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piazzetta shafts, of which Mr. Swan has now photographs to show you at St. George's Museum ;' and my Venetian readers, on the other hand, must have this Fors, to tell them the meaning of the statues on the top of said pillars.
8. These are, in a manner, her Jacob's pillars, set up for a sign that God was with her. And she put on one of them, the symbol of her standard-bearer, St. Mark; and on the other, the statue of “St. Theodore,” whose body, like St. Mark's, she had brought home as one of her articles of commercial wealth ;; and whose legend—what was it, think you ?-What Evangel or Gospel is this, to be put level with St. Mark's, as the banner on the other wing of the Venetian Host ?
Well, briefly, St. Mark is their standard-bearer in the war of their spirit against all spiritual evil; St. Theodore their standard-bearer in the war of their body against material and fleshly evil :—not the evil of sin, but of material malignant force. St. Michael is the angel of war against the dragon of sin; but St. Theodore, who also is not merely a saint, but an angel, is the angel of noble fleshly life in man and animals, leading both against base and malignant life in men and animals. He is the Chevalier, or Cavalier, of Venice,-her first of loving knights, in war against all baseness, all malignity; in the deepest sense, St. Theodore, literally “God gift,” is Divine life in nature; Divine Life in the flesh of the animal, and in the substance of the wood and of the stone, contending with poison and death in the animal,—with rottenness in the tree, and in the stone. He is first seen (I can find no account of his birth) in the form of a youth of extreme beauty; and his first contest is with a dragon very different from St. George's ; and it is fought in another manner. So much of the legend I must give you in Venice's own words, from her Mother-Rule of St. Theodore,—the Rule,
from the thirteenth century down, of her chief Club, or School, of knights and gentlemen. But meditate a little while first on that Venetian word “Mother-Law." You were told, some time since, in Fors, by an English lawyer, that it was not a lawyer's business to make laws. He spoke truth-not knowing what he said. It is only God's business to make laws. None other's than His ever were made, or will be. And it is lawyer's business to read and enforce the same; however laughable such notion of this function may be to the persons bearing present name of
I walked with one of these—the Recorder of London_to and fro beside a sweet river bank in South England, a year ago; he discoursing of his work for public benefit. He was employed, at that time, in bringing before Parliament, in an acceptably moderate form, the demand of the Railroad Companies to tax the English people to the extent of six millions, as payment for work they had expected to have to do; and were not to do.
A motherly piece of law, truly! many such Mariegolas your blessed English liberties provide you with! All the while, more than mother, “ for she may forget, yet will I not forget thee” —your loving Lord in Heaven pleads with you in the everlasting law, of which all earthly law, that shall ever stand, is part; lovable, infinitely; binding, as the bracelet upon the arm-as the shield upon the neck; covering, as the hen gathereth her brood under her wings ;' guiding, as the nurse's hand the tottering step; ever
* Compare Unto this Last, $ 46, note, significant of all my future work. (I am about to republish this book page for page in its first form.)
1 [See Letter 74, § 12 n. (p. 42).]
[See the last paragraph but one of Mr. Frederic Harrison's letter to the author, printed in Letter 67, Š 24 (Vol. XXVIII. p. 663).]
* (Russell Gurney. Ruskin refers in Love's Meinie, $ 132, to the compensation awarded to the Railway Companies for the Government's taking over of the telegraphs (Vol. XXV. p. 126 n.).]
[Isaiah xlix. 15.] s (Proverbs iii. 3; Luke xiji. 34.] . (Vol. XVII. p. 63. The book was republished in August 1877 : see ibid., p. 5.]
watchful, merciful, life-giving; Mariegola to the souls, and to the dust,--of all the world.
9. This of St. Theodore's was first written, in visible letters for men's reading, here at Venice, in the year 1258:1_
“At which time we all, whose names are written below, with a gracious courage, with a joyful mind, with a perfect will, and with a single spirit,* to the honour of the most holy saviour and lord sir Jesus christ, and of the glorious virgin madonna saint mary his mother, and of the happy and blessed sir saint theodore, martyr and cavalier of God,—(martir et cavalier de dio ')—and of all the other saints and saintesses of God” (have set our names,—understood), “ to the end that the above-said sir, sir saint theodore, who stands continually before the throne of God, with the other saints, may pray to our Lord Jesus christ that we all, brothers and sisters, whose names are underwritten, may have by his most sacred pity and mercy, remission of our minds, and pardon of our sins.”
* “Cum gratiosa mente, cum alegro anemo, cum sincera voluntate, et cum uno spirito, ad honor de lo santissimo salvador et signor nostro, misier Jesu-cristo et de la gloriosa verghene madoña senta maria soa mare.”
So much of the dialect of Venice, in mid-thirteenth century, the reader may bear with; the “mens being kept in the Homeric sense still, of fixed purpose, as of Achilles. It is pretty to see the word “Mother” passing upon the Venetian lips into “sea.
The precious máriegola from which these passages are taken was first, I believe, described by Mr. Edward Cheney, Remarks on the Illuminated Manuscripts of the Early Venetian Republic, page 13.3 Of the manuscript written in 1258 there remain, however, only two leaves, both illuminated (see notes on them in fifth chapter of St. Mark's Rest 4), the text is a copy of the original one, written after 1400. Mr. Cheney's following account of the nature of the “Schools” of Venice, of which this was the earliest, sums all that the general reader need learn on this subject :
“Though religious confraternities are supposed to have existed at a much earlier period, their first historical mention at Venice dates from the middle of the thirteenth century. They were of various sorts ; some were
1 [This Mariegola illustrated with miniatures is in the Correr Museum. It contains besides the effigy of the patron saint surrounded by a crowd of devotees a large miniature on a gold ground, representing the Saviour seated between the Virgin and St. John the Baptist (Cheney, p. 13).]
(See Queen of the Air, $ 16 n. (Vol. XIX. p. 307). ] 3 [This monograph (pp. 95) is No. 1 in vol. xi. (1867–1868) of the “Miscellanies of the Philobiblion Society. It was also separately bound for private circulation. Ruskin's quotation about the “Scuole” is from pp. 10–12. Another monograph by Cheney (pp. 112) Original Documents relating to Venetian Painters (see Vol. XXIV. p. 187)—is No. 2 in vol. xiv. (1872–1876) of the “ Miscellanies," and was also similarly circulated.]
[The fifth chapter was published some months later than this Letter, and did not contain these intended notes.)
“Remission of mind” is what we now profess to ask for in our common prayer,
“ Create in me a clean heart, oh Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.” Whereupon follow the stories of the contest and martyrdom of St. Theodore, and of the bringing his body to Venice. Of which tradition, this is the passage for the sake of which I have been thus tedious to you :
"For in that place there was a most impious dragon, which, when it moved, the earth trembled; when it came forth of its cave, whatsoever it met, it devoured. "Then St. Theodore said in his heart, “I will go, and of my
Father's substance ? make sacrifice, against the most impious dragon.' So he came into the very place, and found there grass with flowers, and lighted down off his horse, and slept, not knowing that in that place was the cave of the dragon. And a kind woman, whose name was Eusebia, a Christian, and fearing God, while she passed, saw St. Theodore sleeping, and went with fear, and took him by the hand, and raised him up, saying, 'Rise, my brother, and leave this place, for, being a youth, you know not, as I see,
confined to particular guilds and callings, while others included persons of every rank and profession.
"The first object of all these societies was religious and charitable. Good works were to be performed, and the practices of piety cherished. In all, the members were entitled to receive assistance from the society in times of need, sickness, or any other adversity.
“The Confraternità Grandi' (though all had the same object) were distinguished by the quantity, as well as by the quality, of their members, by their superior wealth, and by the magnificence of the buildings in which they assembled; buildings which still exist, and still excite the admiration of posterity, though the societies to which they owed their existence have been dispossessed and suppressed.
"The Confraternità Piccole,' less wealthy, and less magnificently lodged, were not the less constituted societies, with their own rules and charters, and having their own chapel, or altar, in the church of their patron-saint, in the sacristy of which their mariegola' was usually preserved. Many of the confraternities had a temporal as well as a spiritual object, and those which were composed exclusively of members of the same trade regulated their worldly concerns, and established the rules by which the Brothers of the Guild should be bound. Their bye-laws were subject to the approval of the Government; they were stringent and exclusive, and were strictly enforced. No competition was permitted.”
(Psalms li. 10.) :. (Here in ed. 1 was a footnote, “Litor paterne substantie mee,” and the text continued: “ . . substance, will strive with the most impious dragon.” This was one of “two delicious mistakes mentioned in the following letter : see p. 93 n.]
the fear that is in this place. A great fear is here. But rise quickly, and go thy way. Then the martyr of Christ rose and said, “Tell me, woman, what fear is in this place.' The maid-servant of God answered, saying, Son, a most_impious dragon inhabits this place, and no one can pass through it. Then St. Theodore made for himself the sign of the cross, and smiting on his breast, and looking up to heaven, prayed, saying, 'Jesus, the Son of the living God, who of the substance of the Father didst shine forth for our salvation, do not slack my prayer which I pray of thee (because thou in battle hast always helped me and given me victory), that I may conquer this explorer of the Devil.' Thus saying, he turned to his horse, and speaking to him as to a man, said, “I know that in all things I have sinned against thee, oh God, who, whether in man or beast, hast always fought with me. Oh thou horse of Christ, comfort thee, be strong like a man, and come, that we may conquer the contrary enemy.' And as the horse heard his master saying fiery (sacrificial) words, he stood, looking forth as with human aspect, here and there; expecting the motion of the dragon. Then the blessed Theodore with a far-sent voice cried, and said, 'Dragon, I say to thee, and give precept to thee in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, who is crucified for the human race, that thou shouldest come out of thy place, and come to me.' Instantly as he heard the voice of St. Theodore, he prepared himself that he should to him. And he moving himself and raging, presently in that place the stones were moved, and the earth trembled. Then the blessed Theodore, as he saw him moving himself in his fury, mounted his horse, and trampled him down, and the horse, giving a leap, rose over the most impious dragon, trampling it down with all its four feet. Then the most strong martyr of Christ, St. Theodore, extending his lance, struck it through the heart, and it lay stretched out dead."
VENICE, Purification of the Virgin, 1877. 10. Oh me, again, how am I ever to tell you the infinite of meaning in this all-but-forgotten story? It is eleven years to-day since the 2nd of February became a great festival to me:? now, like all the days of all the years, a shadow; deeper, this, in beautiful shade. The sun has risen cloudless, and I have been looking at the light of it on the edges of St. Ursula's flower, which is happy with me, and has four buds bursting, and one newly open flower, which the first sunbeams filled with crimson light down under every film of petal; whose jagged edges of paler rose broke over and over each other, tossed here and
(In ed. 1, "saying prayerful words (rogalia verba), he stood.” This is the second of the delicious mistakes."]
(1866. The day was one upon which Miss Rose La Touche came on a visit to Denmark Hill.]