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10 November 2012


Wiliam of Newburgh:
In these days a wonderful event befell in the county of Buckingham, which I, in the first instance, partially heard from certain friends, and was afterwards more fully informed of by Stephen, the venerable archdeacon of that province. A certain man died, and, according to custom, by the honorable exertion of his wife arid kindred, was laid in the tomb on the eve of the Lord's Ascension. On the following night, however, having entered the bed where his wife was reposing, he not only terrified her on awaking, but nearly crushed her by the insupportable weight of his body. The next night, also, he afflicted the astonished woman in the same manner, who, frightened at the danger, as the struggle of the third night drew near, took care to remain awake herself, and surround herself with watchful companions. Still he came; but being repulsed by the shouts of the watchers, and seeing that he was prevented from doing mischief, he departed. Thus driven off from his wife, he harassed in a similar manner his own brothers, who were dwelling in the same street; but they, following the cautious example of the woman, passed the nights in wakefulness with their companions, ready to meet and repel the expected danger. He appeared, notwithstanding, as if with the hope of surprising them should they be overcome with drowsiness; but being repelled by the carefulness and valor of the watchers, he rioted among the animals, both indoors and outdoors, as their wildness and unwonted movements testified.

Having thus become a like serious nuisance to his friends and neighbors, he imposed upon all the same necessity for nocturnal watchfulness; and in that very street a general watch was kept in every house, each being fearful of his approach unawares. After having for some time rioted in this manner during the night-time alone, he began to wander abroad in daylight, formidable indeed to all, but visible only to a few; for oftentimes, on his encountering a number of persons, he would appear to one or two only though at the same time his presence was not concealed from the rest. At length the inhabitants, alarmed beyond measure, thought it advisable to seek counsel of the church; and they detailed the whole affair, with tearful lamentation, to the above-mentioned archdeacon, at a meeting of the clergy over which he was solemnly presiding. Whereupon he immediately intimated in writing the whole circumstances of the case to the venerable bishop of Lincoln, who was then resident in London, whose opinion and judgment on so unwonted a matter he was very properly of opinion should be waited for: but the bishop, being amazed at his account, held a searching investigation with his companions; and there were some who said that such things had often befallen in England, and cited frequent examples to show that tranquillity could not be restored to the people until the body of this most wretched man were dug up and burnt. This proceeding, however, appeared indecent and improper in the last degree to the reverend bishop, who shortly after addressed a letter of absolution, written with his own hand, to the archdeacon, in order that it might be demonstrated by inspection in what state the body of that man really was; and he commanded his tomb to be opened, and the letter having been laid upon his breast, to be again closed: so the sepulcher having been opened, the corpse was found as it had been placed there, and the charter of absolution having been deposited upon its breast, and the tomb once more closed, he was thenceforth never more seen to wander, nor permitted to inflict annoyance or terror upon any one.

In the northern parts of England, also, we know that another event, not unlike this and equally wonderful, happened about the same time. At the mouth of the river Tweed, and in the jurisdiction of the king of Scotland, there stands a noble city which is called Berwick. In this town a certain man, very wealthy, but as it afterwards appeared a great rogue, having been buried, after his death sallied forth (by the contrivance, as it is believed, of Satan) out of his grave by night, and was borne hither and thither, pursued by a pack of dogs with loud barkings; thus striking great terror into the neighbors, and returning to his tomb before daylight. After this had continued for several days, and no one dared to be found out of doors after dusk - for each dreaded an encounter with this deadly monster - the higher and middle classes of the people held a necessary investigation into what was requisite to he done; the more simple among them fearing, in the event of negligence, to be soundly beaten by this prodigy of the grave; but the wiser shrewdly concluding that were a remedy further delayed, the atmosphere, infected and corrupted by the constant whirlings through it of the pestiferous corpse, would engender disease and death to a great extent; the necessity of providing against which was shown by frequent examples in similar cases. They, therefore, procured ten young men renowned for boldness, who were to dig up the horrible carcass, and, having cut it limb from limb, reduce it into food and fuel for the flames. When this was done, the commotion ceased. Moreover, it is stated that the monster, while it was being borne about (as it is said) by Satan, had told certain persons whom it had by chance encountered, that as long as it remained unburned the people should have no peace. Being burnt, tranquility appeared to be restored to them; but a pestilence, which arose in consequence, carried off the greater portion of them: for never did it so furiously rage elsewhere, though it was at that time general throughout all the borders of England, as shall be more fully explained in its proper place.

It would not be easy to believe that the corpses of the dead should sally (I know not by what agency) from their graves, and should wander about to the terror or destruction of the living, and again return to the tomb, which of its own accord spontaneously opened to receive them, did not frequent examples, occurring in our own times, suffice to establish this fact, to the truth of which there is abundant testimony. It would be strange if such things should have happened formerly, since we can find no evidence of them in the works of ancient authors, whose vast labor it was to commit to writing every occurrence worthy of memory; for if they never neglected to register even events of moderate interest, how could they have suppressed a fact at once so amazing and horrible, supposing it to have happened in their day? Moreover, were I to write down all the instances of this kind which I have ascertained to have befallen in our times, the undertaking would be beyond measure laborious and troublesome; so I will fain add two more only (and these of recent occurrence) to those I have already narrated, and insert them in our history, as occasion offers, as a warning to posterity.

A few years ago the chaplain of a certain illustrious lady, casting off mortality, was consigned to the tomb in that noble monastery which is called Melrose. This man, having little respect for the sacred order to which he belonged, was excessively secular in his pursuits, and - what especially blackens his reputation as a minister of the holy sacrament - so addicted to the vanity of the chase as to be designated by many by the infamous title of Hundeprest, or the dog-priest; and this occupation, during his lifetime, was either laughed at by men, or considered in a worldly view; but after his death - as the event showed - the guiltiness of it was brought to light: for, issuing from the grave at night-time, he was prevented by the meritorious resistance of its holy inmates from injuring or terrifying any one with in the monastery itself; whereupon he wandered beyond the walls, and hovered chiefly, with loud groans and horrible murmurs, round the bedchamber of his former mistress. She, after this had frequently occurred, becoming exceedingly terrified, revealed her fears or danger to one of the friars who visited her about the business of the monastery; demanding with tears that prayers more earnest than usual should be poured out to the Lord in her behalf as for one in agony. With whose anxiety the friar - for she appeared deserving of the best endeavors, on the part of the holy convent of that place, by her frequent donations to it - piously and justly sympathized, and promised a speedy remedy through the mercy of the Most High Provider for all.

Thereupon, returning to the monastery, he obtained the companionship of another friar, of equally determined spirit, and two powerful young men, with whom he intended with constant vigilance to keep guard over the cemetery where that miserable priest lay buried. These four, therefore, furnished with arms and animated with courage, passed the night in that place, safe in the assistance which each afforded to the other. Midnight had now passed by, and no monster appeared; upon which it came to pass that three of the party, leaving him only who had sought their company on the spot, departed into the nearest house, for the purpose, as they averred, of warming themselves, for the night was cold. As soon as this man was left alone in this place, the devil, imagining that he had found the right moment for breaking his courage, incontinently roused up his own chosen vessel, who appeared to have reposed longer than usual. Having beheld this from afar, he grew stiff with terror by reason of his being alone; but soon recovering his courage, and no place of refuge being at hand, he valiantly withstood the onset of the fiend, who came rushing upon him with a terrible noise, and he struck the axe which he wielded in his hand deep into his body. On receiving this wound, the monster groaned aloud, and turning his back, fled with a rapidity not at all interior to that with which he had advanced, while the admirable man urged his flying foe from behind, and compelled him to seek his own tomb again; which opening of its own accord, and receiving its guest from the advance of the pursuer, immediately appeared to close again with the same facility. In the meantime, they who, impatient of the coldness of the night, had retreated to the fire ran up, though somewhat too late, and, having heard what had happened, rendered needful assistance in digging up and removing from the midst of the tomb the accursed corpse at the earliest dawn. When they had divested it of the clay cast forth with it, they found the huge wound it had received, and a great quantity of gore which had flowed from it in the sepulchre; and so having carried it away beyond the walls of the monastery and burnt it, they scattered the ashes to the winds. These things I have explained in a simple narration, as I myself heard them recounted by religious men.

Another event, also, not unlike this, but more pernicious in its effects, happened at the castle which is called Anantis, as I have heard from an aged monk who lived in honor and authority in those parts, and who related this event as having occurred in his own presence. A certain man of evil conduct flying, through fear of his enemies or the law, out of the province of York, to the lord of the before-named castle, took up his abode there, and having cast upon a service befitting his humor, labored hard to increase rather than correct his own evil propensities. He married a wife, to his own ruin indeed, as it afterwards appeared; for, hearing certain rumors respecting her, he was vexed with the spirit of Jealousy. Anxious to ascertain the truth of these reports, he pretended to be going on a journey from which he would not return for some days; but coming back in the evening, he was privily introduced into his bedroom by a maid-servant, who was in the secret, and lay hidden on a beam overhanging, his wife's chamber, that he might prove with his own eyes if anything were done to the dishonor of his marriage-bed. Thereupon beholding his wife in the act of fornication with a young man of the neighborhood, and in his indignation forgetful of his purpose, he fell, and was dashed heavily to the ground, near where they were lying.

The adulterer himself leaped up and escaped; but the wife, cunningly dissembling the fact, busied herself in gently raising her fallen husband from the earth. As soon as he had partially recovered, he upbraided her with her adultery, and threatened punishment; but she answering, Explain yourself, my lord, said she; you are speaking unbecomingly which must be imputed not to you, but to the sickness with which you are troubled. Being much shaken by the fall, and his whole body stupefied, he was attacked with a disease, insomuch that the man whom I have mentioned as having related these facts to me visiting him in the pious discharge of his duties, admonished him to make confession of his sins, and receive the Christian Eucharist in proper form: but as he was occupied in thinking about what had happened to him, and what his wife had said, put off the wholesome advice until the morrow - that morrow which in this world he was fated never to behold! - for the next night, destitute of Christian grace, and a prey to his well-earned misfortunes, he shared the deep slumber of death. A Christian burial, indeed, he received, though unworthy of it; but it did not much benefit him: for issuing, by the handiwork of Satan, from his grave at night-time, and pursued by a pack of dogs with horrible barkings, he wandered through the courts and around the houses while all men made fast their doors, and did not dare to go abroad on any errand whatever from the beginning of the night until the sunrise, for fear of meeting and being beaten black and blue by this vagrant monster. But those precautions were of no avail; for the atmosphere, poisoned by the vagaries of this foul carcass, filled every house with disease and death by its pestiferous breath.

Already did the town, which but a short time ago was populous, appear almost deserted; while those of its inhabitants who had escaped destruction migrated to other parts of the country, lest they too should die. The man from whose mouth I heard these things, sorrowing over this desolation of his parish, applied himself to summon a meeting of wise and religious men on that sacred day which is called Palm Sunday, in order that they might impart healthful counsel in so great a dilemma, and refresh the spirits of the miserable remnant of the people with consolation, however imperfect. Having delivered a discourse to the inhabitants, after the solemn ceremonies of the holy day had been properly performed, he invited his clerical guests, together with the other persons of honor who were present, to his table. While they were thus banqueting, two young men (brothers), who had lost their father by this plague, mutually encouraging one another, said, This monster has already destroyed our father, and will speedily destroy us also, unless we take steps to prevent it. Let us, therefore, do some bold action which will at once ensure our own safety and revenge our father's death. There is no one to hinder us; for in the priest's house a feast is in progress, and the whole town is as silent as if deserted. Let us dig up this baneful pest, and burn it with fire.

Thereupon snatching up a spade of but indifferent sharpness of edge, and hastening to the cemetery, they began to dig; and whilst they were thinking that they would have to dig to a greater depth, they suddenly, before much of the earth had been removed, laid bare the corpse, swollen to an enormous corpulence, with its countenance beyond measure turgid and suffused with blood; while the napkin in which it had been wrapped appeared nearly torn to pieces. The young men, however, spurred on by wrath, feared not, and inflicted a wound upon the senseless carcass, out of which incontinently flowed such a stream of blood, that it might have been taken for a leech filled with the blood of many persons. Then, dragging it beyond the village, they speedily constructed a funeral pile; and upon one of them saying that the pestilential body would not burn unless its heart were torn out, the other laid open its side by repeated blows of the blunted spade, and, thrusting in his hand, dragged out the accursed heart. This being torn piecemeal, and the body now consigned to the flames, it was announced to the guests what was going on, who, running thither, enabled themselves to testify henceforth to the circumstances. When that infernal hell-hound had thus been destroyed, the pestilence which was rife among the people ceased, as if the air, which had been corrupted by the contagious motions of the dreadful corpse, were already purified by the fire which had consumed it. These facts having been thus expounded, let us return to the regular thread of history.

7 November 2012


British Library:
The Luttrell Psalter is one of the most famous medieval manuscripts because of its rich illustrations of everyday life in the 14th century. It was made in the diocese of Lincoln for Sir Geoffrey Luttrell (1276-1345) of Irnham, probably sometime between 1325 and 1335.

The text was written throughout by one scribe and illuminated by at least five different artists. The style of the Psalter represents the last stage of the highly accomplished East Anglian School of manuscript illumination. One master artist completed a large section including the lavish dedication miniature showing the Psalter's patron, Sir Geoffrey Luttrell, fully armed and mounted on a splendid war-horse.

6 November 2012






The Art Newspaper:
Known as the Grey Passion, the 12-panel cycle was painted in Augsburg from 1494 to 1500... In 2003, the Stuttgart Staatsgalerie purchased the Grey Passion ... from the Fürstenburg family of Donaue­schingen, in southern Germany. It had been acquired by the family in 1853 from the Munich dealer Montmorillon, but its earlier provenance is unknown. By this time the two double-sided wings, with three images on each side, had been sawn down, creating 12 separate panels. The splitting of the wings caused considerable damage. The latticed support battens put a strain on the panels, causing the paint layer to crack.

Originally the two wings would have come from a triptych, and the central part would presumably have represented the Crucifixion. It was probably a sculpture, most likely by the Augsburg sculptor, Gregor Erhart, who worked with Holbein. The publicity surrounding Stuttgart’s forthcoming exhibition of the panels could lead to the identification of the lost 500-year-old Crucifixion.

The 12 panels suffered two damaging restorations. In 1918, Paul Gerhardt restored nine panels, applying too much overpaint, and painting six with green backgrounds and three with blue. The backgrounds of the remaining panels had become almost black.

In the 1940s two of the panels worked on by Gerhardt were restored again by Marga Eschenbach. Convinced that gilded haloes in the Descent from the Cross and the Flagellation were later additions, she removed them. Other specialists believed that haloes were part of Holbein’s original composition.

As a result, only three panels were left relatively unrestored (but with some damage over the centuries) and each had a very different appearance, making them difficult to read as an ensemble. Although the figures’ flesh tones survived in reasonable condition, the draperies have been stripped of their glazes.

Infrared reflectography showed that the underdrawing was executed in silverpoint, an unusual medium for this purpose at the time. It also revealed changes to the original composition, such as the soldier’s hand which held the rope around Christ’s neck in the Arrest of Christ. The underdrawings also show a characteristic feature of Holbein’s finished drawings on paper: hooks at the end of drapery, which confirms that he did the work.

Conservators used solvents to laboriously remove later overpaint and yellowed varnish, and repainted lost areas in reversible watercolours. The Flagellation and The Descent from the Cross required the most retouching.

5 November 2012


An excerpt from the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of William Durandus of Mende, Englished by John Mason Neale & Benjamin Webb:
Here beginneth the First Book of Gulielmus Durandus his Rationale of the Divine Offices.

I. All things, as many as pertain to offices and matters ecclesiastical, be full of divine significations and mysteries, and overflow with a celestial sweetness; if so be that a man be diligent in his study of them, and know how to draw HONEY FROM THE ROCK, AND OIL FROM THE HARDEST STONE. But who KNOWETH THE ORDINANCES OF HEATEN, OR CAN FIX THE REASONS THEREOF UPON THE EARTH? For he that prieth into their majesty, is overwhelmed by the glory of them. Of a truth the WELL IS DEEP, AND I HAVE NOTHING TO DRAW WITH; unless He giveth it unto me Who GIVETH TO ALL MEN LIBERALLY, AND UPBBAIDETH NOT: so that WHILE I JOURNEY THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS I may DRAW WATER WITH JOY OUT OF THE WELLS OF SALTATION. Wherefore, albeit of the things handed down from our forefathers, capable we are not to explain all, yet if among them there be any thing which is done without reason, it should forthwith be put away. Wherefore I, William, by the alone tender mercy of God, Bishop of the Holy Church which is in Mende, will knock diligently at the door, if so be that THE KEY OF DAVID will open unto me: that the King may BRING ME IN TO HIS TREASURY, and shew unto me the heavenly pattern which was shewed unto Moses in the Mount: so that I may learn those things which pertain to rites ecclesiastical, whereof they teach and what they signify: and that I may be able plainly to reveal and make manifest the reasons of them, by His help, WHO HATH ORDAINED OUT OF THE MOUTH OF BABES AND SUCKLINGS: WHOSE SPIRIT BLOWETH WHERE IT LISTETH, dividing to EACH SEVERALLY AS IT WILL to the praise and glory of the Trinity.

2. Sacraments we have received to be signs or figures, not in themselves virtues, but the significations of virtues, by which men are taught as by letters. Now of signs there be that are natural, and there be that are positive : concerning which, and also of the nature of a Sacrament, we shall speak hereafter.

3. Therefore the Priests and the Bishops to whom IT IS GIVEN TO KNOW THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD as He saith in Luke, and who be the stewards and dispensers of sacred things, ought both to understand the sacred mysteries, and to shine in the virtues which they signify: so that by their light others may be illuminated: otherwise THEY BE BLIND LEADERS OF THE BLIND. As saith the Prophet, LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED, THAT THEY SEE NOT. But, woe therefore is me! in these days they apprehend but little of those things which day by day they handle and perform, what they signify, and wherefore they were instituted: so that the saying of the prophet seemeth to be fulfilled, AS IS THE PEOPLE, SO IS THE PRIEST. For when they bear the bread of Prothesis to the Lord's Table and the Mysteries, they understand not its signification more than brute beasts which carry bread for the use of others. Of which ignorance they shall give account in the day of vengeance and wrath, WHEN THE CEDARS OF PARADISE SHALL TREMBLE, WHAT SHALL THE BUSH OF THE DESERT DO? For to them is that saying of the Prophet, THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN MY WAYS: SO I SWEAR IN MY WRATH, IF THEY SHALL ENTER INTO MY REST.

4. Now the Professors of the arts liberal, and of all other arts, seek how they may clothe, support, and adorn with causes and hidden reasons those things which be nakedly and without ornament therein set forth; painters moreover, and mechanics and handicraftsmen of what sort soever, study in every variety of their works to render and to have at hand probable reasons thereof. So, also, unseemly is it to the magistrate to be ignorant of this world's laws; and to the pleader to know nothing of the law, wherein he is exercised.

6. But although learning be necessary unto priests for the sake of doctrine: yet must not scholastics think slightingly of unlettered Priests; according to the saying in Exodus, THOU SHALT NOT REVILE THE GODS. Whence, saith S. Augustine, they shall not deride if they hear the priests and ministers of the Church, either invoking God with barbarisms and solecisms, or not understanding and misdividing the words which they pronounce. Not but that such things are to be corrected ; bat they must firstly be tolerated of the more learned. But that which Priests ought to learn, shall be said below.

6, Furthermore, the symbolism which existeth in things and offices ecclesiastical, is often not seen, both because figures have departed, and now it is the time of truth; and also because we ought not to judaise. But, albeit those types of which the truth is made manifest have departed, yet even to this time manifold truth is concealed, which we see not; wherefore the Church useth figures. For so by white vestments we understand the beauty in which our souls shall be arrayed, or the glory of our immortality, which we cannot manifestly behold: and in the Mass, by the oblation on the Altar, the Passion of Christ is represented, that it be held in the memory more faithfully and more firmly.

7. Furthermore, of the things which be commanded in the law, some be moral, and others mystical. They be moral which inform the morals, and are to be understood in the simple tenour of the words: LOVE GOD: HONOUR THY FATHER: THOU SHALT DO NO MURDER, and such like. Mystical be such as are typical: where something is set forth beyond the literal meaning. Of these, some be sacramental, and some ceremonial. Sacramental be such as may be accounted for, why thus they were ordered: such as Circumcision, and the observance of the Sabbath, and the like. Ceremonial be they for which no reason can he given. Such be, THOU SHALT NOT PLOUGH WITH AN OX AND AN ASS TOGETHER: THOU SHALT NOT WEAR A GARMENT OF LINEN AND WOOLLEN MIXED.

8. Now in things that are moral commands, the law hath received no change: but in things sacramental and ceremonial its outward form is altered; yet not one of the mystical significations is done away: for the law is not done away. Though the PRIESTHOOD BEING CHANGED, THERE IS MADE OF NECESSITY A CHANGE LIKEWISE OF THE LAW.

9. Now, in Holy Scriptures there be divers senses: as historic, allegoric, tropologic, and anagogic. Whence, according to Boethius, all Divine authority ariseth from a sense either historical or allegorical or from both. And, according to S. Hierom, we ought to study Holy Scriptures in three ways: firstly, according to the letter; secondly, after the allegory, that is, the spiritual meaning; thirdly, according to the blessedness of the future.

History is things signified by words: as when a plain relation is made how certain events took place; as when the children of Israel, after their deliverence from Egypt, made a Tabernacle to the Lord. And history is derived from istorein, which is to gesticulate: whence gesticulators, (that is, players) are called histriones.

10. Allegory is when one thing is said and another meant: as when by one deed another is intended: which other thing, if it be visible, the whole is simply an allegory, if invisible and heavenly, an anagoge. Also an allegory is when one state of things is described by another: as when the patience of Christ, and the sacraments of the Church are set forth by mystical words or deeds. As in that place: THERE SHALL COME FORTH A ROD OF THE STEM OF JESSE, AND A BRANCH SHALL GROW OUT OF HIS ROOTS: which is, in plain language, The Virgin Mary shall be born of the family of David, who was the son of Jesse. [This is an example of mysticism in words.] Truth is also set forth by mystic deeds: as the children of Israel's freedom from Egyptian slavery, wrought by tbe blood of a lamb, signifieth that the Church is freed by the Passion of Christ from demoniacal servitude. The word allegory is derived from the Greek allon, which means foreign, and gore which is sense; that is, a foreign sense.

11. Tropology is an injunction unto morality; or a moral speech, either with a symbolical or an obvious bearing, devised to evince and instruct our behaviour. Symbolical; as where he saith, LET THY GARMENTS BE ALWAYS WHITE: AND LET THE OIL OF THY HEAD NEVER FAIL. That is, let all thy works be pure, and charity never fail from thy mind. And again, It is fit that David should slay the Goliath within us: that is, that humbleness may subdue our pride. Obvious as in that saying, DEAL THY BREAD TO THE HUNGRY. And in that text: LET US NOT LOVE IN WORD, NEITHER IN TONGUE: BUT IN DEED AND TRUTH. Now tropology hath his name from tropos, a turning, and logos, which is a discourse. a foreign sense.

13. Anagogue is so called from ana, which is upwards, and goge, a leading: as it were an upward leading. Whence the anagogic sense is that which leadeth from the visible to the invisible: as light, made the first day, signifieth a thing invisible, namely the angelic nature which was made in the beginning. Anagoge, therefore, is that sense which leadeth the mind upwards to heavenly things: that is to the Trinity and the orders of angels, and speaketh concerning future rewards, and the future life which is in the heaven: and it useth both obvious and mystical expressions; obvious, as in that saying, BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART: FOR THEY SHALL SEE GOD: mystical, as that, BLESSED ARE THEY THAT HAVE MADE WHITE THEIR ROBES: THAT THEY MAY HAVE RIGHT UNTO THE TREE OF LIFE, AND ENTER IN THROUGH THE GATE INTO THE CITY. Which signifieth, Blessed are they who make pure their thoughts, that they may have a right to see GOD, WHO IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE: and after the example of the fathers, enter into the kingdom of heaven. a foreign sense.

In like manner, Jerusalem is understood historically of that earthly city whither pilgrims journey; allegorically, of the Church militant ; tropologically, of every faithful soul; anagogically, of the celestial Jerusalem, which is our Country. Of these things, more examples may be seen in the lessons for Holy Saturday. But in this work many senses are applied: and speedy changes are made from one to another, as the diligent reader will perceive.

13. For as none is prohibited from ufnng divers grounds of exception and manners of defence, so neither are they forbidden to employ divers expositions in the praise of God, so that faith be not injured.

14. Notice must also be taken of the variety of rites used in the divine worship. For nearly every Church hath her own observances, and attacheth to them a full meaning of her own: neither is it thought blameworthy or absurd to worship with various chants, or modulations of the voice, nor yet with different observances: when the Church Triumphant herself is surrounded, according to the Prophet, with the like diversity, and in the administration of the Sacraments themselves a variety of customs is tolerated, and that rightly.

15. Whence, according to Austin of ecclesiastical institutions in the Divine Office, some we have received from Holy Scriptures: some from the traditions or writings of the Apostles, being confirmed by their successors: some, moreover, of which however the institution is unknown, are confirmed by custom and approved by use: and to them equal observance is due as to the others.

16. Let not, then, the reader be angry if he perchance read in this work of observances which he never saw in his own Church: or does not read of some that are there in use. For we endeavour not to go through the particular rites of particular places, but those which be more common and usual: because we labour to set forth that doctrine which is of universal, and not that which is of particular bearing, nor would it be possible for us to examine the particular rites of every Church. Therefore we have determined for the health of our soul and the benefit of the readers, to set forth and to arrange the secret mysteries of divine offices in a clear state, to the best of our power and to inculcate and thoroughly to explain that which appears necessary for ecclesiastics, towards the understanding of the daily service: even as it is well known that, when in a different condition of life, we did faithfully in our Mirror of Magistrates do the like for the use of those who were employed in secular courts.

17. But it must diligently be noted that in the divine offices themselves many ceremonies there be of usual employment which have, from their institution, respect neither to a moral nor mystical signification. Of these, some are known to hare arisen of necessity: some of congruity; some of the difference of the Old and New Testament; some of convenience; and some for the mere honour and reverence of the offices themselves: whence saith Blessed Austin, so may things are varied by the different customs of divers place, that seldom or never can those causes be discovered which men followed in constituting them.

18. This work is described as a Rationale. For as in the BREASTPLATE OF JUDGMENT which the Jewish high priest wore was written manifestation and truth, so here the reasons of the variations in Divine Offices and their truths are set forth and manifested: which the Prelates and Priests of Churches ought faithfully to preserve in the shrine of their breasts: and as in the breast plate there was a stone by the splendour of which the children of Israel knew that God was well pleased with them: so also the pious reader who hath been taught the mysteries of the Divine Offices from the clearness of this work will know that God is favourably disposed towards us, unless we rashly incur His indignation by our offence and fault. The breast plate was woven of four colours and of gold: and here, as we said before, the principles on which are founded the variations in ecclesiastical offices, take the hues of four senses, the historic, the allegoric, the tropologic, and the anagogic, with faith as the groundwork.

19. It is divided into eight parts: which we shall go through, by the Lord's favour, in order. The first treateth of churches, and ecclesiastical places and ornaments: and of consecrations and sacraments. The second of the members of the Church, and their duties: the third of sacerdotal and other vestments: the fourth of the Mass, and of the things therein performed: the fifth of the other divine offices: the sixth of the Sundays and holydays, and Feasts specially pertaining to our Lord: the seventh of Saints' Days, and the feast of the dedication of a church, and the office of the dead : the eighth of the method of computing time, and the calendar.

4 November 2012


3 November 2012


Dorotha & Gary Griesser:
Thomas Zane Roberts built a house on Middle Creek Road in Belleview (Boone County, KY) in 1900. He was creative, so he hand-carved elegant large letters over his fireplace that spelled GOD. He also carved his name and the building date over a large stained glass window in the stairway of his now personalized house. He built a sophisticated draft for his fireplace in the living room. He built what we now call pocket doors to separate the dining room from the kitchen.

Roberts was a devout Christian man. He served as a deacon in the Belleview Baptist Church and taught Sunday school for 54 years. He never missed services, even in the worst of weather.

One bright Sunday morning, neighbors noticed him working in his field on their way to church. They commented on his working on Sunday. He replied that he thought the day was Saturday. Embarassed, he resolved to never lose track of time. Thomas Roberts began building a timepiece that would not only tell him the time of day but the day of the week (a.m. and p.m.), the phase of the moon and the position of the planets in relation to the earth and sun.

He studied all the astronomy books he could find. He built an observation tower on top of the hill behind his house, complete with a telescope, where he could observe and record his findings. He began calculating mathematical equations to determine gear ratios. He precisely cut gears and cogs from brass plates. His work was so nearly perfect that even leap year was included. After one year of planning and calculating and one year of construction, his clock, more than six feet tall, began moving its intricate parts. Since 1884, it has continued to operate with significant accuracy.
Thomas Zane Roberts died in 1925; the house and clock were then acquired by his nephew. In 1975, the clock was purchased by Northern Kentucky University. Since 1991, it has been on display in the Heritage Bank in Burlington, KY.


Sequence by Adam of St. Victor:

Gaude, superna civitas,
Nova frequentans cantica;
Accrescit tibi dignitas,
Murorum surgit fabrica.

Faber et Fabri filius
Te restaurent in melius;
Fabri mens et industria
Relucet in materia.

In tua transit moenia
Marcellus, gemma praesulum.
Tibi praesens Ecclesia
Praesentat hunc carbunculum.

Chorus, concordi spiritu,
Psallat in ejus transitu!
Grex pastoris miracula
Retractet mente sedula.

Dum ferrum candens ponderat,
Adhuc aetate tenera,
Tactu calorem temperat,
Ferri praedicit pondera.

Dum Christi servus praesuli
Ministrat aquae calicem,
Christus ad laudem servuli
Mutat in vinum laticem.

Nec minus est miraculum
Quod succedit in ordine,
Cum, ferens aquae vasculum,
Haurit chrisma de flumine.

Vinum et chrisma praesulis
Praeferebant indicia,
Per quem baptisma populis,
Per quem sacratur hostia.

Gradu minor quam meritis,
Vocem laxat antistitis;
Promotus in pontificem
Fert opem reo duplicem.

Sacris adstans altaribus,
Vinctum videt in populo:
Solvit a poense nexibus
Et a peccati vinculo.

In serpente visibili
Triumphat invisibilem:
Sic Christus invincibili
Virtute ditat humilem.

Marcelle pater, respice
Nos pietatis oculo,
Sub hujus adhuc lubricae
Carnis gementes vinculo.

Te diligentes unice,
Te recolentes sedulo,
Consors lucis angelicae
Coeli subscribe titulo. Amen.

Englished by Digby S. Wrangham:

Supernal city! joy and sing
Unceasingly new melodies:
Thy dignity doth upward spring,
As higher yet thy buildings rise!

O may thy Builder and his Son
Make thee a still more glorious one:
Thy Builder's pains and genius shine,
Reflected in thy stones divine.

Marcellus, gem of priceless worth
'Mongst bishops, in thy walls is blent:
To thee the Church of God on earth
This rare carbuncle doth present.

Choir! his translation hence unite
With heart and voice to hymn aright!
Their shepherd's wondrous deeds to-day
His flock should busily pourtray.

When he the red-hot iron weighs,
Whilst he was yet of tender age,
Its heat he by his touch allays,
And doth its weight exactly gauge.

Once, when, a Christian bishop's slave,
He brings him water in an urn,
Christ, that the servant praise might have,
The liquid into wine doth turn.

Nor less that miracle appears,
Which next to this in order came;
When he a pitcher thither bears,
And holy oil draws from a stream.

The wine beforehand and the chrism
The future bishop recognized,
Through whom to us comes baptism,
Through whom the Host is sacrificed.

When less in rank than he should be,
A bishop's speech restoreth he;
And, when himself a bishop made,
Affords a sinner twofold aid.

He, as he at God's altar stands,
And 'mongst the crowd a prisoner sees,
From penal fetters doth his hands.
His soul from bands of sin release.

He in a dragon men could see
The unseen dragon's fall completes:
Thus Christ endows humility
With courage that all foes defeats.

Father Marcellus! with the eye
Of pious love regard us now.
Who, held still in captivity
By facile flesh, our grief avow.

Comrade of God's bright host above!
Do thou in heaven inscribe their name,
Who, loving thee with special love,
Here constantly renew thy fame! Amen.

2 November 2012


Its significance, explained in the Golden Legend of James of Voragine, as Englished by William Caxton.

Sequence by Thomas of Celano:

Dies irae, dies illa
Solvet saeclum in favilla:
Teste David cum Sibylla.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando judex est venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!

Tuba mirum spargens sonum
Per sepulcra regionum,
Coget omnes ante thronum.

Mors stupebit et natura,
Cum resurget creatura,
Judicanti responsura.

Liber scriptus proferetur,
In quo totum continetur,
Unde mundus judicetur.

Judex ergo cum sedebit,
Quidquid latet apparebit:
Nil inultum remanebit.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
Quem patronum rogaturus,
Cum vix justus sit securus?

Rex tremendae majestatis,
Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
Salva me fons pietatis.

Recordare, Jesu pie,
Quod sum causa tuae viae:
Ne me perdas illa die.

Quaerens me, sedisti lassus:
Redemisti Crucem passus:
Tantus labor non sit cassus.

Juste judex ultionis,
Donum fac remissionis
Ante diem rationis.

Ingemisco, tamquam reus:
Culpa rubet vultus meus:
Supplicanti parce, Deus.

Qui Mariam absolvisti,
Et latronem exaudisti,
Mihi quoque spem dedisti.

Preces meae non sunt dignae:
Sed tu bonus fac benigne,
Ne perenni cremer igne.

Inter oves locum praesta,
Et ab haedis me sequestra,
Statuens in parte dextra.

Confutatis maledictis,
Flammis acribus addictis:
Voca me cum benedictis.

Oro supplex et acclinis,
Cor contritum quasi cinis:
Gere curam mei finis.

Lacrimosa dies illa,
Qua resurget ex favilla
Judicandus homo reus.
Huic ergo parce, Deus:

Pie Jesu Domine,
Dona eis requiem. Amen.

Englished by William J. Irons:

Day of wrath! O day of mourning! 
See fulfilled the prophets' warning, 
Heaven and earth in ashes burning!

Oh what fear man's bosom rendeth, 
when from heaven the Judge descendeth, 
on whose sentence all dependeth.

Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth; 
through earth's sepulchers it ringeth; 
all before the throne it bringeth.

Death is struck, and nature quaking, 
all creation is awaking, 
to its Judge an answer making.

Lo! the book, exactly worded, 
wherein all hath been recorded: 
thence shall judgment be awarded.

When the Judge his seat attaineth, 
and each hidden deed arraigneth, 
nothing unavenged remaineth.

What shall I, frail man, be pleading? 
Who for me be interceding, 
when the just are mercy needing?

King of Majesty tremendous, 
who dost free salvation send us, 
Fount of pity, then befriend us!

Think, good Jesus, my salvation 
cost thy wondrous Incarnation; 
leave me not to reprobation!

Faint and weary, thou hast sought me, 
on the cross of suffering bought me. 
shall such grace be vainly brought me?

Righteous Judge! for sin's pollution 
grant thy gift of absolution, 
ere the day of retribution.

Guilty, now I pour my moaning, 
all my shame with anguish owning; 
spare, O God, thy suppliant groaning!

Thou the sinful woman savedst; 
thou the dying thief forgavest; 
and to me a hope vouchsafest.

Worthless are my prayers and sighing, 
yet, good Lord, in grace complying, 
rescue me from fires undying!

With thy favored sheep O place me; 
nor among the goats abase me; 
but to thy right hand upraise me.

While the wicked are confounded, 
doomed to flames of woe unbounded 
call me with thy saints surrounded.

Low I kneel, with heart submission, 
see, like ashes, my contrition; 
help me in my last condition.

Ah! that day of tears and mourning! 
From the dust of earth returning 
man for judgment must prepare him; 
Spare, O God, in mercy spare him!

Lord, all pitying, Jesus blest, 
grant them thine eternal rest. Amen.

1 November 2012


Its significance, explained in the Golden Legend of James of Voragine, as Englished by William Caxton.

Sequence by Adam of St. Victor:

Supernae matris gaudia
Repraesentat Ecclesia:
Dum festa colit annua,
Suspirat ad perpetua.

In hac valle miseriae
Mater succurrat filiae;
Hic coelestes excubiae
Nobiscum stent in acie.

Mundus, caro, daemonia
Diversa movent praelia:
Incursu tot phantasmatum
Turbatur cordis sabbatum.

Dies festos cognatio
Simul haec habet odio
Certatque pari foedere
Pacem de terra toUere.

Confusa sunt hic omnia,
Spes, metus, moeror, gaudium:
Vix hora vel dimidia
Fit in coelo silentium.

Quam felix illa civitas
In qua jugis solemnitas!
Et quam jocunda curia,
Quae curae prorsus nescia!

Nec languor hic, nec senium,
Nec fraus, nec terror hostium,
Sed una vox laetantium,
Et unus ardor cordium.

Illic cives angelici
Sub hierarchia triplici
Trinae gaudent et simplici
Se Monarchiae subjici.

Mirantur, nec deficiunt,
In ilium quem prospiciunt;
Fruuntur, nec fastidiunt,
Quo frui magis sitiunt.

Illic patres dispositi
Pro qualitate meriti,
Semota jam caligine,
Lumen vident in lumine.

Hi sancti quorum hodie
Recensentur solemnia,
Nunc, revelata facie,
Regem cernunt in gloria.

Illic regina virginum,
Transcendens culmen ordinum,
Excuset apud Dominum
Nostrorum lapsus criminum.

Nos ad sanctorum gloriam,
Per ipsorum suffragia,
Post praesentem miseriam
Christi perducat gratia! Amen.

Englished by Digby S. Wrangham:

The Church on earth those joys pourtrays,
Which heavenly Mother-Church displays;
Keeping her annual holydays,
For endless ones she sighs and prays.

In this dark vale of woe to-day,
That Mother must her daughter stay;
Here Angel-guardians' bright array
Must stand beside us in the fray.

The world, the flesh, the devil's spite
By different methods wars excite:
Such countless phantoms' rush destroys
The sabbath that the heart enjoys.

This evil kindred hate displays
Alike against all holydays,
As, one and all, they fight and strive
Peace from the face of earth to drive.

Things strangely mingle here below,
Hope, terror, happiness, and pain;
While scarce for half an hour, we know,
Is silence kept in heaven's domain.

How blest that city is, wherein
Unceasing feast-days still begin!
How happy that assembly, where
Is utter ignorance of care!

Nor languor here, nor age, they know,
Nor fraud, nor terror of a foe:
But with one voice their joy they show;
One ardour makes all hearts to glow.

The angel-citizens on high
There, 'neath a triple hierarchy,
The Trinity in Unity
Serve and obey rejoicingly.

With wonder, - never giving o'er ! -
They, seeing Him whom they adore,
Enjoy what, craving as before,
They thirst but to enjoy the more.

There all the Fathers stand around,
Ranking as worthy they are found;
The darkness now removed of night,
In light they look upon the light.

These Saints, whose feast to-day we grace
With solemn service as of old,
The King, unveiled and face to face,
In all His glory now behold.

There may the virgins' queen, in light
Transcending far heaven's orders bright,
Plead our excuses in God's sight
For all our failures to do right.

When this life's troubles all are past,
Through prayer by them to God addressed.
May Christ's grace bring us at the last
To where the Saints in glory rest ! Amen.

31 October 2012


His life, according to the Golden Legend of James of Voragine, as Englished by William Caxton.

Sequence by Adam of St. Victor:

Per unius casum grani
De valle Gethsemani
Grana surgunt plurima:
Orbem terrae, coeli gyrum
Ornat rosis martyrum
Vita Christi victima.

Praestat vires, quibus freti
Cuncta possent perpeti
Tormentorum genera,
Nec formidant poni cibus
Coeli volatilibus,
Suspensi per aera.

His indignus erat mundus:
Dum diei portant pondus
Et aestus incommoda,
Fracti corpus, fide recti,
Mori possunt, sed non flecti
Sub strage multimoda.

Hi certamen certant bonum
Qui, ut Christi passionum
Suppleant residua,
In melotis circumire
Casum omnem sortis dirae
Mente ferunt strenua.

Et hanc sortem nemo minus
Declinavit quam Quintinus;
Quern produxit stirps venusta
Gloriosum in Romanis;
Fatigavit Ambianis
Ut quiescat in Augusta.

Propter jugum Christi lene,
Premunt compes et catenae
Carcerali clausum cella;
Sed triumphat bonus bene
Universum genus poenae,
Famen, frigus, et flagella.

Rogo facis, haustu plumbi
Concremantur ejus lumbi,
Os detestans ydola;
Neque plumbi, neque rogi,
Potu, flamma potest cogi,
Ut fiat Jovicola.

Inter ungues, ictu gravi,
Defiguntur decern clavi
Cuspide quadrangula; 
Sudes ferri suunt dorsum
Descendentes in deorsum
Ab utraque scapula.

Rastris demum praeacutis
Exaratur ejus cutis
Propter verbi semina.
Lacerantur et lacerti,
Dum jubetur circumverti
Trochlearis machina.

De pretioso vertice
Subvolat mirifice,
Ut columba nivea:
Sublatum ab area,
Suffertur ad horrea
Granum sine palea,

Cujus contumelia
Gloriam, et gloria
Parturivit. Alleluia! 

Englished by Digby S. Wrangham:

Countless seeds spring up about us
From the fall of one seed, brought us
From the vale Gethsemane:
Life, for Christ, as victim given,
Decks earth's orb and vaulted heaven  
As with roses gracefully.

Strength, to stay them and embolden,
Gives it, by the which upholden,
Men can pain of all kinds bear:
Neither fear they to be given,
As their food, to birds of heaven,
Hung suspended in the air.

Of them was the world not worthy;
As, thus tortured, they endure the
Heat and burden of the day:
Sound in faith, stoned, sawn asunder.
They can die, but ne'er bend under
Slaughter's multiform array.

These have fought a good fight truly,
Who, that of Christ's sufferings fully
They might fill up what remained,
Bore, in sheepskins clad, to wander,
And a mind, still steadfast, under
Fortune's cruel lot maintained.

To escape this lot none ever
Less than Quintin did endeavour;
Glorious Rome itself confest him;
He, from fair stock there descended,
Toiled in Amiens, that, life ended,
He might in St. Quentin rest him.  

Since Christ's easy yoke doth bless him,
Clamps and clanking chains compress him.
Kept in close incarceration;
But God's Saint, both good and holy.
Triumphs o'er all torments throughly,
Famine, frost, and flagellation.

He is burnt with lighted torches.
Molten lead that bold mouth scorches,
Which their idols durst reprove:
Neither draught of lead can force him,  
Nor can flaming torch coerce him.
To adore the heathen Jove.

'Neath his nails, by hard blows riven,
Are ten nails then deeply driven
By a huge four-sided spear:
From each shoulder downward slanted,
Iron spits behind are planted.
And his flesh like needles tear.

With sharp-pointed rakes they flay him,
Ploughing off his skin, and slay him  
For that Word's sake by him sown:
Rudely are his arms too riven,
Till at last command is given,
And the fatal knife falls down.

From his precious head doth fly
Upward most mysteriously
What appeared a milk-white dove:
From the threshing-floor below
Is the winnowed grain borne now
To God's barn in heaven above.  

Glory this man's grief and shame
Have produced; that glory's fame
Alleluias to his name!

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