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all days of fast strictly; he never went to bed without hearing his hours read: great giver of alms, he never refused poor people in town or country.” This was Charles the Bold in his youth ! before ambition and the world had corrupted his heart.
Olivier de la Marche says of Philip le Bon, Duke of Burgundy, “When his knights were about to take Luxembourg by surprise, and the trumpet had sounded to be in the saddle, the Duke armed himself, and went in full armour to hear mass; and after mass he said certain prayers in his oratory, which lasted sufficiently long,” says the good knight; “ and I remember,” he continues, “ that I and the other pages on horseback heard the common men murmuring and complaining of his delay, saying that he might another time very well make up his Paternosters.” So, at last, Jehan de Chaumergy, first esquire of the stable, went to the duke, who replied to him, “Si Dieu m'a donné victoire, il la me gardera, et peut autant faire à ma requeste (s'il luy plaist de m'estre misericors), qu'il fera à l'aide de toute ma chevalerie. There are my nephews and servants, who, with God's aid, will sustain my cause till I come. Olivier de la Marche says, that when a young page, he was displeased with a very brave knight, the Seigneur de Ternant, for not bearing a bannerolle of devotion. “Car plus est l'homme de haut affaire,” he says, “plus doit à Dieu de recognoissance ; et tant plus à d'honneur, tant plus doit doubter et craindre celuy Dieu, qui le luy peut oster et faire perdre.”2
I conceive that even these examples are abundantly sufficient to shew how egregiously the moderns have erred in supposing that a spirit of religion was unknown in the middle ages. The religion of chivalry was far from consisting in a superstitious observance of external ceremonies. It was founded upon the spiritual and grand doctrine of Christianity, the Cross of Christ. They never forgot what the Church taught them. “ We ought to glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection; by whom we have been saved and delivered.” They sung with her “ Crux fidelis” and “Dulce lignum ;” and they were ready to re1 Chap. xii.
Chap. xiv. 3 The Introit for the Tuesday in Holy Week.
peat her words, “ We adore thy cross, O Lord, and we praise and glorify thy holy resurrection : for by the wood of the cross the whole world is filled with joy.” The knights, indeed, were not deeply learned in the folios of theology, but they knew thus much, “Non est salus animæ, nec spes æternæ vitæ nisi in cruce.” They may not have learned any system of moral philosophy; they were not in habits of questioning the ways of Providence ; they were not infected with a secret leaven of infidelity; they knew little of the ethics of the pagan writers, of the utility of virtue; they had not learned to limit, and to annihilate with their limitations, the doctrine of God their Saviour; but they bore his cross upon their breasts, and they trusted to it in death. Who does not feel the beauty of that description in the Fairy Queen ?
A gentle knight was pricking on the plain,
The most precious relique of the Cid Ruydiez which was preserved and venerated in the monastery of St. Pedro de Cardenna, was the cross which he used to wear upon his breast when he went to battle. The infidels were astonished at the joy and confidence of the Christian warriors. “ Hoc signum sanctæ crucis,” said the crusader, “quo munimur et sanctificamur, procul dubio spirituale nobis scutum est contra jacula inimicorum, et in eodem sperantes tutius adversus pericula cuncta stare audemus.”! A knight falls in battle, and feeling his breath fail him, with his helmet for a pillow, he kisses the cross of his sword in remembrance of that on which the incarnate Son of God had died for him, and renders up his soul into the hands of his Creator. “ This,” says the author of the Chronicle of the
was the death of one of the worthy knights of the world, Don Rodrigo Frojas. It was Laurence Celso, Doge of Venice in 1363, who first ordained that a cross should
i Gesta Dei per Francos, 286.
be placed at the front of the Doge's bonnet. His father, believing that it was not proper for him to uncover his head before his own son, and at the same time not daring to fail in respect towards the chief of the state, came to a resolution of always going bareheaded. Laurence Celso contrived to have a golden cross at the front of his bonnet, and the stratagem succeeded. His father resumed his hat, and whenever he saw his son he took it off, observing that he saluted the cross, and not his own son. Any indignity offered to the sign and emblem of this great truth was regarded as a dreadful injury offered to themselves. This the poet expresses when he makes Harold fling his crossbearer out of his saddle, and adds,
Loud was the shriek, and deep the groan,
This great doctrine of Catholic faith was to them neither a stumbling-block nor foolishness ; it was the wisdom of God, and the power of God: and if they venerated with holy reverence the precious emblem of human salvation ; if they did love and adore the very image of the cross ; and if, like the first Christians, they did on every occasion sign themselves with its mark, from a conviction that under that sign they should conquer; it will ill become those to censure them who have laid aside both the image and the substance—both the sign and the truth which it was intended to designate.
VII. The order is natural, if we pass from the protection of religion by chivalry, to the respect with which the clergy were regarded. Upon no subject of history have the sophists of the 18th century so loudly expressed their censure, as upon the veneration with which the clergy were regarded in the middle ages. It is most true, it is
I once saw an inscription under a crucifix, which must have disappointed the modern who was prepared to ridicule
“Effigiem Christi qui transis pronus adora ;
Sed non effigiem, sed quem designat adora." As in the passage in the Saxon homily, “ We bow ourselves to the cross ; not indeed to the wood, but to the Almighty Lord, who hung on it for us.” Hom. Sax. apud Wilk. 165.
most consoling to reflect, that they were the objects of this veneration. The general saying was, “Stant imperia precibus magis piorum quam militum gladiis.” “ Souvenez vous,” said the constable Du Guesclin, when he was dying, “que partout ou vous ferez la guerre, les ecclésiastiques, le pauvre peuple, les femmes et les enfans, ne sont point vos ennemis ; que vous ne portez les armes que pour les defendre et les proteger.” These were his last words. In the Tree of Battles we read, “ Et de ce les Anglois ont une tres bonne maniere combien qu'ils nous semblent estre bien fiers et cruels en fait de guerre. Car sans faulte ja ne mettront les mains sur homme d'Eglise -.” Of the Mareschal de Boucicaut we read, “Quand il voyage aulcune part en armes, il faict defendre expressément, sur peine de la hart, que nul ne soit si hardy de grever Eglise, ne monstier, ne prebstre, ne religieux, mesmes en terre d'ennemis. Et ne souffre assaillir Eglise forte, quelque bien ou quelque richesse que le pay eust dedans retirée, quelque famine ou necessité qu'il ait.” The old poet Marot lays down the law :
Car sauver faust quatre choses en guerre,
Prestre, herault, paige, et feminin genre. He forgets to mention labourers and peasants, who were, however, equally to be protected, as I shall have occasion to shew in another place. When the town of Mounte Ferante, in Auvergne, was taken by Perot le Bernoys and his company, this captain had charged, on pain of death, “ that no man should be so hardy as to hurt any church, or trouble any man of the Church ; this manner,” says Froissart, “ ever Perot used whensoever he won any town or fortress ;” so that the freebooter treated the clergy with the same respect as did the constable and mareschals of France. Then in time of peace, we all remember what the valiant and accomplished knight of La Mancha says, “ Priests, whom I honour and revere, as every good Catholic and faithful Christian ought to do ;” and when he recognised the curate of his village in the wilds of the Sierra Morena, he would have alighted to pay him his respects, saying, Reverend sir, I beseech you let me not be so rude as to sit on horseback while a person of your worth and character is on foot. The greatest and best princes were the most ardent to mark their respect for the
clergy ; witness that wise and spiritual king, Louis IX., of whom Velly says,
never was there a prince who had a more sincere respect for the ministers of Jesus Christ.” What can the imagination picture more divine than to behold St. Thomas of Aquinas and St. Bonaventure at the court of St. Louis? In a worldly point of view, Scipio Ammiratus held that dignities of the Church augmented the honour of a family, and Stephen Gracia was likewise of opinion that Episcopacy brought nobility to a race. At all events, on taking orders a man lost not his nobility, “nec item perdit monachus originem.”
At Assher, when the Duke of Norfolk came to visit Wolsey in his retreat, “after dinner,” says Cavendish, “the water was brought them to wash, to the which my lord called
Lord of Norfolk to wash with him : but he refused so to do of courtesy, and said that it became him no more to presume to wash with him now than it did before. “Yes,' quoth my lord; 'for my legacy is gone, wherein stode all my high honour.' 'A straw,' quoth my Lord of Norfolk, ‘for your legacy : I never esteemed your honour the higher for that ; but I esteemed your honour for that ye were Archbishop of York, and a cardinal; therefore content you. I will not presume to wash with you ; and therefore I pray you, hold me excused.'” presented,” says a traveller of the fourteenth century, “ to the Abbot of St. Maixant. This old man was so venerated on account of his evangelical virtues and noble character, that the great barons whom he visited would, in the evening, carry the keys of their castles into his room, to honour him by this great sign of confidence.” At Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, there is still to be seen “the Abbot's Turret," where the abbot of the adjacent abbey used to be lodged on his visits to the lord. The bishop's word and the king's were valid without an oath by king Withred's dooms ecclesiastical in the year 646. The clergy had only to use these words, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not. Eadmer affirms that there was not a count or countess, or any noble person in England, who did not think they would lose the favour of God, if they did not shew favour to the holy Abbot St. Anselm, in whose presence even the stern and formidable conqueror, King William, was mild and affable, so as to astonish all be
- We were