Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Thómas Saga Erkibyskups: Council of Clarendon 1164 Icelandic Saga version

Eiríkr Magnússon (15 November 2012). "Kapital XXIX: Er Thómas Samþykkir Konungs Vana"Thómas Saga Erkibyskups: A Life of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Icelandic. Cambridge University Press. pp. 162–9. ISBN 978-1-108-04921-4.

How Thomas Consenteth to the King's Customs


How Thomas consenteth to the King's Customs.

Now when lord archbishop Thomas, in company with
diocesan bishops and learned men, cometh to meet the
king at Clarendon, they are all summoned together up
to the king's court into an assembly there. The king
demandeth forthwith, in the beginning, with great eager-
ness, that archbishop Thomas, together with the diocesan
bishops, fulfill his promise, to promote those very royal
customs, about which dissensions had arisen between
them. Archbishop Thomas, being aware of the great
might the king bringeth to bear, in order to break down
the laws and the right of the church, setteth himself
once more anew straight against all his masterfulness.
But when that is heard, there lacketh neither mad rage
nor overweening words from the king himself. But
God's man showeth himself calm against threats, and
quiet against oppression. And as things have stood
thus for a while, there step before the archbishop two
suffragans, he of Salisbury and he of Norwich, praying
earnestly, that he get them all together out of such
a dire affliction as now hangeth over them, and have
compassion on the clergy, that they be not driven into
exile ; saying moreover, that he would dishonour the
archiepiscopal dignity greatly, if he came to be thrust
into a dark dungeon, as thus alone the lower bishops
must needs fall into condemnation. Still the lord arch-
bishop standeth firm, and giveth way nowise. Next to
this there come before him two earls, right mighty, and ad-
dress him with such a harsh message as here followeth :

"Wot you, without doubting," said they, "that un-
less you restrain your hardihood, and throw off your
stiff mind, you will be crushed by a public order of
the king, even as one who seeketh to bring upon his
master a permanent shame."

Thus they speak, but without being listened to.
Next to these there holdeth forth a man, called
Richard, a great lord, who hath come from Jerusalem,
being the Master of the Knights Templars. He coun-
selleth in a manifold wise and in an ornate manner of
speech, that the lord archbishop yield to an urgent need,
in order that the clergy may escape a still graver peril.
Herewith the bishops come forward once more, well-
nigh in tears, saying, that such fear prevailed already
abroad, as if the king's sword were being brandished
over the archbishop's neck; at the same time they
grieve for their own lot, as if they were all dragged
together infco death. All these tales of wailing bring
about in the archbishop a moving of his heart, and
before that compassion's water the wall of his breast
bursteth suchwise, that now for once he strayeth away
from the glory of the truth and the honour of his
mother ; all for this end, however, that fallen, he may
know his human weakness, and serisen again he may
glorify divine grace verily abiding within him. And
that no one should put trust in himself, but rather in Qod
alone, let it be called to mind, how two well-beloved
friends of Qod, the apostle Peter and king David, hap-
pened to walk on a tripping foot. . Not that they are
named here, because of any one taking delight in falling,
but rather, that he rise up again after their example, if
he hath had a fall. Peter denied our Lord thrice, but
king David whored the lawful wife of one of his own
knights and compassed his death. Either of these twain
redeemed his state, through tears and repentance, in
such a holy fashion, that God granted to both of them
afterwards even greater honour than before ; to Peter the
primacy over the church, but to king David lordliness and
power; which well accordeth with the glorious fisither,
pope Gregory, when he setteth forth the following ex-
ample :- Greater fame and pay becometh such a knight
of a king, who in the beginning of the fight showeth
himself bent on flight, but afterwards tumeth against
his enemies in such a forward manner, that with his
strong arm he slayeth and scattereth them all. These
now chosen examples serve right fitly the worthy lord
archbishop Thomas ; he waxed weak, that he might
grow mighty, and fell, only that he might arise again
stronger than erst he was.

But how he falleth, followeth next to this.

Being at the head of all the learned men in the
land, he goeth before the others to give handsel, and
promiseth first, upon his true word, as if making his
oath, to keep all ancient royal customs, and holdeth,
this time, his peace as to the word : " saving his con-
secration." The same thing the bishops now swear,
in an express oath, namely, with full consent to hold the
same royal customs. But now no long time passeth,
ere certain folk firom among the court suite step forward
saying, that they know full clearly, what royal customs
have obtained heretofore in England, and whatever they
happen to pronounce, is written down forthwith, by
order of the king, as if it were proven law indeed and
perfectly faultless, rather, as was afterwards proven,
that many articles thereof were no royal customs at all.
but evil novelties, introduced now for the harming of
the church. But those who compound this great peril
of their salvation say, that these are but some of the
royal customs told, and as yet but few, in comparison
to those which abide untold still. Lord Thomas hideth
his grief in a sorrowful heart, for it misdoubteth him,
even as came to pass, that these men put themselves
far too much in peril of their own life, who more and
more yearn onward to have the church trodden under
foot. The king is young, and the archbishop not old ;
wherefore neither knoweth the full certainty in the
matter. The lord archbishop sayeth in clear words, that
for this reason he hath no lawful ground for gainsaying
what they write. This writ is, as if it were indeed a
sanctioned law, set up in three schedules, whereof the
king taketh one, the archbishop another, and the bishop
of York the third, according as the king ordaineth.
Over and above this, the king dcmandeth, that lord
Thomas and the other bishops, put their seals to these
customs for the perpetual sanctioning thereof But this
the archbishop meekly declined doing at firat, saying
that, in the words of the wise Solomon, it behoveth, that
that affair be wisely put off a while. But he who de-
sireth to hear these customs, let him heed the story well
at the time, when archbishop Thomas readeth them aloud,
and interpreteth them before the pope Alexander himself
and the cardinals. Thus this meeting breaketh up, that
the lord archbishop giveth not his seal, howsoever the
king liketh it.

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