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sionally, even to the monastery. It is not probable that any but very lax abbots or abbesses would have sanctioned their performances in monasteries ; yet in the middle of the eighth century we know from authentic records, that the religious were not averse to being amused by “the sportive arts of poets, musicians, harpers, and buffoons." If the gleemen were popular with the laity and lower orders of the clergy, they were the reverse with the bishops and higher ecclesiastics, who regarded them as children of the devil, mockers and vagabonds, and, indeed, thought no name too bad for them. They are rarely spoken of, in ecclesiastical chronicles, as scops or gleeman, but as “ ale-poets," “ tumblers," jesters," " players,” and “mimics.”

The ale-house, however, was the place that the wandering gleeman most liked, and in which he was most appreciated. Here, he had to suit his entertainment to the vulgar taste of boors, utterly incompetent to enjoy anything beyond the most palpable and coarsest of fun :-“Media inter carmina poscunt aut ursam aut pugiles,”—something rougher than song and music.

But the Anglo-Saxons, like all of their confrères of the Teutonic race, were fond of music and song, and at their convivial gatherings, even when the gleeman was not present, it was customary to pass the glee.

beam, and for each guest in turn to do his share towards the entertainment of his fellows. This, which seems to have been a universal custom among the Anglo-Saxon ceorls at their feasts, is brought out very distinctly in Beda's account of the “Coming" of Cædmon as we shall subsequently see.

Another phase of Anglo-Saxon life, which it is most important to understand in this connection, is the monastic system then in vogue among the religious. It was the early days of Christianity in England, when the dogmas of the Church were held with the tenacity of a cloudless faith, and when the dazzling vista of the future life had lost none of its glamour under the disenchanting touch of rationalism. It was an age when the country was young and poetic; when kings and nobles thought to atone for the vices and blood-stains of a life-time by making large bequests to the Church; and when the faithful believed in the possibility of chastity and a pure heart. The religious and social conditions of the age rendered possible the existence of double monasteries, as they have been styled, i. e., retreats for the religious of both sexes; and these establishments, not infrequently, were presided over by an abbess of royal or noble birth. The early English monastery was the centre of mission work, the centre of educational work, and the centre of all the medical and

relief work for miles around. Moreover, in these early days, when pilgrims on foot or on palfrey were constantly passing from one part of the country to another on their way to some famous shrine; or, when some regal or other party was making a “progression" through the country, it often happened that the monastery became the place of lodgment, (hotel, hospice, hospital), where travellers were always welcome, and entertained in good old Catholic style, with all the hospitality of the monastery. The double monastery was virtually a necessity of the age, and for many a long year was held in the highest estimation by our early Anglo-Saxon ancestors. The most distinguished of the Saxon female saints, and many of the most eminent prelates of that age, were educated in these establishments. The strictest precautions were enforced to keep the Sisters within the spacious precincts of their convent, and to prevent any man from entering within their enclosure, unless it were on some exceptional occasion; and then, only with the permission of the abbess, and in the presence of witnesses. Of this strict discipline, as it was observed at the double monastery at Wimborne, we have a minute account by a contemporary, Ralph of Fulda, in his life of St. Lioba, written in the beginning of the eighth century. He tell us : There were two monasteries at Wim

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borne, formerly erected by the kings of the country, surrounded by strong and lofty walls, and endowed with competent revenues. Of these, one was designed for the clergy, the other for females ; but neither, (for such was the law of their foundation), was ever entered by any person of the other sex. No woman could obtain permission to come into the monastery of the men; nor any of the men to come into the convent of the women, with the exception of the priests, who entered to celebrate Mass and withdrew the moment the service was over. female, desirous of quitting the world, asked to be admitted among the sisterhood, she could obtain her request, be she who she might, on this condition only, that she should never seek to go out, unless it were on some extraordinary occasion, which might seem to justify such indulgence. Even the abbess herself, if it were necessary that she should receive advice or give orders, spoke to men through a window; and so desirous was she to remove all opportunity of conversation between the Sisters and persons of the other sex, that she refused entrance into the convent, not only to laymen and clergymen, but even to the bishops themselves."

It is unquestionable that, at first, both clerics and nuns who had dedicated themselves solely to the service of God bore, as a rule, the highest reputa

tion for chastity, self-denial, charity, and devotion ; but in the course of time abuses crept in, and a system which, originally, was of the greatest service to the people at large, became later, the cause of gross scandal to the Church. The besetting sin of the Anglo-Saxon men was excessive drinking; although it is well to remember, in using this expression, that the common beverages of the Anglo-Saxon, the mead, the ale, and the wine were innocent compared with the strong alcoholic beverages of to-day. The besetting sin of the Anglo-Saxon women was, naturally, an excessive love of dress and admiration, and these national failings intruded themselves, at length, within the sacred enclosures of the monastery.

By the Council of Cloveshoe (747) all inmates of monasteries, both clerics and monks, were forbidden to drink to excess themselves, or to encourage such excess in others; they were to be content with sober cheer, and to exclude from their religious houses, delicate meats and coarse, unseemly amusements; to devote their cells to silence, study, and prayer, and never to allow them to become the resort of poets, gleemen, harpers, and buffoons, [poetarum, citharistarum, musicorum, et scurrarum]. With respect to convents of nuns, it was enacted that more attention should be paid to study and prayer, and less to the

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