“On the following Tuesday, towards evening, he was no longer able to speak intelligibly. Ralph, Bishop of Rochester, asked him to bestow his absolution and blessing on us who were present, and on his other children, and also on the king and queen with their children, and the people of the land who had kept themselves under God in his obedience. He raised his right hand, as if he was suffering nothing, and made the sign of the Holy Cross; and then dropped his head and sank down. The congregation of the brethren were already chanting matins in the great church, when one of those who watched about our father the book of the Gospels and read before him the history of the Passion, which was to be read that day at the mass. But when he came to our Lord’s words, ’Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations, and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table,’ he began to draw his breath more slowly. We saw that he was just going, so he was removed from his bed, and laid upon sackcloth and ashes. And thus, the whole family of his children being collected round him, he gave up his last breath into the hands of his Creator, and slept in peace.”
[Note:_Anselm_. An Italian by birth (1033-1109), was Abbot of Bee, in Normandy, and afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, in both succeeding his countryman Lanfranc. He was famous as a scholastic philosopher; and, as a Churchman, he struggled long for the liberties of the Church with William II. and Henry I.]
* * * * *
THE MURDER OF BECKET.
The vespers had already begun, and the monks were singing the service in the choir, when two boys rushed up the nave, announcing, more by their terrified gestures than by their words, that the soldiers were bursting into the palace and monastery. Instantly the service was thrown into the utmost confusion; part remained at prayer, part fled into the numerous hiding-places the vast fabric affords; and part went down the steps of the choir into the transept to meet the little band at the door. “Come in, come in!” exclaimed one of them; “Come in, and let us die together.” The Archbishop continued to stand outside, and said, “Go and finish the service. So long as you keep in the entrance, I shall not come in.” They fell back a few paces, and he stepped within the door, but, finding the whole place thronged with people, he paused on