Page images






VENERABLE fabric ! Memorial world, and brought the artillery of the piety of past ages !-Such of heaven to play upon its imexclamations we have frequently posing front. All the impure rites heard, as we have been pacing the of pagan deities would have been aisles of some of our cathedrals; in existence now, as well as the and no slight reflections bave been impious mummery of papal anticast by the passing visitor upon christ, had the time-honoured the puny religion of the present associations," of which we are so day, which can only usher into often pathetically reminded, been existence, and that at distant in- admitted as a valid argument for tervals, a few miniature churches, their toleration. But error susor a still more degenerate brood of tains the same character, whether pigmy conventicles. At the same exhibited in bold and undisguised time that the class of persons, who deformity, or wrapped up in the give utterance to such expressions, mantle of worldly pomp and veare entitled, on many accounts, to nerable antiquity; and it matters our respect, it may be doubted not a whit to us, whether superstiwhether, in such instances, they tion cowers in the hut of the desertspeak “ the words of truth and wanderer, or is handed up to an soberness." Without withholding episcopal throne—it is equally obfrom our forefathers any particle noxious, and we are bound to deof the credit they deserve for zeal nounce and to abhor it. Nothing and industry, we must refuse to is, however, more common than entertain the notion that what is for appeals to be made to our feelantiquated must necessarily be ings in behalf of the ancient hie. good, or that a certain system of rarchy, and to be told, in highly ecclesiastical polity is perfect, coloured strains, of the stately because a number of structures temples where our fathers worshipwere reared under its auspices ped; of the ivy-grown turrets, and which are large and splendid. gothic towers, and yew-crowned How finely might a heathen have church-yards, which give such a argued in this way in behalf of his charm to the village landscape. religion, when the apostles broke Really we hope that dissenters are in upon the idolatry of the ancient as much alive to the beautiful and VOL. XV. N. S. NO, 93.

3 X

[ocr errors]

picturesque as their neighbours; made in any uncandid spirit, but that they are not more closely al. merely intended to guard against lied to the race of Vandals; and that poetic illusion which ecclethat no kind of hostility whatever siastical pageantry is apt to inexists, either to painted windows spire. Amid so much“ pomp or the pointed arch. So far as we and circumstance” we are in dana are concerned, it has often hap- ger of forgetting that the vain inpened that we have heard with a ventions of men usurp the place of delightful feeling the “curfew toll the simplicity of the gospel, and the knell of parting day;" and we of confounding the spirit of dehave so much poetry about us, votion with the pleasures of taste, that we would not for a good deal and the gratification of the imagideprive a single belfry of its inha- nation. bitants, or infringe in the least upon Lincoln, respecting which the the “ vested” rights and immuni- following particulars will not, perties of any one of the “ birds of haps, be deemed uninteresting, Jove.” Our veneration, however, goes back to remote antiquity ; will not allow us to go any fur- Romans, Saxons, Danes, alterther than to admire, as Gold- nately figure in its annals; and at smith has it,

an early period it was advanced « The decent church that topt the neigh- to episcopal honours. The county bouring hill;"

was distinguished by the Saxon and if stern necessity were to place monarchs with several celebrated the alternative before us, we should religious foundations; but owing prefer the extinction of every trace to the incursions of the piratical of Gothic grandeur, to the con- northmen up the Humber, they tinuance of the monstrous super were frequently subject to pilstitions with which it has been lage and spoliation. After the connected. And

not conquest, the monasteries of this ashamed to acknowledge that the part of the kingdom retained the sacred edifices around us would use of the Saxon dialect long be contemplated with far greater after most of the others had not complacency, if they contained only submitted to the government no blind leaders of the blind; of Norman ecclesiastics, but had that the picturesqueness of no old neglected their vernacular tongue. grey tower would be diminished The abbey of Croyland, for inby the change; that the entire stance, had preceptors in the removal of that ancient livery of Saxon language up to the time of damp, and green, and mould, which the second Henry, because, foundhas been worn for ages, would be ed by a Saxon prince, it was neno subject of regret; and that cessary that the religious should multitudes would listen with far understand their original charters. greater delight to the “church. In the eleventh century Lincolngoing bell” ushering in the sabbatic shire had among its ecclesiastics morn, when it ceased to connect the celebrated Ingulph, au Enga itself with the dismal intonations lishman, Abbot of Croyland; a of that fearful statement " when somewhat singular circumstance, ye make many prayers I will not in an age when Wolstan hear."

ejected from the bishopric of WorThese remarks have suggested cester by the arbitrary Normans, themselves while arranging the fol- for the sole crime of being an lowing Notices :" they are not “ English idiot, who could not






speak French." Ingulph tells us, he exhorts the priest diligently to with reference to his abbey,“ We

“ We preach the word of God, which is forbade, under the penalty of ex, the “ food of the soul;" and then communication, the lending of our he states—" If any one say, he books, as well the smaller with- knows not how, the proper remedy out pictures, as the larger with for him is to resign his benefice; pictures, to distant schools, with. nevertheless I can tell him of a out the abbot's leave, and his cere better remedy ; let every such pertain knowledge within what time son or priest thoroughly learn, they would be restored. As to every week, the text alone (i. e. the smaller books, as Psalteries, without gloss or comment) of the Donatus, Cato, · et similibus poe- gospel-lesson appointed for the ticis ac quaternis de cantu,' adapted following Sunday, that he may be, to the boys, and the relations of at least, able to repeat the history the monks, &c. we forbade to be itself to the people." That lent more than one day without Grossteste was a decided friend to leave of the prior.

vernacular translations of the ScripIn the thirteenth century, the tures, appears from the following see of Lincoln was filled by Robert passage, cited from his works, by Grossteste or Grosthead, who was the author of an early English called to it in 1235. This was a translation of the Bible: “ Deus distinguished and extraordinary voluit, ut plures interpretes S. Scripindividual, considering the bar. turam transferrant, ut diverse Transbarism of the age in which he lationes in ecclesiâ essent : idcirco lived ; his life will present us with ut quod unus obscuriùs dixerat,

curious notices connected alter manifestiùs redderet." 66 It with the city at the head of his is the will of God, that the Holy diocese. He was born at Strad- Scriptures should be translated by brook, in Suffolk, in the year many translators, and that there 1175; after having studied the should be different translations in Aristotelian philosophy, with the the church, so that what is obe Greek and Hebrew, at Oxford scurely expressed by one, may be and Paris, he was raised, on acs more perspicuously translated by count of his virtues and learning, another.” † to the episcopal bench, and was Grossteste was in every rethe first who dared to set at spect a reformer, and put down naught and resist the authority of several sports and festivals, to the papal hierarchy. Immediately, which the clergy and citizens upon his election, he devoted him- of Lincoln were much attached. self sedulously to the duties of his He prohibited miracle plays, the office, visiting the deaneries and Maii Inductio, Scot-Ales, and the archdeacopries, enforcing upon the Feast of Asses. clergy a strict attention to their The Feast of the Ass was cele work, hearing the confessions of brated annually in the cathedral, on the people, and confirming their the feast of the Circumcision, inchildren. In a “ Treatise on the tended to commemorate the flight Pastoral Care,” which he wrote,

Townley's Illustrations, Bib. Lit. i.

455, * Ingnlph died in 1109. The fire + Whartoni Auctarium Hist. Dogmat. which consumed this celebrated abbey in cap. ii. pp. 416-418. Henry's Hist. of 1091 destroyed the library, which con Great Britain, viii. lib. 4. c. 4. Gratii tained 700 volumes.

Fascic. 2 ep. 123, pp. 392. 410.


[ocr errors]

of the Virgin Mary upon that ani- where she was placed near the mal into Egypt. This ridiculous altar, and high mass commenced. festivity, so far as we are acquaint- The people, however, instead of ed, was not practised in any other repeating the usual responses, place in England besides Lincoln ; were taught to imitate the braying but in several of the churches of of the ass; and at the conclusion France and Germany it was celem of the service, the priest, instead of brated with great parade. At the usual benediction, brayed three Beauvais, on the 14th of January, times, and the people uttered the a beautiful young

imitative sounds Hinham, Hinham, chosen, and placed upon an ass Hinham! During the ceremony richly caparisoned, with an infant a ludicrous composition, half Latio, in her arms. She then rode in half French, in praise of the ass, procession from the cathedral, fol. was sung with great vociferation, lowed by the bishop and clergy of which we may cite two stanzas : to the church of St. Stephen,



Orientis partibus
Adventavit asinus;
Pulcher et fortissimus,
Sarcinus aptissimus.

Hez, Sire Asnes, car chantez;
Belle bouche rechignez;
Vous aurez du foin assez
Et de l'avoine à plantez.

From the country of the east,
Came this strong and handsome beast;
This able ass beyond compare,
Heavy loads and packs to bear.

Now, Seignior Ass, a noble bray;
That beauteous month at large display ;
Abundant food our hay-lofts yield,
And oats abundant load the field.

Hic in collibus Sichem,
Jam nutritus sub Ruben:
Transiit per Jordanem,
Saliit in Bethlehem.

Hez, Sire Asnes, &c.

He was born on Shechem's hill,
In Rueben's vales he fed his fill:
He drank of Jordan's sacred stream,
And gamboled in Bethlehem.

Now, Seignior Ass, &c.*

He who, disdaining the simplicity April and the first of May.t The of the meeting-house, can only see nature of those compotations, evidences of devotion, where there called Scot-ales, which were also are gothic screens and architectu- prohibited, and which the archral magnificence, will do well to deacons were required to suppress bear in mind this asinine festivity. in their chapters, will be best ex

The Maii Inductio, of which plained by the following constituthe bishop deprived the Lincoln tion by Edmund Rich, Archbishop clergy and laity, consisted of va. of Canterbury in 1236. “We rious ceremonies, practised on the first of May. The priests, accompanied with the people, especially

* Du Cange, Glossarium, v. Festum.

Tilliott, Memoires pour servir a l'histoire in the country villages, were ac

de la Fete des Foux, passim. Michaelis's customed, on a May-day morning, Commentaries on the Laws of Moses, iii. to go to some adjoining wood, and p. 198. Warton's History of English return with boughs and garlands, Poetry, ii. p:367. In the library of Sens in honour of the return of spring. Archbishop Pierre Corbeil, giving an acThis custom was derived from the count of the celebration of the festival in heathen feast of Flora, the goddess the cathedral there. of fruits and flowers, and was ce

+ Brand's Observations on Popular lebrated with the most sottish su

Antiqnities, c. 25, p. 283.

$ Johnson's Collection of Ecclesiastical perstition on the four last days of Laws.

to pegs."

wholly forbid clergymen the ill able was a play of the Old and practice, by which all that drink New Testament, acted at Chester, together are obliged to equal in the year 1327. It treated of dranghts, and he carries away the Creation—the fall of Manthe credit, who hath made most the expulsion from Paradise; afdrunk, and taken off largest cups;

terwards Adam appears digging therefore we forbid all forcing the ground and Eve spinning. to drink; let him that is drunk be The following extract relating to suspended from office and benefice the deluge is made in Lyson's according to the statutes of the Magna Brittania, from the Harcouncil," (Lateran 1216.c.15)“ un- leian MSS. in the British Muless upon admonition from his su seum.* perior he make competent satisfaction. We forbid the publica

Noe and his Shippe. tion of Scot-ales to be made by “ Then Noe shall goe into the arke with priests.” In Anselm's Canons, all his familye, lis wife excepte, the arke

must be borded rounde aboute, and upon passed at Westminster, A. D.

the bordes all the beastes and fowles 1102, we find the following con

hereafter rehearsed must be painted, stitution. “Can. 9. Ut Preshy- that their wordes may agree with the teri non eant ad potationes, nec pictures.”

Noe. ad pinnas bibant,”—“. That priests go not to drinking-bouts, nor drink “ Wiffe come in, why standes thon there,

Thou arte ever frowarde I dare well

sweare.” The miracle-plays, mysteries,

Noe's Wiffe. or sacred dramas, which were performed at Lincoln, were commonly

“ Yea Sir set up your sayle

And rowe forth with evill haile, acted throughout Europe, during For withouten faile I will not out the middle ages; and consisted of Out of this towne; theatrical exhibitions, founded on But I have my gossippes every eich one,

One foote further I will not gone; Scripture narratives. They were

They shall nat drowne by St. John, first introduced into England, by

And I may save there life; Geoffrey, a learned Norman, who

But thou wylt let them into that cheist, came over from the university of Else row forth Noe where thou list, Paris, to superintend the school

And get thee a new wiffe.” of the priory of Duostable. He

The Good Gossippes. composed the play of St. Cathe

“ The flood comes flitting in full fast.”rine, A. D. 1110; and according to Matthew Paris, he borrowed the capes from the sacrist of the

* There are extant three collections of neighbouring abbey of St. Albans, miracle-plays, formerly represented in to dress his characters. Cornwall this country. 1. The Townley Collection, was celebrated for these religious supposed to have belonged to Nidkirk exhibitions, but the most remark- Abbey, containing thirty plays. 2. The

Ludus Coventriæ, probably performed at
Coventry, at the feast of Corpus Christi,

forty-two plays. 3. The Chester Myste* Such great drinkers were the Danes, ries, edited and illustrated by Mr. Markand so much did their example influence land. Mr. Davies Gilbert, late Presithe English, that Edgar ordained that dent of the Royal Society, has also edited pegs or nails should be fastened into the some Cornish plays. Interesting infordrinking-cups at stated distances, and mation respecting these religious dramas that whosoever should drink beyond those may be found in a recent publication : marks at one draught should be obnox “ History of English Dramatic Poetry to ious to a severe punishment. Strutt, in the time of Shakspeare, &c. by J. Payne Brand's Observations, &c.

Collier, Esq. 3 vols. 8vo. London, 1831."

« PreviousContinue »