« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
the friar-hating household. But I see no reason for questioning his accuracy in his account of the obsequies, which he published with the authority of his name, while men were still alive who could have contradicted a mis-statement.'
To continue the true story-Charles, when the solemn scene was over, felt much relieved in mind, and sat musing all that afternoon and the next in his open alcove; there he caused the portrait of his gentle Isabel to be brought, and, looking a long and last farewell to the loved partner of his youth, bade also his real adieu to the world. He was roused from his protracted reverie by his physician-felt chilled and fevered, “ and from that pleasant spot, filled with the fragrance of the garden and bright with glimpses of the golden Vera, they carried him to the gloomy chamber of his sleepless nights, and laid him on the bed from whence he was to rise no more.' So soon were the anticipated rites realised; his illness lasted about three weeks; the daily bulletins transmitted to Valladolid by his physicians still exist, minute as those preserved by Arrian of the death-struggle of Alexander the Great.* In full possession of his intellect, Charles exhibited throughout the courage of the soldier, the dignity of the Prince, and the resignation of a Christian. He duly executed codicils for the future provision of his faithful followers, took the Sacrament frequently, and after receiving extreme unction, insisted on communicating once again, observing to those who said it was not, under such circumstances, necessary, “that may be, but it is good company on so long a journey.' His peaceful death formed a striking contrast to that of his rival Francis I., a victim of the only trophy retained by France of her foul possession of Naples. The emperor's end was that of the just; a euthanasia devoutly to be wished for. No perilous stuff weighed heavy on his soul; no exorcisms were needed to beat away the busy fiend from the pillow of one who closed his eyes
amidst all that should accompany old age, As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends. The closing scene is thus told by Mr. Stirling.–
• Towards eight in the evening, Charles asked if the consecrated tapers were ready; and he was evidently sinking rapidly. The physicians acknowledged that the case was past their skill, and that hope
Cornelio retired ; Mathisio remained by the bed, occasionally feeling the patient's pulse, and whispering to the group of anxious spectators, “ His majesty has but two hours to live-but one hourbut half an hour." Charles meanwhile lay in a stupor, seemingly unconscious, but now and then mumbling a prayer, and turning his eyes to heaven. At length he raised himself and called for William. Van Male was instantly at his side, and understood that he wished to be turned in bed, during which operation the Emperor leaned upon him heavily and uttered a groan of agony. The physician now looked towards the door, and said to the Archbishop of Toledo, who was standing in the shadow, “ Domine, jam moritur !--My lord, he is now dying." The primate came forward with the chaplain Villalva, to whom he made a sign to speak. It was now nearly two o'clock in the morning of the 21st of September, St. Matthew's day. Addressing the dying man, the favourite preacher told him how blessed a privilege he enjoyed in having been born on the feast of St. Matthias the apostle, who had been chosen by lot to complete the number of the twelve, and in being about to die on the feast of St. Matthew, who for Christ's sake had forsaken wealth as his majesty had forsaken imperial power. For some time the preacher held forth in this pious and edifying strain. At last the emperor interposed, saying, “ The time is come; bring me the candles and the crucifix.” These were cherished relics, which he had long kept in reserve for this supreme hour. The one was a taper from our Lady's shrine at Montserrat; the other a crucifix of beautiful workmanship, which had been taken from the dead hand of his wife at Toledo, and which afterwards comforted the last moments of his son at the Escurial. He received them eagerly from the archbishop, and taking one in each hand, for some moments he silently contemplated the figure of the Saviour, and then clasped it to his bosom. Those who stood nearest to the bed now heard him say quickly, as if replying to call, “ Ya voy, Señor – Now, Lord, Í go!” As his strength failed, his fingers relaxed their hold of the crucifix, which the primate therefore took, and held it before him. A few moments of death-wrestle between soul and body followed, after which, with his eyes fixed on the cross, and with a voice loud enough to be heard outside the room, he cried, Ay, Jesus ! and expired.'
* He of Macedon too became fevered after imprudent indulgences at table, and throughout his last illness attended the daily sacrifices most devoutly-Tov Delov ETIMEACOTATOS. The progress of his case is detailed in the royal diaries. He, unlike our Cæsar, bad no physician--and it was deliberated whether he should be carried to the ternple of Serapis, that the god might cure him brevi manu.- - (Arrian, vii. 25.)
The corpse was left at Yuste until 1574, when it was transferred to the Escurial, then sufficiently advanced to become the palace, the monastery, and the mausoleum of Spanish royalty. It was laid in the plain vault erected by Philip II. When the gorgeous Pantheon, a tomb for which c'en kings would wish to die,' was completed in 1674 by Philip IV., the imperial remains were removed finally to their present place of rest.
As the body was deposited in the marble sarcophagus, the coverings were removed, to enable Philip to come face to face with his great ancestor: the corpse was found to be quite entire; and even some sprigs of sweet thyme folded in the winding-sheet retained, as the friars averred, all their vernal fragrance after the lapse of fourscore winters. After looking for some minutes in silence at the pale dead face of the hero of his line, the king turned to Haro and said, “ Cuerpo honrado (honoured body), Don Luis.” * Very honoured," replied the minister: words brief indeed, but very pregnant, for the prior of the Escurial has recorded that they comprehended all that a Christian ought to feel on so solemn an occasion.'
This Spanish dialogue on the dead certainly contrasts alike with the bland prose of Sir Henry Halford, when the coffin-lid of Charles I. was raised for the Regent to verify Vandyke, as with the appalling stanza of Lord Byron on that memorable descent into the tomb.
Once again,' says Mr. Stirling, the emperor's grave was opened. When Mr. Beckford was at Madrid in 1780, Charles III., as a parting civility, desired to know what favour the fascinating and accomplished Englishman would accept at his hands. The author of Vathek asked leave to see the face of Charles V., that he might judge of the fidelity of the portraits by Titian: the marble sarcophagus being moved from its niche, and the lid raised, the lights of the Pantheon once more gleamed on the features of the pale emperor.
Mr. Stirling adds that, • for this curious anecdote he is indebted to the kindness of Mr. Beckford's daughter, the Duchess of Hamilton. Mr. Beckford had left unfortunately no note or memorandum of the fact, and therefore the date and the names of the other witnesses of this singular spectacle cannot now be recovered.'
We would willingly class this revolting story among the many gloomy poetical visions of its narrator-surely the royal family of Spain must have a similar feeling-and as after all the precise week and day of the incident, if a real one, can hardly escape a sharp investigation on the spot, we shall expect, with curiosity, the disinterment, or otherwise, of supporting evidence.
From the day when the body quitted Yuste, the convent and palace were neglected alike by the kings and people of Spain. Left to the gentle keeping of a climate more conservative than man, all might to this day have remained in excellent preservation; but in 1809 a party of Soult's soldiers, Aying from Oporto and irritated by disgrace, set their mark on these beautiful districts. They clambered up the hill, pillaged and then fired the convent;-the royal wing only escaped from the thickness of the walls of the intervening chapel. Under the reign of the Constitution, in 1820, such restorations as the brotherhood had been able to effect were unmercifully dealt with by the Liberals. Their ravages were again partially made good when the monks returned on Ferdinand VII.'s
by by the total suppression of the monastic system; like the rest of their class, the beadsmen of St. Jerome were ejected - the whole edifice speedily fell into irremediable ruin-and chaos is come again. But we cannot better conclude our summary of this thoughtful and graceful work than with the author's melancholy sketch of Yuste as inspected by himself in 1849:
It was inhabited only by the peasant-bailiff of the lay proprietor, who eked out his wages by showing the historical site to the passing stranger. The principal cloister was choked with the rubbish of the fallen upper story; the richly-carved capitals which had supported it peeping here and there from the soil and the luxuriant mantle of wild shrubs and flowers. Two sides of the smaller and older cloisters were still standing, with blackened walls and rotting floors and ceiling. The strong granite-built church, proof against the fire of the Gaul and the wintry storms of the Sierra, was a hollow shell—the classical decorations of the altars and quaint wood-work of the choir having been partly used for fuel, partly carried off to the parish church of Cuacos. Beautiful blue and yellow tiles, which had lined the chancel, were fast dropping from the walls: and above, the window through which the dying glance of Charles had sought the altar, remained like the eye-socket in a skull, turned towards the damp, blank space that was once bright with holy tapers and the colouring of Titian. In a vault beneath, approached by a door of which the key could not be found, I was told that the coffin of massive chestnut planks, in which the emperor's body had lain for sixteen years, was still kept as a relic. In his palace, the lower chambers were used as a magazine for fuel ; and in the rooms above, where he lived and died, maize and olives were gathered, and the silkworm wound its cocoons in dust and darkness. His garden below, with its tank and broken fountain, was overgrown with tangled thickets of fig, mulberry, and almond, with a few patches of potherbs, and here and there an orange-tree or a cypress, to mark where once the terrace smiled with its blooming parterres. Without the gate, the great walnut-tree, sole relic of the past with which time had not dealt rudely, spread forth its broad and vigorous boughs to shroud and dignify the desolation; yet in the lovely face of nature, changeless in its summer charms, in the hill and forest and wide Vera, in the generous soil and genial sky, there was enough to show how well the imperial eagle had chosen the nest wherein to fold his wearied wings.'
ART. VI.- Des Intérêts Catholiques au XIX siècle. Par le
Comte de Montalembert, Paris, 1852. . HOUNT MONTALEMBERT is a man who, alike by his
genius and his virtues, does honour to his order, his country, and his Church. The utterances of such a man must deserve attention at all times; and at the present time the utterances of any man may well be thought to have some claim to it, whose • whereabout' is France, and whose tones are both adverse to the ruling power and dissonant from those of his own co-religionaries and habitual allies. These strong presumptive titles are not reduced, but heightened and confirmed, when we know that the avowed purpose of the work before us is to recommend to the clergy and the faithful of France that cause of constitutional liberty, upon which the world had until now conceived that they had unanimously turned their backs.
Yet another step upwards to our climax, from which we must too soon and wofully descend. That which M. de Montalembert recommends, he is certain to recommend with zeal, eloquence, and power. We read him with admiration, even when dissentient: with delight, when able to concur. And what Englishman will not in the main agree with his brilliant and just Apology for the thirty-four years of Constitutional Government in France ?
• On affirme que le système constitutionnel ne dure pas et ne produit rien. Réponse : il a duré en France trois fois plus longtemps que la monarchie absolue fondée par le plus grand génie des temps modernes. · Il a régné en France de 1814 à 1848 ; et ces trente-quatre annt'es—il ne faut pas se lasser de le répéter en présence des injures et des mensonges qu'on entasse chaque jources trente-quatre années ont été, tout bien compensé, sinon les plus éclatantes, du moins les plus libres, les plus heureuses, les plus tranquilles de son histoire.
• Pendant ce tiers de siècle, le gouvernement représentatif a porté victorieusement les armes françaises en Espagne, affranchi la Grèce, sauvé la Belgique, conquis l’Algérie. Il a produit des orateurs et des hommes d'État du premier mérite. Il a donné une vie féconde et glorieuse à toutes les branches de l'intelligence nationale; il a ouvert un libre cours à toutes les forces, à toutes les industries, à toutes les doctrines, à toutes les idées, à toutes les études. Il a fait prévaloir partout le sentiment du droit, et de la modération dans l'exercice du droit. Enfin, ce qui doit être placé en première ligne par ceux à qui je m'adresse, il a imprimé à la foi catholique, à la réaction religieuse, un mouvement tel que le monde n'en avait point vu depuis deux siècles. Quand le régime qu'on veut lui substituer aura duré trente-cinq ans, alors, mais alors seulement, on pourra dresser son bilan, et comparer ses pertes et ses profits à ceux du régime que l'on insulte.'