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words, like St. Peter Celestin, who expired in the cell of his prison in the citadel of Fumona, as he finished the last psalm of Lauds, with the words, “ Omnis spiritus laudet: Dominum.” Some pretended philosophers at Venice thought proper to deliberate gravely about Petrarch's literary attainments, and to determine that he was a good man; but virum sine litteris. “I passed for learned in my youth," replied Petrarch,“ and now in my old age 1 am, it seems, ignorant ; yet they say I am a good man. Well, I care little for what they take from me, as long as I really possess what they leave to me. Gladly would I make the exchange with my judges: let them be learned, and let me be virtuous. It is enough learning for me if I am able to repeat my breviary *.” The beautiful Gera man ballad of Fridolin by Schiller, has revived the memory of that virtuous page of St. Isabella of Portugal, who, by stopping on his way to hear the entire mass, was preserved from the cruel fate which his envious companions had prepared for him. There was a beauty and a sublime solemnity in the offices of the Church, which could attract even men of rude and desperate lives. Among the free companies which overran France in the 14th century, it was not uncommon to meet with priests who had been forcibly carried off to celebrate mass before these adventurers, who, in a distracted state of society, might have been insensible to the disorder of their own lives. Even Robin Hood, so merry and free, is represented as taking delight in the offices of the Church. “De quo quædam commendabilia recitantur--missam devotissime audiret, nec aliqua necessitate volebat interrumpere officium t." Thus in the old ballad : “ It was on Whitsunday, a lovely morning in May, as the sun rose so beautiful, and the small fowl sung so sweet.
“« This is a merry morning,' said little John,
By him that dyed on tree;
Was not in Christante.'
" " Pluck up thy heart, my dear maistre, and consider theré
• De Ignorantia sui ipsius.
Forduni Hist. p.774.
is not in the year a more lovely season than a May morning.'
««• The on thing greves me,' said Robin,
. And doth my hert mych woe.'” This was that he could not hear mass or matins. It was fifteen days and more since he had entered a church, and now, through our Lady's grace, he would go to Nottingham. Little John remains in the forest of Sherwood, while Robin Hood goes into St. Mary's Church at Nottingham *.
For men of all conditions, the public offices of the Church, those sacred hymns and psalms, which St. Augustin calls the voice of the whole Church,“ totius ecclesiæ vox una t," had a powerful charm. Charlemagne, who loved them, had spread the observance of the Gregorian chaunt throughout his empire ; but it was not till the time of René d'Anjou that music of rich harmony was introduced into the solemnities of the Church. A mass in music composed by this excellent prince, is still occasionally performed at Aix. Christine de Pisan says of King Charles V., " Il moult amoit le service d'esglise et se délictoit à loyr célébrer en chant solemnel.” So again the old minstrel in his romance called the " Squyr of Low Degre,” makes a king enumerate the gratifications which he intends to procure for his daughter, and to say, after her hawking,
Then shall ye go to your even song,
“ Your censers shall be of gold,
Indent with azure, many a fold;
With young children full fair singing 1." They could not dispense with the remembrance of this resource, even in their festive hours. At the great ban,
* Jamieson's Popular Songs, II.
Ellis's Specimens, I. p. 342.
quet in Lille, in the year 1433, described by Olivier de la Marche, in the middle of the table there was a great church, with windows and a tower, and bells tolling, and four singers and choristers singing une très doulce chanson; and during dinner the organ in the church was heard playing. Hence arose a danger which the clergy were careful to guard men against, saying that “ Among those who take God's name in vain, are, ceux qui chantent les pseaumes, hymnes, et le cantiques pour le plaisir qu'il y a en la musique et pour passer le temps et non pour rendre louanges à Dieu *.” At the council of Trent it was even debated whether any music but the Gregorian chaunt should be permitted. But there is a strong evidence to justify the belief, that in general these fears were ungrounded, and that it was really a devout feeling which attached men to these solemnities. Speaking of these holy exercises, Lewis Granadensis, goes so far as to say, “ Shew me a single person who in practising them 'and using these means, has departed from the way of spiritual life, and your objection may have some weight; but we see by experience, that all those who make use of them advance from day to day in the love of God, in all kinds of virtue, and in the hatred and horror of sin t." This was the great end in all these spiritual exercises I. Pope Pius II. relates, that a gentleman of the Province of Istria having fallen into a state of despondency, so as to be tempted to hang himself, disclosed the state of his soul to a holy monk. The servant of God, after consoling him and strengthening him to the best of his power, advised him to have a priest in his house, who should say mass every day ş. St. Bernard expressed the feelings which influenced men: “ Come my thoughts, intentions, wills, affections, all my interior, come, and let us ascend to the altar of God, where the Lord sees and is seen: and you, my cares, anxieties, solicitudes, troubles, wait here below at the door, whilst I, with my reason and understanding,
Recueil sur les dix Commandemens de Dieu par Monluc evesque de Valence, Paris, 1555.
Catechism, II. xi. į S. Bonaventure de Processu Relig. 20; Rodriguez de la Perfection Chrét. I. v.5; St. Thomas, I. 2. 9. 3, Art. 2.
Pius II. in sua Cosmog. in Descr. Europæ.
hasten thither. When we have adored, we may return to you; for we shall return. Alas! how quickly shall we return * !" To many persons of devout and contemplative minds, the Church has yielded a foretaste of heaven. It is related in the history of the Thebais t, that a certain woman of quality, having an only son, consecrated him to God in the monastery of St. Maurice, that his childhood might be trained to piety and learning. This child was accordingly brought up in the monastery with tender care, and already he had begun to chaunt the psalms in the choir with the monks, when he was attacked by a fever, which carried him off in a few days. The afflicted mother came to the church, and with a flood of tears accompanied the body of her son to the tomb, on which she afterwards would weep day after day, while the divine service was singing, and she would think within herself how she was never more to hear the sweet voice of her child. During this season of unceasing affliction, it happened one night, that being overpowered by sleep, she saw in a dream the glorious martyr, St. Maurice, for whom she had a particular devotion. “Woman,” said the saint, “ mourn not, and weep no longer for your son, as if he were dead; he is now with us, and enjoys everlasting life. And to prove this, rise at the hour of matins, and go into the church, and there you shall hear the voice of your son, who sings with the monks; and you shall enjoy this satisfaction, not only to-morrow, but as often as you assist at the divine office.” The afflicted mother wakening, not feeling assured whether this apparition was more than a dream, waited with impatience for the hour of matins. It struck one, and she hastened to the church. Hardly had she crossed the threshold, when the loud chaunt of the opening service ceasing, lo, she hears in the distance the sweet voice of her child, entoning the anthem of the day! And so this poor mother, falling into a rapture, poured forth a flood of tears, and gave thanks aloud to God, who had granted her such a consolation. · The Church, in summoning to the ministry of religion
• S. Bernard. de Amore Dei.
Lib. 2, c. 10.
what was calculated to refresh and gratify the mind of men, gave proof of that wisdom which she was directed to exercise in the management of human infirmities. “ Passions I allow,” says Father Southwell," and loves I approve : for passions being sequels of our nature, and allotted unto us as the handmaids of reason, there can be no doubt, but as their author is good, and their end godly, so their use, tempered in the mean, implieth no offence." In this the Catholic religion was opposed to the Manichæan notions of the Paulicians, Albigenses, Lollards, and even later teachers. St. Augustin condemned the Manis chæans, because on solemn occasions their churches were not adorned, " nullo festiviore apparatu." The practice of the early Christians may be known from what St. Leo the Great said: “ If it seems reasonable and religious to demonstrate on a festival the joy of our minds by a more handsome dress on the body; if we also adorn as much as we can, with care and a more full ceremonial, the house of prayer, ought not Christians to adorn equally their souls, the true and living temples * ?" It was alluding to this Antimanichæan principle that St. Gregory Nazianzen said of splendid churches, and monuments, and votive gifts, kai pelboopov kai geloxplotov šuývvov t. All things beautiful in nature and art were received with thankfulness. “ Beauty of body," says St. Augustin," is a benign gift of God; not to reconcile it or any other excellence with the service of God, were to apostatize from Christianity, and to rank one's self among the Manichæa ans. Flowers bloomed on the altars; men could behold the blue heaven through those tall narrow-pointed eastern windows of the Gothic choir as they sat at vespers, where the richness and beauty of every part seemed still more perfect, from the contrast which perhaps was offered by the dreary fens and the watery waste which extended without far on all sides. The cloud of incense breathed a sweet perfume; the voice of youth was tuned to angelic hymns, and the golden sun of the morning shining through the coloured pane, cast its purple or its verdant beam on the embroidered vestments and marble pavement. To be seated on some crag in the upper regions of the Alps,