« AnteriorContinuar »
establishes by astrology, by the prophecies of the Moors, and by the authority of the ecclesiastical doctors, several propositions, the first of which is to the effect that the sects of Muhammad and their followers, more particularly the empire of the Turks, will come to an end, in the spiritual order as well as in the temporal order, in the space of 251 years."
As Doctor Navarro wrote in 1604, adds Quaresmius, it is about the year 1855 that the empire of the Turks and the Muhammadan superstition will come to an end. And the author proves this astronomically by the celestial signs and conjunction of stars, by the olden prophecies of the Moors themselves, and lastly, by the predictions of the saints.
Quaresmius then enters into long details in proof of the correctness of this prophecy, and he concludes by saying:
“Articulus quartus : Hoc regnum et secta penitus destructa et abolita erunt Anno Domini 1854 vel 1856."— This kingdom and its sects shall be entirely destroyed and abolished in the year of our Lord 1854 or 1856.—Loco Citat. t. i. p. 264.
The 59th quatrain of the eighth century of Nostradamus appears to apply itself to the present war :
Par deux fois haut, par deux fois mis à bas,
Par mer chassé, au besoing faiblira. Father Louis Maimbourg, in a History of the Greek Schism” (1686, 4to), expresses himself as follows: * The Easterns are in the attitude of expectation ; traditions have taught
1 them that a king of the Franks will be at once their saviour and their conqueror."
In a small work, printed in 1840, M. Henri Dujardin notices the following prophecy, which has already been partially realised, and which is extracted from a record dating 1550, and is dedicated to Mathias King of Hungary :
“ The Christians will traverse the seas with a spontaneous impulse, and with such great rapidity, and with so many troops, that it will appear as if all Christianity was Aying to the East. The faith of our Saviour Jesus Christ shall have passed into the provinces of the East, the creed of Muhammad shall cease."
An ancient rlıymed prophecy of the eleventh century was published in 1843, in the “Mémoires et Prophéties du Petit Homme Rouge;" it was as follows:
Envieux de Constantinopolis,
Iront s'emparer de Kaboul.
" The day will come when the empire of Russia will want to subjugate the world."
And this passage, in the twenty-third chapter of the “Grandeur et Décadenee des Romains," by Montesquieu :
“ The empire of the Turks is at present in pretty neatly the same state of debility as that of the Greeks was before it ; biit it will last a long time ; for if any prince whatsoever should put the empire in danger, for the sake of conquest, the commercial powers of Europe are too well aware of their true interests not to take up its defence at once."
On the road from Paris to Vincennes, half-way between the Barrière du Trône and the castle, there is a public-house with the inscription66 A la tourelle.” From the garden of this house a gateway leads into the wood of Vincennes. If the pathway that opens at this spot is followed for a short distance, it will be found to terminate at a point where several paths meet, called formerly Rond-point de Notre Dame de Lorette, afterwards Rond-point Caroline, but now known as Rond-point de l'Etang. At this place there is a niche cut out in the wall, and in it a statue of the Virgin, so coarsely executed as scarcely to attract the attention of the passer-by. Yet it was at this spot that St. Louis distributed justice, and heard, seated at the foot of an oak-tree, the complaints of his subjects, no matter what their condition or means. The neighbouring peasantry have been in the habit of making pilgrimages to the same place. But what is more curious is, that a holy stone, which had been preserved in the interior of the Castle of Vincennes ever since the reign of Philippe Auguste up to the year 1794, was deposited in that year at the foot of the Madonna, in order to escape the fury of the revolutionists. Historical reminiscences of the most remarkable character are said to attach themselves to this monument, and which the compiler of those reminiscences designates as the most precious relic of Christianity :
In 1191, Guy de Lusignan, the ninth Christian King of Jerusalem, despairing of ever recovering his kingdom, which he had lost a year before, notwithstanding the aid of Kings Philippe Auguste and Richard Cour de Lion, who only succeeded in rescuing him from the hands of the Sultan Saladin, he assumed the government of the island of Cyprus, recently subjugated by the King of England.
During the brief duration of his reign at Jerusalem, Lusignan had a stone transported to his palace, which enjoyed a great reputation, inasmuch as it was said to have served for twenty years as a seat for Jesus Christ, as was shown by an inscription in Hebrew partly effaced, but to the following effect :
“ Jesus our Savionr sat upon this stone for more than twenty years : he who shall respect it shall live ; he who shall despise it shall perish.
Guy de Lusignan, fearing that in the state in which the inscription was, that it would soon become illegible, had it translated into Latin, and deeply engraved on the other side of the stone. When he went to Cyprus he took it with him, and at his death, his nephew, Clovis Lusignan, had it conveyed according to his wishes to the castle of Vincennes, where it was deposited in the hands of Charlemagne Bodias, senior chaplain to the chapel. The latter placed it in a box of cedar, and at his decease, in 1225, his successor found a MS., in which he bade him pay due respect himself to the holy talisman, and make others respect it in the same manner. The successive chaplains obeyed the injunctions of their predecessor, but they did not make their trust known to the piety of the Faithful till the year 1429.
At that epoch the English were masters of the greater part of the territory of France ; and the King of France, Charles VII., confined with his court at Chinon, had no hopes but in the intervention of the virgin warrior of Domremy, whose aid he had just accepted. Theodore de Bry, then chaplain of Vincennes, had the happy idea of having recourse, also, to the intervention of the holy stone. He repaired to Chinon, presented himself to the king, related to him the history of the relic of Vincennes, and persuaded him to pay homage to the sacred monolithe. The king wished to follow this advice, but the representations of his court, that by so doing he might expose himself to being captured by the enemy, caused him to change his mind, and to depute Labire io represent him in the pilgrimage. The latter started at once, accompanied by Agnes Sorel, who had insisted upon being allowed to offer up her prayers for the king. On their arrival at Vincennes, the holy stone was transported into the choir of the chapel, a solemn mass was celebrated, and Eloy Bodran, a celebrated predicator of the time, related the history of the sacred relic from the pulpit, glorifying at the same time the heroism and the virtues of Jeanne d'Arc. The ceremony over, the envoys kneeled before the relic, Lahire depositing upon it first the king's sword, of which he was the bearer, and then his own; after which they returned the next day to Chinon.
This took place on the 25th of March, 1429 ; fifteen days afterwards Charles VII. took the field, Jeanne d'Arc having obliged the English to raise the siege of Orleans. The French army from that moment marched from success to success, and on the 17th of July, as had been foretold by the prophecies of Jeanne d'Arc and Theodore Bry, Charles was consecrated at Rheims.
Unfortunately the king was ungrateful to the holy monolithe ; during the thirty years that followed his consecration, he never once visited it. His end was in consequence most miserable. He allowed himself to perish of hunger at fifty-eight years of age. His son, Louis XI., exhibited the same indifference, and the miraculous stone remained unnoticed in•one of the rooms of the castle till the year 1779, when Cyriaque Gabin succeeded to the chaplaincy.
This holy man, remarkable alike for his piety and his charity, resolved to restore to the relic the worship to which it had sich pre-eminent claims. To effect this, he gave publicity to its history and its miraculous virtues, and on Easter-day, 1784, it was exposed in the chapel, and remained from that time till the revolution an object of veneration to all pious persons, who came in crowds in pilgrimage to the holy shrine.
Cyriaque Gabin had been for some time engaged upon works relating to prophecy; and the 3rd of June, 1793, he was putting the last hand to a volume entitled the “Vrai Chemin de la Vérité,” when he was warned by an inhabitant of Vincennes, named Viénot, that the report of his arrest was current in the town ; Cyriaque Gabin replied, that his conscience was clear, and that he should remain where he was. But immediately after the departure of Vienot be made several packets of his papers and buried them under one of the boards of the Rooring of his study.
The next day the commissary of police, Guillard, the same who a few days after took an active part in the interrogation of Charlotte Corday, on the occasion of the assassination of Marat, arrived at the castle of Vincennes accompanied by a gaoler and an agent, bearer of a writ to capture the body of Cyriaque Gabin, accused of corresponding with the emigrants. An hour afterwards Cyriaque saw the gates of the Conciergerie close upon him. He, however, only remained there three days, a very remarkable thing at that epoch. His liberty restored to him, Cyriaque fulfilled the duties of his holy ministry as before, till he received a letter, in which information was conveyed to him that his mother, who lived at Marseilles, was dying, and requested his attendance. Cyriaque left his post, but found on his arrival at Marseilles that his mother was dead. He was never heard of since, and it is probable that he quitted France. His papers, discovered some years afterwards, became the property of the commandants of the fortress, who paid no attention to them, till they caught the eye of M. Ledésert, secretary of the commandant Harel ; and it is from the notes of his son that we derive the details which have gone before and which are to follow.
Early one morning in the month of March, 1794, a hackney coach brought four men to Vincennes, who asked in the name of the National Convention to speak to the commandant of the castle, an old invalid officer. The latter hastened to meet his visitors, with the greater despatch when he heard their names-Robespierre, Saint Just, Couthon, and Bouchotte. He conducted them over the fortress, the details of which they examined with the greatest minuteness. Arrived at the chapel, as Robespierre was looking at the painted windows with manifest admiration, Bouchotte remarked that the place would
make an excellent armoury. Ilis companions approved of the notion, and the chapels was converted into a magazine from that time till 18141
As the four Conventionals were leaving the place, the old commandant said that he had forgotten to show them the holy stone..
“What! a: holy stone! What do those words signify in the mouth of an old soldier?” exclaimed Robespierre, with an expression of profound contempt.
“I speak the truth, citizen,” replied the veteran, with a dignified aspect. And he then related to Robespierre and to his friends the facts as we have narrated them, offering at the same time to show them the unquestionable testimony by wliich they were authenticated.
But Robespierre, interrupting him, said, in a threatening manner::“ Enough of these mummeries! How do you dare to try our patience and our credulity to such a point! Look, and read.” And with his right hand he pointed to the inscription recently put up on the chapel front--" The French people recognise the existence of the Supreme Being and the Immortality of the Soul.” “ Remember,” he added, in a gloomy, threatening tone, “ that all religion is comprised in that sentence, and that all other beliefs are superstitions, unworthy of a civilised people and of free men."
And the Conventionals re-entered their conveyance, leaving the commandant astonished and indignant. A few days afterwards he received an order from the Minister of War to give up his command, and to repair to the Hôtel des Invalides.
He prepared to obey at once, but resolved, previous to his departure, tn hide the talisman in some place of safety. To this effect he had a hole dug at the foot of the wall where the statue of Notre Dame de Lorette was placed, and the relic was deposited therein, wrapped in clothi
A few months after this transaction, Robespierre, Couthon, and St. Just had been overtaken by the justice of Providence. As to Bouchotte, he was reduced to the position of a poor guardian of a city gate, and he died in misery. Thus was accomplished the first part of the prophecy
“Whosoever shall despise me shall perish."* Every one knows the history of the Mallet conspiracy, and the unhappy end of the conspirators. Only one amongst them, Colonel Rabb, escaped with his life. Rabb was married ; his wife, immediately upon the arrest of her husband, repaired to Mademoiselle Lenormand, who at that time enjoyed great renown as a fortune-teller.
“ The father of the child which you bear in your bosom," said the Pythoness, “lies under an accusation which entails capital pnnishment! But comfort yourself— he will not die. You are ever present in his thoughts. He appears at this very moment to be indicating a holy spot which is known to you, and where you can both meet. You had better go there without further delay.”
Madame Rabb, bathed in tears, thanked the fortune-teller, and, hastening away, got into a carriage and hurried off to the spot where lay the monolithe from the Holy Land. Neither wind nor rain-for these events occurred on the 13th of October, 1812, when the weather was both cold and wet-stopped her for a moment. The next day she in vain attempted to get into the prison to see her husband; but, more fortunate than the wives and relatives of the other accused, she was enabled to get an interview with the empress, who received her kindly, and the capital punishment to which Rabb had been con
demned was commuted into perpetual imprisonment; he only remained, · however, two years in prison, the events of 1814 restoring him to his wife and to liberty.
The “ Almanach Astrologique" gives the lives of the most celebrated sorcerers of antiquity, among them of Simon, who called himself the Messiah-of Merlin the Enchanter-and of the licentiate Torralba. The sketch of the British sorcerer is the most picturesque :
Merlin has no existence save in the romances of chivalry; it'is especially to Ariosto and 'to Cervantes that he owes bis celebrity. He is placed in the fifth century in Armorican Bretagne, and is the most perfect type of the enchanter of the middle ages.
His mission has nothing fantastic or vague in it; it has a noble object, that of defending Breton nationality, as Velleda defended his. Merlin was immortal ; memorials of him are met with during almost'the whole of the middle ages. History, poetry, legends and romances rival one another in celebrating his feats, and are constantly invoking the same great' patriotic figure.
Merlin more particnlarly delighted in roving in gloomy forests abounding in memorials of the Druids ; he generally rode a stag, which could transport him in an instant' to a corrsiderable distance; a wolf that hunted for him supplied him plentifully with game; the water of the purest springs constituted his drinki
He more particularly favoured the forest of Broceliande when he was not at the court of King Arthur; or with him in the camp or the field of battle. He was one day wandering in this wood so favoured by him, when he met'a young woman of the most dazzling beauty.
At the sight of her Merlin was thunderstruck, and almost in ecstasies ; but recovering himself, he said : “Sweet lady, condescend to listen to me, and I will tell you marvellous secrets; be friendly to me, and I will make you powerful and happy among all that are most powerful and most happy. If you wish for flowers, I will make such grow in the midst of snows; if you wish to be eternally beautiful, I will prepare for you ungnents that shall never lose the virtue of driving away wrinkles.'
The fair unknown only replied to these advances with a smile of incredulity.
Merlin, to prove his power, struck the earth with his wand, and a magic forest arose at once, embalmed in flowers sparkling with lakes and cascades, filled with the songs of the livnet and the nightingale, and illumined with fantastic lights.
Viviane--that was the name of the beautiful maiden-could not remain insensible to so much power and gallantry, and she consented to meet the enchanter again. What took place at that second interview in the forest of Broceliande is unknown; but the lion had his claws cut, and his teeth extracted. Viviane obtained from Merlin the secret of his power ;, she then opposed her power to his, and paralysed the force of the enchanter by her charms.
O love, thou lost Troy and Merlin! The conquered enchanter felt that his reign was over, and that he must prepare to quit a world where his power was for ever gone. He repaired to King Arthur to bid' him a last farewell. He then went to Master Blaise, who had brought him up, and said to him ::
“ Master, L am going away for ever. I leave you a great task ; it is to collect the facts and the deeds of my life, to inscribe all my prophecies on the future, and consign them to a work which shall be the light of future generations."
Master Blaise promised to do this, and kept his word; the book was written and preserved. These prophecies were, like those of the great Nostradamus in France, the oracles of England during the middle ages. But before disappearing, Merlin: wished to see his beloved Viviane once more.
They met again in the same dark forest of Broceliande. The enchanter was thoughtful and melancholy;, his smiles were veiled in tears, and his caresses impressed with sorrow and grief. Viviane divined the sad cause, and, suspecting that her lover was about to leave her, she assumed her tenderest voice and her most irresistible smiles.