The History of The Kings of England 35

William of Malmesbury

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The whole ceremony of the consecration being completed, the pope and the emperor, joining their right hands, went with much state to the chamber which fronts the confessionary of St. Gregory, that the pope might there put off his pontifical, and the emperor his regal vestments. As the emperor retired from the chamber divested of his royal insignia, the Roman patricians met him with a golden circle, which they placed upon his head, and by it gave him the supreme patriciate of the Roman city, with common consent and universal approbation.

All this parade of grants and consecration I have taken literally from the narrative of the aforesaid David, written, as I said, with too great partiality towards the king. In the following year, however, a council was assembled at Rome, rather by the connivance than the command of the pope, and the grant was nullified. The authors of its reversal, were, the archbishop of Vienne, who afterwards ruled the papal see; and Girard, bishop of Angouleme: who stimulated their brother bishops, to make these concessions of none effect. The proceedings of that council were as follow.

“a.d. 1112, the fifth of the indiction, in the thirteenth year of the sovereign pope Paschal the second, in the month of March, on the fifteenth before the kalends of April, a council was held at Rome, at the Lateran, in the church of Constantine 4 where, when pope Paschal, together with the archbishops, bishops, and cardinals and a mixed company of clergy and laity, had, on the last day of the council, taken his seat; making public profession of the Catholic faith, lest any one should doubt his orthodoxy, he said, “I embrace all the Holy Scripture of the Old and New Testament; the Law written by Moses, and by the holy prophets: I embrace the four Gospels; the seven canonical Epistles, the Epistles of the glorious preacher St. Paul, the apostle, the holy canons of the apostles; the four Universal councils, as the four gospels, the Nicene, Ephesian, Constantinopolitan, Chalcedonian: moreover the council of Antioch and the decrees of the holy fathers, the Roman pontiffs; and more especially the decrees of my lords pope Gregory the seventh, and pope Urban of blessed memory. What they have approved, I approve: ‘what they held, I hold; what they have confirmed, I confirm: what they have condemned, I condemn: what they have opposed, I oppose: what they have interdicted, I interdict: what they have prohibited, I prohibit: I will persevere in the same in every thing and through every thing.’ This being ended, Girard, bishop of Angouleme, legate in Aquitaine, rose up for all, and by the unanimous consent of pope Paschal and of all the council, read the following writing. “That grant which is no grant, but ought more properly to be called an abomination, for the liberation of captives and of the church, extorted from the sovereign pope Paschal by the violence of king Henry, the whole of us in this holy council assembled, with the sovereign pope, condemn by canonical censure, and ecclesiastical authority, by the judgment of the Holy Spirit; and we adjudge it to be void, and altogether nullify it: and that it may have neither force nor efficacy, we interdict it altogether. And it is condemned, on this account; because in that abomination it is asserted, that a person canonically elected by the clergy and the people, shall not be consecrated by any one, unless first invested by the king; which is contrary to the Holy Spirit and to canonical institution.” This writing being read, the whole council, and all present, unanimously cried out Amen, Amen: So be it, so be it.

The archbishops there present with their suffragans were these: John, patriarch of Venice: Semies of Capua: Landulf of Benevento: Amalfi, Reggio, Otranto, Brindisi, Capsa, Cerenza;t and the Greeks, Rosanus, and the archbishop of St. Severina; the bishops were, Censius of Sabina, Peter of Porto, Leo of Ostia, Cono of Prsenesti, Girard of Angouleme, Galo of Leon, legate for Berri and the archbishop of Vienne, Roger of Volaterra, Gaufrid of Sienna, Rolland of Populonia, Gregory of Tarracina, William of Turin, William of Syracuse, legate for all the Sicilians, and near a hundred other bishops. Siwin, and John bishop of Tusculum, though at Rome, were not present on that day of the council; but they afterwards, on the reading of the condemnation of the grant, assented and approved of it.

These things gaining publicity, all France made no scruple of considering the emperor as accursed by the power of ecclesiastical zeal hurled against him. Roused at this, in the seventeenth year of pope Paschal, he proceeded to Rome, to inflict signal vengeance on him. But he, by a blessed departure, had avoided all earthly molestation, and from his place of repose on high, laughed at the threats of the angry emperor; who having heard of his death, quickened his journey, in order that ejecting John Gaitan, chancellor to the late pope, who had been already elected and called Gelasius, he might intrude Maurice, bishop of Brague, surnamed Bourdin, on the See: but the following epistle of Gelasius will explain the business more fully.

“Gelasius, servant of the servants of God to the archbishops, bishops, abbots, clergy, princes, and other faithful people throughout Gaul, health. As you are members of the church of Rome, we are anxious to signify to your affection what has there lately taken place. Shortly after our election, then, the sovereign emperor coming by stealth and with unexpected haste to Rome, compelled us to depart the city. He afterwards demanded peace by threats and intimidation, saying he would do all he might be able, unless we assured him of peace by oath. To which we replied thus: Concerning the controversy which exists between the church and the empire, we willingly agree to a meeting or to legal discussion, at proper time and place; that is to say, either at Milan or Cremona, on the next feast of St. Luke, at the discretion of our brethren, who, by God, are constituted judges in the church, and without whom this cause cannot be agitated. And since the sovereign emperor demands security from us, we promise such to him, by word and by writing, unless in the interim himself shall violate it: for otherwise to give security is dishonourable to the church, and contrary to custom. He, immediately, on the forty-fourth day after our election, intruded into the bosom of the church, the bishop of Brague, who, the preceding year had been excommunicated by our predecessor pope Paschal, in a council at Benevento; and who had also, when he formerly received the pall from our hands, sworn fidelity to the same pontiff, and his catholic successors, of whom I am the first. In this prodigious crime, however, thanks to God, the sovereign emperor had no single Roman associate; only the Guibertines, Romanus of St. Marcellus, Censius, who was called of St. Chrysogon; Teuzo, who for a long time was guilty of many excesses in Dacia; these alone transacted so shameless a deed. We command your wisdom, therefore, on the receipt of these presents, that, deliberating on these matters in common, by the grace of God, you be prepared, by his help, to avenge the mother church, as you are aware ought to be done by your joint assistance. Done at Gaeta on the seventeenth before the kalends of February.”

Gelasius after his expulsion, embarking at Salerno, came thence to Genoa, and afterwards proceeded by land to Clugny, where he died. Then, that is a.d. 1119, the cardinals who had accompanied him, together with the whole Cisalpine church, elevating with great pomp Guido, archbishop of Vienne, to the papacy, called him Calixtus; hoping, from the consideration of his piety and energy, that through his power, as he possessed great influence, they might be able to withstand the force of the emperor. Nor did he deceive their confidence: for soon after calling a council at Rheims, he separated from the churches such as had been, or should be, invested by the laity, including the emperor also, unless he should recant. Thus continuing for some time in the hither districts, to strengthen his party, and having settled all affairs in Gaul, he came to Rome, and was gladly received by the citizens, as the emperor had now departed. Bourdin then, deserted, fled to Sutri, determining to nurture his power by many a pilgrim’s loss; but how he was ejected thence, the following epistle explains.

“Calixtus, the bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his beloved brethren, and sons, the archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, and other faithful servants of St. Peter, clergy as well as laity, situated throughout Gaul, health and apostolical benediction. As the people have forsaken the law of the Lord, and walk not in his judgments, God visits their iniquities with a rod, and their sins with stripes: but retaining the bowels of paternal love, he does not desert such as trust in his mercy. For a long time indeed, their sins so requiring, the faithful of the church have been disturbed by Bourdin, that idol of the king of Germany; nay, some have been taken captive, others afflicted, through want in prison, even unto death. Lately, however, after celebrating the festival of Easter, when we could no longer endure the complaints of the pilgrims, and of the poor, we left the city with the faithful servants of the church, and laid siege to Sutri, until the Divine power delivered that Bourdin aforesaid, the enemy of the church, who had there made a nest for the devil, as well as the place itself, entirely into our power. We beg your brotherly love therefore, with us, to return thanks to the King of kings, for such great benefits, and to remain most firmly in obedience and duty to the catholic church, as you will receive from God Almighty, through his grace, due recompense for it, both here and hereafter. We beg, too, that these letters be made public, with all due diligence. Done at Sutri on the fifth before the kalends of May.”

How exquisite and refined a piece of wit, to call the man he hated, the idol of the king of Germany I for the emperor certainly held in high estimation Maurice’s skill in literature and politics. He was, as I have said, bishop of Brague, a city of Spain: a man whom any one might highly reverence, and almost venerate, for his active and unwearied assiduity; had he not been led to make himself conspicuous by so disgraceful an act: nor would he have hesitated to purchase the holy see, if he could have found as desperate a seller as he was a buyer. But being taken, and made a monk, he was sent to the Den, for so is the monastery called.

The laudable magnanimity of the pope proceeded still farther in the promotion of justice, to the end that he might repress the boundless and innate cupidity of the Romans.

In his time there were no snares laid for the traveller in the neighbourhood of Rome; no assaults on him when he arrived within the city. The offerings to St. Peter, which, through insolence, and for their lusts, the powerful used to pillage, basely injuring such preceding popes as dared to complain, Calixtus brought back to their proper use; that is to say, for the public service of the ruler of the holy see. Neither could the desire of amassing money, nor the love of it when collected, produce in his breast any thing repugnant to justice: so that he admonished the English pilgrims, on account of the length of the journey, rather to go to St. David’s than to Rome; allowing the benefit of the same benediction to such as went twice to that place, as resulted to those who went once to Rome. Moreover that inveterate controversy between the empire and the priesthood, concerning investiture, which for more than fifty years had created commotions, to such a degree, that, when any favourer of this heresy was cut off by disease or death, immediately, like the hydra’s heads, many sprouted up afresh; this man by his diligence cut off, brought low, rooted out, or plucked up: beating down the crest of German fierceness by the vigorous stroke of the papal hatchet. This, the declaration of the emperor, and of the pope, will show to the world in the following words; ”I, Calixtus, bishop, servant of the servants of God, do grant unto you, my beloved son, Henry Augustus, by the grace of God, emperor of the Romans, that the election of bishops and abbots of the German empire, who pertain to the regality, shall take place in your presence without simony, or any violence: so that if any discord shall arise between the parties, you may give your assent, or aid, to the worthier side, by the counsel or judgment of the metropolitan or suffragans: but the elect shall receive the royalties from you, and do whatever, by these, he is lawfully bound to perform to you: but any one consecrated in the other parts of the empire, shall, within six months, receive his royalties from you, by your sceptre, and do whatever, by these, he is lawfully bound to perform to you; all things excepted which are known to belong to the Roman church. Moreover in those matters whereof you have complained, and demanded my assistance, I will afford you aid according to the duty of my office. I grant firm peace to you and to all, who are, or were aiding you at the time of this dispute. Farewell.”

“In the name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, I Henry Augustus, by the grace of God, emperor of the Romans, for the love of God, and of the holy Roman church, and of the sovereign pope Calixtus; and for the release of my soul, do grant unto God, and the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and to the holy catholic church, all investitures by the ring and staff, and do allow canonical election, and free consecration to take place, in all churches of my kingdom or empire. The possessions and regality of St. Peter, which, from the beginning of this dispute to the present day, have been taken away, either in my father’s or my own time, and which I now hold, I restore to the same holy Roman church: and such as I do not possess, I will faithfully assist her in recovering. And of the possessions of all other churches, princes, and others, clergy as well as lay, which have been forfeited in this contention by the advice of my princes, or by course of law, such as I have, I will restore; and such as I do not possess, I will faithfully assist in recovering. And I grant firm peace to the sovereign pope Calixtus, and to the holy Roman church, and to all, who are, or have been on her side: and I will faithfully assist her in every thing in which she requires assistance: and will afford her due justice in such matters whereof she shall have complained. All these affairs were transacted by the consent and counsel of the nobility, whose names are here subscribed. Albert, archbishop of Mentz: Frederic, archbishop of Cologne: the bishop of Ratisbon: the bishop of Bamburg: Bruno, bishop of Spires: the bishop of Augsburg: the bishop of Utrecht: the bishop of Constance: the abbot of Fulda: duke Herman: duke Frederic: Boniface the marquis: Theobald the marquis: Ernulf count palatine: Othbert count palatine: earl Berengar.”

The inveterate malady which had disturbed the church being thus cured, every true Christian greatly rejoiced that this emperor, who, in military glory trod fast upon the footsteps of Charles the Great, neither degenerated from his devotion to God; for, in addition to nobly quelling the rebellions of his German empire, he subdued his Italian dominions in such wise as none had done before. Entering Italy thrice, within the space of ten years, he restrained the pride of the cities: at his first coming he exterminated by fire, Novaria, Placentia, Arezzo: at the second, and third, Cremona, and Mantua; and quieted the sedition at Ravenna, by a siege of a few days’ continuance: for the Pisans and Pavians, with the people of Milan, embraced his friendship, rather than encounter the weight of his enmity. The daughter of the king of England, who, as I said before, was married to him, resembled her father in fortitude, and her mother in sanctity: piety and assiduity vied with each other in her character, nor was it easy to discern, which of her good qualities was most commendable.

At that time lived William earl of Poitou; a giddy unsettled kind of man; who, after he returned from Jerusalem, as the preceding book relates, wallowed as completely in the sty of vice, as though he had believed that all things were governed by chance, and not by Providence. Moreover, he rendered his absurdities pleasant, by a kind of satirical wit: exciting the loud laughter of his hearers. Finally he erected, near a castle called Niort, certain buildings after the form of a little monastery, and used to talk idly about placing therein an abbey of prostitutes, naming several of the most abandoned courtezans, one as abbess, another as prioress; and declaring that he would fill up the rest of the offices in like manner. Repudiating his lawful consort, he carried off the wife of a certain viscount, of whom he was so desperately enamoured, that he placed on his shield the figure of this woman; affirming, that he was desirous of bearing her in battle, in the same manner as she bore him at another time. Being reproved and excommunicated for this by Girard bishop of Angouleme, and ordered to renounce this illicit amour, “You shall curl with a comb,” said he, “the hair that has forsaken your forehead, ere I repudiate the viscountess;” thus taunting a man, whose scanty hair required no comb. Nor did he less when Peter bishop of Poitou, a man of noted sanctity, rebuked him still more freely; and, when contumacious, began to excommunicate him publicly: for, becoming furious, he seized the prelate by the hair, and flourishing his drawn sword: “You shall die this instant,” said he, “unless you give me absolution.” The bishop, then, counterfeitiag alarm, and asking leave to speak, boldly completed the remainder of the form of excommunication; suspending the earl so entirely from all Christian intercourse, that he should neither dare to associate, nor speak with any one, unless he speedily recanted. Thus fulfilling his duty, as it appeared to him, and thirsting for the honour of martyrdom, he stretched out his neck, saying, “Strike, strike.” But William, becoming somewhat softened, regained his usual pleasantry, and said, “Certainly I hate you so cordially, that I will not dignify you by the effects of my anger, nor shall you ever enter heaven by the agency of my hand.” After a short time, however, tainted by the infectious insinuations of this abandoned woman, he drove the rebuker of his incest into banishment: who there, making a happy end, manifested to the world, by great and frequent miracles, how gloriously he survives in heaven. On hearing this, the earl abstained not from his inconsiderate speeches, openly declaring, that he was sorry he had not despatched him before; that so his pure soul might chiefly have to thank him, through whose violence he had acquired eternal happiness. The following verses are a tribute of applause to the life and death of Peter. It was said of him, when alive, —

Coarse food, his body: and the poor, his store Consumed: while study morals gave, and lore. Virtues he reared, checked faults, encouraged right. And law: in peace, not tumult, did delight. Help to the wretch, to sinners pardon gives, And, for his friend, his ardour ever lives. Busy for man was Martha; Mary’s heart, Intent on God, assumed the better part: So ’twas in him; for God his soul possessed, Unmixed: his friendless neighbour had the rest, Michael he loved: nor Leah’s hopes deprived Of joy: another Jacob, doubly-wived; Dotes on the one, for beauty’s matchless grace; Regards the other, for her numerous race.
And when dead, it was said of him, —

Poor and confined, and exiled from his see,
The virtuous prelate bore each injury:
Now rich, free, fixed, his sufferings are made even,
For Christ he follows, and inherits heaven.
His life, religion: and a judgment sound,
His mind adorned; his works his fame resound,
Reading his knowledge, and a golden mean
His words, arranged: in his decisions seen
Was law: severity his justice armed,
And graceful beauty in his person charmed:
His breast was piety’s perpetual stand,
The pastor’s crosier well-became his hand:
The pope promotes him, but the earl deprives:
Through Christ to joy eternal he survives.

The contemporaries and associates in religion of this Peter, were Robert de Arbrisil, and Bernard abbot of Tyron, the first of whom was the most celebrated and eloquent preacher of these times: so much did he excel, not in frothy, but honeyed diction, that from the gifts of persons vying with each other in making presents, he founded that noble monastery of nuns at Font-Evraud, in which every secular pleasure being extirpated, no other place possesses such multitudes of devout women, fervent in their obedience to God. For in addition to the rejection of other allurements, how great is this ! that they never speak but in the chapter: the rule of constant silence being enjoined by the superior, because, when this is broken, women are prone to vain talk. The other, a noted admirer of poverty, leaving a most opulent monastery, retired with a few followers into a woody and sequestered place, and there, “As the light could not be hidden under a bushel,” vast numbers flocking to him, he founded a monastery, more celebrated for the piety and number of the monks, than for the splendour and extent of its riches.

And, that England may not be supposed destitute of virtue, who can pass by Serlo, abbot of Gloucester, who advanced that place, almost from meanness and insignificance, to a glorious pitch ? All England is acquainted with the considerate rule professed at Gloucester, which the weak may embrace, and the strong cannot despise. Their leader, Serlo’s axiom, was, “Moderation in all things.” Although mild to the good, he was fierce and terrific to the haughty; to corroborate which, I shall insert the verses of Godfrey the prior concerning him: —

The church’s bulwark fell, when Serlo died, Virtue’s sharp sword, and justice’s fond pride: Speaker of truth, no vain discourse he loved. And pleased the very princes he reproved: A hasty judgment, or disordered state Of life, or morals, were his utter hate. The third of March was the propitious day, When Serlo wing, through death, to life his way.

Who can in silence pass Lanzo, who flourished at that time, equal to any in sanctity ? A monk of Clugny, and prior of St. Pancras in England; who, by his worth, so ennobled that place with the grace of monastic reverence, that it might be justly declared the peculiar habitation of virtue. As nothing I can say will equal the merits of his life, I shall merely subjoin, in the language I found it, an account of his death; that it may plainly appear, how gloriously he had lived, who died so highly favoured.

William of Malmesbury

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29 January, 2015
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