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often gave rise to affecting and even romantic incidents, which are presented at intervals on the page of history.
The pilgrim and hoary palmer are interesting characters in the early and middle ages of the Church. The last pilgrim that I met was an old man, who bore his staff and had his cockle hat; and who begged alms of me as I was riding up a mountain near the river Seine.
Oh, come ye from East, or come ye from West,
Or St. John of Beverly?
It is justly right and quite in character for the amusing author of a History of Fiction to tell us of “ the lying horde of pilgrims from the holy land;" but he who would give a history of true facts will often have occasion to admire the piety and humility of these holy men : at all events, as Socrates says, it is not proper that a man who loves the Muses should be unacquainted with them. They are often met with in poetic regions :
Now was the hour that wakens fond desire
That seems to mourn for the expiring day.' These poor pilgrims were often great princes in disguise, who were glad to suffer indignities for the love of God. Alas! when men behold God dishonoured, does it seem ridiculous that they should shrink from being honoured ? Our early history is full of examples of royal pilgrims; such as Cenred, king of Mercia ; Offa, king of the east Saxons ; Ceodulfe, king of Northumbria. King Lucius is said to have renounced his crown and the world, and to have preached the Gospel in the Grissons; and St. Adelme, a holy pilgrim from the banks of the Thames, is said have taken his station on a bridge, where, with his sweet melodious accents, he used to convert the idolaters to the Christian faith. It is a memorable history which is re
i Dante, Purgatory; Carey's translation.
lated of a stranger returning from a pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella, and arriving at the castle of Raymond Berenger, count of Provence, where he was so hospitably received, that he attached himself to his court, and shewed such capacity, that the prince confided in him the administration of his finances. His attention soon tripled the revenue : nevertheless the pilgrim did not escape the
envy of the courtiers, who prevailed upon the count to call for his accounts. “My lord,” replied the pilgrim, “I have served you a long time, and have put your estate into order; the malice of your barons obliges you to pay me with ingratitude. I was a poor pilgrim when I came to your court, and I have lived honestly on the wages you allowed me. Order them to give me back my mule, my staff, and my bottle, and so I depart as I came.” The count was moved at his words, and endeavoured to retain him ; but he persisted in his resolution, and went his way. Some say that from this pilgrim, called Romieu, from his having been to Rome, and supposed to have been of the house of Arragon, is descended the illustrious family of Villeneuve. Pilgrims were under the protection of the Church : “ All pilgrims, recluses, hermits, of whatever country, are under the especial protection of our holy father at Rome,” says the author of L'Arbre des Batailles, “et peuvent faire et accomplir leurs pelerinages et voyages par toute la Chrestienté la ou leur devotion sera ou au saint sepulchre, ou ailleurs ou ils auront voue a aller en pelerinage, soit en temps de guerre, de paix, ou de treves, quelque temps qu'il soit sur terre. Et en ce cas cy sont privilegies comme gens d'Eglise :” “ so that if the richest citizen or merchant of London" (observe the character he takes) “should be moved to go on pilgrimage to St. Denis or to St. Antony of Vienne, he need have no safe-conduct. Et sans faulte toute personne qui mit la main sur pelerin ou pelerine il va contre l'ordonnance et sauvegarde du Pape.”! So the question is proposed : “A French knight with his company riding before Bourdeaux, meets on the road an old citizen coming from hearing mass in a chapel without the city, where there is a hermitage ; ought the knight to take him prisoner? The answer is, that he
1 Chap. c.
should be let go free. The nobles of Poictou having rebelled against Earl Richard (Cour de Lion), he defeated them, and kept one Peter Seille in very strayte prison, and would not put him to his ransome ; wherefore Earl Reymond took two of the King of England's knights, Sir Robert Poer and Sir Richard Fraser, as they were returning from Compostella ; but they were quickly set at liberty by the French king's commandment, for the reverence of St. James, whose pilgrims they were.” It was for the use of pilgrims that the famous Itinerary from Bordeaux to Jerusalem was composed. I am not willing to take any notice of the commonplace declamation which the moderns are so fond of in ridicule and censure of these holy and venerable practices. Bad men may have concealed their wickedness under their cloak of devotion : this is no modern discovery. “ Dieu seul sait qui bon pélerin est,” was the saying of our old ancestors, of men who received every pilgrim for the love of God, who, like Count Raimond de St. Gilles, would name their own house Chasteau Pelerin ; who were quite as sharp-sighted as their descendants, and who were not in the least behind them in horror “ de la abominable simulation ou fiction de sainctete, as Gilles de Rome calls it. Sismondi, in his History of the Italian Republics, does full justice to the conduct of the millions of Christians who made a pilgrimage to Rome in 1350.2 Busching, too, another witness, whom even the moderns cannot suspect, leads his reader to conclude, “that amidst the excessive fatigues to which men thus exposed themselves, there could hardly have been wanting moments in which the penance inflicted on the outer man was changed into an inward and lasting return to God."3 Among the Anglo-Saxon Penitential Canons, A.D. 963, we read as follows: “ Deep satisfaction is this, that a layman lay aside his weapons, and travel far away, and not be a second night in the same place; and fast, and watch much, and pray earnestly night and day; that he come not into a warm bath nor a soft bed, nor taste flesh nor spirits ; that he come not within a church, (though he zealously inquire after holy places), and declare his guilt, and earnestly beg prayers for himself, and kiss | Holinshed, 467.
2 Vol. vi. 43. 3 Ritterzeit und Ritterwesen, ii. 159.
nobody, but be always vehemently bewailing his sins." Let any man read the pilgrimage of Duke William V. of Aquitaine to St. James in Galicia, in 1136, when he retired from the world, and say, if he can, that here was not the sorrow and repentance unto life.' Bouchet, in his book Le Bouquet Sacré de la Terre Saincte, shewing the spiritual advantage to be derived from a pilgrimage, says, that the Hebrews used
the same word for pilgrimage and tribulation : and even Fleury admits, that a penitent travelling alone, or with another, observed a rule, fasted or lived soberly, kept hours of meditation and silence, sung psalms, or had edifying conversation. If they had committed sin, they knew what was their hope, and they now sought to ascend by their vices and their passions. “De vitiis nostris scalam nobis facimus,” said St. Augustine, “si vitia ipsa calcamus." The solemn and penitential spirit under the palmer's cowl, or even knightly armour, gave rise to many awful examples of mortification :
And here it soothes him to abide,
And hear the prayer, but utter none. When William Longue-épée, the warlike Duke of Normandy, was assassinated, they found under his clothes the inner garment of a monk; for he had made a vow to renounce the world, and was about to have put it in execution. The title of one chapter in L'Arbre des Batailles was enough to cast a shade of solemnity over the warrior's brow : “Se ung chevalier meurt en la bataille, se nous dirons que son ame soit sauvée ou se elle est dampnée ?”3 The author first concludes that it is not saved, because “ mortel homme qui meurt en ire et en malle voulente on croit qu'il soit mort en pechie mortel ;” nathless, he draws three other conclusions. If he dies fighting for the faith, and otherwise is not in mortal sin, “il s'en va en Paradis : 2. if in a just war, for a just cause, he goes to Paradise ; 3. if he dies in unjust battle for unjust cause, il est en
See Jean de Bouchet, Annales d'Aquitaine, 131. ? Serm, iii, de Ascens.
3 Chap. liii.
voye de dampnacion.” Among Lanfranc's Canons, A.D.
| Thomassin, iii. iii. 37.