his education at the monastery of Fleury, in France, where he imbibed that ardent zeal in favour of monastic rule which so distinguished the whole of his life. At the age of 21 he restored the abbey of Glastonbury, which he presided over as first abbot, and was in great favour with the reigning monarch King Edred, at whose death his kingdom was divided between his two sons, Edwy and Edgar. The romantic story of Edwy and Elgiva, and the subsequent banishment of S. Dunstan, are well known; he was however recalled by Edgar, the brother of Edwy, and made by him successively, Bishop of Worcester and London, and finally Archbishop of Canterbury. Here he set himself energetically to work to establish the Benedictine order throughout this country, and to put down the secular clergy; and many of our most celebrated monastic foundations sprung up under his fostering influence. He presided over the see of Canterbury twenty-seven years, and was a great promoter of ecclesiastical law and discipline. He was not only a great patron of the useful and fine arts, but also a great proficient in them himself, and his almost contemporary biographers speak of him as a musician, painter, architect, and so skilful a worker of metals, that he made many of the Church vessels in use at Glastonbury with his own hands. As the great patron of the monks, he was the object of their especial eulogy, and many wonderful legends are related of him ;


8. DUNSTAN AT THE FEET OF CHRIST, Facsimile from an Anglo-Saxon manuscript in the Bodleian Library, said to have been

drawn by the hand of the Saint himself

acsimile from

on the other hand, he was as unsparingly attacked by the secular clergy as cruel, ambitious and despotic. There is a drawing, said to be by his own hand, in the illumination of a manuscript, still preserved in the Bodleian Library ; in which he represents himself kneeling at the feet of the Saviour. The following legend was very popular in the middle ages, and is the one by which he is best known.



“ The Divell appearing to him on a time in the likenesse of a yong and beautifull woman tempting him

to uncleanesse, he tooke up a paire of pinchers that then lay by him and caught the foule beaste by the upper lippe, and soe holding him fast and leading him up and downe his chamber after divers interrogatories drave him awaye?.” Other legends say the devil appeared in the form of a pilgrim while the saint was at work at his furnace, and that the sudden agitation of a vessel of holy water revealing who he was, S. Dunstan seized him by the nose with red-hot tongs. Eighteen Churches are named in his honour in England, six being in Kent


His emblem is a pair of tongs; he is also represented with a harp, upon which he is said to have been a great proficient.

May 26. S. Augustine, Abp.of Canterbury, A.D.604. Was Prior of a monastery at Rome, founded by S. Gregory, who selected him as head of the mission which he sent into England, to convert the natives to Christianity. Every one is familiar with the celebrated legend, Non Angli sed Angeli, which accounts for S. Gregory's interest in behalf of our forefathers. S. Augustine landed on the coast of Kent, and converted King Ethelbert and many of his subjects. He is erroneously called the Apostle of England; for it is an historical fact, that Christianity had flourished in this island some centuries before the mission of

1 English Martyrologe, p. 244.

« ElőzőTovább »