history of england_david hume

H the ecclesiastics took exception at this ornament

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Unformatted text preview: ies continued as open as ever; and he kept possession of a considerable part of the revenues belonging to the see of Canterbury.g But he found in Anselm that persevering opposition, which he had reason to expect from the ostentatious humility, which that prelate had displayed in refusing his promotion. The opposition, made by Anselm, was the more dangerous on account of the character of piety, which he soon acquired in England, by his great zeal against all abuses, particularly those in dress and ornament. There was a mode, which, in that age, prevailed throughout Europe, both among men and women, to give an enormous length to their shoes, to draw the toe to a sharp point, and to affix to it the figure of a bird’s bill, or some such ornament, which was turned upwards, and which was often sustained by gold or silver chains tied to the knee.h The ecclesiastics took exception at this ornament, which, they said, was an attempt to bely the Scripture, where it is affirmed, that no man can add a cubit to his stature; and they declaimed against it with great vehemence, nay assembled some synods, who absolutely condemned it. But, such are the strange contradictions in human nature! Though the clergy, at that time, could overturn thrones, and had authority sufficient to send above a million of men on their errand to the desarts of Asia, they could never prevail against these long-pointed shoes: On the contrary, that caprice, contrary to all other modes, maintained its ground during several centuries; and if the clergy had not at last desisted from their persecution of it, it might still have been the prevailing fashion in Europe. But Anselm was more fortunate in decrying the particular mode, which was the object of his aversion, and which probably had not taken such fast hold of the affections of PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 172 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 the people. He preached zealously against the long hair and curled locks, which were then fashionable among the courtiers; he refused the ashes on Ash-Wednesday to those who were so accoutered; and his authority and eloquence had such influence, that the young men universally abandoned that ornament, and appeared in the cropt hair, which was recommended to them by the sermons of the primate. The noted historian of Anselm, who was also his companion and secretary, celebrates highly this effort of his zeal and piety.i When William’s profaneness therefore returned to him with his health, he was soon engaged in controversies with this austere prelate. There was at that time a schism in the church, between Urban and Clement, who both pretended to the papacy;k and Anselm, who, as abbot of Bec, had already acknowledged the former, was determined, without the king’s consent, to introduce his authority into Engiand.l William, who, imitating his father’s example, had prohibited his subjects from recognizing any pope, whom he had not previously received,...
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