V. The Benedictine Schools

[From the ATLANTIS of January, 1859.]


{433} WE read in history of great commanders, who, when an overwhelming force was directed against them on the plain, and success was for the time impossible, submitted to necessity, and, with plans afterwards to be developed, retired up the mountain passes in their rear, where nature had provided a safe halting-place for brave men who could not advance, and would not turn in flight. There, behind the lofty crag, the treacherous morass, and the thick wood, they nursed their confidence of victory, and waited patiently for an issue, which was not less certain because it was delayed. On came the haughty foe, with cries of defiance; and when at length he thought he had them at his mercy, he found that first he must do battle with the adamantine rocks, which sternly rose up in defence of fugitives who had invoked their aid. Then he stood for a while irresolute, till the difficulties of his position ended his deliberation, and forced upon him a retreat in his turn, while the lately besieged hosts were once more in motion, and pressed upon the baffled foe, who had neither plan of campaign nor base of operations to fall back upon.

Such is the history of Christian civilization. It gave {434} way before the barbarians of the north and the fanatics of the south; it fled into the wilderness with its own books and those of the old social system which it was succeeding. It obeyed the direction given it in the beginning,—when persecuted in one place, to flee away to another; and then at length the hour of retribution came, and it advanced into the territories from which it had retired. St. Benedict is the historical emblem of its retreat, and St. Dominic of its return.

I do not say that its retreat in the first centuries was made with the intent of its return in the medieval. There was no oracular voice which proclaimed what would be the course and fortune of the war; no secret tradition which whispered to the initiated the tactic that ought to be pursued. It is a sufficient explanation of the double movement, that they who feel their weakness are used to give way, and they who feel their strength are used to push forward. The corruptions of Roman society caused Christians to despair of ever mending it, and to look out for that better world which was destined to supersede it. The evil which they experienced, the good for which they sighed, the promise in which they confided, wrought in them the persuasion that the end of all things was at hand; and this persuasion made them patient under inconveniences which they felt to be only temporary. "Behold, my brethren," says Pope Gregory about the year 600, "we already see with our eyes what we are used to hear in prophecy. Day by day is the world assaulted by fresh and thickening blows. Out of that innumerable Roman plebs what a mere remnant are ye at this day! yet incessant scourges are still in action; sudden adversities thwart you; new and unforeseen slaughters wear you away. For, as in youth, the body is in vigour, the chest {435} is strong, the neck muscular, and the arms plump, but in old age the stature is bent, the neck is withered and stooping, the chest pants, the energies are feeble, and breath is wanting for the words; so the world too once was vigorous, robust for the increase of its kind, green in its health, and opulent in its resources, but now on the contrary it is laden with the weight of years, and is fast sinking into the grave by its ever-multiplying maladies. Beware, then, of giving your heart to that which, as even your senses tell you, cannot last for ever." [Note 1] Commonly the presentiment wore a more definitely supernatural expression than is found in this extract. Not sense merely, but the prophecies were directly invoked, which spoke of that great enemy of the Church, who was to be the herald of the Second Advent; and the rudiments of a new order of things were descried in the manifest tokens of an expiring world.

In all times, indeed, the multitude, whether from religious feeling or from superstition, is prone to portend some impending catastrophe from the occurrence of any startling phenomenon of nature. An eclipse, a comet, a volcanic eruption, is to them the omen of coming evil. But in the early centuries of the Church the expectation extended to the learned and the saintly. It was the posture of mind of confessors and doctors. As St. Gregory looked out for Antichrist in the sixth century, so had the Martyrs of Lyons in the second, St. Cyprian in the third, St. Hilary and St. Chrysostom in the fourth, and St. Jerome in the fifth. It was the sober judgment of the wisest and the most charitable, that the world was too bad to mend, and that destruction was close upon it.

What would be the practical result of such a belief? {436} That which I have partly described in my remarks on the mission of St. Benedict; evidently, to leave the world to itself. Evils which threaten to continue we try to remedy; but what was the use of spending one's strength in reforming a state of things which would go to pieces, if let alone, and, if ever so much meddled with, would go to pieces too, nay, the sooner, perhaps, for the meddling? Hence it was the prevalent disposition, as I have said, of Christians of the first centuries, and no irrational disposition, either to leave the world or to put up with it, not to set about influencing it. "Let us go hence," said the Angels in the doomed sanctuary of the chosen people. "Come ye out of her, my people," was the present bidding of inspiration. Those who would be perfect obeyed it, and became monks. Monachism therefore was a sort of recognized emigration from the old world. St. Antony had found out a new coast, the true eldorado or gold country; and on the news of it thousands took their departure year after year for the diggings in the desert. The monks of Egypt alone soon became an innumerable host. As times got worse, Basil in the East, and Benedict in the West, put themselves at the head of fresh colonies, bound for the land of perpetual peace. There they sat them down, over against Babylon, and waited for the coming judgment and the end of all things. Those who remained in the world, waited too. To undergo patiently what was,—to make the best of it, to use it, as far as it could be used, for religious purposes,—was their wisdom and their resolve. If they took another course, they would be wasting strength and hope upon a shadow, and losing the present for a future which would never come. They had no large designs or profound policy. It was their aim that things should just last {437} their time. They patched them up as best they might, they made shift, and lived from hand to mouth; and they followed events, rather than created them. Nor, when they undertook great labours and began works pregnant with consequences, did they perceive whither they were going.

How different in this respect is the spirit of the first Gregory, already cited, from that of Hildebrand, the seventh! Gregory the First did not understand his own act, when he converted the Anglo-Saxons; nor Ambrose, when he put Theodosius to penance. The great Christian Fathers laid anew the foundations of the world, while they thought that its walls were tottering to the fall, and that they already saw the fires of judgment through the chinks. They refuted Arianism, which they named the forerunner of the last woe, with reasonings which were to live for ages; and they denounced the preachers of a carnal millennium, without anticipating that wonderful temporal reign of the saints which was to be manifested in medieval times. They propounded broad principles, but did not carry them out into their inevitable consequences. How slow were they to define doctrine, when disputes arose about its meaning or its bearing! How patient they seem to us of imperial encroachments on ecclesiastical rights, when we view them by the side of the great Popes who came after them! How tamely do they conduct themselves when the civil magistrate interferes with their jurisdiction, or takes the initiative in points of discipline or order, in questions of property, and matrimonial causes! How contented or resigned are they to avail themselves of such education as the state provided for their use; sending their children to the pagan schools, before they have teachers of their own, and, even when at length {438} they have them, adopting the curriculum of studies which those pagan schools had devised!

In fact, in the minds of those high saints, "the wish was father to the thought." Religious men will always desire, will always be prone to believe, the approach of that happier order of things, which sooner or later is to be. This hope was the form in which the deep devotion of those primitive times showed itself; and if it did not continue in its full expression beyond them, this was because experience had thrown a new light upon the course of Divine Providence in the world. With the multitude, indeed, as I have said, who know little of history, and in whom religious fear is a chief element, the anticipation of the Last Day revived, and revives, from time to time. At the end of the tenth century, when a thousand years had passed over the Church, the sense of impending destruction was so vivid as even to affect the transfer and disposal of property, and the repair of sacred buildings. However, when we seek in theologians for the apprehension, we shall find that it is a characteristic of the old Empire far more than of the barbarian kingdoms which succeeded to it. The barbarian world was young, as the Roman world was effete. Youth is the season of hope; and, according as things looked more cheerful, so did they look more lasting, and today's sunshine became the sufficient promise of a long summer. A fervent preacher here or there, St. Norbert or St. Vincent Ferrer, may have had forebodings of the end of all things; or an astrologer or a schismatizing teacher may have traded on the belief; but the men of gravity and learning after the time of Gregory the First, for the most part, set their faces against speculations about the future.

Bede, after speaking of the six ages of the world, says, {439} that "as no one of the former ages has consisted exactly of a thousand years, it follows that the sixth too, under which we live, is of uncertain length, known to Him alone who has bidden His servants watch. For," he continues, "whereas all saints naturally love the hour of His advent, and desire it to be near, still, we run into danger if we presume to conclude or to proclaim, either that the hour is near or that it is far off." [Note 2] Raban and Adson, who witnessed or heard of the splendours of Charlemagne, go so far as to indulge the vision of a great king of the Franks, who, in time to come, is to reign religiously, ere the fulfilment of the bad times of the end [Note 3]. Theodulf indeed predicts that they were coming; but, even when the popular excitement was at its height, in the last years of the tenth century, Richard and Abbo of Fleury, and the Adson above mentioned, set themselves against it. Hardly was the dreaded crisis over, when men took heart, and began to restore and decorate the Churches; hardly had the new century run its course, when Pope Paschal the Second held a Council at Florence against Raynerius, the archbishop of that city, who had preached of the coming end [Note 4]. Such was the change of sentiment which followed after the Pontificate of St. Gregory, the last and saddest of a line of Fathers, who thought the world was on the verge of dissolution.

The names which I have been introducing show that, among these converts to a more hopeful view of things, were Benedictine monks, members of those very associations which had given up the world as lost, and {440} had quitted it accordingly. And the position which they occupy in their own body is sufficient evidence that what they held, their brethren held also; and that the actual changes which had taken place in the framework of society had been followed by a change of sentiment in these religious bodies. When we look into history, to see where these preachers of new hopes were, as well as who, we find the fact plain beyond all denial; for it is the monk Alcuin who was Charlemagne's instructor, and head of the school of the palace; the monk Theodulf who was a political employé of the same Emperor, and bishop of Orleans; and the monk Raban who was archbishop of Mayence. How could the cloister-loving monk have come to such places of station, unless he had experienced some singular change in his sentiments? And these instances, it must be allowed, are only samples of a phenomenon which is not uncommon in these centuries. Here then we have something to explain. Why should Benedictines leave those sweet country-homes which St. Benedict bequeathed to them for the haunts of men, the seats of learning, archiepiscopal sees, and king's courts? St. Jerome had said, when Monachism was young: "If the priest's office be your choice, if a bishop's work or dignity be your attraction, live a town life, and save your soul in saving others. But, if you wish to be a monk, that is a solitary, in fact as well as in name, what have you to do with towns?" "A monk's office," he says elsewhere, "is not a teacher's but a mourner's, who bewails either himself or the world." [Note 5] This, doubtless, was the primary aim and badge of the religious institute; and if, among uncongenial offices, there were one more uncongenial to it than another, it was that of a ruler or a master of the faithful. The monk did not lecture, teach, {441}controvert, lay down the law, or give the word of command; and for this simple reason, because he did not speak at all, because he was bound to silence. He who had given up the use of his tongue, could neither be preacher nor disputant. It follows, we repeat, that a singular change must have taken place by the ninth century in the ecclesiastical position of a monk, when we find instances of his acting so differently from St. Jerome's teaching and example in the fifth.

I touched, in the Essay to which I have already referred, upon this seeming anomaly in the history of the Benedictines, while I was describing them in outline; if I did not then dwell upon it and investigate its limits, this was because I thought it advisable first to trace out the general idea of the monastic state, with as little interruption as was possible, without risking the confusion which would arise in my delineation from a premature introduction of the historical modifications to which that idea has actually been subjected. Now, however, the time has come for taking up what in that former sketch I passed over; and I propose accordingly here, after a brief reference to the circumstances under which these modifications appeared, and to the extent to which they spread, to direct attention to the principal instance of them, viz., the literary employments of the monks, and to show how singularly, after all, these employments, as carried out, were in keeping with the main idea of the monastic rule, even though they seem at first sight scarcely contained in its letter. I stated, on that former occasion, that the substance of the monastic life was "summa quies;" that its object was rest, its state retirement, and its occupations such as were unexciting and had their end in themselves. That the literature in question was consistent with these conditions {442} will be clearly seen, when I come to describe it; first, however, let me consider the circumstances which called for it, and the hold which it had upon the general body.


It is rare, indeed, to find the profession and the history of any institution running exactly in one and the same groove. The political revolutions which issued in the rule of Charlemagne, changing, as they did, the currents of the world, and the pilotage of St. Peter's bark, became a severe trial of the consistency of an Order, like the Benedictine, of which the maxims and the aims are grave, definite, and fixed. Demands of action and work would be made on it, by the exigencies of the times, at variance with its genius, and it would find itself in the dilemma of failing in efficiency on the one hand, or in faithfulness to its engagements on the other. It would be incurring either the impatience of Society, which it disappointed, or the remonstrances of its own subjects, whom it might be considered to betray.

And indeed a greater shock can hardly be fancied than that which would overtake the peaceful inhabitant of the cloister, on his finding that, after all, he so intimately depended still upon this moribund world, which he had renounced for ever, that the changes which were taking place in its condition were affecting his own. Such men, whether senators like Paulinus, or courtiers like Arsenius, or legionaries like Martin, had one and all, in their respective places and times, left the responsibilities of earth for the anticipations of heaven [Note 6]. They had sought, in the lonely wood or the silent mountain top, the fair uncorrupted form of nature, which spoke {443} only of the Creator. They had retired into deserts, where they could have no enemies but such as fast and prayer could subdue. They had gone where the face of man was not, except as seen in pale, ascetic apparitions like themselves. They had secured some refuge, whence they might look round at the sick world in the distance, and see it die. But, when that last hour came, it did but frustrate all their hopes, for, instead of an old world at a distance, they found they had a young world close to them. The old order of things died, sure enough; but then a new order took its place, and they themselves, by no will or expectation of their own, were in no small measure its very life. The lonely Benedictine rose from his knees and found himself a city. This was the case, not merely here or there, but everywhere; Europe was new mapped, and the monks were the principle of mapping. They had grown into large communities, into abbeys, into corporations with civil privileges, into land-holders with tenants, serfs, and baronial neighbours; they had become centres of population, the schools of the most cherished truths, the shrines of the most sacred confidences. They found themselves priests, rulers, legislators, feudal lords, royal counsellors, missionary preachers, controversialists; and they comprehended that unless they fled anew from the face of man, as St. Antony in the beginning, they must bid farewell to the hope of leading St. Antony's life.

In this choice of difficulties, when there was a duty to stay and a duty to take flight, the monastic bodies were not unwilling to come to a compromise with the age, and, reserving their fidelity to St. Benedict, to undertake those functions to which both the world and the Church called them. Such, that is, for the most part, was the resolve of those who found themselves in this perplexity; {444} but it could not be supposed that there were no Antonies on earth still, and that these would be satisfied to adopt it. On the contrary, there were holy men who were but impelled into a reaction of the most rigid asceticism by this semblance of a reconciliation between their brethren and the world. Such was St. Romuald in the tenth century, the founder of the Camaldolese, who, through a long life of incredible austerities, was ever forming new monastic stations, and leaving them when formed, from love of solitude. Such St. Bruno, the founder of the Carthusians, whose conversion, as described in the well-known legend, points to the union in his day of intellectual gifts and dissoluteness of life. "Come, dear friend," he is represented as saying to some companions, concerning the awful death which he had witnessed, "what is to become of us? If a man of this doctor's rank and repute, of such literary, such scientific attainments, of such seeming-virtuous life, of so wide a reputation, is thus indubitably damned, what is to become of poor creatures of no estimation, such as we are?" [Note 7] Such, again, was St. Stephen of Grandimont, who, when two Cardinals came to see and wonder at him in his French desert, excused himself by saying, "How could we serve churches and undertake cures who are dead to the world, and have every member of our body cut off from this life, with neither feet to walk, nor tongues to speak withal?" [Note 8] These, and others such, sought out for themselves a seclusion and silence, most congenial to the original idea of monachism, but incompatible with those active duties,—missions, the pastoral office, teaching in the schools, and disputations with heresy,—which at the time there were none but monks to fulfil.

Would that nothing worse than the demand of such {445} sacred duties brought the monasteries into the world, and drove these reformers into the desert! The law of God was often broken by the monks, as well as the rule of St. Benedict. Grave moral disorders arose within their walls; and that partly indeed from the seductions of ease, wealth, and the homage of mankind, but in a great measure also from the political troubles of the times, which exposed them to the tyranny of the military chief or the violence of the marauder. Relaxation will easily take place in a religious community, when, from whatever circumstance, it cannot observe its rule; and what orderly observance could there be when the country round about was the seat of war and rapine? Nay, a simpler process of monastic degeneracy followed from the high hand of military power. Kings seized the temporalities of the abbeys for their favourites, and made licentious soldiers bishops and abbots; and these, by their terrors and their bribes, fostered a lax irreligious party in the heart of these communities up and down the country. This part of the history, however, does not concern us in these pages, which are devoted to the consideration of the real work of the Benedictine, not to the injuries or interruptions which it has sustained, or to corruptions which are not its own.

On the other hand, not kings alone interfered with St. Benedict. A not less forcible overruling of his tradition took place from another quarter, where there was authority for the act, and where nothing would be done except on religious principles and with religious purposes. It was a more serious interference, for the very reason that it was a legal one, proceeding from the Church herself. According to the maxim, "sacramenta propter homines," she has never hesitated to consider, in this sense of the maxim, that "the end justifies the {446} means;" and since Regulars of whatever sort are her own creation, she can of course alter, or adapt, or change, or bring to nought, according as her needs require, the institutions which she has created. Necessity has no law, and charity has no reserves; and she has acted accordingly. She brought the Benedictine from his cloister into the political world; but, as far as she did so, let it be observed, it was her act and not his. If then, on account of the necessities of the day, she has overruled his resolve, and made him do what neither his tradition nor his wishes suggested, such instances cannot fairly be taken, either as specimens of Benedictine work, or as modifications of the Benedictine idea.

And such cases abound. St. Benedict himself had with difficulty contemplated a priest as being in the ranks of his children; laying it down in his Rule, "If a priest asks to be received in any monastery, his request must not quickly be granted; but if he persists, the whole discipline of the rule is binding on him without any relaxation."—C. 60. But Pope Gregory, who had himself been torn violently from the cloister to fill the Pontifical throne, spared his religious brethren as little as he had been spared himself. He made a number of them bishops. From his own convent on the Cælian he sent Augustine and his companions to be apostolic missionaries to the Anglo-Saxons, and he designed to put the entire episcopate and priesthood of the newly-converted race and thereby their secular concerns, into the hands of the monks [Note 9]. As to the Archbishops of Canterbury, they actually were monks down to the twelfth century [Note 10]. This is but a specimen of what was {447} largely carried out by the Holy See on the continent in the centuries which followed Gregory; but, I repeat, the Pope's action is external to the Benedictines, who are as little compromised by his consecrating hand as by the iron glove of the feudal tyrant.

To whatever extent, however, these innovations went, whether they were simple profanations, or were made and ratified by the wise policy of those who had a right to make them, and whatever show they make in history from the circumstance of their necessary connection with public events, with principal cities, and with prominent men, we cannot speak of them as constituting any great exception to the monastic discipline, or as exerting any considerable influence on the monastic spirit, till we have surveyed the religious institutions of Christendom as a whole, and measured them by the side of the general view thus obtained. I had occasion in my former Essay to speak of the condition of the early monks, their various families, the rise of the Benedictines, and the process of assimilation and absorption, by which at length St. Benedict gathered under his own rule the disciples of St. Martin, St. Cæsarius, and St. Columban. And even when the whole monastic body was Benedictine, it was not on that account moulded upon one type, or dependent upon one centre. As it had not spread out from one origin, so neither was it homogeneous in its construction nor simple and concordant in its action. It propagated itself variously, and had much of local character in its secondary dispositions. We cannot be certain what it was in one place by knowing what it was in another. One house attained more nearly to what may be called its normal idea than another, and therefore we have no right to argue that such quasi-secularizations as I have noticed {448} extended much further than those particular cases which history has handed down to us.

And then, on the other hand, we must bear in mind how vast was the whole multitude of persons who professed the monastic life, and, compared with it, how small was the number of those who were called away to active political duties or who gave themselves to literature or science. They might all be subtracted from the sum total of religious, and, as far as number goes, they would not have been missed. I have already referred to the exuberance of Egyptian monachism. Antony left to Pachomius the rule of 50,000. Posthumus of Memphis presided over 5,000; Ammon over 3,000. In the one city of Oxyrinchus there were 10,000. Hilarion in Syria had from 2,000 to 3,000. Martin of Gaul was followed to the grave by 2,000 of his disciples. At that date the sees of the whole of Christendom, according to Bingham, did not go much beyond 1,700 [Note 11]. If every bishop then had been a monk, the general character of monastic life would not have been much affected. In a later age, the monastery of Bangor contained 2,000; that of Banchor, county Down, according to St. Bernard, "many thousand monks," one of whom founded as many as 100 monasteries in various places [Note 12]. Again, the Episcopal Sees of France are given in the Gallia Christiana as 160, including the provinces of Utrecht, Cologne, and Treves; and precisely that number of monastic houses is said to have been founded in that country by St. Maur alone, in the very first years of the Benedictines. Trithemius, at the end of the fifteenth century, numbers the Benedictine convents as 15,000 [Note 13]; and, though we are {449} not to suppose that each of them had the 2,000 subjects which we find at Bangor, the lowest average will swell the sum total of monks to a vast multitude. In the beginning of the previous century, a census of the Benedictines was taken by John the Twenty-second, to which Helyot refers, according to which the Order, from its commencement up to that time, had had 22,000 archbishops and bishops, and of saints alone, 40,000. Vague calculations or statements are sufficient to represent general truths; it is difficult to determine what is the percentage of heroic virtue in a population of regulars; if we say at random, as many saints as one in the hundred, even at this rate the number of Benedictines would reach 4,000,000, and the Episcopal portion would be only the one hundred and eightieth part of the whole Order.

More data, then, than we need, will be left to us in history, to determine the monastic vocation, even though we strike out from the list of its disciples every monk who took any secular office, as of prelate, lecturer, or disputant; nay, though we formed all those who undertook such duties into evidence of an opposite mode of life. But in fact, these very men, who in one way or another were engaged in work, which St. Benedict has not recognized by name, are themselves specimens of fidelity to their founder, and impress the Benedictine type of sanctity upon their literary or political undertakings. The proverb, "naturam expellas furcâ," etc., holds true of religion. Whatever has life has in it a conservative principle, and a power of assimilation. Where the religious spirit was strong, it would overcome obstacles in its exercise, and revive after overthrows, and would make for itself preternatural channels for its operations, when its legitimate course was denied to it. Neither the functions of an Apostle, nor of a schoolmaster, are {450} much akin to those of a monk; nevertheless, in a given individual, they may be reconciled, or the one merged in the other. The Benedictine missionary soon relapsed into the laborious husbandman; the champion of the faith flung his adversary, and went back to his plough or his pen; the bishop, like Peter Damian, effected, or like Boniface, contemplated, a return in his old age to the cloister which he had left. As to the schools of learning, it will be my business now to show how undisputatious was the master, and how unexciting the studies.


The rise and extension of these Schools seems to me as great an event in the history of the Order as the introduction of the sacerdotal office into the number of its functions. If Pope Gregory took a memorable step in turning the monks of his convent into missionary bishops, charged with the conversion of England, much more remarkable was the act of Pope Vitalian, in sending the old Greek monk Theodore to the same island, to fill the vacant see of Canterbury. I call it more remarkable, because it introduced an actual tradition into the Benedictine houses, and consecrated a system by authority. It is true that from an early date in the history of monachism, extensive learning had been combined with the profession of a monk. St. Jerome was only too fond of the Cicero and Horace, whom he put aside; and, if out of the whole catalogue of ecclesiastics I had to select a literary Father, the monk Jerome, par excellence, would be he. In the next century Claudian Mamercus, of Vienne, employed the leisure which his monastic profession gave him to gain an extensive knowledge of Greek and Latin literature. He collected a library of Greek, {451} Roman, and Christian books, "quam totam, monachus," says Sidonius of him, "virente in ævo, secretâ bibit institutione." [Note 14] And in the century after, Cassiodorus, the contemporary of St. Benedict, is well known for combining sacred and classical studies in his monastery. The tradition, however, of the cloister was up to that time against profane literature, and Theodore reversed it.

Theodore made his appearance at the end of the century which the missionary Augustine opened, and just about the time when the whole extent of England had been converted to the Christian faith. He brought with him Greek as well as Latin Classics, and set up schools for both the learned languages in various parts of the country. Henceforth the curriculum of the Seven Sciences is found in the Benedictine Schools. From Theodore [Note 15] proceeded Egbert and the school of York; from Egbert came Bede and the school of Jarrow; from Bede, Alcuin and the schools of Charlemagne at Paris, Tours, and Lyons. From these came Raban and the school of Fulda; from Raban, Walafrid and the school of Richenau, Lupus and the school of Ferrières. From Lupus, Heiric, Remi, and the school of Rheims; from Remi, Odo of Cluni; from the dependencies of Cluni, the celebrated Gerbert, afterwards Pope Sylvester the Second, and Abbo of Fleury, whom I have already introduced to the reader's notice, though not by name, in the former part of this sketch, as repaying a portion of the debt which the Franks owed to the Anglo-Saxons by opening the schools of Ramsey Abbey, after the inroad of the Danes.

In addressing myself, then, at length, to the question, {452} how such studies can be considered in keeping with the original idea of the monastic state, I think it right to repeat an explanation which I made at an earlier stage of the discussion, to the effect that I am proposing nothing more than a survey of the venerable order of St. Benedict from without; and I claim leave to do as much as this by the same right by which the humblest among us may freely and without offence gaze on sun, moon, and stars, and form his own private opinion, true or false, of their materials and their motions. And with this proviso, I remind the reader, if I have not sufficiently done so already, that the one object, immediate as well as ultimate, of Benedictine life, as history presents it to us, was to live in purity and to die in peace. The monk proposed to himself no great or systematic work, beyond that of saving his soul. What he did more than this was the accident of the hour, spontaneous acts of piety, the sparks of mercy or beneficence, struck off in the heat, as it were, of his solemn religious toil, and done and over almost as soon as they began to be. If today he cut down a tree, or relieved the famishing, or visited the sick, or taught the ignorant, or transcribed a page of Scripture, this was a good in itself, though nothing was added to it tomorrow. He cared little for knowledge, even theological, or for success, even though it was religious. It is the character of such a man to be contented, resigned, patient, and incurious; to create or originate nothing; to live by tradition. He does not analyze, he marvels; his intellect attempts no comprehension of this multiform world, but on the contrary, it is hemmed in, and shut up within it. It recognizes but one cause in nature and in human affairs, and that is the First and Supreme; and why things happen day by day in this way, and not in {453} that, it refers immediately to His will [Note 16]. It loves the country, because it is His work; but "man made the town," and he and his works are evil. This is what may be called the Benedictine idea, viewed in the abstract; and, as being such, I gave it, in my former Essay, the title of "poetical," when contrasted with that of other religious orders; and I did so, because I considered I saw in it a congeniality, mutatis mutandis, with the spirit of a great Roman Poet, who has perhaps a better title to that high name than any one else, at least in this respect, as having received a wider homage than others, and that among nations in time, place, and character, further removed from each other [Note 17].

Now, supposing the historical portrait of the Benedictine to be such as this, and that we were further told, that he was concerned with study and with teaching, and then were asked, keeping in mind the notion of his {454} poetry of character, to guess what books he studied and what sort of pupils he taught, we should without much difficulty conclude that Scripture would be his literature, and that children would be the members of his school [Note 18]. And, if we were further asked what was likely to be, after Scripture, the subject-matter of the schooling imparted to these boys, probably we should not be able to make any guess at all; but we surely should not be very much surprised to be told that the same spirit which led him to prefer the old basilicas for worship instead of any new architecture of his own inventing, and to honour his emperor or king with spontaneous loyalty more than by theological definitions, had also induced him, in the matter of education, to take up with the old books and subjects which he found ready to his hand in the pagan schools, as far as he could religiously do so, rather than to venture on any experiments or system of his own [Note 19]. This, as I have already intimated, was the case. He adopted the Roman curriculum, professed the Seven Sciences, beginning with Grammar, that is, the Latin classics, and, if he sometimes finished with them, it was because his boys left him ere he had time to teach them more. The subjects he chose were his fit recompense for choosing them. He adopted the Latin writers from his love of prescription, because he found them in possession. But there were in fact no writings, after Scripture, more congenial, from their fresh and natural beauty and their freedom from intellectualism, to the monastic temperament. Such were his schoolbooks; {455} and as "the boy is father of the man," the little monks, who had heard them read or pored over them, when they grew up filled the atmosphere of the monastery with the tasks and studies with which they had thus been imbued in their childhood.

For so it was, strange as it seems to our ideas, these boys were monks [Note 20]—monks as truly as those of riper years. About St. Benedict's time the Latin Church innovated upon the discipline of former centuries, and allowed parents not only to dedicate their infants to a religious life, but to do so without any power on the part of those infants, when they came to years of reason, to annul the dedication. This discipline continued for five or six centuries, beginning with the stern Spaniards, nor ending till shortly before the pontificate of Innocent the Third. Divines argued in behalf of it from the case of infant baptism, in which the sleeping soul without being asked, is committed to the most solemn of engagements; from that of Isaac on the Mount, and of Samuel, and from the sanction of the Mosaic Law; and they would be confirmed in their course by the instances of compulsion, not uncommon in the early centuries, when high magistrates or wealthy heads of families were suddenly seized on by the populace or by synods, and, against their remonstrances, tonsured, ordained, and consecrated, before they could well take breath and realize to themselves their change of station. Nor must we forget the old Roman law, the spirit of which they had inherited, and which gave to the father the power even of life and death over his refractory offspring.

However, childhood is not the age at which the severity of the law would be felt, which bound a man by his parent's act to the service of the cloister. While these {456} oblates were but children, they were pretty much like other children; they threw a grace over the stern features of monastic asceticism, and peopled the silent haunts of penance with a crowd of bright innocent faces. "Silence was pleased," to use the poet's language, when it was broken by the cheerful, and sometimes, it must be confessed, unruly voices of a set of school-boys. These would sometimes, certainly, be inconveniently loud, especially as St. Benedict did not exclude from his care lay-boys, destined for the world. It was more than the devotion of some good monks could bear; and they preferred some strict Reform, which, among its new provisions, prohibited the presence of these uncongenial associates. But, after all, it was no great evil to place before the eyes of austere manhood and unlovely age a sight so calculated to soften and to cheer. It was not adolescence, with its curiosity, its pride of knowledge and its sensitiveness, with its disputes and emulations, with its exciting prizes and its impetuous breathless efforts, which St. Benedict undertook to teach; he was no professor in a University. His convent was an infant school, a grammar school, and a seminary; it was not an academy. Indeed, the higher education in that day scarcely can be said to exist. It was a day of bloodshed and of revolution; before the time of life came when the University succeeds the School, the student had to choose his profession. He became a clerk or a monk, or else he became a soldier.

The fierce northern warriors, who had won for themselves the lands of Christendom with their red hands, rejoiced to commit their innocent offspring to the custody of religion and of peace. Nay, sometimes with the despotic will, of which I have just now spoken, they dedicated them, from or before their birth, to the service {457} of Heaven. They determined that some at least of their lawless race should be rescued from the contamination of blood and licence, and should be set apart in sacred places to pray for their kindred. The little beings [Note 21], of three or four or five years old, were brought in the arms of those who gave them life to accept at their bidding the course in which that life was to run. They were brought into the sanctuary, spoke by the mouth of their parents, as at the font, put out their tiny hand for the sacred corporal to be wrapped round it, received the cowl, and took their place as monks in the monastic community. In the first ages of the Benedictine Order, these children were placed on a level with their oldest brethren. They took precedence according to their date of admission, and the grey head gave way to them in choir and refectory, if junior to them in monastic standing. They even voted in the election of abbot, being considered to speak by divine instinct, as the child who cried out, "Ambrose is Bishop." [Note 22] If they showed waywardness in community meetings, inattention at choir, ill behaviour at table, which certainly was not an impossible occurrence, they were corrected by the nods, the words, or the blows of the grave brother who happened to be next them: it was not till an after time that they had a prefect of their own, except in school hours.

That harm came from this remarkable discipline is only the suggestion of our modern habits and ideas; that it was not expedient for all times, follows from the {458} fact that at a certain date it ceased to be permitted. However, that, in those centuries in which it was in force, its result was good, is seen in the history of the heroic men whom it nurtured, and might have been anticipated from the principle which it embodied. The monastery was intended to be the paternal home, not the mere refuge of the monk: it was an orphanage, not a reformatory; father and mother had abandoned him, and he grew up from infancy in the new family which had adopted him. He was a child of the house; there were stored up all the associations of his wondering boyhood, and there would lie the hopes and interests of his maturer years. He was to seek for sympathy in his brethren, and to give them his own sympathy in return. He lived and died in their presence. They prayed for his soul, cherished his memory, were proud of his name, and treasured his works. A pleasing illustration of this brotherly affection meets us in the life of Walafrid Strabo, Abbot of Richenau, whose poems, written by him when a boy of fifteen and eighteen, were preserved by his faithful friends, and thus remain to us at this day. Walafrid is but one out of many, whose names are known in history, dedicated from the earliest years to the cloister. St. Boniface, Apostle of Germany, was a monk at the age of five; St. Bede came to Wiremouth at the age of seven; St. Paul of Verdun is said by an old writer to have left his cradle for the cloister; St. Robert entered it as soon as he was weaned; Pope Paschal the Second was taken to Cluni, Ernof to Bec, the Abbot Suger to St. Denis, from their "most tender infancy."


Infants can but gaze about at what surrounds them, {459} and their learning comes to them through their eyes. In the instances I have been considering, their minds would receive the passive impressions which were made on them by the monastic scene, and would be moulded by the composed countenances and solemn services which surrounded them. Such was the education of these little ones, till perhaps the age of seven; when, under the title of "pueri," [Note 23] they commenced their formal school-time, and committed to memory their first lesson. That lesson was the Psalter—that wonderful manual of prayer and praise, which, from the time when its various portions were first composed down to the last few centuries, has been the most precious viaticum of the Christian mind in its journey through the wilderness. In early times St. Basil speaks of it as the popular devotion in Egypt, Africa, and Syria; and St. Jerome had urged its use upon the Roman ladies whom he directed. All monks were enjoined to know it by heart; the young ecclesiastics learned it by heart; no bishop could be ordained without knowing it by heart; and in the parish schools it was learned by heart. The Psalter, with the Lord's Prayer and Creed, constituted the sine quâ non condition of discipleship. At home pious mothers, as the Lady Helvidia, the mother of St. Leo the Ninth, taught their children the Psalter. It was only, then, in observance of a universal law [Note 24] that the Benedictine children were taught it;—they mastered it, and then they passed into the secular schoolroom, and were introduced to the study of grammar [Note 25]. {460}

By Grammar, it is hardly necessary to say, was not meant, as now, the mere analysis or rules of language, as denoted by the words etymology, syntax, prosody; but rather it stood for scholarship, that is, such an acquaintance with the literature of a language as is implied in the power of original composition and the vivâ voce use of it. Thus Cassiodorus defines it to be "skill in speaking elegantly, gained from the best poets and orators;" St. Isidore, "the science of speaking well;" and Raban, "the science of interpreting poets and historians, and the rule of speaking and writing well." In the monastic school, the language of course was Latin; and in Latin literature first came Virgil; next Lucan and Statius; Terence, Sallust, Cicero; Horace, Persius, Juvenal; and of Christian poets, Prudentius, Sedulius, Juvencus, Aratus. Thus we find that the monks of St. Alban's, near Mayence, had standing lectures in Cicero, Virgil, and other authors. In the school of Paderborne there were lectures in Horace, Virgil, Statius, and Sallust. Theodulf speaks of his juvenile studies in the Christian authors, Sedulius and Paulinus, Aratus, Fortunatus, Juvencus, and Prudentius, and in the classical Virgil and Ovid. Gerbert, afterwards Sylvester the Second, after lecturing his class in logic, brought it back again to Virgil, Statius, Terence, Juvenal, Persius, Horace, and Lucan. A work is extant of St. Hildebert's, supposed to be a school exercise; it is scarcely more than a cento of Cicero, Seneca, Horace, Juvenal, Persius, Terence, and other writers. Horace he must have almost known by heart. {461}

Considering the number of authors which have to be studied in order to possessing a thorough knowledge of the Latin tongue, and the length to which those in particular run which are set down in the above lists, we may reasonably infer, that with the science of Grammar the Benedictine teaching began and ended, excepting of course such religious instruction as is rather the condition of Christian life than the acquisition of knowledge. At fourteen, when the term of boyhood was completed [Note 26], the school-time commonly ended too, the lay youths left for their secular career, and the monks commenced the studies appropriate to their sacred calling. The more promising youths, however, of the latter class were suffered or directed first to proceed to further secular studies; and, in order to accompany them, we must take some more detailed view of the curriculum, of which Grammar was the introductory study.

This curriculum [Note 27], derived from the earlier ages of heathen philosophy, was transferred to the use of the Church on the authority of St. Augustine, who in his de Ordine considers it to be the fitting and sufficient preparation for theological learning. It is hardly necessary to refer to the history of its formation; we are told how Pythagoras prescribed the study of arithmetic, music, and geometry; how Plato and Aristotle insisted on grammar and music, which, with gymnastics, were the substance of Greek education; how Seneca speaks, though not as approving, of grammar, music, geometry, and astronomy, as the matter of education in his own day; and how Philo, in addition to these, has named logic and rhetoric. Augustine, in his enumeration of them, begins with arithmetic and grammar, including {462} under the latter history; then he speaks of logic and rhetoric; then of music, under which comes poetry, as equally addressing the ear; lastly, of geometry and astronomy, which address the eye. The Alexandrians, whom he followed, arranged them differently; viz., grammar, rhetoric, and logic or philosophy [Note 28], which branched off into the four mathematical sciences of arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy. And this order was adopted in Christian education, the first three sciences being called the Trivium, the last four the Quadrivium.

Grammar was taught in all these schools; but for those who wished to proceed further than the studies of their boyhood, seats of higher education had been founded by Charlemagne in the principal cities of his Empire, under the name of public schools [Note 29], which may be considered the shadow, and even the nucleus of the Universities which arose in a subsequent age. Such were the schools of Paris, Tours, Rheims, and Lyons in France; Fulda in Germany; Bologna in Italy. Nor did they confine themselves to the Seven Sciences above mentioned, though it is scarcely to be supposed that, in any science whatever, except Grammar, they professed to impart more than the elements. Thus we read of St. Bruno of Segni (A.D. 1080), after being grounded in the "litteræ humaniores," as a boy, by the monks of St. Perpetuus near Aste, seeking the rising school of Bologna for the "altiores scientiæ." [Note 30] St. Abbo of Fleury (A.D. 990), after mastering, in the monastery of that place, {463} grammar, arithmetic, logic, and music, went to Paris and Rheims for philosophy and astronomy; and afterwards taught himself rhetoric and geometry. Raban (A.D. 822) left the school of Fulda for a while for Alcuin's lectures, and learned Greek of a native of Ephesus. Walafrid (A.D. 840) passed from Richenau to Fulda. St. William (A.D. 908), dedicated by his parents to St. Benedict at St. Michael's near Vercellæ, proceeded to study at Pavia. Gerbert (A.D. 990), one of the few cultivators of physics, after Fleury and Orleans, went to Spain [Note 31]. St. Wolfgang (A.D. 994), after private instruction, went to Richenau. Lupus (A.D. 840), after Ferrières, was sent for a time to Fulda. Fulbert too of Chartres (A.D. 1000), though not a monk, may be mentioned as sending his pupils in like manner to finish their studies at schools of more celebrity than his own [Note 32].

History furnishes us with specimens of the subjects taught in this higher education. We read of Gerbert lecturing in Aristotle's Categories and the Isagogæ of Porphyry; St. Theodore taught the Anglo-Saxon youths Greek and mathematics; Alcuin, all seven sciences at York; and at some German monasteries there were lectures in Greek [Note 33], Hebrew, and Arabic. The monks of St. Benignus at Dijon gave lectures in medicine; the abbey of St. Gall had a school of painting and engraving; {464} the blessed Tubilo of that abbey was mathematician, painter, and musician [Note 34]. We read of another monk of the same monastery, who was ever at his carpentry when he was not at the altar; and of another, who worked in stone. Hence Vitruvius was in repute with them. Another accomplishment was that of copying manuscripts, which they did with a perfection unknown to the scholastic age which followed them [Note 35].

These manual arts, far more than the severer sciences, were the true complement of the Benedictine ideal of education, which, intellectually considered, was, after all, little more than a fair or a sufficient acquaintance with Latin literature. Such is the testimony of the ablest men of the time. "To pass from Grammar to Rhetoric, and then in course to the other liberal sciences," says Lupus, speaking of France, is "fabula tantum." [Note 36] "It has ever been the custom in Italy," says Glaber Radulphus, writing of the year 1000, "to neglect all arts but Grammar." [Note 37] Grammar, moreover, in the sense in which we have defined it, is no superficial study, nor insignificant instrument of mental cultivation, and the school-task of the boy became the life-long recreation of the man. Amid the serious duties of their sacred vocation the monks did not forget the books which had arrested and refined their young imagination. Let us turn to the familiar correspondence of some of these more famous Benedictines, and we shall see what were the pursuits of their leisure, and the indulgences of their relaxation. {465} Alcuin, in his letters to his friends, quotes Virgil again and again; he also quotes Horace, Terence, Pliny, besides frequent allusions to the heathen philosophers. Lupus quotes Horace, Cicero, Suetonius, Virgil, and Martial. Gerbert quotes Virgil, Cicero, Horace, Terence, and Sallust. Petrus Cellensis quotes Horace, Seneca, and Terence. Hildebert quotes Virgil and Cicero, and refers to Diogenes, Epictetus, Crœsus, Themistocles, and other personages of ancient history. Hincmar of Rheims quotes Horace. Paschasius Radbert's favourite authors were Cicero and Terence. Abbo of Fleury was especially familiar with Terence, Sallust, Virgil, and Horace; Peter the Venerable, with Virgil and Horace; Hepidann of St. Gall took Sallust as a model of style [Note 38].

Nor is their anxiety less to enlarge the range of their classical reading. Lupus asks Abbot Hatto through a friend for leave to copy Suetonius's Lives of the Cæsars, which is in the monastery of St. Boniface in two small codices. He sends to another friend to bring with him the Catilinarian and Jugurthan Wars of Sallust, the Verrines of Cicero, and any other volumes which his friend happens to know either that he has not, or possesses only in faulty copies, bidding him withal beware of the robbers on his journey. Of another friend he asks the loan of Cicero's de Rhetoricâ, his own copy of which is incomplete, and of Aulus Gellius. In another letter he asks the Pope for Cicero's de Oratore, the Institutions of Quintilian, and the commentary of Donatus upon Terence. In like manner Gerbert tells Abbot Gisilbert that he has the beginning of the Ophthalmicus of the philosopher Demosthenes, and the end of Cicero's Pro rege Deiotaro; and he wants to {466} know if he can assist in completing them for him. He asks a friend at Rome to send him by Count Guido the copies of Suetonius and Aurelius, which belong to his archbishop and himself; he requests Constantine the lecturer (scholasticus) at Fleury, to bring him Cicero's Verrines and de Republicâ, and he thanks Remigius, a monk of Treves, for having begun to transcribe for him the Achilleid of Statius, though he had been unable to proceed with it for want of a copy. To other friends he speaks of Pliny, Cæsar, and Victorinus. Alcuin's Library contained Pliny, Aristotle, Cicero, Virgil, Statius, and Lucan; and he transcribed Terence with his own hand.

Not only the memory of their own youth, but the necessity of transmitting to the next generation what during it they had learned themselves, kept them loyal to their classical acquirements. They were, in this aspect of their history, not unlike the fellows in our modern English universities, who first learn and then teach. It is impossible, indeed, to overlook their resemblance generally to the elegant scholar of a day which is now waning, especially at Oxford, such as Lowth or Elmsley, Copleston or Keble, Howley or Parr, who thought little of science or philosophy by the side of the authors of Greece and Rome. Nor is it too much to say that the Colleges in the English Universities may be considered in matter of fact to be the lineal descendants or heirs of the Benedictine schools of Charlemagne [Note 39]. The modern of course has vastly the advantage in the comparison; for he is familiar with Greek, has an exacter criticism and purer taste, and a more refined cultivation of mind. He writes, verse at least, far better than the Benedictine, who had commonly little idea of it; and {467} he has the accumulated aids of centuries in the shape of dictionaries and commentaries. I am not writing a panegyric on the classical learning of the dark age, but describing what it was; and, with this object before me, I observe that, whatever the monks had not, a familiar knowledge and a real love they had of the great Latin writers, and I assert, moreover, that that knowledge and love were but in keeping with the genius and character of their institute. For they instinctively recognized in the graceful simplicity of Virgil or of Horace, in his dislike of the great world, of political contests and of ostentatious splendour, in his unambitious temper and his love of the country, an analogous gift to that religious repose, that distaste for controversy, and that innocent cheerfulness which were the special legacy of St. Benedict to his children. This attachment to the classics is well expressed by a monk of Paderborn [Note 40], who, when he would describe the studies of the place, suffers his prose almost to dissolve into verse, as he names his beloved authors.

Viguit Horatius,
Crispus et Sallustius,
magnus et Virgilius,
et urbanus Statius.
Ludusque fuit omnibus,
Et dictaminibus
insudare versibus,
jucundisque cantibus.

The latter of these stanzas, as they may be called, illustrates what we have wished to express, in speaking of the classical temperament of the Benedictines. As far as they allowed themselves in any recreation, which was not of a sacred nature, they found it in these beautiful authors, who might be considered as the prophets of the human race in its natural condition. {468} How strongly they contrast in this respect with the scholastic age which swallowed them up! Amid the religious or ecclesiastical matters which were the subject of their correspondence, questions of grammar and criticism are mooted, and a loving curiosity about the nicety of languages is temperately indulged. Whether rubus is masculine or feminine is argued from analogy and by induction; Ambrose makes it feminine, and the names of trees, which have no plurals, are feminine, as populus, fraxinus; on the other hand Virgil makes it masculine, and Priscian allows it to be an exception to the rule. Again, is it dispexeris or despexeris? Priscian says despicio, and makes de answer to the Greek [kata], down; but the Greek in the Psalm is, not [katideis], but [huperideis], above. Again, is the penultima of voluerimus long or short? Long, says Servius on Virgil [Note 41]. They carry their fidelity to the Classics into their own poetical compositions; far from resigning themselves to that merely rhythmical versification, which is ever grateful to the popular ear, which had been in use from the Augustan age, and which afterwards developed into rhyme [Note 42], they rather affect the archaisms and the licences of the classical times. "Contraria rerum," "genus omne animantum," "retundier," "formarier," "benedicier," "scribier," "indupediret," "indunt," savour of Ennius or Lucretius rather than of Virgil. They keep to the Augustan metres, and they are never unwilling to use them. Their theological treatises begin, their epistles to kings end, with hexameters and pentameters. They moralize, they protest, they soothe their sorrows, they ask favours, they compile chronicles, they record their journeys in heroics, elegiacs, and epigrams. They are {469} versifiers, one and all, or at least those whose names or works are best known in history, or in our libraries. The habit was formed at school, and it endured through life. Some indeed, as Lupus or Gerbert, had too many occupations to indulge in it; but others, as Theodulf, bishop of Orleans, return to it in the evening of life, after the manner of Gregory Nazianzen in patristic times, or Lord Wellesley in our own. Bede, Alcuin, Aldhelm, Raban, Theodulf, Hildebert, Notgar, Adelhard, Walafrid, Agobard, Florus, Modoin, Heiric, Gerbert, Angilbert, Herman, Abbo, Odo, Hucbald, Lupus, Fridouard, Paschasius, with many others, all wrote verse. I am not insinuating that they wrote it so happily as the Patriarch of Constantinople or the Governor-General of India; on the contrary, it was not their forte; but Florus, for instance, is eloquent, and Walafrid Virgilian [Note 43]. Their subjects, when most sacred, are such as the great phenomena of nature, the country, woods, mountains, flocks, and herds, plants, flowers, and others which I have called Benedictine. I have no space for extracts; but here is one, as a specimen of what I mean, when I speak of the alliance of St. Benedict and Virgil. It is the conclusion of the Hortulus of Walafrid, and presents us with a very pretty picture of an old monk amid children and fruit trees:—

Hæc tibi servitii munuscula vilia parvi
Strabo tuus, Grimalde pater! …
Ut, cùm conseptu viridis consederis horti,
Inter apricatas frondenti germine malos,
Persicus imparibus crines ubi dividit umbris,
Dum tibi cana legunt tenerâ lanugine poma
Ludentes pueri, schola lætabunda tuorum,
Atque volis ingentia mala capacibus indunt,
Grandia conantes includere corpora palmis,
Quo moneare habeas nostri, pater alme, laboris,
Dum relegis quæ dedo volens, interque legendum
Et vitiosa secas bonus, et meliora reformas.

I have taken a liberty with the last line, which any how is somewhat feeble.

Their prose is superior to their verse; it has little claim indeed to the purity of taste and of vocabulary, which we call classical; but it is good Latin both in structure and in idiom. At any rate the change is wonderful, when we pass from the Benedictine centuries to the Dominican which followed.

In so speaking I have no disrespectful meaning as regards those great authors whose Latinity happens not to be equal to their sanctity or their intellectual power. Their merit, in respect to language, is of a different kind; it consists in their success in making the majestic and beautiful Latin tongue minister to scientific uses, for which it was never intended. But, because they have this merit of their own, that is no reason why we should deny to the writers who preceded them the praise of being familiar with the ancient language itself, a praise which is justly theirs, though seldom allowed to them. The writers of the Benedictine centuries are supposed to have the barbarism, without the science, of the Dominican period; and modern critics, who wish to be fair, seem to consider it a great concession, if they grant that an age must at least have some smattering in classical literature, which, as the foregoing pages show, is ever quoting it and referring to it. Thus Mr. Hallam, in the opening chapter of his Literature of Europe, can but say, "Alcuin's own poems could at least not have been {471} written by one unacquainted with Virgil." Again: "From this time, though quotations from the Latin poets, especially Ovid and Virgil, and sometimes from Cicero, are not very frequent, they occur sufficiently to show that manuscripts had been brought to this side of the Alps."—p. 7. Some pages lower he says, quoting some of St. Adelhard's verses, "the quotation from Virgil in the ninth century perhaps deserves remark, though in one of Charlemagne's monasteries it is not by any means astonishing;" as if Virgil were not the text-book in the northern schools, as my foregoing quotations make clear, and ignorance, in that day, when it was to be found, had not its special seat in the southern side of the Alps, rather than in France and Germany. Passages such as these in men of wide research are simply perplexing. I ask myself whether I have rightly understood their words, or whether I read wrongly the historical facts which they profess to be generalizing. Perhaps it is that I assume without warrant that the quotations of Alcuin and the rest are bonâ fide such, and not derived, as some have said, from catenas of passages, commonplace books, or traditionary use [Note 44]; but such an account of them is absolutely inconsistent, first, with the testimonies which I have above cited, as to the actual studies of the young, and next, with the literary habits which those studies actually formed in the persons who were exercised in them. Can it be that critics of the nineteenth century, possessing {472} the fine appreciation of classical poetry, imparted in the public schools of England, glance their eye over the rude versification of Theodulf or Alcuin, and consider it the measure of the secular learning which gave it birth? M. Guizot, Protestant as he is, is a fairer and kinder judge of the cloister literature than Mr. Hallam or Dean Milman.


And now, to prevent misapprehension of my meaning in this review of the Benedictine Schools, I have two remarks to make before I bring it to an end, one on each side of the description to which that review has led me.

On the one hand, the classical studies and tastes which I have been illustrating, even though foreign to the monastic masses, as they may be called,—even though historically traceable to the mission of St. Theodore from the Holy See to England,—must still be regarded a true offspring of the Benedictine discipline, and in no sense the result of seasons or places, of relaxation and degeneracy. At first sight, indeed, there is some plausibility in saying that with the change of times a real change came over a portion of the great family of monks, and that however usefully employed, Cassiodorus or Theodore, Alcuin or Walafrid, did certainly fall from their proper vocation, and did really leave it to Romuald and others like him, to be, not only the most faithful imitators, but the only true children of the ancient monachism. And, in confirmation of this view, it might be added that the same circumstances which led the monks to literary pursuits, led them to political entanglements also, and that in the same persons, as Theodulf, Lupus, and Gerbert, learning and secular engagements were combined; and that, as no one would say that the cares of office were proper to a monk's vocation, as little could {473} be fairly included in it classical attainments. Whatever be the best mode of treating this difficulty, which of course demands a candid and equitable consideration, here, in addition to what I have said by the way, I shall make one answer of a different kind, which seems to me conclusive, and there leave the question. When, then, I am asked whether these studies are but the accidents and the signs of a time of religious declension, I reply that they are found in those very persons, on the contrary, who were pre-eminent in devotional and ascetic habits, and who were so intimately partakers in the spirit of mortification, whether of St. Benedict or St. Romuald, that they have come down to us with the reputation of saints,—nay, have actually received canonization or beatification. Theodore himself is a saint; Alcuin and Raban are styled "beati;" Hildebert is "venerable;" Bede and Aldhelm are saints; and we can say the same of St. Angilbert, St. Abbo, St. Bertharius, St. Adalhard, St. Odo, and St. Paschasius Radbert. At least Catholics must feel the full force of this argument; for they cannot permit themselves to attribute any dereliction of vocation to those, whom the Church holds up as choice specimens of divine power, and, as being such, sealed by miracle for eternal bliss.

This is my remark on one side the question; on the other, it must not of course be supposed,—indeed my last remark negatives the idea,—that critical scholarship or classical erudition was the business of life, even in the case of this minority of the monastic family, who took so prominent a part in the education of their time. I have distinctly said that, after their school years, the monks were as little taken up with the classics, exceptis excipiendis, as members of parliament or country gentlemen at the present day. They had their serious engagements, {474} as statesmen have now, though of a different kind, and to these they gave themselves. Theology was their one study; to theology secular literature ministered, first as an aid and an ornament, then as a relaxation, amid the mental exertion which it involved. Nor was this literature cultivated without some holy jealousy on the part of the cultivators; "nuces pueris;"—there was a time of life when it ought to be put aside; there was even a danger of its seductiveness. Alcuin himself, if we may trust the account, reproved on one occasion the study, at least of the poets; and in one of his extant letters he complains of a former pupil, then raised to the episcopate, for preferring Virgil to his old master Flaccus, that is, to himself, and prays that "the four Gospels, not the twelve Æneids, may fill his breast."—Ep. 129. St. Paschasius, too, in spite of his love for Terence and Cicero, expresses a judgment, in one passage of his comment upon Ezekiel (Bibl. Max. P. t. xiv., p. 788), against the elder monks being occupied with the heathen poets and philosophers. Lanfranc, when an Irish Bishop asked him some literary question, made answer, "Episcopale propositum non decet operam dare hujusmodi studiis; we passed in these our time of youth, but, when we took on ourselves the pastoral care, we bade them farewell."—Ep. 33. The instance of Pope Gregory is well known: when the Bishop of Vienne had been led to lecture in the classics, he wrote, "A fact has come to our ears, which we cannot name without a blush, that you, my brother, lecture on literature" (grammatica).—Ep. xi. 54. Such occupations, indeed, were in those centuries generally and reasonably held to be inconsistent with the calling of a Bishop [Note 45]. St. Jerome speaks as strongly in an earlier age. {475}

What was true of the Bishop was on the whole true of the monk also; he might perhaps have special duties as the scholasticus of his monastery, but ordinarily, while his manual labour was either in the field or in the scriptorium, so his intellectual exercises were for the most part combined with his devotional, and consisted in the study of the sacred volume. This was mainly what at that time was meant by theology. "Theologia, hoc est, Scripturarum meditatio," says Thomassin.—Disc. Eccl. t. ii., p. 288. Their theology was a loving study and exposition of Holy Scripture, according to the teaching of the Fathers, who had studied and expounded it before them. It was a loyal adherence to the teaching of the past, a faithful inculcation of it, an anxious transmission of it to the next generation. In this respect it differed from the theology of the times before and after them. Patristic and scholastic theology each involved a creative action of the intellect; that this is the case as regards the Schoolmen need not be proved here; nor is it less true, though in a different way, of the theology of the Fathers. Origen, Tertullian, Athanasius, Chrysostom, Augustine, Jerome, Leo, are authors of powerful, original minds, and engaged in the production of original works. There is no greater mistake, surely, than to suppose that a revealed truth precludes originality in the treatment of it. The contrary is acknowledged in the case of secular subjects, in which it is the very triumph of originality, not to invent or discover what is not already known, but to make old things read as if they were new, from the novelty of aspect in which they are placed. This faculty of investing with associations, of applying to particular purposes, of deducing consequences, of impressing upon the imagination, is creative; and though false associations, applications, deductions, and impressions {476} are often made, and were made by some theologians of the early Church, such as Origen and Tertullian, this does but prove that originality is not co-extensive with truth. And so in like manner as to Scripture; to enter into the mind of the sacred author, to follow his train of thought, to bring together to one focus the lights which various parts of Scripture throw upon his text, and to give adequate expression to the thoughts thus evolved, in other words, the breadth of view, the depth, or the richness, which we recognize in certain early expositions, is a creation. Nor is it an inferior faculty to discriminate, rescue, and adjust the truth, which a fierce controversy threatens to tear in pieces, at a time when the ecclesiastical atmosphere is thick with the dust of the conflict, when all parties are more or less in the wrong, and the public mind has become so bewildered as not to be able to say what it does or what it does not hold, or even what it held before the strife of ideas began. In such circumstances, to speak the word evoking order and peace, and to restore the multitude of men to themselves and to each other, by a reassertion of what is old with a luminousness of explanation which is new, is a gift inferior only to that of revelation itself.

This gift is not the characteristic of the history, nor is it akin to the spirit or the object, as I have described them, of the Benedictine Order. At the time of which I am writing, the Christian athlete, after running one length of the stadium, was taking breath before commencing a second course: the Christian combatant was securing his conquests in the wide field of thought by a careful review and catalogue of them, before going forth to make new ones. He was fitly represented, therefore, at such a season, by the Benedictine, faithful, conscientious, affectionate, and obedient, like the good {477} steward who keeps an eye on all his master's goods, and preserves them from waste or decay. First, then, he compared, emendated, and transcribed the text of Scripture; next he transcribed the Fathers who directly or indirectly commented on it; then he attached to its successive portions such passages from the Fathers as illustrated them; then he fused those catenated passages into one homogeneous comment of his own: and there he stopped. He seldom added anything original. In such a task the skill would lie in the happy management and condensation of materials brought together from very various quarters, and here he would find the advantage of the literary habits gained in his early education. A taste for criticism would be another result of it, which we see in Bede, and which would result in so much of leaning to the literal interpretation of Scripture as was consistent with the profession of editing and republishing, as it may be called, the comments of the Fathers. We see this tendency in Alcuin, Paschasius, and especially in Druthmar. Indeed, Alcuin's greatest work was the revision of the Scripture text [Note 46]. Other commentators were Ansbert, Smaragdus, Haymo, Remi, and the Irish Sedulius, if he was a Benedictine. The most widely celebrated, however, of these works was the Glossa Ordinaria of Walafrid, which was in great measure an abridgement of Raban's Catena and became a standard authority in the centuries which followed.


But times were approaching when such peaceful labours were not sufficient for the Church's need, and when theology {478} required to be something more than the rehearsal of what her champions had achieved and her sages had established in ages passed away. As the new Christian society, which Charlemagne inaugurated, grew, its intellect grew with it, and at last began to ask questions and propose difficulties, which catenæ and commentaries could not solve. Hard-headed objectors were not to be subdued by the reverence for antiquity and the amenities of polite literature; and, when controversies arose, the Benedictines found themselves, from the necessity of the times, called to duties which were as uncongenial to the spirit of their founder as the political engagements of St. Dunstan or St. Bernard. Nor must it be supposed that the other parts of Christendom did not furnish matters demanding keen theological acumen, even though none had arisen in the Frankish Churches themselves. And here, I conceive, we have this remarkable confirmation of the identity of the Benedictine character, that, in proportion as these matters were in substance already decided by the Fathers, they acquitted themselves well in the controversy, and in proportion as these matters demanded some original explanations, the monastic disputants were less successful. And in speaking of them, I speak of course of their age itself, of which they were the leading teachers, and which they represent. And I speak, not of individual monks, who would have the natural talents, the intellectual acuteness and subtlety of other men, but of the action of the monasteries, considered as bodies and historically, which is the true measure of the mental discipline to which their Rule subjected them. I speak of those whose direct duty lay, by virtue of their vocation, not in confronting doubts but in suppressing them, and who were not likely on the whole to succeed in exercises of reason in which they had no practice. {479}

One of the countries to which I allude, as being at the era of Charlemagne the seat of theological error, was Spain, then under the power of the Saracens. The victorious infidels, in spite of their general toleration of Catholicism, of course could not avoid inflicting on it the most serious injuries. One of these was the decay or destruction of its schools [Note 47], and the want of education in its priesthood, which was the consequence. Another injury lay in the circumstance that Mahometanism, being a misbelief or heresy, more than a direct denial of the faith, might think it had a right to interfere with it, and had a tendency to corrupt it by the insinuation of its own opinions and traditions about Christian facts and doctrines. Mahomet is said to have been indebted to the teaching of a Nestorian monk, and the demolition of images was one of the watchwords of his armies. Now, from Spain at this time proceeded the heresy of the Adoptionists, which is of a Nestorian character; and it was in Spain that Claudius of Turin matured those uncatholic opinions, especially on the subject of images, which have given him a place in ecclesiastical history.

The conflict with Nestorianism had been completed long before the time of Charlemagne; accordingly the theologians of the age, in refuting it, had but to repeat the arguments which they found ready for them in the pages of the Fathers. Alcuin was one of those who undertook the controversy, and proved himself abundantly prepared for the work. "Paulinus and Alcuin," says Professor Döllinger, "proved their point with a degree of theological acumen, and with a knowledge of the Fathers, which in that age may surprise us." [Note 48] {480}

Such was their success, when the doctrine in question had already been defined; but, on the other hand, the question with which Claudius's name is connected, the honour due to images, was still sub judice, and when the ecumenical decision came from Nicæa, from whatever cause, the Franks misunderstood and disputed it. The same great council of Frankfort, which condemned the Adoptionists, acted as a protection to the Iconoclasts of Constantinople. I am far indeed from insinuating that the Fathers of the Frankish churches really differed from the definition which came to them from the East; but even for a century afterwards those churches regarded it, to say the least, with dissatisfaction.

Meanwhile the spirit of inquiry was alive and operative even within the hearts of these peaceful monastic communities themselves. We find it, as it would seem, in one of the immediate friends and pupils of Alcuin. Fredegis, of the school of York, to whom he addressed various of his letters and works, and whom he made his successor at Tours, has left behind him an argumentative fragment of so strange a nature that it has been thought a mere exercise in disputation and not a portion of a serious work [Note 49]. He starts, moreover, with a proposition in favour of the supremacy of reason as contrasted with authority, which, though admitting of a Catholic explanation, is capable also of being made the basis of a philosophy to which I shall immediately have occasion to allude [Note 50]. Soon after, Gotteschalc, a monk of Orbais, taught that the decree of divine predestination has direct reference to the lost as well as the saved; and about the same time Ratramn of the monastery of Corbie, opposed the Catholic doctrine of the {481} Holy Eucharist. But these intellectual movements within the Benedictine territory were eclipsed by a manifestation of the sceptical spirit which came from a country, where from its prevalent religious temperament such a phenomenon was little to have been expected.

There was a portion of the Western Church which had never been included in the Roman Empire, and but partially, if at all, included within the range of the Benedictine discipline. While that discipline made its way northward, became the instrument of Anglo-Saxon conversion, and even supplanted the rule of Columban in the French monasteries, the countrymen of Columban remained faithful to their old monachism, descended southwards a second time, and retaliated on the convents of the continent by a fresh introduction of themselves and their traditions. At this period, whatever may have been their literary attainments, they were most remarkable for a bold independence of mind, a curiosity, activity, and vigour of thought, which contrasted strongly with the genius of Bede and Raban. Their strength lay in those exercises of pure reason which go by the name of "philosophy," or of "wisdom." Thus in an ancient writer the Irish Scots are spoken of as "sophiâ clari." [Note 51] By Heric of Auxerre, in the passage so often quoted, they are described as "philosophorum greges," venturing across the stormy sea to the wide continent of Europe. And so in the legendary account, by a monk of St. Gall, of the Irish scholars who accosted the Frankish Emperor, they are represented as crying out, "Who wants wisdom? who will buy wisdom?" Dunstan, again, is said to have learned "philosophy" in Ireland; and Benedict of Aniane, the second founder of the Benedictines, is expressly described as looking with suspicion on their {482} syllogistic method, which was so hostile to the habits of mind which his own Order cultivated. These Irish scholars, indeed, were too sincere Catholics, viewing them in the mass, to warrant this jealousy; but it was not without foundation, as we shall see, as regards individuals, and at least would be amply justified in the judgments of those who differed so much from them in mental characteristics as did the Benedictines. On the other hand, there was much in the Anglo-Saxon temper intimately congenial with the latter: then, as now, the occupants of the British soil seem to have been practical rather than speculative, fond of hard work rather than of hard thought, tenacious of what they had received, jealous of novelty, the champions of law and order. Thus the English and Irish may be said so far to represent respectively the two great Orders which came in succession on the stage of ecclesiastical history; and, as they were not without their collisions at home, so we detect some instances, and may conjecture others, of their rivalry as missionaries and teachers in central Europe. We read, for instance, in the history of St. Boniface, that one of his antagonists, in his organization of the Churches which he had founded in Germany, was an Irish priest of the name of Clement. Boniface relates, if his account is to be received to the letter, that this priest neither allowed the authority of Jerome, Augustine, or Gregory, nor of the sacred canons; that he maintained the marriage of bishops; argued from Scripture in defence of marriage with a sister-in-law, and taught a sort of universalism. Also he had to report to Pope Zacharias the false teaching of another Scottish or Irish priest, named Samson, in relation to the Sacraments [Note 52]. Another Irishman, with whom Boniface had a quarrel, was Virgil, {483} afterwards Bishop of Salzburgh, who has been acknowledged, as well as Boniface, for a saint. He offended Boniface by maintaining what seems like a doctrine of the existence of antipodes.

The antagonism between the two schools extended into the next century. Of course John Scotus Erigena, whom Charles the Bald placed in the chair of Alcuin in the School of the Palace, is the palmary specimen of the philosophical party among the Irish monks. This remarkable man, while acknowledging the authority of Revelation, propounded it as a first principle of his speculations, as Fridegis had done before him, that reason must come first, and authority second. Such a proposition indeed was faulty only in its application; for St. Austin himself had laid it down in his treatise de Ordine. It is self-evident, that we should not know what was revelation and what was not, unless we used our reason to decide the point. Whatever we are obliged in the event to learn from external sources, our process of inquiry must begin from within. The ancient Father to whom I have referred propounds both the principle and the sense in which it is true. "We learn things necessarily in two ways," he says, "by authority and by reason. Tempore auctoritas, re autem ratio prior est;" but Erigena, as is generally agreed, accounted reason, not only as the ultimate basis of religious truth, but the direct and proper warrant for it; and, armed with this principle, he proceeded to take part in the two controversies which I have already had occasion to mention, the Predestinarian and the Eucharistic. "The writings have come to us," says the church of Lyons, speaking of his tendencies, like Clement's, to universalism, "the writings have come to us, vaniloqui et garruli hominis, who, disputing on divine prescience {484} and predestination with human, or, as he boasts, philosophical reasonings, without any deference to Scripture, or regard to the authority of the Holy Fathers, has dared to define by his own independent assertion what is to be held and followed." Thus Erigena adopted Clement's argumentative basis as well as his doctrine. His views upon reason and authority are distinctly avowed in the first book of his work, De divisione naturæ. "You are not ignorant," he argues, "that what is prius naturâ ranks higher than what is prius tempore. We have been taught," referring apparently to St. Austin, "that reason is prior in nature, authority in time; now, whereas nature was created together with time, authority did not begin with the beginning of time and nature; on the other hand, reason had its origin with nature and time in the first beginning of things." The Scholar replies to him, "Reason itself teaches this; for authority has proceeded from right reason, reason by no means from authority. For all authority which is not approved by right reason is weak; whereas right reason, when it is fortified in its own strength, settled and immovable, need not be corroborated by the concurrence of any authority."—Lib. 1. n. 71. In like manner, in the commencement of his work on Predestination, while appealing to St. Austin, he makes philosophy and religion convertible terms [Note 53].

Erigena was succeeded in the Schola Palatii by Mannon, who inherited his master's doctrine. He himself had called Plato the greatest of philosophers, and Aristotle the most subtle of investigators; and, according to the testimony of Friar Bacon, he was a successful interpreter of the latter writer; and Mannon, in like manner, has left commentaries on Plato's de Legibus and de Republicâ {485} and on Aristotle's Ethics. About the same time flourished in France another Irishman, named Macarius; and he too showed the same leaning towards pantheism which has been imputed to Erigena [Note 54]. From him this error was introduced into the monastery of Corbie. At a latter date we hear of one Patrick, who from his name may be considered as an Irishman, holding the same heterodox opinion about the Eucharist which Ratramn and Erigena advanced [Note 55].

As to the two controversies, which have been mentioned more than once, while they exemplify to us the scholasticismus ante scholasticos then in action, they afford fresh illustrations also of the insufficiency of such instruments as the Church at that time had in her service to meet this formidable antagonist of her religious supremacy. No mind equal to Erigena appeared on the side of traditionary teaching; and the vigour with which the Adoptionists were condemned and the Filioque inserted in the Creed did not manifest itself in the dealing of the Frankish Synods with the bold doctrine of Gotteschalc and Ratramn. Gotteschalc, as I have said, was a monk of Orbais. We suddenly find him asserting categorically that the reprobate have been predestined to damnation from eternity. Raban and the Synod of Mentz condemned this doctrine. Hincmar and the Synod of Quiercy condemn it also; and Pardulus, bishop of Laon, writes against it. Then Lupus writes, if not in defence of Gotteschalc, at least not in accordance with Hincmar, who, in distress for a champion, has recourse to no other than Erigena, and Erigena, as might be expected from what has been said above, proceeds to commit himself to an extreme doctrine of universalism, {486} as Gotteschalc had to an extreme predestinarianism. Upon this, Florus and Prudentius write against Erigena; and Remigius, explaining or espousing the thesis of Gotteschalc, writes against the three Epistles of Raban, Hincmar, and Pardulus. Hincmar replies in a second Synod of Quiercy; and the Bishops of Lorraine rejoin in the Synod of Valence. The controversy ceases rather than terminates at the Synod of Savonnières, in which all parties were represented, and in which four important articles were received, bearing indirectly on the subject of dispute, but leaving without distinct notice the original position of Gotteschalc.

In the Eucharistic controversy, which lasted through several centuries, the Benedictine Paschasius, supported by Haimo, Hincmar, and Ratherius, expounded the traditionary doctrine afterwards defined: but his statements were met by the dissent, or the hesitation, as it would appear, of men of his own schools, Raban, Ratramn, Amalarius, Heribald, Heriger, Druthmar, and Florus. At the end of two centuries indeed appeared the great Benedictines Lanfranc and Anselm, who dealt successfully with this as well as other controversies. But it must be recollected that, though their school of Bec is confessedly the historical fountain-head of the new theology which was making its way into Christendom, it is as far from a specimen of the Benedictine character in matters of teaching, as imperial minds such as their brother-monk and contemporary, Hildebrand, can be considered in ecclesiastical politics.


And thus the period, properly Benedictine, ended; this honour being shown by Providence to the great Order from which it is named, in reward for its long and {487} patient services to religion, that, though its monks were not to be immediately employed by the Church in the special sense in which they had been her ministers for some hundreds of years, still they should be the first to point out, and that they should hansel, those new weapons, which Orders of a different genius were destined to wield against a new description of opponents.

Nor is it without significancy that the Anglo-Saxon Church, itself the creation of the Benedictines, and the seat from which their influence went out for the education or conversion of Europe, from the Baltic to the Bay of Biscay, should have its share in this honour; and that, as Theodore was brought all the way from Tarsus to Canterbury, so Lanfranc from Lombardy and Anselm from Piedmont should successively fill the archiepiscopal throne of Theodore.

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1. Hom. i. 1.
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2. De Rat. Temp. 66, 67. Elsewhere, he speaks of futura tempora sub Antichristo, in Sam. iv., 2, p. 300.
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3. Raban, de Antichr. opp. t. vi., p. 178. Adson, ap. Alcuin, t. ii., p. 529.
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4. So Malvenda, t. i. p. 118, calling the prelate "Fluentinus;" vid. Ughelli, t. iii., p. 77.
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5. Ad Paulin. Ep. 58; adv. Vigil. fin.
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6. "Omnibus idem propositus scopus erat, idemque finis, nempe secessus à sæculi tumultu et corruptelis." Mabillon, Annal. t. i., p. 215.
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7. Marten. Ampl. Coll. t. vi., p. 153.
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8. Ibid., p. 1063.
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9. Thomassin. Disc. Eccl. t. i., p. 674.
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10. "Uno excepto, qui ob hanc præsumptionem et alia depositus per Romanum Pontificem fuit." Eadmer ap. Nat. Alex. t. vi., p. 599. St. Thomas in consequence made himself a monk, when he came to the see.
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11. Thomassin. Disc. Eccles, t. i., p. 702. Gibbon, ch. 37. Bingh. Antiqu. b. 9.
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12. Camden, Hist. vol. iii., p. 618.
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13. Milman, Latin Christ. vol. i., p. 398.
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14. Mabillon Annal. Bened. t. i., p. 32.
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15. Vid. Daniel, Etudes Classiques, p. 100, etc.; Launoy, de Scholis, Opp. t. iv., 1.
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16. Quoties videtur contra naturam aliquid evenire, quodammodo non contra naturam est, quia rerum natura hoc habet eximium, ut à quo est, semper ejus obtemperet jussis. Paschas. p. 155, Opp. ed. 1618.
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17. This analogy between the monastic institute and Virgil is recognized by Cassiodorus, who, after impressing on his monks, in the first place, the study of Holy Scripture and the Fathers, continues, "However, the most holy Fathers have passed no decree, binding us to repudiate secular literature; for in fact such reading prepares the mind in no slight measure for understanding the sacred writings." Presently, "In some cases indeed, Frigidus obstiterit circum præcordia sanguis," so as to hinder a man's perfect mastery whether of human or divine letters; but even with but a poor measure of knowledge, he may be able to choose the life which follows in the next verse, "Rura mihi et rigui placeant in vallibus amnes;" for "it is even congenial to monks to have the care of a garden, to till the land, and to take interest in a good crop of apples."—De Inst. div. litt. 28. Here, by the bye, is in fact the same contrast between the "Felix qui" and the "Fortunatus et ille," which I have suggested to the reader in my former article (Supr. p. 387, note). Mr. Keble, in a passage of his beautiful Prelections, p. 648, considers Virgil to allude to Lucretius in the "Felix," and to ascribe to himself the "Fortunatus."
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18. "Mos in Benedictino ordine usatissimus scholas instituere, et pueros cùm pietate tum litteris imbuere." Dachery in Lanfranc. Opp. p. 28. Brower. Antiqu. Fuld., pp. 35-38.
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19. On the monastic schools taking up the imperial, vid. Guizot, Civil, vol. ii., p. 100, etc. Vid. also Ampère, Hist. Lit., t. ii., p. 277.
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20. Thomass. Disc. Eccles., t. i., 821.
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21. Calmet, Reg. Bened., t. ii., pp. 2, 4, 116, 278, 325-6, 380, 385. Vid. also Thomassin. Disc. Eccl., t. i., p. 821, and Magagnotti's Dissert. in Fleury's Disc. Pop. Dei.
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22. Calmet, t. ii., p. 324. This early dedication of the monk might tend to suggest or defend the abuse of boy priests. Vid. St. Bernard, de Off. Ep. 7.
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23. Calmet, t. i., p. 495.
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24. Thomass. Disc., t. ii., p. 280, etc.
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25. The following sketch is drawn up from the works of the Benedictines, in Bibl. Max. Patr., tomm. 14, 15, 17, 18, 21; Mabillon's Acta SS. Bened.; Ceillier's Auteurs, tomm. 18-20; Neander's Hist., vol vi., (Bohn); Guizot, Hist. Civil., vol. ii., (Bohn); Ampère, Hist. Lit. t. iii., and two recent works, Mgr. Landriot's Ecoles Littéraires, and P. Daniel's Etudes Classiques, to which I am much indebted for many points of detail. Vid. also M. l'Abbé Lalanne's Influence des Pères, and P. Cahour's Etudes Classiques.
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26. Calmet, Reg., t. i., p. 495.
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27. Brucker, Phil. t. iii., p. 594, etc. Appul. Florid. iv. 20.
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28. The Quadrivium was called "philosophy." Ampère, t. iii., p. 267.
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29. Charlemagne's schools taught Grammar, Rhetoric, Leges, Canones, Theology biblical and patristical. Vid. Thomass. Disc. t. iii., pp. 271-294; Ampère Hist., t. iii., p. 267.
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30. Vit.. ap. Brun. Opp. ed. 1759.
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31. Brucker, t. iii., p. 646.
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32. Thomass. Disc. t. ii., pp. 296-8.
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33. Fredegodus of Canterbury (A.D. 960) wrote in Greek. Vid. Cave's Hist. Litt. in nom. In the Life of St. Odo of Canterbury we read that his patron Athelm "Græcâ et Latinâ linguâ magistris edocendum eum tradidit, quarum linguarum plerisque tunc temporis in gente Anglorum usus erat, à discipulis beatæ memoriæ Theodori archiepiscopi profectus. Factusque est in utrâque linguâ valdè gnarus, ita ut posset poemata fingere, continuare prosam, et omnia, quicquid ei animo sederet, luculentissimo sermone proferre." Mabillon, Act. Sæc. v., p. 289.
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34. I quoted in my former article a passage from Brower on the art cultivated at Fulda. For a parallel in the East, vid. the account of the monks of Theodore Studita, Vit. p. 29, Sismond.
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35. Guizot, Civil., t. ii., p. 236; Hallam, Lit. i., 1, 87.
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36. Ep. 1.
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37. Muratori, Dissert. xliii., p. 831.
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38. The School of Ouen produced 500 writers in 50 years. Landriot, p. 138. Vid. the curious Letter of Gunzo, Marten., Ampl. Coll. t. i., col. 294.
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39. Vid. infr. vol. iii., pp. 225, 6.
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40. Vid. Daniel. p. 115. Landriot, p. 139.
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41. Alcuin, Ep. 23; Lupus, Ep. pp. 5, 8, 20, 34.
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42. Vid. Muratori Dissert. 40.
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43. Du Pin, however, says, "Theodulf's poems are very fine." Cent. viii., p. 126, ed. 1699. "Tolerable poetry," says Dr. Murdock, on Mosheim, vol. ii., p. 151.
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44. "Bede ... had some familiarity with Virgil, Ovid, Lucan, Statius, and even Lucretius ... It may be questioned, however, whether many of the citations from ancient authors, often adduced from medieval writers, as indicating their knowledge of such authors, are more than traditionary, almost proverbial, insulated passages, brilliant fragments, broken off from antiquity, and reset again and again by writers borrowing them from each other, but who had never read another word of the lost poet, orator, or philosopher."—Milman, Latin Christ. vol. ii., p. 39.
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45. Vid. Thomass. Disc. Eccl., t. ii., pp. 268-286.
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46. "Codex, Alcuini labor, in Vallicellensi Bibliothecâ asservatur." Baron. an. 778.
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47. "The Spanish Latin of that period was unquestionably extremely corrupt." Neander Hist., vol vi., p. 118.
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48. Cox's Translation, vol. iii., p. 60.
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49. Vid. Ittig. Biblioth., p. 313.
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50. Vid. Neander, vol. vi., p. 161; Baluz. Miscell., t. ii., p. 56.
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51. Brucker Philos., t. iii., p. 574.
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52. Boniface, Epp. 82, p. 237.
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53. Guizot Civil., t. ii., p. 375.
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54. Lanigan Hist., vol. iii., p. 320.
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55. Vid. Rather. Ep. apud Dach. Spic., t. i., p. 375.
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