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sense and interpretation, these following pieces.” Dede then gives a list of forty-three works upon which he had thus laboured. They were published in 1093 from MSS., at Lambeth. But there is a larger collection, which first appeared in three volumes, folio, in 1514.]

In the year from the incarnation of our Lord 582, Maurice, the 54th from Augustus, taking the empire upon him, held it twenty-one years. In the tenth year of his reign, Gregory, a man renowned for learning and behaviour, was promoted to the bishopric of the Roman and Apostolical See, and presided thirteen years, six months, and ten days. He being moved by divine inspiration, in the fourteenth year of the same emperor, sent the servant of God, Augustin, and with him several other monks fearing the Lord, to preach the word of God to the English nation. They, having in obedience to the Pope's commands undertaken that work, and gone some part of their way, being seized with a slothful fear, began to think of returning home rather than to proceed to a barbarous, fierce, and unbelieving nation, to whose very language they were strangers ; and this they unanimously agreed was the safest course. In short, they sent back Augustin, whom he had appointed to be consecrated bishop, in case they were received by the English, that he might by humble entreaty obtain of the holy Gregory that they should not be compelled to undertake so dangerous, so toilsome, and so uncertain a journey. He, sending them an exhortatory epistle, persuaded them to proceed in the work of the Divine Word, relying on the heavenly assistance, the purport of which letter was as follows :

“Gregory, the servant of the servants of God, to the servants of our Lord. Forasmuch as it had been better not to begin a good work, than to think of desisting from that which has been begun, it behoves you (most beloved sons) to fulfil the good work which by the help of our Lord you have undertaken. Let not, therefore, the toil of the journey, nor the tongues of evil-speaking men deter you; but with all possible earnestness and fervour perform that which you have undertaken by God's direction, being assured that much labour is followed by a reward of eternal glory. When Augustin, your chief, returns, whom we also constitute your Abbot, humbly obey him in all things; as knowing that whatsoever you shall do by his direction, will, in all respects, be available to your souls. Almighty God protect you with his grace, and grant that I may, in the heavenly country, see the fruits of your labour. Inasmuch as, though I cannot labour with you, I shall partake in the joy of the reward, because I am willing to labour. God keep you in safety, most beloved sons.”

Augustin, being strengthened by the confirmation of the blessed Father Gregory, returned to the work of the Word of God, with the servants of Christ, and arrived in Britain. Ethelbert was at that time the most potent king of Kent, who had extended his dominions as far as the great river Humber, by which the southern Saxons are divided from the northern. On the east side of Kent is the Isle of Thanet, considerable large, that is, containing, according to the English way of reckoning, 600 families, divided from the other land by the river Wantsum, which is about three furlongs over, and fordable only in two places, for both ends of it run into the sea. In this island landed the servant of our Lord, Augustin, and his companions, being, as is reported, nearly forty men. They had, by order of the blessed Pope Gregory, taken interpreters of the pation of the Franks, and, sending to Ethelbert, signified that he was come from Rome, and brought a joyful message, which most undoubtedly assured all that took the advantage of it everlasting joys in heaven, and a kingdom that would never end, with the living and true God, He, having heard this, ordered them to stay in that island where they had landed, and that they should be furnished with all necessaries, till he should consider what to do with them. For he had before heard of the Christian religion, as having a

Christian wife of the royal family of the Franks, called Bertha; whom he had received from her parents upon condition that she should be permitted to practise her religion with the Bishop Lindhard, given her to preserve the faith. Some days after, the king came into the island, and, sitting in the open air, ordered Augustin and his companions to be brought into his presence. For he had taken precaution that they should not come to him in any house, according to the ancient superstition, lest, if they had any magical arts, they might at their coming impose upon and get the better of him. But they came furnished with divine virtue, not with diabolical (power), bearing a silver cross for their banner, and the image of our Lord and Saviour painted on a board, and, singing the litany, offered up their prayers to the Lord for their own and the eternal salvation of those to whom they were come. Having, pursuant to the king's commands, after sitting down, preached to him and all his attendants there present the Word of Life, he answered thus : “ Your words and promises are very taking, but, in regard that they are new and uncertain, I cannot approve of them, forsaking that which I have so long followed with the whole English nation. But because you are come from far into my kingdom, and, as I conceive, are desirous to impart to us those things which you believe to be true, and most beneficial, we will not molest you, but rather give you favourable entertainment, and take care to supply you with your necessary sustenance; nor do we forbid you by preaching to gain as many as you can to your religion.” Accordingly he gave them a dwelling-place in the city of Canterbury, which was the metropolis of all his dominions, and pursuant to his pronrise, besides allowing them their diet, permitted them to preach. It is reported, that as they drew near to the city, after their manner, with the holy cross, and the image of the Great King, our Lord Jesus Christ, they in concert, sung this litany or prayer :“We beseech thee, O Lord, in all thy mercy, that thy anger and wrath be turned away from this city, and from thy holy house, because we have sinned. Hallelujah."

As soon as they entered into the dwelling-place assigned them, they began to imitate the course of life practised in the primitive church; that is, applying themselves to frequent prayer, watching, and fasting; preaching the word of life to as many as they could; despising all worldly things, as not belonging to them, receiving only what was necessary for food of those they taught; living themselves in all respects conformable to what they prescribed to others, and being always disposed to suffer any adversity, and even to die, for that truth which they preached. In short, some believed, and were baptized, admiring the simplicity of their innocent life, and the sweetness of their heavenly doctrine. There was on the east side, near the city, a church dedicated to the honour of St. Martin, formerly built whilst the Romans were still in the island, wherein the queen, who, as has been said before, was a Christian, used to pray. In this they at first began to meet, to sing, to pray, to say mass, to preach and to baptize, till, the king being converted to the faith, they had leave granted them more freely to preach, and build or repair churches in all places. When he, among the rest, being taken with the unspotted life of these holy men, and their most agreeable promises, which they proved to be most certain by working many miracles, believed and was baptized, greater numbers began daily to flock together to hear the word, and, forsaking their heathen rites, to associate themselves, by believing, to the unity of the Church of Christ. Whose faith and conversation the king so far encouraged as that he compelled none to embrace Christianity, but only showed more affection to the believers as to his fellow citizens in the heavenly kingdom. For he had learnt from his instructors and leaders to salvation, that the scrvice of Christ ought to be voluntary, not by compulsion. Nor was it long before he gave his teachers a settled place in his metropolis of Canterbury, with the necessary possessions in several sorts.

[graphic][subsumed]

127.-GRISELDA.

BOCCACCIO. [GIOVANNI BOCCACCIO, a Florentine, was born in 1313. His great literary reputation chiefly rests upon his · Decameron,' a collection of Tales written in bis youth. He has been called "the father of Italian prose;" for the Decameron' is the earliest prose work in pure Italiau. No book has afforded greater materials for narrative and dramatic poetry. It is to be deplored that, with few exceptions, this remarkable book contains so many stories that are licentious in their whole construction. It must therefore be necessarily a sealed book in all wellordered families. Boccaccio himself, who in his forty-eighth year received a solemn warning from a monk to reform his life, and did reform, saw the evil tendency of his early writings, and implored one of his friends not to allow the Decameron' to be read by the females of his household. The story of Griselda' is one of the few of these tales which are wholly unexceptionable. It has had the distinction of being the foundation of the exquisitely beautiful • Clerk's Tale' of Chaucer. Our first great poet says,

“ I will tell you a tale, which that I

Learned at Padua of a worthy clerk,
As proved by his wordes and his work:
He is now dead, and nailed in his chest,
I pray to God so give his soulé rest.
Francis Petrarch, the laureat poete

Hight this clerk." Petrarch, in writing to Boccaccio in 1373, says that the story of Griselda “had always pleased him when he heard it many years ago." It has been hence inferred that the story was not invented by Boccaccio, because Petrarch also says that he had only seen the Deca.. meron' a short time before. Still Petrarch might have heard the story from some of the Italian reciters, who had read it in the Decameron,' which was written about 1348. Boccaccio died in 1375, sixteen months after the death of his constant friend Petrarch.

The translation from which we take our extract was originally published by Dodsley in 1741; but was revised and re-published in 1804.]

It is a long time ago, that, amongst the marquisses of Saluzzo, tho principal or head of the family was a youth, called Gualtieri, who, as he was a bachelor, spent his whole time in hawking and hunting, without any thought of ever being incumbered with a wife and children; in which respect, no doubt, he was very wise. But this being disagreeable to his subjects, they often pressed him to marry, to the end that he might neither dio without a heir, nor they be left without a lord ; offering themselves to provide such a lady for him, and of such a family, that they should have great hopes from her, and he reason enough to be satisfied. “Worthy friends," he replied, " you urgo me to do a thing which I was fully resolved against, considering what a difficult matter it is to find a person of suitable temper, with the great abundance everywhere of such as aro otherwise, and how miserable also the man's life must be who is tied to a disagreeable woman. As to your gotting at a woman's temper from her family, and so choosing one to please me, that seems quite a ridiculous fancy; for besides the uncertainty with regard to their truo fathers, how many daughters do we sco resembling neither father mor mother ? Novertheless, as you aro so fond of having me noosed, I will agree to be so. There

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fore, that I may have nobody to blame but myself, should it happen amiss, I will make my own choice ; and I protest, let me marry who I will, that, unless you show her the respect that is due to her as my lady, you shall know, to your cost, how grievous it is to me to have taken a wife at your request, contrary to my own inclination." The honest inen replied, that they were well satisfied, provided ho would but make the trial. Now he had taken a fancy some time before to the behaviour of a poor country girl, who lived in a village not far from his palace; and thinking that he might live comfortably enough with her, he determined, without seeking any farther, to marry her. Accordingly, he sent for her father, who was a very poor man, and acquainted him with it. Afterwards he summoned all his subjects together, and said to them, “ Gentlemen, it was and is your desire that I take a wife ; I do it rather to please you, than out of any liking I have to matrimony. You know that you promised me to be satisfied, and to pay her due honour, whoever she is that I shall make choice of. The time is now come when I shall fulfil my promise to you, and I expect you to do the like to me: I have found a young woman in the neighbourhood after my own heart, whom I intend to espouse and bring home in a very few days. Let it be your care, then, to do honour to my nuptials, and to respect her as your sovereign lady: so that I may be satisfied with the performance of your promise, even as you are with that of mine." The people all declared themselves pleased, and promised to regard her in all things as their mistress. Afterwards they made preparations for a most noble feast, and the like did the prince, inviting all his relations, and the great lords in all parts and provinces about him : he had also most rich and costly robes made, shaped by a person that seemed to be of the same size with his intended spouse ; and provided a girdle, ring, and fine coronet, with everything requisite for a bride. And when the day appointed was come, about the third hour he mounted his horse, attended by all his friends and vassals; and having everything in readiness, he said, “My lords and gentlemen, it is now time to go for my new spouse." So on they rode to the village, and when he was come near the father's house, he saw her carrying some water from the well, in great haste, to go afterwards with some of her acquaintance to see the new marchioness; when he called her by name, which was Griselda, and inquired where her father was. She modestly replied, “My gracious lord, he is in the house.” He then alighted from his horse, commanding them all to wait for him, and went alone into the cottage, where he found the father, who was called Giannucolo, and said to him, “Honest man, I am come to espouse thy daughter, but would first ask her some questions before thee." He then inquired, whether she would make it her study to please him, and not be uneasy at any time, whatever he should do or say ; and whether she would always be obedient; with more to that purpose. To which she answered “Yes." He then led her out by the hand, and made her strip before them all ; and, ordering the rich apparel to be brought which he had provided, he had her clothed completely, and a coronet set upon her head, all disordered as her hair was ; after which, every one being in amaze, he said, “Behold, this is the person whom I intend for my wife, provided she will accept of me for her husband." Then, turning towards her, who stood quite abashed, “Will you,” said he, “have me for your husband ?” She replied, “ Yes, if it so please your lordship.”—“Well,” he replied, “ and I take you for my wife.” So he espoused her in that public manner, and, mounting her 02 a palfrey, conducted her honourably to his palace, celebrating the nuptials with as much pomp and grandeur as though he had been married to the daughter of the King of France ; and the young bride showed apparently that with her garments she had changed both her mind and behaviour. She had a most agreeable person, and was so amiable, and so good-natured withal, that she seemed rather a lord's daughter than that of a poor shepherd ; at which every one that knew her before was greatly surprised. She was too so obedient to her husband, and so obliging in all respects, that he thought himself the happiest man in the world; and to her subjects likewise so gracious and condescending, that they all honoured and loved her as their own lives, praying for her health and prosperity, and declaring, contrary to their former opinion, that Gualtieri was the most prudent and sharp-sighted prince in the whole world; for that no one could have discerned such virtues under a mean habit, and a country disguise, but himself. In a very short time her discreet behaviour and good works were the common subject of discourse, not in the country only, but everywhere else ; and what had been objected to the prince, with regard to his marrying her, now took a contrary turn. They had not lived long together before she proved with child, and at length brought forth a daughter, for which he made great rejoicings. But soon afterwards a new fancy came into his head, and that was, to make trial of her patience by long and intolerable sufferings : so he began with harsh words, and an appearance of great uneasiness ; telling her, that his subjects were greatly displeased with her for her mean parentage, especially as they saw she bore children ; and that they did nothing but murmur at the daughter already born. Which, when she heard, without changing countenance, or her resolution, in any respect, she replied, “My lord, pray dispose of me as you think most for your honour and happiness : I shall entirely acquiesce, knowing myself to be meaner than the meanest of the people, and that I was altogether unworthy of that dignity to which your favour was pleased to advance me.” This was very agreeable to the prince, seeing that she was no way elevated with the honour he had conferred upon her. Afterwards, having often told her, in general terms, that his subjects could not bear with the daughter that was born of her, he sent one of his servants, whom he had instructed what to do, who, with a very sorrowful countenance, said to her, “ Madam, I must either lose my own life, or obey my lord's commands; now he has ordered me to take your daughter, and"—without saying anything more. She, hearing these words, and noting the fellow's looks, remembering also what she had heard before from her lord, concluded that he had orders to destroy the child. So she took it out of the cradle, kissed it, and gave it her blessing ; when, without changing countenance, though her heart throbbed with maternal affection, she tenderly laid it in the servant's arms, and said, “Take it, and do what thy lord and mine has commanded; but prythee leave it not to be devoured by the fowls, or wild beasts, unless that be his will.” Taking the child, he acquainted the prince with what she said, who was greatly surprised at her constancy, and he sent the same person with it to a relation at Bologna, desiring her, without revealing whose child it was, to see it carefully brought up and educated. Afterwards the lady became with child a second time, and was delivered of a son, at which he was extremely pleased. But, not satisfied with what he had already done, he began to grieve and persecute her still more ; saying one day to her, seemingly much out of temper, “Since thou hast brought me this son, I am able to live no longer with my people ; for they mutiny to that degree, that, unless I would run the risk of being driven out of my dominions, I must be obliged to dispose of this child as I did the other ; and then to send thee away, in order to take a wife more suitable to me." She heard this with a great deal of resignation, making only this reply : “My lord, study only your own ease and happiness, without the least care for me ; for nothing is agreeable to me but what is pleasing to yourself.” Not many days after, he sent for the son in the same manner as he had done for the daughter; and, seeming also as if he had procured him to be destroyed, had him conveyed to Bologna, to be taken care of with the daughter. This she bore with the same resolution as before, at which the prince wondered greatly, declaring to himself, that no other woman

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