it—the most generous lord Wiprecht mercifully expended in giving with largesse to the sick, the poor, orphans, and widows and in liberally relieving their hunger, nakedness, poverty, and all of their needs? Who, in the end, has the means to say or to know with what a crowd and with what generosity he performed the thirty-day anniversary of his most beloved wife’s death? Since this short report of ours is able to capture nothing worthy of such a great festivity, it seems proper to leave these things to the prudence and judgment of the reader.

Analysis