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learned afterwards, that in the forest, on the other side of the mountain, and within half an hour's walk of his cell, there stood a lone house, which was the abode, at intervals, of desperate men who lived by rapine. The good hermit presented us right courteously with his pitcher; and while we were drinking in succession, he talked about the mountain, and the wild wood through which we must pass.
“ That cross,” said he, “ shews the track to Einsedelin ; and see there, in the distance below, by yonder lake, is the pass so famous for the · Schlacht of Morgarten: Das ist der Platz wo die Schlacht von Morgarten vorfiel.” But his wild discourse was broken as ever and anon he gazed fearfully upwards on the advancing storm, which had now wrapt in thickest darkness the very mountain over which we had lately passed. These were the clouds coming on after a sultry day which Homer so grandly describes as accompanying the retreat of Mars when, wounded by Diomede, he fled, roaring, up to heaven. A strange livid and ghastly light gleamed beyond the mountains, such as might be reflecting the brazen god, while their summits were lost in the blackness of the storm. As we stood to watch the lightning, a forked beam darting across made one of our light companions to laugh with admiration ; but a look of humble censure from the hermit was a sermon which I can never forget, as he shrunk his head under his cowl, and bowed down to the earth with a most appalling expression of terror and humility. It was a look for Titian to have caught, though I doubt if his unrivalled pencil could have expressed it. We presented him with some small pieces of money; and as we hurried down the mountain, we heard his blessing and his prayers following us; as if he had no thought for himself, though we left him to await in solitude this night of horror. On entering the forest of Pine, the night had prematurely overtaken us, and the storm was already upon us. It was a night in which the beasts would go into their dens, and remain in cover, and when the knights of old would remember the Pater Noster of St. Julian. The thunder rolled heavily, and the forked lightning darted on every side : the rain began to fall in large
i ll. v. 864.
drops, which quickly passed into a flood, as though heaven and earth would go together. Heartily did each one of us wish himself back in the hermit's cell, as we hurried on in silence over rough and smooth, wet and hard; but we had come too far to think of returning. At length, by the glare of the fast-succeeding flashes, we discovered a collection of houses, as we thought, at a small distance in advance; but on approaching they proved to be nothing but deserted and roofless chalets. A quarter of an hour further we caught a light from some window to the right, across the waste; we ran towards it, and discovered a wretched lone house, into which we fled for refuge. It stood at the skirts of the wood, in a flat morass. About ten o'clock the night seemed to clear, and after deliberation, we resolved to proceed; but being very tired, and having now no wish to arrive at the convent that night, since I knew that the reverend father would not be visible for whom I was charged with a letter, I reluctantly, and not without forebodings, left the company, and resolved to make my way back to the hermit's cell, and with him to wait till morning. But the interval of calm was deceitful, and the darkness returned with greater horror than ever ; the thunder roared, and the lightning flashed, and the rain fell, and the mountain-torrents raged along under broken bridges of pine thrown across, till I was knee-deep in soil and water, and my eyes were nearly blind by the brightness of the fiery shower, and the hermit's cell was still far distant; and now the track through the forest was buried deep, and to climb against the blast was no longer possible. Sooth to say, though solitude was nothing new,
When comfort ne mirthe is none,
Riding by the way dumbe as the stone, this was a moment which I imagined would have somewhat dashed Sir Launcelot or King Arthur himself. However, there was nothing to be done but to work my way back again, and to the same ominous lodgings which I had left. There I was glad to enter, though it was filled with brutallooking villains nearly drunk, who greeted me with a most disheartening laugh as I entered, dripping and right cold. However, they allowed me to creep up into a loft where was some straw covered with sackcloth, where I should
have slept comfortably enough (not knowing my company, though I did feel suspicious), but for the horrible yells of debauchery which out-noised the storm, excepting when the thunder-crash broke over our heads, and made the very planks 'shake under the straw on which I lay. It was past midnight, and the spent storm seemed to slumber; the iron tongue of time tolled one upon the drowsy ear of night; the lightning was unaccompanied by thunder; and as soon as the first streak of grey gave notice of the dawn, I left my straw with a light heart, and escaped from the odious loft, and breathed free in the morning wind. In two hours, briskly walking, I reached Einsedelin, and rejoined my friends. Here we were received at the convent, a holy pile, which must have awakened in more than me beholder a desire to trace the progress, and to mark the spirit of that religion which, while secretly ministering during successive ages to the multiplied wants of the race of men, has not the less become associated with all the incidents of our heroic history, and with the most inspiring recollections of past greatness.
It was amid the savage crags of Einsedelin, and the eternal snows of Engelberg, among the melancholy ruins of Jumiege, and on the desert shore of Lindisfarn, in the peaceful valley of Melrose, and amid wild northern scenes, like those of Norway's wastes,
Whose groves of fir in gloomy horror frown,
Nod o'er the rocks, and to the tempest groan, that I first indulged in the hope that the pleasures of imagination might conduce to more permanent and perfect enjoyment; that to youthful, and generous, and romantic minds, there would be no distance between observing and loving the spirit and the institutions which belonged to the religion of the Christian chivalry. “In the morning,” says St. Augustine,“ prayer is like gold; in the evening it is like silver ;" a thought which instantly suggests the division which I propose to follow in the course of these disputations; for chivalry gave to God the first hour of day, and the first season of human life—the freshness of the morning, and the flower of youth ; and he that would form a conception of the spirit and institutions of the Christian chivalry must begin with understanding its religion; a theme comprising high and solemn and heroic
images, which should exalt and warm and sanctify the heart. Many, I hope, will open this book, not that they may feel what they read, but that they may read what they feel.
The heroic devotion of Tancred de Hauteville was accompanied with the greatest humanity and moderation in
It is expressly recorded of him by historians,' that on the capture of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, he used his utmost efforts to stop the massacre.
When we consider the trying circumstances in which this humanity was displayed, we must conclude that the true devotion of the chivalrous character was found in Tancred. It is, therefore, under the majesty of that illustrious and heroic name, that this second book is presented to the reader.
II. In all ages of the world religion had been the source of chivalry. It was in a sense of religion, however weak or unenlightened, that the generous and heroic part of mankind among the Heathens derived support and encouragement; generosity and heroism being essentially religi
But in the mystery of love fulfilled upon the sorrowful cross of our blessed Saviour, it pleased the Almighty Creator of the world to complete, for a great portion of men, the term of darkness, to remove their ignorance, and to assist their infirmities—to breathe into their nature a new life, a new soul, a divine and most exalted principle of virtue. From this period we commence a new history of the human race ; for with eager rapture was this light hailed by the knightly and generous part of men: they had now fresh strength, higher motives, and a far nobler object. Chivalry assumes in consequence a more exalted and perfect character. Always religious, it is now enlisted in the cause of truth and goodness, to combat all manner of evil, to conquer under the banner of the cross, and to reign for everlasting. That the Christian faith was become essential to chivalry, we have abundant evidence. Joinville relates a saying of King St. Louis, when a Mahometan entered his prison with a drawn sword, crying, "Fais-moi chevalier, ou je te tue;" to which the king replied, “Fais-toi Chrétien, et je te ferai chevalier.” In Spain, when nobility was to be made out, it was necessary to prove a descent by both
Raumer, i. p. 216 ; Orderic. Vital. lib. ix.
parents from vijos Christianos, that is, from ancient Christians; the blemish to be apprehended being a mixture of Jewish or Moorish blood. Thus Villa Diego says, “ Hidalgo ille solus dicetur qui Christiana virtute pollet.” When Saladin desired Hue de Tabarie, his prisoner, to make him a knight, the other replied :
Voloie vester et couvrir.' It might at first appear superfluous to propose an inquiry into the character of that religion which thus became associated with the heroic spirit; nevertheless, the divine and unchanging religion of our Christian chivalry has a humanised and a poetical side, towards which the eyes of youth may not have been sufficiently directed.
There are many interesting details and reflections furnished by a review of its history, which are too often overlooked, as not appertaining strictly to the studies required by either the mere historical or theological student. Yet assuredly are these details and reflections worthy of some attention, at least from those persons to whom leisure and means are afforded of dispensing with the divisions of mental exercise, and who can delay to gather the beautiful blossoms as well as the substantial fruits of wisdom.
Such details will, I hope, be found in the following pages.
III. On examining the memorials of our Christian chivalry it will be interesting to remark, how the service of God was considered as demanding a perfect and total devotion of mind and heart, of soul and body; how that the Catholic faith was the very basis of the character which belonged to the knight; that piety was to be the rule and motive of his actions, and the source of every virtue which his conduct was to display. The first precept which was pressed upon the mind of youth was the love of God.
1 L'Orderie de Chevalerie.