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that I will draw an instance of the cloistral narrative. It is from the History of France, composed by one of the most sceptical writers of the present day. Louis d'Orleans, brother of Charles VI., in his thirty-sixth year, had a presentiment, says this historian, of his approaching end. It was at the close of autumn-at the first cold,-the leaves were fast falling. He had written a most Christian will, in which he ordained the payment of his debts, and left legacies to churches, colleges, hospitals, and to the poor. He left funds to construct a chapel in the churches of Saint Croix at Orleans, of Notre Dame de Chartres, of St. Eustache, and St. Paul, at Paris; besides he left foundations in each of the thirteen convents of the Celestins in France, in the habit of which order he desired to be buried. "Considering," he says, "the words of the prophet-Ego sum vermis et non homo, opprobrium hominum et abjectio plebis, I will and ordain that the remembrance of my face and hands be carved on my tomb in guise of death, and that my figure be clothed in the habit of the Celestins, having under its head, instead of a pillow, a rude stone like a rock, and at my feet, instead of lions, another rock; and I wish that my tomb should not be higher than three fingers from the ground, and that I should hold in my two hands a book, on which is inscribed, the Quicumque vult salvus esse, and round the tomb let the Pater Ave and Credo be inscribed." He used often to visit the Celestins in Paris. He loved that house. When he was a child his good lady governess used often to take him there to the offices; later he used to visit there the wise Philippe de Maizières, the old counsellor of Charles V., who had retired to it. He used even himself to reside occasionally in the convent, living with the monks, and assisting at their offices by night and day. Down to the revolution the cell in which he resided used to be shown. It was his custom to say his breviary daily. He gave to the monks the great illuminated bible on parchment which belonged to his father Charles V., and another in five volumes, from which they used ever after to read in the refectory. But now comes the awful part of his history; for, one night as he was proceeding to matins, and crossing the dormitory, he saw, or thought he saw, something which he took for Death. Such was the tradition of the monastery. The monks caused this vision to be painted in their chapel at the side of the altar. Death was represented with a scythe, and pointing with his finger, as if to call the attention of the duke, who was standing near him, to this legendJuvenes ac senes rapio. This vision seemed confirmed by another. He thought himself before God, about to hear his judgment. It was a solemn warning that in the spot where he commenced his childhood, he should be warned of his end. The prior of the convent, to whom he confided the secret, believed, in fact,
that he ought to think of his soul, and prepare for death *. The duke certainly was troubled, thinking that these strange apparitions are for the most part fatal, as this one proved, for shortly after, as every one knows, he fell by assassins in the Rue Barbette. He was then interred in the chapel of the Celestins, which he had founded.
It is curious to find in a modern book, the Diary of a late Physician, an instance of warning by a vision, or an optical or spectral illusion, nearly similar, related by a philosopher as having happened to himself, and which was followed soon after by the death of which he had recognized it as a solemn premonition. I would only conclude that since such writers publish narratives of the kind in the nineteenth century, the monks may be excused for having in the middle ages simply related what was communicated to themselves. "But, good host, no more such terrible stories; your guest will not for a world lie alone to-night, lest he should have such strange dreams!" Though their marvellous had this advantage over ours that it did not turn any heads, in point of fact some of the monastic traditions are appalling; at least those that are concerned with love and sorrow are calculated to terrify all who are conscious of having broken any heart, and to revive the memory of that spectre which threatened the worldly-minded father of its former beloved one in those awful words
"When thou art at the table, with thy friends,
And whisper such a sad tale in thine ear,
Such collections as the Magnum Speculum, and the Legends of Cæsarius, are significant, at all events, as showing that the monks were not like these men immersed in business and pleasure, who forget how limited are our senses, how much may exist of which they can take no cognizance, and who are in haste to dispose of whatever they do not understand. Sometimes what the guest hears is only a dark allusion to some singular events of an inexplicable character which time has disguised and wrapped in obscurity, as having occurred either in the very monastery which he is visiting, or in other houses of the same order. Thus Antonio de Yepes says, "Throughout the whole world there is not another monastery besides Jumieges which in one day enriched heaven with 450 holy confessors, all dying without any apparent cause of death †." Reader, you must take the record as I find tii. 381.
* Michelet, Hist. de France, tom iv.
it. At other times there is mention of strange events actually passing. The conversations at Pontigny must have been very interesting, at the time when the monks, in their letter to the pope respecting the miracles of St. Edmond, wrote in these terms: "The present miracles will produce faith in former miracles, and the expectation of future miracles will be strong and invincible. Now it seems that one ought to be more astonished at the concourse of people than at the miracles, unless one regards this very concourse as a miracle. For what is more miraculous, what more admirable, than to see the world to-day adoring him whom yesterday it detested; flying to-day to him whom it avoided yesterday; imploring to-day as a salutary patron for us with God him whose society it fled from yesterday, either through fear of the earthly power, or through the malice of its own heart? Lo! what appears to many sages as the greatest of greatest miracles *? Blessed Thomas," they continue, "has been to us a true prophet of what now happens; for at the epoch of his exile, having sojourned in our monastery by order of Pope Alexander, and having received a celestial warning to return to his church, and proceed to the Lord, gathering the palm of martyrdom, he had no means of recompensing us for the liberality of our predecessors, and fearing to be a burden to us, which, however, he was not, he promised that after him one of his successors would come here and acquit his obligations; which prediction we now see accomplished t."
At other times, no doubt, the rustic entertainment of the monks relishes of the curiousness of the court; for events and traits of manners connected with kings and men living in the world were often mentioned under their roofs, though cautiously, as if introduced with such words as "make fast the chamberdoors, stifle the key-hole and the crannies, we must discourse of secret matters." It must have been not a little amusing, for instance, to hear the monk of St. Albans relating in a whisper some of his royal anecdotes. While Henry III.," he says, was seeking with open mouth money in every way, it happened that, travelling near Huntingdon, about the feast of St. Hilary, he ordered the abbot of Ramsey to come to him, to whom he said in secret audience, My friend, I beg you earnestly to help me by granting me a hundred pounds, or at least by lending me that sum, for I want it greatly, and I must find it without delay.' The abbot, not being able honourably to make any other answer, said, 'Lately I gave you money willingly, but I never lent it, nor will I ever lend.' Then he applied to usurers, and at great interest borrowed the sum for this little king, who begged like a mendicant. About the same time the
Mat. Paris, ad ann. 1244.
+ Ann. 1244.
lord king fatigued the abbot of Bourg with similar prayers, assuring him that in affording him pecuniary aid he would give more meritorious alms than those which he distributed to the poor who came to beg at his gate. The abbot, excusing himself, was loaded with reproaches, and obliged to escape secretly from the king's house *.*
But we must not linger here, though we could have maintained this theme for hours.
"The grey-ey'd morn smiles on the frowning night,
From forth day's pathway, made by Titan's wheels."
We must proceed forth into the adjoining woods and fields, in order to observe the monastic character on another side, for it still remains to remark the services conferred on society by these institutions, in regard to agricultural and other interests of a material order.
THE ROAD OF RETREAT (terminated).
VERY one knows that the monks were the first in the Christian world to propose agricultural labour as an employment fitting for free men. The ancient monastic rules imposed it as an obligation. "Non oderis laboriosa opera, et rusticationem ab Altissimo creatam, that we may abound in daily and necessary things by our own labours, and that we may with convenient mediocrity attend on those whom spiritual love invites to visit us, or assist those who are pressed by necessity +." In summer the monks were to labour till tierce, which interval in the autumn and winter was to be spent in study. Though we live in an age of diggings, modern schools would disdain such occupations for highly educated men ; and yet a distinguished advocate of progressive views says, "There is virtue yet in the hoe and the spade, for learned as well as for unlearned hands §." He might well say so, and perhaps modern literature itself can prove it;
Regula SS. Pauli et Step. 1. § Emerson.
for probably it would be much healthier if poets and philosophers were accustomed at times to exchange their pens for such implements. "I am in my wits," says Franio, in the Maid of the Mill, "I am a labouring man, and we have seldom leisure to run mad; we have other business to employ our hands in; you are mad for nothing, and no man dare proclaim it; in you, wildness is a noble trick, and cherished in ye, and all men must love it." The neglect of agricultural occupations in religious communities was sometimes a subject of complaint; as when Jocelin of Brakelond, speaking of the abbot of St. Edmundsbury, Hughe, says, that during his rule, "good governance and religion waxed warm in the cloister, but out-door affairs were badly managed: but that when Sampson was elected there was a change for the better. In the first place, far from being inert, he commenced building barns and ox-stalls, above all things solicitous to dress the land for tillage, and watchful in preserving the woods, in respect whereof, either in giving or diminishing, he professed himself very chary. There was but one manor, and that was Thorpe, which by his charter he confirmed to one of English birth, a villan, in whose honesty he the rather trusted, as he was a good husbandman, and could not speak French." The building of bridges, the making of roads, and the drainage of marshes, were carried on by the monks. London itself had instances of the former, for Stowe says that in St. Olave's-street "there is Battaile-bridge, so called of Battaile-abbey, for that it standeth on the ground, and over a water-course (flowing out of Thames) pertaining to that abbey, and was, therefore, both built and repaired by the abbots of that house, as being hard adjoining to the abbot's lodging."
An eminent English statesman points to the fact that the monks in England were good landlords. "Their rents," he says, "were low; they granted leases; their tenants were men of spirit and property. The monks lived, received, and expended in common. The monastery was a proprietor that never died and never wasted. The farmer had a deathless landlord; not a harsh guardian, or a grinding mortgagee, or a dilatory master in chancery; all was certain. The manor had not to dread a change of lords, or the oaks to tremble at the axe of the squandering heir *." "With regard to agriculture," says Lord Carnarvon, judging from what he saw with his own eyes, "the existence of the wealthier convents in Spain and Portugal was a blessing; and their abolition is, I conceive, a positive evil to the state. The monks were often the only resident proprietors, and their beneficial influence was visible in the improvement of their estates, and in the increased comforts of the surrounding popu
* Disraeli, Sibyl.