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a material, sensuous faith was fatally strengthened, first by the infusion of the pagan element, then by the debasement and avarice of the clergy. To the idols of Paganism succeeded shrines, relics, masses, holy wells, awful exorcisms, saintly vigils, festivals, images of miraculous power, pilgrimages afar and penances at home. At Canterbury were skulls, chins, teeth, hands, fingers, arms, feet, shoes, legs, hair, rags, splinters from the crown of thorns, et cætera, to be adored and kissed by the innumerable pilgrims - for money. Each shrine had certificates written by the Virgin or by angels, to support the lucrative impostures. Winking statues were rife ; bleeding wafers were exhibited; boys wrapped in gold foil were introduced as heavenly visions. Says a contemporary:

· The ignorant masses worship the images of stone, or of wood, or marble, or brass, or painted on the walls of churches, - not as statues or mere figures, but as if they were living, and trust more in them than in either Christ or the saints. Hence they offer them gold, silver, rings, and jewels of all kinds, and that the more may be wheedled into doing so, those who drive this trade hang medals from the neck or arms of the image, to sell, and gather the gifts they receive into heaps in conspicuous places, putting labels on them by which the names of the donors may be proclaimed. By all this a great part of the world is put past itself about these images, and led to make often distant pilgrimages, that they may visit some little figure and leave their gifts to it; and all piety, charity and duty is neglected to do this, in the belief that they have given and repented enough if they have put gold into the bag at the shrine.' Charms and amulets were a sure guarantee against every form of disaster. The mystical virtues of the cross were the incessant theme of the monk. No happy issue of an adventure could be expected without its frequent sign. In peril or in pleasure, in sorrow and in sin, they diagrammed it by the motion of their hands. It stood as the hallowed witness which marked the boundaries between parishes. It stood at the beginning and at the end of private letters, as of public documents. It became the mark which served as the convenient signature of some unlettered baron. They knelt to it, kissed it — kissed it as a palpable and visible deity. Waxen images were potent to procure health and weal. An anxious wife writes to her husband, sick in London:

My mother vowed another image of wax of the weight of you, to our Lady of Walsingham; and she sent four nobles to the four orders of friars at Norwich 10 pray for you; and I have vowed to go on pilgrimage to Walsingham and St. Leonards.' In the last human trial, these vain ceremonials were efficacious to comfort and to cheer. Testaments provided for requiems to be

said, in rich vestments especially furnished for the purpose; newly-painted images of 'our Lady' to be set up, with tapers ever burning; the chimes in the steeple to be repaired; the priest to have a yearly reward, or a residence, and at each meal to repeat the name of the testator, that they who hear may say, ‘God have mercy on his soul'; a Latin sentence to be written on the fore part of the iron about my grave,' and therewith the pardon which I purchased'; ten pounds to a priest for to go to Rome, and I will that the said priest go to the stations and say masses as is according to a pilgrim.' Henry VII engaged two thousand masses, at sixpence (!) each, to be said for the repose of his soul.

It was universally taught that innumerable evil spirits were ranging over the world, seeking the present misery and future ruin of mankind,— fallen spirits that retained the angelic capacities, and directed against men the energies of superhuman malice. The brave yeomen, who fronted danger in the field, quailed before the gentle Maid as a sorceress. A proclamation was issued to the soldiery to reassure them against the incantations of the girl. The Duke of Bedford wrote to the king:

* All things here prospered for you till the time of the siege of Orleans, undertaken of whose advice God only knows. Since the death of my cousin of Salisbury, whom God absolve, who fell by the band of God, as it seemeth, your people, who were assembled in great number at this siege, have received a terrible check. This has been caused in part, as we trow, by the confidence our enemies have in a disciple and limb of the Devil, called Pucelle, that used false enchantments and sorcery. The which stroke and discomfiture has not only lessened the number of your people here, but also sunk the courage of the remainder in a wonderful manner, and encouraged your enemies to assemble themselves forthwith in great numbers.'

The shrivelled arm of Richard III was attributed to witchcraft. A duchess, convicted of practicing magic against the king's life, was compelled to do penance in the streets, while two of her servants were executed. Satan with his feudatories and vassals — cast out from Olympus and Asgard, outlawed by the new dynasty – lurked in forest and mountain, and issuing forth only after nightfall, raised the desolating tempest, sent the pestilential blast, and kept body and soul together by an illicit traffic between this world and the other. The fancy that once lay warm about the heart, now sends a chill among the roots of the hair.

So flourished, outwardly, the empire of Rome, while ideas became the occasions of superstition, and forms of ritualism dis

placed a living consciousness. Religious discourses, without judgment or spirit, were a motley mixture of gross fiction and extravagant invention.

Practical religion was a very simple affair. The one thing needful for a sinner, however scandalous his moral life, was to confess regularly, to receive the sacrament, to be absolved. If sick, or ill at ease, he might be recommended to some wonder-working image, which would bow when it was pleased, and avert its head if the present was unsatisfactory. For every mass usually bought by the dozen - so many years were struck off from the penal period. The rulers of the Church, who once tamed the fiery Northern warriors by the magic of their sanctity, were sunk into luxurious indolence and vice. The popes, who once lived to remind men of the eternal laws which they ought to obey, were, almost without exception, worldly, intriguing, and immoral. Several were murderers, most were plunderers, one was poisoned by his successor, another was elected by menaces and bribes, the last died by the poison he had mingled for others who stood in the way of his greed and ambition. Prelates, cardinals, and abbots were occupied chiefly in maintaining their splendor. The friars and the secular clergy who were to live for others, not for themselves, turned their spiritual powers to account to obtain from the laity the means for their self-indulgence. The monks, who once lived in an enchanted atmosphere of piety and beneficence, were so many herds of lazy, illiterate, and licentious Epicureans, dividing their hours between the chapel, the tavern, and the brothel,- all scheming or dreaming on the eve of the judgment day! The priesthood, amenable only to spiritual judges, extend the privileges of their order till clerk was construed to mean any one who could write his name or read a sentence. A robber or an assassin had only to show that he could do either, and he was allowed what was called the 'benefit of clergy.'

Now consider that such men owned a third or a half of the land in every country of Europe, while they confined their views in life to opulence, idleness, and feasting. At the installation of the Archbishop of York, brother of the King-Maker, there were present 3,500 persons, who consumed, 104 oxen and 6 wild bulls, 1,000 sheep, 304 calves, as many hogs, 2,000 swine, 500 stags, bucks, and does, 204 kids, 22,802 wild or tame fowls, 300 quar


ters of corn, 300 tuns of ale, 100 of wine, a pipe of hippocras, 12 porpoises and seals. The Commons declared that with the revenues of the English Church the king would be able to maintain 15 earls, 1,500 knights, 6,200 squires, and 100 hospitals; each earl receiving annually 300 marks, each knight 100 marks, and the produce of four ploughed lands; each squire 40 marks, and the produce of two ploughed lands.

Was not a reformation of some sort an overwhelming necessity ? So felt the people, who, if unable to comprehend an argument, were anxious for a correction of abuses. So felt the higher natures who led them, believing in justice, in righteousness, above all in truth, and caring not to live unless they lived nobly. So felt the Church - which repressed them, by entreaty, by remonstrance, by bribery, by force. The king and the peers allied themselves with the ecclesiastics. In 1400 the Statute of Heretics was passed; and William Santre, a priest, became the first English martyr. A tailor, who denied transubstantiationcused of having said that, if it were true, there were twenty thousand gods in every cornfield in England was next committed to the flames. A nobleman, hung on the gallows with a fire blazing at his feet, suffered the double penalty for heresy and treason. Lollardism was crushed by the weight of the establishment above, but its principles, infecting all classes, from the lowest to the highest, were working a silent revolution. The soft spring green withered away, but its roots were quick in the soil. The clergy did not dream that the storm would gather again. For a moment they were startled by a statute of Henry VII "for the more sure and likely reformation of priests, clerks, and religious men’; but again the cloud disappeared, and again they forgot the warning. At this moment the Church, ever richer and more glittering, dazzled the eyes to the decay of its substance, like some majestic iceberg drifting south ward out of the frozen North, seemingly stable as the eternal rocks, while down in the far deeps the base is dissolving and the centre of gravity is changing.,

Learning.-Intellectual life disappeared with religious liberty. Learning declined, especially at Oxford. Her scholars became travelling mendicants, whose academical credentials were at times turned into ridicule and mockery by the insolence of


rank and wealth. The monasteries were no longer seats of cult

Twenty years after Chaucer's death, an Italian traveller said:

"I found in them men given up to sensuality in abundance, but very few lovers of learning, and those of a barbarous sort, skilled more in quibbles and sophisms than in literature.' knowledge was a stagnant morass or an impenetrable jungle. Literary production was nearly at an end. Puerile chroniclers, scribblers of prosaic commonplaces, translators from the wornout field of French romance, give some distention to a period that would else collapse. An occasional gleam of genius faintly illuminates a date, like the last flicker of the dying day, or the pulse of the early dawn,-

*As if the morn had waked, and then
Shut close her lids of light again.'

In the nobler elements of national life, a dreary one-hundred years, whose chief consolation is, that the downward touches the upward movement; that everywhere in the common soil — the unconsidered people, sustained hy the surviving Saxon character—lay the forces of which fruit should come.

The popular cast of authorship shows the stir of a new interest among the masses. With a paucity of writers, in no former age were so many books transcribed. It is proof of an increased demand, that the process of copying was transferred from the monastic to the secular class. And it was this transfer that led to the introduction of printing.

At first a secret and occult art. The monopolizers dreaded discovery, and the workmen were bound to secrecy by the solemnity of an oath.

After their operations, the four sides of their forms were cautiously unscrewed, and the scattered type thrown beneath, for when the component parts of the press are in pieces, no one will understand what they mean. In a mystical style, they impressed upon the wondering reader that the volume he held was of supernatural origin, announcing merely that it was “neither drawn, nor written with a pen and ink, as all hooks before had been. But the freemasonry was lost, the printers were dispersed; and at Cologne a plain English trader-Caxton – was initiated into the ‘noble mystery and craft.' Very proud of the marvellous freight with which he returns after an absence of five-and-thirty years; very eager in

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