Part 7 out of 9
That it seem'd a thin line only.
It appear'd so weak and fragile,
That the slightest weight would sink it.
"Here thy pathway lies," they told me,
"O'er this bridge so weak and narrow;
And, for thy still greater horror,
Look at those who've pass'd before thee."
Then I look'd, and saw the wretches
Who the passage were attempting
Fall amid the sulphurous current,
Where the snakes with teeth and talons
Tore them to a thousand pieces.
Notwithstanding all these horrors,
I, the name of God invoking,
Undertook the dreadful passage,
And, undaunted by the billows,
Or the winds that blew around me,
Reached the other side in safety.
Here within a wood I found me,
So delightful and so fertile,
That the past was all forgotten.
On my path rose stately cedars,
Laurels--all the trees of Eden.
After having described some of the glories of this abode of bliss, he
relates his meeting with "the resplendent, the most glorious, the great
Patrick, the Apostle"--and was thus enabled to keep his early promise.
The poem ends with the following somewhat confused list of authorities:
"For with this is now concluded
The historic legend told us
By Dionysius, the great Carthusian,
With Henricus Salteriensis,
Matthew Paris, and Ranulphus,
Monbrisius, Marolicus Siculus,
David Rothe, and the judicious
Primate over all Hibernia,
Bellarmino, Beda, Serpi,
Friar Dymas, Jacob Sotin,
Messingham, and in conclusion
The belief and pious feeling
Which have everywhere maintained it."
From Alban Butler's notes to "Lives of the Saints," Vol. I. p. 103, we
subjoin the following:
"St. Patrick's Purgatory is a cave on an island in the Lake Dearg
(Lough Derg), in the County of Donegal, near the borders of Fermanagh.
Bollandus shows the falsehood of many things related concerning it.
Upon complaint of certain superstitious and false notions of the
vulgar, in 1497, it was stopped up by an order of the Pope. See
Bollandus, 'Tillemont,' p. 287, Alemand in his 'Monastic Hist. of
Ireland,' and Thiers, 'Hist. des. Superst.' I. 4 ed. Nov. It was soon
after opened again by the inhabitants; but only according to the
original institution, as Bollandus takes notice, as a penitential
retirement for those who voluntarily chose it, probably in imitation of
St. Patrick, or other saints, who had there dedicated themselves to a
penitential state. They usually spent several days here, living on
bread and water, lying on rushes, praying and making stations
THE BRIG O' DREAD.
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
In connection with the extracts which we have given from the celebrated
Drama of Calderon, the "Purgatory of St. Patrick," and in particular of
that one which relates to the passage of Ludovico over the bridge which
leads from Purgatory to Paradise, it will be interesting to quote the
following from Sir Walter Scott's "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border:"
"There is a sort of charm, sung by the lower ranks of Roman Catholics,
in some parts of the north of England, while watching a dead body
previous to interment. The tone is doleful and monotonous, and, joined
to the mysterious import of the words, has a solemn effect. The word
sleet, in the chorus, seems to be corrupted from selt or salt; a
quantity of which, in compliance with a popular superstition, is
frequently placed on the breast of a corpse. The mythologic ideas of
the dirge are common to various creeds. The Mahometan believes that, in
advancing to the final judgment seat, he must traverse a bar of red-hot
iron, stretched across a bottomless gulf. The good works of each true
believer, assuming a substantial form, will then interpose between his
feet and this 'Bridge of Dread;' but the wicked, having no such
protection, fall headlong into the abyss." Passages similar to this
dirge are also to be found in "Lady Culross' Dream," as quoted in the
second Dissertation, prefixed by Mr. Pinkerton to his select Scottish
Ballads, 2 vols. The dreamer journeys towards heaven, accompanied and
assisted by a celestial guide:
"Through dreadful dens, which made my heart aghast,
He bore me up when I began to tire.
Sometimes we clamb o'er craggy mountains high,
And sometimes stay'd on ugly braes of sand.
"They were so stay that wonder was to see;
But when I fear'd, he held me by the hand.
Through great deserts we wandered on our way--
Forward we passed a narrow bridge of trie,
O'er waters great, which hideously did roar."
Again, she supposes herself suspended over an infernal gulf:
"Ere I was ware, one gripped me at the last,
And held me high above a flaming fire.
The fire was great, the heat did pierce me sore;
My faith grew-weak; my grip was very small.
I trembled fast; my faith grew more and more."
A horrible picture of the same kind, dictated probably by the author's
unhappy state of mind, is to be found in Brooke's "Fool of Quality."
The Russian funeral service, without any allegorical imagery, expresses
the sentiment of the dirge in language alike simple and noble: "Hast
thou pitied the afflicted, O man? In death shalt thou be pitied. Hast
thou consoled the orphan? The orphan will deliver thee. Hast thou
clothed the naked? The naked will procure thee protection."--
_Richardson's "Anecdotes of Russia."_
But the most minute description of the Brig o' Dread occurs in the
legend of Sir Owain, No. XL. in the MS. collection of romances, W. 4.
I, Advocates' Library, Edinburgh. Sir Owain, a Northumbrian knight,
after many frightful adventures in St. Patrick's Purgatory, at last
arrives at the bridge, which, in the legend, is placed betwixt
Purgatory and Paradise:
"The fendes han the Knight ynome,
To a stink and water thai ben ycome,
He no seigh never er non swiche;
It stank fouler than ani hounde,
And mani mile it was to the grounde,
And was as swart as piche.
"And Owain seigh ther ouer ligge
A swithe, strong, naru brigge:
The fendes seyd tho;
Lo, Sir Knight, sestow this,
This is the brigge of Paradis,
Here ouer thou must go.
"And we the schul with stones prowe
And the winde the schul ouer blow,
And wirche the ful wo;
Thou no schalt for all this unduerd,
Bot gif thou falle a midwerd, To our fewes  mo.
[Footnote 1: Sir Walter Scott says probably a contraction of
"And when thou art adoun yfalle,
Than schal com our felawes alle,
And with her hokes the hede;
We schul the teche a newe playe:
Thou hast served ous mani a day,
And into helle the lede.
"Owain biheld the brigge smert,
The water ther under blek and swert,
And sore him gan to drede;
For of othing he tok yeme,
Never mot, in sonne beme,
Thicker than the fendes yede.
"The brigge was as heigh as a tower,
And as scharpe as a rasour,
And naru it was also;
"And the water that ther run under,
Brend o' lighting and of thonder,
That thocht him michel wo.
"Ther nis no clerk may write with ynke,
No no man no may bithink, No no maister deuine;
That is ymade forsoth ywis,
Under the brigge of paradis Halven del the pine.
"So the dominical ous telle,
Ther is the pure entrae of helle,
Seine Poule  verth witnesse;
Whoso falleth of the brigge adown,
Of him nis no redempcion, Neither more nor lesse.
[Footnote 1: St. Paul.]
"The fendes seyd to the Knight tho,
'Ouer this brigge might thou nowght go,
For noneskines nede;
Fie peril sorwe and wo,
And to that stede ther thou com fro,
Wel fair we schul the lede.'
"Owain anon began bithenche,
Fram hou mani of the fendes wrenche,
God him saved hadde;
He sett his fot opon the brigge,
No feld he no scharpe egge,
No nothing him no drad.
"When the fendes yseigh tho,
That he was more than half ygo,
Loude thai gun to crie:
Allas! Allas! that he was born!
This ich night we habe forlorn
Out of our baylie."--_Minstrelsy of Scottish Border._
SHELLEY AND THE PURGATORY OF ST. PATRICK.
It will be of interest to quote the following passage from one of
Shelley's best known works, "The Cenci," of which he himself says: "An
idea in this speech was suggested by a most sublime passage in 'El
Purgatorio de San Patricio,' of Calderon."
"But I remember, Two miles on this side of the fort, the road Crosses a
deep ravine; 'tis rough and narrow, And winds with short turns down the
precipice; And in its depths there is a mighty rock Which has, from
unimaginable years, Sustained itself with terror and with toil Over the
gulf, and with the agony With which it clings seems slowly coming down;
Even as a wretched soul, hour after hour, Clings to the mass of life;
yet clinging, leans; And leaning, makes more dark the dread abyss In
which it fears to fall; beneath this crag Huge as despair, as if in
weariness, The melancholy mountain yawns."
ON A GREAT FUNERAL. 
[Footnote: The above lines apply with peculiar impressiveness to the
funeral of General Grant, so lately occupying public attention.]
AUBREY DE VERE.
No more than this? The chief of nations bears Her chief of sons to his
last resting-place; Through the still city, sad and slow of pace, The
sable pageant streams; and as it nears That dome, to-day a vault
funereal, tears Run down the gray-hair'd veteran's wintry face; Deep
organs sob and flags their front abase; And the snapt wand the rite
complete declares. Soul, that before thy Judge dost stand this day,
Disrobed of strength and puissance, pomp and power; O soul! defrauded
at thine extreme hour Of man's sole help from man, and latest stay,
Swells there for thee no prayer from all that host, And is this burial
but a nation's boast?
Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere,
"Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?
Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?
For now I see the true old times are dead,
When every morning brought a noble chance,
And every chance brought out a noble knight.
Such times have been not since the light that led
The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.
But now the whole Round Table is dissolved
Which was an image of the mighty world;
And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me, and the years,
Among new men, strange faces, other minds."
And slowly answered Arthur from the barge:
"The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils Himself in many ways.
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
I have lived my life, and that which I have done
May He within Himself make pure! but thou,
If thou shouldst never see my face again,
Pray for my soul.
More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of.
Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
But now farewell!
I am going a long way
With these thou seest--if indeed I go
(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)
To the island-valley of Avilion;
Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow;
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
Deep-meadowed, happy, fair with orchard lawns
And bowery hollows crowned with summer sea,
Where I will heal me of my grievous wound."
So said he, and the barge with oar and sail
Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan.
That, fluting a wild carol, ere her death,
Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood
With swarthy webs.
Long stood Sir Bedivere
Revolving many memories, till the hull
Looked one black dot against the verge of dawn,
And on the meer the wailing died away.
GUIDO AND HIS BROTHER.
COLLlN DE PLANCY.
The brother who forgets his brother is no longer a man, he is a
monster.--Sr. John Chrysostom.
Peter the Venerable relates the story of a lord of his time, named Guy
or Guido, who had lost his life in battle; this was very common in the
Middle Ages, when the nobles were beyond all else great warriors. As
this Guido had not been able to make his last confession, he appeared
fully armed, to a priest, some time after his death.
"Stephanus," said he (that was the name of the priest), "I pray thee go
to my brother Anselm; thou shalt tell him that I conjure him to restore
an ox which I took from a peasant," naming him; "and also to repair the
damage I did to a village which did not--belong to me, by wrongfully
imposing taxes thereupon. I was unable to confess, or to expiate these
two sins, for which I am grievously tormented. As an assurance of what
I tell thee," continued the apparition, "I warn thee that, when thou
returnest to thy dwelling, thou shalt find that the money thou hast
saved to make the pilgrimage of St. James has been stolen."
The priest, on his return, actually found that his strongbox had been
broken open and his money carried off; but he could not discharge his
commission, because Anselm was absent.
A few days after, the same Guido appeared a second time, to reproach
Stephanus for his neglect. The good priest excused himself on the
impossibility of finding Anselm; but learning that he had returned to
his manor, he repaired thither, and faithfully fulfilled his
He was received very coolly. Anselm told him that he was not obliged to
do penance for the sins of his brother; and with these words he
The dead man, who experienced no relief, appeared a third time, and
bemoaning his brother's harshness, he besought the worthy servant of
God to have compassion himself on his distress, and assist him in his
extremity. Stephanus, much affected, promised that he would, He
restored the price of the stolen ox, gave alms to the wronged village,
said prayers, recommended the deceased to all the good people he knew,
and then Guido appeared no more.
BERTHOLD IN PURGATORY.
COLLIN DE PLANCY.
Miseremini mei, miseremini mei, saltem vos, amici moi.--JOB xix.
A short time after the death of Charles the Bald, there is found in
Hincmar a narrative which it may be well to introduce here; it is the
journey of Berthold, or Bernold, to Purgatory in the spirit.
Berthold was a citizen of Rheims, of good life, fulfilling his
Christian duties and enjoying public esteem. He was subject to
ecstasies, or syncope, which sometimes lasted a good while. Then,
whether he had visions, or that his soul transported itself or was
transported out of his body--an effect which, is evidently produced in
our days by magnetism--he made, in his ecstasies, several journeys into
Having fallen seriously ill when already well advanced in age, he
received all the sacraments which console the conscience; after which
he remained four entire days in a sort of ecstasy, during which he took
no nourishment of any kind. At the end of the fourth day he had become
so weak that there was hardly any breath in him. About midnight,
however, he begged his wife to send quickly for his confessor. He
afterwards remained motionless. But, at the end of a quarter of an
hour, he said to his wife:
"Place a seat here, for the priest is coming."
He entered the moment after, and recited the beautiful prayers for the
departing soul, to which Berthold responded clearly and exactly. After
this he had again a moment of ecstasy; and, coming out of it, he
related his several visits to Purgatory, and the commissions wherewith
he had been charged by many suffering souls.
He was conducted by a spirit, an Angel doubtless. Amongst those who
were being purified, in ice or in fire, he found Ebbon, Archbishop of
Rheims; Pardule, Bishop of Laon; Enee, Bishop of Paris, and some other
prelates, clothed in filthy garments, torn and rusty. Their faces were
wrinkled, haggard, and sallow. Ebbon besought him to ask the clergy and
people of Rheims to pray for him and his companions, who made him the
same request. He charged himself with all these commissions.
He found, farther on, or in another visit, the soul of Charles the
Bald, extended in the mud and much exhausted. The ex-king asked
Berthold to recommend him to Archbishop Hincmar and the princes of his
family, acknowledging that he was principally punished for having given
ecclesiastical benefices to courtiers and worldly laics, as had been
done by his ancestor, Charles Martel. Berthold promised to do what he
Farther on, and perhaps also on another occasion, he saw Jesse, Bishop
of Orleans, in the hands of four dark spirits, who were plunging him
alternately into a well of boiling pitch and one of ice-cold water. Not
far from him, Count Othaire was in other torments. The two sufferers
recommended themselves, like the others, to the pious offices of
Berthold, who faithfully executed the commissions of the souls in pain.
He applied, on behalf of the bishops, to their clergy and people; for
King Charles the Bald, to Archbishop Hincmar. He wrote besides--for he
was a lettered man--to the relatives of the deceased monarch, making
known to them the state wherein he had seen him. He went to urge the
wife of Othaire, his vassals and friends, to offer up prayers and give
alms for him; and in a last visit which he was permitted to make, he
learned that Count Othaire and Bishop Jesse were delivered; King
Charles the Bald had reached the term of his punishment; and he saw the
Bishops Ebbon, Enee, and Pardule, who thanked him as they went forth
from Purgatory, fresh and robed in white.
After this account, whereto Berthold subjoined that his guide had
promised him some more years of life, he asked for Holy Communion,
received it, felt himself cured, left his bed on the following day, and
his life was prolonged for fourteen years.
A LEGEND OF ST. NICHOLAS.
Let us quote here, says Collin de Plancy, a good English religious
whose journey has been related by Peter the Venerable, Abbot of Cluny,
and by Denis the Carthusian. This traveller speaks in the first person:
"I had St. Nicholas for a guide," he says; "he led me by a level road
to a vast horrible space, peopled with the dead, who were tormented in
a thousand frightful ways. I was told that these people were not
damned, that their torment would in time come to an end, and that it
was Purgatory I saw. I did not expect to find it so severe. All these
unfortunates wept hot tears and groaned aloud. Since I have seen all
these things I know well that if I had any relative in Purgatory, I
would suffer a thousand deaths to take him out of it.
"A little farther on, I perceived a valley, through which flowed a
fearful river of fire, which rose in waves to an enormous height. On
the banks of that river it was so icy cold that no one can have any
idea of it. St. Nicholas conducted me thither, and made me observe the
sufferers who were there, telling me that this again was Purgatory."
"DREAM OF GERONTIUS."
ANGEL. Thy judgment now is near, for we are come Into the veiled
presence of our God.
SOUL. I hear the voices that I left on earth.
ANGEL. It is the voice of friends around thy bed,
Who say the "Subvenite" with the priest.
Hither the echoes come; before the
Throne Stands the great Angel of the Agony,
The same who strengthened Him, what time He knelt
Lone in that garden shade, bedewed with blood.
That Angel best can plead with Him for all
Tormented souls, the dying and the dead.
ANGEL OF THE AGONY. Jesu! by that shuddering dread which fell on Thee;
Jesu! by that cold dismay which sicken'd Thee;
Jesu! by that pang of heart which thrill'd in Thee;
Jesu! by that mount of sins which crippled Thee;
Jesu! by that sense of guilt which stifled Thee;
Jesu! by that innocence which girdled Thee;
Jesu! by that sanctity which reign'd in Thee;
Jesu! by that Godhead which was one with Thee;
Jesu! spare these souls which are so dear to Thee;
Who in prison, calm and patient, wait for Thee;
Hasten, Lord, their hour, and bid them come to Thee,
To that glorious Home, where they shall ever gaze on Thee.
SOUL. I go before my Judge. Ah! ...
ANGEL. ... Praise to His Name! The eager spirit has darted from my
And, with the intemperate energy of love,
Flies to the dear feet of Emmanuel;
But, ere it reach them, the keen sanctity,
Which, with its effluence, like a glory, clothes
And circles round the Crucified, has seized,
And scorch'd, and shrivell'd it; and now it lies
Passive and still before the awful Throne.
O happy, suffering soul! for it is safe,
Consumed, yet quicken'd, by the glance of God.
SOUL. Take me away, and in the lowest deep
There let me be, And there in hope the lone night-watches keep,
Told out for me.
There, motionless and happy in my pain,
Lone, not forlorn,--There will I sing my sad, perpetual strain,
Until the morn.
There will I sing, and soothe my stricken breast,
Which ne'er can cease
To throb, and pine, and languish, till possess'd
Of its Sole Peace.
There will I sing my absent Lord and Love:--Take me away,
That sooner I may rise, and go above,
And see Him in the truth--of everlasting day.
ANGEL. Now let the golden prison ope its gates,
Making sweet music, as each fold revolves
Upon its ready hinge.
And ye, great powers,
Angels of Purgatory, receive from me
My charge, a precious soul, until the day,
When from all bond and forfeiture released,
I shall reclaim it for the courts of light.
SOULS IN PURGATORY
1. Lord, Thou hast been our refuge: in every generation;
2. Before the hills were born, and the world was: from age to age, Thou
3. Bring us not, Lord, very low: for Thou hast said, Come back again,
ye sons of Adam!
4. A thousand years before Thine eyes are but as yesterday: and as a
watch of the night which is come and gone.
5. The grass springs up in the morning: at evening-tide it shrivels up
6. So we fall in Thine anger: and in Thy wrath are we troubled.
7. Thou hast set our sins in Thy sight: and our round of days in the
light of Thy countenance.
8. Come back, O Lord! how long: and be entreated for Thy servants.
9. In Thy morning we shall be filled with Thy mercy: we shall rejoice
and be in pleasure all our days.
10. We shall be glad according to the days of our humiliation: and the
years in which we have seen evil.
11. Look, O Lord, upon Thy servants and upon Thy work: and direct their
12. And let the beauty of the 'Lord our God be upon us: and the work of
our hands, establish Thou it.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without
ANGEL. Softly and gently, dearly-ransom'd soul, In my most loving arms
I now enfold thee, And, o'er the penal waters, as they roll, I poise
thee, and I lower thee, and hold thee.
And carefully I dip thee in the lake, And thou, without a sob, or a
resistance, Dost through the flood thy rapid passage take, Sinking
deep, deeper, into the dim distance.
Angels, to whom the willing task is given, Shall tend, and nurse, and
lull thee, as thou liest; And Masses on the earth, and prayers in
heaven, Shall aid thee at the throne of the Most High.
Farewell, but not for ever! brother dear, Be brave and patient on thy
bed of sorrow; Swiftly shall pass thy night of trial here, And I will
come and wake thee on the morrow.
ST. GREGORY RELEASES THE SOUL OF THE EMPEROR TRAJAN
In a little picture in the Bologna Academy he is seen praying before a
tomb, on which is inscribed "TRAJANO IMPERADOR;" beneath are two
angels, raising the soul of Trafan out of flames. Such is the usual
treatment of this curious and poetical legend, which is thus related in
the "Legenda Aurea": "It happened on a time, as Trajan was hastening to
battle at the head of his legions, that a poor widow flung herself in
his path, and cried aloud for justice, and the emperor stayed to listen
to her; and she demanded vengeance for the innocent blood of her son,
killed by the son of the emperor. Trajan promised to do her justice
when he returned from his expedition. 'But, sire', answered the widow,
'should you be killed in battle, who will then do me justice?' 'My
successor,' replied Trajan. And she said, 'What will it signify to you,
great emperor, that any other than yourself should do me justice? Is it
not better that you should do this good action yourself than leave
another to do it?' And Trajan alighted, and having examined into the
affair, he gave up his own son to her in place of him she had lost, and
bestowed on her likewise a rich dowry. Now, it came to pass that as
Gregory was one day meditating in his daily walk, this action of the
Emperor Trajan came into his mind, and he wept bitterly to think that a
man so just should be condemned to eternal punishment. And entering a
church, he prayed most fervently that the soul of the good emperor
might be released from torment. And a voice said to him, 'I have
granted thy prayer, and I have spared the soul of Trajan for thy sake;
but because thou hast supplicated for one whom the justice of God had
already condemned, thou shalt choose one of two things: either thou
shalt endure for two days the fires of Purgatory, or thou shalt be sick
and infirm for the remainder of thy life.' Gregory chose the latter,
which sufficiently accounts for the grievous pains and infirmities to
which this great and good man was subjected, even to the day of his
This story of Trajan was extremely popular in the Middle Ages; it is
illustrative of the character of Gregory.... Dante twice alludes to it.
He describes it as being one of the subjects sculptured on the walls of
Purgatory, and takes occasion to relate the whole story.
"There was storied on the rock Th'exalted glory of the Roman Prince,
Whose mighty worth moved Gregory to earn This mighty conquest--Trajan
the Emperor. A widow at his bridle stood attired In tears and mourning.
Round about them troop'd Full throng of knights: and overhead in gold
The eagles floated, struggling with the wind The wretch appear'd amid
all these to say: 'Grant vengeance, sire! for woe, beshrew this heart,
My son is murder'd!' He, replying, seem'd: 'Wait now till I return.'
And she, as one Made hasty by her grief: 'O, sire, if thou Dost not
return?'--'Where I am, who then is, May right thee.'--'What to thee is
others' good, If thou neglect thine own?'--'Now comfort thee,' At
length he answers: 'It beseemeth well My duty be perform'd, ere I move
hence. So justice wills and pity bids me stay.'"--_Purg. Canto X_.
It was through the efficacy of St. Gregory's intercession that Dante
afterwards finds Trajan in Paradise, seated between King David and King
Hezekiah.--_Purg. Canto XX_.
ST. GREGORY AND THE MONK
There was a monk who, in defiance of his vow of poverty, secreted in
his cell three pieces of gold. Gregory, on learning this,
excommunicated him, and shortly afterwards the monk died. When Gregory
heard that the monk had perished in his sin, without receiving
absolution, he was filled with grief and horror, and he wrote upon a
parchment a prayer and a form of absolution, and gave it to one of his
deacons, desiring him to go to the grave of the deceased and read it
there: on the following night the monk appeared in a vision, and
revealed to him his release from torment.
This story is represented in the beautiful bas-relief in white marble
in front of the altar of his chapel; it is the last compartment on the
In chapels dedicated to the Service of the Dead, St. Gregory is often
represented in the attitude of supplication, while on one side, or in
the background, angels are raising the tormented souls out of the
flames.--_Sacred and Legendary Art, Vol. I._
THE LEGEND OF GEOFFROID D'IDEN.
It is related by Peter the Venerable, Abbot of Cluny, that, in the
first half of the twelfth century, the Lord Humbert, son of Guichard,
Count de Beaujeu, in the Maconnais, having made war on some other
neighboring lords, Geoffroid d'Iden, one of his vassals, received in
the fight a wound which instantly killed him. Two months after his
death, Geoffroid appeared to Milon d'Ansa, who knew him well; he begged
him to tell Humbert de Beaujeu, in whose service he had lost his life,
that he was in Purgatory, for having aided him in an unjust war and not
having expiated his sins by penance, before his unlooked-for death;
that he besought him, therefore, most urgently, to have compassion on
him, and also on his own father, Guichard, who, although he had led a
religious life at Cluny in his latter days, had not entirely satisfied
the justice of God for his past sins, and especially for a portion of
his wealth, which, as his children knew, was ill gained; that, in
consequence thereof, he prayed him to have the Holy Sacrifice of the
Mass offered for him and for his father, to distribute alms to the
poor, and to recommend both sufferers to the prayers of good people, in
order to shorten their time of penance. "Tell him," added the
apparition, "that if he hear thee not, I must go myself to announce to
him that which I have now told to thee."
The lof Ansa (now Anse) faithfully discharged the task imposed upon
him. Humbert was frightened; but he neither had prayers nor Masses
offered up, made no reparation, and distributed no alms.
Nevertheless, fearing lest Guichard his father or Geoffroid d'Iden
might come to disturb him, he no longer dared to remain alone,
especially by night; and he always had some of his people around him,
making them sleep in his chamber.
One morning, as he was still in bed, but awake, he saw appear before
him Geoffroid d'Iden, armed as on the day of the battle. Showing him
the mortal wound which he had received, and which appeared still fresh,
he warmly reproached him for the little pity he had for himself and for
his father, who was groaning in torment; and he added: "Take care lest
God may treat thee in His rigor, and refuse thee the mercy thou dost
not grant to us; and for thee, give up thy purpose of going to the war
with Amadeus. If thou goest thither, thou shalt lose thy life and thy
At that moment, Richard de Marsay, the Count's squire, entered, coming
from Mass; the, spirit disappeared, and thenceforward Humbert de
Beaujeu went seriously to work to relieve his father and his vassal,
after which he made the journey to Jerusalem to expiate his own sins.
THE QUEEN OF PURGATORY.
BY FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER, D. D.
Oh! turn to Jesus, Mother! turn,
And call Him by His tenderest names;
Pray for the Holy Souls that burn
This hour amid the cleansing flames.
Ah! they have fought a gallant fight;
In death's cold arms they persevered;
And, after life's uncheery night,
The harbor of their rest is neared.
In pains beyond all earthly pains
Fav'rites of Jesus, there they lie,
Letting the fire wear out their stains,
And worshipping God's purity.
Spouses of Christ they are, for He
Was wedded to them by His blood;
And angels o'er their destiny
In wondering adoration brood.
They are the children of thy tears;
Then hasten, Mother! to their aid;
In pity think each hour appears
An age while glory is delayed!
See, how they bound amid their fires,
While pain and love their spirits fill;
Then, with self-crucified desires,
Utter sweet murmurs, and lie still.
Ah me! the love of Jesus yearns
O'er that abyss of sacred pain;
And, as He looks, His bosom burns
With Calvary's dear thirst again.
O Mary! let thy Son no more
His lingering spouses thus expect;
God's children to their God restore,
And to the Spirit His elect.
Pray then, as thou hast ever prayed;
Angels and Souls all look to thee;
God waits thy prayers, for He hath made
Those prayers His law of charity.
THE DEAD PRIEST BEFORE THE ALTAR.
REV. A. J. RYAN.
Who will watch o'er the dead young priest,
People and priests and all?
No, no, no, 'tis his spirit's feast,
When the evening shadows fall.
Let him rest alone--unwatched, alone,
Just beneath the altar's light,
The holy Hosts on their humble throne
Will watch him through the night.
The doors were closed--he was still and fair,
What sound moved up the aisles?
The dead priests come with soundless prayer,
Their faces wearing smiles.
And this was the soundless hymn they sung:
"We watch o'er you to-night;
Your life was beautiful, fair and young,
Not a cloud upon its light.
To-morrow--to-morrow you will rest
With the virgin priests whom Christ has blest."
Kyrie Eleison! the stricken crowd
Bowed down their heads in tears
O'er the sweet young priest in his vestment shroud.
Ah! the happy, happy years!
They are dead and gone, and the Requiem Mass
Went slowly, mournfully on,
The Pontiff's singing was all a wail,
The altars cried and the people wept,
The fairest flower in the Church's vale
Ah me! how soon we pass!
In the vase of his coffin slept. _--From In Memoriam._
MEMORIALS OF THE BEAD.
R. R. MADDEN. 
[Footnote 1: Author of "Lives and Times of United Irishmen."]
'Tis not alone in "hallowed ground,"
At every step we tread
Midst tombs and sepulchres, are found
Memorials of the dead.
'Tis not in sacred shrines alone,
Or trophies proudly spread
On old cathedral walls are shown
Memorials of the dead.
Emblems of Fame surmounting death,
Of war and carnage dread,
They were not, in the "Times of Faith,"
Memorials of the dead.
From marble bust and pictured traits
The living looks recede,
They fade away: so frail are these
Memorials of the dead.
On mural slabs, names loved of yore
Can now be scarcely read;
A few brief years have left no more
Memorials of the dead.
Save those which pass from sire to son,
Traditions that are bred
In the heart's core, and make their own
Memorials of the dead.
A CHILD'S REQUIESCAT IN PACE.
_ELIZA ALLEN STARR_.
With the gray dawn's faintest break,
Mother, faithfully I wake,
Whispering softly for thy sake
_Requiescat in pace_!
When the sun's broad disk at height
Floods the busy world with light,
Breathes my soul with sighs contrite,
_Requiescat in pace_!
When the twilight shadows lone
Wrap the home once, once thine own,
Sobs my heart with broken moan,
_Requiescat in pace_!
Night, so solemn, grand, and still,
Trances forest, meadow, rill;
Hush, fond heart, adore His will,
_Requiescat in pace_!
THE SOLITARY SOUL.
I died; but my soul did not wing its flight straight to the heaven-
nest, and there repose in the bosom of Him who made it, as the minister
who was with me said it would. Good old man! He had toiled among us,
preaching baptizing, marrying, and burrying, until his hair had turned
from nut-brown to frost-white; and he told me, as I lay dying, that the
victory of the Cross was the only passport I needed to the joys of
eternity; that a life like mine would meet its immediate reward. And it
did; but, O my God! not as he had thought, and I had believed.
As he prayed, earth's sights and sounds faded from me, and the strange,
new life began. The wrench of agony with which soul and body parted
left me breathless; and my spirit, like a lost child, turned frightened
eyes towards home.
I stood in a dim, wind-swept space. No gates of pearl or walls of
jacinth met my gaze; no streaming glory smote my eyes; no voice bade me
enter and put on the wedding garment. Hosts of pale shapes circled by,
but no one saw me. All had their faces uplifted, and their hands--such
patient, pathetic hands--were clasped on their hearts; and the air was
heavy with the whisper, "Christ! Christ!" that came unceasingly from
Above us, the clouds drifted and turned; about us, the horizon was
blotted out; mist and grayness were everywhere. A voiceless wind swept
by; and as I gazed, sore dismayed and saddened, a rent opened in the
driving mass, and I saw a man standing with arms upraised. He was
strangely vestured; silver and gold gleamed in his raiment, and a large
cross was outlined upon his back. He held in his hands a chalice of
gold, in which sparkled something too liquid for fire, too softly
brilliant for water or wine.
As this sight broke on our vision, two figures near me uttered a cry,
whose rapturous sweetness filled space with melody; and, like the up-
springing lark, borne aloft by the beauty of their song, they vanished;
and those about me bowed their heads, and ceased their moan for a
"What is it?" I cried. "Who is the man? What was it he held in his
But there was none to answer me, and I drove along before the wind with
the rest, helpless, bewildered.
How long this lasted I do not know; for there was neither night nor day
in the sad place; and a fire of longing burnt in my breast, so keen, so
strong, that all other sensation was swallowed up.
And then, too, my grief! There were many deeds of my life to which I
had given but casual regret. When the minister would counsel us to
confess our sins to God, I had knelt in the church and gone through the
form; but here, where the height and depth and breadth of God's
perfection dawned upon me, and grew hourly clearer, they seemed to rend
my heart, and to far outweigh any little good I might have done. Oh!
why did no one ever preach the justice of God to me, and the necessity
of personal atonement! Why had they only taught me, "Believe, and you
shall be saved?"
Time by time, the shapes about me rose and vanished with the same cry
as the two I saw liberated in my first hour; and sometimes--like an
echo--the sound of human voices would go through space--some choked
with tears, some low with sadness, some glad with hope.
"Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord!"
"And let perpetual light shine upon them!"
"May they rest in peace!"
And the "Amen" tolled like a silver bell, and I would feel a respite.
But no one called me by name, no one prayed for my freedom. My mother's
voice, my sister's dream, my father's belief--all were that I was happy
before the face of God. And friends forgot me, except in their
At seasons, through the mist would loom an altar, at which a man, in
black robes embroidered with silver, bowed and bent. The chalice, with
its always wonderful contents, would be raised, and a disc, in whose
circle of whiteness I saw Christ crucified. From the thorn-wounds, the
Hands, the Feet, the Side, shot rays of dazzling brightness; and my
frozen soul, my tear-chilled eyes, were warmed and gladdened; for the
man who held this wondrous image would himself sigh: "For _all_
the dead, sweet Lord!" And to me, even me, would come hope and peace.
But, oh! the agony, oh! the desolateness, to be cut off from the sweet
guerdon of immediate release! Oh! the pain of expiating every fault,
measure for measure! Oh, the grief of knowing that my own deeds were
the chains of my captivity, and my unfulfilled duties the barriers that
withheld me from beholding the Beatific Vision!
Sometimes a gracious face would gleam through the mist--a face so
tender, so human, so full of love, that I yearned to hear it speak to
_me_, to have those radiant eyes turned on _me_. My companions called
her "Mary!" and I knew it was the Virgin of Nazareth. Often she would
call them by name, and say: "My child, my Son bids thee come home."
Why had I never known this gentle Mother! Why could I not catch her
mantle, and clinging to it, pass from waiting to fulfilment!
Once when I had grown grief-bowed with waiting, worn with longing, I
saw again the vision of the Church. At a long railing knelt many young
girls, and they received at the hands of the priest what I had learned
to discern as the Body of the Lord. One--God bless her tender heart!--
whispered as she knelt: "O dearest Lord, I offer to Thee this Holy
Communion for the soul _that has no one to pray for her_."
And through the grayness rang at last _my_ name, and straight to
heaven I went, ransomed by that mighty price, freed by prayer from
O you who live, who have voices and hearts, for the sake of Christ and
His Holy Mother; by the love you bear your living, and the grief you
give your dead, pray for those whose friends do not know how to help
them; for the suddenly killed; for the executed criminal; and for those
who, having suffered long in Purgatory, need one more prayer to set
them free.--_Ave Maria_, November 10, 1883.
THE STORY OF THE FAITHFUL SOUL.
_Founded on an old French Legend_.
ADELAIDE ANNE PROCTER.
The fettered spirits linger In purgatorial pain,
With penal fires effacing
Their last faint earthly stain,
Which Life's imperfect sorrow
Had tried to cleanse in vain.
Yet, on each feast of Mary
Their sorrow finds release,
For the great Archangel Michael
Comes down and bids it cease;
And the name of these brief respites
Is called "Our Lady's Peace."
Yet once--so runs the legend--
When the Archangel came,
And all these holy spirits
Rejoiced at Mary's name,
One voice alone was wailing,
Still wailing on the same.
And though a great Te Deum
The happy echoes woke, I
This one discordant wailing
Through the sweet voices broke:
So when St. Michael questioned,
Thus the poor spirit spoke:--
I am not cold or thankless,
Although I still complain;
I prize Our Lady's blessing,
Although it comes in vain
To still my bitter anguish,
Or quench my ceaseless pain.
"On earth a heart that loved me
Still lives and mourns me there,
And the shadow of his anguish
Is more than I can bear;
All the torment that I suffer
Is the thought of his despair.
"The evening of my bridal
Death took my Life away;
Not all Love's passionate pleading
Could gain an hour's delay.
And he I left has suffered
A whole year since that day.
"If I could only see him--
If I could only go
And speak one word of comfort
And solace--then, I know
He would endure with patience,
And strive against his woe."
Thus the Archangel answered:
"Your time of pain is brief,
And soon the peace of Heaven
Will give you full relief;
Yet if his earthly comfort
So much outweighs your grief,
"Then, through a special mercy,
I offer you this grace--
You may seek him who mourns you
And look upon his face,
And speak to him of Comfort,
For one short minute's space.
"But when that time is ended,
Return here and remain
A thousand years in torment,
A thousand years in pain;
Thus dearly must you purchase
The comfort he will gain."
The lime-trees shade at evening
Is spreading broad and wide;
Beneath their fragrant arches
Pace slowly, side by side,
In low and tender converse,
A Bridegroom and his Bride.
The night is calm and stilly,
No other sound is there
Except their happy voices:--
What is that cold bleak air
That passes through the lime-trees,
And stirs the Bridegroom's hair?
While one low cry of anguish,
Like the last dying wail
Of some dumb, hunted creature,
Is borne upon the gale--
Why dogs the Bridegroom shudder
And turn so deathly pale?
Near Purgatory's entrance
The radiant Angels wait;
It was the great St. Michael
Who closed that gloomy gate,
When the poor wandering spirit
Came back to meet her fate.
"Pass on," thus spoke the Angel:
"Heaven's joy is deep and vast;
Pass on, pass on, poor spirit,
For Heaven is yours at last;
In that one minute's anguish,
Your thousand years have passed."
GENERADE, THE FRIEND OF ST. AUGUSTINE.
J. COLLIN DE PLANCY.
ST. AUGUSTINE reckoned among his friends the physician Generade, highly
honored in Carthage, where his learning and skill were much esteemed.
But by one of those misfortunes of which there are, unhappily, but too
many examples, while studying the admirable mechanism of the human
body, he had come to believe matter capable of the works of
intelligence which raise man so far above other created beings. He was,
therefore, a materialist; and St. Augustine praying for him, earnestly
besought God to enlighten that deluded mind.
One night while he slept, this doctor, who believed, as some do still,
that "when one is dead, all is dead"--we quote their own language--saw
in his dreams a young man, who said to him: "Follow me." He did so, and
was conducted to a city, wherein he heard, on the right, unknown
melodies, which filled him with admiration. What he heard on the left
he never remembered. But on awaking he concluded, from this vision,
that there was, somewhere, something else besides this world.
Another night he likewise beheld in sleep the same young man, who said
"Knowest thou me?"
"Very well," answered Generade.
"And wherefore knowest thou me?"
"Because of the journey we made together when you showed me the city of
"Was it in a dream, or awake, that you saw and heard what struck you
"It was in a dream."
"Where is your body now?"
"In my bed."
"Knowest thou well that thou now seest nothing with the eyes of the
"I know it."
"With what eyes, then, dost thou see me?"
As the physician hesitated, and could not answer, the young man said to
"Even as thou seest and hearest me, now that thine eyes are closed and
thy senses benumbed, so, after thy death, thou shalt live, thou shalt
see, thou shalt hear--but with the organs of the soul. Doubt, then, no
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS AND FRIAR ROMANUS.
WE are about to treat of facts concerning which our fathers never had
any hesitation, because they had faith. Nowadays, the truths which are
above the material sight have been so roughly handled that they are
much diminished for us. And if the goodness of God had not allowed some
rays of the mysteries which He reserves for Himself to escape, if some
gleams of magnetism and the world of spirits occupying the air around
us had not a little embarrassed those of our literati who make a merit
of not believing, we would hardly dare, in spite of the grave
authorities on which they rest, to represent here some apparitions of
souls departed from this world. We shall venture to do so,
One day, when St. Thomas Aquinas was praying in the Church of the
Friars, Preachers, at Naples, the pious friar Romanus, whom he had left
in Paris, where he replaced him in the chair of Theology, suddenly
appeared beside him. Thomas, seeing him, said:
"I am glad of thine arrival. But how long hast thou been here?"
Romanus answered: "I am now out of this world. Nevertheless, I am
permitted to come to thee, because of thy merit."
The Saint, alarmed at this reply, after a moment's recollection, said
to the apparition: "I adjure thee, by Our Lord Jesus Christ, tell me
simply if my works are pleasing to God!"
Romanus replied: "Persevere in the way in which thou art, and believe
that what thou doest is agreeable unto God."
Thomas then asked him in what state he found himself.
"I enjoy eternal life," answered Romanus. "Nevertheless, for having
carelessly executed one clause of a will which the Bishop of Paris gave
me in charge, I underwent for fifteen days the pains of Purgatory."
St. Thomas again said: "You remind me that we often discussed the
question whether the knowledge acquired in this life remain in the soul
after death. I pray you give me the solution thereof."
Romanus made answer: "Ask me not that. As for me, I am content with
seeing my God."
"Seest thou him face to face?" went on Thomas.
"Just as we have been taught," replied Romanus, "and as I see thee."
With these words he left St. Thomas greatly consoled.
THE KEY THAT NEVER TURNS.
ELEANOR C. DONNELLY.
"In Purgatory, dear," I said to-day, Unto my pet, "the fire burns and
burns, Until each ugly stain is burned away--And then an Angel turns A
great, bright key, and forth the glad soul springs Into the presence of
the King of kings."
"But in that other prison?" "Sweetest love! The same fierce fire burns
and burns, but thence None e'er escapes." The blue eyes, raised above,
Were fair with innocence. "Poor burning souls!" she whispered low, "ah
me! No Angel ever comes to turn _their_ key!"
"ULULU! ululu! wail for the dead,
Green grow the grass of
Fingal on his head;
And spring-flowers blossom, ere elsewhere appearing,
And shamrocks grow thick on the martyr for Erin.
Ululu! ululu! soft fall the dew
On the feet and the head of the martyred and true."
For a while they tread
In silence dread--
Then muttering and moaning go the crowd,
Surging and swaying like mountain cloud,
And again the wail comes wild and loud.
"Ululu! ululu! kind was his heart!
Walk slower, walk slower, too soon we shall part.
The faithful and pious, the
Priest of the Lord,
His pilgrimage over, he has his reward.
"By the bed of the sick, lowly kneeling,
To God with the raised cross appealing--
He seems still to kneel, and he seems still to pray,
And the sins of the dying seem passing away.
"In the prisoner's cell, and the cabin so dreary,
Our constant consoler, he never grew weary;
But he's gone to his rest,
And he's now with the blest,
Where tyrant and traitor no longer molest--
Ululu! ululu! wail for the dead!
Ululu! ululu! here is his bed."
Short was the ritual, simple the prayer,
Deep was the silence, and every head bare;
The Priest alone standing, they knelt all around,
Myriads on myriads, like rocks on the ground.
Kneeling and motionless.--
"Dust unto dust."
"He died as becometh the faithful and just--
Placing in God his reliance and trust;"
Kneeling and motionless--
"Ashes to ashes"--
Hollow the clay on the coffin-lid dashes;
Kneeling and motionless, wildly they pray,
But they pray in their souls, for no gesture have they--
Stern and standing--oh! look on them now!
Like trees to one tempest the multitude bow.
HYMN FOR THE DEAD.
Help, Lord, the souls which Thou hast made,
The souls to Thee so dear,
In prison, for the debt unpaid
Of sins committed here.
Those holy souls, they suffer on,
Resign'd in heart and will,
Until Thy high behest is done,
And justice has its fill.
For daily falls, for pardon'd crime,
They joy to undergo
The shadow of Thy cross sublime,
The remnant of Thy woe.
Help, Lord, the souls which Thou hast made,
The souls to Thee so dear,
In prison, for the debt unpaid Of sins committed here.
Oh! by their patience of delay,
Their hope amid their pain,
Their sacred zeal to burn away
Disfigurement and stain;
Oh! by their fire of love, not less
In keenness than the flame,
Oh! by their very helplessness,
Oh! by Thy own great Name,
Good Jesu, help! sweet Jesu, aid
The souls to Thee most dear,
In prison, for the debt unpaid
Of sins committed here.
THE TWO STUDENTS.
The Abbe de Saint Pierre, says Collin de Plancy, has given a long
account, in his works, of a singular occurrence which took place in
1697, and which we are inclined to relate here:
In 1695, a student named Bezuel, then about fifteen years old,
contracted a friendship with two other youths, students like himself,
and sons of an attorney of Caen, named D'Abaquene. The elder was, like
Bezuel, fifteen; his brother, eighteen months younger. The latter was
named Desfontaines. The paternal name was then given only to the
eldest; the names of those who came after were formed by means of some
As the young Desfontaines' character was more in unison with Bezuel's
than that of his elder brother, these two students became strongly
attached to each other.
One day during the following year, 1696, they were reading together a
certain history of two friends like themselves, who had promised each
other, with some solemnity, that he of the two who died first would
come back to give the survivor some account of his state. The historian
added that the dead one really did come back, and that he told his
friend many wonderful things. Young Desfontaines, struck by this
narrative, which he did not doubt, proposed to Bezuel that they should
make such a promise one to the other. Bezuel was at first afraid of
such an engagement. But several months after, in the first days of
June, 1697, as his friend was going to set out for Caen, he agreed to
Desfontaines then drew from his pocket two papers in which he had
written the double agreement. Each of these papers expressed the formal
promise on the part of him who should die first to come and make his
fate known to the surviving friend. He had signed with his blood the
one that Bezuel was to keep. Bezuel, hesitating no longer, pricked his
hand, and likewise signed with his blood the other document, which he
gave to Desfontaines.
The latter, delighted to have the promise, set out with his brother.
Bezuel received some days after a letter, in which his friend informed
him that he had reached his home in safety, and was very well. The
correspondence between them was to continue. But it stopped very soon,
and Bezuel was uneasy.
It happened that on the 31st of July, 1697, being about 2 o'clock in
the afternoon, in a meadow where his companions were amusing themselves
with various games, he felt himself suddenly stunned and taken with a
sort of faintness, which lasted for some minutes. Next day, at the same
hour, he felt the same symptoms, and again on the day after. But then--
it was Friday, the 2d of August--he saw advancing towards him his
friend Desfontaines, who made a sign for him to come to him. Being in a
sitting posture and under the influence of his swoon, he made another
sign to the apparition, moving on his seat to make place for him.
The comrades of Bezuel moving around saw this motion, and were
As Desfontaines did not advance, Bezuel arose to go to him. The
apparition then took him by the left arm, drew him aside some thirty
paces, and said:
"I promised you that, if I died before you, I would come to tell you. I
was drowned yesterday in the river at Caen, about this hour. I was out
walking; it was so warm that we took a notion to bathe. A weakness came
over me in the river, and I sank to the bottom. The Abbe de Menil-Jean,
my companion, plunged in to draw me out; I seized his foot; but whether
he thought it was a salmon that had caught hold of him, or that he felt
it actually necessary to go up to the surface of the water to breathe,
he shook me off so roughly that his foot gave me a great blow in the
chest, and threw me to the bottom of the river, which is there very
Desfontaines then told his friend many other things, which he would not
divulge, whether the dead boy had prayed him not to do so, or for other
Bezuel wanted to embrace the apparition, but he found only a shadow.
Nevertheless, the shadow had squeezed his arm so tightly, that it
pained him after.
He saw the spirit several times, yet always a little taller than when
they parted, and always in the half-clothing of a bather. He wore in
his fair hair a scroll on which Bezuel could only read the word
_In_. His voice had the same sound as when he was living, he
appeared neither gay nor sad, but perfectly tranquil. He charged his
friend with several commissions for his parents, and begged him to say
for him the Seven Penitential Psalms, which had been given him as a
penance by his confessor, three days before his death, and which he had
not yet recited.
The apparition always ended by a farewell expressed in words which
signified: "Till we meet again! (_Au revoir!_)" At last, it ceased
at the end of some weeks; and the surviving friend, who had constantly
prayed for the dead, concluded from this that his Purgatory was over.
This Monsieur Bezuel finished his studies, embraced the ecclesiastical
state, became _cure_ of Valogne, and lived long, esteemed by his
parishioners and the whole city, for his good sense, his virtuous life,
and his love of truth.
THE PENANCE OF DON DIEGO RIEZ.
_A Legend of Lough Derg._ 
[Footnote 1: Lough Derg, in Donegal, was a place famous for pilgrimage
from a very early period, and was much resorted to out of France,
Italy, and the Peninsula, during the Middle Ages, and even in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In Mathew Paris, and Froissart, as
well as in our native annals, and in O'Sullivan Beare, there are many
facts of its extraordinary history.]
T. D. MCGEE.
There was a knight of Spain--Diego Riaz,
Noble by four descents, vain, rich and young,
Much woe he wrought, or the tradition lie is,
Which lived of old the Castilians among;
His horses bore the palm the kingdom over,
His plume was tall, costliest his sword,
The proudest maidens wished him as a lover,
The _caballeros_ all revered his word
But ere his day's meridian came, his spirit
Fell sick, grew palsied in his breast, and pined--
He fear'd Christ's kingdom he could ne'er inherit,
The causes wherefore too well he divined.
Where'er he turns, his sins are always near him,
Conscience still holds her mirror to his eyes,
Till those who long had envied came to fear him,
To mock his clouded brow and wintry sighs.
Alas! the sins of youth are as a chain
Of iron, swiftly let down to the deep,
How far we feel not--till when, we'd raise't again
We pause amid the weary work and weep.
Ah, it is sad a-down Life's stream to see.
So many aged toilers so distress'd,
And near the source--a thousand forms of glee
Fitting the shackle to Youth's glowing breast.
He sought peace in the city where she dwells not,
He wooed her amid woodlands all in vain,
He searches through the valleys, but he tells not
The secret of his quest to priest or swain,
Until, despairing evermore of pleasure,
He leaves his land, and sails to far Peru;
There, stands uncharm'd in caverns of treasure,
And weeps on mountains heavenly high and blue.
Incessant in his ears rang this plain warning--
"Diego, as thy soul, thy sorrow lives";
He hears the untired voice, night, noon, and morning,
Yet understanding not, unresting grieves.
One eve, a purer vision seized him, then he
Vow'd to Lough Derg, an humble pilgrimage--
The virtues of that shrine were known to many,
And saving held even in that skeptic age.
With one sole follower, an Esquire trustful,
He pass'd the southern cape which sailors fear,
And eastward held: meanwhile his vain and lustful
Past works more loathsome to his soul appear.
Through the night-watches, at all hours o' day,
He still was wakeful as the pilot, and
For grace, his vow to keep, doth always pray,
And for his death to lie in the saints' land.
But ere his eyes beheld the Irish shore, Diego died.
Much gold he did ordain
To God and Santiago--furthermore,
His Esquire plighted, ere he went to Spain,
To journey to the Refuge of the Lake;
Before St. Patrick's solitary shrine,
A nine days' vigil for his rest to make,
Living on bitter bread and penitential wine. 
[Footnote 1: The brackish water of the lake, boiled, is called wine by
The vassal vow'd; but, ah! how seldom pledges
Given to the dying, to the dead, are held!
The Esquire reach'd the shore, where sand and sedge is
O'er melancholy hills, by paths of eld;
Treeless and houseless was the prospect round,
Rock-strewn and boisterous the lake before;
A Charon-shape in a skiff a-ground--
The pilgrim turned, and left the sacred shore.
That night he lay a-bed hard by the Erne--
The island-spangled lake--but could not sleep--
When lo! beside him, pale, and sad, and stern,
Stood his dead master, risen from the deep.
"Arise," he said, "and come." From the hostelrie
And over the bleak hills he led the sleeper,
And when they reach'd Derg's shore, "Get in with me,"
He cried; "nor sink my soul in torments deeper."
The dead man row'd the boat, the living steer'd,
Each in his pallor sinister, until
The Isle of Pilgrimage they duly near'd--
"Now hie thee forth, and work thy master's will!"
So spoke the dead, and vanish'd o'er the lake,
The Squire pursued his course, and gain'd the shrine,
There, nine days' vigil duly he did make,
Living on bitter bread and penitential wine.
The tenth eve shone in solemn, starry beauty,
As he, rejoicing, o'er the old paths came,
Light was his heart from its accomplished duty,
All was forgotten, even the latest shame--
When these brief words some disembodied voice
Spoke near him: "Oh, keep sacred, evermore,
Word, pledge, and vow, so may you still rejoice,
And live among the Just when Time is o'er!"
THE DAY OF ALL SOULS.
ELIZA ALLEN STARR.
FROM the far past there comes a thought of sweetness,
From the far past a thought of love and pain;
A voice, how dear! a look of melting kindness,
A voice, a look, we ne'er shall know again.
A fresh, young face, perchance of boyish gladness,
An aged face, perchance of patient love;
My heart-strings fail, I sob in utter anguish,
As past my eyes these lovely spectres move.
The chill morn breaks, the matin star still flaming;
The hushed cathedral's massive door stands wide;
Through the dim aisles I pass, in silent weeping,
From mortal eyes my sorrowing tears to hide.
Already morn has touched the painted windows;
The yellow dawn creeps down the storied panes;
Already, in the early solemn twilight,
The sanctuary's taper softly wanes.
My faltering step before the altar pauses;
My treasur'd dead I see remembered here;
All climes, all nations, lost on land or ocean,
They on whose grave none ever drop a tear.
The Church, their single mourner, drapes in sorrow
The festal shrines she loves with flowers to dress;
And "Kyrie! Kyrie!" sighs, while lowly bending
To Thee, O God! to shorten their distress.
"_Dies irae, dies illa,_" sobs the choir;
"_In pace, pace,_" from the altar rises higher;
"_Lux aeterna;_" daylight floods the altar,
Priest and choir take up the holy psalter.
"_Requiescant in pace!"
Amen, amen, in pace!_
THE MESSAGE OF THE NOVEMBER WIND.
BY ELEANOR C. DONNELLY.
Wrapped in lonely shadows late,
(Bleak November's midnight gloom),
As I kneel beside the grate
In the silent sitting-room:
Down the chimney moans the wind,
Like the voice of souls resigned,
Pleading from their prison thus,
"Pray for us! pray for us!
Gentle Christian, watcher kind,
Pray for us, oh! pray for us!"
Melt mine eyes with sudden tears--
Old familiar tones are there;
Dear ones lost in other years,
Breathing Purgatory's prayer.
Through my fingers pass the beads,
Tender heart, responsive bleeds,
As the wind, all tremulous,
"Pray for us! pray for us!"
Seems to murmur "Love our needs--
Pray for us! oh, pray for us!"
A LEGEND OF THE TIME OF CHARLEMAGNE.
We read in the _Gesta Caroli Magni_ that Charlemagne had a man-at-
arms who served him faithfully till his death. Before breathing his
last he called a nephew of his, to make known to him his last will:
"Sixty years," said he, "have I been in the service of my prince; I
have never amassed the goods of this world, and my arms and my horse
are all I have. My arms I leave to thee, and I will that my horse be
sold immediately after my death; I charge thee with the care of this
matter, if thou wilt promise me to distribute the full price amongst
The nephew promised to execute the will of his uncle, who died in
peace, for he was a good and loyal Christian. But when he was laid in
the earth the young man, considering that the horse was a very fine
one, and well-trained, was tempted to keep him for himself. He did not
sell him, and gave no money to the poor. Six months after, the soul of
the dead man appeared to him and said: "Thou hast not accomplished that
which I had ordered thee to do for the welfare of my soul, and for six
months I have suffered great pains in Purgatory. But behold God, the
strict Judge of all things, has decreed, and His angels will execute
the decree, that my soul be placed in eternal rest, and that thine
shall undergo all the pains and torments which I had still to undergo
for the expiation of my sins."
Thereupon the nephew, being instantly seized with a violent disease,
had barely time to confess to a priest, who had just been announced. He
died shortly after, and went to pay the debt he had undertaken to
THE DEAD MASS.
It has been, and still is believed, that the mercy of God sometimes
permits souls that have sins to expiate, to come and expiate them on
earth. Of this the following is an example:
Polet, the principal suburb of Dieppe, is still inhabited almost
exclusively by fishermen, who, in past times, more especially, have
ever been solid and faithful Christians. The Catholic worship was
formerly celebrated with much solemnity in their church, consecrated
under the invocation of "Our Lady of the Beach" (Notre Dame des
Greves); and the mothers of the worthy fishermen who give to Polet an
aspect so picturesque, have forgotten only the precise date of the
adventure we are about to relate.
The sacristan of Notre Dame des Greves dwelt in a little cottage quite
close to the church. He was an exact and pious man; he had the keys of
the sacred edifice and the care of the bells. Several worthy priests
were attached to the lovely church; the earliest Masses were never rung
except by the honest sacristan. Now, one morning, during the Christmas
holydays, he heard, before day, the tinkle of one of his bells
announcing a Mass. He rose immediately and ran to the window. The snow-
covered roofs enabled him to see objects so distinctly that he thought
the day was beginning to dawn. He hastened to put on his clothes and go
to the church. The total solitude and silence reigning all around him
made him understand that he was mistaken and that day was not yet
breaking. He tried to go into the church, however, but the door was
How, then, could he have heard the bell? If robbers had got in, they
would certainly have taken good care not to touch the bell. He listens;
not the slightest noise in the holy place. Should he return home? Not
so, for having heard the bell, he must go in.
He opens a little door leading into the sacristy; he passes through
that, and advances towards the choir.
By the light of the small lamp burning before the tabernacle and that
of a taper already lighted, he perceives, at the foot of the altar, a
priest robed in a chasuble, and in the attitude of a celebrant about to
commence Mass. All is prepared for the Holy Sacrifice. He stops in
dismay. The priest, a stranger to him, is extremely pale; his hands are
as white as his alb; his eyes shine like the glow-worm, the light going
forth, as it were, from the very centre of the orbits.
"Serve my Mass," he said gently to the sacristan.
The latter obeyed, spell-bound with terror. But if the pallor of the
priest and the singular fire of his eyes frightened him, his voice, on
the contrary, was mild and melancholy.
The Mass goes on. At the elevation of the Sacred Host the limbs of the
priest tremble and give forth a sound like that of dry reeds shaken by
the wind. At the _Domine, non sum dignus_, his breast, which he
strikes three times, sounds like the coffin when the first shovel-full
of earth is cast upon it by the grave-digger. The Precious Blood
produces in his whole body the effect of water which, in the silence of
the night, falls drop by drop from the roof.
When he turns to say _Ita Missa est_, the priest is only a
skeleton, and that skeleton speaks these words to the server:
"Brother, I thank thee! In my life-time, I was a priest; I owed this
Mass at my death. Thou hast helped me to discharge my debt; my soul is
freed from a heavy burden."
The spectre then disappeared. The sacristan saw the vestments fall
gently at the foot of the altar, and the burning taper suddenly went
out. At that moment, a cock crowed somewhere in the neighborhood. The
sacristan took up the vestments, and passed the rest of the night in
THE EVE OF ST. JOHN.
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
"O fear not the priest who sleepeth to the east!
For to Dryburgh the way he has ta'en;
And there to say Mass, till three days do pass,
For the soul of a Knight that is slayne."
He turned him round, and grimly he frowned;
Then he laughed right scornfully--
"He who says the Mass-rite for the soul of that Knight,
May as well say Mass for me."
Then changed, I trow, was that bold baron's brow,
From dark to the blood-red high;
"Now tell me the mien of the Knight thou hast seen,
For by Mary he shall die."
"O hear but my word, my noble lord,
For I heard her name his name,
And that lady bright, she called the Knight
Sir Richard of Coldinghame."
The bold baron's brow then chang'd, I trow,
From high blood-red to pale--
"The grave is deep and dark--and the corpse is stiff and stark--
So I may not trust thy tale.
"The varying light deceived thy sight,
And the wild winds drown'd the name,
For the Dryburgh bells ring, and the white monks do sing,
For Sir Richard of Coldinghame."
It was near the ringing of matin-bell,
The night was well-nigh done,
When the lady looked through the chamber fair,
On the eve of good St. John.
The lady looked through the chamber fair,
By the light of a dying flame;
And she was aware of a knight stood there--
Sir Richard of Coldinghame.
"By Eildon-tree for long nights three,
In bloody grave have I lain,
The Mass and the death-prayer are said for me,
But, lady, they are said in vain.
"By the baron's hand, near Tweed's fair stand,
Most foully slain I fell;
And my restless sprite on the beacon's height,
For a space is doom'd to dwell."
He laid his left palm on an oaken beam,
His right upon her hand;
The lady shrunk, and fainting sunk,
For it scorched like a fiery brand.
THE BEQUEST OF A SOUL, IN PURGATORY.
[From "A Collection of Spiritual Hymns and Songs on Various Religious
Subjects," published by Chalmers & Co., of Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1802.
Its quaint and touching simplicity, redolent of old-time faith, will
commend it to the reader]
From lake where water does not go,
A prisoner of hope below,
To mortal ones I push my groans,
In hopes they'll pity me.
O mortals that still live above,
Your faith, hope, prayers, and alms, and love,
Still merit place With God's sweet grace;
O faithful, pity me.
My fervent groans don't merit here,
Strict justice only doth appear,
My smallest faults,
And needless talks Heap chains and flames on me.
Though mortal guilt doth not remain,
I still am due the temp'ral pain, I did delay
Past coldness scorcheth me.
Tepidity and good works done
With imperfections mixt, here come;
All these neglects
And least defects,--
Great anguish bring on me.
Though my defects here be not spared,
Yet endless glory for me's prepared,
I love in flames,
And hope in chains;
O friends, then, pity me!
My God, my Father, is most dear,
For me your sighs and prayers He'll hear;
Though just laws scourge,
His mercies urge,
That you would pity me.
Through pains and flames
I'll come to Him,
They purge me both from stain and sin;
When I'm set free,
Their friends I'll be
Who now do pity me.
The smallest thing that could defile
Keeps me from bliss in this exile.
God loves to see
That you me free;
For His love pity me!
For me who alms give, fast, or pray,
Great store of grace will come their way;
Try this good thought--
Great help is brought,
And souls from sin set free.
If you for me now do not pray,
The utmost farthing I must pay;
The time is hid
That I'll be rid,
Unless you pity me.
In mortal sin who yields his breath,
Pray not for him behind his death.
All mortal crime
I quit in time;
O faithful, pity me!
For me good works may be practised,
Thus some were for the dead baptized.
Suet pains endure
For me, and sure
You'll help and pity me!
For his good friend, as Scriptures say,
Onesiphorus, Paul did pray, 
His words, you see,
Urge, then, for me;
And thus you'll pity me.
[Footnote 1: II. Tim., i. 16, 18.]
This third place clear in writ you spy,
Where all your works the fire will try,
From death game rose,
Sure then all those
From third place were set free.
In hell there's no redemption found;
God ne'er degrades whom
He once crowned--These judgments both
Confirmed by oath
And absolute decree.
For all the Saints prayer should be made,
Who stand in need, alive or dead.
I stand in need
That you with speed
Should help and pity me.
In presence of our sweetest Lord,
For dead they, prayed, as all accord.
Christ did not blame
What I now claim;
Oh! haste and pity me!
To a third place Christ's soul did go.
And preached to spirits there below;
This in the Creed
And Writ you read,
That you may pity me.
When Christ on earth would stay no more,
These captives freed He brought to glore;
There I will be,
And soon set free,
If you would pity me.
Mind, then, Communion of the Saints;
All should supply each other's wants:
In pains and chains,
And scorching flames,
I languish; pity me!
Eternal rest, eternal glore,
Eternal light, eternal store,
To them accord,
O sweetest Lord!
There's mercy still with Thee!
Let mercy stay Thy just revenge,
Their scorching flames to glory change;
The precious flood
Of Thine own blood
For them we offer Thee!
BY MARION MUIR.
FOR all the cold and silent clay
That once, alive with youth and hope,
Rushed proudly to the western slope-
O brothers, pray!
For all who saw the orient day
Rise on the plain, the camp, the flood,
The sudden discord drowned in blood-
O brothers, pray!
For all the lives that ebbed away
In darkness down the gulf of tears;
For all the gray departed years-
O brothers, pray!
For all the souls that went astray
In deserts hung with double gloom;
For all the dead without a tomb-
O brothers, pray!
For we have household peace; but they
Who led the way, and held the land,
Are homeless as the heaving sand-
Oh! let us pray!
(From the French of Octave Cremacie.)
ANNA T. SADLIER.
O dead, ye sleep within your tranquil graves;
No more ye bear the burden that enslaves
Us in this world of ours.
For you outshine no stars, no storms rave loud,
No buds has spring, the horizon no cloud,
The sun marks not the hours.
The while, with anxious thought oppress'd, we go,
Each weary day but bringing deeper woe,
Silently and alone
Ye list the sanctuary chant arise,
That downwards first to you, remounts the skies,
Sweet pity's monotone.
The vain delights whereto our souls incline,
Are naught beside the prayer to love divine,
Alms-giving of the heart,
Which reaching to you warms your chilly dust
And brings your name enshrined a sacred trust,
Swift to the throne of God!
Alas! love's warmest memory will fade
Within the heart, ere yet the mourning shade
Has ceased to mark the garb.
Forgetfulness, our meed to you, outweighs
The leaded coffin as it dully lays
Upon your lifeless bones.
Our selfish hearts but to the present look,
And see in you the pages of a book
Now laid aside long read.
For loving in our fev'rish joy or pain
But those who serve our hate, pride, love of gain,
No more can serve the dead.
To cold ambition or to joy's sweet store,
Ye dusty corpses minister no more,
We give to you neglect.
Nor reck we of that suff'ring world's pale bourne
Where you beyond the bridgeless barrier mourn
O'erpast the wall of death.
'Tis said that when our coldness grieves you sore,
Ye quit betimes that solitude's cold shore
Where ye forsaken dwell,
And flit about in darkness' sad constraint,
The while from spectral lips your mournful plaint
Upon the winds outswell.
When nightingales their woodland nests have left,
The autumn sky of gray, white-capped, cloud-reft,
Prepares the shroud which Winter soon shall spread
On frozen fields; there comes a day thrice blest,
When earth forgetting, all our musings rest
On those who are no more the dreamless dead.
The dead their graves forsake upon this day,
As we have seen doves mount with joyous grace,