Type 3: The Acts of St. Lawrence
This piece represents the third category of martyriological writings I had mentioned. St. Lawrence was a deacon in Rome who had been martyred in 258 along with Pope (St.) Sixtus II and six other deacons in 258, under the emperor, Valerian.
Marcus Aurelius Prudentius, a Spanish poet who lived from about 348 until around 413, wrote poems about martyrs of the Church (among other things). In his writings, he included a poetic rendition of the legend of St. Lawrence.
|First of the seven ministers
Who nearest to the altar stand,
Levite in holy orders high
And eminent above the rest.He guarded well the sacred rites
And kept in trust with faithful keys
The precious treasure of the Church,
Dispensing riches vowed to God.…The Pontiff Sixtus, from the cross
On, which he hung, saw at its foot
His deacon Lawrence weeping sore,
And these prophetic words he spoke:
‘Let tears of sorrow cease to flow
…[In response to the prefect’s questions concering
the Church’s wealth:]
‘Our church is very rich,’ he said.
He hastens through the city streets,
… The prefect deigns to follow him;
|The air is rent with cries for alms;
The prefect shudders in dismay,
And turns on Lawrence glaring eyes,
With threats of dreadful punishment.…’These humble paupers you despise
And look upon as vile outcasts,
Their ulcerous limbs will lay aside
And put on bodies incorrupt,
‘When freed at last from tainted flesh
‘Not foul and shabby, or infirm,
… When slow, consuming heat had seared
‘Pray turn my body, on one side
The prefect bade him to be turned.
He said these words in way of jest;
 Translation obtained from: http://www.deacons.net/Deacons_before_us/lawrence.html.