Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

domestic factions she was doubtless superior to France bo.n in art and science, in wealth and politeness; but the difference could scarcely support the epithet of barbarous, which he promiscuously bestows on the countries beyond the Alps. Avignon, the mystic Babylon, the sink of vice and corruption, was the object of his hatred and contempt; but he forgets that her scandalous vices were not the growth of the soil, and that in every residence they would adhere to the power and luxury of the papal court. He confesses that the successor of St. Peter is the bishop of the universal church; yet it was not on the banks of the Rhône, but of the Tiber, that the apostle had fixed his everlasting throne: and while every city in the Christian world was blessed with a bishop, the metropolis alone was desolate and forlorn. Since the removal of the Holy See the sacred buildings of the Lateran and the Vatican, their altars and their saints, were left in a state of poverty and decay; and Rome was often painted under the image of a disconsolate matron, as if the wandering husband could be reclaimed by the homely portrait of the age and infirmities of his weeping spouse.” But the cloud which hung over the seven hills would be dispelled by the presence of their lawful sovereign: eternal fame, the prosperity of Rome, and the peace of Italy, would be the recompense of the pope who should dare to embrace this generous resolution. Of the five whom Petrarch exhorted, the three first, John the Twentysecond, Benedict the Twelfth, and Clement the Sixth, were importuned or amused by the boldness of the orator; but the memorable change which had been attempted by Urban the Fifth was finally accomplished by Gregory the Eleventh. The execution of their design was opposed by weighty and almost insuperable obstacles. A king of France, who has deserved the epithet of wise, was unwilling to release them from a local dependence: the cardinals, for the most part his subjects, were attached to the language, manners, and climate of Avignon; to their stately palaces; above all, to the wines of Burgundy. In their eyes Italy was foreign or hostile; and Return of they reluctantly embarked at Marseilles, as if they had been ..." sold or banished into the land of the Saracens. Urban the ..."Fifth resided three years in the Vatican with safety and ** honour; his sanctity was protected by a guard of two thousand horse; and the king of Cyprus, the queen of Naples, and the emperors of

* Squalidased quoniam facies, neglectaque cultà
Caesaries; multisque malis lassata senectus
Eripuit solitam effigiem: vetus accipe nomen;
Roma vocor. (Carm. l. ii. p. 77.)

He spins this allegory beyond all measure or patience. The Epistles to Urban V. in prose are more simple and persuasive (Senilium, l. vii. p. 811-827; l. ix. epist. i. p. 844-854).

the East and West, devoutly saluted their common father in the chair of St. Peter. But the joy of Petrarch and the Italians was soon turned into grief and indignation. Some reasons of public or private moment, his own impatience or the ‘prayers of the cardinals, recalled Urban to France; and the approaching election was saved from the tyrannic patriotism of the Romans. The powers of heaven were interested in their cause : Bridget of Sweden, a saint and pilgrim, disapproved the return, and foretold the death, of Urban Final the Fifth; the migration of Gregory the Eleventh was §'ri. encouraged by St. Catherine of Sienna, the spouse of Christ ; :". and ambassadress of the Florentines; and the popes them

“ selves, the great masters of human credulity, appear to have listened to these visionary females.” Yet those celestial admonitions were supported by some arguments of temporal policy. The residence of Avignon had been invaded by hostile violence: at the head of thirty thousand robbers an hero had extorted ransom and absolution from the vicar of Christ and the sacred college; and the maxim of the French warriors, to spare the people and plunder the church, was a new heresy of the most dangerous import." While the pope was driven from Avignon, he was strenuously invited to Rome. The senate and people acknowledged him as their lawful sovereign, and laid at his feet the keys of the gates, the bridges, and the fortresses; of the quarter at least beyond the Tiber." But this loyal offer was accompanied by a declaration that they could no longer suffer the scandal and calamity of his absence; and that his obstinacy would finally provoke them to revive and assert the primitive right of election. The abbot of Mount Cassin had been consulted whether he would accept the triple crown" from the clergy and people:

* I have not leisure to expatiate on the legends of St. Bridget or St. Catherine, the last of which might furnish some amusing stories. Their effect on the mind of Gregory XI. is attested by the last solemn words of the dying pope, who admonished the assistants, ut caverent ab hominibus, sive viris, sive mulieribus, sub specie religionis loquentibus visiones sui capitis, quia per tales ipse seductus, &c. (Baluz. Not. ad Wit. Pap. Avenionensium, tom. i. p. 1223).

* This predatory expedition is related by Froissard (Chronique, tom. i. p. 230), and in the Life of Du Guesclin (Collection Générale des Mémoires Historiques, tom. iv. c. 16, p. 107-113). As early as the year 1361 the court of Avignon had been molested by similar freebooters, who afterwards passed the Alps (Mémoires sur Pétrarque, tom. iii. p. 563-569).

* Fleury alleges, from the annals of Odericus Raynaldus, the original treaty which was signed the 21st of December, 1376, between Gregory XI. and the Romans (Hist. Eccles. tom. xx. p. 275).

* The first crown or regnum (Ducange, Gloss. Latin. tom. v. p. 702) on the episcopal mitre of the popes is ascribed to the gift of Constantine, or Clovis. The second was added by Boniface VIII., as the emblem not only of a spiritual, but of a temporal, kingdom, The three states of the church are represented by the triple crown, which was introduced by John XXII. or Benedict XII. (Mémoiressur Pétrarque, tom. i. p. 258 259).

“I am a citizen of Rome,”“ replied that venerable ecclesiastic, “ and my first law is the voice of my country.” “

If superstition will interpret an untimely death; * if the merit of counsels be judged from the event; the heavens may seem us..., to frown on a measure of such apparent reason and propriety. § Gregory the Eleventh did not survive above fourteen months his return to the Vatican; and his decease was followed by the great schism of the West, which distracted the Latin church above forty years. The sacred college was then composed of twenty-two cardinals: six of these had remained at Avignon; eleven Frenchmen, one Spaniard, and four Italians, entered the conclave in Election of the usual form. Their choice was not yet limited to the lovi.

- - - - April 9. purple; and their unanimous votes acquiesced in the archbishop of Bari, a subject of Naples, conspicuous for his zeal and learning, who ascended the throne of St. Peter under the name of Urban the Sixth. The epistle of the sacred college affirms his free and regular election, which had been inspired as usual by the Holy Ghost; he was adored, invested, and crowned, with the customary rites; his temporal authority was obeyed at Rome and Avignon, and his ecclesiastical supremacy was acknowledged in the Latin world. During several weeks the cardinals attended their new master with the fairest professions of attachment and loyalty, till the summer heats permitted a decent escape from the city. But as soon as they were united at Anagni and Fundi, in a place of security, they cast aside the mask, accused their own falsehood and hypocrisy, excommunicated the apostate and antichrist of Rome, and proceeded to a new election of Robert of Geneva, Clement the Seventh, - - Election of

whom they announced to the nations as the true and rightful own. vicar of Christ. Their first choice, an involuntary and illegal * act, was annulled by the fear of death and the menaces of the Romans; and their complaint is justified by the strong evidence of

* Baluze (Not. ad Pap. Avenion. tom. i. p. 1194, 1195) produces the original evidence which attests the threats of the Roman ambassadors, and the resignation of the abbot of Mount Cassin, qui, ultro se offerens, respondit se civem Romanum esse, et illud velle quod ipsi vellent.

* The return of the popes from Avignon to Rome, and their reception by the people, are related in the original Lives of Urban V. and Gregory XI, in Baluze (Wit. Paparum Avenionensium, tom. i. p. 363-486) and Muratori (Script. Rer. Italicarum, tom. iii. P. i. p. 610-712). In the disputes of the schism every circumstance was severely, though partially, scrutinised; more especially in the great inquest which decided the obedience of Castile, and to which Baluze, in his notes, so often and so largely appeals from a MS. volume in the Harley library (p. 1281, &c.).

Can the death of a good man be esteemed a punishment by those who believe in

the immortality of the soul? They betray the instability of their faith. Yet as a mere philosopher, I cannot agree with the Greeks, or el Slow pixovan & reforzu set Brunck, Poetae Gnomici, p. 231). See in Herodotus (l. i. c. 31) the moral and pleasing tale of the Argive youths.

probability and fact. The twelve French cardinals, above two-thirds of the votes, were masters of the election; and whatever might be their provincial jealousies, it cannot fairly be presumed that they would have sacrificed their right and interest to a foreign candidate, who would never restore them to their native country. In the various, and often inconsistent, narratives," the shades of popular violence are more darkly or faintly coloured: but the licentiousness of the seditious Romans was inflamed by a sense of their privileges, and the danger of a second emigration. The conclave was intimidated by the shouts, and encompassed by the arms, of thirty thousand rebels; the bells of the Capitol and St. Peter's rang an alarm; “Death, or an Italian pope l’’ was the universal cry; the same threat was repeated by the twelve bannerets or chiefs of the quarters, in the form of charitable advice; some preparations were made for burning the obstinate cardinals; and had they chosen a Transalpine subject, it is probable that they would never have departed alive from the Vatican. The same constraint imposed the necessity of dissembling in the eyes of Rome and of the world; the pride and cruelty of Urban presented a more inevitable danger; and they soon discovered the features of the tyrant, who could walk in his garden and recite his breviary while he heard from an adjacent chamber six cardinals groaning on the rack. His inflexible zeal, which loudly censured their luxury and vice, would have attached them to the stations and duties of their parishes at Rome; and had he not fatally delayed a new promotion, the French cardinals would have been reduced to a helpless minority in the sacred college. For these reasons, and in the hope of repassing the Alps, they rashly violated the peace and unity of the church; and the merits of their double choice are yet agitated in the Catholic schools.” The vanity, rather than the interest of the nation, determined the court and clergy of Trance.” The states of Savoy, Sicily, Cyprus, Arragon, Castile, Navarre, and Scotland, were inclined by their example and authority to the obedience of Clement the Seventh, and, after his

* In the first book of the Histoire du Concile de Pise, M. Lenfant has abridged and compared the original narratives of the adherents of Urban and Clement, of the ltalians and Germans, the French and Spaniards. The latter appear to be the most active and loquacious, and every fact and word in the original lives of Gregory XI. and Clement VII. are supported in the notes of their editor Baluze.

* The ordinal numbers of the popes seem to decide the question against Clement VII. and Benedict XIII., who are boldly stigmatised as antipopes by the Italians, while the French are content with authorities and reasons to plead the cause of doubt and toleration (Baluz. in Praefat.). It is singular, or rather it is not singular, that saints, visions, and miracles should be common to both parties.

* Baluze strenuously labours (Not. p. 1271-1280) to justify the pure and pious motives of Charles W., king of France: É. refused to hear the arguments of Urban; but were not the Urbanists equally deaf to the reasons of Clement, &c. 1

decease, of Benedict the Thirteenth. Rome and the principal states of Italy, Germany, Portugal, England,” the Low Countries, and the kingdoms of the North, adhered to the prior election of Urban the Sixth, who was succeeded by Boniface the Ninth, Innocent the Seventh, and Gregory the Twelfth. From the banks of the Tiber and the Rhône the hostile pontiffs encountered each other with the pen and the sword: the Great, hism civil and ecclesiastical order of society was disturbed; and **** the Romans had their full share of the mischiefs of which 1378-1418. they may be arraigned as the primary authors.” They had vainly flattered themselves with the hope of restoring the seat of the ecclesiastical monarchy, and of relieving their poverty with the tributes and offerings of the nations; but the separation of calamite, France and Spain diverted the stream of lucrative devotion; *. nor could the loss be compensated by the two jubilees which were crowded into the space of ten years. By the avocations of the schism, by foreign arms, and popular tumults, Urban the Sixth and his three successors were often compelled to interrupt their residence in the Vatican. The Colonna and Ursini still exercised their deadly feuds: the bannerets of Rome asserted and abused the privileges of a republic: the vicars of Christ, who had levied a military force, chastised their rebellion with the gibbet, the sword, and the dagger; and, in a friendly conference, eleven deputies of the people were perfidiously murdered and cast into the street. Since the invasion of Robert the Norman, the Romans had pursued their domestic quarrels without the dangerous interposition of a stranger. But in the disorders of the schism, an aspiring neighbour, Ladislaus king of Naples, alternately supported and betrayed the pope and the people; by the former he was declared gonfalonier, or general, of the church, while the latter submitted to his choice the nomination of their magistrates. Besieging Rome by land and water, he thrice entered the gates as a barbarian conqueror; profaned the altars, violated the virgins, pillaged the merchants, performed his devotions at St. Peter's, and left a garrison in the castle of St. Angelo. His arms were sometimes unfortunate, and to a delay of three days he was indebted for his life and crown: but Ladislaus triumphed in his turn; and it was only his premature death that could save the metropolis and the ecclesiastical

* An epistle, or declamation, in the name of Edward III. (Baluz. Wit. Pap. Avenion. tom. i. p. 553) displays the zeal of the English nation against the Clementines. Nor was their zeal confined to words: the bishop of Norwich led a crusade of 60,000 bigots beyond sea (Hume's History, vol. iii. p. 57, 58). Besides the general historians, the Diaries of Delphinus Gentilis, Peter Antonius, and Stephen Infessura, in the great Collection of Muratori, represent the state and unisfortunes of Rome,

« ForrigeFortsett »