Front Page Titles (by Subject) FIFTH NARRATIVE. ad 579—581. - The Historical Essays and Narratives of the Merovingian Era
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FIFTH NARRATIVE. ad 579—581. - Augustin Thierry, The Historical Essays and Narratives of the Merovingian Era 
The Historical Essays, published under the Title of “Dix Ans d’Études historiques,” and Narratives of the Merovingian Era; or, Scenes of the Sixth Century, with an Autobiographical Preface (Philadelphia: Carey and Hart, 1845).
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THE HISTORY OF LEUDASTE, COUNT OF TOURS.—THE POET VENANTIUS FORTUNATUS.—THE CONVENT OF RADEGONDA AT POITIERS.
During the reign of Chlother the First, the island of Rhè, situated about three leagues from the coast of Saintonge, formed part of the dominions of the royal fisc. Its vines, the meagre produce of a soil incessantly beaten by the sea breezes, were then under the superintendence of a Gaul named Leocadius. This man had a son whom he called Leudaste, a Germanic name which probably belonged to some rich Frankish noble, well known in the country, and which the Gallic vine-dresser chose in preference to all others either to obtain useful patronage for the new-born infant, or else to place on his head a sort of omen of great success, and thus foster in him the illusions and hopes of paternal ambition.* Born a royal serf, the son of Leocadius, on emerging from childhood, was included in a body of young men chosen for the service of the kitchens, by the head steward of King Harbiert’s dominions.† This sort of impressment was exercised on many occasions by order of the Frankish kings on the families who peopled their vast estates; and persons of all ages, of all professions, and even of high birth, were compelled to submit to it.‡
Thus transported far from the little island where he was born, young Leudaste at first distinguished himself amongst all his companions in servitude, by his want of zeal for work, and his undisciplined spirit. He had weak eyes, and the acridity of the smoke was a great annoyance to him, a circumstance of which he availed himself with more or less reason as an excuse for carelessness and disobedience. After several useless attempts to fit him for the required duties, it was found necessary either to dismiss him or give him some other employment. The latter plan was adopted, and the son of the vine-dresser passed from the kitchen to the bakehouse, or, as his original biographer expressed it, from the pestle to the kneading trough.* Deprived of the pretext he could allege against his former occupation, Leudaste thenceforward studied dissimulation, and appeared to take an extreme delight in his new functions. He fulfilled them for some time with so much ardour, that he contrived to lull the watchfulness of his masters and guards; then, seizing the first favourable opportunity, he ran away.† He was pursued, brought back, and thrice again ran away. The disciplinary punishment of flogging and imprisonment, to which he was successively subjected as a runaway, being judged ineffectual against such confirmed obstinacy, the last and most efficacious of all was inflicted on him, that of marking by an incision made in one of the ears.‡
Although this mutilation rendered flight more difficult and less secure for the future, he once more ran away, at the risk of not knowing where to find a refuge. After wandering in different directions, always fearful of being discovered from the sign of his servile condition, which was visible to all eyes, and weary of this life of alarm and misery, he took a bold resolution.§ This was the period when King Haribert married Markowefa, a servant of the palace, and the daughter of a woolcomber. Leudaste had perhaps some acquaintance with this woman’s family; or perhaps he only confided in the goodness of her heart, and her sympathy for an old companion in slavery. Be this as it may, instead of marching forward to get at the greatest possible distance from the royal habitation, he retraced his steps, and concealing himself in some neighbouring forest, watched for the moment when he could present himself before the new queen without fear of being seen and arrested by some of the domestics.∥ He succeeded, and Markowefa, deeply interested by his entreaties, took him under her protection. She confided her best horses to his care, and gave him amongst her servants the title of Mariskalk, as it was called in the Germanic language.*
Leudaste, encouraged by this success and unexpected favour, soon ceased to limit his desires to his present position, and aspiring still higher, coveted the post of superintendent of the whole stud of his patroness, and the title of count of the stable, a dignity which the barbarian kings had borrowed from the imperial court.† He attained it in a very short time, aided by his good star, for he had more audacity and boasting than shrewdness and real talent. In this post, which placed him on an equality, not only with freedmen, but with the nobles of Frankish race, he completely forgot his origin, and his former days of slavery and distress. He became harsh and contemptuous to those beneath him, arrogant with his equals, greedy of money and all articles of luxury, and ambitious without bounds or restraint.‡ Elevated to a sort of favouritism by the queen’s affection, he interposed in all her affairs, and derived immense profits by unrestrainedly abusing her weakness and confidence.§ On her death, at the end of some years, he was already sufficiently enriched from plunder to sue by dint of presents, for the same post in King Haribert’s household which he had held in that of the queen. He triumphed over all his competitors, became count of the royal stables, and far from being ruined by the death of his protectress, he found in it the commencement of a new career of honours. After enjoying for a year or two the high rank which he occupied in the household of the palace, the fortunate son of a serf of the island of Rhe was promoted to a political dignity, and made Count of Tours, one of the principal cities of the kingdom of Haribert.∥
The office of count, such as it existed in Gaul ever since the conquest of the Franks, answered, according to their political ideas, to that of the magistrate whom they called graf in their language, and who, in every canton of Germany, administered criminal justice, aided by the heads of families or by the principal men of the canton. The naturally hostile relations of the conquerors with the population of the conquered towns, had induced the addition of military attributes and dictatorial power to these functions, which the men, who exercised them in the name of the Frankish kings, almost always abused, either from violence of disposition or from personal calculation. It was a sort of barbaric proconsulate, superadded in every important town to the ancient municipal institutions, without any care having been taken to regulate it so that it might harmonize with them. Notwithstanding their rarity, these institutions still sufficed for the maintenance of order and internal peace; and the inhabitants of the Gallic cities felt more terror than pleasure when a royal letter announced to them the arrival of a count to rule them according to their customs and administer justice fairly. Such was doubtless the impression produced at Tours by the arrival of Leudaste, and the repugnance of the citizens to their new judge could hardly fail to augment daily. He was illiterate, had no knowledge of the laws he was commissioned to enforce, and destitute even of that principle of uprightness and natural equity which was to be met with, although under a rough exterior, among the grafs of the cantons beyond the Rhine.
First accustomed to the manners of slavery, and then to the turbulent habits of the vassals of the royal household, he had none of that ancient Roman civilization with which he was about to find himself in contact, if we except the love of luxury, pomp, and sensual enjoyments. He behaved in his new situation as if he had only received it for himself and for the indulgence of his unruly appetites. Instead of making order reign in Tours, he sowed discord by his excesses and debauches. His marriage with the daughter of one of the richest inhabitants of the country did not render him more moderate or more discreet in his conduct. He was violent and haughty towards the men; of a profligacy which respected no woman; of a rapacity which far surpassed all that had been observed in him up to that period.* He put in activity all his cunning to create for opulent persons unjust lawsuits, of which he became the arbiter, or else he made false accusations against them, and made a profit out of the fines, which he divided with the fisc. By means of exactions and pillage he rapidly increased his riches, and accumulated in his house a great quantity of gold and valuables.† His good fortune and impunity lasted until the death of King Haribert, which took place in 567. Sighebert, in whose lot the city of Tours was included, had not the same affection as his elder brother for the former slave. On the contrary, his hatred was such, that Leudaste, to avoid it, hastily quitted the city, abandoning his property and the greatest portion of his treasures, which were seized or plundered by the followers of the King of Austrasia. He sought an asylum in Hilperik’s kingdom, and swore fidelity to that king, who received him as one of his leudes.* During his years of adversity, the ex-count of Tours subsisted in Neustria on the hospitality of the palace, following the court from province to province, and taking his place at the immense table at which the vassals and guests of the king sat, taking precedence according to age or rank.
(ad 572.) Five years after the flight of Count Leudaste, Georgius Florentius, who took the name of Gregory at his accession, was named Bishop of Tours by King Sighebert, at the request of the citizens, whose esteem and affection he had won in a devotional pilgrimage which he made to the tomb of Saint Martin from Auvergne his native country. This man, whose character has been already developed in the preceding narratives, was from his religious zeal, his love of the holy Scriptures, and the dignity of his manners, a perfect type of the high Christian aristocracy of Gaul, amongst which his ancestors had shone. From the time of his installation in the metropolitan see of Tours, Gregory, in virtue of the political prerogatives then attached to the episcopal dignity, and on account of the personal consideration with which he was surrounded, found himself invested with supreme influence over the affairs of the town, and the deliberations of the senate by which it was governed. The splendour of this high position was necessarily amply compensated by its fatigues, cares, and innumerable perils; Gregory was not long before he experienced this. (573.) In the first year of his bishopric, the city of Tours was invaded by the troops of King Hilperik, and taken again immediately after by those of Sighebert. In the following year (574), Theodebert, Hilperik’s eldest son, made a ravaging campaign on the banks of the Loire which filled the citizens of Tours with terror, and compelled them to submit a second time to the King of Neustria.† It appears that Leudaste, endeavouring to retrieve his fortune, had engaged in this expedition, either as leader of a company, or as one of the chosen vassals who surrounded the young son of the king.
On his entry into the town which he had compelled to acknowledge his father’s authority, Theodebert presented the former count to the bishop and municipal council, saying that the city of Tours would do well to submit to the government of him who had ruled it with wisdom and firmness in the times of the former partition.‡
Independently of the recollections which Leudaste had left at Tours, and which were well calculated to revolt the upright and pious mind of Gregory, this descendant of the most illustrious senatorial families of the Berry and Auvergne, could not see without repugnance a man of nothing, and who bore on his body the indelible mark of his servile extraction, raised to a post so near his own. But the recommendations of the young chief of the Neustrian army were commands, however deferentially expressed; the present interest of the town, menaced with plunder and fire, required that the fancies of the conqueror should be yielded to with a good grace, and this was done by the Bishop of Tours with that prudence, of which his life offers the continual example. The wishes of the principal citizens thus seemed to accord with the projects of Theodebert for the re-establishment of Leudaste in his functions and honours. This re-establishment was not long waited for; and a few days afterwards, the son of Leucadius received in the palace of Neustria his royal letter of appointment, a diploma, the tenour of which we find in the official formulas of the period, and which contrasted strangely with his character and conduct.
“If there are occasions in which the perfection of royal elemency is more especially displayed, it is in the choice it makes of upright and vigilant persons from among the whole people. It would not be proper for the dignity of judge to be conferred on some one whose integrity and firmness had not been previously tried. Therefore, being well assured of thy fidelity and merit, we have committed to thy care the office of count in the canton of Tours, to possess and exercise all its prerogatives,* in such a manner as to preserve an entire and inviolable faith with our government; that the men inhabiting within the limits of thy jurisdiction, whether Franks, Romans, or of any other nation whatsoever, may live in peace and good order under thy power and authority; that thou mayest direct them in the right way according to their laws and customs; that thou mayest show thyself the special defender of widows and orphans; that the crimes of thieves and other malefactors may be severely repressed by thee; finally, that the people, finding life pleasant under thy administration, may rejoice and remain quiet, and let what belongs to the fisc from the revenue of thy situation, be by thy care paid yearly into our treasury.”†
The new Count of Tours, who did not yet feel the ground quite secure under his feet, and who feared that the fortune of arms might again reduce the town to the power of the King of Austrasia, studied to live in perfect understanding with the municipal senators, and especially with the bishop, whose powerful protection might become necessary to him.* In the presence of Gregory he was modest and even humble in his manners and conversation, observing the distance which separated him from a man of such high birth, and carefully flattering the aristocratic vanity, of which a slight leaven was mixed with the solid qualities of this great and thoughtful mind. He assured the bishop that his greatest desire was to please him, and to follow his advice in all things. He promised to refrain from all excess of power, and to take justice and reason as his rules of conduct. Finally, to render his promises and protestations more worthy of belief, he accompanied them with numerous oaths on the tomb of Saint Martin. Sometimes he swore to Gregory, like a dependent to his patron, to remain faithful to him in all circumstances, and never to oppose him in any thing, whether in affairs which interested him personally, or in those in which the interests of the church were called in question.†
Things were in this position, and the city of Tours enjoyed a quiet which no one had at first expected, when Theodebert’s army was destroyed near Angoulême, and Hilperik, thinking his cause desperate, took refuge within the walls of Tournai, events of which detailed accounts are given in one of the preceding narratives.‡ The citizens of Tours, who only obeyed the King of Neustria from necessity, recognized the authority of Sighebert, and Leudaste again took flight, as he had done seven years before; but, owing, perhaps, to the mediation of Bishop Gregory, his property was this time respected, and he left the town without sustaining any loss. He retired into Lower Brittany, a country which then enjoyed complete independence from the Frankish kingdoms, and which often served as a place of refuge for outlaws, and the malcontents of those kingdoms.§
(ad 575.) The murder which in the year 575 put so sudden an end to Sighebert’s life, caused a double restoration, that of Hilperik as King of Neustria, and that of Leudaste as Count of Tours. He returned after an exile of a year, and reinstated himself in his office.∥ Henceforth sure of the future, he no longer took the trouble of restraining himself; he threw off the mask, and resumed the vices of his first administration. Abandoning himself at once to all the evil passions which can tempt a man in power, he exhibited the spectacle of the most notorious frauds, and the most revolting brutalities. When he held his public audiences, having as assessors the principal men of the town, nobles of Frankish origin, Romans of senatorial birth, and dignitaries of the metropolitan church, if some person with a lawsuit whom he wanted to ruin, or some culprit whom he wished to destroy, presented himself with assurance, asserting his rights and demanding justice, the count interrupted him, and shook himself on his judge’s bench like a madman.* If at those times the crowd, which formed a circle round the tribunal, testified by their gestures or their murmurs sympathy for the oppressed, it was against them that the anger of Leudaste was directed, and he loaded the citizens with insults and gross epithets.† As impartial in his violence as he should have been in his justice, he respected neither the rights, the rank, nor the condition of any one; he caused priests to be brought before him hand-cuffed, and had warriors of Frankish origin beaten with sticks. It seemed as if this upstart slave took a pleasure in confounding all distinctions, in braving all the conventions of the social order of his epoch, above which the accident of birth had at first placed him, and in which other chances had afterwards raised him to such a height.‡
Whatever were the despotic tendencies of Count Leudaste, and his wish to level every thing before his interest and caprice, there was in the town a rival power to his own, and a man against whom, for fear of losing himself, he was unable to dare any thing. He felt this; and it was cunning, and not open violence, which he resorted to, to compel the bishop to give way, or at least be silent before him. The reputation of Gregory, which was spread throughout Gaul, was great at the court of the King of Neustria; but his well-known affection for the family of Sighebert sometimes alarmed. Hilperik, always anxious about the possession of the city of Tours, which was his conquest, and the key of the country south of the Loire, which he wanted to possess. It was on this distrustful disposition of the king that Leudaste founded his hopes of annihilating the credit of the bishop, by rendering him more and more suspicious, and making himself looked upon as the man necessary to the preservation of the town, as an advanced sentinel, always on the watch, and exposed to hateful prejudices, and secret or declared enmities, on account of his vigilance. This was the surest way of obtaining absolute impunity for himself, and of finding opportunities for molesting at pleasure his most fearful antagonist the bishop, without appearing to exceed his duty.
In this war of intrigues and petty machinations, he sometimes had recourse to the most fantastic expedients. When any affair required his presence in the episcopal palace, he went there completely armed, his helmet on his head, his cuirass on his back, his quiver slung in his shoulder-belt, and a long lance in his hand, either to give himself a terrible appearance, or to make people believe he was in danger of ambushes and snares in that house of peace and prayer.* In the year 576, when Merowig, passing through Tours, deprived him of every thing he possessed in money and in precious furniture, he pretended that the young prince had only committed that plunder at Gregory’s counsel and instigation.† Then suddenly, from contradiction of character, or on account of the ill success of this unfounded accusation, he endeavoured to reconcile himself with the bishop, and swore to him, by the most solemn oath, holding in his hand the silken cloth which covered the tomb of Saint Martin, that he never would again in the course of his life attempt any unfriendly action against him.‡ But the inordinate desire of Leudaste to repair as promptly as possible the enormous losses he had sustained, excited him to multiply his exactions and plunderings. (ad 576—579.) Amongst the rich citizens whom he preferred attacking, several were intimate friends of Gregory’s, and they were not spared more than the rest. Thus, notwithstanding his last promises and prudent resolutions, the Count of Tours again found himself in indirect hostility with his rival in power. More and more carried away by the desire of accumulating riches, he began to encroach upon the property of the churches, and the differences between the two adversaries became personal.§ Gregory, with a forbearance partaking both of sacerdotal patience and the circumspect policy of the men of the aristocracy, at first only opposed in this struggle a moral resistance to acts of physical violence. He received blows without striking any himself, until the precise moment of action was arrived; and then, after two years of calm expectation, which might have been mistaken for resignation, he energetically took the offensive.
(ad 579.) Towards the end of the year 579, a deputation secretly sent to King Hilperik, denounced to him, with irrefragable proofs, the prevarications of Count Leudaste, and the numberless evils which he inflicted on the churches and inhabitants of Tours.∥ It is not known under what circumstances this deputation came to the palace of Neustria, nor what various causes contributed to the success of its mission, but it was perfectly successful; and notwithstanding the favour which Leudaste had so long enjoyed with the king, notwithstanding the numerous friends he possessed among the vassals and confidential domestics of the palace, his removal was certain. On dismissing the ambassadors. Hilperik sent with them Ansowald, his most intimate counsellor, to take measures to effect the change which they solicited. Ansowald arrived at Tours in the month of November; and, not content with declaring Leudaste deprived of his office, he left the nomination of a new count in the hands of the bishop and the body of the citizens. The suffrages were unanimous in favour of a man of Gallic race called Eunomius, who was installed in his charge amidst the acclamations and hopes of the people.*
Struck by this unexpected blow, Leudaste, who in his imperturbable presumption had never for one moment dreamt of the possibility of such a disaster, was roused to fury, and laid the blame upon his friends in the palace, whom he thought should have upheld him. He especially, and with great bitterness, accused Queen Fredegonda, to whose service he had devoted himself for good and for evil, whom he thought all-powerful to save him from this peril, and who only repaid him by ungratefully withdrawing her patronage.† These grievances, whether imaginary or not, took such firm root in the mind of the dismissed count, that he vowed henceforth a hatred to his former patroness, equal to that he bore the cause of his disgrace, the Bishop of Tours. He no longer separated them in his desire for revenge; and roused by anger, he commenced forming the most adventurous schemes, combining plans of new fortune and future elevation, in which entered, as one of his most ardent wishes, the ruin of the bishop, and what was still more astonishing, the ruin even of Fredegonda, her divorce, and the forfeiture of her queenly state.
There was then at Tours a priest named Rikulf, who, notwithstanding his Germanic name, was, perhaps, like Leudaste, whom he a good deal resembled in character, a Gaul by origin.‡ Born in that city, and of poor parents, he had risen in orders under the patronage of Bishop Euphronius, Gregory’s predecessor. His presumption and ambition were boundless: he thought himself out of his true place so long as he was not invested with episcopal dignity.§ To attain it with certainty, he had for some years placed himself under the patronage of Chlodowig, the last son of King Hilperik and Queen Audowera.∥ Although divorced and banished, this queen, a woman of free and probably distinguished origin, had preserved in her misfortunes numerous partisans, who hoped for her return to favour, and believed more in the good fortune of her sons, already grown up to manhood, than in that of the young children of her rival. Fredegonda, notwithstanding the brilliancy of her success and power, had never been able entirely to obliterate the memory of her original condition, or to inspire a firm confidence in the solidity of the happiness she enjoyed. There were doubts as to the continuance of the fascination which she exercised on the mind of the king; many people accorded her the honours of a queen with regret; her own daughter Righonta, the eldest of her four children, blushed for her, and with a precocious instinct of feminine vanity, felt very keenly the shame of having for mother a former servant of the palace.* Thus mental torments were not wanting to the beloved wife of Hilperik; and the most painful of all to her, besides the stain of her birth which nothing could efface, was the apprehension caused by the competition for their father’s kingdom, between her children and those of the first bed.
Delivered by a violent death of the two eldest sons of Audowera, she still saw Chlodowig, the third, holding in check the fortunes of her two sons, Chlodobert and Dagobert, the eldest of whom was not fifteen.† The ambitious hopes, desires, and opinions of the palace of Neustria, were divided between the future of the one, and that of the others; there were two opposite factions, who branched out from the palace, and were to be met with in every part of the kingdom. Both reckoned amongst them men long and firmly devoted, and passing recruits who attached and detached themselves according to the impulse of the moment. It was thus that Rikulf and Leudaste, the one an old adherent of the fortunes of Chlodowig, the other recently the enemy of that young prince, as he had been that of his brother Merowig, suddenly met and found a perfect conformity in their political sentiments. They soon became intimate friends, confided to each other all their secrets, and made their projects and hopes in common.—(ad 579, 580.) During the latter months of the year 579, and the beginning of the year following, these two men, equally accustomed to intrigues, had frequent conferences, to which they admitted as a third a subdeacon named Rikulf as well as the priest, the same who has been seen acting as the emissary of the cleverest intriguer of the epoch, the Austrasian, Gonthramn-Bose.‡
The first point agreed upon by the three associates, was to cause the rumours generally bruited respecting the conjugal infidelity and disorders of Fredegonda to reach the ears of King Hilperik. They thought that the more blind and confiding the king’s love was, in spite of evidences clear to every one else, the more terrible would his anger be, when he should be undeceived. Fredegonda expelled from the kingdom, her children hated by the king, banished with her and disinherited, Chlodowig succeeded to his father’s kingdom without contest or partition, such were the results which they looked upon as certain to follow from their officious informations. To obviate the responsibility of a formal denunciation against the queen, but at the same time to compromise their second enemy, the Bishop of Tours, they resolved by a tolerably subtle trick to accuse him of having repeated before witnesses the scandalous stories which were then circulated, and which they did not venture to repeat on their own account.*
In this intrigue, there was a double chance for the deposition of the bishop, either immediately, by a blow of King Hilperik’s anger, or later, when Chlodowig should take possession of the throne; and the priest Rikulf already considered himself his successor in the episcopal see. Leudaste, who guaranteed the infallibility of this promotion to his new friend, marked his place near King Chlodowig as that of the second great person in the kingdom, of which he should have the supreme administration, and the title of duke. In order that Rikulf, the subdeacon, should also find a comfortable situation, it was decided that Plato, archdeacon of the church of Tours, and the intimate friend of Bishop Gregory, should be compromised with him, and involved in his ruin.†
It appears that, after having thus arranged their plans, the three conspirators sent messages to Chlodowig to announce to him the enterprise formed in his interests, to communicate their intentions, and make conditions with him. The young prince, of a thoughtless disposition, and ambitious without prudence, promised, in case of success, to do all that was required of him, and a good deal more. The moment for action having arrived, the parts were distributed. That which devolved on the priest Rikulf, was to prepare the way for Gregory’s future deposition, by exciting against him in the town the abettors of disturbances, and those who from a spirit of provincial patriotism, did not like him because he was a foreigner, and wished for a native bishop in his stead. Rikulf, the subdeacon, formerly one of the most humble domestics of the episcopal palace, and who had purposely quarreled with his patron to be more free to visit Leudaste, assiduously returned to the bishop with submission and a show of repentance; he endeavoured, by regaining his confidence, to draw him into some suspicious act which might serve as a proof against him.* The ex-count of Tours took upon himself, without hesitation, the really perilous mission of going to the palace of Soissons, and speaking to King Hilperik.
He left Tours about the month of April 580, and immediately on his arrival, when admitted by the king to a tête-à-tête, said in a tone which he endeavoured to render at once serious and persuasive: “Until now, most pious king, I had guarded thy city of Tours, but now that I am dismissed from my office, thou must consider how it will be guarded for thee; for thou must know that Bishop Gregory intends to deliver it up to the son of Sighebert.”† Hilperik answered abruptly, like a man who rebels against disagreeable news, and pretends incredulity not to appear frightened: “That is not true.” Then, watching Leudaste’s countenance for the least appearance of trouble and hesitation, he added: “It is because thou hast been deprived of thy office that thou dost make these reports.”‡ But the ex-count of Tours, without losing his assurance, replied: “The bishop has done other things; he speaks in a manner offensive to thee; he says that thy queen has an adulterous connection with Bishop Bertramn.”§ Wounded in his most sensitive and irritable point, Hilperik was so enraged, that losing all consciousness of his regal dignity, he fell on the author of this unexpected revelation, striking and kicking him with all his might.∥
When he had thus vented his anger, without uttering a single word, and had become himself again, he found the power of speech, and said to Leudaste: “What! dost thou affirm that the bishop has said such things of Queen Fredegonda?”—“I affirm it,” answered he, nowise disconcerted by the brutal reception his confidence had met with, “and if thou wouldest permit Gallienus, the friend of the bishop, and Plato his archdeacon to be put to the torture, they will convict him before thee of having said it.”¶ —“But,” asked the king with great anxiety, “dost thou present thyself as a witness?” Leudaste replied that he could produce an auricular witness, a clerk of the church of Tours, on whose good faith he had founded his denunciation, and he named the subdeacon Rikulf, without demanding the torture for him as he had done a moment before for the friends of Bishop Gregory.* But the distinction which he endeavoured to draw in favour of his accomplice did not enter into the thoughts of the king, who equally furious against all those who had taken a part in the scandal by which his honour was wounded, caused Leudaste himself to be put in chains, and instantly sent in order to Tours for the arrest of Rikulf.†
This man, by means of consummate treachery, had, during the last month, completely succeeded in regaining the favour of Bishop Gregory, and he was once more received as a faithful dependent in his house and at his table.‡ After the departure of Leudaste, when he supposed, from the number of days which had elapsed, and the denunciation had been made, and his name mentioned in the king’s presence, he endeavoured to persuade the bishop into committing some suspicious act, by working on his kind-heartedness and pity for distress. He presented himself before him with an air of dejection and deep anxiety, and at the first words said by Gregory, inquiring what was the matter, he threw himself at his feet, exclaiming: “I am a lost man, if thou dost not quickly rescue me. Incited by Leudaste, I have said things which I ought not to have said. Grant me, without loss of time, thy permission to depart for another kingdom; for if I remain here, the king’s officers will seize me, and I shall be put to the torture.”§ A clerk in those days could not go any distance from the church to which he belonged without leave from his bishop, nor be received unto the diocese of another bishop, without a letter from his own, which served him as a passport. In soliciting leave to travel under pretence of the peril of death with which he said he was threatened, the subdeacon Rikulf played a double game; he endeavoured to occasion a very important circumstance capable of serving as a corroboration of Leudaste’s words, and moreover procured for himself the means of disappearing from the scene of action, and awaiting the issue of this great intrigue in perfect safety.
Gregory by no means suspected the motives of Leudaste’s departure, nor what was then going forwards at Soissons; but the request of the sub-deacon, obscurely worded, and accompained with a sort of pantomimic tragedy, instead of touching, only surprised and frightened him. The excesses of the times, the sudden catastrophes which daily under his own eyes ruined the most fortunate, the feeling of the precariousness there was then in the position and life of every one, had obliged him to adopt as a habit the utmost circumspection. He therefore held himself on his guard, and to the great disappointment of Rikulf, who had hoped by means of his feigned despair to draw him into the snare, answered, “If thou hast spoken contrary to reason and duty, may thy words rest upon thine own head; I shall not let thee go into another kingdom, for fear of making myself suspicious in the king’s eyes.”*
The sub-deacon arose confounded at the failure of this first attempt, and perhaps was preparing to try some other scheme, when he was quietly arrested by order of the king, and led to Soissons. Here, as soon as he arrived, he was subjected alone to an examination, in which, notwithstanding his critical position, he fulfilled in every respect the agreement he had made with his two accomplices. Declaring himself a witness of the fact, he deposed, that on the day on which Bishop Gregory had spoken ill of the queen, the archdeacon Plato and Gallienus were present, and that both had spoken in the same way. This formal testimony set at liberty Leudaste, whose veracity no longer appeared doubtful, and who seemed to have nothing further to tell.† Set at liberty whilst his companion in falsehood took his place in prison, he had a right to consider himself henceforth the object of a sort of favour; for by a singular choice, he was the person fixed upon by King Hilperik to go to Tours and seize Gallienus and the archdeacon Plato. This commission was probably entrusted to him, because, with his usual self-conceit, he boasted that he was the only man capable of succeeding in it, and that in order to make himself necessary, he gave accounts of the state of the town and the disposition of the citizens calculated to alarm the suspicious disposition of the king.
Leudaste, proud of his new character of a trustworthy man, and of the fortune he already fancied he had attained, set out during Easter-week. On the Friday of that week there was a great disturbance in the halls attached to the cathedral of Tours, occasioned by the turbulence of the priest Rikulf. This man, unmoved in his expectations, far from conceiving the least fear from the arrest of the sub-deacon, his namesake and accomplice, saw nothing in it but a step towards the conclusion of the intrigue which was to raise him to episcopacy.‡ In the hope of a success which he no longer doubted, his head became so excited that he was like a drunken man, incapable of regulating his words or actions. In one of those intervals of repose which the clergy took between the services, he passed backwards and forwards two or three times before the bishop with an air of bravado, and ended by saying aloud, that the city of Tours should be cleared of Auvergnats.* Gregory took little notice of this unmannerly speech, of which the motive escaped him. Accustomed, especially from the plebeians of his church, to meet with the coarseness of voice and manner which was more and more extending in Gaul, from the imitation of barbarian customs, he answered without anger, and with somewhat aristocratic dignity: “It is not true that the natives of Auvergne are strangers here; for, with the exception of five, all the bishops of Tours have come of families related to ours; thou shouldst not be ignorant of that.”† Nothing was more calculated to irritate to the highest pitch the jealousy of the ambitious priest than such a reply. It was so much increased, that unable to contain himself, he addressed to the bishop direct insults and threatening gestures. He would probably have passed from menaces to blows, if the other clerks, by their interposition, had not prevented the last effects of his frenzy.‡
The next day after this scene of disorder. Leudaste arrived at Tours; he entered it without show or armed followers, as if he only came about his private affairs.§ This discretion, so foreign to his character, was probably prescribed him in the king’s orders, as a means of effecting more certainly the two arrests he had to make. During some portion of the day, he appeared to be otherwise occupied, and then, suddenly darting on his prey, he invaded the houses of Gallienus and the archdeacon Plato with a troop of soldiers. These two unfortunate men were seized in the most brutal manner, deprived of their garments, and bound together with iron chains.∥ Whilst leading them thus through the town, Leudaste mysteriously announced that justice was going to be executed on all the queen’s enemies, and that it would not be long before a greater culprit was seized. Either wishing to give a great idea of his confidential mission, and the importance of his capture, or fearing really some ambush or insurrection, he took extraordinary precautions for leaving the town. Instead of crossing the Loire on the bridge of Tours, he took it into his head to cross it with the two prisoners and their guards, on a sort of flying bridge, composed of two boats joined together by boards, and towed by other boats.¶
When the news of these events reached the ears of Gregory, he was in the episcopal palace, occupied with numerous affairs, the regulation of which filled up every hour which his sacred ministry left vacant. The two certain misfortunes of his two friends, and the danger existing to himself in the vague but sinister reports which were beginning to spread, all this, joined to the still lively impression of the painful event of the preceding day, caused him profound emotion. Struck by a sadness mixed with anxiety and depression, he interrupted his occupations and entered his oratory alone.* He knelt down and prayed; but his prayer, fervent as it was, did not calm him. What is about to happen? he asked himself with grief; this question, full of doubts impossible to solve, he turned over in his mind, without being able to find an answer. To escape the torments of uncertainty, he did a thing which he had more than once censured in common with the councils and fathers of the church, he took the Pslams of David, and opened them at hazard, to see if he should not find, as he himself says, some consoling text.† The passage on which his eyes fell was the following: “They went forth full of hope, and were not afraid, and their enemies were swallowed up in the depths of the sea.” The accidental coincidents of these words with the ideas which beset him, made a stronger impression than either reason or faith alone had been able to do. He thought he saw in it an answer from on high, a promise of Divine protection for his two friends, and for whoever should be involved in the sort of proscription which public rumour announced, and of which they were the first victims.‡
Meanwhile, the ex-count of Tours, with the air of a prudent chief, accustomed to ambushes and stratagems, was endeavouring to effect the passage of the Loire with an attempt at military order. The better to direct the working of the plan, and to keep on the look-out, he took his place in the fore part of the raft; the prisoners were in the stern, the troop of guards occupied the middle of the flooring, and thus this clumsily built craft was loaded with people. The middle of the river, a spot which the violence of the current might render dangerous, was already passed, when a rash and inconsiderate order given by Leudaste, suddenly brought a great number of people on the fore part of the bridge. The boat which served to support it, sinking under the weight, became filled with water; the floor was weighed down on one side, and most of those who stood there, lost their balance, and fell into the river. Leudaste fell in among the first, and swam ashore, while the raft, partly beneath the water, partly sustained by the second boat on which the chained prisoners were, made its way with great difficulty towards the place of landing.* Excepting this accident, which failed to give a literal fulfilment to the text of David, the journey from Tours to Soissons took place without difficulty, and with all the celerity possible.
As soon as the two captives had been led before the king, their conductor made the greatest efforts to excite his anger against them, and to draw from him, before he had time for reflection, a sentence of capital punishment, and an order of execution.† He felt that such a blow struck at first would render the position of the Bishop of Tours an extremely critical one, and that once engaged in this path of atrocious violence, the king could no longer draw back; but his calculations and hopes were frustrated. Blinded anew by the seductions under the empire of which his life was passed, Hilperik had recovered from his doubts of Fredegonda’s fidelity, and the same violent irritability was no longer to be found in him. He looked at this affair with greater calmness. He wished to follow it for the future slowly, and even to carry the regularity of a lawyer into the examination of facts, and the whole proceeding; a sort of pretension he combined to that of being a clever versifier, a connoisseur in the fine arts, and a profound theologian.
Fredegonda employed all her strength and prudence in restraining herself. She artfully judged, that the best way for her to dissipate all shade of suspicion in her husband’s mind was to appear dignified and serene, to assume a matronly attitude, and appear in nowise anxious to see the legal inquiries ended. This double disposition, which Leudaste had not anticipated on either side, saved the lives of the prisoners. Not only was no harm done to them, but by a caprice of courtesy difficult to explain, the king, treating them far better than the subdeacon their accuser, left them in a kind of half-liberty under the guard of his officers of justice.‡
It then became necessary to seize the principal criminal; but there commenced King Hilperik’s embarrassment and perplexities. He had shown himself formerly full of decision, and even of animosity, in his prosecution of Bishop Prætextatus.§ But Gregory was not an ordinary bishop; his reputation and influence extended throughout Gaul; in him, so to speak, the moral power of episcopacy was concentrated and personified. Against such an adversary violence would have been dangerous, it would have given universal offence, which Hilperik, in the heat of his anger, might perhaps have disregarded, but which in cool blood he did not venture to face. Renouncing the idea of violence, therefore, he thought only of employing one of those palpably artful contrivances in which he delighted. Whilst reasoning with himself, it entered his head that the bishop, whose popularity frightened him, might in his turn be afraid of the power of royalty, and endeavour to secure himself by flight from the fearful chances of an accusation of high treason. This idea, which appeared to him a most luminous one, became the basis of his plan of action, and the text of the confidential orders which he hastily dispatched. He addressed them to Duke Berulf, who being, in virtue of his title, invested with a provincial government, commanded in chief at Tours, Poitiers, and several other towns recently conquered to the south of the Loire by the Neustrian generals.* According to these instructions, Berulf was to go to Tours, without any other apparent object than that of inspecting the means of defending the town. He was to await with circumspection and perfect dissimulation, the instant at which Gregory should openly compromise himself, and expose himself to be taken, by any attempt at flight.
The news of the great trial which was about to commence had reached Tours officially, confirmed and magnified as usual by a number of popular exaggerations. It was probably on the effect of these threats of danger that the confidant of King Hilperik relied for the success of his mission. He flattered himself that this sort of bugbear would serve, as in a hunt, to surround the bishop, and drive him into taking some step which would lead him into the snare. Berulf entered the city of Tours, and visited the ramparts, as was his custom at his periodical progresses. The new count, Eunomius, accompanied him, to receive his observations and orders. Whether the Frankish duke allowed the Roman to divine his secret, or whether he wished to deceive him, he said that King Gonthramn designed to seize the town, either by surprise or open force, and added, “This is the moment to watch incessantly; in order that there may be no negligence to fear, the town must have a garrison.”† Under cover of this fable, and the terror of an imaginary peril which soon spread, troops of soldiers were introduced without awakening the smallest suspicion; guard-houses were established, and sentinels placed at every gate of the town. Their orders were, not to look towards the country to see if the enemy was coming, but to watch the goings out of the bishop, and to arrest him if he passed in any disguise, or equipped for a journey.‡
These stratagems were useless, and the time passed in expectation of their effect. The Bishop of Tours appeared to be in no way thinking of flight, and Berulf found himself obliged to work underhand to determine him to it, or to suggest the idea to him. By means of money he gained over some persons intimately acquainted with Gregory, who went one after another with an air of deep sympathy to speak to him of the danger he was in, and of the fears of all his friends. Probably, in these treacherous insinuations, the character of King Hilperik was not spared; and the epithets of the Herod and Nero of the century, which were applied to him secretly by many, were this time pronounced with impunity by the agents of treason.* Recalling to the bishop these words of the holy Scriptures, “Fly from city to city before thy persecutors,” they advised him to carry away secretly the most valuable things his church possessed, and retire to one of the cities of Auvergne, there to await better days. But, either because he suspected the true motives of this strange proposal, or because such advice, even if sincere, appeared to him unworthy of adoption, he remained unmoved, declaring that he would not depart.†
There was therefore no other way left of securing the person of this man, whom they dared not touch unless he gave himself up; and it was necessary for the king to come to the determination of awaiting the voluntary appearance of the accused, whom he wished to prosecute legally. As a preparation for this great trial, letters of convocation were addressed to all the bishops of Neustria, as in the cause of Prætextatus; they were ordered to be at Soissons at the beginning of the month of August of the year 580. From all appearances this synod was to be still more numerous than that of Paris in 577; for the bishops of several southern cities recently conquered from the kingdom of Austrasia, and amongst others, that of Albi, were summoned to attend.‡ The Bishop of Tours received this summons in the same form as his colleagues; and making it in some sort a point of honour, he hastened to obey it instantly, and arrived one of the first at Soissons.
Public expectation was then raised to the utmost in the town, and this arrangement of one of such high rank, virtue, and renown, excited universal interest. His calm and dignified bearing, perfectly free from affectation, his serenity, as great as if he had come to sit as judge in the cause of another, his assiduous vigils in the churches of Soissons, at the tombs of the martyrs and confessors, turned the popular respect and curiosity into a real enthusiasm. All the men of Gallo-Roman birth, that is to say, the mass of the inhabitants, took part, before any legal inquiry had been made, with the Bishop of Tours against his accusers, whoever they were. The lower classes especially, less reserved and less timid in presence of power, gave free career to their sentiments, and expressed them in public with the most undaunted vehemence. While awaiting the arrival of the members of the synod and the opening of the debates, the preparations for the trial were continued upon no other foundation than the evidence of one man. The subdeacon Rikulf, who was never weary of making fresh declarations in support of the first, and of multiplying the lies against Gregory and his friends, was frequently led from the prison to the king’s palace, where his examinations took place with all the mystery observed in the most important affairs.* On the way there and back, a number of mechanics, leaving their work-shops, assembled on his passage, and pursued him with murmurs, hardly restrained by the fierce aspect of the Frankish vassals who escorted him. Once, as he returned, his head erect, and with an air of triumph and satisfaction, a carpenter, named Modestus, said to him, “Miserable man! who plottest with such animosity against thy bishop, wouldst thou not do better to ask his pardon, and endeavour to obtain thy forgiveness?”† At these words, Rikulf, pointing to the man who addressed him, exclaimed in the Germanic language to his guards, who had not understood the apostrophe of the Roman, or else cared little for it, “There is one who counsels me silence, that I may not assist in discovering the truth: there is an enemy of the queen, who wants to prevent those who have slandered her from being informed against.”‡ The Roman workman was seized amidst the crowd, and led away by the soldiers, who went immediately to inform Queen Fredegonda of the scene which had taken place, and ask what was to be done with the man.
Fredegonda, wearied, perhaps, by the news which was daily brought her of what was said in the city, had a moment of impatience in which she relapsed into her natural character, and departed from the mildness she had hitherto observed. By her orders, the unfortunate workman was flogged; other tortures were then inflicted on him, and finally he was thrown into prison in irons.§
Modestus was one of those men, not uncommon at that period, who combined unlimited faith with an ecstatic imagination. Persuaded that he was suffering in the cause of justice, he never for a moment doubted that the Almighty Power would interfere to release him. Towards midnight, the two soldiers who guarded him fell asleep, and he instantly began to pray with all the fervour of his soul, entreating God to visit him in his distress, by sending the holy bishops, Martin and Medardus, to him.* His prayer was followed by one of those strange but attested facts, in which the belief of former days saw miracles, and which the science of our own has endeavoured to explain by attributing them to the phenomena of the ecstatic state. Perhaps the firm conviction that his prayer had been granted, suddenly gave the prisoner an extraordinary increase of strength and adroitness, a kind of new sense more subtle and powerful than the others. Perhaps there was nothing more in his deliverance than a series of lucky accidents; but, from the authority of an eye-witness, he succeeded in breaking his chains, opening the door, and escaping. Bishop Gregory, who kept watch that night in the basilica of Saint Medardus, to his great surprise saw him enter and weepingly implore his blessing.†
The report of this adventure, which spread from mouth to mouth, was well calculated to increase the general excitement at Soissons. However inferior the condition of men of Roman race was at that epoch in the social state, there was something in the voice of a whole town exclaiming against the prosecution of the Bishop of Tours, which must have annoyed the adversaries of the bishop to the last degree, and even acted in his favour in the minds of the judges. Either to withdraw the members of the synod from this influence, or to remove himself from the scene of a popularity which displeased him, Hilperik decided that the assembly of bishops and the judgment of the cause should take place at the royal estate of Braine. He went thither with all his family, followed by all the bishops already assembled at Soissons. As there was no church there, but only private oratories, the members of the council received orders to hold their assemblies in one of the houses on the estate, perhaps in the great hall of wood which was used twice a year when the king resided at Braine, for the national meetings of the chiefs and freedmen of the Frankish race.‡
The first event which signalized the opening of the synod was a literary one; it was the arrival of a long piece of poetry composed by Venantius Fortunatus, and addressed to King Hilperik and to all the bishops assembled at Braine.§ The singular career which this Italian, the last poet of the aristocratic Gallo-Roman society, had created for himself by his talents and the elegance of his manners, demands here an episodical digression.∥
Born in the environs of Treviso, and educated at Ravenna, Fortunatus came to Gaul to visit the tomb of St. Martin, in fulfilment of a pious vow; but this journey being in all ways delightful to him, he made no haste to terminate it.* After having accomplished his pilgrimage to Tours, he continued to travel from town to town, and was sought and welcomed by all the rich and noble men who still piqued themselves on their refinement and elegance.† He travelled all over Gaul, from Mayence to Bordeaux, and from Toulouse to Cologne, visiting on his road the bishops, counts, and dukes, either of Gallic or Frankish origin, and finding in most of them obliging hosts, and often truly kind friends.
Those whom he left, after a stay of a longer or shorter period in their episcopal palaces, their country houses, or strong fortresses, kept up a regular correspondence with him from that period, and he replied to their letters by pieces of elegiac poetry, in which he retraced the remembrances and incidents of his journey. He spoke to every one of the natural beauties and monuments of their country; he described the picturesque spots, the rivers and forests, the culture of the land, the riches of the churches and the delights of the country-houses.‡ These pictures, sometimes tolerably accurate, and sometimes vaguely emphatic, were mixed up with compliments and flattery. The poet and wit praised the kindness, the hospitality of the Frankish nobles, not omitting the facility with which they conversed in Latin, and the political talents, the ingenuity, and the knowledge of law and business which characterized the Gallo-Roman nobles.§ To praise of the piety of the bishops and their zeal in building and consecrating new churches, he added approbation of their administrative works for the prosperity, ornament, or safety of towns. He praised one for having restored ancient edifices, a prætorium, a portico, and baths; a second for having turned the course of a river, and dug canals for irrigation; a third for having erected a citadel fortified with towers and machines of war.∥ All this, it must be owned, was marked with signs of extreme literary degeneracy, being written in a style at once pedantic and careless, full of incorrect and distorted expressions and of puerile puns; but, setting these aside, it is pleasant to witness the appearance of Venantius Fortunatus rekindling a last spark of intellectual life in Gaul, and to see this stranger becoming a common bond of union between those who, in the midst of a society declining into barbarism, here and there retained the love of literature and mental enjoyments.* Of all his friendships, the deepest and most permanent was one which he formed with a woman, Radegonda, one of the wives of King Chlother the First, then living retired at Poitiers in a convent which she had herself founded, and where she had taken the veil as a simple nun.
(ad 529.) In the year 529, Chlother, King of Neustria, had attached himself as an auxiliary to his brother Theoderik, who was marching against the Thorings or Thuringians, a people of the Saxon confederacy, and both a neighbour and enemy of the Austrasian Franks.† The Thuringians lost several battles; the bravest of their warriors were cut in pieces on the banks of the Unstrudt; their country, ravaged with fire and sword, became tributary to the victorious kings, who made an equal division of booty and prisoners.‡ Two children of royal race fell to the lot of the King of Neustria, the son and daughter of Berther, the last king but one of the Thuringians. The young girl, Radegonda, was hardly eight years old; but her grace and precocious beauty made such an impression on the sensual mind of the Frankish prince, that he resolved to have her educated so that she might one day become one of his wives.§
(ad 529 to 538.) Radegonda was carefully guarded in one of the royal palaces of Neustria, on the estate of Aties on the Somme. There, from a praiseworthy fancy of her master and future husband, she received, not the simple education of girls of the Germanic race, who learnt little besides spinning and hunting, but the refined education of rich Gallic women. To all the elegant occupations of a civilized woman, were added the study of Roman literature, and an acquaintance with the profane poets and the ecclesiastical writers.∥
Either her mind was naturally sensitive to all delicate impressions, or else the ruin of her country and family, and the scenes of barbaric life which she had witnessed, had saddened and disgusted her, for she loved books as if they had opened to her an ideal world, better than that which surrounded her.¶ When she read the Scriptures and the lives of the saints, she wept and longed for martyrdom; and probably also, less dismal dreams, dreams of peace and of liberty, accompanied her other readings. But religious enthusiasm, which then absorbed all that was noble and elevated in human faculties, soon predominated in her; and this young barbarian, in attaching herself to the ideas and customs of civilization, embraced them in their purest form, a Christian life.*
Turning her thoughts more and more from the men and things of this century of violence and brutality, she saw a marriageable age, and the moment (538) of becoming wife to the king whose captive she was, approach with terror. When the order was given to send her to the royal residence for the celebration of the nuptials, compelled by an instinct of invincible repugnance, she took flight; but she was caught, brought back, and against her will was married at Soissons, and became queen, or rather one of the queens of the Neustrian Franks; for Chlother, faithful to the customs of ancient Germany, was not, in spite of his numerous concubines, contented with one wife.† Inexpressible disgust, which in a mind like Radegonda’s the attractions of power and riches could not diminish, followed this forced union between the barbarian king and the woman who was estranged from him by the very moral perfections which he had rejoiced to find, and which he himself had caused to be cultivated in her.
(ad 538 to 544.) In order to withdraw herself, at least partly, from the duties of her condition, which weighed on her like a chain, Radegonda imposed on herself others apparently more rigorous; she devoted all her leisure to works of charity or of Christian austerity; she devoted herself personally to the service of the poor and sick. The royal house of Aties, where she had been brought up, and which she had received as a wedding gift, became a hospital for indigent women. One of the queen’s favourite occupations was, going, not merely to visit it, but to fulfil the office of nurse in all its most revolting details.‡ The pleasures of the court of Neustria, the noisy banquets, the perilous chases, the reviews and warlike tilts, the society of vassals with their loud voices and uncultivated minds, fatigued and saddened her. But if any bishop, or polished and well-informed clerk, a man of peace and mild conversation arrived, she instantly abandoned all for his society; she remained with him for hours, and when the time came for his departure, she loaded him with presents as tokens of remembrance, wished him a thousand times adieu, and relapsed into her former melancholy.*
She was never ready, either purposely or from forgetfulness, at the hours of meals which she took with her husband, and was always absorbed in instructive reading or pious exercises. It was necessary to remind her several times, and the king, tired of waiting, quarreled with her violently, without succeeding in making her more exact.† At night, under some pretext or other, she got up from his side, and went to sleep on the ground on a simple mat or hair-cloth, only returning to the nuptial couch when she was benumbed with cold, and associating in a curious manner Christian mortifications with the sentiment of insurmountable aversion with which her husband inspired her.‡ All these signs of disgust did not, however, weary the love of the King of Neustria. Chlother was not a man to feel any scruples of delicacy on that point; provided the woman whose beauty pleased him remained in his possession, he was quite indifferent to the moral violence which he exercised over her. Radegonda’s reluctance irritated him without causing any real discomfort, and in his conjugal annoyances, he contented himself with saying: “It is a nun, and not a queen that I have got.”§
And in truth, there was but one refuge, a conventual life, for this soul, wounded in all the ties which bound it to the world. Radegonda’s whole wishes aspired to it; but the obstacles were great, and six years passed before she ventured to brave them. (544.) A last family misfortune gave her courage to do so. Her brother, who had grown up at the court of Neustria as a hostage of the Thuringian nation, was put to death by the king’s orders, perhaps for some patriotic regrets or inconsiderate menaces.¶ As soon as the queen learnt this horrible news, her resolution was taken; but she concealed it. Feigning only to seek religious consolation, but in reality seeking a man capable of becoming her deliverer, she went to Noyon, to the Bishop Medardus, the son of a Frank and a Roman, a personage then celebrated throughout Gaul for his reputation of sanctity.* Chlother had not the least suspicion of this pious step, and not only did not oppose it, but even ordered every thing for the queen’s departure himself; for her tears annoyed him, and he was anxious to see her more calm and in a less melancholy humour.†
Radegonda found the Bishop of Noyon in his church, officiating at the altar. When she found herself in his presence, the feelings which agitated her, and which she had until then repressed, burst forth, and her first words were a cry of distress: “Most holy priest, I wish to leave this world, and to change my costume! I entreat thee, most holy priest, to consecrate me to the Lord!”‡ Notwithstanding the intrepidity of his faith, and fervour of proselytism, the bishop, surprised at this sudden request, hesitated, and begged for time to reflect. It was a perilous determination, that of breaking a royal marriage contracted according to the Salic law and the Germanic customs—customs, which the church, though it abhorred them, still tolerated for fear of alienating the minds of the barbarians.§
Moreover, a combat of another kind also sprang up for St. Medardus, besides the internal struggle between prudence and zeal. The Frankish nobles and warriors who had followed the queen, surrounded her, and cried to him with menacing gestures: “Do not dare to give the veil to a woman who has united herself to the king! Priest, beware of depriving the prince of a solemnly espoused queen!” The most violent, laying hands on him, dragged him with vehemence from the steps of the altar into the nave of the church, whilst the queen, frightened by the tumult, sought a refuge with her women in the vestry.∥ But there, collecting her thoughts, instead of abandoning herself to despair, she conceived an expedient in which there was as much feminine address as strength of will. To give it the best chance of success, and to put the religious zeal of the bishop to the greatest trial, she threw the dress of a nun over her royal apparel, and marched in this disguise towards the sanctuary, where sat St. Medardus, sad, pensive, and irresolute.* “If thou delayest to consecrate me,” said she in a firm voice, “and fearest men more than God, thou wilt have to render an account, and the shepherd will demand of thee the soul of his lamb.”† This unexpected apparition, and these mystical words, struck the imagination of the old bishop, and suddenly revived his expiring will. Elevating his conscience as a priest above human fears and politic cautions, he hesitated no longer, but of his own authority annulled the marriage of Radegonda, and ordained her a deaconess.‡ The nobles and vassals also partook of the enthusiasm; they did not dare to bring back by force to the royal abode, one who to them bore in future the doubly sacred character of a queen and a woman devoted to God.
The first thought of the new convert (that was the name then given to express the renunciation of the world), was to strip herself of all the jewels and valuables she wore. She covered the altar with her head ornaments, her bracelets, her clasps of precious stones, and the fringes of her robes, woven of purple and golden threads; she broke her rich girdle of massive gold with her own hands, saying, “I give it to the poor;”§ and then thought of saving herself from all danger by instantaneous flight. Free to choose her road, she directed her steps towards the south, leaving the centre of Frankish domination from an instinct of safety, and perhaps also from an instinct of refinement, which attracted her towards those regions of Gaul, in which barbarism had made least inroads; she arrived at the town of Orleans, and embarked on the Loire, which she descended as far as Tours. There she halted, to await, under the protection of the numerous sanctuaries open near the tomb of St. Martin, what the husband whom she had abandoned, would determine respecting her.∥ She led thus for some time the disturbed and restless life of the outlaws who sought refuge in sanctuaries, trembling for fear of being surprised, if she took one step beyond the protecting bounds, sending petitions to the king, sometimes haughty, sometimes suppliant, negotiating with him through the medium of the bishops, to induce him to resign himself to never seeing her again, and permitting her to accomplish her monastic vows.
(ad 544 to 550.)—Chlother at first showed himself deaf to prayers and entreaties; he claimed his right as a husband, attested the laws of his ancestors, and threatened to go himself to seize the fugitive, and bring her back. Terrified when public rumour or the letters of her friends brought her news of this kind, Radegonda then gave herself up to an increase of austerities, to fasts, vigils, and macerations in hair cloth, in hopes at the same time of obtaining assistance from above, and losing all the charms she possessed for the man who persecuted her with his love.* To augment the distance which separated them, she went from Tours to Poitiers, from the sanctuary of Saint Martin to the no less revered sanctuary of Saint Hilary. The king, however, was not to be discouraged, and he once came to Tours under the false pretext of devotion; but the energetic remonstrances of Saint Germain, the illustrious Bishop of Paris, prevented his going any further.† Controlled, so to speak, by that moral power before which the vehement will of the barbarian kings was forced to give way, he, weary of the struggle, consented that the daughter of the Thuringian kings should found a monastery for women at Poitiers; following the example given in the town of Arles by a Gallo-Roman matron, Cæsaria, the sister of the Bishop Cæsarius, or Saint Cæsaire.‡
Every thing which Radegonda had received from her husband, according to the Germanic custom, either as dowry or as morning gift, was devoted by her to the establishment of the congregation which was to form her chosen family in the place of that which she had lost by the disasters of a conquest, and the suspicious tyranny of the conquerors of her country. She laid the foundations of the new monastery, which was to be an asylum open to all women who wished to escape by retreat, from the seductions of the world or the invasions of the barbarians, in a piece of ground which she possessed at the gates of the city of Poitiers. Notwithstanding the anxiety of the queen and the assistance of Pientius, Bishop of Poitiers, several years elapsed before the building was completed;§ it was a Roman villa, with all its appurtenances, gardens, porticos, baths, and a church. Either as some symbol, or as a precaution for bodily safety against the violence of the times, the architect had given a military aspect to the exterior of this peaceful convent. The walls were high and strong like ramparts, and several towers were erected at the principal entrance.* These somewhat strange preparations made a strong impression on the general imagination, and the announcement of their progress spread abroad like news of great importance: “See,” it was said in the mystical language of the time; “see the ark which is building amongst us against the deluge of the passions, and the storms of this world.”†
The day on which every thing was ready, and the queen entered this place of refuge, which her vows ordered her never to quit until she was dead, was a day of popular rejoicing. The squares and streets of the town which she was to pass through were filled by an immense crowd; the roofs of the houses were covered with spectators anxious to see her, before the gates of the convent closed upon her.‡ She made the passage on foot, escorted by a large number of young girls, who, attracted to her by the fame of her Christian virtues, and perhaps also by the grandeur of her rank, were going to share her seclusion. Most of them were of Gallic race, and daughters of senators.§ These were the women who, from their habits of reserve and domestic tranquillity, were most likely to profit by the maternal care and pious intentions of their directress; for the women of Frankish race brought some of the original vices of barbarism even into the cloister. Their zeal was impetuous, but of short duration; and, incapable of keeping within any rule or measure, they suddenly passed from the most unbending rigidity to the complete forgetfulness of all duty and subordination.∥
(ad 550.)—It was about the year 550 when Radegonda commenced the life of peace and retirement which she had so long desired. This long dreamed-of life was a sort of compromise between the monastic austerity and the indolently luxurious habits of civilized society. The study of literature occupied the first rank among the occupations imposed on all the community; two hours of each day were to be devoted to it, and the rest of the time was employed in religious exercises, the reading of holy books, and needlework. One of the sisters read aloud during the working, which was done all together; and the most intelligent, instead of spinning, sewing, or embroidering, were busy in another room transcribing books, to multiply the copies of them.* Although severe on certain points, such as abstinence from meat and wine, the rules tolerated some of the comforts, and even some of the pleasures of a worldly life: the frequent use of the bath in large tanks of warm water, and amusements of all kinds were permitted, and, amongst others, the game of dice.† The foundress and dignitaries of the convent received as visitors not only bishops and members of the clergy, but also laymen of distinction. A sumptuous table was frequently spread for visitors and friends; delicate collations, sometimes perfect banquets were set before them, of which the queen did the honours out of courtesy, although abstaining from taking any part in them herself.‡ (ad 550 to 567.) This craving for society gave rise to parties of another kind in the convent; dramatic scenes were represented on various occasions, in which young girls from without, and probably also the novices of the house, appeared in brilliant costumes.§
Such was the order established by Radegonda in her convent of Poitiers, a compound of her personal inclinations and of the traditions preserved for half a century in the celebrated convent of Arles. After having thus traced out the plan and given the impulse to it, either from Christian humility or a stroke of policy, she abdicated all official supremacy, and made the community elect an abbess whom she took care to point out, placing herself as well as the other sisters, under her absolute authority. The woman she selected for this office was named Agnes, a girl of Gallic race, much younger than herself, but whom she had loved from infancy, and who was in turn devoted to her.* Thus willingly reduced to the rank of a simple nun, Radegonda, when her turn came, cooked, swept the house, and carried wood and water, like the rest; but, notwithstanding this apparent equality, she was queen in the convent, from her royal birth, her title of foundress, and the ascendency of intellect, learning, and goodness.† It was she who maintained the rules, or modified them at pleasure; she who strengthened wavering souls by daily exhortations; she who explained and commented on the text of the Holy Scriptures, mingling her grave homilies with little sentences full of tenderness and peculiarly feminine grace: “You, whom I have chosen, my daughters; you tender plants, objects of all my cares; you, my eyes; you, my life—you, my repose and sole happiness. . .”‡
(ad 567.)—The monastery of Poitiers had already attracted the attention of the whole Christian world for more than fifteen years, when Venantius Fortunatus, in his pilgrimage of devotion and pleasure through Gaul, visited it as one of the most remarkable sights which his travels afforded him. He was received there with flattering distinction; the warm reception which the queen was accustomed to give to men of talent and refinement was lavished on him as the most illustrious and amiable of their guests. He saw himself loaded by her and the abbess with care, attentions, and praises. This admiration, reproduced each day under various forms, and distilled, so to speak, into the ear of the poet by two women, the one older, the other younger than himself, detained him by some new charm longer than he had expected.§ Weeks, months passed, and all delays were exhausted; and when the traveller spoke of setting forth again, Radegonda said to him: “Why should you go? Why not remain with us?” This wish, uttered by friendship, was to Fortunatus a decree of fate (ad 567 to 580); he no longer thought of crossing the Alps, but settled at Poitiers, took orders there, and became a priest of the metropolitan church.*
This change of profession facilitated his intercourse with his two friends, whom he called his mother and sister, and it became still more assiduous and intimate than before.† Apart from the ordinary necessity of women being governed by a man, there were imperious reasons in the case of the foundress and abbess of the convent of Poitiers, which demanded an union of attention and firmness only to be met with in a man. The monastery had considerable property, which it was not only necessary to manage, but also to guard with daily vigilance against impositions and robberies. This security was only to be obtained by means of royal diplomas, threats of excommunication from the bishops, and perpetual negotiations with dukes, counts, and judges, who were little anxious to act from duty, but who did a great deal from interest or private friendship. A task like this demanded both address and activity, frequent journeys, visits to the courts of kings, the talent of pleasing powerful men, and of treating with all sorts of people. Fortunatus employed in it all his knowledge of the world and the resources of his mind with as much success as zeal; he became the counsellor, confidential agent, ambassador, steward, and secretary, of the queen and the abbess.‡ His influence, absolute in external matters, was hardly less so on the internal order and arrangements of the house; he was the arbitrator of little quarrels, the moderator of rival passions and feminine spite. All mitigations of the rules, all favours, holidays, and extra repasts were obtained through his intervention and at his request.§ He even had, to a certain extent, the direction of consciences; and his advice, sometimes given in verse, always inclined to the least rigid side.∥ Moreover, Fortunatus combined great suppleness of mind with considerable freedom of manners. A Christian chiefly through his imagination, as has been frequently said of the Italians, his orthodoxy was irreproachable, but in his practice of life he was effeminate and sensual. He abandoned himself without restraint to the pleasures of the table; and not only was he always found a jovial guest, a great drinker, and an inspired singer at the banquets given by his rich patrons, both Romans and barbarians, but, in imitation of the customs of imperial Rome, he sometimes dined alone on several courses.* Clever as all women are at retaining and attaching to themselves a friend by the weak points of his character, Radegonda and Agnes rivaled each other in encouraging this gross propensity, in the same way that they flattered in him a less ignoble defect, that of literary vanity. They sent daily to Fortunatus’ dwelling the best part of the meals of the house;† and not content with this, they had dishes, which were forbidden them by the rules, dressed for him with all possible care. These were meats of all kinds, seasoned in a thousand different ways, and vegetables dressed with gravy or honey, and served up in dishes of silver, jasper, and crystal.‡ At other times he was invited to take his repast at the convent, and then not only was the entertainment of the most delicate kind, but the ornaments of the dining-room were of a refined coquetry. Wreaths of odoriferous flowers adorned the walls, and rose-leaves covered the table instead of a table-cloth.§ Wine flowed into beautiful goblets for the guests to whom it was interdicted by no vow; there was almost a reflex of the suppers of Horace or Tibullus in the elegance of this repast, offered to a Christian poet by two recluses dead to the world. The three actors in this singular drama addressed each other by tender names, the meaning of which a heathen would certainly have misunderstood. The names of mother and sister, from the lips of the Italian, were accompanied by such epithets as these: my life, my light, delight of my soul; and all this was only, in truth, an exalted but chaste friendship, a sort of intellectual love.∥ With regard to the abbess, who was little more than thirty when this liaison began, this intimacy appeared suspicious, and became the subject of scandalous insinuations. The reputation of the priest Fortunatus suffered from them, and he was obliged to defend himself, and to protest that he only felt for Agnes like a brother, a purely spiritual love, a celestial affection. He did it with dignity, in some verses, in which he takes Christ and the Virgin as witnesses of the innocence of his heart.*
This man of frivolous and gay disposition, whose maxim was to enjoy the present, and always to look on the bright side of life, was, in his conversations with the daughter of the King of Thuringia, the confidant of deep suffering, of melancholy reminiscences of which he felt himself incapable.† Radegonda had attained the age when the hair begins to whiten, without having forgotten any of the impressions of her early childhood; and at fifty, the memory of the days spent in her own country amidst her friends, came to her as fresh and as painful as at the moment of her capture. She often said, “I am a poor captive woman:” she delighted in retracing, even in their smallest details, the scenes of desolation, of murder, and of violence, of which she had been a witness, and partly a victim.‡ After so many years of exile, and notwithstanding a total change of tastes and habits, the remembrance of the paternal fireside, and the old family affections, remained to her objects of worship and of love; it was the remnant, the only one she had retained, of the Germanic manners and character. The images of her dead or banished parents never ceased to be present to her, in spite of her new attachments, and the peace of mind she had acquired. There was even something vehement, an almost savage ardour, in her yearnings towards the last remnants of her race, towards the son of her uncle, who had taken refuge at Constantinople, towards cousins born in exile, and whom she only knew by name.§ This woman, who, in a strange land, had never been able to love any thing which was not both Christian and civilized, coloured her patriotic regrets with a rude poetry, a reminiscence of national songs which she had formerly heard in the wooden palace of her ancestors, or on the heaths of her country. The traces of them are still visibly, though certainly in a softened degree, to be met with here and there in some pieces of poetry, in which the Italian poet, speaking in the name of the queen of the barbarians, endeavours to render her melancholy confidences in the way that he received them from her:
“I have seen women carried into slavery, with bound hands and flowing hair; one walked barefooted in the blood of her husband, the other passed over the corpse of her brother.* Each one has had cause for tears, and I, I have wept for all. I have wept for my relations who have died, and I must weep for those who remain alive. When my tears cease to flow, when my sighs are hushed, my sorrow is not silent. When the wind murmurs, I listen if it brings me any news; but no shadow of my relations presents itself to me.† A whole world divides me from what I love most. Where are they? I ask it of the wind that whistles; I ask it of the clouds that float by: I wish some bird would come and tell me of them.‡ Ah! if I was not withheld by the sacred walls of this convent, they would see me arrive at the moment when they least expected me. I would set out in bad weather; I would sail joyfully through the tempest. The sailors might tremble, but I should have no fear. If the vessel split, I would fasten myself to a plank, and continue my voyage; and if I could seize no fragment, I would swim to them.”§
Such was the life which Fortunatus had led since the year 567, a life consisting of religion without moroseness, of affection without anxiety, of grave cares, and leisure filled with agreeable trifling. This last and curious example of an attempt at uniting Christian perfection with the social refinements of ancient civilization, would have passed away without leaving any trace, if the friend of Agnes and Radegonda had not himself, in his poetical works, noted even the smallest phases of the destiny, which with so perfect an instinct of happiness, he had chosen for himself. In them is found inscribed almost day by day, the history of this society of three persons connected by a strong sympathy, the love of every thing elegant, and the want of lively and intellectual conversation. There are verses on all the little events of which this sweet and monotonous mode of existence was made up—on the pain of separation, the dulness of absence and the delights of return; on little presents made and received, on flowers, fruits, and all sorts of dainties, on willow-baskets, which the poet amused himself in plaiting with his own. hands as gifts for his two friends.* There are some on the suppers of the three in the convent, animated by delicious chats,† and for the solitary repasts in which Fortunatus, whilst eating his utmost, regretted having only one pleasure at a time, and not having his eyes and ears charmed as well.‡ Finally, there are some on the sad and happy days which every year brought round, such as the anniversary of Agnes’ birth, and the first day of Lent, when Radegonda, in obedience to a vow, shut herself up in a cell, to pass there the time of that long fast.§ “Where is my light hidden? Wherefore does she conceal herself from my eyes?” the poet then exclaimed in a passionate accent which might have been thought profane; and when Easterday, and the end of this long absence arrived, he then, mingling the similes of a madrigal with the grave reflections of the Christian faith, said to Radegonda: “Thou hadst robbed me of my happiness; now it returns to me with thee: thou makest me doubly celebrate this solemn festival.”∥
To the delights of a tranquillity unique in that century, the Italian emigrant added that of a glory which was no less so, and he was even able to deceive himself as to the duration of the expiring literature of which he was the last and most frivolous representative. The barbarians admired him, and did their best to delight in his witticisms;¶ his slightest works, such as notes written whilst the bearer was waiting, simple distichs improvised at table, spread from hand to hand, were read, copied, and learned by heart; his religious poems and verses addressed to the kings were objects of public expectation.* On his arrival in Gaul, he had celebrated the marriage of Sighebert and Brunehilda, in the heathen style, and the conversion of the Arian Brunehilda to the Catholic faith in the Christian style.† The warlike character of Sighebert, the conqueror of the nations beyond the Rhine, was the first theme of his poetical flatteries; later, when settled at Poitiers in the kingdom of Haribert, he wrote the praise of a pacific king in honour of that unwarlike prince.‡ Haribert died in the year 567, and the precarious situation of the town of Poitiers, alternately taken by the Kings of Neustria and Austrasia, obliged the poet to observe a prudent silence for a long while, and his tongue became unloosed only on the day on which the city he inhabited appeared to him to have definitely fallen into the power of King Hilperik. He then composed for that king his first panegyric in elegiac verses; this was the piece mentioned above, and the sending of which to Braine gave rise to this long episode.
(ad 580.) The occasion of the holding of this council was adroitly seized by Fortunatus in the interest of his literary success, for the bishops assembled at Braine were the first of the men of science and talent of Gaul, forming a real academy. Besides, in placing his work under their patronage, he carefully refrained from making the slightest allusion to the difficult case they were called upon to judge. Not a word on the painful trial to which Gregory of Tours, the first of his literary confidants, his friend and benefactor, was about to submit.§ Nothing, in this piece of a hundred and fifty lines, which related to the circumstances which presented a reflection of the local colouring, or a feature of individual physiognomy. Nothing was to be seen in it but fine generalities applicable to all times and places; an assembly of venerable prelates, a king, a model of justice, enlightenment, and courage, a queen admirable for her virtues, grace, and amiability; fancy figures, pure abstractions, as unlike the reality, as was the political state of Gaul to the peaceful retreat of the convent of Poitiers.∥
After the bishops had admired with the false feeling and easy taste of epochs of literary degeneracy, the poetical tricks, the exaggerations and subtleties of the panegyrist, they were obliged to return from the chimeras of this ideal to the impressions of real life. The opening of the synod took place, and all the judges took their seats on benches set round the hall of assembly. The vassals and Frankish warriors pressed in crowds to the doors of the hall, as in the trial of Prætextatus, but with very different dispositions with regard to the accused.* Far from trembling with rage and indignation at his sight, they showed him only respect, and even shared the exalted sympathies of the Gallo-Roman population in his favour. King Hilperik’s face wore a look of starched gravity which was not habitual to him. It seemed either as if he was afraid to face the adversary whom he had himself provoked, or that he felt himself embarrassed by the scandal of a public inquiry into the queen’s morals.
At his entrance he saluted all the members of the council, and having received their blessing, he sat down.† Then Berthramn, Bishop of Bordeaux, who passed for the accomplice of Fredegonda’s adulteries, spoke as the accusing party; he exposed the facts of the case, and summoning Gregory, he required him to declare if it was true that he had uttered any such imputations against him and the queen.‡ “Truly, I have never said any thing of the kind,” answered the Bishop of Tours. “But,” instantly returned Berthramn with a vivacity which might appear suspicious, “these wicked rumours have been spread; thou must know something about them?” The accused answered in a calm voice: “Others have said so; I may have heard them, but I never believed them.”§
The slight murmur of satisfaction which these words excited in the assembly, was converted outside into stamping and clamour. Notwithstanding the king’s presence, the Frankish vassals, strangers to the idea which the Romans entertained of the majesty of royalty, and the sacredness of judiciary assemblies, suddenly interposed in the debate with exclamations expressive of a rude liberty of speech. “Why are such things imputed to a priest of God? Whence comes it that the king prosecutes such an affair? Is the bishop capable of saying such things even about a slave? Ah! Lord God! help thy servant!”∥ At these cries of opposition, the king rose, but without anger, and as if used by long experience to the brutal frankness of his leudes. Raising his voice so that the crowd outside might hear his apology, he said to the assembly, “The imputation directed against my wife is an outrage to me; it was my duty to resent it. If you think right that witnesses against the bishop should be produced, here they are present; but if you think that this should not be done, but that the veracity of the bishop should be trusted, say so, and I willingly abide by whatever you determine.”*
The bishops, delighted and somewhat surprised at this moderation and docility in King Hilperik, permitted him immediately to bring forward the witnesses whose presence he announced; but he was only able to introduce one, the subdeacon Rikulf.† Plato and Gallienus persisted that they had nothing to declare. As to Leudaste, profiting by his liberty and the disorder which prevailed at the settling of these proceedings, not only had he not come to the meeting, but had moreover taken the precaution of absenting himself from the scene of the debates. Rikulf, audacious to the end, began to speak; but the members of the synod stopped him, calling out on all sides, “A priest of inferior rank cannot in law he believed against a bishop.‡ ”
All witnesses being thus set aside, nothing remained but to be satisfied with the word and oath of the accused; the king, faithful to his promise, made no objection to the principle, but caviled respecting the form. Either from some caprice of imagination, or because vague remembrances of some old Germanic superstitions came into his mind under Christian forms, he wanted the justification of Bishop Gregory to be accompanied by strange acts, tending to make it resemble a sort of magic trial. He insisted that the bishop should say mass three times following at three different altars, and that, at the end of each mass, standing on the steps of the altar, he should swear that he had not held the language which was attributed to him.§
There was already something unsuited to the ideas and practices of orthodoxy in the celebration of mass added to an oath, with the view of rendering it more terrible; but the accumulation of oaths for one and the same fact was formally contrary to the canons of the church. The members of the synod acknowledged this, but were nevertheless of opinion that this concession to the king’s singular fancies should be made. Gregory himself consented to infringe the rule which he had so many times proclaimed. Perhaps, being personally accused, he made it a point of honour not to draw back from any kind of trial; perhaps also, in that house, where every thing had a Germanic look, where the appearance of the men was that of barbarians, and customs still half heathenish, he did not possess the same energy, the same liberty of conscience, as in the inclosure of the Gallic towns, or under the roofs of the basilicas.*
Whilst these events were passing, Fredegonda, retired at some distance, awaited the decision of the judges, feigning a passive calmness, and meditating in her heart on a cruel retaliation on the condemned, whoever they might be. Her daughter Rigontha, more from antipathy to her than any sincere feeling of affection for the Bishop of Tours, seemed to be deeply moved by the tribulations of this man, whom she hardly knew but by name, and whose merits she was moreover incapable of appreciating. Shut up that day in her apartment, she fasted and made her attendants fast, until the hour that a servant whom she had bribed came to announce that the bishop was declared innocent.† It appears that the king, in order to give a sign of his full and entire confidence in the members of the council, abstained from following up in person the trials which he had demanded, and left the bishops alone to accompany the accused to the oratory of the palace of Braine, where the three masses were said and the three oaths taken on the three altars. Immediately afterwards, the council met again; Hilperik had already taken his seat; the president of the assembly remained standing, and said with majestic gravity, “O king! the bishop has accomplished all the things which had been prescribed to him; his innocence is proved; and now what have we to do? It only remains for us to deprive thee and Berthramn, the accuser of one of his Christian brethren, of Christian communion.”‡ Astonished at this unexpected sentence, the king changed countenance, and, with the confused look of a schoolboy who throws his fault on his accomplices, he answered, “But I said nothing but what I had heard.” “Who said it first?” asked the president of the council in a firmer tone of authority.§ “It is from Leudaste that I learned all,” replied the king still agitated by having heard the sound of the terrible word excommunication in his ears.
The order was at once given to bring Leudaste to the bar of the assembly, but he was neither to be found in the palace nor its neighbourhood; he had prudently made his escape. The bishops determined to outlaw and excommunicate him.∥ When the deliberation was ended, the president of the synod rose, and pronounced the anathema according to the accustomed formula:—
“By the judgment of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and in virtue of the power granted to the apostles and the successors of the apostles, of loosing and unloosing in heaven and on earth, we all together decree that Leudaste, a sower of scandal, the accuser of the queen and false denouncer of a bishop, seeing that he has avoided the assembly to avoid its decision, shall henceforth be separated from the pale of the holy mother church, and excluded from Christian communion in the present life, and in the life to come.* Let no Christian salute him, or give him the kiss of peace. Let no priest celebrate mass for him, nor administer to him the holy communion of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Let no person keep company with him, nor receive him in his house, nor treat of any affair with him, nor eat, drink, nor converse with him, unless it be to induce him to repent.† Let him be cursed by God the Father, who made man; let him be cursed by God the Son, who suffered for man; let him be cursed by the Holy Ghost, who enters into us when we are baptized; let him be cursed by all the saints who since the commencement of the world have found grace in the sight of God. Let him be cursed wherever he is, in the house or in the field, in the high road or in the footpath. Let him be cursed living or dying, waking or sleeping, working or resting. Let him be cursed in all the vigour and all the organs of his body. Let him be cursed in all his limbs, and let him not have a single healthy part, from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet.‡ Let him be delivered to eternal torments with Dathan and Abiron, and with those who have said to the Lord: Retire thou from us. And as fire is extinguished in the water, so let his light be extinguished forever, unless he should repent and come to give satisfaction.” At these last words all the members of the council, who had listened until then in devout silence, raised their voices, and exclaimed several times, “Amen, so be it, so be it; let him be anathematized; Amen, Amen.”§
This verdict, of which the religious threats were truly fearful, and the civil effects equivalent to outlawry for the condemned, was announced in a circular letter to all those bishops of Neustria who had not attended the council.* They then passed to the judgment of the subdeacon Rikulf, convicted, by the justification of the Bishop of Tours, of giving false evidence. The Roman law, which was that of all ecclesiastics, without distinction of race, punished the calumnious accusation of a capital crime, such as high treason, with death:† this law was applied in all its rigour, and the synod pronounced a sentence against the priest Rikulf, which delivered him over to the secular arm. This was the last act of the assembly; it separated immediately afterwards, and each of the bishops, having taken leave of the king, prepared to return to his diocese.‡ Before thinking of departure, Gregory solicited the pardon of the man who had pursued him with his impostures with such perversity and effrontery. Hilperik was then in a mild mood, either from the joy which he felt at the termination of the embarrassments into which the care of his conjugal honour had hurried him, or because he had at heart the wish of atoning, by polite attention, for the wrongs of the Bishop of Tours. At his prayer, he remitted the capital punishment, and only retained the torture, which, according to the Roman legislature, was inflicted, not as a punishment, but as a supplementary examination.§
Fredegonda herself decided that it was in her policy to ratify this act of clemency, and to leave life to one whom a solemn judgment had delivered into her hands. But it seems as if in sparing him she wanted to try on him the experiment of how much pain a man could endure without dying; and in this ferocious amusement, she was but too well seconded by the officious zeal of the vassals and servants of the palace, who emulated each other as the executioners of the condemned. “I do not think,” says the cotemporary narrator, who is here no other than the Bishop of Tours, “I do not think that any inanimate thing, any metal could have resisted all the blows with which this poor unfortunate was bruised. From the third hour of the day to the ninth, he remained suspended from a tree by his hands tied behind his back. At the ninth hour he was taken down, and stretched on a rack where he was beaten with sticks, rods, and leathern straps doubled, and this, not by one or two men, but as many as could approach him set to work and struck him.∥ ”
His sufferings, as well as his resentment against Leudaste, whose tool he had been, combined to make him reveal the still unknown foundation of this dark intrigue. He said that in accusing the queen of adultery, his two accomplices and himself had for object her expulsion from the kingdom with her two sons, in order that Chlodowig, the son of Audowera, should alone remain to succeed his father. He added that, according to their hopes, in case of success, Leudaste was to be made a duke, the priest Rikulf a bishop, and himself Archdeacon of Tours.* These revelations did not directly charge young Chlodowig with participating in the plot, but his interests had been connected with those of the three conspirators; Fredegonda did not forget it, and from that moment he was marked in her mind among her mortal enemies.
News traveled slowly in that century, unless carried by express; and thus several weeks elapsed before the issue of the trial carried on at Soissons and judged at Braine, could be known. During these days of uncertainty, the citizens, anxious respecting the fate of their bishop, suffered moreover from the troubles caused by the turbulence and boasting of the enemies of Gregory. Their chief, the priest Rikulf, had of his own private authority, installed himself in the episcopal palace, and there, as if he had already possessed the title of bishop, the object of his vain ambition, exercised the absolute power then attached to that title.† Disposing of the property of the metropolitan church as if he was its master, he made out an inventory of all the plate; and to secure himself adherents, he began by distributing rich gifts to the principal members of the clergy, giving valuable furniture to one, and fields or vineyards to others. As to the priests of inferior rank, of whom he thought he was in no want, he treated them in a perfectly different manner, and only let them feel the power he had arrogated to himself, by acts of rigour and violence. For the least fault, he had them beaten with sticks, or struck them with his own hand, saying, “acknowledge your master.”‡ He repeated constantly in a tone of emphatic vanity: “It is I, who by my wisdom, have purged the city of Tours of that brood which came from Auvergne.”§ If his intimate friends ever expressed any doubt of the success of this usurpation, and the sincerity of those whom his extravagant largesses attracted to him, he said with a smile of superiority: “Leave me alone; a prudent man is never taken by surprise; he can only be deceived by perjury.”*
This braggart, so full of himself, was suddenly roused from his dreams of ambition by the arrival of Gregory, who made his entry into Tours amidst universal rejoicing. Compelled to restore the episcopal palace to its legitimate possessor, Rikulf did not come to salute the bishop, as not only the members of the clergy but all the other citizens did on that day. At first he affected airs of scorn, and a kind of silent bravado; then his impotent malice turned to frenzy, he used furious language, and talked of nothing but threats of death.†
Gregory, always observant of forms, did not hasten to use force against this dangerous enemy; but, proceeding calmly and without intimidation, he united the suffragans of the see of Tours in a provincial synod. His letters of convocation were addressed individually to the bishops of all the cities of the third Lyonnese province, excepting those possessed by the Bretons, a people as jealous of their religious as of their political independence, and whose national church had no fixed and regular relations with the church of the Gauls.‡ The bishops of Angers, of the Mans, and of Rennes, took deeply to heart the peace of the church of Tours, and the interest of its bishop. But Felix, Bishop of Nantes, either by his absence from the synod, or the part he took in the deliberations, gave unequivocal signs of ill-will to Gregory, and partiality to his enemies. He was a man of Gallic race and of high birth, who said he was descended from the ancient sovereign chiefs of the territory of Aquitania, and reckoned amongst his ancestors prefects of the pretorium, patricians and consuls.§ To this nobility, of which he was very proud, he added qualities rare in his time; a strong and enterprising mind, the talent of speaking with eloquence and writing with facility, and a spark of that administrative genius which shone in Gaul under the Roman government.∥
Bishop of a frontier incessantly menaced by the hostile inroads of the Bretons, and which the Merovingian kings were unable always to protect, Felix had taken upon himself to provide for every thing, to watch at the same time over the safety and prosperity of his diocese.* In default of an army, he opposed vigilant policy and adroit negotiations to the encroachments of the Bretons; and when security was restored around him, he executed out of his own funds works of public utility.† In the midst of this life of activity and impulses given to improvements, his character had contracted something fierce and imperious, very different from the ideal of a priest according to the apostolical traditions. He once happened to have a great desire for a domain which the church of Tours possessed near Nantes, and which was perhaps necessary to him for the accomplishment of a great enterprize, that of altering the course of the Loire, and of making a new bed for the river, a plan advantageous both to agriculture and commerce.‡ With his scrupulous and somewhat rigid regularity, Gregory refused to give up the smallest portion of the property of the church; and this dispute becoming violent by degrees, gave rise to a pen and ink warfare, which doubtless caused great scandal. (ad 576—580.) They addressed to one another, in the form of letters, diatribes, which they took care to communicate to their friends, and which circulated publicly like real pamphlets.
In this conflict of bitter words and injurious accusations, the Bishop of Tours, more candid, less bad tempered, and less witty than his adversary, was far from having the advantage.—To the cutting and furious reproaches with which Felix loaded him on account of his refusal to relinquish the contested property, he answered with doctoral good humour: “Remember the words of the prophet: Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!”§ And when the irascible Bishop of Nantes, setting aside the object of the controversy, endeavoured to throw ridicule and odium on the person and family of his antagonist, Gregory found only sallies of this kind in reply: “Oh! if Marseilles had thee for its bishop, the ships would no longer bring in oil or other provisions of that kind; nothing but cargoes of papyrus, that thou mightest have wherewith to write at thy ease, to defame worthy people; but the want of paper puts a stop to thy idle talk . . .”*
Perhaps the misunderstanding which divided the Bishops of Tours and Nantes had deeper causes than this accidental dispute. The imputation of immoderate pride, which Gregory addressed to Felix, gives us reason to think that some rivalry of aristocracy existed between them.† It seems as if the descendant of the ancient princes of Aquitania suffered at finding himself hierarchically submitting to a man of nobility inferior to his own, or that, from an exaggerated sentiment of local patriotism, he would have wished the ecclesiastical dignities in the western provinces to have been the exclusive patrimony of the great families of the country. Thence arose probably his sympathy and understanding with the faction at Tours, who hated Gregory because he was a stranger; for he had long known and even favoured the intrigues of the priest Rikulf.‡
(ad 580.) These evil dispositions of the most powerful and talented of the suffragans of the bishopric of Tours, did not prevent the provincial synod from assembling regularly and administering justice. Rikulf, condemned as an abettor of disturbances and a rebel to his bishop, was sent into seclusion in a monastery, the place of which is not mentioned.§ Hardly a month had elapsed after he had been shut up there under careful superintendence, when some trusty adherents of the Bishop of Nantes dexterously introduced themselves to the abbot who governed the monastery. They employed all sorts of stratagems to circumvent him; and with the aid of false oaths they obtained from him permission for the absence of the prisoner, under promise of his return. But Rikulf, when he found himself outside, took flight, and hastened to Felix, who received him with pleasure, thus braving the authority of his metropolitan in the most insulting manner.∥ This was the last and perhaps the keenest annoyance caused to the Bishop of Tours by this wretched affair; for it was the work of a man of the same origin, the same rank, and the same education as himself; a man of whom he could not say, as of his other enemies, whether of barbarian race, or equally ignorant and slaves to their passions as the barbarians, “My God, they know not what they do.”
Meanwhile, Leudaste, outlawed by a sentence of excommunication, and by a royal edict, which forbade every one from procuring for him either a home, bread, or shelter, led a wandering life, full of perils and obstacles. He came from Braine to Paris with the intention of taking refuge in the basilica of St. Peter; but the anathema which declared him excluded from the asylum offered to all outlaws, obliged him to renounce this plan, and confide in the fidelity and courage of some friend.* Whilst he was hesitating what direction he should take, he learnt that his only son was just dead; this news, it appears, awoke in him all his family affections, and inspired him with an irresistible desire to see his own fireside again. Concealing his name, and walking alone in the poorest dress possible, he took the road to Tours; and on his arrival crept stealthily into the house which his wife inhabited.† When he had devoted to paternal emotions some moments which the fickleness of his character and his pressing anxieties must have rendered very short, he hastened to place in safety the money and valuables which he had amassed by his plunder while in office.
He kept up relations of mutual hospitality in the country of Bourges with some persons of Germanic origin, relations which, according to the barbarian customs, imposed duties so sacred that neither the prohibitions of the law nor even the menaces of religion could prevail against them. It was in the care of his hosts that he resolved to place all the riches he possessed, until better days; and he had time to send off the largest portion of them before the edict of proscription issued against him was promulgated at Tours.‡ But these moments of respite were not of long duration; the royal messengers brought the fatal decree, escorted by a troop of armed men, who, from evidence gathered from stage to stage, followed the trace of the outlaw. They surrounded Leudaste’s house; he had the good fortune to escape; but his wife, less fortunate, was seized and conveyed to Soissons, and afterwards, by the king’s orders, exiled to the neighbouring country of Tournai.§
The fugitive, taking the same road as the wagons which carried his treasure, went towards the town of Blois, and entered the territory of King Gonthramn, where Hilperik’s followers did not venture to pursue him. He arrived at his host’s house at the same time as his baggage, the aspect and volume of which, unfortunately for him, tempted the inhabitants of the place.∥ Thinking the property of a stranger a fair prize, they assembled to seize it; and the judge of the district placed himself at their head, in order to have his share of the booty. Leudaste had with him no power able to repulse such an attack, and if his hosts endeavoured to assist him, their resistance was fruitless. Every thing was pillaged by the aggressors, who carried off the money-bags, the gold and silver plate, the furniture, and the clothes, only leaving the plundered man what he had on, and threatening to kill him if he did not depart as quickly as possible.* Again obliged to fly, Leudaste retraced his steps, and audaciously took the road to Tours: the want to which he now found himself reduced, had inspired him with a desperate resolution.
As soon as he had reached the frontier of the kingdom of Hilperik, and of his own former government, he announced in the first village, that there was a good move to be made on the estates of King Gonthramn, at the distance of a day’s march, and that every man of courage who would run the risk of this adventure, should be generously rewarded. Young peasants and vagabonds of all classes, who were then never wanting on the high roads, assembled at this news, and followed the ex-count of Tours without much inquiring where he was leading them. Leudaste took his measures so as to arrive speedily at the spot which his spoilators inhabited, and fell suddenly on the house where he had seen the produce of their plunder stored away. This bold manœuvre was perfectly successful; the Tourangeaux attacked bravely, killed one man, wounded several, and took back a considerable portion of the booty which the people of the Berri had not yet divided amongst themselves.†
Elated by this stroke of policy, and the protestations of devotion which he received after distributing his bounty, Leudaste thought himself in future powerful against any enemy whomsoever, and recovering his former presumption, took up his abode in (581) the neighbourhood of Tours, taking no care to conceal his presence. On the reports of it which were spread, Duke Berulf sent his officers with a troop of armed men to seize the outlaw.‡ Leudaste narrowly escaped falling into their hands; just on the point of being seized, he contrived to slip away, but it was by abandoning all the money and furniture which remained to him.
Whilst an inventory of the wrecks of his fortune was being made out, as belonging to the fisc, and sent off to Soissons, he himself, following the opposite road, endeavoured to reach Poitiers, there to take refuge, despairing of his cause, in the basilica of St. Hilary.*
It seems as if the neighbourhood of the convent of Radegonda, and even the character of this mild and revered woman had shed over the church of Poitiers an indulgent spirit which distinguished it from all others. This is, at least, the only possible explanation of the charitable reception which a man at once outlawed and excommunicated found in the bosom of this church, after having found the sanctuary of St. Martin of Tours and the basilicas of Paris closed against him. Leudaste’s joy at finding himself once more in safety was at first very great, but it soon diminished; and he felt only what was insupportable to his vanity, the humiliation of being one of the poorest of those who shared with him the sanctuary of St. Hilary. To avoid this, and to satisfy his inveterate love of sensuality and debauchery, he organized into a band of robbers the most worthless and the most determined of his companions in the sanctuary. When the police of the town was less strong or less vigilant than usual, the ex-count of Tours, informed of it by his spies, left the basilica of St. Hilary at the head of his troop, and running to some house which had been pointed out to him as a rich one, he carried off by force the money and valuable plate, or ransomed the terrified proprietors on his own terms.† Loaded with booty, the bandits instantly re-entered the inclosure of the basilica, where they divided it, and then ate, drank, quarreled, or played dice together.
Sometimes the holy sanctuary became the scene of still more shameful excesses; Leudaste brought there women of disorderly lives, some of whom, married women, were found in adultery with him under the porticos of the church.‡ Either because at the report of these scandalous occurrences, an order was issued from the Court of Soissons prescribing the rigorous execution of the sentence passed at Braine, or because Radegonda herself, shocked by these profanations, begged for the expulsion of Leudaste, he was driven from the sanctuary of St. Hilary as unworthy of all pity.§ Not knowing where to rest his head, he once more applied to his friends in the Berri. Notwithstanding the obstacles raised around them by recent events, their friendship contrived to find him a retreat, which he himself abandoned after some time, impelled to it by his petulant humour and vicious inclinations.* He resumed the wandering and adventurous life which was to lead him to his ruin: but even had he been endowed with prudence and foresight, there was no longer any safety for him; an inevitable fatality hung over his head, the revenge of Fredegonda, who could sometimes wait, but never could forget.
[* ] Cracina Pictavensis insula vocitatur, in qua a fiscalis vinitoris servo, Leocadio nomine, nascitur. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. v. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 261.) V. Adriani Valesii Notit. Galliar., p. 463.
[† ] Exinde ad servitium arcessitus, culinæ regiæ deputatur. (Greg. Turon., loc. supr. cit.)
[‡ ] Ipse vero (Chilpericus) jam regressus Parisius, familias multas de domibus fiscalibus auferri præcipit et in plaustris componi ...... multi vero meliores natu, qui vi compellebantur abire, testamenta condiderunt. (Ibid., lib. vi. p. 289.)
[* ] Sed quia lippis erat in adolescentia oculis, quibus fumi acerbiias non congruebat, amotus a pistillo promovetur ad cophinum. (Ibid., lib. v. t. ii. p. 261.)
[† ] Sed dum inter fermentatas massas se delectari consimulat, servitium fugam iniens dereliquit. (Ibid.)
[‡ ] Cùmque bis aut tertio reductus a fugæ lapsu teneri non posset, auris unius incisione multatur. (Ibid.)
[§ ] Dehinc cùm notam intlictam corpori occulere nulla auctoritate valeret ...... (Ibid.)
[∥ ] Ad Marcovefum reginam, quam Charibertus rex nimium diligens, in loco sororis thoro adsciverat, fugit. (Ibid.)
[* ] Quæ libenter eum colligens, provocat, equorumque meliorum deputat esse custodem.—(Ibid.) Si mariscalcus, qui super xii. caballos est, occiditur ... (Lex Alemannor. tit. lxxix. § iv.) Lex salica, tit. ii. § vi.
[Hence, obviously, the modern words, Marschalk, Marischal, Maréchal, Marshal]—Ed.
[† ] Hinc jain obsessus, vanitati ac superbiæ deditus, comitatum ambit stabulorum (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc. lib. v. apud Script Rer. Gallic et Francic., t. ii. p. 261.) V. Ducange, Glossar. ad Script. med. et infin. Latinit voce Comes.
[‡ ] Quo accepto, cunctos despicit ac postponit: inflatur vanitate, luxuria dissolvitur (Greg. Turon., Hist. Franc., lib. v. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 261.)
[§ ] Cupiditate succenditur, et in causis patronæ alum nus proprius huc illucque defertur. (Ibid.)
[∥ ] Cujus post obitum refertus prædis locum ipsum cum rege Chariberto oblato munerious tenere cœpit. Post hæc, peccatis populi ingruentibus, comes Turonis destinatur. (Ibid.)
[* ] Ubique se amplius honoris gloriosi supercilio jactat; ibi se exhibet rapacem prædis, turgidum rixis, adulteriis lutulentum. (Ibid.)
[† ] Ubi seminando discordias. et inferendo calumnias, non modicos thesauros adgregavit. (Ibid.)
[* ] Post obitum vero Chariberti, cùm in Sigiberti sortem civitas illa venisset, transeunte eo ad Chilpericum, omnia quæ inique adgregaverat, a fidelibus nominati regis direpta sunt. (Ibid.)
[† ] Pervadente igitur Chilperico rege per Theodobertum filium urbem Turonicas, cùm jam ego Turonis advenissem. (Ibid.) See above, Second Narrative.
[‡ ] Mihi a Theodoberto strenue commendatur, ut scilicot comitatu quem prius habuerat, potiretur. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. v. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 261.)
[* ] Ergo dum et fidem et utilitatem tuam videmur habere compertam, ideo tibi actionem comitatus in pago illo ...... tibi ad agendum regendumque commisimus. (Charta de ducatu vel comitatu., Marculfi Formul., lib. i. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 472.)
[† ] Viduis et pupillis maximus defensor appareas; latronum et malefactorum scelera a te severissime reprimantur; ut populi bene viventes sub tuo regimine gaudentes debeant consistere quieti: et quidquid de ipsa actione in fisci ditionibus speratur, per vosmetipsos annis singulis nostris ærariis inferatur. (Ibid.)
[* ] Timaebat enim, quod postea evenit, ne urbem illam iterum rex Sigibertus in suum dominium revocaret (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. v. apud Script Rer. Gallic et Francic., t. ii. p. 261.)
[† ] Multum se nobis humilem subditumque reddebat, jurans sæpius super sepulcrum sancti Antistitis, numquam se contra rationis ordinem esse venturum, seque mihi, tam in causis propriis, quam in ecclesiæ necessitatibus, in omnibus esse fidelem. (Ibid.)
[‡ ] See above, Second Narrative.
[§ ] Sed dum Sigibertus duos annos Turonis tenuit, hic in Britannis latuit (Ibid.)
[∥ ] Quo defuncto, succedente iterum Chilperico in regeum, iste in comitatum accedit. (Ibid.)
[* ] Jam si in judicio cum senioribus, vel laicis, vel clericis resedisset, et vidisset hominem justitiam prosequentem, protinus agebatur in furias. (Ibid.)
[† ] Ructabat convicia in cives. (Ibid.)
[‡ ] Presbyteros manicis jubebat extrahi, milites fustibus verberari; tantaque utebatur crudelitate, ut vix referri possit. (Ibid.)
[* ] In tali levitate elatus est, ut in domo ecclesiæ cum thoracibus atque loricis, præcinctus pharetra, et contum manu gerens, capite galeato ingrederetur. (Ibid.)
[† ] Discedente autem Merovecho, qui res ejus diripuerat, nobis calumnatior exsistit, adserens fallaciter Merovechum nostro usum consilio, ut res ejus auferret. (Ibid.) See above, the Third Narrative.
[‡ ] Sed post inlata damna, iterat iterum sacramenta, pallamque sepulchri beati Martini fidejussorem donat, se nobis nunquam adversaturum. (Ibid., p. 262.)
[§ ] Igitur post multa mala quæ in me meusqe intulit, post multas direptiones rerum ecclesiasticarum .... . (Ibid.)
[∥ ] Audiens autem Chilpericus omnia mala quæ faciebat Leudastes ecclesiis Turonicis et omni populo .. . (Ibid., p. 260.) Adriani Valesii Rer. Francic., lib. x. p. 118.
[* ] Ansovaldum illud dirigit qui veniens ad festivitatem sancti Martini, data nobis et populo optione, Eunomius in comitatum erigitur. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. v. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 261.)
[† ] See above, the Third Narrative.
[‡ ] Adjuncto sibi Riculfo presbytero, simili malitia perverso. Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. v. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 262.)
[§ ] Nam hic sub Eufronio episcopo de pauperibus provocatus archidiaconus ordinatus est. Exinde ad presbyterium admotus Semper elatus, inflatus, præsumptuosus. (Ibid., p. 264.)
[∥ ] Riculfus vero presbyter, qui jam a tempore beati Euphronii episcopi, amicus erat Chlodovechi. (Ibid.)
[* ] Rigunthis autem filia Chilperici, cúm sæpius matri calumnias inferret, diceretque se esse dominam, genitricemque suam servitio redhiberi et multis eam et crebro conviciis lacessiret ...... (Ibid., lib. ix. p. 352.)
[† ] Samson, born at Tournay during the siege of that city, died in 577.
[‡ ] See above, the Third Narrative.
[* ] Ad hoc erupit ut diceret me crimen in Fredegundem reginam dixisse. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. v. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 262.)
[† ] Hoc reginæ crimen objectum, ut ejecta de regno, interfectis fratribus, a patre Chlodovechus regnum acciperet; Leudastes ducatum, Riculfus vero presbyter ...... episcopatum Turonicum ambiret, huic Riculfo clerico, archidiaconatu promisso. (Ibid.)
[* ] Hic vero Rifulcus subdiaconus, simili levitate perfacilis, ante hunc annum consilio cum Leudaste de hac causa habito, causas offensionis requirit quibus scilicet me offenso, ad Leudastem transiret: nactusque tandem ipsum adivit, ac per menses quatuor dolis omnibus ac muscipulis præparatis, ad me: revertitur, depræcans ut eum debeam recipere excusatum. (Ibid.)
[† ] Usque nunc, o piissime rex, custodivi civitatem Turonicam: nunc autem, me ab actione remoto, vide qualiter custodiatur .... (Ibid., p. 261.)
[‡ ] Quod audiens rex ait: Nequaquam, sed quia remotus es, ideo hæc adponis. (Ibid.)
[§ ] Et ille: Majora, inquit, de te ait episcopus: dicit enim reginam tuam in adulterio cum episcopo Bertchramno misceri. (Ibid.)
[∥ ] Tunc iratus rex, cæsum pugnis et calcibus .... (Ibid.)
[¶ ] Adserens si archidiaconus meus Plato, aut Gallienus amicus noster subderentur pœnæ, convincerent me utique hæc locutum. (Ibid., p. 262.)
[* ] Nam Riculfum clericum se habere dicebat, per quem hæc locutus fuisset. (Ibid.)
[† ] ... Oneratum ferro recludi præcepit in carcere. (Ibid.)
[‡ ] Feci, fateor, et occultum hostem publice in domum suscepi. (Ibid.)
[§ ] Discedente vero Leudaste, ipse se pedibus meis sternit, dicens: Nisi succurras velociter, periturus sum. Ecce, instigante Leudaste, locutus sum quod loqui non debui. Nunc vero aliis me regnis emitte. Quod nisi feceris, a regalibus comprehensus, mortales pœnas sum luiturus. (Ibid.)
[* ] Cui ego aio: Si quid incongruum rationi effatus es, sermo tuus in caput tuum erit; nam ego alteri te regno non mittam, ne suspectus habear coram rege. (Ibid.)
[† ] At ille iterum vinctus, relaxato Leudaste, custodiæ deputatur, dicens Gallienum eadem die et Platonem archidiaconum fuisse præsentes, cum hæc est episcopus elocutus. (Ibid.)
[‡ ] Sed Riculfus presbyter, qui jam promissionem de episcopatu a Leudaste habebat, in tantum elatus fuerat, ut magi Simonis superbiæ æquaretur. (Ibid.)
[* ] In die sexta Paschæ, in tantum me conviciis et sputis egit ......—(Ibid.) Turonicam urbem ab Arvernis populis emundavit. (Ibid., p. 264.)
[† ] Ignorans miser, quod præter quinque episcopos, reliqui omnes qui sacerdotium Turonicum susceperunt, parentum nostrorum prosapiæ sunt conjuncti. (Ibid.)
[‡ ] Ut vix a manibus temperaret fidus scilicet doli quem præparaverat. (Ibid.)
[§ ] In crastina autem die, id est sabbati in ipso Pascha, venit. Leudastes in urbem Turonicam, adsimilansque aliud negotium agere. (Ibid.)
[∥ ] Adprehensos Platonem archidiaconum et Gallienum in vincula connectit; catenatosque ac exutos veste jubet eos ad reginam deduci. (Ibid.)
[¶ ] Interea ingressi in fluvium super pontem qui duabus lintribus tenebatur.—(Ibid., p. 262.) This interpretation appears to me the only one capable of giving an explanation of this obscure passage. It would be utterly impossible to throw over the Loire in the month of April, a bridge of planks supported only by two boats duabus lintribus. Besides, the rest of the passage indicates, in the most positive manner, that the two boats which supported the planks were not moored, but at liberty: navis illa quæ Leudastem vehebat ....
[* ] Hæc ego audiens, dum in domo ecclesiæ residerem mœstus, turbatusque ingressus oratorium. (Ibid.)
[† ] Davidici carminis sumo librum, ut scilicet apertus aliquem consolationis versiculum daret. (Ibid.)
[‡ ] In quo ita repertum est: Eduxit eos in spe, et non timuerunt; et inimicos eorum operuit mare. (Ibid.)
[* ] Navis illa quæ Leudastem vehebat, demergitur; et nisi nandi fuisset adminiculo liberatus, cum sociis forsitan interisset. Navis vero alia, quæ huic innexa erat, quæ et vinctos vehebat, super aquas, Dei auxilio, elevatur. (Ibid.)
[† ] Igitur deducti ad regem qui vincti fuerant, incusantur instanter, ut capitali sententia finirentur. (Ibid.)
[‡ ] Sed rex recogitans, absolutos a vinculo in libera custodia reservat inlæsos. (Ibid.)
[§ ] See above, the Fourth Narrative.
[* ] Adriani Valesii Rer. Francic., lib. x. p. 119.
[† ] Berulfus dux cum Eunomio comite fabulam fingit, quod Guntchramnus rex rapere vellet Turonicam civitatem: et idcirco ne aliqua negligentia accederet, oportet, ait, urbem custodia consignari. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. v. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 262.)
[‡ ] Ponunt portis dolose custodes, qui civitatem tueri adsimulantes, me utique custodirent. (Ibid.)
[* ] Chilpericus, Nero nostri temporis et Herodes. (Ibid., lib. vi. p. 290.)
[† ] Mittunt etiam qui mihi consilium ministrarent, ut occulte adsumtis melioribus rebus ecclesiæ, Arvernum fuga secederem; sed non adquievi. (Ibid., lib. v. p. 263.)
[‡ ] Igitur rex, arcessitis regni sui episcopis, causam diligenter jussit exquiri. (Ibid., pp. 263, 264.)
[* ] Cùmque Riculfus clericus sæpius discuteretur occulte, et contra me vel meos multas fallacias promulgaret ...... (Ibid., p. 264.)
[† ] Modestus quidam faber lignarius ait ad eum: O infelix, qui contra episcopum tuum tam contumaciter ista meditaris satius tibi erat silere ...... (Ibid.)
[‡ ] Ad hæc ille clamare cœpit voce magna, ac dicere: En ipsum, qui mihi silentium indicit, ne prosequar veritatem: en reginæ inimicum, qui causam criminis ejus non sinit inquiri (Ibid.)
[§ ] Nuntiantur protinus hæc reginæ. Adprehenditur Modestus, torquetur, flagellatur, et in vincula compactus custodiæ deputatur. (Ibid., p. 263.)
[* ] Cùmque inter duos custodes catenis et in cippo teneretur vinctus, media nocte dormientibus custodibus, orationem fudit ad Dominum, ut dignaretur ejus potentia miserum visitare, et qui innocens conligatus fuerat, visitatione Martini præsulis ac Medardi absolveretur. (Ibid.)
[† ] Mox disruptis vinculis, confracto cippo, reserato ostio, sancti Medardi basilicam nocte, nobis vigilantibus, introivit. (Ibid.)
[‡ ] Congregati igitur apud Brennacum villam episcopi, in unam domum residere jussi sunt. (Ibid.)
[§ ]Ad Chilpericum regem quando synodus Brinnaco habita est. Fortunati Pictav., episc., lib. ix. carmen i. apud ejus Opera, Romæ, 1786, in 4to.
[∥ ] See the First Narrative.
[* ] Vita Fortunati, præfixa ejus Operibus, auctore Michaele Angelo Luchi.
[† ] Quemdam virum religiosum, nomine Fortunatum, metricis versibus insignem, qui a multis potentibus honorabilibus viris, in his Gallicis et Belgicis regionibus per diversa loca, tunc vitæ ac scientiæ suæ merito invitabatur .... Hincmarus de Egidio Rem. Episc. in Vita S. Remigii, apud Fortunati Vitam, p. 61.
[‡ ] V. Fortunati, lib. i. carm. 19-21; lib. iii. carm 6, 8, et passim.
[§ ] Fortunati Opera, lib. i. carm. 1-5. 15, 16; lib. ix. carm. 16 et passim; lib. vii. carm. 7-13, 14; lib. x. carm. 23. et passim.
[∥ ] Fortunati lib. i. carm. 18, ad Leontium Burdegalensem Episcopum de Bissono, villa Burdegalensi. Ibid., lib. iii. carm. 10, ad Felicam Nannetensem episc cùm alibi detorqueret fluvium. Ibid. carm. 12, ad Nicetium Trevirensem de castello super Mosellam.
[* ] Vita Fortunati, p. 47-49. Fortunatus Italicus apud Gallias in metrica insignis habebatur. (Flodoard, Hist. Rem. Eccl. (Ibid., p. 61.)
[† ] Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iii. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 190.
[‡ ] Patrata ergo victoria regionem illam capessunt, in suam redigunt potestatem (Ibid.)
[§ ] Chlotharius vero rediens, Radegundem filiam Bertharii regis secum captivam abduxit, sibique eam in matrimonium sociavit. (Ibid.) Quæ veniens in sortem præcelsi regis chlotharii ... (Vita sanctæ Radegundis, auctore Fortunato, apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. iii. p. 456.)
[∥ ] In Veromandensem ducta Attelas in villa regia nutriendi causa custodibus est deputata. Quæ puella inter alia opera quæ sexui ejus congruebant, litteris est erudita. (Ibid.)
[¶ ] Tempestate barbarica, Francorum victoria regione vastata ... (Vita S. Radegundis, apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. iii. p. 486.)
[* ] Nec fuit arduum rudimentis illam liberalibus informari, cujus annos et sexum non minus acumen ingenn quam castitatis insignia superabant. (Vita S. Radegundis, auctore Hildeberto, Cenoman episc. apud Bolland Acta Sanctorum Augusti, t. iii. p. 84.) Frequenter loquens cum parvulis, si conferret sors temporis, martyr fieri cupiens .... (Vita S. Radegundis, auctore Fortunato, ibid. p. 68.)
[† ] Quam cùm præparatis expensis Victuriaci voluisset rex prædictus accipere, per Betarcham ab Atteias nocte cum paucis elapsa est. Deinde Suessionis cùm eam direxisset, ut reginam erigeret. (Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. iii. p. 456.) The probabilities of this polygamous union are a great cause of anxiety to the modern historians, who have occupied themselves about Saint Radegonda’s actions. Father Mabillon remarks the difficulty, and despairs of solving it. locus sane lubricus ac difficilis. (Annales Benedictini, t. i. p. 124.)
[‡ ] Sic devota femina, nata et nupta regina, palatii domina, pauperibus serviebat ancilla. (Vita S. Radegundis, auctore Fortuuato, apud Bolland. Acta Sanctorum Augusti, t. iii. p. 68.) Atteias domum instruit, quo lectis culte composltis, congregatis egenis feminis, ipsa eas lavans in thermis, morborum curabat putredines. (Ibid.)
[* ] Ad ejus opinionem si quis servorum Dei visus fuisset, vel per se, vel vocatus occurrere, videres illam cœlestem habere lætitiam ... Ipsa se totam occupabat juxta viri justi verba ... retentabatur per dies ... Et si venisset pontifex, in aspectu ejus lætificabatur et remuneratum relaxabat, ipsa tristis, ad propria. (Ibid., p. 69.)
[† ] Unde hora serotina, dum si nuntiaretur tarde quod eam rex quæreret ad mensam circa res Dei dum satagebat, rixas habebat a conjuge. (Ibid.)
[‡ ] Nocturno tempore, cùm reclinaret cum principe, rogans se pro humana necessitate consurgere, et levans, egressa cubiculo, tamdiu ante secretum orationi incumbebat jactato cilicio, ut solo calens spiritu, jaceret gelu penetrata, tota carne præmortua. (Bolland. Acta Sanctorum Augusti, p. 68.)
[§ ] De qua regi dicebatur habere se magis jugalem monacham quam reginam. (Ibid., p. 69.)
[¶ ] Cujus fratrem postea injuste per homines iniquos occidit. Illa quoque ad Deum conversa ...... (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iii. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 190.) Ut hæc religiosius viveret, frater interficitur innocenter. (Vita S. Radegundis, auctore Fortunato. Ibid., t. iii. p. 456.)
[* ] Pater igitur hujus nomine Nectardus de forti Francorum genere, non fuit infimus libertate: mater vero Romana, nomine Protagia, absolutis claruit servitute natalibus. (Vita S. Medardi., Ibid., p. 451, 452.)
[† ] Directa a rege veniens ad B. Medardum Noviomago .... (Vita S. Medardi, apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. iii. p. 456.)
[‡ ] Supplicat instanter ut ipsam, mutata veste, Domino consecraret. (Ibid.)
[§ ] Sed memor dicentes apostoli, Si qua ligata sit conjugi, non quærat dissolvi; differebat reginam ne veste tegeret monachica. (Ibid.)
[∥ ] Adhoc beatum viram perturbabant proceres, et per basilicam graviter ab altari retrahebant., ne velaret regi conjunctam, ne videretur sacerdoti ut præsumeret principi subducere reginam, non publicanam sed publicam. (Vita S. Radegundis, apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. iii. p. 456.)
[* ] Intrans in sacrarium, monachica veste induitur, procedit ad altare, beatissimum Medardum his verbis alloquitur dicens ..... (Ibid.)
[† ] Si me consecrare distuleris, et plus hominem quam Deum timueris, de manu tua a pastore ovis anima requiratur. (Ibid.)
[‡ ] Quo ille contestationis concussus tonitruo, manu super posita, consecravit diaconam. (Ibid.)
[§ ] Mox indumentum nobile ..... exuta ponit in altare, blattas gemmataque ornamenta ..... Cingulum auri ponderatum fractum dat in opus pauperum. (Ibid.) Stapionem, camisas, manicas, cofeas, fibulas, cuncta auro, quædam gemmis exornata .... (Ibid., p. 457.)
[∥ ] Hinc felici navigio Turonis appulsa .... quid agerit circa S. Martini atria, templa basilicam, flens lachrymis insatiata, singula jacens per limina. (Acta Sanctorum Augusti, t. iii. p. 70.)
[* ] Cùm in villa ipsa adhuc esset, fit sonus quasi eam rex iterum vellet accipere ...... hæc audiens beatissima, nimio terrore perterrita, se amplius cruciandam tradidit cilicio asperrimo, ac tenero corpori aptavit. (Ibid., p. 76.)
[† ] Sicut enim jam per internuntios cognoverat quod timebat, præcelsus rex Chlotharius cum filio suo præcellentissimo Sigiberto Turones advenit, quasi devotionis causa, quo facilius Pictavis accederet, ut suam reginam acciperet. (Ibid. Vita S. Radegundis, auctore Baudonivia moniali æquali.)
[‡ ] Tunc rex timens Dei judicium, quia regina magis Dei voluntatem fecerat quam suam . . . . (Ibid.) Pictavis inspirante et co-operante Deo, monasterium sibi per ordinationem præcelsi regis Chlotharii construxit. (Ibid. Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 356, 357, 359.)
[§ ] Quam fabricam vir apostolicus Pientius, episcopus, et Austrasius dux, per ordinationem dominicam celeriter fecerunt. (Vita S. Radegundis, apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. iii. p. 457.)
[* ] Transeuntibus autem nobis sub muro, iterum caterva virginum per fenestras turrium, et ipsa quoque muri propugnacula, voces proferre ac lamentari desuper cœpit. (Greg. Turon., lib. de Gloria Confessorum, cap. cvi.) Tota congregatio supra murum lamentans . . . Rogaverunt desursum ut subtus turrim repausaretur feretrum. (Acta Sanctorum Augusti, t. iii. p. 82.)
[† ] Quasi recentior temporis nostri Noe, propter turbines et procellas, sodalibus vel sororibus in latere ecclesiæ monasterii fabricat arcam. (Vita S. Cæsarii, Arelet. episc. apud Annal. Franc. Ecclesias., t. i. p. 471.)
[‡ ] Quanta vero congressio popularis extitit die qua se sancta deliberavit recludere, ut quos plateæ non caperent, ascendentes tecta complerent. (Acta Sanctorum Augusti. t. iii. p. 72.)
[§ ] Multitudo immensa sanctimonialium, ad numerum circiter ducentarum, quæ per illius prædicationem conversæ vitam sanctam agebant, quæ secundum sæculi dignitatem non modo de senatoribus, verum etiam nonnullæ de ipsa regali stirpe hac religionis forma florebant. (Greg. Turon., lib. de Gloria Confessorum, cap. cvi.)
[∥ ] Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., (de Chrodielde, moniali filia Chariberti regis, et de Basina filia Chilperici,) lib. ix. p. 354 et seq. (De Ingeltrude religiosa et Berthegunde ejus filia,) p. 351, 359. (De Theodechilde regina, lib. iv. p. 216.)
[* ] Omnes litteras discant. Omni tempore duabus horis, hoc est a mane usque ad horam secundam, lectioni vacent. Reliquo vero dier spatio faciant opera sua . . . . Reliquis vero in unum operantibus, una de sororibus usque ad tertiam legat. (Regula S. Cæsariæ, apud Annal. Franc. Ecclesiast., t. i. p. 477.) Acta Sanctorum Augusti, t. iii. p. 61.
[† ] De balneo vero . . . . pro calcis amaritudine, ne lavantibus noceret novitas ipsius fabricæ jussisse domnam Radegundem, ut servientes monasterii publice hoc visitarent, donec omnis odor nocendi discederet . . . .De tabula vero respondit, et si lusisset vivente domna Radegunde, se minus culpa respiceret: tamen nec in regula per scripturam prohiberi, nec in canonibus retulit. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. ix. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 374.)
[‡ ] Atque seculares cum abbatissa reficerent . . . . De conviviis etiam ait se nullam novam fecisse consuetudinem, nisi sicut actum est sub domna Radegunde. (Ibid., p. 374, 375.)
[§ ] De palla holoserica vestimenta nepti suæ temerarie fecerit: foliola aurea, quæ fuerant in gyro pallæ, inconsulte sustulerit, et ad collum neptis suæ facinorose suspenderit: vittam de auro exornatam eidem nepti suæ superflue fecerit: barbatorias intus eo quod celebraverit. (Ibid.) Mabillon, Annales Benedictini, t. i. p. 199.
[* ] Electione etiam nostræ congregationis domnam et sororem meam Agnetem, quam ab ineunte ætate loco filiæ colui et educavi, abbatissam institut, ac me post Deum ejus ordinationi regulariter obedituram commisi. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc. ed. Ruinart, p. 472.)
[† ] Nos vero humiles desideramus in ea doctrinam, formam, vultum, personam, scientiam, pietatem, bonitatem, dulcedinem, quam specialem a Domino inter ceteros homines habuit. (Vita S. Radegundis, auctore Baudonivia, apud Acta Sanctorum Augusti, t. iii. p. 81.) See Fortunatus’ poems on Saint Radegonda’s sciences and readings. She read assiduously Saint Gregory Nazianzen, Saint Basilius, Saint Athanasius, Saint Hilary, Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, Saint Augustin, Sedulius, and Paul Orosius. (Lib. v. carm. i.)
[‡ ] Nobis dum prædicabat dicebat: Vos elegi filias, vos mea lumina, vos mea vita, vos mea requies toraque felicitas, vos novella plantatio ...... (Vita S. Radegundis, apud Acta Sanctorum Augusti, t. iii. p. 77.)
[§ ] Hoc quoque quod delectabiliter adjecistis: me domne meæ Radigundæ muro charitatis inclusum, scio quidem quia non ex meis meritis, sed ex illius consuetudine quam circa cunctos novit impendere, colligatis. (Fortunati epist. ad Felicem, episc. Namnet, inter ejus Opera, lib. iii. p. 78.)
[† ] V. Fortunati Opera, lib. viii. carm. 2, et passim.
[‡ ] Vita Fortunati, præfixa ejus Operibus, pp. xliii-xlix.
[* ] V. Fortunati Opera, lib. iii. carm. 15-19; lib. vii. carm. 25, 26, 29, 30; lib. ix. carm. 22; lib. x. carm. 12; lib. xi. carm. 16, 22-24, et passim.
[† ] Fortunati, lib. xi. carm. 12 de eulogiis, 13 pro castaneis, 14 pro lacte, 15 aliud pro lacte, 18 pro prunellis, 19 pro aliis deliciis et lacte, 20 pro ovis et prunis.Deliciis variis tumido me ventre tetendi,Omnia sumendo lac, holus, ova, butyr.(Ibid., carm. 23.)
[∥ ] V. Fortunati Opera, lib. xi. passim.
[§ ] Ibid. et libel. de Excidio Thuringiæ, p. 474.
[* ] Fortunati, lib. viii. carm. 2, de itinere suo, cum ad domnum Germanum ire deberet, et a domna Radegunde teneretur. Lib. viii. carm. 10, ad domnam Radegundem de violis et rosis., 12 ad eamdem, pro floribus transmissis Lib. xi. carm. 7, ad Abbatissam et Radegundem, absens, 17, de munere suo; 21, de absentia sua; 26, de munere suo; 27, de itinere suo; 28, aliud de itinere suo. See the Cours d’Histoire Moderne de M Guizot, in the year 1829, the Eighteenth Part.
[§ ] Fortunati, lib. xi. carm. 3, de natalitio Abbatissæ, 5, ad Abbatissam de natali suo. Lib. viii. carm. 13, ad domnam Radegundem, cùm se recluderet., 14, ad eamdem cùm rediit. Lib. xi. carm. 2, ad domnam Radegundem quando se reclusit.
[¶ ] Ubi mihi tantumdem volebat raucum gemere quod cantare, apud quos nihil dispar erat aut stridor anseris aut canor oloris; sola sæpe bombicans, barbaros leudos harpa relidebat ...... quo residentes auditores inter acernea pocula, laute bibentes, insana, Baccho judice, debaccharent. (Fortunati, lib. i. Proœmium ad Gregorium episc. Turon. p. 2.)
[* ] Hic B. Martini vitam quatuor in libris heroico in versu contexuit, et multa alia, maximeque hymnos singularum festivitatum, et præcipue ad singulos amicos versiculos, nulli poetarum secundus, suavi et diserto sermone composuit. (Paulus diaconus, apud Fortunati Vitam, p. lxi.)
[† ] Fortunati, lib. vi. carm. 2, 3. See the First Narrative.
[‡ ] Fortunati, lib. vi. carm. 4.
[§ ] V. Fortunati, Opera, lib. v. carm. 3-5, 9-12, 14-16, 19, 20. Lib. viii. carm. 19-26.
[* ] See the Fourth Narrative.
[† ] Dehinc adveniente rege, data omnibus salutatione ac benedictione accepta, resedit. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc. lib. v. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 263.)
[‡ ] Tunc Berichramnus Burdegalensis civitatis episcopus, cui hoc cum regina crimen impactum fuerat, causam proponit, meque interpellat, dicens a me sibi ac reginæ crimen objectum. (Ibid.)
[§ ] Negavi ego in veritate me hæc locutum, et audisse quidem alios me non excogitasse. (Ibid.) See the opinion of the learned editor Dom Ruinart, on the meaning of this passage, præfat. p. 114.
[∥ ] Nam extra domum rumor in populo magna erat dicentium: Cur hæc super sacerdotem Dei objiciuntur? cur talia rex prosequitur? Numquid potuit episcopus talia dicere vel de servo? Heu, heu! Domine Deus, largire auxilium servo tuo. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc. lib. v. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 263.)
[* ] Rex autem dicebat. Crimen uxoris meæ meum habetur opprobrium. Si ergo censetis ut super episcopum testes adhibeantur, ecce adsunt. Certe si videtur ut hæc non fiant, et in fidem episcopi committantur, dicite, libenter audiam quæ jubetis. (Ibid.)
[† ] Mirati sunt omnes regis prudentiam vel patientiam simul. (Ibid.)
[‡ ] Tunc cunctis Berichramnus Non potest persona inferior super sacerdotem credi ...... (Ibid.)
[§ ] Restitit ad hoc causa, ut dictis missis in tribus altaribus, me de his verbis exuerem sacramenta (Ibid.)
[* ] Et licet canonibus essent contraria, pro causa tamen ragis impleta sunt. (Ibid.)
[† ] Sed nec hoc sileo, quod Riguntis regina condolens doloribus meis jejunium cum omni domo sua celebravit, quousque puer nuntiaret me omnia sic implesse, ut fuerant instituta. (Ibid.)
[‡ ] Impleta sunt omnia ab episcopo quæ imperata sunt, o rex. Quid nunc ad te nisi ut cum Bertchramno accusatore fratris communione priveris? (Ibid.)
[§ ] Et ille: Non, inquit, ego nisi audita narravi. Quærentibus illis quis hæc dixerit, respondit se hæc a Leudaste audisse. (Ibid.)
[∥ ] Ille autem, secundum infirmitatem vel consilii vel propositionis suæ, jam fugam inierat. Tunc placuit omnibus sacardotibus ut ...... (Ibid.)
[* ] Formulæ excommunicationum, apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. iv. p. 611 et 612. Ut sator scandali, infitiator reginæ, accusator episcopi, ab omnibus arceretur ecclesiis, eo quod se ab audientia subtraxisset. (Greg. Turon., loc. supr. cit.)
[† ] Nullus Christianus ei ave dicat, aut eum osculari præsumat. Nullus presbyter cum eo missam celebrare audeat. Nemo ei jungatur in consortio, neque in aliquo negotio ...... (Formulæ excommunicationem, apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. iv. p. 611 et 612.)
[‡ ] Maledictus sit ubicumque fuerit, sive in domo, sive in agro, sive in via, sive in semita ...... Maledictus sit in totis viribus corporis ...... Maledictus sit in totis compaginibus membrorum; a vertice capitis usque ad plantam pedis non sit in eo sanitas. (Ibid., p. 613.)
[§ ] Et sicut aqua ignis extinguitur, sic extinguatur lucerna ejus in secula seculorum, nisi resipuerit et ad satisfactionem venerit. (Ibid., p. 612.) Et respondeant omnes tertio: Amen, aut fiat, fiat, aut anathema sit. (Ibid., p. 611.)
[* ] Unde et epistolam subscriptam aliis episcopis qui non adfuerant transmiserunt. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. v. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 263.)
[† ] Comprimatur unum maximum humanæ vitæ malum, delatorum exsecranda pernicies ...... ita ut judices nec calumniam nec vocem prorsus deferentes admittant Sed qui delator extiterit capitali sententiæ subjugetur. (Cod. Theod. constit. anni 319.) Ibid., constit. anni 323, de calumniatoribus.
[‡ ] Et sic unusquisque in locum suum regressus est. (Greg. Turon. loc. supr. cit.)
[§ ] At Riculfus clericus ad interficiendum deputatur, pro cujus vita vix obtinui; tamen de tormentis excusare non potui. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. v. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 263.) V. Cod. lib. ix. tit. xii. de quæstionibus, et Digest., lib. xlviii. tit. xviii.
[∥ ] Nam nulla res, nullum metallum tanta verbera potuit sustinere, sicut hic miserrimus ...... Cædebatur fustibus, virgis, ac loris duplicibus, et non ab uno vel duobus, sed quot accedere circa miseros potuissent artus, tot cæsores erant. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. v. apud Script. Rer. Gallic et Francic., t. ii. p. 263, 264.)
[* ] Cùm autem jam in discrimine esset, tunc aperuit veritatem, et arcana doli publice patefecit. Dicebat enim ob hoc reginæ crimen objectum, ut ejecta de regno. (Ibid.)
[† ] Nam me adhuc commorante cum rege, hic, quasi jam esset episcopus, in domum ecclesiæ ingreditur impudenter. (Ibid.)
[‡ ] Argentum describit ecclesiæ, reliquasque res sub suam redigit potestatem. Majores clericos muneribus ditat, largitur vineas, prata distribuit. minores vero fustibus plagisque multis, etiam manu propria adfecit, dicens: Recognoscite dominum vestrum. (Ibid., p. 264.)
[§ ] Cujus ingenium Turonicam urbem ab Arvernis populis emundavit. (Ibid.)
[* ] Illud sæpe suis famlliaribus dicere erat solitus, quod hominem prudentem non aliter, nisi in perjuriis, quis decipere possit. (Ibid.)
[† ] Sed cùm me reversum adhuc despiceret, nec ad salutationem meam, sicut reliqui cives fecerant, adveniret, sed magis me interficere minitaretur ...... (Ibid.)
[‡ ] V. Adriani Valesii Rer. Francic., lib. vi. p. 281. et ceteros libros passim.
[† ] Britanni eo anno valde infesti circa urbem fuere Namneticam atque Rhedonicam ...... Ad quos cùm Felix episcopus legationem misisset. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. v. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 251.) Fortunati Opera, lib. iii. carm. 12.Auctor apostolicus, qui jura Britannica vincens,Tutus in adversis, spe crucis, arma fugas.(Ibid., carm. 5.)
[§ ] Felix, Namneticæ urbis episcopus, litteras mihi scripsit plenas obprobriis, scribens etiam fratrem meum ob hoc interfectum, eo quod ipse cupidus episcopatus episcopum interfecisset ..... Villam ecclesiæ concupivit. Quam cùm dare nollem, evomuit in me, ut dixi, plenis furore, obprobria mille. Cui aliquando ego respondi: Memento dicti prophetici ...... (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. v. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 235.) Isaiah 5. 8.
[* ] O si te habuisset Massilia sacerdotem! nunquam navesoleum aut reliquas species detulissent, nisi tantum chartam, quo majorem opportunitatem scribendi ad bonos infamandos haberes. (Sed paupertas chartæ finem imponit verbositate. (Greg. Turon. loc. supr. cit.)
[† ] Immensæ enim erat cupiditatis atque jactantiæ (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. v. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 235.)
[‡ ] Felicis episcopi ... qui memoratæ causæ fautor extiterat. (Ibid., p. 264.)
[§ ] Cum consilio comprovincialium eum in monasterium removeri præcipio. (Ibid.)
[∥ ] Cùmque ibidem actius distringeretur, intercedentibus Felicis episcopi missis ...... circumvento perjuriis abbate, fuga elabitur, et usque ad Felicem accedit episcopum; eumque ille ambienter colligit quem exsecrari debuerat. (Ibid.)
[* ] Leudastes vero ...... basilicam sancti Petri Parisius expetiit. Sed cùm audisset edictum regis, ut in suo regno a nullo colligeretur .... (Ibid., p. 263.)
[† ] Et præsertim quod filius ejus, quem domi reliquerat, oblisset, Turonis occulte veniens . . . (Ibid.)
[‡ ] Quæ optima habuit in Biturico transposuit. (Ibid.)
[§ ] Prosequentibus vero regalibus pueris, ipse per fugam labitur. Capta quoque uxor ejus in pagum Tornacensem exsilio retruditur. (Ibid.)
[∥ ] Leudastes vero in Bituricum pergens, omnes thesauros quos de spoliis pauperum detraxerat secum tulit. (Ibid., p. 264.)
[* ] Nec multo post inruentibus Bituricis cum judice loci super eum, omne aurum argentumque, vel quod secum detulerat, abstulerunt, nihil ei nisi quod super se habuit relinquentes, ipsamque abstulissent vitam, nisi fuga fuisset elapsus. (Ibid.)
[† ] Resumiis dehinc viribus, cum aliquibus Turonicis iterum inruit super prædones suos; interfectoque uno, aliqua de rebus ipsis recepit. (Ibid.)
[‡ ] Et in Turonicum revertitur. Audiens hæc Beruifus dux, misit pueros suos cum armorum adparatu ad comprehendendum eum. (Ibid.)
[* ] Ille vero cernens se jam jamque capi, relictis rebus, basilicam sancti Hilarii Pictavensis expetiit. Berulfus vero dux res captas regi transmisit. (Ibid.)
[† ] Leudastes enim egrediebatur de basilica, et inruens in domos diversorum prædas publicas exercebat. (Ibid.)
[‡ ] Sed et in adulteriis sæpe infra ipsam sanctam porticum deprehensus. (Ibid.)
[§ ] Commota autem regina, quod scilicet locus Deo sacratus taliter pollueretur, jussit eum a basilica sancti ejici. (Ibid.) Quem sancta Radegundis, quæ ibi morabatur, jussit citius removeri, ne per eum ecclesia pollueretur. (Chron. Turon. apud Edmundi Martene Collect. t. v. col. 940.) It is probable that the author of this chronicle, who lived at the close of the twelfth century, had seen in some manuscript of Gregory of Tours a comment, in which the name of Radegonda followed the word Regina.
[* ] Qui ejectus, ad hospites suos iterum in Bituricum expetit, deprecans se occuli ab eis. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. v. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 264.)