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"Welcome, O May, yet once again we greet
So alway praise we her, the Holy Mother, Who prays to God that He shall aid us ever Agaiust our f ics, and to us ever listen.
•• Welcome, O May, loyally art thou welcome! So alwav praise w« her, the Mother of kind
Mother who ever on us taketh pity,
"Welcome, 0 May ! welcome, 0 month well
So let us ever pray »nd offer praises
To her who ceases not for us, for sinners,
To pray to God that we from woes be guarded.
"Welcome, 0 May, 0 joyous May 8nd stain
So will we ever pray to her who gaineth Grace from her Son for us, and gives each
morning Force that by us the Moors from Spain be
"Welcome, 0 May, of bread and wine the
Pray then to her, for in her arms, an infant, She bore the Lord! She points us on our
journey, The journey that to her will bear as quickly!"
There is little depth or subtilty of thought in this; but how fresh it is, how entirely -without effort or affectation 1 There "is nothing strained, not an epithet too much, and the allusion to the Moors completes the whole effect of spontaneity. The more serious poems, — such as litanies, confessions of sin, legends like that exquisite one of the nun who leaves her convent for the sinful world, and coining back years afterwards broken and repentant, finds the Virgin in her place, wearing her forsaken dress, and fulfilling her deterred duties, till she should return to retunje them, when, without a word of upbraiding, they aie given back to her, and the, heart-broken with love and gratitude, confesses to the amazed and wondering sisters, her flight and her long absence, <uid dies in an ecstasy, — all are characterized by the same fresh simplicity. Not that the book is faultless; here and there the evil influence of the Troubadours has crept in. producing lines so curiously meaningless, and versification so ingenionsly unnatural, that we smile and acquit Alfonso of what is his only in name.
The " Ciuerellas," a poem, of which only two Btanzas remain to us, was written within a year or two of his death. It was _ meant to be a lament over in - misfortunes, I
and is not without dignity, though wanting in the delicate individual flavour of the Cardigan. Great efforts have been made of late years to recover the remainder of it. Spain has been searched for it, but in vain. If it exists at all, it must be looked for now rather in Paris or Vienna, than in the Escurial.
Alfonso of Castile is not to be described in a few pages. He is not like the Cid, a man of one impulse, and that an easily comprehensible one. His character is full of indications, of half-growths and complexities. You class him perhaps in your mind as a philosopher, aud he is one; then why not more indifference to this world's gains and prospects? But he had the volatile and quickly-moved humanity of a chihl, and the crown of Charlemagne pleases him like any other bauble. He appears at one time a king jealous of his rights, enumerating with bitter pride those who had knelt at his feet and done him homage; while later we find him directing that he should be buried near his parents on a lower tomb, his head to their feet, because of his unworthiness. And there they rest together, Ferdinand the Snint and Alfonso the Wise, father and son, difficult as it is to realize that the same age produced both: the one a noble and adequate representative of the best and most characteristic influences of his day; the other bewildered by dim ideals for the realization of which the world had not yet provided the means, his force wasted perpetually in untimely aspirations. Not wholly anything, whether for good or evil, it is difficult to understand and represent him; but our sympathy with him perhaps transcends that which we are able to accord to the Saint.
From The Saturday Knvlpw. PAGAN ASPECTS OF CHRISTIANITY.
The ecclesiastical mind of England has of late got plunged into controversies which carry us baci to ages which ecclesiastical controversialists must not be allowed to have wholly to themselves. To an exclusively theological view no period of history seems richer than the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries. Those ages are the very paradise of theological controversy. They are the days of theology in the very strictest sense. The disputes of other ages, say the Iconoclast controversy or the vast mass of controversies which we jumble together under the name of the Reformation, had commonly more or less to do with man's practical duties towards his Creator or towards his fellow-creatures. Even within the time of which we speak, there was one dispute, the Pelagian dispute, which, as having as much to do with the human as with the divine nature, had more in common with disputes of a practical kind. But this was a Western dispute, a controversy between Britain and Africa. The true native land of pure theology is the Eastern half of Christendom, the lands where men spoke the one language which has the power of distinguishing with sharp precision the minutest shades of theological difference. There lay the true home of the controversies of those specially controversial ages; there arose the heretics whose eternal doom we are bidden to pronounce thirteen time? in the year; and there arose the giants of orthodoxy who emote off the heads which arose one after another from the crushed, but never fully seared, trunk of the hydra of heresy. The centuries between Constantine and Justinian are a time so fertile both in heretics and saints that men are sometimes tempted to speak a? if none but heretics and saints lived in those days, and as if three centuries and more of the world's history had only an ecclesiastical existence. Or, if men look at those days at all in their secular aspect, they are tempted simply to despise the weasness of tlio decaying Empire, to turn away from the spectacle of shifting Emperors and invading barbarians, of the rule of eunuchs and favourites, and the ten thousand crimes of the courts of Byzantium and Ravenna. We need not say that this is no adequate view of the true middle ages, of the transitional period of the world's history when the Roman and the Teutonic elements still existed side by side in all their distinctness, and had not yet been welded together into a whole different from either. But it is worth while to Bee how religious controversies looked in those days in the eyes of that large class who were neither saints nor heretics. Tlie course of history carries us so suddenly from heathen persecutions under Diocletian to ecclesiastical disputes under Constantine, that we are apt to think that all mankind, or at least all the inhabitants of the Roman Empire, were actively engaged on behalf either of orthodoxy or of heresy. We are apt to forget how long mere Paganism went on. We are apt to fancy that, as soon as Conetantine set up the Labarum as his standard, the whole Roman world followed his
example, and that men no longer disputed whether Christianity were true, but only what was the true form of Christianity. But things were far from changing in this sudden way. Everything indeed shows that Christianity was the advancing, and that paganism was the declining, religion. But the advance and the decline were gradual. Down almost to the end of the fourth century it was hard to say which was the established religion of the Empire. Except Julian, every Emperor was a Christian, and it should be remembered that, while Constantine and Theodosius acted as zealous Christians long before their baptism, Julian was not only a baptized man, but had something of an ecclesiastical tinge about him, having in his youth. — though, to be sure, he never got beyond, his youth — publicly read the Scriptures in the congregation. But, on the other hand, baptized and believing Emperors, both orthodox and heretical, continued to be invested, like their heathen predecessors, with the office and badges of the High Pontiffs of the old religion. It was Gratian who first felt any scruple as to such conformity with a false creed, and his scruple was of evil omen. It was a well-hazarded prophecy, if it was really uttered as a prophecy, that, if Gratian refused to be Ponlifex Maxima*, there would before long be a Maximus Ponlifex.
But, if Christianity was the religion of the Roman Emperor, it was at least not the religion of the Roman Senate. It is curious, in the fourth and fifth centuries, when the despotic system of Diocletian and Constantino was fully established and when legislation went steadily on the rule that " Quod priucipi placuit legis habet vigorem," to see how the Roman Senate won back again some small portion of its old authority. Even the Senate of Constantinople seems to have acted now and then; but the Senate of Constantinople was overawed by the constant presence of the Emperor. In the West, on the other hand, when the Emperor lived at Milan or Ravenna while the Senate went on in j its old place at Rome, it often happened that in sudden emergencies the Conscript [ Fathers had really to act according to | their own wisdom. But, down to the I reign of Theodosius, the Conscript Fathers I were a decidedly heathenish assembly. I They vigorously protested against the dis| establishing decree of that orthodox Em1 peror, by which sacrifices to the old Gods 'were not forbidden, but were no longer to be offered at the public cost. Later still, wheu Alario was at their gates, men fell back, not indeed on the genuine worship of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, but on some strange rites from Etruria. No other story better brings out the strange mixture of creeds and feelings at the time. The Praefect of the city consults the Bishop, the first bearer of the famous name of Innocent. His answer, if we may trust the spiteful heathen Zosimos, was the most striking example on record of that '•habitual sacrifice of private conviction" which some say is the highest duty, if not of a Bishop, yet at least of a statesman. They were to do the idolatrous rite, but to do it privily (i tie Ttfv r^f JUMfwf aurripiav ItvTpooOcv T7/f oineiaf Troi^em^cfOf di't^f JiiiOpa foquev aimf Kou^v atrip laaaiv). To understand this answer, whether really given or not. we must remember that to the mind of Innocent the Gods who were to be called on to save Rome were no mere non-existent beings, no mere creations of the fancy. They were devils, living and powerful; the point of the answer is, that the Roman patriotism of the Bishop carried him so far, that he was ready to see Rome saved by the help of devils rather than not see her saved at all. But the Eacrifices would have no virtue unless they were done publicly; the Senate went up into the Capitol and did all things decently and in order, but no man, the heathen historian tells us. dared to have any share in their doings.
The revival of paganism under Julian bears its witness both ways. Except that the fires of persecution were not kindled, it ha-? much in common with the reign of Philip and Mary in England. It has much in common with it, both in the ease with which the revival was made and in the ease with which it was got rid of. If men's minds had not been floating between the old system and the new, if there had been a large and zealous majority in favour of either, the chauge either way would have been far more difficult, whether in England or in the Roman Empire. And when, after the death of Julian, victims are slain, and the usual rites of divination are gone through on behalf of the Christian Jovian, we are reminded of the fact that Elizabeth was crowned with the oiu ceremonies, and that mass went on, being said in English churches till the summer of 1559.
Both in England and in the Roman Empire there were, during the time of change, many zealous supporters of the old system and many zealous supporters of the new. Bat in the Roman case it should be noticed what a deep effect the new system
• had on the old. Before Christianity final| ly uprooted paganism, it in a manner j Christianized it. The paganism of Julian ! was not simply a system of State ceremonies and poetical tales. It had become a creed; it was a system of faith and morals. j Take the history of Zojimos, written in the fifth century, when paganism was fast I vanishing. To him the worship of the Gods of Rome was not the subject of playful verse whicl* it was to Horace, nor the matter of state policy which it was to the augur of Cicero. His faith is as firm, his orthodoxy is as rigid, he is as undoubting in his belief in Divine Providence and Divine vengeance as the most fervent disput'ant on the Christian side, lie hates Christianity; but it is not with the blind hatred of earlier times; he clearly has some , knowledge of its doctrines, and he even j borrows its language in denouncing it. He laments the departure of Coustautine from " the right way " —a formula which he must surely have learned from his eneimies; he has his confessors of the truth; he has his signs and wonders, his special interpositions for the punishment of irrevi rence; he has his general theory "De j Gubernatioue Deorum" in the plural, as carefully thought out aod as firmly believed in as ever Sulvianus had in the singular. Of Christianity and its professors he never speaks without some expression of sectarian dislike. In short, in Zosimos the Christian disputant met with a fanatical enemy as bitter, and no doubt as conscientious, as himself.
From Zosimos let us go back a generation or two to Aininiauus. We conceive that classical purists will cry out if we say that Ammianus Marcellinas, the historian of the campaigns of Julian, has really a 'right to rauk very high, within one or two of the top, among the extant Latin historians of Rome. Between him and Tacitus | the gap is filled up with the dreary epit'oraes of the Augustan History. But Taci itus, as well as Livy and Sallust, is not a writer contemporary with what he writes about. And daring people are nowadays beginning to say that Tacitus wrote with a party object, and is not to be implicitly trusted. But Ammiauui was a contemporary, and, in a large part of his story, he was a spectator aud an actor, an officer I in Julian's army. If wo look at his matter, his thorough trustworthiness, his keenness of observation, we might put him in the highest class of writers; if we look at his detestably complicated and affected style, we might put him in the lowest. But what we are concerned with ia tho way in which he looks at Christianity. In this respect he has pretty well reached the state attributed by Principal Tulloch to Mr. Burton, that of a " pitiless impartiality." He clearly was not a Christian himself; he always speaks of Christianity from the outside; but he always speaks of the religion itself with respect. He clearly felt the sublimity of Christian martyrdom; he speaks with reverence of those who laid down their lives for their faith. He despises the Christianity of Constantius, in whose hands it had become an old wife's fable (" anilis superstito "), but he says that Christianity itself is a "religio absoluta et simplex1' — words which are not very easy to understand, but which are clearly meant to be respectful. He strongly blames the pride and luxury of the Bishops of Rome, out in the same breath he bears witness to the simple and useful lives of the Bishops of smaller places. Theodosius, whom Zflsimos pursues with all the bitterness of controversial hatred, he calls "princeps perfectissimus." But his strongest expression of admiration is bestowed on the tolerant policy of Valentinian, who hindered the professors of either faith from molesting the professors of the other. Something must be allowed for the different circumstances of the time of Ammianus and of the generation of ZOsimos. Ammianus must have written or revised his book under Theodosius; but it may well have been before the public sacrifices were forbidden, in short before Christianity was, strictly speaking, the established religion of the Empire. Zdsimos wrote when things had altogether gone against the old Gods. But it is plain that we see in the two writers two widely different lines of thought with regard to the advancing creed. Ammianus is an indifferent philosopher; Zosimos is a fanatical partizan.
Claudian seems to represent a third state of mind. There is indeed something wonderful in the sight of a poet singing the praises of a Christian prince in the very generation which saw the final triumph of Christianity, not only without introducing a single Christian expression or idea, but with the most lavish use of the machinery of the old mythology. The position of Claudiau was different from that of the poets of the Augustan age; it was different from that of a modern poet who drags in classical illustrations. If Virgil and Horace did not very fervently believe in the religion which they professed, at all events neither they nor those about them believed in any other; and they at least did the
part of good citizens in professing to believe the religion of the commonwealth. If a modern poet talks of Jupiter and Apollo, no one suspects him of believing in them; his poetical talk about them d consistent with the most devout and orthodox belief in another faith. But when Claudian prays Jupiter and the other Gods to prosper the arms of Honorius, it must have sounded to every devout Christian as a direct invocation of the devil and his angels. This way of pntting Christianity utterly out of sight, as if it had never been, heard of, is far more wonderful than either the fierce hatred of Zosimos or the cool indifference of Ammianus. It would be interesting to look through the remains of some of the more fragmentary writers of the same age with the same object. Eunapios, for instance, hates Christianity as fiercely as Zosimos, while in Malchos and Olympiodoros we seem, from such little light as we have, to have calm outsiders of the school of Ammianus.
A far more difficult question is that of the religion of Boetius in a later, and of Prokopios in a still later, generation. The philosophic Consul and Patrician was for ages looked on as a saint and a martyr, as a theologian who' confuted heretics, and who died for his faith at the bidding of an heretical prince. Yet it is well known that the Consolation of Philosophy does not contain a single expression of Christian faith or Christian hope, for surely such a phrase as "angelica virtus" proves nothing at all. It is a speaking fact that when Alfred translated Boetius for the edification of Englishmen, he had to Christianize him in the process. We feel convinced with Dr. Stanley, in the Dictionary of Biography, that the theological writings attributed to Boetius cannot possibly be the work of the author of the Consolatio. Boetius the Patrician mu*t have been, if not a Pagan, at all events not a Christian. At the same time there can be no greater witness than the writings and the life of Boetius how deeply Christianity had leavened both the faith and the practice of many who still stood outside the Church a^ a religious community.
As for Prokopios, the wonderful passage near the beginning of his History of the Gothic War looks as if the contemplation of theological controversies had driven him into pure theism and contemptuous toleration. Christians, he says, were endlessly disputing about the nature of the Godhead. But he holds it for madness to try to define things which the human mind cannot understand. He, Prokopio?, is convineed that God is all-powerful and allgood, and he can go no further. As for anything else, let each man, clerk or layman — xat iepctf Kai litunif, the reference to Thncydides is obvious—say what he pleases. Prokopios was perhaps a scoffer; certainly he shows no signs of any special devotion. But this passage really only puts in another shape what the pious Salriauus had already said, perhaps without knowing it. The author of De Gubernatione Dei would not take upon himself to pronounce that Ulfilas and Athaulf would without doubt perish everlastingly. He thought that such good people as the Goths, heretics as they were, would have some chance in the next world. Perhaps his notions really came nearer to those of Prokopios than he would have liked to acknowledge.
From The Pall Hall Gazette. ANCIENT MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
On the 1st of June the South Kensington Museum opened a special exhibition of ancient musical instruments. They have been obtained on loan from all quarters; money, powerful as it is, could not buy the greater part; and every man and woman, who loves music, or possesses a mind, should study them before the unique opportunity runs away, and this multitude of gems is dispersed for ever.
Talk of the treasures of the deep I Give me the treasures of the country house; for there curiosities can always find a corner to live: in London, novelties jostle them into their graves through mere want of space. In a word, private'contributors, English and foreign, have peopled one of the halls of this museum with the spoils of time. Here are Egyptian and Indian instruments, Turkish and Chinese, very curious; oriental banjos. &c.; and above all a most amazing specimen of roundabout resonance — a long black wooden tube, over which the strings are stretched, and the tube rests on two hollow everlasting pumpkins. But the main feature is a number of mediaeval instruments, exquisite in form and workmanship, and sometimes encrusted with gems, and Inlaid with oriental lavishness and the skill of a Genoese jeweller. Here in stringed instruments alone are full a score of obsolete varieties, and many specimens of each kind, especially of the lute, the archlute, the mandolin, the sweet viola d'amore, with its sympathetic vires that lay and trembled in unison be
neath the gut strings, and prolonged the vibration; the viola di Bardone, a larger and more complicated instrument, whose sympathetic wires, twenty-two in number, were placed so that they could be struck with the thumb, while the fingers played the gut strings; the viola da garnba, called by Sir Andrew Aguecheek the "viol do gamboys,"and all the tribe of citterns and ghitterns, that used to hang in every barber's shop for gentlemen to play, when England was famous as a musical nation, and that was before the monstrous idea of confining musical education to the less musical sex had entered the national head. Here, too, are all the instruments the translators of our Bible have bravely transplanted to Assyria and the night of ages — the sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, &o.; and here are the children and grandchildren of the dulcimer — viz. the keyed dulcimer, the virginal, the clavichor'l, the spinet, harpsichord, pianoforte. There are nearly two hundred specimens of the old Cremonese and other Italian violins, violas, violons, and basses, and amongst them I see a violin that a friend of mine once gave four hundred and fifty pounds for. and a basa that was bought for eight hundred pounds in Paris. But as this is the one branch I am well versed in, I postpone it for the time, my present object being merely to indicate the various character of the treasures, and the profit that may be reaped. The Marquis of Kildare lends an Irish harp with its one row of metal strings, the wooden frame black witli age, exposure, and methinks a little peat-smoke. To such a harp Carolan, the last great improvising Irish harper, sang his traditionary melodies that lived by ear and now are dead, alas I One comfort: as the devil escaped being put in a pie by shunning Cornwall, so those divine melodies — some gay, some sad — have died and gone to Heaven, and so escaped the defilement and degradation of being hashed and smashed into quadrilles by Jullien and his followers, and played in false time and utter defiance of their dominant sentiment. There is an older harp, lent by Mr. Dalway, on which is inscribed " Ego sum Rex cithararum." "Pride goeth before destruction; " so this self-trumpeting harp is iu pieces. The epithet of " King of Harps " is better merited by the noble instrument of Lady Llanover — a triplerstringed Welsh harp, made by the famous John Richards about 140 years ago. On such a harp, made by the same maker (Richards), blind Parry of Ruabon harped his "ravishing tunes a thousand years old " to the poet Gray, and