June 23rd is the feast of St Æthelthryth (Ethelburga; Audrey) who lived from around 636-679. The normally restrained historian Bede was so impressed by her that he was moved to verse (Ecclesiastical History, III,20):
Trinity,Gracious, Divine, Who rulest all the ages; favour my task, Trinity, Gracious, Divine.
Let Maro sound the trumpet of war, let us sing the gifts of peace; the gifts of Christ we sing, let Maro sound the trumpet of war.
Chaste is my song, no rape of guilty Helen; light tales shall be told by the wanton, chaste is my song.
I will tell of gifts from Heaven, not wars of hapless Troy; I will tell of gifts from Heaven, wherein the earth is glad.
Lo! the high God comes to the womb of a holy virgin, to be the Saviour of men, lo! the high God comes.
A hallowed maid gives birth to Him Who gave the world its being; Mary, the gate of God, a maiden gives Him, birth.
The company of her fellows rejoices over the Virgin Mother of Him Who wields the thunder; a shining virgin band, the company of her fellows rejoices.
Her honour has made many a blossom to spring from that pure shoot, virgin blossoms her honour has made to spring.
Scorched by the fierce flames, the maiden Agatha yielded not; in like manner Eulalia endures, scorched by the fierce flames.
“The lofty soul of chaste Tecla overcomes the wild beasts; chaste Euphemia overcomes the accursed wild beasts.
Agnes joyously laughs at the sword, herself stronger than steel, Cecilia joyously laughs at the foemen’s sword.
Many a triumph is mighty throughout the world in temperate hearts; throughout the world love of the temperate life is mighty.
Yea, and our day likewise a peerless maiden has blessed; peerless our Ethelthryth shines.
Child of a noble sire, and glorious by royal birth, more noble in her Lord’s sight, the child of a noble sire.
Thence she receives queenly honour and a sceptre in this world; thence she receives honour, awaiting higher honour above.
What need, gracious lady, to seek an earthly lord, even now given to the Heavenly Bridegroom?
Christ is at hand, the Bridegroom (why seek an earthly lord?) that thou mayst follow even now, methinks, in the steps of the Mother of Heaven’s King, that thou too mayst be a mother in God.
Twelve years she had reigned, a bride dedicated to God, then in the cloister dwelt, a bride dedicated to God.
To Heaven all consecrated she lived, abounding in lofty deeds, then to Heaven all consecrated she gave up her soul.
Twice eight Novembers the maid’s fair flesh lay in the tomb, nor did the maid’s fair flesh see corruption in the tomb.
This was Thy work, O Christ, that her very garments were bright and undefiled even in the grave; O Christ, this was Thy work.
The dark serpentflies before the honour due to the holy raiment; disease is driven away, and the dark serpent flies.
Rage fills the foe who of old conquered Eve; exultant the maiden triumphs and rage fills the foe.
Behold, O bride of God, thy glory upon earth; the glory that awaits thee in the Heavens behold, O bride of God.
In gladness thou receivest gifts, bright amidst the festal torches; behold! the Bridegroom comes, in gladness thou receivest gifts.
And a new song thou singest to the tuneful harp; a new-made bride, thou exultest in the tuneful hymn.
None can part her from them which follow the Lamb enthroned on high, whom none had severed from the Love enthroned on high.