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their mouths, and their hoarse voices sound like thunder in their throats. In all there is an innate propensity to wickedness in their minds; in all there is a disposition prone to
In the midst of the water stands Tantalus, thirsting with it up to his throat; while, that he may not drink thereof, it ever retreats from his mouth. Here is mighty Sisyphus rolling the stone that rolls everlastingly back; so that his is a labour without an end. Continually does the devouring vulture gnaw at the liver of Tityus ; which, that it may be for ever perishing, is ever on the point of perishing. Some dreadful famine, some severe drought attacks, and labour without cessation fatigues. Some are frozen by cold, others are scorched by the heat of flames; each as he has deserved is here visited with a punishment his own. An entrance is open to all, an exit to none; all does that place devour, and to the Furies consign. Tisiphone, in conjunction with those dreadful sisters, awards the punishments which they have been found to deserve to endure. Now to the guilty do I leave Styx, now Lethe, now Acheron; once again with much ado do I retrace my steps to those above.'
“When he had recited this last line, at length returning to himself, and aroused, as it were, from sleep, he raised his head, and said to one of the brethren, who, for the purpose of seeing the miracle, had come with the rest, eyeing him most intently: ‘Wonder not at my features, for die thou shalt. A grievous and sudden end shall overtake thee.' After this, turning his eyes upon the assemblage of the brethren, not less elegantly than if he had been gifted from his infancy with the eloquence of Tully47 did he foretell in the Latin tongue certain events which were then to come to pass. And, as these things afterwards did come to pass, just as he had foretold, being filled ourselves with the greatest astonishment, in order that others, as well as ourselves, may admire the lines which this lay brother composed, who was never in any degree acquainted with letters, we have determined, on account of the stories there interwoven, to send them from school to school, in order that, by their judgment, this assertion of ours may be thoroughly sifted. Some indeed there are, who, in consequence of the fables inserted, despise the rest; while some
47 At all events, he may be safely pronounced Tully's equal in demerit as a poet.
endeavour to prove (since in many things it has fallen out as he predicted) that under a kind of veil, these fables bear the impress of truth; and, as in no respect it fell out otherwise than he had predicted, the very same day, gnashing his teeth, that same brother whose death he had predicted, ended his life in the greatest agony. Upon this, the brother who had pronounced those prophetic lines, bursting into tears in the presence of all, was not ashamed to confess, in the contrition of his heart, whatever during his life he had been guilty of; and, as befitted a religious man, received the communion with the greatest devoutness; after receiving which, he immediately breathed forth his spirit, saying, 'Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit.'
Now when the public had heard of these things, and others of a similar nature, they were greatly alarmed, and the nearer that pestilential season, which the before-named astrologers had predicted, drew nigh, the more did exceeding terror come upon all, both clergy and laity, rich and poor, and drove great numbers of them to a state of desperation. A certain writing however, which Pharamella, the son of Abdallah of Cordova, sent to John, bishop of Toledo, gave them some comfort; it was to the following effect :
“Pharamella, son of Abdallah of Cordova, an Arabian by parentage, and brought up in the palace of the great king Evenjacob, who is called 'El Emir Amimoli,' to John, bishop of Toledo, bishop of those persons who are called Christians, health, beyond all those who call upon God. They who fear God, the Creator of all things, shall be exalted, and they also who adore Him with pure hands and with a heart entirely cleansed. We have seen some men of your persuasion, dissimilar to ourselves in dress and in language, who were merchants, and had very good woollen cloths of various colours on sale. They stated that they had come from a far distant land, which is called the land of the Elders,' that is to say, the kingdom of the Franks. Among other matters, we learned from them through an interpreter, Ferdinand by name, a fellow-citizen of yours, and at present a captive with us, that certain false astrologers of the west, who were ignorant of the virtues of the heaver bodies and the effects produced by the five wandering ones, and the two lights which move of themselves in epicycles and eccentric circuits, through their houses and dignities, have * He probably alludes to the name of the planets. 49 The sun and moon.
alarmed the hearts of you believers in Christ, and not only of such as are simple-minded, but even of those among you who are believed to be wise. For they say that in the year
which is the five hundred and seventy-second of the Alligera, 49 and the one thousand one hundred and eighty-sixth from the Incarnation of your Lord Christ, in the month which you call September, there is to be a very mighty wind, such as is not often experienced, which shall destroy cities and towns, and overthrow everything it meets on the earth in its course. This wind shall come, they say, from the West, and shall extend even unto the East; and after the wind a most dreadful stench, that shall destroy human beings. Of this circumstance they allege no further cause than that the planets will come in conjunction in Libra, which is an aërial sign, and therefore a cause of windy weather. Now, it may at once be answered these persons, by even our children, that not only is Libra an aërial sign, but so also are Gemini and Aquarius aërial signs; in both of which, many planets have come in conjunction, and still no danger of winds or of pestilential exhalations or of mortality has ensued. But while Saturn and Mars are two unfortunate stars, Jupiter and Venus are fortunate ones and propitious; wherefore, if they shall happen to be in the same sign with the others, without any setting or attractions, shall keep themselves duly balanced, their beneficent effect will temper the evil effects of the former ones. But on the day of the month in which they say that this will take place, Mars will not be in Libra, but in the thirteenth degree of Virgo; while Venus in Scorpio, which is the house of Mars, will entirely do away with all the evil influence of Mars, both as regards his house in which she is reigning, as also in consequence of the respect due to her sex, by means of which she attracts Mars to feelings of courtesy towards her. Jupiter also, will assuage the disastrous influence of Saturn, Mercury being nearer to Jupiter than Saturn. Such persons ought also to recollect, that inasmuch as Saturn performs his revolution once in thirty years, he remains two years and a half in each of the signs ; 51 whereas Mars accomplishes his course through each
49 Clearly meaning the Hegira. See the note to page 36. appear doubtful, except to those versed in astrological lore, what is meant by " Si in eodem signo fuerint cum eis sine respectu, aut applicatione."
51 In each revolution.
50 It may
of the signs in little less than a year and a half. Since then, it is a matter of necessity, that in every thirty years Saturn must always make a stay of about two years and a half in Libra; by the same necessity2 it comes to pass, that before Saturn goes out of Libra, Mars must be in the same sign of Libra together with Saturn. If then, Mars and Saturn have already hitherto been every thirty years once together in Libra, and are so to be in future, either these pestilential winds have happened before, or will happen from their evil influence when in a windy sign, or the converse. But that they have happened at any previous time, we neither read in the writings of the masters, nor have we witnessed the fact in our own times. Consequently, we ought to feel assured that they will not happen, since upon similar combinations it has never fallen out that any thing of a like nature has happened. Therefore, let your astrologers peruse the tables of the Inner Persians, and of the Arabians, Hermes, Astalius, and Abidemonus, as well as of Albumasar, of more modern date; and let them compute proportionally the influences of the stars, their settings, attractions, separations, equalities, and other matters which it were tedious to recount to those even who have time to listen thereto; and when they have found that from a like conjunction of the stars that is false which they are dreaming of, either let them relinquish opinions based upon such idle stories, or else be converted to the religion of Ishmael which we profess. However, according to the judgment of Messehella and Alkandus, unless God shall ordain it otherwise, there will be a scanty vintage, crops of wheat of moderate average, much slaughter by the gword, and many shipwrecks."
In the year of grace 1185, being the thirty-first year of the reign of king Henry, son of the empress Matilda, that king was at Windsor in England, on the day of the Nativity of our Lord. In the same year, on the day of the Circumcision of our Lord, died Gilbert, the son of Fergus, who had taken his brother Uchtred, the father of the noble man Roland, and had caused him to be deprived of his eyes, tongue, and virility, by his own son Dunecan; and who had also given up his son the before-named Dunecan, to the king of Engla as a hosta to ensure the preservation of the peace. After his death, Roland,
52 This is the first attempt at reasoning, which has been met with in all this astrological parade.
the son of Uchtred, invaded all the lands of the before-named Gilbert, and gained possession of them.
In the same year, Baldwin the Leper, king of Jerusalem, and the Templars and Hospitallers, sent to the king of England, the son of the empress Matilda, Heraclius, the Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and the grand Masters of the Hospital and Temple, together with the royal standard, and the keys of the Sepulchre of our Lord, of the Tower of David, and of the city of Jerusalem, asking of him speedy succour, as being the heir and lord of the land of Jerusalem.53 For it ought to be known, that Fulk, the brother of Geoffrey, earl of Anjou, the father of the said Henry, was king of Jerusalem, as we have previously mentioned. Wherefore, when the before-named Patriarch and Master of the Hospital came to England, the king of England met them at the town of Reading, and received them with great joyousness; on which, immediately falling at the king's feet, with great weeping and sobbing, they uttered the words of salutation on behalf of the king, and principal men, and the whole of the people of the land of Jerusalem, and, explaining the cause of their coming, delivered to him the royal standard, and the keys of the Sepulchre of our Lord, and those of the Tower of David and of the city of Jerusalem, in behalf of the king and the principal men of the city of Jerusalem, besides letters from pope Lucius, to the following effect:
The Letter of pope Lucius on giving aid to the land of Jerusalem.
“Lucius, the bishop, servant of the servants of God, to Henry, the illustrious king of the English, health and the Apostolic benediction. Inasmuch as all your predecessors have been especially distinguished above all the other princes of the earth for glory in arms and nobleness of spirit, and the people of the faithful have been taught to look upon them in their adversity as their defenders; deservedly is application made to you, the heir not only of your father's kingdom but of his virtues, a certain degree of security being assured therefrom, at a
35 The true version of the story is, that Baldwin the Leper had recently died, and his son Baldwin, a child five years of age, had ascended the throne. Of course these political envoys would not let him stand in the way of their gaining their object by flattering Henry's ambition. Indeed, Roger of Wendover distinctly says, that they were despatched for the pur. pose of offering Henry the throne of Jerusalem.