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In that long succession of eulogists on the Royal Saint, none have been more emphatic than Hume, and none more enthusiastic than Voltaire. Yet it was impossible, even to their subtle intellects, as it had been difficult to many students in a far nobler school than theirs, to trace the movements of that benignant Providence which planted and brought to a prolific maturity in the mind of Louis, as in a genial soil, the seeds of an habitual holiness, and of a wisdom which was at once elevated and profound. The more diligently his life is studied, the more distinctly will it, I think, appear, that his natural dispositions received from the associates and teachers of his youth the training which rendered them fruitful of so many virtues. Exquisitely alive to every domestic affection-often oppressed with a constitutional melancholy, which laid bare to him the illusions of life, yet occasionally animated with a constitutional gaiety, which enabled him for a while to cherish and play with those illusions-enamored of the beautiful, and revering the sublime — his temper, though thus sympathetic, pensive, and imaginative, was allied (it is no common alliance) to a courage which rose and exulted in the presence of danger, and to a fortitude which was unshaken in the lowest depths of calamity.
His mother, Blanche of Castile, watched over the royal boy (for he had not completed his thirteenth year when he ascended the throne of France) with all a mother's tenderness, united to a discipline more inflexible, and perhaps more stern, than most fathers have courage to exercise. In Isabella of France, his sister, who had preferred the cloister to the imperial crown, he had another kinswoman who bestowed on him all the thoughts, the time, and the affection which she ventured to divert from the object of her almost ceaseless worship. In his eighteenth year he married Marguerite of Provence, who after having been the idol of the Troubadours of her native land, herself became almost an idolater of him, cleaving to him with the same constancy of love in their quiet home at Poissy, and amid his disasters at Massourah and Damietta.
But the sagacity of Blanche foresaw that these filial, fraternal, and conjugal affections might enervate, even while they purified the spirit of her son, and she therefore selected for his tutor a man possessing, as she judged, the qualifications best adapted to counteract that danger. His name was Pacifico. He was an Italian gentleman, who, having been one of the first followers of St. Francis of Assisi, was animated by the profound and fervent devotion which characterized his master. He instructed his pupil in ancient and in more recent history, caused him to ride boldly in the chase, and required him to cultivate every martial exercise and courtly grace, which was then regarded as indispensable in a gentleman and a cavalier. Nor did the lowliness of the Franciscan institute prevent the friar from instilling into the soul of Louis the loftiest conceptions of his own royal dignity.
Other and far different associates contributed to form the character of the pupil of Pacifico. In the halls of the Louvre, then a fortress rather than
a a palace, veteran captains described to him the battles which they had fought with Saladin, and the victories which had expelled the English from Normandy. Beneath the same royal roof, gray
, headed counsellors of Philippe Auguste explained to him the methods by which that prince had enlarged the domains and the powers of the kings of France; and there, also, civic bailiffs and provincial seneschals interpreted to their young sovereign
the motives which had induced his ancestors to increase the number and to extend the franchises of the communes. Thus imbibing from aged men the hereditary maxims of his house, he learned to adopt them as the laws by which his future reign was to be directed.
But the yet higher laws by which his own personal conduct was to be governed, seem to have been derived from a far more eminent teacher than any of these. St. Thomas Aquinas, who had migrated from his native Italy into Northern France, was passing there a life which may be said to have been one of deep and unintermitted meditation ; for the results of which he found utterance sometimes in acts of public or solitary worship, and at other times in interpreting to mankind the mysteries and the duties of their relations to the Deity and to each other. To the inquiry of Bonaventura as to the sources of his stupendous learning, he answered by pointing to the crucifix which stood upon his table; and, when seated at the table of the king, or introduced into his closet, he still directed to the same inexhaustible fountain of divine and human wisdom. From his intercourse with St. Thomas, Louis seems to have acquired his acquaintance with that science which the devout Pacifico could not have taught—the sacred science of Christian morality, in all the amplitude and in all the minuteness of its application to the offices of a legislator and a king.
St. Louis occupies in history a place apart from that of all the other moral heroes of our race. It is his peculiar praise to have combined in his own person the virtues which are apparently the most incompatible with each other, and with the state and trials of a king. Seated on the noblest of the thrones of Europe, and justly jealous of his high prerogatives, he was as meek and gentle as if he had been undistinguished from the meanest of his brethren of mankind. Endowed from his boyhood, by the lavish bounties of nature, with rank, wealth, power, health, and personal beauty, he was as compassionate as if sorrow had been his daily companion from his youth. An enthusiast in music, architecture, and polite learning, he applied himself to all the details of public business with the assiduity of one who had no other means of subsistence. Surpassed by no monarch in modern Europe in the munificence of his bounties or in the splendor of his public works, those purest and most sumptuous of the luxuries of royalty were in no single instance defrayed from any tributes levied from his people. Passionately attached to his kindred, he never enriched or exalted them at the public expense. The