Obrazy na stronie

ness 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,

16 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 brutal-looking 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 gray 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 one 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 gruan,”

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 war. 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 religious. 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

Raumer I. p. 216; Orderic. Vital. lib. ix.

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 per-
fect 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
parents, from vijos Christianos, that is, from ancient Chris-
tians, the blemish to be apprehended being a mixture of
Jewish or Moorish blood." Thus Villa Diego says, “ Hi-
dalgo ille solus dicetur qui Christiana virtute pollet."
When Saladin desired Hue de Tabarie, his prisoner, to
make him a knight, the other replied :
66 Biaus Sire,

-non ferai,
Porquoi, Sire, je l'vous dirai
Sainte Ordre de Chevalerie
Seroit en vous mal emploiie
Car vous êtes de mal loi,
Si n'avez baptèsme ne foi,
Et grant folie entreprendroie
Se un fumier de dras de soie,

Voloie vester et couvrir *. It might at first appear superfluous to propose an enquiry into the character of that religion which thus became as sociated with the heroic spirit; nevertheless, the divine and unchanging religion of our Christian chivalry has a humanized 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.

* L'Orderie de Chevalerie.

Such details will, I hope, be found in the following pages.

On examining the memorials of our Christian chivalry it will be interesting to remark, how the service of Goil 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. The precepts of religion,” says M. Ste Palaye, who was certainly no prejudiced writer, “ left at the bottom of the heart a kind of veneration for holy things which sooner or later acquired the ascendancy. A love of the Christian faith became the very soul of chivalry. Every one has heard of the generous exclamation of Clovis, when he was first made acquainted with the passion and death of Christ—" Had I been present at the head of my valiant Franks, I would have revenged his injuries.” It was upon hearing the flagellation of our Saviour with all its horrible circumstances that the brave Crillon gave that celebrated proof of feeling; for he rose suddenly from his seat by an involuntary transport, and laying his hand on his sword, exclaimed in those well-known words which have passed into a proverb, “Ou étois-tu, brave Crillon ?" This may not bespeak the clearness of their religious views, but it certainly evinced the sincerity and the affection of their hearts. And here it will be of importance to mark that this peculiar character of chivalrous devotion --the love of God, furnishes an evidence that the religion of our ancestors was far less removed from the true spirit of Christianity, than many have too hastily concluded from an imperfect acquaintance with history. It is the motive rather than the action which is peculiar to the religion of Jesus Christ. Now the religion of chivalry was altogether the religion of motives and of the heart. It was love, faith, hope, gratitude, joy, fidelity, honour, mercy; it was ing that

a devotion of mind and strength, of the whole man, of his soul and body, to the discharge of duty, and to the sacrifice of every selfish and dishonourable feeling that was contrary ; it was to obey a commandment which was in unison with all the elevated sentiments of nature, and calculated most effectually to develope every quality that was the object of esteem and reverence. The knights of old had neither the inclination nor the ingenuity to determine the minimum of love which was compatible with the faith of Christ. They were not like men who regard it sufficient if they love God at any time before death, or on the festivals, or if they keep the commandments and do not hate God, or who imagine that this burthensome obligation of loving him was part of the Mosaic law, which is dispensed with by the religion of nature and the Gospel. They had not learned to reason with the sophist of old, say

religion is a gracious and an excellent thing when moderately pursued in youth, but if afterwards it be loved over much, it is the ruin of men *. They had not subsided into that state of profound indifference to the truths of religion which the eloquent Masillon has compared to the condition of Lazarus, when the disciples said, “ Lord, if he sleeps he will do well ;" and were undeceived when Jesus said unto them plainly, “ Lazarus is dead." But their affections were warm, their gratitude was sincere, and though their understanding on the doctrines of religion might sometimes fail them, their hearts did not. They were thankful under every circumstance of life, and like the prophet of old, it was their boast—" The fig-tree shall not blossom, and there shall be no spring in the vines ; the labour of the olive tree shall fail, and the fields shall yield no food. The flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; but I will rejoice in the Lord ; and I will rejoice in God my Jesus.”

They were slain in battle, they were cut off in the flower of their youth, they were shut up in dark prisons from the light of the sun and from the solace of friendship, yet they could exult in the words of the Psalm,

quid enim mihi est in cælo ? et a te quid volui super

* Φιλοσοφία γάρ τοι εστίν, ώ Σώκρατες, χαρίεν, άν τις αυτού μετρίως άψηται εν τη ηλικία εάν δε περαιτέρω του δέοντος ενδιατρίψη, διαφθορά των ανθρώπων. Ρlato Gorgias.

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