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Title: How France Built Her Cathedrals - A Study in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries
Author: O'Reilly, Elizabeth Boyle, 1874-
Language: English
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How France Built Her Cathedrals


[Illustration: _Soissons Cathedral. The Transept's Southern Arm_ (_c.

How France Built
Her Cathedrals

A Study in the Twelfth
and Thirteenth Centuries



Honorary Member of the _Société Française d'Archéologie_

_Author of_ "Heroic Spain" Etc.

_Illustrated With Drawings By_


[Illustration: colophon]




Copyright, 1921, by Harper & Brothers
Printed in the United States of America



CHAP.                                                               PAGE

INTRODUCTION                                                           1

I. WHAT IS GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE?                                       16

Gothic architecture the logical fulfillment of Romanesque--Origin of
Romanesque architecture--Romanesque basilicas modified by the
liturgy--Horrors of the IX and X centuries in France--Rebirth of the
builders' energy after the year 1000--Cluny, the civilizing force of the
X and XI centuries--Various regional Romanesque schools of
France--Normandy, Burgundy, Auvergne, Poitou, Languedoc, Provence, and
the Franco-Picard school--Birth of Gothic art--An undecided question
where the first diagonal-crossing ribs were used--Germany's and Italy's
claims--Claim of England--The Ile-de-France Picard region, the classic
land of Gothic--Gothic architecture not a layman's revolt against
monkish Romanesque--The architects of the Gothic cathedrals--No
heretical tendencies in Gothic sculpture--Origin of the term
Gothic--XVII- and XVIII-century scorn for Gothic architecture--Modern
French school of mediæval archæology.

II. ABBOT SUGER AND ST. DENIS-EN-FRANCE                               43

Evolution from Romanesque to Gothic--St. Denis' abbatial, the first
important Gothic monument--Some early-Gothic churches in the
Ile-de-France--Morienval, the first Gothic-vaulted ambulatory extant (c.
1122)--Church of St. Étienne, at Beauvais (c. 1120)--St. Germer-en-Flay
built from 1150 to 1175, yet less advanced than St. Denis--Poissy's
church of St. Louis (c. 1135)--How Abbot Suger built his abbey church at
St. Denis--St. Denis' school of glassmaking, the leader for fifty
years--Dedication of St. Denis on June 11, 1144, consecrated the
national art--Who Suger was and how St. Bernard converted him--What is
left of the abbey church which Suger built--Reconstruction of St. Denis
by St. Louis, 1231 to 1280--Pierre de Montereau, its architect--Tombs in
St. Denis' abbatial--Deviation of the axis not symbolic--Some happenings
in St. Denis during the XII and XIII centuries--Charles Péguy's verses,
linking St. Denis, St. Geneviève, and Jeanne d'Arc.

III. PRIMARY GOTHIC CATHEDRALS                                        74

Cathedral of Noyon, first built of Gothic cathedrals (c. 1150)--Noyon's
communal charter, the first of known date, 1109--Cathedral's nave, a
vessel of most perfect proportion--Exceptional among French cathedrals,
its transept's rounded ends--Noyon has retained its annexes--Its chapter
house, built about 1240--Noyon city destroyed, 1918--Cathedral still

Cathedral of Senlis, second of the Gothic cathedrals, begun about
1153--Sculpture at Senlis' west portal (c. 1180) marks a date in
imagery--Cathedral tower, the "pride of the Valois land"--Transept's
façades of the best Flamboyant Gothic art--What the World War did to

Cathedral of Sens, begun about 1160--Sens' ancient see, governed by
notable men in the XII and XIII centuries--How they found out who was
the architect of the cathedral--St. Thomas Becket in Sens, 1164, and
again from 1166 to 1170--St. Louis married in Sens Cathedral,
1234--Glory of Sens' stained glass.

Cathedral of Laon, begun about 1160--Fallacy of the "town-hall"
theory--Cathedral of springtime foliage--Oxen on Laon's towers--Origin
of the square east end of Laon Cathedral--Laon's communal
struggle--Famous XII-century school of Anselm de Laon--Laon city shelled
by the French, but its cathedral unhurt.

Cathedral of Soissons almost a ruin--Desolation of Soissons in World
War--Soissons' southern arm of transept ends in a hemicycle (c.
1180)--Is the most exquisite thing in France--The crusading
bishop-builder, Nivelon de Chérisy.

Some important Primary Gothic churches: Abbatial of St. Remi at Rheims
(c. 1170)--Its superb XII-century glass wrecked in the World
War--Abbatial of Notre Dame at Châlons-sur-Marne (c. 1160)--Pioneer in
fenestration--First to use pillars between chapels and
ambulatory--Church of St. Quiriace at Provins (c. 1160)--Provins,
residence of the counts of Champagne--Its international fairs frequented
by mediæval Europe--Collegiate of St. Yved, at Braine (c. 1200), between
Primary Gothic and the Era of Great Cathedrals--Individual plan of its
choir-chapels--St. Leu d'Esserent, on the Oise, the best type of the
small churches in the classic Ile-de-France--Its forechurch shows
transition work (c. 1150)--Primary Gothic work to be found at Étampes,
Vendôme, Fécamp, Rouen, Lisieux, Angers, Mantes, Paris.


Notre Dame, begun in 1163--Its exterior unsurpassed, the west façade a
classic--Scholastic training of its bishop-builders--_Summa_ of the
supreme scholastic, Aquinas, like a Gothic cathedral--Thirty thousand
students then in Paris University--Bishop Maurice de Sully (1160-96)
built Notre Dame--Bishop Eudes de Sully made the portals of the west
façade--Bishop Pierre de Nemours died a crusader, before Damietta,
1219--Bishop Guillaume d'Auvergne finished the north tower
(1228-49)--All the prelates building Paris Cathedral good and able
men--Their sincerity lives in its stones--First architect unknown--Jean
and Pierre de Chelles made the transept and apse chapels--Sculpture of
Notre Dame masterly--Sainte-Chapelle built by St. Louis, 1246 to
1248--St. Julien-le-Pauvre a contemporary of Notre Dame's choir (c.
1180)--Same noble sculptured capitals--Three Benedictine abbey churches
of Paris show early trials of Gothic vaulting--St. Germain-des-Prés, St.
Martin-des-Champs, St. Pierre-de-Montmartre--St. Louis and his friend,
Joinville--Louis IX illuminated his kingdom with fair churches--On his
first crusade spent five years in the East, 1248 to 1259--From 1254 to
1270 worked for his people--Death of St. Louis on the crusade of
1270--His characteristics: justice, pity, other-worldliness--Inimitable
charm of Joinville's _Histoire de St. Louis_--Describes his friendship
with the king in Palestine--Joinville's old age and death in 1319.

Mantes' collegiate of Notre Dame is Primary Gothic--A contemporary of
Paris Cathedral--Perhaps by the same architect--Its chapel of Navarre
one of the best works of Rayonnant Gothic.

Meaux Cathedral, a difficult architectural page to decipher, owing to
reconstruction--Begun in 1170, but rebuilt radically after
1270--Bossuet, its greatest bishop (1681 to 1704)--Meaux, the cathedral
for the _Te Deum_ of victory--Battle of the Marne, 1914, waged at the
city gates.


Cathedral of Chartres--Bishop Fulbert's Romanesque Notre Dame burned in
1194--His vast crypt, of 1020, still exists--Bishop Geoffrey de Lèves
built the tower of Chartres, called the most beautiful in the world
(1145)--Making of the three western portals (c. 1155)--Gothic cathedral
begun after the fire of 1194--Primary Gothic west façade escaped the
fire--Jehan de Beauce crowned the northwest tower, 1506 to
1513--Sculpture of the transept portals and porches, 1220 to
1260--Chartres excels all cathedrals in the wealth of its stained glass,
chiefly of the XII and XIII centuries.

Cathedral of Rheims, begun by the crusader, Bishop Albéric de Humbert,
1211--Its architects recorded in the pavement labyrinth--Its west façade
the culmination of Gothic art--Coronation of Charles VII in 1429, Jeanne
d'Arc present--Astounding sculptural wealth of this "Cathedral of the
Angels"--Martyrdom of Rheims in the World War.

Cathedral of Amiens, the Parthenon of Gothic art--Bishop Evrard de
Fouilloy began it, 1220--Designed by Robert de Lusarches--Its sculpture
the peer of Rheims and Chartres--Its portal of the _Vierge Dorée_ (c.

TOURS, LYONS, LE MANS                                                211

Cathedral of Bourges--Only XIII-century cathedral without a
transept--Inner aisle has its own triforium and clearstory--Chevet built
by St. Guillaume, 1200 to 1209--Over main portal is best Last Judgment
(c. 1275)--Bourges famous for its stained glass--Jean, duc de Berry, and
Jacques Coeur, the late-Gothic art patrons of Bourges--Their gifts to
the cathedral--Orléans Cathedral destroyed by Calvinists (note).

Cathedral of Beauvais--A mighty fragment: only a choir and
transept--Begun in 1247, derived directly from Amiens--Transept façades
masterpieces of late-Gothic--Is Flamboyant Gothic of English origin?--Le
Prince family of glassmakers.

Cathedral of Troyes--Its choir built by Bishop Hervé, 1206 to
1226--Martin Chambiges designed the Flamboyant west façade--Magnificent
XIII- and XIV-century windows of Troyes Cathedral--St. Urbain's church
begun by Pope Urban IV in 1262--Carried the Gothic principle of
equilibrium to its limit--Churches of Troyes treasure-houses of stained
glass and sculpture--Cultivated court of Champagne's rulers--To the
Gothic school of Champagne belongs the Cathedral of
Châlons-sur-Marne--Châlons another center for stained glass.

Cathedral of Tours--Choir begun about 1210--Has the classic note of the
Touraine landscape--Cathedral windows set up between 1260 and
1270--Venerable ecclesiastical souvenirs of Tours--Tours, the center for
the Region-of-the-Loire school of sculpture--Michel Colombe, last of the
great Gothic artists, worked here--Environs of the city rich in
Flamboyant Gothic.

Cathedral of Lyons--Lyons boasts an apostolic succession for its
bishops--Early Christian martyrs of Rome's chief city in Gaul--St.
Martin d'Ainay's abbatial dedicated in 1107--Cathedral choir late XII
century--With Vienne Cathedral (note) it alone in France used
incrustations--Nave of Lyons Cathedral building through the XIII
century--Stained glass of Lyons of exceptional quality--All Christendom
was represented at the Ecumenical Council held in Lyons Cathedral in
1274--Church of Brou built by Marguerite of Austria (note)--Moulins
Cathedral and Souvigny's abbatial and tombs (notes).

Cathedral of Le Mans--XII-century nave built by notable prelates--Bishop
Hildebert de Lavardin (1097 to 1125) a poet and scholar--Guillaume de
Passavent made the Angevin vaults (c. 1150)--Geoffrey the Handsome,
nicknamed Plantagenet, and his son, Henry II of England, born in Le
Mans--Trinité church at Vendôme (note)--Le Mans' Gothic choir built from
1218 to 1254 by Bishop Geoffrey de Loudon--Le Mans ranks next to
Chartres and Bourges for its wealth of stained
glass--Rayonnant-Flamboyant transept of the XIV and XV centuries--The
groups at Solesmes a final expression of Gothic sculpture (1495 to
1550)--Collegiate church at St. Quentin, in size a cathedral,
XIII-century choir--Villard de Honnecourt, probably the architect of St.

VII. PLANTAGENET GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE                                 285

Plantagenet Gothic fused the cupola of Aquitaine and the diagonals of
north--Lasted a hundred years, from 1150 to 1250--For clearness divided
into three periods: I. Heavy diagonals, II. Eight slight branches, III.
Multiple ribs--English fan tracery a derivation of Angevin Gothic.

Cupola churches of Aquitaine: St. Front at Périgieux, begun after a
fire, 1120, and finished by 1180--Cahors Cathedral has Romanesque portal
of beauty (note)--Cathedral of Angoulême, begun 1109--Its façade a
notable page of French decoration--Rich façades distinguish Poitou's
Romanesque school--Fontevrault abbey church, built in the first half of
the XII century--Plantagenet tombs at Fontevrault--Aliénor of Aquitaine
buried there in 1204 beside her husband, Henry II, and her son, Richard
Coeur-de-Lion--Aliénor's descendants notable builders of churches.

Cathedral of Angers--Its nave vaulted with First-Period diagonals, about
1150--Anjou rulers a remarkable race--Fulk Nerra, the great builder,
died 1040--Choir of Angers Cathedral extended after 1274--In the nave is
XII-century glass of St. Denis derivation--Cathedral's Apocalypse
tapestries--Fortress of Angers, built by St. Louis, 1228 to 1238--Church
of Toussaint had a ramified vault of the Third Period--St. Jean's
hospital hall, endowed by Henry II, a gem of Plantagenet art--Choir of
St. Serge, 1220 to 1225, a masterpiece of lightness.

Saumur--Another center for the study of Plantagenet Gothic--Historical
fête called the _Non-Pareille_ took place in its castle in 1241--St.
Pierre's church shows different kinds of Angevin vaults--Church of St.
Martin at Candes, a Plantagenet masterpiece--St. Florent-les-Saumur
shows one of the first eight-branch vaults--Puy-Notre-Dame and Asnières
beautiful examples of Plantagenet art (note)--Plantagenet vaults at Le
Mans, Vendôme, Chinon, and Tours.

Cathedral of Poitiers, begun by Henry Plantagenet and Aliénor of
Aquitaine, 1160--In adopting the gracious Plantagenet vaulting it
remained true to Poitou's Romanesque traditions--XII-century Crucifixion
window the most glorious in the world--Spirit of Poitiers' bishops, St.
Hilary and Fortunatus, inspired it--Church of Ste. Radégonde is
Plantagenet vaulted--St. Hilaire's abbatial has curious octagonal
cupolas--St. Jean's baptistry, the oldest building in France, dating
from the IV century--Clement V at Poitiers in 1307 carried on the
Templars' process--Hall of the count's palace rebuilt by Duke Jean de
Berry--Jeanne d'Arc examined there in 1429, found to be sent of God.

VIII. GOTHIC IN THE MIDI                                             329

Cathedral of Clermont-Ferrand, begun in 1248--Gothic of the north,
translated with a Midi accent--True character of Auvergne shown in its
Romanesque churches--Notre Dame-du-Port, the classic type of Auvergne's
Romanesque school--Abbey church of La Chaise Dieu, begun by Clement VI,
1344--Contains incomparable tapestries (note)--First Crusade proclaimed
at Clermont by Urban II, 1095--Riom's Sainte-Chapelle, of the XIV
century--Madonna of the Bird a masterpiece of late-Gothic
imagery--Romanesque Cathedral of Le Puy (XII century) one of the most
venerable shrines in France.

Cathedral of Bordeaux, like the city itself, is of the north and the
south--Nave is composite and difficult to read--Clement V (d. 1314)
built the Rayonnant Gothic choir--In the Romanesque church of Ste. Croix
appeared the first diagonals of the region--Charlemagne laid Roland's
olifant on the altar of St. Seurin--St. Bertrand-de-Comminges Cathedral
built by Clement V--Cathedral of Bayonne (note).

Cathedral of Toulouse consists of two inharmonious parts--Unaisled nave
with Angevin vaults building while Simon de Montfort besieged
city--Gothic choir begun in 1275--Chief monument of Toulouse is the
abbey church of St. Sernin (begun 1075)--Languedoc then excelled in
sculpture: Moissac's portal and cloister (note)--Toulouse a center for
brick architecture--Its Jacobins' church begun in 1229--St. Dominic's
mission in Languedoc--Albigensian Crusade.

Albi Cathedral, the incarnation of the Midi wars: meridional
Gothic--Aggressive Bernard de Castanets began it in 1282--Flamboyant and
Renaissance riches were added to St. Cecilia's cathedral--Frescoes of
its vault have never been surpassed (1509 to 1512)--Its choir screen
equally noted--Auch Cathedral has famous XVI-century windows
(note)--Cathedral of Rodez possesses a notable Flamboyant tower (1510 to
1526) (note)--Carcassonne Cité has been too much restored--Its ci-devant
cathedral of St. Nazaire the best of XIV-century Gothic--Like a
reliquary of colored glass--Carcassonne town has typical Midi Gothic

Narbonne Cathedral, consisting of a vast Gothic choir, begun in
1272--Its mechanical skill cold, but still Gothic of the grand
style--Lovely XIV-century glass--Sack of Béziers, 1209--Perpignan
Cathedral and Elne's cloister (note)--Abbey church of Fontfroide allied
with Poblet in Catalonia (note).

Montpellier Cathedral, formerly an abbey church, built by Urban V, XIV
century--Jaime el Conquistador, mighty builder of churches, born in
Montpellier, 1208--Mende Cathedral and St. Victor's abbatial at
Marseilles built by Urban V (note)--Maguelonne, former cathedral of
diocese, now the most aloof spot in Europe--Aigues-Mortes, begun by St.
Louis, completed by his son--Fortress unspoiled by restorations--Both
crusades of Louis IX sailed thence--St. Gilles' abbey church, partly a
ruin, interesting to archæologists; building from 1116--Noted portal of
St. Gilles inspired Trinity Church, Boston--Loyalty of Provence to its
Saintes-Maries traditions--Les Saintes-Maries church a pilgrim shrine
(note)--St. Martha's church at Tarascon (note).

St. Trophime Cathedral at Arles--Portal influenced by Gallo-Roman
sculpture--Its cloister the fairest Christian monument in the
city--Ruins of Montmajour near Arles--Frédéric Mistral should be one's
companion in Provence--Expresses the regional soul--St. Maximin church
the best Gothic monument in Provence--Begun by Charles II d'Anjou in
1295--Cathedral of St. Sauveur at Aix-en-Provence is composite--Its
south aisle originally a separate Romanesque church, XII century--Good
King René gave the triptych by a French _primitif_--Avignon's great day
was the XIV century under seven meridional popes, 1309 to 1377--Palace
of the Popes built from 1335 to 1358--Grandest fortress-palace in the

IX. THE GOTHIC ART OF BURGUNDY                                       410

Burgundy excelled in monastic architecture--The cradle of three great
cloistral centers--Luxeuil, Cluny, Cîteaux--Luxeuil, founded by St.
Columbanus (610), reorganized the VII century--Cluny, Christendom's
supremest monastic congregation, founded 910--St. Hugues of Cluny (1049
to 1109) trained the leaders who remade Europe's civilization--Peter the
Venerable, abbot from 1120 to 1156, continued building Cluny's vast
church--Abélard died in a Cluny house, 1142--Revolution destroyed the
glorious abbatial church--Paray-le-Monial, the favorite priory of Abbot
Odilo (d. 1049) of Cluny, initiator of the Truce of God--Its Romanesque
church has fluted pilasters (XII century)--Autun Cathedral's Romanesque
portal the ancestor of the sculptured doors of Gothic cathedrals--Abbey
church at Saulieu (note)--Beaune's collegiate of Notre Dame has lovely
tapestries--Hôtel Dieu at Beaune (1444 to 1457), founded by Nicolas
Rolin, contains Roger van der Weyden's best work--Hospital hall at
Tonnerre (founded 1293) the prototype for Beaune's hospice--Fontenay,
the oldest Romanesque Cistercian church extant--Dedicated by Eugene III
in 1147--Avallon's church of St. Lazare blessed by Paschal II in
1107--Has a well-known Romanesque entranceway.

Some Primary Gothic churches in Burgundy--Montréal's collegiate can be
visited from Avallon--Built by a returned crusader late in the XII
century--Pontigny's abbatial the oldest Gothic in Burgundy--Its nave
(1160 to 1180), with _bombé_ vaults, was begun as Romanesque--Its choir
used structural features as decorations--Three archbishops of
Canterbury, St. Thomas Becket, Stephen Langton, and St. Edmund Rich,
found refuge at Pontigny--Vézelay's abbatial of the Madeleine the
stateliest church in Burgundy--Its Romanesque nave and Gothic choir
belong both to the XII century--Its imaged portico (c. 1132) a supreme
work of French sculpture--Second Crusade preached by St. Bernard at
Vézelay, 1146--Philippe-Auguste and Richard Coeur-de-Lion rallied here
for the Third Crusade, 1191.

Burgundy's best Gothic monuments--Collegiate of Notre Dame at Semur a
gem of the Burgundian school, begun about 1225--Its sculpture
exceptional--Auxerre Cathedral begun in 1215, the model of Gothic
churches in the province--Auxerre's sculpture and its opaline glass rank
with the first--Bishop Jacques Amyot (d. 1593) restored the cathedral
after the Calvinists sacked it--Cathedral of Nevers has an apse at both
west and east ends (note)--Dijon, the capital of Burgundy, led in art,
under its four great dukes, 1364 to 1477--Flemish-Burgundian school
began modern imagery--Dijon's cathedral of St. Bénigne, formerly an
abbatial, is mediocre late-XIII century--Crypt of St. Bénigne begun
1001--Oldest monument of the Romanesque renaissance--William of
Volpiano, abbot of St. Bénigne, initiated the revival of architecture
after the year 1000--Rebuilt Tournus abbey church (note)--Church of
Notre Dame, Dijon, is a gem of Burgundian Gothic (1220-1240)--Its
subtleties of construction have never been excelled.

St. Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux (d. 1153), born near Dijon, the greatest
son of Burgundy--His reform laid the spiritual foundations of Gothic
cathedrals--His puritanic taste in architecture made Cistercian churches
bare and simple--Cistercian Order, founded 1099, instrumental in
spreading Gothic over Europe--St. Stephen Harding, its practical
founder, welcomed St. Bernard at Citeaux in 1113--Five hundred
Cistercian monasteries founded in Europe before the middle of XIII
century--Spirit of St. Bernard, greatest of Cistercians, lives in the
_Imitation of Christ_.

X. GOTHIC ART IN NORMANDY                                            472

Monastic architecture best expression of Norman character--Normandy,
like Burgundy, was a land of monasteries--Bernay's abbey church an
ancestress of Norman Romanesque (note)--Bec Abbey, the Cluny of
Normandy--Lanfranc made the school of Bec world-noted--At Bec, St.
Anselm began the philosophical movement of the Middle Ages--William of
Volpiano pioneer in the rebirth of architecture in the duchy--Jumièges,
the first Norman church of architectural pretension, begun 1040--Only
vestiges remain of St. Wandrille abbey--Caen, the Mecca of Norman
Romanesque and the queen city for towers--Three good towers at St.
Pierre-sur-Dives--St. Georges de Boscherville the best type of Norman
Romanesque--Fécamp's Primary Gothic abbatial rose after the fire of
1169--Gothic abbatial at Eu built after the death of St. Laurence
O'Toole, 1180--Mont-Saint-Michel the greatest of Norman abbeys--Its
Merveille (Gothic halls), building from 1203 to 1228--Choir of
Mont-Saint-Michel, the best work of Flamboyant Gothic, begun 1450.

Rouen Cathedral, not local in character--Its tower of St. Romain begun
in 1145--Its transept façades and Lady chapel XIV-century Rayonnant
work--Abbatial of St. Ouen a gem of Rayonnant Gothic--No city richer
than Rouen in Flamboyant Gothic monuments--Trial of Jeanne d'Arc at
Rouen in 1431 and her Rehabilitation in 1456.

Lisieux Cathedral the earliest Gothic cathedral in Normandy--Begun after
1160 as Ile-de-France Gothic--Its Lady chapel built by Bishop Pierre
Cauchon, Jeanne d'Arc's venal judge.

Évreux Cathedral not homogeneous, but has much charm--Its choir
(1298-1310) a gem of Rayonnant Gothic--XIV century's best array of glass
in its choir.

Séez Cathedral modest in size--Norman in style--Its choir a forerunner
of Rayonnant Gothic--Has XIV-century windows.

Bayeux Cathedral the Gothic of the duchy at its best--Romanesque part of
its nave remarkable--Bishop Odo, brother of the Conqueror, built the
crypt, and of his time is the Bayeux Tapestry--Choir of Bayeux a
masterpiece of Normandy's elaborate Gothic.

Coutances Cathedral loveliest in Normandy, begun after the fire of
1218--Its three towers notable--Aisles of choir are of different height.

Gothic art of Brittany--Brittany more a land of shrines than
cathedrals--Her religious soul best expressed by her
Calvarys--XIII-century cathedral at Dol has fine eastern
window--Cathedral at Nantes possesses the last great work of Gothic
sculpture--Cathedral of Quimper very Breton in spirit--St. Pol-de-Léon
Cathedral entirely complete--The Kreisker is Brittany's grandest
tower--St. Yves of Brittany helped build Tréguier Cathedral.

Summing up--Gothic art gave way before the pagan Renaissance and the
contempt for legends roused by the Reformation. In the World War France
again displayed the spirit that had built cathedrals. Unquenchable
idealism of the French race.

INDEX                                                                583

BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                         605




ST. DENIS-EN-FRANCE AND ITS ROYAL MAUSOLEUMS                "         68

NOYON'S CHAPTER HOUSE (1240-1250)                        _Page_       83

SENLIS' TOWER (C. 1230-1250)                             _Facing p._  90

FROM THE TRIBUNE GALLERY                                    "         98

THE OXEN ON LAON'S TOWERS                                   "        106

NOTRE DAME OF PARIS. VIEW FROM THE SOUTH                  _Page_     127

OF PARIS CATHEDRAL                                       _Facing p._ 162


ASPECT                                                    _Page_     178

THE ANGEL APSE OF RHEIMS (C. 1220)                          "        196

THE TRANSEPT OF AMIENS CATHEDRAL (1220-1280)             _Facing p._ 204

THE APSE OF BOURGES (1200-1225)                             "        214

ST. URBAIN AT TROYES (1264-1276)                            "        236

LE MANS CHOIR (1217-1254). THE DOUBLE AISLES                "        270

ROMANESQUE SCHOOL                                           "        290

THE PLANTAGENET TOMBS AT FONTEVRAULT                        "        298

(1220-1225)                                                 "        312

SCHOOL                                                      "        338

LE PUY IN OLD AUVERGNE                                      "        344

CENTURY)                                                    "        358

ALBI CATHEDRAL (1282-1399). A MIDI FORTRESS CHURCH          "        370

THE MEDIÆVAL CLOISTER OF ARLES                              "        398

REVOLUTION                                               _Facing p._ 414


NOTRE DAME AT DIJON (1220-1245). BURGUNDIAN GOTHIC          "        452

THE CRYPT OF THE ABBAYE-AUX-DAMES AT CAEN (1059-1066)       "        484

THE GOTHIC TOWERS OF NORMANDY AND BRITTANY                  "        490

SECOND STORY OF THE MERVEILLE                               "        500

OF NORMANDY'S ELABORATE GOTHIC                              "        546

How France Built Her Cathedrals


How France Built Her Cathedrals


"We may live without architecture, and worship without her, but _we
cannot remember without her_. How cold is all history, how lifeless all
imagery, compared to that which the living nation writes and the
uncorrupted marble bears. There are but two strong conquerors of the
forgetfulness of men, Poetry and Architecture, and the latter in some
sort includes the former, and is mightier in its reality; it is well to
have, not only what men have thought and felt, but what their hands have
handled and their strength wrought and their eyes beheld, all the days
of their life."[1]

So wrote John Ruskin in one of his flashes of genius, and never was word
truer. Architecture is the living voice of the past. Architecture is
history. By architecture the forefathers from whom we come relate to us
their progress in knowledge, their prowess in handicrafts, their
economic conditions, their sorrows, their rejoicings, their aspirations.
They wrote it down, those men and women whose blood is our blood, on
great stone pages of perennial beauty for us to read--_if only we
would_. By architecture we are linked in a grand solidarity with all
that has gone before, with the proud periods of history that thrill us
as we read, and with the tragic outbreaks of the oppressed that sadden
our spirit.

Whenever men have set themselves to forget this solidarity, their first
act has been to fling themselves in frenzy on cathedral and city hall.
In 1914 they forgot it, and mighty Rheims fell. They forgot that Bamburg
had learned its imagery from Rheims, that German Norbert, revered of St.
Bernard, had helped France in the days when Gothic art was in formation,
that he died bishop of Magdeburg, and Magdeburg is a Primary Gothic
cathedral in the land which frankly called the new architecture _opus
francigenum_. Would the civic halls of Noyon, Arras, St. Quentin, and
Ypres lie in ruins if Frankfort and Lübeck had remembered?

In 1793, man again thought to set up a barrier between himself and his
past, and he shattered the art treasures of a thousand years and tore
down the cathedrals of Cambrai, Arras, and Avranches; he tore down
Cluny, the greatest Romanesque church in the world, Cluny the civilizer,
that had removed from agriculture its stigma as serfs' work. Man fancied
that to shatter and demolish was to build.

Again in 1562, a date most tragic in the annals of Gothic architecture,
men tried again to rear a wall of hate between themselves and the
generations gone before, and the cathedral of Orléans met the fate of
Cluny and Cambrai, and from end to end of France images were
decapitated, and ancestors' tombs wrecked impiously--even the tombs of
spiritual ancestors who with painful journeyings afoot had brought the
gospel light. Whether you go to chapel or to temple to-day, to
meetinghouse or to cathedral, whether you worship under the open sky, be
you a reader of Marx or of Aquinas, you were robbed most piteously of
your patrimony in 1562, in 1793, in 1914.

How is it to be prevented again? By trying to make the monuments of the
past loved, by relating the tale of their building, by telling the life
story of the builders. If we know them we must surely revere them, and
when we have learned to know and to love, we have learned to be liberal.
Archæology is _to teach us to remember_. Those who have gone before have
passed on to us cathedral and town hall; it is our obligation to
transmit them intact to those who come after. They are not ours to
destroy. Art is the high-water mark reached by civilization; art does
not speak in English, or in German, or in the Latin tongue, but in a
language understood of all peoples and all times. To destroy a great
monument of the past is to betray civilization. It was proved in 1914
that erudition is not safeguard enough, nor is enthusiasm, sighs 1793,
nor purpose to reform, admits 1562. We must comprehend intelligently our
own personal solidarity with the past. We must never look at a noble
building without proudly realizing that we had a hand in its making.
Battles then can rage around cathedrals without danger of their
destruction. As in golden amber, the past will preserve them, the past
which is yours and mine and everyone's heritage.

It is a right instinct which makes a man treasure the home he has had
transmitted to him through several generations. How much more--when
loyalty is roused by an XVIII-century or a XVII-century
habitation--should emotion be felt for what was reared from 1140 to 1270
by the very generations who began for us of to-day most of the big
things we value: our universities, our literature, our political
freedom, our prosperous trade.

Now in the making of these infinitely precious things, France played the
leading role. Put partisan feeling aside and acknowledge it honestly. "I
believe," said Ruskin, in a lecture at Edinburgh, in 1853, even before
the new science of mediæval archæology was formulated, "that the French
nation in the XII and XIII centuries was the greatest nation in the
world, and that the French not only invented Gothic architecture, but
carried it to its noblest developments."

French Gothic churches are a fountainhead, and should rank first.
Because of them we have Westminster, Ely, and Lincoln, we had Tintern,
Melrose, Mellifont, Holycross. They built the Burgos, Toledo, León,
Seville, and Belem, which have given wings to the soul of the Peninsula.
Because of the French cathedrals we have Cologne, Magdeburg, and
Halberstadt, Vienna, Prague, Upsala, Siena, Florence, and Milan.

By her lyrics, her epics, and her architecture, France was the
inspiration of Europe in the XII and XIII centuries. With his sword, the
crusader carried compass and rule. Those indefatigable wanderers, Cluny,
Cîteaux, and the men of Prémontré and Chartreuse carried with them the
chisel and the Book. Then as now the commercial traveler was a valiant
propagandist; in 1181 a cloth merchant of Assisi, returned from trading
in France, where he had seen the cathedral of Lyons rising, or perhaps
that of Paris, or that of Poitiers, and he had passed under wonderful
new-imaged portals in the Midi and in Burgundy; so, in memory of
beautiful things, he chose to call the son born to him, Francis, and the
boy grew up to love and to chant the lyrics of France and named himself
"God's little troubadour."

Backward and forward has moved the ebb and flow of races and their arts.
When Celts from conquered Britain passed over to Armorica they carried
with them the Arthurian cycle; Teutonic tribes, strong in bone and
tissue, poured into Gaul a very avalanche; masterful Norsemen populated
the seacoasts; and before the recording of time the Oriental and the
Latin had made their home in the land between the northern seas and the
big inland water of commerce. Does such history seem too remote to be of
emotional value? Are personalities lacking? Not so in the missionary
days of Columbanus and Benedict, first hewers of the cathedrals'
foundation blocks, for never came a great movement of building activity
that did not tread in the steps of spiritual regeneration. Your
forefathers and my forefathers came into France to help her, to bring
her art and letters in her dark hour. They came to teach and they came
to learn, to succor and to find refuge. They came in the persons of
Celtic Columbanus, Brieuc, Malo, Fiacre, Malachy, and holy Laurence
buried at Eu, as English Alcuin, Stephen Harding, John of Salisbury, and
Saint Edmund Rich buried at Pontigny. They came as German Radegund and
the saintly Bruno and Norbert, as Italian Benedict, Fortunatus,
Hildebrand, William of Volpiano, Lanfranc, Anselm, Aquinas, and
Bonaventure, as Spanish Dominic, and Portuguese Anthony. They came from
Egypt with Maurice and his Thebans, from the Levant with Irenæus and
Giles, from Hungary with Martin the soldier. And the story of each one
of them is recorded in the churches that stand in France to-day. Without
architecture we would have forgotten them.

With the ebbing and flowing of the tide in the affairs of men, a day
arrived when the big people and the little people of Normandy, Poitou,
Anjou, and Flanders passed in large numbers into Great Britain and
Ireland in the wake of the Conqueror and of Henry Plantagenet, so that
the very names we bear are those of the cathedral builders.

Who has not watched the widening ripples of water spread from a center?
Even so is each one of us a center whence in ever-widening circles
stretch out our progenitors, embracing more and more men, more and more
women, rippling over the pitiful barricades of 1793, sweeping over the
factions of 1562, till by the time the widening ripple has reached the
age of St. Louis, the age of Suger, it is scientifically impossible that
we, in our very own forefathers, were not building some of the eighty
cathedrals and three hundred great minsters with which France was then
clothing herself as with a white mantle of churches. We were chatelaine,
and burgher's wife, we were villein's daughter and knight's son, and
side by side we harnessed ourselves to carts and dragged in the blocks
for the tower at Chartres and the belfry at Rouen, and the canticles we
sang during our voluntary servitude passed into the stones and are still
chanting there--_if only we would listen_. No visionary notion this, but
science and history. By architecture we remember.

Of our kin was the bishop who sacrificed his revenue to rear God's
house. Of our kin were the architects, masters of the living stone, who
with inspiration conceived their shrines of Notre Dame and were trained
soundly enough in mason craft to achieve their dreams; of our kin were
the artisans who put up the serene images at cathedral doors for the
edification of the people, and chiseled with warm, loving touches the
running bramble of the roadside. Even botany is to be learned in
mediæval cathedrals. Not a leaf that grows in Champagne to-day but was
carved on the walls of Rheims seven hundred years ago. Against the big
capitals of Paris Cathedral they laid the broad plantain leaf of the
marshy Oise, then, seeing around them that indigenous acanthus, the
uncurling fern, they carved it, too, and as they grew adept with chisel
they wrought ivy and vine leaf, parsley and holly, and in time,
intoxicated with their skill, they undercut the rich foliage and
serrated the lobes and curled the leaf edges, till summer ran riot in
stone and the architectural line was well-nigh lost sight of in sheer
joy of nature's glad livery.

The cathedrals of France are an enduring appeal to man's high faculty of
imagination. In them we go crusading again. We scale the walls of
Constantinople with doughty Bishop Nivelon, builder of Soissons
Cathedral, we are ransomed from Saracen captivity with Bishop Albéric,
builder of Rheims. We repent of our black feudal deeds with Fulk Nerra,
and when we have finished our footsore penances in Holy Land, we punish
ourselves in our purses, raising costly abbeys in Anjou and Touraine. On
our Eastern pilgrimage we have seen visions of Oriental color, and,
remembering them, we lighten our sober churches of the north with
translucent mosaic tapestries. We dot our Western land with circular
Holy Sepulcher temples. It is said that Suger, builder of the first
great Gothic church in the world, maker of jeweled windows over which
science sighs in despair of emulation, used eagerly to inquire of
travelers returned from the East had they seen aught, even in St. Sophia
itself, to surpass his St. Denis'. We are rightly sure that our new art
surpasses all others. We may borrow, but our borrowings are creations.

By architecture in happy promiscuity we crowd to the international fairs
of Champagne. We elbow and we jostle to see what our diligent brothers,
the art-loving Flemish burghers, have brought for exchange, or what
things beautiful the merchants from south of the Alps have to barter.
To-day, at Troyes, we are astounded by the gathering of art treasures
in that lesser-known city, and we wonder at the mighty rampart walls at
Provins. _Then we remember._ It is architecture that will not let us
forget what efficient traders we were in the XIII century.

By architecture we are Benedictines at Cluny, white monks at Fontenay,
of Prémontré at Braine. Again we pace in meditative cloisters, we tuck
up our robes to delve in mother earth to make the desert bloom, we
illumine parchment pages, we teach the plain-chant to children, we cast
bells, each with its own entity, each a living voice for the people,
named with its own name.

By architecture we are one of the thousands athirst for knowledge, who
gather at the feet of abstruse debaters in the schools of Bec, Auxerre,
Rheims, Orléans, Laon, Chartres and Paris, king's son seated on the
rush-strewn pavements next to peasant's son, both equally convinced that
the most thrilling of all sciences are philosophy and theology. Books
are scarce; as yet no printing press; we must wander far to gather
crumbs of learning; our strong young brains are intact, prepared for
service by long ages of active bone and muscle; with avidity we seize on
problems so knotty that the learned ones of 1920 fear to touch them.
"The time of big theories is the time of big results." It is we, in the
person of the Scholastics who built Paris Cathedral, and Laon, the
intellectual,--churches disciplined, sober and strong. It is we the
multitudinous scholars of the Middle Ages who built Chartres, the wise
mystic, and opalescent Auxerre, and Châlons on the Marne of Victory. And
lest the hungry generations tread us down, we inscribed our loved
subtleties on their walls, and at their portals placed images of the
Liberal Arts.

By architecture we join one side or the other in the eternal struggle of
Might and Right. Sometimes in atonement we spend the revenues secured by
heedless Might on minster or cathedral. By pain and struggle we have won
our city charter, and we are proud to record in God's sight and man's
what thrifty burgesses we are, what trained journeymen. To work is to
pray, say the cathedral windows set up by furriers, butchers, vintagers,
and farm laborers. To work is as fine a thing as to fight at Roncevaux
and Mansurah, as did our next-door donor neighbor here. The little
people of the Lord are as grateful in his sight as the noble
_prud'hommes_. _Le bon Dieu_ likes to be shown how a tailor cuts his
cloth and a baker bakes his bread just as well as to be entertained with
pilgrimage adventures or the story of a canonized saint. Are we not
saints in the making if only we can get the better of that prowling
felon, the devil, whom we have set up over our church door with
pitchfork and caldron as a warning to the unwary?

"O men and women of to-day"--appeal the windows at Chartres and Bourges
and Tours--"you whose blood is our blood, who without our struggle would
have no ordered government, no self-ruling cities, no trade to bind land
with land in the sanity of peace, no arts and crafts, why not learn to
read our story? There are those unable to decipher a line of our
illumined pages who will assure you that we were sunk in gross
superstition, that our sole religion was the worship of bits of cloth
and bone. Yes, even from the halls founded by good Robert de Sorbon (in
order that youth with its lean purse might get a free education) the
erudites marshal against us every human frailty of our hardy,
enterprising times. And yet, in unparalleled marvels of stone and glass
we have recorded the deepest sentiments of mankind. But having eyes,
they see not. Come then, you, and interpret us. Come, and through us,

Each great cathedral is pleading to us by the alluring half-smile of its
angels, by the dignified images of reverent personages at its entrances,
by each gargoyle, each faithful guardian that has craned his neck for
ages to keep rain water from the precious walls. Cease to be so superior
to the legends and dreams we set forth, they seem to be saying. We know
just as well as you that the apostle St. Thomas did not have all the
adventures raising fairy palaces in India which we put to his credit in
our windows and tympanums, even though good Bishop James of Voragine, in
his cycle of church feasts, our iconographic chart--_Legenda
Aurea_--relates it. The holy Jerome, close to the desert and the origin
of things, real and apocryphal, warned us not to be too credulous. But
symbols and legends are the breath of art, as art alone realizes through
expression, the supersensual visions of mankind. Are there not millions
of good Christian folk in India to-day? Her first evangelist builded
better than ever we can relate by our imagery.

We are not at all dull, plead the waiting cathedrals. Encyclopædias they
call us. Yes, we had our little weakness for symmetry, for the mystic
beauty of numbers, for gathering into "Mirrors" all the knowledge of the
world. But how admirable is our Mirror of Morals, with virtues and vices
contrasted; how interesting our Mirrors of Nature and of History that
tell the story from Genesis to Revelations, and that set the marvels of
the skies and man's dumb fellow creatures, the beasts, side by side on
the walls of the house of worship, with David and Isaias, St. Peter and
St. Paul, Charlemagne and Louis. And our Mirror of Knowledge--how
profound it is: not as enemies but as allies would it show forth science
and religion. We are no more dull than the Bible is dull, than the
_Divina Commedia_ is dull. We satisfy the subtlest intellects; alike the
lettered and the unlettered enjoy us.

Each French cathedral and each minster makes its own special plea. Lyons
reminds us, in windows of apocalyptic radiance, that her first bishops
came from John the Apostle, that Christian blood flowed in her forum as
generously as in Rome's Coliseum. Of the very stones of the
Amphitheater, hallowed by her martyrs, is her cathedral built, and the
architectural methods of the north and the south are welded here in the
ancient central city of Gaul whence rayed out the linking highroads of

At Tours, the charity of Martin to a beggar is recorded many a time, for
it civilized middle Europe. Slow, steady, and deep were the
accumulations of culture by the Loire of measured horizons and classic
restraint. A tower named of Charlemagne recalls that Saxon Alcuin filled
the schoolrooms of St. Martin's Abbey. A chiseled tomb reminds us that
here worked the last sculptor of the Middle Ages (loyal to its humble
and profound Christian traditions), as well as the first artists of the
imported pagan Renaissance.

At Le Mans and Angers, at Fontevrault, with its tomb of Henry
Plantagenet, who gave us our jury system, speak those fighting
progressives, the Angevin rulers; and all their love of the arts and of
adventure endures in the exotically beautiful development which we call
Plantagenet Gothic. An unlettered king is an uncrowned ass, said a
X-century count of Anjou.

At Poitiers, city of St. Hilaire who fought the Arians, is the most
glorious window in the world--Christ triumphant on the Cross, and again
we walk in procession to the strain of Bishop Fortunatus' hymn, and we
read the Church Fathers in Greek and Hebrew in Queen Radegund's
cloister. Aquitaine's line of troubadour dukes, passionate sinners, and
prodigious repenters lives in every church in the old hill city, from
the cathedral wherein Aliénor blended the indigenous art of her own
Poitou with the Plantagenet suppleness of her Angevin husband, to the
cupola-covered abbatial of St. Hilaire, where her son, Richard the
Lion-hearted, was installed as duke.

At Caen we live with the Conqueror and Matilda in their penitential
abbey-churches, full of thought and purpose, the architecture of
hieratic pre-eminence which Normandy passed on to England. At Coutances,
the cathedral walls record the Tancreds, so the people say; close by was
the eyrie of that eagle brood who set up kingdoms in Italy and the
Orient. At Rouen we mutter with the crowd in the market place that a
grievous shame it is to burn a saint as a witch, and in reaction, soon
we are to rear monuments whose every line is jubilant freedom. At Rheims
we are crowned kings in a cathedral so sumptuous that on coronation days
it needed no tapestries to adorn its walls. At Clermont and at Vézelay
we don the crusaders' insignia with cries of enthusiasm. The lavish art
of Bourges tells of Jacques Coeur's largess, the princely merchant who
financed the army that rid France of her invaders, just as clearly as
the ducal tombs and imagery at Dijon relate the pageantry of the
XV-century Burgundian life. The stones of Pontigny tell of Becket the
martyr, whose cause impassioned all Christendom, as many a sculptured
group and storied window in France relate, and of another great
Englishman, Stephen Langton, who passed from this cloistral
peace--dividing the Bible into chapters for us--to the Magna Charta
struggle in England. _By architecture we remember._

Until we have seen Albi's aggressive fortress-church what do we really
know of the Albigensian heresy, of the disease un-European,
antichristian, antisocial, that bred in the precocious civilization of
Languedoc? What do we know of that terrible struggle called a crusade,
when the greedy barons of the north descended on the Midi (ever brutal
and refined), thinking to cure its soul by the sword and with the same
blows to carve out for themselves rich principalities? Forever is the
story told in the Jacobins' church at Toulouse, in the red cathedral
fortress above the Tarn.

All the isolating pride of feudalism is resumed in the ramparts of
Carcassonne and Aigues-Mortes, all the frustrated destiny of Narbonne in
its vast fragment of a cathedral, all the unbroken links with the Latin
are in the sculpture at Arles and St. Gilles, all the immemorial story
of _la grande bleu_ in Maguelonne's solitary church. _By architecture we

The Celtic remnant, that in the volcanic-torn uplands of middle France
inflicted on Cæsar his sole defeat, lives always in the churches of
Auvergne, so stubbornly indigenous, planted so sturdily, contriving
decorative beauty from the regional varicolored lava stones. In the
granite churches of Brittany endures all the aloof individuality, the
sensitive independence, the tenacious traditionalism of the dwellers by
the sea in the far-north outpost of France. We have our souls to keep,
say the lowly Breton shrines, we have always been too busy doing that
to find time to erect great churches. But once our neighbors, the
Normans, taught us tower-building, our Celtic imagination leaped _au
delà_ by their spires, so we raised our royal Kreisker which far out to
sea welcomes home our Breton sailors.

Architecture is history. Architecture is what the old Greeks said of
history, "philosophy teaching by examples." The cathedrals of France
prove that there is no supreme architecture where there is not liberty
or the will to attain it. In 1109 the bishop-baron of Noyon granted his
city a charter, the first communal written laws on record. In 1145 Noyon
began to build the first Gothic cathedral of France. In the
Ile-de-France, where from the nation's birth were lived its intensest
hours, sprang up the churches which are the most national, the most
racially French in character, Noyon, Senlis, Soissons, Laon, Paris.

The history of architecture proves that without a right-minded national
pride, ready to make sacrifices in order that it may transmit its high
deeds to the future, no mighty monuments rise. In 1214 Bouvines' victory
was won and French unity demonstrated. In 1220, not far away, was laid
the foundation stone of Amiens Cathedral, the crowning achievement of
the national art. A hazard, such juxtaposition? Ah, no. Nothing happens
by chance in this science of the builder whose basic forces are long at
work in silence. Architecture is the truthteller of history.

The history of France, which in the XII and XIII centuries meant
universal history, is written on the walls of the cathedrals built under
Philippe-Auguste and his grandson St. Louis, during the full flowering
of the new national art. And in the days when France was neither happy
nor good nor great, when faith flagged, when a minority's blind greed of
gold ended the international fairs, drove out the Jews, overtaxed the
clerical church builders, when the crusading enthusiasm ended in a
Templars' process, then the structural logic of Gothic architecture
turned to pitiless geometry. So proclaim the cold, uninspired
XIV-century churches, and few of them ever were built. It seemed almost
as if the Gothic cycle had run its course. The XII century had seen its
rise; the XIII century its apotheosis; the XIV century its decline. Was
the last word said? Churches are not built by generations that live in
ceaseless war, in misrule, or under a foreign yoke.

There was to be another chapter for the Gothic tale. Aspiration was born
again, national pride lifted its head and art flowered. Not from beyond
the mountains or the sea came the needed missionary this time, nor from
a Carolingian palace, nor out of Norman and Burgundian cloister. No
saint-king was to lead now, but only a young girl from a peasant hamlet.

When Jeanne d'Arc broke the spell of foreign invasion, when she gave
France a new soul, then all over the land rose that pæan of rejoicing
which we call Flamboyant Gothic art, for verily it flamed up with joy.
Never will you see an arch of double curvature, accoladed, soaring to
its triumphal finial, never will you gaze at radiant belfries rising
richer and richer with each story, never will you pray beneath a
late-Gothic pageantry picture window with its mullions swaying in
exaltation, but the thought of the Maid of Orleans and her mission will
come to you. This Flamboyant art may run riot in details like any
modern, but it remains true in its essentials to the Middle Ages.
Forever will it tell of the freeing of France from foreign rule, even as
the academic Rayonnant phase sets forth the lowered ideals of Philippe
le Bel, or the ampleness of XIII-century Gothic, the creative age of
Louis IX and his augmenting grandfather. No regional schools were there
in the last manifestations of the national art; they built the same at
Albi as at Rouen, at Bordeaux as at Lyons, for an entire people shared
the same feeling of recovered self-respect.

You can learn to read it by yourself, learn to _remember_, if only you
are not repelled by that stiff word "archæology." Just what generation
made Dijon's crypt and Morienval's ambulatory, put the masonry roofs on
the Caen abbatials, chiseled the column statues at the doors of Angers,
Le Mans, and Chartres, made of Bourges' procession path a heavenly way
of ruby, sapphire, emerald, and topaz, raised the tower at Senlis, paid
tribute to St. Cecilia's gentleness in the white imagery of Albi's grim
fortress--that is archæology. Archæology tells how Cluny lifted up a
prostrate Christendom, how the Normans conquered England, how Abbot
Suger reformed himself, how Bernard of Clairvaux exhorted Europe, how
the Lion-hearted went crusading as had his fascinating mother before
him, how Simon de Montfort won the Midi, how the wily Philippe-Auguste
enlarged his domain, province by province--and all the while most of the
Gothic cathedrals of France laid their foundations--and how the
_bon-saint-homme-roy_, truest lover of the builders' art, sat under an
oak tree, dispensing justice at first hand, with his loyal Joinville
seated close beside him. That is archæology. It is written down clearly
on great stone pages of perennial beauty for us to read--_if only we
will_. A little knowledge of construction's laws is needed to show us
how to see. A little more of history to guide us when to feel. If to
love we must know, to know we must set ourselves to learn. Even in these
days of easy motor travel one cannot go about book-laden. But there are
open libraries in French cities where an inquirer is courteously lent
the monographs on the town's monuments, or the big folios that picture
the storied windows. It has, therefore, appeared advisable to give, with
each cathedral, a list of its biographies, for they may be of use some
rainy afternoon in France.

It seems almost unnecessary to remind ourselves that in the XII and XIII
centuries the Church of Europe--barring the Greek schism--was one and
united, save for the quarrels inseparable from all manifestations of
mankind's history, and that the Protestant of to-day descends from the
same mediæval forefathers as does the Catholic, from the same builders
of cathedrals, crusaders, feudal proprietors, and commune winners. To
refuse sympathy to the two best centuries of the Middle Ages because,
three hundred years later, occurred a break in western Christendom is as
illogical as the attitude of those historians who would liken the
religious movement of the XVI century to the antisocial outcrop of
Oriental dualism called the Albigensian heresy.

Let us then, with open minds, turn to this art of the builder, "the
strongest, proudest, most orderly, most enduring of the arts of men that
if once well done will stand more strongly than the unbalanced rocks,
more prevalently than the crumbling hills; the art which is associated
with all civic pride and sacred principle; with which men record their
power, satisfy their enthusiasm, make sure their defense, define and
make dear their habitation."[2]


What Is Gothic Architecture?[3]

                              _Le temps
    Où tous nos monuments, et toutes nos croyances
    Portaient le manteau blanc de leur virginité
    Où sous la main de Christ, tout venait de renaître._

About the year 1000 a new spirit animated the art of the builder in
France. That rebirth, to which has been given the name Romanesque, held
sway for a hundred and fifty years, and had reached its apogee when, in
mid-XII century, it was superseded by the architecture we call Gothic.
Gothic architecture did not spring up like a mushroom. Like all
manifestations of art, it was the logical fulfillment of its
predecessor. Romanesque and Gothic were phases of the same art. The
dethronement of Romanesque was a voluntary abdication in favor of
younger, more efficient leadership: "What is called the birth of Gothic
is but the coming of age of Romanesque."

The XI-century monks who built monastic churches cleared the path for
the laymen builders of the Gothic cathedrals. With persistency, with
courage, the monk architects went forward, seeking a way. And the way
sought, the problem on which they concentrated their energies, was how
to protect their churches by masonry vaulting without sacrificing
amplitude or lighting.[4]

Out of their trials to solve that problem there emerged a new principle
of construction, and Gothic architecture was then born. Thrust and
counterthrust was the law of its being. Instead of the Romanesque idea
of equilibrium by dead load, by sheer mass, which may be called a
continuous counterbutting of the vault's thrust, there now was
substituted equilibrium by intermittent abutment. By means of
diagonal-crossing ribs the vertical and lateral thrusts of the stone
roof were collected at fixed points, which points alone had to be
counterbutted. Thick walls were a necessity in a Romanesque edifice, if
it were to be stable, but in a Gothic building the walls could be made a
mere shell, since all the work was done by an active skeleton, a bone
structure of stone, consisting of piers, arches, and buttresses.

To define shortly, Gothic architecture is the art of erecting buildings
with vaults whose ribs intersect (concentration of load) and whose
thrusts are stopped by buttresses (the grounding of the thrusts). The
never-ceasing downward and outward thrust of the vaulting is met by an
equivalent resistance in pier and buttress and solid earth. Equilibrium
results from that well-adjusted opposition of forces.

Since the starting point in the development of Gothic was the vaulting,
and how to substitute a stone vault for a wooden roof was the germinal
idea of the Romanesque builder, it is no digression to turn to the
earlier school, the chrysalis of Gothic. The name "Romanesque" is an
affair of yesterday, employed by a French archæologist about 1825.
Various local designations had hitherto been used, such as Lombard, or
Norman, or Romano-Byzantine, but the term Romanesque for this
architecture is as suitable as the name Romance is for the popular
languages which, in that same period, were forming out of the corruption
of Latin. A definition given by M. Camille Enlart is excellent:
"Romanesque art was a product of Rome, animated by a new spirit, and
combined with a certain number of elements of barbarian or Oriental

Rome gave the basilica plan to western Europe, which for centuries
continued to build its churches as oblong halls with a small apse at one
end. The hall, or nave, consisted of a central vessel with side aisles
that were divided from it by piers. In the treatment of vaulting and the
method of stone laying Romanesque architecture also derived from Rome.
Byzantine influences certainly were important, but they affected the
decoration more than the plan or the structure; the use of the Byzantine
cupola was merely occasional. The Romanesque masters copied the ivories
and miniatures of the Eastern Greeks till, in time, they turned to
nature for their models, and then their work took on new life and
evolved into the glory which is Gothic sculpture.

While some have laid stress on the Oriental influences, rather than
those of Rome, in the formation of Romanesque art, others have
overemphasized the personality and fantasy introduced into French
architecture by the Barbarian invasions. No doubt the influx of new
blood added new elements, but since knowledge of the invaders' art is
fragmentary, there can be no scientific base for the theory. Composite,
certainly, were the causes for the new spirit which animated
architecture after the Carolingian day, but it is safe to say that the
influence of Rome predominated.

In the course of the centuries the Roman basilica was modified by the
Catholic liturgy. For catechumens, or penitents, was made the porch, or
narthex, before the western end. Tribunes were built over the side
aisles.[5] Increased church ceremonial brought about a development of
the choir. The custom of burying the dead in crypts under the main
altar originated the raised chancel. Between the choir and the nave the
builders began to insert a transverse nave called a transept.[6] Such an
enlargement enabled the congregation to approach closer to the altar
ceremonies; only the bigger churches built transepts in the XI century.
Then the liturgical writers saw in a transept the extended arms of the
Cross, and it was in that spirit the XIII-century transepts were
made--their symbolism was posterior. The first ambulatories were no
doubt built in churches which possessed some revered relic, to
facilitate the passage of the pilgrim crowd. (The term ambulatory will
be used to designate the continuation of the choir aisle round the
apse.) Before long that curving processional path, with radiating
apsidal chapels opening from it, was taken to represent the crown of
thorns about the Sacred Head. "All things as pertain to offices and
matters ecclesiastical be full of divine signification and mysteries,
and overflow with a celestial sweetness: if so be that a man be diligent
in his study of them, and know how to draw honey from the rock and oil
from the hardest stone." So wrote William Durandus, the XIII-century
French bishop whose _Rationale_, or treatise on church symbolism, was an
inspiration for centuries and, next to the Bible, the most frequently
printed book of the older times.[7]

Despite a host of additions to the basilica of Rome--transept,
ambulatory, a long choir, apse chapels, towers--despite the discarding
of the classic orders and of antiquity's use of a veneer of finer stone
(the Romanesque builder used the unadorned stone of his own region) the
church of western Europe remained, in general plan, a Roman basilica.
Like Rome, they covered their main vessel by a flat wooden roof,
although they knew how to build barrel and groin vaulting.[8]

Now a wooden roof is an easy prey for fire. Such roofs, a succession of
long-continued invasions, and the faulty construction of Merovingian and
Carolingian churches are accountable for the fact that in France to-day
is no church that predates the year 1000. Some portions of ancient wall
are embedded in later work, and some few early crypts are intact. But to
speak with certainty of Merovingian and Carolingian architecture is
impossible, though they formed the incubating phase of Romanesque art.

In France the IX and X centuries were periods of overwhelming disaster.
In the Midi were Saracen incursions. In northern and central France
Norman pirates wiped out Charlemagne's revival of art. As far as
Poitiers and Clermont the Northmen's path of destruction extended. "Look
where you will," wrote Flodoard, the chronicler, "the sky is red with
fires." To the litany was added a new invocation--_A furore Normannorum,
libera nos, Domine_.

The falling to pieces of Charlemagne's civilization and the general
return of social disorders have led to an overdramatic contrasting of
the year 1000, when mankind, in terror, anticipated the ending of the
world, with the rebirth of hope and of building energy, when the dread
day had passed. Whenever the gaunt horses--famine, pest, war, and
death--are afoot, humanity is prone to look for the fulfillment of the
apocalyptic prophecy. Previous to the X century the final day had been
awaited, and the same superstition was to seize on the world's
imagination in following centuries.

The X century was certainly a desperate age. Fifty years of it were
famine, and on the highroads people were killed for food. But the evils
did not cease precisely with the year 1000; also it should be noted that
a certain number of churches were begun before the XI century opened.
However, to mark the start of a new art life the year 1000 is a
convenient date if we bear in mind that it was not a sharp division
between Carolingian and Romanesque architecture, since a gradual
evolution took place. All through the XI century the vital renewal of
architecture went on, and churches were built which, to this day, are
unrivaled for their profound religious spirit. They exist to tell us
that in the harsh life whence they emerged there were enlightened cases.
They vindicate, by their grand simplicity and detachment of soul, the
men who built them. Never was an art less one of routine than this of
the so-called hidebound monks, an art of a people reborn, full of
youth's daring, an art that was never to have an old age, eager,
untiring, experimental, an art that fitly generated the most
scientifically sound of architectures--Gothic.

The heterogeneous races, Celtic and Gallo-Roman, Germanic, and Norse,
whose conflicts long had held France in anarchy, were at last welding
into one people. The advent of a vigorous third dynasty, under whose
leadership social conditions improved, was another cause of art's
rebirth. Not long after 1000 the bishops formulated the _Trève de Dieu_,
by which peace was enforced on the turbulent lords from Wednesday night
to Monday morning. With interval of peace came commerce and wealth and
the security necessary for works of the imagination. The rebuilding of
churches was inevitable.

Invasions and wholesale conflagrations had impressed on the mediæval
mind the necessity of a church roof more durable than wood, but a
masonry vault over a wide space was a constructive feat too difficult to
be achieved immediately. In fact, up to the very end of the XI century,
though the builders had succeeded in vaulting with stone the crypt, the
apse, and the side aisles, they continued generally to cover the wide
central vessel in wood. However, the fecund idea was at work. From the
time that it took possession of their imagination, to the day when
Gothic, its fulfillment, was clearly enunciated, there was over a
century of continuous effort--roughly speaking, from the year 1000 to
the memorable day in 1144 when was dedicated the first truly Gothic
monument of considerable size--the abbey church of St. Denis. Within
that energetic span of years is embraced the Romanesque architecture of

The monk, Raoul Glaber, wrote an account of the rebirth of architecture
after the year 1000. It has been quoted to weariness, but is none the
less a valuable contemporary record. The whole earth, he says, as of one
accord seemed to throw off its tatters of old age and to reclothe itself
in a white mantle of churches. The monastery in which lived monk Raoul,
St. Bénigne, at Dijon, was one of the first to inaugurate the new
century, and its present crypt dates from the year 1001. Soon after 1017
the monks of Mont-Saint-Michel, in the far corner of Normandy, began a
new church, to which belonged part of the present nave. At Chartres,
Bishop Fulbert undertook to rebuild his cathedral after the fire of
1020, and the vast crypt which to-day astonishes every beholder was his

The chronicler, Raoul Glaber, lived under the rule of the most powerful
monastic brotherhood ever organized, Benedictine Cluny, embracing
several thousand houses scattered over Europe. Founded in 910, during
the darkest years of the Middle Ages, Cluny kept alive the light of
learning and art, "the solitary torchbearer that passed on the flame
from the spent glow of Charlemagne to the Gothic rekindling." Her monks
were the pioneers of civilization. Cluny beat back barbarism with a
pertinacity that should make hers an honored name in history. So
established was her reputation as a civilizer that William the Conqueror
wrote to the great Abbot Hugues, to beg from him Cluny monks for
England, saying that he would pay their weight in bullion.

Cluny formed the savants who made the XII century memorable. Her fertile
seed provided Europe with doctors, ambassadors, bishops, and popes.
Gregory VII had passed through her discipline, and in his giant task of
reform, it was from Abbot Hugues that he solicited monks of Cluny. Urban
II, who set in motion the First Crusade, had been a monk in the great
Burgundian house. It is interesting to note that a generation of
reforming pontiffs accompanied the expansion of the Romanesque movement.
This would seem to contradict the notion, which many hold, that the
clergy profits by keeping the people in superstitious ignorance. It is
when religion is purified of its dross that man's respiritualized faith
out-flows in generous donations to the Church.

St. Benedict had taught his sons that work as well as prayer was a part
of salvation. The monks of Cluny fostered agriculture, thus taking away
its stigma as serf's work. Thierry speaks of the mediæval monastery as a
model farm. In Cluny craftsmen of every kind were trained; its school of
music was noted, and along the roads, as they traveled, the monks from
Burgundy sang canticles. But the art of arts for Cluny was that of the
builder, the supreme art that takes into its service all the others, to
lead them to the glorification of God's house. When, in bands of twelve,
the monks of Cluny set out to colonize in Spain, in Germany, in Italy,
in Poland, everywhere they carried with them the tool as well as the
Book. As a rule they conformed in each province to the local building
traditions. There was never a distinct Cluny school of Romanesque

By the end of the XI century the main provincial centers of France had
each evolved its own special building characteristics. French Romanesque
architecture has been divided into some six or seven regional
schools--those of Normandy, Burgundy, Auvergne, Poitou, Languedoc,
Provence, and a minor school, the Franco-Picard.[10]

In their efforts to protect their churches by masonry roofs, these
various regional schools made use of the barrel vault or the groin
vault. The latter was found too insecure to span a wide space. Now, the
thrust of a barrel vault was exerted along the whole length of the wall,
which necessitated a continuous abutment--in other words, an enormously
thick wall. Only small windows could be opened. Since the Romanesque
architect had the ambition to light his church well, and not to encumber
his floor surface by clumsy piers, a barrel vaulting could be but a
temporary solution of the main problem.

The struggle for a satisfactory stone roof was pursued tenaciously. Many
a clearstory wall was thrust apart by the vaulting's pressure. Thus the
abbey church of Bec, finished in the 'forties of the XI century, was
reconstructed in the 'fifties, and three times, again, had to be
rebuilt. No failure could daunt the courage of those old monastic
builders. Already inherent in the newly amalgamated race was the
creative genius of France. Perseverance and courage were to have their

The theory long taught in the École des Chartes was that in the first
part of the XI century, among a number of rural churches in the royal
domain, there gradually came into use the member which was to
revolutionize the science of building. The idea did not spring from one
brain; it was a collective, not an individual, triumph. When, under some
groin vault, no doubt at first to reinforce it, some obscure mason
constructed the earliest intersecting stone ribs, the first step in
Gothic architecture had been taken.[11]

From that essential organ, the other characteristics of Gothic art were
deduced: flying buttress, slender piers, expanse of windows. In a Gothic
vault the infilling, or web, rested elastically on the diagonal ribs. As
the load of the stone roof was thus concentrated at fixed junctures, it
was necessary to reinforce only those given points. Buttresses became
intermittent. All the disintegrating force of the heavy vaulting was
gathered on the diagonally crossing arches. An arch never sleeps, said
the old Arab proverb. Let us then, said the mediæval architect, set a
guard on it that also never sleeps; and from that idea he proceeded to
develop the greatest architecture of all times. The force of expansion
was counteracted by a proportionate force of compression. By means of a
framework made up of vault ribs, of piers, of buttresses, and flying
buttresses, the edifice became a living skeleton. The walls between the
active members, when relieved of their load, served merely as screen
inclosures and could be carved into fragile beauty and hung with
transparent tapestries of colored glass. Because the flying buttress
transmitted a large part of the vault's pressure to the exterior
buttress piles, the piers within the church could be lessened in
diameter, and greater capacity be given to the interior.

Each new trial was a lesson learned. It was only with time that they
adjusted precisely the sufficient counterpoise to the thrust of the
vaults; it was only by degrees that the pier's diameter was lessened,
only with practice that was learned the placing of flying buttresses
neither too high nor too low. At first many a flying buttress was made
needlessly heavy. The solid wall in between the buttresses was not
discarded all at once. In the first Gothic churches windows continued to
be single lights, then two or three lancets were placed side by side,
subsequently each light was subdivided by mullions, and gradually an
elaborate fenestration developed. For a time, too, the round arch
continued in use, and the earliest vault ribs were semicircular. With
the fusion of the equilateral arch and the counterbutted intersecting
ribs, the essence of Gothic architecture was achieved.

Lesser consequences of the new form of vaulting followed in logical
succession. Obeying the law that it is the thing borne which commands
the form of the thing that bears, the ribs may be said to have drawn out
of the sturdy pier of Romanesque art the clustered columns of Gothic

Not a single beauty in a Gothic church but has a structural
explanation. The soaring pinnacles that crown the buttresses are
apparently mere ornaments, but in reality those gallant little bits of
decoration are of sound engineering usefulness. By weighting the
buttresses, they hasten to channel the transmitted lateral thrust of the
vaulting into a vertical pressure, and they increase, too, the
counterthrust of the flying buttress against the side walls.

A clear comprehension of Gothic is impossible unless the fact be grasped
that architecture is nothing if not structural, and that no decoration
can veil a faulty skeleton. Ornamentation is the spontaneous blossoming
of the structure, else it is meaningless--a principle many a modern
architect might well digest. Too long has the most scientifically exact
of architectures been judged by its embellishments, which often enough,
in the hands of the copyist, do become a florid veneer without reason.

The Gothic master-of-works was right when he said that nothing which was
inherently needed could be ugly. No longer were flying buttresses hidden
under the cover of wooden roofs. Proudly ranged about the church, those
essential practical members became one of the distinctive beauties of
the new science of building. Renan, with his treacherous half praise,
has called the flying buttress a crutch needed by an architecture which,
from its start, nourished the seeds of decay, since it was based on no
sound constructive formula. Its success was a prestidigitator's trick,
he said. Such criticism misunderstands the A B C of Gothic lore. Can a
living limb be called a crutch? it has been aptly asked. The Gothic
cathedral is not only the most complicated, but is also the most
complete, organism ever conceived by man.

Where the first diagonal-crossing ribs are to be found will probably
never be known. Various have been the claimants. The Rhenish claim is no
longer taken seriously. Gothic made its first appearance in Germany as a
fully developed French art, and its XIII-century name, there, was _opus
francigenum_. In his Gothic work the Teuton showed a fondness for the
_tour-de-force_ and his manual dexterity surprises more than it
satisfies. The best German works in architecture are the sober
Romanesque churches. Germany's school was developed a century before the
Romanesque of France; across the Rhine occurred no Norman invasion to
sever art traditions from Charlemagne's renaissance. The pre-Gothic art
suited her ethnical temperament, and was long adhered to. While France
was building Gothic, Germany was still erecting Romanesque cathedrals.
Not till the end of the XII century were churches along that "_rue des
moines_," the Rhine, vaulted in the new manner.

The claim of Italy to be the first to use the diagonal ribs is denied by
most French archæologists, but is put forward by the Italian scholar
Rivoira and by Mr. Arthur Kingsley Porter.[12] The latter cites the
church of Sannazzaro Sesia as showing proofs that its high nave was
Gothic vaulted by 1040. For a century, he says, the Lombard churches
used diagonals, especially in Milan, where wood was scarce and it was
easier to build permanent brick ribs under the groin vault than to mold
the groin on a temporary substructure. Diagonal ribs were invented, he
thinks, as a device to economize wood. That may be true of the Lombard
churches, of which he has made an elaborate study. And it may be true
that the use of such diagonals filtered into Provence and Languedoc,
where appeared some early Gothic vaults sporadically before 1150, at
Fréjus, Marseilles, Maguelonne, and Moissac, all with the rectangular
profile of the Lombard type. The theory he advocates does not prove why
the Ile-de-France masons could not themselves, without hint from
Lombardy, have stumbled on the new feature which was to revolutionize
the builder's art. Why should we prefer his explanation for the first
use of diagonals--the desire to economize wood--to that advanced by the
French scholars--the effort to brace a falling groin vault?

Mr. Porter acknowledges that not a single Lombard church was rib-vaulted
throughout, that the Lombard architects never counterbutted their
diagonals properly, that their vaults proved unsatisfactory, so that
after 1120 they returned to their groin and barrel vaulting, or used
timber roofs, in those regions where wood abounded. The destruction of
Milan through the German invasion, in 1162, was a fatal blow to Lombard
architecture. We can only conjecture how northern Italy might have
worked out the problem of stone roofs. The best definition of Gothic,
thinks Mr. Porter, is Professor Moore's, which concludes thus: "Wherever
is wanting a framework maintained on the principle of thrust and
counterthrust, there we have not Gothic." The Lombard churches never met
the vault thrust with counterthrust of buttress. Surely not in Lombardy
was conceived the new system of construction?

S. Ambrogio at Milan was cited as l'oeuvre initiale, till it was
proved that it was built not in the IX century, but after 1067; and as
later disasters necessitated reconstructions, none of the present
diagonals was extant before 1198. S. Abondio at Como, consecrated by
Urban II, in 1095, has some very early intersecting ribs, but they are
more a step toward the new system than a true Gothic vault, since the
ribs merely reinforce and do not carry the cells.

M. Camille Enlart contends that the systematic use of Gothic in Italy
was not earlier than the second quarter of the XIII century, and was
brought across the Alps by French Cistercian monks. Though for centuries
Italy used it, she apprehended its constructive principle imperfectly.
Because she possessed a Niccola Pisano, a Giotto, a family of Cosmati to
veil the poverty of her Gothic skeleton with details of consummate
beauty, criticism is silenced. Her best Gothic monument, the cathedral
of Siena, was insecure because of technical errors. Always was Italy
adverse to showing the mechanism by which an edifice stood; few flying
buttresses were ever built south of the Alps. She preferred the classic
wide spacing of piers, an unencumbered interior, and small windows
against her hot sun. Who remembers that he is in a Gothic church when in
the somber cathedral of Florence? Its long nave is divided into four
bays where a northern church would have used eight. For Italy the
Renaissance was a whole-hearted return to a national art which she could
fully understand.

No people outside of France better understood and developed Gothic art
than the English. Their claim to priority is based on the date of the
cathedral of Durham, whose choir-aisle diagonals Mr. John Bilson says
are as early as 1093. Since those diagonals show no hesitation, they
must have been preceded by others. Where in England are there to be
found the earlier trials? The English claim is practically a Norman one,
and Normandy's experimental work in Gothic vaultings remains to be
traced. Rivoira claims that Lombard influences predominated in the
formation of Normandy's Romanesque school. Can the Norman be said to
have discerned in diagonals their immense possibilities any clearer than
had the Lombard?

Those among the French archæologists who have disputed the Norman claim
to priority say that the principal span of Norman and English churches
was covered with timber roofs far into the XII century. We know that the
Gothic vaulting of the two abbey churches of Caen were XII-century
additions, and M. de Lasteyrie thought the same was true of Durham,
though Mr. Bilson has convinced MM. Enlart and Lefèvre-Pontalis that
Durham's choir-aisle vaults are an original part of the cathedral begun
in 1093. Not till 1174, when Guillaume de Sens began Canterbury
Cathedral, did French Gothic architecture, in its plenitude, appear in

The question of priority remains an open one. It might almost be said
that vaulting with intersecting ribs began to appear here and there
simultaneously, that if it had not cropped out in the Ile-de-France, it
would have appeared in Normandy, or vice versa. And not long after them,
the builders in Burgundy and Anjou began to use it. Before 1150,
isolated samples of the Gothic rib vault appeared at Vézelay, Poitiers,
Bordeaux, Quimperlé, Moissac, St. Gilles, Marseilles. The hour was ripe
for the solution. Gothic architecture was the spontaneous invention of
French builders at the dawn of the XII century, at a time when the
poetry of France was imposing itself on the whole of Europe.

_L'oeuvre initiale_ will never be known. However, there was a region
where the early use of the ogival vault was not accidental, but
systematic, one spot in the heart of France where it immediately made a
school, since there it found no strong earlier traditions to overcome,
where it became a living organism and went through a succession of
logical developments until it had taken on the main characteristics of
the new art. There is one center from which Gothic architecture spread
out with slow, sure march into the neighboring regions. In the
Ile-de-France, all the trials were summed up and developed by Abbot
Suger at St. Denis. From 1140 to 1144 he wedded definitely the pointed
arch with the diagonal rib.

The French masters, who have contended that the Ile-de-France is the
cradle of Gothic architecture, have had lesser controversies among
themselves as to which special portion of the royal domain led in the
evolution. M. Woillez, a pioneer, considered the environs of Beauvais
the favored spot; M. Saint-Paul looked to the districts between Normandy
and Paris; M. Enlart sought the nucleus in Amiens diocese in Picardy;
and M. Lefèvre-Pontalis chose the classic diocese of Soissons. The two
latter masters have modified their views since studying Durham's vaults,
and they may modify them further in regard to Lombardy's early use of
diagonals. The controversy is not closed.

The France of that day was more a feudal confederation than a united
kingdom, and some of the king's vassals ruled territories larger than
his own. If the feeling of nationality is created as much by great
achievements in common, as by political boundaries and the ties of
blood, if, as all now agree, the enthusiasm of the Crusades, those holy
wars against a common foe, helped to weld the rival sections of France
into one nation, surely that other enthusiasm of the day, those other
_Gesta Dei_ per Francos, the building of the Gothic cathedrals, played
an important part in forming the national soul. From end to end of
France they were building when at the battle of Bouvines a French king
united with the jealous barons, with clergy and with burgess and with
villein in a common defense of their native land. King, clergy, lords,
and people fought at Bouvines, and king, clergy, lords, and people built
the big national churches. All the energies of the times went to their
making, all the primitive strong purposes, all the newly stirred
intellect of the schools. Science was as needed for them as inspiration,
for without the long manual training of the guilds, the mystic glow had
not sufficed.

There has crept into various architectural manuals, since first M.
Viollet-le-Duc voiced it, a theory which scarcely needs refuting, so
disproved is it by modern research.[13] Gothic art is considered as the
layman's expression of revolt against the Romanesque art of the monks,
an idea that denies the structural sequence of the two phases of the
same art, and would present Gothic as a reaction against its
predecessor, instead of its supreme development.

We read that a cathedral was built as a sort of assembly hall for the
rising communes, and not _pour loger le bon Dieu_. Now in every known
case it was the bishop who started the rebuilding of each cathedral, and
the works usually began with the choir, the part of a church suitable
only for the cult. Even when a bishop, in his character of proprietor of
a city (as in the case of Rheims and Laon), opposed the communal claims,
he and the people went on building their cathedral together. We have
precious documents to assure us in what spirit of piety the work was
done. All classes and all ages, women as well as men, gave their
voluntary labor to the new works, after having confessed and
communicated in pious confraternities; sometimes it was for an abbot
that they dragged in the stones from the quarry, as at St. Denis and St.
Pierre-sur-Dives; sometimes it was to aid a bishop, as at Chartres and
Rouen. To offset such irrefutable evidence there is not one contemporary
reference to a laic, or communal purpose.

Also, when it is asserted that the bishop helped the cathedrals because
they were jealous of the monastic orders, there is not one historical
record to confront a host of documents which disprove the idea. Large
numbers of the bishop-builders issued from monasteries, founded
monasteries, and returned to monasteries to die. While Maurice de Sully
was erecting Notre Dame, at Paris, he built four monasteries, in one of
which he requested to be buried. The bishop who began Auxerre Cathedral
chose Cistercian Pontigny for his tomb. The bishop-builders of Noyon,
Laon, Senlis, Soissons, Rheims, Bourges, and Rouen were buried among the
monks. That there should occasionally be friction between a bishop and
an abbot over legal privileges is only characteristic of human nature in
all times. As a class the bishops were not opposed to the monks, nor the
Orders to the secular clergy. The monks of St. Remi honored the
archbishop of Rheims in their choir windows.

The cloister welcomed the new architecture. Transition Gothic churches
were built by the monks of St. Germain-des-Prés and St.
Martin-des-Champs at Paris, and one could prolong the list into pages.
Where in Burgundy is found the earliest Gothic? In the Cistercian church
of Pontigny, and in Benedictine Vézelay. Where in Champagne?--the
abbatials of Notre Dame at Châlons-sur-Marne and St. Remi at Rheims. In
Normandy? In the Midi?--again the answer is, in abbey churches. Indeed,
monastic building energy seemed inexhaustible, for where the prime of
Gothic arrived, it was still the monks who produced that masterpiece of
the new art, the Merveille of Mont-Saint-Michel.

In the XII century the spread of monastic life took on a phenomenal
aspect. Benedictine houses and those of the newly founded Orders of
Cîteaux and Prémontré increased, not by hundreds, but by thousands. The
monks were in absolute accord with the spirit of their time. Sons of the
cloister had inspired the entire XI century: Gregory VII, Abbot William
of Dijon, St. Anselm, Lanfranc, St. Hugues of Cluny. A bevy of
remarkable men of the cloister led the XII century, the chief being
Suger of St. Denis, protector of the serfs, the man of genius who
stimulated the bishops of France to remake their cathedrals in emulation
of his Gothic abbey church, and St. Bernard of Clairvaux, on whose words
all Europe hung.

Architecture passed to laic control when the protection of monastic life
was no longer needed for artists, and when the science of building
required the specialist, the man occupied with it alone. The schools of
Cluny had trained the first guildsmen, and many of the names of Gothic
architects--Orbais, Honnecourt, Corbic--indicate that they were born in
places where monastic building industries flourished. It was in the
natural course of events that the art should pass out of the possession
of the few into the general national life.

Another natural happening has been distorted by partisans. The burning
of monastery archives during the XVI-century religious wars and by the
Revolution is accountable for the few names of architects that have come
down to us. The scarcity of such names has been cited as an instance of
the jealous suppression of the laymen by the clergy forced to employ
them. Now precisely the contrary is the truth. What modern architect was
ever accorded such prominence as was allowed by the bishops of Amiens
and Rheims to their masters-of-works when they inscribe those laymen
names in the labyrinth designs of the cathedral pavements? The monks of
Marmoutier and of St. Germain-des-Prés were proud to bury in their
abbey-churches their architects Étienne de Mortagne and Pierre de
Montereau. In Rheims, the architects Hugues Libergier and Robert de
Coucy were likewise honored.

By digging in old archives, the modern student is ever adding new names
to the nation's honor roll. Many a gap still remains, but the very
anonymousness of such masters of the living stone is stuff for the
imagination. One likes to picture the old-time craftsman-artist
rejoicing in his insignificance as he chiseled his leaf and vine just as
he saw them by the roadside. He served a Master who gave like wages to
all who worked in spirit and in truth, to him who, in the hidden corners
where no human eye could penetrate, carved his leaf and flower with the
same love as did the greater artist working on the stately imaged

The "heretical Gothic-sculpture bogey" has led certain imaginations
astray. There are those who find latent heresy in the old carvers' work;
they point, with suggestive smile, to the bishop and monk placed among
the damned in the Last Judgments at the cathedral doors. Let them turn
to the sermons of the day and they will find precisely the same
Christian doctrine of the equality of all men before sin and punishment,
preached from the pulpit within the church. Not in all the myriad scenes
from Old and New Testaments is a single doctrinal error to be found,
says M. Émile Mâle, who is master of the iconography of French churches.
The sculptor layman merely carried out the scheme of the trained

Many a sharp word does M. Viollet-le-Duc give as critic to those who
enjoy in a cathedral the superficial beauties of decoration, but are
blind to the efficient structure, to the scientific upholding skeleton.
Surely it is a still more radical ignorance which perceives in a Gothic
church its mechanical perfection, but denies the aspiration to
immortality which was its inceptive spirit. To ascribe the origin of
cathedrals to the need by the nascent commune of a town hall is to make
of those soaring monuments veritable follies of human pride. Restore to
them their religious soul, have eyes to see what may be called their
spiritual framework, and as up-leaps toward the infinite they are
sublimities. Can churches be the creation of rebellion and hate when
into their very stones passed the clamorous vibrant faith of those
crusading generations? Like hovering prayers their vaults seem to shut
one in. The heart, weary of modern sophistry, draws strength from their
eternal affirmation. He must have little music in his soul who is deaf
to such a _Credo_. When men built Gothic cathedrals they knelt on both
knees to pray, and never have they soared more supremely above
themselves. "Deeds of God through the French" are these temples.

A word in regard to the term "Gothic." It is as unreasonable a misnomer
as could have been chosen, but since usage has sanctioned it, it must
pass. Primarily put into currency by the Italians of the Renaissance, in
the injurious sense of barbarous, the term was adopted by the French
neo-classics of the XVII century. Molière's scathing line on Gothic
sculpture is well known--"_Ces monstres odieux des siècles ignorants_."
He complained that Gothic art "_fit à la politesse une mortelle
guerre_." When Racine spoke of Chartres Cathedral he made use of the
term _barbare_; even to the churchman Fénelon the cathedrals of the
Middle Ages appeared unreasoned and faulty.

The opprobrious term was fixed by the Encyclopædists of the next
century, when prejudice against the Middle Ages became militant and
organized. With exclusive pedantism they dismissed the most national and
civilized of arts as worthy of those rough invaders, the Goths.
Voltaire, who, says Guizot, garnered only what was mean and criminal in
the Middle Ages, saw in the study of Gothic architecture "a coarse
curiosity, lacking good taste." As late as 1800, a project was abroad to
disencumber the soil of France of "these overcharged façades with their
multitude of indecent and ridiculous figures." And still later, the
students in the national school of architecture were taught to despise
the most reasoned, the most robust, the most logical of arts as a style
of confusion and caprice.

The rehabilitation of Gothic architecture in France, if tardy, has been
ample. No branch of modern science presents a more able corps of
workers. While true to the Latin genius, which unites clarity of style
with an exact erudition, they have obeyed a yet deeper race instinct
which knows that matter must be vivified by spirit, else learning sinks
to a dry-as-dust recording, incapable of its highest flight. The telling
of the monumental story of France has been touched by the sacred flame
of patriotism. Like paladins, these modern knights are abroad on all the
by-paths eager to rescue some hidden treasure of the national art.
Future scholarship will look back at the brilliant achievements of the
French archæologists of to-day with the same pride that is felt for the
Benedictine savants of the XVII century.

The aim of archæology is to date a monument correctly. How to do this by
scientific method has been taught the last two generations at the École
des Chartes, the national school par excellence, so M. de Vögué called
it. Archives are pored over to trace each link with history, and those
monuments which have no authenticated pedigree are compared with those
of certain date. Each manuscript date is verified by the analysis of the
edifice itself, whose successive campaigns of building are deciphered,
since few and far between are the homogeneous churches. Each restoration
also is verified. One of the solid bases for archæological exactness is
the knowledge of profiles, which are called by the English textbook rib
molds, arch molds, pier molds, or base molds. By a comparative analysis
of profiles, a monument can now be accurately dated. As keystones were
of different types in the various earlier decades of Gothic, they too
help to substantiate an edifice.[14]

Churches of one region are contrasted with those of another. The
material employed is considered, since the stone of a province causes
richness or poverty of sculpture: thus, Brittany's granite and
Auvergne's lava mean an undeveloped sculpture compared with the fine
white limestone districts of the Oise, or in Normandy and Poitou. When
practicable, excavations under an edifice can give data concerning
previous churches on the site.

M. Jules Quicherat was the first to teach that the history of the Middle
Ages architecture was the history of the architect's fight against the
weight and push of the vaulting.[15] Once the right path was blazed,
many an able pioneer helped clear the new road--such students as
Viollet-le-Duc, de Caumont, Woillez, Prosper Merimée, de Dion, Coutan,
de Beaurepaire, Grandmaison, Révoil, Rupricht-Robert, Félix de Verneilh,
Anthyme Saint-Paul, Louis Courajod, Buhot de Kersers. At the École des
Chartes, Robert de Lasteyrie occupied with distinction the chair held by
Quicherat for thirty years, and his pupils, Camille Enlart and Eugène
Lefèvre-Pontalis, in their turn, are passing on the high tradition to a
younger school. M. Enlart, the director of the museum of comparative
sculpture at the Trocadéro, is an authority on Romanesque architecture,
and has initiated the study of the spread of Gothic architecture in
mediæval Italy, Spain, the North, and the Levant.[16] M.
Lefèvre-Pontalis has written a host of erudite monographs; one learns to
accept his decisions as final, in so far as the ever-expanding realm of
knowledge can be final. He directs the invaluable publications called
the _Congrès Archéologique de France_ and the _Bulletin Monumental_, and
he edits those excellent short studies known as the _Petites
Monographies des grands édifices de la France_, which are convenient
pocket guides for the serious tourist.[17]

Each year is producing final monographs on the chief churches of France.
M. Georges Durand has rendered fitting tribute to Amiens. M. de Farcy
has identified himself with Angers, René Merlet with Chartres, Lucien
Broche with Laon, and Lucien Bégule with Lyons. MM. Brutails has
specialized on Gascony, the Thollier and H. du Ranquet on Auvergne,
Labande on Provence, Berthelé on Plantagenet Gothic, André Rhein on
Poitou and Anjou, Émile Bonnet on Hérault, Charles Porée on Burgundy,
and Louis Demaison on Champagne. Other able students are MM. Bouet,
Louis Serbat, Marcel Aubert, Ernest Rupin, Jules de Lahondès, René Fage,
Amédée Boinet, Jean Virey, Robert Triger, and Louis Régnier.

Precious texts have been unearthed from the archives by Victor Mortet,
Henri Stein, and Eugène Müntz. The sculpture of France has been studied
by MM. Robert de Lasteyrie, Émile Lambin, Léon Palustre, Eugène Müntz,
Gabriel Fleury, Raymond Koechlin, J. M. de Vasselot, Paul Vitry, Gaston
Brière, André Michel, Louis Gonse, and Émile Mâle. The latter three have
brought out monumental general works. _L'art gothique_ of Gonse gives
the most exact and extended account of the beginning of Gothic, says
Anthyme Saint-Paul, who is himself one of the most inspiring masters of
mediæval archæology. M. Michel, who is conservator of the national
museums, has edited the superb _Histoire de l'art_, to which leading
French scholars have contributed.[18] And the iconography of French
cathedrals has received no more magistral treatment than from M. Mâle,
to whom is due the credit of establishing the scholastic character of
Gothic imagery.[19] His path was cleared by pioneers such as Didron,
Crosnier, Martin, and Duchesne.

Happily for the local schools, a bevy of intelligent churchmen have
devoted themselves to their regional monuments. I hope I may be pardoned
if I do not name each with his ecclesiastical designation, but cite them
here simply as savants: the Abbés Eugène Müller (Senlis); Bourassé and
Bosseboeuf (Touraine); Ledru (Le Mans); Auber, De la Croix, and Mgr.
Barbier de Montault (Poitiers); Chomton (Dijon); Bulteau (Chartres);
Abgrall (Brittany); Maurin (Aix-en-Provence); Bouvier (Sens); Cerf
(Rheims); Bouxin (Laon); and for the Norman churches, the Abbés Fossey,
Porée, Loisel, and Pigéon.

The list might be greatly extended. One can cite only a few. From the
pages of such students have been written these chapters, by one who has
felt that there must be many travelers who love the old cathedrals of
Europe and have wandered among them puzzled by half-understood things,
longing to know with exactitude how and when they were built. So it has
not seemed a useless task to gather into these ten chapters what the
French scholars are relating of their churches. So swiftly do
archæological discoveries follow one another to-day, that statements
accepted now may be obsolete to-morrow. The makers of history and art
books can hope to serve only their hour.

The new school of Christian archæology is redeeming the misrepresented
centuries after the year 1000. It is undoing the systematic
falsification of history, and is teaching us to read the past other than
by the printed page. Not hate, but love, opens new windows in the soul.
The study of the churches of France adds flesh and blood to many a mere
name in history. One gains a very special liking for little Abbot Suger,
most dependable of men, whose life was a succession of big undertakings.
One feels reverent affection for that sentinel of the Church and its
guide, Bernard of Clairvaux, who said some harsh things of fine
churches, all the while that he was feeding the mystic life that made
them inevitable. And very real become the bishop builders when one knows
their cathedrals. One pores over the old volumes of the _Histoire
Littéraire de la France_, begun by XVII-century Benedictines, and still
being continued by the Institute of France, to gather details of good
Bishop Fulbert and doughty St. Ives, who built at Chartres; of that
distinguished literary man, Bishop Hildebert de Lavardin, who worked at
Le Mans; of the well-poised Bishop Maurice de Sully, who raised Notre
Dame at Paris; of crusading prelates such as Albéric de Humbert, who
began Rheims; and of Nivelon de Chérisy, who built Soissons, and who, on
the Fourth Crusade, played a foremost role. One grows to love, above
all, the saint-king, Louis, truest hero of _la douce France_, who
illuminated his kingdom with fair churches. And no one can admire St.
Louis and not keep a warm corner in his heart for Joinville, his
comrade-in-arms, the irresistible seneschal of Champagne.

Crusades and chivalry and all the multicolored aspects of the XII and
XIII centuries become clearer to the imagination as one traces the story
of the cathedrals of France; scholasticism and the early days of the
schools, when Abélard sparred with Guillaume de Champeaux. Very real
they all become: Peter the Venerable, good Stephen Harding, St. Thomas
Becket, John of Salisbury, St. Edmund Rich, Stephen Langton, St.
Dominic, St. Malachy O'Morgair, Innocent III, St. Bonaventure, and St.
Thomas Aquinas. France welcomed them all during the two vital centuries
when she imposed her literature as well as her architecture on western
Europe, when the Paris schools were the intellectual center of the

To paint a rose-colored picture of the two best centuries of the Middle
Ages would be absurd. They were full of very evil things. There were
horrifying episodes in them. "Barbarism tempered by religion; religion
disfigured by barbarism," is the definition of Balmes, the theologian.
The inconsistencies were gigantic. The same men who sacked
Constantinople in 1204, dealing art a staggering blow, were the very men
who in western Europe were building cathedrals. Then, as now, there were
many for whom religion served as a convenient cloak for the lower
instincts; then, as now, there were many who never lost sight of the
higher ideals. Side by side with the evil and the self-seeking should be
set the sublime impulses which checked those untutored generations. Do
not hide the merciless laying waste of Languedoc by the north, but do
not forget that, in the same hour, men had reached an abnegation of self
that led them to the African coast as voluntary substitutes for their
brother Christians in bondage there.

In the midst of its human infirmities it was an age that aspired: its
poets sang of the Holy Grail, its kings and its serfs were saints, there
were saint scholars and barons and merchants, there was even a saint

It is precisely the restored balance between good and evil which the
study of Gothic art is bringing about. The partisan may go on compiling
a police gazette and call it history.[20] While the towers of Gothic
churches point upward, he is refuted. The modern mind has once for all
grasped that it is psychologically impossible for an age to have been
sunk in blind superstition when it could build, not merely one or two,
but hundreds of churches whose every line is an aspiration toward
sanctity. The cathedrals are the true apologetics of the Middle Ages.
Archæology is again proving its claim to be the soul of history.


Abbot Suger and St. Denis-en-France

     Under the impulse of this monk, truly great in all things, Gothic
     architecture was born.--FÉLIX DE VERNEILH (of Abbot Suger).

The churches built during the evolution from Romanesque to Gothic have
been called transitional, a classification which would be most
convenient for the amateur, had not archæologists decided it was an
equivocal term. They say that, during the short period when "Romanesque
and Gothic inhabited under the same roof," the Romanesque parts of the
edifice were placed side by side with the simultaneously built Gothic
parts, that there was juxtaposition, but no fusion. Vaults were either
barrel, groin, or of the diagonal-rib type; there was no such thing as a
transition form of vault. Arches were either round or pointed; there was
no such thing as a transition or intermediary form of arch. And since
the radical distinction between Romanesque and Gothic is caused by the
vaulting, it is correct to call that part of a church where was groin or
barrel vault Romanesque, and that part where were used the intersecting
ribs Gothic.

The sequence of the passing from Romanesque to Gothic is obscure,
because there is a lack of definite dates. From 1110 to 1140, while the
intersecting ribs were coming into use in northern France, such a vault
was practically the only sign in an edifice of the new movement. The
walls still were massive, the windows still were small and round-arched,
the sculpture still was coarse and heavy. Then, as the transition
advanced, the supports grew lighter, the profiles (those cross-section
outlines of ribs, arches, capitals, and bases) grew purer, and the
sculpture discarded Byzantine traditions and took nature as its model.

French archæologists have thought that the use of diagonals came about
first through the desire to hold up some groin vault, on the point of
collapsing, which would seem a very sensible explanation, since the
creative genius of the Ile-de-France seems dimly to have apprehended
even in the first hour the stupendous possibility to be drawn from a
member whose purpose was to concentrate force in order that other parts
of the edifice might be relieved. From the initial hour began the
evolution of the cardinal organ in the Ile-de-France. Whereas the
Lombard architects looked on the diagonals as a mere contrivance,
stubbornly keeping their eyes shut to the structural possibilities
latent therein. The masons of the Ile-de-France at once began to profile
their diagonals graciously, and even before the genius of Suger had
coordinated, at St. Denis, all the foregoing progress of the nascent
art, craftsmen had occasionally symbolized, as it were, the importance
of the intersecting ribs by carving little caryatids for them to rest
upon above the capitals; such figurines are to be seen in the Oise
region at Bury and at Cambronne.[21]

Mr. Arthur Kingsley Porter's idea is that the transitional period
resolves itself into a series of experiments on the part of the builders
to erect a vault with a minimum of centering, and he cites the hollow
spires at Loches as an experiment to put up a stone roof without the use
of any temporary substructure of wood, which apparently was costly.[22]
He thinks that the earlier Gothic vaults were _bombé_ because that form
facilitated construction without centering, and that the Lombards
dropped their precocious diagonals after 1120, as soon as they had
learned how to build domed groin vaults which required no temporary
wooden substructures. What is of value in Mr. Porter's thesis is sure,
in time, to pass into French currency; until a majority of French
archæologists find his explanation better than their own it is
permissible for us to agree with those who are telling the tale of
their own national art.

Probably the earliest extant Gothic vaults in the Ile-de-France are
those at Acy-en-Multien (Oise) and at Crouy-sur-Ourcq (Seine-et-Marne).
Their outline is rectangular. Some intersecting ribs at Rhuis (Oise) are
cited by M. Lefèvre-Pontalis as the oldest in the Soissonnais. Diagonals
were put up, about 1115, at St. Vaast-de-Longmont (Oise), Orgeval
(Seine-et-Oise), Viffort (Aisne), Airaines (Somme), and in other rural
churches. The famous ambulatory vaults at Morienval were probably built
about 1122. A year or two earlier, perhaps, are the side-aisle vaults of
St. Étienne at Beauvais.

Bury (Oise) shows the first extant half dome with ribs. Of the same
time, about 1125, are the diagonals at Marolles, St. Vaast-les-Mello,
Béthisy-St.-Pierre, Bonneuil-en-Valois, and Bellefontaine, all in the
Oise department. Bellefontaine, whose date of 1125 is certain, has
helped to place other churches of the transition by comparing their
diagonals with its pointed intersecting ribs. Bruyères (Aisne) is about
1130, Poissy (Seine-et-Oise) and Villetertre (Oise) are about 1135, and
so are the ribs of St. Martin-des-Champs at Paris. In the Aisne region
are Berzy-le-Sec and Laffaux (c. 1140) and in the Oise region is
Chelles, building at the hour when Suger undertook St. Denis (Seine),
1140 to 1144. Cambronne (Oise) and Foy-St.-Quentin (Somme) are about
1145. Such churches as Glennes (Aisne), St. Leu d'Esserent (Oise), and,
close to the latter, Creuil's church of St. Évremont were building in
1150; so were Chars (Seine-et-Oise) and, near it, Pontoise,[23] whose
ambulatory vaults some claim are prior to those of the procession path
of St. Denis, and therefore a link between Morienval and Suger's
abbatial. The big church at St. Germer (Oise) was begun about 1150,
though certain of its features are more archaic than St. Denis, built
before it. Some of these churches, called transitional, used wall ribs
for their diagonals, others omitted them; in some the intersecting ribs
were pointed, in others, semicircular.

Mr. John Bilson, who contends that diagonals were used in Normandy some
twenty-five years earlier than in the Ile-de-France, considers the early
dates for these rural churches improbable, that scarcely any were
anterior to St. Denis, that it was a case of little churches following
the great churches, not vice versa. The earliest, he thinks, was St.
Étienne at Beauvais (c. 1120), significantly close to Normandy. But
Normandy did not suspect the value and fecundity of diagonals. That feat
of creative genius none can deny to the Ile-de-France.

The traveler can do nothing more enlightening and delightful as a
prelude to his journey among French cathedrals than to spend some early
spring days exploring the rural churches of the privileged land of the
national art which the old geographers chose to picture as an island
inclosed by the Seine, the Marne, the Aisne, and the Oise. Numerous
churches of the transition lie between Soissons, Senlis, and Beauvais,
and once, around Amiens was another such center, but few of the
monuments there have survived.[24] Go to Creuil and see, in the ruins of
St. Évremont, a rudimentary flying buttress--a quarter arch once hidden
under the lean-to roof. No doubt the architect built it with the
intention of bracing the upper walls, but since he omitted to brace the
flying buttress itself it failed of its purpose. Four miles away, at St.
Leu d'Esserent, is an awkward early trial of a Gothic vault in the
tribune above the porch, but as the ribs are embedded in the cells, no
proper elasticity is achieved. Go to Morienval and study its remarkable
essay in spanning a curving section with diagonals. Trace these early
steps of the national art, and the meaning of the Gothic bone structure
grows plainer.


     I approve the life of those for whom the city is a prison, who find
     paradise in solitude, who live by the works of their hands, or who
     seek to remake their spirit by the sweetness of their contemplative
     life, who drink of the fountain of life by the lips of their heart,
     and forget what is behind them to regard only what lies ahead. But
     neither the most hidden forest nor the highest mountains will give
     happiness to man, if he has not in himself solitude of the spirit,
     peace of conscience, upliftings of the heart to God.--Letter of ST.
     IVES, Bishop of Chartres, 1091-1115.

Of the experimental steps which led to Gothic art, the most appealing is
the nunnery church of Morienval, a humble forerunner of Amiens Cathedral
that has made as much stir in archæological controversy as Périgueux's
cathedral of St. Front itself. Morienval may not be the passionately
sought _oeuvre-initiale_, since its vaults, while they betray
inexperience, certainly were preceded by still cruder attempts, but it
can boast that it is the first Gothic ambulatory extant, and as the
curving aisle around the chancel is the most exquisite feature of the
great cathedrals, Morienval's humble first essay of it merits a

As one approaches the abbey church it does not appear till one is
directly over it, so snugly hidden away is the village in a fold of the
rolling country that skirts the forest of Compiègne. Perhaps the
IX-century nuns who chose the site may have hoped that the marauders of
that troublous time might ride by, unconscious of booty so close at
hand. With gratitude one learns that the invasion of 1914 has left
Morienval unscathed, as well as those other memorials of tentative
Gothic, Acy-en-Multien and Crouy-sur-Ourcq.

Because of excellent proportions, the church appears larger than in
reality. The exterior is Romanesque. Two time-stained towers of the XI
century mark the angles between transept and choir, an arrangement
derived from Rhenish churches. At the west façade is a beautiful
XII-century tower. It was building while the nuns were proceeding to
tear down a decrepit apse in order to erect the present east end of the
church. In that new apse appeared the much-discussed early ribs.

A record tells that relics were installed in the church in 1122, and it
was probably then that the new works were finished. Ambulatories had
come into favor during the first third of the XII century, when need was
felt for a suitable corridor for pilgrims to encircle the altar whereon
relics were exposed. Now to vault a curving aisle was no easy task,
owing to the trapeze shape of each section. Morienval's ambulatory must
have been designed to hold extra altars, since entrance to the aisle is
blocked at both ends by the towers, and the passage is so narrow that
only one at a time can walk in it. There are no apse chapels. The
sculpture is archaic. Some of the capitals show interlacings, and some
are of the pleated type popular in Normandy. The diminutive corridor has
four small bays whose clumsy intersecting vault ribs are of the size of
the average stovepipe. They curve strangely, and two of the keystones
are not in the axis of the passageway, nor has elasticity yet been
wholly achieved, since the ends of the ribs plunge into the web of the

Over the choir, consisting of one large bay, are intersecting ribs that
appear to be posterior to those of the ambulatory. They, too, are rude
and large, but are wholly detached from the cells. M. Lefèvre-Pontalis
thinks that the ambulatory diagonals are contemporary, and owe their
more archaic character to the difficulty of vaulting a curved passage.
So swiftly did the early architects acquire skill in the new system of
building, that when a chapel was erected on the northern arm of
Morienval's transept, at the end of the XII century, each diagonal had
become a single slender torus, virile and graceful.

Of less architectural importance is the Romanesque nave of Morienval,
whose meager vault ribs are of the XVII century. The western tower was
the prototype of the Romanesque belfries of the region and should be
preserved. It is in a deplorable state, propped by beams, which are
gayly scaled by the lads who ring the Angelus. Little Morienval has the
human touch which the traveler craves. Set in the wall above the
XIII-century lord of Viri's tomb are tablets that commemorate two
pastors of this isolated Valois village who were heroes as valiant as
any crusader. Their combined ministry covered a hundred and one years.
The first died in 1840, after fifty-seven years of service here,
"faithful to his duty in times most difficult," and difficult indeed was
a priest's life during the Revolution. "Pray for his soul," begs his
grateful commune, to which he had bequeathed the presbytery and all his

His successor came to Morienval in his 'twenties, fresh from Paris, his
birthplace, and on this dwindling village he expended his energies for
forty-five years. Abbé Riaux loved his parishioners like a father, and
was, says the memorial tablet, "physician for body as well as soul."
During the cholera of 1849 his self-denial elicited a gold medal from
Morienval and the village of Bonneuil, where is another primitive essay
of a Gothic vault. "The state of decay of his beautiful church made him
suffer," runs the inscription, so he willed his modest fortune toward
its restoration. Happily, he lived long enough to see the church he
loved become a savant's shrine. It was in 1880 that M. Robert de
Lasteyrie first drew attention to Morienval as an early step in the
tardily understood national art, and MM. Anthyme Saint-Paul, Eugène
Lefèvre-Pontalis, and Camille Enlart joined in the debate. The
archæologists' war horse they have called our little Morienval. Such
widespread discussion and the good priest's bequest fortunately brought
about a thorough restoration of the choir.


     Sous le porche de l'église, chacun laisse le fardeau que la vie lui
     impose. Ici le plus pauvre homme s'élève au rang des grands
     intellectuels, des poètes, que dis-je? au rang des esprits: il
     s'installe dans le domaine de la pensée pure et du rêve. Le
     gémissement d'une vieille femme agenouillée dans l'église de son
     village est du même accent, traduit la même ignorance, le même
     pressentiment que la méditation du savant.... De ces parties
     profondes de l'être, de ce domaine obscur surgissent toutes les
     puissances créatrices de l'homme.


Close in date to Morienval are the aisle vaults of St. Étienne's nave at
Beauvais, the old city that lies on a tributary of the Oise. The
intersecting ribs are not quite so stout as those of Morienval, but
their ends still plunge into the massive, and they, too, are
round-arched; their date is approximately 1120. That they planned at the
same time to throw similar diagonals over the principal span is proved
by the existent lower structures, but the actual vaults there were not
erected till after a fire in 1180. The transverse arches of the aisles
are noticeably stilted. This device was to lead to a solution of the
problem how to raise the arches framing each vault section to the level
of the diagonals' crown, and thus avoid the excessive doming which is
found in the earlier Gothic vaults.

In the XII-century north façade of the transept is an oculus big enough
to be called the first rose window; a wheel of fortune it is called,
because the images around its circle are an allegory of the fleet
passing of man's greatness. This is one of the very early approaches to
pure sculpture. The nave's two westernmost bays and its façade are of
the XI century. Had the original choir of St. Étienne survived, it is
thought that its ambulatory would be one of the missing steps connecting
the cramped corridor of Morienval with the double procession path of St.
Denis. The present choir, a Flamboyant Gothic structure, is famous for
its gloriously colored windows, some of which were made by that notable
family of local artists who designed the big rose windows of Beauvais
Cathedral, Engrand Le Prince and his sons Jean and Nicolas, and his
son-in-law Nicolas Le Pot. The latter carved the cathedral's wooden
doors, for versatility was characteristic of the artisan-artists of
those days.

Ten miles from Beauvais, a crawling train sets one down in a field
whence a two-mile walk leads to the sleepy bourg of St. Germer-en-Flay.
The abbey was founded in 655 by Germer, a noble of Dagobert's court,
nephew of St. Ouen the great bishop of Normandy's capital. To St.
Germer's abbey came William the Conqueror to beg the French king to join
him in his proposed descent on England. But Philip I gathered his
counselors, and it was decided not to support the Norman duke, since, if
he gained England, he would be richer than his own suzerain, the king of
France, and if he failed, France would have antagonized the English.

The large abbatial church of St. Germer, if not beautiful, is of
archæological interest. Formerly it was thought to be a monument of
1130, but closer study has shown that it was erected during one bout of
work from 1150 to 1180. Hard though it was to believe it the
contemporary of the cathedrals at Senlis and Noyon, its sculpture is too
excellent to have been done earlier. The crocketed capitals of its
westernmost bays were never made earlier than 1175. That the church was
continued without pause from apse to façade is proved by the unity of
profiles and details. Its anachronisms are to be explained because it
derived from a side current of Gothic art, out of touch with the
swift-moving main stream, which was channeled by Abbot Suger.

The architect of St. Germer showed in the main parts of his church a
thorough understanding of the new Gothic vaulting, and at the same time
he covered his tribune gallery with Romanesque groins. He made heavy
Romanesque piers, and simultaneously he essayed to disencumber the
pavement by employing the corbel, or side bracket. The Norman zigzag or
chevron design decorates the heavy molding of the pier arches. Over the
sanctuary he attempted the inartistic experiment of having his ribs
converge, not on a keystone, but directly on a transverse rib. The ribs
of the upper vaulting are heavy and ornamented. The pointed arches of
the pier arcade are surmounted by round arches, in the tribunes. And
between tribune and clearstory are square apertures neither Romanesque
nor Gothic.

To meet the thrust of the upper vaulting, some rudimentary flying
buttresses were built under the lean-to roof of the tribune galleries,
but as they themselves were not braced, they remained ineffectual. The
collapse of some of the high vaults caused the addition, later, of the
present flying buttresses. The exterior of the church is gaunt, with
windows that are small and round-arched. The west façade was wrecked
during the Hundred Years' War, and never restored. Walled-up arches mar
the spacious interior. Thick coats of whitewash cover it, and when dust
gathers on that make-shift of cleanliness the effect is tawdry. Directly
behind the apse of the big abbatial stands a masterpiece of Rayonnant
Gothic, a diminutive church whose west façade faces, with awkward
closeness, the back of the larger church. As it is connected with the
latter's ambulatory by a glazed passage, it may be regarded as a sort of
Lady chapel. Many such imitations of the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris arose,
after St. Louis had made his shrine for the crown of thorns. The abbot
who put up St. Germer's glass reliquary was Pierre Wesencourt, who
ruled from 1254 to 1272, and it is thought that the king's own architect
designed it. That Louis IX contributed toward it is shown by the
fleur-de-lis and the donjons of Castile in the storied windows. Over the
altar once stood the alabaster retablo, depicting St. Germain's life,
now in the Musée Cluny, at Paris.


     Christianity is still for 400,000,000 of human beings the great
     pair of wings that are indispensable if man is to rise above
     himself, above humdrum living and shut-in horizons, it is still the
     spiritual guide to lead him by patience, resignation, and hope to
     serenity, to lift him by purity, temperance, and goodness to the
     heights of devotion and self-sacrifice. Always and everywhere for
     nineteen hundred years as soon as these wings flag or break, public
     and private manners degenerate. Neither philosophy, reason, nor
     artistic and literary culture, nor even feudal honor, military and
     chivalrous, no code, no administration, no government can serve as
     substitute for it.--H. TAINE (1892).

The church of St. Louis, at Poissy, is a link in the normal development
of Gothic, and not like St. Germain, a disconcerting anachronism. About
1135 both systems of vaults were here built at one and the same time.

Poissy lies on the Seine slightly above its junction with the classic
Oise. A pleasant way to approach it is to walk from St. Germain-en-Laye
through the forest, when it is carpeted with anemones. St. Germain's
palace chapel is thought to be the work of Pierre de Montereau. One goes
to Poissy in a spirit of pilgrimage, for at its font, in 1215, St. Louis
of France was baptized.[29] He held the gift of Christian citizenship he
here received above all that the world could bestow. To his intimates he
often signed himself Louis of Poissy. His grandfather, Philippe-Auguste,
had given the manor of Poissy to his son, on his marriage to Blanche of
Castile. Living then in retirement at Poissy was the gentle Agnes of
Méran, that aunt of St. Elizabeth of Hungary whom Philippe-Auguste had
been forced by Rome's decree to set aside. When St. Louis was born, on
St. Mark's Day of 1215, in order to spare the young mother, the church
bells were silent. The Spanish princess asked the cause, and
ordered--gallant woman that she was--that every bell in the town should
ring out a joyous carillon because God had given her _un beau fils_.
Shakespeare would inevitably admire Blanche; she was a Shakespearian

    That daughter there of Spain, the hardy Blanche,
    Is near to England; look upon the years
    Of Louis the Dauphin and that lovely maid.
    If lusty love should go in search of beauty,
    Where shall he find it fairer than in Blanche?
    If jealous love should go in search of virtue,
    Where shall he find it purer than in Blanche?
    If love ambitious sought a match of birth,
    Whose veins bound richer blood than Lady Blanche?[30]

The wide ambulatory of Poissy is groin-vaulted, but diagonals cover the
two oriented apsidioles that open on a false transept, which arrangement
of pseudo-transept with chapels was copied soon after at Sens. The three
easternmost bays of the nave have retained their primitive intersecting
ribs, which are round-arched, decorated, and very broad, as are the
transverse arches that separate the vault into sections. Poissy's
sculpture is of an advanced type. Owing to later changes, there is much
patchwork in the church.


    Give all thou canst: high Heaven rejects the lore
    Of nicely calculated less or more:
    So deemed the man who fashioned for the sense
    These lofty pillars, spread this branching roof

[Illustration: _Poissy. An Early Example of Gothic Vaulting (c.

Finally came the hour of the new architecture's clear achievement. After
all the trial efforts, there now was built, midway in the XII century, a
monument which was to wield momentous influence. With the erection of
St. Denis, the center of Gothic art may be said to have shifted slightly
south, to Paris. From the capital the new movement spread out in
systematic progression--each church comprehending better than had its
predecessor the principle of thrust and counterthrust, each drawing from
it further consequences.

St. Denis did not put a stop abruptly to the coexistence in the same
edifice of both systems of vaulting any more than it began immediately
the usage of all the consequences of diagonals. Yet none the less the
Royal Abbey is rightly called the first Gothic monument, since here
first was demonstrated stout-heartedly the advantages of the new system.
Abbot Suger was the first to employ the generating member with the full
intelligence of its results. "From the moment of St. Denis' conception,
Amiens had become inevitable."

It was Suger who wedded definitely the pointed arch and the intersecting
ribs. He dared to make piers so slender that the beholders were
astonished they could carry the weight of a stone roof; he dared to open
his walls by windows so large that his choir was called by the people
the lantern of St. Denis. The mastery by Suger's craftsmen of the art of
stained glass was to have profound consequences in Gothic structure,
since it hastened the suppression of the wall screen between the active
members: "Behold I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and thy
foundations with sapphires; and I will make thy windows of agates, and
thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones."

Suger has himself told us how the house of God, many-colored as the
radiance of precious stones, lifted his soul from the cares of this
world to divine meditation, for this Gothic art, whose spiritual appeal
he had apprehended as profoundly as he had its structural laws, was most
aptly fashioned to be a foretaste of the Beyond, neither touching the
baseness of earth nor wholly the serenity of heaven.

Doubtless Suger understood the importance of the dedication day in 1144.
He made of it a national ceremony. He started the Gothic movement
intrepidly. Before a historic gathering of bishops and barons he
demonstrated that a Gothic vault was lighter, more easily built, more
economical, and more enduring than any other, and the important men of
France went back to their own cities to spread far and wide the lesson
they had learned.

In the course of the story of French architecture, fate has most
graciously allied certain monuments of prime archæological interest with
people or events of historic importance.

Gothic art made its debut in a unique setting. St. Denis was the patron
of France, the missionary who first preached Christianity by the Seine,
and who there had been martyred in the III century. On Montmartre is the
crypt said to have been the burial place of the first Christian martyrs
of Paris. In time there rose on the road outside the city a monastery
dedicated to St. Denis, and thither were his relics transferred. Each of
the three royal lines that have ruled France, Merovingian, Carolingian,
and Capetian, chose the abbey of St. Denis as their final resting place
and loaded it with favors. The first milestone on the highroad of Gothic
art was the famous center of the nation's life, and the initiator of the
new system of building was the maker of the nation's unity, Abbot Suger.

To Suger may be applied the mediæval term for an architect, Master of
Works, _maître de l'oeuvre_. He wrote an account of how he
reconstructed his abbey, building it, he says, with the aid of his
companions in the community and his brothers in the cloister. The people
gave voluntarily of their labor. When a quarry with suitable stone was
discovered at Pontoise, the whole countryside--men, women, and children
being harnessed to the carts--dragged the blocks in pious enthusiasm to
St. Denis.

The tomb of the martyred patron of Paris was a pilgrim shrine from
earliest days. The same trait in human nature that, in 1915, sent
Americans to gaze reverently at a relic of their national history, the
Liberty Bell, when on a two weeks' journey from the San Francisco Fair
to Philadelphia, it was exhibited in different cities, made the early
Christians of Gaul flock to revere the relics of the holy man who had
brought them the light and liberty of the gospel. Religion then and all
through the Middle Ages was fraught with patriotism.

For St. Denis' abbey a Merovingian church had been built by Dagobert.
Pépin and Charlemagne replaced it by a Carolingian church. By the XII
century the abbatial had become inadequate for the pilgrim crowds;
people were crushed to death on festival days, and Abbot Suger decided
to rebuild. He began by demolishing a heavy vestibule which Charlemagne
had put up as a kind of tomb over his father's grave, for Pépin had
begged to be buried face downward in penance, before the abbey church.
Suger replaced that encumbering porch by what is to-day a narthex, or
forechurch, formed by the two westernmost bays of the edifice. In the
thirties of the XI century he started the new works. Romanesque feeling
lingered in the sculpture, and the stout vault ribs crossed each other
in round arches. By 1140 the west façade was finished and ceremoniously

A month later, a still greater gathering met at St. Denis for the laying
of the corner stone of the choir. To the sound of trumpets, Louis VII
descended into the trench prepared for the foundation, and placed the
first stone, and as the choir chanted of the jeweled walls of the
heavenly city, _Lapides pretiosi omnes muri tui_, the king, profoundly
moved, took from his finger a costly ring and threw it into the mortar,
which had been mixed with holy water. Each baron and bishop, as he laid
down a stone, did the same. Their vehement faith would turn to literal
meaning the Psalmist's dream of the celestial city.

In his choir, Suger united definitely the pointed arch with the
intersecting ribs, and the ribs, now, were not the heavy ones used in
his forechurch. All the arches at their crown were brought to the same
height by a combination of stilting, pointing, or depressing them. In
the outer aisle of his ambulatory, Suger introduced a fifth rib in each
vault section, which welded the apse chapels with the procession path.
For his inner aisle he employed what is called the broken-rib vault.
First, the keystone was planted in the center and from it branched the
four ribs, each regardless of making a straight diagonal. This became
the generally accepted method for vaulting an ambulatory. Every part of
his edifice Suger supervised with untiring energy. Owing to the waste of
forest trees for machines of war, none of sufficient girth could be
found for the outer roof covering. Suger lay brooding over this one
night, then started up impetuously before dawn, took the measurements of
the beams needed, and himself went into the dense forest. Before nine
that morning he had found a giant tree; by noon ten others, and the
timber was hauled in triumph to the abbey.

All France was talking of the new works at St. Denis. Never before had
been such a gathering of skilled masons and sculptors, of goldsmiths and
glassmakers. St. Denis' school was to direct the glassmakers' art
through the second half of the XII century. Little is known of the
origin of that art; the early basilicas of Christian Gaul had made use
of pieces of colored glass framed together, and in the X century figures
were represented. No work, however, previous to the XII century has
survived. For the earlier fenestration the term "painted glass" is a
misnomer, since each piece was colored in the mass, and only a few
black lines were applied to denote the features, or the folds of the
draperies. The artists of St. Denis obtained their relief effects by a
skilled juxtaposition of tones; intensity of hue was increased by the
employment of thick rough leaves of glass. Scarcely any white was used;
in the ancient windows no spots spring out unpleasantly.

To St. Denis' school succeeded that of Chartres, which predominated
during the first part of the XIII century, while its second half was
ruled by the school of Paris, when windows of the Sainte-Chapelle type
were the rule. Gradually the craftsmen gave up their sound tradition
that a window should be a transparent mosaic, subordinate to its
architectural setting. They began to treat a window as an isolated
picture and the art declined.

Abbot Suger's school of glassmakers carried their art to its zenith. Not
all the wonders of XIII-century fenestration equaled the unfathomable
vibrant blue in the background of XII-century windows--a fugitive
mystery whose secret has been entirely lost. The popular fancy was that
Suger ground down sapphires to obtain his magic color.

All over the land the church builders desired windows like those of St.
Denis. Suger's own craftsmen went to Chartres to make the three big
lancets in that cathedral's western front. The St. Denis school
influenced the superb Crucifixion window in Poitiers Cathedral, and
others in the cathedrals of Angers and Le Mans and in the Trinité at
Vendôme, also the Tree of Jesse window in York Cathedral. And, had the
choir glass of Notre Dame at Paris survived, it would have been of the
school of St. Denis.

Suger wrote inscriptions for his abbey windows to make their symbolism
clearer. Owing to the vicissitudes of seven hundred years, few of the
St. Denis lights have survived. Four are now reset in the central apse
chapel and in that to its north. In a medallion at the base of one of
these windows Suger himself is represented holding a scroll bearing his
name. The medallion figures are of the hieratic Byzantine type. Every
window has a closely woven pattern; each losenge has its own border, and
a rich jeweled border surrounds the whole lancet. Bracing bars of iron
run straight across the pictured story. Slowly, with infinite patience,
worked those old XII-century artists, and never has their handicraft
been surpassed as sheer splendor of ornamentation.

After three years and three months of passionate work, the choir of St.
Denis was finished, and on June 11, 1144, the dedication day, the relics
were installed. That date, forever memorable in the annals of
architecture, may be called the consecration of the national art. At the
ceremony assisted Louis VII with his queen, Aliénor of Aquitaine, whose
strange destiny was to make her patroness of that entirely different
phase of Gothic called the Plantagenet school. The chief barons were
present at the dedication, as well as five archbishops and some fourteen
bishops. They looked and wondered, and not a few of them returned home
to imitate. The bishops of Noyon and Senlis hastened to rebuild their
cathedrals in the new way, and some of Suger's masons passed into the
service of the former prelate. Bishop Geoffrey de Lèves went back to
Chartres to build the most beautiful tower in the world, and the
sculptors who had made Suger's western portals (now no longer extant)
worked on the three west doors of Chartres.

On the day of St. Denis' dedication, Abbot Suger, small and frail in
person, but towering in personality, was honored on every side. When the
abbot of great Cluny, Peter the Venerable, passed from the marvels of
the new church to Suger's narrow cell, he cried out in honest distress:
"This man condemns us all. He builds, not for himself, but for God

Though the last half of Suger's life was an example of monastic
simplicity, not always had he been content with a monk's cell. Perhaps
because of his conversion midway in life, he appeals to us in a more
human way. Not that he was converted from evil doings; his purpose
always was high. But in his position as St. Denis' abbot, as a powerful
feudal lord, he lived sumptuously, according to the accepted standards
of the time. He mixed freely in the world; he directed state affairs for
the king to whom he was devoted; he went on embassies; he even led
armies. In 1124, when an irate German emperor was marching on Rheims,
which he had vowed to destroy, Suger in person led against him some ten
thousand of his abbey's retainers. That was the first time the oriflamme
of St. Denis was carried as the national emblem.[32] Suger had grown up
in the secular atmosphere of the Royal Abbey, and took its worldliness
as a matter of course.

Of peasant parentage himself, he had been brought, a child of ten, to
live with the monks, because he already showed exceptional qualities.
Among his fellow students in the abbey school was the king's son, the
future Louis VI, and an intimacy began between the two lads destined to
continue till death. When Suger became a monk he was sent on notable
missions, for he was gifted with tact and good manners, vivacity and
charm. Sweetness of disposition, mental energy, courage, and absolute
integrity won for him general esteem. Early and often this born lover of
things beautiful made the journey into Italy. It was while returning
from one of his missions there, in 1122, that he learned of his election
as abbot by his fellow monks in St. Denis. Louis VI had come to the
throne; henceforth Suger was to lead in all state affairs.

The genius of this son of field workers had pierced to the vital need of
the age--unity of government. Only a strong, central administration
could cope with the disintegration which was feudalism. For its very
existence the feudal system depended on the absence of well-enforced
general laws. It was Suger's strong hand that guided the early steps
toward national unity, and king and people worked for it together. Under
the king whom Suger served France began her great role of redresser of
wrongs. Louis VI was the first to use the title, king of France, not
king of the Franks. The ideal of this XII-century statesman was a strong
central monarchy, coexistent with a national assembly. His high
conception of solidarity was to fructify, within a hundred years, under
Philippe-Auguste, the grandson of Suger's master.

Suger was one of the first in Europe to understand political economy. He
laid the base of a sound financial administration. His confirmation of a
charter for the townsmen of St. Denis gave security to trade; he
relieved the abbey serfs of _mainmorte_, built a Villeneuve for homeless
nomads, and found time to study agriculture scientifically. In his
writings we feel the first breath of a national patriotism. A new note
in that age of unfettered personal impulse when might meant right, was
Suger's constant reference to "the poor weighed down with taxations," to
"that which has been too long neglected, the care of the surety of
laborers, of artisans, and of the poor." Many a modern politician could
well ponder Suger's censure of the spoils system. "The officers
dismissed carry off what they can lay their hands on," he said, "and
those who replace them, fearing to be likewise treated, hasten to steal,
to secure their fortune."

Suger's pre-eminence in public affairs continued during two reigns.
Louis VII, after stumbling some years without guidance, turned to his
father's counselor and, during his absence on the Second Crusade,
appointed him regent of France. So masterly was the abbot's rule that
king and people publicly proclaimed him _Père de la Patrie_. Suger
studied the causes of the crusade's lamentable failure; he felt that
forethought and prudence might win success, and, though he was seventy
years of age, he began preparations to carry out a crusade at his own
expense. Time was not given him again to prove his genius for
leadership. When news of his death (1151) reached the court, the king
and the Grand Master of the Templars, who was with him, burst into
tears. On his grave in the abbey church which he had built they cut the
simple inscription, "Here lies Abbot Suger." No need of panegyric. "The
single names are the noblest epitaphs."

The commanding place held by this monk in the estimation of Europe is
vouched for by letters from pope, kings, and many a dignitary. The king
of Sicily wrote to beg a line from him; the king of Scotland sent gifts;
the bishop of Salisbury made the journey to France expressly to know
Suger. By one clear stroke after another--and above all by his own
writings--every line of which is of historical value--the picture is
filled in of this admirable churchman who was as soundly honest and
forceful as the architecture he fostered, and whose delicate, ardent
soul accomplished remarkable things with the reasoned orderliness of the
art he loved.

Suger's sudden but thorough conversion is attributed to St. Bernard. Up
to middle life he had been a type of those who soar as high as human
abilities can reach without super natural aid. Entangled in the mesh of
various employments, his soul could not rise to heavenly things. Then
the trumpet of Bernard's reform sounded in Europe. Men's hearts were set
on fire with repentance and aspiration toward the highest. Bernard's
clear eyes read beneath the outer circumstance of Abbot Suger's life. He
saw that here was a good man, capable of becoming a holy one. He wrote
fearless words of disapproval. "One would think it was a governor of a
province, not of souls," he wrote, when he saw the abbot of St. Denis
ride by with sixty horsemen.

Suger began to scrutinize his manner of life. Grace touched his soul,
pomp was laid aside, and he set about his conversion with the same
thoroughness that he displayed in all his acts. Before reforming his
monastery, he completely reformed himself. With St. Bernard, who was ten
years his junior, he was linked in ennobling friendship to the end. "I
know profoundly this man," Bernard wrote of Suger to the pope, "and I
know that he is faithful and prudent in temporal things, that he is
fervent and humble in things spiritual. If there is any precious vase
adorning the palace of the King of Kings, it is the soul of the
venerable Suger." When Suger lay dying, he wrote to St. Bernard: "Could
I but see your angelic face before I die, I should go with more
confidence." And Bernard, who was to follow in a year, begged that when
Suger reached Paradise he would "think of him before God."

Yet, if the overwhelming saint could change the whole tenor of Suger's
life, the cultivated little abbot of St. Denis offered a gentle,
stubborn opposition to the puritanic ideas of Bernard in the domain of
art. "Vanity of vanities," cried the ascetic, in the well-known open
letter in which he denounced the new luxury in church building. Churches
were made too long, he complained, too high, and needlessly wide; the
capitals were carved with monsters more apt to distract than to lead to
pious recollection.

The art lover in St. Denis' abbey smiled at such iconoclastic vehemence.
Suger thought that nothing was too precious for the house of God. He
proceeded to erect an abbey church as imposing as a cathedral, and to
enrich its treasury with goldsmith work. Over the three gilt-bronze
entrance doors of his church he inscribed, "The soul on its earthly
pilgrimage rises by material things to contemplate the Divine." To this
day both men have vigorous partisans, and those who set out on a
cathedral tour in France are more likely to be on Suger's side in the

Suger's subtle mind reached beyond the ascetic's maxim. Well he knew
that both saint and art patron were needed, well he knew that Bernard of
Clairvaux was as instrumental as himself in the formation of the
cathedral builders. A living example of Christian perfection, Bernard
fortified the faith of all Europe. He might advocate church simplicity,
but it was not without cause that his apostolate preceded the most
fecund creative period of mankind's art. His impassioned love of God
warmed the imaginations of the men who began the big Gothic churches.

What remains to-day of the XII-century abbatial built by Suger of St.
Denis? Comparatively little. The lower parts of the west façade and the
two first bays of the nave which form a narthex, or vestibule, are his
work. In the choir, his beautiful ambulatory begins at the third bay of
the double aisles. There are nine bays of Suger's processional path, and
from them radiate seven apse chapels. The pillars that divide the lovely
curving double passage are the very ones which the generous enthusiasm
of the people dragged from Pontoise, and, in memory of the little abbot,
some will touch those slender columns with reverential gesture. It was
Suger who created the disposition of the _rond point_ found in its
perfection at St. Denis and copied in the great cathedrals. The crypt
also is his work, though its nucleus belonged to an underground shrine
built by Abbot Hilduin in the XI century. When Abbot Suger had finished
his choir, he proceeded to make a new Gothic transept and nave; but of
them scarcely a vestige remains. Some sculpture at the north door of the
transept is of the XII century. Whether the construction was faulty, or
whether the monks desired a more ample church, there was a total
reconstruction of St. Denis' abbatial, a hundred years after Suger's


    Tax not the royal Saint with vain expense,
      With ill-matched aims, the architect who planned
      (Albeit laboring for a scanty band
    Of white-robbed scholars only) this immense
    And glorious work of fine intelligence.

From 1231 to 1280, at St. Louis' own expense, the present nave and
transept of St. Denis were built, and the first bay of the choir as well
as the upper parts of the chevet were reconstructed. Inasmuch as the new
nave was wider than the choir, a canted bay of the latter joined it to
the transept.

St. Denis, as it now appears, presents the noble elegance of Gothic art
in its golden hour. The new transept was made of exceptional width; its
aisles and stately piers compose picturesque vistas. The triforium of
the reconstructed church was glazed, one of the first essays of a
feature which was to be in general use in the XIV century. To unite
triforium and clearstory in a brilliant sparkle of color added to the
magnificence of a church, but it marked a decline in the sound
structural laws of Gothic. The purpose of a triforium arcade was to
beautify the plain wall surface necessitated by the lean-to roof over
the side aisles. When that blind arcade was opened, the lean-to roof of
the aisles had to be changed to a conical one, which signified an inner
channel for rain water and the ultimate deterioration of the masonry.
Suger's St. Denis had started the delight in stained glass, and the St.
Denis of St. Louis merely carried out its consequences--the suppression
of wall inclosures. The present upper windows of the abbatial are poor
examples of Louis-Philippe's day.

The architect of Louis IX, Pierre de Montereau, designed St. Denis as we
have it to-day, so says a record recently unearthed by M. Henri
Stein.[33] He was an innovator who here first accentuated the upward
sweep of Gothic lines. To that XIII-century master they attributed for a
time the Sainte-Chapelle of the king's palace in the Cité, but now that
it is certain that he planned St. Denis, it is doubted if he made the
Sainte-Chapelle, as there is little kinship between the two. There is a
decided likeness between St. Denis and the chapel of the palace at St.
Germain-en-Laye, and also with the Lady chapel of St. Germer-en-Flay.
Pierre de Montereau was buried in 1267 in a now-destroyed
Sainte-Chapelle which he had erected within the monastery inclosure of
St. Germain-des-Prés, at Paris.

Both Montereau and Montreuil claim this distinguished master. Probably
he was born in the former town on the border of Champagne, as his church
at St. Denis shows a trait of that region, the gallery of circulation
under the windows of the side aisles. Moreover, two of his abbot patrons
came from Montereau. The architect Eudes de Montreuil, whom St. Louis
took with him on his first crusade, and who worked on the fortresses of
Aigues-Mortes and Jaffa, was a son of Pierre de Montereau, it is
supposed, and his name should be spelled in the same way.

No tomb in St. Denis' abbey church predates the XIII century. To honor
King Dagobert, founder of the abbey, St. Louis put up an elaborate
monument and ordered the effigies that distinguish his royal
predecessors' graves. With the tombstone of St. Louis' son, Philip the
Bold, began portrait work. An exact likeness of Charles V, the good
Valois king, was made by his Flemish sculptor, André Beauneveu, and of
almost too great realism is that of his general Bertran Duguesclin, whom
King Charles ordered buried with royal honors in the national

It was the XVI century that added to St. Denis' the three tombs of most
architectural pretensions, those of Louis XII, Francis I, and Henry II.
The monument of Louis XII and Anne of Brittany was undertaken (1516-32)
by Jean Juste, who with his brothers had come north from Florence, being
among the first to bring into France the ideals of the Renaissance.[34]
It has been suggested that the king's and queen's kneeling images are
from the studio at Tours of Guillaume Regnault, who for forty years was
co-worker with Michel Colombe, last of the great Gothic artists. The
priants are still quite French in treatment. Jean Juste made the gisants
and his brother and nephew aided with the lesser sculpture. It was Louis
XII who ordered artists at Genoa to make, in 1502, the Carrara marble
tomb of his father, the poet-duke, Charles d'Orléans, and of his
grandfather, the murdered duke of Orléans, builder of Pierrefonds
Castle, and son of the art-loving Valois king, Charles V.

The tomb of Francis I (1549-59) was designed by Philibert de Lorme.
Pierre Bontemps fashioned the bas-reliefs that celebrate the wars in
Italy; he and other masters made the _priants_ and _gisants_. The tomb
of Henry II and Catherine de Medici (1570) of less artistic value, has a
complicated history. The Italian, Primatici, directed the works;
Domenico Florentino made the king's kneeling figure, and Germain Pilon
his _gisant_; Jerome della Robbia chiseled the queen's death image.

To sum up: there are in St. Denis' abbatial three totally different
parts, built in different periods. There is Suger's forechurch, in which
linger Romanesque echoes; there is the ambulatory of purest Primary
Gothic built a little later by the same great abbot; and finally there
are nave, transept, and the main parts of the choir erected during the
reign of St. Louis in the zenith of Gothic art.

As one stands in the center of the church, gazing along its vaulting, it
is easy to perceive that the axis is broken three times, and each
divergence from the straight line conforms to one of the different
stages of work. The deviation of the axis line once was called
poetically _inclinato capite_ (_et inclinato capite, emisit
spiritum_--St. John xix:30). It was thought to symbolize the inclining
of Christ's head on the Cross. When M. Robert de Lasteyrie proved that a
constructive miscalculation was the cause of the irregular line, the
beautiful idea had to be renounced.[35] In each successive addition to a
church it was difficult for the architect to start the new part exactly
on the same axis as the old, since usually a temporary wall shut off the
portion of the church already finished and in use. The slightest
miscalculation at the start led to a very apparent deflection of
alignment. Those churches which show irregular alignment are known to
have been built in successive stages. A number of church choirs slant to
the south, whereas were the figure on the crucifix taken as model they
would deviate to the north. In churches without a transept, or, in other
words, churches that lack the extended arms of the cross, is sometimes
found a decided slant to the north. Moreover, the crucifix of that epoch
represented a triumphant Christ with erect head, for the art of the
XIII century was serene; the pathetic in religious iconography was a
later development. No writer of the period mentions a symbolic
interpretation of the deviated axis, not even Bishop Guillaume Durandus,
in his noted _Rationale_, or _Signification of the Divine Offices_.
There is, instead, a text of the XIV century which says that a certain
architect was so chagrined at having built a tortuous axial line that he
never returned to be paid by the cathedral chapter. Mr. Arthur Kingsley
Porter thinks that the deviation of the axis was intentionally done, in
order to overcome that tendency of perspective which lessens the
apparent length of a church by foreshortening its far bays. By slanting
the east end, the distant bays could be brought into view, and thus the
edifice would seem longer.

[Illustration: _St. Denis-en-France and Its Royal Mausoleums_]

The Royal Abbey of St. Denis suffered during the Hundred Years' War,
from which period dates the crenelated wall at the birth of the towers.
In those checkered times the silver tombs of St. Louis, of his father
Louis VIII, and of his grandfather Philippe-Auguste, disappeared. In the
XVI-century religious wars the abbey was pillaged, and its library, a
national treasure, was burned. The Calvinists carried off Suger's altar
vessels of silver and gold, on which the learned little abbot had
inscribed Latin verses. The Revolution completed the havoc; of the
monks' quarters nothing remains to-day. The Committee of Public Safety
voted to destroy the tombs of "our ancient tyrants" on the first
anniversary of the August 10th that had unseated the monarchy. So the
mob sallied forth to St. Denis and scattered the dust of the patriot
Suger, whose life work had been the public weal, and the dust of St.
Louis, the most conscientious man who ever ruled a nation and the first
to give France her written laws. The gruesome account of the wrecking of
the royal tombs was written by an eyewitness.[36]

In the opening years of the XVIII century, the abbey church was
described by Chateaubriand as in a ruinous state, with the rain falling
through its roof and grass growing on the broken altars: "The birds use
its nave as a passageway; little children play with the bones of mighty
monarchs. St. Denis is a desert." Napoleon began its restoration, and
many of the scattered tombs were brought back. During the first half of
the XIX century some deplorably bad work was carried on, and the robust
primitive profiles were chiseled away. No sooner was the spire on the
north tower finished than cracks showed, and the tower was dismantled to
the level of the roof. Later changes have repaired some of the stupidity
of those tasteless renovators.

The very history which had been enacted within the walls of the great
abbatial would suffice to make it a national relic. To the
Primary-Gothic church which Suger was building came Louis VII for the
oriflamme, the banner carried before the army in momentous wars. He
shared bed and board with the monks the night before he set forth on the
Second Crusade. To the same early-Gothic church, in 1190, came his son
Philippe-Auguste, to receive the oriflamme for the Third Crusade. The
flame-colored abbey gonfalon on its gold lance flouted the German
emperor when Bouvines' great victory was won in 1214. At the funeral of
Philippe-Auguste, in 1223, a little lad of eight marched to St. Denis'
behind his grandfather's bier. It was the first time that the populace
had beheld their future saint-king, and an old record tells how his
noble bearing gladdened their hearts. At his side walked Jean de
Brienne, king of Jerusalem, leader of the recent Fifth Crusade. When St.
Louis came to St. Denis for the oriflamme in 1247, it was to find a
totally reconstructed church, for Pierre de Montereau had been many
years at work. Joinville in his memoirs described the landing in Egypt
of the Royal Abbey's banner, how for miles the sea was dotted with the
gleaming ships of the crusaders, how the king, standing head and
shoulders above the rest, on perceiving that the leading vessel which
bore the oriflamme had touched shore, leaped into the sea, sword in
hand, with the cry, "Montjoye St. Denis!" And uttering the same battle
cry of France, princes and knights followed. Five years later, tested by
defeat and imprisonment, as fine gold is by fire, Louis IX brought back
the oriflamme to St. Denis. Again he returned for it in 1270 for his
last crusade. Within a year, the whole nation, in mourning, came out to
the abbey. In a reliquary, the king's bones, embalmed with fragrant
spices, had been brought from Tunis, and the new king bore the _châsse_
solemnly, and wherever he paused, on the way from Notre Dame to St.
Denis, a memorial cross was erected. But, to give the annals of the
abbey church would be to tell the history of the French monarchy.

The first time that the gonfalon of St. Denis was carried against
Frenchmen was in 1413, two years before the defeat at Agincourt, in the
black days of the Hundred Years' War, days as fatal to the builders' art
as to the civic life of France. What those dire times were that rent
France to shreds, and how _la fille de Lorraine à nulle autre pareille_
came to the rescue, have been sung by a poet whose high destiny it was
to fall in recent battle. Charles Péguy, in his poem, linked the
momentous epochs of the capital: St. Denis, who brought the Light; Ste.
Geneviève, the sentinel patroness of Paris, who guarded it, and Jeanne
d'Arc, who lifted up the torch from the mire--the torch which the fallen
heroes of the World War have passed on refulgent.

In the V century it was at Geneviève's instigation that a basilica was
raised to honor St. Denis. In the XV century Jeanne d'Arc paid tribute
to the first martyr of Paris. Her troops lodged in the town of St.
Denis, then moved in closer to Paris, and in a shrine dedicated to St.
Denis, in the village of La Chapelle, Jeanne heard Mass, the morning
that she led the assault on the walls of Paris, September 8, 1429. When
wounded she was carried back to La Chapelle (to-day a dense industrial
faubourg of the city), and on St. Denis' altar she offered tribute.
During her trial at Rouen they asked her what arms she had offered to
St. Denis.[37]

"A complete knight's outfit in white, with a sword that I had won before
Paris," was Jeanne's reply. "And why did you make that offering?" asked
the judge, bent on twisting her every act to sorcery. Jeanne answered
hardily: "For devotion, and because it is the custom for all men-of-arms
when they are merely wounded thus to give thanks. Having been wounded
before Paris, I offered my arms to St. Denis because his is the cry of

But let Charles Péguy speak, he who fell between Belgium and Paris in
August, 1914:[38]

    Comme Dieu ne fait rien que par miséricordes,
    Il fallut qu'elle [Ste. Geneviève] vît le royaume en lambeaux,
    Et sa filleule ville embrasée aux flambeaux,
    Et ravagée aux mains des plus sinistres hordes;

    Et les coeurs dévorés des plus basses discordes,
    Et les morts poursuivis jusque dans les tombeaux,
    Et cent mille innocents exposés aux corbeaux,
    Et les pendus tiront la langue au bout des cordes;

    Pour qu'elle vît fleurir la plus grande merveille
    Que jamais Dieu le père en sa simplicité
    Aux jardins de sa grâce et de sa volonté
    Ait fait jaillir par force et par necessité;

    Après neuf cent vingt ans de prière et de veille,
    Quand elle vit venir vers l'antique cité ...
    La fille de Lorraine à nulle autre pareille ...
    Gardant son coeur intact en pleine adversité,
    Masquant sous sa visière une efficacité,
    Tenant tout un royaume en sa ténacité,
    Vivant en pleine mystère avec sagacité,
    Mourant en plein martyre avec vivacité ...
    Jetânt toute une armée aux pieds de la prière.[39]


Some of the Primary Gothic Cathedrals: Noyon, Senlis, Sens, Laon,

    _C'est vers le Moyen Âge énorme et délicat,_
    _Qu'il faudrait que mon coeur en panne naviguât._
    _ ... Roi, politicien, moine, artisan, chimiste,_
    _Architecte, soldat, médecin, avocat,_
    _Quel temps! Oui, que mon coeur naufragé rembarquât._
    _Pour toute cette force ardente, souple, artiste!..._
    _Guidé par la folie unique de la Croix_
    _Sur tes ailes de pierre, ô folle Cathédrale!_
      --PAUL VERLAINE, _Sagesse_, IV.[40]

St. Denis' abbatial was an object lesson in the new art, and the bishops
returned to their dioceses to emulate it. Two of Suger's personal
friends, the bishops of Noyon and Senlis, were the first to rebuild
their cathedrals. Already during the Romanesque stage the cathedral of
Sens had been initiated; it now was to be carried on according to the
new system of building. At Laon was begun a splendid Gothic edifice. At
Soissons, a new cathedral was started by that masterpiece of Primary
Gothic, the transept's southern arm. And many a lesser church now rose:
the collegiate at Braine, the abbey church of St. Leu d'Esserent, and
two abbatials in Champagne as imposing as cathedrals, St. Remi at
Rheims, and Notre Dame at Châlons-sur-Marne. Also in Champagne is the
Primary Gothic church of St. Quiriace at Provins.

The cathedral of Paris was also begun in the primary stage of the
national art. But Notre Dame of Paris must have a chapter to itself.
Before its main parts were completed, Gothic architecture had reached
its culminating point. With it ended the primary group and opened what
we shall call the Era of the Great Cathedrals, though let it be
remembered that all such divisions are arbitrary and made use of merely
for clearness. From its first assured steps to its apogee, from the
middle of the XII century to the middle of the XIII, the sequence of
Gothic architecture is welded too logically to be defined by
cut-and-dried nomenclature.

During the XII century, the Gothic cathedrals retained Romanesque
features, such as deep tribunes over the side aisles, which gave them a
wall elevation in four stories--pier arcade, tribune, triforium (to veil
the lean-to roof over the tribune), and clearstory. At first it was
common usage to encircle the clustered shafts at intervals with stone
rings, but by the XIII century the desire for an unbroken ascending line
had grown stronger, and the employment of such horizontal bands died
out. The simultaneous use of both round and pointed arch is found in all
five of these Primary cathedrals; but after the opening of the XIII
century, semicircular and equilateral arches rarely were used at the
same time in a church. Slowly, as if with reluctance, the new
architecture dropped favorite traits of the old school. Sculpture
continued longest faithful to Romanesque traditions.

Noyon, Senlis, Sens, Laon, and Soissons--it seems rash to treat of such
a bevy of churches in one chapter, when students have made a single
cathedral their life work. The passing traveler is encouraged by one
fact: each big French church, once seen, remains a clear-cut memory, for
each possesses a distinct personality. To confuse one cathedral with
another is impossible.

It is an instinct deeper than mere fancy to choose a season æsthetically
right for a first visit to such sanctuaries. For these Primary
cathedrals the fitting occasion is that fugitive hour when the leaves
are multiple yet half transparent still, only partly veiling the virile
framework of the tree. In them is the evanescence of spring, the
slenderness of adolescence and its virginal restraint, that something of
youth's severity, that something of youth's radiance which is joy, but
not abandonment to joy.

There is something sacred in the modest sobriety of the earlier Gothic
churches.... But what words can express their unimaginable charm! If all
true art is but a symbol, a prefiguring of the mystery, these churches
veil and reveal the coming harmonies of the Beyond as it never before
was revealed and veiled. We speak of Chartres as a recollected holiness;
the stones of Rheims were made majestic for royal pageants; Amiens is a
_sursum corda_. And yet there is something in the first fugitive hour
when Romanesque and Gothic met that makes a deeper appeal to the soul.
No Greek, in portico or sepulchral tablet, conceived beauty of lovelier
proportion, of more heart-piercing simplicity, than some of the earlier
churches of the national genius.

When in the French towns the word passed from mouth to mouth, on a
tragic day of September, 1914, that Rheims Cathedral was in flames,
there were many who asked breathlessly: "And St. Remi? What of St.
Remi?" And when the invaders burst upon Senlis, many who knew the lovely
springtime Gothic church of St. Leu d'Esserent trembled for its fate.
Over the birthplace of the nation's unity of language and architecture
has poured a pitiless rain of iron and fire, a destruction akin to
desecration.[41] Cradle and necropolis!

The iron grip has held cloistral Noyon that was only too content to be
forgotten in its distinguished retirement. The proudest mediæval thing
in France, Laon set with feudal arrogance on its high hill, has been
long years in chained captivity. For seven centuries the faithful bulls
on Laon's towers have looked out, like sentinels, over the city. With
dread forebodings they stood in their captivity, aware that the angel
guard set about Rheims Cathedral had pleaded in vain, that the tower of
Senlis, pride of all the Valois country, had been selected as a target
by the invaders' guns. And Bamburg and Limburg, Halberstadt and
Magdeburg, had copied Laon Cathedral in the old days when the _opus
francigenum_ aroused emulation, not hate, across the Rhine.

Month after month, year after year, the shells rained on Soissons; town
and cathedral lie in ruins. The fair cities of this inmost heart of
France have been desolated, the loyal places that hastened to open their
gates to Jeanne d'Arc when she rode by with her king from the coronation
in Rheims--Senlis and Laon, Soissons and Compiègne,[42] and
Crespy-en-Valois, the countryside that greeted her with such love that
she said she hoped to be buried among such good folk, among these
_chiers et bons amis les loyaulx Franxois habitons les bonnes
villes_.[43] Always in the vanguard of battle were these ancient cities
of France, always the boulevard of the capital, yet the wars of
centuries had respected their churches. Future ages will read of the
glorification of brute force by the invaders who refused to take pity on
Soissons, Noyon, and Rheims, when they stand before the giant amorphous
1913 memorial at Leipzig. Therein speaks the Prussian purpose as
distinctly as, in Gothic cathedrals, speaks the idealism that sent the
old and young crusading, and spurred man on to "the bravest effort he
ever made to save his soul."

Tragic irreparable early churches of France! Like martyrs in the arena,
you have been laid low, one after the other.... But martyrs leave
undying memories. If loved before with an almost unfair preference, you
are sacred now. Rheims, Soissons, Noyon, and Senlis--your names have
become sacramental.


    Vous entendrez rugir une de ces batailles
    Où les peuples entiers se mordent aux entrailles,
    Un combat formidable aux cris désespérés,
    Dont parleront longtemps les hommes effarés;
    Car nous saurons de moins, si notre France expire,
    Lui creuser un tombeau plus large qu'un empire.

Most of the cathedrals of France have an early history following the
same general lines. Each may be said to have passed through a
Merovingian stage, and to have rebuilt itself larger and finer in
Carolingian times.[45] The inroads of the Northmen pirates and the
conflagration of timber roofs wrecked most of the cathedrals, so that a
third and often a fourth reconstruction went on during the Romanesque
era--the century and a half that followed the year 1000. When the
evolution of Gothic art was accomplished, there were few churches that
were not renewed. It has been said that never before had such a noble
frenzy of building seized on mankind.

In the short biography traced here of each cathedral, seldom will an
account be given of former edifices, but rather the story of each church
as it now stands. While some portion may be Romanesque, it is uncommon
to find any Carolingian vestige remaining.

The bishop of Noyon took the initiative set by Abbot Suger at St. Denis.
He was the first to start a cathedral in the new way just as Noyon can
boast that hers was the first communal charter of which there is record.
In 1109 the liberal Bishop Baudry granted the town its franchise,
without the turbulent scenes by which other cities were to wrench theirs
from their feudal proprietors. "Know then, all Christians, present and
future, that by advice of priests, knights, and townsman I have
established a commune in Noyon," begins the bishop's parchment. Many a
neighboring city modeled its charter on that of Noyon.

The quiet towns on the Oise played a precocious part in what Gratry
calls "the big historic effort at justice which occurred in the XII
century, the strong will to get out of barbaric chaos which began our
era, and which, eight hundred years ago, started the impulses of modern
progress." From city to city the communal movement quickened. France
began to be covered by associations for mutual aid, and the winning of
city charters and the creation of guilds went hand in hand with the
intellectual ferment in the schools and the creation of a national

A second Carolingian cathedral of Noyon was replaced in the XI century
by a Romanesque one which was burned in 1131, when the city was laid in
ashes. At that time, Pope Innocent II was visiting a lord of the region,
a cousin of Louis VII, and the brother of the bishop of Noyon, Simon de
Vermandois. The pope wrote to various French prelates enjoining on them
to help Noyon in its disaster. Bishop Simon must have built part of the
walls of the present choir, but as he accompanied Louis VII on the
Second Crusade, and died in the East, it was his successor, Bishop
Baudouin II (1148-67), friend of Suger, friend, too, of St. Bernard, who
really inaugurated the present cathedral about 1150. He sacrificed in
large part what was already done of Bishop Simon's choir in order to put
it into character with the newly expounded principles of architecture.
The choir of St. Denis was his direct model, and he obtained from Abbot
Suger some of his masons; the profiles and ornamentation at Noyon are
identical with those of St. Denis.

In 1157, the relics of St. Eloi, Noyon's noted VII-century bishop, a
skilled goldsmith and prime minister for King Dagobert, were transferred
to the new sanctuary, probably because it was then completed. In the
time of Bishop Baudouin III, who died in 1174, the transept was
finished, as well as the bays of the nave near it. Noyon's western limb
rose during three campaigns of work, as is indicated by differences in
its details, but in main part the nave is a work of the final quarter of
the XII century.

The cathedral was finished by the westernmost bay of its nave, its
capacious porch, and the southwest tower, under Bishop Étienne de
Nemours (1188-1222), who had three brothers, also bishops and builders,
at Paris, at Meaux, and at Châlons, the sons, all four of them, of a
lord chancellor of France. In Noyon, Bishop Étienne was a sound
administrator; he was favorable to the municipality, regulated the
town's moneys, and built a hospital. Philippe-Auguste sent him to
Denmark to escort to France the unfortunate Princess Ingeborg, who was
to be his second wife. The bishop was buried as a benefactor in the
abbey of Ourscamp, four miles from Noyon, farther down the Oise, which
house was a foundation of Bishop Simon de Vermandois, though only
vestiges of its XII-century parts remain.[46]

During the last decade of the XIII century a terrible fire raged for two
days in Noyon Cathedral. The vaulting throughout the church, save in the
choir aisle, had to be reconstructed. For the sexpartite system, which
embraces two bays, and has six branches from the keystone of each vault
section, was now substituted the barlong plan, where diagonals cover
one bay. The early-Gothic architects took up with enthusiasm the
Normans' sexpartite plan, but after using it for half a century they
most sensibly returned to the quadripartite system as better suited to
their needs. The sexpartite vault calls for piers of alternating
strength, since on the heavier pier fall diagonals and transverse arch,
and only a transverse arch on the intermediate pier.

Noyon Cathedral had from its start planned for a sexpartite vault by
building its ground supports of alternating strength. Its piers,
therefore, became illogical when a barlong vaulting was erected after
the fire of 1193. And one regrets that it has not its original stone
roof, since the correlations in this hardy first cathedral are elsewhere
very perfect. Throughout the church are details of subtle charm. There
is a slight bending out, like a horseshoe, of the archivolts of the pier
arcade, which archivolts are severely plain. Usually from the abacus of
a main pier rise five clustered shafts to the level of the
vault-springing, two to catch the diagonals, two for the longitudinal or
wall arches, and one for the transverse arch. Noyon showed constructive
agility in concentrating its wall ribs and diagonals on a single shaft,
which meant only three clustered colonnettes from main piers to

Each cathedral in France possesses a few traits peculiar to itself.
Noyon is unique in having both ends of its transept terminate in
hemicycles, like a Rhenish church.[47] The Romanesque school of the
Rhine had derived the feature from the early chapels of Rome. Probably
Noyon's transept apses came from retaining the foundations of the
previous cathedral. A church which was long in the jurisdiction of
Noyon--the cathedral at Tournai--still possesses its Romanesque transept
with semicircular ends. Cambrai Cathedral, destroyed by the Revolution,
once had a similar pre-Gothic transept; its choir, built from 1220 to
1237 in the golden day of the national art, was an irreparable loss.
Noyon Cathedral showed another Germanic trait in what may be called a
western transept, made by the lower stories of the façade towers and the
middle section of the first bay.

The nave of Noyon is a noble vessel, with an interior four-story
elevation of happier proportions than was achieved in the transept. No
longer do annulets bind the clustered shafts, thus breaking the
ascending line as in the choir. Throughout the church is to be found the
simultaneous use of round and pointed arches, and, curiously enough, it
is the lower stories, pier arcade, and tribune, that used the pointed
arch; in the triforium and clearstory the arches are semicircular.
Everywhere the sculptured capitals are of rare beauty. The Romanesque
acanthus leaf is found in juxtaposition with the Gothic crocket.

Noyon is exceptional in having retained its annexes: the treasure hall
built by Bishop Baudouin II, the chapel of the episcopal palace, a
half-timber library, and a beautiful chapter house (c. 1240). This
latter, opening on a fragment of the cathedral cloister, is a hall
divided into two aisles by a row of slender pillars, the type preferred
by the French, whereas in England the circular hall whose vault ribs
were gathered on a central pier was more popular. Noyon's chapter house
was built by Bishop Pierre Chalot, who died at sea, off Cyprus, on St.
Louis' crusade of 1248.

When in late-Gothic times Noyon was adding chapels and side aisles, her
master-of-works was Jean Turpin, who at Péronne--pitiful Péronne la
Pucelle entirely a ruin to-day--erected a Flamboyant Gothic church which
was a veritable gem.

The battle of giants, foreseen in the poet's dream, twice engulfed Noyon
during the World War. From the first occupation by the enemy the city
escaped without serious injury. Then in March, 1918, began the Germans'
desperate advance on Paris. At the end of the month the mayor of Noyon
quitted the city, the last to leave. And in September he was the first
to re-enter Noyon after the second battle of the Marne had driven back
the invaders. He found his town a ruin. Not a single building had
escaped injury, and only ten days earlier a photograph taken from a
French airship had shown that the Renaissance Town Hall and Noyon's
chief square were intact; few monuments had suffered from the occasional
bombardments by the Allies. The Hôtel de Ville had been built in the
dawn of the classic Renaissance, and its fine façades retained much of
the Gothic spirit. Before their departure the invaders blew up the town;
not even Calvin's birthplace was spared. Hardly 10 per cent of the
houses of this amiable little city that asked only to be left unmolested
by the fever and fret of new things are to-day worth reconstruction.

[Illustration: _Noyon's Chapter House (1240-1250)_]

As if by a miracle, the cathedral and a side street named for the old
goldsmith bishop, St. Eloi, were preserved. The cathedral roof is
pierced by shells in a dozen places and the northern tower and the porch
between the towers are smashed, but the interior is but slightly
damaged. In one of the side chapels a vandal fired his pistol many times
at a picture of the Saviour. Perhaps it was the memory that Noyon's
rounded transept ends and forechurch were Germanic which saved the
cathedral. Better is it to remember by a Radegund, by a Charlemagne,
than by Odin and Thor.


     To-day analysis has seized on all things, and it is leading us to
     death. Man, we must not forget, lives intellectually by
     synthesis.... If archæology is to make known the monuments of the
     past, it ought, before all else, to try to make them loved, for,
     given the uncertitude of the future, it is in that love that they
     will find their only chance of safety.

     --ÉMILE LAMBIN.[49]

Senlis was the second begun of the Gothic cathedrals. The most fecund
region for early essays in the nascent national art lay between Senlis
and Noyon. Thibaut, bishop of Senlis, was present at Abbot Suger's
deathbed in 1151. Filled with the ambition to replace his half-ruined
church by a Gothic one, he began, about 1152, the new works, and once
more the abbey church of St. Denis was the model. Some of Senlis'
original vaults remain over side aisles, tribune, and apse chapels.
Their intersecting ribs show a certain inexperience, and in places
semicircular diagonals still are used. The framing arches of each
section are lower than the keystone of the diagonals, which imparts a
_bombé_ shape to the vault. As the masons acquired skill in the making
of Gothic stone roofs, this domical form died out; by stilting, by
depressing, and by pointing the arches was the difficulty solved. Like
Noyon, Senlis played a part in the early history of France. The
Merovingian and Carolingian kings and those of the House of Capet
frequented the little city in order to hunt in the forests of the Oise.
Louis VII made Senlis his favorite residence, and when the new
cathedral was undertaken he allowed donations to be collected over the
entire kingdom.

When Bishop Thibaut died, the succeeding prelates, Henri and Geoffrey,
continued to give largely of their revenues to the new works, but the
progress was slow. Senlis was a small diocese for so big a monument.
About the time that the choir was finished, 1180, the sculpture of the
central-western portal was set up, a gem of Primary Gothic, though sadly
damaged by time. It marks a date in French mediæval sculpture. On the
lintel is related the Death of the Virgin and her Assumption, in the
tympanum her Coronation. Senlis was the first to use this ordinance
which the XIII century frequently repeated; we find it at Chartres'
north portal, and at the entrance under the northwest tower of Notre
Dame at Paris.

M. Émile Mâle with his usual happy phrasing speaks of the lyric beauty
of the lintel stone at Senlis.[50] It was partly inspired by the _Golden
Legend_ of the good Bishop James of Genoa, which in its turn had used
the apocryphal gospels freely.[51] The legend relates that at the
deathbed of Our Lady, the Apostles gathered, and St. John cautioned
them: "Be careful when she is dead that no one weeps, lest the people,
seeing our tears, be troubled, and say, 'They fear death, who preach the
Resurrection.'" For three days Our Lady rested in her tomb in the valley
of Jehoshaphat, then came her Divine Son, with angels, singing the
Canticle of Canticles, to escort her to Paradise. The old sculptor of
Senlis has depicted the touching reverence with which the angels bend,
to lift from the tomb their future Queen of Heaven. Their gesture of
eager love is one of the exquisitely delicate conceptions of mediæval

While they were carving the west portal there came to Senlis a touching
figure, the young mother of the future Louis VIII, Isabelle, daughter of
Baudouin V of Flanders, who claimed direct descent from Charlemagne;
through her the blood of the Carolingian line passed into the third
dynasty of France. She was to die, at nineteen, almost repudiated by
Philippe-Auguste, because her people declined to support one of his
projects. In Senlis Cathedral this gentle grandmother of St. Louis
walked barefooted, candle in hand, beseeching assistance from the Mother
of God with such humility that the beholders wept. She founded a chapel
in the cathedral.

A few years later, in 1191, the cathedral of Senlis was consecrated by
that archbishop of Sens who was Philippe-Auguste's uncle, Guillaume of
Champagne, William of the White Hands, the prelate who had completed the
cathedral at Sens. And there came to the dedication Bishop Nivelon de
Chérisy, just starting Soissons' Cathedral; Bishop Étienne de Nemours,
at work on Noyon's; the prelate of Meaux, who was raising that
cathedral; and many another expert in the new art. Sometime later,
Bishop Geoffrey resigned his see, and in his place was elected Pierre
Guérin, chancellor of France under three kings, a figure worthy to stand
beside those Gallo-Roman bishops who remained as bulwarks of society
when the Roman Empire fell in pieces around them.

Bishop Guérin was a man possessed by a passion for the public weal. His
prudence and firmness caused Philippe-Auguste and Louis VIII to name him
executor of their testaments. One of his enterprises was the organizing
of the royal archives. It was he who came to Blanche of Castile to break
the news of her husband's death as she rode out from Paris to meet Louis
VIII returning from the southern war. For Louis IX during his minority
he showed a father's affection. "He governed marvelously well the
kingdom's needs," says the old chronicler, and when he died, on his
grave they inscribed, "Here lies Guérin, whose life was an untiring

In early life Guérin had, in Palestine, become a Knight Hospitalier of
St. John of Jerusalem, and, as bishop, continued to wear the white habit
of that military order. At the battle of Bouvines, though not an actual
combatant, he exhorted the troops and directed maneuvers, for he was
skilled in the strategy of war. A survey of the enemy's position made
him urge Philippe-Auguste to attack at once, and the king, who knew
Guérin to be _sages homs et de parfont conseil_, obeyed, thus winning
the greatest victory of the century. "On that day French unity received
its baptism."

The king had vowed, were his arms successful, to endow an abbey. Bishop
Guérin laid for him the first stone of the Abbaye de la Victoire, near
his episcopal city.[52] Before this greatest of the bishops of Senlis
died, his cathedral had begun to crown its southwest tower by the
octagon and spire which are the boast of all the Valois country. St.
Louis must have contributed to Senlis' famous tower, which places in
foremost rank, this, the smallest cathedral in France. The unknown
architect gathered features from many a beacon to unite them here in a
masterpiece. He may be said to have created a new type, since his belfry
at Senlis made a school in the region.[53]

The graduation of the upright shaft into the inclined plane, which in
every tower is the crucial point, has here been accomplished with such
address, such rhythm, that precisely at what instant the fusion takes
place is not to be determined. It has been said that the shaft of the
tower is too high in proportion to its spire; at a distance perhaps the
criticism may seem justified, but not on closer view. Some have thought
that Senlis' belfry was a trifle too conscious of its charms, that it
had not the calm poise of Chartres' tower. So it may be; there is more
of the woman than the archangel in it. Its personal graciousness has
become so wedded with the lives of Senlis' townspeople that they wish it
good morning as they pass. The voyager will not find himself many hours
in Senlis without pausing at every coign of vantage to gain some new
silhouette effect of the slender beacon. It is charming when viewed in
the same group as the Gallo-Roman ramparts. And from the open door of
the church of St. Frambourg,[54] it can be studied at leisure.

In the original plan of Senlis' Cathedral there was only an indication
of a transept--two small lateral chapels that open, to-day, from the
choir aisle. When, about 1240, the radiant tower was finished they
undertook to make a real transept. To insert one they had to do away
with four bays of the nave; some ancient columns in the west piers of
the transept witness to this change. In its present form the transept of
Senlis belongs to the XIII century only in its lower walls.

In 1504 a conflagration lasting several days destroyed the cathedral's
upper vaulting and necessitated the total reconstruction of the
clearstory. In consequence, the exterior appearance of this very early
Gothic church is most decidedly Flamboyant. Only the apse and the west
façade have retained their Primary Gothic aspect. Chapels with
complicated pendant vaults were built, aisles were added, and
balustrades put before the tribune opening. Thick coats of whitewash
coarsened the lines; in fact, restorations have been so radical, and
many of them so over-ornate, that this cathedral has been called the
Gothic of bad taste. An extreme criticism, for if some of the changes
are distressing, Senlis' transept façades, which also are later
additions, are to be reckoned among the best work of the final phase of
the national art.

After the fire of 1504 the cathedral chapter sought assistance from the
king: "_Plaise au Roy d'avoir pitié et compassion de la paoure église de
Senlis ... laquelle, par fortune et inconvénient de feu a été bruslée,
les cloches fondues, et le clocher qui est grant, magnifique et l'un des
singuliers du royaume, au moyen du dit feu tellement endommagé qu'il est
en danger de tomber_." Royalty responded generously as the sculpture
shows; at the transept's portals are to be seen the porcupine of Louis
XII, the ermine of Anne of Brittany, and the salamander of Francis I.

Under the learned Bishop Guillaume Parvi, confessor to Francis I, was
laid the first stone of the transept's elaborate south façade in 1521.
On it worked Pierre de Chambiges, son of the noted maker of late-Gothic
frontispieces, and Jean Dixieult. And when it was nearing completion in
1560 the north façade was begun, and finished by the latter master.

Effective, vivid, alertly handsome are Senlis' transept fronts. The wise
traveler, even if he infinitely prefers the purer lines of early Gothic,
will learn to value this florid final expansion of the national art. The
renewal of builders' energy in the XV and XVI centuries was a sumptuous
phase worthy of admiration. Those who are partial to English Gothic do
not need to be warned against depreciating French Flamboyant work. The
advice to be eclectic in travel, so as not to lose any source of
artistic pleasure, is for those whose ideal of the builders' art is that
of the Ile-de-France, comprised between 1150 and 1250. For such the
chief interest of Senlis will be the cathedral's apse, its main façade,
and the splendid tower. Let them widen their sympathies and take in the
effective transept-fronts of the Flamboyant rebirth.

Senlis of the towers, of the silent squares, of the quaint names--rue
des Fromages, rue du Puits-Tiphane, rue des Pigeons Blancs--a charming
aristocratic little city, set in an undulating Corot-like landscape,
dotted with country houses, was the very epitome of well-conditioned
provincial life. Before the summer of 1914 no spot on earth seemed
farther removed from violence and crime. Then came the invading hordes
over the Valois land. On September 2, 1914, the Germans surrounded
Senlis, which, _ville ouverte_ though it was, they proceeded to bombard.
One third of the obus that fell hit the cathedral. That the guns, three
miles away, were pointed on the famous tower would seem to be proved by
the fact that only those houses were damaged which lay in the direct
line between the German battery and Notre Dame.

When the enemy entered the city the mayor (shot later in reprisal) met
them at the Hôtel de Ville. He had scarcely assured them that no troops
remained in Senlis when shots rang out: by ill luck some colonial
colored troops, on retiring, fired a salute. Thereupon followed the
usual accusation that civilians were the combatants, and the usual
tragic scenes of reprisal. Down the main street of the little city
passed the trained wreckers of peaceful homes, prying open the doors to
throw in incendiary bombs. Before night a whole section of Senlis lay an
unsightly blackened ruin.... Then came the victory of the Marne and the
invaders retreated. The havoc done to the cathedral can be repaired,
though, in the process, must be lost the exquisite golden lichen stain
which long ages had achieved. The preservation of Senlis' tower was due
to a curé of the cathedral who fearlessly pleaded for his church before
the German commandant.


     What were Rheims and Soissons before their martyrdom but the
     transfiguring of stone and metal and wood; dead matter delved from
     the ground or hewn out of the forest, through the labor of man
     exalted into forms of absolute beauty, and, because of this
     loving labor, transformed ... into a mysterious creation that, in
     the words of Suger of St. Denis, was neither wholly of earth nor
     wholly of Heaven, but a mysterious blending of both.


[Illustration: _Senlis' Tower (c. 1230-1250)_]

Sens was a chief Celtic city at the intersecting of the Roman roads from
Lyons to Paris, from Orléans to Troyes. Long did it dispute the title of
primate of Gaul with Lyons and Rheims; even down to the XVI century
Paris was within its jurisdiction. To-day as the express trains rush by
from Paris to Marseilles, many a traveler looks out on a cathedral that
seems to over-tower and overpower a flat, sleepy little town whose name
he scarcely knows. When the cathedral was building in the XII century
Sens was a center of the nation's life, and under a succession of
noteworthy archbishops reached its zenith.

Here at the Council of Sens, in 1140, was scheduled to take place a
final contest between St. Bernard and Abélard, and in that hour of
enthusiasm over abstract controversy, the king with his court and people
of every degree flocked to Sens for the schoolmen's debate on the
Trinity. At the last moment Abélard, the inexhaustible arguer who had
himself called for the test, quitted the combat. Some twenty years later
Pope Alexander III spent a year and a half in Sens, and hither came
Thomas Becket to seek papal indorsement for his opposition to Henry II's
interference in church affairs. Between these two events, 1140 to 1164,
lies the building of Sens Cathedral. At the time of Abélard's and St.
Bernard's visit the present edifice had been started. During the
residence here of Alexander III and the archbishop of Canterbury it was
nearing completion. The pope is recorded as dedicating an altar.

For a time Sens usurped the claim to be the oldest of the Gothic
cathedrals. Its choir was started as Romanesque, but the walls rose
slowly, and before a stone roof crowned the ambulatory the new system of
building had conquered public opinion. The choir-aisle walls, intended
to carry a groin vault, were rearranged to bear one with diagonals. On
the outer wall the diagonals were caught on corbels placed above the
capitals, and though such an arrangement shows maladroitness, the ribs
themselves were made by no novice hand. Sens was a pioneer in the use of
the broken rib to avoid the curving of diagonals: from each keystone,
set precisely in the center of each section, branched the four ribs.

The walls of the procession path and an apsidal chapel opening on the
transept's north arm, are the oldest parts of Sens Cathedral. It is true
that they antedate the dedication of St. Denis, but not by a few
Romanesque vestiges can Sens substantiate its claim to be the first
built of Gothic cathedrals. In its main parts it belongs to the third
quarter of the XII century. It was a distinct advance on Noyon and
Senlis, because it eliminated the deep tribunes over the side aisles.
One of the striking characteristics of Sens is the way that light floods
it from the aisle windows, which are on a noble scale. Because the
church was built during a tentative hour its deficiency lies in the
height of the central nave. For right proportion, when flanked by such
lofty aisles, the nave should have been made considerably higher.

Sens Cathedral was begun by Archbishop Henri-le-Sanglier (1122-43) to
replace a church dedicated at the end of the X century. Such strides has
mediæval archaeology taken in France during the last generations, it is
hard to believe that serious students, during the Congrès Archéologique
held at Sens in 1840, could have considered the present edifice to be
the one dedicated before 1000.

Henri-le-Sanglier had been appointed by Louis VI to the see of Sens
before he had received holy orders, and in the lax spiritual standards
of the day, he saw no harm in living like the feudal lord he was by
birth. He had not Thomas of Canterbury's unbending consistency. When his
worldliness was censured by St. Bernard he changed his way of life, and
ultimately proved himself a loyal and humane pastor.

Of the six archbishops who were to follow him as builders of Sens'
metropolitan church, all of them were national figures. Under the long
rule of Hugues de Toucy (1143-68) the church was mainly erected. He was
the friend of Abbot Suger the pioneer, the friend, too, of Bernard the
regenerator, who came as his guest to Sens, after preaching the Second
Crusade at Vézelay. The same hospitable bishop welcomed on two occasions
the exiled archbishop of Canterbury. The second visit of St. Thomas
Becket was when he had been forced to quit the abbey of Pontigny,
situated close by over the Burgundian border, because Henry Plantagenet
swore to close every Cistercian house in his English and French domains
if further refuge were offered the prelate. Moved by the welcome given
him in his distress by the archbishop of Sens, the famous Englishman
cried out--so his secretary, Herbert of Bosham, records: "Ah, we have
proved the truth of the old saying--'_douce France! ô douce encore, ô
très douce France! Oui, elle est douce, vraiment douce, la France!_'"

By a series of logical inferences the name of the architect of this
Primary Gothic cathedral has been added to the roll call of honor. It is
known that Guillaume de Sens, a French master, was chosen in 1174 by the
chapter of Canterbury to rebuild their cathedral, destroyed by fire. He
drew the plan of Canterbury and had put up its apse, its Lady chapel,
and two bays of the choir, when one day he fell fifty feet from a
scaffold, and returned, in 1180, to his native land to die. An English
architect, also named William, continued the works at Canterbury, always
on the plan of French William.

Now the chevet of Canterbury has strong analogies with that of Sens.
There is the same single chapel in its axis; at Sens other apse chapels
were added in the XVI and XVIII centuries. The profiles were alike in
both cathedrals, and so were the sexpartite vaulting and the embryo
transept. In both Canterbury and Sens is an exceptional feature, of
Champagne origin, which could hardly have been used accidentally by two
men in the same generation. Each alternate pier, at Sens, consists of
twin columns, placed side by side according to the width, not the
length, of the church. At Canterbury, despite subsequent rebuildings,
the same arrangement is still to be found in the bay before the

Guillaume de Sens was too prominent to have copied another man's work,
and since it is certain that the plan of Canterbury is his, it is now
accepted that he built the cathedral of his native town before he
proceeded to England. The homogeneous choir and nave of Sens show that
they are the work of the years preceding 1175. And Guillaume's claim to
be Sens' architect is further strengthened by a historic link. Not only
did Thomas Becket spend three weeks with Archbishop Hugues de Toucy on
his first arrival in the city during the pope's stay there, but, after
quitting Pontigny, he passed some years in St. Colombe monastery by the
town. Without a doubt he knew the master-of-works who was erecting the
cathedral, and it may have been he who, on his return to his own see,
made the French architect's skill known to his cathedral chapter.
Guillaume was not called to Canterbury, however, till after the
martyrdom of its great archbishop.

Sens Cathedral was completed by a prince of the reigning house of
Champagne, a son of Thibaut the Great, Archbishop
Guillaume-of-the-White-Hands (1168-76). He, too, was Becket's stanch
supporter, and denounced his murder to the pope, though by blood he was
Henry II's cousin. In 1178 he crossed to England to pray by the tomb of
the newly canonized saint--one of the first of the Canterbury Pilgrims
who for over three hundred years were to wend their way to the shrine in
Kent. Through his influence, Becket's friend and adviser, John of
Salisbury, the ablest scholar of his generation, was raised to the see
of Chartres. Both William of Champagne and John of Salisbury received
episcopal consecration from the hands of good Maurice de Sully, the
builder of Paris Cathedral. In his later life Archbishop Guillaume was
transferred to the see of Rheims, and in that cathedral he anointed as
king his own nephew, Philippe-Auguste, whose prime minister he was; when
Philippe II went on the Third Crusade he left as regents his uncle and
his mother, Alix of Champagne. The archbishop's affection for his nephew
led him to sanction the king's divorce from Ingeborg of Denmark and his
marriage to Agnes of Méran, which drew on France the papal interdict,
and on William of Champagne the censures of Innocent III.

The house occupied by Thomas Becket, in the cloister of Sens Cathedral,
was decorated by a statue of him, which disappeared during the
Revolution. During excavations in the cloister, in 1899, they came upon
an image representing a bishop, and marked with the seal of Archbishop
Guillaume-of-the-White-Hands. The statue is now set up in the choir
aisle on the site where once stood an altar dedicated to St. Thomas of

The tutelary of Sens Cathedral is St. Stephen, the first martyr. A
XII-century statue at the trumeau, or central shaft, of the west door
presents him as the beautiful youthful servant of the Lord. Gazing at it
one thinks of St. Augustine's words: "The Church would never have had
St. Paul but for St. Stephen's prayer." Paul, holding the robes of those
who stoned Stephen, heard the martyr pray for his executioners. The
trumeau statue of St. Etienne with its parallel feet marks the
transition from the column image, such as those at Chartres' western
portal, to the XIII-century type of saintly personages at the doors of
Rheims and Amiens. It escaped mutilation during the Revolution because
some one had the wit to write on the stone tablet in the saint's hand,
_The Book of the Law_. The foliage relief on the shaft is exquisite.

As the XII century closed the archbishop of Sens was Michel de Corbeil
(1194-99), a well-known scholastic writer. Under him and Pierre de
Corbeil (d. 1222), his successor and also a learned teacher from the
Paris schools, the axis chapel at Sens was rebuilt, and the upper
vaulting of choir and nave reconstructed in order to enlarge the
windows. As the longitudinal or wall arches were now raised to the level
of the keystone, the bombé shape of the vault disappeared; in the chevet
the wall ribs show as many as three sets of capitals. The vault sections
of the side aisles, however, remained domical, as originally built.

Two other distinguished brothers, men of great lineage and intellectual
attainment, ruled the see of Sens during many years, Gautier de Cornut
from 1222 to 1241 and Gilles de Cornut, who died in 1254; and they had a
brother who busied himself with the new cathedral at Beauvais. Gautier
de Cornut, who while doctor of law in Paris University served as
chaplain to Philippe-Auguste and Louis VIII, was the envoy sent in 1234
to fetch Marguerite of Provence to be married to Louis IX in Sens
Cathedral, the king then being in his twentieth year. The young princess
of the art-loving Midi came north accompanied by a troop of minstrels.
Again in 1239 St. Louis returned to Sens for the Crown of Thorns, on its
transit from Venice to Paris, and he walked out some miles from the city
to meet it. Barefooted, he and his brother, Robert of Artois, bore back
the previous relics to the cathedral, through streets hung with
tapestries and lighted by candles. The relic rested in St. Étienne's
church all night and then in a solemn, eight-day procession was carried
to Paris. The king had the archbishop write the formal account of it
all. Gautier de Cornut erected the synodal hall which touches the
cathedral's façade, and his own statue and that of the young king
decorated its buttresses. The best civic monument of St. Louis' reign
many think it to be, and as perfect in its own way as the hospital hall
at Ourscamp, its contemporary.

In 1267 the cathedral's southwest tower fell; it may have been one built
in Carolingian times from the proceeds of a gold retable, or it may have
been a XII-century tower of Archbishop Hugues de Toucy's time, as are
the two lower stories of the present northwest tower. Its fall
necessitated the remaking of the last two bays of the nave and of the
damaged western doors during the early XIV century. The side chapels
were built then, too, but they have been rehandled in the present day,
and are now dissimulated behind an arcaded wall. A record of 1319 speaks
of the able Nicholas de Chaumes as architect here before he proceeded to
Meaux Cathedral. He demolished the ancient chapel on the transept's
southern arm, but its corresponding chapel, on the transept's northern
arm, still exists and is, with the ambulatory walls, the oldest part of
the church. Not till after the Hundred Years' War, however, was the plan
to erect a new transept carried through.

Sens then possessed as its archbishop, during forty years, the energetic
Tristan de Salazar (d. 1519) who had fought, sword in hand, with Louis
XII in the Italian wars. Like Bishop Jacques d'Amboise, who was then
finishing at Paris the present Musée Cluny as town house for his abbey
of Cluny, Archbishop de Salazar built the Hôtel Sens in Paris for his
diocesan house. To his own cathedral he added the southwest tower's
upper story (to which later a Renaissance lantern was attached) and he
connected the synodal hall with the episcopal palace by a rich gallery.
Some sculptured panels now attached to a pier in the nave of Sens
Cathedral originally formed part of a tomb he had made for his parents.
It was this munificent art patron who began the late-Gothic transept. In
1490 the most notable architect of the day, Martin Chambiges, was
invited to direct the work, and for four years he gave it his personal
supervision until called to Troyes to make the Flamboyant Gothic façade
of that cathedral.

Sens Cathedral contains some ancient windows, four of which are among
the best in France and allied with Suger's school, though probably
executed as the XIII century opened, since the saddle bars follow the
outline of the medallion pictures. Those four exceptional windows of the
choir aisle sparkle with the jeweled intensity of the golden age of the
vitrine art. In one of them is told the story of St. Eustace, often to
be met with in French iconography, since he figured in the _Golden
Legend_. Another describes the return to England of Thomas Becket and
his immediate martyrdom. Originally next to it hung a companion lancet,
giving Becket's early life, but this was done away with to make room for
a chapel. The other two lancets are of the _Biblia Pauperum_ type. In
one, the parable of the Prodigal Son is given. In the other is the story
of the Good Samaritan, and the half medallions on either side of each
central scene interpret it symbolically. Such correlation of the Old
and the New Testament was most popular in the Middle Ages. Beside a
medallion which shows the traveler fallen among thieves stands the
expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden; and the scene of the
charitable Samaritan is accompanied by pictures of the Saviour's death
and resurrection. They might not be able to write and read, the ordinary
men and women of that day, they had no daily journal to crowd their
minds with half-digested facts, but their souls were fed by sound
ethical truths set forth clearly in their one great book, the cathedral.
The artisan donors of such windows we may be sure knew the symbolic
meaning of every panel.

In the clearstory windows at the curve of Sens' choir is more
XIII-century glass, but it is later work, lacking the marvelous glow of
the choir-aisle lancets. The two big roses of the transept are splendid.
A celestial concert was then a favorite theme. The south rose (1500) was
made by the same Champagne artists, Lyénin, Varin, Verrat, and Godon who
filled the nave of Troyes Cathedral with its high-colored translucent
woodcuts. The north rose of the transept finished in 1504, was the work
of native masters, influenced by the noted school of Troyes. The side
windows in Sens' Flamboyant transept are equally good.[57]

Jean Cousin, born in Sens, 1501, made two of the cathedral's windows,
the rich one of St. Eutropius, in the nave, and the Tiburtine sibyl of
amplest design, in the shrine to the south of the axis chapel. Nothing
could be more resplendent as picture windows, but Gothic-Renaissance
work, whose tendency was to treat each light as an isolated picture, is
not equal to the close-woven patterns of XII-and XIII-century mosaic
glass, which kept itself in subordination to its architectural setting.
The immense superiority of the earlier windows is demonstrated in Sens
Cathedral, which offers us both types at their best.

[Illustration: _The Interior of Laon Cathedral (XII Century). View from
the Tribune Gallery_]


     And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of
     heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her
     husband.--Apoc. xxi:2, used in the office for the dedication of a

While Sens, Noyon, and Senlis were building, the splendid cathedral of
Laon was begun, about 1160. The usual transition features of Primary
Gothic showed in its retention of tribunes over the side aisles, in the
simultaneous use of round and pointed arches, the beringed colonnettes,
and the salient transept arms. The chapel, in two stories, that opened
on each arm of the transept, was another Romanesque tradition.

The interior of Laon, "the cathedral of Purity, Silence, and Power," is
indeed most impressive. One bay follows another with a regularity that
is accentuated by the interior elevation being in four stories--pier
arcade, tribune arches, triforium wall arcade, and clearstory. It is not
a lofty church, but, like English cathedrals, what it lacks in height is
compensated for in length. There are eleven bays in the nave, and ten in
the choir. Moreover, because it was comparatively low it could build a
square transept-crossing tower, and the average French cathedral was too
high for such a tower to be artistic. Laon and Braine were exceptions
among Ile-de-France churches in having central lanterns; they were
derived from Normandy, since the Rhenish lantern usually was octagonal.
Strange as it may seem to say of the most prominent, most open, and
best-lighted part of a church, there is a blessed seclusion beneath the
wide white tower of Laon that "shuts the heart up in tranquillity."

Down the long church, the stout monolithic piers make two virile lines.
Only during a short period were such sturdy cylinders used, here and in
Notre Dame at Paris are the chief examples, and both cathedrals were
artistically right in preferring their uniform columns, even though both
of them used the sexpartite vaulting that called for alternating ground
supports. The coming cathedrals were to adopt once for all the barlong
system of vaulting, where the concentration of loads fell equally on
every bay, and to evolve a classic type of pier, consisting of a central
cylinder flanked by four semi-attached columns. At Laon a few piers in
the nave experimented with free-standing colonnettes, three of which
were placed in front of the pillar to enlarge, there, the abacus of the
capital on which stood the shafts that mounted to the vault-springing.
The elliptical piers of Beauvais, longer from north to south, were to be
the most perfect solution of the problem of ground supports.

There is no denying that Laon's interior is to-day too white, but we
must remember that originally color was used on the stones, so that any
effect of a hall would have been impossible in the olden times.
Viollet-le-Duc called Laon the laic cathedral _par excellence_. He
considered it a great civic hall wherein the populace "could unite and
enjoy spectacles more or less profane." And even in the flat eastern
wall he found something occultly heretical. The towers, he said, were
more those of a château than a church. He shut his mind to the fact that
Laon was erected largely by its bishops, that it was begun by the choir
end, which is suitable only for divine service, and that if its seven
towers had been crowned with the sky-pointing spires of the architect's
plan, and if its sky-dreaming windows were still intact, there would be
little of the aspect of a town hall about this stately church. Critics
like Huysmans have exaggerated its present iciness: no one can pray in
Laon, he exclaimed; its soul is fled forever. But what would be
Chartres, his spot of election for prayer, were it unsoftened by its
"storied windows richly dight"?

Only a slight amount of ancient glass has survived in Laon. The north
rose of the transept shows pictures of the sciences. Beneath the rose
window in the flat eastern wall are three handsome lancets made by the
school of Chartres early in the XIII century. They show the passing away
of the hieratic Byzantine gesture: in the Annunciation and Visitation
medallions the robes float naturally; in the Nativity scene the natural
gesture of a woman who tests the warmth of the water before bathing the
Holy Child has been well rendered.

If a lack of accessories makes the interior of Laon Cathedral seem
to-day more philosophic than religious, there are certain lovable
individual touches in it that warm both heart and imagination. In the
first place it is a church fairly garlanded with springtime foliage. The
wonder of eternal youth is in its half-curled leaves which the sculptors
conventionalized just enough to make them architectural. Not one sprig,
not one leaf is like another. Never was nature more profoundly loved or
more convincingly interpreted.

Then there are the stone bulls of Laon. They stand high on the western
towers, those sixteen massive oxen, stretching their necks, as if
watching the people climb the steep hill below. Each stands under a
columned canopy. The popular fancy is that they commemorate the patient
beasts who dragged the stones for the cathedral up Laon's precipitous
crags, and there is nothing improbable in the idea. It was a day when
St. Francis was telling man to love his dumb fellow creatures. The
towers of Laon Cathedral are worthy of the magistral setting of the
church on the edge of the abrupt hill where had grown the ancient city.
For miles Laon's towers command the plain, "an assembly without rival
among Gothic monuments." Incomplete though they are, Laon's five towers
come nearer to the ideal plan of seven spires than does any other
cathedral. The corner tourelles pass from one form to another, as they
rise, converting themselves into octagons. "Ponder it well," wrote the
XIII-century architect, Villard de Honnecourt, in his famous sketchbook.
"I have been in many lands, as you can see by this book, but never in
any place is to be found a tower equal to Laon."

Four of the towers are alike, each with the same long lancet openings,
the same free-standing pillars at the corners. Rows of crockets mark the
main lines, for the old-time masters were adepts in every device whereby
to fix the eye on the essential. There are aspects when the fretwork
designs made by Laon's towers against the sky are superb.

The date of the cathedral long gave rise to discussion in the days when
mediæval archaeology was still hazy. No one now contends that the
present Notre Dame is the church which was patched up hastily by Bishop
Bartholomew de Vir after the fire of 1112. That conflagration was a
semi-lawless act. Laon's bishop was also its feudal proprietor, hence a
greedy baronage contended to hold the see. One Gaudry, a knight
adventurer who had served under William the Conqueror in England and
there grown rich, obtained the bishopric of Laon by simony. All his talk
was of hawks, hounds, and hunting. During one of his absences in England
the townspeople set up a commune, and Gaudry bent his energies to
frustrate it. In an uprising in 1112 the infuriated populace murdered
him. The fire, started during the riots, spread to the cathedral, which
was practically consumed. The burghers, being unskilled in arms, were
forced to call to their aid a fierce robber-baron of the house of Coucy,
Thomas of Marle, who, according as he found it profitable, fought, now
against, now for, the communes.[59] It took the king of France half a
lifetime to destroy that "raging wolf," as Abbot Suger called him.

Guizot has brought out that the XII-century uprisings against feudal
exactions on the part of the burgesses were often favored by king and
clergy. Such was the unformed state of society that no liberal general
views could be adhered to; the king is to be found granting charters to
some towns and marching against the rebellious citizens in others. The
bishops of Noyon, Beauvais, and Soissons favored the people's claims.
The prelates of Rheims and Laon opposed them. Such feudalism as that of
Thomas of Marle meant permanent anarchy; for the royal power to
centralize authority then meant law and order.

It is sad to relate that no sooner did the burgess gain his civic rights
than he began to oppress the peasantry. Before the XIII century closed
there were outbreaks of the peasants against the prosperous townspeople.
In our own day has the cry of the underman, voiced by the old Norman
poet, been silenced? "We are men as they. The same in stature, the same
in limb, and the same in strength--_for suffering_. Are we not men even
as they?"

At Laon the antagonism between bishop and citizens continued for a
century; several times the charter was won, only to be abrogated later.
There is food for thought that all through the embittered struggle the
building of the cathedral was carried forward, and it was an enterprise
that required the collaboration of bishop and people. The people might
fight their baron bishop to wrench from him certain civic rights, but
they were aware of the difference between his temporal claims and his
spiritual authority. Their robust faith was not disconcerted by a
discrepancy between "Peter's key" and "Peter's sword." To the end of
time Peter will show his weak human side. Had he not denied thrice? Had
not another of the selected twelve betrayed for paltry lucre? Had not
everyone of them run away in the hour of need?

While Bishop Gaudri's ill-gotten gains were buying him a bishopric there
was in Laon's cathedral chapter a famous scholar who had stoutly
opposed his election. Anselm of Laon, son of a laborer, "the grave, the
sweet, the prudent," was a pupil of St. Anselm of Bec and Canterbury.
For over forty years he taught in Paris and in Laon, and from the
nucleus of his pupils, among whom were Guillaume de Champeaux and
Abélard, was to emerge Paris University, which was not, however, to
appear by name in history till 1215. Anselm of Laon (d. 1117), like his
greater namesake, was a pioneer in scholasticism, which brought to the
study of Christian doctrine not only the aid of tradition, the Old and
New Testaments and the Church Fathers, but also the use of metaphysics
and dialectics. The school of this master at Laon became a veritable
university to which flocked students from Italy, Spain, Germany, and

Laon Cathedral is justly entitled to carve the Liberal Arts on its
façade. A score of the coming notable men of the XII century were
Anselm's pupils; one of them was that bishop who began the Primary
Gothic tower of the cathedral at Rouen. Anselm and his brother trained
the youths who, having heard St. Norbert of Cologne preach in Laon
Cathedral, in 1120, followed him to Prémontré, in the forest of Coucy,
which estate gave its name to the new order Norbert there founded. Like
the Cistercians, so swift an increase had the white canons of Prémontré
that they soon counted a thousand houses over Europe and were an
evangelizing force for their century even as Cluny had been earlier and
as the Franciscans and Dominicans were to be in the XIII century. The
citizens of Laon clamored for Anselm as their bishop when the miserable
Gaudri was killed in 1112, but he declined the honor and directed the
choice to the worthy Bartholomew de Vir, who restored temporarily the

It is not known exactly when was laid the foundation stone of Laon's
Gothic cathedral. By its sculpture, the profiles, and the noticeable
keystones, the archæologists say that it belongs to the last third of
the XII century and that it kept to its original plans, though its
building continued into the first third of the XIII century. The
bishop-founder was a pupil of Anselm's and himself had taught rhetoric
in Paris. Gautier de Mortagne (1155-71) gave generously of his own
revenues to the new works. The choir he built ended in a semicircle and
consisted of the present three bays next the transept. There, and in the
west wall of the transept, the profiles are different from those
elsewhere in the church.

In a second spell of work they finished the transept, the nave, the
towers, and the west façade just before 1200. Laon's façade ranks among
the great western frontispieces of Gothic architecture, a model for that
of Rheims. What chiefly characterizes it are the profound shadows made
by cavernous porches, projecting gables, and other varied surfaces. It
has been called a supreme composition in light and shade. In
accentuating the upward surge of lines it was a pioneer. When the façade
was finished the choir was lengthened by seven bays, and now was
terminated by a flat wall whose prototype is to be found in Laon town in
the church of St. Martin, an early-Gothic edifice, building about 1165.
Various regional churches used the square chevet. As the custom died out
in France, it struck root in England, where the Cistercians made it
popular. Those accustomed to the rectagonal chevet of the English
cathedral may prefer that type, but to a lover of the apse of the French
cathedral, of the curving procession path with its radiating chapels
that mystically suggests the thorn crown around the Sacred Head, it will
ever seem a dull way to end a sanctuary precisely like a transept arm.

The cathedral of Laon was consecrated in 1237. That same century built
the treasure hall and the large chapel beside the west façade. The XIV
century added side chapels between the buttresses, and in those chapels
at Laon appears the academic precision of that skilled but dry period.
About the same time was made a new southern portal for the transept, and
the wheel window over it was replaced by a big Rayonnant Gothic light.

The hill citadel called by Charlemagne in the _Chanson de Roland_ "my
good town of Laon" was held by the invader from August, 1914, to
October, 1918. Though the city was shelled by the French, not a piece of
glass in the cathedral was broken. St. Martin's abbatial, too, is
intact, and the XII-century Templar's church, the only well-preserved
monument in France built by the great military Order. The Prussians'
horses were stabled at first in the cathedral till a general public
protest stopped such a desecration. When the Allies, under General Foch,
drove back the German lines in the final weeks of the war, the retreat
was too swift for much havoc to be wrought. On October 13, 1918, General
Mangin made his triumphal entry into Laon, whose much-enduring citizens
flocked around him in the cathedral to chant a solemn _Te Deum_.


     The other evening before the ruins of a Cistercian abbey, that once
     harbored St. Louis and his mother, Blanche of Castile, a group of
     Alpine chasseurs and Zouaves fell to recounting their daily feats
     of heroism just as in the times of chivalry the strong, swift
     strophes of the _chanson de geste_ celebrated knightly prowess. To
     the north, the cannon thundered.... And the next morning, a Sunday,
     I assisted at Mass in a Gothic-vaulted hall that had served as
     _promenoir_ for the monks of Cîteaux. Soldiers filled all the
     wooden seats, others thronged the threshold, bareheaded in the
     shadow of the ruins.... Then when the sacrifice of the body and
     blood of our Lord was celebrated, a song rose in the dawn: "_Kyrie
     Eleison! God be praised!_" And the soldiers within the chapel and
     without sang before returning to battle as in the ancient _Chanson
     de Saucourt: "Kyrie Eleison!"_ Even those harnessing the great cart
     horses, those saddling their own restive mounts, those
     extinguishing the fires of the night's bivouac, and those charging
     the six-wheeled camions, all took up the canticle: "_God be
     praised! Kyrie Eleison!_".... And the implacable cannonading to
     the north echoed in the deep quarries, whence had come the stones
     builded here for God's glory.

    --A war picture of Longpont abbey,[61] by GABRIELE D'ANNUNZIO, who
     visited the battle-front in 1914.

[Illustration: _The Oxen on Laon's Towers_]

To-day the fair white city of Soissons lies a scene of desolation, only
to be likened to a wrecked town of old-time barbarism. They say that
Soissons Cathedral is more damaged than if a geological convulsion had
wrecked it. Deliberately was it taken as a target, though, as French
troops held the highlands round the flat town, there can be no excuse
that the towers were used as posts of observation. The westernmost bays
are ruined; the north side of the big church has been riddled with
projectiles; flying buttresses have been cut off; great rents show in
roof and sides; the vaulting hangs in air; a pier lies prone, its stones
scattered like a pack of cards; the aisles are dismantled, and the
windows, some of which Blanche of Castile gave in 1225, have been
reduced to powdered dust. In one week of January, 1916, over three
hundred projectiles fell on the church, said the old priest, who lived
in the midst of the wreckage, to a visitor to whom he spoke gently of
God's mercy. In the once "sweet and tranquil provincial city, whose soul
was the daughter of honorable simplicity, grass grows in the street.
Soissons is a dead city. Its casementless windows fix you like the eye
of the blind." Always has it lain in the path of war, this ancient
capital of Clovis that has ever been part of the very heart of France,
but never war such as this!

Here, in 486, Clovis won the battle of Soissons that annihilated the
last remnant of Rome's empire in Gaul, and conquered the land to the
Loire. In the evil days of the Hundred Years' War, Soissons suffered.
So depopulated was it by the XVI-century religious wars that it took
over a century to recover. Nor did the Revolution spare the seat of the
ancient monarchies of France. In 1814 occurred an explosion of gunpowder
that wrecked precious windows in the cathedral, some of them the gifts
of Philippe-Auguste. In 1870 the Prussian bombardment of Soissons
devastated what remained of the abbey church of St. Jean-des-Vignes,
whose Flamboyant Gothic spires have been mutilated again in the World

Under the southern flank of the shattered cathedral nestles the diamond
of Primary Gothic art in France, the transept arm built by the crusading
bishop, Nivelon de Chérisy. As by a miracle it has escaped. The most
exquisite thing in France, many of us hold it to be. It has drawn its
devotees back to Soissons time and time again, this perfect thing so
little heralded. They would test a second and a third time the
overpowering first impression it had made. Perhaps it had been some
happy mood, some subtle lingering shadows of the late afternoon, that
had touched it momentarily to an ethereal grace. And then standing face
to face again with its small and stately beauty, those who love this
early-Gothic monument of France know that its power is not a chance or
borrowed comeliness.

Sit before it for hours; study the mystery and play of its lights and
shadows; try to seize in what lies its young poesy of grace, its
maturity of dignity, "its invincible impression of virginity." In vain
to analyze it. Can that intangible quality which is sheer inevitable
beauty be dissected? Those who fall under the spell of its supernal
loveliness lose all false shame that would prune adjectives, lest their
praise be excessive. No glow of words can convey the something celestial
here. The nave and the choir of Soissons Cathedral are XIII-century
Gothic at its prime, and yet they seem merely to be the setting for a
jewel, for the small apse preceded by one bay, which is the transept's
southern arm. That apse and bay are the culmination of the Romanesque
ideals, and at the same time, indissolubly part of the new and richer
art, they crown the Primary Gothic hour.

Soissons' chief church is better documented than Laon's. Bishop Nivelon
I de Chérisy (a Chérisy fell on the field of honor in 1914) occupied the
see from 1176 to 1207. The Romanesque cathedral which he inherited had
become inadequate, so the bishop gave land from his episcopal garden,
and about 1180 the foundation of the south arm of the transept was laid.
Like Noyon's transept, it terminated in a hemicycle, and its interior
elevation was also in four stories, but here was attained a consummate
symmetry not achieved at Noyon. Soissons' curving transept arm is
exceptional in having an ambulatory. The apsidal chapel which opens in
its eastern wall has over it a similar chapel that gives on the tribune
gallery. Slender columns with stilted arches are planted at the entrance
of each of these chapels in the gracious fashion originated by the
Champagne school of Gothic. It was born of a necessity, in order that a
more regular vaulting might be built over the curving aisle. St. Remi at
Rheims had used the same arrangement. So many are the points of
resemblance between Soissons' transept arm and the choir of St. Remi's
abbey church that it is thought the architect of the Champagne abbatial
proceeded to Soissons later; there are the same profiles, the same plan,
the same encircling frieze of sculpture. At Soissons, the architect had
grown bolder and dared to diminish his supports. To have made Soissons'
curving wall of arches and colonnettes proves him to have been, not only
well practiced in mason-craft, but a man of genius who had visions. He
here created a thing apart. The exterior of the transept's arm is
unimpressive and plain; the lower windows are round-arched. Inside, the
pointed arch reigns, however. "The king's daughter is all glorious

The prelate who built Soissons Cathedral was a remarkable personage and
played a foremost part on the Fourth Crusade. Villehardouin tells us
that it was Bishop Nivelon de Chérisy who was sent as an envoy to
Innocent III, when against papal commands the Crusaders had turned aside
to capture the Christian city of Zara on the Dalmatian coast. The
bishop-ambassador found the pope at Viterbo and obtained from him the
raising of the excommunication on condition that the knights should
proceed direct to Palestine. We all know how, a second time, they went
filibustering. Among the first to scale the walls of Constantinople was
Nivelon de Chérisy; with him was the bishop of Troyes. When the chief
barons met to elect the first Latin emperor of Constantinople, it was
Bishop Nivelon who passed out to the waiting crowd to announce that
Baldwin of Flanders had been chosen--Baldwin who began the Cloth Hall at
Ypres--and it was he who crowned Baldwin in St. Sophia. When that new
emperor was captured by the Bulgars the bishop of Soissons returned to
Europe for aid.

All the time that he was absent in the Holy Land Nivelon had devoted the
revenues of his see toward the renewal of the cathedral. Strangely
enough, it was this same prelate who also built Soissons' choir, which
in scale and plan differs so radically from the transept arm. The
fleeting hour of Primary Gothic was over. The new art was moving forward
swiftly; irresistible the development of its principles and impossible
at such a time that the work of one decade could be similar to the
decade preceding it unless, as at Laon, the primitive plan was
insistently adhered to. Whoever the master that designed Soissons' choir
and nave, he incorporated the perfect transept into his bigger church
with reverence. Not to dwarf it was his main care, for he bowed before
the touch of perfection in his predecessor's work, and sought to give to
his own monument, different though it was, a like clarity and noble
simplicity. Examine the skill with which choir and nave are joined to
the small transept arm. It is lower than they, it has four vertical
stories to their three, and yet no discrepancy is felt. It was as if the
new builder said: "Here is a miracle of force and grace, done in a
fugitive hour never to be recaptured. Let us enshrine it fittingly."

In 1212 services were held in the finished choir. The nave proceeded
without interruption and was in use in the first years of St. Louis'
reign. Probably the final touches were given to it by that bishop of
Soissons of whom Joinville tells, Mgr. Jacques de Castel, _fort et
vaillant homme_, who started with the king on the crusade of 1248. After
Mansourah's battle and the disastrous retreat toward Damietta good
Bishop Jacques felt such a desire "to go to God" that he rushed alone to
attack the infidels, whose swords soon "dispatched him to God's company
with the martyrs."

Singular good taste has at all times guided the builders of Soissons.
The XIV century decided to make a northern arm to the transept; and as
if to avoid all hint of rivalry with its peerless neighbor, the new
structure was finished by a flat end wall without a portal.

The cylinder piers of Soissons choir and nave are a distinguishing trait
of the church interior, neither too high nor too short. Before each is
engaged a slender shaft which rises to the level of the springing and
causes the edifice to appear more lofty than its reality. Everywhere, in
the church, the fitting of the stones was done with peculiar nicety,
though the picking out of the mortar lines in black, a recent
innovation, was a sad mistake. In the choir and nave the clearstory
windows were an advance on those of Chartres, their model, for the
lights were made longer, and the oculus, above the twin lancets,
smaller, which gave greater compactness to the whole composition. St.
Gereon at Cologne copied these windows. Marburg's church also was aided
by Soissons.

The talc of this desolate city during the World War is heartrending. The
Germans first entered Soissons on September 1, 1914. The mayor had fled.
But an admirable woman, Madame Macherez, the widow of a senator, went to
the _état-major_ of the Prussians and assumed the responsibility to keep
order among the civilians: "_Le maire c'est moi_." Already the poets of
France have enshrined the memory of this heroine of sixty winters who
saved her city from pillage:

    Le regard bleu comme strié de lave
    De Jeanne Macherez qui nous sauva Soissons.
    Ah! la vieille brave!

For ten days the Germans occupied the town. The first battle of the
Marne caused their departure on September 12th. Then a French reverse in
January, 1915, let them draw near enough to the city to bring it within
the range of fire, and such was its tragic fate till the Germans'
strategic retreat in the spring of 1917. The enemy had intrenched
himself solidly in the vast quarries on the left bank of the Aisne, and
month after month poured his fire on desolated Soissons. Then came the
final grand act of the war. Rolling forward in overwhelming numbers in
March, 1918, the invaders drove the French troops from Soissons after a
desperate resistance in the streets. There they encamped until the first
days of the following August, when the French army re-entered the
smoking ruins of a dead city over which stood a phantom cathedral.

Noyon, Senlis, Sens, Laon, and Soisson, are with Notre Dame of Paris the
first cathedrals of the national art. They are far from being the
complete list of Primary Gothic monuments, which includes such churches
as the Trinité at Vendôme, two churches at Étampes,[63] the collegiate
of Notre Dame at Mantes, the Trinité at Fécamp, and Lisieux Cathedral.
There are the two towers built in an hour of religious enthusiasm: the
_clocher vieux_ at Chartres and the belfry of St. Romain at Rouen. The
nave of Angers Cathedral is the Primary Gothic of the Plantagenet

The Attica of Gothic art is the Ile-de-France, and where Picardy touches
it on the north, and Champagne on the south. In that land filled with
never-to-be-forgotten churches speaks the clarity of French genius in
its classic simplicity. The beauty of such churches comes from their
rightness of proportion, that quality which gives the most enduring joy
in architecture, beyond all richness of detail or startling effect. From
such churches one learns the difference between the architect born and
the architect made. The supreme quality of proportion must be innate; it
is never acquired. The artist blessed with it may only produce a small
masterpiece, such a church as that of St. Yved of Braine or a St.
Leu-d'Esserent, but one is sure that he would not exchange the glow
which his work gave him for the fame of building even a Strasbourg.

It is in the early-Gothic churches of the Ile-de-France that the taste
is best purified and trained. There the sense of beauty is
spiritualized. In them art gives an entity to what is ethereal, art
seems to make tangible what is impalpable. In them the heart feels the
loveliness of the space inclosed as the eye rejoices in the inclosing
walls. There is something of poignancy in such churches. Standing in all
the promise of their youth, of the youth of the greatest architecture
the world ever produced, they gravely admonish us that beauty even as
theirs is but a momentary lifting of the veil. To such churches the
memory returns with nostalgic regret amid the magnificence of the Gothic
expansion, when the leaves opened wide to show the golden pollen. But
the sadness which the early-Gothic churches of France rouse in the soul,
is it not the stumbling name we give to an eternal Hope? "There are no
hours in this cathedral," wrote Rodin of Soissons; "there is


     There are two things for which all the Faithful ought to resist
     unto blood, Justice and Liberty.--PIERRE DE CELLE, Abbot of St.
     Remi (1162-81).

Before closing our crowded chapter on Primary Gothic cathedrals, let us
add a few notes on a few early-Gothic churches. Those of chief interest,
in the story of the national art, are the big abbey churches at Rheims
and at Châlons, sister monuments, equal in size to cathedrals. So
closely do they resemble each other in plan and ornamentation that it is
thought one architect planned both. They are the earliest Gothic
edifices in Champagne.

Notre Dame at Châlons-sur-Marne was reconstructed soon after 1157. Three
periods of work appear in it. The transept and the four towers--which
give an imposing air to the church--belong to the Romanesque rebuilding
of 1130. The towers which stand between choir and transept are not set
symmetrically, since, in that to the south, use was made of the
foundations of an earlier tower, a boundary mark between the lands of
the big abbey and those of the bishop of Châlons.

In 1157, the Romanesque choir of Notre Dame collapsed, and when rebuilt
the citizens of the ancient city on the Marne displayed the same pious
enthusiasm as had the men and the women of Chartres in 1145. In 1165,
Guy de Bazoches, then a canon of Châlons Cathedral, wrote to his sister
to describe how all ages and conditions brought material to the new
church of Notre Dame-en-Vaux, and how the people, harnessed to carts,
sang canticles as they labored. When the new Gothic choir was under way
the nave of 1130 was remodeled. The pier arches and the tribune arches
were made pointed, and the upper walls were raised in order that a
Gothic vaulting might be added.

Notre Dame's choir is very beautiful. Its three apse chapels open on the
ambulatory, by columns and stilted arches, perhaps the first time this
disposition of Champagne Gothic was used. Soon it was repeated in St.
Remi at Rheims. Auxerre and St. Quentin also used it, and it reached its
apotheosis in the ethereal charm of Soissons' transept. Notre Dame at
Châlons was in other ways a precursor; here first were set in each bay
of the clearstory three windows side by side, a triplet of lancets that
started the complex fenestration of the new art. In its first plan were
no flying buttresses, but they were soon added when it was found that
the thrust of the upper vaulting was not sufficiently counterbutted. In
the XV century the Flamboyant south porch was built. Of the XVI century
are some rich windows of the school of Troyes, now set in the nave's
aisles. One of them represents the victory of Spain's crusaders over
Islam at Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, and is the best battle scene
depicted in colored glass. With its beautiful Gothic cathedral, its
immense abbatial, and all of its churches rich with storied windows, one
is profoundly grateful that Châlons-sur-Marne only for a short hour
early in the World War formed part of that "_ligne doulereuse et
triomphale, ce ruban de pourpre et de lumière qui s'étend de Belfort au
rivage des Flandres, la Voie Sacrée_."

Tragic the fate of its sister abbatial, St. Remi, in martyred Rheims.
That grand ancestral church lies well-nigh mortally wounded on the field
of honor. It stood up above the city as prominently as the cathedral
itself, and has been mercilessly wrecked. The vaulting has fallen, and
great rents have been torn in the walls of the precious Primary Gothic
choir. A recent traveler found that its devastated nave recalled gaunt

Some ten years after the reconstruction of Notre Dame at Châlons, the
monks of St. Remi began to make over their abbey church under the
inspiration of Abbot Pierre de Celle, of the same lineage as the heiress
of Braine who, with her husband, a brother of Louis VII, built the
church of St. Yved. While John of Salisbury was a young student in
France, Pierre de Celle entered into a friendship with him which
continued to deepen till their death, both of them being men of the
highest culture, strong literary abilities, and solid character. Pierre
de Celle succeeded the English scholar as bishop of Chartres in 1181;
_summi et incomparabilis viri_, so his epitaph sums him up.

It was this distinguished churchman who built, about 1170, the superb
choir of St. Remi, and who remodeled as Gothic the ancient Romanesque
nave. The choir had five radiating chapels, each of which opened on the
ambulatory in the beautiful Champagne way, by slender columns bearing
stilted arches. As tribunes were built over the aisles, the wall
elevation was in four stories, and below two of them ran friezes of
sculptured foliage. As if the architect felt that he had thus
over-accentuated the horizontal line, he bound his triforium and
clearstory into one composition by continuous moldings, a precocious
first step toward the glazed triforia of Rayonnant Gothic. Originally no
flying buttresses braced this early-Gothic choir; those that were added,
about 1180, are probably the first ever made. Nothing could better show
the swift development of Gothic structure than to compare the plain old
flying buttresses of St. Remi with the luxuriant counterbutting members
of Rheims Cathedral built fifty years later.

Between St. Remi's choir and the hemicycle transept of Soissons
Cathedral there is such similitude of profile, detail, and plan that it
is thought the same architect designed both. The able Pierre de Celle
built the two westernmost bays of St. Remi's nave, and opened the
tribune on the middle vessel with Gothic arches. He also built the west
façade, which to-day is ancient only in its lower stories, as it was
reconstructed in 1840. The north tower was re-done in the XII century;
the south one is of the XI century, Abbot Herimar's time.

With book in hand should be read the complicated story of St. Remi's
nave and transept, the ancient Romanesque edifice re-dressed as Gothic
in 1170. Nothing remains of the church built in the IX century under
Bishop Hincmar of Rheims. The oldest parts extant are the piers of the
nave, which belonged to the reconstruction of the abbatial by Abbot
Airard (1005-33). His successor, Thierry (d. 1041), decided that the
works then under way were on too elaborate a scale to be within his
means, so he simplified the plan. The outer side aisles were suppressed,
the archivolts were doubled, the bays widened, and the old columns
replaced by compound piers. In the transept his work still exists in the
west wall (north arm) where are two stories of arcades supported by
thick, short, cylinder piers whose capitals are coarsely carved acanthus

The rest of the transept (save what was added in 1170 to connect it with
the Gothic choir and the re-dressed nave) is the work of Abbot Herimar
who raised the west towers. Under him occurred the notable dedication of
St. Remi's new Romanesque church, in 1049, by Leo IX, the reformer, with
whom the Benedictine Order took possession of the papacy for some vital
years of needed regeneration.

St. Bruno of Cologne, the future founder of the Carthusian Order, was a
student in the episcopal school of Rheims while Romanesque St. Remi was
building. And later he returned from Germany to direct the school from
1057 to 1075 with great prestige. His most notable pupil, Eudes de
Châtillon, became the pope of the First Crusade, Urban II. Feeling the
call for a life of prayer and retirement, Bruno thought of joining the
group of earnest men about to commence the Cistercian Order, but his
destiny led him to Grenoble, near which in the mountains he began the
Grande Chartreuse (1084) where they say reform never was needed.[66]

In St. Remi's abbatial the last phase of Gothic art was to be
represented. The transept's south façade is Flamboyant, and over its
sculptured portal is a highly colored XV-century window. The façade was
finished by Abbot Robert de Lenoncourt (d. 1531), who later became
archbishop of Rheims. To his abbey church he presented ten rich
tapestries relating the life of the first bishop of the city, St.
Remigius, who baptized Clovis in 496, and whose rule of seventy years is
the longest spiritual reign on record. Clovis and Clotilda founded the
abbey. At its church altar St. Louis was knighted. On the day of Charles
VII's coronation the barons rode their steeds into the basilica,
dismounting at the sanctuary to ask for the sacred ampulla needed for
the king's anointing in the cathedral.

In the clearstory windows of St. Remi's choir were thirty-three lancets
in which were portrayed the archbishops of Rheims from holy Remigius to
Robert of France, brother of Louis VII, who was ruling here from 1162 to
1175, while Abbot Pierre was building his choir. The windows were
probably set up in the time of Archbishop Robert's successor, Archbishop
Guillaume of Champagne, who had finished the cathedral at Sens. They
were memorable for their lovely browns and greens, and were allied,
undoubtedly, with St. Denis' glass, though executed by local workers.
Deep borders surrounded each lancet. Similar ornate borders and a
magnificent deep blue color distinguished still older XII-century
windows in the tribune gallery. The central lancet was an extraordinary
Crucifixion, somewhat like that at Poitiers. An irreparable loss to art
is the destruction of St. Remi's windows, though it is said that some of
them were dismounted in time and carried to a place of safety.


     Provins, une des plus charmantes villes de France, rivalise avec la
     vallée de Cachemire.... Des croisés rapportèrent les roses de
     Jéricho dans cette délicieuse vallée, où, par hasard, elles prirent
     des qualités nouvelles, sans rien perdre de leur couleurs.--BALZAC,
     _Pierrette_ (whose scene is Provins).

Another Primary Gothic church in Champagne is St. Quiriace at Provins,
which one goes out of one's way to see because Provins is one of the
most individual little towns in France, still in part surrounded by
massive XII-and XIII-century ramparts. Thibaut IV the Singer added to
the great walls of the lower town about 1230. They say that when
crusaders drew near to Jerusalem on its hill encircled by its walls and
towers they often cried out, "Provins!" Once the population of this
shrunken little city rivaled that of Paris. Here were held annual fairs
to which flocked the merchants of Europe, and the sensible counts of
Champagne encouraged their visitors by wise regulations and strictest
justice. The money of Provins was accepted in Florence and Rome.

The valley of roses was the favorite residence of the reigning counts.
Here Thibaut IV, the most celebrated lyric poet of the Middle Ages,
wrote his songs that wedded the art of the Midi troubadour with the salt
of the northern trouvère. His son, Thibaut V, married the daughter of
St. Louis and brought her in state to Provins, "_où ils firent leur
entrée accompagnés d'une grande foison de barons_," wrote Joinville, who
had helped to arrange the match. Thibaut V's heart is contained in a
XIII-century monument now in the chapel of the Hôtel Dieu, which
hospital was originally the ancient palace of the countesses of
Champagne. Thibaut V and his wife died returning from the tragic last
crusade of Louis IX. Their niece Jeanne married the king of France, and
the prosperous days of Champagne ended when it merged its independence
in the royal domain, for new regulations soon impaired the popularity of
its famous fairs. It was Countess Jeanne of Navarre who persuaded her
seneschal, Joinville, to write his reminiscences.

In the days when Provins was a world center St. Quiriace church was
begun about 1160 by Henry the Liberal, the reigning count who was
warmest patron of John of Salisbury when the latter, forced to quit
England, lived in Provins. Little more than the choir of St. Quiriace
now remains. In the tympanum of a late-Gothic portal is a XIII-century
image of Christ. The semicircular chevet is boxed in a square ambulatory
on which open square eastern chapels. The shafts are banded with
annulets. There is Romanesque feeling in the zigzag ornamentation on the
heavy ribs; the round arch reigns in the triforium, although the pier
arcades below are pointed. The choir shows a curious experiment in
vaulting hardly to be called successful: three bays are embraced by the
vault section of eight branches.

St. Quiriace crowns the hilltop; in the lower town is St. Ayoul, whose
portal sculpture (c. 1160) is of the same type as the three western
doors at Chartres, as is the portal of St. Loup-de-Naud
(Seine-et-Marne), close by.[68] Those who have fallen under the spell of
Chartres' fascinating column statues will always study their sister
images with interest.

Epitaphs on the walls of St. Quiriace recall two true shepherds of this
church, one, who went daily into the hills to teach children and to tend
on the sick poor in their homes, and the other, who opened up the
forgotten crypt and left a school and presbytery to his parish. There
is a quaintly worded tablet of the XVI century telling of the _haute et
puissante dame_, the Marquise de Chenoise, who had "for God a tender
solid piety; for her husband a submissive, respectful love; for her
children a Christian and reasonable tenderness; for her friends a
sincere and generous affection; for the poor charity without limit; and
for the rest of the world _une bonté, une douceur, une honestété
charmante_." One would not mind being the rest of the world for this
gracious person. Both her sons were killed in one week, fighting under
Turenne, so she passed the last years of her life in a retirement, which
"she sanctified by prayer, and her prayer she nourished and sustained by
good works." The robust piety of Bossuet's preaching breathes in such
records. In St. Remi's abbatial at Rheims is the eulogy of another good
lady of Champagne who was "Rachel in beauty, Rebecca in fidelity,
Suzanna in purity, Tabitha in piety of heart, Ruth in sentiment, and
Anna by good works." Paragons those old-time ladies seemed to be!


     I am just back from the battle line in that Royal Domain of
     Soissons, where the soul of ancient France seems more itself than
     in any other region, country of martyrs, and of kings, of
     Merovingian crypts, of the donjon of Coucy, of the five apses of
     St. Yved--realm of the first race of rulers bearing vestiges of the
     greatest history of France.--GABRIELE D'ANNUNZIO, 1914.

Strictly speaking, St. Yved at Braine is not so much a Primary Gothic
monument as it is a link between that first tentative hour and the
fuller development of the national art represented by Rheims and Amiens.
In the same group as Braine, between Primary Gothic and the Era of the
Great Cathedrals, are St. Leu d'Esserent, Montréal, Vézelay's choir, and
the church of St. Laumer at Blois.

Braine, on the ancient Roman highroad between Rheims and Soissons, had
been a farm of the Frankish kings. In the VII century it belonged to
the father of St. Ouen, and it was here that the future bishop of Rouen,
as a child, was blessed by a passing guest, the Irish missionary St.
Columbanus, whose Celtic rule of Luxeuil dominated, in Gaul, the century
called of saints.

Lady Agnes of Braine espoused a son of Louis VI, the turbulent Count of
Dreux (d. 1188), and, from them came the funds for St. Yved, the second
foundation of the new Order of Prémontré. The recorded date of the
enterprise is from 1180 to 1216, but as the church is perfectly
homogeneous, it must have been built in one campaign, probably in main
part before the dedication of 1216.

As a composition, the plan of the collegiate is original. The apse
chapels on each side of the choir chapel are placed on the bias so that
the sanctuary opens out like a fan, with five altars visible at the same
time. The arrangement was copied in far-off Hungary in St. Martin's
church at Kassovie, built for the king by the wandering Picard artist
Villard de Honnecourt. In Cologne the church of St. Gereon, and in
Marburg that of St. Elizabeth, show the influence of Braine. St. Léger's
abbatial at Soissons copied it. St. Yved has a square transept-crossing
tower that opens still farther the central part of the edifice. Carved
about the interior is a cordon of free springtime foliage. There is
youth in every line of this beautiful white church. The superb
monocylindrical columns and their capitals are robust virility itself.
Everywhere is firmness of touch, and never has the unity been marred by
patchwork reconstructions. Like its neighbor, Soissons, the same nicety
of stonework is shown.

Before the Revolution the collegiate at Braine harbored an unparalleled
collection of tombs, since here for centuries were laid to rest the
barons and bishops of the proud family of Dreux, warriors at Bouvines,
crusaders, and donors of storied windows at Chartres and Rheims. The
four west bays of the church of Braine were stupidly demolished after
the Revolution, because funds for repairs were at that time lacking.
From the destroyed portal were saved the two statues now set in the
choir's wall. They represent the Coronation of Our Lady; the robes flow
easily and there is scarcely a touch of Byzantine rigidity left in them.

Twice during the late World War was Braine's collegiate in the direct
path of invasion. The first battle of the Marne freed it, but in May,
1918, the Germans again entered the little town. Then swept forward the
second battle of the Marne, and Braine was liberated in September. One
can only pray that, in such hasty retreats, St. Yved escaped mutilation.


     I think that that style which is called Gothic is endowed with a
     profound and a commanding beauty, such as no other style possesses
... and which probably the Church will not see surpassed till it
     attain to the Celestial City.... The Gothic style is as harmonious
     and as intellectual as it is graceful.--CARDINAL NEWMAN.

St. Leu d'Esserent is one of the small but perfect churches of the
classic Ile-de-France that satisfy both eye and soul by the exquisite
justness of their proportions. Its serene white charm is unobtrusive.
Only a master of the inmost heart of France could have produced the
assured rightness of its proportions. Unforgettable are the moments
spent in this Benedictine abbatial on the Oise; sometimes up and down
its lovely white avenue flits some happy lost bird, rejoicing in the
paradise of quietude he has found.

The quarries round St. Leu d'Esserent were noted, and many a church of
France has been made of their firm white stones. The origin of Gothic
art is comprised, thinks M. Lefèvre-Pontalis, in this region where good
quarries abounded, with Senlis taken as a center. A line from Senlis to
Laon, if carried round, would pass through Rheims, Provins, Montereau,
Étampes, Vernon, Amiens, Péronne, St. Quentin. Well within that
circumference lies St. Leu d'Esserent.

The Benedictine church stands on prominent foundations overlooking the
river loved of Corot and Daubigny. The priory was founded and presented
to great Cluny by a knight of Esserent as thank-offering for his ransom
from the Saracens by monks of St. Benedict. Of the church built in that
XI century, there remain only the two stout columns, with archaic
capitals, which now are embedded in the westernmost bay of the nave.

About 1150 the present church was begun, and for a century continued
building, in three distinct bouts of work. First was made the west
façade, only one of whose Romanesque towers was ever finished with a
spire, the octagonal faces of which were relieved by curious lancelike
ridges not repeated elsewhere. In the narthex, or porch between the
towers, was tried an experiment to eliminate the so-called domical shape
of the first Gothic vaults. The transverse arches were loaded with
masonry to raise them to the vault's apex. Experimental also are the
ungainly diagonals, in part ornamented with Norman chevrons, that span
the tribune over the forechurch (c. 1150). The ribs are not free of the
vault web, so elasticity is missing.

During the last quarter of the XII century, the chevet was built, as
were the two towers placed beside the apse, an arrangement derived from
Rhenish churches. Of that time, too (c. 1180), is the double bay,
surmounted by a sexpartite vault which precedes the apse. There is no
transept. The recently finished choir of Senlis Cathedral influenced the
ambulatory and apse chapels of St. Leu. At Senlis and here occur the
earliest examples of double flying buttresses. The six bays of the nave
were added about 1220, after a pause in the works. Previously, each bay
of the church had been lighted by a single lancet; now two lancets
surmounted by an oculus were used, which added much dignity to the
exterior aspect of the edifice. Over the axis chapel was built a second
story. The unvaulted tribunes, above the side aisles, were transformed
into a sort of triforium by building a wall slightly behind their
arcaded openings. As that wall was pierced by some odd little square
windows, this may be regarded as one of the first essays of a glazed
triforium, the feature which was soon to develop into the decorative
richness of St. Denis, Troyes, Le Mans, Tours, and Beauvais.


Notre Dame of Paris and Other Churches of the Capital[71]

     It is important to meditate often and with ardor and respect on the
     documents which the ancestors have left us.--ST. THOMAS AQUINAS.

The Era of the Great Cathedrals was inaugurated by Notre Dame of Paris,
the most imposing Gothic church hitherto attempted. The popular voice
has chosen to group it among the chief four, with Chartres, Rheims, and
Amiens--all four of them dedicated to Our Lady, though in a special way
Notre Dame of the capital seems to have appropriated the name.

Of the four, the cathedral of Paris was the first built, and traits of
the Romanesque epoch lingered in it, such as the tribune galleries over
the side aisles, the division of its interior wall into four vertical
stories, and the Byzantine feeling of its earlier sculpture. The piers
were massive single columns of true majesty. In the sixth pier of the
nave, counting from the east, an experiment was tried when an engaged
shaft was added to its front. The seventh pier (c. 1192) marks a date in
the development of Gothic structure since with it was made the type of
ground support which was to predominate in the XIII century--four
engaged shafts around a central pillar. When the middle core was made
elliptical, as at Beauvais, the type pier was achieved.

[Illustration: _Notre Dame of Paris. View from the South_]

Notre Dame of Paris used the sexpartite system which calls for
alternating ground supports. Either the uniform piers here were laid
before a sexpartite vault was thought of, or else the architect
preferred them for æsthetic reasons, and in this case he certainly was
right. Double aisles about both nave and choir differentiate the
interior of Notre Dame of Paris from that of the average cathedral. The
far-stretching aisles of this church compose vistas of unsurpassed
picturesqueness and variety of perspective. Some have said that the
central nave is not sufficiently wide for such a stretch of lateral
aisles, and have found a certain monotony in the clearstory, tribune,
and pier arcade being of equal height. Originally, beneath the
clearstory were small circular unglassed apertures giving on the rafters
over the tribune. Those oculi were done away with during the XIII
century, when the clearstory windows were lengthened for the better
lighting of the church. During his able restoration of Notre Dame, M.
Viollet-le-Duc found hidden under the pavement some of the discarded
window frames, and he took the liberty (which many regret) of replacing
a few in the bays near the transept, thus marring the uniformity of the

Despite the enlargement of the upper windows and the changes made to
give more light to the tribunes, none can deny that, in gloomy weather,
Notre Dame can be somber and even cavernous. Yet who, of its devotees,
would have it different? Supreme cathedral it is for that supremest of
hymns, the _Dies Iræ_--sound and sense and vision welded. To exchange
its severe majesty for an expanse of brilliant glass--save Suger's
glass--is unthinkable. In Notre Dame you comprehend the spectacular
repentances of the Middle Ages. Here, when pestilence stalked the city
or the enemy was at the gate, have echoed the _Miserere_ and the _Libera
nos, Domine_.[72]

There is an individuality in the cathedral of Paris that overrides every
criticism. Perpetually does the worshiper find in it new aspects, in the
dim, low aisles full of mystery, in the gleam of transept windows as
seen through the tribune arches while one listens, perhaps, to a lenten
friar preacher discoursing of sin, justice, and the judgment to come;
here on the very spot where Dominic himself taught the same sobering
lessons; here where, six hundred years later, his son, Lacordaire, held
the manhood of Paris spellbound. Or, again, one gazes down the length
of the church, with its incomparable perspective, while around one rise
the voices of strong men fresh from the battle of Verdun, fresh from
their firm "They shall not pass," and their _Magnificat_ of thanksgiving
to Notre Dame swells in a volume of sound like the eternal sea. The
crusaders of St. Louis' time prayed, too, for strength in Notre Dame of

The curve of the sanctuary as seen from the west end of the nave is one
of the splendors of the monument, and no chevet ever built surpassed it.
The cause of the magic is practical--a structural problem solved, as is
the case with the best aspects of Gothic art. At that eastern curve
extra piers were inserted between the double aisles in order to obviate
the difficulty of vaulting such irregular trapeze-shaped sections.

The enthusiast maintains that the exterior of Notre Dame surpasses that
of all other cathedrals. Certainly better transept façades were never
made nor was apse more romantic than that of the chief church of Paris,
as it rises in three grandiose steps, with flying buttresses of wide
span leaping with an audacity that fairly catches the breath; and again
the success is a case of sound science solving a problem.

The west façade is an accepted classic, "an architectural glory of
France," irreproachable. Once the intelligence has grasped its
pre-eminence, allegiance to it will never waver. The frontispieces of
Rheims and of Rouen are richer and may appeal more to the imagination.
It is possible that the severe dignity of Paris may even chill at first.
But what clarity of plan! Four strong buttresses accentuate the big
square parallelogram. Excess of ornamentation has been avoided in order
that the whole may stand forth. Lest the two towers might appear to rise
abruptly from the massive, some master hand made there the graceful open

The façade of Notre Dame is true to its epoch in its appeal to the
intellect rather than to the emotions. It was built in the golden age of
scholasticism, when religion and philosophy went hand in hand, when the
teachers in the schools of Paris, the _cité lettré_, the _oeil du
monde_, thought that Faith and Reason could give mutual aid one to the
other, that the truths of Revelations could coincide with the natural

Scholasticism has been belittled by the modern sophists from the time of
the XVIII-century Encyclopædist to the XIX-century superman. Yet
scholasticism was an important factor in the formation of the French
intellect, which, in its virile youth, it put through a course of useful
mental gymnastics. Precisely the race, whose ancestors sharpened their
wits in the _Sic-et-Non_ debates of the mediæval schools of Paris, is
to-day pre-eminent in precision of language and freedom from fogginess
of thought. Easy enough for the modern mind to ridicule the quarrel of
generations over nominalism and realism, pursued with the personal heat
of a modern political campaign.[75] Certainly the abuse of the
scholastic system led to hair-splitting disputes, for the deductive
method, when carried to excess, ends in thin subtlety. But why judge a
system by its extremes? Because XIV-century architecture grew rigid with
set formulas and the abuse of its own laws, does that discredit the
virile period to which it succeeded?

The bishops who built Notre Dame were notable scholastics. The
generations who built cathedrals were impregnated with the certainty
that what was Christian was rational. Scholasticism produced St. Thomas
Aquinas, whose philosophy has outlived a dozen systems, whose _Summa_
was placed on the assembly table of the Council of Trent, the sole
companion of the Scriptures, Aquinas, whose sanity of ethics and
doctrine was held up by Leo XIII as the best guide amid current errors.

With Aquinas, who taught the inextricable union of Faith and Reason,
Christian philosophy reached its zenith.[76] Too long has it been the
fashion to look on orthodoxy as a sign of mental inferiority. Professors
still dismiss the _Summa_ with a scathing line. They have never opened
its pages, perhaps, but second-hand knowledge to vast regions of human
thought is no impediment to a chair in the modern university.
"Abstractions as repulsive as they are frivolous," is the dictum of a
group of present-day French scholars who seem to think that to belittle
things mediæval is proof of patriotism.

We have looked on at the rehabilitation of certain mediæval saints. It
was not so long ago that the poor man of Assisi was patronized as an
ignorant fanatic. The appeal of St. Francis is to the emotions, while
that of St. Thomas Aquinas is to the intellect, so, perhaps, it is
expecting too much to hope that some day the average man may appreciate
this thinker who set sane boundaries round the human mind. Too long have
the prime sanities of reason been flouted by hazy abstract thinking in
the void; too long has man shut his eyes to the fact that a crime of the
intellect is of more consequence to mankind than a crime against the
civil law; too long has applause been given to philosophers who
obliterated the distinctions between right and wrong--like Hegel,
teaching the identity of Being and non-Being--so that the very soul of
the peoples grew perverted and appalling cataclysms threatened

What the older centuries thought of Aquinas, the painter as well as the
poet tells us. In the Louvre hangs Benozzo Gozzoli's picture of the
_doctor angelicus_ sitting in luminous repose amid pope, doctors,
saints, and the sages of antiquity, and the inscription runs: "_Vere hic
est lumen ecclesiæ_." And in Milan hangs Piero della Francesca's
profound study of the saint. "I place Plato high," wrote a sound French
thinker, "but as I see Aquinas he is as superior to Plato, and even
more, than is our knowledge of the physical world to that of the
Greeks.... He embraces St. Augustine, Aristotle, and Plato."

Often has it been said that a Gothic cathedral is the _Summa_ translated
into stone, logical, ordered, interlinked, leaving nothing to chance, a
sound skeleton on a sound base, so securely balanced that great windows
could be opened on the sky, like flashes of intuitive genius lifting the
soul to the infinite. Many were the points by which St. Thomas touched
Gothic art in its heyday. He was a student in Cologne when its mighty
cathedral was begun. He was in Paris during the years when the transept
of Notre Dame was building, and the Sainte-Chapelle and St. Denis'
abbatial. By blood he was related to St. Louis, and often was his guest
at table, where talk must have turned on that keen interest of the
hour--the making of Gothic churches.[77] He was to die (1274) in
Cistercian Fossanuova, the first Gothic monument of Italy. And his great
work, like many a cathedral, was left unfinished.

Never was aspiration toward the infinite more passionate than in that
scholastic disputing, commune-winning, cathedral-building, crusading
age. The absorbing interest for old and young, for bishop and layman,
for king and poor student, was to know God, to know their own souls, to
learn how to make life more worthy of God. "In the entire length of
France," wrote the archbishop of Sens to the pope, in 1140, "in towns
and even in villages, in the schools and outside them, all, even simple
people and children, are disputing on the Holy Trinity." Paris became
the center of the seething new interest in theology and philosophy. In
1109 Guillaume de Champeaux opened a school of logic on the slopes of
St. Geneviève's hill (where to this day reigns Paris University), and
soon all Christendom frequented it.[78] His pupil, and later his
opponent, was Abélard, brilliant, restless knight-errant of dialectics,
whom the modern orthodox student finds to be a forerunner of the new
method of biblical criticism rather than a rationalist.

In the abbey of St. Victor, whose free classes were founded by Guillaume
de Champeaux when harried by Abélard, there gathered a group of mystic
scholars and poets: Hugues de St. Victor, the Augustine of his day (d.
1141), whose work on the sacraments was an interlinked system of
theology. Lucid in intellect, tender in sentiment, was this friend of
St. Bernard, whom Dante places in Paradise with St. Anselm and St.
Bonaventure (_Par._, xii: 30); and Hugues' disciple, Richard de St.
Victor (d. 1173), ranked in Paradise as the companion of the Venerable
Bede and St. Isidore of Seville, "Richard, who in contemplation was
more than man" (_Par._, x: 132); and Adam de St. Victor, one of the best
poets of the XII century, whose sequences and rimed proses fill the
liturgy. Another pupil of the learned Hugues was Pierre Lombard, who
died bishop of Paris in 1160; his _Book of Sentences_ became a textbook
in European universities for centuries to come.

From the cathedral school and the mount of St. Geneviève and St.
Victor's cloister[79] evolved the University of Paris, "elder daughter
of France," whose title first appears in 1215, the oldest university in
Europe with that of Bologna--one the high priestess of theology, the
other the leader in canon and civil law. In the XII-century schools of
Paris, John of Salisbury met Thomas Becket and Nicholas Breakspear (the
English pope, Adrian IV), and there the future Innocent III became the
friend of Stephen Langton.

By the XIII century over thirty thousand students thronged the colleges
in Paris. Aquinas taught in the Dominicans' branch of the university, in
which same convent, called the Jacobins, lived the reader of Louis IX,
Vincent de Beauvais, whose four _Mirrors_ were depicted in the imagery
of the great cathedrals. No age was ever more enamored of encyclopædias.
To overclassify was a characteristic of the times which even the great
Aquinas could not escape. They say that over five hundred monks, under
the guidance of the Dominican cardinal, Hugues de Saint-Cher, were busy
in the rue St. Jacques preparing the first concordance of Scriptures.
The entire Bible was translated into French in the XIII century. In the
Franciscans' branch of the University St. Bonaventure taught. The king's
chaplain, Robert de Sorbon, founded a house where poor students could
live in common. Canterbury's archbishop, St. Edmund Rich, was a pupil in
Paris, then a teacher. Roger Bacon, first to grasp the importance of
experimental science, studied there, and so did Robert Grosseteste,
builder of Lincoln Cathedral, whom Bacon said excelled all other masters
in his range of useful knowledge.

The smelting pot of modern society those fecund formative years of the
XII and XIII centuries have been called. A life-time's study it would be
to draw adequately the picture of the one city of Paris then, when
Philippe-Auguste and his grandson, St. Louis, were busy raising their
Louvre and their Cité palaces, their Notre Dame, and their
Sainte-Chapelle, busy cleaning the city streets and the city laws; when
one scholarly bishop succeeded another as slowly rose the capital's
cathedral, when lovely Latin hymns poured from St. Victor's abbey, while
in the street the students sang the new lays of trouvère and troubadour,
telling of "love that is a thing so high," of Roland and the _gestes_ of
paladins, of the Celtic heroes, Tristan, Lancelot, and Percival; when
all the newly awakened intellectual and art life was astir welding old
blood and new, making Frenchmen, at last, of Celt and Latin and Frank,
making a kind of commonwealth of the nations that met in universities
whose common speech still was Latin.[80]

That there were black shadows in the picture, none deny. There were
pillages and massacres. It was an agitated day full of tumults and
heresies and terrible reprisals. One has only to read the censures of
St. Bernard and of Innocent III to learn of the cupidity and the lust.
Joinville has told of a sink of corruption lying within a stone's throw
of the saint-king's crusading camp. But, above all the lawlessness, the
men of those ages of faith aspired. Their acts might fall short; their
principles remained sound. "No easy-going doctrines, then, to legitimize
vice," says Ozanam. Man knew how to beat his breast in humble
repentance. He lifted his eyes toward an ideal so far above himself that
it was given his human weakness to build cathedrals such as Notre Dame
of the capital. Not so does he build when as superman he sits on a
self-raised altar.

The virtuous bishop, who had most to do with the erection of the
cathedral of Paris, had been a student and later a teacher of
scholasticism. Maurice de Sully was born of simple parentage in the
village of Sully-sur-Loire, and he came as a poor scholar to the great
city. His abilities and the integrity of his conduct won him
recognition, and after teaching belles-lettres, he was elected to the
see of Paris as the seventy-second successor of St. Denis. From 1160 to
1196 he directed his diocese, a true shepherd whose special care was the
training of young priests. Crowds flocked to his sermons, wrote a
contemporary. He took an active part on the side of Thomas Becket during
the English archbishop's struggle with Henry II, and it was he who
consecrated as bishop of Chartres Becket's friend, the intellectual John
of Salisbury. To Bishop Maurice, who had baptized him, Philippe-Auguste
left the care of the Royal Treasury when he went on the Third Crusade.
So wisely did this churchman administer his revenues that he was able to
build hospitals and abbeys, as well as erect, in larger part by his
personal donations, his own cathedral.

The first stone of Notre Dame was laid in 1163, and tradition says that
Alexander III officiated in the same month that he dedicated for the
Benedictines the new choir of St. Germain-des-Prés; the exiled pontiff
resided in France for four years. Though the name of the architect of
Notre Dame has not survived, his design was adhered to during a century
and a half. A transept was not in his plan; however, a short one was
inserted before the nave was laid down. That nave was nearly finished
when Bishop Maurice de Sully died, in 1196, leaving large sums, in his
testament, for the completion of his beloved church. The two westernmost
bays of the nave are not of the bishop-founder's time.

Notre Dame, because of interruptions in its construction, presents an
irregular alignment, and it is easy to perceive, as one gazes along its
vaulting, that its choir slopes toward the north. Archæologists have
given up the poetic explanation that the slanting choir was symbolic of
the droop of Christ's head on the cross. Nor can the symbol seeker now
call the Porte Rouge (an extra door in the north wall of the choir) a
souvenir of the spear wound of the Saviour, since if made with such
intention it would have been placed below the extended arms of the

Three campaigns of work built Notre Dame, and each time that the work
was resumed the axis deviated slightly. First rose the choir and a short
transept. Then was done the nave, save its westernmost bays. And
finally, at the beginning of the XIII century, they undertook the west
façade and the two bays behind it. The carving on the pier's capitals
shows the gradual advance in sculpture: in the choir they cut the large
leaves of water plants which were the first nature models copied when
the conventional Byzantine models were discarded. Then, in the nave, the
foliage grew richer, and oak and vine and curled-up ferns appeared.
Capital by capital should be studied, for their sculpture is masterly.
The capitals of the nave's triforium are said to mark the culmination of
Gothic art in foliate design. While unity was kept throughout the entire
arcade, there was unceasing variation in details.

When Bishop Maurice de Sully, the peasant, died, he was succeeded by
Bishop Eudes de Sully, the feudal baron, descended from the reigning
counts of Champagne, from Louis VII and Aliénor of Aquitaine, and in
whose veins ran the blood of William the Conqueror through his daughter
Adela. The ability to build was his by inheritance. He began the west
façade, and probably at his death all three of the portals were in
place. To him we owe that fairest of sculptured entrances, the Virgin's
door, under the northwest tower, called "the most beautiful page of
stone that the Middle Ages have left us." _Visibile palare_ are Dante's
words for such art as this. In the carved tympanum, "Gothic art reached
the simple perfection of Phidias." The draperies flow easily; only in
the abrupt turning up of the edges of the robes lingers an archaic
touch. Below are represented kings and prophets, the ancestors of Mary.
Above them is a moving version of the Assumption; and in the upper
triangle is the Coronation of the Queen of Heaven by her Divine
Son--she, the mortal, turned toward Him, the divinity, with a gesture of
adoration. The Christ is the Nazarene, a noble Oriental.

No haziness then in their knowledge that the patroness in whose care
they placed their cathedrals was a fellow creature. To the common sense
of the Middle Ages, it would have seemed a muddle-headed way of thinking
to have called Jesus, God, and at the same time to have refused homage
to His Mother, the one whom God chose to honor above all mortals, "she
who didst so ennoble human nature that its own Maker scorned not to
become its making."[81] It was only logical, they thought, that the best
advocate with the son should be the mother. "All of us who fear the
wrath of the Judge, fly to the Judge's mother," wrote Abélard. "_Que
Dieu nous l'octroie par la prière de sa douce mère_," wrote the crusader
Joinville. So, without worrying over future carpers who might murmur
"Mariolatry," the Middle Ages chanted "_Laus Deo et Beatæ Mariæ
laudum_." And the cathedral of Paris dared to dedicate four of its six
doors to the Queen of Heaven.

The door under the southwest tower commemorates St. Anne, the Blessed
Virgin's mother. It is a composite work, carved in Bishop Maurice's
time, between 1160 and 1170, but not set up here till Bishop Eudes de
Sully had undertaken the façade; in its tympanum are representations
both of Louis VII and of Maurice de Sully. St. Anne's door was a link
between the still archaic western doors of Chartres and the clearly
enunciated Gothic portal under the northwest tower of Paris Cathedral.
In the multitudinous folds of the draperies is Byzantine feeling, and
sacerdotal is the Madonna who gravely presents her son to be adored. By
the middle of the XIII century, the Madonna had become a natural mother,
and so she is sculptured at the north entrance to Notre Dame's transept.

Bishop Eudes de Sully, like his predecessor, had many a link with
scholasticism and with other bishop-builders. He had been fellow
student in Paris with the future Innocent III, and that expert in men
when pope called on his aid to find capable occupants for the French
sees. Eudes' own brother Henry was the archbishop of Bourges who
initiated the new cathedral there; and when his brother died, Eudes
assisted in placing in his see the saintly Guillaume, who built the
chevet of Bourges. Through Eudes de Sully, the bishop-builder of Rheims
Cathedral, Albéric de Humbert, was elected, and he also helped to elect
Bishop Hervé, who began the cathedral of Troyes. Able men ever found a
protector in the capable bishop of Paris, whose strict sense of duty was
incorruptible. When Philippe-Auguste, his near kinsman, broke the
marriage law, Bishop Eudes went into exile rather than sanction the
scandal. To him Innocent III sent St. Jean de Matha, that the prelate
might draw up a Rule for the new Order of Trinitarians, established to
redeem captives from Islam. It was Eudes de Sully who founded, in 1204,
the abbey of Port Royal, a name to become of note in French letters.

The bishop of Paris from 1208 to 1219 was Pierre de Nemours, one of four
brothers who were bishop-builders, at Paris, at Noyon, at Châlons, and
at Meaux. He died a crusader under the walls of Damietta. Scarcely a
cathedral but has its crusade memory. The façade of Notre Dame had
almost reached the crowning open arcade when the scholarly Guillaume de
Seignelay was transferred to the see of Paris from Auxerre where he had
begun the Gothic cathedral. The _galerie des rois_, whose date is about
1223, was no doubt his work. Such galleries are found only in cathedrals
in the royal domain, and it is just as likely that they honor the kings
of France as the kings of Judea as some maintain. The majority of the
larger statues of Paris Cathedral are restitutions. Viollet-le-Duc had
an English sculptor, George Frampton, make the gargoyles and grotesques
of Notre Dame, since the Revolution wrecked most of the exterior

Still another noted scholastic, Guillaume d'Auvergne (1228-29), was to
rule the see of Paris while its chief church was building. He finished
the northwest tower, which differed slightly in size and details from
that to the south; across the face of the former are ten statues,
whereas nine only are set before its companion tower. Perhaps a change
of architects caused the disparity, or it may be that when the houses
were cleared away for the erection of the north tower, more space was
available. Bishop Guillaume d'Auvergne's writings show him to have been
one of the most original thinkers in the XIII century, a theologian, a
philosopher, a mathematician, and one versed in Arab and in Greek
literature. He became for St. Louis a kind of prime minister in
ecclesiastical business, and, like the king, he founded hospitals and
houses of charity. There is a charming page in Joinville's reminiscences
concerning this able man. A priest expressed his doubts to him on the
Eucharist. Bishop Guillaume asked if he tried to resist the temptations,
and he replied that he did so with all his force. "Now I," said the good
bishop, "have not a single doubt about the Real Presence. I am like the
fortress of Montleheri, safe in the heart of France, far from the danger
line; but you, who fight unceasingly, are like the king's fortress of
Rochelle in Poitou, on the frontier. Now, of us two, whom will the king
most honor for guarding his fortresses?"

Peasant and prince, crusader and scholar, humanist and mathematician,
men of exemplary lives, born rulers and guides, such were the builders
of Notre Dame of Paris, and their ability and sincerity live eternally
in their work.[82] They gave free wing to the soul in raising their
great church, while they cheerfully accepted the human law of working
within limits. No cathedral in France shows more clearly the relation
between builders and building, more clearly vindicates the ideals of its
age. The partisan historian may cite his instances to prove that the
religion of that age was superstitious. While Notre Dame stands, such
charges are refuted. It is a historical document as potent for the
vindication of the truth as the _Divina Commedia_ itself.

When Bishop Guillaume d'Auvergne had finished the towers of Notre Dame
he caused to be made the open arcade from which they emerge, as from a
royal peristyle. About the same time side chapels were inserted between
the buttresses, and the line of small rose windows, which had hitherto
marked the triforium story, was done away with, in order that the
clearstory windows might be lengthened. Only step by step were the
builders learning that they might open the entire space between the
active members of a Gothic structure; the upper windows of Chartres had
passed on the lesson to Paris.

The plan of the first architect was adhered to throughout, and since the
later masters-of-works were likewise natives of the Ile-de-France and
innate in them a classic restraint and a hardy daring (the hall-mark of
the best Parisian art to this day), the cathedral of Paris was
homogeneous. Midway in the XIII century Jean de Chelles, a precursor of
Rayonnant Gothic, lengthened the transept arms by a bay and finished
them with admirable façades. His name, and the date 1257, are cut on the
foundation stone of the south façade. The sculpture of that southern
entrance honors St. Stephen, since on the site had once stood a church
dedicated to the first martyr; the tympanum of the door is another
_chef-d'oeuvre_ of Notre Dame. Jean de Chelles was the first to use
perforated gables. It is thought that on the north façade worked Pierre
de Montereau, the architect of St. Denis. As the XIII century merged in
the XIV Pierre de Chelles, probably a son of Jean, directed the making
of the apse chapels and the superb flying buttresses which leap
unhesitatingly over chapels and aisle and tribune gallery. He added the
big tribune windows with gables.

The classic restraint which is the leading quality of Notre Dame was
never poverty. Sculpture was lavish where it should be. At the portals
the Scriptures were set forth in detail and saints were held up for the
edification of the people. The signs of the zodiac were carved, as well
as the personification of the seasons and the months. Pinnacle and
parapet were weighted with winged beast or demon, and the useful water
spouts, or gargoyles, were chiseled as crabbed images. However, one
should always remember, in climbing the towers of Notre Dame, that most
of the present stone monsters are modern, and it is one of the
weaknesses of the restorer to overemphasize the grotesque in the art of
the Middle Ages.

A strange world of fabulous creatures dwell on the roof of Our Lady's
church--conceptions that are half terrible and half fantastic,
imaginations that are survivals of the old pagan superstitions which
Christianity could not wholly extirpate. The XII and XIII centuries were
not so far removed in time from the invasions of the northern
Barbarians, and the Church made concessions to primitive inheritances.
Artists were allowed to carve on roof or pinnacle the chimeras and
vampires which through long centuries had haunted the imagination of
their ancestors, provided that they expounded the truths of Christian
doctrine in such principal places as portals, façades, and choir
screens. Might not a mocking grotesque beside an angel be taken as
emblem of the external antagonism of the animal and the spirit in man?
The choir screen of Notre Dame of Paris is sculptured with the
apparitions of the risen Lord, from Easter Day to the Ascension. "If
Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain."[83]

The cathedral of Paris during the first centuries of its existence was
the setting of many national scenes. Here the kings of France deposited
their crown and renewed their vow to be just fathers of their people.
Before its altar their newborn heir was blessed. In 1182 the main altar
of Notre Dame was consecrated, and three years later the patriarch of
Jerusalem preached from it the Third Crusade. On the eve of both his
crusades St. Louis prayed here, and in 1270, when his remains were
brought back from Tunis, they rested in Notre Dame for a solemn night of
chanted mourning.

In Notre Dame the Duke of Bedford had his nephew, Henry VI of England,
crowned as king of France. Factional hate and a foreign enemy in control
caused a _Te Deum_ of rejoicing to be sung in this, the most national of
French cathedrals, when the news came that Jeanne the Maid had been
taken prisoner before Compiègne, in 1429, but solemn reparation was made
in 1456, when, in the presence of Jeanne's mother and brothers, the
bishop of Paris (a Norman, and brother of the poet Alain Chartier)
opened in Notre Dame the inquest that was to lead to the Rehabilitation
of the heroine of Orleans.

To the hidden places over the vaults of Notre Dame fled the illustrious
chancellor of Paris University, Gerson, to whom during two centuries was
attributed the _Imitation of Christ_. In 1407 he had reprobated the
murder of the Duke of Orléans (builder of Pierrefonds) by the Duke of
Burgundy (of the regal Dijon tomb), and the mob rose and sacked his
house. It is said that for months Gerson lay concealed in Notre Dame,
alone with his books, and given over to prayer and meditation.

The present stained glass in Notre Dame is modern, save for the north,
south, and west rose windows, the trilogy of light usually found in big
cathedrals. The roses of the transept belong to the Paris school which
led in the art of glassmaking during the second half of the XIII
century. So large were the spaces then to be filled that the scrupulous
patience of the St. Denis craftsmen was no longer possible. Backgrounds
had to be made quickly by bold, simple trellis designs, and as the most
frequent background was a red trellis on a blue field, and the
juxtaposition of red and blue makes violet, in too many of the windows
of that period prevails a melancholy purplish hue. Originally the choir
of Notre Dame boasted some glass given by Abbot Suger himself to the
preceding Romanesque cathedral. In the XVIII century, those
over-confident _gens de goût_, the cathedral canons, whose taste
admitted only the neo-classic, substituted uncolored glass for the
ancient windows. They say that when the workmen were removing Suger's
priceless glass, they were dumfounded by its deep, ineffable blue.[84]

Many a treasure of Notre Dame was destroyed by the Revolution, and the
church itself was put up for sale and escaped demolition by merest
chance. It served as Temple of Reason, as warehouse, as fête hall.
Again, during the Commune, in 1871, for the purpose of destroying it,
chairs were piled high in the choir and set on fire, but brave men broke
in the doors and extinguished the flames. Early in the World War, in
1914, a German airship dropped a bomb on Notre Dame which pierced the
roof of the transept's northern arm.


    Li cuers doit estre semblans à l'encensier,
    Tous clos envers la terre et overs vers le ciel.
    --(Old song of the Middle Ages).

On the same isle in the Seine with Notre Dame stands the
Sainte-Chapelle, the reliquary of stone and jeweled glass which the
saint-king had made to enshrine the Crown of Thorns redeemed from
Constantinople. To-day it is a body without a soul, as the revered crown
is kept in the treasury of Notre Dame, and until a memorial service
during the World War, Mass had not been said in the _reliquaire de
souvenirs_ for fifteen years.

The chapel, which was connected with the king's palace, was begun in
1246 and dedicated in 1248. "It was," said one who knew St. Louis well,
"the king's citadel against the adverses of the world." He would rise at
midnight to pass into the chapel for the singing of matins. "Into this
shrine Louis IX put all the memories of his crusading ancestors, all the
hues of the Orient. It was his vision of the Heavenly Jerusalem." The
walls were rich with gold and color. The present polychromatic
decorations of the walls are a deplorable modern experiment. Fifteen
splendid windows told the Bible story in a thousand small medallions;
ninety-one scenes related Genesis; one hundred and twenty-one gave
Exodus. A window on the south side told the True Cross story, and the
three central windows were devoted to the lives of the Saviour and John
the Baptist. The western rose was added during the Flamboyant Gothic
revival following the expulsion of the English invaders.

The making of the vast windows of the Sainte-Chapelle raised Paris to
the leadership of the vitrine industry during the second half of the
XIII century. Of that school are windows in the cathedrals of Angers and
Clermont, and Soissons' western rose. Though of splendid effect, such
windows do not equal those of the preceding hundred years, when Chartres
and St. Denis led. The borders round each medallion had now become mere
zigzags, since expedition was required for the glazing of enormous

The Sainte-Chapelle, as Gothic science, could be carried no farther
without violating its own laws and becoming what an English critic said
of the late-Gothic of France, "all muscle and glass." Everywhere was the
ascending line accentuated; over the windows are some of the earliest
gables extant. They break the horizontal band of the balustrade above,
and serve structurally as weights on the longitudinal wall arches.

Perhaps it was because the architect felt he was overemphasizing the
ascending line that he interrupted the soar of the columns marking the
chapel walls, by placing against each shaft the amply draped statue of
an apostle--the twelve pillars of the Church. To-day only the forth and
fifth statues on the north side are originals; there are merely ancient
fragments in the other images. For some time it was thought that the
Sainte-Chapelle was the work of Pierre de Montereau, the king's own
architect. A newly discovered record proves that he designed St. Denis'
abbatial, which shows, however, no family likeness with the chapel of
the Cité palace. Now, that chapel does display a certain likeness to the
façades of Notre Dame's transept, and it has been suggested that Jean de
Chelles, who designed the transept, was the architect of the


    La France est l'homme,
    Paris est le coeur.
    --HENRY IV.

Close to the Seine, under the hill of St. Geneviève, stands a small
contemporary of the choir of Notre Dame, St. Julien-le-Pauvre, built by
the Cistercians of Longpont, about 1180, and claiming as its patrons
three saints of the same name, St. Julian, martyr, St. Julian, bishop of
Le Mans, and a humble St. Julian who had founded a hospice for pilgrims
by the Seine and used to help the poor across the river. It is said that
a leper whom he was piloting over vanished in midstream, whereupon the
people said it had been the Lord himself come to test the holy man's

The western bays of St. Julien-le-Pauvre have been demolished and all
that remains intact of the Primary Gothic church are the choir, with
three apsidal chapels, the side aisles' vaulting, and the columns
against the side walls. The same sculptor who worked at Notre Dame made
the virile capitals of this little church.

St. Julien to-day is used by the Greek-Melchite rite of Roman Catholics.
It long was the patron church of letters and science, and every year
from its altar started the procession of the University of Paris to the
fair at St. Denis called Lendit, for the solemn purchase of a twelve
months' supply of parchment. The rector of the university led the
throng, and so vast was the concourse of students that the head of the
procession was in St. Denis' abbatial before the rear ranks had quitted
St. Julien-le-Pauvre. For four hundred years Paris University elected
its rector in this little church, and tradition says that Dante prayed
here when he crossed the Alps in 1304. In his imagination was then
surging his mighty poem, and the men of France have pictured him pausing
to muse over the images of Hell at their own cathedral doors. The great
exile of Florence was himself the purest product of scholasticism, as
impassioned as were the cathedral builders for theology and philosophy,
for symmetry and rhythm and the mysterious beauty of numbers. The
_Divina Commedia_ was a poetic _Summa_.


     Ces vénérables bénédictines dont la science n'était égalée que par
     leur modestie--F. BRUNETIÈRE.

There are in Paris three abbey churches that show steps in the
transition to Gothic art: St. Germain of the meadows, St. Martin in the
fields, and St. Peter's church on the martyr's hill, names that keep
alive early Christian traditions--the first bishop and martyr of Paris,
St. Peter whom always "the eldest daughter of the Church" was glad to
honor; St. Martin, first beloved of the apostles of Gaul, and Bishop
Germain (d. 576) who founded outside the city walls the abbey called
later by his name, and who helped to Christianize the new Frankish
conquerors. So disinterested was he that, to feed the poor, he sold a
horse given him by the king; whether riding or walking, the saint-bishop
ever went in prayer.

The present church of St. Germain-des-Prés has a tower that in part
predates the year 1000; it was erected by an abbot who ruled from 990 to
1014, and shows the small stones used at that period. The nave and
transept, finished before the XI century closed, under a bishop of Paris
who was uncle of Godfrey de Bouillon, comprise the only remaining
Romanesque work in the capital. Twice in the XII century the choir was
reconstructed by the monks, first about 1125, and at the same time the
ancient tower's upper story was built; and again, after Suger, in 1144,
had demonstrated the superiority of Gothic vaulting. St. Germain's abbot
wrote, in 1163, that he had repaired his church in a new fashion. In the
ambulatory the round and the pointed arch appeared side by side, and the
groin vault was used simultaneously with the diagonals. The capitals
were altogether Romanesque, since sculpture changed less swiftly than
construction in those transitional years. Perhaps the new choir of St.
Germain was not wholly finished when Pope Alexander III dedicated it in
1163, the year that the foundation stone of Notre Dame was laid. The
choir's triforium arches were cut off, later, to lengthen the clearstory
windows, and the nave has been revaulted.

In the abbey inclosure a Sainte-Chapelle, a cloister, and a refectory
were built by Pierre de Montereau; he and his wife, Agnes, were buried
in the chapel. Fragments of his work have been collected in the small
garden beneath the Carolingian tower of the abbatial, as well as in the
gardens of the Musée Cluny.[88] The Revolution entirely wrecked the
monk's quarters.

St. Germain-des-Prés, in popular speech, was _The Abbey_. Here gathered
the learned men of Paris for mental stimulus. In its priceless library,
destroyed by the Revolution, worked those famous scholars Dom Luc
d'Achery (d. 1685), Dom Mabillon (d. 1707), and Dom Rivet (d. 1749),
whose tireless patience and scrupulous respect for historical truth
made the name Benedictine a synonym for "savant." Three monumental works
were begun by the XVII-century reformers who renewed the love of letters
in the leading monastic houses of France: the _Acta Sanctorum_; the
annals of the Benedictine Order; and that pride of French letters, the
_Histoire Littéraire de la France_, which to-day the Institute of France
is continuing. "_Gros livres inutiles_," Voltaire glibly called the
invaluable books which for the modern school of mediæval archæology have
made flesh-and-blood men of the old prelate-builders of cathedrals.

The parts which have survived of that other notable Benedictine
establishment in Paris, St. Martin-des-Champs, are now comprised in the
_Arts et Métiers_ establishment. Affiliated with great Cluny, St.
Martin's priory was as like it, said Peter the Venerable, as seal is
like signet. To-day in the ancient church is installed an exhibit of
machinery. The beautiful hall, once the monks' refectory, and now a
technical library, is thought to be the work of Pierre de Montereau. The
slender pillars dividing it into two aisles, the well-carved capitals,
the elaborate keystones, and the portal's foliage all belong to the
golden hour of the national art.

For the student it is the choir of the church (c. 1135), built by the
prior who surrounded the monastery lands with walls (1130-40), which is
of chief interest, for in it were taken marked strides in the advance of
Gothic structure. Here first was attempted a double ambulatory, an idea
which Suger within a few years was to carry out in its fulfillment at
St. Denis. The Lady chapel, a lobed half dome--the sacred
trefoil--developed further the ribbed apse first found at Bury (c.
1125); here the ribs are structural, not merely decorative. Like other
monuments of the transitional hour, St. Martin used simultaneously
intersecting ribs and groins, round and pointed arches. Its XIII-century
nave was never vaulted.

The third monument of the capital which shows other stumbling first
steps of the national art is the little church of St. Pierre under the
towering new basilica of the Sacred Heart on Montmartre.[89] Till the
XII century there stood on the site of St. Pierre a church dedicated to
St. Denis, for tradition said that the first martyr of Paris had here
been interred until his relics were removed to the new abbey of St.
Denis on the Roman road outside Paris. In the crypt, by St. Peter's, on
Montmartre, it is said that the earliest Christians of the region held
their rites. And to that hallowed spot has come many a soul to beseech
enlightenment on the eve of some projected good work. Here, in 1534, St.
Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, and the first Jesuits passed a
night in prayer and vowed themselves to God's service. Here came St.
Francis de Sales before founding the Visitation Order, St. Vincent de
Paul before founding the Lazarists, and M. Olier before he organized St.
Sulpice. Ursulines and Carmelites also have memories with St.

A Benedictine priory was installed here by Louis VI and his queen,
Adelaide, niece of Pope Calixtus II of the Capetian house of Burgundy.
They began the present church as Romanesque, but soon the new system of
vaulting was employed. Slowly but consecutively throughout the XII
century St. Peter's church was built. Its oldest Gothic vault is the one
over the section of the choir preceding the apse; the stout ribs have
profiles like those which Abbot Suger was making about that same time in
the forechurch of his abbatial.

The solemn dedication of St. Pierre-de-Montmartre took place in 1147
with Pope Eugene III officiating and St. Bernard and Peter the Venerable
acting as deacon and subdeacon. Since the rebuilding of the apse, at the
end of the XII century, numerous reconstructions have gone on in order
to preserve the revered church.[90]


    Je dis que droit est mort et loyauté éteinte
    Quand le bon roi est mort, la créature sainte,
    A qui se pourront désormais les pauvres gens clamer
    Quand le bon roy est mort qui tant les sut aimer?

The greatest glory of the Middle Ages was the saint-king himself. He was
essentially of his epoch both in his love of theology and his enthusiasm
for building. Under his grandfather, Philippe-Auguste, most of the
Gothic cathedrals of France were begun. The majority of them continued
building under Louis IX. In his reign Beauvais Cathedral was started,
that of Meaux rebuilt, as was also St. Denis' cathedral-like abbatial.
There rose now a host of lesser Gothic edifices, such as the
Sainte-Chapelle at Paris, the synodal hall at Sens, and the hospital
hall at Ourscamp. "And as a writer who has made his book, illuminating
it with gold and azure, so our king illuminated his kingdom with the
beautiful abbeys he built," wrote his friend Joinville.

All too many of his abbatials have been swept away--Royaumont,[92] built
with the proceeds from his father's jewels, where Louis IX had worked
side by side with the masons, where he had passed his saddest hours, for
in its church was laid to rest his promising eldest son, whose beautiful
tomb now is harbored at St. Denis. Gone, too, is Maubuisson Abbey, where
was buried his mother, Blanche of Castile. Her bronze tomb was melted up
and made into cannon during the Revolution, but one knows that the
something high and Spanish in Blanche (whom her contemporaries compared
to stag and eagle) would have preferred a cannon to the copper pennies
into which were transmuted all too many of the ancient tombs. The mother
of St. Louis was a woman cast in a heroic mold, daughter of that Spanish
king who at Las Navas de Toloso saved Europe from an avalanche of
400,000 Mussulmans and granddaughter of art-loving Aliénor of Aquitaine
and Henry II, Plantagenet.

The prudence of Blanche of Castile saved the kingdom for her son against
the insurgent barons of France. She hastened to have him crowned at
Rheims, in 1226, in the same year that St. Francis died, in Italy. It is
said that the lad of twelve held up firmly the sword of the Emperor
Charlemagne, whose blood ran in his veins. The barons tried to kidnap
the young king from his mother, and when he escaped the snare and rode
back to Paris all the countryside poured out to bless him. Years later
he told Joinville it was from that hour he dedicated himself to the
welfare of his people.

In 1234, at twenty, he was married in Sens Cathedral to a princess of
the cultivated house of Provence; Dante has a line for the daughters of
Raymond Berenger IV, patron of the troubadours: "Four daughters had he
and each a queen."[93] Marguerite of Provence was somewhat overridden by
the stronger personality of Blanche, her mother-in-law. For his valiant
mother, Louis IX retained always a passionate admiration. On his first
crusade he left his kingdom in her charge, which, however, he did not do
for his queen, when he last went crusading. He had seen her sister, on
the throne of England, tamper with that country's interests for the
advancement of her own family, and he recognized in his Marguerite a
strain of the same intriguing. She could rise to her lord's level,
however, and was his faithful lifelong companion. A sublime word of hers
has come down to us: they were sailing back to France after four years'
sojourn in Palestine; off Cyprus the ship was well-nigh wrecked, and an
attendant rushed to ask if he should awaken the royal children. "No,"
cried the queen, "let them go to God in their sleep."

That a king whose forebears had fought in all the crusades should, in
his turn, strike a blow for Christendom, was inevitable. Jerusalem had
fallen in 1244, and the instinct of Europe felt the menace of the Mongol
advance from the East. Was not the fate of Spain close at hand to prove
the possibility of Oriental invasion? So St. Louis took the crusader's
vow, and with him went the turbulent lords whose departure gave France
some needed years of peace. He had in vain tried to negotiate peace
between Papacy and Empire, in whose protracted duel he remained neutral.

In Cyprus, in 1248, the crusaders paused before descending on Egypt, and
there St. Louis and Joinville drew together. The hereditary seneschal of
Champagne was a very great lord, his mother being of Burgundy's Capetian
line, and his Joinville forebears notable crusaders.[94] The contingent
which he provided for the holy wars consisted of nine knights and seven
hundred men, but because of the long winter's halt in Cyprus he found
himself in straits to meet their expenses. Louis IX, ten years his
senior, came to his aid, although the ruler of Champagne and not the
king of France was Joinville's suzerain. Side by side the two friends
went through the disastrous campaign in Egypt--the delayed march on
Cairo, which ended in Mansourah's defeat. Together they shared
imprisonment, and the king's elevation of soul won the Mussulmans'
respect. Then, their ransom paid, they sailed together for Palestine,
and there, in the daily intimacy of years, the affection of these two
loyal knights struck deep root. To Joinville the king intrusted his wife
and children in the perilous overland journey in Syria, before they
embarked for France.

When, in 1254, Louis IX came back from the East, he gave himself up for
fifteen years to his country's welfare, "the most conscientious man who
ever sat on a throne," touched to the core by that divine unrest which
is man's highest faculty and does lasting work for God, revered by the
"little people of the Lord" as their champion for justice and social
progress. "_Il est en doulce France un bon roy Loeys_," sang the
minstrels then. Never did king love more _la doulce France_ and prove it
more conclusively. Justice was inherent in him. A most sensitive feeling
of duty ruled his every act. Yet he knew how to mete out deserved
punishment unflinchingly. From his shrewd and capable grandfather, so
little of a saint, he had learned that no one could govern well who
could not refuse as well as grant.

That Louis IX understood his age is shown in his dealings with the
feudal system. He made no attempt to destroy it, which would then have
been impossible, and, moreover, his respect for the rights of others
always kept him from extreme measures; but he regulated its excesses,
knowing that organized anarchy could be broken only by organized laws.
One of the best laws he passed was that of the _quarantaine-le-roy_,
which forbade any baron to wage war on his fellows without a notice of
forty days. The king favored the written law to offset the law of
custom, on which feudal abuses were based. During a generation he had
his agents all over France collect old laws and customs--Roman law,
canon law, feudal privileges, and from their composite mass was created
the great code called the _Établissements de St. Louis_. He substituted
jurisprudence by inquest, and witnesses for that by force, and he made a
supreme court by instituting the right of appeal. Admirable were some of
his treaties such as that which made the Pyrenees the natural boundary
between Spain and France. His reform of the coinage was another link of
unity for France.

In Paris he organized a police, protected commerce by regulations, put
an end to the selling of magistratures, and he began, there, the library
which to-day is the richest in Europe. In the garden of the Cité and
under the oaks of Vincennes, the king held open courts of justice, and
when his youngest brother, Charles d'Anjou,[95] tried to browbeat one of
lesser rank, the king gave a legal councilor to the poor knight who won
the case against the prince. Louis IX's very enemies chose him as
arbiter. Little wonder that the people of France have sung of him:

    Ha! le bon Roy!
    Simples, ignorans supportait
    Pauvres, mendians confortait,
    Observant de Jhusys la foi,
    Redoutant Dieu--
                Ha! le bon Roy!

Joinville has drawn for all time the picture of the years between the
saint-king's two crusades, a golden age, if ever there was one. The
friendship begun during their years of Syrian comradeship continued, and
the seneschal often came up to Paris. It was he who arranged the
marriage of the king's daughter with his own suzerain, the son of
Thibaut IV, the song maker, in whose court of Champagne Joinville had
acquired his delightful mode of speech.

Then, again, came the call of the East. Jaffa and Antioch had fallen to
Islam, and the condition of the Oriental Christians was heartrending.
Louis IX could not resist their cry for aid. In 1270, twenty-two years
after his first departure from Aigues-Mortes, the king sailed again from
that half-finished fort by the dead waters. Joinville was not with him,
for he was needed by his "little people," an excuse which his friend

The crusaders had scarcely landed on the coast of Africa when plague
struck them down. First died Tristan, the son born to St. Louis in the
sorrowful, earlier days in Egypt. Then the saint-king himself passed
away; and on his lips was the prayer that his race might learn to
despise the prosperity of this world and not to fear adversity, and that
France might never deny the name of Christ. The night before he died
they heard him singing, "_Nous irons en Jerusalem_," the holy city he
had never seen, the aspiration, the magic name that stirred those strong
generations.[96] Before the century closed the Church canonized him.
"House of France," announced the pope, "rejoice to have given the world
so great a prince, and to heaven so great a saint. People of France,
rejoice to have had so great a king."

"If ever the golden age of the good old times existed," wrote
Sainte-Beuve, "it certainly was under St. Louis, and it is by the pen of
Joinville that it exists for us. They believed then in their king, they
believed above all in their God, as if God were present in the smallest
occurrences of daily life." In the _Histoire de St. Louis_ by Jean, sire
de Joinville, there is not a mawkish note, and considering what happens
to too many saints in their biographies, it must be acknowledged that
the seneschal accomplished a feat. As depicted by his contemporaries,
Louis IX is so convincingly himself that later efforts to stereotype him
as the sacristan's ideal of piety have failed. His "pleasant manner of
speech seasoned with wit" had nothing of the prig in it. From his
childhood to his deathbed of ashes in ancient Carthage (birthplace of
his favorite Augustine), St. Louis possessed a direct personal touch
with God. "_Beau Sire Dieu, garde-moi mes gens!_" he rose at night to
petition with insistent outstretched arms when, in Egypt, the "Greek
fire" was hurled into the Christian camp. And Joinville, who had a
wholesome dread of the Saracens' projectiles, turned to rest, feeling
secure while such prayers were beseeching Heaven.

Louis IX was a tireless student of the Bible and works of the Church
Fathers. He had a passion for the liturgy. The number of hours which he
spent in prayer has roused the sarcasm of our indifferent generation.
His hours before the Tabernacle bore fruit in deeds. His temper was
naturally quick, and he had a keen sense of irony, but his friend, the
seneschal, was able to bear witness, at his canonization process, that
in an intimacy of over twenty years never had he heard a word of
disparagement of others fall from the king's lips. "There was something
in the mere sight of him that found a way to the heart and affections,"
wrote one who knew him; "the eyes of a dove," said another. "He seemed
pierced to the heart with pity for the unfortunate," wrote Queen
Marguerite's chaplain who had daily intercourse with him. An observant
Italian who saw the king on his way to his first crusade described the
something of rare refinement and grace in his bearing.

Not a touch of self-consciousness was in Louis; barefooted, in a white
tunic, he carried the Crown of Thorns through the streets of Paris. In
his sublime other-worldliness, he bathed the feet of beggars, dressed
the sores of lepers, and when he felt that his soul needed it he
scourged himself. And at the same time he was a model of knightly
prowess, who many a time had fought

    For Jesu Christ in glorious Christian field,
    Streaming the ensign of the Christian cross
    Against black pagans, Turks, and Saracens.[97]

At the battle of Mansourah, Joinville saw the king, "the most beautiful
of men," to his eyes, fair, gallant, in stature head and shoulders above
those around him, defend himself alone with great slashing sword cuts
from the onslaught of six paynims. He was a true _prud'homme_, a name
for which he had a weakness, for to be a _prud'homme_ meant to be a
knight, not only bodily, but in one's soul.

Side by side with his other-worldliness went a sound practical sense.
When his son-in-law, Thibaut V of Champagne, gave overgenerously to a
monastery in Provins, all the while that he was in debt, St. Louis asked
him was it fair to bestow alms with other people's money. His personal
tastes were unostentatious, but he held court sumptuously when the
occasion required, and he advised his lords to dress well so that their
wives would love them better. He was ever human; when word came to him
in Palestine that the mother he adored had died in France, he shut
himself away from sympathy for two days, then sent for the friend he
loved best. As Joinville approached, the king opened his arms to him
with the cry, "Ah, seneschal, I have lost my mother!"

Joinville has recounted a scene which took place between him and his
friend, that is one of the fairest things in literature, slight episode
though it is. In council, in Palestine, the barons urged the king to
return to France. Almost alone, Joinville held out against such a course
while their retainers were still unredeemed from captivity. For he
remembered how a knight of his family had admonished him: "You are going
beyond the seas. Be careful how you come back. For no knight, rich or
poor, can return an honored man if he leaves in Saracen hands the humble
folk of Our Lord with whom he started forth."

The king listened in silence at the council, and in silence sat through
the banquet that followed, paying no heed to Joinville, who was placed
by his side. The seneschal, saddened by what he thought to be his
friend's displeasure, was standing alone, leaning against a casement,
thinking that when the others returned to France, he would join the
Prince of Antioch, his cousin, till another crusade came to deliver the
"little people of the Lord" unransomed still in Egypt. As he leaned
against the window bars he felt friendly arms laid about his shoulders:
"Have done, Monseigneur," he cried, thinking it was one of the barons
come to mock him, "leave me in peace." Then the loving hands slipped
over his face and he recognized the emerald ring worn by the king. The
dear words of mock reproach: "What you, the youngest, dare advise me
against all the great and the wise men of France? Tell me, you think I
would do wrong in leaving?" Then sturdy Joinville, who paints his
friend, too, by the confession, "Never did I lie to him," made answer,
"Yes, Sire, as God is my aid." "And if I stay, will you stay?" asked the

The bloom of the exquisite moment has come to us across the dividing
centuries because Joinville was not thinking of making a book when he
wrote his reminiscences. His object was to have others understand the
gracious distinction, the tender familiarity with him of this
king-crusader whom he loved and who loved him. Written artlessly, and in
entire good faith, his book is full of that indefinable quality called
charm. The seneschal's honest heart is in its infinitely precious pages.

In that other early monument of French prose, the grave Villehardouin
rises to the historian's plane in depicting the Fourth Crusade.
Joinville cannot be said to have taken in the Sixth Crusade as a whole;
he muddles the battle scenes; he digresses to right and to left in idle
details, then catches himself up with happy ease, as if saying, "Dear
me! I forgot to mention," imparting to his chronicle an inimitable
quality all its own. No one would have Joinville different. Amiable,
jocund, unaffected, the soul of honor, candor itself, he does not fear
to acknowledge that he could tremble with fright in battle despite his
stalwart six feet and over. He beguiled his captivity by trying to
convert a Mohammedan by highly colored descriptions of hell. He whiled
away the long hours in Syria in composing a treatise of theology, a
_Credo_, wherein he warns every _prud'homme_ to hold on to God with both
arms lest that felon, the devil, come between. And the two arms by which
a man was to hold on to God were Faith and Good Works. "You must have
both, if you wish to keep God: one without the other is worthless,"
warns the young seneschal. No quibbling then!

Joinville had also that quality which the French term _enjouement_, hard
to translate, a playful, most lovable frankness, a mocking vivacity
which was for St. Louis a source of relaxation. The king loved
conversation; he thought there was no book so good as _quolibet_, or say
what you please. Some Armenian pilgrims besought of the seneschal a
glimpse of the saint-king. Joinville came merrily to tell his friend,
warning him that he, the seneschal, was not yet prepared to kiss his
bones. And the king laughed, too, but because he knew it would give the
devout Armenians pleasure, he accorded them an interview. Stroke by
stroke, Joinville filled in the picture of Louis IX, and all the while
he unconsciously paints himself as well. He is so eager to make you love
his hero that you learn to love himself. A tear is always close to the
eye in reading Joinville, not that what he relates is sad, but because
this story of a high soul, written by his loyal friend, touches things
that lie deep in all true hearts.

Joinville was to survive his friend for half a century. He died in 1317.
With a character ripened by six years of intimacy with the _bon
saint-homme roy_, he came back from the East and set himself to work for
his people's welfare, the "little people of the Lord" by whom he had
stood in their hour of need. He was then but thirty. In his old age he
was the accepted arbiter of good taste, admired as the last of a
generation of courtesy. When over ninety, this vigorous old crusader
rode into Flanders on a military expedition for the crown. He had seen
the reigns of six French kings and the passing away of the crusader's
spirit. He had seen his own Champagne become a part of the royal domain,
when the heiress Jeanne was married to the grandson of St. Louis. And it
was at the bidding of that queen of Philippe-le-Bel that Joinville wrote
down his memories of Louis IX.

France has high advocates to plead for her before the Throne in hours of
national peril. Jeanne d'Arc said that she saw St. Louis petitioning God
in the dire hour of foreign invasion. "May they never deny Thy name,"
prayed the saint-king at Tunis, as he rendered "his pure soul unto his
captain, Christ, under whose colors he had fought so long." And in the
men of 1914-18, true _prud'hommes_ after the heart of St. Louis and his
dear friend Joinville, stirred the crusader blood of their ancestors.


     The king was very well built, of easy bearing and smiling
     countenance, bald, high-colored, a great eater and drinker. Toward
     his friends he was most generous; toward those who displeased him
     he was very firm; in his designs he was foresighted and tenacious,
     very catholic in his beliefs, and he judged rapidly and with great
     perspicacity. Easy to arouse, he was also easy to appease. Upon the
     great who disobeyed him he was hard, and he enjoyed sowing
     discord among them, and to make use of the little people in his
     purposes.--Portrait of Philippe-Auguste by a canon of St. Martin,

[Illustration: _Notre Dame of Mantes (1160-1200). The Contemporary of
Paris Cathedral_]

From Paris can best be visited the cathedral-like collegiate at Mantes
on the Seine to the east, and the cathedral of Meaux on the Marne to the
west. Mantes-la-Jolie, the "well-beloved" city of Philippe-Auguste, and
where he died in 1223, is set picturesquely above the Seine, in whose
widened course are wooded islands. From the bridge crossing the
river[99] may be had the best view of the town. The collegiate church of
Notre Dame stands above the houses of the pleasant little city, in the
high-shouldered way of many a French church. Happily, it has never been
reconstructed. It has various traits in common with Notre Dame of Paris,
and some think that the same architect planned both.

Mantes' Primary Gothic church was begun about 1160, at the same time as
the cathedral in the capital, but, being on a lesser scale, it was
finished sooner, and thus appears more archaic. Normandy's Romanesque
zigzag ornamentation was still retained, and the cells of certain vault
sections show the hesitating rough work of masons as yet unpracticed.
While the transverse arches are pointed, those of the diagonal-crossing
ribs are round. Too wide an expanse of plain wall space was left between
tribune and clearstory, for it was to take half a century longer before
architects dared fill their entire upper wall with windows. Like Notre
Dame of Paris, the tribunes open on the middle church by wide, graceful
arches. And this smaller Notre Dame also has western towers that are
connected by an open colonnade. The collegiate has no transept, and one
recalls that neither had Paris Cathedral in its first plan. The flying
buttresses here are among the first ever made. A striking feature of the
exterior of the church is the row of little oculi that light the
tribunes over the aisles, some of which have been changed to windows of
Rayonnant tracery. The deep galleries once were entirely vaulted by
transverse half cradles borne on low lintels, an experiment in masonry
roofing first tried at Tournus, but which never became popular; at Caen
the tribunes of the Abbaye-aux-Hommes had been vaulted by similar half
cylinders whose axial lines were at right angles to that of the nave.

The first Gothic rose window of big dimensions adorns the west façade of
Mantes collegiate. It is what they call plate tracery--that is, the
pattern is formed of voids, the window being a group of variously shaped
openings, and not, as in bar tracery, a single opening with the pattern
made by solids, or stone mullions. The western rose at Laon stands
halfway between plate and bar tracery. Mantes' rose was the prototype
for that at Chartres.

Like most of the larger XII-century churches, the sexpartite system of
vaulting was used. Mantes also followed Noyon and Senlis in having
alternating piers and, like Noyon, it showed the Rhenish trait of a
western transept, formed by the two lower stories of the towers and the
westernmost bay of the middle vessel. Two of the portals are of the XII
century, but the largest--the one under the south tower--was made by
Raymond du Temple. And probably that same XIV-century architect of
Charles V added the gracious chapel of Navarre which is among the best
works of Rayonnant Gothic. In it are four charming statuettes of the
donors, the princesses of Navarre, portrait work showing personal
mannerisms. When the sister of the art-loving Valois king, Charles V,
married Charles the Wicked (a scion of Capetian stock who was count in
Évreux and king in Navarre) she brought the town of Mantes in her dowry,
and it was probably her daughters who are sculptured in this chapel of
Navarre--their gift to Mantes collegiate.

On the site of the present church once stood a Romanesque edifice built
by funds donated by William the Conqueror on his deathbed, to atone for
his having set fire to the ancient church (1087). Angered by a coarse
joke of the French king's, he had sworn his usual oath, "by the splendor
and resurrection of God," that he would light a hundred thousand candles
when he went to his churching Mass; so he marched against his tormentor
and set fire to Mantes that lay in his path. For, as Mr. Henry Adams has
picturesquely expressed it, "Mantes barred the path of Norman conquest
in arms, as in architecture." As the corpulent Conqueror rode around the
place, his horse stumbled, and from the injury then received he died in
Rouen in a few weeks. That burning of Mantes by the Duke of Normandy and
King of England has been called the prelude to the Hundred Years' War
between France and England, whose actual span was from 1337 to 1453. And
in a way Waterloo was its epilogue. The shoulder-to-shoulder fight of
the ancient rivals, from 1914 to 1918, let us hope, has put the seal on
their pact of peace.


    Ah, see the fair chivalry come, the companions of Christ!
      White Horsemen who ride on white horses, the Knights of God!
    They, for their Lord and their Lover have sacrificed
      All, save the sweetness of treading where He first trod!
    These through the darkness of death, the dominion of night,
      Swept, and they wake in white places at morningtide....
    Now, whithersoever He goeth, with Him they go;
      White Horsemen who ride on white horses, oh, fair to see!
    They ride, where the Rivers of Paradise flash and flow,
      White Horsemen, with Christ their Captain: forever He!
    --LIONEL JOHNSON, _Te Martyrum Candidatus_.[101]

To decipher Meaux Cathedral has been a student's _tour-de-force_, so
early and unceasing have been its rebuildings. With Troyes and Séez, it
was the only Gothic cathedral that had a flaw in its structure. Begun
with the choir, in the last decades of the XII century, it still
retained the Romanesque idea of deep galleries over the side aisles.
Whether poor foundations were laid or whether the tribune vaults were
made too cumbersome, the edifice gave signals of insecurity from the

As the XIII century opened, the transept and that part of the nave near
it were building with the tribunes still, although by that time such
galleries had fallen into disuse. Repeated restorations delayed the
works. Cracks continued to show until, about 1270, when the collapse of
the whole church was threatened, a complete reconstruction was
undertaken by Bishop Jean de Poincy.

Already, in 1220, the choir had been redone and two more chapels added,
making five apsidioles in all. In 1270 they demolished throughout the
church the tribunes over the side aisles, and thus the aisles became
twice their intended height. In the first three bays of the choir were
retained the arches of the tribune, so that now certain bays of the
choir aisles open on the central vessel by pier arcades surmounted by
false-tribune arches. Striking effect is made in the nave by some giant
cylinder piers whose height is double what was originally planned and
whose capitals are gems of interpretative sculpture, vine leaf and fern.
Much mechanical dexterity was shown in the recutting of piers and the
elimination of the tribunes, but even now a few of the shorter columns
are to be found embedded in the newer parts, and a few sections of the
triforium show their primitive plan.

By the time Meaux Cathedral was completed it was practically an edifice
of the end of the XIII century. Its chief patroness was the queen of
Philippe-le-Bel (St. Louis' grandson), the Jeanne of Champagne who
brought that rich province to the Crown, as well as the kingdom of
Navarre, the same princess who encouraged Joinville to write his
reminiscences. The city of Meaux was in her dowry, and they say that her
portrait was carved on a keystone of the choir. When she died, in 1305,
she named the bishop of Meaux as her executor and donated a legacy to
his church.

A well-known XIV-century architect, Nicolas de Chaumes, worked on the
west façade, two of whose portals are of that period, and one of the XV
century. Unfortunately, use was made of a soft stone which time has
sadly eroded. Flamboyant Gothic sculpture, with foliage in gracious
disorder, appears in the western bays: the undulating flora of the XIV
century, and the nervous, deeply indented, pointed leaves of the XV
century when such complicated forms as the curly cabbage were taken as
models. Wiser were the earlier sculptors who had interpreted and
arranged their leaves with architectural fitness. The south portal of
Meaux's transept must have had in mind St. Stephen's door of the
cathedral at Paris. At Meaux the sculptured figures show certain
mannerisms, such as the throwing out of one hip, a trait soon to be
exaggerated. The carvings throughout the church were mutilated by the
Huguenots in 1562, and from that date no further work was done on the
edifice. One tower of the façade remains painfully stunted.

The church of Meaux would stand well in the front rank of Gothic
cathedrals were it not for certain flaws of proportion. Such
exceptionally high side aisles call for a nave twice as long, and the
clearstory appears dwarfed by the lofty pier arcades of the chevet. Yet
though made piecemeal, and without uniformity of style in its main
parts, Meaux possesses a unity of its own, and its effect as a whole is
one of elegance and even radiance.

The tomb of its greatest bishop is an immense slab of marble in the
pavement of the choir. Bossuet devoted himself to his diocese for over
twenty years (1681-1704). Frequently he preached in the cathedral built
by the generosity of Jeanne of Champagne, the founder of the College of
Navarre, where he had studied in his youth. There is something akin in
Meaux Cathedral to the high soul and courtliness of Bossuet. The two
most religious and national epochs in French history were the XIII and
XVII centuries.

Few churches in France present a better setting for a festival of
solemn joy than the cathedral of Meaux. It is the church for _Noël_, for
the white radiance of First Communion gatherings, for the _Te Deum_ of
victory. Fitting is it that the victory of the Marne should here have
become a personal heritage. At the very gates of Meaux came the turning
of the tide on September 5, 1914, when the thunderous advance on Paris
was suddenly arrested. The password for that day of miracle was "Jeanne
d'Arc." Near by, on the Oureq, Jeanne's troubadour, Péguy,[102] fell on
that same September 5th, he who had chanted prophetically:

    _Heureux ceux qui sont mort pour une juste guerre ..._
    _Heureux les épis murs et les blés moissonnés,_
    _Heureux ceux qui sont mort dans les grandes batailles,_
    _Couchés dessus le sol à la face de Dieu._

Close to Meaux the battle raged outside, and the wounded, in bewildering
numbers, were carried into the desolated town which lacked a civic head.
The bishop of Meaux, Monseigneur Marbeau, stepped forth as the accepted
leader, as in the time of those earlier invasions when the bishops of
Gaul saved Latin civilization.

Again, in 1918, the invader drew perilously near, and a second victory
of the Marne swept back the avalanche. From the fields around the city
forever will an invisible white army of martyrs swell this cathedral's
_Te Deum_. In Meaux on the Marne, God will always be the omnipotent Lord
God of Battles, the _Dominus Deus Sabaoth_ of the great hymn of

[Illustration: _The Cathedral of Meaux, Viewed from the Nave's Aisle_]


Era of the Great Cathedrals, Chartres, Rheims, Amiens

    _I stood before the triple northern porch_
    _Where dedicated shapes of saints and kings,_
    _Stern faces bleared with immemorial watch,_
    _Looked down benignly grave, and seemed to say:_
    _"Ye come and go incessant, we remain_
    _Safe in the hallowed quiets of the past._
    _Be reverent, ye who flit and are forgot_
    _Of faith so nobly realized as this."_
     --JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL, _The Cathedral_.

Of the four master cathedrals of France, that of Paris was begun first.
Thirty years later, in 1194, the cornerstone of Chartres was laid, that
of Rheims in 1211, and that of Amiens in 1220. In the case of Chartres,
Rheims, and Amiens, rebuilding was undertaken when fire had destroyed
their Romanesque cathedrals. All four of these great churches have the
same patroness, Our Lady, "the glorious mother of God, our advocate
against our enemy of hell"--thus those generations spoke of her of whom
Dante chanted: "Lady, thou art so great, and hast such worth that if
there be who would have grace, yet betaketh not himself to thee, his
longing seeketh to fly without wings."[104]

It is difficult for many a modern mind to understand the passion of
spiritual chivalry felt by the generations that built cathedrals for her
whom they called their sovereign lady, but unless some comprehension of
that mystic ideal is grasped no complete sympathy for mediæval art is
possible. Mr. George Santayana, who would renew our sense of the moral
identity of all the ages, may see in the mediæval devotion to Our Lady a
development of Platonic love, which he calls the transformation of the
love of beauty into the worship of an ideal beauty, the transformation
of the love of a creature into the love of God. All love is to lead to
God. All true beauty leads to the idea of perfection, said Michael
Angelo, who practiced Platonism, even as had Dante, who was of the very
essence of the great scholastic century that built Chartres, Rheims, and


     Discipline is indispensable to art.--GEORGE SANTAYANA.[106]

Chartres was Our Lady's shrine in a peculiar way, her "special chamber."
A local tradition, so old that it reached back to the dimmest past, told
of a prophecy concerning a virgin mother, pronounced by the Druids, a
hundred years before the Christian era on the site where Chartres now
stands, and in the cathedral first built on the revered spot the bishop
retained a pagan well which from time immemorial had been honored by the
populace. That Puits des Saints-Forts has been included in the crypt of
each succeeding cathedral of Chartres. Finally some priggish
XVII-century prelates looked with disfavor on the policy, advocated by
the apostle of the gentiles, to make use of the ancient superstition for
the spread of the true faith. So the pagan well was filled in, and trace
of it was lost till M. René Merlet discovered it in 1900 and had it

That Chartres was a meeting place of the Druids, we know from Cæsar, and
the XIII-century sons of the Gauls, as if in souvenir, carved the
druidical oak leaf freely upon the present cathedral. Is it fanciful to
feel that in the grave forest stillness of Chartres' interior lingers
much of the theocratic nostalgia that forever haunts the Celt? In
druidic times priest, teacher, and lawmaker were honored above brute
force of arms. The present crypt of Chartres includes part of the
Gallo-Roman walls. The V-century Merovingian cathedral abutted on the
city ramparts. Then came wars which in part demolished the town walls,
so that the reconstructed church was able to extend itself beyond the
ramparts. It was doubtless after the Norman inroads that was built, in
the IX century, the chapel of St. Lupus which forms the core of the
present crypt. The Carolingian cathedral of Chartres was destroyed by a
terrible fire in 1020.

Now, in 1020, the see of Chartres was occupied by one of the notable
bishops of French history, Fulbert (1007-29), revered of the people, a
scholar enamored of the life of study, though the events of that
agitated age forced him to play an active part in the national life.
Like Abbot Suger, he was of lowly extraction. He had studied in the
cathedral school of Rheims, made notable by Archbishop Gerbert, who
later became Sylvester II, the pope of the year 1000. Fulbert, too, like
his master, was a versatile genius--doctor in medicine as well as
theologian, and one of the first to take up the new musical system of
the Benedictine Guy d'Arezzo. He made the cathedral school of Chartres a
center of learning, and men who were to be the leaders of the age were
his pupils. Like Socrates, he taught his disciples as they paced up and
down the cathedral precincts. In his exhortations there was an
appealing tenderness that had a singular power in moving men's hearts,
and letters from his pupils still exist, complaining of the exile they
felt when separated from him.[107]

To rebuild his cathedral, Bishop Fulbert gave up his own revenues. Gifts
poured in from the kings of England and Denmark, from the bishop's
schoolmate of Rheims, the good and cultivated King Robert of France,
from the Duke of Aquitaine, who donated the treasure accumulated in St.
Hilary's abbatial at Poitiers. The work was pushed forward with such
energy that after four years Bishop Fulbert was able to write that, by
winter, his lower church would be vaulted.

The present magnificent crypt under Chartres Cathedral is the very one
built by St. Fulbert. It is the most extensive crypt in France. Its
soundly constructed groin vaults stood firm when, two hundred years
later, the upper church was destroyed by fire. In times of public
calamity the people have fled to Fulbert's subterranean passages, and
the devotion of generations has hallowed his shrine. If you would know
the soul of this mystic cathedral, gather at dawn with the silent
worshipers who choose that hour to kneel daily in the secluded intimacy
of Notre-Dame-sous-Terre. The true hour for Chartres is not at noontime,
when the tourists flock to the empty church, but in the morning with the

Fulbert's Romanesque cathedral was finished in the same XI century by
St. Ives of Chartres, another born leader of the nation, who righted
many abuses. He dared stand up against Philip I himself, because of the
king's adulterous marriage with the beautiful Bertrada de Montfort,
stolen from the Count of Anjou. The bishop wrote thus to the king,
refusing to attend his wedding, "out of respect for my own conscience,
which I wish to keep pure before God, and because I would retain the
good repute by which a priest of Christ should honor himself before the
faithful. I would rather be flung into the bottom of the sea, with a
millstone round my neck, than be a stumbling block to the weak. Nor do I
fail in the fidelity I owe you, in speaking thus to you, but rather I
give you proof of it, for I believe that you are risking your immortal
soul and are putting your crown in jeopardy." The king's answer was to
throw him into prison and to pillage his church.

Bishop Ives, in 1095, attended the preaching of the First Crusade at
Clermont, after which he accompanied Urban II to the Council of Tours.
Scarcely a big event of his day or a leading personage that he was
unassociated with, and the three hundred of his letters which are extant
form a valuable contribution to history. Twice was the exiled St. Anselm
of Canterbury his guest, and in 1107 Paschal II--the pope who built the
upper church of S. Clemente at Rome--stopped with him in Chartres.
Bishop Ives had been a pupil at Bec, of the celebrated Lanfranc, so he
was fully competent to keep up the prestige of his cathedral school.

The Romanesque basilica, begun by Fulbert and finished by Bishop Ives,
lasted for over two hundred years. The present northwest tower was
started probably in 1134, when the nave's western bays had been damaged
by fire. Following a pre-Romanesque tradition, the tower was placed a
little distance before the church, apart from it, and so it remained for
some ten years. Then, one day in June, 1144, the eloquent Bishop
Geoffrey de Lèves, successor of St. Ives, was the guest of the abbot of
St. Denis during the dedication of Suger's abbatial, and what he there
saw of the new system of building made him determined to reconstruct
his own church of Chartres. Being an excellent administrator, he was
able to start the new works immediately.

Within a year was begun the southwest tower of Chartres (1145), which
many hold to be the most beautiful in the world. While it was building,
the side aisles of Fulbert's basilica were lengthened to meet both
western towers. That the one to the south never was intended to stand
isolated is shown by the absence of windows on the two sides where it
joins the church, whereas the tower to the north had windows on all four
sides. While these works were in progress St. Bernard came to Chartres
to preach the Second Crusade. He and Bishop Geoffrey had recently
traveled together through Aquitaine, combating the Cartharist heresy.

It was Geoffrey de Lèves who accompanied the future Louis VII to
Bordeaux for his marriage with Aliénor of Aquitaine, and when the death
of the king suddenly called Louis away, he left his bride in the care of
the bishop of Chartres. Geoffrey was long the sincere defender of
Abélard, though finally he disapproved of what was overhardy in his
doctrine; with Peter of Cluny he held that the errors of the brilliant
schoolman were of the head rather than the heart.

Two often-quoted ancient records described the surge of religious fervor
which raised the western end of Chartres Cathedral. In 1145 the
archbishop of Rouen wrote to the bishop of Amiens to relate how the
people of his diocese, knights and ladies, townspeople and peasants,
went in a spirit of penitence to Chartres, there to help in the new work
of Notre Dame. No one could join the pilgrimage who had not confessed,
and renounced all enmities and revenges. As the quarries were some miles
from the city, it was a heavy task to drag in the big stones. In that
same 1145 Abbot Haimon of St. Pierre-sur-Dives in Normandy, wrote to
some monks in England to picture the scenes at Chartres: "Whoever heard
tell in times past of powerful princes brought up in honors and wealth,
of noble men and women bending their proud necks to the harness of
carts, and like beasts of burden dragging stones, cement, wood, to
build the abode of Christ? And while men of all ranks drag these heavy
loads--so great the weight that sometimes a thousand are attached to one
wagon--they march in such silence that not a murmur is heard. When they
halt by the roadside, only the confessing of sins, and prayer, humbly
suppliant, ascend to God. If anyone is so hardened as to refuse to
pardon his enemies, he is detached from the cart and refused
companionship in that holy company. When they have reached the church
they arrange the wagons about it like a spiritual camp, and during the
whole night they celebrate the watch by hymns and canticles."

It was not long after this wave of enthusiasm that the Portal Royal was
begun, probably about 1155, though some have placed those three western
doors earlier and some later. As they resembled the doors of St. Denis
(now destroyed), they were made, doubtlessly, within ten or fifteen
years of Suger's work. By 1175 cracks appeared in the new west
foundations, and the three doors were moved forward, stone by stone, and
placed on a line with the towers. In their first position, set back
between the advancing towers, they had shown to better advantage, but it
is to the advance of Chartres' western façade that we owe the
preservation of its priceless glass and sculpture.

At the time of these changes the bishop of Chartres was John of
Salisbury (1176-80), perhaps the most learned man of his century, and
certainly one of the wisest, sincerest, and most likable men who ever
lived. In his works this humanist advocated a proper use of dialectics,
as opposed to the sterile subtlety then increasing among scholars. His
stand on the problem which agitated the thinkers then--how our ideas
correspond to things existing outside our intellect--was one of moderate
realism. Abélard had led up to such an outlook, and the scholastics of
the XIII century, notably Aquinas, also classed themselves as moderate
realists. John of Salisbury possessed what the French call _esprit_, and
he poked some fun at the hair-splitting in the schools. Hebrew and
Greek he knew, and his Latin was of good literary quality, which was
rather an exception among scholastic writers.

When Thomas Becket was raised to the see of Canterbury, his friend, John
of Salisbury, became his chief adviser, and though the latter held
principles equally firm, he endeavored to curb the primate's excess of
zeal. Through the years of Becket's exile, John lived in France,
returned with his archbishop to England, and witnessed his martyrdom in
Canterbury Cathedral. At Sens he, too, must have watched with interest
that cathedral building, being himself an artist and modeler in clay.
Sens' archbishop, Guillaume de Champagne, admired the balanced character
and solid scholarship of the Englishman, and after the Canterbury
tragedy proposed him for the see of Chartres. No one could have
appreciated better than John of Salisbury the strange charm and beauty
of the column statues which one by one were moved to a new position at
his cathedral's west doors while he governed this see.

And no one was more fitted to comprehend the glory of the three
XII-century windows, also dismounted and reset in those years, than John
of Salisbury's successor at Chartres, his intimate of many years past,
Pierre de Celle, who, while abbot of St. Remi at Rheims, had adorned the
lovely Primary Gothic choir he built there with admirable colored
lights. The south tower was crowned with its mighty spire in his day,
and he paved the streets of Chartres and raised the town walls. Both
these best types of scholastic authors were interested in maintaining
the high repute of their cathedral school. As Pierre de Celle died in
1183, he was spared the sight of his cathedral's destruction.

On the night of June 10, 1194, a terrible conflagration wiped out
Fulbert's Romanesque basilica. To its cavernous crypt the clerks bore
the treasured relics, and after three days emerged, when the fire was
spent. Only the crypt and the more recent west façade, with its two
towers, escaped destruction; the north tower at the time still lacked
its upper stories.

On the smoking ruins the pope's legate made an appeal to the people's
generosity, and once again Chartres presented the devotional scenes of
1145. Bishop and canons gave up three years of their revenue, and pious
confraternities dragged in the big stones. Those passionate rivals,
Richard Coeur-de-Lion and Philippe-Auguste, were donors. Thus every
part of Chartres Cathedral has been raised by the hands and hearts of
faith, and surely the personality which builders impart to their work
breathes here in a piety of the soul that not all the science of later
times has ever been able to simulate. _Non est hic aliud nisi Domus Dei
et porta coeli._

The new cathedral went forward apace; early in the XIII century the big
west rose was added to the much-transformed façade. By 1224 the upper
vaulting was entirely closed in. The formal dedication was postponed
till 1260, to allow for the completion of the two elaborate porches
before the transept's doors. To that delayed consecration came St. Louis
and his court.

The name of the architect of Chartres is unknown, but its unity of plan
is proof that it emanated from the brain of one man. The choir had
double aisles, the nave a single one. It is believed that to the absence
of side chapels in the nave is due the exceptionally good acoustic
properties of this church in which the preacher's voice carries to every
part. Unknown, too, is the architect of the tower built in the dawn of
Gothic art, two generations before the present cathedral. The veriest
amateur as he gazes at it is conscious that he has before him one of the
supreme things of France.

The more closely the _clocher vieux_ is analyzed, the more it becomes a
touchstone by which will be judged other towers. A miracle of just
gradation, it sprang in one jet from the brain of a man of genius. With
a pleasurable sense of harmony the eye travels from the base to the tip
of the spire. Proportion, not ornament, is the secret of its
transcendent influence. The width is right--and so many towers fail
there--the division of the stories is right, and radiantly right is
that crucial point, the transition from the vertical square shaft to
the inclined octagonal spire, accomplished here by means of dormers and
turrets. An innovator was the architect of Chartres' belfry when he
placed open windows in the gables. To obviate any monotonous optical
effect, he made a ridge down each inclined plane of the spire, which
spire is a massive pyramid forming almost half of the tower's height.
Its bare nobility surpasses the richer open stonework of the spire to
the north.

[Illustration: _The Cathedral of Chartres (1194-1240). The Southern

It is confusing that the north tower at Chartres façade should be called
the _clocher neuf_ because of its Flamboyant Gothic upper stories, for
its lower Romanesque parts were built before the _clocher vieux_. When
towers were rising in every part of France as the XVI century opened,
the chapter of Chartres Cathedral invited a local architect, Jean de
Texier, called Jean de Beauce,[109] to complete their truncated
northern tower, whose temporary top had just been consumed by fire. Jean
de Beauce saw that the XIII-century rose window had crowded the south
belfry. While the rose was making, a new story had been added to the
north tower. To that tower he decided to add still another story before
he topped it with an elaborate lacework spire. In consequence the
_clocher neuf_ is out of all proportion to its mate. Nor does it carry
the eye smoothly from soil to tip; its renewals are abrupt. However, if
it lacks subtlety, its crown is none the less a strikingly effective
monument of the final phase of Gothic architecture. The spire is
adjusted to the shaft by means of little flying buttresses which spring
from the angle and face turrets, and help to unify the design.

Some human vanity the north tower of Chartres displays, but no arrogant
pride, no Renaissance pretentiousness. And in the inscription
commemorating its renewal still breathes the reverential, loving,
personal note of the Middle Ages:

"I was once built of lead, till after the fire on the feast of St. Anne,
six o'clock in the evening, 1506, Messires the Chapter ordered me
rebuilt in stone. In my necessity good people helped me. May God be
gracious to them."

Under his belfry tower, Jehan de Beauce built a pretty pavilion to
regulate its chimes. Sculptor as well as architect, he designed the
sumptuous screen about the choir, on whose exterior wall is portrayed
the life of Our Lord in groups made during seven generations. The oldest
and best scenes are those in the south aisle nearest the transept.

The mystery plays gave to the iconography of the late XV century its
realistic character. In these sculpture panels at Chartres, not only
were the costumes of the religious theater copied, but the stage
settings. A group was represented in a room, whereas in earlier work the
sacred personages "stood with a sort of spiritualized detachment, clad
in the long tunic of no country, of no time, the very vestment itself
for the life eternal."[110]

One of the earlier scenes of Chartres' choir screen presents Our Lady
seated in the cosiest of interiors, like a XVI-century housewife, a
reticule by her side and a chaplet, which last touch was a charming
anachronism. She sews serenely while poor distracted St. Joseph dreams.
A complete contrast to this human Virgin Mother is a XIII-century lancet
across the aisle from it--the much-venerated
Notre-Dame-de-la-belle-verrière, a mother of God, the austere symbolic
Throne of Solomon, almost uncanny in her solemn passiveness. In some of
the later groups sculptured on the outer walls of the choir screen
appears the icy hand of the Renaissance, though the setting remained
Gothic throughout.

The two decorative glories of Chartres Cathedral are its sculptured
portals and its wealth of stained glass, "an assemblage unique in
Europe, the thought of the Middle Ages made visible." Though over ten
thousand personages are represented, decoration is kept subordinate to
structure with an instinct for discipline inherent in the best Gothic

For the archæologist, the three western doors are of prime importance,
last of the Romanesque, first of the Gothic portals, call them whichever
you wish. To speak of a transition is to be metaphysical, employing
words for what has no existence in reality, since there was no break in
the sequence of sculpture from the first imaged portals of French
Romanesque art, at Beaulieu, Moissac, Autun and Vézelay to those at Le
Mans and Chartres, and to that masterpiece of Gothic sculpture, the
portal of Our Lady under the northwest tower of Paris Cathedral.

For the making of his three western doors at Chartres, Bishop Geoffrey
de Lèves must have obtained workers from his friend, Abbot Suger of St.
Denis. Archaic enough seem these kings and queens with their strange,
haunting faces, their slim, parallel feet, with their slender figures
more architectural than sculptural as they stand against the pillars to
which they conform, yet none the less they show freedom from the
stereotyped Byzantine traditions. The attitudes are less rigid than in
previous column statues, and personality is dawning in the faces. The
Madonna is own sister of the Eastern empress of St. Anne's door at
Paris, made about fifteen years later under Bishop Maurice de Sully.

The "celestial portal" of Chartres portrayed the life of Christ from his
birth to his ascension. At the northern doors of the transept was set
forth the Creation, to the coming of the Messiah, and Our Lady was
especially honored. And the southern portal commemorated from the coming
of the Lord to his second advent at the Last Judgment. It was the custom
to represent this last scene at the west façade, where it might be
illumined by the setting sun of the world's final day, the _dies iræ_
long dreaded. But since the west portal of Chartres had followed a
Romanesque tradition by carving in its place of honor a Christ in the
elliptical aureole of eternity, accompanied by the symbols of the four
evangelists, the Last Judgment was relegated to the transept's south

Between the two lateral portals of Chartres there is little choice. In
them Gothic sculpture appears in full bloom. Each is a national
heritage. In the first plan of the transept the entrances lacked their
magnificent porches begun as afterthoughts (about 1240), but so well
adjusted to the doors that they appear to be of the same date. Among
the seven hundred statues at the northern entrance, some show that they
were portrait studies, but it is mere hypothesis to give names to them.
Not a statue was placed haphazard. A prearranged dogmatic scheme was
consistently followed, since to the mediæval mind art was before all
else a teacher. Our Lady stands at the central door, accompanied by ten
big figures representing Melchisedek, Abraham, Moses, Samuel, and David
on her right, and Isaac, Jeremiah, Simeon, John the Baptist, and St.
Peter on her left. They are the patriarchs who prefigured her Son and
the prophets who foretold Him, and the two who witnessed His coming, one
as foreteller, the other to be His symbol in the future. Each
personified a period of history: "Fathers of the people, pillars of
humanity, contemporaries of the first days of the world, they seem to
belong to another humanity than ours. They are to be counted among the
most extraordinary images of the Middle Ages." It is inevitable that M.
Mâle be quoted on all points of mediæval iconography.

Usually under each large statue was carved a pedestal scene having some
connection with it. Thus beneath the Queen of Sheba is a negro; beneath
Balaam, his ass. At the south porch, under St. Jerome, translator of the
Bible, is the Synagogue with bandaged eyes, and under St. Gregory the
Great is a crouching scribe, who cranes his neck to see the saint, for
the legend was that one day as the pope dictated to his secretary, a
long pause came, and the scribe peeped through the curtain that hung
between them and saw a dove perched on the saint's shoulder, symbolic of
the Holy Spirit directing him. St. George and St. Theodore garbed as
crusaders are the only youthful images at the south porch, and must have
been studied from some of St. Louis' knights.

At her entranceways Chartres set forth the calendar of months in small
medallioned allegories, and here and at Amiens, Paris, and Rheims was
given a complete system of moral philosophy through the contrast of
virtues with vices. On the north façade of Chartres is carved "Libertas"
under the image of a virtue. Bishop John of Salisbury would have
approved this: "For there is nothing more glorious than freedom," he
wrote, "save virtue, if indeed freedom may be rightly severed from
virtue, for all who know anything know that true freedom has no other

In structural technique the fenestration of Chartres was a stride
forward, and both the cathedrals of Paris and Soissons learned
immediately from its clearstory arrangement--the first attempt to fill
with colored glass the entire space between the active wall shafts. "In
certain parts of the cathedral of Chartres," says M. Mâle, "is a
magnificent amplitude, a superabundance of power. Each of the nave's
windows is surmounted by an immense rose as wide as the bay, a
conception as proud as ever an architect realized. It is one of those
flashes of genius such as came to Michael Angelo. Those great orbs of
light, those wheels of fire that dart sparkling rays are one of the
beauties of the cathedral."[111]

Notre Dame has preserved over two hundred of the ancient, imaged
windows. The oldest and the best are three large lancets under the
western rose which, like the Royal Portal beneath them, are the work of
Suger's craftsmen who came here from St. Denis. One of these noted
windows relates the childhood of Christ, another His Passion and
Resurrection, and the third is a tree of Jesse, similar to one in St.
Denis.[112] The iron bars supporting the sheet of glass do not conform
to the outline of the medallions, hence it is somewhat more difficult to
decipher the scenes than in XIII-century work. None the less, these, the
oldest windows of the cathedral, are the peer of any colored glass ever
made, because of their inherent genius for decorative effect and their
conscientious workmanship. Many a pen has tried--in vain--to describe
the marvelous deep blue which blends together the other colors--the
streaky ruby, the emerald green, the sea-green white, the brownish
purple and pink, the yellow pot metal.

Even after the opening of the XIII century the St. Denis school exerted
influence, as is shown by the Charlemagne-Roland windows in Chartres'
ambulatory, whose outline was taken from a crusader window of Suger's
abbey. The majority of Chartres' windows belong to the early XIII
century, when the city was mistress of the vitrine art and supplied the
cathedrals of Bourges, Rouen, Sens, Laon, Auxerre, Tours, Le Mans,
Poitiers, and even Canterbury. In the nave's north aisle, the St.
Eustace window (the third) is held to be of faultless artistry. The
large lancets which light the aisles scintillate as with precious
jewels. Only some five or six have floral scrolls filling the spaces
between the medallions and the deep border that surrounds each window;
in France a geometric pattern for such interstices was more frequent.

At the base of each window is what is called its signature--a medallion
which usually represents the avocation of the donors, whether kings,
knights, priests, butchers, shoemakers, furriers, or water carriers.
Thus below the Charlemagne-Roland windows tradesmen display rich fur
mantles, and we know that the _pelletiers_ were the donors. Splendid
were the gifts of the old artisan guilds. The tanners presented an
apse-chapel window in honor of St. Thomas Becket, the vintners one that
related the story of Noe, planter of vines. An overpowering sensation it
must have been for those mediæval workmen to worship beneath the vaults
they themselves had helped to build, under the windows they had
contributed. Kings and knights were their fellow donors, but in the
cathedrals of France the gifts of the lowly were the most plentiful, a
Christian quality which endured till the XVI-century disunion.

To Chartres St. Louis gave a window in honor of St. Denis, patron of his
kingdom. The splendid red northern rose, "The Rose of France," is a
glorification of Our Lady. The donjons of Castile adorn it in honor of
the queen regent. Directly opposite is the big south rose presented by
Blanche's enemy, Pierre Mauclerc, who tried to kidnap Louis IX from his
mother, but who was to die fighting the infidels under his cousin the
king, as did Pierre de Courtenay, another donor of a window at Chartres.
Pierre de Dreux, it is said, began the porch before the southern
entrance to commemorate his marriage with the heiress of Brittany, a
granddaughter of Henry II, Plantagenet. Like every door of this church
of the resplendent entranceways, it is a mass of sculpture. Mauclerc was
grandson of the builder of St. Yved at Braine, and brother of Archbishop
Henri de Dreux, who donated windows to his cathedral at Rheims. Below
the Dreux rose at Chartres, four of the Prophets are borne on the
shoulders of the four Evangelists, for never could those generations,
enamored of symmetry, resist the opportunity to weave together the Old
and New Testaments.

A first cousin of St. Louis, Ferdinand III, the saint-conqueror of
Seville and Cordova, donated to Chartres a window commemorating the
patron of Spain. Three times was St. James honored here, so popular was
the Santiago Compostela pilgrimage. St. Martin and St. Nicolas of Bari
are also commemorated, the former some seven times, for it pleased the
voyagers to noted shrines to record their travels. By pilgrimages French
art and song spread in Italy and Spain.

Single monumental figures of prophet or saint were used in the
clearstory windows instead of small medallions, which would be
indistinct when viewed at such a height. Although most of the windows in
the cathedral belong to the XIII century, the XV century is represented
in the Vendôme chapel, begun in 1417 by Louis de Bourbon, an ancestor of
Henry IV. Much white was then employed for the better lighting of the
church, and the straight saddle-bars of Suger's time were again made use

No attempt was made for perspective in the earlier glass, which was
treated like a translucent mosaic: relief was obtained by the skilled
juxtaposition of tones. The old workers had taught themselves many of
the secrets of optics. They knew that designs on a background of
blue--an expansive color--should be larger than those on red--an
absorbent. They knew that blue was a sedative, that red excited the
vision, and that yellow stopped contours, hence it was to be employed in

It is not of technique that one thinks when standing face to face with
the windows of Chartres. "Create in me a new heart, O God!" one murmurs
when gazing at them. When at noon the sun renders the colors dazzling
and bewildering, the cathedral seems to be chanting "_Sanctus! Sanctus!
Sanctus!_" with the seraphim proclaiming that the whole earth is full of
the glory of the Lord. Live coals from heaven's high altar are the
windows of Chartres, then, cleansing us of our iniquities; and seeing
with our eyes we see, and hearing with our ears we hear, and
understanding with our heart we comprehend the vision and are converted
and healed.

When evening blots out the rest of the church, and in luminous obscurity
the windows hang ethereally in space, they are psalms of intercession
and penitence. To gaze at such windows is to pray, think the Levites who
serve in this temple. At sunset it is no unusual sight to see a young
student of theology seated with his back to the choir, his forgotten
breviary open on his knee, gazing spellbound at the western lancets, in
his face a rapt reverence, indicating that his soul is in prayer. Each
evening the windows of Abbot Suger's craftsmen hymn the suave and lovely
_Te Lucis ante_ which ushers in night's purity. A mediæval cathedral was
designed for the Real Presence, and without that soul of all ritual it
stands bereft. Windows such as Chartres' proclaim the miracle of the
Tabernacle as symbolically as do those pillars of humanity sculptured by
the northern doors, Melchisedek and Peter, types of the Christ, each
holding a chalice, or as do the transept's outspread arms that recall
the sacrifice on Calvary, renewed daily in the sacrifice of the Mass.

That Chartres Cathedral has preserved its wealth of colored glass is
proof that it came gently through the ages; moreover, it was constructed
solidly, being a pioneer in the use of flying buttresses with double
arches united by an arcature. Its lower walls never were weakened by the
insertion of side chapels, those customary XIV-century additions. That
academic period built at Chartres merely the semi-detached chapel of St.
Piat, to which a stair ascends from the ambulatory. In the XVIII century
some well-intentioned but misguided canons of the cathedral lined their
sanctuary with neo-classic marbles and stucco, and cluttered the plain
wall spaces over the pier arches with needless ornament.

In the time of the Revolution, the entire demolition of the big church
was proposed, but happily the embarrassment of how to dispose of such a
mountain of stone prevented the vandalism. Lead was stripped from the
roof to make bullets and pennies. In the XIX century the vast timber
covering of the masonry vaults, called _la forêt_, was burned, but the
new steep-pitched roof covered with lead has taken on a greenish hue
that blends well with the ancient gray stones.

The easy hill of the town serves as pedestal for Chartres Cathedral.
Walk through the little city, whose air of cold propriety is very
typical of French provincial life, pass through the Porte Guillaume, and
from the boulevard beside the stream study the chief edifice of this
Beauce which is "the granary of France." Observe how salient are the
transept arms. Another Romanesque trait is the placing of two
towers--unfinished here--between choir and transept. What Huysmans
called the _maigreur distinguée_ of youth is a characteristic of this
church. In Rheims, the next begun of the big Gothic cathedrals, is no
trace of youth's structural plainness.

As you sit by the stream watching Notre Dame of Chartres, its Flamboyant
Gothic tower, perfect of its kind, seems to ride imperiously over the
nave; none the less it will be the weather-beaten southwest tower on
which the eye will linger longest. Though it was designed to accompany a
church of lesser proportions, though it labors under the disadvantage
of being overtopped by its sister beacon, nothing can diminish its
unparalleled unity. Virile, virginal, aërial, majestic, venerable in
youth and youthful in its venerable age, the _clocher vieux_ of Chartres
is one of the supreme things of the national art, "full of sweet dreams
and health and quiet breathing."


     The nation that made a compact with God at the baptismal font of
     Rheims will be converted and will return to her first vocation. Her
     errors may not go unpunished, but the child of such virtues, of so
     many sighs, of so many tears, will not perish. A day will come, and
     we hope it may not long tarry, when France, like Saul on the road
     to Damascus, will be enveloped in a supernal light whence will
     proceed a voice, asking: "Why persecutest thou me? Rise up and wash
     the stains that disfigure thee. Go, first-born of the Church,
     predestined nation, race of election, go carry as in the past my
     name before all the peoples and before all the kings of the
     earth."--Address of POPE PIUS X, in 1912, to the visiting French

The other two of the four great cathedrals have no setting equal to the
hill pedestal of Chartres or to the river island of Notre Dame of Paris.
Seldom is a French cathedral surrounded by the pleasant precincts and
cloisters preserved by the English minsters, and Rheims Cathedral is no
exception in its abrupt rise from flat city streets. Its druidical
massiveness can easily dispense with a pedestal. Rheims imposes itself.
Even in the night its prodigy of magnificence endures. "The huge
bas-relief is always there in the darkness," wrote Rodin. "I cannot
distinguish it, but I feel it. Its beauty persists. It triumphs over
shadows and forces me to admire its powerful black harmony. It fills my
window, it almost hides the sky. How explain why, even when enveloped in
night, this cathedral loses nothing of its beauty? Does the power of
that beauty transcend the senses, that the eye sees what it sees not?...
_O Nuit! tu es plus grande ici que partout ailleurs!_"[114]

The "masters of the living stone" who built Rheims Cathedral are known
to us to-day. Their names were commemorated in a labyrinth that once
formed part of the nave's pavement, a drawing of which has been
unearthed by M. Louis Demaison. The obliterated figure in the middle of
the labyrinth no doubt represented the bishop who laid the foundation
stone. He was Albéric de Humbert, formerly archdeacon of Notre Dame at
Paris while the bishops Maurice and Eudes de Sully were raising that
cathedral. Builder and crusader, Albéric was a true product of his age.
He marched into Languedoc, in 1208, to chastise the Albigensian
heretics; he attended Innocent III's great Council of the Lateran in
1214, and when he ventured again to the East to take part in the crusade
of Jean de Brienne, he was captured by Saracens and ransomed by the
Spanish knights of Calatrava. He died on the return journey, 1218.

For a man of such energy, it could have been with slight regret that he
witnessed, in May, 1210, the destruction by fire of the decrepit church
he had inherited, one of whose builders had been Archbishop Hincmar in
the IX century. That early cathedral of Rheims had been redressed with a
façade by Archbishop Sampson, a friend of Abbot Suger's, and among the
prelates who attended the memorable dedication of St. Denis. His Primary
Gothic work, wiped out in the conflagration of 1210, was a loss indeed
for art.

Bishop Albéric de Humbert set vigorously to work, and within a year of
the fire had laid the corner stone of the present cathedral (1211). By
1241 services were held in the finished choir. An archbishop of the
Dreux line (1227-40) gave windows to the upper apse, and although he and
the townsfolk were at bitter odds, the building of the great church by
both prelate and people went on unabated. The imperious Henri de Dreux,
like Pierre Mauclerc, the donor of Chartres' south rose, was a grandson
of that brother of King Louis VII who built the beautiful church of St.
Yved at Braine on the highway between Rheims and Soissons. While the
cathedral of Rheims was building, another of its archbishops was a
Joinville, and in 1270 its sixtieth ruler died on St. Louis' last

The plan of the cathedral was made by Jean d'Orbais, who had watched the
erection of the abbatial (1180) in his native town of Orbais,[115] a
church modeled on the choir of St. Remi which the celebrated schoolman
Pierre de Celle had built from 1170 to 1180. Thus Orbais is the
intermediary between the big abbey church of Rheims and Rheims

For twenty years Jean d'Orbais directed the works at Rheims, so stated
the inscription in the labyrinth; and on his death Jean de Loup became
directing architect for sixteen years (1231-47), during which the
transept and its portals were constructed. The third architect, Gaucher
de Rheims (1250-59), began the west portals and worked on the nave. In
his precious notebook, Villard de Honnecourt sketched a bay of the nave
before 1250. The fourth master-of-works at Rheims, whose name was
inscribed in the labyrinth, was Bernard de Soissons. He worked here for
thirty-five years; the inscription states that he made five bays of the
nave--no doubt the westernmost ones--and that he opened the big O, the
rose window of twelve mammoth petals that flowers in the west façade,
and is one of the most beautiful designs of the age. By the end of the
XIII century, therefore, Rheims Cathedral was completed in its main
parts. Carried on with scarcely a pause, and always after the original
plan of Jean d'Orbais, the great church kept its unity throughout. The
first four architects who during a century had directed the works were
succeeded by Robert de Coucy, to whom for a time was erroneously
attributed the original plan, but who really continued to build the
elaborate west façade.

That frontispiece of Rheims Cathedral, with its cloud of witnesses, is a
culmination of Gothic art. Some have called it a work of the XIV
century, but the labyrinth, set in the pavement before Robert de Coucy's
day, distinctly attributed the placing of the big rose window to Bernard
de Soissons, who was in the city till 1298. Also a text of 1299 refers
to one of the west towers, and the armor worn in the David-Goliath group
of the gable is of the 1280 type. All critics acknowledge that the big
statues of the portals belong in main part to the golden period of
Gothic sculpture, and were done between 1250 and 1260.[116] The images
under the southwest tower had been prepared about thirty years earlier,
in the time of Jean d'Orbais. The façade of Rheims inspired many a later
Gothic frontispiece--Meaux, Tours, Rouen, Troyes, and Abbeville.

The cathedral went on perfecting itself in detail, and was nearing a
complete finish when, four months after the raising of the siege of
Orléans, Jeanne d'Arc brought her king to be crowned in the city where
two hundred years earlier St. Louis had been anointed. Three gentlemen
of Anjou wrote a letter to the queen of Charles VII, Marie of Anjou, and
to her mother, Jolande of Aragon, to describe the ceremonies at Rheims
on that fifth day of August, 1429. As the crown was set on the king's
head trumpets rang out, till it seemed that the vaults would crack, and
every man cried "_Noël!_" and drew his sword. A fair sight it was to see
the gallant bearing of Jeanne the Maid as she stood by the king, holding
the banner she cherished more than the sword.

At her trial in Rouen even her standard was used against her. "Why,"
asked her judges, "was your banner carried into the church of Rheims to
the consecration rather than those of the other captains?" And Jeanne
made one of her ringing answers: "It had been in the fray, surely there
was good reason it should be at the victory"--_à la peine ... à
l'honneur_--her phrase was to become a proverb of France.[117] Jeanne
liked fair play. In her army she would tolerate no pillage, nor eat of
food which she thought had been so obtained. But then Jeanne had no
_Kultur_. She was merely an unlettered peasant girl of the Middle Ages,
who called it plain thieving to carry off household goods in an invaded
country. For her good friends of Rheims _la bonne Lorraine_ kept a warm
place in her memory, as her letter to them showed: "_Mes chiers et bons
amis les bons et loyaulx Franxois de la cité de Rains, Jehanne la
Pucelle vous faict à savoir de ses nouvelles ... je vous promect et
certiffy que je ne vous abandonneray poinct_."

Not many years after that national hour of rejoicing the cathedral of
Rheims suffered a disaster which put a stop to further construction;
henceforth only restorations went on. In 1481 some careless plumbers set
on fire the timber overroof and the molten lead ran like a river into
the streets. Many a citizen perished in the effort to check the flames.
The stone roof of the cathedral stood firm, justifying those generations
whose life struggle had been the problem how to cover their churches
enduringly. Though all France contributed, the huge edifice was never to
be crowned by the six spires of Jean d'Orbais' plan; yet even as it is,
Rheims presents the ideal exterior of a Gothic cathedral.

The main façade was made most appropriately a thing of pomp and
circumstance, regal and gorgeous for the royal coronations. No need to
hang such walls with tapestries for the feast. The three deep portals
were united as one by means of an unbroken line of thirty or more large
images, deriving from similar arrays at Chartres and Amiens, but
possessing a pronounced indigenous genius. In the groups of the
Annunciation and the Presentation the Blessed Virgin is a figure of
spotless purity, meek and infinitely touching in her little mantle that
falls in straight simplicity from her slender shoulders. "By humility
the holy Virgin merited to become the mother of God," was the answer
given by St. Isabelle of France, the only sister of St. Louis, when
asked why she named her convent at Longchamp, L'Humilité-Notre-Dame. A
very different Virgin is that in the Visitation group. She and St.
Elizabeth are draped voluminously like stately Roman matrons. Those two
statues (imitated by Bamburg Cathedral in 1280) must have been inspired
by some work of antiquity, of which Rheims possessed a number. Classic
influences in the imagery of northern France during the Middle Ages was
transitory, however. First and last mediæval sculpture was a
building-stone sculpture.

In the eyes and on the lips of a few of the entranceway statues hovered
a half-smile, a fleeting, rare expression which, long centuries before,
the Greek sculptors preceding Phidias had achieved. Again, at the
Renaissance, Da Vinci was obsessed by the same expression, "born of a
miracle, meant to gladden men's souls forever." To-day, the angel image
La Sourire stands headless at the portal under the north tower.

Not only was the west frontispiece of Rheims unique, but its transept
façades would have distinguished any cathedral. One of the three doors
of the north façade is composed of fragments from a monument which had
been in the Romanesque metropolitan burned in 1210. The middle door
commemorates local saints, for cathedrals were historians and linked the
generations with that continuance of tradition which makes the strength
of a race. To honor their spiritual forefathers was held to be
patriotism by those believing generations. At both west and north
façades was an image of St. Nicaise, the eleventh bishop of Rheims, who
had been martyred as he knelt by his cathedral door. Tradition relates
that he was reciting the Psalmist's words, "My soul is bowed to earth,"
when the Vandals struck off his head, and that the severed head finished
the verse: "Verify me, O Lord, according to thy word."[118]

The fifteenth bishop (459-533), St. Remigius, apostle of the Franks, is
honored by a statue. In the cathedral of his day he baptized Clovis, and
thus made France the first orthodox Christian kingdom of the West, since
Gaul's other conquerors had fallen into the Arian heresy. Many an
archbishop of Rheims played a foremost part in the life of the nation.
The military prowess of Turpin, the twenty-seventh prelate here, is
related in the _Chanson de Roland_.[119] The forty-first archbishop was
the learned Gerbert, who died Pope Sylvester II (1003). He made the
cathedral school famous, among his pupils being the king's son and
Bishop Fulbert of Chartres.

One of the students in Rheims in that age was St. Bruno of Cologne,
founder of the Carthusian Order. For long years he directed the
cathedral school, guiding the people during the misrule of a scandalous
archbishop. A pupil of his at Rheims became Urban II, who instigated the
First Crusade. And a century later one of his ablest and holiest sons,
St. Hugh of Avalon, built the cathedral choir of Lincoln, as well as its
small transept, and part of the big transept--the oldest examples of
Early-English Gothic. In 1180, the archbishop of Rheims, Guillaume de
Champagne, crowned as king his nephew, Philippe-Auguste. Only those
shepherds of the flock who attained to canonized sainthood were honored
by statues at the church entrances.

The Beau Dieu of Rheims of most benign majesty is the central image of
the transept's northern façade. Surmounting it is a Last Judgment that
speaks well for the honesty of the clerics whose pupils were the
sculptors. Here at the king's own basilica, whither he came for the most
brilliant hour of his life, was sculptured a crowned monarch, as the
front figure, marching to hell, and behind him walked a bishop. No
pharisees were the men of the XIII century. Sin was sin, and all men
were equal before sin's punishment.

There are statues on the towers of that same north frontispiece to which
names have been given. One has been called Philippe-Auguste, and it
certainly was a portrait study, whether or not it represented the most
able monarch of the feudal ages, the victor of Bouvines, who tripled the
area of France and under whom was begun almost every Gothic cathedral in
the land. The name of his grandson, St. Louis, has been given to another
image. In a niche of the façade stands a charming Eve holding a very
mediæval serpent.

One can merely indicate, in passing, the astounding wealth of
Rheims--five thousand images whose verve and fecundity are marvelous.
"If your heart is right, all creatures will be for you a book of holy
doctrine," so they dared to carve clown, dog, cat, or sheep on pinnacle,
or in hidden nook, and their flora was as generous as their fauna. A
local botanist has found that every leaf growing to-day by the roadsides
was reproduced in the cathedral. It was only natural that in Champagne
the vine leaf should be popular; on one of the capitals of the nave a
pleasant vintage scene is represented.

If the gorgeous west approaches of the Cathedral-Royal were suited for
earthly pageantry, its eastern end paid homage, in holier simplicity, to
the Spiritual King. Around the exterior wall of the apse was set a guard
of angels, each carrying an emblem of the Passion, or of its symbol, the
Mass--chalice, censer, missal, spear--and the procession met at the
Christ image placed in the center of the curving wall. The ordinance
was derived from Byzantine art. Many an artist has said of the apse
sculpture of Rheims that the Greeks can show no lovelier work. A few
years later, more angelic thrones, dominations, and powers were set
around this, the Cathedral of the Angels. A seraphic sentry adorned each
buttress and at the same time increased its counterbutting force, and
were agents toward the swifter grounding of the load.

And now, having touched superficially on the exterior of this
inexhaustible church, let us step inside its imaged doors. On the inner
wall of the three western portals is an elaborate decoration found
nowhere else. Tier upon tier of statues shrined in foliage-covered
niches rise to the level of the triforium. Never has a wall been more
glorified both within and without. Lavish leaf ornamentation forms the
capitals of the piers. Each pier consists of a circular shaft cantoned
by four lesser columns; the capitals of the latter are divided into two
stories because their diameter is less--a skillful contrivance that
solves the difficulty of grouping pillars of different sizes.

[Illustration: _The Angel Apse of Rheims (c. 1220)_]

The nave of Rheims was never weakened by the addition of side chapels,
which always diminishes the integrity of an edifice. In fact, the lower
walls[120] as well as the piers were made oversolid for what they bear,
since it had not yet been learned how to apply exactly the right
counterforce to the pressure of the vaulting. Amiens was to be the first
to achieve that perfect equilibrium.

The interior proportions of Rheims are harmonious; the side aisles are
relatively right with the central vessel, and the nave leads up well to
the sanctuary, which, inside and out, is beyond criticism. As a whole,
however, the interior of this cathedral has not the slender upwardness
of Amiens nor the ascetic holiness of Chartres. It stands more than it
soars. It praises the deity in another fashion than does the mystic
cathedral. The keynote here is a right-minded human splendor. Robust and
majestic, this is the church for state pageants, the regal temple for
national festivals.

Alas! poor battle-worn Rheims! Alas for the _bons et loyaulx Franxois de
la cité de Rains!_ Has Jehanne la Purcelle forgotten her promise never
to abandon you?

    Mourant en plein martyre avec vivacité ...
    Masquant sous sa visière une efficacité ...
    Jetant toute une armée aux pieds de la prière....

So wrote the poet who fell on the field of honor, in September, 1914, of
St. Jeanne, whose martyrdom was a victory; so he might have written of
Rheims Cathedral. Again a sublime holocaust was needed for the saving of
the soul of France.


     How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people. How is she
     become a widow, she that was great among the nations.--JERIMIAH:

                                            Designer infinite!
    Ah! must Thou char the wood e'er Thou canst limn with it?
    --FRANCIS THOMPSON, _The Hound of Heaven_.

In the first days of September, 1914, after the battle of the Marne, the
Germans evacuated Rheims, which they had occupied for little over a
week. Before they quitted the city, some cans of inflammable liquids,
with bundles of straw, were set on the roof of the cathedral, and there
they were found and made note of officially by Frenchmen who ascended
the towers to hang out the Red Cross flag. The destruction of Rheims
Cathedral was planned deliberately and in cold blood it was carried out.
No military excuse for the crime is possible, since General Joffre made
a formal statement that at no time were the church towers used as posts
of observation.

From the heights a few miles away the enemy opened fire on the city. It
is said that Baron von Plattenburg ordered the bombardment. General von
Haeringen is also cited as an executioner of Rheims Cathedral. On
September 17th and 18th the church was riddled with projectiles. Between
dawn and sunset, on September 19th, over five hundred of them struck the
mammoth church. About four o'clock on that fateful day, Saturday,
September 19, 1914, the timber roof caught fire from an inflammable
bomb. In less than an hour flames were devouring the wooden scaffolding
which, by ill luck, because of repairs in progress, framed part of the
edifice. Fire lapped and calcined the outer walls, obliterating the
kings and the angels and the saints, wiping out all the loving
handicraft of the old stonecutters. Once again molten lead ran in the
streets of Rheims. Fire lapped the sculptured screen inside the western
doors, and the lovely lavish chiseling has become a blurred, amorphous
mass. Projectiles tore through the gaping windows and crashed against
the opposite walls. Some of the burning timber from the overroof fell
through the apertures of the vault's keystones and ignited the straw
spread on the pavement for the wounded German soldiers who had been left
behind when the invaders evacuated the city.

Let an eyewitness relate the burning of Rheims Cathedral: "It stood
enveloped in flames, one towering flame itself. Before the outrage
something surged unchained at the root of our being. Our cathedral! Our
hearts broke as we watched its desecration. An aged woman of the city
intoned solemnly: 'This will bode them no good!' ('_Ca ne leur portera
pas bonheur!_') We stood in groups watching with fierce anger the
conflagration. We walked, we spoke, but like automatons, for our souls
were groaning with anguish. Our cathedral! _Première page de France!
Geste des aïeux! Legs des siècles devenant aujourd'hui, en ce poignant
martyre, l'hostie nationale!_" Suddenly word came that the German
wounded inside the church must be saved. The archpriest of the
cathedral, Canon Landrieux (to-day a bishop), called for aid from the
onlookers. He was answered by angry murmurs: "What! must we then risk
our lives to save these bombarders of hospitals, these incendiaries of
cathedrals?" Then a young girl's voice rose, trembling with tears: "_On
est de France, nous autres!_" And instantly men stepped forward to aid
the heroic priest save their enemies from the flaming furnace.

Poor martyred Rheims! Its once illuminated western front is battered and
corroded past restoral, and is falling flake by flake. With a touch of
the finger the stone crumbles into dust. The towers are mutilated. One
after another the rapt and fearless angels on the buttresses have been
toppled down. As the incessant rain of fire and iron came from the
northeast, the transept's northern entranceway is wrecked--its historic
statues mere unsightly stumps. Never again will the hardy lesson of the
Last Judgment be preached at the ruined portal.

No more will the triple-winged seraphim chant hosannas in the great
western rose. No coming generations of travelers will carry away an
undying memory of the sunset hour in the great church, when the western
inclosure became a resplendent sheet of flame, and those who paced up
and down the basilica gazed with awe at that majestic spectacle of Art
and Faith. The XIII-century windows of the clearstory are pulverized;
scarcely a fragment is left of the forty lancets of the nave where, in
superimposed rows, the kings of France stood, with the archbishops who
had crowned them, big-eyed barbaric images, so intense of hue that one
remembers them as blood-red rubies. The loss of the windows of Rheims
has been expressed poignantly by Pierre Loti, who spent a Sunday in
October, 1915, in the cathedral. He found the silence of death within
its ravaged walls that for centuries had echoed the music of the
liturgy. Only a cold wind now and then made fitful psalmody. When it
blew strongly he could hear a patter as of delicate light pearls. It was
the falling to oblivion of what still remained of the ancient windows.

The hammer of Odin and of Thor has gone on beating down relentlessly the
national church, and a Berlin poet has sung, exultantly: "The bells
sound no more in the two-towered Dom. We have closed with lead, O
Rheims, thy house of idolatry." Rheims was hated of old. In its
cathedral of 1119 Calixtus II, of the blood of the Capetians, had
excommunicated the would-be autocrat of Europe, the German emperor, who
had proved himself an unnatural son, a treacherous neighbor, and one who
laid sacrilegious hands on holy things. As the pope pronounced the
sentence the four hundred prelates gathered in the cathedral dashed down
their candles. Yes, Rheims was hated.

Every check to the invader's troops in the trenches was immediately
revenged on the defenseless church. _Rheims Cathedral bombarded_ became
a tragically recurrent line in the war's official bulletin. On October
14, 1914, a hole, meters wide, was torn in the most beautiful of Gothic
apses. On February 21 and 22, 1915, the bombardment surpassed in
savagery the horrors of the fateful September 19th. On March 29, 1915, a
German airship dropped inflammable bombs on the choir, and before many
months of this rain of iron and fire the masonry roof began to give way.
During the half year preceding the armistice a veritable avalanche of
shells fell on the stricken city, where remained only a few hundred of
its hundred and thirty thousand inhabitants. From June 15 to June 28,
1918, over sixteen thousand shells fell on Rheims, and, strange to tell,
amid it all Dubois' statue of Jeanne d'Arc mounted on her charger on the
cathedral parvis stood unscathed.[121] On July 5th eight shells crashed
into the western entrances; and so on runs the sinister record.

"We wait for a chastisement equal to the crime," is the word of Enlart,
the archæologist. And the world's heart echoes the verdict. When on that
fatal September day of 1914, the staggering almost unbelievable report
first spread over France, "Rheims Cathedral is in flames"--many a strong
man wept on the streets of French cities, and throughout the tragic
night of the conflagration the French soldiers, camped over the plains
for miles, watched in anguish the destruction of their patrimony, of
their ancestress cathedral, _l'holocauste de la patrie_. In Jeanne's
century it had taken a long and cruel war and the sacrifice of her who
was the incarnation of France to remake the stricken soul of the nation,
and again an overwhelming martyrdom was needed to set right the grievous
_pitié_ there was in the country of France.

The city of Rheims is to-day a shapeless mass, resembling a place
wrecked by ancient barbarism. The archiepiscopal palace, whose
two-storied chapel was built by the same hands that laid the choir
stones of Notre Dame, is entirely demolished. The cathedral, though
ravaged irreparably, still towers above the ruined city. Had Amiens been
subjected to the same bombardment as Rheims, it would have collapsed
long ago. It is the surplus strength of Rheims' foundations, somewhat
criticized by architects, that has saved the church from utter
destruction. Notre Dame of Rheims was built for eternity.

The mystic wonder of the severed head of St. Nicaise has been repeated.
Immolated Rheims has stirred anew the latent crusading blood. "Honor"
and "sacrifice" and all the brave words of the days of chivalry are
again on the lips of Frenchmen, and many a scoffer has been beaten to
his knees by the same spirit which actuated the generations who built
the cathedrals and, building them, welded a nation's unity. Those who
committed the sacrilege of Rheims forgot that when mankind is robbed of
a heritage it sets the criminal in the pillory of history. To-day Rheims
Cathedral lies wounded on the field of honor; Rheims Cathedral is
forever the symbol of a people's resurrection. _À la peine!... À


     There have been, in humanity's story, only two great schools of
     art--that of Greece, and that of the Gothic era. For only then was
     expressed the ideas and the religious spirit of the peoples that
     gave birth to them. The Greeks rendered the Pagan spirit, the Pagan
     emotion; they left us the Parthenon. The Gothic School rendered the
     Christian idea, the Christian spirit. It has left us Notre Dame of
     Amiens.--ÉMILE LAMBIN.[123]

The terrors and the thunder of the World War menaced Amiens through the
long four years, but the grand doctrinal temple, almost superhuman in
its majesty, was spared the fate of Rheims, Soissons, and the noble
church of St. Martin at Ipres, begun in the same twelvemonth as itself.
The statues at the portals of Amiens have seen pass the great personages
of the mediæval centuries. The kings of this world felt honored to visit
the church of Our Lady and St. Firman. Its reconciliation Mass put the
seal on a treaty of goodwill between France and England, and united the
English ruler with his rebellious people; St. Louis, the peace maker,
prayed in its sanctuary. On its very enemies it imposed veneration. When
Charles le Téméraire attacked the city in 1471 he ordered his troops to
respect the cathedral.

While the upper vaulting of Chartres was being finished and the choir of
Rheims was building, there was laid the first stone of Notre Dame of
Amiens in 1220. Amiens is the Gothic cathedral par excellence,
recognized from the first as a masterpiece--the Parthenon of Gothic--and
immediately taken as a model. The cathedrals of Tours and of Troyes,
already begun, were now continued like the big church of Picardy. The
Sainte-Chapelle in Paris was modeled on the Lady chapel of Amiens. The
cathedrals of Clermont, Narbonne, Rodez, and Limoges are "daughters of
Amiens." Its influence extended to the church of St. Sauveur at Bruges,
to the cathedral of Prague, and to the choir of Cologne, the latter
being almost a replica.[124]

Amiens carried the Gothic principle of equilibrium farther than Rheims.
The aisles were made higher, the bays wider, the points of ground
support fewer, and the piers less heavy. No energy was wasted. Each part
was made just strong enough. To go beyond this culminating point of
constructive boldness was inevitably to decline.

No one has better summed up the amplitude of this inspired church than
M. Georges Durand, its latest historian, whose monograph is a model: "A
vast space inundated with air and light has here been covered by stone
vaults, as light and solid as possible; those vaults have been raised to
a height never before attained; no longer any walls; the solidity of the
edifice is assured by a play of pushes and resistances; flying
buttresses exactly meeting the necessary spot to counterbut the great
vault; the system of equilibrium perfectly known, and applied with a
rigor and audacity unbelievable; the least possible sharpness given to
transverse arches; the collaterals raised to a great height--all
contribute to give this interior its expression of immensity."

Amiens is a "triumphal chant." The "vast space inclosed" produces an
impression that is confounding. When first you step inside the western
doors of Amiens, you pause in awe. The emotion felt has the efficacy of
a prayer.

The edifice is prodigious and appears so; only St. Sophia, Cologne
Cathedral, and St. Peter's at Rome cover larger areas. Now in St.
Peter's each detail was enlarged in proportion to the giant scale
chosen; thus, a cherub would have a thigh the size of an elephant's. The
result is that the great church appears less than its real size. The
method of the mediæval architect was precisely opposite. He saw no
advantage in making his edifice appear smaller than it really was. He
observed that no matter how big a tree might grow, its leaves were no
larger than those on smaller trees. The mediæval architect took for his
scale of measurement the height of man. His doorways were made for man
to walk under. In the bases of his piers, in the triforium arches, in
the normal size of his sculpted flora and fauna, he recalled to the eye
the scale of a man, his chosen _échelle_: "And he measured the wall
thereof ... the measure of a man, which is of an angel."[125] No matter
how large a Gothic church might be, the statues decorating it did not
increase in scale. To those who prefer a cathedral of the north there
will always seem to be a touch of the artificial, of the _tour de force_
in St. Peter's.

The name of the master mind who designed the cathedral of Picardy was
Robert de Lusarches, recorded in a labyrinth formerly in the nave's
pavement, as were his two successors, Thomas de Cormont and his son
Renaud. The occasion for a new structure was the fire of 1218 which
partly destroyed the Romanesque cathedral. As its old choir was
preserved sufficiently to serve for a while longer, the new cathedral
was begun by the nave, not the usual procedure. The nave rose in one
supreme effort; from start to finish its plan never deviated. It has
been taken as the typical masterpiece. "The façade of Paris, the tower
of Chartres, the sculpture of Rheims, the nave of Amiens" is a popular
summing up.

[Illustration: _The Transept of Amiens Cathedral (1220-1280)_]

By 1236 the nave of Amiens was finished, whereupon the Romanesque choir
was replaced by a Gothic one whose plan had been drawn by Robert de
Lusarches at the same time with that of the nave. His feeling for
proportion was unfaltering; the relation between every part of his
church is perfect. The interior elevation in three vertical stories was
to become classic--a pier arcade--which is one-third of the entire
height, and of the remaining upper wall a clearstory which occupies
two-thirds and a triforium one-third. The church is three times as wide
as the side aisle is high, and height and span correlate with length.
Subtlety of calculation is seen everywhere. The perspective view became
a kind of classic type. As you gaze down the church toward the curving
east wall which closes the vista, you see beneath the pier arcades of
the _sanctum sanctorum_ the windows of the apse chapels behind; they
appear to fill the apertures symmetrically, whereas at Beauvais, where
the side aisle is exceedingly high, the windows of the chapels rise to
merely half the height of the pier arches. The cathedrals of Tours and
Clermont followed the more satisfactory arrangement of Amiens.

In the last days of Gothic architecture the dislike of the horizontal
line was to be carried to such an extent that even the capitals, which
the custom of all nations had approved for three thousand years, were
eliminated. At Amiens a sane balance was kept. Under its triforium runs
a deeply carved band of foliage broken only at the triumphal arches of
the transept-crossing. Only there does the ascending line rise
unobstructed from pavement to vault. And yet no church ever soared more
confidently. The very hall-mark of genius is Amiens' strong horizontal
leaf garland--just the needed touch to give variety to regularity as
grandiose as this. In the nave the frieze was cut before the posing of
the stones, but in the choir the sculpture was done _in situ_.

The fenestration of this cathedral of St. Louis' reign shows the
national art in its prime. The glazed triforium is a kind of pedestal
for the clearstory, with which it is bound in a single composition by
means of continuous mullions. The original glass was of the
Sainte-Chapelle type, made by the Paris school which led in the second
half of the XIII century, and were it still in existence the interior of
Amiens would be a gorgeous sight. Only vestiges have survived; in some
of the choir chapels are patchwork panels of ancient fragments. No one
denies that the light enters this cathedral too profusely for the mystic
seclusion beloved of the soul.

The prelate who laid the foundation stone of Amiens in 1220 was Evrard
de Fouilloy, cousin of that archbishop of the great house of Joinville
who was a builder at Rheims. Intimate with Innocent III, connoisseur in
notable men, the bishop of Amiens was one of the many building prelates
who attended the Lateran Council whose séances must often have appeared
like an _Amis des Cathédrales_ reunion. Bishop Evrard's splendid bronze
tomb, cast at one flow, escaped the smelting pot of the Revolution, and
with that of his successor, Geoffrey d'Eu, who chanted the first Mass in
his cathedral in 1236, the year of his death, is now placed under the
pier arcades of the nave. "Here lies Evrard," runs the inscription, "a
man compassionate to the afflicted, the widows' protector, the orphans'
guardian, who fed the people, who laid the foundations of this
structure, to whose care the city was given." The hand of the bishop is
raised in a grave gesture of power. The image of Geoffrey d'Eu is less
personal. "Bright-shining man of Eu," runs his epitaph, "by whom the
throne of Amiens rose into immensity." The saintly bishop used to
encourage even the beggars to give their penny toward raising the new
house of God.

By 1245 bells were placed in the western towers; then came a lull in the
work, from 1247 to 1257, for the bishop had accompanied St. Louis to the
holy wars. Louis IX was in Amiens on several occasions and his
Sainte-Chapelle at Paris proved his admiration for the classic church.
As the XIII century closed, a chapel was added to Amiens by her bishop,
the learned Guillaume de Mâcon, a personal friend of St. Louis, and
present at his death in Tunis, 1270. The son and successor of Louis IX
sent Guillaume to Rome to solicit his father's canonization. During the
XIV century other side chapels were added, and in the one erected by
Bishop La Grange, from 1373 to 1375, appeared for the first time in
France some of the characteristics of Flamboyant Gothic--the flame
tracery and ramified vaulting. As early as 1270, however, Amiens had
made a sporadic use of supplementary ribs, in the square over the
transept-crossing, employing them there, no doubt, in order to break up
the immense expanses of infilling.

Though the cathedral of Amiens has lost its stained glass, it has
retained that other glory of decorative art--its sculpture. The three
western entrance arches, in nine orders, are sovereign compositions.
Probably as a scheme of dogmatic theology Amiens is even more complete
than Chartres or Rheims. The main façade, with its strong buttress lines
unbroken from ground to tower, would be the grandest of all the Gothic
frontispieces had it been completed as first planned. But only in its
lower stories is it of the XIII century, and the towers scarcely rise
above the enormous parallelogram.

At the trumeau of the central door stands _le Beau Dieu_ of Amiens, of
stronger personality than that of Rheims, a Christ of the West more than
the East. "He is the master, wise, steadfast, fraternal, with the
patience and the human sympathy that comprehend man's eternal
weaknesses."[126] He treads on monsters that symbolize Satan and Sin:
"Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk; the lion and the dragon
shalt thou trample under foot."[127] About him stand the best loved of
all the saints, the apostles--plain, primitive men in whose upturned
foreheads shines the serenity of certitude. We are His witnesses, they
seem to be saying, and our testimony we sealed _usque ad sanguinem_:
"That which we have seen and have heard we declare unto you...." "We
were eyewitnesses of His greatness...." "This Voice we heard brought
from heaven...." "These things we write to you that you may rejoice and
your joy be full." The prophets and patriarchs at Amiens' portals lack
the assurance of joy which shines in the faces of the humble men chosen
for the hierarchy of the New Law; the earlier ones had not themselves
seen and heard and touched.

Never was the meaning of the Messiah's coming set forth more sublimely
than in this archetype cathedral. The soul of the Middle Ages had
brooded over the Gospels till it had pierced to their spiritual sense.
"The house of the Lord built upon the foundation of the apostles and
prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone in whom all
the building being framed together, growing up into an holy temple in
the Lord."[128]

When the apostles were placed at the cathedral doors, the tradition was
to have St. Peter stand to the right of his Master, and St. Paul to the
left; the latter was substituted for Matthias, elected to Judas' place.
St. Peter, tonsured, carried the key and a cross; his beard was short
and curly. St. Paul bore a sword, since his Roman citizenship had saved
him from death by crucifixion; he was represented with a bald forehead
and a long beard. St. Andrew carried the peculiar-shaped cross on which
he died; St. Bartholomew a knife, emblem of his martyrdom.

At the western doors of Amiens is an Annunciation group in which the
Virgin is the prototype of the gentle _Ancilla Domini_ at Rheims. The
St. Elizabeth of the Visitation group is a noble aged woman; the St.
Simeon of the Presentation has been called the _Nunc dimittis_ in
person. Local saints are in a position of honor at the right-hand door,
the chief here being St. Firman, the first bishop of Amiens, and the
pioneer who preached the Word in Picardy, where he was martyred in 289.
On his tomb rose the first cathedral of the city. His statue at the
trumeau is a masterpiece of its period.

In his _Bible of Amiens_,[129] Ruskin gives enlightening
interpretations of the quatrefoils adorning the wall under the big
images at the western entrance. Little genre studies of agricultural
life typify the seasons, and the vices and virtues are rendered with
movement and subtlety. There is a connection between certain of the
small bas-reliefs and the large statues standing above them.

About 1288 they carved the images at the transept's southern portal.
Fifty years had elapsed since the making of the western entrance, and
already the early reverential awe had passed away. Our Lady is now shown
as a radiant young matron whose smile is somewhat mannered, but to call
the charming _vierge dorée_ "the soubrette of Picardy," as did Ruskin,
is an absurd exaggeration. The apostles are no longer of the ideal type.
They are mediæval schoolmen, debating some point of dialectics.

Each century was to add to the sculpture of Amiens. André Beauneveu, an
illustrious French-Flemish master, made buttress statues of Charles V
and his sons, realistic portrait work. The king was one of the four
Valois brothers who were, with the Avignon popes, the chief art patrons
of the XIV century. As Amiens Cathedral suffered comparatively little
during the two cataclysms which emptied the churches of France, it is
still a museum of treasures. When, in 1562, the Huguenots, sword in
hand, rushed into the church to shatter the altars, the town's tocsin
sounded and the citizens assembled in such numbers that they saved their
church. Again, during the Revolution, when brutal soldiery began to
mutilate the choir screen's groups, the women of Amiens who lived about
the cathedral lustily beat the vandals with chairs. Of course the
Revolution set up here the usual altar with its living Goddess of
Reason, Marat's bust was honored, and over the portal was inscribed the
grandiloquent boast: "Fanaticism is destroyed: Truth triumphs."

The tombs, bas-reliefs, and paintings were left intact, as well as the
famous carved stalls finished in 1522. In the choir-screen sculpture of
XVI-century Gothic the Renaissance had only just begun to appear. St.
Firman's mission was related quaintly--no prudery shown in the scene of
the baptism of Amiens' first Christians. The life of St. John the
Baptist was set forth because crusaders had brought his relics to this
church from Constantinople. The tourist guide enjoys leading his clients
behind Amiens' sanctuary to show them a plump little cupid weeping a
marble tear over the tomb of some good canon who founded a local
orphanage. M. Durand remarks that for one who appreciates the
magnificent bronze tombs of the bishop-builders, or the realistic
late-Gothic groups of the choir screen, there are ten who are moved by
that banal little _ange pleurant_.

In the transept are some marble slabs inscribed with the names of the
presidents of a religious-literary association called Puy-Notre-Dame.
Such Puys (from podium, or platform) were poetic contests that sprang up
in the XIV century, with the disappearance of the wandering minstrels,
and they led in turn to a real literary movement.[130] At Amiens it was
the custom each year for a new picture in honor of Notre Dame to be
presented to her church, and at the festival a poem was read in her
praise. Eventually statues were substituted for pictures, which explains
the wealth of XVII-century sculpture in the side chapels and aisles of
Amiens Cathedral. A number of the ancient paintings have been placed in
the Museum of the city, whose walls have been embellished by Puvis de
Chavannes' _Ave Picardia nutrix_.


Six of the Lesser Great Cathedrals: Bourges, Beauvais, Troyes, Tours,
Lyons, Le Mans

     Every work of art truly beautiful and sublime throws the soul into
     a gracious or serious reverie that lifts it toward the Infinite.
     Art of itself is essentially moral and religious, since it
     expresses everywhere in its manifestation the eternal beauty, or
     else it is false to its own law, to its own genius.

     --VICTOR COUSIN, _Du vrai, du beau, et du bien_.

Scattered over France are a number of cathedrals that would stand in the
first rank in any other land but one in which were such supreme churches
as Chartres, Rheims, and Amiens. It is convenient to group here six of
these lesser Great Cathedrals, since they will not fall properly within
the coming four chapters, which deal with the regional schools of
Normandy, Burgundy, the Midi, and Plantagenet Gothic.

According to the classification used by M. Lefèvre-Pontalis, there are
six schools of Gothic architecture in France. Their differences lie in
secondary characteristics such as ground-plan, ramifications of ribs,
and the form of piers, window tracery, and ornamentations. Of the
Ile-de-France and Champagne schools we have already gained some idea in
tracing the first steps of the national art, and in following its
highest development at Paris, Rheims, and Amiens. Of the six cathedrals
here grouped that of Beauvais belongs to the Ile-de-France Picard school
and that of Troyes to the Gothic of Champagne. But the four
others--Bourges, Tours, Lyons, and Le Mans--show the influences of two
or more schools and therefore fit more reasonably into this
heterogeneous chapter. In speaking of Gothic schools it is well to
recall that in the Flamboyant development there were no distinct
regional groups. A similar Gothic style was used in the Midi as in
Normandy, in Picardy as in Burgundy.

Though not of the greatest, these six churches are splendid monuments.
With hesitation one places such a cathedral as Bourges in a secondary
group. Had Beauvais and Le Mans been completed on the same scale as
their grandiose choirs, they would stand with the foremost. At Troyes
are windows, of the same epochs as the stones framing them, that for
splendor are second only to those of Chartres and Bourges. The cathedral
of Tours is the personification of the equipoise of Touraine's art, and
its storied windows are notable. The metropolitan church of Lyons
possesses a grave individuality of the most singular interest, and its
windows, too, are masterpieces.

During an astonishing century--roughly speaking from 1170 to
1270--France built about eighty Gothic cathedrals, and more than three
hundred fine churches. And the miracle is that each had its own distinct
personality, which etches itself clearly on the traveler's mind. Such
was the super-abounding joy of creation in the golden age of the
national art that no two churches are alike.


     One goes before the Lord's altar, one bends the knee, one stays
     there in an attitude of prostrate humility, and _perhaps_, in it
     all, one has not rendered to God a single homage. Why? Because
     religion does not consist of inclinations of the body, or of
     modesty of the eyes, but of humbleness of spirit, and not for an
     instant has the spirit been one with those demonstrations of
     respect and adoration.

     One visits the hospitals and prisons, one consoles the afflicted,
     one tends the sick and helps the poor, and _perhaps_ the very one
     who displays in all this the most assiduity and zeal is he who
     possesses the least Christian mercy. Why? Because he is carried on
     by a certain natural activity, or an entirely human pity touches
     him, or is it any other motive, except God, that leads him.--_On
     True and False Piety_, BOURDALOUE (1632-1704; born in Bourges).

The cathedral of St. Étienne stands on a slight hill in the center of
Bourges, and is a landmark for forty miles over the Berry plains that
are the tranquil heart of France. The best architectural view of it is
obtained from the park once attached to the archbishop's palace and said
to have been laid out by Le Nôtre, master of this type of cold
distinction which is so eminently French. As the entire south flank of
the church is exposed to view there, the absence of a transept is what
first strikes the attention. Bourges is the only XIII-century cathedral
without the extended arms of the cross. Had it a transept it might
appear short, whereas now its four hundred feet of length make the most
imposing effect.

Bourges, Paris, Troyes, and Clermont are the only cathedrals with double
aisles about choir and nave. Bourges is exceptional in that the inner
aisle is twice as high as the outer--so high that it possesses its own
triforium and clearstory; so high that the pier arches around the middle
church rise to more than half the height of the edifice. Indeed, many an
English cathedral could stand under the pier arches of Bourges. Each
pillar is encircled by eight shafts--an arrangement that accentuates its
loftiness. It may be claimed that there is over-emphasis in a procession
of such giant columns about the interior of a church, and that there is
something spectacular in a colonnade of such stupendous arches.
Certainly the main clearstory is dwarfed by comparison, and the
contrast in height between inner and outer aisle is too violent. Bourges
must pass as a superb experiment rather than the restrained achievement
from which emanates a school. Subsequent architects preferred to take as
model the more classic division of Amiens' interior wall elevation.

None the less is this most original basilica magnificently and
romantically beautiful. Upon entering the church for the first time one
feels the gripping sensation of beholding a thing audacious and
gigantic. And yet the impression conveyed is not that of overweening
pride. There is reverence here. Bishop Durandus tells us that the piers
of a church are the bishops and doctors who sustain the temple of God by
their doctrines, that the length of a church representeth fortitude
which patiently endureth till it attain heaven; its breadth, charity;
its height, courage that despiseth prosperity and adversity, hoping to
see the gladness of the Lord in the land of the living. The windows are
hospitality with cheerfulness, and tenderness with charity. They are
Holy Scriptures which expel the wind and the rain--that is, all things
hurtful--but transmit the light of the true Sun--that is, God--into the
hearts of the faithful.[132] So wrote the wise old XIII-century Midi
bishop for whom the whole world and everything in it were symbols.

Sound doctrine, fortitude, and warm protecting hospitality--such are
qualities supremely understood of Bourges. There is awe in this church
and there is magic. Of the boundless imagination of dreams are certain
sunset aspects here, when from the wide western window of Jean de Berry
gleams of light strike athwart these vast arches of wonderland, across
these sixty big pillars of stone, and night-time hours--during the May
evening services of Our Lady--when the great church as in fearsome
meditation is shrouded in shadow.

[Illustration: _The Apse of Bourges (1200-1225)_]

Some four or five cathedrals have stood, in turn, on the same site which
was close by the Gallo-Roman city walls. For the early Christians
were despised as pariahs, and allowed to build only on the outskirts of
cities, until the edict of Constantine permitted them to exercise their
religion with honor. All over France churches are to be found abutting
on the ancient ramparts of towns. Of the early cathedrals of Bourges
only the core of the present crypt remains. From the Romanesque edifice
immediately preceding the present cathedral come its XII-century side

There are strong analogies between the ground-plan of St. Étienne of
Bourges and that of Notre Dame of Paris, especially if one recalls that
the cathedral of Paris, as first designed, possessed no transept.
Probably the plans of both were made at the same time, but the work in
the capital of the royal demesne started immediately in 1163; hence it
retained the galleries over the side aisles--a Romanesque
tradition--whereas, at Bourges the actual building began only in the
last decade of the XII century, when such tribunes were passing out of
vogue. Bourges thereupon undertook to modify its first design, and it
tried the startling experiment of making an inner aisle whose height
comprised both aisle and tribune.

The crypt of Bourges,[133] one of the most spacious in France, was begun
by Archbishop Henri de Sully (1184-99), brother of Bishop Eudes who
helped build the west façade of Paris Cathedral. When Henri died, the
decision was left to his brother in Paris, as to which of three
Cistercian abbots should be the succeeding archbishop in Bourges. The
nomination fell to St. Guillaume Berruyer (1199-1208) of the house of
Nevers, whose counts had built the admirable Romanesque St. Étienne in
that city. Guillaume had watched both Paris and Soissons' cathedrals
rising; he had been a monk in Pontigny, whose church was the earliest
Gothic venture in Burgundy, and he was abbot of Châalis, where the
church also was Primary Gothic. This holy Cistercian was loath to leave
his cloister, and always wore his white robe and fasted like a genuine
son of St. Bernard. In his face shone his purity of soul, and it is said
that his manner was merry.

Only a saint could have made the ambulatory of Bourges, a place apart
from the world's fret, fashioned for meditative prayer, its walls hung
with gospel parables of mosaic glass. It is thought that while the new
Gothic choir was building, services were held in the Romanesque
cathedral, which may have been partly open to the elements, since St.
Guillaume caught a chill in it while preaching, from the effects of
which he died in 1208. Ten years later, the first ceremony held in the
completed choir was for his canonization; without the usual process of
investigation the pope declared him a saint.

From 1236 to 1260, a nephew of St. William's, Blessed Philippe Berruyer,
was archbishop of Bourges and carried forward the nave; and the saint's
great-niece, the Countess Matilda of Nevers, contributed generously.
Bourges commemorated her saintly bishops in the clearstory of her inner
aisle. The window wherein St. Guillaume is pictured shows his niece as
the donor.

Never was monument set on a more majestic base than the choir end of
Bourges. There the crypt stands above the ground, owing to the slope of
the land. The chevet of St. Étienne is incomparable. In every part of
the edifice good mason work was done, save in the upper vaults, where
the necessity of economy led to skimping. It is apparent that, as the
eastern curve of the cathedral was rising, the architect modified his
plan. In his apse walls he inserted small chapels, each standing on two
columns and an engaged shaft and each roofed by a stone pyramid. Not
only does the circlet of little shrines add to the beauty of the chevet,
but each chapel serves the practical purpose of a buttress. That they
were afterthoughts is proved by the ambulatory windows not being set
symmetrically over the crypt windows. However, the chapels must have
been added during the building of the procession path, because the
latter's vaulting shows no sign of reconstruction.

The cathedral of Bourges is not well documented. Only by a study of the
stones themselves can it be dated. Its eastern end was building during
the first part of the XIII century; in 1266 the chapter contributed
toward the works, their donations being used probably for the completion
of the nave. At the end of the XIII century porches were added to the
side doors retained from the Romanesque cathedral. Work continued on the
west façade during the early part of the XIV century, but when, in 1324,
St. Étienne was dedicated, it had been completed in its main parts for
forty years.

This makes the west front of Bourges about a century younger than its
apse. The five deeply recessed portals correspond to its five aisles,
and the western towers are set clear of the aisles, as at Rouen; that to
the southwest is now braced by a flying buttress and detached buttress
pile. In 1506 the northwest tower collapsed. It was rebuilt by alms,
given as thank-offering for the privilege of eating butter during Lent,
hence its name Tour de Beurre. Such butter towers may be called the XVI
century's method of charity bazaar to raise money for church repairs.
During the heyday of Gothic, the fervent layman gave voluntarily, asking
for no return, and in that spirit rose the _clocher vieux_ at Chartres.
Compare that sublime monument with the elegant, mundane late-Gothic
"butter towers" of France, and you comprehend how inevitably the spirit
of builders reveals itself in the work of their hands.

Of the five western doors of Bourges, only the central one is wholly of
the XIII century (c. 1260-75). Its representation of the Last Judgment,
adjudged to be the best ever set up at a cathedral door, the _Dies Iræ_
warning in stone, is derived from Job, St. Paul, St. Matthew, and the
Apocalypse. In the upper zone Christ is enthroned; in the lower is shown
the arising of the dead from their tombs. Between these scenes is the
splendid panel of the Judgment, with the stately archangel as its
central figure, holding the scales of justice. To his left malign demons
seize on the damned to plunge them into the jaws of the Leviathan
described in Job. To his right the blessed ones smile with complacency
as they move toward Paradise, here represented by a
hieroglyphic--supposed to be Abraham's bosom, out of which peep some
little souls smuggled safely away.[134] St. Peter stands at the gates of
Paradise, holding the keys, a doctrinal symbol of his power to bind and
to loose, until in time popular fancy pictured him as the actual
gatekeeper of heaven. Among the elect is represented a king holding the
flower of sanctity, probably meant for St. Louis. Beside the king is a
cord-girdled monk--hence the name "cordeliers" for Franciscans--showing
how popular was the new Order.

The fall of the north tower caused the ruin of the portals near it, and
when rebuilt in the XVI century an iconographic error was made which
would have been impossible with the trained scholastics of an earlier
day--the mother of the Saviour was placed on his left, instead of in the
seat of honor on his right. In the fatal year 1562, when from end to end
of France the churches were mutilated, the Calvinists attacked the
portal images of Bourges and flung the carven stones into the breaches
of the town walls. They went so far as to mine the giant piers in order
that the great edifice might totter to its fall; but happily their
control of the city was cut short, or the tragedy of Orléans might have
been enacted.[135]

Bourges is a chosen spot for stained glass, second only to Chartres.
Students have made the study of its windows a lifetime enthusiasm.
Nowhere can the epochs of the vitrine art from the XII to the XVII
century be more easily studied. The school of St. Denis, however, is not
represented. Two small panels, now set in a window beside the south
portal, are earlier in date than Suger's windows; their flesh tone is
purplish; perhaps they are the oldest colored glass extant in France.

Of the XIII-century school of Chartres are the twenty and more lancets
in the ambulatory, legend-medallion windows ranking with the best ever
made. They repeat some of the themes used by the artists at Chartres,
such as the parables of the Prodigal Son, presented by the tanners, and
of the Good Samaritan, which latter lancet at Bourges is an exception in
having its story begin at the top. Ancient windows are to be read
usually from the bottom upward. The first window in the choir aisle, as
you enter it from the north, shows the beggar Lazarus despised and
suffering on earth, then carried by angels to Abraham's bosom, wherein
(in the topmost medallion) he sits cozily ensconsed, but Dives, the bad
rich man, is snatched by demons from his earthly scenes of plenty and
thrust into hell. The lancet which, at Bourges, is devoted to the
Apocalypse, is held to be a subtle commentary on the vision of Patmos.
To the fifth large window of the ambulatory, called the New Alliance,
the Jesuit fathers, Cahier and Martin, have devoted over a hundred
pages--a veritable treatise on symbolism--in their monumental study of
the earlier stained glass in this church. "Prophecies in action," our
friend Joinville called the prefiguring of the New Law by the Old, so
popular during the Middle Ages. New Alliance windows are to be found in
various cathedrals--their theme being the substitution of Gentiles for
Jews by the merit of the Cross.[136] The guild of butchers was the donor
of this abstract doctrinal window of Bourges.

The only break in the XIII-century glass of the choir aisle is in the
axis chapel, where the windows--of the XVI-century Renaissance--belonged
originally to the Sainte-Chapelle of the ducal palace that once existed
in Bourges; other windows from the same source have been reset in the
cathedral's crypt. The small scenes at the base of each lancet--the
signatures as they are called--show that here, as at Chartres, the
larger number of these priceless treasures of art were donated by the
little people of the Lord--carpenters, weavers, coopers, money changers.
A window given by the stonecutters, in the choir aisle of Bourges, is
devoted to St. Thomas, the apostle, patron of builders. Bourges and
Chartres afford the best opportunity for a more intimate study of the
legends and symbols then most popular. Here, as at Chartres, the _Golden
Legend_ should be one's inseparable companion.

In the high windows of the middle choir the apostles are ranged on one
side of Sancta Maria, and the prophets on the other--another of the many
contrasts of the Old and New Testaments. The nave's clearstory is
chiefly XIII-century grisaille. The XIV-century artists, in their desire
for more light, gave up the profound colors of their mosaic-like windows
for that coldly elegant phase of the vitrine art, when the use of white
was carried to excess and each figure set in its own panel was pictured
like a statue with architectural niche and dais.

About 1370 Duke Jean of Berry, born connoisseur like his brothers
Charles V, Philippe of Burgundy, and the Duke of Anjou, presented to
Bourges Cathedral its immense western window. Before the Medici, this
Valois prince collected cameos and medals and bric-à-brac. Among the
twenty castles he built were those of Poitiers, Riom, and Bourges, on
which were employed the noted Flamboyant Gothic architects, the
Dammartin brothers. When the Sainte-Chapelle of the palace in Bourges
was destroyed (1759), the duke's tomb, which his nephew Charles VI had
ordered of Jean de Cambrai (1477-83), was brought to the cathedral. The
sarcophagus was once surrounded by alabaster statuettes, some of which
are in the Museum. The arrangement of mourners came from his brother's
world-famous tomb in Dijon. In his old age the spendthrift, unstable
Jean de Berry married the very youthful Jeanne de Boulogne, and kneeling
images of both duke and duchess have been placed on either side of the
entrance to the axis chapel of the cathedral. Apparently art-loving John
of France was in person the homeliest of men. The Revolution damaged
these images, which were restored by means of drawings made of them by
Holbein in the time when Bourges was a Mecca for the artists of Europe.
Some of Duke Jean's friends presented early XV-century windows to the
side chapels of Bourges Cathedral. His physician, Aligret, gave one.

The Hundred Years' War put a stop to the accumulation of art treasures
in the metropolitan church. When Charles VII, "the little king of
Bourges," as the English had dubbed him ironically, went with the
victorious Maid of Orleans to be crowned king at Rheims, his gentle
queen, Marie of Anjou, stayed in Bourges with her mother, Yolande of
Aragon. Marie's brother, then a youth under Jeanne's command, was to
become the good King René of history. To Bourges Jeanne herself came
later. She lodged with an estimable widow of the town who, years
afterward, during the inquest conducted for the Maid's rehabilitation,
bore testimony to the young girl's simple goodness. She told how
gallantly Jeanne mounted a horse and how adroitly she managed a lance so
that "everyone was in admiration of her, for no knight could have done

Then when "_Jehanne la bonne Lorraine_," as Villon called her, had given
France a new soul, when the blight of the Great Schism of the West was
over, and France accepted the same spiritual chief as the remainder of
Europe, there came about the energetic, happy, restless manifestation of
art which we call Flamboyant Gothic. Bourges then possessed a Mæcenas in
the person of a merchant (son of a tradesman of the city) whose ships
covered the sea. Jacques Coeur, from 1443 to 1452, built himself, in
his native town, the finest burgher's house in France, to see which René
of Anjou--great-nephew of Jean of Berry--came especially to Bourges. Its
walls were carved with quaint devices and images,[138] and, like Van
Eyck's, were the charming little angels painted on its chapel vaults. No
civic monument in the land excels it; it ranks as the best with Rouen's
Palais de Justice and the Hôtel Cluny at Paris.

The same merchant-prince built in Bourges Cathedral a private chapel for
his family, and beside it a rich Flamboyant Gothic sacristy. The
Annunciation window in the chapel (1450) is held to be the best glass of
its century, uniting the better drawing of the later day with a plain,
firm, general design. The face of the Angel Gabriel has been said to be
a portrait of Jacques Coeur. St. James is represented in pilgrim garb
because of the fame of his shrine at Santiago Compostela. It is thought
that Jacques Coeur donated the row of richly damasked windows in the
west façade beneath Jean of Berry's big sheet of glass, made fifty years
earlier. Colors have become richer and the figures show a tendency to
escape from the rigid attitude of statues, but not yet has absolute
congruity between the hues been achieved.

Jacques Coeur was not to be buried in the chapel he had prepared. He
served the same master who had let the Maid of Orleans perish at Rouen
without striking a blow to save her. With money provided by the
merchant-banker of Bourges, Charles VII had reconquered Normandy, but he
let the estate of his faithful servant be rapaciously confiscated
without a trial, and left him to languish in prison for two years before
being banished from the kingdom by the mockery of a law process. Jacques
Coeur died in exile in 1461, but his good name was exonerated, and his
son Jean, archbishop of Bourges, was buried in the cathedral's choir.
The merchant-prince's chapel passed with his mansion into the hands of
the Laubespine family, whose kneeling statues now adorn it.

With the XVI century there opened another golden period of the vitrine
art in Bourges. A local master, Jean Lecuyer, won fame. He made the
Tullier window (1532) in the tenth bay (south) of the cathedral. The
donor, Canon Tullier, and his father, mother, and various ecclesiastic
relatives, are being presented by their patron saints to a
distinguished-looking Madonna. The architectural background shows what
headway the foreign Renaissance had made in France, though the chief
figures are still true to French traditions. The colors are faultlessly
balanced and certain exquisite half-tones are noticeable. In the upper
panels, in a fair blue sky, are entrancing little angels giving a
celestial concert, fiddling, beating a drum, singing with all their
hearts, for this is the shrine built by St. William, who knew how to be
holy and merry as well.

The Tullier light has been called the loveliest of XVI-century windows.
And yet no one can deny that enamel painting on glass was a
deterioration of the art. The old masters had followed a sounder
tradition when they subordinated their windows to their architecture,
making them an integral part of it, and not merely isolated painted
pictures. Jean Lecuyer also composed the window (1518) relating the
lives of St. Stephen and St. Laurence in the cathedral's nave (south
side), and several brilliant lights in St. Bonnat's church. Even the
XVII century produced interesting work at Bourges; in the Martigny
chapel of the cathedral (north side of nave) the portrait of the donor
is as realistic as a miniature.


     C'est alors que se constitue cette merveilleuse discipline, vrai
     fondement de la culture intellectuelle et de la science, qu'est la
     discipline scholastique.... Toute la connaissance est tournée vers
     la science de l'être, vers la métaphysique, plus haut encore vers
     la théologie; plus haut encore, vers théologie vécue, vers la
     contemplation.--JACQUES MARITAIN.

The cathedral of Beauvais derived directly from Amiens, and no
expression of the Gothic principle was ever carried farther. It consists
of a mammoth choir and transept. As the height of the edifice is three
times its width, the nave which now is lacking would need to have been
of enormous length. Instead of that much-needed nave, there nestles
under the truncated west end a modest little Carolingian edifice called
the _Basse-OEuvre_, built by the fortieth bishop of Beauvais, Hervé
(987-998). The small cubic stones and occasional courses of brick tell
of the antiquity of this, the best-preserved monument in France, dating
before the year 1000.[140] Most of the Romanesque churches of the Oise
copied it. Scarcely, however, had the Ile-de-France Picard Romanesque
school developed than the privileged region gave birth to the national

In 1227 Beauvais planned a new cathedral, spurred on thereto by the
magnificent nave rising in neighboring Amiens. But the works were not
started till 1247, for the bishop, more a feudal baron than a pastor,
was for a time entirely engrossed in mercenary wars in Italy and in
quarreling with Blanche of Castile, the queen-regent. Finally Bishop
Milon began his cathedral in Beauvais on a scale beyond the resources of
the diocese. Despite his own and the chapter's generous donations, and
the exemption of workmen and all building material from taxes, the choir
was not finished till 1272, two years after the choir of Cologne.
Scarcely was it done when, in 1284, its upper vaulting fell; a few years
earlier a partial collapse had occurred. To remedy the disaster new
piers had to be inserted between the old ones, which explains the
sharp-pointed arches of the pier arcade. Only in the ambulatory, which
was untouched by the falling masonry, is the original vaulting to be
found. The required addition of flying buttresses was no improvement to
the symmetry of the exterior. Instead of being able to proceed to the
erection of a nave, forty years were wasted in repairs.

Then came the calamities of the Hundred Years' War when building
activities flagged all over France. Never again were profiles to be
virile. The apogee hour of Gothic was forever past. With English,
Burgundian, and French troops roving the country, Beauvais was kept on
the alert. In 1429, the citizens, roused by Jeanne d'Arc's success at
Orléans, expelled their bishop, who was in sympathy with the foe, and
was none other than the unworthy Pierre Cauchon, soon to sit as
miscreant judge at the Maid's trial in Rouen. Two years after Jeanne
had been burned, Beauvais was besieged by English troops, and so gallant
was the behavior of the women of the city, notably Jeanne Hachette, that
forever after was accorded to them the right to march in the place of
honor in all processions, directly behind the clergy. When the Duke of
Burgundy, England's ally, besieged the city in 1472 he burned the
episcopal palace, to which the two sturdy towers near the
_Basse-OEuvre_ originally belonged. Once more the women of Beauvais
fought side by side with the men, while the children and the aged
gathered in the cathedrals to supplicate Heaven for protection.

No city in the land had better cause to rejoice over peace and the
invader's expulsion than Beauvais. And nowhere did Flamboyant Gothic
take on nobler expression than in the stately transept now added to the
cathedral, a masterpiece worthy to be joined to the giant choir. On its
north front worked Martin Chambiges, who gave to Troyes and Sens their
admirable façades. Over-ornamentation was a pitfall for the late-Gothic
masters, but not for Chambiges, who kept Beauvais' strong lines of
construction unobliterated by lavish detail.

Flamboyant Gothic was essentially a decorative art. Therein only did it
differ from preceding schools, for it developed no new principles of
construction. Because of the flamelike undulations of its window
tracery, the Norman archæologist, M. de Caumont, who had brought into
use the name Romanesque, invented the equally useful term
Flamboyant.[141] Capricious, overladen, disturbingly restless, this
final phase of the national art may often be (it has been called more
terrestrial than celestial), it was inclined to exhibit its technical
dexterity; but none the less it was keenly alive and a vast improvement
on the over-formalized geometric Rayonnant Gothic to which it succeeded.
In both, the profiles were prismatic, fluid, and weak. Discipline which
made for robustness was forever lost.

A century before the characteristics of Flamboyant art developed in
France, they were in use in England, and there called Curvilinear or
Decorated Gothic. Window mullions undulated, arches were crowned with
reversed curves and sculptured finials, secondary, connecting ribs were
added to the vaulting, bases were elongated, there were interpenetrating
molds, hanging keystones, piers without capitals, and such new models
for foliate sculpture as the deeply indented leaves of parsley and curly
cabbage. When capitals were given up, the ribs died away weakly in the
piers. The Gothic of England had changed to its cold Perpendicular phase
by the time that the architects across the Channel adopted the features
called Flamboyant in France.

M. Camille Enlart has developed the idea that the last phase of the
national architecture was a product of the English occupation during the
Hundred Years' War, that from elements of decoration introduced by
England, the French composed a style which differed somewhat only from
that in vogue across the Channel from 1300 to 1360. In France, flowing
tracery and ogee arches were not used before 1375. France need feel no
diminution of her claim of leadership in Gothic architecture because she
adopted, for her XV-century traits, certain decorative details developed
first by others, since the Gothic of England was originally of French

The theory of an English origin for French Flamboyancy is contested by
M. Anthyme Saint-Paul, who thought that from the same elements of
XIII-century Gothic one country developed its own Curvilinear style and
the other its own, Flamboyant Gothic.[142] M. de Lasteyrie agreed with
the thesis that there is a French origin for French late-Gothic
manifestations. That Flamboyant art is in part indigenous and partly of
foreign derivation is probably nearest the truth. Certainly sporadic
cases of florid features appeared in French art during the XIII and XIV
centuries, but it is clear that in various places long held by the
English there appeared the first or the fullest expression of
late-Gothic art.

Before the Flamboyant Gothic transept of Beauvais was finished, the
foreign Renaissance had arrived in France. And it showed here in the
richly sculptured doors. The sibyls, all ten of whom are represented,
are, as pagans, kept outside the church. With skilled gradation the
carving grows deeper and bolder toward the top of the doors, farthest
away from the eye. Jean Le Pot carved the southern doors in faultless
taste. He was a glassmaker as well, and in St. Étienne's church are his
windows beside those of his father-in-law, Engrand Le Prince, who, with
his sons Jean and Nicholas, made the north and south rose windows of the
cathedral and its splendid Peter and Paul window. Their tree of Jesse,
in St. Étienne's choir, is considered a masterpiece of color and design.
To-day a Le Prince window in any French city is a matter of civic pride.

The old saying ran: "The choir of Beauvais, the nave of Amiens, the
portals of Rheims, the towers of Chartres" make the most beautiful
cathedral in the world. One hundred and fifty feet high curve the upper
vaults of Beauvais choir. Beneath them could be set the belfries of
Notre Dame of Paris. As at Bourges, the lofty aisle possesses its own
triforium and clearstory, but here the clearstory of the central choir
has not been dwarfed as a result of the stupendous pier arcades.
Beauvais dared to make its upper windows eighty feet high. Think what
its interior would be had it retained the original stained glass! Its
towering choir windows would scintillate like those of Sainte-Chapelle,
since it was the Paris school that supplied XIII-century Beauvais.

Such a sweep of fragile glass was possible because the play of thrusts
and counterthrusts had been calculated to a certainty. Technically,
Beauvais is the extreme expression of the Gothic theory. It perfected
the pier by making it elliptical, widest where fell the greatest strain,
north and south. It is said that its error lay in certain false
bearings, that some of the intermediate buttresses were balanced half on
air without direct ground supports. That may have been temerarious,
since building material of perfect quality is required when chances are
taken. Certainly Beauvais pushed to its rigid consequences the law of
equilibrium, allowing no excess in the supporting members, but it was
not a builder's folly.

M. de Lasteyrie has called its plan a _chef-d'oeuvre_ of lightness.
Though the architect pushed his technique to the extreme limit of the
law of thrust and counterthrust, he did not pass beyond the possible,
and had he employed the hard, resistant stone of Burgundy the history of
the cathedral church he built would not be a tale of disasters. What
brought about the collapse of Beauvais' vaults was the use of inferior

Sometimes one feels in the hardihood of this cathedral a trace of
everweening pride, as if its certitude of excelling tended to
virtuosity. The stupefying ascending lines, strong-willed and carried
out with science, seem as much to vaunt the enterprise of their builder
as pay homage to the Creator. Some of the lesser churches, that humbly
and tentatively reached out toward perfection, make a deeper appeal than
does stupendous Beauvais. Was man meant for the superlative on earth?
And one remembers that Bishop Milon de Nanteuil was a proud man of the
world, very unlike that true pastor of souls, Maurice de Sully, who with
unpretentious diligence raised Notre Dame of Paris. Such criticisms
would be silenced, perhaps, had Beauvais a nave from which could be
viewed its overwhelming choir. Truncated as it now is, it is necessary
to crane the neck in order to see its clearstory windows. So colossal a
thing should be led up to gradually; it cries out insistently for its
missing nave.

Fatality seemed always to pursue Beauvais. After terminating a noble
Flamboyant transept, the ambitious citizens were lured into the scheme
of a central tower, when a church of such height should have at its
crossing merely a slender spire. Instead of proceeding to build a nave,
they raised a lantern that lacked merely a few feet of the enormous
height of St. Peter's dome in Rome. It was a day of tower building in
France, and Beauvais, ever hopeful beyond its resources, thought to
outvie all others. On feast days lights were hung in its spire's open
stonework for the illumination of the entire countryside. For five years
only the giant beacon stood. On Ascension Day of 1573, just after the
congregation had left the church to walk in procession, the tower fell
with an appalling noise, covering the whole town with dust. Only one bay
of the nave has been built, its piers have disappearing moldings,
amorphous profiles, and no capitals whatever. Beauvais stands a massive
fragment, and there seems little chance that the truncated church will
ever be completed.


    With travail great, and little cargo fraught,
      See how our world is laboring in pain;
      So filled we are with love of evil gain
    That no one thinks of doing what he ought,
      But we all hustle in the Devil's train,
    And only in his service toil and pray;
    And God, who suffered for us agony,
      We set behind, and treat him with disdain.
    Hardy is he whom death doth not dismay.
    The feeble mouse, against the winter's cold
      Garners the nuts and grain within his cell,
      While man goes groping, without sense to tell
    Where to seek refuge against growing old....
    The Devil doth in snares our life enfold.
      Four hooks he has with torments baited well;
      And first with Greed he casts a mighty spell,
    And then, to fill his nets has Pride enrolled,
    And Luxury steers the boat and fills the sail,
    And Perfidy controls and sets the snare.
    Thus the poor fish are brought to land.
         --COUNT THIBAUT IV of Champagne.[144]

Beneath the present choir of Troyes Cathedral are Gallo-Roman walls, and
a succession of edifices have stood on the same site. From the cathedral
of the V century started the bishop, St. Loup, "the friend of God," when
he went forth to check Attila the Hun, "God's scourge," and the
barbarian was touched by spiritual fear and retired. That same good
bishop of Troyes was the companion of St. Germain of Auxerre, on the
notable journey north, when they blessed the gentle child Geneviève in a
village near Paris, marking her as a vessel of election.

Probably the cathedral immediately preceding the present one was in
large part early-Gothic. Fire wiped it out, in 1188, and preparations
for a new basilica were started by the energetic Bishop Garnier de
Trainel, who went on the Fourth Crusade, and was among those, says
Villehardouin, who scaled the walls of captured Constantinople along
with his friend Nivelon, the bishop-builder of Soissons.

The first stone of the new cathedral at Troyes was laid in 1206 by
Bishop Hervé (1206-23), an able man who had been advanced by the
observant prelate of Paris, Eudes de Sully. For almost twenty years
Bishop Hervé worked on the choir, considered one of the best chevets in
France. During his episcopate Troyes was a brilliant center of European
trade and culture. Blanche of Castile and young Louis IX passed some
time in the city when Thibaut IV the Singer, related to the royal line,
was attacked by the clique of rebellious barons who plotted against the
boy king. There had been considerable romancing about the volatile,
inconstant Thibaut's admiration for Queen Blanche, who was a married
woman before he was born. His own mother, Blanche of Navarre, another of
the able women rulers of that day, gave generously to the new cathedral
of her capital city.

In 1228 a storm damaged the rising structure, necessitating years of
tiresome repairs. Pope Urban IV, as a native son of Troyes, contributed.
During the last forty years of the XIII century the transept was
building. It showed traces of English feeling derived perhaps from
Edmund Plantagenet, a son of the builder of Westminster Abbey, who had
married the dowager Countess of Champagne. His ward Jeanne, Thibaut the
Singer's granddaughter, inherited the countship of Champagne, the
kingdom of Navarre, and by marriage became the queen of France.

Slowly during the XIV and XV centuries, one bay of the nave was added to
another; the changes from the precise lines of Rayonnant tracery to the
undulating mullions of the Flamboyant day are easy to follow. The long
delays were caused by lack of funds and the repeated need for
consolidating the parts already built. The soil on which the church
stood was unsuitable, and from the first, security was jeopardized by
using the soft, native stone in those parts of the edifice which were
out of sight, in order to economize on the firm stone imported from

Several times during the difficulties of reconstruction, the cathedral
chapter turned for advice to noted masters--to Raymond du Temple,
Charles V's architect, and to André de Dammartin, patronized by the
king's brothers of Berry and Burgundy. Work ceased altogether during
the English occupancy.

Then in 1429 the city opened its gates to Charles VII on his way to be
crowned at Rheims. Jeanne d'Arc, during her trial in Rouen, told of an
incident of their entry into Troyes. Some of the townspeople were
fearful lest the heroine of Orleans came of the devil, so they had a
holy preacher march out to exorcise her. Scattering holy water and
making repeated signs of the Cross, Brother Richard approached the Maid.
"Draw near without uneasiness," Jeanne assured him, in her pleasant
manner. "I won't fly away."

The city by its reception of the king evinced eagerness to wipe out the
infamy of the Treaty of Troyes, signed here in 1420 by Queen Isabeau of
Bavaria, wherein she repudiated her son Charles VII and gave France over
to the foreign invader. The people's renewed hope and self-respect
expressed itself in some of the most lovely Flamboyant foliage ever
chiseled--the deeply undercut leafage on the gable of the north portal

Work on the cathedral was taken up with energy after Jeanne, carrying
her standard, had hallowed the streets of Troyes. As the XV century
closed, the nave's radiant late-Gothic windows were installed. They are
of the _Biblia pauperum_ type, and are surprisingly like big translucent
woodcuts. They tell the story of Daniel, Tobias, Joseph and his
brethren, Job--a window especially to be noticed--some parables, too,
and edifying legends. The scenes are set quite as they appeared in the
mystery plays, the costumes being not of Syria, but of the very stuffs
and damasks bought in their own international fairs. The same masters of
Troyes, Verrat, Godon, Lyénin, Macadré, who signed a rose window of Sens
transept, put their signatures here.

Bible stories such as these suit the layman's part of a church, for they
serve to hold the attention of the average man. In the choir of Troyes
are thirteen large windows of an earlier day, profounder in color and
more spiritual in suggestion. They are like a jeweled cloistral screen
around the Holy of Holies. In the upper central windows are the Passion
scenes, and on either side rise tier on tier of martyrs who witnessed to
the Faith--bishops, abbots, and a few important personages, such as Pope
Innocent III, Bishop Hervé, the builder, and the archbishop of Sens, the
learned Pierre de Corbeil. On one side of the choir Henry I, emperor of
Constantinople, of the house of Champagne, is pictured, and
Philippe-Auguste, suzerain of Champagne. And opposite in the fourth
window are donjons and fleurs-de-lys showing that the queen-regent,
Blanche of Castile, was generous here as elsewhere.

The upper choir windows of Troyes allowed more light to pass than had
their immediate predecessors, the lancets of Chartres. Their colors were
clear and bright; only such stone mullions were used as were absolutely
required for the support of the glass. The eight lateral windows of the
upper choir belong to the XIII century, the five at the eastern curve to
the XIV century. In the lower choir are various ancient windows,
liberally restored, the Tree of Jesse, of Byzantine character, being the
best. Two hundred years later another Tree of Jesse was made by
Lyénin,[145] for the clearstory of the nave. It gave Christian folk a
feeling of pride to record the Lord's high ancestry according to Isaias
and the Acts. This cathedral of Troyes was one of the first to glaze its
triforium, even before St. Denis' abbatial. The present triforium lights
are, in most part, modern.

By 1504 the clearstory windows of the nave were all in place. Among
their donors was represented a mayor of Troyes with all his family. The
golden-hued west rose was put up in 1546. And even into the XVII century
the vitrine art of this exceptional city maintained its high traditions
of five hundred years. In 1625 Linard Gontier made the _Pressoir_
window, the swan-song of good Renaissance glass. There is a translucent
picture of Our Lady in the nave's south aisle, with stars leaded into
holes that were cut out of an entire plate of glass; any apprentice who
could perform that difficult feat of glazing was promoted to be a master

For the building of the cathedral's west front, the chapter, in 1506,
called on the noted late-Gothic master, Martin Chambiges, who had made
his reputation with transept façades at Beauvais and Sens. Together with
other artists, his son, Pierre (who won fame with Senlis' transept
façade, and who, in 1539, began the château of St. Germain-en-Laye),
carried on Troyes' frontispiece during fifty years, so that its
imagery--badly damaged by the Revolution--shows the ermine of Anne of
Brittany, the porcupine of Louis XII, and the salamander of Francis I.
Troyes, with its record of four hundred years, was, of all the
cathedrals of France, the longest in building.

In spite of its double aisles, its wide transept, its noble, deep choir,
and its astounding wealth of storied windows, it is clear when standing
before the Flamboyant Gothic front of this chief church of Champagne's
capital, that it is a cathedral of secondary rank. The flaw here is one
of proportion. With such width--and this is the widest cathedral in
France--the church should be thirty feet higher. However, no traveler
with harmony in his soul thinks of technical criticism once he steps
across the threshold and walks beneath the joyous terrestrial windows of
the nave and the seraphic lights of the sanctuary.


    Madame, je vous le demande,
    Pensez-vous ne soit péché
    D'occire son vrai amant?
    Oïl voir; bien le sachiez.
    S'il vous plaît ne m'occiez;
    Car, je vous le dis vraiment,
    Quoique l'amour soit tourment,
    Si vous m'aimez mieux vivant.
    Je n'en serai point fâché.
    --THIBAUT IV of Champagne, in lighter mood.

St. Urbain's famous collegiate church, a forerunner of XIV-century
Rayonnant Gothic, was founded by a son of Troyes, who sat in Peter's
chair, Urban IV. He tells us that "in the desire that the memory of this
our name might remain forever in the city of Troyes even after the
dissolution of our body," he began, in 1262, a church on the site where
his father's shop had stood, choosing for its tutelary the saint-pope,
Urban, who had succored the early martyrs in Rome. His father was a
prosperous shoemaker in the day when tradesmen gave princely gifts to
their parish churches. Urban IV himself had been a choir boy in Troyes

He died before his church was finished, but his nephew, Cardinal
Pantaleone Ancher, continued the edifice, which was completed in 1276.
Urban's successor, Clement IV, also a Frenchman, patronized the new
works at Troyes. While the choir and transept were done by one
generation, many a century was to pass before the westernmost bay and
façade were finished.

[Illustration: _St. Urbain at Troyes (1264-1276)_]

In archæological circles St. Urbain is noted, Viollet-le-Duc being the
first to discuss its ingenuity. As construction it is a small
masterpiece, a model of elasticity, perhaps the lightest and most
fragile of all Gothic edifices. To an economy in stone we owe this
structural feat. Were the principle of equilibrium pushed a step
farther, metal, not stone, would be required. Ground supports have been
lessened, and flying buttresses attenuated to the last limit. Despite
its science, St. Urbain is not doctrinaire, but immaterial and
seductive. On first entering it Montalembert exclaimed, "_Quelle
délicieuse église!_"

The architect, Jean Langlois, here created the most elegant form of
Rayonnant window tracery. At his porch appears the first French arch of
double curvature, the earliest interpenetration of archivolts. We know
his name because in 1267 a papal bull summoned him to account for sums
advanced on the edifice, and Jean was not forthcoming, because he had
disappeared in the East, crusading. The chief church at Famagusta, in
Cyprus, begun in 1300--the only completed French-Gothic cathedral of the
XIV century--shows such analogies with St. Urbain at Troyes that
apparently Langlois' architectural influence had spread in the Orient.

M. Lefèvre-Pontalis has called Troyes' lantern church inundated with
light one of the most original monuments of the Middle Ages. Ten feet
above the ground its walls change to opalescent glass. No grisaille is
more exquisitely decorated with natural foliage outlines; set in the
expanses of the opal-tinted white glass are colored medallions of
extreme beauty. The lower row of lights around the choir are of this
character. Above them, and almost a part of them, are the choir's upper
windows--big prophets and patriarchs with the Crucifixion in the
center--transition windows between legend-medallion glass, and the XIV
century's single figures in a vitrine architectural frame. The arms of
France, Champagne, and Navarre appear in the borders of the choir

The transeptal chapel to the north of the choir shows in its quatrefoils
some interesting heads of men, women, and children. From the windows of
the south transeptal chapel some panels were stolen, but St. Urbain's
curé, Abbé Jossier, a learned enthusiast, was able, by sending
photographs all over France, to trace his lost panels in a private
collection, and it is to be hoped they may be returned.

In his short pontificate, 1262-64, Urban IV, besides creating this
enduring memorial, instituted the feast of Corpus Christi. He requested
a liturgy for his new feast from St. Thomas Aquinas, who composed the
_Pange lingua gloriosi_, the last stanzas of which are sung daily
throughout the Christian world, the familiar _Tantum ergo_. To Aquinas
is ascribed the _Verbum supernum prodiens_ hymn whose ending is the
lovely _O Salutaris Hostia_. Doubt and heresy have always been
instrumental in clarifying doctrine and in enriching the liturgy and
art. So in a later day was made, in reaction against the XVI-century
desecration of the Eucharist, such windows as the Wine Press of Troyes
and that of Conches.

In 1906, soon after St. Urbain's church had celebrated the completion of
its western portal, it became the scene of a conscientious objection on
the part of its parishioners, who protested against the taking of an
inventory, they deeming it an unlawful interference with their private
affairs. They sat in their church till the police broke in the doors;
even then they continued to sing canticles, and were expelled only by
having a hose turned on them. Six centuries earlier, St. Urbain's had
been the scene, on the completion of its choir, of a suffragette-like
demonstration by a community of nuns, who claimed part of the land on
which the church stood. They smashed various things on the premises,
and, it is whispered, even slapped a high dignitary's face. Apparently
St. Urbain's is destined to pass into history under various aspects.

For four hundred years the ancient capital of Champagne was an active
center of the stained-glass industry. Overpowering is the wealth of
storied windows to be found in its churches, the majority being of the
Flamboyant-Renaissance day. In the suburbs, and farther afield in the
hamlets of Champagne, there is the same prodigal display of colored
windows and interesting statues.[148] From father to son, from
generation to generation, was passed on the art skill of this ancient
city on the highway of international trade.

In Troyes there were so many churches that the old saying ran: "You
arrived from Troyes? And what are they doing there?" "_On y sonne._"
Next to St. Urbain's, for its wealth of art treasures, comes the
Madeleine church built about 1175, and reconstructed during the
Flamboyant enthusiasm when this city readorned almost every shrine it
possessed. Contemporary with its noted _jubé_, or rood screen (1508-17),
is the statue of St. Martha, one of the gems of French sculpture,
entirely of the national school, unaffected work as ample and robust as
the best period of the XIII century. St. Martha is represented, in this
church of Troyes dedicated to her sister, with the holy water by which
she exorcised the legendary Tarasque of Tarascon. She was the patroness
of housekeepers, and it is said that the servant maids of Troyes
presented to their church this memorial of the plastic genius of

Champagne's special aptitude for sculpture appeared in the XIII-century
gargoyles of St. Urbain's church, each of which was almost a complete
figure. Later her imagery grew mannered for a few generations, with the
Madonna's face of a formal type, and an exaggerated throwing out of the
hip. The advent of Flemish realism, through the Franco-Flamand school at
Dijon, renewed the vigor of French idealism, and before the XV century
closed a truly French Renaissance had set in, retaining the equipoise of
the old school and quite free of Italian classicism.

Eventually the imported standards checked that renewed national
movement. It was not the big men of Italy's revival who came to
Champagne, but secondary artists whose work was often pretentious or
coldly abstract. From 1540, under the leadership of the Italian,
Domenico Rinnuccini, called Florentino, the foreign Renaissance
prevailed at Troyes. In the church of the Madeleine, besides its _jubé_
and St. Martha statue, is some of the best XVI-century glass. A window
of 1506 tells the life of St. Eloi, the goldsmith-bishop of Noyon; a
window dated 1517 is devoted to St. Louis; Jean Macadré I made a Jesse
tree; and there is the celebrated Creation in which God the Father wears
the papal tiara, significant of the reaction that followed Luther's
attacks on Rome. There are, also, two good XV-century windows, the
Lord's Passion and the Magdalene's story.

So vast is the accumulation of treasures in the sanctuaries of Troyes
that one can indicate merely a few of them. In St. Jean's
church--Flamboyant Gothic mainly, with a XII-century tower and a
XIV-century nave--is a Visitation (1520) by Nicolas Haslin, a meeting of
two pleasant dames of Troyes, wearing robes of Burgundian fullness, a
group in which there appears a first evidence of transalpine influence.
The reredos, from the Juliot studio, that led in the transition from
French Gothic art to the neo-classic standards, has conventional images
somewhat overgestured. In the flat eastern wall of St. Jean is a
_maîtresse vitre_ (1630) by the Gontier brothers, delicate in hue, yet
radiant, with half tones such as mauve, salmon pink, soft grays,
pomegranate, celadine green. Eagerly the Renaissance masters seized on
the new invention of _verre double_, which allowed them a fuller
palate. Their over-use of opaque enamel-painting on glass led to the
deterioration of the vitrine art, for the picture-painter soon swamped
the glazier and draftsman who had worked in subordination to the

In the church of St. Pantaléon, where Lyénin II worked, the windows are
in one or two tones, gray-brown with silver-stain yellow and flesh
color, a style better suited to domestic interiors or to civic halls
than to churches. The church boasts a statue of St. James and a Charité
by Domenico Florentino, and a St. Crespin group by a son of Troyes,
François Gentil, influenced by the Italian. To Gentil is attributed the
Christ at the column and the Christ bearing the Cross in the church of
St. Nicolas, where are also images of St. Anne and St. Joachim from the
Juliot studio, a St. Bonaventure from the same source whence emanated
the adorable statue of St. Martha, and more of the grisaille
picture-glass. In St. Martin-ès-Vignes the window of St. Anne (1623) is
attributed to Linard Gontier; in Ste. Sabine are some painted wood
panels, and a carved keystone of great beauty; in the hall of the
library of Troyes are thirty panels by Linard Gontier, made in
commemoration of Henry IV's visit in 1598.


It so happens that in most of our communes the church remains the only
witness of the olden times and of departed generations. It thus becomes
a symbol, legible for the humblest, of the duration of our race, of the
persistence, through the dead, of a special group of French families on
a special corner of French soil. The village church gives the lesson of
lineage, of the solidarity of efforts, of the communion of men.--EDMOND
BLANQUERON, Inspecteur de l'Académie de la Haute-Marne, in the crusade
to save the churches of Champagne, notably Vignory, one of the oldest in
France (c. 1050).

The cathedral of Troyes and the church of St. Urbain belong to the
Champagne school of Gothic, to which we have devoted no separate chapter
because some of its monuments, such as St. Remi at Rheims and Notre Dame
at Châlons, we grouped with the Primary Gothic churches, and the
cathedral of Rheims with the Great Cathedrals, classifications used
solely for greater clarity.

From its inception, the Gothic of Champagne kept pace with the
Ile-de-France Picard school, and in certain characteristics even took
the lead of its neighbor. Gerson, Racine, La Fontaine, Gaston Paris, are
among the sons of this province whose Gothic art, formulated centuries
before them, displays qualities which embody aspiration, sublimity,
sanity always and just measure, a singular ease and grace, patience, and

From Champagne came the gracious arrangement of planting slender columns
and stilted arches at the entrance to radiating chapels. Champagne was
the first to use the pier composed of twin columns, first to employ a
passageway round the church at the level of the aisle windows, and to
place lancets side by side in each bay for the better lighting of the
edifice. The region was conservative in clinging to certain Romanesque
traits, such as apsidal chapels projecting from the eastern wall of the
transept. It employed, as did Normandy and Burgundy, a circulation
passage under the clearstory windows. Champagne's influence spread far
afield to Sens, Auxerre, St. Quentin, St. Denis, Metz, Toul, Ipres,
Tournai, Avila, León, and York.[151]

Lest these pages should become overloaded, we can merely touch on the
beautiful Champagne cathedral of Châlons-sur-Marne, an old city which
is another treasure house of colored glass. The most interesting windows
are in the small church of St. Alpin, whose apse celebrates the
Eucharist, the souls in Purgatory, the Corpus Christi procession, lately
mocked by the Calvinists. Its Manna in the Desert window is a symbol of
the Eucharist. In St. Alpin are the most successful examples of that
distinguished phase of vitrine art called _camaïeu_--of cameo or
chiaroscuro effect, using brown-gray hues, the yellow of silver-stain, a
pale blue for the sky, and an occasional single touch of superb ruby
red. One of the windows of Raphaelesque design represents St. Alpin,
bishop of Châlons, meeting Attila the Hun; another, dated 1539, is a
rendering of the Vision of Augustus, a theme most popular then.

Peter the Venerable called Châlons "great and illustrious." Guillaume de
Champeaux, one of the most learned men of the age, whose schoolroom was
really the beginning of the University of Paris, was bishop of Châlons
in 1115 when a young Burgundian named Bernard came to be consecrated
abbot of Clairvaux. In the monk of twenty-five, unknown yet to fame, the
great teacher was swift to recognize a supreme spiritual genius. In 1147
St. Bernard preached at the dedication of the Romanesque cathedral of
Châlons before Pope Eugene III, who had been one of his own Cistercian
monks at Clairvaux. The present tower to the north of the choir belonged
to the church that Bernard knew. The south tower, its mate, is of the
XIII century. The placing of belfries on either side of the choir was a
Rhenish trait.

In 1230 Châlons Cathedral was wrecked by lightning. Its reconstruction
began with the choir, under Bishop Pierre de Nemours, whose brothers
were building-prelates at Noyon, Paris, and Meaux. In 1250 work on the
nave was going on, and at the end of the century was built the
transept's excellent north façade. The XVII century erected the
unsuitable neo-classic west frontispiece, yet at the same time,
curiously enough, the two westernmost bays were constructed in perfect
imitation of Apogec Gothic. It remains an open question whether the
same Renaissance century made the apse chapels after a fire in 1668.
Some say they are of the XIV century, that the choir, as first built,
had no ambulatory, but that one was added soon after, with radial

There is a noble purity in Châlons Cathedral, due in large part to its
soaring monolithic piers. No church is richer in tombstones, and its
stained glass is plenteous. In the eastern clearstory are three lovely
silver and blue XIII-century windows; the north rose of the transept is
early XIV century and the first window in the nave's south aisle is
another good example of that period. The same aisle shows a brilliant
XV-century light, ruby red in effect, and a window of 1509, wherein the
Blessed Virgin's life is explained by quaint inscriptions. Some
XII-century glass from Châlons Cathedral is in the Trocadéro Museum at

Just as Champagne had proved herself a pioneer in the first days of the
national art, so she distinguished herself in later times when Rayonnant
Gothic turned to Flamboyant art. Among the few churches built during the
transition between those two phases is the cathedral-like
Notre-Dame-de-l'Épine, in the fields a few miles from Châlons-sur-Marne,
a link connecting St. Urbain at Troyes with the goodly array of
Flamboyant buildings that sprang up in the ancient capital of Champagne.
The interior proportions of Notre-Dame-de-l'Épine resemble those of
Rheims Cathedral, and its rood screen recalls the _jubé_ of the
Madeleine church at Troyes.

But _revenons à nostro matière_, as dear Joinville, seneschal of
Champagne, would say. The reason for the wealth of architecture and its
allied arts and crafts in the region of which Troyes is the center was
because the ancient city, so unnoted in to-day's activities, lay on the
mediæval highway of commerce, and under its enterprising rulers became
the scene bi-yearly of a fair to which all Europe flocked. To this day
we use Troy weight. The counts of Champagne safeguarded the visiting
merchants and fostered commerce by wise laws. Their money passed in Rome
and Venice as freely as in Provins and Troyes. Lavish and art-loving
were the Champagne rulers; one of them founded Clairvaux in lower
Champagne; another rebuilt the Cistercian church of Pontigny, just over
the border in Burgundy. They were indefatigable crusaders, some of them
winning thrones in the East. And their alliances constantly enriched
their stock with new qualities, as when Count Henry the Magnificent
wedded, in 1164, the daughter of Louis VII by Aliénor of Aquitaine. That
Countess Marie--the _suer comtessa_ to whom her half brother, Richard
Coeur-de-Lion, addressed his famous prison song--made of her court of
Champagne a school of good manners with all the ceremonial of the Midi's
_cour d'amour_. What M. Gaston Paris calls poet-laureates' work, _poésie
courtoise_, became the vogue, and the Countess Marie herself wrote in
the troubadour manner. She encouraged the best of the XII-century poets,
Crestien de Troyes (d. 1175), suggesting to him the romances of the
Breton cycle, Lancelot, Tristan, and Percival.[152] Through Crestien the
story of the Holy Grail spread over Europe. In him the trouvères new
ideals of chivalry met the Midi's refined gallantry, and the Celtic
themes which he versified brought what was needed of passion and

All Europe then drew its poetic inspirations from the _matière de
France_, as France in her turn was enriching herself from the
inexhaustible _matière de Bretagne_. The XII-century French trouvères
were imitated by the German Minnesingers, by the early songsters of
England, Spain, and Portugal, and in Italy the precursors of Dante
preferred the use of the Romance tongues of France. In the fecund hour
wherein our modern civilization was conceived, France gave to the
Western World her architecture, her sculpture, and her poetry. At the
cathedral doors of Verona, Roland and Oliver were sculpted.

The international city of Troyes saw the creation of the Templars Order
at her Council of 1128, whither had come Hugues de Payns, a knight
related to the reigning counts. Taking part in the First Crusade, he
proved himself a true _prud'homme_ in Palestine by forming a band of
volunteer knights to escort unprotected pilgrims. At the Council of
Troyes he won recognition for his monk-knights. St. Bernard championed
them, drew up their rule, and gave them their white robe and red cross.
With the birth of the national art rose this great military Order and
with its decline it was stricken down. When the lust of gain replaced
aspiration, men no longer went crusading or built cathedrals.

The ancient city of Troyes is not only associated with epic
poetry--"history before there are historians"--but is linked with the
earliest two historians who wrote in the vernacular, Villehardouin and
Joinville. "_Mes lengages est buens car en France fui nez_," boasted the
Champagne poet, who tells us that God listened by preference to his
speech, since he had made it lighter and better than any other, of more
brevity, of nobler amplitude. Villehardouin's record of the Fourth
Crusade, the _Conquête de Constantinople_, possesses the same powerful
simplicity as the greatest of all chansons-de-geste, _Roland_. He was
born near Troyes, in whose convents lived two of his daughters and his
two sisters, and to whose churches he left property.

Our good friend Joinville grew up in the cultivated court of the
Countess Marie's grandson, Thibaut IV _le Chansonnier_, born in Troyes.
Thibaut's songs blended the courteous poetry of the troubadour tradition
with the attic salt of his own most civilized Champagne. In his gallant
company Joinville acquired his good manners and inimitable mode of

The last countess of this land of gay singers and soldier-historians
was Thibaut's granddaughter, Jeanne, who inspired Joinville to write his
memoirs, helped to build Meaux Cathedral, and founded the College of
Navarre where Gerson and Bossuet were to be trained. But, alas! the
liberal young heiress of Champagne married the legist king of France,
Phillipe le Bel, the executioner of the Templars. When he struck a blow
at the international fairs of Champagne by persecuting Lombards and
Jews, the great day for Troyes was over. When Jeanne d'Arc--born on the
confines of Champagne--revived the nation's pride, the art traditions
latent in the citizens of Troyes flowered once more with magnificence.
Only the slow accumulation of centuries could have produced the
unemphatic beauty of the gracious St. Martha in Troyes' Flamboyant
Gothic church of the Madeleine.


     A religion is the heart of a race; it expresses the emotions of a
     people and elevates them by giving them an aim: but, unless a God
     be visibly honored, religion does not exist, and human laws are
     powerless.... Thought, the fountain of all good and evil, cannot be
     trained, mastered, and directed except by religion, and the only
     possible religion is Christianity, which created the modern world
     and will preserve it.... France is being saved and lost
     perpetually. If she wants to be saved, indeed, let her go back to
     the laws of God.--HONORÉ DE BALZAC (1799-1850; born in Tours).

The cathedral of Tours does not startle. One is not carried away by it,
at first. Its charm is that of the tranquil horizons of the Loire,
_fleuve de lumière, de vie doucement heureuse, partout de plein effets
de lenteur, d'ordre_, so Rodin saw it. The beauty of Touraine increases
with familiarity because it is touched with that measure, that justness
of soul inherited from the classic spirit, that has ever tempered, in
the art manifestations of this nation, the sublime overimpassioned
consistencies of the Celt and the lofty overexaggerated dreams of the

The cathedral of Tours does not aspire to the impossible. It is a rather
cold, high-bred church at one with its environment, the gracious garden
of Touraine, a satisfying, discreet church and most intensely French.
While one rejoices that a Robert de Lusarches aspired to the Infinite at
Amiens, one approves the architect of Tours who worked within human
possibilities. The choir of the cathedral possesses both delicacy and
force. Toward its erection Louis IX granted a quarry and some forest
lands near Chinon. The choir must have been nearing its completion when
in 1255 the king visited Tours, whose archbishop, Geoffrey de Martel,
had lately died a crusader in Palestine.

During the fifty years prior to 1270 the cathedral was building. In 1269
the relics of St. Maurice and his companions from Thebes, who were
martyred in Gaul under Diocletian, were transferred to the sanctuary.
Those early Christians were the tutelary saints of Tours Cathedral up to
the XIV century. Then St. Gatien, the first to preach Christianity in
this region, was chosen as patron. _La Gatienne_ the people call their
chief church. The cult of the early missionary had been a favorite
devotion of St. Martin, third and greatest bishop of Tours, who died as
the IV century drew to a close.

Like Lyons, Tours has eminent ecclesiastical memories. The shrine of St.
Martin, the most popular saint of Gaul, made the city a frequented
pilgrimage for Europe. Gregory of Tours, who ruled this see from 573 to
595, has described the richness of the Byzantine church that stood over
the tomb of the great thaumaturge. Like most of the prelates who saved
Latin civilization from the Barbarian's submersion, Bishop Gregory was
of Gallo-Roman stock, of a senatorial family of Auvergne who boasted
descent from an early Christian martyr of Gaul. In the present southwest
tower of la Gatienne are traces of the VI-century cathedral built by
this bishop-historian of Gaul, whose pages are a chief source for
Merovingian times.[154]

The city of Tours always had two great monuments--the cathedral within
the ramparts, the basilica of St. Martin outside the walls. St. Martin's
abbey was the nation's intellectual leader when the Saxon scholar Alcuin
became its abbot (796-804). He made of Tours a Christian Athens. They
buried him in his abbatial, where four years earlier Charlemagne's wife,
Luitgarde, had been laid. To-day only two towers stand of St. Martin's
basilica--the Tour Charlemagne, begun by the Blessed Hervé, abbot in
997, hence one of the oldest memorials of the rebirth of architecture
associated with the year 1000, and a former façade tower mainly of the
XII century. One of the busiest streets of Tours runs up what once was
the nave of the abbatial, but, not discouraged, the people of Touraine
have erected a new Byzantinesque basilica of St. Martin on the site of
the transept's southern arm. Those two tragic frenzies of forgetfulness,
1562, that scattered St. Martin's ashes--for which St. Eloi,
bishop-goldsmith of Noyon, had made a priceless reliquary--and 1793,
that laid in ruins his church in Tours and Marmoutier's Apogee Gothic
abbatial that marked the rock-hewn cells where he had lived a hermit
across the Loire, those two blind hours when men thought to erect
barriers between themselves and their past, destroyed monuments which,
did they exist still, would rank Tours, architecturally, among the first
cities of Europe. St. Martin's church, built by Hervé, became a
_monument-type_,[155] copied by Ste. Foi, Congnes, St. Martial,
Limoges, St. Sernin, Toulouse, and the cathedral at Santiago.

It is said that twenty centuries of human effort are represented by the
stones of Tours Cathedral.[156] In the base of its façade towers are
remains of the city's III-century walls, which had been constructed in
their turn with the big stones stolen from the local Roman temples of 50
B.C. For sixteen centuries Mass has been said on this site. In the
southwest tower are vestiges of Gregory of Tours' VI-century church, and
in the northwest tower traces of the Romanesque cathedral on which
worked the philosopher and theologian, Hildebert de Lavardin, the most
popular poet of his age and one of the builders of Le Mans Cathedral
before promoted to be Tours' sixty-fourth archbishop (1125-34). In
refuting Berengar, a canon of Tours, who taught a confused doctrine
concerning the Eucharist, Bishop Hildebert was the first to use the term
"transubstantiation" in its theological sense. It is said that the
custom of elevating the Host in the Mass resulted from the eucharistic
controversies started by Berengar.

In 1167 a fire, caused by a quarrel over crusaders' treasure, between
Louis VII and Henry II Plantagenet, destroyed the Romanesque cathedral
of Tours. Bishop Joscion, who died in 1173, planned to construct a
Plantagenet Gothic church, since Touraine was in large part under
Angevin control, and to the church he began belongs the graceful
_bombé_ vault borne on eight slender branches beneath the northwest
tower. In 1191 Richard Coeur-de-Lion came to his city of Tours to
receive the crusaders' insignia before his venture to the East. His
ransom drained the land of building funds. For that cause or another,
the projected work at Tours languished. The actual choir was begun only
about 1210, when the city had become a part of the royal domain, and its
new master Philippe-Auguste wrote that he held the church of Tours to be
one of the chief jewels of his crown, and that whosoever molested it
touched his (the king's) person.

We do not know who was the original architect of _la Gatienne_. Étienne
de Mortagne, who designed the Benedictine church at Marmoutier, is
mentioned, in 1269, as master-of-works at the cathedral, but by that
time its choir was completed. That choir, while making no pretense of
being sublime, is a monument of noble robustness, displaying within and
without the veriest genius of good taste. The vista closing the eastern
end of the church is one of the most satisfactory in France, owing to
its right proportion. In this, Tours derives directly from Amiens. Its
pier arcade comprises one-third of the interior wall elevation; and the
triforium and clearstory make up the other two-thirds--clearstory being
double the height of triforium. At Tours the relation of span and height
is admirable, and both are well correlated with length. Seen in
perspective down the nave, the three stories of colored glass around the
sanctuary are the supreme impression of this church interior, and seldom
does one pass from its west portal without turning back for a lingering
look at that harmonious chevet of consecrated light. Through the pier
arches can be seen symmetrically the windows of the apse chapels. The
design of the glazed triforium is excelled by no other in France; though
serving as a kind of pedestal for the upper lights, it retains its own

When the choir of Tours was completed, the builders proceeded at once to
erect the transept which, the stones themselves say, must have been
finished as the XIII century closed. The nave's easternmost bays
touching it belong to the first years of the next century, as do the two
rose windows of the transept. The northern rose is irreproachable in
design and of the same scintillating jewel tradition as XIII-century

The Hundred Years' War, here as elsewhere, checked building activities.
When they were resumed at Tours, happily the first plans were adhered
to, so that choir and nave are homogeneous. As the church advanced
toward the west, the window tracery changed from Rayonnant to
Flamboyant, the profiles grew prismatic, and the sculpture of the
capitals became naturalistic rather than an architectural interpretation
of foliage. The nave was made narrower than the choir, probably with the
intention of joining it to the XII-century façade. Of the four triumphal
piers at the transept-crossing, the two westernmost ones stand closer
together than those flanking the choir, whose spacious procession path
causes the side aisles of the nave to appear meager.

What might seem an overreasonableness in the architecture of Tours
metropolitan church is offset by the glory of its jeweled windows.
Between 1260 and 1270 the choir's upper lights were placed, and
considering their date, they are exceptional in still being of the
legend-medallions type rather than large single figures. Blue is set in
greenish white with good effect, contrasting happily with certain
contemporary windows at Paris, where the juxtaposition of blue and red
produced melancholy purple. The joyous sparkling tone of Tours' lights
proves a skillful use of pot-metal yellow. More care was taken to tell
the legends plainly than to put borders round each medallion.

The glass of Tours belongs to the Paris school, though made, doubtless,
by local workers. Were a floor laid below the triforium of the choir,
its fifteen upper windows, composing a veritable pavilion of glass,
would be almost a replica of the Sainte-Chapelle, and one recalls that
it was Archbishop Odo of Tours who on April 25, 1248, dedicated for St.
Louis his new shrine at Paris. The donors of Tours' great windows were
churchmen and laymen, the lowly and the mighty. Bishop Geoffrey de
Loudon, builder of Le Mans' glorious choir, presented a light, as did
Tours' own prelate and a group of parish priests. Small craftsmen were
donors, drapers, and day laborers, and of course Queen Blanche's donjons
of Castile are to be seen. Her window, devoted to St. James, the patron
of Spain, is splendid in hue.

The fourth clearstory window on the north excels in color harmony. They
call it the Adam window, after the first tiller of the soil. It was
presented by plowmen, and relates their field labors as well as the
story of Genesis. On one side of the central light of the clearstory is
a dazzling Tree of Jesse, the gift of a furrier and his wife. Next to it
is a window devoted to St. Martin, whose story is told again, in the
late XIII-century glass of an apse chapel. More French churches have
been dedicated to St. Martin than to any other patron save Notre Dame.
The windows of the sanctuary north of the axis chapel, though mixed in
design, excel all others in exquisite color, being composed of fragments
from St. Martin's abbatial reset here. The New Alliance window in the
Lady chapel has medallions of Christ bearing His Cross and the
Crucifixion accompanied by such symbols and prefigurings as Elisha
resuscitating the child, Jonah issuing from the whale's jaws, the brazen
serpent, and Moses striking the rock.

All the world was a symbol to the men of those Ages of Faith. The
interlinked petals of the transept's northern rose meet in a symbol of
the Divinity--a knot without beginning or end--the _forma universal_
visioned by Dante. There are Frenchmen who think that the splendid rose
windows in their Gothic cathedrals suggested to the exile of Florence
his conception of the empyrean. Heaven as Dante visioned it had neither
roof of gold nor pillars of jasper, but was an expanded, supernal, white

Once the nave of Tours Cathedral was filled with late-Gothic windows,
but storms wrecked many of them. Some of its glass has been set in a
line of lights beneath the transept's north rose, XV-century panels
representing members of the Bourbon Vendôme family, that was to mount
the French throne with Henry IV. Jean Fouquet might have drawn them.
Under the XVI-century rose in the west façade is another row of windows
containing good portraits of art patrons as munificent as the
Bourbons--the Laval-Montmorency family. All over France we find them as
donors of beautiful things.

The hour when Tours was an individual leader in art came during the
late-Gothic development.[157] Then was finished the cathedral's nave,
chapter house, library, cloister, and the psaltery with its pretty
Renaissance stair. The cathedral canons, _Messires de la Gatienne_,
sacrificed a forest for the nave's overroof. The elaborate Flamboyant
façade was set up. Jean Papin was its architect, and Jean de Dammartin,
fresh from Le Mans' transept, worked on it. It was begun under
Archbishop Philippe de Coëtquis (1427-41), one of the learned men whom
Charles VII summoned to interrogate Jeanne d'Arc. He pronounced her
entirely sincere.

In Tours Cathedral, April, 1429, knelt St. Jeanne for a solemn
benediction before she went forth to accomplish her feat at Orléans. An
artist of Tours made for her the banner she loved better than her sword.
When Tours heard that she was taken prisoner, public prayers were
ordered and a procession marched with bare feet, in penitential
intercession for her deliverance. Charles VII had been married in Tours
to his cousin Marie of Anjou, who was, says the modern student, more his
incentive to patriotism than Agnes Sorel. The son of Charles, Louis XI,
also was married in the cathedral of Tours, and preferred to live in the
environs of the ancient ecclesiastic city.

Under the saintly Archbishop Robert de Lenoncourt, installed here in
1488, were finished Tours' western portals. Their foliage is tormented,
serrated, and deeply undercut, almost too prodigally and delicately
sculptured for an exterior decoration. The entranceways are to-day shorn
of their imagery, the statues having been shattered in 1562. In the
Renaissance day the façade's twin towers were gracefully topped; _deux
beaux bijoux_, Henry IV called the belfries of Tours.

Throughout the Loire region an astounding number of monuments rose
during the last half of the XV century and the early part of the XVI.
Tours was the foyer for a school of sculpture that spread to Le Mans,
Angers, Nantes, Poitiers, and Bourges. From 1480 to 1512 the school of
the Region-of-the-Loire, as M. Paul Vitry calls it, was at its prime. It
culminated in the ducal tomb at Nantes and the entombments at Solesmes.
Dijon, the leader of the first half of the XV century, benefited Tours
by its realism, and the Italian artists, gathered here in the dawn of
the foreign Renaissance in France, contributed certain qualities. But
the art of Michel Colombo is predominatingly of the Middle Ages, and a
product of Touraine, a measured, contained, and charming art, _de pur
esprit français_. Colombe simplified the draperies of the Franco-Flamand
school and eschewed the Dijon roughness. His grace is never petty,
however, nor his idealism conventional. As the XVI century opened he
made, in his Tours studio, the statues for the ducal tomb at Nantes. In
1509 his nephew, Guillaume Regnault, sculptured the recumbent images of
the children of Anne of Brittany and Charles VIII for the sarcophagus,
now in the cathedral of Tours, the base of which was covered with
arabesques by Jerome of Fiesole. Colombo's contemporary, Jehan Fouquet,
a son of Tours, delighted in painting the regional types. He decorated
the walls of Notre-Dame-la-Riche, but his work is lost, though some of
the dazzling Renaissance windows of that late-Gothic church of Tours
have survived. A certain Jean Clouet emigrated from Brussels to Tours in
those days, and his son and grandson, born by the Loire, are two of the
French _primitifs_ whose work the traveler does not care to miss in any
gallery that can boast their Holbein-like canvases. During the
Revolution, plans were afoot to destroy the cathedral of Tours, but two
artists of the city (so loyal through centuries to art interests) risked
their lives to save their noble Gothic church.


     What Christian does not approach with veneration this city that was
     in France the cradle of the true religion, and where amid
     persecutions and tortures rose for the first time the Cross of
     Christ? Who does not tread with veneration the soil impregnated
     with the blood of so many martyrs and forever consecrated by the
     glories of a see that justly claims the title Primate of
     Gaul?--CHARLES DE MONTALEMBERT, visiting Lyons in 1831.

In its early Christian memories Lyons outrivals all other cities of
France. It claims a clear apostolic tradition, and boasts that, next to
Rome, it shed most Christian blood witnessing to the planting of the
Cross. And modern Lyons is the center of the Society for the Propagation
of the Faith, which sends forth to non-Christian lands more missionaries
than any other group in western Christendom--apostles who obey the
mandate given to Lyons' first martyr-bishops: Go, teach ye all nations,
baptizing in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Imperial Rome, that foreshadowed many things, chose Lyons, before the
birth of Christ, as starting point for her network of highways and
aqueducts over Gaul. Augustus made it the capital of Celtic Gaul. It was
the bishop of Smyrna, St. Polycarp (d. A.D. 166), the disciple of St.
John the Beloved (d. A.D. 100), who sent the first two bishops of Lyons
to Christianize Gaul, Pothinus (d. A.D. 177), an Asiatic Greek, and
Irenæus (d. A.D. 202), one of the most remarkable writers of the early
Christian era, lettered in Greek literature and writing in Greek. With
profound knowledge of Christian doctrine, he advocated, for the guidance
of the Church, tradition, or the spoken word of the Apostles, as well as
their written word. Often with just pride did Irenæus boast that his
doctrine came direct from the contemporaries of the Saviour: "I could
describe to you the very spot where the blessed Polycarp sat when he
preached God's word.... His discourse to the people is engraved in my
heart. He had talked with John and the others who saw the Lord."

For twenty years St. Irenæus served as priest in Lyons under Bishop
Pothinus, and then when that holy prelate, at ninety years of age, was
martyred during the persecutions of the Christians under Marcus
Aurelius, Irenæus went to Rome to be consecrated primate of Gaul in his
place. When the pagan judge asked Pothinus who was the Christians' God,
the aged man made answer: "Merit him and you will know him." For twenty
years, till his death in 202, St. Irenæus evangelized the country with
such success that Lyons was almost a Christian city when the persecution
of Septimus Severus broke out. Then followed evil days when the streets
of Lyons ran red with blood, and her learned bishop perished with
nineteen thousand Christian martyrs.

During the first persecution, in 177, the Christians of the city wrote a
famous letter describing how forty-eight of their number were tortured
day after day in the Roman Forum of Lyons, till even the pagans allowed
that never a woman had suffered so much and so long as the fragile slave
Blandina. The letter of "the servitors of Christ who inhabit Vienne and
Lyons in Gaul, to the brothers of Asia and Phrygia who partake of our
Faith and our hope in the Redemption," is not only an historical
document, precious for Lyons, but, as Renan said, is "one of the most
extraordinary pages that any literature possesses."[159]

The hill of Fourvière looms over the scene of the martyrdoms, the _forum
vetus_, the forum of Trajan, which gave its name to the neighboring
eminence to which many generations have come as to a pilgrimage shrine.
On the flank of the hill a hospice marks where St. Pothinus breathed his
last. The sumptuous new basilica that stands on the crest of the hill
beside an ancient chapel, now its annex, persistently dominates the old,
gray city. Lyons fulfilled its war vow of 1870 by the erection of this
church wherein are strange echoes of Greek, Sicilian, Byzantine, and
Gothic art that surely will make archæologists in the far future wonder
at much in our civilization. On its walls the city's proud apostolic
traditions are set forth in mosaics.

Equally venerated is the ancient church of St. Martin d'Ainay which
marks the holy ground where many of the martyrs were slaughtered at the
confluence of the Saône and the Rhone. There once had stood the temple
of the sixty nations of Gaul consecrated to the glory of Augustus.
Haunted by imperial visions, Napoleon at St. Helena suggested that his
burial site be where the Rhone met the Saône. No city is more nobly
girdled than Lyons. From the altar to Augustus came the four pillars at
the transept crossing of St. Martin's; two lofty classic columns were
cut in two to make them. The Burgundian queen, Brunehaut, of tragic
memory, rebuilt Ainay's original oratory over the Christian martyrs'
bones, and founded the monastery which is one of the oldest in France.
In the course of time it became affiliated with the world-power, Cluny.
The present church of St. Martin was blessed in 1106 by Paschal II, who
on this same journey had dedicated various new basilicas in northern
Italy. In the XII and XIII centuries St. Martin's outer aisles were
added. The crypt under the chapel of Ste. Blandine is not later than the
V century. A contemporary of St. Martin's is the little Romanesque
building touching the cathedral's façade, the _Manécanterie_ (to sing in
the morning).[160] Originally it formed the outer wall of a gallery of
the cloister.

The cathedral of St. John the Baptist faces the hill of Fourvière and
its apse overlooks the Saône. The Baptist was the first teacher of St.
John Evangelist to whom the city traces its Christianity. A preceding
Romanesque cathedral, building in 1084 and completed by 1117, was
destroyed during disorders between the two warring local authorities,
the archbishop and the counts of Forez. Lyons for a time was under the
titular jurisdiction of the Holy Roman Empire, but to all intents and
purposes was a free city with well developed communal rights. While the
Romanesque cathedral was building, St. Anselm of Canterbury passed
sixteen months in Lyons as guest of Archbishop Hugues.

The present cathedral was undertaken by Archbishop Guichard (1165-80),
and in its foundation walls were incorporated some of the polished
stones from the forum of Trajan, hallowed by the martyrs' blood. So
thick were the apse walls made that flying buttresses were never needed.
The windows were set in deep embrasures. The absence of an ambulatory,
and the flat roof, are reminders that this city neighbors the Midi. The
cathedral's apse, as seen from across the Saône, is admirable. Over the
arms of the transept are towers whose breadth indicates that the tower
of St. Martin d'Ainay created a school in the district. In comparison
with the transept towers, the western belfries of the cathedral appear

The nave of Lyons rises twenty-five feet above the choir, and,
furthermore, is covered by an inappropriate high-pitched roof. Within
the church, the difference in height between the two main parts has been
gracefully veiled by piercing, in the flat wall over the triumphal arch
of the choir, a rose window and two lancets. In size this church may be
modest, but its sincere, grave dignity is such that the impression
conveyed is that of a very great cathedral. The nave derived from the
north. The choir emanated from the south, and its creamy, sculptured
marbles and Greco-Italian incrustations compose an interior of sober
elegance, the peer of any sanctuary in the land. A unique feature in
France is Lyons' incrustations--patterns cut in white marble and filled
in with a reddish-brown cement--found only here and in the cathedral of
Vienne.[161] St. Sophia in Constantinople first used the decoration,
which was imported into Italy and thence passed up the Rhone.

The choir of Lyons' Cathedral, up to its vault-springing, is Romanesque,
of the Burgundian and Provençal type. The classic pilaster strips are
channeled; on each arm of the transept is an apsidal chapel. The prelate
who began it, Guichard, had, while abbot of Pontigny, been the host of
St. Thomas Becket, and in Pontigny's church he was buried in 1180. His
successor, Jean de Bellesmaine (1180-93), born in Canterbury, was
another of Becket's friends, and soon after he was transferred here from
the see of Poitiers, then under English rule, he inspired the building
of a collegiate church dedicated to the new English saint. Archbishop
John undertook the second campaign of works on Lyons' choir, which was
now vaulted in the Gothic way. On the capitals of the upper walls are
the familiar crockets of the north.

In the transept is to be seen the same change from the round arches and
fluted pilaster strips of the Romanesque day to the Primary Gothic
characteristics. During the first third of the XIII century the transept
was vaulted, its two towers raised, and the choir's four easternmost
bays built. Lyons was then governed by one of its best rulers,
Archbishop Renaud de Forez, who laid here the base for several centuries
of prosperity. Circumstances forced him into the position of a leader of
armies, but his natural inclination led him to the cloister's peace to
end his days. In 1226, as president of a free city, he received Louis
VIII, shortly before that king's sudden death.

This capable churchman presented to his cathedral the seven magnificent
lancets in the curving sanctuary wall, that glow with the sparkling
jewel-radiance achieved before 1220, but never equaled afterwards. The
windows at Lyons are linked with those at Sens, and Sens' lancets we
know to have been related to the earlier school of Chartres. What
differentiates Lyons' medallions from those in the north was their use
of certain Byzantine arrangements, such as the Virgin reclining on a
couch in the Bethlehem grotto, or the representing St. John with a

The first light in the Lyons' chevet celebrates the local martyrs. The
axis window is a New Alliance, wherein the Old Law symbolizes the New.
The meaning of its animal allegories was first explained by Père Cahier,
who observed that they were taken from the ancient book called the
_Bestiaires_. M. Mâle further discovered that Lyons' New Alliance window
showed only those animals spoken of in Honoré d'Autun's popular _Mirror
of the Church_. Honoré, who taught in Autun's cathedral school early in
the XII century, was the initiator of animal symbolism in French

In the upper lights of Lyons' choir are some XIII-century archaic
figures of big gaunt patriarchs with strange white eyes. The upper
choir's triplet windows of different heights are most artistic. Under
the north rose of the transept is a large lancet of surpassing effect,
and in the transeptal chapel, close by, is a window that is like a
sublimated topaz. The small pieces of glass used, their varied
thicknesses and roughnesses are causes producing such sparkle. One
cannot stress too strongly the exceptional character of Lyons' glass.
Centuries later, in the Flamboyant day, this city produced again a bevy
of notable masters.

The nave of Lyons Cathedral advanced, bay by bay, in slow progress all
through the XIII century, and sculpture and tracery in triforium and
clearstory show the gradual change to Rayonnant design. The nave of
northern Gothic conformed itself with sound instinct to the Romanesque
southern choir. This is a cathedral that kneels more than it soars. The
ancient city exulted on Fourvière's hill, but it thought best to keep
its cathedral as a solemn cenotaph for its white army of unburied

There came to Lyons, while its nave was building, the great Englishman,
Robert Grosseteste (d. 1253), who at Lincoln made an angel-choir, "one
of the loveliest of man's works," to shrine the relics of his
predecessor, St. Hugh of Avalon, born in this semi-southern region. And
many another enthusiast for the art of the builder studied the nave of
Lyons in the course of its construction. Here gathered in 1245 a general
Council of the Church. Modern congresses are sometimes dull affairs, but
they must have been thrilling in the days when cathedrals were building
and each prelate championed his regional ideas and yet looked about
eagerly to seize on new ones.

The two westernmost bays of Lyons Cathedral were finished by 1310, and
then were sculptured the façade portals with hundreds of little panels
as full of frolic and fancy as the marginal gaieties of illuminated
missals. A few years earlier the transept doors at Rouen had made
similar medallions. Vice in them was rendered hateful. Where Lot's story
should have been was left a blank space. Not until Flemish realism
entered French art, in the XV century, were certain gross scenes
rendered. The medallions at Lyons are "Gaulois but without obscenity."

From 1308 to 1332 the wide, plain west façade of St. Jean's cathedral
was done. Two of the Avignon popes were crowned here in those days,
Clement V, the builder of Bordeaux's choir, and John XXII. The great
dukes of the west, Philippe le Hardi and his son Jean sans Peur, being
hereditary canons of the cathedral, often sat in its choir stalls. Of
their time is the astronomical clock in the transept. For ten years,
prior to 1429, Jean Gerson lived in the old Christian city, teaching
little children their catechism, and the only payment he craved was that
they should pray: Lord have mercy on your poor servant Gerson. He had
been worsted by his century's treachery, bloodshed, foreign rule, and
church schism; but after his death Lyons revered him as a saint, and
carved his device, _Sursum Corda_, on a chapel in the church of St.
Paul. Scholars have decided against Gerson as author of the _Imitation
of Christ_, yet during two centuries he was so believed to be, and his
memory will be dear to those who have found inspiration in that precious

Lyons played so important a part in the revival of late-Gothic art that
it was called the French Florence. Its new school of glassmakers
decorated the church of Brou, at Bourg-en-Bresse, not far away.[162] Two
elaborate Flamboyant Gothic tombs were put up in the cathedral--that of
Archbishop de Saluces (d. 1419) by Jacques Morel, and that of Cardinal
Charles de Bourbon, a grandson of John the Fearless of Burgundy, and son
of the Bourbon duke commemorated by the Souvigny tomb. From 1486 to
1501, he and his brother Pierre de Bourbon, son-in-law of Louis XI,
added to Lyons Cathedral the splendid chapel of their name whose walls
are carved with their winged stag and the device Espérance.
Unfortunately the windows, made by the Lyons master Pierre de la Paix,
exist no longer, save a few upper panels, in one of which is an angel of
rare beauty holding the Bourbon arms. Frequently in France one meets the
donations of Henry IV's art-loving forbears, at Chartres, Tours,
Souvigny,[163] Champigny-sur-Veude. Henry was married in Lyons
Cathedral, in 1600, to Marie de Medici, daughter of another line of

Like many a cathedral of France, Lyons was at its richest when it was
sacked most piteously both in 1560 and 1562. Every church in the city
was devastated by the cruel Baron des Adrets, who led the Huguenots one
year, the Catholics the next, for in those bitter civil wars religion
was often the thinnest cloak. The Huguenots destroyed the tomb of
Cardinal de Saluces, with its eighteen alabaster statuettes, smashed the
Bourbon chapel and tomb, broke up the Flamboyant rood screen, and
dragged through the streets a silver statue of Christ that had
surmounted it. On the west façade some fifty large statues were brought
down, though happily the lovely little scenes chiseled under their
brackets were spared. It is told how an archer shattered Our Lady's
image, but when he attempted to dislodge that of God the Father, on the
pignon, it fell and killed him. Lyons was again the scene of saturnalian
havoc during the Revolution, when by the thousand her citizens were
mowed down with grape shot because they chose to adhere to the old
régime. A passageway was broken open in the walls of the cathedral to
permit the entry of a chariot bearing the Goddess of Reason.

Of all the happenings in Lyons Cathedral, the most momentous was the
Ecumenical Council of 1274. Christendom never witnessed a greater
gathering. At the Council held at Lyons in 1245, Innocent IV had
preached his famous sermon on the five wounds of the Church, but he was
less concerned with healing them than with excommunicating Frederick II.
St. Louis tried in vain to make peace between pope and emperor on his
visit to Lyons in those days. When the saint-king died on his last
crusade his ashes rested in honor in Lyons Cathedral on their long
journey from Tunis to St. Denis. Till the death of Frederick II, the
pope lived in Lyons, whose independent position, neither wholly of
France nor of the Empire, caused it to be a chosen spot for exiles.
Innocent contributed toward the building of a stone bridge over the
Rhone to replace one that had collapsed under the troops of
Philippe-Auguste and Coeur-de-Lion as they marched to the Third

The Council of 1245 had been held in a cathedral of whose nave only four
bays were completed. For the far greater gathering of 1274, Lyons
Cathedral could seat over two thousand prelates and princes. The chief
visitors were placed in the choir with Gregory X (formerly a canon of
this church). Among them was Aragon's king, Jaime el Conquistador,
mighty builder of churches and untiring crusader, Guy de la Tour, the
bishop-builder of Clermont Cathedral, and the bishop of Mende, Guillaume
Durandus, author of the universally read liturgical treatise. St.
Bonaventure, whose book of meditations was soon to inspire Giotto,
preached at the opening Mass. His fellow teacher in Paris University,
St. Thomas Aquinas, journeying north to attend the congress at Lyons,
had died suddenly in the prime of life.

The Council of 1274 was not political, as had been that of 1245; its
main purposes were the Holy War in the East and the reconciliation of
the Greek and Latin churches. The Emperor of Constantinople had sent
officials to reconcile him with Rome, and to this day memorials of that
short reunion--Greek and Latin processional crosses--stand behind the
chief altar of Lyons Cathedral. The emperor's ambassadors solemnly
abjured the twenty-six propositions condemned by Rome, then took the
oath of fidelity to the pope. With swelling heart the vast throng rose
to chant the _Te Deum_. Gregory X intoned the _Credo_ in Latin, and the
Greek patriarch repeated thrice the _Filioque_ phrase which, centuries
earlier, had been the occasion of the break with Rome, _qui ex Patre
Filioque procedit_. Before the century ended the union was a
dead-letter, though the emperor till his death remained faithful to his
pact. The Greek priesthood proved irreconcilable.

The day before the Council closed St. Bonaventure died, and around his
grave, in the Franciscan church at Lyons, stood the most imposing group
of mourners recorded in history, pope, kings, and five hundred princes
and prelates of note. The sermon was preached by Bonaventure's pupil of
the Paris schoolroom, the learned Pierre de Tarentaise, archbishop of
Lyons, soon to mount Peter's chair as Innocent V. All Christendom was
bidden to offer up a prayer for the soul of Brother Bonaventure. The
city adopted him as a patron. In 1562 the ashes of the Seraphic Doctor
were flung into the Rhone, but there still stands in Lyons a late-Gothic
church that bears his name.


     A cathedral is a book, a poem, and Christianity, true to its
     promise, has drawn voice and song from stone, _lapides
     clamabunt_.--FRÉDÉRIC OZANAM.

Like Bourges and Lyons, the cathedral of Le Mans shows the influence of
different schools. An Angevin architect made the _bombé_ vaults of its
nave, and from the Ile-de-France and Normandy came the masters who
designed its mammoth choir. The nave of Le Mans is a masterpiece of
Romanesque despite its diagonals; the choir a masterpiece of Apogee
Gothic. In the nave appear different stages of pre-Gothic art, and in
the choir, the transept, and the nave's masonry roof are
represented--Primary, Apogee, Rayonnant, and Flamboyant Gothic.

To read the stones of this composite church with intelligence, one must
trace its story step by step. It is named after the first bishop of the
city, St. Julian, who brought Christianity into the region. Several
earlier cathedrals succeeded each other on the site. The one erected
after the Northmen sacked Le Mans was falling into ruin when, about
1060, Bishop Vulgrim began a new cathedral, carried on by his successor,
Arnould. Their Romanesque choir exists no longer, but vestiges of the
church are to be traced in the walls of the present nave, and in the
gable of the Psallette, a building to the north of the cathedral, which
in Bishop Vulgrim's day formed part of his transept's north tower.

The nave of Le Mans as we have it to-day shows three distinct campaigns
of work undertaken by the three bishops, Hoël, Hildebert de Lavardin,
and Guillaume de Passavant. Bishop Hoël (1085-97), a Breton, able,
handsome, patriotic, continued the Romanesque transept and the towers
that terminate its arms. His works exist in the base of the southern
tower and also in those two pier arcades of the nave that touch the
transept. The groin vaulting of the side aisles is of Hoël's time, as
well as the aisle walls, decorated with blind arcades, the capitals of
whose shafts are carved crudely with chimerical animals. As the capitals
opposite those of the engaged shafts show more skill, they must have
been done later in the XI century.

Good Bishop Hoël, in famine time, sold the gold and silver plate of his
cathedral to feed the poor, and on his deathbed distributed his
possessions among them. After a visit to Rome, he accompanied Urban II
back to France, on the momentous occasion of the launching of the First
Crusade. When the Council of Clermont ended, the pope came to Le Mans,
in February of 1096, to visit his friend the bishop, to the intense
pride of all the city. Such episodes reflect clearly the unison of
aspiration which was presently to express itself in mighty movements.
The Greek princess who saw the first crusaders arrive in Constantinople
has told in graphic phrases how Europe, unloosed from its foundations,
hurled itself on Asia, and with a like impetuosity western Christendom
was about to fling itself toward heaven in cathedrals.

The church on which Bishop Hoël had worked was destroyed in large part
by fire, and his successor, the illustrious Hildebert de Lavardin
(1097-1125), began a reconstruction about 1110. Hildebert was the most
popular poet of his day and in the mediæval schools his letters were
committed to memory. A lover of the Latin authors, he composed verses of
such facture that some of them have been mistaken for ancient classics.
He was philosopher, orator, and architect as well. The best years of his
life were passed in Le Mans, though he was to die in Tours as archbishop
of that city. While a teacher in Le Mans' cathedral school, he
accompanied Bishop Hoël on his travels, and knew well Cluny and its
great abbot Hugues, whose biographer he became. Hildebert possessed
_esprit_, a sound judgment, and much independence. Life tested him
harshly. The ordeal of prison he suffered several times, and the
worse ordeal of calumny, which is disproved by the affectionate
friendship felt for him by St. Anselm, St. Bernard, and Bishop Ives of
Chartres. No man, he himself said in one of his sermons, should be a
bishop whose life has not always been irreproachable. His contemporaries
called him "a prelate attentive to the distribution of the bread of the
word of God," a man zealous for discipline, charitable to the poor, and
with a love for the House of Prayer that made him a builder both at Le
Mans and Tours.

[Illustration: _Le Mans' Choir_ (_1217-1254_). _The Double Aisles_]

Like St. Anselm, he was bullied by William Rufus. Maine lay between
Anjou and Normandy and was fought for by each of those expanding powers,
a duel settled only by the marriage of the heiress of Maine to the heir
of Anjou, the son of which union was Geoffrey the Handsome, the first
Plantagenet so called, who married the heiress of Normandy and England.
Geoffrey's son, Henry II of England, inherited Maine, Anjou, and
Normandy before he fell heir to the kingdom across the Channel.

When William Rufus captured Le Mans in 1097, he exacted the demolition
of the cathedral's towers on the charge that they dominated his
residence. Annoyed that Hildebert had been elected bishop without his
deciding voice, he pillaged his palace, confiscated his possessions, and
kept him chained in prison for a year. The bishop was imprisoned as well
by Maine's designing neighbor to the south, the Count of Anjou, and once
while in the south of France he almost met death at the hands of Saracen

Despite vicissitudes, he found time for writing poetry and for building.
He obtained a monk-architect named Jean from the noted Geoffrey, abbot
of Vendôme,[165] author, writer, and the intimate of many popes. Later,
when Abbot Geoffrey asked for the return of his architect, Hildebert
retained him, and a tart letter of the abbot to the bishop exists; it
appears that monk Jean was sent, in consequence, on a penitential
pilgrimage to Palestine. Bishop Hildebert's part in Le Mans' actual
cathedral is the semicircular pier arches discernible in all the bays of
the nave save the two touching the transept, the alternate circular
piers, and the west façade, wherein were retained older portions, and
against which leans a big menhir of immemorial age: "_Il y a dans la
cathédrale toute la simple beauté du menhir qui l'annonce_," is one of
Rodin's vivifying phrases.

Bishop Hildebert consecrated his new cathedral in 1120, and it is
related how, on that day, Fulk V of Anjou, the widower of the heiress of
Maine, about to start for the Holy Land, set his little son of seven,
Geoffrey, on the high altar of Le Mans Cathedral, and said with emotion:
"O holy Julian, to thee I commend my child and my lands. Defend and
protect them both." His prowess in Palestine was eventually to win for
him the heiress of Jerusalem, so that when he had married his son
Geoffrey to a woman of great fortune, he sensibly left him as sole ruler
in Maine and Anjou, contenting himself with his Oriental kingdom.

Two fires in quick succession damaged the Romanesque cathedral of Le
Mans. Ordericus Vitalis tells how "in the first week of September, 1134,
the hand of God punished many sins by fire, for the ancient and wealthy
cities of Le Mans and Chartres were burned." In the necessary changes
that followed practically all the central nave was redone by Bishop
Guillaume de Passavant (1145-86). The triforium, the clearstory, and the
masonry roof are his, and he constructed the pointed arches under the
semicircular ones of Bishop Hildebert's pier arcade. The four immense
square vault sections (c. 1150) over Le Mans' nave are of the heavy rib
Plantagenet type, like the so-called domical vaults of Angers Cathedral.
Their crown, or keystone, being ten feet higher than their framing
arches, a pronounced concave shape results. The addition of a heavy
stone roof necessitated the englobing of each alternate monolithic
column by a square pier cantoned with shafts.

Bishop Guillaume developed the door in the south flank of the nave,
whose column images, though much mutilated, are allied with those at
Chartres' western entrances. At the door joints, in bas-relief only, are
Peter and Paul; an additional step was taken when the other images were
made to stand almost free of their columns. Guglielmo, the Lombard, had
used jamb-sculpture at Modena Cathedral as the XII century opened. This
door of Le Mans, among the earliest of French imaged portals, belongs to
the decade before 1150. The porch leading to it was built in time for
the consecration of the cathedral in 1158.

Guillaume de Passavant was another of the outstanding men of his age.
He, too, wrote Latin verses, and even as he lay dying composed a little
satire on his attendants, whom his clear eyes observed to be more
concerned over the coming recompense from his estate than for the loss
of their bishop. Like St. Bernard, who had loved him as a youth, he was
a tireless reader of the Bible. Daily at his table the poor were fed. He
presented to his cathedral a cloth of gold studded with gems, for which
he wrote verses, saying that in case of famine it was to be sold to feed
the destitute. Another princely gift he gave to Le Mans Cathedral was
the enameled tomb of Count Geoffrey the Handsome, of which only one
large panel has survived, now the treasure of the Museum. Both kinds of
enamel were used, the flat surface, or champlevé, and the cloisonné
method. The technique is Limousin, not, as some have said, Rhenish;
between Le Mans and Limoges were many links.

Geoffrey the Handsome was the thirteenth count of Anjou, though the
capital of Maine was always his favorite residence, rather than Angers,
the chief city of his father's patrimony. He won the nickname
"Plantagenet" because of the sprig of broom he used to stick in his cap.
True to his race's instinct for territorial aggrandizement, he married,
when not yet twenty, a woman twice his age, Matilda, daughter of Henry I
of England, the Conqueror's son. Geoffrey died in 1151 on his return
from the Second Crusade, where he had fought for his half brother,
Baudouin III, king of Jerusalem. His son, Henry II, was born in Le Mans
(1133) and baptized in its cathedral. Henry had revered Guillaume de
Passavant from childhood, yet once, in an Angevin passion, because the
aged bishop had crossed his will, he sent messengers from England to
order the sacking of the prelate's palace. Thomas Becket, then Henry's
chancellor, gave secret advice to the envoys to tarry long on their
journey to Maine. On the third day after their departure he wrung from
the king, who fancied his order was already carried out, a
counter-order, which he rushed through to Le Mans.

Henry Plantagenet loved Le Mans better than any city in his wide
dominions, and his heart broke when his rebellious son, Richard
Coeur-de-Lion, drove him out in 1189. Two months later he died in
Chinon castle and was carried for burial to Fontevrault; the ancient
prophecy had said that Anjou's ruler of his generation would lie
shrouded among the shrouden women.

If Fulk Nerra's wild blood had passed to Henry, so had his shrewdness
and progressive statesmanship. He, too, like his father, before twenty,
wedded a woman much older than himself, the richest heiress in
Christendom, Aliénor of Aquitaine. Possessing Anjou, Maine, and
Touraine, Normandy and Aquitaine, this king of England ruled more
territory in France than did the French king. And Philippe-Auguste, son
of the French monarch, whom Aliénor had discarded, bent his resourceful
genius and fox-like policies to change so abnormal a state of affairs.
The Capet-Plantagenet duel was to last for centuries.

Both Henry and Philippe were munificent patrons of the new
architecture. Henry sponsored that individual phase of it called
Plantagenet Gothic; under Philippe, French Gothic reached its highest
development. And the cathedral of Le Mans records them both, Plantagenet
in its nave, northern French in its choir. When Maine, Anjou, and
Touraine, because of John Lackland's crimes, passed willingly to the
French king, the art of the Ile-de-France found favor in southwest
France. Then it was that the XI-century Romanesque chevet of Le Mans
Cathedral was replaced by the present stupendous Gothic choir.

In 1217 Bishop Hamlin obtained the consent of Philippe-Auguste to
destroy the Gallo-Roman city walls in order to extend the apse of his
church, and the next year the choir was started. The bishop, trowel in
hand, spent hours on the new work. His two successors continued the
enterprise. From 1234 to 1255 Bishop Geoffrey de London was its princely
benefactor. In 1254 the choir was dedicated, "a day of benediction" for
our land, said the people with tears of fervor. Men and women worked
voluntarily to clear the edifice of builders' rubbish, even the little
children of four carrying out the sand in their frocks. For the happy
ceremony, each guild of the city, chanting psalms, brought a candle of
two-hundred-pound weight, to be set up in a majestic circle round the
high altar.

The choir, then blessed for God's service, is one of the vast designs of
Gothic architecture. "Words are powerless to paint the majesty of this
sanctuary," wrote M. Gonse. Here, as at Bourges, is the note of dream
beauty that haunts the memory, the something mysterious and
superlatively picturesque. Were the church completed on the same scale
it would rank with the supreme cathedrals of France. From the exterior
the contrast between the XII-century nave and its towering neighbor is
painfully abrupt. The nave's outer walls are stark and unadorned, the
round arched windows insignificant in size. But who would be willing to
forfeit the venerable monument built by the poet-theologians, Hildebert
de Lavardin and Guillaume de Passavant, wherein history has been lived,
and whose interior aspect is of so grave, white, and primeval a

Overawing in size is Le Mans' Gothic choir. The ground falls away to the
cast of the church, and then opens out in the Place des Jacobins, whence
can be obtained an unobstructed view of the stupendous edifice. Its
numerous apse chapels are of exceptional length. The forked flying
buttresses allowed the insertion of ambulatory windows. As at Bourges
and Coutances, the inner aisle is sufficiently high to possess its own
triforium and clearstory, but Le Mans improved on Bourges by omitting
altogether the triforium of its middle choir in order not to dwarf its

Archæologists have traced the handiwork of three different men in Le
Mans' choir. First, an architect of the Ile-de-France made the general
plan, and built the thirteen radiating chapels. Then a Norman worked on
the eastern curve, and it is thought he was Thomas Toustain, cited here
as master-of-works, since Toustain is a Norman name. Perhaps he was the
same genius who had already planned the high inner aisle at Coutances
Cathedral. Very Norman are Le Mans' circular capitals, the sanctuary's
twin-column piers, the carved band under the clearstory, the
sharp-pointed arches beneath arches, and the foliate sculpture covering
the spandrels of the aisle's triforium. The third master-of-works must
have been a native of the Ile-de-France, for the upper choir and the two
bays nearest the transept belong to that school.

There is a progressive enlarging of the bays of the choir from its
entrance to its end, done too regularly to have been accidental.
Professor Goodyear has developed the thesis of these intentional
refinements in Gothic monuments.[166] Mr. Arthur Kingsley Porter thinks
that undoubtedly there are cases when it was done with subtle design,
but more often the irregularities resulted from the sound artistic taste
of the old masters who preferred a free-hand drawing to mechanical
perfection. "There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness
in the proportion," said Bacon. Some think that at Le Mans the desire
was to counteract the perspective narrowing. Others say that the builder
thought thus to conform the wide choir to the ancient nave of lesser

Not till the day of Rayonnant Gothic was Le Mans' transept begun, and it
proved exceptional in continuing building while the foreign wars ravaged
France; the chapter taxed itself heavily to meet expenses. As the XIV
century closed, the southern arm was finished; it is entirely blocked by
the ancient tower, to which were then added two stories. Midway in the
vertical wall of the northern arm (begun in 1403) appears Flamboyant
tracery. As cracks soon showed, the chapter called in a new architect,
Jean de Dammartin, whose grandfather and great-uncle had beautified
Dijon, Bourges, and Poitiers. When in 1430 the English captured Le Mans,
he passed to Tours, on whose west façade he worked.

Because the Gothic transept of Le Mans was confined to the same space as
the Romanesque one it replaced, it may seem too narrow for such
tremendous height. It is a monument as stately and cold as the glass it
frames. Window over window rises the fragile audacious sweep of color
that closes the transept's northern vista, each part being bound by
stone traceries into the monumental whole. White and the yellow produced
by silver-stain is the general theme, with brilliant touches of green,
flashed ruby, violet, and blue. It has been said that what XV-century
glass needs, to give it character, are the strong black cross-hatchings
of the earlier schools. In the row of lights below the big rose, a
damasked background to the figures was used with good effect. Among
those represented are good King René, faithful amateur of art, and his
mother, Yolande of Aragon, the regent dowager of Maine and Anjou. Her
son-in-law Charles VII contributed toward the transept of Le Mans.

For its wealth of storied windows Le Mans comes second only to Chartres
and Bourges. It has suffered from hail-storms which wrecked many of its
XIII-century treasures. The majority of the choir lights were set up
between 1250 and 1260. Those in the radial chapels are somewhat earlier;
in the long Lady chapel is a notable Tree of Jesse. The upper windows,
contemporaries of those at Tours, have large figures with signatures
that tell us their donors were canons, Benedictines,[167] Cistercians,
architects, drapers (the donors of the fourth window), furriers (who
gave the fifth), innkeepers and publicans (who presented the sixth). The
seventh window--in the center of the apse--was the gift of Bishop
Geoffrey de Loudon. In the thirteenth window bakers pour grain into
sacks and take bread from the oven.

In the clearstory of the inner aisle the legend-medallion type of window
is retained. The first two bays were filled by Bishop Guillaume Roland
(1255-58) here portrayed. The vintners presented the next light, for, on
the "day of benediction" in 1254, when each of the town guilds brought a
giant candle, the vintners chose to donate a light that would burn
longer, so they set up this dazzling window of St. Julian.[168] Over the
entrance to the Lady chapel Bishop Geoffrey is again portrayed, and in
the eleventh bay Pope Innocent IV appears.

A hundred years separate Le Mans' splendid specimens of XIII-century art
from certain small lancets in the cathedral's nave, made probably by
Suger's own workers of St. Denis, who came here when they had finished
the three lancets in Chartres' façade. M. Mâle has proved that all the
XII-century windows in the west of France derive from St. Denis. Le
Mans' lancets show the same robes, the same borders of medallions as in
the Suger lights at Chartres. The up-gazing apostles in Poitiers'
Crucifixion window resemble the apostles in Le Mans' Ascension. The
large much-restored light in the west façade, relating the story of St.
Julian, though modeled on the St. Denis school, must have been executed
by local craftsmen; it is rougher workmanship than the XII-century
lancets in the nave aisles.

Le Mans suffered woefully in 1562 when the Huguenots worked their will
for three months on the cathedral's treasures. A choir screen with three
hundred figures, a contemporary of that at Albi, was demolished, windows
by the dozen were broken, and there was a holocaust of carved altars and
tombs. After the Revolution, the XIII-century tomb of Berengaria of
Navarre, the childless widow of Richard Coeur-de-Lion, was set up in
the transept. For thirty years, as chatelaine of Le Mans, she watched
its new Gothic sanctuary rising. They have mistakenly called hers the
house of a XV-century lawyer in the Grande Rue.

The earliest Renaissance tomb in France is in Le Mans Cathedral, that of
King René's brother, made by Laurana from beyond the Alps. The effigy
reposes in Christian fashion, but near by, on the later tomb of
Guillaume du Bellay, the deceased is represented reclining at ease amid
his mundane books.


     No one can speak with the Lord while he prattles with the whole
     world.--HILDEBERT DE LAVARDIN, bishop of Le Mans (1097-1125).

Bishop Hoël, who worked on the nave of Le Mans Cathedral, used to retire
for meditation to the priory of Solesmes, farther down the Sarthe, a
house founded in 1010 by the lord of Sablé and given to the Benedictines
of the _Cultura Dei_ at Le Mans. Closed by the Revolution's hurricane,
Solesmes was reopened in 1833 through the devoted efforts of Dom Prosper
Guéranger, who made it a modern Cluny for erudition, for arts and
crafts, and above all for church music. Solesmes restored to the church
the Gregorian chant in its purity. Cowled architects of the XIX century
rebuilt their monastery. On their own printing press the monks brought
out books. Guests came here to find peace of mind and inspiration. At
Solesmes Montalembert wrote the noble chapter on the Middle Ages that
prefaces his _History of St. Elizabeth of Hungary_.[170]

The traveler from Le Mans to Angers should quit the train at Sablé and
walk two miles to the now deserted monastery on the Sarthe. In the
transept of its church are the groups of images called _Les Saints de
Solesmes_, work that ranks with the most vigorous final samples of the
national art, and that are in spirit profoundly a part still of the
Middle Ages despite Renaissance arabesques and pilasters.

What master, or masters, made the Solesmes groups has led to animated
controversy. They belong to the Region-of-the-Loire school, of which
Tours was the center, and, like Michel Colombe's work, in them the harsh
realism of the preceding school of Burgundy has been softened, and the
draperies made supple and less overwhelming. If the _Maître de Solesmes_
is not Colombe himself, he was some one trained in his art school at
Tours, perhaps some monk in this priory.

The entombments at Solesmes are the best of the Middle Ages, with that
of Ligier Richier at St. Mihiel.[171] Interest centers chiefly in the
Entombment of Christ, the earliest and finest group, made about 1496
under Prior Cheminart, whose crest is cut on the stones. No Holy
Sepulcher can compare with this in contained and sustained emotion. Its
classic moderation is very different from the dramatic, almost violent,
sculpture soon to be made popular by the Renaissance from Italy.

The two men who lower the dead Christ into the tomb, Nicodemus (bearded)
and Joseph of Arimathea (shaven, for such was the ritual in the mystery
plays), are powerful images, and the latter is indubitably a portrait
study, but of whom is not known. The Christ type could not be nobler.
The Virgin's grief is rendered without emphasis, and St. John,
supporting her, is an admirable image. But the supreme saint of Solesmes
is the Magdalene, seated beside the tomb, her head bowed, her lips
pressed against her crossed hands. She is garbed in as homely fashion as
her sister Martha in St. Madeleine's church at Troyes--sisters in blood
and sisters by the heart are these two admirable conceptions of
late-Gothic sculpture. Nothing could be gentler, more discreet, more
poignant in emotion, than the Magdalene of Solesmes, "the exquisite
flower of the art of the Loire region," says M. Paul Vitry, "one of the
masterpieces of French imagery of all times."

"She is alive, she breathes gently," wrote Dom Guéranger, "her silence
is at the same time both grief and a prayer." Dom de la Tremblaye asks
what Italian master of the Renaissance has rendered faith more
profoundly than this Magdalene, whose desolation is closer to a smile of
ecstasy than to the contraction of grief. Even the neo-classic XVII
century admired this image, and Richelieu wished to transport it to his
château in Poitou.

Some fifty years later, while Jean Bougler ruled Solesmes, was made the
Burial of the Virgin, whose setting is entirely of the Renaissance,
though the imagery remains faithful to the French Gothic spirit. It is
said that the monk at Our Lady's feet represents the prior, Jean Bougler
(1515-56), who returned to the lord of Sablé the eternal answer of the
spiritual to the temporal powers. Accosted one day on the bridge over
the Sarthe by the baron, against whom he had just maintained the
priory's rights, the irate layman cried out: "Monk, if I did not fear
God, I should throw you into the Sarthe." "If you fear God,
Monseigneur," replied the prior, "I have nothing to fear."


    Out in the night there's an army marching ...
    Endless ranks of the stars o'er-arching
    Endless ranks of an army marching ...
    Measured and orderly, rhythmical, whole,
    Multitudinous, welded and one ...
    Out in the night there's an army marching,
    Nameless, noteless, empty of glory,
    Ready to suffer, to die, and forgive,
    Marching onward in simple trust....
    Endless columns of unknown men,
    Endless ranks of the stars o'er-arching....
    Out in the night they are marching, marching ...
    Hark to their orderly thunder-tread!
    --ALFRED NOYES, _Rank and File_.[173]

In size, if not in name, the church that tops St. Quentin's hill is a
cathedral, an achievement of the apogee hour of Gothic fitted to close
this group of stately churches. Throughout the World War battles raged
round St. Quentin. The saints buried in its crypts, the cloud of
witnesses in its window and sculptured groups, listened year after year
to the marching millions, marching in the hope that a better world might
emerge from the chaos, _ready to suffer and die and forgive_.

St. Quentin has always stood in the path of invading armies. Much of its
precious glass was destroyed in 1557, when Philip II of Spain attacked
the town on St. Laurence day, and in memory of his victory built the
Escorial. The siege of 1870 damaged the city dedicated to Caius
Quintinus, the Roman senator's son who evangelized this region where he
met a martyr's death. In August of 1914 the invaders passed in swift
advance on Paris. When the Marne battle drove them back, they dug
themselves into trenches a mile from St. Quentin's suburbs and there,
with tragic monotony, the giant battle fluctuated. On August 15, 1917,
suddenly, like a candle in the night, St. Quentin's great church flamed
up, lighting the country for miles around. The projectiles came from the
south where the invaders, not the Allies, were intrenched. From beneath
this hill, in April of 1918, started the final desperate thrust toward
Paris. Four months later the Allies, taking the offensive, swept all
before them, and in October the Germans quitted the city in too great
haste to destroy the big church, as the bored holes in every one of its
piers would indicate had been their intention. A ghost of its former
self is the collegiate of St. Quentin to-day. The venerated crypt, part
of which dated from 840, was blown up with gunpowder before the
evacuation (1918). The notably good XIII-and XV-century windows are
wrecked, and the Flamboyant Gothic Town Hall, close to the church, is a

About 1115 was begun the present collegiate as a Romanesque edifice; the
north arm of the easternmost transept and the side wall between it and
the larger transept are pre-Gothic. St. Quentin is an exception, in
France, in possessing two transepts. When in 1257 St. Louis came to St.
Quentin for the removal of the martyrs' relics to the new crypt, the
Gothic choir was completed. Three of the small chambers in the
XIII-century crypt are of Carolingian origin, and vestiges of
Carolingian work remain in the west tower, placed directly before the
church, and serving as a kind of vestibule to it. Till the present nave
was extended to meet that ancient belfry, it stood isolated.

Fissures showed in the new constructions and much time was wasted in
consolidations. Only as the XIV century opened was the big transept
between choir and nave begun; it was made twenty feet wider than the
transept between apse curve and choir. The tracery in the rose windows
of both cross inclosures is most artistic. The nave continued building
all through the XIV century. It repeated the shafts which, in the choir,
had been later additions needed for consolidation. Only by 1470 was St.
Quentin's nave completed by joining it to the ancient west tower. Three
different campaigns of work built this church, and three breaks in its
axial line are distinctly visible. Toward its repairs the good king
Charles V contributed, and Louis XI bore the expense of remaking the
small transept.

To Villard de Honnecourt is attributed the plan of St. Quentin, since
there are details in his sketchbook--the thirty-three parchment leaves
now a treasure of the National Library at Paris--to substantiate the
claim. His annotations are in the Picard dialect. St. Quentin's
ordinance followed that of Rheims Cathedral sketched by Villard. The
planting of columns between axis chapel and ambulatory--a Champagne
feature--is the kind of charming novelty which would have appealed to
the eager traveler who, at Kassovie, made a church for the king of
Hungary wherein he repeated the unique fan-spreading eastern end of St.
Yved at Braine.

Thus he opened his precious book: "Villard de Honnecourt salutes you,
and he begs all those who work at different classes of studies contained
in these pages, to pray for his soul and remember him, for in this book
can be found great help in teaching oneself fundamental principles of
masonry and church carpentry."


Plantagenet Gothic Architecture[174]

     Il n'y a pas seulement deux principes opposés dans l'homme. Il y en
     a trois. Car il y a trois vies et trois ordres de facultés. Il y a
     trois espèces de dispositions l'âme bien différentes: la première,
     celle de presque tous les hommes, consiste à vivre exclusivement
     dans le monde des phénomènes qu'on prend pour des réalités. La
     deuxième est celle des esprits les plus réfléchis qui cherchent
     longtemps la vérité en eux-mêmes ou dans la nature.... La troisième
     enfin est celle des âmes éclairées des lumières de la religion, les
     seules vrai et immuables. Ceux-là seuls ont trouvé un point d'appui
     fixe.--MAINE DE BIRAN (1766-1825; born in Périgord).

The Gothic of the southwest grew out of the meeting of the cupola church
of Aquitaine with the intersecting ribbed vault of northern France. It
rose and spread in a region then under Plantagenet rule, Anjou, Poitou,
Maine, and Touraine. As the first known vault of the Angevin type was
dated approximately 1150, and as the system died out about the middle of
the XIII century, Plantagenet Gothic was but an incident of a hundred
years in French architecture. However, it was a phase which produced
monuments of such remarkable individuality and grace that the school
deserves more notice than has hitherto been given it.

The dominant feature in Plantagenet Gothic is its cup-shaped vaulting.
The French term "_bombé_" is more exact than such expressions as
"domical" and "domed." The panels of an Angevin vault do not form parts
of a spherical dome. The keystone of each section is raised higher than
the four arches framing the section. Similar vaults were built during
the first trials of diagonals by other Gothic schools, in districts
where there were no cupola churches to serve as models. They were the
result of inexperience in constructing ribbed-groined vaults, and their
_bombé_ shape disappeared as soon as architects learned to raise their
transverse and wall arches, by stilting and pointing them, to the level
of the keystone. While the so-called domical vault in other schools had
been a transitional step, in Plantagenet Gothic it was intentionally
persisted in and became the most distinguishing characteristic of the

In principle and in construction, the Plantagenet school is truly
Gothic. The cells are carried on the backs of diagonal ribs. The Angevin
builders recognized at once the advantage of concentrating the thrust of
the stone roof at fixed points and counterbutting and grounding the load
at those points only, so they followed close on the northern architects
in adopting the new system. At the same time they felt that the cupola
tradition in their region was not to be wholly set aside. M. Anthyme
Saint-Paul well expressed it when he said that southwestern France
"_s'est conduit en nation tributaire et non soumise_."

There can be little doubt that the presence in the Plantagenet
territories of churches covered by a number of small cupolas encouraged
a decided curve in the newly imported diagonals. It was not for nothing
that near Angers and Saumur, the two cities where Angevin vaults were
first constructed, lay the famous abbatial of Fontevrault, a masterpiece
of the cupola school. Had not the arrival, midway in the XII century, of
the northern French type of masonry roof checked the construction of
such churches, it is probable that they would have extended farther
north. From the meeting of the two schools developed the Plantagenet
phase of Gothic.

Before proceeding to a description of the successive steps taken by
Plantagenet architecture in its best-known examples at Angers, Saumur,
and Poitiers, it is well to touch on the cupola churches of
southwestern France, building for a century before the beginning of the
regional Gothic school. M. de Lasteyrie has divided Romanesque
architecture into some half dozen schools--those of Normandy, Burgundy,
Auvergne, Poitou, the Midi, Champagne, and the scarcely enunciated
Picardy Ile-de-France school. To these he added two isolated
developments of short duration, one typified at Tournus, in Burgundy,
where half barrels are placed transversely across a nave; and the other
consisting of cupola-covered edifices which were building from Saintes
to Fontevrault in the same hour as the Poitou-Romanesque churches
surrounding them. For three generations the cupola haunted the
imagination of southwestern France. The majority of them came into
existence by hazard, as it were. They were not in the first plan of the
church, but were built to replace other roofs, and in France they have
been set on every kind of pedestal.[175] They were a variant of the
barrel vault of the region preferred because less material was required.

How the cupola arrived in Aquitaine is still an open question. M. de
Lasteyrie has belittled the explanation of an Oriental source, since the
mode of construction in France differed from that of cupolas in the
East. His idea is that the use of the cupola never died out from the
earlier days in Gaul, and that the domed churches of France may be
considered to be fairly indigenous. M. Enlart has contended that no
matter how or when the use of the cupola got into France, its origin was
undeniably Byzantine, since Rome took the feature from Byzantium. He
has dwelt on the fact that it was while such churches were building in
France, the men of western Europe were going on pilgrimages, on
crusades, and on trading ventures into countries where the cupola was a
common feature.


     Is it not better to dwell a little sadly far from the world, under
     the hand of God? The world gives but vain pleasures. You will be
     like others beguiled by it and hardened. You will hear many evil
     conversations, you will see many contemptible pushing people with
     distinguished names, you will feel malignant envy, many will be the
     faults with which you will reproach yourself.... Nothing is good
     apart from Peace. Peace is the mark of God's finger. All that is
     not Peace is but illusion, and disturbing self-love.... Be simple
     and insignificant, and Peace will be your reward. It is only you
     yourself who can trouble your own Peace. It is in forgetting self
     that Peace comes.--FÉNELON (1651-1715; born near Périgueux).

The most discussed of the cupola churches is St. Front at Périgueux. For
a while it was considered a mother church of the school, but such
well-constructed domes are a culmination, not a beginning. One of the
oldest cupolas extant is that of St. Astier, near Périgueux, finished in
1018; there are two large domes over Cahors Cathedral, in which church
Pope Calixtus II blessed an altar in 1119.[177] The two cupolas over
Cahors' unaisled nave appear in the exterior view, but were not well
enough constructed for their inner surfaces to be left uncovered by
coats of plaster, whereas the interior masonry of St. Front is
beautifully finished, proving that in point of time it was separated
from St. Astier.

Long and heated have been the controversies over the date of the
cathedral of Périgueux. As much space has been devoted to the discussion
as to the little Morienval in the Ile-de-France. At first it was taken
to be the church begun before 1000 and dedicated in 1047. To-day no one
dreams of saying it predates the fire of 1120. A few of the bays of the
ancient church, burned in 1120 with much loss of life, were retained as
parish rooms and now stand to the south of the present cathedral's
façade. It is very evident that they never were intended to be
incorporated in the new church.

Once it was thought that the actual St. Front, which is in the shape of
a Greek cross, with a dome over each of its arms, copied St. Mark's at
Venice. St. Mark's was modeled on the church of the Apostles at
Constantinople, destroyed by Mohammed II in 1464. However, its domes
were added only when the basilica was rebuilt, in 1063. And furthermore,
there are indications at St. Front to show that the original design was
to lengthen its nave by another bay, which would have changed the plan
from a Greek cross to the universally used Latin cross.

The present St. Front was begun after 1120 and probably was completed by
1180, in which year a record says that Bishop Pierre de Mimet (1169-80)
moved the ancient tombs into the basilica. During some modern repairs
parchments were discovered in a scaffold hole thirty feet from the
ground and closed only by a loose stone. The MSS. were in the Romance
dialect of the XII century, and were abusive of Henry II of England, who
besieged Périgueux in Bishop de Mimet's time. Such a hiding place for
compromising papers might well have been thought of during the last
stage of a building while yet the scaffolding stood in place.

St. Front's interior possesses a fine, plain solidity of its own, but
its garish white walls cry out for mosaics or fresco. The cupolas rise
above the big arcades without any vertical foundation members. Each is
divided into a hemispherical dome and a drum having the shape of
spherical triangles. So massive are the square piers supporting the
cupolas that narrow corridors have been threaded through them. Those
dense piles of masonry saved St. Front when the Huguenots lighted
bonfires at the base of the piers. St. Étienne, formerly the cathedral
of Périgueux, was devastated then, so that only two of its cupolas
remain; the westernmost one is rougher, earlier work.

The restorer, Abadie, took deplorable liberties with St. Front, but it
is an exaggeration to call it a modern church studied from a Romanesque
original. Abadie from 1865 to 1875 reconstructed the great broad arches
hitherto slightly pointed, and the actual sanctuary is entirely his
work. Oriental and un-French as is the exterior of Périgueux Cathedral
with its white domes, its neo-minarets, its immense tower each of whose
stories is lesser in size than the one below it, and whose summit is a
pavilion covered with the inverted tiles called pineapple scales, one
has to accept the disconcerting fact that it was building in the same
year with the cathedrals at Paris and Laon. Well has St. Front been
called an archæological monster defying the laws of that science.


     If we wish to know all that is worthy of being imitated, we must
     make of legends a part of our studies and observations. The marvel
     of the lives of the saints is not their miracles, but their
     conduct.--JOUBERT, _Pensées_ (1754-1824; born in Périgord).

[Illustration: _Angoulême Cathedral. A XII-century Cupola Church of
Aquitaine with a Typical Façade of Poitou's Romanesque School_]

The cathedral of Angoulême shares with St. Front and Fontevrault the
distinction of being the finest cupola church in France. It is
unsurpassed in the setting on the edge of the city's steep hill above
the Charente valley. In ancient Angoumois, now the department of the
Charente, are over five hundred XII-century Romanesque churches.[179]

Angoulême Cathedral was begun in 1109 by Bishop Gérard (1101-36), who
had taught at Périgueux in the cathedral school and no doubt learned
there to admire cupolas. His first dome at Angoulême--the easternmost
one--is slightly later than the older cupola of St. Étienne at
Périgueux. Bishop Gérard had the moral courage to rebuke the sinful
union of the troubadour-duke, Guillaume IX, and the fair Vicomtesse
Malbergeon, whose portrait he wore on his shield when he marched into
battle. Guillaume informed Gérard that only when hair grew on his bald,
prelate pate would he give up the lady of his affections. Gérard was
papal legate in Gaul for Pascal II, Calixtus II, and the second
Honorius, and was the prelate chosen, because of his eloquence, to be
spokesman for the bishops who opposed Paschal II's compromise with the
German emperor on the question of investitures. And yet this able man,
because Innocent II had not renewed his dignities, joined the anti-pope
faction and took with him Guillaume X of Aquitaine. Only the passionate
genius of St. Bernard was able to end the scandal.

The cathedral built at Angoulême by Bishop Gérard, like most of the
churches of the southwest, lacks the charm of perspective, since it has
neither curving processional path nor side aisle. A note of force is
given to the interior by the strong projection of the buttress piers,
more salient within the church than without. Farther to the south, when
the Gothic day had dawned, buttresses were to be disguised as walls
between the side chapels. The three cupolas that roof the nave--each
covering a large square bay--are among the largest in France. The side
walls are divided at mid-height: below is a huge blind arch, while above
are two round-headed windows. Angoulême's hemispherical domes on
pendentives were sufficiently well constructed to dispense with plaster
coatings, an advance over Cahors Cathedral and St. Étienne at Périgueux.

At the transept-crossing is an immense dome forming within the church a
lantern lighted by a series of round-headed windows that open in its
pedestal. The arrangement derives directly from the Orient and is rare
in France. A very fine tower, whose stories lessen as they rise, covers
the northern arm of the transept, and till the cathedral was sacked,
during the XVI-century wars, a similar tower spanned the transept's
southern limb.

Angoulême's elaborate XII-century façade is one of the noted pages of
monumental decoration in France, a frontal more of ornate beauty than of
power, in which M. André Michel finds the influence of old ivories. Tier
on tier rise its carven scenes, with a Christ in Majesty crowning the
whole. The XIX-century restorer, M. Paul Abadie, who worked such havoc
at Périgueux, took equal liberties here. He made the upper story with
its turrets topped by conical spires, and over-restored the principal
sculptural groups. These pre-Gothic churches of southwest France
obsessed his imagination, for when he came to design a church of his own
he put up on the Mount of Martyrs in Paris a neo-Byzantine, neo-Gothic
basilica most strangely reminiscent of Aquitaine as it stands in exotic
isolation under the cold, northern sky.

Angoulême's west façade had not long been completed when under its
portal passed John Lackland to be married to the fourteen-year-old
daughter of the Count of Angoulême, Isabella, already affianced to a
Lusignan. Henry III of England, the builder of Westminster Abbey, was
the fruit of that union. Twenty years later Isabella married the son of
her discarded fiancé, and her jealousy filled France with war. Jezebel,
the people called her. She rests in effigy at Fontevrault, beside the
tomb of her great father-in-law, Henry II, the first Plantagenet.


     A trait peculiar to this epoch is the close resemblance between the
     manners of men and women.... Men had the right to dissolve in
     tears, and women that of talking without prudery. The women appear
     distinctly superior. They were more serious, more subtle. Richard
     Coeur-de-Lion, the crowned poet-artist, a king whose noble
     manners and refined mind, in spite of his cruelty, exercised so
     strong an impression on his age, was formed by the brilliant
     Aliénor of Aquitaine. St. Louis was brought up exclusively by
     Blanche of Castile, and Joinville was the pupil of a widowed and
     regent mother.--GAREAU, _Social State of France During the

The art of the cupola church may be said to have culminated in the
abbatial at Fontevrault on the confines of Anjou, Poitou, and Touraine,
and practically the northernmost point to which attained the cupola
development of Aquitaine. Undoubtedly it would have spread farther
afield had it not been checked--even while Fontevrault was building--by
the advent of ogival ribs which initiated a new manner of masonry
roofing. In Fontevrault's bourg is a village church covered gracefully
in the Plantagenet Gothic manner.

The untenable theory was advanced by a French architect that the cupola
church was the egg out of which hatched the radical organ of Gothic
architecture, that the first ribs were employed to stiffen a dome.[182]
No one to-day concedes this. Yet, though cupola monuments may not have
affected French Gothic in general, they certainly exerted a local
influence on the Gothic of the West. The hemispherical domes at
Fontevrault were directly under the eye of the first architects of
Plantagenet Gothic.

An abbess ruled over men at Fontevrault. Its founder, the Blessed Robert
d'Arbrissel, had been impressed by the Saviour giving St. John into the
spiritual guidance of the Virgin. So he organized a new Order comprised
of four communities ruled by a woman: a main house for nuns and another
for men; a hospital dedicated to St. Lazarus, and a house for repentant
Magdalenes. Robert d'Arbrissel was a Breton, schooled in Paris, and
noted for his eloquence, which so impressed Urban II, who heard him
preach at the dedication of Angers' church of St. Nicolas, that he named
him an apostolic missionary to spread the First Crusade.

Feeling need of spiritual renewal, Robert had retired for meditative
peace to these forests when one day he was attacked by bandits. He
yielded all he possessed on condition that they give him their souls to
guide, and, having converted them, the name of their chief, Evrault, was
given, it is said, to the congregation that gathered in cells about the
holy man. Pious folk came and sinners, the rich and the poor, the halt
and the hale, and the impetuous Robert called them one and all "the poor
of Christ." "I never read of a hermit," said honest old Samuel Johnson,
"but in imagination I kiss his feet; never of a monastery but I fall on
my knees and kiss the pavement."

In 1106, Paschal II approved the Order and in Blessed Robert's lifetime
some five thousand gathered at Fontevrault. Abbot Suger, who was a young
student at that time near the new abbey, testified to the edification it
gave. A sermon by the Blessed Robert converted the fair Bertrada de
Montfort, who had quitted her ignoble husband, Fulk IV of Anjou, to
marry Philip I, king of France, which illegal union kept churchmen busy
during sixteen years; she callously brought her second master to visit
her first. The fight which Rome waged to preserve monogamy in western
Christendom deserves the highest praise. Bertrada died the second abbess
of Fontevrault. The historic names of France compose the list of
abbesses. The young widow of the only son of Henry I of England retired
here, after the loss of the White Ship, and her father, Fulk V of Anjou,
came to visit her as he quitted his career in Europe to take up his new
role as king of Jerusalem. Margaret of Burgundy, the builder of
Tonnerre's hospital hall, and second wife of Charles d'Anjou, St. Louis'
brother, was educated at Fontevrault by her aunt the abbess. About 1500
Abbess Renée de Bourbon built the Renaissance cloister. To-day the
famous house serves as a state prison.

Fontevrault church played a part in the Gothic story. Its earliest
cupola, over the transept-crossing, differs from those over the nave in
that its base is not distinct from its dome. Angers copied it in its
churches of St. Nicholas and St. Martin, and so did Saumur in St.
Pierre. When in 1119 Calixtus II dedicated Fontevrault, the church
consisted of the present choir and the transept. During the first
quarter of the XII century the aisleless nave was spanned by four
cupolas on clearly defined pedestals. Perhaps from Angoulême Cathedral
came the fashion of domes on pendentives, after some Fontevrault monks
had gone on legal business, in 1117, to the capital of Angoumois.

The _abbaye-double_ was favored both by the Angevin rulers and their
Poitevin neighbors, the dukes of Aquitaine. Henry II's father and
mother, Geoffrey the Handsome of Anjou and the ex-empress Matilda of
England, gave generously toward the building of the new church, and so
did Aliénor of Aquitaine's forbears of the illustrious house of
Poitiers; hence it was fitting they both, Henry and Aliénor, should lie
in burial there. When Henry Plantagenet died in 1189 in his castle at
Chinon, which the old chronicler tells us rises steeply from the Vienne
"straight up to heaven"--the Chinon whither Jeanne d'Arc was to come to
give France a new soul--the dead monarch was carried to Fontevrault
church near by, instead of to the Grammont he favored, the mother-house
of a new Order founded by Stephen de Tierney in 1176. The archbishop of
Tours came to Fontevrault to conduct the funeral, and Henry's rebellious
son, Richard Coeur-de-Lion, stood by while they lowered into the tomb
the great administrator who gave us the germs of our jury system, the
man of the same unbridled passions, the same strong leadership in arms
and statecraft, as his ancestor, Fulk Nerra, who had won this strip of
middle France by sheer ability. And well Richard might feel serious, for
the nine generations of increasing prosperity, promised to Fulk I of
Anjou, ended with him.

In 1199 the Lion-hearted himself was brought to Fontevrault for burial;
he had begged to be laid in penitence at the feet of the father he had
defied, like the true Angevin he was. As his elder brother had said: "It
has ever been the way with Plantagenets for brother to hate brother, and
for son to turn against father." The ceremony for Richard in Fontevrault
abbey church was conducted by St. Hugh from Lincoln, where he was
raising a splendid Early-English cathedral. He had come to France to
protest to Richard against further spoliation of his see. At this
'shrouding of a second Angevin among the shrouden women,' Aliénor stood
beside the nuns, and, the ceremony over, St. Hugh, so wise and holy amid
such seething passions, proceeded to comfort the widowed Berengaria.

Richard, like his father, was a cosmopolite. "_Miey hom e miey baron_,
_Angles_, _Norman_, _Peytavin et Gascon_," he sang in his prison lay,
and indeed one would be puzzled to know which of them were the
countrymen of him whom Guizot called "the bravest, most inconsiderate,
most passionate, most ruffianly, most heroic adventurer of the Middle

In 1204 his equally turbulent, able, and seductive mother, Aliénor, was
buried at Fontevrault beside the husband against whom she had stirred up
undutiful sons, and who in his last years had kept her shut away from
further mischief. From 1122 to 1204 stretched her full life; queen of
France for fifteen years, queen of England for fifty, a pernicious
influence upon them both, but always a most sensible ruler for her own
Aquitaine. She passed her final years in peaceful Fontevrault, but her
stormy destiny was to be troubled to the end. In 1204 her grandson,
Arthur of Brittany, besieged her in a Midi castle where she was
visiting, and when John Lackland heard of his mother's plight he came by
forced marches to her relief and captured Arthur, who soon after was
foully murdered. Aliénor had seen the rise of Gothic at St. Denis, whose
corner stone her French husband laid, and she lived to found churches of
the gracious Plantagenet phase of the new art. But true daughter of the
Midi that she was, an Aquitaine cupola church is her rightful funeral
monument. In her, as in her own Midi of that age, culture and corruption
were precocious.

The fourth of the famous Plantagenet tombs at Fontevrault which England
has tried to get for Westminster Abbey, is that of Isabelle of Angoulême
(d. 1247), the wife of John Lackland. And there once were two others,
the tomb of Richard Coeur-de-Lion's favorite sister, Jeanne (d. 1199),
who became the fourth wife of Raymond VI of Toulouse, and that of her
son, Count Raymond VII (d. 1249), of the Albigensian wars--tombs swept
away either by the Huguenots or during the Revolution. As the XIX
century opened, the Plantagenet tombs lay forgotten in a cellar. When
England became aware of their value they were shipped to Paris in 1846,
to be taken across the Channel. Luckily, however, an Angevin, M. de
Falloux, became minister on the declaration of the Second Republic, and
the four precious mausoleums were returned to Fontevrault church.

Aliénor was ninth in descent from that Duke of Aquitaine who had founded
great Cluny itself. Her grandfather, Guillaume IX, the troubadour duke,
was a benefactor of the newly established Fontevrault. When her father
resigned his dominion in penitence, his will was that Aliénor, his
heiress, should wed the son of the king of France. So in Bordeaux
Cathedral, in 1137, Aliénor married the future Louis VII. No
temperaments could have been more opposite. In 1249 she took the
Crusader's cross from St. Bernard, at Vézelay--where the monks were
building their glorious basilica. At Constantinople her troublous beauty
roused admiration, and scandal at Antioch, where the ruler was her own
handsome young uncle, Raymond of Poitiers.[183] Her union with Louis
became an irksome bond and she clamored for its dissolution on the
ground of consanguinity. The flouted French king was only too happy to
be rid of her, but Abbot Suger, foreseeing all too clearly the national
calamity that would be precipitated should Aliénor's great domains pass
to a rival of France, held together the mismatched pair. When he died,
in 1152, headstrong Aliénor broke loose, and as she rode away from the
court of France the great lords came out to woo her--one of them even
tried to kidnap her. Because she craved a strong arm to revenge herself
on her first husband, she chose as consort young Henry Plantagenet,
Count of Anjou and Maine, and Duke of Normandy; she was thirty, Henry
not yet twenty. Thus began the long Capet-Angevin duel, not to be fought
out to a finish until 1452, when all that Henry II had possessed on the
Continent and all of Aliénor's wide domain were in the hands of the king
of France. It needed a St. Jeanne to atone for the very unsaintly

[Illustration: _The Plantagenet Tombs at Fontevrault_]

From this unscrupulous, mischief-making, virile, and capable queen of
the XII century sprang a vigorous brood of men and women, passionate in
both good and evil, and most of them enlightened art patrons, builders
of churches, and writers of verses. Coeur-de-Lion was a troubadour.
John Lackland's son built Westminster Abbey. Aliénor's daughter, the
queen of Castile, had an Angevin architect help in the building of Las
Huelgas, by Burgos. Her daughter of Champagne set the trouvères singing
of Lancelot, Tristan, and Iseult. Another Eleanor of her lineage had her
funeral journey marked by sculptured crosses from Lincolnshire to
Charing Cross. It was given Aliénor to make some atonement for the evil
she brought on France in her youth; at eighty years of age she went into
Spain to bring back her granddaughter, Blanche of Castile, as bride for
the grandson of the discarded Louis VII, and Blanche gave France the
saint-king who illuminated his realm with fair churches. Another of
Aliénor's great-grandsons was a saint-king, Ferdinand, the conqueror of
Seville, who founded many a church. Even as the cruelty and craft of
John Lackland cropped out in Charles d'Anjou, whom the Sicilian Vespers
punished, so the culture and inconsistency of Coeur-de-Lion appeared
again in his nephew of Champagne, Thibaut IV, the maker of songs. From
Aliénor descended Bishop Eudes de Sully, who built the western portals
of Notre Dame at Paris, and Henry de Sully, who had the plans drawn for
Bourges Cathedral. Herself an outstanding figure in the early day of
Gothic art, and ancestress of enlightened builders, much can be forgiven
Aliénor. All of which brings us back to the starting point of our
chapter, the formation of the Plantagenet Gothic school of architecture.


     The XII and XIII centuries were a period when men were at their
     strongest; never before or since have they shown equal energy in
     such varied directions or such intelligence in the direction of
     their energy; yet these marvels of history--these Plantagenets;
     these scholastic philosophers; these architects of Rheims and
     Amiens; these Innocents and Robin Hoods and Marco Polos; these
     crusaders who planted their enormous fortresses all over the
     Levant; these monks who made the wastes and barrens yield
     harvests--all, without apparent exception, bowed down before the
     woman. The woman might be the good or the evil spirit, but she was
     always the stronger force.--HENRY ADAMS.

There have been various divisions of this school, and it is always well
to bear in mind that such cut-and-dried classifications are arbitrary
and made use of merely for the greater ease of the student. By dividing
Plantagenet work into three periods--preceded by a brief incubation
hour, the twenty years before 1150--it is easier to follow the evolving
steps of this brilliant phase of the builder's art.

During the short introductory stage before 1150 the cupola had the upper
hand and imposed its construction on the intersecting ribs just imported
from the north. The earliest _bombé_ vaults with ribs are really cupolas
still, since the stones of their infilling were laid in concentric rings
round and round. Only a small number of these ribbed cupolas were built.

Then in the first phase of Plantagenet Gothic appeared the ascendency of
ribbed vault over cupola. The dome was lowered and the stones of the
infilling were laid like those of a true Gothic vault, not horizontally,
round and round, but vertically, with the courses running parallel with
the ridges of the triangular compartments traced by the diagonals. Each
of the four triangular cells was concave in both directions, with a
groin defining its axial line. Hence eight panels, not four, composed
the _bombé_ vault, groin ridges alternating with ribs.

Such groin lines called for strengthening ribs beneath them, since a
curving surface has more need of a bone skeleton to stiffen it. Given
the _bombé_ shape, it was inevitable for the architect to arrive soon at
the use of ridge ribs between the diagonals. The Plantagenet vault _par
excellence_ is made up of eight ribs that branch from a central
keystone, those ribs being of the same slight graceful profile as the
arches framing each vault section.

For a time the rib molds of the First Period were enormously heavy and
wide, like the diagonals of the nave of Angers Cathedral--the oldest
Angevin Gothic work extant (c. 1150). Their profile shows two large
round molds with a flat space between. Before long the level space
tended to swell into a roll molding, which in time predominated over the
lateral ones; such are the diagonals of the Trinité church at Angers
(c. 1170). Finally, the side rolls died out altogether, leaving one
slender uniform torus, a characteristic of the Second Period of
Plantagenet art.

When the lateral and transverse arches adopted the same delicate profile
as that of the eight branching ribs, there was achieved the slender
elegance and rare distinction typical of the best Plantagenet interiors.
Keystones were richly carved, and pretty figures and heads were added
where the vault ribs met the framing arches. During the last quarter of
the XII century the Plantagenet school was building vaults of this type,
and they remained in vogue till the cuplike shape died out altogether.
In Plantagenet art the ramification and intercrossing of ribs had a
structural reason, since they were the logical result of the concave
outline of the vault and not, like the supplementary ribs of Flamboyant
Gothic, mere ornamentations.

In the third and final period of Plantagenet Gothic, the ribs ramified
more and more. They had first been increased about the windows of apses,
because an eight-branch vault was better suited to a square than to a
curve. During the years preceding 1250, the ramification of the ribs
grew very complicated. All divisions between the vault sections were
eliminated, and the masonry roof appeared to be continuous, one bay
melting subtly into the next--in reality a cradle vault, _à
pénétrations_, carried on intercrossing, branching Gothic ribs. The
construction of such stone roofs was no easy matter and comparatively
few of them were built.

It is interesting to note that a germ of the Angevin school when carried
to England, then under the same Plantagenet rule, developed into what is
a unique architectural glory, English fan tracery vaulting.

Most of the monuments of Angevin art fall under the three main divisions
here given. Like a beautiful hybrid, the Plantagenet stone roof passed
through a continuous series of transformations, while in northern
France, once a satisfactory masonry vault had been achieved, it was
adhered to faithfully as a classic type until the Flamboyant, or final,

Frequently a Plantagenet church is extremely plain outside, in striking
contrast with the aërial grace of its interior. The cause is a
structural one, hence satisfactory. The thrust of a _bombé_ vault is not
altogether concentrated on branching ribs, piers, and buttresses, but in
part is borne by the inclosure walls. Hence these latter were made thick
and pierced merely by lancet windows; with such walls there was no need
of flying buttresses. When the piers were somewhat relieved of the roof
load by the thick walls, they could be made exceedingly slender. There
is an effect of gracious winsomeness in certain Plantagenet churches, to
be described only by such words as "fairylike" and "Saracenic." The
transient perfect moment of the art of northern France was seized and
rendered by the curving transept at Soissons, an ideal vision of the
Beyond. In southwestern France the first, fine, careless rapture nothing
can recapture is to be found in St. Serge at Angers, of lesser genius
than Soissons, but, like it, possessed of an enthrallment that is


     A mon avis, ceux qui n'ont pas au moins le tourment religieux
     ignorent la moitié de la vie, et la plus belle, la moitié de la
     pitié. Un esprit est bien incomplet s'il ne s'élève pas jusqu'à sa
     destinée, et un coeur est bien faible s'il n'a que des motifs
     humains d'agir, de se contraindre, et de se donner ou de
     pardonner.--RENÉ BAZIN (born in Angers, 1850).

No city in southwestern France is a more satisfactory center for a
comparative study of Plantagenet Gothic than Angers--the old Black
Angers of history, which owed its importance not to any pre-eminence of
site, but to the powerful line whose cradle land it was.

Each phase of the regional school of Gothic can be found in Angers. In
the tower of St. Aubin, a vestige of an ancient abbey named after a
VI-century bishop of the city, is a ribbed cupola, typical of the
incubating period of the school.[185] It is more a cupola than a Gothic
vault. The stones are laid horizontally in concentric rings, and the
ribs are more decorative than structural, being in part embedded in the
infilling. The abbot who erected it ruled from 1127 to 1154.

The First Period of the Gothic of Anjou is represented at Angers by a
masterpiece of elemental force--the nave of the cathedral. Three huge
so-called domical vaults, truly Gothic in construction, span the
sixty-foot unaisled nave of St. Maurice. The stones are laid parallel
with the groin line of each triangular panel between the intersecting
ribs. Those diagonals are needlessly heavy, for the builders were still
experimenting. The crown of each vault section is ten feet higher than
the framing arches--wall arch and transverse arch. The exceptional span
of Angers' three massive vaults is due to a reconstruction of the nave
undertaken in the XII century, at which time the side aisles of the
Romanesque cathedral were eliminated and the entire width of the edifice
thrown into an unobstructed hall.

Mr. John Bilson, the eminent English archæologist, belittles the
influence of the cupola church in Angevin Gothic, the shape of whose
vaults he attributes to a structural cause. He thinks that the extreme
width of Angers' nave made it essential to raise the keystone above the
crowns of transverse and wall arches in order to prevent its settling.
The diagonals were made more obtuse than the equilateral framing arches
lest they might tower too high. Given the form adopted for the arches,
the _bombé_ vault web resulted inevitably. Arch curves determine the
forms of a vault. None the less is M. Berthelé's account of the
Plantagenet school sound both ethnically and æsthetically. The Angevin
architect chose to persist in the use of _bombé_ vaults over narrow
spans where there was no structural need to raise the keystone.

A succession of cathedrals had stood on the site of Angers' actual
church. To that of the IV century, St. Martin, Gaul's apostle, presented
relics of St. Maurice and his legion of Theban soldiers. A Merovingian
cathedral mentioned by Gregory of Tours was succeeded by a Carolingian
basilica, and after the year 1000 the chief church of Angers was rebuilt
several times as Romanesque. A dedication occurred in 1030. In 1032 the
cathedral was wiped out by a fire caused by that remarkable personage,
Fulk Nerra, the Black Falcon, who raised Anjou from an insignificant
under-fief to be one of the chief powers in France.[186] To atone for
his feudal excesses, Fulk built many shrines and made many pilgrimages;
in Palestine, with the same melodramatic instinct for the picturesque
which his descendant, Coeur-de-Lion, was to display, he walked
barefooted in the streets of Jerusalem, flagellated by his own
servitors, as he lamented, "Lord be merciful to a perjured, unfaithful
Christian wandering far from his native land."

All over Anjou, and in Touraine, Fulk III put up abbey churches and
castles; "the great builder," he was called. One day, from his castle on
the rock of Angers, his falcon eyes saw a dove fluttering over a certain
spot beyond the river, and there he founded the abbey of St. Nicholas in
1020, and his wife at that period (he had a succession of wives, one of
whom he is said to have killed) founded a nunnery close by to which was
once attached the church of the Trinité. In the XVI century St. Nicholas
was called Ronceray, because a bramble-rose insisted on pushing its way
up through the choir's pavement.[187] A superman was Fulk the Black,
highly dowered intellectually, with enormous capacity for organization,
but of shameless wickedness, calculating, subtle, unscrupulous as to the
means by which he pursued his designs, and of demoniac temper--marked
traits in his race from generation to generation.

Vestiges of the cathedral of Angers which rose after the fire of 1032,
and in which Urban II preached the First Crusade, are in the actual
nave, built by Bishop Ulger[188] (1125-49). He taught in the cathedral
school, which school was the nucleus of the present University of
Angers. His successor, Bishop Normand de Doué (1149-53), at his own
expense, substituted for the timber roof of the new nave its massive
Angevin vaults. When we recall that only fifteen years earlier Abbot
Suger, who started Gothic architecture on its triumphal career, was
building the heavy diagonals to be seen in the antechurch at St. Denis,
we can understand what pioneers were the builders of southwest France in
the use of the cardinal organ of the new system.

Angers Cathedral continued building during the final years of the XII
century, under Bishop Raoul de Beaumont (1177-97), who erected the
southern arm of the transept and added a short choir; the city walls at
that period prevented the farther extension of the apse. Along the west
façade, the same prelate built a spacious porch, twenty-five feet deep,
which stood till 1806, when, in spite of episcopal protest, the civic
authorities tore it down rather than trouble to repair it. Sorely does
the western entrance need that softening portico. Angers' portal images
are of the same archaic column-statue type as those at Chartres' western
doors, and here, too, in the tympanum is a Byzantine Christ in an
elliptical aureole, surrounded by the symbols of the evangelists. Bishop
Raoul de Beaumont came of one of the illustrious races of crusaders,
statesmen, and prelates, the _ancienne chevalerie_ in which France was
so prolific for centuries. A XIII-century Beaumont, marshal of France,
stood by Joinville in voting against the knight's return to Europe until
they had redeemed their servitors from captivity; a XIV-century Beaumont
was instrumental in giving Dauphiny to France; a Beaumont in the XVIII
century was the archbishop of Paris, who warned the nation that if it
de-Christianized itself it would be denationalized. Bishop Raoul's
nephew, Guillaume de Beaumont, became bishop of Angers, and in 1236
donated land from his garden for the erection of the northern arm of
the transept. Eight-branch Plantagenet vault sections cover transept and

The choir of Angers Cathedral was extended after 1274, when permission
was obtained from St. Louis' brother, Charles d'Anjou, to demolish part
of the city ramparts. Heavy buttresses mark the junction of the old part
and the new. By the extension of the eastern limb the church became a
bold Latin cross. Secluded nooks in dim religious corners are not to be
found in these unaisled churches of southwestern France. In them is no
curving procession path, no picturesque perspective effects. Though they
possess their own quiet nobility, seldom does their grave reverence rise
to sublimity. The exterior of Angers Cathedral was made equally simple,
without radiating apse chapels or flying buttresses.

The cathedral's nave boasts some windows which were donated before 1180
by a generous canon. Borders of the St. Denis glass were repeated in
them. The third window (north), which has an inimitable deep blue
background and a wide border, relates St. Catherine's life; the fourth
portrays, the Burial of the Virgin; and the fifth is devoted to St.
Vincent. Probably local workers allied with the St. Denis school made
these lights. In the nave's southern wall is a good Renaissance lancet,
transferred here from a ruined château. When the choir was completed,
its windows were filled with glass of the Paris school a century later
than the nave's windows. The transept roses are Flamboyant Gothic.

Angers Cathedral tops a high hill, so that its towers are landmarks,
visible for thirty miles around. Its west façade has been so
reconstructed that it now presents the ungainly proportions of the
church fronts in Hanover and Brunswick. After a fire, in 1516, when the
towers were renewed, stone spires were added by the well-known
Flamboyant Gothic master, Rouland Le Roux, who elaborated the
frontispiece of Rouen Cathedral. Then, in 1533, a third tower was built
between the original two. One of its walls rested on the west façade,
but the other three have mere arches for foundations, so that the tower
hangs in space, as it were, the kind of feat applauded by the tourist
guide, but which the true lover of structural sincerity can dispense
with. Jean de l'Espine, a local master of whom Angers is proud, designed
the curious central tower, and two sculptors who had worked on groups at
Solesmes made the façades eight warrior images which have been restored.

Scarcely was Angers Cathedral newly dressed when came the tragic year
1562, to wreck the gathered treasures of generations. The Huguenots
broke into the transept from the bishop's garden--and ever since that
door has been walled up in disgrace. For a fortnight they intrenched
themselves in the church, looting its treasures, destroying tombs and
images. More than a hundred splendid tombs lined the walls of the
church. The neo-classic canons of the XVII and XVIII centuries lost so
entirely the comprehension of the national art that they sent priceless
bronze tombs to the smelting pot, even that of Bishop Raoul de Beaumont,
the builder. A silver-gilt altar given by Bishop Normand de Doué who
spanned the nave with its vaults of magnificent proportions, was sold,
as was another altar, the gift of Bishop Guillaume de Beaumont, and with
the proceeds was erected the pseudo-classic baldaquin over the high
altar. They did away with the lower panels of the precious XII-century
windows in order that a new metal balustrade might show to better
effect. In a final attack of _bon goût_, those worthy canons proceeded
to whitewash the entire inside of the cathedral, including the tombs and
statues. The Revolution broke up the elaborate funereal monument of good
King René, on which several generations had worked; Jacques Morel, who
sculptured the Souvigny sarcophagus, was putting final touches to it
when he died in Angers in 1453. For years after 1793 its chiseled stones
were used by the city's masons to adorn chimney pieces in civilians'

Anjou, after returning to the French crown in the XIV century, was again
given as an appanage to a king's son, to Louis,[189] son of Jean le Bon,
and brother of those art-loving Valois princes, Charles V and the Dukes
of Berry and Burgundy. Louis I d'Anjou had made for his palace chapel at
Angers, in 1378, some tapestries telling the Apocalypse wonders. His
grandson, good King René, presented them to the cathedral, where first
they were hung for a visit of Louis XI. In the days when the cathedral
walls were being whitewashed those one hundred and fifty yards of
textile art, made by Parisian weavers after Flemish models--and the
oldest-dated tapestries extant--were put up for sale, but, not finding a
purchaser, were used to cover greenhouses and to line stables. When in
1843 the bishop of Angers was able to rescue a hundred yards of the
Apocalypse, he was mocked for his taste for rubbish. Three hundred
francs was all he paid for over sixty sections of the embroidery, and
when one section was recently loaned to the exhibition at Ghent it was
insured for forty thousand dollars.

Louis II d'Anjou married Yolande of Aragon, a statesman-like woman of
sound character and good taste, and together they built the pavilion
that stands within the fortress inclosure, and the chapel adjoining it
(finished in 1411), whose _bombé_ vaults are carried on ribs of
prismatic profile. Yolande's two sons, Charles and René, ruled Anjou.
The claims of Louis XI to the duchy caused his uncle, King René, to
spend his latter years in Provence, but never did he forget his
birthplace, and to Angers Cathedral he sent the green marble Roman bath
mounted on lions, now used as a holy-water font. René wrote poems and
plays, composed church music, painted and illuminated, and throughout a
long life of misfortunes proved himself a loyal knight and Christian
philosopher. Shortly after his death Anjou returned to the French

The ramparts within whose somber walls was the palace[190] of the counts
and dukes of Anjou's three lines of rulers, was constructed by St.
Louis, from 1228 to 1238, though begun by his grandfather,
Philippe-Auguste. For the precincts of his huge fortress St. Louis was
compelled to take lands from the congregation of Toussaint. With the
compensation money the religious rebuilt their church and roofed it with
a Plantagenet Gothic vault of the elaborate final phase of the regional
school. The interlocking ribs had three lines of keystones, like the
vault of Airvault (Deux-Sèvres).

Toussaint had been founded in the XI century by a pious canon, as a
refuge for the poor and stricken, and the duty of its clergy was to
visit the sick and bury the dead. That every forlorn soul might feel
under the protection of his own chosen patron saint, the name All Saints
was chosen. The Revolution suppressed the asylum of charity and in 1815
Prussian cavalry were stabled in the neglected church. The roofless nave
now serves as an archæological museum. The vaults of the choir were made
early in the XVIII century on the same model as the nave's XIII-century
Plantagenet roof.

The fortress built by St. Louis on the Toussaint property was saved from
demolition by the seneschal of Anjou, who, when Henry III's orders came
to destroy the ramparts, had the tact to proceed in so leisurely a
fashion that after seven years, when he was able to get the order
revoked, little more was destroyed than the upper stories of the towers.
A kneeling image of that truly patriotic seneschal, Donadieu de
Puycharic, is now in the museum installed in the XII-century hospital of
St. Jean.

That hospital of St. Jean was begun by another enlightened seneschal of
Anjou, but before long (c. 1180) Henry Plantagenet undertook to finish
and endow it, some say to expiate the assassination of St. Thomas
Becket. The oldest parts of St. John's establishment are the granary and
the north and east corridors of the cloister; the latter's south gallery
was built (1538) by Angers' local architect, Jean de l'Espine. The
hospital hall was undertaken between 1174 and 1188, and at first was
roofed in wood.

Shortly after 1200 the Knights of St. John Hospitalier of Jerusalem were
put in charge of Angers hospital, and governed it till 1232. During
their occupancy the hall was covered by its twenty-four small cuplike
sections, each of which is carried on four slender ribs. The effect of
the three aisles of little _bombé_ vaults is alluring. The slender torus
usually distinguished the eight-branch Plantagenet type, and its use
here for simple diagonals is an exception. The chapel attached to the
hospital was also built in two campaigns; over part of it was employed
the eight-rib vault, while portions were roofed in the more complicated
Plantagenet way.

The singular grace of St. Jean's hospital hall, with its slender columns
and multiple little _coupoliformes_ vaults, inspired the small choir of
St. Serge, which many hold to be the most exquisite example of
Plantagenet Gothic. The church[191] once formed part of an ancient
Benedictine monastery named for the pope, who had instituted the triple
chanting of the _Agnus Dei_ in the Mass. Hitherto the Angevin masonry
roof had been applied to churches without side aisles. The ground plan
of the cupola church had been adhered to. The Plantagenet architects now
began to copy another regional model, Poitou's Romanesque church, whose
side aisles were almost as high as the principal span they buttressed;
hence the light came entirely from the lateral corridors. One roof
covered all.

Poitiers Cathedral was among the first to use Poitou's pre-Gothic plan
in Plantagenet architecture. The choir of St. Serge developed the same
idea in its own small, gracious way. No doubt the harmonious effect
obtained in St. John's hospital by the three aisles of _bombé_ vaults
inspired the architect of St. Serge, who built his choir, from 1220 to
1225. Six fragile-looking columns, thirty feet in height, support with
ease the twelve little Plantagenet vaults, which are of the eight-branch
type, with elaborate keystones, and minute figures at the intersection
of the ribs and the framing arches. At the choir's square eastern end
the ribs ramify considerably around the windows. It is impossible to say
wherein lies the witchery of this small monument--all elegance and
lightness. Some call it Saracenic because of its exotic loveliness. Its
science of construction is perfect. Certainly some individual genius
designed it.


     L'ancienne Grand' Rue de Saumur ... la rue montueuse qui mène au
     château, obscure en quelques endroits, remarquable par la sonorité
     de son petit pavé caillouteux, toujours propre et sec ... la paix
     de ses maisons impénétrables, noirs, et silencieuses--l'histoire de
     France est là, tout entière.--BALZAC, _Eugénie Grandet_ (whose
     scene is Saumur).

Close by Angers lies Saumur on the Loire, "well-loved, well-set city."
It comprises, with its environs, another center for the study of
Plantagenet Gothic. The town is topped by its castle, now in main part
of the XIV century. In its former great hall, built by Henry
Plantagenet, took place, in 1241, that celebrated fête called the
_Non-Pareille_ which Joinville has described. His memory of it was so
fresh, after sixty years, that he could tell the color of Louis IX's
robe and surcoat; perhaps it was the first time that Joinville saw the
saint-king who was to become his closest friend. He was not yet twenty
when he accompanied his suzerain of Champagne, Thibaut IV, the maker of
songs, to the feast held in Saumur château for the knighting of Alphonse
of Poitiers, the king's brother.

[Illustration: _The Plantagenet Gothic Choir of St. Serge at Angers

The bodyguard of St. Louis were a Bourbon, a Coucy, and a Beaujeu,
behind whom stood ranged a host of barons and knights in silk and cloth
of gold. The future king of Portugal and a prince from Thuringia, the
son of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, waited on the table of the
queen-mother, Blanche of Castile, who, when she heard the name of the
princeling from beyond the Rhine, called him to her side and placed a
kiss upon his brow, since there, she said, his saintly mother must often
have blessed him. Jealous passions, too, burned behind the glitter and
show. Isabelle of Angoulême, the widow of John Lackland, married now to
a Lusignan who had to render homage to his new suzerain, cried out,
imperiously, "Am I a waiting woman that I should stand while they sit at
ease?" and she proceeded to stir up war.

Below the castle of Saumur lies the XII-century unaisled church of St.
Pierre, whose masonry roof belongs to different phases of Angevin
Gothic. Over the transept-crossing is a ribbed cupola without distinct
pedestal, inspired evidently by the small unribbed cupola of
Fontevrault's crossing. The stones are laid in horizontal concentric
courses like a true dome. Though archaic in structure, St. Pierre's
_croisée_ is of skilled execution. It belongs to the last third of the
XII century.

Over the choir and transept are the heavy diagonals of the First Period
of the Plantagenet development, and the nave's vault sections are
carried on the eight branches of the Second Period. Powerful transverse
arches separate the wide, square bays, and against the inclosure walls
are other strong arches beneath the windows. The walls of St. Pierre's
choir are not parallel, but draw closer together at the eastern end, for
undoubtedly there was much intentional asymmetry in mediæval monuments.
The Flamboyant day gave to St. Pierre its well-carved choir stalls and
some exquisitely toned Flemish tapestries executed by local weavers.

Other superb tapestries adorn Notre Dame-de-Nantilly, a church
patronized by Louis XI, who added to it the south aisle and a Flamboyant
oratory. The body of the edifice belongs to the first half of the XII
century; its barrel vault is braced by slightly pointed transverse
arches. At the transept-crossing is a ribbed cupola, without distinct
pedestal, like that of St. Pierre. Against the fourth pier, to the
south, is the epitaph which good King René himself composed and set up
because of his affection for his old nurse, Dame Tiphaine, for whose
soul he begs a paternoster of all who pass by. Against the fifth pier is
the Limousin enamel crozier of the archbishop of Tyr, keeper of the seal
for St. Louis, who was buried here in his native city in 1266.

Behind the Gothic Town Hall is the now unused chapel of St. Jean, a
small example of the Third Period of Angevin architecture, when ribs
branched considerably; in the square chevet they ramify to the number of

A mile down the river lies what is left of St. Florent-les-Saumur[193]
re-established by Fulk Nerra when he conquered Saumur in 1026. Its
narthex, now the chapel of a nuns' community, shows one of the earliest
uses of the Plantagenet vault of eight branches (1170-1200). At St.
Florent was living the daughter of the exiled poet-duke of Orléans, with
her young husband, the Duke of Alençon, when one day in 1429 word came
that at Chinon, near by, where Charles VII was staying, had arrived an
inspired maid, and young d'Alençon, soon to be Jeanne d'Arc's
lieutenant--her _gentil duc_--galloped along the banks of the Loire to
see the wonder. So delighted was he with Jeanne's management of spear
and horse that he presented her with a palfrey, and she came to St.
Florent-les-Saumur for a four days' visit to his duchess, promising[194]
that anxious young wife that she would bring back her husband safe and

Fontevrault's abbatial, where culminated the art of the cupola church,
is the chief excursion to be made from Saumur. It can be reached by a
ten-mile trolley ride. Only three miles from Fontevrault, and a pleasant
cross-country walk from it, is the beautiful Plantagenet Gothic church
of St. Martin, at Candes,[195] crowned with battlements, on the highland
above the confluence of the Vienne and the Loire. In the ancient abbey
here St. Martin died as the IV century closed. A chapel to the north of
the choir marks the site of his cell, and its window recalls the pious
piracy of his loyal parishioners of Tours, who claimed his body for
burial, but who, knowing that Candes would not give it up, came by night
and stole it away; and quite rightly they had judged, for when,
centuries later, the Northmen invasions forced Tours to send its great
relic for safe-keeping to Auxerre, it took an army of six thousand men
to get it back.

The present choir of St. Martin's at Candes was built in the latter half
of the XII century (c. 1180). Fifty years later rose the nave, justly
considered one of the most brilliant examples of Plantagenet Gothic
architecture, its model, not the unaisled cupola-church, but the
Romanesque church of Poitou, whose side aisles are so high that their
lancets are the only lighting of the edifice. St. Martin's hall-like
interior of three spacious aisles is inundated with light. The
well-proportioned clustered piers rising from pavement to
vault-springing are placed considerably out of alignment, and in a
number of other arrangements the architect here followed his personal
bent. In the western porch the ribs of several Plantagenet vault
sections fall on a central pillar.


  _Vexilla Regis prodeunt_
  _Fulget Crucis mysterium_
  _Qua vita mortem pertulit_
  _Et morte vitam protulit._

  Abroad the regal banners fly
  And bear the mystic Cross on high,
  That Cross whereon Life suffered Death
  And gave us Life with Dying breath.

  _Impleta sunt quæ concinit_
  _David fideli carmine,_
  _Dicendo nationibus_
  _Regnavit a ligno Deus._

  That which the prophet-king of old
  Hath in mysterious verse foretold
  Is now accomplished whilst we see
  God ruling nations from a Tree.

  --FORTUNATUS, bishop of Poitiers (599-607).[197]

The noblest Gothic monument due to Henry Plantagenet and Aliénor of
Aquitaine is the cathedral church at Poitiers, founded by them in 1162
about the same time that, in Paris, Louis VII witnessed the laying of
the corner stone for a new chief church in his capital. Never were
contemporary edifices more unlike in their form and their informing
spirit. In Notre Dame of Paris breathes the struggle of human existence
and that Christian resignation voiced by the XIII-century Franciscan in
the _Dies Iræ_. St. Peter's Cathedral at Poitiers rings with Christian
joy, with the triumphal strains of the hymn composed by its VI-century
bishop for the arrival from Constantinople of the True Cross relic. From
the hour that the ancient ecclesiastical city marched forth with banners
flying to meet the Cross, Poitiers has held it to be a tree of royal
honor, not of pathetic agony. Her greatest bishop, St. Hilary, was
western Christendom's champion for the Son's divinity when the Arian
heresy attacked it. Clovis defeated the Arian Visigoths at Poitiers in
508; Charles Martel checked the Mohammedans at Poitiers in 732.

A city's spiritual history speaks by its monuments. In the high place of
honor in Poitiers' cathedral of St. Peter, hangs a gleaming canticle of
translucent mosaic, a window which many hold to be the finest in the
world. It celebrates God ruling nations from a tree. It is a passion and
a triumph, an agony and an apotheosis. Eight centuries divide the
inspiration of the Crucifixion window from St. Hilary's struggle with
Arianism, six centuries from the canticle of Bishop Venantius
Fortunatus, but Hilary's affirmation and the rejoicing of Fortunatus
live in it, and through it have been passed on to us.

Poitiers Cathedral is a spacious hall-church illuminated by large
lancets that seem to be chanting Alleluias, yet whose piety is plain and
robust. It is a church loyal to indigenous art traditions, yet blending
those sober Romanesque inheritances of Poitou with the delicate grace of
Plantagenet Gothic. Its loveliness is severe, its slenderness is sturdy.
St. Peter's both imposes and allures.

Poitiers was the cradle of Aliénor of Aquitaine's brilliant and
debonaire line of troubadours, crusaders, and church builders.
Charlemagne gave them the title of Duke of Aquitaine for their services
against Islam. The first warrior duke died a hermit at St.
Guilhem-le-Désert, which became a Midi pilgrim shrine where, in the
Gothic dawn, appeared a very early use of diagonals, profiled like those
of the Ile-de-France. A duke of Aquitaine founded Cluny, the greatest
building energy of the ages. Another of the dynasty of the Guillaumes
aided Bishop Fulbert to build Chartres, and, when fire wiped out
Poitiers Cathedral, reconstructed it in Romanesque form. Guillaume VIII
and Guillaume IX built at Bordeaux the churches of Ste. Croix, St.
Seurin, and St. André. In Poitiers they raised anew Notre Dame-la-Grande
and St. Hilaire, and founded Montierneuf,[198] blessed by Urban II in
1096. Aliénor's grandfather, Guillaume IX, the first-known troubadour,
especially favored Fontevrault. Her father was that Guillaume X, with
the appetites of eight men, an open boaster of his crimes, whom it took
St. Bernard to beat to his knees in penitence, after which he passed out
of history in the odor of sanctity as pilgrim to Compostela.

With the art of the builder Aliénor's own links were multiple. When
Bishop Geoffrey de Lèves took charge of her as a young bride in
Bordeaux, he was raising at Chartres the most beautiful tower in the
world. She assisted at St. Denis' dedication and knew Abbot Suger well;
at Vézelay she watched the Burgundians sculpting a portal of paradise.
Through all her crowded life, with all her reckless sins upon her,
Aliénor was loyal to her own region. She began Poitiers Cathedral in the
same decade that she had her favorite son Richard the Lion-hearted
installed as ruler of Aquitaine--another troubadour duke--seating him in
the abbot's chair at St. Hilaire's, according to ancient custom. She
blended with her own Poitou's Romanesque what was choicest in the Gothic
art of her Angevin husband.

Poitiers Cathedral was the prototype of monuments such as Candes and
Puy-Notre-Dame, in whose interiors Aliénor's own "high grace, the dower
of queens," seems incarnate. An Angevin architect probably designed St.
Peter's at Poitiers. The works started at the east end, which is square,
and rises from the down-slope of the hill like a solid fortress, a
hundred and fifty feet in height; Coligny's troops were one day to
riddle with bullets that big quadrangular target. So thick was the
eastern wall that the round chapels ending the choir disappeared in its

The easternmost bays and the south arm of the transept were built about
the same time, soon after 1160, and their masonry roof belongs to the
first phase of the Gothic of the West. Over the crossing is a six-branch
vault; for the rest of the church, the eight-branch type was used. The
lower half of the inclosure walls is ornamented with a blind arcade
above which runs a circulating gallery carried on corbels carved with
fantasy. Again was used the artifice employed in Poitiers' Romanesque
church of Notre Dame-la-Grande, whereby from the eastern end onward the
edifice grew slightly wider and higher. The axial line deviates
considerably, and it is known that this cathedral rose during different

While the plan and the beginning of the work were of Aliénor and Henry's
day, the greater part of the church was erected under their
great-grandson, Alphonse of Poitiers, the brother of St. Louis. When he
died in 1271, the two westernmost bays were incomplete. After a lull,
the work was resumed at the close of the century. In the XIV century was
erected the not very interesting west frontispiece which stands below
the street level and which is too wide for its height; it would have
been better had the towers been set in a line with the aisles and not
planted beyond them like the towers of Rouen and Bourges. The first of
the Avignon popes, Clement V, builder of the Rayonnant Gothic choir of
Bordeaux Cathedral, watched Poitiers' Rayonnant façade rising during the
sixteen months that he spent in the city. While here he learned that
fire had damaged St. John Lateran's at Rome and ordered it to be
reconstructed. The last windows in St. Pierre's Cathedral have the
Flamboyant tracery of Jean de Berry's time. That amateur of art--sixth
in descent from Henry and Aliénor--left his mark all through middle

The interior of Poitiers Cathedral is an ample parallelogram of eight
bays, divided into three aisles of equal height, by a dozen widely
spaced piers, each of which is a cluster of lovely shafts rising from
pavement to vault-springing. The eighteen _bombé_ vault sections are
grace itself. As the light floods in from the big lancets in the side
walls, one scarcely notices that this church has ground supports. The
plan of Poitou's Romanesque churches--seen at its best at St.
Savin[199]--shows adroit construction, since it employed the aisles to
buttress the principal span, and used one roof to cover the entire

Poitiers' memorable Crucifixion window is in the flat, eastern wall of
the central aisle. The three windows in that square chevet belong to the
transition between the XII and XIII centuries. That to the north was the
gift of Maurice de Blason, who became bishop of Poitiers in 1198, and
who is supposed to have been also the donor of the Crucifixion, whose
date has given rise to controversy. The straight saddle-bars still used
in it were abandoned after 1200. In the lower panel of the central
light, the founders of the cathedral, Henry and Aliénor, are pictured
kneeling. Aliénor knew well Suger's school of glassmakers, and as M.
Mâle has proved that all the XII-century windows in western France
proceed from those of St. Denis, very likely the ex-queen of France was
instrumental in spreading their fame. At Poitiers the apostles gaze
upward in quite the same attitude as those in the Ascension window at Le
Mans, an accepted work of Suger's craftsmen.

Blue as profound as sapphires and a crimson that glows like blood-red
rubies make of Poitiers' Crucifix an unapproachable glory. The genius
who conceived it had brooded over the ecstatic hymn composed for the
glad celebration of November 19, 569. This is the Tree of Life,
effulgent in fecundity, on its branches hanging such fruit as the Ransom
of the World, the vine that gives sweet wine of the red blood of the
Lord. No agonizing Christ on Poitiers' Cross _ornata regis purpura_. The
Saviour's eyes are wide open to indicate that the Christ dies not. The
arms are extended to great length as if embracing the entire world.[200]
The halo is marked by the Greek cross, emblem of divinity. In many other
chevets of France the Crucifixion holds the central place, in the Lady
chapel at Tours, in the clearstory at Rouen, in the ambulatory at
Bourges, in St. Remi's wide gallery at Rheims, in the square east wall
of Moulins, and at Ervy. And in many ways was the Sacrifice presented;
sometimes the Cross became an apple-decked Tree of Knowledge with Adam
and Eve beside it; sometimes the Saviour's arms were high uplifted and
angels received the precious blood in chalices. Never was the meaning of
Calvary presented with more profundity than at Poitiers, whose ancient
bishops had suffered exile to defend the Son and written verses to exalt

The other lancets of the cathedral are in most part XIII-century work of
the closely woven pattern type that produces scintillation; contrary to
the more general usage the medallions are to be read from the top
downward. As color schemes they have been composed with extraordinary
care. Few church interiors can equal this for jeweled riches: 'And the
building of the wall thereof was of jasper stone.... And the foundations
of the wall were adorned with all manner of precious stones--jasper,
sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, sardius, chrysolite, beryl,
topaz, chrysoprasus, jacinth, and amethyst.'

Poitiers' ancient church of Notre Dame-la-Grande has the appearance of a
cathedral, and its elaborate front, the best of all Romanesque façades,
is classed among peerless works such as Vézelay's portico, St. Gilles'
portal, and the Auvergnat apses. The pre-Gothic school of Poitou,
formulated as early as 1050, excelled in sculptured frontispieces,
decorated apses, and ornate window frames. Sometimes the side aisles
bracing the principal span were made too narrow, as here in Notre Dame,
but where the school reached its structural apogee as in St.
Savin-sur-Gartemps (which has lofty ample aisles and splendidly carved
capitals), it can hold its own with that of any region. Poitou has been
called the paradise for lovers of Romanesque architecture.

In Notre Dame-la-Grande are some XII-century frescoes, but its modern
experiment in polychromy is distressing. Many a gathering has the
ancient church seen. When in 1100 a church council at Poitiers censured
the illegal marriage of the king of France and the fair Bertrada de
Montfort, Guillaume IX, the troubadour duke of Aquitaine who was
present--and in much the same predicament, living with the wife of a
neighboring lord--made a scene and indignantly left the hall. Stones
were thrown at the churchmen who dared censure an open scandal. Then
brave Robert d'Abrissel, founder of Fontevrault, tore off his cloak and
stood forth, in token of his willingness to suffer in so good a

Poitiers' abbey church of St. Hilaire has much interest for
archæologists.[202] The Vandals destroyed a church here, the Saracens
burned another, twice was it wrecked by Norse pirates during the IX
century when St. Hilary's relics were carried to Le Puy Cathedral for
safety. Then a daughter of the Duke of Normandy, Emma, the mother of
Edward the Confessor, had her architect, Gautier Coorland, rebuild the
abbatial, which was dedicated in 1049. Owing to continuous
reconstructions, little of that period remains, save in the ambulatory
and in the tower which once stood isolated. The XII century added the
oblong cupolas whose only counterparts are to be found at Le Puy. To
support its new cupola-vaulting, St. Hilaire built two rows of pillars
with a narrow passageway between, and when, in later times, outer aisles
were added, the interior was given the uncommon aspect of triple aisles.
A Huguenot sacking worked irreparable damage, and after the Revolution
the westernmost bays of the church had to be demolished.

In Merovingian times the two most-visited shrines in France were St.
Hilary's at Poitiers, and St. Martin's at Tours. When Hilary, the
thirteenth bishop here (d. 368), returned from his exile in Phrygia,
whither he had been driven for combating the Arian heresy, he brought
back from the East a fondness for the interpretation of Scripture by
allegory which was to have a strong influence on the iconography of
Gothic cathedrals. To pray by St. Martin's tomb at Tours there came
north the Italian poet, Venantius Fortunatus, who continued his
pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Hilary, the master who had trained Martin
in the spiritual life. Never was he to quit Poitiers, where, in 607 he
died, its revered bishop.

In those days, Radegund, the Thuringian wife of Clotaire, son of Clovis,
had retired to Poitiers to pass her life in study and prayer. Scripture
and the works of the church fathers were read in Greek and Hebrew, in
her cloister. About her gathered pious maidens, chiefly of the
Gallo-Roman stock, harried by the rougher peoples from the north.
Fortunatus became for Queen Radegund and her Abbess Agnes a sort of
self-appointed intendant; he sent them gifts of fruit with verses.
Puvis de Chavannes has painted it all on the walls of Poitiers' Town

St. Radegund's tomb became a pilgrim shrine. The savants see no reason
to doubt the genuine antiquity of the queen's sarcophagus of black
marble now in the crypt of her church, part of which crypt escaped the
fire of 1083 and so dates before 1000. The new apse was dedicated in
1099. The three big bays of the aisleless nave are covered by
Plantagenet Gothic vaults with eight branches, and along the walls are
the same blind arcades and carved carbels as in the cathedral. The
sacristy shows an octagonal dome on ribs. The church has no transept,
but over the north portal is a XIII-century rose window of deep blue
hue, between which and the apse are some XIV-century windows that
experimented not very successfully with colored figures in white glass.
The porch is good Flamboyant Gothic.

Poitiers boasts the oldest extant Christian church in France, the
baptistry of St. Jean, in whose walls are Gallo-Roman IV-century
vestiges.[203] There is VII-century Merovingian work in its apsidal
chapels, and the later Romanesque and Gothic times added their quotas.
The ancient well in which baptism by submersion was practiced has been
preserved. A son of Poitiers feels doubly a Christian if baptized in the
church of St. Jean's.

The venerable little edifice to-day lies many feet below the level of
the city streets, for Poitiers escaped few of the sackings of history.
For safety from the Barbarian invasions some rich Gallo-Roman must have
buried the statue of Minerva exhumed in 1902, in the garden of a girls'
school, and now in the town's museum. It is a most lovely Greek marble
of the VI century, B.C.[204]

Henry Plantagenet and Aliénor of Aquitaine built in Poitiers the guard's
hall of the Counts' Palace, in the center of the town, on its highest
eminence.[205] The wall-arcading is like contemporary work in the
cathedral and the church of St. Radegund. In late-Gothic times the south
wall was remade. In this hall the second husband of Isabella of
Angoulême made amends to his suzerain, Alphonse of Poitiers, for the war
to which her jealous haughtiness had forced him. In this hall in 1307-08
the accused Templars were interrogated by Clement V, the pontiff who
initiated the residence at Avignon, and the consequent papal
subserviency to the French crown, Philippe le Bel cowed the pope, and
the group of anti-cleric legists who controlled the king arranged that
only picked specimens of the doomed military Order should appear at
Poitiers. The royal coffers were empty and those of the Templars were

Torture and intimidation had wrung from all too many of the monk-knights
false avowals of guilt. In Spain, where the investigation was carried on
without torture, the bishops found no heresy in the Order; instead, they
bore testimony to its exemplary standing. One brave old crusader raised
his voice in honest speech: "Let him have a care," wrote Joinville,
"this king who now reigns. Let him amend his ways, lest God strike him
down without mercy." The Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques Molay,
was burned publicly in Paris, calling on king and pope to meet him
before God's judgment seat within the year. A month later Clement V
died, and before 1314 closed, the young king met sudden death. And the
people recalled that when Clement was crowned at Lyons, the tiara had
been knocked from his head by a collapsing wall and one of its precious
jewels lost.

Less discouraging were other doings of Clement V in Poitiers. Here he
dated the nomination of John of Montecorvino (d. 1328), pioneer of
Christian missionaries, to the see of Peking. Armed crusading had run
its course; the crusade by preaching, prayer, and penance was to begin.
Already in 1245 Innocent IV had sent Dominicans to Persia and
Franciscans farther east, St. Louis had sent William de Rubruquis to the
Mongols, and those astonishing Venetian merchants; the Polos, had roused
the papacy to the spiritual needs of Cathay, the far Cathay of the
mediæval tradition, to which Columbus was seeking a shorter route when
he accidentally discovered America. For thirty years John of
Montecorvino missionized Tartary. He translated the New Testament and
the Psalms. To encourage missionary activity, Clement V ordered that
Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic be taught publicly at Rome, Bologna, Paris,
Oxford, and Salamanca.

The Hundred Years' War, so fatal to French architectural progress,
surged round Poitiers. After Crécy, in 1346, the hall of the Counts'
Palace was damaged by the English. In the environs of Poitiers took
place the bitter French defeat of 1356, when King Jean le Bon was made
prisoner. "_Et fut là morte toute la fleur de chevalerie de France_,"
says Froissart. The siege by Duguesclin to recapture the hill city from
the English damaged its monuments. When the Duke of Berry, son of King
Jean the Good, became master of Poitiers he undertook to restore the
Counts' Palace, and he had noted Flamboyant Gothic masters construct for
him the splendid triple chimney piece of the guard hall, decorated about
1383 by André Beauneveu with statues of Charles VI, of his wife Isabeau
of Bavaria, and of Jean of Berry and his first duchess. In the pignon
above the great fireplaces was set some XIV-century glass. Guy de
Dammartin re-established the donjon tower called Maubergeon, now cut off
at the third story. The images of the counts of Poitiers, decorating it,
belong to that phase of French sculpture which preceded the
Franco-Flamand school at Dijon. Before transalpine influences were
imported, a truly national renaissance had begun. The Tour Maubergeon
and the pignon of the great hall are all that remain of the palaces
built at Poitiers by Jean de Berry; but what they were can be seen in
his illuminated Book of Hours now in Chantilly's museum.

The historic hall of Poitiers has its memories of Jeanne d'Arc. Hither,
in 1429, Charles XII brought her to be examined by learned men. When one
of them told her, with condescension, that if God wished to deliver
France he had no need of men-of-arms, swift was Jeanne's reply, "Man
does the battling and God gives the victory." Finally her judges
reported to the king that she was of sound sense and a true Christian
and appeared to be sent of God, and that, given the desperate need of
the kingdom, they advised the king to put her at the head of an army for
the relief of Orléans. Decision momentous for the fate of France!

Jeanne, during her trial at Rouen, often referred to the answers she had
given to her honest judges at Poitiers: "If you do not believe me, send
to Poitiers, where I was questioned before.... It is written in the book
at Poitiers." Cauchon might wear a miter, well she knew it was not the
Church which persecuted her, though the English left no stone unturned
to have it so appear. Jeanne in Poitiers lodged with Maître Jean
Rabateau, advocate, and it was the duty of his good dame to spy on her
night and day. Many years after she testified to Jeanne's habit of long
prayer in the night-time. To test the maid's virtue the king's own
mother-in-law visited her. That able Yolande of Aragon had brought up
Charles VII. Her own son, the young knight René d'Anjou, was soon to
fight under Jeanne, and Yolande, herself, convinced of the Maid's
mission, helped with funds for the expedition to Orléans. They say that
Jeanne made answer to the court ladies with such sweetness and grace
that she drew tears from their eyes.

The old hill city of Poitiers, so ecclesiastical, so full of national
memories, has had the good sense to keep itself _très province_, and its
street directory still makes a sort of calendar of saints. At Bourges,
the mania to wipe out its past has reached such a pass that the rue St.
Michel is now the rue Michel-Servet and the rue St. Fulgent the rue
Fulton. Poitiers has no desire to blot out her high historic memories.


Gothic in the Midi

     The giant struggle we have witnessed is but the beginning of a long
     and complicated historical crisis in which men will have to make
     their choice between the unlimited augmentation of power (by force,
     riches, and success) and a forward-moving moral progress (by
     justice, charity, and loyalty). If we live always in exterior
     things, if we are always in movement, we become, little by little,
     incapable of recollection and fecund meditation.


It has been said that the Midi adhered long, if not always, to
Romanesque architecture, even when employing the Gothic vault. Gothic
art was not an indigenous development in the south, but was brought in
the wake of political events, when central France and Languedoc became
one with the royal domain. It proceeded, in part, from the architecture
of southwest France, and in part from the classic Ile-de-France Picard

The realization of the local type of Midi Gothic was Albi's fortress
cathedral, which comprises a wide unaisled hall covered by twelve bays
of diagonal vaults whose span is sixty feet--the width of Amiens' nave
being merely forty-five feet. The buttress are disguised as walls
between the side chapels, the windows are long, narrow lancets, there is
no triforium, and the roof is flat. Ogival art such as this has retained
all the grand simplicity of Romanesque.

The chief care of the Midi architect was to avoid the flying buttress;
he had inherited Rome's admiration for wide, unincumbered interiors, and
its aversion to showing the structural skeleton. His warm sun precluded
the use of wall inclosures that were composed entirely of stained glass,
which fragile screens would have necessitated wide-spreading
buttresses. He seemed to disdain sculpture. And yet, during the
pre-Gothic day, Languedoc had excelled in that important branch of the
builder's art, as Moissac's wealth of imagery and Elne's lovely cloister

Various causes led to the nudity of sculpture in the later churches of
the south. The Gothic cathedrals of the Midi were erected after two
generations of the Albigensian strife had impoverished the race. The new
mendicant Orders of Francis and Dominic advocated austerity; the best
Gothic of Provence is the Dominican church of St. Maximin. The building
material available in some of the central and southern provinces did not
lend itself to ornamentation; the lava of Auvergne, the granite of
Limousin, and the brick of the Toulouse region are unyielding to

The chief Gothic churches of the Midi were built in the second half of
the XIII and the first part of the XIV centuries. First there rose in
central France the sister cathedrals of Clermont and Limoges--northern
Gothic infused with the regional spirit. Directly derived from them are
the cathedrals of Toulouse and Narbonne. Albi Cathedral was not begun
till 1282. The choir of Bordeaux, built by the first of the Avignon
popes, is a classic of Rayonnant Gothic, and so is that jewel of
Carcassonne Cité, the whilom cathedral of St. Nazaire. St. Sauveur, at
Aix-en-Provence, the cathedral of Rodez, and Béziers' fortified church
were the work of the successors of the apogee period of Gothic. At
Montpellier, Mende, La Chaise Dieu, and Avignon, the XIV-century popes,
all of whom were meridionals, built Gothic halls and chapels.

Memorable and interesting as are the Gothic monuments of the Midi, the
traveler carries away the impression that the inmost soul of these
central and southern provinces lingers most happily in the venerated
shrines of Our Lady and St. Michael at Le Puy, in such churches as Notre
Dame-du-Port, St. Sernin, St. Trophime, in the sculptured portal of St.
Gilles, and in Maguelonne's isolated cathedral of St. Peter.


     Si c'est un aveuglement surnaturel de vivre sans chercher ce qu'on
     est, c'en est un terrible de vivre mal en croyant Dieu.... La
     conduite de Dieu, qui dispose toute choses avec douceur, est de
     mettre la religion dans l'esprit par les raisons, et dans le
     coeur par la grâce.--PASCAL (1623-62; born in Clermont).

In mediæval reckoning that mountainous, central province of France which
was called Auvergne was counted in Languedoc. Therefore, to place the
cathedral of Clermont in this general group of Midi Gothic is
permissible. It is a daughter of Amiens, of the northern French type,
and yet it belongs in a marked degree to its own volcanic region of
mountains and storms. In it is the endurance and sturdy individuality of
Auvergne, the inmost heart of France, where the Romanesque work may be
said to be indigenous, so directly does it derive from the local
traditions of Rome grafted on those of Gaul, and scarcely touched by
those of Byzantium.

The chief Gothic church of Clermont has in it much of Romanesque
austerity. The black lava of which it is built sets it apart among
French cathedrals. "A pious fear of God makes itself felt in this spot,"
wrote a son of Clermont, Gregory of Tours, of the cathedral governed by
Bishop Sidonius Apollinaris, Gallo-Roman and "last zealot for Latin
letters." And though not a stone of the present edifice is of historian
Gregory's day, one often murmurs in its precincts, "_Terribilis est
locus iste_," and one often experiences in this abode of Jehovah the
Lord, _un frisson d'âme à la Pascal_. In Clermont, where even the serene
Gothic art could not free itself of the fire-torn mountains around, the
somber soul of Pascal first experienced religion. That he should
overstress the fall of man and original sin, what wonder? But Jansenist
in temperament though he was--overwhelmed by man's nothingness and God's
grandeur--the mystic Pascal was no rigid pessimist. Cathedral and man of
genius both preach the resurrection after the fall, both have the upward
surge of hope, even as the fearful summit of the Puy-de-Dôme, standing
over Clermont, outsoars the storm clouds hiding its base, to rear its
head in sunlight.

For all its soberness, the cathedral of Clermont has the true Gothic
sweep of the spirit _au-delà_. Happy the traveler who first approaches
it at sunset, coming slowly across the mountain-walled plain, out of the
Forez hills of rushing torrents where is set the Chaise Dieu. The
cathedral crowns the foothill around which has settled the city, and as
it stands silhouetted against a bluish haze of mountain--the extinct
crater, the Puy-de-Dôme--it fulfills the ideal of a church crowning a
city.[207] Seen from the town, the massed volcanic hills are
sufficiently near for their woods and villages to add picturesque
details to the ever-changing views, yet not so close that they hang
oppressively over the city. Other views of the cathedral can be gained
from the foothills around Royat, whose small, sturdy church was
fortified to bar the valley into the huge mountain behind it.

Lava stone is dusty black, therefore on closer inspection Clermont
Cathedral has somewhat the aspect of the smoke-stained churches in
manufacturing centers. The gray-black Volvic stone is of better effect
within the church, though at first that interior may strike a chill.
Lava does not lend itself to sculptural decoration. However, the
essential lines of Clermont are of such masterly proportions, of so
grand a simplicity, that deeper and deeper grows the influence of this
church on those who frequent it. The diagonals etched black against the
white vault panels fall with peculiar ease and vigor on the tall dark
piers. The slenderness of those clustered columns is not foolhardy,
since lava has much resistant force. The single aisles of the choir and
the double aisles of the nave rise to half the height of the church, and
we have seen at Bourges and Le Mans that when pier arches are above the
average height there is given to an edifice a note of exotic beauty.
Like Amiens, the height of this church is three times greater than its
width. Its vista is closed imposingly; the imaged windows of its high
apsidal chapels appear symmetrically behind the arches that surround the

The story of the chief church of Auvergne interests the archæologist.
The crypt belonged to the previous Carolingian church, and so did the
two western towers until the XIX century. M. Viollet-le-Duc removed the
ancient belfries, extended the nave by two bays, and built the present
towers, whose sky-pointing spires are superb in the general view of
Clermont, but whose details can be criticized, as, for instance, the
blocking of corner niches by pinnacles when the purpose of a niche is to
hold a statue. Modern Gothic is too often a cold, hard imitation. The
stair approaches here lack the old-time amplitude of the triple portals.

The XIII-century cathedral of Clermont was practically the first Gothic
monument raised in Auvergne, which province adhered stubbornly to its
own exceptional Romanesque architecture. The first stone was laid in
1248, in the same year that Cologne Cathedral was begun. The founder,
Bishop Hugues de la Tour, had attended the dedication of the
Sainte-Chapelle at Paris, and then had returned to Clermont to begin
his own cathedral. That same year he started out as a crusader, in the
train of Louis IX, but as he died in Egypt the work on the church was
not continued seriously till 1253, when St. Louis helped to raise to the
see of Clermont his friend Guy de la Tour, nephew of Hugues. Belonging
to a feudal family of great possessions, the new bishop, too, was able
to be munificent toward his cathedral.

In 1254, when St. Louis was returning from his unsuccessful crusade, he
paused in Clermont, to replenish his depleted treasury. Ten years later
he presented windows to the cathedral, on the occasion of his son
Philippe's marriage there to the daughter of Jaime el Conquistador of
Aragon. The lights in the Lady chapel show the fleur-de-lis and the
donjons of Castile, and are apparently the work of Paris craftsmen, who
controlled the vitrine art of the later XIII century. That unskilled
local workers set them in place would seem to be indicated by the
armature bars which do not follow the contour of the medallions, as was
then the custom. In the choir's clearstory are the single figures and
grisaille that were in vogue during the next century.

Jean Deschamps made the plan of Clermont Cathedral. He may have studied
in the north, since certain traits of Picardy appear here, but the
spirit of the work is regional. His windows do not fill the entire upper
space between the active members. Under Bishop Guy de la Tour he
directed the building of the cathedral for almost forty years, till
1287. Perhaps he designed the cathedral of Limoges, in west-central
France, since its plan and details closely resemble those of Clermont.
Bishop Aymar de Cros, who carried on the works in Auvergne's capital,
was another of the schoolmen who were builders of churches; such was his
intellect that St. Thomas Aquinas willed to him his manuscripts in the
hope that his _Summa_ might be completed.

Under Bishop Aubert Aycelin de Montaigu a new master-of-works took
charge--Pierre Deschamps (1287-1325), the son probably of Jean who had
made the plans. He erected the four westernmost bays of the choir, the
transept, and the easternmost bay of the nave in its lower parts. From
1340 to 1359 the master-of-works was Pierre de Cabazat, who added three
more bays to the nave, and was employed in those same years in making,
with Hugues Morel, the abbey church of La Chaise Dieu in the Forez
mountains across the plain from Clermont.[208] An Avignon pope, Clement
VI, was the patron who undertook that gaunt granite structure, as full
of sorrow as the times that produced it. Clement had been abbot at La
Chaise Dieu, so naturally he contributed toward the erection of the
cathedral of Auvergne as did his successor at Avignon, Innocent VI (d.
1362), a former bishop of Clermont.

The city was fortunate to have one of the notable D'Amboise family for
its prelate in the late-Gothic day, Jacques d'Amboise (1505-16), who as
abbot of Cluny had built at Paris the stately residence called the Hôtel
Cluny. Close to his Auvergne cathedral he set up the Fontaine d'Amboise,
now on the Cours Sablon. The eloquent Massillon was a later bishop of
Clermont (1717-42); he founded its town library and bequeathed his
fortune to the sick poor of the Hôtel Dieu. Before the French
Revolution had turned to violence and destruction, in Clermont Cathedral
gathered the people, with hearts beating high with generous desire for
reform, for the blessing of their National Guard banner, embroidered by
a community of nuns. With all too tragic swiftness came the day when in
the same church were lighted bonfires for the destruction of vestments
and missals. Among the precious things then wrecked was a portrait
statue of Louis IX, made while his friend Guy de la Tour was bishop.
Only by chance did the cathedral itself, riddled with bullets, escape

The see of Clermont has gone by various designations; so ancient is this
city that it has been called successively by five different names. Here
where is more Celtic blood than in any other region in France, save
Brittany, the Celtic hero, Vercingetorex, inflicted on Cæsar his sole
defeat. When Gaul became Christian, Clermont continued to be important.
Her first bishop, St. Austremonius, was one of the seven whom Gregory of
Tours says were sent into Gaul in 250 by Pope Fabian, with St. Denis of
Paris, St. Martial of Limoges, St. Saturninus of Toulouse, St. Just of
Narbonne, St. Trophimus of Arles, and St. Gatien of Tours. At the close
of the V century Clermont's bishop, the celebrated Caius Apollinaris
Sidonius, poet and scholar, son-in-law of an emperor, made his stand for
Latin culture against Teutonic submersion. Dearly he loved his own
enlightened Lyons, but of Clermont he said, "Such an horizon would make
a stranger forget his native land." A generation later another
outstanding Gallo-Roman bishop of Clermont was St. Gall, uncle of
Gregory of Tours, who was so just to all that even Jews marched with
lighted tapers at his funeral. Some twenty-six of Clermont's bishops
have been canonized.

The third cathedral of the city, and that which immediately preceded the
present one, was consecrated in 946 by Bishop Étienne II. Clermont had
suffered grievously by Saracen invasion, followed by the Northmen
inroads. After the second Norman sacking the ruined houses smoldered for
a month, and in the streets corpses lay unburied, for the population in
terror had fled to the countryside. The bishop called back his flock to
remake their homes. In his new church was a precocious use of ambulatory
and radiating chapels, a disposition which was to lead to the chief
beauty in the Gothic cathedrals of the land, but which made its
appearance in the Ile-de-France only in the XII century. Bishop
Étienne's Carolingian cathedral became the prototype for the
Auvergnat-Romanesque school.

In the good Étienne's church prayed the first crusaders when by papal
bidding there gathered at Clermont a mighty council at whose tenth and
last session was preached the First Crusade. Nature herself seemed to
have prepared the people's minds for some vast enterprise, for all the
chroniclers of western Christendom describe the sublime shower of astral
stars, thick as snowflakes, which whirled in the sky. So in this same
primeval Auvergne, some six centuries earlier, at the break-up of Rome's
empire before the invading Barbarians, there had for three years been
earthquakes and fiery volcanic eruptions.

Tradition says that the momentous gathering of 1095 took place in what
is now the Place Delille and the adjacent Cours Sablon. Many of our
building friends were present--Bishop Odo from Bayeux, Bishop Ives from
Chartres, Bishop Hoël from Le Mans, the abbots Geoffrey of Vendôme,
Jarenton of St. Bénigne, and St. Hugues of Cluny, and from Spain came
the great Bernardo who ruled the see of Toledo. For the people of
Clermont to-day, November 28, 1095, is as vivid a reality as any of the
revolutions of yesterday. A statue of Urban II stands outside the
cathedral. Even so he stood, said a witness, as one having authority,
high above the vast throng, on one side of him the stunted Peter the
Hermit of Picardy, and on the other the Norman-Italian Bohemund of
Taranto, a veritable Greek god in build and feature. From end to end of
France Urban journeyed to arouse the people. Now he used persuasion, now
invective; sometimes he appealed to idealistic motives or propounded
colonial policies very like modern ideas. Europe had good cause to be
apprehensive. The Almoravids had advanced into Spain. The Seljukian
Turks were a menace more serious than the Saracens. Urban understood the
peril and raised his voice in warning. "Cease to be a terror to peaceful
citizens," he exhorted the gathered barons. "Turn your arms to the
defense of the soil trod by the King of Kings, of the tomb over which
rose the sun of the Resurrection.... The great cities of Asia Minor have
fallen a prey to the Mussulman, who has planted the crescent by the
Hellespont, whence he menaces Europe.... Nation of the Franks, set
beyond the mountains, nation cherished and chosen of God, as clearly
your high deeds prove, nation distinct from others by your situation, by
your faith, by your respect for Mother Church, to you I address my
plea.... Who should right these wrongs but you who have received from on
high agility of body, the training of arms and grandeur of soul?...
Cease these mutual wars!... Jesus Christ died for you. You should be
willing to die for him." And a great answering cry rose from the hundred
thousand gathered there, "God wills it," to be the rallying call of the

Thus in the heart of France a French pope initiated the cosmic ventures
which were to change European ways of life, ventures in which Frenchmen
played a leading part so that to this day a European is called a Frank
by a Mohammedan. One can easily see in the crusades only their failures
and their crimes, one can sneer at them with Voltaire--who sneered at
Jeanne d'Arc. Europe's aggression was needed then to save Christianity
from Asiatic immobility. The benefits of the crusades outweigh their

_Gesta Dei per Francos_ a monk called his chronicle of the First
Crusade. And while those feats by God through the men of France in the
East went on, other feats for God were ventured in France, the raising
of Gothic cathedrals, sister movements that gave wings to the soul,
purifying and molding the faith and the genius of those virile and
faulty generations. Already the movement was stirring. On his way to
Clermont, Urban II had seen Verona Cathedral building and S. Ambrogio's
at Milan. He had blessed S. Abondio at Como. In France he blessed the
new choir of St. Sernin at Toulouse and the material gathered for the
cathedral at Carcassonne. Cluny's new choir he dedicated, and various
other Romanesque churches. Before the Second Crusade set out Suger had
built St. Denis.

[Illustration: _Notre Dame du Port at Clermont-Ferrand. Typical
XII-century Church of Auvergne's Romanesque School_]

In Clermont, though the cathedral of 1095 has been superseded by the
present Gothic structure, there is intact a venerated sanctuary where
Urban had a votive Mass chanted on the eve of the historic council.
Every morning one can see the men and women of the city gather in the
crypt of Notre Dame-du-Port to beg a blessing on their working day. They
may not be able to put into words what it is each feels in that
subterranean chamber impregnated by the petitions of those of their race
who have gone before them, but each knows that here his prayer has
plenitude and patriotic aspiration. A _custodia matutina_ in Notre
Dame-du-Port, _usque ad noctem_ in the cathedral. One fears God in the
cathedral, one loves God in Notre Dame.

Notre Dame-du-Port is a masterpiece of the Romanesque school of
Auvergne.[209] When it was built lava stone was not in use for
construction, but solely for decorative purposes. So curiously alike are
all the pre-Gothic churches in this province that one architect might
have planned them. The venerable crypt of Notre Dame-du-Port was built
in the XI century. The Romanesque church above it was constructed during
the XII century and has all the Auvergnese traits: a central tower in
two stories set on a barlong which forms a kind of upper transept, a
compact apse with snug absidioles whose exterior walls are decorated by
colored volcanic stones in marquetry designs, a western narthex, and a
principal span covered by a half-barrel vault undivided by transverse
arches and buttressed by side aisles surmounted by tribunes, which
meant that light entered the middle vessel indirectly. Auvergne, like
Burgundy, attempted to light her upper church by a clearstory, but found
the experiment hazardous and gave it up. Her churches have stood intact
through centuries of harsh winters. The very mortar lines were made
means of decoration; wide bands of red mortar were found to be effective
with blocks of black lava.[210] In the volcanic soil of Auvergne were
elements that rendered mortar as resistant as stone. The local
Gallo-Romans had used the polychrome lava as decoration.

The interior apse of Notre Dame-du-Port is a gem of masoncraft. Around
the tiny processional path stand engaged pillars that are decoration and
buttresses, too. The regional skill in sculpture appears in the capitals
of the main piers, where the story is related with animation, even if
the figures are too squat and the heads too large. The armor indicates
that the work was done early in the XII century. The doorjamb images at
the southern entrance of the transept were sculptured in the years when
St. Thomas Becket came to Clermont wearing the white robe of the
Cistercians who had given him hospitality in France. Crowds gathered
every day to receive his blessing, for all Christendom held him to be a
saint defending right and liberty. A cast of Clermont's archaic portal,
whose charm is exceptional, with its seraphim of the mystic triple
wings, has been placed in the Trocadéro Museum at Paris. When this side
entrance was completed, Richard Coeur-de-Lion was making over his
claims in Auvergne to his lifetime rival, Philippe-Auguste, which
cession was to lead, in time, to the erection of the Ile-de-France
Picardy cathedral of Clermont.

Some of the most admirably sculptured capitals in Auvergne are at Mozac,
a suburb of Riom.[211] The nave of Mozac's abbey church was built from
1131 to 1147 by a brother of Peter the Venerable, who made Cluny's nave,
and of the doughty abbot, Pons de Montboissier, who erected Vézelay's
portico of paradise, all three of them belonging to a feudal family of
Auvergne. The small abbatial holds a priceless treasure, the reliquary
of St. Calmin, which an abbot presented in 1168. Its fourteen panels of
Limoges enamel are ornamented in gold. A bold attempt was made to rob
the church of this national heritage, so it is now protected by electric
bells and every kind of burglar alarm.

"_Clermont le riche, Riom le beau_," so ran the old saying. Riom, the
small but proud rival of the capital of Auvergne, was a town of
magistrates who built themselves Gothic Renaissance houses as individual
as the pre-Gothic work of the province. The church of St. Amable has a
Romanesque nave and an early-Gothic choir. Jean, Duke of Berry, had Guy
and André de Dammartin design the XIV-century Sainte-Chapelle for his
palace at Riom. Its brilliantly cold stained glass was commanded for the
wedding, in 1389, of sixty-year-old Duke John and the thirteen-year-old
heiress, Jeanne de Boulogne. Froissart has described the curious union.
Each window panel has a single statue under a canopy; the prophets and
apostles carry appropriately inscribed scrolls. A XV-century window,
representing the Bourbon dukes, Jean II and Pierre II, patrons of
Moulins, contains a St. Marguerite so similar to one in the "Book of
Hours" which Jehan Fouquet painted for Étienne Chevalier that the window
is thought to be designed by the great _primitif_ of Tours.

It may be to artists of Jean de Berry's entourage that we owe the most
entrancing Madonna of Flamboyant art, the _vierge à l'oiseau_, an image
in the regional stone which stands at the trumeau of the XV-century
church of Notre Dame-du Mathuret. One student after another has
discussed the date of this exquisite figure, so purely French in
essence, whose simplicity is as ample and unaffected as the best
XIII-century art. Work as exceptional as this is of no date or school,
but is due to some unrecorded individual genius. In that same
late-Gothic day the spirit of St. Louis and Joinville lived again in
_The Very Joyous, Pleasing and Diverting History of the Gentle Lord of
Bayard, written by the Loyal Servitor_.

The serrated foliage of the Madonna's crown proves the sculpture to be
late-Gothic. M. Gonse places it midway in the XIV century, M. Vitry
early in the XVI, and M. Enlart thinks that it could not have been
produced before the XV century. MM. Mâle, Palustre, Merimée, and others
have discussed it. In the ideal innocence and dignity of the Virgin is
Michel Colombe's charm. The legend was that in Egypt the infant Jesus
modeled images of birds, then breathed on them, imparting life. This is
the mystic moment which the unknown master of Riom chose to render;
there is a brooding reverence in the young mother's face as she gazes at
her Son, who ponders in a divine wonderment at a bird about to fly from
his hand.


     Into whatever country you carry war, remember that children, women
     and churchmen and the poor are not your enemies.--(Dying words of
     BERTRAND DUGUESCLIN, killed near Le Puy, 1380).

Le Puy is hoary with history. Perched high on basaltic rocks near the
source of the Loire, picturesque beyond description, it stood on the
great pilgrimage route from Italy to Compostela, the _Via Francigena_ by
which French art and poetry passed into Spain and penetrated to Italy,
along whose pilgrim roads are found portal images of the Round Table
heroes and the sculptured tympanums of France.[213] The cathedral is
built near the top of the town's hill, and above it on the hillcrest has
been set a mammoth statue of Our Lady cast from cannon taken at
Sebastopol. In the immediate suburbs rises another mass of volcanic
rock, a needle some two hundred and fifty feet in height. The oldest
part of the chapel crowning that extraordinary little basalt mountain
dates before the year 1000. The sanctuary is trefoil, like the
early-Christian churches at Rome, and like St. Laurent at Grenoble.[214]
At the end of the XI century St. Michel d'Aiguille was enlarged
irregularly. From time immemorial a shrine dedicated to the Archangel
has crowned the pinnacle: "In the presence of angels I shall sing my

The approach to the cathedral of Le Puy, while less difficult than the
precipitous needle of St. Michel, is equally romantic and solemn. You
mount the hill by the Street of Tables, so called from the days of
pilgrimages, when the merchants' booths lined it. As you climb, the way
changes to a broad flight of steps, more than a hundred, and up and up
you mount, with the polychromatic façade of the cathedral rising before
you on high. Then suddenly, almost before you are aware of what has
happened, you pass right under that western front of the church,
ascending always, climbing under the cathedral's western bays. Formerly
you could have mounted right into the very sanctuary itself, coming to
it through the pavement. To-day the stairway branches, and you enter the
church at the side. Never was there such an approach to the House of
Prayer as this, never a more sublime and grandiose conception than the
shadowed stair over which hangs the façade. Halfway up, where stand red
porphyry columns and doors of chiseled bronze, is carved, "If you do not
fear crime, fear to cross this threshold, for the Queen of Heaven wishes
a devotion without stain."

M. Thiollier has shown that the Romanesque school of the Velay region
was an intermediary between Burgundy, Auvergne, and the Midi, with the
meridional influences the strongest. Le Puy's choir, transept, and two
bays of the nave were erected in the XI century, and of that date is the
cloister walk that touches the church. The transept has a tribune at
each end. Beyond the chevet stood a tower of which the actual one is a
replica. As all the level space available was covered by these
structures, it became necessary, when they wished to lengthen the nave
in the XII century, to build out from the hill a vast masonry foundation
as a platform. It is under those westernmost bays that mounts the
stairway of Wonderland. Each bay of the nave is covered by an oblong
cupola set on an octagonal base, of a type found again only at Poitiers,
in the church of St. Hilaire. At Le Puy the side aisles buttress the

No one should miss seeing a XV-century fresco discovered under
whitewash, in 1860, in the library off the cloister. The Liberal Arts
are symbolized by women of the type of Anne of Brittany with bombous
foreheads, and at the feet of each sits a disciple. Thus Aristotle, with
the sensitive face of a scholar, is seated at the feet of Logic, and
Cicero learns of Rhetoric.

[Illustration: _Le Puy in Old Auvergne_]

The cathedral of Le Puy has been venerated and visited by practically
every ruler of France from Charlemagne to Francis I. This ancient city
was almost chosen as the meeting place for launching the First Crusade.
Urban II paused here in 1095, and the bishop of Le Puy, Adhémar de
Monteil (1087-1100), accompanied him to Clermont, and when the pope's
great rallying speech was ended it was Bishop Adhémar, his face shining
with enthusiasm, who first stepped forward to take the cross. Urban
appointed him the spiritual chief of the expedition, and his skill in
military strategics proved of use since he had been a knight before
becoming a churchman. This good man died in the grievous days at
Antioch, worn out with his efforts to check disorders in the crusaders'
camp. To Adhémar de Monteil has been attributed the _Salve Regina_
called in the olden times the anthem of Puy. To Le Puy's famous shrine
St. Louis presented a thorn from the Crown he had obtained from
Constantinople, and on his way back from his first crusade he deposited
in the church the curious image of a black Virgin given him in Egypt.


    Bien me sourit le doux printemps,
    Qui fait venir fleurs et feuillages;
    Et bien me plait lorsque j'entends
    Des oiseaux le gentil ramage.
    Mais j'aime mieux quand sur le pré
    Je vois l'étendard arboré,
    Flottant comme un signal de guerre.
    Quand j'entends par mont et par vaux
    Courir chevalier et chevaux
    Et sous leur pas frémir la terre,
    Et gens crier: "A l'aide! A l'aide!"
    De voir les petits et les grands
    Dans les fossés roulers mourants.
    A ce plaisir tout plaisir cède.[216]
    --BERTRAN DE BORN (1140-1215).

Although in plan, in the mode of construction, in the covering of
chapels and various details, the resemblances between the cathedrals of
Clermont and Limoges are such that it is thought the same Jean Deschamps
designed both, the cathedral of St. Étienne at Limoges possesses its own
individual character because of the fine-grained, compact granite of
which it is built and the unusual talent of its masons. M.
Viollet-le-Duc considered the apse of Limoges one of the most scientific
of Gothic constructions. The very beautiful leaf foliage is as crisply
cut as when it came from the master's hand. Full of character are the
profiles of the molds used in the triforium for decorative effect.

Because of the enduring quality of their building material, the
Romanesque edifices of Limousin lasted so well that there was little
temptation to tear them down in order to substitute Gothic churches.
Till the Revolution, Limoges kept its great pre-Gothic abbatial of St.
Martial, and its cathedral was, like that of Clermont in Auvergne, an
isolated example of Gothic. Like Clermont's chief church, the western
bays of Limoges were not built till the XIX century. The general aspect
of St. Étienne is Rayonnant. Its Flamboyant Gothic additions were held
in rigorous restraint. When Bishop Aimeric de la Serre (1246-73), a man
of wealth, determined to remake his church, he willed his fortune to the
enterprise. As Bishop Aimeric had just died, the first stone was laid on
June 1, 1273, by Hélie de Malemort, doyen of the chapter. For over fifty
years they built steadily till under Bishop Hélie de Talleyrand the
choir was completed in 1327. A second period of work, from 1344 to the
end of the century, resulted in the south arm of the transept whose rose
is Rayonnant, whereas that to the north is Flamboyant. In its tendency
to eliminate the horizontal line Limoges is eminently a church of the
XIV century. The shafts before the piers rise unbroken from pavement to
vault-springing; the pier arches at the apse curve are very pointed. Yet
there is no geometric dryness in this interior. Plain wall surfaces
above the main arcade and around the triforium and clearstory add to its
robust aspect.

In 1370 the Black Prince sacked Limoges and left little but the
cathedral standing. Froissart recounts that "there was no pity taken of
the poor people who had wrought no manner of treason ... more than three
thousand persons of all ages and both sexes were slain that day ... and
the city clean brent and brought to destruction." It took time and
treasure to repair the devastation. Only from 1458 to 1490 were the two
easternmost bays of the nave erected.

The fourth period of energy at Limoges, from 1515 to 1530, created a gem
of Flamboyant Gothic, the transept's north façade, which is called the
Portail de St. Jean, as it stood near a church dedicated to the Baptist.
Bishop Philippe de Montmorency began it, and his successor, César de
Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, completed it, as their carved armorials bear
witness. Because it stood on the emplacement of the old Romanesque
transept, it was somewhat too narrow. To obviate that impression the
corner buttresses were offset at an angle. The wooden doors of this, the
main entrance to Limoges Cathedral, are of the Renaissance. They
represent the stoning of St. Stephen, and the first Christian missionary
of Limousin, St. Martial, to whom an early local martyr, St. Valérie, is
presenting her decapitated head. The ring of St. Valérie gave symbolic
investiture to the dukes of Aquitaine.

Limoges was active in the Renaissance days. Her bishop, Jean de Langeac,
erected an elaborate _jubé_ between choir and transept, a rood loft
which is one mass of hanging keystones, channeling, bas-reliefs, and
arabesque panels, with six big statues of the Virtues made in 1536 by an
artist of Tours named Jean Arnaud. It is plain to see that the
Renaissance was in full swing. The Labors of Hercules were set forth,
and Bacchus was placed beside Ambrose and Augustine. Perhaps the huge
_jubé_ and the episcopal tomb both came from the studios of Tours, where
had settled the earliest artists of the transalpine Renaissance. The
master hand that made the bishop's tomb, says M. Mâle, followed Dürer,
but his eight Apocalypse panels were an improvement over the designs of
the German. Unfortunately the bronze recumbent figure of the munificent
prelate whose pride it was to adorn his church was melted up for pennies
in 1793. There are two other notable tombs in the choir's procession
path--that of a bishop-builder, Raynaud de la Porte--the only funeral
monument in France that represents stone curtains drawn aside by
angels--and the tomb of his nephew, Bernard Brun (d. 1350). Three of the
Avignon popes were natives of art-loving Limousin.

The Revolution robbed Limoges of the noble abbey church of St. Martial,
which had been dedicated by the pope of the First Crusade in 1095. St.
Martial had formed the center of the Château section of Limoges, ruled
by its own counts with a totally different administration from that of
the Cité division, where the cathedral stood, and whose civic master was
the bishop. Many a feud had Cité with Château. The abbatial of the
"apostle of Aquitaine" would tell us the story had not blind passion
laid it in ruins.

For three hundred years no effort was made at Limoges to complete its
cathedral's nave until, through the enterprise of Monseigneur Duquesnay,
the first stone of the sorely needed western church was laid in 1876 and
the structure finished in 1888. It was joined, by means of a narthex or
forechurch, to the ancient tower which had been built isolated before
the Romanesque cathedral of St. Étienne. In its three lower stories, now
hidden by cumbersome masonry propping, save on the east side, the tower
belonged to the cathedral which Urban II blessed in 1095 when he
dedicated St. Martial's abbatial. Its four upper stories, mainly of the
XII century, were begun by Bishop Sebrand-Chabot while the overlord of
the province, Richard Coeur-de-Lion, was on his crusading venture. In
this very region, at the castle of Chalus near Limoges, the Lion-hearted
met his death in 1199.

The dialect of Limousin was considered the purest form of Provençal by
the troubadours. Here in the west center of France, Coeur-de-Lion's
troubadour friend, the malignant breeder of dissensions, Bertran de
Born, had his castle of Hautefort south of Limoges. He excited Henry
Plantagenet against his sons, and spurred on the sons to rebellion.
Unlike the gentle Valérie who carries in her hands her own head with
right Christian pride since she lost it to witness to the planting of
the Cross, Bertran de Born, sower of discord, is represented swinging
his severed head by the hair like a lantern. So Dante saw him in the
ninth chasm of hell herded with the malicious ones who had abused the
attribute of reason: "I made the father and the son rebels to each
other," he wailed. "Because I parted persons thus united, I carry my
brain, ah, me! parted from its source. Thus the law of retribution is
observed in me."[217] And equally merciless has been the law of
retribution for Limoges, than which no other city has suffered more from
pillage, pest, and fire. Froissart tells us that during centuries the
frontier lands of Limousin and Gascony exercised brigandage as a

Like the three lower stories of the tower, the crypt belonged to the
XI-century Romanesque cathedral of Limoges. On its groin vault was
painted a Byzantinesque Christ surrounded by the symbols of the
Evangelists. The cathedral has recently lost by theft some precious
enamels. From father to son in Limoges passed the skill in this
beautiful art craft. St. Eloi was apprenticed to a goldsmith in Limoges
in the VII century. At Le Mans is the XII-century plaque of Geoffrey
Plantagenet, at Mozac an unrivaled Limousin reliquary, and Jean, duc de
Berry, prince of amateurs, once possessed the best XIII-century work of
Limoges enamel, the gold King's Cup, now in the British Museum. In St.
Pierre's at Chartres are the splendid Apostle plaques of the XVI century
by Léonard Limosin. The earlier method had been to sink the enamel like
a jewel in cells or _cloisons_, hence the name _cloisonné_, but the
Renaissance artists used no inclosing ribbon of metal.

The only ancient windows remaining in the cathedral's clearstory are the
two at the apse end, which a canon, Pierre de la Rodier, presented. When
he became bishop of Carcassonne he built the south chapel that opens
from St. Nazaire's nave (1323-30). In the cathedral chapels are some
XV-and XVI-century lights, and fragments of earlier glass. On the same
river, Vienne, which at Limoges is crossed by two noble XIII-century
bridges, lies Eymoutiers, some thirty miles to the west, between
Clermont and Limoges. Its remarkable collection of windows is entirely
of the XV century; each panel contains a single figure in an
architectural setting.

French writers claim that between Eymoutiers and Limoges took place the
apparition of the Infant Jesus to St. Anthony of Padua which became a
favorite theme with painters, but the Italians insist that Padua was the
privileged spot. Limoges city has its St. Anthony tradition. In its
square, they say, while the saint was preaching in 1225, his audience
was untouched by a rainstorm that inundated the other townspeople. As we
have seen that the building of great churches was preceded in most cases
by a spiritual regeneration, it is not extreme to think that the fervor
roused in the Midi by the great son of St. Francis had much to do with
the laying of the corner stone of Limoges Cathedral in 1273.


     Celuy qui, d'une doulceur et facilité naturelle, mépriseroit les
     offenses reçues, feroit chose très belle et digne de louange: mais
     celuy qui, picqué et oultré jusques au vif d'une offense,
     s'armeroit des armes de la raison contre ce furieux appétit de
     vengeance, et aprèz un grand conflict s'en rendroit enfin maistre,
     feroit sans doubte beaucoup plus. Celuy là feroit bien; et celuy
     cy, vertueusement: l'une action se pourroit dire bonté: l'aultre,
     vertu; car il semble que le nom de la vertu présuppose de la
     difficulté et du contraste. Nous nommons Dieu bon, fort, et
     libéral, et juste, mais nous ne le nommons pas
     _vertueux_.--MONTAIGNE (Mayor of Bordeaux from 1581 to 1585).

While Bordeaux has the warm fertility of the Midi, there is much of the
north in the big commercial city. And its cathedral of St. André is
typical of the dual temperament. The nave is the aisleless, wide hall
preferred by meridionals, the choir has the procession path with its
circlet of chapels loved by the north. Excepting Le Mans, Amiens, and
Rheims, it is the longest cathedral in France.

Bordeaux was an important city in the wide possessions of the dukes of
Aquitaine. In 1137 Aliénor, the daughter of the last William, was wedded
in its cathedral to the prince who immediately ascended the French
throne as Louis VII. When she left him after fifteen years and wedded
Henry Plantagenet the rich city on the Garonne passed under English
rule. In all the vicissitudes of the three hundred years that followed,
from 1154 to 1453, Bordeaux' self-interest kept her faithful to her
masters beyond the sea, the chief customers in her wine trade. Bordeaux
remained French, however, in race and in the expression of race,
architecture. Aliénor's second husband, Henry II of England, was, like
herself, more French than English; of his thirty-four years' reign he
passed only twelve in England, and his son, Coeur-de-Lion, was another

The hardy, domelike vaults carried on diagonals that span the nave of
Angers' Cathedral (c. 1150) have been considered the earliest extant
examples of the Gothic of the West. And yet it is possible, thinks M.
Brutails, the erudite archivist of the Gironde, that the vaults of the
same type which were built over the nave of the present cathedral of
Bordeaux antedated the notable ones of Angers. In Bordeaux occurred one
of the premature isolated examples of Gothic ribs under the south tower
of Ste. Croix. During a revival of builder's energy, from 1052 to 1127
(under the eighth and ninth dukes of Aquitaine), Ste. Croix and St.
Seurin were reconstructed and St. André begun. It seems more reasonable
to suppose, however, that Anjou, where first the cupola church of
Aquitaine met the diagonal ribs of northern France, should have been the
cradle of that phase of the new architecture which we call Plantagenet.

The nave of St. André is a difficult page to read, Romanesque, Gothic,
and Renaissance as it now is. The Romano-Byzantine church here which
Urban II blessed in 1096 exists only in vestiges in the lower walls on
either side of the wide hall. Originally the church had side aisles, but
they were obliterated when the XII century spanned the entire width with
Angevin diagonals. The side walls were then made into two stories, a
lower wall arcade surmounted by a window story, such as we have seen in
the cathedrals at Angers and Angoulême. In 1437 an earthquake caused the
collapse of the masonry roof of the four westernmost bays, which were
recovered by a Flamboyant Gothic vaulting rich with supplementary ribs.

The west front of St. André never was developed, as the church abutted
there on the ancient ramparts. The main entrance was the Porte Royale in
the north flank of the nave, whose statues, made in the golden hour of
St. Louis' reign, were used as models by Viollet-le-Duc when he refilled
the empty niches of Notre Dame at Paris. There can be no clearer
exposition of what qualities were lost in Rayonnant Gothic than to pass
from this apogee portal to the smoother, more conventional images at the
northern entrance to the transept; in the rugged apostles, full of
character, is the touch which all time recognizes as genius; in the
aristocratic churchmen of the XIV-century door is mere talent. To the
nave of Bordeaux a XVI-century archbishop, Charles de Grammont, who
initiated here the Italian Renaissance, added an elaborate buttress.
That miniature façade is called the _contrefort de Grammont_.[219]

Under Archbishop de Mallemort (1227-60) St. André superseded St. Seurin
as the cathedral of Bordeaux. As late as 1259 it lacked a suitable
chevet. Gascony was in chaos in those years when Henry III, builder of
Westminster Abbey, sent the Earl of Leicester, Simon de Montfort (son of
the leader of the Albigensian Crusade), to straighten out the
disorders. That strong administrator, who was on the constitutional
liberal side in English politics, was frustrated by Midi corruption.
Only as the XIII century closed was built the present splendid choir of
Bordeaux Cathedral, a classic work of Rayonnant Gothic before that phase
turned to geometric rule. How technique cramped and killed inspiration
can be seen in the later Rayonnant church of St. Michel. At St. André,
it is true, the capitals are slight and the profiles not overvirile.
Decadence is foreshadowed, but not yet is the art academic and
wiredrawn. The Midi appears in the clearstory and triforium, which do
not fill the entire space between the shafts. The partiality of the
meridional for unencumbered interiors had something to do with making
the procession path thirty feet wide. Most grateful is the traveler for
a curving aisle around the sanctuary after having sojourned among the
cupola and hall-like churches of Anjou and Aquitaine. Bordeaux' choir
possesses some good stained glass of its own period, and some of its
buttress statues are among the best imagery of the XIV century. Mary
Magdalene, carrying her vase of ointment, appears as a chatelaine of the
Middle Ages with the bandeau under her chin then fashionable; Aliénor of
Aquitaine could not have been very unlike her.

The most active patron of St. André's Gothic choir was the archbishop of
the city, Bertrand de Got, who in 1305 became Clement V, the first
Avignon pope. When he died, in 1314, the new choir was practically
completed. His image stands at the trumeau of the transept's north door
(the head and hand are reproductions), and around him are six prelates
who may be intended to represent the French bishops whom Clement raised
to the cardinalate. In technique these images may surpass the
weather-beaten apostles at the Porte Royale (c. 1260), but they are
their inferior in spirit. Five of the statues are studies from the same
model. Casts of the transept portal of Bordeaux are in the Kensington
Museum and in the Trocadéro. The Avignon popes were the chief art
patrons of the XV century, with the four Valois princes--Charles V of
France and his brothers at Dijon, Bourges, and Angers. No pontiff was
more munificent than Clement V. While he was bishop at St.
Bertrand-de-Comminges (Haute Garonne)[220] he renewed that small
cathedral, which consists of two unequal parts, a Romanesque façade,
donjon tower, and forechurch of the day when St. Bertrand had been
bishop (1073-1123), and an unaisled Gothic choir, begun by Bertrand de
Got, continued by him while pope and finished by Bishop Hugues de
Chatillon, who died in 1352.

The Rayonnant chevet of Bordeaux Cathedral and its transept, two of
whose towers are spire-crowned, compose an effective architectural
group, with a detached campanile in the gardens. In order to give
employment to the poor, Archbishop Pierre Berland, who had been a
shepherd's son, erected the graceful, isolated tower for bells to hang
in, "that God might be praised in the sky." And the same generations
built St. Michel's tower (1472-92), the highest beacon in southwest
France, mutilated mercilessly by M. Paul Abadie's restoration. The
lifeless church before which it stands is proof of how much needed was
the vim, even if often exaggerated and bizarre, of the late-Gothic
movement. M. Enlart considers Bordeaux and Bayonne[221] to be two of the
principal doors by which the English Curvilinear style entered France.
There its name is Flamboyant Gothic. And yet in this same Midi, M.
Anthyme Saint-Paul, who denies the English origin of French late-Gothic
architecture, claims to have found proof of his theory that already in
Apogee Gothic and in the Rayonnant hour were developing the
characteristics of the final phase. One cannot help but feel that the
English builders' partiality for exuberant decoration had something to
do with the making of such towers as St. Michel and the Pey Berland. The
landscape round Bordeaux is as rich in sky-pointing spires as Calvados
in Normandy.

When, in 1451, the English surrendered Bordeaux, the great Dunois,
Jeanne d'Arc's companion in arms, was received as conqueror in its
cathedral (where in 1376 the Black Prince had accepted the citizens'
oath of fealty to his father), and to the ringing of bells and cries of
"_Noël_," Archbishop Pierre Berland and the chief men of the town swore
to be loyal subjects of France.

Among the ancient churches of historic interest in Bordeaux is Ste.
Croix, rebuilt by Charlemagne when Saracens destroyed it, and again
remade (1099) as Romanesque according to the school of Poitou. Under its
tower, Gothic ribs were used early in the XII century. The church was
partly wrecked in 1179 and revaulted at the end of the XIII century. In
the sculpture of the rich façade is a certain Assyrian note. M. Brutails
complains that Abadie, the restorer, made of the frontispiece a
neo-Angoumois work and that the north tower is entirely of his building.

Memories of the great Emperor Charles haunt the former cathedral of
Bordeaux, St. Seurin. Fundamentally it belongs to the cupola type of
edifice, and though incessantly rebuilt up to the XV century, it
presents the aspect of a Romanesque church. The south portal (c. 1260),
sculptured with elaborate foliate ornament, has images of unequal merit.
In St. Seurin, says tradition, Charlemagne paused, in 778, with the
bodies of the heroes of Roncevaux to be buried at Blaye, his nephew
Roland and that paladin's comrade, Sire Olivier, and Archbishop Turpin
of Rheims, who fought pagans--_par granz batailles et par mult bels
sermuns_. On the altar of St. Seurin the emperor laid the horn that
Roland blew in his last extremity, the olifant which the Midi folk say
still echoes in the Pyrenean gorges:

    Vient à Burdele la citet de valur,
    Desur l'alter seint Sevrin li barun
    Met l'olifant, plein d'or et de manguns,
    Li pélerin le veient ki là vunt.[222]

    (Came to Bordeaux the city of great price,
    And on the shrine of Baron St. Seurin,
    The olifant Charles laid, filled full with gold,
    And to this day pilgrims can see it there.)

The XX-century pilgrims to the old city on the Garonne must remember
that the _Chanson de Roland_ was written a long, long time ago, and that
to-day the olifant of the paladin lives only in the pages of French
history, where its place is as secure as the standard of Jeanne d'Arc.
_À la peine, à l'honneur._ Without St. Seurin's church we might have
forgotten a proud page of Bordeaux' past.


    Ici, dans Toulouse, je sens palpiter
    La prodigieuse histoire du libre Languedoc!
    Et je vois Saint-Sernin, la grande église romane, ...
    Et le rempart où la pierre écrasa l'oiseau de
    Proie que je ne veux pas nommer....

    À Toulouse vivante, à Toulouse qui chante,
    J'élève mon salut et je dis: Ville sainte!
    Au soleil à jamais épanouis-toi puissante!...
    L'âme du Midi réfugiée en toi,
    Chevaleresque et digne, tu as traversé les âges!
    --Frédéric Mistral, at the _Jeux Floraux_ of Toulouse, 1879.[224]

If the influence of both the north and the south is felt at Bordeaux,
the unadulterated Midi reigns at Toulouse. It is eminently the capital
city of this fertile Languedoc, where art and luxury developed
precociously in the earlier periods of the Middle Ages. Here the
troubadour still sings in the regional tongue which might to-day be the
speech of France (instead of a dialect) had a genius such as Dante
written in the _langue d'oc_, the most gracious form of the Romance
language. It is spoken in Aragon and Catalonia--lands where the
architectural development followed the same trend as that of French

Modern Toulouse is not a handsome city like the Bordeaux of to-day. Its
most imposing church is not its cathedral of St. Étienne, which is as
ungainly outside as it is irregular within. The nave and choir make no
pretense of following the same axis line, since they never were intended
to form one edifice; were the north wall of the nave extended down
through the choir, it would abut on the high altar.

The nave is of enormous span like that of Bordeaux Cathedral. It once
had side aisles, but the entire width of the edifice was thrown into one
hall when the church was remodeled in 1211. Simon de Montfort (whom
Mistral, as a patriotic son of the Midi, refuses even to name in his
verses) was besieging the city while the Angevin vaults of its cathedral
were building, and Count Raymond VI of Toulouse ordered that the works
should continue, war or no war.

The choir of Toulouse Cathedral belongs to the same current of northern
Gothic that produced Clermont, Limoges, and Narbonne. Begun in 1275, it
was inspired directly by Narbonne Cathedral, whose foundation stone was
laid in 1273. The plan is of the north, but the feeling is meridional.
After the death of the wealthy Bishop Bernard de Lille, the founder, the
chapter had not sufficient funds to continue building on the same
ambitious scale. Only in the XV century was the triforium level reached,
and it was not until the XVII century that the masonry roof was added.
Even then it was so skimped that the exterior aspect of the choir is
deplorable. At St. Étienne there seemed to be a fatality against
symmetry. When all hope was given up of replacing the Romanesque nave by
one of the same character as the choir, it was decided to make its
entrance more important; but instead of setting the new Flamboyant
portal in the center of the west façade, it was placed to one side. The
window dedicated to two sons of the Midi, St. Roch and St. Sebastian, is
attributed to Arnaud de Moles who made the celebrated Creation,
prophets, and sibyls of Auch Cathedral. Some of the grisaille in St.
Étienne came from the Jacobins.

There are few church interiors in Europe more stately and unique than
that of the brick abbatial in Toulouse, called the Jacobins', a name
given the Dominicans because their Paris convent was in the rue St.
Jacques. The house of wisdom is founded on seven pillars, Scripture
tells us.[225] So the Friars Preachers planted directly down the center
of their lofty hall church seven columnar piers that soar to an enormous
height. The easternmost one is set in the middle of the apse and on it
fall some fourteen ribs. The vault arches of white stone against the red
brick infilling are of striking effect. No mediæval pillars--save those
of the late-Gothic church of St. Nicolas-du-Port near Nancy--are higher
than the seven giants of Toulouse. In the desecration of the edifice
after the Revolution, its pavement was covered with soil, for the
stabling of horses, but within the last ten years excavations have
exposed the true bases of the piers.

The Jacobins' church was founded in 1229 by a rich citizen and his wife,
who had vowed to devote a large portion of their fortune to God's
service, should their only daughter recover from a desperate illness.
The edifice, constructed with an audacious massiveness, as if for
eternity, has been allowed to fall into general decay, and now appears
more desolate than would a ruin of stone. Like alien images, gargoyles
protrude forlornly from the red brick walls, so inconsistent is brick
with the true Gothic spirit. The Midi was too wedded to classic
traditions to excel in the national art, which it never took completely
to its heart. There is little of the ogival style about these narrow
loophole windows, these diagonals unbraced by flying buttresses. Gothic
in the south has an accidental aspect.

[Illustration: _The Jacobins', or Dominicans', Church at Toulouse_

(_XIII Century_)]

To the greatest of Dominican churches the Avignon pope, Urban V, who
covered the Midi with his monuments, gave the body of St. Thomas
Aquinas, greatest of Dominican doctors. It was saved when the Jacobins
were sacked in 1562, and is now in St. Sernin, whose collection of
authentic relics is the richest in France--and some say in Europe.

Toulouse also had a Franciscan brick church, whose wall bordered on the
city ramparts, so that passages of defense were thrown from buttress to
buttress. That church of the Cordeliers (rich with memories of St.
Anthony of Padua) was burned in 1870, and its lovely XV-century cloister
now forms part of the Museum that is housed in the former convent of the
Augustinians. The graceful octagonal brick tower of the Cordeliers,[226]
saved from the wreckage, was modeled on that of the Jacobins', just as
the Jacobins' tower, in lessening stories, was designed probably by the
architect who made the top stories of St. Sernin's beacon. Artists have
preferred the Jacobins' belfry to its prototype.

The paucity of stone in the province caused the creation of a school of
brick architecture of which Toulouse was the center. One may prefer a
stone architecture, but one cannot deny the lovely tones of brown and
crimson madder acquired in time by these brick monuments of the Midi
that seem created especially for resistance and long duration.

Not the cathedral of Toulouse, but its monastic brick church of St.
Sernin, is the supreme religious monument of the city and the grandest
Romanesque edifice in France. Its date has been discussed by MM. de
Lasteyrie, Corroyer, Saint-Paul, and Jules de Lahondès. In the last
quarter of the XI century the monks began the choir of the present
church, which combined the characteristics of the Romanesque schools of
Burgundy and Auvergne. Those influences had passed south by way of
Conques, where the abbatial of Ste. Foi had been rebuilt a generation
before St. Sernin. In 1083 Cluny monks replaced at St. Sernin the canons
regular, and where Cluny reformed, building activities usually followed.

While the Toulouse monastery church was rising, its selfsame plan
appeared in the northeast corner of Spain in the cathedral of Santiago
Compostela, begun in 1082, too direct a copy to have been done by any
but St. Sernin's own architect or his favorite pupil. In Spain the works
went faster, so that Santiago Cathedral was completed long before the
abbatial at Toulouse, and, being constructed in stone, its interior has
not been marred by centuries of whitewashing.

"The entry of Urban II into Toulouse" is pictured by Benjamin Constant
in the Museum. In 1096, on his journey through France, preaching the
First Crusade, he blessed the unfinished choir and transept of St.
Sernin. The aisles around the transept form the most imposing part of
the church. As the XI century closed, the transept was continued and the
nave begun under the direction of a monk-builder, St. Raymond Gaynard, a
man of wealth before entering the cloister. He conceived the masterly
plan of five aisles. The side aisles were covered by a quarter-barrel
vaulting that serves the purpose of a continuous flying buttress.
Perhaps it was when the original architect of St. Sernin had proceeded
to Santiago Compostela that St. Raymond became master-of-works at
Toulouse. In 1119, a year after his death, another pontiff, Calixtus II,
blessed St. Sernin.

From 1120 to 1140 was made the south portal, which constitutes, with
Moissac's[227] portal and cloister, the chief works extant of the
Languedoc school of sculpture. That school needs a competent biographer
who will do for it what M. Paul Vitry has done for the
Region-of-the-Loire school, and MM. de Vasselot and Koechlin for the
imagery of southern Champagne.[228] The high-water mark of the regions'
sculpture was attained in the Annunciation group at Moissac, whose
ethereal elongated figures in clinging draperies rouse the imagination.
The monks of Moissac, being Cluniac and not Cistercian, found imagery
profitable to their souls. What were Bernard's thoughts as he gazed at
their haunting rendering of the Incarnation?

Puritan Bernard thundered against the bizarre grotesques carved in
cloisters. Up to 1140 they were popular, since the untrained
stonecutters found it easier to make a caricature than an image true to
nature. The invasions of the Barbarians had wiped out the sculptor's
art, and the men of the XI century had to rediscover it. While St.
Bernard sojourned in Toulouse he lived in St. Sernin's monastery, a
Cluniac house, and it is probable that he paused with the monks at
Moissac on the memorable journey he made into Languedoc to combat the
fast-spreading dualist heresy of the Catharists. He was accompanied by
Bishop Geoffrey de Lèves of Chartres, the builder of the most beautiful
tower in the world. Surely those enlightened men mused with spiritual
benefit before the _Ecce ancilla Domini_ at Moissac? But one very much
doubts if Bernard could have approved of four hundred carven capitals in
the abbatial at Toulouse.

Slowly the making of St. Sernin's nave advanced. At first it was built
story by story, but later the more usual procedure of bay by bay was
adopted. In 1217, from the roof of St. Sernin, the stone was thrown that
killed Simon de Montfort, who was besieging Toulouse. To the end of time
a character such as his will rouse both enthusiasm and detestation. His
personal morals were exemplary, his own troops adored him. The leading
men of Christendom regarded him as an instrument of Heaven and right
progress. The Midi execrated him, and does to this day, even as Ireland
execrates Cromwell, whom good Puritans consider a hero, for the
religious psychology of those two born leaders was curiously alike. With
God's name on their lips their troops felt righteous in butchering.

With the death of Simon de Montfort the Albigensian wars changed in
character. Simon's son, Amaury de Montfort, was incapable of retaining
the principality won by his father's sword, so he sensibly passed over
his claims to the king of France. The struggle henceforth was purely
political. Blanche of Castile's wise head solved the Midi tangle when
she married her son Alphonse of Poitiers to the heiress of the Count of
Toulouse, with the understanding that, should the young people die
childless, Languedoc fell to the French Crown. Alphonse gave the Midi,
says Molinier, the first intelligent administration it had received
since the better times of the Roman Empire. When he and his wife died,
returning from St. Louis' fatal crusade of 1270, the great southern land
became a part of France.

The Albigensian wars--for with reluctance one calls those years of
bitter strife a crusade--delayed the completion of St. Sernin, whose
main façade is gaunt and bare, and whose westernmost windows lack stone
casements. When the Midi came under French rule the monks attained
sufficient prosperity to erect the octagonal tower in five stories--each
of lesser dimensions than the one below it. The upper stories used the
miter arch so suited to brick. M. Enlart has called attention to the
affinity of the _clochers Toulousans_ and the Lombard steeples. At
present the underpinning of the tower obstructs the transept-crossing,
but propping is better than demolition, which is what M. Viollet-le-Duc
proposed in his blind enthusiasm for unity of style. The townspeople
indignantly protested and the supreme beacon of this patroness city of
art was saved.

A proud boast of Toulouse is that the first Dominican monastery was
established there, and by Dominic himself, the saint whom Dante called
"the messenger and familiar of Christ."[229] The Friars Preachers, like
the Franciscans (who, because of a new appreciation of their founder's
character, are found sympathetic by many who still call a Dominican a
"bloody sort of monk"), were agents for the quickening of the religious
fervor of the XIII century. Both Orders were protests against abuses
such as luxury, love of gold, and selfish privilege, which feudalism had
helped to foster in the clergy.

Dominic de Guzman was a Castilian gentleman, a trained scholar, a man
whose luminous face won instant affection and respect. In the first
years of the XIII century he came north with the bishop of Osma on a
diplomatic mission relating to a royal marriage. As those two good men
journeyed through Languedoc amid the fearful havoc wrought by heresy,
the vocation of the younger priest took shape. Returning from Italy in
1206, he and the bishop of Osma laid aside pomp and comforts to
evangelize according to primitive Christianity. Only too clear was it to
them that heresy was fed by the unworthy priesthood of the Midi that had
lost the people's esteem. Two generations earlier St. Bernard had
lamented over the same evil. Innocent III rebuked the worldling prelate
of Bordeaux, and asked the bishop of Narbonne if he had a purse in place
of a heart. After ten years' heroic missionizing both before and during
the Albigensian Crusade, Dominic won papal sanction for his new Order in
1216. He was then a man of forty-seven. When he died, at Bologna in
1221, he left flourishing houses all over Christendom.

The function of his Friars was to teach again Christian doctrine in its
purity; hence it was only natural, when the Inquisition[230] was
founded, after the death of Dominic, that it should be intrusted to such
trained theologians. They were to be a kind of jury to ascertain whether
a case was heretical; if it was so decided, then the civic authorities
stepped in and took action, since heresy was a state offense.

The best minds of that day held the theory that the decline of religion
was a menace to law and order. The violent repression of heresy to
prevent the dissolution of society seemed then as necessary as the
repression of anarchy seems to-day. It had not always been so. "Slay
error, but always love the man who errs," was St. Augustine's maxim. St.
Ambrose and St. Hilary reprobated physical violence toward heretics.
Gregory VII had protested against the "impious cruelty" which had burned
a man of Cambrai for heresy. "Heretics are to be taken by force of
arguments, not by force of arms," said the vehement St. Bernard himself
on one occasion. Gradually a different outlook had taken possession of
men's minds, a change of view that was to cost the Church dear. Crusades
against the infidel were on every side, in the Orient, in the Balkans,
in Spain. When heresy took on so alien and perverse an aspect as the
Catharist errors, which were at root the negation of Christian standards
and a veritable antisocial menace, it needed but an incident to start a
crusade against heretics in France.

It should not be forgotten that had the Albigensians won the victory,
the south of France would have been placed outside the pale of western
civilization as effectively as was southern Spain under Moslem rule. Had
the Midi wars been conducted by civil authority many a partisan of
to-day would not hold them up as exceptional horrors, but, since all the
thinking of the Middle Ages was expressed in religious form,
unfortunately the term "crusade" was used for the embittered struggle in
the south.


     La vérité n'est point a nous, nous n'en sommes que les témoins, les
     défenseurs, et les dépositaires.--MASSILLON.

So interwoven is the architectural story of Languedoc with the
Albigensian Crusade that to find the underlying significance of the
southern monuments it is needful to comprehend the trend of thought of
the Midi people. We have the unbroken testimony of five hundred years as
to what were the tenets of Catharism, the final form taken by the
Manichean heresy. They held that two principles, one good and one evil,
ruled the universe. In the third century Manes in Persia had woven a
curious tissue of beliefs, largely Zoroastrian with a tinge of Buddhism,
and had coated it all with a thin veneer of Christianity of the gnostic
type. The dualist idea and a complete rejection of the Old Testament
were leading Manichean doctrines. Manes was put to death in Persia, but
his teachings lingered on in the Orient, and after seven centuries crept
into Europe by way of the Slav countries of the Balkans. Without a
doubt, the intercourse of Europe with the Orient, through the crusades,
fostered the gnostic superstitions. The dualist heresy cropped out in
the north of France, but after the XII century was confined more or less
to Languedoc, where the Visigoths' Arian beliefs had prepared the soil.
From the XI to the XIII century these neo-Manicheans were called
Catharists. The local name Albigensian came into usage because in the
region round Albi, though not especially in that city itself, the new
ideas flourished. Toulouse was the heretic's stronghold.

It has always seemed illogical that many Protestants who revere the
Bible should be sympathetic toward the Midi heretics who reprobated the
Jehovah of the Old Testament as a vindictive assassin, the creator of
this the visible world, which is Hell. Life is a nightmare, they taught,
and suicide a virtue. Moses was sorcerer and thief (and the Ten
Commandments?). John the Baptist was a strong incarnation of the Devil
sent to combat the coming Christ. Baptism by water was reprehensible. On
this muddle of the Old Law was grafted some neo-Christian spiritism.
Christ was the God of good who created the invisible world of spirits.
He was a phantom being who never really lived on earth or suffered or
died. The Albigensian denied His human nature. Man's body, living or
dead, was Satan's (Jehovah's) creation and to be annihilated; respectful
burial of the dead was frowned on; marriage was sinful, since to
engender was to capture souls and imprison them in the material world or
Hell. Libertinage was preferable to marriage, since it did not pose as
virtuous. We find in an official recantation of his Albigensian beliefs
by a Midi lord that he promises to accept the Church's tenet that
marriage is not sinful, as was taught by his sect.

The Albigensian heresy was an anti-social peril. It is sophistry to say,
as has Molinier, that we do not know what they taught, or to call their
movement a step in freeing the human mind, as do certain modern
rationalists. They had two moralities, one for the people, or Hearers,
and a stricter code for the elect, or the Perfect. If a Perfect
relapsed, he had, after death, to pass through another existence, or
Hell, in another body.

This current of anti-Christian thought, flowing in from the East,
brought with it the over-rigid asceticism of the Orient, but in the Midi
few lived up to ascetic practices. There were minor divergencies in the
tenets according to the different regions, but always, East or West, the
heretics were one in their detestation of the Jehovah of the Old
Testament, and of the Church and her sacraments, especially that of Holy
Eucharist. The Church was held to be a prolongation of the abhorred
synagogue, and, like it, an incarnation of Satan.

No one can deny the crying need of reform in the Midi church. But the
Albigensians damned one half of the Creator's work--the visible
world--and the perfection which they preached was race suicide. When,
more recently, Mormonism struck at the root of the social fabric, the
United States government took immediate action. Had the Mormons
resisted, had they, for instance, murdered an ambassador from Washington
and war resulted, would we not think that the use of force by the
Federal government was legitimate?

From 1100 to 1208 Rome had sent one peaceful ambassador after another
into Languedoc. St. Bernard, who was loved all over Europe, was stoned
in the Midi streets. The Albigenses were aggressive wherever they
outnumbered the orthodox, and as most of the Midi lords held the new
tenets, it was the believer who was persecuted in Languedoc. Churches
were attacked and bishops flung into prison. Because the Count of
Béziers accepted a local council which had censured the heretics, he was
murdered by the people of Béziers in the very church and on the very
day where they themselves, forty years later, were massacred by the
northerners. "On all sides is the image of death," wrote the visiting
bishop of Tournai, in 1182, "villages are in ashes, churches in ruin,
and the inhabitants living like beasts." Long before the crusaders
arrived in Languedoc life there was a bloody feud, and like ravening
wolves the heretic lords warred one on another; their repeated divorces
were a flaunted scandal.

The Albigensian Crusade is no isolated page in the annals of the Midi.
Read of the anarchy in the south, previous to 1208, and then pass from
the XIII century to the gigantic duel between France and England in the
Hundred Years' War. You will feel no sense of dislocation. The crusade
methods were hideous, but not exceptional. In the later debacle,
Froissart relates as a matter of course the pleasant little jaunt of the
Black Prince, _fleur de toute chevalerie_, into Languedoc, in 1355,[232]
when he burned some seven thousand houses in the faubourgs of Toulouse,
when Carcassonne was twice sacked and burned, Narbonne wrecked, treasure
seized, and all ages and sexes butchered "till a line of fire and blood
stretched from Toulouse to the sea." And the Black Prince was succeeded
by avowed freebooters who gnawed France to the bone, the Grandes
Compagnies who, as said the harassed pontiff at Avignon, _mettaient tout
la Crestienté à combustion_. It was in the dire times of the XIV century
that the Midi churches fortified themselves.

War slackens architectural work in any period. A radical decay of
builders' energy in the Midi was not the result of the Albigensian
Crusade, since Languedoc erected its chief Gothic churches between those
wars and the Hundred Years' War, a period, moreover, that was controlled
by the newly functioning Inquisition. To generations torn by anarchy,
the methods of that tribunal, hateful though they appear to us, were an
advance in jurisprudence. Every leader of the day accepted them as a
progress. The civil courts were not to be able, for centuries to come,
to offer even such guaranty for justice. No balanced mind can read the
lives of such chief inquisitors as, for instance, St. Raymond of
Penafort,[233] and fail to comprehend that past history is not to be
read in the light of modern prejudices.

Rome had carried on a hundred years' diplomatic negotiation with the
Midi heretics. Finally, in 1208, the pope's legate was murdered by a
henchman of the Count of Toulouse and hostilities were precipitated.
Innocent III proclaimed a crusade. Later he regretted its excesses just
as he had cause to deplore the divergence of the Fourth Crusade to
filibustering purposes, but he was too entirely a man of his own epoch
to regret the Albigensian Crusade itself. By 1209 the northern barons
had invaded Languedoc and many a building-bishop was in their ranks.

The spirit of crusading was at first strong enough to prevent their
attacking the rich trading city of Montpellier which lay in their path
but which was singularly free of heresy. Yet their very next step was a
sacrilege. The orthodox population of Béziers, when called on to deliver
up their heretic citizens, answered they would sooner see themselves
sunk in the deep sea. It would seem that from the first hour many
Catholics of the Midi looked on the crusade as a war of conquest on the
part of the barons of the north. Between north and south was deep-rooted
antipathy. The more cultivated but more corrupted Midi scorned the
rougher peoples beyond their confines, who in their turn despised the
southerners. Inevitable was it that a clash between those opposite
civilizations should acquire the character of racial hate.

Simon de Montfort, chosen leader of the crusaders after the sack of
Béziers, soon overran the heretical region, whereupon many barons of
the north, deeming that the ethical purpose of the Midi excursion was
accomplished, returned to their homes. Henceforth the racial and
political aspects of the struggle were accentuated. Cruelty and perfidy
marked both sides. The Midi lords boasted that no crusader escaped them
with eyes, fists, or feet, and they cut into little pieces the nephew of
Albéric de Humbert, archbishop-builder of Rheims Cathedral. In
retaliation Simon de Montfort cut off heretics' ears and noses.

By 1212 word was sent to Innocent III that hate and cupidity, as much as
zeal for the Faith, actuated the invaders, whereupon the pope roundly
ordered them to pass into Spain to fight Islam. It was too late to stem
the tide. In 1215, at the Fourth Lateran Council, in which every power
in Christendom, lay and ecclesiastic, had a voice, Simon de Montfort's
retention of his Midi conquests was sanctioned. Simon's death, in 1218,
led young Raymond VII of Toulouse to rise in arms and the wars that
followed were frankly political. In 1229 peace was signed under the
portal of Paris Cathedral and the only daughter of Raymond VII affianced
to the brother of the king of France.


     Laissons-nous aller de bonne foi aux choses qui nous prennent par
     les entrailles et ne cherchons point de raisonnements pour nous
     empêcher d'avoir du plaisir.--MOLIÈRE.

The city which gave its name to the terrible episode of the XIII century
lies forty miles east of Toulouse. The local saying is, "Who has not
seen the cathedral of Albi and the tower of Rodez has seen nothing."
Albi Cathedral yields to none in its gaunt majesty. It stands apart in
one's visions of travel, as unique a memorial of past history as the
Mount of the Archangel off the coast of Normandy, as Vézelay looking out
over the soft valleys of Burgundy, as Le Puy on its basaltic pinnacles.
Never was a monument more absolutely itself.

[Illustration: _Albi Cathedral (1282-1399). A Midi Fortress Church_]

Unfrequented Albi was once in the stir of life, and over its stone
bridge, built nine centuries ago, have passed the notable folk of the
Middle Ages[235] as they wended their way to Santiago Compostela,
whither all the world was going in those days. Time-scarred houses
border the reddish Tarn; dark, decayed streets climb the hill. At a
curve of the river, bastions and ramparts rise in terraces to a
fortified episcopal palace and--crowning all--the enormous bulk of the
cathedral. Its long, stark wall strikes the sky in a formidable straight
line. The west façade is a massive donjon, four hundred feet above the
Tarn. No welcoming west portals here, no extended transept arms of
sacrificial mercy, no soaring buttress, no leaping pinnacles. Not the
lore of Christ, "Do as you would be done by," seems to have inspired
Albi, but the Hebraic spirit of breaking one's enemies' bones, as if the
Jehovah of the Old Testament, outraged by Albigensian blasphemies, here
asserted himself in a temple that would forever be a looming menace for

Albi's forbidding structure rose between those two harsh epochs--the
Albigensian Crusade and the Hundred Years' War. Its aggressive mass was
planned by a most aggressive churchman, Bernard, Cardinal de Castanets,
the city's learned bishop detested of the people as their uncompromising
feudal master, as well as a spiritual chief so harsh in his
inquisitorial functions that a pontifical commission was appointed, in
1306, to repair his excesses. In 1282 Bernard de Castanets laid the
first stone of Albi Cathedral and for twenty years he and the chapter
contributed a twentieth of their revenues. The church was finished by
the sixty-fifth bishop, Guillaume de la Voulte, in the last years of the
XIV century.

To approach the cathedral at its apse end is not so picturesque as from
the river side, but it is formidable enough. The prodigious apse rises
abruptly, imperiously, from the town square. One fairly shivers beneath
its Tolosan brick walls, overtowering and overpowering, broken merely by
a few narrow windows--surely the narrowest ever made in a Gothic
church--and by uniform bastion-tower buttresses. Gargoyles, of as alien
an aspect as those of the Jacobins' at Toulouse, crane their gaunt necks
from the upper walls, as if asking what manner of Gothic this is.

Albi Cathedral is the meridional interpretation of the national art. The
traditions of Rome held tenaciously in southern France, where builders
disliked to show the machinery by which their edifices stood. The
buttresses at Albi are in larger part hidden within the church under the
guise of walls between the side chapels. The flying buttress is uncommon
in the Midi. Like Rome again, with her preference for an unencumbered
floor space, Albi's immense interior is unbroken by aisles. The vault's
diagonals spring over a width of sixty feet--a span unrivaled by any in
the north. Albi Cathedral is a vast hall three hundred feet long, one
hundred feet high, not high enough for its length, perhaps, but few will
regret having the marvelous frescoed ceiling, "the missal of St.
Cecilia," brought nearer to the eye.

The tutelary of this fortress-church is the gentle patroness of music.
Half the fascination of Albi comes from its convincing inconsistencies.
It would seem that not Cécile--doubly feminine and gracious under her
French name--but Michael Archangel with a brandished sword, should guard
this rugged pile. As if the good people of Albi felt the incongruity,
they added, long after Bishop de Castanets' day, a southern portal
preceded by a porch, the baldaquin, with all its elaborate Flamboyant
tracery executed in a creamy-white marble in which surely Cécile, saint
though she was, must have felt a personal satisfaction. An architect of
genius set that marble porch of Albi against its red time-dulled walls,
'alabaster on corall'; one takes liberties with Chaucer's rime:

    And southward in a portal on the wall
    Of alabaster white on red corall
    An oratorie riche for to see,
    In honor of the Roman Cicily.

To ascend to the marble baldaquin one passes under a fortified
sculptured gateway, erected by the Dominican bishop of Albi, Dominique
de Florence (1392-1410). The marble portal and porch were executed under
Bishop Louis I d'Amboise (1472-1502) and his successor, Louis II
d'Amboise (1502-11) his nephew, belonging to an enlightened family all
of whose members excelled in affairs, war, letters, and art, leaving
their memorials at Chaumont on the Loire, their feudal seat, at Cluny,
Paris, Clermont, Gaillon, and Rouen.

Louis I d'Amboise also adorned the interior of his cathedral by the
sumptuous screen of white stone that surrounds the choir, leaving a
passageway between it and the side chapels. The rood-loft, or _jubé_ (so
called because from its balcony the clerk chanted _Jube Domine dicere_
before the gospel), is sculptured with the ermine of Anne of Brittany
and the lilies of France, being made about 1499, when Anne wedded Louis
XII. Bishop Louis at Albi was brother of the king's prime minister,
Cardinal Georges d'Amboise.

Originally the choir screen of Albi was painted in colors. While the
accessories indicate that the Italian Renaissance was obtaining headway
in France, the images derive from the short, overdraped Franco-Flamand
figures of Dijon. Perhaps the stonecutters who made Albi's choir wall
came direct from Cluny, where a late-Gothic chapel, on which had worked
Abbot Jacques d'Amboise, was adorned with prophets and apostles, each
with his suitable text. On the inner wall of Albi's choir screen are
sculptured homely but charming little angels, and the twelve apostles
holding scrolls inscribed with phrases of the _Crédo_. Old Testament
personages, who only heralded the Messiah, were not admitted to the
_sanctum sanctorum_; the vestibule was their proper place. Prosper
Mérimée called Albi's screen "a splendid folly before which one is
ashamed to be wise." Inside and out it is exuberant with sculpture,
though its extravagant caprices do not stifle a very real religious
feeling in the images. Such a profusion of delicate ornament led the
modern critic to suspect that the choir wall was modeled in cement, not
chiseled in stone, but when a Sorbonne geologist analyzed the substance
it was found to be a fine-grained white stone that grows harder with

Everywhere in St. Cecilia's cathedral is fragile loveliness set side by
side, as an afterthought, with stern forcefulness. Bishop Louis II
d'Amboise brought from Italy a group of artists to paint the panels of
Albi's cyclopean vaulting, and the work accomplished by those men of
northern Italy, from 1509 to 1512, remains the most splendid color
decoration of the Middle Ages in France. Michael Angelo was painting the
Sistine Chapel ceiling in those same years. Languedoc produced another
superb array of color, the windows of Auch Cathedral,[236] and we must
not forget that the greatest of all Renaissance glassworkers, the friar
who filled Arezzo with glory, was a Midi Frenchman.

Amid Albi's arabesques the artists from Bologna and Modena inscribed
their names, and some young lovers wrote "Antonia, mia bella," and
"Lucrezia Cantora, bolognesa." The frescoes give the genealogy of
Christ. They recall Perugino, Francia, and Pintoriccio. Never was blue
background more marvelous--a strong rare hue neither indigo nor Prussian
nor peacock, but a blending of them all in a cerulean depth of
color--an art as entirely lost to posterity as the blue background of
Suger's windows. Chemical analysis has busied itself with Albi's
frescoes, too; but though the blue color of the vault panels was found
to be obtained from the precipitation of salts of copper by carbonate of
potassium, how to produce a similar hue to-day remains unsolved. Over
the blue background wind lovely arabesques, and the saints portrayed are
stately Italians of the Renaissance. The diagonals and transverse arches
are colored in old-gold. On the western wall of the church a XV-century
fresco was painted directly on the bricks, a Last Judgment copied from
popular woodcuts of the day, with the punishments of the seven deadly
sins pitilessly set forth. The painting was ruthlessly cut into when a
chapel was introduced under the western tower. The side chapels of Ste.
Cécile are illuminated in gold and color like a Book of Hours. Never was
there a church of such contrasts: within--a shrine of warm, polished,
over-splendid beauty, and without--the most rugged feudal challenge of
the Middle Ages.


     It is the first sharp vision of an unknown town, the first
     immediate vision of a range of hills, that remains forever, and is
     fruitful of joy within the mind ... that is perhaps the chief of
     the fruits of travel.--HILAIRE BELLOC.

The Cité of Carcassonne was long one of the most formidable fortresses
of Europe, covering the route from ocean to sea and guarding a pass into
Spain. These Pyrenean provinces of France gave Joffre and Foch to the
World War. The lower walls of the Cité were of Rome's building; above
came the Visigothic defenses; then St. Louis extended the fortifications
and his son completed them.

Within its double belt of walls and half a hundred towers is the
precious little church of St. Nazaire, once of cathedral rank. Its
western front was never opened by a portal because it stood near what
were long the outer ramparts. The Romanesque nave is small and dark,
without triforium or clearstory, and with high aisles that buttress the
tunnel vault of the principal span, whose transverse ribs are slightly
pointed. Piers and columns alternate. The materials to build this early
church were blessed by Urban II in 1096 in the same month that he
dedicated the new choir of St. Sernin at Toulouse. St. Nazaire was an
entirely Romanesque church when Simon de Montfort ruled the Cité for ten
years. In this church St. Dominic married Amaury de Montfort to a
princess of Dauphiny. St. Dominic had held a public controversy of eight
days with the heretics of Carcassonne in 1205, before the coming of the
northern barons, and in St. Nazaire he preached the Lent of 1213. Simon
de Montfort was buried temporarily in St. Nazaire, and there exists in a
nave chapel a sculptured stone which some have thought to be part of his
sepulcher, but which is more probably from the tomb of a brother of
Count Raymond of Toulouse, who, having sympathized with the northern
barons, was slain in consequence. The curious stone shows the engines of
war described in the _Chanson de la Croisade_, and the costumes of that

Under Bishop Radulph (1255-66), who built the Gothic chapel beside the
south arm of the transept, permission was obtained to replace the
ancient transept and choir by a new one. Bishop Radulph won forgiveness
for those citizens of Carcassonne who were expelled from the fortress in
1262, because they had conspired against the crown with one of the
Trencavel dynasty, their old rulers, and the builders of the Cité's
château. Louis IX, who governed Carcassonne through a seneschal, allowed
the exiles to start the present town of Carcassonne beyond the river, in
the plain below the citadel.

The erection of the Gothic half of St. Nazaire took place under Bishop
Pierre de Roquefort (d. 1321) during the first twenty years of the XIV
century. To him we owe the radiant glass lantern which is St. Nazaire's
transept and choir, a structure that is really a big transept with seven
chapels, equally high, along its eastern wall, the central of which
chapels, and the longest, serving as choir. The windows in the chapels
rise to the roof, and are filled with clear and brilliant glass ranked
with the best of the XIV century; those in the first two chapels excel
the others. Two windows show the arms of Pierre de Roquefort. St.
Nazaire was one of the last to use the legend-medallion type of window;
henceforth, in each panel, a single figure was placed in an
architectural setting.

The seven eastern chapels of the transept open one on the other above a
low dividing wall, and standing out from those walls, so that a narrow
passage is made between them and the transept, are detached piers that
rise powerfully from pavement to vault-springing. Above their capitals
the molds die away in the column--a very early use of a Flamboyant
characteristic. The two pillars flanking the entrance to the choir are
decorated, midway up, with statues under canopies sculptured by northern
artists before 1320.

Archæologists declare that the Gothic part of the Cité's ancient
cathedral are the perfection of XIV-century construction, elastic in
every part, each part fulfilling its own separate function. The ogival
principle could not be carried farther. It is thought that some
architect of the north made the plan, which local masons executed. The
only Midi trait is the flat, tiled roof.

Modern restoration has overhauled the citadel of Carcassonne too
radically. Imperiously set though it is, does it grip the imagination as
entirely as Aigues-Mortes, lying flat on marsh lands, its time-stained
walls untouched? Often in France one echoes Pius IX's response to Baron
de Crozé, who proposed the restoration of the Coliseum: "Dear Son, I
have read your memoir and I thank you for it; but do you not know that
there are two sorts of vandalism, one which consists in destroying, the
other in restoring? Never has the Coliseum been so beautiful as in its
moving contrast of past splendor and magnificent present decay. To
restore it is to annihilate the work of centuries, to recompose an
ordinary pastiche with no _éclat_."

Not that Carcassonne, as redressed by M. Viollet-le-Duc, is deficient in
_éclat_; it has too much of it. It is a vision of a feudal fortress too
carefully prepared, too deliberately made ready for the tourist.

In the lower town are the typically meridional churches of St. Michel,
the actual cathedral of Carcassonne, and St. Vincent whose aisleless
hall is the widest in the Midi--a span of sixty-eight feet. Even when
using diagonals, the south kept true to its favorite Romanesque
traditions. Neither church has a triforium, the apse windows are long
and narrow, over the entrance of each chapel is an eight-lobed rose, and
the buttresses are disguised as walls between the side chapels. The
tracery is Rayonnant. St. Vincent was built after the Black Prince
burned Carcassonne in 1355. At its sculptured portal was placed a statue
of the newly canonized saint-king, Louis IX, under whom this modern
Carcassonne was founded.


    Que chaque homme console un homme,
    Fasse un bien, donne une pitié,
    Ne t'occupe pas de la somme:
    Ce pain sera multiplié.
    --JEAN AICARD (born in the Midi, 1848).

At Narbonne one is at the very heart of the Midi. It is an ancient
mother city of Europe, a capital of Celtic Gaul. Surpassed by nothing
in the Roman world, Narbonne kept its pre-eminence under both pagan and
Christian Rome. It became the seat of the Visigothic royal line, and of
their Moorish conquerors. Charlemagne made it a fortified outpost, and
during the Middle Ages it was the richest of trading centers, a third of
whose population was Jewish. In 1311, the same covetous king who
abolished the Templars banished the Jews, to whom Charlemagne had given
the freedom of this town for their support of his cause against Islam.
To-day one walks its dust-white streets with a strange sensation of
loneliness. Narbonne is a dead city.

When in the latter part of the XIII century the great Gothic cathedral
of St. Just was begun, there seemed no reason why so flourishing a
trading center could not succeed in the enterprise. Unlike Beauvais,
where the chief church was from its inception out of all proportion to
the population, Narbonne could easily have erected a nave to complete
its mighty choir. In 1272 was laid the first stone of St. Just
Cathedral.[239] Then there occurred here what happens to all rivers that
communicate with the sea by means of lagoons: gradually the salt lakes
silt up till they become marshes through which the river winds
tortuously till suddenly it breaks a new path to the sea. In 1320
occurred this catastrophe for Narbonne. The Roman dike gave way and the
river Aude left its ancient bed, quitting Narbonne to flow toward
Courson, where it still is. The stagnant waters bred disease, and the
metropolis, greeted by Sidonius Apollinaris for its salubrity, _Salve
Narbo, potens salubritate_, became a pestilential site. Narbonne sank
into silent decay. Over the shrunken city stands the ghostly fragment of
the great cathedral, surpassed in height only by Beauvais and Amiens.

St. Just was begun in 1272, and three years later the cathedral of
Toulouse was started on a plan and with profiles so closely resembling
Narbonne's chief church that one master may have designed both. Both
derive immediately from those northern Gothic churches translated with a
meridional accent, the cathedrals of Clermont, whose choir was finished
in 1265, and of Limoges, begun in 1273.

The Midi shows in Narbonne Cathedral in the simplified triforium which
is framed by wall spaces, as are the clearstory windows, in the
extremely high pier arcades, and in the stout buttresses that are
disguised as dividing walls between the side chapels. The capitals are
mere uncarved bands, and over them certain molds die away in the pier.
M. Anthyme Saint-Paul's theory was that even in the XIII century began
the evolution which was to end in Flamboyant Gothic. He pointed out, in
Narbonne's chapels, windows with Rayonnant tracery side by side with
flamelike undulations. M. Enlart thinks we cannot be sure that they were
done at the same time. An unusual and graceful aspect was achieved in
the choir's northern aisle by the setting of piers beyond the dividing
walls of the chapels, making a kind of double aisle like that in the
transept of St. Nazaire at Carcassonne.

An architect named Henri is cited as master-of-works at Gerona Cathedral
whose chevet, begun after 1312, resembles that of St. Just. Henri was a
name uncommon in the Midi. It is thought that he was the original
architect of Narbonne. His successor at Gerona, Jacques de Favari or
Favers, a name of the central plateau of France, is known to have
directed the works of Narbonne's chief church. Catalonia, Aragon, and
Languedoc were allied in architecture as in tongue. Poblet in Catalonia
is directly the daughter of the abbey at Fontfroide, six miles from
Narbonne.[240] The Gothic influence of Narbonne spread to the isles in
the Mediterranean, to southern Italy and Cyprus.

Archbishop Maurin began Narbonne Cathedral after the tragic crusade of
St. Louis in 1270. He had vowed that if ever again he saw the fair land
of France he would offer thanksgiving by rebuilding his church. The
corner stone and relics were sent by Pope Clement IV, originally a
lawyer at St. Gilles, and then archbishop of Narbonne, whose crumbling
cathedral of Charlemagne's time he had purposed to replace by a Gothic
one, when his translation to the papacy intervened.

The apse chapels were built first. The main parts of the choir are the
work of Archbishop Gilles Aycelin de Montaigu, (1292-1311), a noble of
Auvergne, brother of the bishop who was building Clermont Cathedral and
who had himself been a canon at Clermont. He also began the cloister,
and to his own residence added a donjon tower. It is thought that the
episcopal palace at Narbonne served as prototype for the palace of the
popes at Avignon. In modern times, between its ancient towers a town
hall has been constructed. In 1311 Gilles Aycelin was transferred to the
see of Rouen, and Rouen's archbishop, Bernard de Farges (d. 1341), a
nephew of the pope who built the choir of Bordeaux Cathedral, took his
place at Narbonne, where he completed the giant choir. Services were
held in it in 1320.

The truncated western end of the cathedral is a depressing sight. Work
stopped after the completion of the east wall of the transept, whose
window apertures had later to be filled in; by the XV century all hope
of completing the church was abandoned, and two west towers were raised.
In the XVIII century the plan to build a nave was revived and part of
the city ramparts were thrown down to allow for its extension. One bay
of the proposed structure was begun in bastard Gothic, and then the
enterprise collapsed. The present entrance is through a door contrived
in one of the apse chapels. The exterior of that apse was fortified.
From one turreted buttress pile to the other was maneuvered a crenelated
gallery, and originally the passage communicated with the bishop's

Although sadly needing a nave, Narbonne's choir is a proud and noble
vessel. Critics have called it a work of mechanical skill more than of
imagination. Its science is beyond cavil, each thrust being exactly
counterbutted. Profiles, however are angular and there is a painful lack
of sculpture. If, technically, Narbonne's chief church is somewhat hard
and dry, it has retained sufficient of the emotional quality of Gothic,
what has been called its _sursum corda_, to belong to the grand
tradition of the national art. Moreover, one can kneel reverentially on
the very steps of the altar instead of being kept at a stately distance.
In the clearstory are the loveliest XIV-century windows in France, like
rare-toned etchings or delicate spider-web, time-stained lace. As there
is color in them, it is inexact to call such windows grisaille, but the
subdued note of grisaille glass predominates.

Between Narbonne and Spain lies Perpignan's XIV-century[241] cathedral,
and Elne's cloister, called a work of supreme elegance by the critical
Prosper Merimée, and to the east at Béziers is a fortified cathedral
with massive towers, begun in 1215 and building through the XIV century;
it has good stained glass of this latter period.

One's interest in Béziers centers in the terrible massacre of 1209, the
opening act of the Albigensian Crusade. Not that the mere sacking of a
city would have roused such horror. In the course of its history eight
massacres had occurred in Béziers. It was a day when such acts were the
accepted methods of warfare and the northern leaders had discussed
whether it were not good tactics to start their campaign by
terrorization. It was the slaughtering of the citizens in the churches
to which they had fled for sanctuary that violated the general

Witnesses of the sacking of Béziers say that while the chiefs of the
besieging army were considering how to spare those in the city who were
not Albigensian, an assault was started through the skirmish of lawless
hangers-on of the crusading army and a few townspeople. In the confusion
that followed, the northern knights rushed to arms and the city was
captured. A XX-century wrecking of the Louvain-Dinant-Termonde type
followed, and some twenty thousand perished.

Modern scholars doubt that the famous _Tuez-les-tous_ remark, attributed
to Abbot Arnaud of Cîteaux, who died archbishop of Narbonne, was ever
uttered. He is accused of saying, "Kill them all, God will know his
own," when asked how the orthodox were to be told from the heretics. No
contemporary chronicle mentions it and Albigensian historians would
certainly have flung such words at the crusaders; equally would an
ardent admirer of Simon de Montfort, who wrote his _Gestes_, have lauded
the sentiment, if one is to judge by other happenings he thought
praiseworthy. Neither enemy nor friend mentions the _Tuez-les-tous_
phrase. It first occurs in the history of a German monk at Bonn, long
after the Midi crusade, and the pages of that chronicler are so filled
with discredited assertions that little he says should be taken


     The tocsin sounded its lamentable notes of alarm over all the land
     of France. Fire? No. _War._ The voice of the bells long condemned
     to silence by the authorities suddenly rang out everywhere. From
     the high belfries spread the warning, and no one worried now to
     refuse to God, to the Inexplicable, the right of speech. From God's
     house alone came to France, waiting in tense agony, the
     announcement of the most terrible catastrophe that ever fell like
     an avalanche on humanity. Sunrise to sunset from east to west, from
     north to south rang out the coming of War, the world's
     misery.--JEAN AICARD, on how the World War opened in the Midi.[243]

In Montpellier is a stately terrace called the Peyrou, built in the
artificial, distinguished style of Louis XIV, from which one looks out
on a most lovely landscape of Midi fertility.[244] Here Mistral in 1878
read his vibrant ode to the Latin race, _la race lumineuse, la race
apostolique_, and a generation later the people gathered here to listen
to the belfries far and near ring out over that peaceful Claude Lorraine
scene the hour of unity in battle array, for all Frenchmen--Latin and
Celt and Frank. No longer a Midi and a North. The time was past for race
hate or conquest to pose as a crusade. The time had come to end the
silencing of Christian steeples under the guise of freedom. As one man,
Midi and North sprang up in answer to the tocsin of August, 1914.

What to-day is the cathedral of Montpellier was built from 1364 to 1367
as a monastery church, so that it hardly falls within our scope. But if
architecturally the city of Montpellier is of lesser importance, it has
been for long centuries the intellectual stronghold of the Midi, and we
know that cathedrals are built with more than stones. Montpellier's
school of medicine was famous in the XII century. The city was free of
Albigensian taint; no trading town was more flourishing during the XIII
century. At the hour that the northern barons invaded the Midi, the
heiress of Montpellier, whom the king of Aragon married for her dowry
and immediately deserted, gave birth to one who was to build more
churches than any monarch in Christendom. Twelve candles were set up in
the chief church of Montpellier, each with the name of an apostle, and
when the candle called James burned the longest the child was named
Jaime. An inscription on the Tour du Pin, a vestige of the city ramparts
that originally had twenty-five such towers, records the birth of Jaime
el Conquistador, the scourge of Islam, the conqueror of Valencia and the
Balearic Islands, and the builder of six thousand churches. His father
was one of the victors of Las Navas de Tolosa, in 1212, where a vital
blow was struck at Moorish domination in Spain; yet he was killed in the
very next year in Languedoc, fighting on the heretic side.

Peter of Aragon looked on the Albigensian Crusade as a northern war of
conquest, and if outsiders were to win new lands why had he not the same
right. Jaime's mother fled to Rome, the sole court of arbitration then
in Europe, and when she died there, she left her son the ward of
Innocent III.[245] The pope compelled Simon de Montfort, who held the
child as hostage, to return him to his Spanish subjects. Jaime's tutor
was that Languedoc knight, St. Peter Nolasco (d. 1258), who founded the
Order of Mercy to redeem captives from Moslem prisons, but no
saint-tutor or saint-neighbor could tame this fierce young eagle, the
scion of the French Midi and the Spanish Pyrenees. From the time he
buckled on his sword as a boy, to his death in 1276, the weapon never
left his side. He cut off the ear of the bishop of Gerona who had
rebuked his free living, for Jaime's domestic relations were on a par
with those of the Languedoc lords and of his Mahommedan neighbors.

The church which now is Montpellier's cathedral consists of a modern
choir of the meridional type, without ambulatory or flying buttresses,
and a nave built as an abbatial by Guillaume de Grimoard, the best of
the Avignon popes, Urban V. The nave is a wide, unaisled hall, with
small clearstory windows. Even when the Midi used diagonals, says M.
Enlart, it remained faithful to Romanesque traditions. At the west
façade is an ungainly canopy held up by two round turrets of solid
stone, the sort of thing which is a builder's notion, not the design of
an architect. Urban was disappointed when he found that his architect
from Avignon had erected a big chapel rather than a church. When he came
to Montpellier in 1367 the new edifice was almost finished. He was
honored as never man was before by any city. The townspeople marched out
to meet him, every guild and corporation in the ranks, the lawyers
carrying the image of the newly canonized St. Yves of Brittany. When the
pope's visit ended, half the population walked for miles with him into
the country, and the town authorities escorted him all the way back to

Urban V had been educated in Montpellier and he loved its university, in
which for years he had taught law in the school where Petrarch studied.
He renewed the departments of law and art, put new life into the famed
medical school (which to-day is housed in the former bishop's palace,
fortified with propped machicolations), and founded a college for the
free maintenance of a certain number of students. To this day
Montpellier reveres him.

All over Christendom this energetic Midi baron endowed institutions of
learning, supported hundreds of students, and built monuments. He
founded the universities of Prague, Cracow, and Vienna, re-established
that of Orvieto, made a school of music at Toulouse, began the cathedral
of Mende,[246] near his birthplace, and in Marseilles rebuilt St.
Victor's, where he had been abbot,[247] and where remains his towering
tomb. At Avignon he continued the making of its walls of defense, for it
was a day when the lawless _Grandes Compagnies_ roved over France.

Urban was too wise a man not to perceive that his continued residence at
Avignon was a detriment to the papacy, and he made a valiant effort to
return to Rome. There, too, he was no sooner established than he
initiated works of art.[248] Broken by the disorders round him with
which he had not strength to cope, he returned to his beloved southern
France, where he died almost immediately, in 1370. His successor,
Gregory XI, inspired by St. Catherine of Siena, who journeyed to Avignon
in 1376, was to be the pontiff who ended what Italy, sick to death,
called "the Babylonian captivity."

Montpellier was not a bishopric till 1536, when the see was removed from
Maguelonne here, and no sooner was the new see established when the city
was sacked twice--in 1561 and again in 1565. Every tomb in the present
cathedral was violated. Were its walls lined with those old-time
memorials they would appear less bare. Neither side was distinguished by
amenity in those long years of civil strife.

Maguelonne, the original bishopric, lies six miles from Montpellier on
the Mediterranean. In ancient days it was a little island of volcanic
formation, then in time an island in a swamp, connected artificially
with the mainland. Climb to the flat stone roof of the ancient cathedral
of St. Pierre, almost the only monument left standing here where
civilization has followed civilization, and look across the lagoons that
lie between France and the solitary dead city. Europe and the present
seem no longer to exist in this the most aloof, self-effaced, most
philosophic spot in the world.

Maguelonne had known all the peoples in their pride. During fifteen
hundred years it played its part--Celt, Phoenician, Greek, and Roman
ruled here in turn. Visigothic Wamba besieged it. Islam held it under
the name of Port Saracen till Charles Martel drove the sea robbers from
their stronghold by destroying the city; only the new church of St.
Peter was saved. For the following three centuries Maguelonne lay
deserted. Then in 1037 Bishop Arnaud undertook to restore the city, and
the cathedral he rebuilt was blessed in 1054. Prosperity soon returned
under a republican form of government, with the bishop as president.
Maguelonne became an asylum for exiles and a retreat for scholars. Urban
II blessed the island in 1095. When Pope Gelasius II, driven from Rome,
landed at St. Gilles in 1118, he soon sailed thence for Maguelonne, and
hither came Alexander III in 1162.

The cathedral of St. Pierre stood up a very rock of defense against the
corsairs of Spain and Africa. On its flat stone roof engines of war were
placed. The present XI-century church replaces that of Charles Martel's
day; over an arm of its transept occurred one of the pre-Gothic early
uses of diagonals. The transverse arches of the nave are slightly
pointed. On the lintel of its portal of creamy-white marble--Classic,
Saracenic, Romanesque, and Gothic, with doorjamb bas-reliefs of Peter
and Paul, key and sword--were inscribed by Bernard de Trevies in 1178
some Latin verses still legible:

    Ye who seek life's port to gain enter now this sacred fane.
    If ye pass these gates within, ye may break the chains of sin,
    So to pray thou must not fail, all thy cruel sins bewail;
    Know that all thy sins and fears may be washed away in tears.[249]

The cathedral of St. Peter was spared in the second annihilation of
Maguelonne, which took place after the religious wars, when Richelieu's
policy was to level every possible fort that rebellion might use. Stone
by stone the other monuments of the city were carried away. When the
canal from Cette to Aigues-Mortes was built, in 1708, Maguelonne became
a useful quarry. St. Peter's church now stands alone, embalmed as in
amber, preaching the sobering lesson, _Sic transit gloria mundi_.


     Aigues-Mortes! Consonnance d'une désolation incomparable! Dans le
     train si lent à traverser la Camargue je m'imagine ces mornes
     remparts qui depuis sept siècles subsistent intacts. J'évoque ces
     mystérieux Sarrasins, ces légers Barbaresques qui pillaient ces
     côtes et fuaient, insaisis, même par l'histoire. Aigues-Mortes, le
     vieux guerrier qu'ils assaillaient sans trêve, est toujours à son
     poste, étendu sur la plaine, comme un chevalier, les armes à la
     main, est figé en pierre sur son tombeau.--MAURICE BARRÈS.[251]

"I propose that we institute a pilgrimage," sighed Rodin, "to all
monuments _de plein air_ yet spared by restoration." Aigues-Mortes' big
quadrangle set on the dead lagoons is precisely as it came from its
builder's hand in the reign of Philippe III, son of St. Louis. No
destructive restoration has ever chipped away the time stain of
centuries. So shrunken is the little town of to-day, within those
imposing ramparts with their fifteen towers and nine gateways, that it
is as weird an experience to encircle the walls within as to make the
solitary tour without.

No sooner did St. Louis take the crusaders' vow, in 1244, when he began
to look about for a concentration camp on the southern coast. He was
suzerain only in the south of France. Narbonne had its own counts and so
had Provence; St. Gilles and Adge were in the Toulouse countship, and
the Montpellier coast was under Aragon. Practically only swampy
Aigues-Mortes was available. St. Louis purchased it from the monks of
Psalmodi, and reconstructed an old tower on the site which had served as
a fort during piratical attacks. The grand Tour de Constance, now
standing outside the quadrangle fortification, is the only part of
Aigues-Mortes of Louis IX's day. He deepened the tortuous canal of eight
miles that led to the sea, since Aigues-Mortes never was directly on the
Mediterranean. The Genoese architect, Boccanegra, who constructed the
ramparts for Philippe III, followed the type of fortified town in the
Orient; Aigues-Mortes especially resembled Antioch.

On both his crusades St. Louis started from his fort on the dead waters.
When in 1248 the crusaders saw the low-lying spot so like the
pestilential coasts of the East, many a heart felt oppressed. Again in
1270 the king's army arrived at Aigues-Mortes. Finding his transport
ships delayed, Louis IX thought it best to move his warriors to the more
healthful site of St. Gilles. There he held brilliant court, to keep up
the idle army's spirit, and at the tourneys excelled his Provençal
queen's nephew, the future king of England, Edward I. The crusaders left
their mark on the walls of St. Gilles.


    Noms des Morts pour la Patrie,
                Qu'on vous trie
    Selons vos provinces; puis,
    Pour propager votre culte,
                Qu'on vous sculpte
    Sur la borne et sur le puits!...

    Mais d'abord, que votre zèle
                Vous cisèle
    Sur les maisons mêmes d'où
    Pour aller vers le martyre,
                Ils partirent
    Dans le soleil du mois d'août.

... On lira sur la corniche
                Pauvre ou riche:
    "_Mort pour nous ... un tel ... un tel...._"
    Trois fois, tous bas, comme on prie,
                On s'écrie:
    "_Morts pour nous ... pour nous ... pour nous!_"
    --EDMOND ROSTAND (1868-1918; born in Marseilles).[253]

To this day on the stones of St. Gilles' abbatial are the graffiti of
ships and warriors--a king among them--scratched by the swords of St.
Louis' crusaders before they crossed to their death in Africa, 1270. The
sadly dilapidated bourg which is St. Gilles to-day played a prominent
part in the important centuries of the Middle Ages. Many were the popes
and kings who visited it to venerate the tomb of the VIII-century
hermit, Ægidius, from Athens, whose cult was widely spread over western
Christendom, as many a church image and window showing the holy man and
his fawn remain to tell.

The counts of Toulouse were the chief patrons of the abbey. On the First
Crusade, Raymond IV of Toulouse bore the title Count of St. Gilles.
Raymond VI held here, in 1208, an interview with the papal legate, Guy
de Castelnau, the after-consequences of which precipitated the
Albigensian wars. Angry words were uttered by the count when the legate
rebuked him for shielding the heretics, and the next day the legate was
murdered by one of the count's retainers as he was about to cross the
Rhone. Thereupon Innocent III declared the Albigensian Crusade. In the
following year Raymond VI performed penance before the church door of
St. Gilles--the last public canonical penance of the Middle Ages. The
disasters of the house of Toulouse diminished the abbey's building

The discussions over the date of St. Gilles have been of importance
because of its relation to the school of Provençal sculpture of which
the most notable monument is its triple portal. Before St. Gilles'
western end is a mass of composite imagery, of different dates and
material, yet composing an architectural unit. Six bays of the nave are
covered by a masonry roof of the XVIII century; only the piers and side
walls of the edifice are ancient. Beyond the nave lie the ruins of the
choir, in which has been installed an open-air archæological museum.

Did the choir of St. Gilles still stand, it would be the best Gothic
monument in the south of France, exceptional in possessing an ambulatory
and radiating chapels. At its entrance still exists a spiral staircase,
the _vis de St. Gilles_, the first of its kind constructed, which many a
mason of the Middle Ages journeyed hither to see. The steps compose an
annular vault, winding like a corkscrew.

According to M. Labande, the choir of St. Gilles was built from 1140 to
1175, and at first there was no intention of vaulting it with diagonals.
As the walls rose, however, a Gothic vault was prepared for. The nave,
whose capitals have well-cut acanthus leaves, was erected from 1175 to
1209. It could not have been finished when in 1265 Clement IV rebuked
his fellow citizens of St. Gilles for their delay in completing their
church. Clement had been a local lawyer--a Romanesque house is still
pointed out as his--by name, Guy Fouquet, or Fulcodi. The death of his
wife caused him to embrace religion. When raised to St. Peter's chair,
such was his dread of nepotism that he wrote to his daughters they were
not to expect matches any more important than if he were a simple
knight; we learn that the well-admonished young ladies failed to obtain
any husbands at all. This pope, whom St. Louis called "_notre aimé et
féal Guy_," instigated the crusade of 1270, which was associated in the
hour of its departure with his own town.

Despite his exhortation, St. Gilles' choir was joined to its nave only
in the XIV century, as is proved by the rows of Rayonnant Gothic foliage
on the capital of the nave's easternmost bay. The XVI-century religious
wars devastated the abbey, which now was held by Calvinists, now by
Catholics; and finally the Huguenots, after using the church as a
citadel, ordered that it be razed. The tower was mined and its fall
wrecked all around it, but the arrival of the king's troops saved the
edifice from entire destruction; as the masonry roof had collapsed, a
bastard-Gothic restoration of the nave was undertaken from 1650 to 1670.
Then came the Revolution; the choir was sold and its stones carted away.
So dead seemed all appreciation of the national art that the
constitutional curé of St. Gilles clamored for the demolition of the
famous triple portal, as its images "were insupportable reminders of
past servitude, recalling the odious feudal régime, displeasing to
lovers of liberty and equality." Till the middle of the XIX century the
church was abandoned.

During excavations in 1765 a chamber, or bay, of rough workmanship was
unearthed in the crypt, and in it was found a tomb inscribed as that of
St. Gilles. This is all that remains of the church in which Urban II
blessed an altar in 1096. On a buttress of the crypt an inscription
states that its foundation was laid Easter Monday of 1116. The abbey had
been damaged by an irate count of Toulouse, and Calixtus II asked Peter
the Venerable to send from Cluny a new abbot to reorganize things.

The crypt's north and west walls rose first, but the work was dropped
and taken up several times. All the vaulting, whether groin or
diagonals, was an afterthought, for all the piers have been rearranged
for the masonry roof they now support. Only a few of the westernmost
bays of the crypt used diagonals, and as their profiles are the same as
those in the choir, building from 1140 onward, they are probably
contemporary. Inscriptions on the outer west wall of the crypt prove
that in 1142 people were buried there, which would indicate that the
present stair to the west portal was not yet arranged. Perhaps for a
time they were not sure of making an upper church above the spacious
basement. By 1209 that upper nave was built, because Innocent III buried
his murdered ambassador beside the tomb of St. Gilles, and when Raymond
VI had performed public penance before the portal, we are told that he
was brushed against by the crowd, and escaped through the lower church,
passing his victim's new tomb.

The imaged portal of St. Gilles, which inspired the porch of Trinity
Church, Boston, is a composite mass of imagery begun in the XII century
and continued till St. Louis' day. Pilfered fragments were made use of,
as was only natural in a region where Rome had left many monuments. Some
of the pillars are the fluted marbles of antiquity; others are of
granite. Fourteen columns and fourteen large images of apostles and
angels give unity to the composition, as does the continuous wide

St. Gilles' images, strong and short like the figures on the Gallo-Roman
sarcophagi near the mouth of the Rhone, are perfectly proportioned to
the place they occupy, cold, impersonal figures, more architectural than
sculptural, the fruit of an old art, not the beginning of a new
tradition, as was the theory of Herr Vöge, who would trace to Provence
the origin of French Gothic sculpture. M. de Lasteyrie contended that
the Porte Royale at Chartres--first of the Gothic portals, last of the
Romanesque--with its long, slender figures in whose visages expression
has been attempted, descends from the imaged portals of Burgundy, not
from St. Gilles or St. Trophime, but from a nascent rather than a dying
art tradition. The Lombard school gave to St. Gilles its lion
caryatides, a very popular feature at church doors; Lanfranco, who
remade Modena's cathedral in 1099, had been the first to plant pillars
on the backs of lions, perhaps copying some lost work of antiquity.

"A world in itself," said Prosper Merimée of St. Gilles' sculptured
portal. Under the biblical scenes of the frieze animals crouch and
crawl. Some of the frieze groups, such as the Flagellation, are full of
spirit, and must be of later date than certain other stiff archaic
figures. The Kiss of Judas with its grimacing soldiers is probably a
XVII-century restoration. The only time that the Expulsion from the
Temple was treated in the older work was here. The sisters Martha and
Mary and their brother Lazarus, with Mary Jacobi and Mary Salome, are
all imaged at St. Gilles' door. The tradition of their arrival in
Provence was gaining in favor every day while this portico was making.

The savants inform us, though not patriotic Provençal savants, that no
mention of the saints of Bethany is to be found in Provence before the
middle of the XI century. Monseigneur Duchesne of the Institute of
France, who takes saints out of their niches as boldly as any
Bollandist, tells us that it was the monks of Vézelay in Burgundy who
first imagined the arrival in southern France of Mary Magdalene, in
order to explain how it was they possessed her relics, the lodestar of
their pilgrim shrine. Then, gradually, the legend grew till it was a
remarkably full boatload that landed, in A.D. 40, at Les
Saintes-Maries,[254] where the Little Rhone, on which stands St.
Gilles, enters the Mediterranean: the risen Lazarus, whose relics were
claimed by Autun in 1144; Martha, whose relics appeared at Tarascon in
1187 and caused a new church there to rise;[255] Marcella, the waiting
woman of Martha and Mary; Maximinus, one of Our Lord's disciples; Simon
the leper; St. Sidonius; Joseph of Aramathea; and the Blessed Virgin's
sisters, Mary Jacobi, mother of James the Less, and Mary Salome, mother
of James and John, and their dark handmaiden Sara, who became the
patroness of gypsies.

Monseigneur Duchesne says that a grotto dedicated to the Virgin in the
mountains east of Marseilles came to be regarded, by gradual unconscious
fabrication, as the Sainte Baume where Mary Magdalene passed years of
penitence, for the Midi wove the story of St. Mary the Egyptian with the
saint of Bethany. All these holy people who had known the Lord fled from
Syria after the martyrdom of St. Stephen and found asylum in southern
France. The savants can prove what they will; while in Provence, in the
"kingdom of sentiment," one believes every word of it. Read Mistral's
_Mireille_ and dare to be a skeptic! Under the leaden skies of Paris you
may take the Institute's learning seriously. But gazing at _la grand
bleu_, the frequented highway between Syria and Gaul when Roman Emperors
ruled both, you say to yourself that it all _could_ have happened. For
hundreds of years the people of Provence have been made better and
happier because they have believed that the historic family of Bethany
who entertained the Lord were entertained by them.


    Seigneur, des lois et voies
    antiques, nous avions
    quitté; l'austérité, vertus,
    coutumes domestiques,
    nous avions tout détruit,

    Seigneur, nous sommes tes
    enfants prodigues; mais
    nous sommes tes vieux
    chrétiens: que ta justice
    nous châtie, mais au trépas,
    ne nous laisse point....

    Seigneur, au nom des pauvres
    gens, au nom des forts, au
    nom des morts--qui auront
    péri pour la patrie, pour leur
    devoir, et pour leur foi!...

    Seigneur, pour tant d'aversités,
    de massacres, d'incendies;
    pour tant de deuil sur notre
    France, pour tant d'affronts
    sur notre front,

    Seigneur, désarme ta justice!
    Jette un regard par ici-bas;
    et enfin écoute les cris
    de meurtris et des blessés!...

    Seigneur, nous voulons devenir
    des hommes; en liberté--
    tu peux nous mettre!
    Gallo-Romans et fils de noble
    race, nous marchons droit
    dans notre pays.
    --(Literal French translation of Mistral's "Psaume de la pénitence," 1870.)

The western portal of the cathedral at Arles, less carefully executed
than that at St. Gilles, was begun at the end of the XII century and
finished in a couple of generations. Both were inspired by the same
local classic influences of Rome and the subsequent Gallo-Roman
development. The large statues, eminently architectural, at the famous
door of St. Trophime, are as sturdy and squat as the images on early
Christian tombs. Two of those ancient tombs, of the V and VI centuries,
have been turned to ecclesiastic usage in this very church, as baptismal
font and altar, and across the square from the cathedral many others can
be studied in the Museum of Arles. The strong Byzantine influences
apparent in St. Trophime's sculpture recall that Arles was the favorite
residence of Constantine. From northern Italy came the animal-caryatides

St. Trophime's Romanesque entrance leads into a somber church under
whose barrel vault reigns a mellow gloom.[257] Begun before the middle
of the XI century, it was reconstructed in the XII century; the
painfully narrow high side aisles are covered by quarter circles that
buttress the central vessel, whose undergirding arches are slightly
pointed because the pre-Gothic masons had learned that the thrust of a
broken arch was less. The XV century built the insignificant choir
(without the vestige of a capital), exceptional only in having the sole
ambulatory and radiating chapels in Provence. A prelate of the Grignan
family built a chapel projecting from the transept, for, not far away,
in Dauphiny, is the château of Grignan, where Madame de Sévigné died
while staying with her daughter; one knows that she and XIII-century
Blanche of Castile had been friendly.

[Illustration: _The Mediæval Cloister of Arles_]

St. Trophime's cloister, among the most beautiful in France, building
from the XII to the end of the XIV century, is the fairest Christian
monument of Arles.[258] This Midi art expands in the sunlight and
grows melancholy under a masonry roof. Arles was a free town when it was
begun, with its own podesta and consuls like a flourishing commercial
city in Italy. About 1150, the north gallery was commenced, and the one
to the east soon followed. The angle pier is composite (c. 1180), with
St. Trophimus standing between St. John and St. Peter, the latter being
sculptured in marble. The storied capitals of the cloister are
exceedingly interesting. In the second half of the XIV century the west
walk was begun, and almost immediately was followed by the south
gallery, which is similar to it save for slight details. The cloister
was completed under Bishop Jean de Rochechouart (1390-98).

Arles, like Lyons, claims a direct apostolic origin. A tradition says
that St. Trophimus, her first bishop, was the disciple of the gentile of
Ephesus, whom St. Paul mentioned in his epistle to Timothy. For
centuries before the popularity of the Saints of Bethany legends in the
Midi, St. Trophimus was revered. Pope Zosimus, in the V century, called
Arles "the source from which flowed all over Gaul the rivulets of the
Faith." Gregory of Tours voiced another tradition concerning St.
Trophimus when he named him as one of the seven evangelists sent by Pope
Fabian into Gaul in 250. At any rate, whether he lived in the first
century or the third, St. Trophimus was the first bishop of Arles, and
it is right that its primate church should be dedicated to him.

Arles, from which flowed over Gaul the rivulets of the Faith, is a city
of ruins, and yet most gracious in aspect; _Arles la blanc_, Joinville
called it as he sailed by on his way to the Sixth Crusade; _Arles la
Grecque_. The women walk as nobly as the matrons of antiquity here where
"the copper coins of Rome's republic and the gold of the emperors gleam
in the sun amid the springtime wheat." "I tell you, and you can well
believe me," sings Mistral, "that the damsel of whom I speak is a queen,
for, know you, she is twenty years old and she is Arlésienne.... She
descended with lowered eyes the steps of St. Trophime, and the stone
saints by the portal blessed her as she passed, for she was ineffably
good." There are books so typical of their race, or this period, that
they belong to all time, and by them posterity can learn more of the
basic forces that build monuments than from many a learned treatise.
Such a book is Voragine's _Golden Legend_, such a book is the
_Rationale_ of Durandus. The _Barzas-Breiz_ teaches us to comprehend
Carnac and the Calvaries of Brittany. Even so the soul of Provence has
been interpreted by her own Mistral, who loved "the perfume of the
ancient days when on the banks of the Rhone flourished a refined
civilization that for a time bore the name, the Kingdom of Arles, but
that really, through all the successive revolutions, was naught else but
the direct survival, on French soil, of Rome's civilization."[259]


     The cement, without which there can be no stability of the walls,
     is made of lime, sand, and water. The lime is fervent charity which
     joineth to itself the sand--that is, undertakings for the temporal
     welfare of our brethren. Now the lime and the sand are bound
     together in the wall by an admixture of water. Water is the emblem
     of the Spirit. And as without cement the stones cannot cohere, so
     neither can man be built up in the heavenly Jerusalem without that
     charity which the Holy Ghost worketh in them. The stones are built
     by the hands of the Great Workman into an abiding place in the
     Church: whereof some are borne and bear nothing, as the weaker
     members; some are both borne and bear, as those of moderate
     strength; and some bear and are borne of none save Christ the
     Corner Stone. All are bound together by one spirit of Charity as
     though fastened with cement, and these living stones are put
     together in the bonds of peace.

    --BISHOP GUILLAUME DURANDUS of Mende (1220-96), _Rationale_.[261]

The bourg and church of St. Maximin lie about thirty miles east of
Aix-en-Provence. Some rich Gallo-Roman noble of the V or VI century had
his estate here, thinks Monseigneur Duchesne, on which he built a
funereal chapel and crypt according to custom. That crypt with its early
Christian sarcophagi is now under the church of St. Maximin, though why
that saint is honored in the locality is not known. The first record of
the site occurred when the estate was passed over to the monks of St.
Victor's at Marseilles, who built a priory here (1038), and chose
Maximinus as its tutelary. It was only when some fertile brain, in
Vézelay, said that St. Maximinus was one of the Lord's seventy-two
disciples, and had accompanied Mary Magdalene to Provence, that
Aix-en-Provence began to claim him as her first bishop. For two
centuries Provence allowed Vézelay to boast of the possession of the
Blessed Magdalene's remains. During Saracen inroads she had lost the
relics of Lazarus and his sister, so the Burgundian church told her.
Finally--we are quoting Monseigneur Duchesne, not a Midi savant--a
patriotic Provençal whose mind was as fertile in inventions as the
chronicler at Vézelay, arranged a rediscovery in 1279, in the crypt of
St. Maximin, of the Magdalene's relics, whereupon the pilgrimages to
Vézelay ceased.

Before witnesses and the ruler of Provence, Charles II d'Anjou (nephew
of St. Louis), was opened one of the sculptured tombs in the Gallo-Roman
noble's funeral crypt now under the nave of St. Maximin. In the
sarcophagus was found a manuscript, in a wooden coffer, relating that in
the year of the Incarnation, 716, on December 6th, under King Odoin, the
body of Mary Magdalene had been moved from its alabaster tomb, in this
same crypt, to the plainer tomb of St. Sidonius, in order to save it
from those felons, the Saracens. The uncritical mind of the age accepted
the obvious forgery as genuine. It was worded in XIII-century, not
VIII-century Latin, the use of the term Incarnation for dating was an
anachronism, and no such king as Odoin ever existed. Why should it have
been expected that Saracens would spare one tomb more than the other,
asks the courageous Monseigneur Duchesne. But why feel too critical of
the pious fraud, since the genuine enthusiasm it aroused led to the
building of the most imposing Gothic church in Provence and the one most
pure in style, an edifice that inspired the imposing modern church of
St. Vincent de Paul at Marseilles.

In 1295 Charles II d'Anjou[262] (1285-1309) began St. Maximin, which he
passed into the care of the Dominicans. Abbé Albanès has discovered that
the architect's name was Jean Bandier. During two centuries the Angevin
rulers of Provence continued the church, and good King René finished it
before he died in 1480. As the first plans were adhered to, the edifice
possesses unity save for a few Flamboyant windows in the aisles. Those
side aisles of St. Maximin are almost as high as the central vessel;
they braced the main span and did away with the need of flying
buttresses. Traits of Midi Gothic are the exceedingly narrow windows,
the lack of a triforium, and uncut bands for capitals, though the
omission of sculpture may be due to the fact that the abbatial belonged
to a mendicant Order, vowed to poverty. St. Maximin's piers soar
majestically from pavement to vault springing, nor has nobility of
proportion been sacrificed in its severe granite interior.


     Le désordre des malheureux est toujours le crime de la dûreté des
     riches.--VAUVENARGUES (1715--47; born in Aix-en-Provence).

The cathedral of St. Sauveur is a composite edifice needing skilled
archæologists to decipher it. Its semicircular apse, without ambulatory
or chapels, was begun by Bishop Rostan de Noves. Its nave, of the XIV
century (with typical capitals whose foliage is disposed in two bands),
shows vestiges of a far more ancient church. The nave's north aisle is
neo-classic. The south aisle, called _Corpus Domini_, is Romanesque, and
was held to be the ancient cathedral, since it conforms to the classic
type of the regional Romanesque school, such as the Dom at Avignon.

M. Labande has demonstrated that this pre-Gothic portion of Aix
Cathedral was originally a church for the laity, built between 1150 and
1180 and dedicated to St. Maximinus, and that it was planted along the
side of a church for the canons, dedicated to Notre Dame in 1108.
Vestiges of this latter church are the ancient parts in the actual nave
of St. Sauveur.

The _Corpus Domini_ has its own sculptured doorway, and three bays
covered by a barrel vault carried on pointed arches. Over the fourth bay
is a shallow cupola ridged with eight pilasters in a manner inherited
from ancient Rome. Classic, too, are the columns now arranged to form a

Aix was the capital in Provence of the art-loving Anjou princes of the
Capetian line. Under them in 1476 was begun St. Sauveur's beautifully
restrained Flamboyant Gothic façade and tower. In the nave is a stone
reredos of 1470 called the Tarasque, from the dragon of St. Martha
represented in it, and under King René's inspiration was made the
splendid triptych of the Burning Bush by the French _primitif_, Nicolas
Froment, born in Avignon, but impregnated with the Flemish spirit of Van
Eyck. King René kneels in one panel, and his second wife, Jeanne de
Laval, in the other; the outer side of the folding panels is painted in
grisaille. The Burning Bush was taken as a symbol of the Virgin's
integrity. The carved doors at the west entrance of St. Sauveur, rich
with prophets and sibyls, are ranked with the noted doors of Beauvais
and Rouen.

While the church of St. Maximinus, or the present south aisle of St.
Sauveur, was building, a student at the University of Aix, across the
way from its cathedral, was St. Jean de Matha (1156-1213), one of those
good men of history who accomplished a great work but are overlooked by
posterity. In Aix he passed his leisure waiting on the poverty-stricken
sick. Then he went up to the Paris schools to perfect himself in
theology, and good Bishop Maurice de Sully, then building Notre Dame,
became interested in him, and with the prior of St. Victor's, after
attending the young Midi noble's first Mass, prophesied that this was a
soul chosen of God. Because Jean de Matha had been born in the south, a
witness of Islam's piracies, he vowed himself at his first Mass to the
redemption of Christian captives. His fellow student at Paris, Innocent
III, approved the new Trinitarian Order called popularly Maturins
because their Paris house was dedicated to St. Maturin. So rapidly did
it spread that before long it had fifty houses in far-off Ireland, and
as many in England. In its annals are the names of all the western
nations. Jean de Matha, until his death, passed backward and forward to
Africa. When the first boatload of redeemed captives landed at
Marseilles a cry of thanksgiving rose in Christendom. Sometimes a
brother of the Order would remain in a captive's place, when his funds
for ransoming prisoners gave out. In Granada, Maturins were martyred. In
the year 1260 five thousand Christians were redeemed from Islam prisons
by these devoted men. And for five centuries the good work went on, so
that we hear of Trinitarians freeing Christians from Mohammedans in the
reign of Louis XIV. Cervantes was released from African captivity by the
sons of St. Jean de Matha, else we would have no _Don Quixote_. All
through the dark episodes of the Albigensian wars these lives of
unobtrusive Christian charity endured. Their deeds have not been
trumpeted to the winds. I dare say the historian who rings the changes
on the _Tuez-les-tous_ phrase never heard of St. Jean and his Maturins.


     In abandoning Rome, their cradle, in departing from the venerated
     tomb of the Prince of the Apostle, in ceasing to reign on the site
     consecrated by the blood of martyrs, the popes failed to value the
     prop those august memories were for them. In their voluntary exile
     on the banks of the Rhone the popes were controlled by the king of
     France. Villeneuve's high towers, a French stronghold, threw too
     protective a shadow over the papal palace of Avignon.--L.

Architecturally Avignon does not fit into our category, but who can
close a chapter on the Midi and not mention, among gems, this diamond?
There is no more imposing, no more magnificent a palace in the world
than that of the XIV-century popes at Avignon.

Romanesque architecture is represented by the Dom and the bridge built
by _frères-pontifes_ over the Rhone (1177-85) under the inspiration of
the shepherd boy St. Bénézet. Many a time has the river carried away its
bays. The chapel on the bridge shows the work of three epochs, part
being of Little Benedict's time, part of 1234, and an apse of 1513.

Notre Dame-des-Dom, as it was first built, belonged to the usual type of
a Midi Romanesque church (1140-60), but to it have been added chapels
and neo-classic decorations.[265] The west porch of the cathedral can
claim to be one of the first conscious revivals of classic art in
France, inspired by a Roman triumphal arch in neighboring Carpentras.
Originally the inner walls of the porch were frescoed by Simone Martini
of Siena, a friend of Petrarch. That humanist spent many years in
Avignon, and it was at the door of the church of St. Clara that he first
saw Laura, in 1327. If the Avignon popes employed Italian painters,
their architects and sculptors were mainly local.

Avignon's great day was under the seven Roman pontiffs who lived here in
succession during sixty-eight years, a period disastrous to the
interests and prestige of the Church, but fecund for the art life of
southern France. All seven of the popes were meridionals.

Clement V (1305-13), whom the patriotic Italian poet places in hell for
his subservience to the French king, was the first to take up his
residence in Avignon, but his building enterprises were elsewhere, at
Bordeaux and St. Bertrand-de-Comminges, and he chose to be buried near
Bordeaux, at Uzeste, his native place, where his tomb was mutilated in
1577. Clement is pictured on the walls of the Spanish chapel in Santa
Maria Novella at Florence. Neither his statue at the chief portal of
Bordeaux Cathedral nor his effigy on his tomb is a portrait.

After an interval he was succeeded by John XXII (1316-33), born in
Cahors, where a tower of his palace still stands, as well as the most
beautiful bridge of the Middle Ages, which he helped to build. John had
been educated at Cahors, Montpellier, and Paris; he had taught law at
Toulouse, and from 1310 was bishop of Avignon, so that he made it his
permanent residence when elected to the papacy at seventy-two. John was
an organizer of genius; he founded Perugia University and reformed those
of Paris, Cambridge, and Oxford. The great treasure he left was the fund
drawn on by his successors for the erection of their palace. His tomb in
the cathedral of Avignon is like an immense reliquary, excessive lace
stonework and pinnacles, though if some of the sixty statues that once
embellished it remained, there would naturally be more character in the
ornamentation. The tomb has recently been claimed as a late-Gothic
west-of-England work, similar to monuments at Exeter and Tewksbury.

His successor, Benedict XII (1333-42), was the pope who really began the
Avignon palace which was to be completed in twenty-five years. While
abbot of Cistercian Fontfroide, he had watched Narbonne's episcopal
palace rising, and there are decided likenesses between it and the papal
residence on the Rhone. Both were fortresses eminently of the Midi, not
of Italy. Of Benedict it is related that when his father, a baker in the
comté of Foix, came to visit him, dressed richly by courtiers who
thought to save the pope's _amour propre_, the pope declined to
recognize him till he garbed himself humbly. His was a complex
character. He spent vast sums lavishly on his palace, bringing artists
from Italy to decorate its walls and ceilings. His tomb, that had
resembled his predecessor's, exists only in a few arcades housed in the
Musée Calvert. The tomb called his in the cathedral is a composite
affair. There is a statue of Benedict XII in the crypt of the Vatican.

The next pontiff, Clement VI (1342-52), a Limousin lord of great
lineage, more knight than churchman, made the most beautiful parts of
the papal palace, the conclave gallery, the Audience Chamber, the
Pontifical Chapel over it, and the tower called St. Jeane whose chapels,
_sotto_ and _sopra_, were decorated by Martini. Petrarch had praised
Clement for his liberality toward the Jews, who, driven out of other
countries, found a home here, "_povres Juifs ars et escacés par tout le
monde excepté en la terre d'Église dessous les clefs des papes_." For
his burial Clement VI rebuilt, in the Forez mountains, the church of his
former abbey, La Chaise Dieu, in the center of whose choir he placed his
own sumptuous monument, whose forty-four statuettes represented his
great relatives. In the religious wars of the XVI century the mausoleum
was sacked and only the pontiff's marble effigy now remains.

Clement VI purchased the city of Avignon from Queen Joanna of Naples of
the Anjou house. The Comtat-Venaissin, but not Avignon, formed part of
the possessions that fell to the French Crown on the death of Alphonse
of Poitiers and his wife in 1271. Philippe III gave it to the popes, to
whom it had been promised by the last count of Toulouse.

The papal palace was finished by Innocent VI (1352-62), another
Limousin. He made the tower applied to the south wall of audience hall
and church, and he added to the city's fortifications. Across the Rhone
he began the Chartreuse, later called Val de Bénédiction, a vast
structure carried on by his family as a hereditary obligation.[266]
To-day it is a mass of desolate ruins, and the pope's mutilated tomb is
now housed in the hospice at Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.

Urban V (1362-70), "_moult saint homme et de belle vie_," says
Froissart, was a patron for art and letters throughout the Midi. At
Avignon he continued the fortifications. His work is to be found in
Montpellier Cathedral, also at Mende, St. Flour, and Marseilles, where
his mausoleum towers in St. Victor's abbatial. His attempt to
re-establish the papacy in Rome failed, but his successor, Gregory
XI--Count Roger de Beaufort, a nephew of Clement VI--went back
definitely in 1377 to the Holy City, where a bas-relief on his tomb, in
Santa Francesca Romana, records his triumphal entrance. The consequences
of the long exile were deplorable. Immediately came the Great Schism of
the West, during which some of the doubtful pontiffs resided at Avignon.

After their return to Rome the popes governed their small Midi
principality by viceroys till at the time of the Revolution it passed to
France. The palace was turned into a prison and barracks; when a local
antiquarian society begged that they might be allowed to preserve the
precious frescoes of Simone Martini in the chapels of Clement VI, the
military governor replied that such notions were contrary to military
custom. Happily the Palace of the Popes is now a national monument, and
its judiciously accomplished renovation is one of those restorals
against which no one can cavil.


The Gothic Art of Burgundy[267]

    _Be strong in humility and humble in authority:
    Be austere in tenderness and tender in austerity:
    Be amiable in sorrow and grave in prosperity._
    --ST. COLUMBANUS' Antitheses.

Burgundy, "a country placed on Europe's highways," was a land of
monasteries. They dotted the fertile province. There were "prodigious
Cluny," and Vézelay "the superb," scenes of historic gatherings; at
Auxerre was St. Germain's monastery; at Dijon, the abbey of St. Bénigne,
pioneer in the Romanesque renaissance of the region. There were Cîteaux,
the mother house of missions over the entire Christian world, Pontigny,
that harbored three archbishops of Canterbury, Fontenay with its
industrial forge, Tournus, Saulieu, Paray-le-Monial, and Flavigny, that
reminded Chateaubriand of Jerusalem set on its hill. Up and down the
land the _laus perennis_ never ceased.

On the confines of the old kingdom of Burgundy, as the VI century
closed, St. Columbanus founded at Luxeuil, between the sources of the
Moselle and the Saône, an abbey which was to mold the religious life of
the VII century, most fertile of epochs in the number and fervor of its
religious institutions. Luxeuil became the popular school of Gaul, the
mother house of hundreds of monasteries. Her monks filled the sees of
France. The Celtic Rule was harsh, a compound of the Orient, of Lerens,
and of Bangor in Ireland; even on feast days fish was a luxury. It was
only the personal genius of the impetuous Irish missionary that caused
it to be accepted for a few generations; then as the VII century closed,
the Benedictine Rule which conformed better to human limitations
superseded the Columban. "Where Columbanus sowed, Benedict reaped."[268]

Three hundred years later there rose in Burgundy the most splendid
monastic institution that Christendom has ever known, Benedictine Cluny,
that stood shoulder to shoulder with the reforming popes in their fight
for the purification of the Church.[269] Cluny initiated the Truce of
God, the peace movement of the XI century that permitted the art
renaissance which was to culminate in the Gothic cathedrals. Peace
meant an unmolested commerce, peace meant city charters and stable laws.
A reformed clergy meant the renewal of the people's love of the altar,
and their generous contributions toward the erection of churches. With
Cluny as leader there was then formulated the architecture which was a
stepping stone to a greater system.

Two hundred years after Cluny's foundation, Burgundy again gave birth to
a monastic movement which was to carry to the ends of Europe the Gothic
system of building. Cîteaux, in the extent of its conquests and its
centralized administration, has been compared with the Roman Empire.
Cistercian monks carried Burgundian Gothic to Spain, to Italy, to
Greece, to England, Germany, and Scandinavia. Owing to the conditions of
society and of the episcopacy, the cloister then was chief patron of
art. Simony infected the bishoprics and it is not under unworthy
prelates that churches are reared. Gregory VII, Cluny, that supplied him
with his army of reformers, and St. Bernard, with his white-cowled
brethren, warred unceasingly on simony, concubinage, and investiture
(the tormenting question of layman control of churchmen). And since it
was monasteries that fought that battle of regeneration, monastic
churches and not cathedrals were the first tangible proof of the ethical
rebirth of Europe. _À la peine ... à l'honneur._ When the reform
achieved by Cluny and Cîteaux had filled the sees with worthy bishops,
then were built the great cathedrals.

We have seen how the problem of roofing churches in stone caused the
evolution from Romanesque to Gothic art. Burgundy's struggle to achieve
a permanent stone roof was bolder than that of other regional schools in
France, and perhaps it was overhardy, since her abbatials, in Gothic
times, had to be buttressed to keep them standing. Though the Burgundian
discarded too early the Romanesque principle of equilibrium by dead
load, his temerity was a step forward in the march toward new principles
of construction. These monks on Europe's highway made churches of ample
width and height, and, rather than sacrifice their proper lighting,
opened windows in the upper walls of the central vessel. However, they
must have felt that their clearstory windows were an experiment, for
they essayed, occasionally, an embryo flying buttress, keeping it hidden
under the lean-to roof of the aisles.

The militant Romanesque school of Burgundy was too well developed for it
to bow instantly before the new art. Not here did the generating member
of Gothic architecture first come into common usage, but in that region
of northern France whose pre-Gothic school was of less importance. The
Burgundian clung stubbornly to his early ways of building, and even
after other provinces had accepted the ogival style he erected
thoroughly Romanesque churches; St. Philibert at Dijon is the
contemporary of the cathedrals at Chartres and Paris. Flying buttresses
at no time found favor in Burgundy. Groin vaults were persisted in
simultaneously with diagonals, and the sexpartite vault used long after
the north had dropped it. Firm plain profiles for archivolts and window
molds were preferred.

Once the Burgundian frankly accepted the new system, his bold genius led
him to push its principles to their limit. Within the confines of the
duchy were the quarries of hard Tonnerre stone that permitted audacious
experiments in building. He dared traverse his exterior buttresses by
circulation passages, he dared catch his heavily weighted diagonals on
corbels (carved with original heads), and to poise a mass of material on
the slenderest of colonnettes. Often he surmounted his triforium by a
passage that passed directly through the active wall shafts, as in
cathedrals of Auxerre, Nevers, and Semur. By the middle of the XIII
century Dijon achieved a marvel of Gothic technique in its church of
Notre Dame. Despite much notable Gothic work one is inclined, none the
less, to maintain that Burgundy found her fullest expression in her
earlier monastic churches. Alas, that the greatest of them, Cluny,
should to-day be but the phantom of its once colossal self!


     Time will be ending soon, heaven will be rending soon, fast we and
     pray we: Comes the most merciful; comes the most terrible; watch we
     while may we.

     --BERNARD DE MORLAIX, "Jerusalem the Golden"[271] (c. 1140).

The "mother abbey of Europe" lies in a fertile valley some fifteen miles
off the express route that passes through Mâcon. The property was given
to the monks by a duke of Aquitaine, who thus anathematized future
despoilers: "I conjure you O holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to cut off
from life eternal all robbers, invaders, or sellers of that which I
herewith donate with full satisfaction and entire free will."

When Cluny was founded in 910, the victory of Christianity over the
Barbarians still hung in the balance. It was Cluny that weighed down the
scale for justice and progress, Cluny that gave to Rome the needed
reforming popes. Hers should be a name as honored in humanity's history
as Athens: "We leave college," wrote Montalembert, "able to cite the
list of Jupiter's mistresses, but ignorant, even to their names, of the
founders of the religious Orders that civilized Europe." And the
testimony of the Protestant Leibnitz is: "Without monks we should
have no erudition, for it is certain that we owe to monasteries the
preservation of letters and books." Four of the best among the popes
came out of Cluny's cloister: Gregory VII, Urban II, Paschal II, and
Urban V.

[Illustration: _The XI-century Sanctuary of Cluny as It Was until the

The modern French school of mediæval archæology, delving into the past,
has drawn Cluny from its long oblivion. In 1910 was celebrated with
national honors the millennium of the Burgundian "abbey of abbeys," and
to the festival the French Academy sent M. René Bazin as its
representative to voice the gratitude of French letters to the "great
Order of Cluny which in the France of the Middle Ages exercised in its
plenitude the mission of civilizer, apostle of the Gospel, apostle of
peace, guardian of the whole field of knowledge, founder then, of all
works of charity, initiator of both literary and agricultural progress,
creator of an art which she spread over Europe."

During the Middle Ages the silent Burgundian valley was a busy hive of
arts and crafts[272] with goldsmiths' work, illuminating, carving in
ivory and in stone, foundering of bells, and the making of stained
glass. All that went toward the adornment of God's house was fostered in
Cluniac schools, but above all was the master art of the builder
honored. In bands of twelve the monks carried not only the Gospel, but
the arts to every part of Europe, and even farther afield, for there
were houses of the Order on Mount Tabor, in Nazareth, and in Bethany. No
uniform Cluniac building lore was followed; it was the usual custom for
the monks to conform to the local traditions in each different

It was natural that the big abbey church at Cluny proper should have
been Burgundian Romanesque. Hazelon, a monk of Cluny, was the
master-of-works, a learned man who had once occupied a high position in
the world; he is said to have himself worked here with trowel and
mortar. The tunnel vaulting was braced by transverse ribs that were
slightly pointed; clearstory windows were opened in the upper walls. The
channeled pilasters were a heritage from the classic traditions of the
region; near by, in Rome's former capital of Autun, were many monuments
of antiquity.

Cluny's abbey church of St. Peter was the largest in the world, and
covered an area about equal to that of the present St. Peter's at Rome.
It was over five hundred and fifty feet long; the cathedral at Paris is
not four hundred feet in length. There were double aisles and double
transepts. St. Hugues of Cluny, the sixth abbot, "a man of God greatest
among the great," "the pupil of the papacy's eye," ruled the Burgundian
mother house during the sixty years that Cluny guided Christendom (1049
to 1109). No flattery, no subtlety could turn him from pure justice.
Under him were trained Hildebrand, the future Gregory VII, who led the
forces of church reform. "The giving up of justice is the shipwreck of
the soul," said Gregory VII. Abbot Hugues trained also Urban II, who
preached the First Crusade. Among the houses he founded were St.
Martin-des-Champs at Paris, and St. Pancras at Lewes; in England there
were thirty-five Cluniac establishments in the time of Henry VIII.

Twice St. Hugues went into Spain, where his niece was the Queen of
Castile, engaged in substituting the liturgy of the Church universal for
the Mozarabic rite. To the town of Cluny he granted a commune, and he
built two of its parish churches, Notre Dame and St. Marcel.[274] When
he felt death approaching, he had himself carried before the altar of
St. Marcel, there to breathe his last on a bed of ashes, and a few days
earlier than the Easter Tuesday of 1109 on which he passed away, his
dear friend and frequent visitor at Cluny, St. Anselm of Canterbury,
died, being privileged, he said, to go to meet his Saviour in time for
the blessed Easter feast. Those two great men of the cloister by their
ethical and intellectual leadership laid the basis for the Gothic

The choir of St. Peter's, at Cluny, was blessed by Urban II, in 1095,
when he came into France to preach the First Crusade. He passed a week
in his old home, after which he and his beloved master, St. Hugues,
proceeded to the historic gathering at Clermont. The nave of St. Peter's
was carried forward by succeeding abbots of Cluny, and many a pope was
to watch the edifice rising. Paschal II passed the winter of 1106-07 in
Cluny, and his successor, Gelasius II, died there in 1119; he had
recently consecrated the new Romanesque cathedral of Pisa.[275] On the
site of the wing of the cloister where he lodged now stands a
XIV-century building called by his name. On his death the cardinals at
Cluny held conclave, electing as pope a member of the ducal house of
Burgundy, the bishop of Vienne, who took the name Calixtus II; in Cluny
church he canonized the great Abbot Hugues.

St. Hugues' successor, Pons de Melgueil, after an estimable career, was
led by pride to a downfall. On his resignation, Pierre de Montboissier,
an Auvergne noble, known in history as Peter the Venerable, became the
ninth abbot (1122-56). At that time he was but thirty years of age. Pons
returned, seized Cluny abbey, and in the ensuing disorders the vaulting
of the new nave collapsed. Abbot Peter restored the stone roof, and
Innocent II dedicated the completed church in 1131.

The capitals then carved are to be seen in the town's Museum. Some of
them personified the eight tones of liturgical music, for Cluny excelled
in song, and every twenty-four hours her vast basilica echoed to the
chanting of the entire book of Psalms; never, says the old chronicle,
was there pause in the _saintes clameurs_, the _laus perennis_ started
by Irish Columbanus in the valleys of Burgundy. Some of the capitals
from the abbatial are contemporaries of the statuary at Vézelay, where
Peter the Venerable had been prior, and where his brother, Pons de
Montboissier, was abbot. Vézelay was a pilgrimage church, so that its
imagery was made of more popular character than that of Cluny, where
worshiped an intellectual élite.

Cluny began the carving of the Bible for the Poor. The Burgundians were
the first to develop the imaged portal which the Gothic cathedrals were
to elaborate into their sumptuous triple entrances. While Cluny was
building, a monk in the monastery composed a poem of some thousand
lines, opening with a vision of the heavenly Jerusalem. Bernard of
Morlaix must have found inspiration in his own Burgundian basilica,
which we know to have contained over three hundred windows of
translucent mosaic. He dedicated his poem to his beloved abbot, Pierre
de Montboissier.

Peter the Venerable was no Puritan in art, as was his friend St.
Bernard, with whom he had many a skirmish, owing to their temperamental
differences and the rivalship of their respective Orders. The abbot of
Cluny never wavered in his reverence for the "fellow citizen of angels,"
as he called the abbot of Clairvaux, and Bernard saw in Peter, man of
the world though he was, "a vessel of election full of truth and grace."

Like Abbot Suger, Pierre de Montboissier was the type of the liberal
culture of the Benedictine, and he was to live again in the XVII-century
scholars of the St. Maur reform, even as Bernard's uncompromising spirit
reappeared then in De Rancy and his Trappists, a reform of Cîteaux. Like
Suger, Peter the Venerable was a quoter of the classics, and a literary
man. "To write was for an abbot of Cluny a hereditary tradition," said a
XII-century historian. He had Arabic taught at Cluny for mission
purposes. Journeying in Spain, he was the first to have the Koran
translated for Europe; he held it to be Islam's best refutation. Very
modern appears this old-time abbot in the zest with which he set out to
travel, to inspect the houses of his Order. When he died in 1156, he was
ruling over two thousand establishments, in every part of Christendom.

In person Peter was distinguished, and in character most generous,
humane, and free from narrowness. He was wisely moderate always, and
simple and direct. The letters of his which still exist make him a
living personality. Though as keen a theologian as his friend Bernard,
Abbot Peter kept the defeated Abélard with him at Cluny until his
irritated spirit was soothed, and when the great schoolman died in 1142,
Abbot Peter wrote to Héloïse, in her nunnery of the Paraclete, in Troyes
diocese, to arrange that Abélard's body be brought there for burial, and
he himself went to preach the funeral sermon.[276] In his letter to
Héloïse he said that never had he seen truer humility and retirement
than Maître Pierre's; "after which," as M. René Bazin remarks, "none of
us need despair."

Cluny's abbatial of St. Peter was enlarged in the XIII century by a
forechurch of several bays, with double aisles. An antechurch or narthex
was a frequent addition to the Burgundian basilica; sometimes it was
open as at Autun and Beaune, sometimes wholly inclosed as at Vézelay.
Although Cluny's narthex was built as late as 1220, groin vaulting was
used for the aisles.

In 1245 Innocent IV paused for a month at Cluny, having in his train a
dozen cardinals and their suites, and Louis IX came for a fortnight's
conference with the pope, accompanied by the queen mother, his brothers,
and courtiers. The emperor of Constantinople and the heirs both of
Castile and Aragon were guests at that same time, and yet so immense was
the establishment, that all were accommodated without the monks quitting
their usual quarters. In 1248 St. Louis paused again in Cluny before his
first crusade.

With material success came spiritual decline. The tale runs the same in
most of man's organizations. As a reformer Cluny was succeeded first by
the Cistercians, whose fervor lasted for a century, when were needed the
two mendicant Orders of Francis and Dominic. The system that allowed the
king to appoint abbots, initiated by the Concordat of 1516, proved
fatal, and there is truth in the saying that the court prelates paved
the way for the religious wars. Three times in those bitter years of
strife was Cluny sacked, its famous library ravaged, and its art
treasures burned.

The Revolution completed the ruin. The first mob that marched out from
Mâcon to wreck the abbey was dispersed with firearms by the townspeople.
The municipality of Cluny wrote to the National Assembly to tell of the
constant benefits it had derived from the monks--so the rationalist
Taine relates in his _Ancien Régime_--but the impious wrecking of the
great monastery went on. Day after day cartloads of rare books were
brought to feed the bonfires in the square. All through 1793 bands of
looters came out from Mâcon to break windows and destroy images. The
indignant townspeople looked on impotently at the vandalism that spelled
their own material decline. At Napoleon's advent they sent petition
after petition to try to save the big church, but the Mâcon merchant who
had purchased it proceeded to open a road right up its nave and sold the
stones as building materials. First the narthex was blown up with
gunpowder; then a transept arm. When the huge central tower fell with
stupefying noise the people shivered with a nameless fear. The history
of France was being obliterated before their eyes.

To save what remained the town offered in exchange its communal lands
and market halls. In vain; the grandest monastic church in the world was
demolished piecemeal after the nineteenth century opened. Some seven or
eight towers had crowned St. Peter's. In 1811 the one over the choir was
destroyed. Gunpowder blew up the stately pillars of Pentelic marble and
Italian cipolin set around his sanctuary by St. Hugues seven hundred
years before. They destroyed the frescoes of the apse, which were so
fresh that one who then sketched them said that they seemed to have come
straight from the artist's brush.

To-day little of the abbey church is standing. There are vestiges of the
choir, a small tower, and the south arm of the main transept with a big
tower over it. There also remains the Flamboyant Gothic chapel built by
Abbot Jean de Bourbon (1456-81), out of the smaller transept. In the
town street are evidences of where the western doors of the abbatial
once stood. The entrance arches to the abbey grounds are intact, and
some few of the towers of the inclosure walls. The museum is now housed
in the monastery's guest quarters built by Jean de Bourbon. His
successor, Abbot Jacques d'Amboise (1481-1514), erected the pavilion
which now serves as Town Hall. Both of those art-loving prelates
constructed at Paris the Hôtel Cluny as town residence for the abbot of
the Burgundian mother house.


    The world is very evil,
      The times are waxing late,
    Be sober and keep vigil,
      The Judge is at the gate!
    The Judge that comes in mercy,
      The Judge that comes with might,
    To terminate the evil
      To diadem the right.
    --BERNARD DE MORLAIX, "Jerusalem the Golden."[278]

Not far from Cluny lies Paray-le-Monial, "a town very dear to heaven,"
said Leo XIII's brief of 1896. The monastery was founded by the second
abbot of Cluny, St. Majolus, who was instrumental in bringing to France
William of Volpiano, the leading spirit in the renaissance of
architecture after the year 1000. The present abbatial resembles on a
very small scale that of Cluny. Its barrel vaulting is braced by pointed
arches and there are the channeled pilasters of Rome's tradition in the
region. The exterior of the apse and the carven doorway are gems of
pre-Gothic art. Towers and porch date from the end of the XI century,
and the remainder about 1130. At present the monastery church (which is
abominably marred with whitewash) is dedicated to the Sacré Coeur, a
devotion that was initiated by the Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque, who
died in the Visitation convent of this town in 1690. Paray-le-Monial has
become one of the pilgrimages of modern France.

St. Odilo, who governed Cluny for the half century preceding the
sixty-year rule of Abbot Hugues, loved especially the priory of
Paray-le-Monial. He inspired and organized the Truce of God, the _Treuga
Dei_, by which war was prohibited on certain days and in certain holy
seasons. The monk, Raoul Glaber, to whom Odilo was patron, has described
in a chronicle covering the period from 900 to 1047 (an invaluable
document for the sources of the Capetian line) how the war-wrecked
populace flocked to the church councils that were their only hope, their
hands uplifted, with the beseeching cry, "Peace! Peace! Peace!" In the
rebirth of hope and energy that succeeded to the terrors of the year
1000, Glaber has told us how the earth reclothed herself in a white
mantle of churches. He had been spurred on to write his history by the
chief builder of the age, William of Volpiano. The great monastic
churchmen of Burgundy were leaders in the movement that was to
culminate, within four generations, in Gothic cathedrals. To Abbot Odilo
is attributed, also, the founding of the feast of All Souls, which he
set on the day following All Saints, as if to place the suffering ones
in the care of the elect. From the observance of this feast in Cluny
houses it spread to the entire Church.


     Et c'est ainsi que Dieu travaille quand il veut nous châtier sans
     nous perdre, quand il ne veut pas que la guerre finisse, par le
     feu, le sang, la désolation générale, la ruine entière et le
     changement d'un État. _Il sépare les gens de bien_: il faut que les
     uns se mettent avec choix au parti qu'ils estiment le plus juste,
     et que les autres se trouvent dans le parti qu'ils approuvent
     quelquefois le moins.--LE PRÉSIDENT JEANNIN (1540-1622; born in

Autun's chief church, one of the few cathedrals in France which is
Romanesque, was begun in 1120 and consecrated in 1132 by Innocent II. In
that same year he blessed Cluny's nave and Vézelay's narthex. A friend
of St. Bernard, Bishop Étienne de Baugé (1112-36), was its chief
benefactor, as he was, also, of the Burgundian abbey of Saulieu.[280]

The Last Judgment over Autun's west door, signed by one Gislebertus,
dates from that period. Its strange, elongated figures are not the
culmination of an old art, but a first effort in a development that was
to produce the imaged portals of Gothic cathedrals. Autun's curious
tympanum was saved from the iconoclasts of the Revolution because the
_gens de goût_ of the XVIII century had covered it over with the
neo-classic plaster ornamentation they preferred. The graceful trumeau
images of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary are restorations. Before the western
door an open narthex for the use of lepers was added about 1178.

In the first part of the XII century, the cathedral school was directed,
during thirty years, by Honoré d'Autun, whose popular book, _The Mirror
of the Church_, introduced the use of animal symbolism into the
iconography of cathedrals. M. Mâle discovered that the New Alliance
window in Lyons Cathedral copied his book verbatim. In the learned
Honoré's day Autun Cathedral had not yet laid claim to the relics of the
risen Lazarus. Originally the church was consecrated to St. Nazaire,
which name was changed to Lazare after the Burgundian abbey of Vézelay
had spread the story that Mary Magdalene had died in Provence. No one
knew how Autun obtained the relics said to be those of Lazarus of
Bethany. They were first exposed for veneration in the cathedral in
1147. Monseigneur Duchesne has thought that the legend grew by
unconscious fabrications. It certainly did the Burgundian towns little
harm to honor those whom the Lord had cherished. Through long centuries
Burgundy delighted to call her sons Lazare.

The cathedral of Autun has a barrel vault undergirded by pointed arches.
Channeled pilasters,[281] great and small, abound; they are on all four
sides of the piers. In Autun stand gateways of Rome's empire to serve as
classic models. The acanthus leaves of the cathedral's triforium can
compare with those of the Porte d'Arroux. Autun was a Roman capital in
Gaul, founded by Augustus. It covered then twice its present area.
Agrippa, son-in-law of Augustus, built the great military road that ran
from Lyons to Autun, Autun to Auxerre, Auxerre to Troyes, Troyes to
Châlons-sur-Marne, Châlons to Rheims, Rheims to Soissons, Soissons to
Senlis, Senlis to Beauvais, Beauvais to Amiens, and thence to

The graceful central tower of the cathedral was added in the Flamboyant
Gothic day by Cardinal Rolin (d. 1483), son of the builder of Beaune
Hospital, Nicolas Rolin (a native of Autun), the self-seeking but able
chancellor of Duke Philippe le Bon. Another son of Autun was Pierre
Jeannin, president of the parliament of Burgundy and minister of Henry
IV. His father, a tanner, was a man of civic importance in the town.
President Jeannin's kneeling statue and that of his wife, Anne Gueniot,
are now in the cathedral choir, being all that remained, after the
Revolution, of his tomb made by Nicolas Guillan of Paris. No man ever
had a truer passion for the public weal than this Burgundian magistrate
who saved Burgundy from the stain of blood on St. Bartholomew's day in
1572. Word came from the king to kill, but the Catholic Jeannin on the
governor's council at Dijon urged delay, saying that when a king's
orders were given in anger, the wisest course was procrastination. He
was to live long enough to aid Henry IV in drawing up the Edict of
Nantes in 1598.

Jeannin's attitude in 1572 was all the more meritorious because Burgundy
had suffered acutely from the Calvinists, who invited their
co-religionists from Germany to fight their fellow citizens. In 1569 a
band of the invaders left behind them a trail of four hundred burned
villages. Cluny was attacked, and Cîteaux was sacked from top to bottom;
to-day some XIV-century debris is all that marks the mother house of the
Cistercian Order. The destruction of Cîteaux was irreparable for art,
since during centuries its abbatial was the St. Denis of the first
Capetian dukes who ruled Burgundy. The leading families of the province
felt it an honor to be buried at Cîteaux. In its church was once the
splendid tomb (now in the Louvre) of the seneschal of Burgundy, Philippe
Pot (d. 1494). The effigy of the baron in armor is carried on the
shoulders of eight black, cowled figures--a further development of the
_pleurant_ type of tomb.

In a chapel of Autun Cathedral is a beautiful modern statue of Pope
Gregory the Great, presented to Cardinal Perraud (1882-1906) of the
French Academy, as bishop of this ancient city whose prelate in the VI
century had entertained Augustine and his monks on their way to
missionize England. Cardinal Vaughan of Westminster was the donor of
this grateful souvenir.


     L'art du Moyen Âge--aussi ennemi de l'art académique figé dans ses
     moules conventionnels que du désordre matérialiste--est une
     esthétique très simple, très certaine, très puissante et très
     libre. Cette esthétique n'invoque pas un idéal abstrait; elle
     impose le culte de la réalité, de la plus humble comme de la plus
     éclatante; elle pourrait s'appeler un réalisme trancendant,
     respectant la forme telle que Dieu l'a faite, et en même temps la
     transfigurant par la grand frisson de l'au-delà.--ROBERT

The Hospital of the Holy Ghost, built by Chancellor Nicolas Rolin from
1444 to 1457, is a gem of the province, reminding us of the close union
of Burgundy and the Netherlands under the four great dukes of the West.
The third of those rulers, Philippe le Bon, patronized Jean Van Eyck, as
did the enterprising man who was the duke's chancellor during forty
years. For a church at Autun, Rolin ordered of Van Eyck, in 1425, the
magnificent Madonna now in the Louvre in which he kneels as donor--a
shrewd, hard-featured, capable man.

For his new hospital at Beaune he commissioned Roger Van der Weyden to
paint, in many panels, the Last Judgment now in the little museum of the
establishment, but originally installed in the large raftered hall.
After the Van Eyck's Adoration of the Lamb it was the most important
work of Flemish art undertaken. Philippe le Bon is portrayed in it
twice, and so is the donor. The outside of the panels is painted in
monochrome--what the French call _camaïeu_ from its cameo effect, and
the Italians call chiaroscuro. When this superb painting hung at the end
of the hospital hall that ended in a chapel like the XIII-century
hospice at Tonnerre, the patients could see it from their beds. The
Hôtel Dieu at Tonnerre had been founded by Marguerite of Burgundy, in
1293. After the death of her husband, Charles d'Anjou, whose cruelty
roused the Sicilian Vespers, she retired to the city of which she was
hereditary countess, and with two other dethroned ladies, the Empress of
Constantinople and the Countess of Tripoli, gave herself up to good
works. _La bonne Reyne_, the people called this princess who passed her
days serving the sick poor in a hospital where the spirit of the
Beatitudes ruled. None was dismissed from its door without new cloak and
shoes. To-day the great rafter-covered hall at Tonnerre lies empty; the
raising of its pavement has somewhat impaired its proportion.

Beaune's hospital hall, that indubitably copied Tonnerre's, serves still
the charitable purpose for which it was founded. Its quiet courtyard is
a vision of Flanders. In the kitchen the ancient iron crane of the
fireplace is ornamented with I.H.S.; the Middle Ages made even work
artistic. On feast days, such as Corpus Christi, the quaint half-timber
hospice is hung with beautiful XV-century tapestry. It is deemed an
honor for the leading families of the region to count one of its members
among the nuns whose service is for a few years, after which they may
return to their own people.

The collegiate church of Notre Dame at Beaune is a typical Burgundian
Romanesque edifice of the XII century, to which the following century
added a graceful open narthex of two bays. It possesses seventeen
embroidered panels relating Our Lady's life, presented in 1500 by the
Chanoine Hugues le Coq, and held to be among the most lovely tapestries
in France, evoking memories of Memling and the Flemish primitives.


     L'esprit humain, poussé par une force invincible, ne cessera jamais
     de se demander: qu'y a-til au delà? Il ne sert à rien de répondre:
     au delà sont des espaces, des temps, ou des grandeurs sans limites.
     Nul ne comprend ces paroles. Celui qui proclame l'existence de
     l'infini accumule dans cette affirmation plus de surnaturel qu'il
     n'y en a dans tous les miracles de toutes les religions. La notion
     de l'infini dans le monde j'en vois partout l'inévitable
     expression. Par elle, le surnaturel est au fond de tous les
     coeurs. L'idée de Dieu est une forme de l'idée de l'infini. Tant
     que le mystère de l'infini pesera sur la pensée humaine, des
     temples seront élevés au culte de l'infini. Et sur la dalle de ces
     temples, vous verrez des hommes agenouillés, prosternés, abimés
     dans la pensée de l'infini. Où sont les vraies sources de la
     dignité humaine, de la liberté, et de la démocratie moderne, sinon
     dans la notion de l'infini devant laquelle tous les hommes sont
     égaux?--LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-95; born in Burgundy).[285]

The hill town of Avallon, above the gorge of the Cousin, with a square
that would do honor to any capital, makes a convenient center from which
to explore various Burgundian churches. Its own church of St. Lazare
still possesses the apse and absidioles of the edifice blessed by
Paschal II in 1107. The remainder of the church was built in mid-XII
century, and the portal (in five orders richly carved, with channeled
and twisted columns) belongs to the end of the century. A copy of
Avallon's door is in the Trocadéro Museum at Paris where it can be
compared at close range with the two other notable Romanesque portals of
the province--those of Autun and Vézelay. The interior of St. Lazare is
excessively plain, having a high expanse of unbroken wall over the pier
arches, with the clearstory opened merely by little circular windows.

Twenty miles from Avallon is the church of Montréal, like a feudal fort
guarding one of the main passageways from Champagne. The lord of
Montréal was among the few hundred barons who returned from the dire
experience of famine, treason, and death which was the Second Crusade,
on which had set forth a hopeful hundred thousand knights and pilgrims.
In the latter part of the XII century he built Montreal's collegiate
church, one of the earliest Gothic ventures in the province, showing a
simultaneous use of Romanesque and Gothic vaulting. Its two westernmost
bays were added early in the XIII century. The beautiful alabaster
reredos of the XV century, and the carved choir stalls, are well worth
studying. Beyond Montréal, to the north of Avallon, lies Tonnerre's
hospital hall and to the south can be visited the abbatial at Saulieu
and the XIII-century castle of Chastellux, a son of which ancient house
fought in America with Rochambeau and was the good friend of George

To the east, at Flavigny, set picturesquely on a hill near the last
stronghold held by the Gauls against the Romans, stood one of the most
interesting of abbey churches, of which portions of the XIII-century
sanctuary remain, a few arches of the nave, and a Carolingian crypt
built by the abbot who ruled here from 755 to 768, hence that
subterranean chamber can claim to be the oldest dated monument extant in
France. Over the choir of Flavigny was a cupola, and the Lady chapel was
an XI-century octagon like that which William of Volpiano constructed
for his abbey at Dijon. This precious Benedictine abbatial was destroyed
in the XIX century. At Flavigny are two ancient parish churches. What is
now the Pension Lacordaire was the Dominican convent opened in 1849 by
that brilliant son of Burgundy, with funds donated by his admirers of

To the northeast of Avallon, at Fontenay, near Montbard, is the oldest
extant Romanesque church of the Cistercian Order, built from 1139 to
1147, on land given by the lord of Montbard, the maternal uncle of St.
Bernard; on his mother's side St. Bernard was of the blood of Burgundy's
first line of Capetian dukes. The great abbot of Clairvaux himself
conducted hither the twelve monks who were to found the new house and
reclaim the marshy region; and for his brethren of Fontenay he wrote his
treatise on Pride and Humility.

The first small sanctuary at Fontenay was soon replaced by the actual
one, built on the same lines as the church at Clairvaux, which no longer
stands. Both followed the Cistercian plan; no tower; no triforium nor
clearstory; uncut capitals; the east end rectangular; square chapels
opening on the eastern wall of the transept. Funds for the new
constructions at Fontenay were provided by a wealthy English prelate who
had retired here, Evrard de Montgomery, of the Arundel family, who,
while bishop of Norwich, completed the long Norman nave of that
cathedral. In 1147 the church was consecrated by Pope Eugene III, St.
Bernard being present. As it was frequent in Cistercian monasteries to
make a specialty of some branch of manual work, Fontenay conducted a
forge, and the massive XII-century building which housed it still
stands. The forge, the abbey church, and the refectory to-day comprise
part of a paper factory whose proprietor has taken a patriotic pride in
restoring these precious monuments of ancient Burgundy.


     Whatever draws us from the power of our senses, whatever makes the
     past, the distant, or the future predominate over the present,
     advances us in the dignity of thinking beings. Far from me and
     from my friends be the frigid philosophy as may conduct us
     indifferent and unmoved over any ground which has been dignified by
     wisdom, bravery, or virtue.... That man is little to be envied
     whose patriotism does not gain force on the plain of Marathon, or
     whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona.--DR.

The oldest Gothic church in Burgundy is the Cistercian abbatial at
Pontigny. "Cradle of bishops and asylum of great men," Pontigny is
_parfumée de souvenirs_, to use a charming stilted French phrase. It was
the first daughter of Cîteaux, founded in 1114. When a pious canon of
Auxerre proposed to endow a house of the new Order, the abbot of
Cîteaux, St. Stephen Harding, came to overlook the site on the confines
of Champagne, and then sent twelve monks to found the house, under the
leadership of Hugues de Mâcon, kinsman and childhood friend of St.

The Cistercians had not the Benedictines' weakness for a noble site, but
if they planted their monasteries in a marsh--as at Fontenay and
Pontigny--their agricultural industry soon made the desert bloom. The
earlier Cistercian churches obeyed St. Bernard's ascetic admonitions for
architecture, a Puritanism that became monotonous in the Italian
churches of the Order. In France the Cistercians ceased to adhere to
church simplicity, raising sanctuaries such as Ourscamp, Longpont, and
St. Julien-le-Pauvre at Paris.

No towers adorned Pontigny, and stained glass was eschewed, but the
leaded design of the grisaille windows is so lovely that, as M. André
Michel has said, "one could not be poor with more nobility." The
architect of Pontigny made skillful use of certain essential
constructive features to obtain his decorative effects. Thus, though
monastic sobriety was followed by omitting the triforium, the bare wall
between pier arches and clearstory was relieved (at the sanctuary curve)
by carrying down the moldings from the upper windows; and in the
procession path a fifth rib was introduced into each vault section,
which rib fell on a corbel set above the entrance to each of the
radiating chapels--a constructive subtlety by which was produced a
graceful wall arcade.

The present abbatial was begun a generation after the foundation of
Pontigny, with funds contributed by Thibaut the Great, Count of
Champagne. The transept, which is Romanesque, rose from 1150 to 1160.
While the walls of the nave were mounting, the master-of-works began to
prepare for a Gothic vault over the principal span. The lower windows
were round-headed; the upper ones used the pointed arch. As the keystone
of the diagonals was raised far above the arches framing each section, a
pronounced _bombé_ shape resulted. From 1160 to 1180 this transitional
nave of Pontigny was building, and the most famous of the English
exiles, who sought the hospitality of Pontigny, must have watched the
works. The choir, as first erected, had a rectangular eastern wall after
the usual manner of Cîteaux's churches. Then, from 1170 to 1200, the
present choir was erected with Gothic ambulatory and radiating
chapels.[288] Alix of Champagne, daughter of the abbey's generous
patron, and mother of the French king, Philippe-Auguste, was buried in
the new choir, in 1208. From 1207 to 1213 Pontigny harbored a second
archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, of Magna Charta fame. During
the studious years he passed here he divided the Bible into chapters for
the first time, and even the Greeks accepted his rulings. In later life
Archbishop Langton often looked back to this byway of Burgundy; "his
garden, his solace, his abode of peace," he called it.

His predecessor at Pontigny was St. Thomas Becket, one of the
outstanding figures of the XII century, whose story is told in many a
French window and sculptured group. If ever an Englishman was all of a
piece it was that son of a Rouen merchant settled in London. During his
life as a courtier Becket was so lavish in grandeur that when he passed
through France as Henry II's ambassador, the countryside turned out to
see him, since few were the king's retinues that could equal his. When
Henry raised him to the highest post in the English Church he instantly
dropped luxury. He stood firm as a rock in defense of ecclesiastical
rights against the king's attempt at Church supremacy. Tennyson's
"Becket" says, "I served King Henry well as Chancellor; I am his no
more, and I must serve the Church."

To the end of time such a character will be discussed; some for, some
against, him; admired he certainly was by that sincerest and cleverest
of men, John of Salisbury, who lived in his intimacy.[289] Both in
England and France the populace felt that Becket was the champion of
their civic rights by his defense of church independence--then the only
supreme court against lay tyranny. Undeviatingly and enthusiastically
they supported him all through his seven years' exile. One of the
articles of the Clarendon Constitutions which Henry Plantagenet tried to
impose on English ecclesiastics was that no peasant could become a
priest without his lord's permission. The poet voiced the indignant
outcry: "Hath not God called us all, bond or free, to his service?"

When Henry II, with his usual Angevin bad faith, duped his new
archbishop into a promise to maintain the customs of the kingdom, and
thereupon proceeded to revive obsolete customs, Becket, repenting the
concessions he had made, fled, in 1164, to Sens, to lay the case before
Alexander III. The pope decided that certain of the Clarendon
propositions were impossible for any churchman to accede to. The abbot
of Pontigny offered hospitality to the persecuted primate and Becket
stayed with him till 1168, conforming to the severe Cistercian Rule. He
quitted the Burgundian monastery when Henry, in a burst of vindictive
anger, threatened to shut up every house of the white monks in England
as well as in his continental possessions if they harbored the
rebellious churchman. Soon after Becket's arrival at Pontigny, the irate
king sent thither the primate's relatives and friends, turned out to
beggary, in order that their plight might oppress the archbishop's

The third exile from Canterbury, and the saint who has given his name to
Pontigny's abbatial, was a gentler spirit. St. Edmund Rich knew France
as well as his native region of Oxford, having studied in Paris
University and taught there for years. It is told how his mother, Mabel,
sent him to the foreign schools with a hair shirt and a cord whip in his
gripsack in order that he might learn to chastise and thus curb himself.
She was a merchant's wife, and alone reared her family, to enable her
husband to follow the call he felt for the cloister; two of her
daughters died the saintly abbesses of Catesby. At the knee of that
XIII-century mother the little Edmund, as a child, recited every Sunday
the entire book of Psalms. While lecturing at Oxford he initiated the
study of Aristotle. In Paris, St. Edmund watched the cathedral of Notre
Dame perfecting itself, and at Salisbury, while treasurer, he assisted
at the laying of the corner stone of the Gothic cathedral in 1220.

Worsted in the struggle to right crying abuses in English church affairs
where the king kept bishoprics vacant for his financial profit, and the
queen filled the sees with her own unpopular foreign relatives, the
archbishop, accompanied by his chancellor, St. Richard, was on his way
to Rome to remonstrate. He thought it wrong to condone further by his
presence evils he was powerless to correct. He paused in Burgundy, and
there death came to him in 1243. To-day his tomb stands over the high
altar of the abbey church named St. Edmé, in his memory. Puritan Bernard
most certainly would not approve the gymnastic-limbed angels that
decorate the present Renaissance tomb of St. Edmund, but one fears that
he would give his sanction to the whitewash that disfigures the interior
of the interesting Primary Gothic church.

To the canonization ceremonies at Pontigny in honor of St. Edmund of
Abingdon came St. Louis (who had known him well in Paris) and Blanche of
Castile, and notables such as the archbishop-builder of Bourges
Cathedral, and St. Richard, now become bishop at Chichester, in which
cathedral his tomb was destroyed, in 1538, by order of Henry VIII. Few
spots in France are more entirely apart from the come-and-go of modern
life than is forgotten Pontigny, _parfumée de souvenirs_.


     Il y a des lieux qui tirent l'âme de sa léthargie, des lieux
     enveloppés, baignés de mystère, élus de toute éternité pour être le
     siège de l'émotion religieuse ... l'héroique Vézelay, le mont
     Saint-Michel, qui surgit comme un miracle des sables mouvants ...
     lieux qui nous commandaient de faire taire nos pensées et d'écouter
     plus profond que notre coeur. Silence! les dieux sont ici! Il y a
     des lieux où souffle l'Esprit.--MAURICE BARRÉS, _La colline

The supreme excursion from Avallon is that to Vézelay, ten miles away.
One can drive to it or walk to it, since no railway touches the valley
which once was the beaten thoroughfare for Christendom marching to
crusades. A good way to approach it in the proper spirit of pilgrimage
is to walk from the station at Sermizelle with the church of St.
Magdalene as the lodestar to guide one's steps. Vézelay has the aspect
of a hill city of Umbria. The abbey church, Gothic in its choir,
Romanesque in its nave, transition in its forechurch, and practically
all of it of the XII century, crowns the hill like a cathedral.

"_Le grand nom de Vézelay sonne aux oreilles avec une sauvage poésie. La
majesté du site est digne de la splendeur du monument._"[292] Always
afterward will you remember this abode of reverie with that uplift of
the heart which high art and high thoughts arouse. Like loved sites in
Umbria, this, too, is "one of the earth's oases of spiritual rest and

The abbey was founded in the IX century by Girard de Roussillon[293] of
_chanson de geste_ fame, but its position as a leading pilgrim shrine
was not established till Abbot Geoffrey was installed in 1037. Only then
did the relics of the Magdalene appear here, given, it was claimed, by
Charles Martel as reward for Burgundian aid during Saracen inroads in
the Midi. Monseigneur Duchesne thinks that from Vézelay started the
legends so loved in Provence, that the privileged family of Bethany,
with others who had known the Lord, fled from persecution in Syria to
the mouth of the Rhone about A.D. 40. Up to the XI century the Christian
world had accepted Ephesus as the burial place of the Magdalene, and the
tomb of Lazarus was claimed by Cyprus. In 899 the Emperor Leo VI had
removed both bodies to Constantinople, where he built a church for them.
Not a trace of the tradition concerning the Bethany sisters and brother
is to be found in France before Vézelay monastery claimed the possession
of the relics of the Magdalene and dedicated its church to her.

[Illustration: _Vézelay's XII-century Abbey Church of the Madeleine_]

The founder of Vézelay freed its abbot of the control of local bishop or
baron by establishing him as feudal proprietor of the town. The result
was that the history of the abbey was a stormy one. The neighboring
proprietors, resenting the abbot's independence, excited against him the
townspeople who had grown rich from the fairs held during the
pilgrimages. The burghers chafed at their serfdom to the monastery, and
in 1106, during riots, they murdered Abbot Artaud. He probably was the
builder of the Romanesque choir to which was originally attached the
actual nave, since there is record of a dedication ceremony at Vézelay
in 1104. As the archives were burned by the Calvinists in 1560, no
precise dates exist for the church, but M. Lefèvre-Pontalis thinks that
the crypt under the choir is of Abbot Artaud's time.

A fire in which hundreds perished occurred in 1120. The present nave
could not have been in use before then. When it was completed the
builders proceeded to erect a forechurch of three bays, and between it
and the nave was opened the famous portico which has been called worthy
of Paradise. Innocent II, in 1132, blessed the new parts of the
abbatial. He had lately consecrated the cathedral of Piacenza, and at
Pavia in that same year was blessed San Pietro-in-Ciel-d'Ore. North and
south of the Alps the same energies were astir, but no sculpture of that
period in Italy equals that of Vézelay. The date of the imaged portal of
Ferrara Cathedral is 1135, and that of St. Zeno at Verona, 1183.

The nave at Vézelay had no triforium, nor was there a tribune over the
aisles. However, in the narthex they built upper galleries, under whose
lean-to roof was concealed a quarter-circle wall that did the work of a
continuous flying buttress. The principal span was still further
counterbutted by the side aisles themselves. Over the easternmost bay of
the narthex appeared a vault section with Gothic ribs, but the diagonals
were more decorative than functional; the vault web of rubble in a bed
of mortar was molded on a temporary frame like a groin vault. Pointed
arches were employed in the main arcade of the forechurch.

Vézelay's capitals rivet attention, so dramatic are the Bible stories
related--the suicide of Judas, David and Goliath, Absalom, Moses, some
symbolized vices and virtues, too, and a few _genre_ studies. The
capital of the fifth pier on the north side of the nave shows field
laborers who carry cones which some say were used for scattering grain,
and others think were for the vintage, or for honey-gathering; the same
agricultural scene was represented at Cluny. Vézelay even ornamented
with sculpture some of the bases of its piers.

The triple doors between narthex and nave are a supreme work. At the
middle trumeau stands John the Baptist, he who was sent before to
prepare the way, the announcer as well as the witness. On the disk which
he holds was once carved the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the
world. Observe that the trumeau was made narrow at its base, in order to
let pass the pilgrim throngs. At each side of the door stand a few
apostles, and among them M. Viollet-le-Duc cited St. Peter as one of the
earliest attempts to escape the stereotyped Byzantine models by
portraying individual expression in imagery.

In the tympanum is the Pentecost, or perhaps it may be called more
exactly the Messiah's mandate to the apostles: Go, teach all nations.
Christ is surrounded by a gloria, and the Greek cross of his nimbus
symbolizes divinity. From his outstretched hands spread rays which touch
the head of each apostle. The explanations of the lintel stone have been
various. It would seem to represent the strange peoples of the world to
be won by Gospel preaching. Around the tympanum are eight medallions,
thought to interpret John the Evangelist and the seven churches of Asia
he exhorted.

In 1136 an Auvergne noble, Pons de Montboissier, became abbot of Vézelay
(d. 1161), when the forechurch was practically finished, but without
doubt while its statuary was in progress, for certain uncut sides of the
capitals prove that the stones were set up in the rough and carved _in
situ_. Under Abbot Pons, Vézelay emancipated itself from Cluniac rule.
He was the brother of Peter the Venerable of Cluny, who had become prior
of Vézelay at twenty years of age. In vain the amenable Peter counseled
Pons to show a more conciliatory spirit toward the restless townsmen,
but Pons was as stubbornly convinced of the righteousness of his
monastery's privileges as is many a modern landlord who holds vast areas
among the unlanded millions. He held a stiff head against popular
demands, the trouble grew aggravated, and the embittered burghers passed
beyond their first fair demands and compromised their cause. Abbot Pons
was driven out, but returned a victor after Louis VII had investigated
the case and imposed a heavy fine on the citizens. Some have thought
that the penalty money was expended on the elaborate sculptures of the
abbey church. The people might oppose their feudal master, but they were
aware that their material prosperity came from the pilgrimage church of
the monastery, and each Burgundian was proud to show the visiting
strangers the region's exceptional ability in stonecutting.

In Vézelay occurred two notable gatherings of mediæval history. Here, on
March 31, 1146, St. Bernard preached the Second Crusade, on the hillside
without the northern gate. Abbot Pons built on the site the chapel of
the Holy Cross, wherein was preserved the tribune on which the saint had
stood. The leaders of France flocked into this valley of Burgundy, Louis
VII and his brilliant queen, Aliénor of Aquitaine.[294]

St. Bernard had been commissioned by the pope to set the new venture in
motion, and he threw his whole passionate heart into the enterprise.
Standing above the vast gathering, he read the papal letter that told of
Odessa's fall, two years earlier, and the horrifying massacre of eastern
Christians. It was sound statesmanship that discerned the menace of the
Eastern Question; the advance of the Seljukian Turk was indeed a knotty
problem for the XII century, when XX-century Europe, after oceans of
blood, has not settled the trouble. We may be sure that Bernard of
Clairvaux used no flatteries in addressing the throng at Vézelay, if his
public word was as uncompromising as his private letters: "Up! soldier
of Christ! Go, expiate your sins! The breath of corruption is on every
side. The license of manners is unchecked. Brigandage goes unpunished.
_Debout, soldats du Christ!_" We know that his words of flame swept the
crowd, and that, as at Clermont, fifty years earlier, again rose the
cry: "God wills it! The Cross! The Cross!" The seductive queen, whose
equivocal conduct on this very crusade was to start centuries of
calamity for France, threw herself at Bernard's feet, to receive from
his hand the Cross. The lowly people jostled with the lords to take the
vow, "_les menues gens et les gens de grand air_," for crusades were
democratic things that did more than aught else to break up feudal

The eager men and women of 1146 knelt in the actual nave and narthex of
Vézelay's abbatial. The choir which we have to-day was not yet built. In
1165 a fire damaged the choir of the Madeleine. A year later the exiled
archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, excommunicated his enemies in
England from Vézelay's pulpit. The new choir was built mainly under
Abbot Girard d'Arcy (1171-96), and is Burgundy's Primary Gothic, though
a generation behind the work of that phase in the Ile-de-France.
Unpracticed hands made its vaulting, whose web is not built elastically
as in the true Gothic fashion; the stones were welded in a compact mass
by a bath of mortar. Viollet-le-Duc suggested that Abbot Hugues, deposed
by the pope in 1206 for indebtedness, may have expended more than he
should on the church.

The choir was well advanced when, in July of 1191, the second great
gathering at Vézelay occurred. Here Philippe-Auguste and Richard
Coeur-de-Lion met, swore eternal friendship, and then marched south
together for the Third Crusade. Before ever they reached Palestine their
pact of good will was broken, as was only to be expected with the virus
of the Capet-Angevin duel in their veins. Richard's mother, Aliénor, had
flouted Philippe's father, her first husband, on the former great
enterprise for the East which had been initiated at Vézelay. The
Madeleine church reconstructed its west frontispiece in the XIII
century in order to light better its narthex; the pignon is overheavy
and rather odd.

Three times St. Louis came to pray in the famous Burgundian pilgrim
church, his last visit being a few months before his death while
crusading in Africa. Then, in Provence in 1279, was discovered what was
claimed to be the real body of the Magdalene. Before the XIII century
was ended the prestige of Vézelay's pilgrimages was a thing of the past.
The monastery's ruin was consummated during the religious wars.[295]
Such was the decrepitude into which the splendid church fell, that only
a complete restoration by Viollet-le-Duc, from 1840 to 1858, saved the
edifice from collapse.

Because Vézelay's nave belongs to Burgundy's school of Romanesque it is
spacious and amply lighted; no gloom, no cramping here. Such a nave
could lead up to a Gothic choir, without sharp contrast. The choir,
taken by itself, may be a cold work, but the sublimity of its setting
places it beyond criticism. There is no more romantically ideal a vista
in architecture than the white choir of Vézelay, as it appears from the
narthex through the imaged portico. Seen thus down the prospect of the
sober nave four hundred feet away, it rises like the crusaders' dream of
the Heavenly Jerusalem.

The dominant note of Vézelay's interior is serenity. Pace up and down
its deserted aisles as a warm June day fades. The rose glow of sunset
transmutes the coarse, porous stones to glory and the church seems
voicing, _securo e gaudioso_, the grand old plain-chant psalmody which
through long centuries echoed here. With you, like a tangible presence,
is Faith's certitude, the certitude of John the Baptist who witnessed,
the vision of John the Evangelist who loved, the impassioned
tranquillity of Mary of Magdala. Here reigns the benignant gladness,
_benigna letizia_, that Dante attributes to St. Bernard in Paradise. The
luminous stillness of Vézelay testifies that he that cometh to God must
believe that He is. Here Faith is an overwhelming acquiescence of the
conscience as entire as was the belief of the men and women of the XII
century who, when they heard the preacher's word, responded with the
cry: "The Cross! The Cross!" In the solitary abbatial of to-day, half
forgotten on a bypath of the world, breathes the living quietude, the
active repose, the voluntary discipline of its old Benedictine builders.
"Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of
things that appear not. Without faith, it is impossible to please God."

Like the Tag, in India, there is here a supersensual art beauty that
renews the jaded spirit. Both have been embalmed for eternity in a
vivifying peace. "Without holiness no man shall see God," thought the
faulty, vehement, crusading generations who prayed in Vezelay's church,
and holiness, then, meant primarily the humble repentance of sins.
Whoever it was built the tomb of the Indian princess at Agra, whoever it
was built the church in Burgundy called after Mary of Magdala, he worked
in something more than stones and mortar. At Agra you end by thinking
that the secret of the enthralling magic lies in the marvel of
atmosphere, the deep soft shadows which break the dazzling sun expanses.
At Vézelay, in the groping effort to put its spell into words, you end
by saying that the beauty lies in the space which the inclosing walls
have so holily shut in. But what analysis or what detailed description
can convey how the spirit is impressed by this shrine, named for the
Sinner who poured out the precious ointment with a Faith and Love so
complete that it washed her clean!

In such a church come flashes of insight, momentary liftings of the
veil, periods of mental fecundity that make clear why the true mystic
passes without loss from his isolated reverie of Divine Love to an
intensely practical activity, and when you begin to understand that you
are on the way to a comprehensive sympathy with that pillar of French
Christianity, that apostle sent of God as surely as was Paul to the
Gentiles--Bernard the Burgundian, who prayed and preached in this abbey


     Les Français, fils ainés de l'antiquité, Romain par le génie, sont
     Grec par le caractère. Inquiets et volages dans le bonheur;
     constant et invincibles dans l'aversité; formés pour les arts;
     civilisés jusqu'à l'excès durant le calme de l'État; grossiers et
     sauvages dans les troubles politiques; flottants comme des
     vaisseaux sans lest au gré des passions; enthusiastes du bien et du
     mal; aimants pusillanimes de la vie pendant la paix; prodigues de
     leur jours dans les batailles; charmants dans leur pays;
     insupportable chez l'étranger; tels furent les Athéniens
     d'autrefois, tels sont les Français d'aujourd'hui.--CHATEAUBRIAND.

If the traveler has chosen little Avallon as the center from which to
explore Burgundian churches, Semur-en-Auxois, lying a few miles to its
east, will soon be visited. Picturesque and well kept, it is perched on
a crest round which loops the river, a site such as a feudal baron
chose, when possible, for his lair. The donjon towers at Semur belonged
to a fortress built by Duke Philippe le Hardi.

The collegiate church of Notre Dame, included with the best Gothic work
in Burgundy, derived indirectly from the choir of Auxerre Cathedral,
through the church of Our Lady at Dijon. About 1225 the builders began
to replace the XI-century Notre Dame at Semur by the present edifice,
which reproduced the columnal piers with salient crockets that
distinguish the most beautiful of Dijon's churches. By 1250 they had
terminated the choir, transept, and the bay of the nave touching the
transept. The nave and transept are too narrow for their height, because
they followed the same ground plan as the antecedent Romanesque church.
Burgundy seemed to enjoy a problem in construction. Here, the arches of
the vault being excessively pointed, the flying buttresses were made
with a radius greater than is to be found elsewhere.

Early in the XIV century, three new bays were added to the nave, as is
shown by their main arches, which are more pointed than those of the
earlier bays. Then about 1370, probably after a fire, the nave's stone
roof was rebuilt and its triforium suppressed. The religious wars of the
XVI century played havoc here in Notre Dame. During the Revolution, for
two entire weeks, cartload after cartload of art treasures was carried
away from the collegiate. Happily, the transept's northern portal
escaped destruction, for it is a small masterpiece of Burgundian
sculpture. Its tympanum relates the adventures in India of St. Thomas
the Apostle, whose builder's rule was said to be of gold, in emblem of
his spiritual masoncraft. St. Jerome would not sanction the Indian
legends of the architect apostle, but the story of King Goldoforus and
St. Thomas lingered in popular favor.

In one of the chapels of Semur's collegiate church is a XIV-century
window dedicated to no saint, telling no Scriptural story, but merely
setting forth, in large, clear panels, the working day of various
artisans--dyer, vintager, butcher, tailor. The theologians who directed
the iconography of mediæval churches permitted the old guildsmen to
translate into sign language their sensible idea that honest work was

The keystone over the sanctuary of Notre Dame, where eight ribs meet, is
the most beautiful ever carved--a Coronation of the Virgin. Throughout
the church the sculpture is exceptional. In the choir and transept,
carved heads lean out from the triforium's spandrels, heads of monarch,
bishop, monk, nun, and chatelaine, with here and there a grinning mask
or grotesque. The restorer has followed a wrong path when he makes the
exaggerated images in XIII-century sculpture exceed the ideal or
realistic ones. Semur's triforium is among the most beautiful in Gothic
art. On some of the capitals of the collegiate are vintage scenes, as
was natural in this land of famous wines. There are noted modern
vineyards, such as Chambertin and Vougeot, which were cultivated by the
monks of Cluny and Cîteaux for many a long century.


    J'erre à pas muets dans ce profond asile,
    Solitude de pierre, immuable, immobile,
    Image du séjour par Dieu même habité,
    Où tout est profondeur, mystère, éternité ...
    La voix du clocher en son doux s'évapore;
    Et, le front appuyé, contre un pilier sonore,
    Je le sens, tout ému du retentissement,
    Vibrer comme une clef d'un céleste instrument ...
    Les rayons du soir que l'Occident rappelle,
    Éteignent au vitraux leur dernière étincelle,
    Au fond du sanctuaire un feu flottant qui luit,
    Scintille comme un oeil ouvert sur cette nuit;
    Alors, portant mes yeux des pavés à la voûte
    Je sens que dans ce vide une oreille m'écoute,
    Qu'un invisible ami dans la nef répandu,
    M'attire à lui, me parle un langage entendu,
    Se communique à moi dans un silence intime
    Et dans son vaste sein m'enveloppe et m'abîme.
    --LAMARTINE (1790-1869; born in Burgundy).

At Auxerre, on the Yonne, two Gothic edifices stand imposingly above the
city, the cathedral of St. Stephen and the abbatial church named after
that bishop of Auxerre, St. Germain, who foretold the sanctity of _la
pucellette_ Geneviève in the village of Nanterre by Paris, and whose own
sanctity was so assured that more churches have been called for him than
for any other saint of France save the supreme St. Martin himself.
Paris put her church of St. Germain l'Auxerrois under his protection. He
had been the ruler of this region of middle France under the Emperor
Honorius, and was a soldier and devoted to sports; yet the old bishop of
Auxerre, St. Amâtre, chose him as his successor, divining in him a man
destined to do great things for God.

The splendid abbey church at Auxerre stands on the site of the oratory
which rose over the grave of St. Germain. Queen Clotilde on her way to
wed Clovis, pausing here in 490, renewed the shrine by a church, which
became the nucleus for an abbey favored by all three dynasties of
France--Merovingian, Carolingian, and Capetian.[298] The monastery was a
noted school whither came St. Patrick, and many generations later St.
Thomas Becket studied here after he had finished his law courses at

In memory of Auxerre's reputation as a teacher, the cathedral has twice
represented the Liberal Arts, in glass and in sculpture. The choir of
St. Étienne Cathedral was begun about 1215 by a well-known schoolman,
Bishop Guillaume de Seignelay, who undertook it at his own expense,
stimulated thereto by some of the parish churches which had lately been
rebuilt in the new way. The crypt (c. 1130), retained under the choir of
the new cathedral, had been begun by the bishop, St. Hugues de Châlons,
a friend of St. Bernard, and probably finished by his successor, Hugues
de Mâcon (1137-51), the first abbot of Pontigny, and St. Bernard's
kinsman and childhood intimate. Of the cathedral of their day only the
present crypt remains.

When Bishop Guillaume de Seignelay was transferred to the see of Paris,
in 1220, he worked on the west façade of Notre Dame of the capital, and
his successor at Auxerre, Henri de Villeneuve, completed the choir of
St. Étienne in 1234. Two lancets in the sanctuary are his gifts. The
cathedral of Auxerre was building at both ends, while between lay the
ancient Romanesque nave. The easternmost bay of the nave is XIII
century, but the next five bays were erected only during the XIV
century, at which time most of the statues of the western portals were
done. With the choir's superb stained glass they form the supreme
accessory of this cathedral. M. Enlart holds Auxerre's imagery to be,
for delicacy and charm, among the best produced by the XIV century, and
that the statuettes of the Liberal Arts, in the spandrels over the
canopies of the David-Balthazar groups, are equal to Greek terra-cotta
figurines. The Judgment of Solomon by the northwest door is excellent.
Within and without the stonecutting of the transept's southern façade
should be observed. At that entrance appeared an early example of an
accoladed arch, cited by M. Enlart as an indication of the English
derivation of Flamboyant Gothic in France, since during the XIV century
they were masters of Auxerre for a time.

As the Hundred Years' War relaxed building enterprise, the nave was not
covered by a masonry roof till the XV century, about the time when
Jeanne d'Arc paused to pray in Auxerre Cathedral on her memorable
journey of eleven days from Lorraine to Touraine, across a France
ravaged by civil and foreign wars.[299] The gracious Flamboyant west
front of Auxerre's chief church is an expression of the hope and
national pride renewed in France by the Maid's feat at Orléans. The
well-designed north tower proves that the final phase of Gothic art in
France did not pass away in decrepitude; had only the south tower been
raised above the roof, this frontispiece could claim foremost rank.

For bold and light construction Auxerre's choir is notable, and it made
a school in Burgundian Gothic. It has only one radiating chapel--that in
the axis--because it followed the ground plan of the Romanesque crypt,
its foundation. The charming Champagne disposition of planting columns
between chapel and ambulatory was made use of; perhaps the pillars and
stilted arches of Auxerre are rather too frail in their proportions. The
same feature was used in the abbey church of St. Germain, and when the
church of St. Eusèbe[300] rebuilt its chevet, in the XV century, pillars
were again placed to divide the curving aisle and the radiating chapels.

Auxerre Cathedral showed another trait of the Champagne school of
Gothic--an interior passageway beneath the aisle windows. The plain wall
below it is relieved by a kind of arched corbel course not very
satisfactory; the arches and the capitals upon which they rest are
present, but there is no shaft to support the capitals, from above each
of which reaches out a well-sculptured head. One of these busts
represents the Erythræan priestess referred to in the _Dies iræ_:

    That day of wrath, that dreadful day,
    When Heaven and Earth shall pass away,
    As David and the Sibyl say.

The XIII century distinguished only that one sibyl whom St. Augustine's
_City of God_ had popularized as the prophetess of the Last Judgment,
but later in the Middle Ages all ten of them were represented, and
certain Renaissance windows represented as many as twelve pagan

The placing of sculptured heads in the spandrels of arches was not
infrequent in Burgundy, though occasionally merely one salient crocket
was used. The cathedral of Nevers,[301] south of Auxerre, went a step
farther and chiseled a small figurine in the spandrels of its triforium,
like the angels of Lincoln's choir. Moreover, the colonettes of Nevers'
triforium are borne on the backs of small crouching caryatides--a
Lombard echo. In France, Nevers' cathedral of St. Cyr was exceptional in
having an apse at both east and west ends, like a Rhenish church. One is
forced to relegate the beautiful little capital of the Nivermois to a
footnote, which is what France herself seems to be doing to the well-set
town on the Loire which in England or beyond the Rhine would be made
into a small residence city. Its palace, parks, cathedral, and numerous
churches, its faïence industry and fortifications give it the air of a
little capital.

Auxerre is another Mecca of stained glass in France. Its choir possesses
almost forty windows (1220-30) of the school of Chartres, half of them
being in the ambulatory and Lady chapel. Unfortunately, the lower
panels were wrecked in 1567, and the east window of the axis chapel was
destroyed in the Franco-Prussian war; the grisaille design throughout is
mastery. The opaline loveliness of the choir's clearstory grisaille has
drawn from M. Viollet-le-Duc one of his most eloquent pages.[302] Each
bay is filled with twin lancets surmounted by a rose; each lancet has a
large figure set in uncolored glass--one of the first attempts made to
give more light to an interior. Those crusading generations visioned
their Heavenly Jerusalem in sculpture at Vézelay, in color at Auxerre:

    With jaspers glow thy bulwarks,
      Thy streets with emeralds blaze,
    The sardius and the topaz
      Unite in thee their rays:
    Thine ageless walls are bonded
      With amethyst unpriced;
    The saints build up its fabric,
      And the corner stone is Christ.

    They stand, those halls of Zion,
      Conjubilant with song,
    And bright with many an angel,
      And all the martyr throng:
    The Prince is ever in them;
      Their daylight is serene,
    The pastures of the blessed
      Are decked in glorious sheen.

    There is the throne of David,
      And there, from care released,
    The song of them that triumph,
       The shout of them that feast;
    And they who, with their leader,
      Have conquered in the fight,
    For ever and for ever
      Are clad in robes of white.[303]

In the roses of the two bays neighboring the central lancets are the
Liberal Arts and virtues contrasted with vices. The choir aisle has a
Creation window, and lancets of the popular St. James, St. Nicolas, and
St. Eustace. The transept's south rose is Rayonnant. Its north one is
Flamboyant, and with the eight golden lights below it was given by
Bishop François de Dinteville, the younger (1530-52), who donated also
the _Gloria in Excelsis_ west rose. But no sooner were all these
precious things installed when came the bitter civil wars of the XVI
century. No place in France suffered more than Auxerre. An eyewitness of
the 1567 sacking wrote: "All the woes of Jerusalem when it fell to the
infidel are heaped on our city." Many a citizen died of grief at the
town's desolation, and so devastated was every single church that for
months no services were held.

A restoration was accomplished by Bishop Jacques Amyot (1571-93), the
noted Hellenist, who first brought flexibility and amenity into French
prose.[304] His translation of Plutarch--a French classic--molded the
ideals of French youth for generations. Unfortunately, because imported
foreign taste had won the victory over the national art, this
enlightened Renaissance prelate removed some of the ancient windows to
light his high altar. His marble bust adorns a pier of the choir of
Auxerre Cathedral.


    Eternal, je me tais; en ta sainte présence
    Je n'ose respirer, et mon âme en silence
      Admire la hauteur de ton nom glorieux.
    Que dirai-je? Abîmés de cette mer profonde,
    Pendant qu'à l'infini ta clarté nous inonde,
      Pouvons-nous seulement ouvrir nos faibles yeux?

                     * * *

    Cessez: qu'espérez-vous de vos incertitudes,
    Vains pensers, vains efforts, inutiles études?
      C'est assez qu'il ait dit: "Je suis Celui qui suis."
    Il est tout, il n'est rien de tout ce que je pense;
    Avec ces mots profonds j'adore son essence
      Et sans y raisonner, en croyant, je poursuis!
   --BOSSUET, _Tibi silentium laus_ (1627-1704; born in Dijon).

[Illustration: _Notre Dame at Dijon (1220-1245). Burgundian Gothic_]

And finally we come to the capital of Burgundy, to a city of prime
importance in the art history of France, although it can claim no one
supreme monument. Dijon's leadership was from 1364 to 1477, under the
four art-loving Valois princes, Philippe le Hardi (1364-1404), Jean sans
Peur (1404-19), Philippe le Bon (1419-67), and Charles le Téméraire
(1467-77). "Never," says Brantôme, "were there four greater princes one
after the other than the great dukes of Burgundy." Each in turn on
his formal entry into Dijon came to the abbey church of St. Bénigne to
take oath to defend the special privileges of his capital. Tradition
says that St. Benignus was sent to Christianize Gaul by St. Polycarp,
who had known John the Evangelist. The hypothesis is possible, since it
is historically certain that Polycarp provided Lyons with its first two
bishops. Many a son of Dijon has borne the revered name of Bénigne, none
with greater honor for his native city than Bossuet, descended from
ancient parliamentary stock. The neo-classic taste of the great
preacher's day might prevent his knowing Gothic architecture rightly,
but without the centuries that built mediæval cathedrals he had not been
what he was.[306]

Dijon became the capital of Burgundy under the first line of Capetian
dukes who governed the province from 1032 to 1361 and who gave the city
its franchise and privileges. A duke of Burgundy led the right wing at
Bouvines, another fought under St. Louis at Mansourah. From Burgundy's
reigning line came Pope Calixtus II (1119-24), whose brother went
crusading in Spain, where he founded the house from which descended
Queen Isabella; Burgundian Capetians also reigned in Portugal. Cluny and
Cîteaux were favored by the first line of Burgundy's dukes, to which
belonged, by ties of blood, the two greatest abbots of their respective
Orders, St. Hugues and St. Bernard. In 1361 the last duke died childless
and the duchy returned to the French crown.

Three years later the Valois Capetian king, Jean le Bon, gave Burgundy
to his youngest and favorite son, Philippe le Hardi, who won his surname
of valiant when fifteen years of age through his defense of his father
at the battle of Poitiers. When Philippe, by the generous aid of his
brother, King Charles V, wedded the richest heiress in Europe, the very
plain Marguerite of Flanders, there resulted the political union of
Burgundy with the Netherlands that was of important influence on French
art. It led to the formation at Dijon of a French-Flemish school of
sculpture. The robust middle region of France impressed its own
character on the masters from the Lowlands who flocked to the semi-royal
court of the dukes, and equally it assimilated the artists who came from
Lyons and neighboring regions. The Flemish-Burgundian style controlled
the first half of the XV century. Its fusion of national and local art
traditions with Flemish realism renewed the vigor of French sculpture,
and a truly French Renaissance had already set in before the advent of
the Italian spirit. In Dijon took place the evolution that changed the
sculpture of the Middle Ages to that of modern times.

The artists who had gathered around Charles V in Paris, were scattered
by that king's premature death and the subsequent disorders in the royal
domain, and they flocked to the Burgundian court of his brother. Among
them were André and Guy de Dammartin, who erected outside the gates of
Dijon the Chartreuse of Champmol (1388-96) as a burial place for the
Valois line of dukes. The work of the Dammartin family--with whom
Flamboyant Gothic became a heritage passing from father to son--can be
found at Bourges, Poitiers, Tours, Le Mans, and Nantes.

What parts of the Chartreuse monastery now remain constitute an asylum.
The sculptured portal of the church shows kneeling images of Philippe le
Hardi and his duchess Marguerite, and in the cloister is the noted Well
of the Prophets, conceived, and in part executed, by Claus Sluter in
1395, and finished by his nephew, Claus de Werve, in 1403. The _Puits de
Moïse_ was so called because the statue of Moses, alone of the six
prophets, shows religious analogy with the biblical character it stands
for. The others are realistic studies of tradesman, rich citizen, or
Jew, in eccentric costumes that probably were copied from those in the
mystery plays of the day. With these prophet images of Claus Sluter,
modern sculpture took birth.

The two most regal tombs of the Middle Ages, those of Philippe le Hardi
and his son Jean sans Peur, were originally in the Chartreuse church,
but were broken up by the Revolution. They were reset, for a time, in
St. Bénigne's church, and now are installed in the XV-century guard hall
of the ducal palace, a part of Dijon's Art Museum, raising that
collection to first-class rank. Near them are placed the elaborately
carved and painted altarpieces brought from Termonde by the dukes. The
pomp and pageantry of the knighthood described by Froissart and Commines
breathes in the two grandiose tombs of Dijon, and the progeny of
sumptuous funereal monuments they inspired. Cowled figures called
_pleureurs_ are set in niches around each sarcophagus. They seem like
symbols of the lesser people's sufferings in the dire Hundred Years'
War, when France became a field of carnage. Foreign invasion, the Great
Schism of the West, pest, massacres, misrule, lawlessness--such was the
accumulation of miseries that only the heaven-sent Jehanne la Pucelle,
from the far borders of the land, could right the immeasurable _pitié_
there was in the kingdom of France.

Though Burgundy suffered less than the royal domain, the lesser people
had to pay heavily for the prodigal largess of their dukes. At times the
lavish giving of Philippe le Hardi bordered upon folly; while on visits
of state he was forced to put his jewels in pawn to obtain sufficient
funds for his home journey. When he died, in 1404, it took six weeks for
his funeral _cortège_ to journey from Brussels to Dijon, and those of
his household who accompanied the body were provided with Capuchin capes
of black cloth. That is the procession represented by the statuettes
around his sarcophagus, though, unfortunately, the original order of
their march has been lost. Among the eighty _pleurants_ of the two ducal
tombs are only eight restorations.

Jean de Marville, a Lorraine master, designed Duke Philippe's monument,
whose imagery is in greater part from the hand of Claus Sluter and Claus
de Werve, Netherlanders (1384-1411). De Werve made most of Duke Jean's
monument, a replica of his father's tomb; it was finished by an
Aragonese sculptor, Juan de Heurta, and Antoine le Moiturier from
Avignon. The latter was nephew of Jacques Morel of Lyons, trained in the
Dijon studios, who made for the daughter of John the Fearless, the
Duchess of Bourbon, a tomb in Souvigny's abbatial near Moulins, which M.
Enlart has called the most masterly work in sculpture of the XV century.

Dijon built no XIII-century cathedral. What to-day is its cathedral was
originally the abbey church of St. Bénigne, not of architectural
pre-eminence, but rich in historic memories. Abbot Hugues d'Arcy began
it in 1280, in the hour of hope and energy that followed on the Council
of Lyons, where Greek and Latin churches fraternally united. In 1286 the
choir was dedicated and the relics of St. Benignus transferred from the
crypt to the new sanctuary.

St. Bénigne of Dijon is a secondary church compared with its neighbors,
the cathedrals of Bourges and Lyons. The profiles are emasculated, the
clearstory windows lack sufficient height, the wall surface above the
triforium is monotonous, the denuded triforium of the nave lacks
capitals, and despite the warm brown color of the stone, the general
aspect of the interior is glacial. The Gothic effect has been marred
further by the numerous busts and statues brought here from other
churches after the Revolution.

Far surpassing in interest the somewhat pinchbeck Gothic upper church of
St. Bénigne is its crypt, the oldest Romanesque monument in Burgundy. It
lies beyond the actual apse. For eight hundred years it was the
foundation of a rotunda church of the same type as the round church at
Cambridge, England, the prototypes for both being certain Roman
mausoleums. Originally the Dijon crypt opened westward on a crypt now
lost--the basement for a Latin cross church--and where that juncture
occurred are vestiges of buildings that antedate the actual crypt. The
round church beyond the apse of St. Bénigne's Gothic abbatial was
destroyed during the Revolution, and its crypt filled in and forgotten.
In 1858, while digging foundations for a new sacristy beyond the choir,
the circular chamber was unearthed, in which was found a tombstone,
apparently the ancient one of St. Benignus. Once again the venerable
subterranean shrine became a pilgrimage for Burgundy.

St. Bénigne's crypt has double circular aisles. Its sculpture is rude,
even amorphous, and testifies to the extinction of the art during the
Barbarians' immigrations. These rough designs on the capitals of St.
Bénigne are, as it were, the first stutterings of the national pæans in
praise of God and country that are the imaged portals of Gothic

Abbot William of Volpiano, who made St. Bénigne's Romanesque rotunda and
its adjacent basilica, came from Cluny to reform the spiritual life of
the Dijon monastery and rebuild its church. Born on an island in the
lake of Orta, he had crossed the Alps with Abbot Majolus of Cluny. For
over thirty years he exercised his double function of administrative
reformer and architect in Burgundy[307] and in Normandy, introducing
certain Lombard features such as alternating piers, arched corbel
courses, and superimposed arcades for decorative effect, this latter
being a Ravennate motive adopted by Lombardy. He began his two
connecting churches at Dijon in 1001, and completed them in 1018, when
there was a solemn dedication at which St. William preached most
movingly. St. Bénigne is, therefore, the first-recorded monument built
after the terrors of the year 1000, described by Raoul Glaber, who lived
in this monastery.

William of Volpiano founded schools, taught the plain chant to children,
revised Gregorian music, and established centers for craftsmen. In
manner he was authoritative, but one on intimate terms with him wrote:
"No one can tell to what degree in him rose mercy and compassion. In
famine time, he sold the gold plate of the church to feed the people."
To this day a gateway of Dijon bears his name, the Porte Guillaume.

A century later Abbot Jarenton of St. Bénigne invited monks from Cluny
to reanimate the spiritual life of his monastery. Paschal II blessed the
Dijon abbatial, repaired after the fall of a tower in 1096. When in 1107
Aleth de Montbard, mother of St. Bernard, died in her castle two miles
from Dijon, Abbot Jarenton hastened out to Fontaine-lès-Dijon to claim
the body of the saintly woman for his hallowed crypt of St. Bénigne, and
an enthusiastic procession carried the Blessed Aleth to the city. St.
Bernard was an unknown lad at the time.

In 1131, Pope Eugene III blessed the Dijon abbatial subsequent to still
other restorations. Finally, in 1271, the easternmost church of William
of Volpiano was wiped out by fire (though his rotunda church was to
stand till 1792), and the present St. Bénigne was begun immediately on
the site of the destroyed Latin cross basilica.

If the ex-abbatial which is now Dijon's cathedral is secondary in size
and character, the parish church of Notre Dame is a veritable gem of
Gothic architecture, faultless in construction and of singular purity
and unity. Its influence on the Gothic art of the province was
widespread. After a fire in 1137, which consumed half the city, a
Romanesque Notre Dame had risen. It was cited, in 1178, as the first of
the town, its bells sounding the opening and the shutting of the city
gates and alarms for fire.

The present church of Notre Dame was begun about 1220; a record referred
to it as in use in 1245. The architect had to contend with difficulties.
His funds were so small that a minimum of building material was
necessary. Three sides of his edifice were bounded by public
thoroughfares; hence it was impossible to spread out the piles required
by flying buttresses; at the same time the limited plot of ground made
it imperative not to encumber the small interior by clumsy piers. How to
construct a secure edifice without big piers, thick walls, or flying
buttresses was the problem.

The builder showed his genius when he used the inclosure wall to
counterbut the vault thrust and yet dared open these walls by generous
Gothic windows. For ten feet above the ground the walls are heavy; then
they become a mere shell, skillfully doubled by the use of colonnettes
of durable stone, each slender shaft being so weighted that it stands
with the security of iron.

The interior of Notre Dame appears charmingly spacious and airy. The
XVII century added circular windows to the triforium of the apse, in
character with the church, however. The exterior of the apse is plain
and neat and, with the central lantern tower, composes an architectural
group of simple elegance. The eastern buttresses fulfill a triple
function as piers, as walls, and as counterbutting members. Technical
subtlety is to be found throughout Notre Dame. The vaults of the side
aisles were constructed to brace the principal span. The piers are
uniform monoliths, but a sexpartite vault was built, though for a
generation that system had been discarded in the north. The coping
stones over the capitals of each alternate pier were enlarged to catch
there the heavier weight.

There are so many points of resemblance between Notre Dame of Dijon and
the choir of Auxerre Cathedral, begun in 1215, that M. Charles Porée has
thought that the same architect designed both. Their profiles are alike,
their capitals have similar salient crockets, and their colonnettes were
cut from the quarry according to the rock's horizontal strata, and not
by the usual method of vertical cutting.

In boldness of technique the small Dijon church is a masterpiece to
which many an eloquent page has been devoted.[308] Beneath an apparent
simplicity is unsurpassed scientific construction. The great engineer
Vauban praised it, as did Soufflot, the XVIII-century architect of the
Panthéon at Paris. The balanced equilibrium of the national art can be
carried no farther, and only the use of hard Tonnerre stone permitted
this successful audacity. Were a modern student to present such a plan
to any commission, said M. Lassus, he would be dismissed as mad.

While the nave was building a narthex was added before the western
entrance, consisting of a fifty-foot-deep porch. Notre Dame's west
façade rides astride two rows of pillars set close together before the
narthex, again a case of strength being attained by the able use of
double walls. The façade's superimposed arcades, used merely as
decoration, as at Pisa, prevented the employment of strong buttress
ridges, and give to the western front of the church a most un-Gothic
aspect. It cannot be said that the lamp of truth is upheld, since the
frontispiece makes no pretense to express the three-aisled interior, but
rises above the roof like an abstract screen. The gargoyles that
alternate with some ancient superbly cut panels of foliage across the
west front, date only from 1881, and, as usual with restorations, the
grotesque element has been overemphasized. A manuscript of the XIII
century relates that the original gargoyles were removed when a
bridegroom (a money-lender) about to enter the church was killed by the
fall of a protruding image that represented a man gripping a money bag.

The imagery of Notre Dame's portal has been entirely obliterated. When
the Revolution voted to destroy "all signs of fanaticism," an apothecary
of Dijon mounted a ladder each morning and leveled with his hammer all
the stonecutters' work. The present image at the trumeau is a fragment
saved from the late-Gothic Chartreuse of the Valois dukes. To Notre Dame
Philippe le Hardi gave the Jacquemart[309] clock, one of his spoils from
the sacking of Courtrai in 1382, whereat he had been assisted by the
Dijon citizens _par loyauté et parfait amour_.


     What is genius? It is a mind in which imagination, intelligence,
     and feeling exist in an elevated proportion and in an exact
     equation. It is a mind which has a penetrating view of ideas, which
     incarnates them powerfully in marble, in brass, in language, and in
     that dust which we call writing, which also communicates to ideas
     an impulse from the heart to precipitate them, living, into the
     hearts of others. Genius is, with conscience, the most beautiful
     endowment of humanity.... Genius is the greatest power created by
     God for grasping truth. It is a sudden and vast intuition of the
     connections which bind beings together.... It is the faculty of
     rendering ideas visible to those who would not have discovered them
     by themselves, of incarnating them in speaking images, of casting
     them into the soul, enlightening it, subjecting it, thrilling
     it.--LACORDAIRE (1802-61; born in Burgundy).

Although modern Dijon may momentarily blot out much in its past history
by renaming the square before Notre Dame _Place Ernest Renan, auteur de
"La vie de Jésus"_ (which work depicts the Saviour as an unconscious
charlatan), and christening the square before the cathedral _Place
Blanqui, grand Révolutionnaire_ (Blanqui being the Communist who founded
the journal _Ni Dieu ni Maître_), although it may mark one street sign
_Rue Babeuf, écrivain politique, démocrate très ardente_ (the socialist,
Babeuf, was executed under the Directory), and another with an equal
pedantry that is most un-French, _Rue Diderot, auteur principale de
l'Encyclopédie_ (the encyclopedia which railed at the Christian
religion), none the less will the greatest honor of the ancient capital
of Burgundy be the monk in whom western monasticism culminated, Bernard
of Clairvaux, who led Dante to the Supreme Vision in Paradise, "who
spoke to kings as a prophet, to the people as their leader, and
transported Christendom by his eloquence," the greatest of Cistercians,
the greatest of Burgundians, and the last great Doctor of the Church.

As the XI century drew to a close, certain pious Benedictines, who
regretted the laxity of rule in their own convent, retired to the marshy
woods near Beaune, to Cîteaux, some twelve miles south of Dijon. There
was started a new Order which languished during fifteen years, fever
decimating the postulants, till the third abbot, St. Stephen Harding,
stormed heaven with petitions to spare his dwindling flock. And
efficacious prayers they appeared to be, for one spring day in 1113
there came to the abbey gates (Cîteaux' name signifies _Sistite hic_,
Halt here!) a group of thirty young nobles, whose conversion was to set
all Burgundy talking.

Their leader was Bernard of Fontaine-lès-Dijon,[311] then in his
twenty-fourth year. When he experienced the call to a monastic life, he
drew after him brothers, cousins, uncle, and friends. His mother, the
Blessed Aleth, had impressed ineffaceably on his soul her own ardent
love of God. As Peter the Venerable said in that same generation: "With
us the virgin, the wife, the mother, expand the soul of the country by
the breath of their piety."

When the small band of enthusiasts were quitting the château of
Bernard's father, the elder brother and heir, Guy, told Nivard, the
youngest of the six sons of Aleth, that now he alone remained to inherit
the estate. "Ah," cried the lad, "you would leave me the earthly reward
while you gain the eternal? The exchange is not fair." And in time he,
too, sought his brothers in the cloister as did his father, who died in
a Cistercian robe.

All the nations of Europe were meeting then in the internationalism of
monastic institutions. St. Stephen Harding, who was practically the
founder of the Cistercian Order, who drew up its charter and began its
centralized system of chapters-general, was an Englishman, educated in
Sherborne abbey in Dorset, and later at Paris University. Feeling the
desire to visit Rome in pilgrimage, he went there afoot, reciting each
day, as he walked, the entire Psaltery. It is said that benignant joy
shone in his face. To-day a Bible he translated is treasured in Dijon;
he used to consult the learned rabbis of his acquaintance whenever in
doubt concerning the Hebraic text. It was an hour of internationalism. A
frequenter of St. Bernard's own Clairvaux was St. Malachy O'Morgair,
archbishop of Armagh, who died in Bernard's arms in 1147. The Burgundian
saint loved Malachy for his gentleness, his holiness, his delicacy of
soul, and his noble majestic presence, and for him trained young Irish
monks to serve in the reform needed then in the Celtic church, thus
paying back to Ireland the debt incurred by the mission of Columbanus.

With such souls as Bernard and his kinsmen, the new Order governed by
Abbot Stephen Harding took on fresh vigor. Pontigny was founded a year
later, and in 1115 Bernard and twelve companions were sent to establish
Clairvaux[312] in a former robber haunt given by the Count of Champagne,
a valley of wormwood which they turned into a valley of light. By the
middle of the XIII century there were five hundred Cistercian houses in
Europe. In England, from 1125 to 1200, rose a hundred monasteries of the
white monks, Fountains, Furness, Tintern, Kirkstall, "God's castles,"
wrote a contemporary, "where the servants of the true anointed King do
keep watch, and the young soldiers are exercised in warfare against
spiritual evil." Many a Cistercian house was in Scotland and
Ireland--Melrose, Mellifont, Boyle; in Germany and the north--Maulbronn,
Arnsberg, Warnhem, and Sorö; in Spain--Poblet and Santa-Creus; in
Portugal--Alcobaça. St. Bernard himself founded Chiaravalle near Milan,
and on the spot of the Roman Campagna where St. Paul was beheaded
flourished the Cistercian house of Tre Fontane, whose first abbot,
trained under Bernard at Clairvaux, mounted Peter's Chair as Eugene III.

Wherever the Cistercians went they promulgated the new Gothic building
lore of France. Their churches with square east end, square chapels
opening on transept arms, and neither tower, triforium nor clearstory,
were built exactly alike whether it was in the far north as at Alvastra
in Sweden, or in the far south as at Girgenti in Sicily. Burgundy's
abbatial at Fontenay is the type at its purest.

M. Camille Enlart was first to draw attention to the active rôle played
by Cistercian monks in the dissemination of Gothic architecture in
Europe.[313] All Cistercian churches were dedicated to the Mother of
God, and the use of the gracious term _Notre Dame_ spread from their
abbatials to the cathedrals. Dante opens the final canto of the
_Paradiso_ by a eulogy of the Queen of Heaven, put into the mouth of St.
Bernard, who never flagged in her praise, culling from Scripture every
mystic and lovely name for her. _Io sono il suo fedel Bernardo_, the
Burgundian proudly boasts in Paradise. Though Bernard's devotion to his
_Dame souveraine_ was poles apart from Puritanism, his rules for
ecclesiastic plainness were as rigid as those of the Puritans. His
severe ideas concerning art restrained the earlier Cistercian churches,
though his apostolate quickened the spiritual forces that soon were to
rear the cathedrals.

It has been said that to relate St. Bernard's life is to resume the
history of the XII century during half its course. He ended the schism
of an anti-pope; he went up and down Europe preaching unity and peace
and reconciling enemies; he journeyed into Languedoc to combat, by word,
the Catharist heresy; fearlessly he rebuked scandal in high places. He
drew up the Rule for the Military Order of Templars. His _Book of
Considerations_, written for Eugene III, became a manual of behavior for
the papacy. His treatise on Grace and Free Will defined so perfectly the
Church doctrine of Justification that almost textually it was repeated
by the Council of Trent. No man ever received more overwhelming ovations
than Bernard; at Toulouse they crowded to kiss his hand till his frail
arms were swollen past all movement; at Albi a jeering crowd was
subjugated by one sermon; in northern Italy, such was the reverence for
the maker of peace between the rival cities, that Genoa chose him as a
patron, and Milan placed herself under his protection. As he crossed the
Alps, word passed among the mountaineers, and his way became a triumphal
procession. He was worn to a shadow in the service of Christendom when
Eugene III commissioned him to preach the Second Crusade, and when the
expedition proved a lamentable failure, Heaven sent this strong man, who
had passed unscathed through the intoxication of human glory, the
severer test of human disgrace.

The figure of the greatest proselytizer since St. Paul is no vague one
in history. Bernard was tall and slender, with chiseled features like
polished ivory; his hair was red-blond; in his blue eyes was a flame of
celestial purity. Many have testified to the serenity of his visage, the
modesty of his attitude, and the almost superhuman influence he exerted
on those who saw him. They say that the very sight of him preached.
Apart from the numerous descriptions of him by his contemporaries,
there are over four hundred of his own letters extant, letters
straightforward, abrupt, ironic here and there, fearless, and
warm-hearted. He swayed emperors and kings, yet retained always his
personal humility. Reluctantly he tore himself from the peace of
Clairvaux to direct the affairs of Europe, and eagerly he returned to
the life of prayer and brotherly love. A preacher, he said, must be a
man of prayer if he would convert men. He must be a reservoir kept full
and overflowing, not merely a canal that can run dry.

Some to whom the spiritual life is a dead letter have called the abbot
of Clairvaux unsympathetic and superhuman. Others, while admiring him,
regret his brusqueness and hardy invectives. It was not a day when
controversialists handled their adversaries with gloves; witness
Abélard's onslaughts on those who disagreed with him on the most
abstract theological points. No doubt, in some cases, Bernard's zeal
exceeded propriety; perhaps his father had touched exactly on the defect
of his qualities when he advised him to keep measure in all things. But
who that appreciates this great man would tone down his splendid
vehemence? His love for morality and pure doctrine was a glorious
passion. He struck at the sin, not the sinner. Such censures are the
anger of love.

And remark how the men whom Bernard rebuked accepted the humiliation of
his public censures. When he asked the archbishop of Sens--the feudal
lord, Henri le Sanglier, who began that cathedral--if he thought justice
had disappeared from the rest of the world as it had from his own heart,
the proud churchman set about curbing his autocratic tendencies, and
died an honored pastor. No disputants ever more soundly berated each
other than Abélard and Bernard, yet their reconciliation, brought about
by kindly, large-minded Peter of Cluny, was frank and complete. And we
have seen how Abbot Suger changed his worldly ways of life, how he
reformed his monastery, and how the revenues hitherto wasted on a
retinue of sixty horsemen were devoted to building the first Gothic
monument in France.

St. Bernard was, without question, the most eloquent preacher of the
Middle Ages, but the conversions he wrought were due as much to the
purity, charity, and humility of his own life as to his unparalleled
powers of persuasion. The ideal of that harsh age, despite its
shortcomings, was saintliness, and when men found it incarnate in this
Burgundian, they accepted him as their leader. Bernard held that it was
false principles that led to social corruption, and to punish the evil
act while the mental crime which led to it went unchastened, was
illogical. So whenever the purity of Christian doctrine was threatened,
this champion of the Cross emerged from his seclusion full armed for its
defense. His vigilance was not bigotry. When a fanatical German monk
preached a persecution of the Jews, the abbot of Clairvaux came to their
defense: "The Just," an old rabbi called him, "without whom not one
among our people had saved his life. Honor to him who came to our succor
in our hour of mortal anguish."

In all Bernard's writings is not one word of disloyalty to what he
thought was right, not a trace of the hypocrite. If he thundered against
ambition, cupidity, and that hypocrisy which moves about in dim corners,
_perambulante in tenebris_, he knew that scandals there have been and
will ever be, since even among the chosen twelve Judas betrayed, Peter
denied, and Thomas doubted. He might flagellate ecclesiastic disorders
as openly as Luther himself, but the pope called him the pillar of the
Church and its guide. Towering above his fellow men morally, he took up
his Master's cord whips to drive the traffickers from the temple, but he
left an altar in the sanctuary and a high priest at the altar, and his
own life was blameless.

The choicest spirits of the age sought Bernard's friendship. He was
loved by St. Norbert, whose new Order of Prémontré spread over Europe
with the same rapidity as that of Cîteaux. He had links with the mystics
in St. Victor's abbey at Paris; Hugues de St. Victor submitted cases of
conscience to him; Richard de St. Victor asked of him criticism on his
book on the Trinity; and the Latin hymns of Adam de St. Victor breathe
the selfsame spirit as that of the Burgundian mystic. Geoffrey de
Lèves, who built the tower at Chartres, traveled with him in Italy and
Languedoc. Pierre de Celle, who built the choir of St. Remi, at Rheims,
wrote of Bernard: "His life, his fame, his works, his writings, his
miracles, his faith, his hope, his charity, his chastity, his
abstinence, his words, his visage, his gestures, the attitude of his
body, all, in a word, rendered homage to his sanctity. He was the
well-beloved disciple of the Lord, in whose honor he built, not only one
basilica, but all the basilicas of the Order of Cîteaux. If, then, thou
wouldst touch the pupil of Our Lady's eye, write against Bernard." And
the bishop of Paris, who worked on the façade of Notre Dame, the
schoolman, Guillaume d'Auvergne, testified that Bernard "lived in the
highest perfection," that his "wisdom proceeded not from human
instruction, but from divine inspiration." The first great master of
scholasticism, Guillaume de Champeaux, the progenitor of Paris
University, was bound to Bernard in loving friendship till his death,
and asked to be buried in the abbey church at Clairvaux.

Detachment from the things of the world never weakened this saint's
human affections. What cry from a stricken heart is more moving than
Bernard's lament for his brother Gerard? That elder brother was
following a knight's career when Bernard won him for God's service in
the cloister. There for twenty-five years they lived side by side. They
had just returned together from Italy when Gerard suddenly died.
Dry-eyed, Bernard attended the burial, and dry-eyed he went about his
daily tasks. He mounted the pulpit to continue an exposition of the
Canticle of Canticles which he was conducting, and all at once his grief
broke forth irresistibly in one of the sublime elegies of literature,
recorded by a monk of Clairvaux who heard it: "What is there in common
between this Canticle of joy and me who am in bitter anguish!... I have
done violence to my heart.... Grief shut in but wounds with deeper
sting. It has vanquished me. What I suffer must have its way. I must
pour out my trouble before you, my sons, who knew the faithful comrade I
have lost and the justice of my sorrow. You knew his vigilance, his
sweetness; you knew my need of him. When I was weak in body, he
strengthened me; when I hesitated he spurred me on; when I grew
negligent he cautioned me. My Gerard! why have you left me to stumble
alone on the road we two trod together, my brother by blood but still
more by religion! Ah! I would know if you still think of one whom you
loved, if, in God's presence, you can lean toward our distress? You have
shed your mortal weaknesses, but surely not your human tendernesses, for
charity endures, says the apostle. No! my Gerard does not forget me in
eternity! It was our joy to be together, inextricably were our spirits
interlinked, the same thoughts, the same emotions, the same will; one
only heart, one only soul between us; with one blow, the sword has
pierced my heart and his.... That I might have tranquillity he took on
his own shoulders the material cares of the convent. It was his heart
bore my troubles. His eyes led my steps. Now, when a need rises I turn
to where I think to find him, and he is not there!... I am deprived of
the best part of myself and I must not weep. My heart is torn from my
bosom, and I must not suffer.... But my courage is not of stone.... I
suffer, I weep, and my grief is ever before me...."

And so on it runs, this lamentation with its Hebraic note of sorrow's
passion. Impregnated through and through was Bernard with the Bible, and
his speech fell naturally into its cadences. To mark the biblical
references in his works would be, says the student, to fill half the
pages with annotations.

There is a book of interior consolation, precious to humanity, which has
preserved for us intact the spiritual teachings of this Cistercian abbot
who led the XII century. Scholars say that the _Imitation of Christ_
bears the direct impress of St. Bernard's spirit, that it reproduced and
analyzed his writings. Whoever its author, his prayer _Da mihi nesciri_
has been answered.

Those who have been comforted by the book which, next to the Bible, has
been chief solace for the stricken heart, have leaned unaware on the
purpose, the faith, and the purity of the greatest saint of the Middle
Ages, the man who made Burgundy as illustrious by its Cistercian
reformers and missionary builders as it had been by its Benedictines
when Cluny was a world power.


Gothic Art in Normandy[314]

     The cathedral was perfected slowly and passionately. The Romans
     brought to it their force, their logic, their serenity. The
     Barbarians brought to it their naïve grace, their love of life,
     their dreamful imaginations. From this unpremeditated collaboration
     sprang a work modelled by times and places. It is the French genius
     and its image. It did not progress by fits and starts; it was not
     the servant of pride. It mounted in the course of centuries to
     complete expression. And that expression, one throughout the
     country, varies with each province, with each fraction of a
     province, just enough to make interesting the chain that joins all
     the pearls of this monumental necklace of France.

     --RODIN, _Les cathédrales de France_.[315]

Virtually the land conquered by the vikings received its civilization
from monasteries. Like Burgundy, Normandy was a very Egypt, a Thebaid,
for the number of its religious houses. Each baron sought to have one on
his domain. In the capital of the duchy was St. Ouen, whose abbot owned
half the city; on the same Seine lay Jumièges, a center of letters and
arts, and farther down the river was St. Wandrille, "nursery for
saints"--three noted houses that inherited directly the apostolate of
Celtic Columbanus. From St. Wandrille went monks to establish Fécamp,
favorite of the Norman dukes, with an early-Gothic church equal to a
cathedral. Other monks from Fontenelle reorganized the most romantic
pile of monastic buildings in the world, Mont-Saint-Michel, guarded by
the patron of the kingdom of France, _Sanctus Michael in periculo

When that man of genius, William of Volpiano, abbot of St. Bénigne, at
Dijon, came to Normandy to reform its houses, he himself rebuilt the
abbatial church at Bernay which architecturally is an ancestress for
such Romanesque work as Cerisy-la-Forêt, Lessay, the Caen abbatials, and
St. Georges de Boscherville. At Mortain, at St. Sauveur-le-Vicomte, at
St. Évroult, were monastery churches, and the picturesque ruins of
Hambye cause one to mourn that Primary Gothic abbatial wrecked by the
Revolution. St. Pierre-sur-Dives and the collegiate at Eu are later
monastic works of the province. For its influence as a world power--what
we may call the Cluny of Normandy--was Bec abbey that became, under
Lanfranc the Lombard, and St. Anselm the Piedmontese, the intellectual
leader of the West. Its mammoth church has gone the way of
Cluny's--scarcely stone left on stone.


    O beata solitudo!
    O sola beatitudo!
    --(Inscription on a Benedictine monastery in France.)

In Bec, theology for the first time spoke the language of philosophy.
Herlouin, an unlettered knight, who learned to write only at forty,
founded, in 1034, an abbey on his lands on the banks of a beck in the
valley of Brionne. With the monks who gathered round him, he was engaged
in building with his own hands his convent when, one day in 1042,
Lanfranc of Pavia arrived in their midst, the learned one needed by
those simple, good men. Lanfranc had been teaching at Avranches, and was
journeying to Rouen when brigands seized him in a forest near Bec,
stripped and tied him to a tree to perish. Before aid came to him, as he
faced death during long hours--learning that despite his scholarship he
was incapable of reciting one single psalm to support his soul--a new
comprehension of life dawned on him, and he vowed himself to the triumph
of religion.

The school which he opened in Bec abbey soon drew students from all
parts of Europe. From northern Italy came young Anselm, destined twice
to succeed his master, in Bec as prior, in Canterbury as archbishop.
Lanfranc, practiced in the affairs of the world, a born statesman, was
better fitted to be primate of England than was Anselm with his
childlike, tender nature, and his subtle, speculative brain. Bec gave
still a third archbishop to the see of Canterbury, Theobald, the patron
of St. Thomas Becket; Martin, whilom abbot of Bec, built Peterborough

For thirty-three years St. Anselm wrote and taught in Bec abbey, student
first, then monk, then prior, and in 1078 abbot. There at night, while
all the house slept, he wrote the books which have won for him the title
of founder of the Christian philosophy of the Middle Ages. A forerunner
of scholasticism, he was among the first to set forth the conformity of
Christian doctrine with human reason. Dante places him in Paradise among
the great contemplatives. The union of the mystic and the rational in
theology, in the Norman abbey ruled by Anselm, started impulses which
were to pass down through the centuries. An immediate result was the
quickening of the mental life of the XII century. Among St. Anselm's
pupils at Bec was Anselm de Laon, whose classes, with those of Guillaume
de Champeaux, are regarded as the nucleus of the University of Paris.

What is of interest to us here is that, from the hour of the opening of
men's minds to scholastic learning, rose the architecture of France,
that the giant energy which built cathedrals had its source in a faith
that _believed in order that it might understand_, which is St. Anselm's
own proposition, _Credo ut intelligam_, as well as it is the apogee
flight reached by Plato, what the Greek philosopher called _the wings of
the soul_. And Plato's peer, XIII-century Aquinas, voiced the Greek's
vision, and repeated Anselm's thought, in a hymn whose subtle stanzas
are sung daily over Christendom: "_Præstat fides supplementum sensuum
defectui_" ("Faith for all defects supplying where the feeble senses
fail"). Anselm, with his "face of an angel," naïvely enthusiastic over
his metaphysical proof of God, writing alone in Bec, in the silence of
the night, was digging unaware the foundations for Chartres, Rheims,
Amiens, and those other visions of the Beyond to which man gave tangible
shape in the scholastic-trained centuries because, _believing_, he

Sorely against his will St. Anselm left the peace of Bec to take up the
duties of England's primacy in an hour when the eternal
lay-ecclesiastical controversy was embittered. The wanton and despotic
William Rufus was the opponent who overwhelmed him. His sole friends
were the little people for whom, at that time, any churchman who
maintained independence against layman tyranny was a champion of civic
liberties. The scholar of Bec was the only prelate of the many crossing
from Normandy to England who displayed loving kindness for the
downtrodden Saxons. Homesick in England, St. Anselm used pathetically to
sign his letters to his intimates, "Brother Anselm by the heart,
Archbishop of Canterbury by coercion."

At Le Bec-Hellouin to-day little remains of the abbatial whose choir
once soared on twenty immense piers. Again and again the church was
reconstructed. In 1077 Archbishop Lanfranc crossed the Channel for a
dedication. Early in the XIII century the master-of-works at Rouen,
Enguerrand, proceeded to Bec to superintend a new Gothic edifice. A fire
in 1263 caused another renewal of the choir. In the Rayonnant day the
nave was rebuilt on the same lines as St. Ouen's abbatial. The religious
wars of the XVI century damaged the church, whose demolition was
continued as late as 1814. What now remains are a portion of the
transept, a chapter house of the XII century, and the isolated tower of
St. Nicholas (1467-80), another memorial of Normandy's rejoicing to be
free of foreign rule. Eight large statues adorn its upper walls.

Bec had been pillaged by Henry V's troops before Jeanne d'Arc's advent,
and the abbot then appointed by the invaders was one of the sixty
university professors and ecclesiastics who condemned the Maid to death
in Rouen, 1431. Ten abbots of Normandy thus tarnished their great names,
but it is well to bear in mind that in each case the delinquent
monastery had recently been sacked because of its patriotic stand
against the foreigners, and that it was governed by a tool of the
victors. Fifty Norman abbeys honored themselves by their absence from
the torture of a young girl who had all England against her, half of
France, as well as the perverted learning of Paris University.


     The Christian world made no mistake when, in calm confidence, it
     sought, under the wing of the Benedictine abbeys, that strong
     education of the Western races which made possible all the marvels
     of faith, courage, fervor, and humility with which Europe was
     illuminated from the XI to the XV century, from Gregory VII to
     Jeanne d'Arc.

     --CHARLES DE MONTALEMBERT, _The Monks of the West_.

Normandy's hardy personality showed at its best in her Romanesque
monastic churches. Their design is decisive and vast, their construction
solid--the Norman excelled in masoncraft--and as art they have never
been surpassed for grave impressiveness. In the Norman minsters is a
primeval energy admirably restrained, a massive grace, a something of
reasoned simplicity lost in the Gothic cathedrals of the region. One who
fell under the spell of Normandy's Romanesque architecture has told how
its repose "appeals to men and women who have lived long and are tired,
who want rest, who have done with aspiration and ambitions, whose life
has been a broken arch.... The quiet strength of these lines, the solid
support of the moderate lights, the absence of display, of effort, of
self-consciousness, satisfy them as no other art does. They come back to
it to rest after a long cycle of pilgrimage--the cradle of rest from
which their ancestors started."[318]

No church earlier than the year 1000 has survived in Normandy. The
Norseman, while still an unbaptized buccaneer, laid low every
Merovingian and Carolingian edifice. All was in ruin. "From Blois to
Senlis," says the old record, "not an acre is plowed, for none dare work
in the fields." Then, Rollo, chief of the marauders, baptized in Rouen,
settled down in the duchy granted him in fief by the harassed king of
France. In an incredibly short time the erstwhile pagans became the most
indefatigable of church builders. For Normandy, the date 911 is as
important a landmark as is 910 for Burgundy, the year of Cluny's

The Norman Romanesque school made general use of the roll molding at
window and portal, of griffes at the base of piers, blind arcading,
intercrossing wall arches (that became monotonous in the Anglo-Norman
school), and very frequently it contrived an interior passage at the
clearstory level, whose effect was heightened by the use of arches of
different designs in its outer and inner walls.

Certain archæologists contend that the predominant influences in the
development of Norman Romanesque were Lombard, and that in this it
differed from other French schools which in main part derived from local
Carolingian work. As the Norman's creative genius was not on a par with
his constructive abilities, it seems reasonable to look for foreign
influence when finding its school precociously formed by the middle of
the XI century. The Lombards used, before the Normans, the alternate
system of ground supports, cubic capitals, transverse arches, compound
piers, crypts, and raised choirs, and their most striking feature of
exterior decoration was the arched corbel table that made a continuous
cornice. Mr. Arthur Kingsley Porter says that diagonals were used in
Lombardy early in the XI century as an expedient to economize wood,
groin vaults being molded on a temporary wooden substructure, but as the
Lombard never counterbutted his intersecting ribs, such vaults proved
unsatisfactory and were given up after 1120. If the Norman had an early
knowledge of diagonals through the Lombard, like the Lombard he failed
to derive from them their constructive consequences. That fact of
creative genius no one can deny to the Ile-de-France. Even if the
controversy as to who first used Gothic ribs should be decided in favor
of the Anglo-Norman school, and behind their use of it, traced to
Lombardy's Romanesque builders, none of them saw in it what Abbot Suger
did--the radical member of a new system of building.

William of Volpiano, a Lombard, and an architect as well as a reformer,
spent many active years in Normandy, where he died in 1031. At Fécamp he
is said to have trained a group of masons. A decade after his death,
Lanfranc, born in northern Italy, became a leader in the duchy, and
under him was built the present nave of the Abbaye-aux-Hommes at Caen.
It seems very natural to suppose that such men, alert as they were to
architectural progress, should have exerted influence on the Norman
school. However, M. Lefèvre-Pontalis thinks it wiser not to exaggerate
the immediate influence from beyond the Alps. He holds that the
Romanesque school of Normandy proceeded in main part from the same
element as the other pre-Gothic schools of France, elements derived
somewhat from Barbarian sources, but chiefly from Rome's occupation of
Gaul. In the case of Normandy the Barbarian influences would be largely
Scandinavian, and there has been considerable speculation over the
Norseman's wooden structure and the Norman's partiality for the pleated

Mr. John Bilson is unsympathetic to Mr. Kingsley Porter's ideas of
Lombard influence in Normandy, and he considers the early dates ascribed
to Lombard diagonals most improbable. Why, he asks, if the solution was
reached in Lombardy about 1025, did it take three quarters of a century
for the Normans, directly in contact with the builders of Italy, to
arrive after long experimenting at the same intersecting ribs? He claims
that the Ile-de-France was indebted to Normandy for diagonals, which
were not in use in the royal domain before 1130, but that, once that
school came into possession of intersecting pointed arches and flying
buttresses, it developed from them a new system of construction,
clothing it with a new expression, which we call Gothic. The controversy
is by no means closed.

Normandy's Romanesque school spread far afield.[320] It passed into
Picardy and penetrated as far south as Chartres. It crossed the Channel
with the adventurers who descended on England, and with other free
lances who carved out distant kingdoms for themselves, its
characteristics appeared in southern Italy and Sicily.

The ornamentation of the Norman school came in part from Oriental or
Byzantine sources already in use in the Carolingian era, and in part
from Scandinavian. Unlike Burgundy, this province, despite its good
stone, never won distinction in sculpture either in the Romanesque or
the Gothic day. Never was Norman decoration equal to Norman
construction, otherwise this school would be without a peer. Its
ornamentation lacks variety and imagination. Geometric designs were
endlessly repeated. Both in England and in Normandy the traveler grows
weary of the zigzag or chevron motive, taken from Merovingian
interlacings, or Carolingian triangular outlines, and very weary, too,
of its variants, the dog-tooth or star ornament, and the fret or meander
which reproduced a classical motive. The Carolingian billet molding was
also overused. Such monotony of decoration was probably the defect of a
good quality--caution and thoroughness. The Norman seldom attempted what
he could not put through, hence his churches were usually completed,
even to having their towers crowned by stone spires. The builders of the
Ile-de-France were less cautious, but more sublime.


     Aucun pays n'avait fourni au moyen âge plus de missionnaires
     chrétiens qu'Irlande, ni d'hommes empressés de répandre chez les
     nations étrangères les études de leur patrie.--A. THIERRY.

The first Romanesque church of Normandy with architectural pretensions,
the first to present the regional school fully formed, was the abbatial
of Jumièges, begun about 1040. That virile, rugged "château de Dieu"
stands on a semi-island of the Seine where the river makes a gracious
twenty-mile meander, or rather, there stand the "incredible masses of
masonry" which are the ruins of Jumièges, a wall of the big central
lantern, a roofless nave, and two gaunt façade towers, the only Norman
towers entirely of the XI century. In all France is no more austere,
stark, and grandiose a ruin.

How from such a predecessor as Bernay's abbatial the Norman could
immediately evolve an architectural feat as tremendous as Jumièges seems
explicable only by some strong exterior impetus. Here is the Lombard
alternance of ground supports over whose origin in Normandy much
printer's ink has been spilled. As the Lombard groin vault embraced two
bays, a strong pier was needed only for the transverse arch separating
the large square vault sections; or if a timber roof was used, a
reinforced pier was required only for the bigger tiebeams. Now, at
Jumièges, the lower structure proves (say certain archæologists) that
never was a masonry roof planned for, so it is probable that the open
timber roof required heavy tiebeams only at every other bay, hence an
alternance of substantial and slight piers to correspond to the
alternance of big beams and little beams. Jumièges also used the Lombard
engaged shaft. Its uniform _hautes colonnes_, without capitals, rise
from soil to roof, serving as interior buttresses, and some say as
supports for the tiebeams, since they rose too high to be intended for a
masonry roof. They bind together the three stories, and æsthetically
their rhythm breaks the monotony of the plain walls. Mr. John Bilson
thinks that the wall shafts of Jumièges can have had no other motive
than to support a vault over the principal span, and cannot have been
the supports of mere tiebeams. They may have been planned, suggests
Prof. Baldwin Brown, to carry an undergirding arch such as occurs
beneath some wooden roofs.

Normandy's invention of the sexpartite vault came about, thinks M.
Anthyme Saint-Paul, through her predilection for multiple lines. With
such Gothic vaults--each section of which embraced two bays--she
proceeded to reroof various of her Romanesque abbatials, whose already
existent alternated piers were thus made logical. Almost it would seem
as if the presence of ground supports, substantial and slight, had
called into being the new type of masonry roof. St. Denis used a
sexpartite vault in 1140, and M. Lefèvre-Pontalis suggested, at one
time, that Normandy derived the idea from the Ile-de-France. In the
royal domain, however, no steps are to be found leading up to it,
whereas in Normandy can be seen sexpartite vaults of primitive design,
such as those covering the Abbaye-aux-Dames, which consist merely of two
diagonals with a transverse rib crossing their apex. In the
Abbaye-aux-Hommes, where the timber roof of the nave was replaced by a
Gothic vault as early, perhaps, as 1135, the vault web is warped to the
intermediate transverse rib. It has been suggested that the sexpartite
vault originated from the employment of the diaphragm arch.

Jumièges abbey church was dedicated "with great spiritual joy," so an
old chronicle relates, by saintly Archbishop Maurille of Rouen, in the
presence of William the Conqueror and Matilda. Maurille had been trained
at Fécamp under the great William of Volpiano. A Gothic choir, added to
the abbatial later, was blown up after the Revolution by a contractor
who acquired the monastery in order to sell its stones as building
material. Under the flank of the now roofless nave nestles a ruined
little church of the XIV century, St. Peter its tutelary. Two of its
bays incorporate parts from a Carolingian church built by Rollo's son,
William Longsword (928-943). They are of archæological interest in being
the oldest examples extant of twin arches beneath a common arch for the
tribune-opening on the middle vessel. The arrangement became popular in
the Romanesque churches of Normandy and England, and can be seen at
Mont-Saint-Michel, Rochester, Ely, Gloucester, Peterborough, and

Jumièges was an ancient foundation of Clovis II and Queen Bathilde.
They granted forests on the Seine to St. Philibert (d. 684), who had
been an intimate at the Merovingian court, of St. Ouen and St.
Wandrille. To obtain the Celtic rule of Columbanus at its source,
Philibert visited Luxeuil and Bobbio, and he dedicated a chapel of his
abbatial at Jumièges to the Irish missionary. His own cult was to crop
out at Tournus and Dijon when the Norse piratical inroads drove the
inmates of wrecked monastic houses into Burgundy.

Jumièges was a scene of pillage and massacre during the last acts of the
Capet-Plantagenet duel, when Henry V, the victor of Agincourt, overran
Normandy. The abbot, then appointed, sat in judgment on St. Jeanne in
1431, and fell down dead three months later. After Charles VII had
entered Rouen as conqueror, in 1449, he retired to Jumièges. During the
feasts of rejoicing _la dame de beaulté_, Agnes Sorel, died in a manor
close by, and her memorial stone in Jumièges abbatial recorded her
"pitiful loving kindness to all men and especially the poor and
children." Days of decline came for Jumièges under her commendatory
abbots. A XVII-century revival of learning was led by the reformers of
the Congregation of St. Maur, but the famous establishment went under
completely during the Revolution. The sequence is the same for most
French abbeys.

Farther down the Seine, at what once was Fontenelle, stand the less
imposing ruins of St. Wandrille's abbatial, consisting of a transept of
the XIII century and a Flamboyant Gothic cloister, whose _lave-mains_ is
a gem of Renaissance delicacy. The house was founded in 649 by St.
Wandrille, of Merovingian blood. Like his friend, Philibert of Jumièges,
he sought the rule of St. Columbanus at its fountainhead, though the
more equable rule of St. Benedict was to prevail in French religious
establishments before the VII century closed. St. Wandrille trained many
of the saints who planted monasteries over northern France, and in later
centuries the Duke of Normandy chose monks from St. Wandrille's abbey to
institute a Benedictine house of prayer on the rock of St.


    Clochers légers, clochers aigus,
                          Clochers de France,
    Par quel attrait d'élan pieux
    Emportez-vous si vite et si haut dans les cieux
    Nos regards et notre espérance?...
    Longs et pareils à ces lances pointus
    Que les géants piquaient au sol,
    Vous montiez d'un seul jet pour défier le vol
    Des hirondelles éperdues.
    --GEORGES LAFENESTRE, "Clochers de France."[323]

Caen played a prominent part in the builder's story of Normandy. It has
been called the Romanesque Mecca. Its church of St. Nicolas (c.
1180-93), one of the most interesting Romanesque edifices of the duchy,
is dismantled, but the Abbaye-aux-Hommes or St. Étienne, and the
Abbaye-aux-Dames, or Ste. Trinité, are in good repair. All the world
knows how William the Conqueror and his good and gentle Matilda of
Flanders each founded an abbey in Caen, "that God might be served by
both sexes and thus pardon their transgression." Their marriage
disobeyed Church regulations concerning consanguinity and a canonical
atonement was required. Matilda's tomb rests in the middle of the choir
she built. Her epitaph was inscribed in letters of gold: "Consoler of
the needy, lover of piety, a woman who, having lavished her treasures in
good works, was poor to herself, but rich to the unfortunate. Thus
she sought the fellowship of eternal life on the second of November,

[Illustration: _The Crypt of the Abbaye-aux-Dames at Caen (1059-1066)_]

The Abbaye-aux-Dames, begun about 1059, was dedicated in 1066 by the
same Archbishop Maurille who blessed the new church at Jumièges. A few
weeks after the ceremony, William descended on England, which his
knights and villeins conquered to the chant of the _Chanson de Roland_,
written by some unknown poet who, like themselves, looked to the
Archangel of the Peril for inspiration. Yet a few decades more and
Roland's war song was sung by the first crusaders before Jerusalem.
Architecture, crusades, language, literature--many were the vital
movements then coming to birth.

On the day of the blessing of Matilda's convent of the Holy Trinity, her
little daughter, Cécile, was laid on the altar and dedicated to God's
service. For almost fifty years her aunt, Matilda, daughter of Richard
II and the fair Judith of Brittany, ruled the Abbaye-aux-Dames, and then
Cécile succeeded as second abbess; _Dame de la ville de Caen_, her
brother Henry I of England called her. Cécile was one of the learned
ladies of her day, having studied philosophy and belles-lettres under
the patriarch of Jerusalem. One recalls that it was a contemporary
abbess--at St. Odile in Alsace--who made the first attempt to compile an
encyclopedia. Several English princesses were nuns of the Trinité, among
them the daughters of Henry III and Edward I. In a later century
Charlotte Corday was a pupil of the convent.

It has been thought that Gundulf, a monk of Bec, called to Caen by
Lanfranc, was architect of the Abbaye-aux-Dames, where his mother had
retired as a nun. This learned and pious man had entered Bec in the same
year as St. Anselm, and when he had become the bishop of Rochester he
remained faithful to Anselm, then the primate of England, facing bitter
troubles with the king. The saint came to attend the good bishop on his
deathbed. Gundulf rebuilt Rochester Cathedral, whose crypt and western
bays are of his time (1076-1108); Rochester Tower, too, he raised, and
the chapel of St. John in London Tower. It was said of him that he was
the most skilled of all men in masoncraft.

The apse of the Trinité is considered one of the best things in Caen. It
stands over a crypt whose sixteen piers are in four rows. When the choir
was renovated, after 1100, some of its sculptures were modeled on
certain Byzantine ivories that had been brought as gifts to Abbess
Cécile by her crusading brother. The abbatial's triforium is a blind
arcade behind whose wall was essayed some very primitive flying
buttresses. The present sexpartite vault was an early trial of that
Norman form of the Gothic masonry roof, and is really a quadripartite
vault divided by a transverse rib, the web being unwarped to that
intermediate member. Though the XII century replaced the original timber
roof of the Trinité by this sexpartite one, exactly when it was done is
not known. But those interested in claiming priority for Normandy in the
use of diagonal ribs place it before the sexpartite vaulting of St.
Denis. The XIII century added a handsome Gothic chapel to the transept
of Matilda's convent church.

As the expiatory abbatial erected by the Conqueror was on a far larger
scale than the Abbaye-aux-Dames, it took longer to build; perhaps the
same Gundulf of Bec and Rochester was its architect. Over the aisles are
deep tribunes, some of whose bays have retained their primitive vaults
of the same type as those at Tournus in Burgundy--half barrels placed
side by side on lintels at right angles to the axis of the church. The
original roof of the principal span was replaced by the actual
sexpartite vault (whose web is warped to the six branches) about 1130,
said M. Régnier; other archæologists have placed it a generation later.
By the addition of a sexpartite vaulting the much-discussed Lombard
alternate piers were no longer inconsequent. The height to which the
wall shafts of the nave are carried indicates that the cowled architect
had not purposed originally to cover his main span with a stone roof.
When the Gothic vaulting was added the clearstory was changed in the
interior of the church, but the exterior was left as first built.

William and Matilda made Caen their chief residence in Normandy, and
Lanfranc was brought from Bec in 1063 to be prior of the duke's new
monastery. He opened a school in Caen to which his pupil, Pope Alexander
II, sent his relatives as scholars. In the peaceful cloister of St.
Étienne the able Italian composed a treatise--to counteract Berengar's
heresy on the Eucharist--which is considered a small masterpiece of
Christian controversy. Lanfranc was dialectician, administrator,
builder, subtle lawyer, and statesman. His genius reached its highest
development in the organization of a Norman hierarchy for England. He
rebuilt his own church at Canterbury, and two former monks of St.
Étienne, Caen, rebuilt the cathedral of Winchester and St. Alban's
abbey. Other memorials of Lanfranc's primacy in England are the crypt
and eastern end of Gloucester Cathedral, the work of a monk of
Mont-Saint-Michel, the crypt at Worcester, choir chapels and ambulatory
at Norwich, and the western transept of Ely Cathedral, erected by a monk
from St. Ouen, Rouen. It is said that during the century and a half from
the Conqueror to John Lackland the Norman prelates in England erected
over four hundred churches as expiatory offerings for the grievous wrong
perpetrated in the Norman conquest.

In Caen, Lanfranc built the nave of the Abbaye-aux-Hommes, a monument of
magnificent proportions, compact, tranquil, and sincere. When archbishop
of Canterbury he returned to Caen in 1077 for the dedication of his
abbey church. Another ten years and in St. Étienne's choir took place
the sinister burial of William the Conqueror. In the town was raging a
fierce conflagration which was to wipe out half the place. As they
lowered into the tomb the proud and wrathful overman whose strength had
been so pitiless, whose will so inflexible, a poor townsman stepped
forth to forbid the burial, claiming he had been robbed of that special
parcel of land. In the disorders that ensued the corpulent body of the
dead king was injured, and though incense was burned to purify the
infected air, the people deserted the church in horror. _Sic pulvis es._

In 1210 the Romanesque choir of the Abbaye-aux-Hommes was replaced by
the present Gothic one. Normandy apparently used annulets about the
clustered shafts at a much later date than the Ile-de-France, and it
continued to employ its pre-Gothic zigzag decoration. The chapels round
the choir were made to open one on the other above low dividing walls;
Bayeux and Coutances repeated this, as they did the turrets at the birth
of the apse. The exterior aspect of the edifice was enhanced by a row of
small rose windows each of which lighted a bay of the choir's tribune. A
generation later the same arrangement was employed in the collegiate
church at Mantes.

The new Gothic choir of St. Étienne at Caen was joined with skill to
Lanfranc's grave Romanesque nave. Maître Guillaume is cited as architect
of the new works, and he probably crowned the two western towers that so
grandly dominate the city. Few architectural views in France surpass the
stark majesty of the fortresslike church built by the Conqueror, as it
appears from across the town, from the rue des Chanoines, when one
stands near the convent church of Queen Matilda. St. Étienne's towers
were the prototypes for the other notable ones at Caen.

During the XVI-century religious wars the Abbaye-aux-Hommes was twice
pillaged and the Calvinists scattered the Conqueror's ashes. They
stripped the roofing of its lead, which soon caused the collapse of the
central lantern and the choir vaults. During two generations the great
church lay unused save as a stone quarry. Then the prior, Jean de
Baillehache, in 1609, undertook a restoration, carried through so
judiciously that were it not for the monastery's official record, and a
slight poverty in the sculpture, it would be impossible to detect the
new parts from the old.

For the making of towers Caen is a queen city. In descending the rue des
Chanoines one passes the church of St. Pierre, whose much-admired
Renaissance apse (1518-45) was the work of a regional master, Hector
Sohier. But it is the tower of St. Pierre which is its glory and the
boast of Normandy. It served as model for belfries throughout the duchy
and in Brittany. Built from 1308 to 1317, it stands as proof that the
tradition of Apogee Gothic continued till the opening of the Hundred
Years' War. Apart from the natural rise and fall of things human various
causes contributed to the decline of Gothic art after the XIII century.
A soulless mechanical dexterity that crystallized the principles of
Gothic architecture succeeded to the creative genius that had made
glorious the reigns of Philippe-Auguste and Louis IX. Symbolism and true
mysticism gave place to doubt, and--when internal dissensions and
foreign invasion rent the land--to superstition. With the blurring of
spiritual vision passed the vigor of construction.

The XIV century in France opened under a king who debased the coinage,
overtaxed the clergy, persecuted the Jews, and who, by the outrage of
Anagni, struck a fatal blow at the prestige of the papacy. Soon followed
the Black Death, when a third of Europe's population perished. Radical
deterioration of the national art set in after France "went to pieces at
the Battle of Crécy" (1346). The royal domain was a field of brigandage:
"From the Loire to the Seine, and from the Seine to the Somme, the
peasants being killed, all the fields lay uncultivated, and this during
many years," wrote Bishop Bérenger of Le Mans. In Paris Cathedral a
foreigner was crowned king of France.

What horrors reigned in Normandy, many an old record relates. More than
a thousand patriot leaders perished when English gold was given for each
decapitated corpse. "Houses are without occupants, fields without
workers," wrote a XV-century bishop of Lisieux. Bedford's troops
pillaged and massacred. Near Falaise twelve thousand civilians were
butchered in one day. "The land of Normandy was grievously oppressed and
_le pauvre peuple détruit_," wrote Monstrelet. "Men and women fled for
their lives, by land and by sea, as if in peril of fire. Nobles gave up
their fiefs, clerks their benefices, burghers their patrimony, rather
than take oath to the invader."[324] _Normannia nutrix_ lay almost

Such is the French version. Naturally the English outlook was different.
"The false Frenchman," sings Drayton in his Agincourt ballad. Freeman
falls into a vein of self-congratulation. "Go from France proper into
Normandy," he writes, "and you at once feel that everything is palpably
better; men, women, horses, cows, all are on a grander, better scale.
The good seed planted by the old Saxon and Danish colonists, and watered
in aftertimes by Henry V and John, Duke of Bedford, is still there. It
is not altogether choked by the tares of Paris."

Gothic art deteriorated, but so persistently lingered the simplicity,
the spiritual poignancy of the XIII century that in the late-Gothic day
it was still possible to produce the mystic loveliness of Riom's Madonna
of the Bird, and the humble prayerfulness of Solesmes' Magdalene.

In the unspoiled years of the XIV century was built the tower of St.
Pierre, at Caen. Its shaft rises in a virile, unbroken ascent from soil
to spire tip. On the busiest street corner of the city it stands like a
perpetual call to recollection and joy. The Norman will boast with
legitimate pride that it is the most beautiful tower in France,
excelling those of Chartres and Senlis, whose shafts, he will tell you,
are either too high or too short, whereas his loved tower of St. Pierre
has spire and shaft in perfect accord. When Caen added this stately
monument to its wealth of churches it was as rich a metropolis as
Rouen, and it had contributed more than London toward the ransom of
Richard Coeur-de-Lion from Teuton captivity. Just before the defeat of
Crécy, this, the intellectual capital of Normandy, was besieged by
English troops, and all its wealth pillaged, and its streets strewn with
dead. Amid havoc wrought, the towers of the Abbaye-aux-Dames were

[Illustration: _Belfry of St. Pierre at Caen (1308-1317). Prototype for
the Gothic Towers of Normandy and Brittany_]

All over the department of Calvados are towers.[325] A Romanesque one
crowns the church of Vaucelles, a suburb of Caen. At Ifs, and near
Bayeux, at St. Loup (c. 1180), are others. The monk's church of Norrey,
a dependency of St. Ouen, at Rouen, noted for the lavishness of its
foliate ornamentation, has a tower of the XIII century, and near it,
also ten miles from Caen, is Secqueville's Gothic beacon. There are
belfries at Bernières-sur-mer (c. 1150), at Langrune, Thaon, Tour, and

Three of the most beautiful towers in Calvados crown the abbatial of St.
Pierre-sur-Dives, an edifice, too much a patchwork of five centuries to
be altogether pleasing, but linked with a memorable hour of the Gothic
story, 1145. Popular enthusiasm then aided Abbot Haimon to reconstruct
his church, as he wrote, in a much-quoted letter to the English monks at
Tutbury. The same wave of fervor was raising the Primary Gothic towers
of Chartres and Rouen. The western towers of St. Pierre-sur-Dives are of
Haimon's day only in their lower stories; that to the south has a
XIII-century top, and that to the north was finished in the XIV

Throughout the final phase of Gothic, Normandy continued to excel in
towers. Witness Rouen's Flamboyant beacons. In quiet country places and
lesser towns rise belfries as stately as those of cathedrals: at
Carville is the "Giant of the Valley" (1512-14), at Harfleur is a most
beautiful tower, and still another at Verneuil (1506-30), built by a son
of the town, Arthur Fillon, curé of St. Maclou, Rouen, and vicar-general
of that lover of noble structures, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; when he
became bishop of Senlis, he helped to finish the Flamboyant Gothic
transept of that cathedral.


     I have borne for forty-two years with happiness the sweet yoke of
     the Lord.--ORDERICUS VITALIS (xii century).

From Rouen a pleasant six-mile walk through the forest of Roumare leads
to the abbatial of St. Georges de Boscherville, an example of the best
Anglo-Norman Romanesque. Some have thought it belongs to the first
decade of the XII century, but M. Besnard places it a generation
earlier. Mr. John Bilson claims that, like its contemporary, the
cathedral at Durham, the piers show that from the start the design was
to construct ribbed groin vaults over the wide span, and he thinks that
the same is true for the now disused Romanesque abbatial of St.
Nicolas, at Caen (1083-93), building twenty years before Durham's choir.
He has cited the diagonals of Lessay's choir and those of the transept
of Montvilliers as the primitive Gothic of Normandy, vaults which M. de
Lasteyrie considered to be contemporary with Suger's St. Denis. The
German archæologists, Dehio and von Bezold, give priority to Normandy.

The actual intersecting ribs at St. Georges de Boscherville are a
XIII-century reconstruction. So solid were the church walls made that no
flying buttresses have been needed. The tribune at the end of each arm
of the transept is supported by an isolated pillar, apsidal chapels
project from the eastern wall of the transept, and the central lantern
is one of the best in Normandy. The entire church, save its west façade
flanked by slender turrets, was the work of some six or seven years
only. About 1157, under Abbot Victor, was erected the chapter house that
nestles beneath the transept's northern arm. The French students who did
not know, or who have not accepted, Mr. John Bilson's theory of
Anglo-Norman priority in the use of the essential organ of Gothic
architecture, have claimed that the diagonals of St. Georges' chapter
house are among the earliest extant of the province, of the same decade
as the vaulting of the lower hall of St. Romain's tower at Rouen. Mr.
John Bilson's championship of Anglo-Norman pioneer work, and Mr. Arthur
Kingsley Porter's theory of Lombard priority, have both found supporters
among leading French archæologists; the English scholar is patriotically
disgruntled at the American's advocacy of the Italian claims.

It would seem that during the XI century the Normans, like the Lombards,
used what Mr. Bilson calls ribbed groined vaults, occasionally, for one
reason or another. The Norman developed tentatively the ribbed vault,
always associating it with the semicircular arch, and without
comprehending the wonderful results that were to be derived from
concentrating the weight of a masonry roof at fixed points. The
possibility of those results was perceived first in the Ile-de-France,
and from there, when Gothic architecture had taken on its special
characteristics, it entered Normandy by way of the Seine at Rouen and
Boscherville, then at Fécamp and Lisieux. The first Gothic cathedrals of
Normandy show purely French influence and only gradually were regional
ogival traits developed. In the controversy as to who first used
diagonals, one can take whichever side one prefers; the question remains
open. Light will be thrown on it, doubtless, by a forthcoming paper by
Mr. Bilson in the _Archeological Journal_, tracing the evolution of the
diagonal rib in Normandy.

The abbey at Boscherville was founded by the lord of Tankerville, high
chamberlain of the Conqueror and Henry I. In its abbatial, when his
grandson, hereditary constable of Normandy, was knighted, he laid his
sword on the altar, and to redeem it presented property to the
monastery. If we would comprehend the society that built these churches,
we must understand that such donations were voluntary and a matter of
civic pride. "If I cannot myself attend to the works of God," runs an
ancient deed of gift, "at least I can assure a home for those with whom
God loves to dwell. It is only natural to enrich our Holy Mother the
Church, and thus to take a hand in caring for Christ's poor."


     It is a usage bequeathed to us from our ancestors, never to let
     anyone depart from our abbey without a gift.

     --(From an old Latin chronicle of Fécamp.)

If one would enjoy, without critical comparison, the Gothic of Normandy,
her churches should be visited before the taste has become sensitized by
loiterings in the Ile-de-France. In that classic region of the national
art is found a simplicity, a purity, a restraint, a something of
imaginative genius that makes of its work the touchstone by which all
other manifestations of Gothic are judged. Of the Norman churches, the
Trinité, at Fécamp, is most closely related to the Primary Gothic work
of the royal domain. Its architect must certainly have come from the
Ile-de-France. Monks trained in the Celtic rule by St. Wandrille founded
Fécamp, which was wrecked by Norse pirates in 876. William Longsword,
the first duke's son, built his palace here, and his son, Richard I the
Fearless (d. 996), began a new monastery. In his will Richard ordered:
"Bury not my body within the church, but deposit it on the outside,
immediately under the eaves, that the dripping of the rain from the holy
roof may wash my bones as I lie and may cleanse them of the spots of
impurity contracted during a negligent and neglected life." He desired
that on every Friday a sarcophagus be filled with wheat and grain for
the poor. His son, Richard II the Good (d. 1020), finished Fécamp
abbatial, and was laid to rest beside his father. The dukes of Rollo's
line especially favored Fécamp, which held a front rank among Normandy's
institutions, and was the richest of her monasteries down to the
Revolution. Henry Plantagenet presented Fécamp town to the monastery.

After Duke Richard the Good had brought that man of administrative
genius, William of Volpiano, into his duchy to reorganize its spiritual
life, architectural activities took on new vigor. William himself
directed the construction of Bernay's[329] church; the abbatial of
Mont-Saint-Michel rose when he reformed that house; and the church of
Jumièges followed immediately after his reformation there. The Blessed
William, in his thirst for souls, used to loiter at the crossroads to
gather in the stricken of body or spirit. He passed away in Fécamp in
1031, and his ashes are still preserved in a chapel of the present
Gothic abbatial. In 1034, in the Romanesque Trinité, Robert the
Magnificent gathered the chief men of Normandy to have them swear
allegiance to his sturdy little bastard son of seven, who was to be
known in history as William the Conqueror, after which Duke Robert
started on his pilgrimage to the East, from which he was never to
return. The abbey church of Fécamp long consisted of the nave begun by
Richard I, and a choir built by Abbot Guillaume de Ros (1082-1108),
under whose rule the Trinité won the admiration of Europe. He is said to
have introduced into Normandy the ambulatory and its radiating chapels.
Two of the radial chapels which he constructed at Fécamp have survived.
While they were building, there lived in the Trinité convent, as prior,
Herbert de Lozinga, who, obtaining the bishopric of Norwich, erected on
the Norfolk downs a stately Norman cathedral (1096-1119). Abbot
Guillaume de Ros carried out the instructions of Richard I to give a
loaf of bread to every beggar asking it, and when Fécamp was dissolved
at the Revolution its abbot was distributing daily some twelve thousand
free loaves of bread.

In 1169 fire wrecked the Romanesque Trinité, whereupon the present
Gothic edifice was begun immediately, and in it two of the groin-vaulted
chapels from the choir of Guillaume de Ros were incorporated. Abbot
Henri de Soullay (1139-87) built the Primary Gothic choir, transept,
and half of the nave. After the fifth bay of the nave a new architect
took up the work, as is shown by differences in the pier profiles, but
the cessation of activities must have been of short duration, as the
church is homogeneous. The nave was finished under Abbot Raoul d'Argence
(1190-1220), who organized Normandy's first literary academy--a
confraternity of jongleurs. Its character was more Norman than the
choir, though regional traits had early appeared in the turrets at the
birth of the apse and the square central lantern.

To increase the impression of length in the nave its side walls were
marked by double the number of arcades that divide the middle church
from the aisles. This was accomplished by introducing a fifth rib into
each vault section of those side corridors, which rib fell on a shaft
engaged in the side walls. Like the minsters of England, Fécamp is more
remarkable in its length than in its height.

Abbot Thomas de Saint-Benoît (1297-1307) decided to suppress the deep
gallery over the choir's ambulatory, making the chapels that open on the
curving aisle of exceptional height. He changed the southern aisle,
giving it a coldly elegant Rayonnant aspect, but happily not that to the
north, or we would have lost the two interesting Romanesque chapels of
Abbot Guillaume de Ros. Some of Fécamp's later abbots were Clement VI,
builder of the palace of the popes at Avignon and of the Chaise Dieu in
the mountains of Auvergne, and an abbot of the patriotic Estouteville
family, who was driven out by the English when Fécamp was besieged in
1415. The tool who succeeded him sat in judgment on Jeanne d'Arc.

The abbot of Fécamp during the transitional Flamboyant Renaissance day
was Cardinal Antoine Boyer (1492-1519), a Mæcenas who adorned his
beautiful church with Italian marbles. He had sculptured, in the same
studio at Genoa that provided Louis XII with the Orléans tombs for St.
Denis, an Entombment more spectacular in character than the famous one
at Solesmes. Girolamo Viscardo made for him a tabernacle (for the
choir's procession path), after the style of Mino da Fiesole. The
lovely marble screens that close the side chapels are due to this
generous prelate. For him Jacques Le Roux, the noted architect of Rouen,
lengthened the Lady chapel. The only later change of importance in the
Trinité was the erection of its neo-classic façade.


     La Nature a bien des manières de sourire. La Normandie est le plus
     beau sourire de la nature temperée.--O. RECLUS.

The tutelary of Eu is St. Laurence O'Toole, archbishop of Dublin, son of
a prince in Leinster, an active continuer of the reforms begun by St.
Malachy of Armagh, who died in St. Bernard's arms at Clairvaux. St.
Laurence had crossed the Channel to plead with Henry Plantagenet for
certain of his flock in disgrace (1180). Arriving at Eu's convent, then
belonging to the congregation of St. Victor, he felt a premonition of
his approaching death, and exclaimed, as he crossed the threshold, "Here
is my abode of rest forever." He was worn out in the struggle to uphold
the weak against the strong in those difficult years of the Anglo-Norman
seizure of the eastern coast of Ireland. As his end drew near a monk
suggested that he make his testament. "I thank God that I have nothing
to bequeath," he said.

So impressive was the death of Archbishop Laurence in Eu monastery that
the little people of the Lord soon began to pray beside his tomb. When
the monks reconstructed their church they placed the saintly man's
relics in the new crypt. From 1186 to 1226 the choir, transept, and one
bay of the nave were built without interruption, in a Gothic more of the
Ile-de-France than regional, though the placing of towers between
transept and choir and the central lantern followed the Norman

Archbishop Laurence O'Toole was canonized in 1225, and to the joyous
ceremony when his relics were set above the high altar came the
archbishop of Rouen--then building his cathedral, and Bishop Geoffrey,
the "shining man of Eu by whom the throne of Amiens rose into
immensity." For eight days the throng pressed to pray near the relics of
the canonized Irish prelate, and with the gifts that poured in the monks
were able to finish their nave by 1230. It is a gem of Norman Gothic,
sober, elegant, of perfect unity. The first plan called for tribunes
over the aisles, as in the choir. Before they were constructed, however,
the idea was given up, but it was decided to keep the arches by which
the tribunes would have opened on the middle church. The same effect of
false tribunes had been used earlier in the nave of Rouen Cathedral.

In 1426 lightning caused the collapse of the central tower, and in the
reconstruction of the transept and choir, undertaken after the invaders
were driven from Normandy, Flamboyant work was set side by side with
Primary Gothic. From 1511 to 1534 rose the transept's florid south
façade. After the Revolution the church of St. Laurent was restored by
the Orléans family, who own the château and park at Eu.


     Chaque peuple a son ange, disait Daniel le prophète. Le nôtre ne
     peut pas, même indignes nous délaisser.... Plus encore que Saint
     Jacques était le patron des espagnols, Saint Michel voulut être le
     Baron de France. Il mit les trois lys dans ses armes et fit passer
     sur le royaume l'éclair de son glaive. Avoir suscité Jeanne d'Arc
     et par elle libéré la France.... Voilà bien le plus beau miracle dû
     à l'archange. Il constitue pour le pays une promesse de
     perennité.--JOSEPH LOTTE (born in Normandy, 1875; killed in the
     World War, 1914).

Surpassing all the abbeys of Normandy is the outpost of the archangel
that lies offshore, at the junction of Normandy and Brittany, a conicle
mass of "rock on rock, keep on keep, century on century," sand-locked
one hour, and the next rising from the Atlantic. _Tremor immensi oceani_
is the motto of the Mount. Before the days of crusaders it was one of
Europe's chief points of departure for the Eastern pilgrimage. Like
Jerusalem, it has been one of the sites of the earth that has impressed
itself with historic signification on the imagination of mankind.

Many have felt the kindred spirit of the _Chanson de Roland_ and the
granite, military monastery. They are both of the same high lineage. To
the paladin Roland, dying at Roncevaux, as he held up his right glove to
God, his suzerain, there came, to fetch his soul to Paradise, the very
special St. Michael of the Mount that stood in peril of the sea, in
_periculo maris_.[332] Scholars think that the most virile, the most
heroic of the _chansons de geste_, wherein already was _la douce France_
loved beyond the regional cradle, was composed by a Norman who lived in
the marches within the cult of the Angel of the Peril.[333]

[Illustration: _The Hall of the Knights at Mont-Saint-Michel
(1203-1228). Second Story of the Merveille_]

Alas, in our day Mont-Saint-Michel-au-péril-de-la-Mer is in very deadly
peril of the land, for it looks as if the covetousness of financiers was
to defraud France of this rock of glory "_qui s'émeut et s'achève en
prière_." Dikes and dams, to reclaim coast lands, will before long cause
the historic crag to rise from green woods as it did some geological
periods ago.

Citadel, palace, cloister, church, and town, the Mount is a thing of
romance that not all the vulgarity of daily tourist crowds can tarnish.
Charlemagne himself chose its tutelary archangel for the national patron
saint, and the cowled guardians here were in truth through long
centuries what the great emperor called monks: "Knights of the Church,
of the willing vassalage and chivalry of Christ."

The Northmen destroyed the ancient shrine. Then Richard the Fearless,
grandson of the pirate Rollo, placed on the rock the sons of St.
Benedict, trained at St. Wandrille. Richard II, in 1017, came to the
Mount to ask a blessing on his union with Judith of Brittany, whose
beauty was such that the old chronicle exclaimed _corpore et moribus
usque ad miraculum elegantem_. The duke's marriage gift enabled the
monks to supplant their Carolingian church by a bigger one. The
discarded X-century chapel was discovered in 1909 by M. Paul Gout, the
Mount's latest historian. Until 1780 it had been used as Notre
Dame-sous-Terre, but during the building of the foundations for the ugly
west façade of the upper church it was walled up.

With Richard the Good's donation, Abbot Hildebert II erected his new
church on the very summit of the rock, but as there was not sufficient
level space, he built out from the hillcrest a platform of masonry to
support the nave. From William of Volpiano's school at Fécamp came
skilled journeymen. The church at Mont-Saint-Michel was begun in 1020,
and still building in 1057. Abbot Roger I, formerly chaplain to William
the Conqueror, erected the nave. William prayed at the Mount before
undertaking the conquest of England, and the abbot fitted out for him an
entire fleet.

In 1103 the northern wall of the Romanesque nave collapsed one night as
the monks were chanting matins in the choir. It was restored immediately
in the same style, and Abbot Roger II took the opportunity to
reconstruct the monks' quarters. Above the crypt called Aquilon (c.
1112) he built a cloister, which later was vaulted with diagonals, and
over that _promenoir_ was made a dormitory on the same level as the
church. During the years that followed the Mount was governed by a man
of genius, Robert de Torigni (1153-80), whose chronicle is the most
important history of France for that epoch. In the _promenoir_ he
entertained, at a banquet in 1158, his sovereign, Henry II, and Aliénor
of Aquitaine. They chose him as godfather for their daughter, who,
later, as queen of Castile, built the convent church of Las Huelgas by
Burgos. Abbot Robert was a pupil of Bec, whose higher standards of
intellectual life he brought to the Mount, where he formed a library,
built monks' quarters, and added western belfries to his abbatial,
though the façade of his day no longer exists.

As the XIII century opened, Normandy became once more a part of the
royal domain, after being three centuries under dukes of its own. When
Rollo's strong breed ended in the debased John Lackland, the northern
province gladly accepted Philippe-Auguste as ruler. How whole-heartedly,
how unreservedly French it became it was to prove by its heroic
resistance to the English invaders during the Hundred Years' War.[334]

In the frays of 1203, fire had spread from the town that hugged the
rock's edge, to the monastic buildings on the summit. Philippe-Auguste,
always wisely conciliatory toward new subjects, contributed toward the
restorations. With the gift from the king under whom most of the Gothic
cathedrals of France were begun, Abbot Jourdan (1191-1212) built the
supreme architectural work of the citadel, what is called the Merveille,
and a marvel indeed are its three stories that rise, one above the
other, hall over hall, two hundred feet in height above the sea, ridged
heavily outside by stout buttresses and graced within by pillars,
arches, and a sky-gazing cloister.

From the brain of some unknown cowled genius sprang this _mâle_ and
splendid conception, built in the very prime of Gothic. Who else but one
enamored of meditation would have set his cloister atop of his monastery
under the open sky, or have opened on that courtyard of peace a monks'
refectory, where, in a flooded stillness of light, the brethren could
sit pondering as they listened to one of their number reading from the
stone lectern the book which is the spirit of Bernard of Clairvaux
incarnate: "Give all for all; seek nothing; call for nothing back. Thou
shalt be free in heart and the darkness shall not overwhelm thee." And
around them there spread the wide horizon of the sea one hour, of the
white ashes of sand the next.

Pacing the lovely skyward cloister one has time to brood on life and
death, on God and one's own soul; it refutes a hundred calumnies
against monastic life just by being what it is. Serious men enamored of
voluntary seclusion carved it unstintingly and set its columns quaintly
in triangular order. Love and science contrived the diffused, soothing
luminousness of the brothers' dining hall. The present gable windows
there are innovations. Originally when one entered one could discern no
window, and yet light was everywhere. The side walls, that from the door
appear to be blind arcades, are in reality a succession of narrow panel
windows--thirty to a side--deeply recessed in stone embrasures that are
triangular in shape, because they serve the purpose of buttresses. To
have carried the exterior buttress ridges to such a height as is this
refectory, set audaciously up in the sky on the Merveille's third story,
would have been an awkward procedure; so the nameless monk-architect,
because he was a XIII-century man, let his genius lead him, and, "master
of the living stone" that he was, contrived a supreme beauty of
decoration out of a structural necessity.

The Merveille was erected under a succession of abbots, in one
consecutive radiant effort, from 1203 to 1228--a Titan's work. Each of
its three stories is divided into two halls; on the ground floor are the
almonry, where the pilgrims fed, and a groin-vaulted cellery or
storehouse; the top story, as we have seen, consists of open cloister
and monks' refectory; and between the upper and lower stories are two of
the most vigorous halls ever built; that over the almonry called the
Salle des Hôtes because in it were entertained the guests of the
monastery, and that to the west, over the cellery, acquiring the name
Salle des Chevaliers, from the Order of the Knights of St. Michael,
whose members met here. The latter is divided by rows of stout pillars,
and served as the common room of the community, where the tireless
scholar-scribes illuminated missals and copied manuscripts.

The charter for the military Order of the Archangel, founded in 1469 by
Louis XI, welded the name of St. Michael, whom every good Frenchman knew
kept a specially friendly eye on France, with that of Jeanne the Maid,
who had quitted Domrémy-on-the-Meuse because the voice of her dear
archangel rang insistent in her ear: _Fille Dè, va! Je serai à ton ayde.
Va!_ It was St. Michael who first roused her to the sense of the great
misery there was in the kingdom of France, and in her hour of victory
after Orléans she spoke of going to the rescue of the besieged Mount in
Normandy. At her trial in Rouen she dwelt on the comfort he had given
her.[335] He appeared to her, she said, in the guise of "_un très vrai
prud'homme_"--the term loved of St. Louis, who once told Joinville that
to be _prud'homme_ meant to be knight in heart, as well as outward
bearing. "I believe the words of St. Michael who appeared to me," said
Jeanne, at her trial, "as firmly as I believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ
suffered death and passion for us. And what leads me so to believe is
the good counsel, comfort, and good doctrine St. Michael gave me."

On the completion of the Merveille, the monks continued building. They
had finished the officiality hall by the entrance gate of the monastery
before the visit of St. Louis to the Mount in 1254, when he came to
return thanks for his safety during his late crusade. The XIV century
added more defenses till the rock became the most forceful example of
mediæval military architecture. Strong walls were needed during its
siege by the English who invaded Normandy under Henry V. The Mount's
abbot, Robert Jollivet, whose name figures among the well-paid judges at
Rouen in 1431, allied himself with the victorious foreigners who had
quickly overrun the province. His monks repudiated him, led by their
prior, Jean Gonault. Defended by the gallant knight Louis
d'Estouteville, they endured the longest siege recorded in history,
1415 to 1450, when, as Jeanne had proclaimed, the invaders were "_boutés
tous hors de France_."[336]

In 1429, during the memorable siege, the Romanesque choir of
Mont-Saint-Michel's abbey church collapsed. It was impossible then to
rebuild it; they had even to sell their altar vessels to carry on the
defense. When Normandy was again a part of France the erection of a new
choir was undertaken by the abbot of the Mount, who was none other than
the distinguished Cardinal Guillaume d'Estouteville, the chief agent in
the vindication of Jeanne d'Arc's memory. His layman brother had
directed the defense of the Mount during many years. In 1450 were laid
down the crypt's nineteen mammoth piers, among the most powerful ever
planted. The upper church reached its triforium story by 1469, the year
when Louis XI came to the rock to establish his new Order of knighthood,
and about 1513 the choir was completed. Many hold it to be superior to
all other late-Gothic works in France. There are no capitals, the
moldings die away in the shafts, the triforium is glazed. It belongs to
the fleeting splendor of Flamboyant art, but without capriciousness.
There is no overexuberance, no virtuosity in this vigorous, glad
memorial of the nation's reconquered freedom:

    Sainte Jeanne went harvesting in France,
    And oh! what found she there?
    The brave seed of her scattering
                  In fruitage everywhere.
    And where her strong and tender heart
                  Was broken in the flame,
    She found the very heart of France
    Had flowered to her name.[337]

Building activities at the embattled abbey ceased after the erection of
its beautiful florid choir. The evil consequences of commendatory
abbots--those named by royal whim--bore bitter fruit from end to end of
France in the relaxed spiritual life of the monasteries. The
XVII-century reformers of the Congregation of St. Maur found the Mount's
abbot to be a princeling of Lorraine, five years of age. Those scholarly
Benedictines carried on excellent research work in local history, but to
their neo-classic generation Gothic art was a sealed book.

Deplorable changes went on during three hundred years: an apsidal chapel
of the church was made into a staircase, irregular windows were opened
in the halls of the Merveille, the cloister was planted as a garden, to
the deterioration of the lower structures, and when, in 1776, fire
weakened the abbatial, its three westernmost bays were demolished and
the present ugly façade put up. After the Revolution pillaged the
monastery it became a state prison called Mont Libre, and so continued
until 1863. The church was floored midway to serve as a convicts' hat
factory. The modern restoration of Mont-Saint-Michel has been, like that
which saved the palace of the popes at Avignon, a truly national


     One can say that nothing great ever was accomplished in the Church
     without women bearing a part. A host of them stood among the
     martyrs in the amphitheater; they disputed with the anchorites the
     possession of the desert. Constantine set up the Labarum on the
     Capitol, and St. Helena raised the True Cross on the walls of
     Jerusalem. Clovis, at Tolbiac, invoked the God of Clotilda.
     Monica's tears won the conversion of Augustine. Jerome dedicated
     the Vulgate to the piety of two Roman ladies, Paula and Eustochium.
     The first lawmakers of monkish life, Basil and Benedict, were
     seconded by their sisters, Macrina and Scholastica. The Countess
     Matilda held up the tottering throne of Gregory VII. The wise
     judgment of Queen Blanche dominated the reign of St. Louis. France
     was saved by Jeanne d'Arc. Isabella of Castile led in the discovery
     of the New World. And in times closer to our own we see St. Teresa
     mixing with bishops, doctors, and the founders of Orders by which
     the reform in Catholic ranks was operated. We see St. Francis de
     Sales cultivating like a rare flower the soul of Madame de Chantal,
     and St. Vincent de Paul passing over to Louise Marillac the most
     admirable of his designs, the establishment of the Sisters of
     Charity.--FRÉDÉRIC OZANAM.

So much for the abbey churches of Normandy. Many another might be
described, but with six Gothic cathedrals to consider, one must refrain.
Of the six--Rouen, Lisieux, Évreux, Séez, Bayeux, and Coutances--that of
Rouen shows the earliest Gothic work and its character is more French
than Norman, as if the river, flowing down from Paris, carried with its
waters the characteristics of the art life astir on the banks of the
Seine, Oise, Aisne, and Marne.

The least local of Normandy's cathedrals, Our Lady's church at Rouen,
has a magnetism distinctly its own--from its florid romantic west front,
the most lavish screen ever set up, to the imposing sentry columns that
guard its sanctuary. The northwest tower is Normandy's best Primary
Gothic, the southwest tower the supremest belfry that sprang up to
commemorate the freeing of France from foreign yoke. The façades of the
transept and the Lady chapel (whose tombs mark dates in the art history
of France) rank with perfect Rayonnant work. Its storied windows are
among the richest ever dight by mediæval guildsmen.

Not but that a dozen flaws might be picked in the metropolitan church at
Rouen. Were it to be strictly ranked among French cathedrals, it could
not be placed among the foremost. But it has gone on embellishing itself
century after century with a self-respect so sincere that few care to
dispute its claim to stand in the front rank.

On a first visit to Rouen many an amateur prefers the regularity of St.
Ouen's abbatial, which in size equals Westminster Abbey.[339] St. Ouen,
the classic of Rayonnant design, geometric in tracery, accentuating the
ascending line, coldly perfect in construction, possessed still the true
_sursum corda_ of Gothic, though the art was fast crystallizing into
formulas. The capitals were lessened, and the glazed triforium united to
the clearstory in a single composition. Made of fine-textured gray stone
St. Ouen is a stately vessel, but, add the critics, "its uniform
excellence is average." Gothic lore has not degenerated, but has simply
gone too far in the development of its principles, says the mechanical
artistry of the last built of the great monastic churches of France,
planned before the tragedies of the Hundred Years' War had petrified the
national genius.[340]

The cathedral of Normandy's capital is not uniform, but its excellence
surpasses the average. It is not homogeneous, its proportions are not
absolutely harmonious, but it has profundity, personal character, and
flashes of genius. The better it is known the deeper grows affection for
it, which is not the case with St. Ouen. In the latter one feels that
the cult is the main concern; in the cathedral there is piety of heart.

The early history of Sainte-Marie at Rouen follows the usual course.
Norse marauders wrecked the ancient cathedral. Rollo, the first duke,
endowed another which was radically reconstructed under an XI-century
archbishop, a son of Duke Richard II. In 1063, that Romanesque church
was dedicated by Archbishop Maurille (whose tomb is in the present
ambulatory) in the presence of William the Conqueror and his good
Matilda. Vestiges of the Romanesque edifice are in the first bay of the
choir aisle. In it were interred the prodigious Rollo, the Norwegian
sea-robber, who sacked half Normandy, sailed up the Seine to terrorize
Paris, and up the Loire to overrun Auvergne and Burgundy, and yet, no
sooner was he granted the duchy of northern France than the buccaneer
gave way to a ruler whose laws were so respected that golden bracelets
were left exposed and remained unstolen for years in the forest of
Roumare. Rollo was baptized a Christian in Rouen, in 912, and there he
wedded a Carolingian princess. When his son, William Longsword, died in
945, he was wearing a gold key that opened a casket containing a monk's
robe for his burial; the new rulers were swift to comprehend that
monasteries were the chief civilizers in that formative age.

Near Rouen, in 1087, died the Conqueror, sixth in descent from Rollo.
"Pirate jostled statesman" in him, too. Mortally wounded at Mantes, he
was brought to the priory of St. Gervase--beneath which suburban church
still exists intact a V-century crypt--and as he heard the bells of
Rouen Cathedral ringing, there rose to haunt him the curses, not loud
but deep, of the oppressed Anglo-Saxons, and most piteously he
petitioned the Queen of Heaven to draw Her Son's attention to all the
religious houses he had built for the people's good on both sides of the
Channel. No sooner was he dead than his retainers stripped and robbed
him, and through private charity he was carried to his horror-inspiring
burial at Caen.

To Rouen, because of its generosity to him in his captivity, Richard
Coeur-de-Lion bequeathed his heart. In 1203 the last duke of Normandy,
John Lackland, fled from Rouen after the murder of his nephew, Arthur of
Brittany, of which the popular voice accused him. Philippe-Auguste
entered the city in triumph in 1204, and the building of the new Gothic
cathedral started apace.

Notre Dame at Rouen is associated closely with the return of Normandy
under French rule. On Easter night, 1200, fire ravaged the city and its
chief church. Whether the cathedral then wrecked was that blessed in
1063 by Bishop Robert de Maurille is uncertain. Some think that it was a
Romanesque choir and transept which were burned, and a recently built
Primary Gothic nave. It may have been an entirely new Gothic church
which was destroyed. At any rate, the northwest tower, named after the
VII-century bishop, Romanus, and the side doors of the main façade
escaped the fire. The preservation of the tower was due, probably, to
its position beyond the side aisle. The doors, built about 1180, are
ornamented with Oriental incrustations such as are to be seen in the
cathedral at Genoa, with which seaport Rouen had trade links.

The Tour Saint-Romain, whose prototypes were the towers at Étampes,
Vendôme, and Chartres, was long counted as the oldest Primary Gothic
work extant in Normandy, with the chapter house at St. Georges de
Boscherville and the chapel of St. Julien, Petit-Quevilly.[341] But as
many archæologists now say that the Gothic vault of St. Étienne's nave
at Caen may be 1130 just as well as 1160, and that there are still
earlier diagonals in the duchy, it remains an open question where the
oldest extant ogival work of Normandy is. Mr. John Bilson claims that
the diagonals of Lessay's choir pre-date any in the Ile-de-France.
However the controversy over the priority of diagonals may be decided,
the tower of St. Romain is the first Norman monument that shows the
incontestable influence of Gothic of the Ile-de-France type.

The spirit of religious ardor that expressed itself in the northwest
tower of Rouen Cathedral was described by Bishop Hugues d'Amiens in a
letter, in 1145, to a brother prelate. He tells how volunteers were
quitting Normandy to aid in the making of the new tower at Chartres: "In
like manner, a large number of the faithful of this, our diocese, and of
neighboring regions, put themselves to work on the cathedral church,
their mother, forming associations to which no one is admitted unless he
has confessed his sins, fulfilled his penances, laid down at the foot of
the altar every enmity and revenge, and become reconciled with his
enemies in a true peace. Under the lead of one in the band, who is
chosen as chief, the people drag heavy wagons in humility and silence."
The writer of this famous letter had been a monk of Cluny, and while
ruling the see of Rouen he taught school there; he had inherited the
traditions of Bec's scholarship through Anselm of Laon. The lower hall
of the cathedral tower then begun is considered faultless. Before the
close of the century the upper hall was completed, but the belfry story
was not added till the late-Gothic day.

After the fire of 1200 work on the new cathedral was pushed on with
energy. A master called Jean d'Andely is cited as the architect, a
native, probably, of Les Andelys farther up the Seine, where there are
two churches so closely resembling the cathedral of Rouen that they are
doubtless from the same hand.[342] Another architect, named Enguerrand,
is mentioned as quitting work on the cathedral of the capital in 1214,
to undertake the abbatial at Bec. A keystone of Notre Dame, of the date
1233, is inscribed by one Durand, mason. He is thought to have been the
son-in-law of the original architect, Jean d'Andely.

The first plan of Rouen Cathedral called for tribunes over the aisles,
but the idea was given up in order to have the side aisles twice as high
as originally designed. The arches by which the tribunes would have
opened on the central vessel were retained, however, as was done later
with the false tribunes of the abbey church at Eu. In the side aisles,
resting on the capitals of the nave's piers, are ringed colonnettes that
rise to the ledge above--a ledge constructed to catch the tribune's
diagonals (which never were built). By this graceful expedient they
cloaked architectural members prepared but not used. The passageway
carried from pier to pier above the main arcade of the nave is
exceptional. An apsidal chapel projects from each arm of the transept,
as in the Romanesque edifices of the region.

The archbishop under whom Notre Dame of Rouen was begun was Walter of
Coutance, _Gautier-le-magnifique_ (1184-1207), who willed his fortune to
the cathedral, since it was he, devoted public servant of the
Plantagenets, and long the chief justice of England, who had urged the
chapter to sell its treasure to help ransom Coeur-de-Lion from
captivity after the Third Crusade. He himself went as hostage into
Germany in order that Richard might be released before his full ransom
was raised. Learned, liberal, and affable, Bishop Walter was a man of
whom all spoke well.

The choir of Rouen Cathedral showed more the regional characteristics;
the arches were more acute and the moldings multiple. The circular piers
about the sanctuary have Norman round capitals. We know that in 1235 a
bishop was buried in the choir, which must have been entirely finished
when, in 1255, St. Louis spent Easter in Rouen as the guest of his
friend and counselor, Archbishop Eudes Rigaud (1247-74), a Franciscan,
who was to accompany the king on his fatal crusade. The choir's upper
windows were reconstructed during the XV century.

About 1280, architect Jean Davy began the south façade of the transept,
the Portail de la Calende, so called because there was carved there a
mythical animal of that name, considered in ancient times as a symbol of
the Saviour, since the superstition was that the sight of a Calende
cured illness. The transept façades of Rouen are among the best works of
the Rayonnant phase. Their sculpture, says M. Enlart, has not yet the
fluid indecision of XIV-century draperies. A pronounced feature of that
period are the openwork gables, which, though they may be superbly
decorative, are none the less a step away from constructive sincerity,
since drip stones made of lacework masonry fail to fulfill their
practical function.

The northern door of the transept was named from the canon's library
beside it. It, too, like the earlier Calende portal, was paneled with
medallions over which many a pharisee has shaken his head. The Middle
Ages were neither pharisaic nor prudish. Rouen's little sculptured
groups are merely fantastic and popular. They embody no satire against
the clergy, as some would intimate; nor are they obscene. To place a
centaur or an acrobat in proximity to a scriptural group seemed then no
more profane than to illuminate the margins of missals with meaningless
frolics. Leeway was allowed the artistic imagination, which here ran
largely to grotesques. The medallions of the Calende door were in better
sequence and of more vigorous character than those of the Portail des
Libraires. Beside this latter entrance is the courtroom of the
archepiscopal palace adorned with statues representing Solomon's
judgment, in souvenir of the old usage of rendering justice before
church doors.

From 1302 to 1320 rose the Rayonnant Gothic Lady chapel of impeccable
mechanical skill but not inspired. Long centuries later, during the
Revolution, its tomb of the cardinals d'Amboise,[343] in which Gothic
sculpture culminated, escaped destruction because the axis chapel served
as a granary. Clement V, the builder of Bordeaux' Rayonnant choir,
arranged that his nephew, who was archbishop of Rouen and had got into
difficulties with the Norman nobles, should exchange his see with Gilles
Aycelin, the prelate who was erecting Narbonne Cathedral, brother of the
bishop-builder of Clermont's nave. A little later another archbishop of
Rouen became the Avignon pontiff who built the audience hall and the
chief chapel of the palace on the Rhone. Other XIV-century additions to
Rouen Cathedral are the side chapels; every guild and corporation craved
thus to honor its own particular patron.

Those contemporary works, Rouen's Lady chapel, the choirs of Bordeaux
and Narbonne, Avignon's halls, belong to the phase of the national
genius which we call Rayonnant because of its geometric window tracery,
a phase aptly designated as metallic by M. Gonse. Artists were fast
losing their exquisite feeling for the silhouette; the vertical line
was over-accentuated; triforium and clearstory had become one
composition. Pitiless logic was drying up the spring of inspiration.
When the cathedral of Rouen remade three bays of the nave's triforium,
the model taken was the geometric design of that masterpiece of
Rayonnant Gothic, the abbatial of St. Ouen. Before the XIV century
closed the façade of the cathedral was redressed with arcatures and
statues like the west frontispieces of Wells, Salisbury, and Litchfield.

The XV century carried through the chief supplementary works of
Sainte-Marie of Rouen in a style frankly florid. Normandy, Artois, and
Picardy reveled in the last development of the national art, regions all
of them having close links with England. For if much of Flamboyant
Gothic was indigenous, as M. Anthyme Saint-Paul contends, if it
enveloped and absorbed Rayonnant Gothic, it seems fairly well proved
that its two most pronounced traits, the flamelike window tracery and
arches of double curvature, came from England. M. Enlart says that
ramified vaults were built at Ely, Lincoln, and Litchfield, during the
XIII century. By 1304 accolade arches were used; at Merton College,
Oxford, is a flame-tracery window of 1310, features not to be found in
France before 1375.[344] In the Rayonnant phase lines break; in the
Flamboyant they undulate. Rayonnant capitals were diminished; capitals
disappeared altogether in the later period, and molds melted into the

Normandy expressed her renewed national dignity with enthusiasm in the
flowery, happy architecture we call Flamboyant:

    Le Temps a laissié son manteau
    De vent, de froidure et de pluye,
    Et s'est vestu de broderye
    De soleil raiant, cler, et beau.

So sang Charles, Duke of Orléans, come back from twenty years in English
prisons to witness the expulsion of the invader from Normandy:

    Il n'y a beste ne oiseau
    Que en son jargon ne chante ou crye;
    Le Temps a laissié son manteau
    De vent, de froidure et de pluye.[345]

How they built in Rouen! With what vim and emancipated energy! St. Ouen
carried forward its nave and raised a central tower. From 1437 to 1480
was built the gallant little church of St. Maclou with a central tower
that is one of the best in Normandy, and whose curving front of five
arcades is profusely elegant. Similarly large, ornate portals became the
vogue in late-Gothic Norman construction. St. Maclou is to the Gothic
art of the XIII century what the reel is to the minuet, said an English

In the cathedral of Rouen one noted master succeeded another. Guillaume
Pontifs put the belfry on St. Romain's tower (1463-77); built the
canon's library, to which he made a staircase from the cathedral's
transept; and made the decorated portico leading from the rue St. Romain
to the court before the Portail des Libraires. No approach to a church
possesses more entirely the atmosphere of the Middle Ages than that.
Pontifs began a masterpiece of Flamboyant architecture, the Tour de
Beurre (1485-1509), that, as it rises, grows more and more sumptuous,
though it never loses its architectural lines. Unfortunately the stone
used was of poor quality, which necessitated a coarse sculpture. The
transition from square to octagon was gracefully achieved by the one
constructive arrangement which originated during the final stage of the
national art: to unify the design, flying buttresses were sprung from
the corner turrets and the face-shafts to the octagon.[347]

From 1497 to 1507 the master-of-works at Rouen Cathedral was Jacques Le
Roux, who continued the Tour de Beurre, finished by his nephew, Rouland
Le Roux (1507-20), an artist of the first order. He redressed the upper
part of the main frontispiece in order to put it into character with the
Tour de Beurre and St. Romain's belfry. After completing the middle
portal of the façade he reconstructed the central tower, whose platform
he raised a story higher. When Rouen's lantern tower was burned in 1822
the present iron skeleton was contrived, a structure too mechanical to
be architecture, but of good effect in the distant views of the city.

The oft repeated renewals of the famous frontispiece of Rouen Cathedral
account for its failure to express the interior church structurally, but
though merely a screen, it is deservedly popular, "one of the dreams of
the Middle Ages," M. Émile Lambin has called it. By moonlight its effect
is romantic, almost spectacular. Most popular, too, is another work of
Rouland Le Roux, the Palais de Justice which he built with Roger Ango,
from 1493 to 1507, for the parliament of Normandy. A pomp and a
pageantry carried almost to folly distinguished the generations that
raised monuments such as these. In 1520, when Francis I met Henry VIII,
not far from Rouen, at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, many a lord,
says the chronicler, carried on his back his mills and his forests and
his meadows. One of the most curious houses in France, Rouen's Hôtel du
Bourgtherould, now a bank near the Old Market, is decorated exteriorly
by reliefs of the Field of the Cloth of Gold.[348] M. Léon Palustre
discovered that the sculpture on its tower, originally polychrome, was a
copy of a Flemish tapestry in the possession of that prince of
pageantry, Philippe le Hardi of Burgundy.

The archbishop of Rouen from 1493 to 1510 was none other than the
Mæcenas of his age, Cardinal George I d'Amboise, chief minister of Louis
XII. All over France we have traced the work of that art-loving
family--at Paris, Cluny, Clermont, Chaumont, Albi. A nephew of the same
name held the see here until 1545, and saw to the erection of his
uncle's tomb, designed by Rouland Le Roux, with sculpture by artists of
the Michel Colombe tradition as well as those of the Italian

Rouen was so active a center for glassmaking that, in 1317, Exeter
obtained windows here, as did Gloucester and Merton College, Oxford.
Next to Troyes, Rouen contained the richest collection of colored glass
in France. Until the Revolution her eighty lesser churches were filled
with it. The best windows left are six lancets in the ambulatory of the
cathedral. They belong to the XIII-century school of Chartres and are
exceptional in being the only signed windows; "Clement of Chartres" was
their maker. The first, given by a company of boatmen, relates the
legend of St. Julian Hospitator, who ferried strangers day and night
over the river, a story recounted by Gustave Flaubert, a son of
Rouen.[349] The other five lancets are of the _Biblia pauperum_ type,
teaching dogma to the people. The cold, limpid hues of the XIV century
appear in the Lady chapel, and in the chapel of St. Jeanne d'Arc is an
interesting Pentecost window of that century; contemporary are the apse
lights in the upper choir, where the unsuccessful experiment was tried
of continuing the subject from one panel to another--here the arms of
the Crucified Lord extend into the lateral lights. The cathedral's west
rose is of the XV century; in the transept is a XVI-century window
devoted to the ancient bishop Romanus. The abbatial of St. Ouen has,
with the choir of Évreux, the best array extant of XIV-century canopy
glass figures. So loath were the vitrine artists to give up an
architectural design in glass that when the XV century composed scenes
instead of single figures for each panel, even those small groups were
set in grisaille frames.

The iconoclastic 1562 worked havoc in Rouen. For twenty-four hours a
Huguenot mob wrecked tombs, altars, and windows in the cathedral, to
such an extent that it lay unused during half a year. One mourns the
loss of the cenotaph of good Charles V, made in 1369 by the same Jean de
Marville who designed the famous Dijon tomb of the king's brother. Ten
years later, in 1572, the Rouen Catholics retaliated by massacring some
eight hundred Calvinists in the city on St. Bartholomew's Day.

In the World War Rouen became almost an English city again. This time,
however, England, the ancient combatant of France, came not as a
detested invader, but as her ally in dire years of distress. It is
pleasant to learn that devotion to the Maid of Orleans was not
infrequent among the English troops of 1914-18.


     De ma part, je répute son histoire un vrai miracle le Dieu. La
     pudicité que je vois l'avoir accompagnée jusques à sa mort, même au
     milieu des troupes; la juste querelle qu'elle prit; la prouesse
     qu'elle y apporta; les heureux succès de ses affaires; la sage
     simplicité que je recueille de ses réponses au interrogatoires qui
     lui furent faits par les juges du tout voués à sa ruine; ses
     prédictions qui, depuis, sortirent effet; la mort cruelle qu'elle
     choisit dont elle se pouvoit garantir s'il y eût de la feintise en
     son fait; tout cela dis-je, me fait croire (joint les voyes du ciel
     quelle oyoit) que toute sa vie et histoire fut un vrai martyre de
     Dieu.--Testimony of ÉTIENNE PASQUIER (1529-1615).

So swiftly followed the fruitage of the sacrifice offered up in the
Vieux-Marché on May 21, 1431, that in every part of the ancient city of
Rouen sprang up exuberant, vigorous, Flamboyant monuments. The most
momentous and the saddest happening in the history of Normandy's capital
was the burning at the stake of Jeanne la Pucelle whose relief of
Orléans, only two short years before, had saved the nation in its last

From the church of St. Saviour on the market place they brought her the
cross for which she begged on that tragic morning, that the pillory on
which her Lord had hung might be held up before her eyes, to strengthen
her in her last hour. Long afterward, in 1450, Massieu, the
priest-sheriff of her trial, a weak man but less unsympathetic than many
in that grim gathering of rascals, testified: "The English feared her
more than the whole army of the king of France.... It was they who held
the trial and paid its costs. She was taken to the Viel-Marché, having
beside her Brother Martin and me, and accompanied by more than eight
hundred men at arms, with spears and swords. On the way she made pious
lamentation so touchingly that my companion and I could not keep back
our tears. She recommended her soul to God and the saints with such
devotion that those who heard her wept. All distressed, she exclaimed,
'Rouen, Rouen, must I die here!'"

When the Old Market was reached Jeanne heard herself sermonized as a
limb of Satan, a blasphemer guilty of diabolical malice, of pernicious
crimes, and infected with the leprosy of heresy. Her sentence read, she
fell on her knees and addressed to God prayers so ardent that even the
foreign masters of Rouen were moved. Her dear St. Michael she
petitioned, too. "As soon as the flames reached her," relates an
eyewitness, "she cried out more than six times, '_Jhésus!_' and then a
final time, in a loud voice, with her last breath, '_Jhésus!_' And her
cry was heard from end to end of the market place, and almost everyone
was weeping.... A shiver passed over the assembly.... The people pointed
at her judges and said that Jeanne was the victim of a great
injustice.... They murmured that such an evil deed should have taken
place in their city.... That evening the executioner went to the
Dominican convent and confessed in fear, 'I have burned a saint!'... The
secretary of the English king turned away from the lamentable spectacle,
muttering: 'We are lost. We have burned a saint!" Surrounded by her
brutal jailers, at dawn that May morning, Jeanne had said, with
confidence, "With God's aid, I shall be this night in His Kingdom of
Paradise." As her final cry to her Redeemer rang out, a canon of Rouen
Cathedral prayed aloud, "Would to God my soul were where I believe is
the soul of this Maid."

The young priest-secretary, the clerk of the court, Manchon, who took
down her trial (and let his irresistible admiration for her run over in
marginal notes, "_Superba responsio!_"), testified later: "Never did I
weep so much over any grief that has come to me, and for a month I could
not be appeased. I bought a little missal with the money that came to me
from the trial, that I might have cause to remember her in my prayers."
The verdict of all impartial men in Rouen, that somber May morning of
1431, was that the whole business from beginning to end had been
violence and injustice.[351]

A packed jury had judged her. The president of the tribunal, the
renegade selected to prove a saint a sorceress, was Bishop Pierre
Cauchon, driven from his see of Beauvais by loyal Frenchmen, as the
enemy of his own country. Because the see of Rouen was unoccupied, the
English preferred to hold Jeanne's trial there rather than at Paris,
where the bishop was not their creature. How abject a tool Cauchon was
is to-day shown by old receipts which prove that he was the recipient,
on each day of the trial, of a hundred _sols tournois_. For the same
ignoble reason many a learned professor "charged his soul."

There was not the faintest shadow of fair play in the process. After
Maître Jean Lohier had said to Cauchon that the proceedings were not
valid because Jeanne was allowed no counsel, nor were the hearings in
public court, and those present had not freedom to express their true
opinion, that honest Norman lawyer saw that his only safety lay in
quitting the city. "It is an affair of hate," he said to young
Secretary Manchon one day as they stood together in Rouen Cathedral.
"Deliberately they try to trap her. If only she would not say in regard
to her apparitions, 'I know for certain,' but, 'It seems to me,' I do
not see how she could be condemned."

Some canons of the cathedral who criticized the trial were thrown into
prison, and the English locked up a citizen who remarked that since
Jeanne had been judged innocent by the doctors at Poitiers, in a court
presided over by the archbishop of Rheims, a second trial was illegal.
Three of the younger judges who at first dared to give their true
opinion were berated by Cauchon, who bade them quit their ecclesiastical
quibbling and let the jurists decide the matter. The testimony of the
aged bishop of Avranches, then a resident of Rouen, was set aside
because he advised that in matters doubtful touching the faith the case
should be referred to a council or to the pope. Because Massieu, the
humble court usher, said to a townsman, "I can see nothing but goodness
and honor in her," he was threatened with a prison cell where never
again would he see sun or moon. The secretaries, Manchon and
Boisguillaume, were beaten by the English. A man on the street who spoke
well of Jeanne was chased by Lord Warwick with a drawn sword and almost
killed. Passions ran high. Lord Stafford drew his dagger on Jeanne in
her cell one day because she said that the English would be driven out
of France. Even after her execution, when a Dominican in the city spoke
kindly of her, he was flung into prison for a year.

Her judges sought to tire Jeanne out by long hours of interrogation; the
lawyers themselves came away exhausted from the sessions. Virulent
against her was Beaupère, rector of Paris University, who, when routed
by the young girl's replies, called her sly. When Cauchon wished to have
it appear that she refused to submit to the Church, he made the scribes
omit her statement that gladly she appealed to a general council or to
the pope. "Ah," cried Jeanne, "you write all that is against me, but you
do not write anything for me." The lawyers' subtle questions rained on
her thick and fast till she would call them to order with admirable
courtesy, "_Beaux seigneurs, faites l'un après l'autre_." Whenever she
wished to make no reply to a question came her concise, "_Passez
outre_." Secretary Manchon testified before an inquest, twenty years
later, "Never could Jeanne have defended herself as she did in so
difficult a cause, against so many and such learned doctors, if she had
not been inspired."

Sublime to tears are some of the answers made by this young country girl
not yet twenty, who could barely read and write, who knew only _Pater_
and _Ave_. When sheeringly asked were she in a state of grace, she
replied: "A serious question to answer. If I am, may God keep me so; if
I am not, may God put me in his grace. I would rather die than not have
God's love." Awe fell on the assemblage and for that day the session
broke up.[352]

Yet Jeanne was very human at her trial, too. It was just the
well-brought-up country maid, the Jeannette they all loved in Domrémy,
who boasted before those callous men: "For sewing and for spinning, I
fear no woman in Rouen." Those housewives of Rouen, the "little people
of the Lord," to whom Jeanne's thoughts turned in homely fashion, dared
only murmur beneath their breath that her process was "a crying
injustice," and shame it was that so evil a _cause célèbre_ should take
place in their good town. Rouen was terrorized into silence by her
foreign master.

Jeanne's five months' imprisonment and final execution at Rouen was a
political crime covered with the cloak of religious zeal by a very
genius of hypocrisy. John Plantagenet, Duke of Bedford, together with
the boy king's great-uncle, the cardinal of Winchester, were the movers
behind the scenes. Jeanne never quitted her prison in the castle built
by Philippe-Auguste--only a tower of which is extant to-day. From that
stronghold the English governed Normandy. Since the opening of the
World War an erroneous inscription, placed by partisan politicians in
the wall of the episcopal palace of Rouen, has been changed, for it
sought to convey the idea that from the prelate's court of justice
Jeanne was led forth to her death. Never did she set foot in that
officiality building; she was held from the first day to the last in an
English prison. From a dark cell in the tower fortress she was conducted
through corridors of the same castle to the hall where sat her judges.
Massieu, the usher, used to let her slip into the castle chapel for an
_Ave_ as she passed its open door, but even that solace was stopped by
Estivet. That venomous agent of Cauchon accused Jeanne of ironic replies
ill suited to a woman.[353]

Cauchon tried to coerce the young priest-secretaries of the trial,
Manchon and Boisguillaume, to falsify their notes, but they proved
incorruptible. And twenty years later they, with Massieu, became the
chief vindicators of the Maid when the inquests for her rehabilitation
were started. Jeanne had felt their unspoken sympathy. Once with
pleasant humor she told them not to ask her the same question twice or
she would pull their ears. We know from contemporaries that Jeanne's way
of intercourse was natural and friendly, _enjouée_, that her attitude
was modesty itself, that her voice had a feminine note of sweetness,
that she was strong and comely and well shaped, that her hair was dark.

Born in 1412, by the Meuse, in Domrémy, on the old Roman road from
Langres to Verdun, in French territory, on the borders of Champagne and
Lorraine, she was not yet eighteen when she crossed the ravaged land in
the winter of 1429 to rouse Charles VII, then in Chinon Castle. In March
of that year she raised the siege of Orléans; in July she witnessed the
coronation of her "_gentil dauphin_" at Rheims; in September occurred
the assault on Paris, from which siege Charles VII, counseled by
traitors, retired, and all winter Jeanne was kept in semiactivity,
though chafing to free the land from the foreign yoke. Especially she
longed to go to the aid of the besieged Mont-Saint-Michel, and to
liberate from his English prison the poet-duke of Orléans, even, she
said, if it meant going to London Tower itself. In May, 1430, she was
captured by her enemies, the Burgundians. Jeanne's active mission
covered only a year. "Several times in my presence," testified the Duke
d'Alençon,[354] her companion in arms, "Jeanne told the king she would
last but a year, and to look well that he made right use of her." But
Charles VII failed her.

After her capture Jeanne spent some months in prisons in northern
France, and finally she was sold to the English for a king's ransom.
Never in their minds was there any mistake as to who had turned the tide
against them. "They had for her a mortal hate," said, in later years,
Pierre Minier, one of the judges cowed by the Duke of Bedford; "they
thirsted to bring about her death, no matter by what means."

From December, 1430, to May, 1431, Jeanne's martyrdom at Rouen endured.
"An iron cage was made for her, and at night she was chained up,"
declared Secretary Boisguillaume, at the inquest of 1450. "She was
incarcerated in Rouen Castle; her guardians were English soldiery of the
lowest type; day and night they kept watch ... they made her the object
of their mockeries; often she reproached them for it. Her feet were held
in irons which were attached to a post." There were scenes in that dark
cell, vouched for by witnesses, which are too painful to
transcribe.[355] Only when she fell ill was the severity with which she
was treated relaxed, lest by a natural death she escape public burning.
One day Estivet so vilified her that she had a relapse of fever. Every
detail is set down in the process for her rehabilitation, for which the
Dominican Bréhal traveled from end to end of France, gathering testimony
from those who had known Jeanne. But the chief instrument of her
vindication is the word-for-word record of her trial at Rouen in 1431.
Not in all history is there a more personal and appealing document. One
can hear Jeanne's very accent in her valiant replies to her tormentors.
"_Répondes hardiment_," her voices admonished her.

Why did Charles VII, who, before Jeanne appeared, was about to pass into
foreign exile, strike no blow to rescue her who had given him back his
kingdom? A difficult question to answer. Charles was no hero, though his
quality of perseverance was ultimately to make him the instrument that
ended the centuries-old Capet-Plantagenet duel. Charles was surrounded
by counselors who were jealous of Jeanne's leadership, who represented
her captivity as the result of her headstrong character.

In 1449 Charles, _le bien servi_, but not the duly grateful, entered
Rouen "in triumph and magnificence as never king in city." Bells rang
out and children cried, "_Noël!_" in welcome. In the cathedral the
festal throng gathered. Beside the king stood Jacques Coeur, the
merchant-prince, who had provided the funds for the reconquest of
Normandy, and whose splendor of apparel on this triumphal entry was so
to excite the barons' envy that within four years their machinations had
him impeached, despoiled, and banished. He who was building at Bourges
the finest bourgeois mansion in France, must have observed with interest
the host of Flamboyant monuments then arising in Rouen. With Charles VII
came, too, his commander in chief, the great Dunois, who had fought with
Jeanne, the half brother of the Duke of Orléans, who that day was

    "Resjoys-toy, franc royaume de France!
     À présent Dieu pour toy se combat."

When Normandy was again French, not many years were to pass before Rouen
exonerated herself of the crime of Jeanne's execution. The chief mover
of the rehabilitation was the archbishop of the city, the Norman,
Guillaume d'Estouteville, son of the hero who in 1415 held Harfleur
against the entire army of Henry V, brother of the knight who led the
defense of Mont-Saint-Michel, and nephew of Archbishop d'Harcourt, who
gave up his see of Rouen to live in exile, rather than swear fealty to a
non-French master. Cardinal d'Estouteville saw the propriety of clearing
not only Normandy but France and the Church of what had been the
political crime of foreigners. Through his efforts Pope Calixtus III, in
1456, revoked the legal decision of 1431, as "iniquitous, malicious,
calumnious, and fraudulent." The unworthy Cauchon was excommunicated. A
formal reading of the sentence of rehabilitation took place in the big
hall of Rouen's episcopal palace: "Considering the quality of the judges
and of those who directed the trial, considering that her abjuration was
extorted by fraud and violence, in presence of the executioner and under
threat of fire, without the accused understanding its full content and
terms, considering finally that the crimes charged against her are not
proven whatsoever by the process"--thus runs the decree declaring
Jeanne's two sentences of condemnation in 1431 to be the work of
iniquity. It was ordered that the rehabilitation be read publicly, not
alone in Rouen, but in all the chief towns of France.

Rouen celebrated with gladness the justice rendered to the Maid who had
saved France in her darkest hour. A solemn procession, in which marched
Jeanne's brothers, who had been ennobled by the king, proceeded to the
graveyard beside St. Ouen's abbatial, where, twenty-five years earlier,
Jeanne had sat alone on a platform above the crowd, just a week before
her execution. They had there read to her the twelve
accusations--dubbing her witch and wanton--which a doctor of Paris
University had drawn up, and then a preacher thundered in vituperation.
Jeanne listened gently till she heard Charles VII abused, whereupon she,
who had the mystic cult of royalty, lifted up her head bravely: "By my
faith, sire," she cried, "my king is a noble Christian. Say what you
will of me, but leave my king alone." "Hush her up!" angrily cried

In that cemetery of St. Ouen occurred what now is called proper
self-defense on Jeanne's part. She could write her name, but with a
smile she signed with a circle, emblem of mockery, and a cross, meaning
negation. She hoped to be transferred to the prisons of the Church,
where she clamored to be placed. Jeanne signed a paper consisting of
seven lines, and afterward they produced an abjuration of fifty lines.
Her judge might be a bishop, but never once did she confuse the Church
she revered and the unworthy clerics who sat in judgment on her. During
the ceremonies of the rehabilitation at Rouen, a great procession
marched to the Old Market where had stood Jeanne's funeral pyre, and
with solemnity the twelve accusations against her were torn into shreds
and burned. Rouen felt happier after rendering that justice, and her
renewed self-respect found natural expression in her Flamboyant Gothic

However, many a long year was to go by before France fully comprehended
the martyr of Rouen. Voltaire libeled Jeanne as vilely as the XV-century
savants of Paris University. The rationalists of a later day have
patronized her as self-hallucinated. But the tide has mounted. "The day
that all the bells of the world ring in honor of Jeanne d'Arc, they will
sound abroad the glory of France," said Leo XIII, in 1896. The Maid of
Domrémy-on-the-Meuse was declared Venerable in 1904, Blessed in 1909,
and canonized a saint in 1920. _St. Jeanne d'Arc, ora pro nobis!_


     One must live as one thinks, or else, sooner or later, one finishes
     by thinking as one lives.--PAUL BOURGET.

Lisieux Cathedral is, with that of Rouen, the least Norman in the
province. It claims to be the first built of the Gothic cathedrals of
Normandy and the most vigorous. The preceding Romanesque cathedral was
grievously damaged by fire in 1136. Arnoul, a prelate who had gone
through the disillusioning experience of the Second Crusade, began the
present church. Similarities between it and Laon Cathedral, and various
other indications, prove that it was building from 1160 to 1190.

Bishop Arnoul, of a line of shrewd Norman diplomatists, profited
materially by his ability to keep on good terms with both husbands of
Aliénor of Aquitaine, Henry of England, and Louis of France. In Lisieux
Cathedral he married Aliénor to Henry II, which act was to take three
hundred years of war and Jeanne's sacrifice to undo. Arnoul was the
English king's chief adviser before Becket's ascendancy. It is said that
he counseled Henry, after his first quarrel with Becket, to detach one
by one the English bishops from their primate, which policy of _divide
et impera_ came only too easily to an Angevin-Anglo-Norman. Four times
did Bishop Arnoul journey to Sens to negotiate for Henry with the pope,
during the Becket controversy. Some of the leading men of his day
admired the prelate of Lisieux; but soundly honest men such as Abbot
Robert de Torigny of the Mount, and the bishop of Chartres, John of
Salisbury, distrusted him entirely--the latter remarked on his political
sense in bestowing benefits when he wished to convince a man of his
point of view.

Under Bishop Arnoul the nave of Lisieux rose in one campaign, a monument
severe and pure, fog-colored like the wintry sky over it, say the
townsmen. A note of force is imparted by the sturdy cylindrical piers.
There is a narthex bay at the western end--a Germanic influence. No
trace of vaulting shows in the deep gallery over the aisles, though the
triforium arches that open on the central vessel are better suited for a
tribune than a blind arcade. Behind that arcade now stands a poorly
constructed wall opened here and there by doors, reminding us that once
it was the custom for crusaders to store their valuables in the upper
galleries of cathedrals.

Some have suggested that Guillaume de Sens was the architect of Lisieux,
whose resemblances with his known works at Sens and Canterbury are
discernible. Lisieux adhered to the Romanesque tradition of salient
transept arms; that to the north lacks a portal; that to the south is an
excellent example of plainest Primary Gothic. The transept has an
eastern aisle, an arrangement found at Durham, Lincoln, Salisbury, and
Peterborough. The first two bays of the choir were built, like the nave,
in the XII century; the birth of the apse is marked by a staircase, as
at Caen, Boscherville, Fécamp, and Eu.

The ample central tower of Lisieux, not in the first plan, was erected
as the choir was gradually extended. In the later-constructed straight
bays of the choir, and at the apse, finished under Bishop Jourdain du
Hommet, no annulets broke the ascending line of the clustered shafts,
quatrefoils were cut in the spandrels, and more and more the structure
took on regional characteristics. Arches were set under arches, some of
them being acutely pointed, because the Norman preferred to use the same
opening of the compass for all his arches, wide or narrow. It gave his
eye pleasure to multiply molds, and his sense of exactitude craved a
support for every roll molding. Lisieux' choir, however, avoided what
was to become an excessive complication of parts in the Anglo-Norman
school. The cathedral is essentially vigorous and severe.

In 1226 a fire necessitated repairs, and Bishop Guillaume de
Pont-de-l'Arche took the opportunity to make three ambulatory chapels.
He built the façade towers whose lower walls retained Romanesque parts
of the XI century. When the southwest tower fell in 1553 it was replaced
by one of pre-Gothic design. The northwest belfry had as prototype the
famous one of St. Pierre at Caen. The axis chapel--longer than the
XIII-century one it replaced--is a gem of Flamboyant art. On its walls
are some small funereal bas-reliefs erected by the cathedral canons.

The builder of Lisieux' Lady chapel was Pierre Cauchon, president of the
tribunal that sentenced Jeanne d'Arc to death. He did not erect his
chapel, as some intimate, in expiation of his conduct at Rouen in 1431,
for he remained to the end the creature of his country's invaders. His
detestation of Jeanne, moreover, was a personal affair, since it had
been her triumph at Orléans, creating a national hope, that put heart
into the citizens of Beauvais to expel their pro-English bishop. The
English sent him to buy Jeanne from her captors. After the happenings in
St. Ouen's cemetery, by law Jeanne should have been passed into the
control of the Church, but Cauchon ordered her back to her English
prison, and when she again donned male attire, and again asserted that
she had heard her voices, her unscrupulous enemies were enabled to
accuse her of being a relapsed heretic and wanton, to start a new trial,
and condemn her to death. Cauchon himself hastened to the fortress to
witness Jeanne's "relapse," and with Lord Warwick he is said to have
chuckled over it--"This time she's well caught!" The morning that Jeanne
was led to her execution she faced Cauchon fearlessly: "Bishop, I die by
your hand. Had I been placed in the prisons of the Church, this would
never have happened. You have left me in the clutches of my enemies. I
call you before God, the great judge, to answer for the wrong you have
done me." Even as she so spoke a spirited statue now represents Jeanne
in Cauchon's Norman cathedral, while her judge is a condemned felon
before the bar of history.

Like Arnoul, builder of Lisieux' nave, Cauchon knew how to act a better
part. As rector of Paris University he had been esteemed for his
learning. But, coming to the parting of the ways, he chose the broad and
easy path, and the rest followed. His influence encouraged the
University of Paris in its pernicious betrayal of France after Henry V's
invasion. Cauchon won the see of Beauvais by defending Jean Sans Peur of
Burgundy, in 1407, when the latter had murdered his cousin, the Duke of
Orléans,[357] in the streets of Paris. And in the same hour that he thus
truckled for advancement, Jean Gerson, the chancellor of Paris
University, denounced the ducal crime--destined to be for France of
incalculable consequence--and had his house sacked by Burgundians.

Ten years later, at the Council of Constances, in Switzerland Cauchon
upheld the murderer, and Gerson rebuked the crime, whereupon he felt it
to be wiser to quit Constances in disguise and to pass his latter life
in retirement. Cauchon became the butcher of Jeanne d'Arc, his name
forever an infamy; Gerson, dying in poverty and defeat at Lyons, was
thought worthy, during two centuries, to be called the author of the
_Imitation of Christ_, and before he passed away in July, 1429, it was
given to him to learn that the Maid had triumphed at Orléans, and to
testify that her mission was of God: _Gratia Dei estensa est in hac
puella; a Domino factum est istud_.

Cauchon, ex-bishop of Beauvais, having placed his learning and energies
at the service of his country's invaders, ambitiously hoped to obtain
Rouen as his thirty pieces of silver, but the Duke of Bedford
compromised matters by bestowing on him the lesser see of Lisieux, in
1432. As the national cause prospered the traitor was more and more
detested by the populace. When the Burgundian partisans of the English
were expelled from Paris, the properties of the bishop of Lisieux in the
capital were seized and he himself was mobbed. In 1442 he fell dead
suddenly one day while his barber was shaving him. A few years later,
when Jeanne was rehabilitated and her judge excommunicated, the populace
broke open Cauchon's tomb in the cathedral and flung his bones into the
mire. His successor at Lisieux, Bishop Pasquier de Vaux, also one of
Jeanne's faithless judges, died alone, deserted, on the day that the
French army entered his city as victors, in 1449. The after history of
Lisieux Cathedral followed the same course as others in France; 1562 and
1793 wrecked its monuments and smashed its stained glass. In the
Flamboyant Gothic church of St. Jacques--where not a capital breaks the
ascending line--are some XVI-century windows, making it the first church
with such remaining.

Lisieux can boast of no bishop canonized by the Church, but her citizens
are doing all in their power to let Christendom know of the gentle
Norman girl, Thérèse Martin, the "Little Flower," who died in the odor
of sanctity (1897) in the Carmelite convent of the town, before she had
reached her twenty-fifth year. Her extraordinary cult, especially among
soldiers during the World War, proves that the thirst for sainthood is
as strong as ever in the peoples who went crusading and flung themselves
toward heaven in cathedrals. Art springs from emotions such as that felt
by Frenchmen for the "Little Flower." To ignore such manifestations, as
do the rationalists who still are insisting, as dogmatically as before
1914, that France, at root, is the land of Voltaire, is a willful
shutting of the eyes to the basic forces that make history.

Those good people of Lisieux who are mystic-minded, who _believe in
order that they may understand_, as Anselm taught at Bec near by, as
Plato taught in Greece, feel subconsciously that their "Little Flower,"
who said that only after her death would begin her real mission, is
atoning for Pierre Cauchon.[358]


     Il en coûte cher pour devenir la France. Nous nous plaignons, et
     non sans droit, de nos épreuves et de nos mécomptes. Nos pères
     n'ont pas vécu plus doucement que nous, ni recueilli plus tôt et à
     meilleur marché les fruits de leurs travaux. Il y a dans le
     spectacle de leurs destinées de quoi s'attrister et se fortifier à
     la fois. L'histoire abat les prétentions impatientes et soutient
     les longues espérances.--GUIZOT.

The cathedral of Évreux is not homogeneous like that of Lisieux, but,
gathering of different styles though it is, Romanesque, Gothic, early
and late, neo-classic, it possesses its own distinct personality. A
church of whose choir it has been said by one so competent to compare
the cathedrals of his native land as M. Louis Gonse, that it is "one of
the fairest bits of Gothic architecture in France," surely can hold its
own among more brilliant companions.

Two Romanesque edifices stood in succession on the site, not to speak of
the Merovingian and Carolingian cathedrals here. Évreux is the _Evora_
of Gallo-Roman times when it was ranked with Rouen and Tours. St.
Patrick came hither in 432 for his consecration as bishop before his
apostolate to Ireland. The first of the Romanesque cathedrals was
dedicated in 1072 by Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury, but in 1119,
when Henry I of England was besieging the city, it was destroyed for
strategic purposes, by consent of its bishop, who was in the king's
camp. Henry and all his barons gave generous compensation, we are told
by Ordericus Vitalis, the English monk who spent most of his life in the
Norman monastery of St. Évroult, "delighting in obedience and poverty,"
writing a history which is the chief XII-century record of the duchy.

The second Romanesque cathedral was begun in 1126. To it belonged the
pier arcade of the present nave and the entire westernmost bay, as well
as portions of the façade towers. At one time it was thought that the
arches adjacent to the transept were part of the earlier church blessed
by Lanfranc, inasmuch as they differ from the profiles of the other pier
arches. Further study has demonstrated, however, that the entire arcade
belongs to the XII century, since it was not the usage, before 1120, to
flank a pier's four faces by columns, as was done here throughout.

The second Romanesque cathedral of Évreux was also destined to be of
short duration. In 1194, Philippe-Auguste laid the city in ashes as
chastisement for John Lackland's black deed. John had allowed a French
garrison into Évreux during his intrigues with the French king, while
Richard the Lion-hearted was on his crusade. When word came that his
brother was returning to his possessions, John, hoping to placate him
for his own treachery, invited the French garrison of three hundred to a
feast and, it is said, foully murdered them all. The bishop of Évreux
had accompanied Richard Coeur-de-Lion to the East and in Cyprus had
crowned his bride, Berengaria of Navarre. In the course of time the
counts of Évreux became kings of Navarre, through the marriage of
Berengaria's sister to the Count of Champagne.[360] The niece of Richard
and John, Blanche of Castile, brought in her dowry Évreux to the French
Crown, when she married (1200) the son of that wily augmenter,

The renewal of the cathedral as Gothic proceeded slowly. By 1230 the
nave had merely reached the triforium level. A horizontal sculptured
band, such as surmounts it, was not used after that date. The clearstory
of the nave is contemporary with the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, and when
Louis IX came to his mother's dower city, in 1259, for the consecration
of its bishop, who was his personal friend, he and the group of
building-prelates with him, from Rheims, Rouen, Coutances, and Séez,
must have discussed the new works at Évreux with interest. The choir of
the cathedral was not undertaken till the close of the century. From
1298 to 1310 it was built in a Rayonnant style fully as advanced as the
later abbatial of St. Ouen, at Rouen, with glazed triforium, capitals
that are slight bands of foliage, and precocious prismatic profiles. The
only distinctly Norman trait is the balustrade of the triforium. As the
choir was made fifteen feet wider than the nave, its westernmost bay was
canted to join the transept, but the effect is not displeasing.

The Hundred Years' War caused a cessation of works at Évreux. Dire years
were they for the city ruled by Charles le Mauvais, a "demon of
France," "perfidy in person." He plotted ceaselessly against the
national party, not because he leaned to the English side, but that he
was obsessed by his own superior claims to the French crown, being by
both father and mother directly of St. Louis' line. His high
abilities--and he was learned, eloquent, and handsome--were wasted in
mischief making. In 1365 he gave up his city of Évreux to the flames.
Charles the Wicked is pictured in the cathedral's clearstory windows, in
the fourth on the north side of the choir, and across the sanctuary from
him, in another light, is his wife, a Valois, sister of the French king,
Charles V, and his art-loving brothers at Dijon, Angers, and Bourges.
She possessed Mantes by her dower right, and added to its collegiate
church the Rayonnant chapel of Navarre, in which are portrait statuettes
representing her daughters. Her four brothers, says M. Anthyme
Saint-Paul, were the paramount influences in the formation of French
Flamboyant Gothic, from 1365 to 1415.

The best array of XIV-century glass[361] in France is that of the choir
of Évreux. The windows are not forceful, like XIII-century
medallion-mosaics, any more than the Rayonnant stonework framing them
resembles hardy Apogee Gothic. The hues, while limpid and pleasing, show
none of the lovely half-tones which the Flamboyant-Renaissance day was
to achieve. Large plates of glass were employed in order that fewer
leads might darken the window. White was overused, as well as the
recently discovered yellow, called silver-stain, obtained by fusing the
surface of white glass with a solution of silver. Pot-metal glass--that
colored in the mass--had hitherto been used exclusively. Effective
backgrounds were obtained by damasked patterns. In each panel was a
single figure in an architectural setting of grisaille and
silver-stain, which frames grew so elaborate, by the middle of the
century, that perspective was represented.

The earliest example of a canopy type of window is in Évreux' upper
choir--the third light on the north side. It was the gift of the _grand
queux_, or cook, of France, Guillaume d'Harcourt, who died in 1327. The
two windows presented by the bishop of Évreux, Bernard Cariti (1376-83),
show progress in architectural backgrounds, and the donor is drawn from
life. In the canted bay of the choir (north) is a XV-century window of
the Saintes Maries, whose alleged relics were given to the bishop here
by good King René of Anjou. The window commemorates Normandy's newly
acquired freedom, hence its portraits of Charles VII, his son, the
future Louis XI, and the seneschal of Normandy, Pierre de Brézé. It is
also a memorial of the Great Schism of the West, ended by the Council of
Constance, at which the bishop of Évreux was present. Foliate designs
cover the grisaille lights of the triforium. The quarries (white,
parallel pieces of glass framed together in a lead pattern) are
enlivened by strips of colored glass and heraldic ornament.

Louis XI built the Lady chapel of Évreux, in whose windows he depicted
his coronation. In the lily-petals formed by th