Meet us on:
Entire Site
    Try our fun game

    Dueling book covers…may the best design win!

    Random Quote
    "I went into a McDonald's yesterday and said, 'I'd like some fries.' The girl at the counter said, 'Would you like some fries with that?'"

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Follow us on Twitter

    Never miss a good book again! Follow Read Print on Twitter


    • Rate it:
    Launch Reading Mode
    Chapter 7
    Previous Chapter

    The references, unless it be otherwise specified, are to the Eight Books concerning Saint Elizabeth, by Dietrich the Thuringian; in Basnage's Canisius, Vol. IV. p. 113 (Antwerp; 1725).

    Page 21. Cf. Lib. I. section 3. Dietrich is eloquent about her youthful inclination for holy places, and church doors, even when shut, and gives many real proofs of her 'sanctae indolis,' from the very cradle.

    P. 22. 'St. John's sworn maid.' Cf. Lib. I. section 4. 'She chose by lot for her patron, St. John the protector of virginity.'

    Ibid. 'Fit for my princess.' Cf. Lib. I. section 2. 'He sent with his daughter vessels of gold, silver baths, jewels, pillows all of silk. No such things, so precious or so many, were ever seen in Thuringen-land.'

    P. 23. 'Most friendless.' Cf. Lib. I. sections 5, 6. 'The courtiers used bitterly to insult her, etc. Her mother and sister- in-law, given to worldly pomp, differed from her exceedingly;' and much more concerning 'the persecutions which she endured patiently in youth.'

    Ibid. 'In one cradle.' Cf. Lib. I. section 2. 'The princess was laid in the cradle of her boy-spouse,' and, says another, 'the infants embraced with smiles, from whence the bystanders drew a joyful omen of their future happiness.'

    Ibid. 'If thou love him.' Cf. Lib. I. section 6. 'The Lord by His hidden inspiration so inclined towards her the heart of the prince, that in the solitude of secret and mutual love he used to speak sweetly to her heart, with kindness and consolation, and was always wont, on returning home, to honour her with presents, and soothe her with embraces.' It was their custom, says Dietrich, to the last to call each other in common conversation 'Brother' and 'Sister.'

    P. 24. 'To his charge.' Cf. Lib. I. section 7. 'Walter of Varila, a good man, who, having been sent by the prince's father into Hungary, had brought the blessed Elizabeth into Thuringen-land.'

    P. 25. 'The blind archer, Love.' For information about the pagan orientalism of the Troubadours, the blasphemous bombast by which they provoked their persecution in Provence, and their influence on the Courts of Europe, see Sismondi, Lit. Southern Europe, Cap. III.- VI.

    P. 27. 'Stadings.' The Stadings, according to Fleury, in A.D. 1233, were certain unruly fenmen, who refused to pay tithes, committed great cruelties on religious of both sexes, worshipped, or were said to worship, a black cat, etc., considered the devil as a very ill-used personage, and the rightful lord of themselves and the world, and were of the most profligate morals. An impartial and philosophic investigation of this and other early continental heresies is much wanted.

    P. 37. 'All gold.' Cf. Lib. I. section 7, for Walter's interference and Lewis's answer, which I have paraphrased.

    P. 38. 'Is crowned with thorns.' Cf. Lib. I. section 5, for this anecdote and her defence, which I have in like manner paraphrased.

    P. 39. 'Their pardon.' Cf. Lib. I section 3, for this quaint method of self-humiliation.

    Ibid. 'You know your place.' Cf. Lib. I. section 6. 'The vassals and relations of her betrothed persecuted her openly, and plotted to send her back to her father divorced. . . . Sophia also did all she could to place her in a convent. . . . She delighted in the company of maids and servants, so that Sophia used to say sneeringly to her, "You should have been counted among the slaves who drudge, and not among the princes who rule."'

    P. 41. 'Childish laughter.' Cf. Lib. I. section 7. 'The holy maiden, receiving the mirror, showed her joy by delighted laughter;' and again, II. section 8, "They loved each other in the charity of the Lord, to a degree beyond all belief.'

    Ibid. 'A crystal clear.' Cf. Lib. I. section 7.

    P. 43. 'Our fairest bride.' Cf. Lib. I. section 8. 'No one henceforth dared oppose the marriage by word or plot, . . . and all mouths were stopped.'


    Pp. 45-49. Cf. Lib. II. sections 1, 5, 11, et passim.

    Hitherto my notes have been a careful selection of the few grains of characteristic fact which I could find among Dietrich's lengthy professional reflections; but the chapter on which this scene is founded is remarkable enough to be given whole, and as I have a long-standing friendship for the good old monk, who is full of honest naivete and deep-hearted sympathy, and have no wish to disgust all my readers with him, I shall give it for the most part untranslated. In the meantime those who may be shocked at certain expressions in this poem, borrowed from the Romish devotional school, may verify my language at the Romish booksellers, who find just now a rapidly increasing sale for such ware. And is it not after all a hopeful sign for the age that even the most questionable literary tastes must nowadays ally themselves with religion--that the hotbed imaginations which used to batten on Rousseau and Byron have now risen at least as high as the Vies des Saints and St. Francois de Sales' Philothea? The truth is, that in such a time as this, in the dawn of an age of faith, whose future magnificence we may surely prognosticate from the slowness and complexity of its self-developing process, spiritual 'Werterism,' among other strange prolusions, must have its place. The emotions and the imaginations will assert their just right to be fed--by foul means if not by fair; and even self-torture will have charms after the utter dryness and life-in-death of mere ecclesiastical pedantry. It is good, mournful though it be, that a few, even by gorging themselves with poison, should indicate the rise of a spiritual hunger--if we do but take their fate as a warning to provide wholesome food before the new craving has extended itself to the many. It is good that religion should have its Werterism, in order that hereafter Werterism may have its religion. But to my quotations--wherein the reader will judge how difficult it has been for me to satisfy at once the delicacy of the English mind and that historic truth which the highest art demands.

    'Erat inter eos honorabile connubium, et thorus immaculatus, non in ardore libidmis, sed in conjugalis sanctimoniae castitate. For the holy maiden, as soon as she was married, began to macerate her flesh with many watchings, rising every night to pray; her husband sometimes sleeping, sometimes conniving at her, often begging her, in compassion to her delicacy, not to afflict herself indiscreetly, often supporting her with his hand when she prayed.' ('And,' says another of her biographers, 'being taught by her to pray with her.') 'Great truly, was the devotion of this young girl, who, rising from the bed of her carnal husband, sought Christ, whom she loved as the true husband of her soul.

    'Nor certainly was there less faith in the husband who did not oppose such and so great a wife, but rather favoured her, and tempered her fervour with over-kind prudence. Affected, therefore, by the sweetness of this modest love, and mutual society, they could not bear to be separated for any length of time or distance. The lady, therefore, frequently followed her husband through rough roads, and no small distances, and severe wind and weather, led rather by emotions of sincerity than of carnality: for the chaste presence of a modest husband offered no obstacle to that devout spouse in the way of praying, watching, or otherwise doing good.'

    Then follows the story of her nurse waking Lewis instead of her, and Lewis's easy good-nature about this, as about every other event of life. 'And so, after these unwearied watchings, it often happened that, praying for an excessive length of time, she fell asleep on a mat beside her husband's bed, and being reproved for it by her maidens, answered: "Though I cannot always pray, yet I can do violence to my own flesh by tearing myself in the meantime from my couch."'

    'Fugiebat oblectamenta carnalia, et ideo stratum molliorem, et viri contubernium secretissimum, quantum licuit, declinavit. Quem quamvis praecordialis amoris affectu deligeret, querulabatur tamen dolens, quod virginalis decorem floris non meruit conservare. Castigabat etiam plagis multis, et lacerabat diris verberibus carnem puella innocens et pudica.

    'In principio quidem diebus quadragesimae, sextisque feriis aliis occultas solebat accipere disciplinas, laetam coram hominibus se ostentrans. Post vero convalescens et proficiens in gratia, deserto dilecti thoro surgens, fecit se in secreto cubiculo per ancillarum manus graviter saepissime verberari, ad lectumque mariti reversa hilarem se exhibuit et jocundam.

    'Vere felices conjuges, in quorum consortio tanta munditia, in colloquio pudicitia reperta est. In quibus amor Christi concupiscentiam extinxit, devotio refrenavit petulantiam, fervor spiritus excussit somnolentiam, oratio tutavit conscientiam, charitas benefaciendi facultatem tribuit et laetitiam!'

    P. 58. 'In every scruple.' Cf. Lib. III. section 9, how Lewis 'consented that Elizabeth his wife should make a vow of obedience and continence at the will of the said Conrad, salva jure matrimonii.'

    P. 59. 'The open street.' Cf. Lib. II. section 11. 'On the Rogation days, when certain persons doing contrary to the decrees of the saints are decorated with precious and luxurious garments, the Princess, dressed in serge and barefooted, used to follow most devoutly the Procession of the Cross and the relics of the Saints, and place herself always at sermon among the poorest women; knowing (says Dietrich) that seeds cast into the valleys spring up into the richest crop of corn.'

    P. 60. 'The poor of Christ.' Cf. Lib. II. sections 6, 11, et passim. Elizabeth's labours among the poor are too well known throughout one half at least of Christendom, where she is, par excellence, the patron of the poor, to need quotations.

    P. 61. 'I'll be thy pupil.' Cf. Lib. II section 4. 'She used also, by words and examples, to oblige the worldly ladies who came to her to give up the vanity of the world, at least in some one particular.'

    P. 62. 'Conrad enters.' Cf. Lib. III. section 9, where this story of the disobeyed message and the punishment inflicted by Conrad for it is told word for word.

    P. 66. 'Peaceably come by.' Cf. Lib. II. section 6.

    P. 67. 'Bond-slaves.' Cf. Note 11.

    P. 69. 'Elizabeth passes.' Cf. Lib. II. section 5. 'This most Christian mother, impletis purgationis suae diebus, used to dress herself in serge, and, taking in her arms her new-born child, used to go forth secretly, barefooted, by the difficult descent from the castle, by a rough and rocky road to a remote church, carrying her infant in her own arms, after the example of the Virgin Mother, and offering him upon the altar to the Lord with a taper' (and with gold, says another biographer).

    P. 71. 'Give us bread.' Cf. Lib. III. section 6. 'A.D. 1225, while the Landgrave was gone to Italy to the Emperor, a severe famine arose throughout all Almaine; and lasting for nearly two years, destroyed many with hunger. Then Elizabeth, moved with compassion for the miserable, collected all the corn from her granaries, and distributed it as alms for the poor. She also built a hospital at the foot of the Wartburg, wherein she placed all those who could not wait for the general distribution. . . . She sold her own ornaments to feed the members of Christ. . . . Cuidam misero lac desideranti, ad mulgendum se praebuit!'--See p. 153.

    P 80. 'Ladies' tenderness.' Cf. Lib. III. section 8. 'When the courtiers and stewards complained on his return of the Lady Elizabeth's too great extravagance in almsgiving, "Let her alone," quoth he, "to do good, and to give whatever she will for God's sake, only keep Wartburg and Neuenberg in my hands."'

    P. 87. 'A crusader's cross.' Cf. Lib. IV. section 1. 'In the year 1227 there was a general "Passagium" to the Holy Land, in which Frederick the Emperor also crossed the seas' (or rather did not cross the seas, says Heinrich Stero, in his annals, but having got as far as Sicily, came back again--miserably disappointing and breaking up the expedition, whereof the greater part died at the various ports--and was excommunicated for so doing); 'and Lewis, landgrave of the Thuringians, took the cross likewise in the name of Jesus Christ, and . . . did not immediately fix the badge which he had received to his garment, as the matter is, lest his wife, who loved him with the most tender affection, seeing this, should be anxious and disturbed, . . . but she found it while turning over his purse, and fainted, struck down with a wonderful consternation.'

    P. 90. 'I must be gone.' Cf. Lib. IV. section 2. A chapter in which Dietrich rises into a truly noble and pathetic strain. 'Coming to Schmalcald,' he says, 'Lewis found his dearest friends, whom he had ordered to meet him there, not wishing to depart without taking leave of them.'

    Then follows Dietrich's only poetic attempt, which Basnage calls a 'carmen ineptum, foolish ballad,' and most unfairly, as all readers should say, if I had any hope of doing justice in a translation to this genial fragment of an old dramatic ballad, and its simple objectivity, as of a writer so impressed (like all true Teutonic poets in those earnest days) with the pathos and greatness of his subject that he never tries to 'improve' it by reflections and preaching at his readers, but thinks it enough just to tell his story, sure that it will speak for itself to all hearts:--

    Quibus valefaciens cum moerore Commisit suis fratribus natos cum uxore: Matremque deosculatos filiali more, Vix eam alloquitur cordis prae dolore, Illis mota viscera, corda tremuerunt, Dum alter in alterius colla irruerunt, Expetentes oscula, quae vix receperunt Propter multitudines, quae eos compresserunt. Mater tenens filiuin, uxorque maritum, In diversa pertrahunt, et tenent invitum, Fratres cum militibus velut compeditum Stringunt, nec discedere sinunt expeditum. Erat in exercitu maximus tumultus, Cum carorum cernerent alternari vultus. Flebant omnes pariter, senex et adultus, Turbae cum militibus, cultus et incultus. Eja! Quis non plangeret, cum videret flentes Tot honestos nobiles, tam diversas gentes, Cum Thuringis Saxones illuc venientes, Ut viderent socios suos abscedentes. Amico luctamine cuncti certavere, Quis eum diutius posset retinere; uidam collo brachiis, quidam inhaesere Vestibus, nec poterat cuiguam respondere, Tandem se de manibus eximens suorum Magnatorum socius et peregrinorum, Admixtus tandem, caetui cruce signatorum Non visurus amplius terram. Thuringorum!

    Surely there is a heart of flesh in the old monk which, when warmed by a really healthy subject, can toss aside Scripture parodies and professional Stoic sentiment, and describe with such life and pathos, like any eye-witness, a scene which occurred, in fact, two years before his birth.

    'And thus this Prince of Peace, 'he continues, 'mounting his horse with many knights, etc. . . . about the end of the month of June, set forth in the name of the Lord, praising him in heart and voice, and weeping and singing were heard side by side. And close by followed, with saddest heart, that most faithful lady after her sweetest prince, her most loving spouse, never, alas! to behold him more. And when she was going to return, the force of love and the agony of separation forced her on with him one day's journey: and yet that did not suffice. She went on, still unable to bear the parting, another full day's journey. . . . At last they part, at the exhortations of Rudolph the Cupbearer. What groans, think you, what sobs, what struggles, and yearnings of the heart must there have been? Yet they part, and go on their way. . . . The lord went forth exulting, as a giant to run his course; the lady returned lamenting, as a widow, and tears were on her cheeks. Then putting off the garments of joy, she took the dress of widowhood. The mistress of nations, sitting alone, she turned herself utterly to God--to her former good works, adding better ones.'

    Their children were 'Hermann, who became Landgraf; a daughter who married the Duke of Brabant; another, who, remaining in virginity, became a nun of Aldenburg, of which place she is Lady Abbess until this day.'


    P. 94. 'On the freezing stone.' Cf. Lib. II. section 5. 'In the absence of her husband she used to lay aside her gay garments, conducted herself devoutly as a widow, and waited for the return of her beloved, passing her nights in watchings, genuflexions, prayers, and disciplines.' And again, Lib. IV. section 3, just quoted.

    P. 96. 'The will of God.' Cf. Lib. IV. section 6. 'The mother-in- law said to her daughter-in-law, "Be brave, my beloved daughter; nor be disturbed at that which hath happened by divine ordinance to thy husband, my son." Whereto she answered boldly, "If my brother is captive, he can be freed by the help of God and our friends." "He is dead," quoth the other. Then she, clasping her hands upon her knees, "The world is dead to me, and all that is pleasant in the world." Having said this, suddenly springing up with tears, she rushed swiftly through the whole length of the palace, and being entirely beside herself, would have run on to the world's end, usque quaque, if a wall had not stopped her; and others coming up, led her away from the wall to which she had clung.

    Ibid. 'Yon lion's rage.' Cf. Lib. III. section 2. 'There was a certain lion in the court of the Prince; and it came to pass on a time that rising from his bed in the morning, and crossing the court dressed only in his gown and slippers, he met this lion loose and raging against him. He thereon threatened the beast with his raised fist, and rated it manfully, till laying aside its fierceness, it lay down at the knight's feet, and fawned on him, wagging its tail.' So Dietrich.

    Pp. 99-100, 103-108. Cf. Lib. IV. section 7.

    'Now shortly after the news of Lewis's death, certain vassals of her late husband (with Henry, her brother-in-law) cast her out of the castle and of all her possessions. . . . She took refuge that night in a certain tavern, . . . and went at midnight to the matins of the "Minor Brothers." . . . And when no one dare give her lodging, took refuge in the church. . . . And when her little ones were brought to her from the castle, amid most bitter frost, she knew not where to lay their heads. . . . She entered a priest's house, and fed her family miserably enough, by pawning what she had. There was in that town an enemy of hers, having a roomy house. . . . Whither she entered at his bidding, and was forced to dwell with her whole family in a very narrow space, . . . her host and hostess heaped her with annoyances and spite. She therefore bade them farewell, saying, "I would willingly thank mankind if they would give me any reason for so doing." So she returned to her former filthy cell.'

    P. 100. 'White whales' bone' (i.e. the tooth of the narwhal); a common simile in the older poets.

    P. 104. 'The nuns of Kitzingen.' Cf. Lib. V. section 1. 'After this, the noble Lady the Abbess of Kitzingen, Elizabeth's aunt according to the flesh, brought her away honourably to Eckembert, Lord Bishop of Bamberg.'

    P. 106. 'Aged crone.' Cf. Lib. IV. section 8, where this whole story is related word for word.

    P. 109. 'I'd mar this face.' Cf. Lib. V. section 1. 'If I could not,' said she, 'escape by any other means, I would with my own hands cut off my nose, that so every man might loathe me when so foully disfigured.'

    P. 110. 'Botenstain.' Cf. ibid. 'The bishop commanded that she should be taken to Botenstain with her maids, until he should give her away in marriage.'

    P. 111. 'Bear children.' Ibid. 'The venerable man, knowing that the Apostle says, "I will that the younger widows marry and bear children," thought of giving her in marriage to some one--an intention which she perceived, and protested on the strength of her "votum continentiae."'

    P. 113. 'The tented field.' All records of the worthy Bishop on which I have fallen, describe him as 'virum militia strenuissimum,' a mighty man of war. We read of him, in Stero of Altaich's Chronicle, A.D. 1232, making war on the Duke of Carinthia destroying many of his castles and laying waste a great part of his land; and next year, being seized by some bailiff of the Duke's, and keeping that Lent in durance vile. In a A.D. 1237 he was left by the Emperor as 'vir magnaminus et bellicosus,' in charge of Austria, during the troubles with Duke Frederick; and died in 1240.

    P 115. 'Lewis's bones.' Cf. Lib. V. section 3.

    P 118. 'I thank thee.' Cf. Lib. V. section 4. 'What agony and love there was then in her heart, He alone can tell who knows the hearts of all the sons of men. I believe that her grief was renewed, and all her bones trembled, when she saw the bones of her beloved separated one from another (the corpse had been dug up at Otranto, and boiled.) But though absorbed in so great a woe, at last she remembered God, and recovering her spirit said--(Her words I have paraphrased as closely as possible.)

    Ibid. 'The close hard by.' Cf. Lib. V section 4.


    P 120. 'Your self imposed vows.' Cf. Lib. IV. section I. 'On Good Friday, when the altars were exhibited bare in remembrance of the Saviour who hung bare on the cross for us, she went into a certain chapel, and in the presence of Master Conrad, and certain Franciscan brothers, laying her holy hands on the bare altar, renounced her own will, her parents, children, relations, "et omnibus hujus modi pompis," all pomps of this kind (a misprint, one hopes, for mundi) in imitation of Christ, and "omnmo se exuit et nudavit," stripped herself utterly naked, to follow Him naked, in the steps of poverty.'

    P 123. 'All worldly goods.' A paraphrase of her own words.

    P 124. 'Thine own needs.' But when she was going to renounce her possessions also, the prudent Conrad stopped her. The reflections which follow are Dietrich's own.

    P 125. 'The likeness of the fiend' etc. I have put this daring expression into Conrad's mouth, as the ideal outcome of the teaching of Conrad's age on this point--and of much teaching also which miscalls itself Protestant, in our own age. The doctrine is not, of course, to be found totidem verbis in the formularies of any sect-- yet almost all sects preach it, and quote Scripture for it as boldly as Conrad--the Romish Saint alone carries it honestly out into practice.

    P 126. 'With pine boughs.' Cf. Lib. VI. section 2. 'Entering a certain desolate court she betook herself, "sub gradu cujusdam caminatae," to the projection of a certain furnace, where she roofed herself in with boughs. In the meantime in the town of Marpurg, was built for her a humble cottage of clay and timber.'

    Ibid. 'Count Pama.' Cf. Lib. VI. section 6.

    P 127. 'Isentrudis and Guta.' Cf. Lib. VII. section 4. 'Now Conrad as a prudent man, perceiving that this disciple of Christ wished to arrive at the highest pitch of perfection, studied to remove all which he thought would retard her, and therefore drove from her all those of her former household in whom she used to solace or delight herself. Thus the holy priest deprived this servant of God of all society, that so the constancy of her obedience might become known, and occasion might be given to her for clinging to God alone.'

    P 128. 'A leprous boy.' Cf. Lib. VI. section 8.

    She had several of these proteges, successively, whose diseases are too disgusting to be specified, on whom she lavished the most menial cares. All the other stories of her benevolence which occur in these two pages are related by Dietrich.

    Ibid. 'Mighty to save.' Cf. Lib. VII. section 7. When we read amongst other matters, how the objects of her prayers used to become while she was speaking so intensely hot, that they not only smoked, and nearly melted, but burnt the fingers of those who touched them: from whence Dietrich bids us 'learn with what an ardour of charity she used to burn, who would dry up with her heat the flow of worldly desire, and inflame to the love of eternity.'

    P 130. 'Lands and titles'. Cf. Lib. V. section 7,8.

    P 131. 'Spinning wool.' Cf. Lib. VI. section 6. 'And crossing himself for wonder, the Count Pama cried out and said, "Was it ever seen to this day that a king's daughter should spin wool?" All his messages from her father (says Dietrich) were of no avail.

    P 135. 'To do her penance.' Cf. Lib. VII. section 4. 'Now he had placed with her certain austere women, from whom she endured much oppression patiently for Christ's sake who, watching her rigidly, frequently reported her to her master for having transgressed her obedience in giving some thing to the poor, or begging others to give. And when thus accused she often received many blows from her master, insomuch that he used to strike her in the face, which she earnestly desired to endure patiently in memory of the stripes of the Lord.'

    P 136. 'That she dared not.' Cf. Lib. VII. section 4. 'When her most intimate friends, Isentrudis and Guta (whom another account describes as in great poverty), 'came to see her, she dared not give them anything even for food, nor, without special licence, salute them.'

    P 137. 'To bear within us.' 'Seeing in the church of certain monks who "professed poverty" images sumptuously gilt, she said to about twenty four of them, "You had better to have spent this money on your own food and clothes, for we ought to have the reality of these images written in our hearts." And if any one mentioned a beautiful image before her she used to say, 'I have no need of such an image. I carry the thing itself in my bosom."'

    Ibid. 'Even on her bed.' Cf. Lib. VI sections 5, 6.

    P 139. 'My mother rose.' Cf. Lib. VI section 8. 'Her mother, who had been long ago' (when Elizabeth was nine years old) 'miserably slain by the Hungarians, appeared to her in her dreams upon her knees, and said, "My beloved child! pray for the agonies which I suffer; for thou canst." Elizabeth waking, prayed earnestly, and falling asleep again, her mother appeared to her and told her that she was freed, and that Elizabeth's prayers would hereafter benefit all who invoked her.' Of the causes of her mother's murder the less that is said the better, but the prudent letter which the Bishop of Gran sent back when asked to join in the conspiracy against her is worthy notice. 'Reginam occidere nolite timere bonum est. Si omnes consentiunt ego non contradico.' To be read as a full consent, or as a flat refusal, according to the success of the plot.

    P. 140. 'Any living soul.' Dietrich has much on this point, headed, 'How Master Conrad exercised Saint Elizabeth in the breaking of her own will. . . . And at last forbad her entirely to give alms; whereon she employed herself in washing lepers and other infirm folk. In the meantime she was languishing, and inwardly tortured with emotions of compassion.'

    I may here say that in representing Elizabeth's early death as accelerated by a 'broken heart' I have, I believe, told the truth, though I find no hint of anything of the kind in Dietrich. The religious public of a petty town in the thirteenth century round the deathbed of a royal saint would of course treasure up most carefully all incidents connected with her latter days; but they would hardly record sentiments or expressions which might seem to their notions to derogate in anyway from her saintship. Dietrich, too, looking at the subject as a monk and not as a man, would consider it just as much his duty to make her death-scene rapturous as to make both her life and her tomb miraculous. I have composed these last scenes in the belief that Elizabeth and all her compeers will be recognised as real saints, in proportion as they are felt to have been real men and women.

    P. 142. 'Eructate sweet doctrine.' The expressions are Dietrich's own.

    Ibid. 'In her coffin yet.' Cf. Lib. VIII. section I.

    Ibid. 'So she said.' Cf. Ibid.

    Ibid. 'The poor of Christ.' 'She begged her master to distribute all to the poor, except a worthless tunic in which she wished to be buried. She made no will: she would have no heir beside Christ' (i.e. the poor).

    P. 143. 'Martha, and their brother,' etc.

    I have compressed the events of several days into one in this scene. I give Dietrich's own account, omitting his reflections. 'When she had been ill twelve days and more one of her maids sitting by her bed heard in her throat a very sweet sound, . . . and saying, "Oh, my mistress, how sweetly thou didst sing!" she answered, "I tell thee, I heard a little bird between me and the wall sing merrily; who with his sweet song so stirred me up that I could not but sing myself."'

    Again, section 3. 'The last day she remained till evening most devout, having been made partaker of the celestial table, and inebriated with that most pure blood of life, which is Christ. The word of truth was continually on her lips, and opening her mouth of wisdom, she spake of the best things, which she had heard in sermons; eructating from her heart good words, and the law of clemency was heard on her tongue. She told from the abundance of her heart how the Lord Jesus condescended to console Mary and Martha at the raising again of their brother Lazarus, and then, speaking of His weeping with them over the dead, she eructated the memory of the abundance of the Lord's sweetness, affectu et effectu (in feeling and expression?). Certain religious person who were present, hearing these words, fired with devotion by the grace which filled her lips, melted into tears. To whom the saint of God, now dying, recalled the sweet words of her Lord as He went to death, saying, "Daughters of Jerusalem," etc. Having said this she was silent. A wonderful thing. Then most sweet voices were heard in her throat, without any motion of her lips; and she asked of those round, "Did ye not hear some singing with me?" "Whereon none of the faithful are allowed to doubt," says Dietrich, "when she herself heard the harmony of the heavenly hosts," etc. etc. . . . From that time till twilight she lay, as if exultant and jubilant, showing signs of remarkable devotion, till the crowing of the cock. Then, as if secure in the Lord, she said to the bystanders, "What should we do if the fiend showed himself to us?" And shortly afterwards, with a loud and clear voice, "Fly! fly!" as if repelling the daemon.'

    'At the cock-crow she said, "Here is the hour in which the Virgin brought forth her child Jesus and laid him in a manger. . . . Let us talk of Him, and of that new star which he created by his omnipotence, which never before was seen." "For these" (says Montanus in her name) "are the venerable mysteries of our faith, our richest blessings, our fairest ornaments: in these all the reason of our hope flourishes, faith grows, charity burns."'

    The novelty of the style and matter will, I hope, excuse its prolixity with most readers. If not, I have still my reasons for inserting the greater part of this chapter.

    P. 145. ' I demand it.' How far I am justified in putting such fears into her mouth the reader may judge. Cf. Lib. VIII. section 5. 'The devotion of the people demanding it, her body was left unburied till the fourth day in the midst of a multitude.' . . .

    'The flesh,' says Dietrich, 'had the tenderness of a living body, and was easily moved hither and thither at the will of those who handled it . . . . And many, sublime in the valour of their faith, tore off the hair of her head and the nails of her fingers ("even the tips of her ears, et mamillarum papillas," says untranslatably Montanus of Spire), and kept them as relics.' The reference relating to the pictures of her disciplines and the effect which they produced on the crowd I have unfortunately lost.

    P. 146. 'And yet no pain.' Cf. Lib. VIII section 4. 'She said, "Though I am weak I feel no disease or pain," and so through that whole day and night, as hath been said, having been elevated with most holy affections of mind towards God, and inflamed in spirit with most divine utterances and conversations, at length she rested from jubilating, and inclining her head as if falling into a sweet sleep, expired.'

    P. 147. 'Canonisation.' Cf. Lib. VIII. section 10. If I have in the last scene been guilty of a small anachronism, I have in this been guilty of a great one. Conrad was of course a prime means of Elizabeth's canonisation, and, as Dietrich and his own 'Letter to Pope Gregory the Ninth' show, collected, and pressed on the notice of the Archbishop of Maintz, the miraculous statements necessary for that honour. But he died two years before the actual publication of her canonisation. It appeared to me that by following the exact facts I must either lose sight of the final triumph, which connects my heroine for ever with Germany and all Romish Christendom, and is the very culmination of the whole story, or relinquish my only opportunity of doing Conrad justice, by exhibiting the remaining side of his character.

    I am afraid that I have erred, and that the most strict historic truth would have coincided, as usual, with the highest artistic effect, while it would only have corroborated the moral of my poem, supposing that there is one. But I was fettered by the poverty of my own imagination, and 'do manus lectoribus.'

    Ibid. 'Third Minors.' The order of the Third Minors of St. Francis of Assisi was in invention of the comprehensive mind of that truly great man, by which 'worldlings' were enabled to participate in the spiritual advantages of the Franciscan rule and discipline without neglect or suspension of their civic and family duties. But it was an institution too enlightened for its age; and family and civic ties were destined for a far nobler consecration. The order was persecuted and all but exterminated by the jealousy of the Regular Monks, not, it seems, without papal connivance. Within a few years after its foundation it numbered amongst its members the noblest knights and ladies of Christendom, St. Louis of France among the number.

    P. 149. 'Lest he fall.' Cf. Fleury, Eccl. Annals, in Anno 1233. 'Doctor Conrad of Marpurg, the King Henry, son of the Emperor Frederick, etc., called an Assembly at Mayence to examine persons accused as heretics. Among whom the Count of Saym demanded a delay to justify himself. As for the others who did not appear, Conrad gave the cross to those who would take up arms against them. At which these supposed heretics were so irritated, that on his return they lay in wait for him near Marpurg, and killed him, with brother Gerard, of the order of Minors, a holy man. Conrad was accused of precipitation in his judgments, and of having burned trop legerement under pretext of heresy, many noble and not noble, monks, nuns, burghers, and peasants. For he had them executed the same day that they were accused, without allowing any appeal.'

    P. 150. 'The Kaiser.' Cf. Lib. VIII. section 12, for a list of the worthies present.

    P. 151. 'A Zingar wizard.' Cf. Lib. I. section 1. The Magician's name was Klingsohr. He has been introduced by Novalis into his novel of Heinrich Von Ofterdingen, as present at the famous contest of the Minnesingers on the Wartburg. Here is Dietrich's account:--

    'There was in those days in the Landgrave's court six knights, nobles, etc. etc., "cantilenarum confectores summi," song-wrights of the highest excellence' (either one of them or Klingsohr himself was the author of the Nibelungen-lied and the Heldenbuch).

    'Now there dwelt then in the parts of Hungary, in the land which is called the "Seven Castles," a certain rich nobleman, worth 3000 marks a year, a philosopher, practised from his youth in secular literature, but nevertheless learned in the sciences of Necromancy and Astronomy. This master Klingsohr was sent for by the Prince to judge between the songs of these knights aforesaid. Who, before he was introduced to the Landgrave, sitting one night in Eisenach, in the court of his lodging, looked very earnestly upon the stars, and being asked if he had perceived any secrets, "Know that this night is born a daughter to the King of Hungary, who shall be called Elizabeth, and shall be a saint, and shall be given to wife to the son of this prince, in the fame of whose sanctity all the earth shall exult and be exalted."

    'See!--He who by Balaam the wizard foretold the mystery of his own incarnation, himself foretold by this wizard the name and birth of his fore-chosen handmaid Elizabeth.' (A comparison, of which Basnage says, that he cannot deny it to be intolerable.) I am not bound to explain all strange stories, but considering who and whence Klingsohr was, and the fact that the treaty of espousals took place two months afterwards, 'adhuc sugens ubera desponsata est,' it is not impossible that King Andrew and his sage vassal may have had some previous conversation on the destination of the unborn princess.

    P. 151. 'A robe.' Cf. Lib. II. section 9, for this story, on which Dietrich observes, 'Thus did her Heavenly Father clothe his lily Elizabeth, as Solomon in all his glory could not do.'

    P. 152. 'The Incarnate Son.' This story is told, I think, by Surias, and has been introduced with an illustration by a German artist of the highest note, into a modern prose biography of this saint. (I have omitted much more of the same kind.)

    Ibid. 'Sainthood's palm.' Cf. Lib. VIII. sections 7, 8, 9. 'While to declare the merits of his handmaid Elizabeth, in the place where her body rested, Almighty God was thus multiplying the badges of her virtues (i.e. miracles), two altars were built in her praise in that chapel, which while Siegfried, Archbishop of Mayence, was consecrating, as he had evidently been commanded in a vision, at the prayers of that devout man master Conrad, preacher of the word of God; the said preacher commanded all who had received any grace of healing from the merits of Elizabeth, to appear next day before the Archbishop and faithfully prove their assertions by witnesses. . . . Then the Most Holy Father, Pope Gregory the Ninth, having made diligent examination of the miracles transmitted to him, trusting at the same time to mature and prudent counsels, and the Holy Spirit's providence, above all, so ordaining, his clemency disposing, and his grace admonishing, decreed that the Blessed Elizabeth was to be written among the catalogue of the saints on earth, since in heaven she rejoices as written in the Book of Life.' . . .

    Then follow four chapters, headed severally--

    Section 9. 'Of the solemn canonisation of the Blessed Elizabeth.'

    Secion 10. 'Of the translation of the Blessed Elizabeth (and how the corpse when exposed diffused round a miraculous fragrance).'

    Section 11. 'Of the desire of the people to see, embrace, and kiss (says Dietrich) those sacred bones, the organs of the Holy Spirit, from which flowed so many graces of sanctities.'

    Section 12. 'Of the sublime persons who were present, and their oblations.'

    Section 13. 'A consideration of the divine mercy about this matter.'

    'Behold! she who despised the glory of the world, and refused the company of magnates, is magnificently honoured by the dignity of the Pontifical office, and the reverent care of Imperial Majesty. And she who, seeking the lowest place in this life, sat on the ground, slept in the dust, is now raised on high, by the hands of Kings and Princes. . . . It transcends all heights of temporal glory, to have been made like the saints in glory. For all the rich among the people "vultum ejus desprecantur" (pray for the light of her countenance), and kings and princes offer gifts, magnates adore her, and all nations serve her. Nor without reason, for "she sold all and gave to the poor," and counting all her substance for nothing, bought for herself this priceless pearl of eternity.' One would be sorry to believe that such utterly mean considerations of selfish vanity, expressing as they do an extreme respect for the very pomps and vanities which they praise the saints for despising, really went to the making of any saint, Romish or other.

    Section 14. 'Of the sacred oil which flowed from the bones of Elizabeth.' I subjoin the 'Epilogus.'

    'Moreover even as the elect handmaid of God, the most blessed Elizabeth, had shone during her life with wonderful signs of her virtues, so since the day of her blessed departure up to the present time, she is resplendent through the various quarters of the world with illustrious prodigies of miracles, the Divine power glorifying her. For to the blind, dumb, deaf, and lame, dropsical, possessed, and leprous, shipwrecked, and captives, "ipsius mertis," as a reward for her holy deeds, remedies are conferred. Also, to all diseases, necessities, and dangers, assistance is given. And, moreover, by the many corpses, "puta sedecim" say sixteen, wonderfully raised to life by herself, becomes known to the faithful the magnificence of the virtues of the Most High glorifying His saint. To that Most High be glory and honour for ever. Amen.'

    So ends Dietrich's story. The reader has by this time, I hope, read enough to justify, in every sense, Conrad's 'A corpse or two was raised, they say, last week,' and much more of the funeral oration which I have put into his mouth.

    P. 153. 'Gallant gentleman.' Cf. Lib. VIII. section 6.

    P. 154. 'Took his crown.' Cf. Lib. VIII. section 12.

    Ibid. The 'olive' and the 'pearl' are Dietrich's own figures. The others follow the method of scriptural interpretation, usual in the writers of that age.

    P. 162. 'Domini canes,' 'The Lord's hounds,' a punning sobriquet of the Dominican inquisitors, in allusion to their profession.

    P 163. 'Folquet,' Bishop of Toulouse, who had been in early life a Troubadour, distinguished himself by his ferocity and perfidy in the crusade against the Albigenses and Troubadours, especially at the surrender of Toulouse, in company with his chief abettor, the infamous Simon de Montford. He died A.D. 1231.--See Sismondi, Lit. of Southern Europe, Cap. VI.

    THE END.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Chapter 7
    Previous Chapter
    If you're writing a Charles Kingsley essay and need some advice, post your Charles Kingsley essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

    Top 5 Authors

    Top 5 Books

    Book Status
    Want to read

    Are you sure you want to leave this group?