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When Louis IX. was on his death-bed he commanded his family to be summoned, and with his own hand he wrote out the following instructions, which he committed to the prince who was to succeed him:
“ Beau fils, la premiere chose que je t'enseigne et commande à garder, si est, que de tout ton cueur et sur toute rien, tu aymes Dieu, car sans ce nul homme ne peult estre sauvé. Et te garde bien de faire chose qui lui desplaise : c'est a savoir peché. Car tu deverois plutort desirer à souffrir toutes manieres de tourmens que de pêcher mortellement." _“If God shall visit you with adversity, receive it humbly, and be grateful, and consider that you have well deserved it, and that the whole will tend to your good. If he shall give you prosperity, be thankful with humility, and take care that you be not corrupted by pride, for we should not employ the gifts of God in service against him. Let your confessor be a wise and good man, who can instruct you in religion, and take care that your confessors, your relations, and acquaintances, may be able boldly to reprove your fault, whatever it may be. Attend the service of God and of our holy mother church devoutly, and with the service of heart and lips. Have a gentle and pitiful heart for the poor ; comfort and assist them as much as you can. Maintain the good customs of your kingdom, and correct the bad. Be on your guard against covetousness, and against great taxing and subsidies, unless the defence of your kingdom shall require them. If your heart be sad or in trouble, lay it open to your confessor, or to some good person, who is discreet, and so you will be enabled to endure your misery. Be sure that you employ in your company good and loyal men, who are not covetous, whether ecclesiastics or others. Fly from evil company, and oblige yourself to hear the words of God, and retain them in your heart. Continually desire prayer, instruction and pardon. Love your
honour. Take heed that no man may be so hardy as to utter in your presence any word which might tend to excite others to sin, that none should slander the absent, or abuse those who are present. Never permit any thing to be uttered disrespectful towards God, the holy virgin, or the saints. Thank God often for his grace, and for your prosperity. Exercise justice to all, to the poor as well as to the rich. Let your servants be loyal, liberal, and decisive in speech, that they may be feared and loved as their Master. If any dispute shall arise, be exact in searching for the truth, whether it be for or against you. Love and honour churchmen and all ecclesiastics, and take care that no person shall deprive them of their revenues, gifts, and alms, which your ancestors have given to them. I have been told that King Philip, my grandfather, replied to a minister who said to him that the churchmen caused him to lose many riglits and liberties, and that it was a matter of wonder how he permitted it, that he believed it to be so, but that God had bestowed upon
et recreative hystoire composée par le loyal serviteur des faiz, gestes, triumphes et prouesses du bon chevalier sans paour et sans reprouche le gentil seigneur de Bayard,” of which there is an excellent English translation.
him so much
and goodness, that he had rather lose his wealth than have any dispute or contest with ministers of the holy church. Honour and reverence your father and mother, and také care not to grieve them by disobedience to their commands. Bestow the benefices which belong to you upon good persons, and of pure manners. Take heed how
you go to war with a Christian man without deep reflection, and unless the case is of necessity; and on these occasions take care that neither the clergy nor those who have not injured you may suffer. Take care also that no sin shall prevail in your kingdom, nor any blasphemy or heresy. And, finally, be mindful of me and my poor soul. And now I bestow all the blessings that a father can give his child, praying to the whole Trinity of Paradise, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, that he may keep and defend you from all evil, and especially from dying in mortal sin ; so that after this life ended, we inay meet again before God, to praise him, and return thanks for ever in his kingdom of Paradise. Amen."
He then received the sacraments, and caused himself to be placed on a bed of ashes. 6. La croiz estoit mise de vant son lit et devant ses yeux, et la regardait moult trèssouvent, et adrecoit vers elle ses yeux. De rechef en sa dite maladie, il rendoit souvent grace à Dieu son Créateur, et disoit très-souvent Pater Noster et miserere et credo." His brave and affectionate knights stood round him weeping. He did not speak for four days, remaining with his eyes raised to heaven, and his hands joined ; but from Sunday at nones till Monday at tierce says the King Thibaud, of Navarre, who was an eye-witness, he uttered many prayers for his people, saying, “ Esto, Domine, plebi tuæ sanctificator et custos.” About the hour of tierce he lost his speech, but looked at all the people about him with great kindness, and he smiled sometimes : between tierce and midday he seemed to sleep with eyes closed. All remained kneeling in mournful silence; at length be opened his eyes, raised them to heaven, and said, “ Introibo in domum tuam, adorabo ad templum sanctum tuum." Onques puis il ne parla, et entour eure de nonne il trepassa -Pitieuse chouse est,” cries Joinville," et digne de pleurer, le trespassement de ce saint Prince, qui si saintement a vesqu et bien gardé son Royaume, et qui tant de beaux faitz envers Dieu a faitz." Velly has described the character of Saint Louis in few words: “ He possessed at once the sentiments of a true gentleman, and the piety of the most humble Christian.” The testimony of an infidel to the virtues of this great king is striking. Louis IX. appeared a prince destined to reform Europe, if that had been possible, to render France victorious, and to be in all things the model for
His piety, which was that of an Anchorite, deprived hini of no virtue belonging to a king : a wise economy interfered not with his liberality. He knew how to reconcile a profound political sagacity with an exact justice; and perhaps he is the only sovereign who merits this praise. Prudent and firm in counsel, intrepid in battle, without rashness, pitiful as if he had always been unhappy, it is not given to man to arrive at higher virtue. « Il n'est pas donné à l'homme de pousser plus loin la vertu.” Attacked by the plague before Tunis, he caused himself to be stretched upon ashes, and expired in his 55th year, with the piety of a monk and the courage of a great man. How deplorable to reflect, that we can neither love nor reverence the master who has bequeathed this portrait to posterity !
It is impossible to read without being moved, the sim
• La Gaule Poetique.
ple account which has been delivered down to us of the death, the prayer, and the last words of the incomparable Bayard, a name which the hero will never pronounce without reverence and love. When he received the fatal wound, his first cry was, “ Jesus! ah, mon Dieu, je suis mort!" then he kissed the handle of his sword, for want of a cross: he changed colour, and his men seeing him stagger, ran, and were about to carry him out of the press : his friend D'Alègre endeavoured to persuade him, but he would not permit it. “ It is all over with me,” he said; “ I am a dead man: I should be sorry in my last moments, and for the first time in my life, to turn my back to the enemy." He had still the strength to order a charge, when he saw that the Spaniards were beginning to advance. Then he caused himself to be placed by some Swiss, at the foot of a tree, so that “I may
my face to the enemy.” These were his words. His maitre-d'hotel, who was a gentleman of Dauphiny, named Jaques Jeoffre de Milieu, burst into tears by his side, as did also the other attendants, whom Bayard endeavoured to console. • It is the will of God,” said he, “ to draw me to himself; he has preserved me long enough in this world, and he has bestowed upon me more mercy and grace than I have ever deserved.” Then, in the absence of a priest, he made his confession to his gentleman, whom he commanded to take care that he was not moved, since the least motion occasioned insupportable pain. The Seigneur D'Alègre Mayor of Paris, asked what were his last wishes, and he received them; and immediately John Diesbac, a Swiss captain, proposed to remove him, for fear that he should fall into the hands of the enemy; but he replied to him, as he did to all the officers who stood around, “ Leave me to think of my conscience for the few moments I have to live. I beseech you to retire, lest you should be made prisoners, and that would be an addition to my pain. It is all over with me; you can be of no assistance to me in any thing. All that I beg of you to do for me, Seigneur D'Alègre, is to assure the king that I die his servant, and only regretting that I cannot serve him any more. Present my respects to my Lords, the princes of France, and to all the gentlemen and captains.
Farewell, my good friends; I recommend to you my poor soul.” Upon this they took their last leave of him and retired. At the same moment the Marquis de Pescara came up to him, and with tears in his eyes, exclaimed, “ Would to God, Seigneur Bayard, that I had shed my blood, as much as I could lose without dying, to have you now my prisoner in good health; you should soon know how much I have always esteemed your person, your cou. rage, and all the virtues which you possess, and for which I have never known your equal. He then caused his own tent to be carried and spread round him, and he assisted him upon the bed. He placed a guard to take care that no one should plunder or disturb him; and he himself went for a priest, to whom Bayard confessed, in full possession of his faculties, and with an edifying piety. The Spanish army, from the highest to the lowest, hastened to admire the expiring hero. The Constable de Bourbon came with the others, and said, " Ah, Capitaine Bayard, que je suis marri et déplaisant de vous voir en cet état ! je vous ai toujours aimé et honoré pour la grande prouesse et sagesse qui est en vous ; ah! que j'ai grande pitié de vous !” Bayard summoned up his strength, and with a firm voice made him that answer for ever memorable: “ Monseigneur, je vous remercie ; il n'y a point de pitié en moi, qui meurs en homme de bien, servant mon roi ; il faut avoir pitié de vous, qui portez les armes contre votre prince, votre patrie, et votre serment.” The constable remained a short time with him, and gave him his reasons for having left the kingdom ; but Bayard exhorted him to seek the king's pardon and favour, for that otherwise he would remain all his life without wealth or honour. Bayard was left alone, and now he thought only of death. He devoutly recited the psalm, Miserere mei, Deus; after which he prayed in the following words with a loud voice: “O my God, who hast promised an asylum in thy pity for the greatest sinners who return to thee sincerely and with all their heart: in thee do I place my trust, and in thy promises all my hope. Thou art my God, my Creator, my Redeemer. I confess that against Thee I have mortally offended, and that a thousand years of fasting upon bread and water in the desert, could never efface my