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devotees still flog themselves, and flog one another, as the priests of Egypt and Syria did of old.
Amongst us the abbots flogged their monks, and the confessors their penitents—of both sexes. St. Augustin wrote to Marcellinus the tribune, that “the Donatists must be whipped as school-masters whip their scholars."
It is said that it was not until the tenth century that monks and nuns began to scourge themselves on certain days of the year. The custom of scourging sinners as a penance was so well established, that St. Louis's confessor often gave him the whip. Henry II. was flogged by the monks of Canterbury.* Raymond, count of Toulouse, was flogged with rope
round his neck by a deacon, at the door of St. Giles's church, as has before been said.
The chaplains to Louis VIII. king of France, were condemnedt by the Pope's legate to go at the four great feasts to the door of the cathedral of Paris, and present rods to the canons, that they might flog them in expiation for the crime of the king their master, who had accepted the crown of England, which the Pope had taken from him, after giving it to him by virtue of the plenitude of his power. Indeed the Pope showed great indulgence in not having the king himself whipped, but contenting himself with commanding him, on pain of damnation, to pay to the apostolic chamber the amount of two years' revenue.
From this custom is derived that which still exists, of arming the grand-penitentiaries in St. Peter's at Rome with long wands instead of rods, with which they give gentle taps to the penitents, lying all their length on the floor. In this manner it was that Henry IV. of France, had his posteriors flogged by Cardinals Ossat and Duperron. So true is it that we have scarcely yet emerged from barbarism.
At the commencement of the thirteenth century, fraternities of penitents were formed at Perosia and Bologna. Young men almost naked, with a rod in one hand and a small crucifix in the other, flogged themselves in the streets; while the women peeped through the window-blinds, and whipped themselves in their chambers.
* In 1207.
These flagellators inundated Europe: there are many of them still to be found in Italy,* in Spain, and even in France, at Perpignan. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, it was very common for confessors to whip the posteriors of their penitents. A history of the Low Countries, composed by Meteren, relates that a cordelier named Adriacem, a great preacher at Bruges, used to whip his female penitents quite naked.
The jesuit Edmund Auger, confessor to Henry III. persuaded that unfortunate prince to put himself at the head of the flagellators.I
Flogging the posteriors is practised in various convents of monks and nuns; from which custom there have sometimes resulted strange immodesties, over which we must throw a veil, in order to spare the blushes of such as wear the sacred veil, and whose sex and profession are worthy of our highest regard.
AUTHOR, is a generic term, which, like the names of all other professions, may signify author of the good, or of the bad; of the respectable, or of the ridiculous; of the useful or the agreeable; or lastly, the producer of disgusting trash.
This name is also common to different things; we say equally the author of nature, and the author of the songs of the Pont-neuf, or of the Literary Age.
The author of a good work, should beware of three things-title, dedication, and preface. Others should take care of a fourth, which is writing at all.
As to the title, if the author has the wish to put his name to it, which is often very dangerous, it should at least be under a modest form; it is not pleasant to
* Histoire des Flagellans, p. 198. + Meteren.-Historia Belgica, anno 1570. | De Thou, liv, xxvii.
see a pious work, full of lessons of humanity, by Sir or My Lord. The reader, who is always malicious, and who often is wearied, usually turns a book into ridicule that is announced with so much ostentation. The author of the Imitation of Jesus Christ did not put his name to it.
But the apostles, you will say, put their names to their works : that is not true, they were too modest. The apostle Matthew never entitled his book the Gospel of St. Matthew; it is a homage which has been paid to him since. St. Luke himself, who collected all that he had heard said, and who dedicated his book to Theophilus, did not call it the Gospel of St. Luke. St. John alone mentions himself in the Apocalypse; and it is supposed that this book was written by Cerinthus, who took the name of John to give authority to his production.
However it may have been in past ages, it appears to me very bold in authors now to put names and titles at the head of their works. The bishops never fail to do so, and the thick quartos which they give us under the title of mandaments, are decorated with armo rial bearings and the insignia of their station : a word, no doubt, is said about Christian humility, but this word is often followed by atrocious calumnies against those who are of another communion or party. We only speak here, however, of poor profane authors. The Duke de la Rochefoucault did not announce his thoughts as the production of Monsiegneur le duc de la Rochefoucault, pair de France, &c. Some persons who only make compilations in which there may be fine things, will find it injudicious to announce them as the work of A. B. professor of the university of
---doctor of divinity, member of this or of that academy, and so on. So many .dignities do not render the book better. It will still be wished that it was shorter, more philosophical, less filled with old stories. With respect to titles and quality, nobody cares about them.
Dedications are often only offerings from interested baseness to disdainful vanity. Who would believe that Rohaut, soi-disant physician, in his dedication to the Duke of Guise told him, that his ancestors had maintained, at the expence of their blood, political truth, the fundamental laws of the state, and the rights of sovereigns ? Le Balafré, and the Duke of Mayenne, would be a little surprised if this epistle was read to them in the other world. And what would Henry IV. say? Most of the dedications in England are made for money, just as the capuchins present us with salad on condition of our giving them drink.*
* Happily this degradation of literature, which was at its height possibly in the days of Dryden, is now no more. Addison, there is reason to believe, struck the first successful blow at it, which Dr. Johnson, in relation to Lord Chesterfield, most effectively followed up. The justice of the reproach of Voltaire in reference to the insolence and servility attendant upon patronage at one time in England, is well illustrated by the following anecdote by Myles Davies, the learned author of Athenæ Brittanicæ, who gives a curious account of the state of patronage and mappers in the beginning of the eighteenth century. « But his Grace of the Dutch nation (akin to Mynheer Vander B-ock) had a peculiar grace in receiving my present of books and odes, which being bundled up together with a letter and ode upon bis Graceship, and carried in by his porter, I was bid to call for an answer five years bence. I asked the porter what was meant by that? I suppose,' said he, four or five days hence. But it proved five or six months after before I could get any answer, though I had writ five or six letters in French, with fresh odes upon his Graceship. I attended about the door three or four times a week, all that time constantly from twelve to four or five o'clock in the evening : and walkiog under the fore-windows of the parlours once that time, his and her grace came to stare at me, with open windows and shut mouths, but filled with fair water, wbich they spouted with su much dexterity, that they twisted the water through their teeth and mouthskrew, to flash near my face, and yet just to miss me, though my nose could not well miss the natural flavour of the orangewater showering so very near me. Her Grace began the waterworks, but not very gracefully, especially for an English lady of her description, airs and qualities, to make a stranger her spitting-post, who had been guilty of no other offence than to offer her husband some writings. His Grace followed, yet first stood looking so wistfully towards me, that I verily thought he had a mind to throw me a guinea or two for all these indignities and two or three month's thus sleeveless waiting upon him, and accordingly I advanced to address his Grace to remember the poor author; but, instead of an answer, he immediately undamus his mouth, and out fly whole showers of lympbatic rockets, which had like to have put out my mortal eyes. My books were at length returned to me unopened, with half-a
Men of letters in France are ignorant of this shameful abasement, and have never exhibited so much meanness, except some unfortunates, who call themselves men of letters, in the same sense that signdaubers boast of being of the profession of Raphael, and that the coachman of Vertamont was a poet.
Prefaces are another rock. “ The I is hateful,” says Pascal. Speak of yourself as little as you can, for you ought to be aware that the self-love of the reader is as great as your own.
He will never pardon you for wishing to oblige him to esteem you. It is for your book to speak to him, should it happen to be read among the crowd.
“ The illustrious suffrages with which my piece has been honoured, will make me dispense with answering my adversaries—the applauses of the public,” &c. &c. Erase all that, Sir : believe me you have had no illustrious suffrages; your piece is eternally forgotten.
“Some censors have pretended that there are too many events in the third act; and that, in the fourth, the princess is too late in discovering the tender senti ments of her heart for her lover. To that I answer"Answer nothing, my friend, for nobody has spoken, or will speak of thy princess. Thy piece has fallen because it is tiresome, and written in flat and barbarous verse; thy preface is a prayer for the dead, but it will not revive them.
Others attest, that all Europe has not understood their treatises on compatibility, on the supralapsarians,
-on the difference which should be made between the Macedonian and Valentinian heresies, &c. &c. Truly, I believe that nobody understands them, since nobody reads them.
We are inundated with this trash and with continual repetition; with insipid romances which copy their preguinea upon the top of the cargo, and with a desire to receive Jo more. As I was jogging on bomewards, I thought that a great many were called their Graces, not for any grace or favour they had truly deserved with God or man, but for the same reason of certainties that the Parca, or Destinies, were so called, because they spared none: Parcæ, quia non parcebant."
D'ISRAELI's Calamities of Authors. VOL. I.