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a cross by the wayside, and he at once left his service, conjecturing that there must be some one even more powerful than he. He shortly afterwards met with a hermit, who informed him relative to the Cross and the Saviour, and as an acceptable service to Him set him to carry pilgrims over a deep and dangerous ford. One night he was aroused by the calling of a child,“ whiche prayed hym goodly to bere hym over the water," so Christopher lifted the babe on his shoulders and entered the stream ; but he had no sooner done so than the waves rose higher and higher, and the child “ waxed heavyer and heavyer,” till it was even as a mountain of lead upon from a brass in Wyke Churcb, Bants. him; he however succeeded in reaching the shore, and setting down his burden, he said, “ Chylde, thou has put me in grete peryll, thou wayest alle most as I had had alle the world upon me; I might bere no greater burden;" and the child answered, “Christopher, marvel thou nothing, for thou hast not only borne all the world upon thee, but its sins likewise, and also its Creator, I am Jhu Chryste the Kinge to whom thou servest in thys werke, and that thou mayest know I say the truth, set thy staff in the earth and to-morrow it shall bear flowers and fruit, and anon he vanyshed from his eyen.” So Christopher did as he was commanded, and found on the morrow his staff, which was “ lyke a Palmyer's,” loaded with foliage and dates. The legend, of which the above is a very meagre outline, follows S. Christopher to a pagan city, where he converted thousands to Christianity, and after many marvellous acts suffered martyrdom. This legend, like many of the acts and representations of saints, is in a great part allegorical, and its meaning was so obvious and simple, that it was of all subjects the most popular in medieval frescoes, as being most adapted to the comprehension of all classes, and of the labouring classes especially, as it was believed that whoever looked upon the figure of S. Christopher (emblem of strength) would never weary throughout that day, but have vigour and strength given him to go through “ his work and his labour until evening ;"' this is borne out by the following couplet, which is usually found beneath frescoes of this saint:
“Christophori Sancti speciem quicumque tuetur
“ Illo namque die nullo languore tenetur.” He was also thought to be a preserver against unnatural or sudden death, as at the bottom of one of the earliest extant woodcuts (1420) the following inscription is given :
“ Cristofori faciem die quacumque tueris
Illa nempe die morte mala non morieris." He is represented as a giant, with a trunk of a tree in his hand for a staff, crossing a rapid stream and bearing the Saviour as a child upon his shoulders, who frequently carries an orb in His hand. On the opposite side of the river is seen an hermitage in the distance, and a monk on the brink of the stream holding a lantern to light them across ; sometimes the staff is seen bursting into leaf. Very often stars are shewn, 'to indicate the night-time, and generally fishes are seen in the water. He is commemorated in the Church of Rome on July 25th. Aylisbeare, Devonshire; Winfrith-Newburgh, Dorsetshire ; Baunton, Gloucestershire; and Willingale-Doe, Essex ; have Churches named in his honour; and at Bath, Eton, &c., there are inns still called “ the Christopher,” lingering vestiges of the great popularity of this legend in former times.
S. Clair, P. M., 3rd century. “Borne in the citty of Rochester in Kent, his worldly friends would have had him to marry against his will, for which, he forsaking both country and friends went over into Normandy, where he taking Holy Orders was made a Priest, and afterwards going thence into
France for that he refused to yield to the lust of a noble woman of that country, 177 was slain by her procurement in he defence of his chastity 9.” He was martyred between Rouen and Pontoise, and is represented in the painted glass windows of the Church of S. Maclou, Rouen, carrying his head in his hands. He was commemorated on Nov. 4th. The village and Church of S. Clere, Cornwall, are named in 1511 honour of S. Clair, but it is quite uncertain whether that dedication has reference to this saint, or to one of the numerous local missionary saints commemorated from p inted glass in the in that county.
S. Clare or Clara, Ab., A.D. 1253. Was born at Assisi, in Italy, in 1193. At the age of eighteen she became acquainted with her celebrated townsman S. Francis, and from his example she resolved to give up herself to a life of severe penance and poverty, and under his direction she founded an order of nuns similar to his order of Franciscan monks, and who were called after her “the poor Clares,” and of whom she was the first abbess. It is related of her that when Frederick II. besieged
9 British Martyrologe, p. 304.
Church of S Maclou.
Assisi, and his army, chiefly composed of Saracens, was scaling the walls of the nunnery, S. Clare,
her to the walls, where with
S. Clement. See Calendar, Nov. 23, p. 140.
SCLARE, from the Spanish Gallery