Paralytice

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Pervigil excubiis commissi Petrus ovilis
postquam cuncta videns lustravit in ordine sanctos,
per Lyddae tulit arva gradus, ubi moenibus adstans
respicit Aeneam defunctis vivere membris,
atque anima, nodis laxata mole solutis,
non moriente mori. “surgens, paralytice,” dixit,
“vectorem compone tuum, nec reddere tardes
officium, portate diu.” quo munere vocis
stringitur in solidum qui fluxerat antea nervis.
tunc iterum formatus homo, longique cadaver
temporis exstinctos ad vitam surrigit artus,
seque levans vacui linquit monumenta cubilis,
quod misero pars mortis erat. plebs cuncta per illam
coepit stare viam, multisque supervenit ampla
unius languore salus tactoque liquore
expulit inclusi sua mox contagia morbi
fonte lavans animas alieno robore firmas.
(Arator, De Actibus Apostolorum 1.754-770)

When Peter, ever watchful on guard over his entrusted flock and seeing all, had illumined all the saints one after another, he advanced through the fields of Lydda, where, standing near the walls, he realized that Aeneas, though his limbs were defunct, was alive and that, though his soul was not dying, he was dying, his weight enfeebled by his slackened joints. ‘Get up, paralytic!’ he said. ‘Make your bed and do not be slow in rendering your duty: you have been carried long enough.’ When he had received the gift of these words, with all his strength he drew together into something solid what had previously fallen away. Then, once more made man, he who had been a corpse for such a long time raises his dried up limbs to life, and lifting himself up leaves the tomb of his empty bed, which had been an aspect of death for the wretched man. All the people began to stand along that street and from the weakness of one man there came to many an abundant salvation, which at the touch of the water soon cast out the pollution of their internal sickness and washing their souls in the spring rendered them powerful with another man’s strength. (tr. Richard Hillier)

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