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5. The noblest and richest temple of the Netherlands was a wreck, but the fury of the spoilers was excited, not appeased. Each seizing a burning torch, the whole herd rushed from the cathedral, and swept howling through the streets. "Long live the beggars?" resounded through the sultry midnight air, as the ravenous pack flew to and fro, smiting every image of the Virgin,every crucifix, every sculptured saint, every Catholic symbol which they met with upon their path. All night long they roamed from one sacred edifice to another, thoroughly destroying as they went. Before morning they had sacked thirty churches within the city walls. They entered the monasteries, burned their invaluable libraries, destroyed their altars, statues, pictures, and descending into the cellars, broached every cask which they found there, pouring out in one great flood all the ancient wine and ale with which those holy men had been wont to solace their retirement from generation to generation. They invaded the nunneries, whence the occupants, panic-stricken, fled for refuge to the houses and friends of their kindred. The streets were filled with monks and nuns, running this way and that, shrieking and fluttering, to escape the claws of these fiendish Calvinists. The terror was imaginary, for not the least remarkable feature in these transactions was, that neither insult nor injury was offered to man or woman, and that not a farthing's value of the immense amount of property destroyed was appropriated. It was a war, not against the living, but against graven images; nor was the sentiment which prompted the onslaught in the least commingled with a desire of plunder. The principal citizens of Antwerp, expecting every instant that the storm would be diverted from the ecclesiastical edifices to private dwellings, and that robbery, rape, and murder would follow sacrilege, remained all night expecting the attack, and prepared to defend their hearths, even if the altars were profaned. The precaution was needless. It was asserted hy the Catholics that the confederates, and other opulent Protestants, had organized this company of profligates for the meagre pittance of ten stivers a day. On the other hand, it was believed by many that the Catholics had themselves plotted the whole outrage in order to bring odium upon the Reformers. Both statements were equally unfounded. The task was most thoroughly performed, but it was prompted by a furious fanaticism, not by baser motives.
6. Two days and nights longer the havoc raged unchecked through all the churches of Antwerp and the neighbouring villages. Hardly a statue or picture escaped destruction. Yet the rage was directed exclusively against stocks and stones. Not a man was wounded or a woman outraged. Prisoners, indeed, who had been languishing hopelessly in dungeons, were liberated. A monk, who had been in the prison of the Barefoot Monastery for twelve years, recovered his freedom. Art was trampled in the dust, but humanity deplored no victims.
expe dient, advisable.
mili'tia, local soldiery.
mar'grave, the Court of the Mark or district.
executive, appointed to carry out the law.
tmrg'omaster, a mayor.
man ifest, to show.
egress, going out.
hal'berdmen, men provided with halberds—a kind of spear.
SPELL AND PRONOUNCE—
concentrate, to gather
del'egated, handed to
icon'oclast, an image-
omniv'orous, all - de-
ecclesias tics, the
invaluable, beyond value.
Cal vinist, a follower of Calvin.
appropriated, taken for one's self.
confederate, an ally.
sti'ver, a Dutch coin worth a penny.
fanaticism, mad religious zeal.
(For a notice of Byron seepage 14.)
Oh! that the Desert were my dwelling-place,
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean—roll! Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain; Man marks the earth with ruin—his control Stops with the shore; upon the watery plain The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain A shadow of man's ravage, save his own, When, for a moment, like a drop of rain, He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan. Without a grave, unknell'd, uncoffin'd, and unknown.
His steps are not upon thy paths,—thy fields
The armaments which thunder-strike the walls
Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee—
Thou glorious mirror, where th' Almighty's form
Dark-heaving; boundless, endless, and sublime—
And I have loved thee, ocean! and my joy
1 It should be "lie." Byron used the wrong word in ordor to suit the rhyme. To 'lay" is to "put down."
THE ORIGIN OF THE ENGLISH NATION.—Macatjlay.
(For notice of Lord Macaulay seepage 149J
1. The great grandsons of those who had fought under William, and the great grandsons of those who had fought under Harold, began to draw near to each other in friendship; and the first pledge of their reconciliation was the Great Charter,1 won by their united exertions, and framed for their common benefit.
2. Here commences the history of the English nation. The history of the preceding events is the history of wrongs inflicted and sustained by various tribes, which indeed all dwelt on English ground, but which regarded each other with aversion such as has scarcely ever existed between communities separated by physical barriers. For even the mutual animosity of countries at war with each other is languid, when compared with the animosity of nations which, morally separated, are yet locally intermingled. In no country has the enmity of race been earned further than in England. In no country has that enmity been more completely effaced. The stages of the process by which the hostile elements were melted down into one homogeneous mass, are not accurately known to us. But it is certain that,, when John became king, the distinction between Saxons and Normans was strongly marked, and that, before the end of the reign of his grandson, it had almost disappeared. In the time of Richard I. the ordinary imprecation of a Norman gentleman was, "May I become an Englishman!"—his ordinary form of indignant denial was, " Do you take me for an Englishman?" The descendant of such a gentleman, a hundred years later, was proud of the English name.
3. The sources of the noblest rivers which spread fertility over continents, and bear richly-laden fleets to the sea, are to be sought in wild and barren mountain tracts, incorrectly laid down in maps, and rarely explored by travellers. To such a tract the history of our country during the thirteenth century may not inaptly be compared. Sterile and obscure as is that portion of our annals, it is there that we must seek for the origin of our freedom, our prosperity, and our glory. Then it was that the great English people was formed, that the national character began to exhibit those peculiarities which it has ever since retained, and that our fathers became emphatically islanders,— islanders not merely in geographical position, but in their politics, their feelings, and their manners. Then first appeared with distinctness that constitution which has ever since, through all changes, preserved its identity; that constitution of which all the other free constitutions in the world are copies, and which, in spite of some defects, deserves to be regarded as the best under which any great society has ever yet existed during many ages. Then it was that the House of Commons, the archetype of all the representative assemblies which now meet, either in the Old or in the New world, held its first sittings. Then it was that the common law rose to the dignity of a science, and rapidly became a not unworthy rival of the imperial jurisprudence. Then it was that the courage of those sailors who manned the rude barks of the Cinque Ports2 first made the flag of England terrible on the seas. Then it was that the most ancient colleges which still exist at both the great national seats of learning were founded. Then was formed that language, less musical indeed than the languages of the South, but in force, in richness, in aptitude, for all the highest purposes of the poet, the philosopher, and the orator, inferior to the tongue of Greece alone. Then, too, appeared the first faint dawn of that noble literature, the most splendid and the most durable of the many glories of England.
1 Great Charter, Magna Charta, orig., Sandwich, Hythe, Dover, Eoin
forced by the Barons from King John ney, and Eastings. They were
in A.T>. 1215. especially entrusted with the caro
8 Cinque Ports, lit., the five ports, of the navy in old times.