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induced many to place themselves under his guidance, in order to lead, under his directions, a holy life, he tells us (iii.c.73):—"Non solum inter hos viri plurimi, sed et aliquot extiterunt Deo dicatæ virgines, ex quibus in primis erant novem filiæ Regis Longobardorum, et filia Regis Britanniæ; quæ cum venissent juxta Armacham ad locum Coll-naningean' (the hazel tree of the Virgins] dictum, miserunt nuntium ad S. Patricium, ejus præsentiam salutaremque instructionem postulantes.” St. Patrick accedes to their request, and having predicted that three of them would die in the place where they then were, directs the survivors to repair to a place called Druim Fennedha, there to live a life of retirement and heavenly contemplation.
Here there is no mention of Leatha as the country of these Longobard virgins, but their connexion with the daughter of the King of Britain seems to give some incidental, although remote countenance to the conjecture that Brittany, or Armorica, may have been known in ancient times as a seat of the Lombards.
On the whole, then, it appears that before we reject the statement that St. Sechnall was descended from the Lombards of Leatha, some further inquiries ought to be made into the early history of the Longobardic tribes. Is there any ground for supposing that they had settled in North Britain, or in Armorica, during the reign of Aengus Ollmuchadha, or at any time prior to the age of St. Patrick? Or are we to depress the chronology of St. Patrick's Life, so as to make it square with the statement that his sister was married to a Longobard of Italy? Or lastly, are we to assume that this notice of the Longobards of Italy is only a mistake of the ancient historians, who, knowing the Lombards of their own day as Lombards of Italy, forgot that they were not so in the times of King Aengus and of St. Patrick.
II.-It remains now to say a few words on the occasion on which the Hymn is said to have been written.
The Lives of St. Patrick, as well as the Preface to the Hymn in the Leabhar Breac, give us to understand that St. Secundinus composed the Hymn on the occasion of his reconciliation with St. Patrick after their temporary misunderstanding; and that it was completed a very short time only before the death of its author, an event which the Four Masters have recorded at the year 448.
It must be admitted that the style of the Hymn coincides exactly with this tradition; so that if it was not composed during St. Patrick's lifetime, it must undoubtedly have been written with a view to pass for having been then composed. All the actions of its hero are described in the present tense, and in language which clearly implies that he was still living. Thus be is said to be keeping Christ's commandments
Beata Christi custodit mandata in omnibus ; to be constant in the fear of God, and immoveable in the faith (v. 9); to be trading
Coll na ningean.-Called Ferta minor by Jocelin, loc. cit.
with the talents of the Gospel, and exacting usury upon them from the Irish clans, in consequence of which, as the reward of his labour, he will hereafter possess with Christ the joy of the kingdom of heaven
Cum Christo regni cælestis possessurus gaudium.
He is said also to be exhibiting to all good men the form and example of an Apostle, and to be preaching to the people by works as well as by words, provoking to holiness by his example those whom his words may fail to convince.
Qui tam verbis, quam et factis, plebi prædicat Dei,
He is described as humbled by the fear of God, in spirit, as well as in body; and as bearing in his body, like St. Paul, the marks or stigmata of the Lord JESUS (vv. 29-32); as keeping his flesh chaste, from love of the Lord, preparing it to be the temple of the Holy Ghost, and offering it as a living sacrifice (hostiam vivam), well pleasing to God (vv. 37-40). He boldly preaches to the Gentiles the Name of the Lord (v. 49); he despises all the glory of this world for the sake of God's law (v. 53); he stands unmoved under the thunder of the world, rejoicing to suffer affliction for Christ (v.55-56); he is the good and faithful shepherd of the Gospel sheep, chosen by God to watch over His people, and to feed them with holy doctrine (v. 57 and 59); Christ has appointed him His Vicar on earth (v. 81); he sings the Hymns, the Apocalypse, the Psalms, and explains them to the people for their edification (v. 85-6); he prays without ceasing day and night; and lastly, when hereafter he shall receive the reward of his labour, he will reign with the Apostles, a saint over Israel, for ever,
Cujus ingentis laboris percepturus præmium
It is difficult to suppose this language to have been written except in the lifetime of him to whose praise the Hymn is dedicated, unless we assume that the author of the Hymn, living at a later period, intended to impose it upon the Church as the work of a contemporary of St. Patrick.
The author of the Preface gives a somewhat unamiable view of St. Patrick's character in his account of his wrath against St. Sechnall, and of the manner in which he endeavoured to punish his disciple. The Lives of St. Patrick, published by Colgan, do not contain any authority for the statement, that St. Sechnall quitted the very altar in the most solemn part of the Mass, in order to meet St. Patrick, and cast himself at his feet; that St. Patrick, disregarding this act of reverence for bis person, endeavoured, in his wrath, to drive his chariot over the prostrate Sechnall, whose life was saved by a sudden miracle, and that a reconciliation was effected by the interven
tion of St. Patrick's guardian angel,—and immediately afterwards a choir of angels was heard chanting a hymn in the church. These particulars are also omitted in the Preface to this Hynin, as it is published by Colgan.
Nevertheless, in the Tripartite Life we find two instances in which St. Patrick is represented to have driven his chariot in wrath over an offending and prostrate suppliant.
The first of these is the case of St. Olcan, Bishop of Rathmuighe, or Arthir-muighe (Armoy, county Antrim), who had offended his master by receiving into communion Saran, a prince of Dalaradia, whom Patrick had excommunicated. The matter had been reported to St. Patrick (as the author of the Tripartite Life suggests), with some exaggeration"; and Olcan, having heard of this misunderstanding, made every haste to appease his master's wrath, and when he came in sight of the chariot fell on his knees to demand an audience. This was refused, and St. Olcan then cast himself prostrate on the public road. The charioteer seeing this, stopped, but was immediately commanded by St. Patrick to drive on'. He hesitated to do so, and the delay thus occasioned led to an explanation, which ended in a prophecy that St. Olcan's church should be three times destroyed and polluted with blood, as the punishment of his fault.
The second case is that of St. Patrick's sister or relative (for the Irish word for sister frequently signifies a more distant consanguinity), who, although of a religious profession (fæmina pia et devota et probatæ alias sanctitatis), had fallen into sin, and broken her vows”. In a word, she had become the mother of a son, who was afterwards eminent for sanctity. Repenting, however, of her guilt, with sackcloth and ashes, she cast herself prostrate before St. Patrick's chariot in the public road, beseeching him to pardon her grievous offence. The saint, however, drove his chariot over her. She rose up bruised and injured, and cast herself again before the chariot; a second time St. Patrick drove over her. This was repeated a third time; and the penitent, having sustained this ordeal, was at length restored to favour".
The story told of St. Sechnall in the legend before us is strictly in the spirit of these anecdotes, and is apparently founded upon them.
*Exaggeration. Postquam hoc factum, forte aliter quam sit gestum, ad aures S. Patricii, qui antea Saranum obstinatum et persecutorem, maledictionis jaculo feriit, esset delatum.- Vit. Trip., p. 147.
y To drive on.--Ad Sanctum ergo Patricium placandum, quanto citius accurrit; et cum pervenisset in conspectum, genuflectendo paulatim accedit, et ita tandem errati supplex et pænitens veniam exposcit; quod Sancto Patricio in curru procedenti, et alloquium neganti prostratum in via publica se objecerit. Cum autem auriga ad talem conspectum currum
stetisset, severus Senior mandat currum agat, susceptumque iter prosequatur. Ille humiliter excusat, dicens, se non audere, ne scelus admittat, ad prostratam, et in viâ objectam Episcopi personam non respiciens. Tunc rigidus magister, &c.— Ibid.
Broken her rows.—Quæ, quia incauta non evitavit fugienda virorum consortia, contra Deo consecratæ castitatis propositum ccavit. — Vit. Trip. iii. C. 76, p. 163.
a Restored to favour.-Et cum S. Antistitem iter agentem, ad cujus præsentiam ante non audebat
The Post-Communion Hymn, “Sancti venite." A very interesting part of the legend preserved in the Preface of the Leabhar Breac, is that which speaks of a choir of angels, heard in the Church of St. Sechnall, chanting the Hymn Sancti Venite Christi corpus,— which Hymn, the writer tells us, has ever since been sung in the Irish Church, whilst the communicants are receiving the Body of Christ.
This is curious information, as recording a peculiarity of the Irish ritual at the time when the Preface in the Leabhar Breac was written; for it seems reasonable to conclude that when the writer speaks of this hymn as being chanted “ in Erin" at the Communion, and when he attributes the origin of the custom to the choir of Angels, he means to account for a practice then, and for some considerable time before his own age, existing in the Irish Church.
And it is remarkable that the Hymn in question is known only from its having been preserved in an Irish authority,—viz. the Antiphonarium Benchorense", a fact which proves it to be of considerable antiquity, and also to be peculiar to the Church of Ireland. It is worthy of notice, however, that this Hymn does not occur in the Dublin copy of the Liber Hymnorum, but as that MS. has suffered mutilation, we cannot infer that it never was in the collection.
The Hymn is entitled, “ Hymnus quando communicarent Sacerdotes,” and is as follows:Sancti venite,
Corporis et sanguinis,
Ab inferni faucibus.
Corpore et sanguine,
Christus filius Dei,
accedere, audiret in vicinia esse, ei lachrymis offusa • Antiphonarium Benchorense.—Muratori Op., occurrit; et in via publica ante cutrum ejus se pro tom. xi., part 3, p. 224 sternit, tantæ offensæ veniam deprecans. Vir autem c Is entitled.—Daniel has printed this Hymn, sanctus curat currum super eam minari. Et dum Thes. Hymnol., vol. i. p. 193.
He remarks upon sic protrita resurgit, iterato se ante currum in terram the title “ Quod hymno, nobili quadam simplicitate prostrata objicit. Idem pia fæmina et pænitentiæ conspicuo, inscriptum est, hoc recentioris ætatis pu. speculum tertio facit; et tertio rigidus, severusque taveriin. Spectat carmen procul dubio (v. 25, 36, pænitentialis disciplinæ dlagister curat currum supra e. a.), ad omnes Christianos, qui tunc temporis sub jucentem agitari.— Ibid.
utraque specie Christum suum acceperunt.”
The Preface in the Leabhar Breac, which has been published in Note A, has been supposed by the best Irish scholars, judging from its language and style, to be a composition of about the seventh or eighth century; and it is no small confirmation of its claim to this high antiquity that it speaks of this Hymn as still in use in the Irish Church. But no trace of the Hymn it is to be found in the Breviaries and Antiphonaries of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, used in Ireland, of which several are preserved in the Library of Trinity College; nor in the Antiphonary of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin (a MS. of the thirteenth century), in the possession of the Editor. The same remark applies also to the Hymn of St. Sechnall. No trace of its use is found in any of the ancient ritual books of the Anglo-Irish Church to which the Editor has access.
The Relics of Armagh.
The author of the Preface in the Leabhar Breac appears to intimate that a pilgrimage to Rome was imposed upon St. Sechnall by his offended master as a penance for his fault; and that “the relics of Paul, Peter, and other martyrs,” brought by St. Sechnall from Rome on this occasion, were preserved at Armagh down to his own time, “in the shrine of Paul and Peter."
The Lives of St. Patrick make no mention of this mission of St. Sechnall, but state that the relics at Armagh had been, by “a pious theft” [pio astu furtove, sacrorum locorum custodibus nescientibus et dormientibus], brought from Rome by Patrick