Thursday, 15 June 2017

Garnier: Letter from the Bishop of London to Becket (Quae vestro)

Letter from the Bishop of London  to Becket when he was in exile, Summer 1166

This is the letter known as Quae vestro

Extract from 
http://txm.ish-lyon.cnrs.fr/bfm/pdf/becket.pdf
Stanzas 637-664
Lines 3181-3320


637
Li evesques de Lundres une epistle enveia
Saint Thomas ultre mer ; mes sun nun i cela,
E el nun des evesques del païs le dita
E des autres persones ; mais nul n’en i numa.
3185 Amur, subjectiun e saluz li manda :

638
« Pere, quant vus partistes del regne sudement,
Mult par en fu trublez li regnes erramment.
Mais par vostre humbleté e par vostre escïent
Esperames, par grace de Deu omnipotent,
3190 Qu’en la pais revendreit u fu premierement.

639
Primes nus en poümes conforter e aitier,
Que par le regne oïmes nuveler e nuntier
Qu’ultre mer erïez, ne volïez plaidier
Vers le rei, ne si haut encontre li drecier,
3195 Nul mal ne nul engin el regne purchacier ;

640
Ainz volïez poverte de vostre gré porter,
En oreisun adès e en estudie ester,
Les mesfaiz e la perte del trespas amender
En veilles e en plur e en mult jeüner,
3200 Que l’amur al haut rei peüssiez conquester.

641
Teus ovres erent bones a la pais refurmer.
Quidames que par ço peuissiez recovrer
La grace al rei, e s’ire vus volsist parduner,
Les torz que li eüstes faiz, ensi ublïer :
3205 Senz sun congié partistes, e passastes la mer.

642
Nis cil qui vus voleient amer e maintenir,
En poeient al rei parler e avenir ;
E quant le requereient de vus dous amaisir,
De concorde e de pais entre vus establir,
3210 A la feiz les soleit benignement oïr.

643
Or avum el oï, dunt mult sumes irié :
Car brief avez al rei senz saluz enveié,
Ne l’avez de sa grace requis ne depreié ;
N’entenduns en teus lettres un sul puint d’amistié,
3215 Quant a escumengier l’avez ja manacié.

644
E s’ensi le parfaites cum vus l’avez pramis,
Tut ço que est trublé e meslé el païs
N’iert ja mais en amur ne en concorde mis ;
Ainz en crestra haenges qui durera tuz dis,
3220 Ne qui n’iert apaisiez pur hume qui seit vifs.

645
Parfitement se deit sages hum purpenser,
Quant il comence rien, bien puisse parfiner.
E en ço devez mult vostre grant sens mustrer,
Saveir se vus purrez en tel guise mener
3225 Ço qu’avez comencié, la u volez aler.

646
Pur cest grant hardement, que l’avez manacié,
De la bone esperance sumes tuit esluignié ;
Car ne veum coment seiez mais amaisié.
Quant vus alez sur li od vostre brant sachié,
3230 Que nuls prit mais pur vus n’i a liu aeisié.

647
Pur ço vus conseillum en fei e en amur :
Ne faites tort sur autre, n’i ait travail greignur.
Comandez vostre cause a Deu le creatur,
E laissiez voz manaces, suffrez vostre seignur.
3235 Pur vostre humilité avra de vus tendrur.

648
Ensi poëz aveir s’amur e sa chierté.
N’i avez par manaces nule rien conquesté ;
Plus purrïez conquerre par vostre humilité,
E de gré vus vendreit mielz suffrir povreté
3240 Que tenir granz honurs de lui par engresté.

649
Tuit sevent qu’il vus ad durement honuré,
Del poi u vus trova, hautement alevé ;
Bailla vus del realme tute la poesté,
Que cil qui eüssiez de bon oil reguardé
3245 Se tenist a cel’ure pur mult bon eüré.

650
De poi vus crut en halt e mult vus honura.
Tut encontre sa mere, qui li desconseilla,
Encontre tut le regne, cui il mult anuia,
Encontre saint’iglise, qui grief en suspira,
3250 L’onur que vus avez, vus conquist e duna.

651
Quida nel volsissiez de rien contralïer,
Mais conseillier le regne e par tut avancier.
Quant le volez abatre, quil devez conseillier,
Malement li volez ses bienfaiz mercïer.
3255 Mal en puet tuz li munz reconter e nuncier.

652
Ne perdez vostre pris pur ço, ne vostre honur ;
Par amur conquerez le rei vostre seignur.
Se conseil ne creez que vus donent pluisur,
Al conseil l’apostolie clinez, e a s’amur,
3260 A l’iglise de Rume, qui ne flechist d’un dur.

653
Hum vus deit bien mustrer que ne faciez tel fait
Dunt saint’iglise chiece en plus dolerus plait,
Qui maint jor a esté en plur e en deshait,
E que cil nel conperent qui rien n’i unt forfait
3265 E portent la colee de ço qu’altre a mesfait.

654
Que dirrez se li reis, qui li regnes apent,
E qui a desuz li e les clers e la gent,
Se part de l’apostolie par vostre anguissement
E ne voldra mais estre a sun comandement ?
3270 Car encontre le rei pur vostre amur se prent.

655
Veez cum hum l’en prie, quels duns um l’en presente !
Mais pur si granz pramesses n’i met un puint s’entente ;
Ferms est cume la piere encontre la turmente.
Mais cil qui tuz li munz ne remue ne tente,
3275 Jo criem, Sire, ne turt. Mais ja Deus nel consente !

656
Mais se ç’avient par vus, vus le purrez suffrir,
Mais tuz li vis de lermes vus en devra covrir.
E pur ço vus devez de conseil bien guarnir,
Qu’il ne deie a la pape a damage venir,
3280 A l’iglise de Rume e a vus mult nuisir.

657
Mais vostre sage clerc nel volent graanter.
Tut ço que poëz faire vus rovent espruver,
E al rei e as suens la poesté mustrer,
A celui qui mesfait qui mult fait a duter
3285 E a criendre a celui ki ne volt amender.

658
Ne dium que li reis n’ait mesfait e mespris,
Mais il est par tut prez de l’amender tuz dis.
Pais deit guarder el regne, pur ço l’i ad Deus mis ;
E pur ço que mielz puisse pes guarder el païs,
3290 Volt aveir leis e us qui sunt el regne asis.

659
S’entre vus e le rei avez esté medlé,
L’apostolies l’en a sovent araisuné,
Li prelat del reaume l’en unt amonesté :
S’iglise u persone a, ço dit, de rien grevé,
3295 Par l’iglise estera a dreit de sun regné.

660
De dreit faire, e de plus, est prez, se nul l’en prie ;
E s’il mesfait vers Deu, liez est s’um l’en chastie.
E quant a saint’iglise e a Deu s’umilie,
N’i ad lei ne decré, ne rien, qui l’entredie,
3300 N’espee eclesial quil depiest ne ocie.

661
Metez enz vostre espee, jugement ensiwez.
Tuit vus en requerum : ne vus desmesurez,
Ne pur ignel conseil n’ocïez ne tuez ;
As oeilles qui sunt desuz vus, purveez,
3305 Qu’en bone seürté e en peis les metez.

662
Une chose avez fait dunt mult sumes dolent :
Que l’evesque avez mis en escumengement,
Celui de Salesbire, sun deien ensement.
Mais ainz deit l’um la cause saveir certainement
3310 E oïr e traitier, qu’um face jugement.

663
E qu’ensi ne faciez e al regne e al rei,
Iglises e parosses qui sunt en nostre otrei,
Que nes escumengiez a tort e a beslei,
Al damage la pape e al vostre, ço crei,
3315 Apeluns pur remedie e refui de l’esfrei.

664
E a l’Ascensiun metum de l’apel jur.
Mais tuit vus requerum : pernez conseil meillur,
Ne vus metez en eire ne en si grant labur,
Ne faites a voz fiz si despendre le lur.
3320 Vostre salu volum en Deu nostre Seignur. »


Translation

637
The bishop of London sent a letter to St.Thomas beyond the sea, but did not put his name on it. Rather he dictated it in the name of the bishops of the country and other ecclesiastical dignitaries, but without naming any of them. He made known to him his love for him and his submission, and greeted him.

638
<<[Venerable] Father, when you left the kingdom suddenly, the kingdom was deeply troubled by it. But through your humility and by your wisdom we hope, through the grace of all-powerful God, that the peace that was will return soon.

639
>>At first we were able to take comfort and were gladdened when we heard the rumours spreading throughout the kingdom and learned that you had crossed over the sea, and that you did not wish to plead against the king, nor to confront him with hostile intent to put matters right, nor had you any evil intent nor by any scheme wished to take advantage against [the king and his] kingdom. 3195

640
Rather on the contrary willingly you have wanted to suffer poverty, to be in constant prayer, and at study, to atone for the misdeeds and misfortune, and waste [that has arisen] from your passage [into exile across the sea]. in vigils; and by tears, and in the many fasts, [you believe] you might be able to win over the love of the paramount king. 3200

641
Such acts were appropriate to restore peace. We suppose that by this you would be able to recover the grace of the king, and that he would pardon you for his anger at the wrongs that you have done to him, thus forget you fled.without his permission to leave, and crossed over the sea. 3205

642
Even those who would wish to love and support you, and who are able to speak to the king and come into his presence; and when they have challenged him about you to restore peace and harmony between the two of you, he did usually listen to them kindly.

643
And now we truly have heard, about which we are very angry, that you have sent a letter to the king without a salutation. You have not shown the necessary grace and [moreover] we are not hearing in such letters any sign of friendship when you have now threatened to excommunicate him.

646
For you have had the huge nerve to threaten him , which has banished all hope of for a good outcome we all had, because we do not see how you will be able to come to a reconciliation; when you come at him with your great sword drawn, there are no longer any reasons now for anyone to plead on you behalf. 3230

647
For this we counsel you in faith and in love not to pile up one wrong on top of another so as not to create a greater distress. Commend your cause to God the creator, and leave your threats there; support your Lord with your humility which will make you more tender.. 3235

648
It is in such a way that you can have his love and his affection. You will gain nothing by threats: you can gain much more through your humility, and it would be better if you would willingly endure poverty than to hold a great honour from him in such a malicious way. 3240

649
Everyone knows he has showered you copiously with honours, from the little where he found you, lifting you up on high; he gave charge to you the jurisdiction over the whole realm, so much so that anyone seeing this through good eyes would immediately not hesitate to consider himself to be very fortunate 3245

650
From the little you were he has raised you up high, and honoured you hugely. [He has done this] all against [the wishes of] his mother, who advised him not to do this, against the whole kingdom, who were very displeased, against Holy Church who sighed in grief, the honour which he won for you and you have been given.and advance it everywhere 3250

651
He thought that you would do nothing to provoke, but that you would counsel the kingdom:and advance it in everything. When you knock him down when you ought to be providing counsel, if evilly you wish to thank him for his acts of generosity [towards you], everyone may then in turn tell and declare the wrong of it. 3255

652
Do not lose your esteem for this nor your honour, for it is through love you will conquer your lord the king. If you do not believe this advice then take the many counsels of the Pope to whom you incline and for the sake his love for you, and to the Church of Rome, which does not flex one bit at all. 3260

653
One must very well show to you that you are not to carry out any deed which causes Holy Church to collapse into a more distressing argument, than that in which it has been in tears and suffering over for many days. She should not have pay for where she has done no wrong in this matter, nor suffer blows for that which has been done by another. 3265

654
What will you say if the king, to whom the kingdom belongs, and who has under his command both the clergy and the populace, breaks away from the Pope because of your anguish and refusing to be no longer at his command? As he [the Pope] has taken sides, for the sake of friendship with you, against the king. 3270

655
Look at how one begs him [the Pope], what gifts are offered to him! But no matter how large his [the king's] pledges are, he [the Pope] refuses to listen to even one point; he stands firm like a rock in a tempest. But this man whom the whole world neither moves nor attempts to, I fear, my lord, change his mind, even if God does not agree! 3275


656 >> But if this were to happen because of you, you ought to suffer for it; more so the whole of you face ought to be covered in tears. And for this you are advised to prepare yourself, so that no great harm is done to the Pope, or the Church of Rome, or yourself. 3280 657 >> But your learned clerics do not wish to accept this. They all beg you to try to demonstrate to the king and his people the might [of God] has over the sinner who refuses to make amends and ought strongly to fear. 3285 658 >> But we are not saying that the king has not done wrong and is not at fault, but he has in everything always been ready to make amends. He has to keep the kingdom at peace. God has put him there for this reason. And for this so that he can best keep the country at peace, he wishes to have those laws and customs which have been [long] established in the kingdom. 3290
659
>> If there have been quarrels between you and the king, the Pope has often reasoned with him about them. The prelates of the kingdom have reprimanded him: if the Church or its parsons have been harmed in anyway, he has said that he will allow himself to be tried by the laws of the Church in his kingdom. 3295

660 >> To do justice he is more than ready if anyone request him to do it; and if he has sinned against God, he agrees to allow himself to be chastised for it. And when he shown himslef to be humble before Holy Church and God, there is no law, nor decretal, nothing whereby he can be placed under interdiction, nor any reason to use an ecclesiastical sword which to cut him up into pieces or to kill him with. 3300



661
>>Sheath your sword, follow good judgement. We all require this of you: you must not lose your self control, nor through  a hasty plan neither should you put to death nor kill. You must attend to the flock which is under you, and see that they feel safe and are at peace. 3305

662
>> One thing you have done which has made us very upset: you have placed a bishop under excommunication, he of Salisbury, and his dean likewise. On the contrary you really ought to ascertain the case for certain, and to listen and reason before passing sentence. 3310


663
>> And we urge you not to do the same to both the kingdom and the king, and to the churches and parishes which are under our control,  that you do  not excommunicate either wrongfully  nor by falsehood,  to the damage of the reputation of the Pope and yourself. This I believe, to whom we have formally appealed to remedy the wrong  and make safe the fear. 3315
664
>>And we nominate Ascension as the day for the hearing of the appeal, but we all  request this of you: heed the best advice, do put yourself  to the necessity of a having to make a long journey nor in such great labour, nor cause your sons to have to expend their money. We desire your health  in the name of God our Lord.>> 3320


References

Quae vestro (ep. ccv in Materials, ed J. C. Robertson, V pp 408-)
https://archive.org/stream/materialsforhist05robe#page/408/mode/1up

Saint Thomas (à Becket) (2000). ed Anne J. Duggan, The Correspondence of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1162-1170: Letters 1-175. Volume 1. Letter 93 The English Clergy to Archbishop Thomas of Canterbury ca 24th June 1166: Clarendon Press. pp. pp. 373–82. ISBN 978-0-19-820892-1.
Richard Hurrell Froude; James Bowling Mozley (1839). Remains of the Late Reverend Richard Hurrell Froude: v. 2. J. G. & F. Rivington. pp. 171–.
Constitutions of Clarendon: Letter of his Suffragan Bishops to the Thomas Becket: Quae Vestro (1166)

Roger (de Hoveden.); Roger of Hoveden; William Stubbs (1868). Chronica magistri Rogeri de Houedene. Kraus Reprint. pp. 262
Guernes (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence); Emmanuel Walberg (1936). Les Classiques français du Moyen Age. Librarie Honoré Champion.
https://archive.org/stream/laviedesainttho00guer#page/108/mode/1up
Notes: https://archive.org/stream/laviedesainttho00guer#page/270/mode/1up

Immanuel Bekker (1838). La vie St. Thomas le martir. pp. 81–.

Guernes (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence); tr Janet Shirley (1975). Garnier's Becket: translated from the 12th-century Vie saint Thomas le martyr de Cantorbire of Garnier of Pont-Sainte-Maxence. Phillimore. ISBN 978-0-85033-200-1.


Guernes (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence) (1990): tr. Gouttebroze & Queffelec . La vie de saint Thomas Becket. H. Champion. pp. 88–. ISBN 978-2-85203-111-1.

See also Multiplicem nobis

Multiplicem nobis (ep. ccxxv in Materials, ed J. C. Robertson, V pp 521-44)
https://archive.org/stream/materialsforhist05robe#page/521/mode/1up
Constitutions of Clarendon: Gilbert Foliot's letter to Becket (Summer 1166): Multiplicem nobis

David Knowles (1951). The Episcopal Colleagues of Archbishop Thomas Becket: Being the Ford Lectures Delivered in the University of Oxford in Hilary Term 1949. Appendix VII: Multiplicem nobis: Cambridge University Press. pp. 171–. ISBN 978-0-521-05493-5.


Michael Staunton (2001). The Lives of Thomas Becket. 60: Gilbert Foliot's case against Thomas: Manchester University Press. pp. 223–. ISBN 978-0-7190-5455-6.

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