Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

dicants was not there. Hence we see them settling in monasteries and taking almost exactly the same tone as the other monks of Ireland.

Among the monasteries there has never been much of that humility which the founder of Christianity inculcated, and the Irish monks were the last in the world to show it. St. Patrick was humble as regards his learning, but he wasted little humility on the great ones of his time, if we can believe his own words and the reports we get of his conduct. Yet he was a long-suffering man compared with St. Columbkille, the genius who in the next century converted the pagan Irish and Picts in the north of Britain. At school he received favors because of his descent from Nial of the Nine Hostages, a famous monarch. When St. Kiaran, his schoolmate, rebelled against such partiality, no less distinguished a messenger than an angel appeared to him, showed him a plane, ax, and auger, and bluntly informed him that he, son of a carpenter, had given up only these tools for the service of God, while Columba had perhaps resigned the crown! Owing to his blood Columba treated kings of Ireland and Caledonia as his equals, received almost slavish consideration from the people, and did what he wished. That great foundation on I (later corrupted into Iona), where he trained missionaries for the Picts, Scots, and Saxons in squalid huts of wattled work and worshiped in a rough church of boards, was so famous that it became a rival of Rome in more than one particular. Like a good son of the Church, the Comte de Montalembert has little to say of this aspect of the Keltic Church, but his monumentalwork must be read with this in mind. haughty

The

spirit of the clansmen devoted to their royal saint did not brook interference from the see of St. Peter, though in time they had to yield.

The life of St. Columbkille is in many respects the most curious and interesting of any for those who would study the monks of Ireland. He was close enough to St. Patrick to reflect the Oriental spirit of the age; he was more exactly a monk; he belonged to the purest Keltic nobility, and wrought among tribes which retained the largest amount of pre-Keltic blood of the aboriginal Finno-Ugrians of Europe. St. Finnian, who may have got his name through descent from that people, is a still earlier figure. He founded at Clonard, in Meath, a monastic school to which Irish and foreign youth flocked by thousands, exactly as under heathendom a famous Druid would collect pupils from far and near. The oak forests. where Druids taught were naturally favorite spots for Christian teachers; hence arose these establishments celebrated for church and monastery - Kildare, the church of the oaks; Durrow, the plain of oaks; Adare, the ford of the oaks; Derry, the oak wood, now Londonderry, where St. Columba founded one of his innumerable churches. St. Finnian, magister sanctorum Hiberniæ, belonged by nature as well as by name to the sturdy, quiet-loving, phlegmatic aboriginals; he was the schoolmaster who attracted pupils to him. St. Columbkille, the most famous of these, showed the more typical Kelt in his love of movement and need of action. When he was not mortifying flesh in his dismal retreat among the fogs and gales of Caledonia he was traveling about to establish churches, browbeat Caledonian kings, and astonish

[graphic]

the

[ocr errors]

SHRINE FOR THE OLD BELL OF ST. PATRICK.

the rude people of the two islands by the penances he inflicted on repentant sinners.

All this earlier epoch of Irish monastic life, from St. Patrick to the destruction of monasteries by the pagan exiles and annual marauders from the Baltic, is most curious in its differences from the later great epoch which lies between the Norman-Welsh invasion and the confiscation of church property, say between 1172 and 1537. The root of difference lies in the fact that the impulse of the earlier epoch was Oriental; that of the later, Italian of the popes.

We are far from knowing yet to what extreme points the Christian, animated by the spirit which drove Greek and Jewish ascetics into the deserts of the Thebaid on the Nile, was driven by his desire to find spiritual rest in the wilds. We know that the archaic bee-hive huts, of which the woodcut of the Fort of the Wolves gives an idea, were chosen as fit habitations by saintly men, just as in Palestine and on the Nile hermits scooped in the rock holes hardly large enough to lie in. We know that when the Norse exiles fled in wrath before the tyranny of their kings to Iceland, such men (Irishmen) had been before them. We can be sure that when the Icelanders settled Greenland, Irish monks accompanied or followed them. That Irishmen, acting under this powerful mental thrust, should have reached the American continent long before the Icelanders would be far from strange, and when we find in old Irish literature a distinct story of such an expedition, and in Welsh history at a later date another account in which a Welsh prince, Madoc, merely repeated the voyage of the Irish saint, there seems no reason why the earlier as well as the later legend should be called fictitious. Doubtless the particulars have been altered to suit the ideas

[graphic]

TOP OF BISHOP'S STAFF,
DUBLIN MUSEUM.

and ignorance of the men
who repeated those stories
through the centuries, but
no one will care to say
that they are impossible.
In another paper I may
bring some evidence to
bear on this point and show
that the Keltic monks of St.
Columbkille's epoch did leave
traces on this continent; though
from the nature of their case,
being men who disdained
wealth and sought by prefer-
ence the rudest habitations, lit-
tle was left by them to show
their former presence. As for
any influence which they might
have had on the native savages,
that could have been only most
superficial, vanishing with the
term of their lives or their stay.
St. Columbkille, Columba of

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][graphic]

"brag," has plenty of Druidic touches. Thus the Kelt on the animal sacred to the sun, the he sang her pæan:

Brigit the good and the virgin,

Brigit our torch and our sun,

Brigit radiant and unseen,

May she lead us to the eternal kingdom!

The Culdees, or servants of God, who were regulars following the rule of an order of monks as well as seculars, or ordinary priests, kept alive some of the customs of the Druids whose enemies and detractors they were. We find them at Clonmicnois, Clondalkin, Devenish, Clones, Pubble, and Scattering, with colonies eastward in Caledonia, at York, and on the isle of Bardsey. St. Columbkille shows by his "Song of Trust" that in the sixth century the heathen magical philosophers were far from unknown, perhaps were still cherished by the people:

There is no sneeze that can tell our fate,
Nor bird upon the branch,

Nor trunk of gnarled oak.
Better is he in whom we trust,
The king who has made us all,

Who will not leave me to-night without refuge.
I adore not the voice of birds,

Nor chance, nor the love of a son or wife,
My Druid is Christ, the son of God!

In this passage note a few of the methods of divination practiced by the Druids which Columbkille rejected for the Christian faith though not able entirely to divest himself of similar but less obvious touches of paganism. Here is the divination from sneezing classic among the Greeks, from the roaring of the oakwood, the song and flight of birds, casting sticks or arrows on the ground and observing their "chance" position. The missal copied by the hand of this intensely living "servant of God" is to be seen in Dublin at the museum, having been placed there by its owner. The Cathach, or box, in which it was preserved formed for centuries the talisman of the O'Donnels when they went to war. The crosier, or bishop's staff, on the opposite page may be earlier work than it seems, but in all probability is not older than the twelfth century, and thus belongs to the second grand epoch of monasteries in Ireland. Its design recalls the patron saint of England, but it is by no means certain that St. George is intended; for the slaughter of a dragon is a subject common to the Middle Ages, and may often be understood as a general symbol of the subjugation of the sensual part of man by the spiritual, or, more historically, of the ruin of paganism by Christianity. Yet the pagan Kelts themselves did not lack the same idea. They in their turn overthrew a lower religion, as the sun overcomes the darkness, as spring gets the better of winter. A curious figure discovered in the Vosges district on the Continent shows VOL. XXXVIII.—17.

horse, beating the life out of one of the gods of the Finno-Ugrians, a monster with serpent feet, who is represented in archaic Irish legend by that Cichol Gri the "footless" out of whom legend afterwards fashioned the hero Cuchulinn.

The greater number of ruins of monasteries in Ireland belong to the second period. The turbulent barons were fond of erecting abbeys and placing convents in beautiful buildings, with one eye to politics, the other to their salvation; and the chiefs of native tribes did the same to the best of their limited ability. Famous for early monasteries were Clonard, Glendalough, and Monasterboice, one of whose three crosses is figured herewith. St. Buithe, whose name has been softened into Boice, was the founder of this settlement, where the lamp of education, almost extinct on the mainland and in Britain, was kept alive. Giraldus de Barry preserved a quaint legend showing that the early monks had strange pets. St. Columba was furtively making a copy of a psalter belonging to Abbot Finnian, contrary to the latter's wish, for copyrights were rigidly enforced at that time, when an eavesdropper applied his eye to a crack in the door to see what the saint was doing. Whereupon a domesticated crane, a bird which is still an ornament of Irish rivers, plucked out the eye of this early detective. The story goes to prove that a love of learning will tempt even a saint to a shabby trick, and also that the very birds of Erin turn on an informer.

Hardly any part of Ireland lacks reminders of the two great monastic periods before the Reformation, but the lovely fertile districts where the Barrow, the Suir, and the Blackwater bring the south-east quarter of the island into easy connection with Wales and France were particularly favored with thriving convents who lived in monasteries that still are exquisite in their ruins-Jerpoint, Cahir, Dunbrody, Selskar, and many others whose very existence must be sought for in the names of parishes and hamlets and the imperfect records of the religious of those periods. It is this favored quarter that the Cistercians have colonized once more in the present century. When they came, bringing back a reminder of the past glories of Catholic supremacy to a peasantry made conservative by the misrule of the upper classes and the inefficient government from Great Britain, an affecting movement was observed. For Trappists vowed to silence and the avoidance of the world it was necessary to fence the apparently sterile wastes on which the settlement was made. The wall round the great monastic domain had to be built. So the peasantry from the slopes of the Maeldown hills and beyond gathered in their villages if not their clans, and, headed by their priests, sought

the breezy uplands above Cappoquin and built that precinct wall within which no womanand indeed no man-is expected to set foot except under condition of presenting good reasons to the warders of the gate. If at Armagh the Protestant church occupies the citadel where Patrick founded a sanctuary; if at Cashel the Catholic archbishop bearing that title can only set foot on the Rock as any other guest may; if at Cork the memory of St. Finbar

is preserved by the big Protestant church,
erected by London architects who hoped to
reproduce a medieval cathedral — these peas-
ants and their pastors could at least delude
themselves with the idea that the foundation
of Mount Melleray was the beginning of a
return of the Church to her greatness before
the Reformation. Who would care to cast a
shadow of doubt on so natural and so pious a
hope?
Charles de Kay.

THE LAMENTABLE BALLAD OF THE BLOODY BROOK. As read at Deerfield Centennial, October 17, 1888.

OME listen to the story of brave Lothrop and his men,

COME

How they fought,

how they died,

When they marched against the redskins in the autumn days, and then

How they fell, in their pride,

By Pocomtuck side.

"Who will go to Deerfield meadows and bring the ripened grain ?

Said old Mosely to his men in array.

"Take the wagons and the horses and bring it back again,

But be sure that no man stray

All the day, on the way."

Then the flower of Essex started, with Lothrop at their head,
Wise and brave,- bold and true.

He had fought the Pequots long ago, and now to Mosely said,
"Be there many, be there few,

I will bring the grain to you."

They gathered all the harvest, and they marched on the way
Through the woods which blazed like fire.

No soldier left the line of march to wander or to stray,
Till the wagons were stalled in the mire,

And the men began to tire.

The wagons have all forded the brook as it flows,

And then the rear-guard stays

To pick the purple grapes that are hanging from the boughs,
When crack! - to their amaze

A hundred firelocks blaze!

Brave Lothrop he lay dying, but as he fell he cried,

"Each man to his tree," said he,

"Let no one yield an inch," and so the soldier died; –

And not a man of all can see

Where the foe can be.

And Philip and his devils pour in their shot so fast,

From behind and before,

That man after man is shot down and breathes his last :
Every man lies dead in his gore

To fight no more,— no more!

Oh, weep, ye maids of Essex, for the lads who have died,—
The flower of Essex they!

The Bloody Brook still ripples by the black mountain-side,
But never shall they come to see the ocean-tide,
And never shall the bridegroom return to his bride

From that dark and cruel day,- cruel day!

[ocr errors]

Edward Everett Hale.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: A HISTORY.'

THE PRESIDENT AND THE DRAFT-VALLAN DIGHAM-THE PEACE PARTY AT THE POLLS.

BY JOHN G. NICOLAY AND JOHN HAY, PRIVATE SECRETARIES TO THE PRESIDENT.

THE PRESIDENT AND THE DRAFT.

URING the entire summer and autumn of 1863, Governor Seymour and his friends made the proceedings of the Government in relation to the enrollment law the object of special and vehement attack. On the 17th of October the President made a call for 300,000 volunteers, and at the same time ordered that the draft should be made for all deficiencies which might exist on the 5th of January following, on the quotas assigned to districts by the War Department.3 Shortly after this the Democratic State committee issued a circular making the military administration of the Government, and especially the law calling for troops, the object of violent attack, greatly exaggerating the demands of the Government, claiming that no credits would be allowed for those who had paid commutation, and basing these charges upon a pretended proclamation of the 27th of October which had never been issued. The President, with the painstaking care which distinguished him, prepared with his own hand the following contradiction of this misleading circular: 4

The Provost-Marshal General has issued no proclamation at all. He has, in no form, announced anything recently in regard to troops in New York, except in his letter to Governor Seymour of October 21, which has been published in the newspapers of that State. It has not been announced nor decided in any form by the Provost-Marshal General, or any one else in authority of the Government, that every citizen who has paid his three hundred dollars' commutation is liable to be immediately drafted again, or that towns that have just raised the money to pay their quotas will have again to be subject to similar taxation or suffer the operation of the new conscription, nor is it probable that the like of this ever will be announced or decided.

The circular we have referred to went on to claim that the State had been thoroughly canvassed, and that the victory of the Demo

2 See also THE CENTURY MAGAZINE for last month.-EDitor.

3 General J. B. Fry, "New York and the Conscription of 1863,” p. 49.

cratic ticket was assured. But the result showed that the Democratic leaders were as far wrong in their prophecy as in their history. The Republican State ticket was elected by a majority of 30,000 over the Democratic, and the principal State of the Union decided in favor of the President the vehement controversy which had raged all the year between Seymour and Lincolna verdict which was repeated in the following year when Governor Seymour was a candidate for reëlection.

In the early part of December the President, anxious in every way to do justice and to satisfy, if possible, the claims of Governor Seymour, consented to the appointment of a commission to inquire into the whole subject of the enrollment in New York. The principal member of the commission, chosen by Governor Seymour, was William F. Allen, his intimate friend and an ardent Democrat in politics; of the other members, General Love of Indiana was also a Democrat; Chauncey Smith of Massachusetts was a lawyer, not prominently identified with either political party. Judge Allen clearly dominated the commission, and they agreed with him in condemning the principle on which the enrollment and the draft were conducted. They reported that, instead of numbering the men of a given district capable of bearing arms and making that number the basis of the draft, which was the course the enrolling officers, in direct obedience to the law of Congress, had pursued,―the quotas should be adjusted upon the basis of proportion to the entire population. They did not indorse the injurious attacks made by the governor upon the enrolling officers and agents, but distinctly stated that their fidelity and integrity were unimpeached. The essential point of their report was simply that the quota should be in proportion to the total population of the district, and not according to the number of valid men to be found in it. When the President required from the Provost-Marshal General his opinion upon the report, General Fry made this reasonable criticism:

The commission has evidently been absorbed by the conviction that the raising of men is, and will necessarily continue to be, equivalent to levying special taxes and raising money, and they would therefore require the same proceeds, under the en1 Copyright by J. G. Nicolay and John Hay, 1886. All rights reserved.

4 Dated, Executive Mansion, Washington, Oct. 31, 1863. MS.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »