Anselm - E. M. Wilmot-Buxton



The Awakening of the Eleventh Century

Everybody knows that the history of nations is but the history of the individual 'writ large'; and this is perhaps most clearly seen in that period of awakening and growth that we know as the eleventh century.

The stormy years of the youth of Europe were nearly at an end; those years of struggle and warfare, when the limits of countries and the rights of nations were yet unsettled, and men were so busy fighting one another for the things of the material world that those which belong to the world of the intellect and the soul were wellnigh forgotten.

But when this time of stress was over, Europe, like a youth emerging into studious, thoughtful manhood, began to take heed of these higher matters and to realize the superior claims of things spiritual. And so it came about that this eleventh century was to see a great struggle between Church and State, representing, in those days, the forces of religion, morality, learning, often of civilization itself, arrayed against the claims of absolutism and brute force.

Two pairs of striking figures represent to us this struggle of spiritual rights against secular demands. In Europe we find the fiery Hildebrand, as Pope Gregory VII, opposing with all his might the claims of the Emperor Henry IV; in England the two conflicting elements are Anselm, gentlest of archbishops, and the stubborn-faced, angry-eyed Red King, William II.

Nominally, the question upon which the struggle turned in either case was that of 'Investiture,' or the right of granting to the recipient of a bishopric or abbey the spiritual rights symbolized by the ring and staff.

Actually, these 'spiritual rights' were themselves only the symbol of a far more important matter, summed up in this question:

Was the government of the kingdoms of Christendom to pass entirely under the control of lay princes, who at any time might be heathen in heart if not in name? Or was it to be shared to any important extent by that great organization, standing in those days for learning of all kinds, for morality, for discipline, which, since the days of Charlemagne, had been known as the Holy Roman Empire?

Now, to understand the importance of the answer to this question we must try to realize the condition of Europe in those days.

The 'Dark Ages,' during which to a great extent brute force held sway, were almost over when the eleventh century opened. A long struggle against the powers of paganism had been fought, and, thanks to the influence of the Church, even where, as in Normandy and England, the heathen conquerors had overspread the land, the faith of civilized Europe had asserted itself again and again, and the conquering Northman had become a convert to Christianity.

But in such a period of struggle and darkness it was inevitable that the lights of Christendom should burn very low. The end of the reign of Charlemagne, 'Second Emperor of the West,' broke up his great Empire, and amid the gloom and darkness of the tenth century we look in vain for any influence for good in the highest quarters of the Church. Where it had once been the aim of bishops and kings to build up, strengthen, establish, all alike had become absorbed with the rest of Europe in a passion for ruin and destruction.

When neither the realm of the sovereign nor the loaf of the labourer was free from marauding bands, it became scarcely worthwhile to attempt to rule righteously or to labour for one's daily bread. And so, in an age when every man's hand was against his neighbour, when all were content to destroy rather than construct, the dignity, the obligation of honest work as well as the still more necessary duty of prayer, became a lost ideal.

The rapid growth of the feudal system, depending as it did almost solely on the principle of 'might is right,' did little to improve matters; for the powers of religion had now to pit themselves not only against the hordes of heathendom, but also against that spirit of greed, injustice, and ferocity which soon became the characteristic of feudalism.

Not seldom the Church was found on the side of the great feudal lords. Almost of necessity the bishop was forced to handle the sword rather than the missal, and to leave the altar for the battlefield; and though the Empire whose Head sat in the chair of St Peter in Rome managed to keep its hold upon Europe, this was done not so much by spiritual bonds as by secular force.

This state of things lasted throughout the tenth century and well into the eleventh; yet even before the tenth century was over there were some among the few who had leisure to watch and judge who saw the first faint dawn of a vast impulse toward better things.

It came from the direction of Cluny, a monastery founded in Burgundy by some few men who, despairing of the condition of society in the world of that day, hoped to live, under the strict rule of St Benedict, a common life more in accordance with the ideals of Christianity.

From thence the movement spread. New monasteries arose which in course of time brought about a great revival of religion. As has been well said, "When Christendom had won a clear space in which to pray and think, the Church returned to its proper task."

That task was no light one. Feudal Europe had to be taught that war for war's sake was no part of the teaching of Him who said "Love your enemies"; that this life is but a preparation for another; that honest labour is of greater merit than brilliant conquests.

And for many more years the Church, as a whole, stood dumb, waiting for her own great revival in the days of Hildebrand, the monk of Cluny, who as Gregory VII was to make the authority of the Pope supreme in Europe.

Meantime the message was left in the hands of these 'reformed Benedictines,' destined, curiously enough, to bring about by their very withdrawal from the world a reformation of society as far-reaching as it was thorough. Their method was to set up high ideals rather than to destroy existing abuses; for the spirit of St Benedict was all "for service rather than destruction, for love rather than for strife."

"Every Benedictine community stood for one thing Europe; it preached the sacred dignity of labour and the hatefulness of destruction. In an age when men counted their manhood by the amount they could destroy, when their pastime, as their pride, was to wreck, or to prevent others from wrecking them, the rule which commanded labour as necessary to the soul's health reminded an astonished world of the dignity of labour."

No sooner was this ideal accepted and made a permanent influence in Europe than a new aim arose. Since the merging of Church and State for the sake of unity against a common foe had inevitably led to the loss of high spiritual aims, any real attempt at reform must set up a kingdom of Christ that was not under the rule of earthly monarchs. The Church must be kept separate from the State, and must be free from the interference of the secular power.

Such an ideal would be hard to fulfill in any age, since it must always be the duty of the Church to concern herself with the reform of that very society which it is the work of the State to organize. It was almost impossible in a period when the line of action taken by the Church depended very largely on the character of popes who, not content with spiritual authority, were determined to make their voices very distinctly heard in secular affairs.

So it came to pass that when, as we shall see, a clever, ambitious, and courageous man such as Hildebrand sat as Pope Gregory VII in the chair of St Peter, he was able to humble a proud emperor to the dust and to assert beyond doubt the triumph of Church over State. But this had its own inevitable drawback.

In a movement of spiritual reform the worldly success of Hildebrand counted as very little. To the onlooker it was merely the old strife of feudal lords under a modern disguise. No doubt it was necessary to reassert the high position of the Church, to insist upon her claims to spiritual supremacy; but the spectacle of an emperor shivering in his thin tunic among the snow-wreaths of Canossa, and there refused admittance to the Pope to whom he had offered his submission, did less to strengthen the Papacy in Europe than did the decrees against buying and selling spiritual offices, or the reform of the private life of the clergy.

The story of Hildebrand will be told more fully in a future chapter. We may turn from it now to the happier tale which tells of the foundation of the abbey that was to be the place of preparation for one who, in his own quiet way, was to do much to uphold the high ideals and spiritual rights of the Church, while caring not a jot for worldly privileges.

For what was really needed during the eleventh century was a man not only of learning but of saintly life; a man who might combine keen spiritual insight with a firm and courageous grasp of the just rights of the Church he served.

Nowhere, perhaps, in Europe was a man of this kind so much needed as in England; and it was therefore, all unknowingly, for England that a certain young monk was being prepared and trained within the walls of that abbey whose story shall now be told.



The Founding of St Marie Du Bec

Nothing in the eleventh century illustrates more effectively the contrast between the worldly life of the knight and courtier and that of the monk in his cloister than the story of the founding of the Abbey of Le Bec. For this contrast, curiously enough, is seen in the life of one man, sometime soldier and gentleman at ease, who became the founder and first abbot of this famous monastery, and performed his task, not when he was worn out with years and weary of worldly joys, but in the prime of his strength and at the height of popularity and success.

At the court of Gilbert, Count of Brionne, cousin of Robert Duke of Normandy, lived a certain gentleman named Herlwin, who some few years before the birth of Anselm had won for himself a high reputation as a "very perfect gentle knight." Both in Brionne and Normandy his prowess was known: as first in the field of battle, as bravest of his lord's companions, as the flower of knightly chivalry.

In those rough days a man was fortunate indeed who escaped any semblance of quarrel with his overlord, and a story of the time tells how Herlwin, his honour touched by some rude personal affront of Gilbert, once withdrew himself and all his following from court and retired to his own castle. Soon afterward he heard that his lord had been obliged to go out against an ancient foe, who, being far the stronger in his forces of war, was likely to win the day. A meaner man would have felt the threatened humiliation a worthy penalty for Gilbert to pay; but the generous Herlwin at once laid aside his private quarrel, called his men together, and, riding rapidly to the field of battle, took his place by the side of his lord and helped to ensure him the victory.

For this act honours of every kind were heaped upon him by Gilbert, and the praises of all men were his. And then at the very height of success, flattered and honoured by everyone, Herlwin suddenly found his whole position unbearable, and from it he longed, like any prisoner, to make his escape.

For to the man of the world, the accomplished courtier, the successful soldier, had suddenly and unmistakably come the call of God to leave all and follow Him.

Many were the difficulties in his path. To leave his lands and people to the mercy of an offended overlord seemed altogether wrong; the permission of Gilbert to leave his service was withheld, with a jeer, indeed, but firmly enough; and he had, moreover, no knowledge of what religious order he should enter, nor much idea of all that the monastic life implied. In those days of difficult travelling Cluny would be little more than a name to him, and probably appealed not at all to a man of mature years who yet knew nothing of how to read or write.

For a while he tried the impossible task of living the life of a monk in the world, and, while obeying the command of Gilbert to attend the court, laid aside his gay clothes, ceased to trim hair and beard, and sitting at the banquet table contented himself with dry bread and a cup of cold water. In vain did his master and the other courtiers reason with him, jeer, or threaten. Gilbert in desperation even tried the expedient of sending Herlwin as ambassador to some of the ducal courts, where he had always been treated with such signal honour. It was hoped that very shame and dread of ridicule would make him put off his shabby tunic, trim his beard, and ride forth upon his discarded warhorse. But, to the dismay of all, the knight set off calmly on his errand in his poorest attire and most unkempt appearance, riding upon a humble ass.

Some scoffed anew, but Gilbert put him to further test by bidding him take a message, that would involve one of his neighbours in an unjust war, to Duke Robert the Norman. Herlwin refused absolutely, and abruptly left the court he had grown to hate. His master proceeded in a tempest of rage to declare his estates forfeit and to deprive his vassals of their homes and goods. At the entreaties of his distressed dependents, Herlwin returned to court and implored Gilbert's mercy upon them. "For my own possessions, take them and do with them what you will, if only these poor folk, who have done nothing to deserve your displeasure, have their goods restored."

The courtiers burst into a storm of reproaches for his previous defiance of Gilbert's commands. The Count and the knight looked steadfastly upon one another with softening gaze. Then Gilbert, hurrying to his chamber, broke into bitter tears at the thought of the loss, now clearly inevitable, of one he dearly loved. Herlwin, going sorrowfully forth, wept also for the lord he had once served so well. It needed only one more incident to bring matters to a climax.

At Gilbert's most earnest entreaty he had consented to stay a while longer at the court, partly, no doubt, because the future was still so dark and uncertain. He even took up arms again and followed his lord on one of his many border raids, this time against Ingelram, Count of Ponthieu. But Ingelram, falling upon them with a very great force, put to flight Count Gilbert and all his men, most of whom were overtaken and slain. And then it was that by Herlwin, fleeing for his life, the vow was made that "if he escaped from so present a danger, he would henceforth be soldier to none but God."

So in the year 1031, two or possibly three years before Anselm, his future novice and monk, was born, Herlwin went forth from the court of Brionne, intent, not on founding a great abbey, nor on a striking reformation of society, but merely on the salvation of his own soul in answer to the call of God.

We find in the history of this one man at this time an epitome of what was going on in the Europe of his day; a call to those who wished to be sincere and upright and just to leave the world of feudalism, with its constant petty wars, its injustice, its spiritual ignorance, and to come apart, not necessarily as monks, but with the intention of living up to the monastic ideal of simplicity and honour and labour and self-sacrifice. It was the protest of the age against a life practically of heathenism, which, had it gone on unchecked, would have swamped Europe anew in the black gloom of the Dark Ages.

So Herlwin went forth to find out what he could about the monasteries then existing in Normandy in the hope of eventually making one of them his spiritual home. In this quest he was singularly unfortunate. Not all the Benedictine houses of his day were of the reformed type of Cluny; and Normandy, barely civilized as yet, was not likely to possess monasteries of the most refined character.

Timidly he entered the doorway leading to the cloister of one of these, and stood gazing with eager interest at the monks within. It was the time of recreation, and to his mind, tuned perhaps a trifle too high at that period, the men whom he was ready to revere as almost saints were conducting themselves in fashion frivolous enough even to one accustomed to the idle amusements of a court. But, even as he stood gazing, there came suddenly upon him a brawny lay-brother, porter to the gate, who, taking him for a thief, struck him a heavy blow on the nape of the neck, and, seizing him by the beard as he fell, thrust him headlong forth.

At another monastery of some renown in Normandy he found the monks passing in procession to the church. Hoping to find here the devotion he longed after, be joined the band of lookers-on, and was scandalized to see the vanity with which the brothers displayed their fine vestments, and the way in which they freely distributed nods and smiles to their friends among the crowd. Finally, the spectacle of their struggle to be first to enter the church, in which struggle one of their number was stretched headlong by a blow from an angry fist, so disgusted the would-be monk that he turned away almost in despair.

The obvious solution for a man of property like Herlwin was to found his own monastery and to introduce therein his own high ideals. At Burneville, near Brionne, he made his first attempt, helping to build with his own hands a humble dwelling-place, where he was joined by a few companions, probably his former men-at-arms. But the site was a bad one. Vowed to live upon the produce of the land, the tiny community was often faced with instant starvation owing to the unproductive soil, and had scarce strength to crawl the necessary mile or two to the nearest spring for water. Yet for nearly five years they remained there, suffering extreme privation with the utmost cheerfulness, and training themselves in that fine spirit of detachment that was to be the glory of their future abode.

In 1034 the humble church was consecrated by a neighbouring bishop, who also 'clothed' with the coarse cowl and hood of St Benedict, Herlwin, the former fine gentleman of the court, together with his brother-in-law, his nephew, and two of his own former servants.

Herlwin

HERLWIN BUILDING HIS FIRST CHURCH.


There, against his own will, but at the urgent request of the tiny community, Herlwin, now ordained priest, was consecrated the first abbot. For the past few years, while the convent had been a-building, he had set himself to accomplish a task of great difficulty to a man of forty years. A monk must say his office, must know his psalter, and hence must be able to read. Thus, while busily employed in laying the stones of the walls of a monastery that was, in another place, to be famous for its learning throughout Europe, we see its future abbot spending the night hours in the study of the alphabet, and later of the Holy Scriptures, and giving to prayer the time that the rest spent in sleep.

But even the most ascetic of monks cannot live on air, and after some consideration Herlwin determined to move to a more fertile spot just above a tributary stream known as Le Bec, or 'The Rivulet.' Here were raised the humble buildings afterward to become famous as the Abbey of St Marie du Bec, Our Lady of the Brook; and here, amid more hopeful surroundings, the number of the monks increased. Abbot Herlwin was not the only soldier to lay aside the sword for the psalter in those days, and these once warlike converts naturally sought a foundation where they would be received with sympathy and understanding.

In this there was one distinct disadvantage. A monastery without learning was a contradiction in terms, for spiritual wisdom needs as much serious study as secular. Herlwin, though by hard work he had made himself very familiar with the sacred Scriptures, was not the man to educate the rest. Scholarship was badly wanted at Le Bec, and even as the need made itself felt, there approached its gates one of the finest scholars of the Europe of that day.

Educated as a secular teacher and lecturer, Lanfranc of Pavia had made his way into France, and at the town of Avranches had earned golden opinions from all who heard him speak. But success of this kind became more and more unsatisfactory to his ardent soul, and about the year 1042 he set out for Rouen with one companion, all his worldly goods being strapped upon the back of an ass. His aim was either to seek entrance into some unknown monastery, where the great teacher could be forgotten in the humble monk, or to make the experiment of living on the outskirts of the city as a hermit.

On the way he and his clerk, or secretary, were attacked by robbers, who carried off all that they possessed, leaving Lanfranc only a threadbare cloak in which to continue his journey. They had not gone far, however, when Lanfranc's well-stored mind recalled how one in former days, having been robbed of his horse, offered the thieves, as they were riding away, the whip for which he had no further use; and how this so touched them that they repented promptly of their wickedness and returned the good man both his horse and his whip. Simplicity is ever a quality of noble natures, and Lanfranc forthwith determined to try the same course. Hurrying after the robbers, he offered them the cloak they had left him; but they took the matter very ill, beat him soundly for what they considered his impudence, and finally left him bound to a tree and almost naked, with his friend in like case close by.

For a while the air was filled with the lamentations of the unhappy scholar and of his clerk, for the forest was full of beasts of prey, and they expected that every moment would be their last. But, since nothing happened, the peace of the forest night stole over their souls, and morning light found Lanfranc, with mind weary but calm, attempting to recite his Matins and Lauds, the morning offices of the Church. Then he made a strange discovery. He, the famous scholar of whom all Europe had heard, did know how to repeat his morning prayers as well even as an ignorant child in the preparatory school. Breaking down with sobs and tears he cried:

"O Lord God, how many years have I spent upon this world's learning! I have wearied both my and soul with secular studies, but have not yet learnt to recite Thy praises. Deliver me from this trouble, and I will so order my life as to learn how to do Thee loyal service."

Soon after, he and his companion were found and released by some charcoal-burners of the forest; of whom, in his new passion of humility, Lanfranc asked the way to the poorest monastery of the district. They directed him promptly to Le Bec, saying that there the monks were too poverty-stricken In keep a light burning perpetually in their chapel.

It was still early in the morning when Lanfranc approached the humble dwelling and asked for the abbot. They pointed out a little bake-house, within which Herlwin, a dimly seen figure, was busy building an oven.

"God save you," said the stranger. "Are you the abbot?"

"I am," replied Herlwin, taking up a trowel-fill of mortar. "God bless you, my son; but why do you ask?"

"Because I wish to become a monk."

"Are you a Lombard?" asked Herlwin, struck by the more refined accent of the South, "and are you clerk or layman?"

"I am a clerk, a teacher in schools, and a Lombard. My name is Lanfranc."

With a premonition that this was the man he sought, Herlwin stooped forward, and, after taking a long look at the unexpected postulant through the half-finished aperture, said tranquilly: "Very well, my son. I receive you in the name of the Lord."

Upon this Lanfranc threw himself upon his knees, and, having kissed the clay-stained hands of his future superior, immediately set to work to help him build his oven.

The meeting of these two men under such homely circumstances is a landmark in history. For the influence of Lanfranc, developed by Anselm, was not only to make Le Bec famous throughout Christendom, but was to produce a type of man, spiritual and yet practical, wise with the wisdom of both worlds, able to rule as well as to obey. From the ranks of such men as these were drawn some of the most notable ecclesiastics that have ever lived, and by means of them not only were great educational reforms brought about, but the best side of the Benedictine spirit was developed, a spirit which did an immense amount to leaven, civilize, and uplift the moral state of Europe in the eleventh century.

It was not easy for Lanfranc, when he found that his only companions were ignorant monks, to settle down at Le Bec and divest himself of his pride of intellect and ambition while taking the position of an ordinary novice.

Humility had to be learnt in many bitter ways; and once his heart seems to have so failed him that he determined to go away and live the life of a hermit. But Herlwin's grief and deep affection constrained him to remain, and encouraged him to cultivate his real vocation as a teacher while living the life of a monk. Before long he was made Prior of Le Bec, and presently his skill in teaching his fellow-monks was noised abroad. Men asked in wonder: "Is this that Lanfranc who once had the learned world of France at his feet?"

Old pupils sought him out and brought new ones with them, and soon the classroom in the humble monastery became crowded with eager students, who lived in the cottages of the neighbourhood. Fresh interests arose in other directions also, for he was soon called upon to play a part in the history of his own time.

Count Gilbert of Brionne had now been dead for is twelve years past, and his successor, Count Guy of Burgundy, had shown himself a generous friend to Le Bec, giving Herlwin a fertile stretch of land lying for some three miles above the monastery, containing a grange, or grassy enclosure for the storing of corn, protected by a thick palisade of wood.

But Duke William of Normandy, son of Duke Robert, had besieged the castle of Brionne in one of his many quarrels with neighbour barons; and while he was in the neighbourhood, being always interested in religious matters, he sought the counsel and spiritual help of Prior Lanfranc. Soon the two men, though of absolutely opposite types of character, established a sound friendship, which was not altogether, however, without peril. For William had an indomitable pride and Lanfranc a hatred of flattery and pretense that once bade fair to make shipwreck of their affection, when the monk boldly opposed the marriage of William with his kinswoman, Matilda. Of this we shall hear more later on. Now, the Duke had a certain ignorant upstart chaplain named Herfast, who had announced with great importance that he intended to patronize the lectures of Lanfranc. Riding down, surrounded by courtiers, to the little thatched building where the class was held, he very soon exposed his ignorance and vanity to such an extent that Lanfranc determined to teach him a really necessary lesson.

With great ceremony he set an alphabet before him, at which Herfast was so enraged that he posted back to William and succeeded in convincing him that Lanfranc had mocked and insulted, not only himself, but his royal master. Mindful of Lanfranc's attitude toward his marriage, and falling into one of his sudden fits of rage, the Duke commanded that the monks' grange, stored as it was with corn, should forthwith be burnt, and Lanfranc banished from that region.

Amid the bewildered tears and moans of his companions, the Prior of Le Bec mounted a lame horse, the only one they possessed, and calmly set off for the limits of the duchy. Before long he met the Duke astride of his great warhorse, and cheerfully saluted him with gentle and unmoved countenance.

The Duke dropped his head on his chest, and, turning his horse, growled words to the effect that he had expected the banishment to have been carried out ere this.

"Give me a better horse, and I shall go the quicker!" replied the monk, unmoved; upon which the Duke, his sense of humour touched, cried with a great roar of laughter "Who is this that asks presents of his offended judge before he has cleared himself of accusation?" Lanfranc took the hint, made good his case, and received the warm embrace of the man whose heart he had fairly won.

For the next few years, during which the monastery was again rebuilt on a larger scale and on a higher and healthier site above the rivulet, the classrooms of Prior Lanfranc were closed, and he himself, during the latter part of this time, was busy in Rome, striving for a more favourable verdict from the reigning Pope concerning the marriage of Duke William and Matilda.

That excommunication was averted from William was no doubt due to the tact and wisdom of the Benedictine monk, which certainly won for him the lasting affection and respect of the Duke.

And now that affairs were happily settled in Normandy Lanfranc was free to return to Le Bec and resume his work of teaching.

This brings our story up to the year when our real hero, Anselm, of whom we have scarcely heard as yet, was to appear as postulant and pupil at his classroom door.

For the years have slipped fast away, and Anselm, not even born when our story of Herlwin began, is now a youth of four or five and twenty. Yet we could ill spare the tale of these busy years, seeing that the influence of that spot, which did so much to make and mold his character, was due, before most other things, to the curious blend of the practical piety and rough moral force of Herlwin the Abbot, with the refinement, spiritual strength, and sound learning of Lanfranc the Prior of Le Bec.



The Boy of the Val D'aosta

Beyond the great St Bernard lies the little town of Aosta, one of the 'gates of Italy,' but touching the borders both of the Lombardy and Burgundy of the eleventh century.

Italy and Switzerland were only separated at this spot by the high ridge of the Alps, and so the little place must have been strangely cosmopolitan in its inhabitants. Lombards and Burgundians, Swiss and Italians must have climbed the pleasant Val d'Aosta under the shade of the chestnut-trees or skirting the bank of the rapid stream of the Dora Riparia, which hurries from its mountain home to join the peaceful waters of the Po far down in the sunny meadows of the plain.

Two noble families, the one of Burgundian, the other of Lombard stock, were united somewhere about the year 1032 by the marriage of Gundulf the Lombard, of near kin to Manfred, Marquis of Susa, and Ermenberg, cousin of the Emperor Henry II, and a close connection of the Bishop of Aosta.

The latter was the great man of the district, the most important civil magistrate as well as chief ecclesiastic; and as Ermenberg was herself a landowner of no small consideration in the Val d'Aosta, her marriage with the gallant and high-spirited Gundulf was no doubt a notable event in the everyday life of the restless little cosmopolitan town on the high road to Italy.

To this happy young couple, in their palace near the cathedral of Aosta, was born in the springtime of the year 1033 or 1034 a boy baby whom they named Anselm. Both the brothers of Ermenberg were 'reverend lords,' canons of the collegiate church of St Ours in the town, and one of these became the child's godfather, or nutritor, a word that implies the responsibility of training him not only in spiritual matters but also in mind and body.

For the first few years, however, his mother had him to herself. His father, Gundulf, generous and open-handed to a fault, loved to ride abroad, to share in the gay life of the time, to enjoy the wealth that his young wife had brought him; and no doubt he looked forward to the time when all this tiresome period of education and training should be over, and he would have a gallant son riding by his side, ostensibly to look after the valley lands that were his inheritance, but actually to see something of the world of fashion and gaiety that lay beyond the Alps.

But Ermenberg had other dreams. Her gentle heart had never ceased to yearn after the life of the cloister, the life that would have been her choice had not the marriage with Gundulf been arranged for her by her relatives. She was the best of wives and housekeepers, her sense of prudence affording just the restraint needed by her somewhat too lavish husband; but her deepest interests lay in the supernatural world, that world to which from his earliest days she directed the wondering attention of her little son. And as she watched the upturned face and wide baby eyes gazing into the blue distance of the Italian skies, she would pray that her lost dream might in this child be fulfilled, and, speaking to that Mother-heart which understood so well, would cry: "Blessed Mother of my Lord and Saviour, I give him to you; take care of him!"

If it be true, as a great poet-thinker has told us, that the Heaven from which the soul has so lately come "still lies about us in our infancy," the teaching of Ermenberg must have quickly taken root in the mind of the little Anselm.

The very scenery upon which his young eyes rested fitted readily those descriptions of the Heavenly Country of which he never tired to hear. The road to the City of God was uphill and none too easy; on that everyone was agreed; and the same might surely be said of that steep path across the river that scaled the ledge of rock called Gargantua, before ascending beyond the eye of man up the slope of the 'Noontide Peak' that guards the entrance to the Alps. Beyond lay the dim white mountain-tops, snow-covered, mysterious; but the Becca di Nona, at any rate in the autumn season, has lost its snow after the summer heat, and gleams golden in the sunshine. Where else, then, should lie that city of pure gold, whose gates were of one pearl and the streets like unto transparent glass?

And so to the little child Anselm came in the autumn-time a dream that was, at any rate to the loving mother-mind of Ermenberg, a presage of the future.

He thought in his dream that he toilsomely crossed the river, and, scrambling up the steep cliff of the Gargantua, found himself among fair meadows full of corn ready for the harvest. But the maidens who should have gathered the ripe ears were slothful and intent rather on their own amusement; to these the child, to be noted in later days for his hatred of idleness, spoke words of rebuke before he went his way.

Then, leaving the harvest-fields, he made his way up through forests of pine-trees, broken here and there by lawns of turf and lavender, wondrous sweet, and thence over steep bare rocks, where at every moment he stumbled and fell. Then suddenly the toilsome path ended, and the glory of the heavenly city shone forth upon the little pilgrim. In the midst of it, upon His throne, the Lord awaited him, alone, save for His seneschal, for the rest of the heavenly host were busy in the harvest-fields.

To Him the child confidently approached and sat down at His feet. "And the Lord with gracious gentleness would know who he was and whence he came and what was his desire. He answered all according to the truth; and so the Lord gave order, and the seneschal brought him bread of the whitest, and he ate and was refreshed in the presence of the King."

Long years afterward the remembrance of this dream was yet fresh in the mind of the great archbishop, whose earthly pilgrimage, sustained so constantly by heavenly bread, was then almost at an end.

Anselm was probably still but a very young boy when his mother was called upon to send him forth from her gentle arms in order that his education might be commenced. It was the universal custom of those days that high-born children, especially boys dedicated to what such a parent as Gundulf would describe as a 'career' in the Church, should be sent to the household of a great prelate or wealthy canon to be trained and educated. For even high-born mothers could seldom read, and fathers wedded to the world could little more than stumble through the alphabet; and so we find ambitious parents sending off babes of four years old, and sometimes very much younger, to learned priests or noted bishops, in whose households they would breathe a bookish atmosphere, and whence they could attend the primary school of some adjacent monastery.

So we may imagine the sweet-faced mother endeavouring to hide her tears as she left her little son of four or five within the walls of her brother, canon of the collegiate church, sponsor and nutritor to the boy, and returning with a lonely heart to the country house at Gressau, some three miles from the city, where the family was probably living at this time. No doubt she hoped to see him fairly frequently, but her grief at losing him for the present was not softened by the contemplation of the kind of life upon which her tender youngling was about to enter.

The training of children in those days bore a strong resemblance to the education of puppies in these. Whippings of the most severe kind formed a regular part of the curriculum, whether at school or at the house of the guardian or nutritor.

We read of the monastery schools that "at nocturns and at all other hours, if a boy makes a mistake in singing a psalm or anything else, if he falls asleep, or, in short, does that which he ought not to do, no matter what, he is taken to task at once, and without a moment's delay, as soon as he gets into the schoolroom, is stripped of frock and cowl, and either by the prior or by his own master birched with a rod provided for the purpose."

The higher the calling, the severer the whippings! The life of Guibert of Nogent about the same period reveals that on one occasion, when he had been most unmercifully birched by his private tutor, his mother was filled with pity for the delicate little lad, and clasping him to her breast exclaimed, "Never, never shall you be a priest. Scholar or no scholar, no longer shall you pay like this for scholarship." To which the child, looking up reproachfully into her face, replied: "If I have to die for it, I intend to go on learning, and I will be a priest."

The mother tried to bribe her son with the promise of a splendid suit of armour would he only consent to become a knight, but he was not to be persuaded; and he adds himself, concerning the same grammaticus or tutor: "So sincere was my return of his affection, notwithstanding the many stripes my skin carried from his numerous and gratuitous castigations, that I forgot all his roughness and paid him the homage, not of my fears, but of a love deep as the very marrow of my being."

In many cases it was a fine breed of men that this stern discipline turned out; but in the case of exceptional children the severity was certainly overdone. Studious and industrious as was the child Anselm, he probably did not escape a punishment that would fall doubly heavy on so sensitive a nature, and this accounts for the fact that in later days, though himself unsparing of the rod when it was really necessary, he, as prior of Le Bec, used his influence to introduce a gentler and more humane method of training the young.

It seems likely that Anselm's early education was received from Benedictine monks who had a small monastery and school within the city. Thither he would go each day in charge of a clericus, or clerk in minor orders, carrying his alphabet, or abecedarius, his folding tablets of boxwood covered with wax, and the sharp-pointed stylus with which to write upon the same.

The chief subject taught was the psalter in Latin, and when he was proficient in reading this, the little pupil would learn how to write and how to sing. The former accomplishment comprised not only the scratching of the wax by the stylus in the formation of letters (dictare) but the copying from this corrected exercise upon parchment. When we recall how expensive was this latter material, we can perhaps estimate better the magnitude of the crime of making an error and the reason for the severity of the punishment which would inevitably follow.

The singing of the psalms to their proper tunes was also essential to the equipment of a scholar in the primary school; those who aspired yet further entered the grammar school, and began a course of what were known as the Seven Liberal Arts.

The first three of these were linked together as grammar, rhetoric, or the art of style and composition, and logic, or the science of thought; the last four were also grouped together as the science of music, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy.

In his study of these the young 'grammarian' had chiefly to give his attention to mastering the difficulties of Latin accidence, syntax, and composition. All conversation was in Latin, and the usual method of teaching, though useful in attaining skill in composition by imitation, must have exercised little but the memory.

An extract from a Latin author was dictated by the 'grammaticus' to the pupils, who wrote it on their tablets of wax and learnt it by heart for repetition. Whether individual style was taught and encouraged depended much on the skill and learning of the master; and judging from the clearness, simplicity, and beauty of Anselm's Latin treatises in later days, we may believe him to have been especially fortunate in this respect.

We know that when he had learnt both to read and sing his psalter, he was not sent to the grammar school but was put into the charge of a certain kinsman, who acted as his tutor for the next few years.

To this unknown teacher no doubt Anselm owed the foundation of that wealth of scholarship that was in later days to win for him a reputation second only to that of Lanfranc, his future friend, in Europe.

It has been thought that his position, both as son of Ermenberg and Gundulf, and as near kinsman to the Bishop of Aosta, demanded the education of a private tutor rather than that of the grammar school. For certainly, by his fourteenth year, and possibly much earlier, he himself had been appointed to one of the vacant canonries either of St Ours or of the cathedral itself, as was often the case with boys of high rank, even when they were of the most tender years. Clad in his white habit, he would perform his daily duty of singing the offices, which he already knew by heart from his psalter, in his stall either in the cathedral or the cathedral church. Thence he returned to the school-room, there to apply himself, under the zealous eye of his tutor, to a course of study at thought of which the most earnest scholar of our universities to-day would stand aghast.

Pride in so apt a pupil is the only excuse for the misdirected zeal of his teacher, who allowed no recreation, scarce a breath of fresh air, and grudged the shortest possible time spent in eating and sleeping. The inevitable consequences followed. The boy, always delicate and now growing fast, became utterly overstrained. The study became a prison, the keen, fresh, young mind dazed and stupefied. Awaking at length to the serious nature of the case, his uncle hastily sent him home to his mother. But the hurt had been too deep for even Ermenberg's gentle caresses to soothe. To her dismay, the boy turned from her as from everyone else, and with strained white face sought solitude in the loneliest spots around the home he had formerly loved so well. A less wise mother would have entreated, coaxed, or scolded, till the boy's reason, already trembling in the balance, might well have given way. She, with her mother-wit, after one broken-hearted exclamation of "Alas! I have lost my son!" gave orders that no one should molest or interfere with him, but that he should be allowed to do exactly as he pleased.

Rest, fresh air, and the mother's unobtrusive but ever-watchful care, were the boy's best medicines, and from her he learnt, perhaps, that wonderful tenderness and skill for which he was notable in the infirmary of the monastery of future days.

Perhaps it was during this period of quiet, unharassed refreshment that Anselm's mind first began to turn definitely to a higher ideal of life than that which had been set before him by his uncles, the canons secular of St Ours. Worthy gentlemen they were, no doubt, wearing their white habits and tonsured crowns with singular grace and elegance; but their lives were lives of ease, often of self-indulgence, and afforded not the smallest attraction to the tall young lad with the refined features and spiritual expression who was growing up in their amidst. Nor did his studies, now somewhat relaxed in severity, satisfy the eager mind, which longed to dedicate itself to God under conditions as rigorous as possible.

The one thing that seemed to fulfill this ideal was the Benedictine order of monks, lately revived in all its early severity. How it all happened we know not; but it seems that the boy, when about fourteen, quietly left his uncles' house, and going to a monastery nearby, begged to be admitted as a novice. In his young innocence he never dreamt of the possibility of refusal to such a reasonable request. But the abbot was astounded to find this high-born lad, a probable bishop of Aosta in the future and already holding an important ecclesiastical position, a humble postulant at his feet; and hastily reviewing the position, he asked: "What says your father, Gundulf, to this wish of yours, my son?

"He knows naught of it," replied the boy.

That settled the matter. To offend an illustrious family of near kin to the highest ecclesiastical rulers of the city would never do; and Anselm was sent home to ask his father's consent. Gundulf, however, would have none of it. Not for the first time, probably, and certainly not for the last, did the strong wills and clashing ideals of father and son come into conflict. To allow his only son and heir to bury himself within the walls of a monastery was not to be thought of for a moment. Probably, too, in his ambition, Gundulf intended his clever boy to be the future bishop of Aosta by hereditary right.

All unconscious that he was acting as the instrument of God by delaying, though not, as he thought, defeating, the lad's vocation, he bade him roughly put all such ideas from his mind. In the words of Eadmer, Anselm's future biographer, the boy, "persisting in his design, prayed God for the grace of an illness, that so he might be received into the monastic order for which he yearned. A wonderful thing then happened. God, as if to show him that in all emergencies he might surely trust the Divine Compassion, gave favourable heed to the prayer, and visited the boy with an overmastering weakness of body. Reduced to a grievous sickness, Anselm now sent word to the abbot, assured him he apprehended death, and prayed to be made a monk.

"But the abbot's fears were obstinate, and the request was not granted. So does human sight scan the ways of God, but erringly. He whose foreseeing eye can by nothing be deceived was unwilling that His servant should have share in the religious life of that place, because He had some others hidden in the bosom of His mercy, whom, as became evident in due time, He was prepared to be informed by Anselm to the doing of His will.

"After a while, health returned to the lad, and what he was unable to do then he determined by the Grace of God to do at some future time."

So he returned to the old studious life under the care or his uncles, living under an obedience that was itself no bad preparation for the life of a monk, and by his habit of giving away to his poorer brethren the income that came to him as canon, as well as by his strict purity of heart, fulfilled, half unconsciously, the most important features of the rule for which he craved.

Only occasionally was the peace of that quiet study disturbed by the noise of the world outside; but one of these occasions must have had a marked effect on the boy's mind, especially if, as seems likely, the persons concerned were lodged within his own father's house.

Over the St Bernard, in the year 1049, when Anselm was fifteen or sixteen years old, came Bishop Bruno, cousin of the Emperor, who had been lately chosen by him as Pope. A most holy character, and full of the spirit of Cluny, whose monks had been his teachers in former years, Bruno was the very man to bring in the spirit of reform so necessary in the Church of those days. But there was much opposition at the thought of a German Pope, and rather than cause a schism, Bruno determined to visit Rome in the guise of a humble pilgrim before accepting the high office thus thrust upon him, in order to see if he would be acceptable there.

If, as it is thought, Ermenberg and Bruno were relatives, it would most probably be at her house that the thin-faced man, clad in ordinary cloak and hood, who spent his time in prayer and in weeping over the threatened divisions of Church and State, would make his residence; and no doubt the boy Anselm was among those who gazed with reverence at the future Pope Leo IX. Perhaps he was even more interested in his companion, a short, dark-faced monk from Cluny, whose determined expression combined with his zeal and evident strictness of life would inevitably attract the dreamy lad, longing to follow some such path as that in which he trod. But he could scarcely have guessed that the Prior Hildebrand, whose lineaments and movements he so closely studied, was to be the great Pope Gregory VII, before whom the most powerful of emperors was to abase himself in the dust.

Anselm

ANSELM IN THE ALPS


It was at Aosta, we are told, that Bruno heard, either by spiritual sense or physical hearing, the chanted words that were to encourage him to persevere in his mission of reform:

"Thus saith the Lord, My thoughts to you are thoughts of peace and not of evil: thou shalt call upon Me and I will hear you, and I will bring back your captivity from all places."

The circumstances of the Divine message are unknown; but one would like to think that the voice of the boy Anselm, from his canon's stall, mingled with those which chanted the words that brought such comfort and encouragement to Bruno, soon to be unanimously elected to the papacy as Leo IX.

After such an interesting episode the years passed slowly and quietly on their course, as far as Anselm was concerned. Possibly the fact that his young eyes scanned too critically the easy, self-indulgent lives of his uncles, the good canons, softened their regret when he was judged old enough to return to his father's house. And even there the lad must still have felt restless and ill at ease. The sense of vocation was only dulled, not killed. As he grew stronger in health, at the urgent representation of his father he began to take part in the sports and occupations of secular life, and no doubt enjoyed them as much as any lad of nineteen or twenty would do to-day. Probably these amusements went far even to satisfy him on the surface, at least for a while, and much to his father's gratification he appeared to forget his old desires.

But Anselm was, like Augustine, the child of many prayers; and Ermenberg, now nearing the end of her own saintly life, was not one to relinquish without a struggle her early hopes that her boy would fulfill the call she would so gladly have obeyed herself. Says the old chronicler: "After all, however, his love and devotion for his mother held him back somewhat from these pastimes. But on her death, like a ship that has lost its anchor, he narrowly escaped drifting utterly off into the billows of the world."

Ermenberg passed away from this life in the year 1056, probably when her second child, a little daughter named Richera, was born. It soon became clear that hers had been the chief influence that had kept even the outward semblance of peace between the headstrong, worldly father and the quiet, gentle son. Gundulf had never forgiven Anselm for his wish to become a monk, and now that his wife no longer stood between them, his fits of rage at the impossibility of turning a studious, ascetic youth into a worldly young gallant became quite uncontrolled.

Before long the situation had become impossible, and the father who, curiously enough, was to end his days three years later as a cloistered monk, no longer withheld his permission that his son, now twenty-three years of age, should leave his home for a period of prolonged travel. It was probably no willing permission that was given, and Anselm departed from his father's home with his little band of companions as one under a cloud.

Only one of these companions seems to have clung to him in his toilsome journey across the Alps, and was with him in that ascent of Mont Cenis when, having miscalculated distance or provisions, they found themselves exhausted on a trackless waste of snow, without food or drink.

The delicate frame of the young Anselm proved quite unfit for further effort, and, as he sank, apparently dying, to the ground, the 'clerk,' his companion, searched with anxious forebodings, for the second or third time, in the empty sack that lay across the back of the ass which carried their baggage.

Was it by an oversight that a 'manchet of bread' had been overlooked in a corner of the bag, or was it by miraculous agency that such was now found?

Whichever way we read the story, the fact remains that to Anselm, as reminding him of that 'whitest bread of his childhood's dream, it was in every sense the bread of life. And so, "having eaten thereof and become greatly refreshed," he passes out of sight for a while beyond the snowy peaks of the Alps.



Anselm the Monk

When the young Anselm left the sunny Val d'Aosta for the unknown country across the Alps, his mind was set upon one end and one alone. His conviction that he was called to the monastic life had weakened to some extent by the passage of time, but his desire for learning was keener than ever. In modern days he would have directed his steps toward some noted university; in those times he sought instead a learned teacher at whose feet he might sit, and from whose lips he might gather the wisdom of the ages.

The most illustrious man of learning of those days was undoubtedly Lanfranc, who was, as we have seen, of Lombard blood like himself. The name of this man must have been familiar to Anselm for years past as prior of the recently founded abbey of Le Bec, but of that monastery itself he probably knew but little, save that it was ruled by a former knight named Herlwin, that it lay somewhere in Normandy, and that he had chosen an ill time to seek a teacher within its walls. For there, as we saw, years before Anselm left home, Lanfranc had fallen under the displeasure of the stark Duke William of Normandy, the future conqueror of England, and his pupils, fleeing in terror of the Duke's wrath, had left his classrooms empty. It was therefore more in the hope than in the expectation of hearing that the lectures of Lanfranc had been resumed, that Anselm made his way first to Lyons, famous for her schools of philosophy.

There, however, the learned doctors had little attraction for one who yearned most after spiritual and theological wisdom, and Anselm next betook himself to Cluny, a far more likely spot from which to obtain reliable information as to the doings of Prior Lanfranc. Here he may have stayed for a while as a student, or to test his vocation as a postulant within the walls. But his delicate frame could not support the rigid rule of Cluny, the most severe in Europe, and with heart heavy with sense of failure he made his way out of Burgundy somewhere about the year 1058, and turned his face toward Normandy.

Scarcely, however, had the long and toilsome journey brought him to the borders of that country, when he heard the news that had fallen like a thunderbolt on France. Pope Nicholas II, stirred by the fiery zeal of Hildebrand, had threatened the great Duke William with ex-communication for his marriage, five years previously, with his kinswoman Matilda, and Lanfranc had hurried to Rome to intervene and to prevent the passing of an interdict upon the Norman land.

So again to Anselm came a period of waiting, trying enough no doubt to that ardent young soul, but fruitful as affording him an opportunity of deciding what he really wanted to do with his future life. Then at length, in the next year, 1059, hearing that Lanfranc was returning with his olive-branch from Rome, he followed closely in his steps, until at the commencement of the Michaelmas term he stood asking admission before the lowly door of the monastery that was to be his home for more than thirty years.

In many respects he was far better fitted now to try his vocation as a monk than had been the eager unpractical boy of ten years ago. There was now no dread of parental opposition, for Anselm had lately heard that his father had passed away beneath a monastic roof, himself wearing the habit of a monk. Those three years of drifting from place to place, of mixing with the world on one hand, and yet with opportunities of seeing something of the different aspects of religious life, had evidently strengthened his wish to fulfill his early call to the cloister. But he was still, above all other considerations, devoted to learning and study, and, conscious as he must have been of unusual powers of mind, he hesitated at first to enter a monastery already dominated by such a giant of intellect as Lanfranc. It was not exactly jealousy, nor the wish to be first that hindered him, but rather perhaps the realization that in an unlearned world he might do better to carry his mental gifts to a foundation where they would be more necessary, more valuable.

But reflection showed him that this thought was unworthy of the true monastic spirit. Nearly fifty years later, looking back as an old man on these youthful days, the white-haired archbishop told his little company of monks the story of the struggle between pride of intellect and the love of God.

"I said to myself: 'Now I am going to be a monk; but where? If at Cluny or at Le Bec, the time I have spent in study will have been lost. The life at Cluny is so severe that I shall soon make a sorry figure of myself, for I have not the strength to endure it; and as to Le Bec, Lanfranc is too towering a genius for me to be of use to any one there. I shall therefore best carry out my purpose in a place where I may display my knowledge and be of service to many others.

"'But I was not yet broken in; my contempt for the world was only in the bud, and that accounts for my not seeing the danger. I thought all this came from charity to others. But what am I saying? A monk! To be a monk! What, is it to wish to be set before others, honoured more than others, made much of at their expense? No, no! Down then with your pride and thought of self, and turn monk in a place where, as it is just, you will he set last of all for the sake of God, and accounted least and unworthiest of all, and in comparison with all the rest not cared a straw for!

"'And where can this be done? Why, at Le Bec if anywhere. At Le Bec I shall be of no importance; for at Le Bec is a man who shines with the light of a surpassing wisdom which is enough for all of them. He will satisfy them all, they will all honour and make much of him. At Le Bec, then, shall my rest be. At Le Bec shall God and God alone be the beacon of my life; at Le Bec the love of God and that alone shall be my study; at Le Bec the thought of God, the blissful and undying thought, shall be my comfort and my satisfaction.'"

So, entering Le Bec at first as a secular scholar, it was but a short time before Anselm applied to be admitted into the novitiate. The ceremony was a simple and touching one. To the monks assembled in the chapter-house, with the abbot sitting in their midst, entered the young man, and proceeded to prostrate himself before the latter.

"Wherefore do you come, my son?" asked Herlwin.

To which he answered: "I seek the mercy of God, your fellowship, and the brotherhood of this place: I long to become a monk and to serve God in this monastery."

Then the abbot replied: "God grant you fellowship and a place among His elect," and all the monks said "Amen."

Anselm was then required to promise that he would obey the rule and bear all the trials of his new position, upon which the abbot said: "Our Lord Jesus Christ so fulfill in you what for love of Him you promise that you may obtain His grace and life everlasting. And we, for love to Him, grant what you so humbly and earnestly desire."

Then the new-made novice, after kissing the abbot's feet, was taken to the church and clothed with the habit of the order. Very soon after, in Anselm's case, came the final ceremony that made him a monk outright.

Entering the church after the Gospel of the Mass had been sung, Anselm lay prostrate before the altar while the brethren chanted the Miserere. Then the novice, rising, read from a slip of parchment:

"I, Anselm, do before God and His Saints promise the faithfulness of a monk, newness of life, and obedience according to the rule of St Benedict, in this monastery which has been built to the glory of blessed Mary ever virgin, and in the presence of Herlwin its abbot."

He then laid the slip upon the altar, and from the steps that led to it solemnly chanted thrice: "Uphold me, O Lord, according to Thy word and I shall live, and let me not be confounded in my hope"—to which the other monks made solemn echo, in the same words.

Over the now prostrate form the abbot then intoned the De Profundis, after which the Veni Creator was sung, and his cowl, sprinkled with holy water, was put upon the new-made monk with the words: "The Lord put on thee the new man who, according to God, is created in justice and holiness of truth." After this Anselm was given the kiss of peace by all his brethren and began in that place a life that was to last for the next thirty-three years.

Let us try for a moment to realize the kind of existence he led during this period. It has been said that the daily life of a monk was passed in three principal places—the church, the cloister, and the chapter-house. The highest work of every monk was the Glory of God, and so the church claimed necessarily the first and most important place. Thither they repaired in the dark night hours for Matins, and after retiring to their beds for a brief period, rose once more at daybreak to sing their office of Prime.

All through the day their work or recreation was regulated by these office hours, or by the Masses which were said after Lauds and Sext; and after the last Mass the monks sat in the choir, reading or meditating till the office of the ninth hour.

Next in order of importance to the Glory of God came work for his fellow men; and the scene of this was laid in the cloister. There was a strong social element in the life of the monk, for, as Dean Church remarks: "He lived night and day in public. The cloister was the place of business, instruction, rending, and conversation, the common study, workshop, and parlour of all the inmates of the house, of the professed brethren, of the young men whom they were teaching or preparing for life either as monks or in the world, of the children who formed the school attached to the house. .

"In the cloister, open apparently to the weather but under shelter, all sat, when they were not at service in church or assembled in the chapter, or at their meals in the refectory, or resting in the dormitory for their midday sleep; all teaching, reading, writing, copying, or any handicraft in which a monk might employ himself, went on here. Here the children learnt their letters or read aloud, or practiced their singing under their masters; and here, when the regular and fixed arrangements of the day permitted it, conversation was carried on."

Here then, in some wind-swept corner, perhaps, we may imagine Lanfranc sitting in the midst of his scholars, with the eager eyes of young Anselm, the new-made monk, fixed upon him; and later on, when Lanfranc had passed beyond those grey walls, we see his place taken by his former pupil, grown more grave and thoughtful, but no less full of enthusiasm for the problems which were beginning to stir the thoughtful minds of that day.

In this same cloister, patient hands were busy copying the few and priceless documents that had been handed down from the early ages of Christianity; and here too were kept the records and chronicles of everyday life which were to be the basis of the future history of Europe. Nothing but the intense cold of winter hindered such labours as these; but when the bitter wind blew through those open and unarmed cloisters the monk had reluctantly to lay aside his pen for a while.

"Now stiffened with the winter cold," writes one who was busy recounting the story of the quarrels of Duke William with his sons, "I shall employ myself in other occupations and, very weary, I propose to finish this present book. But when the fine weather of the calm spring returns, I will take up again what I have imperfectly related or what yet remains unsaid, and, by God's help, I will fully unfold with a truthful pen the chances of war and peace among our countrymen."

The cloister was also the scene of that touching little ceremony known as the Maundy (mandatum: the command), which brought the monk into intimate touch with the poor man at his gate.

Anselm

ANSELM WASHING THE FEET OF THE POOR.


On the Thursday in Holy Week a crowd of beggars was admitted to the cloister, and due arrangements were made that "warm water in fitting vessels, towels for the feet, napkins for the hands, cups and drink, and such-like be prepared. When these things are in order, the abbot shall rise, and passing forth from their refectory, the children shall go aside into their school with their masters, and stand with them before their poor men; and the rest of the brethren shall likewise come and stand before their poor men, each one before one of them, but the abbot shall have two. Then the prior shall strike the board with three blows, and bowing down on their bent knees to the earth, they shall worship Christ in the poor.

"Then the abbot is to wash and wipe the feet of the poor men before him, 'kissing them with his mouth and eyes,' and so the rest of the brethren." After this, each brother gave a cup of drink to the beggar who sat before him, and receiving luck the cup, put two-pence into his hand.

As the cloister was the place for general work, so was the chapter-house the place of business where the intimate affairs of the monastery were carried on.

"Every day, as soon as the sound of the little bell begins for the chapter, all the brethren who are sitting in the choir are at once to rise . . . no one is to hold a book or to look into a book: no one is to remain sitting: and when the bell stops, with the prior going before them, the rest are to follow in the order of their conversion, two and two, the elders first, the children after them."

The latter had their own chapter before their own masters, when faults were noted and inquired into and whippings then and there administered. Only in its privacy did it differ from that held by their elders, and by the fact that it was more entirely concerned with discipline.

The daily chapter of the monks began with a reading of the rule and an instruction in their religious duties. Then came the daily inquiry, beginning with the words: "Let us speak concerning our order."

If anyone was forthwith accused of a fault, or a failure in duty, he immediately prostrated himself and asked for pardon, saying "Mea culpa."

"If he is to receive judgment he is to be beaten with one larger rod on his shirt as he lies prostrate, or with several thinner rods as he sits with his shoulders bared, at the discretion of him who presides. While corporal discipline is inflicted, all the brethren are to hold their heads down and to have compassion on him with tender and brotherly affection."

Flogging was the ordinary punishment for slight faults and was accepted as a matter of course in days when the body had not become an object of tender care and respect. For graver faults a monk might be confined in his cell, forbidden to take part in Divine service, and was only seen by the rest, except in church, lying prostrate and with covered head. Only after a full confession of his fault in chapter, when he begged for mercy and submitted to severe corporal chastisement, was he readmitted.

Here too, in the chapter-house, novices were admitted and monks professed. Far from luring the would-be novice with soft sayings, he was warned here again and again of the hard things he should have to undergo. "Let there be declared to him the hard and stern things which in this order they endure who wish to live piously and according to the rule, and then again, the yet harder and sterner things which may befall him, if he behaves himself unruly." The rule of the order was to be read to him and he was warned in these words: "Here is the law under which you desire to serve; if you can keep it, enter in: but if you cannot, freely depart."

"He was fully subject to the discipline of the monastery, and received his judgment and stripes in chapter like the rest, but he was kept apart, only associating with his master or speaking with such of the brethren as might be inflamed with zeal for his improvement." If after certain days he undertook to bear "humbly and patiently" the hard and heavy things appointed by the holy fathers for this order of life "and yet harder and heavier things still," he was received into the community.

The value in which books were held in those days is shown by a picturesque note.

"On the first Monday in Lent every year, before the brethren come into chapter, the keeper of the books is to have the books collected in the chapter-house, and spread on a carpet, except those which have been given out for use during the past year. These last the brethren coming into chapter are to bring with them, each one having his book in his hand. Then . . . the keeper of the books is to read a note as to how the brethren have had books in the last year. As each one hears his name mentioned, he is to return the work given him to read the last year. And he who is aware that he has not read through the book which he received, is to prostrate himself and declare his fault and ask indulgence. Then again the keeper of the books is to give to each of the brethren another book to read, and to record in a note the names of the books and of those who have received them."

One brief glimpse at the daily life of the monk shall give us a final picture of Anselm's existence at this period.

Rising for the night office and again at dawn, the monks passed from the church to the cloister in their bed-gowns and began their ordinary work of teaching, writing, or illuminating, as the case might be. At the 'third hour' they repaired to the dormitory, washed and dressed and proceeded to church for Terce and Mass. Then came the daily 'chapter,' after which they returned to the cloister, where they might walk about and talk till the sixth hour, when Sext and Mass were said. 'Breakfast' had been taken after the first Mass, the second meal after the office of the ninth hour (Nones). In the interval between Sext and Nones the monks either sat in choir, reading, praying, or meditating, or in summer took a siesta in the dormitory. There they slept on hay which was changed once a year, when the dormitory was cleaned.

Such was the outline of the day: the intervals were filled in with the strenuous work of lecturing, teaching, and intellectual study, not to speak of various offices with which we shall deal more fully in another chapter.



The Investiture Contest In Europe

While the quiet years at Bec were thus slipping away, let us take a glimpse at the progress meantime of affairs in Europe. In the year that Anselm left his father's house and passed beyond the Alps, Henry IV., a boy of six years of age, succeeded his father, the powerful German Emperor Henry III.

Under the weak and inconsistent rule of his mother, the Regent Agnes, the discontented nobles seized their chance and, while rebelling against her, robbed and despoiled the only other strong party in Europe, the party of the Church.

This soon roused the ecclesiastics in their own defense, and for the next few years the struggle lay, not so much between the nobles and the Church as between two conflicting parties within the latter. Anno, Archbishop of Cologne, an ambitious and vigorous prelate, managed to get possession of the person of the boy King by a trick. He pretended to make a friendly visit to Henry, then in his palace of St Laitbert on an island in the Rhine, just below Dusseldorf, and persuaded the boy to come with him in order to inspect a newly fitted barge. No sooner was Henry on board than the anchor was slipped and the boat rowed off. The frightened child plunged into the water, but was rescued and carried off to Cologne, where he remained practically a prisoner in the archbishop's hands. It is not difficult to trace the germ of Henry's future feud with the Church to this early treatment by the Archbishop of Cologne.

His mother made no attempt to deliver him, and soon afterward retired into a monastery; but Anno was not to have things all his own way. He possessed a powerful rival in Adalbert, Archbishop of Bremen, who, in his jealousy of Anno, spared no pains to get the young King under his own influence.

The pity of it was that Anno, who had become, by his austere treatment, the object of the lad's fear and hatred, was immeasurably the superior of these two rival ecclesiastics. He had the welfare of religion warmly at heart, and was eager to introduce the practical reforms inculcated by the monks of Cluny, the representatives of the stricter religious life of the period; while Adalbert, when he had once got the King out of his rival's hands, used the powers then granted him to seize all the high offices of Church and State and to pillage the monasteries in a way that formed an ill object-lesson to an impressionable prince.

Under his tutelage young Henry grew up head-strong, profligate, and utterly wanting in the self-control and resolution that were necessary to the ruling of a divided kingdom, full of conflicting elements. Rebellions of the greater nobles were always occurring, the Church was full of abuses, the two archbishops most closely concerned with him were deadly rivals, and it was perhaps as well that the death of both these men left the King free in 1072 to make his own mistakes and learn wisdom by the consequences.

The year that followed proved that Henry had, at any rate, the will to use the strong hand where necessary, and the power to subdue the rebel Saxons. Encouraged by this success he now set to work to establish a despotism such as had not been known in Europe for many years.

Meantime certain events had been taking place in Rome which were destined to have a far-reaching effect upon the policy and fortunes of the King.

Pope Alexander II, the fourth successor of Leo IX, had died, and his funeral service was barely over, when, in the church of St John Lateran, where the burial ceremonies were held, a shout arose from the vast multitude that filled the church and the courtyard outside demanding with one voice that the monk Hildebrand should be their new Pope. When at length silence was obtained, Hugh the White, one of the cardinals, thus spoke:

"You all know, my brethren," said he, "that since the time of Leo IX, Hildebrand has exalted the Roman Church and freed our city. We cannot find a better Pope than he, nor can we find his equal. Let us then elect him who is known to us all and thoroughly approved by us."

A great shout replied: "St Peter has chosen Hildebrand to be our Pope!" and forthwith the reluctant monk was dragged to the church of St Peter ad Vincula, and then and there enthroned as Gregory VII.

His election was a triumph for the reforming party within the Church. The son of a rich peasant of Tuscany, Hildebrand had been trained as a monk in the strictest principles of Cluny, and had, as we have seen, accompanied Leo IX to Rome. Working under four successive popes he really wielded the chief power, and within these twenty-three years had not only freed the Church from the domination of feudal lords, but had gone far to establish her right to an absolute rule over them.

His was one of the most powerful personalities of history. Small of stature, corpulent, and short of limb, speaking with a stammer, moreover, and noted neither for learning nor original thought, he possessed a power over men's minds that was nothing less than extraordinary.

It has been well said of him that "he was one of the greatest practical men of the Middle Ages; and his single-minded wish to do what was right betokened a dignity of moral nature that was rare indeed in the eleventh century."

Yet this hunger and thirst after justice was quite compatible with a boundless ambition, though it was an ambition rather to reform the European world through the Papacy than for any personal end. In his own written words he says: "Human pride has created the power of kings; God's mercy has created the power of bishops. The Pope must be the Master of Emperors."

Such a program might well task the strength of a giant among men. "If I look to the west, the north, or the south," he says, "I find but few bishops whose lives and appointments are in accordance with the laws of the Church, or who govern God's people through love and not through worldly ambition. Among princes I know not one who sets the honour of God before his own, or justice before gain. If I did not hope that I could be of use to the Church, I would not remain at Rome a day."

In this spirit the work was begun, at the very time that the young Henry was, on his part, planning to set up a despotism that should free him from all control, whether of Church or State. It was inevitable from the first that King and Pope must come, sooner or later, into serious collision.

The question upon which the whole struggle was to hinge turned upon the practice of 'investiture.' For many years it had become the custom, when it bishopric or abbey was conferred, for the secular prince or sovereign to grant the recipient the ring and staff which were the spiritual symbols of their new office. The custom had grown up in the days of weak or subservient popes, and had done much to emphasize the temporal, or secular power, at the expense of the spiritual, or ecclesiastical authority.

At this, therefore, a mighty blow must be struck, and at a synod held at Rome two years after Gregory became Pope, the practice of 'lay investiture' was absolutely forbidden. "If any one henceforth receive from the hand of any lay person a bishopric or abbey, let him not be considered as abbot or bishop, and let the favour of St Peter and the gate of the Church be forbidden to him. If an emperor, a king, a duke, a count, or any lay person presume to give investiture of any ecclesiastical dignity, let him be excommunicate." With these words began the great struggle between the Empire and the Papacy that, under various forms, was to rage in Europe for the next two centuries, a struggle that, under this very aspect of investiture, was to be so intimately concerned with the fortunes of Anselm and the Church in England.

When two strong-willed men, one at the head of the ecclesiastical, the other at the head of the temporal power, come into conflict as to their respective spheres of authority, there is plenty of material for a very serious quarrel. Until this time Pope Gregory and Henry had been on fairly good terms, considering that the latter made no pretense to be interested in religious matters.

But Henry's avowed aim to make himself absolute in all parts of his dominions clashed hopelessly with this new decree of Gregory's, since it would render archbishops, bishops, and abbots, all of whom were among his most important land-holders, entirely independent of his appointment and control.

The rage of the King at the unmoved determination of the Pope was unbounded, and the old story about Gregory's irregular election was at once revived. "False monk," he writes to him, "Christ has called us to our kingdom but he has never called thee to the priesthood. Condemned by our bishops and by ourselves, come down from the place that thou hast usurped. Let the see of St Peter be held by another who will not seek to cover violence under the cloak of religion. I, Henry, King by the grace of God, with all my bishops, say unto thee, 'Come down, Come down.'"

This letter was handed to the Pope at the Vatican synod of 1076 in the midst of a tumult that nearly cost the bearer his life. For such a man as Gregory would have friends as passionately loyal as his enemies were virulent, and he knew himself to be certain of support when, after reading the epistle, he declared the King to be excommunicate.

"For the honour and security of the Church, I prohibit Henry the King, son of Henry the Emperor, who has risen with unheard-of pride against the Church, from ruling Germany and Italy. I release all Christians from the oath of fealty they may have taken to him, and I order that no one shall obey him."

Thus open war was declared between them; but when Henry looked for support in his policy of defiance, he found none at all. It was as though the rough justice of the time was prepared to uphold the man who, if he could be accused of ambition, was yet on the side of righteousness, while none would stand as champion of a king, equally ambitious, who was seeking first and foremost his own selfish, irreligious ends.

Other popes had been defied, so that it was not the hurling of the thunderbolts of the Church that was feared by nobles and commons; it seemed as though they were swayed partly by the personality of Gregory and the justice of his cause, partly by dread of the growing despotism of the King.

So in the October of 1076 the barons refused to obey Henry until he had made his submission and obtained absolution at the hands of Gregory; and Henry was given until February to make his peace after this manner.

After some two months of gloomy brooding over his position, Henry resolved to cross from Speyer in Germany into Italy, and then to obtain an interview with the Pope. With his wife Bertha, and his little son, accompanied by a tiny retinue, he travelled miserably across the Alps in the depths of a bitter winter, only to find, when he reached Pavia at the risk of his life, that Gregory was then staying at Canossa, a lonely castle of the Apennines. With him were the owner of the castle, the powerful Countess Matilda, and Hugh, Abbot of Cluny, the King's godfather, together with a large band of archbishops who had hastened to profess their loyalty and who were prepared to defend Canossa against what might prove to be an attack on the part of Henry.

The latter, however, was far too disheartened for such a course. Leaving his wife and boy at Reggio, he climbed the steep and snow-bound mountain roads, and on reaching the castle demanded an interview. Perhaps the tone of his message showed that the old haughty spirit was not curbed, for Gregory's reply was an absolute refusal. Only at the intercession of Hugh and Matilda, after they had seen and talked with the unhappy Henry in the chapel below the ramparts, did he agree to receive him on condition of absolute submission.

"If he be truly penitent, let him surrender his crown and insignia of royalty into our hands, and confess himself unworthy of the name and honour of king."

This Henry utterly refused to do; and at the urgent representation of Abbot Hugh, Gregory agreed to accept his complete submission without the resignation of his royalty. But for three bitter days the King was made to wait outside the gate of the castle, clad only in his tunic, barefoot, fasting, until on the fourth he was admitted into the Pope's presence. At his cry of "Holy Father, spare me!" the offended judge became at once the forgiving father and Gregory raised him, absolved him, and ministered to his needs. But though he was dismissed with a blessing and in peace, he was made to feel that the very holding of his crown depended in future upon the Pope's will.

This famous story of the 'going to Canossa' by no means marks, as might be expected, the final triumph of the Church over the King. Henry never forgave the humiliation to which he had been subjected, and his German nobles scorned him for his submission and proceeded to elect another king, who, when Gregory found that lay investiture was being given as freely as ever by his whilom penitent, was supported by the Pope. This, however, pricked Henry to an energy and determination that had been strangely lacking hitherto, and earned for him a support which would not otherwise have been his. In his turn he was soon able to declare Gregory deposed and excommunicate; an Anti-Pope was elected, and all Europe looked on in dismay at the spectacle of two Popes and two Kings in deadly conflict.

Three times slid Henry appear with his host before the walls of Rome, and each time did the proud heart of Gregory refuse to meet him on any terms but the former ones of absolute submission. "Let the King lay down his crown and make atonement to the Church," was his only answer to the representations of terrified ecclesiastics and conciliatory nobles.

But the fourth time Rome opened her gates, and Gregory, shut up and besieged within the castle of St Angelo, heard forthwith of the enthronement of his rival, Pope Clement III, and of Henry's coronation as Emperor at his hands.

It was the Normans, that strange and interesting northern race, who had seized Naples and Sicily, who now came to Gregory's rescue and drove Henry from Rome. But they left the Holy City ravished and desolate, and Gregory was fain to follow them to Salerno. There in poverty and exile the old man who had swayed the affairs of Europe and stood for the rights of the Church against an aggressive king fell ill and died. In his last moments his companions strove to comfort him by reminding him of the great work he had done.

"I set no store by that," said he. "One thing alone fills me with hope. I have always loved righteousness and hated iniquity, and therefore I die in exile."

Three years later (1088) his place was filled in the Chair of Peter by another monk of Cluny, Urban by name, who combined Gregory's thirst for righteousness with a tact and moderation that the latter never knew. It became his boast that he was able to make the investiture question sink into insignificance beside the great crusade of which he became the preacher. But since it was with him that Anselm and England were to be concerned in this contest of Church and State, we must now retrace our steps after this bird's-eye view of the condition of Europe, and discover what had been the fortunes meantime of the monk Anselm since the year 1060.



Prior Anselm of Le Bec

Anselm was twenty-seven years old when he was professed as a monk at the monastery at Bec. In his earlier days, as we have seen, his eager intellect and original mind had led him to put knowledge before him as the highest aim of life; and still, in the quiet cloister of Bec, the whole realm of abstract thought and philosophical speculation had for him an overwhelming attraction. The difference now lay in the fact that he no longer cared for earthly reputation as a great scholar and thinker; but, having dedicated his life to God, was free to devote himself to the work both of learning and teaching, while steadfastly upholding before a lax and undisciplined world the ideal set forth in the strict Benedictine rule.

For the first three years he sat at the feet of Lanfranc the prior, a man of far inferior intellect and originality, but one whose great practical ability had, as we have seen, already brought about a vast improvement, not only in the convent but throughout Normandy, in the morals and manners of the castle, the court, and the secular clergy.

But Lanfranc, a man dear to Duke William's heart, was not long to remain as prior at Bec. The Duke had lately founded a new monastery at Caen, to which Lanfranc was imperiously summoned to take the post of abbot. He could relinquish his work at Bec the more readily now that the crowd of eager young scholars whom his learning and eloquence had drawn there could be handed over to a worthy successor.

So, when Lanfranc left the monastery, his strong influence and commanding personality easily brought it about that Anselm should take his place, and the latter was duly elected prior.

This office was second in importance only to that of the abbot. The prior was responsible for the internal discipline of the house; he had to note the behaviour of monks and students in the choir and cloister, to visit at certain times of the day and night every part of the monastery, the crypt, the cloister, the infirmary, the dormitory, to see there was no idle gossip or waste of time. In this he was assisted by certain other monks of discretion "who would act without favour or malice."

"While they go their rounds they are not to make a sign to anyone, or to speak on any occasion; but watchfully to notice all negligences and offences, and silently passing by, afterward to make their complaint in chapter. If they find any of the brethren talking outside the cloister, one of the speakers is at once to rise up to them, and say if it be the case that they have leave to be talking."

If such a schoolboy system of supervision seems beneath the dignity of such a one as Anselm, it must be remembered that some similar plan was absolutely necessary in preserving discipline and order in an age in which the virtues of trustworthiness and honour had yet to be cultivated. There was in those times a good deal of the schoolboy about the monk, and, as judged by the standards of to-day, of the boy as found in the lower forms rather than among the prefects of the sixth. The very strictness of the rule caused many breaches of its observance; and yet that strictness was an absolute necessity as a protest against the laxity of an age that was fast losing all ideal of order and discipline.

The office of prior was no easy one to Anselm for other reasons. He had been elected, owing to Lanfranc's insistence, over the heads of many older monks, when he had been professed only for three years. An outbreak of jealous spite, smothered at first but none the less very bitter, came to a head in the conduct of a monk named Osbern, who, though much younger than Anselm, had been longer 'in religion.'

This youth, incited by older monks who lacked his daring, set himself to become a veritable thorn in the flesh to the new prior. He was probably, owing to the very early age at which he must have been professed, the spoilt child of the monastery; and he, doubtless mistaking the unusual gentleness of his superior for weakness and inefficiency, began a series of wild pranks and petty insubordinations that bade fair to keep the cloister in an uproar.

We know no details, but it is not difficult to imagine the countless ways in which an insolent, unmannered boy, a boy, too, of unusual cleverness and adroitness, could make hard the path of one who knew that the feeling of the place was, on the whole, against himself. A weaker man would have complained to Abbot Herlwin, would have tried to bring about the offender's expulsion, or at any rate have secured that he should be visited severely for each offence. It was not thus that Anselm, secure in his quiet and patient strength, would act. A born educator in the truest sense, he possessed that highest qualification, a sympathy with and love for the young ones placed under his charge which led him to understand, to forgive, and withal to determine to reform and amend what was wrong.

Instead of being treated with the severity he no doubt knew he deserved, Osbern found himself the object of the new prior's affectionate interest and concern. Every indulgence that the rule allowed was granted to him, his pranks were ignored, punishment remitted, well-deserved reproofs withheld.

In the face of such sublime patience and tenderness insubordination lost its zest, and hidden chords in the boy's character began to respond, unwillingly enough, to the consideration and affectionate regard of the older monk. Soon he began to follow the prior about, not in order to annoy, but to win some mark of notice or esteem, favours granted readily by Anselm. Before long, to the surprise and annoyance of the chief culprits, the jealous monks who had used the lad as their cat's-paw, Osbern conceived an intense devotion for his superior, sought his counsels, and began to amend his life in every possible way. Then the wise elder withdrew the silken glove and began to mold the boy with glove of steel.

Difficult tasks tested his endurance and obedience; severe penalties followed any breach of discipline. "He punished him not only with words but with stripes." The really fine nature hidden beneath the tricksome, flippant exterior answered to the spur and developed into noble manliness. His devotion appealed to the fatherly heart of the young prior, even more than his ripening intelligence to his intellect. He had become his most cherished son and pupil, and a source of infinite strength and satisfaction within the monastery walls, when suddenly he was stricken with mortal illness. Then the womanliness that is part of the finest and most virile natures showed itself in Anselm, who nursed him by night and day, and helped him to that spirit of peace and inward joy that enabled him to rise above all his sufferings.

"Day and night," says Eadmer, his friend and biographer, "he was at his bedside, gave him his food and drink, ministered to all his wants, did everything himself that might ease his body and comfort his soul."

When the end was very near, and, as the custom was, they had laid the dying monk on a piece of sackcloth, sprinkled with ashes, and spread on the floor of his cell, the prior bent over the boy and whispered a last charge, that if it were possible, he would let him know, when he hail departed, if all was well with him. "He promised and passed away."

While the monks were watching round the bier of the dead monk, which had been laid before the altar of the church, Prior Anselm, worn out with fatigue and grief, withdrew to a distant corner of the choir, to weep and pray for the soul of his friend. And then he fell into heavy slumber and dreamed this dream:

"He saw certain beings of reverend aspect, clothed in white garments, enter the room where Osbern had died and seat themselves in judgment round the spot where, stretched on the sackcloth, he expired. But their sentence was hidden from the dreamer, who tried in vain to learn it. Then Osbern himself appeared, like to one coming to himself after excessive loss of blood.

"'How fares it with you, my child? ' asked Anselm; and the young man answered: 'Thrice the old serpent rose up against me, and thrice he fell back again, and the Bearward of the Lord hath delivered me.'

"Then Anselm knew that the Angel of God had delivered him from his foes 'as the bearward keeps off the bears.'" And Eadmer adds tenderly: "See how the dead showed the same obedience to the living, which, living, he had been wont to show."

Never did Anselm forget the boy who had thus wound himself so closely round his heart. Writing to his friend Gundulf in after years he says: "Wherever Osbern is, his soul is my soul. Let me then, while I live, receive on his behalf whatever I might hope to receive from friendship when I am dead (i.e. Masses and prayers), so that then you need do nothing for me. Farewell, my beloved, and that I may repay thee according to thy own desires, I pray and I pray and I pray thee to remember me and forget not the soul of my beloved Osborn. And if I seem to burden thee overmuch, then forget me and remember him."

The insight and sympathy which Anselm showed in the case of this lad not only stamps him as a great teacher but as a notable leader of men. This, however, was left for future years to reveal; as prior of Bec he was content to be at the disposal of all who claimed his time and counsel, though his chief love and interest were concerned with the boy students and the younger monks.

"Whole days he would spend in giving advice to those who claimed it; and the night he would spend in correcting the ill-written copies of hooks for the library."

Remembering, as we do, the long hours of prayer, the frequent offices, the arduous toil of teaching, and the fact that his distinctive bent lay in the direction of profound speculative thought, we are not surprised to find his health, never very strong, giving way under the constant strain. He was ever ready to shorten his hours of sleep that he might give more time to those in need of him; but a life of constant distractions owing to the affairs of others bade fair to threaten at one time the loss of his own inner peace and calm.

In despair the prior at length sought out the archbishop and besought him to relieve him of his office, protesting with tears that he could no longer endure the strain. But the archbishop would not hear of it.

"My dearest son, do not ask this of me," he said. "Do not wish to lay down your burden and care only for self. I bid you keep your present office, and on no account refuse a higher one should you ever be called to it. For I am sure that you will not remain very long where you are; you will soon be promoted to a higher charge."

To which Anselm replied with tears: "Alas, I am not strong enough for what I carry now, and if a heavier load is laid upon me, I dare not shake it off." And so in deep despondency he returned to Bec.

Once again in his life's story this episode was to be repeated; once again the humble and highly spiritual nature of the man was to rebel against the shackles of worldly cares and claims that prevented close and unbroken communion with the Divine; but now, as then, when once assured that it was the call of God that he should thus do violence to his own desires and instincts, he fulfilled what to him was the lower task in the most perfect way.

In addition to his former duties, he had now the work of a physician; for Abbot Lanfranc had summoned to his new foundation at Caen the doctor-priest Albert, who had hitherto had the charge of the sick at Bec.

In this hospital work Anselm was singularly successful. "He spent much of his time," says Eadmer, "in the infirmary and used to investigate most carefully the symptoms of each one of his patients. Whatever each one's case required he promptly, ungrudgingly, and cheerfully administered. He was a father to the well, but a mother to the sick, nay, father and mother in one both to the sick and the well. No one had a secret in his heart that he did not wish to confide to Anselm, as a child entrusts its confidence to the keeping of a tender mother."

And he paints a charming picture of the old monk Herewald, paralyzed and helpless, in whom life could only be preserved by feeding him with the juice of grapes, squeezed, berry by berry, into his mouth, which yet could only be swallowed when administered by the gentle hands of Prior Anselm.

Still, however, his most affectionate interest was centered in the young boys of the monastery school. In an age when the teacher's one rule of discipline was to flog, and flog soundly for all offences, he was the first to suggest that there was a danger of brutalizing the lads by such frequent use of the rod instead of taming their young hearts by other means. He was no milksop in the matter; he had not hesitated, as we have seen, to inflict stripes upon his beloved son Osbern when stripes were needed to teach a proud and stubborn nature humility. But his real views on punishment appear best in a conversation that took place with an abbot who came one day to Bec and seized the opportunity, as teachers ever will, to bemoan to one of the same profession his difficulties with his pupils. His complaint, though not his method of education, has a curiously modern ring about it. "What is the use of all this education?" he asks. "We do our best for them, and they turn out perverse and ungrateful. We do not cease to beat them day and night and they only get worse."

"So you don't cease beating them?" asked the prior gently. "What do they turn into when they grow, up?

"They turn only dull and brutal."

"Well, you have bad luck in the pains you take in their training since you only turn them into beasts," was the unexpected rejoinder.

"But what else can we do?" cried the astonished abbot. "We constrain them to improve in every way, and it is all no use."

Then the prior spoke out his mind: "Ah, you constrain them, and that is where the whole fault lies. Is there no other method, my brother? If you were to take a young tree full of sap and lop a branch there and tie down another there, what would you expect when you untie the lashings? Surely a gnarled and twisted thing, fit for nothing in the world. And if you do nothing but beat your boys and forever cheek them for their faults, can you wonder if they grow up twisted and shapeless?

"Think, brother, would you like, if you were what they are, to be treated as you treat them? You try by blows and stripes alone to fashion them; but did you ever see a craftsman fashion a fair image out of gold and silver by blows alone? Does he not now gently press and strike it, now with wise art still more gently raise and shape it? So, if you would mold your boys to good you must, along with the stripes that are to bow them down, lift them up and assist them by fatherly kindness and gentleness."

By these wise and tender words the heart of the abbot was so moved that "falling at Anselm's feet he confessed his fault, and asked pardon for the past, promising amendment for the future."

It was small wonder that Anselm soon became the revered and beloved counselor and confidant, not only of his own pupils and monks, but of a far wider circle beyond the walls of Bec. Living the strictest of lives, a monk of the monks, his broad sympathies were yet in close touch with those living in the world; austere to himself, he was both considerate and indulgent to others; stern and even severe in judgment where any question of truth or doctrine was concerned, he ever "leaned to the side of compassion and liberty," where a mere formalist would have drawn tight the reins.

He possessed the true teacher's gift of using homely practical illustrations to drive home his point, "teaching," says Eadmer, "not as is the wont among others, but in a widely different fashion, setting forth each point under common and familiar examples, and supporting it by solid reasons without any veils or disguises of speech."

We are not surprised to find that his correspondence was by no means his lightest task. Abbot Herlwin, as we know, was no hand with the pen, and all the formal business of the abbey would perforce pass through the hands of the prior, in addition to the answering of many letters, even in that unliterary age, front old scholars, penitents, and students seeking his counsel on knotty points of theology.

And so, busied with manifold cares, forgetting himself, but keenly mindful of that inner world of prayer and union with the Divine which was the most vital part of the life of the true religious, Anselm spent fifteen happy years.



The Abbot

Forty-four years had passed away since Herlwin, knight and warrior, exchanged the sword for the chalice, the armour of chivalry for the monastic habit. For some long time he had gradually become accustomed to put much of his ruling power into the hands of Prior Anselm; and now the day drew near when he was to say a last farewell to the abbey he had founded and directed all these years.

He had seen many changes in his own little circle, and from time to time rumours of the world outside the cloister walls must have come to his ears and filled him and his monks with interest and concern.

For one of their number, Lanfranc, the scholar and the friend of the great Duke, before whose very name men trembled, had gone forth from among them to fill a high position, one to which his first appointment as abbot of St Stephen's Abbey at Caen was but a stepping-stone. Four years after the Battle of Senlac, when England lay conquered but unsubdued, Lanfranc had been imperiously summoned to the aid of Duke William of Normandy, henceforth to be better known as the Conqueror of England.

The reorganization of the Church in England was by no means the least of the problems with which the 'stark king' had to deal.

Saxon prelates and Saxon priests had lost by this time all that reputation for learning that it had been Alfred's glory to build up. The Saxon Archbishop Stigand, the adherent of an Anti-Pope in one of the disputes over the question of the papacy, had never been regularly appointed by the Holy See, and was, moreover, a stupid, ignorant man.

In the religious revival, of which we have seen so many traces across the Channel, England had taken no part. Only in the monasteries was the torch of religion kept alight, while the secular clergy drowsed in contented sloth till awakened by the thunderbolt of Senlac field. From that time they could look for but short shrift from the Conqueror. For wherever William was, he must be master, and he had small patience with bishops who were neither loyal to him by instinct nor learned and worthy ecclesiastics.

Within four years Stigand was deposed and Lanfranc set in his place as Archbishop of Canterbury; before long nearly every Saxon bishop had left the realm, and their sees were filled with Norman prelates.

Not that he did this merely to strengthen his own position. The Conqueror had ever 'an eye for a man,' and his choice was dictated by really high motives, as is shown by the comment of a writer of those times: "In choosing abbots and bishops, he considered not so much men's riches or power as their holiness and wisdom. He called together bishops and abbots and other wise counselors in any vacancy, and by their advice inquired very carefully who was the best and wisest man, as well in divine things as in worldly, to rule the Church of God."

That this would tend in time to raise the tone of the clergy and revive the spirit of religion in England is undoubted; but it is equally clear that the appointment of Norman prelates, strangers to the language and customs of the people over whom they had spiritual charge, but in full sympathy with the King's ideals, would make for the increase of the royal supremacy. Not every abbot was possessed of the gentle soul of Anselm, who, on hearing of the appointment of one of his friends to the see of St Albans, wrote a kindly letter pitying him for his sojourn among an uncivilized race whose language was unknown to him, but bidding him remember that he could show forth the teaching of Christ by his life as well as by his words. Some of these abbots and bishops were worldly men enough, who looked upon their Saxon flocks as merely a means of providing revenue for them; and this low ideal of their office was not improved by the knowledge that the King himself, however much he valued holiness of life, yet had a very keen eye to the main chance, and demanded homage and 'feudal dues' from bishop and baron alike.

But the main point of William's Church policy—an important one since later on it affected the career of Anselm so much—was to strengthen the hands of the bishops and clergy by the royal support to such an extent that they could be used, if necessary, against the baronial party. For it was the growing power of the feudal lords that was always menacing the authority of the King; and a long experience of civil war in Normandy between duke and barons had confirmed William in his determination to be master of England, of barons, bishops, and commons alike.

So far indeed was he obsessed with this idea of complete supremacy that the Conqueror would not even give in his personal submission as king to the head of the Church himself. On the demand of Hildebrand he agreed to pay 'Peter's Pence,' the customary yearly tribute, but the oath of 'fealty' he absolutely refused. He would have no interference from without. Says his chronicler: "He would not suffer any authority within his realm to accept the Roman pontiff as apostolic father except at his bidding, or to receive his letters unless they had first been shown to himself."

An imperious summons from Rome to Lanfranc was disobeyed, though probably with great unwillingness, and Hildebrand was wise enough not to press the matter. It was not the time to embroil himself with the 'stark king,' who was so clearly the instigator of the refusal. But when the news of this matter came to the quiet cloisters of Le Bec, one can imagine that Prior Anselm's gentle heart would be much disquieted. It was very well, perhaps, for a time that England should be to a certain extent isolated from the Church of the Continent, while there was still so much 'cleaning up' to be done within her borders, and while the reins of her government, civil and ecclesiastical, were in the hands of a strong king. But that much trouble was being stored up for the future was clear enough both to him and to his former teacher, for we find Lanfranc writing about this time:

"I beseech you to pray God in His mercy that he grant a long life to my master the English King; for while he lives we have peace of some sort, but after his death we cannot hope to have peace or any other good."

During these years of change and development we find a constant stream of communication passing between Le Bec and Canterbury, and this formed almost the only strong remaining tie between the Church in England and that abroad.

It was natural enough that Lanfranc should select some of his old companions and scholars to fill such bishoprics as those of St Albans and Rochester, and the monastery of Christ Church at Canterbury kept up a frequent interchange of monks with Le Bec. Once, indeed, Lanfranc found leisure, in the midst of all his business, to visit his old home, which he had already honoured with grants of money and of fine embroidery for the church.

The meeting between the two old men, Abbot Herlwin, eighty-three years of age, and Archbishop Lanfranc, now nearly eighty, must have been very touching. Each hurried to be the first to fall prostrate in the loving homage, which neither would permit to be paid to himself, and the struggle was only ended when each fell on the other's neck and kissed. Rank and dignity were laid aside as Lanfranc paced the cloister arm in arm with some former friend or pupil, talked to the children, or sat in the refectory side by side with the monks, refusing the seat of honour and eating from the same dish as his former brethren. Even in the church he would not sit in the archbishop's chair, but finding Anselm was absent on business, entered his stall, saying with a smile that be had not resigned his office and was prior still. No wonder that when the moment for his departure came, "they all burst into tears and there was no consoling the little ones; he therefore hurried off as quickly as possible, hoping their sobs might cease at least when lie was well out of sight."

He had said his last farewell to Abbot Herlwin. The following year (1078) that beautiful and simple soul breathed its last, and the old warrior who had for over forty years fought the battle of monastic reform within cloister walls, passed away in the midst of his brethren, under the shadow of the church and monastery he had founded.

And now the question arose as to who should be his successor. A meeting was summoned in the chapter-house, and the brethren gathered in a state of suppressed excitement, tempered indeed with sadness when they saw the chair of Herlwin standing empty at the upper end.

The most collected among them was Prior Anselm, who, in virtue of his position, opened the conference. But before he could say more than a few words, a monk arose and proposed that the prior should be elected abbot.

Now this was exactly what Anselm had determined should not be. His was a character that always shrank from responsibility, that had no love of rule, that was always more ready to obey than to issue orders. Moreover, his intense spirituality and love of communing with God made him averse from all that diverted his attention to activities that were bound to shorten his time for meditation and prayer.

But there was probably another reason for Anselm's prompt and uncompromising opposition. He had what was for that age an exceedingly strong sense of loyalty to the Holy See, and he knew that by his acceptance of this office he would be obliged to come into conflict with a decree lately issued by Hildebrand, now Pope Gregory VII. This was to the effect that no abbot should receive investiture, the formal recognition of his office by the diving of the crosier, from the hands of a layman; and Anselm knew too well the character of William, Duke of Normandy and King of England, to think that it would be possible to evade the reception of it from him.

To such a sensitive soul the struggle between loyalty to his spiritual head and obedience to temporal authority must have been exceeding bitter, and only some such reason can account for the almost exaggerated intensity of his refusal. But the monks listened to his list of objections with what his biographer calls "dogged affection and affectionate doggedness," and refused to accept them.

The conference ended, and another was called for the next day, and again on the day following; still he refused, and with such reiteration that at length the monks grew impatient and declared with some roughness of speech that they were weary of his objections, which they now knew by heart, and were merely waiting for him to yield to their immovable decision.

Anselm

ALSELM APPOINT ABBOT OF BEC


At that the prior, harassed and worn by mental conflict, wept bitterly, and falling on his face before them entreated them in the name of God's compassion "to take pity on him, and quit him of such a burden." But by this time they too were wrought up and full of emotion. "To his infinite dismay, they all did as he had done—fell prostrate as one man from their benches round about the chapter-house, and so, in that posture of utter abasement, pleaded that it was the abbey that needed pity, they that needed pity; that surely the common good was not nothing to their prior; and that since they were many and he was one, it were ill to sacrifice the many to the one, and save self at the expense of others."

Throughout the conflict there most have echoed in the ears of Anselm the words of the Archbishop of Rouen years ago, bidding him not to refuse to bear the load of higher responsibility should it ever be offered him. He used to say in later days that had it not been for that injunction he would never have given way. One can but wonder whether he had any premonition of the fact that nine years later he would be faced with a decision far more important, involving, curiously enough, a similar difficulty, a difficulty upon which was to turn the great struggle between Church and King.

So Anselm was elected abbot, and news thereof being sent to the great Duke William, forthwith were dispatched three barons from the royal court to hear whether the election had been unanimous. We can imagine the tale these men heard as they paced the cloister; the affectionate outpouring of hearts and lips which told how Anselm had won his way from the position of a foreigner, jealously regarded by the older monks, through the difficulties created by the pranks and rebellions of the lad Osbern, and how for the five years he had held office as prior, he had ruled them with a gentle discipline that yet lacked no hint of firmness, leading rather than driving as a shepherd leads his flock.

So William at once summoned the abbot-elect to Brionne, where he was staying at the time, and there, according to the custom, the Duke handed him a crosier, or pastoral staff, to touch, in token that therewith he was put in possession of all 'temporalities,' that is, the lands and buildings of the abbey over which William held jurisdiction as liege lord.

Some think that this touching of the staff did not involve the 'lay investiture' to which Anselm had resolved not to submit; and that the latter could only have been conferred by handing to him the crosier of Abbot Herlwin, which stood for full jurisdiction, 'temporal' and spiritual. However that may have been, we hear that the new abbot upon his return steadfastly refused to accept the staff of his predecessor; and thus for a time the difficulty was solved, and Anselm was consecrated finally in the spring of the year 1079.

The work of an abbot in those days was by no means confined to his own monastery. He filled the position of judge or chief magistrate over the tenants of the abbey lands, and had to take his place as representative of his religious house in some of the lay courts of justice. Many a weary hour was there wasted in wrangling over trifles and details of procedure, all of which must have been as intensely distasteful to such a man as Anselm as it interested and delighted the crowd of by standers. Even when he sat there as magistrate his biographer tells us: "He, not troubling about that sort of thing, would discourse, to anyone who chose to lend him a hearing, out of the Gospel or some other part of Holy Scripture, or set forth something for the forming of good manners; or, if he had no one to listen to him, sweetly reposing in heart's purity would drop asleep." Then, awaking at the close of the wordy contest, the abbot would astound all present by the clear and pithy way in which he summed up the matter and finally delivered judgment.

The happiest hours passed by Anselm as abbot must have been those spent over the theological treatises written during these years. These cannot here be dwelt upon, but it is interesting to notice how in a time when books of any kind were rare, and those that existed were often copied most inaccurately from the originals, Anselm, dependent upon the loan of such for his references and verifications, writes: "Send me a copy of the Aphorisms. If you are unable to copy it all, copy a part. But above all send it me without errors. I would rather have a part correctly copied than the whole crammed with mistakes."

His own books are philosophical treatises dealing with the great questions of the relation between God and man, which were stirring the minds of intellectual Europe in those days. But no merely intellectual solution would satisfy the writer of those two great works, the Monologium, or Faith Seeking Understanding, and the Proslogium, or sequel to the same. His great aim was to stir the souls of men to realize the existence of God in every part of His creation, and there to worship Him 'in being and in truth.' Probably to most of us, however, unlearned as we are in theological treatises, the letters written during these years are more interesting, as showing the tender, human side of the writer.

Here is an extract from a real 'love-letter,' written to one William, a young knight whose brother had gone out with the First Crusade, and who longed to follow him. But Anselm has found in him the germ of a religious vocation, and would call him to a higher warfare.

So he writes: "To his loved, his loving, and his longed-for William—from brother Anselm, styled Abbot of Le Bec. May he love not the world, nor the things that are in the world, but enjoy the love of God, and give God his love.

"I begin by calling him my loved and my loving one, in reply to the request he makes of my love." A soul dear to my soul has, through a letter fragrant with affection, asked use for a letter of consolation, in token of my love for him. What has greater consolation than affection? How then can I better console you in your love for me than by writing to tell you that my soul's love for you is such that my heart will know no consolation, and my longing for you be all unappeased, unless I have you for my own?

Then later on he writes more strongly. The youth is shilly-shallying; not content to fulfill his vocation and yet unwilling to turn his back upon it.

"Love not the false if you would have the true. Look not back. Leave alone the treasures of Constantinople and of Babylon—they are only meant for blood-stained hands—and set out on a pilgrimage to the heavenly Jerusalem, the vision of peace.

May Almighty God guide all your wishes and all your actions with His counsel, and further them with His help, O friend of mine, dearest to my heart."

He did not write in vain, and William became one of the many sons of Le Bec who were drawn thither by the fatherly affection of Abbot Anselm.

In a stern age, when rough discipline and 'stark' manners were the custom and the rule, his character stands out pre-eminent for its gentleness, its calm disregard of conventional dignity, its understanding sympathy with the faults and follies of the young. Yet as we have seen in the case of his beloved pupil Osbern, Anselm was no weak disciplinarian, no easy slurrer of wrong-doing, though he could, on occasion, plead for a penitent runaway in words of humorous tenderness. He writes to the monks of Canterbury anent one Moses, who has run away from the monastery of Christ Church, taking a servant with him, and a sum of borrowed money, and who, after spending all, has repented and sought refuge at the knees of Abbot Anselm at Le Bec. He has been told that he must return to Canterbury and face the penalty—a severe flogging and no less severe abstinence for many days, and "knowing his fault, he fears for himself the rigour of justice, for, as the apostle says: 'No man ever hated his own flesh.'"

So, after explaining that the penitent youth perceives that for so many and such grave short-comings no prayers of his own either may or ought to suffice, and therefore begs me to intercede for him," Anselm suggests the following plan:

"My beloved, let brother Moses be to you as if clothed from head to foot in the skin of brother Anselm, and let his mouth be mine. If there is any one among you whom I formerly wronged of my own will, let him be the first to punish my skin in him and condemn my mouth to abstinence. But after this fault I most earnestly commend my skin to brother Moses, to be kept as he loves his own: and to you—I do not say to be spared. For if through his fault my skin is hurt or severely punished, I will require it of him, being thankful, however, to whoever spares him.

"About all this he would wish to know your will by letter before he returns to you; not that he refuses to hasten even to torment if you command him, but he desires to return with good hope and joyfully to those for whom he longs. Farewell."



A Visit to England

It was but a short time after the consecration of Anselm as abbot of Le Bec that he made his first acquaintance with the country that was to be the scene of his future life-work.

The connection between Le Bec and Canterbury has been already dwelt upon. Not only, however, was there a frequent interchange of monks between the two monasteries, but Le Bec had lately received a grant of English land for its maintenance, and this the new abbot must inspect and appraise. A return visit to Lanfranc was also within the scheme of affairs, and no doubt this would he the opportunity of arranging and settling many minor details in connection with the two monastic estates.

The progress of his journey thither is the more interesting when we remember the difficulties of transit in those days and the horrors with which it was fraught to one who as yet had never crossed the sea.

Guided by one Dom Girard, who seems to have been, for his time, a quite experienced traveler, Anselm passed through Flanders to what is now the inland village of Wissant, for the former harbour between Boulogne and Calais has been choked by sand and left high and dry, four miles from the sea.

The passenger boats of that age were the roughest of rough vessels, but the passage seems to have been a good and short one, though no doubt Anselm was thankful to land at Lympne, now also left stranded some distance from the coast. From there he travelled, probably on horseback, along the Roman road that runs from Lympne to Canterbury.

Just off this road stood the famous convent of Lyminge, founded by St Ethelburga, daughter of Ethelbert, the first Christian king of Kent; and thither had journeyed Archbishop Lanfranc to meet his illustrious visitor and former pupil, and to accompany him on his way to Canterbury.

From Lyminge is dated a letter of Anselm to his monks at Le Bec, almost modern in its tone of reassurance as to his safety.

"Brother Anselm to his dearest brothers in the community of Bec.

"Knowing how truly anxious you are in your love for me to have news of my safety and well-being, I dare not distress you with any delay. On the day that Dom Girard, soon after sunrise, took leave of me on board ship, the Divine protection answered your prayers by landing me in the middle of the afternoon on the shores of England, after a prosperous voyage, in which I suffered none of the inconveniences that affect so many when at sea; and by bringing me in the evening into the society of our lord and father Archbishop Lanfranc, who gave me a hearty welcome to his manor of Lyminge; on the morrow of which events I pen these lines, hoping thus to satisfy your desires."

Next day the two old friends rode together into Canterbury, where Anselm, so long accustomed to the simplicity of Le Bec, must have been astonished at the grandeur of the cathedral church, lately rebuilt by Lanfranc, and at the pomp and splendour of his reception.

Before the gate of the monastery of Christ Church stood its prior, Henry, once of Le Bec, holding a massive book of the Gospels and wearing a cope of rich embroidery. As Anselm stooped to kiss the book, two monks on either side came forward with censer and holy water, and disclosed two long lines formed by the whole community extending to the doors of the cathedral. Through these passed the abbot into the dim nave, where for some time he knelt in silent devotion; then passing through the cloister took his seat in the chapter-house adjoining and prepared to address the eager crowd of monks.

It seems to have been this first discourse, delivered in that beautiful voice and winning manner for which Anselm was now famous, that completely won the heart of a young English monk, Eadmer by name, who became his adoring friend and faithful biographer, and to whom we are indebted for nearly all the details of his life. Other hearts, too, were doubtless won when Anselm, at the conclusion of his sermon, begged from the archbishop the privilege of 'fraternity,' and was at once made a brother, a friend, "and a sharer in life and after death of the prayers and good works of the monks of Christ Church."

Many a consultation between the archbishop and the abbot must have been held during this visit, and many a difficulty discussed. Lanfranc would no doubt explain the methods of reform he had set on foot since his arrival in England, when he found the monks of Christ Church "amusing themselves with falconry and horse-racing; loving the rattle of dice; indulging in drink; wearing fine clothes, disdaining a frugal and quiet life, and having so many people to wait on them that they were more like fine gentlemen than monks." And Anselm's gentle heart would have well approved of the way in which he set about to improve them, for we are told by an early writer that Lanfranc, skilled in the art of arts, the government of souls, and knowing well that habit is second nature, though bent on reforming, did his work with prudence, and plucking up the weeds little by little, sowed good seed in their place."

Now, however, that high ideals had been set before them, and a lofty standard enforced, it became the tendency of Lanfranc's sterner nature to draw the cords too tight, and to lack something of that warm sympathy and breadth of view which was Anselm's great charm. And one opportunity at least was given the latter of tempering the harsh judgment of his friend with a larger spirit of generosity.

A discussion had arisen as to the admission of the name of Archbishop Alphege upon the Church's roll of honour as a canonized saint. Lanfranc had refused to grant it on the score that Alphege had met his end in the days of the Danish invasion, not because of his faith but because he refused to ransom his life with property belonging to the tenants of Church lands. But when the matter was laid before Anselm, he probably divined that some feeling of contempt for a 'barbarous Saxon bishop' lay unworthily beneath the archbishop's conclusion, and declared that one who had died rather than distress his people had done so for 'righteousness,' and that "he who dies for righteousness dies a martyr for Christ."

Such a decision would do much to endear him to the minds of Englishmen, still suffering beneath the contemptuous rule of their Norman conquerors, and Anselm soon became a great favourite wherever he went. In the words of Eadmer: "He showed himself pleasant and cheerful in his wonted manner to all; and the ways of each, as far as he could without sin, he took upon himself . . . So that hearts were in a wonderful manner turned to him and were filled with hungry eagerness to hear him. For he adapted his words to each order of men, so that his hearers declared that nothing could have been said to fall in better with their ways. To monks, to clerks, to laymen, according to each man's purpose, he dispensed his words."

Court as well as monastery was honoured by such a guest. "There was no count in England, or countess, or powerful person, who did not think they had lost merit in the sight of God, if it had not chanced to them at that time to have done some service to Anselm, the abbot of Bec."

As further grants were made of land in England to the abbey of Le Bec, Anselm's visits to this country grew fairly frequent. A daughter house had been established at St Neots in Huntingdonshire; estates were held at what is still known as Tooting Bec and Streatham; and the abbot's presence was frequently necessary, though his heart still lay in the quiet Norman cloister of Le Bec. No doubt this business brought him into occasional contact with the King, now in his latter days grown 'starker' and grimmer than ever. But the strain of real religious feeling that underlay William's harsh exterior responded at once to the spiritual beauty of Anselm's nature, and, as Eadmer tells us: "When he sometimes came to the court of the King about various items of business in connection with the Church or other matters, the King himself, laying aside the fierceness that made him seem cruel and terrible to many, became so kind and affable that in his presence he appeared, to the surprise of many, to become a different man."

No wonder, then, that when William's last hour drew near, it was to Anselm that he turned. Death had indeed been busy in those last decades of the eleventh century among the great ones of the land.

In 1085 Gregory VII, the great Hildebrand, who had roused all Europe by his determination to make the Church of Christendom not only an independent but also a spiritual kingdom on earth, had passed away as a fugitive at Salerno. "I have loved justice and hated iniquity and therefore I die in exile" were, as we saw, the memorable words in which he summed up his gallant failure to accomplish a high ideal; and he never knew that within a few years' time, the smouldering torch that he had tried to light throughout Europe would be once more held aloft by one who was then known only as abbot of Le Bec.

In 1087 William the Conqueror, bruised internally by the plunging of his horse, which had trodden on some hot ashes in the sacked town of Caen, was carried in mortal illness to Rouen; and from thence was brought to St Gervais, the priory that lay on the western outskirts of the city. In his extremity the one man he asked for was Abbot Anselm, who, hastily summoned from Le Bec, lost no time in making his way thither.

It seemed, however, as though the ruler who had lived his life in such stern loneliness, uncheered by child or friend, was to die in like manner as he had lived. His sons cared only to wait to know the distribution of his lands before they hastened off each to annex the portion that he desired; and when the dying King made wistful inquiry after the spiritual comforter he craved for, he was told that Anselm, at the moment he reached the monastery, had been taken very seriously ill and had been removed to a dependency of Le Bec across the river.

Other prelates took his place, but William was to go down to the grave without the consolation of the few he really loved. Lanfranc, his chosen counselor, the man after his own heart, was far away in England; Anselm, whose gentle soul had appealed so strongly to his own stark nature, was himself dangerously ill. As long as he retained consciousness the King insisted on sending half the portions prepared for him of food or wine to his fellow-sufferer, and prepared to face the last night of his life alone. The bishop and abbot who were with him never seem to have realized how near was the end; possibly they slept until roused by the chimes from the cathedral and the faint voice of the dying King.

"What is that sound?" asked William.

"'Tis the bell for Prime at St Mary's, sire," they answered.

"To God's Holy Mother, St Mary, I commend my soul, and may she bring me to the presence of her dear Son Christ," murmured the King; and so, without benefit of sacrament, died.

Then panic seized his companions. It seemed that if they had feared William in his life, they feared him still more in death; and whether in dismay at their own remissness or in superstitious terror of an unhallowed corpse, they fled from the monastery, leaving him half-naked on the floor.

The man who had held evenly the balance of justice was dead, and the hosts of misrule were already knocking at the gates of Normandy. The barons had risen as by a preconcerted signal, and all the land was in uproar.

The hopeless task of ruling Normandy had been bequeathed by William to Robert, the most fantastic and unstable of the Conqueror's sons. To William the Red, his second son, had fallen England, and thither had already hastened that astute person, without waiting to bury his dead father. Wisely enough he made his way direct to Lanfranc, whose support was worth having in the face of a horde of turbulent barons, who had only waited for the Conqueror's death to assert their independence of his iron rule.

But Lanfranc had known Red William too long and too well not to hesitate over his consecration as king. There had been no formal bequest of the kingdom by his father; only the expression of a wish; and Eadmer declares that without the consent of Lanfranc he could never have been crowned.

For nineteen days after William's death the matter hung in the balance; and we may perhaps find in this enforced suspense the germ of the Red King's future hatred for priest and Church.

But Lanfranc had really no other choice. Robert was a capricious weakling who had already involved Normandy in a hopeless mesh of misrule; Henry, by far the ablest of the Conqueror's sons, was a stripling of nineteen, and almost entirely without support in England.

So, staying only to exact an oath that if he were made king, he would "in all things observe justice, equity, and mercy, defend the peace and liberty of the Church, and obey the counsels of the archbishop in all things," Lanfranc proceeded to consecrate William as King of England.

Within two years, the aged archbishop, horror-struck at the profligate wickedness and unscrupulous oppression of the King he had lately crowned, had gone to his well-earned rest. He had loyally supported William against the attempt at invasion by his ancient enemy Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, half-uncle to the King, as also against rebellions in the Welsh borderlands and in the north; but he had lived to realize the hopelessness of expecting just or even reasonable rule from the hands of a man who cared neither for God nor man, a blasphemer of the Church, a selfish sensualist at home, a ruthless tyrant abroad.



The Vacant See

For nearly four years after the death of Lanfranc, no archbishop filled the see of Canterbury. It was a strange time of terror and violence for England. The lay people had been crushed and cowed by the strong hand of an absolutely ruthless king; and when they looked to their natural protectors, the monks and clergy, for consolation and support, they found them in worse case than themselves.

It must be remembered that the monasteries of that time very largely took the place of the hospitals, workhouses, schools, and libraries of the present day; and that anything that interfered with their efficiency was bound to affect the people at large. The bishops and abbots were, moreover, responsible not only for the monks over whom they held direct rule, but also for the administration of justice to the tenants of the far-spread domain outside the abbey walls. Their loss was the people's loss, their degradation the people's shame.

Now after the death of Lanfranc there came into prominence at the court of the Red King, a certain low-born priest named Ranulf, to which title a scandalized age added that of 'Flambard' or the Firebrand. This man, clever, self-seeking, and utterly without a conscience, set himself to win the heart of William by playing upon the insatiable greed that was always demanding fresh supplies for his gross pleasures and ambitious ends. Placed in the position of Prime Minister, a post held almost invariably in those days by an ecclesiastic, Ranulf hesitated at nothing which should fill the coffers of the King. "With tributes and exactions," says the chronicler, "he not merely shaved, he flayed the English people."

But his hand fell heaviest on the Church to which he had once pledged his loyalty and love.

All that Lanfranc had done to raise the tone of the clergy by forbidding the buying and selling of benefices was destroyed, and no man was admitted to any office in the Church without paying for it. The tenants of Church lands were disgracefully oppressed. Scarcely was Archbishop Lanfranc in his grave before Ranulf was within the gates of Christ Church, demanding a full description of its sources of revenue. And even while the frightened monks were hastening to obey the behest of this king's messenger, he informed them that henceforth a tax must be paid on all food brought into the abbey precincts, as also upon all land belonging thereto; and that henceforth the whole property attached to the see of Canterbury was to form a portion of the royal 'demesne' or estate. The result was just what might have been expected.

When the cloister was invaded by the basest spirits of a licentious court, ordering and threatening the confused and dismayed monks, no rule could be kept. Discipline fled, and quarrelling and discontent took its place. Tithes and other dues belonging to the monks were unpaid, and famine threatened. Some of the monks departed, others lost heart at sight of the miseries which oppressed both themselves and their unhappy tenants, and fell into a state of apathy.

What had happened at Christ Church, Canterbury, happened again and again wherever a bishop's see or an abbot's chair fell vacant in England. Disorder and confusion reigned, and religious life came near to receiving its death-blow.

Where once had been set up the standard of a clear-sighted, scholarly ecclesiastic such as Lanfranc, or of a saintly monk such as Anselm, there now existed only the evil influence of the coarse-minded, cunning plunderer, Ranulf the Firebrand, whom William, more in mockery than in earnest, made Bishop of Durham in later days in reward for his good services.

It is no wonder that after three years of such a rule men began openly to complain, to recall the days of Archbishop Lanfranc, and to mutter darkly that never until the friend and pupil of Lanfranc sat in his seat would there again be hope for England.

If Anselm had any inkling of this, it account for the fact that at this time he steadfastly refused one or two pressing invitations to visit this country; but at length came a summons to which he had never turned a deaf ear.

A dying man who had been a great sinner besought that he would come over and help him to make his peace with God; and such a request would never be ultimately refused by such a one as Anselm, however much he might hesitate at first to venture into the jaws of danger.

It was in 1092, when for three years the archbishopric had lain vacant and at the mercy of Ranulf Flambard and his band of plunderers, that Hugh the Wolf, Earl of Chester, fell very dangerously ill. He had made the acquaintance of Anselm in Normandy before the days of the Conquest, and no doubt had seen him many times since, either in that country or in England. He had, moreover, fallen under the spell of the abbot's gentle humour and quiet strength, as many had done before him, and had made more than one attempt to get him to visit these shores as his guest.

The ostensible reason had been his intention of setting up a Benedictine order of monks at St Wetburgh's at Chester, in place of the house of secular canons that had formerly existed there. Such an intention is interesting as showing that even in the low moral and religious condition of the England of the days of Rufus, there still burned the divine spark, the desire for better things, in the breast of one who, like Hugh the Wolf, had shrunk from no act of cruelty, no deed of wanton wickedness, in his task of keeping in check the wild Welshmen of the borderland.

The picture of the Wolf baron has been painted for us by a writer of the time: "A violent, loose living but generous barbarian, honouring self-control and a religious life in others, though he had little of it himself; living for eating and drinking, for wild and wasteful hunting, by which he damaged his own and his neighbours' lands; for murderous war against the troublesome Welsh; for free indulgence without much reference to right or wrong; very open-handed; so fat that he could hardly stand; very fond of the noise and riotous company of a great following of retainers, old and young, yet keeping about him also a simple-minded religious chaplain, whom he had brought with him from Avranches, and who did his best, undiscouraged, though the odds were much against him, to awaken a sense of right in his wild flock."

Such was the man who besought Anselm to come over and help him found his new community. But the abbot would have none of him. He was now nearly sixty years of age, fragile of appearance, longing more than ever for the calm and quiet of the spiritual contemplation that was to him the highest state of bliss. More and more closely were his heartstrings entwined round the walls and cloisters of Le Bec, and though he still shrank from his duties outside the monastery, he shrank yet more from the very thought of the turmoil and wickedness with which the England of that day was seething.

Then came a different summons. Hugh the Wolf lay on what seemed likely to prove his deathbed, and in his extremity he, like the Conqueror before him, turned for courage and help to leave this world aright to the man who had given up all earthly ambitions in order to do the will of God. And when still Anselm hesitated, well aware as he must have been of the rumor that so persistently linked his name with the vacant archbishopric, Hugh sent a second summons, bidding him pay no heed to what was said, for that there was nothing in it. "Let the holy abbot know that it ill becomes him to be kept back by nothing, when that nothing prevents his helping me in my great and grievous need."

While Anselm, much perturbed, was considering what to do, there came another appeal, unanswerable to such a tender conscience.

"Tell him that, if he comes not now, all the rest of the life eternal shall be spoilt for him by an ever-lasting regret that he once refused to do his duty."

At once Anselm determined to set forth, unwilling, but no longer in doubt. "I will go out to my friend to help him in his need," he told his monks, "for the rest, God himself will arrange my affairs. And may He by His grace keep me free from all hindrance of secular business."

Apparently this was taken by the monks of Le Bec to mean that he intended merely to visit his penitent without attending to the interests of the monastery in England. This was to them a serious omission. The wholesale confiscation and taxation of property that had been granted to the Norman house in this country had resulted more than once in something very like a famine at Le Bec. Here surely was the opportunity of inspecting matters and putting them on a more satisfactory footing before his return.

So to Anselm, who had been delayed by bad weather at Boulogne and had only just landed at Dover, arrived an urgent message from his community, charging him, on his vow of obedience, not to return till he had visited Canterbury and put the affairs of Christ Church in order.

Straightway, but with heavy heart, the abbot took his way to Canterbury, where he hoped to keep an ensuing festival. A crowd of citizens congregated round the gates of Christ Church to witness his arrival; a group of monks awaited him in the gateway. Just as he alighted, a murmur rose and swelled from layman and cleric alike, and to his dismay, Anselm heard himself greeted as the future archbishop.

With eyes downcast and heavy heart he hastened past them into the dim cathedral, where he lay in prayers and tears for a long while upon the tomb of Lanfranc.

Next morning, when the preparation for the feast day was just beginning, Anselm fled from Canterbury, giving no reason to his perturbed hosts save that he must pursue his journey without more ado.

His first day's journey carried him as far as Westminster, where the King held his court; and there he perforce dismounted in order to pay his respects to his sovereign.

His reception was remarkable. From an open blasphemer of the Church such as was William the Red he might have looked for coldness if not for mockery and disdain. But it was quite otherwise. No doubt the viler spirits of the court kept in the background, but meantime the barons in close attendance on the King received the abbot with the utmost deference and respect, and led him at once to the royal hall. Scarcely had he entered when Rufus himself leapt down front the raised platform upon which he was sitting, took him by the hand and giving him a warm embrace led him to the couch from which he had just risen and entered into friendly conversation in the face of his surprised courtiers.

For a while Anselm sustained his part, as courtesy demanded; but he was far too clear-sighted, in spite of, or rather on account of, his simplicity of soul, to be hoodwinked by the King. Too well he knew the reputation of monarch and court; if William were inclined to treat him in friendly wise, here obviously was his opportunity to appeal to heart and conscience and possibly to effect a soul's conversion.

He asked for a private interview; and the onlookers at once withdrew, no doubt whispering with many a nod and wink that the illustrious visitor had taken care to lose no time in order to plead for the payment of his house's revenues in England and possibly for his own advancement to the honour of the archbishop's chair.

But if William also expected this from Anselm, he was much taken aback to be faced with a stern denunciation of his evil life, and a strong appeal to repent his ways while yet there was time.

There is no record of the way in which his rebuke was received by the Red King. Probably he laughed in his face; possibly he feigned a shame that in view of his subsequent actions could scarcely have been real. He certainly seems to have shown no outward anger, and Anselm was left to continue his journey in peace.

So far no mention whatever had been made of either the vacant see or the confiscated revenues so regretted by the monks of Le Bec.

The purpose of William's gracious reception of Abbot Anselm has in it many puzzling elements, but the most satisfactory explanation seems to be this. Oppressor of men and blasphemer of the Church as Rufus undoubtedly was, he was no fool. He knew that in those wild uncertain days, when the land was parceled out among a troop of powerful barons, he had but to go a step too far to find himself an exile from his own land, and his younger brother Henry on the throne. No pang of conscience, no consideration of the saintly character of his visitor, moved him, but only his own safe-guarding. For he was astute enough to know that many of his people were heartily tired of the misrule and license of the court; that the very men who had rejoiced in the blow to religion struck by his appropriation of the revenues of Church lands and by the loss of the just rule of abbots and bishops, were beginning to complain that a great influence for the well-being of the land had been thrown away. So his idea was to dangle the possibility of appointing Anselm as archbishop before their eyes. He would promise nothing, he need not even fulfill their hopes in the future; but there was the man ready to his hand. If they wanted him so much, they would perhaps be willing to pay for him and so compensate the King for those lost revenues. If not, the possibility of his appointment in a very dim future might keep them quiet for the present.

This seems best to account for the strange fact that when Anselm, finding that Hugh the Wolf was fast recovering of his sickness, and that his attempts to recover the lost revenues of Christ Church were proving hopeless, wished to return to Normandy, William refused his permission. Anselm must be detained in the kingdom in order that, if necessity arose, he might be made of use in dealing with a roused and angry people.

The extraordinary cynicism of the King's nature is seen perhaps most plainly in the immediate sequel.

Much against his will Anselm had consented to wait until Christmas; and the barons and clergy rejoiced, hoping to see the appointment made before that date.

Still, however, William showed no sign, though he invited Anselm to the Christmas Court held that year at Gloucester and treated him, as before, with outward respect and deference. Then the barons, bishops, and abbots joined hands in an act which in itself contains no small element of humor. The King was besought by them to allow prayers to be offered up in every church in England for his own conversion and for the appointment of an archbishop to the see of Canterbury.

At this William's face is said to have grown black with wrath, but presently he made answer with a scornful laugh that "The Church might pray as it pleased; he should go on acting as he pleased!"

The strangest feature of the matter is that the drawing up of the prayer was committed to Anselm, and quite probably it was listened to by the Red King during his perfunctory attendance at church during the Christmas festival.

No doubt the abbot himself was by this time somewhat reassured as to his own future position, feeling that he would scarcely have been asked to undertake this task had he been immediately concerned with the primacy. But though he hoped he had been overlooked by nobles and King, such was by no means the case. With the thought of him strongly in their minds the great men of the land persuaded a favourite courtier to press on the cause of Anselm with the King, and among his many merits urged his absolute indifference to all worldly honours. The Red King jeered.

"He cares nothing for the see of Canterbury, I suppose!"

"For that least of all, sire."

But William was incapable of realizing such a nature.

"I know well," he retorted, "that had Anselm the smallest idea that he might win Canterbury thereby, he would rush to my feet, clapping his hands for joy. But by the Holy Face of Lucca I swear that neither he nor anyone else except myself shall be archbishop."

This then was the state of affairs at the beginning of the year 1093.



The New Archbishop

The early months of 1093 were passing slowly enough for Anselm, longing to be back in his Norman cloister, when in the beginning of the Lent of that year, William Rufus fell dangerously ill within the walls of Gloucester Castle.

Immediately the news went forth and a crowd of bishops, abbots, and tenants-in-chief hastened to his court. In those rough days there was little thought of sparing the sufferer's body at the expense of his soul. The opportunity had come for him to make late reparation for his many acts of oppression, to set free his captives, to deliver his many and woeful debtors, and especially to "free the see of Canterbury from an oppression which had reduced the religion of Christ in England to the level of a deplorable degradation."

For a while the King held out, and Anselm, then staying at Arle, a manor in the parish of Cheltenham and not far from Gloucester, was consulted as to his case. "Let him begin to the Lord with confession," was the abbot's answer, "and when he hath confessed, let him give orders that what you have advised be immediately carried out."

Racked with mortal pains, the King allowed Anselm to be brought to his bedside and obeyed his mandate, promising to open his prison doors, to set his victims free, to give up all unlawful claims to revenue, to stay every summons against his subjects in the courts of law; and as a pledge of good faith he had a charter drawn up and sent his rod of office to be laid upon the altar of the castle chapel. So far, however, no mention had been made of the vacant see; and Anselm, thankful that his task had had such a favorable issue, was departing from the castle when he was suddenly recalled.

Amid the chorus of satisfaction that had risen from the crowd in the antechamber of the sick-room, where the charter had been read to them, had arisen not a few insistent voices.

"Made he no mention of the vacant see? What has been done concerning Canterbury?"

Boldly some of the questioners approached the bedside and began to address the sufferer. Was not this the time to right a great wrong? Would he not perfect his repentance by appointing an archbishop to the see so long empty? The King made a sign of acquiescence, upon which the matter was eagerly pursued. Whom then had he in mind? Pointing to the retreating figure of the abbot, William murmured, "The good man, Anselm; "and immediately the name echoed from mouth to mouth.

Hastily the abbot was recalled, and some at once attempted to conduct him to the bedside of the King. But Anselm, struck with dismay, recalled his scattered senses only to refuse most strenuously the honour thrust upon him.

Anselm and Rufus

ANSELM DRAGGED TO THE BEDSIDE OF RUFUS


Eagerly they urged the need of the country, and the good it would do to religion in England: to which he replied, "I know all that, but I am not the man for such work, being old and weak. I am a monk, moreover, and know naught of worldly business. Seek not to draw me into that which I have never loved and am now wholly unfit for."

A strange scene of violence cut short his entreaties as they laid hands upon him to bring him to the bedside of the King. "Whether they were madmen dragging a sane man, or sane men dragging a madman might well have been doubted," Anselm wrote later to his monks; and to his captors he said indignantly, in words often to be recalled in later days: "What seek ye? You are trying to yoke a young unbroken bull to a weak old sheep. The plough of the Church surely needs a pair better matched than that."

Then the King added his entreaties, begging him consider the state of his soul and do what he could to render his conversion complete. But Anselm still refused. When the bishops knelt to him, he fell on his face before them and entreated that he might be delivered from this position. Finally they lost all patience and determined to make him archbishop by force.

A pastoral staff was hastily brought, and an attempt was made to force it into his closed fist. In vain Anselm protested that this was nothing that they did. Still dragging the struggling priest along by force, they brought him into the neighbouring church (probably the chapel of Gloucester Castle), where they hastily sang a Te Deum over him and held a much abbreviated service of consecration amid the almost frantic appeal of Anselm, oft repeated in warning: "This is naught that ye do! This is naught that ye do!"

As a matter of fact, though he knew it not, the election of Anselm to the primacy seems to have been fully planned and arranged before he was even summoned from Arle to Gloucester Castle, and probably at the very outset of the King's sickness. Things had indeed gone too far, and the magnates of the kingdom were determined that some check should now be put upon William's illegal acts. The most curious part of the story is that they should have thought that a gentle, unassuming, humble old monk would act as an effective curb upon his actions; though in this they certainly showed an unexpected clarity of vision. The 'weak old sheep,' so far from being dragged 'through briars and across the wilderness' by the 'untamed indomitable steer,' as Anselm reiterated, was to withstand his fierce companion to the face and win his way throughout.

"You will gain no profit from this or from me," he had said threateningly to his tormentors as they forced him to the chapel. But if the baffling of a monarch's illegal aims, and the assertion of the freedom from unlawful exactions of an institution, which stood alone in those clays for the principle of religion and morality in this land, meant anything at all, his words were surely unfulfilled.

It was not without a further struggle that Anselm acquiesced in taking responsibility that he feared with all the dread of a naturally self-mistrustful character. Returning to the King's bedside he said plainly to him: "Be it known to you that you are not about to die of this illness, and that all you have done this day is naught and can at any hour be undone."

Yet, though to us in these days the election of Anselm seems oddly irregular, that was really not the point at issue. After all, though the court at Gloucester was hastily convened of bishops and barons, there was no other more legal assembly, or one that more completely represented the voice of the nation. Nor were these the obstacles that Anselm urged, but rather his own unfitness and the impossibility of working with such a king.

Meantime, while his actual consecration was delayed by the necessity of getting the consent of the Duke of Normandy, the Archbishop of Rouen, and the monks of Le Bec, the Red King had recovered from his sickness and was now heartily ashamed of his repentance.

If Anselm had had any doubt as to whether he had overestimated his difficulties, the behaviour of William at this crisis soon set them at rest. All his acts of mercy and pardon were rescinded, those victims already released were again imprisoned, money was ground out of his unhappy subjects in every unjust method that could be conceived. "Such misery arose in the kingdom that all men who remember it say that it was unique in this land."

As is often the case with really noble natures the unhappy turn of affairs appealed to the strongest side of Anselm's character. Once before he had been bidden not to shirk responsibility; and now what nature shrank from, his higher self determined to grasp and act upon to the utmost of his power.

When permission to take up the duties of his new office had been received from Normandy, Anselm sought the King in his castle at Rochester and informed him that he would act as archbishop only upon three conditions. The lands that had belonged to the see of Canterbury in the days of Lanfranc must be restored. The country must, with Anselm himself, acknowledge Urban II to be Pope in place of the Anti-Pope whom William had shown signs of supporting; and the King must respect the counsel of the archbishop.

These proposals Rufus laid gloomily before his own advisers. The last two conditions were lightly glossed over, for the King cared as little for any pope at all as for the counsel of any man. But with regard to Church lands he held a far more direct interest; and though he was obliged by popular opinion to return such as had been held in personal possession by Lanfranc, he held out long enough against the restitution of lands granted by the archbishop to sub-tenants to prove both his own obstinacy and that of Anselm, who steadfastly refused to be consecrated till he gave way.

But the pressure of the opinion of all England was too strong just then for William, who ungraciously enough gave his consent; and Anselm was solemnly enthroned in the September of that year. On that same occasion appeared the corpulent figure of Ranulf Flambard, like a bird of ill omen, in insolent wise demanding opportunity for bringing a suit in the King's name against one of the archbishop's tenants. The cheerful tone of the festivities changed to one of fear and wrath, and deep was the indignation that "a man such as Anselm should not be allowed to pass the first day of his dignity in peace."

Those were the days when men looked for omens and presages in every important undertaking; And on the consecration of the new archbishop, which took place at Canterbury near the end of a singularly wet summer and severely cold autumn, here was not lacking another strange presage of trouble to come.

For when, according to the usual custom, the Book of the Gospels, laid upon the shoulders of the archbishop, was opened at random, the passage that appeared there was as follows: "He bade many and sent his servant at supper-time to say to them that were bidden, 'Come, for all things are now ready.' And they all with one consent began to make excuse."

But if his monks shuddered at the warning, we may be sure that by this time the soul of Archbishop Anselm was as calm and serene as ever it was in the days when he dwelt as a humble monk of Le Bec. He might hate responsibility and the undertaking of new and unpleasant duties; but when once he saw that it was the will of God that he should take his office, he no longer wished to shirk it. Many men under such difficult circumstances would have compromised on practically every point, and thus secured some amount of private peace and public esteem.

But the very simplicity of Anselm's character forbade this. A thing must be either right or wrong; if the former, it must be upheld at any cost; and his clear-sighted vision saw that at this crisis the very existence of the English Church depended upon a vigorous resistance to the unlawful claims of a reckless and despotic king.



The Contest Begun

It was at the court held at Gloucester at the Christmas of that same year that the first mutterings of the storm were heard. The occasion was the calling together of the chief men of the kingdom—the remains of the old English Witan—to deliberate with Rufus concerning his proposed invasion of Normandy, and Anselm was there as newly consecrated primate. It was his office on this occasion to fulfill the custom of those days of solemnly recrowning the King, during the service held to call down a divine blessing upon his deliberations.

There was another reason for his appearance at court. In former days a bishop, on receiving office, paid a certain sum of money called a 'heriot' to the king, like any other tenant-in-chief. When this degenerated into something much resembling 'simony,' or the buying and selling of Church offices, the custom became no longer obligatory, but was usually continued in the form of a voluntary gift. Hence when William declared his urgent need for raising money for his projected invasion, Anselm offered him five hundred pounds as his contribution. But the Red King looked sourly upon it, and rudely intimated that a thousand was the least he would accept, and this the archbishop utterly refused, saying that the lands of his see had been already so impoverished by the King's demands that he would allow the tenants to be oppressed no further.

He determined, however, to reason with the King, and sought him out in personal interview.

"Do not, my lord, refuse to accept my offer," said he. "It is your archbishop's first gift but it will not be his last. You will be better served by receiving small and frequent sums in a spirit of friendly liberty than by forcing me to pay one large sum under servile conditions. If I am left free and on friendly terms with you, you can have your will of me and mine; but if you treat use as a slave of you will have naught from either me or mine."

To which mild and reasonable words Rufus made surly answer: "Keep your talk and your money to yourself and may there light a curse upon it; mine own is enough for me; and get you gone from the court."

Whereupon Anselm departed, saying quietly to his compeers that he intended to give the five hundred pounds to the poor.

Meantime preparations for the war against Normandy were being pushed on apace; and we may pause here in the story of Anselm to glance briefly at the relations then existing between the two countries.

The fact that so many of the English barons held possessions in Normandy had, ever since the death of the Conqueror, made it a matter of importance that the two countries should be united under one lord. The weakness of Duke Robert's character and the strength of his brother's position pointed to only one solution of the difficulty, and ever since the year 1090 there had been intrigues going on to set William up as Duke of Normandy. Once indeed the Red King had actually landed, and being met by a crowd of Robert's subjects all eager to pay allegiance to him would no doubt have been made Duke had not Robert prevailed upon Philip I, King of France, to bring an army to his help. This is interesting as being the first step in that long series of contests between France and England which only ended in the nineteenth century.

The result was a treaty (Caen, 1091) in which many promises were made by Rufus in return for the cession of certain coveted places, amounting, as the chronicler dryly remarks, to "a great part of Normandy."

When William returned to England, Robert accompanied him, saw him through a struggle with Malcolm King of Scots and returned without the fulfillment of any of his brother's promises as far as English estates were concerned; nor did the next two years make his position any the better but rather the worse. For his faithless brother was almost openly plotting to gain the allegiance of his barons, and a faint attempt on his part to denounce the King by means of envoys as 'faithless and forsworn' was promptly answered by a declaration of war.

It was at a great meeting of the court held at Hastings at the beginning of Lent, and preparatory to embarking for Normandy, that Anselm next came into open collision with the King.

The unbridled license of the court of Rufus was seen to its fullest disadvantage on such an occasion. The very dress of the courtiers was an indication of their vicious character, and stands in strong contrast to the stern and simple energies of an age in which might was right and civilization still in an elementary stage. It was the fashion to wear the hair long, parted down the middle, crimped and tied with ribbons. Men also wore long sweeping robes, shoes with pointed toes curved like horns, and long, wide sleeves falling well over the hands. The trailing skirts were loose and open, and caused a shuffling effeminate way of walking that suited well the beribboned and plaited heads of hair.

In his Ash Wednesday sermon before the court these things were openly attacked by Anselm, who, moreover, refused the customary blessing with the ashes to all those whose hair was long. To the astonishment of the aggrieved courtiers he next demanded audience of the King, and very simply but very firmly appealed to him for aid in his task as archbishop. The time was not propitious, for William was cursing his luck in that contrary winds had delayed his sailing, and only tolerated the archbishop's presence because he hoped his prayers might act like a spell to secure fair weather.

But Anselm went straight to the point. The needs of the day were twofold. If the archbishop were to make himself felt throughout the land, if the Church were ever to be heard, if discipline was to exist at all there must be held synods, or Church Councils, for the reform of evil customs; and the vacant posts in monasteries must be filled by God-fearing abbots.

William listened with an evil sneer to all this.

"When I want a council I will call one at my own time, not yours," said he; "nor do I see why you want one."

"Because," said Anselm, "unless discipline is strongly exercised the whole land will become like Sodom."

"And what do you hope to get out of it? jeered the King.

"No good, perhaps, for me, but much for God and yourself," was the undaunted answer.

"Enough," stormed the Red King. "Say no more about it."

But Anselm stood his ground and spoke in the strongest terms of the evil done by keeping the post of abbot vacant, and the danger to the King's own soul, until William burst out: "Are not mine abbeys mine own? You do as you like with your manors. Shall I not do my will by mine abbeys?"

"They are yours only to defend and protect, not to ruin and despoil," replied the archbishop; upon which the angry King cried: "Know that your words greatly offend me. Your predecessor would not have dared to address my father in such terms. I will do naught for you."

"I had rather you be angry with me than God with you," was the quiet reply.

Anselm and Rufus

RUFUS AND ANSELM DISPUTE AT HASTINGS


Anselm left the royal presence in disfavour but by no means disheartened, and shortly after sent a messenger asking again for his friendship and aid, and offering amends in everything wherein he had offended.

"If he will not grant it, let him say why," he added. The King, however, though frankly acknowledging that he had no grievance against the archbishop, refused to grant his friendship "because I don't see why I should."

This cryptic utterance was explained to mean that Anselm had not attempted to buy the favour of William with money; and his fellow-bishops urged him to do so as being the only way out of the difficulty. But this Anselm absolutely refused. "Far be it from me to do such a thing; besides, my tenants have been stripped to their skins already. Shall I now flay them alive?

"Offer him the five hundred pounds the rejected before," they suggested; to which he replied that that was impossible as the greater part had already gone to the poor.

When this was reported to William his wrath knew no bounds. "Tell him," he roared, "that yesterday I hated him much and to-day I hate him more. And let him know that to-morrow and for all the other to-morrows I will hate him with a more and more bitter hatred. Never will I have him for father and archbishop; as to his blessing and his prayers, I will have none of them. Let him go where he will."

And so Anselm left the castle of Hastings in disgrace and disfavour, bullied, raved at, jeered at by the courtiers he had rebuked so lately, yet strong and calm in the inward sense of right.

Twice within his first year as archbishop had he thus incurred the King's displeasure. The next occasion was to be concerned with the question of 'investiture,' the real point of contest between Church and Crown during this period of English history, as we have seen it had already become in Europe.

Some of us are inclined nowadays to regard this 'investiture struggle' as one of the 'dry bones' of history, important only to those immediately concerned, and playing no interesting part in the development of the country at large. This, however, is only very partially true. The actual details of the ritual of the reception of the 'pallium and the method of investiture' may no longer concern any but ecclesiastical historians and archaeologists, but to the lover of the past and to those who would trace the gradual progress of social ideals and life, the whole question must be looked at from a broader point of view. It was no mere struggle between Pope and King as to the rights of each; nor was it a question of papal supremacy, such as arose in England some four and a half centuries later; for though Rufus may have found it convenient to ignore the existence of the Pope as head of the Church, his subjects as a whole had no doubt whatever about the fact.

What we must realize is that in those days the one crying need was a system of discipline, law, and order which would tend steadily to raise the moral tone of a nation far from united, in which the mixture of ideals and notions, inevitable in so great a change as the Conquest, had resulted in a condition of confusion and laxity. In those days there were no Acts of Parliament to enforce even an outward standard of morality; this could only be done by some system of Church discipline, possibly only when the position of the Church was clear and unassailable in the eyes of every man. Anything that lowered the aspect of that Church was bound to weaken the moral condition of the country; and the great danger was that this lowering would come when feudal laws placed the bishop or the abbot on the same footing as the boron or tenant-in-chief. If once the principle which gave the king a right to invest his ecclesiastical subject with 'spiritual' as well as 'temporal' powers were conceded, the power of the Church as a lever in the discipline and morality of the nation had passed away. The bishop had become the 'king's man' in every sense, and it depended upon the character of the sovereign as to what the moral condition of England would become.

This had been already proved by Anselm when he boldly informed Rufus that, during the years in which the archbishopric had stood vacant, the country had "well-nigh become a Sodom"; and in the state of affairs which existed during the eleventh, and twelfth centuries, the office might almost as well have been unoccupied as filled by one who, by giving up the liberty of the Church, had sacrificed the right of that Church to self-expression.

So, if we are inclined to wonder at the apparently absurd importance that Anselm attached to receiving the 'pallium,' or stole worn by an archbishop, straight from Rome and refusing to take it from the King's hands, we must remember that these things were but the outward symbols of a great principle, upon which depended in those days not only the effective life of the Church, but also the revival of religion in the hearts of individuals throughout Christendom.



The Council of Rockingham

The expedition of William the Red to Normandy was a failure and an expensive one; a result, as Eadmer unkindly hints, of the loss of the archbishop's prayers and blessing. Already the first mutter of the storm had been heard in the King's evident fury that Anselm had refused to consider himself liable, like any lay subject, to provide him with money for this undertaking; and the archbishop could hardly have been unprepared for the opposition with which William met his next request.

It was the custom that each archbishop should visit Rome to receive his 'pallium' within a year of his consecration, as an outward sign of his recognition by the Church at large. This 'pallium' was a stole woven from the wool of two lambs which were consecrated each year on St Peter's Eve in the Church of St Agnes at Rome. The stole of white wool marked with four black crosses symbolized the spirit of purity interwoven with the four cardinal virtues of justice, fortitude, temperance, and prudence; while the words of the blessing pronounced over it as it lay on the altar-tomb of St Peter emphasize its meaning as marking the unity of the Church.

"May this he to the wearer a symbol of unity and a mark of perfect union with the Seat of the Apostle."

For the reception from the Pope of this stole, already overdue, Anselm begged permission of the King to go to Rome in the beginning at the year 1095.

"To which Pope?" was the surly query.

"To Urban," replied Anselm; to which William promptly answered that he had never accepted Urban as Pope; and that neither he nor his father had permitted a pope to be recognized without their leave. "To challenge this right is practically an attempt to take my crown from me."

Nor would he listen for a moment to Anselm's protest that he had declared his allegiance to Urban as a condition of his consecration, and they parted in mutual disgust.

No doubt Rufus was on the look-out to find some excuse to drive the archbishop from his see, and this seemed a fitting opportunity; but he had mistaken his man. Not so soon was Anselm to throw up the responsibility he had so unwillingly accepted. A big question had been raised; the question of the acknowledgment of any pope in England at all, for William, while declining Urban, had not recognized his rival; and the archbishop at once demanded a meeting of the Great Council to consider the matter.

Early in 1095 this was called at Rockingham Castle, a lonely erection on the borders between the great Derbyshire woodlands and Northamptonshire, built by the Conqueror to watch the doubtful loyalty of the iron-workers of the district, a "peculiarly barbarous class of men."

The King, with his intimates, held himself sulkily aloof from the Council, which was held after Mass in the chapel of the castle on the third Sunday in Lent. From the first Anselm knew that the feeling of those present was against him, and seeing that most of the bishops were very much the 'King's men,' this was hardly a matter of surprise.

At once he laid before them his difficulty of combining allegiance to the Vicar of St Peter and to a King who had plainly said: "Be assured that in my realm you shall have no part unless you prove to me that according to my wish you refuse all submission and obedience to Urban." He pointed out that it was a serious thing to despise and deny the Pope; and an equally serious thing to break his faith to the King. "But that too is serious which is said, that it is impossible for me to keep the one without breaking the other."

The reply of the bishops was characteristically wary:

"If it were a matter of conscience, no man was better able to deal with it than himself. If he asked for their advice, he must submit himself first to the King's will."

"Having said these words," says Eadmer, an eye-witness of the whole affair, "they were silent and hung down their heads, as if to receive what was coming on them."

The answer of Anselm was an impassioned appeal to the Scriptures, turning upon the text, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's," and a refusal to abate one jot or tittle of what was owing to the 'Vicar of St Peter.'

Loud cries of irritation and disagreement followed, so full of anger that Eadmer declares "they might have been thought to be declaring Anselm worthy of death." Not one of these time-servers, who who were guiltily consious of having bought their benefices and of having sacrificed all such principles to obtain their will, would take Anselm's decision to the king; and so the archbishop was fain to carry it himself. He returned at once to his seat in the chapel, where the council had broken up into little groups still in angry and perplexed discussion; for the point raised might land them unwillingly enough in open breach with the papal power. But the chief person concerned, weary of waiting for the result, and peacful in spirit amid all these warring powers, "leaning his head against the walls, fell into a calm sleep."

The royal answer, when it came, carried the war into the opposing camp. Anselm was reproached as a disloyal subject, a troubler of the general peace, and as trying to destroy the power and independence of the Crown. Let him act like a reasonable being, since to acknowledge Urban could do him no good, while to win the favour of the King would protect him against any anger shown by the Pope at his defction. "Let him assert his freedom, let him be free, as became an Archbishop of Canterbury, from any foreign interference and all would be well."

When the weary archbishop asked for time in which to take his night's rest before he gave his final answer, his words were seized upon as a sign of wavering, and one of the bishops, Willioam of Durham, undertook to bully him into submission. He brought a message from the King: "There msut be no delay unless the archbishop were prepared at once to clothe the King again with the dignity of which he had tried to deprive him. If not, he calls down the hatred of Almighty God upon himself, and we, his subjects, join in doing so, if he grant even for one hour the delay you ask for. Therefore decide at once or prepare to meet the doom prepared for those who would rob their sovereign of the chief prerogative of his rule."

To which high-sounding words Anselm made quiet answer:

"Whoever will prove that because I will not renounce my obedience to the venerable bishop of the holy Roman Church I am violating my faith to my King, let him come forward, and he shall find me ready to answer him as I ought and where I ought."

The simple straightforwardness of the man had gone straight to the point. Only the Pope himself could judge such a matter; and neither Rufus nor any of his truckling followers wished to bring about a breach with Rome.

There were those in the listening throng of bystanders whose hearts were more loyal to the Church than her own professed ministers, and their sympathy was with the archbishop. From among their ranks there now stepped a young knight who knelt at Anselm's feet and said, very simply and feelingly:

"Lord and father, thy spiritual children, through me, beseech thee not to let thy heart be troubled by these things. Remember how holy Job upon the dunghill routed the devil and avenged Adam, whom the devil had routed in Paradise."

It was a sense of justice and fair-play that had stirred this unknown man openly to take the side of the weary and badgered archbishop; and his words caused Anselm great cheer. "He perceived that the feeling of the people was with him," says Eadmer, "and so we were glad, being confident that the voice of the people is the voice of God."

So in silence and perhaps shamefacedness, the bishops dispersed.

The King was, however, furious at their ill-success. "What is this?" he cried. "Did you not promise that you would treat him according to my will, judge him, and condemn him?"

Haltingly the Bishop of Durham suggested that the only thing left to do was to take the ring and staff, outward signs of his office, from him by force and expel him from the kingdom. But to this the barons, hitherto almost silent spectators of the dramatic scene, would not agree. They knew too well the advantage of keeping some check upon the tyranny of the King, apart from the fact that their respect for the office of the spiritual head of the kingdom was by no means dead.

"To what, then," cried the King, "do you agree?" For this I swear, that while I live I will not have an equal in my kingdom. Begone and consult among yourselves; for by the Face of God, if you do not cast him out to please me, I will cast you out to please myself."

Upon which one of the chief of the baronial party ruefully remarked: "Of what good are our consultations? For we spend the whole day weaving our plans and shaping them this way and that, and meantime Anselm, on his side, planning nothing at all, goes to sleep; and lo! when we set our schemes before him, with one breath of his lips he sends them flying like so many cobwebs!"

In despair the Red King turned to the bishops, who, however, could only shake crestfallen heads and declare their inability to sit in judgment on their superior, the Primate of all Britain.

"At least you can renounce your obedience to him and all bonds of brotherly friendship, even as I now withdraw from him all protection and support, and refuse to hold him as archbishop or father in God," replied the angry King. And this, to their infinite shame, all the bishops save Gundulf of Rochester, proceeded to do.

The simple reply of the archbishop to this message and procedure embarrassed William as much as it shamed the truckling bishops.

"You may refuse to me subjection and friendship, "said he, "but I find it none so easy to do the same by you; and I shall continue to show you a father's and a brother's love, and try to turn you from the error into which you have slipped. To the King, who refuses to have me for archbishop and father, I promise, on my part, all faithful service, and, as a father should, will love him and care for his soul, as I shall also continue to maintain the service of God as Archbishop of Canterbury."

What was to be done with such a man? In despair William turned again to his barons. They must also renounce Anselm. "No man shall be mine who chooses to be his!" But here the barons stood firm. "We were never his men and so cannot abjure a fealty we never swore. But he is our Archbishop and we cannot refuse his guidance, especially as he has done nothing amiss."

Baulked on every side the Red King wreaked his fury on the hapless bishops, and in this the barons seem to have joined. "This or that bishop, "says Eadmer, "you might hear branded now by one man, now by another, with some nickname, accompanying bursts of disgust, Judas the traitor, Pilate, Herod, and the like. Those who admitted they had only renounced obedience to Anselm so far is he claimed it by right of Papal authority were driven out and forced to skulk away to a corner of the building. Here they soon found it wise to do what they had often done before; they gave a large sum of money and so were received back into the King's favour."

Meantime affairs took a sudden turn. Bereft of the King's protection, Anselm determined that his wisest course was to quit the kingdom, either because his personal safety was at stake, or, as seems more probable, to settle the 'pallium' question by going straight to Rome. He therefore electrified all that was left of the council by demanding a safe-conduct to the nearest seaport. This was, however, the last thing William desired; for Anselm would still be in possession of his archbishopric, and his treatment by the King would, moreover, form an excellent excuse for either Robert of Normandy, Philip of France, or Pope Urban himself to take up his cause.

So he proposed that the whole question should be left undecided until the following Whitsuntide; and Anselm, agreeing to this in the hope of peace, though abating no jot of the principle at stake, was allowed to ride away. But this truce did not prevent the Red King from annoying him in every way he dared during the interval, as the following extract from Eadmer will show:

"This being done, and leave received from the King, Anselm returned to his see, foreseeing within himself that the peace and the truce were a mere flimsy and tyrannous veil to the royal hatred and to the tyrannous oppression that was soon to break forth. Nor had he long to wait.

"Not many days had elapsed when the King, on account of the late disagreement, banished Baldwin [Anselm's chief adviser] from the kingdom, and also two monks in attendance on the prelate; and by so doing inflicted on him the cruelest of wounds.

"And I might tell of other things—how his chamberlain was arrested in his very chamber before his very eyes, and other of his dependents condemned by unjust judgment, stripped of their goods, and afflicted with countless ills. And all this did the royal faith and the royal loyalty do within the period of the truce. During that interval the Church of Canterbury was, in all her dependencies and belongings, visited with such a cruel storm of persecution that it was agreed, with but few exceptions, that she had been better off in the old days without a pastor than now under a pastor reduced to such straits as these."

Which frame of mind, one need hardly say, is exactly what the crafty King wished to bring about.



The Pallium Comes to England

Anselm was now in the strange position of an archbishop deprived of almost all his powers, both spiritual and temporal, and liable after Whitsuntide to be deprived of his see.

Moving sadly from his manor at Harrow to that at Hayes or Mortlake, he did his best to use his influence for good upon a very restricted circle, for any larger sphere was closed to him as one out of favour with the King. A deep spirit of loneliness fell upon him, and we find him speaking of himself in this time in such terms as these: "When I sit among my fledglings (his Canterbury monks) I am it peace. But when I am engaged in secular affairs I am like an owl in the daylight, flying helplessly amid attacking daws and crows."

Moreover, his was an ultra-sensitive nature, capable of much heart-searching and self-reproach as to his methods of warfare against his sovereign; and the real heroism of his character comes out most, perhaps, in the fact that in spite of keen temptation to throw up the wearisome conflict and return to his peaceful seclusion at Le Bec, he would not earn peace for himself at the price of a great principle. Yet occasionally, in spite of stern self-discipline, he breaks out into a bitter cry of weeping as he sits among his monks: "Have pity upon me, O my friends, have pity upon me, for the hand of God has touched me."

More often, however, he seems to have been filled with that spirit of quiet cheerfulness that was formerly so strong a characteristic of his, and to have been content to wait in patience for what might next befall.

Meantime a plan had been set afoot by William by which he hoped to bring the archbishop to complete ruin.

Very soon after the question of the pallium had first arisen, he had taken the precaution to send messengers to Rome to find which way the wind blew with regard to the rival Popes, bidding them, if they found that Urban's star was in the ascendant, to make such terms with him that he would be willing to send the pall direct to the King, to be by him delivered to the 'Archbishop of Canterbury,' the name being purposely suppressed.

It was an astute idea, since the reception of the sacred emblem from the King's own hands would amount to an open acknowledgment of his supremacy in matters spiritual as well as temporal. As for the principle involved, William had none himself, and believed that the whole trouble was merely about an empty point of ritual over which Anselm wanted to assert his own importance.

Fortunately, however, in Urban, the Pope of the First Crusade, William the Red had met more than his match.

Just before Whitsuntide, his two messengers, chaplains of the royal court, returned as the escort of a courtly prelate named Walter of Albano, who, acting as papal legate, brought with him in secret the famous 'pallium.'

The two Norman chaplains had not been obliged to go as far as Rome, after all, for they had found Urban preaching the crusade in Lombardy, not far front Anselm's old home, having meantime succeeded in making it very evident that to him, and to no other Pope, was the allegiance of Christendom due.

A rumour as to the identity of the travelers had reached Canterbury before them, but although the archbishop was probably in residence at Christ Church, his people were astounded to find that they rode through the city without taking for the smallest notice of the primate, and made straight her the King's court.

Had Walter come then, by order of the Pope, to take the side of William and so complete the archbishop's discomfiture?

It looked uncommonly as if such were the case, for, when he reached the court, the legate apparently put in no plea of any kind for Anselm, contenting himself with a smooth assurance to the King that Urban, once acknowledged as Pope by the English sovereign, would be ready to consult his wishes in every possible way.

A murmur of disapproval, even from those who had feared to take the side of the disgraced archbishop, was not slow to make itself heard.

"What is to be said if Rome prefers gold to righteousness? And what help may those expect n their difficulties who have not wherewith to pay for justice?

Meantime the Red King, delighted to have got so powerful an influence on his side, issued an edict by which Urban was to be acknowledged as Pope throughout the kingdom, "and in whatsoever concerned the Christian religion to be obeyed." This being done, he made his obvious request, accompanied by what seemed to a man of his stamp a no less obvious offer. He would have the cardinal legate at once depose Anselm from office, by the authority of the papal see, in return for which he would not only give his support to Urban, but pay him a yearly tribute.

To his astonishment the courtly legate showed an unexpected firmness of front to his suggestion. Such a course was quite impossible, the responsibility of deposing such a man as Anselm far too great, even if it were desirable from any point of view save the King's.

Having said this, the papal representative gently intimated that he should be glad of an opportunity to confer the 'pallium' on Anselm as soon as possible; and to any suggestion that the emblem should be conferred by William, he turned an ear politely deaf.

Bitterly mortified, and conscious of having been completely outwitted, William fell into one of the brooding fits common to his family. From this he presently emerged determined to make one last attempt to get something out of his enforced acquiescence. He was keeping his Whitsuntide court at Windsor, Anselm at Mortlake, when a civil message reached the latter bidding him take up his residence at Hayes, as being a more convenient spot for communication with the King.

Anselm

ANSELM ASSUMING THE PALLIUM IN CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL


There the archbishop was visited by nearly all the bishops of the realm, who urged him to conciliate William, prepared as he was to make overtures of peace, with a large sum of money. To this Anselm returned a decided refusal. He would not permit his lord to demean himself openly by offering his friendship for money. "What then do you desire?" they asked, puzzled at his fearless attitude.

"A safe-conduct to the coast," replied the undaunted prelate.

Somewhat sheepishly they explained that this was no longer necessary, since the papal legate had brought the 'pallium' with him and was ready to confer it on him; and then they made their last appeal. Surely he would pay something "if only what the journey to Rome would have cost him, in return for this great benefit."

"Benefit!" groaned the archbishop, "God, who reads my conscience, knows what store I set by the benefit!"

Finding their persuasions all in vain, the bishops departed, and Anselm went unwillingly enough to Windsor to reap the fruits of his triumph.

Once there, however, his personal charm and tact seem to have conquered the surliness of the worsted King, for as they sat together in friendly converse in the sight of all the court, the legate entered and quoted with approving smiles the words: "Behold, how good and how pleasant a thing it is, brethren, to dwell together in unity "; and conversed affably with them concerning the blessings of peace.

One more faint attempt was made by William, this time to get Anselm to say that 'for the honour of his royalty' he preferred to receive the pall at his hands; but when the ready-witted archbishop promptly replied that such a symbol belonged not in any way to the King's royalty but only to the authority of St Peter and his vicars, he threw up the game. The 'pallium' was forthwith taken to Canterbury and laid by Cardinal Walter upon the high altar of the cathedral.

It was a striking scene that thus closed the first period of the 'investiture struggle' in England. The long stole of snow-white wool was borne in a silver casket by the legate, followed by a long procession of white-robed monks; at the end of this was seen the fragile form of Anselm, now much bent and aged, his thin face pale with fasting, his shoulders bowed beneath the heavy cope and chasuble, walking barefoot because his humility forbade him to wear even his monk's sandals within the House of God. Going up to the altar upon which the casket was laid he slowly took the 'pallium' out, and with a full heart laid it upon his neck; then proceeding to the ancient chair of St Augustine, he sat there, dreaming, maybe, of his past days as child and youth, and as monk in the quiet cloisters of Le Bec, while cardinal, bishops, and clergy advanced in order to kneel at his feet and kiss the sacred emblem, won in the face of such determined odds.

But when the Mass followed, and men strained their ears to hear the words of the Gospel that they might 'seek a sign from Heaven,' a look of consternation spread throughout the crowd. For it was the fourth Sunday after Pentecost, and the words read at once recalled those heard at the archbishop's consecration a year and a half before:

"A certain man made a great supper and invited many . . . saying, 'Come, for all things are now ready.' And they all with one consent began to make excuse."



Anselm Leaves England

The year that followed the reception of the 'pallium' was free from harass for Anselm as far as the King was concerned, though the Chronicle speaks of it as a time of suffering for England. The rebellion of certain of the great barons of the north country, while it kept William too busy to worry the Church through its archbishop, meant heavy exactions for his subjects; and when this was followed by one of the ever-recurring Welsh wars, the frequent summoning of the levies of tenants prevented the proper tilling of the ground; and this resulted in a failure of crops which caused almost a famine in the land.

Meantime the archbishop had been left as the King's regent over the south and east of England during his absence in the north, and was obliged to take up his residence at Canterbury, as the most central spot from which to perform his manifold duties. Burdened thus with responsibility, the archbishop yet undertook the uncongenial task with his wonted cheerfulness, encouraged by the devoted affection of his Christ Church monks, and hoping to be free ere long to carry on that work of spiritual enlightenment and moral discipline of which England stood so much in need.

But it seemed as though his sensitive soul was never to be really immune from the stabs of coarser men. Walter of Albano, the legate, had made use of his time to inquire into the state of morality of the country, and somewhat appalled at the result wrote to Anselm requiring him to meet him and discuss the distressing condition of affairs.

Recognizing that Walter had preferred to make his investigations by the aid of his disloyal bishops rather than confer with him during the many opportunities which Anselm's sojourn at the court had given him, the archbishop was justly hurt. His letter in reply, though restrained as usual is marked by a very evident tone of reproach: "He knows well the appalling state of religion in the land, but of what use to talk about it. Any decisions they might come to were worthless without the consent of the King; and apart from that, Anselm cannot now leave his post of duty for any such end. Surely there was time enough for such discussion at the court, where Walter in such strange fashion avoided his company."

Then Walter wrote more strongly. The real cause of much of the trouble, said he, was the unfortunate relation which existed between the archbishop and his bishops. The latter had done their best, but they could not altogether support a superior who had done homage to a king not then in communion with Rome—as represented by Urban—and had been consecrated by bishops who were in like case with the King.

With pious unction he represented these good men as having serious scruples about their share in the matter, and hence in the validity of the consecration, since Anselm had received the staff and ring, emblems of his rights as baron, from a layman.

Stung with the rank humbug of this statement, knowing as he did the character of the truckling time-serving bishops, each one of whom had received 'lay investiture' himself without the smallest scruple, Anselm answered with weapons of polished irony that must have pierced even the thick skin of the mischief-making legate.

It was news to him that the bishops had been separated from the Church, since they never denied that Urban was Pope, but merely postponed their recognition of him; and as subjects of the Holy See had they consecrated him. And if what they said were true, it was passing strange that the Pope, knowing how and by whom Anselm had been consecrated, should have sent the 'pallium' "by your charity" not as to a schismatic but to a recognized bishop; and no one should know these things better than my lord of Albano.

"If this accusation seemed serious to you, why did you not speak to me of it before conferring he 'pallium '? If it seems to you contemptible, you yourself can judge how you ought to spurn it under foot. You call God to witness that so far as lay in your power you have defended my cause, and that this has prevented you until now from completing your mission. I thank you for your goodwill to defend me, but I am not aware that on my side you have met with any hindrance in the completion of your mission. Your Reverence says that you have been unable to confer with me and with the others as much as you would have wished. It is for you to know the cause of that inability. For myself, I know that I long and strongly wished to speak with you before I had the opportunity; even when I was able, it was a more scant opportunity than I had desired."

Even a saint is entitled to resist ill-bred interference and underhand disloyalty; and one would like to have seen the face of Cardinal Walter as he read the letter. Soon afterward, he took his departure to Rome, where, judging by subsequent events, he was not able to conceal a very wholesome respect and admiration for the man who had treated his wily methods with such dignified irony and restraint. He had, however, succeeded better than he knew in troubling the gentle and sensitive soul of the archbishop; and many of the later trials that darkened the days of Anselm may be directly traced to his mischievous words. For though he had been brave enough and broad-minded enough to face the difficulty of lay investiture by accepting the symbol of his rights as 'prelate-baron' from the hands of William, so long as he could be certain of maintaining the right of spiritual investiture through the 'pallium' received from the hands of the Pope, the recent papal enactments, repealing those of Hildebrand, and strictly forbidding homage to a layman, were bound to be disquieting.

Was this perhaps the real reason why Walter of Albano had treated him with such apparent discourtesy; and was the Holy Father, for whose rights he had striven so bravely, regarding him as a disloyal subject?

A tougher and more worldly-minded man would have treated the suggestion with contempt; and though we have to realize that even a saint cannot always rise above the limitations of his temperament, we must confess that the matter weighed too heavily upon the archbishop and influenced him unduly in his subsequent actions.

It is but fair, however, to remember that Anselm was ageing fast; that he had gone through two years of incessant harass, had found himself in positions against which his whole natural instinct rebelled, and save for a triumph, empty enough in itself, even if it did mark the success of a great principle, had little but failure to face as far as his real work as a minister to diseased souls was concerned.

The latter part of that same year 1095 saw stirring scenes abroad. In the words of Florence of Worcester:

"Pope Urban came into France and held a council at Clermont at which he exhorted the Christians to go to Jerusalem and subdue the Turks, Saracens, and other pagans. At this exhortation, and during the Council, Raymond, Count of Toulouse, took the cross, and many others with him, and vowed that they would undertake the pilgrimage for God's sake, and accomplish what the Pope had recommended. This being noised abroad, the rest of the people in Christendom in Italy, Germany, France, and England, vied with each other in preparing to join the expedition.

"After this," he continues, "Robert, Earl of Normandy, proposing to join the crusade to Jerusalem, sent envoys to England, and requested his brother King William that, peace being restored between them, he would lend him ten thousand silver marks, receiving Normandy in pledge. The King, wishing to grant his request, called on the great English lords to assist him with money, each according to his means, as speedily as possible. Therefore the bishops, abbots, and abbesses broke up the gold and silver ornaments of their churches, and the earls, barons, and viscounts robbed their knights and villeins, and brought to the King a large sum of money. With this he crossed the sea in the month of September (1096), made peace with his brother, advanced him six thousand, six hundred and sixty-six pounds, and received from him Normandy as a security for its repayment."

The courtesy of the chronicler does William more than justice. No desire to further his brother's wish impelled him to act thus, but a very clear determination to use this golden opportunity to annex the long-coveted duchy during his absence.

As his contribution, we find Anselm offering two hundred marks (166 13s. 4d.). Living still the life of a simple monk, and utterly without money of his own, the great Archbishop of all England was obliged to borrow the money from the foundation at Christ Church, on a mortgage of his manor at Peckham, on the rents of which, we read, they were able to build a wing of their new cathedral at Canterbury, "from the great tower eastward."

Indirectly enough, this fulfillment of William's desire as regards Normandy was the means of bringing Anselm once more upon the stage of ecclesiastical warfare.

With time hanging heavily on his hands, the Red King determined to undertake another of those many expeditions into Wales which mark the unsettled character of Western Britain in those days. On this occasion he was, however, singularly unsuccessful, for, as the chronicler says, "though he vowed he would exterminate the whole male population, he was scarcely able to take or kill one of them, while he lost some of his own troops and many horses."

Returning from this failure in very ill humour, Rufus determined to vent his spleen upon a man whom he had never forgiven for once getting the better of him. Reading between the lines of the chronicles of the day we may suppose that Anselm had, during this time, frequently applied to the King for permission to hold a synod of his clergy, or to take other means to restore faith, discipline, and morals in the land; and that his request had been persistently disregarded. Now Rufus suddenly began to assert his own grievances, and pointed out in most uncivil terms that the troop of men furnished by the archbishop as a tenant-in-chief for the campaign had been both inefficient and badly equipped; and that Anselm must be prepared to answer for his remissness before the King's court.

Now the King's court of those days has been well described as only another name for the King's despotism; and Anselm knew only too well that not there would he find justice for his cause. Quite possibly there was much truth in the charge brought against him, for a practical ability in the oversight of military affairs was no part of his equipment as archbishop. Anyway, it was the last straw upon a burden growing heavier and more hopeless day by day, and the old man could bear it no longer.

Finding, when he attended the Whitsuntide court at Windsor in that year 1097, that the suit was really going to be pressed; noting, moreover, a lack of sympathy among those who should have supported him that must have sorely wounded that finely tempered soul, Anselm made up his mind to a step he had long been contemplating as the only solution of his difficulties.

He sent a message therefore, through some of the more friendly barons, asking leave to go to Rome and as before the request was promptly refused.

"Why," asked the King with an evil sneer, "should such a man wish to go to Rome? He cannot have committed sins which need absolution from the Pope? And if he wants advice, he is better able, surely, to counsel the Pope than the Pope to counsel him!"

"I will wait until next time," was the archbishop's calm reply, and accordingly in August he renewed his request, the suit against him having been meanwhile tacitly dropped.

But this course of Anselm's was the last thing William wished, since it would show forth to the world the misgovernment of his country and might embroil him in a very awkward altercation with Urban. Yet we cannot but suspect that there lurked in the royal mind a notion that this was perhaps the easiest way in which he could get rid the one man who had dared consistently to oppose him, and obtain possession of his coveted revenues.

For when the question came up for consideration at the court held at Winchester in 1097, the King, while still refusing his leave, intimated that if he went without it, the property of the archbishop would be forfeit.

At a meeting of his bishops, Anselm seems to have laid before them the impossibility of going on as he was, hampered at every turn, unable to get their co-operation or that of the King in any of the work pertaining to his office. But they, secure in the support of the worldly-minded Rufus, made reply that they could not look at the matter from the lofty point of view that was possible to a monk, without relatives, and a stranger by birth to this land. They were men of the world, with others dependent on them, "they could not afford to rise to his heights or despise the world with him."

The clear eyes of Archbishop Anselm saw through the flimsy argument.

"Go," said he, "to your master. For me, I will hold by my God."

He insisted next on an interview with the King, who warned him that he was about to break his promise made to uphold the ancient customs of the realm.

"Only so far as these customs agree with righteousness and with the law of God," replied the archbishop.

"Neither one nor the other was ever named!" shouted King and council in one breath.

"Not named?" cried Anselm boldly. "What does that matter? No Christian may promise to obey customs that do not agree both with righteousness and the laws of God."

In the pause that followed he hastened to press his point home; but the King and barons rudely interrupted.

"Oh! oh! he is giving us a sermon!"

"You will," cried the archbishop's silver voice through the unseemly clamour, "that I swear never again to appeal to St Peter or his Vicar; and I tell you that to forswear Peter is to forswear Christ, who set the Apostle over His Church. When I deny Christ, I will readily pay the penalty in your court for demanding this license."

The council broke up in confusion, but the undaunted attitude of the old man had made due impression.

A message sent after him hastily by William was to the effect that if he went, he must take away nothing that belonged to the King.

"Does he mean my horses, clothing, and furniture?" asked Anselm. "For perchance some might say that they belonged to him. But even if I go naked and afoot, I go."

Even the mean-spirited King must have felt a little ashamed of such a message, for he replied that Anselm must be gone to the coast within ten days, and that there a royal officer would arrange what he might take with him. Seeing that he had gained his point, the generous-hearted archbishop retraced his steps along the Canterbury road and re-entered the King's presence.

"I am going, my lord," he said, "and had I gone with your good will it had been better for all concerned. But to me the welfare of your soul will always be dear, and as I know not when we may meet again, I commend you to God; and both as a spiritual father to his beloved son, and as archbishop to king, I desire, if you refuse it not, to give you God's blessing and my own."

Even the hard heart of the Red King was touched by the simple, generous words. "I refuse not thy blessing," he said, and bent his head to receive it.

And so they parted, on that October morning, 1097, and never met again.

Yet William was too absolutely rotten at the core to spare him one last insult. The archbishop, armed only with pilgrim's staff and scrip taken from the altar of his cathedral, had made his way to Dover, where he was detained by unfavourable winds. There he was joined by William of Warelwast, the King's chaplain, who was entertained hospitably, during the days of waiting, at the archbishop's table. Just as he was about to embark, this William demanded that all the baggage should be searched lest Anselm was carrying money out of the kingdom; but none was found.

Anselm went forth as a simple monk, with Iwo companions, Baldwin of Tournay and Eadmer, his devoted friend and biographer. But though William the Red at once seized his possessions and kept them till his death, the monk was still Archbishop of Canterbury; and none but the Pope could deprive him of the office.

An attempt has been made by some historians to establish the fact that the real cause of Anselm's 'quarrel' with the King was his refusal to be tried in the royal court on the charge of providing an inadequate levy for the Welsh war. That such was not regarded as the cause by contemporary chroniclers is seen from the following extract from Florence of Worcester, a witness by no means unduly hostile to the King.

"Some affirmed," says he cautiously, "that at this time (September 1097) they saw a strange and as it were flaming sign, in the shape of a cross. Soon afterward a quarrel took place between the King and Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, because, from the time of his being made archbishop he had not been suffered to hold a synod, nor to correct the evil practices which had grown up in all parts of England."



The Journey to Rome

The journey to Rome was not to be entirely free from peril for the archbishop. At first, indeed, it seemed as though he was destined to be driven back from his first destination, the port of Wissant, by contrary winds. The seamen wished to return to Dover, and somewhat roughly accused the three passengers, obviously unwilling to do this, of disregard for the safety of the crew. The gentle reply of Anselm must have put them to shame:

"If it be the inscrutable judgment of God that I go back to the old troubles, rather than escape them and attain the end I have desired, let Him order it, let Him arrange it. I am ready to obey His will; I am not my own but His."

Scarcely, however, had they begun to make for the English coast when the wind changed, and they were able to make an excellent passage to Wissant.

Without knowing it, they had barely escaped a much more serious danger. They had but just landed when Baldwin was called aside by one of the crew, and shown a hole in the bottom of the ship, caused by the sawing asunder of one of the planks. Fortunately the pressure of the surrounding water had served to keep the plank in position during the voyage, but that this had not been the intention of the man who had done the deed is very clear. The matter was hushed up, and it is possible Anselm never knew of this dastardly attempt to close his mouth forever.

The first halting-place of the archbishop was the monastery of St Bertin, situated in what is now the town of St Omer. Here they were received with the greatest honour and enthusiasm. "Men and women, great and small," says Eadmer, "you might see rushing from their houses and crowding to our lodging."

Four days were spent there, mostly in giving confirmation to large crowds of children and grown people from the neighbouring districts, in connection with which Eadmer tells a story. On the fourth morning they were just mounting their horses for a long day's march, when a little girl came running breathlessly. She wanted to be confirmed, and finding she had arrived too late, burst into a storm of tears as she stood by the archbishop's horse. Anselm was already dismounting in order to confirm her when his companions stayed him. If he confirmed this child he must do likewise by the crowd already collecting at the church doors. There would be no end of the matter, as fresh country people were swarming in each day. All arrangements would be upset; they had a long journey in front of them; they begged some consideration for themselves. Most unwillingly Anselm acceded to their wishes, but as they rode along he was silent and heavy of spirit; and that night he told his friend Eadmer that he could not forget the pathetic little incident, and that he should never forgive himself for refusing the child's request.

In what was then the kingdom of France, a comparatively small district which excluded Normandy, Brittany, and Burgundy, Anselm was welcomed wherever he appeared, but when he crossed the frontier into Burgundy, he entered a region where neither his name nor his personality was at all familiar.

To Duke Odo he was nothing but a wealthy prelate, and therefore a fitting prize for the ducal money-bags. I-Hs movements were watched, and one day, as Anselm, with Baldwin and Eadmer, was resting on a bank just off the highway and eating their frugal meal of bread and parched peas, a little band of horsemen rode upon them, shouting demands as to the whereabouts of the archbishop. Rising with quiet dignity, Anselm looked steadily upon the leader, whom he recognized as Duke Odo himself. Something in face or bearing at once revealed his identity to the Duke, who, we are told, "immediately he had set eyes upon Anselm, smitten with sudden shame, he hung down his head and blushed, finding nothing to say for himself."

"My lord Duke," said the gentle old voice, "if you will allow me, I will embrace you."

"Here am I, my lord archbishop," answered Odo eagerly, "ready to embrace you and entirely at your service. Right thankful am I to Him who has brought you here."

And straightway he bent his tall figure and haughty head to receive the kiss of the archbishop. Learning that Anselm was seeking Rome "in the interests of our holy religion," Odo gave orders to his companions to see the archbishop safely across the duchy, providing for his wants as though he were the Duke himself; and as he rode away he freely cursed those who had proposed the way-laying and robbery of a saint.

"For certain he hath the face not of a man but of an angel; and those who do ill by him may be assured of this, that God will smite them for their impiety."

The Christmas season found him at Cluny, the famous monastery in the Saone-et-Loire district, whose abbot, Hugh, the 'superior' of Hildebrand as prior, had been his constant adviser as Pope. He and Anselm were congenial spirits, as was also another Hugh, Archbishop of Lyons, with whom a stay of some length was made.

From the latter the English primate would hear much of the troubled state of Europe in those days, when Northern Italy gave a divided allegiance to Pope and Anti-Pope, Germany was torn by civil war, and Southern Italy was overrun by Normans who cared little for God or for man. Not only in England were the forces of the world set up against the Church of God.

The effect of all this upon an ultra-sensitive soul was soon apparent. No longer does Anselm aim at obtaining justice for himself and condemnation of his opposers. His one desire is now for spiritual peace and calm. His old life as a monk makes again its most powerful appeal, and from Lyons he writes his pathetic letter to Pope Urban, in which, after detailing the points of issue with the King, he says:

"In the archbishopric during my four years I have brought forth no fruit, but have lived uselessly in great and dreadful troubles of spirit, so that to-day I would rather choose to die out of England than to live in it. For, if I should require to finish my life there in the way in which I was living it, I foresee rather the damnation than the salvation of my soul."

The Pope's answer was an invitation to Rome, and a clear intimation that not by relieving him of the archbishopric were his difficulties to be solved.

So, in the middle of the March of 1098, Anselm once more set out with his two companions to cross the Alps, by that same road over the Mont Cenis by which he had travelled more than forty years earlier, in his quest for the truth that was to bring both spiritual and mental peace.

The journey, always a difficult one, was beset with dangers from the adherents of the Anti-Pope as well as from the robber bands which infested the district, and Anselm was warned to travel strictly incognito as an ordinary monk. At a stay made by them for the Palm Sunday solenmities at a monastery not far from Chambery, they were warned not to proceed farther.

"No monk can go in safety along that dangerous road to Rome," said the abbot. "Why, even the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was on his way to plead a suit there, has turned back and is now, we hear, living at Lyons, having given up the attempt."

"He did well," replied Baldwin solemnly, evidently to the inward delight of his companion Eadmer. "As for us, unfortunately, we are bound to proceed as far as we can by the obligations of service to God and obedience to our superior. When we can go no farther, we shall perforce turn back."

"May the good God guide and protect you!" was all the abbot could say.

Having crossed the Mont Cenis, they arrived at Susa, where they rested at the abbey of St Just. There the abbot, eager for news and possibly for gossip, joined them in the refectory, when Baldwin's Flemish accent, or some chance remark brought up the fact that the latter had some acquaintance with Le Bec. At once the abbot began to question them concerning Anselm, that man of God. "Tell me, is he still living?"

"The Abbot Anselm," replied Baldwin cautiously, "was removed by God from Le Bec to be archbishop in another country."

"So I have heard," said the abbot, and with naive concern for the man rather than for his office, reiterated, "but how is he himself? Is he well in soul?"

"I have not seen him at Le Bec since he became archbishop, but he is said to be quite well at present," answered the wily Baldwin, thereby filling Eadmer with admiration and mirth.

"Long may he continue so!" cried the abbot heartily; upon which one of the three visitors must have pulled forward his cowl to hide his quiet smile of gratitude.

The next stage of the journey through Lombardy was perhaps the most dangerous of all, since there the adherents of the Anti-Pope were most violent. A fortunate rumour that Anselm was lying dangerously ill at Lyons saved the situation, however; and the only danger of recognition came, not from his opponents but from the groups of men and women who, mysteriously attracted by the saintly look and beautiful features of the old monk, would hang about him where he rested, and retard his progress by the way in which they threw themselves on their knees before him and implored his blessing.

So Anselm passed unharmed upon his way, his heart full of that favourite ejaculation of his, "Great is the glory of the Lord," and thus, in due time, arrived at the Holy City.

There a harassed Pope, ruler of a city within whose very walls his rival held his state in the Castle of St Angelo, received his visitor with every sign of honour and goodwill. Rooms were assigned him in the papal dwelling at the Lateran, and when, on the day after his arrival, he was received in solemn audience, Urban insisted upon his occupying a chair placed next his own; and seeing him abashed at such a position, spoke of him as one "who, though by reason of his profound learning, we take him for our teacher and deem him in some sort as an equal, yet so great is his humility that neither the perils of the sea nor protracted journeys through strange countries have hindered him from coming here to the feet of St Peter, in my poor unworthy person, making it his business to seek the advice of me, who have much more need of his counsel than he can have of mine. Think then with what love and honour it is meet that he should he welcomed and embraced."

While letters of remonstrance and rebuke were being sent to the Red King in England, the heat of the plain had driven Anselm to the mountain village of Schiavi, belonging to the monastery at Telese, near Benevento, where he had been delighted to sojourn with a former monk of Le Bec, now the abbot. In this quiet spot, far removed from the strife of Rome and the worry of his distant see, the old archbishop passed a time of much-needed repose.

"Here is my rest," he had cried at sight of the primitive little spot perched high upon the hilltop; and here he wrote another of those deep and thoughtful treatises upon theological subjects which were destined to affect the thought of Europe for many a long year.



The Fey King

This time of peace for the harassed soul of the archbishop was soon to come to an end. In October of that same year (1098) he was invited to be present at the council of Bari, where an attempt was made, half-hearted enough, to heal the great schism of the Eastern and Western Church by considering anew the difficulty of the Greeks in accepting that clause of the Creed which declares that the Holy Ghost "proceeds from the Father and the Son."

There were few speakers of eloquence to defend the orthodox position, and hence, after a time, Urban beckoned to Anselm, who had taken up an inconspicuous position among the other bishops. The audience had been wondering as to the identity of the slight ascetic stranger seated in their midst; and they wondered still more when they had heard the eloquent and lucid speech in which he defended the Creed of the Western Church.

When this subject had been disposed of, without, however, convincing the opponents of the Creed, Pope Urban suddenly brought before the council the affairs of Anselm himself. The whole history of his relations with Rufus was revealed and the opinion of the council was asked.

Looking pitifully upon the serene countenance and shrunken form of the man whose silver-mouthed eloquence they had just heard in defense of the faith, the bishops unanimously declared that William deserved nothing less than excommunication.

"That is my opinion also, and we will now proceed to act upon it," declared the Pope, "for over and over again has his life been made subject of complaint to the apostolic see."

But there was one whose merciful heart moved him even now to intercede for the sinner; and he was the only one of all those present who had personally suffered at the King's hands. Falling at the Pope's feet, Anselm earnestly besought him to grant a period of further indulgence to William before declaring him a heathen and an outcast, to whom none owed allegiance or even the ordinary charity that exists between man and man.

In deference to his request, a respite was granted to William, and Anselm forthwith followed the Pope back to Rome. There he found the messenger who had taken letters both from himself and from Urban to King William, requesting that he would respect his rights and property, and especially the tenants who lived upon lands belonging to the primate's see. The man reported that William had glanced through the Pope's letter but had refused to open that of Anselm, declaring, moreover, that if his messenger did not quit the land at once, he would have his eyes torn out.

Hard upon the steps of this envoy came another, that same royal chaplain, William of Warelwast, who had overhauled the primate's private baggage at Dover. He brought from his master an insolent oral message to the Pope. "My lord the King was astonished at your asking him to give up Anselm's property, and his reason is this. When Anselm wanted to leave England, he told him that if he did so, the whole of his property as archbishop would be forfeit. As the threat was disregarded he feels he has done quite right in carrying it out."

"Has he any other charge against him," asked the Pope.

"None that I know of," replied William of Warelwast.

"What!" cried Urban, "he has despoiled the Primate of England because he chose not to give up his visit to Rome, the Mother of Churches! Return at once and tell your master that if he restores not this property, and lets me know thereof by the third week of Easter, the sentence of ex-communication shall be passed upon him."

"I would treat with you in private before I leave," was the envoy's reply.

No doubt he bribed those who had influence with Urban; certainly we find him loitering unrebuked about Rome till it was too late for the King's reply to be brought back at the time appointed. In the end Urban gave William another respite till the Michaelmas of 1099; and his chaplain at last took his departure.

Knowing how little use it was to give the King further license to oppress the unhappy tenants of Canterbury, Anselm was more than a trifle disheartened at this procedure.

"Seeing which things," writes Eadmer, "we understood that we vainly looked for counsel or help there, and we resolved to ask leave to return to Lyons."

It seemed, however, as though holy and learned men were not so common at the papal court that Anselm could be readily spared. He was desired to wait for the council held in the Vatican at Rome at the ensuing Easter, and meantime was given a suite of rooms close to those used by Urban and treated with a deference and honour that must have seemed empty enough to one upon whose soul lay heavy the wrongs of his people at home.

At the council at Rome the main question brought up was that of 'investiture.' It seemed good to Urban that the principles of Hildebrand should be now reaffirmed in stronger terms and with an important addition. Not only were the clergy forbidden to receive the investiture of churches from the hands of laymen, but they might not become the 'men' of laymen, that is, they were not allowed to do homage for their lands to lay overlords; and the sentence of excommunication was passed against all who should do so in the future.

When this decree was about to be read out to the assembly, a curious and dramatic incident occurred. The man chosen, for his loud and ringing voice, to declare the decree, was Reinger, Bishop of Lucca, who, standing probably in a marble pulpit halfway down the basilica, began to perform his task. He had not read very far when he stopped, and looking round about him at the sea of faces, cried with troubled mien and voice, "What do we here? We are burdening men with laws and yet we dare not resist the cruelties of tyrants. Hither are brought the complaints of the oppressed and the spoiled; from hence, as from the head of all, counsel and help are asked for. And what is the result? There sits one amongst us from the ends of the earth, in modest silence, still and meek. But his silence is a loud cry. The deeper and gentler his humility and patience, the higher it rises before God, the more should it kindle us. This one man, this one man, I say, has come here in his cruel affliction and wrongs, to ask for justice from the apostolic see. This is the second year he has awaited it, and what help has he found? If you do not all know whom I mean, it is Anselm, Archbishop of England," and with that he struck his staff violently three times upon the floor.

"Brother Reinger," cried the Pope, considerably taken back and abashed. "Enough, enough! Good order shall be taken about this."

"There is good need," cried the bishop, "for otherwise the thing will not pass with Him who judges justly."

But Pope Urban was too harassed by political affairs willingly to incur an open quarrel with England, even if it had been Anselm's wish that he should proceed to the extremity of excommunication. Eadmer, indeed, speaks bitterly of his weakness, when he says: "On the following day we got leave and left Rome, having obtained naught of judgment and advice through the Pope save what I have said."

It was something, however, that Urban had held Anselm to his position, and prevented him from throwing up his office, as he certainly seems to have been ready to do in the face of this hopeless state of affairs. Nor would the excommunication of William have helped the miserable condition of England at that time, since public opinion would scarcely have been strong enough to depose him.

In the next July, when Anselm was staying with Archbishop Hugh at Lyons, Pope Urban died and was succeeded by Paschal II, to whom Anselm at once wrote a full account of his case. He presses the new Pope in this letter to take up his cause, and "not to bid me return to England except on such term as may render it possible for me to set the law and will of God and the apostolic decrees before the will of man. Otherwise I should let it appear that it is a duty to set man before God, and that I had been justly despoiled for desiring to go to Rome."

From the reports Anselm had from time to time of the state of affairs in England, we can understand his feeling that it would be hopeless to return unless some strong measures could be taken.

When William heard of Urban's death, his remark was, "May the hatred of God light on him who cares!" after which he inquired what manner of man was his successor.

"A man in some sort like Anselm," was the reply.

"By the Face of God, he is no good then," cried the King. "But he may look to his own affairs, for he shall not get the better of me. I am free now, and I mean to use my freedom."

He already held the revenues of the sees of Canterbury, Winchester, and Durham, of which Ranulf the Firebrand was nominally bishop, beside that of a great number of churches and abbeys. The state of the country, even allowing for the exaggerated horror of a chronicler monk, can be gathered from a contemporary description.

"After Anselm's departure mercy and truth departed with him, shunning the land; and justice and peace were driven out after them. Holiness and chastity were under a blight; sin walked the highways openly and unabashed, disdainfully confronted and defied all law, and gathering fresh courage day by day from its success triumphed wantonly. The very heavens held England in horror, and the nations were amazed. Thunders shook the earth, thunderbolts and lightnings glanced all round, rain fell in floods; the winds of heaven were at their wildest; hurricanes shook the church towers till they fell; famine raged abroad; pestilence laid hold of man and beast; the soil was left unfilled; and there was none to tend the living as there was none to bury the dead."

For after Anselm's departure the Red King had thrown off all outward respect for religion and morality, so that men whispered that he had altogether sold his soul to the Evil One. He had openly seized Normandy for his own, thus breaking all pledges made to his brother Robert, ravaged Wales, and by his acceptance of the overlordship of Aquitaine during Count William's absence in the Holy Land, bade fair to make himself master of the greater part of France.

Successful wherever he went, his own people, sorely oppressed by the need of providing the sinews of war, began to whisper again. The King was surely 'fey,' and some terrible judgment was about to fall upon him. Dreams and portents poured in from every side during that year 1099.

A monk of St Albans monastery, which had been plundered again and again by the King, saw, in a vision, a crowd of English saints, and among them Anselm the archbishop, standing before the judgment-seat of God. A long list of charges against the King was brought forward by each in turn, until the Almighty summoned St Alban, and handing him an arrow said: "Come, thou first martyr among the English, avenge the saints of England, whom a tyrant outrages." The saint flung the arrow to the nether regions, crying: "Take, O Satan, all power over King William."

Certainly it seemed as though his conscience was dead in those last days. "Those who knew him best declared that he never went to rest at night but he did so a worse man than he had been upon awaking in the morning, and never saw the morrow's light but he did so a worse man than when he had closed his eyes." But the end of that dark soul on earth was nearer than men believed. On the second day of August, having eaten and drunk more than usual, William went forth to hunt in the New Forest, the fruits of ''his father's pride, his people's hate," the region which had already claimed the lives of his brother and his nephew. [Richard, third son of the Conqueror, died from an injury suffered while hunting; and Richard, natural son of Duke Robert, had been accidentally shot near the same spot.]

When curfew rang the Red King lay dead colder an oak-tree, pierced by an arrow shot by an unknown hand. The fact that Walter Tyrrell, a favourite courtier, promptly fled abroad does not prove that he killed him, either by mistake or of set purpose, seeing that he stoutly denied it even when he had nothing to gain or lose by the denial.

The only thing that is certain is that the rest of the hunting-party, directly it was known that the King was dead, rode off in different directions, leaving the corpse upon the ground. There it was found by some charcoal-burners, who unwillingly lifted it on to a rough cart, "like the carcass of some fallen boar," and brought it next morning into Winchester. There it was met by a few frightened clergy and monks, and a tail of inquisitive rabble, and brought to the minster, where a grave had been hastily prepared, probably in a tower forming part of the old church outside the present cathedral. Not even the most time-serving prelate could be induced to bury him with the rites of the Church he had mocked; and he made his end as an 'unshriven malefactor,' since, as the chronicler briefly says, "he died in the midst of his unrighteousness, without repentance and without restitution."

Rufus

CHARCOAL-BURNERS FINDING THE BODY OF RUFUS


A legend of the time says that on the night of the King's death, a little company of monks who were in the constant companionship of St Anselm at Lyons had retired to rest, and one of them, being restless, had just shut his eyes to court slumber when there appeared to him a young man "in bright apparel" who stood and called him by name. "'Adam, art thou asleep?' 'No,' replied the monk. 'Wouldst thou hear news?' asked the youth. 'Gladly would I' 'Then know for certain,' said the other, 'that all the quarrel between Archbishop Anselm and King William is at an end.' At which words the monk eagerly lifted up his head, and, opening his eyes, looked round. But he saw no one."

A week later arrived the actual news of William's end. If men looked to find it give relief and satisfaction to Anselm they were greatly mistaken. Once before he had been made responsible for the welfare of that lost soul, and he had never ceased to hope that a like chance might come again. Bowing his head upon his hands he burst into bitter weeping, saying: "I would rather have died myself than that the King should have made an end like this."



The Return of Anselm

One of those who had been with William in that ill-fated hunting in the New Forest was Henry, younger brother of the King, a man in his thirty-second year. The moment he realized what had happened, he had turned his horse's head and ridden off to Winchester, twenty miles away, to demand the keys of the royal treasure hoard. Close behind him thundered the hoofs of the horse of William of Breteuil, its keeper, and a partisan of the absent Robert, to whom, by the treaty of Caen, the crown should now have come.

The first news that the idlers in the Winchester streets received of the King's death probably came through the noise of the quarrel between the two men as they stood outside the castle. A crowd collected round them—possibly a half-hearted shout for "King Henry" was raised—upon which the young man put his hand upon his sword and made it clear that he was ready to fight for what he wanted. The keys were given up, and next day, after the hurried burial of that dishonoured corpse, a hasty election of Henry as King was made "by such of the Witan as were near at hand."

Waiting only to disarm prejudice by appointing the dead King's chancellor, Giffard, his own personal friend, to the vacant see of Winchester, the new King rode off post-haste to London, where he was crowned next day by Maurice, Bishop of London.

"On the day of his consecration," says the chronicler, "he gave freedom to the Church of God, which in his brother's time was put up to sale and let to farm; he discontinued the exaction of the unjust dues and oppressive taxes with which the kingdom of England was burdened, and firmly established peace in his dominions, and ordered it to be preserved. Not long afterward he committed to custody in the Tower of London, Ranulf, Bishop of Durham, and recalled Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, from France."

These last two acts did more than anything else to mark the promise of better things for England. All decent men would rejoice at the downfall of the corpulent tyrant who for so long had 'flayed the Church'; and no less would they rejoice at the recall of one who had won universal respect even from those who had been strongly on the late King's side.

The message sent to Anselm begged him to hasten his return and advised him to avoid Normandy, from which quarter Henry rightly judged the first muttering of revolt would be heard. For Robert the Duke was on his way back from the Holy Land, pouring out threats against his faithless brother; and the old desire to keep the two countries under one head was strong enough to make the allegiance of Anglo-Norman barons exceedingly doubtful.

So Anselm set sail from Wissant and landed at Dover in the latter part of September, almost exactly three years after he had left these shores.

The court, he found, was being held at Salisbury, and thither he hastened, hearing on every side as he journeyed the note of relief and joy in the new accession. But before Anselm could share in the rejoicing one important matter must be decided between him and the King. He had not lived abroad for nothing during those three years, during which his close communication with the heart of Christendom had bound him to obey more scrupulously than ever the commands of the Roman pontiff; and in any question concerning the supremacy of Church over State he was under the strongest obligation to uphold the honour of the cause for which he stood.

And the question arose at once. After warmly embracing the man for whom he had evidently conceived a real affection and respect, Henry expressed his regret that he had not been able to wait to receive his crown from his hands, and suggested that Anselm should, without further loss of time, do homage to him as King for his archbishopric.

He was met with an uncompromising refusal, not a little surprising to one who had possibly seen the archbishop do homage to his brother thirteen years before, and who had heard nothing of recent papal decrees upon the subject.

But Henry was no bully, nor could he afford to lose the friendship and support of the most respected man in the kingdom; so when Anselm quoted the canons and explained the decisions of councils in which he himself had taken part, he suggested that the question be postponed till the following Easter. This would give time to approach Pope Paschal anew on the matter, and meantime he was quite prepared to admit the archbishop to the rights of his see without the ceremony.

To this compromise Anselm, longing as ever for an opportunity of carrying out his high purpose of purifying and raising the tone both of clerics and laymen, willingly agreed, and meantime threw himself eagerly into the work of aiding the King to strengthen his position. Here he was soon able to be of marked assistance.

Henry was anxious to make himself the more acceptable to the English by marrying Edith, daughter of Malcolm of Scotland and Margaret, grandniece of Edward the Confessor, the chief royal representative of the old Saxon line. But a strange atmosphere surrounded the girl. On her father's death, she, a beautiful, clever child, was sent to the nunnery at Romsey, ruled over by her aunt, Christina. The tale is told that William the Red, hearing of her fairness, insisted on entering the convent church under the pretense of saying his prayers, and wandering thence into the cloister garden "to enjoy the fresh scents of its lilies and its roses," found there a fairer flower than these. The abbess, however, knowing the character of her kinsman, hastened to throw a veil over her niece's head, and declared her to be a professed nun. This veil she insisted upon her wearing, though the girl declared that she never did so save under the compulsion of 'hard words and harder blows'; and that when alone she was wont to tear it from her head and to trample it underfoot.

When Henry sought her hand in wedlock, however, the abbess withstood him to the face, and considering the scandal that his marriage with a nun would have made, the King might have dropped the project had not the girl wisely and frankly appealed to Anselm for a decision as to the justice of her cause.

A narrow-minded bigot, standing only for the rights of his order, would have decided against her. The archbishop, on the contrary, having listened with his usual patient tenderness to her impetuous tale, and mindful of the ill-result of any 'hushing-up' in the matter, called a council at Lambeth, and laid the case before them. He reminded them that Lanfranc had himself released from vows certain women who had actually and willingly taken the veil for protection during the early troubles of the Conquest, and having brought witnesses to prove the truth of Edith's tale, bade them decide the matter openly once for all.

When they replied that she was nun neither in will nor deed, he at once declared his full agreement, and forthwith married her to Henry in the November of the year 1100.

No doubt the proud Norman barons who sneered at King and Queen as "Godric and Godgifu"—Goodman and Goody—would have raised a protest had they dared; but it is a significant fact that they did not dare to do so with Anselm and England on the side of Edith, the "Good Queen Maud "of later days, when the substitution of the Norman for the English name showed how she had won all hearts.

Henry's next difficulty was with Robert of Normandy, who landed in England to demand his rights in July 1101. His cause had been fanned both in England and Normandy by the 'firebrand bishop,' who had managed to escape from prison by means of a coil of rope sent to him hid in a big flagon of wine.

Doubts as to the loyalty of the majority of his barons made Henry's position a grave one, especially as it was found that the fleet sent to repel Robert's advance had actually helped to bring him across the Channel. Landing at Portsmouth, the Duke marched direct upon Winchester, which was only saved by an appeal to that streak of generosity and chivalry which makes Robert, if the weakest, the most lovable of the Conqueror's sons. The young Queen Edith lay within the walls, expecting the birth of her first child, and she was Duke Robert's god-daughter. Drawing his army off, he marched along the road to London, and was met near Alton by the King.

A halt was called, and after a pause, the two brothers rode out to meet one another and embraced 'mouth to mouth,' while their warriors stood by in grim approval.

They met again in friendly conference at Winchester, where Eadmer declares that "Anselm saved the crown to the King." Whatever part he played, the whole affair was settled in friendly wise by promising Robert a yearly sum of three thousand marks to quit him of all his English rights; and he went home well pleased.

To those who rank the fashion of compromise and easy good nature above the obligations of duty and principle, it would seem a pity that this state of friendly good-will and mutual esteem between King and archbishop was of such brief duration. For soon after the departure of Robert, the first deputation sent by Henry to the Pope returned, bringing letters of kindly but unmistakable refusal to give way an inch concerning the question of investiture. The King's action showed signs of that curious cunning which appears again and again in his character. Under the pretense that the answer of the Pope had been altogether favourable, he summoned Anselm to court to do homage himself and to consecrate those bishops who had been elected to the vacant sees.

"It is impossible," said the archbishop firmly. "If I were to disobey the Pope's decisions as declared in council and confirmed in his letter to myself, I should make myself excommunicate."

"I know nothing about that," said the King "But I will not lose the customs of my predecessor nor tolerate within this realm anyone who is not man of mine."

The threat was evident, but Anselm refused to be intimidated. He would not again leave, by his own desire, the lambs of his flock, and replied bravely: "I can but do my duty in my church and diocese and you must decide for yourself whether you wish to do violence to me and mine."

Once again his devotion to a principle of which few but himself realized the full importance had made him an outcast among his fellows. The bishops and nobles to a man supported the King; and only the unsettled state of the country owing to the rebellion of Robert of Belesme, that 'restless and pitiless' baron, withheld Henry from trying to carry his point by force. He proposed therefore a second embassy to Rome, and sent to represent himself the Archbishop of York and two other bishops, while Anselm was content to send only his friend, the monk Baldwin, and another.

In the year 1702 the return of these was made the occasion of a council held in London to consider their report. As a matter of fact, the embassy had turned out entirely in favour of Anselm. "Shall I annul the decrees of the holy Father for the threats of one man?" Paschal had asked indignantly when the envoys pressed the matter in Henry's favour, and his letter to the King, while full of praise for the fair beginning of his reign, urged him to secure the friendship of God and the loving alliance of the Papacy by avoiding investiture of bishops and abbots. To Anselm he wrote in terms of unmistakable encouragement: "Do what thou halt done; say again what thou hast said."

Great then was the archbishop's surprise when Henry, instead of mentioning the contents of his own letter, called upon the bishops of the embassy to state the result of their mission by word of mouth. Smoothly enough they announced that Pope Paschal, addressing them in private audience, had agreed that Henry should 'invest' with staff and ring, as long as he was careful to appoint the right sort of men, and had sent word by them to the archbishop to accept their statement.

This was going too far, and Anselm at once produced his letter and called upon the King to do the same. Henry refused, and a strange scene followed. For when the two monks protested, the bishops took refuge in haughty disdain of their evidence; and when asked to explain the Papal letter, replied that such things were "no more than pieces of sheepskin with a lump of lead hung to them," and hinted that the testimony was worthless "of paltry monks who when they renounced the world lost all weight in considerations of secular affairs."

"But this is no secular business," said Baldwin.

"We know you," they replied, "to be a man of sense and vigor; but difference of rank itself requires us to set more by the testimony of an archbishop and two bishops than by yours."

"But what of the testimony of the letter?" persisted Baldwin; to which they answered with a sneer: "When we refuse to receive the testimony of monks against bishops, how could we receive that of sheepskins?

"Woe! woe!" burst forth from the shocked and excited monks. "Are not the Gospels written on sheepskins?"

These beginnings of a very pretty quarrel were soothed by another attempt at compromise on Henry's part. He would send another embassy to the Pope, and in the meantime must be free to invest new bishops, with whom Anselm must agree to live in communion though he need not consecrate them.

To this the archbishop agreed, though even his patience must have nearly reached its limits, for he at once wrote to Paschal begging him to state quite clearly what he wanted done, so as to leave no loophole for escape.

"I am not afraid," he wrote, "of banishment, of poverty, of torments, or death; for all these, God strengthening me, my heart is ready in obedience to the apostolic see and for the liberty of my Mother Church; all I ask is certainty, that I may know without doubt what course I ought to hold by your authority."

Meantime he used his power as archbishop to carry out a project that had long lain very near his heart, and prevailed upon the King to call a synod, or council of the bishops and abbots of the whole realm, to consider remedies for the disorders in the religious and moral state of the country; which synod met together on Michaelmas Day in the year 1102.



A Compromise

The synod of London was the first that had been held in England since the tenth year of the Conqueror's reign, and throws an interesting light upon the social conditions of the time, especially with regard to the discipline of the clergy. The fact that these had become extremely worldly both in dress and habits is seen in the canons enacting that they must "be clad in proper garments of one colour" with plain shoes, in place of the twisted horns so much in fashion at the court. They must have their heads 'tonsured,' that is, the crowns shaved in remembrance of the crown of thorns worn by their Redeemer; they must not be present at 'drinking-parties,' nor drink 'to the pin,' that is, from peg-pots, marking out how much was to be swallowed at each draught?

Monks must not rent farms, nor must the clergy help to decide on any case involving capital punishment, nor act as bailiffs for laymen. Nine abbots were deposed for buying their offices, and the marriage of clergy was strictly forbidden. The fashion among men of wearing the hair long was again condemned, and a blow was struck at the slavery still existing in England by the enactment against "the wicked trade used hitherto, by which men are sold like brute beasts."

Whether these 'canon laws' were actually put into force or not, the effect of the synod, as showing that the Church, at least, was sincere in the fight against evil, must have been very marked in raising the moral tone of the country. That at any rate the bishops who were present were much impressed with the old archbishop's zeal and earnestness is seen by its almost immediate sequel.

Henry, as we have seen, had appointed William Giffard, a noted courtier and chancellor under William, to be Bishop of Winchester. This man had received 'investiture' from Anselm, but so far had not been consecrated.

When Henry called upon Anselm to consecrate Giffard and with him the new Bishops of Salisbury, and Hereford, he refused on the score that the latter had not declined to accept investiture from the King.

In great wrath Henry called upon Gerard Archbishop of York, to consecrate all three, and preparations were duly made. Suddenly, however, Reinhelm of Hereford, the Queen's chancellor sent back the episcopal ring and staff to the King, declaring that he ought never to have accepted them, and that to be consecrated at the hands of Gerard rather than Anselm would bring down a curse upon his head. This, coming from a courtier, was passing strange, but a stranger thing yet was to happen.

When the bishops assembled for the consecration of the other two, Giffard interrupted the service by declaring that he would face beggary rather than be appointed in such fashion.

The opinion of the 'man in the street' was on his side. "The shout of the whole multitude who had come together to see the issue rang out. With one voice their cry was that William [Giffard] was a friend of the right, and that the bishops were no bishops but perverters of justice."

The angry King at once sent for Giffard and threatened him with the severest penalties if he persisted in defying him; but the bishop-elect stood firm. "He could not be drawn aside from the right; so he was despoiled of all that he had and banished from the realm."

The return of the messengers sent to the Pope made matters no better, but rather worse. In his letter to the King, Paschal made it absolutely clear that he did not intend to move one inch from the position of his predecessors with regard to investiture. At the same time he sent a letter to Anselm. The state of feeling was now so tense between King and archbishop that the latter would not open this epistle, lest Henry, finding it unsealed, should accuse him of tampering with the contents.

Weeks and months had passed away in silence when suddenly the King appeared at Canterbury in the Mid-Lent of 1103. His patience was at an end, it appeared, and he had now determined to take a leaf out of his father's book, and awe his troublesome subject into submission. He had forgotten, however, that the softest material is often the least yielding to the knife. Anselm received him courteously, and having heard his demands, offered to read him the unopened letter from Rome.

"Certainly not," said the King. "What has the Pope to do with me or mine? The rights of my predecessors are mine own, and whoso will tamper with them must know he is my enemy."

The threat was not lost upon Anselm, who quietly repeated that he was in no position to alter the decrees of the Holy See, even if he so wished: but that in other respects he did not wish to deprive Henry of anything that might be his.

For three days Henry withdrew to consider his next step, and the chronicler paints a vivid picture of the anxiety of the Christ Church monks as to the issue.

"They were in great alarm, for they thought their father was straightway to be taken from them. I seem to see the faces of the very lords upon whom the King depended for advice all wet with tears, as with swelling hearts they descried the approaching woe. And then the monks praying and pleading before the great rood, and piteously imploring Christ Crucified to turn one look of pity on His Church and save her from the impending calamity."

On the third day the King, evidently at his wits' end, proposed that Anselm himself should go to the Pope and see what personal influence could do to bring about an adjustment of affairs. It was the only way in which Henry could 'save his face,' as we say, and preserve his dignity on the matter. It would remove Anselm from the scene of conflict, and probably he hoped he would never return. But it came hard upon the old man of seventy, dim-sighted and difficult of hearing, to face anew the perils of that long journey in the hottest time of the year, and "with no hope of succeeding, as he had no wish to succeed."

Not unnaturally he wished for delay, to avoid at least the appearance of running away from his charge.

"Let us wait till Easter, that I may hear what the bishops and the chief men of the kingdom advise, and then give my answer."

"So the case was ended for the time," says Eadmer, "and they parted from each other on good terms."

At the Easter court held at Winchester, barons and bishops agreed that with such an object in view, the journey, however perilous, should be undertaken; and the old man bowed his head in assent. "Since it is your desire that I go, I go, though my strength has left me and the weariness of age creeps on apace. But should I succeed in getting to Rome, be assured that neither by prayer nor advice of mine will be done anything to compromise the liberty of the Church or mine own honour."

"The King will send an envoy with you," they assured him, "but do you bear witness to nothing he says but what is true."

The charge was capable of a double meaning, but Anselm replied, undaunted by the hidden insult:

"What I say, I say; and by the mercy of God I will never contradict a man that tells the truth."

So he set out, four days later, upon his second journey to Rome, not this time as a harassed exile, but "in the King's peace, invested with all that belonged to him."

Everywhere, as he journeyed toward Italy, he met friends, and wearied with the summer heat was glad to spend some weeks in the grateful shade of the cloisters of Le Bec.

Henry, indeed, urged him by letter not to go farther, but to save himself fatigue by doing his business by messengers. He probably preferred that Anselm should not tell his own story at Rome. But the spirit was still undaunted in that frail body, and by the end of August he had crossed Mont Cenis and was on his way to the Holy City.

There he found William of Warelwast, wiliest of envoys and well versed in the affairs of the papal court, who had spared no pains to press the King's cause.

In a public audience granted to him and to Anselm, he urged the advantage to the Holy See of making sure the allegiance of England. As the Pope and Anselm both sat in silence, the cardinals and other bishops began to take his side. "The wishes," they said, "of so great a man as the King of England ought not to be overlooked."

But Anselm still sat silent, "being unwilling that mortal man should be made the door of the Church."

Then Warelwast became more vehement.

"Be it known to you all," he cried, "that not to save his kingdom will King Henry give up investiture."

"Then," replied the Pope, hitherto silent, "know thou that not to save the King's life will Paschal allow him to have it."

This settled the matter. A firm but kindly letter was sent to Henry, assuring him of consideration in all other matters and of interest in his family affairs, but explaining that the right of investiture must be reserved to the Church, since such was God's will. "Why should we resist thy wishes unless we knew that by yielding we should be resisting the will of God."

So the envoys departed, travelling together over the Alps, but parting at Piacenza, where a strange message from the envoy altered Anselm's plans of return.

"The King, our lord, bids me say to you, that if you return to behave to him as Lanfranc did to his father, he will be delighted to welcome you."

"Have you nothing more to say?" asked Anselm.

"Nothing more. I am speaking to a man of wit," was the reply; and Anselm understood so well that he turned with downcast heart to Lyons, once more to seek the hospitality of Archbishop Hugh.

It was clearly another artifice of Henry to gain time, though he could not resist the temptation of seizing the archbishop's revenue meantime.

For nearly a year and a half he kept Anselm in this strange manner an exile, corresponding with him from time to time, and assuring him, "there is no man living whom I would rather have in my kingdom with me than you, if there was nothing with you against it."

The Queen writes in more sincere strain, assuring him of her influence upon her husband on his behalf, though obviously sorry that he cannot give way a little here and there, and hinting that it was said in England that it was Anselm's fault that the Pope had stood firm, and that he was really the prime mover in the whole matter. It was a grotesque charge to bring against one ever eager to be considerate for others and to give way in all things lawful, while absolutely loyal to the law of the Church; and the old man answers with unusual asperity: "You tell me that they say it is I who forbid the Pope to grant investiture. Tell them that they lie."

Still they pestered him with cruel slanders.

"He was led away by his 'iron will'; he was a coward and 'had fled from his flock and left them to be torn to pieces'; 'he was busying himself about other men's matters and neglecting his own work.'"

Meantime he waited in vain for the Pope to take stronger measures, or for Henry to give in and finding both hopeless, determined to exercise his lawful powers and excommunicate this rebel against the Church.

He set out for England, but on his way heard that Adela, Countess of Blois, the King's sister, lay dangerously ill. Apart from the fact that she was one of his own spiritual children, the car of Anselm was never deaf to the cry of those in need of consolation, and he at once turned out of his road to visit her. But when she recovered, he plainly told her, though with great reluctance, that "for the injury which for two years Henry had done to God and to himself, he was come to excommunicate him."

The Countess realized the serious effect this action would have upon her brother, and promptly set to work to prevent it being carried out. To Henry she did not try to lessen the danger of his position. He was, as a matter of fact, on the very brink of war with his brother Robert, a war undertaken in the hope of making himself permanent master of Normandy. Never did he more need the support of people on both sides of the Channel, and now he could not shut his eyes to the fact that "in many places in England, France, and Normandy it was noised abroad that the King himself was on the point of being excommunicated by Anselm; and thereupon many mischiefs began to be hatched against a Power not over-much loved, which it was thought might be more effectually carried out against one excommunicated by a man like Anselm."

At that time Henry was staying at the castle of L'Aigle, the very spot where in bygone years he and his brother Rufus had played a practical joke upon their despised elder brother, throwing a pail full of dirty water over him from a balcony overlooking the courtyard where he stood.

It looked now as if that boyish act of insolence was like to be bitterly avenged by Robert, and the heart of Henry must have grown heavy indeed when he heard that the hand of the Church was also to be openly against him, that the day of excommunication was very nigh. He was in no mood to turn a deaf ear to his sister's representations, begging her instead to arrange an interview with Anselm as soon as possible.

The Countess hastened to bring the archbishop to the castle, where "they found the King overjoyed at Anselm's coming and not a little softened from his old harshness."

There is no doubt that he received his former opponent with all honour and affection, and that he was ready enough to restore the revenues of his see. But it is equally clear that the question of investiture was not yet settled entirely in the archbishop's favour, seeing that, when certain inquiries were made as to the advisability of Anselm's return to England, the King replied: "By all means tell him to go, so long as he does not refuse to acknowledge my bishops"—none of whom had held out against his wishes in the matter.

Under the circumstances, and finding that Henry meant again to send messengers to Rome, Anselm determined to await the issue at Le Bec. He had not been blinded by Henry's pretense of affection, nor to the reason of this new delay, and he wrote strongly to the King, warning him that "for a bishop to be kept away from his flock was a greater evil than to be deprived of revenues," and threatening to send an envoy of his own to the Pope if further time were wasted.

From other letters of his at this time we see the force of the remark of Eadmer to those who in after years, if not then, would blame the archbishop for neglect of his see:

"I copy these letters in full that whoever reads it may see where lies the responsibility of the miseries which befell England during Anselm's exile, and the prolongation of that exile."

The bitterest part of the whole contest must have been the knowledge of the work left undone, the crying need of a shepherd, in the land of his adoption. A pathetic letter signed by several English bishops must have wrung his very heart.

"We have waited for peace," they say, "but it has departed from us. Laymen have broken in, even unto the altar. Thy children will fight with thee the battle of the Lord, and if thou shalt be gathered to thy fathers before us, we will receive at thy hands the heritage of thy labours. Delay then no longer. We are ready, not only to follow thee but to go before thee if thou command us; for now we are seeking in this cause not what is ours, but what is the Lord's."

Anxiously day after day did the gentle old warrior, burning for leave to return to his flock, strain his eyes toward the city from which alone could come help. In the spring of 1106 the answer came in the form of a compromise.

"God having touched the King's heart," wrote Paschal, "so that he now showed a disposition to obey the apostolic see, he ought to be met halfway."

This was done by authority to release from excommunication all those bishops and abbots who were under its threat for having done homage to the King, and to all who might do so in the future, until "by the gentle showers of thy preaching," the King should give way. The responsibility was no longer the archbishop's, and Anselm prepared to return at once.

But the frail body had been too often over-taxed, and such alarming fits of illness overtook him that travel was impossible. The King himself came over to Normandy for his last campaign against Robert that August, and hastened to visit the old man in the infirmary of Le Bec. Anselm was gradually recovering strength by that time, and was able to gain Henry's agreement to many reforms he had in mind; then leaving the King to continue the triumphant course which ended in Robert's defeat at Tenchebrai, he made his way slowly to England.

There the Queen met him with all her old affection, and made ready for him with her own hands his bed and table at his various halting-places; and the brave heart in the frail old body was no less cheered by the confidence shown in him by Henry during his absence.

"The King," he writes, "has commended to me his kingdom and all that belongs to him, that my will might be done in all that is his; in which he has shown me the kindness of his goodwill toward me, and his affection for me."

When the King returned, the conditions made by Paschal were made known, and the famous 'concordat' or agreement ended the long dispute.

"On the 1st of August (1107) an assembly of bishops, abbots, and chief men of the realm was held in London, in the King's palace. . . . Then, in the presence of Anselm, the multitude standing by, the King granted and decreed that from that time forth forever no one should be invested in England with bishopric or abbey by staff and ring either by the King or by any lay hand. And Anselm also allowed that no one elected to prelacy should be refused consecration on account of homage done to the King."

It was a wise compromise; for the Church under the symbol of staff and ring, kept her right of spiritual 'investiture' intact; while the homage, which represented the lands and revenues belonging to the position, was still paid to the ruler of the land.

It was won "by the single-minded constancy of an old man at a distance from Rome, whose main weapon was his conviction of the justice of his cause, and his unflinching and undeviating steadiness." It was won, moreover, not by the brute force that appealed most strongly to a brutal age, but by a force of personal character which was one of the greatest triumphs of the eleventh century. Even the savage nature of William the Red had been touched by Anselm's sweet gentleness, for on the last occasion they saw one another he had bowed that tawny bullet head of his to receive the old man's blessing.

And in spite of the real annoyance caused by Anselm's determination to hold out on a question the true inwardness of which he failed to grasp, the clever, astute Henry Beauclerc could not but admire, respect, and love him.

The feeling of the people of England as a whole had always been upon the side of the archbishop, though they probably misunderstood his long absences as much as they regretted them; and now indeed their rejoicings at his return were overshadowed by the knowledge that the weary old man must soon lay aside his work for ever.



Last Days of Anselm

The last days of Anselm were cheered by the knowledge that a real awakening to the need of reform in religion and moral was spreading throughout England. When once King and archbishop were able to act together 'with one mind,' much could be done; and the next two years were full of the fruits of their joint action. One of these reforms throws a lurid light on the miseries of a selfish age, when the strong, unrestrained by any idea of universal brotherhood existed only to plunder the weak.

It was the custom, as we have seen, for the King to move about from place to place, holding his court now at Windsor, now at Gloucester, now at Winchester or London. With him went a large number of courtiers, servants, ecclesiastics, and knights, and whatsoever tract of land they passed through "they spoiled, they wasted, they destroyed. What they found in the houses which they invaded and could not consume, they took to market to sell for themselves, or they burnt it; or if it was drink, after washing their horses' feet with it, they poured it abroad. Their cruelties to the fathers of families, their insults to their wives and daughters, it shames me to remember," says Eadmer, "and so, whenever the King's coming was known beforehand, they fled from their houses, and to save themselves and what was theirs, as far as they could, hid themselves in the woods, or wherever they thought they would be safest."

It was no easy matter to check this long-established state of things, but much was done to relieve the souls of Anselm's flock from so heavy a burden by imposing severe punishment on the offenders.

It was owing to his influence, also, that Henry exercised great care in appointing to vacant benefices men of high spiritual character; and thus, as also by his stern treatment of such clergy as lived only for their own pleasure and ease, the Church in England began to prepare herself for that great outburst of religious zeal that we find later on in the twelfth century.

These strenuous years, spent in reforms of this kind, and in frequent visitations throughout his diocese, told hardly upon the weak frame of the old archbishop. He could no longer ride on horseback, but had to be carried in a litter from place to place. And yet, in spite of frequent sharp attacks of sickness, "so that we scarcely dared promise him life," we find that he still continued to keep his strict rule of work and meditation, and even succeeded, though with obvious difficulty, in completing another learned treatise on theology.

His end may well be told in the words of his faithful friend and secretary, Eadmer:

"In the third year after King Henry had recalled him from his second banishment, every kind of food became loathsome to him. He used to eat, however, putting force on himself, knowing that he could not live without food; and in this way he somehow or another dragged on life through half a year, gradually failing day by day in body, though in vigor of mind he was still the same as he used to be.

"So, being strong in spirit, though very feeble in the flesh, he could not go to his oratory on foot; but from his strong desire to attend the consecration of the Lord's Body, which he venerated with a special feeling of devotion, he caused himself to be carried thither every day in a chair. We, who attended him, tried to prevail on him to desist because it wearied him so much, but we succeeded, and that with difficulty, only four days before he died.

"From that time he took to his bed, and with gasping breath continued to exhort all who had the privilege of drawing near him to live to God, each in his own order.

"Palm Sunday had dawned, and we as usual were sitting round him; one of us said to him:

"'Lord and father, we are given to understand that you are going to leave the world for your Lord's Easter court.'

"He answered: 'If His will be so, I shall gladly obey His will. But if He willed rather that I should yet remain amongst you at least till I have solved a question which I am turning in my mind, about the origin of the soul, I should receive it thankfully, for I know not whether any one will finish it after I am gone. Indeed I hope that if I could take food, I might yet get well. For I feel no pain anywhere; only, from weakness because I cannot take food, I am failing altogether.'

"On the following Tuesday, toward evening, he was no longer able to speak intelligibly. Ralph, Bishop of Rochester, asked him to bestow his absolution and blessing on us who were present and on his other children; and also on the King and Queen, with their children, and the people of the land who had kept themselves under God in his obedience.

"He raised his right hand as though he was suffering nothing and made the sign of the Holy Cross; and then dropped his head and sank down.

"The congregation of the brethren were already chanting Matins in the great church, when one of those who watched about our father took the Book of the Gospels, and read before him the story of the Passion, which was to be read that day in the Mass. But when he came to Our Lord's words, 'Ye are they which have continued with Me in My temptations, and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as By Father hath appointed unto Me, that ye may eat and drink at My table,' he began to draw his breath more slowly.

"We saw that he was just going, so he was removed from his bed and laid upon sackcloth and ashes. And then, the whole family of his spiritual children being collected round him, he gave up his last breath into the hands of his Creator and slept in peace.

"He passed away as morning was breaking, on the Wednesday before the day of Our Lord's Supper, the 21st of April, in the year 1109—the sixteenth of his pontificate and the seventy-sixth of his life."

And so there passed from England a beautiful soul which in its meekness, humility, and gentleness seemed ill-suited to that rough and stubborn age.

Yet in his case, as often before and since, a "weak vessel of this earth" had been used to "confound the strong," and to stand unshaken for a principle which did more than anything else to improve the state of morals, discipline, and civilization in the England of that day.

For let it not be forgotten that in that period, an England cut off from communication with the heart of Christendom through the denial of the papal authority would very shortly have been deprived of all Christian influence, of all literature, of all medical knowledge, of all general education and culture. Even apart from this, the political effects of making the Church in England entirely subservient to the King's will would have been serious enough. We have seen the state of things in the days when Rufus was defying God and man. We have but to glance on a little more than a hundred years later to the days of King John to realize the ruin that would have befallen the land had not the Church, in the person of another archbishop, Stephen Langton, been strong enough to withstand the King to the face and help to bring about the signing of the Englishman's great charter of freedom.

Becket, Langton, William of Wykeham are all of them the spiritual descendants of the saintly monk of Le Bec, and that they succeeded as they did in checking the royal power, when it threatened to become either too absolute or too unreasonable in its demands, is due to the long and wearisome contest fought out between Anselm and our two Norman kings in the last days of the eleventh century.