Thursday, 27 July 2017

Garnier: Letter Becket to King Henry (Desiderio desideravi)

Letter Becket to King Henry and his Council held at Chinon,  late May - early June 1166

This letter is known as Desiderio desideravi
which comes from Luke 22:15 in the Vulgate edition meaning "With desire I have desired ..." or "I wanted very much to ..."

Extract from 
Stanzas 609-636
Lines 3041-3180

609
Ces letres senz saluz enveia a Chinun
L’arcevesques al rei, sil requist par raisun
Quel laissast repairier en pes a sa mesun,
E a sa mere iglise fesist e rente e dun,
3045 E a lui e as suens, de sa possessiun.

610
Se volez esculter, tost vus avrai conté
Que i out en cel brief escrit e endité :
« Sire Reis, fait li il, forment ai desiré
Qu’une feiz vus eüsse veü e avisé,
3050 E que jo buche a buche eüsse a vus parlé.

611
Mult pur mei, plus pur vus, l’ai desiré. Pur mei ?
Se vus me veïssiez, vus menberreit, ço crei,
De ço que vus servi leaument e en fei
(Si m’aït Deus al jor del poërus esfrei,
3055 Quant Deus rendra chascun ço k’avra fait pur sei) ;

612
E que vus eüsiez merci e pieté
De mei, qui sui mendis en estrange regné.
Mais, Deu merci, jo ai a mun vivre a plenté.
E li apostles Pols m’a mult reconforté,
3060 Car j’ai en ses epistles e veü e trové

613
Que tuit icil qui volent vivre en Deu piement,
Il lur covient qu’il sueffrent mesaises e turment,
E David li psalmistes, qui nus dit ensement
Ne vit ainc deguerpi nul qui vit lealment,
3065 Ne nului pain querant de bun engendrement.

614
Pur treis choses pur vus, que vus voil denuncier,
D’od vus parler eü ai mult grant desirier :
Mes sire estes, dei vus e voil vus conseillier ;
Mes reis estes, pur ço vus dei aveir mult chier ;
3070 Mes fiz estes en Deu, si vus dei chastïer.

615
Car veez cum li peres chastie sun enfant
Par mult dulce parole e par aspre e mordant,
E mainte feiz le bat de la verge trenchant,
Qu’il le repeaut a bien, quant le veit mesfaisant,
3075 U par sun chosement u par l’aspre vergant.

616
La grace Deu vus fist enuindre e coruner ;
Pur ço vus devez mult constraindre e guverner
E tute vostre vie de buens murs enformer,
Que vus puissiez as autres buen essample duner.
3080 Car a vostre faisance volent tuit esguarder.

617
A tels i a suëf e dulz estre devez,
Enpur ço que vus estes e enuinz e sacrez,
E reddes as plusurs pur le brant que portez,
Qui dedenz saint’iglise pur ço vus fu dunez
3085 Que les enemis Deu detrenchiez e matez.

618
Quant li rei sunt enuint, ço devez bien saveir
Qu’um lur met en treis lius l’enunctiun pur veir :
El chief, el piz, es braz ; car il deivent aveir
En eaus glorie mult grant e scïence e poeir.
3090 Metre devez en bien glorie, force e saveir.

619
As reis d’antiquité devrïez reguarder
Qui les comandemenz Deu ne voldrent guarder :
Nabucodonosor e Salemuns li ber
E Saül durement troverent Deu amer,
3095 Car tut ço lur toli, quant nel voldrent amer.

620
Ezechie e David e maint autre plusur,
Quant il orent mesfait vers Deu lur creatur,
Mult sunt humilïé e furent en dolur
E repentant es quers. La grace al rei auçur
3100 Lur duna puis asez glorie, sens e valur.

621
Sainte iglise funda Deus, e il l’establi,
E par sun propre sanc delivra l’e franchi.
Escopi e batuz en fu, e mort suffri.
Sun essample a nus tuz e laissa e guerpi,
3105 Que nus sivum les traces qu’il ala e siwi.

622
Car ki volt a la glorie celestïel partir,
Li covient estre el cors, pur amur Deu, martir,
La volenté del cors e les eises guerpir.
Ensi cum sainz Pols dist : “ Pur Deu devum murir,
3110 Se od li volum vivre, e pur li mort suffrir. ”

623
En dous ordres de gent est faite saint’iglise :
Del pueple e del clergié est e faite e asise,
E par dreit aünie est en ceste divise.
La cure unt li prelat de la part Deu conquise,
3115 Qui a salu des anemes seit e traitie e prise.

624
E Deus dist a saint Piere e as clers, bien le sai :
“ Tu ies Pieres, e sur ceste piere ferai
M’iglise, e ma maisun i edefierai,
E les portes d’enfer par li depecerai. ”
3120 Ceste poesté unt li clerc, nïent li lai.

625
Al pueple sunt li rei e l’autre baronie
Qui les lais unt suz els e en lur mainburnie,
E les leis seculers e poesté saisie.
Mais si deivent traitier ço qu’il unt en baillie
3125 Que saint’iglise seit tut’en pais aünie.

626
E lur poesté prennent li rei de saint’iglise ;
Mais el n’a pas la sue de nul de voz reis prise
Fors de Deu, sun espus, qui li aveit conquise.
Sur les prelaz pur ço n’avez pas comandise
3130 De faire u de laissier la clergille justise.

627
Ne devez as prelaz defendre u comander
U d’asoldre cestui u de cestui damner,
Ne les clers ordenez ne traire ne mener,
Un sul, a voz juïses ne a lei seculer,
3135 Nului de noz iglises ne des dismes causer.

628
Ne devez as prelaz faire defendement
A plaidier de lur plaiz, cum de trespassement
U de fei u de crime u de faus serement,
E d’us e de custumes e de plaiz ensement,
3140 De tels que vostre aiols tint ancïenement.

629
Deus nostre Sires dit : “ Les meies leis guardez. ”
Li prophetes redit : “ Wai vus, qui estorez
Les leis de felunie e en escrit metez
Les torz e les enjuries, e vus qui apremez
3145 Les povres Deu, e force faites as humbles fez. ”

630
Recevez le conseil, Sire, e l’asensement
De celui qui vus est fedeilz veraiement,
E de vostre arcevesque sun amonestement ;
Oez de vostre pere sun bon chastiement,
3150 N’od les purvers n’aiez mais nul cumunement.

631
Car par tute la terre est proef manifesté
Que l’apostolie avez mult granment honuré,
E l’iglise de Rume nurri e alevé.
L’apostolie vus a, e saint’iglise, amé ;
3155 Fait vus unt od raisun ço qu’avez demandé.

632
Sire, se le salu de l’aneme desirez,
Saint’iglise del suen nule rien ne tolez
Par aucune raisun, n’encontre dreit n’alez ;
Saint’iglise laissiez tutes ses franchetez,
3160 Si cum ele ad par tut es alïens regnez.

633
Sovenir vus devreit de la professiun
Qu’offristes sur l’autel a vostre enunctiun,
E del vou que fesistes a Deu en sa maisun :
A s’espuse dunastes vostre defensiun,
3165 De tute sa franchise li fesistes le dun.

634
La sainte mere iglise de Sainte Ternité,
Sire, dunt receüstes corune e realté,
Restablissiez del tut en cele dignité
E en icel estat e en l’entierreté
3170 Qu’el’out as ancesurs e par antiquité.

635
E ses possessiuns e ses autres baillies,
E viles e chastaus e fiez e mananties,
A noz clers e as lais, qu’avez tutes saisies
E a vostre plaisir dunees e parties,
3175 Que tutes les rendez, tut en tut rentieries.

636
Laissiez nus repairier en pes e franchement,
E nus vus servirum cum a rei leaument
E si cum a seignur, tant cum a nus apent.
Se vus ensi nel faites, saciez certainement
3180 Que vus en sentirez le devin vengement. »


Translation

609
This letter, which was lacking salutations, was sent by archbishop [Thomas] to king [Henry] [who was] at Chinon, requesting quite rightly if he would let him return in peace to his home, and give back to his mother Church into his possession as well as the income and goods belonging to him and his men.

610
If you are willing to listen, presently you will have related [to you] what he wrote and made known here in this letter:-
<< Sire,>> he said to him, <<I have very much desired to see you if only once to give you advice, and to have a face to face talk with you.

611
>> Largely for me, but more for you, I have desired it. As for me, if you will see me, it will be recalled to you, so I believe, about when I served you loyally and in good faith (so help me God on the frightful Day (the Last Day) [The Day of Judgement], when God renders unto each person that which each deserves;)

612
And so that you might show mercy and pity towards me, I who am a beggar in a foreign kingdom. Also thanks to God, I have for my living plenty. And the apostle Paul has much comforted me, as I have both seen and found in his epistles. 3060

613
that all who here wish to live in God piously need to suffer pain and torment, and David, the psalmist, who likewise tells us that he has never seen a faithful man forsaken, nor anyone of his offspring begging for his bread. 3065
Psalm 37:25
Biblia Sacra Vulgata (VULGATE)
25 Junior fui, etenim senui; et non vidi justum derelictum, nec semen ejus quaerens panem.
I was once young, and indeed I have grown old; and I have not seen the just abandoned, nor his seed begging for bread.

614
I have three matters for you that I wish to draw your attention to, that I have great desire to speak to you about. You are my sovereign; I must and wish to  counsel you. You are my king, for this I must hold you very dear. You are my son in God, so I must chastise you. 3070

615
In fact look at how a father chastises his child both with many sweet or by severe and biting words, and how he often beats him scathingly with a stick, means which he uses to bring him back to the right way, when he sees he has done wrong, either by his admonition or severe use of the stick. 

616
[It was by] the grace of God that you were anointed and crowned; after this you must very much constrain and control yourself and for the whole of your life be guided by good morals, so that you are able to set a good example for others, as they will all want to learn from what you do.

617
To some you must be both meek and mild, this is so because you have been both anointed and consecrated [king], and to many others [you must be] severe because the sword that you carry, which Holy Church has given to you, for you to cut to pieces and put down the enemies of God.

618
When kings are anointed, as you must well know, the chrism is indeed applied to three parts of the body: on the head, on the chest and on the arms, as they [the three parts] must possess in themselves the very great glory, knowledge and power. You must put into the service of good that glory, that strength and that knowledge. 3090
619
You must look to the kings of old who the Commandments of God who did not wish to keep: Nebuchadnezzar and Solomon the Great, and Saul, at length found God's love, as all 








625
Amongst the people are the king and the other barons who have beneath them and in their guardianship the lay people and who have been put in charge with the power and the [administration of the] secular law. But they must deal with the affairs for which they are responsible so that Holy Church may assemble completely in peace.

626
And kings receive their power from Holy Church; but she, for her part, has received none from kings, except from God, her spouse, from Whom she acquired it. For this reason over prelates. you do not have any authority of exercising or stopping ecclesiastical justice

627
You must not forbid or command prelates to absolve any one or damn another, and nor even one single ordained cleric either to be dragged or led before your justices or subjected to secular law, and on no account to try cases concerning our churches or tithes.

628
You must not forbid prelates from holding the hearings for their pleas, like those [cases] involving transgressions of faith, of crimes involving false testimony [perjury], and of disputes [pleas] which, according to the usages and customs of your grandfather, were as such anciently theirs [part of ecclesiastical justice].

629
God our Lord said: "Keep My laws." The prophet [Isiah] further added "Woe unto you who make wicked laws, filled with unjust and sinful written clauses, and to those of you who oppress the poor of God and do violence to the humble."

[Isaiah 10:1-2
1 Woe to them that make wicked laws: and when they write, write injustice:
2 To oppress the poor in judgment, and do violence to the cause of the humble of my people: that widows might be their prey, and that they might rob the fatherless.]

630
Accept the counsel, Sire, and the instruction of one who is truly faithful to you, of your archbishop, and his warning; listen to your father his good chastisement, never having communion with the wicked.

631
because in all the world it is proof manifest that the pope you have very greatly honoured, and the church of rome has fostered and raised its elevation. The pope and holy church have [in turn] shown [their] love to you. And have done within reason [all] that which you have asked for. 3155

632
sire, if you desire the salvation of your soul, do not take away from holy church anything that belongs to it for no reason, do not go against the law. Leave holy church all her freedoms, just as she has throughout all the foreign kingdoms.  3160

633
one must remind you of hte profession you made before the altar at the time of your being anointed [king], and the covenant you made with God in His house to His wife [Holy Church]. You gave your promise to defend all her freedoms in their entirety. 3165

References

Constitutions of Clarendon: Becket's Letter: Desiderio desideravi

Richard Hurrell Froude; James Bowling Mozley (1839). Remains of the Late Reverend Richard Hurrell Froude. Translation of desiderio desideravi: J. G. & F. Rivington. pp. 141–.

Guernes (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence) ; ed. Emanuel Walberg (1922,
La vie de saint Thomas Becket. C.W.K. Gleerup. pp. 103–.
Guernes (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence); ed. Emmanuel Walberg (1936). Les Classiques français du Moyen Age. Librarie Honoré Champion. pp.94-

Guernes (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence); Jacques Thomas (2002). La vie de Saint Thomas de Canterbury. Volume 1. Autre Lettre Au Roi: Peeters. pp. 188–95. ISBN 978-90-429-1188-8.


Guernes (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence) (2013). Ian Short, tr. A Life of Thomas Becket in Verse. Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. pp. 99–. ISBN 978-0-88844-306-9.

Guernes (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence) (1990). Gouttebroze and Queffelec, tr. La vie de saint Thomas Becket. H. Champion. pp. 84–. ISBN 978-2-85203-111-1.

Materials for the history of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, canonized by pope Alexander III, A. D. 1173. Vol. V / ed. by James Craigie Robertson,...
Longman (London) (1875-1885) PP 278-82

https://archive.org/stream/thmassagaerkiby01magngoog#page/n365/mode/1up

Saint Thomas (à Becket) (2000). "Letter 74". In Anne Duggan. The Correspondence of Thomas Becket: Archbishop of Canterbury 1162-1170. Oxford University Press. pp. 292–9. 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. 141–.

James Craigie Robertson. Materials for the History of Thomas Becket.. Volume 5 MTB 154. Cambridge University Press. pp. 278–82. ISBN 978-1-108-04929-0.

Comptes rendus des séances. Éditions Klincksieck. 1871. pp. 156–.

B. Tierney; Peter Linehan (11 December 1980). Authority and Power. CUP Archive. pp. 59–. ISBN 978-0-521-22275-4.

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