G. G. (George Gordon) Coulton.

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for the entire study of philosophy ; that the assaults
of lust might be broken by the anxiety and frequent
presence of sickness, and that his disciples might feel
no other delights save in those things that he taught
them. Such also is the life which the sons of the
prophets are said to have led, who clung around
Elisha, and of whom, as the monks of those days,
this same Jerome writeth in his letter to the monk
Rusticus, saying among other things : " The sons of
the prophets, who (as we read in the Old Testament)
were monks, built themselves httle lodges hard by the
river Jordan, and, leaving towns with their multitudes,
lived upon coarse meal and wild herbs." Such then
were my disciples who, building their little lodges
there beside the river Arduzon, seemed rather hermits
than scholars. Yet, the greater was the press of
scholars flocking thither, and the harder the life which
they suffered to hear my teaching, the more glorious
did my rivals think this to me, and the more ignomini-
ous to themselves. For, after having done all that
they could against me, they grieved now that all
things should work together to me for good ; where-
fore (to cite my Jerome again) '' though I had with-
drawn far from cities, market-places, quarrels and
crowds, yet even so (as Quintilian saith) envy found
me in my hiding-place." For these fellows, complain-
ing within themselves and groaning with envy, said,
" Behold the whole world hath gone after him ; we
have profited nought in persecuting him ; nay, we have
rather added to his renown. We have sought to
extinguish his name, and have kindled it the more.
Lo, these scholars have all necessaries at hand in their
towns ; yet, contemning the delights of the city, they
flock together to the penury of this wilderness, and are
miserable by their own choice." Yet it was then my
intolerable poverty more than aught else that drove
me to become a master of the schools ; for I could not
dig, and to beg I was ashamed; wherefore, falling



Abelard and his Pupils. 91

back upon the art which I knew, I was compelled to
employ my tongue instead of the labour of my hands.
My scholars, of their own accord, provided me with
all necessaries, not only in food and raiment but in
tilling of the fields and defraying the cost of the build-
ings, so that no household care might withdraw me
from my studies. Seeing then that my oratory could
no longer hold even a small portion of them, they must
needs extend it, building it more solidly with stones
and wood. Though then it had been founded and
hallowed in the name of the Holy Trinity ; yet,
because I had there found a refuge in mine exile and
some small share of the grace of God's consolation had
been breathed into my despair, therefore in memory
of that lovingkindness I called it the Paraclete.



Side by side with the few men of genius like Abelard and Roger
Bacon, who saw clearly the weakness of the traditional learning, and
with the many medieval writers who, Hke Guibert of Nogent and
Matthew Paris, brought a wide experience and some real critical
acumen to the examination of the reports which they transmitted to
posterity, there were many others who thought far more of " edifica-
tion " than of objective truth. We have seen how Guibert complained
that this fatal indifference to facts was fostered by the rivalry existing
between different churches and monasteries, each of which claimed
greater antiquity and a more glorious collection of relics than its
fellows. There were similar rivalries between different cities, each
proud of its own legends ; cf. the amusing extract quoted from the
Shilhngford Letters (1444 a.d.) in Mrs. Green's Town Life in the XVth
Century, vol. I. p. 342 : the Mayor of Exeter claiming that Vespasian
had besieged that city " soon after the Passion of Christ . . . and then
he with Titus besieged Jerusalem and obtained and sold thirty Jews'
heads for a penny, as it appeareth by the Chronicles." A still more
instructive example may be found in the following extract from the
Chronicle of Tournai, compiled by Henry, Canon of the Cathedral there,
and pubhshed in vol. II. of the Corpus Chronicorum Flandrice. It
should be compared with extract No. 17 from Guibert de Nogent.




92 A Medieval Garner.

36.— J^istorp ftp iRetJelation.

(P. 480).

CONCERNING the building and destruction
of this [city of Toumai] there is a book in
our possession : the contents of which,
never before seen or heard-of by us or
our ancestors, nor ever found in any
written record however cursorily composed, were
lately revealed in the most unhoped-for fashion to a
single youth of Tournai, a clerk, after the manner here
following.

A certain youth named Henry, our fellow-canon, on
the twenty-first of April, which was a Monday in
Eastertide, chanced to go alone at nightfall through
the new building of the Cathedral of Notre Dame,
without the least fear in his mind ; when he suddenly
heard voices as of a mighty multitude rushing towards
him with fearful vehemence ; and he saw a torrent of
flame coming upon him, which burned part of his
garment and of his arm beneath it, close by the wrist.
At this he was sore afraid, and fell forthwith to the
ground ; and, being forthwith ravished as if in an
ecstasy, he saw many men whom he knew now to be
dead, but whom he had known in life, coming towards
him and speaking one with another. After which it
seemed to him that he was in a field full of roses and
liUes with all sweet and fragrant flowers, wherein he
halted awhile. Then the horror of his first fear
vanished away, and the exceeding sweetness of that
vision so cheered him that he felt altogether refreshed
and as it were a new man. Presently he was aware
of four men clad in white garments, who came towards
him with candlesticks and censers in their hands ;
after whom came three honourable men adorned with
episcopal robes, with crozier in hand and crowned with
golden mitres, whereon each one's name was graven.
On his mitre who went in the midst was graven Eleu-
therius. Saint and Bishop ; on his of the right hand,
Eloy, Saint and Bishop, and on his of the left hand,



History by Revelation. 93

Ackaire, Saint and Bishop. After these followed Sir
Gerard the priest, a religious man, who had been a
faithful Almoner to the Cathedral, clad in his sacer-
dotal vestments. St. Eleutherius therefore, drawing
nigh unto the young man, cast his maniple over him
as though he caressed him ; after which he showed him
the book of his o^\^l life that he bore in his hand, and
bade the youth read it in his presence. When there-
fore he had read it through, then the Saint returned it
into his o^vn bosom and went back to the place wherein
he had stood before. Then St. Eloy came to the
3^outh and offered him the book of his life, which the
youth would not read, sajang that he knew it well
enough already. Then St. Achaire showed him these
words written on his right hand : By me was a man
raised from the dead in Jesus' name. Then they
departed in the same order wherein they had come ;
and the youth, coming to himself from this ecstasy,
rose from the ground and returned to his father's house
and lay sick all that night upon his bed. When morn-
ing was come, he prayed to be sprinkled with Holy
water ; and, thus refreshed, he showed how his gar-
ment had been burned and the flesh melted beneath,
and related some of the things that he had seen. On
the Saturday following, he secretly summoned WilKam
the Dean and confessed his past sins ; then he received
absolution and the penance enjoined, and took the
Lord's Body ; after which he recalled that aforesaid
Book of the Life of St. Eleutherius, (which he had read
six daj^s before* in his ecstasy,) and began to read it m
the hearing of all as fluently as though he were reciting
the Lord's Prayer. Struck by the strangeness of the
event, we came together in wonder and began to
dispute and conjecture much concerning so marvellous
a vision. For, albeit some maintained that the youth,
being a skilful composer in verse and prose, might
himself have composed this life, yet we, who knew not
his knowledge, did know very well that he had never
been practised in this manner of composition ; and, in-

♦ The text has scUe ; but this seems an obvious error for ante.



94 A Medieval Garner.

deed, even though he had composed it, yet he could by
no means have committed it so exactly to his memory
and read it so fluently by rote. Wherefore, after
taking counsel of religious men, we transmitted this
vision in writing to our lord Samson, Archbishop of
Rheims, and to the lord Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux,
who were gathered together at Sens with the king of
France and other bishops and abbots, on the octave
of Pentecost, to hear and discuss the books of Master
Peter Abelard.* With them we consulted as to what
they might think best to be done in the matter ; and
they sent us word that we should await thenceforth
the issue of God's will. Behold, therefore ! after a few
days, the aforesaid youth, foreboding by certain signs
that St. Eleutherius would again reveal himself to him,
made his confession at early dawn, heard mass, took
the Lord's Body, and then entered in with a few others
to pray in the secret place wherein the Saint's shrine
was laid. There he fell suddenly to the ground ; and,
when those that were without heard thereof, very
many pressed in, among whom were we ourselves.
Here we found him l5dng on the ground like a dead
man, with closed eyes, whereat we wondered, awaiting
the end of that matter. Then, behold ! within a brief
space we heard him read concerning the enshrining of
the body of St. Eleutherius, and marvelled at his
answers to many questions which we put to him ;
after which he came back from his ecstasy and wrote
down that which he had read. Wherefore, being
assured by this vision which we had seen, of the truth
of that youth's own vision whereat no man had been
present, we prayed God with one accord that, if the
matter were from Him, this might be manifested yet
again for the third time. Then the aforesaid youth,
before forty days had elapsed, feeling that the third
vision would soon be upon him, on the Saturday before
the Feast of St. Lawrence, confessed and heard mass
again at daybreak ; after which, strengthened by the
reception of the Lord's Body, he went with a few

* This Council was held in 1140 t see Extract No. 28.



History by Revelation. 95

companions to pray in the secret place aforesaid.
Within a brief space we who stood without heard that
he had fallen, and ran in, where we found him as before,
with closed eyes, l3ring like a corpse on the ground.
Scarce had the fourth part of an hour elapsed, when lo !
we heard him read certain miracles of St. Eleutherius ;
and, to our amazement, he answered very many
questions, amidst which he foretold publicly that the
cathedral of Tournai should, within a brief space, have
its own bishop and be restored to its former dignity,*
Moreover, he read from the book of St. Eleutherius the
story of the first foundation of the city of Tournai ;
which he kept by heart and communicated to be
written and read by us ; and all of which, together
with the Book of his Life, is kept in our library. If
perchance, by reason of so novel a matter, somewhat
less authority or faith be given to this book, yet there
remaineth in confirmation Julius Csesar's story of the
Gallic War ; in the second book whereof the descrip-
tion of the devastation of the Nervii, (to "wit, of the
territory of Tournai at its most flourishing time,) by
that same Julius, would seem to accord with the Book
aforesaid. We, however, thinking it superfluous to
write the whole story in this work of ours, have only
borrowed such as might display the foundation or
desolation of the city in ancient times.

The author goes on to tell how Tournai was founded 143 years after
Rome and about the time of Nebuchadnezzar, by Tarquinius Priscus,
who called the city " Second Rome," or " Lesser Rome " ; how it was
afterwards called Tournai after Turnus and Aeneas, etc., etc.

* This was a burning question of the moment, and doubtless contri-
buted much to the enthusiasm created by the clerk's visions. The
chronicler relates lower down (p. 505) how these enhsted the sympathy
of St. Bernard, who persuaded Simon, Bishop of Noyon (to whose
diocese Tournai now belonged), to suffer the erection of a separate see :
the separation was presently ratified by Innocent II. One of the pleas
which most moved Bernard and the pope was that the diocese of
Noyon was too cumbrous to be ruled by one man ; it was admitted
that, out of a population of 900,000 in the Tournai district, more than
100,000 had died unconfirmed within the last 10 years. No doubt both
these numbers are subject to the usual medieval exaggeration ; but
this would not affect the proportion of one to the other.




96 A Medieval Gamer.

Hugh of St. Victor, to whom Dante assigns one of the highest places
in his Paradise, " was, with his contemporaries Abelard and St. Bernard,
one of the most influential theologians of the 12th century. . . . He
must be regarded as the real founder of the medieval mysticism of
France, for Bernard of Clairvaux is dependent upon him for the essen-
tial features of his mystical speculations. The same may be aflB.rnaed
of Peter Lombard." The following extract from his Rules for Novices
(chapters XII.-XXI. : Migne Pat. LaL, vol. 176, col. 941) should be
compared with the Bahees Bool, edited by Dr. Furnivall for the Early-
English Text Society, and the similar rules for friars' behaviour in chap.
VI. of From St. Francis to Dante.

37.— a^onastic (^Etiquette.

fIRST therefore, the novice must diligently
observe that all his limbs follow their proper
ofiiice. . . . He must keep discretion of
action, so that every limb may do the work
whereunto it hath been framed ; that his
hand may not speak, nor his mouth hear, nor his eye
usurp the office of the tongue. For there are some
who cannot Hsten but with gaping mouth, opening
their palate to the speaker's words as though the sense
could penetrate to their hearts through their mouths.
Others, worse still, when they work or hsten thrust
forth their tongues like thirsty dogs, and twist it around
their lips like a millstone in accompaniment to their
actions. Others, in speaking, thrust forth their finger,
raise their eyebrows, and show their inward efforts to
magnify themselves by rolling their eyeballs or casting
them down as though in profound thought. Others
toss their heads, shake their hair abroad, smooth out
the folds of their garments, and make a ridiculous
figure of ostentation by setting their elbows to their
sides and turning out their feet. Others, as though
both ears were not made for hearing, twist their neck
so as to offer one only to the speaker : others again,
figuring I know not what symbol, shut one eye and open
the other to look. Others, still more ridiculously,
speak with half a mouth. There are a thousand other
grimaces, a thousand grinnings and wrinklings of the
nostrils, a thousand writhings and contortions of the
lips, which disfigure the comeliness of a man's face



Monastic Etiquette. 97

and the decency of discipline. For the face is the
mirror of discipline : and we must guard it all the
more strictly as we are the less able to conceal any
fault therein. . . . Others smm with their arms as
they walk, and, by a twofold portent, tread with their
feet the earth below while at the same time they fly
"wdth their arms in the air above. What, pray, is this
monster wliich presenteth at one and the same moment
a walking man, a rowing boat, and a fl5^ng bird ? . . .

The author passes on to deal with behaviour at table. Chap. XVIII.

Let nothing be done with uproar or tumult, but keep
all thy Umbs disciphned with modesty and tranquilHty :
not as some do, who are no sooner set down than they
show the intemperance of their soul by the unquiet
agitation and confusion of their limbs. They wag
their heads, stretch forth their arms, raise their open
hands on high ; and, with their struggles and indecor-
ous gestures, make a most hideous show of swallowing
up the whole feast at one gulp. They pant and groan
for anguish, seeming to seek some wider entrance to
their roaring maw, as though the throat were too
narrow to minister in sufficient abundance to their
ravenous appetite. While their body sits in its place,
their eyes and hands rove everywhere abroad, far and
near ; at one and the same moment they crumble their
bread, pour wine into cups and beakers, spin the dishes
round on the table ; and, like a king about to assault
a beleaguered city, they doubt at which quarter they
shall make their first onset, since they would fain rush
upon every point at once. It may be that we ourselves
have too far forgotten our modesty in writing thus :
but impudence oftentimes knoweth no shame unless it
be put to public confusion. . . .

There are some whose throats are sick of a ridiculous
disease ; for they can swallow naught but fat and
dehcate foods ; and, if ever spare or frugal nourishment
be offered, such men pretend forthwith either the
indigestion of their stomach or the dr5mess of their
chest, or a certain creeping in their head, or any other
such frivolous excuse. Some again despise delicacies



98 A Medieval Garner.

and luxuries of the table with great constancy, yet
these same will utterly scorn, with a petulance no
less grievous and unbearable, to eat the common foods.
They seek some new and rare sorts of meat, so that
oftentimes a whole crowd of servants must scour all
the villages round for one man's belly's sake ; and
scarcely at length can the wantonness of a single
appetite be quenched by tearing up unknown roots
from wild and distant mountains, or by drawing a
handful of fishes, with painful search, from the deepest
abysses of the sea, or by picking untimely berries from
their withering thorns. Indeed, I know not well what
vice impels such folk, unless it be that, with a certain
insolence of mind, they rejoice to see many busy in
their service ; or that, in their swelling elation, they
would fain seem to differ as far from the rest in merit
as they differ in their food. Others have a most exces-
sive care for the preparation of their meats ; excogita-
%ting infinite varieties of seething or f r3dng or seasoning :
to-day soft, to-morrow hard ; now cold, now hot ;
now boiled, now roast ; first seasoned with pepper, or
again with garlic or cummin or salt ; for such folk have
their own fancies like women great with child. . . .

Concerning uncleanness at table, there is no need of
many examples ; but, when it hath been shown forth
in some points, men may easily avoid the like on every
point. Some men at table, in their haste to empty
the dishes, wrap in the table-cloth, or even cast upon
it, four-square fragments of crust still moist and
dripping with the fat or gravy ; until at length, having
eaten out the bowels of the pasty, they cast back these
remnants into their former place. Others, as they
drink, plunge their fingers halfway into the cup.
Others, wiping their greasy hands on their frocks, turn
again to handle the food. Others fish for their pot-
herbs with bare fingers in lieu of spoon, striving (as it
would seem) to wash their hands and refresh their
beUies in one and the same broth. Others dip again
into the dishes their half-gnawed crusts and bitten
morsels ; thus, in their haste to make a sop for them-
selves, plunging that which their teeth have spared



Hugh of St. Victor. 99

into the dish. These things, as I have said above,
would be shameful for us to utter, but that others
presume to do them : now, therefore, let those blush
to hear who would not follow discipline in their actions.



Hi



38.— lj)ugj) of ^t. Victor's purgatorp.

From the Anecdotes Historiques of Etienne de Bourbon, p. 223.

HAVE read in a book of examples how
Master Hugh of St. Victor, after his death,
appeared in grievous affliction to a certain
holy man, beseeching his prayers and that
of all good men. When therefore he en-
quired the reason of this affliction. Master Hugh
answered that it was for his zenedoxia, and dis-
appeared. And he, having enquired the sense of the
word, found that it signified in the Greek tongue
Vainglory*

* Like most Greek words in medieval Latin, this has suffered sad
distortion ; it ought to be Kenodoxia.



Abbot Haimon, of St. Pierre-sur-Dives in Normandy, wrote to the
prior of his dependent cell of Tutbury, in Staffordshire, an account of
the rehgious associations formed to assist in church-building. Medieval
chroniclers often notice briefly certain waves of enthusiasm which
impelled whole populations, rich and poor, to labour together upon the
town walls in times of danger, or upon some favoured church at a
moment of hvelier faith. The substantial accuracy of Haimon's
description, apart from obvious exaggerations, is proved not only by
brief notices under the year 1145 in French and EngHsh chronicles, but
also by a contemporary letter from Hugh, Archbishop of Rouen, to
Thierry, Bishop of Amiens, printed by Mabillon in his Annales Benedic-
tini, t. VI. p. 392. The Archbishop describes the origin of this devotion
at the cathedral fabric of Chartres in 1145, its rapid spread first to
Dives and then throughout Normandy, the rehgious enthusiasm and
the miracles, in language which bears out all the main particulars of
Haimon's narrative. The full text may be found in the Bibliotheque de
VEcole des Charles, 1860, pp 120 ff. After the general description here
given, there follows a long catalogue of miracles of the type familiar
to readers of medieval documents.




100 A Medieval Garner.



39.— CJe Eeligion of (2:f)urcl)^T5uiining»

BROTHER HAIMON, the humble servant of
the servants of the Blessed Mother of God
at the monastery of Dives, desireth to his
most sweet Brethren and fellow-servants
in Christ that dwell at Tutbury that
consolation which is promised to those who love God.
Rejoice with us, Brethren, rejoice and exalt in the
Lord ; for the dayspring from on high hath visited
us, not indeed by our own merits, but by His abun-
dance of grace and wonted compassion ; He hath
poured forth upon us the bowels of His mercy, nor
withheld in wrath the gifts of His loving-kindness.
Oh, how great is the superfluity of His sweetness that
hath been shown in our times to a world sick with sin,
wounded with crimes, desperate with the enormity of
its wickednesses ; to a world in short which was already
almost godless, because by sin it had become estranged
from God : for the wickedness of man had come to such
a pitch that, unless that loving dayspring from on high
had quickly visited the world, unless it had mercifully
succoured our falling race. He would by no means have
found faith when He came to the earth. But, where
sin abounded, grace also did much more abound. The
loving Lord hath looked down from Heaven upon the
children of men, because there was none who under-
stood and sought God ; almost all were gone aside
from him and had become abominable in their iniqui-
ties ; and there was none who thought in his heart and
said, " What have I done ? " Then He drew to
Himself those that started away from him, and recalled
the wandering, and taught them a new manner of
seeking Him, a manner new, I say, and unheard-of in
all ages. For who ever saw, who ever heard, in all the
generations past, that kings, princes, mighty men of
this world, puffed up with honours and riches, men and
women of noble birth, should bind bridles upon their
proud and swollen necks and submit them to waggons
which, after the fashion of brute beasts, they dragged



Building and Faith. loi

with their loads of wine, corn, oil, lime, stones, beams,
and other things necessary to sustain life or to build
churches, even to Christ's abode ? Moreover, as they
draw the waggons we may see this miracle that, al-
though sometimes a thousand men and women, or even
more, are bound in the traces (so vast indeed is the
mass, so great is the engine, and so heavy the load laid
upon it), yet they go forward in such silence that no
voice, no murmur, is heard ; and, unless we saw it
with our eyes, no man would dream that so great a
multitude is there. When, again, they pause on the
way, then no other voice is heard but confession of
guilt, with supplication and pure prayer to God that
He may vouchsafe pardon for their sins ; and, while
the priests there preach peace, hatred is soothed,
discord is driven away, debts are forgiven, and unity



Online LibraryG. G. (George Gordon) CoultonA medieval garner; human documents from the four centuries preceding the reformation → online text (page 9 of 61)