S. Guinefort, Martyr

Sexto, dicendum est de supersticionibus contumeliosis, quarum quedam sunt contumeliose Deo, quedam proximo. Deo contumeliose sunt supersticiones que divinos honores demonibus attribuunt, vel alicui alteri creature, ut facit idolatria, et ut faciunt misere mulieres sortilege que salutem petunt adorando sambucas vel offerendo eis, contemnendo ecclesias vel sanctorum reliquias, portando ibi pueros suos vel ad formicarios vel ad res alias, ad sanitatem consequendam. Sic faciebant nuper in diocesi Lugdunensi, ubi, cum ego predicarem contra sortilegia et confessiones audirem, multe mulieres confitebantur portasse se pueros suos apud sanctum Guinefortem. Et cum crederem esse sanctum aliquem, inquisivi, et audivi ad ultimum quod esset canis quidam leporarius, occisus per hunc modum. In diocesi Lugdunensi, prope villam monialium que dicitur Novile, in terra domini de Vilario, fuit quoddam castrum cujus dominus puerum parvulum habebat de uxore sua. Cum autem exivissent dominus et domina a domo et nutrix similiter, dimisso puero solo in cunabulis, serpens maximus intravit domum, tendens ad cunabula pueri; quod videns leporarius, qui ibi remanserat, eum velociter insequens et persequens sub cunabulo, evertit cunabula, morsibus serpentem invadens, defendentem se et canem similiter mordentem; quem ad ultimum canis occidit et a cunabulis pueri longe projecit, relinquens cunabula dicta cruentata, et terram et os suum et caput, serpentis sanguine, stans prope cunabula, male a serpente tractatus. Cum autem intrasset nutrix et hec videret, puerum credens occisum et devoratum a cane, clamavit cum maximo ejulatu; quod audiens, mater pueri similiter accurrit, idem vidit et credidit, et clamavit similiter. Similiter et miles, adveniens ibi, idem credidit, et, extrahens spatam, canem occidit. Tunc, accedentes ad puerum, invenerunt eum illesum, suaviter dormientem; inquirentes, inveniunt serpentem canis morsibus laceratum et occisum. Veritatem autem facti agnoscentes, et dolentes de hoc quod sic injuste canem occiderant sibi tam utilem, projecerunt eum in puteum qui erat ante portam castri, et acervum maximum lapidum super eum projecerunt, et arbores juxta plantaverunt in memoriam facti.

Castro autem divina voluntate destructo, et terra in desertum redacta est, ab habitatore relicta. Homines autem rusticani audientes nobile factum canis, et quomodo innocenter mortuus est pro eo de quo debuit reportare bonum, locum visitaverunt, et canem tanquam martyrem honoraverunt et pro suis infirmitatibus et neccessitatibus rogaverunt, seducti a diabolo et ludificati ibi pluries, ut per hoc homines in errorem adduceret. Maxime autem mulieres que pueros habebant infirmos et morbidos ad locum eos deportabant, et in quodam castro, per leucam ab eo loco propinquo, vetulam accipiebant, que ritum agendi et demonibus offerendi et invocandi eos doceret eas, et ad locum duceret. Ad quem cum venirent, sal et quedam alia offerebant, et panniculos pueri per dumos circumstantes pendebant, et acum in lignis, que super locum creverant, figebant, et puerum nudum per foramen quod erat inter duos truncos duorum lignorum [introducebant], matre existente ex una parte et puerum tenente et proiciente novies vetule que erat ex alia parte, cum invocatione demonum adjurantes faunos, qui erant in silva Rimite, ut puerum, quem eorum dicebant, acciperent morbidum et languidum, et suum, quem secum detulerant, reportarent eis pinguem et grossum, vivum et sanum. Et, hoc facto, accipiebant matricide puerum, et ad pedem arboris super stramina cunabuli nudum puerum ponebant, et duas candelas ad mensuram pollicis in utroque capite, ab igne quem ibi detulerant, succendebant et in trunco superposito infigebant, tamdiu inde recedentes quod essent consumpte et quod nec vagientem puerum possent audire nec videre; et sic candele candentes plurimos pueros concremabant et occidebant, sicut ibidem de aliquibus reperimus. Quedam etiam retulit mihi quod, dum faunos invocasset et recederet, vidit lupum de silva exeuntem et ad puerum euntem, ad quem, nisi affectu materno miserata prevenisset, lupus vel diabolus in forma ejus eum, ut dicebat, vorasset. Si autem, redeuntes ad puerum, eum invenissent viventem, deportabant ad fluvium cujusdam aque rapide propinque, dicte Chalarone, in quo puerum novies immergebant, qui valde dura viscera habebat si evadebat nec tunc vel cito post moreretur. Ad locum autem accessimus, et populum terre convocavimus, et contra dictum predicavimus. Canem mortuum fecimus exhumari et lucum succidi, et cum eo ossa dicti canis pariter concremari, et edictum poni a dominis terre de spoliacione et redempcione eorum qui ad dictum locum pro tali, causa de cetero convenirent.

— Étienne de Bourbon, Anecdotes historiques, légendes et apologues tirés du recueil inédit d’Étienne de Bourbon dominicain du xiiie siècle, édition de Albert Lecoy de la Marche, Paris: Henri Loones, 1877, no. 370, p. 325-328.

Continue reading “S. Guinefort, Martyr”

Mock

Ratification of the Treaty of Troyes, concluded between Henry V. and Charles VI., 21 May 1420, at Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul de Troyes.
Ratification of the Treaty of Troyes, concluded between Henry V. and Charles VI., 21 May 1420, at Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul de Troyes.

Whilest in the Lent season the king laie at Killingworth, there came to him from Charles Dolphin of France certain ambassadors, that brought with them a barrell of Paris balles, which from their maister they presented to him for a token that was taken in verie ill part, as sent in scorne to signifie that it was more meet for the king to passe the time with such childish exercise, than to attempt any worthy exploit. Wherefore the K. wrote to him that yer ought long, he would tosse him some London balles that perchance should shake the walles of the best court in France.

Raphael Holinshed, Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, vol. III., 1587.

The King, and Daulphin, to his proud demand,
That he might see they no such matter ment,
As a thing fitter for his youthfull hand;
A tunne of Paris Tennis balls him sent,
Better himselfe to make him vnderstand,
Deriding his ridiculous intent:
And that was all the answere he could get,
Which more, the King doth to this Conquest whet.

That answering the Ambassadour, quoth he,
Thanks for my Balls, to Charles your Soueraigne giue,
And thus assure him, and his sonne from me,
I’le send him Balls and Rackets if I Hue,
That they such Racket shall in Paris see,
When our lyne with Bandies I shall driue.
As that before the Set be fully done,
France may (perhaps) into the Hazard runne.

Michael Drayton, The battaile of Agincourt, 1627.

We are glad the Dauphin is so pleasant with us;
His present and your pains we thank you for:
When we have march’d our rackets to these balls,
We will, in France, by God’s grace, play a set
Shall strike his father’s crown into the hazard.
Tell him he hath made a match with such a wrangler
That all the courts of France will be disturb’d
With chaces. And we understand him well,
How he comes o’er us with our wilder days,
Not measuring what use we made of them.
We never valued this poor seat of England;
And therefore, living hence, did give ourself
To barbarous licence; as ’tis ever common
That men are merriest when they are from home.
But tell the Dauphin I will keep my state,
Be like a king and show my sail of greatness
When I do rouse me in my throne of France:
For that I have laid by my majesty
And plodded like a man for working-days,
But I will rise there with so full a glory
That I will dazzle all the eyes of France,
Yea, strike the Dauphin blind to look on us.
And tell the pleasant prince this mock of his
Hath turn’d his balls to gun-stones; and his soul
Shall stand sore charged for the wasteful vengeance
That shall fly with them: for many a thousand widows
Shall this his mock mock out of their dear husbands;
Mock mothers from their sons, mock castles down;
And some are yet ungotten and unborn
That shall have cause to curse the Dauphin’s scorn.
But this lies all within the will of God,
To whom I do appeal; and in whose name
Tell you the Dauphin I am coming on,
To venge me as I may and to put forth
My rightful hand in a well-hallow’d cause.
So get you hence in peace; and tell the Dauphin
His jest will savour but of shallow wit,
When thousands weep more than did laugh at it.
Convey them with safe conduct. Fare you well.

William Shakespeare, The Cronicle History of Henry the fift, Act II, Scene 2.

Twice

Lieutenant-General Sir James Campbell KB, of Lawers (c. 1680 – 2 May 1745), by follower of Jean-Baptiste van Loo.
Lieutenant-General Sir James Campbell KB, of Lawers (c. 1680 – 2 May 1745), by follower of Jean-Baptiste van Loo.

King George II., at a review of his Horse Guards, asked Monsieur de Bussy, the French Ambassador, if he thought the King of France had better troops. “Oh, yes, Sir,” answered the ambassador, “the King of France has his gens d’armes, which are reckoned the best troops in the world. Did you never see them? The King answered “No,” upon which General Campbell, Colonel of the Scots Greys (who afterwards lost his life at the battle of Fontenoy), stepped up and said, “Though your Majesty has not seen them, I have cut my way through them twice, and make no doubt of doing the same again whenever your Majesty shall command me.”

Mulier Amicta Sole

Fresco depicting the Apocalypse, the Dragon threatening the Woman, on the porch ceiling of the Abbey Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, Poitou, France.
Fresco depicting the Apocalypse, the Dragon threatening the Woman, on the porch ceiling of the Abbey Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, Poitou, France.

Et signum magnum apparuit in caelo: mulier amicta sole, et luna sub pedibus ejus, et in capite ejus corona stellarum duodecim: et in utero habens, clamabat parturiens, et cruciabatur ut pariat. Et visum est aliud signum in caelo: et ecce draco magnus rufus habens capita septem, et cornua decem: et in capitibus ejus diademata septem, et cauda ejus trahebat tertiam partem stellarum caeli, et misit eas in terram: et draco stetit ante mulierem, quae erat paritura, ut cum peperisset, filium ejus devoraret. Et peperit filium masculum, qui recturus erat omnes gentes in virga ferrea: et raptus est filius ejus ad Deum, et ad thronum ejus, et mulier fugit in solitudinem ubi habebat locum paratum a Deo, ut ibi pascant eam diebus mille ducentis sexaginta. Et factum est praelium magnum in caelo: Michael et angeli ejus praeliabantur cum dracone, et draco pugnabat, et angeli ejus: et non valuerunt, neque locus inventus est eorum amplius in caelo. Et projectus est draco ille magnus, serpens antiquus, qui vocatur diabolus, et Satanas, qui seducit universum orbem: et projectus est in terram, et angeli ejus cum illo missi sunt.

Apoc. xii. 1-9.

Les Terroristes de la Pensée

Church of Saint-Louis-des-Invalides (L'Église Saint-Louis-des-Invalides), Paris, seat of the Diocese of the French Armed Forces.
Church of Saint-Louis-des-Invalides (L’Église Saint-Louis-des-Invalides), Paris, seat of the Diocese of the French Armed Forces.

Nous découvrons (…) qu’il nous faut choisir notre camp; que nous nous armons contre le mal manifeste sans prendre position pour le mal sournois. Le chrétien se sent pris en tenaille entre deux idéologies. D’un côté, l’idéologie qui caricature Dieu au mépris de l’homme. De l’autre, l’idéologie qui manipule l’homme au mépris de Dieu. D’un côté, des adversaires déclarés et reconnus: les terroristes de la bombe, vengeurs du prophète. De l’autre côté, des adversaires non déclarés mais bien connus: les terroristes de la pensée, prescripteurs de la laïcité, adorateurs de la République. Dans quel camp se situer comme chrétien? Nous ne voulons pas être pris en otage par des islamistes. Mais nous ne souhaitons pas être pris en otage par des bienpensants. L’idéologie islamique vient de faire 17 victimes en France. Mais l’idéologie de la bienpensance fait chaque année 200,000 victimes dans le sein de leur mère. L’IVG devenue droit fondamental est une arme de destruction massive. Luc Marie Daniel Ravel, C.R.S.V., Diocèse aux Armées Françaises.

We find ourselves having to choose which side to be on; we find ourselves arming against manifest evil without taking a position against the [more] devious kind. The Christian senses that he is caught in a pincer between two ideologies: on the one hand, one that makes a caricature of God which ends up despising man; on the other hand, the manipulation of man which ends up despising God. On the one side, there are the declared and identified adversaries: the terrorists of the bomb, the vindicators of the prophet; on the other side, there are the undeclared but well-known adversaries: the terrorists of thought, promoters of secularism and idolaters of the Republic.  In which camp are Christians to be placed? We don’t want to be taken hostage by the Muslims. But we don’t even want to be taken hostage by the conformists either. The Islamic ideology has murdered 17 victims in France. But the ideology of the conformist has 200,000 victims each year in the wombs of their mothers. Abortion intended as a fundamental “right” is a weapon of mass-destruction. Luc Marie Daniel Ravel, C.R.S.V., Diocese of the French Armed Forces.

Who Can Bear the Thought of That Advent?

Detail of St. John the Baptist from the Isenheim Altarpiece, Unterlinden Museum, Colmar, Alsace, France.
Detail of St. John the Baptist from the Isenheim Altarpiece, Unterlinden Museum, Colmar, Alsace, France.

See where I am sending an angel of mine, to make the way ready for my coming! All at once the Lord will visit his temple; that Lord, so longed for, welcome herald of a divine covenant. Ay, says the Lord of hosts, he is coming; but who can bear the thought of that advent? Who will stand with head erect at his appearing? He will put men to a test fierce as the crucible, searching as the lye that fullers use. From his judgement-seat, he will refine that silver of his and cleanse it from dross; like silver or gold, the sons of Levi must be refined in the crucible, ere they can offer the Lord sacrifice duly performed. Then once more the Lord will accept the offerings of Juda and Jerusalem, as he did long since, in the forgotten years. Come I to hold assize, not slow to arraign the sorcerer, the adulterer, the forsworn, all of you that deny hired man his wages, widow and orphan redress, the alien his right, fearing no vengeance from the Lord of hosts. In me, the Eternal, there is no change, and you, sons of Jacob, are a people still.

Yours to keep the law ever in mind, statute and award I gave to assembled Israel through Moses, that was my servant. And before ever that day comes, great day and terrible, I will send Elias to be your prophet; he it is shall reconcile heart of father to son, heart of son to father; else the whole of earth should be forfeit to my vengeance.

Malachias iii. 1-6, iv. 4-6.

Glenorchy Charm-stone of Breadalbane

Charmstone, owned by the Campbells of Glenorchy, Argyllshire; National Museums Scotland.
Charmstone, owned by the Campbells of Glenorchy, Argyllshire; National Museums Scotland.

[A]ne stone of the quantitie of half a hen’s egg sett in silver, being flatt at the ane end and round at the vther end lyke a peir, quhilk Sir Coline Campbell first Laird of Glenvrquhy woir quhen he faught in battell at the Rhodes agaynst the Turks, he being one of the Knychtis of the Rhodes.

From a 1640 “Inventory of Plenissing” of Taymouth Castle, contained in the Black Book of Taymouth.

* * *

According to the National Museums Scotland record of the object, the Glenorchy Charm-stone of Breadalbane (catalogued as “Charmstone, owned by the Campbells of Glenorchy, Argyllshire;” ID 000-100-002-959-C) may date from the 7th or 8th century. The rock crystal, which is damaged on one side, is presently set in a 17th century silver mount (70 mm H x 45 mm W), the rim of which is decorated with four stones of red coral alternating with four silver balls/bosses. It has a bail allowing the charm to be suspended from a chain.

* * *

There are a number of crystal balls held by various Highland families, a surprising number of whom are Campbells. They share common magical properties such as the miraculous cure of humans and animals and the guarantee of safe return from travel or war. None is very large, two inches in diameter at most; some are or have been mounted in metal and some are unadorned. One or two are displayed as the centrepiece in large and complicated silver brooches.

Their origin is a mystery. According to G. F. Black (Letter to Oban Times, 30 April 1938), the crystals date from the Late Iron Age. They originate from China and have always had occult powers; some of the have later been ‘turned’ by the Church to Christian purposes and incorporated into reliquaries. Around twenty examples have been found in graves in England mostly of the Anglo-Saxon period and three or four in Ireland. There have been examples in Denmark, Germany, and France.

How they got here is unknown for certain, and why they should be clustered in the Highlands, particularly the West Highlands, and why so many should be in the Campbell hands is very strange. It is tempting to see the Middle East and the Crusades as a possible way for them to have found their way here, but this would not fit with the statement that the English examples dated from the Anglo-Saxon period, and when I asked Sir Steven Runciman, the great authority on the Crusades, whether he had ever come across anything of the kind, his answer was a decided ‘no’.

In fact, in two cases the stones are said to come from the Middle East. The Ardvorlich stone is said by Simpson to have been brought back by an ancestor from the Crusades — this would have to been one of the early Stewarts of what was to become the Royal Line, unless of course it was through the distaff side — and the Breadalbane stone was said to have been brought back from Rhodes by Sir Colin Campbell, which was after the end of the Crusades as such.

[…]

The Breadalbane charmstone. Claimed to cure ills, protect its devotees and bring them safe home. Some years ago, I was sent a small notebook by Miss Thelma Lewis, lately companion to Armorer, Countess of Breadalbane. It contained an account of material on the family including the sad tale of a young man in the 6th Black Watch during the First World War. On the eve of his departure, he went up to the castle to pay his respects to Lord Breadalbane, who got out the charmstone and, according to ancient custom, dipped it in a glass of water from which they both drank to the young man’s safe return. On this occasion, the charm did not work. Breadalbane had previously taken the stone with him as a good-luck talisman on his tour of South Africa in 1896-7.

— Alastair Lorne Campbell of Airds, A History of Clan Campbell: Volume I: From Origins to Flodden, Edinburgh, 2000, Appendix 5, pp. 299-300.