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chyrche."* To be sure the authority of the Golden Legend, from which this has been quoted, is not of the very highest order; but then we have a similar tale, with even more minuteness of circumstance, related by Damian, the Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia. He tells us how a certain native of Rodez, or Rhodez,† returning from Jerusalem, sought shelter in a storm at an island or rock on the Sicilian coast, where he fell in with a holy hermit. In the course of their conversation, the latter enquired if he knew Odilo, the Abbot of Clugny? To this the guest answered that he knew him well, and demanding in his turn the motive for such a question, his host said, that in the country close by was the habitation of the damned; but that he often heard the fiends howling and complaining that the souls were snatched away from them by alms and the prayers of holy men; above all, the Abbot of Clugny and his monks were particularly active in defrauding them of their prey; wherefore," continued the hermit, "I solemnly adjure you to carry these tidings to the Abbot, and entreat him to persist in the good work." On his return home, the man obeyed this injunction; and Saint Odilo,-for in good time he was sainted-appointed the festival of All Souls, which was afterwards generally adopted by the church.‡
* GOLDEN LEGEND.
Commemoration of All Souls, fol. 200.
+ Rhodez is an inland town in the south of France, on an eminence near the Aveyron. It was the capital of the small Province of Rovergue, as it was formerly called, but which is now known as the Department of the Aveyron. It is the See of a Bishop.
SANCTI PETRI DAMIANI OPERA, p. 198, folio. Parisiis, 1738.Damian, who was born of poor parents at Ravenna, somewhere about the year 988, has left us two large folios, replete with the miraculous, and yet useful for the insight it affords us into the ecclesiastical history of the eleventh century. I can not say much in favour of his prose Latin; but his poetry, considering it only as monkish rhyme, is graceful and full of pleasing images. The following specimen from his
guest in his
to the "On
This idea of Etna and Vesuvius being a vomitory of hell was at one time a received article of Christian faith;
Gloria Paradisi may enable the reader to judge how far this opinion is
"Hyems horrens, æstas torrens,
Flos purpureus rosarum
indeed their eruptions were supposed always to take place upon the death of any rich sinner, an example of
Hinc perenne tenent esse,
Inde virent, vigent, florent;
Nam et pectoris arcana
Unum volunt, unum nolunt,
Unitas est mentium."
Preces et Carmina, tom. iv. p. 31.
The following version may perhaps help the unclassical reader to some idea of the original. In the last lines I have attempted to preserve the odd play upon words that seems to have so much delighted the Cardinal.
Summer's heats, and winter's tempests,
There no change can ever bring;
Blooms for aye in constant spring;
Ever there the crocus blushes
There the meads are ever verdant,
There the moon itself ne'er changes,
There the sun is ever bright;
And the Lamb of that blest city
Is the still-unfading light.
Night and time are never known there,
which occurred upon the decease of the Grand Master of the Knights of St. John,* as we learn from the authority just quoted.
There the holy host of martyrs
Shine in glory like the sun;
And, with wreaths of triumph circled,
Joy in their labours done;
In a state of bliss reposing,
Still beginning, never closing.
Stript of all that made them mortal,
They are spirits free above;
Of eternal Truth and Love;
Hence they drink life's waters glowing,
Hence with them life is unchanging,
Sickness there can not come near them,
They rejoice in life immortal,
What with them could pass is past;
And corruption is corrupted,
Death with them is dead at last.
Now they know the great All-knower,
Bound in love to one another,
Each to each is now a brother.
*“Quo mortuo mons Vesuvius, unde videlicet gehenna frequenter eructat, in flammas erupit, ut liquido probaretur quia fænum, quod a dæmonibus parabatur, nil aliud fuit nisi ignis trucis incendii, qui
On this day was "the custom of Soul-Mass-Cakes, which are a kind of oat-cakes, that some of the richer sort of persons in Lancashire and Herefordshire (among the Papists there) use still to give the poor on this day; and they in retribution of their charity hold themselves obliged to say this old couplet :
God have your soul,
Bones and all."*
Archbishop Kennett speaks of a somewhat similar custom as existing in Shropshire. He says "in Shropshire the custom now remains that on All-Souls-Day, November 2, they set on a board a high heap of small cakes, which they call SOUL-CAKES, of which they offer one to every person, who comes to the house that day; and there is an old rhyme, which seems to have been sung by the family and guests.
A soul-cake, a soul-cake;
Have mercy on all Christian souls for a soul-cake.t
The same custom is mentioned, and with very little
pravis ac reprobis hominibus debebatur. Nam quandocumque in illis partibus reprobus dives moritur, ignis erumpere de prædicto mōte videtur, tantaque sulphureæ resinæ congeries ex ipso Vesuvio protinus fluit, ut torrentem faciat, atque decurrente impetu in mare descedat." P. DAMIANI EPISTOLE. Epist. IX. p. 31. 4to. Parisiis. 1610.-But the whole of this epistle, which is addressed to no less a person than Pope Nicolas II, is full of such marvels as could hardly be believed except upon the authority of a Cardinal-Bishop, the favourite of Popes and Princes, who was not unfrequently dragged from his beloved solitude to interfere in their worldly arrangements, and to fulfil the high duties of a Cardinal legate, and who appears to have had in his hands the government of the whole Christian church. See his life in the HISTOIRE GENERALE DES AUTEURS SACRES ET ECCLESIASTIQUES, ch. xxxiii. p. 512. tome 20. 4to. Paris, 1757.
* FESTA ANGLO-ROMANA, p. 109.
KENNETT'S COLLECTIONS. MS. Bibl. Lansdown. No. 1039. vol. 105, page 12.