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Lucifer and his rebellious cohorts into hell; then are created the day, the night, sun, moon, &c.; this mystery terminating with the formation of Adam and Eve.
In the second is the marriage of Cain and Abel, &c. During the sixth mystery, the Almighty, indignant on beholding the sins of Sodom, will not listen to the prayers of Mercy therein personified, and to whom the Divinity is thus made to express himself;
---- Sans tenir plet * Leur peché si fort me deplest, Veu qu'il n'y a raison ne rime,
Qu'ils descendront tous en abime. In the eighteenth mystery, when the angel Raguel seeks to console Sarah on account of her barrenness; in reply to this question ;
Comment va, fille ?
--- Toute esplorée ;
Que bref, je voudrois étre morte. In mystery the twentieth, Susannah, going to the bath, speaks as follows to the damsel who accompanies her.
Et pourtant une fille sage
And in mystery the twenty-first, when the valet of Holofernes has undressed him, and is retiring for the purpose of conducting Judith to his presence, he is made
Un beau petit Holopherne
----- point n'en doubte. Le Mistere du Chevalier qui donne sa Femme au Diable (Mystery of the Knight who gives his Wife to the Devil) was performed in 1505, by ten persons; the singular subject of which runs as follows:
A dissipated knight being reduced to wretchedness from his profligacy, the Devil appears to him with offers of making him far richer than ever, if he will convey his wife over to him: a proposition acceded to by the knight after some dispute; when a promise is regularly drawn out and signed with the blood of the knight, wherein it is stipulated that, after the lapse of seven years, his wife is to become the property of the fiend. Not satisfied however with this, the Devil further exacts, that he must deny his God also, which proposition, after some difficulty, is equally acceded to; Satan, however, anxious to make the best bargain possible, requires also of the knight that he shall deny the blessed Virgin Mary, but this is most resolutely refused; wherefore, the Devil is obliged to rest satisfied with the bargain already concluded. The allotted term of seven years is then supposed to transpire, when Lucifer makes his appearance, and claims of the knight the performance of the
engagement. Upon this the latter, resolved to keep his word, commands his wife to follow him to a certain spot; when, chancing in their way to see a church, she begs permission of her husband to enter the sanctuary for the purpose of prayer: this being agreed to, while she is offering up her devotions, the Virgin Mary assuming the form of the wife, presents herself before the knight, who fully believes her to be such; whereas the Devil, who recognizes the Virgin, upbraids the knight for deceiving him, when the latter, in reply, asserts his total ignorance of the whole affair. Upon this Mary tells Lucifer, that she has assumed that form, in order to rescue two souls from his gripe, and then commands him to give up the promise signed with the knight's blood, which the Devil is compelled to do, and so runs away. The Virgin, in conclusion, exhorts the knight to live a better life in future, restores to him his partner, and thus concludes the mystery.
We shall now terminate with an extract from a chroniele entitled De Metz Veritable, in manuscript, the author of which subscribes himself curate of Saint Euchaire, of the said city.
« On the third of July 1437, was performed The Play of the Passion of our Lord, in the plain of Veximiel, * where was built a park of a very noble kind, for it was nine tiers in height; all around and behind, were great and long seats for the lords and the ladies ; and he who re
* On the seventeenth of September of the same year, they played on the same spot the Mystery of the Vengeance of our Lord Jesus Christ.
presented God was called the lord Nicolle, * baron of Neufchastel in Lorraine, being curate of Saint Victor, of Metz. This same Nicolle would have died when upon the cross, if he had not received help, and agreed that another priest should be fixed to the same, in order to personify the act of the crucifixion. On this and the following day, the said curate of Saint Victor personated the Resurrection, and carried himself right nobly during the said plays. And another priest, named Messire Jean de Nicey, who was chaplain of Metrange, acted the part of Judas, who was also well nigh killed, for his heart failed him, so he was hastily taken down and borne away. And there was displayed the jaws of hell,-very well executed, for they opened and closed as the devils wished to go in and come out, and there were two large evix † of steel. One of the seven clerks of war, of Metz, named Fourcelle, was master of the said play, and author and original manager of all that was done for this time. A multitude of strange lords and ladies came into the said city of Metz, whose names I have under enumerated.
“ First, my lord bishop of Metz, Sire Conrad Bayer.
“ The count de Vaudemont, lord Baudouin de Fleville, abbé of Gorze.
“ The countess of Sallebruche.
“ And the council of the duchy of Bar, and of Lorraine ; Mr. Heney d'Encay, and his two brothers, the baron de Saulx, Charles de Leruolles, Henry de la Tour, and many.
* This same lord Nicolle represented Titus in the mystery of Vengeance.
+ This word evix does not appear in any glossary of the old French language.
other lords and ladies of Germany, and other countries, whose names are unknown to me.
“ And lanterns were caused to be hung in the windows during the whole continuance of the said plays.”
The Lords de Saint Severe and de Rays, &c. were, ac
cording to ancient custom, despatched by the king to
Saint Remy, in order to procure the Saint Ampoulle. Holy oil, or la Sainte Ampoulle, is said to have been a present sent down from heaven to king Clovis, upon his embracing Christianity at the solicitation of his wife Saint Clotilda, and, we are told, was brought from on high in the beak of a dove. One might be led to doubt the veracity of this assertion (says my authority gravely), were it not that all historians attach faith to the relation, and that the continued miracle of this Ampoulle always furnishing a sufficient quantity of unction for the purposes of the coronation of each succeeding monarch, did not attest the singular interposition of Heaven and the puissant effect of Divine Providence. As this prodigy was accorded to France in the time of Saint Remy, archbishop of Rheims, the precious treasure was confided to him and his successors, who were always to perform the ceremony of the coronation.
Upon the coronation of Charles VII. a contemporary historian states: