Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 432 pages of information about Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres.
necessarily to be organization or anarchy; man’s intellect or the forces of nature.  Francis saw God in nature, if he did not see nature in God; as the builders of Chartres saw the Virgin in their apse.  Francis held the simplest and most childlike form of pantheism.  He carried to its last point the mystical union with God, and its necessary consequence of contempt and hatred for human intellectual processes.  Even Saint Bernard would have thought his ideas wanting in that “mesure” which the French mind so much prizes.  At the same time we had best try, as innocently as may be, to realize that no final judgment has yet been pronounced, either by the Church or by society or by science, on either or any of these points; and until mankind finally settles to a certainty where it means to go, or whether it means to go anywhere,—­what its object is, or whether it has an object,—­Saint Francis may still prove to have been its ultimate expression.  In that case, his famous chant—­ the “Cantico del Sole”—­will be the last word of religion, as it was probably its first.  Here it is—­too sincere for translation:—­

CANTICO DEL SOLE

...  Laudato sie, misignore, con tucte le tue creature spetialmente messor lo frate sole lo quale iorno et allumini noi per loi et ellu e bellu e radiante cum grande splendore de te, altissimo, porta significatione.

Laudato si, misignore, per sora luna e le stelle in celu lai formate clarite et pretiose et belle.

Laudato si, misignore, per frate vento et per aere et nubilo et sereno et onne tempo per lo quale a le tue creature dai sustentamento.

Laudato si, misignore, per sor aqua
la quale e multo utile et humile et pretiosa et casta. 
Laudato si, misignore, per frate focu
per lo quale enallumini la nocte
ed ello e bello et jocondo et robustoso et forte.

Laudato si, misignore, per sora nostra matre terra
la quale ne sustenta et governa
et produce diversi fructi con coloriti flori et herba.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
Laudato si, misignore, per sora nostra morte corporale
de la quale nullu homo vivente po skappare
guai acquelli ke morrano ne le peccata mortali....

The verses, if verses they are, have little or nothing in common with the art of Saint Bernard or Adam of Saint-Victor.  Whatever art they have, granting that they have any, seems to go back to the cave-dwellers and the age of stone.  Compared with the naivete of the “Cantico del Sole,” the “Chanson de Roland” or the “Iliad” is a triumph of perfect technique.  The value is not in the verse.  The “Chant of the Sun” is another “Pons Seclorum”—­or perhaps rather a “Pons Sanctorum”—­over which only children and saints can pass.  It is almost a paraphrase of the sermon to the birds.  “Thank you, mi signore, for messor brother sun, in especial, who is your symbol; and for sister moon and the stars; and for brother wind and air and sky;

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Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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