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Yet to them has every month and year been full of its own anxieties; and if we cannot bring ourselves to feel sympathy in the wants and the concerns of those of whom we write our memorial, we can hardly hope to touch the hearts of others. And yet, what parent's heart can refuse sympathy with the mother who tells how she laboured there, levelling the ground, and, though a nurse, helping to build walls, and beating mortar, and carrying stones, “ to rise a bit of a place," she says, “ to hide the children's heads under.” “ And they came on so fast," she adds, “ I had a house full here when one was not able to help another. I've known the time when they'd be all pressing round me for breakfast, and I'd dread to take down the bit of bread, because it would be such a little morsel when it was divided; but this thought always consoled me—He does provide for the young cry: ing ravens, and sure he will provide for mine ; and he has rewarded my confidence in him.”
There is a strong contrast in the characters of my old friends. The old man is of an exterior, both as to form and manner, rough and for. bidding. The old woman is particularly amiable, gentle, and affectionate. She is one, it is easy to say, who has watched over him all her married life, softening his asperities, soothing his irritability, and overcoming his prejudices; and on her side she has, no doubt, derived strength from his determination, and sense from his judgment. They are particularly suited to each other; indeed, it is a favourite point of belief with me, that when two persons are united together in mar. riage, as our form for the solemnization of matrimony speaks,“ having enterprised that holy estate reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God,” there will be a sufficient suitability in each character to render that union subservient for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and in adversity. I will not here speak of what that comfort is in the days of prosperity ; but in how very many instances it has been a subject of my thankful observation, that the love of Christian husbands and wives increases in the winter of other affection. I have seen the patient and loving wife, worn down by sickness herself, yet uncomplainingly spending night after night in watching and waiting on him whose health had been devoted to her and her children's support; and I have seen the dying look seeking, as its last object of. earthly pleasure, the form that had been so dear in youth and health; and I have heard the burst of affection that, sorrowing, yet not withont hope, lamented the loneliness of the remaining pilgrimage, though reason told it could be but for one short mile. I have witnessed these things, and I have thought of the martyr's words—“Blessed be God, for lawful matrimony;" and it is peculiarly as husband and wife that, I have admired the old people of whom I am writing. They have been either to other, steady, faithful, and affectionate. Yet there is more in each that I value besides their being so truly helpmates for each other. When I think of the old man’s grave and deep attention to the word of God, the thankfulness with which he listens, and the heartfelt reverence with which he receives the promises of the gospel, I feel happy in the thought of that land of rest to which the worn-out.
labourer is hastening. “ 'Tis not the forest,” said the old man to me, the other day, “I know very well that is not my country; there is no good here that can satisfy the soul; I am past my labour there now, and had better have given it up a twelvemonth ago, but I was enticed on by the remarkably fine blossom on one pear tree in particular, and that is almost entirely blighted. There is nothing on the earth, nor under the earth, nor round about the earth, that we ought to set our minds on: the word of God, that is sure. His promises do not fail. He has helped me, though it has been a rough way, to be sure, and he will give me peace at the last.”
The worst part of my story is, the perpetual persecution which my old people experience from the wicked boys of the neighbourhood. The bounds and fences of their forest ground are very bad, and it lies at some distance from any habitation, so that the little fruit, and even the lilacs and blossoming branches, in the spring, form a constant temptation ; and even now, out of health as both are, and both numbering more than threescore years and ten, the poor old couple watch them till dark; often, I grieve to say, being assailed with sticks and stones, sometimes meeting with real injury, and always vexed and irritated, though both endure with marvellous patience. “The toil is too terrifying,” says the old man, " a great deal too terrifying ;" yet I think he will be Lord of the Forest to the last. It is a beautiful place, and he and his old wife seem to enjoy its beauties; but though they labour there by day, and watch there half the night often, they reap no profit. During a long illness, with which the old man was afflicted last winter, they for the first time applied for parish relief; very grievous it was to their feelings, and small indeed, and yet, i suppose, as much as, with our burdened population, is possible, is the weekly pittance they obtain. It is painful to own, that, laborious and honest as they have been all their lives, they are at this time more straitened than ever. It is sad to see the neat old woman's Sunday's clothes bearing an appearance of poverty, which was not their wont. The cloak is more faded, and the ribbon of the hat shabbier, than I remember she used to wear; and if it were not for Mrs. Susan's rag bag, her handkerchief and cap would scarcely continue to be whole, clean though they would assuredly be; and when people are so worn out and weak as both of them are, it is sad to know that the draught of beer given once now and then as they pass back from their long and weary waiting at the poor house, is for months together the only thing stronger than water they procure; and of the luxuries that age makes necessaries they are absolutely destitute. Come, then, let us do what we can to keep still so cheerful the spirits of this cheerful old woman. She is a person so grateful, and so agreeable, that it is a pleasure to assist her, for her own sake, setting aside the imperative duty which commands us to “Be pitiful and to be ready to distribute.” But why, for the very little we can do for his people, do we seek any inferior reward. Has He not said, and do we not believe it, “ Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, ye have done it unto me”? Oh that we could do, then, a thousand times more, and with a
Come and see where, in our wild,
Quiet, calm, and pleasant, still,
BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX AND PETER OF CLUGNI.
In the preceding paper I have exhibited Bernard and Peter, not, indeed, as enemies—for, to the credit of both parties, there does not seem to have existed anything that could be called enmity between them, even in the height of their dispute-yet in something like a hostile position towards each other. It is but justice to shew them as friends; and happily we have the means of doing this from some of the letters which passed between them.
It may perhaps be remembered, that I was led to speak of Peter by getting unexpectedly involved in his correspondence; and, in truth, it was with an intention of producing some extracts from his letters that I brought him forward. I meant to have prefaced those extracts by some remarks on the value of the epistolary correspondence of the dark ages; but in this point I have been very agreeably anticipated by an able and extended discussion and illustration of the subject. I take it for granted, that all who may trouble themselves to read what I write will be acquainted with the article to which I refer,* and I will therefore here only offer one remark on the subject. I am so fully convinced of the value and importance of the immense number of middle-age letters which are still in existence, and of their not having been yet made to yield anything like all the very interesting materials which they contain for history, that it has appeared to me most de
* In the recent number of the Quarterly Review, VOL. XII.—July, 1837.
sirable to obtain something like a chronological arrangement of them. The full value of such a thing cannot be estimated until it is done; but even a slight acquaintance with comparatively few of them is sufficient to persuade me that, when brought together by the chronology which we have, one of the first effects ould be a correction of that chronology in almost innumerable instances. Beside this, letters passing at a certain time between A and B, with more or less reference to the events of the period, being thus placed beside those which passed at the same time between C and D, and half-a-dozen other couples of correspondents in different places, who had never heard of A and B, or of each other,—these letters having no common tie as to their writers, their locality, or their professed subjects, and now suffered to lie in a wide dispersion, would, if collected and arranged in order of time, be found to dove-tail in an infinite variety of circumstances, and thus throw light on facts and motives, fix dates, identify persons, explain contradictions,-in a word, illustrate history in every way, and that, perhaps, to a greater degree than we can at present imagine, or could by any other means perform. “I wolde wyshe," says Bale, “ som learned Inglishman (as there are now most excellent fresh wyttes) to set forth the Inglish Chronycles in their right shape, as certein other landes hath done afore them al affections set a-part. I cannot think a more necessary thing to be laboured to the honour of God, Bewty of the Realme, Erudicion of the people, and commoditie of other landes, next the sacred scriptures of the Byble, than that worke wold be."'* Of this I am very fully convinced ; and I cannot but wish to see something effected on a larger scale. I have long, and often, and earnestly thought, how good a thing it would be, if the chronicles which we possess, and many of which have been edited, either separately or in various larger or smaller collections, with much learning, industry, and critical skill, which, nevertheless, lie so wide that one can scarcely hope to see them all, or even any considerable proportion of them, anywhere but in a public library, and which, even when found, require him who would collect, and compare, and weigh their testimony on any point, to cover something less than an acre with outspread folios, and wander to and fro among them, carrying about collations in his head, till his patience and his shoes are very considerably worn in the business,—which, on this very account, have never yet, 1 believe, been fairly placed side by side, so as to shew the full extent of reiteration, concordance, and discrepancy, and to reflect on each other that light which obscure, and even unintelligible passages, often do throw on each other; if, I say, we had these, which are, in fact, not only the sources of history, but all, and more than all, the real history which we have, brought into something like what theological writers call a “ Harmony," with the letters chronologically arranged, as I have already suggested, by way of a running commentary, I really believe that we might very easily know more of history than anybody has ever known yet. It would, to be sure, be
* Brief Chron. of Sir J. Oldcastle, Har. Misc. ii. 237.
rather a large work, but a very noble one; and then, if people liked
It is very pleasant to run on imagining the supply of desiderata ;
gone where they thought they were going. This, however, by the
way ;-it being only a little reflection suggested by the sudden (and to myself very unexpected) mention of the Waterman's Company ;-it is my hope and belief that a work which would be obvi. ously for the whole world, and which must maintain an undiminished value as long as the world lasts, would meet with support. I do not say that any particular individual or body must buy it; but I cannot help very thankfully expressing my conviction that something like a must is growing up among the more educated classes, who (one sees proof of it every day) are prying into the original sources of history, both secular and ecclesiastical, and who, if such a scheme were proposed by capable men, would feel that they must support it.