Зображення сторінки
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]


See “Fifth Reader,” Public School Series, p. 209. In June the quiet streets of ancient Constance were dist by the first preparations for the great drama which was performed within her walls. In August came the Cardi Viviers, the Bishop of Ostia, with a distinguished suite, to order for the accommodation of the Pope and of his card From that period to the Feast of All Saints, the day name the opening of the Council, and for several months after, the verging roads which led to this central city were crowded all ranks and orders, ecclesiastics and laymen, sovereign pr and ambassadors of sovereigns, archbishops and bishops, heads or representatives of the great monastic orders, th gians, doctors of canon or of civil law, delegates from renov universities, some with splendid and numerous retainers, like trains of pilgrims, some singly and on foot. With ti merchants, traders of every kind and degree, and every so wild and strange vehicle. It was not only, it might seen be a solemn Christian council, but an European congres vast central fair, where every kind of commerce was to be conducted on the boldest scale, and where chivalrous or histrionic or other common amusements were provided for idle hours and for idle people. It might seem a final and concentrated burst and manifestation of mediæval devotion, mediæval splendour, mediæval diversions ;—all ranks, all orders, all pursuits, all professions, all trades, all artisans, with their various attire, habits, manners, language, crowded to one single city.

On the steep slope of the Alps were seen winding down, now emerging from the autumn-tinted chestnut groves, now lost again, the rich cavalcades of the cardinals, the prelates, the princes of Italy, each with their martial guard or their ecclesiastical pomp. The blue spacious lake was studded with boats and barks, conveying the bishops and abbots, the knights and grave burghers, of the Tyrol, of Eastern and Northern Germany, Hungary, and from the Black Forest and Thuringia. Along the whole course of the Rhine, from Cologne, even from Brabant, Flanders, or the farthest North, from England and from France, marched prelates, abbots, doctors of law, celebrated schoolmen, following the upward course of the stream, and gathering as they advanced new hosts from the provinces and cities to the east and west. Day after day the air was alive with the standards of princes, and the banners emblazoned with the armorial bearings of sovereigns, of nobles, of knights, of imperial cities; or glittered with the silver crosier, borne before some magnificent bishop or mitred abbot. Night after night the silence was broken by the pursuivants and trumpeters announcing the arrival of some high and mighty count or duke, or the tinkling mule-bells of some lowlier caravan. The streets were crowded with curious spectators, eager to behold some splendid prince or ambassador, some churchman famous in the pulpit, in the school, in the council, it might be in the battlefield, or even some renowned minnesinger, or popular jongleur.

Council of Constance.—This council was Portugal, &c., and his rival, Clement VII., held at Constance, on the lake of that by France, Spain, Scotland, Naples, &c. name, in Switzerland, in the years 1414– In 1409 a general council was held at 1418. The reasons for its being sum- Pisa to end this scandal. It deposed the moned were, first, the spread of Wycliffe's two reigning popes and elected a third, opinions, and second, to try to put an end but the two would not resign, so that to the “Great Schism.” Wycliffe had there were now three. Meanwhile Huss died in 1384, but his opinions were being and Jerome were vigorously preaching, spread widely on the Continent by John with great effect, against the ecclesiastiHuss and Jerome of Prague.

cal corruptions of the time, and preparing Great Schism” had begun in 1378, when the way for the Reformation, a century two popes, elected at the same time by later. At last, in 1414, the great Council rival factions, ruled, each, over part of of Constance met. The three popes were Christendom—Urban

VI. being acknow- deposed and Martin V. elected, in 1417, ledged by Germany, England, Hungary, but Clement VII. would not resign till

“ The

1429, and thus the schism lasted till then. consented to his written word being The Council, after many promises, did broken, has passed into a proverb. nothing in the way of Reformation, but Henry V. (1413–1422) was then reigning it burned John Huss, July 6, 1415, in in England, and his great battle of spite of his having a safeguard from the Agincourt was fought (October 25,

1415), Emperor Sigismund ; and Jerome, May while the Council was fresh from Huss's 30, 1416. Sigismund's blush,” as he martyrdom.

For difficult words, see the Vocabulary.

COMPOSITION.–Write out, in your own words, the substance of the note and of the Reading.

LIFE AND DEATH.—Countess of Blessington.

WHAT art thou, life?
A weary strife

Of pain, and care, and sorrow;
Long hours of grief,
And joys how brief !

That vanish on the morrow.
Death, what are thou,
To whom all bow,

From sceptred king to slave ?
The last, best friend,
Our cares to end,

Thy empire's in the grave.
When all have fled
Thou giv'st a bed,

Wherein we calmly sleep
The wounds all healed,
The dim eyes sealed,

That long did wake and weep!

ROMAN TOMBS.-Hawthorne.

See “Fifth Reader," Public School Series, p. 71. A LITTLE farther towards the city, we turned aside from the Appian Way, and came to the site of some ancient columbaria, close by what seemed to partake of the character of a villa and a farm-house. A man came out of the house, and unlocked a door in a low building, apparently quite modern; but on entering, we found ourselves looking into a large, square chamber, sunk entirely beneath the surface of the ground. A very narrow and steep staircase of stone, and evidently ancient, descended into this chamber; and, going down, we found the walls hollowed on all sides into little semi-circular niches, of which, I believe, there were nine rows, one above another, and nine niches in each row. Thus they looked somewhat like the little entrances to a pigeon-house, and hence the name of columbarium. Each semicircular niche was about a foot in its semidiameter. In the centre of this subterranean chamber was a solid square column, or pier, rising to the roof, and containing other niches of the same pattern, besides one that was high and deep, rising to the height of a man from the floor, on each of

[graphic][merged small]

the four sides. In every one of the semicircular niches were two round holes covered with an earthen plate, and in each hole were ashes and little fragments of bones—the ashes and bones of the dead, whose names were inscribed in Roman capitals on marble slabs, inlaid into the wall, over each individual niche. Very likely the great ones in the central pier had contained statues, or busts, or large urns; indeed, I remember that some such things were there, as well as bas-reliefs in the walls; but hardly more than the general aspect of this strange place



remains in my mind. It was the columbarium of the connections or dependants of the Cæsars; and the impression left on me was, that this mode of disposing of the dead was infinitely preferable to any which has been adopted since that day. The handful or two of dry dust and bits of dry bones in each of the small round holes had nothing disgusting in them; and they are no drier now than they were when first deposited there. I would rather have my ashes scattered over the soil, to help the growth of the grass and daisies; but still I should not murmur much at having them decently pigeon-holed in a Roman tomb.

After ascending out of this chamber of the dead, we looked down into another similar one containing the ashes of Pompey's household, which

discovered only a very few years ago.

Its rangement was the same as that first described, except that it had no central pier, with a passage round it, as the former had.

What struck me as much as any

thing was the neatA Roman Funeral Monument.

ness of these subterranean

apartments, which were quite as fit to sleep in as most of those occupied by living Romans; and having undergone no wear and tear, they were in as good condition as on the day they were built.

In this columbarium, measuring about twenty feet square, I roughly estimate that there have been deposited together the remains of at least seven or eight hundred persons, reckoning two little heaps of bones and ashes in each pigeon-hole, nine pigeon-holes in each row, and nine rows on each side, besides those on the middle pier. All difficulty in finding space for the dead would be obviated by returning to the ancient fashion of

« НазадПродовжити »