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NOBLE TRAITS OF KINGLY MEN
PICTURES AND ANECDOTES OF EUROPEAN HISTORY
8 jull-vag p lustuaion^
GALL & INGLIS.
binburghI : I onbor :
BERNARD TERRACE. 25 PATERNOSTER SQ?.
THE FIRST PICTURE.-EUROPEAN LIFE 5
THE SECOND PICTURE.-THE ORIGINAL ELEMENTS OF EURO-
PEAN LIFE 21
THE THIRD PICTURE.-THE CHRISTIAN ELEMENT 33
THE FOURTH PICTURE.-THE CRUSADES 49
THE FIFTH PICTURE.-THE SECRET OF MAHOMMEDAN CON-
QUEST .- 66
THE SIXTH PICTURE. -THE INFLUENCE OF THE CRUSADES 79
THE SEVENTH PICTURE.-EUROPE ECCLESIASTICAL-THE
CHURCH OF ROME-HILDEBRAND 102
THE EIGHTH PICTURE.-THE CHURCH OF ROME IN ANOTHER
THE NINTH PICTURE.-LUTHER 136
THE TENTH PICTURE.--EUROPE SPREADING WESTWARD-
THE ELEVENTH PICTURE.-THE PILGRIM FATHERS 168
THE TWELFTH PICTURE.-THE MODERN EMIGRANT 188
THE LAST SIGH OF THE MOOR a 209
THE FAMOUS ORDER OF THE KNIGHTS TEMPLARS 233
THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE $69
THE MAN WHO SPOKE "TO THE HEARTS OF FIGHTING MEN 57
CHIVALRY OF THE BLACK PRINCE 95
THE HERALD'S SUMMONS TO HILDEBRAND 116
LUTHER'S PARTING WITH MELANCTHON 145
COLUMBUS SEES THE GLEAM OF LIGHT 166
WINTHROP AND THE THIEF .185
THE MOOR'S MESSAGE-A SCENE IN THE ALHAMBRA 218
IN his notes to Thucydides and elsewhere, the late
Dr Arnold has very industriously developed the
parallel between the life of individual man and
that of society. Society is born, grows up to man-
hood, grows old, just as man does. History is
simply the biography of society. Take any nation.
It has its birth, its boyhood, its time for sowing
wild oats, its daring manhood, its wise middle life,
its senility, and dea.th. Take any family of na-
tions: it is the same. The body of life, if one
may use such a phrase, is larger, but it goes through
all the periods.
In these pictures, we purpose to give some il-
lustrations of the progress of European life (under-
standing by Europe only the Europe of the west,
of the Romanic and Germanic races; in other
words, Europe, minus Russia, Hungary, and Tur-
key.) Do not expect what would claim to be a
history of Europe. Even the faintest outline of
such a history we do not engage to indicate. A
growth, a rising out of chaos, an advancing to-
wards order, will be indicated, we trust, through-
out; but it will have to be by single chapters-
6 THE FIRST PICTURE.
single leaves, even-taken here and there, out of
the great book of European history.
Let us at the outset endeavour to fix in our
minds the characteristic features of the social life
of Western Europe as we find it in and round
about us. One is very apt to conclude that it is
simply life in Europe, that it is connection with
the soil, which gives its name to European life.
It is not so. At this moment, European life is
stirring at the heart of India, at the gates of China,
at the Cape of Good Hope. North America is
full of it. Australia and the islands of the Pacific
are becoming accustomed to its hum. Not every
nation which has taken root in Europe was a de-
velopment of European life. This is a thing by
itself-a social development, differing from all
previous, from all existing developments. There
was a people, for example, whose history, as we
shall see, has had a vast influence upon the cha-
racter of European society-who themselves lived
in Europe a full thousand years, and spread their
influence over the richest half of it; we refer to
the Romans. If you recall the map of Europe to
your mind, you will remember a natural line,
formed by the Rhine and the Danube, which cuts
Europe almost diagonally across. Of all the
countries lying below this line, Greece, Italy,
France, Spain, and, besides these, Britain, the
Romans became masters. And yet the Romans
were not a people of European development. It
is supposable that this people, instead of extend-
ing their conquests into the east, as they did, had
THE LIFE OF SOCIETY. 7
completed the conquest of geographical Europe.
But even in that case, so little connection has the
possession of the soil with the character of a
people's life, their history would have continued
to be Roman, and Europe would have answered to
no name but "Rome." European society could
not have arisen under their supremacy. They
had no idea of such a development as we partake.
They could not have understood it. Rome filled
their thoughts; their spread was the spread of
Rome; their progress was a monotonous repeti-
tion of steps, invariably military, and differing in
this very quality from the free onward tread of
"In this very quality," in monotony of develop-
ment, we mean-(Guizot has a masterly illus-
tration of this fact, in his "Lectures on European
Civilisation")-European life alone is not mono-
tonous-not the result of development from a
single principle. If you were to stand for a mo-
ment on the streets of Calcutta, and observe the
natives as they passed, you would be pained by
the signs of sameness, by the tokens of social mo-
notony, which would meet your eye. The son re-
peats the father, in all castes, down to the latest
posterity. An iron mould, like the shoe of the
Chinese damsel, presses the young child from the
first, and beyond its measure he cannot grow.
Go back to ages, when they were not a conquered
people, you encounter the same phenomenon.
Over all Asia, under all denominations, in all ages,
it is the same-monotony of social development.
8 THE FIRST PICTURE.
Look even at the Bible Jews; what an uniformity
there is! One principle lives at the centre of
their politics, of their lives-one only. A single
principle, doubtless a far-reaching one, but one
only-the principle of the Theocracy. A perfect
Jew, that is, a Jew who has reached the height of
his development, is, cannot but be, simply a
Come to historical Greece. Here, in a land, on
all shores indented by the sea, and overshadowed
by precipitous hills, man received a development
into which variety was necessarily forced. But
there was a monotony in the very variety. If we
examine their remains, one ever-recurring principle
meets us at every step. In their sculptures, their
eloquence, their poetry, in their very language, it
is beauty-everywhere beauty-the perception of
beauty, the worship of beauty, the embodiment of
beauty. A perfect Greek is simply an Artist.
We pass to Rome-the Rome of the Romans.
We are in a sphere entirely different. The eternal
polishing of words and marbles which we found in
Greece has given place to the stir of arms and po-
litical assemblies. We are made to feel that we
are in the presence of Rome. In India you would
have felt yourself in the presence of a temple; in
Greece, of beautiful objects; but here, it is Rome
-Rome, active, ambitious, restless, with a hand in
everybody's concerns, with a lust for the dominion
of the whole world. Surely here there is variety ?
There is the entirest absence of it. It is Rome at
the centre; it is Rome out to the extremities; it
THE JEW, THE GREEK, AND THE ROMAN. 9
is a Roman who sits in the senate; it is a Roman
who goes forth. to fight; it is a Roman who owns
wife and child. The Roman principle, the principle
of Rome's supremacy, comes out over the entire
life, public and private. A perfect man, under
this dominion, is simply a perfect Roman. Man,
properly so called, has not an existence here. In
a far deeper sense than we can well imagine, the
ability to say "I am a Roman," was felt to be a
higher, prouder one, than the ability to say I am
a man." You remember the amazement of the
centurion in Jerusalem to find a Roman citizen in
the Paul whom the Jewish crowd were chasing.
"Thou a Roman! With a great sum bought I
this honour." It was the expression of an uni-
versal homage. Romans themselves believed in
the worth of Rome, and they taught such pro-
vincials as this centurion was, to count for the
highest honour upon earth-the name of Roman.
Turn now to a modern European. Take him
in any land, at any work: felling woods in
America, fighting Sikhs in the Punjaub, publishing
newspapers in Paris, spinning cotton in Glasgow.
You find a man who has escaped out of such
limitations-who is no longer subject to monotony
-who acknowledges no mould, no hindrance, no
artificial standard; whose life is determined before-
hand into no fixed shape, but is free to grow and
bear fruit up to the topmost reach of humanity.
In other words, you find A MAN. Jews, Greeks,
Romans-Theocrats, Artists, Soldiers-have pass-
ed away, and Men, beings sensible that they are
10 THE FIRST PICTURE.
above all other things human, have come upon the
scene. This lies at the heart of European life, of
European history. Monotony-development under
the influence of one principle-has disappeared,
and in its stead we have life gathering to itself all
influences, and bringing out on every side what is
highest and best in humanity.
The result has been an endless variety of de-
velopment, and a variety which manifests itself in
nations, in individuals, in languages, in thoughts.
It was a European who depicted the "Inferno"-
a spiral descent sheer down from heaven through.
the nethermost abyss. Another European built
Pandemonium-a region dim, immeasurable,
vague, like the mists on northern hills. Take any
European nation, our own, for example, and see
how this variety manifests its presence. Our lan-
guage is a perfect jungle-Gaelic, Saxon, French,
Latin, Greek, technicalities, provincialisms, Yan-
keeisms-all mingled, compounded, twisted, inter-
twisted, with meaning upon meaning, each giving
forth new branches, and each branch taking root
for itself, and sending up new shoots. Look at our
literature; here a Shakspeare, there a Hume; the
one all life, the other all logic. Open the plays of
Shakspeare-Lady Macbeth, Dame Quickly,
Imogen! Hamlet, Sir John Falstaff, Prospero!
Go to the works of Hume-scepticism, philosophy,
history, wit! In every mind, over all our litera-
ture, this element of variety. Turn to our politics.
What a hubbub salutes your ear! All principles,
all passions, craving to be heard. Theocracy,
THE MODERN EUROPEAN. 11
monarchy, oligarchy, democracy-Toryism, Whig-
ism, Chartism-tearing, pulling at one another,
apparently wishing to destroy each other, and yet
in the end pulling all the same way. So with our
ways of life. So with everything English. And
yet the English character is not hindered by these
things, but rather forwarded and developed. All
these things are laid hold of, appropriated, turned
to good account-the peculiar genius of our race
rising above all, by means of all, submitting to
none, saying to each, "Thou art here to forward me."
The same phenomenon would strike you if you
had looked at any other nation, especially the
nations of Germanic origin. You will see it if you
compare nation with nation. No one is a repetition
of the other. Each has a development, a charac-
ter, a worth of its own. There is the practical
sagacity of the English, the percipient sagacity of
the French, the metaphysical sagacity of the Ger-
mans: Cromwell, Voltaire, Kant.
It is this healthy variety, this commingling of
all elements, which gives to European life its dis-
tinctive character. Every party has an opposi-
tion-every principle a representative. In pass-
ing from the societies of ancient history to those
of modern Europe, we seem to be stepping from a
scene where all is rigid formula to one where there
is perpetual turmoil and yet perpetual progression.
For the first time, that mighty combination of all
powers in one, that manifoldness of purpose and
outward shape, which strike us in material life,
finds its complete counter-part and expression in
12 THE FIRST PICTURE
human history. Society is free, multiform, and
yet harmonious. In travelling over the few fields
of European history we propose to traverse, if we
listen with wise heart, the soft breathing of spring
influences, the rich fulness of harvest, the bleak
severity of winter, the singing of little birds, the
still awfulness of stars, and the melancholy laugh-
ter of the sea, will occur to our minds continually,
as the befitting types and symbols of that perpe-
tual variety which lives and works in the bosom
of European life.
It will be convenient if we fix in our minds the
seventh century as the birth-date of European life.
Before that century there was no Europe. The
elements which were to compose it existed, lived
and wrought on its soil, but they lived separate,
repelling each other. From that period they
began to unite. The nations which now consti-
tute Western Europe had either begun at that
period to move towards their homes, or had actual-
ly taken their position. The last movement of
the kind occurred in the middle of the eleventh
century, when the Norman William took posses-
sion of England. The first may be dated at the
close of the fourth century, when the barbarians
crossed the Danube to smite at the Roman empire.
Between these two periods the nations of Western
Europe "were born," took root on the soil, began
to develop and have a history.
The interval is one of wild grandeur. A great
power-the Roman empire-is passing from the
earth. Town life is a succession of assaults and
GIBBON'S PICTURE OF ROMAN DECAY. 13
pillage : country life a wandering hither and
thither of armed bands-chaos, confusion, dark-
ness everywhere, and yet
Even now we hear, with inward strife,
A motion toiling in the gloom,
The spirit of the years to come,
Yearning to mix himself with life."
One other word demands to be said by way of
prologue--a word concerning the clearing of the
ground for this new development of social life.
We are in the habit of hearing that Rome was
destroyed by the barbarians. Our imagination
has been taught to picture out hordes of savages,
flowing, wave after wave, upon Roman civilisa-
tion, until it was submerged. An impression tan-
tamount to this is left upon our minds in rising
from so true a picture of the actual fact as we have
in Gibbon's immortal work. Not that Gibbon
ministers to it. Never for a single moment does
that penetrative eye of his lose sight of the inter-
nal sources of decay. But the dramatic unity of
the book-the splendour and fulness of the group-
ing-and especially the mental confusion arising
from confounding the time taken to peruse the
history with the actual time in which the events
were accomplished-combine to leave upon our
minds the idea of mighty bands of rude men over-
coming the empire by brute force. It is a false
idea. Rome was smitten by the barbarians; but
this is not all the truth. It is the mere outside of
the truth. It wants the impression of the inner
fact, that it deserved to be smitten--that it had
14 THE FIRST PICTURE.
not in itself any more continuance. Destruction
does not so come upon nations. In God's world no
society is the sport of circumstances. If they de-
cay, there is a reason in themselves to explain it.
Decay, dissolution, is a central fact. It is not the
result of an external stroke; it is the vital energy
growing weak; it is the sap, the soul, the inner
life, departing. And then only, when this inner
spiritual force is loosening its grasp, does the hour
of dissolution prepare to strike.
There was a soul of strength in the Roman
state, or it would not have so grown as it did.
From the most unpromising beginnings-from
being a refuge for outlaws and robbers-Rome
rose to power and wide empire; surrounding cities
were swallowed up by it; surrounding peoples
subdued; "the weight of its shadow," as a Gaulish
poet once said, fell upon the fairest parts of Europe,
and they became its provinces. Distant countries
paid tribute to it; the Mediterranean sea was
changed into a Roman lake. And by the force of
this one fact in their history, we believe that
Roman citizens had an aim, a purpose, which
they reverenced, for which they sunk their indi-
vidual wills, which they believed in-the purpose
of having Rome supreme. We say, they believed
in this purpose. The supremacy of the city was
not a hope, it was a faith -to them. They did
verily believe that it was supreme. And the lead-
ing men well knew that the secret of their pros-
perity lay here. Note how careful they were to
betray no fear of the state's ultimate triumph in
ROMAN DEVOTION. 15
times of reverse. At Cannae they sustained a
terrible defeat. Fifty thousand Romans were left
dead upon the plain. The consul fled disgrace-
fully to Venusia. The victorious Carthagenian
was within eighty leagues of the city. Defeat
had followed defeat. Not a murmur was heard in
Rome. The women were forbid to bewail their
husbands. The senate refused to redeem the
prisoners. The wrecks of the defeated army were
ordered to Sicily, to fight there. What is the
death of fifty thousand ? what are prisoners ? what
is an army to Rome ? The senate closed this
mighty exhibition of confidence by carrying to
the fugitive consul their thanks "for not having
despaired of the Republie." The consul himself,
however, and this will show you the same faith in
an individual mind, would never after accept the
command of an army. Give your employment,"
he always said, when solicited, "to generals more
fortunate than Varro."
We, with our clearer notions, incline to charac-
terise this devotion of the old Romans to Rome as
idolatry, and wonder how greatness could ever
spring from thence. But there was a time when
it was not felt to be idolatry-when Romans be-
lieved that Rome deserved to be worshipped-that
it was, as a town, divine. At the time to which
we refer, Jupiter was supposed to have his dwell-
ing on the Capitol; by virtue of his presence, the
city was divine. A divineness rested on the hills
on whose sides the houses clustered. A divineness
made sacred the gate-ways by which the troops
16 THE FIRST PICTURE.
went out to battle. A very harsh divineness !--
without mercy, without nobleness, narrow, muni-
cipal But, so far as it went, was there not truth
in it? A very imperfect adumbration, we admit,
but still an adumbration of, a pagan groping after.
this truth, that "the Lord builds the city," that
all city life has its roots in the divine.
This was the sap of Roman life. A time came
when it had ceased to be believed that Rome was
divine, when intelligent Romans smiled at the no-
tion of Jupiter living on the Capitol. But even
then it was felt that the secret of Roman strength
lay in this faith-that Rome ceased to be strong
from the hour it was abandoned. Accordingly,
the republic placed an emperor at its head, and
decreed divine honours to him. At bottom, a go-
vernment attempt to restore the old faith The
emperor was a new Jupiter. The attributes of the
dead god were transferred to the living sovereign.
"Behold your gQd," the senators said to the people;
"our city is still divine; a god resides in it." But
no man believed the lie. The people ceased to
worship Rome. Their life sundered from the
source of its former strength. Each man sunk
back into individual selfishness, into savagism.
Rome was left to provincials, to freed slaves.
Romans flocked to the provinces in search of
plunder. Divineness perished from their ways of
life. No man wrought with another for good.
Lust and infidelity defiled the home. The city
was full of lies. The poor were oppressed; the
rich rioted in swinish pleasures. The sap was
ROME-SAPLESS AND PERISHING. 17
gone; the soul was fled. "The weapons which
subdued the world dropped from their feeble
hands." The barbarian stept out from his woods,
went up to the seat of this huge empire, tried the
arm which had rolled out the half of Europe to
construct a state map, and found that its strength
was already gone. This share the barbarians had
in the destruction of Rome; no more.
It is good to know this. To the outward eye
it sometimes seems that the nations retrograde.
Civilised states are often overborne by states less
civilised than themselves. The Jewish kingdom
is conquered by the Greeks-the Greeks are
subdued by the Romans-the Romans by the
A thought presses into the mind. We, too, are
the inheritors of a civilisation. Are we to under-
stand that all civilisation tendeth to such destruc-
tion ? and that the history of the nations shall be
the history of retrogressions? What law is re-
vealed to us in this connexion of physical force
with decaying civilisations ? Why is there a bar-
barian present at the death-bed of nations ?
In the fine fragment, Hyperion," which Keats
bequeathed to us, this very question is proposed
for solution. The poem turns on the overthrow of
the earlier gods of Greece. Gods younger than
they have displaced them. They are overwhelmed
by their misfortune. The ocean god has seen his
successor, has seen also that it was right the
younger should reign, and comes into the company
of his fallen compeers, to open up to them for
18 THE FIRST PTCTURF*.
their comfort the law of change. He reminds
them of changes in which they rejoiced-of dark
chaos giving place to them-and now he adds:-
We fall by nature's law .
On our heels a fresh perfection treads :
A power more strong in beauty, born of us,
And fated to excel us, as we pass
In glory that old darkness .
Doth the dull soil
Quarrel with the proud forests it hath fed,
And feedeth still, more comely than itself ?
Can it deny the chiefdom of green groves ?
Or, shall the tree be envious of the dove
Because it cooeth, and hath snowy wings
To wander wherewithal and find its joys ?
We are such forest trees. And our fair boughs
Have bred, not pale and solitary doves,
But eagles, golden feathered, who do tower
Above us in their beauty, and must reign
In right thereof ; for 'tis the eternal law,
That first in beauty should be first in might."
Without doubt, the poet has here opened the secret
of all social change. However much appearances
may make against the law, it is not brute-force
but beauty which carries the day. Even of the
brute force which does succeed, it always is dis-
covered in the end that it was beauty at the core.
It was not wholly savagism and civilisation which
came into conflict at the birth of Europe. That
civilisation concealed a nature corrupt, abomin-
able, worthy of death: that savagism, as we shall
see, was but the rude exterior of a humanity, fresh,
buoyant, simple as a little child, and worthy to re-
ceive the talent taken from Rome.
Let us not doubt that behind all barbarian at-
tacks, all apparently retrogressive movements,
there is substantial progress. Nations and indi-
THE BARBARIAN A PIONEER. 19
viduals attain a certain culture, and it spreads
from them into the general life of humanity.
Nothing which is noble is allowed to die. The
Roman perished; his civilisation remained. The
Greek philosophy, too (the highest reach of the
human intellect working in its own sphere,) fell
into the keeping of a generation of Greeks un-
worthy of it. At that juncture it passed into the
Roman mind. A time arrived when there were
no Ciceros to preserve it there, when Romans
were no longer worthy of this mighty charge. The
Roman empire in that very hour divided, and the
philosophy of Greece found a refuge in the empire
of the East. Here, for a thousand years, it was
preserved, until Western Europe was educated for
its reception, and at that term the Turks destroyed
the eastern empire. The teachers of the Greek
philosophy flocked back to Europe, and that epoch
in European history began which is known as
"the revival of letters"-the grey dawn of the
There is a meaning, a law, in facts like these.
It is not to some new invasion the nations are
moving on. The law is progress-progress of what
is best. Contradictions, exceptions, are only so in
appearance. In clearer light these will disappear.
Towards a high destiny move all the nations-to-
wards union, broad, universal-based no longer
upon treaties indicating selfishness, but upon love.
" Until this has been attained," writes the eloquent
Fichte, "until the existing culture of every age
ha,s been diffused over the whole habitable earth,
20 THE FIRST PICTURE.
and every people be capable of the most unlimited
communication with the rest-must one nation
after another be arrested in its course, and sacrifice
to the great whole of which it is a member, its
stationary, retrogressive age. When that first
point shall have been attained-when thought
and discovery shall fly from one end of the earth
to the other, and become the property of all-then,
without further interruption, halt, or regress, our
race shall move onward, with united strength and
equal step, to a perfection of culture for which
thought and language faiL"
(z~e jicmtnr V|xdute.
THE ORIGINAL ELEMENTS OF EUROPEAN LIFE.
AN account of all the elements in European life,
down the stretch of fourteen centuries, would be
a rather formidable undertaking. There are ele-
ments of locality, of times, of religion, of politics,
which branch out in endless detail, e. g., our in-
sular situation, and religious wars, in the forma-
tion of our own national character. Into elements
such as these, affecting particular developments,
even although these ultimately affect the whole, it
is not intended to enter. A few of them will de-
mand notice as we proceed. For the present, our
study is limited to those main elements which, be-
tween the fifth and seventh centuries, conjoined to
give birth to European life.
We have, to begin with, what the Roman em-
pire bequeathed to us; next, what we have in-
herited from the Barbarians; last of all, Christ-
ianity. We shall go over these, in the order
named, and describe as simply as we can what the
general life received from each.
The Roman Element.
We begin with the Roman element. It lies at
the basis of European life, although it is not itself
the basis. In the languages, literature, and laws
22 THE SECOND PICTURE.
of Europe, with very little digging, we ever strike
upon Rome. The languages of Spain, Italy, and
France, which began to be formed while strong
influences of the empire were at work, are almost
simply modernised Latin. And even after these
influences had decayed, there remained vitality
enough in the Latin to give a very large pro-
portion of words to the German nations, among
which our own is included. Along with words
came those things which words represent-Roman
thought, Roman ways of life; but that one thing
which came most palpably from that quarter,
which Rome pre-eminently contributed to Euro-
pean life, was municipal institutions-town life.
It would be no exaggeration to say that Rome
existed to prepare town life for Europe, and then,
its task being ended, it passed from the earth. In-
deed, its entire history has been characterized as
nothing more than an account of the taking and
the building of towns. The vast empire was
simply an aggregate of towns. Its roads, stretch-
ing, in our own country, from Clyde to the Land's
End-on the Continent, from the coasts of France
and Spain to the walls of Jerusalem, merely con-
nected towns. They were divided by mile-stones,
they were travelled daily by posts; but they exist-
ed for no other purpose than to convey soldiers
and state messages from town to town. No roads
led, like our parish roads, through country districts:
for the sake of these districts. Rome had no coun-
try life, or rather, for the statement is only differ-
ent in form, its country work was managed ;b
ANCIENT TOWN LIFE. 23
slaves. But by this very preference, it was en-
abled to perfect town life. Everything municipal
-the government, adornment, and amusement of
towns-came to a state of great finish under its
domination. Baths for the citizens, aqueducts for
the city, theatres, courts of law, lawyers, municipal
law-everything, in short, that related to the rights
and duties of citizens-the whole framework and
management of municipal society, were prepared
and delivered over, we might say, "in working
order" to European life. Assuredly a great be-
quest! Great by all the excess of difference which
there is between the raw savage stalking through
the woods, with his club in his hand, in search of
food, and the rich burgher going unarmed along
crowded streets to his house or his office-the re-
presentative of rights and duties, knit by interests,
by inclinations, by habits, to the purveying, build-
ing, self-governing organisation of society, familiar
to us by the name of town."
The Barbarian Element.
"Town life," then, we name as the bequest of
Rome. What did the Barbarian contribute?
HIMSELF, we answer; above all other things this.
He contributed laws, language, even institutions,
as well as the Roman; but this over and above.
this which the Roman could not contribute, man-
hood, humanity, fresh, new blood, for the Europe
that was about to be.
It is sometimes attempted, by examining the pri-
mitive customs of the Barbarians, to state the piw
24 THE SECOND PICTURE.
cise institutions we owe to them. The war chief,
for example, sharing the lands he has conquered
among his followers, and by these lands bind-
ing them ever after to his service, is the germ of
the more modern "baron" and the feudal system.
Another deduction which is commonly made is-
as from the Romans we inherit the feelings proper
to a citizen, the feelings, namely, of submission to
enacted laws, of respect for the rights of our fel-
low-citizens, so, from the Barbarian, accustomed to
roam through the forest, and swim the river, and
fight for his future home, we derive the peculiar
energies to which we give the names of "self-
help" and "independence." And, more palpable
then either of these, is our debt of language. The
northern languages of Western Europe, the Nor-
wegian, Danish, German, and English, are princi-
pally derived from this source. But when we wish
to know precisely what we have which we would
not have had if the Barbarian Element had not
been drawn up into European life, the answer is,
not laws, feelings, or language, but that which we
"have already given. Before European history
could begin, a European man was wanted-a
man fresh from the presence of nature-and the
Barbarian of the North was that man. Roman
life was corrupt-could be the beginning of no-
thing good. A race was needed which would re-
deem from its unworthy possessors whatever was
worth preserving in Roman civilisation, and ab-
sorb it into the general life of humanity; the Bar-
barians were that race. And for that mighty ele-
THE SOIL AND THE RACE. 25
meant which we have placed in our list-for that
mustard-seed, which to the eye of man was then
of all seeds the smallest-a soil was needed;
fresh, deep, expansive ; wide enough for its spread-
ing roots, strong enough to bear the burden of
branches which were to cover the whole earth;
and that soil came to us in the Barbarians.
Who, then, were the Barbarians ? In books of
history one is apt to be perplexed by the various
names they receive. They appear now as Gauls,
now as Celts, as Cimbri, Teutones, Saxons, Goths,
Burgundians, Franks, Normans. One name com-
prehends all. These different names distinguish
merely different tribes or incursions of the great
Germanic race. In relation to our subject, four
members of this family of nations may be specially
named, and this in the order of their appearance
in history: 1. The Gauls or Celts, whom the
Romans found in Spain, France, and Britain. 2.
The Goths, who came down upon the empire from
the north-east. 3. The Franks (literally the free-
men, from whose own designation of their way of
life we derive our modern word "franchise,") who
lived in modern Germany and France. 4. The
Normans (North-men,) who came into Normandy
from Norway. And, for the sake of the history of
our own country, might be included, as appearing
between the Celts and the Normans, the Anglo-
Saxons; the people, say the etymologists, who
used the sax or sex, a short sword, and came to
Britain from the angle formed by the jutting out
of Holstein and Jutland from the German sea-
26 THE SECOND PICTURE.
bord. Hence the Angles, Angle-land, England.
Gibbon, and many others with him, have been at
pains to trace the origin of these Germans to the
east. In reading "The Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire," one is never allowed to see the
waves of the Barbarian invasion dashing against
Rome without having his eye directed far east to
the wall of China, where these waves receive
their impulse. The ethnologists, comparing the
European and Asiatic languages, have placed this
eastern origin beyond a doubt. But it is not as
eastern the Barbarians take their place in history.
They come direct from the north, the north claims
them for its own. "The snows of winter are as
pleasant to them as the flowers of spring," said an
orator of them once; and in Rome's earlier
struggles with them, when they were the weaker
side, they were seen by Roman soldiers "sporting
almost naked in the midst of glaciers, and sliding
on their shields from the summit of the Alps over
Let us look at one of these northern savages.
We stand in the presence of our common ancestor,
the Adam of European life. He is blue-eyed, his
cheeks are ruddy, his hair blond, his bones are the
bones of a giant. In the depths of forests lies
his home; it is a hut built of a few branches,
thatched with reeds. Town life is foreign to his
habits. He would scorn to be confined by walls
as townsmen are; he must have room to breathe,
to roam. He builds his rude dwelling on the
banks of a river, on the slope of a hill, in the
HOME-LONG AGO. 27
hollow of a marshy vale; wherever his fancy
prompts, if only it be under the shadow of trees.
It is his genius to spread, to take possession of the
earth, to rely upon the strength of his own right
Let us enter his home. The giant reclines upon
skins of the reindeer, perhaps upon the bare ground,
sluggish, inert, a man waiting his true vocation;
consuming the interval, it may be, in gambling and
intemperance. But mark that big-boned partner
of his life; that mother, from whose breasts our
milk of life has flowed. No sluggishness here!
She prepares the land for the seed; she cares for
the cattle; she reaps the harvest; and, in the dead
of winter, she breaks the ice of the river for fish.
In return for her labours, she is mistress in her
sphere. The Roman's wife was a slave. The
mother of German children is a wife. When a
Roman bride went to her future home, she was
lifted over the threshold, and allowed to drop into
the arms of her husband, to signify that she was
falling, literally falling into the hands of the man
(in mnanum viri) as goods and chattels into the
hands of a master. When a German savage went
for his bride, he gave presents of oxen, arms, and
war-horses, to her friends; indicating, by gifts of
those things he most loved himself, the value and
the place he counted due to her; and, from that
time forward, in the rude household of the forest,
she held a high place. The wife was the coun-
sellor; the healer of wounds. If need were, she
fought in the battle. If the battle turned against
28 THE SECOND PICTURE.
her husband, she knew how to preserve the purity
of the family blood; beside the corpse of their
father she spilled the blood of her children and her
own, counting it an everlasting reproach to await
the humiliation of foreign slavery.
The child of such a mother could not long be
idle and worthless. Already, in war, he was swift,
terrible, irresistible. It was his glory to die in
battle. "Lift me up," said Siward the Strong,
when he was attacked by disease, "lift me up,
that I may die standing like a soldier, and not
grovelling like a cow. Put on my coat of mail,
cover my head with my helmet, put my buckler
on my left arm, and my gilded axe in my right
hand, that I may expire in arms." Even diffi-
culties were yoked to their service. "The force of
the storm," sang their poets, is a help to the
arms of our rowers ; the hurricane carries us the
way we would go." There has been preserved to
us from the ninth century the death-song of a
Danish Viking, the famous Regnar Lodbrog. He
invaded Britain about the middle of that century,
and fell alive into the hands of the Anglo-Saxons,
whose king, JElla, shut him into a dungeon with
vipers and serpents. Probably the song was not
his own composition, although those old sea-kings
did often cultivate the art of poetry; but it is an
expression of the mind of his people, was sung at
a funeral ceremony in his honour, and passed from
mouth to mouth across his native land, as an ap-
peal for vengeance. The chorus is "We hewed
with our swords;" and each stanza places some
THE VIKING'S PICTURE. 29
action of his daring life before the mind. As the
narrative proceeds the dying Viking pauses ever
and again to tell how the vipers were gnawing his
flesh. Here are two stanzas, in such turgid, Ossi-
anic translation as we can procure :-
We hewed with our swords !
"The warriors dropt their bucklers. Brands, the riflers of
life, flew wrathful from their scabbards against the bosoms of
the brave. At Scarpa Skeria cruelly hacked the trenchant bat-
tle-axe. Red were the borders of our moony shields, until King
Rafn died. The tepid blood, spurting from the temples of the
valiant, was drifted on their harness.
"We hewed with our swords!
In fifty and one battles Methinks no king has truer cause
of glory. But now I find that men are the slaves of fate. A
viper is tearing open my breast and piercing to my heart. I am
vanquished. Let the javelins of my sons transpierce the ribs of
JElla. I sing no more. Celestial virgins, sent from the hall of
Odin, invite me home. I am going to drink beer with the gods
in the highest seats. The hours of my life are ebbing. The
viper has reached my heart. I am smiling under the hand of
Some writers, including such masters in history
as Robertson and Guizot, have fallen into the
egregious blunder of depicting these grim Nor-
landers, who hewed with their swords, and
smiled under the hand of death," as mere copies
of the modern savages of North America. In one
chapter of the latter's "History of Civilisation in
France," he places in parallel columns quotations
from Tacitus, who has left us a Roman's view of
the ancient Germans, and descriptions of the
American tribes by modern travellers. Thus,-
the Germans disliked the confinement of towns:
so did the Americans. The Germans left the work
of the field to their women: so did the Americans.
The Germans gave dowries for their brides: so did
30 THE SECOND PICTURE.
the Americans. And thus a specious picture is
got up-a resemblance is proved. But a resem-.
blance of what ? Of savage life with savage life i
An incidental matter-a matter very much aside
from the actual knowledge of the Germans which
we require. Why, the entire conclusion is re-
moved when we point to the fact, that the Ameri-
can races are passing out of the earth. Carry the
Iriquois, the Blackfeet, the Snakes, the Mohicans,
back into the German forests, when Rome is crumb-
ling to the ground, will they put new blood into
Europe? No, we venture to say, they would melt
away as the salted snail does, beneath the influ-
ence even of degenerate Rome. What is that per-
petual sighing of theirs after the graves of their
fathers-that vague groping towards the far away,
after the great white spirit-that ferocity and low
cunning which come out in all their actions, even
before the white man spoiled their haunts? Evi-
dence, we think, of a development already super-
annuated and incapable of revival. There are no
sighs for the far away or the past, no ferocity for
its own sake, no vile treachery in the savage of the
north. The present is his, and he rejoices in it.
He walks to his purpose right on. If he fail,
he can "smile under the hand of death." He is
fresh, young-hearted, ready, although he knows it
not, for new developments, when the hour shall
Schlegel has noticed that the Germans are ac-
quainted with the use of iron, and money, and an
alphabet, when we first met with them, while the
GERMAN BRAIN AND C ERMAN BUOYANCY. SL
Americans are not. Whatever force may be in
"-this fact, between the two races there is this con-
stitutional, enormous difference, which the physio-
logists point out, that the German has a brain of
Caucasian mould, the American not. In this Ger-
man brain there is growth, manhood, refinement.
It will become Dantean, Shaksperian, Newtonian.
It is the brain of Luther, and Bacon, and Goethe
undeveloped; whereas the highest reach of the
American brain is a development terminating in
sentimental, puling girlhood.
The Germans are strong from the very first.
They have all the buoyancy and freshness of grow-
ing youth about them. A frank openness, a broad
boyish humour, come out in their whole deport-
ment. Take these two glimpses of them, illustra-
tive of this: It is the close of the ninth century.
A German race has long dwelt in France. A band
of Norwegians (Germans also, of course,) driven
from their own land, seek a home in this territory
of their fortunate predecessors. News of their
ravages having reached the court, ambassadors are
sent to them. The Norwegians are encamped by
the brink of a river. With wise precaution, the
ambassadors keep on the other side. Hillo,
brave warriors," they shouted across, "what is the
name of your lord ?" "We have no lord," replied
the warriors. "And wherefore have ye come
here ?" "To make this our country." "But our
king will give you lands and honours if you settle
peaceably, and be subject to him." Go back and
tell your king," was the answer, "that we will be
82 THE SECOND PICTURE.
subject to no one, and that all we can conquer
shall belong to ourselves, without reserve."
Twelve years after, the influence of the higher
civilisation which they found in France having
softened their manners, these same soldiers agreed
to settle down and become feudal men to the king.
At the ceremony of agreement, they were ordered,
in token of submission, to kiss the king's foot.
"Never !" said their principal man, Rollo. The
French lords insisted. The Norwegian beckoned
one of his followers forward, and gave him, by a
peculiar sign, the necessary instructions for the
offensive service. The man stooped, but, without
bending his knee, took the offered foot of the mon-
arch in his hands, and lifted it up towards his lips
-higher! higher still higher The Norwegians
burst into open laughter at the issue-the king
was fallen backwards to the ground. Such were
the men, frank, daring, young-hearted, and full of
rough humour, who were the growing bones in the
womb of destiny, of the European man. We
should rather have said, "Such was the outside of
the men," for we have yet to speak of that in them
out of which their peculiar freshness flowed.
THE CHRISTIAN ELEMENT.
The Religion of the Ancient Germans.
REFERENCE has already been made to a connection
between these Germans and Christianity. We
shall be wholly unable to understand this connec-
tion-the connection between good soil and good
seed-unless we enter somewhat into the character
of their religion. The savage Druidism, with which
the earlier chapters of our national history have
made us familiar, must be put out of view. This,
with its human sacrifices and horrible incantations,
was undoubtedly a natural development of the
general Germanic faith ; but it was a development
confined to the Gael or Celt, a race comparatively
exhausted, without the power and freshness of the
Anglo-Saxon and Norman branches, when we first
encounter them. Everywhere the Celt is con-
quered. He is driven into the Highlands of Scot-
land, Wales, Ireland, France. A stronger German,
i.e., a German with a younger faith, takes his place.
The faith of the Norwegian Viking, of the German
proper, was essentially Druidism, but Druidism in
its elements. And at this stage, there was that
in this religion which wrought together with the
general healthiness of the Germanic physical con-
34 THE THIRD PICTURE.
stitution to beget a fitness, a receptiveness for
Christianity, possessed by no other people to the
The impression first received in studying this old
religion is one of something huge, dim, far-stretch-
ing, like that left upon the mind by endless depths
of forest. The Greek had a beautiful temple, a
beautiful statue, for his worship. So that it were
beautiful, his religious craving was satisfied. Ger-
man worship could not abide so much restraint.
It struggled outwards, upwards, out of all confine-
ment, as if it panted for breath. Its temples were
the tops of mountains, the sky for their roof.
There, or amid the sombre shadows of woods,
where the everlasting twilight and the far-receding
avenues of trees gave a character of illimitableness
to the scene, the German chose to worship.
The sam e groping after the illimitable is appa-
rent in the objects of their worship. Giants, gi-
gantic gods, fill their universe-beings good and
evil, who bulk out immeasurably before the ima-
gination. The observation, often made, that these
beings are representatives of natural phenomena,
carries us a good way into the character of the old
Germanic faith. Their giants, their giant deities,
are all realities, real existences, to these simple
worshippers. Not a giant amongst them all who
does not present himself to their mind in some
phenomenon of the actual world in which they
live. Fire, frost, light, darkness, the visible work-
ings of all nature, assume the forms of giants, and
take their place in that old mythology. Thunder
THE SPIRIT OF THE OLD RELIGION. 35
is Thor (from whom our Thursday, Thor's-day, is
named) ; Sunlight is Balder; Fire is Loke; Frost
is Thrym, Hrym (or Rime, as it is even yet
called). The head of all is Odin, a deified man,
who had been bard and warrior. Our Wednesday,
Woden's or Odin's-day, owes its name to him.
The whole earth is simply a giant slain and dis-
tributed over different quarters. The sea is his
blood, the land his flesh, the rocks his bones, the
sky his skull, the clouds his brains; and the gods
themselves dwell in Asgard, the shadow of his eye-
Very stupid all this, Carlyle exclaims, when one
looks only from without But not at all so stupid,
when we perceive that we also live amid giant
forces, although we name them differently. (The
reader will find a translation of an Icelandic poem,
in which the above cosmogony is detailed, in the
appendix to Henderson's "Visit to Iceland," pub-
lished many years ago under the superintendence
of one of our Bible societies. He will enjoy the
fine summary of the details, in the lecture on Odin
in "Hero-Worship," better after reading it.
The worship which daily contemplated these
forces, even when so disguised, was not an un-
healthy worship. It was imperfect, limited, earthy
enough, but, so far as it went, healthy. It brought
the mind of the worshipper into daily contact with
nature, in this very thing preparing that mind for
the reception of a higher life. The Romans noticed,
or at least fancied, that the Germans offered sacri-
fice to the earth, "the goddess Hertha" it was
36 THE THIRD PICTURE.
supposed to be called, and that "they looked upon
themselves as descended from Mannus." From
Man? Or, still more probably, from the man,
Odin ? Revolve these hints in your minds. Vast-
ness-huge vagueness-giants toiling in all direc-
tions-Hertha the object of worship-Mannus the
first parent! Are we not carried a step further
than the theory that that old mythology was a
mere embodiment of the visible forces in nature?
"It is easy to say, These giants only express the
struggles and throes of nature, cultivation contend-
ing with barrenness, spring succeeding winter.
But why," asks the distinguished thinker we are
now quoting, Mr Maurice (in his Religions of the
World and the Religion of Christ"), "why are
they giants? Why do they take this personal
form? Why, if winter and spring were chiefly
in their minds, did they not speak of winter and
spring?" We believe that this thinker has here
opened a new deep into that old religion. The
Germans believed themselves to be the descendants
of Mannus. They felt that Man is the appointed
inhabitant and subduer of the earth. They re-
verence Hertha because it is the home of man, the
scene of his life-toils. Out of Hertha come their
corn and pasture, their bread and water. And
spring warring with winter, light with darkness,
heat with cold, they recognize as so many forms of
the great battle which man has to wage on the
bosom of the earth.
From the first there has been a strong conscious-
ness of humanity in the German mind. (E.g.,
WHY ARE THEY GIANTS ? 37
Baron from Bairn, the war-chief retaining in his
very name a testimony to his being, whatever else,
a man.) Their religion is an expression of this
consciousness. Odin the man has risen into As-
gard. Man the worshipper is encompassed by
giant forces, of which Odin is lord. It is the
human instinct groping upward towards the primal
home of our spirit-reaching outward over our
dominion. Those mighty forces of visible nature,
the flash of lightning, the eruption of the burning
mountain, the hard grasp of winter, frost binding
the flood in chains, have their hour. Another
hour is coming, when the descendant of Mannus,
the Odin in Humanity, lays his strong hand upon
them, and rises above them into Asgard, into Val-
halla, the dwelling-place of the gods !
Already they are in possession of symbols, rude,
vague, unshapely, but veritable symbols of that
One whom the Christian missionaries were soon to
proclaim in the very presence of their Odin-trees !
Third Element, Christianity.
Of this third element we proceed to speak with
the conviction that a description of its essential
character would be, to our readers, a very needless
occupation of time. We feel that we must also
shut ourselves out from speaking of the manifold
conflicts into which Christianity was obliged to
enter on its first appearance; the conflict, for ex-
ample, with the Stoic, the mran of austere dogmas,
who held that he was the subject of an iron neces-
sity, which it was wisdom to recognize and submit
38 THE rHIRD PICTURE.
to: the conflict with the Platonist, the spiritual
thinker of these times, who looked upon his outer
form as only the symbol of an inner and more real
one, the word or logos of the Creator, and upon
his whole existence as a stream out of the fulness
of the divine life, into which, at death, it would be
absorbed again: the conflict with the Epicurean,
the man of refined sensations, who held it to be
the highest good to enjoy the present as we most
wished. All this would be very interesting, but it
belongs to the history of Christianity rather than
to that of European life.
We have to satisfy ourselves with stating the
fact, that Christianity did encounter such men, and
men in all possible conditions of thought and life.
It brought to each thinker the true interpretation
of his thought, it led thoughtful men in all direc-
tions towards the one rest. Biographies of such
men have come down to us from that period.
They were the victims of unrest. Questioning all
nature and the soul within them, they received no
answer. "Whence am I ? Whither do I tend ?
Wherefore am I here ? What is that force which
binds me on every side, which brought me into
being, which stirs my soul with perplexed imagin-
ings, which dismisses me into the grave ? Have I
any connection with it but that of a slave ? Am
I brother to roc ks, and trees, and insensate things ?
And shall I sleep with the worm ? Or do these
stars shine for me, beckoning my spirit upwards
to a better sphere ?" When men, exercised with
such perplexities, turned to the religions and
THE CHRISTIAN DAWN. 39
schools of philosophy around them, they found no
relief. There all was hollowness, word splitting
idolatry. When they turned to the governments,
to the condition of society, signs of decay, of ap-
proaching dissolution, met their eyes. The whole
world seemed to be falling to pieces, to be grasping
at dead traditions, to be decrepid, ready to die.
The clamminess of the grave was about it, like a
Nessus shirt. But in the midst of this decrepitude,
the roads which had been laid down for Roman
armies, and the places of resort in towns, began to
be used by the Christian missionaries. To dis-
tracted hearts were proclaimed the glad tidings of
a "rest prepared for such : to worshippers of the
Nameless, these words-" The God whom ye ig-
norantly worship declare we unto you."
Of what is usually styled "the rapid diffusion of
Christianity in the early ages," we have this to
say, that it was not in Europe-the Europe of
European life-it was so diffused. Christians
spread with great rapidity ; so did Christian
preaching: but so did not Christianity. It was
the eleventh century before all Europe became
Christian. (Even so late as the fourteenth cen-
tury, the worship of the serpent existed in some
nooks of geographical Europe.) The work of con-
version was slow, difficult, like the growth of oaks
Only consider. Christianity had the intellects
of the thoughtful to satisfy. It had the interests
of existing governments to confront. It had the
Jew coming up behind its back, from its own
40 THE THIRD PICTURE.
birthplace, and saying, "Thou art a lie." And it
had the savage hearts of Roman citizens-hearts
buried in lust, finding their highest excitement in
the conflicts of human beings with wild beasts-
hearts impure into their deepest centre and brutal,
to win over and change. We blame such men as
Nero for putting hindrances in the way of Christi-
anity. But every Roman was a Nero. They hated
Christianity. It stood up against their entire life,
and proclaimed it to be rottenness in the face of
God. It said to the mistress of the world, that she
was living in pleasure, but dead while she lived.
And the worshippers of this mistress, the Roman
citizens, replied by demanding the Christians for
the wild beasts. Even if persecution had not
arisen, there was that in the condition of the
public mind, when Christianity first encountered
it, which made rapid progress an impossibility.
One of the very commonest challenges thrown out
to the Christian preacher was an illustration of
this condition. It was said to them, "Show us
your Gods; you are preaching about a Being we
cannot see." And any one who has ever tried to
demonstrate a hidden fact-the fact of the earth's
motion, for example, upon its axis-to a mind ac-
customed to believe only what the outward eye can
see, will know what a mighty work had to be
achieved by Christianity, and how necessarily slow
its progress must have been, before the sensualised
mind of Rome could look into "the things which
are not seen."
We lately heard a very intelligent missionary,
A PICTURE OF CREDIT." 41
who has returned from the East Indies, stating
that, on his arrival in this country, he was most of
all struck by the existence of "credit," of trust
reposed in each other, which he found amongst us.
"A man gave me a cheque," he said, "and it was
instantly cashed at the bank. If I went into a
shop for anything, it was placed before me on the
counter before I even showed my purse. In India,
among the natives, such things do not happen.
Each man believes his neighbour to be dishonest.
There is no trustfulness, no credit." And the
missionary gave this as one of the reasons why
Christianity made so little progress in the district
where he had been labouring. And he was right.
There must be a good soil as well as good seed;
and the Christian faith had to wait seven hundred
years for this.
We all know how Christianity turned away
from the Jew. It will be remembered how little
receptivity there was in those Greeks who listened
to Paul on Mars' Hill. And that apostle must
have been thinking of a similar flippancy in the
Roman mind, when he wrote, "I am not ashamed
to preach the Gospel to you who are at Rome
also." To us there is something very solemn in
this fact. The Jew, the Greek, the Roman-the
minds of highest culture in the world at the time
-putting away the new faith from them. Deep
calleth unto deep. The Jewish mind, with all its
recollections of holy times, was not receptive;
neither was the Grecian, with all its subtle ap-
preciation of beauty; neither was the Roman,
42 THE THIRD PICTURE.
with all its sense of binding law and social order.
In these minds there was not depth, there was not
honesty enough. For long centuries, Christianity,
the word of the new creation, had to brood over the
wrecks and chaos of past culture before it found a
mind fitted to receive it. Not that it waited in idle-
ness. There were individual conversions without
number; there was leavening of human thought;
there was the acquirement of outward respect (from
hollow Constantines and such like); above all, there
was the absorbing into itself whatever was good in
ancient civilisation. It abode in Judea until it had
identified itself with Moses and the Prophets; it
lingered in beautiful Greece, in those churches of
Ephesus, and Corinth, and Philippi, until the
aroma of Greek wisdom was inhaled; it hid in
Roman charnel-houses until all that was worth in
Roman institutions had passed into its grasp, study-
ing all the thought of that half-eastern world, and
all its ways of life; and then, with its mighty
burden of life, old and new, it was led up from the
wilderness towards the north, to meet those men
who had been preparing to receive it, and were
even now coming down. It found in these Ger-
mans a freshness, a child-like openness-" honesty
of heart," in fact. It found them in possession of
a faith which did not contradict Christianity, but
only sought from it its true interpretation. It
found in them a nature inured to hardship, un-
corrupt, and the German people "received it
gladly." Let one illustration serve for all.
When Paulinus the Christian missionary invited
THE WARRIOR'S THOUGHTS ON LIFE. 43
our Anglo-Saxon fathers to embrace his faith, an
old warrior rose up in the national assembly, and
argued thus before the king: "On some dark
night, 0 king, when the storm was abroad, and
rain and snow were falling without, when thou
and thy captains were seated by the warm fire in
the lighted hall, thou mayest have seen a sparrow
flying in from the darkness and flitting across the
hall, and passing out into the darkness again.
Even so, O king, appears to me the life of men
upon the earth. We come out of the darkness, we
shoot across the lighted hall of life, and then go
out into the darkness again. If this new doctrine
can tell us aught of this darkness, and of the sonl
of man which passes into it, let it be received with
Thus met these two elements of European life-
Christianity and the German nature.
First came the Roman element-municipal in-
stitutions-town-life. This was the laying down
of European roads, of social ways of life. Then
came the Barbarian element, the strong nature,
the fresh humanity, which was to use these roads.
And, last of all, not in time but in effect, came
Christianity, with affinities for all that is worth pre-
serving, with the power of leavening, of combining,
of elevating. It seized what was Roman-it con-
veyed the German towards it. It gave the Ger-
man a new faith, a principle of continuance. And
European life arose.
It is one of the disadvantages of taking up a
subject like our present, that the actual condition
44 THE THIRD PICTURE.
of society cannot always be kept before the mind.
Having to deal with elements, we are apt to lose
sight of what may be called the flesh and blood of
history, the workings of every-day life. Before
we close at present, therefore, with the view of cor-
recting whatever of this evil may have accompanied
this treatment of the subject, we shall endeavour
to convey some notion of the condition of society
in Western Europe from the fifth to the tenth
centuries-during the period, that is, that the ele-
ments of European life were flowing together.
The description will not hold true of Eastern
Europe. There, so many of the old influences
were still at work as to give a distinct character
to the condition of society in that direction. On
that side the empire had been invaded by the
Goths. These Goths entered into alliance with
the Romans at a very early period. And thus, if
they came sooner than the Germans of the North
under the influence of Christianity, they came also
sooner under the influence of Roman manners.
In fact, they became very much Romanised, and
had consequently only a secondary part to play
in the shaping out of Europe. Their strength
melted away under the eastern effeminacy of life
which prevailed in the empire; and, to give them
still less weight, the Christianity they had was
In France, Germany, and Britain, it was differ-
ent. A stranger would have been struck especially
with the presence of a mixed population. He
would have seen that there was no hearty blend-
THE SWORD WAS KING !" 45
ing of fortunes amongst those who lived together;
that, on the contrary, there were classes living
painfully separate, and cherishing the worst pas-
sions towards each other. In country districts
he would encounter a class, as the traveller in
Ivanhoe" encounters Gurth, the swine-herd, en-
gaged in the lowest drudgery, the born thralls of
the possessors of the soil. These thralls are the
possessors of the land, and generally Celts. If he
entered the rude homestead of the possessor of the
soil, the stranger would be confronted by a repre-
sentative of the highest class, the descendant of
the tribe which last ravaged and conquered the
land. Between these two extremes (both of Ger-
manic origin), some schoolmaster, a priest, or tra-
velling merchant, would turn up to represent the
old Romanic population. The next thing that our
stranger would have noticed, would be, that this
tesselated pavement of human beings lived in the
continual expectation and exercise of war. In-
roads were frequent. New descents from more
northerly countries, things of constant dread. Pro-
perty was held by no secure tenure than the
sword. By the sword it had been bought; by the
sword it might be lost. It was the same with per-
sonal freedom. The sword was king. Physical
force presided over European society. Perhaps,
while our stranger is completing his examination,
the shouts of war may ring through the land, and
homesteads which were gained a hundred years
before have to be defended against a new incursion
from the North.
46 THE THIRD PICTURE.
Thus, in our own land, the Roman subdued the
Celt, the Saxon put out the Roman, the Norman
overcame the Saxon. It was the condition of all
Europe for more than six hundred years. Roman
Europe was to the men of the North what America
is to us. It was their new world and future home.
From the region of icebergs and perpetual snow,
the confined populations pressed, band after band,
during all these centuries, toward the sunnier
south. Europe was in continual motion. Here, a
Roman population wasting out; there, a German
migration arriving to fill its place. Here, the Ger-
mans of an earlier incursion growing effeminate;
there, a new band presenting their greater strength,
as a title of right, to dispossess them. No man nor
people was at rest. No nation knew its own limits
No nation, properly so called, existed. All was
flow and reflow: tides beaten back by the wind.
Attempts to escape from this unsettled existence
were made from the beginning, some of these con..
sciously, some unconsciously. Quite consciously
wrought Christianity. Its voice was lifted up for
order. In many ways its influence was exerted.
Even at the early period at which the foregoing
picture is taken, Christianity is leavening Euro-
pean life, elevating it, delivering it from savageness;
but its effects are hidden, and will continue so for
centuries to come.
Consciously also wrought Roman civilisation.
From this came the written laws which the form-
ing nations began to adopt. From this, although
German laws blended with Roman in the same
CHARLEMAGNE APPEARS. 47
code, for the Germans learned from the Empire to
commit their laws to writing.
Unconsciously wrought the Barbarian element.
But the relation between the chief and his men
was a germ of order, and began to exhibit fruit in
the feudal system.
In the eighth century appeared a man who
gathered into himself, in a wonderful manner, all
these elements of order--as to race a German,
by faith a Christian, by his coronation a Roman
emperor-into whose mind entered the vast con-
ception, that the tides of violence around him
might be arrested, and Europe bound into a
mighty whole. This man was Charlemagne. The
history of his reign is the history of an endeavour
to realise this conception. France, Spain, Italy,
Germany, even as far as Hungary, yielded to his
sway. At the head of his brave Franks he re-
pressed disorder on all sides. The necessity of his
reign was order. His reign was a protest and ap-
peal against confusion. Victorious abroad, at home,
in his beautiful Rhineland, this great king estab-
lished schools, encouraged literature, committed
laws to writing. He invited the learned of all
countries to his court. He fostered religion and
watched over the churches. He met with the
bishops, chastised indolent pastors, rewarded faith-
ful ones. His capacious soul took in at one glance
the Europe which ought to be, and the minutest
details of local interest. He bequeathed to Euro-
pean life a grand ideal of European unity.
In our own England the same attempt on i
48 THE THIRD PICTURE.
narrower scale was made by Alfred. While these
men lived, the strong hand of authority bound the
masses into something like a whole. At their
death, these masses escaped from the bond. Mi-
gratory habits prevailed once more. Europe again
resounded with the wars of race and tribe. But
influences were already at work by which new and
surer ties were to be formed.
94je fnurf4 Vidnrt.
RECALL the parallel drawn between the life of in-
dividual man and that of society. Both lives have
their natural periods. Each period has its separate
peculiarities, of taste, of receptivity, of capability.
The boy follows other ends than the grown-up man
-is differently affected, expresses himself differ-
ently. What would be foolish in an old man may
be beautiful in the boy. What would pall an old
man's appetite may be the cause of growth in a
boy. What even a young man might esteem as
common, to a boy will seem a very opening into
Take this familiar illustration :-When we pass
what Dante calls the keystone of life, and begin to
travel on the descending curve of the arch, we
pucker up our lips as people who should know
better, and smile at the fondness of young lovers.
"That foolish time !" we exclaim, winking to our
peers. But this does not alter the fact which en-
compasses our two lovers. They cannot afford to
smile at it. It is-not on the authority of novel
makers, but of the Maker of us all-a life and
death business for them. The beautiful, the lovely,
have gathered all their rays into one focus; and
each of these two sees the other in the heart of
50 THE FOURTH PICTURE.
that. If the boy walk across the green, we will
not see a difference in him from other boys; if you
point out the girl, we may not be overwhelmed
with any surpassing beauty in her. But, to their
own eyes, each is bathed in beauty, and circles for
ever on in it, as the morning star does. It is the
time of love. Influences which would not touch
them at other periods find receptivity in them at
this; and they go through a business-taken in
detail, made up of trifles-which, at a later date
in life, they will speak of as a waste of time. This
will help us to understand the present portion of
Crusades-wars of the Cross-wars for the re-
covery of the Holy Sepulchre from the keeping of
Mahommedans, would not succeed with Europe
now. Even in the fifteenth century they could
succeed. The same means which roused Europe
in the eleventh were resorted to; but Europe went
on its way unheeding. Europe had outgrown
them-had left them behind in the magic past-
and was now girding itself for the sterner tasks of
Reformation and Revolution.
Before entering on the history of these wars of
the Cross, then, we shall endeavour to fix the pro-
per life-date of Europe at the time. We do not
mean the particular year in which the wars
commenced. As to this, they began at the close
of the eleventh century, and lasted almost pre-
cisely two hundred years. We refer to the time of
life in which the Crusades occurred; was Europe
man or boy ? Note, in passing, that some nations
LIFE AT THE TIME OF THE CRUSADES. 51
were later than others in being affected with the
Crusade-spirit. Ou. own, for example. The
Franks were first. In our country, therefore,
that period in which Crusades were gone into as
a perfectly serious business was later of arriving
than in France.
This being preluded, we open the inquiry-At
what period has European life arrived at the close
of this eleventh century? Of the Europe described
in our former papers we might say-It was Eu-
rope in embryo, Europe in the cradle, Europe mak-
ing efforts to walk. Individually considered, we
had many strong men before us; but the collec-
tive life of these men was simply what we have
just now called it.
We shall go back to the beginning of the period
surveyed in the last paper for one glimpse of this
life. A second can be obtained through the feudal
system. The Crusades themselves will yield a
third. In each of these, you will see distinctly
impressed the features of different periods, and
each rising naturally out of the other.
1. The baptism of the first Frank king took
place during the Christmas of 496. The history
of his conversion is as follows: -He had married
a Christian wife. In the fall of the Roman em-
pire he beheld a proof that his wife's God was
feeble; in the success of the Franks, that their
God was strong. So like a child did he reason!
His own oldest child died. "A powerful God,"
he said to his wife, "would not have suffered a
child baptised into his name to die." A battle
52 THE FOURTH PICTURE.
was going against him; he called on his own god,
Odin. The foe still prevailed, In his distress he
bethought himself of his wife's God, and called on
him: the battle at that moment turned in his
favour. So like a child did he act! A bishop as-
sured him that the battle was a miracle: Clovis
believed him. The bishop went on to instruct
him in the Christian faith, and, amongst other
things, drew a touching picture of the sufferings of
the Lord upon the cross. "Ha," interrupted our
European child, "if I and my brave Franks had
been there, how we would have chastised these
rascal Jews !" The baptism was performed at
Rheims. "The streets," says Thierry, "were
adorned with tapestries ; hangings of various
colours, stretching from roof to roof, intercepted
the heat and glare of the sun. The pavement was
strewn with flowers, and perfumes were burned to
refresh the air. The bishop, dressed in embroi-
dered garments, walked by the monarch's side.
"Holy father," exclaimed the latter, astonished by
all this magnificence, "is THIS the kingdom of
heaven to which thou hast promised to conduct
me ?" What do you see behind this morsel of
biography? It is the story of the conversion of
the foremost European soldier of his day-a man
of thirty years of age, strong, practical, brave.
You see a distinction of lives. The material life
is mature; but it conceals another-a life far from
maturity. It is a child's life. Its thoughts, its
acts, are childish. It is your own Walter or Willie
making his first visit to the church. "Hush, my
THE SOLDIER AND THE CHURCH. 53
boy, you are in the church." An awe comes
down upon the boy's heart. But if you ask him
what the church is, you will find it is the wood of
the pulpit, and the fine dresses of the people, and
himself. European life was at this stage when
Clovis was baptised.
2. Let us come down four hundred years. The
boy is beginning to be respected in the house.
Home life is about him, and penetrates him. Out-
wardly, there is confusion enough. The empire of
Charlemagne has gone down in darkness. The mi-
grations have broken out afresh. All Europe is in
motion. There are no boundaries, no dykes : tides
of people are rushing upon each other. In the
midst of this weltering rises the feudal keep. It is
the representative building of the period. The
wrecks of old empires, of attempted kingdoms, are
floating about. But nothing hurts that keep.
The Noah of European life is there. The waves
dash in vain against it; it rides on the top. Do
not look at these keeps through your modern poli-
tics. If there had not been need for them they
would not have arisen. The German tribes brought
from their woods respect for woman and the law of
primogeniture. The feudal system was the sphere
in which these were to be developed unto our
modern family life. Accordingly, if you look
closely at this system, you will find that its prin-
cipal aim was, protection of the oldest son. There
was in it protection of others-of serfs, fighting
men, and kinsfolk. All the titles which have
come down to us from these times are monuments
54 THE FOURTH PICTURE.
of this. Earl, yarl-strong one, one able to pro-
tect; lord, law-ward-protector of law; lady,
hlaf-dig-loaf-giver, provider of bread to the pro-
tected. But all this points ultimately to the heir.
For his sake the old baron protects the fighting
men; for his sake the lady gives bread to their
families; for him the walls of the keep are built
massy and strong; for him the baron lives in a
confinement foreign to his ancestors. The whole
current of feudal life runs towards the training and
protecting of this boy.
It fits into this view that the mother has a very
large share of importance in the feudal system.
If the father were slain before the heir was of age,
the mother became regent. Even in the father's
lifetime she had a fair portion of influence. In
his absence on the hunting expedition she ruled.
Children and domestics came thus to look up to
her as their head. Her sphere, her character, were
elevated. Napoleon once asked a lady what the
French people stood most in need of. "Good
mothers," replied the lady. During the feudal
period, this instrumentality in the training of the
life of Europe was developed. You remember the
old ballad, "Black Agnes of Dunbar." In her
husband's absence the castle was attacked by the
English. She held out for nineteen weeks, and
then compelled them to raise the siege:
Upon the castle wa' she stood,
The Yirl o' March's sturdy Marrow I "
Montague tempts her with dress and English state:
THE MOTHER'S PLACE AND INFLUENCE. 55
And you sail be Dame Montague,
And I'll gi'e you a weddin' ring."
Your rings o' gold I carena by,
Nor care I for your falcons free;
I carena for your horse and hounds,
Nor for your pages twenty-three.
An' ye may tak' your lordlings brave,
An' deck them wi' your claith o' gold;
For while my ain gude lord's awa',
My yetts fast lock'd I mean to hold."
Montague, in wrath, brings up his war-engines:
The mangonels played fast and free,
Brocht down big stanes frae aff the wa' :
Black Agnes, with her napkin fine,
Leuch loud and dicht the stour awa!"
This happened in the fourteenth century. But
Scotland, during that century, presented a very
fair picture of the feudal times of European states
earlier in developing. We have quoted the ballad
to illustrate the functions and spirit of the Euro-
pean mother at that period. A system which af-
forded scope for conduct like that of Lady March's
could not be otherwise than promotive of the
family bond. And, in fact, it was so. What do
we gather from this ? We gather that European
life had not yet passed out of the home-sphere-
that the European man, if the bull might be ex-
cused, was still a boy.
The history of the institution of knighthood
would still farther illustrate this fact. Great at-
tention began to be paid to boys. Your boy is
sent to my house; mine to yours, to learn obe-
dience-to learn to be a miles, to serve-militare,
56 THE FOURTH PICTURE.
to be a knight. The great event in our families
is the introduction of these boys into the rank of
knights; and when they have become knights,
their business of life is the very soft one of defend-
3. Something was wanted to lift European life
out of the home-something which could appea.
to the natural poetry and spirituality in the hu-
man heart, and be a quickening into manhood
for all Europe. At this crisis, the Crusades were
The immediate occasion of these Crusades was
this. Towards the close of the ninth century, an
expectation began to be entertained in Europe
that the Lord would return to the earth when the
thousand years after his ascension were expired.
This time was at hand. It was generally believed
that the scene of his birth would be that of his se-
cond advent; and European Christians, men and
women, went to Jerusalem "to meet their Lord."
The expected hour went past; but a pilgrimage
to Jerusalem had become a European habit; and
during the eleventh century, the Holy City con-
tinued to be visited by pilgrims who had left the
extreme bounds of Europe and toiled thither on
foot. Unhappily for them, the Holy City had
long been in the hands of Mahommedans. The
arrival of pilgrims was a source of revenue too
palpable to be neglected. A piece of gold was
charged for entrance. The pilgrims-poor, many
of them, when they set out from their homes-still
poorer when they had traversed unsettled Europe,
THE MAN WHO ROUSED EUROPE. 57
had to return often from the very gates of that
Jerusalem they had come thousands of miles to see,
because they were unable to pay toll. Sick and
weary with fatigue and disappointment, they filled
Europe with their murmurs. As they passed on
to their homes, they left their tale of oppression
and persecution in the castles which gave them
shelter for the night. The fierce baron listened to
their stories when the hunt or the raid was over.
He, too, was stirred with indignation. Let the
word once be spoken, and the European boy will
fly to arms.
Among the pilgrims who returned was one who
had been successively soldier, priest, and hermit-
Peter of Amiens. Simple, abstemious in his food,
in appearance mean, it was given to his humble
instrument to speak the word. He was a little
man, with flashing, peculiar eyes. "While out of
doors, he wore ordinarily a woollen tunic, with a
brown mantle, which fell down to his heels," leav-
ing his arms and feet bare. We saw him," says
the eye witness quoted above, "passing through
towns and villages, preaching, everywhere, the
people surrounding him in crowds," plucking, for
relics of so esteemed a man, the very hairs from his
mule's hide. He was no great orator, as to style:
he was rude and illiterate rather, as most' people
then were. But we could speak to the hearts of
fighting men; and all Europe answered as he
beckoned his skinny arm.
The church took up the cause. At Clermont,
in one of the great squares-no house being able
58 THE FOURTH PICTURE.
to contain them-priests, princes, fighting men,
scholars, ladies, people of all ranks, are gathered
at the close of the eleventh century. The pope of
that time, Urban II., was a very eloquent man.
He spoke to them of the land of their Saviour's
birth-of their eastern fellow-Christians oppressed
therein-of the hardships encountered by holy
pilgrims. "Jerusalem," he said, "has become
the habitation of devils. The Saracens tyrannise
over it; the holy places are defiled; the believers
are overwhelmed with injuries; the temple of the
Most High is desecrated; priests and deacons are
slain; women are grossly insulted in the very
sanctuary; and ye, Christian men of Europe,
wasting your strength in idle quarrels. Arm!
To the rescue of your oppressed brethren !
Against the enemies of your faith turn the wea-
pons you unjustly employ against each other.
Pillage and burning are charged against you;
murder and robbery shut many of you from the
kingdom of God. Arise Redeem by this service
your ungodly lives; the crimes of the soldier of
the Cross are pardoned; the dying Crusader goes
up to heaven."
From prince and peasant, from men and women,
there rose a mighty shout. God willeth it !"
the whole assembly cried. The purpose of the
speaker was secured. The baron rode back to his
castle to arm-his retainers. The speech of the
pope was repeated from mouth to mouth. Europe
was stirred unto its depths. So unanimous was the
enthusiasm, so quickly did it spread, it came to be
-- -. ... --
I.- A. -- ---.
_ : _
&. .q" .I -- . --- '-,
I'7 .. -. i
rC- I V.
'r- //' "
"The Saracens tyrannise over Jerusalemi,.the temple of the iMost High is dese-
crated, and. ye Christian nien of Europe waste yrour strength-:in idle quarrels*." -T 1p-....
EFFECT OF THE POPE'S SPEECH. 59
a popular belief that the shout which greeted
the close of the pope's appeal had been heard at
the same moment in the remotest parts of Europe.
We would convey a very false impression if we
left the reader to suppose that the struggle in which
Europe was about to engage was either accidental
or temporary. From the very cradle of European
life it has had to struggle against Mahommedan
aggression. Even at the date of the first crusade,
the struggle was far from being new. Exactly
four hundred years before, it seemed to depend on
the issue of a battle whether "the third element"
of European life was to be Christianity or Mahom-
medanism. It was while the northern immigra-
tions were still flowing down, before the con-
querors were secure in their conquests, that they
were confronted by armies of swart, black-eyed
soldiers, the propagators of this new religion.
From the African shore of the Mediterranean, at
the Straits, they sent a small detachment across to
Europe, under the command of a soldier named
Tarik. He overturned the kingdom of the ener-
vated Visigoths in Spain. Their king fled from
the field of battle, and the victorious Arabs pur-
sued their conquests until the Bay of Biscay
stopped their march. It took more than seven
hundred years to undo the work of that army.
To this day we recall the name of its leader when
we mention the rock on which he first landed,
Gibraltar-Ghebel al Taric, the rock of Taric.
From Spain, the Arabs pressed into France, at
that time the centre of European civilisation ; but
60 THE FOURTH PICTURE.
here they were checked. Young Europe, rude
and untaught, was stronger than full-formed Ma-
hommedanism. A Frank, who, on account of his
heavy blows, received the surname of Martel or
Hammer, defeated them near Poictiers. His
successor, Charlemagne, still more effectually re-
pressed their advances. Eventually, they were
shut up into Spain.
We may well turn aside to examine the charac-
ter and genius of a power which appeared in the
world at the very moment Europe was being filled
with its future populations, and which ultimately
left to the influence of Christianity only the west-
ern half of the Roman empire. An internal his-
tory of Mohammedanism itself would exhibit a
creed laying hold of different tribes, nations, races,
and elevating to power those of most warlike
genius. It will be enough for our purpose if we
can gather from the people in whom the faith first
took root, one or two of the more prominent fea-
tures of the life which it develops. We shall re-
quire to transfer ourselves to new scenes. The
shadows of deep forests, the mists of hills, by which
the men of the north are environed, are behind us.
We are now in the land of the palm-tree and the
camel. Stripes of green pasture alternate with
sand-wastes, at the base of grim mountains. No-
thing has changed since the days of Job. There
is the same nomade life, the same family feeling,
the same incursions of robbers. You live in tents;
your wealth is in flocks and herds. In the even-
ing, you see clouds of dust in the distance: before
THE ARAB-HIS HOME AND HIS FAITH. 61
an hour has gone past, the well where you are
resting is surrounded with tents, and flocks, and
shepherds armed. From that land how many of
our most familiar stories have come! Our school-
time favourite, the "Arabian Nights," was the
product of a later age, and of somewhat different
circumstances; but the faculty of poetry and story-
telling which it exhibits is native to the child of
the east. Eastern travellers describe the Bedouins
of the present, grouped around the fire of their
bivouac, listening with attentive ears, their necks
stretched out, their fiery eyes fixed upon some com-
panion reciting passages of their national poetry,
or telling some story of his own. So in all ages it
was with them.
Before the birth of Mahomet, Ishmael was the
great man of the Arabs. For them, he, not
Isaac, was the true son of promise. They held
him in esteem as the martyr, the one wronged
man in human history. All other men received
rich lands at the general distribution of portions.
He, with his mother, had to go out into the desert.
Notwithstanding this, Abraham is their father.
They have many things in common with the Jews
-annual pilgrimages to a holy place, for example,
and prayer with their faces turned thither. "In
the times of their ignorance," as they call the days
before Mahomet, they prayed towards Jerusalem.
Since his day, their Kebla-direction of prayer-
is Mecca, his birth-place. Here, according to tra-
dition, still bubbles up the well of Hagar, and here
their great mosque or temple is built.
62 THE FOURTH PICTURE.
Although the men who tried to spread this wor-
ship in Europe came from the east, they were
strangers to the luxury we associate with eastern
climates. There is a healthy freshness and home-
liness about them which almost rival the charac-
teristics of the northern tribes. The prophet Ma-
homet mended his own shoes, and he was a man
of wealth. The Caliph Omar, his second suc-
cessor, and his chief men, supped rice-porridge
together every morning out of a wooden platter
which dangled at his camel's side, when he and
they were on a journey. To this same Omar com-
plaint was once made that the governor he had
sent to Hems would not grant an audience before
sunrise, nor attend to petitions during night-time,
and that he was invisible one whole day in every
month. 0 Omar !" said the accused governor,
"I keep no servant, and must therefore before
sunrise bake my bread. After sunset, I pray and
read the Koran until sleep overtake me; and one
whole day every month, because I possess but a
single shirt, I am employed in washing and drying
it!" Sometimes this simplicity of manners took
quite a different turn from the ridiculous. At the
close of an engagement, a Greek general seated
himself on a throne in the grand style of the
Roman east, to receive some Arab soldiers about
an exchange of prisoners. Cushioned seats were
set for the Arabs, but they preferred to sit cross-
legged on the ground. You vulgar clowns,"
said the Greek, "who but yourselves would pre-
fer to sit upon the filthy earth ?" The seat which
THE SOLDIER'S CREED. 63
God has prepared for us," replied the chief soldier,
" cannot be filthy. The earth is of his making:
your purest tapestry is not so pure."
But it is chiefly as a brave people, and a people
whose bravery is the result of religion, that they
come before us. They are the Puritans of the east.
Fighting, to them, is life-work-work done under
the eye of God. Their battle-cry, "Allah Acbar !"
is a sort of appeal to God for victory. Their early
history is full of illustrations. Derar is sent for-
ward to reconnoitre the Christian army. Thirty
Christians are detached to capture him. He feigns
to fly. The thirty straggle after him. He turns
about upon them, and one by one unhorses seven-
teen. Did I not warn thee not to put thyself in
danger ?" said his general. "Well, Kaled [this
was the defence], they came out to take me, and
I was afraid God should see me turn my back to
the enemy." Every battle these men fought was
linked in their eyes to eternity. Oh, general,"
said this same Derar to Kaled, who had returned
from a single-handed encounter with one of the
enemy for a fresh horse, "you have already thrown
away too much strength fighting with that dog;
rest here, and I will go in your stead." "Rest!"
exclaimed Kaled, by no means the finest specimen
of Arab-warrior, "we shall rest in the world to
come." (Some of our readers will recall the fine
words of the Port-Royalist, hundreds of years
later-" We shall have all eternity to rest in.")
The conviction that their fighting was not vanity
-not something which they might do or leave
64 THE FOURTH PICTURE.
undone at their pleasure, was very strong in them,
They felt that their condition in eternity depended
on their conduct in the battle. Kaled would some-
times tell his men that "Paradise lay beneath
the shadow of swords." And when Mahomet
proclaimed war against the Romans of the east,
and the Arabs murmured, We are worn out;
the harvest is coming on; the weather is hot,"
the prophet's reproof was, "Ay, but hell is
Indeed, religious fighting is the proper develop-
ment of Mahommedan life. Up to this it carries
men, and no further. When Mahommedans leave
the battlefield and try to live in towns, they go to
decay. They prosper as robbers-as fighters, not
otherwise. Their life-purpose is to spread their
faith by the sword. One of the first converts
Mahomet made, after his wife, a boy at the time,
professed his faith in this style: "I, for one, will
be thy vizier (lit., helper). Whoever rises against
thee, I will dash out his teeth, tear out his eyes,
break his legs," &c. So, practically, did every true
Mahommedan profess. The conqueror of Morocco
was checked in his progress by the waves of the
Atlantic. He spurred his horse into the sea,
and raised his eyes to heaven, and exclaimed,
Great Allah, if my course were not stopped by
these waves, I would still go on to the unknown
kingdoms of the west, preaching the unity of thy
name, and putting rebellious nations to the sword."
In almost all cases, the perfect Mahommedan is no-
thing more than an armed propagator of his creed.
THE MERCHANT-PROPHET'S TEACHING. 65
At first sight, nothing can be more astonishing
than the spread of Mahommedan power. In the
beginning of the seventh century, Mahomet, at
that time a merchant in Mecca, and about forty
years of age, rises up after dinner, and informs his
kinsmen present, that God has commissioned him
to convert them from idol-worship to the faith
that there is one God, whose will we are bound
to obey. By all his guests, except the boy Ali,
referred to above, this intimation was received with
laughter. Before a full hundred years were ended,
Arabia, Syria, Persia, Egypt, and part of the east
and west coasts of Africa, had received his faith.
"From the confines of Tartary and India to. the
shores of the Atlantic Ocean," there were souls and
nations who believed that Mahomet was a prophet.
With the power thus founded and wide-spread,
European youth was now to contend, and that on
ground sacred to the Mahommedan and himself.
THE SECRET OF MAHOMMEDAN CONQUEST.
BEFORE saying the little we mean to say of the
grapple of European and Mahommedan life in the
crusades, it may be allowed us to put the following
question: How, when Christianity was in the
world, within a stonecast, one might say, did
Mahommedanism-a younger faith-a mere
echo of itself caught up at the fairs of Syria,
succeed in seizing the whole Eastern world, and
confining for many ages European life to
Europe ? Not by imposture, not by quackery,
we freely answer, quoting Thomas Carlyle. But
neither by "Hero Worship," as is virtually main-
tained by him.*
In the hearty appreciation of the Arabian
prophet which we find in the second lecture on
"Hero Worship," the old notions about Mahomet
are satisfactorily brushed away. "He did not
"* Readers of Carlyle must bear in mind that his book on
Heroes, full of genius, as everything he has done, is, besides
being an exposition and vindication of his besetting faith, also an
exhibition of his philosophy of European history. He works out
his theory with European materials. Odin represents the Ger-
man element, Dante the Roman-Ecclesiastical, Shakspere is the
Feudal system evolved to music, Luther the Reformation, &c. &c.
The lecture on Mahomet finds place as Carlyle's word, on the
early struggle of European and Mahommedan life. This being
the case, it follows that the philosophy of European history is
" Hero Worship." German strength was the worship of Odin-
Mahommedan prowess, the worship of Mahomet.
THE PROPHET'S CHARACTER. 67
found a sensual religion; only curtailed the sen-
suality he found existing." Neither was he him-
self a sensual man. He had faults-faults of the
kind David had, "but we shall err widely if we
consider him a common voluptuary." In his frugal
household "his common fare was bread and water.
Sometimes, for months together, not a fire was
lighted in his hearth." "Not a bad man" either,
or these wild Arabs would not have reverenced
him so. He stood face to face with them; bare,
not enshrined in any mystery-visibly clouting
his own cloak, cobbling his own shoes, fighting,
counselling, ordering in the midst of them. They
must have seen what kind of man he was. No
emperor with his tiaras was obeyed as this man in
a cloak of his own clouting. During three and
twenty years of rough actual trial! I find some-
thing of a veritable hero necessary for that."
And so there was. The man Mahomet must have
been a better, truer man than any Arab of his
day, or he would not have obtained the influence
and homage he did.
But we have not the secret of his religious suc-
cess in this. No doubt it carries us a good way.
All men are incarnations either of good or evil;
the "hero," the incarnation of good, is the highest
figure upon earth while he is present. But, after
all, it is not the "hero "-the incarnation-which
is the working power in social influences, but that
which makes him heroic-the truth of which he is
the incarnation. Mahomet himself was still an
object of hatred to Omar when that kinsman and
68 THE FIFTH PICTURE.
future caliph was converted by a verse of the
Koran. He was dead, and a mere name, when
Persia, Syria, Egypt, and Africa, received his faith.
We shall look, therefore, not into the man, but
into the faith which the man had, for the secret of
its brilliant success; and concerning this success
there are three things to be said.
The first is, that Mahommedanism displaced
nothing better than itself. This is abundantly
plain with respect to the religions which it super-
seded in Egypt and Persia, for they were at the
time decrepit, worn out, and ready to die. In the
prophet's own country, where his religion had its
first and sorest battle to fight, it displaced sheer
idol worship. At Mecca the old mosque was full
of idols ; and, standing without, there was an idol
for every day in the year-an army which Maho-
met in his old age threw down and broke to
pieces. In the Koran, he protests again and again
against idol worship. We have been much struck
with one chapter; he is dealing with the Sabeans,
or star worshippers. What can your star-god do
for you ? he asks. Behold him, he rises, he sets ;
a true god does not set. Remember Abraham,
he continues, star-worship did not suffice for him,
neither did the clay idols in the house of his
father; O father, he said, these images are not
gods; so he went out on the approach of evening;
the heavens rose over him, piercing far upwards
into eternity ; and the young man cried for God.
A star came out and stood on the breast of the
sky. My Lord t my Lord! cried Abraham the
THE PARABLES OF THE KORAN. 69
heavens drew the star back into its darkness.
Then rose the moon, beautiful, two-horned, like a
living face in the liquid deep. My Lord! my
Lord! again cried the adoring youth. The moon
also set. High over the summits of far receding
hills came the tints of morning. Flaming into
daylight rose up the sun. My very God, at length !
said Abraham, and he bowed down to worship. In
the evening this god, too, departed, and it was
night once more. No! exclaimed the worshipper,
nor sun, nor moon, nor star, shall be god to me;
my soul seeketh after one who never sets.-In
parables such as these, Mahomet preached that
there was no God but one, and he no idol dumb
and dead, no creature-star, but the living Maker
of heaven and earth. With parables such as
these he displaced, not better, but worse than he
It is said that one sect among the Arabians had
some notion of a hereafter before this time. When
one of this sect died, his camel was tied to his
grave, and allowed to starve, that it might follow
its master into the other world, and serve him
there. Mahomet put the Koran in the place of
the famishing and solitary camel. Most decidedly
a better way of proclaiming a hereafter A better
way, we would also add, of setting forth the cha-
racter of God than by stars and blocks of wood and
clay! And in itself, moreover, a proof of Maho-
met's practical worth as a prophet. For, with a
very scant education himself, he yet saw so truly
into its necessity as to make it a part of religion
70 THE FIFTH PICTURE.
to study a book-to have cultivation and learning
enough, at least, for that.
The great difficulty, with respect to the pro-
position we have advanced, is Christianity; but
this difficulty decreases the moment we remember
that the Christianity with which we are acquainted
did not exist in that age. Recall the extent of the
Roman empire to your minds. At the death of
Constantine it broke into two parts-Rome the
centre of the one, Constantinople the centre of
the other. Around Rome gathered the Roman
Church; the Greek Church, with a patriarch or
pope of its own, took its rise in Constantinople. A
word or two on the state of religion in these
churches will show you that Mahommedanism dis.
placed nothing better than itself.
In the Western, or Roman Church, Christianity
was still striving to lay hold of Germanic life, was
working its slow way almost imperceptibly through
pagan thought and feudal lawlessness into the
human principle beneath. It had hardly obtained
more than an acknowledgment of external ordi-
nances when the Arabs appeared in Europe. Its
inner meaning at that moment was misunderstood;
it was not felt that it had an inner meaning.
"Holy Father, is this the kingdom of heaven?" we
heard Clovis asking in bedecked Rheims. And
yet, feeble though this hold vas, external though
it was, in Western Europe Christianity could say
to Mahommedanism, Depart, I am stronger than
In the Eastern, or Greek Church, again-the
CORRUPTION EVERYWHERE. 71
church which had the main battle ground of the
crusades under its jurisdiction-Christianity had
degenerated into superstition and idolatry. The
places of worship were full of pictures and images;
actually, there was the adoration of dead images.
The Greek Astarte had become the Virgin Mary,
and was paganly prayed unto. In true, simple
statement, Christianity did not exist here. And
do not wonder at this. Remember what was said
in a previous paper about the "honest" or recep-
tive heart. There was no such heart in the East;
Christianity found only voluptuousness and luxury
refusing to be leavened. Even the ascetics, the
monks who at that time were seeking in desert
places, away from the bustle of city life, the peace
which passeth understanding-what were they?
Voluptuaries too! Men too luxurious to take
their part in the battle of life, and help to turn
confusion into order. Then the bishops of the
Greek Church, the men who were to be ensam-
ples to the flock ? If you open a church history
and turn to the chapters which portray their
pastorate, you will not know which to loathe most
-the unblushing avarice and lust of power they
displayed, even to the length of arming their
partisans in their cause, or the trifles and worse
than inane nostrums which were the staple of
their preaching. Mahommedanism did displace
all this. Constantinople is at this moment full
of mosques instead of churches; but anything
short of actual irreligion-and Mahommedanism
is very far short of that--deserved to displace the
72 THE FIFTH PICTURE.
sort of Christianity which the propagators of Islam
The second thing we have to say will require
less space to say it in. Some of our readers know
the meaning of the word heresy-literally, a choos-
ing, a choice; theologically, the choice of a par-
ticular doctrine. It is not necessarily the choice
of a false doctrine ; but only, as Coleridge suggests,
a false choosing-a choosing of one truth, out from
the organic whole to which it belongs, and cleaving
to it in its separated, isolate state.
As we all know, heresies do not usually die in
birth. They step into the world with certain signs
of robust perseverance, which make them always
formidable to the orthodox. They have vitality,
and root, and spreading; their progress is brilliant,
rapid, extensive; and, by virtue of this obvious
quality, that they do not demand so much-do
not appeal to so much of our mind as the truth
does. Truth covers our entire being; heresy
appeals mostly to the understanding, always to a
mere portion of our faculties. We receive it with
greater ease, and submit to it more readily, than
is possible with the truth. The natural develop-
ment of heresy is sectarianism. Every sect repre-
sents some half-truth-some doctrine wrenched
from its place and lifted into undue prominence.
The doctrine believed in is a truth; in most cases,
undeniably so. Attention is directed to it. It is
clear, simple, easy of apprehension, credible. The
sect is formed and goes on spreading, just so long
as its members continue ignorant that they have
THE SECRET STRENGTH OF MAHOMMEDANISM. 73
left the universal temple to find shelter under one
of its stones.
We give this as the secret of the rapid spread
of Mahommedanism. It was not falsehood. It
was heresy-a religion built upon a single doc-
trine. There is a will above man's will, above
nature's-one will-the will of God. This is
slam, the doctrine on which Mahommedanism
stands. Taken by itself, it is true-a virtual
portion of all truth. It is the Arabian way of
saying, "The Lord reigneth." There are other
things in the Koran; but this is the kernel of it,
Islam-submission to God's will, practical recog-
nition of "Not my will, but thine." Who submits
to this will is a true Moslem, or Mussulman; who
does not is an infidel, and has denied the faith.
For we are not free to act as we choose. This will
has a lord's place over us. It streams through all
nature; it is supreme; it is God. The will has
no moral character. It is not, as the Bible puts
it, a father's will-a will of love and mercy; it is
Now nothing but my understanding is appealed
to by this doctrine. My moral life is hardly
touched. I am to remain a wild soldier-a
robber, if I please-provided I rob those only who
do not yield to this will. The controversy which
Christianity had with the military life cannot be
understood by Mahommedanism. Military life is
its highest, freest development. My conversion to
this faith is a sort of external enlisting; is not,
cannot be, inwardly a difficult process. What I
74 TIE FIFTH PICTURE.
am asked to do-to submit to a will higher than
my own-is not a wrong thing. What I am asked
to believe is truth, unequivocal truth. Islam?
My intellect receives it without protest, wel-
comes it even as actual light, and is not lowered,
but exalted, by possessing it. It is in the
nature of things, therefore, that Mahommedan-
ism should have spread more rapidly than Chris-
The third thing we have to say grows out of
this second and is part of it. It did not humble
a man to become a Mussulman-did not require
him to make large spiritual sacrifices. Mr Carlyle
finds great fault with Prideaux and others for de-
scribing Mahommedanism as "an easy religion."
He speaks of its "fasts, lavations, strict, complex
formulas, prayers five times a-day, abstinence from
wine;" but we wonder that he, of all others, should
fix on these things as proofs of its being a difficult
religion-he who has so pilloried the rotatory-
calabash species of worship. External things are
always easy. At one time it was counted easier to
build the Tower of Babel, than lead the life which
God required. Fasts, lavations, formulas! If
these had been ten times as numerous, the religion
which prescribes them might nevertheless be an
easy one. It is within the sphere of the moral
conduct alone, you can determine whether a reli-
gion is easy or not. What does religion require of
the man there? How much submission? Sub-
mission of my whole being-of my feelings
wishes, thoughts-of my very self, as in Christi-
ISLAM OR DEATH! 75
anity. This is difficult. Less than this is less
Read Oakley's "History of the Saracens," a
veracious history, we venture to affirm, by internal
evidence alone. It is a history of conversions.
The greatest number of the conversions take place
on the field of battle, and one is the description of
all. There was but one alternative. "Islam and
paradise, or death ?" "Wilt thou become a Mus-
sulman-yea or nay ?" "Yea." "Arise, be a
sharer of our spoil." "Nay:" the sabre glances
through the neck. One of the texts which Maho-
met quotes with precision from the Bible is thatword
in the thirty-seventh psalm: The meek shall in-
herit the earth." The Mahommedan exposition
was that "the meek" were the children of Ishmael,
and the inheritance of the earth was conquest.
And everything else in their history chimes in
with this. There was a perpetual pandering to
the external, the sensual, in them. When the re-
poit came to the Caliph Omar that Antioch was
taken, and that the army was i moved to a dis-
tance because the men wished to possess them-
selves of the Greek women of that place, the
caliph, with true Mahommedan instinct, lamented
that his general had been so hard upon the Mus-
sulmans, and ever after remembered to direct his
generals differently. "Be kind to the Mussul-
mans," he would say; "God does not forbid to
them the good things of this life."-It is said these
are the faults, not the realities of that faith. We
do not doubt but they are. We are at present
76 THE FIFTH PICTURE.
showing how this religion succeeded; and we give
this as the compliment of our second reason, that
it did not rebuke, but tolerate and sanctify these
In maintaining this much of the old theory,
however, we have no wish to continue the notion
that the man Mahomet proposed those easy
methods to himself as a means of his own getting
on in the world. His sincerity need not be called
in question. To him undoubtedly, Islam was all
truth-was the centre and ground of life. There
is a great deal in what Carlyle says, that he did
not invent the sensuality of his religion, but only
limited what of this he found existing. Neither is
there any need to deny that he was a prophet.
In so far as he was a speaker of truth he deserved
the name; and truth to some extent he did speak,
as we have seen. Moreover, he seriously believed
himself that he had a divine commission. After
the banquet in Mecca, his kinsmen sent Abu Taleb,
his uncle, to remonstrate with him. They were
keepers of the old mosque; his preaching would
hurt the family interest. "Our craft will be de-
stroyed." "No," said the prophet; if the sun
should stand on that side and the moon on this,
and bid me cease, I would not obey them." They
resolved to assassinate him. Each kinsman was
to give one stab, so the guilt would be diffused,
and fasten upon no one. When they burst into
his bed-chamber for this purpose he was fled.
His nephew Ali, his brave young vizier, had taken
his place. In his flight the prophet was accom-
TRAITS OF THE PROPHET. 77
panied by Abubeker. Among other adventures,
they lay three days in a cave. The pursuers came
seeking them into its neighbourhood. "We are
but two," said the timid Abubeker. Three,"
answered the prophet; "you are forgetting God."
The assassins stood at the very entrance. In the
interval a pigeon had laid two eggs on the "step,"
and a spider had woven a web across the mouth.
They are not here," they said, "or they would
have broken these in going in." Mahomet was
right. There were three in the cave.
In the battlefield he reminds one of our own
Cromwell. He preached to his soldiers as well as
fought; and he knew how to make use of passing
occurrences as tokens of the will of Providence.
More than enough has been said about his nu-
merous wives. It should be remembered that he
lived in the east, and was not a Christian. More-
over, these eleven wives were married when he was
turned of fifty. Up till this age he was the hus-
band of one wife, a wife older than himself.
When he was twenty-five, his mistress, the widow
of a rich merchant, offered to marry him for his
faithful management of her business ; and he was
true to her while she lived-a rare virtue in his
day and generation. He never was ashamed of
his old wife, never disowned his love for her. She
was his first convert. The young Ayesha, his
favourite among the eleven who succeeded, said
once to him, "Your first was old and ugly; you
have younger, more beautiful, better wives now !"
-" Younger, more beautiful, indeed," said Maho-
78 THE FIFTH PICTURE.
met, "but not better-by Allah, not better-
there never was a better. She became my friend
when I was friendless, and she believed in me when
no other did."
A few days before his death he went up to the
pulpit and said, "If I have wronged any man let
him now speak; if I owe aught let it now be told;
better now than at the judgment." A man cried
out that he owed him three drachms. They were
paid, and with thanks. The angel of death found
him reclining on the ground. Mahomet lifted his
eyes to heaven, and, as a man truly hoping after
his own paradise, uttered, in broken sentences,
these words and fell asleep : Oh, Allah !-pardon
my sins-yes-I come-among my fellow citizens
So died the man, whose word, embodied in Ma-
hommedan soldiery, four hundred years thereafter,
was to confront European life on the slopes of
Calvary. And now a brief word on the struggle.
THE INFLUENCE OF THE CRUSADES.
WE shall not fatigue our readers with a narrative
of the wars in Palestine. Of all histories which
have been written, the history of the Crusades is
the least satisfactory. It would be a difficult his-
tory to write. The historian has to deal with
people who to a certain extent are all heroic, who
yet produce no thorough hero. The aim they
proposed to themselves is grand, only when we
examine it in relation to the faith of those who
sought it. In itself it is a rather paltry aim. In
the attempt to accomplish it, too, the Crusaders
fairly break down; on the very threshold of the
business the leaders sputter into quarrelling about
precedence. At one moment in Asia, these
leaders would have returned to Europe and aban-
doned their enterprise, if the common people had
not protested; in their entire conduct they acted
like headstrong youths, which, socially, as we have
seen, they still were.
We must forget names and contemplate the
movement in mass in order to be interested. Up
to precisely such a movement the religion that
was in the European mind could carry the people.
It was like fighting for the grave of one's mother;
it actually was that. Had not Mary-the ideal
80 THE SIXTH PICTURE.
mother, lived in Bethlehem ? wherever her foot,
and the foot of her Son, had trod-Bethlehem,
Jerusalem, all Palestine-was holy ground. To
us it would not be religion ; to them it was. "The
way of God" was supposed by them to lead to-
wards the material Zion. "The Mahommedan
shall not be allowed to defile the sanctuary of
God," they said. The rich become poor that they
might join the solders of the cross. The poor be-
came rich, finding that they had lives to give to
the cause. Each man hastened to wind up his
own affairs that he might devote himself to the
blessed work. All Europe was stirred by it. It
was the first great Event in the life of Europe;
the first time that its different peoples and classes
had wrought together towards one aim.
How the excitement searched into the chambers
of European life Not a district where it failed
to find soldiers to fight, and priests to pray for
them, ready to set out! In our newspapers and
electric telegraph days, when news is tossed from
one land to another with almost the speed of light,
we have seen excitements spreading, and did not
wonder. The advertisement of a "share list," a
few years ago, drew ventures from all classes and
countries. The other day, New York and London
simultaneously sents ships to California. But
when every morsel of intelligence had to be
carried from mouth to mouth, through woods in-
fested with banditti, by horsemen who had no
roads, or by pilgrims on foot, the enthusiasm which
gave birth to the Crusades, and the ideas which
THE CROWD AND ITS SPIRIT. 81
nourished it, overspread all Europe, and took pos-
session of the hearts of all ranks.
At length the movement gathers to a head.
An eye witness shall place it before our minds :-
'The greater part of those who had not deter-
mined upon the journey joked and laughed at
such as had; prophesied that their voyage would
be miserable and their return worse. Such was
ever the language one day; but the next-
suddenly seized with the same desire as the rest
-those who had been most forward to mock
abandoned everything for a few crowns, and set
out with those whom they had laughed at but a
day or two before. Who shall tell the children
and the infirm that, animated with the same spirit,
hastened to the war ? Who shall count the old
men and the young maids who hurried forward to
the fight ?--not with the hope of aiding, but for
the crown of martyrdom which was to be won
amid the swords of the infidels. "You warriors,"
they cried, "you shall vanquish by the spear and
brand, but let us at least conquer by our suffer-
ings." At that same time one might see a
thousand things, springing from the same spirit,
which were both astonishing and laughable. The
poor shoeing their oxen as we shoe horses, and
harnessing them to two-wheeled carts, in which
they placed their scanty provisions and their
young children, and proceeding onward, while the
babes, at each town or castle that they saw,
demanded eagerly whether that was Jerusalem."
Under the leadership of Peter the Hermit, of
82 THE SIXTH PICTURE.
Walter the Penniless, of Godfrey, of anybody who
would take the lead, these masses of human
beings, old and young, capable and incapable, un-
disciplined, unfurnished, began to move towards
the Holy Land.
The issue was most disastrous. If we could
credit the numbers we find in the old chronicles,
more than a quarter of a million perished through
sheer misguidance, without reaching their desti-
destination. They had carried the loose notions
of the times about property along with them.
They ate when they were hungry, without asking
leave. Farmers who offered opposition were put
to the sword; towns which did not provision them
for the next stage were sacked. The religion
which carried them through toils and dangers to
fight with Mahommedans left room within them
for open pillage and murder. The first bands
passed through Hungary. The Hungarians would
not tolerate their extortions and freebootery. Car-
loman the king, being the head of a Christian
people, would give these pilgrims free passage,
but not free license. The Crusaders would not
hearken to reason; and the first of the holy wars
had to be fought between Christians. It was said
that "the waters of the Danube ran red for days
together with Crusaders' blood." And yet, in 1097,
only two years after the Council at Clermont, seven
hundred thousand Europeans, soldiers and pilgrims,
met in the vicinity of Constantinople to prosecute
the enterprise of the recovery of Jerusalem from
THE DREAM AND THE REALITY. 83
The great bulk of these were to perish by the
way. By thousands and tens of thousands they
sank exhausted on the burning soil of Asia. Then
women, children, horses, dogs, and falcons began
to die daily for want of water. Still the survivors
move on to Jerusalem; through storms of Mahom-
medan valour, through obstacles material and spirit-
ual, through long sieges and hard fought battles,
they continue to advance. At length, on a
summer morning, Jerusalem is in view. The
dream is a reality! The golden city rises before
them-there, precipitous, crowned with the hate-
ful crescent. They are on holy ground. The air
resounded with their mingled cries: "Jerusalem,
Jerusalem, Jerusalem," shouted some; others had
ho words to utter; many knelt down and prayed.
The siege was terrible. But Christian Europe,
wasted, weary, decimated by famine, was stronger
than Mahommedan Asia. A brave knight plants
the banner of the cross on Olivet; the walls are
breached in a hundred places; the Crusaders pour
in through the breaches, and Jerusalem is won!
A Christian kingdom was set up in Jerusalem,
which lasted some ninety years: a beggarly affair.
At the end of that time the city fell back into the
hands of Saladin, and the crescent once more dis-
placed the cross, and managed to maintain its place
from that time forth.
We have only referred to the first Crusade.
There was a second, a third, a fourth; some count
as many as eight. One is the picture of all the
others. Brave lives sacrificed for what seemed
84 THE SIXTH PICTURE.
religious ends; brave shocks of arms disturbing
the silence of the desert: this is the recurring
story. In the discipline of the contest, Mahom-
medan life, on the one side, flowered up into the
noble Saladin; European life, on the other, match-
ing him, into the lion-hearted Richard. At
length Europe leaves the field; not vanquished,
The youth has become a man. Forethought
and experience have supplanted enthusiasm.
European princes discover, while they are fighting
in Palestine, that their own countries are lying
waste. Philip of France pretends sickness, and
abandons the third Crusade. Richard of England,
who had vowed to continue while he had the flesh
of a war-horse to eat, turned back in the vicinity
of Jerusalem. At a distance he tried to obtain a
glimpse of the Holy City; choking with emotion
he hid his face behind his shield ; but nevertheless,
he broke his vow.
The blunder was discovered. The holy land of
home is revisited. And the efforts of European
chivalry are henceforth given to redeem that from
foes worse and more deadly than bands of Saracens
in the East. All the glory attending Crusades
can never bring them back. In the fifteenth cen-
tury, when the Turks took Constantinople, the
Pope preached a new Crusade. He tottered down
to the harbour of Ancona to bless the mariners
who should set sail. He would embark himself,
if needful. The mariners did not lift their anchors,
The time of Crusades was past.
THE FRUIT OF ENTHUSIASM. 85
We propose, in the sequel, to point out the in-
fluence which these wars exerted in the develop-
ment of the life of Europe. And here we require
to distinguish between material effects, by which
we mean, effects traceable to the material facts of
the Crusades, and effects of a spiritual kind, effects
which flowed out of the very character of the
movements, which these movements and no other
We have seen it gravely set forth as an effect of
the Crusades, that they drew away hundreds of
thousands of fanatics out of Europe and consumed
them in Palestine; that they were, in other words,
a sort of religion-safety-valve for the foul gas
which had been gendered in Europe!
On very different and far surer ground go those
historians who give us statistics of the extension of
commerce, which the wars operated. Our readers
can easily understand how this would take place.
The European armies would require provisioning;
commissaries would discover that supplies need
not be taxed with the expenses and hazards of
carriage from Europe. Corn as good was growing
in the East. Some agent would start up to be a
go-between. Merchants may make money al-
though princes are wasting it. And thus trade
would be opened between the buyers and sellers of
the west and the east. When the wars were
ended, the trade would still run in its old channels.
Returned Crusaders would like to taste in their
own countries the dainties to which they had been
used abroad; and merchants would find their pro-
86 THE SIXTH PICTURE.
fit in continuing relations with their old acquain-
In political writers, again, the result which is
insisted on is the change in the organisation of
European society. Before the Crusades, Europe
was covered with castles ; the family was the most
real organisation manifest. After the Crusades,
the family organisation, or, what is the same
thing, feudal life, is absorbed into national life,
and, instead of castles and barons, kingdoms and
monarchs meet our view. Of material results, we
look upon this as beyond comparison the most im-
portant. Feudalism was only the stepping on-
wards. It could not be a resting-place. We
have, in the fourth picture, endeavoured to show
how, by shutting up the baron, with his wife and
children, in the castle-by giving scope and op-
portunity to the maternal functions-family-life
was developed. But we require now to add, that,
as an organisation of European society, feudalism
was a very inadequate affair. In fact, it was not
European at all. It was local, unsatisfactory, par-
tial. The atoms of society were larger; but society
was still a congeries of atoms. If I could main-
tain myself in my castle-well; if not- not well.
Nothing bound me and my neighbours together.
We did not belong to each other; we did not love
each other. There was no common aim in which
we were yoke-fellows; each stood separate and
alone. We can still see this for ourselves. The
walls of the old castles are standing at the present
day. What does their architecture tell us of the
A FEUDAL PICTURE. 87
social life of their inhabitants ? The most of them
are built on steep, inaccessible rock, and command
a wide view. They are all surrounded by water,
naturally or artificially. Try to restore one of
these old ruins. Here is the picture of an actual
one, built when the feudal ages were passing away,
and, in consequence, when architecture was begin-
ning to put on the features of a softer time. It is
a high pile; it rises from a rock furrowed with
ravines and precipices. A river winds around the
base. "The door presents itself, all covered with
heads of boars or wolves"-actual ones?-"flanked
with turrets and crowned with a high guard-house.
Enter, there are three enclosures, three moats,
three drawbridges to pass. You find yourself in a
large square court, where there are cisterns, stables,
hen-houses. Below, there are cellars, vaults, and
prisons; above are the dwelling apartments. Above
these are the magazine and larders. All
the roofs are bordered with machicolations, para-
pets, guard-walks, and sentry-boxes. In the middle
of the court is the donjon, which contains the
archives and treasures. It is moated all round,
and can only be entered by a bridge, almost al-
ways raised. Although the walls, like those of
the castle, are six feet thick, it is surrounded up to
half its height, with a chemise, or second wall,
of large cut stones." Wherefore these double
walls, this triple girdle of moats, these guard-
walks, and sentry-boxes? Protection? Defence ?
Rapacious neighbours ? Good. But the rapacious
neighbours are themselves within moat and draw.
88 THE SIXTH PICTURE.
bridge, and six-feet walls. Each man has rapa-
cious neighbours; each man is a rapacious neigh-
bour. There is no concealing the uncomely fact.
Neighbourliness is a thing unknown to feudalism.
The baron has got no further than freebooting.
He defends his family-he protects his retainers.
So far, no further, extends his worth. In relation
to European society, he is simply an Armstrong, a
Rob Roy, a Robin Hood; in plain English, a con-
You can understand, this being the case, what
a mighty help it was to Europe, when a power
higher than the baron arose. And the Crusades
did help us to such a power. They altered the
baron's notions about his own importance. In his
own castle he was a king; in Palestine, he could
be this no more. One man must lead, or the
enterprise would go to wreck. The men of large
territorial property got the chief places; their
immediate neighbours had to follow them. How
naturally these relationships, formed in the East,
would rise up to memory when the parties returned!
"Tancred was my dux." "Boemond was mine."
"For years, in Palestine, we said captain, duke,
lord, to these men. For years we fought under
their banners. It is not easy to abandon old
habits; one does not readily cease from saying
lord to them still." But if I were to do so-if I
were to meet Tancred in Europe, and call him
only Tancred, how very naturally, on his side, will
he bring old things to my remembrance ? How,
almost as a matter of course, will he step in and
WHAT IS THE GOOD ? 89
assert a lord's place over me: and if I should fall
in the battle, or the hunt, or die prematurely, take
my boy to his own house, and my estate to him-
In point of fact, these very results came out.
Small estates began to merge into large ones-
barons to be fief-holders of kings-kingdoms
stretched out-nations arose-kings grew into new
importance-the war-cries of the Holy Land were
repeated in the battlefields of Europe-and feu-
dalism, from that hour, began to be impossible.
This result showed itself, by a very simple token,
even before the Crusaders returned to Europe.
In the first Crusade, the badge of the war-the
cross upon the soldier's shoulder-was invariably
red. Europe went forth as one mass to the work.
In the third Crusade, only the French had retained
the red; the Flemings had green, the English
white crosses. Europe was developing into
nationalities, and the colour of the crosses was
their visible sign.
But we find ourselves moving on the mere
surface when enumerating results like these.
Kingdoms would have arisen, commerce spread,
fanatics died out, without Crusades. We want
to know what we have which we would not have
had unless there had been Crusades-what has
flowed out to us from the character of these wars
-what from their occurrence at the particular
stage of development which the European mind
had reached? We believe that we gather into one
statement the entire result when we say, that there
90 THE SIXTH PICTURE.
was accomplished by these wars the union between
European valour and European faith. At a
later period of development this union could only
have taken place in a indirect way, if at all. The
faith of Europe repudiates the sword-says plainly
to men, "He who takes the sword shall perish by
the sword." Not one word of countenance did the
horrid reprisals of the Crusaders in Palestine find
in Christianity proper. But Christianity proper
was not known to these men: only its scenery
was. The Holy Sepulchre was their Jesus; the
Virgin-Mother their creed. The thing which they
did believe with all their heart, which was wrought
in through their whole being, which they had
brought out with them from the German forests,
was the worth of brute-valour-of wielding well
the battleaxe and the sword. This was bravery,
worth, manliness in their eyes. And at this point,
while European men believed that the serious busi-
ness of human life lay on the battlefield, a re-
ligious direction was given to their lives. Mark
how this consummated the union we have referred
to. The European man was living within his six-
feet walls, in the habitual exercise of his war-
weapons. He was training up his boy to the same
material life. Of all things, he believed this the
most heartily, that his sword was his own-his to
strike, his to let rust, his for whatever purpose his
soul lusted after. And he was led out from this
falsehood. A cause that seemed holy to him
beckoned him towards the East. Beyond the sphere
of his immediate selfishness there was occasion
THE UNION OF VALOUR AND FAITH. 91
and work for his sword. The word came into his
heart that it was God's will he should so use it;
and he was by this means, and for ever after, lifted
into a new and better faith, the faith that his
sword was God's. Everything connected with the
Crusades served to purify and deepen this faith.
Individual Crusaders, on leaving home, partook
the sacrament and mingled their farewells with
religious ceremonies. Bands of them were publicly
blessed by the Church. Many of the armies even
turned aside to Italy, that they might pass through
Rome, and so obtain this benediction from the
pope himself; and in the actual shock of battle,
the presence of priests and the daily recurrence of
priestly ceremonies, still farther leavened with the
religious element the life of the European warrior.
The institution, as our readers all know, by
which this new fact in the life of Europe was both
expressed and nourished, was knighthood. It
would be incorrect to say that this institution
had not come under the influences of religion
before the Crusades. To some extent, in some
places, it had; but not until the Crusades began
was the influence universal. The very flower
of all knighthood, the Normans, were accustomed
in the eleventh century-the century of the first
Crusade-to flout at the knight whose sword had
been girded on by a priest. We hear nothing of
this contempt for religious services after they en-
tered into the Holy Wars. To the Normans and
all German tribes alike, to all European soldiers,
the admission of a young man into the rank of
92 THIE SIXTH PICTURE.
knighthood was no more than a military ceremony
before these wars. Afterwards we find it accom-
panied by church offices. "The candidates," says
Walter Scott in his "Essay on Chivalry," "watched
their arms all night in a church or chapel,
and prepared for the honour to be conferred on
them by vigil, fast, and prayer. They were
solemnly divested of the brown frock, which was
the appropriate dress of the squire, and having
been bathed, as a symbol of purification of heart,
they were attired in the richer garb appropriated
to knighthood. They were then solemnly invested
with the appropriate arms of a knight; and it
was not unusual to call the attention of the novice
to a mystical or allegorical explanation of each
piece of armour as it was put on. The novice
being accountred in his knightly armour, but with-
out helmet, sword, or spurs, a rich mantle was
flung over him, and he was conducted in solemn
procession to the church or chapel in which the
ceremony was to be performed, supported by his
godfathers, and attended with as much pomp as
circumstances admitted. High mass was then
said, and the novice, advancing to the altar, re-
ceived from the sovereign the accolade, or stroke
which conferred the honour. The churchman pre-
sent of highest dignity often belted on his sword,
which for that purpose had been previously
deposited on the altar, and the spurs were some-
times fastened on by ladies of quality. The oath
of chivalry was lastly taken, to be loyal to God,
the king, and the ladies."
THE OATHS AND CEREMONIES OF KNIGHTHOOD. 93
Knighthood had its peculiar laws and morality.
The vows of the young knight were religious. He
engaged to speak the truth, to act with honour, to
lead a pure and manly life, and generally to use
the armour with which he was invested for the
service of the church and the ladies. The descrip-
tion which Paul gives of the Christian warrior in
Ephesians, served to remind him why sword and hel-
met and breastplate had been bestowed upon him.
In the expulsion of a knight from the order-a
very serious affair indeed in those days-the same
religious element appeared. "His spurs were cut
off close to his heels with a cook's cleaver. His
arms were baffled and reversed by the common
hangman. His belt was cut to pieces, and his
sword broken." He was placed on a hurdle and
covered with a pall, and amid the chanting of the
funeral service and the tolling of the death-bell,
he was sent either to his grave, or back into the
herd of serfs as a man dead to knightly honour.
In everything connected with the institution, the
union we are pointing out revealed itself.
And even more strikingly than by these cere-
monies did this union seek a garment and express-
ion in the Holy Land. You have heard of the
Kings of Malta ? They originated in Jerusalem,
in the following way:-A few wounded Crusaders,
found by King Godfrey when visiting the Hospital
of St John there, were endowed with an estate for
their support. The poor brothers of the hospital,
in gratitude, proposed to use this unexpected
wealth for the relief of pilgrims and sick crusaders.
94 THE SIXTH PICTURE.
They formed themselves into a religio-military
order-had knights, clergy, and serving brothers
-became fashionable, and wealthy, and numerous.
Their order, known at first as the Order of the
Knights Hospitallers, or Knights of St John,
spread into Europe, and became powerful. (Their
last refuge was Malta, from whence their more
familiar name.) Now the peculiarity of this order
consisted in the union between the functions of a
religious and military society. The knight hos-
pitaller was both a monk and a soldier; he re-
nounced all worldly goods, bound himself to the
sole service of his order, and became an instrument
for ecclesiastical purposes. In different circum-
stances, but with a precisely similar union of war
and religion, arose another very famous order of
Knights, that known as the Order of the Red
Cross or Knights Templars, devoted to the freeing
of the highway of Palestine from robbers, that
pilgrims might have safe access to the Holy
We have referred to the peculiar character of
these orders, and detailed the ceremonies which ac-
companied the entrance into knighthood and the
expulsion from its rank, that our readers might be
able to discern for themselves the presence in
European life of the new fact, the union between
faith and valour, which we have named as the
grand result of the Crusades. That is never an
imaginative or unsubstantial result which possesses
emphasis and energy enough to express itself in
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