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had found new resources in the affections of his people. The Gauls or Romans applauded the mild and impartial laws of Gundohald, which almost raised them to the same level with their conquerors. The bishops were reconciled, and flattered by the hopes, which he artfully suggested, of his approaching conversion: and though he eluded their accomplishment to the last moment of his life, bis moderation secured the peace, and suspended the ruin of the kingdom of Burgundy.' Final. ^ am i"0?^611t to pursue the final ruin of that quest of kingdom, which was accomplished under the J^*dy reign of Sigismond, the son of Gundobald. The Ajxssf. Catholic Sigismond has acquired the honours of a saint and martyr;" but the hands of the royal saint were stained with the blood of his innocent son, whom he inhumanly sacrificed to the pride and resentment of a stepmother. He soon discovered his error, and bewailed the irreparable loss. While Sigismond embraced the corpse of the unfortunate youth, he received a severe admonition from one of his attendants.—It is not his situation, O king! it is thine which deserves pity and lamentation. The reproaches of a guilty conscience were alleviated, however, by his liberal donations to the monastery of Agaunum, or St. Maurice, in Vallais; which he himself had founded in honour of the imaginary martyrs of the Thebaean legion." A full chorus of perpetual psalmody was instituted by the pious king: he assiduously practised the austere de
'In this Burgundian war I have followed Gregory of Tours, (lib. Z. c. 32, 33. in tom. 2- p. 1T8,179.) whose narrative appears so incompatible with that of Procopius, de Bell. Goth. lib. 1. c. 12. in tom. 2. p. 31, 3t.) that some critics have supposed tva di Hi Tent wars. The abb€ DubVs(Hist. Critique, &c. tom. 2. p. 1*6 —162.) Ins distinctly represented the causes and the events.
"See his life or legend, (in tom. 3. p. 44)3.) A martyr! how strangely has that word been distorted from its original sense of a common witness. St. Sigismond was remarkable for tlie core of fevers.
• Before the end of the fifth century, the cfauich of St. Maurice, and his Thebsan legion, had rendered Agaunum a place of devout pilgrimage. A promiscuous community of both sexes had introduced iome deeds of darkness, which were abolished (A.D. 515.) by the regular monastery of St. Sigmmond. Within fifty years his angels of light made a noctumal sally to murder their bishop and bis clergy. See in the Bibliotheque Raisonnee (tom. 36. p. 435—tSS.) the curious remark of a leamed librarian of Geneva.
votion of the monks; and it was his humble prayer, that Heaven would inflict in this world the punishment of his sins. His prayer was heard; the avengers were at hand; and the provinces of Burgundy were overwhelmed by an army of victorious Franks. After the event of an unsuccessful battle, Sigismond, who wished to protract his life that he might prolong his penance, concealed himself in the desert in a religious habit, till he was discovered and betrayed by his subjects, who solicited the favour of their new masters. The captive monarch, with his wife ami two children, were transported to Orleans, and buried alive in a deep well, by the stern command of the sons of Clovis; whose cruelty might derive some excuse from the maxims and examples of their barbarous age. Their ambition, which urged them to achieve the conquest of Burgundy, was inflamed, or disguised, by filial piety; and Clotilda, whose sanctity did not consist in the forgiveness of injuries, pressed them to revenge her father's death on the family of his assassin. The rebellious Burgundians, for they attempted to break their chains, were still permitted to enjoy their national laws under the obligation of tribute and military service; and the Merovingian princes peaceably reigned over a kingdom, whose glory and greatness had been first overthrown by the arms of Clovis/
The Gothic The first victory of Clovis had insulted the war,A.D. honour of the Goths. They viewed his rapid
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progress with jealousy and terror; and the youthful fame of Alaric was oppressed by the more potent genius of his rival. Some disputes inevitably arose on the edge of their contiguous dominions; and after the delays of fruitless negotiation, a personal interview of the two kings was proposed and accepted. This conference of Clovis and Alaric was held in a small island of the Loire, near Amboise. They embraced, familiarly conversed, and feasted together; and separated with the warmest professions of peace and brotherly love. But their apparent confidence concealed a dark suspicion of hostile and treacherous designs; and their mutual complaints solicited, eluded, and disclaimed a final arbitration. At Paris, which he already considered as his royal seat, Clovis declared to an assembly of the princes and warriors, the pretence, and the motive, of a Gothic war. It grieves me to see that the Arians still possess the fairest portion of Gaul. Let us march against them with the aid of God; and, having vanquished-the heretics, we will possess, and divide, their fertile provinces.2 The Franks, who were inspired by hereditary valour and recent zeal, applauded the generous design of their monarch; expressed their resolution to conquer or die, since death and conquest would be equally profitable; and solemnly protested that they would never shave their beards, till victory should absolve them from that inconvenient vow. The enterprise was promoted by the public, or private, exhortations of Clotilda. She reminded her husband, bow effectually some pious foundation would propitiate the Deity, and his servants: and the Christian hero, darting his battle-axe with a skilful and nervous hand— There (said he), on that spot where my Francisca" shall fall, will I erect a church in honour of the holy apostles. This ostentatious piety confirmed and justified the attachment of the Catholics, with whom he secretly cor
v Marius, bishop of Avenche, (Chron. in tom. 2. p. 15.) has marked the authentic dates, and Gregory of Tours (lib. 3. c. 5, 6. in tom. 2. p. 188,189.) has expressed the principal facts, of the life of Sigiamond, and the conquest of Burgundy. Procopras, (in tom. 2. p. 34.) and Agathias, (in tom. 2. p. 49.) shew their remote and imperfect knowledge.
1 Gregory of Tours (lib. 2. c. 37. in tom. 2. p. 181.) inserts the short but persuasive speech of Clovis. V aide moleste fero, quod hi Ariani partem teneant Galliarutn, (the author of the GestaFrancorum, in tom. 2. p. 553. adds the precious epithet of optimum) eamus cum Dei adjutorio, et, superatis eis, redigamus terram in (lit ion cm nostram.
» Tune rex prqjecit a se in directum Bipennem suam quod est francuca, &c. (Gesta Franc. in tom. 2. p. 554.) The form and use of this weapon, are clearly described by Procopius. (m tom. 2. p. 37.) Examples of its national appellation in Latin and French, may be found in the Glossary of Ducange, and the large Dietionnaire de Trevoux.
responded; and their devout wishes were gradually ripened into a formidable conspiracy. The people of Aquitain was alarmed by the indiscreet reproaches of their Gothic tyrants, who justly accused them of preferring the dominion of the Franks; and their zealous adherent Quintianus, bishop of Rodez,b preached more forcibly in his exile than in his diocess. To resist these foreign and domestic enemies, who were fortified by the alliance of the Burgundians, Alaric collected his troops, far more numerous than the military powers of Clovis. The Visigoths resumed the exercise of arms, which they had neglected in a long and luxurious peace :c a select band of valiant and robust slaves attended their masters to the field ;d and the cities of Gaul were compelled to furnish their doubtful and reluctant aid. Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths, who reigned in Italy, had laboured to maintain the tranquillity of Gaul; and he assumed, or affected for that purpose, the impartial character of a mediator. But the sagacious monarch dreaded the rising empire of Clovis, and he was firmly engaged to support the national and religious cause of the Goths. The accidental, or artificial, prodigies, which adorned the expedition of Clovis, were accepted, by a superstitious age, as the manifest declaration of the Divine favour. He marched from Paris; and as he proceeded with decent reverence through the holy diocess of Tours, his anxiety tempted him to consult the shrine of St. Martin, the sanctuary, and the oracle of Gaul. His
b It is singular enough that some important and authentic facts should be found in a life of Quintianus, composed in rhyme, in the old Pataii of Rouergue. (Dufaos, Hist. Critique, &c. tom. 2. p. 179.)
•' Quamvis i nitmiini vestrae confidentiam tribuat parentum vestrorum innumerabilis multitude; quamvis Attilam potentem reminiscamini Visigothanun viribus inclinatum; tamen quia populorum ferocia corda longl pace moUescunt, cavets subito in aleam mittere, quos constat, tantis temporibus exercitia non habere. Such was the salutary, but fruitless advice of peace, of reason, and of Theodoric. (Cas»iodor.lib. 3. ep. 2.)
•' Montesquieu (Esprit des Lm\, lib. 15. c. 14.) mentions and approves the law of the Visigoths, (lib 9. tit. 2. in tom. 4. p. I '_'.'.') which obliged all masters to arm, and send, or lead, into the field, a tenth of their slaves.
messengers were instructed to remark the words of the Psalm, which should happen to be chaunted at the precise moment when they entered the church. Those words most fortunately expressed the valour and victory of the champions of heaven, and the application was easily transferred to the new Joshua, the new Gideon, who went forth to battle against the enemies of the Lord.' Orleans secured to the Franks a bridge on the Loire; but, at the distance of forty miles from Poitiers, their progress was intercepted by an extraordinary swell of the river Vigenna, or Vienne; and the opposite banks were covered by the encampment of the Visigoths. Delay must be always dangerous to barbarians, who consume the country through which they march; and had Clovis possessed leisure and materials, it might have been impracticable to construct a bridge, or to force a passage, in the face of a superior enemy. But the affectionate peasants, who were impatient to welcome their deliverer, could easily betray some unknown, or unguarded, ford; the merit of the discovery was enhanced by the useful interposition of fraud or fiction; and a white hart, of singular size and beauty, appeared to guide and animate the march of the Catholic army. The counsels of the Visigoths were irresolute and distracted. A crowd of impatient warriors, presumptuous in their strength, and disdaining to fly before the robbers of Germany, excited Alaric to assert in arms the name and blood of the conqueror of Rome. The advice of the graver chieftains pressed him to elude the first ardour of the Franks; and to expect, in the southern provinces of Gaul, the veteran and victorious Ostrogoths, whom the king of Italy had already
e This mode of divination, by accepting as an omen the first sacred words, which in particular circumstances should be presented to the eye or ear, was derived from the Pagans; and the Psalter, or Bible, was substituted for the poems of Homer and Virgil. From the fourth, to the fourteenth century, these sortes sanctorum, as they are styled, were repeatedly condemned by the decrees of councils, and repeatedly practised by kings, bishops, and saints. See a curious dissertation of ihe abbe da Resnel, in the Memoires dc 1'Academie, tom. 10. p. 287—310.