Abbildungen der Seite

form the nucleus of the Bethlehem con Bar - Anina came and gave lessons by vent.

night, for fear of being mobbed by the They were all poorly lodged in the Jewish populace if he attempted it by little Syrian town, and suffered infinite day; and Jerome himself, in addition to hardship during the three years which those immense labors of translation and had still to elapse before Paula's exten annotation whose lasting monument is sive building operations were completed, the Vulgate, opened a free school for the and there had arisen upon the hallowed education of the youth of Bethlehem site of the Saviour's birth, beside a nun both in sacred and profane letters. nery and a monastery, each with its own He had attained the high table-land of chapel, — for it was only on Sundays his middle life, his time of most fruitful and high festivals that the brothers and and memorable production. The sacred sisters even worshiped in common, artists of a later day loved best to picseveral extensive houses of entertain ture him as he was at this period : Düment for the Western pilgrims now flock rer, in a cell like the wainscoted chaming in annually greater numbers to the ber of some old Nuremberg dwelling, Holy Land. The expenses of the vast bending above his manuscript, the legendestablishment continued to be met by ary lion at his feet, the light falling the revenue from these hospitia long af upon his reverend hair through tiny, ter Paula's great private resources, eked leaded window-panes ; Ghirlandajo, on out for a moment by Jerome's humble the wall of Ognissanti in the sunnier patrimony, were as thoroughly exhausted seclusion of an Italian convent. These as the enthusiastic heiress had ever de- images, and many more, lead the imagsired.

ination of the believer gladly on to that Their life henceforth was that life of last earthly Communion which confronts the cloister and the chapel, which is es and almost outshines the Transfigurasentially the same in all times and coun tion in the Vatican chamber; and to the tries. It is a mode of existence of which buoyant figure with strong arm flung the stern monotony is intensely forbid across the lion's mane, pressing “upding to the imagination of many; yet it ward toward the point of bliss,” amid will usually be found, upon candid in- the company of the redeemed, upon

Tinquiry, to afford — quite apart from all toretto's great canvas in the hall of the transcendental joys and heavenly com Gran Consiglio at Venice. pensations in the present or future Abundant assaults from without had rather high average of individual health, to be met and withstood by Jerome durserenity, and content.

ing the fifteen succeeding years, In the case of Paula and Eustochium worthy jealousy and bitter detraction of there was, at least, no mental stagnation. the new-comers on the part of Ruffinus They kept up and became remarkably and Melania ; an obstinately hostile disproficient in those Hebrew studies which position, and even grave accusations of they had commenced in Rome beside heresy from John the Bishop of Jerusatheir lost Blaæsilla. They seem indeed to lem. But this kind of opposition rather have enjoyed a steady reflex from the ex increased than impaired the fame and eftraordinary literary activity which soon ficacy of the great ascetic's work during began to prevail in the neighboring mon the last years of the fourth century. astery. There many scribes were con New penitents, with noble names, begin stantly employed; the celebrated Rabbi to figure in the long list of his correspon

1 We find no allusion in Jerome's own writ of a cruel wound, and who ever after followed ings to the grateful beast with whom his name and guarded his footsteps. is associated in mediæval story, whom he healed VOL. LXVIII.

NO. 408.




dents, — Principia, Fabiola, Theodora, In the year 403, when the gathering Sabina; while from far-away Gaul come horror of barbarian irvasion was beginthe letters of ladies with less familiar ning to darken the whole civilized world, patronymics, — Hebidia, Algasia, Arte- the health of Paula seemed visibly demia, requesting instruction about the clining, and it soon became evident that regulation of their lives, which Jerome, her malady was mortal. The rule of amid all his manifold cares and occupa- separation which the two devoted friends tions, finds time to give them minutely. had observed so faithfully, though living

Recruits of more or less distinction to side by side, was relaxed at last, and Paula's community arrived so fast from Jerome was often at the bedside of the Rome that her houses overflowed and sufferer. She declined to modify in the multiplied ; and as the first generation least her habits of rigid self - denial, and of little ones, orphaned by the maternal the obstinacy — playful in form, indeed, exodus, grew up to manhood and woman- and veiled by the innate and inalienable hood, and their earthly fates were deter- grace of the woman of society — with mined, the result, so far as we are in which she refused even the indulgences formed of it, did certainly seem to jus- and alleviations commanded by her phytify, in many cases, the hardy faith which sicians seems finally to have dismayed had abandoned them thus literally to the her uncompromising director himself. protection of their heavenly Father. • Why should I speak of her tender

Both the daughters whom Paula had assiduities toward the sick,” he says, left behind died early, it is true, but the "and tell how marvelously she ministered elder, Paulina, had first been married to to them, and surrounded them with every Pammachius, a senator and a Christian, comfort, since when she too was stricken whom the loss of his young wife im- she refused to receive the like, and unpressed so deeply that he distributed vast justly — as I must think — turned her sums to the poor on the occasion of her mercy to others into cruelty toward herfuneral, and ever afterward wore, even self? ... In July, owing to the intense when sitting in the Senate, the dress of heat, she had terrible access of fever, a religieux. Toxotius, the boy, was early which, by the goodness of God, she overmarried to Læta, of whom we have al- came. Her doctors then recommendready heard. She was the child of a ed her to take a little wine in order to pagan pontiff and a Christian mother, build up her strength, for they thought and that first-born daughter of hers, con- it would induce dropsy if she persisted secrated to virginity at her birth, whose in drinking water. Then I myself went education we have seen Jerome directing privately to Bishop Epiphanius, and beso carefully from Palestine, was no other sought him to advise, nay command, her than the little Paula who fulfilled her to try the wine. But she, who was so destiny in the convent at Bethlehem, and clever and quick in her perceptions, at who tended the father in his suffering once detected the stratagem and let it last days, after both her sainted grandmo- be seen by a slight smile that she knew ther and her aunt Eustochium had passed it was my doing. What would you

have? away.

When that blessed prelate, after earnestThe story of the granddaughter and ly expostulating with her, came out of namesake of Melania is more sensational, her room, I asked him what success he and illustrates very curiously indeed an- had had, and his answer was, “I preother side of the unique social conditions vailed so far that she very nearly perof this time of dissolution, but it is far suaded an old man like me to take no too long and too complicated to be told more wine!' in this place.

“I mention it,” Jerome adds, “not

because I approve the rash assumption a sober tone about his latest counsels of burdens beyond one's strength, but which would certainly have seemed lukefrom the desire to illustrate, by this warm and suspect in another, to the very tenacity of hers, the temper of her headlong reformer of a generation bespirit, the ardent passion of that faith- fore. ful one whose song was ever, ‘My soul “ It is not alone,” he wrote her about thirsteth after Thee.' It is difficult this time, “the shedding of blood in conto preserve moderation in all things.” fession that avails. The spotless service

Paula died on the 26th of January, of a devout mind may also be a daily 404, in the fifty-seventh year of her martyrdom. The one crown is woven age, and the twenty-first of her resi of roses and violets, the other of lilies.” dence in Bethlehem. Though the end Eustochium died in 419. Jerome lived had been so many months foreseen, until the 30th of September, 420. Jerome was at first utterly prostrated It is difficult to preserve moderation by his loss. His very life-work became in all things. There are not wanting distasteful to him, and it was to rouse

indications that the common law was him from the torpid melancholy into exemplified in the case of this great which he seemed likely to fall that Eusto- father of the early church, and that the chium urged upon him the preparation of dying saint felt, as the youthful agitator that memoir of her mother from which could not do, the everlasting beauty of the above and other extracts have been moderation. It has fallen in with our taken. He subsequently resumed and purpose to illustrate one aspect only, completed his work upon the Vulgate, and that perhaps the most extravagant and many of his commentaries upon and questionable, of a master mind which the Old Testament books were written exercised a powerful influence over the after this. In his preface to the book Christian life, if not the Christian docof Daniel there is an allusion to Paula, trine, of many subsequent ages; one to “who now sees the face of God,” which whose learned and untiring labors upon reminds one of the rapt last phrases of the sacred books of our religion every the Vita Nuova.

student of the Bible is still greatly inEustochium succeeded her mother in debted. Let us make room for one more the headship of the nunnery, and the quotation from the private corresponburden thus assumed was a heavy one dence of St. Jerome, for a passage which indeed, for the darkest days of the may not merely serve, even in the dull Bethlehem colony were at hand. Irrup- medium of translation, to afford some tions of Isaurian mountaineers and of faint idea of the frequent magic of his Bedouins from across the Syrian border eloquence, but which shows its author in created a famine in the district, and another and a broader light than many most of the convent buildings were, at of the preceding extracts; for here at one time or another, sacked and par- last we find him breaking the bonds of tially destroyed. The new abbess had that intense and morbid individualism no private resources, or rather, as we which is the snare of all monastic piety, have already been told, less than none, and showing himself capable of sinking and the work of restoration was a slow the pain of private woes and perils in and difficult one. Despite her calm cour a sense of the dumb passion of the whole age and great practical resources, Eusto- human race. chium had painful need in these days of In the year 394 an amiable and all the moral and spiritual support that brilliant young Roman nobleman named Jerome could afford her. Such as he Nepotianus embraced the religious life had he gave without stint, but there is under Jerome's influence, and gave pro

mise to the latter of setting a bright ex to bewail the deaths of a world, while ample of sanctity to others of his class ; we dissuade from sorrow for one ! It is but he died in a few years, and it is said that Xerxes, that mighty king who thus, in a letter of condolence addressed leveled the mountains and bridged the to his uncle Heliodorus who was then sea, once wept on beholding from a comBishop of Altium, that Jerome pictures manding height the infinite hosts of his the state of the world from which, in a innumerable army, at the thought that, good hour for himself, the beloved youth in a hundred years from that time, not had been called away:

one of all those men and women would “My soul shrinks from surveying the survive. Would that we too might asruins of this time of ours. Between cend to a point whence we could see, as Constantinople and the Julian Alps not in a mirror, the whole world outspread a day has passed for more than twenty below! Then would ruin be discerned years without the shedding of Roman on every hand, nation clashing with nablood. Scythia, Thrace, Macedonia, Dar tion, kingdom against kingdom : some dania, Dacia, Thessaly, Achaia, Dalma tortured, some slain, some swallowed in tia, and all Pannonia, are devastated, the deep, some dragged into slavery ; ravaged, betrayed, by Quadi and Macro- here wedding and there woe; here birth mani, by the Goth, the Sarmatian, the and there death; here wealth and there Alan, the Vandal, and the Hun. Think beggary; and not the mere army of of the matrons, think of the godly Xerxes, but the whole mass of living maids, whose fair and innocent bodies men,

- how soon to be no more! Speech have fed the lust of these savage beasts! itself is baffled by the immensity of this Bishops have been seized, presbyters thought, and all I have said is as noand all manner of holy ministers have thing. ... Let us then descend from been slaughtered, churches destroyed, heaven, and come back for a moment and horses stabled at the very altars to ourselves and our own destinies. You of Christ. The whole Roman world is have experienced in your proper perplunging to its fall. ...

son, is it not so ? the successive stages Non, mihi si linguæ centum sint, oraque cen

of infancy, boyhood, youth, manhood, tam,

and age. Daily we die, daily we are

consumed, and still we believe that we Omnia pænarum percurrerem nomina possim.'

are immortal. All that I myself dictate, I am not writing history. I have but write, read, or emend takes somewhat dropped a passing tear over the woes of from


life. Every stroke of the pen this generation. Another must tell the is a fatal stroke. We write and write tale in full, and let Thucydides and Sal again ; our letters cross the sea in rushlust be dumb !

ing ships, while every wave as it passes “Happy Nepotianus, far removed helps to undermine our being here. One from sights and sounds like these! And boon alone we firmly hold, our union yet, we who must either suffer thus our in the love of Christ. • Love beareth all selves or see our brethren suffer have things, believeth all things, hopeth all the heart to live, nor do we count those things, endureth all things.

Love never blest, but rather subject for our tears, faileth. Through this, which lives forwho suffer not! For we are conscious ever in our hearts, our dear Nepotiaof old offenses to be expiated before our nus, though absent, is present with us God. The barbarians prevail through yet, and widely as you and I are sunour crimes, the Roman army is van dered he can clasp a hand of each. He quished by our vices. . . . A strange whom now we know not after the flesh mode of offering consolation, is it not? we hold in loyal remembrance, nor need

Ferrea vox,

we ever deny ourselves speech concern tinctive quality of all early Christian eloing him with whom we may speak no quence. It is the same that gives their more.”

enthralling charm to the rugged pages It is to have studied Cicero to some of St. Augustine, — a strain unheard in purpose, after all, to be able to write the world before the dawning of the such Latin as we find in the original of new day. Its effect upon the ear is like the foregoing passages.

All is not here that of a plaintive melody upborne upon of exquisite polish, of stately rhythm some vast organ-swell; or the thrilling and carefully prepared effect, which we monotony of a voice which, if it alter, find in Jerome's great literary model, must break in tears. It seems ever to nevertheless there is a something here suggest by the mere artless collocation of which is not there. That excellent critic its syllables, indeed one knows not how, and admirable modern Latinist, Eras- the idea of soft wave-motion, steadily mus, once wrote concerning the style of propagated across a level deep of unJerome : “How much of antiquity there sounded feeling toward the clearness of is in him, of historic lore and the grace some far horizon beyond the wrecks of of Grecian letters! What phrases, what time. It is a massive living flood, no fine turns of speech, such as not merely longer bound and led through artificial leave all Christian writers far behind, channels, however nobly constructed, but are fit to be compared with Cicero's until it breaks at the determined moown! Nay, I myself, when it comes to ment, like the Anio at Tivoli, in the such a comparison, do seem, unless my scenic splendor of calculated cascades : love of the great saint misleads me, to discover I know not what lack in the

“ But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam, prince of orators himself.” To us it ap

When that which drew from out the boundpears that the quality which Erasmus

less deep misses in Cicero is the essential and dis Turns again home."

Harriet Waters Preston.
Louise Dodge.


Thou readest how in lands of tropic heat,
When lake and river fail and thirst is sore,
The parched dweller by the burning shore
Dives, while the sultry tides above him meet,
And fills a leathern sack from waters sweet
That, voiceless and unseen forevermore,
Unblending with the brackish current pour
From some remote spring-gladdened mountain-seat.

Thou readest too my heart? In fate allied
To that poor diver of the salt-sea waste,
Finding all else but leaves a bitter taste,
Recourse it hath not, in the whole world wide,
O Love! save where, deep, silent, and untraced,
The freshening waters flow beneath the world's faint tide.

Edith M. Thomas.

« ZurückWeiter »