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his head, and assumed a superb habit; he proceeded to the church which he had built from its foundation, and coming before the altar, he ordered his golden crown, and also that which he wore on his head, to be placed upon After he had spent a long time in prayer, together with his son, he addressed him before all the assembly of pontiffs and nobles, admonishing him, in the first place, to love and fear Almighty God, to keep his precepts in all things, to provide for and defend the churches of God from bad men, then to honour priests as fathers, to love his people as sons, that he should appoint faithful ministers, who feared God, and who held unjust gifts in abhorrence, that he should shew himself at all times without reproach before God and all the people.” That this religious eharacter was generally understood as belonging to men of knightly rank is evinced by a poet, who wrote soon after the Canterbury Tales made their appearance, and who seems to have designed a supplement, called The Marchaunt's Second Tale. In the prologue, he continued to characterise the pilgrims, by describing what each did, and how each behaved, on arriving at Canterbury. After dinner was ordered at the inn, they all proceeded to the cathedral. The knight, with the better sort of the company, went devoutly, in great order, to the shrine of St. Thomas. The miller and his companions ran staring about the church, pretending to blazon the arms painted on the glass windows, and entering into a dispute about heraldry. So falsely did the canting puritan argue in Pierce Ploughman's Creed, saying of the knight,
The pennons, and the poinetts, and pointes of sheldes,
The author of the Gesta Romanorum was more wise, when he made it the churl who could not say his Pater Noster without thinking in the middle whether St. Bernard intended to give him his saddle, as well as his horse, by way of reward for his being able to say it without distraction. The reply of Tirante the White to the Emperor, who made him great offers, is a fine instance of this desire to employ all temporal riches and glory to the honour of God. « Great and illustrious Emperor, riches can never fully satisfy the heart; therefore I desire not the goods of
fortune; I only wish to serve your majesty in such a manner, that I may re-establish and augment the Greek empire. The treasures of honour and of glory suffice for me, if I can but amass them. All that I desire is to establish
relations and my friends. As for myself, I want no other riches but my horse and my arms. I pray your majesty to think no more about making me rich, or of giving me what may be necessary to your state. I serve God for the augmentation of the Catholic faith. Down to this hour His grace
has not abandoned me.” Yet in Amadis de Gaul, when Briolania saw four such knights in her palace as Amadis, Galaor, Florestan, and Agrayes, observing how powerful she now was become, and how lately she had lived in fear in an unprotected castle, she knelt down and thanked the Most High for the mercy He had vouchsafed her, saying, with great sense and piety, “For this dominion and this wealth, as being things superfluous and destructive to the body, and, moreover, to the soul, would it be better to reject and abhor them ? Certainly, I say no: and I affirm, that when they are gained with a good conscience, and justly administered, we may derive from them advantage, and pleasure, and joy in this world, and everlasting glory in the next.”1 Gilles de Rome, in his Mirror, gives an admirable lesson to the great, when he shews that noble princes and barons ought to consider their servants as their brethren; for, he continues, “It is not said in Genesis that God gave man dominion over man; but servitude is the consequence of sin and of the fall.” « C'est chose decente a ta prudence de familierement vivre avec tes servans; ils sont non mye seullement serfs, mais oultre sont hommes, et servans, et humbles amys et conserfs.” The most villain slavery is that of sin. “Et par ce appert que c'est chose possible que le serf soit seigneur et le seigneur serf.” A modern writer has well expressed the same idea.
- Vice is the greatest of all Jacobins, the arch leveller.” The mottos of noble families exemplify our position. Thus “ Aide Dieu au bon chevalier !" was that borne by the noble house of Candole in Provence. Raymond de Candole had graven on his saddle, “ Cælum cæli Domino, et terram dedit filiis hominum." The house of Arcussia-Esparron bore three bows on its shield, with the device, « Non enim in arcu meo
1 Lib. i. 44.
sperabo, et gladius meus non salvabit me,” to commemorate one of the family having slain three Sarassins, and having brought their golden bows to the tent of his sovereign. The Viscount de Villeneuve Bargemont mentions others belonging to the nobles of Provence: thus, that of Grimaldi, the terror of the Sarassins, was “ Dieu aidant;" that of Bausset, which has lately given a prince to the Church, the historian of Bossuet and Fenelon, “ Le seul salut est de servir Dieu.” He cites also that of Clovis, “ Mountjoie Saint Denis,” or ma joie ;” that of Bourbon, « Tout vient de Dieu;” of Montmorency, “Aide Dieu au premier baron Chrétien;" of Rohan, “ Dieu gard le Pélerin."
Down to a very late age, this principle was so generally recognised, that we find Caussin dedicating his great work, The Holy Court, to the nobility of France. His address to them is
eloquent. “ Miserable that thou art,” he says, “ if, after thy ancestors have planted the French lilies (or the roses of England) amongst the palms of Palestine, sincerely led thereto with the zeal which they bare to their faith, thou betrayest religion, virtue, and conscience, by a brutish life." He expects much from them, from the very consideration of their rank. “Oye noble men, God useth you as Adam in terrestrial paradise: he provideth you with all things at once, that you may have no obstacle to a life of contemplation.” In fact, there is a monastic air about many of the ancient castles and palaces of chivalry, which seems to indicate that such expectations were not wholly visionary. An example of this may be seen in the Escurial, where the Spanish court used to pass the autumn. This vast and solemn pile is placed at the foot of the mountains. The winds at that season of the year collect in their chasms, and blow with an inconceivable violence round the lofty towers. The glass of its eleven thousand casements rattles with a singular sound. Groans seem to echo through the long cloisters. The bell tolls for the dead. Their vigil is arrived with November. The castle of Pennafort in Catalonia, whose lords were descended from the Counts of Barcelona, and nearly allied to the Kings of Arragon, was converted in the 15th century into a convent of the order of St. Dominick. The cathedral of Strygonia, or Gran, was founded by the King St. Stephen ; it is built within the walls of the castle. The archbishop is primate of Hun
gary. The King St. Stephen lies there buried. This religious spirit was expressed in every thing chivalrous. Meyric speaks of an illuminated missal, in which Sir John Lutterel, on his charger, is receiving from one lady his helmet, and from another his lance.? Chivalry was associated with religion in all the thoughts of holy men.
One night, St. Francis seemed to see in his sleep a magnificent palace, filled with rich arms, all marked with the sign of the cross, and he thought he heard one tell him, that these arms belonged to him and to his soldiers, if they would take up the Cross and fight under its banner.
This infusion of the religious spirit gave rise, during the middle ages, to many singular privileges and distinctions, which would appear absurd if we did not bear in mind the principle on which they proceeded. The treasurer of the cathedral of Nevers had the privilege of assisting in the choir booted and spurred, with a sword at his side, and a falcon on his fist.2 After the victory of the English and Burgundians, in 1423, at Crevant, the chapter of Auxerre ordained, that the eldest son of the house of Chastellux, the lord of which had enabled them to gain the victory, should be honorary canon, and be entitled to assist at the offices in full armour, with a surplice over it, and holding his falcon on his fist.3 On great festivals, René d'Anjou used always to appear in a stall of the cathedral of Aix, on the side of the epistle next the altar, where he joined in singing vespers, being an honorary canon. The heads of the Douglas family were honorary canons in the church of St. Martin at Tours. The Kings of France were the first canons of the cathedral of Lyons, and they wore the surplice in the choir. So were also the Dauphins of Vienne, the Dukes of Burgundy, Berrie, Savoy, the Sires de Thaire and de Villars. Hugues Capet signed himself, along with other titles, abbot of Paris. The Emperor, in the Pope's presence, exercises the office of deacon, and may chant the Gospel, which, says the author of the Tree of Battles, “est une très grande dignité."4 The Emperor Sigismond officiated in this capacity at the
1 Hist. of Ancient Armour.
midnight mass at Constance, though the Pope was about to be deposed. The office of Avoüez, or guardian of a monastery, began about the time of Charlemagne. The nearest lord was appointed to protect the abbey. Sometimes princes discharged the office. Thus the Emperor Lewis of Germany was guardian of St. Gall, and Otho of the abbey of Gomblon in Brabant. The greatest lords accepted of the office of vidame to the nearest abbey, which obliged them to act for the ecclesiastics in their temporal affairs. The historians record of Robert, King of France, son and successor of Hugues Capet, that he was regular in assisting at divine service. “ Chantant toujours avec le cheur, souvent même portant chappe la couronne en tête et le sceptre à la main.” To protect, to honour, and exalt religion, was the pride of nobility. What an affecting instance was lately furnished by the Colonna family, who, notwithstanding the depression of their fortune, supplied Pope Pius VII. with white horses to make his entry into Rome! In Spain, the first carriage which meets a priest carrying the blessed sacrament is always offered to him. Many old historians hesitate not to give their opinion, that Rodolph of Hapsburgh owed his elevation to the imperial throne to the particular favour of God, who thus rewarded and exalted him for that singular instance of devotion, when, on his return from hunting, and meeting between Fahr and Baden a priest on foot, who carried the blessed eucharist along a broken and dirty road, he dismounted, and gave up his horse to the minister of heaven, saying, r that it ill became him to ride while the bearer of Christ's body walked on foot." I shall conclude these examples with an extract from Ysaie le Trieste. When the hermit and Ysaie, by order of Merlin, had proceeded to the hermitage of Sir Lancelot du Lac, and found that he was dead, and by advice of the dwarf Tronc, when they had repaired to his tomb, the marble slab which covered the body of the warrior being raised, the hermit dubbed Ysaie a knight with the right arm of the skeleton, ending the harangue which accompanied this ghastly inauguration with these words, “Soiez humble à non-puissans, et aidez toujours le droit à soustenir, et confons celluy qui tort a vefoes dames, poures pucelles, et orphelins, et poures gens