“Occidit hac sacra Frater
Benedictus in sede,
Inclytus & sama, & religione sacer,
Hic sexaginta & septem castissimus annos,
Vixit in his saxis, te, Deus alme, peccans
Usque senex, senio mansit curvatus & annis
Corpus humo retulit, venerat unde prius
Ast anima exultans, clarum repetivit olympum,
Nunc sedet in summo glorificata throno.”
It appears, that Louis the Fourteenth, King of France, gave a certain sum to this convent, to say mass and pray for the soul of his deceased mother; the sum however was not large, being something under fifty pounds; and the donation is recorded in the chapel of St. Louis, upon a brass lamp.
P.S. The time that this wonderful mountain became the habitation of a religious community, may be pretty nearly ascertained by the following singular epitaph, on a beautiful monument, still legible in the great church of Tarragona.
“Hic quiescit Corpus sanctae memoriae Domini Joannis filii Domini Jacobi, Regis Arragonum, qui decimo septimo anno aetatis suae factus Archiepiscopus Toletanus, sic dono scientiae infusus Divinitus & gratia praedicationis floruit, quod nullus ejusdem aetatis in hoc ei similis crederetur. Carnem suam jejuniis & ciliciis macerans, in vigesimo octavo anno aetatis suae factus Patriarcha Alexandrinus & Administrator Ecclesiae Tarraconensis ordinato per eum, inter multa alia bona opera novo Monasterio scalae Dei Diacessis Tarraconensis, ut per ipsam scalam ad Coelum ascenderet reddidit spiritum Creatori XIV. kalendas Septembris, anno Domini MCCCXXXIV. anno vero aetatis suae XXXIII. pro quo Deus tam in vita, quam post mortem ejusdem est multa miracula operatus.”
This very young Bishop was the son of James the second, and his Queen Dona Blanca; and that he was Prior of the monastery of Montserrat, appears in their archives; for I find the names of several hermits of this mountain, that came down to pay homage to him.—Dederunt obedientiam domino Joanni Patriarchae Alexandrino, & administratori prioratus Montis Serrati, &c.—It is therefore probable, that he was the first Prior, and that the convent was built about the year 1300; but that the mountain was inhabited by hermits, or men who retired from the world many ages before, cannot be doubted.
I have had (since I mentioned the Spanish Ladies in a former letter) an opportunity of seeing something more of them; what they may be at Madrid, I cannot take upon me to say; but I am inclined to believe, that notwithstanding what you have heard of Spanish beauty, you would find nature has not been over liberal as to the persons of either sex in Spain; and though tolerable good features upon a brown complexion, with very black hair finely combed and pinned up with two or three gold bodkins, may be very pleasing, as a