Born: Princess Augusta of Brunswick, 1737.
Died: Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, 1556, Rome; Charles de Gontaut, Due de Biron, favourite commander of Henri IV, beheaded in the Bastile, 1602; Martin Harpertzoon Van Tromp, Dutch admiral, killed in an engagement near Texel, 1653; John V, king of Portugal, 1750; Denis Diderot, French encyclopaedist, 1784, Paris; William T. Lowndes, bibliographer, 1843.
Feast Day: St. Helen of Skofde, in Sweden, martyr, about 1160. St. John Columbini, confessor, founder of the order of the Jesuati, 1367. St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, 1556.
Ignatius Loyola, 'a Spanish soldier and hidalgo with hot Biscayan blood,' was, in 1521, assisting in the defence of Pampeluna against the French, when a cannon-ball fractured his right leg and a splinter injured his left. He was carried to the neighbouring castle of Loyola, and in the weary months during which he lay stretched upon his couch, he tried to while away the time in reading the Lives of the Saints. He was only thirty; he had a strong and vehement will; he had led a wild and vicious life; and had burned for military glory. As it was evident that for him henceforward the part of the soldier was barred, the question arose, Why might he not be a saint, and rival St. Francis and St. Dominic?
He decided to try. He tore himself from his kindred and friends, and made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In the church of the Virgin at Mount Serrat, he hung up his arms, and vowed constant obedience to God and the church. Dressed as a beggar, and in the practice of the severest austerities, he reached Jerusalem on the 4th of September 1523. On his return to Spain, at the age of thirty-three, he resumed his education, which had been neglected from childhood, and laboriously from the rudiments of grammar worked his way through a full university course, making no secret of his ignorance. The rigour of his life, and the rebukes he administered to lax ecclesiastics, not unfrequently brought him into trouble as a Pharisaic meddler.
He went to Paris in 1528, and at the university he made the acquaintance of Xavier, Faber, Lainez, Bobadilla, and Rodriguez, five students whom he inspired with his own devout fervour. In an underground chapel of the church of Montmartre, on the 15th of August 1534, the six enthusiasts took the solemn vows of celibacy, poverty, and the devotion of their lives to the care of Christians, and the conversion of infidels. Such was the beginning of the famous Society of Jesus.
The plan of the new order was laid before Pope Paul III, who raised several objections to it; but, on the engagement that Jesuits should in all matters yield implicit obedience to the holy see, he granted them a constitution in a bull, dated the 27th of September 1540. Loyola was elected president, and was established at Rome as director of the movements of the society. Very opportunely did the Jesuits come to the service of the popedom. Unhampered by the routine of other ecclesiastical orders, they undertook services for which they alone were fit; and, as sharp-shooters and skirmishers, became the most annoying and dangerous antagonists of Protestantism. To a certain freedom of action the Jesuit united the advantages of perfect discipline; obedience was his primary duty. He used his faculties, but their action was controlled by a central authority; every command had to be wrought out with all his skill and energy, without questioning, and at all hazards. It was the aim of the society to discover and develop the peculiar genius of all its members, and then to apply them to the aggrandizement of the church. Soon the presence of the new order, and the fame of its missionaries, spread throughout the world, and successive popes gladly increased the numbers and enlarged the privileges of the society. Loyola brought more ardour than intellect to the institution of Jesuitism. The perfection of its mechanism, which Cardinal Richelieu pronounced a master-piece of policy, was due to James Lainez, who succeeded Loyola as president.
Worn out with labours and privations, Loyola died on the 31st of July 1556, aged sixty-five. He was canonised as a saint in 1622, and his festival is celebrated on the 31st of July.
An original autograph of the founder of the order of Jesus is subjoined-taken from his signature to a document, dated 1554, preserved in the public library of the city of Treves, on the Moselle.
TWO LOVERS KILLED BY LIGHTNING
It was on the 31st of July 1718, that the affecting incident occurred to which Pope, Gay, and Thomson severally adverted-the instantaneous killing of two rustic lovers by a lightning stroke. At Stanton-Harcourt, about nine miles west of Oxford, are the remains of a very old mansion, belonging to the family of the Harcourts, consisting chiefly of a domestic chapel in a tower, and two or three rooms over it. Pope spent two summers in this old building, with the hearty assent of the Harcourts, who had been lords of the manor for more than seven hundred years. One room, in which he finished the Fifth Book of his Iliad, obtained, on that account, the name of 'Pope's Study.' Gay often visited him there; and it is in one of Gay's letters that the catastrophe, which occurred in a neighbouring field, is thus narrated: 'John Hewit was a well-set man of about twenty-five. Sarah Drew might be called comely rather than beautiful, and was about the same age. They had passed through the various labours of the year together with the greatest satisfaction. Their love was the talk of the whole neighbourhood, for scandal never affirmed that they had other views than the lawful possession of each other in marriage.
It was that very morning that they had obtained the consent of her parents; and it was but till the next week that they had to wait to be happy. Perhaps in the interval of their work they were talking of their wedding clothes, and John was suiting several sorts of poppies and wild-flowers to her complexion, to choose her a hat for the wedding-day. While they were thus busied (it was between two and three o'clock in the afternoon), the clouds grew black, and such a storm of lightning and thunder ensued, that all the labourers made the best of their way to what shelter the trees and hedges afforded. Sarah was frighted, and fell down in a swoon on a heap of barley; John, who never separated from her, having raked together two or three heaps, the better to secure her from the storm. Immediately after was heard so loud a crash as if the heavens had split asunder.
Every one was now solicitous for the safety of his neighbour, and they called to one another throughout the field. No answer being returned to those who called to our lovers, they stepped to the place where they lay. They perceived the barley all in a smoke, and then spied the faithful pair; John, with one arm about Sarah's neck, and the other held over her, as if to screen her from the lightning. They were struck dead, and stiffened in this tender posture. Sarah's left eye was injured, and there appeared a black spot on her breast. Her lover was all over black; but not the least sign of life was found in either. Attended by their melancholy companions, they were conveyed to the town, and next day were interred in Stanton-Harcourt churchyard.'
Pope, whether or not he was at Stanton-Harcourt at the time, soon afterwards wrote an epitaph on the hapless young couple:
ON TWO LOVERS STRUCK DEAD BY LIGHTNING
When eastern lovers feed the funeral fire,
On the same pile the faithful pair expire:
Here pitying heav'n, that virtue mutual found,
And blasted both, that it might neither wound.
Hearts so sincere th' Almighty saw well pleased,
Sent his own lightning, and the victims seized.
'Lord Harcourt,' says Mr. Robert Carruthers, in his edition of Pope, 'on whose estate the unfortunate pair lived, was apprehensive that the country-people would not understand the above, and Pope wrote the subjoined:
NEAR THIS PLACE LIE THE BODIES OF JOHN HEWIT AND SARAH DREW, AN INDUSTRIOUS YOUNG MAN AND VIRTUOUS YOUNG MAIDEN OF THIS PARISH; WHO, BEING AT HARVEST-WORK (WITH SEVERAL OTHERS), WERE IN ONE INSTANT KILLED BY LIGHTNING, THE LAST DAY OF JULY 1713.
Think not, by rigorous judgment seized,
A pair so faithful could expire;
Victims so pure Heav'n saw well pleased,
And snatch'd them in eternal lire.
Live well, and fear no sudden fate;
When God calls victims to the grave,
Alike 'tis justice soon or late,
Mercy alike to kill or save,
Virtue unmov'd can hear the call,
And face the flash that melts the ball.
This second epitaph was engraved on a stone in the parish church of Stanton-Harcourt.
Thomson appears to have had this incident in his view when he wrote the Seasons, about nineyears afterwards. The fifty lines (in 'Summer') beginning
And his Amelia were a matchless pair,
relate an episode of the same character as the sad story of John Hewit and Sarah Drew, with the exception that the poet kills the maiden but not the lover.
TESTIMONIALS TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY YEARS AGO
The following present made to the new recorder of Nottingham, 1603 A. D., by order of the Hall, affords a curious instance of the taste and habit of the times, in respect to what are now dignified by the name of Testimonials. 'It is agreed that the town shall, on Wednesday next, present the recorder, Sir Henry Pierrepont, with a sugar-loaf, 9s.; lemons, 1s. 8d.; white wine, one gallon, 2s. 8d.; claret, one gallon, 2s. 8d.; muskadyne, one pottle, 2s. 8d.; sack, one pottle, 2s.; total 20s. 8d.'
Another testimonial was presented by the same town, in the year following, the object of public admiration and bounty in this instance being no less a personage than the Earl of Shrewsbury. Of course the present, intended to convey to his lordship the sense entertained by the burgesses of his high worth and character, must be of a more weighty description than that bestowed on the recorder. Accordingly, it was ordered that 'a veal, a mutton, a lamb, a dozen of chickens, two dozen of rabbits, two dozen of pigeons, and four capons, should be presented to his lordship.'
Ours is a day beyond all others for the presentation of Testimonials, but we have never yet heard of a celebrity of the nineteenth century being invited to a public meeting to receive from his friends a testimonial of their esteem, and then having laid at his feet sundry bottles of wine, with sugar and lemons to flavour it; or a good fat calf, a weddersheep, and a lamb of a year old, with dozens of chickens and rabbits to garnish the same, as appears to have been the favourite course with our 'good-living' ancestors.
PARTRIDGE, THE ALMANAC-MAKER
Partridge, the almanac-maker, of whom mention is made in the article on 'Written and Printed Almanacs', has been so fortunate as to be embalmed in one of the most pleasing poems in the English language-Pope's Rape of the Locks With a consummation of surprising power and appropriate character, the poet, after the robbery of Belinda's ' wavy curl' has been effected, proceeds to place the stolen object among the constellations. The poem says:
This the beau-monde shall from the Mall survey,
And hail with music its propitious ray
This the blest lover shall for Venus take,
And send up prayers from Rosamunda's lake;
This PARTRIDGE soon shall view in cloudless skies,
When next he looks through Galileo's eyes;
And hence the egregious wizard shall foredoom,
The fate of Louis and the fall of Rome.
It is strange how sometimes the most worthless of men, as regards posterity, are handed down to fame for the very qualities which it might be hoped would be left in oblivion. What sacrifices would many a sage or poet have made, to be connected with all time through Pope and the charming Belinda? Yet here, in this case, we find the almanac-making shoe-maker enjoying a companionship and a celebrity for qualities which, morally, have no virtue or endurance in them, but quite the reverse.