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Otho, speaking of the same great man, (Gerbertus, I mean,) informs us, his demon had assured him, that he should not die till he had celebrated mass at Jerusalem : that Gerbertus, mistaking this for the city so called, unwarily celebrated mass at Rome, in a church called Jerusalem, and, being deceived by the equivocation of the name, met a sudden and wretched end.
As to these stories, they are of that vagabond sort, which wander from age to age, and from person to person; which find their way into the histories of distant periods, and are sometimes transferred from histories to the theatre.
The Jerusalem tale may be found in Shakspeare's Henry the Fourth ; and for the compact, we have all seen it in the pantomime of Dr. Faustus.
One thing we cannot but remark : the dull contemporaries of these superior geniuses, not satisfied with referring their superiority to pre-eminence merely natural, recurred absurdly to power supernatural, deeming nothing less could so far exceed themselves.
Such was the case of the able scholar just mentioned. Such, some centuries afterward, was the case of Roger Bacon, of Francis Petrarch, of John Faust, and many others.
Bacon's knowledge of glasses, and of the telescope in particular, made them apply to him literally, what Virgil had said poetically:
Carmina vel cælo possunt deducere lunam. Virgil himself had been foolishly thought a magician; and therefore, because Petrarch was delighted with the study of so capital an author, even Petrarch also was suspected of magic.
For John Faust, as he was either the inventor, or among the first practisers of the art of printing, it is no wonder the ignorant vulgar should refer to diabolical assistance, a power which multiplied books in a manner to them so incomprehensible.
This digression has led us to examples rather against chronological order; though all of them included within that age of which we are writing. For the honour, too, of the church, these falsely-accused geniuses were all of them ecclesiastics. Indeed, the rest of Western Europe was in a manner wholly barbarous, composed of ignorant barons, and their more ignorant vassals; men, like Homer's Cimmerians,
"Ήερι και νεφέλη κεκαλυμμένοι.
“ With fog and cloud enveloped.” From these we pass, or rather go back, to Ingulphus, an ec
b See the same Fascicul. p. 88.
Naude, a learned Frenchman of the last 1 Bacon lived in the thirteenth century; century, entitled Apologie pour les grand Petrarch, in the fourteenth ; Faust, in the Hommes, accusées de Magie. fifteenth. See a curious book of Gabriel
clesiastic, and an historian, valuable for having lived during an interesting time, and in interesting places.
He was by birth an Englishman, and had been educated in the court of Edward the Confessor; went thence to the court of the Duke of Normandy, to whose favour he was admitted, and there preferred. Some time after this, when the successful expedition of that duke had put him in possession of the crown of England, the duke (then William the Conqueror) recalled him from Normandy; took him into favour here, and made him at length abbot of Croyland, where he died advanced in years."
Ingulphus tells us, that king Edward's queen, Egitha, was admirable for her beauty, her literary accomplishments, and her virtue.
He relates, that being a boy he frequently saw queen Egitha, when he visited his father in king Edward's court; that many times when he met her, as he was coming from school, she used to dispute with him about his learning and his verses; that she had a peculiar pleasure to pass from grammar to logic, in which she had been instructed; and that, when she had entangled him there with some subtle conclusion, she used to bid one of her attendants give him two or three pieces of money, and carry him to the royal pantry, where he was treated with a repast.'
As to the manners of the times, he tells us, that the whole nation began to lay aside the English customs, and in many things to imitate the manners of the French; all the men of quality to speak the Gallic idiom in their houses, as a high strain of gentility; to draw their charters and public instruments after the manner of the French ; and in these and many other things to be ashamed of their own customs."
Some years before the conquest, the duke of Normandy (whom Ingulphus calls most illustrious and glorious) made a visit to England, attended with a grand retinue. King Edward received him honourably, kept him a long while, carried him round to see his cities and castles, and at length sent him home with many rich presents."
Ingulphus says, that at this time duke William bad no hopes of his succession, nor was any mention made of it; yet considering the settlement of the crown made upon
him soon afterward, and the reception he then found, this should hardly seem probable.
King Edward, according to Ingulphus, had great merit in remitting the Dane-gelt, that heavy tax imposed upon the people by the Danish usurpers, his immediate predecessors.
As to literary matters, it has appeared that the queen, besides
* See Ingulphus's History, in the preface to the Oxford edition of the year 1684. See also p. 75 of the work itself.
See the same Ingulphus, p. 62.
m Ibid. p. 62.
Ibid. p. 65. 68. o Ibid.
the usual accomplishments of the times, (which she undoubtedly possessed,) had been instructed also in superior sorts of knowIedge. She may be supposed, therefore, to have surpassed not only her own court, but perhaps other courts since, as they have seldom more to boast than the fashionable polish.
For the literary qualifications of our historian himself, we perceive something of bis education in what we have already quoted from him. He is more particular afterwards, when he tells that he was first bred at Westminster, and then sent to Oxford; that in the first he learned grammar, in the last he studied Aristotle and the rhetoric of Cicero: that finding himself superior to many of his contemporaries, and disdaining the littleness of his own family, he left home, sought the palaces of kings and princes, &c. &c. It was thus that, after a variety of events, he became secretary to the duke of Normandy, afterwards William the Conqueror, and so pursued his fortune till he became abbot of Croyland.P
We shall only remark on this narrative, that Westminster and Oxford seem to have been destined to the same purposes then as now; that the scholar at Westminster was to begin, and at Oxford was to finish: a plan of education which still exists; which is not easy to be mended ; and which can plead so ancient and so uninterrupted a prescription.
Nearly the same time, a monk, by name Gratian, collecting the numerous decrees of popes and synods, was the first who published a body of canon law. It was then, also, or a little earlier, that Amalfi
, a city of Calabria, being taken by the Pisans, they discovered there, by chance, an original MS. of Justinian's Code, which had been in a manner unknown from the time of that emperor.' This curious book was brought to Pisa ; and, when Pisa was taken by the Florentines, was transferred to Florence, and there has continued even to this day.
And thus it was, that by singular fortune the civil and canon law, having been about the same time promulged, gradually found their way into most of the Western governments, changing more or less their municipal laws, and changing with those laws the very forms of their constitutions.
was soon after happened that wild enthusiasm which carried so many thousands from the West into the East, to prosecute what was thought, or at least called, a holy war.
After the numerous histories, ancient and modern, of these crusades, it would be superfluous to say more than to observe that, by repeating them, men appear to have grown worse; to
P See Ingulphus's History, p. 73. 75. Pisans in the year 1127.
. This happened in the year 1157. Sce $ It began in the year 1095. See FulDuck De Auctoritate Juris Civilis Roma- ler's Holy War, book i. ch. 8. William nor. p. 66. 88. edit. Lond. 1679.
of Malmesbury, lib. iv. c. 2. among the " Ibid. p. 66. Amalfi was taken by the Scriptores post Bedam.
have become more savage, and greater barbarians. It was so late as during one of the last of them, that these crusaders sacked the Christian city of Constantinople;' and that while these were committing unheard-of cruelties in that capital of Christendom, another party of them, nearer home, were employed in massacring the innocent Albigeois."
So great was the zeal of extirpation, that when one of these home crusades was going to storm the city of Bezieres, a city filled with catholics as well as heretics, a scruple arose, that, by such a measure, the good might perish as well as the bad.
Kill them all,” said an able sophist,“ kill them all, and God will know his own." v
To discover these Albigeois, the home crusades were attended by a band of monks, whose business was to inquire after offenders called heretics. When the crusade was finished, the monks, like the dregs of an empty vessel, still remained, and deriving from the crusade their authority, from the canon law their judicial forms, became, by these two, (I mean the crusade and canon law,) that formidable court, the court of inquisition.
But in these latter events we rather anticipate, for they did not happen till the beginning of the thirteenth century, whereas the first crusade was towards the end of the eleventh.
About the beginning of the eleventh century, and for a century or two after, flourished the tribe of troubadours, or Provençal poets, who chiefly lived in the courts of those princes that had sovereignties in or near Provence, where the Provençal language was spoken. It was in this language they wrote: a language which, though obsolete now, was then esteemed the best in Europe, being prior to the Italian of Dante and Petrarch.
They were called troubadours from trouver, " to find” or “to invent," like the Greek appellation, poet, which means (we know) “a maker."
Their subjects were mostly gallantry and love, in which their licentious ideas, we are told, were excessive. Princes did not
* In the year 1204. See the same Fuller, nople, and the massacres of the Albigeois, b. iii
. c. 17; and Nicetas the Choniate, al- happened more than a hundred years after ready quoted at large, from p. 472 to 475. this Holy War had been begun, and after
u The crusades against them began in its more splendid parts were past; that is the year 1206 ; the massacres were during to say, the taking of Jerusalem, the estathe whole course of the war; see Fuller's blishment of a kingdom there, (which Holy War, b. iii. from c. 18 to 22. espe- lasted eighty years,) and the gallant efforts cially c. 21; and Mosheim's Church His- of Cæur de Leon against Saladin. All tory, under the article Albigenses.
against the Saracens, that followed, was Tuez les tous : Dieu connoit ceux, qui languid, and, for the greater part of it, adsont a lui. Histoire de Troubadours, vol. i. verse.
y See a work, 3 vols. 12mo, entitled, * In the year 1095 or 1096. Fuller's Histoire Litteraire de Troubadours, printed Holy War, p, 21; and William of Malmes- at Paris 1774, where there is an ample bury, before quoted.
detail both of them and their poems, It is to be remarked, that these two 2 See Hist. de Troub. vol. i. Discours events, I mean the sacking of Constanti- prelim. p. 25.
disdain to be of their number;" such, among others, as our Richard Cour de Leon, and the celebrated William count of Poictou, who was a contemporary with William the Conqueror and his sons.
A sonnet or two, made by Richard, are preserved; but they are obscure, and, as far as intelligible, of little value.
The sonnets of William of Poictou, now remaining, are (as we are informed) of the most licentious kind, for a more licentious man never existed.
Historians tell us, that near one of his castles he founded a sort of abbey for women of pleasure, and appointed the most celebrated among his ladies to the offices of abbess, prioress, &c.; that he dismissed his wife, and taking the wife of a certain viscount, lived with her publicly; that being excommunicated for this by Girard, bishop of Angouleme, and commanded to put away his unlawful companion, he replied, “Thou shalt sooner curl hair upon that bald pate of thine, than will I submit to a divorce from the viscountess ;" that having received a like rebuke, attended with an excommunication from his own bishop, the bishop of Poictou, he seized him by the hair, and was about to despatch him, but suddenly stopped by saying, “I have that aversion to thee, thou shalt never enter heaven through the assistance of my hand.d
If I might be permitted to digress, I would observe that Hamlet has adopted precisely the same sentiment. When he declines the opportunity offered him of killing the king at his prayers, he has the following expressions, among many others :
A villain kills my father, and for that
Act iii. sc. 10. It is hard to defend so strange a sentiment either in Hamlet or the count. We shall only remark, that Hamlet, when he delivered it, was perfectly cool; the count, agitated by impetuous rage.
This count, as he grew older, became, as many others have done, from a profligate a devotee; engaged in one of the first crusades; led a large body of troops into the East; from which, however, after his troops had been routed, and most of them destroyed, he himself returned with ignominy home.
a Hist. de Troub. vol. i. p. 25.
Malmesbury begins with the words, Erat b Ibid. p. 54.
tum Willielmus, comes Pictavorum, &c. c Ibid. p. 7.
p. 96. edit. Londin. fol. 1596. As to his famous abbey or nunnery, soon
d The words in Malmesbury are, Nec after mentioned, see the same work, p. 3,4; cælum unquam intrabis meæ manus minisbut more particularly and authentically, see terio, p. 96. William of Malmesbury, a writer nearly e See the same William of Malmesbury, contemporary, and from whom the narra- p. 75. 84, tive here given is taken. The passage in