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Created: By Tadhg Ó Cianáin Date range: 16071609.
Benjamin Hazard (ed.)
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p.3In the name of God.
Here are some of the adventures and proceedings of Ó Néill from the time that he left Ireland. First, Ó Néill was with the Lord Justice of Ireland, Sir Arthur Chichester, at Baile Shláine. He received a letter from John Bath on Thursday, the sixth of September, the year of the Lord at that time being one thousand six hundred and seven. It was stated in the aforesaid letter that Maguidhir (Cúchonnacht Maguidhir), Donnchadh Ó
p.5Briain, Matha Óg Ó Maoltuile, and John Rath came with a French ship for Ó Néill and the Earl of Tyrconnell to Cuan Suilighe moire, opposite Ráth Maoláin in Fánaid. Ó Néill took his leave of the Lord Justice on the following Saturday. He went that night to the Mainistir Mór, where Sir Garret Moore was. On the following day he went to Srádbhaile Dúna Dealgan. He proceeded on Monday from Srádbhaile by the high road of the Fiodh, to Beal Atha an Airgid,
p.7across Sliabh Fuaid, to Ard Macha, over the Abha Mór to Dun Geanainn, to the Craobh, one of his island habitations. He made a stop and a rest at Craobh on Tuesday. He proceeded in the name of God from Craobh on Wednesday over Sliabh Síos. He was that night in Muinntear Luinigh, in the vicinity of Loch Beigfhine. On the following day he reached Bun Diannoide. He rested from mid-day till nightfall. After that he passed over Fearsaid Mór on Loch Feabhail, straight forward to Droichead Adhamhnáin. The son of Ó Domhnaill (Cathbharr, son
p.9of Aodh, son of Maghnus) was there awaiting them. They went to Ráith Mealltain, the daylight shining, upon them at that time. They proceeded to Ráith Maoláin, where the ship we have mentioned was at anchor. They found Rughraighe Ó Domhnaill, Earl of Tyrconnell, with the aforesaid gentlemen, together with many of the tribe and followers of the Earl, putting stores of food and drink into the ship.
They went in on board ship about midday on Friday. Then they hoisted their sails. They moved close to the harbourside. They sent two boats' crews to get water and to search for firewood. The son of Mac Suibhne of Fanaid, and a party of the people of the district came upon them in pursuit. They fought with one another. With difficulty the party from the boats brought water and firewood with them. About the middle of the same night they hoisted their sails a second time. They went out a great distance in the sea. The night was bright, quiet, and calm, with a breeze from the southwest. Then they proposed putting into Ara through need of getting food and drink. An exceeding great storm and very bad weather arose against them, together with fog and rain, so that they were driven from proximity to land. They traversed the sea far and wide. That storm and unsettled weather lasted till the middle of the following night. Afterwards, leaving Tir Conaill on the left, they direct their course past the harbour of Sligeach, straight ahead until they were opposite Cruach Padraig in Connacht. Then they feared that the King's fleet, which was in the harbour of Gaillibh, would meet with them. They proceeded out into
p.11the sea to make for Spain straight forward if they could. After that they were on the sea for thirteen days with excessive storm and dangerous bad weather. A cross of gold which Ó Néill had, and which contained a portion of the Cross of the Crucifixion and many other relics, being put by them in the sea trailing after the ship, gave them great relief. At the end of that time, much to their surprise, they met in the middle of the sea two small hawks, merlins, which alighted on the ship. The hawks were caught and were fed afterwards.
On Sunday, the thirtieth of September, the wind came right straight against the ship. The sailors, since they could not go to Spain, undertook to reach the harbour of Croisic in Brittany at the end of two days and nights. The lords who were in the ship, in consequence of the smallness of their food-supply, and especially of their drink, and also because of all the hardship and sickness of the sea they had received up to that, gave it as their advice that it was right for them to make straight ahead towards France. Forthwith they directed their course to France. They went on for two days and two nights under full sail. They reached no land at all in that time. Not even did they know well what particular coast was nearest to them.
About midday on Tuesday they saw three very large ships approaching from the south as if coming from Spain. Although they feared that squadron, and though they thought they belonged to the King of England's armament and were in pursuit of them, they considered that it was better for themselves to make for them and imperil their success if they were enemies, or, if they were Catholics, make inquiries and seek direction, than to be in the great danger in which they were in regard to going astray and mistaking the direction and scarcity of drink. They and the squadron came near one another at the end of day. A terrible storm arose at that time so that they and the squadron could not for a time come within speaking distance of one another. Afterwards, however, they spoke with the crews of the ships. They made enquiries
p.13of them. They told them that they were natives of Lochlainn, and that they were returning from Spain to their own country. They said that it was in the Flemish sea in particular they were. As that sea was near the coast of England, these princes would scarcely have liked to fall there by chance at that moment. Besides, they had no pilot who knew the way or had experience of that sea. They went after the squadron aforementioned until the darkness of the night took it out of their sight.
A certain Frenchman who was in the ship said: Be not troubled nor concerned, princes, said he; before sunrise tomorrow I will direct you to land in Normandy, a famous province belonging to the King of France. To Corunna, a great city belonging to the King of Spain, they had originally intended to go; in consequence of the amount of weariness and hardship they had endured, they were almost as well pleased and as glad to land in Normandy as to reach that city. They directed their course to that harbour. About midnight the sea rose in violent, quick, strong-sounding waves against them. It was the mercy of the Trinity that saved them and kept the ship and all that was in it from being drowned. A party of the gentlemen who were above the hatch were almost in danger of being carried out into the middle of the sea by the strength of the wind and the number of the waves. They were obliged to take down their sails by reason of the strength and power of the waves, and to leave the ship to itself to drift over the sea as God should will.
There were two islands belonging to the King of England called Jersey and Guernsey near them. Were it not for the taking down of the sails they were in great danger of striking on either of these two islands. Even if they landed of their own free will, the faces of the inimical merciless
p.15heretics who were before them on the islands would not be as at a meeting of good friends in a foreign land. At the dawn of day they saw clearly the islands near them. The abovementioned Frenchman recognised them. He said that Englishmen were occupying and inhabiting them.
Then they raised their sails. They proceeded on their way. After leaving the view of the islands they saw widely extended the land of France. When they came near the harbour fear and trembling came upon the Frenchman. He said it was a long time since he had been there before, and that he was in ignorance and great doubt, and could not give suitable guidance into the harbour. Shortly after that they saw a little French boat making for them. They made enquiries of its crew. They said they were fromRouen, a famous city belonging to the King of France. They offered them some gifts for piloting them into the harbour. They agreed to do so. They were before them and behind them throughout the day. When the wind subsided in the evening and the ship could not enter the harbour, the crew of the small ship took leave of them. They said that they could do them no service, and that they would not ask reward for a service they had not rendered. They themselves direct their course toRouen. However, they sent to them without delay a certain boat in which there was theRouen pilot. The pilot came on board to them in the darkness of the night. They raised their sails. They were proceeding throughout the night. In the morning on the next day the pilot directed them into the river ofRouen, south of the new harbour called Harboure de Grâce. About midday on Thursday, St. Francis' Day, the fourth day of October, and their twenty-first at sea, they landed at a little town on the bank of the same river called the Quilleboeuf. They had some rest and repose there for the remainder of the day until the following night. There were
p.17ninety-nine persons in the ship. As they left it all the drink they had was five gallons of beer and less than one barrel of water.
On the next day the governor of the town was with Ó Néill at dinner. He gave him those valuable strange hawks which had been caught at sea. After dinner they hired boats. They sent the Countess, and the daughter of Ó Domhnaill, and the children which were with them, and some of the gentlefolk and their attendants with their luggage by the
p.21short route on the river toRouen. Ó Néill and the Earl and the lords and the gentry who were with them went with seventeen men on horses to the town on the same river called La Bouille, seven leagues from Quilleboeuf, and from Quilleboeuf down to the new harbour was a distance of ten leagues. On the next day, as they were about to leave the town, they saw the governor of Quilleboeuf approaching them. He put them under a kind of arrest. He said they would have to go before the Chief Marshal of Normandy: They agreed to that. They procured a change of horses, and proceeded with a small company to the town called Lisieux, a place seventeen leagues away, near Brittany, where the Marshal was. The Marshal received them with honour and kindness.
As for the women, they proceeded from Quilleboeuf in boats. They had sails up for a while, for another while they had to row, and thus they were until the darkness of the night. The tide turned against them, together with the strength and force of the river, so that they were brought back a long distance. It would be difficult to describe how the ebb and flow of that river used to come. They had no cause of complaint with any danger and storm they endured on sea in comparison with all the trouble and danger of death they experienced then, except that they had wine and water within reach when they were thirsty. A party of the inhabitants of the country came with good boats to assist them. They went that night to a little town on the bank of the river. On the next day they got very good weather. They advanced along the river until they reached a church town called the Abbey of St. Georges, on the north side of the river. They stayed there that night. They sent a messenger toRouen to direct to them everything in the shape of coaches and waggons which they needed. They went with all their company toRouen about midday on Sunday.
During this time Maguidhir and the gentry who were
p.23with these lords were under arrest in La Bouille. They thought the ladies with their company were in prison as they got no account of them. It was told to them on Sunday evening that they had gone past them toRouen. Three of the gentlemen took a boat. They rowed throughout the night. They reachedRouen at break of day on Monday. They gave an account of the lords, how it happened they were arrested, and how they went in their own person before the chief Marshal to Lisieux. The ladies were in fear and dread when they heard that. They got information the next day that the governor had written by post to the King of France to make known that they landed as we have said, and to learn what was to be done with them, and that they must have patience in regard to being detained until direction from the King reached him.
Matha Ó Maeltuile went post-haste to Paris. The governor's messenger reached the King of France sooner than Matha and got a reply. He returned. The King was returning from hunting when Matha went into his presence. He spoke face to face with him. He told him all the adventures of the lords, how they were prohibited to traverse the kingdom of France until they should have the King's authority. The King said respectfully and kindly that he had received letters concerning the gentlemen before that, and that he had written to the governor about them. Matha went to the King's secretary. He said that no harm at all would come to the princes because of their detention, and that a friendly answer from the King would reach them sooner than Matha would have returned.
The ambassador of the King of England was in the
p.25city at that time. He was doing his full best to injure and harm the princes if he could. His efforts were idle and of no avail, for the King gave him no audience or hearing for the space of three days, but went to hunt every day. After that, as he was assured that the lords were in a place which would be secure for them, he said they had gone from his power, and if it chanced that they had not, he would not do any injury to noblemen who would be obliged to leave their paternal inheritance because of their faith and the injustice done to them, and also that all Catholics were free to go without any interference through the kingdom of France. The ambassador sent a gentleman of the Scottish race post-haste to London to announce to the King of England that these nobles landed in France, and that the King did not hinder them to go through France. That gentleman was inRouen in the hostel in which the ladies were the night before the lords arrived.
When Matha Óg came toRouen, and when he learned that the order and direction they received was to go to Flanders first, and not to go to Spain direct until they should be in Flanders, he himself went post-haste to Flanders to tell Ó Néill's son, the Colonel of the Irish in Flanders under the power of the King of Spain, that these lords came from Ireland, that they had trouble and lost their way on sea, that they came to land in the kingdom of France, that they were there hindered so that they were not allowed to take the short journey to Spain, that they were obliged to make straight for Flanders, that they were asking the colonel to come to meet them to the border of France, and also to procure for them a passport and warrant from the Archduke
p.27the same as the warrant of the King of France to the border of his own kingdom.
On Saturday the governor of the city ofRouen came to the place where the ladies were. He ordered them to leave the city without delay that same day, or else to return to the ship from which they came. They received that order with concern and grief, because they thought it was by reason of misfortune happening to the lords that they themselves got this sudden command. Because of their request and to honour them, the governor consented afterwards that they might remain in the city until the following Monday. At the time of vespers on Sunday the lords came toRouen with the passport and warrant of the King of France.
They remained in the city that night. On the next day, the fifteenth of October, they leftRouen with thirty-one on horseback, two coaches, three waggons, and about forty on foot. The governor of Quilleboeuf and many of the gentry of the town came to conduct them a distance from the city. They took their leave of the governor. They received the warrant of the King of France from him. To pay their way they gave him about forty tons of salt which was in the ship in which they came, although he had shown his unkindliness and his ill-feeling before that to them.
Beautiful and varied was the view of the city ofRouen from the high commanding eminence where these nobles bade farewell to one another. Great was the size and extent of the city, fortified and strong, having very many people, with extensive shipping, an excellent quay, and a very good river which extends across the country to Paris. There were many very beautiful islands in the river having much vines and fruitful trees. Around the river there was the levellest, the best inhabited, and most fruitful land that these Irish had ever traversed till then.
The Catholic Faith and power of the Church was conspicuous and strong inRouen. There were thirty-three
p.29parish churches in the city, and communities of fourteen monasteries of religious orders, with the most splendid and costly town hall in the greater part of Christendom.
These nobles, having set about departing, were seven leagues fromRouen that night, in a small village called La Boissière. As they were leavingRouen, Aodh Óg Ó Néill, the son of Brian, son of Art, separated from the company and lost his way. Maigbhethadh Ó Néill returned toRouen to search for him. Brian's son came in with the company. When Maigbhethadh returned fromRouen he followed the track of another mounted party which had leftRouen. He did not meet his own party till they reached Arras.
It was an humble hostel these princes got in the poor little town we have mentioned, although it happened that the land they had traversed fromRouen to that place was fair, fruitful, and delightful. The little town was in a very beautiful glen on a pretty river. Early in the morning on the following day they proceeded three leagues from there to a town called Neufchatel. They remained there until they heard High Mass with singing and music, and until they partook of dinner. They advanced the same day five leagues to the town called Aumale. The Duke who owned that town was then in exile, and banished by the King of France to Flanders, and was with the Archduke. All his rent and claims were being taken to him in Flanders. They proceeded five leagues from there that night to the town called Poix. Though they reached that town late in the evening, they got suitable accommodation and a convenient place to rest. The King of France has a firm castle with strong defences in that same town. The journey was not long on that day, but it was more hilly, rougher, more marshy than on the other day, and the country more barren.
They went the next day to an important famous city in France named Amiens, the gate of defence of France, a distance of six short leagues. They were detained for a time at the gate of the city till they got directions from the governor of the place. They entered afterwards. After dinner they went to a beautiful gorgeous church called the Church of Mary. The head of John the Baptist was shown to them. It was in a glass of crystal, evident and visible to whomsoever would be present, with many wonders and miracles. A pretty, strong, round city was that town; to it a river comes from the sea, on which boats travel to the town with ease and the help of the tide. That same river is brought and divided in twelve divisions throughout the city, with the necessary bridges over each branch of them. When they came back from the Church of Mary, they took their good post-horses. They proceeded to the Flanders gate. Inside the walls of the city they saw a very strong fort of great strength being built by the people of the city, with many labourers and workmen. Outside the walls there were pointed out to them the trenches and the strong fortresses which were made by the King of France when Amiens was besieged by him at the time it was in possession of the King of Spain, being taken previously with skill and ability by three Irish companies.
They proceeded from thence five leagues to a small village called Contay. They were uncomfortable that night. As they approached the frontier of France and Flanders some of them were somewhat afraid. They obliged the most of their people to remain up in arms watching for them that night, and although the pledges by word and honour of the King of France were sufficient, nevertheless they were afraid when they saw some of their own party who took a different road coming
p.33to Amiens, a large troop on horseback with good horses, coats of armour, and pistols.
Early on the morning of the next day they went, arranged ready for defence, two leagues from there to the boundary of Flanders and France. They rested there for a short time. Afterwards they proceeded seven leagues to Arras. They were somewhat afraid of the road, especially of the journey of that day. Having entered that chief city about midday on the eighteenth of October; they remained and rested until the next Monday. They found Maigbheathadh, who separated from them leavingRouen, in that city, though they strongly believed that the road would be dangerous for him. The governor himself, whom the King of Spain had appointed in the town, and the chief men of the city received these lords with kindliness and respect. They came to visit them, and held a splendid banquet with wines. They sent a reverend father with beautiful coaches to direct them to the famous churches which were in the city. Many holy precious relics were shown to them, including a large portion of the Cross of the Crucifixion, the head of St. James, portion of the hair of Mary Magdalen, a cup out of which the Saviour Himself took a drink when He was in human flesh in the world, and numerous other things. Doctor Eoghan Mag Mathgamhna came to meet them from Douai to that place.
A famous important city this was, strongly fortified, firm, extensive, well-built, greater and more beautiful than Amiens, but with no river near it. There was a splendid town hall in the middle of the city having a strong guard of the people of the town continually. There was another
p.35guard of the King's soldiers at the gates of the town by night and by day. There was a great court there and a church dedicated to Mary. There was, besides, the seat of the archbishop of the province, with the best and most splendid cemetery in the greater part of Christendom outside the walls of the city. In that church of the Blessed Virgin a bright waxen torch fell from heaven. The inhabitants of the city caused a splendid chapel to be built inside the walls for that holy torch lest enemies should reach it. The torch was lighted and shining for two hundred full years by night and day, but not even one half-inch of it was wasted during that time. Once a certain woman came to pray to the altar on which the torch was. She marvelled much at the greatness of the miracles and the graces of it. Misfortune drove her to find out what particular substance it was made of. When she found the chapel bereft of people, and the guardians of the torch gone throughout the city, she went to the torch, touched it with her hands, and broke off a little piece of the wax of it. The torch commenced to flame, and the wax to waste and to melt. The woman got frightened seeing that. She regretted and was ashamed of what she had done. The guardians of the torch met her when she left the sanctuary. They were very much surprised when they found the torch wasting away. The news of the event was spread through the city. The clergy and ecclesiastics of the town gathered with the archbishop, and they were very much troubled and surprised concerning what happened to the torch. The guardians said they had left it in its usual state when they were going to the city, with no one near it except the aforesaid woman, and that, after meeting the woman as they entered the church they found the torch wasting and melting and in a different state. The woman was brought before them, and a scrutiny and strict examination of her took place. She admitted in presence of God and the Holy Church that she broke a small piece off the torch. She made her confession afterwards. The clergy advised that the torch should be
p.37quenched and covered for ever to commemorate its miracles. It is lighted and shines on great principal feasts. It still continues to work wonders and miracles, thousands of people coming to it and from it in pilgrimage to venerate and implore the Holy Virgin Mary in its presence. It was shown to these nobles.
On Monday, the twenty-second of the same month, they bade farewell to the people of the city. They proceeded five more leagues to a famous city called Douai. The people there received them with great respect. They alighted at the Irish College which was supported by the King of Spain in the town. They themselves stayed in the College, and they sent the better part of those with them through the city. They remained there until the following Friday. The reverend father, Flaithri Ó Maolconaire, Irish Provincial of the Friars Minor, and Doctor Robert Mac Arthur met them here, having come from Flanders. During this time they went walking through the colleges of the city. Assemblies of the colleges received them kindly and with respect, delivering in their honour verses and speeches in Latin, Greek, and English. One of the company counted in the Jesuit College a little less than twelve hundred belonging to a single college.
Douai is an extensive city with unsightly houses or buildings, except for the colleges. There is a river
p.39divided in two through it, on which boats come from the sea. Although Artois and Flanders were among the seventeen provinces, nothing except the river divides them. This province of Artois is rich and beautiful with much mast and wheat and good fruits, and very pretty woods.
On Friday, the twenty-sixth of this month, these princes went on towards another great city called Tournai, seven leagues from. Douai. They stopped because it was late in the day at a village on the road three leagues from Tournai. On the road before them was the tomb and burial place of an Irish saint, Saint Linard was his name. God performs many miracles through him. And the next day they went to the city. They saw at the gate of the city a strong stone tower which was built by Julius Caesar when the city was besieged by him in the time of the Roman civil war. It is entered from the top, for it has no door at all. The city was defended by the inhabitants with strength and power against Julius Caesar and the Roman Senate at that time. It is chronicled and commemorated by its inhabitants that it was never taken or stormed by violence.
The people of the city received these nobles with honour and respect. They sent coaches to them so that they might go through the city to see its church and its fortress and all its wonders. They went afterwards on a visit to the archbishop of the city. He showed himself kindly and well-disposed towards them. They remained there till the next Monday.
There is a very beautiful river divided in three parts through the city, with three well-made bridges in position, and the city itself is remarkable and ancient with nice
p.41well-built old houses, and with many sluices which stop and direct the water wherever the people of the city please or desire. The King of Spain has a strong, fully-defended castle in the town, commanding and having power over the whole city, andRome the river is drawn around it.
Tadhg Ó Cíanain wrote this in Rome, 1609.
There are a thousand soldiers always guarding and watching the castle with everything they require of great ordnance and ammunition. They have a splendid church inside that there may be no communication between them and the people of the city. As the roads from Douai to Tournai were dirty, and the highways narrow and uneven, the writer and narrator of this could not easily note or observe the country or the land along the route.
On Monday, the twenty-ninth of the same month, they left that city. They came to a small town, pretty and fortified, which was called Ath, seven leagues from Tournai. The governor of the town came outside the walls to meet them and to receive them with respect and honour. He himself in person came to direct them to their hostels. All the ordnance of the place was fired at once to do honour and show pleasure at their coming. The governor himself and the principal men came afterwards to visit them, and he showed them kindness and sympathy. Captain John Blint happened to be in garrison in that town, and he was gentle, kind, and pleased at meeting them.
Next day they went seven leagues from Ath to Notre Dame de Hal. On their way they passed through a pretty town which had been formerly in the time of the war in the possession of the King of France. As the rent of it was of no use to the King he accepted fifty thousand pounds from the Duke of Hal for the ownership of the town. It was called Enghien. They went that night to Notre Dame. It rained heavily on them throughout the journey.
The next day, the thirty-first of October, Ó Néill's
p.43son, the Colonel of the Irish regiment, came to them with a large well-equipped company of captains and of noblemen, Spanish and Irish and of every other nation. On the following Saturday the Marquis Spinola, the commander-in-chief of the King of Spain's army in Flanders, came to them from Brussels with a large number of important people and welcomed them. He received them with honour and gave them an invitation to dinner on the next day in Brussels. They consented. The Marquis went to pray to the church of Mary which was near them, and shortly afterwards they saw the Archduke's secretary coming towards them to ask them to be with the Archduke on the following Monday in Marimont, a hunting forest which he had nine leagues away from that town. When the Marquis heard that, he took his leave and went back to Brussels. On Sunday morning he sent them all the coaches and horses they needed, that they might be well and suitably provided going before the Archduke.
On Sunday, the fourth of November, after having heard Mass, the lords set out in coaches, their nobles and
p.45retinue attending them on horseback. They came that day to Nyvel, a distance of five leagues. It was a nice town, well fortified with a garrison of the King. The governor was a Spaniard. He came with his soldiers to meet them and welcomed them. When they dismounted he offered to give up the keys of the city to Ó Néill, but he refused to accept them. The governor invited them to supper that night, but they did not consent to go. The governor stayed with Ó Neill that evening, and brought musicians and dancers with him. As they were about to retire he sent the sergeant-major of the town to Ó Néill to ask him to give the watch-word. Ó Neill thanked him, but requested himself to give it as he was accustomed to do every other night.
On the next day they started, and were accompanied by the governor until they had left the town. They went five leagues to Binche, where the Archduke was. The Duke of Ossuna, the Secretary, and Don Rodrigo, the majordomo of the Archduke, came with good coaches and great noblemen to meet them, and welcomed them in the Archduke's name. The Duke himself went in the coach in which they drove. When they reached the town, they alighted at the majordomo's palace. They remained there for a time, as the day had previously been very wet. Their attendants and horses were put up, and they went next to see the Archduke's chapel.
They went next to the Palace. The Infanta, the King of Spain's daughter, and the Archduke came to the door of the Palace to meet them. They received them with honour and respect, with welcome and kindliness, and showed them great courtesy. They brought them to their own private apartments. They spent a while in conversation and questioning one another. Afterwards they took their leave. They the Irish and the Duke of Ossuna, the Duke of Aumale, and many other illustrious noblemen went to dinner. They set out afterwards, taking coaches and a change of horses from their Highness with them, and returned that night to Nyvel. They were treated with as much honour that night as the first night they spent there.
The next day they proceeded to Notre Dame de Hal, and stopped there that night. Early the next morning they went to Brussels, three leagues' journey. Colonel Francisco, with many Spanish, Italian, Irish, and Flemish captains; came out of the city to meet them. They advanced through the principal streets of the town to the door of the Marquis's palace. The Marquis himself, the Papal Nuncio, the Spanish Ambassador, and the Duke of Ossuna came to take them from their coaches. When greetings had been exchanged in abundance, they entered the hall of the Marquis and spent some time in conversation. Afterwards they entered the apartment where the Marquis was accustomed to take food. He himself arranged each one in his place, seating Ó Neill in his own place at the head of the table, the Papal Nuncio to his right, the Earl of Tyrconnell to his left, Ó Néill's children and Maguidhir next the Earl, and the Spanish ambassador and the Duke of Aumale on the other side, below the Nuncio. The rest of the illustrious, respected nobles at table, the Marquis himself, and the Duke of Ossuna, were at the end of the table opposite Ó Néill. The excellent dinner which they partook
p.49of was grand and costly enough for a king, and nothing inferior was the banquet. Gold and silver plate was displayed inside that no king or prince in Christendom might be ashamed to have. They spent some time in conversation and chatting, and then took leave and returned thanks to one another. They retired that night to Notre Dame de Hal.
It is a small badly fortified and incompact town, yet it was never stormed or taken by force by enemies. It was not by reason of strength of hands or greatness of number; or firmness of walls that that was so, but a figure and picture and statue of Mary the Wonder-worker, in the church of Mary in the town, that causes many miracles and wonders, and very many thousands of people from the neighbouring districts come on pilgrimage there to venerate and implore the Holy Virgin. At one time Gramoures and the destroyers of the Catholic Church laid siege to that town. Regular cannon and large ordnance were discharged against it. There appeared to the enemy a lady with bright garments, and a white napkin in her right hand, standing on the wall opposite them. She caught in the napkin all the bullets that were thrown against the wall, so that no stone was moved, no wall was broken, and no person was killed. Inside the wall she laid down quietly and gently on the ground the bullets out of the napkin. They remain still in the church to commemorate the great miracles, and he who would lift one of them from the ground would be considered a strong man. The enemy raised the siege of the town when they saw the great miracles. Every time since that enemies came about it, it was defended miraculously by the grace of God and the Holy Virgin Mary. From the picture and image alone the town gets its name and designation, and that is but a small portion of its wonderful miracles.
At the time of the siege of the town by Gramoures, which we have mentioned, a certain haughty captain, one of his officers, in boasting speech and vainglorious mockery and insult said that he himself would enter the church and would strike the image with his hand, since the town was being defended by its miracles. Shortly afterwards conflict and battle commenced between the defenders of the town and the enemy. The above-mentioned captain advanced with great strength and vigour into the fight like everyone else. His two hands were cut off, and he himself was captured. He then confessed before the image and the people that he had spoken so much idle, vain words. His two hands are yet plainly to be seen in the church.
Shortly afterwards it was suggested to Gramoures by the devil to get a very large candle made, and to fill the interior of the candle with powder, leaving a coating of wax on the outside. In treachery he sent a message to the superior of the church, saying that he had much regret and repentance for attacking the venerable church where the miraculous image was, and that he was sending a wax candle to it in token of his repentance and penance. He asked as a request that the candle should be lighted by day and night before the image until it was wasted, and that then he would send another candle in its place. He was certain that if the candle burned until the powder would be reached, it would catch fire, and the church and all that was in it would be blown asunder and burned, and that the burning and destruction of the town would be the result. The superior and clergy of the church accepted the gift fittingly and appropriately. They lighted the candle in presence of the image.
After a certain time then it had burned so that it was near the place where the powder was, and on a certain night, when all the doors of the church had been closed, about midnight the bells and chimes of the church of themselves rang miraculously, and were heard all over the town. The clergy and the people of the town arose at once, and proceding
p.53to the door of the church, they found the doors closed against them. Then the doorkeeper came with the keys and they entered. They found the candle burning before the image and the bells ringing, and they wondered and were very much surprised.
After a time they surmised that it was miraculously the affair happened. They went on their knees and commenced repenting and praying and invoking the Holy Virgin Mary in presence of the image. When they were a while thus, and the candle was burning to the powder, as the people did not understand the mystery of the miracle, the image pointed its hand to the candle. When the superior of the church saw that, he knew that it was because of harm and evil being in the candle that the hand was pointed and the bens had rung. Thereupon he put out the candle, and the bells became silent at once. The clergy drew out a piece of the match, which was in the centre of the candle, and they found the smell of the powder. They then broke off a piece of it. There was hardly half an inch of it left unburned to the place where there were a number of barrels of powder placed in it. The same candle and treacherous powder is today plainly to be seen to commemorate the miracle.
On Friday, the ninth of November, Ó Néill and the Earl and the nobles with them left Notre Dame de Hal. They were, that night in a great city called Louvain, seven leagues distant. Ó Néill stayed in a hostel called 'The Emperor's House', the Earl in another house. They remained thus for ten days. Then Sir William Stanley, an
p.55English veteran warrior in the service of the King of Spain, came with many nobles to see them and pay them a visit. Afterwards they took two beautiful palaces in the city at a certain rent, payable at the end of each month.
On Sunday, the twenty-fifth of November, the princes set out with their retinue, thirty horsemen in all. Their intention was to go to Spain. They left their ladies and another portion of their retinue in Louvain. They found before them in Iodoigne a troop of the Archduke's cavalry, to whom it was entrusted to escort them. They remained that night in a little village called Perwez, having journeyed six leagues on an ugly road.
On the next day they went in great sleet three leagues to Namur. When they entered the city a post from Brussels with letters from the Archduke overtook them, ordering them not to proceed any further until they should
p.57get instructions again, and to return to Louvain again. They sent a second post to the Archduke to know why they were detained. The order they received was to return to Louvain. They did so. They travelled on their backward journey six leagues to a small town named Wavre. They were somewhat afraid that night because of the insecurity of the town, and the enemy, Gramoures' army, lay in proximity to them. Next day, the twenty-ninth of November, Thursday by the day of the week, they went six leagues to Louvain. They rested and remained in Louvain until the twenty-eighth of February following.
There was a very great snow and frost during that time, so that horses and coaches and waggons might travel on all the lakes and rivers of the country. Only by God's grace could the Regular Orders of the Church perform their course of Masses, offices, sermons, and prayers in the churches. An Irish father of the Order of Saint Francis, Diarmaid Ó Conchubhair from Ciannacht Ghlinne geimhin, stated in the presence of Ó Néill that he endured such cold while celebrating High Mass in the monastery that portion of his fingers shed large quantities of blood.
There was a great sheet of ice on the river at Antwerp, and the inhabitants of the city were accustomed to go out on the ice every day for amusement and to cool themselves. One day, when large numbers went to eat and drink, to sport and dance, the ice warmed because of the crowds and numbers of people, and gave a very great roar
p.59aloud. Then there came a cleft and separation between it and the banks. When the strong river got the ice moving and separated from the banks, it carried it and all that were on it with it. The crowd which had been sporting and playing and merrymaking before would almost have preferred to be at rest inside in the centre of the city than to be drifting thus, even though their eyes would not be on the sea, which was near to them. They shouted and screamed. Then those who were on the banks threw in cords and ropes and poles to them, and it was God's will that all except five persons reached safety and protection.
The prince remained in Louvain during the Christmas time following, in pleasure and enjoyment, with as much display and costliness as they could. The nobles of the city used to come to make amusement for them with musical instruments, dancers, and performers. Spanish noblemen who were in the city were accustomed to visit them.
Intelligence from Brussels reached them that Cormac mac an Bharúin, Ó Néill's brother, had been sent to England and put in the Tower of London, that Lord Howth and the Baron of Delvin, were confined in the
p.61Castle of Dublin, and also that Mag Mathghamhna had been killed in Ireland by an English Governor who was then in Muinechán, Mag Mathghamhna's stronghold. Shortly afterwards they were informed that Brian, son of Art, son of the Baron, Ó Néill was put to death by Sir Arthur Chichester, the Lord Justice of Ireland. Although he did not find that execution a good thing to do, still it was natural that he should hate and detest that Brian, for he Chichester and his army had often turned their backs on him while they were neighbours at war in Trian. Congail Chláireinigh mic Rughraighe, and Brian had often plundered and robbed him and slain his people. All this ill news dispirited the princes, yet they rendered thanks to the heavenly Trinity for every event that befell them. Shortly afterwards they received good news that Mag Mathghamhna was living.
On the day of the Epiphany following, having heard Mass in the churches, the inhabitants of the city went at midday to their houses and homes. A certain pair of soldiers chanced to go into a certain church of the Holy Virgin Mary. A statue and image of Mary with the figure of her Son in her bosom happened to be on the altar, with a precious, beautiful, bright, conspicuous crown of red gold on the image
p.63of Mary, and another on that of her Son. The suggestion which the devil made to them was to commit an outrage on the image of Mary and her Son and to strip them of the two crowns, and to go into France afterwards. When they decided upon this, one of the m en ascended the altar, and without feeling or scruple, took the crown off the image of Mary. He put it into the other's hand. He then stretched towards the Child, desiring to remove His crown. The Child put up His own hand against his to protect His crown. The wicked man became startled, and trembled and conceived a sorrow, which was not true repentance. They then went out of the church and entered a certain hostel in the city. When they had taken their dinner they made known part of the affair to two women who were in the house. Afterwards they left the city and hied them on the road for France. From midday until nightfall and from that to the dawn of day they kept continually journeying and walking. On the next day they took a wrong road, and went astray during the whole night.
When the clergy came to the church in the evening they missed the crown, and were sad and ashamed when they found that the image of Mary was without it. They did not know what to do. But the two men who stole the crown, having travelled from midnight till morning, found themselves inside the church at the dawn of day. When a certain pair of young clerics entered the church early in the morning they found the two soldiers inside, and the crown of Mary under the arm of one of them. He often endeavoured to conceal it under his coat, but could not succeed. Then the clergy of the church and all the neighbouring people of the city gathered and came together. The crown was taken to the image, and the two men taken prisoners. The miraculous event was made known all through the city. The two men confessed before the clergy and laity of the city how everything from beginning to end happened. They did not distort or conceal anything of the affair, but told it as above, saying also that the women knew something of it. No penance
p.65or hardship was put on them while making this confession, but the whole admission was made of their own will. Intelligence of the miracle went to Brussels and the great cities of the kingdom. Afterwards an order came to the governor of the city from the Archduke to hang the two men, and that was done. The women were stripped, then, and no offer or condition that they made was accepted, but they were scourged disgracefully and mercilessly round the city and through the great market-place.
On the eighth of February, 1608, the weather became somewhat damp and wet. A certain amount of thaw set in in the small rivers, though the ice of the large ones did not break. On the river which comes to Louvain there was a small branch going round the outside of the walls near the two palaces where the lords were. There was an exceedingly small streamlet entering this branch and flowing from a garden between the two palaces. A certain man of the Earl's people, who was going with some message to the palace where Ó Néill was, saw a very large salmon in a small hole in a plank on the stream. He drew a weapon at once and killed the salmon. He brought it to the Earl, and came then to Ó Néill's presence. All the nobles of the city who were near them came to see the salmon. They were surprised at his size, and that he was got where he was found. They said they never saw during their lives, and never heard from those who lived before them, that a salmon was ever before got on the river of Louvain, or on that particular branch of it.
The princes were in Louvain until the eighteenth of the same month. They then went to Mechlin, a famous city in the province of Flanders. Having dined with Sir William Stanley, they crossed the great river which goes from Brussels to Antwerp. They stayed that night in a little town
p.67close to the river. Mechlin is a famous city of great extent, situated in a very pretty valley. Its houses and well-constructed buildings are very beautiful. There is a good, large river through the city, divided through all the streets of the town, with many bridges and boats. There is a very large cathedral in the centre of the city, built and ornamented with much labour and artistic work, having bright painted altars with beautiful statues, and a belfry, one of the largest and highest in Christendom. There is the tomb of an Irish saint in that church. God performed many wonders and miracles through him. He was the son of the King of Ireland. The people of the city venerate and reverence very much the tomb and image of that saint because of the greatness of the miracles God did through him. There are lighted waxen torches over the tomb both night and day, with divine service continually. There is one of the finest hospitals in the world in the city, where every class of sick person of all nations is admitted at the cost of the King of Spain.
The next day they went to Antwerp. As they proceeded they crossed a very large river which comes from Ghent. It was covered with an enormous sheet of ice. They led their horses by the reins over the ice to the middle of the river. They then put them in boats from a quay of ice, and landed them on a similar one on the other side. They reached a fort in front of the city. of Antwerp called 'The Head of Flanders'. They left their horses there, and came themselves in boats to the city. When they had taken a hostel, they went to view the castle of Antwerp. All admit that that castle is one of the greatest fortresses in Christendom. The river surrounds it, and there are a thousand Spaniards continually guarding it by night and by day, with much regular cannon and large ordnance provided with every convenience and necessity that is required. They have a very pretty church inside. There are two large guns of brass in a
p.69high position, each gun thirty-six feet long. They carry almost three leagues in shooting their bullets, as the garrison say. They allow no nation at all to see or examine the work, except Spaniards or Irishmen.
Next they went round the walls of the town. Though the wall is not to be compared with the castle as regards strength, still it is in keeping with it, for the rampart and circuit is twenty-five feet thick without counting the breastworks and sconces, as strong as any in the world, and well protecting one another. There is a great wide ditch around the wall. We could not learn the depth of it because of the great sheet of ice. Although there had nearly been a disaster to the inhabitants of the city a short time before that, as stated above, still there were about twenty thousand persons then sporting and dancing at one time on the ice. The princes remained till evening viewing the city, and then went to their lodgings.
The next morning they went on a visit to the Irish college in the city. That college was very beautiful, with numerous apartments and many students. They heard High Mass that was sung, with sweet, melodious organs and instruments of music of all kinds. Petarcha, a Spaniard of noble birth, was in charge of the college. He insisted on their being present at a banquet with him. Afterwards he brought them to see his own house. He gave to Ó Néill and the Earl two images of the Virgin Mary that were made of the famous tree in which had been discovered shortly before that the miraculous statue of Mary called Notre Dame de Buais, which heals daily and in large numbers the diseased and the infirm by the grace of God and Holy Mary. They then went to see the house and gardens of the Burgomaster, the chief officer of the town. Very pretty and beautiful was that sight, with many statues and pictures of apostles, saints, and holy people
p.71made of pure white marble. They went from there to the place where the glasses were made. Strange and wonderful and skilful was the method and manner in which they made and prepared from the beginning the fire in which they are made. It had been continually lighted by day and night for eleven years before that time. If once a cessation or quenching should come on its flames, not less than five hundred pounds would be spent in kindling it again before one glass could come out of it completed. They went from. that place to a very imposing town hall in the centre of the city. That house was very beautiful, strong, and well-built, but because of the war that had been there at that time, it was not open to visitors. They went to another remarkable house called a 'guesthouse'. There are in that house sleeping-rooms and dining-rooms prepared for every traveller of every nation in Christendom. The city of Antwerp ranks among the richest, most beautiful, strongest, most impregnable, and best built cities in the world, with a very beautiful river, and both sea and land in proximity to it.
They hastened out of that city after midday, and went three leagues till they reached the river which flows through Ghent. They went to a small town on the bank of the river where the King has a strong castle, with a hundred soldiers always guarding it. Willebroeck is its name. The next day they went to Vilvorde, a very strong town where the Archduke has a strong castle. Every nobleman of the country meriting death by his own misdeeds, who obtains as an act of grace and concession that he shall not suffer death in public before the people, is brought to that same castle. Under God, not many persons in the world except the governor know what death and end they meet, but they never come out again.
That day also they went to Louvain, the famous
p.73ancient city. The circuit of its walls is extensive. Portion of it is unoccupied by house or habitation. It is beautiful arid well-built, having many churches and monasteries, with a large number of clergy and much divine service. The Church of Saint Peter is in the centre of the city, well-built and decorated, with an excellent white statue of the Virgin Mary, which daily performs visibly many miracles and wonders; also fifty splendid altars with painted pictures, and divine service continually at each altar. A short mile from the city the Duke of Ascot has a very pretty court, built and decorated with much labour and expense, with a good river surrounding it, and well-made, artistic, well-watered gardens. There is a beautiful church, one of the prettiest in the world, built by the Duke himself, in front of the court, in which there is a picture, history, and tomb of the Duke, and histories and representations of his ancestors before him, from Adam down On the river of that same court there is a cleverly constructed mill, which at one time grinds corn and splits timber, without any assistance except that of a driver directing it in its proper function.
On Thursday, the twenty-eighth of February, 1608, the princes with their retinue, set out for Italy, in all thirty-two riding on horseback. Their ladies had a coach. They left two of Ó Néill's sons, Sean and Brian, the Baron, the Earl of Tyrconnell's son, Aodh, the son of Cathbharr, Ó Coinne, Sean Ó Hagain, and others of their nobles and followers in Flanders with the Colonel.
They came that night to a town called Wavre, four leagues from Louvain, with a troop of the Archduke's
p.75cavalry attending and escorting them. The next day they went six leagues of an ugly, bad road to Namur. They remained there that night. The governor of the city came with a large number of noblemen to welcome and receive them with propriety and honour. He sent a company and a half of soldiers to escort them the next day, for fear the enemy might meet them. Because of the unnevenness and wetness of the road ahead of them, they left their coach in that city. They put their women on horses. The Colonel and those who accompanied him took leave of them there.
This is a compact, fine, strong, well-built city, with good, well-made houses, situated in a very beautiful glen. There is a good river directed and divided in many parts through it, with a large number of bridges and a great supply of boats. On a beautiful high hill over the city the King of Spain has a very strong castle, which has command, headship, and mastery over the whole town, manned with a huge body of cavalry and numerous soldiers always.
From there they went eight leagues to Marche. The soldiers of the town came out one league to meet them. They stayed in it that night. That town is small and fortified, and the King of Spain has a fort in it with a strong garrison.
The next day, Sunday the second of March, they went six leagues to a town called Bastogne. They required no escort that day. From there they went six leagues to Arlon, a town belonging to the King of Spain.
The next day, Tuesday, they went to a town belonging to the Duke of Lorraine, four leagues distant. They had a convoy with them as far as that. It is there the King of Spain's country and that of the Duke of Lorraine meet and separate from each other. There is a very strong fort, built by the Duke, in that town, with many strange
p.77guards to protect and defend the frontier of his country against neighbours. Not many are permitted to view or examine that one fortress. The roads from Namur to that place went very bad, rough and wet, and there were many woods and few houses. They went that same day two leagues further to a town called Fillieres.
The next day they went on seven leagues to a post-town named Malatur. They proceeded that same day through a very pretty town, Conflans. A difficult river, with a very strong current, over which there was a bridge flowed through it. Father Tomás Strong and Magbhethadh Ó Néill were in danger of being drowned in it, for the horse fell under each of them. They were obliged to resort to swimming.
They advanced from there five leagues to Pont-a-Mousson, a strong and pretty town belonging to the Duke of Lorraine, in which he has a very good palace. They remained there two nights. They sent people before them to the Duke to announce that they were coming to him. There is a famous river running through the town, on which there is a fine bridge, with a very strong castle with numerous guards on a high hill over it, and from this bridge the town gets its name.
They proceeded from there three leagues on the left side of the river. They then crossed it in boats. They went to Nancy, the Duke's chief city, a distance of two
p.79leagues. Very beautiful and varied was the country through which they journeyed that day, with plenty of vines and wheat, fruitful forests, and many houses. About two leagues from the city, on a beautiful high hill, there is a very strong castle with a large number of guards. It is there the Duke's children are instructed and brought up in their youth. The Duke sent coaches and noblemen a distance from the Court to meet them. When they alighted the Duke's steward called to invite them to the great palace, but they excused themselves for that night because of their journey. After they had heard Mass on the next day the same man came to meet them with good coaches. They then went to the palace. They remained walking and passing the time in an extensive, excellent, beautiful gallery while the Duke was in the church hearing Mass. He came from the church afterwards. He himself was in becoming dress, with some of his noblemen discoursing with him, and his two sons after him. He had a very beautiful guard, and many pages on either side of him. When he came to his hall he sent great lords for them. the Irish. They went into his presence. He received them with joy and honour, and his children did likewise. They remained for a time discoursing and conversing with one another. Afterwards they sat down to dinner. They were six in number, the Duke and his two sons, Ó Néill, the Earl, and the Baron of Dungannon. There were many honourable noblemen waiting on them. He brought them afterwards to his private apartment. There they remained for a time. They then took their leave and retired to their lodgings. There was an Earl, who was head-steward of the Duke, accompanying them. He proclaimed under severe penalty, that no one should accept gold or silver of them while they should be in the city, but that all their expenses during that time should be borne by the Duke.
This is a famous and distinguished capital city, one of the strongest, best defended, and most spacious in the countries near it. There is a very deep trench around its
p.81wall. There are three gates one behind the other with a large guard. The wall is fourteen yards in thickness without counting the breastworks. On the south side of the city there is a splendid, well-built court in process of erection by the Duke, with two grand palaces artistically situated. There is a great town built around that new court, and joined to the old city. There are two very beautiful churches, a wealthy college, and a good monastery, with a community of Capuchins, built by the Duke in proximity to the new city. In the old city itself there are many fine churches, in one of which there is a fourth part of, the body of Saint George, splendidly and reverently enclosed in a shrine of silver with many bright precious stones. The Duke himself has a great beautiful old palace in the city, having an excellent gallery and many splendid spacious apartments. There is a good tennis-court, where the Duke's children and nobles play, near his private room, where he can view and see their sport and games. There is a long stable, with many beautiful, well-shaped horses, which are not large, in the court opposite the palace. There is a place where horsemen and noblemen joust and ride, breaking lances on one another's breasts.
The next day the princes set out on coaches which the Duke gave them to the church of Saint Nicholas, two leagues' journey from the aforesaid city. One of the hands of Saint Nicholas was shown to them. They advanced from there to a little town called Lunéville on the bank of the river we have already mentioned. On Tuesday, the eleventh of March, they proceeded from there eight leagues to the town named St. Die. The weather and the roads were very good throughout that period. On the next day they crossed the mountain of Saint Martin over hard, difficult roads covered with ice and snow. They stopped for a short time in a small town where the Duke's country and Germany meet and separate from each other. They left behind them the Duke's territory, with its abundance of
p.83vines and wheat and every good fruit, its beautiful rivers, its wide, many-rivered, watery plains, and its tall, fruit-laden woods on the river of Nancy, which is called Meurthe. The Duke has seven mines where salt is manufactured and prepared. He makes one million profit each year by the rent of the seven mines.
Give a blessing for the soul of the writer.
There is another small city in the country out of which he gets eleven hundred hogsheads of wine for rent every year. Gold and silver are being continually coined for him. It is not every crowned king in Christendom whose rent and profit out of his dominions each year exceeds his. His country is thirty-five leagues in length, and it is as a garden in the very centre of Christendom, giving neither obedience nor submission to any king or prince in the world, but ever steadfast, strong, and unbending in the faith of God's Church.
From that place they went one league to Bonhomme, the German town that was nearest to them. They travelled two leagues across the mountain to a town named Kaysersberg. They passed through a very beautiful valley in which there was a very good river, much vines and good crops, and numerous pretty villages. That night they went three leagues to a remarkable city which is called Colmar, and is very strong, powerful, and extensive. Near to it is the most beautiful, wide, level, and fruitful plain in the greater part of Christendom. Heretics, however, occupy and inhabit it. They remained there that night. The following day they went through a great, trackless, difficult, unfrequented wood to the river which is named Campser, and separates that portion of Germany and part of Burgundy, a country which belongs to the Archduke. The length of the wood was about two leagues. That night they reached
p.85a small town called Hotmers, having travelled five leagues, in all.
On the following day they travelled a league, through the town called Niderharga, to the very famous river Rhine. They moved on to Bâle, a fine, strong, old, remarkable city which is built on it. There is a very good bridge in the centre of the city over the river, and numerous boats afford a means of leaving it and getting to it from Flanders and the country around the river. Those who occupy and inhabit it are heretics. There is a very large church in the middle of the city in which there were images, and pictures of Luther and Calvin and many other wicked evil writers. That city is an independent state in itself, and no king in the world claims submission or authority in it. It alone is the main entrance to the land of the Swiss called Helvetia. Afterwards, through fear of conspiracy by the heretics, they left the city. They proceeded two leagues up the river to a small strong town named Liesthal. Its inhabitants were Catholic. It is usual to demand custom in Bâle for the horses of strangers and travellers who cross through the country. The road was even and beautiful, advancing beside the river in a long rich valley. There were two high mountains, with much vines and good crops, on either side of it.
The following day they went five leagues to the town named Sursee. On the road before them there was a beautiful high mountain with many fir and other trees from which pitch is extracted. They passed that day through two towns with very strong walls Olten and Zoffingen, on
p.87the bank of the Rhine. In each of them custom was taken from them for their horses.
The next day, Sunday the sixteenth of March, they crossed the river Rhine by a very long bridge which had a good roof over the whole length of it. They payed custom to the keepers of the bridge. They advanced through a very pretty town named Sempach, and from there to a remarkable city, Lucerne, a distance of two long leagues. The population is Catholic. There is a papal Nuncio in the city, and it is situated on the Rhine, and has strong walls, numerous, beautiful, well-built houses, and many boats and vessels. There are three bridges over the river. From there they and their horses. went in boats across a great lake called Alpnacher-See, which is nine leagues in length and one in breadth. The Alps are all around it. They towed through the lake till they reached a small town, Flüelen Pourlacu at midnight. They remained there that night.
The next day, Saint Patrick's day precisely, the seventeenth of March, they went to another small town named Silenen. From that they advanced through the Alps. Now the mountains were laden and filled with snow and ice, and the roads and paths were narrow and rugged. They reached a high bridge in a very deep glen called the
p.89Devil's Bridge. One of Ó Néill's horses, which was carrying some of his money, about one hundred and twenty pounds, fell down the face of the high, frozen, snowy cliff which was in front of the bridge. Great labour was experienced in bringing up the horse alone, but the money decided to remain blocking the violent, deep, destructive torrent which flows under the bridge through the middle of the glen. They stayed that night in a little town named Piedimonte. Their journey that day was six leagues.
The next day the Earl proceeded over the Alps. Ó Néill remained in the town we have mentioned. He sent some of his people to search again for the money. Though they endured much labour, their efforts were in vain. Because of the snow and ruggedness and ice of the mountain in front of them, they were scarcely able to ride the next day except in the way that is usual when crossing the Alps. There were strong oxen with sleighs yoked to them bringing all of them that could not travel over the hard road. There is a splendid chapel on the very summit of the mountain erected and built in honour of Saint Gotthard. From it that portion of the mountain has taken its name. Near it there is a convenient hostel in which strangers and those who pass the way get supplies to buy. The roads over which they travelled immediately after having departed from that chapel were neither excellent nor such as would be level enough for riding on wild, spirited, untamed horses, but as they descended from the mountain they were icy, stony, narrow and rugged until they reached a town called Airolo. The worst and hardest portion of the mountain is only three leagues long. After that they went through a very beautiful valley until they reached the
p.91gate called the Gate of Hell. Over it was written in Italian that no one, under pain of death, should go under it or past it without paying custom. The keeper did not neglect demanding and receiving it. The road was rough, rugged, narrow, and uneven until they reached Faido, and was crossed by a hard difficult river. The Earl was there waiting for them in the house of an earl of that country who does kindness and honour to every foreigner and every class of strangers who pass the way. He quickly and readily gave them dinner and provisions. Each of them paid no more than one half-crown at the settlement of their account with the master of the stable for the horses, the chamberlain and servants of the house being not forgotten besides. They remained there that night. Their journey was six leagues.
On the following day they went through a very beautiful valley which had much vines, wheat, crops, produce of every kind, with great wide plains, a very beautiful river, and small streams of spring water. They advanced eight leagues to a fine fortified town called Bellinzona. There are three strong castles with many powerful guards in it, which maintain supremacy and command over the town and all the country in the neighbourhood of the road.
The next day they continued to advance through the same valley. They reached another portion of the Alps named Monte Ceneri. There are numerous woods on either side of the road, which was uneven, stony, rough, difficult and hard to travel although there was no snow on it. There were plenty of vines on the summits and sides of the mountain-range near the road. They came to another very beautiful valley called Lugano. That night they
p.93reached a very large town named Capo di Lago, having travelled six leagues.
From there they and their horses went in boats across Lake Lugano, which separates Italy and Helvetia, the country of the Swiss, from each other. The lake is only three leagues in width. They had traversed forty-six leagues of the country of the Swiss, and it was strong, well fortified, uneven, mountainous, extensive, having bad roads, and no supremacy, rule or claim to submission by any king or prince in the world over the inhabitants. In themselves they form a strange, remarkable, peculiar state. They make their selection of a system for the government of the country each year. They have fourteen important cities. Half of them are Catholics and the other half are heretics, and by agreement and great oaths they are bound to one another for their defence and protection against any neighbour in the world who should endeavour to injure them or oppose them in upholding the public good with moderation and appropriateness. The names of the aforesaid cities are Lucerne, Bâle, Valais, Soluthurn, Zug, Schwyz, Zürich, Bern, Uri, Stanz, Glarus, Fribourg, Schaffhausen, and Appenzell. It is said of the people of this country that they are the most just, honest, and untreacherous in the world, and the most faithful to their promises. They allow no robbery or murder to be done in their country without punishing it at once. Because of their perfect honour they alone are guards to the Catholic kings and princes of Christendom.
The nobles landed at a small town called
p.95Capolago. From there they went to a great remarkable Italian city, Como by name, situated on the side of a great lake named Lake Como. It goes a distance of eighty leagues through Germany. Over that lake, therefore, all the wine that is required comes to the greater part of the portion of Italy which borders it.
On Sunday the twenty-third of March, after having heard Mass, they proceeded to the great remarkable famous city Milan, a distance of eight leagues over good roads, the day being wet and very stormy. After their journey they remained resting until the following Wednesday. A great respected earl, one of the most excellent soldiers in the world in his time also, as his victory and fortune in battle and good luck showed clearly and evidently to Christendom, Count de Fuentes by name, was chief-governor and representative of the king of Spain over that city and over all Lombardy. He sent the King's ambassador at Lucerne, who happened to be in the city, to welcome them and to receive them with honour. On Wednesday the nobles went in person into the presence of the earl. He received them with honour and respect. There were many noblemen and a very great guard on either side of him. They remained three full weeks in the city. During that time the earl had great honour shown them.
Omitting Paris in France and Lisbon in the kingdom of Portugal, this city is one of the greatest cities in
p.97Christendom. There is some likeness and rivalry between it and Rome and Naples. It is situated on level, even ground, wide, firm, extensive, and well-equipped, having palaces and well-made, well-built houses. There is a good river, which flows from Lake Como, divided into many portions through it, and having many bridges. Much of the supplies of the city and the country come by that river from Como and from Germany. There is a strong castle, one of the best fortified in the world, having a thousand Spanish soldiers equipped with all conveniences and requisites always guarding it by night and day, at the side of the city, which it controls and commands. There are five hundred great guns planted on the castle. A special governor subordinate to the earl is in command. Not many people, Spaniards and Irish alone excepted, are allowed into it. The earl himself has a splendid palace in the very centre of the city. A company of soldiers always armed act as guard about it both night and day. The city cathedral of Santa Maria del Duomo is close to the palace. It is a very great and beautiful church with five rows of marble columns and a marble architrave. There is a splendid chapel built beneath the great altar of the church where there are many relics of saints and holy people. Of the famous Innocents that were slain by Herod, son of Antipater, when searching for Christ, there are eleven in that chapel. On the feast of the Innocents each year their bodies are shown to all. In front of the great high-altar is the body and tomb of Cardinal Borromeo, who was archbishop in the city nine years before
p.99that time. Since he died everyone thinks he is a saint, and he will soon be canonised in Rome.
The princes came on a visit to this church on the evening of Good Friday. They saw many hundreds of men in a splendid procession, with lighted waxen torches about them, and their faces covered so that they might not be recognised. They were scourging, smiting and whipping their bodies until the streets and the churches in which they walked were red with blood and gore. To behold them moved one much to charity and self-examination.
Including the churches and monasteries of communities of religious and priests, there are two hundred and forty-three churches in the city, not counting many chapels that were erected by noblemen for the practice of their devotion. There is a good altar erected in every market-place in the city, where Masses are celebrated each day. There are three parish churches in the castle. On ninety days in the year there is a station and indulgence in the churches of the city. It is the custom that men and women be not together at any station, but they divide the time about the middle of the day. There are seven chief churches in the city which are privileged with all the indulgences of the seven great churches of Rome. It was Pope Gregory XIII who granted these privileges to Cardinal Charles Borromeo, who was archbishop of Milan at the time. The names of the churches are, the great cathedral of Santa Maria del Duomo, San Simpliciano, San Vittore al Corpo, Sant' Ambrogio Maggiore, San Nazaro Maggiore, San Lorenzo Maggiore, and San Stefano Parimente Maggiore. There are many relics of saints and holy people in these churches. Every patron day the tradesmen of the city come in splendid procession to them with banners and standards, and distribute alms and charity at the cathedral. There are six special days each year for the
p.101giving of alms, a day for each gate of the six gates of the city, for the building of the great church. Those who live in the city itself are obliged to give their alms and offerings at the gate nearest to them. Except for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, the ceremonies and liturgy of this city are different from those of the Roman Court, for it continued the practice and ceremonies of the great Saint Ambrose. That saint was declared bishop of Milan in the year of Our Lord three hundred and seventy-four. Under God he alone brought all Italy to Christianity and piety. Six good churches and a hospital were built by him in the city. His body and tomb is in one of these churches, where there is a congregation and community of monks. On the anniversary of the day on which he took possession of the bishopric his body is exhibited each year. Works of devotion and great piety, as well as the distribution of much alms, are performed that day in the city and throughout the diocese. On the day of the Epiphany the superiors of the church of Sant' Eustorgio, where the sarcophagus of the three kings who came to visit Christ in His Infancy, and a piece of the gold they gave Him are exhibited, bestow for God's sake a dowry on nine maidens. Much charity and good holy deeds are performed in that city, but it would be tedious to enumerate them all.
The lords took their leave of Count de Fuentes on the twelfth of April. He had been kindly and friendly to them at their coming, and he was sad when they left. He gave them as a token of remembrance a collection of rapiers and fine daggers, with hilts of ornamented precious stones, all gilt, and belts and expensive hangers. That night they were in a town seven leagues away named Lodi, a fine, strong, compact place where the King of Spain has a garrison. They had very good roads through
p.103a fruitful country that day, but there was storm, rain, thunder and lightning in the night.
The next day they travelled seven leagues to an ancient remarkable city named Piacenza. There is a very remarkable river close to the city. It is very great and very wide. Those who have not seen it before admire the manner in which people and horses cross it in boats, for it is other boats with hempen ropes that move them skilfully without sails or rowing. The name of the river is the Po. There is a strong old castle, with many strong guards and a level, excellent, wide green, in the city. The Duke of Parma has two small pretty boats with white houses, in which he himself delights and amuses himself up and down the river whenever he wishes. That river divides and separates the Duke of Parma's country from Lombardy.
The following day they went to Parma, twelve leagues' journey. On their way there was one very beautiful river, with a long and firm bridge, and many other rivers besides. When they dismounted at the city of Parma a noble earl of the country came to welcome them and receive them in the name of the Duke of Parma. The next day he came with good coaches to them to conduct them to where the Duke was. He received them with honour and respect. They remained speaking and conversing with one another for some time. Then they took their leave. Near the Duke's garden they were shown a leopard and two lions. They went to see a strongly fortified castle which the Duke has at a distance from the city. It has a plan and structure and position similar to those of the castle of Antwerp in Flanders and the castle of Milan in Italy. There is an army of twenty thousand men, horse and foot, with
p.105abundance of stores and every requisite, and numerous; strong defences in that castle. It consists of earthworks raised with skill in a level flat plain in the middle of a watery, deep marsh. The noble earl we have mentioned was in their company during that time. He brought them to his own palace. After they had taken their dinner they were shown two camels. The sight of them was strange. They then went to the earl's study. In it there were wonderful wooden organs which he had made with his own hands, as well as numbers of books on singing and history. They bade farewell to the earl and went to their hostels. Afterwards they hastened from the city for five leagues to the small town named Reggio, where there is a picture of the holy Virgin Mary which is continually working miracles and wonder. The city of Parma is well-fortified, strong, beautiful and extensive, with well-made well-constructed houses and buildings. There is an excellent river going through the city, having a good bridge and frequented by many boats.
On Tuesday, the fifteenth of April, the princes advanced twelve leagues to the town named Bologna. They passed that day through a strong fort belonging to the Duke of Parma. Afterwards they crossed a beautiful river which divides the country of the Duke of Parma from that of the Duke of Modena. They went through the city of Modena. There were great preparations being made there for the amusements and jousting of the next day. On that particular day the Duke's son was bringing home the daughter of the Duke of Savoy. In boats they
p.107crossed the river Panaro which divided that duchy from the mensal land of the Pope. There is a high castle built in the middle of the river which gives great help in times of flood and storm to vessels and boats that are crossing. They went to a pretty little fortified town named Castelfranco belonging to the Pope. Next they went to Bologna. A noble cardinal in the city sent some of his household to welcome them and receive them with honour and respect in his name, and to invite them to come to supper to him. They excused themselves that night because of their journey.
The following day Ó Néill went before the cardinal. He received him with great honour, respect and welcome. Bologna is an important city, very large, very strong, extensive, well-built and well-constructed, with numerous churches and monasteries. The body of the great famous noble patron, Saint Dominic, is in a splendid church in the city named Saint James. The cardinal himself has an excellent large palace in the centre of the city. In front of the palace there is a fountain of spring water skilfully arranged, and from it many streams of water shoot up on high. The princes left the city and went to a town named Saint Nicholas. From there they proceeded to a very strong fort belonging to the Pope named Castel San Pietro. That night they went from there to a fine, strong, compact town named Imola, a distance of seven leagues.
On Thursday the seventeenth, of the same month, they passed through a strong
p.109fort belonging to the Pope, Castel Bolognese is its name. Then they went through a great city named Faenza to a large town called Forligrande. That night they advanced to another large town named Cesena. Ten leagues they travelled that day. The Pope has a very strong castle with many strong defences in that town.
The following day they went three leagues to a strong fort belonging to the Pope named Savignano, and then to a great and famous city called Rimini. It was there they came in sight of the Adriatic Sea. On it is built the famous and remarkable city of Venice. It is twenty leagues from Rimini to Venice. That night they advanced with the sea on their left to the small town Cattolica. Their journey that day was ten leagues. The roads were very good, and as they went along there was fair fruitful land, with much vines, wheat, and abundance of every crop on either side of the road. The Pope has many fine strong towers on the sea-coast through fear of the Turks coming to harm Italy.
On Sunday, the twentieth of the same month, having heard Mass, they passed through a great city belonging to the Duke of Urbino named Pesaro. From there they went to another beautiful strong city, Fano, and to another remarkable famous one, belonging to the same Duke, named Senigallia, picturesquely situated on a very beautiful river, and having large numbers to defend it. They do not allow many people into the interior of that castle to see it. There is an excellent and pretty hostel outside the city. There is a very fine liver and a daisy-covered, clover -flowered
p.111level, wide green near that hostel. They had travelled ten leagues that day.
The next day they advanced with the sea on their left to the famous city of Ancona. The Pope has three strong castles there and many strong guards, with all necessaries for defence. They command the city and the country near the bay. Afterwards they pushed on to Loreto. Their journey was nine leagues. They stopped and rested there that night. On the next day they made a pilgrimage to that holy and highly-indulgenced church. They remained in the town a second night.
In the name of God we shall narrate a few of the many, or a small number of the multitude, of the miracles of Loreto, according as we found them written in ancient histories: The chapel of Loreto was ordered and selected by the heavenly Father long before its erection on earth by the tribe of Jesse. In the great, remarkable, worthy city of Nazareth in Galilee that house was first built. It was there that Joachim and Anna, the father and mother of the holy Virgin Mary, lived and remained. It was there too that the holy Virgin was conceived, born, and reared. In that same house the noble archangel Gabriel delivered the message from the heavenly Father to holy Mary whence came the redemption of the children of Adam from the sins and transgressions consequent on original sin. In that house without loss of her virginity she gave birth to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He was nourished afterwards on
p.113the white, milky, holy breasts of the Virgin, until the angel came from heaven to command and order her and her Son to go in exile and banishment to Egypt to escape Herod, son of Antipater, when the holy Innocents were slain. When our Lord was twelve years of age they returned from Egypt to the same house. There the holy Virgin spent the remainder of her days in this world. From it Almighty God's angels and archangels raised her holy body to the heaven of the angels plainly and evidently before all who saw it. When she rested in heaven, the apostles and disciples of the Lord dwelt for a while in that house. Afterwards they decided to bless and consecrate it so that it might serve only as an oratory and house wherein they might invoke Almighty God. Accordingly the apostles made with their own blessed hands a splendid miraculous cross in the shape of the Cross of Christ to commemorate it. Without doubt the only more miraculous image in all the world is that of the holy Virgin Mary made by the hands of Luke the evangelist. They were placed together in that chapel. Because of the number of its wonders and miracles and its holiness, the inhabitants of the city of Nazareth did great honour and showed exceeding great devotion to it. The neighbouring countries honoured it also.
Now there was a certain emperor named Heraclius elected in Rome at that time. He joined with Chosroes, king of Persia, in opposition to the law and faith of the church of God. They destroyed and banished the Catholic faith out of all the land of Jerusalem. They set up in ignorance and disbelief a supposed god by name Mahomet. The inhabitants of the city and the country were prevented by fear from submitting to God's religion in that holy chapel. Pope Nicholas IV, who was in Rome, commenced a war
p.115and an attack on these heretics. He despatched portion of his army to a great city in Asia named Tripoli. They besieged it. The pagan kings already mentioned came to relieve it. At that particular time, then, this holy house of Loreto, with all its materials and structure, moved away, being carried by the favour of God and holy Mary on the shoulders and breasts of the angels and archangels of Almighty God. They alighted and came to rest on a remarkable, beautiful eminence in a level, even, wide plain in Tersatto, in the kingdom of Slavonia, about midnight on the sixth of May of the year we have mentioned. Now the inhabitants of that country were accustomed to gather in this plain on these particular days each year for a festival and great ceremony. They were greatly surprised and wondered much when they saw the splendid chapel, for they knew not whence it came. After a time they went in. They found in it the image of the holy Virgin Mary and the cross already mentioned. Then they all came to the conclusion that it was the miraculous house and home where the Mother of the Redeemer was conceived and born. They feared greatly because of the transference and coming of the house. Afterwards they reverenced and honoured it. Many of the diseased and sick of the neighbouring districts had their health restored and benefited there. That also increased the earnestness and devotion to that house of the people who dwelt near it.
There was once a certain very noble prior superior in the monastery of Saint George. Because of his good life he is considered by everyone to be a saint. Alexandro was his name. This prior contracted a burning painful fever. He ordered that he should be conducted to the holy house of Loreto. That was done. He prayed and invoked the holy Virgin before the image. It seemed good to her to make known and reveal to that holy prior the secret history
p.117and the sacred mystery of that wonderful chapel. She came in person to speak and discourse with him, for he was holy and learned in wisdom and truths given him by the heavenly Father. Having miraculously appeared in splendour and brightness, she said: Here before thee am I, Mary the Mother of the Redeemer, whom thou hast besought and invoked with many prayers. Direct all thy hope and intention and meditation to my wondrous Son, and by His mercy thou shalt have health. Understand that it was in this holy house that I was conceived, born, and reared. In it, too, I was chosen by the heavenly Father as bodily Mother for his own Son. In it, also, I celebrated the hours, said prayers, and chanted hymns, invoking the Almighty God. There I was espoused in accordance with the Law and became spouse to Joseph the just. I preserved my virginity until I received from the heavenly Father the great conception whence came the saving of the race of Adam from the sins and transgressions of the first parents. For nine months afterwards Him I bore with reverence, until by grace I miraculously gave birth without labour, without earthly pain, without natural difficulty, without harm to my virginity, to Him, God and Man in one Person in that same house. There I reared Him, I fed Him on the breasts of my bosom, I carried Him and nursed Him, until the angel came from heaven to command me to fly with my Son to Egypt, to avoid Herod, son of Antipater. Joseph guided us and supported us throughout the journey. When my Son was twelve years old, we returned to the same house. I lived there afterwards as long as I was in life in the world. When I went to heaven of the archangels, John of the Bosom, with the other apostles, came to dwell in the
p.119house. They made of it a tabernacle and a venerable, honoured, holy place of prayer. Then they scattered throughout the world, according to the Almighty God's command, to plant the faith. Afterwards the house miraculously moved, so that it came to this place. Let this history and narrative and the holy tidings be made known and published by thee to all the neighbouring regions, and thou shalt have health from my Son, who is glorious and full of grace.
Immediately there came a multitude of legions of angels and archangels to meet the holy Virgin. Then she departed from that holy father. From the brightness and splendour, and the pleasantness of the divine heavenly odour on every side of her, he received health at once. He gave thanks to the holy Virgin and to her miraculous Son. He then journeyed to his home and narrated the events to all he saw.
The report and account of the matter reached the officer who was governing the country, Nicolas Frangipani was his name. He summoned to him the aforesaid father to learn the certainty and true account of the great miracle. When he heard them, he obliged the father to go without delay straight to Nazareth to find out if the story were true. There were four great, worthy, honoured noblemen of the country along with him. They reached Nazareth. Their journey was easy and without difficulty. They made enquiries of the great men of the city as to what had happened to the house. They narrated to them all the deeds and events and miracles connected with the house while it remained with them, how it was at length taken away from them miraculously on the shoulders and breasts of angels, and that they did not know whither it had gone. However, the messengers measured the foundation of it, its length, its breadth, and its circuit. They returned to Tersatto. That
p.121house, when measured then, had a measurement exactly equal to that which they had made at Nazareth. After all these proofs the people of the neighbouring cities and all the country gave great reverence and honour to the house, visiting it frequently with great devotion. For three years and seven months it remained in that place. The natives of the country, however, began to fear the passion and tyranny, the rage and rapine, of the Emperor Heraclius. For that reason the remarkable, wondrous, holy house became unfrequented, they neglected their devotion and their hearts grew cold, so that they did not give it such honour and respect as had been customary. But the great, wondrous Son and Almighty God were pleased to remove it from the place where it was. Angels and archangels carried it with them in its own form and shape, without change of stones or timbers, over the great, wide Adriatic Sea. They rested not until they reached Italy. They alighted in a dense wood in the province of the Marches, near the ancient city of Recanati. Laureta was the name of the noble widow whose private possession that wood was. For that reason the people acquired the habit of naming the picture the image of Mary of Loreto. The year of the Lord that time was one thousand two hundred and ninety-four, the tenth of September. Though that wood was close, intricate, and dark in olden times, yet it was gleaming, bright, and glorious from the angelic light the angels left in the holy house and around about it. Those who saw it believed that there were fires and conflagrations alighted in the wood.
Now there were shepherds guarding their flocks close to the wood. When they observed the great strange wonder, they abandoned their flocks and fled in haste to the city mentioned. They told their parents of the striking and wonderful event which had happened. Then the people
p.123of the city arose with the ready rising of one man. They came to the wood at once. On seeing the great strange sight, fear and terror came upon them. Groups of them went trembling and in fright through the wood. When they reached the centre of it, they found the splendid venerable house, built with skill and dexterity, and having inside in it the images of the Virgin Mary and of the Cross of the Crucifixion. They were startled and amazed. Afterwards they considered that it was a bounteous gift which the Heavenly Father, Almighty God, had sent to them. They fell on their knees. They adored and prayed and invoked the Lord, giving Him abundant thanks for vouchsafing to them so much of his great graces. They prayed and sung a sweet canticle in their own language. They chanted in sweetsounding words that the Almighty God was blessed, and that blessed, holy and glorious, too, was the merciful holy Virgin, the Mother of the wonderful Son, who was pleased to grant by her own graces that such a holy merciful sight should be miraculously exhibited to her poor people. In the end they returned by the same route until they reached the city.
After that the people of the city were wont at all times to make visits of respect in this house, visiting, reverencing and worshipping God and the holy Virgin Mary. Their sick and diseased, and those afflicted with any other trouble, found comfort and restoration of health always there, by God's grace and the mercy of Mary, in the presence of the image and the cross. For that reason many people from other countries came to make a journey, devotion, and a pilgrimage to the holy house, when its great miracles became known. But many heretics and robbers, as it was situated in a lonely dark waste, and as pilgrims went to and from it, used to go to rob and murder near it. When Almighty God
p.125saw that, He ordered some of His angels to remove the chapel and bring it to a level wide plain in proximity to the wood. They did so, and placed it on a beautiful, fine, commanding garden-hill which had abundance of sweet-smelling herbs. Two noblemen of the city, brothers, had the ownership of that plain. The chapel was frequented as usual on the plain for a long time. The noblemen got much gold and silver and wealth of all kinds as a result. But then they conceived fierce enmity and great jealousy for each other. Almost every day they sought to kill each other. It was the mother who gave them birth who helped on their fighting and contention, for she used to say openly that to the son whom she liked and who was dearest to her the plain belonged by right, and that the other had no share in it. A fight arose between them in that way for a division of the profits of the chapel. When Almighty God, the author and beginning of all peace and contention, saw this, He settled by a miracle the dispute and disunion of the brothers. By His great glorious power He sent angels and archangels to move and bring the holy chapel until they placed it in the middle of the high road which crosses between the city of Recanati and the sea, in a particular place over which no one in the world had supremacy, mastery, or possession. It is in that place until the present time. That was the third moving and changing it had undergone since it had come across the sea.
After that, however, simple unwise people in the country wondered at the variety and strangeness of the movements and translations of the chapel. They suggested to the people of the city to put a foundation around it, for in their ignorance they feared lest it might be changed from them for the fourth time. The inhabitants of the neighbouring cities and all the country gathered and assembled. They quickly set works and a foundation around the chapel. The Italians and the people of the neighbouring countries frequented it in large numbers. They marvelled
p.127greatly at the magnitude and number of its miracles and wonders, and at all its travels and movements. When the holy Virgin saw that, in a particular year of the Lord, one thousand twelve hundred and ninety-six, she made known as follows the whole story and account of the chapel.
A certain holy old man of unblemished character and good life chanced to dwell near the chapel. He used to visit it frequently with great devotion and piety of intention. To him first the holy Virgin appeared in person. She told him, as she had told the pious father Alexandro, the prior of Tersatto, of the coming and going, and the whole story and adventure of the chapel, from the first up to that time, of its being transferred and carried miraculously on the shoulders and breasts of angels and archangels, and of the time and period at which it made every one of its changes and movements. She ordered and directed him to make known and truly narrate these things to all who were in his neighbourhood. At once the old man went to the city of Recanati. He told the wonderful tidings to the inhabitants of the city and all their kinsfolk. The people for the most part took small and imperfect heed of the story, regarding it with disbelief. They were all but mocking and ridiculing the old man. Still, when they saw the number of the wonders and miracles every day, they unanimously decided to select sixteen chief men, the wisest, most learned, most conscientious, and most truthful in the province of the Marches, and to send them to Nazareth in Galilee to investigate the origin and meaning of the story of the chapel. These sixteen men took a fleet, with all necessaries for a journey and travel. They set out then, and directed their course over the Adriatic sea. Thus they went till they reached harbour in Slavonia. From that they hastened to the plain of Tersatto. The inhabitants and dwellers in the country, and in that plain in particular, narrated and affirmed how that remarkable, wonderful, holy house came and descended on the plain, its wonders and miracles while it
p.129was there, how the holy Virgin Mary in her great mercy appeared to Alexandro and told the story and account of the chapel, how Alexandro and the four men went to Nazareth to test and confirm the story, and how they heard it all as it is above, and that the chapel was removed from them afterwards, and that they did not know where in the world it had gone. They then proceeded right straight till they reached Nazareth. Their journey through the country of the Barbarians, who were hereditary enemies and destroyers of the faith of Christ, was dangerous and terrifying. When they went to Nazareth, they found the particular spot and the foundation on which the house was first seated. They estimated and measured its length, and breadth, and circuit in comparison with the house they had left behind them in Italy. They were equal and alike. They then heard the statements and accounts the people of the city gave concerning the house, how it was built and erected at first, and how it afterwards disappeared strangely and miraculously. These showed that the old man in Italy had spoken words really true, and that the house was the veritable house which once stood on the spot mentioned, and was brought by a strange miracle, by the great power of Almighty God, to every place where it had successively been, until it rested in the end in the holy place where it then was. Then the Italians returned to their country. They underwent much danger and sickness by sea and land throughout the journey. When they reached their own country they told plainly all the accounts and information they had got about the house. All the people in the province believed that what they said was true. They gave thanks to Almighty God. The matter was made known and published in all the neighbouring countries. All increased their veneration, their visits, and their devotion to the chapel. Not only the Italians frequented it, but also many ecclesiastics of the regular orders of Christendom from other countries.
There was a certain pious nobleman advanced in years who dwelt near the chapel. He was of unblemished character and good life, and Paulus de la Silva was his name. He was accustomed to visit frequently the holy chapel each day. One night, on the feast of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as he was in it praying and beseeching the holy Virgin, he saw with his own eyes a great light, namely, a shining torch, descending on the chapel. He thought it was twelve feet in length and six in breadth. Two hours before the dawn of day it descended thus. For ten successive years, on the same particular night and at the same hour, the nobleman saw the mystery of the great miracles. During that period he never spoke of it to anybody. A short time before death he sent messengers to call the bishop of Recanati and other good bishops. He narrated to them the strange, wonderful miracles which took place in the chapel, giving all his proofs and confirmations. These prelates considered that it was the holy Virgin herself, or angels from her, who used to come at the recurrence of the noble festival mentioned to honour and venerate the great wonderful chapel. After that the story was made known to the neighbouring countries, as is manifest.
On one occasion the bishop of the city of Recanati, whose name was Terremano, came on a pilgrimage to Loreto. He performed his pilgrimage, and having heard the multitude of the wonders and miracles of the chapel, returned to the city of Recanati. A noble and just man, Paulus Rinaldutius, who was in the city at that time, assured the lord bishop that his own grandfather in his old age swore definitely that his own eyes saw the chapel being transported over the sea on angels' shoulders until, wonderfully and miraculously, it descended in the aforesaid wood. A certain
p.133prior, also, who was in that same city, Francisco by name, gave his oath in the presence of bishop Terremano that his own grandfather swore by his conscience, at the age of one hundred and twenty years, that his own eyes saw the chapel coming and advancing over the sea until it alighted and descended miraculously in the wood we have mentioned, that he himself was praying and beseeching Almighty God and the holy Virgin Mary in that place there; also, the second time going to the hill that belonged to the two brothers, and the third time proceeding to the place where it then was. Because of these many proofs the people decided with one accord not to enquire or doubt further concerning the chapel. Besides, in addition to that, the multitude of its wonders and miracles every day incited the minds of the countries and peoples in the neighbourhood to worship and believe in it.
There was a certain great nobleman in France before that time, Petro Orgentorix was his name. He lived in the great city of Grenoble. He had a worthy wife, of noble blood and great beauty, of a distinguished family in France, whose name was Donna Antonia. Another woman in the same city became smitten with jealousy, envy, and hatred of her because of the man. She performed charms of devilry and witchery, of idolatry and heathenism, against her. Thereupon madness and unbearable frenzy came upon the first woman. She lost her senses and intelligence. Those who saw her were of opinion that there was an evil spirit in her, and that became evident afterwards. The nobleman went with the woman, seeking help and relief, to every church and miraculous holy place that he heard of in France. It was of no avail. After that he brought her to the city of Milan in Italy, to the great church of San Iulio, where people affiicted with that disease were accustomed to get
p.135assistance and relief often in their trouble and necessity by miracles. They spent some time in that church, but their quest was in vain. Next they went to the city of Modena, to a great church where miracles and wonders like that used to be wrought frequently, namely, the church of Geminiano. They prayed and invoked there, but yet they got no relief. Then they proceeded to the city of Rome. For a full month they remained in Rome in the church of Pietro Vaticano. There is a great, famous, miraculous column, with a stout iron grating around it, in the church, which today and ever since Christ was in this world drives demoniacal spirits out of those who visit it by God's grace clearly and plainly to the world. It is not often that any man or woman suffering from that malady goes away from that column without getting relief. The woman remained for a time each day to the end of the month within the enclosure of the grating beside the column. Even yet God was not pleased that she should obtain restoration of health. After that the company set out in grief and affliction. Except only the mercy of God, they had almost lost hope of assistance. Since none of the famous pilgrimages which they had made availed them, they thoughtlessly and in despair proposed to return to their native country, and to perform no other pilgrimage till the end of the woman's life. A certain noble knight of the order of Malta, who was returning from a pilgrimage to Loreto, met them on the road. They saluted each other, and each asked where the other had been. They told all their doings and adventures, and how they fared. The knight told and made known the wonders and miracles of the holy chapel, and the image, and the cross of Loreto, and advised them to go there. Because of all the stations and pilgrimages in other famous churches they had made,
p.137they had almost despaired, for they thought that any pilgrimage they would make would be of no use to them. The woman requested that she should be brought to Loreto. That was done on the seventeenth of July, the year of the Lord then being one thousand four hundred and eighty-eight. A venerable canon was superior in the chapel. He was a holy man, and Stephanus Francigena was his name. He came to meet them, having with him many young clerics. He conducted them to the chapel. Having entered, they prostrated themselves and invoked and prayed before the image of Mary and of the Cross. The venerable father read an exorcism according to the regulation and instruction of the Roman church to banish the demoniacal spirits out of the woman. It was not long then until seven devils with hateful inimical words answered him together out of the woman. Thereupon one diabolical spirit left her. It alighted on a bright torch of wax which was in the chapel. It could not leave it, but remained hanging from it visible to all. It said in a horrid voice that Sardo was its name. After a time a second spirit left her. It said that Herot was its name, and that through its agency and machinations there came about the death of the Duke of Burgundy, who had been establishing and supporting the faith and piety of God's church. After that it stuck to another torch which was in the church. It turned its ugly, horrible face on the father, and grinned and bared its dark, ugly teeth. Then it said plainly with a diabolical, bitter tone of voice: It is not you that has banished us from the home in which we have been remaining for a long time, but the wonderful mercies of Mary. The canon brought these great, noble strangers with him to his own house that night, and gave them honour and welcome. On the next day they came to the holy chapel. They prayed, and worshipped, and invoked
p.139earnestly the holy Virgin before her picture. The father carried out the same instructions and ceremony. Another demoniacal spirit left the woman. It said its name was Horribile. With its mouth it viciously and fiercely caught hold of a silver lamp with many lights which was hung in the chapel. It told publicly and plainly that itself, by its devilish powers, incited the people of Herod to behead John the Baptist. It wept and cried out then, and this is what it said: Mary, Mary, strong, avenging, inimical, and constant art thou against us. Thereupon the father and the others commenced to invoke holy Mary. A fourth spirit came out of the woman. It pronounced its name loudly, namely, Aroto. I am the one, it said, which, by my cunning and infernal arts, put it in the mind of Herod, son of Antipater, to slay the Holy Innocents while seeking Christ at the time of His birth. Immediately afterwards, more viciously than the other treacherous one, it stuck and adhered to a lamp in the chapel. With rage and terrible frenzy it turned its face to all, and particularly to the father. It said: Virgin Mary, strong and unmeasurable are thy miraculous merciful powers, for through thy great merciful graces thou hast driven and banished us from the habitation in which we were. When the father heard these words, he obliged the devil, in the name of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, to make known to him before all present all the knowledge and history of that house that he had. The devil answered him: Here is, truly, the house of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Almighty God. To rebuke and provoke the evil spirit, the father said it had spoken deceitful, lying words. Not so, truly, it said, but it is the Virgin who compelled me to narrate the truth of these words. To prove that, it showed to the father, with hatred and enmity the particular spot in the chapel in which the Virgin was when the archangel came from heaven with the message from the heavenly Father, and also the place where the archangel stood and rested while he was
p.141delivering it. It told also much of the story and miracles of the house at the command of the father. After these words the father made the sign of the cross, and forthwith three of the spirits fell under his feet, while the fourth hung on the lamp, none being able to assist or relieve the other. He forced these four, together with all the other evil spirits in the woman, in the name of Almighty God and the Virgin Mary, to ascend into the firmament and to injure her no longer. Three other devils then leaped out of the woman. Each of them gave a screech and great, horrible cry aloud. The seven of them arose before the people in birdlike flight in the air with the noisy wind. The woman fell at once into a fit and faint of death. All thought she was lifeless. Her body was placed upon the altar before the miraculous image. After a while she came to life, and sat up before all. She made the sign of the cross on her face and gave great thanks to the powerful Son and His merciful mother for the great mercy granted to her, namely, the banishing and expulsion of the seven devils out of her after they had dwelt a long time in her. She arose without sickness or disease. She gave much alms for the building of the great church which is around the chapel. All the people gave thanks to God and His glorious mother for the great miracles which had been wrought. The woman and her husband and their retinue returned safety to their own country. They served God and Mary continuously to their deaths, persevering in a holy life with great devotion to miraculous Loreto. Such miracles were frequently wrought in that holy chapel before all, both lay and cleric, but to narrate them all would be tedious. Still, one other miraculous story we shall tell, for it is confirmed by a stone in the chapel.
There was a certain honoured, venerable archbishop in the city of Coimbra in the kingdom of Portugal. When he heard of the fame, and renown, and greatness of the many wonders and miracles of the chapel of Loreto, his desire and intention was to build and erect a chapel in its honour. He came to Rome. He was a long time there pleading with the Pope, asking him as a grace and a favour to give him one stone out of the chapel of Loreto, that he might have it as an honoured relic in the church he wished to erect in his own diocese in Portugal. After a long time the holy Father, after consultation and much discussion, gave him that favour and request. He sent letters and a command, under his great seal, to the prior of Loreto, instructing him to give one stone out of the holy chapel to the archbishop. The altar priest of the archbishop himself was the special messenger who brought the letters. When these reached Loreto, they showed the authority and the command of the Pope and the Roman court to the prior. Fear of the Pope prevented the prior from not fulfilling his command, though he was sad and regretted it. The archbishop set out from Rome to the city of Trent. He said he would rest and remain there until the stone and the altar priest should overtake him. The prior and young clerics of the church took one stone out of the chapel. When the father got it he left Loreto on the first of December, and went from there to the city of Ancona. They left Ancona on the third of the same month. They were proceeding every day to the end of that month, they and their horses overpowered with toil, and labour, and every difficulty during that period. They reached Trent, where the archbishop had been awaiting them. Immediately all their horses died from the labour and toil they experienced carrying the stone. The father showed the stone with
p.145reverence and in secret to the archbishop. His mind and heart were delighted at seeing it. He then said that, before he would leave that city, he would put a coffer and covering of gold and silver about it, with a beautiful, well-wrought shrine and splendid painting on the outside. That was all done and completed quickly and readily. When the archbishop wished to return to his own country with the stone, sickness and virulent disease came upon him, and he was near death. The doctors and physicians of the city were gathered to him. They said they did not know at all what was his ailment, or how they could give him any assistance. After that he became extremely feeble and weak. The doctors gave him up, although he had commanded them not to do so. When his altar priest saw that, it occurred to his mind, since earthly cure had failed, to seek a spiritual one for him. There were two venerable nuns in two monasteries in the city. Everybody believed that they led saints' lives. The priest went to the place where one of them was. He told her sorrowfully of all the sickness and malady of the archbishop, and asked her, for the honour of Almighty God and the holy Virgin Mary, to pray for him. The holy nun said: I shall earnestly pray for him, and do thou come after three days to see me. Next he spoke to the other one. She promised likewise. He returned on the third day. He asked the nuns in turn if they had done as they had promised. One answered, and this is what she said: I have done my best to pray and intercede for him, but it was in vain. He must restore whatever he has taken out of the holy chapel of the Virgin Mary at Loreto. Then perhaps, by the grace of God and the miracles of our Lady, he shall obtain restoration of health. He went then to the second nun. The words of both were the same. When the priest heard them he was startled and surprised, for up to that time he was certain that no one in the city knew the story or secret of the stone except the archbishop and himself. He went to the archbishop
p.147in great sorrow and distress, and told him all the doings and sayings of the holy women. Sorrow and intense regret came upon the archbishop. He besought and invoked the holy Virgin Mary, and made his confession to a certain holy father. He confessed in sadness, grief, and affliction that in pride and haughtiness he had requested the Pope and the Roman court to dismember and tamper with the holy chapel. He then promised to serve Mary earnestly and continually to the end of his life, and to restore the stone to the holy chapel of Loreto. Thereupon the priest set out with the stone from the city of Trent, on the road to Loreto, about midday on Friday. They had scarcely left the city when the archbishop got great relief from his ailment. About midday the following Monday they had reached the city of Ancona, neither they nor their horses having encountered toil, difficulty, or trouble on the way. A post set out from Trent after them stating that the archbishop was well, and giving great gratitude and thanks to the Virgin Mary. Then the community and assembly of Loreto, and the inhabitants of the country, gathered together when they heard the story. They went to the city of Ancona to meet the stone. They journeyed five leagues. They returned in a splendid procession to Loreto, two thousand laics and clerics with a great bright torch in the hand of each, and the stone carried solemnly and reverently by the prior of the church. There were also hosts of many thousands in the procession. When they reached Loreto, they placed and settled the stone in its proper place as it had been before. At once it miraculously, strangely, and wonderfully took hold of the proper adjoining stones, as if there had never been a separation of them from the first day until that time. Ever since it is plain to be seen in the
p.149chapel. The figure of the Cross is on it to commemorate the miracle. The father returned to the city of Trent. He found the archbishop there without pain, disease, or trouble, as if no injury had happened to him. The name of the Virgin Mary, and the fame of her holy, miraculous chapel, were rendered great by these remarkable wonders.
When the holy fathers who were Popes in Rome saw the number of these wonders and miracles, from the time of Paul II, the two hundred and fifteenth of those who were in the chair of Peter in Rome up to that time, the year of the Lord being then one thousand four hundred and sixty-four (this Pope himself, Paul II aforesaid, gave these full indulgences for the forgiveness of his crimes, sins, and transgressions to everyone who, with devotion, repentance, and penitence, goes to the pilgrimage of Loreto) to the present, every Pope who was in Rome, to the number of twenty-two, to the reign of this holy father, Paul V, the year of the Lord being now one thousand six hundred and nine, successively exalted and honoured the indulgences of Loreto by confirming every privilege which their predecessors had conferred on it. Everyone thinks and believes that Loreto, without doubt or comparison at all, is the most honoured, venerated, holy, miraculous, and privileged house in all the world. The Popes have granted many gifts and bequests to this house, and it is rich and wealthy, possessing every thing it needs. Kings, and princes, and the Catholic nobles of Christendom send as presents and gifts to it many splendid, precious gems of gold and silver, precious stones, splendid many-coloured garments, mass vestments of all colours, and chains of bright gold. Every nation in Christendom also, which comes to and from it, bestows on it. Ó Néill and the Earl, the lords and the
p.151Irish noblemen with them, obtained a view of that treasure They had never seen the like before.
A certain Pope, whose name was , as an increase of glory and honour to this holy chapel, ordered that, on a certain day in the month of December each year, a fair and market should be held beside it, and that any nation in Christendom had the right of coming to that fair. These people brought to the town and all the country every necessary and comfort that they needed, and that increased and greatly enriched the town and the whole country. That frequency of wonders and miracles happens from time to time in the holy chapel, and especially at the occurrence of these fairs. If one person had all the tongues in the world, he could not count, enumerate, estimate or narrate them. That was fitting, for it was no earthly or bodily man like Adam, who was made of common earth, who dwelt and remained there, but our Saviour, Jesus Christ, miraculously made man by the heavenly Father in the womb of the holy Virgin; also, it was not of the bone of a man that she was fashioned, like Eve, but was born a chaste virgin in that house contrary to the course of nature. It was not three angels alone that were in that house, as they were with the patriarch Abraham, but it was the abode and resting-place of all the orders of angels and archangels. In it, also, was the home and abode of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, for nine months in the womb of the holy Virgin, whence it acquired fame and notability, for in it alone the divinity and humanity of the Son of the living God were united. Everyone regards the mountain of Thabor as a holy place, and so it is. After having endured the Cross of passion and martyrdom, from it Jesus Christ ascended to the right hand of His Father. But this house is more noble,
p.153honourable, and venerable, for in it the Lord was born and reared, also in it His wondrous mother was conceived, born, and reared, and spent all her days, except a few, in this world. The tomb, too, in which the body of our Lord lay dead and lifeless for three days, and whence it arose from the dead afterwards, is considered a holy, venerable, and worthy place, and that is fitting truly. Much more noble, honourable, and venerable is the house where He was born and reared, where He lived for a long time in the world, where He took many a time food and drink, where He kindly discoursed with His disciples, and where He prayed and invoked the heavenly Father every day. Consider and examine with all your power and authority all the houses and holy, mysterious, meritorious, miraculous places in the world, and understand and believe there is no comparison or similarity between this house and any place of them. It alone is the most noble, honourable, famous, wonderful, worthy, blessed, miraculous, holy, merciful, strange, and wondrous. It may be called the house of God and His mother in this world, transported and miraculously translated on the shoulders and breasts of the angels and archangels of Almighty God.
The kings and princes and the titled people of the Catholics of Christendom have given so many presents of gold and silver, of precious stones, of various, wonderful, splendid jewels, and of every instrument of the holy Church to it with earnest devotion that it is one of the richest and wealthiest houses in Christendom, having the fairest, best built, and best made church in the world, with rows of columns of white marble around it, and an even, level circuit of broad, marble stones. It is a walk of a day and a night from Loreto to the frontier of the kingdom of Turkey. There is perpetual, lasting war and conflict between the Pope, the head of the Church and God's vicegerent on earth, and the Turk. However, notwithstanding the number of the hostings and expeditions of the Turks in Italy, especially
p.155near the town, by the grace of God and the holy Virgin Mary it has come that they have not injured, much or little, Loreto or its inhabitants, and that they have been unable to come within two and a half miles of it at any time.
The Pope who was styled Leo X built a strong, impregnable rampart, with outhouses for defending and fighting, and with sure, strong, fortified towers, having many regular cannon and much big ordnance of every kind, with all their equipment, about it. The Pope has a troop of horse, and a large guard of soldiers, continually on the watch by night and day, so that no enemies of the Church may take it unawares.
Whoever wishes to perform the meritorious pilgrimage of Loreto must remember that it is with earnest devotion and perfect intention he must journey to it, and not for any earthly or temporal purpose. When he has made his confession completely, without any excuse at all, he must receive the holy Sacrament. Let him avoid any bad companion, and every cause whence mortal sin might come. If there be a church in the town where the pilgrim remains each night, let him prostrate himself with hearty and earnest prayers to holy Mary. If there be no church in the town, let him pray secretly at hours of going to bed and getting up in his sleeping chamber. Especially let him hear Mass every Sunday. He shall not neglect to give, to the extent of his means, charity and alms to Almighty God's poor and indigent. If it be that he is unable to give alms, let him show his kindly feeling to the poor. Let him say an Ave Maria for the soul of each. If weariness of mind or tribulation of spirit befall him, let him make the sign and image of the Cross of the Crucifixion upon himself. Let him consider after that the passion of Christ, or the virtues and
p.157the mercy of the holy Virgin Mary; death, which is in store for everyone; the glory and pleasure and happiness of Heaven above, in the presence of the heavenly Trinity, of the holy Virgin Mary, of the angels and archangels and the nine orders of Heaven which did not transgress; the innumerable, unspeakable pains of hell, in the presence of Lucifer and his demoniacal rabble, where there shall be a multitude and variety of all pains and grief forever, where there shall be gnashing of teeth and melting of eyes, cold and hunger, heat and thirst, great, unbearable darkness, union and habitation with the faces of the rabble of devils. Or let him contemplate the passion and martyrdom of some of the noble, great apostles, or some of the saints or just who suffered death and martyrdom in this present life for Almighty God, or some other holy thought should rest and dwell in his heart instead of an evil one. Let him be careful, prepared, and prayerful on his way. Let him take heed that he do not lose the merit of his pilgrimage by temptation and attack of the devil. If he meet a beautiful, blossomy plain, with much flowers and good fruit, let him think of the brightness, glory, and pleasure of paradise. When he hears the birds' song, let him contemplate the sweet music and melodious harmony of the angels and archangels of the holy Trinity. If he should chance upon beautiful rivers and streams of pure water, let him consider the contentment and glory of the angelic heaven. When he reaches deep, dark glens, and hidden, difficult, pathless places, let him think of the many horrid pains and the unbearable, unspeakable darkness of hell.
Tadhg Ó Cianáin wrote this, and give thou a thousand blessings for his soul, et cetera, 1609.
Let him proceed and advance gradually each day, according to his power and strength, until he reaches his journey's end. Let him know and consider with all his heart that his period in this world is
p.159being spent every day, and that his days shall finally come to an end. It is necessary for all to watch carefully, in fear, and on their guard, that journey, for it alone is the last end and certain fate of everyone. If he is able, let him come by day to the town, so that he may have sufficient time to prostrate and pray in the holy church before he retires to rest. Then let him receive the holy Sacrament, after having made his full confession with a clean heart. Let him make the pilgrimage then with piety and a warm, holy intention, with full repentance in his sins and vices, with remembrance of Christ's passion and the last judgment, with perfect love of his Creator and his neighbours, with thanks and respectful reverence to the heavenly Virgin, for it was in her name and in her honour that blessed, holy house obtained all merits and privileges. Let him pray and beseech the all-powerful Son and His wondrous mother before the image of Mary and of the Cross we have mentioned that he may obtain safety of soul and body from the Almighty Lord at the request of the holy Virgin, all his suitable necessities besides, the welfare and grace of the Pope, and the Catholic Church, and those who support it, and of the clerics of Loreto in particular, and the glory of the holy chapel itself. In the end of his pilgrimage, let him sing Te Deum laudamus if he can, or, according to his ability, let him give great thanks to the Saviour for his being led to that meritorious house. Let him take heed afterwards that no unlucky misfortune befall him, by the temptation of the devil, after his journey and pilgrimage, whereby he might lose the wonderful, meritorious good he has done. Let the pilgrims make known and narrate to those who meet them all the wonders and miracles of this house that they remember, that those who have not been there may conceive a great desire to perform the pilgrimage to it, and that they may obtain for themselves relief and comfort of soul and body,
p.161destruction of disease, and pain, and every calamity, and glory for the heavenly Father and the Virgin Mary who granted these graces to it. Every Saturday let there be always sung with sweet chanting, and harmonious organs and music, litanies which the Church has published in Mary's honour, to render famous and renowned the image we have spoken of.
We beseech, implore, and adore Almighty God, who created and redeemed the children of Adam, and the holy, heavenly Virgin, who obtained these miracles for this great, strange chapel, that they may grant to us in this life a way in which we shall walk, and progress, and journey to the heavenly seat and the eternal peace, that we may not dwell or habitate with the devil and his rabble host, but in union with the angels and archangels, the patriarchs and prophets, the saints and virgins of the world, in union with the apostles and disciples of the Son of Almighty God, in union with the divinity and humanity of the Son of God, in union with the nine orders of heaven who did not transgress, in union with the holy Virgin Mary, in the union which is nobler than every union, in union with the noble, holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. We implore the mercy of Almighty God, through the intercession of holy Mary, that we may reach and occupy that union in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Having invoked and besought the holy Virgin Mary and her wondrous Son in that holy chapel, and having diligently performed their pilgrimage according to the regulation of the Church, Ó Néill and the Earl, the lords and the nobles who were with them, bade adieu to the holy image and the cross we have spoken of, to the holy chapel, and to the great church. They set out and proceeded on the road to Rome on the twenty-third of April, 1608, the day of the week being Wednesday. They went through a great city, Recanati, distant one league from Loreto,
p.163then to the city of Macerata, and before night to Tolentino. Seven leagues they travelled on that day.
On the following day they proceeded through the town which is named Valcimara, and through another named Camerino. Afterwards they went to Muccia, and to Nuovacasa, in all a distance of nine leagues. There were two extensive lakes one on each side of the road they travelled that day. After that they advanced to a fine, strong town named Serravalle, and passed it on the left. The direction they took next was through a very long, incompact town, Verchianno, to the well-known, great city which is called Foligno. There was a certain hermit of holy life in a great rocky cleft by the roadside. He had constructed, with his own hands, a house and a habitation in the middle of that rugged rock. The Earl and the Baron, Maguidhir, and the son of Ó Domhnaill, with a party of nobles accompanying them, proceeded from Foligno to the great, famous city named Assisi to make a pilgrimage; in that place is the body of the noble, famous, illustrious, worthy patron, Saint Francis, of whose virtues, and miracles, and wonders the whole of Christendom is full, and on whom there broke forth five wounds like unto, and in commemoration of, the Passion of Christ and the Five Wounds. His body is preserved with honour and veneration, attended by wonders
p.165and miracles, in a cellar in the ground, supernaturally, strangely, and miraculously supported, not touching the ground beneath it, nor the vault above it. The Church does not allow it to be seen except by the authority and special permission of the Pope. In the monastery, when they arrived, there were the General of the order of Minors in all Christendom, and hundreds of brothers and respected fathers. They received these Irishmen with great respect and welcome. After that they performed their meritorious pilgrimage. A large number of the finest relics were shown to them. Afterwards they set out to overtake Ó Néill.
Ó Néill went on to Montefalco. There is a certain church in that town where the body of Saint Clare, who was a daughter of the Duke of Lombardy, and who had died two hundred years before, having lived a good, holy life in the world, is exhibited plainly to all. Her body has not undergone much change or transformation, no more than if she were only asleep. There is a crucifix between her blessed hands. On either side of her there is a splendid order of nuns who were consecrated in her own name. When her heart was opened after her death, the inscription and the instruments of the Passion of Christ were found marked and figured in it, an image of the cross and the crown, of a hammer and a pincers, of a spear and a scourge, and three nails. After that three precious, splendid gems were discovered in her heart. The three were of exactly equal size. When one of them is put into a scales it balances the other two. On one occasion a small portion was broken off one of them, and the fragment, when placed in a scales, was exactly equal in weight to the three stones. Theologians of the Church and commentators on the Holy Scripture consider and are of opinion that it is as a figure and resemblance of the heavenly Holy Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who are co-eternal, alike, and equal, that these three splendid
p.167gems were formed in the heart or the virgin with the qualities we have described. One of the fingers of Saint Anne, the holy mother of the Virgin Mary, namely, the forefinger of her left hand, and all the relics we have spoken of, are to be seen by all, every day, beside the body of the holy saint in that church.
When Ó Néill had performed his pilgrimage in that church, together with those who accompanied him, he moved on one league until he reached the great city which is called Spoleto, and which is strong and extensive, situated on an even, level piece of ground by the side of a very high mountain. The rapid, rushing, violent torrent from that mountain frequently does harm to those who inhabit and dwell within the city. They are accustomed to use bridges of a certain kind which span the streets between either side, joining the neighbours' houses at the time and season of this violent flood. There are fourteen splendid churches above the city on the side of the mountain. On its very summit is an excellent chapel, belonging to the Order of Saint Francis, having the most costly, most splendid, and most beautiful altar in that part of Italy. In the city the Pope has a very strong castle, having many strong defenders. There is a very good bridge, one of the highest in the world, skilfully constructed from the castle to the side of the mountain.
The princes went the next day to Strettura, then to Terni, to Narni, and to Otricoli. Eleven leagues they travelled on that day. On Sunday the twenty-seventh of April, 1608, after having heard Mass,
p.169they advanced to Tevere, a city where boats convey people and horses across the very strong river Tiber. From that they proceeded to Borghetto, then to Civita Castellana, to the city of Rignano, and to Castelnuovo. The distance they travelled was twelve leagues. From that place they could see the belfries and the walls of Rome.
The following day they went to Prima Porta, a distance of three leagues. They stopped there that night. They sent on some persons before them to Rome. After that they went two leagues to Ponte Molle. Peter Lombard, the archbishop of Armagh and primate of Ireland, came with a noble young man in his company, having a large number of coaches sent by cardinals, to meet them to that place. The steward of each of a certain number of the cardinals came to them to welcome them and to receive them with honour in the cardinals' name. Then they proceeded in coaches. They went on until they came to Rome. Porta del Populo was the name of the gate by which they entered the city. They went on after that through the principal streets of Rome in great splendour. They did not rest until they reached the great church of San Pietro in Vaticano. They put up their horses there, and entered the church. They worshipped, and went around, as if on a pilgrimage, the seven privileged altars or great merit which are in the church. Afterwards they proceeded to a splendid palace which his Holiness the Pope had set apart for them in the Borgo Vecchio and in the Borgo Santo Spirito. They had fifteen coaches, all except
p.171a few drawn by six steeds, as they traversed the long, chief streets of the city that day. After their journey and their travel they rested and kept still until the following Sunday recovering from their weariness and exhaustion.
On the fourth of May, the day of the week being Sunday, and the year of the Lord being then one thousand six hundred and eight, his Holiness the Pope consented to their coming in person into his presence at three o'clock in the afternoon. The cardinals sent a number of good coaches, and some of the most excellent and most beautiful horses in the world, to them, to conduct them to the place where the Pope was. They went to the splendid palace which is called Monte Cavallo. The holy Father, Paul V, was awaiting them there. When they appeared before him, he received them with respect, with kindness, with honour, and with welcome. Then they themselves and their followers, one after another, kissed with humility and reverence his holy foot. They were about one hour of the day in his presence, and he was courteous, glad, and kind to them during that time, asking them of what occurred to them and how they had fared. They took their leave after having received holy benediction. They gave thanks to God and the holy Father for the respect and the reverence wherewith he had exhibited his great, merciful kindness to them. From there they went to Cardinal Borghese, the son of the Pope's sister. He showed them
p.173welcome. After that they went to the palace where there were the Pope's two brothers. They also made them welcome. Then they went to the ambassador of the King of France, who was about to leave the city on the following day. They rested until the next Thursday. During that time the cardinals of the city continued to send a number of great noblemen and of very high officers to welcome them and to receive them with respect in their own behalf.
When they had recovered from the fatigue of their journey, they proposed to make a visit to the cardinals, one after another, in their own palaces. On Thursday, the eighth of May, they went before Cardinal Colonna, a noble Roman, of the true stock of the Roman people. He received them with honour. In short, they paid a special visit to each of thirty-seven cardinals in succession. They all showed them kindness, welcome, and honour. There were five others in the city whom they were unable to see before they left it.
On Ascension Thursdaythe fifteenth of May in 1608in particular each year the Pope gives a general benediction in public to all Catholics who chance to come before him. On that day, then, the princes had selected for a visit the palace of Cardinal Ascoli, which is in front of the great palace of the Pope. Many thousands of people are accustomed to come to seek that benediction. After a time they saw the holy Father approaching on a beautiful, high balcony which is at the side of the palace, and which was covered with cloths of satin and silk of all varieties of colours. He was carried reverently and respectfully in a splendid, bright chair, covered with gold and red velvet, and on his head his crown of red gold, encircled with diamonds and precious stones. The precious stone which fastened his splendid garment cost [...]. The cardinals and the bishops were around him, and the canons and young clerics of Saint Peter's. His guard of Swiss soldiers was on either side of him. In front of him were two very large
p.175troops of cavalry, the strongest and best in the world in regard to weapons, horses, clothing, and their own persons. Then the holy Father stood up. He gave a holy, gracious and precious benediction to all the Catholics in his presence. After that he returned to the palace in the same manner. Then there was a blare of trumpets and a beating of drums. The great ordnance of the palace and of the castle of Sant' Angelo were fired one after the other. One who had never seen the like would be surprised at the sight of the confusion and noise of the coaches, the horses, and the ordnance. Cardinal Ascoli showed great welcome and kindness to the princes. When they had received the blessing of the holy Father, he gave them a splendid costly banquet. They then returned to their own palace.
On the following Saturday, the seventeenth day of May, 1608, the Earl with a number of the nobles came to make a meritorious pilgrimage to the seven chief churches of Rome. On the eve of Pentecost Sunday exactly the Pope held solemn vespers in the chapel, which is called Cappella Paolino. An invitation to the vespers came to the princes. They all set out at once, except only the Earl, who had somewhat of a feverish sickness. A place of honour was selected for Ó Néill, close to the holy Father and opposite him. When solemn vespers had been sung, a group of friars of Saint Dominick, to the number of about two thousand, came before the Pope. They were in processional order, and had elected a particular General for all Christendom over themselves and their Order on that day. All in succession kissed the foot of the Pope. He gave a blessing to them and to all present. Then he went to his palace, and all returned to their homes. On Whit Sunday there was a splendid station and an indulgence for all sins in the great
p.177church of Santa Spirito. The princes came to Mass and vespers there. There was a divine service, the most beautiful in all Christendom, in the church, with many worthy priests and exalted. prelates, and a choir the most excellent in the world; also two or three pairs of sweet musical organs, and many instruments of music and harmony besides.
On Monday, the next day, the orphans of that church went in a splendid procession to the church of San Pietro. A company of the papal guard preceded them on the way, and on either side there was a revered, respected priest who was an earl and a director over the church, with all the younger clergy singing sweetly as they advanced behind them. Including boys and girls their number was four hundred and eighty-three. Of these, three hundred and forty-seven were girls. Of boys, the eldest of whom did not exceed fourteen years, there were one hundred and sixteen. They were styled 'the Pope's children', for scarcely anyone knew the fathers of many of them, but they were reared and supported for God's sake by the kindness of the holy Father. Through a special iron grating each child of them is introduced into the church before it has completed four days and nights of its life in the world. All of them who have not received baptism by that time are baptized then. After that each of them is brought up, reared, instructed, and educated in every appropriate way until they are finally well provided for. The veronica was exhibited to these children of the Pope on that day, that is to say, the holy, well-known, very miraculous napkin which the virgin of that name applied to the glowing red, crimson-cheeked face and the pure, glorious, wounded countenance of Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, when He was in suffering, and distress, and weakness under the hands of merciless enemies, carrying the Cross of His Passion and
p.179His martyrdom, with the crown of thorns about His head, after all the pain and suffering He had undergone before that. It has an image of the figure and face of Christ wondrously and miraculously outlined and painted with His own precious blood. After that, the head of the broad spear which Longinus put through the breast and heart of Christ when He was dead and lifeless on the wood of the Cross, was shown to them. The young girls were dressed in comely, good clothes, and some of them had a fine deportment and appearance. Sixteen of them were married that day, and the Pope paid their dowry. For solemnity and as an honour to these young married women, not less than two thousand persons had a banquet and feast in Santo Spirito, besides the usual community and congregation of the church itself.
The holy, splendid, great church of Santo Spirito was built in the beginning by a certain nation of Germany which was called Saxony. For that reason the settlement was named Sassia. On its severance and separation from the Germans, Pope Innocent III gave it great honour and respect, gifts and great indulgences, and abundance of rents and lands. To this church the Pope who was named Sixtus IV granted a great increase in all its necessaries. He built and erected many splendid, costly, well-made buildings in it. It is estimated and calculated that, apart from the Pope's title, his empire and kingship, and all the gold and silver metal which is coined for him, this house alone could be compared with him in regard to yearly rents, for they were worth about twenty thousand crowns each month. When the Roman State saw that, they exacted a portion and a
p.181fraction from it to the extent of two thousand crowns monthly. They united that with the income of the Pope. He has at least eighteen thousand crowns per month. That amounts to about fifty-four thousand pounds per year. Whoever would consider that this income and property is large and extraordinary for one church, let him remember that the poverty and misery it relieves is huge and indescribable. For not less than ten thousand persons, with all their support, expense, and necessaries, are maintained depending on that house every day of the year, outside the church and inside it. There is a splendid, very wealthy hospital, one of the finest in Christendom, in that church, which everyone of all nations in Christendom, in sickness, ill health, disease, and fever, may visit at any time and receive a gracious welcome, and have worthy, learned doctors and skilful physicians to serve and attend to them. The house gives at least one hundred crowns as a dowry to each of those girls we have spoken of who marries a husband. In the church there is the finest choir, and the most worthy and best fathers for divine service, in the greater part of all Christendom. Their support and maintenance in food and proper, splendid clothing, as well as the building and continual repairs of the church, is borne by the resources and income of the church itself. There is also the upkeep and state of the superior who manages the church and of his assistant. Everyone considers and believes he is one of the most splendid, kindly persons in all Christendom, and the least troubled or disturbed about upkeep and support. There is a very good abbey, with many nuns, maintained by the church, built and erected within the enclosure of its walls. If any of the young girls we have spoken of undertakes the spirit of chastity, she joins these. By them they are all instructed and brought up until the luck and fortune which God wills falls to each of them. In the church each day there are many masters teaching and instructing the male 'children of the Pope'. They teach them the
p.183faith of the Church of God, singing, music, and every learning and proper instruction, until they acquire some intelligence and understanding, each of them getting the education he himself wishes for, according as God in His goodness reveals it to him. Everyone knows that this house in itself is a public benefit, because all its necessaries and support are supplied by itself. And not only that, but it has so much of all kinds of cattle and sheep, that it supplies meat for sale to the greater part of the Roman people, besides what it requires for itself. Also, it has so large a quantity of vines, and of great, wide fields of wheat and of every other crop, that they support large numbers of the Romans, as well as its own needs; and so great a number of beautiful, big, Italian horses, and of steeds, the largest and most beautiful in the world, that they serve as a great horse-supply for the Romans, as well as do the work, the carrying out of every undertaking, and the service of the house. On particular occasions there are frequently about one thousand persons in hot, fiery fever, and in every sickness, in the hospital of this church. Everyone says that this house is, without doubt, the most charitable, merciful, rich, and wealthy in Christendom, the most continuous and splendid in the divine service, and the house that is best in regard to doing every necessary work in the proper way. There is a figure and image of the Cross of Christ in the church, whence it acquired fame and notoriety, in a splendid, miraculous position, and it works many miracles and wonders every day; also the right hand of Saint Andrew, and many other meritorious relics of saints and holy people. The young clerics, and the community and congregation of the church, and all its live stock, bear that cross as their emblem.
On Thursday, the twenty-ninth day of May, 1608, the anniversary of the day on which the holy Father, Paul V,
p.185was crowned, Cardinal Borghese sent one of his noblemen as a grand messenger to invite the lords to solemn Mass which, in honour of the holy Father, was celebrated in the great church of Saint Peter. A position of honour and a fitting place was selected for them close to and near the Pope. They, and the ambassador of the King of Spain, and a great number of other great princes, were in the same place. Beautiful, splendid, reverent, remarkable, and wonderful was the precious Mass which was celebrated there. His Holiness the Pope himself said it and offered the Body of Christ. On either side of him was the melodious, sweet choir, the most harmonious in all Christendom. To increase the glory and the solemnity of that particular day, a noble, wonderful, holy woman named Saint Francesca Romana, who was in the city two hundred years before, was canonised. It was discovered and deduced from her holy life in this world, in virtue of all the miracles God performed through her, that she had the life of a saint. Her name is revered and honoured in the Church, and she is proclaimed noble and venerable among holy women, but it would be tedious to narrate all the state, and splendour, and ceremony connected with her canonization. Whoever had been present at the wonderful sight that was there, might say that his eyes
p.187never saw anything like or similar to it for piety, splendour, reverence, music, earthly state, and all the other virtues besides. When the Mass and the ceremony was finished, the holy Father gave a holy blessing to all Catholics who were present. He went to his palace after that. Then the trumpets of the guard, horse and foot, were sounded, and the drums beaten. After that all the great and small ordnance of the Castle of Sant' Angelo and of the great palace were fired at the same moment. The streets were shaking and trembling from the noise and clattering of the beautiful, mettlesome, wild, Italian horses, which were drawing their coaches strongly, quickly, fiercely, violently, and hastily. The princes returned to their own palace after that. Splendid presents which his Holiness the Pope received at the ceremony came to them, namely, a silver basket, a pair of white doves, a golden bottle full of wine, and a gilded loaf of bread.
On the Trinity Sunday following, the ladies went into the presence of his Holiness the Pope. He received them with honour, with affability, and with welcome. They one after the other kissed his foot. He gave them a blessing, and they returned home. On that same day, as a mark of respect and honour to the holy woman we have spoken of, the greater part of the Orders and of the young clerics of Rome came in large numbers, and in a splendid, respectful, grand procession, to the church of Saint Peter. After that, they went from Saint Peter's to the church of Sancta Maria Nova, where the monument and tomb of that noble saint is. There were, indeed, many thousands of ecclesiastics there. It was not possible to number or count them, there were so many of them. The people of Rome lit fires in their palaces and at the doors of their houses, with many candles and bright torches over
p.189their dwellings. The top of the castle of Sant' Angelo was covered with lights of many colours. The images of an eagle and a dragon artistically, finely, and beautifully placed over it, were made and filled with powder in the inside. About the time of the striking of the bell for the Ave Maria in the evening, fires were lighted in these strange, wonderful figures. Then, at once and at the same moment, they burst and flamed forth, so that they emitted flashes, and flames, and thunderous, fiery, red-flaming showers on high, in such manner that they filled a portion of the atmosphere over the castle with the showers and fiery flames they sent forth. For one who had never seen the like before, to view it was enough to cause the greatest terror and admiration. After that, they commenced firing at one another from the rooms and the numerous, skilfully arranged apartments which were laid out inside them, until their supplies were wasted and exhausted.
On the Thursday of Corpus Christi an order came from the holy Father to the princes that eight of their noblemen should go in person to carry the canopy over the Blessed Sacrament while it was being borne solemnly in the hands of the Pope in procession from the great church of San Pietro in Vaticano to the church of Saint James in Borgo Vecchio, and from there back to the church of Saint Peter. They came into his Holiness' presence. They carried the canopy over the Blessed Sacrament and the Pope, and never before did Irishmen receive such an honour and privilege. The Italians were greatly surprised that they should be shown such deference and respect, for some of them said that seldom before was any one nation in the world appointed to carry the canopy. With the ambassadors of all the Catholic kings and princes of Christendom who happened to be then in the city it was an established custom that they, in succession, every year carried the canopy in
p.191turn. They were jealous, envious, and surprised, that they were not allowed to carry it on this particular day.
Tadhg wrote this, and a blessing on his soul, 1609.
The procession was reverent, imposing, and beautiful, for the greater part of the regular Orders and all the clergy and communities of the great churches of Rome were in it, and many princes, dukes, and great lords. They had no less than a thousand lighted, waxen torches. Following them there were twenty-six archbishops and bishops. Next there were thirty-six cardinals. The Pope carried the Blessed Sacrament, and the Irish lords and noblemen to the number of eight bore the canopy. About the Pope was his guard of Swiss soldiers, and on either side of him and behind him were his two large troops of cavalry. The streets were filled with people behind. It was considered by all that they were not less in number than one hundred thousand. When they reached Saint Peter's, the Pope laid the Blessed Sacrament on the great high-altar. Then he went on his knees. He prostrated himself, prayed, and invoked. Afterwards he gave Benediction to all. He retired to his palace after that, and everyone who was there went to his palace or his home.
On the Saturday following, exactly, Maguidhir, that is, Cúchonnacht Maguidhir, took leave of the princes. He set out for Naples, a well-known, famous city, which belongs to the King of Spain, forty-one leagues from Rome. Sémus, son of Éimher, son of Cúuladh, son of Aodh Ruadh, Mag Mathghamhna and a few others went along with him.
On Thursday, the twelfth of the same month, Ó Néill and the Earl, and all that were along with them, set out for a pilgrimage of the seven great churches of Rome. They had with them the permission
p.193and authority of the holy Father that they might have exhibited to them all the relics of each church to which they would go. They began and commenced their meritorious pilgrimage in God's name at Santa Maria Maggiore. After having made their confessions and having received the Blessed Sacrament, there were exhibited to them the head of Saint Bibiana, the head of Marcellinus the Pope, one of the hands of Thomas the Apostle, the stole of Saint Girolamo, the stole and maniple, and another portion of the Mass vestments of Saint Thomas, bishop of Canterbury, the cradle in which our Saviour was in Bethlehem of Juda, the first clothes which the Virgin put around Him in His infancy, together with many other splendid relics. Except with the special permission of the Pope they are not usually seen, saving always on each Easter Sunday after midday. And it was in this way the church came first to be built and erected: There was once in Rome a certain venerable, worthy nobleman, Johannes the Patrician was his name, who had a worthy wife, but no child at all was born to them. They possessed much wealth and earthly goods. They decided and determined between themselves to make the holy Virgin Mary their own sole heir to all their wealth and goods, and to offer them all, with all their heart, in her service and in her honour. On one occasion an angelic spirit came to this noble wife in a strange form and in a dream. He told her to order and instruct her husband to rise at the dawn of early morning on the following day, and on whatever high, beautiful, commanding hill he found a place with much ice and snow, that he should build a splendid
p.195church there to Mary. That happened on the fifth day of the month of August. Hot, sunny, injurious weather is usual about that time of the year in all Italy and in Rome especially.
Bitter woe! We have certain information of the harmfulness of the air of Rome; yesterday, the twenty-fourth of September, 1609, the son and proper worthy heir of O Neill, Aodh O Neill, Baron of Dún Geanainn, he who would have been lord of Cenél Eoghain and the northern half of Ireland without contention or opposition, was buried.
The nobleman rose when he heard the story. He hastened to the place where the church is. He found the hill filled and covered with snow and ice. That was strange. He proceeded to the bishop who was superior over that part of the city. It had happened that a similar vision had been revealed to the lord bishop that same night. They both then set out, and a large crowd of other people with them. They came to the place where the snow was. They gathered it and took it away with their own hands. After that a splendid church, wealthy and beautifully constructed, one of the biggest and finest in the world, was erected and built, and it was blessed and consecrated in honour of the holy Virgin in that same place.
After that they came to the church of Saint Laurence, one mile outside the walls of Rome. When they had performed their pilgrimage according to the order of the Church, one of the stones with which Stephen the martyr was stoned, and the broad marble flag on which the body of Saint Laurence was laid after having been roasted on a gridiron, were shown to them. On it portion of his blood and gore is still visible to all, and glass vessels which contain some of his blood and fluid, as also a piece of the iron of the gridiron on which he was baked and roasted. In that same church there are the bodies of Saint Laurence and Stephen the martyr, a holy vessel in which a noble holy maiden named Lucilla was baptized, and many other relics. It was the Emperor Constantine the Great who built and erected that church in honour of these holy martyrs. It was Sylvester the Pope who consecrated it.
The princes came inside the walls of the city again. They went to Santa Croce in Gerusalemme and performed their pilgrimage. There were exhibited to them a certain vessel which contains portion of the Precious Blood of
p.197Jesus Christ; the sponge in which the Jews gave Him the gall of the liver of the dragon and the vinegar when He was on the tree of the Cross; two thorns of the Crown of Thorns (one who had seen them would think that they had not been cut longer than fifteen days); the nail that went through the feet of the Saviour on the Cross, very strong, thick, broad-headed, blunt-pointed, made of fine cast iron, and of at least six inches in length; the inscription of the Cross which Pilate wrote with his own hands in Latin, in Greek, and in Hebrew, Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudacorum, splendidly worked in gold, silver, and wonderful, variegated, precious stones by the famous Empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great; one of the thirty talents for which the Saviour, the Almighty Lord, Jesus Christ, was betrayed by Judas Iscariot; three large pieces of the Cross of the Crucifixion; a very large portion of the cross of the thief of the right hand; the forefinger which Thomas the Apostle put into the wound of the side on the eighth day after the Resurrection of the Saviour, together with many other splendid relics. It was Constantine the Younger, the son of Constantine the Great, who built and erected that holy church, at the request and demand of Helena, and it was consecrated by Saint Sylvester the Pope.
Next after that they went to the chief church of the archbishop of Rome, the Pope, Saint John Lateran's is its name. When they had performed their pilgrimage, there were exhibited to them the head of Zacarias, the father of John the Baptist; the head of Saint Pancratius, which continued to shed blood on one occasion for three days and nights when heretics and destroyers of the Catholic faith burned this church, namely, Saint John Lateran's; a part of the relics of Mary Magdalen; a shoulder of Saint Lawrence; a tooth of Peter; the chalice out of which John of the Bosom drank a poisonous draught at the command of the merciless, wicked Emperor Domitianus, which by God's
p.199assistance did him no harm; the rough chain of iron with which the holy, noble, great apostle, John of the Bosom, was bound and fettered on his way from Ephesus to Rome, together with the garment whence he suddenly arose perfect after his being slain, as the Jews and the pagans thought; a very great portion of the blessed relics of John the Baptist; a part of the holy hair and blessed locks of the Blessed Virgin Mary, together with the first undergarment which she made with her own hands for her Almighty, wonderful, only Son, Jesus Christ; the towel which the Saviour rubbed to the feet of the apostles with His own hands immediately after having washed their feet after the last supper before the Passion; the hammer with which the Jews drove the thick spikes and the rough iron nails mercilessly and unsparingly through the feet and hands of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the wood of the Cross, with the crown of thorns about His head, and the purple garment which Pilate ordered to be put around Him; portion of the precious Blood of the Lord; a splinter of the wood of the Cross of the Crucifixion; my loss is Aodh the sudarium, that is, the particular piece of cloth which was laid on the pure, wounded face of the Lord to conceal it when He was put in the tomb; portion of the blood and water which gushed from the wound in the side when the blind Longinus unsparingly wounded the Lord on the wood of the Cross with the broad-bladed spear; the head of Peter and the head of Paul in a stout grate of iron over the chief altar in the church. Every time that they are exhibited, the Popes, one after another, have granted three thousand years of an indulgence for his sins and transgressions to everyone of the natives of Rome who should be then present with devotion and attention; to everyone who comes from other provinces to see them, six thousand years of remission for his sins; to each of those people who
p.201come from other kingdoms and distant countries on pilgrimage to these objects, twelve thousand years of remission for all his sins, and full remission for a third part of his sins and transgressions. There are four very fine columns before the great high altar, made of brass and brightly gilt on the outside, and filled in the interior with holy clay brought from Jerusalem to that place. It was Augustus the Emperor who built these columns for the success which he had upon the sea. Others say they were neptunes. Situated under the high altar is the oratory which John of the Bosom had, at which he worshipped Almighty God when he was imprisoned by the Romans. In that same church is the blessed, holy altar which John the Baptist had when he was in the desert, the rod of Moses and Aaron, and the table from which the Saviour ate the last supper with His apostles and disciples. It was Titus, the eleventh Emperor of Rome, who brought them from Jerusalem to that place in the year eighty-one of the age of the Lord. There remains to-day, fresh, unworn, in its original state, visible to all, the long, stout pillar of red marble which split from its summit to the ground in Jerusalem when the Saviour offered and gave up His life on the wood of the Cross into the hands of the heavenly Father, saying In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum, together with the flag of red marble on which the Jews cast lots for the garments and raiment of Christ, and an image and representation of the dice which they used; also two other splendid flagstones upon which there is the measure of the size and height of Jesus Christ and the holy Virgin Mary when they were in this world, and the large stone trough in which Constantine the Great was baptized by Sylvester the Pope. It is in that same trough that every person from Turkey, and of the Jewish race, and of all pagandom, who is converted in Rome to the
p.203yoke of faith and piety, is baptized. In that church there is a very beautiful chapel which the Emperor Constantine used for a long time as a bed and sleeping apartment, and it is blessed in honour of John the Baptist, who placed in it many splendid relics and a large portion of the Cross of the Crucifixion. In that same church is the stout column of red marble from which the cock crew in Jerusalem after the Passion, and a short time before the Resurrection of the Lord. Near the church there is a great rich hospital which was erected a long time ago by an old noble family of the Romans, namely, the Colonnas. Great mercy, and charity, and cures are bestowed in that hospital on those who suffer from disease and ill health.
On one occasion, when a troublesome malady and a painful, violent sickness seized the Emperor Constantine the Great, he was in trouble and very great distress. The learned doctors and the skilful physicians could not bring him any assistance or relief. His pain and peril were very great. A certain wise, holy, old man, who chanced to be in the city, advised the Emperor to summon Sylvester the Pope, who was concealing himself in secret and pathless places in a great rugged mountain fourteen miles from Rome. This was done. When his Holiness the Pope came into his presence, the Emperor submitted with his whole heart and intention to the faith of Christ according to the Catholic Church, and after his having received baptism in the trough we have spoken of, he became immediately healed of pain, disease, sickness, and weakness. At once he granted to the Pope this palace in which his church was built. It had been his own residence up to that time. He besought his Holiness to bless and consecrate the church in the name and honour of John the Baptist and John of the Bosom. That was done on the tenth day of November following. The age of the Lord then was three hundred and
p.205eighteen years. At the time and moment the consecration was being carried out the holy picture and truly sacred image of Almighty God was manifested plainly and miraculously. It exists today above the high altar. This church was twice burned by pagans and destroyers of the faith of Christ, and the burning did not injure, much or little, the picture, and it is today bright, shining, and splendid.
After that the princes went to Scala Santa, which is named 'the Holy Stair,' near and in proximity to the aforementioned church. There are twenty-eight steps in the length of that stair, and it is constructed of long, broad, bright marble stones. It was in the special, particular palace in which Pilate was, in the city of Jerusalem, that it was first placed and erected. When the Saviour, Jesus Christ, was seized by the unbelieving Jews at the time of His Passion, by that high stair they brought Him, bound and fettered, before and into the presence of the judge Pilate. From the strong, forcible, unsparing, unmerciful dragging which they gave Him, He was knocked down in the middle of the stair, so that portion of His precious blood was spilled. The trace of that precious innocent blood still remains on the stone. There is an iron grate over it to protect it. At the end of the stair there are three doors of uniformly white marble which were in Jerusalem, placed in the palace of that same Pilate. The Lord passed through these three doors before He appeared before Pilate. In front of the stair is a splendid tabernacle which is called Sancta Sanctorum. It is one of the richest chapels in precious relics in all Christendom. In it there is an image and picture of Jesus Christ, which Luke the Evangelist made with his own hands when Christ was in this world, at the age of twelve years, and it is ornamented splendidly, beautifully, and wonderfully with gold and silver and wonderful, variegated precious stones. Nicholas III who was Pope in Rome consecrated that holy chapel under the invocation of Saint Lawrence the martyr. To not many people is the interior
p.207of that holy chapel opened or exhibited. No woman in the world ever enters by its door. All persons who ascend the holy stair do so on their knees. Everyone who ascends with devotion and pure intention has three years' remission for his sins for each individual step, and the third part of all his sins and transgressions are remitted to him. It is expected of all that they repent, pray, and invoke the Almighty God with compunction of heart for all their wickedness, having the love of God and their neighbour, as they ascend that holy, blessed, meritorious stair.
The princes set out afterwards from Scala Santa to the great, remarkable church named San Sebastiano. On their way they went to the wonderful chapel which is named Domine quo vadis. This is how the naming of that chapel first came about: at one time when torture, oppression, and persecution were practised by the pagans and the destroyers of the Church against the prince and head of the holy apostles, namely, Peter, he thought of leaving Rome Alas, alas, the death of Aodh has wrung and pierced our heart. and of going into secret and pathless places, and into wild woods, through fear of being put to death, even though he was Pope. Having come to the place where that church is, alone and unrecognized, he beheld the Saviour approaching him. Peter, when he had recognized Him, said: Domine quo vadis, Lord, whither goest Thou. The Lord said: I go, to Rome that I may suffer again the Cross and Crucifixion and a bloody Death once more. Peter said: O Lord, to cast reproof and reproach upon me Thine honour speaks these words, and I shall return to Rome, and I shall endure death and martyrdom for Thy sake. That was true, for Peter returned to Rome. He remained there until he was, put to death as a noble, great, and glorious martyr, as is known to all.
They reached San Sebastiano, a very beautiful church which was built by a noble holy woman of the race of the Romans themselves, namely, Saint Lucina, in honour of Saint Sebastian. There is a splendid chapel in that church where the body of Peter and the body of Paul were for a long time. Everyone who shall enter that place with devotion and compunction of heart has a like amount of indulgence for his sins as if he were to make a pilgrimage of the churches of Peter and Paul. After that, they went into a cave in the ground named Coemeterium Callisti, that is, the cemetery of Callistus. In that cemetery there were buried one hundred and seventy-four thousand martyrs. In that cave the apostles and disciples of the Lord used to remain to avoid and escape the pagans. Eighteen Popes were buried in it after having been put to death as noble, great, and glorious martyrs by unbelieving heretics. Each person who goes through it with devotion and compunction of heart has remission and indulgence for all sins. In that church there is one of the arrows by which Saint Sebastian was put to death, together with the blessed marble stone on which the Saviour stood during the time that He was conversing with Peter the apostle at the chapel mentioned called Domine quo vadis, and the track of His feet is in the rock still. The body of Saint Sebastian and that of the noble, great, holy woman, Saint Lucina, and the body of Stephen the Pope are in that same church, together with many other relics.
After that they proceeded to the Caffarella, a splendid, beautiful spot, having a table of marble, and a large number of streamlets of pure, cool water, skilfully, strangely, and wonderfully carried to the Emperor a long time ago by the Roman people. Having taken their dinner in that place, they went to the church of Mary of the Annunciation, and
p.211after that to another very beautiful, very meritorious church named Tre Fontane, where Paul, the doctor of the Gentiles, was beheaded; and immediately after his being beheaded his head made three successive leaps. Three springs of icy, cold, pure water burst out of the dry earth in each spot where it made these three leaps. In it still are the marble column on which he was beheaded, and the heads of Anastatius and Vincentius the martyrs, and a large number of others. Near that church is the very beautiful monastery named Scala Coeli, that is, the 'Ladder of Heaven.' Under the great altar of the church there is a cave where the relics and tomb of ten thousand martyrs are. Their relics are exhibited to everybody. It is not permitted to touch or remove them. Once, when Saint Bernard was saying Mass, and offering the Body of Christ on the high altar mentioned, he saw with his bodily eyes the angels and archangels of Almighty God conducting souls from the pains of purgatory to the high heavens and the heavenly seat. Since that time the altar has the privilege of releasing a soul out of purgatory every time that Mass is said upon it. The order of Saint Bernard form the community and assembly in that monastery. The head of Saint Zeno who was a commander of ten thousand two hundred soldiers who were all put to death at the same time in Rome for the faith and the holy Church, was shown to them (the Irish), and also many other very beautiful, highly meritorious relics.
From there they went to the church of Saint Paul. They performed the pilgrimage of its seven meritorious chief altars. There were shown to them one of the hands of Saint Anna, the rough iron chain with which Paul was bound and fettered when he was imprisoned by the Romans, the head of the Samaritan woman, one of the fingers of Saint Nicholas, and a great number of other splendid relics. The
p.213body of Saint Timothy, who was a zealous disciple of Paul in this world, is in that church, also the body of Celsus, the body of Julianus, the body of Basilisa, together with those of many of the great, remarkable children who were slain by Herod, son of Antipater, when he was persecuting and seeking for Christ. There is a very beautiful, miraculous crucifix in the church which spoke on one occasion face to face with a noble holy woman named Birgitta, who was then a queen in the kingdom of Suecia, as she prayed before it. Under the great high altar of the church there is one half of the relics of Peter and Paul. It was first built by Constantine the Great in honour and in reverence of Paul the Apostle, because it was in that particular place that the head of Paul was strangely and miraculously discovered after having been separated from his body; and having erected it at once, he gave it for the good of his soul to Pope Sylvester in the same way as he had given the church of Peter and the church of John. Sylvester the Pope consecrated and blessed the church of Peter and the church of Paul on the same day. He left equal and the same indulgences to both, save that if anyone should perform the pilgrimage of the church of Paul on each Sunday during a year, he has as much and as great remission of his sins as if he should perform a pilgrimage to Jerusalem or the great Saint James in Galicia.
After that they went to the church of San Pietro in Vaticano, the chief seat of Peter in Rome. On the way they went to a little chapel named the chapel of Peter and Paul. When Peter and Paul were taken prisoner by the unbelieving Romans they were conducted out of the city to that place. They took leave of each other. Then Paul was brought to be beheaded to Tre Fontane, for the Romans had a law that no one of the Roman people should be put to death except outside the city. Peter, however, who was
p.215a Gallilean, was brought inside the walls of the city to a high hill, one of the seven chief hills of Rome, which was called Janiculum. They conducted him to the eminence on the hill which is called Montorio. They erected a high cross to receive him, with stout, rough, iron nails through his hands and his feet. He himself obtained as a request before death that he should be crucified and put to death feet upwards, that there might be dissimilarity between him and his Lord in martyrdom and death. A very beautiful monastery was built in that place in honour of Peter by Ferdinand, King of Spain, and its name to this time is San Pietro Montorio. It is held today by a community and assembly of revered fathers of the Order of Saint Francis. The holy Father, Pope Paul III, bestowed much indulgences and remission of sins and transgressions to those who visit, make a journey, and travel to this church, as is stated on a marble stone which is over the lintel of the beautiful chapel, in the cloister of the monastery, in the exact spot where Peter was put to death.
When they had made the pilgrimage of the seven chief privileged altars of the church of Saint Peter's, the head of the noble, great Apostle, Saint Andrew, was shown to them, it having been transported to Rome at one time by a prince of the Moors, at the time and period when Pius II was Pope, and he himself came first in person two miles outside the walls of Rome, to Ponte Molle, in a splendid procession to receive the head of the holy, noble Apostle from the prince. After that there were exhibited to them the head of Luke the Evangelist, the head of Saint James the younger, the head of Saint Sebastian, the head of Saint Thomas, bishop of Canterbury, the head of Saint Amandus, the hand of Stephen the martyr, the hand of Saint Christopher the martyr, together with many other relics of saints and holy men. Under the chief high altar of the church there is one half of the relics of Peter and Paul. There is a very beautiful tabernacle over the south corner
p.217of the great high altar where the Volta Santa is, that is, 'the Holy Face,' namely the napkin which the great, noble, holy woman Veronica applied to the pure, wounded face of the Saviour, Jesus Christ, when He was in affliction and martyrdom carrying the Cross of Crucifixion. Manifest and visible to all people is the picture and image of the face and countenance of the Lord in His precious, red blood in the napkin, and also the head of the broad-bladed spear with which the blind Longinus wounded and pierced unsparingly the breast of Christ while He was dead and lifeless on the wood of the Cross. It was the grand Turk who presented these great, wonderful treasures to the Pope, namely, Innocent VIII. They work today miracles and strange remarkable wonders. Each one of the Roman people who is present with attention and devotion when they are exhibited receives three thousand years of remission for his sins, each person from other kingdoms or provinces six thousand years, other outside, distant, foreign nations twelve thousand years, and a third part of his sin is pardoned and remitted to each person of them provided they come with devotion and penitence of heart. In that same church are the bodies of Saint Simon and Saint Jude, two holy venerable Apostles, the body of Saint Chrysostom, the body of Saint Gregory the Pope, and the body of the noble holy woman Saint Patronella. Near the chapel of Peter there are ten circular, massive, beautifully carved pillars of white marble. They were first erected and set up in the temple of Solomon in Jerusalam. On the left hand side of the high altar there is one circular marble column with a grate of iron around it. When the Saviour used to be in Jerusalem before suffering the Passion, preaching, instructing, disputing, and arguing with the Jewish people, He was wont to stand in front of that pillar, and to lay His shoulder or His elbow at times against it. That is manifest from the miracles and wonders which God works by means of it, for of those persons in whom it is believed that there is an attacking evil spirit and a devil, and who are
p.219introduced under the covering of that grating, not many fail to receive health and relief at once. Many other wonderful sights were shown to them. By Constantine the Great this church was first built and erected. He presented it afterwards for the good of his soul to Pope Sylvester, as he had given the church of Paul and the church of John. On the eighteenth day of November it was blessed and consecrated by that same Pope, the age of the Lord at that time being three hundred and twenty-three years. His Holiness the Pope granted and bestowed many favours and indulgences to each person who should perform a visit and a pilgrimage to it with devotion; each person who performs the pilgrimage of the seven chief, meritorious, privileged altars which are in the church of Peter, has an indulgence of six thousand and twenty-eight years, and the third part of all his sins remitted and forgiven, but it is essential for him that he possess the love of God and his neighbour, with contrition for his sins and vices. In this church is the wooden chair in which Peter himself sat, and the cloth which was put over Peter and Paul when they were put to death. A person receives seven years' indulgence for his sins every time that he shall ascend the stair of marble, which is opposite the door of the church, and that he shall enter the chapel of Peter to pray. A tall, four-cornered, long cross, beautifully made of one stone, the highest in all Christendom, is artistically and beautifully placed in front of the great door. Beneath it are four lions of gilt brass set on three marble anvils placed one above the other. On the summit of it there is a brightly gilt cross made of brass. Sixtus V, a friar of the Order of Saint Francis, erected it, and put it standing where it is now. Some of those who live and dwell in Rome say that the erection of it alone cost fifty thousand crowns. It is called 'Peter's Needle'. Each person who recites three Our Fathers and three Ave Marias before it has an indulgence of ten years for his sins. Everyone who makes a visitation or journey with devotion to this great church of Peter from
p.221the feast of Mary of the Annunciation, that is, the twenty-fifth day of the month of March, to the first day of August, that is, the feast of Saint Peter ad Vincula, receives twelve thousand years of indulgence for his sins, and each time that he performs any of these on some special feast of the feasts of the Church itself, he receives double all that indulgence. This is the sole chief church with which it is impossible to compare or liken any church or construction in the world, for it is the greatest, the most beautiful, and best built in the world, with the best marble top and columns, and the most elaborate, highest, and most extensive both above and below the ground. All the high arches of the church inside are entirely gilt, bright, shining, and remarkable. There is a covering of lead on it on the outside. One would imagine that twenty thousand men in arms could stand together on the top of it on the outside. The Pope has the greatest, most beautiful, and most excellent of all the palaces in the world at its northern angle. Pope Paul V is carrying out splendid work at that church every day of the year, and if God should give him a natural span of life according to his constitution and appearance, it is likely that it will surpass all the buildings in the world, though there is no peer of it as it is. There are many other splendid exhibits and meritorious relics in this church besides these, and because it would be tedious to speak of each of them separately, each person who desires to see them will have them all exhibited to him on great, appropriate festivals.
At the end of that highly meritorious pilgrimage, the princes went to their palace. They stayed and rested, recovering from their weariness and fatigue, after their pilgrimage, which was pious for their souls though full of labour for their bodies.
Here we shall say a few words on the description of Rome, as far as we have learned it by experience, we having lived in Rome for a long period now. There are
p.223two hundred and forty-six churches in it, without counting among these the seven chief churches which we have spoken of. One of these is a very beautiful church situated on a beautiful, high hill near the palace where the lords lived, Sant' Onofrio is its name, lying exactly southwards from the gate of Santo Spirito. There is a view and sight of all Rome from it, of the Tiber as it flows and advances through it, of a certain portion of the Alps, and of the part of Italy around the city. Amoeno was the name of the particular eminence of the mountain on which the church was built. The congregation and community in it is the Order of Saint Benedict. This is the reason why it was named Sant' Onofrio's: There was a certain great, renowned King in Persia at one time, and he had a wife that was worthy of him. This King was virtuous, venerable, notable, and splendid, but no children or posterity were born to him. He was sorry, regretful, and grieved that his own worthy heir should not rule his kingdom and principality after him. When he had been a long time in this grief and sorrow, the thought came to his mind that he himself and his wife, together with the noblest of their relatives, their venerable men and elders, should go to the church, and invoke and beseech the heavenly Trinity in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament with fasting, prayer, and pilgrimage, that he might have one child. That was done. They went to the church. They fasted, they prayed, they wept for their sins and their vices, and all their delinquencies and wretchedness. Almighty God heard the prayer and plaint of these holy people. By His miraculous intervention it came about at the end of a short time that the Queen became pregnant. The King and noblemen of all the kingdom of Persia were glad and delighted when the certainty of the matter was known. But the old enemy of the pious faithful, the devil,
p.225conceived great envy and jealousy because the King had obtained that grant and gift from the heavenly Trinity. This is what he meditated and considered in his wicked, baneful mind: once when he took the King unawares in a lonely room, he approached him in the habit of a poor pilgrim. The King asked him who he was. I am a wretched, poor pilgrim, said he. I have walked the greater part of the world performing pilgrimage and abstinence. It is believed that I am a saint, and that I have the spirit of prophecy within me, and I regret, O King of Persia, how you have been cheated and deceived by the Queen. In what way?, said the King. It is easy to say, said the pilgrim; I will speak to you in words of truth. You grieved and were sorry that she should be so many years your consort, and that you had no children or posterity. She has committed adultery and a vile sin against you, so that she is for some time bearing child and pregnant. Do not allow that child to be baptized or reared as yours, and for fear that an outside breed should enter to corrupt the true blood of the kingdom, give order to have a great pile of fire made, and when this child is born, let it be pitched by you into the middle of that raging, red fire. The King foolishly thought, because of the wiles and temptation of the devil, that all he said to him was true, and that he was a holy man, and he believed everything that he said. When the Queen had given birth to the child, he assembled all the nobles of his people, and with his own hands he pitched the Queen's child in to the centre of a very great fire which he had caused to be made. The boy fell straight on his two knees into the fire. He looked up. He raised his two hands in the form of a cross, and in humility to the heavenly Trinity. The Queen was on her knees before the King, praying him and beseeching him not to put to death the one child which he had received from God, and the nobles of the kingdom did the same, but in vain. By the favour of the Trinity there appeared to the King, and to all the
p.227rest, the angel of God above them in the air, and he gave orders to the King to save the boy, to have him baptized, and to give him Honuphrius as his name. The King did thus on the advice of the angel, and the fire did no harm, great or small, to the boy. The King had great regret and extraordinary sorrow, and he recognized that it was the devil that came to him in the shape of the pilgrim, and suggested to him to cast the boy into the fire. The determination he then came to was to give up the boy to God and the Church, as God had rescued him, as an offering for his own sin. He went to a monastery of the Order of Girolamo which had the Benedictine rule, and was an Order of hermits. He got the child baptized. He ordered that he should be named Honuphrius, as the angel had commanded. After that he granted and offered him from his own hands to the abbot of the monastery in honour of the heavenly Holy Trinity. The abbot gladly accepted that holy gift, but he was not content to allow him out of the monastery to be reared, and it was contrary to the rule that any woman should enter inside the walls of the monastery. There was a white hind, and with her a fawn of like colour, in the field of the friars. The abbot went to the place where it was. He took away the fawn that was with it, and brought to it the young boy. The fosterling was adopted by the hind with meekness, quietness, and gentleness. Honuphrius was fed for three full years on the milk of the hind. It used to come to him night and day to the side of the field in front of the monastery. He continued to grow and improve during that time. At the end of that period the friars commenced to give him ordinary food. His habit was to bring out to his nurse all the bread and fragments that he got from them. One day he was going out to the hind, and he had with him a loaf of bread. He found before him in the field the Holy Virgin Mary and her wondrous Son in her bosom, as He was when a child. His whole heart rejoiced when he saw them, and he made sign of
p.229humility and reverence. He then said: O Lord, Thou art a child; I, too, am a child, and here for Thee is my loaf of bread. I beseech Thee, when Thou takest it, eat it not as I eat it. The Lord took the loaf out of the hands of Honuphrius. He afterwards returned it to him, and enjoined upon him to give it to the abbot. They remained for a while playing and in holy converse with each other. Then Mary and her Son took leave of their faithful, humble servant. Honuphrius went with the loaf to the abbot. He was with difficulty able to carry it, for it had grown and increased from the hands of the Creator having touched it. The abbot and the friars all wondered greatly at how much the loaf had increased, and they understood and believed that it was miraculously, strangely, and wonderfully that Honuphrius had been granted that manifestation.
Divine grace followed Honuphrius, for he was filled with wisdom and learning, and with the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Besides he grew in size, in beauty, and in comeliness. On one occasion the Order elected Honuphrius as their superior. He would not accept their election, and he said he would go into secret and pathless places to search for the Child companion that he had once met in the field in the bosom of the Holy Virgin Mary. He would not be denied. He bade farewell to the abbot and to all the friars, and went into the desert of Egypt. As he was approaching the edge of the desert, he saw a fiery torch shining in the air above. He was frightened and startled thereat, and threw himself upon his knees. He commenced doing penance and praying. The angel of God came to him and said to him: Fear not, noble Honuphrius, for God has given thee assistance, and as a miraculous sign to thee, He has shown the bright torch which thou seest. Honuphrius became glad on hearing the words of the angel. He gave great thanks to God, and then entered the desert. As he proceeded into a secret, hidden, pathless place, he saw approaching him an elder of great age in the habit
p.231of a pilgrim or hermit. The old man rejoiced immediately on seeing him for he was pleased and delighted that the young boy of tender years, with grace and divine virtue about him, should be sent to him. He then conducted him to the secret, hidden house where his dwelling and habitation was. Now this was the kind of house he had, a small, narrow hut at the foot of a tall palm tree. They remained and tarried there in company with each other. Their food and nourishment they had by eating the fruit of the palm tree, together with the water of the well which was at the base of the tree. The branches and foliage of the tree made a shelter for them against wind and storm, heat and cold. They were not long together, however, when the old hermit died. He left by will to Honuphrius the palm tree, and the little hut, and the spring well as an inheritance. The old man was buried by Honuphrius at a short distance from the tree. He himself remained fasting and praying beneath the tree for a period of thirty years, praising and invoking the heavenly Trinity, doing penance and praying by day and by night. The fruit of the tree and the spring water were his food during that time.
On one occasion when he thought of the Child companion whom he was searching for, he put off at once all that remained of the old habit which he had brought out of the monastery thirty years before. He left the tree, and the well, and the hut. He then set out on his way through the desert. He continued for a long time thus without food or clothing. After that he fell into a weakness and heavy sickness. One day, as he was in these straits, he saw the angel of Almighty God coming to him with repast and food from heaven. He gave thanks to his Lord. The angel used to bring him the heavenly food, the Blessed Sacrament, every Sunday with his own hands in the same way as he brought him the food of the body in the course of the week. He was for thirty years more in the desert without meeting or converse with anyone, but only the
p.233visits of the angel. The hair of his head and his beard, of his breast and all his body, was his only protection against cold and heat during that time. His dwelling and habitation was beneath the branches of the trees. At the end of that time he bethought him of going to travel and traverse all the portion of the desert which he had not travelled until then. As he went on, he saw in a dark, pathless place, in the middle of the wood, a beautiful, secret, well-constructed house. He was greatly surprised. Then, near to it, he saw an elder of great age. He advanced towards him. When the old man saw the wretched, unknown creature, covered and hidden with his hair and locks from foot to head, he became frightened and alarmed, and he ran and fled as fast as he could. Honuphrius followed him. He asked him in honour of the heavenly Trinity to stand and remain at rest. The old man looked behind him. Honuphrius sat down on the ground. The old man then knew that it was as a sign of humility, and meekness, and innocence that Honuphrius sat down. After that he approached him cautiously and with fear. Each inquired of the other who he was. The old man told him that he himself was a hermit who had been for a long time dwelling and living in that desert, and that Pamplutius was his name. Honuphrius fell on his knees when he heard this. He narrated all his own doings and history. He besought and prayed the holy old man to pray to God for him. When the old man heard that he was Honuphrius, he threw himself upon his knees. He besought and requested him to pray God on his behalf. Then they both invoked the heavenly Trinity, each for the soul of the other. After that, the old man saw the angel descending from heaven with a loaf and a bottle of wine, and alighting behind Honuphrius. He was assured thenceforward that he was a godly man of holy life. They remained together for some time. One day, as they were praying, the hermit heard an angel's voice from heaven, and it said: Honofrii,
p.235audita est petitio tua, that is, Honuphrius, thy prayer has been heard. The love of the hermit for Honuphrius was the greater for hearing the words of the angel.
One day Honuphrius besought the old man, for the honour of God, to hear his sins, and to give him the absolution of the Church for all his transgressions and vices. The old man did thus. When Honuphrius had made his full confession, his soul separated from his body, having triumphed over the world and the devil, as he lay in the arms of the hermit. Thereupon, there came a trembling and a dreadful earthquake in the desert all around them, and the trees commenced to strike and smite one another throughout the forest. After that, the old man saw six angels, with lighted torches and many kinds of music, descending from heaven on either side of the body of Honuphrius. After these were two other angels, an incense-boat in the hand of one of them, and a thurible in that of the other. They scattered the sweetness and fragrance of the incense about the body. Visible and evident to the old man, as the angels returned, was the soul of the noble, holy man, Honuphrius, transported by two of the angels in the shape and form of a bright dove. He saw then the Saviour Himself coming from the citadels of the heavenly palace, and receiving that soul into His own hands. The old man was sad and lonely for his lovable companion and fitting mate-fellow. He was so advanced in years, and so infirm, that he did not know how he should bury the body. In a short time afterwards he saw two fierce, powerful lions coming towards him. He trembled and shuddered. He was certain that the lions would kill himself, and devour the body of his companion. Then the lions came towards the body of Honuphrius. They fell on their knees. They commenced to kiss and lick his feet and his hands. They then began to strike the ground with their paws, and to make signs to the old man asking him in what particular place he wished to have a grave and burial-place dug. He selected
p.237for them a suitable spot. He marked with his staff the sign of the cross upon the ground. He measured out the length and breadth of the grave. Then the lions dug the ground with their paws. They afterwards brought the body of the noble, wondrous saint with them to the brink of the grave, and lowered it in to the ground according to the orders of the hermit. Afterwards they went away into the forest, having laid stones and clay on the body, and having taken leave gently and humbly of the hermit. While the burial was being carried out, all the beasts and wild, untame birds of the desert gathered and assembled. They remained quiet, dumb, and silent until it was finished. Then they scattered all over the desert. Now there is a portion of his body in the aforesaid church attended with miracles and wonders. His soul, however, is in the noble union of fathers and prophets, in union with the saints and virgins of the world, in union with the apostles and disciples, in union with the Divinity and Humanity of Almighty God, in union with the nine orders of heaven which did not transgress, in union with the angels and archangels of the Lord of the elements, in the union which is nobler than every union, in union with the Holy noble Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. We beseech the mercy of Almighty God, through the intercession of this holy, noble patron that we may reach and dwell in that union in saecula saeculorum. Amen. A short time after that the angel of God came to the hermit. He instructed him to return again to his own country, that is, to Egypt. He did so. He narrated and published to all all the doings, and the life, and the holiness of Honuphrius et cetera.
On the twenty-ninth of June, the feast of Saint Peter, the ambassador of the King of Spain came with the revenue of the kingdom of Naples to the Pope. He came with great honour, dignity and state. There were about five or six hundred horsemen, together with a great number of coaches, and many footmen in splendid livery.
p.239At the head of the procession was a beautiful white horse with a splendid saddle that was covered with cloth of gold, and a large purse hanging from his neck containing the revenue of Naples. When the ambassador came into his Holiness' presence, he gave his Highness the horse and the revenue in the King's name. Then he returned to his house.
It was a wearisome and unusual experience for the Earl of Tyrconnell, the son of Ó Néill, and the son of Ó Domhnaill, to spend so long without moving out of Rome. They proposed and determined that they should leave it for a time, and should go to make holiday and take a change of air. The three set out, taking with them a page and a footman. Alas! their trip was attended with ill luck and misfortune. They went to a certain town on the sea coast named Ostia, on the bank of the Tiber, fifteen miles from Rome. They stayed for two days and nights on both sides of the river. The Reverend Doctor Domhnall Ó Cearbhaill followed them. These noblemen next returned to Rome. Their journey to Ostia was no source of rejoicing to their friends, for all are agreed that that particular place is one of the worst and most unhealthy for climate in all Italy. Indeed, it was not long until it proved so to them, for the Earl took a hot, fiery, violent fever on the eighteenth of the same month in 1608, the day of the week being Friday. On Saturday, the following day, Cathbharr, the son of Ó Domhnaill, caught the same fever. On the Monday afterwards, the Baron was stricken with it, and Domhnall Ó Cearbhaill in a short time after him. The page and the footman who were with them both got the fever in a very short time. The Earl had a violent sickness and great pain during a period of eleven days. He made a full confession and received the Holy Sacrament. His soul separated from his body and he died, by the grace of God and the Church, after victory over the world and the devil, about midnight on Monday. On the following day,
p.241Tuesday the twenty-eighth of July, the feast of Saint Martha, the Earl was buried in the monastery of San Pietro Montorio. A large and splendid funeral in grand procession was ordered by his Holiness the Pope, and on either side of the body there were large numbers of lighted waxen torches and sweet, sad, sorrowful singing. It was enwrapped in the habit of Saint Francis, as he himself had ordered that it should be put about him. Muiris, the Earl's page, died on the third of August. On the eighth of the same month Domhnall Ó Cearbhaill, Doctor of Divinity, the son of Uaithne Ó Cearbhaill of Magh Dreithne in Urmhumha, died et cetera.
As for Maguidhir, when he had been for a space of seven full weeks in Naples, he proposed and resolved to go to Spain. He set out by sea from Naples in the direction of the great, famous city which is named Genoa. He and his retinue landed for one night at the place where the river Tiber meets the sea, near and close to the identical place where the noblemen we have spoken of above were affected by the bad, injurious, and unhealthy climate. A wild and raging, painful and harmful, fever seized Maguidhir and Sémus, son of Éimher, son of Cúulad Mag Mathghamhna. After that they were brought to the great city of Genoa. They both died on the twelfth of August, 1608, after having made their full confession and received the Holy Sacrament. There were only six hours between their deaths, Sémus Mag Mathghamhna having died sooner than Maguidhir. Though their retinue and their followers in the city were not numerous, still, when their doings and their nobility were spoken of, a number of the clergy and noblemen of the city gathered about them in splendid procession, and they were buried with Franciscan habits about them in the great monastery of the Friars Minors in that same city.
The Baron and the son of Ó Domhnaill lay in the fever during all that time. By order of the doctors they were brought to a splendid palace on Monte Citorio
p.243that they might have air different and better than that of the Borgo, where they had been up to that time.
Alas! this account is hardly very pleasing.
When they had been some time there, the son of Ó Domhnaill died on the fifteenth day of September. It may well be believed that it was not through good fortune or the best of fate that it happened to Ireland that so many of the choicest of the descendants of Míl Easpáinne died suddenly, one after another, in a foreign and strange land, far removed from their own native soil. The son of Ó Domhnaill was buried in the habit of Saint Francis, after having had a great funeral and splendid cortege following him in procession, in the same monastery of San Pietro Montorio, in the same manner as the Earl, and close to his tomb.
The son of Ó Néill was a full half year lying in deadly peril and danger of death; but great thanks be to God, who granted to him that he should escape death for another space, and that he should have his health restored. And that is but a portion of the misfortune of each of them, and of the harm done them by the unhealthy, injurious air of Ostia.
On the first of August, the day of Lughnas exactly, 1608, Ó Néill went to a splendid meritorious church with the title of Saint Peter ad Vincula, which was erected and built in the name and honour of the Apostle Peter. The stout, rough, iron chain with which Peter was tied and bound, when he was imprisoned by the unbelieving Jews, was exhibited to him. At one time there was but one half of that chain in Rome. The Empress Helena brought the other portion of it to Rome. When the two portions were put side by side, they dosed and united together miraculously and strangely, as if they had never been separated at all previously. Besides, it was that chain which of itself
p.245burst asunder by a miracle on the occasion of that feast, when Peter was in bonds and chains in Jerusalem. After that there were shown to him a statue of Moses, son of Amram, skilfully and finely executed in marble, a great portion of the cross of Saint Andrew, and a large number of other relics.
On the fifteenth of the same month, the day of the first feast of Mary, Ó Néill went to another famous church which is named Sancta Maria in Trastevere. There was a splendid, meritorious pilgrimage in that church, together with an indulgence for all sins. That edifice was a meeting-place and house of assembly for the Roman Senate during a very long period of time. In the end they determined to give it up as a residence and home to indigent, retired officers and to old soldiers who had outlived the days of vigour and strength. These held it for a long time. On the night that Christ was born, that is, the night of great Christmas exactly, a deep spring of oil sprung and leaped miraculously and wonderfully out of that church. It was streaming and flowing like a great river for the space of a day and a night, and went out into the middle of the river Tiber. When Callistus I the sixteenth Pope after Peter, heard of it, he built a splendid chapel above the spring, and he dedicated it in the name of the Holy Virgin Mary. Were it not that the house of Loreto alone had been for a long time previously chosen and consecrated in the name of Mary and her Son, this would have been the first church which was dedicated in honour of Mary in the whole of Christendom. The year of the Lord at that time was two hundred and twenty. When Gregory III was Pope in Rome, this church was enlarged by him, so that it is a great, splendid, meritorious church. The year of the Lord at that time was seven hundred and twenty. The tombs and burial place of four Popes are in it namely, Callistus,
p.247Innocent, and Julius. The body of Quirinus the bishop, and a very great number, besides, of relics of saints and holy men, are in that same beautiful church.
The twenty-fourth of the same month, the feast of Bartholomew exactly, Ó Néill went to a famous island on the Tiber which is named Isola Tiberina. There is a splendid monastery belonging to the Order of Saint Francis on that island. The body of Bartholomew the Apostle is in the monastery, having been brought by the Emperor who was named Otho II from Benevento to Rome. There is a great number of relics of saints and holy men, in addition to that, in that holy church, as also pictures and images of Saint Catherine, Saint Agatha, and of many other noble, remarkable, holy women, executed and constructed artfully, artistically, and exquisitely in the same state and condition in which they were when they were martyred and put to death by the unbelieving Jews. The monastery of Saint John, and a good hospital where many works of charity and mercy are always carried on, are on that island.
On the twenty-ninth of September following, the feast of Saint Michael, Ó Néill went to the church of Saint Michael in the Borgo. By Pope Gregory it was first erected. For a long time there had been a very great plague in Rome. The majority of the inhabitants and those who dwelt in the city died at that time. Gregory and all the Romans who still lived went in splendid procession of penance from the monastery of Ara Coeli to the church of Saint Peter, with an image of the Holy Virgin Mary which is in the monastery borne in front of them. As they passed over the bridge of Sant' Angelo, which crosses the river Tiber, they saw with their bodily eyes the angel of God above them in the air, and in his hand a bare sword covered and besmeared with red gore. He afterwards alighted on the high rock on which the castle of Sant Angelo was built. When he beheld his Holiness the Pope, he sheathed his sword. The Pope and the Romans understood from that
p.249that the Lord's anger towards them had come to an end. The track of the angel's feet is still in the marble flag on which he alighted. This church was erected by the Pope in honour and reverence of Michael the Archangel. He himself, and the other Popes one after another, left to it numerous indulgences and remissions of sin. Now, the friars of Ara Coeli were not content until they got as a gift for themselves, from his Holiness the Pope, this marble stone, for it was their miraculous image of Mary which was at the head of the procession, in front of the Pope. The Romans are accustomed, on the feast of Saint Michael in particular, to ascend on their knees the high marble stairs which lead to that church.
On Wednesday, the third of September, his Holiness the Pope went in a splendid procession, in which the nobles of the Romans were in his company, from the church of Mary of Sant' Angelo to that of Santa Maria Maggiore; and on the following Friday from the church of Mary of Minerva to that of Santa Maria della Pace. Ó Néill was along with them on these occasions.
On the fourth of October, the feast of Saint Francis, Ó Néill went to a splendid monastery which is named San Francesco. That splendid church was the foundation house, the seat and residence, and the place of fasting and abstinence of Saint Francis in Rome. There is a splendid chapel in this monastery, where the worshippers do penance, and pray, and beseech Almighty God.
Give a blessing for the soul of the writer.
In it also is a wonderful, strange orange tree. The holy Saint Francis planted it in the beginning with his own blessed hands. On each orange that grows on the tree there are five small round lumps in the form of a cross. Theologians and commentators on the Holy Scripture think that it is in sign and commemoration of the five wounds which
p.251shed the blood of Saint Francis in memory and in invocation of the Passion of Christ that these lumps are on these oranges in particular, rather than on any others in the world. Everybody recognizes them wherever they go throughout Christendom. Afterwards there were exhibited to them many splendid relics of the remains of saints and holy men.
On the first day of November, the day of Samhain in particular, Ó Néill went to Santa Maria Rotonda, a splendid, beautiful, remarkable church which was built by the Roman Senate long ago, a long time before the birth of Christ. In honour of all the gods it was first erected. Its length and height and breadth are the same. In the very top of it there is a single thirty foot window, circular and wide, which admits light to all the altars in the church. The doorway is all made of one stone, both jambs and lintel, and it is twenty-eight feet wide, while its height is about that of two pikes, one placed on the other. In that church there is a miraculous image of Mary which Luke the evangelist made with his own hands at the time that Holy Mary was in the world. There are fourteen columns, as large as any in all Christendom, situated in front of the church. In it there are the bodies of Saint Anastatius and Saint Ratio and a large number of relics of other saints and holy people.
After that Ó Néill went to the church of Saint Gregory on the thirteenth. There was a pilgrimage and a great, meritorious indulgence in it on that day. It alone was the chief seat and fixed residence of that Gregory. In it there is a splendid round table of pure white marble from which he was accustomed to distribute each day their requirements in food, and drink, and every alms, to Almighty God's poor and needy. On one occasion the Lord Himself came in person to the table among the strangers, in the same way as the others, as a mark of respect and honour to him for his
p.253charity and kindness, and He spoke to him face to face as he served and attended the poor. The second year after he was proclaimed Pope, he consecrated this church in the name and honour of Saint Andrew the Apostle. His own hand, and a tooth of Peter, and a large number of relics of saints and holy people are in that same church.
On the twentieth of November there came to Rome from the Christian King of France, to offer his submission and humility to his Holiness the Pope, and to kiss his foot on his behalf, an ambassador extraordinary. The Duke de Nevers was his name. He was Duke of Retel, High Prince of Arques, Prince of Porsien, Marquis of l'Isle, Earl of Montserrat, and Governor and Lieutenant-General under the King in the province of Champagne and Brie. Carlo Gonzaga de Clèves was his baptismal name. The Duke entered Rome in great splendour and grandeur, by the gate of Sant' Angelo in particular, near and close to the church of Saint Peter. There were three score mules drawing their carriages at the head of the procession, wherein were his livery, his plate, and his valuables, and upon their heads were grand, variegated, particoloured embroidered clothing, with conspicuous, silken combs. After these there were twelve mules carrying beautiful, short, painted trunks, and on each mule there was a sheet of red velvet adorned with gold and silver thread, and the coat of arms of the Duke himself skilfully wrought on each sheet. On each mule there were very broad, strong blinkers1, and they were all made of pure bright, refined silver. The long hooks, and all the buckles and nails of their bridles and harness were likewise made of silver. There were tall plumes, with variety of all colours, standing on the heads of the mules. Long, stout reins of red silk, having large tassels at their ends, were attached to the bridle of each mule. A great guard of the Pope's cavalry came after these, having gone out from the city with the Pope's brother, John Baptist Borghese, to meet the Duke. The Cardinals'
p.255own mules, to the number of about forty, with red footcloths, came after these, and on each of them rode a cardinal's servant. Next there were a trio of noblemen and a trio of trumpeters. After these came the footmen of the Duke himself in very grand livery, twenty in number, and riding on horses. After these were the Duke's pages, twelve in. number, and their dress was of yellow velvet. After these were the Romans, about two hundred great noblemen, riding on beautiful, mettlesome horses, and dressed in black. Next were the Frenchmen, eighty horsemen on beautiful, active, swift, well-equipped horses, with many golden chains about their necks. Forty barons and lords came next, two and two, and they were as stately as the Frenchmen, but their dress was of dark colour. After these there were four of the Pope's trumpeters, and four drummers belonging to the Romans. They wore red, glittering suits. After them were sixty men of the officers and servants of the Pope on horseback. They and their horses were dressed in red. After them was a large group of the nobles of the Romans. After these were four great noblemen of the chief country of the King of Spain, dressed in black. Next to them were twenty titled noblemen, and they were from France. Precious, grand, and valuable were their dress and their horses. After these came the Duke of Force, with a great group of horsemen, dukes and princes of Rome and of the rest of Italy. The Duke of Force came with the greatest splendour and grandeur in all the world. After these there came the Pope's brother, with the Pope's Swiss guard about him. In front of him on the road there were four horsemen in red suits with great maces of pure bright silver. Next came twelve lackeys of the Duke's party and six Swiss in suits of yellow. Following them were two coloured men, their garments made of red damask, with much wide, golden laces. Near them was a team of beautiful horses, with saddles of red velvet covered with embroidery in golden thread. The Duke himself came next,
p.257riding on a beautiful, white, small, stout horse, a footcloth of Indian velvet, covered with golden laces, upon his saddle. The long, strong hooks of the bridle, its buckles, the stirrups of the saddle, and all its parts, were made entirely of red gold. About himself was a splendid, valuable garment, all embroidered with golden thread. There were many diamonds and precious stones united in the cord of his hat on his head, and his hand was continually in motion doffing his hat while saluting and bowing to those who saw and welcomed him. The Patriarch of Jerusalem was on his right hand, the Archbishop of Volterra on his left. After them was Monsignor de Brèves, the ambassador in ordinary of the King of France in the city, with a noble archbishop on either side of him. After these were fifty bishops and grand prelates of the Church, each riding on a beautiful mule, with the most excellent saddles and footcloths.
As they entered by the gate of Sant' Angelo the Romans commenced a great burst of music. They had numbers of trumpets and of every musical instrument. At the great palace were the trumpeters of the Pope. The guard of the palace fired all the large and small ordnance as soon as the cavalcade had gone by them. Likewise the guard of the Castle of Sant' Angelo continued firing the large ordnance. One who had never seen it would imagine from the sound and rumbling of the large ordnance being discharged, and from the prancing of the wild, beautiful, mettlesome horses, that the streets and market-places through which they advanced were trembling and quaking. The Duke then proceeded through the principal streets of the city, with the same great state and honour about him, until he came to his palace which was ready to receive him. The palaces and buildings on either side of the streets were filled with people wishing to view them. When the Duke
p.259reached the palace, he dismissed all these noblemen. He rested and remained at ease until the Thursday following. On that day in particular he went into the presence of his Holiness the Pope. That same day the state and honour surrounding him was no less than that of the first day. The greater part of his retinue were in livery of black colour. His suit and equipment, and the outfit of his horse, were ornamented with precious stones of pearl and of garnet bugle. The Romans in large numbers fêted him. The same sweet music was played for him, and the large ordnance was fired as had been done before. When he came before his Holiness the Pope, he kissed his foot. Afterwards he exhibited the patent of authority which he had from the King of France to come in the name and as a representative of the King himself before his Holiness the Pope to offer him humility and respect, and also the King's own letters making submission and acknowledgment of obedience, and entrusting his service for ever, in all parts of Christendom, to his Holiness and to the Apostolic See. The King's interpreter, Mauricio Bressio, made known and explained all that was said to all the people that were there.