Dùn Ì from Iona Abbey, Iona, Scotland.

Altus Prosator “A”


Title: De unitate et Trinitate trium personarum.
Argument: Vetustus dierum sedebat super sedem suam. (Daniel vii. 9.)

ALTUS prosator vetustus
dierum et ingenitus
erat absque origine
primordii et crepidine
est et erit in secula
seculorum infinita
cui est unigenitus
christus et sanctus spiritus
coeternus in gloria
dietatis perpetuae
non tris deos depromimus
sed unum deum dicimus
salva fide in personis
tribus gloriosissimis.

HIGH CREATOR Unbegotten,
Ancient of Eternal days,
Unbegun ere all beginning,
Him the world’s one source we praise:
GOD who is and GOD who shall be:
All that was and is before:
Him with CHRIST the Sole-Begotten,
And the SPIRIT we adore,
Co-eternal one in glory,
Evermore and evermore:–
Not Three Gods are,
They we worship,
But the THREE which are the ONE,
GOD in Three most glorious Persons:–
Other saving Faith is none.

– The Hiberno-Latin abecedarian hymn, Altus prosator, a sequence attributed to St. Columba, from Lays of Iona and Other Poems; English translation by Samuel John Stone.

These Gifts I Bring Thee

The Red Ensign of the Dominion of Newfoundland.

The Red Ensign of the Dominion of Newfoundland.

The badge consists of Mercury, the god of Commerce and Merchandise, presenting to Britannia a fisherman who, in a kneeling attitude, is offering the harvest of all the sea. Above the device in a scroll are the words ‘Terra Nova’, and below the motto Hæc Tibi Dona Fero or “These gifts I bring thee.” The seal was redesigned by Adelaine Lane, niece of Governor Sir Cavendish Boyle.

The Basilica on the campo San Giovanni e Paolo.

Buffoons, Drunken Germans, Dwarfs, and Other Such Absurdities

The Feast in the House of Levi, Paolo Veronese, 1573.

The Feast in the House of Levi, Paolo Veronese, 1573.

We painters use the same license as poets and madmen.

– Paolo Veronese.

* * *

This day, July eighteenth, 1573. Called to the Holy Office before the sacred tribunal, Paolo Galliari Veronese residing in the parish of Saint Samuel, and being asked as to his name and surname replied as above.

Being asked as to his profession:

Answer. I paint and make figures.

Question. Do you know the reasons why you have been called here?

A. No.

Q. Can you imagine what those reasons may be?

A. I can well imagine.

Q. Say what you think about them.

A. I fancy that it concerns what was said to me by the reverend fathers, or rather by the prior of the monastery of San Giovanni e Paolo, whose name I did not know, but who informed me that he had been here, and that your Most Illustrious Lordships had ordered him to cause to be placed in the picture a Magdalen instead of the dog; and I answered him that very readily I would do all that was needful for my reputation and for the honor of the picture; but that I did not understand what this figure of the Magdalen could be doing here; and this for many reasons, which I will tell, when occasion is granted me to speak.

Q. What is the picture to which you have been referring?

A. It is the picture which represents the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with His disciples in the house of Simon.

Q. Where is this picture?

A. In the refectory of the monks of San Giovanni e Paolo.

Q. Is it painted in fresco or on wood or on canvas?

A. It is on canvas.

Q. How many feet does it measure in height?

A. It may measure seventeen feet.

Q. And in breadth?

A. About thirty-nine.

Q. How many have you represented? And what is each one doing?

A. First there is the innkeeper, Simon; then, under him, a carving squire whom I supposed to have come there for his pleasure, to see how the service of the table is managed. There are many other figures which I cannot remember, however, as it is a long time since I painted that picture.

Q. Have you painted other Last Suppers besides that one?

A. Yes.

Q. How many have you painted? Where are they?

A. I painted one at Verona for the reverend monks of San Lazzaro; it is in their refectory. Another is in the refectory of the reverend brothers of San Giorgio here in Venice.

Q. But that one is not a Last Supper, and is not even called the Supper of Our Lord.

A. I painted another in the refectory of San Sebastiano in Venice, another at Padua for the Fathers of the Maddalena. I do not remember to have made any others.

Q. In this Supper which you painted for San Giovanni e Paolo, what signifies the figure of him whose nose is bleeding?

A. He is a servant who has a nose-bleed from some accident.

Q. What signify those armed men dressed in the fashion of Germany, with halberds in their hands?

A. It is necessary here that I should say a score of words.

Q. Say them.

A. We painters use the same license as poets and madmen, and I represented those halberdiers, the one drinking, the other eating at the foot of the stairs, but both ready to do their duty, because it seemed to me suitable and possible that the master of the house, who as I have been told was rich and magnificent, would have such servants.

Q. And the one who is dressed as a jester with a parrot on his wrist, why did you put him into the picture?

A. He is there as an ornament, as it is usual to insert such figures.

Q. Who are the persons at the table of Our Lord?

A. The twelve apostles.

Q. What is Saint Peter doing, who is the first?

A. He is carving the lamb in order to pass it to the other part of the table.

Q. What is he doing who comes next?

A. He holds a plate to see what Saint Peter will give him.

Q. Tell us what the third is doing.

A. He is picking his teeth with a fork.

Q. And who are really the persons whom you admit to have been present at this Supper?

A. I believe that there was only Christ and His Apostles; but when I have some space left over in a picture I adorn it with figures of my own invention.

Q. Did some person order you to paint Germans, buffoons, and other similar figures in this picture?

A. No, but I was commissioned to adorn it as I thought proper; now it is very large and can contain many figures.

Q. Should not the ornaments which you were accustomed to paint in pictures be suitable and in direct relation to the subject, or are they left to your fancy, quite without discretion or reason?

A. I paint my pictures with all the considerations which are natural to my intelligence, and according as my intelligence understands them.

Q. Does it seem suitable to you, in the Last Supper of our Lord, to represent buffoons, drunken Germans, dwarfs, and other such absurdities?

A. Certainly not.

Q. Then why have you done it?

A. I did it on the supposition that those people were outside the room in which the Supper was taking place.

Q. Do you not know that in Germany and other countries infested by heresy, it is habitual, by means of pictures full of absurdities, to vilify and turn to ridicule the things of the Holy Catholic Church, in order to teach false doctrine to ignorant people who have no common sense?

A. I agree that it is wrong, but I repeat what I have said, that it is my duty to follow the examples given me by my masters.

Q. Well, what did your masters paint? Things of this kind, perhaps?

A. In Rome, in the Pope’s Chapel, Michelangelo has represented Our Lord, His Mother, St. John, St. Peter, and the celestial court; and he has represented all these personages nude, including the Virgin Mary, and in various attitudes not inspired by the most profound religious feeling.

Q. Do you not understand that in representing the Last Judgment, in which it is a mistake to suppose that clothes are worn, there was no reason for painting any? But in these figures what is there that is not inspired by the Holy Spirit? There are neither buffoons, dogs, weapons, nor other absurdities. Do you think, therefore, according to this or that view, that you did well in so painting your picture, and will you try to prove that it is a good and decent thing?

A. No, my most Illustrious Sirs; I do not pretend to prove it, but I had not thought that I was doing wrong; I had never taken so many things into consideration. I had been far from imaging such a great disorder, all the more as I had placed these buffoons outside the room in which Our Lord was sitting.

These things having been said, the judges pronounced that the aforesaid Paolo should be obliged to correct his picture within the space of three months from the date of the reprimand, according to the judgments and decision of the Sacred Court, and altogether at the expense of the said Paolo.

–  English translation by Charles Yriarte of Italian original,
taken from Francis Marion Crawford’s Salve Venetia (New York, 1905. Vol. II: 29-34):

Feria V post Cineres

Christ and the Centurion, Paolo Veronese (c. 1571); Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Christ and the Centurion, Paolo Veronese (c. 1571); Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Parce Domine, parce populo tuo: ut dignis flagellationibus castigatus, in tua miseratione respiret.

– Breviarium Romanum.

True Son of Our Dear Mother

The Execution of King Charles I, Unknown Artist (National Portrait Gallery, London).

The Execution of King Charles I, Unknown Artist (National Portrait Gallery, London).


This is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 1 St. Peter ii. 19.

Praise to our pardoning God! though silent now
The thunders of the deep prophetic sky,
Though in our sight no powers of darkness bow
Before th’ Apostles’ glorious company;

The Martyrs’ noble army still is ours,
Far in the North our fallen days have seen
How in her woe this tenderest spirit towers
For Jesus’ sake in agony serene.

Praise to our God! not cottage hearths alone,
And shades impervious to the proud world’s glare,
Such witness yield; a monarch from his throne
Springs to his Cross and finds his glory there.

Yes: whereso’er one trace of thee is found,
As in the Sacred Land, the shadows fall:
With beating hearts we roam the haunted ground,
Lone battle-field, or crumbling prison hall.

And there are aching solitary breasts,
Whose widow’d walk with thought of thee is cheer’d
Our own, our royal Saint: thy memory rests
On many a prayer, the more for thee endear’d.

True son of our dear Mother, early taught
With her to worship and for her to die,
Nurs’d in her aisles to more than kingly thought,
Oft in her solemn hours we dream thee nigh.

For thou didst love to trace her daily lore,
And where we look for comfort or for calm,
Over the self-same lines to bend, and pour
Thy heart with hers in some victorious psalm.

And well did she thy loyal love repay;
When all forsook, her Angels still were nigh,
Chain’d and bereft, and on thy funeral way,
Straight to the Cross she turn’d thy dying eye.

And yearly now, before the Martyrs’ King,
For thee she offers her maternal tears,
Calls us, like thee, to His dear feet to cling,
And bury in His wounds our earthly fears.

The Angels hear, and there is mirth in Heaven,
Fit prelude of the joy, when spirits won
Like those to patient Faith, shall rise forgiven,
And at their Saviour’s knees thy bright example own.

The Christian Year, John Keble.


Frontispiece depicting King Charles the Martyr from the Eikon Basilike.

Attachment to the Cause of Our Injured King

Portrait of King Charles I in his robes of state (1636) by Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641).

Portrait of King Charles I in his robes of state (1636) by Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641).

It is easy enough, no doubt, for any one who is so inclined, to neutralize all that the Church can say, by a dexterous use of party-feeling: easy, to call it a device of the State for upholding a particular set of opinions. But the matter may be brought to a short issue. If attachment to the cause of our injured King, and sympathy with his high-minded patience, were not in entire harmony with the principles inculcated in all other parts of the Prayer-Book: if Sanderson, Hammond, and Taylor, those Restorers of our fallen Church, spoke otherwise on the duty of subjects, than as former generations of true Churchmen had spoken: then we might perhaps have cause to fear, that Feeling had got the better of Reason, in this one portion of our yearly solemnities. But if they “all speak the same thing, and there be no division among them;” and (what is infinitely more) if what they speak be altogether scriptural: if the doctrine of submission and loyal obedience be only one inseparable branch of the universal doctrine of resignation and contentment—an ingredient of that unreserved Faith, without which it is impossible to please God—then let us bless our Preserver, for not leaving us without special witness to a part of our duty, where all experience has proved us so likely to go wrong. Let us trust our civil welfare to the Gospel rule of non-resistance, as fearlessly as we trust our domestic happiness to the kindred rule of filial obedience. Such conduct, if universal, would be a perfect security to liberty: inasmuch as the same principle which forbids illegal resistance, would equally forbid being agents in illegal oppression. And they who abide by it, be they many or few, have for their warrant the general tenor and express word of Revelation, the example of our Blessed Lord, His Apostles, and His suffering Church. In every case, the burthen of proof lies wholly on those who plead for resistance.

And what if young men—the high-born especially—instead of that degrading ambition of commencing, early, “men of the world,” would consent to shape their own conduct by the noble simplicity and downright goodness of him, whom we this day commemorate? the secret of whose excellence lay, chiefly, in two qualities, by them most imitable: consistent purity of heart and demeanour, and strict constancy in devotional duties, under the guidance of his and our Church? Does any one believe that such a change would leave society at all a loser, in point of true generosity and courtesy, or whatever else makes life engaging?

But if all this must still be unheard—if the instruction of the day be quite drowned, in men’s eager cry for what is called Freedom: at least the service answers the purpose of a solemn appeal from human prejudice, to Him, before whom king and subject must ere long appear together. To whose final and unerring decision, not, it is hoped, with presumptuous confidence, nor yet with any uncharitable thought, but in cheerful assurance that resignation and loyalty can “in no wise lose their reward,” we desire, now and always, to “commit our cause.”

– Sermon V. Danger of Sympathizing With Rebellion. Preached by John Keble before the University of Oxford, 30 January 1831.

The King o’ the Cats

The King o' the Cats, print by Paul Bommer, Cromer, Norfolk, United Kingdom.

The King o’ the Cats, print by illustrator Paul Bommer, Cromer, Norfolk, United Kingdom.

The reader may have met with the story of the “King of the Cats,” in Lord Lyttleton’s Letters. It is well known in the Highlands as a nursery tale .

– Sir Walter Scott.

A traveller, benighted in a wild and mountainous country, (if my recollection does not fail me, in the Highlands of Scotland), at length beholds the welcome light of a neighbouring habitation. He urges his horse towards it; when, instead of an house, he approached a kind of illuminated chapel, from whence issued the most alarming sounds he had ever heard. Though greatly surprised and terrified, he ventured to look through a window of the building, when he was amazed to see a large assembly of cats, who, arranged in solemn order, were lamenting over the corpse of one of their own species, which lay in state, and was surrounded with the various emblems of sovereignty. Alarmed and terrified at this extraordinary spectacle, he hastened from the place with greater eagerness than he approached it; and arriving, some time after, at the house of a gentleman who never turned the wanderer from his gate, the impressions of what he had seen were so visible on his countenance, that his friendly host enquired into the cause of his anxiety. He accordingly told his story, and, having finished it, a large family cat, who had lain, during the narrative, before the fire, immediately started up, and very articulately exclaimed, “Then I am King of the Cats!” and, having thus announced its new dignity, the animal darted up the chimney and was seen no more.

– ”Letter XXXIX” Lyttelton, 2nd Baron Lyttelton, Thomas,
Letters of the Late Lord Lyttleton (ed. William Combe, 1807).

God of Our Race, Give Audience

The Prophet Daniel by Niccolò Alunno (Walters Art Museum).

The Prophet Daniel by Niccolò Alunno (Walters Art Museum).

Prayed I then to the Lord my God, and made confession of my sins, in these words following: Mercy, mercy, Lord God, the great, the terrible; to those who love thee, so gracious, with those who keep thy commandments, troth keeping still! Sinned we have, and wronged thee, rebelled we have, and forsaken thee, turned our backs on decree and award of thine, nor heeded thy servants, the prophets, that spoke to us in thy name, to king and prince and the common folk that gendered us. Fault with thee is none; ours, Lord, to blush for the wrong-doing that has offended thee, men of Juda, citizens of Jerusalem, Israel near at hand, Israel banished far away, in what plight thou seest! Blush we, king and prince of ours, fathers of ours that did the wrong; be it thine, O Lord our God, to have mercy and to forgive. So far we have strayed from thee, so deaf to the divine voice, when the prophets that served thee bade us follow thy law! A whole people that would transgress thy command, turn a deaf ear to thy calls! What wonder if it fell on us, drop by drop, the avenging curse God’s servant Moses wrote of? Our sins had deserved it, and if yonder unexampled punishment befell Jerusalem, it was but a threat fulfilled; warning we had of it, we and the princes that governed us. No misfortune overtook us, but the law of Moses had foretold it; and yet, O Lord our God, appease thy anger we would not, nor leave our sinning, nor bethink ourselves, how well thy word thou keenest; what wonder if bane, not blessing, the divine regard brought us? Be our punishment what it will, not ours to find fault with the God we have disobeyed.

Thou art the Lord our God, whose constraining power rescued thy people from the land of Egypt, who hast won thyself glory, too, in this our day; we, Lord, have been sinners, we have shewn ourselves unworthy of all thy faithful dealings with us. But wilt thou let thy indignant anger fall on Jerusalem, on that holy mountain of thine? Too long, for our sins and the sins of our fathers before us, all our neighbours have held Jerusalem, and us thy people, in contempt. God of our race, give audience at last to the prayer, the plea thy servant brings before thee; for thy own honour, restore the sanctuary, that now lies forlorn, to the smile of thy favour. My God, give ear and listen to us; open thy eyes, and see how desolate is this city of ours, that claims to be thy own. No merits of ours, nothing but thy great love emboldens us to lay our prayers at thy feet. Thy hearing, Lord, and thy pardon; thy heed, Lord, and thy aid! For thy own honour, my God, deny thyself no longer to the city, the people that is called thy own!

– Daniel ix. 4-19.

From the Sovereign People of Virginia

New map of Virginia: compiled from the latest maps / drawn and colored by Husted & Nenning; lith. of Hoyer & Ludwig. Richmond, Virginia: J.W. Randolph, Publisher, 1861; Map Collection of the Library of Virginia.

New map of Virginia: compiled from the latest maps / drawn and colored by Husted & Nenning; lith. of Hoyer & Ludwig. Richmond, Virginia: J.W. Randolph, Publisher, 1861; Map Collection of the Library of Virginia.

“A Crazy Legislature”

The Spectator has a very silly and indelicate article under the above caption, in which it charges the Legislature, “by nearly a unanimous vote,” with having “pledged Virginia to fight the battles of South Carolina.” This is all twaddle, and an abortive attempt at raw-head-and- bloody-bones to frighten the people. The call of a Convention is to prevent war and bloodshed; rather than precipitate them. If any body of men in the universe could be placed in a position to save this country from carnage and civil war, it will be a Convention of delegates fresh from the sovereign people of Virginia. It is admitted on all sides, that Virginia’s relations to the Union are such as to be more potential for restoring peace and harmony than any other State. How would it be possible to make known her wishes and position, save through a body authorized by the people to represent their sentiments. Any action Virginia may take through her Convention will be for the conservation of peace, if that is possible. If War is inevitable, which we by no means believe, then what body so proper as the Convention to define the purpose of the Old Dominion? Be the result of our present difficulties peace or war, a Convention is the safest and most legitimate body to act for the State.

The idea of pledging Virginia to fight the battles of any State is simply ridiculous. If the madness of Black Republican fanaticism and treachery should ever attempt to coerce any seceding State, the question would become one embracing the constitutional rights of every Southern State that repudiates the right of coercion, and the conflict would become one of the South, defending the Constitution, against the North, violating it. In that event, Virginia would have as many battles of her own to fight as she could desire, without sending her armies to the cotton and rice fields of the extreme South.

It is a conflict we desire to prevent. If we send the proper men to the Convention, that conflict may be prevented. It is the solemn and sacred duty of the people therefore, to come to the polls on the 4th day of February and cast their votes for such men as they can trust, irrespective of Court-house recommendations or partizan influences. There will be no infamy too intense or degradation too deep, for the man whose craven soul would allow party considerations or associations to decide these momentous questions for him. A weightier responsibility never rested upon any people than the voters of Virginia will be called to assume on the 4th of February. Let each man meet it like a freeman, who in the sight of God and his loyalty to his State and country, feels like proving his patriotism and asserting his adherence to the Federal Constitution as framed by our fathers.

Republican Vindicator (Staunton, Virginia), 18 January 1861.

Girolamo Savonarola.


By veracity we understand a certain habit by which a man, both in his actions and in his words, shows himself to be that which he really is, neither more nor less. This, although not a legal, is a moral duty; for it is a debt which every man, in honesty, owes to his neighbour and the manifestation of truth is an essential part of justice.

– Girolamo Savonarola (1452–1498).

The Commonplace Book of Christian Clay Columba Campbell