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French people is of sear and hatred. The and even enjoined him to return to his pope himself I have avoided so far. I have duties. written to the two cardinals of Pisa and Pavia to explain the injury which will ensue to the
The first campaign was thus over, and Court of Rome if the Constitutions are up- the king was so far victorious. The legheld. I am not sanguine, however. 'Many atine powers having arrived, the Constithings make against us, few in our favor.
tutions were immediately acted upon. Great men will come over here with money to spend, quam nunquam Roma contempsit (which
The number of criminals among the Rome never despised). The pope himself has clergy happened to be unusually large. always been against us in this cause, and They were degraded, sent to trial, and throws in our teeth that after all which Pope suffered in the usual way by death or Adrian did for the see of Canterbury you are mutilation. Then,' say Becket's dehunger.* You write that if I cannot succeed spairing biographers,
the otherwise I may promise two hundred marks. mournful spectacle of priests and deaThe other side will give down three or four cons who had committed murder, manhundred sooner than be defeated, and I will slaughter,theft
, robbery, and other crimes, answer for the Romans that they will prefer carried in carts belore the king's conthe larger sum in hand from the king to the smaller in promise from you. It is true we
missioners and punished as if they had are contending for the liberties of the Church, been ordinary men.' The archbishop but your motive, it will be said, is not the clamored, threatened, and, as far as his Church's welfare, but your own ambition, They will propose (I have already heard a power went, interfered. The king was whisper of it) that the pope shall cross to
firm. He had sworn at his coronation, England in person to crown the young king he said, to do justice in the realm, and and take your place at Canterbury for a while. there were no greater villains in it than If the Bishop of Lisieux sees the pope, he many of the clergy.t
That bishops will do mischief. I know the nature of him.I should take public offenders out of cus
Though the archbishop was convuls- tody, absolve them, and let them go, was ing the realm for the sacred right of ap
not to be borne. It was against law, peals to Rome, it is plain from this letter against usage, against reason. It could that he was aware of the motives by not be. The laity were generally of the which the papal decisions were governed, king's opinion. Of the bishops some and that he was perfectly ready to ad- four or five agreed privately with Becket, dress himself to them. Unfortunately but dared not avow their opinions. The his resources were limited, and John of archbishop perceived that the game was Salisbury's misgivings were confirmed. lost unless he could himself see the pope The extraordinary legatine powers were
and speak to him. He attempted to conceded not to the Archbishop of York steal over from Sandwich, but the boat-it was held inexpedient to set York
men recognised him midway across the above Canterbury—but to the king him channel and brought him back. seif. To Becket the pope wrote with some irony on hearing that he had sus- The pope had sent legatine powers pended himself. He trusted the arch- to the king, and the king had acted upon bishop was not creating needless scandal. them; but something was still wanting The promise to the king had been given for general satisfaction. He had been with good intentions, and could not required to confirm the Constitutions by therefore be a serious sin. If there was
a bull. He had hesitated to do it, and anything further on his conscience (did put off his answer. At length he sent the pope suspect that the promise had the Archbishop of Rouen to England to been dishonest ?), he might confess it to endeavor to compromise matters. The any discreet priest. He (the pope)
formal consent of the Church was still meanwhile absolved him, and advised wanting, and in the absence of it persons
who agreed with the king in principle * Cujus mater apud vos algore torquetur
were uneasy at the possible consequences. et inedia + Sed scribitis, si alia via non patuerit,
* Sed et ordinatorum inordinati mores promittamus ducentas marcas. At certe pars
inter regem et archiepiscopum auxere mali. adversa antequam frustretur trecentas dabit tiam, qui solito abundantius per idem tempus aut quadringentas.'
apparebant, publicis irretiti criminibus. John of Salisbury to Becket (abridged). Materials &c. vol. ii. p. 385. Letters, vol. i. p. 187.
+ 'In omni scelere et hagitio nequiores.'
The clergy might be wicked, but they Other charges lay thick, ready to be prowere magicians notwithstanding, and
He was informed officially that only the chief magician could make it he would be required to explain the safe to deal with them. In the autumn Chancery accounts, and answer for the of 1164 the king once more summoned money which he had applied to his own a great council to meet him at North- purposes. His proud temper was chafed ampton Castle.
The attendance was to the quick, and he turned sick with vast. Every peer and prelate not disa- anger. His admirers see only in these bled was present, all feeling the great- demands the sinister action of a dishonness of the occasion. Castle, town, and est tyranny. Oblique accusations, it is monasteries were thronged to overflow- said, were raised against him, either to ing. Becket only had hesitated to af- make him bend or to destroy his characpear. His attempt to escape to the con ter. The question is rather whether his tinent was constructive treason.
It was conduct admitted of explanation. If he more than' treason. It was a violation had been unjust as a judge, if he had of a distinct promise which he had given been unscrupulous as a high officer of to the king. * The storm which he had state, such faults had no unimportant raised had unloosed the tongues of those bearing on his present attitude. He who had to complain of his ill-usage of would have done wisely to clear himself them either in his archbishop's court or if he could; it is probable that he could in the days when he was chancellor. not. He refused to answer, and he shelThe accounts had been looked into, and tered himself behind the release which vast sums were found to have been re he had received at his election. His ceived by him of which no explanation refusal was not allowed ; a second sumhad been given. Who was this man, mons the next day found him in his bed, that he should throw the country into
which he said that he was too ill to confusion, in the teeth of the bishops, in leave. This was on a Saturday. A resthe teeth (as it seemed) of the pope, in pite was allowed him till the following the teeth of his own oath given solemnly Monday. On Monday the answer was to the king at Woodstock? The Bishop the same. Messenger after messenger of London, in a letter to Becket, charged brought back word that the archbishop him with having directly intended to was unable to move. The excuse might commit perjury. The first object of be true-perhaps partially it was true. the Northampton council was to inquire The king sent two great peers to ascerinto his conduct, and he had good rea- tain, and in his choice of persons he son to be alarmed at the probable conse gave a conclusive answer to the accusaquences. He dared not, however, diso- tion of desiring to deal unfairly with bey a peremptory summons.
Becket; one was Reginald, Earl of attended by a large force of armed Cornwall, the king's uncle, who as long knights, and was entertained at the mon as Becket lived was the best friend that astery of St. Andrews. To anticipate he had at the court; the other was the inquiry into his attempted flight, he ap- remarkable Robert, Earl of Leicester,
, plied for permission on the day of his named Bossu (the Hunchback). This arrival to go to France to visit the pope. Robert was a monk of Leicester Abbey, The king told him that he could not though he had a dispensation to remain leave the realm until he had answered at the court, and so bitter a Papist was for a decree which had been given in his he that when the schismatic Archbishop court. The case was referred to the as of Cologne came afterwards to London seinbled peers, and he was condemned he publicly insulted him and tore down and fined. It was a bad augury for him. the altar at which he had said mass.
Such envoys would not have been select* Foliot to Becket, Giles, vol. ii. p. 387.
ed with a sinister purpose. They found + Foliot says that at Clarendon Becket said that the archbishop could attend if he to the bishops, 'It is the Lord's will I should wished, and they warned him of the danperjure myself. For the present I submit and incur perjury, to repent of it, however, as I best may' (Giles, vol. i. p. 381.) Foliot was * 'Propter iram et indignationem quam in reminding Becket of what passed on that oc animo conceperat decidit in gravem ægritudi. casion.
nem.'-Hoveden, vol. i. p. 225.
ger of trying the king too far. He in a deliberative assembly was as if a pleaded for one more day. On the baron had entered the council in arms. Tuesday morning he undertook to be The mass of St. Stephen had been heard present.
of, and in the peculiar temper of men's His knights, whose first allegiance was minds was regarded as a magical incanto the Crown, had withdrawn from the tation.* The Bishop of Hereford admonastery, not daring or not choosing vanced and offered to carry the cross for to stand by a prelate who appeared to be him. Foliot, Bishop of London (filius defying his sovereign. Their place had hujus sæculi,' a son of this world'), said been taken by a swarm of mendicants, that if he came thus armed into the court such as the archbishop had gathered the king would draw a sharper sword, about him at Canterbury. He prepared and he would see then what his arms for the scene in which he was to play a would avail him. Seeing him still obstipart with the art of which he was so ac nate, Foliot tried to force the cross out complished a master. He professed to of his hands. The Archbishop of York expect to be killed. He rose early. added his persuasions; but the ArchSome of the bishops came to see and bishop of York peculiarly irritated Beckremonstrate with him : they could not et, and was silenced by a violent answer, move his resolution, and they retired. 'Fool thou hast ever been,' said the Left to himself, he said the mass of St. Bishop of London, and from thy folly I Stephen in which were the words : 'The see plainly thou wilt not depart. Cries kings of the earth stood up, and the rul- burst out on all sides. 'Fly?' some one ers took counsel together against the whispered in the archbishop's ear ; 'fly, Lord and against his anointed.' He or you are a dead man.' The Bishop of then put on
a black stole and cap, Exeter came in at the moment, and exmounted his palfrey, and, followed by a claimed that unless the archbishop gave few monks and surrounded by his guard way they would all be murdered. Becket of beggars, rode at a foot's pace to the never showed to more advantage than castle, preceded by his cross-bearer. in moments of personal danger. To the
The royal castle of Northampton was Bishop of Exeter he gave a sharp ana feudal palace of the usual form. A swer, telling him that he savored not the massive gateway led into a quadrangle; things of God. But he collected himacross the quadrangle was the entrance self. He saw that he was alone. He of the great hall, and at the upper end stood up, he appealed to the pope, of the hall doors opened into spacious charged the bishops on peril of their chambers beyond. The archbishop souls to excommunicate any one who alighted at the gate, himself took his dared to lay hands on him, and moved as cross in his right hand, and, followed by if he intended to withdraw. The Bishop a small train, passed through the quad- of Winchester bade him resign the archrangle, and passed up the hall, 'looking bishopric. With an elaborate oath (cum like the lion-man of the prophet's vi- interminabili juratione) he swore that he sion.' The king and the barons were would not resign. The Bishop of Chiin one chamber, the bishops in another. chester then said : 'As our primate we 'I he archbishop was going in this atti- were bound to obey you, but you are our tude into the king's presence, that the primate no longer; you have broken court might see the person on whom they your oath. You swore allegiance to the dared to sit in judgment; but certain king, and you subvert the common law * Templars' warned him to beware. He of the realm. We too appeal to the entered among his brethren, and moved pope. To his presence summon through them to a chair at the upper end you.' 'I hear what you say,' was all the of the room.
answer which Becket deigned to return. He still held his cross. The action The doors from the adjoining chamber was unusual ; the cross was the spiritual were now flung open. The old Earl of sword, and to bear it thus conspicuously Cornwall, the hunchback Leicester, and
* It was said to have been done per artem *· Assumens faciem hominis, faciem leonis, magicam et in contemplu regis. (Hoveden.) propheticis illis animalibus a prophetâ de He had the eucharist concealed under his scriptis simillimus.'--Herbert of Bosham. dress.
a number of barons entered. 'My lord,' Broc, one of the Canterbury knights. said the Earl of Leicester to the arch- Like a bold animal at bay, Becket turned bishop, 'the king requires you to come sharply on these two. He called Count to his presence and answer to certain Hamelin a bastard boy. He reminded things which will then be alleged against De Broc of some near kinsman of his you, as you promised yesterday to do.' who had been hanged. The cries rose
My lord ears,' said Becket,' thou know into a roar; sticks and knots of straw est how long and loyally I served the were flung at him. Another rash word, king in his worldly affairs. For that and he might have been torn in pieces. cause it pleased him to promote me to Some high official hearing the noise came the office which now I hold. I did not in and conducted him safely to the door. desire this office; I knew my infirmities. In the quadrangle he found his servWhen I consented it was for the sake of ants waiting with his palfrey. The great the king alone. When I was elected I gate was locked, but the key was hanging was formally acquitted of my responsi- on the wall; one of them took it and bilities for all that I had done as chan- opened the gate, the porters looking on, cellor. Therefore I am not bound to but not interfering. Once outside he was answer, and I will not answer.'
received with a cheer of delight from the The earls carried back the reply. The crowd, and with a mob of people about peers by a swift vote declared that the him he made his way back to the monasarchbishop must be arrested and placed tery. The king had not intended to under guard.
arrest him, but he could not know it, and The earls re-entered, and Leicester he was undoubtedly in danger from one approached him and began slowly and or other of the angry men with whom reluctantly to announce the sentence. the town was crowded. He prepared ' Nay,' said Becket, lifting his tall mea- for immediate flight. A bed was made gre figure to its haughtiest height, do for him in the chapel behind the altar. thou first listen to me. The child may
The child may After a hasty supper with a party of begnot judge his father. The king may not gars whom he had introduced into the judge me, nor may you judge me. I house, he lay down for a few hours of will be judged under God by the pope rest. At two in the morning, in a storm alone, to whom in your presence I ap- of wind and rain, he stole away disguised peal. I forbid you under anathema to with two of the brethren. He reached pronounce your sentence. And you, Lincoln soon after daybreak, and from my brethren,' he said, turning to the Lincoln, going by cross paths, and slipbishops, 'since you will obey man rather ping from hiding-place to hiding-place, than God, I call you too before the same he made his way in a fortnight to a farm judgment-seat. Under the protection of of his own at Eastry, near Sandwich, the Apostolic See, I depart hence.' He was not pursued. It was no sooner
No hand was raised to stop him. He known that he was gone from Northampswept through the chamber and Aung ton than a proclamation was sent through open the door of the hall. He stumbled the country forbidding every man under on the threshold, and had almost fallen, pain of death to meddle with him. The but recovered himself. The October king had determined to allow the appeal, evening was growing into twilight. The and once more to place the whole queshall was thronged with the retinues of tion in the pope's hands. The Earl of the king and the barons. Dinner was Arundel with a dozen peers and bishops over. The floor was littered with rushes was despatched at once to Sens to exand fragments of rolls and broken meat. plain what had happened, and to request Draughts of ale had not been wanting, Alexander to send legates to England to and young knights, pages, and retainers investigate the quarrel and to end it. were either lounging on the benches or The archbishop, could he have consented talking in eager and excited groups. A3 to be quiet, might have remained unmoBecket appeared among them, fierce lested at Canterbury till the result could voices were heard crying Traitor! trai- be ascertained. But he knew too well tor! Stop the traitor!' Among the
Among the the forces which would be at work in the loudest were Count Hamelin, the king's papal court to wait for its verdict. His illegitimate brother, and Sir Ranulf de confidence was only in himself. Could
he see the pope in person, he thought which was really treasonable, and underthat he could influence him. He was taking that the king would forgive him sure of the friendship of Lewis of France, if he would go back at once. Entreaties who was meditating a fresh quarrel with and warnings were alike thrown away. Henry, and would welcome his support. He remained and despatched a letter to His own spiritual weapons would be as the pope saying briefly that he had foleffective across the Channel as if used in lowed the example of his holiness in reEngland, while he would himself be in sisting the encroachments of princes; personal security. One dark night he and had fled from his country. He had went down with his two companions into been called to answer before the king as Sandwich, and in an open boat crossed if he had been a mere layman. The safely to Gravelines. At St. Omer he fell bishops, who ought to have stood by in with his old friend Chief Justice de him, had behaved like cowards. If he Luci, who was returning from a mission was not sustained by his holiness, the to the court of France. De Luci urged Church would be ruined, and he would him to return to England and wait for himself be doubly confounded.- The the pope's decision, warning him of the Nineteenth Century. consequences of persisting in a course
We poets, when suddenly summoned away
From the world's petty sphere to the region of rhyme, The importunate call at a moment obey,
To indulge in the playful or grasp the sublime. I've indited impromptus again and again,
While bewildered-it matters not how or by whom ; I can write at my club, on the boat, in a train ;
But I never can write with a wasp in the room.
'Tis twilight. The suburbs are tranquil and calm
(And my own is as tranquil and calm as the rest), So I sit by my lattice, inhaling the balm
That is borne on the zephyr-methinks from the west. I am far from the haunts and the passions of men,
Among birds in high feather and roses in bloom ;What an idyll to-night could I give to my pen !
But I never could write with a wasp in the room.
From Flora's dominion, ah! why should he roam,
To invade—and unbidden-Apollo's domain ? I opine that his object in tracking me home
Is to drive the gay anapæsts out of my brain. Fly away, pretty guest, fly away from the shade!
'Tis philosophers only that bask in the gloom. I have money to earn, there is verse to be made ;
And I never can write with a wasp in the room.
Not gone? Very well, then; 'tis war to the knife.
I appeal to the ultima ratio of kings.
Cotton handkerchiefs knotted are dangerous things. If that weapon should fail, there are others in store :
I've a poker, a shovel, some tongs, and a broom. I am eager for work, as I told you before ;
And I never can write with a wasp in the room.