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This was a coarse mode of conversion, to be employed by one who had miracles at command; for Edmund could forbid the rain to fall, when he was preaching in the churchyard, or bid it fall as it listed around on all sides, so that not a drop fell upon
him or his numerous congregation. He could light a lamp by pronouncing the name of the Virgin, cure a carbuncle upon
his own foot by making upon it the sign of a cross, and translate swellings from his pupil's arm to his own. But if he had recourse to so severe a method, it was in conformity to the severe system in which he disciplined himself. The Abbot of Pontigny, who had lived with him, has accurately described his whole armour of faith, which was not after the pattern of St. Paul's. It consisted, first, in drawers and stockings of haircloth; next in a haircloth shirt, not of the ordinary texture, but knit in knots after a manner of his own devising, wherein he had succeeded in obtaining the perfect uneasiness which he desired. This he bound close by a horsehair rope, which was put so often round his body, from the shoulder to the loins, and fastened so tight, that it was scarcely possible for him to bend his back. This was the secret armour in which he went clad by day, for his warfare with the powers of the air. When it was taken off at night, the neck and the hands, which, because his good works might not be seen by men, escaped all torturing in the day, were disaccommodated with a haircloth tippet and haircloth gloves. He never entered his bed, nor even lay down on it. His utmost indulgence was to recline his head there, when he slept on a bench beside, but sometimes he lay on the ground. He cared little for washing either his head or his body, being, we are told, satisfied with keeping his heart clean. (De corporis seu capitis sui non curabat lavacro, satis esse arbitrans si inesset mundities cordi suo.) It is accounted, therefore, among the miraculous circumstances belonging to his sanctity, that in the linen clothes which he wore over his Ronish panoply, there were very few vermin.*
It was as much a matter of course that a saint of this complexion should frequently see the devil, as that a knight-errant should meet with adventures when he sallied forth to seek them. Once it happened that the enemy took him at advantage. He had made it a rule to meditate upon the cross and other instruments
* Hoc etiam pro miraculo advertimus, quod in vestibus lineis, quibus ad occultandas asperitates interiores solebat superindui, cum eas deponeret, fere nullius generis vermes polerant ab ejus cubiculariis inveniri. Constat equidem homines ciliciis etiam simplicibus utentes assiduè hujusmodi vermibus plus hominibus ceteris abundare: ipse vero qui non simplex, sed ut ita loquor, multipler assiduè cilicium detulit, vermes hujusmodi er suo corpore nullos, vel ut modestius dicam, rarissimos procreavit. Nec immerito istud descripsimus pro miraculo, cum vix utlus, vel certe nullus hoc probro carcat vel tormenta.-Martene et Duraud, Thes. Anell, t, iii. 1802.
of the Passion, some time in every day or night. One holiday, however, he had been so busily and fully employed, that there had been no leisure for this; when night came, there was a lecture to prepare for the morrow; night was far spent before this was done; and then, though he was sensible that he had not observed the usual rule, the fear of inducing a head-ache, which might disable him for the next day's duties, if he contended longer against the sense of weariness, induced him to lie down. No sooner had he done this, than the devil in all his dreadful ugliness appeared. The terrified saint raised up his right hand to protect himself with the sign of the cross; but inasmuch as he had neglected to impress that sign that day upon his heart, the enemy, having power to prevent him from making the outward and visible sign, caught his hand. He raised the left hand for the same purpose, and in like manner the devil caught that with his right, and having both hands thus in his hold, fell upon him then like a sack. The saint's strength forsook him, but he retained his presence of mind, and called upon the Lord in spirit with such effect, that the devil, as if plucked off him by some mightier arm, fell between the bed and the wall. Upon this, Edmund sprang up, and becoming the assailant in his turn, took him by his horrible throat, and made him tell by what adjuration he was most annoyed, before he disappeared.
Such are the exploits and the virtues which are recorded of the Canon of Salisbury, who is said to have been the first person that taught Aristotle's logic at Oxford. Neither Canterbury nor Salisbury possessed any relics of this saint, in whom both churches might claim a part. The monastery of Pontigny, which from him was called St. Edmund's, was literally enriched by them, the offerings which were made at his shrine amounting, it is said, to more than four times the expense which the monks had incurred by entertaining him and his predecessors, Langton and Becket, during their exile. Salisbury Cathedral had, however, a respectable collection of relics, containing no less than two hundred and thirty-four specimens, arranged under the four classes of apostles, martyrs, confessors, and virgins. Among these treasures were the breast-bone of St. Eugenius, a jaw-bone of St. Stephen, a tooth of St. Macarius, a tooth of St. Anne, a toe of St. Mary Magdalene, and the identical chain with which St. Catharine bound the Devil ! The church was so far completed in the course of thirty-eight years, that a grand festival was then held for its more solemn dedication; the expenses of the building up to that time are said to have amounted to 40,000 marks. About a century afterwards the spire is believed to have been added, when Robert de Wyvile was bishop, a prelate of whom this ugly character has been transmitted to posterity, that it was hard to say whether he was more dunce or dwarf, more unlearned or unhandsome. While he held the see, a mandate was obtained from Edward III. for taking down the walls of the former cathedral at Old Sarum, and of the houses there which had belonged to the bishop and the chapter, that their materials might be applied, as the king's gift, to the improvement of the church at Salisbury.
Not only the spire but the two upper stories of the tower were added when these improvements were made. This was so bold an undertaking in the architect that nothing but success could justify it. Michael Angelo's conception of hanging in the air the dome of St. Peter's did not imply a stronger confidence in his own skill than was manifested in this ambitious design of raising one of the loftiest spires in the world upon a building where the foundations had already received the load which they were calculated to support. The old wall of the tower, though strong enough when it was the summit of the pile, was slight in relation to the weight which it was now to bear. Half its thickness was occupied by an open gallery, and moreover it was perforated by eight doors, eight windows, and a staircase at each of its four angles. For the purpose of strengthening it, the windows were filled up; an hundred and twelve additional supports were introduced into this part of the tower, exclusive of iron braces; and three hundred and eighty-seven superficial feet of new foundation were formed. It is presumed also that at this time the arches and counterarches were raised across the small transept. The difficulties were so evident and so great that it has been said they
enough to have frightened any man in his senses from pursuing so rash and dangerous an undertaking. It has, however, withstood the storms and the sap of more than five centuries, and we are told that, if carefully inspected, it may remain twice five centuries to come. Two stories of the tower were evidently raised at the time when the spire was added. From the centre of the tower the spire rises; four of its sides (for it is octangular) resting on the walls of the tower, and four on arches raised at the angles. The wall of the tower is there five feet thick, two of which are occupied by the base of the spire, two by a passage round, and one by the parapet. The wall of the spire gradually diminishes till, at the height of about twenty feet, it is reduced to nine inches, of which thickness it continues to the summit.
It is a remark of Mr. Fosbroke's (we believe) that architects should be cautious how they raise ponderous additions to old buildings, for who can say that the original builders may not, in many places, have stopt short in despair of completing their designs with safety? The spire of Redcliff church was evidently left
incomplete because of such an apprehension. A steeple which Browne Willis had contributed to repair or to re-edify at Buckingham, fell down in little more than twenty years, and Pennant narrowly escaped being crushed in its ruins, having providentially gone out of the church just before it fell. The recent catastrophe at Fonthill is a nearer and more memorable example: there, as at Salisbury, there had been no intention of such a superstructure in the original design, and consequently no adequate foundation prepared for it; and, when that hasty elevation, which had been half hurried up by torchlight and midnight labour, as if to show what wonders could be performed by the wantonness of wealth, tottered to its fall, one might fancy that the Weathercock on the cathedral clapt his wings and crowed in honour of the old architect whose work, after the lapse of so many centuries, was standing in its beauty and its strength.
A settlement took place in this beautiful structure, it is believed, soon after its completion, at the western side, or rather in the piers, or clustered columns, under the north-western and southwestern angles of the tower. Such methods as were deemed best have been employed at different times to counteract the danger. At the top of the parapet of the tower, the tower declines nine inches to the south, and more than three to the west; but, at the capstone of the spire, the declination is twenty-four inches and a half to the south, and sixteen and a quarter to the west. In such an elevation this is not perceptible to the most practised eye, the þeight being 404 feet, according to the most approved measurement. That of Strasburg is 456; that of Vienna, which exceeds all others, 465: but Salisbury is the loftiest stone building that has ever been raised in this island. The spire of old St. Paul's, which was 520 feet in height, was constructed mostly, if not entirely, of timber and lead. But in such edifices, a wooden spire or a wooden roof (as at York) detracts much, and not without good reason, from the general impression which the structure would otherwise produce. The beholder has no longer the same sense of munificence in the undertaking, grandeur in the conception, difficulty in the execution, and durability in the work. His admiration is abated: the truth which is expressed in a homely proverb concerning silk purses is exemplified upon a great scale, and the reflecting mind is made to feel that, where the impression of richness or of grandeur is intended, the materials must be such as not to disparage the work. Salisbury spire is the great work of human power which it appears to be, and therefore excites even more admiration in an instructed than in an ignorant mind. Mr. Britton, looking at it with a severer eye, says of it that, ' although it is an object of popular and scientific curiosity, it cannot pro
perly à previous ceremony was performed by the bishop in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, (that Stephen Langton who acted so noble a part in obtaining Magna Charta from the King, and maintaining it against the Pope,) and of Henry, Archbishop of Dublin. The bishop consecrated an altar in the east to the Trinity and All Saints. At this altar the mass of the Virgin Mary was to be sung every day from that time forth, for which service he offered two silver basons and as many silver candlesticks, the bequest of the noble lady Gundria de Warren; they are supposed to have been removed from the church at Old Sarum, having been the bequest of a daughter of William the Conqueror, And on his own part, he gave thirty marks of silver yearly to the priests who should officiate, and ten marks for the lamps which should be kept burning there. He consecrated also an altar in the north part of the church to St. Peter, the prince of the Apostles; and one in the south to St. Stephen, the proto-martyr, and All Martyrs. On the morrow, being Michaelmas day, Archbishop Langton preached to a great assemblage of persons; then went into the new church and performed the first mass there, Otto the nuncio being present, the Archbishop of Dublin, and the Bishops of Durham, Bath, Chichester, Rochester, and Evreux in Normandy.
In the course of the week the young king arrived, with the justiciary Hubert de Burgh; and Henry, after hearing the mass of the Virgin, offered ten marks of silver and a piece of silk; and Hubert made a vow that he would give a gold Text for the service of the altar, with certain precious stones, and more precious relics of divers saints, in honour of the blessed Virgin. The Text was a copy of the four Gospels, for the service of the altar; in the richer churches it was sometimes elaborately adorned with gold and ivory, and, as appears to have been the case in this instance, written in letters of gold. This gift of the justiciary produced from the young king the offering of a ruby ring, that both the gold of the ring, and the stone might be employed to adorn the covers of the Text; at the same time he gave a gold cup weighing ten marks. The said Text was presented first by proxy for Hubert, and afterwards offered by himself in person on the altar, with great devotion. At this time the bishop obtained leave that the oblations made there during the next seven years should be appropriated to the building, except such as might expressly be given for the perpetual ornament and honour of the church: after the expiration of that time the oblations of all the altars were to be applied to the common use, according to the ancient custom of the chureh of Sarum. It appears also that the plate and other yaluables which had been offered were to remain in his custody