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riches invited him to, kept himself in so austere a way of living that the same robe he wore in summer served him for winter too: he had only straw for his bed, and his hours of vacation from the affairs of his charge he continually spent in study upon his knees, having a little bread and water set by his book, which was all the provision for his repast, and all the time he spent in eating.”* A sufficient contrast to the epicurean and essay-writing man of the Mountain himself, Michael de Montaigne.
There are those to whom it will seem incompatible with the moral earnestness and the practical religion so justly ascribed to St. Charles, that he should have spent the time and pains he did on ceremonial observances. But if he was a Christian of the really working class, so was he, at the same time, it must be remembered, a conscientiously devoted Churchman. The consecrating of altars was an office of particular importance, both in his faith and practice. The ceremony was one of eight hours' duration ; which, according to the Scripture reckoning, there not twelve hours in the day?" leaves but a small fraction for other einployments. This ceremony, however, the archbishop performed on three hundred occasions—a significant illustration of the amount as well as the kind of labour in which so willlingly he spent and was spent. Many of his measures, indeed, says Ranke, “chiefly concerned externals, relating more particularly to the renovatings of buildings, the harmonising of rituals, and the elevation and adoration of the host.”+ But at any rate, if he acted on the conviction that these things ought to be done, he did not leave the others undone--the weightier matters of the law, the distinctive virtues of the gospel.
On coming to reside at Milan, he voluntarily resigned “benefices and estates to the value of 80,000 crowns per annum, reserving only an income of 20,000 crowns. The principality of Oria, which had become his property by the death of his brother, he sold for 40,000 crowns, which he commanded his almoners to distribute
and the hospitals.”! And we are further told, that when the list which the almoners showed him for the distribution amounted, by mistake, to 2000 crowns more, Borromeo said the mistake was too much to the advantage of the poor to be corrected, and that the whole was accordingly distributed in one day. Upon the duty and privilege of “bestowing one's goods to feed the poor" he laid the utmost stress; reminding us, in this respect, of Pascal, whose charity to the poor, his sister tells us, had always been great, and was vastly increased in his latter days,--and who loved to converse with her on this subject better than on any otherhorting her, to use her own words, “avec grand soin depuis quatre ans à me consacrer au service des pauvres, et à y porter mes enfans.” « Il disait,” among other arguments and importunities to this effect, “que c'était la vocation générale des chrétiens, et qu'il ne fallait point de
* Montaigne's Essays. XL.
Palmer. “When his brother died, he also caused all the rich furniture and jewels of the family to be sold, and gave the price, which amounted to 30,000 crowns, to the poor. Several other cases of charity, on an equally large scale, might be added. His chief almoner was ordered to distribute among the poor of Milan, of whom he kept an exact list, 200 crowns every month. Borromeo would never permit any beggar to be dismissed without some alms, whatever he was."-Ibid.
marque particulière pour savoir si on y était appelé, parce que cela était certain; que c'est sur cela que Jésus Christ jugera le monde; et que quand on considérait que la seule omission de cette vertu est cause de la damnation, cette seule pensée serait capable de nous porter de nous dépouiller de tout, si nous avions de la foi.”* And truly cette seule pensée, not the least weighty of the immortal pensées of Pascal, had its weight with the Italian prelate of the previous century.
Borromeo's exertions during the plague at Milan are known and read of all men.
He built a lazaretto, and tended the poor stricken pariahs, whom the pestilence had brought to pariah pass, with his own kind and unwearied hands. Walter Savage Landor, no eulogist of churchmen in general, still less of Italian churchmen in particular, is enthusiastic in homage to Saint Charles Borromeo:
Saint, beyond all in glory who surround
The throne above!
No grief came o’er thy love,
Sweep with soft swoop away, &c.t “Since his zeal,” says Ranke, “was as pure and unsullied by worldly motives as it was persistent, since even in the hour of peril when the plague was raging, I he was unwearied in his solicitude for the bodily and spiritual health of those committed to his care, since every act of his bespoke nothing but disinterestedness and piety, his influence grew day by day, and Milan assumed a totally altered aspect. How shall I suffi. ciently praise thee, fairest of cities ! exclaims Gabriel Paleotto, towards the close of Borromeo's administration; "I admire thy sanctity and religion ; I see thee a second Jerusalem.' ”Ş It was good for corrupt Milan that she had been afflicted—and afflicted while her chief pastor was a Saint Charles—no hireling shepherd, that would fee when the wolf came, because he was an hireling; but one who remembered that the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. Such a pastor they best can rate at his true worth who feel what Keble expresses, in one of his sweetest strains, that
The world's a room of sickness; where each heart
Knows its own anguish and unrest;
Is his, who skills of comfort best ;
* “ Vie de Pascal, par Mde. Perier.”
“When o'er his desolated city fell
The livid plague's inexorable breath,
Fervent, he prayed beside the couch of death.
Before its shrine he bent in lowliest wise,
W. H. AINSWORTH : Translations. § Ranke.
Whom by the softest step and gentlest tone
Enfeebled spirits own,
When, like an angel's wing, they feel him flitting by.* A stanza one can hardly quote without fancying it suggested by Scutari and Florence Nightingale.
Borromeo's excellences stand out in the most prominent relief from the circumstances of his social position, and the temptations to which his affinity to the Pope subjected him. He was nephew to Pius IV. ; but, as the historian of the Popes remarks, he regarded this relationship, and the contact into which it brought him with the weightiest affairs of government, not as conveying to him a right to any selfish indulgence, but as imposing duties to which he was to devote himself with all assiduity: “It redounds very greatly to his praise,” says Jerome Lorenzo, in reference to Borromeo's early career, " that in the prime of his years, nephew to a pope whose favour he fully enjoys, and residing at a court where he might procure himself every kind of pleasure, he leads so exemplary a life.”
At this period his chief recreation seems to have been the collecting learned men about him of an evening-réunions commemorated by one of his biographers under the title of Noctes Vaticanewhen the young præses would adroitly direct the conversation from Epictetus and old heathen
Budge doctors of the stoic fur, to questions of Church polity, doctrine, and discipline-lest any one of the Noctes should close on the ecclesiastic with the reflection, Perdidi diem. Man of action as Borromeo became, he was yet a littérateur on no insignificant scale. In 1747 his works were collected in five volumes folio-a world of print! His Manual of Religion has been warmly applauded by Frederic Schlegelt for its excellence philosophical, theological, and literary.
There is another monument, however, by means of which Borromeo is had in remembrance more vividly and far more widely than by any Remains in folio. Every traveller to Milan makes a point of seeing the chapel where the body of the Saint lies magnificently enshrined the chosen spot indicated in his own epitaph, Cupiens hoc loco sibi monumentum vivens elegit—an epitaph duly inscribed
When Borromeo to the tomb
* “ Christian Year.”
: . Every new error-every new shape which the old Proteus may assume in the changing spirit of time, requires, not indeed a new philosophy but a new direction and form given to philosophy, a new resuscitation of its powers. Indeed, the venerable bishop and holy man of God, St. Charles Borromeo, had in his Manual of Religion furnished an example, in which we see the utmost profundity of ascetic science united with a beautiful clearness of expression, and the greatest simplicity and purity of taste.”—Schlegel's Philosophy of History, xvii.
We need scarcely remind the reader that this Schlegel, the younger of the brothers, had himself “gone over” to the Church of St. Charles, when he thus wrote.
no mere “windy suspiration of forced breath,” a stranger assures us, that Scottish minstrel* who turns, however, from mourning over Borromeo to congratulate Gaspar Visconti on his promotion to the vacant see. From the books of travel, by Englishmen of mark, which, at sundry times, and in divers manners, have described this time-honoured “ lying in state,” we select two passages to the purpose one from Addison, the other from Talfourd—with a century and a half between.
“ There is just before the entrance of the choir," writes Addison, little subterraneous chapel, dedicated to St. Charles Borromée, where I saw his body, in episcopal robes, lying upon the altar in a shrine of rockcrystal. His chapel is adorned with abundance of silver work. He was but two-and-twenty years old when he was chosen Archbishop of Milan, and forty-six at his death ; but made so good use of so short a time, by his works of charity and munificence, that his countrymen bless his memory, which is still fresh among them. He was canonised about a hundred years ago ; and, indeed,” adds the future Tatler and Spectator, in the true spirit of those coming shadows" if this honour were due to any man, I think such public-spirited virtues may lay a juster claim to it, than a sour retreat from mankind, a fiery zeal against Heterodoxies, a set of chimerical visions, or of whimsical penances, which are generally the qualifications of Roman saints.”+
During the three days we spent at Milan," writes the late Mr. Justice Talfourd, we made several visits to the cathedral, returning wearied from other sights to seek unfailing refreshment in beholding it; and, at last, we applied the silver key of five francs to the sepulchre where the great and good Cardinal Borromeo, in his proper person, lies amidst treasures of gold and gems. Whether the wealth be real or simulated is a question of little moment”—especially, we may remark in passing, to the cardinal himself ;—“in either case the mockery of earthly pomp, is the same ; but the exhibition of the actual remains of famed and titled mortality has a freezing interest for "us poor humans. That chamber of the grave, which Sir Thomas Browne would think too garish, preserves something nearer to life than a skeleton or a mummy, in 'the quintessence of dust' which it contains. On that skin of parchment yet lingers-or seems to linger-an expression of anxious benevolence; painful like that which lives in the memory of all those who knew the living Charles Lamb, but retaining still a trace of ineffable sweetness yet claimed from the grave. In gazing on it with admiring sympathy, I felt assured that of all human qualities gentleness is the most imperishable in death as in life ; because gentleness has in it none of the elements of decay which blend with fierce passions and proud virtues. Here, not only did the ashes of the just in moral power
achieve a victory over the grave, but the very dust itself bore witness to the angelic nature which possessed it living.”
* Crichton. See Translations appended to Ainsworth's "Ballads, &c."
† Addison's “Remarks on Several Parts of Italy, &c., in the Years 1701, 1702, 1703."
# Talfourd's “Supplementary Vacation Rambles,” ch. vii.
I. On a comfortable sofa by the side of a large fire in a spacious drawingroom, lay a lady, young and handsome. Not, however, in the extreme of youth, or in girlhood, for she had been a wife and mother some years, and was getting towards eight or nine and twenty. Her face was deathly to look upon. Not a shade of colouring appeared in its features, even in the lips; and the eyes were not like eyes, but like two lumps of lead set in there. She had recently passed through a perilous illness, and though so far recovered as to be in the drawing-room, it could not be said she was out of danger. Excessive debility, continued inward fever, and a cough that could not be got rid of, struggled with each other now, and
, kept her down. She was lying with her eyes closed, awake, but in a sort of unresisting stupor: she mostly lay so all day long, and had done 50 for the last ten weeks. One, drawing near, could have heard her laboured breathing, rendering her sentences, when she did speak, abrupt and broken. The room door opened, and a lad of six came in ; too boisterously--but
1 how impart thoughtfulness to young children? He had his mother's handsome features, her expressive dark eyes, and her naturally fine colour. She slowly opened her eyes.
“I want to say good-by to you, mamma. Sophy was going to take me without, but
from her.” “ And have woke up your ma, like an obstinate boy as you are !" broke in Sophy. “I wonder, ma'am, you don't forbid his coming in, unless you please to ring for him.”
“ I thought you were already at school, Algernon," she panted. “Is it not late ?”
Half-past two,” said Sophy. It was on the stroke of three, but the servants had sat gossiping over their dinner, and Sophy did not hurry herself to move. She thought her mistress, lying there, would not know whether it was late or early. The child drew near to kiss her.
“ Algernon, darling, be a good boy. Sophy, did you ask Mrs. Smith this morning how she was ?”
“No, ma'am, I didn't think of it. She looked as usual.” Mrs. Smith was Algernon's governess. She kept a day school. She was not strong, often complained of feeling ill, and Mrs. Grainger had got into the habit of asking Sophy how she was.
They left the room, and Mrs. Grainger relapsed into stillness. But thought came across her, troubling her mind, as it often did ; though it made no outward sign.
Should she live? Or would this illness be her consignment to the grave? She could not bear to think of it: though her great weakness caused her to feel all anxiety, even this, less poignantly than would one in health. She could not bear to think of leaving her children ; she