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THE

CHRISTIAN REMEMBRANCER.

JANUARY, 1867.

ART. I.-1. LEYSER (P.). Historia Poetarum Med. Evi. Hal. Mag. 8°. 1721.

2. AMPÈRE (F.). Hist. littéraire de France avant le 12me Siècle. 8°. Paris. 1839.

3. DU MERIL (ED.). 1854.

4. DU MERIL (ED.).

8°. 1847.

5. DU MERIL (ED.). Paris. 8°. 1843.

Poésies inédites du Moyen Age. Paris. 8°.

Poésies populaires du Moyen Age. Paris.

Poésies populaires avant le 12me Siècle.

6. Wright (J.). Biographia Britannica Literaria. Lond. 8°. 1846.

7. MIGNE. Cursus Patrologia Lat. &c.

PART II.

[Continued from Christian Remembrancer, vol. lii. p. 392]. THE eleventh century opens under different auspices; if it is still an age of coarseness and violence, an age in which the fair proportions of feudality are still being moulded and the noble grace of chivalry has not yet shone out in its full splendour, it is nevertheless an age with a purpose, and with an intellectual centre. To this day does the tourist who journeys from Rouen to the ancient town of Brionne, see, at the bottom of a long hill, about a mile from the latter, a lovely valley stretching out on his right hand, at the extremity of which rise the walls of a stately mansion, and one grey and lofty tower. Following the course of a swift clear stream flowing down through a winding lane, he will find himself, after a pleasant stroll, in the presence of what was once the illustrious monastery of Bec, the home of Anselm and Lanfranc, the intellectual centre of the eleventh century. But a change has come over that pleasant scene. The sloping hills, the sparkling stream, the woods waving in the summer wind, are still there, but the cloisters that rang to the feet of the solitaries have passed away, the scriptorium and the

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transcriber have gone together; part has been rebuilt, part has perished by the work of time, and but a small portion of the original monastery now exists. And yet, in few other remains can be seen so clearly that gracious instinct which prompted the monastics to seek a resting-place among the loveliest of the works of God. No town has grown up around the venerable walls no cottages even nestle under its shadow. It stands alone in the delightful valley among its murmuring leaves, as it stood in the days of Anselm: it still looks high over its green pastures and its undulating hills, to where, here and there among the woods, rises the grey tower of the village church.

It was on this spot, so calm and of a beauty so soft and tender, that in the year 1034 men laid the foundations of the great monastery of Bec. The fame of it grew up and flourished apace, and soon after the Italian Lanfranc was admitted within its walls, it rose to be the first establishment of its kind throughout the west of Europe. But into the long record of its renown it is not ours to enter. We follow but a single thread. We feel our way from age to age along only one slender line, and it is with Bec only so far as men wrote Latin verses within its walls, that we are here concerned. Who, then, in this age, was the foremost of its poets?

Anselm. The very name is in some sort an explanation of the age; it brings before us more clearly than any other its twofold nature, its inner and its outer life, its moral condition and its political features. In one sense, indeed, Anselm was the bold imperious churchman he has been so frequently described, but in another and far truer sense, he might be described as a man singularly gentle and mild, conciliating even little children by the suavity of his temper and his manners, and who, when his duty to the Church compelled him to vindicate her authority, was still loth to assert his own. Yet there was nothing in his nature of that humility which is akin to pride. He was perfectly sincere, when, as prior of Bec, he uttered a wish that he could throw aside the burden of government, and again become one of the brethren, and equally so in his unwillingness to exchange his priory for the English archiepiscopate. Had he been allowed to exercise a choice, there is little doubt he would have preferred a contemplative to an active life; but he was one of those men, who, though longing for retirement and tranquillity, are yet successful in the management of affairs. Above all things, he was a moralist. With the exception of a few controversial works, nearly all his writings were undertaken to solve certain difficulties, or to clear up certain doubts that had been propounded to him; but, besides his prose compositions, he was also the author of several metrical productions.

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