The Legend of Ulenspiegel by Charles de Coster Book II Chapter 11

Ulenspiegel and Lamme being at Bruges, with their cart, which they left in a yard close by, went into the church of Saint Sauveur, instead of going to the tavern, for there was in their pouches no more the merry clink of coins.

Father Cornelis Adriensen, a minor friar, dirty, brazen, furious, and a bellowing preacher, was on that day occupying the pulpit of truth.

Beautiful young devout women were thronging all around.

Father Cornelis was discoursing of the Passion. When he came to the passage in the Holy Gospel where the Jews cried to Pilate, speaking of our Lord Jesus, “Crucify him, crucify him, for we have our law, and by that law he must die,” Broer Cornelis exclaimed:

“Ye have just heard it, good people, if Our Lord Jesus Christ endured a dreadful and a shameful death, it is because there have at all times been laws to punish heretics. He was justly condemned, because he had disobeyed those laws. And to-day they would fain regard as naught the edicts and proclamations. Ah! Jesus! What curse wouldst thou set upon these lands. Honoured Mother of God, if the Emperor Charles were still alive, and could he see the scandal of these confederate nobles who have dared to present to the Lady Governor a request against the Inquisition and against the proclamations made for an aim so good, which are so ripely thought out, and promulgated after so long and so wise reflection and deliberation, to destroy all sects and heresies! And they would fain reduce them to nothing, though they are more necessary than bread and than cheese! In what foul, loathsome, abominable gulf are we to be made to fall to-day? Luther, that vile Luther, that mad ox, triumphs in Saxony, in Brunswick, in Lunebourg, in Mecklenburg; Brentius, that dung Brentius who lived in Germany upon acorns the pigs refused, Brentius triumphs in W?rttemberg; Servetus the Lunatic, who hath a quarter of the moon in his head, the Trinitarian Servetus, reigns in Pomerania, in Denmark and in Sweden, and there he dares to blaspheme the holy, glorious, and mighty Trinity.

Aye. But I am informed that he hath been burned alive by Calvin, who was never right or good save in that; aye, by the stinking Calvin who smells of musty sourness; aye, with his long face like a leather bottle; a face of cheese, with his big teeth like a gardener’s shovel. Aye, these wolves eat one another; aye, the ox Luther, the mad ox, roused the princes of Germany to arms against the Anabaptist M?nzer, who was a good man, they say, and lived according to the Gospel. And through all Germany the bellowings of this ox have been heard, aye!
“Aye, and what do we see in Flanders, Gueldre, Frisia, Holland, Zealand? Adamites running naked through the streets; yea, good people, naked in the streets, showing their lean flesh without shame to the passers-by. There was but one of them, say you: aye – let it pass – one is as good as a hundred, a hundred is even as one. And he was burned, say you, and he was burned alive, at the request of the Calvinists and Lutherans. These wolves eat one another, I say unto you!

“Aye, and what do we see in Flanders, Gueldre, Frisia, Holland, Zealand? Free thinkers teaching that all servitude is contrary to the word of God. They lie, the stinking heretics; we must submit to the Holy Mother Church of Rome. And there, in that accursed city of Antwerp, the rendezvous and meeting-ground of all the heretic dogs in the world, they have dared to preach that we prepare and bake the host with dog’s grease. Another saith, ’tis that beggar upon the chamber pot at the corner of the street, ‘There is no God, nor life eternal, nor resurrection of the body, nor everlasting damnation.’ ‘We can,’ saith another yonder, in a whining voice, ‘baptise without salt, or lard, or spittle, without exorcism and without candle.’ ‘There is no purgatory,’ says another. There is no purgatory, good people! Ah! it were better for you to have committed sin with your mothers, your sisters, and your daughters, than to doubt purgatory.

“Aye, and they turn up their nose at the Inquisitor, that holy man, aye. They came to Belem, near this place, as many as four thousand Calvinists, with weaponed men, banners and drums. Aye. And you can smell from here the smoke of their cooking fires. They have taken the Church of Saint Catholyne to dishonour it, profane it, desecrate it by their damnable preachifying.

“What is this impious and scandalous tolerance? By the thousand devils of hell, ye supine, faint-hearted Catholics, why do not ye also take weapons into your hands? Ye have, even as these damned Calvinists, cuirasses, lances, halberds, swords, daggers, arbalests, knives, cudgels, pikes, the town falconets and culverins.

“They are peaceful folk, say you; they desire in all freedom and tranquillity to hear the word of God. That is all one to me. Go forth from Bruges! hunt me, slay me, blow me up all these Calvinists that are without the pale of the Church. Ye are not yet started! Fie on you! Ye are hens trembling with fear on your dunghill. I see the moment when these damned Calvinists will drum on your wives’ and daughters’ bellies, and you will let them, men of tow and putty. Go not over yonder, go not … ye will get your stockings wet in the battle. Fie upon you, men of Bruges! fie upon you, Catholics! That is well done and like true Catholics, O cowardly poltroons! Shame upon you, ducks and drakes, geese and turkeys that you are!

“Are not they goodly preachers, that you should go in crowds to hearken to the lies they belch forth, that the young girls should go by night to their sermons, aye, and that in nine months the town should be full of little beggar-boys and beggar-girls? There were four of them there, four scandalous vagabonds, that preached in the cemetery of the church. The first of these vagabonds, livid and lean, the ugly loose-belly, had a dirty hat upon his head. Thanks to it his ears were not to be seen. Which of you hath seen the ears of a preacher? He had no shirt, for his bare arms came linenless out through his doublet. I saw it well, though he tries to cover himself up with a dirty little cloak, and I saw, too, all right in his black canvas breeches, full of open work like the spire of Notre Dame, the swinging of his bells and clapper. The other vagabond preached in a doublet, and no shoes. Nobody saw his ears. And he had to stop short in his preachifying, and the boys and girls began to hoot him, crying: ‘Yah! Yah! he doesn’t know his lesson!’ The third of these scandalous vagabonds had on his head a dirty ugly little hat, with a little feather sticking out of the top. And his ears were not to be seen, either. The fourth of the rascals, Hermanus, better arrayed than the others, must have been branded on the shoulder twice by the executioner, aye, verily.

“They all wear under their headgear greasy silk caps that hide their ears. Did you ever see the ears of a preacher? Which of these rogues ever dared to show his ears? His ears! Ah! yes, show his ears; they have all been cut off. Aye, the executioner has cut the ears off every one of them.

“And yet it was round about these scandalous rogues, these cut purses, these cobblers that have run away from their stools, these ragamuffin preachers, that all the whole populace went crying and shouting: ‘Long live the Beggars!’ as if they had all been mad, drunk, or fools.

“Ah, it only remains for us poor Roman Catholics to leave the Low Countries, since there they allow this bawling cry: ‘Long live the Beggars! Long live the Beggars!’ What a millstone of a curse hath therefore fallen upon this bewitched and foolish folk, ah! Jesus! Everywhere, rich and poor, noble and base, young and old, men and women, all cry out: ‘Long live the Beggars!’

“And what are all these lords, these scald leather seats that have come to us from Germany? All their having is gone on harlots, or gaming, lechery, lewdness, long-drawn debauchery, rooted villainies, abominations of dice and ostentation of outward array. They have not even a rusty nail to scratch themselves with where they itch. And now they must needs have the goods and wealth of churches and convents.

“And there at their banquet in the house of that rogue De Culembourg, with that other rogue De Brederode, they drank in wooden bowls, for scorn of Messire de Berlaymont and Madame the Lady Governor. Aye, and they shouted ‘Long live the Beggars!’ Ah! if I had been the good God (with all respect), I would have caused their drink, whether it was beer or wine, to be changed into a foul and loathy dishwater, aye, into foul, abominable, stinking suds, in which they had washed their shirts and foul sheets.

“Aye, bawl, donkeys that you are, bawl ‘Long live the Beggars!’ Aye! and I am a prophet. And all the curses, miseries, fevers, plagues, conflagrations, ruins, desolations, cankers, English sweating sickness and black plagues will fall upon the Low Countries. Aye, thus will God be revenged upon your filthy braying of ‘Long live the Beggars!’ And there will not be left one stone of your houses upon another, and not a morsel of bone in your damned legs that ran to this accursed Calvinistry and preachifying. And so, so, so, so, so be it. Amen!”

“Let us go, my son,” said Ulenspiegel to Lamme.

“In a moment,” said Lamme.

And he looked and searched among the beautiful young devotees there present at the sermon, but he did not discover his wife.