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beautiful Italian ladies) its bridle was held by two crowned heads, those of Naples and of Hungary. But this universal gladness, and all the fond speculations on the virtue of the Pope, and on the calm it was to diffuse from the Alps to the Faro, were soon found fallacious. His only considerable actions were both of eminent detriment to his
country the creation of la Cardinals, almost
all Frenchmen, in order to flatter Charles II of Naples; and a law in favour of a Pope's abdicating, which had always been held impossible. The natural consequence of the former not long after was the removal of the Papal court to Avignon: and as to the latter, though not calculated indeed to give often rise to abuse, in Celestine's case it did; for he availed himself of it immediately, and afteronly five months Pontificate set out to return to his hermitage on the thirteenth of December, t2<)4; leaving the Church as a defenceless prey to the
rapacity of his importunate successor to the
Cardinal whom Dante had feared so much, and whom writers agree in depicting as a monster of avarice and pride; so that even the devout Imolese says of him: 'and to avow the truth he was a magnanimous sinner (0.' This abdication being however considered of most dubious orthodoxy, the Cardinal in question,(Caetan ) who took the title
(i) Et de rei veritate fuit raagnaninus peccator. Com. ap Mur. Antiq. Ital. Vol i. p. ioSy.
of Boniface VIII, was for some time generally considered an antipope. Most men disapproved of the abdication on the score of its being an innovation; and even those who attributed infallibility to the Popes in other respects, denied it to them here. But to such as had an opportunity of looking behind the scenes, the abdication was invalid on
a stronger plea the fraud by which it had been
obtained . From the moment of Celestine's accession, Cardinal Caetan attached himself to his person; scarcely leaving him for an instant either by
night or day for he even slept in the same
chamber (0 he endeavoured by every means
to play upon the Pontiffs infirmities; so that he at last obtained an entire ascendancy over his weak understanding, and employed it in a way to render the holy Father ridiculous as well as miserable . By his advice Charles II seems to have succeeded in his request for twelve new Cardinals. After which, the purpled conspirator, seeing his companions repentant for their choice, undertook to engage Celestine to abdicate, if they promised to elect whomsoever he, the Cardinal, should
point out a proposition that was universally
agreed to. Nor content with this, he waited upon Charles II one night, and, fearing he might oppose his election , said to him: "Sire, your Pope
(i) . . . hahitando di di e di notte con lui, perche il Pupa si fidava raolto di lui. Bu'ti. Caraento • Bib. Rice. M. S. Cod. i00ft.
Celesline has both the will and the power to serve you, but does not know how; put me in his place and, besides the will and the power, I'll know how to be useful to you. (0 " The Simonical bargain was struck; and the twelve new-made Cardinals were to give him their votes . The probability is that this entire plan was in Caetan's head even previous to the nomination of Morrone. There now only remained to prevail on him to abdicate. From his installation, his timidity and scruples had been sedulously fomented by the wily Cardinal; who , far from engaging him to preside in the Consistory, encouraged him to shut himself up for the most part of every day in a cell which he had built in the Palace in resemblance of his hermitage on the mountain (a); as if the only way to save his soul was to retire from the Court, instead of labouring to reform it. The Cardinal, with the most affected tenderness and piety, never ceased intreating him to reflect on his weakness and inexperience, and how impossible it were for his slight shoulders to bear up with the public burthens , or for such a feeble hand to curb the Simony and
all the inordinate vices of the sacred College;
and not only unvealing to him the foibles, perhaps crimes, of his ecclesiastical courtiers, but even
(i) Gio. Villani. Lib. viu. Cap. (I. — Sismondi. Hist. des Repobliqucs Ital. vol. It. p. 79.
(a) . . . arctam et eremeticam ramerulam . . . . Benvenuti Im. Com. ap. Mur. Autiq. Ital. T. i. p- io33. ttlHTO nr..
inventing otliers, and painting thena in the most horrific colours ,and, after inveighing against the odious cares of business, recalling to his mind the tranquillity and innocence of his eremitical life , he at last cajoled the trembling Pontiff into the issuing of the Bull of abdication. Nor were moral
considerations alone employed as if salvatiou
were incompatible with the guidance of a realm whether spiritual or temporal; the chrouicles of the time enumerate the facetious mechanical contrivances to which his Eminence had recourse in order to dupe his High-priest and sovereign ('). This he did: and, in a full meeting of Cardinals, Celesline taking the Papal crown from his head, and laying down the mantle , solemnly abdicated his high station . Scarcely had the mantle left his hand, when Cardinal Caetan took it up; and, reminding the by-standers of their promise, he asked whether they remained faithful to it, and would elect that man Pope on whom he should put the mantle? They replied in the affirmative;
(i) Amongst others was an apparition of pretended angels, while his Eminence roared through a speaking-trumpet' abdicate! Celestine, abdicate!' — as if it was a voice from heaven . Ginguene ( Hist. Litt. d'halie . Vol. a. p. ao5 ) cites the Pecorone (Gior. XIII Nov. a.) for this, not seeming aware that it was matter of real history, before it was borrowed by novellists. As soon as the tale was bruited, the whole clergy of Naples went in a body to conjure his Holiness not to abdicate; but their voice was considered less impressive than one directly from Paradise. Mr. Cary it inexact: villa does not mean " base fear" here, but baseness of soul in general; not menaces, but craft was employed; it was the head rather than heart of Celestine that failed.
some perhaps inveigled by false , and private promises in favour of themselves, and others prepared to give their votes as he should decide, in obedience to their patron, Charles II; but none surely suspecting what was to succeed, and that one hitherto known for the most fawning pretences to religion and humility should all at once assume a sacrilegious boldness that has been seldom equalled. For having made them swear to maintain their promise, and registered their oaths, and with notarial precision having obtained from each such security as rendered them irrevocable fatte le cautele he rose from his usual
bending posture, and lifting up those lids which had for so many years half covered his down-cast eyes, (then mild as a novice's, but now flashing with fire, that indicated the daringynd abysses of an unfathomable ambition) he flung the mantle of supremacy over his own shoulders, grasped eagerly at the Tiara, put it on his elevated brow, and striding to the chair of S. Peter, while even his feeble voice was transformed into one of loud command , thrust forth his toe as he sat down, and called upon the thunder-stricken conclave to kneel to their Lord and master, the maker and remover of kings, the chief of Christendom and the world (').
(i) Bnti. Comento. Bib. Rice. M. S. Cod. too6.~Sisniondi appears not have known these particulars; and refers Boniface's election entirely to the influence of Charles II. This influence were in fact quite sufficient of itself; but the story of the mantle it too characteristic hoth of the man and the concla?e not to gite it