Don Pedro, of Portugal, 1394; James Earl Waldegrave,
1715; Lord Chancellor Somers, 1652, Worcester.
Died: Saladin, 1193,
Damascus; Bernard Gilpin, rector of
Houghton-le-Spring, 1583; Matthias Hoe, 1645, Dresden;
J. Vanderlinden, 1664, Leyden; John Anstis, Garter
King-at-Arms, 1744; the Rev. Thomas Seward, 1790,
Lichfield; Thomas Rickman, architect, 1841,
Birmingham; Charles Leopold Von Bach, German
Feast Day: St. Lucius,
pope and martyr, 253. St. Adrian, bishop of St.
Andrew's, martyr in Scotland, 874. St. Casimir, Prince
of Poland, 1482.
The famous sultan of Egypt and
Syria, who overthrew the short-lived Latin kingdom of
Jerusalem, and successfully bore the brunt of the
third crusade, was very much a soldier of fortune
after the type of the modern Mehemet Ali. It was in
the course of a career of connest, beginning with
Egypt and going on to Syria, that he fought
Guy de Lusignan, King of Jerusalem, at Tiberias, in 1187, and
obtained possession of that city. Then did Philip
Augustus of France and Richard I of England deem
themselves called upon by Christian duty to fly to the
rescue of the holy sepulchre. The energies of this
third crusade were concentrated on a two years' siege
of Acre, which they took, not-withstanding the efforts
of Saladin for its rescue; but they vainly endeavoured
to force a way to Jerusalem, and were finally obliged
to rest satisfied with leaving the Christians in
possession of a strip of the coast between Tyre and
In this contest between
Europeans and Asiatics, there was a wonderful display
of valour on both sides; but the struggle is mainly
interesting to us through the magnanimity of Saladin.
The lion-hearted King of England, being one day on the
point of being taken prisoner, was saved from that
fate by the generosity of a Norman gentleman,
Guillaume de Preau, who called out, 'I am the king,'
in a voice expressive of a wish to secure good
treatment. Guillaume was instantly surrounded and
taken, and he was quickly brought before Saladin, who
at once knew that he was not Richard. On the stratagem
being explained, the Sultan could only praise him for
the self-devotion he had displayed.
On entering Jerusalem, after a
successful battle, the people surrounded him,
clamouring for their fathers, brothers, and sons whom
he had taken prisoners. He could not resist this sad
spectacle, but at once ordered the prisoners to be
Having established good laws
in his territories, he was determined that they should
be executed without respect of persons. His own nephew
being cited in judgment, he compelled him to appear.
Nay, a merchant venturing to accuse Saladin himself of
some wrong, and the cadi having come to the sultan to
ask what should be done, 'That which is just,'
answered he. He went to the court, pleaded his own
cause, and so far from punishing the plaintiff,
thanked and rewarded him for shewing so much
confidence in his integrity.
Though Saladin was a usurper,
with the stain of ingratitude to his early masters,
there must have been splendid qualities in a man who,
born a Khoord in a moderate rank of life, raised
himself to be the ruler of Egypt, Arabia, Syria,
Mesopotamia, and the finest tracts of Asia Minor, all
in the course of a life of fifty-seven years.
He left his vast territories
amongst his seventeen sons: but their rule was
everywhere of short duration.
BERNARD GILPIN, HIS HOSPITALITY AND PREACHING
This good man, born in
Westmoreland in 1517, and by his mother related to
Cuthbert Tunstall, the enlightened Bishop of Durham,
through that prelate was appointed to the valuable
rectory of Houghton-le-Spring. This was in the reign
of Mary, a dangerous time for one of such Protestant
tendencies as he. Entering at once upon his duties, He
did not hesitate to preach the doctrines of the
Reformation, and was accordingly very soon accused to
Bishop Bonner. Gilpin obeyed the summons of the
unpitying prelate, and, fully expecting to suffer at
the stake, before setting out he said to his
house-steward, 'Give me a long garment, that I may die
with decency.' As he journeyed with the ministers of
the bishop, he is said to have broken his leg, which,
delaying his journey, saved his life, Mary dying in
the interval. Gilpin then returned in joy and peace to
his parishioners at Houghton. Queen Elizabeth offered
him the bishopric of Carlisle, which he declined: and
he continued to his death the rector of Houghton. He
visited the ruder parts of Northumberland, where the
people subsisted mostly on plunder, fearlessly holding
forth to them the commands and sanctions of
Christianity, and thus did much to change the
character of the county. From these useful services he
was often called the Northern Apostle.
Houghton, being then, as now,
a rich benefice, yielded Gilpin an ample income. His
hospitality resembled that of the primitive bishops:
every fortnight, forty bushels of corn, twenty bushels
of malt, and a whole ox, besides other provisions,
were consumed in the rectory-house, which was open to
all travellers. With equal zeal and assiduity, he
settled differences among his parishioners, provided
instruction for the young, and prayed by the bedsides
of the sick and poor.
To Thomas Rickman belongs the
merit of discriminating and classifying the styles
resulting from progressive changes in the Gothic
architecture of the middle ages, as clearly as to
William Smith belongs the honour of first classifying
strata by their respective shells. It must ever be
felt as a curious and anomalous circumstance, that the
genius who did us this service, and who ultimately
gained celebrity by the vast number of Gothic churches
which he built in England, was by birth and
up-bringing a member of the Society of Friends, whose
principle it is to attach no consequence whatever to
the forms of 'steeple-houses.'
How our ancestors managed to
pass the long winter evenings in the olden time, has
never been satisfactorily explained. They had no new
books, indeed few books of any kind, to read or talk
about. Newspapers were unknown: a wandering beggar,
minstrel, or pedler circulated the very small amount
of news that was to be told. The innumerable subjects
of interest that form our ordinary topics of
conversation were then utterly unknown. So we can only
conclude that our ancestors, like some semi-savage
tribes at the present day, passed their spare hours in
relating often-told stories, and exercised their wits
in asking each other puzzling questions or riddles.
Many copies of what we would now term riddle-books,
are found in both the French and English collections
of old manuscripts, and some were printed at an early
period. One of these, entitled Demands Joyous,
which may be rendered Amusing Questions, was
printed in English by Wynkyn
de Worde, in 1511. From this work, of which one
copy only is said to be extant, we cull a few
'demands,' with their responses, for the amusement of
the reader: the greater part of them being too
strongly impregnated with indecency and profanity to
be presentable here:
Dem: What bare the best
burden that ever was borne?
Res: The ass that carried our Lady, when she fled
with our Lord into Egypt.
Dem: What became of that
Res: Adam's mother ate her.
Dem. Who was Adam's mother?
Res: The earth.
Dem: How many calves' tails
would it take to reach from the earth to the sky?
Res: No more than one, if it be long enough.
Dem: What is the distance
from the surface of the sea to the deepest part
Res: Only a stone's throw.
Dem: When Antichrist appears
in the world, what will be the hardest thing for him
Res: A hand-barrow, for of that he shall not know
which end ought to go foremost.
Dem: What is it that never
was and never will be?
Res: A mouse's nest in a cat's ear.
Dem: Why do men make an oven
in a town?
Res: Because they cannot make a town in an oven.
Dem: How may a man discern a
cow in a flock of sheep?
Res: By his eyesight.
Dem: Why doth a cow lie
Res: Because it cannot sit.
Dem: What is it that never
Res: Boiling water.
Dem: Which was first, the
hen or the egg?
Res: The hen, at the creation.
Dem: How many straws go to a
Res: Not one, for straws not having feet cannot go
Dem: Who killed the fourth
part of all the people in the world?
Res: Cain when he killed Abel.
Dem: What is it that is a
builder, and yet not a man, doeth what no man can
do, and yet serveth both God and man?
Res: A bee.
Dem: What man getteth his
Res: A ropemaker.
Dem. How would you say two
paternosters, when you know God made but one
Res: Say one twice over.
Dem: Which are the most
profitable saints of the church?
Res: Those painted on the glass windows, for they
keep the wind from wasting the candles.
Dem: Who were the persons
that made all, and sold. all, that bought all and
Res: A smith made an awl and sold it to a
shoe-maker, who lost it.
Dem: Why doth a dog turn
round three times before he lieth down?
Res: Because he knoweth not his bed's head from the
Dem: What is the worst
bestowed charity that one can give?
Res: Alms to a blind man: for he would be glad to
see the person hanged that gave it to him.
Dem: What is the age of a
Res: A year. And the age of a hedgehog is three
times that of a mouse, and the life of a dog is
three times that of a hedge-hog, and the life of a
horse is three times that of a dog, and the life of
a man is three times that of a horse, and the life
of a goose is three times that of a man, and the
life of a swan is three times that of a goose, and
the life of a swallow three times that of a swan,
and the life of an eagle three times that of a
swallow, and the life of a serpent three times that
of an eagle, and the life of a raven is three times
that of a serpent, and the life of a hart is three
times that of a raven, and an oak groweth five
hundred years, and fadeth five hundred years.