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I have lived long enough : my way of life
Which the poor heart would fain deny, but dare not.' In some of the copies it is “my May of life is fallen into the sear, the yellow leaf." Here I should be inclined to the new reading, if it were Dryden, Lee, or Rowe. May of life,” would be far inore natural and easy; or perhaps Spring of lise-vernal season. But not so Shakespeare. He hates to be prescriptive, and loves to be specific; and “ May of life,” for its vernal season, would not be unnatural in a poet whose diction is always his own.
The genius of Shakespeare, is like a vast pile of buildings, lighted up by the midnight conflagration; where the splendor of the fire meets the smoking rasters—astonishing sublimity and meanness, conjoined and reconciled in the blazing ruin.
CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN PROFESSOR VOIGT AND THE
BISHOP OF ROCHELLE.
Translated by Professor Emerson.
(The following letters are taken from the last edition of Prof. Voigt's Life and Times of Hildebrand.2
Before presenting the letters, it is needful to give some account of the work itself by which they were occasioned and to which they so frequently refer. On its own account, too, the work is well worthy of a more extended notice than can here be given, being one of the most interesting and important productions of the kind. It everywhere bears marks of a thorough acquaintance with the original sources, and of a vigorous and inde
Macbeth, Act V, Scene 3. · Hildebrand als Papst Gregorius der Siebente, und sein Zeitalter, aus den Quellen dargestellt von Johannes Voigt, Geheimer Regierungsrath, ordentlicher Professor der Geschichte an der Universität zu Königsberg, 1. 8. w. Zweite, vielfach veränderte Auflage.-Weimar, 1846, SS. 625.
Prof. Voigt and the bishop of Rochelle.
pendent mind. The events portrayed are exceedingly numerous and well arranged, and cast so strong a light on that profoundly dark and eventful period, as to bring the eleventh century almost as near to us as the fifteenth.
According to Prof. Voigt, the grand object of Hildebrand (Gregory VII.), was, to purify the church from simony, to enforce the celibacy of the clergy, and to elevate the papal above the imperial throne. All three of these objects were intimately con. nected together. In order to suppress what he called simony, the pope must be able to punish the princes as well as the clergy for practising it-the sellers as well as the buyers of benefices. And in order to remove from the clergy the temptation to simony, and to emancipate them from a sordid dependence on the State, they must abandon their wives and families and live on nothing. Thus detached from servility to the civil power, the clergy would unite harmoniously with their head in subjecting the princes to his sway. This threefold object was the grand effort of Gregory's life. To its accomplishment he devoted all the energies of his mighty mind, both before and after his elevation to the throne. A more complicated and arduous task was never assumed by a mortal. For in achieving it, he had to subjugate, not only the kings, but also his own clergy, and to encounter, not only the worst, but also the best as well as the strongest passions of our nature-ambition, avarice, luxury, and likewise the fondness for the domestic relations. Nothing but a concurrence of the most favorable circumstances could have enabled even a Hildebrand to succeed at all in such a crusade against human nature. And even be, after a twelve-year's struggle and after the most wonderful successes, fell at last in the conflict, uttering, as his last words, “I have loved righteousness and hated iniquity, and therefore I die in banishment.”
To him, the exaltation of the papacy was the perfection of righteousness. Prof. Voigt, however, does not indulge in remarks of this kind. Most of his censure is bestowed on the vicious an. tagonist of Gregory, the emperor Henry IV; and the entire work is fitted to give a more favorable view of that pope, if not of popery itself, than the one generally entertained by Protestants. This feature of the work has given it a rare popularity in papal countries, and subjected the author for a while, to the suspicion, both among papists and protestants, of being a covert papist. And hence, as will be seen, the occasion for the ensuing correspond. ence. To himself and those best acquainted with him, these
suspicions were as amusing as they were baseless. And his book together with his correspondence, instead of fixing on him the base charge of treachery to the good cause of Protestantism, has only led, from step to step, to the present high offices he holds under a government so watchfully Protestant as that of Prussia.
The first edition of the work appeared in 1815 when the au. thor was a young man. He had spent four years in preparing it. Several impressions were subsequently printed, but no improved edition before the recent one here noticed. In 1819, the work was printed by the papists in Austria, and widely read by the clergy. The report was circulated from Austria, that pope Pius VII. had even hired Prof. Voigt to write it. In 1840, an Italian translation was published in Milan, and circulated in Italy.
Previously, in 1938, a French translation was published in Paris, of which three impressions were soon called for. These translations appear to have been made by papists, and without the knowledge of the author. The French translation was made by the Abbe Jager, accompanied by notes. A copy of this translation came into the hands of the bishop of Rochelle, and induced him to address his first very artful letter to the author,—doubtless a fair specimen of many a proselyting epistle to other men from kindred sources. A complete collection of such letters if practicable, would doubtless afford much instruction as well as amusement, and might cast an important light on the mysterious conversion of many a proselyte to the papal or the semi-papal faith. –TR.]
“ Clement Villecourt, by the divine compassion and the favor of the apostolical see, bishop of Rochelle, to the renowned Professor J. Voigt, of the University of Halle.
“ Most illustrious Professor,— Wonder and admiration have attended me while reading the equally learned and pious pages you have written on the Life and Pontificate of Gregory VIL For since I had read the posthumous works of the celebrated Leibnitz, I had nowhere found among the Reformed, a more candid mind or more perfect wisdom.
“Who is this? I said (while day and night holding in my hand such a work); who, this writer, of such admirable judgment ? Is he a follower of Luther, or of Calvin ? But how a Lutheran, or a Calvinist? But to whichever standard he belongs, who is less hostile to the church of Rome, nay, equally friendly?
“ At all events, this epistle shall be the interpreter and the wit1847.] Letter from the bishop of Rochelle.
543 ness of my great veneration for you. But if you would inquire further and know my desires and wishes, I will say freely and fully what I think. Vehemently do I wish you a Catholic.
“I implore God Almighty and shall pray without ceasing for the most learned Mr. Voigt. And what shall I ask? this; that since he acknowledges in his illustrious history of Gregory, that as there is one God so is there one faith, one church, and also one head, he may thus openly profess himself a son of the Catholic church, after having given so great a proof of his being a friend—if I may not say a soldier-of the holy see.
" The swift years are passing ; eternity is at hand. O, with what exultation will Gregory, now crowned in heaven, meet so pious a defender entering the sacred courts! With what embraces will he clasp you as a Catholic !!
“Arise! and on! Let not the light that is in thee be darkness. After such innumerable conflicts of Gregory as thou hast graphically described, such solicitudes, so many labors, so many perse. cutions, wilt thou, illustrious and faithful writer, wilt thou, an. other Cobbett, fear the onsets of sophists, the scoffs of the abandoned, the weapons of sectaries, or the loss of either wealth or fame? Look at the Turenns, the Stolbergs, the Hallers, after the Papins, the Perrons, the Spondans, etc., as crowned with the laurels of orthodoxy, after abandoning the armor of the sectaries. From their celestial seats they invoke and incite you, an exile navigating the billows of error, and now nearing the haven of truth, and chide your delay. Inwardly, you are now a Catholic, they say; you believe with the heart unto righteousness: may you now profess faith with the mouth unto salvation. The learned applaud you: it is a sınall thing: the orthodox now applaud you.
May God deign long to preserve to us a teacher so illustrious, a prosessor of the university at Halle so erudite, a writer of the history of Gregory so veracious and candid, and meriting so much from the Romish church.
"By this letter, from my hand, may the Holy Ghost reveal to you, most excellent sir, the secrets of a heart devoted to you.
“O that he could embrace you, and revere you, and honor you as present, who as absent, embraces and reveres and honors you.
CLEMENT, bishop of Rochelle. "Rochelle, Feb. 12, 1839.”
Our author remarks that he had good reasons for delaying, for some months, an answer to the bishop's letter. In the mean time, the bishop also addressed letter of thanks to Frederick Hurter for his Life of Innocent III, in which he expresses his fear that “the learned professor of Halle had taken it ill that" he had poured out so freely the wishes of his heart to him, and therefore he would not speak so freely to Frederick Hurter of Schaffhausen. An extract from this letter is given in Voigt's preface, with a brief notice of its contents, by which it would seem that the bishop of Rochelle was much pleased with Hurter's work, but thought it not wise to make quite so undisguised an assault on his fidelity as a Protestant.
At length Dr. Voigt made the following reply:
“ Most Venerable Sir! Most Excellent and Reverend Bishop !
“ Your letter to me, some months ago, respecting my account of the Life and Pontificate of Gregory VII, was the occasion of both joy and sorrow. For I greatly rejoiced at finding in you, as appears from your letter, a man distinguished for piety and learning, and also for sincerity of mind and zeal for the church, and one whose words accord with his thoughts, and his acts with his words, and who, not at all imbued with hatred of heretics, as they are called, even loves, and esteems, and honors those who acknowl. edge not only one God, but also one faith, one church, and one head, although not that which is at Rome. For you yourself, most venerable Sir, in your kind words, have frankly professed that you sincerely esteem and honor me, though not a Catholic. And therefore, from my inmost soul, I also esteem and honor you as of high merit in your church, and a most learned and ingenuous man; just as, while describing the life and pontificate of Gregory VII, I admired, and shall forever admire and honor him as the he. ro of the church and a man of splendid virtues and firmness of mind and tenacity of purpose. For it becomes one, when describing the achievements of men, to admire and honor all who excel in virtue, magnanimity, elevation of mind, genius, and probity. Truly, therefore, do I revere both Socrates and Caesar, both Mohammed and Gregory VII, both Luther and Frederick II, king of Prussia. And this veneration, and respect, and love of all truly excellent men, appears to me as it were the true holy spirit with which every historian must be imbued if he would unveil what I may call the divine revelation in the history of nations.
But, as I have already said, your letter also gave me pain, and that because, most reverend Sir, you regard me, not so much as a veracious and pious historian, as one still sailing amid the bil.