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The Poet proceeds to eulogize Santiago as having been the founder in Spain of that faith for the defence and promotion of which these two-and-twenty Castles were erected.
“ Pues si en el mundo es digno de memoria
El fundador de una ciudad terrena ;
“ Razon será, que su memoria sea
En todo tu distrito eternizada,
“ Oyganme los magnanimos guerreros
Que ponen freno al barbaro despecho,
P. ii. p. 81.
At Compostella in his Church
His body and one head,
By Pilgrims visited.-p. 249.
a visitar el cuerpo santo
mar por los caminos Vienen de todo el mundo peregrinos.
“ Varia gente fiel, pueblo devoto,
El Santuario celebre frequenta,
“ El coxo del lugar propio se alexa
De una azemila o carro hecho carga,
“ El que ya tuvo vista, y no tiene ojos,
Al Templo viene del Apostol Diego,
“ El que hablar no puede, aunque con lengua
Que subito accidente hizo mudo,
“ Si aqueste viene de sus miembros manco,
Y aquel sordo del todo, otro contrecho,
“ A quien de prision saca, ô cautiverio,
Remedia enfermos, muertos resucita,
Da toda alma fiel gracias al cielo,
A implorar el auxilio soberano."
The high altar at Compostella is, as all the altars formerly were in Galicia and Asturias, not close to the wall, but a little detached from it. It is ten feet in length, and very wide, with a splendid frontispiece of silver. The altar itself is hollow, and at the Gospel end there is a small door, never opened except to royal visitors, and when a new Archbishop first comes to take possession. It was opened for Ambrosio de Morales, because he was commissioned to inspect the churches : nothing, however, was to be seen within, except two large flat stones, which formed the floor, and at the end of them a hole about the size of an orange, but filled with mortar. Below is the vault in which the body of Santiago is said to be deposited in the marble coffin wherein it was found. The vault extends under the altar and its steps, and some way back under the Capella Mayor: it is in fact a part of the Crypt walled off with a thick wall, para dexar cerrado del todo el santo cuerpo.
The Saint, whose real presence is thus carefully concealed, receives his pilgrims in effigy. The image is a half figure of stone, a little less than life, gilt and painted, holding in one hand a book, and as if giving a blessing with the other. Esta en cabello, without either crown or glory, on the head, but a large silver crown is suspended immediately above, almost so as to touch the head; and the last ceremony which a pilgrim performs is to ascend to the image, which is over the altar, by a staircase from the Epistle side, kiss it reverently on the head, embrace it, and place this crown upon it, and then go down on the Gospel side. — Viage de Morales, t. xx. p. 154.
“ Ingens sub templo fornix, et claustra per umbras
Magna jacent, cæcæque domus, queis magna Jacobi
Jacobi effigies addunt, humerosque bacillis
Paciecis, lib. vii. p. 117.
The sepulchre was thus closed by the first Archbishop D. Diego Gelmirez, “ que ya de ninguna manera se puede ver, ni entenderse como está. Y esto hizo con prudentissimo consejo aquel gran Principe y valeroso Perlado, y con reverencia devota, porque cada uno no quisiese ver y tratar aquel precioso relicario comunmente, y sin el debido respete ; que se pierde sin duda quando los cuerpos santos y sus sepulturas pueden ser vistas vulgarmente de todos.”. MORALES, 1. ix. c. vii. $ 67.
A print of the sepulchre, from an illuminated drawing in the manuscript of the Historia Compostelana, is given in the 20th volume of the España Sagrada. And in that history (pp. 50, 51.), is the following characteristic account of the enlargement of the altar by D. Diego Gelmirez.
“ Among the other worthinesses, with the which the aforesaid Bishop in no inactive solicitude hastened to decorate his Church, we have been careful to defend from the death of oblivion whatsoever his restauratory hand did to the altar of the said Church. But, lest in bringing forward all singular circumstances we should wander into devious ways, we will direct our intention to the straight path, and commit to succeeding remembrance so far as our possibility may reveal those things which we beheld with our own eyes. For of how small dimensions the altar of Santiago formerly was, lest we should be supposed to diminish it in our relation, may better be collected from the measure of the altarlet itself. But as religion increased in the knowledge of the Christian faith, that another altarlet, a little larger than the other, was placed over it by those who were zealous for their holy faith, our ancient fathers have declared unto us as well by faithful words, as by the assured testimony of writings. But the aforesaid Bishop being vehemently desirous of increasing the beauty of his Church, and seeing that this little altar, though