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her father's castle. The statutes of the round table require that no knight should marry a woman who was not a Christian. In Tirante the White, after King Escariano had been converted by Tirante, and baptized, the old infidel general of the King of Tremecen endeavoured to persuade him to return back to Mahometanism, upon which the wrath of Escariano became so direful, that, lifting up his sword, he cut off the Musulman's head, saying, Dog, son of a dog, brought up in a false law, and who wishest us to return to it, there is the price of your counsel.”
However, we must not take up the ridiculous notion, that knights and men of honour were allowed to close their eyes to the folly and criminality of such a zeal as this. Hear what that excellent Dominican Friar, Lewis of Grenada, told them: “Christian charity and a zeal for the salvation of souls oblige me to undeceive many, who, excited by a false zeal for the faith, think that they do not sin when they do evil to those who are without the church, whether Pagans, Jews, or heretics ; for they should consider that these persons are as much their neighbours as the faithful, as we infer from the parable of our Saviour;' and even when our Lord visits the infidels with his judgments, the ministers of his wrath are as guilty as if they had not been his ministers : nay, still farther, they are not only as guilty as those who injure their neighbours, but they sin a great deal more, inasmuch as they are the cause that the faith is more hated by the infidels.”2 Hear again what a Spanish Bishop says: “O Divine goodness, how many pagans are there who would have been better than I am, if thou hadst raised them to thy Church! How much worse than they are should I have been, had I been a
I have already shewn what was the opinion of Gilles de Rome. This admirable writer was of the Colonna family ; he had studied under St. Thomas Aquinas, who would certainly have taught him this humane wisdom ; he became tutor to Philip le Bel, and Archbishop of Bourges; but after a time he was permitted to resign his see; and he
Catechism, part iv. c. 17. 3 L'Horloge des Princes, par Don Antoine de Guevare, Evesque de Guadix, traduit de Castilan par N. de Herberay, Seigneur des Essan, p. 13.
1 Luke x.
died at Paris in retirement in the convent of the great Augustines. Let us next hear L'Arbre des Batailles.
ought we to make battle with the Jews ??? The author at first seems inclined to answer in the affirmative, but at length he arrives at this grand conclusion : “ Je dy comment Dieu soustient les pecheurs en attendant leur conversion et par la nous donne exemple de les soustenir. Et d'autre part il nous a dit en evangilles que le temps viendra
il ne sera que ung pasteur et ung peuple, car ils se convertiront. Et aussi nous voyons tousjours que aucuns prenent le saint baptesme et pour ce l'eglise les soustient, car quant nous les voyons nous avons memoire de nostre redemption. Et se ils nous haissent se ne sont-ils mye puissans a nous faire guerre ouverte. Et de moins aymer ne nous passent-ils mye car aussi nous ne les aymons que ung petit.”l In like manner in Le Songe du Vergier, the knight proves that the Jews should not be molested. Again, the author of the Tree of Battles inquires, whether a Christian prince may give a safe-conduct to a Sarrazen. He answers in the affirmative. «« We should appear to hold that our law was but little reasonable or true, were we to prevent those from coming among us who might embrace it.” “ Et aussi par leur aler et venir entre nous Chrestiennes ils se pourroient esmouvoir a devotion et requerir le saint baptesme a la gloire et essaucement de notre foy. Item pourroient-ils bien encore dire, les Chrestiens se vantent et dient que leur loy est la charitable de toutes les autres, mais ils le nous montrent mal
pour deux raisons.” First, if they were so charitable as they say, they would let us pass safely through their lands, with the hope that they might gain the freedom of their own who are prisoners with us. Secondly, “ils devroient vouloir que ceulx de estrange loy veisent leur mistere et leur sacrifice affin que plusieurs qui le verroient y pourroient prendre tel exemple quils se convertiroient en leur loy.”2 I might have quoted the great doctors of the Church and the ecclesiastical canons ; but I have preferred presenting my reader with extracts from these chivalrous writings which were in the hands of every knight, and
which do certainly furnish the most undeniable evidence that toleration and chivalry were perfectly compatible. And, after all, however easy it may be to affect a philosophic air, and talk of the danger resulting from the abuse of chivalrous zeal; however easy it may be to declaim upon the savage inhumanity of such intolerance, and upon the inconsistency of cherishing hatred with the religion of Christ, it is not for the cool calculating and systematic supporters of intolerance in the nineteenth century to affect that tone, and to declaim against that intolerance; for theirs is an intolerance without passion, and a zeal without the faith and piety which could furnish the shadow of a reason for its exercise ; for them there can be no excuse. But it is far otherwise with the zeal of chivalry. There was no insensibility or coward selfishness in its nature ; and besides, may it not be reasonably suggested to all who acknowledge the truth of revelation, that generous zeal, even without knowledge, is better than indifference with whatever accomplishments it may be accompanied, better than that practical renunciation of all religion which so frequently in these
ages throws a shade of gloom and bitter despair over the evening of a suspicious life? Highly as every lover of mankind must admire the philosophic reflections of the amiable writer, to whose memoir I have lately referred, deeply as he will lament that fatal result consequent upon all human institutions which perverted into intolerance the effects of a theory, than which even its enemies have acknowledged “nothing could be more beautiful or praiseworthy;" still must it be the conviction of his understanding, and the feeling of his heart, that zeal is less to be feared than the spirit of indifference to revealed truth ; still is it unquestionably certain, that the enthusiasm of chivalry, in loving a name at which "every knee should bow," and a cause for the service of which every heart should beat, while it may excite alarm and regret to the friends of virtue and Christianity, must, at the same time, be regarded with admiration, and even with rever
There is something in it noble and dignifiedsomething which indicates the presence of those high and generous feelings which are the proud prerogative of the human soul; whereas, on the contrary, apathy and indifference upon such a subject, the abuse of that name, the
abandonment or neglect of that cause, must not only be deprecated as fatal in consequence, but must be despised as base, unmanly, and ungenerous in origin : it is human nature to sin, but it is something below human nature to treat the name and religion of the Saviour with indifference and ingratitude.
The conclusion will still be unshaken, that it is safer and more virtuous, that it is more becoming the descendants of knights and men of honour, to err upon the side of zeal than that of apathy. Perish the name of that false philosophy which first taught men to think otherwise ! That it is less injurious to the best interests of individuals, and therefore less hostile to the general happiness of mankind.
VI. But it was not alone to defend the Christian religion that chivalry bound its sons. The great and powerful were to be examples of its influence; they were to devote their riches and their grandeur to maintain its institutions, and to exalt its glory.
This position cannot be better introduced than in the words of the Count de Maistre, who more perhaps than any other writer of this age had imbibed the spirit of the Christian chivalry. “True nobility," he says, “is the natural guardian of religion; it is related to the priesthood, and it never ceases to protect it.” Appius Claudius cried out in the Roman Senate, religion is the affair of the patricians, "auspicia sunt patrum ;" and Bourdaloue, twenty centuries later, said in a Christian pulpit, “ holiness to be eminent can find no foundation more suitable to itself than grandeur." It is the same idea, only clothed differently according to the colours of the age. Thus Livy records of a king, “in duabus tamen magnis honestisque rebus vere regius erat animus, in urbium donis et deorum cultu.” When Theseus composed the Commonwealth of Athens, he divided it into noblemen, husbandmen, and mechanics, and the nobility were to have the care of religion and the laws.4 In tr this is the natural suggestion of reason following from the law of nature. Yet, before Christianity had taken root, and had reached the higher classes, the converts to the Gospel were alarmed at the difficulty of reconciling i Serm. sur la Concep.
2 Du Pape,
154. 3 xli. 20.
4 Plutarch, in vit. Thes.
obedience to its spirit with the grandeur of an exalted rank. Tertullian, who wrote before any emperor had embraced Christianity, said, “ that if the Cæsars should become Christians, they would cease to be Cæsars ; and if the Christians should become Cæsars, they would cease to be Christians.” 1 What a joy for them had they been able to foresee the characters of St. Louis, or of our Edward the Confessor! Indeed, the general character of the French monarchy in this respect is a striking refutation of the views of Tertullian ; for as the Count de Maistre justly observes, “a particular feature of this monarchy is, that it possesses a certain theocratic element which peculiarly belongs to it, and which has given it fourteen hundred years of duration. I do not believe that any other European monarchy has employed for the good of the state a greater number of pontiffs in the civil government. I go back in imagination from the pacific Fleury to those Saint Ouens, those Saint Legers, and so many others distinguished in political life in the night of their age-true Orpheuses of France, who tamed tigers, and made the chestnuts to follow them. I doubt if one can shew elsewhere a similar series."2 Indeed, every thing belonging to that monarchy, down to its innocent and mysterious Lily, and to its sacred
2 Considérations sur la France, 113. 3 Some suppose that Clovis, upon becoming a Christian, adopted the Fleur-de-lis for the arms of France; and that Charles VI., in 1381, reduced the number to three, as a symbol of the Trinity. There have been writers of all nations who treated of this noble fleur-de-lis, named by St. Gregory Nazianzen Bao ilikdv å veos. Many are the grave authors who mention that the shield of France had an origin “ toute celeste;" though Limneous will have this to be “ sermonem phantasticum.”
Some have thought these lilies to be only darts and javelins. The motto of the Bourbons, “neque laborent neque nent,” in allusion to the Salic law, would argue another meaning. Bonald admits that no certainty can be expected respecting what they really are. All possible information on the subject, and references to an immense number of learned authors, will be found in the Traité singulier du Blason, contennant les règles des armoiries, des armes de France et de leur Blason, ce qu'elles representent, et le sentiment des auteurs qui en ont écrit, par Messieur Gilles Andre de la Roque, Chevalier, Sieur de la Loutiere, Paris, 1681. Charlemagne bore the shield azure, charged with the black eagle and the fleur-de-lis or, The old royal seals of St. Louis have only one fleur-de-lis. The Chevalier de la Roque takes care to shew, that several French and foreign families who bear the fleur-de-lis have not the honour to be of the blood of