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allusion they are, I had evidence during the preparation of this volume, in the amount of explanatory notes which they required, --so far larger than almost any other equal quantity of verse which it contains. Nor less must it be allowed that he is sometimes guilty of concetti, of plays upon words, not altoge er worthy of the solemnity of his theme. Thus of one martyr he says:
Sub securi stat securus; of another:
Dum torretur, non terretur; of the blessed Virgin, (for he did not escape, as it was not to be expected that he should, the errors and superstitions of his time):
O dulcis vena veniæ ; of heaven:
Oh quàm beata curia,
Quæ curæ prorsus nescia. Sometimes too he is fond of displaying feats of skill in versification, of prodigally accumulating, or curiously interlacing, his rhymes, that he may shew his perfect mastery of the forms which he is using, and how little he is confined or trammelled by them.
These faults it will be seen are indeed most of them but merits pushed into excess. And even accepting them as defects, his profound acquaintance with the whole circle of the theology of his time, and eminently with its exposition of Scripture,--the abundant and admirable use, with indeed the drawback already mentioned, which he makes of it, delivering as he thus does his poems from the merely subjective cast of those, beautiful as they are, of St Bernard, -the exquisite art and variety with which for the most part his verse is managed and his rhymes disposed-their rich melody multiplying and ever deepening at the close-the strength which often he concentrates into a single
linel-his skill in conducting a narrationa_and most of all, the evident nearness of the things which he celebrates to his own heart of hearts—all these, and other excellencies,
1 Thus of a Roman governor, who, alternating flatteries with threats, is seeking to bribe one of the early martyrs from her allegiance to Christ, by the offer of worldly dignities and honors :
Offert multa, spondet plura,
Periturus peritura. 2 Thus with what graceful ease his hymn on the martyrdom of St Catherine commences :
Vox sonora nostri chori
Per quem plebs Alexandrina
Florem teneri decoris
Vas electum, vas virtutum,
render him, as far as my judgment goes, the foremost among the sacred Latin poets of the middle ages. He may not have any single poem to vie with the austere grandeur of the Dies Ire, nor yet with the tearful passion of the Stabat Mater, although concerning the last point there might well be a question ; but then it must not be forgotten that these stand alone, or wellnigh alone, in the names of their respective authors, while from his ample treasure-house I shall enrich this volume with ten or twelve hymns, all of them of considerable, some of the very highest, merit. It is possible the reader may consider that I have set his merits too high; yet fresh from the perusal of his hymn on St Stephen, or his longer one on the Resurrection, or his two on Pentecost, he will certainly wonder at the taste and judgment of those his countrymen, who could apportion him no greater praise than the following : A l'égard du mérite de ses pièces, se serait outrer l'admiration que d'adopter sans réserve les éloges qu'on leur a donnés. Elles étaient bonnes pour le temps, et même les meilleures qu'on eût vues jusqu'alors. Mais il a paru depuis des modèles en ce genre, qui les ont fait totalement oublier, et avec lesquelles elles ne peuvent réellement entrer en comparaison. (Hist. Litt. de la France, t. 15, p. 41.)
Over against this I will set another and a fairer estimate of the merit of his hymns, one in which the writer, probably John of Toulouse, (he died in 1659, and was himself Prior of St Victor,) has seized very happily the character at once learned and ornate, the “ decorated" style, which is peculiar to so many of them. He says: Valde multas prosas fecit...quæ succinctè et clausulatim progredientes, venusto verborum matrimonio subtiliter decoratæ, sententiarum flosculis mirabiliter picturatæ, schemate congruentissimo componuntur, in quibus et cùm in
terserat prophetias et figuras, quæ in sensu quem protendunt videbantur obscurissimæ, tamen sic eas adaptat ad suum propositum manifestè, ut magis videantur historiam texere quàm figuram. (Martene, Thes. Anecdot., v. 6, p. 222.) Rambach calls him, I know not whether very felicitously, “the Schiller of the middle ages.”
Several of the hymns of Adam of St Victor had got abroad, and were in use at a very early date, probably during the author's life: but we owe the long and probably complete series of these hymns which we possess, thirty-six in all, to the care of Clichtoveus, a theologian of the first half of the 16th century. Among numerous other works which he composed was the Elucidatorium Ecclesiasticum, Paris, 1515; Basle, 1517, 1519; Paris, 1556 ; Cologne, 1732, and in an abridged form, Venice, 1555: written for the instructing the parochial clergy in the meaning of the various offices of the Church. The book is scarce, but of absolute necessity for the student of the Christian hymnology. For Adam of St Victor's hymns, besides containing grains of gold to be washed from the sands of a diffuse exposition, it must be considered as a principal source of the text, and as having highest authority therein; since he tells us that he drew it from copies of the hymns which were preserved in the archives of St Victor itself. On occasion of the first of these which he quotes, he thus speaks of the author and his works: Venerandus pater Adam de Sto Victore, religiosam regularisque disciplinæ observantissimam domum Sancti Victoris in Parhisiorum suburbiis constructam, cùm vixit, insigni doctrinæ splendore, et vitæ sanctimoniâ illustravit. Apud quam et hanc prosam et alias quàm plurimas suis in locis annotandas, illi ut auctori ascriptas inveni. Eoque subnixus testimonio, eidem illas inscripsi, et quamque illarum suo loco ipsi, (ut ex cujus emanaverit officinâ,) assignavi.
The Paris edition of 1556, which is much richer in hymns than the earlier, I have only been able to make use of in the Bodleian Library. As has been the case with almost every rare book which I have wanted in the composition of this volume, it is not to be found in the British Museum. That which I have habitually used is the Basle edition of 1517, and, unless otherwise noted, my references
are to it.
1. Člichtoveus, Elucidat. Eccles., v. 2, p. 218; Sequentiæ de Tempore, Argentinæ, 1516, p. 21; Corner, Promptuarium Devotionis, Viennæ, 1672, p. 346; Daniel, Thes. Hymnol., v. 2,
5. testis ipsi] The poet would say, The likeness of St John's vision to Ezekiel's (cf. Rev. iv. 6-8 with Ezek. i. 4-28; x. 9– 22) is a testimony of the truth of the earlier. That St John should have beheld the same things is proof that they were no dream of the prophet's imagination, but had their ground in the eternal realities of the heavenly world.