"The Golden Legend ," by Jacobus de Voragine, A.D. 1275
And so an whole year he [St. Roch] visited the houses of poor men, and they
that had most need, to them he did most help, and was always in the hospital.
And when he had been long in the hospital of Piacenza, and had helped almost
all the sick men therein, about midnight he heard in his sleep an angel thus
O Rocke, most devout
to Christ, awake and know that thou art smitten with the pestilence, study
now how thou mayst be cured.
And anon he felt
him sore taken with the pestilence under his both arms, and he thereof gave
than kings to our Lord. And he was so sore vexed with the pain, that they
that were in the hospital were deprived of their sleep and rest of the night,
wherefore S. Rocke arose from his bed and went to the utterest place of the
hospital, and lay down there abiding the light of the day.
And when it was day the people going by saw him, and accused the master of
the hospital of offence, that he suffered the pilgrim to lie without the
hospital, but he purged him of that default, saying that: The pilgrim was
smitten with the pestilence as ye see, and unwitting to us he went out.
Then the citizens incontinent put out S. Rocke from the city and suburbs,
lest by him the city might be the more infected. Then S. Rocke, sore oppressed
with fervent pain of the pestilence, suffered patiently himself to be ejected
out of Piacenza, and went into a certain wood, a desert valley not far from
Piacenza, always blessing God. And there as he might he made him a lodge
of boughs and leaves, always giving thankings to our Lord, saying: O Jesu,
my Saviour, I thank thee that thou puttest me to affliction like to thine
other servants, by this odious ardour of pestilence, and most meek Lord,
I beseech thee to this desert place, give the refrigery and comfort of thy
And his prayer finished, anon there came a cloud from heaven by the lodge
that S. Rocke had made within boughs, whereas sprang a fair and bright well,
which is there yet unto this day. Whose water S. Rocke drank, being sore
athirst, and thereof had great refreshing of the great heat that he suffered
of the pestilence fever.
There was nigh unto that wood a little village in which some noblemen dwelled;
among whom there was one well beloved to God named Gotard,which had great
husbandry, and had a great family and household. This Gotard held many hounds
for hunting, among whom he had one much familiar, which boldly would take
bread from the board. And when Rocke lacked bread, that hound, by the purveyance
of God, brought from the lord's board bread unto Rocke. Which thing when
Gotard had advertised oft that he bare so away the bread, but he wist not
to whom ne whither, whereof he marvelled, and so did all his household.
And the next dinner he set a delicate loaf on the board, which anon the hound
by his new manner took away and bare it to Rocke. And Gotard followed after
and came to the lodge of S. Rocke, and there beheld how familiarly the hound
delivered the bread to S. Rocke.
Then Gotard reverently saluted the holy man and approached to him, but S.
Rocke, dreading lest the contagious air of the pestilence might infect him,
said to him: Friend, go from me in good peace, for the most violent pestilence
Then Gotard went his way and left him, and returned home, where, by God's
grace, he said thus to himself all still: This poor man whom I have left
in the wood and desert, certainly is the man of God, sith this hound without
reason bringeth to him bread. I therefore, that have seen him do it, so ought
sooner to do it, which am a Christian man.
By this holy meditation Gotard returned to Rocke and said: Holy pilgrim,
I desire to do to thee that thou needest, and am advised never to leave thee.
Then Rocke thanked God which had sent to him Gotard, and he informed Gotard
busily in the law of Christ.