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sins; but, my God, thou knowest that I had resolved to repent, if thou hadst prolonged my life; I know all my weakness, and that by myself I should never have been able to merit the entrance into Paradise, and that no creature can obtain it only through thy infinite mercy. O my God! my Father! forget my sins, listen only to thy clemency. Let thy justice be appeased by the merits of the blood of Jesus Christ”-death cut short the sentence. " His first cry,” says the amiable M. de Berville, who has written his life," when he felt himself mortally wounded, was the name of Jesus ;” and it was pronouncing this adorable name, that the hero yielded up his soul to its Creator, the 30th April, 1524, in the 48th year of his
You have been told of those who died " the death of a philosopher;" this which you have witnessed is the death of the Christian. In the History of Galien Restauré, there is a very affecting account of the death of that hero's father, the noble Count Olivier, the brother of Roland. He lived to discover his son, and to commend him to the care of his uncle. “ Peu de tems après Olivier jetta un grand soupir, disant. Dieu tout puissant faites-moi misericorde et ayez pitiez de ma pauvre ame. Apres que le comte Olivier eut achevé son oraison il leva les yeux au ciel et mit ses bras en croix, et rendit l'esprit à notre seigneur : Roland qui etoit la voyant mourir son cher ami, commença à pleurer amerement celui qui avoit été le fleau des infidelles, et le zelé protecteur de la religion Catholique. Galien étoit encore dans une plus grande tristesse, il embrassoit son pere et fondoit en larmes, disant ainsi : O cruelle mort, pourquoi m'as-tu si tot enlevé mon pere? qui étoit le confert des Chrétiens et l'aumonier des pauvres.” But to leave romance. With the name of Charlemagne is connected all the wonder of history, all the images of fiction, and all kind of renown. “His political wisdom,” says Mably, “ should supply lessons to kings of the most enlightened age.” “ The glory of succeeding times,” says Marchangy, “ has not deprived this monarch of our admiration : neither our heroic misfortunes on the banks of the Jordan, nor the carousals and tournaments of chivalry, neither the victories of Bovines and Marignan, of Fribourg and Marsailles, nor all the palms of Philip and Louis, all the laurels of Duguesclin and Bayard can make the children of the Muses forget what they owe to Charlemagne. Let us view him on his death-bed: the Heavens seemed to participate in the great event of his departure. He saw his death approach with the same intrepidity as he would have shewn in battle. He was occupied in correcting a copy of the Holy Scriptures when the fever of death came on. His last effort on the eighth day of his illness was to lift up his feeble right hand, and make the sign of the cross on his forehead and breast; after which he composed his limbs, and expired with these words : “ In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum ; redemisti me, Domine Deus veritatis.” Thus died the hero of France and of the world, the model of great kings, the ornament and the glory of humanity. As celebrated in the records of religion by his piety, as he was illustrious in the annals of the world by his exploits, the Church has ranked him among the Saints*, and all nations have agreed in styling him “ The Great." He died on the 28th of January, 814, in the 720 year of his age.
The character of his son Louis is thus described : “ He was slow to anger, quick to compassion. Every day, early, he would go to pray in the church, where he remained with bent knees, touching the pavement with his forehead, humbly praying, and sometimes with tears. He was adorned with innocent manners. He never wore golden habits, unless on the great feasts, as was the custom with his fathers. Daily, before meat, he gave large alms." His times were troublesome, but he was a virtuous and a very learned king.
Turn we now to witness the last moments of the great Orlando, wounded to death at Ronceval, as related by Archbishop Turpin. The following was his prayer : “ O Lord Jesus, to thee do I commit my soul in this trying hour. Thou who didst suffer on the cross for those who deserved not thy favour, deliver my soul, I beseech thee,
* The Church has merely tolerated his commemoration at Aix-la-Chapelle.
from eternal death! I confess myself a most grievous sinner, but thou mercifully dost forgive our sins; thou pitiest every one, and hateth nothing which thou hast made, covering the sins of the penitent in whatsoever day they turn unto thee with true contrition. O thou who didst spare thy enemies, and the woman taken in adultery, who didst pardon Mary Magdalen *, and look with compassion on the weeping Peter, who didst likewise open the gate of Paradise to the thief that confessed thee upon the cross, have mercy upon me, and receive my soul intò thy everlasting rest." Then stretching his hands to heaven, he prayed for the souls of them who perished in the battle ; and immediately after this prayer, his soul winged its flight from his body, and was borne by angels into Paradise.
In witnessing scenes of this melancholy grandeur, the. admiration and astonishment of the historical student will be continually excited. “ It is an instructive example for all conditions, to witness the death of a great man, who unites noble sentiments with Christian humility." This is the observation of the French historian, Anquetil, when he prepares to relate the tragical death of the gallant Montmorenci, who was abandoned by the Duke of Orleans to the resentment of his brother, Louis XIII. or rather, perhaps, of Richelieu. Permission, it seems, had been granted to him to have his hands at liberty on going to execution, but he refused to avail himself of this indulgence. « Un grand pécheur comme moi,'' said he, " ne peut mourir avec assez d'ignominie." Of his own accord he took off his superb dress, in which he was at liberty to have appeared." Oserais-je bien," he said, “ étant criminel comme je suis, aller à la mort avec vanité, pendant que mon sauveur innocent meurt tout nu sur la croix." Every action of his last moments was marked with the seal of Christianity: he was so full of hope, that he seemed rather to desire than to fear death. There did not escape from him either complaint or murmur: he stepped with firmness upon the scaffold, placed his head upon the block, cried to the executioner "strike
* Qui Mariam absolvisti,
Qui Latronem exaudisti,
boldly," and he received the blow in commending his soul to God *. How affecting were the words of Don Padilla to Don Juan Bravo, when being led to execution for their revolt in the reign of Charles V. and being pubs licly denounced as traitors, Don Bravo gave vent to his indignation ; but Padilla reproved him, saying, “ yester, day was the time to display the courage of a knight; today, it is to die with the meekness of a Christian.”
We expect to meet with such principles in the martyrs of the Church. We are, then, the less astonished at such instances of the power of God in the doctrine of the Cross: we are prepared for the conduct of the Archbishop of Arles, who generously stepped forward to his assassins to save his clergy, who were pressing round him, and to lay down his own life with these few words: “ Je suis celui qui vous cherchez:" but it overwhelms the mind with surprise, when this mysterious power is ex. ercised upon the proud heart of conquerors and statesmen. Above all, it is in the death of royal personages, that the observation of Anquetil is most strikingly displayed. Mary, Queen of Scots, Louis XVI. of France, their death was clothed with all the pomp of royalty. It was the monarch who died, while the saint ascended into heaven.
All these great sufferers acknowledged the power to which they were indebted for this support. The words of Louis XVI. when he attended mass for the last time in the tower of the temple, are very striking : “ Que je suis heureux, d'avoir conservé mes principes de religion ! où en serais-je, en ce moment, si Dieu ne m'avoit pas fait cette grace ?" In every sense of the word, their death was worthy of kings; they were sovereigns of France and Scotland ; but they were still greater, they had command of themselves, of fortune, and of the world.
* The Duke was beheaded at Toulouse where an epitaph was written, of which the following lines were the conclusion :
“ Toi qui lis et qui ne sais pas
De quelle façon le trépas
They might have addressed their murderers in the im, mortal language of the Greeks: ws droitEīvai uėv dúvav: ται,-βλάψαι δε ου δύνανται, και γαρ η τυχή δύναται νόσω περιβαλείν, αφελέσθαι χρήματα, διαβάλλειν προς δήμον ή τύραννον κακόν δε, και δειλον, και ταπεινόφρονα, και αγεννή, και φθονερόν, ου δύναται ποιήσαι τον αγαθόν, και ανδρώδη, kai peyalójoxov. “ The just man,” says the great Massillon, “ is above the world, and superior to all events, he commences in the present life to reign with Jesus Christ. All creatures are subject to him, and he is subject unto God alone.”
Of this more than regal dignity, the most illustrious human example that the world has ever beheld, was presented by Louis IX. in prison. This meek and holy saint was more than conqueror over his enemies, who declared “ que c'étoit le plus fier Chrétien qu'ils eussent jamais connu.” In vain did they threaten him with the most dreadful torture, that which they called putting him “ en bernicles ;" by means of which invention, every bone of the body was gradually broken ; the king replied with modesty, “ Je suis prisonier du Sultan, il peut faire de moi à son vouloir.” What an astonishing scene of horror and grandeur was that when the Sarassin rebel rushed into his prison after murdering the Sultan, with his hands dropping blood, and crying out with a ferocious voice, “ What will you give me for having made away with an enemy who would have put you to death if he had lived ?” Louis; more struck with horror at the crime, than with fear for his own safety, remained motionless, and disdained to an. swer. Then the ruffian drawing his sword, presented him the point, saying with an accent of fury, “ Choose either to die by this hand, or else to give me this very moment the order of knighthood."-" Fais-toi Chrétien,” replied the intrepid monarch, " et je te ferai chevalier.” The Mussulman rushed out of the prison.
In the romance of Huon de Bordeaux, when the two boys are on their journey, Huon encourages his brother, who was terrified by a dream : “ Mon tres doux frere," he says, “ ne vous esbaissez en rien ains faictes bonne chere et joyeuse; nostre Seigneur Jesus Christ nous guarantira et conduira à sauvement.” They join company with the Abbot of Clugni; and when the conspirators