it was almost wholly absent. Between the two comes the ordinary monasticism of which the Benedictines are the type. But the Carthusians were not Benedictines, though they are often spoken of as if they

tion of their own souls was declared to be the object of their retreat, and they seem to have at first discouraged poor strangers ; spending their so-called superfluities by preference on the needy of their own neighbourhood.

In the same spirit they recited the minor canonical hours each in his own cell at the sound of the chapel bell, assembling only for matins and vespers, except on feast-days, when all their services were in the church.

All the more remarkable is the appearance in politics and art of the one English Carthusian whose name still lingers in the Calendar of our Church. In that neglected and patiently protesting document the name of Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, stands,

read by those who never heard of Bruno or asked the meaning of the Charterhouse.

From the midst of these silent worshippers, with their one silver chalice and silver tube for eucharistic

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

wine, their aisleless church and meagre ritual, comes forth the great Gothic builder whose monument is Lincoln Cathedral. From the midst of the petty and vexatious rules, the weekly flagellations, the system of signs—"rustic and not facetious or wanton ”— in place of speech, comes the opponent of King Richard I. on behalf of the constitution and liberties of England. And the same man who said to his monks, “ Eyes on your plates, hands on the table, ears to the reader, and heart to God," said to Hubert, who demanded in the King's name contributions for foreign wars, “Within the realm we of Lincoln will pay your soldiers, as we are bound; but without it, no.”

Thus, as Mr. Freeman says, “ as Thomas of London had withstood the demands of the father, Hugh of Avalon withstood the demands of the son ;” and “the Saint of Lincoln, grown into an Englishman on English ground, spoke up for the laws and rights of Englishmen, as Anselm had done before him, and as Simon did after him.” For, alas ! we cannot claim St. Hugh as an Englishman by birth. It was “the saint whom the Imperial Burgundy gave to England” who spoke out in this manly English fashion, and who fixed for us the true type of English Pointed architecture. His effigy may still be seen in

Westminster Abbey, with the swan, the symbol of Carthusian loneliness.

The high opinion in which the Order was held by Churchmen of the twelfth century may be gathered from a letter of Peter, the venerable Abbot of Cluny, to Pope Eugenius.

“ I thought,” he says, “and I do not believe I was wrong, that theirs was the best of all the Latin systems, and that they were not of those who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. For they do not consider the kingdom of God as consisting principally in meats and drinks, in garments and labours, and the like, though these, wisely managed, may do that kingdom of God good service, but in that godliness of which the Apostle says, ‘Bodily exercise is profitable to little, but godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come. These holy men feast at the table of wisdom, they are entertained at the banquet of the true Solomon, not in superstitions, not in hypocrisy, not in the leaven of malice and wickedness, but in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

To Mr. Matthew Arnold, whose noble poem of the Grand Chartreuse has perhaps been often in the reader's mind, it is all but one more misdirected effort, one more blind aspiration, one more fruitless rebellion against “the common.” Yet for him the silence, which to many seems so monstrous and so morbid, is full of solemn meaning and eloquent with pathetic suggestion :

i So says Mrs. Jameson, but there is little doubt he had a real pet swan, as mentioned in the Latin Metrical Life of St. Hugh.

« VorigeDoorgaan »